Monday, January 28, 2013

Ashton Park - A Book Review

I must say I was drawn to wanting to read this book when the synopsis says for people who love Downton Abbey.  If you know me at all, you know I am absolutely smitten with the show and have seen seasons 1 & 2 many times.  I love the snark, the relationships, the drama, the laughter.  So, you tell me a book is similar and I'll give it a go.

However, this book is not one I will be reading over and over.  The book focuses on the Danforth family of Ashton Park.  Sir William and Lady Elizabeth are the parents to seven children.  The book tells the story of each of the children, as well as focusing on Sir William, Lady Elizabeth, his sister, and one of each of their parents.  Once I finally learned to keep all the characters straight I enjoyed the dialogue and the relationships that were happening.  Did I love it as much as Downton?  No.  I found it to be a bit too cheesy and predictable in the story lines. Were there some surprises, of course, but the overall who will end up with who was pretty much obvious from the first meeting of each of the characters.  However, I feel for writing a book which focused on a family with 7 children, and each of the children had a story line in the book, that Murray Pura did an excellent job of giving each their own unique experiences and share of the pages.  I felt at times that I would have rather read a book on each of them, than the combined story, but at the same time with the book being written this way, it kept from having to read a lot of useless pages that might have been necessary to fill each character's story.

So if you would like to read something set in the early 1900s with a similar feel to Downton, I would recommend this.  It was not the easy reading chick-lit that I usually pick up (since I had to keep referencing the character list at the front of the book to see who I was reading about) but it was enjoyable in its own way.  It's a one time read, and I cannot say I regret having read it as I have other books.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Ashton Park, go HERE.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Book Review: Doctor to the Rescue

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Doctor To The Rescue
Love Inspired (December 18, 2012)
Cheryl Wyatt

I admit there's not much more I like in life than to sit down with a mindless read and get lost in the stories of the characters for a while.  This book was the perfect thing to come home to after a few weeks of traveling for Christmas.  I was able to read it in a couple of sittings and the story warmed my heart while distracting my mind from the fact that I would be returning to work the next day for the first time in almost 3 weeks.

I loved the characters that Cheryl introduced me to and how the community came together to help those in need when so often today we all pass by each other without a care for the greater good of others.

Book synopsis:

Combat doctor Ian Shupe returns home from overseas with his most important mission: to raise his little girl. But Ian's a single dad, and working at Eagle Point's trauma center means having to find child care. When bighearted, struggling lodge owner Bri Landis offers babysitting in exchange for construction work, Ian accepts. He vows to keep his emotional distance from Bri, yet can't deny that his daughter is blossoming under her tender care. But is he ready to believe that his heart's deepest prayer may finally be answered? If you would like to read the first chapter of Doctor To The Rescue, go HERE.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

2013 Goals

I'm doing goals this year.  Written, published goals.  Not resolutions, because well, I just don't like the sound of that.  Plus a goal sounds like something you can check off when it's reached.  And I like checking things off.  Which is why I usually put brush my teeth on a daily to do list since I know I can then check at least one thing off and feel accomplished.  Don't lie, you do the same thing.  

  1. Finish the music room -- I started this project in August of 2012 when R was away at a band function.  We need to install crown molding, get the pictures rehung on the wall, and figure out how we are going to display the music boxes, etc.  All in all it shouldn't take long to finish, but considering there are still moving boxes cluttering the space, it will take some planning.  I'd like to say 1 room of the house is done though and then move on before starting another project.  

  2. Read one non-fiction book per month -- I am the queen of reading fiction.  Give me something mindless to read and I'll read it.  Quickly too.  But I have a bookshelf (literal and on my ipad or Kindle) of non-fiction books which I need to read.  So I am committing to one per month.  

  3. Organize the office -- This is where I should be spending most of my day since I work from home.  But since I don't have an office chair yet and there are boxes and piles of papers were are "merging" everywhere, it needs a little help to make it feel like a sanctuary that I will enjoy sitting in for 8 hours each day.  

  4. Lose and keep off 5 pounds -- Yep, that's it.  Just 5 pounds.  If in 365 days I can be five pounds lighter than I am now I will consider this year a success.  Would more pounds be nice?  Of course, but I am tired of setting unrealistic goals for this so I figure that is less than .5 pounds per month to lose and maintain.  I can do that.  

  5. Run a 5-k -- True story, I have never run an official 5k.  I have run them in training for half marathons, but I have never run the whole 3.1 miles in a race.  It always seemed too little.  Ridiculous, I know.  So this year I hope to complete this.  

  6. Unplug for a weekend, preferably at a cabin on a lake -- I can read a paper book.  I can play board games or card games with my husband.  We can take walks.  We can cook together.  We can do a puzzle or watch a movie.  But no phones, iPads, etc.  Just quiet and rest.  I know it would do me a world of good.

  7. Plan a garden that will feed us beyond the growing season -- R has a garden in the back yard but it always needs a lot of work during band season when he is really busy.  So this year I want us to sit down together and map out the garden with things we will actually eat (no we don't need 4 square feet of onions) and grow a garden which will feed us yummy fresh vegetables this summer and provide other foods for freezing and canning to eat the rest of the year.  

  8. Cook a new recipe and eat off the good china, at least once a month -- I love dishes.  I have Fiesta for my daily china and I own Pfaltzgraf Winterberry for Christmas. I inherited my granny's fine china and R has his grandmother's set.  And we both like to use the good stuff.  It doesn't sit idle by through the year, but I want to make it a point to use it more regularly.  We have too many pretty plates to just let them sit in boxes.  And I love to cook new food . I have a Pinterest board of items I have cooked this year and another board with >100 recipes to try.  So this will happen.

  9. Send snail mail -- I am horrible at this.  I'm horrible about communication at all.  But I want to be better at this so I've listed it as a goal.  Plus I love receiving a real piece of stationary in my mailbox so I assume other people like to know that more than Citibank and Visa are thinking about them as well.  

  10. Sew something -- I have a sewing machine.  I have had it for more than 10 years. I have completed zero projects on it.  You read that right.  Zero.  Doesn't mean I haven't started projects, I just haven't finished them.  So this is the year I do that.  I hope.  Again, goals not resolutions.  

  11. Pray more, and with a purpose -- I like to pray.  I'm just not consistent with it.  So my goal for this year is to create a plan that works for me.  How to pray consistently for myself (I have the hardest time with that) and for others.  Whether it's a journal, a visual board, etc. I'm not sure, but I plan on finding a process that works for me.

  12. Memorize 24 verses -- It's doable.  I am no going to sign myself up over with Beth Moore to do this, that seems like too much pressure/work/etc. but I do want to commit to this.  I am still searching for where to start, but my goal is to complete this in 2013.

So there you go.  12 months, 12 goals.  I'll try to keep you updated.  And we'll definitely review in 365 days to see if I checked any or all of them off.  May 2013 bring you more than you had ever imagined and my all your days be merry and bright.