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My Only Vice has moved. Look for me here: http://myfavoritepastime.blogspot.com.

Please update your bookmarks or blogrolls. I’m still trying to figure out how to redirect, until then please use the link above. I’m looking forward to a new chapter in blogging and the new functionality that blogger can provide. Hope to see you all there! Be sure to follow!

The Christian Fiction Book Club will be hosted here on My Only Vice on May 21st! The book for this month is:

Here’s what you need to do to participate:

1. Secure a copy of Words by Ginny L. Yttrup and read it between now and May 21st.

2. As I understand it there are questions in the back of the book. Choose 1 or more to address in a blog post. You may also post your review if you would like.

3. Schedule your blog post to run on May 21st. You may copy and use the book club logo above if you’d like.

4. On Saturday May 21st, I will run my review and answer a few discussion questions. I’ll include a MckLinky at the bottom so you can link your posts.

5. That weekend we will hop around reading and commenting on the reviews and opinions of participating bloggers.

6. If you do not have a blog of your own, you can share your opinions about Words in the comment sections of other blogs.

7. Have you already read Words? Great, participate anyway! You’ve got a head start answering some of the questions!

Hope to see you on May 21st! New members are always welcome!

On the night her 2 sisters died in a horrible accident Marianna Sommers was born. Raised in an Amish community in Indiana Marianna has tried her entire life to make up for the loss of her sisters.

Marianna is almost 20 and starting to think about having a home of her own. Aaron Zook has been taking an interest in her. He is building his own cabin and has dreams of one day living in it with Marianna.

Marianna’s brother Levi has left the community. He has caused embarrassment and heartache for his parents. When Uncle Ike comes to visit he talks about his life in Montana and how the Amish community there is not as strict as Indiana. Marianna’s father decides to move the family to Montana for a year to see what it is like. This causes Marianna great heartache at the thought of leaving Aaron and her brother behind. Her parents ask her to go with them for just 6 months as her mother is pregnant and needs Marianna to help with the younger children.

Marianna is determined to not like Montana. She is only there for 6 months to help her mother and then she plans to return to Aaron and her more strict Amish community. What she doesn’t count on is meeting Ben. He is not Amish, but he is a good friend to the Amish community. Hearing Ben talk about God as if he is a close friend raises all kinds of questions for Marianna. Marianna slowly learns to love the community of people, but she also realizes that she is coming to care for Ben and that cannot happen.

Meanwhile back in Indiana Aaron has tried to forget Marianna by trying to learn to love another girl. Naomi is heartbroken over Levi leaving, she too is trying to mend her broken heart. Will the two of them find comfort and love in each other’s company?

The story and characters grew on me as I progressed through the book. The second book in the series comes out in October and I am determined to get it so I can find out what happens. I am not normally an Amish fiction fan, but I did enjoy Beside Still Waters.

 

Set in the same time period of writing as Jane Austen The Girl in the Gatehouse is about Mariah Aubrey, a young girl who has been sent out of her parents’ home in disgrace.

Mariah is sent away to live with her aunt. She and her former governess Miss Dixon set up house in the gatehouse of the estate. Shortly after her arrival at the gatehouse her aunt Mrs. Prin-Hallsey passes away. Upon her passing, her step-son takes over the household. He immediately lets the house out to Captain Bryant. He also demands that Mariah start paying rent to live in the gatehouse.

In order to earn money to supplement the small sum that her father has sent her away with Mariah decides to try and publish a novel that she has written. Knowing that novels by young women are not well received and guarding her already poor reputation she wants to publish her book anonymously.

Captain Bryant is trying to win over the woman that refused his pursuit years before. He plans on hosting a house party to try and prove to the young woman that he is worthy of her affections. What he doesn’t count on is the trouble and embarrassment that the house party will bring to Mariah.

Mariah takes an interest in the inhabitants of the poorhouse across the road from the gatehouse. A man that wanders the roof of the house captures her attention. She is sure that he is being held against his will. She doesn’t understand why nobody in the house will talk about him.

In matters of faith Mariah knows that God can forgive. She just doesn’t believe he can forgive her or that she can forgive herself.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. I love the time-period of the book. And I especially love the “Happily Ever After” at the end.

Discussion Questions:

   1. Mariah’s situation (sent away after an indiscretion to live in relative isolation) was loosely based on the fate of one of Jane Austen’s characters in Mansfield Park (although Maria Bertram was a married woman who had an affair). Did you think Mariah Aubrey’s father treated her unfairly? How have attitudes toward “virtue and vice” changed since the early 1800s?

The thing that seemed unfair to me was that the man involved had no consequences for his actions. Mariah was sent away in disgrace by her father because he was embarrassed by her behavior. The man involved though was still able to go around in society as if nothing ever happened. As for the second part of the question “virtue and vice” have very much changed since the 1800’s. Where once it was an honor and expectation for a woman to guard her “maiden-ness” today promiscuity is flaunted and expected.

      2. Go back and read the first two words and the last two words of the book. Any thoughts on why the author may have chosen them?

The book begins with the two words “The end”  and the story ends with the two words “The beginning”  I think that the significance of the way the author did that was that when we are lost in our sin or think that God cannot forgive us as Mariah thought  we think that it is “the end” . Mariah felt that being banished was the end of her life as she knew it (and she was right). She believed Satan’s lie though that even though she knew in her head that God forgives she couldn’t understand how he could forgive HER. She also couldn’t forgive herself. She learned though that even though there are consequences to our actions that God truly does forgive and wants to still bless us. Once she was able to believe God’s forgiveness of her and see his blessing of a new life that was when she was able to experience “the beginning” of a new life.

 

      3. Did you find yourself growing fond of any character that you did not care for at the outset? Which character was your favorite? Why?

At first I did not care for Martin. He seemed crusty and stinky and resentful. But throughout the story he grew on me. He spoke his mind yes, but he didn’t do it out of meanness. He became like one of those loveable crusty type of people. By the end I was hoping that he would be the one that Dixon chose to marry.

 

In this final installment of the Alex Rider series the action does not disappoint.

Alex has never wanted to work for MI6. It seems that every time they ask him for help he is forced unwillingly into situations that any normal 15-year-old boy would be unable to get out of. After his last mission his caretaker Jack put her foot down and said NO MORE to MI6. Alex hasn’t heard from them in months and is finally feeling like he will be able to lead a normal teenage boy life.

Alan Blunt, Head of Operations for MI6, is being forced into retirement. The likely person to take over will be Mrs. Jones. It appears that they will be forced to use Alex Rider once again to infiltrate into a private school in Cairo. What they don’t know is that Scorpia is orchestrating behind the scenes and that MI6 is playing right into their hands.

Scorpia has devised a plan to not only discredit MI6 but to finally get rid of Alex for good. Their plans have been thwarted by Alex before. When all of the dust settles will Alex come through intact or will the events that happen leave Alex broken and unable to pick up the pieces?

The book is broken into two parts. The first part is Scorpia and the second part is Alex. I actually thought the first part was a bit slow. Thankfully it isn’t very long and the action does pick up. I didn’t want to put the book down! I’m sad that this is the last Alex Rider book. I could see Anthony Horowitz picking it up again when Alex is an adult which would be totally cool! I wanted to cry when one of my favorite characters was killed…I’m still pretty bitter about it! All in all this was a great ending to a great series, thank you Mr. Horowitz for keeping me entertained!

Angel 12 is an American satellite that has been knocked out of space by the Chinese to gain the information that it carries. To their dismay the Americans were able to prevent the satellite from landing on Chinese soil. They were only able to divert it though to crash in Siberia.

The American’s have already sent in a Special Ops team to destroy the satellite but they are feared captured or dead. Sgt. Major Eric Moyer is the head of a Special Ops team that is sent to not only destroy the satellite, but to also rescue the other soldiers that are hopefully still alive. His leadership is tested when he is told that his daughter has been kidnapped and the demands are that the Special Ops team pull out of Siberia and abandon their mission.

With 3 countries racing to reach the downed satellite will Moyer be able to lead his team with clear determination or is the mission already compromised with the crippling news of his daughters kidnapping?

I have to be honest I really didn’t look forward to reading this book! I thought for sure it was going to be some hokey “guy” book. Which it truly is a “guy” book, and I can’t wait to pass it on to my husband to read, but I enjoyed it very much! It was fast-paced yet detailed, there was humor and heart-break. I was actually biting my nails during the final pages! A great military read!

Jonathan Kellerman has a way of sucking a reader into his stories. Mystery is no exception. I love his character Alex Delaware. This was a fast-paced read that kept my attention until the very end. Was I surprised by the ending? No, I pretty much figured out “who dunnit” by then, but it was still an entertaining read. One thing I did not like was that this installment of an Alex Delaware novel seemed to be sprinkled with a lot of the f-word. Either I have forgotten or this is something new that Jonathan Kellerman is trying, but I don’t remember so much of that word in his other novels. Also he seemed to be flirting with a bit more graphic sex scenes. I am hoping that because of the nature of the characters in the story this is the reason for those 2 things and not something that Mr. Kellerman intends to make prevalent in other books that he writes. If you have read other Alex Delaware novels by Jonathan Kellerman Mystery will not disappoint you!

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