Archive for July, 2010

Have you ever wondered what it was like for the first man and first woman on the earth? Wondered what it was like for Adam before Eve? Wondered what it was like when he woke to find Eve by his side? Wondered what it was like to know the mind of God? Or wondered what it was like for them to be banished from the garden forever?

Havah explores and expands on all of those questions. From Adam and Eve’s life in the garden. Their wonder in discovering each other. Their complete oneness with God and creation. And then their disastrous fall from grace.

Tosca Lee creates a fictional story of what could have happened from the garden to Adam and Eve’s  banishment and their life after. I say fictional because truly we only know what the Bible has revealed to us. But Tosca Lee’s creative story is moving and believable and beautifully written. I didn’t want to put it down!

Havah by Tosca Lee was the book of choice for Christian fiction book club. Here are my answers to a couple of questions that were asked:

1) Before the Fall, how free was Havah to do as she pleased? After the Fall, how did Havah’s freedoms become more limited?
Before the Fall Havah was free to do anything except to eat from the tree of life. She and Adam had the run of the garden. They were over all of the animals. They walked with God. They had perfect communion with God, nature, each other. After the Fall they no longer had that oneness with each other or with God and creation. They were slaves to creation in that they had to work for their food, provide shelter, and their communion with God was severed.

4) What is the source of strain between Havah and Adam? How do they model and pass that strain on to their children?
I think that a lot of the strain between them is that Adam blamed Havah for their fall and that Havah was consumed with guilt for her part in the fall. Those feelings drove a wedge between them. The strain that parents have toward each other is going to trickle down to the children.

10) Did Havah ever make it back to the Garden?
In the book Havah made it to where she “thought” the garden was, but never was she able to return to the garden.

I read on someone’s blog that they thought that the “intimate” scenes were a bit too much for a Christian novel. Read Song of Solomon, now there is some hot stuff! What I found interesting was that even though Adam and Havah would be at odds with each other after the Fall, she still “desired her husband” isn’t that what God said would happen when he sent them out? What caused a major “ick” for me was the attraction that Tosca Lee intimated between Adam and one of his daughters.

Something that I think needs to be remembered is that this is a work of fiction and that we do not know what happened with Adam and Eve after the Fall except for what the Bible tells us.



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I have to admit that I didn’t finish this book. It didn’t grab my attention very well. I don’t know if I just wasn’t in the mood for a murder mystery or if I was disappointed that it wasn’t like the TV show Bones(which is supposedly where the idea for the series came from). The more I read the more I thought I could be reading something else. So I decided to return it to the library from whence it came so that someone else can enjoy it!

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In A Different Day A Different Destiny once again Hannah, Alex and Brandon travel back in time. They have just returned from World War II London, now they are each transported to different destinations in the year 1851.

Hannah arrives in Scotland. She quickly finds work at one of the factories in the area. Hannah has not changed from the last book in that she is still very self-centered and angry and opinionated. Her job doesn’t last long in this factory. The hours are long, the work back-breaking and the pay poor. She decides to find work somewhere else. She travels to another part of Scotland and finds the working conditions even worse. She eventually finds her way to the Great Exhibition in London.

Alex finds himself in Georgia. Slavery is a way of life in the South. He meets up with a young slave named Jupiter(Jupe for short). He doesn’t know that Jupe is trying to escape to the North. Alex finds work with Mr. Thornhill, a lawyer in Georgia who soon begins to treat Alex as his own son. Alex is confused by conflicting feelings for Mr. Thornhill. Mr. Thornhill seems to be generous to Alex, but then turns into a sharp cruel man when it comes to slavery and his everyday dealings in business. Alex knows that slavery is wrong but has fleeting thoughts that slaves are treated well and that all the stories of beatings are exagerated. He soon finds out otherwise. He and Mr. Thornhill set sail with Jupiter for the Great Exhibition in London.

Brandon finds himself at the bottom of a coal mine in England’s Black Country. He is determined that he will never go down into the coal mine again. He soon finds himself working for a man in a funeral parlor. When he is fired from that job he is hired by Lady Chatsfield. She is interested in using him to talk to her anti-slavery womens group. She ends up taking he and another boy to the Great Exhibition in London.

Throughout their travels the kids learn about the different areas that they are in and how people lived in the time period that they are in. I really enjoyed this book and am hoping that Dr. Laing is working on the next installment of this fun series.

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Your Book in Pictures: The goal is to illustrate a book you are reading or have just read by using the internet to find pictures and text to explain:

I just finished Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare:

Tessa Gray leaves her home in New York to meet her brother in London.

Two evil sisters pick her up at the dock with a letter written by her brother saying that he sent them. She is taught by them to change into something/someone she never knew she was.

She is rescued by Will and taken to the Institute

Her brother is being held captive and they go to rescue him from the Vampire’s

They find that the evil Magister has created an army of machines to help him take out the Shadowhunters so that he can rule the Downworld. Will the Shadowhunters win the coming war or will the strange new machines created by the Magister win?

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Well I lied. I wasn’t going to post my review until August 31st, but I am seeing reviews for this book all over the place so decided to add mine before I forget. So here goes:

This is the first book in a Prequel series to the Mortal Instruments series.

When Tessa Gray’s aunt dies Tessa sets sail for England to join her brother. Expecting her brother to meet her at the ship she is disappointed when 2 sisters meet her instead. They meet her with a letter from her brother saying that he has sent them to get her. This is the start of Tessa’s nightmare. She is held captive by the sisters and trained to become someone/something that she didn’t even know she was.

Rescued by Will and taken to the London Institute of the Shadowhunters she learns about the workings of the Downworld. Her newfound friends also discover a new invention of the Magister, an army of machines.

Tessa is confused about her feelings for Will. He sometimes acts as if he cares and then other times he is totally brooding and rude. Tessa’s ultimate goal is to find her brother.

When war breaks out who will be left standing? Will it be Tessa and her newfound friends or the Magister and his army of machines?

I have to say that I was a bit disappointed in this book. I was looking forward to it as I loved the Mortal Instruments books. I had a hard time connecting with the characters. It seemed to drag along. There were a few exciting parts in the book and some surprises that helped to keep me reading, but I must say it was a struggle to get through. You don’t have to read The Mortal Instruments to read The Infernal Devices. My understanding is there are 3 books planned for this prequel. I’m not sure that I will read the next 2.

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Dr. Annette Laing author of Don’t Know Where, Don’t Know When and A Different Day, A Different Destiny has written a guest post for My Only Vice. Dr. Laing sent me a copy of her first book in the Snipesville Chronicles,  Don’t Know Where, Don’t Know When for review. I enjoyed the book very much and currently have the second book on order. I can’t wait to read where the kids go next and what time in history we will learn about! Here is Dr. Laing’s post, I hope you enjoy:

Is anything more humbling for a historian than to write historical fiction?

Setting out to write A Different Day, A Different Destiny, the second volume in The Snipesville Chronicles series about three time-traveling kids, I thought I had the history angle pretty well covered. After all, I have a PhD in early American and modern British history, and a historian’s keen sense of when it’s a good idea to look things up.  Plus, this wasn’t my first try: In fact, writing Don’t Know Where, Don’t Know When, the first volume in the series, had seemed like cake, because it was so familiar to me. Having grown up in Britain, surrounded by the World War II generation whose presence made me feel sometimes that “The War” had never ended, it wasn’t much of a stretch to picture my modern American kids in England in 1940.

When I decided that, for their second adventure, the kids would head to 1851, I was confident: The Victorians fascinate me, and I’ve read plenty about them. Or, at least, I thought I had.

But it’s amazing, really, what stuff that trips you up.

Planning to set part of my book at a cotton mill in New Lanark, Scotland, I not only read about my subject, but  actually spent a couple of days in New Lanark—I even stayed in a youth hostel housed in former millworkers’ housing.  I looked for usable details: At the wonderful museum in the former factory, for example, I asked for and got demonstrations of how exactly the spinning machines worked, and how spinners “pieced” together broken threads of cotton.

When I sat down in Georgia to write about New Lanark, however, I was thrown for a loop by something altogether more mundane than the finer points of spinning: Where would my time-traveling kid Hannah go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I wondered? Uh-oh. The New Lanark museum doesn’t interpret bathrooms of any kind for the 1850s, and the history of the factory didn’t help much. I guess I could have made up something. But it bothered me to do so, even when we’re talking about fiction.  Now I’m not alone among academic historians in my ignorance of everyday details. We’re a pretty ignorant lot when it comes to material culture, oddly enough, and we tend to depend on museum folk to answer any questions that arise.  And so, I called a New Lanark museum curator, and learned that the loos were in a separate building from the workers’ flats.  That was where the fiction started. I imagined Hannah standing at the open exit from her building in the pitch darkness, shivering from cold, and finally deciding that, hey, maybe using a chamberpot wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

So being an historian isn’t always as useful to this novelist as you might guess. But there are times when it definitely helps to know where to look things up. The Dundee slum that Hannah inhabits has long ago been demolished, yet I was able to locate photos of it taken early in the twentieth century, and to “read back” more than sixty years using contemporary accounts, historians’ studies, census records, a visit to a preserved slum house in Birmingham, England, and pure imagination. It doesn’t bother me to use imagination: Even those who write history eventually find places where the evidence only takes them so far. But what I knew about Victorian slum life helped me recreate the world of early factory workers with some confidence. 

Yet it was much harder to figure out how those same factory workers understood their world, and what their attitudes were toward religion and politics. Fortunately, I could rely on the work of professional historians of the Victorian period who are far more familiar with the evidence than I can ever claim to be.

Finally, I have to say it:  Nothing I might invent in the name of historical fiction could possibly be as interesting as what actually happened in the past. There’s a point in my story when Hannah takes an upper-class woman through the slums of Dundee, Scotland, to show her how the other half live. The little tour quickly turns into a fiasco.  I’m delighted to say that I didn’t invent this episode from scratch: It’s based on an actual incident in 1851 Dundee, which I discovered in the Dundee City Library archives when I was prowling through microfilms of newspapers.  

That’s the most humbling thing of all: I can’t make this stuff up. 

You can visit Dr. Laing’s website at: http://www.annettelaing.com/

Thank-you for sharing on My Only Vice Dr. Laing! I look forward to reading future installments of the Snipesville Chronicles.

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The challenge is to list the heart throbs that you have in books that you have read. Here is my contribution:

First and foremost the man that is the star of all my fantasies: My husband Michael! No man can ever come close to making my heart throb, whether in real life or in any book I have ever read or will read, like this man right here. He is the one that I compare every man I ever meet or read about with. Today is our 25th wedding anniversary and I am praying for many more years with him!

All of that said, I still have some favorite male characters in books that I like. As I was thinking about what characters that I have admired through the years of reading I found that I am partial to the older guys! So, here goes:

Rhett Butler(Clark Gable). I loved his character in Gone With the Wind. He was the only one that could ever tame Scarlett O’Hara. Gone With the Wind is one of my most favorite books and it has to be because of Rhett Butler! I even named a cat Rhett!

Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. I chose this image because David Rintoul portraying Mr. Darcy in a BBC version of Pride and Prejudice looks to me like what the real Mr. Darcy in the book would look like. Very hauty and prideful. And very handsome in my opinion!

Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre. He’s crusty and he’s grumpy and he’s lonely and he speaks his mind and he loves plain Jane. I loved Timothy Dalton in the role of Mr. Rochester.

Charlie Swan in Twilight. I told you I like the older guys! I love his humor, his love for Bella and his wanting to remain clueless about some aspects of his daughter’s life. I also love the part in the book where he tries to be a good dad by giving his daughter the “sex” talk! Too funny! And I think Billy Burk portrays Charlie excellently.

The last heart throb that I would put down is Edward Cullen from Twilight. I’m not even going to put an image here because I think Robert Pattinson is UGLY! But Stephenie Meyer’s Edward in the books is handsome and his passion, love and obsession for Bella are 3 things that I think make the book such a great hit with young girls and older women.

So there you have it!

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