What I Read This Week… I mean Month!!

Somehow this sequal does not quite hold the magic that The Search for the Fierra did.  It was a great read and I enjoyed the completion of the story as well as further developed characters but the adventure was not quite the same.  That seems ridiculous to say because as far as things happening it is a much busier book than the first.  Orion Treet is on a mission to prevent the Armageddon of Empyrion.  It is a little hard to review this one without giving the first one away, so I’m going to leave it at being a great sequel to an incredible first book.  I am kind of sad that Empyrion is fictional and that it isn’t a place I can go for a weekend getaway.

This book has been on my to-read list ever since my theory professor in college taught me to wonder at and adore the music of Bach.  I always liked Bach- thanks to Mr. Bach Comes to Call an audio story about a small child and her interaction with the great composer but studying the structure of his music puts me in awe of him.

Stepert’s book kicks that awe up a couple levels.  Much of Bach’s church music was based on the Heidleberg Catechism.  Stapert goes through a number of pieces and explains the links and theological significance of the musical structure.  His aim is enabling the reader to listen to Bach’s cantatas devotionally.  I have read this once but now I want to re-read it listening to the pieces as I go.  It is beautiful.  If you like Bach’s music you should definitely read this.  It does assume some knowledge of music theory but is also well explained.

Georgette Heyer is so wonderful.  I run to her books when life begins to look insurmountable and I need to take a step back and laugh at the absurd.  Frederica is one of my favorites.  I enjoy her determination and independence.  The oldest of a family of five orphans she carries a lot without really noticing.  She worried about her two youngest brothers Felix and Jessamy but mostly she worries about her stunningly beautiful sister Charis.  She convinces Lord Alverstoke to launch Charis into the ton.

Much to the shock of Alverstoke’s family, he takes these siblings under his wing.  It completely enrages and baffles his sisters as they witness various times that he steps in and gets Felix or Jessamy out of a “scrape” or convinces all of the Merrivilles that he will not accept reimbursement for bailing them out of numerous scrapes.  Why is the hedonistic Alverstoke taking an interest in this family with such a propensity to fall into yet another scrape?  Will Felix survive a hot air balloon outing?  Will Frederica be able to engineer a good match for Charis by the end of the season?  If you haven’t read Heyer before this is a good one to start with!  (I would put her humor in the same category as Wodehouse… social comedy)

This was a review book so I didn’t know what to expect.  I hadn’t actually read Kay Arthur before but after this one I probably will.  I really appreciated it.  It was frank and direct and would be pretty helpful I think.  Arthur did a good job of reminding the reader of the truth and sharing hope.  The book is framed around twelve truths, I chose a few to share which I will let speak for themselves:
2. Deep and genuine healing will always be tied to an accurate knowledge of God’s sovereignty and character. The clearer our understanding of who God is, the more profound our healing will be.
10. God’s grace is brought to fullness in our lives as we release our hurt and draw on His power in our weakness.
11. Deep, exhausting, unrelenting hurt can bring you to the end of yourself—to complete and total dependence on God—which is the best place you could ever be.
12. Whether your hurts have been caused by someone else’s actions or by your own sins and failure, healing begins at the cross—the greatest expression of God’s love for you.

This is a fun and silly read.  It also had some pretty awesome themes threaded through it.  For example when Persimmony Smudge figures out that the rising and falling of Mount Majestic is because it is actually the stomach of a sleeping giant she must convince a spoiled king and a stubborn people that though they would rather think they are safe that they are in fact in grave danger.  I think I am going to suggest this book to a couple of my brothers… since their sense of humor (like mine) centers on the ridiculous this book hits it spot on.

I loved this book.  I didn’t read it right away because I must confess a certain level of suspicion in relationship to popular Christian books.  BerlinerinPoet told me that it was good so I bought it and I am so very glad that I did.  Life has been challenging lately and it seems like God is teaching me that gratitude is even more important when life is hard.  Ann’s solution is so simple and such a discipline.  It was such a breath of fresh air and yet so convicting.  It ministered deeply to me and called me to obedience.  Part of the reason I loved it so much is because of how poetic it is.  It is simply beautiful.

Taking back your faith from the American dream is the tag line for Radical and in this book, David Platt focuses on applying principles of following Jesus biblically to the church body instead of individuals.  It is a call to stop and think about the programs we spend money on and the comforts we choose.  Platt asks believers, specifically churches to stop and consider what their priorities are and where they come from.  He encourages churches to distinguish between Christ’s call and the “American dream.”  It’s a good reminder to strive to follow Christ above striving for our own benefit.  This was a review book for a distribution company- I probably would not have picked it up otherwise.

Yes, I love reading Georgette Heyer novels.  I read a summary recently that classed her as social comedy.  I think it’s a pretty good description of her work especially The Unknown Ajax.  Lord Darracot’s heir and his son have died tragically in a shipping accident before our story begins.  Cantancerous tyrannical Lord Darracot neglected to inform his family that he had an unknown heir in the succession which will replace his third son Matthew and his oldest son Vincent as the next heirs to the estate and title.  This mysterious cousin is the son of the cranky lord’s second son who was ostracized for marrying “a weaver’s brat.”  The family including cousins proud arrogant Vincent, flashy pansy Claude, reckless Richmond and prissy adventurous Anthea are afraid that Hugo will turn out to be an embarrassing country bumpkin.  As Hugo arrives the cousins become embroiled in a ridiculous drama: the result of too many eccentric personalities and strong wills in one family.  It is a completely hysterical knot.  Who will untangle it?  Haha.  I like this one.  So many ridiculous characters packed into one story create a fantastic diversion (and I didn’t even talk about the aunts, uncles, and servants: you should know there are competitive valets!).

Someone wants returned Waterloo hero and Earl of St Erth Gervaise Frant dead.  Various careless accidents soon catch the attention of the family and many are worried for Frant’s life.  This Heyer is much more of a mystery than most of her romances.  With shocking plot twists Heyer convinces you that you know who the would-be murderer is.  Gervaise also ends up surprising the reader with his wit and intelligence and choice of bride.  It’s a fun read.  Heyer once again sets up a completely ridiculous scenario.

If I had to award a most absurd plot award I think this one would get it.  I don’t think anyone in this tale is who they seem.  It gets pretty confusing at times and almost rivals a Shakespearian comedy plot.  It is hard to know how to review it because there are so many fantastic plot twists that I don’t even want to ruin the first chapter.  Who are these two new additions to the ton?  Why does Tony champion young Peter Merriot?  Why does young Letty Grayson admire his sister Kate Merriot quite so much?  How did these two suddenly get launched into polite society and who are they?  Ok, I just can’t give any more away, except to add that when the Merriot’s father arrives he makes a preposterous claim that puts everyone’s life in more danger.  Oh yeah, it is a romance novel, but I cannot give you any indication of that or it’ll spoil the surprises.

Sylvester or The Wicked Uncle rivals Venetia as my very favorite by Heyer.  Young Phoebe is threatened with a marriage not of her own choosing so she does the only sensible thing and runs away with her best friend Tom.  She is not worried about her future because she has written a novel that includes the popular among society as characters and will support herself as an eccentric authoress.  She has cast the Duke of Salford as the villain- a wicked uncle who will stop at nothing to destroy his nephew, the lost heir.  Count Ugolino resembles the real duke only in his black eyebrows but as Phoebe learns of the real Duke’s circumstances she realizes that her innocent mistake could cause rumor that she never intended.

I picked Radical up when I saw it on the review shelf because there has been so much buzz about it and I had already read the Radical Together version.  I liked it but was not blown away.

I appreciated the call but I had a couple minor complaints.  While it is good to consider one’s lifestyle in comparison to the Gospel instead of in comparison with each other, just because the persecuted church does not have something does not necessitate that Americans give it up completely.  I also found that like many budget books, Platt’s practical applications would be helpful if I lived a lifestyle of luxery.  I’m certain I have luxuries I could easily give up, but I don’t have the ones he listed.  I guess I was hoping for practical tips a little more similar to my lifestyle.  I guess I land on saying that I’m glad this book is out there and I respect the call to simplicity of lifestyle.

To Read my Review click on the image of the book:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

The Mysterious Benedict Society books 2 and 3:

All the wonderful characters are back for two more books: No. 2, Rhonda, Mr. Benedict, Kate, Reynie, Sticky and Constance.  There are a few new characters as well as our familiar villain.  These are a fun discovery that I cannot wait to share with my younger brothers.  If adventures involved riddle solving, daring escapes and evil plots are something you enjoy make your way to the library or book store and get your hands on these books!

This month has been pretty crazy.  I moved into a charming house and out of an apartment, work is much busier than usual and other things have come up.  Ok, all done with excuses.  I read Georgette Heyer to stop thinking about life when it starts to be too much which is why there are FIVE this month.  Nothing like a good laugh and some great regency phrases to help see the fun and ridiculous in life.  I am quite convinced that Georgette Heyer was “a right one” and that young Edmund of Sylvester is simply the regency version of my impish youngest brother, “ridiklus gudgeon” indeed!

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~ by shostagirl on May 2, 2012.

2 Responses to “What I Read This Week… I mean Month!!”

  1. 1. But you CAN go there for a weekend getaway…by reading it again. Hooray for books.
    2. Whoa…when I was little my parents gave me “Mr. Bach Comes to Call” for Christmas. We all got a different audio story. I think my older sister got Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” which is kind of like the opera, but different. We all liked that one the best. Which is actually why if I’m pressed I’ll tell you that Mozart is my favorite composer. We always pronounced mine as “Mr. Batch Comes to All” I don’t….know why.
    3. You are so mean to Mr. Wodehouse….kidding!…kinda.
    5. Have you started a list? Just wondering. I have sort of been trying to write my “1,000+ gifts” and I was wondering if you did too.
    11. I’m so surprised by your reaction. LOL. I know I’ve said this DOZENS of times, but I was just so sure this was a sure-fire hit in every possible way. Makes me wonder if I actually read it that closely…hmmm…

    MBS!!!! I CAN’T WAIT!

    Nice post. I enjoyed reading. 🙂

  2. 2. Yeah, I think we got all of those from our Grandparents. I liked the Mozart one too, although Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery was my very favorite. I even named my violin after one of those characters.

    3. Oh, it’s a high compliment. 😉

    5. Not yet. I’m going to… and I think about it all the time which is quite helpful. Actually, I was thinking about doing a blog. What do you think of that?

    11. I DID say that I liked it… I guess you were expecting me to be blow away?

    MBS- you should book it to the library.

    Haha… thanks. It was a bit epic, no?

    I vote that when you read your next Heyer you read one of the following
    – The Quiet Gentleman
    – Sylvester
    – The Masqueraders

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