Jean-Marie's bookshelf: read

Mistress by Mistake
The Bride
The Winter Sea
Three Weeks in Paris
The Secret
The Duke's perfect wife
The Many Sins of Lord Cameron
Lady Isabella's scandalous marriage
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie


Jean-Marie's favorite books »

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Have been Gone but not forgotten...

It so odd... I started this blog as an exercise in me.  A way to express and rediscover that creative person that has been buried deep inside.  What is the saying about best laid plans..... appears to hold true.  Once again the stars have not aligned or they may have misaligned in the opposite direction.

It appears that hubs is being downsized once again (x4 now)... and I have been forced back into the work force as the "primary bread winner".  I have worked as a nurse for 23 years but the last few years have enjoyed the world of PRN and the ability of being able to set my schedule around the needs of my family.  Well now I am once again part of the rat race and feeling like a hamster on a wheel.  Early mornings and traffic filled commutes.  I have opted to take a new job outside of the hospital.  I am over all the years of weekends, nights and holidays.  I have enjoyed feeling more normal as far as working days, but I do not like the 5 day a week gig.  I get nothing done since 7 days a week the boys have activities with sports and school.  New jobs are always tough and I hate that newbie status and curve.  I like to know what I am doing and do it well.  I am settling in getting a feel or groove as it were.  Maybe I have been avoiding blogging for fear of being a negative beast buried in the mire and tarnishing my creation.  Hopefully I am finding my cuppa a little more half full and will get back in the swing of things soooooooon!!

This is a shout out to all those who struggle and those working mom's out there.  Heck, to my stay at home mom's as well..   I miss my babies , even though they are babies no more.  

GIRL POWER!!!!  Hear us roar !!!!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Happy Halloween...a tad after the fact

I have gotten quite a chuckle reading through different posts on the traditions in other parts of the world.  One I am particularly fond of was from Aberdeen, Scotland... children telling jokes for their treat.  How adorable is that :)

I was very proud of myself this year for my costume frugality .  Times have been tough as of late and have been trying to pinch the ole pennies.  This year was a bit easier as my older two had high school hockey games and could not participate { makes me sad they are growing up :(  } ....  The youngest also did his part by deciding to be a hobo .   I can soooo do that, esp with the help of my local beloved Goodwill store  and their tag of the day discount... That lovely Pumpkin Orange tags saved me a bundle.  I paid $2.97 for three items which were the main pieces of lil man's costume (and quite wearable after the fact) With an additional $2.10 for face paint (a splurge) ... a halloween pillowcase, hat and a walking stick...all from home.... the costume was complete.  So for around $5 ,  we created a costume that was a hit with my son and all our peeps in the hood.

Funny how the treaters and parents alike gave him praise for his creative costume idea.  I thought it funny as it was a very "old school" costume idea.  Maybe in the days of Disney, Cartoon Network and Marvel comics .... it actual did appear very original.  He was thrilled and I love that I made him happy and saved the family budget.



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Rose Garden



The Rose Garden
by Susanna Kearsley


Per Shelfari
When Eva's film star sister Katrina dies, she leaves California and returns to Cornwall, where they spent their childhood summers, to scatter Katrina's ashes and in doing so return her to the place where she belongs. But Eva must also confront the ghosts from her own past, as well as those from a time long before her own. For the house where she so often stayed as a child is home not only to her old friends the Halletts, but also to the people who had lived there in the eighteenth century. When Eva finally accepts that she is able to slip between centuries and see and talk to the inhabitants from hundreds of years ago, she soon finds herself falling for Daniel Butler, a man who lived - and died - long before she herself was born. Eva begins to question her place in the present, and in laying her sister to rest, comes to realise that she too must decide where she really belongs, choosing between the life she knows and the past she feels so drawn towards.


     When Eva's film star sister Katrina dies, she leaves California and returns to Cornwall, where they spent their childhood summers, to scatter Katrina's ashes and in doing so return her to the place where she belongs. 
     But Eva must also confront the ghosts from her own past, as well as those from a time long before her own. For the house where she so often stayed as a child is home not only to her old friends the Halletts, but also to the people who had lived there in the eighteenth century. When Eva finally accepts that she is able to slip between centuries and see and talk to the inhabitants from hundreds of years ago, she soon finds herself falling for Daniel Butler, a man who lived--and died--long before she herself was born. 
     Eva begins to question her place in the present, and in laying her sister to rest, comes to realise that she too must decide where she really belongs, choosing between the life she knows and the past she feels so drawn towards.


My Thoughts :)
Wow... Having a love/like relationship with this book . I would probably give it a 5 because I enjoyed the writing, the subject matter and am a big Kearsley fan . I am just not sure how I "feel " about it and having a hard time putting this one into words without giving away spoilers.. Kearsley did a nice job with the time travel and keeping the times/places equally weighted and interesting. Didn't find it to be a carbon copy or repeat of other stories. I am an "Outlander" fan and am not interested in nor believe there can be another like that series. This book has found a comfy place unto its self. 
I was drawn to the characters and enjoyed that their individual circles overlapped and each came full circle. Felt a happy completion with its ending yet there was a sense of sadness. You will just have to read this one .....
This was not my favorite Kearsley book ( though that may change as I digest and take it in ) but certainly a "to read" and recommended to all.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Highlander Untamed


Highlander Untamed
MacLeod of Skye Series, Book 1
by Monica McCarty


Per Shelfari
Rory MacLeod is a bold and powerful Highland Chief with only one allegiance–to his clan. He vows revenge against the rival MacDonald clan, though duty demands a handfast marriage to Isabel MacDonald–a bride he does not want and has no intention of keeping. But Rory couldn’t have anticipated the captivating woman who challenges his steely control, and unleashes the untamed passion simmering beneath his fierce exterior. Blessed with incomparable beauty, Isabel MacDonald is prepared to use every means possible–including seduction–to uncover her husband’s most guarded secrets. Instead Rory awakens Isabel’s deepest desires and her sweetest fantasies. Now Isabel has found the happiness she’s always dreamed of with the very man she must betray, and discovers that passion can be far more dangerous than revenge.

Per Goodreads
Rory MacLeod is a bold and powerful Highland Chief with only one allegiance–to his clan. He vows revenge against the rival MacDonald clan, though duty demands a handfast marriage to Isabel MacDonald–a bride he does not want and has no intention of keeping. But Rory couldn’t have anticipated the captivating woman who challenges his steely control, and unleashes the untamed passion simmering beneath his fierce exterior.

Blessed with incomparable beauty, Isabel MacDonald is prepared to use every means possible–including seduction–to uncover her husband’s most guarded secrets. Instead Rory awakens Isabel’s deepest desires and her sweetest fantasies. Now Isabel has found the happiness she’s always dreamed of with the very man she must betray, and discovers that passion can be far more dangerous than revenge.


My thoughts :)
Actually read this one about three weeks ago.... I wrote my review but my mommy brain forgot to hit "Publish"....sooooo better late that never (one hopes).  I checked out Book 2 "Highlander Unmasked" today from my local library via kindle.  That is what jump started the old brain to revisit the "post" that never was.... Thank Goodness for series.

On the sole basis of the writing, I would say a solid 4 - 4.5 , but this romantic fiction is actually based at its heart on fact/history , so a solid 5 within that criteria.  Now was their creative license...most assuredly.  But, the core of this story is factual and stayed pretty true, best I can tell.  I love books that draw me in and then inspire me to do research on my own and increase my knowledge... esp about a land and culture that I love. Scotland and clans...   This read has placed another MUST SEE on my eventual trip to Scotland.  Dunvegan Castle, the actual home of the Chief of clan MacLeod.  Not a ruin but an actively functioning castle with a current Chief of clan MacLeod.  How neat is that?!?!

I would have liked a little more of a sprinkling of Scottish dialect... it adds to the story... at least for me :)





Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sleepy ramblings

Coming off a run of night shifts, which pretty well make me a useless ball of mush on the sofa.  Like a bad hangover minus the alcohol.  Music has always had a way of soothing me.  As a young child/teen, my father would find me stretched out on my bed, asleep, music playing and would always say.."Music soothes the savage beast"...  sooo true...  Just ask my family...  I can be a pretty grumpy beast when sleep deprived..

This is the song that has been stuck in my mind all afternoon... humming away while I take care of MOM duties.  Its just so smooth, like caramel or fine cognac..... Hope you like it as well.



No real point to this post... just a little sharing

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Mariana


Mariana
by Susanna Kearsley

Goodreads
   The first time Julia Beckett saw Greywethers she was only five, but she knew that it was her house. And now that she’s at last become its owner, she suspects that she was drawn there for a reason.
   As if Greywethers were a portal between worlds, she finds herself transported into seventeenth-century England, becoming Mariana, a young woman struggling against danger and treachery, and battling a forbidden love.
    Each time Julia travels back, she becomes more enthralled with the past...until she realizes Mariana’s life is threatening to eclipse her own, and she must find a way to lay the past to rest or lose the chance for happiness in her own time.

Shelfari
The first time Julia Beckett saw Greywethers she was only five, but she knew that it was her house. And now that she’s at last become its owner, she suspects that she was drawn there for a reason.
   As if Greywethers were a portal between worlds, she finds herself transported into seventeenth-century England, becoming Mariana, a young woman struggling against danger and treachery, and battling a forbidden love.
   Each time Julia travels back, she becomes more enthralled with the past...until she realizes Mariana’s life is threatening to eclipse her own, and she must find a way to lay the past to rest or lose the chance for happiness in her own time.

My thoughts
     Susanna Kearsley is quickly becoming one of my all time favorite authors.  She just has such a way of drawing me into the story and creating characters that become part of my soul.   Seamlessly transporting the reader between the past and present.   Having personally had flashes of things I cannot explain,  could totally immerse myself into "Mariana".   Once again, like "The Winter Sea", I find myself craving more and not wanting the story to end.  Feeling a bit of empty loneliness upon reaching the final page. 
      Initially the transitions into the past confused me and I found myself stumbling a bit.  But, I was in fact much like the main character, Julia, shocked and confused by the occurrences that were taking over her mind, body, heart and soul.  As time goes on, I,  like Julia, found it much easier to maneuver the flashes of the past.  I imagine all part of Kearsley's  pulling the reader into the story and characters. 
     A definite 5 stars.. or 5 big hearts.  One I will definitely own in all its forms.   Wish that is were available on Audible.com  :(   
 I will most assuredly be dropping them HELPFUL HINTS :)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pen to paper

A mutual blogger that I follow made reference to the series "Felicity".....so I find myself watching "Felicity" on Netflix.  How could I have missed this series?!?!  I recall the title but I have never seen it during its primary broadcasting nor in syndication.  What a wonderful series.  In thinking back this was during the time of my own college days, probably right around my graduation and nose dive into the grown-up world of real employment.  Honest to goodness make my own living, pay my own bills, provide my own health benefits and pulling up my big girl panties.   Having always worked nights... no wonder I missed some really cool television.    Funny I recall my very first credit card (so that I could establish my adult credit ) was a Sears card.  My first purchase... a VCR.. but even more funny.. I don't think I recorded one single show.

While watching, Felicity, I was particularly taken with the "taped" letters she composed at the beginning of each episode.   I often wish that I had kept in touch with childhood penpals.  One in particular comes to mind.. Her name was Paula, and I am horribly embarrassed to admit that I have forgotten her last name.   While in 4th grade at Cathedral Day Parochial School, Sister Georgette was new to our school and as a class project gave each of us a name and address of a student from her previous teaching assignment in NY.  She chose each one with care and tried her best to link students with similar interests and personalities.  Paula was Polish Catholic  (like myself... very rare in the South) and had a love of horses, as most dreamy eyed girls that age.  I also remember thinking how unbelievably worldly she must have been to live in NY.  Spoken like a true southern girl from the tiny town of Hardeeville, SC.   There's another really special connection as my father grew up in NY and often spoke of his childhood.... I would put those vivid descriptions together with the letter that I so eagerly awaited.  We had such big plans of visiting one another, growing up and being roommates and taking the world by storm... of course while owning horses...lol.    But sadly, time moved on, life's trials got in the way and the letters became fewer and further between.  Both of us finding other "real time" activities more exciting.   I often think of her and wonder how life has treated her.   Hoping that all her 10 year old dreams came true...while riding that magical pony.

The art of putting pen to paper is such a dying art.   With the advent of the computer age and instant correspondence , waiting for a letter to arrive in the mail seems so antiquated to most.   I find myself sorely remiss in writing a simple thank you or sending a birthday greeting or card.  How sad that in yet another area of our lives we are losing the human touch.   Maybe I need to find a penpal...

Side note... the day after posting the above
On second thought I need glasses or I have dyslexia.... I rechecked the time line on Felicity... 1998 not 1989...   In 1998 I was knee deep in dirty diapers, sleepless nights and motherhood.   Yet another good reason not to be aware of the latest tv series...lol   Oddly enough, the actors in the show closer to my actual age making time difference not seem sooo long.    Oh well I liked my post.. So I am going to leave it as is with this small disclaimer at the bottom..