Thursday, September 30, 2010

One last thing before the party starts...

FYI: This doesn't have anything to do with *my* October party, but it has everything to do with an event a friend of mine is hosting :)


Miss Rachel of The Inkpen Authoress is hosting a writing contest on her blog! She only has one entry so far, and the deadline is October 31st. Let's see if we can't get her at least five entires, folks!

Blessings, and see you tomorrow! :)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Just Wanted to Let Y'all Know...

....that I've been workin' me tail off over here getting ready for the blog party, and it's almost ready! (good thing too :P) Just two days to go!!!

What's everyone been up to? I'd love some "long, newsy" comments from folks, if you have time to share. I've been a little out of the loop, what with the party coming up, a killer Spanish exam today and schoolwork in general. Anything new and exciting? Or just normal living? Any posts you particularly want me to read on your blog?

Anything peoples!

I'M WAITING!!!! (to quote dear -or not so dear- Vizzini :P)

p.s. I'm not trying to be rude or anything :) You don't HAVE to leave a comment :)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Saturday Morning Daybook

If you want to join me, CLICK HERE and follow the instructions :)

Date... September 25, 2010
Starting time... 9:23am
Mood...full :)
Outside my window...rather chilly, I'll probably need a sweatshirt
I'm teeth feel funny
I'm currently reading...The Spirit of St. Louis by Charles Lindbergh
I'm listening to...Leia drying dishes in the kitchen
I'm really old denim skirt and the Ameriprise Financial shirt that I got at the Day of Caring last Wednesday :)
I'm looking forward to...SUKKOT!!! Well, it *is* Sukkot already, but we're going down to a friend's house tomorrow for a big all-day feast!
I'm hoping...that it doesn't rain tomorrow! :(
Yesterday, I...sewed on my new blue dress, watched a movie about Sukkot and a documentary that our friends made for SAICFF (they got into the semi-finals! Hurrah! That means their film will be shown in San Antonio during the festival!)
I'm hungry for...doodly squat (if you know what that is)
The song stuck inside my head is..."But it was Mary, Mary, long before the fashions came...and there is something there that sounds so's a grand old name!" (that from Yankee Doodle Dandy)
I love...DANCING!!!!
I loathe...canker sores and cold sores
This week, my goal guard my heart (it's been under attack this week)
Did I meet last week's goal?...Absolutely!
Ending time...9:28am

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Raider's Promise

 The Raider's Promise by Lois Walfrid Johnson

Nope! *This* is my favorite book in the series! Well, it is for now :)

I was reading my review from yesterday, and realized that, for this review to make any sense at all, you'll need a little more info than what I gave you. So, here are some essentials from the previous book Heart of Courage:

  • Mikkel has become a born-again Christian
  • From the time when Mikkel left Aurland Fjord with his ships till the beginning of The Raider's Promise, three years have passed. Those years were spent in Greenland with Eric the Red and Leif Ericksson. After that time is over, Mikkel and Leif set sail for the New World with their ships. That's where The Raider's Promise takes place.
  • An angry man named Hammer hates Mikkel and tries to take his life several times. The Raider's Promise is partially about the punishment/consequence of this man.
Now for the review:

Bree is sixteen years old. Almost four years have passed since her capture by the Vikings (Mikkel). Three years ago, Keely and Lil were sent home, and now she and Devin have almost lost hope of Mikkel ever keeping his promise to free them. The "one voyage" he required for them to take with him has extended over several years. In that time, Bree, though still a slave, has earned a degree of respect from her traveling companions and is known for her excellent cooking :)

Exploring the New World is exciting, fun and dangerous. There are trees to fell to build houses for the explorers, food to find, natives to worry about, and new discoveries named. 

Mikkel is more determined than ever to earn Bree and Devin's trust. What he doesn't know is that his secret is keeping the gap between him and the O'Tooles open. His secret is also their secret, and until he lets it go, they won't be able to fully trust him. Since becoming a Christian, Mikkel (now eighteen years old) sees the world and his actions in an entirely new light. From Bree and Devin, he learns to understand the difference between the courage he'd always thought he had and the "courage to win" that keep the O'Tooles from giving up on the hope of freedom. Here's one of my favorite "courage to win" quotes (it's from this book):

"You were afraid too," Bree said softly. "But you knew what to do. And you did it. That's courage, Mikkel. The courage to win."
Now it was Mikkel who was unable to speak.
The quote comes from Chapter 15: "Courage to Win?".

Now, I really am NOT going to "spoil" the ending for'll have to read yourself whether Bree and Dev ever make it back to Ireland, whether Hammer lets go of his hate, whether Mikkel lets go of his secret or whether two certain people end up living happily ever.....never mind. :P

To wrap up, here are some of my favorite quotes from this book (they *might* give you a taste of what the ending's like....) Oh, the "...." show where I cropped words to make the quotes a little shorter :)

"Don't forget," she [Bree] said later when Leif couldn't hear. "I'm supposed to watch out for you. If you make life hard for me, I'll put stones in your food."
"You can do that," Mikkel answered calmly. "But if you do, I'll make sure Leif is watching. And I'll look at you when I spit the stones out one by one."
Chapter 4: "The Big Plan" 

 When Devin brought the flowers to her, Bree reached out....She knew where they had grown....
"They're beautiful," she said....."Thanks, Dv. Thanks for bringing them to me."
Then Bree could hold her thoughts no longer....When she tried not to laugh, Devin stared at her.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
But the laughter filled Bree's heart, bubbled up, and spilled over. As Devin watched, he too, laughed...Finally Devin said, "Now what was that all about?"
Bree giggled again and looked him straight in the eye. "Dev, you've been my brother for seventeen and a half years. You are nineteen now and you have never given me flowers before. Mikkel told you to do this, didn't he?"
Chapter 16: "The Warning"
Jo's Ratings:

Strength of Characters: *****

Strength of Plot: ******

Overall Rating: **********

So, that's the end of this series! What'd you think?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Heart of Courage

Heart of Courage by Lois Walfrid Johnson

I forgot how good this book was until I read it again yesterday so I could write a good review :) This could be my favorite.

Bree has forfeited her freedom so Keely and Lil could return home with Devin. Devin does manage to arrange an agreement with Mikkel though. If Devin returns to the fjord after taking Keely and Lil home, and he and Bree accompany Mikkel on his big adventure trip he has planned, both of them will be free forever.

Both O'Tooles struggle with their desire to trust Mikkel, but their knowledge that he isn't most trustworthy young man. Devin has shared a secret with Bree about the Mikkel that he learned on his first trip home, and with this heavy knowledge over them, they find it hard to believe anything Mikkel says.

Mikkel, on the other hand, seems to be trying to earn their trust. Every now and then, he seems to be friendly, but then other times he'll be cold and quiet. His secret is still bothering him, even more now than ever as it comes closer and closer to being discovered. Also, he's still struggling with his faith. He knows the Christian God is more powerful and his friend and leader Leif Ericksson believes in him, but Mikkel is still having hard time submitting to any kind of authority.

Devin does return, and the fleet of Viking ships set to on their voyage to meet the king of all the Vikings. It's the start of an amazing journey, that takes Bree and Devin all the way to...well, that's really for the next book ;)

During the story, Mikkel's life is put in danger many times. Despite their original hate for their captor, Bree and Devin feel almost protective of him and are constantly watching his back. The mystery around this particular danger is a thread that courses through both Heart of Courage and it's sequel: The Raider's Promise.

I know I didn't really say much, but this is one book that I don't want to spoil for you. Trust me, it's *really* good!

Jo's Ratings:

Strength of Characters: *****

  • Feelings are changing....the predictable yet not-so-predictable ending is in sight, though just around a bend. Hate is being released, friendship is trying to open its flower but coldness and doubt threaten to freeze it. Complex!
Strength of Plot: *****

Overall Rating: *****

Autumn is FINALLY here!

Hoorah! My favorite season, after showing signs of itself all month, is finally officially here! YEAH!!! Of course, it's going to be 96 today....our weather is so funny :P

Also, it's time for a new design on Scraps. I love what I have, but it's two months old, and October absolutely needs something new :) The blog will be "under construction" for the next week, so if you see anything strange or out of place, that's the excuse :P

The Viking Quest reviews will be posted as usual.

Happy Autumn!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Giveaway @ Growing in Him!!!!!

Miss Eden @ Growing in Him is hosting a giveaway!
The first winner will recieve 2 sewing patterns from MarieMadeline Studio,
and the second winner will receive a book on friendship and a free Bermuda T-shirt!

This a giveaway you won't want to miss!


The Invisible Friend

The Invisible Friend by Lois Walfrid Johnson

Well now.....this is one of my favorite books in this series too...I can never make up my mind :)

The book starts with Bree arriving at the Aurland Fjord on Mikkel's ship Sea Bird. Within five or ten minutes of landing, she thinks she spots her long lost sister Keely, is given as a slave to Mikkel's mother and makes an enemy: Gna. That just might be one of the funniest scenes in the book :) Especially when you learn later than Mikkel is probably supposed to marry Gna when they grow up :P

Anyway, this book is all about trust and forgiveness. It's hard to keep reading sometimes, I get mad when Mikkel is so unfeeling towards Bree and Devin. Then, there's the exciting tension around Keely's identity (hence the title The Invisible Friend). Also, Bree's faith comes into conflict with the faith of the Vikings. Nothing too serious erupts, but Bree has to use her judgement in one major situation and a few minor.

Mikkel is changing. He has a secret that he doesn't want anyone to find out, least of all his father.....and Bree. But the secret is constantly on his mind, and makes him nervous and jumpy many times. Also, his attitude towards the O'Tooles changes gradually in some ways. Since his first prayer worked (in Mystery of the Silver Coins), he has a new respect for their God, even though he still clings to his own traditional beliefs.

The climax of the book comes when Devin arrives at the fjord with ransom money for Bree. Mikkel has a big decision to make, and his answer will change the lives of all involved.

Jo's Ratings:

Strength of Characters: *****

  • Mikkel is my favorite character in this book :)

Strength of Plot: **********

  • This book has an incredible plot! It's hard to believe that so much can be squeezed into one book :)
Overall Rating: *****

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mystery of the Silver Coins

 Mystery of the Silver Coins by Lois Walfrid Johnson

This is a very exciting book, and I enjoyed every minute of it!

In the last few chapters of Raiders from the Sea, both Devin and Bree manage to escape from Mikkel's ship. Devin is freed by Mikkel (you'll have to read it find out) and Bree runs away with a little girl named Lil. Also, Bree helped a ten year old boy, Jeremy, to escape.

This book alternates between Bree and Devin's adventures.

Bree and Lil makes different all around the little island where the Viking ship is docked. Bree, disguised as an old man, goes fishing nearly everyday for food. Unknown to the two girls, a bag of silver coins disappeared from Mikkel's "treasury" on the same day as Bree and Lil did. Mikkel, furious at the possiblity that Bree stole his coins, starts out on a relentless search to find them. Several times, he and Bree cross paths, neither acknowledging the other. Then, Lil falls ill, and it's almost more than Bree can do to keep them both hidden while taking care of a very sick little girl. During all this, Bree and Lil are constantly praying to God to hide them, and He does, in more ways then one. Mikkel begins to wonder about the power of the "Irish" God, and even prayed to Him for help to find the girls. When Bree learns that say she was angry (at God and Mikkel) would be an understatement. But this book is the turning point in Mikkel's understanding of Christianity, and the story starts to come together.

At the same time, Devin and Jeremy are headed for home together. Along the way, Devin learns to conquer his hate for the Vikings and learns some valuable spiritual lessons. He also meets Bjorn, and learns some very interesting things.

Jo's Ratings:

Strength of Characters: *****

  • A LOT of faith in this book! While I understood Bree's frustration at God for answering Mikkel's prayer, I appreciated Mikkel's *every so slight* change of heart. After all, he's just a kid :P
Strength of Plot: *****
  • This mystery has a very unexpected ending! That's all I'll say. Also, the arrival at Aurland Fjord is very interesting. I don't want to spoil it for you though :)
Overall Rating: *****

Monday, September 20, 2010

Raiders from the Sea

 Raiders from the Sea by Lois Walfrid Johnson

This is the first book in a series that, as far as I know, is virtually unknown. Most people I've met have never read or even heard of the books. Right here off the top though, I'm going to recommend these to y'all heartily. There is NOTHING inappropriate in them, nothing to even raise concern. They have adventure, danger, noble characters, storylines that keep you reading and reading and reading, and the outcome of the series, though *slightly* predictable is, at the same time, rather unexpected.

So, to start with this first review:

Briana O'Toole is the daughter of an Irish chieftan. Her life is sheltered and safe. She has a strong father, a loving family, the comfort of God's love (her faith) and a brother who will do anything for her. There's only one thing that hangs over the family as a constant threat: an attack from Vikings. Just a few short years before, Viking raiders stormed the little village and carried off Bree's younger sister, Keely. After that, some of the security that Bree felt at home disappeared.

The story really begins on Bree's thirteenth birthday. That morning, as she stood on the shore watching the sunrise, she saw a boy about to dive in the water where she knew it was dangerous. Thinking the boy was her friend Tully, she called out to him. To her horror, as he turns around, he falls into the water and hits his head. Immediately, Bree dives in herself to save him. Struggling in the current, she manages to get him to shore. It's then that she realizes that this boy is NOT Tully, but a stranger. When he comes to, he speaks with a strange accent and says his name is Mikkel (pronounce "Mick-el" rather than "Mee-haul", which is the Irish way). When Bree tells him to wait while she runs to get her brother Devin, he seems exhausted. But when Bree returns with Dev, he's gone.

So begins the five book saga of Briana O'Toole and her adventures as a Viking slave. Yes, I might as well tell you, since you'll find out soon enough in the later reviews :) Turns out, Mikkel is the son of a Viking chieftan, and, against his father's will, conducts his first raid on the village of Glendaloch (where Bree lives). Briana is captured and.....well, I won't tell you *everything*.

If you can, I would highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of this book (and the others) and read them as soon as you can, that way you'll be able to follow the reviews better.

I'm going to do the ratings a little differently on this series as well, expositing them a bit more:

Jo's Ratings:

Strength of Characters: *****

  • Briana is very believable. I have to say, in some Christian book series (think Elsie Dinsmore) the characters are SO good (or SO bad, think Lulu Raymond) that you can't take them seriously and you don't even really want to finish the story. Not so here :)
  • Devin sounds like a fantastic older brother to have :) His faith is strong, he's constantly encouraging Bree ("Courage to win!") and keeps an eye out for her, since Bree can be a bit of a handful. He also handles the other children in the family (Adam, Cara and Jen) with great maturity.
  • Mikkel....young, fourteen, but very strong. I like the parts when his softer, younger side comes through ("How many graves are in your family's cemetery?") but I do appreciate his strength. A character that has great potential for the rest of the series :)
Strength of Plot: ****
  • This is *not* my favorite of the Viking Quest books. It's a great start to the series, but it is a leetle slow in place (not many, but a few). But after all, you need background for the rest of the books ot makes sense. Just keep that in mind :)
Overall Rating: *****

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Saturday Morning Daybook

If you want to join me, CLICK HERE and follow the instructions :)

Date... September 18, 2010
Starting time... 8:41am
Mood...very happy :)
Outside my window...the lovely fall weather....September is usually hot down here, but this year has been lovely!
I'm thinking...I really liked the movie we saw last night :)
I'm currently reading...To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I'm listening to...Dad frying "custom" eggs in the big ole black iron skillet and Leia practicing "Stars and Butterflies" on the piano
I'm wearing...a denim skirt, my pink camisole layered with my brown Cherokee v-neck (yeah, I wear this outfit a lot)
I'm looking forward to...going to Gracie's 5th birthday party this afternoon!
I'm hoping...that the little cut on the bottom of my foot will heal up quick (Leia would tell me serves me right for running the trail around the property three times barefoot :P)
Yesterday, I...watched one of the best, sweetest, funniest movies I have EVER seen: Yankee Doodle Dandy, released in 1942, starring James Cagney. It's the story of George M. Cohan, who wrote "Yankee Doodle Dandy", "You're a Grand Old Flag" and "Over There" (which was stuck in my head last I did this Daybook)
I'm hungry for...nothing, since I just ate a delicious scrambled egg with green peppers, tomatoes and onions that Dad made for me
The song stuck inside my head is..."I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy, a Yankee Doodle do or die...." :)
I love...old movies :)
I loathe..."morning mouth"
This week, my goal finish all my Spanish homework BEFORE Wednesday, to keep on top of my writing (so far so good) and drive at least an hour!
Did I meet last week's goal?...I don't remember :P
Ending time...8:56am (probably the longest time it's ever taken me)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Movie Quotes Quiz #11 Answers!

The answers are in! Y'all did so well...I was very impressed. 

Let's jump right in:

1. "Stop that racket, you'll wake the baby!"
The Tramp in Lady and the Tramp
People who got it right: Quinlyn, Shaynie, Nahla, Rachel, Titty and Marie, Polly, Heidi, Sarah,
*this was a tricky one...kudos to those who guessed the "who" correctly!*

2. "....darlin' it's better down where it's wetter, take it from me!"
Sebastian in The Little Mermaid
People who got it right: Gab and Vivi, Hannah M, Samantha, Bree, Katie, Elizabeth RoseNahlaRachelPollyHeidiSarah, Nana,

3. "Sing sweet nightingale! Sing sweet nightingale! Ah-h-h-h-hh!"
Drizella (this is the official spelling) OR Cinderella in Cinderella
People who got it right: Bree, Katie, Quinlyn, StephanieElizabeth Rose, Nahla, RachelTitty and MariePollyHeidiSarahNana,

4. "Now, now, now girls, girls! Don't 'sssh' your Uncle Waldo!"
Uncle Waldo in The Aristocats
People who got it right: Katie, Quinlyn, Shaynie, RachelTitty and MarieHeidiSarahNana,

5. "Ivory or Cream?"
Cinderella and a maid in Cinderella II
People who got it right: Katie, Elizabeth Rose, Nahla, Titty and MarieNana,

6. "Now Father, you're living in the past! This is the 14th century!"
Prince Phillip in The Sleeping Beauty
People who got it right: Bree, Katie, HeidiSarahNana,

7. "Whistle while we work..."
Snow White in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
People who got it right: Hannah M, Bree, Katie, StephanieElizabeth RoseNahlaRachelPollyHeidiSarahNana,

8. "I you across your yard?"
"I you across your porch?"
(door slam)
Russell and Mr. (Carl) Fredrickson in Up
People who got it right: Samantha, Katie, Quinlyn, ShaynieStephanie, Elizabeth Rose, NahlaRachelTitty and MariePollyHeidiSarahNana, Gab and Vivi,

9. "Don't you have a family?"
"One for every day of the week. The point is, none of them have me."
Tramp in Lady and the Tramp
People who got it right: Quinlyn, ShaynieNahlaRachelTitty and MariePollyHeidi,

10. "I'd be honored, Your Highness. Would you mind holding my broom?"
Anastasia in Cinderella
People who got it right: Bree, Katie, Quinlyn, StephanieElizabeth Rose, NahlaRachelTitty and MariePollySarah, Nana,

11. "To infinity and beyond!"
Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story 1, 2 and 3 :)
People who got it right: Samantha, Bree, Katie, Quinlyn, Queen Lucy, ShaynieStephanieNahlaRachelPollyHeidiSarahNana,

12. "Kevin's a girl?!?!?!"
Russell in Up
People who got it right: Gab and Vivi, Samantha, Katie, Quinlyn, ShaynieStephanieNahlaRachelTitty and MariePollyHeidiSarahNana,

Queen Lucy: 1
Hannah M: 2
Samantha: 4

Gab and Vivi: 6
Quinlyn: 8 (you go, girl!)

Shaynie: 10
Katie: 10
Elizabeth Rose: 10
Stephanie: 12
Bree: 12
Titty and Marie: 15
Polly: 16
Nahla: 18
Heidi: 19
Nana: 19
Sarah: 20
Rachel: 20

Whoa....that was really close :) The winners are....

Rachel and Sarah!!!
(you two almost always tie :P)

Your award, ladies:

and one for everyone else:

Thanks everyone for making this last the 2009-2010 Quotes Quizzes so much fun! Now....get ready for October! It'll be.....exciting, to say the least :)