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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Book Review, The Messenger

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The Messenger by Siri Mitchell is set in colonial times just prior to the revolutionary war. Hannah Sunderland is a good Quaker girl who adheres to the strict Quaker values of simplicity and pacifism. But it's getting harder and harder to be impassive as the British soldiers take what they want from the Colonials, often mistreating them and holding over them an air of superiority with no regard for their well being.   When her brother ends up jailed after standing up for an injustice and then joining the colonial cause, she chooses to disregard her parent's command not to visit him. The conditions of the jail and prisoners is horrific. They are without food, water or warm clothing or blankets and the officials who oversee the jail are corrupt.

Hannah ends up collaborating with Jeremiah Jones, a Colonial spy, who was disabled when he lost an arm during battle at Devil's hole.  Bitter and stand offish Jeremiah is the owner of a local tavern. He's the last person Hannah could possibly relate to. But when Jeremiah needs to get important messages to the prisoners in the jail who are planning an escape and Hannah needs a pass to get in, they must come to rely on each other.

As the story progresses Hannah comes to question the rigid rules of her own faith and develops a tenderness toward Jeremiah who has been ostracized partially due to his injury. At the heart of this story is the question, "Is following rules and regulations set by religion the right thing to do especially when they cause us to disregard important commands by Christ to care for the poor, hungry and needy. It also asks the question as to whether being a pacifist is the right thing when great wrongs are being done to humanity.

I felt that at times the story bounces back and forth between Jeremiah and Hannah without much action taking place. There are many visits to the jail but almost the same thing happening each time. I also felt that the chemistry between the two characters could have been a bit stronger. However, the overall story is good and based on true accounts, according to Mitchell. I don't want to ruin it by giving away all the secrets. I give this book a rating of 3 out of 5 stars.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Google, Are You Kidding? Futuristic Glasses Worse Than Texting While Driving

I hear that Google has an idea in the works for experimental hi-tech glasses that can do it all. They sound like something right out of Star Trek or James Bond. Here are some of the proposed features:

  • While wearing a pair you can see all the directions to your destination right before you eyes.
  • You can video chat with friends
  • You can shop on line

In a word, the glasses can mimic what you can already do on a smart phone or tablet which are getting more sophisticated all the time.  Very cool idea and it's hands free.But if these things ever actually hit the market, can you imagine the problems they will unleash?

My husband does sports officiating and on several occasions has ridden with a guy who texts while he drives. What's worse is he doesn't do it well and is all over the road. It has to be bad for Jeff to complain. Who of us who texts can't admit being side-tracked at least once with texting while walking or driving, until we maybe decided this wasn't a very brilliant idea. Some of us are still doing it, which isn't making me feel safer on the road.

Like it or not, technology is here to stay and if you don't want to go the way of the dinosaur you need to  scramble to keep up with the latest developments. But sometimes it gets more than a little scary.

Give me your input. Do you think these glasses will ever hit the public arena?

Have you had any experiences with someone annoying you or putting you in danger because they are distracted by technology?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Congratulations to Tobi Hoffler Helton, Winner of Book & Necklace Drawing

Congratulations to Tobi Hoffler Helton who won the prize giveaway of the Treasure Seeker book and original pearl necklace!  It was my first time participating in a blog hop and I hope to do it again. It's a great way to get to know other readers and authors don't you think?  Be sure and tell your friends about Nearly-Brilliant.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Book Review, Voices in Summer

I'm still an avid Rosamunde Pilcher fan and recently completed reading Voices in Summer. Pilcher remains the master of writing about British provential life. Her plots are never earth shattering or edge-of-the-seat but more about people living every day lives with every day struggles. Because she is so excellent with character development and adding in small details, it makes what would normally be mundane interesting. Few people can do that well but Pilcher does.

I won't summarize the book but I will say that her main character, Laura, is likeable and her little dog Lucy adds a level to Laura who dotes on her. Laura cannot have children and she treats Lucy like her child. She's the second.much younger wife of Alec, whose marriage disintegrated several years earlier, partly due to his all consuming work and partly due to his selfish wife Erica who cares more for horses, and a comfortable social life than she does for anyone or anything else. When  Erica  decides to move to Virginia with her new love, a professional horse competitor, she informs Alec she is taking his daughter Gabriel with her.   The gaping void--the loss of children and a family--is what is most glaringly missing from Alec and Lucy's marriage, though the marriage is a much happier one.

 When Laura must recuperate from minor female surgery (Pilcher never actually tells us what the problem is) she goes to Cornwall to stay with relatives of Alec, while he's away in Scotland, a trip planned way in advance of the surgery. We get to know the quirky characters who include a free spirited single mom and renter, an unmarried son of the aunt, an uncle who is a former Naval officer, an ex widowed girlfriend of Alec's and an aged Nanny suffering from dementia. Unlike other works of Pilcher's that I can recall, this book does have an element of suspense, with minor mystery and intrigue, but it doesn't develop until the end and feels a bit tacked on on, though it does increase the reader's suspense. All in all it's a pleasant read and I'll give it a 4 our of 5 stars.

Monday, April 9, 2012

It's Not Too Late to Enter the Authors In Bloom Giveaway Hop/Enter to Win A Nook/Enter to Win a Kindle!

It's not to late to enter the Author's in Bloom Giveaway. Ends April 18th! Hurry!

I'm excited to be participating in the Authors in Bloom Giveaway. Thanks for stopping by. Multiple authors are participating and will be sharing gardening tips and/or recipes as well as giving away books and other prizes. The grand prize giveaway is a Nook or Kindle.


I love to use coffee grounds as mulch in my garden. They help keep the soil moist. Of course, I come by these easily since my husband and I oversee Java Journey Coffee Shop ministry in Hickory and I can get grounds by the bucketful.  You can check with your local coffee shop to see if they will save coffee grounds for you.


Register to win a free genuine pearl necklace designed by author/artist Teena Stewart and a signed book, The Treasure Seeker:Finding Loves and Value in the Arms of Your Loving Heavenly Father. The necklace is part of the The Treasure Seeker jewelry line designed by Teena which accompanies her new book The Treasure Seeker. CONTEST OPEN TO U. S. AND CANADA ONLY.

Register below. a Rafflecopter giveaway


Line 56: The snip of comparison?

Not sure what to do with this phrase? Visit Site #1, Diane Venetta's blog site below.


Visit other authors participating in this blog hop.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Easter Nostalgia

Pictured at left are me and my three children, Rachel, Gaby, and Jordan on an Easter morning in March1989. Where does the time go?

Easter is this weekend and I miss having little children to celebrate it with. My kids are all grown up starting families of their own. This time of year impresses certain things upon me. First, that some religious traditions stress Lent or a season of giving up things. But I feel that we should live no differently this time of year than at others. Our walk with Christ should be steadfast and unchanging, a day to day course of living out his principles.

Second, that Easter, which celebrates Christ's resurrection, comes at just the right time of year--spring time. New life bursting forth in brilliant flowers and beautiful greens exhilarates me.

Third, that we should approach the season with child like wonder and joy. Fond memories of growing up include getting a new hand-made dress and Easter bonnet and feeling like a million bucks. I know it really shouldn't have been about the attire, but something about that made me feel like a princess. I loved dying Easter eggs with my siblings, and then as a young mom spending time with my kids doing so. It brought out the creative side of me and them and gave us permission to do daring things like mix colors, experiment and push the edge of status quo. Mom and Dad always hid our Easter baskets, filled with all kinds of sweets.  And then there was hiding Easter eggs outside. Seems like we always found one or two months later in the yard which reminds me of the delightful surprises God sometimes gives us when we are least expecting it.

Finally, the celebration is something we should carry in our hearts year round. Knowing that Jesus actually lived and breathed, died and truly resurrected, just for us, well-that is something to hold on to with joy for the rest of our lives.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Announcing the Authors in Bloom Blog Hop Giveaway!

I am participating in the Author's in Bloom Blog Hop on April 9th. It's only a few days away so be sure to mark your calendars for this awesome event. The blog hop features 10 days of giveaways, gardening tips and recipes. Many different authors are participating and will be giving away books and other prizes on their blogs. My giveaway items include my newest book, the Treasure Seeker: Finding Love and Value in the Arms of Your Loving Heavenly Father, and a genuine pearl necklace of my own design. The grand prize is a Kindle Fire.  Check back on April 9th on my Nearly-Brilliant  blog to register for my prizes and "hop" to other writer blogs where you can register for theirs. Be sure and share this exciting contest with your friends!