Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday Sunshine: Trying To Be Of Good Cheer Edition

On Friday I got up, cleaned the house a little, then went shopping with my mother-in-law.  I got to pick out some lovely new boots so that I can keep up my recent habit of walking a mile or two each morning even when the snow comes.  I got some toasty woolen socks, too, and then we went out to lunch.

When I got home, I passed a relaxing few hours reading, listening to Christmas songs, and finally redesigning my blog into a color scheme that I like.  I discovered that a piece of mail from my school was pay for unused sick days, which meant that I was going to be able to go to the SCBWI Winter Conference after all.  In short, I was having a really delightful day.  And I went to blog about it, but first, I checked some of the other blogs I follow.

And of course, several of them mentioned the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

That's why, despite a weekend that was lovely in every other respect, in which I've had many, many things make me happy, I'm feeling pretty subdued this morning.  But I'm trying to balance the sadness I feel for Newtown with my own reasons for happiness, large and small.  I made the last of my Christmas travel plans today, and picked up the last of my gifts yesterday.  Today and the rest of the week I'll be baking the Christmas cookies I've always loved.  I'll be enjoying the holiday season, but I have a hunch the children and teachers of Sandy Hook won't be far from my mind during any of it.  I'm planning a catch-up post, to properly celebrate the things that have made me feel especially lucky and joyful this week, but I'm not ready to do that quite yet.

As always, though, here's What I Read This Week: 

 A Breath of Eyre (Unbound, #1)A Breath of Eyre by Eve Marie Mont
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is kind of tricky to review. For long stretches, it's just a fairly compelling contemporary novel. And those stretches, if they had made up the whole book, might have been a four-star read for me (they'd need a little of the fleshing out provided by the other sections, but I think it could be done.) I liked the writing, I liked the characters, there were scenes that made me smile and character revelations I cared about.

But the whole thing of the book is the Jane Eyre business. I'm a fan of that novel; it's a big part of why I picked this one up. However, there are big chunks of this book that read like the Sparknotes for that one. (Spoilers ahead, potentially?) The idea of Emma getting sucked back into the world of Jane Eyre, and into Jane's life, was interesting. And I liked the parallels, and all of that. But in order to make that work, Jane Eyre had to be re-told for readers unfamiliar with the plot. At one point, Emma herself fades away, and it's just straight up Jane Eyre for...a while. During that part...I kind of just felt like, ok, I should just go re-read the original.

By the end, watching Emma-as-Jane make some independent decisions worked for me, for sure. And the way the novel resonated in Emma's life worked for me. So I'd still recommend this one to fans of contemporary and classic romance--with the caveat that, if you've read Jane Eyre, you may be ok skimming most of part 2. It does pick back up, though, and overall I enjoyed it.

View all my reviews


  1. Yes! Exactly! This is how I felt about it too. It's too bad because I really wanted to love it, but I had the feeling on a number of occasions when I picked it up that I should have just picked up Jane Eyre again instead. This is where Jane got it right as a contemporary retelling. It seriously gives me pause when I think about my own retelling of Persuasion (though I think I'm okay). :)

    P.S. LOVE the new look!
    P.P.S. I am SO excited about meeting you IRL at SCBWI!
    P.P.P.S. I need to stop using caps lock and exclamation points. :)

    1. In retrospect, I realized this comment completely ignored the heartbreaking beginning of your post. Like you, I find myself thinking a lot about these families who have lost someone and how hard this holiday season is going to be for them. I know my thoughts will be with them this Christmas and for a long time after.

    2. I've been really up and down this weekend. Like I mentioned, there are all these things I'm excited about (I didn't even mention them all above) that I want to blog and cheer and holler about--but then I just can't quite bring myself to. I'm hoping this week I'll be more in the mood (and I'll be blogging regularly, too, with the Class of 2012 Blogfest). But I'm not totally down, and your comment made me smile. SCBWI is gonna rock! I'm very excited.

  2. I found out about what happened in Newtown on the blogs as well. What a horribly sad situation. I can't even imagine what it must be like for the families that lost someone. When you hear about tragedies like that it makes you even more thankful for the good things in your life, so thanks for sharing about some of those good things.

    Love the new blog look. Blue is my favourite. :)

    1. Thanks--I'm happy to get away from all that orange (even if it did match the F train logo!)

  3. As I told you in my email, I have a hard time dealing with these news as well...just thinking about it breaks my heart.
    And like you "I'll be enjoying the holiday season, but I have a hunch the children and teachers of Sandy Hook won't be far from my mind during any of it."

    I'm so excited for you though for all those good news. And I love the new blog color! (and yay for you and Jaime meeting!)

    1. Yeah, it's been a good weekend for me, for sure--which makes me feel a little guilty, but I'm trying to celebrate the good! And looking forward to meeting Jaime is definitely a good thing--just wish you could come too!


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