Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Tuesday Intros -- Moonlight Over Paris


Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the first paragraph of her current read. Anyone can join in. Go to Diane's website for the image and share the first paragraph of the current book you are reading.
I picked up this book after I saw it reviewed on someone else's blog. Of course, it's set in Paris!
Moonlight Over Paris was written by Jennifer Robson. Apparently it's set in post-war France (World War I) and the main character, Lady Helena, after a broken engagement, decides to move in with an aunt in Paris and live a bohemian lifestyle.  Here's the intro:
Helena had heard, or perhaps she had read somewhere, that people on the point of death were insensible to pain. Enveloped in a gentle cloud of perfect tranquility, all earthly cares at an end, they simply floated into oblivion.
It was rubbish, of course, for she was in agony. Pain seized at her throat and ears, so fierce and corrosive that she could sleep only when they drugged her, and even then it chased her from one nightmare to the next. She hurt from her scalp to her fingernails to the soles of her feet,, and despite that very real reminder of her state among the living, she knew the truth, too -- she was dying. 
Although I haven't read any further, I'll give you a spoiler that I think she survives because that's what the book is about.
I look forward to seeing what everyone else is reading.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Dreaming of France -- Football

Thank you for joining this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.

In honor of the Super Bowl and the end of football season in the United States, I thought I'd post a picture of my boys playing European football, also known as soccer.
When we traveled to Europe in 2006, my boys carried along a small American football, which they passed back and forth whenever they found room to play catch. But one morning in France they headed down to a well-maintained soccer field across the street from the hotel and within view of the Mediterranean Sea, where they kicked the soccer ball around.


After a few weeks traveling around Europe, it was nice to settle in the hotel room and let the kids entertain themselves.


One afternoon, a few French boys showed up at the field and my boys played soccer with them. They didn't speak the same language, but they used some hand motions and the international language of soccer to play together. 


From the balcony of the hotel where we took the previous picture, we also took this picture of the Mediterranean. 


And from the soccer field, my husband took this picture of me sitting in the sun on the terrace while reading a book. 

And here's a photo I took of him on the terrace as he kept an eye on the soccer field. I would love to be sitting there now. 

I imagine if we had moved to France, my boys might have spent many an afternoon playing soccer with French children. 
Thanks so much for playing along with Dreaming of France. I'd appreciate if you'd leave a comment and visit the blogs of others who decide to play along too. That way, we can all experience the joy and beauty of France. 

French Book Giveaway -- Taking the Cross

Only one year, 103 days until my husband and I plan to move to France. So I have another French book to give away to a reader as I clear our shelves.
This one is Taking the Cross by Charles Gibson. I received this one from FranceBookTours and my husband reviewed it on my blog. Here's his review of Taking the Cross.  

Here are a few lines from him describing the historical novel:
Gibson’s interest in history wins out in a well-written account of sacrifice in the face of religious intolerance.
Early in the 13th century, Pope Innocent III wanted to solidify the Catholic Church’s hold on Christendom. In that era that meant converting heretics — basically anyone, including Christian sects — who didn't follow Rome’s interpretation of Catholicism. Failing that, there was always the crusader’s sword. 
The suspense and action of battle will give the hardiest reader of war stories the shivers. The violence is graphic but not gratuitous and is true to the age.
This one is set in Languedoc, the area of France that we plan to move when head to France.
If you'd like to read this historical  novel, or if like me, you think your husband or partner might enjoy it, sign up below to win.
Leave a comment and then make sure you click on the rafflecopter button to say you left a comment. There are some other options for entering to win too if you want to increase your chances.
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Thursday, February 04, 2016

Cooking

Wednesdays end up being fairly hectic in my life. I teach from early through the afternoon, work out then go to Writer's Group. So I rarely cook on Wednesdays.
Then comes Thursday, lovely Thursday where the day stretches out before me and slowly unwinds any way I want it.
I start with a run and get all kinds of ideas. This morning, as I neared the end of my 6-mile run, I decided to make muffins. I shared that recipe with you last week.
When I walked in from the 32-degree morning, Grace and Earl were in the kitchen making breakfast before leaving for work, and Grace made a sad face that muffins wouldn't be ready until later, but there should be some here when she gets home (depending how many Tucker and I eat).
I added raspberries to this batch since I was running low on blueberries.
I'd already decided yesterday that I'll make lasagna for dinner. So after I finish grading, and catch up on Facebook, I'll head out to the grocery store to get lasagna fixings and that may take a bit of my time this afternoon.
I'll make it early, before Tucker heads to his evening class and Grace goes to rehearsal.
Cooking, when I have the time, is a joyful activity. Eating is even better.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Dreaming of France -- Bursts of Color in A French Market


Thank you for joining this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.

One beautiful thing about France is all the outdoor markets. Once we live there, I look forward to doing most of my shopping at the markets.

These oranges were at a market in Marseille. 


Flowers are ubiquitous in French markets. I imagine that everyone takes time to make their apartments more beautiful by treating themselves to a bouquet of flowers. 

Here's a collection of colorful baskets, which would be handy to use when carrying home all of my belongings from the market.


The markets always have scarves, tablecloths or even bolts of material.

Thanks for playing along with Dreaming of France.  


French Book Giveaway -- I See London I See France

As I continue to clear out my book shelves, I thought I'd include one of my novels for a paperback giveaway. I See London I See France is the story of Caroline, mother of three young children, who sells her minivan and runs off to Europe, with the kids in tow, to rediscover herself. She imagines Europe will solve her problems because of the delightful year she spent as an au pair in France, and the novel is interspersed with her remembrances of more carefree days.

Obviously, I haven't reviewed this one, but I thought I'd include a few reviews from Amazon.
French Village Diaries wrote: Paulita’s writing went straight to my head; I felt every emotion Caroline was feeling, so much so this book affected my mood even when I wasn’t reading it. This book has a great story line, moved along at a nice pace and with some added interest as it jumped back and forward from the present to her time in Aix en Provence as a nanny in the late 1990’s. This is a book I will read again and I hope Paulita is busy working on her next novel.
Judy wrote:  I really liked the story. Maybe it spoke to me as a mother and wife, or maybe it spoke to me as a women who wonders who she may have become if she had made different choices. Caroline was strong in lots of ways. I never would have traveled any where alone or with my kids. I am definitely a coward in that respect.
This story is my favorite of Paulita's books. I am glad I know Paulita as a fellow blogger. Way to go, Paulita.
Pam wrote: I'm not a voracious reader but I read this book in two sittings. I had to put it down for a week, due to other obligations, during which Caroline was constantly on my mind.
I highly recommend this exciting page turner. I have to admit, I was a skeptic. Running off to Europe has never entered my mind when life has gotten rocky. But who hasn't wondered, just how did I get here and where is that young vibrant person I was before all my current attachments and obligations. How did this happen. Well, Caroline has history in Europe so that made perfect sense. As a lover of memoirs this story did not disappoint. Every step, thought, feeling and event was absolutely believable, yet amazing at the same time. I laughed, I cried, I worried and I cheered. Caroline revisits who she was, and examines who she has become. She rediscovers passions left behind while rediscovering a passion for her current life.
​I recommend reading other reviews, some written by authors themselves, if you are not convinced this book is worth your time. (Good Reads). Reviews so eloquently written that I enjoy reading them just for the shared enjoyment of the story. "Yes that's what I thought too" !!!
I hope you'll enter the contest to win a paperback copy of I See London I See France
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