My Google Diary for Edenbrooke

My Google Diary for Edenbrooke

My Google Diary for EdenbrookeEdenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson


When I read, I ask a LOT of questions. Here’s some stuff I searched or wondered about while Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson.

From my review: 

If Jane Austen could write about scandalous things (in a proper manner of course) like highwaymen robbing you etc. then it would have come out like Edenbrooke.  The author, Julianne Donaldson, did a good job of making a Regency romance a little more modern.  The characters, settings, and manners were are all Regency but the plot had a more modern, quick pace which was really fun. Read more….

Bath, England

Edenbrooke is set in Bath, England.  I had the chance to visit there a few years ago and it’s beautiful.  It’s most famous for the Roman Baths there so I chose this picture of me at the Roman Baths while it was raining.


Pump Room

Of course he would suggest the social hub of Bath for another “chance” encounter. He knew my habits well.  I smiled politely and made a mental note to avoid taking tea at the Pump Room for the next week at least.

- Julianne Donaldson, Edenbrooke: A Proper Romance Chapter 1

pump roomThe Pump Room is a restaurant where you can get some afternoon tea in the most charming place imaginable.  You can also try the spa water since it’s connected to the Roman Baths.

The official site for the Pump Room says “You can try the hot Spa water at the fountain in the Pump Room. It contains 43 minerals and has a rather unusual taste.”  I was too chicken to try the water while we were there and used the excuse that since I was pregnant these 43 minerals may or may not be a good idea.

My husband did try it and as he was choking on it a little said it tasted warm, salty and kind of like sulfur.  Sounds yum :)

People drink the spa water for the same reason they bathed in it – it’s believed to have healing properties.

Royal Crescent

Then I pulled Aunt Amelia toward the broad green lawn that separated the gravel path from the Royal Crescent. The building curved in a graceful half-circle of butter-golden stones, like a pair of outstretched arms ready for an embrace. Grandmother’s apartment within the Royal Crescent was among the finest Bath could offer. But luxury could not make up for the fact that Bath was town living at its worst. I missed my life in the country so desperately that I ached for it day and night.

- Julianne Donaldson, Edenbrooke: A Proper Romance


This is me at the Royal Crescent.  Which one do you Marianne lived in?? :)

I wonder if the quote above is a Jane Austen reference because she, too, hated living in Bath and missed the country.


My dearest friend Louisa Wyndham has invited me to stay with her at her estate in the country. I understand it is very grand. It is called Edenbrooke and is situated in Kent.

- Julianne Donaldson, Edenbrooke: A Proper Romance

Kent looks so charming.  I found this country house located in Kent which Winston Churchill lived in.

Rose and Crown Inn

I was even more relieved to find the unmistakable marks of an inn. “The Rose and Crown” hung on a rough-hewn wooden sign above the door.

- Julianne Donaldson, Edenbrooke: A Proper Romance

The inn didn’t exist in the Regency era, but there is an inn called the Rose and Crown in Kent now in what used to be stables and a 16th century pub.  I thought that was pretty cool.  Trip Advisory says it’s an excellent bed and breakfast.


There’s an awesome Q&A with the author in the back of the book and one of the questions was who she could see playing the main characters if Edenbrooke became a film.

There is a young British actress named Imogen Poots who I can totally see as Marianne. My favorite leading men right now are Jake Gyllenhaal and James McAvoy. I would pay good money to see either of them play dreamy Philip.

- Julianne Donaldson, Edenbrooke: A Proper Romance


About Julianne Donaldson

Julianne Donaldson

Julianne Donaldson grew up as the daughter of a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot. She learned how to ski in the Italian Alps, visited East Berlin before the wall came down, and spent three years living next to a 500-year-old castle. After earning a degree in English, she turned her attention to writing. She writes historical romance when she is not busy with her four young children and husband. Edenbrooke is her first novel.

My Google Diary for Divide and Conquer

My Google Diary for Divide and Conquer

My Google Diary for Divide and ConquerDivide and Conquer by Carrie Ryan



When I read, I ask a LOT of questions. Here’s some stuff I searched or wondered about while reading Divide and Conquer by Carrie Ryan.

From my review:

This particular period in Viking history was a perfect one to appeal to kids. There’s a king named Charles the Fat (seriously – that’s his REAL name!) and an epic battle rivaling Helm’s Deep from Lord of the Rings with the Vikings outnumbering the Parisians 30,000 to 200. It’s funny how real history can be more extreme than fiction (Helm’s Deep was 10,000 to 2,000).

While I was reading, I looked up all this Viking history that I didn’t know before. I learned something new! The main characters “fix” history pretty fast so we get to read about what really happened instead of a fake past like the last book. Read more…

Siege of Paris

“According to the history books, there are thirty thousand Vikings on the other side of that wall, preparing for the great Siege of Paris!” [said Dak.] … 

“Did the history books happen to give a date for this sack?” [said Riq]

Dak nodded vigorously. “November 25, 885.”

- Carrie Ryan, Divide and Conquer pg 7

Here’s what Wiki had to say on the Siege of Paris in 885, the most important event in the reign of Charles the Fat (HAHA what a cool name! And it’s REAL!) (Note to author: you get all the points for picking an awesome time period in history to appeal to young kids and also one that this adult knew nothing about.)

  • The Vikings demand French pay money
  • Odo, count of paris, says no
  • The Vikings try to take the city but fail even though the armies are 30,000 vs. 200 (It’s funny how real history can be more extreme than fiction.  The battle at Helm’s Deep in Lord of the Rings was 10,000 to 2,000).
  • Charles the Fat shows up with his armies but doesn’t attack the Vikings.  He pays them to raid Burgundy (because they were revolting) instead.
  • Odo thinks that’s a dumb idea and defies Charles.  He then becomes King when Charles the Fat dies

[The Viking] leader, Siegfried, was older than the others.  Judging from the lines on his face, he’d probably never once smiled in his life.  …  Dak was pretty sure that the guy could lop off a head or a leg with one swing…”

- Carrie Ryan, Divide and Conquer pg 21.

Even though the author made up his description, he’s totally real which I think is so cool.

Chateau Gaillard

When the French king Phillip II attacked Chateau Gaillard, the people inside felt pretty secure about being able to wait out the siege.  But then came a soldier named Ralph the Snubnose who noticed a stain under a hole off to the side of one of the walls, and, using the nose for which he was name, figured out what the hole was used for.

That unlucky soldier had to climb his way up the toilet chute and through the hole to get into the castle (ew!). It worked – the guy surprised everyone inside and opened the gate to let his army in.

- Carrie Ryan, Divide and Conquer pg. 65

Château Gaillard

Château Gaillard

This story is totally true and completely hilarious.  Another fun fact that I learned was  the castle was built by Richard the Lionhearted of Robin Hood fame.  Sadly, the castle is in ruins now but you can still visit what’s left.


“I’d probably describe it as ‘squishy,’ but then I like to leave the eyes and brain in.  Otherwise you’re just left with flesh, tongue, and maybe some heart, and where’s the texture in that?” [said Rollo, the Viking] …

“Eyes? Brain? How could you ruin cheese like that?” [Dak said]. …

Headcheese, I said.  It’s like a meat jelly made from the head of a cow.”

- Carrie Ryan, Divide and Conquer pg 46


EW.  This stuff really exists and it sounds worse than canned Spam. I didn’t know that was possible.


“Ballistae,” he said. “War machines they’ll use to fling huge stones.  And that’s just their opening move.”

- Carrie Ryan, Divide and Conquer pg 49


I was intrigued when they mentioned ballistas instead of a catapult so I wanted to see what it looked like.  It’s an ancient Greek weapon.

Lindisfarne Priory

My great-great-great uncle was a monk there.  At Lindisfarne Priory.  

- Carrie Ryan, Divide and Conquer pg 34

My great-grandfather was one of the men to sack Lindisfarne Priory almost a century ago.

- Carrie Ryan, Divide and Conquer pg 101

Lindsfarne Priory is on island off Northern England full of ruins where old Viking battles took place that you can still visit today.  I think it looks gorgeous there.


If you have any chance of getting back inside the city to your friends, it’s in going with the first wave of battle. And that means becoming berserkr.

- Carrie Ryan, Divide and Conquer pg 107

I didn’t know that “berserk” was a Viking term, but according to Wiki it’s when warriors go completely nuts and becomes an insane, unthinking killing machine caused either by getting extremely pissed off or taking drugs.  The things you learn.



About Carrie Ryan

Carrie Ryan

Carrie Ryan is the New York Times bestselling author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, The Dead-Tossed Waves, The Dark and Hollow Places, and the original ebook Hare Moon. She is also the editor of Foretold: 14 Tales of Prophecy and Prediction and the author of Divide and Conquer, the second book in Scholastic's multi-author/multi-platform Infinity Ring series.

She has contributed to multiple story collectons, including, most recently, Zombies vs. Unicorns, Kiss Me Deadly, and Enthralled. Her work has been translated into over eighteen languages and her first novel is in production as a major motion picture. Born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, Carrie is a graduate of Williams College and Duke University School of Law. A former litigator, she now writes full time and lives in Charlotte, NC.


My Google Diary for Ender’s Game

My Google Diary for Ender’s Game

My Google Diary for Ender’s GameEnder's Game by Orson Scott Card



When I read, I ask a LOT of questions. Here’s some stuff I searched or wondered about while reading Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.

From my Review:

I haven’t read Ender’s Game since high school.  On re-reading it as an adult, I found it just as page-turning and thought provoking as I did the first time.  The biggest thing that stood out to me were all the paradoxes.

The biggest paradox was the contrast between the brothers Ender and Peter.  To completely defeat an enemy, do you need to understand and empathize with them so well that you know what will really hurt them?  To bring complete peace, do you need to be the kind of person that would think of all the ways to destroy peace in the first place?  I had never thought about the fact that even good characteristics can become evil simply based on how we use them.  Empathy can be used just as effectively to hurt others as to help them.Read More

Warsaw Pact


NATO and the Warsaw Pact states in 1973

Certain military people who corresponded with her dropped hints about things without meaning to, and she and Peter put them together to build up a fascinating and frightening picture of Warsaw Pact activity. They were indeed preparing for war, a vicious and bloody earthbound war. Demosthenes wasn’t wrong to suspect that the Second Warsaw Pact was not abiding by the terms of the League.

- Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game pg. 231

I was curious from the quote what the “first” Warsaw Pact was.  I remember learning about it in school but not any of the details.  The Wiki page for the Warsaw Pact says basically that the Warsaw Pact was formed by the Soviet Union and other communist states in reaction to the NATO pact of Western Europe that resulted in the Cold War.


“I’ve been learning things about patterns in human behavior. There are times when the world is rearranging itself, and at times like that, the right words can change the world. Think what Pericles did in Athens, and Demosthenes—” [said Peter]

“Yes, they managed to wreck Athens twice.” [said Valentine]

- Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game pg. 128

I’d never heard of Demosthenes.  Demosthenes thought everyone should fight against Philip who wanted to take over Greece.  Someone assassinated Philip and his son was this guy named Alexander the Great that took over instead.  Demosthenes’ fight against him failed and they hunted him down so he wouldn’t do it again.  Demosthenes killed himself so they couldn’t find him.

In the Introduction to the edition of the edition of Ender’s Game that I read, Orson Scott Card talked about inspiration for Ender’s Game and a lot of it came from books that I was curious to check out.

“Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy, which was (more or less) an extrapolation of the ideas in Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, applied to a galaxy-wide empire in some far future time.” – Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game Introduction

“Far more deeply rooted in my mind was my experience, five or six years earlier, of reading Bruce Catton’s three-volume Army of the Potomac. I remembered so well the stories of the commanders in that war— the struggle to find a Union general capable of using McClellan’s magnificent army to defeat Lee and Jackson and Stuart, and then, finally, Grant, who brought death to far too many of his soldiers, but also made their deaths mean something, by grinding away at Lee, keeping him from dancing and maneuvering out of reach. It was because of Catton’s history that I had stopped enjoying chess, and had to revise the rules of Risk in order to play it— I had come to understand something of war, and not just because of the conclusions Catton himself had reached. I found meanings of my own in that history.” – Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game Introduction

Orson changed his focus at school to plays and rewriting or adapting novels because he discovered that “archaeology is unspeakably boring compared to reading the books by Thor Heyerdahl (Aku-Aku, Kon-Tiki), Yigael Yadin (Masada), and James Michener (The Source) that had set me dreaming.” – Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game Introduction

This was from a letter written to Orson Scott Card.

I’m an army aviator waiting out a sandstorm in Saudi Arabia. I’ve always wanted to write you and since my future is in doubt— I know when the ground war will begin— I decided today would be the day I’d write. … There is one other novel that describes that frame of soul and mind that I cherish as much as Ender’s Game. It’s called Armour and its author is John Steakley. Ender and Felix [the protagonist of Armour] are always close by in my mind.

- Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game Introduction

This is one of the only books mentioned in the story itself instead of the introduction.



There was a test tomorrow in geometry and Bean was woefully unprepared. He could always reason things out if he had enough time, and he had read Euclid when he was five, but the test had a time limit so there wouldn’t be a chance to think.

- Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game pg. 195

I love it when I learn new things.  Euclid basically wrote THE book on geometry and it was used until the early 20th century.  I’ve never heard of him until now and here Bean is reading him at five lol.

On their home worlds, do the buggers put on human masks, and play? And what do they call us? Slimies, because we’re so soft and oily compared to them?

- Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game pg. 11

I love this quote because it shows Ender trying to have empathy for the aliens who are at the very least strange and at the most disturbing and frightening.  It makes me want to have more empathy in my life.

He had been dreaming that buggers were vivisecting him. Only instead of cutting open his body, they were cutting up his memories and displaying them like holographs and trying to make sense of them.

- Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game pg 278

This quote kind of breaks my heart because I can just see the aliens trying desperately to communicate with Ender before it’s too late.

I had read in Nordhoff’s and Hall’s history of World War I flying that it was very hard at first for new pilots to learn to look above and below them rather than merely to the right and left, to find the enemy approaching them in the air. How much worse, then, would it be to learn to think with no up and down at all?

- Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game Introduction

I thought this was such a cool inspiration.  Orson Scott Card took a real life situation and asked what it would be like in a space setting.  The ideas he explored in the book of how a good commander would deal with no up and down was really fascinating to read.

Because never in my entire childhood did I feel like a child. I felt like a person all along— the same person that I am today. I never felt that I spoke childishly. I never felt that my emotions and desires were somehow less real than adult emotions and desires.

- Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game Introduction

I really like his response to the fact that people say the children in Ender’s Game don’t really act like children.  And I totally agree with him, especially how he felt his feelings and emotions were just as valid as adults.  I try really hard to remember this with my own kids.  Even though I don’t think the reason behind their emotions is all that monumental sometimes, I do my best to acknowledge that their feelings are what anyone would feel in that situation.  Adults get frustrated too, for example, just for different reasons.



About Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card is best known for his science fiction novel Ender's Game and it’s many sequels that expand the Ender Universe into the far future and the near past. Those books are organized into the Ender Quintet, the five books that chronicle the life of Ender Wiggin; the Shadow Series, that follows on the novel Ender’s Shadow and are set on Earth; and the Formic Wars series, written with co-author Aaron Johnston, that tells of the terrible first contact between humans and the alien “Buggers.”

Card lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Kristine Allen Card, He and Kristine are the parents of five children and several grandchildren.

So I’m Going to be a Mother of 3 Boys

So I’m Going to be a Mother of 3 Boys

I’m expecting at the end of the summer and my two boys are now going to have another brother.  Having grown up with all sisters, having all boys in the house kind of feels like this.

spongebob running

It’s not like that ALL the time.  They do get sick every now and then.

But honestly boys are a lot of fun.  I have always gotten along better with boys growing up and I always wanted to know what it would be like to have brothers.  Having sons has been a great experience for me.  I did want a girl just for a new challenge, but I’m a little relieved because I have no clue how to raise a girl.  I feel like I have a handle on the chaos that is raising boys.

And playing Legos and video games with my goofy boys is so much fun.


People ask me all the time how I’m feeling and I think I could sum it up like this.

I don’t get morning sickness which I count as a blessing.  I have some sciatic nerve pain but it’s getting a little better now.  I also have a hard time staying awake past 8 pm even if I had a nap during the day. Mostly I just eat a lot (oh chocolate how I crave thee) and it’s life as usual.

I usually sleep like a rock, but when I’m pregnant I don’t.  I have to pee several times in the night and it’s hard to get comfortable with a baby bump so I don’t sleep as deeply as I usually do.  And that means very strange dreams.


The weirdest dream so far is one that I think my fellow book friends will appreciate.  It’s set in the world of Daughter of Smoke and Bone.  In my dream, I was human and pregnant but then I somehow died.  I was reincarnated into a newly built, larger demon body which I was getting used to.  I was talking to people about how I was expecting and how excited I was….until I realized it was my old body that was pregnant and not this new demon body.  I was devastated since I didn’t know what happened to my old human body and I had to assume the baby didn’t live.

Husbands reaction to this dream:


He hasn’t read that book and couldn’t get past the new-demon-body-thing.

All my dreams in pregnancy end in disaster of some sort.  Other pregnancy dreams include: baby being born with humongous teeth, baby being pickled in a jar in a lab, scientists bringing back dinosaurs and the black plague causing all the people to die, and baby being kidnapped by space cowboys in a Winnebago.

They are hilarious when I’m awake but truly terrifying while I’m asleep.  My subconscious is a very strange place.

As far as blogging goes I seem to be going through this nesting phase where I must write all the post ideas and drafts that I’ve had sitting in my folder for a year.   I don’t know exactly why but it might have something to do with the fact that after the baby comes I might look something like this for a month or two.


So there you have it.  A long post with spongebob gifs about how I’m pregnant.  I think I’ll end with this gif since I’ve eaten five fun size snickers bars while writing this.


Book vs. Movie: The Scarlet Pimpernel

Book vs. Movie: The Scarlet Pimpernel

I remember watching this movie in bits and pieces as a teen.  My friends absolutely loved this movie and I never got a chance to watch it all the way through for some reason.  So when I finally read The Scarlet Pimpernel I knew I had to watch my friends’ favorite version of the movie – the 1982 version with Anthony Andrews, Jane Seymour and Ian McKellen (Hi evil and very young Gandalf!!).

I was surprised while watching the credits that this movie is also based on the book Eldorado by Baronness Orczy.  The last half with trying to rescue the Prince comes from the book Eldorado and isn’t actually in The Scarlet Pimpernel.  Other than that, the movie sticks pretty close to the book.  We get to see more of the back story of their love, how they meet and fall in insta-love.

p24The best part of this whole movie is the character of Percy and his ridiculously pompous attitude that he uses as a disguise.  While I was watching it, I was very aware that this is a bad TV movie but I just loved the whole thing because of the character and acting of Percy.



Prince Regent: Percy. Fashionably late, as usual.

Sir Percy: Sink me, your highness, it was this damned cravat. Simply refused to tie. I ask you. Sticking out like a pincushion.

Prince Regent: I might have known it would be something serious.

vlcsnap-2011-07-01-13Jane Seymour is great too.  She has the most awesome big hair ever.

Also what is this strange non-French accent that the actors seem to have?  I mean it’s hilarious but what is it?  I can’t be too picky really.  This is a TV movie after all.

Overall, the movie was much more detailed than the book and I liked the movie better.  You can check out my review of the The Scarlet Pimpernel novel.

I can’t find a trailer for this movie, but check out this clip of Percy being awesome and pompous.

4 Stars