'I am simply a 'book drunkard.' Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.' L.M. Montgomery

'There are no faster or firmer friendships than those formed between people who love the same books.' Irving Stone

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Spider and the Stone

Publisher: Brigid's Fire Press
Date: October 2013
Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 433 pages
File Size: 1355 kb

Author's website

From the Inside Flap
As the 14th century dawns, Scotland's survival hangs by a spider's thread. While the Scot clans scrap over their empty throne, the brutal Edward Longshanks of England invades the weakened northern kingdom, scheming to annex it to his realm.

But one frail, dark-skinned lad stands in the Plantagenet monarch's path.

The beleaguered Scots cherish and lionize James Douglas as their "Good Sir James." Yet in England, his slashing and elusive raids deep into Yorkshire and Northumbria wreak such havoc and terror that he is branded the Black Douglas with a reward placed on his head for his capture.

As a boy, James falls in love with the ravishing Isabelle MacDuff, whose clan for centuries has inaugurated Scottish monarchs on the hallowed Stone of Destiny. His world is upturned when he befriends Robert Bruce, a bitter enemy of the MacDuffs. Forced to choose between love and clan loyalty, James and Isabelle make fateful decisions that will draw the opposing armies to the bloody field of Bannockburn.

Isabelle will crown a king. James will carry a king's heart. At last, both now take their rightful places with Robert Bruce, Rob Roy, and William Wallace in the pantheon of Scot heroes.

Here is the story of Scotland's War of Independence and the remarkable events that followed the execution of Wallace, whose legend was portrayed in the movie Braveheart. This thrilling epic leads us to the miraculous Stone of Destiny, to the famous Spider in the Cave, to the excommunicated Knights Templar, to the suppressed Culdee Church, and to the unprecedented Declaration of Arbroath, the stirring oath document that inspired the American Declaration of Independence four hundred years later.

The Spider and the Stone is the unforgettable saga of the star-crossed love, religious intrigue, and heroic sacrifice that saved Scotland during its time of greatest peril. 

This book was recently brought to my attention and since it fits right in with our Read Scotland Challenge I thought I would share it with you! It looks really good! I know your probably saying 'Yes, but I'll never get it read by the end of the year', BUT Read Scotland will be back for a 2015 edition so go ahead and get it! Stay tuned for a review! Click here for links to buy the book.

Here are a couple links to get your interested in the subject matter!
Sir James 'Black' Douglas (BBC)
For a more in depth write up on him...
Significant Scots: Sir James Douglas
Legend of The Spider in the Cave
and a children's version of the legend 
The Stone of Destiny
the film about the return of the stone
Movie trailer
Song by Steve McDonald

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Song for Sunday



Your love is
Like radiant diamonds
Bursting inside us
We cannot contain
Your love will
Surely come find us
Like blazing wildfires
Singing your name

God of mercy
Sweet love of mine
I have surrendered to your design
may this offering stretch across the sky
And these hallelujahs be multiplied.

Hallelujah X Hallelujah!
Peggy Ann

Friday, September 19, 2014

Instructions for a Heat Wave by Maggie O'Farrell

A novel about a family crisis set during the legendary British heatwave of 1976.

Gretta Riordan wakes on a stultifying July morning to find that her husband of forty years has gone to get the paper and vanished, cleaning out his bank account along the way. Gretta's three grown children converge in their parents' home for the first time in years: Michael Francis, a history teacher whose marriage is failing; Monica, with two stepdaughters who despise her and a blighted past that has driven away the younger sister she once adores; and Aoife, the youngest, now living in Manhattan, a smart, immensely resourceful young woman who has arranged her entire life to conceal a devastating secret.

Maggie O'Farrell writes with exceptional grace and sensitivity about marriage, about the mysteries that inhere within families, and the fault lines over which we build our lives-the secrets we hide from the people who know and love us best. In a novel that stretches from the heart of London to New York City's Upper West Side to a remote village on the coast of Ireland, O'Farrell paints a bracing portrait of a family falling apart and coming together with hard-won, life-changing truths about who they really are.

Good book. I enjoyed The Vanishing of Esme Lennox more but I like O'Farrell's characterization in all her books. She does people and relationship well. The storyline with the dad taking all the money and leaving didn't hit home for me, without giving away why, what or who happened. I don't know why he would have taken all the money for the reason he went. I suppose it was the clue that he didn't just walk away with Alzheimers or something, but I don't think he would have left Gretta high and dry like that. A little out of character. Minor grumble there, really not worth mentioning. It was good. I'd recommend it for sure.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Today's the Day Scotland Votes!

Today is the BIG day for Scotland. They are voting on independence from the United Kingdom. I am excited for them! If I were Scottish I would be voting YES! I do think they would better govern themselves. All their wonderful natural resources and talent and ingenuity would make them a strong, rich nation. Why should England get all the rewards and make all the decisions about whats best for them?

If you find this interesting here are a few links you can follow today.


Scottish Independence trending
Yes Scotland
Alex Salmond

The Evening Times (Glasgow)
The Guardian
The Telegraph  (they have a live broadcast stream here)
The Scotsman
The Herald
The Daily Record

You won't see much being broadcast or written about today until the voting is over as this is their rule about that..

On polling day the BBC, in common with other broadcasters, will cease to report campaigns from 06.00 until the polls close.  Coverage will be restricted to uncontroversial factual accounts, such as the appearance of politicians at polling stations or the weather.  Subjects which have been at issue or part of the campaign, or other controversial matters relating to the election, must not receive coverage on polling day, to ensure that nothing in the BBC's output can be construed as influencing the ballot while the polls are open.
from Editorial Guidelines
Wish the US media would take a few lessons from them!

Very funny video about independence by John Oliver. You have to watch this one!

Video that explains the path to Independence for us Non-brits

There you go a nice sampling to keep you in the loop. But make sure you watch the John Oliver video for a great laugh and serious points!

Peggy Ann

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Neil Munro, Scottish Author

Neil Munro was a novelist, poet and journalist born in Inveraray. (Click on his name to read all about him!) He spent most of his life in Glasgow working for the Glasgow Evening News. Best known for his historical novels, all set in Scotland, but his most famous books were the Para Handy books written under the name Hugh Foulis.

Para Handy was a skipper of the Vital Spark, a Clyde Puffer. Munro wrote tales of his adventures delivering goods from Glasgow to Loch Fyre, the Hebrides and up the western coast of the Highlands. So popular were the tales that the BBC made them into a TV series The Tales of Para Handy in 1959 and a second series The Vital Spark in the 1960's. Watch the TV show on youtube!


The Lost Pibroch, and Other Sheiling Stories (1896)
John Splendid: the Tale of a Poor Gentleman and Little Wars of Lorn (1898)
Gilian the Dreamer (1899)
The Shoes of Fortune (1901)
Doom Castle: A Romance (1901)
Children of Tempest: A Tale of the Other Isles (1903)
Erchie, My Droll Friend [by H(ugh) F(oulis)] (1904)
The Vital Spark and her Queer Crew [by H.F.] (1906)
The Clyde, River and Firth (1907)
The Daft Days (1907)
Fancy Farm (1910)
In Highland Harbours with Para Handy, s.s., Vital Spark [by H.F.] (1911)
Ayrshire Idylls (1912)
The New Road (1914)
Jaunty Jock and Other Stories (1918)
Jimmy Swan, the Joy Traveller [by H.F.] (1923)
Hurricane Jack of the Vital Spark [by H.F.] (1923)
The Poetry of Neil Munro, introduced by John Buchan (1931)
The Brave Days: A Chronicle from the North, ed. by George Blake (1931)
The Looker-On, ed. by George Blake (1933) (essays)
Para Handy Tales (1958)
Para Handy, First complete edition, ed. by Brian D. Osborne and Ronald Armstrong (1991)
Erchie and Jimmy Swan, First complete edition, ed. by Brian D. Osborne and Ronald Armstrong (1993)

You can get several of his books in digital copy at ManyBooks.net including a couple of Para Handy books. And be sure and check out the bibliography on The Neil Munro Society site for a description of each one.

I thought you might find him interesting for the Read Scotland Challenge and oh yes we will be doing it again in 2015! I've downloaded several of his books to read. Have you ever read anything by him? Let us know what you thought.

Peggy Ann

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Song for Sunday

He Knows My Name by Francesca Battistelli

Spent today in a conversation
In the mirror face to face with
Somebody less than perfect
I wouldn't choose me first if
I was looking for a champion
In fact I'd understand if
You picked everyone before me
But that's just not my story

True to who You are
You saw my heart
And made something out of nothing, so

I don't need my name in lights
I'm famous in my Father's eyes
Make no mistake
He knows my name
I'm not living for applause
I'm already so adored
It's all His stage
He knows my name
He knows my name

I'm not meant to just stay quiet
I'm meant to be a lion
I'll roar beyond a song
With every moment that I've got

True to who You are
You saw my heart
And made something out of nothing

I don't need my name in lights
I'm famous in my Father's eyes
Make no mistake
He knows my name
I'm not living for applause
I'm already so adored
It's all His stage
He knows my name
He knows my name 

He calls me chosen
Free, forgiven
Wanted, child of the King
His forever
Held and treasured
I am loved

I don't need my name in lights
I'm famous in my Father's eyes
I don't need my name in lights
I'm famous in my Father's eyes
Make no mistake
He knows my name
I'm not living for applause
I'm already so adored
It's all His stage
He knows my name
He knows my name 

Francesca discusses this song
About Francesca

Have a blessed week!
Peggy Ann