Thursday, May 5, 2022

Book Review: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo


**This review has minimal spoilers. No specifics. Welcome to readers coming from the Classics Club

Where in the world do I even start?  

I began reading Les Mis along with many other people from several different countries on Instagram through #ourdayswithlesmis hosted by @neyoandclassics. We started on March 1st and I finished on May 3rd. 

I have not read the book previously; however, I did see the 2012 version of the movie/musical and recently watched the BBC mini-series.  I recommend both - but NEVER in place of the actual book! 

I was surprised that Hugo's writing (albeit translated) was so approachable. I was involved from the very first page. 

The book made me laugh, literally cry out "NO!", made my heart ache, and brought me to tears.  Only the BEST of the BEST books do that for me. 

I can't begin to explain how I looked forward to picking up this tome each evening while reclining onto my collection of pillows and bringing out my annotation pouch and affixing my glasses upon the bridge of my nose. Honestly, during my work day I would think about this time coming up and get a little thrill from it.  (You know you are a book nerd when.........hahahaha) 

My favorite character, who is probably most readers' favorite character, has to be Jean ValJean. His transformation from an everyday man to a convicted felon - how he held that moniker no matter how much good he did, no matter how much love he felt, no matter who he really was inside.  How at the perfect time in his life he met up with a saint of a man who did something that literally changed his life. Who proved to him that GOOD EXISTS.  How no matter the amount of location and name changes he went through, he still gave generously to the poor, even to the detriment of his true identity being found out. How he used his physical strength and his strength of character.  I LOVE HIM.  

And little Gavroche .... how do you not just love him?  There's no way not to! 

I also loved how Hugo made most every character imperfect, and in those imperfections, made them more relatable. Fantine's struggles to be a good mother in the only way she could see how, ValJean's running from the law when he was truly good at heart, Javert's inner struggle to decide to do what was right by the law or to do right morally.  Marius's struggle between his love for his grandfather and trying to honor the memory of his father. Cosette's devotion to her Papa and wanting to live in his hidden world while still looking for ways to be a part of the world as well. 

  The history and descriptive passages (oh who am I kidding?  The historic and descriptive CHAPTERS) were a bit much.  I won't lie, I sped read through most of that.  Sorry Victor. I was so in love with the story itself I needed to know what happened.  It did give me a lot of introspective views on what WAS a good book in 1862 versus 2022. Also the difference in books written in other countries and cultures.  We Americans are not good at reading through 100 pages of descriptive text that aids the setting of the main storyline - and I'm ashamed that I didn't give it its due - because his writing ...... oh his writing is beautiful and even though the 19th century sewage system of France is not something I ever wanted to learn about - he took the time to write it and felt it was important enough to add it to his book, so I should have read it just as carefully as the rest! 

But I digress....

 I apologize that I don't do typical book reviews.  When I do them, it's more about what the book made me feel than the book itself.  But if/when I look back at this 10 years from now, I'll want to pick up this book and love it all over again. 

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo 5/5 Stars 

Happy Homemaker Thursday & A Book Update


I am linking up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy Homemaker Monday! 

♥♥ The Weather ♥♥  

Today is partly cloudy and 61.  Nice enough in my opinion!  We have a week ahead of upper 60's - 70's and sun.  I am looking forward to it! 

♥♥ As I look outside my window ♥♥
I just set up my new suet feeder (looks like a little house with a brass roof) and swept the balcony.  Getting ready to get some plants out there next week.  There is a group of kids cleaning up the park across the street as well. 

♥♥ Thinking and pondering ♥♥ 

♥♥ How I am feeling ♥♥ 
I am feeling beyond fatigued.  I went to the doctor on Tuesday. My labs are all pretty good.  My thyroid is a hair within the normal range - so she will most likely increase my thyroid meds.  She's ordered a sleep study too.  I can't help but think it's something else though. I've had sleep apnea for over 20 years and I have never felt like this before.  Menopause isn't helping!  :/  

♥♥ On my reading pile: What I finished ♥

I just finished reading and annotating Les Miserables.  It is now positioned at #2 of my all-time favorites, behind Gone with the Wind, which will never lose the #1 spot. 5/5  (*Real book) 

I finished "The Paris Apartment" by Lucy Foley.  This was my first time reading her work.  It was very twisty and kinda dark.  I did like it and gave it 4*. (*E-book from the library)

I also finished two Colleen Hoover books.  They might not be for everyone, but they give you all the *feels*.  She's a good writer, but some of her books cover very tough topics.  She's a good character writer as well, which really draws me into her books. (*borrowed e-books from library) 

♥♥ On my reading pile: Reading now ♥

*I just started reading and annotating "Anna Karenina"  I've already seen the Vivian Lee version last month and I LOVED IT SO MUCH.  I'm a few chapters in and the writing is
superbly beautiful! (*Real book) 

*About 20% finished with Colleen Hoover's Confess 

*Also just starting today The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James 

♥♥ On my TV ♥♥
*Outlander - watching with my sweetheart!  He's really enjoying it too. 
*American Song Contest 
*Days of our Lives
*Chicago PD
*BBC version of Les Mis - very good! 

*Les Mis 2012 - I liked it much, much more now that I've read the book! 
*War of the Worlds - Tom Cruise - I liked it better than I thought I would! 

♥♥ On the menu ♥♥
Sunday - White chicken chili 
Monday -  Leftovers 
Tuesday -  Homemade vegetable soup with cheese tortellini
Wednesday - Jeff picked up Chinese food 

Friday -  Chicken nuggets and fries?  LOL  Not sure yet! 
Saturday -  Lemon garlic angel hair pasta with shrimp and broccoli
MOTHER'S DAY: Cooking out bbq chicken, corn on the cob, green beans, mini red potatoes and green salad - Jeff is making homemade bread (or rolls) 

♥♥ To do list ♥♥
*Spring cleaning
   - Murphy's Oil Soap on all the beautiful wood in this house
   - Cleaning windows 
   - Prettying up the balcony 
   - Organizing my food storage containers, need to get rid of the plethora of containers with lids and lids without containers! 

Sunday we are going to meet with Jeff's family to celebrate his mom.  She's a great lady!  I hope to call her mother-in-law someday in the future! After we are going to go to my dad's to cookout and probably play some Uno! 
♥♥  Planning/Writing/Journaling/Creating ♥♥
 It's been slow going with how fatigued I've been lately! 
♥♥ Looking around the house ♥♥
Needs the spring cleaning!  Organizing - switching things up a bit 
♥♥ From the camera ♥♥

♥♥  Prayer List ♥♥
My Dad as always.  His congestive heart failure and kidney failure is under control at the moment but now he's having trouble keeping his blood pressure up.  Getting lightheaded and dizzy, had a couple of minor falls. 

So much going on around the world - prayers for my local people going through hard times, difficulties across the country - prayers that certain changes are made in government - watching and praying with the people of Ukraine.  Just. SO. Much. 
♥♥ Today's Devotional/Bible Verse ♥♥

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Happy Homemaker Monday - Late as Always!


I am linking up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy Homemaker Monday! 

♥♥ The Weather ♥♥  

 We are finally looking like spring.  Lower 50's to upper 60's for highs.  Still cold in the mornings though! Today actually we are going to be having some severe thunderstorms in the evening! 

♥♥ As I look outside my window ♥♥
It is sunny.  I can see a squirrel in the park across the street, some sparrows hopping along the sidewalk.  My birdfeeder wanting for birdfeed! 

♥♥ Thinking and pondering ♥♥ 
Worried about my Dad - his cardioversion is tomorrow.  I have taken off work so I can go to the hospital with him.  It is also my sister's birthday.  My BABY sister is 40.  *sigh* 

**Update:  Dad's cardioversion was successful!  His heart is now in rhythm!  He said "I'm over the moon"  

 ♥♥ Homemaking tips ♥♥ 

♥♥ How I am feeling ♥♥ 

♥♥ On my reading pile ♥

*I am about halfway through Les Miserables.  It is a massive book!  Almost 1200 pages.  So far it is amazing.  I am going to do a full review of it once completed.  

*I have started The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley - I needed more of an easy read while my dad was having his procedure yesterday!  This gripped me from the first page!  I borrowed this e-book from the Detroit Public Library

♥♥ On my TV ♥♥
 1. Days of Our Lives
 2.  CNN and FOX News - War in Ukraine
 3.  Just finished Tiger King with Jeff 

♥♥ On the menu ♥♥
Monday -   This was my sister's birthday - we had dinner from a local Mexican Restaurant
Tuesday -   My Dad's heart procedure.  Jeff had dinner when I got home. Penne with meat sauce. 
Wednesday -  Jennah has school tonight!  Greek salad with grilled chicken and pita
Thursday -   Roast chicken, corn, cheddar broccoli rice, salad 
Friday -  Smoked sausage, potatoes, and cabbage 
Saturday - Chili with crackers 
Sunday - Homemade bread and vegetable soup 
♥♥ To do list ♥♥
MONDAY - Work 8-4 and go to my Dad's to celebrate my sister's 40th
TUESDAY - Dad's heart procedure is at 1130.  Got home at 630, watched Korean Drama with my bestie, then an episode of Tiger King with my sweetie.  
WEDNESDAY - Work 8-5, quick dinner, take Jennah to her class.  Quick pick up at Kroger for a few things.  Visit my Dad until Jennah is out of school.  
THURSDAY - Work,  Korean drama, Reading, Bible study
FRIDAY - Work, Korean drama, Reading Bible study
SATURDAY - Take Jennah to her class, run errands, pick her up.  Reading, Bible study
SUNDAY - Reading, Bible study, clean windows and polish wood 
♥♥ Looking around the house ♥♥
I need to straighten and rearrange my bookcases.  Also need to dust and straighten up.  But overall not too bad. 

♥♥  What sold on Poshmark this week  ♥♥
I have been working so much  OT at John Hancock I haven't had time to work at getting sales on PM!  I only sold one very pretty Cabi dress! 
♥♥  Prayer List ♥♥
*Praying for a solution for Ukraine.  Continued strength for her people.  So horrible. 
*Praying for the people involved in the recent tornadoes 
*Continued prayers for my Dad that his heart will maintain to keep a regular rhythm

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Happy Homemaker Monday - Two Weeks in One!


I am linking up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy Homemaker Monday! 

The weather:::   

 Last week: As is normal for this time of year, it is up and down between the upper 40s and lower 30s.  We have had some sunny days though, and they have been nice. 

This week: This morning (Sunday) is supposed to be our last cold day. And it is snowing!  But we are going up to 40 so it will melt.  Up to near 70 on St. Patrick's Day! 

On my reading pile:::   

LAST WEEK:  I finished "Evelina" by Frances Burney and "In the Clearing" by Robert Dugoni.  I also finished "Persuasion" for an Instagram read-a-long. 

Starting tomorrow I will be delving into:  Les Miserables!  I haven't read this before.  I am reading with a bunch of Instagrammers from several different countries.  I'm very excited for it! 

THIS WEEK:  I am starting now about 300 pages in to Les Mis and I am LOVING it!  I also started "Lark Rise to Candleford" as well.  I loved watching the series and looking forward to getting further in this book. 

My next audio book is on hold for the moment. 

I almost forgot!  I read the cutest book on homekeeping!  A Year of Puttery Treats by Alison May. 
It's an ebook, available on Kindle Unlimited. 

On my TV:::   

* The Vivian Leigh version of Anna Karenina - I loved it! I can't wait to read it though. 
* "Blended" with Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler - such a cute movie
* "Beloved" with Oprah Winfrey - wow that was a ride!  It's dark and twisty, emotional and suspenseful.  Creative and the acting is so good! I wanted to listen to the audiobook but it was too deep to listen to while working. 
* 48 Hours 
*The Revenant with Leonardo DiCaprio - HARSH!  The bear scene is WOW!!!!!!! 
*Red Dawn - both the original and the remake.  Both were good and unfortunately, timely

* Days of Our Lives
* A couple YouTubers
*Bulgasal  the current Korean series I'm watching with my bestie (it's very good) 
*Way too much CNN and Fox News 

On the menu for this week::: 


Sunday - Orange chicken, fried rice, potstickers and Asian salad 
Monday -   Cheese tortellini with broccoli and salad
Tuesday -   Beef and bean burritos with Spanish rice 
Wednesday -  Dinner @ Dad's - Game Night
Thursday -   Corned beef & Cabbage @ Dad's
Friday -  Unstuffed cabbage with green beans
Saturday - Pork roast, cheddar broccoli rice, cauliflower
On my to do list:::   
Water flowers
Fold clothes
Empty garbage
Clean up office 
Get package together for Poshmark
What I am planning/journaling/writing:::  
I'm studying Mary Magdalene this month. 
Looking around the house:::  
Cluttered!  Need to do some reorganizing and spring cleaning! 
From the camera::: 

I got 8 inches cut off my hair and brought it back to my natural color.  I messed around with my hair a LOT over the last year!  It was blonde, then red, then blondish red, then red, then black (accident!).  

What I sold on Poshmark (last 2) weeks::: 

1. A pair of Alfani gold wedge sandals
2. A gorgeous Coldwater Creek wool skirt 
3. A pair of American Eagle jeans
4. A Cabi maxi dress 

I haven't been doing much with Poshmark as I have been working a ton of OT at my main job. 

On my prayer list::: 

 As with just about everyone I am sure - praying for Ukraine and her people.  
Praying for my Dad's upcoming cardioversion 
Our world, which feels very scary right now

Bible verse, Devotional::: 

Studying with  This months' Bible study is about makeovers.  You can check her out on YouTube as well (see below) 

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Happy Homemaker Monday - 2/21/2022


I am linking up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy Homemaker Monday! 

Before I begin, I had a really great surprise on Friday.  My boss called me and told me that my yearly raise is 3x bigger than I thought it was going to be.  I was also given a promotion.  AND my yearly bonus is going to be larger than anticipated too!  Good news is few and far between lately! So I had to share.  I am always talking about the negative (since that is all there has been for a long time) so time for some happier things. 

I hope everyone had a nice weekend.  I was up all Friday night with my bum shoulder. (SEE?  There's that bad stuff I"m always talking about lol)  I can't describe the pain - but it is up there with child birth and gall stones.  I finally fell asleep around 11 a.m. and slept til 6 p.m.  So Saturday was pretty much gone.  Sunday I worked OT for 4.5 hours, moved the furniture around, swept the living room and dining room, picked up in my office a bit.  Did some reading.  

The weather:::   

 We had a nice ice storm with a few inches of snow on top, then a crazy cold windy day, and today - 50.  More roller coaster to come. 

On my reading pile:::   

 Please see my READING POST for a complete update!  The short of it is I'm listening to a couple of serial killer books and reading "Persuasion".  
On my TV:::   
**Friday Night Lights
**Book Tubers
**The 1995 version of Persuasion on BritBox
On the menu for this week::: 

Some do-overs from last week that we didn't get to because of the ice/snow storm.  
Monday -   Big Mac Salad 
Tuesday -   Tacos and Spanish rice 
Wednesday -  Making dinner for Dad - fried chicken, green beans, baked potatoes, salad
Thursday -   Shrimp and broccoli fettuccini alfredo 
Friday -  Chipotle-type bowls - chicken, rice, beans, cheese, lettuce, salsa, etc. 
On my to do list:::   

  • Mail out my Poshmark packages
  • Grocery shopping 
  • Work T, W, F
  • Take my sister to her 6-month appt at University of Michigan Hospital on Thursday
  • Go to Trader Joe's while in Ann Arbor for said appointment 
  • Wednesday evening at my Dad's for game night and dinner 
What I am planning/journaling/writing:::  
 More studying of Rahab.  From what I've found on the web, the walls of Jericho fell around 1400 BC, but Rahab is said to have lived from 1213 bc - 1113 bc.  I need to reach out to a pastor or do some more digging, but something isn't adding up here! 

Also - there are two trains of thought as to who she married (if at all).  Salmon (as in she is the mother of Boaz)  OR she married Joshua himself.  There are also some who believe that Salmon was one of the two spies!    

Looking around the house:::  

I took a que from Sandra and changed around my living room and dining room.  We RARELY use the living room.  But it has three gorgeous windows, a beautiful fireplace, and my grandmother's armoire. 

I moved the dining room table and chairs in there.  It will be a lovely place for Bible study or research on my book.  I put my classic book collection on the armoire. I have some nice decor pieces in there I can enjoy.  
From the camera::: 


What I sold on Poshmark this week::: 

This is a very good week for me!  
  • Beatles Abby Road jacket
  • Jojo Siwa t-shirt and GAP jean skirt 
  • Pink faux-Ugg Boots
  • Patent leather shoe-boots 
  • Lily Pulitzer Sandals  
On my prayer list::: 

 My Dad.  Still coughing.  Doctor is prescribing meds to treat the symptoms, but not doing anything to get to the cause of it or help to eliminate it.  He hurt his back and now his leg.  He has started counting the bad things that have happened to him since he had COVID.  He's up to 18.  :(  

I'm praying there is no war between Russia and the Ukraine.  Because if there is, that could mean we could be at war too - and our world does NOT NEED A WAR.  We have been weakened by this world-wide pandemic.  The president is meeting with Putin - so I am praying that by the grace of God there can be a peaceful solution. 
Bible verse, Devotional::: 

Following the "Unfailing Love" Bible Study by Heather Baxter Ministries.  This week she shared Ecclesiastes 3:1-8