Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Silver Chair Read-Along | Discussion 1

Welcome to the first discussion of The Silver Chair read-along! We already have so much to discuss from the first part of the book; an adventure is underway! Before we get started, though, if this is the first you've heard of the read-along, you can learn more about the schedule in this invitation post.

Today we're going to discuss chapters 1-6. If you've read them, go ahead and share your thoughts in the comments section or in your own post! (Feel free to use the image above, linking back to The Silver Chair read-along tag.) If you still have to catch up, you're welcome to check in whenever you're ready. :)

Off we go...

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The Silver Chair: Chapters 1-6

Discussion Format: your favorite quotes, general impressions, and four questions to answer for each week's reading

Favorite Quotes*
  • "Scrubb saw that she wasn't quite herself yet and very sensibly offered her a peppermint."
  • "I've an idea that all those circles and things are rather rot. I don't think he'd like them. It would look as if we thought we could make him do things. But really, we can only ask him."
  • "You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you." 
  • "Here on the mountain I have spoken to you clearly: I will not often do so down in Narnia. Here on the mountain, the air is clear and your mind is clear; as you drop down into Narnia, the air will thicken. Take great care that it does not confuse your mind. And the signs which you have learned here will not look at all as you expect them to look, when you meet them there. That is why it is so important to know them by heart and pay no attention to appearances." 
  • "The window looked west into the strange land of Narnia, and Jill saw the red remains of the sunset still glowing behind distant mountains. It made her long for more adventures and feel sure that this was only the beginning." 
  • "Puddleglum's my name. But it doesn't matter if you forget it. I can always tell you again." 
General Impressions

Such an interesting start to Eustace and Jill's journey!

The more that's shared about the school they're attending, the more I dislike it. And yet, I love that Eustace has obviously grown and changed since his first time in Narnia in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and it's even noticeable to the bullies at his school. I also appreciate the depiction of Eustace, showing that while he's different, he's still imperfect and has his struggles. He's been changed, but so far he still displays some temper and doesn't perfectly keep his focus on Aslan's mission. He's still growing.

I'm curious to see how Jill and Eustace end up getting along as the story progresses. I like how Eustace reaches out to her at the beginning (imperfect but sweet as his gestures may be), and I like that Jill is open to believing his accounts of Narnia. She's easily distracted, but definitely up for an adventure. :)

Jill's first interaction with Aslan has a lot of food for thought. I love some of the lines (see my favorites above) and how they serve as such great spiritual reminders of God's sovereignty and our "mountaintop versus valley" experiences—and how we should cling to the truths in God's Word when we find ourselves in both life's day-to-day and incredibly difficult valleys.

Before meeting his character in The Silver Chair, I think I imagined Puddleglum being like Gloppy from the Candy Land board game... With his description as a Marsh-wiggle in the "Cast of Characters" section (which is included in other books in the series, from what I recall), as well as the nature of his name and where he lives, it just seemed like he must be some sort of swamp monster or something, LOL. I'm pleasantly surprised by how adorably frog-like he is! His attitude and words can be a bit much, but he seems to be a wise and generous creature. I'm looking forward to seeing how his role plays out in the mission/story.

Also, loved the reference to a group of owls being called a "parliament" and how that was demonstrated! Too fun.

Discussion Questions

Answer one, two, three, or all four of these questions in the comments section or in your own blog post!

1. What do you think of Jill's first impressions of Aslan and Narnia? If you were in her shoes, how might you react to the Lion and the new world in which you arrived?

2. Which scene or character has made you laugh (or smile) the most so far? What makes it (or him/her) so amusing?

3. How did the recounting of Prince Rilian's disappearance make you feel? If this is your first time reading the book, do you have any theories about what happened to him and why? If you've read the book before, did you notice anything new or more impactful when rereading this scene?

4. What do you think has been Jill and Eustace's greatest challenge so far on their journey? What do you think they might struggle with in the future based on how they've already acted?

Join us next Thursday for our second discussion! 
(Chapters 7-11)

*C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair (New York: HarperCollins, 1953), 3, 7, 23, 25-26, 42, 69.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Announcing a Spring New-Adult Blog Tour (Plus an Exciting Contest from the Author!)

Coming this spring...a blog tour celebrating Eniola Prentice's second installment in the Still series, Mercy! The series features four main characters who are medical students navigating relationship drama and the challenges of college life.

Tour participants can...
  • Review an e-copy of Mercy (and book 1, Still, if you'd like!)
  • Share your own experience or lesson from college
  • Interview the author or feature a post from her 
  • Spread the word about the book release with a fun giveaway
You can sign up by filling out the form at the link below...

To learn more about the book and author, read on...

About the Book

Set at the fictional Stedman College of Medicine, Mercy is a continuation of an epic four-part new-adult series that illustrates the redemptive power of the cross.

Fadesola Cardoso 
The secret that could destroy Fadesola’s carefully constructed facade is out…but the consequences aren’t what she expected. Now she must navigate the treacherous waters of being in love with two men. Will she realize that her healing lies not with them but with the God she struggles to trust—before bitterness consumes her?

Ladi Adeoti 
Ladi is in love with Fadesola. But as their second year of medical school begins, his character will be tested like never before. With new challenges around every corner, can he ever hope to live up to the impossible expectations of those he loves?

Tayo Smith
Tayo is finally coming to terms with the mistakes of his past—but the revelation of Fadesola’s secret could make it impossible for him to be with Nikky, the one he truly loves. Just as his life starts to fall apart, hope arises in the most unexpected place.

Nikky Abe 
Nikky is coping with loss, questioning everything she has ever believed in—except, perhaps, for Tayo. But their imperfect relationship is about to face its biggest test yet…

About the Author

ENIOLA PRENTICE was born in Lagos, Nigeria, where she began to pen her stories at nine years old. Her budding writing career was put on the back burner when she pursued her dream of becoming a medical doctor. She completed her undergraduate studies in Chicago, Illinois, and received her medical degree in Washington, DC. However, in her third year of medical school, she became inspired to write again by the unique stories of her friends, which led to the release of her debut novel, Still. She hopes that her writing compels and challenges her readers, drawing them to the Christian God’s redeeming love.

Website // Amazon

Note to Potential Reviewers

Mercy is book 2 in a four-part series. You can choose to review books 1 and 2 together—or book 2 on its own. The Still series is inspirational fiction with mature, new-adult themes, featuring characters in college. There is no explicit sexual content, although the series includes reference to rape (in the past).

Bonus Contest from the Author!

Grab your free copy of book 1 in the series, Still, then send the download link to your friends or post it on social media (Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook). Please tag Eniola's social media pages if you do this:

Instagram: @eniolaprentice
Twitter: @eniolaprentice
Facebook: Eniola Prentice

Encourage downloads in other creative ways. The person with the most attributable downloads of the novel will win!

How will the downloads be attributed to you? Tell your friends to use your name as their last name on the BookFunnel download page (in the sign-up form).

For example, Jane Reeds sends the link to her friend Sally Dorm. When Sally clicks "Get My Book" and signs up for Eniola's e-newsletter, she writes Sally Dorm Jane Reeds in the "First Name" slot.

**The Prizes**
  • $100 e-gift card of your choice 
  • A character in Mercy (book 2) named after you!
Remember, you can find the BookFunnel link HERE or by clicking the image below. The contest ends January 31, 2019. Void where prohibited. Good luck!

Friday, January 4, 2019

You're Invited: The Silver Chair Read-Along

It's almost time for another read-along! I love the motivation these provide to complete some classics by reading and discussing them with you. :)

I ran a poll the last two days via Twitter to help me decide which book to pick...but the results were pretty even across the board! Out of eight votes, three went to Anne of Avonlea, three went to The Silver Chair, and two went to Emily of New Moon.

If I'm remembering correctly, The Silver Chair is the one book I have left to read in the Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. So, with the desire to finally finish the series (plus the fact that I'm currently reading Can't Help Falling by Kara Isaac, which features two Narnia fans as the main characters!), I've broken the tie and chosen The Silver Chair for January. I so hope you'll join the journey!

(I'm thinking I might host a read-along for Emily of New Moon in March, for those who are eager to discuss an L.M. Montgomery story. Stay tuned!)

Now, here are the details for this read-along...

  • We'll read 1 chapter per day during the weekdays (for a total of 16 chapters). This will give us a few weekends to get ahead or catch up, if needed!
  • Discussions will take place here on Thursdays (the 17th, the 24th, and the 31st). 
  • The plan is to start reading on the 10th, but feel free to start sooner if you'd like! 
  • Use the hashtag #SilverChairReadAlong on Twitter to share your thoughts or favorite quotes/scenes as you read.

I had so much fun hosting read-alongs for Jane Austen's main works: Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, Emma, Pride & Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and Sense & Sensibility. Now we're off on a new adventure with a very different genre. I'm looking forward to comparing and sharing thoughts on The Silver Chair!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I Read in 2018

Happy New Year, friends! I'm writing this a few days before 2019 arrives, and I'm so excited to share some of my favorite reads from this past year before diving into the new one. :)

Compared to the last two years, I read and blogged quite a bit more in 2018, which has been fun! In 2019, I hope to go a little deeper in my blog posts. Not necessarily longer posts—just maybe a bit more personal and creative. Like more devotions or inspirational thoughts on what I've read (instead of standard reviews). We shall see! I also hope to continue reading more of the books I already have, which are many!

Anyway, in 2018 I read more than 75 books. (As compared to about 27 in 2017 and 44 in 2016.) Yay! I met two of my bookish resolutions: reading Mansfield Park and Sense & Sensibility, and reading more than 50 books. I didn't finish going through my stack of older review books, but I did make progress. And 2019 awaits!

Now, of the books I marked as "read" on Goodreads (at least one of which I started before 2018, but still finished this past year), here are my top 10 first-time reads in no particular order...

East by Edith Pattou

This was a gift from a friend that I finally read, and it's epic! Beautiful writing, a fascinating fairy tale, and a vast adventure. 

Burning Sky by Lori Benton

It took a while for me to get into this one, and it's sometimes a slower read, but it truly is wonderful, especially when it comes to the main characters and the wild frontier setting. And that ending!

{Read my review}

Can you believe I've taken so long to start this trilogy? Friends, it's so unique and intense! I'm sure I'll include Price of Privilege (book 3) among my favorites too, but I've just started it. I can't wait to see how the series ends!

{Read my reviews of book 1 and book 2}

Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist

I absolutely loved this historical novel! The research, the photographs and illustrations, the relationship between the hero and heroine, the charm of it lovely. (And I adore that cover too!)

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

A young-adult romance set (in part) in a cemetery in Italy. This one won me over with its relationships and setting!

The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Another sometimes-slow historical novel, but with interesting characters, echoes of Christy by Catherine Marshall, and some thoughts to ponder. A lovely read!

{Read my review}

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

I listened to more audiobooks this year, and it's hard to pick a favorite! There were a lot of great ones. (You'll find another in my bonus 5-star list below.) This one is a bit odd and bizarre, but the audiobook experience is just so much fun! The narrator went wild with the characters and accents, and I greatly enjoyed it. Also, G and Jane are the cutest. ♥

Hidden Among the Stars by Melanie Dobson

I'm so glad I finished this before the end of the year; it's definitely worth adding to my top-ten list! It's a beautifully written story (alternating between contemporary and historical) that depicts such powerful hope in tragic and dark circumstances.

{Read my review}

The Electrical Menagerie by Mollie E. Reeder

Okay, the characters in this steampunk story are just so good! Totally the stars of the show. But the descriptions and the fun fantasy adventure are great too. ;)

{Read my review}

The Rose and the Briar by J.M. Stengl

It was hard to narrow down this list; some of the 5-star reads mentioned below are definitely deserving too! But I loved the uniqueness and fun of the stories like My Lady Jane, The Electrical Menagerie, and this one, so I had to pick them. The Rose and the Briar has such delightful descriptions of gardens and magical topiaries, plus a cute Sleeping Beauty romance.

{Read my review}

Other 5-Star Reads...
Thank you for checking out my favorite reads of the year! I'd love to hear which books stole your heart in 2018. :)