Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Book Review: Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable by Susanne M. Dutton

The Game is not afoot and the Better-Ever-Day World of 1895 is gone, even hard to recall as WWI ends. From his rural cottage, Holmes no longer provokes Scotland Yard’s envy or his landlady’s impatience, but neither is he content with the study of bees. August 1920 finds him filling our entry papers at a nearly defunct psychiatric clinic on the Normandy coast. England’s new Dangerous Drugs Act declares his cocaine use illegal and he aims to quit entirely. Confronted by a question as to his treatment goals, Holmes hesitates, aware that his real goal far exceeds the capacity of any clinic. His scribbled response, “no more solutions, but one true resolution,” seems more a vow than a goal to his psychiatrist, Pierre Joubert. The doctor is right. Like a tiny explosion unaccountably shifting a far-reaching landscape, the simple words churn desperate action and interlocking mystery into the lives of Holmes’ friends and enemies both.


Holmes speaks, Watson answers: 

“It’s clear, Watson, that you have come to trust this man, never mind your fancy knot work.” He let a hand rest briefly on Joubert’s shoulder, and then snatched it away. “The charade you two gentleman have just now performed causes me to question myself. You are evidently in collusion.” 

I said, “We were that obvious?” 

“I’m afraid so,” Holmes said. “In fact, when I have time, I will publish a monograph on what I will call ‘body language.’ Today’s performance will serve as a prime example. I watched you usher this Frenchman across the cottage—your hesitation, your caution lest you cause him the least pain, was evident. Your care was exactly as you would grant a lifelong patient going through a complicated procedure. You watched his every backward step, lest he trip. I noted the commiserating tilt of your head—and the lines of concern on your brow. Without a single word, you managed to signal your sympathy. To sum up, between the gun and the man you pointed it at, I detected at least a hundred yards worth of high-grade Watsonian scruple. 

Holmes glared down at the top of Joubert’s head. “No doubt the entire Punch and Judy was your conception, Pierre, but you could not hide your concern for Watson, how you sought to assure him that it was all for a worthy purpose. Indeed, I saw you shudder and sweat, but you were in no fear for your life—in no dread of John Watson, at least. I submit to you both, that what I have witnessed just now was more a dance than an arrest.”


I received a digital copy of this book from the author through Goddess Fish Promotions. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Susanne M. Dutton will be awarding a $75 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. 


Monday, August 23, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Mailbox Monday - Aug 23

Welcome to It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Mailbox Monday.


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

When this goes live, I will be in Chicago with other REALTOR® leaders around the country for NAR Leadership Summit. I spent the weekend cooking and baking so the family wouldn't miss me too much. 

I finished one editing project and have another in the wings. I'm also a beta reader for another project. I am still trying to figure out what to do about my four books that went out of print when the publisher closed its doors in 2020. It is a cumbersome process to self-publish, though I am not totally against it. Paying the artists for their artwork so I can submit them to a new publisher is expensive. Having a new publisher create new artwork for them can take a long time. No answer is simple, but I would like to see them back in print. I still have a limited number available from my website

Pump Up Your Book will be coordinating a virtual book tour (VBT) for the second edition of my book, A Christmas Kindness, which was released in 2019. The new edition includes discussion questions, crafts, and activities. I will let you know when the tour page is up in case you wish to participate in the VBT. 

As far as reading goes, I am reading this one. My review is due on August 31. 

These are next on the list. 

For the rest of the year--unless a Christmas book catches my eye--I will be working on  my TBR pile. 

You will see this one listed above in my next pile. This is a virtual book tour for September that I am participating in. 

The first book of a new series, this humorous, whimsical collection of poems and songs reveals how baby mermaids are made, what mermaid families are like, and how mermaids study magic at School of the Fish to become Sea Witches (not Sand Witches).

That's it for me. I will be replying to comments and visiting blogs later in the day after the first day of the conference is over. Hope you will share what you are reading. 

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Modernizing a Classic: What Questions Did the Early Cancellation of Anne with an E Leave Unanswered?


Much to many fans' dismay, Anne with an E was abruptly cancelled after negotiations between CBC and Netflix fell through. Despite an online petition and trending social media posts calling for a renewal, the show was said not to perform well in the 25-54 demographic. Silly me, I always thought this was a story for younger people. However, if you have watched the series, you will quickly discover it is not geared toward the 8-16 crowd. 

While I feel the show wrapped up most of the storylines, there were some things left hanging. Let's discuss a few of them. Spoilers will be in white.

The first on my mind is how would Anne and Gilbert's long distance relationship go?

The third and final season of Anne with an E found Gilbert and Anne declaring their feelings for each other. But with Anne studying at Queens and Gilbert at the University of Toronto, they decided to be pen pals for now... despite having follow up questions after their kiss. 

So, what does their future hold? Will Anne use the money Matthew gave her from the sale of the cow to visit Gilbert in Toronto? Will Gilbert use his down time to visit Anne or will they plan to spend their summer holidays together in Avonlea? And if so, would they get married prior to finishing school?

Would Cole move out of Josephine Barry's house? 

Cole discovered a safe haven on Josephine Barry's estate where he could be who he wanted to be without judgment. Would he find love? Would he eventually move out of Aunt Jo's house... or better yet, inherit the place after her passing?

What is the future for Jane and Prissy Andrews?

Considering her support of the status quo, it almost surprises me that Jane attended Queen's with the other girls, but it was considered a respectable profession until one found herself a husband. Jane's quip about getting everything handed to her without having to lift a finger makes me wonder why she needed a profession in the first place. What does she do with that education? 

Prissy is a different matter. Already showing a strong sense for business, I would like to think she continues to find her own way. She makes me think of Lady Edith from Downton Abbey, who was also determined to define her own success. Though Prissy has her sights set on improving the Andrews empire, maybe if her father pushes her away too much she would find a place that would appreciate her talents. 

What is in store for Mrs. Andrews and the other mothers who make up the Progressive Mothers Sewing Club?

The mothers of this club meet to discuss the education of their young daughters. They believe that a woman's education is just as important as a man's. Well, duh! The funny thing is that when Miss Stacy arrives on her motorbike with her pants on and no corset, they don't embrace her. It takes the young people of Avonlea to show the residents how her more modern methods of teaching make a difference to them now and will impact them in the future. The group seems to disappear after the first season, but Mrs. Andrews remains a regular character.

By the end of the series, Mrs. Andrews has three children who are on different tracks. Oddly, the only boy, Billy, is the one whose future seems uncertain. Prissy told her father the reason she wanted to get involved in the running of the farm was because of Billy's lack of "talent" in that regard. The only thing Billy is known for right now is bullying people, getting into a fist fight with Gilbert, and pushing himself on Josie Pye. How does this affect Mrs. Andrews, who is a supporter of women? Will she continue to support Prissy in her future endeavors? What will her expectations of Jane be once she returns from Queen's? 

What happens to Josie Pye after Queen's?

Josie, for all her bullying, is portrayed as a character deserving of our sympathy. All her mother seems to care about is how pretty she looks so she can attract a wealthy suitor. She wraps Josie's hair every night in tight rags to curl it. She talks about the importance of beauty all the time, and doesn't care what Josie thinks if it doesn't fit into her desire to woo a proper suitor. Her parents are way more concerned about how the Andrews family will react to Anne's editorial and the resulting fall out than about the welfare of their child. Mr. Pye runs off to smooth things over with Billy's father, and her mother says they will do whatever they can to get Billy back. When Josie says he's not a nice boy, she tells her daughter that nice is irrelevant. She even blames Josie by saying she put herself in that situation. Like what!!! 

So, after the freedom of speech rally, where it appears all is forgiven between Josie and Anne, Josie joins the other girls attending Queen's. Then what? Does she go back home and reconcile herself to a life with Billy Andrews? Ugh! Does she teach? Does she leave Avonlea? 

Do Miss Stacy and Sebastian end up courting?

After the death of Mary, Sebastian (Bash) is lost. He has an infant daughter to raise by himself. His mother comes to help, because poor Marilla and Rachel Lynde have worn themselves out, but the things that drove Bash away from her still exist. By the end of Season 3, the two have mostly reconciled, but prior to that he would sneak off to do some fishing, where he stumbles upon Miss Stacy. They talk and connect on many levels while Miss Stacy is hiding from Rachel, who is determined to find her a husband to replace the one she lost. I feel the plan was for them to date if the series continued. Just imagine how the folks of Avonlea would cope with that.

Is Ka'Kwet reunited with her family?

After escaping the Indian residential school, Ka'Kwet is forced to return when the authorities visit her camp. Though her parents go to the school along with Anne and Matthew, the authorities won't release her. So Ka'Kwet's parents set up a camp right on the outskirts of the school property, hoping they will be reunited with her. The sad, and somewhat happy, part is that she can see them from the room where they have isolated her. At least she knows they love her and want to get her back. 

Anne and Matthew are so enraged over what is happening that they go back to Avonlea and plan to write a letter to let people know about the horrors at the Indian residential schools. Viewers never learn if this happened. 

Does Diana ever apologize to Jerry? 

The trajectory of this storyline bothered me, and what made it worse is that Diana apologized to Anne, but never to Jerry. As some other commentator mentioned, it appears Diana takes all the anger she feels about not being able to pursue her own life plans out on poor Jerry. All this guy ever did is like her, and she treats him like dirt. 

Maybe it was the Barrys coming to claim her when she planned to spend the night with Jerry's family the evening she "sprained" her ankle (wink, wink). Perhaps that is when she realizes a relationship with Jerry is ridiculous. She didn't mind kissing him, but she knew a relationship with Jerry could never last. It's maddening she allowed it to start in the first place, but who else was she going to go after? Tillie Boulter had two guys sweet on her. Moody Spurgeon liked Ruby Gillis and Charlie Sloane seemed to like Anne. Billy Andrews and Josie Pye were an item. So, what contemporary does that leave for Diana? 

After the girls graduate from Queen's how likely is it Diana would bother to apologize to Jerry? So, what happens once Anne and Diana return to Avonlea for good? Do Diana and Jerry just never speak to each other again? Does Anne try to play peacemaker? Is Anne and Jerry's friendship impacted by Diana's treatment of him? 

Finally, what does the future look like for the Cuthberts? 

With Anne away at Queen's, Marilla and Matthew will be terrible lonesome. Matthew admits he will miss her every day when he hands her the sock filled with money from the sale of the cow. The farm will keep them busy until she returns, but how does their health hold up? If there were additional seasons, would Matthew die like in the book and in the 1985 adaptation? Would Marilla eventually lose her eyesight? 

By bringing Anne the book her father gave to her mother, Anne finally has the missing piece to the puzzle about her identity and can move on. Is that enough for her? It seems to be at the end of the series, but what if it's not? How will the Cuthberts deal with it if Anne decides to travel to find out more? Will they eventually sell Green Gables when they can no longer keep up with it? If Matthew dies, would Marilla move in with Rachel and her husband? 

What do you think of my list? What are some loose ends you wish were tied up? What do you think the future holds for the residents of Avonlea?

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Book Review: Any Dumb Animal by AE Hines


If you appreciate memoirs-in-verse, then you must pre-order a copy of Any Dumb Animal by AE Hines. 

This moving collection of poems wanders through the past and present of a life marked by hurt, rejection, pain, love, acceptance, parenting, aging, and illness to rise above and courageously share those experiences with us all. Word after word and line by line, Hines rips off the bandages, lets the wounds bleed again, and captures that raw emotion so many of us have no idea how to channel. In this brave and inspiring collection, Hines gives voice to the voiceless and understanding to the misunderstood. 

While what the author shares is deeply personal, his words will resonate with many. The pain of harsh words spoken by a parent, the fear of being found out, the joy of simple every day memories with our children and the hurt when they lash out, the sorrow of love lost and the excitement and terror of starting over, and so much more is found within these pages.

"A Note to the School Registrar" is one of my favorites from Any Dumb Animal. I won't tell you what it is about, so that the effect isn't lost once you read it, but it reminds me that some struggle with things I can't comprehend, yet need to understand and be conscious of. 

Any Dumb Animal by AE Hines shows how beautiful language can be in the hands of a real master. 

With every pre-sale purchase of Any Dumb Animal by A.E. Hines between June and November 2021, a group of anonymous donors will match dollar for dollar each sale and donate it to The Trevor Project.

The Trevor Project was founded in 1998 and is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.

The publisher also is offering a limited time advanced sale price of $8.50 + shipping. Order here: https://mainstreetragbookstore.com/product/any-dumb-animal-ae-hines/

I received a digital copy of this book through Poetic Book Tours. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Book Spotlight: My Feats in These Shoes by Ronda Beaman


If memoirs, done right, tap the right sort of personal journey to ignite fresh insight and inspiration into the human journey, then what better way to humorously and poignantly illuminate the sequential steps and stages of life than with shoes? 

“My Feats in These Shoes” is an exuberantly spunky woman’s spirited and irrepressible romp—slips, missteps, leaps, scuffs, and twirls—toward becoming something bigger, something better, something more. 

Far from serving up trauma porn (or emotional bunions), this memoir is an upbeat, humorous, affectionate and affecting coming of age memoir that ends each chapter with a ‘Put Yourself in My Shoes’ section for readers to consider their own strides in pursuing an out of the shoe box life.

Book Excerpt

I have never known anyone great who didn’t face hundreds of pebbles in their shoes as they climbed their mountain of purpose, contribution, and meaning. What do they do? They untie their shoes, pick out the biggest pebbles, throw them underfoot, put their shoes back on and then put all their weight into pulverizing the remaining gravel holding them back or down—and then they keep climbing. 

Dr. Ronda Beaman has been Chief Creative Officer for the global research and solution firm PEAK Learning, Inc., since 1990. As a national award-winning educator, Dr. Beaman is Clinical Professor of Leadership at The Orfalea School of Business, California Polytechnic University. She is Founder and Executive Director of Dream Makers SLO, a non-profit foundation granting final wishes to financially- challenged, terminally-ill adults, and serves on the Board of Directors for the National Pay It Forward Foundation. She was recently named a Stanford Fellow at the Distinguished Career Institute.

Her national award-winning book, You’re Only Young Twice, has been printed in five languages. Her memoir, Little Miss Merit Badge, was an Amazon bestseller and was featured at The Golden Globe Awards. Her children’s book, Seal With a Kiss, is designed to improve skills for beginning readers and is offered at Lindamood-Bell Learning Centers internationally. My Feats in These Shoes will be released in Spring 2021.

Dr. Beaman is an internationally recognized expert on leadership, resilience, fitness, education, and life coaching. She has conducted research in a host of areas, written many academic articles and books, and won numerous awards. She was selected by the Singapore Ministry of the Family as their honored Speaker of the Year and named the first recipient of the National Education Association’s “Excellence in the Academy: Art of Teaching” award. She has been selected as a faculty resource for the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) university in Argentina, Kyoto and India, where she received the highest speaker ratings among 36 elite faculty. She has been featured on major media including CBS and Fox Television, USA Today, and is a national thought leader for American Health Network.

Dr. Beaman earned her doctorate in Leadership at Arizona State University. She is also a certified executive coach and personal trainer with multiple credentials from the Aerobic Research Center. Her family was named “America’s Most Creative Family” by USA Today and she won the SCW National Fitness Idol competition.






Sunday, August 15, 2021

Modernizing a Classic: What I Found Strange in Anne with an E


In a previous post, I shared what I enjoyed about the latest Anne of Green Gables series, Anne with an E. Now, let's talk about what I thought was strange or a bit odd from the series. Reminder that spoilers will be in white. 

1. Why did the Cuthberts want a boy if they had hired hand Jerry Baynard?

I brought this up before, but Jerry is already working on the farm when Anne arrives at Green Gables. Had there already been rumblings about a financial crisis? Was the plan to let Jerry go after their orphan boy arrived? By having Jerry there when Anne arrives, it makes her being a girl irrelevant. 

2. Would a Canadian newspaper during Anne's childhood be talking about greenhouse effect?

In this commentary about Anne with an E, it states in 1896 a Swedish scientist concluded coal burning would have an impact on the natural greenhouse effect. In the second episode of Anne with an E, a newspaper boy is shouting, "Extra! Extra! Scientists predict greenhouse effect." I get they are trying to make this series relatable to modern viewers, but thinking a local Canadian paper would cover that news is a stretch for me.

3. Why are so many of the school children obnoxious? 

In the 1985 Anne of Green Gables movie, Anne got teased by her classmates. Josie Pye will always be Josie Pye, but the boys were fairly harmless. In Anne with an E, Billy Andrews is a horrible bully toward Anne. He calls her "Fido." He ruffs at her. He and two other boys run up behind the girls and lift their skirts. Especially in the case of Billy, he is seen as treating young women as people who are only their for his pleasure--whether that be teasing, bullying, or taking advantage of them. 

Josie Pye is the last one to come close to accepting Anne, and their friendship will be tested more than once. She actually calls Anne "trash." She gets her classmates to play spin the bottle in an effort to humiliate Anne. Josie accuses Anne of trying to take Ruby's boyfriend, Gilbert Blythe, as if on she could possibly have known Ruby had her heart set on Gilbert for three years. And, instead of defending her best friend when that happens, Diana Barry says she will try to smooth things over with the other girls. 

When there is a fire at the Gillis' house, Anne rushes in and shuts all the windows and doors, risking her life to slow the fire down. Though Anne's actions save the house, the family needs to relocate for a week while the men of Avonlea make the repairs. The plan decided by the adults is that Ruby will stay at Green Gables, which upsets her terribly. She tells her mother she will never live it down, to which Anne replies something about her not needing to pretend they are friends. 

4. Why did they portray Diana as less than a firm supporter of Anne? 

One of the best parts of Diana and Anne's friendship is that they always stuck by each other. Diana's parents may have separated them when Anne accidentally got Diana drunk on currant wine, but Diana never chose the other girls over Anne and never willingly decided to separate herself from her best friend in the books or previous adaptations. 

In Anne with an E, it is obvious Anne's way of talking embarrasses Diana in front of the other girls, so she tries to explain that away. When Anne is being bullied by Billy, Gilbert shows up to help her and ends up walking with her to school. Josie accosts Anne because she should stay away from him, since Ruby has her heart set on Gilbert--as if Anne could possibly have known that. Instead of sticking up for Anne, Diana lets Josie scold her and then says she will try to smooth things over with the other girls. This new Diana seems way more concerned about what the other girls think than what her best friend thinks. 

Later on in the series, Diana keeps a secret from Anne. When the secret is found out, they quarrel. They both say at the same time, "If you were my friend you would understand." Though I have to admit, Anne is really more to blame for this than Diana because she judged her friend's actions without trying to hear Diana's side, this severs their friendship for a while. Eventually Diana will apologize, but it hurt Anne that her best friend didn't trust her with the secret. 

5. Why were the Cuthberts looked down upon? 

The Cuthberts of the books and film adaptations were respected members of the Avonlea community. While they weren't as wealthy as the Barrys, the Andrews, or the Pyes, they weren't looked down for it. Everyone admired the Green Gables property. If you recall, in Anne of Green Gables, Mr. Sadler approaches Marilla after Matthew's death and offers to buy it from her. That is why Anne ends up staying home instead of going off to college. 

From the very beginning of Anne with an E, the wealthier families talk about them with a level of disrespect I didn't think possible after so many years of reading and watching Anne of Green Gables. They whisper among themselves as Marilla and Matthew bring Anne to the church picnic. The Cuthberts hold no position of power in town. The Board of Trustees is instead made up of the minister, three men who are never really identified, and Rachel Lynde. The owner of the general store in town isn't even kind to them. This is something that totally disturbs me. 

There are other things about the series that I found odd.

  • Creating an older Cuthbert brother who died, which meant Marilla didn't marry John Blythe because she was needed to take care of their mother and Matthew. 
  • Anne and Jerry being sent off alone to sell things so the Cuthberts could pay back the loan to the bank. 
  • Gilbert being able to leave the farm and take off on a steamship while he figures out what to do after his father dies.
  • Cole's suspicion that Mr. Phillips picks on him and was only marrying Prissy because he was struggling with his sexual identity.
  • Mr. Phillips being portrayed as a terrible bully toward his students. We always knew he was incompetent as written by Montgomery, but he wasn't portrayed as cruel. 
  • The girls talking about the status quo. They mention it at school, and Jane talks about her acceptance of the status quo when Prissy asks her father for her dowry since she doesn't intend to marry in the near future. She says everyone is overreacting because the status quo put a roof over their heads and clothes on their backs and the women didn't even need to lift a finger. 
  • After the Queen's Academy entrance exams are over, the students gather at the Ruins and drink moonshine, getting drunk and having a grand old time. I guess I never saw that happening in Avonlea.
What do you think of my list? If you watched Anne with an E, were there things you found odd about this new adaptation? Did you find anything on my list nitpicky? 

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Modernizing a Classic: What I Enjoyed about Anne with an E


From 2017 - 2019, the reimagined story of my favorite red-headed orphan streamed on Netflix. Anne with an E had a loyal following, but despite a fan campaign for a fourth season, the third season wound up being its last. 

Reviews of this series are wide ranging in opinions--from those who loved the grittier, less romanticized version of Anne's story to those who denounced the far shift from the original Lucy Maud Montgomery books and topics geared toward an older audience. As Kevin Sullivan continued his move away from the Anne of Green Gables series source material with the movies Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story and Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning, I stopped following new franchise offerings, like the three PBS L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables movies starring Martin Sheen as Matthew Cuthbert. 

After a few stressful weeks filled with tons of work, I decided to unwind with Anne with an E, which is currently on Netflix. I hope you will humor me sharing my thoughts on the series. I opted to break this down into multiple posts to make it easier to read and, hopefully, give you a reason to come back for more. Spoilers will be in white text. 

What I Enjoyed about Anne with an E

1. There is more backstory for many characters. 

The familiarity with Anne's story necessitates the need for more backstory to keep things fresh. What really happened to her before she came to Green Gables? How about Matthew and Marilla? What was their life like growing up? What was Marilla's courtship with John Blythe like? Anne with an E explores more of all of their lives.

Anne's backstory is tough to digest. It is often shared through flashbacks of the torment she endured prior to coming to Green Gables. When she is teased by the school children of Avonlea, she flashes back to the days she was tortured by other children at the orphanage. Anne also struggles with not knowing more about her parents. 

The producers of Anne with an E also created more of a backstory for the Cuthberts. They created an older brother, who died. As a result, Marilla and Matthew's mother retreated to bed and never recovered. Marilla ended her courtship with John Blythe because she was needed at home to take care of Matthew. 

2. Anne is the catalyst for change in her community.

In some ways, Anne always was. She won over the people of Avonlea in the books and in the 1985 adaptation starring Megan Follows. Anne's charm, intelligence, abundant imagination, and knack for getting into and out of trouble--usually with great flourish--helped the people of Avonlea see things differently. However, Anne's story as written by Lucy Maud Montgomery was not usually about societal change; though we can see a feminist slant in how Anne and Marilla are created--something, I applaud. 

Anne with an E definitely is about how Anne creates societal change within her community and it starts right away. In the first episode of Season 1, Marilla tries to explain why they can't keep Anne. She says they wanted a boy to help Matthew with the farm work, so Anne asks if she can do the work. Marilla explains that is not the way of things, to which Anne replies, "Girls can do anything a boy can do and more."  Good for you, Anne. 

But, wait, there is so much more. Fans know from the books and the 1985 series that Diana (Anne's best friend) Barry's great aunt Josephine Barry is considered a spinster. She is a wealthy woman who chose not to marry. In Anne with an E, Miss Barry is said to have lived with another independent woman Diana has always called Aunt Gertrude, who has recently passed away. As the story develops, Anne discovers that Aunt Jo and Aunt Gertrude were partners in every sense of the word; something that rocks Diana's world considering the view of same-sex couples at the time. It will be Anne who helps Diana to change her way of thinking. 

Series creator Moira Walley-Beckett also wanted to include a queer person as one of Anne's peers. Cole works on his family's farm and is a budding artist. Like Anne, he is harassed by Billy Andrews and their teacher Mr. Phillips. Anne and Cole become good friends and she allows him to come to their story club spot to create his artwork. Not only is she accepting of who Cole is, she is not shy in defending him when needed. 

Anne is the one who suggests the school paper print an obituary of Mary Lacroix after she dies of sepsis. Mary and her husband Sebastian were the only two People of Color to live in Avonlea. Gilbert Blythe met Sebastian, lovingly called Bash by his friends, while working on a steamship. 

After Anne publishes a controversial editorial on equality in the paper, the Avonlea Board of Trustees--led mostly by men--votes either the paper is shut down or is only allowed to cover topics the Board approves. Anne rallies the students of the Avonlea school to protest because freedom of speech is a human right and quickly gains the support of many of the townspeople.

3. Secondary or minor characters get more screen time and storylines.

While it is not clear to book fans, it seems Prissy Andrews (a relation of Jane and Billy Andrews) marries the Avonlea school teacher, Mr. Phillips. As fans of Anne of Green Gables will recall, Prissy was studying for the entrance exam to Queen's Academy with the help of Mr. Phillips when Anne started school. It is made quite clear that Prissy is his special project.

In Anne with an E, Prissy (said to be the oldest sister of Jane and Billy in this series) and Mr. Phillips become engaged, but Prissy leaves him at the altar to go on to college. When she returns to the family home in Avonlea, she does her best to display her talent with finance and numbers to her father, who continues to remind her to focus on how useful she can be to a future husband. That does not deter Prissy, who is determined to be instrumental in the success of the Andrews family's enterprises.

Josie Pye, Anne's nemesis in the books and the series/movie adaptations, is more than Anne's rival in Anne with an E. Though not accepting of Anne at the beginning, when Diana and the other girls take a stand, Josie would rather be included than excluded. She is often seen hanging out with Anne, Diana, Jane, Ruby Gillis, and Tillie Boulter inside of and outside of school. She does, however, maintain her nasty side until...

There is an incident with a boy and Anne rushes to Josie's defense. Though this blows up in ways Anne couldn't have imagined, and Josie is furious with her for a time, Josie eventually realizes that Anne's heart was in the right place and joins them when the children take a stand against the paper being censured. 

In Anne with an E, the Cuthberts have a hired hand named Jerry Baynard to help them with the farm work. This almost makes me wonder if either Jerry was too young (he was around Anne's age) or if the Cuthberts could no longer keep paying him, because Marilla and Matthew wanted to adopt a boy to help them with the farm.

I honestly don't remember more than the occasional mention of a hired hand in the books, so it is interesting to see Jerry Baynard get so much attention in Anne with an E. He meets Anne in the first episode, and she instantly sees him as a threat to her ability to stay at Green Gables. Through the series their friendship toddles along, and Anne even teaches him to read and write. Anne's outbursts of temper are sometimes directed Jerry's way, which usually leaves him confused. It is his involvement with another girl, however, that makes his life so challenging. 

Miss Muriel Stacy is hired as the new school teacher after Mr. Phillips leaves Avonlea. Viewers first see her using vegetables dipped in paint to make pretty stencils on the walls of her new home. To the children's delight and to the parents' dismay, she rides a motor bike and can be seen wearing pants from time to time. Unlike the Miss Stacy you may remember from the books and previous film adaptations, this Muriel Stacy is a widow. Mrs. Rachel Lynde, the town busybody, is determined to find her a husband and spends a lot of time trying to set her up on dates with eligible men. 

In addition to newer methods of teaching, Miss Stacy is a staunch supporter of her students. She agrees to tutor Gilbert prior to the start of class so he can catch up on what he missed while away taking care of his father. She organizes the school paper and even gets them an old printing press, which she fixes with Matthew's help; though she is pretty handy by herself. And when a member of the Board of Trustees screams at her to control her children during the freedom of speech rally, she says they are not children and they are not out of control. She hopes for and helps her students work toward creating an enlightened Avonlea.  

4. The introduction of Indigenous characters and People of Color. 

The Canadian Encyclopedia states the existence of the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne predates the establishment of the international border in 1783. The first Black person arrived in Canada in 1608. Despite this, the novels and previous film adaptations did not feature characters such as these. 

Producers of Anne with and E discovered Charlottetown, PEI had a community settled in the early 19th century by freed Black slaves known as The Bog. So, they incorporated that history into Season 2. After the death of John Blythe, Gilbert sets out to fulfill his father's dream of seeing the world. While working on a steamship, he meets Sebastian "Bash" Lacroix. Bash ends up returning with Gilbert to Avonlea to work as partners on the farm. Bash travels to The Bog, where he meets his future wife, Mary, who he brings back with him to Avonlea.

At the beginning of Season 3, we see the boys of Avonlea on the icy pond playing hockey. Ka‘kwet, a Mi’kmaq girl, appears with her father (Aluk). Aluk makes quality hockey sticks for the boys. Anne befriends Ka‘kwet and asks to interview her and her family for the school newspaper, which doesn't go over very well with the lily white folks of Avonlea who already find it challenging enough to accept Sebastian and Mary Lacroix. 

5. The new ways in which familiar scenes were recreated.

Anne coming to Green Gables and discovering they had wanted a boy, Anne cracking her slate over Gilbert's head on her first day of school, Anne dying her hair, and other familiar scenes work their way into Anne with an E.  How could it be Anne of Green Gables without them? The tweaks to them is what makes them special in this series. 

Anne's hair dying trauma comes after the Cuthberts had already decided to keep her, so it became more about growing pains for her as she had to attend school with her hair cropped close to her head; something most of the boys didn't let pass without teasing her. 

I've pretty much already written a novel with this post, so I will stop here. Did you ever watch Anne with an E? If so, what are some things you enjoyed about it? Did you wish it would have continued for the planned Seasons 4 and 5? 

Monday, August 9, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Mailbox Monday

Welcome to It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Mailbox Monday.


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

Welcome back to Monday. I hope you had a nice week. As expected, mine was busy, but I crossed one major task off my list, so I feel rather productive. In addition to real estate, I am working on two editing projects and making my way through three seasons of Anne with an E. I am on the fence about this show, but I want to make it to the end of the three seasons before providing more thoughts about it. 

Other than reading editing projects, I started this one.

These are next on the list. 

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

As a belated birthday gift, the family got me this book off my Amazon wish list. I enjoy reading non-fiction from time to time, though I don't do it as often as I used to.

Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results

No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving--every day. James Clear, one of the world's leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.

If you're having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn't you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don't want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Here, you'll get a proven system that can take you to new heights.

Clear is known for his ability to distill complex topics into simple behaviors that can be easily applied to daily life and work. Here, he draws on the most proven ideas from biology, psychology, and neuroscience to create an easy-to-understand guide for making good habits inevitable and bad habits impossible. Along the way, readers will be inspired and entertained with true stories from Olympic gold medalists, award-winning artists, business leaders, life-saving physicians, and star comedians who have used the science of small habits to master their craft and vault to the top of their field.

Learn how to:
- make time for new habits (even when life gets crazy);
- overcome a lack of motivation and willpower;
- design your environment to make success easier;
- get back on track when you fall off course;
...and much more.

Atomic Habits will reshape the way you think about progress and success, and give you the tools and strategies you need to transform your habits--whether you are a team looking to win a championship, an organization hoping to redefine an industry, or simply an individual who wishes to quit smoking, lose weight, reduce stress, or achieve any other goal.

That's it for me this week. Hope you share some of your reading world in the comments.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Titles or Covers That Made Want to Read/Buy the Book

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

What a fun topic this week. Though I really should be doing something else, I had to take part in this one. 

This is definitely a case of loved a cute cover and thought the title was adorable. This e-book collection is no longer available, but based on reviews, I probably wouldn't have read it anyway. Still a cute cover and adorable title. 

Not my normal read, but the cover on this book is stunning. Reviews are good as well. 

I bought this one because of the title--an historical event which I am familiar with--but also because I enjoy the author's work.

This is such a pretty cover, I couldn't resist. Having library in the title didn't hurt its chances either. 

First word Christmas and set on a lake...definitely needed to add this to my TBR pile. Love the cover, too.

I was already a fan of Kathi Macias' books when this one came out. She has released several Christmas stories, but this was my favorite and the cover is lovely. The title is also pleasing to me, thinking about a journey home for Christmas.

This is my favorite Harry Potter cover. I would have read the book regardless of the title or the cover art, but the green and yellow colors on this one makes it an attractive cover. 

Bought this one solely because of the title. Maybe it is an editor thing. :)

Another great title. Love the colors on this cover as well. Really need to read this one.

A pretty house on the water at sunset. Need I say more?

What do you think of my list? Have you read any of these? What is a book you have bought because you liked the title or cover?

Sunday, August 1, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Mailbox Monday - Aug 2

Welcome to It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Mailbox Monday.


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

Welcome to August. This will be a busy month with at least two new listings, a trip to Chicago for leadership training, the girls heading back to North Carolina, and the Lil' Princess starting her final year of high school. 

This last week was a fun one. I had three closings, so I felt I could spend some time at the end of the week indulging in my other passion--writing. I finished two chapters of my middle grade historical, which means it is 80% complete. I have figured out how the rest will go, but I need to write it. Today, I'm meeting with one of my critique partners to hand over these two chapters for feedback. Other than that, I did some cleaning, scheduled some blog posts, and made some good food.

Dwight and Travis looking adorable

The view during showings this weekend

Theo likes to walk in the woods (very buggy lately)

Chicken pot pie

Chicken and rice soup

As far as reading and reviewing goes, I am desperately working to stay ahead of the game. I finished this fabulous memoir-in-verse on Sunday. Look for my review at this blog on August 18.

These are next on the list. 

If I am wise, after that I will concentrate on my large TBR pile. 

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Nothing in my physical mailbox this week, but I did order this book. I will be editing the second book in the series, so I want to read this one to remain as consistent as possible. 

Brave Eagle grows to manhood amid the constant changes and turmoil on the Plains. Now, in a world full of choices, Brave Eagle must make many decisions, some for his survival. This period is a time of exploration, discovery, and settlement in the West; intervention and treaties with the U. S. Government; leadership issues between the peace chief Black Kettle and the war leader Roman Nose, the Dog Soldiers, the Sand Creek Massacre, the Massacre at Washita. Is Brave Eagle to be a man of war or a man of peace? Is he to be a fierce frightening warrior or a wise peacemaker? Can he learn to adapt to the white man's world, or would he be able to hold on to the rich traditions of the grandfathers? In the middle 1800's, the white man's world collides with the world of the Native Americans. How would this affect the people of the Plains? Where will this life journey take Brave Eagle?

Doesn't this book sound amazing? I've read about this time period before, so I feel that will help me understand the characters. 

That's it for me. Hope you have a great week.