Monday, December 31, 2012

2012

In 2012 I read 110 books.  One of the things I wanted to see was my percentage of digital vs paper.  62% of the books read were paper, 34% were digital either by kindle or Adobe X, and 4% were audio.  I have discovered some authors new to me this year that I will continue to read:  Brad Meltzer, Ruth Reid, Cliff Graham, and kathy Reichs.  Of course there are a few that I already know and love that I read this year too:  Lee Child, David Ellis, Beverly Lewis, and Jennifer Weiner.  Here are my best of 2012 awards:

Best nonfiction
All around:  Travels With Charley (you really must read that one)
War:  The Liberator and Band of Brothers
Historical:  Conversations about JFK

Best Fiction
All around:  Raylan
Romance:  Whither Thou Goest, I will Go
War:  Johnny's War and Yellow Birds
Historical:  Wettest County in the World

Best author: John Steinbeck.  yes, he's been around awhile and he is dead.  But his book was the best one I read of the year. Gotta go to him.
Best discovered author:  Kathy Reichs
Best audio:  Red Queen

december

December.  Merry Christmas and all that.  I had a busy December.  Band, basketball, christmas, books.  I read 11 books in fact.  Four were digital and seven were paper.
Guilty Wives- James Patterson
Shadow Queen- Rebecca Dean
Biggest Brother- Larry Alexander
The Orphan King- Sigmond Brouwer
Goldberg Variations- Susan Isaacs
Full Disclosure- Dee Henderson
Rare Earth- Davis Bunn
Amish Romance Boxed Set- Becca Fisher
Lethargica- Edward Carpenter
The Liberator- Alex Hershaw
The Affair- Lee Child
The best of the month would go to The Liberator.  Shadow Queen was also a good one.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Liberator Revew

"The Liberator: One World War II Soldier's 500-Day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau" by Alex Kershaw is the story of Felix Sparks and the 157th Infantry Regiment- Thunderbirds, journey from Italy to the concentration camp, Dauchau.  The Thunderbirds fought the longest to defeat Hitler than any other regiment in Europe.  They missed out on the headlines, but were viable to winning the war. 
The e-book follows Sparks and focuses on him as they fight. It starts with Sparks' childhood, follows through his war career, and then briefly follows his lawyer years and fight to change gun laws in Colorado.  He pushed to make it illegal for a child to carry a gun in whatever way he chooses, anywhere.   Unfortunately, Hershaw didn't get inside Sparks' persona until about a third of the way through the book.  The first third reads like a text book, very informational but not entertaining.  The rest of the book gets a little more into Sparks and becomes much more emotional.  I really liked this book.  I would recommend this book to anyone interested in WWII in any way.  I recieved this e-book for free from www.edelweiss.abovethetreeline.com

Friday, December 21, 2012

sleeping

It is 1914, World War I, France; an American Volunteer soldier is desperately looking for a way home.  He has stopped receiving any word from his wife and knows he needs to go to her.  His wife has what is called Lethargica, which is a mysterious disease that was randomly claiming victims during the WWI and Spanish flu days.  Lethargica is when the victim can hear and feel everything, but cannot move, answer or perform basic functions (blinking, toilet, etc).  This is a love story as well as a history lesson on the unusual.  At first it comes off kind of stuffy and overly-descriptive.  I even looked up amazon.com to see if it was going to get any better.  I saw lots of stars and rave reviews.  So I kept reading.  After the first 3 or 4 pages the reader will fall into a rhythm with it and fall in love with it.  Wonderful, yet heartbreaking story.  I received this e-book for free from www.librarything.com

more amish

In November, I read and reviewed "Heavenly Temptation" a short story by Becca Fisher.  Today I have finished "Amish Romance Boxed Set 1-4" by Becca Fisher courtesy of www.librarything.com.  The boxed set is a collection of short stories; Heavenly Temptation, being one of them.  Heavenly Temptation is story 2, about Allison, an Amish girl who finds love outside of the faith and brings it into the Amish community.  The other three stories in Romanced Boxed Set, are the stories of her two sisters and then the summary of the three coming back together.  As a short story each story is fine on its own.  The romances are a lot rushed, but they have to be short, so whatta gonna do?  However, as a collection they run on to boring.  Each story has pretty much the same storyline.  They also use the word 'hunk' a lot.  Which bugs me.  The romances when grouped together are awkwardly rushed and seem too unreal.  Almost like they saw each other for the first time and said "hey, wanna fall in love and get married?"  "yeah, sure, I got nothing else going on."  No romance really to be had.  I would recommend the stories be interwoven into one novel and maybe change up the dilemma that is each one.  The whole "leave the community" thing is a bit over done.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

rare earth review

"Rare Earth" by Davis Bunn was given to me in exchange for an honest review by Bethany House.  "Rare Earth" is the second book in the Mark Royce series.  You do not need to have read the first at all to follow the second.  I really like his new series.  I have tried to read a few of Bunn's romances that he co-wrote but none of them held my interest.  This series is totally different from that.  It is about a man, Mark Royce, who is an accountant and widower.  He somehow gets tied into the White House and undercover work globewide through the UN to rescue the innocent and bring down international criminals.  The how he got tied into the White House part of the story is a little murky.  What's not murky is the research on the countries that Mark travels to and the knowledge of the land and cultures. In this novel he goes to Africa.  You will know by the end, you do not want to go to Africa. Royce is a Christan "James Bond" kinda guy so to speak.  There's a woman in every country, but she is always treated with respect and he never has sex with her.  The fights like a true soldier, but doesn't kill.  I would say this is a "guy" book, but enjoyable by women as well.  I hope he writes more of this series.  I'm a liking Royce.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

full disclosure review

"Full Disclosure" by Dee Henderson is a novel about two over achievers who meet while solving crime.  Falcon is an FBI agent in Chicago who is trying to solve an incredibly cold case about a murder-for-hire who has 30 murders under the belt.  She's not likely to get caught unless she wants to.  Ann is a cop Falcon meets and decides she is the wife he needs.  Ann is describes by her friends to Falcon as a this deep, complex woman.  In real life, she would be described as a little weird.  Falcon and Ann not only are trying to solve the Lady Shooter, but they are also trying to solve the conspiracy of a former Vice President of the USA and his kidnapping cover up. 
The edition I read is an unpublished manuscript dated May 2012 that I received this fall.  It was released in October.  I am assuming some of the discrepancies were fixed between the two.  For instance, there are a couple wrinkles in time.  An example would be that when Falcon, who is 39, was adopted at 9, the first thing his father gave him was a phone with all of his siblings programed in and the phone rang constantly. In 1983, no 9 year old had a cell phone, not even a rich one is Chicago.  Maybe he got a house phone, but then why would it be ringing when they were all in the same house?  There are also a lot of cases going on as well as a love story.  The book flows evenly between the romance and the cases, intertwining the story lines.  I really liked Falcon, but I thought Ann was a strange; I kept thinking she would wind up being one of the killers.  Anyway, I liked the writing, liked the story lines, didn't like the damsel in distress.  I received this book for review from www.facebook.com/deehendersonfulldisclosure.com courtesy of Bethany House.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

goldberg review

"Goldberg Variations" by Susan Isaacs, is a novel centering around Gloria Goldberg (Garrison) and her three estranged grandchildren, Matt, Daisy, and Raqual.  All three grandchildren are in their twenties and from New York.  Gloria lives in New Mexico and runs her own multi-million dollar company, Glory, which is a sort of portable beauty shop in the Southwest.  Gloria is a hag.  I could put it worse, which would be more accurate, but Amazon won't let people say the b-word on their site.  Her grandkids are a little like her, but a lot nicer.  As you get to know Gloria better, you keep thinking that there is some reason she's a hag, like something in her childhood, but no, she's just mean.  A real mean old lady. 
There really isn't much plot to be had here.  The three come to New Mexico to meet their grandmother and she wants one to take over the company.  They tell her no.  Each chapter takes a turn in each of the characters heads.  You basically go through their thoughts on each other throughout the weekend.  It seemed to drag towards the end, because even though the character development is phenomenal, there isn't a big ending to bring it together.  I love it till the end. Then I'm like, well....... I guess that's the end.  I received this e-book for free from www.edelweissabovethetreeline.com

Friday, December 7, 2012

the orphan king reveiw

"The Orphan King" by Sigmund Brouwer is a young adult novel that starts the Merlin's Immortals series.  In "The Orphan King" Thomas begins a journey to take over Magnus, a village of sorts in England during the 12th century.  As he travels there with William the Knight; Isabelle, the girl; and Tiny John, the pickpocket; he is somehow involved with the centuries old battle of the Immortals vs the Druids.  This whole part of the story is left cloaked in mystery and it is never clear what they are fighting over or who is on which side.  Normally, this would annoy me to no end, but it is told in such a way that I am left wanting more.  I am intrigued and am left thinking about the book trying to figure it out.  The group fights bandits, dabbles in science (otherwise known as witchcraft), he escapes the abbey, and William teaches Thomas to be a man, a wise one, along the way.  It is a short book, read in a day.  I would say the age level would be 8th grade or higher.  It might appeal more to boys, but not necessarily.  I liked it. I received this book for free from www.bloggingforbooks.com

Friday, November 30, 2012

November

November, November, November.  We had Thanksgiving.  I am so thankful for things like family and all that, but also the small stuff like cappuccino, and money, and indoor plumbing, books, clean water, etc.
This month I read 10 books.  I am getting a little behind on my review books.  But I got some done this month.
Love in Disguise- Carol Cox
Summer of Secrets- Charlotte Hubbard
Heavenly Temptation- Becca Fisher
Yellow Birds- Kevin Powers
Wettest County in the World- Matt Bondurant
Darkness Rising- Lisa Wiehl
Sinner's Creed- Scott Stapp
Autumn Winds- Charlotte Hubbard
Lady of the Rivers- Philippa Gregory
The Purple Shroud- Stella Duff
One was audio, four were digital, and 5 were paper.  This year I have read about half and half as far as digital vs paper goes and I can say that both are necessary depending on the situation.  As far as reading itself goes, it doesn't really matter.  The best book this month is probably a tie between "Yellow Birds" and "Wettest County"  Wettest County is the movie Lawless.  In case you are looking for a short cut.

purple shroud review

"The Purple Shroud" by Stella Duff is the second part to a two part series of books about Theodora, the Empress of Rome during the 4th century.  I would recommend reading the first one, "Theodora, Actress, Empress, Whore" first as there were a few times when I didn't really know what was going on or couldn't see the importance of what was happening.  It isn't necessary, however, I could still follow the storyline.  This novel has a LOT of history crammed into it.  I needed to google a few things here and there because I am not really up on my Roman Empire knowledge.  I took a World Civilization class in college once, but that didn't really cover it.  Justinian is one of the last Emperors of Rome and Theodora was his Empress.  She was really more of a co-ruler.  She was not just there for breeding purposes, in fact, she couldn't have children.  She fought for women's rights and looked out for the common people as well as the whores.  She set up homes for former prostitutes and worked with establishing women into society as independent people, if possible. 
Some of this book got a little boring because of my lack of knowledge.  It became more than what was entertainment.  The novel as a whole was good.  I think I'm going to read the first book, too.  I received this book for free from www.netgalley.com

Sunday, November 25, 2012

xmas season is here

Christmas season is upon us.  I have put together the top 10 Christmas movies of all time.  It's simply not Christmas without them.
1.  The Nativity
2.  Christmas Vacation
3. Charlie Brown Christmas (ok, not a movie, but still mandatory)
4. Little Women (not really Christmas movie, but it's Christmas in it)
5. The Christmas Story
6. Elf
7. While You Were Sleeping
8. It's an Wonderful Life
9. The Santa Clause
10. Scrooged
11.  The Preacher's Wife (I know that makes 11, but when she sings "who could imagine a king" puts it on the list.)

Time for a marathon!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Autumn winds review

"Autumn Winds" by Charlotte Hubbard is the second in the Seasons of the Heart Series.  The first was "Summer of Secrets"  which I have read and reviewed earlier.  After reading the first one, I wished I hadn't already agreed to read the second because it was pretty bad.  However, the second surprised me.  Hubbard was no longer trying to out Amish the Amish and was starting to right  a story.  Even more surprisingly she decided to write about romance and sexual longing.  And she was writing it very well.  Her characters were evolving into people rather than just Amish stereotypes. Which I didn't see coming.  In "Autumn Winds" Miriam is still fighting off the unwanted advances of the bishop as well as trying to get a little something started with Ben, the new guy in town.  The bishop is getting his due, Ben's aunts are shaking things up, and Rhoda is getting to now herself better as her youth passes her by.  Keep in mind, that she is only 21 and there will probably be two more books.  I just hope she comes into her own before getting hitched.  I received this book for free from www.netgalley.com

Monday, November 19, 2012

creed review

"Sinner's Creed" by Scott Stapp, lead singer of Creed, is the memoir of a rock star; the memoir of a Christian.  It opens with him falling in a drunken haze off of a balcony head first and cracking his skull.  At first, I wasn't sure if he was bragging or confessing.  He then starts off at the beginning of memory and goes through to today.  He is adopted by his step-father who is quiet possibly insane and calls himself a Christian.  With the amount of physical abuse Scott endures as a child, it leads to a lifetime of conflict between a punishing God of his father's and a loving God that is true.  Though Creed is a rock band in every since of the word, this book is very spiritual and Christian.  He wrote it with the help of David Ritz.  It is very well written.  He admits to some pretty personal stuff, yet doesn't let on that he is superior or using it as a crutch.  He is rather matter-of-fact about it all.  I tend to bore of celebrity autobiographies when the person becomes famous in the book.  So it slowed quiet a bit when he became famous.  That might just be me, though.  It is a quick read; read it in a day.  About 1/8 or more of it is lyrics, which is his main form of writing, so that makes sense.  There are also pictures.  I would think any Creed fan will love this book.  Any Christian feeling the pull of love over rules, will like this book as well.  I received this hard back for free from Tyndale Publishing.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

east salem 2 review

"Darkness Rising" by Lisa Wiehl, is the second book in the East Salem series.  And NO!, it's not about Batman.  Darkness Rising is a paranormal book about demons and angels and control over the world.  Dani and Tommy, a psychologist and ex-football player turned PI, respectively, have mostly solved the murder from the first novel in the series, Waking Hours, and are now searching for the solution to the mystery in the supernatural aspect of it.  A demon has come between the two characters, while they round up their exes and friends to hunt down evil.  It is a pretty good book.  A lot of it is really involved medically.  You wind up skimming over a lot of it unless you are a neurologist or something you won't understand some of it.  Could get boring if you aren't interested in that sort of thing.  If you read the first, you will want to read the second.  I wouldn't say the first ins mandatory to reading the second. I received this book for free from www.booksneeze.com

Thursday, November 8, 2012

high calling

I can't help it, when I hear the words High Calling, I think of that scene in "Dead Poets Society" when Newanda goes "It's God calling.  He says we should have girls at Chatum."  This is kinda nothing like that.  www.highcalling.org is a site that unites Christian bloggers.  Now, I am a Christian, and I am a blogger, but it seems to be more of a blogging about Christianity kinda thing going on.  They have a home page kinda like facebook, where you can check in on the newest blogs related to Christianity.  I didn't read all of them.  It also offers daily and weekly e-mails and audio blogs as well.  I was to review the e-newsletter.  The archives had 2008s newsletters available.  I read several of those.  It mostly keeps up to date on new methods and such of communication with bloggers and social media networks.  Twitter and facebook being two of those that are included on this site.  It seems pretty interesting for a die-hard Christian.  I don't mean that is a so and so is more of a Christian as rather one who does it for a living: a Christian writer, speaker, pastor, etc.  I think it would be a great uniter in that field.  I received the e-mail for referral for this website from Handlebar Publishing. 

heavenly temptation review

"Heavenly Temptation (Amish Romance)" by Becca Fisher is a short story romance.  It takes less than an hour to read so it's great for your phone or whatever when you are waiting for something.  It is about Allison, an Amish woman, and Luke, a Philadelphian, who meet in a quilt shop and fall in love.  The love story is very sweet and charming.  It is, however, incredibly rushed.  But it's a short story, so ya gotta move quick.  Allison's sister is Abigail, who has left the Amish church for marriage to an outsider.  Her father, seems to only care about Abigail, leaving Allison to fall for an Englisher of her own.  The question is, Is Luke out for what he can get, or is it truly love?  We shall see.
I received this book for free from www.librarything.com

Sunday, November 4, 2012

summer of secrets review

"Summer of Secrets" by Charlotte Hubbard, is your standard Amish book.  It fills the pages with cliches and Amish catchphrases till you can't hardly stand it.  It also relys on the fallback storyline of "the misplaced Amish kid".  If the only thing you knew about Amish people was what you read you would think these people couldn't keep track of a kid to save their lives.  It's like a massive Amish Easter egg hunt.  And then to top it off, fictionwise, they always want to keep outsiders out of it, so they don't bother to look very hard.  Now I don't know many Amish, but the ones I have met, I cannot imagine them any of them going "eh, no biggie, I'll get another one".  No, can't see it.
This one starts with Tiffany meeting her biological family of Amish folks.  Strangley, nobody is happy about it.  What starts out as a side story, is the bishop is making Miriam, the mom, sell her building that her business is in.  That story line takes over the book about 1/2 way through the book.  Hubbard lets go of some of the Amish lingo and cliches and the book gets a lot better.  I think she starts in too soon with the Tiffany storyline, because it starts before the reader can learn to care about any of the characters.  We don't even know she is missing when she is found.  I didn't especially like this one....trying too hard to be too Amish.  I received this book for free from www.librarything.com

Thursday, November 1, 2012

love in disguise review

"Love in Disguise" by Carol Cox stars Ellie, a wanna be actress, who gets by working as an actress' assistant, finds herself fired and starving in Chicago.  She overhears two Pinkerton agents talking about needing to hire a woman for a job and quickly cons herself into not one job, but two.  She goes to Arizona and disguises herself as two women to solve the crime of who is the silver mine robbers.  She also falls in love while she's there.
This novel is ok, not bad.  It isn't very realistic.  Of all I have read on the Pinkertons, this book doesn't sound very true to life.  All in all, I'd say this book is readable, it will pass the time; you probably won't even remember it in a few days.  Nothing to complain about, nothing to rave about.  I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers.

october

I never wanna see another piece of chocolate again!  Well... at least not for a long time.  There is candy everywhere!  We had two Halloween parties in the community.  One at the library and one for UNICEF.  The school partied all day Wednesday.  So now October is over.  Time to get thankful.  In October I read 8 books.  Four were digital, three were paper, and one was audio. 
This Scarlet Cord- Joan Wolf
The Memory Jar- Tricia Goyer
Die Trying- Lee Child
Travelers Rest- Ann Tatlock
Damsel in Distress- Shannon Drake aka Heather Graham
Gone Tomorrow- Lee child
Bones are Forever- Kathy Reichs
Potters Field- Patricia Cromwell.

Nothing really stood out being bad or good.  It was all pretty OK.  Some more OK than others.  Now that football is over, perhaps I can get some more reading done.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

bones are forever review

"Bones Are Forever" by Kathy Reichs in the latest in her Temporance Brennan series about a forensic anthropologist who solves crimes.  In this one she is working in Canada and is trying to solve the case of the woman leaving dead babies all over Canada like some sort of morbid Hensel and Gretal.  I don't read the Brennan books in order so I haven't figured out why she sometimes works in the US and sometimes works in Canada.  But, anywho, she's in Canada.  The trail of dead babies leads her to the severe North of Canada where the baby trail leads to a drug/prostitution ring and a diamond mining saga. 
My opinion of this one is that, though all of the Brennan I have read thus far are great, this one is not as great as the others.  She gets very technical about not only bones and forensics, but also diamond mining.  Probably a little too technical.  I kind of gazed over some on it.  However, the baby story line is incredibly intriguing without being more than one can handle reading.  It also has lots of action and even a little humor.  Definitely worth the read. I received this book for free from www.edelweiss.abovethetreeline.com.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

damsel in distress review

"Damsel in Distress" is the re-release of a 1992 novel written by Shannon Drake, aka Heather Graham, now in digital.  Graham must have a dozen personalities.  She can write any genre, any style.  She does romance, mystery, paranormal, you name it, she can write it.  This e-book is a traditional romance with all of the cliches and passion that that entails.  Kat is a countess who is being dealt to the highest bidder.  The prince wants to give her to the evil de la Ville.  King Richard gives her to Montjoy, a knight.  Knight in shining armor if you will.  Both Kat and Montjoy are related to Robin Hood, who plays a bit part in the book. 
It almost seems there is too much going on.  We have 12 Century English politics, Robin Hood, the Crusades, and the love story which is kinda attached to all of the other stories.  I thought it was ok.  I'm a fan of Graham, but not really of Avon romances.  It is well written and well researched.  A little heavy on the cliche phrases and heaving bosoms and aching desires.  But some people really like heaving bosoms.
I received this book for free from www.netgalley.com.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Flipside

Recently I read and reviewed "Johnny's War" which told the story of an severely injured vet through the eyes of the vet.  "Travelers Rest" by Ann Tatlock is the flipside of the "Johnny's" novel.  It tells the story of a severely injured vet through the eyes of the girlfriend.  Only in "Travelers" the girl doesn't leave him, she sticks around.  "Travelers Rest" tell the story of Jane, who is engaged to be married to Seth.  He has returned from Iraq as a quadriplegic.  He wants her to leave, he wants to die.  She stays.  Interestingly, I kept comparing the two books.  Where one was angry and hard to read, the other was sad and hopeful.  Having read, "Johnny's" I never truly hoped for Seth's recovery.  I didn't feel sad at the end so much as I felt relief.  This is a really good book; not sure how I would have felt about it had I not read the other first, but the two together make for a very interesting experience.  I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The memory jar review

"The Memory Jar" by Tricia Goyer is the story of an Amish girl, Sarah, living in a small community in Montana.  Sarah is a little weird (according to Amish ways) and has been living in a deep grief for her life-long best friend, Patty, who had died two years before.  Her neck of the woods is near a popular hunting grounds; where she meets Jathan, who is kind of a wimp.  He feels trapped to do whatever anybody tells him to do. He agrees to whatever his parents, brothers, society in general ask of him.   I never really liked him, which makes it hard to get into the love story part.  I was always rooting for Sarah's independence.  Patty and Sarah did have this tradition that I just loved.  The memory jars.  They would keep little momentos of special moments in jars.  Such a good idea.
As far as the book goes, it is well written, Sarah is a likable character, the Patty-Sarah storyline, is great.  Really takes me back.  But, I don't like Jathan, and the whole Amish line is very predictable.  The characters are more "Amish" than human.  Wish it could have been told in a more personal manner.  I received this e-book for free from www.edelweiss.abovethetreeline.com

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

this scarlet cord review

"This Scarlet Cord" by Joan Wolf is a fictional account of the love story of Rahab from the book of Joshuah from the Old Testament.  To say this is from the Old Testament would be a large exaggeration.  There are a lot of liberties taken with this story.  It is well researched as to the time period and it is historically acurate that I can tell, but to say it is biblical would be false.  It is a fictional piece that is biblically inspired.  Rahab is a prostitute living in Jericho during the time when Joshuah conquers Jericho with the Jewish army.  Rahab hides the spies and later marries one.  In this book, Rahab is a farmer's daughter who is visiting Jericho and comes across the spies.  Though not true, it is an interesting story.  Especially for women.  The way women are portrayed during this time is heartbreaking at best.  Rahab's father is in Jericho in order to "sell" her to the highest bidder for marriage.  Marriage, slavery, very thin line.  I received this book for free from www.booksneeze.com.

Monday, October 1, 2012

well, september ended

September ended and the boys of fall are kicking it up.  All football all the time!  I read 8 books.  Four were real, three were digital, and one was audio.  Here goes the list:
The Wrong Man- David Ellis
Wildflowers in Winter- Kate Ganshert
Blue Straggler- Kathy Lynn Harris
Johnny's War- Jim Braly
The Red Queen- Philippa Gregory
Nothing to Loose- Lee Child
The Red Tent- Anita Diament
The Day the Flowers Died- Ami Blackwelder
Philippa Gregory is a new-to-me writer that I enjoyed.  That was my audio book and the reader was amazing.  I loved to listed to it.  I checked out another Gregory book read by the same reader to listen to next.  I will be reading more of her. Johnny's War was the best of the month.  Really good. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

what would you do?

What would you do if you lived in Germany in the 1930's?  Would you leave the only home you ever knew?  Would stay and fight for a change?  Would you keep your head down and hope for the best?  Rebecca and Eli are a Christian/Jewish couple who have to make this decision.  "The Day the Flowers Died" by Ami Blackwelder in an e-book I received for free from www.librarything.com.  Blackwelder starts the book with Rebecca and Eli meeting, dating and falling in love, in regular traditional fashion.  Eli is Jewish and Rebecca is Catholic.  Neither is a die-hard practicer in their faith.  It's more like their parents are religious and they celebrate the holidays.  To start off with their religious difference make little or no difference.  But as Blackwelder plays out social and political control of the Nazi party and its growth, it comes to matter more and more. 
The beginning starts off in a play-by-play style, making it hard to get into, but then Blackwater starts to hit her stride.  She gives reasoning on how and why Nazis and Hitler came to power and how easy it was with a government that is evenly balanced and at a stand still with a weak president.  Sound familiar?  Once she got going Blackwelder became a marvelous writer who hooked the reader.  The best part was that it didn't cover the usual Nazi/Jew story and tell of life in the camps.  It is about the build up of the power and the attempts to get out of the country.  The sensitive will need tissues at the end.  Just to warn ya.

Monday, September 17, 2012

johnny's war review

This is one of the best books I've ever read.  And I've read a lot of books.  Jim Braly makes John Cutter, the main character in "Johnny's War" seem so real, I was surprised that he wasn't.  I actually looked to see if the author was an Iraq vet and expected the novel to be semi-autobiographic.  It's not at all.  Jim Braly is a newspaper writer.  Now he is a superb novelist.
The novel is told in three parts.  The first being Cutter's time in Iraq, 2006, as a private in the American army. He is new to the desert.  He is niave and soaking it all in like a sponge.  His buddies and leaders are tremendously developed in character. The second tells his time in  recovery from extensive wounds. He travels from Iraq to Germany and on to Walter Reed.  The author holds nothing back when writing on the injuries Cutter sustanes. His nurse is a hoot. The third tells of his AWOL/vacation across America. He hits the sights with his army buddy and learns to care for himself.  He also learns what he can and cannot handle with his new life. And for some reason he doesn't want to see Kansas. (but it's so exciting) The research of army life is detailed and descriptive.  The characters seem so real that the reader will take each disappointment and achievement personally.  It is hilarious, it is thought provoking, sad, AMAZING.  I was hooked instantly.  I received this e-book for free from www.librarything.com.

Friday, September 14, 2012

in the heart of texas is a rocky mountain high

"Blue Straggler" by Kathy Lynn Harris is a novel about a Texas girl who goes to Colorado to find information about her grandmother and winds up finding it about herself. Imagine Jennifer Weiner writing a book about Chelsea Handler. It is funny, odd, adventurous, and makes you want to travel. It starts off with Bailey in Texas with her wacko family and her screwball friends.  After a couple of drunken binges and a one night stand, Bailey finds a picture of her great grandmother, whom no one will talk about.  Annie, the grandmother, left her family and went to Colorado.  She then proceeded to marry over 5 times.   Bailey is on the search.  When arriving in the small town in Colorado, she proceeds to have more drunken binges and one night stands, thus, she comes to face the fact that she understands a little more about Annie then she first expected.  She then meets Adam, your traditional sensitive mountain man.  She starts a new life.  Then Texas comes calling and a decision must be made.  This is a quick read, but enjoyable.  Would recommend it for women.  I received this book for free from www.librarything.com.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

wildflowers review

"Wildflowers From Winter" by Katie Ganshert is a novel about an appearingly selfish and rude woman who has left her hometown with a strange fear of returning, to make it big in Chicago.  She returns for the illnesses and eventual deaths of her friend's husband and her own grandfather.    Bethany, had a rough childhood, but still comes across as hard to like for the most part.  However, that doesn't stop "Wildflowers" from being a book you can't put down. 
The basic agenda of the book is that being Christian is a good thing, and that those that judge others in the name of Christianity tend to be nutjobs and not actually Christian.  This book gives the reader an understanding on the difference.  It is predictible, but most romances are.  Romance is a side story to the Christian vs nutjobs storyline.  I like this one and I think most will too.  Especially if you are on the fence about being Christian or not due to PC appearance.  I received this book for free from bloggingforbooks.com. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

august, now that's more like it

August was more like it.  I liked August a lot better.  The kids went back to school, fair was over, father-in-law was no longer sick ( went to heaven, RIP), VBSs are over, weather went back down to a nice 90+ instead of 100+.  Things calmed down.  We are now doing Football and band, a  little 4-H, work hours are decent, and I might even take a little thing called a va-ca-tion.  Whatever that is.  I read 11 books this month.  9 real books, one digital, and one audio.
The Kennedy Club- GP Schultz
The Hand of a Woman- John Morris (interesting take on the Jack the Ripper mystery)
The Lost Years- Mary Higgins Clark
The Winter Palace- Eva Stachniak
When the Soul Mends- Cindy Woodsmall
Hope Road- John Barlow
Bees in the Butterfly Garden- Maureen Lang
The Fiddler- Beverly Lewis
Bad Luck & Trouble- Lee Child
Memory Keeper's Daughter- Kim Edwards
The Next Best Thing- Jennifer Weiner (highly recommend)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Lewis does it again

"The Fiddler" by the Beverly Lewis, the Great Lady of Amish Fiction has done it again.  In a tie-in story to the Katie Lapp series, "The Fiddler" tells of a Englisher violinist named Amelia and her on-the-fence Amish new love Micheal.  Micheal and Amelia meet by chance in a cabin in the woods when both have "run away" from their lives to contemplate their futures.  That meeting brings their futures into one.  Needless to say, it doesn't go over well with their families.
The Katie Lapp series is the best series that Beverly Lewis has ever written, well, in my opinion, anyway.  Since then there has been a reoccurring theme of Amish women misplacing their babies.  "The Fiddler" has no babies.  So this is a refreshing change, but still written in the style and formula from the Lapp books that put Lewis on the map.  The romance is fresh and innocent, yet still mature and adult.  Micheal will make you wish more men were like him.  There should be a Micheal tree out there somewhere.  I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishing.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bees in the Butterfly garden review

"Bees in the Butterfly Garden" by Maureen Lang centers around Meg, the daughter of a thief and con-artist who has been raised by elite boarder schools and their matrons.  She had no relationship with her father to speak of and now he has died.  Ian, an Irish immigrant, was raised and trained by Meg's father to be a thief as well.  Meg is unaware of her father's career.  When her father dies, she goes to his home and discovers his secrets.  She decides to prove her worth to his band of thieves, a sort of pre twentieth century mafia.  Needless to say, she doesn't have the stomach for it.
I didn't especially like this book.  It was incredibly predictable.  A little boring and wordy.  Not a bad book really, but I wasn't hanging in on their every word.  I received this book for free from Tyndale   Publishing.

Monday, August 20, 2012

hope road review

"Hope Road" by John Barlow is the story of a used car salesman, who is the white sheep of the family.  His father and brother were rackateers and general criminals.  Well, not general, they were at the top of the heap.  John Ray is the 'good son' who goes to college and tries to make good.  He is running his father's former front business of selling cars, when his saleman gets arrested for murdering a prostitute and dealing fake money.  John Ray must solve the crime to get his salesman/friend out of jail and the right person fingered so that the crime boss (who happens to be the hooker's father) can kill the right guy.
"Hope Road" is written in the style of Lee Child and David Ellis.  Tough as nails main character who you don't wanna mess with and he, of course, can figure out even the most cunning of plans.  It's a pretty good book.  The end I didn't especially like, but the rest was good.  I might mention that it is British, which really doesn't matter except the phrasing and slang is a bit different.  Sometimes I would have to read some of the wording a second time to make sure I got what was said. I recieved this e-book for free from www.librarything.com.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Kennedy Club review

"The Kennedy Club" by GP Schultz was given to me free from www.librarything.com.  I received it in the beginning of May and kept putting off reading it.  Well, I shouldn't have.  It was a pretty good book.  There were only two things I didn't like about this book:  Schultz used the word ambition waaaaaay too much.  I started to think about getting a thesarus and finding a new word for ambition, but I was too lazy.  I just let it annoy me.  The other is I never came to like, Jack, one of the main characters.  Jack is a Harvard student who has set his life, and the life of all of his friends, to become president of the United States.  Everything about everyone he knows is built around that goal.  All the members of the Kennedy Club, the group of students who are dedicated to his presidency, live for this.  Literally.  I kinda hoped he wouldn't get president.  Emily is the main character.  Emily is in love with Jack and he with her.  But alas, he is too much of a slut to keep it together.  Jack is designed to be like John Kennedy.  The parallels are all there and written.  However, I kept thinking of the Clintons.  That's my era.  If fact I hadn't realized there were so many similarities between the two. 
This is a very well written book.  Some of it takes place in Kansas, so you know, I liked that.  I could tell the author was midwestern from the wording used.  Checked the printing, and yep, it was copywritten in Overland Park.  My neck of the woods.  The characters are exptremely well written and you feel you honestly know them all.  Good book.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

july book list

July was a bit of a bummer.  It was over 100 every freakin day.  I had to take kids to swimming lessons, the fair, lead a VBS, have my sitter go to band camp for a week, my father in law died, and well, let's just say it was busy. Oh, and the Olympics.  I must watch them. I only read 7 books.  Three were digital, four were real.
11/22/63- Stephen King (that's a long one)
The Face of Heaven- Murray Pura
Raising Holy Hell- Bruce Olds (love john brown)
Arms of Love- Kelly Long
A Grown up Kind of Pretty- Joshilyn Jackson
The Enemy- Lee child
Custer- Larry McMurtry

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Charge!!!!!

Did you watch the movie "Night at the Museum 2" and think they were exaggerating the Custer part to be funny?  After reading Larry McMurtry's Custer on adobe reader, I have to say, I kept thinking of that movie the entire time.  McMurtry is a wonderful writer.  He is colorful, not-too-detailed, and he is funny.  Who knew history good be so amusing?  And remember, I am talking about a slaughter, so that says alot. 
McMurty starts at the beginning of Custer's career and works his way to the end, even past it, including his wife's mission to save his reputation.  He includes general history of the time, the Indians, and war tactics of the time.  It isn't told like "this happened and than this happened and than this happened."  He tells it more like a narration.  The book also includes a lot of illustrations and pictures.  It is a short book and perfect for someone who would like to learn more about history with as little effort as possible.  Highly recommended.
I received this digital book for free from "www.edelweiss.abovethetreeline.com.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Amish cookin'

"The Amish Family Cookbook" by Jerry and Tina Eicher is a collection of recipes used by Amish and in books with Amish in them.  I learned one thing from reviewing this book and that is that I don't like using a kindle for a cookbook.  This book doesn't include a "go to" button to each chapter.  So it makes flipping through impossible.  I also do not have a kindle fire, so no pictures were available to me either.  Pictures are a must have in a cookbook.
But as for the cookbook itself, it is pretty good.  The last Amish cookbook I used tended to be variations of stews and soups, this one is a more modern style of cooking.  Amish cook pretty much like everybody else, more vegetables and desserts maybe, but this one is pretty contemporary.  I bookmarked several recipes to try at a later date and made the buttermilk cake.  Good, by the way.  I especially like the venison recipes that were included.  I am always looking for new ways to serve deer.  I highly recommend this book, especially for say, a new bride.  Has a lot of basic learn to cook recipes.  I would however, recommend getting a regular book and not a digital.  I recieved this book for free from http://www.netgalley.com/

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Amish at War

"Arms of Love" by Kelly Long is about an amish couple during the Revolutionary War.  Adam is the abused grown son of the bishop who was also abused at a child. Lena is the woman he loves whose mother has just died in child birth and whose father is held prisoner by the patriots for not giving his property or fighting.  Lena's mother has made Adam promise that after she died he would not continue his relationship with Lena while still living under his father's rule. He decides to break up with Lena and join the war for freedom.  His freedom. Meanwhile, Lena must figure out a way to survive on her own, without Adam's help, and raise her three younger siblings. 
The story seems out of sorts.  It seems hard to believe that Adam would honor the promise to a dead woman and that at the age he is, still refuse to leave his father.  The plot seems pushed and unrealistic.  I recently read two other books about a group of people who can't fight due to religion (Quakers and Amish) and come to support the war fighting or in alternative ways.  Maybe the reason I didn't like this one so much was due to me being tired of religions and wars going together in a book with a splash of romance.  Need to pick a different kind of book for awhile.  I received this book for free from www.booksneeze.com.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Amish in the Civil War

"The Face of Heaven" by Murray Pura is a romance placed during the Civil War.  The novel is heavy on Civil War and light on romance.  Lyndel and Nathaniel are friends who live in the same Amish community in Lancaster County during the 1860's.  While working the farm Lyndel finds two runaway slaves hiding in her barn.  She goes to the aid of her brother and his best friend, Nathaniel, to keep them safe.  Eventually they are caught and there becomes somewhat of a civil war between the Amish on whether the Amish should be for or against slavery.  For or against fighting for slavery.  Nathaniel choses to leave the community and fight on the side of the north to end slavery; Lyndel follows him and serves as a nurse for the North.  The book follows them throughout the war.
This novel has a lot of information on Civil War.  At times it reads like a text book.  The romance and the characters take a backseat to the details of the war.  There almost is no plot beyond the war.  I, a history buff and not a huge fan of Amish fiction, thought that was in favor of the book, however, I can see someone who was looking for more romance or Amish being disappointed.  I would recommend this book to all history lovers, especially women, but not so much to your run of the mill romance reader.  I received this book for free from http://www.netgalley.com/.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

June

June wasn't a big reading month.  Too many activities for kids, too many 100 degree days I had to work.
The Messenger- Siri Mitchell
Becoming Marie Antoinette- Juliet Grey
Band of Brothers- Stephen Ambrose
#1 Suspect- James Patterson
Hemingway's Girl- Erika Robuck
Where Lilacs Still Bloom- J. Kirkpatrick
11th Hour- James Patterson
50 Shades of Grey
One was an audio book, two were digital, rest were real books.  My account of the totally famous "Grey" book.  This is the dumbest book ever written.  It's about a girl who miraculously is a 22 year old never-been kissed virgin who meets a billionaire 26 year old self made man. Yeah, follows reality close, eh?  Then they immediately start a never ending always climaxing sex marathon complete with rods in order to beat her with if she misbehaves.  On a regular basis he says things like "sit", "eat", "good girl".  Yeah, that always turns me on, too.  And of course everytime he looks at her she has an orgasm.  ALWAYS.  She is the most orgasmic girl in the history of the  world. Oh, and the list!  They actually had a list of rules of things that could not be done, like they can't light each other on fire.  I can't tell you how many times I wished I had written that one down. I am totally bummed I paid for this thing.    When I read fantasy romance I want my guy to be fiction.  You know, nice, considerate, sexy, romantic, you know, fantasy.  There are men waiting in line to boss women around and smack them.  Why would we want to pay to read about it?

Monday, June 25, 2012

lilacs everywhere

I received "Where Lilacs Still Bloom" by Jane Kirkpatrick for free from bloggingforbooks.com.  I chose this book because of the cover and lilacs are my favorite flower.  This novel went waaaay more into lilacs than I thought it would.  This is a book for garden lovers.  I am more of a garden liker.  It's a good book, but it is very horticultural.  The book stars Hulda, a German immigrant who makes it her life's work to grow a beautiful garden better than originally intended.  She starts with apples and making them crisper, then moves on to flowers, namely lilacs.  She eventually creates 257 new types of lilacs.  Her main goal is to have a creamy white with 12 petals.  Kirkpatrick follows Hulda's life while life happens and she creates life in her garden.  The part that surprised me and impressed me the most was how she always thought her garden was just a little thing, but no one else ever did.  No one told her it was silly, stupid, or not worthwhile.  The only argument she got was when a local man accused her of playing with God's plan.  Hulda is a true story and it is a very impressive story.  She is a hero of her time.  A time when woman weren't considered valuable, she did what was exceptional.  She never let society stop her from doing what she loved.  I like that. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

hemingways girl review

I received "Hemingway's Girl" by Erika Robuck for free from edelweiss.com.  Earlier in the year I read "The Paris Wife" and though I thought Hemingway was a nut and so were any woman who wanted to be with him, I needed to read this book when it became available. I, too, had become strangely attracted to the man.  The Paris novel is about Hemingway and his first wife when he got started writing.  Girl is about when he later came to Key West and lived with his second wife after he became famous.  The girl in "Hemingway's Girl" is not the wife, but the maid.  It is her story about falling in and out of love with Hemingway and ultimately becoming his friend.  During her fall into friendship she meets a WWI vet, Galvin, and he becomes her true love. 
If you have read "Paris", and didn't like the style in which is was written (over-the-top descriptive) don't let that hold you back on "Girl".  It is written in a completely different style.  A much more modern telling.  I give it 4 stars.  Very good.

Friday, June 8, 2012

I Spy

"The Messenger" by Siri Mitchell is a really good book.  It takes place during the Revolutionary War with the lead characters being Hannah, a Quaker girl whose brother has left the church to join the rebel cause and whose aunt and uncle are Loyalist; and Jeremiah, a former King's Army colonist who lost his hand during the Indian Wars and since has become a spy rebel.  The book goes back and forth with each chapter telling the story from Hannah and Jeremiah's point of view.  Hannah is torn between her loyalty to the Friends and what she knows is wrong about the religion.  Jeremiah is torn between his friendship with his contact at the General's office and the guilt of using his contact to access information.  They both become spys for the Colonist.
"The Messenger" is well written, the characters are thorough and the end is riviting.  I am a bit of a history buff (as you can probably tell from my readings) and yet I had not heard of all the details that are given about the treatment of rebels that where prisoners of the British.  Hannah's brother, the rebel, is a prisoner.  Disease, starvation, the underhanded treatment.  You might not like this book, but you should read it.  I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers.

May has come and gone

I read 11 books last month.  Two audio, five paper and four e-books.  Here goes the list:
The Paris Wife- Paula McLain
Lizzie Borden- Elizabeth Engstrom
The Zero Game- Brad Meltzer (that one will scare you a little)
The Black Count- Tom Reiss
The Scent of Cherry Blossoms- Cindy Woodsmall
Brush of Angel's Wings- Ruth Reid
Amish Prayers- Beverly Lewis
Seal of God- Chad Williams
The Unholy- Heather Graham
The Covenant Child- Terry Blackstock
Eleven on Top- Janet Evanovich
Of the books this month the best probably went to Amish Prayers which is a book of wonderful, across the religious boundries, prayers that I highly recommend if you don't know what to pray about.  If you aren't into that sort of thing I recommend The Zero Game.  As an American, the possiblity of this being true is more than a little scary. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

decisions, decisions

"The Atonement Child" is one of those books that will stick with you forever.  Probably every woman has some sort of unwanted "attention" during her life.  Hopefully, usually, it's not a full on rape by an unknown stranger in the dark, in the open, leaving the woman completely exposed.  This book follows Dyna, while at college she is raped by an unknown man while walking home.  In her denial and trauma, she refuses the morning after pill given to her by the hospital.  As often happens in books or movies of rape, she becomes pregnant.  She continues her denial for many weeks, until she can no longer deny the obvious.  She decided to carry and keep the baby. 
Though I am sure the intent of the book was to promote pro-life, the trauma and struggles that Dyna endures are horrifying.  The author does not hold back on how awful any of it is.  It actually led me to re-affirm my pro-choice status.  How anyone can ask someone who has been through all of that to carry a baby conceived in that way is beyond me.   Yet even though Dyna decides to keep the baby, it is written in a way that makes the reader not think less of Dyna or the baby.  It is her baby and her choice.  If the woman can see past how the child came to be and love it as a mother should, then by all means she should keep the baby.  Her Choice.  As it should be.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

the covenant child review

"The Covenant Child" by Terri Blackstock is a wonderful book.  It follows the life of the "billion dollar babies" who happen to be penniless orphans raised by neglectful and abusive biological grandparents.  They are the grandchildren of billionaires whose mother dies shortly after their birth.  Their father remarries and then is killed in a plane crash with his parents.  His parents are the billionaires.  Their step-mother is in the process of adopting them at the time of the death, but their maternal grandparents step in with dollar signs in their eyes.  I normally do not like to read or watch stories where children are taken from their parents, whether they be biological or not.  I believe a child should not be separated from the one who loves and cares for them.  Lizzie and Kara, twins, are taken from the only mother they know and given away to strangers who happen to share genes.  In this case, everything is about the money.
When the girls turn 18, they come to a cross roads and one goes one way, one goes the other.  The story follows Kara, the prodigal child who chooses to not trust anyone and go for the greed.  One might wonder how she can be so dumb, but if you think back to your own mistakes, I am sure you can figure it out.  I did.  This is a Christian story but uses it to relate to real life and not get preachy.  It also talks a bit on abortion.  Kara feels guilt, but is not condemned.  I like where the author took that story line.  I would highly recommend this one.  I have read Blackstock before, but this one is my favorite from her.  I received this e-book for free from http://www.netgalley.com/

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Unholy Review

Heather Graham can write anything.  She does mystery, romance, supernatural, you name it, she can write it.  In "The Unholy" she covers all three. Though this isn't one of my favorites, it is still a pretty good mystery.  I never figured out the killer til she gave it up.  I had the accomplice almost right away, but never did get the Vengence.  This novel takes place in Hollywood at a movie studio in the department specializing in special effects, as in costumes and make up mostly.  Madison works in costumes and she also sees dead people.  In the museum of the studio, a murder is committed while on lockdown, placing the blame on the studio owner's son.  The FBI is called in, a team specializing in talking to the dead, coinsidently, and Sean, the leader of the FBI team, works with Madison to solve the crime.  Some of the hauntings seem a little corny.  For instance, Madison is friends with Bogie, as in Humphrey Bogart, the dead guy.  The relationship between Sean and Madison quickly turns romantic, which is handled well.  It doesn't seem rushed or overly lustful.  It is a normal romance.  I liked this one, I have read better from her, but still, it's nothing to sneeze at.  Good book.  I received "The Unholy" by Heather Graham for free from http://www.netgalley.com/

seal of God review

Chad Williams gave his life to Christ shortly after becoming a Navy Seal.  This is his story.  "Seal of God " is a very well written book.  It will keep your interest and will make you really glad you never joined the Navy.  I must say after reading this book I NEVER want to become a SEAL.  It sounds really, really awful.  It doesn't even sound humanly possible! The SEAL training is amazing and grueling. That part seems to be where Williams' shines as a writer.   The first three chapters of this book are about Williams' youth; the majority of it is about becoming a SEAL.  The last 1/4 of it is about SEAL life and becoming a Christian.  I have to say that the attitude of arrogance dominates this book.  Williams' has a tendency of becoming obsessed with something, mastering it, then moving on.  Christianity is his latest obsession.  Since Christianity cannot be mastered, it leaves one to wonder what will become of the author.  Of course Williams' leaves us with the impression that he believes he has mastered it. Only time will tell if he sticks with it or moves on.   He seems to believe that if one doesn't "Christianalize" like he does than they aren't real.  Shortly after becoming Christian, William's writes of a beat down he received from fellow SEALs.  He blames the hatred of him becoming a Christian as to why, but I can't help but think that that beating was coming, Christian or not.  Very well written book, loved it, but he could stand to think a little less of himself.  I received this book for free from Tyndale Publishing.

Friday, May 18, 2012

brush of angel's wings review

"Brush of Angel's Wings" by Ruth Reid is the second book in the Heavan on Earth series.  It ties in with some of the side characters from the first book "Promise of an Angel".  I looked forward to this book coming out since I read the first one and it did not disappoint.  Reid is looking to be a promising author that women will be waiting in line for her books to come out.  In Promise, the angel, Nathaniel, looked and acted more like a real guy.  In Wings, Nathaniel, is more the angel-on-your-shoulder variety.  He even comes with a devil on the other shoulder, Tangus.  At first this seems a little old school cartoon like, but after awhile it starts to become rather frightening.  Tangus just does not let up.  The fight over good and evil takes on a more meaningful approach. 
In this novel, Jordan, a half-Amish half-Englisher, comes to live with his mother's family, an uncle and work among the Amish in the fields and with the horses. He is not good at it.   He meets Rachel, a Tom-boy, who can't cook to save her life.  He loves her.  The battle over right and wrong follow the two as they decide what to do with themselves and their relationship with each other as well as with God.  I received this book for free from www.booksneeze.com.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cherry Blossoms review

I received "The Scent of Cherry Blossoms" by Cindy Woodsmall for free from Waterbrook Press.  This book is in the same series as "Christmas Singing" that I posted in January.  You do not need to have read any of the others to follow this book.  Each book in the series stands alone with the characters all are connected in some fashion, but not necessarily a continum.  In this short novel, Annie meets Aden when she goes to stay at her grandfather's for the summer.  Actually she already knows him, but now that they are grown, so have their feelings.  This is sort of a Amish/Mennonite version of Romeo and Juliet.  I like this one just as well as the "Christmas Singing".  It is a really sweet romance, yet the Amish are kept real and not given mythical status of being overly pure.  For instance, the Amish guys are always trying to sneek a "check out" on the girls.  They have problems. They are real. It is a quick read and not too deep.  Entertaining and romantic.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

the black count review

"The Black Count:Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo" by Tome Reiss is a non-fictional geneology account of Alexandre Dumas, the author. Never heard of him?  How about the three mustketeers?  aaah!  Now you know what I am talking about.  Reiss tells the story of Dumas and the two generations before him, sharing the history of the times,  culture, and racial problems of the era.  Dumas' father, Count Alex Dumas  was half black during a time when slavery was the way of life.  He was also half white and the product of nobility. This book also tells the complete  history of France.  Well, not complete, but it feels like it.  This is a really long book.  I know little about French history.  I know a little about the French Revolution through movies.  This clears up any mystery that one might have.  The format was a little hard to follow in the kindle.  The footnotes came at random on the kindle making it read like notes at times.  Otherwise it is well written and interesting.  I received this book for free from http://www.abovethetreeline.com/.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

April

Well, I totally kicked butt in the reading department in April.  Eleven books, baby!
 "The Woman who Loved Jesse James" by Cindi Myers;
 "Travels with Charley" by John Steinbeck;
 "Dolley", Rita Mae Brown;
 "Raylan" by Elmore Leonard;
 "Downfall", Terri Blackstock;
 "Widow at Saunders Creek", Tracey Bateman;
 "Nancy Clancy Super Sleuth" by Janice O'Connor;
"Blue Moon Bay", Lisa Wingate;
"Ten Big Ones", Janet Evanovich;
 "When the Morning Comes", Cindy Woodsmall; and
 "Into the Free" by Julie Cantrell.
 Only three were e-books.  This was a pretty good month.  Discovered several new authors that I like: Blackstock, Cantrell, Leonard.  But the best by far was Travels with Charley.  They call 'em classics for a reason folks.  It was not just a good read, or good story.  Really no plot to speak of.  Just brilliance being spewed page, by page.  He predicted things that are happening now with such clarity.  He is amazing.  There is only one Steinbeck and you should be reading him.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Into the Free review

"Into the Free" by Julie Cantrell is an amazing book.  I read it in a day.  Could not put it down.  The characters are well developed; the plot sucks you in.  This is a really good book.  This book stars Millie as a girl living in Mississippi in the 40's.  She is the daughter of a half-Indian rodeo hero and a barely living preacher's daughter.  They live in the quarters on a 1,00 acre plantation.  Millie is what one might call white trash.  That may sound harsh, but you know how women can call other women "chick" and it's okay, but men can't?  Well, same goes here.  Millie is white trash.  Her dad is an alcoholic who regularly beats her mother into submission.  At one point leaving her for  dead.  Her mother is a morphine addict who is taken care of far more than she takes care of others.  Mid way through the book, Millie loses her parents and discovers their secrets.  In doing this she frees herself to become "Millie" and not another generation in a long line of victims.  I received this book from http://www.netgalley.com/.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

If you're lucky enough to be on the lake

I received "Blue Moon Bay" by Lisa Wingate for free from Bethany House Publishers.  This is a story you have probably read or watched (movie version) before under another name.  Weird girl makes good in business world, goes back to hometown, makes a mess of things and kisses the football hero she was in love with from high school.  The reason it has been done so often is because it's a good storyline that never seems to get old.  However, about halfway through this book things take a little different turn.  Heather goes back to her home town to see her family and try to get them to sell the family property.  She stands to make a lot of money in this deal.  Her mom is flighty and strange.  I never did grow to like her.  Her uncles are great; hometown atmosphere is funny; and her brother and his dog make an adorable pair.  Midway through the book, Ruth, Heather's babysitter from yesteryear, enters the story.  This character is amazing, I wish more of the book centered on her.  Heather (and the reader) is never really sure what is going on in the story til the end.  There are secrets everywhere and no one will tell the truth.  There is a big pivotal moment towards the end that I can't tell you about or it will spoil everything, which changes everything in Heather's life.  I liked this book.  Only thing I would change would be to incorporate Ruth in the story more.

Friday, April 20, 2012

fancy nancy grows up

You remember Fancy Nancy.  The girl who loves all things sequins and wordy.  The books that teach preschoolers vocabulary are now stepping up and teaching grade schoolers both language and problem solving.  Nancy Clancy is the Nancy Drew for the modern third grader.  In "Nancy Clancy, Super Sleuth" by Jane O'Connor, Nancy is out to prove herself to be a prime detective with her sidekick Bree as they solve the many mysteries that plague the average third grade classroom.  She's pretty clever.
This book is in the 2-5 grade reading level.  It is a chapter book with few pictures.  I read it to my 1st grader.  My first grader is a Fancy Nancy fan and she was thrilled to be able to continue to read Fancy Nancy in chapter book form.  She looked forward to reading it every night and even discussed solving the crimes when she wasn't reading the book.  I give it 4 stars.  I received "Nancy Clancy, Super Sleuth" for free from http://www.librarything.com/

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

ghost of the ozarks

I received "Widow of Saunders Creek" by Tracey Bateman for free from www.blogginforbooks.org.  This is a wonderful ghost story for grown ups.  Saunders Creek is set in the Ozarks near Springfield.  Corrie has recently lost her husband to war in the Middle East and moves into his grandmother's old house in Saunders Creek to restore and live.  Eli, her cousin-in-law, is the contractor helping her remodel.  While Corrie is in the house she believes she is being visited by her late husband. While this is very comforting to her, Eli is exptremely alarmed.  Eli is also a minister and he doesn't believe in ghosts, but rather he believes in demons.  He is afraid for Corrie, that she will be led into the dark arts through her grief and need for comfort.  And so the war between good and evil over Corrie has begun. 
This novel is full of wiccans, postions, spirituality, and christianity.  Eli and his wiccan aunt struggle to claim Corrie for their own side of the spritual coin. Where his aunt is what one might call "a nut job"; Eli is what one might call a "stick in the mud".  It may come off as over the top for those readers who do not live anywhere near the Ozark Mountains, but I am one generation removed from the Springfield area myself.  There are no witches in my family, but about 3/4 of the women in my family classify themselves as "sensitive".  So I know that seeing ghosts is a regular thing and am not surprised at the regular occurance of it in the area.  I am Christian as well, so this book had its points to be made at both ends and was a tug for the reader (me) as well.
This is a great book.  I would recommend it for anyone who likes to be a little creeped out, but still be able to sleep at night.  I had not read Bateman before, but I will be looking her up now.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

downfall review

Downfall by Terri Blackstock is sthe final novel in the Addiction series.  I have not read any of the previous books in the series, but come to find out that is not necessary.  The reader is given a bit of a backstory, and can completely follow the plot without having read any of the other books in the series. 
Downfall is about a recovering drug addict, Emily, who lives with her drama queen mother and her borderline ignored brother, Lance.  Her mom's boyfriend, Kent is a detective on the police force, which comes in handy with this family since they are always doing something illegal (or being blamed for illegal activity).  Emily, who works in a rehab center, gets caught in the crossfire of multiple murders and then framed for the murders.  She and Kent have to solve the crime without driving Emily over the edge and back into using drugs. 
This is a pretty good book.  I like when I can pick up a book and not have to read the rest of the series.  The mystery and plot was good.  I didn't figure out who the murderer was until about the last 1/4 of the book. It was a quick read.  Only fault I have is that the characters, though clear and detailed, where not easy to like.  The women where kinda dumb and the mom was like a pit bull when it came to drama.  If she could scream and cry, she would.  The men tended to be chronic hero-wanna-bes.  Though I don't think it's gonna be a classic, I will read Terri Blackstock again.  She was a pretty good read.  I received this book for free from http://www.edelwiess.abovethetreeline.com/

Friday, April 6, 2012

zee james

I am a bit of a history nut, so "The Woman Who Loved Jesse James" was right up my alley.  There are probably hundreds of books about Jesse James, his brother, even his mother, but rarely is his wife even mentioned.  I knew very little about her other than he had one.  Zee James is the focus of this novel. Zee is usually described as a blah person, dull, and just sort of "there".  This book tries to get into her head.  It shows an interesting side to the Jesse James story that won't be found elsewhere. It claimes to be completely fictional, but seems to do a pretty good job of following historical accounts I have read before.    It will also leave many women reading the book to be grateful they didn't marry that bad boy they were intested in in high school.  Jesse was not husband of the year, that is for sure.  I truly liked this book and highly recommend it.  I received "The Woman Who Loved Jesse James" by Cindi Myers for free from http://www.netgalley.com/

Saturday, March 31, 2012

See ya March

March update.  8 books.  I am kinda impressed with myself since the John Brown book was around 800 pages.  I didn't think I'd read many.  Here goes:
 Just Like Me, Max Lucado;
Cloudsplitter, Mr. Banks;
Eyes of the Beholder, Lis Wiehl;
 Murder of King Tut, J. Patterson;
Heart Echos, Sally John,
 The Elsingham Portrait, Elizabeth Chater;
Worth Dying For (a CD book), Lee Child;
and Maid of Fairborne Hall, Julie Klassen.
 Four historical books, a devotional, and three contemporary.  One was a book on CD and two were on the kindle.  no rhyme or reason here.  Got two Julia Child books checked out today from the library.  Gonna do a little French.
This month started Walk Kansas.  Been trying to excercise at LEAST 2 hours a week.  Last week I barely cut that but this week I did a lot more.  That's gonna cut into my reading time, but obviously I need to excercise and if I'm gonna cut out reading for something, a work out is a good one to do it with.  Now!  Gonna plant that garden!

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall review

Margaret Macy is your typical spoiled rich girl.  She lives in the 19th century England in a wealthy family with servants, boarding schools and the like.  However, even the rich have their problems.  Margaret's mother married a scoundrel, Sterling Benton, who gambled all his money and is now looking to scam the Macy women out of theirs.  He has a nephew that he wants Margaret to marry, but she has her sights set elswhere.  Margaret overhears a plan the two men cook up to rape her and pressure her into marriage with the marriage being the only way to save herself from the scandel of the rape.  She runs away from home and hides with another family discising herself as a servant.  Through her servitude she learns a great deal about humanity, kindness, and what is important in life.  One thing I can always say when I finish a Julie Klassen novel is that I am really glad I was born in my own time.  Being a woman of the 19th century must have really stunk. 
"The Maid of Fairbourne Hall" is a really interesting story.  The subject matter is rather unusual.  Most 19th century novels show only the rich and the servants are rarely mentioned.  If they are, they tend to be loyal to the masters and find them of "quality" and "class".  Never sounded very true-to-life to me and this book tends to agree.  The maids in this book feel and think exactly how I have always felt about all my bosses.  I don't think "quality" was a word I ever used to describe them.  It tends to get a little long. Still a pretty good book.  I received "The Maid of Fairbourne Hall" by Julie Klassen for free from Bethany Publishers.

10 Deep Dark Secrets of Me

Confession #1:  I steal all of the Hershey Kisses out of my kids' Easter baskets.  I do.  I take them all and they are delicious.

Confession #2:  Everyday at lunch I watch old episodes of Scrubs.  That show cracks me up.

Confession #3:  I am a Metallica fan.  I am 38 and I will be a Metallica fan until I die.

Confession #4:  I sometimes fantasize about kicking people's butts.  I am really awesome in my imagination.  I am full of vicious kicks, I throw people against the walls, I put Angelina to shame. 

Confession #5:  I would make a glorious cat lady.  I would have 100 cats if I could.  Fat cats, orange cats, cats everywhere.

Confession #6:  I like to watch Swamp People and mimic their accents. 

Confession #7:  Speaking of Swamp People, you know that blonde guy that is missing a tooth?  One time he got trapped by a gator and he killed it with a pocket knife.  I don't think I've ever seen anything sexier.  I know!  I should be ashamed.

Confession#8:  Speaking of sexy, I have a thing for Spock.  You know, from Star Trek.  I used to think it was the actor when I was a kid, but then when the new movie came out and I still thought Spock had it goin on and I realized I had seen the actor dozens of times and never thought much of him, it accured to me that it was Spock that I have the hots for.  Pointed Ears and all.

Confession #9:  I bawled when Jessie died on All My Children. 

Confession #10:  I know all the words to Bohemian Rhapsody.  Thank you Wayne.  Oh and I also know all the words to the movie Junior Bonnor.  Thank you Alex.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

bibles everywhere

Recently I received two bibles for free.  One was "The Voice Bible: Step into the Story of Scripture" which I received from http://www.thomasnelsonbibles.com/ through their Thomas Nelson Blog Bunch.  "The Voice" is the New Testament  told like a story.  It is still the New Testament in tact, but it adds a few words here and there to make the story flow more like a...well, a story.  The added parts are written in italics.  The dialogue is written in script format.  Making the vocal part stand out more.  The other bible was the "Life Application Study Bible:  New Living Translation" given by Tyndale's New Living Translation Facebook page.  This is the complete bible with a ton of notes, maps, you name it.  I like reading the Voice more, but for the bible study I am taking the NLT works out better.  The NLT is more accurate and deep so it is better for a studying, however, it is huge!  Heavy to carry around.  I'll keep and use both.  Recommendation?  If you are taking a class, using the book as a learning tool, wanting to go deeper with your knowledge and history, buy the NLT.  Want to read for pleasure and be close to God:  get the Voice.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

the eyes do more than follow you

Kathryn Hendrix is a modern woman living in New York in 1974.  She is independent, educated, and bored.  She recently gets dumped by her philandering boyfriend and takes off in one of those hissy-fit-in-the-rain moments.  She takes refuge in an art gallery and comes across the Elsingham Portrait of Nadine Elsingham.  Nadine in a woman with a past from 1775 England.  While looking at the portrait, Kathryn time travels to 1775 into Nadine's body.  Where Nadine went is anybody's guess.  Kathryn must try to keep from enduring the results of the mess Nadine has gotten herself into as well as escape the witch and 1775 superstitions. 
This book was written in the 1970's as a "Georgian Romance" novel.  I am guessing kinda like a harliquinn.  It is being re-released on digital format by the the author's family.  It can be a little corny in places (as any selfrespecting romance novel does), but it's actually a pretty good read.  It's not deep or going to make you think a whole lot, but it is pleasant and passes the time well.  It also has a lot of 70's pro-women issues being addressed, which is always good.  I received "The Elsingham Portrait" by Elizabeth Chater for free from http://www.librarything.com/

Monday, March 19, 2012

not this time review

"Not This Time" by Vicki Hinze is is the 3rd book in the Crossroads Crisis Center series.  It is a Christian fiction.  This book stars Beth and Sara.  Sara was orphaned as a teen and went to stay with Beth's, her best friend, parents.  As adults, the two have their own company that aids with the government to solve crimes.  I think.  This is not one of those books that you can read without having read the other two in the series.  The first several chapters were complete confusion trying to catch the reader up to what was going on.  It is a continuous series that must be read in order.  So if you are interested start off with her book "Forget Me Not".  However, this one is a very good thriller.  It starts off fast and goes fast to the end.  It is one that makes you WANT to read the other two, not because you need to, but because you can't stand the thought of not knowing what all is going on.
This book starts off with a party that has been attacked by a terrorist group and goes on with Sara's husband being kidnapped.  Beth is the prime suspect in the kidnapping.  Beth must solve the crime's before she is labled.  I received "Not This Time" for free from http://www.bloggingforbooks.com/
http://vickihinze.com/books

Friday, March 16, 2012

heart echoes

I received "Heart Echoes" by Sally John for free from Tyndale Publishing.  This novel stars Teal, her husband River, and her daughter Maiya.  They live in California.  The book opens up in LA with Teal and River in the middle of a major earthquake.  River is at home, but is injured; Teal in on a freeway.  She watches a bridge come down during the quake and then suffers from Post Traumatic Stress.  Where is Maiya?  Well, she's supposed to be at a friends house.  That is where things get interesting.  She, being 15, has sneaked to a camp ground with a 19 year old boy.  Anyway, this than that happens and Teal and Maiya wind up in Oregon visiting Teal's estranged family and visiting the ever present topic of "who's Maiya's daddy?" 
This is a really good book.  It is labled Christian, but I especially like how the Christians are human the whole time and not preachy.  They cuss, get knocked up, lie, feel guilty about it all, but still they are human.  This book shares the authors faith without jamming down your throat.  I'd read this if I were you.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

eyes of justice review

I love Lis Weil as an author.  I like this series a lot.  It does remind me a little too close of the James Patterson Women's Murder Mystery series, but it is good enough to stand on its own without being a copycat.  "Eyes of Justice" has the feel of a final book in this series.  It is the fourth in the series.  Haven't read the first one yet, but I have purchased it recently.  I'll get to it.  In this series, for those of you haven't read any of them, it involves three women who went to high school together, but were not friends at the time.  At their 10 year reunion they meet and discover that they are all three involved in the wheels of justice.  Cassidy is a crime reporter, Nic is an FBI agent, and Allison is a federal prosecutor.  The three form the Triple Threat Club. 
In this book Cassidy has been murdered and the prime suspects are connected to the police force that is involved with solving the case.  So it is up to Nic and Allison to solve the crime correctly.  Weil is also a, oh, I don't know what you'd call it, commentary(?) on Fox News.  My husband watches all the time.  So I know who she is. Weil goes into the problems of being a woman on the news in todays internet driven society.  \ Weil gives a peek into her world as a television caster and and how men (and therefore the producers) treat women who are television.  Its a bad, bad, world.  I highly recommend this book, actually, anything written by Weil. I received this book for free from www.booksneeze.com.

Friday, March 2, 2012

February books

I read the same number of books in Feb that I read in Jan. In January I read 2 digital to 7 paper books.  February: 4 digital to 5 paper.  Here goes the titles:  Day of War;
Bathsheba;
Conversations about John F Kennedy (highly recommend that one);
 Sweeter than Birdsong;
Covenant of War;
 To the Nines;
Dead Man in a Pear Tree;
When Morning Cries;
 and Stand by Me. 
Currently am reading a book with close to 800 pages, so I'm gonna bet that March will be a lower number month.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

stand by me: the book review

We all know the Yada Yada Sisters right?  Neva Jackson has now expanded on that series and has started the SouledOut Sister Series. This one is not as good as the Yada Yada (that's hard to beat) but it is better than her last series with Gabby Fairbanks.  This series takes on Avis, the leader of the Yada Yada group. The reader now gets to know her as a person rather than as the "saint" that all the Yada Yadas veiw her as.  Avis is not only mother-earthy and a powerful leader with an intimate relationship with God, but she also is a sucker when it comes to her daughter, a bit predjudice, and quiet frankly, a grouch.  There, I said it, saint Avis is a crabby pants.  Sharing the lead role in the SouledOut series is Kat.  Kat is a graduate student who is getting a "urban experience", whatever that is, by living in Chicago and going to a multicultural church.  She is Avis' new neighbor, the oil to her water.  Kat has all the answers, just ask her, she'll tell you.  Her favorite pastime is dumpster diving.  No she isn't hungery, she just doesn't want to waste food.  She's not eating it by the way, she's passing it out to all the people of color she sees.  She is about as tactful as a bull in heat.  Anyway, the two bash about Chicago, clashing and fixing each other's problems as they go.  Stand By Me is not only about the mixing of races in society and its value, but mostly it's about the mixing of generations and how important it is to never lose touch with what you were and will be. This is an enjoyable book, a quick read, and wonderful fresh look at the Yada Yada books. I received "Stand By Me" by Neva Jackson for free from http://www.booksneeze.com/.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

covenant of war review

Covenant of War by Cliff Graham is the second book in the Lion of War series.  Lion of War books follow Old Testament David and his war life.  Most David books like to follow his sex life, so this is a whole new twist to the
David story.  This is a very violent book.  It is graphic and full of blood and gore.  I cringed many times.  It is however, a very good book.  Though clearly written for a guy in mind, being a woman, I still wanted to finish the book and enjoyed it immensly.  Covenant of War follows the battles shortly before and following David's overtaking of the North (Isreal).  I received this book for free from edelweiss.abovethetreeline.com. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

sweeter than birdong review

I received "Sweeter than Birdsong" by Roslynn Elliot for free from http://www.booksneeze.com/.  This book takes place in the 1850's in Ohio.  The main character is Kate Winter, an 18 year old woman who is completely controlled by her mother.  Her mom will remind you of the mom in "Titanic" and now that I've said that you will see her in your head too.  Kate has two men that she is interested in, one, Fredrick, is the one her mom likes.  Fredrick is great and all, but his dad is a bit of a fox, leaving you to wonder how far Kate can trust Fredrick.  Ben is the other one.  He is of moderate means and wants to be a minister.  Mom doesn't like him.  This book advertises itself to be a romatic novel with all the concerns of being proper and polite and well, boring.  However, it really is a book about the Underground Railroad.  It is an adventure book. Kate goes on the trip of her life when she unknowingly agrees to go with Ben's mother on a little day trip and whinds up attempting to rescue fugitives. It is really great once you get about 1/4 of the way into it.  I recommend this book.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

breath of angel review

I received "Breath of Angel" by Karyn Henley for free from Blogging for Books.  This is book one of the Angelaeon Circle. The main character is Malaia, a chantress/priestess that witnesses a murder of an angel on the first page.  She is the educator of a bunch of girls living in Camrithia, strangely, she is only 14 and yet the woman who was supposed to be the leader managed to miss huge chunks of education to give to Malaia.  Malaia, after witnessing the murder, becomes involved in a immortal war between two brothers who are fighting over an incedent with a tree and some angels.  The book is full of miscellanious imaginative figures:  angels, shapeshifters, birds with human souls, etc.  The whole time I was reading I kept feeling like I had missed the real book one.  I am not much for sci-fi so I was sure what most of the characters were supposed to be and there were so many of them it was easy to get confused.  I'm not a big sci-fi girl so I am afraid most was lost on me.  I am also not in the young adult reading category.  That would make a difference as well.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

february 2012

January's out and February's in.  As of this day in 2012 I have read 9 books and am half way through another.  I will count that in February.  What have I read you ask?  Well, let's see: 
Whither Thou Goest (highly recommend that one);
 Magdalene;
 Christmas Singing;
 Full of Sugar Plums (normally LOVE Stephanie Plum, didn't like this book);
The Garden of Ruth;
 Kate;
Abigail;
and Breach of Trust.
 This month was a little heavy on the biblical. 
On to February!  This month is American Women Heart Health month, the 3rd is Wear Red for Women Day, the 7-14th is is Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week, and the 14th is World Congenital Heart Defect Day and National Women's Heart month. Soooo, wear your pins, your red shirts, buy your Diet Coke (they are a big supporter of Go Red) and change your facebook profile pic to a heart or heart survivor.  Don't forget these very important days!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

where the boys are

I received "Boys in War" by SGT CF Higgins for free from Dorrance Publishing.  Ky, short for Kentucky, is waaaay underage for the army, yet still he finds himself in Korea fighting the North Koreans and Chinese.  Early on he had been stationed in Germany, then Korea, then Fort Cambell.  Originally he is from Kentucky of course, and he chooses the army to working in the mines.  He is scared of nothing, except the mines.  Most of the book takes place at Cambell where he meets a girl and deals with his nightmares from war.
The author of this novel is a Korean Vet and this is a fictional account of his story.  I wish more of the book took place in Korea.  It feels like I am missing something most of the book.  It also is hard to visualize and follow.  I would think that a vet, perferably a Korean one, would be able to follow and enjoy the book very much, however, having not been there it was hard to follow.  It seemed as if the author wanted to tell the story as fast as he could.  The story itself is good. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

searching, searching, found

I received "The Search Committee" by Tim Owens for free from Tyndale Media Center.  This novel is about a church in North Carolina that is searching for a pastor.  Theirs has gone on to the "big time" and they now have a temp.  The group is 7 people who are supposed to represent the congregation in age, sex, and relationship status.  They travel every week to different churches that the minister is interested in the job to see him (or in one case, her) in action.  During this period, the author leads us to get to know the members of the search committee and the temporary minister on a personal level.
This is a really good book and a think piece.  I kept thinking through out the book, "how well do I really know my fellow congregation?"  I don't really.  I don't know what they have nightmares about, I don't know who has a crush on who, I don't know who was abused by their father's as children, I don't know who is abusing their children now.    The characters are portrayed as real church members.  Goody-goody, holier-than-thou while at church (admit it, we all do that), but at home they are broken, nervous, funny, sad, dependable, not dependable, stupid, smart, regular people. This novel also shares some of the sermons that the search committee hears while on the road. I like this one.  It is Tim Owens' first novel and I hope he writes more.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

did a little research

Did a little research and the "Average American" reads about 3-5 books a year with 25 % of Americans reading no books at all.  What kinda person reads no books at all?  I guess my 128 books in 2011 is ridiculous, huh.  Three to five books a year.  Everybody reading this sucker better be putting in more than 3-5 books!  Apparently, Americans put in more TV time than just about anything else short of working.  They claim they don't ever watch it, but then why does everybody have at least 2 sets in their house.  And that's not counting youtube time.  So my challenge to you and myself is to read twice as much as you watch TV.  If you watch two hours of TV than you have to read 4 hours.  That's my New Year's resolution.  Let's see if we can put a dent in that 3-5 books a year mumbo jumbo.

daily gifts of grace review

I received "Daily Gifts of Grace" by Women of Faith, an e-book, from http://www.booksneeze.com/ for free.  This book is a 365 day devotional.  Each day has a verse, message, and prayer from a different woman involved with Women of Faith.  I don't have a lot of experience with Women of Faith, so there were plenty of names I didn't recognize, but also several that I did.  I would imagine that some of the names would be familiar even if one never read christian work for instance Lisa Welchel, otherwise known as Blair.  Yes, that Blair.  The one with the "briiiiliant ideas." 
I really like this devotional.  I do devotions on a daily basis to keep my faith in order, so to speak.  I have before when reviewing a devotional, read the whole thing and then reviewed it; but I found that that missed the point.  With this one I read the daily for 2 weeks so that I got a feel for how it would go.  I really liked it, especially getting a different author everyday.  (well almost, there are some repeats, it is 365 days, ya know).  But I find in some devotionals, I get tired of one person's opinion all the time. This was refreshing.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Challenge

As near as I can tell, I read 128 books last year.  Not counting children's books that I read to my daughter.  I went through my library histories and looked at my Goodreads account and went through the blog and have come to this total as a near a guess as I can get.  Now that is about 10 and a half books a month.  Is that a lot?  Some of these books were actually listened to on CD or MP3.  While looking at other book bloggers I see that they are challenging themselves to clear up to 300 books in 2012!  That's 25 books a month! Yeesh, I would think their butts would be full of bedsores!  I am not sure I could read 300 books in a year.  I have three kids that are in sports, 4-H, band, choir, MYF, art, etc; I am involved in our church doing Sunday School and VBS and a little mission work on the side; I run a business for my husband; I am going back to excercising every day (or at least 4 days a week); I also help with the community library in the summer.  These are all things I think are important. But am I doing too much?  Sometimes I just don't want to go one more place!!!  I am not sure I would want to read 300 books a year.  So what does the average person read a year?  What does the average reader read a year?  What is average?  These are all things I wanna know.  hmmmmm, I thought I should increase my book reading this year, now I am wondering if I should decrease it.  Maybe I shouldn't wonder so much.