Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Favorite books of 2011

I didn't reach my goal of 100 books this year but I did read some really good books this year. 

Hear are some of my favorites, Not in any particular order

The Search (Lancaster County Secrets, #3)
The Search by Suzanne Woods Fisher

An Unlikely Blessing (Forever Hilltop Trilogy)
An Unlikely Blessing by Judy Baer

Where Hearts Are Free (A Darkness to Light Novel, #3)
Where Hearts are Free by Golden Keyes Parsons

The Resurrection: A novel
The Resurrection by Mike Duran

The Choice (Lancaster County Secrets, Book 1)
The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Caregiver (Families of Honor, #1)
The Caregiver by Shelley Shepard Gray

Invasion (C.H.A.O.S., #1)
Invasion by Jon S. Lewis

Hidden (Sisters of the Heart, #1)
Hidden by Shelley Shephard Gray

Head in the Clouds
Head in the Clouds by Karen Witemeyer

A Lancaster County Christmas
A Lancaster County Christmas by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Forsaking All Others
Forsaking All Others by Allison Pittman

The Help
The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Bride Collector
The Bride Collector by Ted Dekker

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Pumpkin Roll (Sadie Hoffmiller, #6)
Pumpkin Roll by Josi S. Kilpack

Unwrapping Christmas
Unwarpping Christmas by Lori Copeland

Columbine by Dave Cullen

Christy by Catherine Marshall

Here's hoping we all have a wonderful Reading New Year!!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Book Spotlight - Raider's Heart by Marcia Gruver

Raider's Heart (Backwoods Buccaneers)
Raider's Heart by Marcia Gruver

From Goodreads

Steal away to the Old South with Marcia Gruver’s Backwoods Brides series. Two brothers—one violent and one gentle—belong to a family of bandits. While Duncan McRae can hardly stomach their raids, his brother Hooper revels in the violence perpetrated by the band of thieves. When they meet mild-mannered Dawsey Wilkes, the competition steps up a notch as the brothers vie for her hand. Which marauder will steal Dawsey’s heart? Meanwhile, Dawsey holds the key to Dilsey McRae’s past. What will Dilsey do when she discovers the truth?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Book Spotlight - The Crossing by Gilbert Morris

The Crossing
The Crossing by Gilbert Morris

From Goodreads
From the beloved author of the bestselling House of Winslow series comes a new trilogy about the Civil War. Join Gilbert Morris as he explores the life of General Stonewall Jackson through the story of the fictional Yancy Tremayne. Raised among the Cheyenne, Yancy rejects the Amish community his father rejoins and instead studies under Thomas Jackson, a professor at the local military school. When war breaks out, will Yancy further distance himself from the pacifist community and join the fighting? And can he find a home for his heart?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Book Spotlight - The Cheshire Cheese Cat by Carmen Agra Deedy and Randall Wright

The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale
The Cheshire Cheese Cat by Carmen Agra Deedy and Randall Wright

from Goodreads:
Skilley, an alley cat with an embarrassing secret, longs to escape his hard life dodging fishwives brooms and carriage wheels and trade his damp alley for the warmth of the Cheshire Cheese Inn. When he learns that the innkeeper is looking for a new mouser, Skilley comes up with an audacious scheme to install himself in the famous tavern. Once established in the inn, Skilley strikes a bargain with Pip, the intelligent mouse-resident, and his fellow mice. Skilley protects the mice and the mice in turn give to Skilley the delectable Cheshire cheese of the inn. Thus begins a most unlikely alliance and friendship. The cat and mouse design a plan to restore Maldwyn wounded raven and faithful guard in the service of Queen Victoria to his rightful place in The Tower, but first they must contend with a tyrannical cook, a mouse-despising barmaid, and an evil tomcat named Pinch. Will the famous author suffering from serious writer s block who visits the Cheshire Cheese pub each day be able to help?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Book Spotlight - Rugged and Relentless by Kelly Eileen Hake

Rugged and Relentless (Husbands For Hire #1)
Rugged and Relentless by Kelly Eileen Hake

from Goodreads

Roll into Hope Falls, Colorado, where three women are seeking mates to help them establish a sawmill. Evelyn Thompson never dreamed their husbands-for-hire ad would bring so many bachelors to their tiny town. How will she ever figure out which feller to choose? Jacob Granger, a logger-turned-bounty hunter, is hot on the trail of his brother’s killer. When a clue leads him to Hope Falls, he has no choice but to pretend to court Miss Thompson while waiting for the killer to show his hand. Will Jacob’s unexpected adoration of this sweet cook prompt him to speak vows before getting vengeance?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Book review the Puppy that Came for Christmas by Megan Rix

The Puppy That Came for Christmas: How a Dog Brought One Family the Gift of Joy
the Puppy That Came for Christmas by Megan Rix

From Goodreads:

Marley, Oogy, Huck-and now, Traffy, the "forever dog" that changed one couple's life.
All Megan Rix ever wanted was a baby. Yet, month after month, Megan's dreams were dashed. Would her life ever feel complete?
Megan and her husband, Ian, found a surprising answer when they began training golden retriever pups to become service dogs for people with disabilities. But opening their homes and hearts up to Emma, and then Freddy-only to have each move on after six months-eventually took its own toll. Megan and Ian didn't know if they could continue. Then, one Christmas, little Traffy came along ... and stayed. An instant U.K. bestseller, The Puppy That Came for Christmas is a heartwarming and inspirational story that will captivate dog lovers everywhere

My Take:

I like to read Christmas themed books around this time of year.  I also like to read at least one or two books during the year about animals so this book  takes care of both of those likes.  And look at the face of that dog.  I mean really who could resist that dog.  But this book isn't only about how this couple Ian and Meg started training dogs for disabled persons but how these dogs helped them during a time when they were trying to have  a baby and it just didn't seem to be working and how these dogs taught them to be content in what they had.  I did find it alittle hard to understand a few things because she wrote from the standpoint of someone from England but I was able to figure out what she meant.

I would recommend this book for anyone who likes uplifting stories that involve dogs or animals.  Great book for the holidays.

I received a review copy from the publisher via Netgalley.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Audio Book of the Week - The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo

The Christmas Wedding
The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo

  • Narrated by Susan McInerney, Kathleen McInerney, Eileen Stevens, Ax Norman, Allyson Johnson

  • From Good Reads

    The tree is decorated, the cookies are baked, and the packages are wrapped, but the biggest celebration this Christmas is Gaby Summerhill's wedding. Since her husband died five years ago, Gaby's children have drifted apart, each one preoccupied by the turbulence in their own lives. They haven't celebrated Christmas together since their father's death, but when Gaby announces that she's getting married-and that the groom will remain a secret until the wedding day—she may finally be able to bring them home for the holidays.
    But the wedding isn't Gaby's only surprise—she has one more gift for her children, and it could change all their lives forever. With deeply affecting characters and the emotional twists of a James Patterson thriller, THE CHRISTMAS WEDDING is a fresh look at family and the magic of the season.

    My Take:  This is a good book for this time of year.  Nothing too heavy and nice a fluffly.  Great Holiday read.

    Thursday, December 15, 2011

    Book Spotlight - Closet by Eric Swanson

    About Eric Swanson

    Eric SwansonEric graduated from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago with a MDIV degree. After Eric graduated he went on several short term mission trips and even applied for some long term missionary assignments. Eric also felt lead to seek out a job in a church setting, but the door for both domestic and international long term service was closed.
    Eric went through a time of wondering what his next step should be. He was encouraged on one short term missionary trip that his writing skills could be used to glory God and thus went to pursue a career in writing. His novel CLOSET is his first book and is currently looking for a way to get his second novel published with the potential title of OUTCAST.
    You can visit Eric at www.ericjohnswanson.com

    About Closet

    ClosetDerek is a struggling seminary graduate and turns to the occult after receiving multiple rejections from various churches. But this opens a portal to a demonic dimension that a local witch uses to take his mentally disabled son and wife into. Now Derek must enter a demonic world to save the ones he loves with the aid of the Holy Spirit, who shows up in seven different human forms depending on the situation. Along the way Derek finds out what really matters in life after coming to terms with his own weaknesses. But will he do this in time to save his family? Will his wife still love Derek or will she be lost forever in darkness? Will Derek save his wife in time to find his son before he gets sacrificed in a demonic ceremony?

    Book Excerpt:

    Chapter 1
    “This seems like an interesting title for a book, ‘Secrets to Having a Life that Matters,’ I think I’ll pick it up.” John looked inside the book as he stood in the aisle of the local bookstore located in downtown area of Skunk Creek. The sound of snowmobiles could be heard over the sound of a shovel scrapping snow off the sidewalk in front as they made their way to the local tavern near the railroad tracks located a few blocks away.
    “What book did you pick up now? It seems like the colder it gets the more you tend to read. You realize that we have a baby to consider now.” Megan made her way to John with Derek in a portable car seat all bundled up in his blue stocking cap with many warm blankets, looking around his new surroundings. Megan stood on her toes as she attempted in vain to glance over the shoulder of her husband with her shoulder length blonde hair brushing against her husband’s neck. “So, who wrote the book? Is it written by someone you read before?”
    “Actually I never heard of the author or the publishing house, but the concept looks interesting. You know I could be spending our money on snowmobiles, beer and smokes, so in light of that I’m actually saving us money.”
    “You should have gone into politics.” John could see Megan’s eyes roll upward as he turned to face her. She still had the baby in one hand and now placed the other on her hip.
    “Did I ever tell you how attractive you look carrying Derek around like that?” John had a sparkle in his eye as he made his way toward Megan. The sound of the snowmobiles had past and now there was only the scrapping of the shovel outside.
    “Save it for later.” Megan’s eyes started to burn a hole in his soul, but just then Derek started to squirm in his portable car seat and Megan went to look down to see how their baby was doing. “We really need to start a budget. I’m sure getting a book once in awhile doesn’t seem like a big deal, but eventually it adds up. Besides I don’t know the author and it seems like it was written by someone in the area. The Wiccans are getting more and more popular around here. Not everything is worthwhile to read.”
    “You’re right of course. I don’t plan on getting any more books for awhile. Besides it’s very cheap, I think we can manage it. Hopefully the weather will get warmer soon so I can get back to doing some mason work. It has been a long dry spell, but I’m sure things will get better in a month.” John went to pay for his book with Megan and Derek along his side. Megan’s hands were starting to get wet, her throat was dry and she could hear blood pulsating in her ear as John laid down the money.
    It was a short walk down the sidewalk now clear of snow and around the corner to the parking lot in back. The sun was out after the slight dusting the other night, but it added no warmth to the cold north wind that was blowing across a white landscape that seemed devoid of life with the exception of a few farmhouses out in the distance. The wind cut through the jeans that John and Megan were wearing, sending what felt like ice cubes going down flesh. They both walked in silence, yearning to get into the warm interior of their car. John held on to Megan when they encountered a few patches of ice and once the car was started, strapped Derek into his car seat.

    Giveaways, Contests & Prizes!

    In celebration of Eric Swanson’s book tour, he will be appearing at Pump Up Your Book’s 1st Annual Holiday Extravaganza Facebook Party on December 16. More than 50 books, gifts and cash awards will be given away including an e- copy of Closet! Visit the official party page here!

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    Wednesday, December 14, 2011


    I had fun participating in some challenges this past year and have decided to join a few this year also.

    I am going to try for Level one and finish one series

    I am going to try and finish the Lucy Stone Sereis by Leslie Meier
    Birthday Party Murder
    Father's Day Murder
    Star Spangled Murder
    New Year's Eve Murder
    Bake Sale Murder
    St. Patrick's Day Murder
    Mother's Day Murder
    Wicked Witch Murder
    That's a total of 8 books

    I am going to try for level 2 in this one.  If I get the above challenge done I will have this in the bag.

    Just for Fun Challenge.  Just read one book just for fun.

    I really need to do this challenge.  I have so many books I get for my kindle that just sit there
    I am going to try for the Level 1

    I read alot of Historical Fiction so this should be a breeze
    I am going for level 2

    I need to do this one  Level 2