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Showing posts from December, 2010

2010 Books in Review

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2010 has come to a close. And what a year it has been. I've had a rather eventful year, with both highs and lows. Among the highs was me graduating with my master's degree in history. I also had some really bad lows but I'm hoping that next year will be a lot better.

In terms of reading....*snickers*. I had a really awesome year. I read 624 books this year. That is the most books I have ever read in my entire life in one year. I thought last year's total of 530 books was over the top but I just went all sorts of crazy this year. I didn't think that I would even get near last year's total but I went above and beyond. In case anyone is wondering how I did this, the first half of the year I had a job where I could read at work. The second half of the year I have been jobless allowing me to read all the time. Also I don't have kids. Enough said.

As most of you know, I read and review mainly Christian fiction on this blog. I do read other genres but…

Book Review: "Lydia's Charm" by Wanda Brunstetter

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Visit Amish Country during the fall as Lydia King attempts to make Charm, Ohio, feel like home after losing her husband. But is her heart ready to open back up to love when gifts appear on her porch from a mystery source? Could it be from the widowed father of four energetic boys, or is it from the man who has rejected romance to be his family's caregiver? When life hands Lydia another challenge, will the gift giver be there to support her?

This is hard to believe but this was actually the first Amish book that I have read by Wanda Brunstetter. I'm a big Amish fiction reader but even though I have many of Brunstetter's books, I haven't actually sat down and read one until now. I know she's very popular with Amish readers but I just haven't gotten around to reading her. This book brought together something I never thought I would read in a book: Amish and midgets. It's a very unlikely combination that sounds like it would never work out but Brunste…

Book Review: "The Home for Broken Hearts" by Rowan Coleman

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For young widow Ellen Wood, her Victorian home is a refuge—a place to feel safe with her eleven-year-old son, Charlie. But when money grows so tight that Ellen could lose the house, her sister, Hannah, makes a radical suggestion . . . rent out some of the rooms. Soon Ellen has three lodgers: Sabine, a German coworker of Hannah's, recently separated from her husband; Allegra, an eccentric but wise novelist; and Matt, an up-and-coming young journalist in search of his voice, who has just landed a plum job in London.

Ellen thinks three strangers are the last complication she needs, but they make her realize just how isolated she has become. Their presence exposes a secret she's been keeping hidden, as well as a conflict with her sister that is both shocking and revealing. And while a love affair with a younger man seems like a fantasy powered by her imagination, Ellen can't deny her deep connection to Matt, or the changes he inspires in her and her relationship with Charlie. O…

Book Review: "Stay With Me" by Sandra Rodriguez Barron

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In 1979, five toddlers were found alone in a luxury boat tied to a dock in Puerto Rico after a devastating hurricane. No one knew who they were or where they came from. Raised by different families, they remained connected by a special bond—always considering themselves siblings, despite their unknown blood relations.

Now adults, Taina, Holly, Adrian, and Raymond have been summoned by the fifth, David, to an island off the coast of Connecticut and the family home of David's ex-girlfriend, Julia. But along with the joy of reuniting comes the exposure of raw places, jealousy, and childhood sorrows. Having been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer—and experiencing flashbacks to the time before the hurricane—David believes that healing his relationship with Julia and discovering his origins will strengthen his ability to endure and survive. David pushes the people he loves the most to their emotional breaking points in order to uncover the truth about the mystery that both…

Book Winner

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Congrats to the winner of DEWEY'S NINE LIVES


Book Review: "Salting Roses" by Lorelle Marinello

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A young woman abandoned as an infant on an Alabama porch is horrified to discover that she is the missing heiress to a vast Connecticut fortune—a birthright she is desperate to reject in favor of her Peachtree Lane roots.

Gracie Lynne Calloway—once left in a coal bucket on a front porch in a small Alabama town—discovers on her twenty-fifth birthday that she is the kidnapped daughter of a late New England financier and heiress to a fortune. When the tabloid press and her unwanted greedy relatives descend on her, she has to admit the quiet secure life she's known and loved is gone for good. As Gracie struggles to stabilize her world and come to terms with her new identity, she learns that belonging is not about where you came from but who you are.

What would you do if you suddenly came into money? Would you go out and start buying everything left and right or would you try to refuse it? That's exactly the dilemma that Gracie is suddenly put through as she discovers that she'…

Merry Christmas

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For all those of you who celebrate Christmas, may this be a joyous day and a happy celebration to you all.

Book Review: "An Amish Christmas" by Cynthia Keller

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Meg Hobart has everything: a happy marriage to a handsome, successful husband, a beautiful home in Charlotte, North Carolina, and three wonderful children. But it all comes crashing down around her the day she learns that her husband, James, has been living a lie—and has brought the family to financial ruin. Penniless and homeless, the Hobarts pack up what little they still possess and leave behind their golden life for good. But it’s not the material things Meg finds herself mourning. Instead, she misses the certainty that she should remain married to James, who has betrayed her trust so thoughtlessly. Worse, she is suddenly very aware of just how spoiled her children have become. Meg wonders what her family has really sacrificed in their pursuit of the American dream.

A frightening twist of fate forces the Hobarts to take refuge with a kind Amish family in Pennsylvania, where they find themselves in a home with no computers, no cell phones, nothing the children consider fashionable o…

Book Review: "A Plain and Simple Christmas" by Amy Clipston

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When Anna Mae McDonough left her Amish community four years ago to marry David, an Englisher, her family shunned her. Now eight months pregnant with their first child, she longs to return home for Christmas. But when she arrives, she doesn't receive the welcome she expects. Will it cause her to question her faith in God?

I will admit before I started reading this book, I was very wary about it. I had read Clipston's first Amish book last year and I did not like it at all. In fact, I had major problems with it and swore that I would never read another of her books again. Then I saw that she had written a Christmas novella and I'm a sucker for Christmas books. So I picked up this books with very low expectations and was thinking that I would find myself being very disgruntled again. Therefore it was a complete shock to find that not only was the story done very well but that I found myself enjoying the book very much.

The story deals with a couple with the wife being…

Book Winner

Congrats to the winner of Dining With Joy!

Wendy B from Wall to Wall Books

Book Review: "The Mailbox" by Marybeth Whalen

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When Lindsey Adams first visits the Kindred Spirit mailbox at Sunset Beach, she has no idea that twenty years later she will still be visiting the mailbox—still pouring out her heart in letters that summarize the best and worst parts of her life.

Returning to Sunset for her first vacation since her husband left her, Lindsey struggles to put her sorrow into words. Memories surface of her first love, Campbell—and the rejection that followed. When Campbell reappears in her life, Lindsey must decide whether to trust in love again or guard herself from greater pain. The Mailbox is a rich novel about loss, hope, and the beauty of second chances.

I don't always like reading romances but I do love a good love story. And this book is a beautiful love story. It's the story of two people who were meant to be together, misfortune happens along the way, and then they are brought back together under the most unlikely of circumstances. It's a story that;'s been told numerous times bu…

Fall Into Reading Wrap Up

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Well all good things must come to an end. And the Fall Reading Challenge is now over. How'd I do? Well I've gone absolutely bonkers this past year and reading WELL over my norm (I'm currently at up to 618 books for the year). I read all the books (29) on my list PLUS 92 more for a grand total of 121 books in 3 months!!!!!

Here's the official list of books (click) I read for the challenge.

Here's a breakdown of the OTHER books that I read during the same time:


Christian FictionThe Fiddler's Gun by A.S. PetersonStray Affections by Charlene Ann BaumbichAn Honest Love by Kathleen FullerEmbers of Love by Tracie PetersonThe Waiting by Suzanne Woods FisherLove Finds You Under the Mistletoe by Irene Brand and Anita HigmanDivine Appointments by Charlene Ann BaumbichHometown Ties by Melody CarlsonLady in Waiting by Susan MeissnerWhile We're Far Apart by Lynn AustinIn the Company of Others by Jan KaronDon't Look Back by Lynette EasonSecrets of Harmony Grove by M…

Book Review: "The Clouds Roll Away" by Sibella Giorello

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Closing her assignment with the FBI's Seattle office, forensic geologist Raleigh Harmon returns to her hometown of Richmond, Virginia, expecting a warm welcome. Instead she finds herself investigating an ugly cross burning at a celebrity's mansion and standing in the crosshairs of her boss at the Bureau. And the deeper Raleigh digs into the case, the murkier the water becomes...until she's left wondering who the real victims might be.To make matters worse, Raleigh's personal life offers almost zero clarity. Her former confidant is suddenly remote while her former boyfriend keeps popping up wherever she goes. And then there's her mother. Raleigh's move home was supposed to improve Nadine's fragile sanity, but instead seems to be making things worse.As the threads of the case begin crossing and double-crossing, Raleigh is forced to rely on her forensic skills, her faith, and the fervent hope that breakthrough will come, bringing with it that singular moment w…

Book Review: "The Transformation of Things" by Jillian Cantor

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Jennifer Levenworth has a headache—a great, big, pounding headache. It could be because her husband, a judge, is indicted on bribery charges, leaving her unsure about everything in her marriage. The headache could also be caused by the news stations, every one of which is covering the story, or the local paper, where it’s plastered on the front page. Or it could be because the friends Jennifer thought she knew and trusted have turned their backs on her in her greatest hour of need.

But there is something else very odd going on, and the headache isn’t quite what it seems. In fact, Jennifer doesn’t feel exactly right, and all of her thoughts aren’t her own. Suddenly privy to hear and see things her family and friends are saying and even thinking in their most private moments, she has new insight into all of their inner-most emotions and secrets. Her herbalist says it’s stress combined with her imagination. . . but something unbelievable has happened to Jennifer. Something that allows her…

My Library Reads No. 4

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My Library Reads is a spotlight on the library books that I have read during the previous week. This is not a post on what books I borrowed but books that I read. Since I don't review library books, this is a way to still be able to showcase them on my blog.

BTW, if anyone knows of another meme that is like this on another blog, could you please let me know? I don't know of any myself, but if there is one already in place, I'd like to give credit where credit is due!

Library Books read from 12/12/10 - 12/19/10

Penny Dreadful by Laurel Snyder (Random House Books for Young Readers, 2010)

Middle Grade: This was a REALLY cute book. I loved Penny's character and her adventures in both her old home and her new one. The story was refreshingly realistic and lots of fun to read. This is exactly the type of middle grade fiction that I love reading and I would love if there is a sequel to Penny's story in the future.

Love Finds You in Sun Valley, Idaho by Ange…

Movie Review: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1"

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I don't know about you but just thinking about Harry Potter has the theme music just swelling loudly in my head. It's so sweeping and majestic and perfectly fits the theme of the books. Instantly recognizable by long time fans, the music sets the mood for the entire series. And now the series has come to an end....or rather the beginning of the end.

As always before a Harry Potter movie comes out, I've been walking around with a pencil (or just holding my hand pretending) and yelling out things like "Lumos!" "Expelliarmus !", "Expecto Patronum!" or my favorite, thanks to the Wizarding World ads, "Protego!" I've also been relistening to the audio books (AGAIN) to get pumped up. I'm currently on Goblet of Fire and am on track to finish Deathly Hallows again before the last movie comes out.

Be warned...there will be lots of spoilers throughout this post so if you are one of the FEW PEOPLE who have not read the book or seen t…

Book Review: "Dewey's Nine Lives" by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter

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Dewey's Nine Lives offers nine funny, inspiring, and heartwarming stories about cats—all told from the perspective of "Dewey's Mom," librarian Vicki Myron. The amazing felines in this book include Dewey, of course, whose further never-before-told adventures are shared, and several others who Vicki found out about when their owners reached out to her. Vicki learned, through extensive interviews and story sharing, what made these cats special, and how they fit into Dewey's community of perseverance and love. From a divorced mother in Alaska who saved a drowning kitten on Christmas Eve to a troubled Vietnam veteran whose heart was opened by his long relationship with a rescued cat, these Dewey-style stories will inspire readers to laugh, cry, care, and, most importantly, believe in the magic of animals to touch individual lives.

Ok, I'm going to honest. I am not a cat person. Yes, all you cat people can gasp in horror. I love dogs. I've just nev…