Thursday, January 10, 2013

2013 Reading Goals....

I read 64 books last year.  That would average a little over 5 a month. Not bad. Most were fiction. Only  1 was a classic, even though I was determined to work some classics into my reading.

I never set a number for the year. I read a great deal and have no doubt my list for 2013 will be long. But I do hope to read more non-fiction and classics this year. I love love love fiction and confess it is my escape from the stresses of life, but I really do want to ingest some works from days gone by that I have never read.. many are considered Children's books. My 1 classic last year was Anne of Green Gables. I loved it!  Despite the fact that I majored in English Literature and have always been a bookworm, there are many many treasures I have missed... like Little Women!  How did I grow up and not read that!?  So I will strive to read more classics... no set number, that sets me up to fail!  Just more than last year's tally of 1!

I also enjoy non-fiction and use to read a great deal more of it. Part of the problem is my lack of free time for reading and the fact that I teach Bible study.  I love doing that, but it requires a great deal of non-fiction reading and digging and so when I do have time to read, I want something lighter and less taxing on the brain.  Still.. I get so much from non-fiction books, so I will read more of them this year. I have no idea how many I read in 2012 (forgot to tally that up), but I will strive to read at least 1 non-fiction a month.  Right now I am in the throws of Christine Caine's Undaunted.  Very good book!

Looking forward to enjoying more and more of the written Word in 2013!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Christmas Books

Each year from Thanksgiving to New Year's I read only books that are Christmas themed.  A personal tradition I started some years ago and continue to love. I rarely read a Christmas book any other time of year.

I read 11 books this year... 2 or 3 were Novellas... 2 were collections of Novellas.. all were good... some better than others. :-)

Here is a run down of what I read and a very short review of each.

 Blue Christmas by Diane Moody

This is book 1 of the Moody Blue Trilogy

Hannah is a college senior working late on Christmas Eve and having a full blown pity party when a customer invites her to a Christmas Eve service.  As a result Hannah meets Jason McKenzie, the lead singer of her favorite band and her teen idol. Life gets complicated and surreal as Hannah tries to mesh normal life with the world of celebrity.

A Victorian Christmas (Anthology) by Catherine Palmer

4 Novellas about love and joy at Christmas: A Victorian Christmas Quilt, A Victorian Christmas Tea, The Victorian Christmas Cottage and A Victorian Christmas Keepsake. Each one a delightful and lovely read.

Christmas Under Western Skies: A Prairie Family Christmas / A Cowboy's Christmas  by Anna Schmidt and Linda Ford

2 in one... Both wonderful Historic Fiction set in the American West. Both books center on someone determined to just pass through, but who learns that God has other plans.

One Imperfect Christmas by Myra Johnson

I admit that this one was a bit of a downer at times, but worth reading. Natalie is facing a horrific Christmas. Her beloved mother has been an invalid for a year as a result of a stroke and no one seems to believe she will recover. Natalie is determined she will.. she has to!  Her obsession is costing her everything... her job, family, faith, life. Natalie is determined to make this Christmas one of miracles no matter what it takes!

Christmas at Barncastle by Susan Paige Davis, Darlene Franklin, Janelle Mowery, Lynette Sowell

This is part of the Romancing America series and contains 4 stories in one book.

Each story centers around a lovely bed-and-breakfast called Barncastle Inn in Vermont.  Their specialty is a week at Christmas in whatever time and theme you want.  Made me want to go visit.  While the stories are stand alones, they all center around the same location and characters reoccur from story to story. Very fun read!

The Christmas Shoppe by Melody Carlson

I don't believe I have ever not liked a book by Carlson and her Christmas Stories are my favorites.  This one is no exception.  It is quirky and fun and takes a hard look at human nature and skepticism in light of God's love and forgiveness.

Home for the Holidays by Christine Lynxwiler

A Christmas Novella

Last year I read Lynxwiler's novella My True Love Gave to Me. It is still one of my favorite Christmas reads. So i looked forward to this one and was not the least bit disappointed. In Home, Lauren realizes her life long friendship with Jeffrey is no longer a friendship where she is concerned.  But alas, he is searching for the perfect wife and Lauren knows she is not it. So off she goes to St. Louis to provide Jeffrey with the break he needs to find that wife and the space Lauren needs to soothe her heart.

All I Have to Give: A Christmas Love Story by Melody Carlson

If you have ever read The Gift of the Magi, then this book will ring familiar. But please don't let that keep you from reading! Anna and Michael have been trying to have a baby for years and are both facing the reality that the day will never come.  Each strives to give the other the perfect Christmas and along the way both make wrong judgment calls about each other. Fortunately love covers a multitude of sin and this Christmas there is an abundance of love surrounding them.

A Biltmore Christmas by Diane Ashley, Sylvia Barnes, Rhonda Gibson, Jeri Odell

This is part of the Romancing America series and contains 4 stories in one book.

Set back in time shortly after Biltmore was constructed, each story focuses on the grand house and a set of orphaned sisters seeking a new life there.  In each case, they find that new life but not in the way they expected. Wonderful stories about an age in our country where the barriers of Class and Status were being challenged.

A Simple Amish Christmas by Vannetta Chapman

I enjoy Amish fiction and have just recently discovered Chapman's writings.  Annie Weaver left her Amish roots with full intention of returning one day. But one day came later than she had planned. Now a trained nurse, Annie is called to return home and care for her father after an accident.  Is she home for good? Will she join the church.. find a husband.. return to the life waiting for her? And how will she use her skills among a people who see it as prideful?  Her Simple Amish Christmas is not as Simple as she thought it would be.

Bah, Humbug!  by Heather Horrocks

A Romantic Comedy Novella

This was probably the most fun read of all the books this season. Too cute! Lexi Anderson is a single mom who has her own television show and has been touted as the next Martha Stewart. So she finds it ironic when she moves next door to Scrooge. No sign of Christmas anywhere! And to add insult to injury, he is the author of her favorite series of books!  What's a girl to do? In Lexi's case, step in and save the man from himself and bring Christmas and love back into his life.

There are my Christmas reads from the 2012 season. If you read Christmas throughout the year, then grab one of these and read away. You won't be disappointed!  Or start saving them up for the 2013 Christmas season and start a Christmas books only tradition like me!  I already have some in my closet and loaded on my Kindle for next year!

Head in the Clouds by Karen Witemeyer

I have reviewed another book or 2 by Witemeyer here before. I found a book she wrote (Tailor-made Bride) in a clearance section of a store a year or so ago. The cover caught my eye and the book peaked my curiosity. I have never regretted purchasing that book and the others by this author I have snatched up since. And I look forward to future works.

I love a light hearted fun bit of fiction that entertains and helps the reader escape a bit from the craziness of life BUT I also like there to be a bit of meat there too... a lesson to be learned. Witemeyer delivers.

Adelaide Proctor has it all figured out.. her life that is.. right down to the man who will be her husband. When he is promoted and transferred, Adelaide takes it on herself to pursue and obtain said husband-to-be... but when he is found, well... Adelaide finds that things are not as she thought. Stranded in a new town with no money and no job would unhinge most women. Not Adelaide. She sets a course to find new employment. Her no nonsense persona lands her a position as governess to a young girl, Isabella,  who lives in an isolated part of Texas on a sheep ranch.

Being raised by a guardian, Isabella is heiress to a fortune in England and wanted by an unscrupulous uncle for the money and title.  Gideon, her guardian, hopes to keep her hidden away and protected.  But as is often the case, evil seeks and finds what it wants.

When Isabella's uncle comes to take her, Gideon and Adelaide find themselves trusting God on a deeper level. Not only with Isabella, but also with their hearts.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Glory of Green by Judy Christie

Book 3 in the Green series.. which I love! The Green series revolves around a small town newspaper in Louisiana owned by a young woman named Lois.  I have always loved to write and started my college career as a Journalism major (change to English Lit later). I am a Southern girl. So the combo of a newspaper and Louisiana greatly appeals to me.  Hence, I love this series.... which is very well developed and written.

The problem with review books in a series comes in not giving the surprises away.  So I can safely say this book continues to entertain the reader with tales of the quirky folks in Green, LA and yes, Lois has a crisis of faith.  I will share more below but take this as a spoiler alert... there will be surprises revealed.. so stop here if you want!


Lois and Chris are merging households, preparing for their wedding.. which is the social event of the year in Green.. and in the midst of it all they are thrown a tornado, a never-ending collection of catfish (ceramic, stuffed, woven etc.), a homelessness, and grace beyond compare.

You will not be disappointed in The Glory of Green.