Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top 11 of 2011!

Julie's Top 11:

11. Skeleton Creek: The Raven by Patrick Carman  

I've already said that I am a series fan. I love this series. You get to read the book and then go online and watch video's of the characters in the book as you go along. Very fun and interactive. 

10. After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick
I've come to the conclusion that anything Jordan Sonnenblick writes will be my favorite. He is so funny, yet deals with emotional situations with tender care. This book was no exception. Loved it!

9. Scorpia Rising by Anthony Horowitz
The final Alex Rider book in the series. And it was GREAT! Although it managed to tick me off with the ending!

8. Dancing on Glass by Pamela Ewen
This was one of those stories that stayed with me long after I finished it. 

7. There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones

I love Jenny B. Jones' writing! She has a great sense on humor along with writing very deep, heart-felt novels. One of my favorite authors!

6. Pompeii: City on Fire by T.L. Higley
Along with a great storyline this book is filled with wonderful historical facts about Pompeii. T.L. Higley has a writing style that grabs you even when you don't think you will enjoy the particular genre she is writing. 

5. Rot& Ruin and Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry
Zombies! Enough said! Okay, I never thought I would be into a zombie series but yep, I'm a fan and anxiously awaiting the 3rd book in the series.

4. Forever by Maggie Steifvater
The finale of the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. So exciting! 

3. Home For The Holidays by Heather Vogel Frederick
I love love love this series! Yes, it is totally juvenile, and sweet with very little angst, but I totally love it! Every stinkin one of them!!

 2. The Guardian Duke by Jamie Carie
I loved the beginning of this series! This is my new favorite Jamie Carie book. The cliffhanger was amazing! And who can resist this cover? 

1. ?????? by ??????

What will it be? Come back tomorrow and see.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Protection For Hire by Camy Tang

Tessa has just been released from prison for a murder she never committed. She refuses to go back to work for her uncle the head of the Japanese mafia(Yakuza). Tessa was changed while in prison. Finding the peace and acceptance she never had while working for her uncle Tessa has committed her life to Jesus.

Forced to live with her mother and sister(who is going through a divorce), Tessa tries to find a job to support herself. While volunteering at a shelter for abused women Tessa meets Elizabeth. Elizabeth has left her husband because he was hitting her and her 3 year old son. Elizabeth asks Tessa to become her body guard. Elizabeth is convinced that her husband wants to kill her so she turns to Tessa for protection and friendship.

Charles is looking to become partner in his law firm. His mother asks him to take Elizabeth's case pro bono. When he hears about the abuse it brings up memories of his father abusing his mother. He is determined to help Elizabeth and keep her husband from harming her. Unfortunately at the time of Tessa's trial Charles was a law clerk. He is the one that recommended a longer sentence for her. Neither trust each other, but yet there is an attraction between them that is hard to deny. 

Set in San Francisco Protection for Hire is full of action packed pages. The book captured my interest from the very first page to the very last. Tessa is full of spunk. She has great martial art skills that she uses frequently to protect Elizabeth. She struggles with who she used to be and who she has become in Christ. With the help of Charles' mother hopefully she will see the new creature she has become.  I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment to the series!

Thanks to Zondervan publishers through NetGalley for my review copy.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


I'm co-hosting the Holiday Break Reading Challenge over at Edifying and Edgy. Today's challenge was to create a collage of all of the books that we have read in 2011. At the time that we created the post for E and E I had read 108 books. I now have 111 books read. I am hoping to finish one more before the New Year. We will see. Here is my contribution over at E and E:

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter

When they were just teenagers Shay and Travis planned to elope. Travis got cold feet and left Shay on the steps of the courthouse. He went to Texas to pursue his dream of being on the rodeo circuit and Shay went home in humiliation.

Fast forward fourteen years later. Shay is set to be the bride in the Founder's Day reenactment. What she doesn't count on is Travis coming back to town to take care of his parents' ranch, the ranch next door to hers. Shay and her daughter are just about to lose everything they have to debt.

Travis is coerced into being the groom for the reenactment ceremony. Both he and Shay are in for a big surprise when they find out that the ceremony was legal and binding! Travis has never gotten over Shay. He wants another chance to prove his love for her. He makes a deal with her. He will help her out financially if she gives him the chance to make up for leaving her so many years ago.

Shay agrees to the arrangement, but is determined to not let another man(or even the same man) hurt her again. The problem is that Travis is still attractive to her and causes her to have weak knees with his steamy kisses.

Will Travis be able to prove his love to Shay, or will he once more prove to be unreliable? And will Shay learn that she needs to only please God and not people?

I really enjoyed Shay and Travis's story! Shay's character was full of spark and sass and Travis was the ultimate hunky cowboy. A great romance with my much needed Happily Ever After ending!

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Tale of Two Proms by Cara Lockwood

Miranda is in her Senior year at the Bard Academy. Her boyfriend Heathcliff(yes Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights) has just asked her to marry him. Miranda is torn, does she marry Heathcliff the love of her life and have to stay on the Island forever or does she leave all of Bard Academy behind and go to Penn State University where she has been accepted?

Before Miranda can make a decision though strange things begin to happen. After all, it is Bard Academy, where strange is normal. Catherine shows up from Wuthering Heights, she is Heathcliff's true love. She also happens to look just like Miranda. Then Heathcliff begins to act strangely, when did Heathcliff begin to drink Miranda wonders. 

Miranda and her sister Lindsay are called away from the Island for a family emergency. Upon their return they find the Island empty. All of the faculty and students have disappeared. Heathcliff and Catherine are nowhere to be found either. Knowing that somehow Catherine is behind the disappearance of everyone Miranda and Lindsay must travel into other novels in order to find all of their friends before it is too late and the classics as we know them are altered forever.

I have totally enjoyed Cara Lockwoods Bard Academy series! Going to a school where the teachers are characters and authors from famous classics would be totally interesting. There's always a bit of danger in each one also, and of course the romance between Heathcliff and Miranda keeps the pages turning. I believe this may be the last book in the series. If so it was the perfect ending!

This is an advanced copy courtesy of Cara Lockwood through NetGalley.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry CHRISTmas!

May you and your families have a very Merry and blessed Christmas!

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Forgiven Duke by Jamie Carie

Beginning where The Guardian Duke left off The Forgiven Duke begins with Alexandria sailing for Iceland with her now fiance' John. Alexandria is still following the trail of her parents. She is convinced that they are still alive and in need of her help.

Gabriel watched her sail away just moments too late to catch her. He is devastated to have missed her and is determined to get the next ship to Iceland to follow her. The crown regent has other ideas for him though and has soldiers bring Gabriel back to England. It is revealed to him what treasure the Featherstones are after. It is now a race to see which country can find the missing manuscript first. Gabriel is kidnapped by the same Spaniards that are after Alexandria. He is forced into service for them in order to save Alexandria.

Alex is having second thoughts about marrying John. She knows that she is in love with Gabriel. Unfortunately John has fallen in love with Alex, plus he needs her money to get himself out of debt. Determined to keep her for himself John resorts to underhanded deeds that compromise Alex's innocence.

Once Alex is returned to England and under Gabriel's guardianship she finds herself confused. Why won't Gabriel talk with her? Why does he avoid her at all costs. Gabriel too is frustrated. He fears that if he reveals his affliction to her that she will never be able to care for him.

The Forgiven Duke takes us on a fast-paced treasure hunt, full of adventure and romance. There were a few things that had me cringing but will probably not bother most people.  I can't wait for the last book in the series A Duke's Promise. Just like in  The Guardian Duke, The Forgiven Duke has a terrific cliff-hanger that had me screaming for the next one NOW!

This is an Advanced Copy that I read on my Kindle from NetGalley. B&H Publishing Group are the publishers. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Victorian Christmas by Catherine Palmer

Well I didn't finish the 4th story in this. I got bogged down I'm afraid. I read 3 of the stories and decided I needed to move on.

The first story: Angel in the Attic

Fara has inherited her father's estate. Now all of the single men are after her for her money. Fara wants nothing to do with them until she finds a stranger laying in the snow with a gunshot wound in his arm. She immediately thinks that he is a desperado. Aaron Hyatt has come to Silver City to find Fara. His father's dying wish was for him to find Fara and hopefully make an alliance for the 2 families.  Sparks immediately fly between the two. But they soon come to care for each other.

The Second Story: Lone Star

Star Ellis is on her way from America to marry a British aristocrat in Northern England. Their alliance will help save her father's cattle farm in America. What Star doesn't count on is falling in love with the stranger that travels with her to England. Determined to keep her promise to save her fathers land Star is set on putting her own feelings aside to honor her father.

The Third Story: Under His Wings

A story that mirrors the story of Ruth in the Bible. Gwyneth has traveled with her mother-in-law back to her mother-in-law's family home. A young widow she is determined to stay and take care of her mother-in-law and serve the master of the manor well.

Each story had some entertaining parts to it and characters that make them endearing to the reader. I was just finished with the short stories and ready to move on to something else to finish the 4th story.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christian Fiction Book Club

Today we are discussing She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell. Hop on over to Renee's blog at Black 'n Gold Girls Book Spot 
to join in the discussion.

Go HERE for my review of She Walks in Beauty. I really enjoyed this book while totally feeling sorry for the main character and also getting frustrated with the time period. Having to wear a corset and "catch" a rich husband while meeting all of the demands of society was quite a chore for a woman. After reading this book I was grateful for the time-period that I live in!

Here are the discussion questions that I chose to answer:

1.       Have you ever wanted to fix one of your physical attributes? Which one? Why?
When I was young I wanted to be tall and skinny. I got tired of being called “shorty” or “shrimp” or “small fry” My dream was always to be at least 5’. I never reached that dream, but as an adult I am content with my height.

Fashions through the ages have often been created on the assumption that people aren’t shaped correctly. What apparent flaws does modern fashion try to correct? What is today’s ideal standard of beauty?
I think through commercials we are told that extremely skinny is the fashion of the day. There are so many young girls battling with eating disorders and a lot of it has to do with the fashion industry. A lot of our commercials whether on TV, newspaper ads or in-store advertisements focus on outward appearance. Modesty is out and sexy or I should say “sex” sells.

Head on over to Renee's blog to link up with the discussion today! I've enjoyed being a part of the Christian Fiction Book Club this year.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Guest Post-Author Carey Jane Clark

Please welcome Author Carey Jane Clark to My Only Vice! Carey kindly asked me to review her first novel After The Snow Falls you can go HERE for my review which was posted yesterday. Carey is a wife, mother and author. You can check out her blog Carey Jane Clark for more information about Carey and her family.

Carey's  guest post:

First of all, I want to thank Julie for the opportunity to be a guest at My Only Vice. I'm honored. Julie asked me what my inspiration for After the Snow Falls was--basically why I would choose such a difficult topic to write about, and whether there was a personal connection to the events of the story. (For a synopsis of the story, see the review yesterday.)
I don't think I set out to write about a difficult topic. My desire was to write something meaningful. I think it's just as possible to write something meaningful in a quirky, light hearted way. I really enjoy authors who are able to do that--to entertain you and keep you laughing and then turn around and make you take a look at yourself in the mirror.
I would actually like to be able to write that kind of fiction. I wrote a short piece once for a fiction class in which I created a character named Adelia Foster who was perpetually pregnant. This is part of the description of her:
But Adelia Foster did not glow and she did not look beautiful. She was a giant swollen marshmallow.
One day, perhaps, I'll be able to explore her further. I'd like to see her come to life in a story.
As far as what inspired me to write After the Snow Falls, I don't know that on a conscious level I was really aware of it until someone in my critique group asked me the same question: what motivated you to write about a topic like this? And I suddenly realized I was probably trying to work out an experience I had as a young person. When I was twelve years old, a family friend died of leukemia at the age of four. That experience had a profound effect on me, and I remember thinking: couldn't there have been some other outcome?
For some of the medical details, when I first began researching this story, I read the entire blog of a woman whose daughter had the same diagnosis as Caleb does. I followed this little girl's fight with her disease until the last post--the announcement of her passing. The mother wrote about her daughter with courage and strength of character. That mother was the inspiration for Leigh, who befriends Celia. In many ways, she was a compass to me as I wrote the story--a way to remember to keep the balance between the realities of the situation, and the joys that life brings even in the midst of it.
I think Celia, the main character, by contrast doesn't always handle things with strength and dignity, but there's probably more of me in Celia. The big lesson she has to learn is forgiveness. That's something I've definitely had to live through as well.
I guess ultimately, life is difficult and messy and imperfect, and my characters and their lives are too, but in the midst of that difficulty, there is hope. If readers come away with one impression after putting down my book, I would want it to be that.

Thank you so much Carey for your guest post! Carey has kindly offered to give away a copy of her book to one reader for either a Kindle or Epub. Leave a comment on this post and a winner will be selected next Wednesday December 22nd. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

After The Snow Falls by Carey Jane Clark

Celia and her husband Jeff are faced with a parent’s worst nightmare. Their son Caleb is diagnosed with a brain tumor. They must enter into a world of treatment with very little hope offered for healing.

Just as Celia’s life is crumbling around her she is also faced with her father coming back into her life. Alfie abandoned Celia and her mother when Celia was a young child. Alfie claims he is a “changed man”. Adele, Celia’s mother believes him; Celia though refuses to forgive him.

How far would a parent go to find a cure for their child? Celia explores the realm of alternative medicine while denying any spiritual intervention. Alfie wishes to share his spiritual change with Celia. He is sure that through prayer and forgiveness healing can begin.

Because of the subject matter it is hard to say, “I really enjoyed this book”. But when you take it apart and examine each character you find so much to like. Chapters are alternated between Alfie and Celia. What each one is going through during this process. The author has managed to capture heart-breaking emotions of parents faced with losing their child, consequences of choices that are made and the healing power of forgiveness. So despite the subject of the book, I really did enjoy After the Snow Falls because the characters and subject captured my heart as I read. 

Come back tomorrow(Friday December 16th) for a guest post by author Carey Jane Clark and a giveaway of her book After the Snow Falls for either a Kindle or ePub.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Christmas Bus by Melody Carlson-Kindle

Christmas Valley capitalizes on it's name all year long. Every store and restaurant is Christmas themed. This year the local pastor and his wife who also run the Bed and Breakfast will sadly be alone. Their children are unable to come home for Christmas.

Inspired by one of her husbands sermons, Edith Ryan decides to open the Bed and Breakfast up to 5 people or families in need of a place to spend Christmas. Charles had preached about being hospitable because they never know when they may be entertaining angels unaware.

Pretty soon all 5 rooms in the Bed and Breakfast are filled up. One of the guests is cantankerous Myrtle. Myrtle seems to be ancient. She is "dropped off" in Christmas Valley and intends to spend 2 weeks at the Bed and Breakfast. Myrtle doesn't seem to know boundaries. She totally ignores the sign above Edith's kitchen that states "no guests beyond this point". She makes herself right at home. Myrtle has a tendency to make people angry also. Her and one of the church members butt heads instantaneously when Myrtle offers to "help" with the traditional Christmas pageant.

A young couple arrives in Christmas Valley. They are driving a broken down, very colorful bus. They are told to get it off the street. They try to get a room at the Bed and Breakfast but there are no more rooms left. Charles and Edith allow them to park their bus in front of the B&B for the night, little knowing that it will be for more than one night since the bus just broke down. Amy and Collin are so young and seem to be in desperate need of help. Not only has their bus broken down, but Amy is very pregnant.

Between Myrtle's shenanigans and worry over Amy and Collin, Edith and Charles have their hands full. Will they be able to make this Christmas special for their guests along with "entertaining an angel unaware"?

I thought this was a sweet Christmas read. It was entertaining as well as thought-provoking. I love the message of being hospitable to all because we may not know when we are entertaining angels unaware. Edith and Charles were perfect examples of two people caring for others no matter their circumstances. I may have to put this on my annual Christmas "read" list.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christian Fiction Book Club last meeting December 17th

Renee at Black 'n Gold Girl's Book Spot will be hosting our last book club meeting this year. Meet at her blog on December 17th. We will be discussing She Walks In Beauty by Siri Mitchell. There's still time to get the book and join us for the discussion! Discussion questions are located at the end of the book.

Monday, December 5, 2011

O Little Town : A Novel by Don Reid-Kindle

Mt. Jefferson in the 1950's was your typical small town where everyone seems to know each other and their lives are intertwined.

It is Christmas 1958 and the story opens with a local pastor's daughter being caught shoplifting in the local department store. Not wanting to raise too big of a scene the manager of the store attempts to keep the news from getting out. Unfortunately he has to call Buddy the Chief of Police in.

Buddy is having problems of his own. He has just found out that his 16 year old daughter is pregnant. The baby's father is the son of a well-known doctor in town. Louis Wayne wants to do the right thing and marry Buddy's daughter. 

Walter is in the hospital. His daughters Doris and Colleen are two very different women. Doris has always tried to win her father's love even though she already had his love. She is a strong personality. And she is married to a doctor. Colleen has always been the favored daughter, but something is bothering her that she cannot figure out. Things just don't seem right between her husband Milton(the manager of Macalbee's department store) and herself.

When Buddy brings Pastor Franklin's daughter home he and his wife Dove are both disappointed in their daughter's behavior. Millie seems to have no remorse for what she has been caught doing. Dove decides to march up to the store and defend her daughter. She has been wanting to move from Mt. Jefferson for a long time. There is one temptation that she wants to flee.

Another story is woven into the main story. That is Walter's story from his youth. It is about the tragic loss of his first love. 

Everyone gathers Christmas eve for service at Pastor Franklin's church. He delivers a message on forgiveness. Hearts and lives are touched and healing can begin for so many.

I enjoyed this story very much. Everyone's lives interwoven together and the ultimate gift of forgiveness shines through.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Night of the Living Dead Christian by Matt Mikalatos-NetGalley

Night of the Living Dead Christian:

One Man's Ferociously Funny Quest to Discover What It Means to Be Truly Transformed


 The author Matt Mikalatos plays a part in his story of a man trying to find what it means to be truly transformed. As "Matt" is out doing his Neighborhood watch duty one night he runs into a mad scientist(Culbetron) and his robot(Hibbs 3000). Pretty soon zombies arrive on the scene. Then his neighbor turns out to be a werewolf. 


Matt's werewolf neighbor is having trouble taming the beast within. His wife has now left him and taken his daughter with her. Matt, Culbetron and Hibbs decide to help Luther(werewolf) find a way of transforming himself from a beast to an acceptable citizen.


From a church full of zombies following a man and his rules instead of the Bible, to finally confronting his father, this is the journey of Luther who wants to be a better man yet instead of yielding his life to Christ like he should, is determined  to fix himself his own way.


One of the characters that I liked was a vampire. She represented a "transformed" life but still struggling with the "old" self and desires of her flesh. Matt Mikalatos has written a story that is thought-provoking and challenging along with being fun and a bit irreverent. He did wax preachy a couple of times, but brought us back into the story once more. 


I received my copy of Night of the Living Dead Christian from NetGalley and Tyndale House publishers. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dead Reckoning by Ronie Kendig(Kindle)

Shiloh's world is shattered when she is on a dive in India. Her best friend is shot and men are trying to kill her.

Reece is amazed at Shiloh's ability to get away from the men sent to kill her. He is trying to gain her trust and protect her while also protecting his heart from ever again falling in love with a strong-headed woman.

Shiloh doesn't know who to trust. Her best friend Khalid has just proposed marriage to her but she is unable to return his feelings. Shiloh has been estranged from her father for 15 years. She has no intentions of ever trusting a man in her life again. Why then, when she doesn't even know him, does Reece garner such trust from her?

Forced to be a player in a game she never wanted to be put in again, Shiloh must learn to forgive and open her heart once more to a faith that she abandoned many years before.

Ronie Kendig knows how to write a fast-paced, action-packed novel! I enjoyed this one from the very beginning.