Monday, December 31, 2012

Top 12 of 2012

12. Black Dawn and Bitter Blood by Rachel Caine:

Rachel Caine never ceases to amaze me with her Morganville Vampire series. Each new book that comes out is just as exciting as the beginning of the series so I couldn't just pick one. 

11. The Sanctuary by Ted Dekker
 This was a companion novel to The Priest's Graveyard which I haven't read(but definitely want to).

10. Glamorous Illusions by Lisa T. Bergren

I chose two of Lisa Bergren's books but gave them separate ratings because they were from different series unlike choosing 2 books from Rachel Caine and 2 books from Julie Lessman. Glamorous Illusions is the first in the Grand Tour series and I am looking forward to the next one!

9. Curveball The Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick

 Jordan Sonnenblick never disappoints me! I have enjoyed every book he has written. His stories make me laugh and make me cry and I am definitely a fan!

8. Flesh & Bone by Jonathan Maberry

One more book after Flesh & Bone in the Benny Imura series. This one left me hanging and I cannot wait until the last one comes out! I must find out how everyone ends up. I never thought I would be a fan of zombie fiction, but this series has definitely kept me wanting more!

7. Kiss of Death by Debbie Viguie

A Christian writer that writes about vampires? Yep! Kiss of Death is the 2nd book in the Kiss Trilogy. And yes, I am a fan!

6. A Dangerous Stage by Camy Tang

This is the 2nd book in the Protection for Hire series. I love the kick-butt heroine in this series and I'm looking forward to the next installment. Camy Tang's character Tessa has a sense of humor and skills that keep the reader turning til the last page.

5. Bourne by Lisa T. Bergren

I love The River of Time series! I hope that Lisa will write more!

4. Wish You Were Eyre by Heather Vogel Frederick

 A bit bitter-sweet since this is the last book in the series. I was hoping that the author would continue on through the characters high school years but that is not the case and it makes me sad. A definite favorite series of mine.

3. Invisible by Ginny Ytrtrup(available April 1, 2013)

 There is definitely something in Ginny Yttrup's writing that captures and holds my attention. This is the 2nd book I have read by this author and I was not disappointed in either read. Her book WORDS made my top 10 picks in 2010 so I was very pleased to be able to include Invisible on this year's top 12.

2. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer(Available February 5, 2013)

This series is definitely now in my favorites! I loved the first book Cinder, but I found that I liked Scarlet even better! This one hasn't even come out in stores yet. Thanks for my friend Karin who loaned me her ARC copy. I have a hardback on order because I love the covers of these books. Can't wait for the next one to come out!

1. A Love Surrendered and A Light in the Window by Julie Lessman

I read this series totally backwards. I had no idea that I wasn't starting at the beginning. I read The Winds of Change first and fell in love with the O'Connor family. Out of those 3 books A Love Surrendered was definitely my favorite. Then I read The Daughter's of Boston(the first 3 books in the O'Connor saga) and finally I read the prequel to the whole series A Light in the Window which tells the parents Marcy and Patrick's love story. Julie Lessman proclaims herself as a CDQ(caffeinated drama queen) and that definitely shows up in all of her books. While I am adverse to drama in my own life the characters throughout the series grew on me and I found myself reading each book with anticipation.  Julie was nice enough to allow me to read A Light in the Window before it was published and she even put up with me constantly contacting her on facebook to complain about this or that characters behavior! She is definitely a gracious and sweet person and I am looking forward to a new series she is starting.

Woo hoo! So there you have it! My top 12 picks of 2012. Feel free to leave a link in the comments with your post for your top 12. Looking forward to seeing what you all have read!

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Elite by Kiera Cass

The Selection started out with 35 girls and now in The Elite it is down to 6. America is still confused about her feelings for Maxon. Sometimes she feels that her heart will break when she sees him with another one of the girls, but then she will see a side of him that reminds her once again why she feels so inadequate to be the future Queen. And what of her feelings for Aspen? Her boyfriend from home, now a guard in the palace. He is still the only one that she feels truly knows her. If she is chosen by Maxon what will happen to her friendship with Aspen? When America distances herself from Maxon and he turns his affections elsewhere will America realize her mistake or has she lost his trust for good?

I actually found myself liking The Elite better than The Selection. There seemed to be much more going on in The Elite. Also it seemed that we were able to see more of the characters personality, the author dug a little deeper and gave the characters more complex feelings. In The Selection I was all for America and Maxon getting together. In The Elite I now have my doubts. I still like Maxon, he has a depth to him that I didn't see before. But he also made me angry because he seemed wishy-washy,  one minute he was telling America she was the girl for him and then in the next he would be all over another of the girls. I also got frustrated with America for not showing Maxon more of her true self. Plus the fact that she continues to lead Aspen on. But all of those feelings and relationships are what keep The Elite entertaining. And don't you just love the cover?

Which cover do you like better? I like The Selection cover better. Both are beautiful, but for some reason The Selection draws me to it more. Check out my review of The Selection HERE.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Vanished by Irene Hannon

When driving in a rainstorm Investigative Reporter Moira Harrison hits a woman in the middle of the road causing Moira to run off of the road. When a Good Samaritan stops to help, Moira blacks out. When she comes to there are no emergency crews, no woman and no Good Samaritan. 

Unable to get the terror-filled eyes of the woman out of her mind Moira goes to Phoenix Inc. to enlist the help of a Private Detective. Cal Burke is the PI that interviews Moira. He agrees to do some checking to see if he can find anything of the missing woman or Moira’s Good Samaritan, admitting to her that it is probably a long-shot that anything will turn up. 

Pretty soon Moira and Cal are investigating the Humanitarian of the Year. Everything he represents points to him being a pillar of the community, but when Moira and Cal dig below the surface they find that not is all as it should be. 

Irene Hannon writes great suspense novels and Vanished did not disappoint. Book #1 in the Private Justice series introduces Cal, Dev and Connor as Private Detectives. Along with the suspense that keeps the reader turning the pages there is also the romance between Cal and Moira. Still mourning the death of his wife 5 years before, Cal and Moira are willing to explore their feelings for each other. As the case unfolds they find that they are more attracted to each other the longer they spend together. I enjoyed Vanished and look forward to more books in the series. After all, I’m sure there is more detecting to be done and there are still two PI’s that could use a little romance in their lives. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Holiday Break Reading Challenge

Head over to the blog I co-host Edifying and Edgy for a fun time and great book prizes! It's a fun time to get to know other bloggers! Don't miss out on the fun!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Ring of Secrets by Roseanna M. White

It's 1779 and the Revolutionary war is in full swing as well as all of the spy rings for both the British and the Patriots. Winter Reeves is living in New York City with her grandparents. The Hampton's are not happy to have Winter with them. They never approved of her mother's marriage to her father and have resented it ever since. They are determined to get Winter married advantageously and getting her off their hands.

Winter has many secrets she is keeping. As part of the Culper ring of spies her life hangs in the balance. Not only is she in danger from her grandfather who threatens to dump her in Holy Ground(the part of town where prostitutes live), but she is also in danger of her cover as a spy becoming known.

Winter's grandmother wishes her to marry Bennet Lane, a wealthy Englishman who is set to inherit his uncle's estate in England. In order to gain his attention Winter's grandmother insists that Winter play the part of a flighty simpering young woman without an intelligent thought in her head. This works to Winter's advantage in that who would think of her as an actual spy?

Bennet has secrets of his own about why he is in New York when he longs to be in Connecticut teaching at Yale. Bennet sees through Winter's charade but is still confused. Is she really as clueless as she appears or underneath is there lurking an intelligent young woman? The more Bennet is around her the more he is convinced that there is more to Winter than meets the eye.

As Bennet and Winter slowly fall in love Winter is faced with revealing her deepest secret to Bennet and risk everything that he feels for her.

Having just finished another book on the Revolutionary war with a woman character passing secret letters I found it interesting that Ring of Secrets was next on my reading list. I really enjoyed it as the story line was much different. Ring of Secrets brought out a lot of emotions as I was reading. I found myself angry at Winter's grandparents for the way they treated her. I found myself laughing at some of Winter's antics as she played her part of the bored and clueless socialite. I found myself championing her bravery as she dedicated herself to passing along information to the Patriots. And I found myself sighing happily as Bennet and Winter's love grew for each other. A great historical read!

Sunshine Award


I was awarded the Sunshine Award from Melanie at Christian Bookshelf Reviews

Thanks Melanie for the award! I'm going to deviate from the rules(gasp) and just answer the questions that Melanie posted for the winners. While I love love love many blogs I pretty much know the ones I would like to pass this on to would not have the time to fulfill the rules of the award. So here goes:

1)What is your favorite TV show?
My favorite TV show would be Bones, or Psych, or Downton Abbey. They are pretty much the only ones I watch on TV. We don't get cable so I have to wait for them to be posted online or buy them when they come out on video.

2)Have you ever read a book based on a friend's recommendation alone? If so, what was it and did you like it?
A librarian friend was going on and on about this vampire series that she just loved. I finally said to her, "You do know that vampires are not real don't you?" She called me a smarty and handed me Twilight to read...I was hooked! Still love it and the movies. 

3)  What is your favorite Bible verse?
Isaiah 40:31-Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.

4)What is your least favorite food?
I despise fish! I think the reason being that when I was a kid my parents made me eat fish and not very good fish. I had to pick all of the bones out. Yuck! The only type of seafood I like is shrimp and that only if it is fried :)

5)  Who is your favorite professional sports team?
I'm not a sports fan. I guess if I had to pick it would be the Dallas Cowboys because my son-in-law is a fan. Whenever my husband is channel surfing and the Cowboys are on we watch and I text my SIL and commiserate with how well or how bad they are doing. I don't understand any of the jargon or the strategy that goes with the game, but I know what a touchdown is! haha!

6)  What is your favorite part about blogging?
Ummm...the free books? haha! Actually it is my way of communicating with the world. And also my way of journaling.  Plus I like to meet new people and authors through the blogospere.

7)What is your favorite Christmas song?
I always laughingly say " Grandma Got Ran Over By A Reindeer"! I really love "Mary Did You Know" and pretty much anything that talks about Jesus' birth.

8)What are five of your all-time favorite books?
Pride and Prejudice
Anne of Green Gables
Gone With The Wind
Jane Eyre
Do you know how hard it is to pick just 5? I have so many series that I love too! Check them out:
Trixie Belden
The Californians(by Lori Wick)
The O'Malley series by Dee Henderson
The Waterfall series by Lisa T. Bergren
The O'Connor series by Julie Lessman
The Cheney Duvall series by Gilbert and Lynn Morris
And so many more! I'm a series fanatic!

Thanks once again Melanie for the award!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Messenger by Siri Mitchell

Hannah Sunderland and her family are Quakers. The Quakers are non-violent people. Hannah and her family have chosen not to take sides in the Revolutionary war. Hannah's brother Robert has gone against their beliefs and joined the Patriots, his family has disowned him.

Jeremiah Jones owns a tavern where he is able to keep tabs of what is going on with the British army. He has already lost an arm in one war so is considered useless by most people. When the job of being a spy for General Washington falls into his lap Jeremiah must enlist the help of someone to be able to get into the jail to visit the prisoners.

When Robert is taken prisoner his family refuse to visit him in jail. Jeremiah is able to talk Hannah into not only visiting her brother in jail but also is able to talk her into passing a message on to a particular prisoner. After all, nobody would expect a Quaker woman of duplicity and spying.

Through their dangerous liaison of providing the prisoners with food and a means to escape Hannah and Jeremiah must learn to trust each other. Because of Hannah's Quaker beliefs this endeavor proves to be even more dangerous than either she or Jeremiah first thought. The more Hannah visits the prisoners the more she begins to question the belief of the Quakers in disowning the prisoners in need. With corruption abounding the prisoners are starving and forced to live in squalor while others turn a blind eye. Can two people be the means of saving them without being caught and tried for treason?

I really liked this story and found myself hoping that through all of the obstacles in their way that Hannah and Jeremiah would find a love for each other. But the romance or love story of The Messenger was not the main thrust of the book. I liked the fact that it dealt mainly with Hannah's struggle with her conscience to remain true to her faith and the Quaker beliefs or to listen with her own heart to what God was telling her no matter that it went against everything that she was taught. I also am becoming a sucker for those men that want to change their waywardness because of the love and example of a good woman. Jeremiah was rough around the edges at first but through his association with Hannah found himself wanting to be a better person for her. If you like Historical fiction then this is definitely a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Chocolate-Covered Baloney: Confessions of April Grace by K.D. McCrite

April Grace and her sister Myra Sue do not get along. Especially now that April knows that Myra has a secret. Myra has been sneaking out to the mailbox, writing mysterious letters in her room(pretending to be doing homework), and being cranky with everyone around her. Her family all chalk it up to "just a stage she's going through," but April thinks there is something more to it.

When a long-lost relative shows up unannounced things go from bad to worse. Now April and Myra have to share a room again. The girls are fighting more than ever and things in their home are topsy-turvy. And what about the mysterious hang-up phone calls?

April is as feisty and curious as ever which makes for some entertaining episodes in the story. Honest to a fault she does manage to bite her tongue to keep from saying even more than she already does. When the pastor of their church delivers a sermon on "change is coming" April tunes out. She feels that their family has had enough change to last her a lifetime.

Chocolate-Covered Baloney was an entertaining read. Once again the antics of April Grace and the things that come out of her mouth crack me up. Even though she and her sister fight constantly you can tell that April still has a loyalty to family and love and concern for them. Returning characters included Isabel, Grandma(and her multiple boyfriends), April's parents and the Freebirds. And introduced a new unexpected, and unwanted family member. April's parents have never thrown anyone out of their house before, but this guest may exceed that generosity. A fun book and I look forward to the next installment of the April Grace confessions.

Here's my review of Cliques, Hicks and Ugly Sticks the second book in the series.

Thanks to BookSneeze for my copy of Chocolate-Covered Baloney for my honest review.

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen

Mr. Smallwood and his daughter Emma run a tutoring school for boys. Over the years Emma has taken over a lot of the teaching. When Emma's mother passes away her father goes into mourning and doesn't seem to be his old self. When he is offered a tutoring job for two boys he jumps at the chance for a change and to move on with his life. Emma is not very happy about the job as two of the older boys in the Weston family were students of theirs in former years. The oldest boy, Henry tormented Emma continuously.

When Mr. Smallwood and Emma arrive at the Weston estate they aren't greeted as expected guests. It isn't long before Emma is hearing strange noises in the night and secrets are abounding among the Weston family.

Emma is confused about her feelings toward the Weston men. Philip Weston is her friend. He was always nice to Emma when he was in school with her father. Henry Weston always teased Emma and played practical jokes on her. Emma expects Henry to still act as his old self. Especially when strange things start happening to Emma.  The more Emma gets to know the "new" Henry the more her feelings for him begin to change. Emma knows though that Mrs. Weston would never approve of her and Henry getting married. She insists that Henry and Philip and their two younger brothers marry more advantageously. When events occur that put Emma in danger she and her father return home and Emma resolves to forget her feelings for Henry.

The Tutor's Daughter reminded me a bit of a Gothic novel along the lines of Jane Eyre, with the big home and the mysterious noises in the part of the house nobody is allowed to visit, and the family secrets. I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading more Julie Klassen novels. I liked the mystery and the romance in The Tutor's Daughter along with some suspense.

Available for purchase January 1, 2013. I received my copy for review from NetGalley and Baker Publishing Group. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Matchmakers of Butternut Creek by Jane Myers Perrine

This is the second book in the series. I didn’t read the first book, but don’t think it was necessary to keep up with the story in the second book. 

The Widows have been working to find a wife for Pastor Adam. They believe they have found the right woman in Gussie Milton. Adam would love to court Gussie, but Gussie has a traumatic event in her life that she has refused to deal with. For 13 years Gussie has been able to keep men at arm’s length, but she is finding that Adam is the first man that she would really like to get close to and that scares her to death. 

Although Pastor Adam and Gussie’s story are the main thrust of the novel there are other people in Butternut Creek that also captured my attention. Ouida and George Kowalski, neighbors to Adam, are having some marital issues. When George is forced out of his staid routine will it strengthen or crumble their marriage? 

Hector and his sister Janey are living with Adam while their father is in prison. Adam loves these two and tries his best to bring Janey out of her shell and be a father figure for Hector. 

Then there are The Widows! Oh my, they are a hoot! Especially “The Pillar” Miss Birdie, When she’s on the scene she’s sure to bring a smile! Adam would like the Widows to invite Blossom Brown to join their group. Blossom isn’t technically a widow though. Her husband has left her and she is on her own. Miss Birdie isn’t too happy at the idea of inviting this young woman to be a widow, but soon grudgingly finds that Blossom does add to their group. 

For the most part I enjoyed The Matchmakers of Butternut Creek. I found the events of small town life to be entertaining. I did have some issues with a few things. The author chose to make her characters more “real” by throwing in a curse word here and there. Even though Adam’s character was a pastor it almost seemed like he would have been willing to hop into bed with Gussie before marriage except for the fact that “pastor’s are held to a higher moral code” than others. So for the most part I enjoyed The Matchmakers of Butternut Creek and found the book entertaining. It brought a smile to my face several times and kept me turning the pages to see if the Widows’ plots and schemes to marry the pastor off would work. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Weekend Report

This is hosted by Melanie at Christian Bookshelf Reviews. It is a chance to recap what we have read through the week. Check Melanie's out on her blog!


Along the lines of The Taming of the Shrew, Courting Cate was a pretty good story.


Bitter Blood is the 13th book in the Morganville Vampires series. I think there are 15 books contracted with an option for more. As much as I enjoy the series I think I'm ready for everyone to have their Happily Ever After and be done.


 It's pretty good so far. A bit of mystery going on which I like. I also love the cover! I'm reading this on my Kindle downloaded from NetGalley so I don't get to enjoy the beauty of the cover as I read. It is pretty though isn't it?


Vanished, Shattered and Fatherless were all from NetGalley. Chocolate-Covered Baloney was from Booksneeze. I bought You Don't Know Me off of Amazon. I'm looking forward to reading each of these books. I haven't been in the reading mood lately so I'm hoping with deadlines for most of these that I'll get busy!

How about you? Have you read any good books lately? Would love to hear about them.

Have a great Thanksgiving week!