Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Wrap Up!

It's the last day of the year and I have had a great time reading and doing challenges this year. I started in June, so my accomplishments may not be as amazing as some of yours, but I'm happy with them. I plan to enjoy more challenges in 2010. This is how I shape up:

I read 42 books including starting to read the Bible in October.

Challenges completed:
Chronicles of Narnia Challenge (loved this one)
Fun in the Sun Challenge (this is the first challenge I signed up for)
Four-Month Challenge (didn't do as well as I could have - I'll do better with the next one)
Royal's Romance Reading Challenge (love romance novels)
Well-Rounded Challenge (this was easy to finish)
Book Thief Challenge (this was a fun one)
Christmas Reading Challenge (a good excuse to read Christmas books)

I participated in the following challenges, but didn't complete them. I did pretty well, though, considering I started in June:
Fall '09 Challenge - 6/15 books for 40% (the worst I did on challenges)
A to Z Challenge - Books - 21/26 books for 81% (not bad for 6 months)
A to Z Challenge - Authors - 20/26 books for 77%
Four-Month Challenge Part II - 40/250 points so far (doesn't end until Feb. 2010)

I'm planning on reading Harry Potter as soon as my daughter will let me get hold of her books - she has the whole collection in hardcover now. Pretty soon.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow so I can start reading for 2010 challenges!

Happy New Year and Happy Reading!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Christmas Gift by David Saperstein & James J. Rush

I have completed the Christmas Reading Challenge! I finished "A Christmas Gift" by David Saperstein and James J. Rush last evening. When I started the book, I wasn't sure I was going to like it because there were convicts and crimes involved, but it was okay. Not your warm & fuzzy Christmas novel, but okay just the same. It had a happy ending and the bad guys got caught. I would give it a 3 out 5 star rating. I wouldn't read it again and I probably wouldn't recommend it, but it was okay. It helped me complete my Christmas Reading Challenge!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I'm baaaack and getting ready to take another break!

I'm back for now, but will be taking another break tomorrow, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day which leads to the weekend, so I'll be back on Monday, December 28th. My oldest daughter is home from graduate school after a long drive. She left the Virginians struggling to deal with the over 2 feet of snow that accumulated over the last few days and headed home where there is a mere couple of inches. My son visited yesterday to finalize the plans for our Christmas party - he's a chef and arranging the food for the party. My youngest daughter and my husband had their last day of school yesterday, so all is well here at our house. We will have our whole family together under one roof on Christmas Day. That gives me such a good feeling. Those of you with young children, those Christmases were fun times for us, but having my grown children together with us and wanting to carry on the traditions that we established over the years is wonderful! I love being with my family, so...have to go again. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Show the love you have for the ones you love.

See you after Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Let's Try This Again...

Okay, let's try this again. I'm posting this and then I'm off my blog until Monday morning...yikes! Can I do it? Can you do it? Even with all that snow in the Eastern US, find something to do with your family, READ A BOOK, bake cookies, go sledding and make snow angels. C'mon, I know you can do it.

I'll check in on Monday. Good Luck!

Monday, December 14, 2009

I'm baaaack and I found another challlllenge!

That didn't take long! I stayed away from blogging, but I couldn't stay away from my computer because I had to do some things for work. I know, I failed at being unplugged. *sigh*

So, this morning I found another challenge! A Time Travel Challenge! I love reading about time travel. It is my favorite thing to read about, especially if there is humor involved. How could there not be humor? About 15 years ago, I picked up a book entitled, "A Knight In Shining Armour" by Jude Deveraux. Until that point in TIME, I had never read a romance novel. After that, I was hooked not only on romance novels, but on time travel and on Jude Deveraux' books. I've also read the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon and Lynn Kurland's time travel books. Recently, I was pleasantly surprised to find "Once Upon A Rose" by Judith O'Brien. A very good book.

All that said, I have to sign up for this challenge. I will commit to reading 6 time travel books, but I'll probably read more than that. I don't want to miss Christmas, but I would like to transport myself to January so that I could start reading for the 2010 Challenges! If you want to join me in signing up for this challenge visit At Home With Books and do it! Time is fleeting!

Saturday, December 12, 2009


So, I just remembered that I was supposed to be UNPLUGGED on Saturdays and Sundays in December! I'm going to go decorate the tree with my family! See you on Monday!

How many of you remembered??????

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Darling Daughters Reading Challenge

I've joined this challenge in honor of my own daughters. Tokemise of By Hook or By Book is hosting her very first challenge.

Here's what she says about it on her blog:

Name of Challenge: The Darling Daughters Reading Challenge

Dates: Today Dec. 8, 2009 to Oct. 3, 2010

Levels: Try to read at least one a month but there are no rules really, I'll keep it simple but if you read more than 12 you will be crowned Mother Superior and be entered into a special prize drawing at the close of the challenge.

Sign Up: For now just leave a comment for the post on her blog here and she will try to learn how to set up a Mr. Linky and/or a whole new blog just for this challenge.

A Contest: For anyone who likes to make buttons, make a button for this challenge and email it to tokemise at, if she picks your idea you will win a prize and of course get all the credit for your wonderful design!

So, add another challenge to your list and see how many "daughter" books you can read!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Look What Was In My Mailbox

Look what was in my mailbox!

I received my Secret Santa gift all the way from Los Angeles, California! How awesome! I've read two of Marisa de los Santos' books and really liked them. I can hardly wait to read this one.

Thank you, Secret Santa, thank you very much.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Take Another Change Challenge

Yes, I'm joining another one! This challenge just sounds so cool! I love challenges with prescriptions.

These are the basics: The challenge runs from January 1st to December 31, 2010. These are the participation levels: 1) A Small Gamble - complete 3 of the 12 challenges listed; 2) A Moderate Gamble - complete 6 of the 12 challenges listed; 3) Gambling It All - complete all 12 of the challenges listed. Each challenge you complete will earn you entries into a prize drawing at the end of the challenge. Completing all 12 challenges gives you 5 extra entries. See the challenges and all the sign-up information at the Find Your Next Book Here blog.

Friday, December 4, 2009

42 Challenge 2010

Okay, THIS is the last one...maybe. But, since 42 is the answer, I have to join this challenge. I really like science fiction, and romance, and historical fiction, and... Who knows, I may end up joining 42 Challenges! The rules for this one are easy. Here are some of the details about this challenge as put forth on the dedicated blog 42 Challenge:

42 Challenge (for 2010)
Officially starts January 1, 2010
Officially ends December 3, 2010

Your mission--if you choose to accept it--is to read, watch, listen, and (possibly) review 42 sci-fi related items.

What counts? Short stories, novellas, novels, radio show episodes, television show episodes, movies, graphic novels, comic books, audio books, essays about science fiction, biographies about sci-fi authors, etc. Adapted or abridged works are okay as well.

Keep an ongoing list of your 42 either on the 42 Challenge site (just leave your email address in the comments) or on your own site (just leave a link to your list in the comments). Your list doesn't have to include links to your reviews. But it can if you like. Reviews are not required.

If you want to join the challenge, leave a comment here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Romance Reading Challenge

The Romance Reading Challenge - giving me an excuse to read romance novels! How can I pass that up? These are the rules as put forth on Royal Reviews blog:

Challenge Guidelines:
1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.
--Non-Bloggers: Include your information in the comment section.

2. There are four levels:

-- Curious – Read 3 Romance Fiction novels.

-- Fascinated – Read 6 Romance Fiction novels.

-- Addicted – Read 12 Romance Fiction novels.

-- Obsessed – Read 20 Romance Fiction novels.

3. Any book format counts.

4. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.

5. Challenge begins January 1st thru December, 2010. Only books started on January 1st count towards this challenge.

So there it is. I think I will do the "addicted" level - one book a month. I can handle that. Don't you think YOU can? Which genre do you favor? If you want to sign up, go to Royal Reviews blog.


My daughter says "Thanks" for all the good wishes she received from bloggers on the Virtual Advent Tour yesterday. This is a picture of her Dairy Queen cake. My son and future daughter-in-law came over for dinner. We had a nice celebration, then we all watched "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" on TV. DD says she had a very happy day which is what it's all about.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Virtual Advent Tour - December 2nd

Today is my youngest daughter's birthday - she is 18! When she was born so close to St. Nicholas' Day, I wanted to name her after him. I let her father pick her first name and I chose "Nichole" for her middle name. So, every year on St. Nicholas' Day, we celebrate her feast day. We set our shoes outside of our bedroom doors and hope that St. Nicholas will come and leave us a treat (of course, he always does).

Here is a poem I found about St. Nicholas - Santa Claus - from Ireland. We are also of Irish descent and I had the good fortune to visit there this past summer so finding this had special meaning for me.

The Bones of Santa Claus

Where lie the bones of Santa Claus
To what holy spot each pilgrim draws
Which crypt conceals his pious remains
Safe from the wild wind, snows and rains.

It's not in Rome his body lies
Or under Egypt's azure skies
Constantinople or Madrid
His reliquary and bones are hid.

That saint protector of the child
Whose relics pure lie undefiled
His casket safe within it's shrine
Where the shamrocks grow and rose entwine.

Devout wayfarer, cease your search
For in Kilkenny's ancient church
Saint Nicholas' sepulcher is found
Enshrined in Ireland's holy ground.

So traveler rest and pray a while
To the patron saint of orphaned child
Whose bones were brought to Ireland's shore
Safe from the Vandal, Hun and Moor.

Here lie the bones of Santa Claus
Secure beneath these marble floors
So gentle pilgrim, hear the call
And may Saint Nicholas bless you all.

An Irish St Nicholas Folk Tale

For more information about St. Nicholas and how people around the world celebrate his feast day, go to the St. Nicholas Center website. There are lots of interesting things there.

And, enjoy the rest of the Virtual Advent Tour!

Pages Read Challenge Season 2

This is a challenge that can't fail! You estimate the number of pages you will read in 2010 and then you READ! You can change your number as you go along, so you can set a low goal number, then if you pass it, you can change it. I'm in on this one.

Here are the rules as presented by Secret Dreamworld of a Bookaholic:

1) Pick a number of pages you'll be attempting to read in 2010. It doesn't matter whether your goal is 10,000 or 100,000. You can always up your number as we go along, so you don't need to go all up high with your page count.

2) Write a blog post about it in which you will keep track of your page count.

3) Comment here with your goal number and a link to your blog post (if you have a blog - otherwise, just leave a comment with your name and the goal number). I'll then add you to the list of participants below.

4) The challenge starts January 1, 2010 and ends December 31, 2010. Only pages read after the new year has begun count in for the challenge.

5) As usual: Have fun!

I'm figuring an average of 300 pages per book, 5 books a month (I know that's low compared to all you speed readers, but...), and 12 months per year = 18,000 pages. Wow! I'm going to set my goal for 20,000 pages!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Angels at Christmas by Debbie Macomber

The first story in "Angels at Christmas" by Debbie Macomber is entitled "Those Christmas Angels" and follows the antics of Macomber's favorite Christmas angels: Goodness, Mercy & Shirley. They peek at a prayer request on Archangel Gabriel's desk and discover it is from the daughter of the woman who Shirley used to protect when she was a Guardian Angel. This woman, Anne, has asked God to send a woman to her son, Roy, so that he would know love and be happy. The angels try all sorts of tricks and finally decide upon a young teacher, Julie, as THE ONE for Roy. Roy can't believe that Julie is as good and generous as she appears. The trio of angels have until Christmas Eve to convince him otherwise.

I enjoyed this story, but I thought it was kind of low-key. It had a happy ending, but it just wasn't as exciting or funny as it could have been. I give it 3 1/2 stars.

2010 Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge

I love visiting other blogs and getting book recommendations from them. This challenge is a dream come true! I've read several of the top 25, but there are plenty more just waiting for me to read. When you visit this blog, you can see the Top 25 list and get a link to the rest of the 2009 Book Blogger Recommendations. Here is how you play this challenge...

The Levels:
Level I - Read 5 books from the 2009 Book Blogger Recommendation List
Level II - Read 10 books
Level III - Read 15 books
Level IV - Read 20 books
Level V - Read 20+ books

The Rules:

Challenge will run January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010. Participants can join anytime throughout the challenge.

Create an intro post, linking back to this blog. Sign up with the MckLinky. Please link to your challenge intro post, not your blog home page.

Chose your own books from the list. You can decide to read books only on the Top 25 list or from the entire recommendation list. You do not have to make a list of books before the challenge begins.

All forms of books acceptable (audiobooks, eBooks, etc.)
Rereads do not count towards the completion of the challenge. The challenge is about discovering books that are new to you.
You don't need a blog to participate.
Reviews, while always appreciated, are not mandatory.

Sound like fun? Go sign up!

What's In a Name?

And here I go again - enticed by an unresistable challenge! I'm anxious to see how I do on these challenges next year. It will be my first entire year doing challenges.

Here is the description of the What's In A Name Challenge as posted by Beth F on the dedicated challenge blog.
So here's how it works: Between January 1 and December 31, 2010, read one book in each of the following categories:

1. A book with a food in the title: Clockwork Orange, Grapes of Wrath, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
2. A book with a body of water in the title: A River Runs through It, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, The Lake House
3. A book with a title (queen, president) in the title: The Murder of King Tut, The Count of Monte Cristo, Lady Susan
4. A book with a plant in the title: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Wind in the Willows, The Name of the Rose
5. A book with a place name (city, country) in the title: Out of Africa; London; Between, Georgia
6. A book with a music term in the title: Song of Solomon, Ragtime, The Piano Teacher
The book titles are just suggestions, you can read whatever book you want to fit the category.

Other Things to Know
Books may be any form (audio, print, e-book).
Books may overlap other challenges.
Books may not overlap categories; you need a different book for each category.
Creativity for matching the categories is allowed.
You do not have to make a list of books before hand.
You do not have to read through the categories in any particular order.

There will be a single prize at the end of the challenge. Readers who complete the challenge and write up a wrap-up post (or wrap-up comment) are eligible.

So, if you want to sign up for this great challenge, click here.
You know you want to go down this road with me!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thankfully Reading Weekend

Well, I definitely wasn't as productive as the rest of you this weekend! I read "Angels at Christmas" by Debbie Macomber. Yes, that's it. My DH has been ill, but managed to get down Thanksgiving dinner that we shared with my sister and her family. Thanksgiving evening he spent on the couch while my DD and I visited his Mother and the rest of his family. Friday he was feeling better so we went shopping for the Black Friday sales - not at 4 AM, more like 9 AM. We had a fairly successful trip. Friday evening I returned to reading my book. Saturday we did the same thing - shopping in the morning and reading in the evening. Today, we had Church in the morning, putting out decorations on our porch in the afternoon, and dinner at Grandma's. That brings me to now. I'm finishing up my book and posting this. The Thankfully Reading Weekend Challenge really did help me focus on getting to read whenever I could fit it in.
Thanks so much for hosting this! Maybe next year I'll be able to read faster!

2010 Debut Author Challenge

This is a challenge that I'm going to enjoy - not that I won't enjoy all the others. I'm always looking for new authors and new authors of YA books...what could be better?
Here are the rules for this challenge:

The objective is to read a set number of YA (Young Adult) or MG (Middle Grade) novels from debut authors published this year.* I'm going to challenge everyone to read at least 12 debut novels!Anyone can join, you don’t need a blog to participate. If you don’t have a blog you can always share your views by posting a review on,, GoodReads, Shelfari, or any other bookish site.
The challenge will run from January 1, 2010- December 31, 2010. You can join at anytime! The Story Siren, who is hosting this challenge, would like to limit the novels to those released in 2010.

We have to do the research to make sure a novel meets the criteria for the challenge. There are a few sites listed on the information blog that can help with the search. Go here to check them out. To sign up, go here.

I don't know what books I'll read yet, but when I do I'll post them here so everyone can check them out.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Peanut Blossoms

This is the first cookie we make every year. When they were small, the kids helped unwrap the Hershey kisses. They even waited until they were all done unwrapping to eat one...or two.


Cream: 1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar

Add: 1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix well.

Blend in: 1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp. soda

Shape dough into balls. Roll balls in sugar. Bake at 375 degrees (F) for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and top each with a Hershey kiss. Bake 2 minutes longer.

That's it. The kisses will be very soft when just out of the oven, so you need to wait a little while to pack them into storage containers.

This is our favorite Christmas cookie and baking them marks the beginning of the Season.

Operation Actually Read the Bible - update

I haven't been blogging my progress as I should have, but I have been reading my Bible. I'm at Exodus 30 in the Old Testament, Psalm 50, and Matthew 26:26. I have especally liked the psalms I have read in the last few days - Psalm 47 & 48. I have sung versions of them in Church, but I really needed to hear them this week. My husband is sick and discovering the cause has been hard - actually, we haven't discovered it yet. So, if you get an opportunity, please pray for him. Thanks. Hope you are enjoying your Thanksgiving weekend.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving is here!

So, Thanksgiving is here and I'm reading "Angels at Christmas" by Debbie Macomber. I'm on page 88 so I better go back to reading.
Happy Thanksgiving!

2010 Reading Through the Seasons Challenge

This challenge looks fairly easy - just have to find books with seasons in the titles. I'm up for it. And I love the button! If you want to join in, these are the rules:

1. Four books, one for each season.

2. Title must have a season, not holiday, winter, fall, autumn, spring, summer

3. Jan 1 to Dec 31

4. Leave a link to your post about the challenge & I'll add you to the participant list.

Everything else is fairly flexible. Reviews, lists, even a blog is not necessary and books may be used for other challenges. It would be nice if you posted a short summary about the books you read so we can add to our TBR piles/wish lists.

To sign up or for more information, click here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Colorful Reading Challenge

Yes, another challenge! This one will coincide with the Rainbow Challenge, I think. I already have one book, "Lavendar Morning" that I can read for this - I'll have to put it off until January though. Hmmm.

Here is how Lost in Books described the challenge:

The point of the challenge is to read 9 books with 9 different colors in the title. Six colors are required, while the last 3 can be your choice. Books may be overlapped with other challenges (I always love that rule so I always have that rule for my challenges. :) At least 6 of the books should be new to you (doesn't matter which 6).

The Six Required Colors are:
1. Blue
2. Black
3. Red
4. Gold/Yellow
5. White
6. Silver

The 3 remaining colors can be anything from purple, orange, and green to magenta, crimson, and cream. It doesn't matter as long as their is a color in the title.

There is no need to make a list of books and if you do you may change it at any time. The challenge runs from January 1- December 31, 2010. If you would like to participate, click here. Happy Reading!

Blogger Unplugged!

I’m going to be unplugged on Saturdays and Sundays in December AND Christmas Eve & Day AND New Year’s Eve & Day. There, that sounds like a plan. I’ll be baking cookies, shopping, decorating the house, visiting and playing for Masses in Church with my family IRL – the same initials I use for Ireland – how cool! I love Ireland.
Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 23, 2009

2010 Support Your Local Library Challenge

Here comes another one! Our Local Library really needs our support, so I'm signing up to help it out. Here are the details:

1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.
--Non-Bloggers: Post your list of books in the comment section of the wrap-up post. To learn how to sign up without having a blog, click here.

2. There are four levels:
--The Mini – Check out and read 25 library books.
--Just My Size – Check out and read 50 library books.
--Stepping It Up – Check out and read 75 library books.
--Super Size Me – Check out and read 100 library books.

(Aim high. As long as you read 25 by the end of 2010, you are a winner.)

3. Audio, Re-reads, eBooks, YA, Young Reader – any book as long as it is checked out from the library count. Checked out like with a library card, not purchased at a library sale.

4. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.

5. Crossovers from other reading challenges count.

6. Challenge begins January 1st thru December, 2010.

If you want to sign up and support YOUR local library - click here. I think I'll take the Mini (25 books) Challenge. We'll see what happens.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The YA Challenge

The YA Challenge is my next reading challenge. Here are the rules:

1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.

--Non-Bloggers: Post your list of books in the comment section of the wrap-up post. To learn how to sign up without having a blog, click here.

2. There are four levels:

--The Mini YA Reading Challenge – Read 12 Young Adult novels.

--Just My Size YA Reading Challenge – Read 25 Young Adult novels.

--Stepping It Up YA Reading Challenge – Read 50 Young Adult novels.

--Super Size Me YA Reading Challenge – Read 75 Young Adult novels.

3. Audio, eBooks, paper all count.

4. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.

5. Challenge begins January 1st thru December, 2010.

If YOU want to sign up, go here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

TwentyTen Reading Challenge

I have signed up to do the TwentyTen Reading Challenge. The following is a quote from the dedicated blog located here.

"The aim is to read a total 20 books, over ten categories, in 2010. (Was this challenge based solely around the name? I’ll let you decide!)


Read 2 books from each category, making a requirement of 20 books total.
The categories are intended to be loose guidelines only, if you decide it fits, then it fits. (Apart from those marked **)
Categories marked with ** have tighter rules, and these must be followed.
Each book can only qualify for one category.
Crossovers with other challenges are allowed.
Books read from 01/01/2010 to 31/12/2010 are eligible.
So, on with the categories

Young Adult
Any book classified as young adult or featuring a teenage protagonist counts for this category.
T.B.R. **
Intended to help reduce the old T.B.R. pile. Books for this category must be already residents of your bookshelves as of 1/11/09.
Shiny & New
Bought a book NEW during 2010 from a bookstore, online, or a supermarket? Then it counts for this category. Second-hand books do not count for this one, but, for those on book-buying bans, books bought for you as gifts or won in a giveaway also count!
Bad Blogger’s ***
Books in this category, should be ones you’ve picked up purely on the recommendation of another blogger count for this category (any reviews you post should also link to the post that convinced you give the book ago).
*** Bad Bloggers: Is hosted by Chris of Stuff as Dreams are Made on.
Support your local charity shops with this category, by picking up books from one of their shops. Again, for those on book-buying bans, books bought for you as gifts also count, as long as they were bought from a charity shop.
New in 2010
This category is for those books newly published in 2010 (whether it be the first time it is has been released, or you had to wait for it to be published in your country, it counts for this one!)
Older Than You
Read two books that were published before you were born, whether that be the day before or 100 years prior!
Win! Win!
Have a couple of books you need to read for another challenge? Then this is the category to use, as long that is, you don’t break the rules of the other challenge by doing so!
Who Are You Again?
This one isn’t just for authors you’ve never read before, this is for those authors you have never even heard of before!
Up to You!
The requirements for this category are up to you! Want to challenge yourself to read some graphic novels? A genre outside your comfort zone? Something completely wild and wacky? Then this is the category to you. The only requirement is that you state it in your sign-up post."

I think I will try some graphic novels in 2010 for my "Up to You!" selections.

Gotta go!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

2009 Virtual Advent Tour

I signed up to post on the 2009 Virtual Advent Tour. I have always liked Advent Calendars and counting down to Christmas. I'll write a post on the preparations we do for St. Nicholas Day - maybe even a little story about St. Nicholas. I couldn't decide between that and writing about "White Christmas" the movie. I've seen that movie more times than I can count, but the best time was the first time when I walked down to the Jordan Theatre in town with my father. He and I went to see "White Christmas" every year that it showed in theaters, then we watched it together on television. I think he had a secret crush on Rosemary Clooney. Anyway, it's a precious memory I have of my Dad.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Thankfully Reading Weekend

Aren't most of us going to be reading over Thanksgiving Weekend? If you are, you can sign up for the Thankfully Reading Weekend when you go here. Let's see how much of our TBR piles we can devour!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Holiday Swap

I'm participating the the Book Blogger Holiday Swap! The deadline is today, so if you want to sign up, go here, but hurry. I always liked being Secret Santa when I was in grade school and later on, my niece and I played Secret Santa to my Mom. She never figured out who left those gifts until she opened the card on Christmas Day. We had so much fun and we felt so sneeky. Hope you have something fun planned for this holiday season!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Operation Actually Read the Bible - update

I know it's Tuesday and I said I would post my updates on Saturday, but... Anyway, I'm on my 36th day and I always read the Bible BEFORE anything else. I'm up to Moses in the Old Testament: Exodus 8; Matthew 20:1-16; and Psalm 35. I'm so happy I started doing this.

Monday, November 9, 2009

And Yet Another!

I have always enjoyed reading Christian Fiction. I'm going to sign up for this challenge this year. I'm going to do the "It's All In The Winners" level 4: 7 to 9 winners mix 'n match. We'll see how that goes. I may read more from the list, but I don't want to commit myself to that right now considering all the other challenges I plan on doing. I love Christian fiction though!

Thanks for hosting this challenge!

Another Challenge!

I just signed up for another challenge! Celebrate the Author - the challenge is designed to celebrate author's birthdays. You read 12 books in 12 months: one author for each month of the year. To sign up and for more information on authors' birthdays, you can go here.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Monthly Mixer Mele

Monthly Mixer Mele

I know I should limit myself to the number of challenges I do in 2010, but what the heck...there aren't too many strange letters in the names of the months...except maybe "Y". Oh well, I'm in! I just finished a challenge, I ought to start a new one!

Here's what the sign up post says on

All you have to do is read a book that begins with a letter of each month or read a book that begins with the authors name (first or last name, doesn’t matter).

There are 74 letters so you will have to have 74 different books to complete the challenge. Books can however be used to complete other challenges.

You don’t have to do the months in any kind of order, just fill in books as you go along until you have each letter a book by it.

Challenge begins November 1, 2009 and ends November 2, 2010 so you have a whole year to complete! Lets break out them books and get busy!

If you want more information or to sign up, click here.

Royal's Romance Reading Challenge

I'm done! I just finished "Time and Away" by Nora Roberts and that completes the Royal's Romance Reading Challenge! It feels so good to have a completed challenge and it was fun, too! These are the books I read:

R - Time and Away by Nora Roberts
O - Once Upon A Rose by Judith O'Brien
M - Almost Heaven by Judith McNaught
A - The Last Summer by Ann Brashares
N - The Angel by Carla Neggers
C - Pendragon by Catherine Coulter
E - Full House by Janet Evanovich

I enjoyed all the selections, but "Once Upon A Rose" and "Almost Heaven" were my favorites. I was also happy that I got to read 5 new authors. I'm already lining up my challenges for 2010! I'm hooked on reading challenges. I just started in June of this year. Just imagine what I could do if I had a whole year to work on challenges!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Operation Actually Read the Bible - update

I'm up to Joseph's story in Genesis 41; Psalm 26; and Matthew 14:22-36! This week I gave all of our Church cantors (15 of them) a book of the psalms with commentary. They were surprised, but happy to get the present. I figured I should spread the "operation" around and help them learn more about the psalms they sing. Hope all of you are feeling well!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Once Upon A Rose by Judith O'Brien

I finished my selection for "O" in the Royal's Romance Reading Challenge: Once Upon A Rose by Judith O'Brien. I LOVED IT! I've discovered a new time travel romance writer! Time Travel Romance is my favorite genre of romance novels. Deanie Bailey, a country singer on location for a music video of the song she wrote as a duet for she and Bucky Lee Denton, stumbles into an enchanted maze and is transported back to 1540. She encounters a very handsome and virile man there in the maze - of course. He helps her make the adjustment to 1540 and King Henry VIII's court. Predictably, they fall in love. Deanie learns a lot about the Tudor era and tries to help some of the characters there. There are little twists and turns in the plot that make you want to keep reading and reading. It was a very entertaining read and I look forward to reading more of Ms. O'Brien's novels.

Women Unbound - A Reading Challenge

Yes, I'm going to do another challenge. My daughters would be proud of me for doing this one - Women Unbound - A Reading Challenge. There is a special blog dedicated to this challenge. For more information, you can go here.

There are 3 questions to answer at the start of the challenge meme:

1. What does feminism mean to you? Does it have to do with the work sphere? The social sphere? How you dress? How you act?
I have always admired strong women. I think feminism has been around for a long time in the persona of women who stood up for their family, their country, their way of life. Personally, I feel it is just a coincidence that the work sphere is involved. You can be a strong woman and stay at home with your kids or even be retired. I don't think it has anything to do with the way your dress. I'm sure, if you are a strong woman, you act like one.

2. Do you consider yourself a feminist? Why or why not?
I don't know if I consider myself a feminist - the burn-your-bra kind. I've taught my daughters to be independent and that they could do whatever they decide is right for them to do, but I'm a stay-at-home Mom who plays the piano at her Church. Not really most people's definition of a feminist. I am very independent and I have my opinions on things although I don't always press them on other people.

3. What do you consider the biggest obstacle women face in the world today? Has that obstacle changed over time, or does it basically remain the same?
The biggest obstacle women face is not believing in themselves. If they believe they can make a difference in this world, they will find a way. It could be just a little thing that they do, but that little thing could make a difference in their world. I think women have always had the potential to change their worlds for the better, some have just chosen to do it in different ways than others.

I'm looking forward to learning more about women's studies with this challenge.

Rock on with Rosie!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan

Our book club reviewed "Loving Frank" by Nancy Horan today. Overall, we liked the book. There are discussion questions in the back of the book that were very interesting. One of our members put her name on the reserve list for the book at the library, but she wasn't able to get it in time to read. So, she borrowed another book called "The Woman" which told of all of Frank Lloyd Wright's loves. It followed "Loving Frank" very closely, but went on after Mamah died. Frank married two more times after his affair with Mamah. We decided that he really, really loved her and was devastated by her death. We also said that, even though she thought that Frank was her true love, we could not have left our children to pursue him. We all love Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture and we have all visited or plan to visit "Falling Water" near Somerset, PA. This was a very good book with an unexpected twist. I'm not telling what it is though...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Winter Holiday Reading Challenge #2

Along with the Christmas Reading Challenge, I'm going to do the Winter Holiday Reading Challenge #2! It runs from November 1, 2009 through January 31, 2010. The books selected have to be about celebrating one of the Winter Holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year's, etc. For more information and to sign up for this challenge go here.

Christmas Reading Challenge - Ho! Ho! Ho!

I have decided to join the Christmas Reading Challenge hosted by The True Book Addict.
These are the rules:
* you can choose 1 - 3 books...I know it seems a small amount, but it's a busy time of year and the challenge is only a little over a month.
* These must be Christmas novels, books about Christmas lore or a book of Christmas short stories (sorry, no children's books, but YA novel is okay).

The Challenge runs from Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 2009, through New Year's Eve, December 31, 2009. If you love Christmas as much as we do, sign up for the challenge here.


I'm reading "An Echo In The Bone" by Diana Gabaldon (as many people are I'm sure). Here is my teaser:

"Claire," I said briefly. "Sterilization of the instruments. To prevent post-operative infection. As much as possible," I added honestly. Stactoe made a very disrespectful noise at this, but I ignored it. "What do you recommend, Dr. Hunter?"

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Operation Actually Read the Bible - update

I was sick last week so I didn't get to keep up with my reading, but I'm getting better now. This week I'm up to Genesis 29; Psalm 19; and Matthew 12: 1-21. Hope you are keeping up, too!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pendragon by Catherine Coulter

Meggie Sherbrooke is a delightful character. She has been in love with her almost cousin, Jeremy, since she was 13. Unfortunately, Jeremy still thinks of her as a child and sets out to discourage her amour. First of all, he has a fiancee - that's discouraging enough, but he says some obnoxious things about women and how men should treat them. He doesn't really mean the things he says, he's just trying to make Meggie mad at him so she will give up her crush.

Well, Meggie does give up her crush on Jeremy! She meets Thomas Malcombe who teaches her things she is very interested in - like kissing. They have a very quick romance and get married. On their wedding day, Thomas hears Meggie talking to her father about Jeremy and develops a little jealous streak toward him. This affects their wedding night and several other aspects of their relationship. On their honeymoon, they come upon an Inn where a murder has been committed and the innkeeper disappears the next day. They try to discover the culprit and the reason for the crime, but to no avail. So, they continue on to Thomas' home, Pendragon, on the coast of Ireland. Meggie meets Thomas' mother, Madeleine, who doesn't like her very much. Meggie is very anxious to take on the task of running the household - getting it cleaned, having good meals prepared. Then, someone tried to kill her.

The rest of the story deals with Thomas trying to find out who attacked his wife and why. As I said above, Meggie is delightful. She is devoted to Thomas even though there is a twinge of feeling for Jeremy still there - but that is gradually fading.
The book has a lot of sex scenes - not explicit, but nearly so - they are newlyweds after all. In spite of that, the story is a good one. I recommend it.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Operation Actually Read the Bible

Well, it's Saturday again! I've stuck to this program for 2 whole weeks. I've completed to Genesis 18; Psalm 12; and Matthew 8:1-17. Hope all of you are keeping up with your commitment to Actually Read the Bible, too!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Operation Actually Read the Bible

Hey! I have had a great week! I'm to Genesis 7:24; Psalm 6; and Matthew 5:1-20. I've decided to read the Bible every day before I read anything else. I have made it through the entire week. I only have one question - where did Cain's wife come from? I'm planning to check in with how I'm doing every Saturday. Have a great week!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Four Month Challenge

The Four-Month Challenge sponsored by Virginia Barbeau is ending September 30th. I've completed the first section for 5 points:

A Chick-Lit Book - "Queen of the Road: A True Tale of 47 States..." by Doreen Orion
Historical Fiction - "City of Dreams" by Beverly Swerling
Like the Cover - "The Magician's Nephew" by C. S. Lewis
Jean Plaidy - "Myself, My Enemy" by Jean Plaidy
Number in the Title - "Three Willows" by Ann Brashares

I read some of the books for the other sections, but this is the only one I have completed entirely. I really enjoyed this challenge because it exposed me to some books I might not have read otherwise. I especially liked the Jean Plaidy book and expect to read more of her in the future.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

City of Dreams by Beverly Swerling

City of Dreams: A Novel of Nieuw Amsterdam and Early Manhattan City of Dreams: A Novel of Nieuw Amsterdam and Early Manhattan by Beverly Swerling

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this book because I wanted to read an historical fiction and I've always liked American history. It was okay, but it had lots of sex and brutal killings and many vividly-detailed surgical procedures. The family it depicted was definitely woven in and out among the branches of its family tree. I did have a few favorite characters though: Roisin Campbell, Morgan Turner, and Andrew Turner. They were quite different from each other but true to themselves.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Innocent Man by John Grisham

"The Innocent Man" is John Grisham's first nonfiction book. I have never read one of his fiction books, so I can't compare them to this one. It was a sad story...not teary-eyed sad, but pathetic sad that someone had to spend most of his life as a pawn in the justice system. The book held my interest all the way through. I liked that it was a true story. Even though some parts were repetitive, it didn't bore me. I really liked it. I wanted to find out what happened and I was sad but satisfied at the end. Some people have written that there wasn't enough suspense, but I don't think that that matters. It's real life and sometimes real life isn't suspenseful. Anyway, I would recommend this book to people who like CSI or the Mentalist or any of the other cop shows on television. It was very good, in my opinion.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis

Well, I finally finished them all! I read the last pages of "The Last Battle" this morning. Although I can see all the Christian references in the story, I was disappointed that there wasn't a bigger ending. This is my least favorite of the Narnia Chronicles. There is deception and treachery and King Tirian & company are LOSING! Yes, I see the similarities to reality - but I don't read a fantasy to be reminded of reality. And, in the end, they are all dead! Peter, Lucy, Edmund, Eustace and Jill and the Pevensies' parents are all dead! Yes, they are together in a beautiful place - Heaven, or the new Narnia - but they will never get back to England again. And, what about Susan? Just because she chose to grow up and forget about the stories of Narnia, she is separated from her family forever? I don't know. It just seemed as though King Tirian, Eustace and Jill and the others were going around in circles, then they went through the stable door, died and ended up in Heaven. The sun went out in Narnia, it got covered in water and ice and High King Peter closed the door on it. If the ending of the story, as beautifully described as it was, was meant to make me feel peaceful, it didn't. I believe in Jesus and I know that we will all be together with Him and our loved ones someday, but I guess I thought the theological hands were laid rather heavily on this book. Suffice it to say I didn't like it. It just didn't seem a worthy ending to a great series of books. Just my opinion.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

3 Willows by Ann Brashares

3 Willows is the story of three girls who are about to attend the same high school where the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants took place. The "Sisters" are mentioned, but they don't have a major role in this story. Jo, Polly and Ama met in third grade and by the end of the 8th grade, they think they are starting to drift apart. They each have different experiences this summer: Ama gets a grant to go to a wilderness adventure camp (much to her chagrin), Jo is spending her summer at the beach with her mother who is having a trail separation from her dad, and Polly discovers her grandmother, who she has never met, was once a model so she tries to make herself over into one, too. The adventures the girls have are very believable. As you read, you get very involved in their lives and the book flies by. Some reviewers say the book is for grades 6 - 10, but I really enjoyed it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Shack by Wm. Paul Young

This book presented a very different vision of the Holy Trinity. The personifications made each of them easier to imagine having a relationship with...the reason they appeared that way to Mack. The story held my interest through the different "workshops" Mack experienced. Also, wondering how the issue of Missy's death would be handled kept me reading as well. I still enjoy my Church family and the services we share there, but I understand what they were trying to get across with the importance of relationships, especially with God. I would recommend this selection. It makes you think.