Saturday, January 24, 2009

Faith 'n Fiction Saturday: What's on your Keeper Shelf?

My Friend Amy's blog hosts Faith 'n Fiction Saturday every week. Every week, she posts a new question that always relates to something about Christian fiction, and invites anyone to share their answers on their own blog.

Here's what we're talking about this week:

One thing we share in common is a love of books. I know there are participants of Faith 'n Fiction Saturdays that read over 200 books a year!
But while we may read a lot of books, only a few books in our lifetimes are special enough that we would never part with them, always recommend them, and maybe even reread them.

So...what fiction books with faith elements are on your keeper shelf? Please keep your answers to no more than 5 books!

Woo, this is a tough one!! Thank God we're allowed to include book series because narrowing it down to just 5 books is just too hard. :o)

1. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers--no way will I EVER part with this one.

2. The Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers

3. The Redemption series by Karen Kingsbury (well, actually, the whole Baxter series are keepers)

4. The Coming Home to Brewster series by Roxanne Henke (I only have 3 of the 5 books--still trying to find books 2 & 3)

5. Legacy of the Ancient River series by Angela Hunt (I own the originals of these babies which I've heard are most difficult to find. Good news for everyone else is that they were all recently re-released by Steeple Hill.)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Fill-In

Trying out another new meme today. :o) All the important info is over at Friday Fill-Ins.


1. Oh, I am so __bored___!

2. _I don't like__ changes, big and/or little.

3. During _the day__, I _deal with complaining customers___ (pretty glamourous, don't you think?).

4. _Aretha's hat____; are you kidding me??? (Sorry, I just do not see what the big deal is.)

5. Right now I'd like to be _at home reading_.

6. __My Ipod___ is my favorite gadget.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _going out to eat Japanese food with my hubby____, tomorrow my plans include __nothing at the moment, although that could change very quickly___ and Sunday, I want to __hang out with my family___!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Support My Local Library Challenge--2009

Okay, this is the LAST challenge I'm going to do this year...LOL!

But seriously, I visit the library quite often (the public library as well as my church library), so there's plenty of books to choose from. However, since I've already signed up for 2 other reading challenges this year, I'm going to do the 12 book option. I'm thinking that I'll probably do a little more than that by the time the year's done, but we'll see. Oh, and this is another challenge hosted by J. Kaye's Book her blog! :o)

So far, I can only put two books on the list that I've read from the library. But hey, we'll make it to 12, I know. :o)

1. Kiss by Ted Dekker and Erin Healy--1/5/09
2. A Bouquet of Love by Ginny Aiken/Ranee McCollum/Jeri Odell/Debra White Smith--1/10/09
3. Daring Bride by Jane Peart--1/22/09
4. Indigo Waters by Lisa Samson--2/10/09
5. End of State by Neesa Hart--5/18/09
6. Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall--6/3/09
7. Dinner with a Perfect Stranger by David Gregory--6/20/09
8. A Day with a Perfect Stranger by David Gregory--7/13/09
9. This Side of Heaven by Karen Kingsbury--7/23/09
10. Priced to Move by Ginny Aiken--8/15/09
11. A Steal of a Deal by Ginny Aiken--9/4/09
12. Shadows of Lancaster County by Mindy Starns Clark--9/6/09

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Reading Meme

I came across this today at A Guy's Moleskin Notebook, and knew this was a meme for me. :o)

1. Do you remember learning to read? How old were you? My parents tell me that I could write my name and my ABC's when I was 2. I started kindergarten at age 4, and could read some before starting school.

2. What do you find most challenging to read? Poetry is a definite struggle. I didn't enjoy it at all in English Comp., and I have not read it since.

3. What are your library habits? I usually visit one at least once a week. There is a large public library system in Memphis with several branches, 2 of which are close by for me. Then, there's my church library that I may visit every other week.

4. Have your library habits changed since you were younger? Well, instead of checking out every single copy of The Baby Sitter's Club, I now browse for whatever Christian fiction titles I can find! LOL! The public library has a decent selection of Christian fiction, and there's quite a lot that they carry that I have yet to read. My church library, of course, only has Christian books.

5. How has blogging changed your reading life? I enjoy the reviews I find on other people's blogs. If I'm out at a bookstore and see a book that I read about through someone's review on their blog, I'm more likely to buy (of course, that's assuming the review was good).

6. How often do you read a book and not review it on your blog? What are your reasons for not blogging about a book? If I don't have something positive to say about a book, then I usually don't post a review about it. If I've been sent a copy of a book specifically to read it and write a review, then each one of those gets a review.

7. What percentage of your books do you get from new book stores, second hand books stores, the library, online exchange sites, online retailers, other? I would say about 10% of the books I own I purchase new. Probably 5% would be books that I've won or received to do a review. The other 85% of books I own would be from all of the other places mentioned.

8. What are your pet peeves about the way people treat books? Books that have a curled cover because of it being wrapped around, books that have dog-eared pages, and books that smell.

9. Do you ever read for pleasure or for work? Pleasure

10. When you give people books as gifts, how do you decide what to give them? Several members of my family are bookworms, so I usually have a pretty good idea of what they would enjoy. I keep up with who their favorite authors are, or if they've mentioned a book to me that they would like to have at some point.

Book Review: The Falcon and the Sparrow by MaryLu Tyndall

About the book:

When Mademoiselle Dominique Dawson sets foot on the soil of her beloved homeland, England, she feels neither the happiness nor the excitement she expected upon her return to the place of her birth. Alone for the first time in her life, without family, without friends, without protection, she now faces a far more frightening prospect, for she has come to the country she loves as an enemy-a spy for Napoleon.

Forced to betray England or never see her only brother alive again, Dominique has accepted a position as governess to the son of Admiral Chase Randal, a harsh man, still bitter over the loss of his wife. Will Dominique find the strength she needs through God to follow through with the plan to rescue her brother? Will Chase find comfort for his bitter heart in God's arms and be able to love again? And what new deceptions will they both find in France when they arrive to carry out their plan?

My thoughts:

The Falcon and the Sparrow is like no other book I have read in a long time. It had all the elements that I like in a story: passion, suspense, and a character with a deep faith in God. Oh, and a setting in the 1800’s helps, too, as I love a good historical novel.

Ms. Tyndall’s storytelling ability is amazing! I didn’t need to get very far into this book before I was hooked. Her broad vocabulary shines on each and every page. I couldn’t help but be transported to London, and see, hear, and smell everything as I was reading each page. She also did a masterful job with the tension between the characters. There was incredible passion between Chase and Dominique…so much so that I could practically hear Dominique’s heart pounding during the kissing scenes!

Finally, I simply loved the title for this book. Even though this is a fictitious story, it proves that God cares for each and every one of us, even the littlest sparrow.

4 Stars

Southern?  No
Sass?  No

**Many thanks to the author for providing a copy for review.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Chunkster Challenge.....Here I Come

Well, to stay in the spirit of reading for the new year, I'm joining another book challenge. Thankfully, it'll be combined with my 100+ Book Challenge that I've already signed up for. This one honestly just made me laugh when I saw it.....The Chunkster Challenge. :o) It's being hosted by Dana over at Feeling Chunky. I've decided to participate in Option 4: Too Big to Ignore Anymore.

So, here's what I'm planning to commit to:

1. The Book of God by Walter Warengin, Jr. (633 pages)--10/06/09
2. A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman (480 pages)--5/13/09
3. A Passion Redeemed by Julie Lessman (480 pages)--5/20/09
4. A Passion Denied by Julie Lessman (480 pages)--5/27/09
5. Stolen Innocence by Elissa Wall (451 pages)--6/13/09
6. The Justice Game by Randy Singer (494 pages)--7/12/09

It seems that I usually have to take large books in small doses, so I think I can handle 3 books, maybe more. The contest runs from Feb. 1 - November 15, and I think I can make it happen. :o)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Book Review: Kiss by Ted Dekker and Erin Healy

About the book:

After a car accident puts Shauna McAllister in a coma and wipes out six months of her memory, she returns to her childhood home to recover, but her arrival is fraught with confusion. Her estranged father, a senator bidding on the White House, and her abusive stepmother blame Shauna for the tragedy, which has left her beloved brother severely brain damaged.

Leaning on Wayne Spade, a forgotten but hopeful lover who stays by her side, Shauna tries to sort out what happened that night by jarring her memory to life. Instead, she acquires a mysterious mental ability that will either lead her to truth or get her killed by the people trying to hide it. In this blind game of cat and mouse that stares even the darkest memories in the face, Shauna is sure of only one thing: if she remembers, she dies.

My thoughts:

I haven't read very many books by Ted Dekker, but this one has me ready to read more. This book captured my attention from the very beginning, and I had a hard time putting it down! There were a couple of slow spots, but once I got past them, I was furiously turning the pages to see what would happen next.

I also liked that he co-wrote the book with a female writer. In my opinion, that helped give the book a softer edge even though it was suspense. To me, it seems that the topic of amnesia would be difficult to write about, but the Dekker/Healy team did it with ease. But don't think that this book is just about a girl that loses her memory. Throw in murder, an affair, human trafficking, corporate money laundering, and a stepmother that no one would like, and you've got one great story! I can't wait to read the next book that they'll be releasing!

4 Stars

Southern?  No
Sass?  No

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Book Review: In the Company of Secrets by Judith Miller/5 Stars

About the book:

The truth could cost her everything....

Olivia Mott didn't intend to lie. Somehow, it just happened. And wasn't it all Lady Charlotte's fault anyway? Now Olivia's position as assistant chef at Pullman's elegant Hotel Florence is dependant upon her keeping her secrets. And sometimes lies have a way of leading to other lies. Should Olivia admit her real past and accept the consequences or keep quiet in order to preserve her comfortable new circumstances?

Deception seems to be part of everyday life in the company town of Pullman, Illinois, where the grand Pullman Palace Car is manufactured. Samuel Howard, Olivia's friend and the town manager, seems to think everything is fine, but Olivia observes something quite different. Could it be that Olivia is not the only one harboring secrets?

My thoughts:

This was my first experience with Judith Miller's writing, and I loved every minute of it. From the very beginning, In the Company of Secrets is filled with beautiful descriptions and a wonderful history of the town of Pullman, Illinois. Just a warning--be prepared to be left hanging because you will have no choice but to read book 2 to know the rest of the story!

Olivia Mott and her employer's daughter, Lady Charlotte, escape to America harboring all sorts of secrets. Olivia has relied on Lady Charlotte to provide her with a recommendation so that she can get a job at the prestigious Hotel Florence when they arrive in Pullman. Unfortunately for Olivia, Lady Charlotte's recommendation is so exaggerated that Olivia wonders how she will live up to her new boss's expectations! Lady Charlotte, meanwhile, must lie and claim to be a widow when she discovers she is pregnant from an affair. Nightly, Olivia and Charlotte literally have to compare notes so that each other knows what lies have been told to cover up previous lies.

Olivia also manages to capture the attention of two different men in town. Samuel Howard serves as a town manager of sorts for Mr. Pullman, the founder of the town, and Fred DeVault is a local employee. Mr. Howard would like to have Olivia all to himself at all times, while Olivia is developing a great affection toward Fred.

All the while, Olivia feels so guilty for all the lies that she must continue to tell. How can she ever pray to God, much less sit in church, when she knows her life is full of so much deceit?

5 Stars

Southern?  No
Sass?  No