Friday, December 31, 2010

Karen's Top 15 Books For 2010


12 Fiction Favorites For 2010:
The Hunger Games trilogy (Catching Fire and Mockingjay) by Suzanne Collins
The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain
Deeper Than The Dead by Tami Hoag
The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks
The Last Child by John Hart
The Help by Kathryn Stockton
Room by Emma Donoghue
Two Little Girls In Blue by Mary Higgins Clark
If I Grow Up by Todd Strasser
House Rules by Jodi Picoult
Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult
Beautiful Lies by Lisa Unger

3 Top Non-Fiction Favorites For 2010:
One Simple Act by Debbie Macomber
A Boy Who Came Back From Heaven by Kevin & Alex Malarkey
Flight To Heaven by Capt. Dale Black

You can use the search box to find my reviews of these.

Have you read this one? What did you think of it?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Gerard's Top 12 Books Of 2010

There were so many really good books I read this year that it is very hard to choose just 12 so I also included a few more at the end.  I just couldn't limit it to only 12!

Abby Finds A Good Home (Blurb book made by Karen and Abby)
DogTown by Stefan Bechtel
Dewey's Nine Lives by Vicki Myron With Bret Witter
Let's Take The Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell
Hunger Games Trilogy (Catching Fire and Mockingjay) by Suzanne Collins
The last Child by John Hart
Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
The Weight Of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf
Deeper Than The Dead by Tami Hoag
Blacklands by Belinda Bauer
House Rules by Jodi Picoult
Broken by Karin Slaughter
Honorable Mention:
Please Take Me For A Walk by Susan Gel (childrens picture book)
Zoo Story by Ghomas French
One Dog At A Time by Pen Farthing
Cleo by Helen Brown


Did you read any of these?  Use the search box to find my reviews.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Promise Me" by Richard Paul Evans

"Promise Me" by Richard Paul Evans is a good Christmas read!  It is a fiction story of Beth Cardall.  Her husband cheats on her, is dying of Cancer and her young daughter has an unexplained illness.  One night she meets a man who knows all about her.  He seems too good to be true.  It has kind of a weird twist, but the ending is very good!  It's a quick read that I liked a lot.  I give it 8+ stars.
(Gerard's review)

Promise Me is a off-the-wall story with a very happy ending that I enjoyed immensely! I’m so glad I read this one because it had believable characters that I cared about in an unrealistic book that kept my interest all through it. I was impressed that the male author told the story primarily from Beth’s point of view and could write about hardship without it being a depressing book. Promise Me deals with loss, marriage, love, hope and is a thought-provoking book. It presents the questions of how would your life be different if only this didn’t happen and what would you do if you only had 10 months to live and money was no object? This is a fun read, in spite of a cheating husband, financial struggles and a mysterious disease that a 6-yr.-old has. It’s a “Christmas Miracle” book about hope and promises, a quick-read that leaves you happy. I promise, you’ll like this one! We highly recommend it for a light, entertaining fun read.

SPOILER ALERT: I loved the mystery the author created about Matthew, Beth’s stalker. (If you haven’t read this book, I strongly advise you stop reading now! I don’t want to ruin it for you.) When she let him co-sign her loan, I thought she was very stupid, but was relieved to find that he really did have her best interest at heart. Who knew he was a time-traveler from the future so he knew what sporting events to bet on to make a bundle. I really liked this angle of the book—it would be so cool to be able to do that!
(Karen's Review 12/31/10)

You can visit the author’s Facebook page and his website at www.richardpaulevans.com

Have you read this one? What did you think of it?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tuesday Teaser: "I'm Outnumbered!" and "Promise Me"


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should  Be Reading. Anyone can play along, so I thought  I  would play for fun! Just do the following:          
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on  that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away!   You don’t  want  to  ruin the  book for others!)
  • Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can  add the book to their TBR  Lists  if they  like your teaser. 
Karen's:
After all, we'd hit upon a successful system and, by golly, it had worked with Boy #1. It was hard to accept that things didn't work the same with Boy #2.

From p. 21 of I'm Outnumbered!--One Mom's Lessons in the Lively Art of Raising Boys by Laura Lee Groves.

Gerard's:
He said, 'Go home, put things in order and cherish every minute with your loved ones.' He began to cry again. "I told him I didn't have a home."
From p. 69 of Promise Me by Richard Paul Evans

Monday, December 27, 2010

"Empire Of The Summer Moon" by S. C. Gwynne was Disappointing

Empire Of the Summer Moon is about the Comanches and their warrior chief, Quarah.  I enjoyed the background history of the Indians and the battle scenes were very good.  As for the rest of the book, not so much.  For all the hype this book has received, I expected more.

Have you read this one? What did you think of it?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

"The McKettrick Way" by Linda Lael Miller

The McKettrick Way by Linda Lael Miller is a contemporary western romance between Meg McKettrick and Brad O’Bullivan, a retired singer turned rancher who was an old flame who broke her heart when he left.  This is an interesting love story with a ghost, wild horse, and a needy 12-yr-old tossed in.  It’s an enjoyable, quick read.
(Karen's review)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

"Happiness is . . ." by Barbara G. Tarn

I read "Happiness is . . . " by Barbara G. Tarn in about 15 minutes while watching TV.  It's a short 56-pg book with one thought of happiness and a cute picture illustrating it on each page.  She just compiled it from her happy thoughts she posted on her blog at Creative Barb Wire.  Not only is this written in English, but also Turkish and some other language, but I don't know what it is.  This was a fun, uplifting quick read.

Have you read this one? What did you think of it?

Friday, December 24, 2010

"The Christmas Sweater" by Glenn Beck

Small Book--Awesome Message!  (15 stars)
The Christmas Sweater just blew me away.  Thought it would be good, just not really, really good, which it is!  This is the true story of Glenn Beck who as a kid wanted a new bike but got a handmade sweater by his mom which he hated.  This sets in motion events that are just outstanding to read.  He meets a mysterious person by the name of Russell that showed him the error of his ways.  He finds out that all he thinks he wants, he already has.  Do not pass up this book--it's too good.  Destined to be a classic!
(Gerard's review 2/12/09)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

"The Perfect Christmas" by Debbie Macomber

The Perfect Christmas by Debbie Macomber is a delightful quick-read about a woman, Cassie, seeking a husband. She is so desperate that she hires Dr. Simon Dodson, a matchmaker for $30,000 with a money-back guarantee if he doesn’t find her a suitable match. Through three tasks he had her perform before introducing her to the guy he found for her, Simon discovered she was compassionate, flexible, loved children, could cook and had a sense of humor.

This was a light, fun and amusing read. I liked this book as a break from the more serious stuff I have been reading. It's a very entertaining read. Reading about Cassie's experience as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army brought back memories from when I did that one year.

Have you read this one? What did you think of it?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"You Had Me At Woof" by Julie Klam

You Had Me At Woof by Julie Klam tells the true story of Julie Klam and her dog. One day she decided to get a dog, and her life changed forever! There are some good stories in this book that all dog owners will relate to, some funny and some sad. You Had me At Woof is a quick read (I read it in two days.) Can’t say there is anything exceptional in this book, but I enjoyed reading it!

Have you read this one? What did you think of it?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"Unlocked" by Karen Kingsbury is an Enjoyable Read

When you read a book by Karen Kingsbury, you know you are going to get three things:  (1) a good story, (2) a happy ending, and (3) a God centered message.  This book has all of that and what's wrong with that?  I say Not A Thing!  Unlocked by Karen Kingsbury is about an autistic teen boy who reconnects with a girl from his childhood that he was friends with.  It's a quick, enjoyable read.
(Gerard's review)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Take A Break From Reading And Decorate!

My pets thought this video was so good, they wanted me to share it with you, so here you go.  Hope you enjoy it.  I thought it was pretty funny.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

"The Surgeon's Wife" by Kieran Crowley

The Surgeon’s Wife by Kieran Crowley is the true story of Gail and Robert Bierenbaum.  Once married, their marriage went south in a hurry.  One day Gail is no longer around.  Did Robert kill her?  I got into this book fast.  The trial part of the book was fascinating.  I know this book is like ten years old, but it’s very good!
(Gerard's review)
Have you read this one? What did you think of it?

Friday, December 17, 2010

"It's A Cat's World...You Just Live In It" by Justine A. Lee, DVM

If there’s anything you want to know about cats, It’s A Cat’s World…You Just Live In It is the book to get.  It has 224 questions and answers by Justine Lee, a veterinarian who has cats of her own.  I liked how she throws in some humor into her answers and her love for cats come through.  I loved her last sentence:
We should all learn an important life lesson from our cats--take lots of catnaps, don't stress out, rule the roost, let someone else take care of you and pick up your crap, and be content with the simple things in life--a nap, a sunbeam, and a warm lap to love.
It's A Cat's World...You Just Live In It by Justine A. Lee is a great reference book for any cat lover!  Check out my teaser.
(Karen's review)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Unbroken: WW II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption" by Laura Hillenbrand

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

My rating: 7 of 5 stars (Gerard's review)


Unbroken is an amazing story about the true story of Louis Zamperini. Mostly it is about when he was a prisoner of war. The stuff he went through is unbelievable and that he had the will to survive is remarkable. He turned his life around at a Billy Graham crusade and now he works with young boys. I enjoyed her first book, Seabiscut better, but this is very good too. I give it 7 stars!

Read my Teaser here.

Have you read this one? What did you think of it?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"Skipping Christmas" by John Grisham

Skipping Christmas by John Grisham is about a modern day scrooge that wanted to skip everything to do with Christmas except the church stuff but wound up doing everything the last minute to please his daughter who came home unexpectedly with a fiancĂ©.  This is a quick light read. 
 

 Have you read this one? What did you think of it?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tuesday Teaser: "Unbroken" and "It's A Cat's World...You Just Live In It"


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should  Be Reading. Anyone can play along, so I thought  I  would play for fun! Just do the following:          
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on  that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away!   You don’t  want  to  ruin the  book for others!)
  • Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can  add the book to their TBR  Lists  if they  like your teaser. 
Gerard's:
Men moaned and screamed, one calling for his mother.  A pilot thought the voices sounded "like animals crying."  Men's eardrums burst.  A man died of a heart attack.
From p. 169 of Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.  (click on the title to see my review.)
Karen's:
Do you ever see your cat lying on them?  Nope--not unless you are trying to read them at the kitchen table.  So it's not that your cat wants to actually lie on a different surface for fun--your cat just wants you to realize that he's right there for you, supporting your every read.
From page 26 of It's A Cat's World...You Just Live In It by Justine A. Lee, DVM

Sunday, December 12, 2010

"White Chocolate Moments" by Lori Wick

White Chocolate Moments by Lori Wick is contemporary fiction about a girl, Arcineh, whose parents died in an accident when she was 11 and was raised by her grandfather, Sam who was a wealthy owner of a company. She left when she was 18 because he took in her cousin and moved in with a friend, got several jobs, danced, and found romance and became a Christian and married. Issues it deals with are death, reconciliation and love. I liked it!

(Karen's review 4/3/09)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it?

Friday, December 10, 2010

"Letters From A Skeptic: A Son Wrestles With His Father's Questions About Christianity" by Dr. Gregory A. Boyd and Edward K. Boyd

I read this book because it was recommended by Kris, a friend of mine who ministers to college students at Kent University.  I found it extremely thought provoking and interesting.

Letters From A Skeptic:  A Son Wrestles With His Father’s Questions About Christianity.  This is an unusual book because it is all letters back and forth between a father and son.  The son, Greg Boyd, is a professor of theology and an ordained evangelical minister.  The father, Edward Boyd, was raised Catholic but with numerous questions about Christianity which the son patiently tries to answer over a period of time through correspondence.  The questions fall into four major categories:  Questions about God, Questions about Jesus Christ, Questions about the Bible, and Questions about Christian life and doctrine. 

Here is a small sample of some of the tough questions the father and son discussed:
Why has Christianity done so much harm?
Why is the world so full of suffering?
Why did God create Satan?
Why trust the Gospel accounts?
How can you believe that a man rose from the dead?
Why do you think the Bible is inspired?
What about the “holy books” of other religions?
Why does God make believing in Him so difficult?
Do all non-Christians go to hell?
Isn’t the Christian life impossible to live?
How can I be sure it’s all true?
If you have questions about Christianity or know someone who does and would like to know how to answer them, I highly recommend this book.  I loved seeing how the father slowly became more open to Christianity and finally accepted Jesus as His Savior when he was 73. 

Have you read this one? What did you think of it?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"Kasey To the Rescue" by Ellen Rogers--An Enjoyable Read!

This video shows some of the things monkeys are trained to do for handicapped people.  Kasey To The Rescue is about a family who got one of these monkeys to help them.





Kasey To The Rescue by Ellen Rogers is a true story of an amazing son, Ned, and his mom, the author of this book.  Ned gets in a horrific car accident but miraculously survived.  The mother brought Ned home to take care of him along with her other children and two dogs.  Taking care of Ned was a major task!  To help with his care, they went to Helping Hands and got Kasey, a monkey.

To me, the mother is amazing and the main story of this book about how she takes care of Ned, runs her family, and tries to keep up everyone's spirits including her own.  Ned too shows remarkable courage.  The monkey, Kasey, is also pretty remarkable in the way he helps.  This is a very enjoyable and encouraging read about a family who did not fall apart when faced with tragedy.
(Gerard's review) Read the teaser.

UPDATED 12/18/10:
This book is really about a super mom (Ellen) persevering in raising her family and taking care of her son Ned, who was in a car accident while away at college and suffered a spinal chord injury which rendered him a quadriplegic. The story is basically all about Ned and how his mother made him her top priority, even going so far as to bring in a monkey (Kasey) from the Helping Hands organization. In actuality, it seemed to me Kasey was more work for her than help; however, it did help Ned stay positive and gave him a constant companion. Ned gained more dexterity in his fingers and arms because the monkey provided motivation for Ned to interact with Kasey. Kasey was entertaining and although it took three months for Kasey to really trust and feel a close relationship to Ned, it was worth it.

I enjoyed reading this book but was anxious to get to the part when the monkey came which is about halfway through. This is the story of a loving family and although the beginning was sort of depressing, the second half of the book is very entertaining and inspirational. I really liked learning more about the Helping Hands organization and how the monkeys are trained to be service animals. 
(Karen's review)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it?


Find best posts of the week at Saturday Sampling at Half Past Kissin' Time and submit the one you wish more people would see that you wrote this week!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"Dirty Little Secrets" by C. J. Omololu

I waited a long time for Dirty Little Secrets by C. J. Omololu and was rewarded.  This is a fiction book about a teenage girl named Lucy.  She has a secret--her mom is a hoarder.  She doesn’t throw away anything and keeps what people would consider garbage.  She has kept her secret well until one day her mom dies in the house.  If she calls 911, her secret will be out.  What will she do?  I enjoyed this book a lot.  This is this author’s first book--well done!
(Gerard's review)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: " Letters From A Skeptic" and "Kasey To the Rescue"


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should  Be Reading. Anyone can play along, so I thought  I  would play for fun! Just do the following:          
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on  that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away!   You don’t  want  to  ruin the  book for others!)
  • Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can  add the book to their TBR  Lists  if they  like your teaser. 
Karen's: This is an excerpt from the son's first letter to his 70-yr.-old father:
What I'd rather propose to you is to engage in an ongoing discussion about Christianity. I'd like to give you an opportunity to share with me all the reasons you have for not being a Christian, and I'd like you to give me the opportunity to share with you all the reasons why I am one.
From p. 14 of Letters From A Skeptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father's Questions about Christianity by Dr. Gregory A. Boyd (son) and Edward K. Boyd (father) (Click on the title to see my review)

Gerard's:
The trainer sat in a wheelchair.  Kasey examined every inch of it with great scientific interest and learned that if she hopped up on her trainer's lap and gently placed her trainer's hand on the joystick, they could zoom around the room together.
 From page 47 of Kasey To The Rescue:  The Remarkable Story of a Monkey and a Miracle by Ellen Rogers.  Click on the link to see my review.

Monday, December 6, 2010

"Plain Truth" by Jodi Picoult Is Fascinating

Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult is about an Amish teen girl who is charged with murdering her illegitimate baby.  At first Katie denied even having a baby and consistently denied killing it.  Ellie reluctantly volunteered to be her defense attorney who becomes her friend while staying on the farm with Katie to comply with the court order as a condition while awaiting her trial.  Jodi Picoult shows the contrasts of the Amish and the English cultures in this intriguing novel of ethics, psychology, mystery, romance and judgment. 

I was drawn into this story immediately and had a hard time putting it down.  The story is told from Ellie’s perspective, and I couldn’t help feeling sorry for her when she was trying to get the truth from Katie as to what really happened. The trial was interesting and I definitely came away with a better understanding of the Amish community after reading Plain Truth.  I highly recommend this book, especially to women.
(Karen's review)

Other related reviews:  Debra's Book Cafe
Here is our teaser for this book
Have you read this one? What did you think of it?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

"The Scribe" by Francine Rivers

The Scribe by Francine Rivers is a fictional account of a scribe named Silas who is one of the few left who actually saw Jesus. He wrote letters for Peter and Paul and reviewed, based on scripture, his view of Jesus and his life. In the back are some discussion questions with scripture to study and some personal applications questions that may be helpful.

I did not care for this book, perhaps because I kept trying to place him as the Silas who went on missionary journeys with Paul and preached but then the author finally portrays him as the rich young religious leader who was told to sell all he had and one of the two who were on the Road to Emmaus when Jesus appeared to them after his resurrection.
(Karen's review 4/30/09)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it?

Friday, December 3, 2010

"The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption" by Jim Gorant

The two best parts of The Lost Dogs by Jim Gorant were:  (1) the people who took the dogs in and worked with them after they were rescued from Vick’s house.  They were remarkable people to have that kind of love and patience, truly special!; and (2) the recap at the end of the book reviewing a lot of the dogs case by case.  Most, I am happy to say, are doing well.  I am glad I read this book because now I know the whole story!

Have you read this one? What did you think of it?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

"Finding Katie--Diary of an Anonymous Teenager In Foster Care"

Finding Katie is a fast-moving book written as a diary of a 16-yr.-old girl who came from a wealthy family that was sexually abused by her own father who dumped her on Skid Row in Los Angeles to fend for herself. She was "rescued" by the Salvation Army and tells her story about being in foster homes and finally finding someone who wanted her so ends on a happy note. Even through it all, she shows great maturity and compassion for the other kids in the foster homes she was placed in. She helped several of them by tutoring them, befriending them and caring for them. She found happiness by helping others.
(Karen's review 3/7/09)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"Christmas Blessings" by Helen Steiner Rice

I just finished reading a book of Christmas poems called Christmas Blessings by Helen Steiner Rice that I really liked.  They were all about the true meaning of Christmas, God's gift  to us, His Son, Jesus Christ.  Instead of Christmas cards she would write poems for her friends at Christmas time.  Here's one I chose that was short to share with you:

A Christmas Blessing for You

May Jesus, our Savior,
Who was born on Christmas Day,
Bless you at this season
In a very special way.
May the Beauty and the promise
Of that silent, holy night
Fill your heart with peace and happiness
And make your new year bright!

Her poems are also used on greeting cards today.  In fact, I just got one from a friend this week with the verse by her.

(Karen's review 12/23/09)


Please tell us: What categories of literature do you like? What are you reading now? Who are your top five favorite authors? Have you read this one? What did you think of it?
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