Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Top 11 Favorite Reads in 2012


I had another lean year in reading.  Not in quality, but in quantity.  My goal for the year originated at 100 books and then I dropped it to 70 in October...and here I am at around 50 again this year.  Why the top 11?  Well, I just finished The Hobbit and it had to be added, of course.  Some of these books I did not get around to reviewing so I will do a mini-review here on those titles.  The others I will provide a link to my review along with a line or two about why they made the list.


The Queen's Vow by C.W. Gortner--Gortner continues to be one of my favorite authors of historical fiction.  He is so good at writing strong female characters, yet still shows their vulnerable sides.  He just "gets" women...that we are multifaceted, not one dimensional. (my review)


Breed by Chase Novak--This one made Stephen King's top 10 list of the year and I completely agree.  I could not put this one down.  It continued to shock and horrify right up to the very end. (my review)


The Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot--An entertaining and well-researched historical novel, this book was a joy to read and an amazing debut novel. (my review)


The Passage by Justin Cronin--This one took my love for scary creatures and Dystopian scenarios to a new level.  I can't wait to read The Twelve. (my review)


Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel--Mini-Review:  Let's write a book about Thomas Cromwell and make him interesting and likable.  Was that what Mantel was thinking when she decided to write this book?  She must have been.  I really should have written a more profound review of this book, but I just do not have time.  Let me just say that Mantel writes historical fiction that draws the reader in.  You are there as Anne Boleyn flirts and manipulates (please don't take this as a negative judgement of her) and as Henry VIII gives and takes away his favor.  I think what Mantel captured the best was just what a snake pit the Tudor court really was.  I can't wait to read Bring Up the Bodies.


The King's Agent by Donna Russo Morin--What a whirlwind of a book! Adventure, mystery and yes, even love.  I'm not much for a love story, but this one took my breath away.  This book really was the whole package.  A must-read, for sure. (my review)


The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle--zombie/vampires, Dystopian, the Amish, oh my! This one came out of left field.  Just goes to show...a book doesn't have to have a big publisher behind it to be awesome. (my review)


The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau--Another novel that depicts the perilous aspects of Henry VIII's court.  The Crown seamlessly incorporates many historical figures and is a very interesting book to read.  This one is a must-read for lovers of historical fiction.  Can't wait for the next book, The Chalice. (my review)



Bleak House by Charles Dickens--Mini-Review:  Another one I didn't get around to reviewing and should have devoted more time to.  It is such a wonderful book.  I mean, who does it better than Dickens?  I love his way of introducing the human condition and his clever choices of names for his characters.  Most of all, Dickens was just a damn good story teller.  I don't think any books written in the 19th century hold my interest more than those of Dickens.


Ghost Story by Peter Straub--A favorite aspect of horror novels for me is creepiness.  This book delivers a ton of the creepy.  Can't believe it took me so long to read it. (my review)


The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien--Mini-Review: Another book that deserves more justice, but no time so just a few thoughts.  This was actually a reread for me.  I read it when I was a girl.  What a difference 30 something years makes.  This is such a wonderful adventure, which I remember, but reading it at this age made me really appreciate it more and appreciate the genius of Tolkien's writing.  It also brought me back to Middle-Earth.  I've been missing it.  It has been about 10 years since I read The Lord of the Rings.  A reread will be in order for it someday, I think.  On a side note, I did see the film, "The Hobbit" and it was so great.  I will be seeing it again when it comes to the discount theater.  I got so nostalgic, I watched the entire LOTR trilogy the following weekend!

So, what were your favorites this year?

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cat Thursday--Christmas...and more!


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

Here are some random funnies I received in my daily email from Lolcats...hope everyone had a great Christmas. =O)




I thought this one was quite profound and then it had some funny thrown in at the end.  LOL!




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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!


"Although it's been said many times, many ways...Merry Christmas to you."

Be safe and happy, my friends!

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Silent Night Read-a-Thon/Magnificently Magic Read-a-Thon

STICKY POST


I had to change my sticky post to make room for Svea's (The Muse in the Fog) 1st Annual Silent Night Read-a-Thon.  Yes, despite how busy I am, I'm not giving up on the read-a-thons.  LOL! This one runs from today until December 22.

UPDATES
My first update of the week.  Yup, at the end of the read-a-thon.  I just have not had much time for reading.  However, I did get caught up on the read-a-long for The Hobbit.  I also finished Merry Ex-Mas by Sheila Roberts and I'm 51 pages into Cupid's Christmas by Bette Lee Crosby.  I haven't been doing so hot in the reading department and I'm so dreadfully behind on review books for Christmas because of all that has been going on in my personal life.  Will I ever get out from under the monster stack of review books period?  I'm beginning to doubt it.

Of course, I'll be mainly concentrating on my Christmas reading.  Here is a list of other participants:



The Magnificently Magic Read-a-Thon is still going on through tomorrow.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Book Review: Merry Ex-Mas by Sheila Roberts

This is a cross post from my Christmas blog, The Christmas Spirit.


This book review was supposed to be part of a tour for Pump Up Your Book at the end of November, but due to the issues in my personal life, Dorothy was kind enough to give me more time.  It took me longer than I planned, but I'm finally finished.

My thoughts:
What a book for me to be reading when I'm going through a marital separation myself.  That being said, the book was very entertaining.  I kind of felt that the book implies that a woman can't be happy without a man in her life which I firmly disagree with.  However, it also made some good points about getting along with your ex for the sake of the kids; that it's better for them if the mom and dad can remain friends or, at least, remain civil toward each other.  I most identified with Cass.  I think because she was the one with the kids.  I could really relate to her frustration because I'm already experiencing a bit of that myself.  A lot of her problem it seemed was her in-laws...something I can totally relate to.  I laughed out loud at this quote, "Talk turned to the wedding and they made it to Samantha's without Cass having to stop the car and bitch-slap her ex sister-in-law."  Too funny!
 
Merry Ex-Mas is a nice, lighthearted holiday read that explores the various situations of women and their ex-husbands. I enjoyed it and especially enjoyed the parts about the food and baking.  Perfect for Christmas time.  There are some nice recipes from Cass at the end of the book.

About the book: Cass Wilkes, owner of the Gingerbread Haus bakery, was looking forward to her daughter Danielle's wedding-until Dani announced that she wants her father, Cass's ex, to walk her down the aisle. Seriously? Her friend Charlene Albach arrives at their weekly chick-flick night in shock. She's just seen the ghost of Christmas past: her ex-husband, Richard, who left a year ago when he ran off with the hostess from her restaurant, Zelda's. Now the hostess is history and he wants to kiss and make up. Hide the mistletoe! And bring out the hot buttered rum, because the holidays aren't easy for Ella O'Brien, either. Ella, newly divorced, is still sharing the house with her ex while they wait for the place to sell. The love is gone. Isn't it?  Merry Ex-mas, ladies!

About the author: Sheila Roberts lives in the Pacific Northwest. She's happily married and has three children.Her books have been printed in several different languages and have been chosen for book clubs such as Doubleday as well as for Readers Digest Condensed books. Her best-selling novel ON STRIKE FOR CHRISTMAS was made into a movie and appeared on the Lifetime Movie Network.

Her novel ANGEL LANE was named one of Amazon's Top Ten Romances for 2009.
When she's not making public appearances or playing with her friends, she can be found writing about those things near and dear to women's hearts: family, friends, and chocolate.

You can visit the author's website at www.sheilasplace.com

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cat Thursday {Christmas} Merry Christmas!


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

Since next Thursday Christmas will be over, I wanted to take the time to say Merry Christmas to all my fellow Cat Thursday enthusiasts.  Thank you for joining me each week in the celebration of cats and for bearing with me during this difficult time.  It means so much to have you with me each week and that you have stuck by me as I weather this new storm in my life.  May you all have a blessed Christmas. *hugs*  Now, let's get to the funny....





And here are a few Grumpy Cat pics because I just can't resist...






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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Book Club Bash Read-a-Thon/Magnificently Magic Read-a-Thon

STICKY POST

Bitsy Bling Books

Okay, so I've been unofficially participating in this read-a-thon this week, although I haven't really been getting much reading done.  I'm hoping to finish Merry Ex-Mas by Sheila Roberts and get started on a couple of other Christmas review titles that I haven't had time for.  I also made some progress on The Hobbit.

Charlie at Bitsy Bling Books says you can join in any time so why not click the banner and sign up!

I just realized that the above read-a-thon ends tomorrow.  Duh! Yes, my brain is on overload lately.  So, I found out about this read-a-thon.


I'm signing up for this read-a-thon too! Hosted by A Daydreamer's Thoughts from Dec. 13 - 16.  The premise of this read-a-thon is to read magical books (Hobbit...check) or Christmas/Winter themed books (check...check).  Click the button or HERE to sign-up.

I'm making this a sticky post for updates.  Now let's see if I follow through with those updates. ;O)

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Songs of the Season 2012--David Bowie style


Songs of the Season
Event production by
Random Magic Tour
Sasha Soren (Random Magic)
Dec. 10-25, 2012

Join us for a virtual round of caroling, with Songs of the Season, a fun and quirky music hop. Discover new and wonderful songs each day of the hop, handpicked by great bloggers and vloggers - plus lots of other cool things to browse.

I realize that Laura already posted a version of The Little Drummer Boy, but I had to post this...my absolute favorite rendition.  I'm a huge David Bowie fan.  I even remember watching this on TV all those years ago (1977)...I was nine years old.  =O)




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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Cat Thursday {Christmas} Santa


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

Quick note...Arya did well with her surgery and is recovering like a trooper.  She already seems much more calm and less high strung.  Hoping she will put a little weight on now.  She only weighs five pounds.  She will be getting her stitches removed early next week.  Thanks for all the well wishes last week.

These pics are pretty much Santa centered with one holiday visitors thrown in for good measure.  No authors and their cats until next month.  Also, sorry for not visiting your posts yet from last week.  As you know, I've had a lot going on.  I'll try to do double duty this week and catch up.  Thanks for bearing with me. =O)





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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cat Thursday {Christmas} Reindeer Cats


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

More Christmas kitty humor!





Arya is going to the vet this morning to be spayed.  I know it's a routine operation, but please keep her in your thoughts/prayers.  I worry.  Thanks. =O)


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