Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 Read 52 books in 52 weeks Challenge

Read 52 Books in 52 Week in 2010

The goal is to read one book (at least) a week for 52 weeks.  The rules are very simple:


  1. The challenge will run from January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010. 
  2. Our book weeks will begin on Sunday.  Since the new year started on Friday, you get a couple bonus days for the first week.  It will be simpler to keep track rather than running from Friday to Friday.
  3. Participants may join at any time.
  4. All forms of books are acceptable including e-books, audio books, etc.
  5. Re-reads are acceptable as long as they are read after January 1, 2010.
  6. Books may overlap other challenges.
  7. Create an entry post linking to this blog. 
  8. Come back and sign up with Mr. Linky in the "I'm participating post" below this post.
  9. You don't have a blog to participate.  Post your weekly book in the comments section.
  10. Mr. Linky will be added to the bottom of the weekly post for you to link to reviews of your most current reads. 





    2009 Wrap Up

     
    Happy New Year!

    Today is the end of our 2009 Read 52 books in 52 Weeks.  Many many thanks to everyone on the Well Trained Mind forum who participated and thank you to those who followed our progress throughout the year.   And a big heartfelt thank you to Kay who came up with the idea in the first place.  How did we do?   At the end of this post, will be Mr. Linky so folks can link to their wrap up posts on their blogs or for those who don't have a blog to simply let us know how many books they ended up reading. That goes for all of you unofficial participants, followers, lurkers and anonymous Google readers.  I want to know how you did too. Don't be shy.  Whether you read 1, 3, 20, 52, 100, or 200 or more, be proud of your accomplishment.



    Did you manage to read 52 books this year?


    Even if you didn't, how many did you manage to read?

    Did you discover a new author or a new genre.

    Did you rediscover an old classic or reread a book from years gone by?

    What book did you finish up the challenge with?

    Did you read from a list and fly by the seat of your pants choosing a different book each week?

    What was your favorite book?

    What was your least favorite book?

    Did you learn something new about reading, yourself or a topic you read?

    What is on your wish list for 2010?

    What authors, genres, or books would you like to see spotlighted on the blog for 2010? 

    Just a few questions to think about as we wrap up our reading year.   I'll be posting a 2009 Reading Wrap up post shortly on My Two Blessings and will link to it on Mr. Linky.   I have a wish for the 2010 Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge.  According to the stat counter the blog received 4,391 visits over the past year:  3,596 were first time visitors and 785 were returning visitors.  How many commented?  About 1%.    We have a lot of shy visitors.  So, my wish is that you won't be so shy in the future and let us know what you think - about anything you read here on 52 Books.  I promise, we won't bite.


    Link to your wrap up Posts here:







    Thank you everyone and Happy New Year!

    Monday, December 28, 2009

    Change in domain name - fix your links

    I've upgraded the domain name for 52 books in 52 weeks



    Please change your links to




    Blogger will conveniently continue to forward you
    from blogspot for a while until you do.

    WEEK 52



    "House of Reckoning" by John Saul
    (from inside flap)
    After the untimely death of her mother, fourteen-year-old Sarah Crane is forced to grow up quickly in order to help tend her family's Vermont farm and look after her grieving father, who's drowning his sorrow in alcohol. But their quiet life together is shattered when her father is jailed for killing another man in a barroom brawl and injuring Sarah in a drunken car crash. Left in the cold care of a loveless foster family and alienated at school, Sarah finds a kindred spirit in classmate Nick Dunnigan, a former mental patient still plagued by voices and visions. And in eccentric art instructor Bettina Phillips, Sarah finds a mentor eager to nurture her talent for painting.
    But within the walls of Bettina's ancestral home, the mansion called Shutters, Sarah finds something altogether different and disturbing. Monstrous images from the house's dark history seem to flow unbidden from Sarah's paintbrush--images echoed by Nick's chilling hallucinations. Trapped for ages in the shadowy rooms of Shutters, the violence and fury of long-dead generations have finally found a gate way from the grave into the world of the living. And Sarah and Nick have found a power they never had: to take control, and take revenge.


    MY THOUGHTS: This is a great book. It will grab you from the first chapter, you won't be able to put it down. I got the book on Saturday and finished it this morning. Following Sarah through her accident, therapy, and placement into foster care was like seeing first hand the system through which children go through. The foster family Sarah is put into is just in it for the money and soon Sarah is the cook and house cleaner. As Sarah starts school she is soon shunned because of her injury because she walks with a limp from her broken hip. Then Sarah meets Nick and her Art Teacher. Things start happening that can't be explained logically. The Art Teacher is reputed to be a witch by all the town folk. Nick is deemed crazy. Then Sarah is called evil. When all three of them come together at the house, Shutters, things begin to fall into place and soon the drawings and visions make sense.

    MY RATING: 5


    52 Books in 52 Weeks is over for the year. This is my 52nd book. This is my wrap up of that challenge.

    This is the last week of the year and should have you starting book 52. Next Thursday, the last day of the year, we'll be wrapping up our 2009 Read 52 Books in 52. Questions to think about for our wrap up. Did you manage to read 52 books this year? Even if you didn't, how many did you manage to read? Did you discover a new author or a new genre. Did you rediscover an old classic or reread a book from years gone by? What book are you finishing up the challenge with? Have you started your wish list for 2010? Congratulations on making it through the year and thank you to all who followed our progress through out the year. Lots of good books, interesting discussions and new discoveries coming up next year.


    I did read 52 books for this challenge. My 52nd book was House of Reckoning by John Saul. Here is my list of books. I did read some books that I don't usually read and I also read some books by new authors to me. Which one was my favorite? I can't really narrow it down to one. There are several that I really enjoyed reading. You can see the reviews on all my books here.

    Week 1 - The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
    Week 2 - The Martin Chronicles - Ray Bardbury
    Week 3 - In Defense of Food - Michael Pollan
    Week 4 - The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
    Week 5 - High Noon - Nora Roberts
    Week 6 - The Pagan Stone - Nora Roberts
    Week 7 - The Good Earth - Pearl S. Buck
    Week 8 - The River's Edge - Terri Blackstock
    Week 9 - The Senator's Wife - Sue Miller
    Week 10 - Airborn - Kenneth Oppel
    Week 11 - A Treasury of Peter Rabbit and other stories - Beatrix Potter
    Week 12 - Skybreaker - Kenneth Oppel
    Week 13 - StarClimber - Kenneth Oppel
    Week 14 - Betrayals - Carla Neggers
    Week 15 - World Without End - Ken Follett
    Week 16 - The Woman Who Rides Like A Man - Tamora Pierce
    Week 17 - Lioness Rampant - Tamora Pierce
    Week 18 - Shadow Music - Julie Garwood
    Week 19 - What Jamie Saw - Carolyn Coman
    Week 20 - Elephant Run - Roland Smith
    Week 21 - The Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan
    Week 22 - Alias Grace - Margaret Atwood
    Week 23 - Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret - Judy Blume
    Week 24 - The Bride's Necklace - Kat Martin
    Week 25 - Retribution - Jilliane Hoffman
    Week 26 - Specials - Scott Westerfeld
    Week 27 - City of Bones - Michael Connelly
    Week 28 - Falling into the Sun - Charrie Hazard
    Week 29 - Bare Bones - Kathy Reichs
    Week 30 - A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini
    Week 31 - E is for Evidence - Sue Grafton
    Week 32 – The Narrows – Michael Connelly
    Week 33 – Ice Land – Betsy Tobin
    Week 34 – Dead Wrong – J. A. Jance
    Week 35 – Dancing With Ana – Nicole Barker
    Week 36 – A Mercy – Toni Morrison
    Week 37 – The Stone Diaries – Carol Shields
    Week 38 – The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver
    Week 39 – The Dangerous Days of Daniel X – James Patterson
    Week 40 – The Story of Edgar Sawtelle – David Wroblewski
    Week 41 – The Seamstress of Hollywood Boulevard – Erin McGraw
    WEEK 42 – The Help – Kathryn Stockett
    WEEK 43 - The Bone Garden – Tess Gerritsen
    Week 44 – The Last Oracle – James Rollins
    Week 45 – The Manufactured Identity – Heath Sommer
    Week 46 – The Blue Notebook – James A. Levine
    Week 47 – March – Geraldine Brooks
    Week 48 – Betrayal in Death – J. D. Robb
    Week 49 – A Season of Gifts – Richard Peck
    Week 50 – The Cost of Dreams – Gary Stelzer
    Week 51 – Deadly Codes – JP O’Donnell
    Week 52 – House of Reckoning – John Saul

    Sunday, December 27, 2009

     
     
    Special Edition 

    By 


    Charles Dickens

    with Christian Insights and Discussion questions for
    Groups and Families by Stephen Skelton




    We all know the story of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.   Scrooge is a scrooge, a miser who hoards money and doesn't celebrate Christmas.  He is visited by his dead partner Marley who tells him he will be visited by three ghosts - the ghost of Christmas past, present and future.   Once all is said and done, Scrooge is saved from his miserly ways and becomes a generous happy person.    So what is different about the special edition.   The special edition includes annotations in the side bar of the pages giving insight into Dickens insights when writing the book,  definitions,  biblical allusions and symbols, plus there are discussion questions at the end of each chapter. 

    Surprisingly, in all my 50 years I've never actually read A Christmas Carol.  If my parents ever read the book to us I certainly don't remember it.   I've seen the movies of course so knew what the story was about.  But never considered what the three ghosts symbolized or other factors in the books.   The annotations made reading the book easier to understand since it included definitions of old English terms  that otherwise would have had to look up.  The insight into symbols in the book were interesting such as Marley's ghost coming from below is symbolic of coming from hell and the chains wrapped around him give an account of his actions on earth.  

    "The chain he drew was clasped about his middle.  It was long and wound about him like a tail; and it was made (for Scrooge observed it closely) of cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds and heavy purses wrought in steel."  (pg 22)

    One thing I had always thought was that the visitations took place in one night.   According to Marley, Scrooge would be visited by three ghosts over a three night period. 

    "Without their visits,' said the Ghost, "you cannot hope to shun the path I tread.  Expect the first tomorrow when the bell tolls one."

    "Couldn't I take em all at once, and have it over, Jacob?' hinted Scrooge.

    "Expect the second on the next night at the same hour. The third upon the next night when the last stroke of twelve has ceased to vibrate.  Look to see me no more; and look that, for your own sake, you remember what has passed between us."  pg 26

    According to the annotation on the page "Dickens set Scrooge's journey over three days -- three being a biblically significant number, representing not only the Holy Trinity, but the three days of Christ's death, burial and resurrection, which Scrooge's experience echoes.  In addition, the miser's journey ends on a holy day, Christmas, the day that marks the birth of Christ -- and the rebirth of Scrooge."  pg 27.  

    However, when he woke up finally from the ghosts visitations, it was Christmas day. The special edition made reading A Christmas Carol are richer, more thoughtful experience rather than just reading a story for entertainment value. I highly recommend it.   Thank you to Julie at FSB Associates for sending me a copy of the book.  


    Pages:  128
    Publisher: Standard Publishing
    Released:  September 1, 2009 
    Genre: Classic


    Other Thoughts:


    "Verdict: I Heart It! Here's what amazed me about this book, I'm not your mainstream Christian. The doctrine I follow often conflicts with mainstream Christianity, but it did not conflict with this book...."

    "There is so much more to the story than what the movies show.  The annotated version and the connection to the true spirit of the season reminded me just how special this story truly is."

    "After we finished the story, I went back and read all the annotations and discussion questions on my own. I LOVED the annotations!..."




     *** FTC notice: non compensated, unbiased opinion - book received free of charge from the author. Link to amazon for informational purposes only.

    Saturday, December 26, 2009

    Week 51



    "Deadly Codes" by JP O'Donnell
    (from back cover)
    Daniel Cormac Gallagher, Jr., a Boston private eye, is hired to investigate the death of Jennifer Clark, tragically killed in a car bombing in her own driveway.
    Gallagher has been commissioned by Jeanne Campbell, Jennifer's twin sister, to find a mysterious woman--Jennifer's secret lesbian lover who vanished immediately after the bombing. While the authorities continue to pursue their suspicions that the terrorist act may have been intended for Jennifer's husband, Bill, who holds a top-secret position in the counter-intelligence division of the National Security Agency, Jeanne reveals intricate details to Gallagher that intrigue him enough to take on the case. While Gallagher begins searching for the missing woman, he has no idea that a bounty has been placed on his own head--two hired gunmen are plotting to kill him. Gallagher's search takes him to Washington D.C., where he discovers that the car bombing is only a backdrop to a complex, treasonous scheme to sell code-breaking formulas to a hostile enemy nation.
    As the violent mystery unravels, Gallagher finds himself under deadly attack from two shocking but powerful forces--one he knows and another he never expects.


    MY THOUGHTS: I didn't know this author's work before this book, he has another book before this one. It is called "Fatal Gamble". This won't be the last book I read from JP O'Donnell. I really liked his way of writing, it was fast paced and caught you from the beginning of page one. I really liked Gallagher's character very much. He's a great private eye. He uses clues and reason for finding who he's looking for. As he is looking for the missing woman, unknown to Gallagher, there has been a hit put out on him from someone in Las Vegas. Only this time they are not only after him but his new wife. Can he find this missing woman and solve the case? Do the hit guys get their target? You'll have to read the book to find out.

    MY RATING: 5

    Thursday, December 24, 2009

    Week 51 Book 52 - Merry Christmas from our family to yours




     

    Merry Christmas!

    This is the last week of the year and should have you starting book 52.   Next Thursday, the last day of the year, we'll be wrapping up our 2009 Read 52 Books in 52.  Questions to think about for our wrap up.   Did you manage to read 52 books this year?  Even if you didn't, how many did you manage to read?  Did you discover a new author or a new genre.  Did you rediscover an old classic or reread a book from years gone by?  What book are you finishing up the challenge with?   Have you started your wish list for 2010?     Congratulations on making it through the year and thank you to all who followed our progress through out the year.    Lots of good books, interesting discussions and new discoveries coming up next year. 



    Merry Christmas from our family to yours!


    Monday, December 21, 2009

    WEEK 50



    "The Cost of Dreams" by Gary Stelzer
    (from back cover)
    Flora Enriquez trusts that she has found safe haven for her young family in the remote U.S. Southwest, after fleeing the murderous environs of her homeland where her parnets were slain in a civil war. Only to find that all of her life's greatest challenges, by far, still lie before her.


    MY THOUGHTS: Flora, her sister and 2 brothers walk from Central America to the Southwest, U.S. to find freedom. Flora's whole village and family are killed in a civil war there. So Flora and what's left of her family walk to freedom. As Flora works and goes to school, she eventually gets her degree for teaching and her green papers. She meets and falls in love with Monte. They marry and have 2 children. Then one day Monte's brother comes to the tiny town where they live. He is looking for drugs that he thinks Monte and Flora have stolen from them. Flora is almost killed and Monte has killed his brother. Flora is "stolen" by Margarette and taken along on their migratory drive looking for work. Margarette is delusional, thinking Flora is her dead daughter come back to life. As Flora is hauled all over the south west and then to the north, she comes across a woman who she remembers from her childhood, Kate. Kate and her nephew are in Flora's village on a mission trying to help them. Kate leaves and her nephew stays. Her nephew comes up missing. Flora and Kate's chance meeting takes them to Mexico looking for a healer to fix Flora's paralyzed legs. This is a review book and it's really good!! This is Gary Stelzer's first book and I really enjoyed reading this book. He takes you along the path with Flora as you travel with her. If you get a chance to read this book, do, it's really good!

    Thursday, December 17, 2009

    Week 50 Book 51

    Today is the start of Week 50 in the quest to read 52 books in 52 weeks and should have you starting book # 51. We are winding down the year with 2 weeks left and heading towards our goal of reading 52 books for the year.

    We are winding down 2009, but looking toward 2010.  I've been perusing the blogs and Amazon and My Wish list is growing by leaps and bounds these days.    Imagine my surprise this week when I came across some books by authors I love and read that I wasn't aware of.   How did they slip by me?




    Vanishing Sculpture by Donita K. Paul. She is the author of The Dragon Keeper Chronicles, a christian fantasy series.


    "Tipper is a young emerlindian who’s responsible for the upkeep of her family’s estate during her sculptor father’s absence. Tipper soon discovers that her actions have unbalanced the whole foundation of her world, and she must act quickly to undo the calamitous threat. But how can she save her father and her world on her own? The task is too huge for one person, so she gathers the help of some unlikely companions--including the nearly five-foot tall parrot Beccaroon--and eventually witnesses the loving care and miraculous resources of Wulder." - Donita K. Paul





    Curse of the Spider King by Wayne Thomas Batson.  He is the author of the ya christian fantasy series The Door Within trilogy and also the swashbuckling pirate books Isle of Fire and Isle of Swords. 


    "The Seven succeeding Elven Lords of Allyra were dead, lost in the Siege of Berinfell as babes.  At least that's what everyone thought until tremors from a distant world known as Earth, revealed strange signs that Elven blood lived among its peoples. With a glimmer of hope in their hearts, sentinels are sent to see if the signs are true. But theirs is not a lone errand. The ruling warlord of Allyra, the Spider King, has sent his own scouts to hunt down the Seven and finish the job they failed to complete many ages ago.

    Now 13-year-olds on the brink of the Age of Reckoning when their Elven gifts will be manifest, discover the unthinkable truth that their adoptive families are not their only kin. With mysterious Sentinels revealing breathtaking secrets of the past, and dark strangers haunting their every move, will the young Elf Lords find the way back to the home of their birth? Worlds and races collide as the forces of good and evil battle.  Will anyone escape the Curse of the Spider King?" - Amazon.com


    Then there is Charles De Lint




    Muse and Reverie which was just released on December 8th. I have enjoyed reading all the books in the Newford Series so looking forward to reading this collection of short stories.

    "Muse and Reverie is an all-new collection of short fiction in Charles de Lint’s “Newford” universe—the fifth such collection since 1993, and the first since 2002. Previous collections are Dreams Underfoot, The Ivory and the Horn, the World Fantasy Award-winning Memory and Dream, and Tapping the Dream Tree.

    The city of Newford could be any city in North America, bursting with music, commerce, art, love and hate, and of course magic. Magic in the sidewalk cracks, myth at the foundations of its great buildings, enchantment in the spaces between its people. In this new collection, de Lint explores that magic and those spaces, shedding new light on the people and places that readers of novels like Moonheart, Forests of the Heart, The Onion Girl, and The Mystery of Grace have come to love." - Amazon.com


    And one I discovered through Shelf Awareness:



    Ben Kane's The Forgotten Legion.  It will fit in nicely with my historical fiction challenge.

    "This may be the only historical novel in which a principal character is a proto-Etruscan nationalist. In this lively and often riveting first novel, Kane captures much of the chaos, brutality, and splendor of the late republic in the first century BCE, when Rome was ruled by the First Triumvirate of Julius Caesar, Pompey, and Marcus Licinius Crassus. Curiously, the four main characters are from the underside of society, and each has reason to despise the power of the emerging Roman superstate. Tarquinius labors on a latifundium and bemoans the loss of Etruscan greatness and subservience to Latin cultural and political domination. Brennus is a great gladiator whose family fell victim to imperial expansion. The twins, Romulus and Fabiola, suffer the degradation of slavery. Each of them is caught up in one of the seminal episodes of the century, as Crassus, seeking military glory, launched an expedition against Rome’s archenemy in the East, Parthia. Kane clearly knows the history of the period, and his story is rich in accurate historical detail. The characterizations are finely drawn and set against a dangerous, cruel, but often thrilling landscape. --Jay Freeman"  Amazon.com

    And from Michael Palmer who wrote The Last Surgeon which is being released February 2010


    Fatal: I was perusing Michael Palmer's website the other day when he asked if I would like to review The Last Surgeon.  All his books sounded so good, but Fatal captured my immediate interest because of Micheal's  story behind writing the book.

    "Palmer excels at packing current medical issues into a web of suspense. The action begins immediately as people in various cities become afflicted with some unknown malady with bizarre symptoms. Some die quickly from seizures and blood loss, others develop a progressive mental illness along with "Elephant Man"-like growths on their faces and bodies, culminating in uncontrollable violence. Dr. Matt Rutledge is certain that a case he has seen, involving a mine worker for the Belinda Coal and Coke Company, is related to the mine's criminal offenses. He was raised in the West Virginia town and lost his father to alleged safety violations, and his wife to a rare cancer. Certain that her illness was induced by groundwater contamination, Matt has a double score to settle with BC&C. Meanwhile, in Washington, DC, Ellen Kroft, member of the advocacy group PAVE (Parents Advocating Vaccine Education), is struggling with her vote as part of a group evaluating a new megavaccine, Omnivax. In Boston, medical examiner Dr. Nikki Solari has watched the mental deterioration of her talented roommate as strange growths appear on her face. Both Ellen and Nikki travel to Belinda in search of answers. As expected, the three protagonists get together and set about solving the medical mystery, with danger, attempted murder, and bureaucratic strangulation surrounding them. Palmer skillfully juggles many subplots, integrating colorful characters and using current bioscience topics. FDA testing, vaccines, environmental toxins, spongiform encephalitis, greedy pharmaceutical executives, and bad cops-all contribute to the novel's action, suspense, and intrigue."   Amazon.com

    What did you find this week?

    ***Links to amazon are for informational purposes only.

    Sunday, December 13, 2009

    A SEASON OF GIFTS - RICHARD PECK

    WEEK 49



    "A Season of Gifts" by Richard Peck
    (from inside flap)
    One of the most adored children's book characters of all time is the eccentric, forceful, bighearted Grandma Dowdel, star of the Newbery Medal-winning A Year Down Yonder and Newbery Honor-winning A Long Way from Chicago. And it turns out that her story isn't over--not even close.
    It is now 1958, and a new family has moved in next door to Mrs. Dowdel--a family in desperate need of her help(whether they realize it or not). There's twelve-year-old Bob, shy on courage in a town full of bullies; his Elvis-obsessed older sister, Phyllis, who just might be on the verge of spinning out of control; Bob's little sister, Ruth Ann, ready and waiting for a larger-than-life role model; and even Bob's two parents, the young minister and his wife, who are amazed to discover that the last house in town might also be the most vital.
    As Christmas rolls around, the whole family will realize that they've found a true home, and a neighbor with remarkable gifts to share.


    MY THOUGHTS: This is the book pick for my book club this month. I have never read any of Mr. Peck's books. You can be sure I will be reading more of them. I loved this book. All the characters jump off the page at you while your reading. Bob is telling the story of his family's move to a small rural town in Illinois. His father is a minister and they have moved here because his father was given a new church, which is in sad disrepair, and needs lots of work. The first paragraph of this book grabs you and doesn't let you go. You have to read it to find out what happens to this old house. Who lives in it? Is it really hunted? This is the first paragraph from the book. You have to read this book!!! It's really good!!!

    You could see from here the house was hunted. Its crooked old lightning rods pointed bony fingers at the sky. It hadn't had a lick of paint since VJ Day, maybe the war berfore that. A porch sagged off the side. The kitchen screen door hung from a hinge. Only the snowball bushes crowding its foundations seemed to hold the place up.

    Friday, December 11, 2009

    Sign up Here to Participate

    Sign up with Mr. Linky

    Thursday, December 10, 2009

    2010 Challenge - Who wants to continue?

    2010 52 books in 52 weeks challenge???

    Several people in the challenge and even some who are not  have been expressing interest in continuing or joining the challenge of reading 52 Books in 52 Weeks.  And there has been some interest in me keeping the blog open and going.  So, I've been giving it some thought and will probably do so. 

    If the challenge continues for 2010, it would actually be open to any one who wants to participate. Which means I would be making a few changes to the blog.   Hint Hint my followers and lurkers. So please let me know if you are interested in continuing or participating.   If the challenge continues for 2010, I will most likely make a few changes,  including a Mr. Linky to link to participants, plus links for those who like to post reviews on their blog.
     
    So my fellow contributors, participants, followers and lurkers, what do you have to say.  Yay or Nay?

    Week 49 - Book 50 Buy Books for the Holidays

    Today is the start of Week 49 in the quest to read 52 books in 52 weeks and should have you starting book # 50. We are winding down the year with 3 weeks left and heading towards our goal of reading 52 books for the year.

    And it is two weeks before christmas.   Have you gotten your christmas shopping done yet?  I haven't even started, nor do we have our tree or outside lights up.  We set out to put up our christmas lights and while pulling out the lights, started cleaning up the garage.  We got into a throwing away mode and I'm happy to say we have a clean garage and we can now fit on of the cars inside.  Yippee!!

    Speaking of Christmas shopping, I'm in the mood to buy books for the holidays.





    Buy Books for the Holidays is the brainchild of several bloggers and is the goal is quite simple.  Buy books, support your local indie bookstores and think about contributing to literacy charities.   At the blog you can find out tons of information including the latest, a wonderful post about books for boys ages 0 to 9, spotlight on independent book stores and profiles on charities.  So give someone you love a book, maybe two or three or more and Buy Books For The Holidays!

    Sunday, December 6, 2009

    CATCH UP ON REVIEWS

    To see my complete review you can go to my place, Just Books. Just click on the title of the book and you will go right to that page.



    WEEK 45
    "The Manufactured Identity" by Heath Sommer



    As a psychological thriller "The Manufactured Identity" is a strange tale that will keep you reading the book. From one moment to the next the characters are keeping you on your toes. The first chapter will grab you as soon as you read it. You read about a guy that can't remember who he is and has thousands of dollars on him. Wouldn't you want to know what happened and where all that money came from. As you keep reading and meeting all these people you begin to wonder what they all have in common. But you will have to read the book to find out! Besides that the book cover is really awesome!

    WEEK 46
    "The Blue Notebook" by James A. Levine



    This book is about Child Prostitutes. Although I really wanted to read this book, once I started it I couldn't put it down, but I couldn't read it, it was very disturbing, I had to stop now and then because I couldn't read on. But I had to pick it back up and continue on. I wanted to find out what happened to Batuk. It is a very disturbing book. Knowing that this is going on in the world and no one to help these children. But be warned there is lots of sexual talk that is very frank and to the point. Very descriptive sexual talk.

    WEEK 47
    "March" by Geraldine Brooks



    This is the first book I have read from Geraldine Brooks. I enjoyed her writing very much. As I read Little Women years ago as a child and more recently re-read it again, I often had questions about Mr. March. Little Women doesn't actually tell you anything about the Civil War. Geraldine Brooks goes beyond the book Little Women and answers all those questions with extra thrown in. Mr. March's experiences are not good ones, but then war is not a very good thing to experience. Mr. March's ideas of what it was going to be like and what it really was like was a little naive. But he does come home to his wife and his little women. As to whether he is a whole person after his experience is another question all together.

    WEEK 48
    "Betrayal in Death" by J. D. Robb




    This is my first J. D. Robb book and it won't be my last. I really enjoyed this book. I really like the character of Eve. She's a very through and quick on her feet cop. She is also a very loving wife. In return Roarke, her husband is a millionaire, but is also a very normal down to earth guy. As Eve is searching for clues to Yost's where abouts, Roarke steps in and helps Eve to track down Yost. While in the process they uncover a robbery that is actually the reason for all the murders. A 7 billion dollar robbery! While they are trying to track down who is behind the contracts and what it has to do with Roarke they stumble onto the robbery and links them all together. Do they get Yost? You'll have to read the book to find out.

    Saturday, December 5, 2009

    Holiday Grind by Cleo Coyle


     





    By


    Cleo Coyle








    Description from Coffee House Mysteries: "Coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi has grown very fond of Alfred Glockner, the part-time comic and genuinely jolly charity Santa who’s been using her Village Blend as a place to warm his mittens. When she finds him brutally gunned down in a nearby alley, a few subtle clues convince her that Alfred’s death was something more than the tragic result of a random mugging—the conclusion of the police.

    With Clare’s boyfriend, NYPD Detective Mike Quinn, distracted by a cold case of his own, and ex-husband Matt investigating this year’s holiday lingerie catalogs (an annual event), Clare charges ahead solo and discovers Santa had a list that he was checking twice—and the folks on it were not very nice. Then someone tries to ice Clare, and she really gets steamed.

    Between baking delicious holiday goodies and fending off the attentions of a persistent professional elf, Clare sets out to solve Santa’s slaying. But she'd better watch out, because if she fails to stop this stone cold killer, she may just get the biggest chill of her life."



    I discovered Cleo Coyle's cozy Coffee House Mysteries a couple years back and love her style, the characters in the story line, the stories and the interesting recipes using coffee. Holiday Grind is Cleo Coyle's Coffee House Mystery # 8 and it includes all the interesting characters who work and live around Village Blend. When her friend and Santa's Elf, Alfred doesn't show up for Clara's Fa-la-la-la latte tasting, she gets worried and goes to look for him.  She finds him dead in an alley way. The police think it is a mugging gone bad, but Clara thinks it is murder. Why? Well you'll just have to read the book to find out why. When she can't convince hard edged detective Emmanuel Franco and his partner Charlie Hong that it was murder, she is determined to prove them wrong. Clara enlists the aid of her her ex husband's mother Madame Dreyfus Aleggro Dubois, who is not only elegant and well off, but a snoop who knows the right people.  Clara ends up in some harrowing positions, putting her life at risk, when the killer decides she is getting too close.

    Included with the story are recipes for coffee drinks, coffee syrup, all the fa-la-la-la lattes recipes along with all kinds of holiday recipes.   They all sound interesting and delicious, even for a tea drinker like me.  


    Books in the Series

    #1 On What Grounds
    #2 Through the Grinder
    #3 Latte Trouble
    #4 Murder Most Frothy
    #5 Decaffeinated Corpse
    #6 French Pressed
    #7 Espresso Shot
    #8 Holiday Grind
    #9 Roast Mortem - Due out August 2010


    Thank you to Cleo Coyle for providing me with an autographed advanced reader copy of Holiday Grind.  I genuinely appreciate the opportunity to review one of the Coffee House Mystery Books. For more information about Cleo Coyle, the Coffee House Mysteries or to read an excerpt, check out her website Virtual Blend


    Pages: 384
    Publisher: Berkley Hardcover
    Released: November 3, 2009
    Genre: Cozy Mystery

    Other Thoughts:

    Lesa of Lesa's Book Critiques:
    "If you're looking for holiday reading that isn't all sweetness and light, Holiday Grind offers the perfect combination of Christmas atmosphere, a well-developed cast of characters, and a complicated mystery."


    April of Cafe Of Dreams:
    "Holiday Grind is filled to the brim with the series' trademark humor, sassiness and mystery. Though number eight in the series, Holiday Grind is so well written that it easily could be read as a stand alone. Perfect for the holiday season, indulge in this rich and frothy mystery and I'll guarantee that if you have not read the other books in this series, that that will quickly change!"


    Vickie of Vixen's Daily Reads:
    "I am always curious how the author will have the main character get involved in the mystery that needs solving. Sometimes they can be a wee bit awkward, but Cleo Coyle always has Clare getting involved rather seamlessly. It's because it's someone she knows or someone she cares about asks her to get involved."

    Thursday, December 3, 2009

    Week 48 Book 49 - A different challenge on the horizon

     Week 48 Book 49

    Today is the start of Week 48 in the quest to read 52 books in 52 weeks and should have you starting book # 49. We are winding down the year with 4 weeks left and heading towards our goal of reading 52 books for the year.

    It's been quite busy for everyone as evidenced by the lack of reviews.  I apologize for that.  Hope to have a few reviews up for you the last 4 weeks.   As of December 31st, the 52 books in 52 weeks challenge will be over for 2009.  This blog will be discontinued but kept up in order for folks to refer back to the reviews.  As of January 1st, I will be hosting a new challenge


    January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010


    Hosted by Robin of My Two Blessings





    Science fiction and fantasy books have always been my one true love ever since I read my first sci fi book back in the 70's. Whether it was Edgar Rice Burroughs, Arthur Clark, Ray Bradbury, Larry Niven, Piers Anthony, Anne McCaffrey or Robert Silverberg who captured me first, I don't remember. When I recently came across the Hugo Award Web site, the list of winners made my mouth water and tickled my imagination. All the books on the list looked so good that I decided to read through the list, starting with the oldest. But all those who were nominated looked too good to pass up, so decide okay, will take some side trips and read some of the nominees. Other ideas started popping up in my brain. That's what the sci-fi and fantasy genre does to you - expands your mind and gives you ideas.

    There will be various voyages through the galaxy to different planets exploring the Hugo and Nebula winners, with side trips through the different decades reading the nominees, and checking out Philip K. Dick and Robert Heinlein. Plus, since I like a wide variety of books and like to explore, can't possibly imagine a reading challenge without exploring new releases that come out in 2010.



    You are all welcome to join in and/or continue following the new challenge.