Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

I am excitedly awaiting the start of 2012. Normally, the changing of the year is not that big of a deal to me but oh, 2011 was a challenging year. I am hoping that the New Year will be filled with happiness, health and peace - for all that I know as well as my own family.

Whatever you do tonight and tomorrow - stay safe and have fun.
 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Favorite Books of 2011

I've written a favorites post for the past couple of years and discovered that I really look forward to this post.  In fact, throughout this year, I pretty much knew the books that would end up on this list as I finished them.  My favorite books of 2011 are:

1. Divergent by Veronica Roth - I absolutely loved this book.  Ms. Roth builds an extremely interesting world and society in this book with compelling characters that seem real and make me remember what it was like trying to find and stay true to myself.  I was surprised by how much I liked this book but I really, really did.  I am so looking forward to reading the sequel in 2012.

2. The Rarest Blooms series by Madeleine Hunter - This entire series is just fabulous.  It is wonderfully written with funny, likeable and strong characters.  My favorite in the series is Dangerous in Diamonds but the series is just fabulous.

3. Night Road by Kristin Hannah - This book is a major tear jerker but I still found it to be quite the page turner.  I just had to know what was going to happen with the family in the book.  Read it but have a box of tissues nearby when you do.

4. New York to Dallas by J.D. Robb - I adore J.D. Rob  and her Eve Dallas series but she really out did herself with this book.  It answers many of the questions that have been hanging for some time during the series.  And the relationship between Eve and Roarke was as amazing as ever.

5. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson - I learned of this book on someone else's best of 2010 list.  I read it earlier this year and it has stuck with me.  I love the characters, the English setting and the strength in Ms. Simonson's story telling.  It was a first rate book for me and I hope to read more by this author at some point in time.

Happy to Discover Authors:

Candace Camp
Victoria Alexander
Madeleine Hunter
Veronica Roth


Biggest Disappointment:

1. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway - After hearing so much about this book - I finally read it this year.  Ugh! I wanted to pull my hair out by the end of it.  There was virtually no character growth and, in fact, I didn't even like any of the characters.  This book was really irritating to me.

How about you? What were your favorite books of the year? Were you seriously disappointed by any? Please, do share. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Teaser Tuesday's - THe Perfect Mistress

Teaser Tuesday's is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To play along, just do the following:

- Grab your current read

- Open to a random page

- Share two “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 & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser.

My teaser this week is from Nook page 80 of Victoria Alexander's The Perfect Mistress:


 He did enjoy the dogs at the estate.  And a man with a dog was surely much more likable than a man who thought a dog was a great deal of trouble.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

Hello Everyone -

I just want to take a few moments to say thank you for visiting my blog and adding to my ever increasing enjoyment of blogging.  With lots of wrapping, baking and some last minute stocking stuffers to buy - I know I won't be online again until next week.  So, I hope you all have a joyous Christmas and happiness with your family and friends.

Sincerely -

Sheery

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Book Review - A Winter Scandal by Candace Camp

A Winter Scandal is the first book in a new series by Candace Camp.  I will say that I will anxiously be awaiting the rest of the books in this series as this one was just brilliant.  Ms. Camp weaves a suspenseful, heart warming and wholly engaging tale.

Althea Bainbridge is the village Vicar's sister and while she is quite revered, she is a spinster and lonelier than she had realized.  An unintended snub by Chesley's newest resident - Lord Morecombe, and a cancelled visit have Thea heart broken and praying in church.  She wants a life of her own and to no longer have to live in anyone's shadow.  Little does she know just how quickly her heart's desires are about to come true.  As she concludes her prayer, she hears odd noises coming from the church's nativity scene.  And inside she finds, much to her surprise, a baby boy - about six months old.  Not knowing what else to do with Matthew (the name she gives the baby), she takes him home.  That same day, Thea discovers something that makes her believe Matthew is Lord Morecombe's.

Gabriel (Lord Morecombe) is startled but thoroughly intrigued when Thea barges into his new country home with a baby that she claims is his and demands that he take responsibility.  Gabriel assures Thea that the baby is not his but is astounded by the 'proof' Thea provides.  Suddenly, Gabriel is absolutely certain that he knows who Matthew's mother is and he and Thea take an unexpected journey - literally and emotionally - as they try to reunite Matthew with his mommy in time for Christmas.

I thoroughly loved this book.  It is rich in detail, character, setting and emotion.  This is the second book I've read by Candace Camp and I can honestly say that I have a mission to read all of her catalogue.

Teaser Tuesday's - You Better Knot Die

Teaser Tuesday's is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To play along, just do the following:
- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two “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 & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser.
My teaser this week is from page 143 of Betty Hechtman's You Better Knot Die:


I'm sure you have someone you think it is, too.  In my case, it's a he; so that's how I'm referring to him until I know otherwise.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Teaser Tuesday's - A Winter Scandal

Teaser Tuesday's is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To play along, just do the following:


- Grab your current read

- Open to a random page

- Share two “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 & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser.

My teaser this week is from page 57 of Candace Camp's A Winter Scandal:

"I was decorating the church with the boughs I got this morning, and I heard an odd noise.  When I went out to check, I found this baby in the manger."

Friday, December 9, 2011

Thinking About Favorites

Of course, the title of this post can mean many things but in this instance I mean my favorite books of 2011.  Fortunately, I have read quite a few wonderful books this year.  And I will be writing a (probably lengthy) post about them very soon.  In the meantime, I am wondering about others favorites of the year.  I always enjoy reading other bloggers posts about their favorite (even their least favorite) books.  In fact, I have found many books that I have wound up enjoying based on others recommendations.  One such book is Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson.  I learned about this book at the end of 2010, read it early this year and it has stuck with me ever since.

So, I would love to know which books you have read and loved this year - and even the ones you have disliked.  And my favorites post will be up before the end of the month.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Booking Through Thursday - Mystery or Love

Booking Through Thursday is a fun, weekly, bookish question and response event. This week we ponder:

All things being equal, which would you prefer–a mystery? Or a love story?
Oh, my two favorite genres.  How is a girl to choose? Is it fair if I say both; in the form of a romantic suspense? All right, if I have to choose just one then it is going to be a love story - definitely.  I am a sucker for a really good love story; especially one with a happy ending.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Book Review - His Mistress by Christmas by Victoria Alexander

Despite the some what corny title, His Mistress by Christmas by Victoria Alexander was a very well done and engaging book.  Lady Veronica Smithson is an independent, forward thinking widow in Victorian London.  She is tired of being alone but is not the least bit interested in marrying again.  She enjoys her freedom and her ability to make decisoions, financial and otherwise, without having to consult a man for approval or permission.  She is lonely for companionship, though.  Her very good friend Portia is cousin to the world adventurer Sebastian Hadley-Attwater.  Veronica is instantly attracted to him and decides that he will do nicely and sets forth a plan to be his mistress.

Sebastian has indeed led a life of adventure but has finally returned home to England.  He is certain that he will travel again but he is restless and ready for home and hearth.  He has recently realized that he misses his funny and well meaning family.  When he meets Veronica, sparks fly.  Sebastian decides rather quickly that he wants to marry Veronica.  What ensues is a funny, sweet and sometimes bittersweet story.  Can these two very headstrong characters fins a way to compromise and still be together? And better yet, can they do it by Christmas?

I loved this book and will definitely look for more books by Victoria Alexander.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Teaser Tuesday's - A Christmas Story

Teaser Tuesday's is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To play along, just do the following:
- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two “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 & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser.

My teaser this week is from page 26 of Jean Shepherd's A Christmas Story:

Now only three mre school days remained before Christmas vacation, that greatest time of all the year.  As it grew closer, Miss Iona Pearl Bodkin, my homeroom teacher, became more and more manic, whipping the class into a veritable frenzy of Yuletide joy.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Musing Monday's - Books Average

Musing Monday's is hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading. This week’s musing:

How many books do you read in a week? Month? Year?


I average 52 books per year; so, one per week and 4.5 per month.  However, this year I am already nearing 70 books for 2011.  I have discovered that I enjoy keeping track of the books I read, too.  How about you, what's your average number of books read per year?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

British Books Challenge 2012

I found the British Books Challenge for 2011 about a week after the sign up period was over.  I was so bummed to miss out on it because this is right up my alley.  So, I paid more attention this year and am excited that I will indeed be participating for 2012.  The challenge is being hosted by Kirsty at The Overflowing Library.  The point of the challenge is to read at least 12 books in 2012 written by British authors and blog about them; one book and review per month.  The books can be from any genre, new, old, in print or out. 

I'm not certain of all the British books I'll read in 2012.  However, I do know that I will be reading at least one (if not more) book by Roald Dahl to my children.  My older daughter has recently discovered his wonderful storytelling and wants me read her and her sister Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  I also know for certain that I will be reading Possession by A.S. Byatt because that is one that has been on TBR list for quite some time.  I also want to read Saturday by Ian McEwan.  So there is one-fourth of the titles for the challenge.

I am quite looking forward to this challenge.  If this sounds like fun to anyone else - pop over to The Overflowing Library to sign up.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

NaNoWriMo Wrap-Up

The chaos that was my Novemeber is complete - thank goodness.  Anyone who pays even the slightest attention to my blog knows I am a writer and that I love (practically need) to write.  And also knows how much I adore and look forward to the writing challenge that is National Novel Writing Month.  This year the insanity felt tenfold though as we also moved our family at the beginning of the month.  So, in addition to all the regualr day-to-day activities, there was moving, unpacking, a field trip (of course!), oh and 1,667 words per day.  I felt like I must be an insane person for even trying to take it on.  And yet, I did - and I won! Not only did I win but for the first time in my short NaNo history - I have a complete first draft.  AND I am really happy with it.  Believe me - that is a complete shock to me.  Now, December (and realistically into January) I will edit this first draft.  My goal is to have it complete and heading out into the world looking for a publishing home by February.

In the meantime, I fully intend to enjoy my holidays with my family and friends in our new home.  I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday season, as well!

Friday, December 2, 2011

2012 Historical Romance Challenge

I had so much fun participating in Danielle's (Romance Book Junkies) 2011 Historical Romance Challenge that I am going to do it again for 2012.  It's fun, it's easy and it's a genre I read anyway.  So, the details are the same, read at least one historical romance per month, review it here and link up to the Romance Book Junkies blog.  Like I said, easy and fun - all the way around.

Thanks for doing the challenge again, Danielle.  I am really looking forward to it.  The new button will be in my side bar once 2012 begins.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Booking Through Thursday - Mood Reading

Booking Through Thursday is a fun, weekly, bookish question and response event. This week we ponder:

Do you find that your mood affects the things you read? Like, if you’re in a bad mood, do you tend to indulge in reading that will support it or do you try to read things that will cheer you up? Do you pick different types of books on dreary, rainy days than you do on bright sunny ones?
For that matter, does your mood color what you’re reading, so that a funny book isn’t so funny or a serious one not so deep?


On a similar note - I'm realizing that I am a seasonal reader.  Meaning, right now I am all about reading Christmas books.  While in the summer I tend to read a lot more romance than normal and go for the darker, creepier more mysterious in the Autumn.  I don't know how long I've been reading in this fashion but I definitely noticed it this year.

How about you? Do you read according to your mood or the season or holiday?





My moods do color what I read to a cetain degree but not all the time.  Usually if I'm in a bad mood or not feeling too well then I'm not reading too much.  It's at these times when I know I nned something funny or romantic to pull me out of my funk.