Saturday, December 31, 2016

First Book of the Year 2017


Sheila at Book Journey hosts the first book of the year reading challenge. This is the fourth year for it.

So what is First Book of the year?

The First Book is a book that maybe you have been wanting to read for a while but have not had time for, a coveted book, an old favorite re-read – whatever you want.  The point is that this is the book that will kick off the year for you.  What will it be?

I will be kicking off the new year continuing to read The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen.

I will also possibly be starting my first classic of the year. It is Excellent Women by Barbara Pym.

2017 Reading Goals

In 2017 I want to focus more on quality than quantity. My goal number will be 100. I want to read at least one book with more than 500 pages. I want to read more non fiction that will grow or inspire me to be better in some way. And I want to read more classics. I joined two classics reading challenges to help with that goal.

2017 Reading Goals:

1. Read more non fiction.

2. Read more classics.

3. Read one really long book.

4. Write more reviews.

2016 Wrap Up

I read a total of 157 books in 2016. I read 203 in 2015. 2016 was a rough year for me in many areas and it showed in my reading. I read 9 non fiction books. I re read 36 books. Most of the re reads were older series/books I had on my shelves. Some were favorites and I wanted to see if they still were or if I could Konmari them. I did not end up reading a really long book or many classics. My favorite book for the year was the very first one I read actually. Spark Joy by Marie Kondo.

Top Books for 2016:

1. Spark Joy by Marie Kondo
2. The Inn at the Ocean's Edge by Colleen Coble
3. Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey
4. On Lone Star Trail by Amanda Cabot
5. Stone and Spark by Sibella Giorello
6. Stone and Snow by Sibella Giorello
7. Stone and Sand by Sibella Giorello
8. Where Two Hearts Meet by Liz Johnson
9. The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgen
10. Wild Montana Skies by Susan May Warren

Wild Montana Skies by Susan May Warren (Review)







  • Series: Montana Rescue (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (October 18, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800727436
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800727437



  • Search and rescue pilot Kacey Fairing is home on leave in Mercy Falls, Montana, twelve years after she joined the military to escape the mistakes of her past. With a job waiting for her as the new lead pilot of Peak Rescue in Glacier National Park, Kacey hopes to reconnect with the now-teenage daughter she sees only between deployments. What she doesn't realize is that someone else is also back in town.

    Ben King has been building his country music career since the day Kacey shut him out of her life. Now all of that's on hold when his injured father calls him home to help run Peak Rescue until he's fully recovered. It doesn't take long, though, to discover his father's ulterior motives as Kacey Fairing walks into the house and back into his heart.

    With Mercy Falls in a state of emergency due to flash floods, Kacey and Ben are forced to work together to save lives. But when floodwaters turn personal, can they put aside the past to save their future?

    My Review:

    This was a good Christian romance book. It is the first book in a new series called Montana Rescue. The series is set in Mercy Falls, Montana. There are actually two romance stories going on in this book. The main one is between Kacey and Ben. They were teen sweethearts that made a common error and ended up with a baby. Due to a misunderstanding Ben does not know he has a baby. The baby is now a teenager herself. Things are complicated by the fact Ben did go on to be a Country music star. Kacey joined the military but is on home on leave after being injured. She already has issues with her daughter from being gone so much. Ben's dad runs a rescue service and calls him home to help after he is seriously hurt. But is his dad also playing matchmaker? The plot and characters were well developed and held my attention from the beginning. The romance was believable and sparks flew between Kacey and Ben. The setting was interesting. The second romance in the background was between Sierra and her boss Ian. Apparently there was a prequel online book and they were in it. The plot line for them will continue on into the next book. This was a good start to the new series and I can't wait to read the next book. Susan May Warren is one of my favorite authors.




    Susan May Warren is the ECPA and CBA bestselling author of over fifty novels with more than one million books sold. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT and numerous Reader's Choice Awards, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic suspense, thrillers, romantic comedy, and novellas. She can be found online at www.susanmaywarren.com, on Facebook at SusanMayWarrenFiction, and on Twitter @susanmaywarren

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.


    The Raven by Mike Nappa (Review)


  • Series: Coffey & Hill (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (September 6, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800726456
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800726454


  • As part of his regular street performance, a deception specialist who goes by the name The Raven picks his audience's pockets while they watch. It's harmless fun--until he decides to keep the spare wallet a city councilman doesn't seem to miss, hoping for a few extra bucks. When he finds not money but compromising photos of the councilman and his "personal assistants," The Raven hatches a plan to blackmail the man. However, he quickly finds himself in over his head with the Ukrainian Mafia and mired in a life-threatening plot code-named, "Nevermore."

    Private investigators Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill must scramble to sort out the clues--and their complicated feelings for each other--to rescue The Raven and save hundreds of lives from a wildcard bent on revenge.

    My Review:

    This was interesting unique book that held my attention from the first page. It is the second book in the Coffey and Hill series but can stand alone. Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill are divorced couple who used to own a detective agency together. Trudi still works at the detective agency. Sam works for the police. They have a rather unique relationship. Trudi also calls on him when she needs something only the police can do. They are the thread that runs through the series. The second main focus in this book is a character called The Raven. He is a master deception specialist who gets in trouble when he steals something that could get a politician in trouble. He gets in way over his head when he is caught up in a plot code named Nevermore. The book alternates voices with the Raven being first person. The other two are third person Trudi and Mama Bliss. Mama Bliss is the owner of a shop called Sister Bliss Secret Stash in a now bad part of Atlanta. The plot gets complicated when Sam gets a clue that might implicate Mama Bliss is the Nevermore plot. The plot and characters were well developed. There was even a twist at the end. The conclusion fit the book. Looking forward to more of Trudi and Sam.







    Mike Nappa is an entertainment journalist at FamilyFans.com, as well as a bestselling and award-winning author with more than one million books sold worldwide. When he was a kid, the stories of Edgar Allen Poe scared him silly. Today he owns everything Poe ever wrote. A former fiction acquisitions editor, Mike earned his MA in English literature and now writes full time. He is the author of Annabel Lee.

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.


    Monday, December 19, 2016

    When Love Arrives by Johnnie Alexander (Review)




  • Series: Misty Willow (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (September 20, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800726413
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800726416


  • Dani had planned to spy on Brett--so how did she end up on a date with him?

    Dani Prescott can't believe the lie Brett Somers is trying to sell to the media. During an interview about the plane crash that killed his parents, he blamed Dani's mother. But the crash killed her as well. Vowing to restore her mother's reputation, Dani has been following Brett and taking photos, hoping to find something she can use to discredit him. But when she catches his eye instead, she quickly finds herself agreeing to a date. Brett knows this mystery girl is hiding something--but he's got his own secrets to keep. What will happen when he discovers who she really is?

    My Review:

    This is book two in the Misty Willow series. Most of the characters repeat. I would read them in order to get the full background. It is a contemporary Christian romance book. The main focus of this book is Dani and Brett. I did not enjoy reading this book as much as the first. It felt a little off from the beginning when they meet. I never connected with Dani. Brett was the bad guy from the last book. Dani had a big secret she was keeping from Brett. Brett did not catch on as quick as I expected. The author did a good job in the first book so it was hard to redeem him. There were slow parts in the plot but overall an okay book. The ending was satisfying. I am interested to read his sister's story next.





    Johnnie Alexander is the award-winning author of Where Treasure Hides and Where She Belongs. Johnnie is an accomplished essayist and poet whose work has appeared in the Guideposts anthology A Cup of Christmas Cheer. In addition to writing, she enjoys reading, spending time with her grandchildren, and taking road trips. She lives near Memphis, Tennessee.





         Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.


    Saturday, December 17, 2016

    Love Without Limits: A Remarkable Story of True Love Conquering All by Nick and Kanae Vujicic (Review)


  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook; Reprint edition (January 19, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601426186
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601426185


  • It Doesn’t Take a Perfect Person to Find a Perfect Love
     Even though he was born without arms or legs, Nick Vujicic created a “ridiculously good life.” But after dating disappointments and a failed relationship, he reached his mid-twenties worried that he would never find a woman to love him and share his life.

    Then Nick met Kanae and everything changed.  But even with undeniable chemistry, they would have to navigate twists and turns worthy of a romantic comedy before becoming "one" in marriage.

     In Love Without Limits Nick and Kanae tell how they improbably found each other, fell in love, and then fought to overcome skepticism from others about their relationship. Filled with practical insights that will benefit any couple, this inspiring book describes a godly courtship and the early years of the Vujicics’ marriage and parenting journey.

    Above all, Love Without Limits is an inspiring reminder that when Christ is at the center of a relationship--even with serious challenges--true love will triumph.
     
    My Review:

    This was a very good inspiring book. I have seen Nick's tv show before so I was familiar with his story. He was born without arms and legs. He has not let that slow him down. He is a very strong Christian and it influences every part of his life. The main focus of this book was him finding the love of his life, Kanae. The book is engaging and easy to read. It held my attention from the beginning. They believe in saving s^x for marriage only. The book talks about how hard it is to wait but why they thought the benefits were worth it. That is only one part of the book though. A good portion talks about how he met Kanae and their courtship. Most of the book is written from Nick's point of view but there are sections written by Kanae, his wife. The book also talks about post married life and then baby. The book ends after the first baby. They now have a second child. If you do not enjoy Christian books then this book is not for you. Recommended to all other readers.





    Nick Vujicic is an evangelist, motivational speaker, author, and the director of Life Without Limbs, a nonprofit organization that advances the gospel of Jesus Christ and helps alleviate suffering worldwide. Nick regularly speaks to large crowds on overcoming obstacles and achieving dreams. He is a popular guest on programs such as CBS Sunday Morning, LIFE Today, and Oprah’s Lifeclass.  Abroad, he was featured twice on 60 Minutes Australia.  Nick also hosts his own daily inspirational radio program. A native of Australia, he now lives in Southern California with his wife and co-author of this book, Kanae, and their son Kiyoshi.

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    Friday, December 9, 2016

    Back to the Classics Challenge 2017


    I am signing up to participate in this challenge hosted by Karen at Books and Chocolate:

    http://karensbooksandchocolate.blogspot.com/


    1.  A 19th Century Classic - The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

    2.  A 20th Century Classic -  The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett


    3.  A classic by a woman author
    Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

    4.  A classic in translation.  The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux


    5.  A classic published before 1800. Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift


    6.  
    An romance classic. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


    7.  A Gothic or horror classic. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

    8.  A classic with a number in the title. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury


    9.  A classic about an animal or which includes the name of an animal in the title.  The Martian Chronicles By Ray Bradbury


    10. A classic set in a place you'd like to visit. Greenery Street by Denis Mackail

    11. An award-winning classic. The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty, won the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction 1972


    12. A Russian Classic. 2017 will be the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, so read a classic by any Russian author. The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy







      Monday, December 5, 2016

      Brittanie's Classics Club Reading List


      I have decided to join something called The Classics Club. I have not been reading enough classics the past few years and I want to challenge myself to read more. My list has 100 books on it. The time limit is five years so starting 2017 and ending 2021. Some I have read before and its been so long I don't remember why I liked it so I want to reread and see if they are still favorites. I put in bold the ones that will be rereads for me. Some are books I never read in school but are wide read classics and I want to see what the fuss is about. Others are just books that the plots appealed to me. If you would like more information here is the link to the site. https://theclassicsclubblog.wordpress.com/



      Alcott, Louisa May: Jo’s Boys
      Alcott, Louisa May: Little Men
      Alcott, Louisa May: Little Women
      Austen, Jane: Emma
      Austen, Jane: Lady Susan
      Austen, Jane: Mansfield Park
      Austen, Jane: Northanger Abbey
      Austen, Jane: Persuasion
      Austen, Jane: Pride and Prejudice
      Austen, Jane: Love and Friendship
      Austen, Jane: Sense and Sensibility
      Baker, Frank: Miss Hargreaves
      Barrie, J.M.: Peter Pan
      Baum, L. Frank: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
      Bradbury, Ray: Fahrenheit 451
      Bradbury, Ray: The Martian Chronicles
      Bronte, Charlotte: Jane Eyre
      Bronte, Emily: Wuthering Heights
      Burnett, Frances Hodgson: The Making of a Marchioness
      Burnett, Frances Hodgson: The Secret Garden
      Burney, Frances: Evelina
      Burns, Olive: Cold Sassy Tree
      Carroll, Lewis: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
      Cather, Willa: Death Comes for the Archbishop
      Cather, Willa: My Antonia
      Christie, Agatha: The Murder at the Vicarage
      Collins, Wilkie: No Name
      Collins, Wilkie: The Law and the Lady
      Collins, Wilkie: The Woman in White
      Connell, Evan: Mrs. Bridge
      Dante: The Divine Comedy
      de Cervantes, Miguel: Don Quixote
      Defoe, Daniel: Robinson Crusoe
      Dickens, Charles: David Copperfield
      Dickens, Charles: A Christmas Carol
      Dickens, Charles: Great Expectations
      Dickens, Charles: Oliver Twist
      Dickens, Charles: The Pickwick Papers
      Dickens, Monica: Mariana
      Dickens, Monica: The Winds of Heaven
      Downes, Mollie Panter: Good Evening, Mrs. Craven
      Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan: A Study in Scarlet
      Dumas, Alexander: The Count of Monte Cristo
      Du Maurier, Daphne: Rebecca
      Eliot, George: Middlemarch
      Ferguson, Rachel: The Bronte's Went to Woolworth
      Fisher, Dorothy: The Home-Maker
      Fitzgerald, F. Scott: This Side of Paradise
      Fitzgerald, F. Scott: The Great Gatsby
      Forster, E.M.: Room With a View
      Gaskell, Elizabeth: Mary Barton
      Gaskell, Elizabeth: Cranford
      Gibbons, Stella: Cold Comfort Farm
      Graham, Winston: Ross Poldark
      Hemingway, Ernest: A Farewell to Arms
      Hemingway, Ernest: For Whom the Bell Tolls
      Hugo, Victor: The Hunchback of Notre Dame
      Huxley, Aldous: Brave New World
      Leroux, Gaston: The Phantom of Opera
      Leverson, Ada: Love's Shadow
      Lewis, Sinclair: Main Street
      Mackail, Denis: Greenery Street
      Mankowitz,Wolf: A Kid for Two Fartherlings
      Montgomery, L M: The Golden Road
      Montgomery, L M: The Story Girl
      Montgomery, L M: Pat of Silver Bush
      Montgomery, L M: Mistress Pat
      Montgomery, L M: Further Chronicles of Avonlea
      Montgomery, L M: Emily Climbs
      Montgomery, L M: Emily of New Moon
      Montgomery,L M: Emily's Quest
      Montgomery, L M: Blue Castle
      Montgomery, L M: Magic for Marigold
      Montgomery, L M: The Road to Yesterday
      Montgomery, L M: Anne of Green Gables
      Montgomery, L M: Anne of Avonlea
      Montgomery, L M: Anne of the Island
      Montgomery, L M: Anne of Windy Populars
      Montgomery, L M: Anne's House of Dreams
      Montgomery, L M: Anne of Ingleside
      Montgomery, L M: Rainbow Valley
      Montgomery, L M: Rilla of Ingelside
      Montgomery, L M: Chronicles of Avonlea
      Pym, Barbara: Excellent Women
      Stevenson, D E: Mrs. Tim of the Regiment
      Stevenson, D E: Listening Valley
      Stevenson, D E: Celia's House
      Stevenson, D E: The Baker's Daughter
      Stevenson, D E: Miss Buncle Married
      Stevenson, D E: Miss Buncle's Book
      Stevenson, D E: The Two Mrs. Abbotts
      Stevenson, D E: The Young Clemetina
      Stevenson, D E: The Four Graces
      Swift, Jonathon: Gulliver’s Travels
      Tolkein, J.R.R.: The Hobbit
      Tzsu, Sun: The Art of War
      Verne, Jules: Journey to the Center of the Earth
      Wells, H G: The Time Machine
      Welty, Eudora: The Optimist's Daughter
      Whipple, Dorothy: Greenbanks