Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bound by Guilt by C. J. Darlington (Review) Blog Tours Presents:

Bound by Guilt
by C.J. Darlington
Published by Tyndale House

Shuttled between foster homes, Roxi Gold will do anything to fit in. Soon she’s traveling the country stealing rare books from unsuspecting bookstores. Police officer Abby Dawson has seen the worst of society—and not just at work. One fateful night, both their lives are changed forever. One searches for justice, the other finds herself on the run. Will the power of forgiveness set them free?

My Review:
This was a really good Contemporary Christian fiction book. The characters and plot were well developed and interesting. The characters came alive off the pages. I really felt for Roxi and Abby. I could get a sense of both sides thanks to the author's wonderful writing. This is the second book in a series but could stand alone fine. I was a little surprised at what happened in the beginning to the characters from the previous book but it had to happen for this book. The ending wrapped up nicely which was fine with me. I hope to see another book with these characters. Recommended.
Great job! You kept me turning the pages.
--Francine Rivers, Internationally best selling author

C.J. is a wonderful, talented writer . . . extraordinary . . .
--Bodie Thoene, best-selling author of the A.D. Chronicles

This one engages your senses and reaches your heart.
--Jerry B. Jenkins, NY Times best-selling author & owner of The Christian Writers Guild

Watch the book trailer:

About the Author:
C. J. Darlington won the 2008 Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest with her first novel, Thicker Than Blood. She has been in the antiquarian bookselling business for over twelve years, scouting for stores similar to the ones described in her novels before cofounding her own online bookstore. In 2006 C. J. started the Christian entertainment Web site with her sister, Tracy, and has been actively promoting Christian fiction through book reviews and author interviews. A homeschool graduate, she makes her home in Pennsylvania with her family and their menagerie of dogs and cats. Visit her website


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

False Pretenses by Kathy Herman (Review)

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
False Pretenses
David C. Cook (March 1, 2011)
Kathy Herman


Suspense novelist Kathy Herman is very much at home in the Christian book industry, having worked five years on staff at the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and eleven years at Better Books Christian Center in Tyler, Texas, as product buyer/manager for the children’s department, and eventually as director of human resources.

She has conducted numerous educational seminars on children’s books at CBA Conventions in the U.S. and Canada, served a preliminary judge for the Gold Medallion Book Awards of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association , and worked as an independent product/marketing consultant to the CBA market.

Since her first novel, Tested by Fire, debuted in 2001 as a CBA national bestseller, she's added sixteen more titles to her credit, including four bestsellers: All Things Hidden, The Real Enemy, The Last Word, and The Right Call.

Kathy's husband Paul is her manager and most ardent supporter, and the former manager of the LifeWay Christian Store in Tyler, Texas. They have three grown children, five almost-perfect grandchildren, a cat named Samantha. They enjoy cruising, deep sea fishing, and birdwatching—sometimes incorporating these hobbies into one big adventure.


Zoe Broussard loves the life she and her husband Pierce have built in her beloved Louisiana hometown. She owns a thriving Cajun eatery in South Louisiana and is married to the love of her life.

But it’s about to become hell. One day, out of the blue, she receives a series of anonymous notes that sends her life into a tail spin. Five simple words, “I know what you did.” Zoe has a secret so terrible it could leave the business in shambles and tear her marriage apart. Unbeknownst to anyone, even Zoe’s husband, Pierce, she has a past—a past she had covered so well she never thought she would have to confront. How could anyone know what she did? Can she find the courage to face her past?

If you would like to read the first chapter of False Pretenses, go HERE.

My Thoughts:

Overall I enjoyed this Christian suspense book. The main story is definitely Zoe and Pierce but Vanessa and her husband play a big role too and have their own story details. Vanessa and Ethan are renting the apartment next to Zoe above the restaurant while renovating Ethan's family home. When it came to Vanessa's plot line, I felt a little lost like I was missing a book even though this is the first one in the series. One other thing that really bothered me is that the main characters asked so many rhetorical questions. Other than that the book was good and I can't wait to read the next one in the series. The author did a good job with the setting and descriptions of small town Louisiana. Recommended. :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

It's Monday What Are You Reading? March 28, 2011

This is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books.

What I read last week:

- Bound by Guilt by C. J. Darlington

- Devil's Food Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke

- False Pretenses by Kathy Herman

What I am currently reading:

- Made to Crave, Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God not Food by Lysa Terkeurst

- The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

- Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

- 10 Lessons from a Former Fat Girl by Amy Parham

- The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

- The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan

- Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry

What I am reading next:

- Jump Off the Hormone Swing by Lorraine Pintus

- From the Library of A. W. Tozer by James Scott Bell

- Angel Song by Shelia Walsh and Kathryn Cushman

- 13 Rue Therese by Elena Mauli Shapiro

- Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Sunday Salon March 27, 2011

The Sunday

* This will be a quick Sunday Salon as it is time for me to get ready for bed. lol

* I read two books today. I read Devil's Food Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke and False Pretenses by Kathy Herman. They were both good suspense/mystery books.

* I did some of my cooking for the week. I made turkey cutlets, marina sauce, and whole wheat penne rigata pasta. I need to make my boneless skinless chicken breasts for the week and my salad. I was going to make muffins and ran out of steam and time.

* I did horrible on my lifestyle change this week. It is like I am kinda giving up but I really don't want too. Starting tomorrow back on counting calories and working out. I need to get rid of the rest of this belly fat and tone up. Friday night was bad. I ate half a container Ben and Jerry's and a bag of Chex party mix and that was just dinner. Not sure why I do things like that to myself. Today all I did was eat and although it was all healthy and not at one time it was still way too much.

* School starts in a week and I am trying to get caught up on my review books before then. I still have several so I don't think it is going to happen but maybe it won't be too bad. I have gotton rid of two boxes of books this month which is good.

* I really need to get my stuff ready for tomorrow and get ready for bed so I hope everyone has a great week and lots of reading time. :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Vicious Cycle by Terri Blackstock

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Vicious Cycle
Zondervan (February 22, 2011)
Terri Blackstock


Terri Blackstock is a New York Times best-seller, with over six million copies sold worldwide. She has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist. She sold her first novel at the age of twenty-five, and has had a successful career ever since.

Besides entertaining her readers, Terri tackles issues that she hopes will change lives. Her recent book, Predator, was inspired by her experiences on Facebook and Twitter, and her concern that people posted too much personal information about themselves. The book deals with an online predator who uses social networks as his playground. She hopes the book will change readers’ online habits. Her New York Times best-seller, Intervention, was inspired by her own personal struggles with a daughter on drugs. In the book, a mother hires an interventionist for her drug-addicted daughter. But on the way to treatment, the interventionist is murdered, and the daughter disappears. Barbara, the mother, sets out to search for her daughter. Terri modeled Barbara after herself, and poured many of her own emotions and experiences into that character. As a result, many families experiencing drug addiction have written to thank her for telling their story and giving them hope. Vicious Cycle, Book Two of the Intervention Series, releases February 22, 2011. She’s currently working on Book Three.

Other recent books include a stand-alone novel called Double Minds, as well as Last Light, Night Light, True Light and Dawn’s Light (from her acclaimed Restoration Series). She is also known for her popular Newpointe 911 Series and Cape Refuge Series. Terri makes her home in Mississippi, where she and her husband Ken are enjoying their empty nest after raising three children.

Terri has appeared on national television programs such as “The 700 Club” and “Home Life,” and has been a guest on numerous radio programs across the country. The story of her personal journey appears in books such as Touched By the Savior by Mike Yorkey, True Stories of Answered Prayer by Mike Nappa, Faces of Faith by John Hanna, and I Saw Him In Your Eyes by Ace Collins.


When fifteen-year-old Lance Covington finds an abandoned baby in the backseat of a car, he knows she's the newborn daughter of a meth addict he's been trying to help. But when police arrest him for kidnapping, Lance is thrust into a criminal world of baby trafficking and drug abuse.

His mother, Barbara, looks for help from Kent Harlan---the man whom she secretly, reluctantly loves and who once helped rescue her daughter from a mess of her own. Kent flies to her aid and begins the impossible work of getting Lance out of trouble, protecting a baby who has no home, and finding help for a teenage mother hiding behind her lies.

In this latest novel of suspense and family loyalty, bestselling author Terri Blackstock offers a harrowing look at drug addiction, human trafficking, and the devastating choices that can change lives forever.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Vicious Cycle, go HERE.

Watch the Book Video:

No Safe Haven by Kimberly and Kayla Woodhouse

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
No Safe Haven
B&H Books (March 15, 2011)
Kimberly and Kayla Woodhouse


A devoted wife and mother, Kimberley Woodhouse is a third generation Liszt student, she has passed down her love of the arts to hundreds of students over the years.

About fifteen years ago, Kimberley began writing seriously. Songs, plays, short stories, novels, picture books, articles, newsletters - you name it - she's written it. It wasn't until a dear friend challenged her to "do something with it", that she pursued publication.

Kimberley and her family's story have been on the front page of newspapers, in magazines, articles, medical journals, and most recently her family was chosen for ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. They were also asked to share their story on The Montel Williams Show and Discovery Health Channel's Mystery ER. She has recorded three albums, and has appeared at over 700 venues. Kimberley lives, writes, and homeschools in Colorado with her husband and their two children in a truly "Extreme" home.

Thirteen-year-old Kayla Woodhouse’s zest for writing comes not only from her natural ability, but also from her love of the written word as witnessed by her voracious reading appetite. One of only a few dozen cases in the world, Kayla was born with HSAN, Hereditary Sensory Autonomic Neuropathy, an extremely rare nerve disorder. Unable to sweat, or feel pain, she’s also been through brain surgery. But even through a life of extreme hardships, her ever-present smile encourages others to pursue their dreams, no matter the obstacles. In addition to being homeschooled and writing with her mom, she’s an amazing swimmer, and spends up to thirty hours a week in training. No Safe Haven, her first release from B&H Publishers in 2011, written with mother, Kimberley, makes her the youngest author to have a full-length novel published by a royalty paying publisher.


Jenna and Andi Tikaani-Gray are hoping for a fresh start. Though twelve year-old Andi has long struggled with a rare medical disorder, she and her mother have finally received good news from out-of-town specialists. It's news they desperately needed, especially after the recent death of Jenna's husband (Andi's dad) in a car accident.

But as they are flying home to Alaska, ready to begin again, the unthinkable happens. The pilot sabotages their small plane and crashes into Sultana, one of the most remote and dangerous mountains in the Land of the Midnight Sun. Even worse, a winter storm is headed their way along with someone who doesn't want to save them, but to kill them.

Only one man can keep them alive: Cole Maddox, the mysterious last-minute passenger who joined them on their flight. But trust doesn't come easy to Jenna or Andi√Ďand they both sense Cole is hiding something.

A relentless tale of survival and suspense unfolds, involving military technology designed by Jenna's late husband that some would do anything to possess.

Watch the Book Video:

If you would like to read the first chapter of No Safe Haven, go HERE.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What's On Your Nightstand March Edition

What's On Your Nightstand is a monthly meme hosted by 5 Minutes for Books on the fourth Tuesday of every month. I skipped last month because I was so overwhelmed. Since then I have cleaned up my bookshelves and my TBR. The first picture is my review book pile. The second picture is my Steeple Hill Love Inspired book pile. The third picture is more Steeple Hill books. The last picture is mostly my library book pile. I start online classes on April 4 so it was important to me to get everthing organized. I am still going to try and read one book per week. I joined The Spring Reading Thing challenge this week. Here is the link to my post:
Hopefully it will help keep me on track. :)

Once Upon a Time Reading Challenge

The 5th annual Once Upon a Time Challenge runs from March 21st through June 20th. There are many quests that can and will be embarked upon during this time. Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings is the host. Please visit for all the details and to sign up. :)

This is really as simple as the name implies. It means you are participating, but not committing yourself to any specific number of books. By signing up for The Journey you are agreeing to read at least one book within one of the four categories during March 21st to June 20th period. Just one book. If you choose to read more, fantastic! If not, then we have still had the pleasure of your company during this three month reading journey and hopefully you have read a great book, met some interesting people, and enjoyed the various activities that occur during the challenge. It has always been of utmost importance to me that the challenges that I host be all about experiencing enjoyable literature and sharing it with others. I want you to participate. Hence, The Journey.

My goal is to read at least one book for this challenge. Right now I have on my TBR Green Angel by Alice Hoffman on my list. If I like it I will probably get the sequel from the library. This is outside my normal reading areas which I like. I love Carl's Reading Challenges for the beautiful pictures and getting me outside my comfort zone plus he is a great host. :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

It's Monday What Are You Reading? March 21, 2011

This is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books.

What I read last week:

- The Caregiver by Shelley Shepard Gray

- The Glory of Green by Judy Christie

What I am currently reading:

- Bound by Guilt by C. J. Darlington

- Made to Crave, Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God not Food by Lysa Terkeurst

- The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

- Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

- 10 Lessons from a Former Fat Girl by Amy Parham

- The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

- The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan

- Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry

What I am reading next:
- Jump Off the Hormone Swing by Lorraine Pintus

- From the Library of A. W. Tozer by James Scott Bell

- Angel Song by Shelia Walsh and Kathryn Cushman

- 13 Rue Therese by Elena Mauli Shapiro

- Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
- Vicious Cycle by Terri Blackstock

- False Pretenses by Kathy Herman

Reviews posted last week:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Sunday Salon March 20, 2011

The Sunday

* I have been neglectful of late on my Sunday Salon posts. I like to wait until the end of the day to do them but I have been too tired and busy to want to so I am compromising and doing it  mid day. lol

* I have not really read anything this weekend. I have two books I need to read today but I doubt I will finish them. I still have cooking and cleaning to do for the week. I need to make my reading more of a priority which I never thought that would be a need. This slump won't leave me and I have more to balance now. Balance is so elusive.

* I put my Spring Reading Thing post up. I love this reading challenge. Here is the link to my post:

* I am starting online classes on April 4 for Electronic Health Records Training Program. I am hoping that it will not take over my life completely. They said to devote fifteen hours a week to it. I have a feeling there will be less TV and blog time. I am not sacrificing my exercise and reading time. :)

* I have been in a cleaning/organizing spree this year. I went through most of my bookshelves this week and took off at least 100 books. I put most on Paperbackswap and donated the rest to the library. I am not finished yet so there will be more leaving my house. I have way too many books that I have not read and most of them I really do want to read. I am out of shelf space to put them. I also pulled off books I have read but did not love, I am trying to keep books I would want to reread one day or loan to someone else.  Up next is the tupperware/pots/pans area.

* So far today I have made the lemon, olive oil, rosemary marinade and put the chicken in it. I also prepped some strawberries. They are still not sweet enough yet so I added some honey to them. I am going to make this afternoon turkey tacos that I will take for my lunch at work this week. I can't believe how fast the day is going by. Yikes. I am going to attempt to read for a little while.

* I hope everyone has a great week and a lot of reading time. :)

Spring Reading Thing 2011 My List

Yay! I am so excited. Today is the first day of Spring and the start of the Spring Reading Thing challenge. This is my fourth time to participate. I love Katrina's reading challenges. Her buttons are always so pretty too. :) Her blog is and the official sign up post will be up this afternoon. She already has the information posts up if you would like to read them. The challenge runs from March 20 to June 20. One of the good things is your list does not have to be set in stone so you change it if  you need too. So I want to read all of the books below but with me starting online classes in April we'll see. I still love to read I just can't focus like I used too so the slump continues. I have a combination of non fiction, secular fiction, and Christian fiction on my list this time. I am hoping the nicer weather and this challenge will help me finish more books. lol :)

My Goals:
1. Read at least one book per week.
2. Don't give up because of school, work, life, exercise, etc.

My List:
1. Jump Off the Hormone Swing by Lorraine Pintus
2. The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
3. Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst
4. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
5. 13 Rue Therese by Elena Shapiro
6. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
7. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
8. Miss Buncle's Book by D. E. Stevenson
9. Angel Song by Shelia Walsh and Kathryn Cushman
10. Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry
11. The Mountains Bow Down by Sibello Giorello
12. Beneath the Night Tree by Nicole Baart
13. False Pretenses by Kathy Herman
14. Beside Still Waters by Tricia Goyer
15. The Glory of Green by Judy Christie
16. The Deepest Waters by Dan Walsh
17. The Cowboy's Touch by Denise Hunter

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Caregiver by Shelley Shepard Gray (Review)

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Caregiver
Avon Inspire; Original edition (March 8, 2011)
Shelley Shepard Gray


Shelley Shepard Gray is the beloved author of the Sisters of the Heart series, including Hidden, Wanted, and Forgiven. Before writing, she was a teacher in both Texas and Colorado. She now writes full time and lives in southern Ohio with her husband and two children. When not writing, Shelley volunteers at church, reads, and enjoys walking her miniature dachshund on her town's scenic bike trail.


Two lives converge one stormy night on a train headed to Cleveland

Lucy is traveling by herself via train to Jacob's Crossing to help care for her cousin Mattie, recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Trying to overcome the sudden death of her husband, she's glad to get away and focus on someone else for a while.

The only other Amish people on the train are Calvin Weaver and his little sister, Katie. When their train breaks down outside of Cleveland, Calvin and Lucy band together to face the outside world. But Calvin also carries the weight of past hurts. When an altercation brings both their wounds to light, they question whether they can trust each other.

Once in Jacob's Crossing, Lucy is occupied with caring for Mattie, while Calvin does his best to run his family's farm. But they can't stop thinking about those special hours spent together. Will the bond they formed last? And will Lucy and Calvin be able to put away the pain in their pasts to recognize the happiness that is suddenly in their grasp?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Caregiver, go HERE.

My Review:

I loved this sweet Amish love story. It also touches on the subject of spousal abuse in the Amish culture and how it is addressed. The characters and plot are well developed and unique. I liked the subplots and look forward to the next book in the series. I have read most of this author's books and liked them. Definitely Recommended. :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

It's Monday What Are You Reading? March 14, 2011

This is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books.

I missed last week so I am putting the past two weeks down. I am still not reading like I used too but at least something is getting read. lol I am starting online classes April 4 for Electronic Health Records Training Program and they suggest devoting fifteen hours a week to it. I work full time and exercise so that means I will not have hardly any blogging/Internet/Reading/TV time. My goal is to at least read one book a week during this time of my life. I am hoping to finish the program in the six months so I don't have to pay extra fees. :)

Books read last two weeks:

- A Heart Most Worthy by Siri Mitchell

- The Pirate Queen by Patricia Hickman

- The Principle of the Path by Andy Stanley

- Point of No Return by Susan May Warren

- Mission Out of Control by Susan May Warren

Books I am currently reading:

- Made to Crave, Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God not Food by Lysa Terkeurst

- The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

- Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

- 10 Lessons from a Former Fat Girl by Amy Parham

- The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
- The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan

- The Caregiver by Shelley Shepard Gray

- Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry

What I am reading next:

- Jump Off the Hormone Swing by Lorraine Pintus

- From the Library of A. W. Tozer by James Scott Bell

- Angel Song by Shelia Walsh and Kathryn Cushman

- 13 Rue Therese by Elena Mauli Shapiro

- Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

- Bound by Guilt by C. J. Darlington

- Vicious Cycle by Terri Blackstock

- False Pretenses by Kathy Herman

Reviews Posted:

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Monica of The Bibliophilic's blog is hosting a great contest:
So what can you win...let's see....AN EREADER or GC of your choice from the bookstore of your choice....ereader type can not be more than $200 and GC is the same. All you have to do it fill out the form, follow(hopefully) and sit back and wait for the results...there will be extra entries given on Bookmark Day on the 15th of March!
Go here to enter:

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Heart Most Worthy by Siri Mitchell (Review)

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Heart Most Worthy
Bethany House (March 1, 2011)
Siri Mitchell


Siri Mitchell graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she has lived all over the world, including in Paris and Tokyo. Siri enjoys observing and learning from different cultures. She is fluent in French and loves sushi.

But she is also a member of a strange breed of people called novelists. When they’re listening to a sermon and taking notes, chances are, they’ve just had a great idea for a plot or a dialogue. If they nod in response to a really profound statement, they’re probably thinking, “Yes. Right. That’s exactly what my character needs to hear.” When they edit their manuscripts, they laugh at the funny parts. And cry at the sad parts. Sometimes they even talk to their characters.

Siri wrote 4 books and accumulated 153 rejections before signing with a publisher. In the process, she saw the bottoms of more pints of Ben & Jerry’s than she cares to admit. At various times she has vowed never to write another word again. Ever. She has gone on writing strikes and even stooped to threatening her manuscripts with the shredder.

Her ninth novel, A Heart Most Worthy, follows prior Bethany House releases: A Constant Heart (October 2008), Love's Pursuit (June 2009), and She Walks in Beauty (Apr 2010). She Walks in Beauty won the inaugural INSPY Award for Historical Fiction in Dec 2010. Two of her novels, Chateau of Echoes and The Cubicle Next Door were Christy Award finalists. Love's Pursuit was a finalist for the ACFW Carol Award.

Publishers Weekly proclaimed, "Mitchell delivers the historical goods."


The elegance of Madame Forza's gown shop is a far cry from the downtrodden North End of Boston. Yet each day Julietta, Annamaria, and Luciana enter the world of the upper class, working on finery for the elite in society. The three beauties each long to break free of their obligations and embrace the American dream--and their chance for love. But the ways of the heart are difficult to discern at times.

Julietta is drawn to the swarthy, mysterious Angelo. Annamaria has a star-crossed encounter with the grocer's son, a man from the entirely wrong family. And through no intent of her own, Luciana catches the eye of Billy Quinn, the son of Madame Forza's most important client.

Their destinies intertwined, each harboring a secret from their families and each other, will they be found worthy of the love they seek?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Heart Most Worthy, go HERE.

My Review:

I really enjoyed reading this Christian historical book. The characters and plot are interesting and unique. It is set in Boston when there were a lot of Italian immigrants and then the Spanish Influenza hit. The writing is wonderful and all the girls and their stories were developed. It is one of the best Christian historical books I have read this year. Highly Recommended. :)

Spring Reading Thing 2011 Coming Soon!

I (Brittanie) love Katrina's reading challenges. I look forward to them every Spring and Fall. I am already working on my list. She has a great blog called Callapidder Days. :)

Essentially, Spring Reading Thing 2011 is a fun, low-pressure reading challenge open to anyone and everyone. It will take place March 20th-June 20th (which is, not-so-coincidentally, the spring of 2011).

If you’d like to participate, here’s what you need to do:
  • Create a list of some books you’d like to read or finish this spring.
  • Feel free to set some additional reading goals (such as reading to your kids two hours per week, getting through your pile of magazines, etc.). This is completely optional.
  • Write a blog post including the list of books you want to read and any additional goals you’ve set, and get ready to post it on your blog on March 20th.
  • Visit my(Katrina) blog on Sunday, March 20th to sign up. I’ll have a Mr. Linky set up that morning, so you can submit a link to your personal Spring Reading Thing post, and it will be added to the master list.
  • Read! Work on your goals throughout Spring 2011.
  • Report your results. Write another blog post in June to let everyone know how you did.
  • Have fun! Visit other participants to see what they’re reading. Write reviews if you’re so inclined. But most of all, enjoy your spring reading.

A brief Q & A

Q. What is the point of this whole thing?

A. I started these twice-yearly challenges because I thought it would be fun to share my love of reading with other bloggers and to push myself to read some books I might not otherwise read, or to finish some books I had started and then abandoned & stashed under my bed. I thought there were probably others out there who would appreciate the accountability and encouragement that a challenge can provide. And along the way, I discovered there were lots of people who — whether they needed the extra push or not — loved to share what they planned or hoped to read during the upcoming months.

So that’s the point: sharing some reading goals with all the other participants and doing it in a way that works for you. If you want to push yourself, go for it! Or if you just want to share what you’re hoping to get around to reading before winter, that works too. The most important thing is to read this fall, to enjoy it, and to share that enjoyment with others.

Q. What if I don’t have much time to read and I only set a goal to read 2 books? Is that lame?

A. No, it’s not lame! Whether your list includes two books or thirty-two books doesn’t matter to me. Make the challenge work for you. Be reasonable. Maybe try to stretch yourself a little. But don’t stress about it. This is supposed to be fun.

Q. What if I get half-way through the challenge, realize it’s not working for me, and I want to change my list/goals? Does that mean I lose?

A. No! I don’t mind one bit if you change your list part-way through the challenge. The point of my challenges is to provide a fun and easy way for you to set some goals, work toward them, and enjoy reading. If your original list isn’t working for you, you’re likely to be miserable, which would completely defeat the point. Rework your list/goals and keep on reading.

Q. Do I have to review the books I read?

A. Nope, no reviews required. To be honest, I usually don’t write reviews of the books I read during these challenges.

Remember: Katrina’s reading challenges are low-to-no-pressure.

Q. What should I write in my post that has my list and goals? Is there any special format?

A. Nope. As long as you include your goal-list of books, it’s entirely up to you. You might want to check out last year’s challenge page and visit some participants to see how they did it, if you’re not sure where to start.

Q. Do you have a graphic we can put in our sidebars?

A. Yes! Check out the bottom of this post for the code.

Q. Where can we get more information?

A. Well, you already have just about all the information you need. Check back here regularly, though — I’ll write about posting guidelines soon, just a few to-do’s that I ask you to abide by if you decide to be part of Spring Reading Thing 2011.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Pirate Queen by Patricia Hickman (Review)

  • Paperback: 352 pages

  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press; 1 edition (August 10, 2010)

  • ISBN-13: 978-1400072002

  • Treasure is found in the most unlikely places.
    The envy of all her friends, wife and mother Saphora Warren is the model of southern gentility and accomplishment. She lives in a beautiful Lake Norman home, and has raised three capable adult children. Her husband is a successful plastic surgeon--and a philanderer. It is for that reason that, after hosting a garden party for Southern Living magazine, Saphora packs her bags to escape the trappings of the picturesque-but-vacant life.

    Saphora’s departure is interrupted by her husband Bender’s early arrival home, and his words that change her life forever: I’m dying.
    Against her desires, Saphora agrees to take care of Bender as he fights his illness. They relocate, at his insistence, to their coastal home in Oriental—the same house she had chosen for her private getaway. When her idyllic retreat is overrun by her grown children, grandchildren, townspeople, relatives, and a precocious neighbor child, Saphora’s escape to paradise is anything but the life she had imagined. As she gropes for evidence of God's presence amid the turmoil, can she discover that the richest treasures come in surprising packages?

    My Review:
    This was definitely a Southern book. It is mostly character based and slow moving but that did not really bother me because I knew what type of book it was before I started reading it. The main character is Saphora and we see most of the book through her eyes. I loved the feel the author's words gave to the book. The descriptions and language were beautiful. There were also quotations at the beginning of every chapter and I liked them. Several of them came from the famous book Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Saphora is very reflective through most of the book but there were other characters like her children that are present at different times. I liked the subplots that developed too. The plot lines were not entirely what I was expecting them to be which is good because I was hesitant to start the book because I was not sure I would like it.  The ending took me by surprise as it was not what I was expecting but it was satisfying. I look forward to reading more books by this author. Recommended. :)

    About the author:
    Patricia Hickman, M.F.A., is an award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction whose work has been praised by critics and readers alike.  Patricia first studied creative writing at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and then went on to do graduate studies in creative writing at Queens University. She writes for major publishers and is currently at work on her eighteenth book, a novel set in the North Carolina Piedmont. Her next novel,The Pirate Queen, will release Summer 2010, a story that takes readers journeying from suburban Lake Norman to the sailing villages of the Outer Banks.  She has served as a writing professor at UNCC and taught in writing workshops across the country offering her popular “Creating Characters–Giving Story People Life” workshops and courses on fiction. She, along with her hubby, founded a non-profit charity that benefits moms and children with HIV called The Secret Angels Project.  Her fiction is known for its depth of understanding of the human condition underscored by redemptive themes.

    Review copy provided by publisher for Blogging for Books Program.

    Friday, March 4, 2011

    Letters From Home by Kristina McMorris

  • Paperback: 352 pages

  • Publisher: Kensington; 1 edition (March 1, 2011)

  • ISBN-13: 978-0758246844

  • Publisher's Description:
    Chicago, 1944. Liz Stephens has little interest in attending a USO club dance with her friends Betty and Julia. She doesn’t need a flirtation with a lonely serviceman when she’s set to marry her childhood sweetheart. Yet something happens the moment Liz glimpses Morgan McClain. They share only a brief exchange—cut short by the soldier's evident interest in Betty—but Liz can't forget him. Thus, when Betty asks her to ghostwrite a letter to Morgan, stationed overseas, Liz reluctantly agrees.

    Thousands of miles away, Morgan struggles to adjust to the brutality of war. His letters from “Betty” are a comfort, their soul-baring correspondence a revelation to them both. While Liz is torn by her feelings for a man who doesn’t know her true identity, Betty and Julia each become immersed in their own romantic entanglements. And as the war draws to a close, all three will face heart-wrenching choices, painful losses, and the bittersweet joy of new beginnings.

    I am sorry no review yet. I am having a hard time getting into the book. I am grateful for the ARC copy the author sent me so I hope to be able to finish it. I love the premise and it sounds interesting. I have read other reviews and nobody else had this problem so it may be my short attention span I have had lately. I suggest reading other reviews of the book. :)

    Thursday, March 3, 2011

    The Life Ready Woman by Shaunti Feldhahn and Robert Lewis (Giveaway)

    *** Leave a comment on this post before midnight on Thursday March 10 to be entered to win a copy of this book. ***

    Product Description

    Whether a stay-at-home mom or an airplane-hopping executive, a student or a senior adult, most women need a contemporary, encouraging vision for what it means to be a godly, biblically guided female in the twenty-first century. A biblical woman takes God’s Word seriously not just at church but also in the everyday walk of life.
    But can a significant and satisfying twenty-first-century womanhood really be defined from Scripture? One that can apply to all women and yet not be guilty of cookie-cutter sameness, pressing everyone into a common mold? One that will stay fresh even as a woman grows older? One that can guide her to the best in life? The answer is yes, and the result is a femininity without excesses and regrets that mark those who just go with the flow of the world.
    In Life Ready Woman, best-selling author Shaunti Feldhahn helps readers take five faith steps drawn from the Bible that will help to define the best life possible. Each one is easy to understand, but requires bold faith to activate. The reward is being ready for the deeper life that God has planned.

    About the authors:

    Shaunti Feldhahn is a former Wall Street analyst, best-selling author of the book For Women Only, national speaker, and regular commentator in the media. She has been featured on The Today Show, PBS, TNT and Fox News- to name a few. You can learn more about her many activities by visiting her website or get some great mom advice from her at She and her husband live with their two young children in Atlanta, Georgia and enjoy every minute of living at warp speed.
    Robert Lewis is the best-selling author of Raising a Modern-Day Knight and Rocking the Roles: Building a Win-Win Marriage. He and his wife, Sherard, have four children and live in Little Rock, AR.
    About MomLife Today:

    At MomLife Today you will enjoy community with real moms experiencing every age and every stage of MomLife—right alongside you.

    Moms need friends we can walk through life with, but more importantly we need friends who will encourage us and equip us in our role as moms in an honest and transparent way … and that’s just what you’ll find by becoming part of our MomLife Today community! We believe that every MOMent counts!

    We admit it, being a mom 24/7 is not easy. Rather than lament the role of motherhood, however, we choose to embrace that role and learn from each other how to make it through each day with the right attitude. Come share the joys, sorrows, insanity, and special moments of motherhood with us as we live it and candidly write about it…we’ll have lots of fun along the way! Join us, and do tell… What’s happening in your MomLife Today?
    In celebration of Shaunti Feldhahn’s Life Ready Woman, MomLife Today is giving away 2 Weekend To Remember Gift Packs and much more!

    Not only, is MomLife Today helping promote Life Ready Woman, but they are thrilled to announce that Shaunti will be joining MomLife Today as a regular contributor!!!
     Weekend To Remember Get-Aways offer marriage-changing principles that you can take home and apply to your daily lives to strengthen your marriage. Whether you are newly engaged or have been married for 50 years, you will find value in the tools provided at the getaway.
    Don’t miss this opportunity to receive a conference registration for you and your spouse … and more! MomLife Today will be randomly selecting NINE lucky recipients to receive one of these great gifts:
    1. 2 Weekend To Remember Get Away conference registrations for two. $259 value each pair (Two couples will receive this.)
    2. 2 Life Ready Woman DVD packs. $149 value each (Two different people will receive this gift.)
    3. 5 The Life Ready Woman books. (Book will go to 5 people.)
     Winner will be announced on March 2nd on the MomLife Today website.
    MomLife Today provides encouragement, advice and resources to help YOU with your daily Momlife! Because…every MOMent counts!
    Review copy provided by Litfuse Publicity.

    Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    February Books Read

    This was not a good reading month for me. I only finished seven books. That may be my worst month ever since I started keeping track. My attention span is gone and there is a good chance I will be doing online classes starting next month. I miss my reading but I am not giving up my working out. Balance come to me please. My favorites are in bold. I did not really enjoy Backseat Saints. It is just not a book for me. I love Michael Pollan and read Food Rules in January. I just started The Omnivore's Dilemma. Kathryn Springer is another one of my favorite authors. I enjoyed reading an adult novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. She wrote The Secret Garden which is one of my all time favorite books. So hopefully March will be a better reading month for me. :)

    16. The Orchid Affair by Lauren Willig
    17. The Prodigal Comes Home by Kathryn Springer
    18. In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
    19. Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson
    20. An Amish Love by Beth Wiseman, Kelly Long, Kathleen Fuller
    21. Operation Bonnet by Kimberly Stuart
    22. The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    The Principle of the Path by Andy Stanley (Review)

    Book Description

    Your Direction, not Your Intention, Determines Your Destination. There is often a tension between where we want to end up in life and the path we choose to get there. We fail to see that having good intentions is never good enough. Like Charlie Brown, we wrongly believe there’s something to be said for trying hard. We need to understand why, in spite of our good intentions, we may have ended up at the wrong destination with our finances, our marriages, our careers, or a host of other dreams. So how do we get from where we are to where we truly want to be? The Principle of the Path is a road map to proper direction and discipline.

    Includes Extensive Study Guide.

    My Review:

     "Direction, not intention, determines destination."

    This is the main theme of The Principle of the Path. I loved this book and will keep it to reference back too. I took pages and pages of notes. I was impressed with the personal examples from his life and the bible he used to back up his points. The book is easy to read and understand. I could do a post with nothing but quotations from it. Some things that stood out to me include:

    " To get from where we don't want to be to where we do want to be requires two things: time and a change of direction. " p. 11

    " Your current direction will determine your destination." p. 15

    " Life is short. The seasons of life pass quickly. And each season is connected to the one that follows. Today's decisions create tomorrow's experiences." p. 55

    "  We eat because it makes us happy. Then one day we look in the mirror and what we see makes us sick. " p. 60

    " Every path has a destination... Divine direction begins with submission. Information is not enough. Insight is not enough. We need God." p. 95

    I have more but I will just say: read this book. To change your life you have embrace the principles found in it. You have to act on it. The principles will still be there happening in your life anyway. The difference is using them to improve your life. It has provided me much food for thought and some of it not pleasant. It is not easy to change or acknowledge the good and bad about our lives. Highly Recommended. :)

    About the Author

    Andy Stanley is a pastor, communicator, author, and the founder of North Point Ministries, Inc. (NPM). Since its inception in 1995, North Point Ministries has grown from one campus to three in the Atlanta area, and has helped plant fourteen strategic partner churches throughout the United States. Each Sunday, over 20,000 adults attend worship services at one of NPM’s three campuses. Andy’s books include It Came From Within, Communicating for a Change, Making Vision Stick, and The Next Generation Leader. Andy lives in Alpharetta, Georgia, with his wife, Sandra, and their three children.
    Review copy provided by publisher through BookSneeze program.

    Classics Club Spin 18

    My Classics Club Spin List for August This is a hodgepodge of books left on my list I made in 2017 for the Classics Club. Tomorrow the clu...