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Friday, December 30, 2011

"The Cross Gardener"

by Jason F. Wright, AF, 2010, 293p, rating=3.5

Married and the father of a young daughter, John Bevan had finally found the traditional family he lacked as an orphaned child. But all that disappears when a fatal car accident steals away his wife-and the unborn child she carried.
Filled with sorrow, John withdraws from life and love. He erects a small cross at the scene of his wife's accident and visits daily, grieving. Then one morning he encounters a young man kneeling before the cross, touching it up with white paint. John's conversations and travels with this mysterious man-known to him only as the Cross Gardener-will forever change his world. (Goodreads)

This was a comfort read for me ..sentimental sappy, my kind of book.  This one dealt with grief and finding a unusual comforter.  I enjoyed the strong men relationships ... particularly the Bevan men, Wayne, John, and Scott.  The father-son and brother-brother bonding were feel-good moments.  I especially took a liking to Wayne, John's father.  Wayne had desirable qualities.  He was hardworking, kind, wise, and had integrity.  My kind of father figure so I couldn't help but fall in love with the man and root for his legacy.  Consequently, he raised fine boys and thus I liked the journey these boys were taking to get to manhood ..and parenthood in John's case. 

Simply put, this was a sweet family love story.  A light read that someone who has lost a loved one might find a moment of calmness.  A good Father's Day book as well.

Now You See Her; Lost December; Finding Noel

I'm getting ready for the end of the year wrap-up so here's a few brief reviews.  I guess it was hard to completely go on a month's hiatus (I finished another book last night so one more is coming).  The break was nice though.  I sometimes stress about putting out a review and honestly, it's time consuming.  I've got some thinking to do about where and how I want next year's book blogging to go ...better prioritizing kind of stuff.  Anyway, thank you for sticking by me.  :)
Now You See Her by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge, AF, 2011, Playaway digital audio, 7.5hrs, rating=2.5

An okay thriller ...woman fakes her death to hide from a lunatic cop husband then finds herself years later amidst his presence again (she put herself there, not very bright!). What to do, what to do because an innocent man was to be put to death and secrets to guard?

Violent with somewhat predictable twists. And of course the heroine had nine lives! --Not a big fan of nine lives ..great in real life but not in fictional stories .. go figure me!! ;)

Lost December by Richard Paul Evans, AF, 2011, 379p (large print), rating=4

Richard Paul Evans is one of my go to authors when I want to get out of a reading slump (which I am in at the moment). He has a way of telling stories that touch the heart (my kind of book), using melancholy to drive at a moral message. I often find myself emotionally involved with the characters. This book is no exception. A riches-to-rags story through a take on the well known Bible parable The Prodigal Son. Prodigal being the key word in defining the essence of the tale ..SPOILER STARTS (paraphrased from the book) misunderstanding the word thinking it means "lost" or "wayward" when it really means "wastefully extravagant", but it also means "to give abundantly". SPOILER ENDS You're likely to need a tissue. I did.

Emotionally charging and character building. A lesson in giving and being grateful. Appropriate feel good book during this Christmas season.

On a side note: I learned interesting things about being homeless.

Finding Noel by Ricard Paul Evans, AF, 2006, 304p, rating=3

Fresh from finishing Mr. Evans' current book Lost December, I found that book to be better than this one. But unlike Lost December, the signature intro letter and dedication in Finding Noel left me shedding a tear before reaching chapter one! Mr. Evans dedicated this book to his late mother. Use mother in a sentiment and I'm bawling! As in turns out though, I found this read to be a bit disjointed. Still, a wonderful story of "how people come into our lives for a reason".

What I got out of this book was that we are angels to each other if we choose to be kind. My favorite character was Joette. I loved her!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mid-Winters Eve Blog Hop Winner

Using the services of, the winner of my Mid-Winters Eve Blog Hop is Angela (email starting at birthday...)!!

Congratulations Angela.  Your prize, the book "The Christmas List" by Richard Paul Evans, is yours if you reply within 72hrs to the email I sent you or a new winner will be chosen.

Thank you to all those who entered and for the follows. :)

Hope everyone enjoyed Christmas.  Here's wishing you all a fabulous New Year!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mid-Winter's Eve Blog Hop

I'm technically on hiatus but I had committed to this a while back so here I am.  So welcome to my stop in this Mid-Winters Eve Blog Hop.  Thanks to I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Oasis for YA for hosting this hop ..where participating bloggers offer a book related giveaway on their blog (see list below).  It's an awesome way to be introduced to book bloggers and get chances to win a prize(s) to boot!  There are over 200 contributors so that means many opportunities to win!  Pretty cool.  Anyway, this time around I'll be giving away a new hardcover copy of "The Christmas List" by Richard Paul Evans to one of my followers.  Sorry, but only someone with a U.S.A. address may be the recipient.

(Go HERE for my review)

To enter:
  • Must be a follower of this blog (GFC, subscriber)
  • Must be at least 13 years old
  • Fill out the form below
  • U.S.A. address only (if you live outside of the U.S. but would like to win this for someone with a U.S. address, then feel free to enter)

Thank you for stopping by and be sure to check out the participating bloggers below for some awesome prizes!  Have a Merry Christmas and good luck!! :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gift Card Giveaway Winner!

Using the services of, the winner of my Gift Card Giveaway Hop is Sherry Strode!! Your prize of $10 to Amazon or The Book Depository is yours if you reply within 72hrs to the email I sent you or a new winner will be chosen.

Wow, 543 people entered the giveaway and 277 of them received an extra entry for liking my FB Fan Page.  I wish I was super rich so you'd all be winners! 

Thank you to all those who entered and for the follows here and on FB.  You make me smile and one day I hope to make you smile too.  :)

Have a Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gift Card Giveaway Hop

Thanks to our hostesses, I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Attack of the Book for this fabulous event.  Just in time for the holidays!  Here's a hop designed to giveaway gift cards ...see below for list of participants.

Since seems to be popular on this site and as I understand that it can be used internationally, then that's what I'll be giving away to one of my followers!!

$10 electronic gift card (emailed to you) to  And just in case you are unable to use this gift card, you may opt for an up to $10 worth of book(s) to The Book Depository (be sure they ship free to your country) ...shhh, this isn't a gift card but I want to include as much of my international followers and this seems to be a popular giveaway on this site too.

Here's how to enter:
  • Must be a follower of this blog (GFC, subscription)
  • Must be at least 13 years old
  • Fill out the form below
  • Extra entry for following my FB Page.

That's it!  Thank you for entering and more importantly for the follows.  Good luck!
~Have a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!!

Now start hopping from the list below and good luck!! :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I'm nervous ...

I had appointment last week for my annual womanly exam but had to reschedule since I was sick (since Thanksgiving!).  Well, today's the day.  I still have a bit of an itch to my throat and sniffles so I considered rescheduling again but I'm just being a chicken (oh, did I forget to tell you that I missed last year's exam?).  I really don't know why.  I've actually have had only good experiences on visits to my gynecologist.  I suppose I'm in my 40s now and they up the ante so that's kinda scary.  Anyway, to lighten my mood a bit I dug up a funny "story" that my friend emailed me years ago and here it is, "The Washcloth" ...I think you might get a kick out of it as well.  ~Wish me best wishes today!  Thanks. :)
"The Washcloth"
I was due for an appointment with the gynecologist later in the week. Early one morning, I received a call from the doctor's office to tell me that I had been rescheduled for that morning at 9:30 am.I had only just packed everyone off to work and school, and it was already around 8:45 am.The trip to his office took about 35 minutes, so I didn't have any time to spare.As most women do, I like to take a little extra effort over hygiene when making such visits, but this time I wasn't going to be able to make the full effort.So, I rushed upstairs, threw off my pajamas, wet the washcloth that was sitting next to the sink, and gave myself a quick wash in that area to make sure I was at least presentable.I threw the washcloth in the clothes basket, donned some clothes, hopped in the car and raced to my appointment.I was in the waiting room for only a few minutes when I was called in.Knowing the procedure, as I'm sure you do, I hopped up on the table, looked over at the other side of the room and pretended that I was in Paris or some other place a million miles away. I was a little surprised when the doctor said, "My, we have made an extra effort this morning, haven't we?"I didn't respond.After the appointment, I heaved a sigh of relief and went home. The rest of the day was normal Some shopping, cleaning, cooking.After school when my 6 year old daughter was playing, she called out from the bathroom, "Mommy, where's my washcloth?" I told her to get another one from the cupboard.She replied, "No, I need the one that was here by the sink, it had all my glitter and sparkles saved inside it." NEVER going back to that doctor ever!! (Unknown author)

On another note:
I can't seem to get my nose in a book because I just have tons on my mind lately so I'm going on a temporary holiday break from reading and blogging (hence, I missed this week's PTSS and MRM I usually do).  Don't worry, still will post the giveaway hops I committed to this month so stay tuned for those.

Friday, December 2, 2011

"Beach Lane"

by Sherryl Woods, AF, 2011, Playaway digital audio, 10.5hrs, rating=3

In the close-knit community of Chesapeake Shores, Maryland, Susie O'Brien and Mack Franklin's "not dating" claim befuddles everyone, especially since the two spend every spare minute together. Susie's thrilled when their friendship finally heats up. Then, just when happily-ever-after seems within reach, Mack loses the job he loves and Susie faces a devastating diagnosis.
But O'Briens always unite in a crisis. Even her cousin Jess, Susie's rival for most of their lives, becomes her staunchest supporter—especially when Mack's former lover comes to town. The stakes are higher than ever before, but Susie's definitely up to the challenge…as long as Mack's right there by her side. (Goodreads)

A nice romantic novel.  Two friends on the road to being more, but then future plans were stalled because of personal troubles so the relationship goes to limbo.  The secrets they kept from each other seemed such an unhealthy way to have a future together so it was hard for me to root for them.  But as the story continued, I couldn't help but wish for the couple's success.  I'm a sucker for love that way!

The supporting characters functioned well here. The O'Brien family was a hoot. It was also nice to read Jess's turn of character. It's always a treat to read family working things out. 

My only qualm was that Mack was too perfect (except in the beginning).  Once the secrets were out, Mack did a 360 and everything fell in line.  Nothing rocked the boat for him from then on.  He was supportive, loving, thoughtful, sexy, and just did and said everything right.  Every girls dream!  I guess I just couldn't believe it ... too good to be true kind of thing.  No wonder men are lost.  When they give us perfection, we still question (I'm not the only one, right?).  Anyway, maybe Ms Woods will rattle some bones in the family trip to Ireland in the next installment?

Limelight Reviews

Here's a wonderful new meme hosted by Louise @Between the Covers.  The idea is to "garner meaningful comments on the reviews we spend hours sweating over, getting just right. And then...*crickets*".  There will be one review spotlighted each week to be visited.  To participate, meaningful comments are encouraged to be left on the spotlighted review and two other reviews on the linky.  No following required on any of the blogs.  ~Now head on over HERE to participate and get all the details, including submitting a review to be spotlighted.

My cricket review this week is "For One More Day" by Mitch Albom.  He's one of my favorite authors because his stories always touch my heart.  This particular book moved me because it gave me an opportunity to reflect on my beautiful mother. ~I love you Mom!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

"Blood Red Road"

by Moira Young, YA, 2011, 459p, rating=4

Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.
Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.  (Goodreads)

I should have reviewed this book immediately after reading it (2.5 weeks ago) but time got away from me.  Yet, it was memorable and that's saying a lot coming from queen of forgetfulness, me!  Anyway, this was a captivating read.  The Hillbillies-kind of drawl surprisingly wasn't a nuisance and actually gave the characters a feel of being down to earth people so I felt comfortable getting invested in their story.  And what a breeze it was to get through this 450+ page book because the action never let up.  There were rare occasions when you had time to think all was over because in the next sentence another obstacle was to be conquered.  That sounds aggravating but it was delivered in a way that made me feel part of the adventure my blood pumping, as if I was the one running, jumping, swashbuckling, etc.  How fun and exciting that was! 

The seemingly corny romance between renegade Saba and suave Jack was adorable ...think Katnis meets Flynn Rider.  Odd combination but it really worked!  Yet there was another feel good design about this book.  Family and camaraderie.  The heart of the story.  I'm a sucker for getting things done with friends for family sake.  Hurray for awesome supporting characters!! --Psst, I love Emmi!

Smooth and exciting read with a lot of adventure and heart.  Thanks Joyzi for the recommendation!  Took me awhile but I finally got to it.  :)

Know Me Better #8

"Know Me Better" is a meme hosted by Kathy at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. She will answer 5 questions off her author interview list each week and invited other bloggers to do the same in an effort to get to know a little bit more about each other. Go HERE to join the fun.

Here's this week's questions and my answers:

If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
Off the top of my head, "Sweetly Confused"

If you could have a signed copy of any novel what would it be and why?
I can't think of a novel (that I have to have, any signed by an author would be great!), but a signed copy of Gordon B. Hinckley's non-fiction book, "Standing for Something" would definitely be a treasure.  It's a book dear to my heart.

Horror or Romance?
Definitely romance because horror=I'm a big chicken!

If you could choose only one time period and place to live, when and where would you live and why?
I like where I am now but just for a moment perhaps the '50s in the U.S.  Seems to be fun and innocently hip when portrayed in TV/film.

Do you prefer a bunch of small gifts or one big expensive one?
Depends.  Example: 1) One time someone did a 12 days of Christmas.. I vacationed in Canada with relatives during the holidays so he wrapped up 12 little gifts for me to open, 1 gift each day 'til Christmas. 2) My husband bought me a car for Valentine's Day.  ~Both pretty awesome. :)

Now it's your turn.  I want to know some things about you.  Feel free to answer one or more on the comment or post your answers and link up!  ~Sure looking forward to getting to know you more too!

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