Saturday, December 31, 2016

"The Martian" by Andy Weir

Prior to beginning the novel, this is what I knew: An astronaut left behind on Mars survives by eating potatoes. And there's science.

Here's what actually happens: Mark Watney, a member of the Ares 3 crew, is presumed dead and left on Mars when a storm comes up and the mission is aborted. He has to figure out a way to survive until the next Ares crew arrives. Through ingenuity and lots of crazy science, he manages to stay alive.

"Forever Safe" by Jody Hedlund

Marriage of convenience novels are my favorite. But a marriage of convenience novel that's also reminiscent of Runaway Bride? What could be better?

Friday, December 30, 2016

Top Ten Book Reviews of 2016

It's time for the end of the year "best" lists again! While I'm still working on my best books list (HOW will I narrow it to ten? Seriously!), I've already posted my top five TV shows, and here's my most popular reviews post. I did a list like this in 2014, and that was fun ... at least, it was fun for me! So I decided to do it again—after all, it would be a lot easier to put together than my top ten books list, right?

Thursday, December 29, 2016

"Troublemaker" by Leah Remini

Sometimes you just want a good celebrity tell-all, right? Well, that's what I hoped for with Leah Remini's Troublemaker, and that's exactly what I got!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

"One Enchanted Eve" by Melissa Tagg

Last Christmas, I read Melissa Tagg's completely charming One Enchanted Christmas, which brings together writer Maren and farmer-turned-builder/craftsman Drew Renwycke. This year, Tagg is continuing the Renwycke family's story with a novella about Drew's brother Colin.

Friday, December 23, 2016

"The Silent Songbird" by Melanie Dickerson

Author Melanie Dickerson continues her tradition of adapting classic fairy tales with The Silent Songbird, based on The Little Mermaid.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

"Fatal Frost" by Nancy Mehl

A U.S. Marshal finds herself fighting for her life—and for the lives of her best friend and ex-boyfriend—in Fatal Frost, the first book in Nancy Mehl's Defenders of Justice series.

Monday, December 19, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (12-19-16)

Happy Monday! Less than a week until Christmas!!!!! I'm getting this up pretty late because my day ended up differently than I'd planned—I accompanied my dad on his weekly shopping trip for work. We went to Sam's, Walmart, and two grocery stores—and it was lots of fun! (I also spent lots of money ... )

I managed to read two books last week, as well as start a new one. I expect that my reading will slow down drastically beginning Friday, as my whole family will be home for Christmas! I can't wait :-)

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Best of the Bunch: November 2016

I don't know how this happened, but I somehow forgot to post my November Best of the Bunch! So here it is, woefully late. I reviewed a lot of books in November, and most of them were excellent!

"Celebrations" by Danielle Walker

When I went gluten free 2-1/2 years ago, Danielle Walker's Against All Grain website was a huge asset to me. Then when I went grain free just over a year ago, her recipes became even more important to me. I use her website all the time, but she (rightfully) doesn't put all of her recipes up, so when I heard about Celebrations, I knew I wanted to get my hands on a copy.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

"Lucifer's Harvest" by Mel Starr

I always look forward to the next installment in Mel Starr's Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon. These books are unlike any others I've read, and I love them!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2017

Today's Top Ten Tuesday Topic, "Books I'm looking forward to in the first half of 2017" is difficult for one reason alone: There are so many great books releasing next year! It was hard to narrow the list down to ten :-)

Monday, December 12, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (12-12-16)

Happy Monday! We're at the point in December when I'm in countdown—and survival—mode. Yesterday, we had our Lone Tree Singers Christmas concert, so we had three practices for that last week. (LTS is a community choir—I think there were about 25 of us this fall.) This week is Festival week, which means crazy schedules for our kids and a day-long practice on Friday for all of us who are in the choir. Plus, I'm in physical therapy twice a week for a possible stress fracture/certain bone bruise brought on by ... get this ... all the walking in Washington, D.C. last month. (I wish I at least had a good story!) And I'm trying to help the Student Council plan for the end-of-finals party next week. I cannot wait for school to get out next Wednesday at noon! Then I'll have two more days to wrap up my stuff (which is so much easier on non-school days!) before having an entire week off. All the praise hands!

"A Royal Christmas Wedding" by Rachel Hauck

I have loved (loved, loved!) Rachel Hauck's Royal Wedding series. I thought it was finished after the third book, How to Catch a Prince, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Hauck had written a new Christmas novella, A Royal Christmas Wedding, that serves as the fourth book in the series.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Stacking the Shelves (12-11-16)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly linkup hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It's all about the new books accumulated over the week.

I didn't get nearly as many books last week as I did the week before ... which is definitely a good thing for my wallet!

"Kissing Father Christmas" by Robin Jones Gunn

Did you happen to catch Finding Father Christmas on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries last month? It stars Erin Krakow of When Calls the Heart as a woman named Miranda who, in the process of searching for information about her father, finds both family and love at Christmas. The film is based on Robin Jones Gunn's novella of the same name, and, while there are notable differences (like the setting!), I felt like the movie stayed true to the spirit of the novella.

Gunn followed up Finding Father Christmas with Engaging Father Christmas, which continued Miranda's story. Now she's written Kissing Father Christmas, and I think it might be my favorite of the three!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

"Silent Night Shadows" by Sarah Varland

Earlier this fall, I read Sarah Varland's Cold Case Witness, which was a really enjoyable suspense novel. Now Varland is back with the next entry in her Treasure Point series, and this time the novel is set at Christmas!

Friday, December 9, 2016

"ScriptureDoodle" Devotional Set by April Knight

I am not artistic. Not even remotely. Stick figures are about all I can manage, and even they don't look good. But the ScriptureDoodle concept intrigued me—as someone who's too intimidated to try anything artistic on her own, I thought these books might be the perfect catalyst. I was right.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

"Getaway with God" by Letitia Suk

Several years ago, I was telling a friend that I felt like I needed to reconnect with God, but I wasn't sure what to do. This friend suggested that I get away, by myself, and spend a day with God. I thought it was a great idea, and I even planned to go to a local park that Saturday, just me, my Bible, and God. Then I was offered free Cornhusker football tickets, and, rightly or wrongly, the Huskers took precedence.

I actually hadn't thought about that in years, but when I heard about Getaway with God, that memory came rushing back, and the concept of a personal retreat began to really appeal to me.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

"The One That Got Away" by Leigh Himes

As someone who is always a sucker for those "waking up in a new life" stories (The Family Man, Lifetime's Comfort & Joy, ABC Family Freeform's Holidaze), the concept of Leigh Himes' debut novel appealed to me. I wasn't so sure about it when I started reading, but as I went on, something about The One that Got Away really drew me in.

Monday, December 5, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (12-5-16) + Giveaways

It's Monday again ... how do the weeks go so quickly? Once again, I didn't read too much ... not only because of Hallmark Christmas movies, though. I also spent several hours watching the CW's DC crossover event that spanned Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow. Plus, I got an Instant Pot on Black Friday, and I spent quite a bit of time trying to make sense of it. I think it'll be a great addition to my kitchen, but right now it just seems really intimidating!

"To Joey, With Love" Movie Review + Giveaway

Just over a year ago, I somehow found Rory Feek's blog, This Life I Live. As someone who knows virtually nothing about country music (unless the artist is named Keith, Carrie, or Reba), I had no idea that Rory was part of the country duo Joey+Rory. But his storytelling grabbed me, and I began following his posts—which, at the time, largely centered on his wife Joey's battle with cancer. Joey passed away earlier this year, and To Joey, With Love tells the story of the last two years of her life.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Stacking the Shelves (12-4-16)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly linkup hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It's all about the new books accumulated over the week.

I had another great book acquisition week ... and I also spent more money than I'd planned!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

"Getaway with God" Giveaway Info

Next week, I'll be reviewing Letitia Suk's Getaway with God. But today, I want to make sure you know about the great giveaway that's going along with this blog tour! Read more and enter below!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

"Tennessee Christmas" by Amy Grant + Giveaway

When I think Christmas albums, two immediately jump to mind: Amy Grant's Home for Christmas and Mariah Carey's Merry Christmas. Then a host of others follow them, as I really like Christmas music!