BTT: Best of 2011

This week’s Booking Through Thursday post asks…

What were your favorite books of 2011?






My list:


       

       



Not in any particular order, these were my Top 10 reads in 2011

1. MADE TO CRAVE by Lysa Terkeurst

2. THE LADY OF BOLTON HILL by Elizabeth Camden

3. A HIDDEN AFFAIR by Pam Jenoff

4. RESHAPING IT ALL by Candace Cameron Bure

5. SOMETHING BORROWED by Emily Giffin

6. MISTRESS OF ROME by Kate Quinn

7. BEAUTIFUL OUTLAW by John Eldredge

8. KISS OF NIGHT by Debbie Viguie

9. INCOGNITO by Gregory Murphy

10. FORBIDDEN by Ted Dekker & Tosca Lee

{To see more BTT answers, click here}

2011 Wrap-Up

Well, given that today is the last day of 2011, I’ve decided to write a short wrap-up post for my reading…

First off, here is a list of my Top 10 Reads for 2011:

1. MADE TO CRAVE by Lysa Terkeurst
2. THE LADY OF BOLTON HILL by Elizabeth Camden
3. A HIDDEN AFFAIR by Pam Jenoff
4. RESHAPING IT ALL by Candace Cameron Bure
5. SOMETHING BORROWED by Emily Giffin
6. MISTRESS OF ROME by Kate Quinn
7. BEAUTIFUL OUTLAW by John Eldredge
8. KISS OF NIGHT by Debbie Viguie
9. INCOGNITO by Gregory Murphy
10. FORBIDDEN by Ted Dekker & Tosca Lee

Overall, it wasn’t too bad of a reading year. I read a total of 67 books, most of which I enjoyed; there weren’t many that I truly disliked. And, I set very few books aside without finishing them.

I finished several of the challenges I participated in, and failed miserably at a few, as well. 😉

Lastly, I came to several realizations, this year. You can read my rant here, if you wish, in case you missed it.

For 2012, I have several reading resolutions, some (or all) of which you’ve already seen me mention…

• read more of my own books
• read more for pleasure than obligation
• write more in-depth reviews of the books I read
join very few reading challenges
host no more than 2 reading challenges
• read at least 52 books

I wish everyone the happiest of new years, as well as safety and health! 😀

Friday Finds (Dec.30)

What great books did you hear about/discover this past week? Share with us your FRIDAY FINDS! 😀







My Finds:

       

       

My Ruthless Prince” by Gaelen Foley
Veneer” by Timothy Willard & Jason Locy
Balancing Acts” by Zoe Fishman
The Non-Designer’s Web Book” by Robin Williams & John Tollett
The Creative Life” by Julia Cameron
Jewelry for the New Romantic” by Nealay Patel
Stop What You’re Doing and Read This” by Mark Haddon & various
Till Dawn With the Devil” by Alexandra Hawkins (Lords of Vice, 2)
After Dark With a Scoundrel” by Alexandra Hawkins (Lords of Vice, 3)
Sunrise With a Notorious Lord” by Alexandra Hawkins (Lords of Vice, 4)



PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Friday Finds post, or share your ‘finds’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks! 😀

REVIEW: “A Lasting Impression” by Tamera Alexander

I’m not quite done reading this book, so I can’t give a full review just yet, but am writing this now to fulfill a commitment I made.

Miss Claire Laurent has a talent for painting replicas of others’ works. But, her conscience nags at her that this is not the right thing to do. Her father insists, though, that she continue creating forgeries in order to keep them fed and housed.

When tragedy interrupts, Claire finds herself looking for a fresh start in Tennessee. There, she meets a woman of great wealth ~ the owner of the famed “Belmont” mansion. Claire also meets Sutton Monroe.

So far, this book is very, very hard to put down! Once again, Tamera’s writing has sucked me in and won’t let me go! I’ve been staying up late to read through the chapters, unable to stop at “just one more”. 😉 

I can’t help but recommend this book, and any others that this author has written. I have read several of her books, and they’ve all been excellent.

Please stay tuned, as I will add to this review (post) when I’ve finished the book!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

REVIEW: “The Resolution for Women” by Priscilla Shirer

I had bought myself a copy of this book, earlier this year (September, I think?), as I’d watched the YouTubetrailer” for it, and immediately decided this was a book I needed to read.

Then, just a week or two ago, this book came up for review via Graf-Martin Communications… along with two others. So, I agreed to review it, and figured I’d better dig into it, right away (since I already owned a copy of this one, I gave the other to my mom).

This is such a fantastic book, and so timely for this time of year, too! With “resolutions” on my mind, this book helped me to flesh out some other ideas of ways I can make 2012 one of the best years, yet! It has “resolutions” for your marriage, for your parenting, for singleness, for forgiveness, for integrity, and many other aspects of life.

I especially liked the chapter on Loving Your Children, as it was convicting and also had some interesting ideas that I’d like to implement.

I also found a verse, inside, that spoke to me in a new way, and that I think will be very helpful to me in the coming new year!

Overall, I’d highly recommend this book. I plan to reread this again, at some point, as it’s a good point of reference for how I’d like to live out my life of faith.

Rated: A-

WWW Wednesdays (Dec.28)

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?






My answers:

What are you currently reading? I’m now reading — and am almost finished — “The Resolution for Women” by Priscilla Shirer. Fabulous book! Review will be posted in early January.






What did you recently finish reading? Nothing “recent”… I set aside “A Lasting Impression” by Tamera Alexander, in order to meet this other deadline (for “The Resolution for Women”). Will be going back to “A Lasting Impression” soon!






What do you think you’ll read next? I’ll probably read “Destined” by P.C. & Kristin Cast… I have it home from the library, and only have 2 weeks with it! Then I’ll go back and read “A Lasting Impression“. 😉






PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own WWW Wednesdays post, or share your answers in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks! 😀

Teaser Tuesdays (Dec.27)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

 
My Teasers:

“Sometimes the greatest miracle of all is the one that happens in your own heart, the change that takes place in you and then surprises you as it filters into the seams and fabric of your whole life. The effects of a changed person on her surroundings can be staggering.”

~ p.3,The Resolution for Women” by Priscilla Shirer

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

{The link for the comments is now at the BOTTOM of this post}

Musing Mondays (Dec.26)

This week’s musing asks…

Did you get any books for Christmas? If so, what were they?

If you didn’t, what books are you most looking forward to reading (and/or buying) in the new year?

I bought myself two books for Christmas. LOL. They were “Illuminated” by Erica Orloff, and “Kiss Crush Collide” by Christina Meredith. Funny thing was, I ordered them both online, and Chapters said that the second one (K C C) was not going to be published until December 27th, so the book wouldn’t come until after that date. Then, that same book showed up on December 23rd! Whoohoo! 😀

I’m really looking forward to reading them both, but I’m also looking forward to buying the following books in the new year:

• “Empress of the Seven Hills” by Kate Quinn
• “Stylin’ With CSS” by Charles Wyke-Smith
• “Adobe Creative Suite 5 Bible” by Ted Padova

Edited to add: My sister gave me a book for Christmas! “Caffeine for the Creative Mind” by Stefan Mumaw. Funny, because I’d had this book on my TBR list, and she had no idea! She just got me a book on design that she thought she would like, knowing that if she liked it herself, I’d like it, too! LOL. 😛

 

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Musing Mondays post, or share your answer in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks! 😀

The Sunday Salon (Dec.25)

MERRY CHRISTMAS to all of my readers!!!

Since it’s Christmas day, I won’t be posting a long Sunday Salon post, today, but I will just say this…

I have chosen not to participate in any reading challenges for 2012, due to having a lack of time compared to previous years, and an overall lack of interest in them (for the most part), any more.

But…

As the new year sneaks up closer & closer, I find myself longing to create the lists for those challenges, and to set myself some reading goals for the coming year. LOL.

I read this great post by Lisa at When She Reads, yesterday, and just its format — its long list of books, with the promise of completing the checklist — really made me long for a good reading challenge. I’m sooooo tempted to create a “challenge” of sorts, just for myself, to do in the new year. LOL.

Either way, I’m looking forward to starting fresh on January 1st. I already have been looking at my shelves, and thinking that I’d like to just plow through a bunch of my own books for a few months. No library books, no review books… just the books that have been sitting on my shelves for a (long) while.

Here’s to a great new year of reading! Merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday Finds (Dec.23)

What great books did you hear about/discover this past week? Share with us your FRIDAY FINDS! 😀







My Finds:

       

       


Relentless” by John Bevere
Clarity” by Kim Harrington (book 1)
Perception” by Kim Harrington (book 2)
Insurgent” by Veronica Roth (Divergent, book 2)
Rapture” by Lauren Kate (Fallen, book 4)
The Queen’s Vow” by C. W. Gortner
The Second Empress” by Michelle Moran
Corridor” by Robin Parrish
Dreamless” by Josephine Angelini (Starcrossed, book 2)
The Golden Lily” by Richelle Mead (Bloodlines, book 2)



PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Friday Finds post, or share your ‘finds’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks! 😀

WWW Wednesday (Dec.21)

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?






My answers:

What are you currently reading? I’m still reading “A Lasting Impression” by Tamera Alexander. I haven’t had a lot of time to read, this past week, as I’ve been Christmas shopping, and present-wrapping. So, we’re still not very far into the book. 😕




What did you recently finish reading? Last I finished was still “The Dragonfly Effect” by Jennifer Aaker & Andy Smith. See my review {here}.





What do you think you’ll read next? Still planning to read “The Resolution for Women” by Priscilla Shirer for a blog review event. I’m looking forward to it, but feeling like I might be pressed to get it finished by the deadline.






PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own WWW Wednesday post, or share your answers in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks! 😀

Teaser Tuesdays (Dec.20)

NOTE: Today is MizB‘s birthday!!! 😀

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

 
My Teasers:

“Even though she knew she shouldn’t. Because nothing would ever come of it.”

~ p.192,A Lasting Impression” by Tamera Alexander


PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

{The link for the comments is now at the TOP of this post}

Musing Mondays (Dec.19)

This week’s musing asks…
What’s one book you always recommend to just about anyone?

 

Probably either “Gifted Hands: The Dr. Ben Carson Story” by Dr. Ben Carson with Cecil Murphey, or “Relentless” by Robin Parrish.

Gifted Hands” is a memoir detailing Dr. Ben Carson’s life, from how he grew up in a poor neighborhood, getting poor grades in school, to how his mother encouraged him that he can do anything he puts his mind to, leading him to become one of the top neurosurgeons in the country! A truly inspiring story, one that would benefit anyone!

 

Relentless” by Robin Parrish is the first book in a science-fiction trilogy. And, much as there are people out there that don’t like sci-fi, I’d still recommend this book to just about anyone, because I didn’t like sci-fi, and yet this book was amazing! I absolutely loved it. The book features a group of people with special abilities (eg., telekenesis, etc), who all wear identifying rings. They need to solve the mystery of a secret society in order to save the world from destruction. It sounds a little hooky, but trust me — this book (and the rest of the series) is done REALLY well, and you won’t be able to put it down. 😉

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Musing Mondays post, or share your answer in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks! 😀

The Sunday Salon (Dec.18)

My daughter’s Christmas calendar tells me that there are just 7 more sleeps ’til Christmas… am I ready? Nope! LOL. I love Christmas time… but there’s so much preparation that goes into it, and then you blink, and it’s all over. 😦

I’ve got the majority of my shopping done, but still have a couple of more things to get. Everything I’ve bought, so far, is wrapped and either hidden somewhere (my kids’ gifts), or under the tree, awaiting family gatherings to be delivered to the appropriate people. It was nice to actually get some good gifts for people, this year, thanks to both hubby & I working full-time! I’m sooooo excited about some of the things I’ll be giving to family — they’re gonna be thrilled! 😀

Of course, amidst all of the shopping for others, I had to get a couple of books for myself. Merry Christmas to me! 😛 In my online order, the other night, I added “Illuminated” by Erica Orloff, and “Kiss Crush Collide” by Christina Meredith… and I can’t wait ’til they get here!

ILLUMINATED by Erica Orloff ~ An epic romance full of mysteries that transcend time—fans of Romeo and Juliet and The Time Traveler’s Wife will rejoice!

Some loves are not made to last . . . Like Romeo and Juliet, Heloise and Abelard were doomed from the start, and their romance was destined to pass into history. Yet when sixteen-year-old Callie Martin discovers a diary hidden within an antique book, their story—and hers—takes on another life. For the diary leads Callie to the brilliant and handsome August, who is just as mysterious as the secret the diary hides. Their attraction is undeniable. As the two hunt down the truth behind the diary—and that of Heloise and Abelard’s ancient romance—their romance becomes all-consuming. But Callie knows it can’t last . . . love never does. Will their love that burns as bright as a shooting star flame out, or will these star-crossed lovers be able to defy history?

KISS CRUSH COLLIDE by Christina Meredith ~ Leah has the life most high school girls would kill for—popularity, glowing grades, a rich, athletic boyfriend. So why does she feel like she can’t breathe? And why can’t she stop thinking about the boy from the country club? The one who isn’t her boyfriend, the one that her mother would never, ever approve of, the one that her perfect older sisters would never, ever look at twice. The one who is always looking back at her. Irresistible attraction, smoldering glances, the bad boy and the good girl—Kiss Crush Collide has everything that a steamy forbidden romance should, and then some.

With graceful and honest writing and an electric love story, this is a book about growing into your own skin. For fans of Perfect Chemistry, Sarah Dessen, and John Green.

Both of these sounded sooooo good, I just couldn’t help but buy myself copies of them! I found “Kiss Crush Collide” on a fellow blogger’s site, and “Illuminated” on GoodReads.com (while looking up the other book!). 😉

I am currently reading “A Lasting Impression” by Tamera Alexander, and — as per usual, with this author — have been sucked right in, and don’t want to put the book down! LOL. I’ve been staying up too late at night, not able to finish “just one more chapter“, and am really looking forward to my day off, this coming Wednesday, when I can just sit and read for several hours. 😉

Next up, I’ll be reading “The Resolution for Women” by Priscilla Shirer. I’d bought myself a copy of this book a few months back, after finding the book trailer for it online and being very impressed by it! It sounds like the perfect book to start off the new year with! (resolutions, and all that). Then, the other day, one of the blog-tour companies I review for had this book come up for review — along with its counterparts: “Courageous Living” by Michael Catt and “The Resolution for Men” by Randy Alcorn & Stephen Kendrick. I’m excited, ’cause this will give me the motivation I needed to get the book (“The Resolution for Women“) read sooner than it might’ve otherwise. And, my mom has agreed to read the other book(s), as she was really wanting to read “Courageous Living“. I’ll have both of our reviews posted here on my blog in early January.

   

Next Sunday’s post will be Christmas Day, so I pray all of my readers will have a stress-free week leading up to Christmas, and that you’ll be able to get everything done that you need to, without feeling overwhelmed. 😉

((PS… I was just informed — by WordPress — that this is my 1600th blog post! Wow!))