Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sleep No More (I feel like this sometimes. . .) - Win it here! CLOSED


Sleep No More by Susan Crandall

The night was always Abby Whitman's enemy. As a young girl she walked in her sleep, and one night, she started a fire that scarred her sister for life and left Abby with unbearable guilt . . . and a loneliness that echoes within her. Now Abby has begun blacking out again-with apparently fatal results. A car accident has killed the son of a prominent family. Even though the evidence seems to exonerate her, Abby is plagued by doubts-and soon by mysterious threats. Psychiatrist Dr. Jason Coble is intrigued by Abby and offers to help her explore the dark recesses of her mind.

Five Fun Facts

1) Susan has always had a deep seated fear of being stuck in a car submerged in water at night. She tapped into that fear when she wrote the accident scene in SLEEP NO MORE. To top it off, she set it in an ultra-creepy South Carolina Low country swamp. This one kept her awake at night.

2) During her young childhood years, Susan’s daughter was a sleepwalker. Luckily there was an alarm on the house, and she never made it outdoors.

3) This book met its deadline even though during the last writing weeks Susan was battling a stomach virus. Therefore her “snack of the book” (see book pages on www.susancrandall.net for each book’s deadline snack) was box after box of mini-saltines.

4) Susan’s son is also a fiction writer. His first novel is almost finished.

5) Susan had some misconceptions about sleepwalking when she started developing this book. One of the main points she had wrong required her to totally adjust her plan for this story. Originally she’d intended to have Abby begin to recall scraps of memory as she worked with Dr. Jason Coble. As it turns out, sleepwalkers do not recall anything they do while sleepwalking. Research showed her the error of her ways.



Visit SusanCrandall.net
Follow @SusanCrandall on Twitter.




GIVEAWAY

I have five copies of this paperback to giveaway courtesy of Hachette Books. For your first entry (MUST DO THIS ONE FOR ANY OTHER ENTRIES TO COUNT) What keeps you awake at night? Also leave your email address.

For additional entries you can sign up to follow (old followers let me know), Twitter or post it on your blog. Each entry must have it's own comment. (Four entries total.)

This giveaway if for U.S./Canada only - no PO boxes and will end Jan 28th! Good luck!

Seduced by a Rogue - Wanna win it? CLOSED

Seduced by a Rogue by Amanda Scott

A fair-haired beauty at 19, Lady Mairi is heiress apparent to her father Lord Dunwythie's rich barony. He has carefully taught her how to manage their estates, but a feud between his clan and the Maxwell clan is brewing as the two families edge toward a clan war - their dispute over money owed. Mairi's father believes he owes nothing, and of course Mairi sides with him.

When the impulsive and blue-eyed Rob Maxwell chances to meet Mairi in a barley field, they feel instant attraction, despite their families' antagonisms. Knowing he must put his clan first, Rob enacts a plan to force Dunwythie to pay his debt: Rob kidnaps Mairi, making the abduction appear the work of a stranger; then he and his sheriff-brother offer to help Dunwythis rescue his daughter IF, and only if, he will pay them the monies due. Yet after Rob captures Mairi's body, she captures his heart. When Dunwythie summons the aid of the most powerful clan in all Scotland (the Douglases), clan-tensions rise to a fever pitch. Love takes its own feverish course, as Mairi and Rob join forces to prevent a clash between hot-headed clans, and to protect their budding love.


Five Fun Facts

1. A friend asked me if I might be interested in a story about a woman who nearly began a clan war. As a result, I based the plot for Seduced by a Rogue on events described in an unpublished sixteenth-century manuscript he had found, by a Lady Maxwell who described fourteenth-century events involving her husband’s Maxwell ancestors. According to her ladyship’s rather biased description, the lady Mairi Dunwythie’s father was the fractious one in the conflict. Since I wanted to tell the tale from both sides, it took some digging to discover Lord Dunwythie’s most likely reason for refusing to comply with Alexander Maxwell’s demands.

2. The biggest challenge of this book was to make the hero, Robert Maxwell’s, behavior plausible. The manuscript provides specific details, but to reconcile them with the romantic ending of Mairi and Robert’s story presented a real puzzle until I decided that only one plausible explanation existed.

3. The title of Seduced by a Rogue can be read two ways, because the rogue can be either the hero or the heroine. The reader must decide which one it is.

4. The Solway Firth has one of the strangest tide patterns on the planet. Instead of the usual six hours and twenty minutes between tides, a tide in the Solway Firth can take as little as three and a half hours to flood and can come in on a roaring wall of water, the spray from which can be seen for miles. It can take nine hours to ebb. Other, similarly-formed waterways have such tides, but the Solway is particularly noted for them. The difference in high and low water can be as great as twenty-six feet.

5. While I was writing Seduced by a Rogue, a new kitten adopted us. Although I love cats, I rarely put them in my books. However, when our new kitten, a particularly fierce and funny little beast, stubbornly kept climbing all over me and my keyboard as I tried to write, somehow he also strolled into Seduced by a Rogue as Tiggie Whiskers. His favorite trick is to drape himself over my left shoulder and peer at the screen as if he is checking out everything I write. The wee editor’s real name is Willie Magee.


GIVEAWAY

I have five copies of this paperback to giveaway courtesy of Hachette Books. For your first entry (MUST DO THIS ONE FOR ANY OTHER ENTRIES TO COUNT) What is your favorite romance character's name - first or last? I just find some of them very interesting - like Dunwythis. Also leave your email address.

For additional entries you can sign up to follow (old followers let me know), Twitter or post it on your blog. Each entry must have it's own comment. (Four entries total.)

This giveaway if for U.S./Canada only - no PO boxes and will end Jan 27th! Good luck!

Win A Black Tie Affair by Sherrill Bodine CLOSED



A Black Tie Affair by Sherrill Bodine

Fashion curator Athena Smith will do anything to get her hands on the Clayworth family's couture collection for her exhibit. So she's thrilled when she's called in to authenticate the gowns...until she falls ill while examining them and wakes up face-to-face with notorious Chicago bachelor Drew Clayworth.

Drew doesn't trust Athena one bit. He still believes she betrayed him years ago. So when his family's gowns go missing and Athena offers her help in exchange for the dresses, he reluctantly accepts. But they're both taken off guard by the barely restrained passion that's still between them...and the memories that are both bitter and sweet. As they work together to find the dresses, can they resist the sparks between them?

Five Fun Facts

1. I had the great honor of being allowed down into the Costume Collection Vault of The Chicago History Museum to examine the Bertha Palmer dresses I write about in A BLACK TIE AFFAIR—but, of course, I couldn't touch them—which was truly difficult for someone who "talks with her hands" like me!

2. My friend, the Curator of the Costume Collection, was poisoned by a black Dior evening gown, and the story was born.

3. There truly is an old underground Fallout Shelter—a real time capsule of the 1950's—and it was too fascinating not to write about it.

4. Pandora's Box is really Lulu's at the Belle Kay, Chicago's finest vintage store, owned by my dear friend, Laurie. I added the "hat room" because it has always been Laurie's dream to do it so I hope I inspire her to go for it.

5. I met the designer Carolina Herrera at a party and she was so lovely and charming I decided to name the cats in her honor—plus I love her clothes.



Visit SherrillBodine.com
Follow @SherrillBodine on Twitter.


GIVEAWAY

I have five copies of this paperback to giveaway courtesy of Hachette Books. For your first entry (MUST DO THIS ONE FOR ANY OTHER ENTRIES TO COUNT) What are you doing/or what did you do for New Year's Eve? Also leave your email address.

For additional entries you can sign up to follow (old followers let me know), Twitter or post it on your blog. Each entry must have it's own comment. (Four entries total.)

This giveaway if for U.S./Canada only - no PO boxes and will end Jan 26th! Good luck!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Giveaway - The Survivor's Club (paperback) CLOSED

I promised you some new giveaways today - I think I may have said 4, but I am just too tired - so I am only going to give you 1. . . (expect some tomorrow though!)




The Survivors Club by Ben Sherwood

Which is the safest seat on an airplane? Where is the best place to have a heart attack? Why does religious observance add years to your life? How can birthdays be hazardous to your health?

THE SURVIVORS CLUB

Each second of the day, someone in America faces a crisis, whether it's a car accident, violent crime, serious illness, or financial trouble. Given the inevitability of adversity, we all wonder: Who beats the odds and who surrenders? Why do some people bound back and others give up? How can I become the kind of person who survives and thrives?

The fascinating, hopeful answers to these questions are found in THE SURVIVORS CLUB. In the tradition of Freakonomics and The Tipping Point, this book reveals the hidden side of survival by combining astonishing true stories, gripping scientific research, and the author's adventures inside the U.S. military's elite survival schools and the government's airplane crash evacuation course.

With THE SURVIVORS CLUB, you can also discover your own Survivor IQ through a powerful Internet-based test called the Survivor Profiler. Developed exclusively for this book, the test analyzes your personality and generates a customized report on your top survivor strengths.

There is no escaping life's inevitable struggles. But THE SURVIVORS CLUB can give you an edge when adversity strikes.

GIVEAWAY

I have five copies of this paperback to giveaway courtesy of Hachette Books. For your first entry (MUST DO THIS ONE FOR ANY OTHER ENTRIES TO COUNT) Do you have a true life story that would put you in The Survivors Club? Also leave your email address.

For additional entries you can sign up to follow (old followers let me know), Twitter or post it on your blog. Each entry must have it's own comment. (Four entries total.)

This giveaway if for U.S./Canada only - no PO boxes and will end Jan 25th! Good luck!

Waiting on Wednesday: Brava, Valentine


Brava, Valentine by Adriana Trigiani

Publisher/Publication Date: Harper, Feb 2, 2010

Adriana Trigiani's bestselling novels are beloved by millions of readers around the world. From the Big Stone Gap series to Lucia, Lucia, each is a sumptuous treat as Trigiani tells hilarious and romantic stories that we want to return to again and again.

Very Valentine, an instant New York Times bestseller, introduced the contemporary family saga of the Roncalli and Angelini families, artisans of handcrafted wedding shoes in Greenwich Village since 1903.

As Brava, Valentine begins, snow falls like glitter over Tuscany at the wedding of her grandmother, Teodora, and longtime love, Dominic. Valentine's dreams are dashed when Gram announces that Alfred, "the prince," Valentine's only brother and nemesis, has been named her partner at Angelini Shoes. Devastated, Valentine falls into the arms of Gianluca, a sexy Tuscan tanner who made his romantic intentions known on the Isle of Capri. Despite their passion for one another and Gianluca's heartfelt letters, a long-distance relationship seems impossible.

As Valentine turns away from romance and devotes herself to her work, mentor and pattern cutter June Lawton guides her through her power struggle with Alfred, while best friend and confidante Gabriel Biondi moves into 166 Perry Street, transforming her home and point of view. Savvy financier Bret Fitzpatrick, Valentine's first love and former fianc√Če who still carries a torch for her, encourages Valentine to exploit her full potential as a designer and a business woman with a plan that will bring her singular creations to the world.

A once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity takes Valentine from the winding streets of Greenwich Village to the sun-kissed cobblestones of Buenos Aires, where she finds a long-buried secret hidden deep within a family scandal. Once unearthed, the truth rocks the Roncallis and Valentine is determined to hold her family together. More so, she longs to create one of her own, but is torn between a past love that nurtured her, and a new one that promises to sustain her.

Brava, Valentine, Trigiani's best novel yet, delivers a hilarious and poignant mix of colorful worlds and unforgettable characters as only she can create them.





What are you waiting for? Waiting on Wednesdays is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cleaving by Julie Powell - audiobook Giveaway! CLOSED

This will be my last giveaway for today - but I hope to have four new ones up tomorrow also!




Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat and Obsession
by Julie Powell

(audiobook)


Julie Powell has always felt about butchers the way other women feel about firemen. Perhaps it is no wonder, then, that she turns to butchery when her own life and marriage are rife with confusion, doubt, and obsession.

Food saved Julie once before. Sparked by an early-onset midlife crisis, she cooked all 524 recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year and discovered herself as a writer. Now she is stuck again, this time between her adoring husband - the two of them as close as two trees twined at the root - and a lover she can't resist. Seeking escape Julie does what any torn and desperate woman would do. She plunges herself elbow-deep -- in meat.

At Fleisher's, a family owned butcher shop in the Catskills, she finds a sympathetic bunch of delightful "meat hippies" willing to train an apprentice. Julie takes instantly to the tough, physical work that (less often than she'd like) distracts her from penetrating thoughts of afternoon trysts.

Inspired by the camaraderie at Fleisher's, Julie embarks on a trip around the world, discovering an international brotherhood of butchers and a confidence she didn't know she had. As her journey progresses, she begins to see where the divisions lie. And how in breaking something down you can begin to make it whole again.


Listen to an excerpt.

Check out Julie Powell’s Blog What Could Happen?

GIVEAWAY

I have three copies of this audiobook to giveaway courtesy of Hachette Books. For your first entry (MUST DO THIS ONE FOR ANY OTHER ENTRIES TO COUNT) tell me if you saw Julie and Julia and whether you liked it or not. Also leave your email address.

For additional entries you can sign up to follow (old followers let me know), Twitter or post it on your blog. Each entry must have it's own comment. (Four entries total.)

This giveaway if for U.S./Canada only - no PO boxes and will end Jan 22nd! Good luck!

Dear John by Nicholas Sparks audiobook Giveaway! CLOSED


Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
(audiobook)

"Dear John," the letter read. And with those two words, a heart was broken and two lives changed forever.

When Savannah Lynn Curtis comes into his life, John Tyree knows he is ready to turn over a new leaf. An angry rebel, he had enlisted in the army after high school, not knowing what else to do. Then, during a furlough, he meets Savannah, the girl of his dreams. The attraction is mutual and quickly grows into the kind of love that leaves Savannah vowing to wait for John while he finishes his tour of duty. But neither can foresee that 9/11 is about to change the world. Like so many proud men and women, John must choose between love and country. Now, when he finally returns to North Carolina, John will discover how love can transform us in ways we never could have imagined.



Listen to an excerpt.

Watch the movie trailer.
(You really must go watch this trailer! The movie comes out Feb 5th and I can't wait to see it!)

Visit the official movie website at DearJohn-Movie.com


Giveaway

I have three copies of this audiobook to giveaway courtesy of Hachette Books. For your first entry (MUST DO THIS ONE FOR ANY OTHER ENTRIES TO COUNT) please tell me your favorite Nicholas Sparks novel. Also leave your email address.

For additional entries you can sign up to follow (old followers let me know), Twitter or post it on your blog. Each entry must have it's own comment. (Four entries total.)

This giveaway if for U.S./Canada only - no PO boxes and will end Jan 21st! Good luck!



When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson - Giveaway! - CLOSED

When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson

On a hot summer day, Joanna Mason's family slowly wanders home along a country lane. A moment later, Joanna's life is changed forever...

On a dark night thirty years later, ex-detective Jackson Brodie finds himself on a train that is both crowded and late. Lost in his thoughts, he suddenly hears a shocking sound...

At the end of a long day, 16-year-old Reggie is looking forward to watching a little TV. Then a terrifying noise shatters her peaceful evening. Luckily, Reggie makes it a point to be prepared for an emergency...

These three lives come together in unexpected and deeply thrilling ways in the latest novel from Kate Atkinson, the critically acclaimed author who Harlan Coben calls "an absolute must-read."

Listen to an excerpt

Reading Group Guide

1. Many of the characters in When Will There Be Good News? have lost family members: Joanna loses her mother, sister, and baby brother in the novel’s opening pages; Reggie’s mother has recently drowned; and Jackson lost his mother, brother, and sister in the course of a year when he was twelve. In view of these tragedies, compare Joanna’s, Reggie’s, and Jackson’s respective outlooks on life with those of the other characters in the novel.

2. The question of Nathan’s paternity haunts Jackson Brodie. Why? How might Jackson’s life change if he discovered he was Nathan’s father? Is Jackson a good father to Marlee?

3. With When Will There Be Good News? — and previously also in Case Histories and One Good Turn — Kate Atkinson introduced elements of the traditional crime novel into her fiction. Other than the “crime,” what elements make up a crime novel? What crime- fiction conventions can you discern in this book?

4. When Will There Be Good News? has three central female characters: Joanna, Louise, and Reggie. Discuss the ways in which these three central characters are similar. Which of the three would you most like to encounter again in a subsequent novel by Kate Atkinson?

5. Of Jackson Brodie, Atkinson writes, “How ironic that both Julia and Louise, the two women he’d felt closest to in his recent past, had both unexpectedly got married, and neither of them to him” (page 90). What are the chances that Jackson will ever have a successful romantic relationship? Why do you think he has been unlucky so far, even though he is such an appealing character?

6. Discuss the idea of “good” characters and “evil” characters in When Will There Be Good News? Do you think the novel’s central characters are either essentially “good” or essentially “evil,” or are they a combination of both? How do Louise, Reggie, and Jackson — each of whom breaks the law to achieve the “right” result — fi gure into your viewpoint? What is the moral code at work in the novel?

7. Death, violence, and hardship seem to stalk Reggie, yet she remains remarkably resilient. What do you think sustains her?

8. Discuss the institution of marriage as it is portrayed in the novel. Consider Louise’s marriage, Joanna’s marriage, Jackson’s marriage, and Julia’s marriage. Are there any characters in the novel who are happily married?

9. Jackson Brodie believes that “a coincidence is just an explanation waiting to happen” (page 319). Discuss some of the coincidences in When Will There Be Good News? Do they make the story seem more real? Or less real?

10. Despite the novel’s title and the early statement that “everything was bad. There was no question about it” (page 10), there are many instances of humor in the story. Do you think When Will There Be Good News? is essentially a humorous novel with tragic events or a tragic novel with moments of levity?

GIVEAWAY

I have three copies of this book to giveaway courtesy of Hachette Books. For your first entry (MUST DO THIS ONE FOR ANY OTHER ENTRIES TO COUNT) just tell me you want to win! Also leave your email address.

For additional entries you can sign up to follow (old followers let me know), Twitter or post it on your blog. Each entry must have it's own comment. (Four entries total.)

This giveaway if for U.S./Canada only - no PO boxes and will end Jan 20th! Good luck!

Hearing From God Each Morning by Joyce Meyer - Giveaway! - CLOSED


Start a new habit with the New Year and begin each morning with one of these daily devotions from Joyce Meyers!

In the hustle and bustle of today's busy world, sometimes it's hard enough to hear yourself think, much less take a minute to stop and listen for the voice of God. But learning to recognize God's voice and the many ways in which He speaks is vital for following His plan. This devotional; drawing from How to Hear From God, Knowing God Intimately, and The Power Of Simple Prayer shows the reader through a daily reminder, how God speaks through their own thoughts and feelings, their dreams, and the words of other people.

Joyce Meyer is one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. A #1 New York Times bestselling author, she has written more than eighty inspirational books, including The Secret to True Happiness, 100 Ways to Simplify Your Life, the entire Battlefield of the Mind family of books, her first venture into fiction with The Penny, and many others. She has also released thousands of audio teachings, as well as a complete video library. Joyce’s Enjoying Everyday Life radio and television programs are broadcast around the world, and she travels extensively conducting conferences. Joyce and her husband, Dave, are the parents of four grown children and make their home in St. Louis, Missouri.


Joyce on Twitter
Joyce on Facebook

I have five copies of this book to giveaway courtesy of Hachette Books. For your first entry (MUST DO THIS ONE FOR ANY OTHER ENTRIES TO COUNT) just tell me why you would like to win this or who you would like to win this for.

For additional entries you can sign up to follow (old followers let me know), Twitter or post it on your blog. Each entry must have it's own comment. (Four entries total.)

This giveaway if for U.S./Canada only - no PO boxes and will end Jan 19th! Good luck!

Teaser Tuesday: 12-29-2009


TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you have given!
Please avoid spoilers!







Within months, he had multiple millions in a Swiss bank account and a sprawling, seaside villa in Barbados. He was lying on a lounge chair on the patio of his island fantasy, shaded by a palm tree, eagerly feeding his slide into soddeness, when it all swiftly fell apart.
(The Sacred Cipher by Terry Brennan, p53)










The Sacred Cipher
Publisher/Publication Date: Kregel Publications, July 2009
ISBN: 978-0-8254-2426-7
352 pages


Monday, December 28, 2009

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 12-28-2009


What are you reading on Mondays? is hosted by J. Kaye at J. Kaye's Book Blog. If you would like to participate, please leave your link with Mr. Linky at J.Kaye's blog - but you can also leave me a comment - I would love to know what you are reading!

I also hope to have a few new giveaways up before the end of the year - so stay tuned!

I had no old books to review! Yeah!

Books read and reviewed last week:
1. Primal by Mark Batterson

Books waiting for review from last week:
1. What Your Mother Never Told You: A Teenage Girls Survival Guide by Richard Dudum

Current audio books:
Due to the kids not being in school, haven't been listening to audio books this week. The two that I was listening to - Woman in Red and Evermore - I lost interest in as I haven't been driving my daughter the 40 minutes to and from school! I hope to get back into audio after the new year!

Books currently reading:
1. The Dead and The Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer - this is my current bathroom book - It is pretty good, but I wish that I had the first book to read side by side - as it is laid out in date format and it would have been neat to compare the experiences of 2 kids in 2 different parts of the country in this devastating scenario.
2. Samson's Walls by Jud Niremberg
3. A Christmas Carol Special Edition: The Charles Dickens Classic with Christian Insights and Discussion Questions for Groups and Families by Stephen Skelton
4. A Hope and a Future: Overcoming Discouragement by Don Wilton

Next up:
1. Bear Portraits by Jill Greenberg
2. Chocolate: A Love Story: 65 Chocolate Dessert Recipes from Max Brenner's Private Collection by Max Brenner (I need to get this one done before I have to start all the diet books for next month!!!)
3. Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients by Dr. Jeff Hertzberg
4. Angel and Apostle by Deborah Noyes
5. The Sacred Cipher: A Novel by Terry Brennan
6. The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Kidnapped by Yxta Maya Murray
7. Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters

What are you reading this week?

Mailbox Monday/In My Mailbox 12-28-2009


Mailbox Monday is hosted at The Printed Page or In Your Mailbox at The Story Siren. Please stop by those posts and take a look at what packages everybody else got this week!

Well, I took an unexpected vacation the last couple of days. I hurt my back (I think shoveling snow, but I will never admit it!) and finally today feel like moving around and sitting up - not that I was allowed to not do anything! We celebrated Christmas with my in-laws on Friday in Wisconsin - thankfully missing the bad weather - and then had our Christmas at home on Saturday. The house still looks like a toy tornado went through! I am feeling better and plan on visiting my friendly chiropractor tomorrow! So, on with the mailbox!




The Marriage Project: 21 Days to More Love and Laughter
by Kathi Lipp


More love, more laughter - more lingerie.

Was the last time you flirted with your husband before you had kids?

Do you spend more time on the couch with your wife watching movies or with a bag of chips watching The Game?

Does your idea of a hot date include a drive-thru and springing for the extra-large fries?

What would your marriage look like if for 21 days you put it on project status? Plenty of books describe how to improve a marriage, how to save a marriage, and how to ramp up the intimacy in a marriage. In The Marriage Project, Kathi Lipp shows you how to put the fun back in marriage with 21 simple yet effective projects.

here are just a few of the results you'll see when you put The Marriage Project into practice.
  • new levels of warmth and tenderness in your relationship
  • a deeper sense of security with your spouse
  • new ideas to bring fun and flirting back into your marriage
If you haven't given up on the dream of being head-over-heels with your spouse again, The Marriage Project will give you just the boost you need.

The Marriage Project is great for groups (a leader's guide is included) or for couples to do one-to-one. (back cover)





Hearing From God Each Morning: 365 Daily Devotions
by Joyce Meyer


In today's world we are surrounded by noise. We are overwhelmed by the voices around us, whether they're from our children, our friends, our spouses, or ourselves. Distracted by the sounds of others, we soon forget how to listen to the most important voice of all - the voice of God.

In this devotional, Joyce Meyer guides readers to a more intimate relationship with God, showing us how to cultivate qualities and behaviours that will help us recognize God's voice. Each message is based upon teachings from three of her books, How to Hear from God, Knowing God Intimately, and The Power of Simple Prayer.

This collection includes powerful meditations that will inspire and help you to:
  • Make time for God
  • Discern His responses to prayer
  • Sustain relationships with others while developing your intimacy with God.
This book offers short, empowering reminders of how to reconnect with His plan and persevere through common obstacles ranging from fighting temptation of the mall to overcoming deeply held grudges. With daily readings that reinforce the power of peace, patience, obedience and love, Joyce Meyer provides strategies for opening ourselves to His wisdom by first opening our ears.

Whether preparing for a new day or reflecting on a day past, you too can hear from God! (back cover)






When Will There Be Good News?
by Kate Atkinson


On a hot, beautiful day in the English countryside, six-year-old Joanna Mason witnesses a horrific crime. Thirty years later, the man convicted of the crime is released from prison.

Sixteen-year-old Reggie works as a nanny for a doctor devoted to her infant son. When Dr. Hunter goes missing, Reggie - no stranger to bad luck and worse - seems to be the only person who is worried.

Detective Chief Inspector Louise Monroe is also looking for a missing person, unaware that hurtling toward her is an old friend, private detective Jackson Brodie, himself on a journey that becomes fatally interrupted.

As lives and histories intersect, as past mistakes and current misfortunes collide, Jackson and Louise both get caught up in an investigation that will call into question everything they once thought true. (back cover)




The Paris Vendetta
by Steve Berry


When Napoleon Bonaparte died in exile in 1821, he took to the grave a powerful secret. As general and emperor, he had stolen immeasurable riches from palaces, national treasuries, and even the Knights of Malta and the Vatican. In his final days, his British captors hoped to learn where the loot lay hidden. But he told them nothing, and in his will he made no mention of the treasure.

Or did he?

Former Justice Department operative Cotton Malone is about to find out when trouble comes knocking at his Copenhagen bookshop. Actually, it breaks and enters in the form of an American Secret Service agent with a pair of assassins on his heels. Malone has his doubts about the anxious young man, but narrowly surviving a ferocious firefight convinces him to follow his unexpected new ally.

Their first stop is the secluded estate of Malone's good friend Henrik Thorvaldsen. The wily Danish tycoon has uncovered the insidious plans of the Paris Club, a cabal of multimillionaires bent on manipulating the global economy. Only by matching wits with a terrorist-for-hire, foiling a catastrophic attack, and plunging into a desperate hunt for Napoleon's legendary lost treasure can Malone hope to avert international financial anarchy.

But Thorvaldsen's real objective is much more personal: to avenge the murder of his son by the larcenous aristocrat at the heart of the conspiracy. Thorvaldsen's vendetta places Malone in an impossible quandary -- one that forces him to choose between friend and country, past and present. Starting in Denmark, moving to England, and ending up in the storied streets and cathedrals of Paris, Malone plays a breathless game of duplicity and death, all to claim a prize of untold value. But at what cost? (inside cover)



The Mayo Clinic Diet: Eat well. Enjoy life. Lose weight.
By the weight-loss experts at Mayo Clinic

(I also received The Mayo Clinic Diet Journal)

In our work with literally thousands of patients, we've identified the critical habits of people who maintain a healthy weight, and the habits of those who don't.

With The Mayo Clinic Diet, we've boiled this research down to five simple habits to help you take off the extra weight -- and five habits to break so that you can keep it from coming back. Plus, we've made it easy, because what works best when it comes to weight loss is keeping it simple!

The Mayo Clinic Diet is composed of three sections to get you started, to keep you on track, and to give you the knowledge and tools you need to keep those unwanted pounds off for good.
  1. Lost It! is a two-week quick-start program designed to help you lose 6 to 10 pounds in a safe and healthy way.
  2. Live It! is a long-term plan in which you continue to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week until you reach your goal. Then, you team how to maintain your healthy weight for life.
  3. All the extra stuff includes meal planners, recipes, tips on overcoming challenges and much more to help you along the way.
The Mayo Clinic Diet puts you in charge of reshaping your body and improving your health -- for a lifetime. (inside cover)




The Mudhogs
by Dalton James


No mud equals no fun for three little pigs.

Three little pigs try everything in their power to make or find mud. Along the way they learn a valuable life lesson.

This is the third book written by eight-year-old Dalton James - first two were very cute. I can't wait to read this one with my son.





Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart
by Beth Pattillo


In the tradition of best-selling Jane Austen Ruined My Life, Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart features an Austen fan who uncovers an early draft of Pride and Prejudice -- and discovers that Jane Austen didn't always have Darcy in mind for Elizabeth Bennet.

Claire Prescott doesn't understand Mr. Darcy's appeal. She's been comfortably dating Neil, a nice -- if a bit negligent -- sports fanatic. But when she agrees to stand in for her sister at a Jane Austen seminar in Oxford, England, she finds herself holding a lost version of Pride and Prejudice. Scholars thought Austen's original manuscript was destroyed centuries ago, but as Claire reads the first draft, she uncovers a long-hidden secret about the iconic Darcy, as well as the truth about Austen's own struggle to find the right hero for Elizabeth Bennet.

And when a tall, dark, and dashing stranger crosses her path, will the staid Claire sudd3enly discover her inner Lizzie Bennet? Neil's unexpected arrival in Oxford complicates Claire's journey to finding her own romantic lead, and she discovers that finding the right hero can be more difficult than she ever imagined.

Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart is the story of a woman who finds that falling in love may be the biggest adventure of all and that a true hero can appear in the most unexpected places. (back cover)




Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Primal by Mark Batterson (Partial Book Review)


Title: Primal
Author: Mark Batterson

Publisher: Waterbrook Multnomah

About the book: BE ASTONISHED AGAIN.

We have a tendency to complicate Christianity. Jesus simplified it: Love God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. If we are to live out the essence of Christianity, we must commit to being great at this Great Commandment.

In Primal, Mark Batterson explores the four elements of Great Commandment Christianity: compassion, wonder, curiosity, and power. Along the way, he calls you to be a part of God's reformation, starting in your own life.

As Mark writes, "Is there a place in your past where you met God and God met you? A place where your heart broke for the things that break the heart of God? Maybe it was a sermon that became more than a sermon. Maybe it was a mission trip or retreat. Maybe it was a vow you made at an altar. In that moment, God birthed something supernatural in your spirit. You knew you'd never be the same again. My prayer is that this book would take you back to that burning bush -- and reignite a primal faith."

Primal will help you live in light of what matters most and discover what it means to love God. It will help you become great at the Great Commandment. (inside cover)

My thoughts: I waited kind of late to start reading this book due to the bustle of Christmas, but also due to the fact that I had the mind set that it would be a quick read at 170 pages. It did not take me long to realize that this book was not to be rushed through, but to take to heart and let the message sort of ruminate before moving on - so, as this is the last day of the blog tour, I just wanted to affirm that this is a fantastic book for really laying it all out there on the line - I had never really thought about Christianity as being simple or complex- but as I was reading, I realized that in my own family we have different views as to what being a Christian means - and if I were to spread that out to my friends, my church, and my community it would look very different to everyone. But if we just focus on that one Great Commandment - Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength - What kind of a movement would that start in the community? It is just that simple - I know, easier said than done right? What is holding you back today from this commitment?

Purchase Primal today and make it your priority in the new year to read this one!

~This book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.~

Primal
Publisher/Publication Date: Multnomah Books, Dec 22, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-60142-131-9
171 pages


Monday, December 21, 2009

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 12-21-2009


What are you reading on Mondays? is hosted by J. Kaye at J. Kaye's Book Blog. If you would like to participate, please leave your link with Mr. Linky at J.Kaye's blog - but you can also leave me a comment - I would love to know what you are reading!

I made up for last week and got caught up on my reviews!

Old books reviewed:
1. Fireflies in December by Jennifer Erin Valent - Loved this one
2. Bo's Cafe: A Novel by John Lynch, Bill Thrall, Bill McNicol - Pretty Good
3. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (audio book) - Just okay for me
4. The Cost of Dreams by Gary Stelzer - Good book but got long towards the end
5. Nibble & Kuhn by David Schmahmann - Fun book to read


Books read and reviewed last week:
1. Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception by Maggie Stiefvator - Loved this one - can't wait to start Ballad
2. My Unfair Lady by Kathryne Kennedy - This was a fun read
3. One Hundred Butterflies by Harold Feinstein and Fred Gagnon - This is a beautiful book!

Current audio books:
1. Woman in Red by Eileen Goudge - This one is heating up
2. Evermore: The Immortals by Alyson Noel - Enjoy listening to this one with my daughter

Books currently reading:
1. Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity by Mark Batterson - Just started, seems promising
2. The Dead and The Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer - too early to tell if I will like this as well as Life As We Knew It

Starting this week (I hope. . .):
1. What Your Mother Never Told You: A Teenage Girls Survival Guide by Richard Dudum
2. Samson's Walls by Jud Niremberg
3. A Christmas Carol Special Edition: The Charles Dickens Classic with Christian Insights and Discussion Questions for Groups and Families by Stephen Skelton
4. A Hope and a Future: Overcoming Discouragement by Don Wilton

What are you reading this week?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mailbox Monday/In My Mailbox 12-21-2009


Mailbox Monday is hosted at The Printed Page or In Your Mailbox at The Story Siren. Please stop by those posts and take a look at what packages everybody else got this week!


I received these books for review this week:



The One-Day Way
by Chantel Hobbs


The One-Day Way produces lasting results by taking you back to the basics. No more complicated weight-loss strategies. No more expensive diet plans that achieve only temporary results. Instead, you will lose weight and get fit with Chantel's simple, high-energy meal plans and her at-home program for cardio exercise and strength training. She will teach you how to change the way you think, which leads to new actions. Before you know it you will be strong, fit, and healthy. All it takes is doing things differently for twenty-four hours -- and then repeating it.

The One-Day Way gives you everything you need to lose weight and get fit in body, mind, and spirit:

  • Break free from past dieting defeats
  • Learn a realistic, life-changing way to measure success
  • Change the way you think so you can change your life
  • Translate your dreams into goals, and your goals into lasting achievements
  • Get strong with thirty-0ne simple exercises, no fancy equipment required
  • Take advantage of ten ways to eat better while you lose weight.
By focusing on food, faith, and fitness, Chantel shows you not only how to lose weight, but how to build the new life you were designed to live. You don't have to wait any longer. The One-Day Way gives you all the tools for success, starting right now. (inside cover)







Denise's Daily Dozen
by Denise Austin


Denise Austin shares the perfect plan for anyone who wants to live better and lose weight but can't seem to find the time. Denise's Daily Dozen covers a whole range of health-and diet-related concepts managed in a no-stress, time-conscious program of "twelves" to keep you flexible, strong, trim, and feeling great about yourself. Denise knows these methods work because she uses them personally to stay fit and looking fabulous, and they've worked for countless others, too!

Organized into seven-chapters - one for each day of the week - this perfectly balanced lifestyle program offers a three-week healthy meal plan with simple recipes and delicious foods. Each chapter also features a fully illustrated, total body workout of twelve simple and fun exercises you can do in just twelve minutes any time during the day. Cardio, fat-burning, toning, yoga: they're all here but in a way that maximizes effect while minimizing time. Denise also gives inspiring encouragement and advice in her numerous Daily Dozen tips, including ways to trim food costs as you trim your waistline, boost your energy level, get a better night's sleep, and inspire your family to join you.

Leave any excuses behind. . . Denise wants you energized about your health and fitness so you can feel better about yourself right now! (back cover)






Your Best Body Now
by Ashley Marriott and Marc L. Paulsen, M.D.


Each of us is unique. we were all born with a specific body type and body shape based upon our genetics. Although we can't change our genetics we can take charge of our shape by "specific body shape blueprint training." To do this we need to understand our individual shape and put together a workable and enjoyable fitness plan to achieve the best version of ourselves we can. (back cover)


Terror By Night
by Terry Caffey with James H. Pence


As I sat there gasping for breath, I turned my attention to my house. Even through the thick woods, I could still see the glow of the fire. As I watched the sparks and smoke soaring over the trees toward heaven, a wave of despair washed over me. My throat thickened, and tears filled my eyes, blurring what little vision I had.

They're gone.

Penny, Erin, Matthew, and Tyler were dead, and no effort on my part would bring them back.

What am I going to do without them? Oh, God, what am I going to do?

I didn't understand any of what was happening, but most of all I couldn't understand why God had turned His back on us and allowed this.

Finally the porch light came on, and my next-door neighbor, Tommy, Opened the door.

"Oh, my God. Helen, come quick!"

Tommy came out and bent down to talk to me. "What happened?"

"We need help," I said. "Charlie came and shot us all."

"What about Penny and the kids?" he asked.

A tidal wave of grief swept me away.

"They're all dead."

. . .

Then God intervened. (inside cover)




Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession
(audio book)
by Julie Powell


Julie Powell has always felt about butchers the way other women feel about firemen. Perhaps it is no wonder, then, that she turns to butchery when her own life and marriage are rife with confusion, doubt, and obsession.

Food saved Julie once before. Sparked by an early-onset midlife crisis, she cooked all 524 recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year and discovered herself as a writer. Now she is stuck again, this time between her adoring husband - the two of them as close as two trees twined at the root - and a lover she can't resist. Seeking escape Julie does what any torn and desperate woman would do. She plunges herself elbow-deep -- in meat.

At Fleisher's, a family owned butcher shop in the Catskills, she finds a sympathetic bunch of delightful "meat hippies" willing to train an apprentice. Julie takes instantly to the tough, physical work that (less often than she'd like) distracts her from penetrating thoughts of afternoon trysts.

Inspired by the camaraderie at Fleisher's, Julie embarks on a trip around the world, discovering an international brotherhood of butchers and a confidence she didn't know she had. As her journey progresses, she begins to see where the divisions lie. And how in breaking something down you can begin to make it whole again. (back cover)




Dear John
(audio book)
by Nicholas Sparks


"Dear John," the letter read. And with those two words, a heart was broken and two lives changed forever.

When Savannah Lynn Curtis comes into his life, John Tyree knows he is ready to turn over a new leaf. An angry rebel, he had enlisted in the army after high school, not knowing what else to do. Then, during a furlough, he meets Savannah, the girl of his dreams. The attraction is mutual and quickly grows into the kind of love that leaves Savannah vowing to wait for John while he finishes his tour of duty. But neither can foresee that 9/11 is about to change the world. Like so many proud men and women, John must choose between love and country. Now, when he finally returns to North Carolina, John will discover how love can transform us in ways we never could have imagined. (back cover)





Angel and Apostle
by Deborah Noyes


At the end of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel, The Scarlet Letter, we know that Pearl, the elf-child daughter of Hester Prynne, is somewhere in Europe, comfortable, well set, a mother herself now. But it could not have been easy for her to arrive at such a place, when she begins life as the bastard child of a woman publicly humiliated, again and again, in an unrelentingly judgmental Puritan world.

With a brilliant and authentic sense of that time and place, Deborah Noyes envisions the path Pearl takes to make herself whole and to carve her place in the New World. Beautifully written with boundless compassion, Angel and Apostle is a heart-rending and imaginative debut in which Noyes masterfully makes Hawthorne’s character her own. (Unbridledbooks.com)





Bread of Angels: A Memoir of Love and Faith in Damascus
by Stephanie Saldana


In 2004, twenty-seven-year-old Stephanie Saldana traveled to Damascus, Syria, on a Fulbright fellowship to study the role of the prophet Jesus in Islam. She was also fleeing a broken heart. It was not an ideal time to be an American in the Middle East -- the United States had recently invaded Iraq, refugees were flooding into Damascus, and dark rumors swirled that Syria might be next to come under American attack. Miserable and lonely, Stephanie left Damascus to visit an ancient Christina monastery carved into the desert cliffs. In that beautiful, austere setting, she confronted her wavering faith and met Frederic, a young French novice monk. As they set out to explore the mysteries entwining Christianity and Islam, Stephanie slowly realized that she had found God again -- and that she was in love with Frederic. But would Frederic choose God or Stephanie?

The Bread of Angels sweeps readers inthe violent extremes of a war-torn region and renews their belief in faith, self-discovery, and the possibility of true love. (back cover)




The Sacred Cipher
by Terry Brennan

A secret room has been discovered in the chapel of the Bowery Mission.

And what's hidden inside reveals a mystery of Biblical proportions.

When New Yorker Tom Bohannon uncovers an ancient scroll containing a dead language that has been lost in the sands of time, he doesn't fully comprehend the danger that's about to unfold. Though Tom and his team of ragtag scientists and historians want to decode the ancient text, others don't want the cipher revealed. And they are prepared to kill to keep it hidden.

From a market in nineteenth-century Alexandria to a library in present-day New York to the tunnels beneath Jerusalem, the secret of the cipher is gradually revealing itself across the globe. And for those in its pat, life is about to change -- forever. (back cover)




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