Monday, December 31, 2012

"Danny's Mom" by Elaine Wolf


Danny's Mom by Elaine Wolf is about Beth Mauler, Danny's mom who is a guidance counselor at the high school. Danny dies in a car accident when Beth's husband lets him use the car against her wishes. After the accident, Beth's home life and her job are a mess! This book kept me turning pages. No "wow" factor, but worth your time reading.
(Gerard's review, rating 5 stars)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. Happy Reading!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Our Favorite Fiction Books Read in 2012


Karen's Top 12 Fiction Books for 2012:

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I read 113 books in 2012 but managed to choose just 12 top fiction books; it wasn't easy!  Here are my finalists, but I feel bad I had to leave off others:

 1)  Legend by Marie Lu  (YA, Distopian) (Gerard liked this too!)

 2)  Into the Free by Julie Cantrell  (YA)

 3)  Lead For God's Sake by Todd G. Congwer  (reads like non-fiction about a losing coach)

 4)  Catch Me by Lisa Gardner (suspense) (Gerard liked this too!)

 5)  Defending Jacob by William Landay (murder mystery) [favorite of Gerard's too!]

 6)  Home Front by Kristin Hannah (contemporary fiction) [favorite of Gerard's too!]

 7)  One For the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly (YA)

 8)  The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (childrens about a gorilla, really good!) [favorite of Gerard's too!]

 9)  Words by Ginny L. Yttrop (mystery)

10)  Unwind by Neal Shusterman (YA Futuristic) (Gerard liked this too!)

11)  Wings of the Morning by Murray Pura (historical romance)

12)  Unlocked by Karen Kingsbury (Christian fiction, Autism)

Use the search box to find our reviews for a particular book.

Gerard's Top 12 Fiction Books for 2012:

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 1)  Defending Jacob by William Landay (murder mystery)

 2)  The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly (murder mystery)

 3)  One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf (Karen almost put this on her list too) (mystery)

 4)  Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

 5)  Ice Cold by Tess Gerritsen (suspense)

 6)  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (contemporary fiction) (Karen hated this one but most people love it.)

 7)  Impulse by Ellen Hopkins (YA)

 8)  Home Front by Kristin Hannah (contemporary fiction)

 9)  The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (children's)

10)  Double Blind by Brandilyn Collins (mystery/science fiction) (Karen liked this too!)

11)  172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Horstad (YA) Karen liked this too!)

12)  Grave Mercy by Robin Lafevers (paranormal)

I also loved Little Boy Blue, Catch Me and Heft but could only list 12.

Have you read any of these? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. We highly recommend all of these.  Happy Reading!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Our Top 10 Non-Fiction Books Read in 2012

Gerard read 156 books this year so it's just too hard to choose only 10 favorites.  So this year, he will give you a list of his top 10 non-fiction reads and a separate list of his top 10 fiction reads.  Karen read 111 this year so will also give a non-fiction list of her seven favorites.  If you click on the links, it will take you to our reviews.  Notice Gerard's first two are also on Karen's favorite non-fiction list.

Gerard's Non-Fiction Top 10 Reads for 2012:

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1) Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick (based on a true story)

2) Outlaw Platoon by Sean Parnell and John Bruning

3) January First by Michael Schofield

4) Show Dog by Josh Dean

5) Wild by Cheryl Strayed

6) Nothing to Envy--Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick

7) The White Cascade--The Great Northern Railway Disaster and America's Deadliest Avalanche by Gary Krist

8) I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had by Tony Danza

9) Sutton by J. R. Moehringer

10) Into the fire by Dakota Meyer and Bing West

Karen's 7 Favorite Non-Fiction Reads for 2012:

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1)  Lead For God's Sake by Todd G. Congwer (revised list, this one is actually fiction.)

1)  One Shot at Forever by Chris Ballard

2)  Animals Welcome by Peg Kehret

3)  All God's Creatures--Spiritual Lessons from Animals of the Bible by Gary Richmond

4)  Outlaw Platoon by Sean Parnell (link in Gerard's list)

5)  Never Fall Down by Pat McCormick (based on a true story) (link in Gerard's list)

6)  Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands--How to Help Others Change by Paul David Tripp (no review of this one, but it is a good Bible study on how to give solid Biblical counseling to help people with issues.)

7) James - Mercy Triumphs by Beth Moore

I would include The Power of a Positive Woman by Karol Ladd, but I'm not finished with it yet.

Do you have a different favorite non-fiction read?  Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. Happy Reading!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

"Salvation of a Saint" by Keigo Higashino


In Salvation of a Saint by Keigo Higashino, a husband is found dead in his kitchen. His wife is on a very short list of suspects but the problem is she was in another country at the time of his death. This is a really great tale of police trying to find the murderer with a definite "wow" factor at the end. I highly recommend you read this one if you like murder mysteries!
(Gerard's review, rating 5 stars)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. Happy Reading!

Monday, December 24, 2012

"Almost Home" by Joan Bauer

The girl, Sugar, has a rescue dog, Woof!  Woof!

First off, Almost Home by Joan Bauer is not a dog book in spite of the cover. It is a very good children's book about a young teen girl, Sugar Mae Cole, who finds herself homeless and put into foster care. I liked how it was written as well as the story. I loved Sugar and found myself cheering her on through her ordeal. This is a feel good book that I recommend.
(Gerard's review)

Almost Home by Joan Bauer is an inspirational story about how Sugar, her dog Shush and her mother, Reba lose their home and persevere to get their lives back to "normal."  Both are sweet people that are likeable characters.  Sugar expresses her feelings in poetry and thanks to some nice people who come into her life, finds herself in a good home.  I liked how the dog sort of parallels Sugar's growth as it gets braver throughout the book after having had a bad start.  The issue of trust is also addressed, especially trusting the right people. 

I enjoyed this book because it shows people can rise above bad circumstances and gives hope to kids who may be going through hard times.  I really liked how the mother instilled an attitude of gratitude in her daughter through a silly thank you card game and the challenge to "live bold." 
(Karen's review) 

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. Happy Reading!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

"Over The Edge" by Mary Connealy

This is about Seth, the crazy younger brother.  Loved it!

Over the Edge by Mary Connealy is a Christian historical western romance. It is about a romance between Seth and the wife he forgot he had after being hurt in the Civil War, and the son he knew nothing about. Callie is alone in the world with a baby boy so decides to try to track down Seth's brothers to see if they would take her in since she thinks Seth abandoned her and may be dead. When Seth finds her, it's not a happy reunion.

I liked Over the Edge by Mary Connealy because it has a lot of action in it with characters I liked. I loved how the author kept my interest once again with lots of action, adventure, humor and interesting characters. This is another clean historic romance involving cowboys, the third book in The Kincaid Brides series. Mary Connealy is fast becoming one of my favorite romance writers. It's a light, quick fun read but with a Christian flavor and lots of action!


Have you read this series?  Who was your favorite couple?  Rafe and Julia, Ethan and Audra, or Seth and Callie?  Mine was Ethan and Audra. Here are links to my other reviews in this series:  Out of Control and  In Too Deep.
(Karen's review)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. Happy Reading!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"Cross Roads" by William Paul Young

I liked Cross Roads by William Paul Young about the same as I liked his previous book, The Shack. The premise is the same but I think the story line is better. I liked the first half more than the second half. This is a real good book and worth your time--enjoy!
(Gerard's review, 5 stars)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. Happy Reading!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tuesday Teasers: "Cross Roads" and "Over The Edge"


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should  Be Reading. Anyone can play along, so I thought  I  would play for fun! Just do the following
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page (well, we cheat and choose specific ones)
  • 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 and author, too, so that other TT participants can  add the book to their TBR  Lists  if they  like your teaser.   
Gerard's:
Jesus reached over and took Tony's hand. "The gift I spoke of earlier, Tony, is that on this journey you are taking, you can choose to physically heal one person, but only one, and when you choose the one, your journey will end."
From page 148 of Cross Roads by William Paul Young.

Karen's:
Callie made a sound Seth had never heard from a human being before. Sorta like a wildcat crossed with a wounded grizzly bear during a Civil War battle in a cyclone--in hell. Only way, way more fierce.
From page 31 of Over the Edge by Mary Connealy (Book 3 of The Kincaid Brides series).

Happy Reading!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

"Kept In The Dark" by Penny Hancock


Kept In The Dark by Penny Hancock is not much of a mystery in my way of thinking.  A woman held a young man hostage in her house and reflects on her past with her brother.  I'd say this is an okay read, but nothing great.
(Gerard's review, rating 3 stars)  

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. Happy Reading!

Friday, December 14, 2012

"Buddy" by M. H. Herlong

Woof!  Woof!  A great dog story about bonding!

Buddy by M. H. Herlong is a real good story about a boy and his dog. The boy is 13 and always wanted a dog. On the way to church, their dad hit a dog with their car and they took it in. When hurricane Katrina comes, they have to make some hard decisions about the dog. This is a quick read and I enjoyed it, even though it is a children's book. Although a cute dog is on the cover, this book is more about the family and what goes on with them than it is about the dog. Give it a read, you will be glad you did!
(Gerard's review, 5 stars)

Buddy by M. H. Herlong is a good story about a 13-yr-old boy, his family and his 3-legged dog, Buddy, who got separated when hurricane Katrina hit their home in New Orleans. The boy narrates the story from his point of view. Through the story, this book reveals what people went through in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It brought out several different emotions as I read this: happiness, sadness, and anger. It is a moving story about a kid growing up and maturing to where he thinks of others and seeks to do what is right.  I highly recommend it it to dog lovers, especially boys!
(Karen's review, 5 stars)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. Happy Reading!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

"you came back" by Christopher Coake




You Came Back by Christopher Coake is a pretty good story about a man who re-unites with his ex-wife when they both come to believe their dead son is trying to get in contact with both of them. This man was engaged to be married so re-uniting with his wife does not sit too well with his fiance.

This is a real page turner; however, the lack of a "wow" factor keeps it at 4 stars for me instead of 5. Nevertheless, it is worth reading!
(Gerard's review)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. Happy Reading!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

"The Evil Inside" by Heather Graham


The Evil Inside by Heather Graham is a good story about a young boy accused of killing people with an axe.  It happened near Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts so there is also a tie-in with witches.  There is also a pretty good "wow" factor in this.  I enjoyed the audio book.  It's well worth your time to read this or hear it.
(Gerard's review, 5+ stars)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. Happy Reading!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tuesday Teasers: 3 Today


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should  Be Reading. Anyone can play along, so I thought  I  would play for fun! Just do the following
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page (well, we cheat and choose specific ones)
  • 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 and author, too, so that other TT participants can  add the book to their TBR  Lists  if they  like your teaser.   
Gerard's:
The unknown woman had stared at him--into him. Whatever she'd found there had caused her to run.
From page 7 of You Came Back by Christopher Coake.

Karen's:
Even in his exhaustion the anger seethed, and he once again took aim at the indifferent God he imagined somewhere beyond the roof of the shack. "God, you couldn't even let us find her and bury her properly. Was that just too much to ask?"
From page 78 of The Shack by William Paul Young.

And there's Buddy, standing up on three legs. He's standing there all by himself with his white foot in his water bowl and that old blanket all gathered up under his feet and his tail just a-going.
From page 51 of Buddy by M. H. Herlong. (children's book)

Happy Reading!

Monday, December 10, 2012

"The Silent Girl" by Tess Gerritsen


The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen is a very good read. I think Rizzoli and Isles novels are always worth the read. This novel tells the story of a shooting in a Boston's Chinatown restaurant 19 years ago. The questions behind it are still left unanswered. Rat (a teen boy) and bear (his faithful dog) from Ice Cold are both in this book too.

I did not like this one as much as Ice Cold (audio book) but it is still good enough that I read it in three days. It's a real page turner!
(Gerard's review, rating 5+ stars)


Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. Happy Reading!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

"The Shack" by William P. Young


This will renew your faith! This is just an outstanding book. It will renew your faith in God and answer questions you might have about things. It's like a Bible study that's down to earth, nothing fancy. Machenzie Allen Phillip tells a super story. If you need a hug from God, please read this book.
(Gerard's review, 5 stars)

"The Shack" is an interesting fiction book about a father's distrust of God for not protecting his little girl from being kidnapped and murdered, and then not even being able to find her body. The father got to talk to God face-to-face at the shack and see a glimpse of heaven and eventually got to the point where he forgave the man who murdered his little girl. Interesting book but really unbelievable. Presents God as compassionate, loving and just even when things happen that we don't think should. Emphasis was placed on trusting God and being dependent on Him rather than ourselves. The most important point for me was when we question God, we are really judging Him based on only our limited knowledge--we don't know everything God does. It was interesting how through Mack's face-to-face conversations with God, the book gives some insight into God's nature but some things are not biblical. It did make me look at my relationship with God but is not entirely Biblical so when you read this book, you need to keep in mind that it is fiction.
(Karen's review, 3 stars)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. Happy Reading!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

"All God’s Creatures—Spiritual Lessons From The Animals Of The Bible" by Gary Richmond

This is a "must read" for animal lovers!

All God’s Creatures—Spiritual Lessons From The Animals Of The Bible by Gary Richmond is a fun and interesting read. The author imparts a variety of characteristics and interesting facts about the animals mentioned in the Bible which makes for a greater understanding of the verses. He also shares some fantastic stories relating to the animals from his personal experiences as a zookeeper and veterinarian’s assistant. For example, he shared about the time he was cleaning the bear exhibit and the bear opened the gate and let the other bears in with him, or the time a deer jumped into the lion exhibit and the time he pet a lion. I love animals so enjoyed this book very much.

All God’s Creatures also makes for some good background material when studying certain Bible passages or verses that mention animals. It is a quick, easy read that is organized with separate chapters for each animal. I could easily skip around and read the animals I was most interested in first. I shared about the lion and the wolf in a ladies’ Bible study class and got very positive feedback afterward. I recommend it to all animal lovers and anyone who is interested in the Bible. It certainly shows God’s amazing work throughout the animal kingdom. Now I want to go back and take notes or mark it up! This is one I own.
(Karen's Review, rating 5 stars)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. Happy Reading!

Friday, December 7, 2012

"My Abandonment" by Peter Rock is Based on a True Story


My Abandonment by Peter Rock is based on a true story about a young girl and her father who live as homeless people. They could afford to live in a home but would rather not. I found it interesting how they had a plan so nobody would be following them. I enjoyed it!
(Gerard's review, 4 stars)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. Happy Reading!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

"In Too Deep" by Mary Connealy

Loved the two main characters, Ethan and Audra

In Too Deep by Mary Conneally is the second book of the Kincaid Brides series. It is about Audra and Ethan who enter a marriage of convenience and both are fearful of caring too much and getting hurt. Audra finds out that her former husband stole a fortune and the guy who he stole it from is coming after her because he thinks she knows where it is. The story takes place during 1866 in Colorado territory. Audra and Ethan have some very humorous conversations and both find courage to face their fears.

I liked this book very much because it was a sweet romance without being racy and still had enough adventure and suspense to peak my interest. The first book of the Kincaid Brides series centered on Ethan’s bossy older brother, Rafe and his wife, Julia who is Audra’s step-daughter. I liked this book much better and give this this 5 stars for good Christian romance. I look forward to reading Over the Edge, the last in the series, about the youngest brother, Seth.

See my review of the first in this series, Out of Control.

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. Happy Reading!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"Agenda 21" by Glenn Beck


Agenda 21 by Glenn Beck is a thriller about a young girl named Emmaline who only knows that she is controlled by the authorities. Then one day her mom is taken away and she begins to question why things are the way they are. It moves swiftly! It ends like there will be a second book which I will be reading too!
(Gerard's review, rating 5+ stars)

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If you reviewed this too, feel free to share your link to your review in the comments. Happy Reading!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Tuesday Teasers: "Agenda 21" and "In Too Deep"


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should  Be Reading. Anyone can play along, so I thought  I  would play for fun! Just do the following
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page (well, we cheat and choose specific ones)
  • 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 and author, too, so that other TT participants can  add the book to their TBR  Lists  if they  like your teaser.   
Gerard's:
His head was down, his chin almost on his chest. He looked small and old, kneeling that way. They put the ropes on his wrists and led him away.
From page 6 of Agenda 21 by Glenn Beck.

Karen's:
Ethan smiled at his chawing baby. Besides Maggie, he had a helpful little brother and his cooking wife, who hadn't cried once in nearly a whole day of marriage.
From page 96 of In Too Deep by Mary Connealy (The Kincaid Brides--book 2).

Happy Reading!
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