Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Review: Home to Seaview Key


About the Book:
Falling for a handsome stranger on the very morning they meet is hardly what recently divorced Abby Miller planned for her return to Seaview Key. Hoping to mend an old friendship and to give back to the community she loves, Abby's definitely not looking for love. 

For ex-soldier Seth Landry, Seaview Key seems like the perfect place to heal a broken heart…eventually. And when he rescues a beautiful woman on the beach, his nightmares about the past are eclipsed by daydreams about the future. 

Neither Abby nor Seth are looking for forever, but powerful love has its own timetable. And taking a chance on the future will test their courage in ways neither of them could possibly have anticipated.

My Comments:
Abby is in her early forties, and like most divorced women that age, she has her share of baggage.  Seth isn't divorced; his love died.  His best friend is married to her best friend--and by the way, she and her best friend's husband used to be an item.  Both Abby and Seth have to decide what they want from life and decide to go for it.  

Evidently this is the second book of a series but I didn't feel I missed much by not reading the first book.  There are not a lot of useless characters and recounted plot lines.  I think sometimes Sherryl Woods bleeds series to death but there is no obvious target here for another book.  Like the characters in Woods' other books, Abby and Seth are in bed before the wedding but we don't get to watch.  

I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley.  Grade:  B+

Monday, January 27, 2014

Litfuse Blog Tour and Review: A Miracle of Hope

A Miracle of Hope (The Amish Wonders Series)

About the Book:
Lindie Wyse thinks an arranged marriage is the only way to preserve a future for herself and her unborn child. Josiah Plank is certain he’ll never love again, but he needs someone to care for his deaf eight-year-old daughter, Hannah. The two take on their arrangement tentatively at first but soon realize they are each in for more than they imagined. After a short time, Lindie experiences a breakthrough with Hannah when she recognizes the child’s special gifts, but a risky pregnancy and serious health issues threaten to demolish the foundation Josiah and Lindie are building—and the love that is growing between them.

Will their marriage survive their struggles, or will their hearts become as cold as the northern winter?

My Comments:
Sometimes it is tempting to idealize the life of the Amish.  It is easy to see them as a community focused on each other and on God.  What could be more perfect here on earth?  Unfortunately for them, they are as human as we are.  While Jesus welcomed repentant sinners, this book shows that Amish (and face it, many other observant Christians) do not, particularly when there is permanent evidence of that sin (such as an illegitimate child).  

Lindie needed a new start, Josiah needed wife, though he didn't want one.  They agree to marry, and, not surprisingly, fall in love.  

I enjoyed the story and enjoyed seeing Lindie and Josiah develop a relationship despite themselves.  

I don't know where I got the impression that Ruth Reid's "niche" in the Amish fiction world is stories with a supernatural element, but it is something I knew when I selected this book and Hannah in this book has a gift that isn't normal.  It is presented as having come from God and is used for good, but it definitely isn't the usual answer to a prayer.  

In short, this is an enjoyable Amish romance.  Grade:  B. 

I'd like to thank the folks at Litfuse for providing a review copy of this book.  You can see the links of other reviewers here.  You can see Ruth Reid's website here.

A Miracle of Hope is the first book in Ruth Reid's new series, Amish Wonders, and she is celebrating the release with a Kindle HDX Giveaway and an Author Chat Facebook Party!
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One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • A Miracle of Hope by Ruth Reid
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 11th. Winner will be announced at the A Miracle of Hope Facebook Party on February 11th. Connect with Ruth for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, prizes, and more!

So grab your copy of A Miracle of Hope and join Ruth and friends on the evening of February 11th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 11th!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Review: The Big Book of Laugh Out Loud Jokes for Kids


About the Book:
Now everyone's favorite joke books from Rob Elliott can be found in one economical volume! Combining his bestselling Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids, Zoolarious Animal Jokes for Kids, and Knock-Knock Jokes for Kids, Elliott will have kids of all ages laughing with the gut-bustingest, knee-slappingest, guffaw-inducingest, funniest collection of clean jokes you can find.

Great on car rides, at the dinner table, on the playground, and anywhere in between, this collection of hilarity will make you and those around you smile every day.

My Comments:
What can I say?  I think the jokes are corny, but my nine  year old loves it, and since she's the intended audience, trust  her opinion, not mine.  

My daughter would like to thank the publisher for the complimentary review copy.  She's not the tough grader that her mom is so she gives the book an A.

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival


Hello, and welcome to Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival. We are a group of Catholic bloggers who gather weekly to share our best posts with each other. To participate, go to your blog and create a post titled Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival. In it, discuss and link to your posts for the week--whether they deal with theology, Catholic living or cute Catholic kids. I'm mostly a book blogger so my posts are generally book reviews, some Catholic, some not. Make sure that post links back here. Once you publish it, come back here and leave a link below.

We also have a yahoogroup; signing up for it will get you one weekly reminder to post. Click here to sign up.

Question of the week:  Yes, we are back to questions of the week.  If you check the tab on top you'll see that I have drafted questions for the rest of the year and given credit to those who inspired them.  This week's question:  Where do you get your Catholic reading material?  Church library?  Public Library?  Secular bookstore? Catholic bookstore?  Do you want to give a shout-out to a particular store? (inspired by Rochelle)

I've got a cold and it is miserably cold here (froze last two nights) so I'm spending this weekend at home.  I don't want to give this crud to my Dad and I have no desire to run the streets.  For the last few years I've gotten my Catholic reading material in the mail on on my Kindle.  There are some advantages to being a book blogger and free books are the main one.  Two bookstores that used to have blogger programs were Catholic Company and Aquinas and More.  Neither blogger program is operating now, from what I can tell.  NetGalley usually has books from Ave Maria Press.  If you are a blogger and want to review the books on your blog, register with NetGalley and request them.  Blogging for Books carries books from Image Books.

Only one post for me; a blog tour of a Christian novel.   I did post several comments in response to an article in our local paper.  I'm ruthjoec.

Litfuse Blog Tour: A Promise Kept


A Promise Kept

About the Book:
God was going to save her marriage, Allison was sure of it. But neither her husband nor her marriage had been saved.

What had become of His promise?

Tony Kavanagh had been Allison’s dream-come-true. They were in love within days, engaged within weeks, married and pregnant within a year. Her cup bubbled over with joy . . . but years later, that joy had been extinguished by unexpected trials.

The day Allison issued her husband an ultimatum, she thought it might save him. She never expected he would actually leave. She was certain God had promised to heal; it was clear that she'd misunderstood.

Now, living in the quiet mountain cabin she inherited from her single, self-reliant Great Aunt Emma, Allison must come to terms with her grief and figure out how to adapt to small town life. But when she finds a wedding dress and a collection of journals in Emma’s attic, a portrait of her aunt emerges that takes Allison completely by surprise: a portrait of a heartbroken woman surprisingly like herself.

As Allison reads the incredible story of Emma’s life in the 1920s and 1930s, she is forced to ask a difficult question: Does she really surrender every piece of her life to the Lord? 

Drawing from her own heart-wrenching story of redemption, A Promise Kept is Robin Lee Hatcher’s emotionally charged thanksgiving to a God who answers prayers—in His own time and His own ways.

My Comments:
This was an enjoyable story with a lot of fodder for thought.  Allison had prayed for her marriage to be healed, but her husband walked out on her.  Does God answer prayers?  Most of us have been told that God always answers prayers--it is just that sometimes the answer is "no".  Allison is coming to terms with the fact that her answer was "no", that her marriage was not going to be saved.  It was time to live life on her own and she chose to start that life in a place she'd always loved and recently inherited, her great aunt's cabin.  While there, she learns through her aunt's journals, that her aunt had been through a similar situation.  

Later in the book Allison's husband seeks reconciliation and Allison has to grapple with what she wants and what God wants her to do.  She wants to protect her heart, yet she wants to be open to the will of God. That had to be a tough spot to be in .  

I like Allison.  She was developing a new life for herself after her old one was basically ripped out from under her.  I loved reading Aunt Emma's journals, the journals of a woman who grew from someone willing to accept less than she deserved to one who built a life and career in a time when most women's lives were defined by family.  

The book is Christian fiction and Allison's faith is definitely front and center in the book but it isn't a book where getting saves solves all the problems of life nor does it push particular beliefs on the readers.  

I'd like to thank the publisher for providing a complimentary review copy via Litfuse.  Grade: B+

Don't miss Robin Lee Hatcher's stunning new novel, A Promise KeptRobin is celebrating with a fun giveaway and an encouraging Facebook Author Chat Party.
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 One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • A Promise Kept by Robin Lee Hatcher
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 6th. Winner will be announced at the "A Promise Kept" Facebook Author Chat Party on the 6th. Connect with Robin and friends for an evening of encouraging book chat, prizes, and an exclusive look at Robin's next book!

So grab your copy of A Promise Kept and join Robin on the evening of February 6th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK or TWITTER. Hope to see you on 2/6!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival


Hello, and welcome to Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival. We are a group of Catholic bloggers who gather weekly to share our best posts with each other. To participate, go to your blog and create a post titled Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival. In it, discuss and link to your posts for the week--whether they deal with theology, Catholic living or cute Catholic kids. I'm mostly a book blogger so my posts are generally book reviews, some Catholic, some not. Make sure that post links back here. Once you publish it, come back here and leave a link below.

We also have a yahoogroup; signing up for it will get you one weekly reminder to post. Click here to sign up.

Question of the week: This week's question is from Anthony: Did you get your "patron saint of the year"from Jen Fulweiler? If so, who was it?

My Answer: Yes, I got St.Francis de Sales. Here is the comment I left on Jen's page:

St. Francis de Sales
Feast: January 24
Patronage: Confessors; Deaf People; Educators; Journalists; Teachers; Writers
Hmmm…I need to go to confession, I have a teaching degree and serve on my parish school board and I’m a blogger…

I'm a blogger but I haven't been blogging much.  I reviewed a cookbook and a Christian romance novella. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Quick Review: Come Home to Supper


Come Home to Supper: Over 200 Casseroles, Skillets, and Sides (Desserts, Too!)--to Feed Your Family with Love

About the Book:
It’s a heartfelt celebration of family dinners—the comforting, delicious food that memories are made of—by the new doyenne of Southern cooking. Christy Jordan is a former editor-at-large of Southern Living, a contributing editor to Taste of the South, and publisher of the wildly popular blog SouthernPlate.com—boasting nearly 1 million unique visitors per month, over 60,000 e-newsletter subscribers, and more than 50,000 Facebook fans. She’s appeared on TODAY, Paula Deen, and QVC, among many other media outlets, and her first book, Southern Plate (William Morrow), has 107,000 copies in print.

Conceived and written to reflect the reality of today’s hectic schedules—and the need to gather around the dinner table—Come Home to Supper offers more than 200 deeply satisfying dishes that are budget-minded, kid-friendly, and quick. These are the everyday meals that Christy Jordan most loves to cook, and her family most loves to eat, and she serves them up with generous helpings of her folksy wisdom, gratitude, and lively stories.

Many of the recipes make ingenious use of the slow cooker or a single pot or skillet; require easily found supermarket ingredients; and are packed with time-saving tips and shortcuts. And the menu, well, it’s all good, including Crispy Breaded Pork Chops with Milk Gravy, Beef and Broccoli,Spicy Fried Chicken,Craving Beans, Summer Corn Salad, Slow Cooker Baked Apples,Ice Cream Rolls, and Cinnamon Pudding Cobbler. Or to put it like Christy Jordan, food to make your family “smile louder.”

My Comments:
NetGalley did not offer a Kindle version of this cookbook so I'm not going to try any of the recipes.  In general they look good and most of the ingredients are things I have in the house or could get with a quick trip to the grocery store.  The recipes can be put on the table quickly, which is a help in today's world.  Some of them are church cookbook standards.

The book itself is attractive and includes some photographs of the food, though generally just one photo per chapter.  It also includes sidebars about family living and traditions.  It would make a good housewarming gift or gift for a young adult who is setting up housekeeping for the first time.

Monday, January 13, 2014

A February Bride: My Review

A February Bride (A Year of Weddings Novella)

I use Grammarly's plagiarism checker because my genius is mine, not yours!

About the Book:
A year's worth of novellas from twelve inspirational romance authors. Happily ever after guaranteed.

Allie left the love of her life at the altar---to save him from a lifetime of heartbreak. When a Valentine's Day wedding brings them back together, she struggles against her family's destructive history. Can Allie ever realize that a marriage is so much more than a wedding dress?

History repeats itself when Allie Andrews escapes the church on her wedding day---in the same dress passed down for generations and worn by all the women in her family---women with a long history of failed marriages. Allie loves Marcus but fears she's destined to repeat her family's mistakes. She can't bear to hurt Marcus worse.

Marcus Hall never stopped loving Allie and can only think of one reason she left him at the altar---him. When the two are thrown together for his sister's Valentine's Day wedding, he discovers the truth and realizes their story might be far from over. Can Allie shuck expectation and discover who she is as a bride and in the Bride of Christ? And if she ever walks down the aisle, what dress will she wear?

My Comments:
I love him too much to marry him and stick him with someone like me.  That's the gist of this cute novella.  Of course, he's flabbergasted--why did she leave him at the altar?  What did he do?  

They live in a small town and life keeps bringing them together.  She wants to be friends; he's confused.  Eventually it all comes together, but given the cover, I'm sure you figured that out.  Someone quotes Scripture to her at the right time and everyone lives happily ever after.  This is a short easy light read with a little religion thrown in, but unless you hate religion in romances, it isn't too much.  

I'd like to thank the publisher for providing a complimentary review copy via NetGalley.  Grade:  B-  I'd also like to thank the folks at Grammarly for giving me an Amazon Gift Card in exchange for running that promotion at the top of the post.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival



Hello, and welcome to Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival. We are a group of Catholic bloggers who gather weekly to share our best posts with each other. To participate, go to your blog and create a post titled Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival. In it, discuss and link to your posts for the week--whether they deal with theology, Catholic living or cute Catholic kids. I'm mostly a book blogger so my posts are generally book reviews, some Catholic, some not. Make sure that post links back here. Once you publish it, come back here and leave a link below.

We also have a yahoogroup; signing up for it will get you one weekly reminder to post.  Click here to sign up.

Question of the week: Since most people thought the question of the week was a good feature, it will continue.  This week's question of the week is:  What are some possible questions of the week?  In other words, give me some questions I can use to continue this feature.

Last Sunday the weather finally got nice for about 24 hours so I dragged the family to the park for pictures.  A friend of my older daughter was the photographer.

On the blogging front this week, I reviewed Dear Mr. Knightley, a Christian epistolary novels and a children's Bible storybook


Dear Mr. Knightley: My Review

Dear Mr. Knightley: A Novel

About the Book:
Sam is, to say the least, bookish. An English major of the highest order, her diet has always been Austen, Dickens, and Shakespeare. The problem is, both her prose and conversation tend to be more Elizabeth Bennet than Samantha Moore.

But life for the twenty-three-year-old orphan is about to get stranger than fiction. An anonymous, Dickensian benefactor (calling himself Mr. Knightley) offers to put Sam through Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism. There is only one catch: Sam must write frequent letters to the mysterious donor, detailing her progress.

As Sam’s dark memory mingles with that of eligible novelist Alex Powell, her letters to Mr. Knightley become increasingly confessional. While Alex draws Sam into a world of warmth and literature that feels like it’s straight out of a book, old secrets are drawn to light. And as Sam learns to love and trust Alex and herself, she learns once again how quickly trust can be broken.

Reminding us all that our own true character is not meant to be hidden, Reay’s debut novel follows one young woman’s journey as she sheds her protective persona and embraces the person she was meant to become.

My Comments:
Back in either junior high or high school I read (several times) and loved a book called Daddy-Long-Legs (and since the Kindle version is free, I'm going to read it again.).  Dear Mr. Knightley struck me as an updated version of that book.  In both cases, an orphan girl writes to an anonymous benefactor who is putting her through school.  In both cases, the story is told through those letters.

So, does it work?  In some ways, yes.  I enjoyed to story, and probably would have enjoyed it more had I been a real Jane Austen fan for whom the name Mr. Knightley meant something or who understood the context behind all (or even some) of the literary quotes in the book.  I enjoyed watching  Sam come out of her shell, learn to relate to others, and pursue her craft.

As noted above, the story is told be means of letters Sam writes to her benefactor.  Sam has been hurt both physically and emotionally and hides in literature.  Say something to her and she is apt to respond with a quote from a favorite book.  It is part of wall she has developed around herself.  Despite that, her letters to "Mr. Knightley" are far more intimate, far more personal, far more revealing that anything I ever wrote to parents I loved.  Sam told him that the anonymity allowed her to be open but I find it hard to believe that anyone so closed 1) realized so much about herself and 2) was willing to tell someone.   I would have found it more believable had these been journal entries rather than actual letters.

The books is published by a Christian publisher.  This means that a couple that becomes Sam's friends pray for her a couple of times and that when Sam gets a boyfriend, she doesn't want to be intimate with him.  A friend reminds her that actions have consequences and that sex before marriage is a sin that can harm a relationship.  One of Sam's mentors is Fr. John, but if you didn't know "Fr." was a religious title, you'd never guess it from the story.

I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley.  Grade:  B.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Blog Tour: 99 Stories from the Bible


About the Book:
Following the narrative of the Bible, this collection of 99 stories starts with At the Beginning, and covers a wide variety of key events, including Samuel Listens, Esther, A Blind Man Sees, and Jesus Walks on the Lake, through to One Day Jesus Will Return. Each story is told over a double page spread with vibrant illustrations and some full page art.


My Comments:
I thought my nine year old might  enjoy this book but it was a little young for her her. Nevertheless it was beautifully illustrated and most of the stories are well-told.  As a Catholic reviewing  children's Bible story books I have several stories I look for/at.  This book has The Wedding at Cana,but while it mentions that Mary was there, no mention was made of her intercession.  Peter's profession of faith and being given the keys to the Kingdom isn't there.  The Last Supper is included but while the washing of the feet was described, as well as the conversation with Judas, and we are told that Jesus blessed the bread and wine and shared them with His friends, no mention is made of "This is my Body..."  While it mentions that Jesus' family and friends watched the crucifixion, no mention is made of John and Mary being given to each other.

I'll admit that another thing I look for in children's Bible stories is a lack of gore.  I know the crucifixion was awful; I just don't want to deal with nightmares.  In this book the crowd is looking into the distance at the crosses.  No blood is visible, and crowing with thorns and the scourging at the pillar aren't mentioned.

As the book basically just retells the stories, and doesn't add any commentary about what they are supposed to mean, I don't think a Catholic parent would find anything objectionable in it, the only problem is what isn't here.

I'd like to thank the publisher for providing a complimentary review copy.  Grade:  B.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

It's Monday: What Are You Reading

Sheila at Book Journey hosts It's Monday What Are You Reading:
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I haven't participated here lately, but will try to get back in the swing of things.  Here are some recent reads:






Jury of His Peers 
Caroline Lomax is on jury duty and, by sheer coincidence, so is Ted Thomasson. She'd known him when she was twelve and he was fifteen. Back then, she thought he was obnoxious-and she hasn't changed her mind. But other things have changed. Ted's become very attractive, for one. And he certainly knows how to kiss. 

Now Ted wants Caroline to see him as more than a boy from her past. He wants her to see him as the man she'll marry. 

Any Sunday 

Until now, Marjorie Majors has made a point of avoiding doctors. But an attack of appendicitis doesn't give her any choice. Dr. Sam Bretton's confident diagnosis and gentle care are exactly what she needs, and his bedside manner is pretty appealing, too. She's starting to fall for him-until he asks her to find another doctor. 

Except his reason isn't what she thinks it is. He wants to be her husband, not her doctor!



A Friend or Two


Elizabeth Wainwright, an East Coast heiress in disguise, takes a job waitressing at a Fisherman's Wharf cafĂ©, eager to live a simpler life. One day Andrew Breed—handsome, mysterious and charismatic—walks in. He says he's a longshoreman, but his words and actions don't quite add up. Is Elizabeth falling in love with someone who's pretending to be something other than he claims? Is Andrew?

No Competition

Local architect Shayne Reynolds is an art collector, but when it comes to Carrie Lockett he's as interested in the artist as he is in her California landscapes and stunning portraits. The talented and reclusive Carrie, however, rejects his overtures, but she won't tell him why…even though he knows she returns his feelings.


These two Debbie Macomber books were from the library and were exactly what I expected--sweet, clean and predictable.




 Jane Hatton and her British husband Andrew relocate from New York City to a small village on the Cumbrian coast. Jane has been city-based and career-driven but when her fourteen year old daughter Natalie falls in with the wrong crowd at school in Manhattan, she and Andrew decide to try country living. However Jane has trouble getting used to the silence and solitude of a remote village. Natalie hates her new school, and eleven-year-old Ben struggles academically. Only eight-year-old Merrie enjoys country life. Has Jane made a horrible mistake? The Hattons have bought the old vicarage in the village. When Jane finds a scrap of shopping list, she grows curious about Alice, the vicar’s wife who lived there years before. As we follow the twin narratives of Jane, in the present, and Alice in the 1930s we discover that both are on a journey to discover their true selves, and to address their deepest fears.

I'll be reviewing this one in a few weeks, but I will say I recommend it.




What will happen when novelist Madeleine Houser's 'pen pal' friendship with a lonely widower takes an unexpected turn?
Who can work in a house that's overrun by contractors and carpenters? Not Madeleine Houser, a successful novelist who gladly accepts the help of her octogenarian friend, Ginny, to arrange for a temporary office in the charming bed and breakfast owned by Ginny's friend, Arthur. Maddie's never met the innkeeper---but a friendship grows between them as Maddie and Arthur leave messages for each other each day. To Maddie's alternate delight and chagrin, she seems to be falling for the inn's owner---a man who's likely many years her senior---and who she's never even met.
Arthur Tyler is a college professor who lost his young wife to cancer. Together they ran the bed and breakfast where Art lives, but without his wife, the house is missing warmth and cheer. He jumps at the chance to have author Madeleine Houser use the space that was once filled with guests. He, too, begins to enjoy the daily exchanges with Maddie, but a series of misunderstandings lead him to believe she's far from being a prospective date---even if he were ready to date again, which he's not.
When Maddie and Art finally meet and discover one another's identity, sparks fly. Even so, they each have obstacles to overcome in order for this winter romance to blossom.

This reads pretty much like the Debbie Macomber ones, with the addition of some gratuitous religion.  In other words, this really isn't a book about spiritual growth, the religious aspects seemed tacked on rather than integral.  Still, it is a cute short easy romantic read.  Grade:  B-

I only published one review this week:


As a criminal defense paralegal I found this book about what happens to our clients when they are convicted to be interesting.  You can read my review here.

My Seven Quick Takes post this week listed the Catholic books I reviewed in 2013.  My Booking Through Thursday post listed the best books I read in 2013.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival



Hello, and welcome to Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival. We are a group of Catholic bloggers who gather weekly to share our best posts with each other. To participate, go to your blog and create a post titled Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival. In it, discuss and link to your posts for the week--whether they deal with theology, Catholic living or cute Catholic kids. I'm mostly a book blogger so my posts are generally book reviews, some Catholic, some not. Make sure that post links back here. Once you publish it, come back here and leave a link below.

We also have a yahoogroup; signing up for it will get you one weekly reminder to post.  Click here to sign up.

Question of the week:  Do you find these questions of the week to be interesting or useful?  In other words, should we continue having them?  My answer:  I've gotten some interesting answers to some of the questions I've asked but the concept as a whole doesn't seem to have taken off like I'd hoped.  In other words, I'm on the fence which is why I am asking you, the participants.

I've been off work all week so I've had time to read and blog.  Actually I've done a lot more blogging than than reading.  My foot is feeling better so I was able to take my youngest to Baton Rouge to Build A Bear.  On the way home we toured a plantation home.  Here are some pictures:




I hadn't planned to stop at the plantation so the only camera I had was on my old cheap phone.

What did I blog about this week?  I was trying to get out of a blogging funk so I decided I was going to try to do a week's worth of memes or link-ups.  I started on Thursday with Booking Through Thursday, in which I listed my best reads of the year.  On Friday, I did Seven Quick Takes and I included a list of the Catholic books I'd read this year in that post.  On Saturday, I tried a new (to me) meme, Saturday 9.  This is Sunday's post.  Monday, I'll join Shelia and the gang for It's Monday, What Are You Reading.  Anybody have any favorites for Tuesday and Wednesday?  Another thing I did was join some reading challenges.  You can read about them here.  Finally, I posted one book review.  It is a book about prison life and while the main character is Catholic and her faith is important in the book, it isn't considered faith-based fiction.



Saturday 9

I've been in a blogging funk lately.  I just haven't felt like it.  I've read some books but haven't written reviews.  I decided that one way out of the funk was to do something different.  I decided that for at least a couple of weeks, I'd do a meme a day.  So far I did Booking Through Thursday and Seven Quick Takes, both of which I've done  in the past, though not regularly.  Today I'm trying a new one, Saturday 9.  The host of Saturday 9 is "Crazy Sam" and each week she asks nine questions for bloggers to answer.  Here are this week's questions:

Saturday 9: Believe



1) In 1998, Cher became the oldest woman to top the Billboard Hot 100 with "Believe." She was 52 at the time. At what age do you think you did hit/will hit your prime?

I don't think there is any such thing as "your prime".  I'm not as physically attractive as judged by conventional society as I was at 20 or 30 but I have far more life experience and wisdom which makes me, hopefully, a better person. I know I'm far more comfortable in my own skin than I was 20 years ago.  On the other hand, I have started to note physical decline (bifocals, arthritis, weight gain, menopause).  Physically, the trend is downhill, but hopefully that will be manageable for some time.

2) Cher is as well known for her outrageous outfits as for her singing. What's the latest piece of clothing you added to your wardrobe?

I bought a beautiful scarf today, filled with oranges and golds.  Not me at all, but it is lovely and I decided it will go well with black.

3) Cher credits her unique looks to her diverse ethnicity. Her father was Armenian and her mom is English/German/Cherokee. From where did your ancestors come?

My mom's family is from Austria and her grandparents on both side (I think) were immigrants.  I don't know much about my Dad's paternal grandparents but the name is German and the family settled near Appleton WI.  My Dad's mom was an immigrant from Russia, but the family was German, not Russian.   You can Google "Volga German" or "German-Russian" to learn more about this ethnic group but basically they were Germans who settled in Russia about the time of the American revolution.  They lived in German villages, spoke German and were Catholic, not Orthodox.  Lawrence Welk was a German-Russian.

4) When she was a little girl, Cher produced and starred in a schoolyard production of Oklahoma. Were you involved in drama or theater in school?

 I was in the Junior and Senior class plays.  They were nothing to write home about and were chosen so as not to offend anyone and to have as large a cast as possible.  Still, it was fun.

5) Cher is open about her plastic surgery, speaking freely about having had her breasts 'done', her nose bobbed and her teeth straightened. If you could change one physical feature about yourself, which would it be? And what would you never change, under any circumstances?

I change my hair  color from gray to some shade of light brown or dark blonde on a regular basis.  I would never to cosmetic surgery unless I had a very disfiguring injury.

6) There's a stubborn rumor, often denied, that Cher had a rib removed so that she could maintain her long and lean silhouette. What's the most outrageous thing anyone has said of you?

No clue.

7) When she was a kid, Cher practiced her autograph. Do you have a clear, legible signature? Or is it more of a scrawl?

Definitely a scrawl.

8) Cher asks, "Do you believe in life after love?" Crazy Sam's question is easier and less profound: Do you believe in luck?

Yes, but I think we make most of our luck.

9) Did you make any resolutions for 2014?
Yes.  Lose weight.  Pray more.  Exercise regularly.  


Thursday, January 02, 2014

Seven Quick Takes: The Year in Review


2013 was a year of change at our house.  My middle child graduated from high school and began college at Northwestern State University of Louisiana.  I'm proud to say she finished the first semester with a 3.25 GPA as a Scholar's College student.
I'm primarily a book blogger and invite you to check out my Booking Through Thursday post where I list my "A" books for the year along with some recommended Catholic fiction.
Our family had a nice Christmas together.  My Dad is 84 and was knocked for a loop by some minor surgery this fall.  There were a couple of weeks when I wondered if he'd make it this long.  Hopefully this will not be our last Christmas together but he is getting to the age and stage of health where we all realize it may have been.
In my work life I am a paralegal who does both insurance defense and criminal defense.  This year on the criminal defense front, we successfully defended a police officer who shot someone in the line of duty.  We sent the father of five kids home to his family for Christmas after he had been imprisoned for over three years.  It made my December.
Here are the Catholic non-fiction books I reviewed this year:

 




Here are the Catholic novels I've reviewed this year:






Inside These Walls(while this isn't published as faith-based fiction, I found Catholicism to be important in the book)


The New Orleans Saints will be playing Saturday night in Philadelphia.  Geaux Saints!  Who Dat!
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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