My Top 10 books for 2009

A few of my friends have posted their "Top 10" lists, so I thought I would join in the fun! To see their lists, please visit: Lee and Angie.

Here's my "Top 10" list:

1. Daughters of Boston series, books 1-3 by Julie Lessman
2. Heart of the West series, books 1-2 by Maggie Brendan
3. Beyond This Moment (Timber Ridge Reflections, Bk 2) by Tamera Alexander
4. Fools Rush In (Wedding by Bella, Bk 1) by Janice Thompson
5. Montana Rose (Montana Marriages, Bk 1) by Mary Connealy
6. Belles of Timber Creek series, books 1-2 by Lori Copeland
7. The Seaside Letters (A Nantucket Love Story) by Denise Hunter
8. Stand-In Groom (Brides of Bonneterre, Bk 1) by Kaye Dacus
9. Never the Bride by Cheryl McKay & Rene Gutteridge
10. A Bride of Honor by Ruth Axtell Morren

Yes...I'm aware that I've "cheated" somewhat by counting series as ONE book, but I just couldn't help myself! Please feel free to post your list in the comments here, or post the link to you blog post...we would all love to see your "Top 10" books for 2009!

**Be sure to read my reviews for most of these books**



I will be spending time with family most of the day today, and tomorrow, but I wanted to wish all of my friends and followers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

Have a safe and happy Holiday!!


I'm Reviewing: The Sheriff's Surrender (Ladies' Shooting Club, Bk 1) by Susan Page Davis

The Sheriff's Surrender
(Ladies' Shooting Club, Book 1)
by Susan Page Davis

Christian Fiction/Historical/Romance/Suspense

Barbour Publishing, Inc.
Copyright 2009
Pages: 319
ISBN: 9781602605626

From the author's website:

A murder in Fergus, Idaho, has the town’s women scared. But the men don’t seem able to stop the rash of thefts, assaults, and vandalism that follow. Half a dozen women band together to arm themselves against trouble. The gunsmith's plain sister, the emporium's owner, a couple of rancher's wives and saloon girls take their shooting lessons seriously. The men are skeptical at first and slightly amused. The new minister's wife shocks the town by joining the club, and other women follow her lead. When they show no sign of letting up on their drill, the men beg the sheriff to disband the club and put their women back where they belong. Those are fighting words to the ladies. Domestic rebellion threatens until a new murder grabs everyone's attention. Will the sheriff and his men find the killer and put him away? Or will that honor belong to the Ladies' Shooting Club?

My Thoughts:

I have eagerly been awaiting the release of this book! At first, I thought I was going to be disappointed...but, the more I read the better it got. I wanted this book because I thought it was going to be a Historical Romance, but as it turns out, it's more of a Romantic Suspense/Mystery than just a Romance, in my opinion. It took me awhile to get into the story, but I'm so glad I stuck with it. Now I'm looking forward to reading the next book, The Gunsmith's Gallantry, due for release in June 2010.

When The Sheriff's Surrender begins, we find Gert Dooley sighting in a rifle that her brother, Hiram, has just repaired. As it turns out, Gert is proclaimed to be a sharp-shooter in Fergus, Idaho. One of my favorite aspects of the story is the repartee between siblings, Gert and Hiram...it's so sweet how they understand each other.

Once folks start getting murdered, the ladies of Fergus come to Gert, asking her to teach them how to shoot, in order to protect themselves when their men aren't around to do so. Most of the men in town frown upon such behavior, but the ladies stick to their scheduled meetings, and start learning how to shoot all types of guns under Gert's expert tutelage.

After the sheriff is murdered, Ethan Chapman is elected as the interim sheriff until a permanent replacement can be found. He's not particularly looking forward to his new job, but soon becomes engrossed with finding the heartless killer. When the town council starts pressuring Ethan to find the killer, or they will elect his replacement, Gert and The Ladies' Shooting Club offer their services as his deputies, along with a handful of Fergus' upstanding businessmen.

Once the mystery started playing out, I was quickly drawn into trying to decipher who the killer was. As it turns out, I was right! I love when that happens. :) If you enjoy reading suspense/mysteries, with light romance, this series will be for you. Be sure to pick up a copy for yourself as an early Christmas gift!

While I was reading Ms. Davis' newest release, I couldn't help thinking back to her Frasier Island series...which I absolutely loved...they also have a Romantic Suspense theme, but are set in a Contemporary environment.

To find out more about Ms. Davis, or her books, please visit her at:

** I would like to once again apologize to Angie, and Barbour Books, for my delay in posting this review. I would also like to thank them for providing my copy of The Sheriff's Surrender, via FIRSTWildCard Tours. **


2010 Romance Reading Challenge

This will be my first Reading Challenge for 2010. I absolutely love reading Romance, so this should be a very fun Challenge for me! Here are the guidelines:

* Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.
--Non-Bloggers: Include your information in the comment section.

* There are four levels:

-- Curious – Read 3 Romance Fiction novels.

-- Fascinated – Read 6 Romance Fiction novels.

-- Addicted – Read 12 Romance Fiction novels.

-- Obsessed – Read 20 Romance Fiction novels.

* Any book format counts.

* You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.

* Challenge begins January 1st thru December, 2010. Only books started on January 1st count towards this challenge.

* When you sign up under Mr. Linky, put the direct link to the post about the Romance Reading Challenge. Include the URL so that other participants can find join in and read your reviews and post.

Since I love reading romance books (all genres), I'm choosing the Obsessed level. My TBR selection is large, so this should be fairly easy. I plan to keep up with how many books I read in 2010...not just romances though...any/all books I happen to read. I've never done this before and I'm curious as to how many books I can read in a year. This should prove to be interesting; if I can remember to keep up with them all!


FIRSTWildCard Tour: The Sheriff's Surrender by Susan Page Davis

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

The Sheriff’s Surrender

Barbour Books (December 1, 2009)

***Special thanks to Angie Brillhart of Barbour Publishing for sending me a review copy.***


Award-winning author Susan Page Davis is a mother of six who lives in Maine with her husband, Jim. She worked as a newspaper correspondent for more than twenty-five years in addition to home-schooling her children. She writes historical romances and cozy mysteries and is a member of ACFW. Visit her Web site at

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $10.97
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (December 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602605629
ISBN-13: 978-1602605626


Fergus, Idaho

May 1885

Gert Dooley aimed at the scrap of red calico and squeezed the trigger. The Spencer rifle she held cracked, and the red cloth fifty yards away shivered.

“I’d say your shooting piece is in fine order.” She lowered the rifle and passed it to the owner, Cyrus Fennel. She didn’t particularly like Fennel, but he always paid her brother, the only gunsmith in Fergus, with hard money.

He nodded. “Thank you, Miss Dooley.” He shoved his hand into his pocket.

Gert knew he was fishing out a coin. This was the part her brother hated most—taking payment for his work. She turned away. Hiram would be embarrassed enough without her watching. She picked up the shawl she had let fall to the grass a few minutes earlier.

“That’s mighty fine shooting, Gert,” said Hiram’s friend, rancher Ethan Chapman. He’d come by earlier to see if Hiram would help him string a fence the next day. When Cyrus Fennel had arrived to pick up his repaired rifle, Ethan had sat down on the chopping block to watch Gert demonstrate the gun.

“Thank you kindly.” Gert accepted praise for shooting as a matter of course. Now, if Ethan had remarked that she looked fine today or some such pretty thing, she’d have been flustered. But he would never say anything like that. And shooting was just work.

Fennel levered the rifle’s action open and peered at the firing pin. “Looks good as new. I should be able to pick off those rats that are getting in my grain bins.”

“That’s quite a cannon for shooting rats,” Gert said.

Ethan stood and rested one foot on the chopping block, leaning forward with one arm on his knee. “You ought to hire Gert to shoot them for you.”

Gert scowled. “Why’d I want to do that? He can shoot his own rats.”

Hiram, who had pocketed his pay as quickly as possible, moved the straw he chewed from one side of his mouth to the other. He never talked much. Men brought him their firearms to fix. Hiram listened to them tell him what the trouble was while eyeing the piece keenly. Then he’d look at Gert. She would tell them, “Come back next week.” Hiram would nod, and that was the extent of the conversation. Since his wife, Violet, had died eight years ago, the only person Hiram seemed to talk to much was Ethan.

Fennel turned toward her with a condescending smile. “Folks say you’re the best shot in Fergus, Miss Dooley.”

Gert shrugged. It wasn’t worth debating. She had sharp eyes, and she’d fired so many guns for Hiram to make sure they were in working order that she’d gotten good at it, that was all.

Ethan’s features, however, sprang to life. “Ain’t it the truth? Why, Gert can shoot the tail feathers off a jay at a hundred yards with a gun like that. Mighty fine rifle.” He nodded at Fennel’s Spencer, wincing as though he regretted not having a gun as fine.

“Well, now, I’m a fair shot myself,” Fennel said. “I could maybe hit that rag, too.”

“Let’s see you do it,” Ethan said.

Fennel jacked a cartridge into the Spencer, smiling as he did. The rag still hung limp from a notched stick and was silhouetted against the distant dirt bank across the field. He put his left foot forward and swung the butt of the stock up to his shoulder, paused motionless for a second, and pulled the trigger.

Gert watched the cloth, not the shooter. The stick shattered just at the bottom of the rag. She frowned. She’d have to find another stick next time. At least when she tested a gun, she clipped the edge of the cloth so her stand could be used again.

Hiram took the straw out of his mouth and threw it on the ground. Without a word, he strode to where the tattered red cloth lay a couple of yards from the splintered stick and brought the scrap back. He stooped for a piece of firewood from the pile he’d made before Fennel showed up. The stick he chose had split raggedly, and Hiram slid the bit of cloth into a crack.

Ethan stood beside Gert as they watched Hiram walk across the field, all the way to the dirt bank, and set the piece of firewood on end.

“Hmm.” Fennel cleared his throat and loaded several cartridges into the magazine. When Hiram was back beside them, he raised the gun again, held for a second, and fired. The stick with the bit of red stood unwavering.

“Let Gert try,” Ethan said.

“No need,” she said, looking down at her worn shoe tips peeping out beneath the hem of her skirt.

“Oh, come on.” Ethan’s coaxing smile tempted her.

Fennel held the rifle out. “Be my guest.”

Gert looked to her brother. Hiram gave the slightest nod then looked up at the sky, tracking the late afternoon sun as it slipped behind a cloud. She could do it, of course. She’d been firing guns for Hiram for ten years—since she came to Fergus and found him grieving the loss of his wife and baby. Folks had brought him more work than he could handle. They felt sorry for him, she supposed, and wanted to give him a distraction. Gert had begun test firing the guns as fast as he could fix them. She found it satisfying, and she’d kept doing it ever since. Thousands upon thousands of rounds she’d fired, from every type of small firearm, unintentionally building herself a reputation of sorts.

She didn’t usually make a show of her shooting prowess, but Fennel rubbed her the wrong way. She knew he wasn’t Hiram’s favorite patron either. He ran the Wells Fargo office now, but back when he ran the assay office, he’d bought up a lot of failed mines and grassland cheap. He owned a great deal of land around Fergus, including the spread Hiram had hoped to buy when he first came to Idaho. Distracted by his wife’s illness, Hiram hadn’t moved quickly enough to file claim on the land and had missed out. Instead of the ranch he’d wanted, he lived on his small lot in town and got by on his sporadic pay as a gunsmith.

Gert let her shawl slip from her fingers to the grass once more and took the rifle. As she focused on the distant stick of firewood, she thought, That junk of wood is you, Mr. Rich Land Stealer. And that little piece of cloth is one of your rats.

She squeezed gently. The rifle recoiled against her shoulder, and the far stick of firewood jumped into the air then fell to earth, minus the red cloth.

“Well, I’ll be.” Fennel stared at her. “Are you always this accurate?”

“You ain’t seen nothing,” Ethan assured him.

Hiram actually cracked a smile, and Gert felt the blood rush to her cheeks even though Ethan hadn’t directly complimented her. She loved to see Hiram smile, something he seldom did.

“Mind sharing your secret, Miss Dooley?” Fennel asked.

Ethan chuckled. “I’ll tell you what it is. Every time she shoots, she pretends she’s aiming at something she really hates.”

“Aha.” Fennel smiled, too. “Might I ask what you were thinking of that time, ma’am?”

Gert’s mouth went dry. Never had she been so sorely tempted to tell a lie.

“Likely it was that coyote that kilt her rooster last month,” Hiram said.

Gert stared at him. He’d actually spoken. She knew when their eyes met that her brother had known exactly what she’d been thinking.

Ethan and Fennel both chuckled.

Of course, I wouldn’t really think of killing him, Gert thought, even though he stole the land right out from under my grieving brother. The Good Book says don’t kill and don’t hate. Determined to heap coals of fire on her adversary’s head, she handed the Spencer back to him. “You’re not too bad a shot yourself, Mr. Fennel.”

His posture relaxed, and he opened his mouth all smiley, like he might say something pleasant back, but suddenly he stiffened. His eyes focused beyond Gert, toward the dirt street. “Who is that?”

Gert swung around to look as Ethan answered. “That’s Millicent Peart.”

“Don’t think I’ve seen her since last fall.” Fennel shook his head. “She sure is showing her age.”

“I don’t think Milzie came into town much over the winter,” Gert said.

For a moment, they watched the stooped figure hobble along the dirt street toward the emporium. Engulfed in a shapeless old coat, Milzie Peart leaned on a stick with each step. Her mouth worked as though she were talking to someone, but no one accompanied her.

“How long since her man passed on?” Ethan asked.

“Long time,” Gert said. “Ten years, maybe. She still lives at their cabin out Mountain Road.”

Fennel grimaced as the next house hid the retreating figure from view. “Pitiful.”

Ethan shrugged. “She’s kinda crazy, but I reckon she likes living on their homestead.”

Gert wondered how Milzie got by. It must be lonesome to have no one, not even a nearly silent brother, to talk to out there in the foothills.

“Supper in half an hour.” She turned away from the men and headed for the back porch of the little house she shared with Hiram. She hoped Fennel would take the hint and leave. And she hoped Ethan would stay for supper, but of course she would never say so.

*** I apologize for not having my review ready to post, but due to unavoidable circumstances, my review will be posted at a later date. I hope to have it ready to post within the next week, so please drop back by to check it out. Thank you! ***


A-Z Wednesday

This really fun book meme is hosted by
Vicki @ Reading at the Beach.

The rules are pretty simple...

1. Visit Vicki to get this week's letter.
2. Browse through your shelves for a book that starts with this week's letter.
3. Post the following info about the book you've chosen on your blog:
~ Photo, synopsis/description, link (Amazon, Christian Books, Borders, etc.)
4. Hurry back to Reading at the Beach and post a comment with a link to your post.

The Smart One and the Pretty One

by Claire LaZebnik

Womens Fiction/
Chick Lit

5 Spot
Pages: 304

From Amazon:

In the winning latest from Knitting Under the Influence author LaZebnik, sisters Ava and Lauren Nickerson look a lot alike, but hyperpractical attorney Ava, 29, wears dowdy clothes and holds men at arm's length, while flashy, debt-ridden boutique owner Lauren, a few years younger, goes for the quick romantic fix. Drawn together in L.A. by their mother's illness, they determine to straighten each other out. Soon Ava ropes Lauren onto a budget, while Lauren, having uncovered a playful contract in which their parents jokingly betrothed Ava at age eight to a neighbor's young son, decides to find out if the grown-up two—who are strangers—might indeed make a match. The fact that fiancĂ©-designate Russell Markowitz proves to be twice-divorced presents no obstacle to Lauren, especially after she learns that he works in the clothing industry and might be of assistance in making over Ava. Despite the lightweight premise, moments of real depth combine with witty dialogue as LaZebnik deftly spins each turn convincingly to avoid easy answers.

Ava is the smart sister, an L.A. lawyer who hasn’t dated in years. Lauren is the pretty sister, an unemployed New York stylist buried in debt. Lauren returns to L.A. when their mother is diagnosed with breast cancer. Between chauffeuring her to chemo appointments, Lauren finds an old “contract” betrothing Ava to Russell, the son of family friends, and decides a reunion is in order. Though Ava finds herself uncharacteristically falling for Russell, she can’t believe a man would choose her over her glamorous sister. She nearly lets her skepticism ruin her shot at love until Lauren meddles again. LaZebnik, author of Knitting under the Influence (2006), writes a funny and endearing novel that truly captures the devotion and rivalry between sisters.

Whether they relate to the smart one or the pretty one (or both), readers will find this book irresistible. --Aleksandra Walker


A-Z Wednesday

This really fun book meme is hosted by
Vicki @ Reading at the Beach.

The rules are pretty simple...

1. Visit Vicki to get this week's letter.
2. Browse through your shelves for a book that starts with this week's letter.
3. Post the following info about the book you've chosen on your blog:
~ Photo, synopsis/description, link (Amazon, Christian Books, Borders, etc.)
4. Hurry back to Reading at the Beach and post a comment with a link to your post.

Reclaiming Nick
(Noble Legacy series, Bk 1)
by Susan May Warren

Christian Fiction/

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc
Copyright 2006
Pages: 384

(from Amazon):

Nick Noble hadn't planned on being the prodigal son. But when his father dies and leaves half of Silver Buckle--the Noble family ranch--to Nick's former best friend, he must return home to face his mistakes, and guarantee that the Silver Buckle stays in the Noble family. Award-winning journalist Piper Sullivan believes Nick framed her brother for murder, and she's determined to find justice. But following Nick to the Silver Buckle and posing as a ranch cook proves more challenging than she thinks. So does resisting his charming smile. As Nick seeks to overturn his father's will--and Piper digs for answers--family secrets surface that send Nick's life into a tailspin. But there's someone who's out to take the Silver Buckle from the Noble family, and he'll stop at nothing--even murder--to make it happen.

***This is an excellent trilogy! It's my all-time favorite books by Susan May Warren. Be sure to grab your own copies when you have a chance.***


My Review: The Unfinished Gift by Dan Walsh

The Unfinished Gift
by Dan Walsh

Christian Fiction/Christmas/Historical

Revell Publishing
Pages: 249
ISBN: 9780800719241

(from Amazon):

Patrick Collins is seven years old, and on his Christmas list are only three items. He wants the army to find his father. He wants to leave his grandfather's house. And, for reasons even he doesn't understand, he wants the soldier that's tucked away in his grandfather's attic.

Set at Christmastime in 1943, The Unfinished Gift tells in an engaging, simple style the story of a family, and reminds us of the surprising things that affect powerful change in our hearts--like a young boy's prayers, a shoebox full of love letters, and even an old wooden soldier, long forgotten. This nostalgic story of forgiveness will engage readers everywhere.

My thoughts:

I wasn't sure what to expect when I agreed to review this book for Revell, but it was a Christmas-themed book, so I decided I couldn't possibly go wrong. Well...I was correct...this is an awesome book!! It's my favorite Christmas book, so far, for 2009! If you haven't read this book yet...I highly recommend it. It will bless your heart as it has blessed mine.

The Unfinished Gift is a very heart-warming, emotionally-charged Christmas book. There was not a dull minute to be found, and it was very hard to put down once I finally had time to sit down and read it. Be sure you have some tissues handy...you will probably need them! Don't let this turn you away from reading the book though...it's not depressing in any way...it's just so touching that you can't help become involved in the characters lives. I felt like I was right there in the thick of it with Patrick, Kathrine, Ian, and Mrs. Fortini.

I don't want to go into much detail because I would hate to give anything away. This is a book that is best if you start it without too much information...that way you get the whole effect of the story, fresh, from beginning to end. One thing I will say is that Mr. Walsh has a sequel due to release in June 2010, The Homecoming, and I can hardly wait to catch up with these wonderful characters!

If you would like to find out more about Dan Walsh, and his debut novel...please visit him at:
His website
His blog

** I would like to thank Revell for allowing me the opportunity to read/review this wonderful book. **


Let's Say Thanks......in support of our Troops!!

This website gives you the opportunity to choose/send a
handmade card to a soldier for FREE, telling them
"thank you" for their service to our great nation.

There are many different cards to choose from,
so please be sure to click the image above
to visit their website and choose your very own
card to send.

I've already chosen my card/message and sent it on it's way!!
Now it's your turn. :)

Here's the card I chose:

Isn't it great? The artist lives not far from me!


My Review: The Christmas Dog by Melody Carlson

I'm slowly working on my Reading Challenge...
here's my latest accomplishment:

The Christmas Dog
by Melody Carlson

Christian Fiction/Contemporary

Revell Publishing
Pages: 172
ISBN: 9780800718817

(from Amazon):

Betty Kowalski isn't looking forward to the holidays. She just can't seem to find Christmas in her heart. There's church, of course. But who can she bake for these days? And who would care whether or not she pulled out the Christmas decorations? Her new neighbor just adds to the problem. He's doing home improvements that don't appear to be improving much of anything. These days when Betty looks out the window, she sees a beat-up truck, a pile of junk, lots of blue tarps, and--horror of horrors--an old pink toilet. But when a mangy dog appears at her doorstep, the stage is set for Betty to learn a very important lesson about what Christmas is all about. This contemporary Christmas story is a timely yet gentle reminder that God can work miracles through something as seemingly insignificant as a little brown dog.

A little before seven on Monday morning, Betty woke to the sound of someone trying to break into her house. At least that was what it sounded like to her. . . . It was that scruffy dog again. Jack Jones's mongrel. The dog crouched down, whimpering, and despite Betty's bitter feelings toward her neighbor, she felt a tinge of pity for the poor, dirty animal. And Betty didn't even like dogs. "Go home, you foolish thing," she said. "Go bother your owner." The dog just whined. Betty knelt down with the screen still between her and the dog. "Go home," she said again. "Shoo!" But the dog didn't budge. And now Betty didn't know what to do.

My thoughts:

This was only my second Christmas story for 2009...I'm so far behind! I've usually read at least a handful by now. I like to start in November, but I have been busier than usual this holiday season.

At first I didn't think I was going to enjoy The Christmas Dog; it just didn't grab my attention at the beginning. I had to "force" myself to keep reading, but I eventually got into the story. However, even though it carries a really touching message, the story seemed really rushed and sporadic to me. I would have loved to spend more time with Betty, Avery, Ralph, and Jack. When the book was drawing to a close, I felt like I had just started to truly get to know them. In my opinion, this could have been an excellent story if it had only been longer.

On the other hand, I think Melody's message of finding out what Christmas is truly about is easily seen throughout the book. Betty quickly learns that it's not such a great idea to judge her new neighbor by his attitude or actions. It takes her granddaughter Avery's compassionate heart to get her to see Jack in a completely different light. Needless to say, my favorite character in The Christmas Dog was Ralph...the "star" himself. He is what kept me reading to the end; I wanted to see what he would be up to next.

If you're looking for a quick, heart-warming read, you really should pick up your own copy of The Christmas Dog. To find out more about Melody Carlson, or her other books, please visit her at: Her website

** I received my review copy of The Christmas Dog, compliments of Revell **


Thanksgiving Greetings!!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
Have a safe and happy holiday!


A-Z Wednesday

This really fun book meme is hosted by
Vicki @ Reading at the Beach.

The rules are pretty simple...

1. Visit Vicki to get this week's letter.
2. Browse through your shelves for a book that starts with this week's letter.
3. Post the following info about the book you've chosen on your blog:
~ Photo, synopsis/description, link (Amazon, Christian Books, Borders, etc.)
4. Hurry back to Reading at the Beach and post a comment with a link to your post.

A Passion Most Pure
(Daughters of Boston, Bk 1)
by Julie Lessman

Christian Fiction/Historical/Romance

Revell Publishing
Pages: 480

(from Amazon):

Refusing to settle for anything less than a romantic relationship that pleases God, Faith O'Connor steels her heart against her desire for the roguish Collin McGuire. But when Collin tries to win her sister Charity's hand, Faith isn't sure she can handle the jealousy she feels. To further complicate matters, Faith finds herself the object of Collin's affections, even as he is courting her sister. The Great War is raging overseas, and a smaller war is brewing in the O'Connor household. Full of passion, romance, rivalry, and betrayal, A Passion Most Pure will captivate readers from the first page. Book 1 of the Daughters of Boston series.

(sneak peek at first chapter): Sisters are so overrated, she decided. Not all of them, of course, only the beautiful ones who never let you forget it. Faith O'Connor stood on tiptoe behind the side porch, squinting through her mother's prized lilac bush. The sound of summer locusts vibrated in her ears as she gasped, inches from where her sister, Charity, stood in the arms of-- "Collin, someone might hear us," Charity whispered. "Not if we don't talk." Collin's index finger stroked the cleft of her sister's chin. Faith's body went numb. The locusts crescendoed to a frenzy in her brain. She wanted to sink into the fresh-mown lawn, but her feet rooted to the ground as firmly as the bush that hid her from view. Three years had done nothing to diminish his effect on her. He was grinning, studying her sister through heavy lids, obviously relaxed as he leaned against the wall of their wraparound porch. His serge morning coat was draped casually over the railing. The rolled sleeves of his starched, white shirt displayed muscled arms snug around Charity's waist. Faith knew all too well his clear, gray eyes held a maddening twinkle, and she heard the low rumble of his laughter when he pulled her sister close.

*** I absolutely LOVED this book...the entire trilogy, actually! Click here, to read my review. ***


My Review: Wild West Christmas (4-in-1) by Kathleen Y'Barbo, Lena Nelson Dooley, Darlene Franklin & Vickie McDonough

Wild West Christmas
(4-in-1 Collection)
by Kathleen Y'Barbo, Lena Nelson Dooley,
Darlene Franklin & Vickie McDonough

Christian Fiction/Historical/Romance

Barbour Publishing, Inc.
Copyright 2009
Pages: 364
ISBN: 9781602605664

From back cover:

Christmas Courtships Corral Four Sisters in Texas

Charlsey Ames can ride, rope, and work the ranch with the best of them. But things don't add up when she finds herself attracted to accountant Harold Miller III, a citified tenderfoot. Will he ever see the gentle woman beneath the coating of trail dust.

Sharp-shooting Lucy Ames is thrilled to join Major Paulson's Wild West Show. But is she setting her sights too high when she begins falling for budding evangelist Gordon Paulson? Would she be better off aiming for a stable, widowed rancher?

Although horse-trainer Sarah Ames is stunned when her pa hires the part-Mexican Carson Romero to take over her job at the ranch, she gradually becomes attracted to the drifter. But when cattle go missing, Carson seems the prime suspect Has Carson stolen Sarah's heart as well as some prime longhorns?

An expert tracker, the plain Bessie Mae Ames resolves to spend her life taking care of her widowed father. That is until Texas Ranger Josef Mueller rides back into town, trailing a wanted man. Will the soon-to-be-smitten ranger find both he and his prey sweet on an unsuspecting Bessie Mae?

Will these cowgirls be tamed and live to celebrate Christmas romance?

My thoughts:

Well, I've finally gotten around to starting my annual Christmas read-a-thon...Wild West Christmas was a great choice to start me off! I made sure this book was on my must-read list for this year when I saw that it told the story of the 4 Ames sisters. You see, I'm the oldest of 4 sisters, so I knew I would be able to relate to that aspect of the book. It's set in the Texas Hill Country; involves cowboys, as well as, romance and Christmas...what more could a girl ask for?!?! :)

I hate to choose between them since they were all great stories, but if I HAD to choose just one...it would be the very first story, Charlsey's Accountant. I know, I know...all short-stories have a reputation of not being "fleshed-out" enough, and in some cases that is indeed true, but I didn't feel this way with most of the stories in this Collection. Sure, a couple of them may have seemed a little rushed at the end, but the overall story line was an excellent choice.

I enjoyed spending time with the Ames family, and hated to leave them behind. I would have loved to hang out with them a little longer to find out more about their married lives. *sigh* Oh well, all good things end sometime. I'm not too disappointed though...I have quite a few more Christmas-themed books lined up to read this year! Be sure to watch for more reviews coming soon! :)

If you would like to find out more about these wonderful ladies, please visit them at their websites, or blogs. I've listed the links below.

Kathleen Y'Barbo: website
Lena Nelson Dooley: website or blog
Darlene Franklin: blog
Vickie McDonough: website

* I purchased this book for my collection @ eBay.com *



A-Z Wednesday

This really fun book meme is hosted by
Vicki @ Reading at the Beach.

The rules are pretty simple...

1. Visit Vicki to get this week's letter.
2. Browse through your shelves for a book that starts with this week's letter.
3. Post the following info about the book you've chosen on your blog:
~ Photo, synopsis/description, link (Amazon, Christian Books, Borders, etc.)
4. Hurry back to Reading at the Beach and post a comment with a link to your post.

One Imperfect Christmas
by Myra Johnson

Women's Fiction/

Abingdon Press
Pages: 352

(from CBD):

Graphic designer Natalie Pearce faces the most difficult Christmas of her life. For almost a year, her mother has lain in a nursing home, the victim of a massive stroke, and Natalie blames herself for not being there when it happened. Worse, she's allowed the monstrous load of guilt to drive a wedge between her and everyone she loves-most of all her husband Daniel. Her marriage is on the verge of dissolving, her prayer life is suffering, and she's one Christmas away from hitting rock bottom.

Junior-high basketball coach Daniel Pearce is at his wit's end. Nothing he's done has been able to break through the wall Natalie has erected between them. And their daughter Lissa's adolescent rebellion isn't helping matters. As Daniel's hope reaches its lowest ebb, he wonders if this Christmas will spell the end of his marriage and the loss of everything he holds dear.

I haven't read this book yet, but it's definitely on my 2009 Holiday Reading Challenge list!!


Kreativ Blogger Award!!

I just received this Blog Award from
Ashley @ After All...Tomorrow is another day
Thank you so much!!
Isn't it beautiful?? I love it!

Okay...this is what I'm supposed to do:
~ List 7 of My Favorite Things
~ Send this award on to 7 other bloggers

So, here goes...

7 of My Favorite Things:

1. Spending time with my hubby, Deezel (puppy), and my family
2. Books, books, and more books!
3. Blogging with my online friends {{hugs}}
4. Playing game swaps on PBS (PaperBackSwap)
6. Cute, Funky Purses
7. Flips Flops and Boots

Since I just passed another award along a few minutes ago,
I'm going to cheat and pass this one along to any/all of
my Followers who may/may not already have this award.
Y'all are the best!!! Congrats to you!!! :)

Honest Scrap Blog Award!!

I would like to thank Vicki @ Reading at the Beach
for presenting me with this awesome award...I am honored!!

Since I've received this award, I have to now tell you 10 honest
things about myself, as well as, pass the award along to
10 more bloggers of my choice.

Here are 10 honest things about me:

1. I have little or no patience for disobedient children...they drive me insane! (guess that's why the Lord chose not to give me any??) :)
2. I would love to open my very own bookstore.
3. Thunderstorms, tornadoes/hurricanes scare me to death!
4. I am a huge procrastinator!
5. I have a bad habit of being late (or almost late)...see #4. LOL
6. My "new" favorite ice cream is Edy's Drumstick...yum! I'm out right now, and craving it something awful! :(
7. I'm very stubborn/hard-headed.
8. I cried when I turned 30.
9. I don't make friends easily...in-person anyway...y'all were easy to become friends with!
10. I love Japanese food!

Now for the 10 bloggers I'm passing this award on to:
(most of y'all have already gotten it, so I'll send it to some who haven't)

1. Praying Mom @ What You Reading Now?
2. Colletta @ Colletta's Kitchen Sink
3. Jennifer @ Crazy-for-Books.com
4. Nely @ All About {n}
5. MJ @ Creative Madness
6. Rae @ Caffeine & Romance
7. Katy @ A Few More Pages
8. Ashley @ After All...Tomorrow is another day
9. Brande @ Book Junkie
10. Sharon @ A Bookworm's Blog

My Review: Love Finds You in Poetry Texas by Janice Hanna

Love Finds You in Poetry Texas
by Janice Hanna
(aka. Janice A. Thompson)

Christian Fiction/Historical/Romance

Copyright 2009
Summerside Press
Pages: 310
ISBN: 9781935416166

From the back cover:


In the quaint community of Poetry, Texas, Belinda spies an opportunity. The tiny town is filled with farmers and railroad men in need of wives, so why not set herself up as a marriage broker? Belinda sends little poems to be prospective brides all over the country, and her plan seems to work. One by one, women begin to arrive in Poetry. There's only one problem: Belinda doesn't have a clue what she's doing, and most of the brides marry the wrong men! One client is particularly unhappy. Georg Kaufman, the local barber, has lost more than one prospective wife to Belinda's fumbled attempts. For some reason, she just can't seem to find Georg's perfect match, though it's not for lack of trying. Is there a poetic ending in store for Georg - and for Belinda herself?

My thoughts:

This was my second book in a row by Janice Hanna (aka. Janice A. Thompson), and I really enjoyed it as well. I love the different spin she put on Mail-Order Brides...it was witty, charming, and romantic, all at the same time!! Mail-Order Bride stories are a favorite of mine, so when I saw this book was going to be released, I knew I had to have it. I'm so glad I got the chance to read it, and now share my review with you.

It's 1904 in Poetry, Texas, where Belinda Bauer lives with her family and works in her Aunt Hilde's store, Poetic Notions. (Let me say here that I love how some of the stores/businesses are quaintly named with references to poetry!) Greta is Belinda's cousin, as well as her best friend. She is a little skeptical when she first hears Belinda's idea to become a Marriage Broker.

Greta and Belinda have been friends with Georg Kaufman since grade school, and Belinda feels led to use Georg as her first customer...without his knowledge!

Belinda searches newspapers from places as far away as Boston, Philadelphia, and New York to find the "perfect" wife for the men of Poetry. She believes that her heavenly Father will help her as she searches, but she also claims that finding a perfect match "comes down to science".

When the brides start arriving, not every couple works out as Belinda had planned. This leads to some hilarious, as well as heart-breaking, situations! A few of the couples end up in love "at first sight", for which Belinda is very thankful.


A couple of the store/business names that I mentioned above are: Rhyme and Reason, Limerick's Livery, Sonnets and Bonnets, just to name a few. Don't they pique your interest? Are you intrigued? I hope so! Be sure to pick up your own copy of Love Finds You in Poetry Texas to find out what happens to all of the brides that show up in Poetry, as well as the men they were chosen for. You will not be disappointed! :)

To find out more about Janice Hanna (aka. Janice A. Thompson), or her books, visit her at:
Her website ~ www.janiceathompson.com
Her blog ~ Books by Janice



My very FIRST Reading Challenge

I have been seeing Reading Challenges everywhere, but couldn't decide which one to choose as my very FIRST one to participate in. Well...I just found it while visiting MJ @ Creative Madness! Woo-Hoo!!

Here it is:

Challenge Requirements:

1- Challenge will start Friday, November 20 and will end Thursday, December 31.

2- You can read anywhere from 1 to 5 books for the challenge and, of course, if you're like me, you are more than welcome to surpass that number.

3- And now, here's the clincher... they must be holiday related books. That's right, the holiday doesn't really matter, but it would be more "jolly" if your choices were Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.

4- The size of the book does not matter, nor does the genre. It is also okay for the book to overlap with other challenges. The only thing I ask is that they are not children's books. YA is okay. And so are re-reads. I for one tend to read the same books every Christmas - they are tradition.

5- To sign up, leave a link back to your post (click link). There will also be a post for review links as well as one for challenge wrap-ups.

6- And.... there will be goodies. That's right, we'll call them presents. At the end of every week that the challenge is running I will choose one winner from the review links and I will allow them to pick a book of their choosing (of course, I will provide a list). Meaning the more books you read, review and link up, the more chances you have at winning a "present".

Here's a tentative list of books I hope to read during the challenge:
(In no particular order ~ I may not read ALL of these,
but this is the list I will be choosing from)

Struckthrough = I've read

* The Christmas Dog by Melody Carlson (reviewing for Revell)
(my review)
* The Unfinished Gift by Dan Walsh (reviewing for Revell)
(my review)
* Santa, Honey by Kate Angell, Sandra Hill & Joy Nash (my review)
* Christmas Homecoming by Debby Mayne, Paige Winship Dooly,
Elizabeth Godard & Elizabeth Ludwig
* The Sound of Sleigh Bells by Cindy Woodsmall
* Wild West Christmas by Kathleen Y'Barbo, Lena Nelson
Dooley, Darlene Franklin & Vickie McDonough
(my review)
* One ImPerfect Christmas by Myra Johnson
* It Happened One Night by Lisa Dale (ARC version)
* A Cowboy Christmas by Janette Kenny

I'm so excited...I can't wait to get started! I've already noted the starting date on my calendar, so I won't forget (like that's possible!). If you enjoy reading Holiday-themed books, be sure to sign up to join in the fun. I hope to be reading your reviews soon! :)


My Review: Fools Rush In (Weddings by Bella, Bk 1) by Janice Thompson

Fools Rush In
(Weddings by Bella, Bk 1)
by Janice Thompson

Christian Fiction/Contemporary Romance

Copyright 2009
Revell Publishing
Pages: 330
ISBN: 9780800733421

This is not going to be my normal "serious" review
(it's also quite a bit longer than usual!).
There is no way I can review this book without just
letting my own "country" self show through!! This is going to
be a FUN review...at least I hope you think so! :o)

From the back cover:


Bella Rossi's life is just starting to get interesting. When her Italian-turned Texan parents hand over the family wedding planning business. Bella quickly books a Boot-Scootin' wedding that would make any Texan proud. There's only one catch ~ she doesn't know a thing about country music. Where will she find a deejay on such short notice who knows his Alan Jackson from his George Strait? And will Bella ever get to plan her own wedding?

Fun, fresh, and full of surprised, this flavorful combination of Italian and Tex-Mex highlights the hilarity that ensues when cultures clash.

My thoughts:

This was my very first glimpse of Janice Thompson's work as a writer, but it will definitely not be my last! I absolutely adored Fools Rush In!! It is my new favorite Christian Fiction Contemporary Romance for 2009. If you haven't given Janice's books a try...please grab your own copy of Fools Rush In...that's right, I'll be putting MY copy on my Keeper Shelf, to read again and again! :o)

Get ready for some side-splitting fun when you meet the Rossi's and the Neeley's!!! They are a GREAT bunch of people! I'm having a hard time deciding who is my favorite...I don't think I can have just one. I'll be doing this review a little differently ~ instead of just highlighting the main characters ~ I'm going to tell you a little bit about some of the quirky folks in this book, so hang on to your seat, it's gonna be loads of fun!

The story is mainly about Bella Rossi and Duh-wayne Neeley (you will get this when you read the book!!), but I can't tell you much about the Neeley's without giving away some key parts of the story, so I'll tell you a little about the Rossi's.

Bella has recently taken over the family wedding-planning business from her parents, and is in the process of planning her very first wedding, on her own. She lives at home with her parents (Cosmo and Imelda), her younger siblings: Joey and Sophia, her Uncle Lazarro (Laz), and her Aunt Rosa. Needless to say, there is always something happening in the Rossi household! Bella has two older brothers: Nick, who is married to Marcella, they have 2 sons, Deany-boy and Frankie; and Armando, who lives at home, "when he isn't in love."

Now a little about some of the family members...and a few friends... Uncle Laz...hmmm...where to start??? Okay, he is the owner/manager of Parma John's; he is a HUGE Dean Martin fan...he only plays Dean Martin music in his restaurant; he even names the daily specials after Dean Martin song titles! He and Aunt Rosa have a long-standing argument over who is the better singer, Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin, but they also fight about who is the better cook...which makes for some really funny events throughout the story! Oh, I've got to mention that Uncle Laz was once "affiliated" with the mob, which is how he ends up "baby-sitting" Guido...and more hilarity ensues! :o)

Aunt Rosa is Imelda's older sister. She is the designated cook at the Rossi home. She loves playing Frank Sinatra songs while she's in the kitchen, cooking or cleaning. She has a very short Italian temper, and tries her best the keep the family straight. She is always muttering Italian sayings under her breath...which Bella translates for those of us who can't speak Italian. LOL She had me laughing so hard at times, I couldn't read for the tears in my eyes!

Sophia is mostly responsible for watching after Deany-boy and Frankie during their summer vacation, but they quickly drive her insane with their annoying antics. She has to think fast to stay ahead of them. She's also having boyfriend issues, such as, will she ever find a "real" boyfriend? Sophia has a major crush on someone, but is sure he doesn't return her feelings.

Jenna works at Parma John's and is Bella's very best friend in the world. She is famous for spouting off the daily specials, with her Texas-twang. She's practically engaged to her long-time boyfriend, David. There's also Patti-Lou...she's the best florist in town and one of Bella's friends. They both seem destined to end up single, since there are no men in their lives at the moment. There are so many other quirky people who contribute to making this story a huge success, but I'm not going to be able to tell you about them all without going on and on for another couple of hours! You're just going to have to get your own copy of Fools Rush In and meet all these crazy folks for yourself! :o)

If you'd like a chance to see this book from a different perspective, please visit my friend, Rae!!

To find out more about Janice Thompson and/or her books, please visit her at:
Website: www.janiceathompson.com

I hope you've enjoyed reading my review of Fools Rush In as much as I've enjoyed writing it! I'm so looking forward to reading all of your reviews, once you've had a chance to read this book for yourself!

Be sure to add it to your Christmas Wish List, since Christmas
is right around the corner. *wink*

** I won my autographed copy of Fools Rush In
@ Tiffany's blog:
A Fiction-Filled Life **


A-Z Wednesday

This really fun book meme is hosted by
Vicki @ Reading at the Beach.

The rules are pretty simple...

1. Visit Vicki to get this week's letter.
2. Browse through your shelves for a book that starts with this week's letter.
3. Post the following info about the book you've chosen on your blog:
~ Photo, synopsis/description, link (Amazon, Christian Books, Borders, etc.)
4. Hurry back to Reading at the Beach and post a comment with a link to your post.

Never the Bride
by Cheryl McKay
& Rene Gutteridge

Christian Fiction/

Waterbrook Press
Pages: 320

(from Fantastic Fiction):

Eleven Bridesmaid Dresses Don't Lie

Since she was just a little girl, Jessie Stone dreamed up hundreds of marriage proposals, doodled the romantic ideas in her journal with her treasured purple pen, and fantasized about wedding dresses and falling in love. She's been a bridesmaid nearly a dozen times, waved numerous couples off to sunny honeymoons, and shopped in more department stores for half-price fondue pots than she cares to remember.

But shopping for one key component of these countless proposals hasn't been quite as productive-a future husband. The man she thought she would marry cheated on her. The crush she has on her best friend Blake is at very best.well, crushing. And speed dating has only churned out memorable horror stories.

So when God shows up one day, in the flesh, and becomes a walking, talking part of her life, Jessie is skeptical. What will it take to convince her that the Almighty has a better plan than one she's already cooked up in her journals? Can she turn over her pen and trust someone else to craft a love story beyond her wildest dreams?

This is an excellent book! I can't wait for the screenplay to
available for viewing/purchasing! :)


My Favorite Cover

This is a meme that I post every Friday over on my original blog, Some of My Favorite Things, but I've decided to also post it here, too. I have different followers on each blog, so I'd hate for anyone to miss out on adding even more books to their wishlists! LOL

Here is my choice for this week:

A Tailor-Made Bride
by Karen Witemeyer

Release date:
June 1, 2010

Bethany House
Pages: 352
ISBN: 9780764207556

Christian Fiction/

(from PBS):

Book Description:

Jericho "J.T." Tucker wants nothing to do with Coventry, Texas's new dressmaker. He's all too familiar with her kind -- shallow women more devoted to fashion than true beauty. Yet, except for her well-tailored clothing, this seamstress is not at all what he expected.

Hannah Richards is confounded by the man who runs the livery. The unsmiling fellow riles her with his arrogant assumptions and gruff manner while at the same time stirring her heart with unexpected acts of kindness. Which side of Jericho Tucker reflects the real man?

When Hannah decides to help Jericho's sister catch a beau -- leading to uproarious consequences for the whole town -- will Jericho and Hannah find a way to bridge the gap between them?

Isn't this cover beautiful? Even though it would be nice to see their heads/faces! Karen Witemeyer is a new author for me, so I'm excited to give her book a try. It sounds like a great story! :)


A-Z Wednesday

This really fun book meme is hosted by
Vicki @ Reading at the Beach.

The rules are pretty simple...

1. Visit Vicki to get this week's letter.
2. Browse through your shelves for a book that starts with this week's letter.
3. Post the following info about the book you've chosen on your blog:
~ Photo, synopsis/description, link (Amazon, Christian Books, Borders, etc.)
4. Hurry back to Reading at the Beach and post a comment with a link to your post.

Menu for Romance
(Brides of Bonneterre, #2)
by Kaye Dacus

Christian Fiction/
Contemporary Romance/

Barbour Publishing, Inc.
Pages: 320

(from Amazon):


What an enjoyable contemporary romance read! This is a sequel, but easily could be read and loved alone, but if you skip to this one it will make you eager to go back and read the first novel as well. The characters are real and fast to fill into your heart and bring you along on their journey. The story is told from the point of view of two separate characters that each have a bit of personal and spiritual growth that they must go through before they are ready to know what is capable of coming next in life. I strongly recommend this read for the romantic at heart, whether single or not it is an enjoyable and strengthening read. (Margaret Chind Novel Reviews )

Product Description

Cater to your craving for fabulous fictional fare with Menu for Romance, where a party planner finds herself torn between the contractor and the cook. After eight years of unrequited love, Meredith Guidry makes a New Year's resolution to find someone new and end her single status before the year's over. And when she meets a handsome contractor on New Year's Day, it seems like her prayers have been answered. Executive Chef Major O'Hara has forsworn relationships, knowing he could never saddle the woman he loves with a family situation like his. But when it seems he's about to lose Meredith Guidry to another man, he realizes he must concoct a menu for romance to win her back.


My Review: Things Worth Remebering by Jackina Stark

Things Worth Remembering
by Jackina Stark

Christian Fiction/Contemporary

Bethany House Publishers
Copyright 2009
Pages: 316
ISBN: 9780764207112

An Emotionally Gripping Story of Broken Relationships Restored

Kendy Laswell and her daughter, Maisey, used to do everything together--until one fateful summer when Maisey witnessed something she shouldn't have, and their relationship fractured. Now, Maisey is back home to get married and Kendy realizes this is her last chance to reconnect with her daughter. Will Kendy and Maisey be able to reclaim the bond they once shared?

Maisey asked for a bride doll the Christmas she was five, mesmerized by her aunt's wedding the fall before. Since then I've been dreaming of the day, or days, we would shop for her wedding dress. A mother helping her daughter find just the right creation for that momentous walk down the aisle strikes me as one of life's happiest endeavors. The night she called to tell us she'd bought her "dream of a gown," I sat beside Luke on the couch, a striking contrast to Maisey's exuberance.

My dejection seemed a tad inappropriate. "Being hurt because I wasn't included is silly, isn't it?" I asked.

"Not so silly," he said.

Will I ever quit longing for the Maisey who was once mine?

My Thoughts:

Things Worth Remembering is a touching story of a mother and daughter who have a very detached relationship, due to a horrible secret that has been kept for the past nine years. The story takes place during the week before Maisey and Marcus' upcoming wedding. They have come home, to Maisey's parents house, to get things in order before the big day. After a few days spent with the Laswell's, Marcus begins to notice that Maisey either completely ignores her mother, Kendy, or treats her very insolently. He finally confronts her with his observation, which causes a massive family struggle to finally confront the secret that has been the cause of all their anger and hurt.

The book goes back and forth between Kendy's and Maisey's points-of-view throughout the entire story. At first I thought it was going to be a problem, but once I became engrossed in their lives, I didn't even notice. This is not my normal choice of reading; I prefer contemporary and historical romances, but decided to give this book a try...the beautiful cover is partly why I chose it. I'm so glad I did...I thoroughly enjoyed it! I can't wait to read more books by Ms. Stark.

If you'd like to find out more about Jackina Stark and/or her books, be sure to visit her at: www.jackinastark.com.

*This book was provided for review by Bethany House Publishers*