Saturday, December 31, 2016

Top 5 Books I Read in 2016.

2016 was a year of changes. I went from working 30 hours a week at the library to 40 hours a week. Dave and I both took on the role of teacher for our homeschooled kids. Our puppy grew and matured. Our son turned 18 and was able to vote in the election. Our daughter got her first job. She is a shelver at the library where I work.

My goal for 2016 was 45 books. I only read 35. Probably about a third of them were ebooks. 5 were nonfiction. 18 were by authors I hadn't read before. 2 of them I didn't like.

In the order that I read them, here are my top 5 of 2016.

The First Hostage by Joel Rosenberg

I read this in January. I love Joel Rosenberg's novels. They are suspenseful, thrilling almost prophetic. This is the second book in a series. The story is about journalist J. B. Collins. It starts where the previous book left off. ISIS has attacked an event in Amman, Jordan and the President of the US is missing. It is a breath taking, heart thumping read.

The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson

I read this in May. It is the summer before World War I in a town called Rye in East Sussex, England. The story follows Beatrice Nash who comes to Sussex to take a school teacher position and Hugh Grange who summers in Rye with his aunt. As the two get to know one another and draw closer together, the war starts. The characters are so well drawn that I was emotionally invested in what happened to each of them. Not just the main characters but the supporting characters as well. The story made me laugh and cry.

The Valley of Dry Bones by Jerry Jenkins

I read this in September. This story takes place in a California that hasn't had any rain in years. It has been declared inhabitable and almost everyone moves out of the state. But there are some holdouts. Some of the people who stay are Native American tribes, outlaws and a faith based group. The focus is on the faith based group. They stay to provide help to those who chose not to leave or couldn't leave. They have built an underground compound to help them survive the harsh weather conditions and the outlaws. There are problems within the compound as well as outside. As I read this story, I found that I needed to keep drinking water. The descriptions of the dry, arid conditions made me feel dry.

The Invisible Library and The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman

I read these books in October. The Invisible Library and The Masked City are Books 1 & 2 of a trilogy. Book 3, The Burning Page, comes out in January 2017. The Invisible Library sends out spies to procure books from many different alternate realities. Irene is sent to retrieve a dangerous book from an alternate London. Her assistant, Kai, is not quite what he seems. They join forces with a local detective who is much like Sherlock Holmes. They have to find the book while avoiding Fae, werewolves and a rogue Librarian. In the second book, Kai is kidnapped and Irene must ask Kai's intimidating relatives for help.  She has to go to a high chaos Venice alternate reality to try to find him before he can be auctioned off. As a librarian myself, I want to know how to apply for a job at this library! These stories were a lot of fun. The characters were well written. I can't wait until the next book comes out.

Crosstalk by Connie Willis

I read this in October. Connie Willis is one of my favorite Science Fiction authors. Her time traveling novels are wonderful. This is a stand alone novel. Briddey and her boyfriend, Trent, are going to get an EED. An EED is a neurological surgery to allow 2 people to feel each other's emotions. When Briddey wakes up from surgery, it is not Trent she senses. And it is not just emotions but thoughts that she is receiving! Soon, she has to learn how to cope with hearing the thoughts of everyone around her. This story is funny, warm and geeky all at once.

So there you have it. It was very hard to only choose five. I look forward to what stories the next year will bring to me.

Happy New Year!

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my honest opinions.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Review: The Calling by Rachelle Dekker

The Calling is a sequel to The Choosing. The Calling is told more from Remco’s point of view. Remco and Carrington are now living outside the city with other Seer’s. Remco is becoming overwhelmed trying to protect the group and rescue other Seer’s from the city. He is frequently told that he needs to surrender the fear that drives him but he can’t do that. His fear consumes him and almost destroys him and those he loves.

I thought that this was a good middle book. It continued the story from The Choosing and the ending is satisfying even though the story is not done. Some of the main themes of letting go of fear and trusting in the Father remind me of the themes in Ted Dekker’s stories. She was definitely influenced by her father. This was a very enjoyable read and I look forward to the conclusion.

I rate it 5 out of 5.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

My kids are mirroring my reading choices.

During the school year, my kids check out books from the school library. They choose these books without any input from me. Recently, I asked them what they were reading that wasn't related to their schoolwork. I was so surprised when they brought out their books. They had each chosen a book that I loved!

My 14 year old son was reading Black by Ted Dekker! I love Ted Dekker's books. I can't say I have loved all of his books but most of them are very dear to me. Black is certainly high on my list of favorites. I have probably read it 5 times. As he reads further into the book, I anticipate some good discussions about the themes in the story.

My 12 year old daughter had just started The Song of Albion (Book 1, The Paradise War) by Stephen R. Lawhead. As soon as she showed the book to me, I walked over to my bookcase and pulled out my copy of the book. She decided that she would rather wait until summer and read it with me. It has been a long time since I read it so that sounded good to me.

It thrills this book lover's heart to know that I can share some of my favorite books with my kids.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Review: When Jesus Wept by Bodie and Brock Thoene

When Jesus Wept is the story of Lazarus and his friendship with Jesus. Lazarus is a master wine maker. He travels to see who John the Baptist is and is there when John baptizes Jesus. He next sees Jesus at the wedding at Cana and witnesses Jesus turning the water into wine. Of course, this makes a huge impression on Lazarus. He seeks Jesus out more and more and becomes close friends with him. There are many comparisons involving how grape vines are pruned to get the best grapes and how the Father prunes us to get the best out of us.

The best part of the book was when Lazarus was dead and in Heaven. He is greeted by his parents first and then his son that died at 3 days old. Then finally by his wife who died in childbirth. Being reunited with our loved ones is something all of us look forward to. The description of what happened in Heaven when Jesus wept was very moving.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable read. I can highly recommend it.

I'm Back!

With my husband's encouragement, I have decided to come back to blogging.

Many things have changed since I last wrote. I now work part time at the local library but ironically I don't work with books. I work as a computer lab assistant and when I am not helping someone, I process DVD's.

I will be doing some book reviews. I would like to spotlight some authors that might not be as familiar to most. I will write about ebooks and the best places that I have found to find free ebooks.

I would welcome any suggestions for topics that you would like me to cover.

I hope you will be Inspired 2 Read.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What to do?

I am trying to decide what to do with this blog. I haven't updated it in a long time. I find myself wanting to get back to it but take it in a different direction. I just need to decide what direction to take.

I don't really want to focus on book reviews. I found that I wasn't really enjoying the book knowing that I would be reviewing it. I would be analyzing it while reading it. I will still do some book reviews but not all of the books that I read. I do have one book review that I need to finish.

I have always wanted to write a story. I have never felt like I could. I am feeling a strong pull right now to write. It seems that everywhere I look today, someone is mentioning NaNOWriMo. Maybe that is what I need to do.  I am still trying to decide on that one.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Book Review: Shades of Blue by Karen Kingsbury

Shades of Blue
Karen Kingsbury
336 Pages

Shades of Blue is a stand-alone title from Karen Kingsbury. It is a story of forgiveness and healing.

The story starts with Brad Cutler. He is an advertising executive in New York. He is engaged to Laura and they are to be married in four weeks. He is working on an account about baby blankets. He can't concentrate and come up with a slogan for it. Something is bothering him. He finally realizes that an event in his past with his former girlfriend is standing in the way.

He is miserable. He must resolve the issue before he can get married. He tells his fiance and then goes to North Carolina to find his old girlfriend, Emma.

Emma is having her own problems. She can't put the past behind her and move forward.

Brad and Emma work through the past and eventually find forgiveness and healing.

Spoiler Alert

This story works through some tough issues. It works through the emotional pain that abortion causes to the people who have had one. It shows that the only way to true forgiveness is through God.

This was a very emotional story. The last third of the book, I had tears running down my face constantly. It is a good reminder that unresoved conflict can eat away at us for years until we take care of it.

I think that this is one of Karen Kingsbury's best books. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars.

Source: Library