2017 Christmas Spirit #ReadingChallenge November 20 – January 6

Cmas Spirit 2017 reading challenge

SignUps Now OPEN 
for this Annual Feature
with Michelle of truexmasspirit blog

Running from Monday November 20 to Twelfth Night/Epiphany
{ Saturday January 6 2018 }

Lots  of opps for sharing your favs in movies, stories, books
{for children and adults}
full variety of genres – crafts, poetry, novels to short stories.
Looking forward to hearing your recommendations
and surprise discoveries

From Candy Cane Level –  Reading 1 book
Mistletoe – 2-4 books
Christmas Tree at 5-6 books

Add some Films you’ve viewed for Optional Levels
FaLaLaLaLa Film Fun
Visions of Sugar Plums
by reading books with children and sharing with us.

EnJoy this fabulous Season of Reading !

My Christmas Spirit Reading?

Last Christmas in Paris – Hazel Gaynor
A Lady Most Lovely – Jennifer Delamere
A Highland ChristmasMC Beaton
[annual read!]
The Greatest GiftAnn Voskamp
Jane + the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor
Being the First Jane Austen Mystery –Stephanie Barron
Back Roads to BlissRuth Glover
Doc Martin – Mistletoe & Whine – Sam North
At Legend’s End-Diane Moody
Elderberry Days: A Season of JOY – A Holiday Sequel
-Becky Doughty
The Christmas Journey – Donna VanLiere
Bookends – Liz Curtis Higgs
Mistletoe & Murder – Carola Dunn
A Very Merry Christmas – Lauren Cecil/Andrew Grey
[ 1 of many children’s books]
The Christmas Candle [movie] – Max Lucado



Take Back Your Shelves Readathon: MAY 28-30

takebackyourshelves readathon may 28 to 30 .16

Here’s a great opportunity to finish
May Reading on a strong note!
Three days focus on our TBR shelves is sure to be helpful in shifting some books.

Any in particular you want to get to?

I’m focused on finishing as many ARCs during May as possible during
the #CleanSweepARC Challenge.
Of course review writing needs to complete the picture
so that might take some time this weekend as well.

I have my eye on a couple #tbysreadathon reads in particular.

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Whatever readathon books I’m into by end of May 30th
Then become part of my 20 Books of Summer Challenge  

Any you’re decided on reading?
What helps you make the decision in choosing
which will be a readathon addition?
Which books are relegated to waiting?
Are you a mood reader?  I know I am!
Which is why I always have more choices for meeting that need for variety…
Be sure to let us know in comments.
Hoping you’ll be joining us.
Tweeting #tbysreadathon to keep connected
and keeping company.



mudhouse sabbath by lauren f. winner

Recipes for Love and Murder by Sally Andrew

Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey

The Memory of Us by Camille Di Maio



| Book Blog Discussions |  BOOK NOOK | JMill Wanders |

20 Books of Summer 2016

20 books summer 2016 746 books

Joining Cathy at 746 Books
20 Books of Summer Challenge
once again.

Naming my 20 Books of Summer would end in disappointment as I’m sure
to edit my list enroute to  Sept 5th closing.
So, I will name books already on my summer ARC list
plus authors I’m sure to read and audiobook listen
to give a semblance as to what the rest of my participation will include;
which allows me the reading freedom this free spirited reader prefers…
Hoping that satisfies everyone and host, Cathy, about my participation.
She’s not a tough host requiring strict adherence to expectations,
I can assure you!
Don’t be intimidated in joining in.  You can even choose your reading totals
or goals to 10 / 15 / 20 as fits your summer reading plans.
Cathy’s reading 20 by female authors.  Mine are as well,
with addition of 1 male writing team member.

Plus the fact my reading is influenced by
and BIG BOOK SUMMER for 400+ page reading.
Be bold and join the lineup for the June 1st start.  I’ll be reading and tweeting
@_eHope with #20b00ksofsummer to identify progress
Find @cathy746books and fb 746 Books

My 20 for Summer Reading Starters?

1. Matchmakers of Minnow Bay – Kelly Harms
2. The Reluctant Duchess – Roseanna M. White
[also BIG BOOK Summer at 400 pgs]
3. The Wedding Shop – Rachel Hauck
4. Lavender Lies – Susan Wittig Albert
5. Anna Lee Huber – probably more than 1
6. Charles Todd – mother/son writing team [audios]
7. Georgette Heyer – I have yet to give this author an opportunity
> VENETIA – currently listening via hoopla audios <
8. Meet Me in Scotland – Patience Griffin
9. Invitation to Provence – Elizabeth Adler
10. A Rather Lovely Inheritance – C.A. Belmond
11. Invitation to Solitude and Silence – Ruth Haley Barton
12. Rainbow Valley – L.M. Montgomery
13. Elizabeth Musser – will be 1 about France
14. Donna Leon – any one will be fab –
> A Question of Belief via library OverDrive <
15. Louise Penny – any! –
> The Beautiful Mystery < audio listen via hoopla
[also BIG BOOK Summer at 400 pgs]
16. From this Moment – Elizabeth Camden
17. Hillary Manton Lodge – either/both?
A Table by the Window &/or Reservations for Two
18. Susan Meissner – A Window to the World
[also BIG BOOK Summer at 400 pgs]

19. Margaret Feinberg – some great choices  [hoopla audios]
20. The Jane Austen in August meme will run me well over 20
just saying – though I’ll be adding them closer to the start of the Challenge


So, that’s about as close as I can guesstimate my 20 BOOKS of SUMMER.

Here’s my 20 Books Read Progress …

  1. LAVENDER LIES by Susan Wittig Albert {4.6}
    2. AUNT DIMITY AND THE BURIED TREASURE by Nancy Atherton {4.6}
    3. The RELUCTANT DUCHESS by Roseanna White  {5.6}
    4. A WINDOW  TO THE WORLD by Susan Meissner {6.6}
    5. The BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY by Louise Penny {7.6}
    6. The GOODBYE BRIDE by Denise Hunter {10.6}
    7. The TALE OF HILL TOP FARM by Susan Wittig Albert {11.6}
    8. BACHELOR GIRL’s GUIDE TO MURDER by Rachel McMillan {11.6}
    9. The MAGICIAN’s NEPHEW by CS Lewis { 13.6}
    10. ARRANGED by Catherine McKenzie {15.6}
    11. The MYSTERY OF THE BLUE TRAIN by Agatha Christie {17.6}Choosing to participate in 20 Books of Summer? Book Choices?
    Reasons to influence your choices?
    Any close runners you had to choose between ?  Will you read for 10/15/20 books?
    HapPy Reading Start!



| Book Blog Discussions | SINCERELY PAULA | MAY ~ BOOK NOOK  |



In the interests of Summer Reading resources, here’s a tempting summer option.
Hosted by a collaboration of Rachel A Dawson and mrthomasandme
[click either host for full deets]
They’re ready for a June start.

From Rachel……
How it’s going to look:

  1. They pick a random criteria for your book.You find your book.
    [local, used bookstore, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, the library, ordered from Book Depository [=Free delivery]  whatever works for you
  2. Read. [You’ll have a month per book.]
  3. At the end of the month we’ll review(ish) our books. [With unique book aspects as posted at Amber and Rachel’s who will both have places for readers to share book links in their posts.] Linking to wherever and however works for you – vlog, goodreads, blog, twitter, fb, instagram, pinterest, etc. using #collaboreads hashtag
  4. Repeat steps 1 – 4 each month. 

Here’s the JUNE book prompt: 

” On the NYT Best-sellers List when you start reading it.

I’m liking the variety of reading this enables from the basic book prompt.

My choice will be either The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
or….  The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
It’s actually going to be –

Boundaries John Townsend Henry CLoud

#6 on the NYT Bestseller List for Religion, Spirituality and Faith

I really liking the review suggestions…riveting, elements, associations, design, and stars
Check Rachel or Amber’s blogs for explanations .

 Got it?  Let’s go.
Grab your choice of NYT best seller and meet up Monday, June 29th !




VALENTINE WEEK READING !{What I’ve Read.  Am Reading.  Reading Next. }

*Adding a few Sweet Reading Treats for this Valentine Week…
Here’s this past week’s completed ~

an Oasis Audiobook – A Promise Kept – Robin Lee Hatcher
Double storyline included – Emma’s storyfrom the 30’s as she succeeds in overcoming her life losses and creates a new and fulfilling life that will deeply impact the future of her great niece, Allison, who discovers Emma’s journals when staying in the country home Emma renovated during her own exile. 


Fantastic story of Ruth and Naomi meeting in Moab,Ruth’s marriage to Mahlon and his subsequent death.Their journey to Naomi’s homeland of Israel withall the rejection Ruth receives as a foreign immigrant,the realities of  grief and struggling to survive.The romance between Ruth andBoaz, who has lost his children and then his wife to childbirthcomplications, is poignant and tender.  Wonderful story.
Authored by Tessa Afshar originally from Iran.
I am definitely looking for more of her writing.


Pleased to have had time available for this excellent debut by Katherine Reay.  Complexity of her MC characterization is both strong  and dynamic.Love the plot and epistolary style offering the protagonist freedomto be herself in the telling of her journalism studies at Medill.Secondary plotting is a definite contribution to the main story.Lots of emotional engagement as I read.[especially when we get to meet the gorgeous Alex!]


A quick Saturday novella from fav Brit author, Victoria Connelly.6th in the Austen Addicts series, this offered the opp of spendingtime with the characters of  A Weekend with Mr Darcy as theyjoin the original host on a Jane Austen Weekend tour of thegrand homes used in the Pride and Prejudice movies .A fun reunion and romp through the English countryside ,I always enjoy another glimpse into Victoria’s contemporaryAusten fans and a great break from longer reads.


Third of the historic romance series by Sarah E Ladd,Whispers on the Moors.A Lady at Willowgrove Hall,an impressive story right from the intense opening,kept my interest and emotions engaged through to a mostsatisfying conclusion.
Which also brought me to 35 books read so far in this year.Thanks to Freda, I’m now adding them to the 50 Book PledgeChallenge at Harper Collins.

Now to decide what’s next up…

Intriguing secondary characters and lush scenery contribute to the often sinister, even creepy, moments readers will come to anticipate. Infusing her story with mystery, tension, and emotion, Byrd strikes a fine balance between the darkness of a Gothic mystery and the sweetness of a captivating love story. Byrd—and Brontë—fans will enjoy. 
Publisher’s Weekly 

From New York Times bestselling author Marie Bostwick comes an emotionally rich, inspiring new novel about family, second chances–and the connections that bring women together in hope and healing. . .
Years of long workdays and little sleep as a political campaigner are about to pay off now that Lucy Toomey’s boss is entering the White House. But when her estranged older sister, Alice, unexpectedly dies, Lucy is drawn back to Nilson’s Bay, her small, close-knit, Wisconsin hometown.   -publisher


Sweet Treats for Valentine’s this week ~
from Belinda Jones The brief is simple: With three other women, Laurie will board a London bus – kitted out as an English tea shop – on a deliciously different road trip of the USA. 
Their mission: To bring home-grown classics like Battenberg, Victoria sponge and scones to the land of cupcakes, whoopie pies and gold-leafed chocolate sundaes. 

And to show them how a real cup of tea is made. All of the women have their own secrets and heartaches to heal. As well as a grand appreciation of cupcakes, there’s also the chance for romance…

Adding my choices ~at Sheila’s BOOK JOURNEYMary’s LITERACY MUSING MONDAYS [featured FHC and surprised me last again this week- TY!]Ramona’s BOOK NOOKMizB’s MUSING MONDAYS





It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading?Having been participating in #WintersRespite Reading ChallengeI’ve had a good reading week and weather by this weekend to support it. *Books read?

Extremely well written Austenesque, Stephanie Barron has a knack for writing dialogue and description accurate to the era.A pleasure to be vicariously immersed in a Regency mansionfor a week long Twelve Days of Christmas party replete with food and festivities.Mystery and method of sleuthing finds Jane’s capabilities usefuldespite being questioned. Family personality clashes providenew insights to the lesser known Austens.  Recommended for JA fans.*

Striking black and whites of children of Calcutta and the work ofMother Teresa and her sisters of Charity.Brief prayers and foundational thoughts expressed in interviewsduring production of a movie on Mother Teresa’s work form written content.Overview of her birth and biographical background forms the intro to Words to Love By…*

Short story collection, All Together Now, from a popular Australian born author,Monica McInerney.Great sense of humour in her writing combined with unique storiesof varied generations.The novella, included, offered a great ‘new beginning’ for the protagonist with a surprise ending that countered any suspected predictability.*

Helpful book in so many ways.  Fight Back With Joydealing with Margaret’s breast cancer diagnosis, the medical journey, chemo, doctors, family and friend’s support and her responses through all of it.Great advice for what is and is not helpful from those of us in supportiveroles.  Creativity in dealing with the incredible life changes for thoseexperiencing first hand battles.Recommended reading even for Margaret and Leif’s tips alone.*

*Two audiobooks kept me busy for 2 days.

Fascinating Hercule Poirot audio mystery with an accomplished narratorcapable of covering a wide cast of characters.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find him listed in any part of the After the Funeral paperback accompanying the audio.  Possibly Gary Waldhorn but nothing stated to confirm that.  Enough plot twists to keep me guessing and maybe a few too many charactersto keep track of in this one. *Such a great continuation of Anne’s story as she leaves Prince Edward Island to attend Redmond College in Nova Scotia.Anne of the Islandcovers 4 years of her life – moving from dorm living to share rent and lives together with friends in a private home for the remaining 3 years of school and socializing.  Anne discovers the home of her birth, receives several very unusual proposals, visits Green Gables home for weddings of her childhood friends, and studiously avoids Gilbert’s attentions.An excellent addition to the Anne series, I’d certainly recommend either novel reading or audio copy.*Not entirely committed to any particular reading this week.  Definitely happy to have postedthree netgalley reviews.  Feeling positively inspirited by that wee success.I do have Somewhere in France on audio from the library *

and a couple ebooks to catch up on netgalley reads before I get too far along with my current reading selections.

Highland Call When Great Britain declares war on France, Napoleon orders the arrest of all British men on French soil, including Selena Delaroe’s twin brother Nicholas.All attempts to secure his freedom fail. By 1811 he has been detained for eight years. When the French threaten to kill him, Selena agrees to spy for them to keep her brother alive, though she is a Christian and loyal to England. The British government asks Gabriel Macpherson to help them determine whether or not she is working for Napoleon. Soon after Gabriel becomes the manager of her country estate, he falls in love with Selena. When he learns she is a French spy, he must choose between his heart and loyalty to his country …

In the Field of Grace  is a fictionalized telling of the Biblical story of Ruth and Boaz.

One of my favs, and a perfect romance for this month of Love, I look forward to experiencing this tale.Without wealth or family, the widow Ruth left her people and followed Naomi, her beloved Hebrew mother-in-law, to rebuild Naomi’s home in Israel. Provisions gone and starvation at the door, Ruth used all that she had left–a strong back and a willing heart–to gather grain in a field, abandoned after the harvest.

Tormented by others, Ruth is shocked to find the owner of the field watching her. Talking to her. Bringing food to her and Naomi. Boaz tells himself his kindness toward Ruth is repayment for the love she has shown to his cousin Naomi.  But his heart knows better…

Sounds like the perfect Valentine read 

*Looking forward to hearing of your reading successes this past week and what’s ahead…Find more BOOK LINKS listed at Sheila’s BOOK JOURNEY* LITERACY MUSING MONDAYS ** MUSING MONDAYS ** AUDIO WALKERS  ** BOOK NOOK ***FIND MORE FHC on BOOK DEPOSITORY | PINTEREST | TWITTER | GOOGLE+ | GOODREADS | FACEBOOK | NETWORKED BLOGS | LIBRARYTHING*




With her brothers away fighting the Great War overseas, Livy Campbell desperately wants to help her family. Her chance comes when she meets a handsome stranger who lands her a job as a teacher in a place far from her parents’ farm. But the war casts a long shadow over the German-American town that Livy now calls home-and the darkness will test everything she thought she knew about family and love . . .

More than anything, Friedrick Wagner wants to be part of his adopted country’s struggle for peace. But when the bitter animosity between Germans and Americans soon turns citizens against newcomers, friend against friend, he will do whatever it takes to protect Livy from the hysteria that grips their town. As tragedy-and dark secrets from the past-threaten their future,
Friedrick and Livy have one chance to stand up for what’s right . . .
and one chance to fight for their love.

*Pages: pb/kindle 384 pgsPublished: June 24.2014Publisher:  Forever [Grand Central Publishing]*My Thoughts?~Captured by the evocative cover, I was pleased to discover content offered as captivating a story.
March 1918, we meet Livy waiting to celebrate her 20th birthday at the town dance.The promised date with her boyfriend, Robert, never materializes.  And Livy has good reason to know why.  A soldier, returned wounded from the Great War, chooses the company of alcoholover her and their anticipated future. So when a handsome young man notices her tears and takes the opportunity to invite Livy to the dancefloor, she decides against her original regrets and allows him to escort her to the floor.Thus begins the enchanting story of Hope at Dawn. *Through this meeting with Friedrick, Livy has a teaching job connection and independence in a new community.  When government laws are introduced that jeopardize the German American inhabitants of that community, the fragility of life and relationships come to the fore.  A horrifying and unknown component of the cost of war as Ms Henrie so aptly describes this aspect of the American homefront.*The entire story is gripping with romantic tension, wartime realities, and social injustices.First in the series Of Love and War, readers are introduced to the Campbell family members via Livy’s story.  We are made aware of  two brothers away on the warfront, one of whom features in book 2, Hope Rising based in WWI France, and due to release December 2014.Book 3, A Hope Remembered, to release March 2015.*I am anticipating more exquisite reading, having completed this beautifully written first entryOf Love and War.  Hope at Dawn has certainly lived up to its theme.I full heartedly recommend Stacy Henrie’s series to wartime romance fans everywhere.A story and characters you’ll remember long after you’ve reached ‘The End‘ …*

*Author Bio:
Stacy Henrie has always had an avid appetite for history, fiction and chocolate. While she had a goal to write and publish a book one day, she turned her attentions first to graduating with a bachelor’s degree in public relations. Not long after, she switched from writing press releases and newsletters to writing inspirational historical romances as a stay-at-home mom. Stacy loves reading, romantic movies, and most of all, laughing with her husband and three kids. She appreciates the chance to live out history through her characters, while enjoying all the modern conveniences of life in the 21st century.  Stacy  is a road trip enthusiast and a novice interior decorator besides writing fantastic novels.

*Find Stacy online :StacyHenrie.com on twitter @StacyHenrie 
Click to Order HOPE AT DAWN  and HOPE RISINGpre-order A HOPE REMEMBERED[no delivery charges at Book Depository]**Appreciation to Forever [Grand Central] for providing an ecopy to read and review without cost or compensation.*Shared With ~
* Lavender Cottage Mosaic Monday ** Book Nook **FIND MORE FHC on