Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top Ten Enjoyable Books I've read in 2011

This is my list of the top ten books I've read this year, 2011, that were my favorite. Even though these are my favorite from 2011, they are not all published in 2011. Okay, let's start the countdown!

10. Forever Faithful Trilogy by Karen Kingsbury


9. Journey's End by Dora Hiers

No review, sorry:-(


8. Reclaiming Lily by Patti Lacy


7. The Thorn by Beverly Lewis


6. Shaiton's Fire by Jake Thoene 

No review, sorry:-(

5. Thicker Than Blood by C.J. Darlington


4. Paper Roses by Amanda Cabot


3. For Time and Eternity by Allison Pittman

No review, sorry:-(

2. Twelfth Imam by Joel Rosenberg


1. First place goes to Tehran Initiative by Joel Rosenberg!


There you have it! My Top Ten books of 2011. Special notice also goes to these following books:

Shiloh Legacy Series (3 books) by Bodie and Brock Thoene
The Sunset Gate by Isabella Alden

What were your all-time favorite books of this year? I hope you have a blessed new year in 2012! God bless you!!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Reclaiming Lily by Patti Lacy

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"A storm the size of Texas brews when Gloria Powell and Kai Chang meet in a Ft. Worth hotel. They have come to discuss the future of Lily, the daughter Gloria adopted from China and the sister Kai hopes to reclaim. Kai is a doctor who had to give up her little sister during the Cultural Revolution and has since discovered that an inherited genetic defect may be waiting to fatally strike Lily.

Gloria's relationship with her daughter is tattered and strained, and the arrival of Kai, despite the woman's apparent good intentions, makes Gloria fearful. Gloria longs to restore her relationship with Lily, but in the wake of this potentially devastating diagnosis, is Kai an answer to prayer--or will her arrival force Gloria to sacrifice more than she ever imagined?"

This was such a beautifully written book. Reclaiming Lily is my first exposure to Patti Lacy's work and I would enjoy trying her again!

When I saw this book dealt with an orphan, I knew I that I had to read it. However, the orphan is a teenager and her story mostly deals with teen rebellion. It was wonderful to see the growing friendship of the other two characters, Gloria and Kai. Andrew, Gloria's husband, added a nice element to the book. It was lovely to see his and Gloria's relationship as husband and wife- he was very supportive and understanding. All the characters were portrayed in a real way and I enjoyed sharing in their pains and joys.

The plot was full of twists and turns that I did not see coming. Even the ending held somewhat of a surprise. I loved the way Patti weaved the characters' faith into the story and how their faith played a crucial part in the book. I also enjoyed the China flashbacks of Kai. Besides one unnecessary part, the book is a clean, Christ-centered read.

I highly recommend this book for those who enjoy an emotionally touching story. It can be bought at Amazon.com, and so on. If anyone is inspired to read this book because of this review, let me know. I would enjoy sharing in your reading experience:-)

**Note Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for my copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Thicker Than Blood by C.J. Darlington

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"Christy Williams finally has her life on track. She's putting her past behind her and working hard to build a career as an antiquarian book buyer. But things begin to unravel when a stolen Hemingway first edition is found in her possession, framing her for a crime she didn't commit. With no one to turn to, she yearns for her estranged younger sister, May, whom she abandoned after their parents' untimely deaths. Soon, Christy's fleeing from her shattered dreams, her ex-boyfriend, and God. Could May's Triple Cross Ranch be the safe haven she's searching for? Will the sisters realize that each possesses what the other desperately needs before it's too late?"

    Wow! This was a wonderful book by C.J Darlington and can you believe, this is her debut novel! (She started it during her homeschool years at age fifteen). The cover caught my attention and the story begins at a fast pace. I could not put it down! How would the sisters react when they reunited? Would Christy's boss find out it was not her who stole the book? Etc???

   Christy, who is not a christian, does have some very serious problems like addiction to alcohol, cigarettes, etc...; however, Darlington uses Christy's situation to show that everyone- no matter how sinful- can receive Jesus' redemption. I was joyful when Christy gave her heart to the Lord.

   The pace toward the end of the book raced forth like a speeding bullet (those who've read the book understand what I mean:-), but the ending was somewhat abrupt. There were a few loose threads that I hope will be resolved in the sequel Bound by Guilt.

  This book is a Christ-centered, fast-paced novel. I highly recommend it. It can be bought at Amazon.comChristianbook.com, etc.... If anyone is inspired to read this book because of this review, let me know. I would enjoy sharing in your reading experiences:-)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Paper Roses by Amanda Cabot

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"Her future stretched out like the clear blue Texas sky.

But a storm is coming.

Leaving the past behind in Philadelphia, mail-order bride Sarah Dobbs arrives in San Antonio ready to greet her groom--a man she has never met but whose letters, her paper roses, have won her heart from afar. But there is a problem--Austin Canfield is dead, and Sarah cannot go back East.

As Sarah tries to reconcile herself to a future that is drastically changed, Austin's brother Clay wants nothing more than to shake the Texas dust from his boots, but first he must find his brother's killer. And then there's Sarah.

Something is blooming out in the vast Texas landscape that neither Clay nor Sarah is ready to admit, and the promise of redemption blows like a gentle breeze through the prairie grasses.

Book 1 of the Texas Dreams series, Paper Roses will sweep you away with a tale of love, loss, and tantalizing possibilities."


    The title of this book immediately caught my attention and an interesting story seemed to lay between its covers. I was not disappointed! Amanda Cabot weaves a delightful story in this book and I was glad I read it.


    I extremely enjoyed the character of Sarah. She is very independent and daring, but the secret she hides is heart-breaking to say the least. The other characters- Pa, Clay, Isabelle, etc... - add greatly to the charm of the story. Also, it was wonderful to witness the redemption of Sarah and Clay (them receiving Jesus as their Lord and Savior).

    The romance in the book is very predictable; however, the mystery of who killed Austin, Clay's brother, is simply that- a mystery. When the murderer was revealed, I was in complete shock. I would have never guessed that person!

    This book ends in a suspenseful and wonderful way. I highly recommend it and hope to read the rest of the series (Texas Dreams). This book can be purchased at Amazon.comChristianbook.com, etc....


    If anyone is inspired to read this book because of this review, let me know. I would enjoy sharing in your reading experiences:-)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Shiloh Autumn by Bodie and Brock Thoene

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"This is the saga of the Tucker and Canfield families in Shiloh, Arkansas, as they struggle to make it through the Great Depression after the stock-market crash of 1929. Based on the lives of Bodie's grandparents, this touching story mirrors the heartbreak and struggle of Depression-era America."


This was an excellent, yet sad, conclusion of the Tucker and Canfield families. It was interesting and a good portrayal of life during the Great Depression. The Thoenes do not attempt to sugar-coat anything; instead they create believable characters and plots.                                                                                                                                                                            


There was a certain scene that was unnecessary and should have been omitted; however, besides that, the book is clean and Christ-centered. It was refreshing to see how the Tucker and Canfield families relied on the Lord for help and the unique ways He answered. I felt the ending was rather dissapointing and unsatisfying. I do hope the authors plan to continue these families' stories.


This was an entertaining, heart-wrenching, and Christ-centered read. I highly recommend it. This book can be bought at Amazon.comChristianbook.com,, etc.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Say to This Mountain by Bodie and Brock Thoene

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"The mountain of the Great Depression looms over their lives. But it s nothing compared to the unfulfilled yearnings of their hearts. Thousands are jobless after the stock- market crash of 1929. Former company owners now stand around smudge-pot fires to stay warm and live in shanties built of boxes, discarded lumber, and tin. With each day, more people lose their jobs, and the desperation grows. Where will it end?"


This is the third and last book of the Shiloh Legacy series and I can say it was just as good as the other ones (Shiloh Legacy #1 and #2). It dragged a bit at the beginning during Ellis' parts, but it really picked up pace until I was cruising on the highway:-)

The plot was interesting and there were some exciting twists. This book does deal with some very sad topics like suicide, but again the topics are handled in the right way. Overall this was an excellent read and one that I enjoyed immensely. The characters truly feel somewhat like family and I'm glad the Tucker's and Canfields' lives are continued in Shiloh Autumn.

I highly recommend this book. It can be bought at Amazon.comChristianbook.com, etc.... If anyone is inspired to read this book because of this post, let me know. I would love to share in you reading experience:-D

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Thousand Shall Fall by Bodie and Brock Thoene

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"The Roaring Twenties promise peace and prosperity after the Great War. But is all what it seems?

Nine-year-old David O’Halloran has not had an easy life. He can’t even remember his father. Now his beloved mother is dying of cancer in St. Francis Hospital in Philadelphia, leaving David home alone with his drunk, abusive stepfather. Who was my real father? David longs to know. Then one day, while in his mother’s room, he discovers some letters . . . and the shocking truth.

Former soldier Max Meyer, now a respected financial columnist for the New York Times, is convinced of a pending stock-market crash. But no one wants to listen to this doomsday report. Especially Mob Boss Quinn, who has a lot to lose and would do anything to keep Max silent.

After ten years of hard work on the oil rigs of Oklahoma, Birch Tucker at last returns home to Shiloh, Arkansas, with his wife, Trudy, and their three sons. It is the place of their hopes and dreams . . . but will it last?



Will anything in America survive the great stock-market crash of 1929?" 

   Another great work by the Thoenes! This book was truly captivating. I was immediately drawn into the story of "Cannibal", David O'Halloran, and the Tuckers. Again, the Thoenes' wonderful descriptive talents shine through their work. I literally felt as though I was there with the characters. Usually, after I talked with Jesus, I laid in bed and thought about what I had read and imagined what I will read.

   This book was a clean, Christ-centered book. I found the comparison the Thoenes made between Mammon and the stock market very true. What an interesting view at the situation! And the ending was a wonderful surprise. It truly showed that Jesus has helped us even before we even know we need help!

   I found this book to be a delightful read and I highly recommend it for those who enjoy Christian, historical fiction. It (and the whole Shiloh Legacy series) can be purchased at Amazon.comChristianbook.com, etc....

   If anyone has been inspired to read this book because of this review, let me know. I would enjoy sharing in your reading experience!

Monday, December 5, 2011

In My Father's House by Bodie and Brock Thoene

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"From every conceivable culture, men joined together in foxholes to fight World War I-the Great War that would bring the world together in peace, for all time. Jews and Irish, blacks and whites fought side by side and formed bonds of friendship that would tie them together forever. Max Meyer, a Jew from New York; Ellis Warne, an Irish doctor's son from Ohio; Birch Tucker, an Arkansas farm boy-even Jefferson Canfield, the son of a black sharecropper. 
    And as these men drew together in their common cause, the lives of their families became inextricably entwined. They prayed and hoped, wept and laughed-and rejoiced as one when their sons and brothers and fianc├ęs came home from the battlefield. 
    But even as the Armistice is declared, another battle rages on-the undercurrents of racial, religious and cultural intolerance threaten the very foundations of the nation. Will there be any freedom-any peace-on the home front?"

   In My Father's House (Shiloh Legacy series #1) by Bodie and Brock Thoene was an excellent read. Excitement was high throughout the book and I thoroughly enjoyed the descriptive language that was showered throughout it. I was drawn into the stories of Birch, Max, Ellis, and Jefferson.

   This is the first book that I have read with different story lines happening at once. So, I disliked this format at first. Afterward, I got used to it and, actually, it enhanced the suspense in the book because the Thoenes would usually leave characters' stories at such critical points! Also, this book dealt with some serious immoral issues such as fornication; however, the Thoenes deal with these issues in the right way and in the end they contribute significantly to the series.

   I love the way the Thoenes weave Christianity into the book in such a smooth way. The few sermons that are in the book were a blessing. Sometimes, they even made me want to shout AMEN! And the strong faith of the Canfield family was a breath of fresh air.

  I enjoyed this book immensely and would highly recommend it. This book can be bought at Amazon.comChristianbook.com, etc.... If anyone is inspired to read this book because of this review let me know. I would love to hear of your reading experience:-)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

His Steadfast Love by Golden Keyes Parsons


"It isn't until the Civil War comes to her doorstep that Amanda Bell must choose between love and family.

It's the spring of 1861 on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Amanda never thought she would marry because of a promise she made to her dying mother, but her attraction to Captain Kent Littlefield is undeniable.

When Texas secedes from the Union, her brother Daniel aligns with the Confederate States, while Kent remains with the Union troops.

Her heart is torn between the two men she is closest to and the two sides of the conflict. Amanda prays to God for direction and support, but hears only silence. Where is God in the atrocities of war-and whose side is He on?


Amanda senses her life is at a turning point. She must trust God to deliver her family through the chaos of war with her heart and her faith intact."


His Steadfast Love was an enjoyable, light read. The era it was set in- the Civil War -was an interesting one. The love story between Kent and Amanda was very sweet. It was inspiring to see how loyal they were to each other despite many cultural differences; the most prominent difference being their differing views on the Civil War.

The plot of the story moved steadily on to a satisfying conclusion. There were some bumps on the road that I did not see coming:-) The only drawbacks to this book is the conclusion- yes, it was satisfying, but I wish the author would have cleared some questions I still have. For example, what side is Amanda really on? Besides the somewhat loose-ended conclusion, there are no other drawbacks to this book.

Another thing I really enjoyed about this book was the spiritual journey of Amanda. It was heart-wrenching to see her heart grow cold towards God and heart-warming to see her heart begin to warm and finally be re-kindled for God.


This book is a nice summer read (or should I say winter?:-) and I would recommend it to those who enjoy Historical fiction, especially the era of the Civil War. This book can be bought at Amazon.comChristianbook.com, etc.... If anyone is inspired to read this book because of this review, let me know. I would enjoy sharing in your reading experience:-)

** Note Thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers (Book Sneeze) for providing this copy in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Twelth Imam by Joel Rosenberg

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"As the apocalyptic leaders of Iran call for the annihilation of Israel and the U.S., CIA operative David Shirazi is sent into Tehran with one objective: use all means necessary to disrupt Iran’s nuclear weapons program, without leaving American fingerprints and without triggering a regional war. At extreme personal risk, Shirazi executes his plan.
A native Farsi speaker whose family escaped from Iran in 1979, he couldn’t be better prepared for the mission. But none of his training has prepared Shirazi for what will happen next. An obscure religious cleric is suddenly hailed throughout the region as the Islamic messiah known as the Mahdi or the Twelfth Imam. News of his miracles, healings, signs, and wonders spreads like wildfire, as do rumors of a new and horrific war.
With the prophecy of the Twelfth Imam seemingly fulfilled, Iran’s military prepares to strike Israel and bring about the End of Days. Shirazi must take action to save his country and the world, but the clock is ticking
."

   This book was a wonderful change of genre from my usual Historical Romance reads. The story drew me in right away and Rosenberg's descriptive writing is so vivid. The plot seemed "ripped from tomorrow's headlines." I was intrigued by the explanations of Shia end-time theology and felt that I learned a lot from this book concerning the Middle East and the Muslim religion- all from a Biblical perspective, of course.

   There was a scene that seemed somewhat unnecessary, although it did serve a purpose later on in the story. Other than that, this book was a clean, Christ-centered, and insightful read. It causes readers to consider how the world could be with a nuclear-armed, fanatic-Muslim Iran (Middle East).

   This book was an excellent read with many twists and turns and even a touch of romance. I would highly recommend it for those who are interested in current-events. It can be bought at Amazon.com, Christianbook.com, etc..... If anyone is inspired to read this book because of this review, let me know. I would enjoy sharing in your reading experience:-)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Frontier Brides by Colleen L. Reece

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"It's a stampede of emotions! Meet Gideon Scott, who rides the range yearning to return to his beloved; preacher Joel Scott, who searches for his lost father; Smokey Travis, who's seeking a woman to ride off into the sunset with; and Andy Cullen, saddled with concern for Linnet, who lives under a death sentence."

   These four stories of men and women who made their homes on the frontier was beautifully written. I enjoyed each of them and was eager to see what would happen next. Colleen did a wonderful job at describing the settings (I could actually picture them in my mind) and of portraying each of the characters' faith in the Lord Jesus. 

   I thought these would be simply romance stories, but I was pleasantly surprised at the adventure and suspense each story had. At some points I even forgot these were supposed to be romance stories!

   Even though they were somewhat predictable, I enjoyed them nevertheless. I would highly recommend this book. It can be purchased at christianbook.com, amazon.com, etc....