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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Favorite Book Club Selections for 2012

Reading Group Guides polled more than 300 book groups about their favorite selections in 2012 and recently announced the top 15 results.
Click on the titles of Unbroken, The Paris Wife, and Gone Girl for my reviews of these titles.

Did you read any of these selections with your group or individually?

1. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

2. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

3. Night Road by Kristin Hannah

4. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

5. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

6. An Unquenchable Thirst: A Memoir by Mary Johnson

7. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

8. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

9. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

10. Defending Jacob by William Landay

11. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

12. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

13. Home Front by Kristin Hannah

14. Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

15. The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

Happy Reading!

Monday, February 25, 2013

What I'm Reading- Feb. 25, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?" is a meme hosted by Sheila from Book Journey where readers share what they are currently reading, recently read, or plan to read next.

Currently Reading: The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich
Book Description (from The unsolved murder of a farm family still haunts the white small town of Pluto, North Dakota, generations after the vengeance exacted and the distortions of fact transformed the lives of Ojibwe living on the nearby reservation. Part Ojibwe, part white, Evelina Harp is an ambitious young girl prone to falling hopelessly in love. Mooshum, Evelina's grandfather, is a repository of family and tribal history with an all-too-intimate knowledge of the violent past. And Judge Antone Bazil Coutts, who bears witness, understands the weight of historical injustice better than anyone. Through the distinct and winning voices of three unforgettable narrators, the collective stories of two interwoven communities ultimately come together to reveal a final wrenching truth.

Recently Finished: The Witness by Dee Henderson

Up Next: I'm still undecided but I recently purchased the following books. I'd love to hear if someone has read and enjoyed any of these selections.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Weekend Cooking: Blueberry Coffee Cake

I came across this recipe for Blueberry Coffee Cake on and it was a super simple cake to bake up for a weekend breakfast treat. As an added bonus, we can remind ourselves that blueberries are packed full of antioxidants so this cake is good for us, right?

1 1/2 cups blueberries (fresh or thawed if frozen)
1 large egg
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1/2 cup plain fat-free yogurt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil (or your preferred oil)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk together first four ingredients in a large bowl.
Sift together flour and next three ingredients in another bowl. Stir flour mixture into egg mixture just until dry ingredients are moistened.
Toss 1 1/4 cup blueberries in 1 Tbsp. flour, fold into batter. Pour into lightly greased 9-inch springform pan. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup blueberries.
Stir together 2 Tbsp. sugar, sliced almonds, and cinnamon, sprinkle over batter.
Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack.

** I simply used Self-Rising Flour and skipped the baking powder and I used extra blueberries just to make it more fruit-filled. I hope everyone is having success with their weekend cooking projects!

This post is linked up to Weekend Cooking, a weekly meme hosted by Beth at Beth Fish Reads.

Happy Reading and Cooking!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love Poems

Love’s Philosophy
By Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)

The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one spirit meet and mingle.
Why not I with thine?—

See the mountains kiss high heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
What is all this sweet work worth
If thou kiss not me?

Happy Valentine's Day!
I hope you find time to read something lovely today!

Happy Reading,

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Witness by Dee Henderson

Book Description (from
     Police Chief Luke Granger's witness to a murder, Amy Griffin, has been on the run for years. Her family thinks she was murdered eight years ago, but Amy chose to accept a life in the shadows in order to protect her sisters' lives. Now unveiled secrets about their father have thrust the sisters into the public spotlight. The man who wants Amy dead now sees her sisters as the way to locate her. Luke and two of his homicide detectives are determined to stand in the way. They are each falling in love with a different sister, and it's become a personal mission to keep them safe. But chances are that at least one of them will fail, and facing the future will take a faith deeper than any of them currently knows.

My Thoughts:
     The Witness by Dee Henderson, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (2006), was the first book I have read by this author. Typically, this isn't the type of book I would select to read but it has a lot to offer readers of a variety of genres- mystery, thriller, romance, spiritual.
     The first half of the book sets the stage for the action-packed second half. While all of the main characters are likeable, I didn't feel that any of them were fully developed based on this novel alone.
     The Witness has an interesting plot and what initially appears to be two separate storylines becomes united as the novel progresses. Spoiler Alert: I generally do not require the quintessential happy ending in order to feel fulfilled by the ending of a book. However, the murder of one of the main characters in the last quarter of the book left me unsatisfied with the direction the author took the story.
     As I mentioned, Henderson has created very likeable characters in this novel and the death felt unnecessary to me. The author did a good job of keeping the reader guessing on which individual was responsible for all of the crimes.
     Henderson has clearly spent much time researching the various levels of law enforcement which is evident from the details she provides tot he reader in this story. The Witness proved to be an easy and exciting read.

About the Author: Dee Henderson is the author of fourteen best-selling novels including the acclaimed O'Malley series and the Uncommon Heroes series. As a leader in the inspirational romantic suspense category, her books have won or been nominated for several prestigious industry awards. She is a lifelong resident of Illinois.

Happy Reading,

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New Discoveries for a Childhood Classic

“As you read my stories of long ago I hope you will remember that things truly worthwhile and that will give you happiness are the same now as they were then. It is not the things you have that make you happy. It is love and kindness and helping each other and just plain being good. ”
                                                                             ~  Laura Ingalls Wilder

When I was a child, I loved the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, reading them over and over again. Each book has the most beautiful cover illustrations depicting life on the frontier by Garth Williams. The popular television series was also a favorite and still is today.

I just read an online article (at People of all places) and wanted to share the new topic buzzing about this classic series.

One of the most tragic storylines in this saga is when Mary Ingalls loses her eyesight to what was then attributed to her enduring scarlet fever as a child. A new study published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, suggests that the cause of Mary's blindness was likely meningoencephalitis, a disease similar to meningitis.

According the report, for more than a decade, a team of researchers have been studying letters written by Wilder, newspaper articles related to the illness, and data on blindness and infectious disease in the late 19th century. It is thought that Wilder and her editors simply believed the scarlet fever illness would be more relatable to readers, likely due to the wideswept report of cases during the time period.
You can read the article in its entirety here:,,20670958,00.html

Regardless of the exact cause of the blindness, through her storytelling Wilder reveals to us Mary's strength to not only accept her new fate but to excel and create a happy and successful life for herself. Even in our present time of modern technology and medical advances, Mary sets a wonderful example for us on how our attitude will ultimately determine our future.

Happy Reading,


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