Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Book Club- Mary Alice Monroe

# of book read so far this year: 11th in the month of November

Title: The Book Club

Author: Mary Alice Monroe

Year Published: 1999

Rating (1-10): 7

Date Finished: 11/29/07

Genre: contemporary fiction

# of pages: 352

Number in Series: not part of a series

Where did the book come from: I checked it out from the library
Why I read it: I was looking at someone's shelf on Shelfari recently and this book caught my attention. I thought the synopsis sounded good, kinda similar to Thursdays At Eight by Debbie Macomber, so I decided to read it.

Blurb (story line): a group of 5 women who are good friends, and in a book club. All of them have different backgrounds, and all of them are going through different stages in their lives. Midge is Single, an aspiring artist, and in the story her mom wants to move back to Chicago. It is then that Midge realizes how much older her mother has gotten. Eve loses her husband to a heart attack and must deal with the pain and then move on with her life. Her husband was a doctor so she wasn't working before..she goes through some big changes...gets a job, moves to a smaller apartment, and even meets a guy at her work, who she ends up getting into a relationship with. Toward the end of the book, she even goes back to school to update her teaching certification. Annie is an attorney, who never really thought about having children before, but suddenly she desperately wants them. She has a really hard time getting pregnant, until she discovers she has cancer and must have her uterus removed. She definitely goes through tough times in her marriage during this time, and her marriage almost ends, but they pull through. Gabriella's husband loses his job, which puts stress on the entire family. Doris finally admits to herself that her husband is unfaithful and that there's really no love between them. She divorces him and gains a new outlook on life.

My personal thoughts and comments: I will saw that I was somewhat dissapointed in this book. I thought it would be more like Thursdays At Eight, where they all came to book club meetings and talked about life. It really didn't focus much on the book club, it focused more on the womens' lives OUTSIDE the book club. I didn't really care for Annie....she seemed way too self-centered. There always seemed to be a competition between her and Doris and that got old. I liked Eve, and the book seemed to leave Gabriella out a lot of the time. I think I most identified with Madge. The book was good, but it seemed to drag on in certain parts. I do not regret reading it though.

The Christmas Shoes- Donna VanLiere

# of book read so far this year: I haven't really kept good track this year, but For the month of November it is #10
Title: The Christmas Shoes
Author: Donne VanLiere
Year Published: 2001
Rating (1-10): 10
Date Finished: 11/22/07
Genre: not sure, I'd call it inspirational fiction, perhaps
# of pages: 129
Number in Series: 1 in the Christmas Hope Series
Where did the book come from: I checked it out at the library
Why I read it: I had been browsing online looking for Christmas books and thought it looked good, then someone in one of my book clubs mentioned it.
Blurb (story line): Two main characters Robert- a workaholic who's marriage is falling apart, and Nathan who's 8 and is losing his mom to cancer. Robert has it all, and doesn't realize how much he really has until he comes close to losing whats most important. It takes Robert and Nathan running into each other in a store to make Nathan realize what is really important in life.
My personal thoughts and comments: A Very Quick read....I put this book right up there with the Richard Paul Evans series I've been definitely kept my attention and both stories were touching. I can't wait to continue with this series.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Christmas Promise- Thomas Kinkade

Author: Thomas Kinkade
Year Published: 2004
Rating (1-10): 9
Date Finished: 11/21/2007
Genre: Inspirational fiction
# of pages: 298
Number in Series: 5
Where did the book come from: Checked it out from the library
Why I read it: It was recommended to me by Peg from my Friends_Through_book_reading group, and ever since reading the first books, I've been hooked on this series
Blurb (story line): Main things that happen in this book include Lynn coming to Cape Light trying . She is pregnant and trying to escape an abusive husband. She doesn't tell anyone her true identity and when she thinks they've found her, she runs away...Luckily Reverend James, another newcomer, finds her and is able to bring her back just in time. Dan and Emily get married and invite the entire town of Cape Light to attend their wedding. Sam and Jessica finally get pregnant again, after having Jessica has a miscarriage. Shortly after, they decide to become foster parents to Darrell an 11 year old boy who was sent to New Horizons center.
My personal thoughts and comments: I really enjoyed this book just as much as the the other books in this series. I will definitely be sad when I'm done reading the two books I have left. Since I read this book and the next book out of order, I was still anxious to find out who Leigh's baby was, I thought it might have been the baby that Emily found in the manger in the next book, but it wasn't. In this case, even though I read the books out of order, there were still plenty of surprises.
The most surprising was on Emily's wedding day. Lillian gave Emily away during the ceremony.
"Who gives this woman away to be married?" Reverend Ben asked.
"I do" Her mother said firmly. She turned to face Emily and Emily saw her mother's chin quiver. Her mother touched her shoulder then leaned forward and kissed her on the cheek. "Be happy, dear. You've earned it" she said quietly.
Then she took Emily's hand and gave it to Dan. "Take good care of her. She's a Jewel, you know."
I was shocked to see this coming from Lillian, of all people. This was one of the rare times she actually showed affection toward anyone.

Life On the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers

# of book read so far this MONTH: 8
Title: Life On the Refrigerator Door
Author: Alice Kuipers
Year Published: 2007
Rating (1-10): DEFINITELY a 10!!!!!
Date Finished: 11/20/07
Genre: Comtemporary Fiction
# of pages: 240
Number in Series: not part of series
Where did the book come from: I have had this book on hold for a couple months and was at the library yesterday looking at the new books and THERE IT WAS
Why I read it: This book was recommended to me by a friend in one of the online book/reading groups I belong to.
Blurb (story line): This is a story written in the form of notes passed between Mom and Daughter (Claire). Mom has just been diagnosed with Breast cancer, and she is also the single mom of teenager Claire, who is a typical teenager dealing with school, friends, new boyfriend.
My personal thoughts and comments: I really enjoyed reading this book. I think I finished in about two hours...I laughed several times. The ending was sad, but I thought the author did a great job expressing the thoughts/feelings of a teenager as well as the mom who was going through cancer treatments. I thought this was a very clever idea and will definitely give this to my mom to read.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Christmas Wishes by Debbie Macomber

This included Christmas Letters and Rainy Day Kisses-

Christmas Letters is about K.O who's a medical transcriptionist and looking for a job in PR. She also writes Christmas letters for people who don't have time to do it themselves. Dr. Jeffries is a child psychologist who believes that children should not have any boundaries, which K.O. strongly opposes. K.O's sister, however, loves the book and is raising her twin daughters with the beliefs expressed in this book. Dr. Jeffries happens to be K.O'S neighbor, and they eventually admit their attraction for each other.

Christmas Letters was the Christmas book that Debbie Macomber wrote in 2006. I had started to read it then, but I just couldn't get into it, so I gave up. I really don't know what my problem was. I started reading it again and I really enjoyed it. This story is set on Blossom Street, which is another one of my favorite series by her. It mentioned some of the Blossom Street landmarks that I'd heard about before. I'm now anxious to go back and skim through those books to see if they mention Dr. Jeffries. That name sounded really familiar to me, so I'm thinking they might have. I also think Debbie should write the next book in the Blossom Street series and include this:

It should include a knitting class at A Good Yarn and Katherine and LaVonne should be the students in the class!!!! I seem to recall one of them mentioning that they wanted to sign up for a knitting class!!! It could also talk about her and Wynn's married life and starting a family. Just a thought. I'm actually surprised that since this book came out in 2006, that she didn't include these two new characters in Back on Blossom Street.

Rainy Day Kisses-

Suzanne is stuck babysitting her 9 month old neice, who cries all night, keeping her neighbor awake. He comes over to see what all the noise is about and ends up falling asleep on the couch. It is after this weekend that they start spending more time together and their attraction to each other grows. They eventually get married and start a family of their own.

I thought this story was hilarious as well and I think it made Christmas Wishes a great book to read. It wasn't too heavy and it was entertaining and funny. It might have been a little predictable, but it did have a very happy ending.

Glad Tidings by Debbie Macomber

This book includes two stories. There's Something About Christmas and Here Comes Trouble. In There's Something about Christmas, Emma, a reporter for a local newspaper, has to interview the 3 finalists in a Fruitcake contest. She goes and interviews each one and learns that there is a story behind the way each of them make their fruitcakes. Also, in the beginning of the book, she hates Christmas and hates celebrating, since she lost her mother. She is also estranged from her father. In order for her to get to the interviews, she has to fly in this tiny two seater plan with Oliver....which leads to the two of them falling in love and Jessica ends up really enjoying Christmas because she has someone to spend it with. They eventually get married, and in the epilogue they are 3 months pregnant with their first child.

Timepiece by Richard Paul Evans

This was the story based on the diary that David Parkin kept. Things that stick out in my mind was when their daughter was killed in a fire caused by Arsonists. and how David and Mary dealth with that.

Also, when Mary gave Richard this special timepiece to give his daughter Jenna on her wedding Day.

I am eager to read the next book in this series, The Letter and to see what that story will be about.

The Christmas Angel by Thomas Kinkade

I kind of went out of order with this book. This book is from one of my favorite series, The Cape Light series by Thomas Kinkade. In this book, Emily finds an abandoned baby who had been left in the manger in the Nativity Scene outside the church. The baby goes into the hospital for a few days, and Emily is able to go see her and hold her everyday. When the baby gets out of the hospital, Emily and her husband Dan, become her legal guardians, and eventually Emily talks him into applying to be the baby's adoptive parents. In the beginning, Dan was opposed to this idea because he and Emily had agreed when they got married that they wouldn't have kids. But it was actually him who changed his mind in the end, as Emily started having doubts about adopting the baby, and it was Dan who called the social worker and told her they wanted to adopt the baby.
This was definitely one of my favorite books in the series, if not my most favorite.

The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans

This book was so touching I was able to finish it all in one sitting.
It told the story of how after Richard and his wife had their first child, they went to live with this older women who had posted an ad for renters in exchange for helping keep up the house. It told the story of how their relationship grew and how special Mary became to them.
After reading this, I couldn't wait to continue on with this series....and I ended up finding the next book, Timepiece, a couple days later, while I was at the goodwill store.

Those Christmas Angels

This is another one of Debbie Macomber's Angel books......I loved this book just as much as Where Angels Go. Julie was just what Roy needed.
Roy was single and a workaholic, who never allowed himself to have much fun. His mom, Anne really wanted him to meet a woman to share his life with. Eventually, Roy hires this man, Dean, who'd recently lost his wife, and him and his Daughter Julie were trying to get over their loss. In the beginning, Julie and Roy DO NOT get along, then they eventually become attracted to each other.
Ann was also previously married to Roy's father, and their marriage ended in a bitter divorce, when Burton cheated Ann out of all their assets. This also ruined Roy's relationship with his father. After the divorce she begins painting again, a hobby she's had that has never been appreciated by her ex-husband. She eventually gets offers from galleries to sell her paintings and by the end of the book will be able to sell enough paintings to make a secure income.
At the end of the book the Angels predict that Ann will continue to paint for many years, and Burton and Roy will reconcile. They also predicted that Burton and Julie will get married and have 3 children- 2 boys and 1 girl- all athletic.

Home For the Holidays by Debbie Macomber

I will say that it did take me a little bit to get into this book, but that is partly because I haven't had much reading time this week. But once I got started, there was NO stopping me....I read during every break and at lunchtime at work, after work when I came home, and before bed. Anyway, here's my review.....The Forgetful Bride was quite entertaining.....I kinda thought Cait was a bit self-centered, but I thought Joe was absolutely hilarious and was touched by how far he went to show Cait how he felt. Paul Seemed stuck up and I'd much rather have a fun-loving boyfriend like Joe. The part with Paul and Lindy was kinda predictable though....I expected that from the first time Lindy seemed to avoid Cait. But oh well. Cait found her better match anyway. When Christmas Comes.... I got a big kick out of this story...I think it would be fun to trade houses with someone like they did. I don't blame Heather for wanting to do her own thing, but I did not like Elijah. I am glad she came to her senses and got back with Ben. And I got a big kick out of Charlie and Ray too. I only wish Ray and Emily could've had a baby too- or even better, could've ADOPTED a baby. My mom is actually from Washington- Wenatchee to be exact, so I think I have actually been to Leavenworth before. I'll have to read my mom the description and ask her if that fits the description of leavenworth. I'm always asking her how far the towns in Debbie's books are from where she lived.
Now, I'm moving onto Glad Tidings. I'm having a great time doing all this Christmas reading.....I can't believe how many books I've read in such a short time.......and also how many books I still have left to read....I'm sure I'll have to save some for next year though...because come January I think I'll be ready to move on. But it's not even December yet so I still have PLENTY of time.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Where Angels Go- Debbie Macomber

This book had extra special meaning to me because Josh gave it to me for my birthday. It was also the first of Debbie Macomber's Angel books that I read. I loved them so much, I rushed out and tried to find all the other angel books she's written, and I hope she continues to write books featuring these angels. Between the library and the used bookstore, I think I have all the ones she's written so far.
Where Angels Go featured 3 different stories. The First story was about a boy named Carter who desperately wanted a dog for Christmas. His dad had recently lost a job, and they couldn't afford the expense of having a dog. One day at school, Carter comes across a stray dog, named Rusty who he really loves. He prays that Rusty will somehow follow his school bus home. Rusty manages to find Carter's house, but Carter's dad still says no. They take him to the animal shelter and Carter is just crushed. A little while later, Rusty finds his way back to Carter's house, and then after a fire one night, Rusty gets to stay because if it hadn't been for his barking, the family wouldn't have woken up and gotten out when they did. At the end of the book the Angels predict that Rusty will stay with the family until he's 16 years old in people years and Carter will remember him for the rest of his life. Carter's father will soon be offered a job at Higer pay, and Carter's mom will also start working with the school district.
The next story was about Harry Alderwood, who was dying of heart failure. He had a wife, Rosalie, who he'd been married to for 60 years. They also had children and grandchildren. This is Harry's last Christmas on earth, and one night he swears he sees an Angel. He is always trying to talk Rosalie, who's memory seems to be going, into moving to a assisted-living center. Harry died while taking a nap on Christmas Eve. All of his family had been at his house that day. His daughter had also just paid the deposit for them to move to Libery Orchard, and now Rosalie would be able to. At the end of the story, the angels predict that Rosalie will move into Liberty Orchard and
The third story was about a girl who met this guy through playing an Online Game, World of Warcraft. His name was Peter and he was sweet, charming, and wonderful. She was also divorced and seemed scared to get into another relationship. Her and Peter agreed to meet in person, and it was then that she figured out that Peter was actually her ex-husband John, but was going by his middle name now. After realizing how well they got along without realizing who they really were, they decided to give their relationship another try. At the end of the story, the Angels predict that Peter and Beth will remarry and eventually have three children- John, Mary, and Tim.
I honestly don't knw which story I liked best....I really enjoyed each one of them and I can't wait to read more of Debbie's Angel books.
Finished: Early November 2007

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

On A Snowy Night

On A Snowy night includes two stories "A Christmas Basket" and "The Snow Bride". Both are pretty short, but they were fun to read anyway. My favorite of the two was The Christmas Basket, but I loved the ending of "The Snow Bride".
The Christmas Basket is about this guy and a girl, Thomas Sutton and Noelle McDowell who were high school sweethearts, but then after a big misunderstanding (they just didn't realize it) went their seperate ways. They meet again 10 years later when Noelle comes home for Christmas. Meanwhile, their mothers can't stand each other after Noelle's mom, Sarah, borrows a very special tea set and lies to Thomas' mom (Mary) about what she's using it for. It gets lost, and Mary never forgives Sarah. They are both assigned to work on the Christmas Baskets for the church and are forced to be civil to each other....they almost can't even do takes them having car trouble on the side of the road and being stranded to call it a truce....then when they find out that their children are getting married, everyone is overjoyed.
The Snow Bride is about a girl named Jenna who meets this guy, Dalton over the internet. She then makes plans to go to Alaska and meet him in person. She really wants this to work, but unfortunately, little does she know, Dalton is not who he says he is. Luckily, when she arrives at the airport, Dalton is nowhere to be found, and instead she runs into Reid, who knows exactly what kind of person Dalton is. Reid kidnaps Jenna and takes her to Snowbound, Alaska, a town so small, there is only ONE woman living in that town. Everyone grows to love Jenna and is sad when she's finally able to leave after the storm. In the meantime, Reid and Jenna fall in love and just don't know how to express their feelings to each other, and neither really want to BELIEVE their it takes Jenna going back home to realize how they really feel about each other. They end up getting married in the end.
Since these stories were both so short, I really didn't have much time to have opinions about anyone....I thought Dalton was a scumbag, and I could tell the attraction between Jenna and Reid right from the start. I LOVED Lucy.
I finished this book on 10/31/07