Sunday, December 22, 2013

Fall into Reading 2013 Wrap Up

Brrrrr! Winter is here! We've already had our share of winter weather here, around ten inches of snow and some ice as well, and my kids have already had five snow days. Perfect weather conducive to snuggling up and cracking open a book.

This year's host has been Sandra Stiles at The Musings of a Book Addict. Kudos to her for lining up this challenge.

On my original list I included a few books to review - and I was able to add a few more over the last couple of months. Here's my progress with my review books:

1. The Nurse's Secret Suitor by Cheryl Wyatt
2. Pretty is as Pretty Does by Debby Mayne
3. A Plain Disappearance by Amanda Flower
4. The Christmas Quilt by Vannetta Chapman


5. Merry Humbug Christmas by Sandra D. Bricker
6. Aloha Rose by Lisa Carter
7. Critical Reaction by Todd M. Johnson
8. Derailed by Dave & Neta Jackson
9. Paige Rewritten by Erynn Mangum
10. Traces of Mercy by Michael Landon, Jr. and Cindy Kelley
11. Made to Last by Melissa Tagg

I planned to finish my Goodreads reading goal and challenges for 2013 and included 32 books on my original list to meet them (see my original list here.) I didn't get all the way through my original list because a few other titles appealed to me more than those I had previously chosen. I did meet my reading goal of 120 books this year, but still have one challenge to complete. I'm hoping to get through the last few books before the year ends.

Here are the challenge books I read from my original list:

1. Black, White, Other by Joan Steinau Lester
2. Swimming through Clouds by Rajdeep Paulus
3. Like Moonlight at Low Tide by Nicole Quigley
4. Bright Christmas by Susan Rohrer
5. It's Complicated by Laura L Smith
6. It's Over by Laura L Smith
7. Diary of a Real Payne by Annie Tipton
8. The Icing on the Cake by Janice Thompson
9. Dark Justice by Brandilyn Collins
10. Eventide by Shelley Shepard Gray
11. The Christmas Visitor by Linda Byler
12. Forever Friday by Timothy Lewis
13. Frame 232 by Wil Mara
14. The Doctor's Devotion by Cheryl Wyatt
15. The Tattered Quilt by Wanda Brunstetter
16. A Plain Death by Amanda Flower
17. A Plain Scandal by Amanda Flower
18. Damaged by Melody Carlson
19. Blown Away by Nancy Mehl
20. Three Hearts, One Town by Sarah Jae Foster
21. Grace Unplugged by Melody Carlson

These were not on my original list of books to read, but count toward some of my Goodreads challenges:

22. God's Worn Out Servants by Tattie Maggard (Short Story)
23. Unspoken by Dee Henderson
24. Sharing Your Faith by Kate McVeigh (Mini-book)
25. Shattered by Dani Pettrey
26. A Christmas Gift for Rose by Tricia Goyer
27. The Dawn of Christmas by Cindy Woodsmall
28. Secretly Smitten by Coble/Billerbeck/Hunt/Hunter
29. I am a Church Member by Thom Rainer
30. The Yellow Sock by Angela Hunt

I also read through the preliminary list (25 books) of the Missouri Show-Me Award Nominees (for Grade K-2) for 2014-2015. There were some really enjoyable books on the list and the final ten books will be announced in January. The books on the preliminary list are listed here:

1. Helen's Big World by Doreen Rapaport
2. Some Cat! by Mary Casanova
3. Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds
4. Miss Fox's Class Gets It Wrong by Eileen Spinelli
5. Glamorous Glasses by Barbara Johansen Newman
6. Cold Snap by Eileen Spinelli
7. I Need My Own Country by Rick Walton
8. The House that George Built by Suzanne Slade
9. The Camping Trip That Changed America by Barb Rosenstock
10. One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo
11. The Quiet Place by Sarah Stewart
12. Barnum's Bones by Tracey Fern
13. Wild About You! by Judy Sierra
14. Mrs. Harkness and the Panda by Alicia Potter
15. Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
16. The House on Dirty-Third Street by Jo S. Kittinger
17. Lost and Found by Bill Harley
18. Return of the Library Dragon by Carmen Agra Deedy
19. Bear Has a Story to Tell by Philip C. Stead
20. A Home for Bird by Philip C. Stead
21. Here Come the Girl Scouts! by Shana Corey
22. Rocket Writes a Story by Tad Hills
23. The Lonely Book by Kate Bernheimer
24. Chester the Brave by Audrey Penn
25. Jangles: A Big Fish Story by David Shannon

Hope you all have a safe, happy, and reading-filled winter!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Merry Humbug Christmas by Sandra D Bricker

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Merry Humbug Christmas

(B&H Books - October 15, 2013)


Sandra D. Bricker


For more than a decade, Sandra D. Bricker lived in Los Angeles. While honing her chosen craft of screenwriting in every spare moment, she worked as a personal assistant and publicist to some of daytime television's hottest stars. When her mother became ill in Florida, she walked away from that segment of her life and moved across the country to take on a new role: Caregiver.

The author says that it was her 8th novel that opened the door to finding her way as a writer. "I'm a Christian woman, first and foremost," she says. "So it was a bit of a dream-come-true when Summerside Press chose me as one of two authors to launch the Love Finds You line."

Sandie's real-life role as cancer survivor has parlayed into her steadfast commitment to raising awareness and funds for ovarian cancer research. Spearheading a series of devotionals for Summerside Press (such as the popular His Grace is Sufficient...Decaf is Not), the author has stipulated that a portion of each contributor's proceeds will go to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

"Being allowed to combine my faith and my humor with raising funds for my pet projects ... and still pursue my writing dream," says Bricker, "well, that's the best of all worlds, as far as I'm concerned!"

And one of the author's pet projects is animal rescue, evidenced by the special bond she has created with one particular formerly-abandoned puppy -- a red-haired collie with "killer brown eyes and the heart of the class clown."


A Merry Humbug Christmas features two holiday romance novellas from hilarious and heartwarming author Sandra D. Bricker. -- the perfect gift to yourself or someone else at this most wonderfully stressful time of year.

In "Once Upon a Jingle Bell," A Bah! Humbug cruise to the Mexican Riviera is Joss Snow’s answer to this year’s quest to avoid the holidays completely; at least until she’s rebooked on a different kind of cruise altogether. Candy canes, holly wreaths, reindeer and ornaments seem to be stalking her on the 12 Days of Christmas holiday cruise extravaganza. An escape back to land is her only goal . . . until she meets a kindred spirit in rugged Irishman Patrick Brenneman, and then the game is on! Avoid Christmas festivities at all costs . . . except maybe for that one stop under the mistletoe.

In "It Came Upon a Midnight Deer," Reese’s guilt over abandoning best friend Joss on their holiday tradition of avoiding all things Christmas is trumped by the joy of her recent engagement. Meeting Damian’s family for the first time on idyllic Sugarloaf Mountain is about as far from that Bah! Humbug cruise as she can get, and Reese can hardly wait to get there. But from the moment they hit that deer in the road just two miles from the cabin, everything seems to go wrong. There are no drummers drumming or pipers piping this particular year! And once she sets her future in-laws’ family cabin ablaze, she’s pretty sure there won’t be even ONE golden ring in her future.

My thoughts:

If you're anything like the lead characters in these stories, Joss and Reese, and a dose of Christmas cheer is not your cup of tea, I guarantee you that reading this double dose of Yuletide frivolity from Sandie Bricker will turn your Humbugs into Ho, Ho, Ho's!

Ms. Bricker always gives us great characters, lovable and quirky, that readers can easily connect with...because none of us is truly normal, right? In this book, Skipping Christmas meets Murphy's Law and holiday hilarity ensues. Will the stalwart 'Bah Humbug' duo remain true to their anti-celebration leanings or will the charm of Christmas break through their steadfast exteriors so they can experience the true Spirit of Christmas? Pick up the book and find out for yourself!

If you're a fan of romantic comedy and love a good holiday story, then this is the book for you!

My sincerest thanks to CFBA and B&H Publishers for generously providing a copy for review.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Merry Humbug Christmas, go HERE.