Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I'm quite simply turning off the lights for a few days, so I can get through the next few days of 'holiday cheer'.  Thank you everyone for following my blog, commenting on my reviews, and offering even more book titles for me to read!  I can't wait to be back next week, when I'll have my 2011 Book Challenge ready to roll!

Have a wonderful, very Merry Christmas wherever you are.  Here's to a Christmas tree with many, many, delightful books nestled under the branches.  

Hugs and Kisses!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Top Picks of 2010

I have read so many enjoyable books this year.  I look at my list, and I happily revisit each and every story.  It makes me look forward to 2011, and what I'll be reading all year.  Here's my list of favorite reads for 2010:

Best All Around Fiction Book:

Best Book Recommendation from a Co-worker:

Best Non-Fiction Book:

Best Kid's Book:

Best Teen Book:

Best New Author:

Best Book I Read That I Didn't Want to Read, But Ended Up Loving!

The Book I Predict Will Be A Huge Hit in 2011 (and it was fantastic!):

As you may have guessed, I tend to lean towards historical fiction; fiction that has an element of the supernatural, and historical non-fiction.  I also love to read books that have some element of food or cooking in them.  I cannot wait to read the latest novels from some of my favorite authors:  Sandra Dallas, Kate Mosse, Karen White, Sarah Addison Allen, Geraldine Brooks, and Donna Ball.  Oh, the months stretching ahead will be filled with so many wonderful tales, I will have no trouble reaching my book challenge of 110 books for 2011!  

Here's to a wonderful literary year gone by, and another coming up.  Whether you read books from a library, ebooks, used books, or brand spanking new books (my favorite kind), keep reading and share your favorites with others.  Yes, love makes the world go round, but reading keeps us sane.  

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Time To Put On Your Boots!

We've been selling the heck out of this book at our store.  Not only does the cover sparkle, but the outdoor crafts you can make with your family and friends take building a snow fort to a whole other level.  Fun for all!  Here's the review from BN.com:

DIY goes outdoors, giving winter enthusiasts more than 25 new ways to play in the snow!
Calling all snow lovers—young and old alike! When you’re surrounded by the white stuff, it’s time for Snow Play!
With crazy creatures to build, challenging games to play, and outrageous spaces to sculpt, author Birgitta Ralston, a Europe-based designer, has imagined the most creative ways to play in the snow. From a looming Loch Ness monster to a slippery Ice Slide, from a Snowball Lantern to brighten a yard to Curious Footprints to mark freshly fallen snow, the book includes 25 projects and games to draw you outdoors on a snow-filled day. Celebrate a winter birthday by building a giant Frosted Cake (and use food coloring to dye the snow!), or light your walkway with the flickering flames from a set of snowy Glow Cones. You’ll find hours of entertainment to brighten even the coldest winter days and nights.
Snow Play is filled with projects and games for any age, ability, and number of people. Each entry includes complete step-by-step text instructions, plus explanatory line drawings. The full-color photographs show how each project is finished in all its frozen glory.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

I used precise scientific rules to pick the winner:  wrote everyone's names down on slips of paper, put them in a bowl, and pulled one out.  The winner of The Bag Lady Papers is......


Congratulations--I will send this out pronto.

Honestly, if I could send a book to everyone who commented, I would.  Just gotta win the lottery :)

Thanks to everyone for their comments--here's to another year full of exciting, nail-biting, edge of your seat reading.  Or, if you can't take the stress, a peaceful, sweet, aw-shucks read.  They're all good!

Monday, December 13, 2010

What to do Next Year?

Just a reminder that there are only a few days left if you want to enter to win my giveaway! See the previous post for directions.

Besides that, I've been pondering what I'm going to do for next year.  My goal for reading books will probably be 110--I'd like to achieve more, but I think 125 may be stretching it a bit.  I am taking C-Joy's suggestion for a 100 Book Challenge into consideration, and must figure out the how and what of that fantastic idea.  

The last two weeks were our employee appreciation days at work.  We always get a great discount on books, music, and DVD's at our store, but twice a year the company tacks on an extra 10% to our regular discount.  So, my torment at work is ramped up a bit during those times, because I want to buy all the books I've been putting off for weeks.  I am proud of myself, though.  This year I didn't spend quite so much as I usually spend, conscious once again of my lack of space for more books at home.  My added bookcases from Ikea lasted about 9 months before I ran out of space.  And even though I have my Nookcolor, my employee discount was so much better than e-book prices that I just had to buy the hard copies.  

Next year I will endeavor to read more on my Nookcolor and take advantage of free reading opportunities.  I will still buy regular books, of course, but be more particular in what I put on my shelves.  

I'm going to put some thought into reorganizing my blog, too.  Somehow put tabs for my 2010 books, and sections for teen, adult, and non-fiction titles.  I think that will make it a bit easier for me and my followers to find stuff!  And I'll maybe add a section for upcoming new releases that I'm excited about.

My first goal of the new year is to spend January and February reading what I've got at home.  I'm making a list, and I will check off each title as I read it.  Perhaps a week's vacation in February will speed things along.  Nothing to do but read, take naps, and go for a bike ride or run at the gym.  Toss in a blizzard and coffee supplies,  and I'm a happy camper.

Monday, December 6, 2010

My 100th Book For The Year--And a Giveaway to Celebrate!

Yeah!  I am completely gobsmacked that I read 100 books this year!  This is the first time EVER that I've attempted to keep track of what I've read, and thanks to this blog, I can look back over the year and see who and what I read.  If I was left with just my brain to remember, I'd be lost.  Going through my list is like visiting old friends again.  Sometimes when a person asks me "what have you read?"  my mind goes completely blank.  I think it's just overwhelmed with the stories floating around in there, and can't make heads or tails of them.

So my 100th book is The Bag Lady Papers by Alexandra Penney.  It's about a middle aged woman who finds that all of her carefully saved and invested money has been stolen by Bernie Madoff; aka "MF" in the book.  Yes, I think you can guess what MF stands for--and it's not 'my friend'.  Alexandra lives a comfortable life as a single woman in New York City who's stepped away from editing Shape Magazine to focus on her passion, art and photography.  She enjoys the finer things in life, but is by no means a snob.  She learned very early in life to appreciate quality over quantity, and had carefully saved since college for retirement.

This book follows the months after she receives the phone call that turns her world upside down.  What I found very interesting was her fear of turning into a bag lady.  This phenomenon apparently is fairly common in women of all ages and monetary levels.  It's a fear of losing everything and becoming homeless.  It did get me thinking that I have had those thoughts, too.  As a single woman, you realize that there is no one else there as a "net",  you are the net.  As Alexandra struggles through anxiety, sleeplessness, and stress, she looks back on how she managed to make money as a wife, mother, and then single woman in the 80's.  She's pretty darn smart, and very creative.  

Alexandra does not feel sorry for herself; she realizes so many other people have it worse than she does.  This keeps her story from becoming an annoying tale of a woman who lost it all and just whined about it.  Alexandra is surrounded by loving friends who help her in big and small ways to get through her experience.  I learned a lot from this book, and enjoyed it very much.  It have me the  inspiration to keep plugging away, and think out of the box when I don't know what to do in any situation.  

To celebrate my 100th book for 2010, I'm giving away a copy of The Bag Lady Papers.  All you need to do is post what your favorite book was this year, and what book is on your list for 2011.  Oh, and it would be great if those who don't follow already follow my blog now!

I'll pick a winner Wednesday, December 15th and notify you!  Good luck!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Stella, Queen of the Snow

What a delightful winter picture book!  Marie-Louise Gay's Stella Queen of the Snow reminds me of the joys of snow.  As an adult, we only know the headaches of getting around town, shoveling the walk, and forgetting about the magic of snowfall.  Stella and Sam are here to remind us of the fun we had as children when the powdery stuff fell from the sky.  Stella and Sam make a snowman, go ice skating,  sledding, and finally, make snow angels.

Last night, we had our first snowfall of the season.  Just enough to make it slick and have everyone groaning.  But looking out my front door, at the sleepy street I live on, it's very peaceful and the untouched snow makes it look like a magical place.  By this afternoon, it will all be messy, and the magic will be gone.  But for now, I will enjoy the snow like Stella does.