Saturday, March 31, 2012

This Book Room

Take a trip to Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, where you'll meet the women of the Kauffman Amish Bakery in Lancaster County. As each woman's story unfolds, you will share in her heartaches, trials, joys, dreams ... and secrets. You'll discover how the simplicity of the Amish lifestyle can clash with the 'English' way of life---and the decisions and consequences that follow. Most importantly, you will be encouraged by the hope and faith of these women, and the importance they place on their families. In A Life of Joy, the fourth installment in the series, eighteen-year-old Lindsay Bedford has reached a crossroads. Should she stay in the small Amish community she's known and loved for four years or return to the English life in her hometown in Virginia where her older sister is a college student? An extended visit to Virginia might just tip the scales as Lindsay reconnects with friends, joins a new church, works on her GED, and is pressured by her sister to stay and 'make something of herself.' Will Lindsay leave her aunt Rebecca and become English or settle in Bird-in-Hand and join the Amish church? Legions of Clipston fans want to know. Full of well-researched Amish culture, Clipston's book is true to form, delivering the best of the Amish fiction genre wrapped around a compelling story, with characters who will touch the hearts of loyal fans and new readers alike.

Additional notes: This is a six full-length novel series, and the series also includes two novellas. This is the fourth and latest book in the series. You can read my review of the first book here, the second book here, the third book here, and the second novella here.

My thoughts: When readers were first introduced to Lindsay and Jessica in the first book, I think we all fell in love with Lindsay (possibly not so much Jessica!). I, for one, was beyond excited when I knew this book would focus on Lindsay's story. I thoroughly enjoyed this book as it really focused on Lindsay's journey of faith. And the story ended with a cliffhanger! I'm definitely anxious for the next book to come out, which is this summer.

Season's Eatings . . . er, um . . . Greetings! Garfield knows Christmas isn’t just about the presents–it’s also about the cookies, the cakes, the lasagnas, the holiday hams, and all the delicious, creamy eggnog you can drink! From the day after Thanksgiving–when the season of goodies officially begins–to the last of the figgy pudding, Christmas is the best time of year to be America’s favorite fat cat!

The perfect stocking stuffer, this uproarious collection features Garfield Christmas strips from the last twenty-five years–and that means a lot of good times and warm memories. So join Garfield, Jon, Odie, and the rest of the gang for some holiday cheer. There’s sure to be tree trimming, hall decking, bell jingling, over eating, Odie-teasing, and lots of yuletide fun. If everyone was good this year, who knows, Santa may even pay a visit! 

Additional notes: You can read about the first 50 regular Garfield comics here. You can read my review of the 51st book here, the 52nd book here and the 53rd book here.

My thoughts: I love Christmas. No. I mean, I really love Christmas. It shouldn't have been any surprise to me when I discovered my favorite bits of Garfield's books were the November and December comics, which always tied in with the upcoming holidays. Even though I've read all the Christmas comics (since I've read all the Garfield books), I still thoroughly enjoyed this compilation of all the wintry holiday comics. There was some new content in the book as well, like top ten lists. A must-read for any Garfield fanatic.

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol - a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she's afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she's not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

In Catching Fire, the second novel of the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before... and surprising readers at every turn.

Additional notes: This is the second book in the Hunger Games series. You can read my review of the first book here. There are three books in this series, and all of the books have been released.

My thoughts: As you can read here, I was really confused when the first book ended, as I had thought the entire series was about the one Hunger Game competition. Well, if you've read the first book's ending, you're in the know that the Hunger Game competition ended. I had my theories about what the second book would be, and my theories weren't that far off! Despite that, this is actually my least favorite book in the series, which is funny because apparently this is most readers' favorite book in the series. With that said, this is not a bad book at all, it just was my least favorite in the series. I actually just found this book sad, hopeless and in a way, bland. But, reading the book as a series (and I've already finished the third), I really enjoy the way all three books paint a complete picture of the story and background.

“My name is Justine Meade and in my forty-three years there have only been a handful of people that I have loved. No, that’s an exaggeration. Two. Two that I lost because of stupidity and selfishness. One was my son. The other was my dog.” If there’s been a theme in Justine Meade’s life, it’s loss. Her mother, her home, even her son. The one bright spot in her loss-filled life, the partner she could always count on, was Mack, her gray and black Sheltie—that is, until she is summoned back to her childhood home after more than twenty years away. Ed and Alice Parmalee are mourning a loss of their own. Seven years after their daughter was taken from them, they’re living separate lives together. Dancing around each other, and their unspeakable heartbreak, unable to bridge the chasm left between them. Fiercely loyal, acutely perceptive and guided by a herd dog’s instinct, Mack has a way of bringing out the best in his humans. Whether it’s a canine freestyle competition or just the ebb and flow of a family’s rhythms, it’s as though the little Shetland Sheepdog was born to bring people together. The Dog Who Danced is his story, one that will surely dance its way into your heart.

My thoughts: One Good Dog was an amazing book. Jason and I both read it and loved it. When I saw Susan was coming out with another book, also involving dogs, I was so excited. Unfortunately, my excitement was short-lived. This book was just okay. While One Good Dog was gender-friendly, The Dog Who Danced is not. I would not recommend for dudes to read this - it's way too chick-lit-y.

Fans of Ree Drummond's blog and cookbook will eat up this breathless blow-by-blow chronicle of falling in love with Marlboro Man, a.k.a. her husband, and adapting to life on his ranch . . . Generous dollops of self-deprecating humor contribute a welcome tang.

My thoughts: I love the Pioneer Woman website and Ree's recipes. We've made a couple of them to great success. When I was desperate for reading material recently, I thought I could try this book - and overall, I'm really glad I did! The story was funny, which I didn't really expect. It's not a must-read, but it's not a never-read-because-it's-horrible either.

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