Faith 'n Fiction Saturday is a weekly meme hosted by Amy at My Friend Amy's for Christians to get together and talk about fiction published from a Christian worldview. The Christian market has grown by leaps and bounds and there is truly something for everyone.

I've pretty much lurked for this meme every weekend and have had fun and been enlightened by all participants who join in Faith 'n Fiction Saturdays. I decided to finally join in this weekend.

Today's Question:
You have a good friend who is a devoted Christian and voracious reader. He or she, however, tried to read a Christian fiction book in the past and found it to be too preachy and unrealistic. Your friend wants to try it again and has asked you for a recommendation. Their favorite genre of book is what is considered literary fiction. What book would you recommend to them?

You also have a friend who is not a Christian but wants to read fiction that is considered clean without being too Christian. They have asked you if there are Christian fiction books that might meet their reading needs. They are interested in romance and novels. What book would you recommend to them?

Literary Fiction - I had to look up the definition and it basically separates the 'serious' fiction from the not so serious fiction. So, literary fiction would be whatever I would interpret it to be according to my idea of serious fiction. My idea of literary fiction would be anything written by Bodie and Brock Thoene starting with the Zion Covenant Series.

For the friend who isn't a christian and would like to read something clean without being too christian, I would recommend stories by Cathy Marie Hake such as Fancy Pants or Letter Perfect in her California Historical series. All fun reads without being too preachy. Also Dee Henderson's O'Malley series or something by Tracie Peterson like her Alaskan Quest series. If the friend is into suspense thrillers, then I would, of course, recommend Ted Dekker or Frank Peretti.

What would you recommend?

Book Review # 15 - Spider's Web

Agatha Christie

Spider's Web

Adapted as a novel by Charles Osborne

Back Cover: "Clarissa, the young wife of a foreign office diplomat, delights in tweaking the sensibilities of her more serious friends by playing a game she calls "supposing"--imagining a difficult situation and finding out how people would respond. But Clarissa's lighthearted game becomes deadly serious when she discovers the body of an unknown person in her own drawing room. If that weren't bad enough, her husband is on the way home with an important foreign politician. Clarissa decides to dispose of the body and persuades her three house guests to help. But before she can get the corpse off the premises, a policeman knocks at her front door. Now Clarissa must keep the body hidden, convince the skeptical police inspector that there has been no murder, and, in the meantime, find out who has been murdered, why, and what the body is doing in her house."

Spider's web is the third play adapted to a novel by Charles Osborne and it is very well done. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and Clarissa's machinations as she got herself into hot water, deeper and deeper. Even when she tells the truth, nobody believes her. The story is humorous along with the twists and turns and I would have loved to have seen the play.

Book Review # 14 - Kiss by Ted Dekker



Ted Dekker and Erin Healy

Back Cover: "Let me tell you all I know for use. My name. Shauna. I woke up in a hospital bed missing six months of my memory. In the room was my loving boyfriend--how could I have forgotten him?--my uncle and my abusive stepmother. Everyone blames me for the tragic car accident that left me near death and my dear brother brain damaged. but what they say can't be true -- can it? I believe the medicine is doing strange things to my memory. I'm unsure who I can trust and who I should run from. And I'm starting to remember things I've never known. Things not about me. I think I'm going crazy. And even worse, I think they want to kill me. But who? and for What? Is dying for the truth really better than living with a lie?"

Kiss really packs a punch from the very beginning. Shauna is very angry with her father, has found out some incriminating information and is going to confront him about it. As always, they get in an argument and she leaves angry. However, she wakes up 6 weeks later from a coma. She learns she had been in a car accident which left her with amnesia and her brother crippled for life. Her father and stepmother blame her entirely for the accident because they found drugs in her system, in the car and in her apartment. But she thinks that can't be right - she's never taken drugs. The only person she can trust is her boyfriend - whom she doesn't even remember.

She decides to investigate the accident and try to recover her memories. But in the process she discovers something strange happening. She is having strange memories, not her own. She dreams of being a football player and being injured badly. Come to find out her boyfriend suffered a spinal injury while playing football. She dreams of being a soldier in war and discovers her boyfriend was in the war. Whenever she kisses her boyfriend, she ends up with one of his memories. And he losses his memory of the event. How is this happening? Is she somehow stealing memories.

In the process of trying to discover what really happened the night of the accident, Shauna uses her ability to steal memories and ends up not knowing who to trust. Kiss is full of twist and turns and you're never quite sure who is the good guy and who is the bad guy. The story is a page turner and once you start reading, will keep right on until the very end. This is the first time collaboration for Ted Dekker and new author Erin Healy and it is very well done.

I received Kiss courtesy of Thomas Nelson Publishing book review blogger program.

Weekly Report #17 1-26 to 1-30

This week was difficult, dragged ever so slowly and we all are more than ready for our break next week. Midweek we had a mini break when my traveling sister and brother in law stopped by Thursday on the tail end of their 6 month journey around the United States. They saw some amazing sights, took some awesome pictures and kept a travelogue of their experiences here. I was exhausted just reading about their adventures but K and G looked amazingly rested. It was quite educational hearing about all the historical sites they visited. I think she should have it all made up into a book to document the trip.

What we accomplished:

Explorer Bible Study: Completed Lesson 2 which covered Genesis 1 and the first 5 days of creation. Plus James writing out 2 Samuel 22:31 "As for God, His way is perfect, the way of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him." And in a way, it turned into a mini english lesson and lesson about respect for God and when we capitalize His name and any references to Him.

Also for cub scouts, we are working on the achievement "Ways We Worship". We discussed people in history who showed great faith. One person mentioned in the book was "Rabbi Menachem M. Schneersohn, a lubavitch Rebbe. Neither Father or I had ever heard of him, we looked him up and all learned a bit about his history and his influences.

Voyages in English: Continued with Unit 4 about verbs and completed 4.12 future tense with going to and 4.13 Present Progressive Tense. James completed worksheet homework for future tense on his own and did very well.

Cursive: continued with practicing writing n and m and how write n and m in special situations.

Spelling: Completed Lesson 16 suffixes added to root words.

Writing with Ease: Week 2 involved identifying the central ideas and actions in a passage from The Patchwork Girl of Oz. None of us had ever read this story and Father sat in while we discussed. Both James and Father had a hard time coming up with a simple 2 sentence narration for this particular passage. Lots of information to sift through. But by the end of the week, James was able to give me a simple two sentence narration identifying the central idea in the 2nd passage. Of course, it was much simpler than the first passage which gave a complete description of the patchwork girl. Very good lesson this week in learning how to actively listen - for all of us.

Math: Started next Kumon Workbook for subtracting 6 - 9. First few lessons are review and James did well with those. I threw in a couple addition handouts and short circuited his brain. However, once he focused managed quite well.

Chemistry: Father and James read all about Noble Gases in DK Chemistry book and the Carbon Elements in Periodic Table-elements with style. In the Archimedes book - they read Ch 10 about Archimedes and the Centers of Gravity and Ch 11 The Sphere and the Cylinder.

Cub Scouts: James earned his bobcat badge this week and we will be presenting it to him at the pack meeting on the 20th. Meanwhile, we started working on the Bear Trail Achievements. Besides the Ways we Worship, we started working on the Country Section. Achievement 4 is tall tales. We read Johnny Appleseed and Stormalong and discussed them. We will be revisiting the stories, plus 3 more and mapping out the locations where the stories took place. The things we are doing for cub scouts seem to be leading us into studying the history of various subjects, which is all quite interesting. James is enjoying the den meetings and all the boys get along great. We couldn't ask for a better group of kids.

My art history class this week touches on the 16th century and Italian Mannerist Artists. Yeah - me neither, I don't have a clue what a mannerist artist is. That's why I'm studying art. Also project 1 is due on Sunday which I have to write a 750 word stylistic comparison comparing Donatello's David with Michelangelo's David. (if you don't like pictures of naked statues, don't click on the link)

Our first break since Christmas is next week and looking forward to it. We usually work three weeks on, then one week off. But, because we took so much time off during Thanksgiving and Christmas, we work for the first 6 weeks. We made it through slightly battle worn, but victorious.

Friday Finds

What great books did you hear about / discover this week? SHARE WITH US YOUR ‘FRIDAY FINDS’! :D

I discovered several books this week to put on my ever growing wish list for purchase later:

Island of Mad Scientists..... It has a very long title

On the Grind by Stephen J. Cannell

Lifelines by C.J. Lyons

The Journey that saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey.

Head on over to MizB's at ShouldBeReading to see what every one else has found this week.

Booking Through Thursday - Electronics versus Paper

Today's Booking Through Thursday is a bit different and Deb is asking us to:

First: Go read this great article from Time Magazine: Books Gone Wild: The Digital Age Reshapes Literature.

Second. Stop and think about it for moment. Computers and digital media are changing everything we do these days, whether we realize it or not, and that includes our beloved books.

Third. DISCUSS! To be different, today, I’d love to see a discussion here, in the comments, rather than scattered amongst all our separate blogs. Because this is an issue that affects ALL of us, and I’d really like to see us hash out the merits and demerits of this evolution. So head back on over to Booking through Thursday and see what everyone has to say

Tell us what you think. Do you have an ebook reader? Do you read ebooks on your computer? Do you hate the very thought? How do you feel about the fact that book publishing is changing and facing much the same existential dilemma as the music industry upon the creation of MP3s?

Well, the question is apropos today because Harlequin Romances is celebrating their 60th anniversary and has made 16 books available for free to download to your computer or Kindle or whatever electronic device you use. I rarely read books online because it just isn't the same as reading a real book. However, the opportunity provided by publishers and authors to download their books, gives the opportunity to decide if you like their writing. And if you like their writing, then you'll buy the book, right? In theory, that is supposedly how it should work.

I see the benefit the technology has, but I'm an old fashioned rather buy the book and hold it in my hands type of person. Book reading is not only a educational, enlightening, entertaining experience, it is also a sensory experience. I can't see myself snuggling up on the couch or curled up in bed, reading a kindle. I've considered buying a Kindle, but would only use it while traveling and not for everyday usage. Right now the cost doesn't justify buying it to use solely for that purpose. But it's tempting.

I really don't think e-books are going to take the place of real books. Same as the music business with the mp3's, e-books will augment what is available out there enabling more people to read. It is just another avenue and won't take the place of paper.

The article mentions several authors who couldn't find a publisher, so went the self publishing route. Self publishing served to get them out there and noticed. They each went on to getting a publisher after that. Self publishing is just another medium, like e-books that will enable more people to get their books out there. Whether the books are good, bad or in between, that remains to be seen. But the avenue is there, another option available.

As times change, the options change or grow with the times. Self publishing will never take the place of real publishers. E-Books will never take the place of real books. The digital age is causing many growing pains, but in the end, don't you think it will all be worth it.

Wordless wednesday

We will never Forget

On January 27, 1967 the crew of Apollo 1 died in a command module fire during a practice session.

Lt.Col Gus Grissom, Lt Col Edward White and Lt. Commander Roger Chaffee

"If we die, we want people to accept it. We are in a risky business and we hope that if anything happens to us it will not delay the program. The conquest of space is worth the risk of life."--Virgil I. Grissom, after the Gemini 3 mission, March 1965

January 28, 1986 The crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger were lost in a explosion within a minute of launch.

STS-51L Crew photo with Commander Francis R. Scobee, Pilot Michael J. Smith, Mission Specialists Judith A. Resnik, Ellison S. Onizuka, Ronald E. McNair and Payload Specialists Gregory B. Jarvis and Sharon Christa McAuliffe. Image Credit: NASA

On January 16, 2003, the crew of the space shuttle Columbia were lost on re-entry over East Texas.

STS-107 Crew photo with Commander Rick Husband, Pilot Willie McCool, Payload Commander Michael Anderson, Mission Specialists Kalpana Chawla, David Brown, Laurel Clark and Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon. Image Credit: NASA

Friendship Award

Aw - How Sweet! Julie from Joyful days gave me this award and it is much appreciated and very unexpected. Thank you.

The award says: “These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.”

I want to pass this award on to eight wonderful ladies whose blogs I read daily. To me, they all show great strength and character.

Katrina from Callapidder Day's

Jessica from Trivium Academy

Nan from Life is like a lunchbox

Mental Multivitamin

MizB at ShouldBeReading

Beth at Beth Fish Reads

Darcy at Life with My 3 Boybarians

And last but not least

Lisa at Lisa's Chaos

Thank you ladies for being you and sharing so much of your lives.

What's on Your Nightstand - January

It is the fourth tuesday of the month which means it time for What's on Your Nightstand hosted by Jennifer at 5 Minutes for Book

Jennifer says "I love everyone's excitement about posting and reading around in this monthly carnival. I know — it's a dangerous exercise, and I appreciate all of you who take the risk each month of exposing your to-be-read pile (which if it's anything like mine, doesn't always adhere to your goals). Even riskier, some of you are willing to read others posts, opening yourself up to finding even more lovely books worthy of attention."

I cleaned up my nightstand a couple days just to make it presentable for you all. There were books heaped in, on, and around it and looking kind of messy. I found several books I had already read but not moved to the bookshelves, so took care of that. Now the nightstand is more organized and less cluttered and makes me feel a whole lot better. Some books won't fit such as War and Peace or Wall of Phantoms because they are just way to0 large. The rest of the classics are in the bookshelves in the living room

I have a combination of nonfiction and fiction books from several genres including christian, romance, mysteries, suspense, science fiction and classics. A little bit of this and a little bit of that. I've been trying to be good and restrain myself from buying more books until the majority of these are read. I've only added 3 new ones to the pile including Stephen king's "Duma Key", Hannah Alexander's "Safe Haven" and Debra Webb's "Find Me." However, my wish list has grown quite long.

I am doing several challenges (see my list of books here, includes links to reviews) including Winter Reading Challenge of which I've read 16 out of 26 books so far. I'm concentrating on reading the books from my winter reading list, before moving to the rest.

I just finished reading "Kiss" by Tedd Dekker and Erin Healy and thoroughly enjoyed it. Will be writing up a review soon, but just want to say it is well done, keeps your imagination engaged and the pages turning to see what is going to happen next.

Looking forward to reading these books:
James received Mysterious Benedict Society from Santa for Christmas, but it looks like I'll be reading it first. I picked up many of these books, such as The Book Thief and The Graveyard Book on recommendations from other bloggers. I've been reading books by Terri Blackstock for years, but Susan Meissner ("The Shape of Mercy"), Brandilyn Collins ("Coral Moon") and Colleen Coble ("Dangerous Depths" of the Aloha Reef Series) are recent discoveries. I picked up "Fireproof" after hearing about the movie and look forward to reading it.

I picked out the classics "The House of Dries Drear" by Virginia Hamilton, "The House of Mirth" by Edith Wharton and "The Uncommon Reader" by Alan Bennett in honor of the Dewey's Book's Reading Challenge.

I also have one nonfiction book (my water closet book - otherwise wouldn't find the time to read it) that I'm currently reading called "How to Read a Book" by Mortimer Adler. I picked it up a few years back and skimmed it, but never took the time to read it in depth. It is interesting and informative to say the least.

With so many books to read and engage my brain, I rarely watch tv anymore, except for Numbers, of course. To find out what is on everyone's nightstand and find even more books to add to your wishlist and TBR piles, head on over to Jennifer's

So, what's on your nightstand?

Sunday Salon # 3 and all that stuff

The Sunday

This turned out to be an interesting week. I instituted a no technology week for my son and ended up limiting myself to about a couple hours on two or three evenings after James went to bed and while Father was occupied with designing his circuitry for the new amplifier. I wasn't able to participate in the weekly meme's I usually do such as Monday Musings, Booking through Thursdays or Friday Finds. I was feeling burned out and surprisingly so were my employees. They have been covering on Tuesdays and Thursdays and rotating Saturdays without complaint for the past two months. So R took a vacation day on Friday and H will take next Friday off.

Father has a doctor appointment on the 3rd and I expect him to return to handling the shop after that. We are modifying the schedule and he will work Monday and Friday, I will return to my normal Tuesday and Thursday. The guys will cover Wednesday and we will all rotate Saturdays which means each of us only has to work one Saturday a month. We have been doing well enough with only a slight dip in the profits, but Father is the backbone of the place and beneficial to the business.

I was also stressing about my Art History class because didn't think I had the time to really put my all into it. Yesterday morning, I had decided it was time to drop the class and pick it up later when our schedule was back to normal. However, I missed the withdrawal date by one day so that decision was taken out of my hands. Managed to completed the reading, finish all the discussions and complete the quiz in a reasonable time frame this week, so here I am.

For the Winter Reading Challenge I completed and reviewed 5 more books this week. Two christian romantic suspense stories by Colleen Coble in her Aloha Reef series Distant Echoes and Black Sands. To Catch a Thief, a romantic suspense novel by Christina Skye and first time author read. A Stuart Wood's mystery from the Stone Barrington series Hot Mahogany and an action suspense thriller from David Baldacci, Split Second. If I had a grading system and thinking of instituting one, would have to give Coble's books a C for okay writing, B to Woods for good writing and A to Baldacci for excellent writing. Click on the links to see reviews. I've completed 15 out of 26 books on my list.

For the 100+ Challenge this year, I have completed 15 books this month. I just finished Agatha Christie Spider's Web and thoroughly enjoyed it. Will be posting a review later.

Guess what I received in the mail yesterday?

Dekker is one of my favorite authors and I was so excited to see Thomas Nelson Publishers offering this book to read for their Book Bloggers Review Program.

All I have to do is write a 200 word review, doesn't matter whether it is good or bad, but how can Dekker be bad? Then, post it on my blog and one of the online book stores. So guess what I'm reading next. Yep!

Booking through Thursday asked an interesting question this week. Inspiration was the theme and the question: What is your reading inspired by? First and foremost my reading is inspired by excellent writers. Writer who engage your imagination, draw characters who are interesting and full of life, stories that entertain and pull you in.
How blessed are we to have access to authors who blog and see the who, what, where, when, why and how of their writing process. I am inspired by their creative thought process and appreciate the stories all the more because of it. I have also received much inspiration from the book blogging community and discovered books and authors I didn't even know existed. I have been inspired by all the book challenges to read outside my comfort zone, to read more classics, different genres. I am inspired by life itself and all the challenges it presents which in a way leads to reading. I have been reading all my life and have discovered many new fascinating worlds to delve in. Reading is my way of relaxing, of escaping the world for a while.

Weekly geeks is having fun with classics this week and asks "How do you feel about classic literature?" Also the challenge is to read at least one chapter of a classic by an author you aren't familiar with. As you explore what the other weekly geeks are reading and saying, are you inspired to read something new. And finally, you and auntie myrtle, who only reads classic books, are perusing a bookstore's offerings. If you don't find her a good book to read, she'll have nothing to do and you won't get to read yourself. What would you suggest? Check out what the geekers are saying and come back later - I may have answer later today.

What's on the docket for this coming week

For Musing Mondays, Rebecca over at Just One More Page asks about your policy on lending books.

Tuesday, the 27th is the fourth tuesday of the month which means it is time for What's on the Nightstand over at 5 minutes for books.

Wednesday is the annivesary of the Space Shuttle Challenge Explosion. Where were you when it happened?

Thursday is Booking through Thursdays and Tom Selleck's birthday. Who can't help but love Magnun P.I.

Friday, check out what is happening with the Weekly Geeks and don't forget MizB hosts Friday Finds.

Saturday is the Saturday Review of Books over at Semicolon

And that's a wrap for this weeks Sunday Salon. What are you reading today?

Book Review # 13 - Split Second

Split Second


David Baldacci

Front Flap: "Michelle Maxwell has just wrecked her promising career at the Secret Service. Against her instincts, she let a presidential candidate out of her sight for the briefest moment, and the man whose safety was her responsibility vanished into thin air. Sean King knows how the younger agent feels. Eight years earlier, the hard charging Secret Service agent allowed his attention to be diverted for a split second. And the candidate he was protecting was gunned down before his eyes. Now Michelle and Sean are about to see their destinies converge. Drawn into a maze of lies, secrets and deadly coincidences, the two discredited agents uncover a shocking truth: that the separate acts of violence that shattered their lives were really a long time in the making--and area long way from over."

Split second is an excellent story with many twists and turns and keeps you reading long into the night. The more information Michelle and Sean uncover, the more complex the situation becomes. Add to the mix, the dead bodies piling up behind Sean and Michelle as the bad guys try to cover up and confuse them; the attempts on their lives; bad guys who are really good guys and good guys who are really bad guys and you have one exciting story. This is the first time I've read anything by David Baldacci and will be going back for more.

Book Review # 12 - Hot Mahogany

Hot Mahogany

A Stone Barrington Novel


Stuart Woods

Front Flap: "Stone Barrington is lured from Elaine's to New England, and the genteel but cut-throat world of priceless antiques, historic homes and lavish country estates. In a place dominated by bluebloods and their inherited wealth, along with the nouveau riche, there are surprisingly few rules of engagement, and Stone finds himself navigating a dangerous course, one where even the most expensive and sought-after status symbols are sometimes stolen and sometimes clever fakes, though no less pricess."

In Hot Mahogany, Lance Barton's brother barton, whom Stone didn't even know existed, appears and Lance asks Stone to help him. He suffered a blow to his head and can't remember where he lives or how he got there. That is just the beginning of many twists, turns and messes Stone gets himself into in this story. You have the usual cast of characters from Elaine to Dino to Holly assisting Stone as he trys to get to the bottom of who stole Barton's antique mahogany secretary to dodging his latest paramour's jealous boyfriend. Hot Mahogany is a quick, easy fun reading and entertaining.

Weekly Report # 16 1-19 to 1-23

We accomplished quite a bit this week. I changed when we do some lessons and James and I will be working on some stuff together everyday after breakfast, including the days I go to work. Daddy days will be reserved for math, cursive, english handouts follow up and science stuff.

Faith: We started Explorer's Bible Study Discovery and studying Genesis using In The Beginning: Genesis. We completed Lesson 1 which gave a general overview of Genesis. James and I will be working on this every morning after breakfast.

Voyages in English: We continued with Unit 4:Verbs and completed 4.8 writing the correct forms of Take, Tear and Write; 4.9 Simple present tense; 4.10 Simple past tense and 4.11 future tense with will. On his daddy days, James completed the worksheets on his own for take, tear and write; simple present tense and simple past tense. He did pretty well working on his own

Spelling: Completed lesson 15 suffixes added to root words.

Cursive: Completed tow truck connections for i, r, e, s, more review and mastery and translating from print to cursive. James was a little slow translating but managed quite well.

Writing: Started Writing with Ease and completed week 1

Day 1: Read Owl and the Grasshopper and James narrated "The grasshopper was making too much noise and keeping the owl awake. She invited him to have wine, then she ate him."

Day 2: He copied "Do not let flattery throw you off your guard against an enemy." James likes to write everything in capitals, so this was a little slow going since I am requiring him to write properly using lowercase letters and correct punctuation.

Day 3: Dictation - dictated same sentence and he did very well only needing to hear it twice.

Day 4: Narration and Dictation: Read the Fox and the Stork. He had a harder time coming up with a two sentence summary so explained more about active listening and how to summarize. He finally came up with a two sentence summary and took dictation while I narrated the first sentence. James and I will be working on Writing with ease everyday after Bible study.

Math: Finished the last 5 lessons in the kumon subtraction book and James is doing an excellent job. By jove, I think he's got it. At least, he does until we hit the next wall. We are going to start adding in some double digit addition and subtraction, plus some multiplication.

Science: In chemistry read about Burning Reactions. In Archimedes read chapter 8 - the measurement of a circle and chapter 9 - Archimedes and numbers. In Periodic Table - Elements with Style read about group 3 Boron Elements.

Cub Scouts: James memorized the cub scout motto, laws of the pack, meaning of webelos; practiced and mastered how to do the cub scout sign, handshake and salute. Father and I both read the pamphlet "how to protect your children from child abuse" and discussed with James. It wasn't as hard as we thought. We had already discussed many safety issues with him and he basically knew what to do.

James had a good time at the cub scout meeting on Tuesday and the den mother was able to sign off on half of the bob cat trail items. Next tuesday, he should be earning his bob cat badge. Today Father is working on bear trail items with James so he can earn some WII time.

Our no technology week went very well and James attention span improved. I think we are going to continue with no Wii during the week and he will be allowed to play Wii friday afternoons and be allowed two hours tech time Saturday and Sundays. I stayed off the internet during the week except for business or school purposes and a few minutes during my lunchtime at work. I didn't accomplish much writing this week, nor have time to join in any weekly meme's or write much on my blog.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Father will be ready to resume handling the business again after his doctor's check up on the 3rd and I can go back to my regular two day a week work schedule. With working 3 days a week and rotating saturdays at the shop, I haven't had much time to work on writing at all. I'm starting to get burned out after being 100% responsible for the business and everything else for the past two months. When the cats wake me up at 6:30 now, I am throwing them outside so I can go back to sleep for a couple hours. But, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it's getting closer.

Book Review # 11 - Black Sands

Black Sands


Colleen Coble

Back Cover: "Volcanologist Annie Tagama loves her family with a fierceness that lights up her quiet exterior. But unseen forces seem to be tearing the family apart with the fury of the hot lava that seethes beneath their Hawaiian home. And the only person she can turn to for help is the man she blames for all the trouble. Mano Oana can't get past the guilt of what happened to his best friend on that devastating day in Iran. He's even taken leave from the Navy to make amends to the Tagama family and help them out of trouble for which he's partly responsible. But how can he get them to trust him when he can't even trust himself?"

I'm happy to say I liked Black Sands which is the 2nd book in the Aloha Reef Series. The story was very interesting and the main characters 3rd dimensional and it held my interest. I picked up the book upon going to bed last night and read about half of it while waiting for Father to come home from his Audio Engineering Society meeting. Then finished the second half this morning. I feel a lot better about the series now. I had read nothing but glowing reviews for this series and glad to say it has improved. The story gets very convoluted with several things going on, that in the end, are all connected.

Annie attempts to do her job as a Volcanologist - one who studies volcano's while trying to get past her fear from injuries suffered when she fell through the crust of the lava field and her feet were badly burned. In the past year, her brother died in Iran, her mother died supposedly from suicide and her sister has recently disappeared. Mano, who was on assignment with her brother, comes back to bring his personal affects, but also to apologize to Annie and her family for failing to save her brother.

The mystery ensues when Mano hears from the brother who is supposed to be dead and Annie is trying to find her sister. The police don't believe the sister has been abducted, but clues are leading to a mysterious cult who worship Ku and believe in human sacrifice. Annie and Mano's faith is testing and they are drawn together as they try to solve the mystery of her brother and find her sister.

The books in the Aloha Reef series are:

Distant Echoes
Black Sands
Dangerous Depths
Midnight Sea

The books also weave in the culture, scenery and history of the Hawaii, which is interesting in itself.

Post to Ponder

Mid Week Musings

We've been having a technology free week around here this week and today is the first opportunity I've had to blog. James had been allowed to play way too much WII and have way too much time playing on the computer and just having way too much time in general with technological devices. I had been thinking about having him take a break for a week or so, which we do periodically. Then we allow him to play an hour a day, then eventually that turns into two, then three, etc, etc, etc... Then the attitude and attention span start to go and it is time to take a break. I admit I have the tendency to spend way too much time on the internet as well, so decided to take a mini break as well.

Sunday was a beautiful day. I returned from grocery shopping and instead of going inside and doing my homework, decided to take advantage of the beautiful day and take down the remainder of the christmas lights. Father and James joined me. Father is managing to limp around quite well with his boot cast, so he wrapped up the wires once I got them down. James helped but it was apparent his attention span had taken a hike, so the decision was made to have a technology free week.

No television - No computer - No Wii

I realized I had to set the example, so limited myself to using the internet only for business and school purposes. And if I wanted to 'play' it would be after he had gone to bed or for a few minutes during my lunch time at the office.

Mental Multivitamin did this wonderful post which she repeats at least once a year titled It all begins with me. Go ahead, I'll wait while you go read it.

She says it best: "
"With as much consistency as possible, I model the behavior and standards I want the kids to maintain. "

Wonderful huh! Admittedly we have had the stress of father breaking his leg and being around all the time, which has totally disrupted our rhythm, or rather my rhythm for the past two months. I am seeking to restore that rhythm and it seems to be working - slowly, but surely. I may just extend our technology ban another week.

Book Review # 10 - To Catch A Thief

To Catch A Thief


Christina Sky

Back Cover: "Nell MacInnes can spot a forgery from a mile away. After all, she learned from the best-- her father is one of the art world's most notorious thieves. His brutal beating by the very authorities who claim to keep the world safe from harm taught her one more valuable lesson--trust no one. The last thing rugged Navy Seal Dakota Smith needs on his mission is a tempting woman he doesn't trust. But a sketch by Leonard da Vince has gone missing, and the art conservator's skill in detecting forgery would be invaluable, if only her ties to the criminal world are as dead as she says they are. Soon an edge partnership and white hot attraction are forged between Nell and Dakota as they race to Draycott Abbey to track down a ruthless criminal with terrorist ties before time runs out--and the da Vinci is lost forever."

First time read by author Christina Skye. The story was well done and fast paced. The characters end up spending more time apart, than together. The romance part of the story was secondary to the action of resolving the mystery of the stolen da vinci. Which actually worked out quite well, because Dakota didn't trust Nell to begin with and didn't know how involved she was or if her father was involved.

I thoroughly enjoyed the writing and will probably read more stories by Christina Skye. She has a paranormal romance series with books interestingly named: Code Name: Bikini, Code Name: Blondie and Code Name: Baby to name a few. They will be going on my wishlist for a later time.

Book Review # 9 - Distant Echoes

Distant Echoes


Colleen Coble

Back Cover: "When a missile plows into a tourist boat, dolphin researcher Kaia Oana is one of the first into the water, risking her own life to help others. When called upon to investigate the incident, Lieutenant Commander Jesse Matthews enlists Kaia and her specially trained dolphins to help--and romantic sparks fly. As Kaia and Jesse edge closer to the truth about the accident, their own lives are threatened. Will they be able to stop a killer before more lives are lost?"

Overall, the story is good, but the characters seem two dimensional. The main character seemed very childish and immature and she is supposed to be 29, which made it difficult to get into the story. There were a couple times I was throw out of the story, because the scene didn't make sense. For instance: she drove out to her brother's house and sees him having an intense conversation with a navy officer, possibly his commander. She decides to wait in her truck and not interfere. While she is waiting, she falls asleep. She wakes up an hour and a half later. Then she goes to find her brother and overhears him having a conversation with two different rough looking men and it seems he is involved in something shady. So she leaves. (pg 145-149). I'm paraphrasing of course. But there isn't any indication that her brother had seen or heard her drive up or any of the other men had seen her sitting out front in the truck or knew of her presence. The next time she drives to her brother's house, he hears her immediately and comes out to talk to her. Just didn't make sense to me. The story seemed to improve after the first half of the book and pulled me in. Since I have the next two books in the series: Black Sands and Dangerous Depth, I'm hoping they will be an improvement upon Distant Echoes.

Sunday Salon #2 and Weekly Geeks # 2 and other stuff

Good morning from sunny California. Yes, it is sunny and warm - a balmy 68 degrees yesterday with more of the same today. This is winter, isn't it. Not that I'm complaining, but when it freezes for a couple days, then becomes so warm you are in shirt sleeves and shorts, your body gets confused. So do my plants. Some have gone dormant, others are thinking about it. My husband asks how can you possibly cut them back when the flowers are blooming. Snip! Snip!

This week in art history we are studying 15th century Renaissance art in italy which calls for reading pages 585 to 609 in Chapter 18, 628 to 644 and 647 to 656 in Chapter 19 and answer three discussion questions:

1) Chose an italian painting from the reading and discuss what tools of illusionism have been employed to give the work depth and convincing naturalism.

2) Discuss elements from the readings that provide information about artist training, patronage, and artistic prestige.

3) Finally, discuss the hidden, and not so hidden, symbols in Campin's Merode Altarpiece, Van Eyck's Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfine and His Wife, or Hugo's Portinari Altarpiece.

Now ask me if I have done any of it. Nope... Last week, I left it til Sunday as well and stressed the whole day while completing all the reading and answering the discussion questions. I swore wouldn't do the same thing this week. But I did and have no excuse for not following my schedule and now today I'm tired and brain dead from the long week.

Do I hear violins???

I'm halfway through "Distant Echoes" (#1 in Aloha Reef Series) by Colleen Coble. Interesting story so far about a marine biologist who trains wild dolphins and helping the military find out who's sabatoging missile tests.

I finished "Five in a Row" by Jan Coffey (review # 6) "Bad Faith" by Aimee and David Thurlo (review #7)) and "Unspeakable" by Sandra Brown (review # 8). Which means I've completed 8 out of 21 books for my Winter Reading Challenge and book # 3 for 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge. It isn't too late to join either challenge.

Click here to see participants book reviews so far for winter reading challenge and click on 52 books link to see participants book reviews.

Check out what is happening with the Weekly Geeks.
Joanne of The Book Zombie asks current participants what weekly geeks means to them and for those just joining, why did you sign up for Weekly Geeks? What would you like to see here?

I've been following weekly geeks for a while as a lurker, enjoying the weekly questions and perusing the answers. I found an eclectic group of book bloggers who enjoyed books and talking about them. It looked like fun, plus made me think. I virtually meet many interesting people and the weekly questions gave me ideas to blog about. In honor of Dewey, decided to quit being a lurker and join in for the new year. I'm looking forward to the different questions or activities each week. I may not always have the time each week to participate, but will certainly try.

Weekly geeks is having a mini challenge hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings in which you read one Science Fiction short story and comment about it. Carl has links to online short stories, so head on over to his blog and join in.

Rebecca at the Book Lady's blog is having a t-shirt give-a-way.

Take me to your reader

The instructions for entering the contest are:
  1. Leave a comment at Rebecca's blog describing the last time a book you were reading made you feel transported to another world. (Comments that say only “please enter me” will not be included in the contest.)
  2. Earn 2 extra entries for blogging about this giveaway and linking back to this post. (Be sure to leave a link to your post in the comments.)
  3. Earn 1 bonus entry if your post includes the picture of the t-shirt with a link back to the original site
Last, but not least - Pari Noskin Taichert over at Murderati wrote a great post about committing to one internet free work day each week. I think it is a great idea and trying to figure out what day to do it on. I have the tendency to go online first thing after breakfast with the intent to only be on one hour which wakes up my brain, then write or do homework or... Then I get involved in rabbit trails. I'll notice an interesting blog on someone's side bar and hop over, which then leads to not only reading their blog, but then looking at their favorite blogs listed in their side bar. Soon I'm getting lost going down various rabbit trails and forgetting where I started in the first place. Then it is time to start with James' lessons or go to work, or whatever and I've wasted a couple (well-more than that) hours online and accomplished nothing. My folks are always asking - you have so much to do - how do you manage to do it all? Sometimes I just let it go and don't. Now you know my secret. :)

I have to go do my homework now. Happy Trails!

Weekly Report #15

We had a very busy week with lessons, cub scouts, father's projects and just life in general.

What we accomplished:

Devotions: Wrote and memorized Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Next week we start Explorers Bible Study - Genesis.

Voyages in English: Continued Unit 4: Verbs with Lessons 4.5 Regular and Irregular verbs, 4.6 Bring, Buy, Come and Sit and 4.7 Eat Go and See. Father and James completed the worksheets on their days to see how much James retained of the lesson. James did excellent, but Father flunked. Had to give him a refresher course on past and present participles. :)

Spelling: Completed Lesson 14 More vowels with R

Cursive: practiced O, W, B, and V words

Math: Continued with subtracting 4's and 5's.

Science: Father and James continuing with Chemistry: read and discussed "Looking at Air" in DK Eyewitness Chemistry book; covered Chapter 2 The Alkaline Earth Metals in Periodic Table; read Chapter 6 Archimedes and Astronomy and all about Roger Bacon in Great Scientists.

Working with James on earning his Bobcat Badge. He has to finish eight things, then he'll start working on earning badges in the Bear Trail. The den mother said we could apply things we've completed in homeschooling toward the badges. The kids in his den will be moving up to Webelos in May, so we are going to work with James to get all the achievements done so he can move up with his den.

1) The Cub scout promise: We all practiced the cub scout motto and memorized it. By Thursday we all had it down pat.

We are discussing and working on the rest.

2) The law of the pack
3) The meaning of the Webelos
4) The Cub Scout Sign
5) Handshake -
6) Motto
7) Salute
8) Exercises in How to Protect Your Children from Child Abuse. I'm still reading the pamphlet and figuring out how we are going to talk about this to James. We discussed stranger safety in the past, but not gone into detail regarding child and sexual abuse. Never had to before and the subject material makes both Father and I uncomfortable. The material is presented in a way that gets you thinking and gives scenarios to discuss with your child. James is at that age he no longer wants to go with me into the ladies room when we are out and about. I have difficulties even considering letting him go into the men's bathroom alone. It is a shame that is the case these days, but because it is, he needs to know how to protect himself. We will be discussing this weekend.

In addition to regular lessons, James and Father worked on his derby car for the Pinewood Derby.

First it had to be cut into shape, sanded, buffed and everything that goes along with that, then painted and the finishing touches put on. Father and James worked hard.

Proud Papa and Son

The Pinewood Derby was last night and as a result of their hard work, James won Best Shape at the Derby.

He made it to the finals as well. His car was one of the nine cars that made it and he was the only Bear Cub in the finals. His car was eliminated in the second round, coming up 8th in the race. I'm very proud of him.

James and 3 of the boys in his Den

Book Review # 8 - Unspeakable



Sandra Brown

Back Cover: "Carl Herbold is a cold-blooded psychopath who has just escaped the penitentiary where he was serving a life sentence. Bent on revenge, he's going back to where he began--Blewer county, Texas. Born deaf, lately widowed, Anna Corbett fights to keep the ranch that is her son's birthright, unaware that she is at the center of Herbold's horrific schemel, and that her world of self imposed isolation is about to explode. Drifter Jack Sawyer arrives at Anna's ranch asking for work, hoping to protect the innocent woman and her son from Herbold's rage. But Sawyer can't outrun the secrets that stalk him--or the day of reckonig awaiting them all..."

Unspeakable is a murder mystery, thriller and romance all thrown into one. Brown puts you into the head of all the characters from the violent world of Carl to the cushioned, isolated world of Anna, who is deaf and mute. Their worlds are about to collide when Carl escapes with revenge on his mind. He is out to kill the people who put him jail from the town's sheriff to his stepfather who threw him out of his house to Anna, his stepbrother's wife. Meanwhile, a drifter with ties to Carl and the town, comes to work for and protect Anna and her father in law from Carl. Who is Jack Sawyer really and why does he feel the need to protect Anna and her father in law?

The story is very well done, the characters are 3rd dimensional and it will keep you reading long into the night. Don't start reading it before you go to bed. However, be forewarned that due to the nature of the story, there is a lot of swearing and graphic violence.

Friday Finds

MizB at ShouldBeReading asks: What great books did you hear about / discover this week? SHARE WITH US YOUR ‘FRIDAY FINDS’! :D

Finds added to my wish list this week for future purchase:

Bone Man's Daughter
by Ted Dekker which will be released April 14th.

The Man in the High Castle by Philip Dick. This review by Susan Wise Bauer made it sound very intriguing.

Relentless by Robin Parrish. Don't remember whose blog I found the review on, but it sold me enough to put on my wishlist.

Head on over to MizB's to find out what she and others discovered this week.

What interesting books did you find this week?