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Showing posts from December, 2009

My 2009 Reading Year Wrap Up and 2010 goals

2009 is drawing to a close and it has been an especially good reading year for me.  Last year I read 217 books and decided to slow down a bit for this year, enjoy my reading a bit more. I joined quite a few challenges including J.Kaye's 100 + reading challenge.  However, ended up dropping out of the ones that didn't last the entire year due to time constraints.  I still read 184 books of which 75 were new to me authors.  I actually started receiving review books from publishers this year and of those 75 new to me authors 30 were review books.  My reading was pretty eclectic this year from nonfiction to classics to British mysteries to romance to science fiction.  I discovered quite a few authors that I will definitely be reading their other books and a couple, not so much. I had signed up for MizB's Read and Review Challenge and managed to review everything I read except for 9 which I read in the past couple weeks.   I'm not sure if I'll sign up again to review eve…

Classics Bookclub - 5 minutes for Books

5 minutes for books has revamped their Classic Bookclub just in time for the new year.  Now you get to pick the books you want to read and how many you want to read.  They'll be meeting up quarterly on the 5th Tuesday of the month for you to post your reviews and discuss the books.    For the past few days I've been perusing our shelves and thinking about which classics I wanted to read.   I am adding a mini challenge over at 52 books in 52 weeks for reading one classic a month.  Some bloggers are more interesting in reading classics, but don't have the time to read the classics and regular books in order to make the 52 books goal for the year.  Hence the challenge within the challenge.  My goal for 2010 is to read 12 classics from our shelves and I had already picked a few for some of the other challenges I'm involved in.

The books I will be reading are:

Anna Karenina by Leo TolstoyDavid Copperfield by Charles DickensEmma by Jane AustenMetaphysics (John Henry MacMahon …

Libri Multus

The Associate by John Grisham:   An old favorite of mine, John Grisham, stays true to form with this legal thriller.  Kyle, a law student is blackmailed into working for a law firm involved in a lawsuit involving a military contractor and a newly designed military airplane.   Interesting story with lots of twists and turns and subterfuge. 

Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts.   2nd book in the Bride Quartet following Emma and Jack Cooke.   Emma, the florist, Jack and the rest of the gang have been life long friends.  When things turn a little steamy between Jack and Emma, it threatens to ruin friendships.  As the two work out the new dynamics in their relationship, the friends all learn to adjust and listen to their hearts.  Nobody does romance better than Nora and the ending was an "aw" moment which had tears springing to my eyes. 

Cold Blooded by Lisa Jackson.  Book # 2 in Jackson's New Orleans series. The suspense in this book is palpable and the villian is creepy, chilling an…

A Christmas Carol: Special Edition by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol
Special Edition 


Charles Dickens

with Christian Insights and Discussion questions for
Groups and Families by Stephen Skelton

We all know the story of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.   Scrooge is a scrooge, a miser who hoards money and doesn't celebrate Christmas.  He is visited by his dead partner Marley who tells him he will be visited by three ghosts - the ghost of Christmas past, present and future.   Once all is said and done, Scrooge is saved from his miserly ways and becomes a generous happy person.    So what is different about the special edition.   The special edition includes annotations in the side bar of the pages giving insight into Dickens insights when writing the book,  definitions,  biblical allusions and symbols, plus there are discussion questions at the end of each chapter. 

Surprisingly, in all my 50 years I've never actually read A Christmas Carol.  If my parents ever read the book to us I certainly don't remember it.   I've…

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Merry Christmas from Our Family to yours!

We have this wonderful book "Christmas Garland" by Margaret Tarrant's from 1942 with some beautiful poems and stories in it.   Last night I read to Father and James "Robin Redbreast" by Selma Lagelof which had me both laughing and crying.   Click here to read it on the Baldwin Project site.   I loved this old 12th century carol:

The Friendly Beasts

Jesus, our Brother, strong and good,
Was humbly born in a stable rude,
And the friendly beasts around Him stood,
Jesus, our Brother, strong and good.

"I," said the donkey, shaggy and brown.
"I carried His mother up hill and down,
I carried her safely to Bethlehem town;
I," said the donkey, shaggy and brown.

"I," said the cow all white and red,
"I gave Him my manger for His bed,
I gave Him my hay to pillow His head;
I," said the cow all white and red.

"I," said the sheep with curly horn,
"I gave Him my wool for His b…

Work In Progress Wednesday - 2010 Year of Writing Deliberately

I decided 2010 is going to be my Deliberate Year!  Ever since I heard about Jennifer's idea of the Year of Reading Deliberately, the thoughts started rolling about in my head about being deliberate with not only my reading, but also writing as well.   Plus being deliberate with my health since watching my blood pressure and eating choices, especially after that choking scare.  Happy to say I was pleasantly surprised when I stood on the scale yesterday that since I've given up pepsi's and chips, it resulted in me dropping 8 pounds.  
Then I receive this wonderful email from Chris Baty.

Dear Writer....

I ran into your 2009 NaNoWriMo novel yesterday, and it said that you two are currently "taking a break." I offered my condolences and mentioned that I'd probably be seeing you today. It quickly scribbled out a note for me to give you. The note seemed kind of personal, so I didn't read it. Here it is!

"Hi! Come back to me. I'll be better this time, I p…

Mind Voyages: Join me in the Red Room!

Photo Courtesy Trey Ratcliffe of

2010 is coming up fast and I have some ideas brewing about in my head for my Mind Voyages Science Fiction Challenge. Throughout the voyage I'll be posting Author Spotlights on science fiction and fantasy authors, ones that I love and have been reading for many years and also new to me authors I read and discover during the challenge.   For instance, I just discovered Mark Charon Newton who wrote Nights of Villjamur and was named one of the top five reads for 2009 by Speculative Horizons. I will be working on some guest author interviews and a few book giveaways.

Since I have never done author interviews or had guest posts on My Two Blessings, I'm calling on all of you, my followers, for assistance.   If you like Science Fiction or Fantasy and would like to guest post on Mind Voyages, please let me know. And if you do, why haven't you joined the challenge yet?  Hmmm?

Also, if you are an author, writer, publisher, or a v…

2009 Fall Reading Challenge Wrap Up

Happy Winter Solstice. Fall is officially over and with it Callapidder Day's Fall into Reading challenge. The theme this year was new to me author reads. I'm glad I kept the list short because ended up reading most of the books, deleting a few and adding some different ones.  I discovered some great authors and some interesting stories.  Fall somehow turned into a very busy time for me and my reading slowed down quite a bit. 

Did you finish reading all the books on your fall reading list? If not, why not?

I finished the majority of them.  The ones I finished were. 

1)Great GatsbybyF. Scott Fitzgerald which I read for Banned Book week.  Wasn't too terribly thrilled with the story and how it ended.

2) Vanishedby  Joseph Finder for Take a Chance Challenge.  Mystery. Liked this author and will be looking for more books by him.

3)  The Arc, The Reed and The Firecloudby Jenny Cote.  Absolutely brilliant children's story that both James and I enjoyed.  I have already purchas…

Christmas prep and Some People by Flavia

5 Days to Christmas Eve

I'm working on my midterm Essay today comparing the Egyptian sculpture Menkaure and a Queen with a Greek sculpture Anavysos Kouros (warning: graphic nude sculpture alert). Shouldn't be too difficult. In fact, I think it will be fun pointing out the differences!

And then, I'll be braving the crowds to pick up a few odds and ends for Christmas and grocery shopping. I think we're having rock cornish game hens this year for Christmas dinner. We still have half the meat from the 20 pound turkey we had for thanksgiving. If James wants turkey bad enough, since he missed out at Thanksgiving from being sick in bed, then I'll heat some up for him. Then we'll be wrapping up some Christmas gifts to place under our lonely christmas tree. The rest will be arriving via amazon and ups over the next couple days. It's been hilarious with father trying to Christmas shop online at Amazon since we don't have separate accounts. He has a cold …

On my Wishlist

On My Wishlist is a Weekly Meme hosted by Book Chick City 

It allows us to share the books we haven't bought yet but are waiting to be bought and devoured. If you are anything like me then your wishlist is getting longer by the day!

My Wish list is growing by leaps and bounds these days.    Imagine my surprise this week when I came across some books by authors I love and read that I wasn't aware of.   How did they slip by me.

Vanishing Sculpture by Donita K. Paul. She is the author of The Dragon Keeper Chronicles, a christian fantasy series.

"Tipper is a young emerlindian who’s responsible for the upkeep of her family’s estate during her sculptor father’s absence. Tipper soon discovers that her actions have unbalanced the whole foundation of her world, and she must act quickly to undo the calamitous threat. But how can she save her father and her world on her own? The task is too huge for one person, so she gathers the help of some unlikely companions--including the nea…