My 2010 Favorites

Wow, 2010 was a great year for reading.  I had a tough time limiting my favorites to eleven so I made an honorable mention list.  Check that out for some really good and entertaining books.
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My Favorite Books of 2010
They are in the order read with the exception of the Jodi Thomas books.
Click the cover to link to my Goodreads posts and blog links.
Brava, Valentine Saving Ceecee Honeycutt
I enjoyed Trigiani’s second book of the Valentine series as much as the first.
CeeCee Honeycutt charmed her way into my heart.
I love that the animals touched me as much as the humans in Katrina Kittle’s novel.
Welcome to Harmony Somewhere Along the Way
Jodi Thomas tells a story like a treasured aunt.  She makes me laugh and care about her characters.
The Unnamed Girl in Translation
Joshua Ferris’ novel quietly wowed me. I listened to the audiobook read by the author.
Jean Kwok’s immigrant story of a young girl and her mother making their way in America despite the challenges inspired me.
Daphne Kalotay intrigued me with the story of artists’ lives in post WWII Russia and beyond.
The Bells Safe from the Sea
Richard Harvell had me from page 1 with his story of a young boy’s transformation into renowned  singer.
Safe From The Sea is Peter Geye’s story of an epic storm and its effect on a man and his son.  I couldn’t put it down.
Tom Franklin’s novel tells the story of two characters and the secrets that connected them with life-changing results.

Wedding of the Season by Laura Lee Guhrke

Title: Wedding of the Season

Author: Laura Lee Guhrke

Genre: Historical Romance

About: (Pub. synopsis) Lady Beatrix Danbury has always known she would marry William Mallory. She’d loved him forever, and she’d never doubted he loved her, too. But when she made him choose between their life together and his lifelong dream, Will chose the latter, and left two weeks before their wedding.

Will has no illusions that Beatrix will welcome him back with open arms, but six years has not diminished his love or his desire for her. The only problem is that she’s about to marry someone else. Someone safe and predictable… the complete opposite of Will. But can he stop the wedding of the season and win Beatrix back, or is it just too late?

My thoughts: I think what I  liked most about this novel is the era – early 1900s England.  There are Daimler motorcars and women might wear trousers while driving.  In fact, some women are pushing the limits that society has placed on them regarding such things as smoking, drinking or having a job.  Beatrix is a bit of a modern woman but she still feels the pull of family responsibilities and expectations.

Will, however, was tired of family demands and decided to follow his own dreams of archeology in Egypt.  When Beatrix refused to marry him if it meant leaving England, Will left without her.  Six years passed and Will returned to find Beatrix planning her wedding to another man.

There are  misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and bitterness about the past but (this isn’t a spoiler because it’s a historical romance) Guhrke’s characters eventually find their way to a happy ending.  Although the novel wrapped up neatly, it left me wondering about a couple of characters.  I think the next book in the series may answer my questions.

Source: HarperCollins/Avon via NetGalley

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Mailbox Monday – Dec. 27


Mailbox Monday is the brainchild of Marcia at The Printed Page and is now on a blog tour.  Click here to see the tour schedule!

This month’s host is Let Them Read Books.   Visit every week this month to see links to the latest and greatest books arriving in mailboxes!  Be aware, though, visiting can lead to book envy and toppling TBR piles!

How to Bake a Perfect Life by Barbara O’Neal (I bought)

Deadly Sanctuary by Sylvia Nobel (I bought)

Edge of Sight by Roxanne St. Claire (giveaway win from Hachette and Ashley’s Bookshelf

My Favorite (Christmas) Cookie

This is my favorite Christmas cookie.  My mom used her mother’s recipe and that’s how it came to be known as Grandma O’Neill Cookies.  You might know them as Brown Sugar Drop cookies.


Grandma O’Neill Cookies


1 cup shortening (I used butter)

1½ cups brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. baking soda dissolved in ¼ cup hot water

1 tsp. cinnamon

2½ cups flour

½ tsp. salt

½ cup raisins

½ cup chopped nuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 375°

Combine dry ingredients, set aside

Mix shortening, sugar, eggs, vanilla.

Add dry ingredients alternating with water with soda

Make 1 inch balls and place on parchment paper (or greased cookie sheets)

Bake 10-15 minutes (my oven took 12 minutes)

Place cookies on wire rack to cool.

When cooled, frost with almond icing (powdered sugar mixed with milk and almond extract to your taste and consistency preference).  * I use ¼ tsp. extract

Sprinkle with red or green sugar (optional)

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs.

Room by Emma Donoghue

Title: Room: A Novel

Author: Emma Donoghue

Genre: Fiction

About: (from Goodreads – a bit of a spoiler alert: read only if you don’t mind finding out more than I knew before I read the book)  To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. …more

My thoughts: I was completely absorbed in Jack’s world of Room – the 11 ft. shack where he and his mother live.  The story is told by Jack, in a five-year-old’s words – that’s the wonderful aspect of what would normally be a tough read for me.  If it seems like a book you wouldn’t usually read I say take a chance!  I’m so glad I listened to Room.  It’s a novel I won’t soon forget.

Source: The book was a gift.  I also bought the audiobook.

Recommend: Yes, it’s a unique reading experience that is an even better listening experience.