My favorite books of 2013

My Favorite Books Read in 2013:

(In no particular order; covers link to review or rating)

Where'd You Go, Bernadette

news from heaven the lost husband me before you       the good house

looking for me

 benediction

Life After Life the all-girl filling station's last reunion letters

LOW audio

redesigning rose

christmas in snow flake canyon

snowflakes & coffee cakes

SMC audio

ordinary grace (audio)

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Audiobook: Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

ordinary grace (audio)

  • Title:  Ordinary Grace (audiobook)
  • Author:  William Kent Krueger
  • Narrator:  Rich Orlow
  • Genre:  Fiction; Mystery
  • Published:  Recorded Books – March 2013
  • Source:  purchased

Synopsis:  New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were selling out at the soda counter of Halderson’s Drugstore, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a grim summer in which death visited frequently and assumed many forms. Accident. Nature. Suicide. Murder. 
Frank begins the season preoccupied with the concerns of any teenage boy, but when tragedy unexpectedly strikes his family— which includes his Methodist minister father; his passionate, artistic mother; Juilliard-bound older sister; and wise-beyond-his-years kid brother— he finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal, suddenly called upon to demonstrate a maturity and gumption beyond his years.
Told from Frank’s perspective forty years after that fateful summer, Ordinary Grace is a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God.  (publisher)

My brief take:  I highly recommend the audiobook edition of this novel. The narration by Rich Orlow is superb.

Just read the synopsis above. If that doesn’t grab you, well, never mind. I think it will. And, in the end, you’ll probably be glad you read (or listened to) it. I don’t want to say much more than what I posted on Goodreads:

. . .  A coming of age novel where ordinary grace meets the awful grace of God in a small town in Minnesota during one summer in the early 1960s.

It’s one of my 2013 Favorites.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:

Devil's Cub the holiday serenade an old woman's reflections

Last week on Bookfan:

Review:  If Wishes Were Earls by Elizabeth Boyle

It was a busy week of Christmas festivities. I listened to some of Ordinary Grace while I cleared snow from the driveway and also read a couple of novellas while getting some exercise on the treadmill but I had no chance to sit and read. That should change in the week ahead. We had a wonderful time and saw lots of friends and family but they’ve now scattered and things have settled down a bit.

The big news is that our daughter and her boyfriend announced their engagement a few days before Christmas. We’re all excited for them and look forward to the fun of planning a wedding 🙂

What I’m reading:

  • Ordinary Grace (audio)
  • That Part Was True 

Happy reading!

If Wishes Were Earls by Elizabeth Boyle

  • if wishes were earls
  • Title:  If Wishes Were Earls
  • Author:  Elizabeth Boyle
  • Series:  #3, Rhymes with Love
  • Genre:  Historical Romance
  • Published:  December 31, 2013 – Avon
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  When you wish upon an earl . . .

Harriet Hathaway has only ever wanted one man: the Earl of Roxley. After a passionate interlude at a house party, Harriet is convinced Roxley will do the right thing and propose. But when she returns to London, she finds the roguish earl on the verge of proposing to another.

Yet Harriet refuses to believe that her hopes of a happily-ever-after are completely lost—for she can see the desire still flickering in the earl’s eyes when he looks at her from across the dance floor. And when they are alone . . . there is one wish neither can deny.

. . . the most extraordinary things can happen

The Earl of Roxley is in a dangerous fix—and to keep Harriet safe, he must hold her at arm’s length. He won’t entangle her in the murderous mystery that is threatening to destroy his family and his future. But keeping Harriet Hathaway out of his troubles proves as impossible as it is to keep the determined beauty from stealing his heart.  (publisher)

My take:  Thoughts upon finishing this book: “Well, that was fun!”  I love historical romance and enjoy reading new-to-me authors.  If Wishes Were Earls is the first of Elizabeth Boyle’s books I’ve read and I enjoyed it very much.

What’s not to like? We have an almost financially ruined Earl in love with a childhood friend who just happens to love him back (and has even less money than he does). The problem is, he’s being blackmailed and must marry the daughter of his blackmailer if he doesn’t want to lose what’s left of his family’s holdings. And then there’s the business of some missing diamonds that have several people chasing after the Earl.

It sounds like it could be a bit complicated but Boyle laid it all out in a humorous and enjoyable fashion that had me looking forward to reading each time I picked the book up. That’s my sign of a good book. Since it’s part of a series I look forward to reading the previous two books.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:

romancing the duke how to lose a duke in 10 days a cowboy for xmas

Last week on Bookfan:

  • Blog tour/review:  Snowflakes and Coffee Cakes by Joanne DeMaio
  • Review:  The Scandal in Kissing an Heir by Sophie Barnes
  • Review:  Christmas Bliss by Mary Kay Andrews

What I’m reading:

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger (audio)

*  *  *

It will be quiet here this week – no posts are scheduled. I put my 2013 Favorite Books list together last week and will post it on December 31st. I’ll be back with a Sunday Post next Sunday. This week will be filled with family time and maybe a little reading. Oh, and some shoveling…

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Edited at 7:30pm Sunday

That’s me in the red jacket 🙂

IMG_2491

To all who celebrate the day, Merry Christmas!

Happy reading!

Christmas Bliss by Mary Kay Andrews

christmas bliss

  • Title:  Christmas Bliss
  • Series:  #4 Savannah series
  • Author:  Mary Kay Andrews
  • Genre:  Chick Lit; Christmas
  • Published:  October 2013 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Publisher (via Lisa – thanks, Lisa!)

My take: I’m blaming the time of year for it taking me almost 2 weeks to get through the first few chapters. Once I had time I found it difficult to put the book down! 

Weezie Foley’s wedding plans are in full swing and her BFF BeBe’s first baby is due in a few weeks. When Weezie’s fiancé Daniel comes down with a bad cold while he’s in NYC being a guest chef at a four star restaurant, she drops everything and flies from Savannah to New York to give him some TLC (and see the city and all it has to offer). When Daniel shares some news that could be life changing for them both she gets a little nervous. Meanwhile, BeBe is in full-nesting mode when the father-to-be takes what he promises will be his last charter fishing client out for a day. When he doesn’t return at the promised time BeBe gets worried.

So, you can see there’s a lot going on in this book. Like I said, once I had time to sit and actually read for a while I was on board for the roller coaster ride that Christmas Bliss is. It was cute, entertaining and gave me a few laughs – typical Mary Kay Andrews.

Recommended to fans of the author and the series. I enjoyed seeing what Weezie and friends were up to and hope there’ll be more adventures to come.  Christmas Bliss is part of the Savannah series but it can stand on its own.

The Scandal in Kissing an Heir by Sophie Barnes

the scandal in kissing an heir

  • Title:  The Scandal in Kissing an Heir
  • Author:  Sophie Barnes
  • Series:  #2, At the Kingsborough Ball
  • Genre:  Historical Romance
  • Published:  December 31, 2013 – Avon
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Lady Rebecca is determined to find a husband on her own terms, rather than marry any of the aging suitors her greedy aunt and uncle foist upon her. Her chance comes at the Kingsborough Ball, where she meets several potential grooms…yet no one compares to the dangerously handsome Daniel Neville.

Daniel Neville, notorious rake and heir to the Marquis of Wolvington, is in need of a bride, but finding a lady who’s willing to accept his past, is an entirely different matter. When he spies a stunning woman across the ballroom, Daniel believes he’s found her…until scandal erupts around them. How can he convince Rebecca to take a chance on him…and on the love that could be theirs forever after?

My take:  Calling all debutantes and wallflowers! If you attend  the Kingsborough Ball, and if the first two books in the series are any indication, chances are you’ll find a marriage prospect! And he’ll either be on the road to being reformed from his rakish ways or he’ll be open to you setting him on that path 🙂

The Scandal in Kissing an Heir is the second installment in the series and I enjoyed it just as much if not more than the first. Daniel is the quintessential rakehell and Rebecca is the lady in need of rescuing. Her aunt and uncle have put the word out that she’ll go to the highest bidder. And that highest bidder would be a creepy old Duke. When Daniel sees that Rebecca would do almost anything to not be wed to the Duke he sees a way to redeem himself in the eyes of his uncle (whose title Daniel will inherit). The uncle told Daniel he must leave his old habits and find himself a wife. So. Daniel and Rebecca form an alliance and resolve to help each other – knowing all the while that it won’t be a marriage of love but at least they like each other.

Sophie Barne’s story was an entertaining way to spend a few hours. I enjoyed the characters and the happily-ever-after resolution – and I look forward to going back to the ball in the next book of the At the Kingsborough Ball series.