Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Top 10 from 2011

I've sure missed my blogging buddies. This busy life is keeping me from my regular blogging, but I felt the need to at least share my favorite reads from this year. I hope you all have had a wonderful year of reading. Mine was so amazing. Apparently, I've gotten much better at picking out great books. There were so many I really loved that didn't make the list, but for me these were the best of the best.

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
Exposed by Kimberly Marcus
Stonefather by Orson Scott Card
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
With A Name Like Love by Tess Hilmo
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

If you haven't read these, give them a try! I may have to do another post that covers the second tier. You don't want to miss those either.

Happy New Year!

Books read in 2011

1. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
2. Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card
3. Matched by Ally Condie
4. The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
5. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
6. Being Sixteen by Allyson Braithwaite Condie
7. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
8. What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
9. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
10. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
11. Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
12. Ranger's Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan (Book 1) by John Flanagan (Aussie Challenge)
13. Q & A by Vikas Swarup
14. Liar by Justine Larbalestier (Aussie Challenge)
15. Exposed by Kimberly Marcus
16. The Knife of Never Letting Go: Chaos Walking: Book One by Patrick Ness
17. Exposed by Kimberly Marcus (reread)
18. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
19. North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
20. Girl Overboard by Justina Chen Headley
21. Where She Went by Gayle Forman
22. 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann
23. Stonefather by Orson Scott Card
24. Stoney Creek, Alabama by Jennifer Youngblood and Sandra Poole
25. The Paper Rose Club by Jennifer Youngblood and Sandra Poole
26. The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
27. Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier
28. The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan
29. Nory Ryan's Song by Patricia Reilly Giff
30. Maggie's Door by Patricia Reilly Giff
31. Water Street by Patricia Reilly Giff
32. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
33. Shipbreaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
34. Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
35. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
36. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (reread)
37. The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown
38. Monarch by Michelle Davidson Argylle
39. Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter
40. Hourglass by Myra McEntire
41. The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
42. Memento Nora by Angie Smibert
43. Divergent by Veronica Roth
44. Blood Red Road by Moira Young
45. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
46. Saraswati's Way by Monika Schroeder
47. The Sweetest Thing by Christine Mandelski
48. You're Wearing That? by Deborah Tannen
49. Possession by Elana Johnson
50. With A Name Like Love by Tess Hilmo (re-read)
51. Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
52. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
53. Goliath by Scott Westerfeld
54. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
55. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
56. Wake by Lisa McMann
57. Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
58. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Not your everyday thriller: Monarch by Michelle Davidson Argylle

Product Details
Disclosure: I was an early beta reader for this book.

Synopsis/set up: Nick is a CIA operative betrayed by someone he trusted. Now he's on the run from his enemies and his friends. He doesn't know who he can trust, and so he seeks out someone from his past who can hide him until he sorts things out. Lillian owns the reclusive Monarch Inn and a bit of Nick's heart.

What I thought? I enjoyed this book in large part because of Michelle's signature writing style:  vivid to the point of being cinematic. AND It's a page turner. If you like thrillers, it'll be right down your alley. If you don't, you may still like it. There's a nice romance, plus, it's so easy to get sucked into these characters' lives. Michelle paints them in such a way that you feel like you know them. They are fully fleshed out with backstories and complex motivations. The good guys aren't completely good, and the bad guys aren't all evil. They are human and their actions are understandable--even when they do something horrible.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Anybody out there? I'm baaaaaaaack! It's been a much longer break than I intended, but about the time I was going to start back with blogging, we got an 11 week old puppy. I'm not sure what I was thinking in agreeing to another dog, but he's adorable and sweet and pretty dang smart. 
So... He's been a great addition to the family, but it's been like life with a baby in the house. Finally, he's getting pretty well trained, and life is settling back in around me. Whew.

With my break, I found that I was getting more writing done in addition to everything else. It just went to show me how much my blogging was interfering with my writing. Soooo. I've decided to only blog once a week. If I have something burning a hole in my pocket, I might add a 2nd post on occasion. How was everyone's summer? How are you feeling about blogging these days?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Life takes charge

Hello everyone. It's always been my policy that, when my everyday life needs me, the first thing to get set on the back burner is my blog. With ACTs and my homeschoolers' needs and everything else that is popping up. I'm going to have to take a break for a few weeks. There's nothing wrong. It's just that there are only so many hours in a day. See you when I get back. I hope everyone is enjoying the beginnings of Spring! It's sure lovely around here.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday's photolife--Time at the barn

Wednesday's answer and winner: It is a mounting block with two levels. If you look closely you can see the hoof prints in the gravel of the path beside it. The first to get it right was Stina Lindenblatt, but it's not just for the disabled. Using it helps keep the saddle padding, etc., in place when you mount. They're not necessary, but they're nice. I rarely used them when I was young, but I don't get on a horse these days without one.
I almost used this picture, but I thought it might be too hard. What do you think?

On to the photolife:

My kiddies (and myself for that matter) have a particular love for horsey kind. We have spent tons of time over the years at barns hanging with the horses. I don't usually take a lot of pictures there though. Sure, every now and then I will, but, when there, it's more about the enjoyment of the experience than keeping a record of it. There's just something about these amazing animals. Time with them is uplifting. It's no wonder there are great rehabilitation and therapy programs that use horses. 
My youngest with a pony she has a soft spot for.
The youngest grooming one of the sweetest ponies on the planet. She wasn't riding that day just wanted to come while her brother rode. 
I love how different riders express their individual personalities.
We find ourselves reflected in their eyes.
Application to writing? I've often wondered if I should write stories with horses. I almost included them in one WIP but ended up cutting the horse person. She was extraneous to the main plotline, and I found I only put her in because I wanted to include someone like her. That should be a clue, eh? They say you should write what you know. What do you think? Should I do a horse story?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What in the world?

Hint: The background can help.