Tuesday, December 31, 2013

First Book of the Year 2014

I will be participating in First Book of the Year 2014 @Book Journey. I will be reading
It is on my Kindle, I just started it tonight. So will join in the fun. We will not be celebrating on the town tonight. 
 Here is a quick picture of our table tonight. Mr. Busy had red wine, I am working on a bottle of Gewurtraminer - Shaly Loam from Fetzer. UMMMM!
Here is the book on my Kindle...
ready to read......I don't take a very good picture. :(

Hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year!

Until next YEAR
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Sunday, December 29, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? Rushing toward the end of the year!

It's Monday!  What Are You Reading? is sponsored by Sheila at Book Journey. As she says," it's a great way to plan out your reading week and see what other are reading as well....you never know where the next "must read" book will come from!" Click on the link to go to  Book Journey and link up to join the fun. 

I am nearly finished with :
The front of the book:

"This majestic, moving novel is an instant classic, a book that will be read, discussed and taught beyond the rest of our lives."  _ Chicago Tribune

A Lesson Before Dying is set in a small Cajun community in the late 1940's. Jefferson, a young black man, is an unwitting party to a liquor store shootout in which three men are killed; the only survivor, he is convicted of murder and sentenced to death.  The story revolves around Grant Wiggins struggle to honor his aunt's request of him to visit Jefferson in his cell and impart his learning and his pride to Jefferson before his death. It is a compelling story with moving dialogue and a unique insight into the Cajun community in the 1940's. I wonder how that has changed in our present time. I will never know, but I can hope that it has changed for the better.

I also got started on :

From Goodreads:

The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike #1)

3.84 of 5 starsA brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel's suicide. After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.
I am also listening to two books:
This one with my husband as we traveled for the holidays. We have 3 more discs to finish. 

This one I am listening to by myself. I have 5 discs left to finish it. Finding alone "me time" is hard.
Hopefully, I will complete these before the end of the year.

Until next time,
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Where Are You Reading? 2014 Progress Post.

The sign up for this challenge is here.  I tried to set up a Google Map. I may not be able to use it. If I can figure out how to do it, I'll put a link here at a later date. 
New Hampshire:
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York:  
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday The Innocent

The Innocent
David Baldacci 
Read by Ron McLarty with Orlagh Cassidy

Will Robie had closely observed every  passenger aboard the short flight from Dublin to Edinburgh and confidently deduced that sixteen were returning Scots and fifty-three were tourists.

Robie was neither a Scot nor a tourist. 

So would you read on? or continue to listen?

This is an audio book that my DH and I started listening to on our road trip to spend Christmas with our daughter, her husband, 2 granddaughters, 1 grandson-in-law and our newest great grandson ( nearly 4 months old).  We have listened to 3 other books by this author and have enjoyed them all. They have all been good stories with enough intrigue to keep Mr Busy interested and enough relationship intrigue to keep me interested.  A good mix for us.  

Until next time, 
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

ps:  Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays to all. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading #7 Challenges met and challenges failed!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. As she says, it’s “a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!”

I am writing this on Friday, so I can post it Monday morning before we climb in the car and drive to Colorado for Christmas with our daughter and her family.  

If all goes according to plan I will have finished reading:
 and returned it and State Fair by Earlene Fowler back to the library, and will be starting on 

   The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith. It is the January selection for my F2F book club. I am looking forward to reading it. I have not read any of the Harry Potter books, so this will be a first read for me of J.K. Rowling ( Robert Galbraith)

 It is on my Kindle and easier to transport and read as we travel. I haven't finished listening to The Book Thief on CD, but will finish it when I get home .  My DH tried to listen with me but kept falling asleep, that wouldn't be a good one to put into the car CD player, so I will listen on my own. 

I have signed up for several challenges for 2014. I hope to be as successful as I was in 2013. 
The only challenge I failed was the Goodreads Challenge to read 80 books. It looks like I will only reach 73.  I read 61 in 2012, 12 over my challenge of 50 and I was optimistic to jump to a goal of 80 for 2013. Guess I will stay with 80 again in 2014. 

Today, my plan is to "plan to pack" and make a few sweet treats to take to our Christmas gathering. I am going to try a recipe I found on Jodi Nelson's blog, Pleasant Home called Melt in your Mouth Crock-pot Candy. 

Until next time
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

ps: this addendum is Sunday night while watching Sunday Night Football. I did not get started on The Cuckoo's Calling, but did start on  
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines.  The Cuckoo's Calling is on my Kindle and when I crawled into bed to read last night, it was "dead".  I had it plugged in on Thursday, but ?????.  Anyway, I turned to the bookcase headboard on our bed, and A Lesson Before Dying was on top. It is a small book, but borrowed from a member of my F2F book club and she recommended it. So far I am liking the writing and the story line is compelling. So I will continue it and take my Kindle with me to Colorado.  

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wondrous Words A Second Look

Wondrous Words Wednesday is hosted by BermudaOnion each week. It's an opportunity to share new words you've encountered in your reading, or highlight words that you particularly enjoy.

These word come from my recent read State Fair by Earlene Fowler. Although they are not new to me, I seem to run across them often, they are not words I use frequently. If  I am not using them, then maybe I really don't know what they mean, so I looked them all up. A review of sorts. These definitions are all from www.yourdictionary.com. 

ubiquitous   adj.  The definition of ubiquitous is something that seems to be present at the same time,everywhere

...ubiquitous commercial buildings selling everything from waterless cookware to genuine Native American turquoise rings. 

acrimonious  adj   The definition of acrimonious is when someone or something is bitter or harsh in manner or speech, or rubs a person the wrong way. 

Katsy wasn't aware that often there was rivalry - sometimes good-natured, more often acrimonious - between many police agencies. 

baleful look  adj.   The definition of baleful is something that is threatening or dangerous. 

"I'm just one pearl in a very long strand of men in her life."
I shot him a baleful look.  "Who's worried?"

ersatz leader  adj   The definition of ersatz is a substitute or synthetic.  

" We talked to some of them. ....Their ersatz leader claimed Cal was just one of dozens of kids......."

I definitely did not have the correct definition for baleful.  I thought it meant sad or longingly. WRONG!.  So maybe with this quick review of words I thought I knew, I will be able to include them in my everyday vocabulary. 

Until next time
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Monday, December 16, 2013

It's Monday! What are you Reading #6 Listening, reading and creating.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.  I am really enjoying this meme as a way to visit other's participating and see what everyone is reading. I have added lots of titles to my reading list as a result. So fair warning....you could be adding to yours too. Come and join us by visiting Sheila's blog and checking on all who link up. 

Today, I am listening to The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I must be one of the last in the country who hasn't already read this book. It was the only edition available at my library, due to the movie being released I am sure.  Listening to a book is good during this busy time of year. I can get 2 things done at once. I have been busily doing hand stitching and reading. 

My sister sent me a copy of  
It is not a book you read from cover to cover, though you could if you wanted to, but the idea is to create calm and this book needs to be savored and enjoyed. I have read some negative reviews, stating there are no DIY pictures etc. I am viewing it as a tutorial in attitude and gratitude. There are project ideas, but it is up to you to create your own calm, your own special art. 

Also I am back to Benni Harper, taking #14 State Fair by Earlene Fowler to bed with me at night.  This one takes place after Elvia and Emory's baby girl is born and Benni's Aunt Garnet is visiting from Arkansas. It is "county" fair time and there is lots of lemonade, corn dogs , agricultural  exhibits and of course a "dead body".  Hud is on the case and Benni can't keep her hands ( ie opinions) out of the investigation. It is a fun one. 

Until next time 
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Sunday, December 15, 2013

What's In A Name 2014

This will be the 3rd year I have done this challenge.  Beth Fish Reads  was the host in the past but has passed it on to  The Worm Hole for 2014.
The challenge runs from January 1st to December 31st, 2014.
Here are the categories and a possible candidate or two.
1. A reference to time: Morning Glory by Sarah Jio,
2. A position of royalty: The Constant Princess by Phillipa Gregory
3. A number written in letters: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseini
4. A forename or names: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
5. A type or element of weather: Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

I reserve the right to change or add to the above list.
As always, I look forward to searching for books to meet the title criteria. Sometimes I struggle and sometimes they just fall in my lap.

Until next time
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros. Daughters of the Quilt #1

Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the first paragraph or maybe two of her current read. Anyone can join in. Go to Diane's website for the image and share the first paragraph (or2) of the current book you are reading.

Hannah Lapp covered the basket of freshly gathered eggs with her hand, glanced behind her, and bolted down the dirt road. Early morning light filtered through the broad leaves of the great oaks as she ran toward her hope ...and her fears

So would you read on?  Have you read any of Cindy Woodsmall's other titles, or Beverly Lewis or Lauraine Snelling?  

This is the first in the Sister of the Quilt series by Cindy Woodsmall and I have been wanting to read it for some time. It was recommended to me by a fellow quilter.  It is listed as contemporary fiction but upon reading the back of the book and my friend's recommendation I know it is Amish Christian based. Usually these are great stories, with good lessons to be learned. I am needing that at this time. It is a borrowed book from the library so I hope to get to it soon. 

Until next time, 
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Monday, December 9, 2013

It's Monday. What Are You Reading? #5 Candlelight Christmas

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.  I am really enjoying this meme as a way to visit other's participating and see what everyone is reading. I have added lots of title to my reading list as a result. So fair warning....you could be adding to yours too. Come and join us by visiting Sheila's blog and checking on all who link up. 

Last week, I was reading the 12th in the Benni Harper Mystery series and I also finished #13 in the series - Tumbling Blocks. I enjoyed these last 2 just as much as the first in the series. I have 2 more to read to finish the Mega Mix Challenge.  

I decided to take a break from Benni and read a book I plucked off the "Featured" shelf at the library last Tuesday. 

A single father who yearns to be a family man, Logan O'Donnell is determined to create the perfect Christmas for his son, Charlie. The entire O'Donnell clan arrives to spend the holidays in Avalon, a postcard-pretty town on the shores of Willow Lake, a place for the family to reconnect and rediscover the special gifts of the season.

One of the guests is a newcomer to Willow Lake— Darcy Fitzgerald. Sharp-witted, independent and intent on guarding her heart, she's the last person Logan can see himself falling for. And Darcy is convinced that a relationship is the last thing she needs this Christmas.

Yet between the snowy silence of the winter woods, and toasty moments by a crackling fire, their two lonely hearts collide. The magic of the season brings them each a gift neither ever expected—a love to last a lifetime.

So far I really like it. Goodreads says it in #10 in the Lakeshore Chronicles, but it doesn't seem to need any of the previous books to make sense.  Maybe because it is a Christmas story, it can stand alone.  I probably will add the Lakeshore Chronicles to my reading list though. So far I have like the character development , I could fall for Logan if only I were...35 years younger!...and the bits and pieces, like the spaghetti recipe and how to make Christmas pickles. Fun!!

I have a bit more gift wrapping to do, but mostly I am done. I won't do  any additional baking, we had a cookie exchange within a group that Mr Busy and I belong to, so I have a great variety in the cookie jar.  My decorating is complete, sparse though it is, so I am planning on reading a great deal. 

Until next time, 
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Friday 56 - #5 Crafting Calm

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
 *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post in Linky at Freda's Voice. Add the post url, not your blog url. It's that simple.

But to begin your practice immediately, another way to create a blessing basket is simply to embellish a pre-existing basket that you feel drawn to, using paint, ribbon, charms, and anything else that evokes blessings for you. Remember---------that's what's most important is not the actual crafting of the basket, but the spiritual practice behind it. 


In this wired, wild world, it is harder than ever to shut out noise and busyness in order to truly calm yourself, but in Crafting Calm, a D.I.Y. guide to peace of mind, you'll find inspiring ideas for how to do exactly that through a wide range of creative exercises.

I received this book in the mail from my sister. A "just because I thought of you gift".  I am hoping to find it inspiring and uplifting. I need to create some calm in my life and maybe this is just the encouraging focus I need. 

Until next time, 
Stay busy and stay happy or be creative and be calm

Monday, December 2, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? Benni #12

It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.  I love being a part of this and I hope you do too!  As part of this weekly meme I  encourage you all to go and visit the others participating in this meme. Fair warning… this meme tends to add to your reading list!

This week I am reading the 12th book in the Benni Harper Mystery series. 
It is my goal to finish #13 - Tumbling Blocks, #14 - State Fair & #15- Spider Web before the end of the year. I should be able to make that happen. I have nearly all my Christmas shopping done. I have to get them shipped off and our daughter has a birthday the 16th of December, so I need to get that remembrance sent too. 

I am looking forward to new book challenges in the new year. I especially like "What's in a Name" at Beth Fish Reads and I will continue to participate in the Ebook Challenge on Workaday Reads.Then there are all the challenges on Goodreads. Oh my, will I overdo again this year?  

Until next time, 
Stay Happy and Stay Happy

Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday 56 #4 for me

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
 *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post in Linky at Freda's Voice. Add the post url, not your blog url. It's that simple.

Behind Gabe, I could see Mac's face.It was stoic, unreadable, but he was concentrating on me, on what I was saying to Gabe. When I caught his eyes, his face turned neutral again. 

Until Next time, 
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Julia's Chocolates - Two Challenge entries for the price of one

The 2013 Ebook Challenge is sponsored by Sarah at Workaday Reads. Encouraging readers to expand past just physical books to embrace ebooks in all forms, whether on Kindle, Kobo, computer, or any other reader.  The levels are below:  I signed up originally for the CD level, but have read more so am working on the DVD level. 
  1. Floppy disk – 5 ebooks
  2. CD – 10 ebooks
  3. DVD – 25 ebooks
  4. Memory stick – 50 ebooks
  5. Hard drive – 75 ebooks
  6. Server – 100 ebooks
  7. Human brain – 150 ebooks
This is the 16th book  that I have read for this challenge. 

Julia's ChocolatesJulia's Chocolates by Cathy Lamb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I first began, I had reservations about this book. I thought the protagonist was timid, self-centered and ineffective. I knew what her ailment was and thought she should have understood and sought some help.

As the story progressed I more clearly understood who Julia was. I started to really appreciate her and her Aunt Lydia. Her small circle of friends in Golden were special in their own way too. This is a great story of friendship, love, acceptance and community. It could become one of my favorite books of 2013.

I haven't read any other Cathy Lamb novels, but I intend to in 2014.

View all my reviews

It also makes the 3rd book in the November Food Feast challenge. I read Caramel and Magnolias, Broken Dishes and Julia's Chocolates for that challenge. Those little mini challenges are great fun.

Until next time,
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday - More Benni Harper

Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the first paragraph or maybe two of her current read. Anyone can join in. Go to Diane's website for the image and share the first paragraph (or2) of the current book you are reading.

I am on a mission to complete the Mega Mix Challenge. I have 4 books to read to finish the Benni Harper Mystery series of author Earlene Fowler. I am torn between wanting to complete the challenge and not wanting to complete the series. That's a bit weird, isn't it? Here is the first paragraph in the prologue of installment #12.

Delectable Mountains
Earlene Fowler
Berkley Prime Crime Books 2005

I was six years old when my mother died. For a long time afterward, the sweet and earthy magnolia scent of her  would permeate my dreams. No matter what I was dreaming about, good or frightening, my mother's smell would waft through my nighttime adventures, infusing them with her unseen presence, reassuring me even through their darkest moments. I never told anyone about this. I felt that, somehow, my mother had found a way to communicate with me from heaven even though I knew from the down-to-earth practicality of my Baptist Sunday School lessons that it was likely impossible. Still, I have heard it said more than once that with God, nothing is impossible. Is it so hard to imagine that He, in His infinite compassion, might have, for a moment in time, comforted a scared little girl with her mother's familiar scent? 

So, would you read on?  Have you ever become so attached to a character in a series that you didn't want the series to end?

Until next time,
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Monday, November 25, 2013

It's Monday! What are you Reading? Julia's Chocolates

This meme is a widely participated in site. Click on over to Book Journey to see what Sheila is reading and what everyone else is reading. Beware though, according to Sheila this meme will result in an ever towering TBR stack or a list that just won't quit. 

This week I will finish Julia's Chocolates by Cathy Lamb. It is the November read for Love of Reading group on Good reads. 
    Goodreads Synopsis:

"I left my wedding dress hanging in a tree somewhere in North Dakota. I don't know why that particular tree appealed to me. Perhaps it was because it looked as if it had given up and died years ago and was still standing because it didn't know what else to do..."
In her deliciously funny, heartfelt, and moving debut, Cathy Lamb introduces some of the most wonderfully eccentric women since The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and The Secret Life of Bees, as she explores the many ways we find the road home.
From the moment Julia Bennett leaves her abusive Boston fiancé at the altar and her ugly wedding dress hanging from a tree in North Dakota, she knows she's driving away from the old Julia, but what she's driving toward is as messy and undefined as her own wounded soul. The old Julia dug her way out of a tortured, trailer park childhood with a monster of a mother. The new Julia will be found at her Aunt Lydia's rambling, hundred-year-old farmhouse outside Golden, Oregon.
There, among uppity chickens and toilet bowl planters, Julia is welcomed by an eccentric, warm, and often wise clan of women, including a psychic, a minister's unhappy wife, an abused mother of four, and Aunt Lydia herself--a woman who is as fierce and independent as they come. Meeting once a week for drinks and the baring of souls, it becomes clear that every woman holds secrets that keep her from happiness. But what will it take for them to brave becoming their true selves? For Julia, it's chocolate. All her life, baking has been her therapy and her refuge, a way to heal wounds and make friends. Nobody anywhere makes chocolates as good as Julia's, and now, chocolate just might change her life--and bring her love when she least expects it. But it can't keep her safe. As Julia gradually opens her heart to new life, new friendships, and a new man, the past is catching up to her. And this time, she will not be able to run but will have to face it head on.

Filled with warmth, love, and truth, Julia's Chocolates is an unforgettable novel of hope and healing that explores the hurts we keep deep in our hearts, the love that liberates us, the courage that defines us, and the chocolate that just might take us there.

   When I finish, I will start on the #12 in the Benni Harper Mystery series from Earlene Fowler. It is :

Goodreads Synopsis:

When the musical director of Benni Harper's church is called away, Benni gets "volunteered" to take over a children's play already in rehearsal. But the production comes to a screeching halt when Benni discovers the body of the church handyman right in front of the altar.
With a growing cast of suspects, and a small girl as the only witness to the crime, Benni must unravel a plot of theft and murder before it's curtains for her.
The coming week involves this reading and of course Thanksgiving dinner at our house. This year again  it will be just my DH and MIL.  I will cook, my MIL is nearly 90, so she doesn't help although she always offers.  We will keep it simple. A small turkey breast with Giada's cranberry orange glaze, sweet potatoes, our family's special holiday salad and of course pie.  
Wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving or if you don't celebrate....a happy week. 

Until next time, 
Stay Busy and Stay Happy