Thursday, May 31, 2012

Monthly Reflections (#5) ~ May


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Monthly Reflections, where we take the time to reflect on the previous month.

My goals for May were...

Read 10 books
Read at least 1 eBook
Read two "Just for Fun" books (one being Nightmare by Robin Parrish)
Read a book starting with the letter "E"

In May, I...


Read 12 books - including:
3 non-fiction books
2 eBooks (Flirting with the Forbidden and Unfriend Yourself)
3 "Just for Fun" books (Nightmare, Loving, and Divergent)
Did not read a book starting with the letter "E"


I am very happy with the amount of books I read! I hope I'm able to do the same in June. :) I can hardly believe I read THREE "Just for Fun" books - the majority of books I read are review books and how I was able to read three books that I didn't get for review in May, I don't know... :| In June, I plan on getting my review book TBR stack down in size, so I'm hoping I'll be able to read a LOT! :)


Books read:


Gone to Ground: A Novel

My favorite fiction book was Gone to Ground by Brandilyn Collins - Nightmare by Robin Parrish was very gripping though and a close second from this list. :)

My favorite non-fiction book is a tossup between Praying for Your Future Husband and Flirting with the Forbidden. I loved both of those books and while there were a few things in Flirting with the Forbidden that I didn't like, it did make me think a LOT.

Reviews:

Lily by B.J. Bassett
To Dance Once More by Sherri Wilson Johnson
Illusion by Frank Peretti
Nightmare by Robin Parrish
The Pursuit of Lucy Banning
Stardust by Carla Stewart
Gone to Ground by Brandilyn Collins
Praying for Your Future Husband by Robin Jones Gunn and Tricia Goyer
*Spoilers* Loving by Karen Kingsbury
Flirting with the Forbidden by Steven James


Interviews:

Carol McCormick
Dani Pettrey
Barbara Brink
Olivia Newport
Carla Stewart
Naomi Rawlings
Tracy Higley

Special Posts:

Guest Post: Sherri Wilson Johnson
Cover Reveal: Tributary by Lisa T. Bergren!


I received The {Booker} Award!

Looking ahead:

Here is what I hope to accomplish in June...

Read at least 11 books - including:
2-3 Non-fiction books
1 "Just for Fun" book
1-2 eBooks
Read a book starting with the letter "E"


Now it's your turn! What did you accomplish in May, what do you hope to accomplish in June?


If you want to do your own Monthly Reflections, feel free to grab the button and post about it on your blog, then leave a comment with the URL - otherwise, please share your thoughts in a comment!

The {Booker} Award


Abbi, from Christian Novels, gave me The {Booker} Award recently and I'm so excited about it! I love receiving blog awards and the rules for this one are great!

Thanks, Abbi, for passing this award on to me! :)

The Rules:
1. This award is for book bloggers only. To receive this award the blogger's blog must be 50% about books (this includes writing blogs or reader blogs).
2. When you accept this award you must also share what your top five all time favorite books are. Going over five is encouraged.
3. You must pass this award on to five to ten other book blogs that you adore :)

Here are some of my favorite books (not completely in order):

Corridor by Robin Parrish
Waterfall, Cascade, Torrent, and Bourne (all a part of the River of Time series) by Lisa T. Bergren
Abomination by Colleen Coble
Beckon by Tom Pawlik
Gone to Ground by Brandilyn Collins
Vigilante by Robin Parrish
In Too Deep by Mary Connealy
Skin by Ted Dekker
Oh, I also love the Patrick Bowers Files by Steven James (they are really suspenseful and definitely thrillers!)

That's all I can think of right now... While most of those are books I've read recently (2011 to 2012), I'm sure there are others - I just can't think of them. LOL :|

I'm passing this award to:

Brooke / i blog 4 books
If you are one of the bloggers listed above and want to accept the award, grab the award picture, create your own post following the rules above, and then feel free to leave a comment with the URL to your post below (not necessary, but appreciated).

BTW, I plan on posting my Monthly Reflections post later today. :)
Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Review: Flirting with the Forbidden by Steven James

Flirting with the Forbidden by Steven James
Revell / 2012

About the book:

In our fallen world, temptation is normal. We run into it every day and we all are susceptible to falling victim to its enticements. We're tempted to cheat on our taxes, milk the clock, lust after someone other than our spouse, dishonor our parents, lie to our friends, covet our neighbor's trip to Europe. But just because we must live with temptation doesn't mean we have to let it master us.

In Flirting with the Forbidden, bestselling author Steven James reminds readers that we are always just one step away from bowing to temptation, that we all share the same potential and propensity for evil. Combining powerful first-person narratives from Scripture with thought-provoking reflections on temptation, discipleship, and grace, James helps readers grow in discernment and reliance on the Holy Spirit and develop a deeper, more intimate walk with Christ.

My rating:
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My thoughts:

At first I wasn't sure how much I would like Flirting with the Forbidden, I've read Steven James' fiction series - The Patrick Bowers Files - but this is the first non-fiction book of his I've read and I ended up loving it.


I really liked the stories at the beginning of the chapters (except for when they seemed to put words in Jesus' mouth) and even learned some things I had never thought about before - like how Pilate's wife sent Pilate a note before Jesus was crucified. (Matthew 27:19).

Overall Flirting with the Forbidden was a great non-fiction book that I enjoyed reading! :)

*I got this book on Amazon Kindle when it was free and was not required to review it. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.*
Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Interview and Giveaway!! Tracy Higley ~ Author of the Seven Wonders Series!!


Welcome to Christian Bookshelf Reviews, Tracy!! Will you tell us a little about yourself?


I’m a book-addict!  I love to read them, write them, touch them, even smell them! (ah, that musty-dusty library smell…)  I’m guessing some of your readers can relate! I have loved to write since childhood, and spent those years either with my nose in a book or writing. I created short stories, school newspapers, neighborhood plays, angst-ridden poetry in the teen years, then drama sketches for church ministry as an adult. Since getting published, I’ve been able to travel the world to research all the exotic locations of my books, and get into some adventures!  When not writing, I’m a business-owner and wife and mom to four wonderful kids.

Will you tell us about your "Seven Wonders" series?


The Seven Wonders books were born out of my own fascination with the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. I love history, and thought it would be fun to “take a tour” of the ancient world by setting exciting stories in each of these locales.

What is something the average reader wouldn't know about you? 


My favorite fairy tale character is Belle.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?


I think I’ve always known it!  The neighborhood kids were learning their lines under my direction by about age 6, I think. (They never did take it quite as seriously as they should have!)

How many books have you written/published and do you have a favorite?


 My 9th book, Garden of Madness, has just released, but there are more on the way!  Favorites are hard to choose, but I think my writing has improved with each book, so I’d have to say this newest one is my favorite.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?


I don’t know about interesting. More like annoying, probably.  My friends/family roll their eyes when I am at the midpoint of every first draft and whining that “it’s the worst book I’ve ever written… the worst book anyone has ever written… no one will want to read it.”  They just nod and say, “Oh, we’re at that point now, are we?”

Where do you like to write?


I have a wonderful office in my house, filled with bookshelves, crammed with souvenirs and special things from my travels around the world, and set apart from the rest of the house. I love retreating there to write!  When the weather gets warm, I have a covered patio that I’ve decorated like a little Italian bistro, which looks out over a stunning view.  I love it there, too.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?


Read good books. Study and research for writing books. Watch movies (like books, only faster).  I’m all about stories!

Is there a place you’d like to visit, but haven’t yet?

I’ve got another research trip coming up in a few months, where I’ll get to see Santorini, and I’m really looking forward to that. I’d also LOVE to visit Morocco someday.  Casablanca, anyone?

Do you have a favorite song and/or movie?


Sound of Music.  You wouldn’t want to watch it with me because I quote every word and sing every line and it’s apparently quite annoying, though I don’t really see why.

What is your favorite dessert?


 Anything with chocolate.  Even non-edible things that smell like chocolate.

Do you have a favorite Bible verse? 


This changes as life changes, but currently Philippians 1:9-11, which I personalize for myself:
And this is my prayer: that my love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that I may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,  filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Here are a few this-or-that questions:

Snowstorms or Thunderstorms?


Thunderstorms.

Tea or Coffee?

Coffee.

Print or eBook? 


Print.

Early-bird or Night-owl?


Night-owl.

Cats or Dogs?


Geckos.

Are you currently working on any new novels? If so, could you give us a hint?


I am just finishing up the first draft of my next book, So Shines the Night. It’s set in first-century Ephesus, a city that was at the center of the pagan worship of Artemis, but also a thriving church of new believers in the Messiah. With Paul there to lead them, you can imagine the tough situations they get into!  But it’s also a love story about a woman who is afraid to live and a man who is afraid to forget.

Thanks so much for being here! Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers and where can we find you on the web?


Thanks, Melanie!  I would love to have your readers stop by my website, www.TracyHigley.com, where they can read chapters of my books, thumb through my photo travel journals, explore the fascinating locations of my books, and connect with me!

Book Giveaway!!

Enter to win the first three books in Tracy's Seven Wonders series!! (Shadow of Colossus, City of the Dead, and Guardian of the Flame) This giveaway is only open to the US.

Enter by filling out the Rafflecopter below (here is a tutorial, if you aren't familiar with Rafflecopter). The mandatory entry is to leave a comment on this blog post - after you do that, the other entries will become available. :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day - Thank You!


I would like to express a sincere Thank You to all our fallen soldiers, their families, those who have served, and are currently serving in the US Armed Forces. Thank you for courageously protecting our land.
Friday, May 25, 2012

Weekend Report (#31) and Giveaway Winners!!

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Weekend Report is where I share what I accomplished (book-wise) the previous week! Feel free to join along and post your own Weekend Report on your blog/site. If you do, please leave the URL in a comment below.


What I'm currently reading:




Not that far into this book yet, but so far it's interesting.




A little over 33% done with this. Definitely makes me think about technology and social media.

What I've read this week:

Gone to Ground: A Novel

I loved all four of these books! It was a great reading week! :)

What I think I'll read soon: 



I don't read many mainstream books, but I heard Divergent is great so I got it from the library... hope I like it. :)


This is the next non-fiction book I plan on reading. A fellow blogger recommended it to me and it sounds good. :)

Reviews posted this week:

Gone to Ground by Brandilyn Collins
Praying for Your Future Husband: Preparing Your Heart for His by Robin Jones Gunn and Tricia Goyer
*Beware of Spoilers* ~ Loving by Karen Kingsbury

Current Giveaways!



Enter to win Stardust by Carla Stewart! US and Canada! Here is the link to enter.



Enter to win Split Sense by Barbara Ellen Brink! Open Internationally! Here is the link to enter.



Enter to win Sanctuary for a Lady by Naomi Rawlings! Open Internationally! Here is the link to enter.



Winner will win their choice of one of the books listed in post. US only. Here is the link to enter.

Giveaway winner!




The winner of To Dance Once More is...

Rachelle!




The winner of Illusion is...

Amanda!



The winner of Submerged is...

Marie!


Congrats to all three of you ladies!!

~


Oh, and if you would take the time to read and rate my review of Praying for Your Future Husband, I would REALLY appreciate it. Thanks so much!

Here is the link: http://www.waterbrookmultnomah.com/bloggingforbooks/reviews/view/18054/blogr:6918

So that's what I accomplished (book-wise) this week, what about you? Please share in a comment below. :)
Thursday, May 24, 2012

Splash into Summer Giveaway Hop!


This is the first time I'm participating in a giveaway hop!

I've decided for this giveaway to list several books and the winner (US only) will get their choice of one of them. 

Here are the books:

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Freezing Point by Elizabeth Goddard (signed)
Peril by Suzanne Hartmann (signed)
Indelible by Kristen Heitzmann
Hearts the Survive by Yvonne Lehman
Illusion by Frank Peretti (ARC)
Beauty for Ashes by Dorothy Love (ARC)
Powers by John B. Olson (ARC)

Do any of these books look good to you? Then enter the giveaway! 

This giveaway is only open to the US - sorry to those who live elsewhere. :(

Enter by filling out the Rafflecopter below (here is a tutorial, if you aren't familiar with Rafflecopter). I'd love it if you'd also leave a comment letting me know which book you'd choose if you won! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out the other giveaways in this hop! Here's the list: