Chris Tomlin, one of my favorite artists, has a new CD titled Burning Lights. It is a marvelous mixture of songs with lyrics that inspire and music that is fresh and exciting. I just love his new songs, “Awake My Soul” and “Lay Me Down” that are included on this album.
If you are looking for an awesome Contemporary Christian Music CD, check out the Burning Lights Album.
Ever read a book that was so good that you immediately want to recommend it to all your friends? For me, that book was “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline.
The story features Wade, a high school senior in the year 2044, who like most of the people in the world has retreated to a life spent mostly online in the world of the “Oasis” Oasis is a virtual game where your Avatar can seem almost human to you and everyone else in the virtual world.
When the multimillionaire that designed the “Oasis” dies, he leaves his entire fortune to the first individual who solves the puzzle of the game. Wade and thousands of others start the quest, to find the “Easter Egg” hidden somewhere in the many worlds of the game. Wade becomes a front-runner in the game and soon learns that not only his game Avatar is in danger of “game over” but that people are searching for and wanting to kill his real self.
Fast paced and exciting, Ready Player One is so much fun. Even if you are not normally a science fiction reader, I think you might enjoy this book.
A cozy mystery is just the thing when I’m looking for a fun, light read. Cozy mysteries usually omit graphic violence and generally take place in a small community with likable characters. Many of the cozy mysteries I enjoy are ones in a series of mysteries. After reading a couple you feel like you know the recurring characters and they feel like old friends.
Elaine Viets has a couple of enjoyable series. “Dead-End Job Mysteries” and “Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper”. The author always combines a sense of humor and engaging characters into her mystery stories.
Think food and murder make a good combination? Diane Mott Davidson, Joanne Fluke, Isis Crawford, and Sammi Carter are authors who include recipes in their stories
Do you have a soft spot in your heart for animals? Give “The Cat Who Series” by Lillian Jackson Braun a try. This is a series featuring KoKo, a delightful Siamese Cat. The human characters in this series are as endearing as the cat. Miranda James’ “Cat in the Stacks” mysteries feature Diesel, a fantastic Maine Coon cat and his librarian owner. “Midnight Louie Mysteries” by Carole Nelson Douglas, “Dixie Hemingway, Cat Sitter Mysteries,” by Blaize Clement, and “Death on Demand Series” by Carolyn Hart all feature cats.
There are cozy mysteries for just about any interest; gardening, crossword puzzles, quilting, pet stores, diners, historical themes, and travel themes, to name a few. So, next time you are looking to curl up with a book, a Cozy Mystery might be just the read you want.
A book for Young Adults that is a little bit fairytale with a hint of dystopia, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. is an excellent fantasy.
Celaena, a former Assassin serving time in a death camp, is offered a way out of the prison if she can win a contest and become the “King’s Champion”. As much as she hates the evil ruler of the country, King of Adarlan, she cannot turn down a chance to escape the sentence of eventually dying in the salt mines.
She soon finds out that winning the contest is not going to be easy, as other contestants are being brutally murdered one by one. Her captors, Dorian, the Crown Prince, and Chaol, the Captain of the Guard, are becoming her friends and complicating matters further by perhaps being more than friends. Throne of glass is a fast paced story that will keep you guessing.
One of my favorite authors of historical fiction has created a series about the Houses of Lancaster and York of 15th century England. The story of the War of the Roses, told through the voices of four women of the time period, is the focus of The Cousins’ War series by Phillipa Gregory.
The White Queen is the story of Elizabeth Woodville, Queen consort of King Edward IV of the House of York.
The Red Queen tells of Lady Margaret Beaufort and her driving ambition to see her son, Henry Tudor, from the House of Lancaster, on the throne of England.
The Lady of the Rivers is the story of Jaquetta of Luxembourg, mother of Elizabeth Woodville.
The Kingmaker’s Daughter tells the story of Anne Neville, daughter of the “Kingmaker”, the 16th Earl of Warwick, who becomes Queen Consort to Richard III.
The White Princess will be the fifth book in the “Cousin’s War” Series, and is due to be released in August 2013.
As a master of bringing the Tudor Family and their stories to life, Philippa Gregory writes equally well about the Houses of Lancaster and York.
I also recently read her first Young Adult book, The Changling. I really enjoyed this first book in the “Order of Darkness” series. It combined history with fantasy and was a really fun read.
So, I raced through Season One and Season Two of Downton Abbey, enjoying the Edwardian family saga immensely. The television series about The Earl and Countess of Grantham, their family and the lives of their servants in the fictional English Manor House of Downton Abbey became my new favorite show. But alas, Season Three is not yet available, and what to do to fill in the time until it arrives?
Below Stairs-The Classic Kitchen Maid’s Memoir That Inspired Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey by Margaret Powell is a fun read. A true story of Margaret’s life as a kitchen maid and then later as a cook in upper class households in England in the early 1920’s. The story is humorous as well as a vivid view of life as a servant during that time period.
Want an inside look at Highclere Castle, the place where the fictional, Downton Abbey is filmed? Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle is the true story of the fifth Countess of Carnarvon, whose life Downton Abbey’s fictional Lady Cora Crawley was based upon.
Still want a little more insight into the characters, costumes, sets and actors of the show? The World of Downton Abbey is a companion book to the television series which is filled with pictures and stories about the popular British show.
Did you fall in love with the wonderful score while watching the series? Clermont County Public Library has you covered with Downton Abbey (Original music from the television series) John Lunn’s original music performed by the Chamber Orchestra of London will bring the music of the series to your CD player.
A couple of DVDs Downton Abbey fans might enjoy are: Secrets of the Manor House, a look of how real life was in British Manors in the early 20th Century. Upstairs, Downstairs is also a classic choice.
Season three of Downton Abbey is not expected to air on PBS until early 2013, but once it becomes available on DVD, probably after the show airs here in the United States, we will all be able to queue up on the hold list.
Justine’s journey to travel across country to see her terminally ill father before he dies, takes a horrible turn when her beloved Sheltie, Mack, is accidentally taken from her by the truck driver who was giving her a ride. Afraid of the consequences of being accused of stealing the dog, the driver dumps Mack along the highway. Justine, frantic to get her beloved pet back, starts a search to find Mack while dealing with an imminent death in the family. As the story progresses, you learn that Justine’s life has been a mess for years, with the trip to see her dying Father revealing painful family issues that are slowly coming to the surface.
Ed and Alice have spent the last seven years mourning the loss of their teenage daughter. Blame and heartbreak have caused them to withdraw from each other to the point of living almost as strangers in the same house. When they find a little black and gray dog by the side of the road they start to open up to each other as the Sheltie becomes a part of their family.
I admit the Sheltie on the cover of “The Dog Who Danced” by Susan Wilson was what first drew me to pick up the book and start reading. Shetland Sheepdogs hold a special place in my heart since our family has the joy of sharing our home with these smart, sensitive and very loveable dogs. More than just a really good story about a dog, “The Dog Who Danced’, is about people and how even the most messed up life can be redeemed.
Even when I was a kid, books were a huge part of my life. Favorite books were like comfortable friends that I still remember with fondness. When my kids were young, I would often spend time reading books to them and we would go to the Library every week to pick out new ones.
When Alice Ozma was in the fourth grade, she and her father made a promise to read aloud together every night until the day she entered college. “The Streak,” as they called it, became an important part of their relationship. In the book The Reading Promise, My Father and the Books We Shared, Alice relates stories she remembers from those years. Her Father was a Librarian in a grade school library and he believed reading not only to be a subject to be learned, but an enjoyment to be treasured and shared. He passed on his passion and love of books to his daughter through sharing books together each night.
The Reading Promise is touching and funny and very enjoyable reading, I would recommend it even to readers who don’t usually read nonfiction. The writing style is such that you will finish the book long before you are ready for the journey to end.
The Reading Promise has a list of suggested reading as well as a sample “Promise,” for parents to use as tools to start a reading adventure of their own with their children. The author’s website, makeareadingpromise.com, has a lot of ideas for reading with children.
I really love the old hymns that we sing in worship service. There is something very special about the familiar and comforting phrases and tunes. The Southern Gospel sound is a lot of fun too, but recently I’ve really been enjoying the more contemporary sound of Christian Worship music.
We Cry Out: The Worship Project by Jeremy Camp brought a little bit of the Sunday morning sound to my car and home. Jeremy combines the Message with a modern sound and beat, with songs that will appeal to both an older and younger audience.
Chris Tomlin is a new favorite artist after listening to a few tracks of How Great is our God: The Essential Collection. He is an awesome song writer and his album is now a “must have” in my music collection.
Wow hits 2012 featured several new favorites too. Glorious Day by Casting Crowns was most enjoyable. The group took an old gospel favorite and mixed it up for a wonderful sound that really was terrific. The CD had several artists I had never heard before, and it was a good way to get a feel of what is popular in the genre.
Next time you are feeling a little down, maybe give one of these albums a try. It might be a way to “bring the joy!”
The excitement and hype is really building for the Hunger Games Movie release March 23, 2012. After practically devouring the Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay, I find myself looking for other dystopian type books to hold me over until the movie comes out in March.
Matched by Ally Condie was a good read for my dystopian mood. The book begins with Cassia looking forward to attending her “Match Banquet”. An event when seventeen year olds find out whom the Society has chosen for them to marry and be their lifelong partner. When a technical glitch occurs and another young man flashes on her matching screen before the Society choice appears, Cassia begins for the first time in her life to question the Society decisions. If a mistake could be made by them, would it be so bad for Cassia to make some choices of her own? Could she pick a better career choice, a place to live, even a future spouse?
Cassia soon learns that freedom of choice has no place in the Society. Mistakes in the eyes of the government are not easily forgiven, and perfection and freedom are not always the same. But Cassia seems to be drawn down a path that she can’t abandon, no matter what cost to her and her family.
Crossed, the second book in the Matched series is now available, and on my “Next Read” list.