Friday, October 9, 2015

Listening to books

Dear Readers,

I have found a new pleasure I never really thought I would like.  I have been reading, well listening to books on CD on my ride to and from work.  Really I never thought I would love it as much as I do, but it is lots and lots of fun.

I made this discovery but getting a free set of the Lord of the Rings.  Now that version was a theatrical version so was not word for word, but it sure was fun to listen to.  (I have to admit that I kept seeing the faces of the characters from the movie or hearing their voices, which didn't always match)  When that was over and I turned on the radio again I was a bit disappointed and made a beeline for my local library to find my next book.

There is only one rule for me on the books I listen to, they are not something that we would necessarily carry here at the store.  I have listened to a couple of classics and have once again found back several authors that I haven't read in years just because I don't always have time to read books that are not for the store.

I have gone to middle earth, I have meet the aristocrats of Russia.  I pedaled alongside midwives in post WWII England and I have stopped several terrorist threats to America.  All while driving back and forth to work.

So if the listening books is not something you have tried, let me recommend it to you.  Hopefully your work commute is not as long as mine, but really even just 10 minutes is long enough to get several more pages read.

Just remember to pay attention to where you are on the road, some day I am sure I will be calling work and saying yes I am on the way, but because I got so interested in my book I missed my exit and am now several miles down the road.  Oops.

Happy reading or listening,

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Susie Finkbeiner

Dear Readers,

Okay I am trying to write a review for a book that I really liked, A Cup of Dust by Susie Finkbeiner, and I am having a terrible time of it.  I feel like the only way I can talk about this book in an intelligent way is to tell the whole story line and then go on from there.

Don't worry, I am not going to do that as I hate reviews with spoilers.  It is very disappointing to me when that happens and I work very hard not to do that in my reviews.  I have started this review over more than once because I keep drifting into the spoiler area.  To me that is sign of a really well written story.  You can't talk about one part of the story without talking about all of the story.  It all flows together and you can't have the beginning without the end.  

A Cup of DustSet in the Dust Bowl of 1934, A Cup of Dust is written about Pearl who is 10 years old and doesn't always understand what the adults are talking about, why her sister is the way she is, or why God has decided to curse Red River, Pearl's home town.  But she does know that Eddie, one of the hobos that jumped off the train, gives her the creeps.  

That is about as far as I dare to go for fear of giving more away.  What I mentioned here is actually on the back of the book and I figured that was safe to at least let you know a bit more about the story.  I went into this with the thought that I never really liked books that are about the depression.  But after reading "Dust" I realize that even though this is one of the most difficult times in US history, it may also have been some of our finest times.  

People lost everything, were struggling to keep family together and feed them and yet they shared with each other what they had. They looked out for each other and helped each other when they could.  It might have been so small a thing as a piece of bread or cup of water, but it was given freely.  Susie includes this in her story. Yes there are bad guys, but she doesn't dwell on the negative, she makes sure we see the positive of what is happening during this very difficult time.  

She reminds us through a story of a little girl why we call them our greatest generation.  

Read this book and be reminded of that, but also to learn the story of Pearl, the little girl who will win your heart because somewhere in all of us is a child just like her.  Someone just wishing they understood all that is going on but secure in the love of our Daddy. 

Happy Reading, 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Dear Readers,

Tomorrow we will be hosting an evening with 6 different authors.  We have titled the evening Inspire as it has become the unofficial kickoff to the Breathe Writers Conference.  Last year was the first year and it was so much fun that we wanted to do it again.

This year we are hosting Steven James along with Zachary Bartels, Lorilee Craker, Susie Finkbeiner, Sharon Brown and   .

Each of the authors will be reading an excerpt from one of their books and then there will be a question and answer time.  There is something very unique about hearing the words come alive when the person who penned them reads them.  They understand better than anyone the emotion or passion that is behind the words they have written.  Having them share that really makes the pages come alive and suddenly the characters take on a whole new voice.

Whether you are an aspiring writer or not, tomorrow evening will be a fun evening here at the store and I hope you can join us.

Happy Reading,

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

New Release - Cup of Dust - Susie Finkbeiner

Dear Readers,

I am so excited to be able to tell you that A Cup of Dust by Susie Finkbeiner is on our shelves.  It is the third book that Susie has written and I can hardly wait to start reading it.

Pearl is 10 years old and growing up in Oklahoma during dust bowl.  Because her father is the town Sheriff they are a little better off than most families, but her mother shares their "wealth" with any and all in need.  Life is secure for Pearl.  That is until Eddie jumps of the train already knowing Pearl's name. Who is he and why does he make her so uncomfortable?

A Cup of DustStories that make you think they really happened, those are my favorite to read.  Sometimes that means bad things happen to your favorite characters and knowing Susie's writing style Pearl's world will not remain perfect.  But Susie also makes sure we all understand how to get through the tough times.

That is why books that don't have everything wrapped up in a bow by the end of the book are the best books.  They let you walk alongside and learn what it was like to grow up in the middle of the depression when there really seemed to be no end in sight.  Families completely uprooted, left everything behind and started over elsewhere.

Most of us still living have no idea what that is like, thankfully there are still fiction books being written that do give us that small glimpse into those stories.

Happy Reading,

Monday, October 5, 2015

New Releases - Sept/ 28 - October 3

Dear Readers,

October already.  Not sure I am ready.  Here at the store it is always one of our busiest months for events.  We have author visits, librarians can and several booktables and conferences we are working at.  It makes the time go very quickly.  But most importantly, it gives us all a chance to meet and greet fellow readers alongside the authors.  It is fun and an exciting time here at the store.

In the meantime, good fiction books continue to flow into the store.

Happy Reading,

Cup of Dust - Susie Finkbeiner - Pearl is living in Oklahoma during the dust bowl years.  Life is hard, but she is loved and happy.  That is until the strange man jumps off the train and calls her by name.

Deadlock - DiAnn Mills - #3 An FBI:Houston Novel - Does Houston have a serial killer or is it just a copycat killer trying to get away with murder.  Bethany Sanchez is eager to solve the crimes and show that she is is very capuble at her new job.  But her new partner might be a problem.  He is the same detective who once arrested her brother.

Eve - WM. Paul Young - When a shipping container washes ashore containing a young woman barely alive.  Many begin to wonder who she is.  It is discovered that she is no other than Eve, as in Adam and Eve.

Lightning - Bonnie Calhoun - #2Stone Braide Chronicles - Torn between two worlds, Selah had hoped finding her real father would answer all her questions.  Instead it has made new ones alongside trouble for not only her but her family she left behind.

The Columbus Code - Mike Evans - (from the backcover) When Christopher Columbus set out to discover the new world, was it because he wanted to serve king and queen or because he wanted to flee them?  Did he have stronger ties to Jerusalem than anyone suspected?  Was Columbus actually a Jew fleeing the Spanish Inquisition?

Another Way Home - Deborah Raney - #3 A Chicory Inn Novel - Grandbabies are arriving in the Whitman family left and right.  Except for Danae and Dallas.  She is ready to adopt, but he won't talk about it.  So she pours herself into volunteer work and finds a different answer to her longing.

Redemption - Beth Shriver - #3 The Spirit of the Amish - Fannie agrees to help Dr. David in the clinic to get away from a mother who won't quite planning Fannie's life.  Dr. David asks her to help only because he needs help.  What they find instead may change everything for both of them.

When Love Returns - Kim Vogel Sawyer - #3 Th Zimmerman Restoration Trilogy - The conclusion to the Suzanne and Paul story.  One that began many years ago with a teenage pregnancy.  Twenty years later they still have feeling for each other, but will they be able to get over their painful past.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Reading, interrupt at your own risk...

Here is a blog post from Bethany Publishers that might give you some good ideas how to avoid beign interrupted, repeatedly.  I may give a few a try here at work and see what happens.

Happy Reading,

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Laura McNeill

Dear Readers,

Center of Gravity by Laura McNeill is not an easy read for anyone.  It is about a young lady who only longed for a happily-ever-after life.  The problem is, she ended up with a life that nightmares are made of.  I am thinking that Laura did not write this book for those caught up in the cycle of abuse, but for those who long to understand how someone can stay in that situation. 

In writing this book Laura draws us into the story of Ava just as the abuse is starting to make Ava really wonder what is going on with Mitchell and why is he acting this way.  She knows he is under a lot of stress at work, but even when she tries to make everything perfect at home, he seems unhappy with her and the boys.  But when he announces one morning that he is leaving her and filing for divorce, Ava is caught very flat footed.  She is in a situation that she never ever dreamed of being in and she is unsure where to start.

Center+of+GravityLike I said, this is not an easy book to read as Mitchell is one of those characters that I just wanted to rant against.  He undermines Ava, he paints her in a bad light to anyone and everyone, even those who know her.  He is basically a sociopath who sets out to not only divorce Ava, but destroy her.  But I also found myself frustrated and upset at Ava because I really wanted her to find a backbone and to stand up for herself and her boys.  There are times she makes questionable decisions and I really wanted to shake her.  As I learned her story I began to understand that she made those decisions based on the belief that her husband was not out to get her and then it made a bit more sense. 

The hardest part of the story was told through Jack’s voice.  He is Mitchell’s son from his first marriage now adopted by Ava.  Because of his age and the perspective that Jack gives, it just broke my heart every time I read the chapters in his first person. I don’t want to go into great details as I don’t want to give anything away, but the voice of a young child telling about what is happening, things he doesn’t understand, is heart wrenching.

I recommend this book because it is so well written from the first person perspective of all the main characters.  You may want to wring everyone’s neck, but you will walk away with a better understand of what it is like to be in such a situation.

Happy Reading,

P.S. I was given a free copy of the book from Harper Christian Publishers for my honest review.