Friday, March 27, 2015

bookstores in general

Dear Readers,

The past couple of weeks has seen some very dismal stories about bookstores.  Christian bookstores in particular.  I would say in the last month or two I have heard of no less than 10 bookstores closing and that does not include what is happening at Family Christian bookstores. (no comment)

I watch the closing of these stores with a heavy heart.  Yes they were our competition and yet we are all in this together.  Other than the Family Christian, they are all mentioning lost sales to online purchases.  One bookstore came right out and said that they don't think readers quite understand what that does to a local business when people stop shopping there and elect to shop online. 

I don't know if they understand or not, but that is not what saddened me so much.  I have loved bookstores almost as long as I have loved libraries.  There is a special feel to a bookstore.  It is almost as if time slows down and you are reminded to breathe again.  To rest, to take your time and enjoy. Whether you come into a bookstore by yourself or with someone, it doesn't matter, books beg to be browsed not just grabbed and "put in the cart." 

I think we are doing a disservice to our next generations who may never know the pleasure of wandering through aisles and aisles of books.  What about the excitement of taking a book home as a child, a book that is yours alone and you never have to bring that back to the library and wait to borrow again it at a different date.  It is also not the same as getting it in the mail.  It is hard to explain but is just different.  

There is something special about the bookstore around the corner.  I am sure that is why I never liked the movie You Got Mail.  To watch that beautiful little bookstore close just broke my heart.  Even though in that movie, the neighborhood didn't really loose their bookstore, they just got something different, something not as neighborly.  I have to admit, yes books will always be available in many different forms, but the bookstore, that is a special, magical, wonderful place.

I can't imagine America without any bookstores anywhere, but the rate we are going that may end up being our reality in the not to distant future.  And that would be a very dismal future indeed.

Happy Reading and go to the bookstore. :-)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Elizabeth Camden

Dear Readers,

There is something about Elizabeth's writing that makes me love reading her books.  I kind of stumbled on her after hearing her titles recommended at a sales conference I went to.  She sounded like someone I would like to read, and now I have read most of her books.  I think I missed one and when I have time I need to go back and read it. In the meantime, her latest release, Beyond all Dreams, reminded me why I liked reading her in the first place.  Nothing like romance, mystery and history all rolled into one book to make a wonderful Sunday read.

Beyond+All+DreamsAnna O'Brien works as a map librarian at the Library of Congress.  She is happy with her quiet and predictable life.  That all starts to change when she comes across a mystery about a ship that disappeared at sea.  The more she tries to figure out what happened to the ship, the more it becomes clear that someone is hiding something.  

Anna turns to Luke Callahan for help.  He is one of the most powerful congressmen in America, but his career has always contained a hint of scandal so he is eager to take on a cause that might help rid that from his past.  Together they find themselves involved in something that is much bigger than they planned on. 

Even though this is a work of fiction, Elizabeth shares details of what she loosely based her book on.  I don't want to give those details here as it gives away part of the storyline and actually give you clues as to what is happening before you need to know. :-)

I recommend Elizabeth's books to anyone looking for a gentle read that has a bit of a mystery to it.  Nothing too gruesome, but something that engages your mind in a way that a straight historical/romance won't.  They are one of those wonderful reads that when I pick it up on a sunny Sunday afternoon, I can get it read before the day is over and that is a wonderful thing.

Happy Reading,

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

New Release - The Creole Princess - Beth White

Dear Readers,

There has been a bit of a surge in books set in and around the revolutionary war.  I have seen them before but they were usually a book set during one of the battles.  This new group of books are about the colonists who were trying to make a living in the new land. 

The Creole Princess by Beth White is such a book.  It is set in Mobile Alabama where the war was almost a non-existent thing.  The British held the port of Mobile and there was really not much change in business.  Well except the spies that have been arriving in town to see if they could help the Americans.

Lyse spends most of her time with a British commander's daughter.  When Rafeal Gonzales starts showing interest in Lyse, is it because he is truly interested in her or only interested in seeing how much information he can get from her about the British Army in Mobile.

Intrigue and mystery abound in a city mile away from the battle and yet you can trust no one.  Will Lyse be able to figure out who to trust in time? 

If historical fiction is one of your favorite genres then this series by Beth White is a must read.  The Gulf Coast Chronicles puts a little different slant on the War for independence and makes for a fun guessing who the good guys are.

Happy Reading,

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

New Release - Mist of Midnight - Sandra Byrd

Dear Readers,

Covers are covers.  Some make you walk right by others, ah the other ones, they make you want to drop everything you are doing and start reading right this minute.  Sandra Byrd's newest novel, Mist of Midnight is one of those drop everything and start reading me this minute books.

When you see the cover you start asking, who is the girl standing in the rain?  What is her back story and why does she look like she belongs but is a bit unsure of where she belongs?  Now that is a cover.

Mist+of+MidnightRebecca is returning from India.  She has lost everything to the uprising, her family, her friends and her home.   She is returning to England to claim her family home in Hampshire.  But when Rebecca returns she finds the locals are surprised and suspicious of her. 

A year ago a young lady arrived in town claiming to be Rebecca, moved into her home and used her family's fortune .  Shortly after arriving the young woman past away.  The servants fled and  the young woman is buried quietly at midnight.  Now no one believe Rebecca is who she claims to be.

Nothing like a mistaken identity to make a good read.  Of course setting it in England in the middle of the 1800's is always a bonus.  I have read many of Sandra's books and loved each one.  She is an author that transports you to a different time and makes you feel like you should live there.  She does her research and it shows in her writing. 

Happy Reading,

Monday, March 23, 2015

New Releases - March 16 - 21

Dear Readers,

Spring inches closer.  Spring break is just around the corner.  Time to open windows enjoy the fresh air.  It is time to re-stock all those books you read this winter. 

Happy Reading,

Together with You - Victoria Bylin - Ryan is trying to re-connect with his kids after the mother remarries and leaves the kids with him.  When his daughter Penny is lost at the mall, he meets Carly.  He sees a connection between Penny and Carly and tries to hire her to be Penny's nanny.  Is Carly the missing piece to his family being whole again?

The Creole Princess - Beth White - #2 Gulf Coast Chronicles - The Revolutionary War is a world away in British controlled Mobile Alabama.  Lyse is drawn to the new Spanish merchant that just arrived in town.  But with spies everywhere, can she trust him or are his words of love just a way to hide while spying for the new country?

Lethal Beauty - Lis Wiehl - #3 Mia Quinn Mystery - What should have been an open and shut murder case turns into a life and death situation for Mia and her family and friends.  A rich young American stabs his Chinese prostitute to death and now family and members of his crime cabal are doing everything to get him set free, including threating Mia.

Mist of Midnight - Sandra Byrd - #1 Daughters of Hampshire - Rebecca is returning to Hampshire after losing her family and friends in the Mutiny in India.  She returns to her family's home ready to claim it, but the locals are suspicious of her as less than a year ago a woman showed up claiming to be Rebecca. 

Do You Believe? - Travis Thrasher - Based on the Major Movie of the same title - This book and movie are the follow up of God is not Dead.  A middle of the night encounter leaves Pastor Mark wonder about the results of that meeting.

Friday, March 20, 2015


Dear Readers,

I have asked several people to read a certain book for me and give me their opinion on it.  For some it was a stretch because it was way outside of their normal genre, others it was there favorite genre.  What I found interesting is the reviews and comments I got on it and from who.  Over all they were favorable and that was a huge help as to what type of reader I should present the book to.  Thank you to all who participated.

But one lady read the book, but fell ill.  (Not from the book) And so she felt like she had failed me, which she didn't, but so wanted to finish the book and still offer her review of the title.  I received that letter a few days ago and it was such a lovely written letter, yes letter not email, that it warmed my heart. 

She loved the book as she has a number of the authors books, but one line she wrote has really just stuck with me.  "I have enjoyed all of (the Author's) books and have consider myself having a chair-side travel around the world with (their) books."  She went on to say how much she had enjoyed the 'travel' to countries and eras that she would never experience.  Due to her health she has been 'stuck' at home even more, but doesn't feel the constraints of her walls because she escapes through the papers of the written word.

I thought about that and it echoes in my heart, that is the best part about reading, it is learning new things about people, places and times we will never get to experience first hand.  That vacation that you can't afford can be brought to your doorstep or those dragons that need slaying, they will invade your living room and you can battle them there.

It is always good to be reminded of the fun side of reading fiction books and I am ready for my next adventure.

Happy Reading,

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Angela Hunt

Dear Readers,

I have enjoyed Angela Hunt's books for years now.  Her book the Shadow Women is still one I recommend to readers and The Elevator remains one of those books that my book club still talks about because the discussion that night was very heated.  You will have to read it if you haven't already to find out why.

Passing Strangers is not Angela's newest work, but it does have a little stranger journey to my bookstore, or any other bookstore for that matter, than most books.  A group of well published authors got together and created their own publishing company.  Headed up by Jerry Jenkins, this adventuresome group each wrote, edited and published a book each and released them into the reading world.  I found the books because of a heads up by Angela to her followers and the rest is history.

In Passing Strangers, 3 very different people all board the same train headed for a tour of the southern seaboard.  They all bring their own baggage, both literal and figuratively.  None of they are seeking companionship and yet that seems to be what their deepest desire is.

Andie is a young woman hiding from a past she does not want to be recognized for.  Matthew a single father follow the death of his wife, just trying to do what is best for his children and keep his very busy lawyer job.  Janette who needs to run away and just be by herself for a little while.  What happens when they meet?

I think that is what is the most interesting about Angela's books, she can take something so very ordinary and turn it into something wonderful.  I have to admit I have never taken an overnight train trip any where, but this book sure did make me want to.  It also made me notice those around me and think a little more about why they were there or what their story maybe.

Take the time to join this unlikely group of travelers and you might be surprised what you learn along the way, not only about them, but about yourself as well.

Happy Reading,