Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Angela Hunt

Dear Readers,

I first must mentioned, for my church librarians, that this book is not advertised as a Christian book, but it is very clean. In fact one of the main characters, Kate, wrestles with her faith and things that happened in her past.

Let Darkness Come by Angela Hunt is basically a lawyer/trial book, think John Grisham or Robert Whitlow. More in depth it is a story of a wife accused, a lawyer thrown to the lions and a family who thinks they can control everything.

Jeffery Tommassi is found dead by his wife Erin. He was on the fast track to being the next senator in the nation's capital for the great state of Illinois. In fact his goal and his father's dream is for him to win the Presidency. But Jeffery had a deep dark secret and it may have cost him his life.

Erin Tommassi stands accused of killing her husband. She insists she didn't do it. Kate, her lawyer, doesn't believe her. Evidence doesn't lie and there are, of course, according the prisoners, no guilty parties in prison. So what is a lawyer to do.

This was a very interesting read. I stumbled on the book by accident while do some research on a different book. I am really glad I did. I have always liked Angela's books and this one was no different. I know some people haven't liked all her books, but if you liked her book, The Elevator, you will probably like this one.

It is set in Chicago and with all the ... well... umm, interesting happenings in their politics this year, it makes that part of the story ring very true.

Again it is not a "Christian" fiction. There is no foul language or sex. It just doesn't have a Christian message. It does have moral questions in it and ones that I think more than one of us has wrestled with.

Happy Reading

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas


Rest in the peace that is our Lord

and know he has you in the palm of his hand.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Suzanne Woods Fisher

Dear Readers,

I am not a big fan of Amish books. I will keep saying that even though it seems different because of how many I have reviewed lately. I think the publishing houses are trying to find the next Bev Lewis and keep asking people to help them them decide if they have or not.

The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher is not going to change my mind on Amish books. It is a good story and one I enjoyed reading, but it still seems to have the same formula. Boy meets Girl, one isn't Amish and they must decide what to do. Now I will admit that the most of the main characters in this story are Amish, but us Englishers do show up and mess things all up.

Carrie Weaver is ready to run away with Sol. He has been signed to play baseball for the local AAA ball team. He has a fast pitch that nobody can hit and he is ready to leave the Amish life behind. Carrie isn't so sure if she is and when her father dies she decides to stay. Carrie continues on in her life and choosing to marry Daniel to move her younger brother out of her step mothers house as the step mother seems cruel and cold. Carrie figures a loveless marriage is better than a living in a house with Esther.

Nothing goes according to plan and Carrie and Sol find their lives becoming intertwined again. Does that mean that God plans for them to be together? Carrie doesn't think so, and what about Daniel and his cousin Abel? Like I said earlier this was a good story. It is basically a love story. It throws in the Amish lifestyle, which sometimes I do envy, but I really like electricity and running water to much to give that up.

This story reminds you that what we plan may not be what God plans for us for us. What we see sometimes as not good, God is using for our best. It is a story of trust and forgiveness. Of letting go and not keeping secrets.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Ted Dekker

Dear Readers,

Here is one of those authors that is causing the great discussions on what is and isn't Christian fiction. Ted Dekker is one that you either love his books or hate them. I for one love them. They are not all my favorite, but if nothing else, his books always make me think. Nothing is as it seems, sometimes you have to hunt for the answers to questions.

Burn co-authored with Erin Healy will not disappoint Dekker fans. Now to be honest I wasn't as excited when I saw this one as Kiss wasn't really my favorite of Ted's books. Burn is different. It kept me guessing all the way to the end as to where we were going on the twist he threw in.

Janeal lost everything in a fire; or was that gained everything? She was sick of living the gypsy life. She wanted out. When the opportunity presented itself to her, she took it even though it cost her friends their lives. She starts a new life and seems to be living the life she always wanted.

Until the past and the present collide. The friends that she thought were dead are alive and the enemy that she thought she had destroyed is once again threatening her life. Does she really have to go back to her family home to rid herself of her past?

Fast paced, with several twist and turns, this was more than I expected. It isn't really a thriller, but it has several elements of a thriller. It isn't really a fantasy like the Circle books. It is just a very interesting story that kept me reading quickly to the end.

This book was scheduled to come out in January and it nicely released early. Which is always nice if you are looking for that last minute gift for that hard-to-buy-for reader in your family.

Happy Reading

Friday, December 18, 2009

favorite book 2009

Dear Readers,

I have put this off long enough. I try to pick my favorite book for the year long before Christmas approaches, but this year because of all the good books that have come out in the last year it has been a hard choice. I kept changing my mind, but yet kept coming back to this one.

I picked Haunt of Jackels by Eric Wilson. It is the second book of the series. It is a vampire series but so much more. The idea behind the books is that vampires are not friendly beings, but an evil spiritual being that is out to destroy humankind. Sound like anyone else you know?

I was quickly caught up in the storyline and can hardly wait for Valley of Bones, book #3 to releases in April. I have a teenager at my home that ask me a couple times a month if I have heard anything or gotten my copy yet. She liked them much better than the Twilight series. These are her words not mine, " Much better written and a "real" book, not just a sappy love story."

Happy Reading

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

David and Diane Munson

Dear Readers,

One of the rules of writing is write about what you know. Diane and David Munson do that with all 4 of their books. They are all spy/lawyer novels. I don't know if David would call himself a spy, but he has some really good stories to tell in the books they write together.

In Hero's Ransom, when American Amber Worthing is arrested in China for spying, it sets a series of events into action that could put our nation's security at risk. Bo Rider is racing to save Amber and to keep China from finding out what her secret really is. She isn't a spy, but she knows something that would put our relationship with China at risk.

While Amber is caught up in an international struggle, her mother is fighting to keep Amber's son Lucas out of the hands of his paternal grandparents. People he has never met, and until Amber's arrest they had no idea he existed. Emotions run high when the two sides battle for the rights to a child caught in the middle.

The Munsons label their books as family friendly and they are. There is plenty of action and adventure without some of the gore. It also will make you wonder about the state secrets that David and Diane know. We complain about our government not doing much, but I believe that a lot happens behind the scenes that we never know about and to be honest with you, I don't want to know about. It would probably keep me awake at night.

This book is exclusive to Baker Book House and the Munson's website. It will release to the rest of the country in Febuary. Thank you David and Diane for your support of our store.

Happy Reading.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Nicole Seitz

Dear Readers,

I understand that Nicole Sietz's books are not everyone's cup of tea. I for one love them. They are a little off center and I think that is why I like them. They make you think about different subjects. In Saving Cicadas she takes on the subject of Abortion. Not an easy topic for anyone.

How do you explain Abortion to an 8 1/2 year old? It is a concept most adults don't understand. So when Janie Dae Macy's mother finds out she is pregnant again, Janie doesn't understand that there is a third way to take care of things. She only counts two. Keeping the baby or give it up for adoption. She even makes a list to help her mother see the pros and cons of both.

Janie's older sister is convinced that Mama is carrying baby Jesus in her tummy. Rainey has Down's Syndrome and she is just excited that there will be another baby in their house soon.

Mama decides she needs some space and she goes looking for the girl's father and winds up in her hometown, where her family still owns a house. They move in and things seem to be looking up. They all settle into a routine and Janie and Rainey await the arrival of their new sibling. That is until Janie finds out Mama is considering Abortion.

I don't dare go any farther as I am afraid of giving it all away. This is not a murder mystery, but it does have a couple good twists. I did like it a great deal, even though there were a couple times I wondered where Nicole was going with it all. She tells an interesting and thought-provoking story. It will not be for everyone and I can see where there will be church libraries that will have some problems with it.

I do want to add, Nicole is not in favor of Abortion. That is not what would be the objections, but I can't say what they are for those who want to read it. If you are really want to know for the library, let me know and I can give you a better idea of what is going on in the book.

Happy Reading

Monday, November 30, 2009

Francine Rivers

Dear Readers,

I know I don't recommend books that release more than a month after my post, but I have got to tell you about Her Mother's Hope by Francine Rivers. I finished my copy over the weekend and loved it. It took me a few pages to warm up to the main character Marta, but it was one of those books I didn't want to stop reading.

It is a story of a mother's love and how sometimes what we do in love can be seen as the opposite. Hildiemara believes her mother does not love her. This is the story of the two of them and how their relationship isn't the easiest one.

Her Mother's Hope releases March 16th. It is available at our store for special order or even a pre-pay for that special reader in your life.

Her Daughter's Dream (title so far) releases in Oct. of 2010 and I already can't wait to get my hands on a copy. :-)

Happy Reading

Friday, November 27, 2009

Melody Carlson

Dear Readers,

Limelight by Melody Carlson is a bit different for her. It isn't one of her serious gritty novels and yet there were several different spots where I stopped to think about what she had written

Claudette Fiore' had it all. She was rich and beautiful. She had fame and a wonderful husband who took care of her in life and after he passed. Well except the part about a crooked accountant who didn't pay the IRS and now she has lost everything. When she realizes that it is all gone, she tries to kill herself.

When we pick up her story she is about to be released from the hospital and isn't sure she really cares. Her step son Michael helps her set up home in her mother's house that was left to her at her mother's death. Claudette on the other hand isn't quite as excited as he is. But live there she must. It isn't a house with happy memories for her. She plotted and planned to leave town as fast as she could when she was a teen and now she is back again.

I wasn't sure I liked Claudette at first, but I felt sorry for her in many ways. Of course her learning to do the wash and cleaning etc... was amusing. I can also imagine that grocery shopping was not the easiest thing to learn either.

Claudette learned that sometimes God has different plans for us that we have for ourselves. He wants to get our attention and sometimes that means our plans for our future will not be what really happens. This is a story that is funny, sad and triumphant.

Happy Reading

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Dear Readers,

I just wanted to wish you all a happy Thanksgiving. I am thankful for each and everyone of you. Your comments etc... have encouraged me through out the year. I pray that each of you will enjoy the holiday season and even during this busy time, take time to relax and rest.

Happy Reading.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey

Dear Readers,

I never know what to expect when a fiction & non-fiction writers get together to write a fiction book. I am happy to report in this case with Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey it work very well.

The Swiss Courier is set in Switzerland towards the end of WWII. The Germans are desperately trying to invent the weapon that will win the war for them. They are still seeking Jews to kill and blame for the attack on Hitler. When it is found that one of the scientists close to the Wunderwaffe - wonder weapon - is Jewish, he is put on the list of people the Gestapo needs to capture. The Allies, especially the Americans, want him rescued and brought to their side. Will they be able to get him out?

Gabi Muller works for the American office of Strategic Services in Riehen Switzerland, a forerunner to the CIA. She is found to have a unique talent that the Allies can really use. She wants to help on the right side and is sick of typing up translations of letters and such from the Axis. But is she ready for what is in store for her?

There are no big secrets in this story. You find out who the "bad" guys are, besides the German military guys. The big thing is you are never sure whom to trust. It seemed to be that about the time I could trust someone, they had a secret that changed everything. :-)

I have been recommending this to readers who like the Zion Chronicles and Zion Covenant series by Brock and Brodie Thoene. It doesn't have the "history" in it like they include, but it is a good historical story. To be honest I hope this combination writes another story as this one is a good read.

Happy spying... er Reading

Monday, November 16, 2009

Melody Carlson visit

Dear Readers,

I just wanted to remind you that Melody Carlson will be here in the store on Friday Nov. 20 @ 7:00 p.m. . I know that I am looking forward to meeting her. I have read her for years and find it very interesting the different styles of writing that she has.

Her most recent adult fiction is Limelight and her most recent teed fiction New York Debut. I hope you can make it as it promises to be a very interesting evening. She is planning on speaking and doing some Q & A followed by her signing books.

Happy Reading

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Patti Hill

Dear Readers,

Sometimes when you read a book, you find yourself between the covers, other times you find friends or family members. In Seeing Things by Patti Hill, I found my mother. Not that my mother is having eye problems or finds herself talking to Huckleberry Finn, but the streak of independence a mile wide is my mother. :-)

Birdie is very independent in spite of having Macular Degeneration. She still hikes mountains, cooks pie and goes dancing with a rather dreamy guy who is younger than her. Nothing will slow her down, until the day she falls down the stairs and breaks her ankle. Then her son insists that she comes live with him and his family in Denver. Birdie is only willing to go if they will take her dog Bee also.

Things start to get very interesting when Birdie starts seeing Huckleberry Finn. She isn't sure what to make of him. He doesn't act how she expects him to and when he finally speaks to her, she is really worried that she is going insane.

Fletcher, Birdie's grandson is the one bright spot in her day. They spend time listening to Huckleberry Finn on her Ipod as he needs to read it for school, driving lessons are next on the list and dog training lessons for a little fluff ball so Fletcher can meet the dog's owner.

So maybe now you can understand why I liked this book. I figure anyone of that age and with Macular Degeneration who is that active has got to be someone I need to meet. What fun! But Birdie knows she doesn't have all the answers and is surprised by some of the things she learns about herself and even others.

Wait until you meet the other degenerates or Bats as they go by or even Lupe, Birdie's son's maid. I really enjoyed this book and will find myself missing Birdie, Fletch and ole' Huck when I am done.

Happy Reading

Monday, November 9, 2009

Michael Landon Jr and Cindy Kelly

Dear Readers,

What do you do with a book you weren't prepared to like, but did and I still can't figure out why. The Silent Gift by Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley is that book for me. I can't really tell you why I liked it, but like it I did. In fact I had a hard time putting it down several times.

Mary and her son Patrick flee their home and the abusive relationship with Jerry, their husband/father. Mary finds out Jerry is planning on leaving her and he has taken all their savings out of the bank. She steals the money, and she and Patrick jump in a delivery truck headed to Chicago, with no plan other than to get out of town.

The money is lost and they find themselves staying at the Salvation Army shelter. Shortly after, Mary discovers Patrick has a special gift, one that can only have come from God.

I don't want to say too much more as it takes away from the story, but know there are no surprising twist or turns in this story. It is just a really well written book that makes you want to continue reading it. It is set in the Depression and yet it isn't really a story about the Depression, it just happens during that period. Which I did have to remind myself that they didn't have cell phones back then so calling while in trouble was out. :-)

On my blog while I was reading it wrote this little tidbit, "It is a bit of a puzzle, it has spiritual warfare, it has family issues and it has trust issues and in the midst of it all is a beautiful deaf mute boy. I still think that is a good way to summarize the story.

Happy Reading

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Dan Walsh

Dear Readers,

Christmas novels are not my favorite. For one thing they are usually very sappy and way too short to really give the characters a good chance to develop. Some years I do have to read one to get in the mood. This year I read The Unfinished Gift by Dan Walsh mostly on the recommendation of a couple different people that made me just curious enough to read it. I have to admit that because there is a sequel coming in 2010 also kind of pushed me to read it. The Homecoming is going to be a regular fiction release and I thought maybe I should read the first one so I know what is going on so I can read that one.

Patrick lost his mother in a tragic car accident. To make matter worse, his father is off fighting in the war against the Nazis. Child Protective Services has no choice but to bring him to his grandfather who has never met him. Ian Collins hasn't spoken to his son since one terrible day when they fought and Ian told his to not come back.

Shawn is over in England flying missions into Germany. He has no idea that his wife is gone or that his son is now living with the man he has refused to forgive even at his mother's pleading.

I don't want to give too much more away. This is not a huge stretch away from "normal" Christmas books. It is a plain and simple feel good book. There is not any plot twist that you won't see coming, but it was a very good book to read this past weekend while the wind was blowing and the rain was coming down. It is that kind of book.

I am very interested in where The Homecoming will go. I do have a couple guesses and I enjoyed "Gift" enough to want to know the end of the story.

Happy Reading

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Steven James is coming to our store on Friday. He is planning on speaking and signing his books. If you or anyone you know loves his book, here is a chance to meet Steven.

Personally he is one of those authors that I will actually stop reading someone else's book to pick his up. I don't say that about many authors, but ...

If you have never read one of his start with the Pawn. He appeals to those of us who love CSI books. Patricia Cornwell is one author I have often thought he could easily compete with. I have also had fans of Dean Koontz really like his books. I know personally I can't wait for The Bishop to arrive in August.

Hope to see you in the store on Friday evening at 7.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ginger Garrett

Dear Readers,

Sometimes you go to read a novel and totally miss the point. I finally understand what Ginger Garrett is doing in her Chronicles of the Scribe series. In the Arms of Immortals she takes us back to Sicily in 1347. It is the time where the Black Plague is just starting it's march across Europe.

We start the story in modern times where Mariskka Curtis has struck it rich. Her first novel has made her an over night sensation. She doesn't miss her old life and is plenty glad to use her new millions to completely enjoy this life. The only problem is it isn't her novel, she stole the manuscript from a dying patient. She is the only one who knows that or so she thought until the night Mbube shows up at her door.

Mariskka is sent to live her new story. It is not a place she wants to be. She doesn't speak the language and isn't dressed correctly. She is quickly labeled as a crazy old lady and is cast as an outcast. She knows how to help the victims, not necessarily cure them, but at least make them comfortable. The problem is she can't communicate that.

For those that are sharper than I and remember things like this, you will recognize Mariskka for the end of In the Shadow of Lions. She is in the last chapter stealing the book that the Scribe is writing. Her problems begin when she doesn't realize what she has in her hands. Our next main character will be named... Oh wait I don't want to give that away. :-)

It was an interesting look at a period of time in the church history where they lost control of the sciences. Before, the doctoring and such was done by the church as healing could only happen when you prayed also. I do believe that, but I also believe that I can pray myself, I don't need the church to do it for me. I also believe that I don't need last rites to go to heaven, and the time of the black plague changed that for the Catholic Church in that before only priest or men could pray the prayers and words of the last rights, but because of the rapid pace people were dying, the church announced that woman could also give last rites. Interesting.

This is definitely not my favorite period of history. It is dark and a tough time to survive. So I am not that excited to find out about it, but this book may have changed my mind a bit. It isn't a close look at everyday life and yet gives you small glimpses into everyday life in a village.

I know this isn't going to be a book that everyone likes. But it is an interesting, thought provoking book about our history.

Happy Reading

Friday, October 23, 2009

Athol Dickson

Dear Readers,

I am always fascinated by what and how Athol Dickson writes. He never writes like any other author I read. He is very different from the "norm." He can take a simple Spanish Mission and tie it in with a modern day tale as he does in Lost Mission.

We first meet Fray Alejandro when he is receiving his call to go to the new world. He feels lead to help "convert the heathens" in New Spain. His travels take him to Alta California. It is a dry place and a place ready to hear about the Lord. But that is where all the plans go wrong.

In the modern times part of the story, Lupe sees what she believes is a sign from God that she must go to the U.S. in order to help lead the heathens of the great country to the north to God. That is where she first meets Ramon who helps her come across the border. She is rescued by Tucker and finally goes to live and work with Delona.

Each of these stories intertwine through the entire book, which in and of itself is done really well and very uniquely. It is one of those tales that leaves you wondering where you would fit into it. I know it is set in California and yet it is one that could be happening anywhere.

You are left to wonder who is the "bad" person here. There is the Christian guy who is helping people by stealing from the rich people. There is Lupe who thought she would lead thousands to Christ and yet has "saved" no one. What about Ramon who is here illegally and yet is sending his money home for his family to survive and some day save enough to buy their own restaurant.

No one is wholly good and yet not one is completely bad. It is all very interesting and leaves you wondering if you are really a failure or are you looking at all you have done through the wrong eyes.

Happy Reading

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Dear Readers,

I wanted to let you know that the reason that there hasn't been many reviews is I have been preparing for Librarian's Day here at the store. That was last week and then this Saturday Iwill be teaching two workshops at the ECLA annual Librarian's conference in Wheaten IL.

I will be doing reviews of books that have released in the last year. If you are interested in coming check out their website at You don't have to pre - registar so come join us for a good learning experience.

I will get back to reading and reviewing this weekend, I hope. :-) Thank you all for your support over the last year.

Happy Reading

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Karen Kingsbury

Dear Readers,

I just wanted to let you know that Shades of Blue by Karen Kingsbury is available today. I know I had been telling people that it didn't come out until Nov. 1st. Well that seems to have changed and it arrived today.

If you placed a special order at the store for one, then you should be recieving our call soon to come get your copy.

Happy Reading

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Yeah Author visits

I have just recieved information that Steven James (The Pawn, The Rook and The Knight) is going to be in our store on November 6th at 7:00p.m. He will be speaking and signing his books for us. I know I have a couple of questions for him.

To make the news even better, Melody Carlson is also coming. She will be here on November 20th at 7:00p.m. She has several series and books out for both adults and teens. She is best known for her Diary of a teenage girls series, but I have enjoyed several of her books. She will also be speaking and signing her books.

I hope you can join us for one or the other or both authors. I know I am looking forward to both of them coming.

Happy Reading

Tim Downs

Dear Readers,

I think one of my favorite characters in books is Nick Polchak. If you haven't meet the Bug Guy yet then you need to read any one of his books. Ends of the Earth by Tim Downs is the 5th one in the series (without counting Plaguemaker where Nick only had a cameo spot). They are all great fun and he has me chuckling at him and how he has a knack for irritating his fellow Professors.

In "Ends" an old friend calls out of the blue asking Nick to help her. Kathryn's husband is murdered and she knows that Nick can help the police find the answers. He arrives not knowing that she is the reason for the call. He in turns calls Alena thinking he would need her help and the help of her dogs. Of course you remember Alena if you read Less than Dead and Kathryn is from Shoo-fly Pie.

The clues and other creepy crawleys don't add up and Nick is unsure who really did murder Michael. Little does he know how close the murderer is to him.

So in typical fashion Nick is clueless about other people and their feelings. He has no idea what to do with one woman who likes him let alone two. He is just so him in how he treats "us humans." Which I am sure is some much a part of the appeal of these books for me. He is someone who if I knew him in real life would drive me completely bonkers, but reading about him as he "tortures" other people is funny.

I have one complaint. Tim doesn't complete the book. I can't tell you what he doesn't complete but you need to go on line to finish it. I really felt like that was a bit lazy on his side of things, but I did go on line and finish it. It is something you will want to do, but I still felt a bit cheated by it all. But don't not read the book for that reason, the mystery is solved by the end of the book so you don't have to worry about not knowing the ending if you don't like going on line.

The Bug Man will be forever changed by the ending of the story. :-)

Happy Reading

Monday, October 12, 2009

Irene Henderson

Dear Readers,

One question I get asked over and over in the fiction dept. is "When is Dee Henderson going to write a new book?" I use to have to answer just, "I don't know." Now I can say, "have you read Irene Hannon?"

An Eye for an Eye is #2 in the Heroes of Quantico series. The first, Against all Odds, was about Coop, this one is about his partner Mark. Mark has been temporarily transferred to St. Louis. He needs to recover physically and emotionally from an accidental shooting.

While in St. Louis Mark has a chance meeting with an old flame. While he is visiting a lone gun man opens fire, wounding Emily. It is up to Mark and his partner Coop to find the shooter before he strikes again. Mark isn't sure that he was the target, but that Emily is.

As they race to find the shooter, things heat up between Emily and Mark again. They were sweethearts one summer long ago. Emily isn't ready to love again and Mark isn't sure he wants to be tied down.

I do like these books. They don't give me the "thriller" fix like a Steven James, but they are a good read. The best thing for me though is now I can give a good read to those Dee Henderson fans.

Happy Reading

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Jackina Stark

Dear Readers,

Sometimes a book is just simply a good story. Things Worth Remembering by Jackina Stark is one of those books. There are no earth shattering events and yet I didn't want to lay it down.

Kendy and her daughter Maisey are very close. They seem like best friends, sharing secrets and enjoying each other company. Kendy was unable to have Maisey as a student in her 4th grade class, but they still were able to ride together to school and visit off and on during school days. Rainy days were best because then Maisey and her friends could come and hang out in Kendy's classroom. In fact they had been so close, Kendy was looking forward to shopping with Maisey for her wedding dress when Maisey started planning for her wedding, something Kendy's own mother hadn't had time to do.

That is why the phone call from Maisey that she already found her dress and bought it hurt so much. Kendy isn't sure what happened and why Maisey doesn't want to talk about it.

This is somewhat the story of mothers and daughters and their relationships, but mostly it is the story of turning points in our lives and the choices we make. Do we always choose well or not? Do our choices let us sleep in peace at night?

My own relationship with my mom isn't perfect, but we are close and very seldom does a week go by that I haven't talked to her at least once. She is one that I think of almost right away if I have extra time in a week or need to go out for a cup of coffee and talk. That may be why I was so drawn to this book, I always hurt for those people who don't have a good relationship with their parents. We need them whether we like to admit it our not. It isn't easy to always get along and they are the ones who can hurt us most.

I still am not sure why this book so captured my interest, but it might be mostly just because Jackina is such a good story teller.

Happy Reading

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Susan Meissner

Dear Readers,

I was so excited to hear Susan Messiner was releasing another book this year. I so loved The Shape of Mercy, in fact it was my pick as favorite book for '08. White Picket Fences is a very thought provoking book. I really liked it and yet struggled with some of the characters. It was hard to warm up to the main character and I am sure Susan wrote them that way. Which does make for a good and interesting read.

Tally needs a place to live. Her Grandmother just passed away and her dad is somewhere in Europe. When social services calls her aunt, Tally isn't sure what she is getting into. On the outside the Javnviers look perfect. Mom, Dad and the 2.5 kids every family needs. A nice home and everyone seems happy and very content, that is until you start living with them. Then you start to see the cracks.

Tally and her cousin Chase are able to bond over a project they are doing for school. They meet two Holocaust survivors and learn their story. While talking to them the teens realize that they themselves need help with their own stories. Not everything is as it seems.

I really liked this book, as soon as I read it. But, it has taken some talking with others to make me really appreciate some of the stories behind it all. It is one of those books that begs to be discussed. Susan had that great gift of writing books that make you think about things. She won me as a loyal reader with the first one of hers I read, Why the Sky is Blue. It is out of print, but if you can find it, read it. It makes you think about things you believe about rape and abortion.

Anyways back to this book, I am sure that book clubs would find this book very interesting, especially if there are several different generations in their book club. I found that everyone I talked to had something very different to say about the story. No one really agreed on why they liked the story and even the couple I found that didn't like it seemed to like the story itself and had more problem with the characters.

If you haven't read any of Susan's books this is a good place to start, if you have read her, this may quickly become one of you favorites.

Happy Reading

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Tracey Bateman

Dear Readers,

Tracy Bateman is one of those authors that I really enjoy reading, but I don't always remember to recommend her books. They are always interesting, but not earth shattering. I think she is trying to change that with Thirsty, but I don't know that she did.

Most of the reviews I do in this column are positive as I want you to know the good stuff out there, there are enough bad and negative reviews you don't need more. This isn't really negative, but ... I did like this book and I liked the subject matter, I just had a problem with one part of the story.

Thirsty is about Nina Parker, a recovering alcoholic. She has lost everything, her family, her job, her veterinary business, because of her drinking. She always figured she had the right to drink, her father was an alcoholic and her childhood wasn't the greatest. All issues and reasons for her leaving her hometown of Abbey Hills suddenly at the end of her senior year of high school.

Nina returns home and someone is waiting for her. She didn't know that years before a vampire fell in love with her and is now excited to see her home. OK this is where I have a problem with this book. I really have a hard time with story line. The murder mystery, even though it is not hard to figure out, is enough. I am just confused about why there had to be a vampire aspect of this story.

I am not against vampire books in the Christian market. I just would like a reason behind it. I just felt like the storyline of alcoholism was actually interesting enough. There were plenty of things that would have been enough to derail Nina's recovery. I thought that part alone would have made a very good book, but since the vampires kept popping up it seemed to take away from that part of the story.

Is it worth the read, yes. It is a good look at how hard it is to recover from something a difficult as alcoholism. When you have destroyed your family's trust of you, it is hard. When no one believes that you will be"better." How do you show them that you will, especially when things seem to be going so very wrong?

Nina has that. Her teenage daughter returns with her and Meagan no longer believes that Nina will be a "normal" person. She has heard it all before.Nina has promised before and failed before, why would this be any different?Tracey does a great job of writing that into the story. Why would her husband believe her? Why should her son not be disappointed in her? Her sister and parents have no reason to believe that she will not return to drink at the first possible moment.

Now maybe you can understand my frustration with the storyline. I just felt like Tracey wrote a vampire book because you need to write one now while it is popular. It just didn't feel like a natural part of the story.

Happy Reading

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Christa Parrish

Dear Readers,

Christa Parrish does not write happily ever after books. I don't mean to say they are depressing, but they are never wrapped up in a nice bow. They are just more real than fiction. Does that make sense. I think I am trying to say is her fiction is more like a story you and I could live.

Watch over Me is the story of of Abbi and Ben and the baby that was found in the field. Sylvia is credited with saving their marriage, but the book is so much more than that. It is the story of a soldier returning from war without his best friend. It is the story of their marriage that was off to a rough start and Ben's leaving for Afghanistan didn't help it. It is also a story of Matthew, who is in search of his father.

There are many dynamics to this story so it is hard to give a review without giving something away. Just know this is an interesting story. It is one that is a good reminder to all of us that are married and those that want to get married. Marriage is work whether we want to believe it or not.

I would have to say that Christa is going to be on my list of must read authors. Her books are interesting, gritty and real. They easily could be something that could happen to any of us. I know most of you won't adopt a baby found in a field, but you know what I mean.

Happy Reading

Friday, September 25, 2009

Neta Jackson

Dear Readers,

My favorite group of ladies is back. I know in the House of Hope series the Yada Yada's are not the main characters, but they are involved enough to keep in touch.

Who Do I Talk To? by Neta Jackson is #2 in the House of Hope series and it picks up right where book #1, Where Do I Go? leaves off. Our new favorite Heroine, Gabby Fairbanks, is trying to recover from losing her home, helping her mom and restarting her job at Manna House. All while trying to come to grips with being homeless and maybe heading for a divorce.

Gabby can't seem to get over the feeling of "this is not suppose to happen to me." She is so focused on getting her boys back that maybe she is taking bad advice. Does she need a different job? What about her mom and her dog. They don't belong in a homeless shelter either.

All our favorite characters are back. Lucy the bag lady, Harry the doorman, his lady friend, Estelle and of course Dandy the dog. They are the reasons that I love the books. They are all very real and I feel like I could just start visiting with them at any time.

I know I have said this before, but if you haven't read any of Neta Jackson's books, give them a try and become a Yada Yada Prayer Group member. I know they will welcome you with open arms and make you one of the group.

Happy Reading

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mindy Starns Clark

Dear Readers,

Mindy Starns Clark loves to set her books in the south. Her newest, Under the Cajun Moon, is no different. It takes part in New Orleans and the surrounding swampland.

Chloe hasn't been back to New Orleans in years. She really doesn't care to go home either. She doesn't have fond memories of the city or her parents restaurant. But after her mother's frantic phone call telling her that her Dad had been shot, Chloe hurries home. Within hours of arriving home she finds out about a buried treasure, is drugged and accused of murder and is driven around the swamps of the local area.

When Chloe teams up with an old family friend, they set out to prove Chloe's innocence and to find the person who shot her father. As they race through the swamps Chloe is less and less sure of who she can trust, even the guy she is sharing the boat with.

Easily I can say that if you like Mindy's other books, you will like this one. She is so consistent in her writing, she is just great fun to read and recommend. I can also easily say that as many snakes as Chloe runs into, I won't be racing down to New Orleans to visit anytime soon. At least not with out a really big snake. :-)

Happy Reading

Monday, September 21, 2009

Harry Lee Poe/James Ray Veneman

Dear Readers,

I know I don't review non-fiction very often on this blog. Here's an exception. The Inklings of Oxford by Harry Lee Poe and photos by James Ray Veneman is a lovely coffee table book. I actually read/looked at this book because a friend recommended it. I am really glad he did.

One of my life's "wish list" vacations is to England. ( I don't know if I'll ever go, but...) One of the things I wanted to do when I visit is go to the different sites of some of my favorite authors, with C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien being high on that list. This book will help with that a great deal.

Not only is this book full of great pictures and stories about these two gentlemen and their friends, the back of the book has several walking tour maps. This way I could enjoy the book itself and then when I go to England I can go and see the different places where they hung out with their friends, worked and lived.

Sally, our assistant manger, couldn't wait to get her hands on a copy. I believe she bought one the day they came in. My son-in-law tried to steal my copy of it. So I am getting the feeling that this is a must read for anyone that is a fan of these two guys. It might even be a great Christmas gift idea for that hard-to-buy-for person. :-)

Happy Reading

Friday, September 18, 2009


Dear Readers,

I am sorry I didn't have any posts this week. We have had a shock at work. Fellow employee, Louis lost his son this week. Louis is in Hawaii with his wife right now and had to make the decision to remove Joshua from life support. Please pray for them as this was a difficult choice, but pray for comfort as Joshua is now home. I will be posting next week again.

To learn more about Louis and Joshua go to the church connection link on the right side of my blog. Thank you for your support and prayers.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

James David Jordan

Dear Readers,

Double Cross by James David Jordan is the second of the Taylor Pasbury books. They are not listed as a series, but they do follow each other. Forsaken is book #1. I also feel that you should be able to read Double Cross without reading the first.

Taylor is back trying to get her life together after losing both her father and the man she had come to love. She is trying to get her security company back on track and follow up on clients. When a friend from Simon's company turns up dead, the rumors start swirling around about blackmail and embezzlement. Taylor wants to clear Simon's name and figure out why his assistant seems to have committed suicide.

While Taylor is struggling to find answers, old questions come back to the surface when her mother reappears in her life after leaving Taylor and her father when she was just a small child. Her mother still seems a bit off center and yet Taylor is willing to start a new relationship with her. It is never an easy thing when someone you thought hated you comes back into your life saying they have always loved you.

I did like this book. There were a couple of times that I wanted to shout at Taylor, mostly because I knew what was going to happen and she just didn't seem to want to see it. Like her "step-father," what a greasy character. I was reading on my lunch which always takes a bit longer as a 1/2 hour is to short and I visit with my fellow employees at that time also. So is not a reflection on the book that it took me about 2 or 3 weeks to read it. :-) I think if I had it at home I could have easily finished it in a couple days.

Happy Reading

Friday, September 11, 2009

Lynn Austin

Dear Readers,

I really like Lynn Austin's books. I think I have them all read now, including her newest, Though Waters Roar.

What do you do when your Great-grandmother hid runaway slaves, your grandmother fought for prohibition and woman's suffrage and you yourself have just been thrown in jail for running liquor? Harriet is going to have lots of time to think about it as she is in jail and refuses to call anyone to come bail her out.

What comes out for us is a good and interesting read. I personally could really relate to Harriet's character. She struggled to fit in with her own family. Her mother and sister were caught up in all the girly things of the time. Tea parties with the ladies, shopping and just generally being refined. Harriet on the other hand vowed to never marry and certainly never have children. She was described as plain, with a good head on her shoulders. That isn't really what a girl of that time would like to hear if she was looking for a suitable mate.

Instead Harriet wants to follow in her grandmother's footsteps and help change the world. I kept things of the line "good girls don't change the world." It wasn't that Harriet wanted to get arrested, but she didn't find that her grandmother had gotten arrested several times as a bad thing.

This is really a fun book to read. It is set in a time of America's history that not many books are written about. I also have to admit that I kept thinking of the mother in Mary Poppins movie who is fighting for the woman's suffrage movement. She is a bit shallow and thankfully the grandmother seems to be much more level headed, but it is kind of funny. (Watch the movie to get a good idea of what I mean. :-)

Just a reminder, Lynn will be in our store on Sept, 19th from 10 - 12. If your book clubs are interested in coming let me know, otherwise just come and have Breakfast with Lynn.

Happy Reading

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

T.L. Higley

Dear Readers,

Ok I have to admit when I first heard about this series I wasn't sure how well it would do or if I would even like it. I had read a couple of T.L. Higley's other books and they were ok, but in the Seven Wonders series she seems to be perfecting her craft. Her characters are much more 3 dimensional and the stories read less like a history lesson.

Guardian of the Flame is the 3rd of the series and the 2nd one I read. The one I missed, number 2, is City of the Dead and set during the time of the construction of the Pyramids. I was just handed a copy of that one today and will be reading it soon.

Guardian is set in Egypt again only in Alexandria and centers on the lighthouse that was built there in 250 BC. It stood guard over the harbor, guiding ships in through the harbor reefs and shallows. Sophia is the guardian of the lighthouse, making sure that the flame never goes out. She is seen by the people of Alexandria to be cruel, unloving and someone that you just don't want to meet. She seldom leaves the lighthouse and pretty much keeps to herself. As you read her story, you come to understand that she is just trying to protect herself from more hurt. That is until her past student, Cleopatra, returns to the city to reclaim the crown that her brother has stolen from her.

At the same time Julius Caesar arrives in Alexandria to seek repayment of a debt long over due. The city is in turmoil, and Caesar orders one of his platoons to take over the control of the Lighthouse so their fleets will be guaranteed safe passage into the harbor. Bellus is not thrilled with his new orders, but knows that he deserves much worse for how poorly his soldiers did in the battle for the city. Sophia has meet her match in Bellus and for some reason finds herself drawn more and more to him.

This is an action packed book. The battle for Alexandria kept my attention because of all the political intrigue that is involved. Keeping all the Egyptian names straight did prove to be a bit of a challenge, but didn't take away from the story at all. I loved the history of it all and I did learn stuff that I didn't know before. Which is always interesting. I think that the next four books of this series will prove just as interesting and am looking forward to the chance to read them.

Happy Reading

P.S. I did do a review of Shadow of Colossus back when it was released in Oct. If you didn't get that one or don't remember it, you can go to my blog to view it. Just scroll down to reviews by author on the right hand side and find T.L. Higley. If you click on that one it will bring it right up.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

MItchell Bonds

Dear Readers,

I always have a few people asking for teen books. Hero, Second Class by Mitchell Bonds is written for teens, but I can think of several adults that will probably like this book also. It is a fun and very sarcastic book, which does make it different than most books I have read. The sole reason I picked this book up was because Eric Wilson recommended it on Amazon reviews. I had just finished his Haunt of Jackels and was wondering about it. What made me look for it at all was I received a letter about it getting nominated for an award, which I can't remember now. Well I am very glad that I did read it.

This is not a typically Christian novel. It is almost just plain silly, but it is not light, but sarcastic. Which I do understand won't be for everyone, but I did think that maybe readers of the Harry Potter books might like as Harry can have its very sarcastic moments.

This books starts with a battle between Villain Voshtyr Demonkin and the Hero Crimson Slash. Voshtyr is trying to conquer the world and is setting his evil plan in to action. The problem is he didn't plan on a Hero being in the palace that he has attacked. Crimson Slash was just enjoying a meal with the king and happens to be in the right place at the right time.

Shortly after that we meet Cyrus who is soon to be an Hero apprentice. He passes the Hero tryouts with flying colors and soon is apprenticed to the Crimson Slash. He has always dreamed of becoming a Hero, just like his dad.

What follows is a interesting story where Heroes pay dues to the Hero's Guild and Villains are restricted to one eclipse of the sun per month. There are rules about being a Hero, like a Hero must always rescue a damsel in distress and a dragon must capture damsels and hold them hostage until their families pay the ransom. Villains also belong to a Guild and are regulated by rules also, but they don't always play by the rules and of course the worst of all is Voshtyr Demonkin.

I wasn't sure what to expect, the author is only 20 years old and started this book as a short story. Amazingly his short story turned into 600 pages. They are all well worth it. It is also very much a book #1 in a series. You will be able to tell, but I am not telling why as it gives some of the story away.

For me I was completely sold on the story when I read the first paragraph of the 1st chapter. I have included it just to give you a good idea what the book is like. "Once upon a Time in a faraway kingdom, there lived an old man and his wife. They had no children, and the old man prayed every day that he and his wife would have a son. This story has absolutely nothing to do with them." Does that help you understand why I liked it?

Seriously though, I am pretty sure that most teenage boys will like this book and there will probably be several girls that will like it also. If you yourself are looking for something just a bit off, this is a wonderful read for that.

Happy Reading

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Jennifer Erin Valent

Dear Readers,

Cottonwood Whispers by Jennifer Erin Valent is the sequel to Fireflies in December. I am never sure about a sequel by a new author, with great delight I can tell you this is a good one.

Our favorite nosy 13 year old is now turning 17 and getting ready for her last year of school. Jessilyn is facing many strange and different things. One of them being that her best friend Gemma is not acting like herself, which really annoys Jessilyn. Also, maybe now Luke will notice her as a woman and not just a bothersome girl.

When a neighborhood child is hit and killed, Jessilyn is beside herself with grief, and when the sheriff seems to arrest the wrong person, she is determined to prove that he is wrong.

I think the thing I liked about Jessilyn is she really does struggle with her faith. Nothing is clear cut for her and she doesn't believe just because her parents and best friend believe. Which does cause her a bit of stress because she knows that it hurts her mother and yet it doesn't force her to believe something she just doesn't find true. It makes for an interesting dynamic of the story that you don't always find in an historical story.

This is a nice and simple story. I don't mean it wasn't good, just not a hard read. I had a 6 hour bus ride to a white water rafting trip and I was able to read the book on that. It wasn't any problem staying in the story, which is always a good thing. So if you haven't read Fireflies yet, do that first and then finish off the summer reading season with a good read.

Happy Reading

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Paul McCusker and Walt Larimore

Dear Readers,

I don't really know what I expected from this book, but I really enjoyed it. TSI: the Gabon Virus, by Paul McCusker and Walt Larimore is a suspense/action/end of the world type book. Not like the Left Behind books, but it is a race against the spread of a pandemic that starts in Africa. The TSI, Time Scene Investigators, scramble to find the cure.

Back in 1666, the tiny village of Eyam is almost completely wiped out by the Black Plague. They willingly cut themselves off from the world to stop the spread of the disease.

Mark Carlson is not sure he is ready to handle the medical emergency that has just been handed him. He carries a lot of emotional baggage. When the calls start coming he knows he has no choice and flies to joining TSI in England to help find the cure for a disease that seems to kill most of its victims in minutes after exposure.

As Mark and his team try to come up with answers, they begin to think the village of Eyam may contain the answers they are looking for.

I am not even sure why I liked this book. I guess I knew the answers to the questions before we even got started, but I found myself caught up in the story none the less. It made a good read without feeling like I couldn't lay it down. Maybe it was actually just plain and simply a good read.

Happy Reading

P.S. if you follow the link to purchase notice the title is wrong.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ted Dekker

Dear Readers,

First of all if you are a Ted Dekker fan... READ THIS BOOK. Yes it is that good. I am so amazed that one man can do this with a series that he started over 5 years ago. I also have to confess that at first I was a bit disappointed that he was going to write another book for a series that he said ended 4 years ago. I hate when authors do that. Well I was wrong, this one so needed to be written and if you haven't read the Circle trilogy, the Paradise books or the Lost Books, you may want to do that first, but you don't have to. I will explain that later.

Ok now the review of Green... sort of. This is one of those reviews that is a bit delicate to write. I am afraid that with anything I say I may give the entire book away and I really don't want to do that as the best part of the book is not knowing what is happening.

I can safely say that all our favorite characters are back in all their glory. There are some new and exciting ones which makes this even better yet. Thomas Hunter is the one who got this all started by crash landing in the black forest and he is once again completely in the center of it all.

This is listed as book 'zero' of the Circle Trilogy, and it fits. It didn't make sense to me until I read it so you are going to have to trust me on that part of it. :-) But the subtitle "the beginning and the end" is completely correct. Do you feel like I am talking in circles yet? lol. (This is why you don't really have to read any of the other books first) I really feel that if Ted wasn't a writer than he would have serious mental problems and at least 7 personalities. :-)

Ted won me as a fan with his books Black and Three and this year he reminded my why with his books Boneman's Daughters and now Green.

Happy Reading
P.S. Book is available on Sept. 1st.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Chuck Holton

Dear Readers,

Meltdown by Chuck Holton is number three in the Task Force Valor series. Number one is Allah's Fire written with Gayle Roper and two is Island Inferno. I read the first one and enjoyed it, but missed number two. I didn't have any problem picking up the story line for this book without reading them all. Basic storyline of the series is Task Force Valor is following terrorists and bad guys around the world, making sure America stays safe.

In Meltdown, TFV is sent off to Russia to track down the explosive they found in Panama. They are trying to find out who made it and who now has it. While they are in the Dead Zone around Chernobyl in the Ukraine, terrorists attack the nuclear reactor. They are in the fight for their own lives, but also for thousands of people around the world.

While they are over in the Ukraine, America is under attack. The ITEB has made it way to the US and no one group has claimed responsibility. The bombs are disrupting American commerce and life in general. Our citizens, and congress are screaming for something to be done and yet no one can seem to figure out who is responsible.

While this is an interesting book, I was admittedly left a bit flat by the ending. I guess I didn't understand why Chuck would write the book this way. I can't really tell you what the ending is or there really is no reason to read this book. I try hard not to judge a book by it's cover, but a bad ending is not a good thing for a book. Now this isn't a "bad" ending, but it is not a "good" ending. I know that is confusing, but without giving it all away... Sorry. If you want to know all about it and aren't worried about knowing the ending, I can explain it all for you. :-) Otherwise, this isn't a terrible read, just be forewarned.

Happy Reading

Monday, August 24, 2009

Eric Wilson

Dear Readers,

First and foremost, this is not a "Twilight" vampire book. Haunt of Jackals by Eric Wilson is #2 in the Jerusalem's Undead Trilogy. Field of Blood is the first.

Eric does not write a happy love story. His vampires are evil, undead creatures that will haunt your dreams. Which of course makes you want to run right out and read this series. :-)

"Haunt" picks up right were "Fields" leaves off. Gina, Cal and Dov are battling the vampires of the Akeldame clan. They have taken out a few (I won't say which ones if you haven't read #1 yet). They are looking to take out more but they are also making their escape and preparing to fight another day.

Natira is on a mission to find an identify the 36. If he can find them all, then he can put his evil plan in to action and rid the world of the Nastarim, which will bring in the reign of the Collectors and their master. Natira and Cal are on a collision course that could change history forever.

There are a couple different readers that I will recommend these books to. First the Twilight readers that are beginning to think vampires are cool and that there is such a thing as "good" vampires. This will quickly remind them that undead is not a cool thing. The second is Frank Perettii fans. This is above all a spiritual warfare book. These books have the spiritual warfare more on the physical form, but Eric makes his parallels between demons and vampires very clear. It makes for an interesting read.

I don't read vampire/horror books as a rule, these have become the exception and they are well worth it.

Happy Reading
P.S. My 17 year old daughter has read them and is now sharing them with her friends.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cheryl McKay and Rene Gutteridge

Dear Readers,

This is one of those books I never saw coming. In fact I had been giving it half-warm reviews thinking it was more of a typical chick lit book. I was wrong. Not that it isn't light, but it is certainly not fluff.

Never the Bride by Cheryl McKay and Rene Gutteridge is not what I expected. It reminded me of the TV show, Joan of Arcadia. I don't know if you remember the show, but Joan would see God at different points of the day and in her life. He never showed up at a convenient time and of course no one else would see him so Joan was always talking to herself.

Jessie Stone has only wanted ever to be a bride. She has planned her wedding out since she was a little girl. It is all she thinks of, and everything she does has to do with that day (It just struck me she never plans for the marriage that comes after, just that one day). She has a journal that she keeps track of her ideas and a purple pen that she writes with. She wouldn't give them up for anything.

So what do you do when God shows up one day and asks for them. Jessie is not very willing to give them up. She thinks she knows better than God what He has planned for her. She is sure that He doesn't know what He is doing and is very ready to prove that to Him. She keeps second guessing Him and running ahead of Him when He makes suggestions. (Wait, does that sound like anyone you know? :-)

As you can tell this is not just for those single girls that need to hear that God does want to write their love story, but it is for us all who think we know His plans better than He does. There were a couple different times when Jessie was arguing with God and His plans and she would say something that I have used myself when things are not going my way. :-) Rats...

I love recommending this book to the teens in youth group, but also to the older lady who is wondering if God really does care that she is at loose ends right now. Marriage is the focus of this book, but it is not the main message. So take the time to relax and just enjoy this story.

Happy Reading

Friday, August 14, 2009

Jenny Jones

Dear Readers,

Just Between You and Me by Jenny Jones is a story of families. It is about forgiveness and remembering the past even when you don't really want to.

Maggie is fearless, or at least that is what she wants everyone to believe. Her job as a videographer takes her all over the world, but most importantly away for her hometown and her father. She only goes back when she has to. About every 3 years at the most. She has no happy memories of her life there and it got worse after her crazy mother drowned.

Her father knows the only way to get her back to town in a hurry is to tell her that her sister needs help. Because she is between video shoots she commits to a couple of days when his phone call for help comes in. The problems arise when she gets to town and learns her father didn't give her the whole picture. Frustrated to get out of town, Maggie tries to not become emotionally involved with anything that goes on... But we all know how well that works.

I wasn't really planning on liking this book, but I ended up enjoying it. It is just a nice story of a young woman trying to understand herself. It is a bit predictable and some parts leave me a bit confused and wishing for a small explanation, but I am willing to let that go as something she needs to work on with each new book. Overall this is a good book.

For those of you already asking, no this is not the Jenny Jones from the talk show/shock TV fame. This Jenny actually has a couple of teen/young adult books under her belt. They are much more for sheer entertainment purposes than learning anything. This may have turned over a new leaf for her writing.

Happy Reading

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cindy Woodsmall

Dear Readers,

Hope of Refuge is Cindy Woodsmall's newest book. It is coming out just in time for her visit here at our store. ( It's available now)

I am the first to say that Amish books are not my favorite. I can find them all the same. I know they sell well and lots of people love reading them. Cindy seems to be the exception to the rule for me. I really do enjoy her books. I think it is because of the issues she deals with in the story line as opposed to just the Amish lifestyle.

Cara is homeless. She once again had to leave everything behind to get away from her stalker. She and her daughter Lori head to Dry Creek, Pennsylvania. Cara isn't sure why she is drawn there, but she believes that she will find help and hope there. Maybe even some answers to her questions about her mother.

Ephraim finds Cara hiding out on his property. He remembers her from a short visit Cara and her mother made when she was 10. He goes against everything that he is taught and takes them both in. He is drawn to her even while "dating" another woman. He can't figure out what he is suppose to do and yet he feels he is doing the right thing.

I really did like this book. It was an interesting look at how people react to "past history." Some are quick to judge even when they don't have all the facts and others are the first in line to help no matter what. Because of gossip and people assuming they know why Cara is there, things quickly get out of hand for both Ephraim and Cara.

There is another story line going on that could easily been a complete story line on its own, but Cindy writes as a secondary line. I wonder if that is where book #2 is going. :-)

If you get a chance, come and meet Cindy on the 15th and learn of her heart for the story.

Happy Reading

Monday, August 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Baker Book House

Dear Readers,

Time passes so quickly now - a - days, it is hard to believe we are 70. I know I don't feel a day over 45. :-) The store/publishing group is celebrating their 70th anniversary this week. We have tons of sales and specials. If you get a chance you can come shop and in the afternoons enjoy cake.

Senior day is on Wednesday - always the first Wednesday of the month - and we are doing something extra special for those of you who like us have turned 70 sometimes this year - 2009. So if you are 55 of older come in for your normal senior discount - instore only and if you are 70 - or soon to be - you will take home a special gift. :-)

Happy anniversary Reading

P.S. Reminder that Cindy Woodsmall will be in our store August 15th and study guideworkshop is August 13th. You must RSVP for the workshop.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chris Fabry

Dear Readers,

June Bug by Chris Fabry is the second of his Dogwood West Virginia books. The best thing is this is not a series. Some of the background characters will show up in them all, but that is it. I have no problem saying you could easily read them in any order.

I have started this review twice now and am still wondering what to say. I really liked this book, but felt like I had read it before. It is a very strange feeling, mostly because I knew I hadn't read this book before. :-) Oh well, it still is good.

June Bug sees her face on the wall at Walmart under the missing kids pictures. So starts a strange ending to a long journey for her and her dad. She doesn't remember anything except driving around the country with her dad and being taught in "RV" school. She is a great reader and knows things about America that not many people know. She has been from coast to coast and all the points in between. She loves her daddy and her life, even though she wouldn't mind a house and maybe grandparents and knowing her mother. All things that her dad can't give her.

This was a very enjoyable book. I fell in love with June Bug right away. She is a very precocious 9 year old who isn't afraid to ask questions but is terrified of crossing bridges. She will quickly win your heart also. As I read and knew the ending that had to happen, I just didn't want her to get hurt. It was an ending that fits the story, I just wish it had ended a little different. :-)

Happy Reading

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Steven James

Dear Readers,

I am officially a fan of Steven James. I joined his Facebook page - Fans of Steven James- last week, but I am also a huge fan of his books. I have waited so patiently for his third book in the Patrick Bowers series. I didn't bug anyone for an advanced copy, I didn't call publishing ... ok that isn't true, but now you all can read The Knight.

I always worry when authors take on a series, eventually, sooner or later, they follow a formula and I can figure out the mystery by the other books he/she has written. Which in turns means I don't enjoy them as much as the early few.

I am very happy to report that that is not true in this case. I started reading it on a Friday and finally came up for air on Sunday night. I really didn't want to put it down and when I had to I found myself going right back to it at the first possible chance I could.

Patrick is once again on the trail of a serial killer, this time in Denver. He has been asked in by the local police department. He isn't sure how to fit this all into his schedule, as he needs to testify in Chicago at a retrial of a serial killer he helped put away years ago, he's leaving for Washington DC in a couple weeks to teach a class for the summer, and he needs to spend time with Tessa.

When the trial is just getting started, a family member of one of the victims tries to kill the defendant. Patrick becomes an accidental hero when he saves the killer's life, someone he truly hates. The chaos that follows the shooting sets off a chain of events that has Patrick on the trail of a killer that is leading them on a merry chase.

Fast-paced, heart stopping and a hard to lay down read, this is a book that anyone who loves mystery/psychological thrillers will totally love. I kept thinking, I shouldn't read this so fast I need to savor it and enjoy it, but I couldn't, I had to know.

I know that some people are saying that these books don't belong in a christian bookstore. They are too violent, graphic and don't have any overt christian themes. I just want to say, yes, but... They are not for everyone. They don't have the plan of salvation. Patrick does wrestle with issues that we may not all struggle with, but in some small ways do happen to us. He also encounters many Christians during his many travels. They are all giving him a different perspective on Christians, one of the most intriguing is the Christian serial killer. Can anyone be saved from their sins?

For those wondering, yes Tessa is back in all her gothic glory. I will admit, she is probably my favorite character. She adds so much to the storyline and Patrick's character. It makes him so much more believable and endearing.

If you haven't yet read the Pawn or the Rook, do that first, then you can indulge with the Knight.

The Bishop - summer 2010. (do I sound like a groupie yet?)

Happy Reading

P.S. A fellow employee wrote on his blog about this book also. First let me warn you he does give away a couple aspects of the story. Secondly, he doesn't normally read fiction, Theology is more his speed. So it is very interesting to read his perspective on it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

T.L. Hines

Dear Readers,

Faces in the Fire by T.L. Hines has to be one of the strangest books I have ever read. I spent most of the book trying to figure out what was going on and why the chapter numbers were completely out of order (I still haven't figured that out completely).

If I had to sum this book up in a short sentence, it is a "pay it forward" book, sort of. It is about how even the littlest thing that we do for someone else can effect them in way we may never know. I really can't say much about this book or I will give something away, even more so than a mystery. With a mystery I really only have to worry about telling you the "who-done-it" part. With this book, every part is part of the rest of the story, so I can't really share it. (confused yet?)

You will meet 4 very strange and unique characters. I don't know if you will like any of them, I struggled with them all. T.L. doesn't write them to be sympathetic. He writes them, I believe, for the sole purpose of driving the reader nuts. They were one of the most frustrating groups of people that I have read about in a long time.

If you are still reading this review, you may be wondering if I liked this book. Yes I did. It did take me a bit to write this review because I wasn't sure how or what to write. I don't know if this is the right one, but it is what I got. :-)

Kurt is a truck driver with no memory of his past. Corinne has lymphoma. Grace is a tattoo artist and Stan is an assassin with a strange gift. Now the trick is to figure out how these very different people can help and influence each other. It is part of a book that is just a bit, ok a lot, off center. Have fun reading it.

Happy Reading

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Dear Readers,

Argh... This review is driving me nuts. I feel it should write itself as the book, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, is such a neat read. I am having trouble only because I don't want to say too much, but I am not sure how to while still making this sound like a good book.

Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows put together a delightful story about post World War II England. This book is set in Guernsey, a small island just off the coast of France, but it belongs to England. The story itself is written in letter form, which is not always the easiest way to read a story, but it really works in this book. It all starts when Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a stranger on the island who is interested in finding more about Charles Lamb. It leads to the discovery of a wonderful and interesting group of people who started their book club to explain to the Germans why they were out after curfew one night.

I enjoyed meeting the people of Guernsey and learned a bunch about the island. I knew that they were the only part of England that the Germans occupied during the war. The idea was that they would be able to launch their attacks from there. I didn't know that they had just enough time to send their children away before the Germans arrived. They had no contact with the "outside" world or their kids for 5 years. I can't imagine it. They were down to burning parts of their house for fuel and were mostly surviving on potatoes and turnips.

Okay I am going to quit there as I feel like any more will just drag on and really not help. I will say if you haven't already read this book, it is one of the perfect books for just relaxing with.

Happy Reading