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.