Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Dear Readers,

I want to wish you a Happy New Year.  May you be blessed is ways you never expected. 

Happy Reading

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Richard Paul Evans

Dear Readers,
Most of you will be very familiar with Richard Paul Evans's name from a little book called the Christmas Box.  It was turned into a movie and he sold lots of them.  That one was followed by several others, with some turned into movies and some not.  They all ran along the same lines - very sentimental and tugging at the heart strings.
The Walk in some ways is the same as his others and yet is a bit different.  It is the start of a series of books for Richard.  The story line follows Alan who in a very short 6 weeks loses everything.  He decides in a short moment that he will walk from his home in Seattle Washington to Key West.  Which is as far as he can go and still be in the U.S.
In The Walk you go with Alan through all of the state of Washington.  When Alan sets out he doesn't really know what to expect, he just knows he has to get away.  He is angry at God, he is angry at his wife, he is just angry. 
The Walk: A Novel, , n9781439187319What I found the most interesting in the book was the different people that Alan meets along the way.  There are good people and not so good people.  There are ones who help him on his journey and there are othes that don't.  It is a bit like life that way.  We are either a help to other people or not.
Now I haven't suffered loss in as big of proportions as Alan, but I can relate to his wanting to just walk away from it all.  I think most of us have thought that at one time or another.  This story does not encourage that you run away from your problems, in fact it makes a good case that your problems actually just follow you. 
I am looking forward to his next book in the series, Miles to Go, due out April 5, 2011.
Happy Reading

Monday, December 27, 2010

New Releases Dec, 20-24

Possession, , n9781414324340The Search - Suznna Woods Fisher - #3 in the Lancaster County Secrets
Michigan Brides - Amber Stockton - 3 stories set in Michigan
Possession - Rene Gutteridge
A Place of Peace -Amy Clipston - #3 in the Kauffman Amish Bakery Series
Softly & Tenderly - Sare Evans/Rachel Hauck
Love on Assignment - Cara Lynn James

A Place of Peace (Kauffman Amish Bakery Series #3), , n9780310319955

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Dear Readers,

I want to take time on this post to wish you a Merry Christmas.  I pray that each of you can take time during this busy season to remember and reflect on that one perfect gift given so many years ago. 

Take time with your friends and family and enjoy them.  Take time to rest and relax and of course read a good book

Merry Christmas and
Happy Reading

Monday, December 20, 2010

New Releases for Dec. 13-18

Dear Readers,

I have gotten some new books in and am very excited to pass their titles on to you just in time for that last minute Christmas presents.

Fatal Judgement - Irene Hannon
Fatal Judgment, Irene Hannon, 978-0-8007-3456-5The Damascus Way - Bunn/Oke
Courting Miss Amsel - Kim Vogel Sawyer
Paradise Valley - Dale Cramer
Bake Until Golden - Shepherd/Everson
Stars Collide - Janice Thompson
The Girl in the Gatehouse - Julie Klassen
Serendipity - Cathy Marie Hake

Serendipity, Cathy Marie Hake, 978-0-7642-0321-3

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Donita K. Paul

Dear Readers,
I hate to sound all humbuggy but I am not a big fan of Christmas books.  I find them overly sappy and way too short for my taste.  I want a book that I can sink my teeth into.  One where I fall in love with the characters and learn to dislike the bad guys.  Christmas books are usually not long enough for me to do that.

With that said I was asked to read and review a Christmas book for the radio spot I am doing now. I chose Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball by Donita K. Paul and I am glad I did.  There isn't any real reason I chose it other than she hadn't written a Christmas novella before and I was interested in seeing what she would do with it as her normal genre is fantasy/speculative fiction with dragons. Of course dragons in a Christmas story might be interesting.
Cora Crowder is making it through life.  She is content in her job, her apartment and her arrangment with her family.  She lives several states away from them and she is good with that. 
Simon Derrick is making it through life.  He is content with his job, his home and his arrangement with his family.  They all live together and take care of each other and he is good with that.
The mischievous matchmakers in charge of the annual Christmas Ball are not so happy with Simon's and Cora's lives.  They are not happy that each of them is settling for a life with little or no true love. 
When Cora and Simon meet at the unusual bookstore on a very unusual street, they are both given a ticket to the ball.  They really have no reason for going until Sandy, Simon's younger sister, invites them both to go with her.  Things become more and more interesting as the time for the ball draws near. It seems more and more likely that Cora will not be going to the ball.  A family member shows up just in time to ruin Cora's plan of going.  Will she make it to the ball in time or will she find an excuse for not being there?
This was a fun, quirky, little story.  I enjoyed it and it reminded me that we are all works in progress and God is never content with were we are.  He accepts us the way we are, but wants us to draw closer to him.  This is a good read for the holidays as it is a story that can slow you down a bit during this busy season and help us remember what all the hustle and bustle is about.
Happy Reading &
Happy Holidays

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cynthia Ruchti

Dear Readers,
I had a review almost completely written about this book.  I didn't like it because it didn't seem to do the book justice.  Cynthia Ruchti writes an interesting story in They Almost Always Come Home.  It isn't your normal story of a husband that goes missing and the wife is moving heaven and earth to find him.  It isn't even a typical storyline of a husband who had a second life that his wife and family didn't know about. 
Releases May 1, 2010Libby is waiting for Greg to return home after his first solo trek into the wilderness.  He has gone many time with others, but he wanted to go by himself this time.  Libby isn't sure how she feels about his not being home on time.  She wonders if it is normal for a wife to start planning a funeral as soon as he doesn't come home.  She would never dream that he was having an affair, but maybe he didn't want to come home. 
To say that they are having problems with their marriage is a understatement.  They lost touch with each other years ago when tragedy struck their family.  They can't seem to find each other back and neither one seems to want to make the effort.  So when Greg is listed as missing Libby just isn't sure how she feels about it.
This was such a different look at this storyline.  So often this type of story is about a wife's grief and loss, but this time, what if a wife isn't grieving that he is gone?  What is she was going to leave him and just hadn't gotten around to it yet?  What if she was more upset that he beat her to the punch than she is about his going missing?  
This book isn't the regular story of a husband and wife deciding to work through their differences and (happily) refocusing on their marriage.  This is a couple who have taken a couple of huge blows to their relationship and have no idea how to find their way back.  They are tired of struggling and are just done with it all.  
It is a good reminder to us all that the biggest casualty in a stressful family situation is actually marriages.  People survive things, but marriages don't always.  We need to remember that so we are willing to walk alongside the couples and help them and their marriages.  
Happy Reading

Monday, December 13, 2010

I was a judge for Speculative Fiction

Dear Readers,

I thought you all might be interested in this list of winning books.  I was asked to help judge the list for Speculative fiction, which is sci-fi and fantasy.  I enjoyed the process and it is always interesting to learn what other readers are thinking. 

Happy Reading.

INSPY Winners Announced 
December 13, 2010—The INSPY Advisory Board announced today that the following books have been awarded the inaugural INSPYs in their categories. Recognizing the need for a new kind of book award, the INSPYs — — were created by bloggers to discover and highlight the very best in literature that grapples with expressions of the Christian faith. 
The INSPY Award winners are:
Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes, General & Literary Fiction (Tyndale House)
Evolving in Monkey Town by Rachel Held Evans, Creative Nonfiction (Zondervan)
She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell, Historical Fiction (Bethany House)
The Knight by Steven James, Thriller/Suspense/Crime Fiction (Revell)
Green by Ted Dekker, Speculative Fiction (Thomas Nelson)
Plain Paradise by Beth Wiseman, Amish Fiction (Thomas Nelson)
Sons of Thunder by Susan May Warren, Romance/Romantic Suspense (Summerside)
Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr, Young Adult Fiction (Little, Brown) 
The 2010 INSPY Awards cover books published from July 2009 through June 2010. 
"We on the Advisory Board are really pleased with this year's winners," said Amy Riley, who spearheaded the INSPY's creation. "We're looking forward to building on this year's success in the future." The winner in each category was collectively chosen by a panel of blogger-judges, who were working from a short list of five books.  
The Advisory Board collectively expressed their appreciation for the volunteer judges. "We really want to thank our judges for all their time and hard work," Riley said. 
The judges in each category explained why they chose the winner they did: 
• "Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes focuses on issues we all must face, such as life, death, relationships, and the choices we make when faced with our mortality.… Holmes leaves her characters flawed and human, which makes them extremely relatable." 
• In Evolving in Monkey Town, "[Rachel Held] Evans' honesty in telling her faith journey impressed us along with how much her love of the Lord imbued the entire narrative. Interweaving her own tale with the views of people she meets, Evans juxtaposes all of the voices about God in her life."  
• In She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell, "a steadfast faith is embedded into the plot seamlessly and not, instead, centered out as a forceful plot device. The novel's inspirational resonance will reach Christian and non-Christian readers alike."  
• "The literary skill employed by Steven James creates a story" — The Knight — "that steals the reader’s sleep while also stealing their breath. Creating an unforgettable set of characters who face an unimaginable and escalating series of terrifying crimes, James captures both the imagination and heart of the reader as he spins his tale."  
• "The brilliance of Green by Ted Dekker is the fact that it is both the beginning and the end of the series. He did something completely unexpected with the ending of his book, while tackling the Christian faith from a different angle." 
• Plain Paradise by Beth Wiseman "is perfect for people who have never read Amish fiction before. The story line was interesting and it was easy to get involved with the characters. This book dealt with subject matter not normally found in Amish fiction, which made it a refreshing change."  
• "Sons of Thunder by Susan May Warren is an epic story that spans a couple decades and takes place on several continents. Warren took us from the Greek Isles to Prohibition-era Chicago, and back again, with enough description to make us feel like we'd lived in both places; she filled the book with rich detail, multi-layered characters, and plot twists we never saw coming."  
• In Once Was Lost Sara Zarr "authentically portrays Sam, a pastor’s daughter, grappling with her faith in the midst of personal upheaval and uncertainty. Teens will relate to this excellent and very real book that goes beyond a surface-level exploration of what it means to follow God."  
The innovative INSPY Award is designed to help readers in their search for the preeminent faith-inspired literature of today. The INSPYs were created to select and showcase books with the highest literary standards that grapple with the Christian faith. To find these works, the INSPYs net is cast wide, accepting nominations of books aimed at the Christian bookstore market as well as those from the general market. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Candace Calvert

Dear Readers,
I will once and a while skip a book #1 in a series to see if you can read the books out of order.  WIth the Mercy Hospital series I ended up missing book 1, Critical Care, & 2, Disaster Status, and reading #3 Code Triage by Candace Calvert and enjoying it completely.  I had no trouble picking up the threads from the other books and following the storylines that had started in 1 & 2.  Candace does a good job of making sure the reader doesn't feel like something happen and they missed it. 
Leigh and Nick's marriage is on the rocks.  He committed adultery and she can't forgive him for it.  It was only a one night thing and he was grieving for his best friend who was killed.  Not a good excuse, but that is what happened. 
 Code Triage (Mercy Hospital), , n9781414325453
This is a fast paced book that reminded me a bit of the O'Malley series by Dee Henderson.  The storyline I talked about above isn't the only storyline, but I didn't want to talk too much about that as I didn't really want to give anything away. 
I recommend this book and the other two to anyone who liked Dee's books or Irene Hannon and Lynette Eason's books.  They are well written and researched, which makes them easy to read.  
Happy Reading

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas ideas for ... Her

Dear Readers,
Yes, I could hear you guy readers saying with my last post, "what about us guys buying for that wonderful woman in my life?"  Here is that list and bless you all for buying her that book she has been asking for.

While we were far Apart - Lynn Austin
Pearl in the Sand - Tessa Afshar
Always the Baker never the Bride - Sandra D. Bricker
Love, Charleston - Beth Webb Hart
The Pirate Queen - Patricia Hickman
Indivisible - Kristen Heitzman
Tender Vow - Sharlene MacLauren
Lady in Waiting - Susan Meissner
For Time and Eternity - Allison Pittman
Her Mother's Hope/ Her Daughter's Dream - Francine Rivers
Amy Inspired - Bethany Pierce

Thursday, December 2, 2010

T.L. Higley

Dear Readers,

I have been reading T.L. Higley's books for years now.  The first few I read I enjoyed, but yet thought they could be better.  I kept thinking that they read too much like a history book instead of a fiction book.   The characters left a bit to be desired. 

Then she started the Wonders of the Ancient World series and I was completely hooked.  I was waiting for the next one to come out and to my surprise Petra came first.  This is a stand alone that has nothing to do with the series even though it could fit in it very well.

Cassia flees her home in the hopes of giving her son and herself a future.  She just finds more than she was counting on.  When they arrive in Petra, Aretas' home town, she finds out more than she bargained for.  Aretas is the missing prince of Petra and Alexander will be the next in line for the throne.

Of course not everyone is glad to see Alexander and mother and son get caught up in a spiritual battle for not only their own lives, but the very souls of the city.  The tiny little church of Petra is asked to stand between the city and the dark forces that are trying to take control.  With persecution starting to get worse, will the people be willing to risk their lives and the lives of their families for the life of one little boy?

I have found the city of Petra an interesting place.  A few years ago there was a display of the city at Calvin College and my youngest daughter was able to go and view it for school.  She still talks about it and I wish that I had taken the time to go.  It is an interesting city in how it was carved out of the cliffs of stone. 

The book itself explains some of  it and how the people that lived there were very creative in how not only their houses and shops were placed in the walls of the canyon, but even their tombs were carved into the wall.   So not only did I enjoy the story, I enjoyed learning a bit more about Petra and going to T.L.'s website to learn even more.

Happy Reading

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas ideas for... Him

Dear Readers,
I get asked every year what are good books for a guy for Christmas.  I try to recommend books that were released in the past year, but sometimes the author is someone I recommend because he or she is that good.  So here are some ideas for you.

When the Devil Whistles - Rick Acker
The Cool Woman - John Aubrey Anderson
The Malacca Conspiracy - Don Brown
Immanuel's Veins - Ted Dekker
The Bishop - Steven James - ( Patrick Bowers series #4, but the whole series is good)
The Skin Map - Stephen Lawhead
Redeeming Liberty - David and Diane Munson
Fatal Convictions - Randy Singer
Back on Murder - J. Mark Bertrand
Imaginary Jesus - Matt Mikalatos
The 12th Imam - Joel Rosenberg

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Black Friday

Dear Readers,
First let me wish you all a happy Thanksgiving.  In our prayer circle at the store wednesday morning we were all asked to say what we are thankful for.  Many things were brought up, family, friends, job, health, etc... but I brought up customers, not because of the business that you all bring in, but because of the many friends I have made.  You all seem to have a word of encouragement to me just when I need it most.  I am thankful for a great job that allows me to get to know you all. 

Secondly, which is business. :-)
Black Friday/Saturday specials
Here are some great ideas for that reader on your list or for yourself. ;-)
The Thorn by Beverly Lewis - Reg. $14.99 - Sale - $8.97
Her Mother's Hope - Francine Rivers - Reg. - $24.99 Sale - $14.97
  -We have Her Daughter's Dream on sale for 25% off regular price which means you can get the two book series for $34.99 reg. $49.98.

There are also $5.00 deals for Friday and Saturday.
In Harm's Way - Irene Hannon
Maid to Match - Deeanne Gist
Morning Refrain - Tracie Peterson
Too Close to Home - Lynette Eason
A Prairie Christmas - Tracie Peterson, Deborah Raney and others

Have fun shopping and be kind to your store clerks. :-)

Monday, November 22, 2010

New Releases Nov.15-21

Redeeming Liberty - David and Diane Munson - Exclusive to Baker Book Store.
May Cooler Heads Prevail - T.L. Dunnegan
Redeeming Liberty, , n9780982535547 
A few more Christmas ideas for very inexpensive

A Woodland Christmas - 4 in 1 book - Variety of Authors
A Door County Christmas - 4 in 1 - Variety of Authors
A Riverwalk Christmas - 4 in 1 - Variety of Authors
Christmas Mail-order Brides - 4 in 1 - Variety of Authors

Friday, November 19, 2010

Mindy Starns Clark

Dear Readers,
I became a fan of Mindy Starns Clark with a series she did a while ago called the Million Dollar Mysteries.  Each book had its own mystery, but the series had a mystery running through all of the books.   I miss her series, but her stand-alones are just as good.  Secrets of Harmony Grove is her latest.  Again it is set in Amish country, but it is not a typical Amish book that we have all come to know in recent years. 
Harmony Grove is a small community in Lancaster county and Sienna owns a Bed and Breakfast there.  She has pretty much let it run itself and she cashes the checks that come every month.  That is until she finds out she is under investigation from the federal government.  When she arrives in town to check on what is going on around her little B & B she discovers a dead body and more questions than she knows what to do with.
Secrets of Harmony Grove, , n9780736926256Because of where this book is set, it has many Amish characters in it, but again they are not the focus of the book.  They just happen to be in the story because that is where they live.  I really like that in her books.  What is it like to have Amish neighbors or relatives?  Are they completely standoffish or are they ready to help?  Mindy includes that in the book, which gives her books a bit of a different feel to them.
I will admit I didn't have the complete mystery solved before the end, but that is ok. ( I am going to blame it on my being on vacation :-) It is a good read.
Happy Reading

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I'm on the Radio

Dear Readers,

I have started something that is a bit exciting.  I am doing reviews of fiction books on a local radio station.  They are on the air every other Thursday at 5:20p.m., with the first being on last week, the 11th of Nov.  They will also run the following Saturday in the a.m. 

I have to say this was one of those things that when your boss walks up to you and says, "I have a great idea for you to do," it actually made me want to run away.  I have actually never done anything like that before and was a bit nervous about doing it at all.

When Louis, a fellow Baker employee, and I went down to the radio station to record the first group of books we were sure the radio station would pay Baker so that we would never come back.  But it turned out very well.  Don Michaels, the DJ that is playing the reviews, was a huge help in getting us to relax.  It was actually a load of fun to do.

If you are interested in listening to my first review you can hear the ones you miss by going to  and listening in.  You can also tune into WCSG 91.3 fm or go to  If you listen to it on line feel free to leave a comment.

Happy Reading

Monday, November 15, 2010

New Releases Nov. 1 - 13

Dear Readers,
As you can see once again not many books.  There are a couple good ones.  There are a couple good gift ideas also.

Happy Reading

Dining with Joy - Rachel Hauck
Blacksmith's Bravery - Susan Paige Davis
The Lost Testament - Brian L. Thompson
Sisters of the Quilt - Cindy Woodsmall - 3 in 1
Dining with Joy (A Lowcountry Romance), , n9781595543394

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Jan Karon

Dear Readers,
There are just certain books and authors that when you read them it is like coming home.  There is a certain amount of comfort and peace that goes along with reading these stories that it is just plain enjoyable to read them.  A cup of tea, a comfy chair and a big cozy blanket and let the world go by.

The Mitford and Father Tim series by Jan Karon have been that for me.  I just love them.  So when In the Company of Others by Jan Karon released I was just chomping at the bit to get to it.  I was in the midst of reading another book and couldn't finish it fast enough.  It has been a long wait since book one and I couldn't wait to see what adventures Father Tim and Cynthia have. In the Company of Others: A Father Tim Novel (The Father Tim Series), , n9780670022120

The long awaited birthday trip to Ireland starts with a couple of hiccups.  Walter and Katherine, who was going to travel with them, are delayed and have to join them later. After a breath-taking car ride, they arrive at their bed and breakfast to find the electricty out. After an intruder scares Cynthia, she twists her ankle and is to told not to travel for several days.  Which is a good excuse to stay and enjoy their time with friends from past visits.

While resting, Tim becomes embroiled in a family fued from many years past which leads to a missing painting and history that no one is willing to forgive or forget.
In normal Father Tim tradition he picks up many strange and quirky characters.  They all add so much to the storyline and make for such fun reading.  I so enjoy that part of Jan's stories, her wonderful characters that make her books a pure pleasure to read.

Of course now that I have finished this book, I have to start the long wait for the next one.
Happy Reading

Monday, November 8, 2010

New Christmas Releases 2010

Dear Readers,
A Simple Amish Christmas - Vannetta Chapman
Snow Day - Billy Coffey
Advent of a Mystery - Marilyn Leach
Mary's Son - Darryl Nyznyk
The Snowflake - Jamie Carie
A Prairie Christmas - Various including Tracie Peterson, Tracey Bateman, Deborah Raney & more.
A Plain and Simple Christmas -Amy Clipston
Christmas at Harrington's - Melody Carlson
Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball - Donita K. Paul
The Treasure of Christmas - Melody Carlson - 3 in 1 book
    -The Christmas Bus, The Gift of Christmas Present & Angels in the Snow
The Joy of Christmas - Melody Carlson
    -An Irish Christmas, All I have to Give & The Christmas Dog

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Walter Wangerin

 Dear Readers,
Walter Wangerin changed how I look at and read the Bible.  Since I was born and raised in a christian family and attended the christian school, I have always known the Bible.  There was never any great discovery moment until I read the Book of God by Walter.  It showed me that the Bible is actuallly God's story to me.  He is telling me about himself in a form that I could understand.  Story, my favorite type of book.  Wow. 
To say that I was very eager to read one of my favorite Bible stories rewritten by him is a bit of an understatement.  I know some of you are wondering why I didn't release this review earlier, then.  I am sad to report that I had to tragically keep putting this book off and reading others that had deadlines. (Yes I said tragically, even though the other books were very good also. :-)  Naomi and Her Daughters: A Novel, , n9780310327349

Naomi and Her Daughters is the retelling of the book of Ruth, sort of.  As you read it you will understand that statement, as this story doesn't fit neatly into the story in the Bible.  Walter doesn't change anything from the Bible story, he just puts it in to the correct setting with what was going on in Israel at that time.  Israel was in chaos and the enemies on all sides are attacking.  Into this time in history a small story happens that prepares the way for the coming Messiah. 

This isn't just the retelling of the Bible story, but a story of a woman who feels God has turned his back on her and she will now take control of her life and live it out quietly in her home land.   Having just read Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar actually made this story even more poignant.  That is the story of Rahab who is Boaz's mother and here is the story of Ruth who marries him.  It is so beautiful to see the way those two stories of two very different families and people twine together to make the Book of God.
Happy Reading

Monday, November 1, 2010

New Releases Oct 25 - 29th

Dear Readers,

I will be out of the store the week this releases, but please feel free to order or contact the store.

Stronger than the Sword - Faith Cook
Long Time Coming - Vanessa Miller
Dining with Joy - Rachel Hauck

Happy Reading

P.S. I know it doesn't seem like many books, but Oct/Nov it is mostly Christmas book releases as you will see on next week Monday's post.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sandra D. Brinker

Dear Readers,

To say this book is sweet is to use a very bad pun. Always the Baker Never the Bride by Sandra Bricker is also funny and cute. It has been a great read for on my lunch hours here at work. I actually read her other book The Big 5-oh on lunch also.

Emma Rae is an award winning baker who has never tasted her own creations. She loves what she does, but being a diabetic has restricted what she can and can't eat.

Jackson just wanted to fulfill his dying wife's last wish. He has bought the hotel she always wanted to own and turn into a wedding destination hotel. He doesn't really know what he is doing, but try he will . Thank goodness for the "hens" as he calls his sisters who are firmly on board to help him. Each with her own wonderful talents.

Always the Baker, Never the BrideWhat happens is a funny, endearing story that is filled with very lovable characters. From Aunt Sophie who keeps showing up at the hotel in her tiara, lime green ballgown and bedroom slippers to Emma's parents who, though divorced, seem to still be interested in each other.

This is plain and simply a feel good story. You know that romance is going to bloom between Jackson and Emma, but not without problems. Not only will you have this wonderful little story to read, Sandra treated us with additons to the book like receipes and how-tos for wedding planning. They are just the perfect little additions to this book.

Happy Reading

Monday, October 25, 2010

New Releases Oct. 18-23

Dear Readers,

Couple of big titles this week.  Both Joel Rosenberg and long awaited Jan Karon's newest are on the shelves now.

The 12th Imam - Joel Rosenberg
In the Company of Strangers - Jan Karon
Mystery at the Inn - Grace Chapel Inn - Carolyne Aarsen

The Twelfth Imam, , n9781414311630In the Company of Others: A Father Tim Novel (The Father Tim Series), , n9780670022120      

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Joel Rosenberg

Dear Readers,
You will notice this review is a bit different.  I didn't write it.  A friend of mine, Den Slattery, read the book and wrote this review.  I tried very hard to get the book read before it released.  As you can tell I didn't get finished.  The parts of the story I have gotten a chance to read I have completely enjoyed.  I am leaving on a short vacation in a week and a half and plan on finishing it then.  I will have a review up shortly after that.
Until then you can enjoy Den's review.  He is a pastor at a local church and a The Twelfth Imampublished author of several books.  He has two biographical books that cover his story in Vietnam and as an Army Chaplin. 
Happy Reading
Joel Rosenberg's newest book, The Twelfth Imam, takes us back to the middleast, this time centered in Iran. It's a story of spies, lies, and world conquest. It is an absorbing look into Islam, using many true to life experiences that have been heard on news broadcasts around the world. Similar to his Last Jihad series, this new book is all about the conflict between Muslims, Jews, Christians, and Americans. However, the real focus of the book is on an Islamic Messiah who is to come into this world on the heels of world war. While this may sound like science fiction, don't tell the current leader of Iran that because he is doing everything in his power to bring the Islamic Messiah into this world as soon as Iran has nuclear capability. In the book, just as it is in real life life, Washington doesn't have a clue how important this is to Muslims. Perhaps the two most important questions we can ask--Is he alive today? Will Iran start a world war to encourage him to come? Read the book and find out.

Monday, October 18, 2010

New Releases Oct. 11 - 16

Dear Readers,
Unlocked - Karen Kingsbury
The Lost Testament - Brian L. Thompson
Love finds you in Silver City Idaho - Janelle Mowery
Peace - Jeff Nesbit
Secrets of Harmony Grove - Mindy Starns Clark


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tessa Afshar

Dear Readers,
Biblical fiction is a tough genre to write in. Some people won't read it because you are "changing the Bible." Some people won't read it because "I have already read that story." I struggle with it because it can be so boring as some writers will just rewrite the Bible story with no changes to it and then expect us readers to like it.
The Biblical fiction I do like is because of the face it puts on the characters involved and brings the actually Bible story to life. Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar is that type of book for me. It really made me think more about Rahab and her story. Questions like, why was she a prostitute and what was she really like? came to mind.
The cover is what actually got me curious about this book in the first place but the subject matter is what made me want to read it. Rahab is one of only five women mentioned in Jesus' lineage. What earned her that right? It also made me realise that Jesus was not ashamed to mention her in his lineage.
Rahab was sold into prostitution by her father. It was a time of drought and famine in Jericho and her family was starving. They didn't see any other way to survive. In the years to follow Rahab continued on in the lifestyle that was chosen for her mostly because she figures no one else would want her anyways. That is until she hears about a country and their God who is laying waste to any country that stands against them. Bigger, stronger countries. The scarest thing is Jericho and Canaan are in the sights next.
I have often wondered why Rahab would betray her country. I am sure there was no great love for her country, but treason? Wow. But why? It had to have been a God thing. He knew the plans he had for her long before she even knew that He exsisted.
Once that country had destroyed her homeland why would she want to join them? They had killed off everyone and only saved her and her family because of a promise made to a couple of spies. Why trust them and why did they accept her?
Rahab's story is one of God's pursuit of us no matter what we have done, how he will and does use all of us and mostly it is the story of His forgiveness and love for us.
Happy Reading

Monday, October 11, 2010

New Releases Oct. 4-9

Dear Readers,
Not a large list this week.  It gives me a chance to catch up on my other reading.  We did receive a large number of Christmas books and I will do a list of those at the beginning of Nov.  That way you will have time to pick out a couple of stories to make your holiday season.
Happy Reading
Love is Grand - Annalisa Daughety
Wrangler in Petticoats - Mary Connealy
Nipped in the Bud - Susan Sleeman

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Alice J. Wisler

Dear Readers,
Sometimes you go on a vacation and you just want to go back to visit all the time. The Outer Banks in North Carolina are like that for me. I have only been there once and yet I want to go back again. It is just one of those places where even though there are lots of houses and people it seems just a bit wild. The ocean was never still while we were there and there were many places that were made for walking and just wandering around in.
Hatteras Girls by Alice J. Wisler is set on the Outer Banks and that in and of itself made for a good read for me. Jackie has two dreams, one is to find a good man and the other is to become the owner of a beloved bed and breakfast that she and her sister used to visit when they were younger.
The Bailey Place is a local landmark, but since the owners moved and then passed away the house has fallen into disrepair. When Jackie meets the grandson and current owner of the Bailey Place she is sure God has started to answer her prayers as the grandson is also single. Maybe both prayers will be answered by one person.
I have liked all of Alice's books that I have read. This is her third one and she is finding her niche in the fiction world. She writes delightful stories that are just nice to read. She is very good about making you want to visit the places she writes about. You will want to meet the characters and become friends. They make for great summer reads all year around.
Happy Reading

Monday, October 4, 2010

New Releases Sept 25-Oct. 2

Dear Readers,
Saints Among us - Tales from Grace Chapel Inn - Anne Marie Rodgers
I shall Not Want - Debbie Viguie
Emily's Chance - Sharon Gillenwater
The Waiting - Suzanne Woods Fisher
The Lightkeeper's Bride - Colleen Coble
The Reluctant Prophet - Nancy Rue
One Lane Bridge - Don Reed
When the Devil Whistles - Rick Acker
The Voyage of Promise - Kay Marshall Strom
The God Hater - Bill Myers

Waiting, The, Suzanne Woods Fisher, 978-0-8007-3386-5[Product Image]The God Hater

Friday, October 1, 2010

Lynn Austin

Dear Readers,
There is always a bit of excitement when a new Lynn Austin book is due in. There are many people that look forward to her new book and start asking for it weeks in advance. While We're Far Apart is Lynn's newest and she once again doesn't disappoint her loyal fans.
I am not sure who I would call the main character of this book. You have Esther, who is trying to figure out how her life fell apart. Her mother has been gone a little over a year and her father just announced he is leaving for the army to help fight the Nazis. There is Penny, who has been in love with Eddie for as long as she can remember. When he announces he is leaving for the army and needs help with his children while he is gone, Penny is sure this is a way for her to get noticed by him. There is also Jacob who, besides trying to recover from the loss of his wife, is worried about his son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter who are in Hungary. They all have such an important part to play in the story. There are also background characters that are just as important and yet don't have as big of parts.
Young Peter who has been unable to speak since the day his father left. Penny's parents and the secret they have kept and even Roy the young man on the bus. They are all part of the rich tapestry that is this story. I can't imagine the story without them. They all start out with their own tale, but as the story continues on they all become wrapped together and become part of each other's lives.
For me one of the most interesting storylines was Jacob's. How he waited to hear from his son in Hungary. How he worked behind the scenes to send money to different charities to get money over to Europe and save as many of the Jews as possible. Sometimes we forget that not only did Hitler affect families over in Europe, there were many families over here waiting for years to hear word of missing family members.
It is interesting to read a story like this in that it is a reminder that there are numerous families right now in America with family members overseas. They are all making new memories without that loved one there to share it with them. It is a great calling to defend our country, but it costs the families much.
Happy Reading

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

T.L. Hines

Dear Readers,
Author T.L. Hines for me has been the go-to author when I need something that is not easily explaine.d. His books are not only different, they are not ones you can put in a certian category. I could put them in horror, but they are not really scary. I could put them in fantasy, but they are not that either. Thriller might be about as close as I can get and yet that doesn't really fit either as there is usually not a big mystery involved.

The Falling Away is T.L.'s newest and I read it over the weekend. I needed something very different to seperate me from the books I had been reading and to get away from having to bring my youngest to college. There was little or no emotional attachment for me to any of the characters, which usually makes for a difficult read for me. With this book it wasn't a problem and that may have been because the storyline was interesting enough.Dylan is a chosen one or so he has been told by several people. First by his buddy in Iraq who was killed by a roadside bomb and now by this strange woman he just met. He has no idea why he is chosen or what that means, but he doesn't believe them anyways. How can he be chosen for anything?

Quinn knows there is something special and 'chosen' about Dylan, even if he doesn't. She is in a spiritual battle every day of her life. She is part of the Falling Away and her job is to keep an eye on a cult that has a demonic leader. Her job is to keep them from 'infecting' others and to keep any of the Chosen away from the compound.

See, now you understand why I have a terrible time button holing these books. They are good and interesting stories that don't really follow the status quo. There was nothing really scary about the book, but it did make me think about the different things brought up in the book.

Happy Reading

Monday, September 27, 2010

New Releases Sept. 20-25

Dear Readers,
Divine Appointment - Charlene Ann Baumbich
A Secret Identity - Gayle Roper
Code Triage - Candace Calvert
Pursuit of Justice - DiAnn Mills
Judgement Day - Wanda L. Dyson
Simply Sara - Hillary Manton Lodge
The Perfect Blend - Trish Perry
World's End -Tim Lahaye/Jerry Jenkins (Left Behind books #10-12)
Catching Moondrops - Jennifer Erin Valent
A Prairie Christimas Collection - Various authors

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Aliison Pittman

Dear Readers.
For Time and Eternity by Allison Pittman is not a book I would have picked up on my own. It's cover isn't all that exciting and the subject isn't one that interested me. It is set in the mid-1800's and is about the Mormon movement west. Having read the back as a precurser to reading it, it made me think of a couple different books that I had heard about or just read on this topic. But Gary my rep from Tyndale sent me a copy and I agreed to read it. I just didn't get it read before it released.

The main story in this book is Camille and how she feels the Mormon church really lets her down. She falls in love with Nathan and runs away from home to marry him. He belongs to a group that sounds a lot like the church that her family belongs to. They sing the same songs and know all the same Bible stories. So she
doesn't understand why the people in her church are afraid of them, don't they all worship the same God?

When Camille finds out the church is telling Nathan it is time to take a second wife, she rebells. She sees it as the ultimate betrayal, by her husband but also her church. It is what drives her back to her Bible and to reading it to her two daughters. What she finds in between the pages changes everything for her. It makes her realize the difference between true Christianity and Mormonism.

I found this book very interesting and actually a hard read. It is not a 'happy' book by any stretch of the imagination. It is a story of a woman caught in a horrible and almost abusive relationship. A relationship that is encouraged by her church, which should be a safe place, not one that points fingers and finds fault in others. There is one scene in the church where the leader asked the congregation if there is anyone that hasn't been baptized yet. The people are not encouraged to confess for themselves but to tell if someone else is the one to blame. Yikes! I can't imagine going to a church that would ask me to 'tattle-tale' on someone else.

So this was a good read and it was a good reminder of what grace is all about.
Happy Reading

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bethany Pierce

Dear Readers,
I have found a new favorite author in Bethany Pierce. Her books are not a light read, but they sure are interesting. Her first one, Felling for Bones, is about a 16 year old's struggle with anorexia. Like I said not an easy read.
Amy Inspired is about Amy Gallagher, I know shocking, who has one constant in her life, she makes lists. Whether is is about what to get at the grocery store or what to do in downtown when she makes a trip there to all the rejection slips she receives, she makes lists. She is a writer by title, but she is an adjunct professor by paycheck. She has never had anything published and is looking to change that. She never had being a professor on her dream jobs list. The saying is those who can't, teach. Well Amy is proof of that.
I really liked this book. The characters are fun and interesting. I liked Amy just because of all of her flaws. She isn't perfect and even is sometimes a bit self-centered. Zoe, Amy's housemate is the product of two hippies falling in love and marrying. She is a free spirit who likes to question why you do things. She even is willing to ask the questions about why things are done. But when her mother's breast cancer comes back, her world begins to fall apart.
Amy is one of those characters I would love to sit down with and get to know better. We have very little in common. She's 30ish, single and a writer. I am not 30ish and read, not write. She has just been dumped unceremoniously by her boyfriend, I married my high school sweetheart. She teaches at the local college, I never went to college. So you can see how little we really do have in common. Yet I feel like we could be friends.
Now I do want to mention that when this book was presented to us, the publisher said that at the publishing house not everyone liked this book. It was broken down to very clear lines of readers. It wasn't men and women either, but I don't want to say what they were as it may make you not want to read it. So just remember that and then read it anyways and enjoy it thoroughly.
Happy Reading

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Francine Rivers

Dear Readers,

After having to wait 8 very long years since Francine Rivers' last novel, she graced us with two this year. Her Mother's Hope released in March, and is now being followed by Her Daughter's Dream. In this second book we continue the story of Marta, Hildie and Hildie's daughter Carolyn. If you haven't read the first book yet you may want to read that first before reading this review as I may give you too much of a good thing and reveal something about that story you don't want to know.

This book picks up right where the first left off. Marta is trying to help Hildie and her family while Hildie is battling Tuberbulosis a second time. No one is sure she will recover and she just wants to go home to die or recover, whichever comes first. Marta moves in and takes over Hildie's house and family. The relationship between Hildie and her daughter, Carolyn, is forever changed. Hildie is sure she has lost her daughter to her mother forever.
Carolyn grows up believing her mother doesn't love her. She figures the only one who loves her and wants her around is her Oma. She loves being with her and when she moves in next door Carolyn is sure that she is now safe.

Ok enough of the storyline, you can read about that yourself. Her Daughter's Dream takes you on a wonderful journey of forgiveness but also friendship and understanding family. Even when we are related to each other doesn't always mean we understand each other. I for one will be the first to say I don't always understand my family and I grew up with them. :-)
I have to say that not only is this a good story, it is a neat story of America's history. It starts in book one with the WWI and continues on through out our history to modern day. Stories include WWII, Vietnam, Woodstock and the peace movement and through to 9/11. It was fun to relive some of what I remember and learn how some of that affected families that I don't remember.
I hope you can just savor this book by Francine as it might be the last one you get to read for awhile. :-)
Happy Reading

Monday, September 13, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Susan Meissner

Dear Readers,
Those of you have been reading my reviews for years already know this. I love Susan Meissner's books. My favorite has long been Shape of Mercy, but I fell in love with her many years ago while reading Why the Sky is Blue. She writes stories and characters that I become very attached to. They become like good friends that I never want the story to end even though I so can't wait to find out what happens in the story.
Lady in Waiting is Susan's newest and I could hardly wait to get my hands on a copy right after my rep from Waterbrook presented it to me. Because he is one of the best reps I have, Stuart, with Joel's help, sent me a copy a few weeks ago. I could hardly stand to finish the book I was reading to start it. It is so very good and I can't wait for you to read it.
This book is the story of two Janes. One lives in Manhattan and is trying to recover from when her husband walked out of their marriage after 22 years together. She is trying to find herself and meaning in it all when she discovers a old ring in a box sent over from Britain. She is drawn into the story of the second Jane.
Lady Jane Grey lived in the 16th century and most of her life is decided by politics and the grabbing for power. Her story is told through the eyes of her dressmaker Lucy. It is an interesting perspective on the political scene of the time. Lady Jane wants to marry for love, but understands that she can not. When circumstances force her to accept things that she doesn't want to, it may cost more than her heart.
In the style of Shape of Mercy, this book flashes back and forth between present and past. It is not a problem to follow the storyline, but I always found myself so caught up in one side of the story that I wouldn't want it to end. Then just a quickly I would get caught up in the next storyline that I wouldn't want that one to end. Oh well the problems of reading fiction. :-)
I know that if you liked Susan's other books you will love this one. If you haven't read them all yet contact me at the store and I can see if we carry it or if it is one of her out of print books let me know and I can see if our used book department has a copy. To let you know how good her books are, our used books doesn't get many copies of her books, which means people/libraries hang on to them until they are gone.
Happy Reading

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ted Dekker

Dear Readers,

Tuesday Sept 7th Immanuel's Veins by Ted Dekker releases to the reading world. This book is causing a bit of a stir and not for the reasons I may have guessed and not even in a country I would have thought. More on that in a minute.

Immauel's Veins is a vampire book. Not along the lines of Twilight, but more like Dracula. 18th century Russia is the setting for the book, which actually even gives it that Dracula feel. If you are a fan of Ted's then you have been waiting for this book to release. If you are one who doesn't like Ted's writing, this book will not change your mind.

Ted loves to push the envelope a bit with every book and this one is no different. In fact that is what is causing all the controversy. The publisher that carries his book in the Netherlands has refused to carry this one because it is "too racy."

Interesting. I have read this book and didn't really have any parts that made me uncomfortable. The people in the story are beautiful/handsome and they are very much sexual beings. This story struck me as being almost about the dance that we all seem to have with evil. I know Ted has described it as the story of God's pursuit for us, but I even had more of a feel that it was about our struggle with the attractiveness of evil. It may seem like something we really want and yet it isn't something that is good for us.

The hero of this book tries to stand between his two charges and the temptation of the evil that is trying to lure them in. He continues to try to do what is right, what he is called to do, which is let no harm come to them. When the girls are lured to the new neighbor's castle, Toma knows that trouble will come from it. He had been warned.

There is really nothing else I can say about the storyline without giving too much away, which then would take away from your pleasure of reading this book.

The critics of this book are asking those who read it, what is too much? Ted's argument that this book isn't too racy is based on the Song of Solomon in the Bible. He says we were created sexual beings and there is nothing wrong with sex. I am not going to argue that here, but it does make me think about what is right or wrong for Christian fiction. What is too much?

I really enjoy reading books that don't leave me comfortable. Ted's books have done that on several occasions. I have read Steven James' books and they have had lots of complaints about their violence. Yet if you are going to ask tough questions then you need more than a paper cut to have someone sweat over those questions.

If Ted had written a tame book, would it make you think about God's pursuit of us? If there is no tempation then why worry as we will never have left His side. In this fallen world there is nothing that comes in neat little packages and nothing comes with easy answers. Who hasn't had that friend ask those questions that we have not had the answers to. Some of them are because we have never experienced something. Sometimes a fiction book can do that for you. Sometimes it can point you in the right direction and sometimes it also offers you a chance to think things through by yourself.

I am not sure where you are on the spectrum of why you read fiction, but each of us reads for different reasons. I like to read to get away, to learn and to understand. I know that fiction has given me insight into things I would never experience. That is when it becomes a learning experience and I can hopefully use that knowledge to help someone else either by answering questions or having some insight into that experience.

Happy Reading