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

Monday, September 6, 2010

New Releases August 30 - Sept. 3

The Bridge of Peace - Cindy Woodsmall - #2 in Ada's House series
Pearl in the Sand  - Tessa Afshar
Second Chance Bride - Vickie McDonough
A Very Private Grave - Donna Flatcher Crow
McKenzie - Penny Zeller
Tender Vow - Sharlen McLaren - She will be in our store on Oct. 1st.
A suitor for Jenny - Margaret Brownley