Thursday, December 29, 2011

Elizabeth Camden

Dear Readers,
Elizabeth Camden is new to the fiction market.  Her first book, The Lady of Bolton Hill released this year in June.  It has done very well for a first book of an unknown author.  I haven't had a chance to Rose of Winslow Street, The, Elizabeth Camden, 978-0-7642-0895-9read it, so when I had a chance to read her second book, The Rose of Winslow Street, I quickly took it (they are not a series).
Lady of Bolton Hill, The, Elizabeth Camden, 978-0-7642-0894-2Libby, short for Liberty, and her father recieve notice that someone has moved into their house and claimed the house is theirs, not the Sawyer's.   Michael has brought his family all the way from Romania and lays claim to the house because it belonged to his long lost uncle.  He needs a safe place to start over, but gives very little reason why, he just plows ahead to provide for his sons and sister.  This does not win him any friends.   
When an unlikely friendship developes between Libby and Michael, her father feels betrayed, but Libby finds herself accepted and loved by Michael and his whole family.  Michael knows that his uncle wanted him to have the house for a reason, but he can't figure out why.  When they are kicked out of the house by the courts, Michael begins to wonder if he will ever understand why his uncle left him the house.   
I wasn't sure how much I was going to like this book, but I really did enjoy it completely.  It is a sweet little romance with a bit of a mystery to it.  It is not a complicated mystery and it isn't even the main storyline, but it does make the book more interesting.  Elizabeth also adds a couple different things to the book that make this not just a "regular" historical romance.  She actually gives Libby the inablility to read.  So even though she is a very talented artist, she is looked at as stupid because of her inablility.  Which is just an different approach to a character.  
This book would be a perfect read for those longer winter nights, when all you want to do is curl up in front of the fire with a warm cup of hot chocolate.
Happy Reading

P.S. Elizabeth's books are available at Baker Book House or by request at

Monday, December 26, 2011

New Releases Dec. 19 - 24th

Dear Readers,

Christmas has past.  Most parties are over and many people are already focused on New Years and what they will be doing that day. 

If you are reading this on Dec. 26th at 9:00 am EST I am at my last Christmas party.  My family is opening presents this morning and then having a birthday celebration for my son.  He turns 25 this year.  My how times flies. 

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and that your New Year will be filled with thousands of blessings.

Happy Reading

The Sound of Red Returning - Sue Duffy
The Mulligans of Mt. Jefferson - Don Reid
Love Blooms in Winter - Lori Copeland

P.S. These books are available at Baker Book House or by request at

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

New Releases Dec. 12 - 17th

Dear Readers,

Some of you already know this, due to a housefire we rebuilt our house a few years ago.  One of the things I wanted in the house was plenty of room for family to come visist.   So we put in a finished basement (my husband did that work) and a loft and a large kitchen/dining/living area.  Plenty of room for all. 

Because of all this room we started a tradition with our kids, grown and moved out and grandkids.  One night of the holiday season they all come and sleep over night.  We open presents that evening if it works out or like last year and again this year we open them in the morning.  We watch movies until it is time for the grandkids to head to bed and then the adults play video games until the wee hours of the morning.  We eat to much and drink hot coco and wassel.  We laugh and joke and just generally have a great time. 

The first time I asked about it I wasn't sure the kids would be on board, but they ask every year to do it again.  This year we were a bit worried about fitting it in with Christmas being on Sunday and my work schedule and two of the kids having started new jobs.  Would we be able to fit it all in?  So this year it will be Christmas night we will be staying up until the wee hours and enjoying each other's company, then opening presents the next morning.  I can hardly wait.

Thank you for sharing some of my favorite holiday memories and traditions.  I pray you have a great and wonderful holiday. 

Happy Reading

The Shadow of Your Smile - Susan May Warren
Unhallowed Ground - Mel Starr
A Darkly Hidden Truth - Donna Fletcher Crow

Friday, December 16, 2011

Beth Webb Hart

Dear Readers,
Sometimes I wonder if I like Beth Webb Hart's book only because they are all set in South Carolina.  Of course I start reading them and remember that I like them because they are good.   
Sunrise on the Battery is once again set in Beth's beloved Charleston.  I have never heard her actually say that, but the way she writes about the city you can tell it is her favorite city in the world.  I can't disagree with her as I love Charleston and never get to spend enough time there whSunrise on the Battery, , n9781595542007en we do visit.  
On Christmas Eve Mary Lynn prays that her husband will find faith.  Little does she know how that will change her life forever.  Jackson and her are considered "come-yas" in Charleston,  which means they are not old money, but someone who has made their money recently.   
Things are looking up for them, they are getting asked to the right parties and to join the right country club.  Life is good.  Their daughters are doing well in school, they are excelling in many different fields and it looks like they will get into the right college.  So why does Mary Lynn think Jackson needs to know Jesus?  That is the question Mary Lynn asks herself when things start getting a bit crazy around her house.
I don't often find myself jealous of people in a book, but this book opens with the family celebrating Christmas in Charleston and it is a lovely warm day.  Mary Lynn goes out on a run and it is considered chilly because it is in the 50's.  Of course here in Michigan it is hanging around freezing and it is cold, windy and rainy/sleeting.  Then the day after Christmas they leave on a vacation to England.  Sigh.  
Oh well as I read more of the book I got less jealous as I read about all the hoops they are jumping through to be one of the crowd.  That I didn't and don't envy at all.  In fact as I read about it, I came to the conclusion that I would never fit in because I found most of the stuff they were talking about a waste of time.  So I guess I will never be one of them. 
I guess I will just have to stick to reading good books about it and then I can remember to thank God that he has me just where I should be.
 Happy Reading

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Book of the Year 2011

Dear Readers
It is that time of year again.  I feel like I just wrote a blog on my favorite book for 2010 and here it is already December and I haven't written the one for this year.  I have known for quite a while which book I was going to pick and I bet over half of you already know who the winner is, but I still want to announce it for those who don't know and of course for the prestige that goes with this award.  (Haha.)Love Amid the Ashes: A Novel, , r9780800734077
Love Amid the Ashes by Mesu Andrews is this year's winner.  It is the one book that I kept comparing the other books to when I thought about the book of the year.  It was the one book this year that just completely caught my attention.  There are so many good books that release every year, but I am always looking for that one book that just stands out from the crowd for me.   
For those of you who don't remember this is a telling of the story of the book of Job.  It is a bit different from some of the traditional thinking of Bible scholars, but that doesn't take away from the story.  In fact when I have talked to different people who have read the book it seems to make it even more interesting to them.  They had the same experience as I did, it made us want to read the Bible story and to look into the whos and whys and thoughts on Job and his story.
The bookclub that I belong to just read and discussed this book and we as a group really enjoyed the book.  It doesn't happen often that we all like a book, which makes for a lively discussion, but we did.  What was so interesting is the many different reasons we liked the book.  Some because of BIblical content, some just because it is a really good story and some because it made them really dig deeper in to the Bible story.  We had a wonderful conversation that actually lead into many different threads and even at one point wandered away from Job into even deeper topics.  That was so interesting.  
I know that Mesu is working on her next book, Love's Sacred Song, which is about the Song of Solomon and the woman who inspired that book of the Bible.  It is due to release in March of next year.  I also happen to know she is working on a third book, but for the life of me I can't remember the topic of that one.  This means that she is going to be releasing good books for years to come.  
Happy Reading

Monday, December 12, 2011

New Releases Dec. 5-10

Dear Readers,

One of the things we used to do for Christmas is something I missed a lot.  When the kids were little the church we belong to had the children's Christmas program on Christmas morning.  Now over all it made for a very very busy morning as the kids had to be to church early.  ( Now you understand why we did stockings on the Sunday before)  But putting that aside, it is a wonderful tradition.  Who better to have in the front of church on Christmas morning than children. 

They had all the traditional parts of the typical Christmas play.  Little ones singing Away in the Manger, Mary and Joseph, and shepherds in bath robes.  They ended it with the singing of the Hallelujah chorus with the choir, but anyone in the audience could join in if they wished.  Which is how those services should end.  It never failed to bring tears to my eyes.

This program led to one of my family's favorite Christmas memory.  Stay with me on this, my son who is now 24 was all of 3 or 4 and was one of the young ones singing.  The song was Come on Ring those Bells and the kids were suppose to shake their little jingle bells.  Well we could see Brian was getting angry and we could not figure out why.  Well when he finally made it to our seat we asked him what was wrong and much to our surprise he flings the bells down and says "My stupid bells don't work." 

Ok how do you in a church full of people keep from falling out of your pew from laughter.  We to this day have a set of bells on the tree that don't work, just because of that little story.

Sorry this is so long
Happy Reading

Smitten by Colleen Coble/Kristin Billerbeck/Diann Hunt/Denise Hunter
The Rose of Winslow Street – Elizabeth Camden
The Maid of Fairbourne Hall – Julie Klassen
Summer of Promise – Amanda Cabot
The Keeper – Suzanne Woods Fisher
The Captive Heart – Dale Cramer
Chasing Mona Lisa – Tricia Goyer/Mike Yorkey

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Ideas for... Her

Dear Readers,

For me this list is actually harder to write than the guy list I released earliy.  There are so many good books that release every year the trick is to not make the list to long.   Any reader no matter the genre they enjoy most should be able to put several books on their list.  Which of course makes it so much easier for us shoppers. 

Of course there is the problem of having read it already.  So that is where I try to make my list fit.  These books are newer releases, most with in the last 3 months.   There are a couple that may be older than that, but they are books that I feel are worth bringing up again.  

Don't forget to check the List for Him for ideas also.

Happy Shopping

Wonderland Creek - Lynn Austin
Love Amid the Ashes - Mesu Andrews
To Die For - Sandra Byrd
A Lasting Impression - Tamera Alexander
Lonestar Angel - Colleen Coble
Tall, Dark, and Determined - Kelly Eileen Hake
Longing - Karen Kingsbury
A Sound Among the Trees - Susan Meissner
Attracted to Fire - DiAnn Mills
The River Queen - Gilbert Morris
Forsaking All Others - Allison Pittman
Valley of Dreams - Lauraine Snelling

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Penelope Stoks

Dear Readers,
The Blue Bottle Club by Penelope J. Stokes orginally released in 1999.  It didn't have a great cover, but hidden inside was a fantastic story.  It was one of those books that I kept recommending even after it went out of print.   
That is why I am happy to report that Blue Bottle is once again available.  I am not sure how long Thomas Nelson will be offering it, but if you haven't read it before, grab it now or put it on your Christmas wish list while you have the chance.
Product Image for Blue Bottle Club by Penelope J. StokesOne Christmas day in 1929 four teenage girls wrote down their hopes and dreams for their own futures.  They put them all in a unique blue bottle and then hid it in the rafters of the house.  The next day life continues and they forget that the bottle is waiting for their return.
Years later, reporter Brenna Delaney is given the bottle and she sets out to find the girls and to see how their lives really turned out. 
That was what made this book so very interesting, each girl had some very specific dreams for herself, and yet God had other ideas.  Were they better? Sometimes yes, and sometimes it was harder than expected, but isn't that true about real life.  It is never what we planned out, but it always gets us to where God plans us to be.  
Happy Reading

Monday, December 5, 2011

New Releases November 28- December 3

Dear Readers,

One of the traditions that we have at our house that is a bit different than anyone elses is when Santa brings the stuff for the stockings.  This is a tradition we got from my husbands family so I have no claim to this idea.  Santa has so many houses to go to on Christmas eve, he goes to some very special houses on the Sunday before Christmas. 

So the Sunday before Christmas is when we opened stockings at our house.  Which turned out to be one of the best things we did.  It was a lot less pressure on that morning.  The kids had a time to enjoy the presents they recieved in the stocking and as parents we didn't have to rush off to Christmas service which as most you experience is quite full. 

We still do this tradition with our adutl children and grandkids.  It does make it a bit busier as now they come in for the morning and have breakfast with us before headed off to their own churches, but it is such a wonderful time for the family.  It is a time that we all take time to just enjoy each others company and laugh.  It is actually one of my favorite times during the holiday. 

Happy Reading

The Resurrection of Nat Turner - The Witnesses - Sharon Ewell Foster
H2O - Austin Boyd/Brannon Hallingsworth
Love finds you in Annapolis, Maryland - Roseanna M. White
Love finds you in Folly Beach, South Carolina - Loree Lough

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas ideas for... Him

Dear Readers,

I did a list for you called gift ideas for him/her last year.  I had a few people comment that they liked the list and it gave them some ideas.  So I thought I would try it again.  

Remember these book are not just for men.  I have read most of them and enjoyed them completely, I just know (as you all do) that there is a small difference (;-) between what woman like to read and what men like to read.  So ladies don't hesitate to put these book on your list.

The Joshua Covenant - David and Diane Munson
Courageous - Randy Alcorn
Pattern of Wounds - J. Mark Bertrand
Book of Dreams - Davis Bunn
The Guardian - Robbie Cheuvront/Erik Reed
Third Starlighter - Byran Davis
Forbidden - Ted Dekker/Tosca Lee
Day of War - Cliff Graham
Targets Down - Bob Hamer
The Queen - Steven James
Wolfsbane - Ronie Kendig
The Bone House - Stephen Lawhead
Night of the Living Dead Christian - Matt Mikaltos
The Tehran Initiative - Joel Rosenberg

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

David and Diane Munson

Dear Readers,
A few short weeks ago, I did a blog about the visit of David and Diane Munson.  At the time I had mentioned that I had not yet had a chance to read their newest book, The Joshua Covenant.  Well I finished the book and am happy to say, I was right, if you liked their other books, you will like this one.
The Joshua CovenantBo Rider, a much beloved character from earlier books, is back and he is once again saving the world from itself.  Bo is assigned to the embassy in Isreal and in no time he is knee deep in a case that could decide the relationship between Isreal and the USA.   
Is there a mole at work in the embassy?  Who do you trust when you can't trust anyone?  Bo is using his own name for the first time on an assignment and it leaves him feeling uncomfortable.  Along with that new feeling he is also able to take his family along, which is a new experience for them all.
The best thing about the Munsons' books is that they are fast paced and yet something you could share with the whole family.  Even though they are about espionage, they are very family friendly.
If you ever get a chance to meet the Munsons they are a very interesting couple.  They are regular visitors to the bookclub I belong to and are heading up a new adventure that they have graciously included me in, Author Encounter, which will take place in May of 2012.  If you are interested in more info, contact me or the Munsons at their website. 
Happy Reading

Monday, November 28, 2011

New Releases Nov. 21-26

Dear Readers,

Let the shopping begin. 

Those of you who know me know that I am not a big fan of Chrsitmas Novellas.  I usually find them to short or to cheesy.  Every year though I do try to read one or two.  I will confess I have read one already this year and as you can tell there is no review of one so I didn't like it.  Not only was it cheesy, it was a complete rip off of another Christmas favorite.  I know that happens all the time, but at least most authors try to hide that they are doing that by changing names etc...  This author did not and I found that sad.  I really have enjoyed this authors other books and had such high hopes for this one.  Oh well, that is how it goes.

Maybe I will have to read a kids Christmas book instead.  Those are usually just the right fit for Christmas or maybe I will just watch my favorite version of A Christmas Carol, which is actually a musical.  Which when my family watches it we all sing along and have a grand ole time. 

What is one of your favorite Christmas traditions?  I almost hate to confess this, my families traditions are usually just a bit off center, but they are our traditions and we will stick with them.   I hope to be sharing a few of those over the next couple of weeks.  

Happy Reading. 

The Loom - Shella Gillus
Mind over Madi  - Linda Schab
Protection for Hire - Camy Tang

Friday, November 25, 2011

Kathi Macias

Dear Readers,
There are a few authors who will take issues that affect us and our world head on.  Kathi Macias started doing it in her Extreme Devotion series.  She wrote about Christians from around the world who were standing firm in the faith even in the face of persecution.  Each book was a candid look at their lives and what they live with every day.
In Deliver Me from Evil Kathi once again takes on a subject that we all hear about. Many then quickly turn a deaf ear to because it is too difficult to deal with or we just don't believe it happens anywhere, let alone here in America. The subject is human trafficking, with sex slaves being her focus.  Deliver Me from Evil (Freedom), , nbs9781596693067
Yes it is something that happens around the world.  In fact it is easy to say, yes it happens in third world countries,  so it is something that I don't really need to worry about.  Well whether you and I want to admit it, it happens in our own backyard.  Yes in West Michigan. 
Mara is sold into slavery by parents just trying to get money for their next hit of drugs.  Her uncle brings her to America where she becomes his slave, sold to the highest bidder over and over again. 
Chanthra's parents thought they were actually send their daughter to a better life.  They are so poor they knew they wouldn't be able to provide properly for her and her sibling, so with the promise that their daughter will be raised by a rich family looking to help someone less fortunate, they take the money and her fate is sealed. 
Jonathan is just trying to find purpose in his life.  He graduates in a couple of weeks and has no idea why he is headed to college let alone a Christian college.  One fatefull night these three lives intersect in one very brief moment, but in that brief moment no one is left the same. 
Some of this book is harder to read than other parts.  Jonathan and his family are an all American family.  There are many things that are perfect and yet not perfect in their lives.  But they also are not afraid to take on an issue that is both frightening and larger than most of us are able to understand.  Mara and Chanthra's stories are difficult to read at all times.  I found myself wanted to skip parts of it because it just wasn't something I wanted to face, but I made myself read them so I could understand better what these girls go through.  They face this life chosen for them day after day, with no break and no thought that they are human.  They are treated only as an object or worse.  This is not a life that any of us would wish on anyone no matter what and that it is happening to young men and woman and children is unbelievable. 
This is not an easy subject to read about or talk about.  In fact I have tried to end this review several different ways and I keep finding myself just getting preachy and frustrated.  It is not easy mostly because I found myself in the book getting more and more angry at the men and women who ran the places, the men who visit, anyone who would do this to a young child. And I was totally upset at those who know who is doing it and where it is happening and do nothing about it.   So the best thing I can tell you is read this book and then be prepared to learn more about this difficult topic in order to do something about it.
Happy Reading

Monday, November 21, 2011

New Releases Nov. 14 - 19

Dear Readers,

I know this is a couple days early, but Happy Thanksgiving.  I hope you have a chance to spend time with family and friends, relaxing, eating and maybe getting a chance to read.  We are having my husband's family over for the day.  It is the first time Mom (-in-law) has not hosted the party.  I am looking forward to an fun day filled with all the wonderful things that make for great memories. 

I don't know about your house, but the football game will be on starting right at the opening kickoff.   My in-laws are huge Detroit Lions fans.  Which this year means they can actually hope for a good game with a victory.  In years past, well let's just say, being a Lion fan has built lots of character in people.  Lions fans are long suffering, but very proud of their team.  There will be loads of yelling at the TV as the armchair quaterbacks/coaches will think they know better.  Ah well that is what makes Thanksgiving day fun. 

I was actually thinking of including a list of what I was thankful for and the list got longer and longer, so I will stick to a few.  Family, friends, a job I love and books, of course books.   What are you thankful for?

Happy Reading.

Tall, Dark, & Determined - Kelly Eileen Hake
The Blue Bottle Club - Penelope J. Stokes - release

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cliff Graham

Dear Readers,
Ok, so hang with me on this review.  No I am not completely crazy.  (Of course my kids would disagree with me on that.)  Anyways, I have always thought about the different personalities that books would have if they had them.  Romantic comedies would giggle a lot, guy books would grunt and lift weights, historical books would smell like smoke. 
Day of War by Cliff Graham would be the confident guy in the room that knows how good he is at something with no need to brag about it.  This book makes no apology for what kind of book it is.  It is a rough, macho, strong book.  It is about war and raids.  It is about a time when men Day of War (Lion of War Series), , n9780310331834protected their families and cities by destroying other towns and families.  Living was tough and the people even tougher.  But mostly this is the story of David and the men who followed him into exile when he fled from King Saul. 
The book opens with one of David's men helping out a village to rid it of a lion that has been terriorizing them.  This scene alone will tell you whether or not you will want to continue with the book.  It is grusome is spots, it is gritty and sometimes not easy to read, but it is fast paced and I knew right away this was a book I wanted to read.
I am wanting to say so much about this book, but it is one that you need to experience to actually understand it.  It has been a little while since I have had a chance to read a "can't lay it down"  book.  This is one.  It kept me completely interested and wanting more.  Maybe because it is so fast paced in spots and yet in others it was just about living in 998 BC.  This is one of those must-reads that I will recommend to men and women alike, and it makes me want to read the rest of the series. 
Happy Reading

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Steven James

Dear Readers, 
It is not often that I get to host a New York Bestselling author here in the store.  Now that doesn't mean our store hasn't hosted its fair share of them, just that in ficiton they are harder to get here.  But this coming Friday night Steven James will be in our store at 7:30 pm. 
Queen, The, Steven James, 978-0-8007-3303-2He is one of my favorite authors because of his fiction books.  The Patrick Bower series is one that I recommend over and over again to people who are looking for that really good thriller.  There are not many books that keep me up at night out of sheer terror of the bad guys, but Patrick deals with some really ugly characters and I did lose some sleep over them.  Of course only until Patrick came along and solved the crime so I could sleep again.
I don't know what struck me most when I met Steven the first time he was here in the store.  That he is such a great story teller or that he does not look like someone who would write thrillers.  He has such a passion for telling and writing great books that comes through in everything he talks about.  It is something he lives everyday.  He teaches workshops on it, he leads weekends for new authors wanting to learn the craft of storytelling.   He encourages, supports and pushes fellow authors to write better and better.  It is no less than what he requires for himself. 
If you want to hear the heart of a true storyteller, come join me here at the store on Friday November 17th at 7:30 and meet Steven James.
Happy Reading

Monday, November 14, 2011

New Releases

Dear Readers,

There is something running on Facebook for the month of November.  Everyday you are suppose to write something you are thankful for.  I didn't get started with everyone so I haven't been doing it, but everyday I read my different friends responses makes me think about what I am thankful for today.  It is interesting to see what others are thankful for. 

Depending on age and marital status, kids, jobs etc... there has been a wide variety to things to be thankful for.  It is a wonderful reminder to write that out for ourselves once and awhile. The book 1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp reminds us to do that daily.   Our lives are filled with things we should be thankful for, large and small.  Somedays it is harder to remember them, but maybe those are the days we need to work harder to remember them.

Happy Reading

Amish Wedding - Beth Wiseman/Kathleen Fuller/Kelly Long
As the Sparks Fly Upward - Gilbert Morris

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Robin Parrish

Dear Readers,
I can't believe I didn't write a review for this book before.  I think because I had published Louis' blog about it I kind of forgot to do mine.  When I was doing work for the workshop in Chicago a few weeks ago, I realized I hadn't written my own.  Oops.

I actually almost didn't read Vigilante by Robin Parrish.  I have read all of Robin's other Vigilante, , bpg9780764206085books, and really liked them, until I got to the ends of the books.  That is where they fall flat.  I am happy to report that this book does not have that problem . I really enjoyed reading this book mostly because, for lack of a better term, this is a book about a Christian Batman.

Billboards are popping up around the country. "There is a better way". This phrase doesn't give much to go on.  Media personnel have tried to figure out who is paying for them.  No one has an answer.  That is until the new ones go up.  "I will show you a better way" billboards start appearing with a date in July listed for when it will all be made clear.  That releases a firestorm of excitement in the general public and there is a huge influx of tourists to New York City for that special day.  Who or what could be behind those billboards and what do they mean?

This book was almost like reading a comic book without the panels.  The Hand has all the gadgets which make him almost invinicible.  He also has the talent and training to be able to take down criminals single-handedly.  There is much to this story that you need to let go of for it to be believable.   For instance, two short days after being shot, he is running around saving people.  His outfit is made out of a new and very bullet proof material that would be a great material to have invented.  Of course it does have a draw back if you get tasered. 

One of the threads of the book is the question, can one fight crime and stay above it all.  The Hand finds himself struggling with staying above it all when the Crime Boss brings the fight to his front door.  It was interesting to watch the struggle of doing the right thing even when emotions become involved.  When the Hand was just rescuing unknown people he was able to just judge right and wrong, but once it came into his own life, there is a gray area.  So is it right to fight crime by beating up the criminal? 

All interesting thoughts which of course makes this a very interesting read. 

Happy Reading 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

David and Diane Munson

Dear Readers,
I am going to do something that I don't do very often.  I am going to talk about a book I haven't read yet.  The Joshua Covenant by David and Diane Munson released this past week here at the store.  Which I am excited about anyway, but to make it even more exciting for us, David and Diane are doing their book launch here at Baker this Saturday, November 12th from 1-3. 
I meet David and Diane several years ago while I still worked at the Baker store in Holland MI.  They were first time authors and very excited to promote their book.  Which is what they do very well, they have been the easiest authors to work with as they do most of the work for me. :-)  The Joshua Covenant (Activity Books), , n9780983559009
Anyway, they write what they know and that is intrigue and espionage.  They worked for the government in the Federal Prosecuting office and for the Drug Enforcement Administration, with much time spent on undercover assignments.  Just listening to the stories they have to tell is just fascinating, which translates into their books.
In The Joshua Covenant they bring back one of the most beloved charaters, Bo Rider and his family.  After years of being undercover around the world, Bo is ready to settle in one spot and enjoy his job and his family.  Getting sent to Isreal is probably not a good way to have that happen.   Soon, not only is Bo caught up in a plot jeopardizing himself, his family also faces danger from a different front.
Like I said before, I haven't had a chance to read this book yet, but hope to before the Munsons come to our store.  I do feel comfortable recommending their books to anyone who likes a bit of action adventure and a few spies to keep life interesting. 
Come meet the Munsons on Saturday and learn more about them and their story. 
Happy Reading

Monday, November 7, 2011

New Releases

Dear Readers,

I was just looking over all the different author and artist visit we will have in the store before the end of the year.  I love author visits.  I love meeting with the authors and talking to them and learning about their heart behind the book.  I can remember a book a while ago that I wasn't all that interested in reading, but once I meet the author I understood what they were trying to tell in their story and it made all the difference in the world. 

This past Saturday we had the parents of Colton the little boy in the center of Heaven is for Real.  This coming Saturday, November 5th at 1 - 3 we are having David and Diane Munson in the store for the release of their lastest thriller.  The Friday after that on November 18th at 7:30 Steven James will once again be in our store.  On Black Friday Local author Lynda  Schab will be signing her debut novel for all who come in.

That is when we run out of month, which is probably best, but we also have a few authors or artist signed up to come in December.  So you will have many opportunities to come in and hear from the authors about their own books. 

Happy Reading

This list will include two weeks of releases because of the Christmas list I did last week.

The River Queen - Gilbert Morris
Wild Horses - Linda Byler
Autumn Song - Martha Rogers
Remembering You - Tricia Goyer
His Steadfast Love - Golden Keyes Parsons
Long Trail Home - Vickie McDonough
Joshua Covenant - David and Diane Munson
Long Trail Home - Vickie Mcdonough
Katie's Way - Marta Perry
A Stranger's Gift - Anna Schmidt
Turnabout's Fair Play - Kaye Dacus
The Wedding Quilt - Jennifer Chiaverini
The Opposite of Art - Athol Dickson

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Alice Wisler

Dear Readers,
I have thought about this review for a while now.  I so want to do A Wedding Invitation by Alice Wisler justice, but am having a hard time not just babbling on about the book.  I have almost gotten to the point of saying "just read it, it is a really good book."  but that does not make a good review. :-)
Wedding Invitation, A, Alice J. Wisler, 978-0-7642-0733-4Samantha has some really fond memories of working in the refugee camp in the Philippines and some not so good memories.  The amazing thing is both set of memories involve the same people.  Carson was the guy she worked closely with and thought she was in love with, until he broke her heart.  Lien was a young Amerasian girl that wanted to be liked and loved, but was a little rough around the edges. 
When Sam gets invited to the wedding of a college friend, she is excited to go, but it leads to a very strange weekend.  First, the wedding is the wrong person, and second, it leads to an encounter with Carson that she would rather have never had.  Now she wonders if she will be able to put the past behind her and move forward in love.
I have really enjoy Alice's books.  They don't neatly fit into any one mold.  They are romances and yet that is really not the focus of the book.  They are contemporaries, but are very much an issue driven book.  I also believe that Alice writes with the 20 somethings in mind, but I know that they appeal to many ages. (I am not in the 20 something category  and love them)  So maybe that is why I like them, they are just a bit different.
They do make a wonderful read and I look forward to Alice's next one, which will be out soon
Happy Reading

Monday, October 31, 2011

New Releases - Christmas 2011

Dear Readers,

Happy Halloween, 54 shopping days until Christmas.  YIKES!!!  I am not ready for that and I am not ready for November.  Less than 2 months to Christmas.  Let the rioting begin. 

Ok just kidding about the rioting, but the holidays are just around the corner and I haven't started yet.  Good grief.  Maybe I will just give everyone on my list a book and call it good.  Of course the books would all be used as I would have to read them first.

I wanted to let you all know about the new Christmas fiction for this year.  Many beloved authors are back with a Christmas book and there are some new authors wading into the waters of the Christmas novellas.  You have many titles to choose from to read and then share to pass on the Christmas spirit.

Happy Holidays er umm.  I mean Reading.

Blame it on the Misltetoe - Joyce Magnin
Christmas Memories at Grace Chapel Inn - Tales from Grace Chapel Inn series.
Log Cabin Christmas - Various authors
Naomi's Gift - Amy Clipston
A Lancaster County Christmas - Suzanne Woods Fisher
Remebering Christmas - Dan Walsh
The Christmas Shoppe - Melody Carlson
A Marriage Carol - Chris Fabry/Gary Chapman
The Christmas Singing - Cindy Woodsmall
The Snow Angel - Glenn Beck
Christmas in Sugarcreek - Shelly Shephard Gray
On Christmas Eve - Thomas Kincade/Katherine Spencer

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Alton Gansky & Grant Jeffrey

Dear Readers,
I am not a big fan of 'end times' books & I did go into this book knowing who Grant Jeffrey is and what he studies and writes about.  But since I love Alton Gansky I decided to read this book anyways. I am glad of that and for the most part I liked this book, but it is also what I expected.
What if Israel had plans to rebuild the temple?  What kind of response would that ignite around the world?  What if the only thing holding them back is that they don't have any of the temple artifacts? 
This is idea behind The Scroll by Grant Jeffrey and Alton Gansky. 
Dr. David Chambers has walked away from the career that made him who he was.  In fact it was a career that he loved until he lost his faith in God.  So who or what can draw him back into biblical archeology?
Only one person, David's mentor, Abram Ben-Judah and only if he was offering something very very big.   When David and Abram meet, David is sure he knows what he will say to Abram about his offer, that is until Abram explains that they believe that they have found the 'map' to the temple artifacts.  Is David interested in helping Israel recover their lost treasures? 
So begins this archeology book. It has some very good parts.  Parts that are fast paced, parts that taught me something about the history of the treasures of the temple, and parts that taught me about different prophecies in the Bible.  All which make for a good read.  The only problem I really had with the book was the last few chapters and the Epilogue.  They feel like they were just stuck on the end for no real reason.  They didn't fit with the rest of the story at all.  To me it feels like Grant wanted to make sure we knew about the prophecies in the Bible about the rebuilding of the temple. Which is actually too bad, because until that point this is a pretty good book.
Happy Reading.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lynn Austin

Dear Readers,
Lynn Austin is one of my go-to authors.  When I need just a good story I love picking her books up and reading them.  The only problem is I have read all her books now and have to wait for a new one to come out.  Wonderland Creek by Lynn just released and it was so nice to be able to read it. 
Set towards the end of the depression, it focuses on a need that was created by one of the programs Roosevelt started.  He started funding for libraries all over the country in communties that hadn't had them before.  The problem was, there wasn't enough funding for more books.  Alice hears about the need for books in Kentucky and decides to do a book drive and then bring the books herself.
 Wonderland Creek, Lynn Austin, 978-0-7642-0498-2
It all sounds like a great idea except Alice is just a bit obsessed with books and reading.  It is the only thing that is important to her.  More important than her family, more important than her boyfriend and more important than her friends (I was a bit shocked when she got a book out at a funeral and started reading).  So when she loses her job and boyfriend all in one day she decides to head to Kentucky univited to deliver the books she had collected.
This starts an adventure that Alice was not expecting. She is asked to do things she has never done before.  She learns to cook over a woodburning stove, she survives without electricty, she learns to ride a horse and she learns that reading is not the only thing that is important in the world. 
I really liked this book for several reasons.  It was a good read and I learned about a part of the country that I have visited several times and find just beautiful.  The book is also set in a time period that, in Kentucky, isn't written about much.  It was a difficult place to live anyways and the depression made it even harder.  To learn about the people of that area and what they did to survive, but also help each other, is amazing. 
Now when I read books like this I know God knew what he was doing setting me in this time in history.  I really like running water, indoor bathrooms and electricity.  Cars are great and being able to just get any book I want is awesome.  So there was nowhere in this book I said, "Boy do I wish I lived there/then."  But it was good to read about it.
Happy Reading

Monday, October 24, 2011

New Releases

Dear Readers,

We are experiencing some yucky fall weather here in Michigan.  It is raining, windy and cold.  Now it is not middle of the winter cold, but considering little over a week ago it was 80 out this is cold.  All I ever want to do in this type of weather is stay home under the covers or if I do venture out it would be no farther than the couch in the living room by the fireplace with a great big quilt and a hot cup of tea.  My boss here at the store never agrees with it other than to say she would be coming over also.  I think she misses the point. 

No matter what kind of weather you are having there are a couple of titles this week really interest me.  Brian Davis and his daughter Amanda were in our store this past Friday.  They both write the Spec fiction genre.

The Tehran Initiative - Joel Rosenberg
Love's Surprise - Karen Ball
The Scent of Water - Elizabeth Goudge
The Third Starlighter - Bryan Davis
Lost Melody - Lori Copeland/Virginia Smith
Lonestar Angel - Colleen Coble

Friday, October 21, 2011

Susan Meissner

Dear Readers,
What if the walls of your house could talk?  Would they remember only the tragedies that happen there?  Would they only remember the happy events?  Or would they tell of a wonderful tapestry of both that make up our histories. 
A Sound among the Trees by Susan Meissner takes on that storyline.  Holly Oak is a home that has lots of tragedy but also lots of happiness.  Adelaide, the matriarch of the family, is sure the house is holding a gruge on her family because it was not allowed to do what houses do best, which is to offer safety and comfort from the storms outside its walls, namely the Civil War. 


Marielle is a new bride brought to the house by her husband, who was made a widower by tragic events.  She knows it will be a difficult adjustment for her and the family, but she doesn't expect to meet with resistance from the house.
Now you need to know that this is not a creepy book.  It is not a horror story like Amityville horror, but it is the story of how the past can sometime not let you go so you become stuck in that rut. 
Holly Oak is set in Virginia near Fredricksburg.  Some of the storyline takes place during the Civil War times and tells the tale of a house and its family caught between two armies and trusted by neither.  It is also the story of love and forgivesness.  It is the story of people trying to do what they think is right and true as the time and circumstances dictate. 
Happy Reading

Bryan and Amanda Davis

Dear Readers,
I am not sure where the time has gone, but I lost a week in there somewhere.  Maybe it was the 80 degree weather we were having in Oct. or maybe it is that I don't really want it to be the end of Oct. already, but I had this post ready to go for next week, oops. 
Brian Davis has long been a favorite author at my house.  My son and youngest daughter have both read his books and enjoyed them.  Brian's Dragons in our Midst series was read as fast as the books Third Starlighter (Tales of Starlight), , n9780899578859hit the shelves and both kids were looking for the next one.
When he started writing books for older teens and adults my daughter was glad to continue reading him.  I personally have not read all of his books, but the ones I have read I have enjoyed.  They are interesting and are written with a certain intrigue to them that keeps the readers completely involved.  
I love supporting youth and teen authors who have a wonderful Christian message woven into a good story.  So when I heard that Bryan with his daughter Amanda was coming to visit here at the store I was very excited.  I encourage you to come see them and get to know them a bit.  I meet Bryan years ago at our Holland store and I was stuck at how passionate he was to writing good fiction for teens.  One of his daughters was along and I believe it was Amanda, but I am not 100% positive, and she was in charge of his website at the time.  It really was and obviously still is a family affair for him and his writing.
Precisely Terminated (The Cantral Chronicles), , n9780899578965
Come meet Bryan and Amanda here tonight at 7:00p.m. and listen to them both share about their writing experience. 
Happy Reading

Monday, October 17, 2011

New Releases Oct. 10-15

Dear Readers,

This weekend was a year end time for me.  Each year for the past 5 or so years I have lead workshops to a group of church librarians from around the midwest.  It is loads and loads of fun.  I am getting to know many of them that I only get to see once a year, but that is what makes is so fun. 

What makes it a year end for me is what I speak on.  I do reviews on all the books I have read in the past year.  Every year I start my list for next year the day I get back.  It helps me see what I am reading and if I am trending to one certian genre and then I can make sure I read from other genres.  It also helps me to know if I am reading or not reading enough new authors.  So really this has been a great thing for me.  It also makes me laugh because of the number of books I read a year is very very evident. 

This year I brought a list of 61 books.  I never get through them all, but it does make me realize how many books I read a year.  This does not include books that I have read but haven't released yet, ones I didn't like or I don't think would be good for most church libriaries.  It is stil amazing to me how many I do read and I just don't feel like I am a fast reader.  I don't read until 3 in the morning any more - to old, I need my sleep. LOL - but I still seem to find the time to read.  I guess it really is like breathing to me.

Happy Reading

Valley of Dreams - Lauraine Snelling
A Lasting Impression - Tamara Alexander

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Janice Thompson

Dear Readers,
Swinging on a Star by Janice Thompson is a book that I was asked to read.  Romantic Comedies are great for movies, but for me, not in a book.  Not that this is not a fun little book, just not my favorite genre.
Bella wonders what a normal family would be like.  You know the kind, one that quietly eats dinner together.  One that discusses differences and logically agrees to disagree sometimes.  One that is well ... normal.
 Swinging on a Star, Janice Thompson, 978-0-8007-3343-8
Her family is far from that.  Whether it is the running arguement her Uncle Laz and Aunt Rosa have about who is the better singer, Dino or Old Blue Eyes, a singing bird or just general chaos, her family is not normal.
Throw in a visit from the Food Network, a visiting Hollywood star and a Renaissance wedding, complete with castle and knights in shining armor, and Bella wonders, is anyone going to escape with their sanity intact?
This is book #2 in the Weddings by Bella series and a delight to read.  I do recommend starting with Fools Rush In and follow it with #3 It had to be You.   It wasn't hard to figure out what was going on in book two, but why miss out on the adventure of those other stories, and I can only imagine the adventures that Bella gets into.
Happy Reading

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bob Hamer

Dear Readers,
The one type of book I get asked about the most is 'guy' books. In the Christian market they were sadly somewhat lacking for many years.  If you didn't like history or westerns you were completely out of luck.  

That started to change a few years ago.  It was a slow change as some of the ones that were coming out were just a bit cheesy, but there have been some really good stories.  Steven James, Joel Rosenberg, Ted Dekker, to name a few that have written books that seemed to have the guy reader in mind.

Maybe one of the fastest growing genres in Christian fiction right now is the spy novels.  I haven't done any real research on it, but to me it seems that more and more publishing houses are presenting those type of books.  It probably started with the end times and how you can tie the end of the world in with the hero racing to stop some evil plot.  Those are good, but not exactly what I and most readers were looking for. 
Targets Down by Bob Hamer demonstrates the new type of book that is coming out now.  Spy novels that have the hero racing to save the world without it having anything to do with the end times.  Yes I know this genre has been out for many years, but they seem to be getting better and better at it than before. 
Targets Down is actually the second in the Matt Hogan series.  Enemy Among Us is book number one.  I did not get to read book one, but if I get a chance I would like to.   
Matt goes undercover to figure out who is responsible for the shooting of a wife of a fellow agent and the death of a local pastor.  His investigation leads him to the dark underside of life in Hollywood and Los Angeles.  Drug and human trafficing, Russian mafia and a group of Neo-Nazis make this undercover job harder than any he has been on before. 
Matt needs to be able to balance his family life and his job, which he loves.  He is one of the best, but is his job the best thing for his relationship with his wife?  He may have to decide soon.
I liked this book for its fast pace and how it didn't all always fit neatly into the quick-answer book.  Bob does a good job of leading us down paths where we think are going one way, but actually it's just a smoke screen. 
Ok that is enough of that, I don't want to give away too many clues or you will be able to figure it all out before you even get into the book.  That would be no fun what so ever.  So if you are looking for a good 'spy' novel or a good book for that guy in your life, I strongly recommend Targets Down.
Happy Reading

Monday, October 10, 2011

New Releases Oct. 3 - 8

Dear Readers,

We are in the midst of two wonderful events in West Michigan.  The first has arrived in our city and spend 3 weeks exciting and entertaining the locals and many many tourist.  Art Prize.  It is held the last 2 weekends of Sept - the first weekend of Oct.  1,000 of pieces of art are placed all over the city and people from all over decsend on Grand Rapids to view art they would never go see other wise.   It is a fantastic chance to get out and enjoy downtown.

The second thing that we are in the middle of doesn't always come and almost never at the same time of year other than it is fall and that is Indian Summer.  It is suppose to be in the 80's this weekend.  Which of course requires all of us who live in the north to head outside and try to soak up as much sun and warm temps as we can to save for this winter.  In fact I was outside today for about an hour reading and just enjoying the sun.  

Enjoy the weather as much as you can and enjoy these new books

Happy Reading

A Sound Among the Trees - Susan Meissner
Book of Dreams - Davis Bunn
Kiss of Night - Debbie Viguie'

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Tracie Peterson

Dear Readers,
House of Secrets by Tracie Peterson has not been an easy book to review.  The story line itself was very interesting to read, but the subject matter is not one that is easy to talk about.  Mental illness and the effects it has on all those who are part of the family. 
Bailee, Geena and Piper have known a terrible secret about their father and they have finally come to the conclusion that they need to confront him about it.  They all meet in a cottage the family owns in Washington and that is where the secrets of their family come to light.  House of Secrets, Tracie Peterson, 978-0-7642-0618-4
This was an interesting look at a family dealing with a member's illness.  How it has gone on to affect them all into adulthood.  How it is not a solitary problem, but one that affects any and all that come into contact with the person. 
I think the saddest line that kept repeating itself in the story is "I was just trying to protect you."   The father says it, the older sisters say it and a couple of people say it that were part of the story when the girls were younger.  Secrets can be fun, keeping a secret about a surprise party is always exciting.  Not telling someone what Christmas presents you bought them makes for a memorable Christmas morning.  But other secrets are just harmful.  A child in a dangerous situation needs to tell someone who can help.  If a doctor knows that a patient has a terrible disease, they have to tell.  If a parent does suffer from mental illness a child needs to know when it is age appropreate.   We must also then make ourselves available to become someone who can be trusted with the information and help in anyway we can.
This is not a light read, but a very good one to help us understand what it is like to grow up in this situation.
Happy Reading

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Debbie Viguie'

Dear Readers,
I have not read the Twilight books.  Not interested either.  I have read a couple of Ann Rice's books and enjoyed them, but they are pretty dark and creepy.  Eric Wilson's Jerusalem's Undead series was action packed and a fun read.  But over all Vampire books are not my thing.  Too creepy and why fall in love with the "ultimate" bad boy.  He is dead for Pete's sake.
Kiss of Night by Debbie ViguiĆ©Kiss of Night by Debbie Viguie' may have changed my mind, at least a little bit.  The description of the book includes the tagline, "What would happen if a vampire truly accepted God?"  That question alone made me want to read this book.
Susan travels to Prague with the thought of only burying her beloved Grandmother.  There is something about this city that seems comfortable, but Susan doesn't know why, she has never visited there before. 
When Susan's cousin's life is endangered by a guy she goes on a date with, Susan has a strange encounter with a man who tells her that she has to save her now. 
Raphael has been seeking a relic that was stolen from him during the Crusades.  He thinks he knows where it is and he is determined to get it back, but he will need Susan's help.  How do you tell someone that you are a 'good' Vampire?  How do you get her to trust you?
So if you were to place yourself in the character's shoes during this book, you would find yourself falling for a man that says he is one of the undead.  You would also find yourself in a battle for the world and the souls of all who live.  You must right away change how you do everything because there are creatures out there that a few short days ago you didn't believe in and they are now trying to kill you. I am not sure I would be able to do that.
That leads back to the question mentioned before.  Without giving anything away, can a Vampire become a "good" Vampire and what does that mean?  I know that in some other vampire books you do have good and evil vampires, but this approaches it from a bit of a different point of view.  What does or doesn't happen when someone who is considered evil becomes a believer.  Then also add the thought, can they be forgiven?  All interesting discussion questions, but ones I better stay away from a little as I don't actually want to give anything away. 
This is book #1 of what I am led to believe is going to be a three book series.  I am looking forward to book 2 and I know my daughter is ready to read the next one also. 
Happy Reading
P.S.  I still don't understand the attraction of falling in love with a vampire

Monday, October 3, 2011

New Releases Sept 26-Oct. 1

Dear Readers,

Did anyone else noticed that September went by at the speed of light?  I am still trying to figure out where summer went.  Of course with Oct comes two of my favorite times of the year.  Our full day Librarians Day here at the store and I also teach a couple of workshops at a large Librarian's gathering in Chicago.  I started doing that a few years ago and so enjoy it every year. 

It happens that they are both in the same week this year, so I will be over dosing on fiction books that week, but that is ok.  I can't think of a better thing to do to much of.   Talking fiction is one of those activites I could do all day long and still want to do it again the next day, which makes my job perfect for me.  I can't say which if my favorite, talking or reading fiction.  They are both good hobbies of mine.  How about you? Do you like to talk about fiction as much as read it?

Happy Reading

The Wonder of Your Love - Beth Wiseman
Highland Sanctuary - Jennifer Hudson Taylor
Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride - Sandra D. Bricker
Lethal Remedy - Richard L. Mabry M.D.
Bandit's Hope - Marcia Gruver
The Lady's Maid - Susan Page Davis
10 Plagues - Mary Nealy
Southern Fried Sushi - Jennifer Rogers Spinola