Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Christian Store Week

Dear Readers,
Oct. 1-10 is being called Christian store week here in the Christian bookstore market.   Baker Book Store along with our local Parable store - Kregal - are celebrating the independent Christian bookstores.  We have loads of fun activities all week long, including a silent auciton for 3 orginal art pieces with the proceeds going to World Vision.  These artists has donated their pieces for this auction. 
Another reason to be excited is Fiction author Jody Hedlund is coming to visit on Tuesday Oct. 4th.  She is a Baker Publishing Group author and I am looking foward to meeting her.  She writes historical fiction with a story line that revolves around a real life story.
In The Preacher's Bride, Jody takes on the story of John and Elizabeth Bunyan.  John's first wife had past away and Elizabeth is helping him with his children as are other woman in the church.   This is not a love at first sight love story and even the story afterwards is not a happily ever after story.  They face loss and hardships that most of us can only think of and pray it never happens to our family. 
There is a monument in Wyoming that honors Narcissa Prentiss Whitman & Eliza Hart Spalding at the first white women to cross the Continental Divide.  Jody uses Narcissa's story as the back drop for her newest release The Doctor's Lady.  It is the story of two young people who wish to follow God's calling to become missionaries to the Nez Perce natives. 
As Narcissa and Marcus perpare for their trip west they find out that the mission board won't let two single people of the opposite sex travel together.  They must be married or not go.  So instead of not going and not listening to what they both feel is a call from God, they marry and head west. 
I can't imagine what that was like.  Not only was it a very hard and difficult trip, suddenly you have a spouse that you were not really planning on. Yikes and yet they both moved forward in their call.
I don't know if you have read either or both of these books, but it doesn't matter as now you have the chance to meet Jody and hear her heart in the writing of these books.  I have found over the years that that is something that makes books come to life.  She will be here in the store October 4th at 7:30 p.m.
We also have other authors visiting all week long and I have included a schedule below.  Hope to see you all here.
Happy Reading
Joel Tanis From TV's Come on Over Oct. 1st 10:30 - Noon
Jody Hedlund - Oct. 4th - 7:30 p.m.
George Moss - rap artist and WAY fm DJ - Oct. 5 - 7:30p.m.
Ed Dobson - Oct. 6th at 7:30
Peter Schriemer - Considered the "animal" guy - Will have live critters with him for the kids to learn about Oct. 8 - 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Monday, September 26, 2011

New Release Sept. 19-24

Dear Readers.

The Saturday before this releases I will be running in my first (and maybe last) 1/2 marathon.  You know how it is, something sounds like it will be loads of fun and how hard can it be.  Right?  Well that was my thinking and I was doing fine with the training until the last month or so.  The longer distances that were required started eating in to my Saturdays.  I had to get up early to beat the heat and the couple of hours it takes us to run those distances it made the morning go quickly.  Not to mention the naps I needed after all that running.  But now the training is over and I will have completed my task (hopefully) by the time you read this.  If not I am sure you will read about the woman who took two days to run 13.1 miles. LOL

I have to say that the best part of the training is I was doing it with my oldest daughter.  She has fought off cancer twice and (she hates this;-) is my inspiration for running.  I needed something to motivate me and when she suggested we run the longer runs together, that was all it took.  When my youngest joined us a couple of Saturdays ago there had to be more than one driver who passed us that thought we were crazy, but it was so much fun running, talking and laughing together.  I would run forever if it meant spending times with them. 

So this letter has gone on long enough and the reason I started it was to say, now that I don't have to train so much I can hopefully get even more reading done.  I know that pile of books I want to read never gets any smaller.  How about you, does your must read pile of books ever get any smaller?

Happy Reading

Then Two Hearts Meet - Janelle Mowery
When Love gets in the Way - Janelle Mowery
A Marriage for Meghan - Mary Ellis
The Baker's Wife - Erin Healy
Unexpected Dismounts - Nancy Rue
Dangerous Mercy - Kathy Herman
Love on the Line - Deeanna Gist
A Wedding Invitation - Alice Wisler
House of Secerts - Tracie Peterson
Wonderland Creek - Lynn Austin
Reclaiming Lily - Patti Lacy
Falling to Pieces - Vannetta Chapman

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Gina Holmes

Dear Readers,
Dry as Rain by Gina Holmes is her second book.  I really liked Crossing Oceans but I enjoyed Dry as Rain even more.  Gina has a gift for writing issue driven stories that include wonderful characters.  The characters are very human and you like them at times and you dislike them at times.  They could be our neighbors, family or even ourselves. Which always makes for an interesting read if not a comfortable one.
Eric and Kyra had something wonderful and they promised each other it was forever.  On their way to success they lost each other and the promise they made.  When Kyra finds an Dry as Rain, , n9781414333069incriminating email she tells Eric he needs to leave. 
When Kyra loses her memory, Eric has to decide if what they had is worth figthing for.  With support from a friend and little support from Kyra's sister, he decides it is and goes to work.  But when Kyra gets her memory back will she be able to forgive him?  Will it still be worth it?
Statictics are showing that the greatest number of divorces are happening in marriages that are 20 - 35 years old.  It is happening across the board, in and out of churches.  When asked why, infidelity is still listed as number 1, but running a close second is the "we just grew apart"  reason.  Empty nesters find themselves suddenly having lots of time on their hands and don't know what to do with each other.  They have their own lives and nothing in common with their spouse.  This can even lead into the first problem.
What makes Dry as Rain so interesting is that it is told from Eric's perspective.  He talks a lot about why he did things like earning a living and moving the family into a certain neighborhood and even why he sent and received the email.  I thought it was an interesting perspective on the story that usually gets written from the woman's perspective.  I am not sure how Gina was able to write this perspective so well, but like I said, it is interesting to get the guy's point of view. 
If you haven't had a chance to pick up a book by Gina yet, this is a great place to start.
Happy Reading

Monday, September 19, 2011

New Releases Sept. 12 - 17

Dear Readers,

The seasons here in Michigan are changing.  Fall is coming way to quickly.  They are talking about frost warnings and the high in a couple days is predicted to be only in the 50's.  Brrr.  I am not ready for cold and the awful stuff they call snow, but  I do love the changing of the seasons though.  The crispness in the air, the colors on the trees and apple picking.  Which has become a tradition at our house and so much fun.

I just wish fall could happen while the temps were still in the 70's or 80's.  That way I could still sit outside and enjoy my reading on the front porch.  Of course sitting inside wrapped in a warm quilt drinking hot tea has it's benifits also.

Happy Reading.

Barcelona Calling -- Jane Kirkpatrick
Forbidden - Ted Dekker/Tosca Lee
Heather Song - Michael Phillips
Forsaking All Others - Allison Pittman
Night of the Living Dead Christians - Matt Mikalatos
Attracted to Fire - Diann Mills
Along Wooded Paths - Tricia Goyer
Ballots and Blood - Ralph Reed

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sandra Byrd

Dear Readers,
Ask yourself, how much do you know about Anne Boleyn?  So whatever that amount is, I probably knew less.  I knew she was one of King Henry the VIII.  I knew she didn't have any sons and I knew she was not always viewed in a postive light.  Yup that is about it.
To Die For by Sandra Byrd made me want to learn more about her.  I found out that she really did refuse to sleep with King Henry before she married him, which led to the divorce between him and his first wife.  It also led to the offical break between the church of England and the church of Rome.  Now whether or not she was a woman conniving to be queen, or just a young woman caught up in a power play by those who wanted to win the King's favor, we may never know.  I think that will be debated forever.
 To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn, , n9781439183113
I have to admit that there is a bit of an ironic story as to why I started this book.  I got caught waiting unexpectedly and this book was the only one I had with me at that time.  I figured I might as well start it even though I was in the middle of one at home already.  I am glad I did as it was a very interesting read.  I got caught up in the story line right away even though it is not my favorite time in history.  Too many people behaving badly and using scripture to justify their actions (Oh wait, that is most of history).
I was very curious about the book as this seemed like a very different type of genre for Sandra.  Everything I had seen or read from her had been a light romance, good but this subject matter didn't seem to fit that, and teen books.  Those I have not had the pleasure of reading, but I hear are very good. 
Sandra has done her research and you can tell.  She made a couple of tweaks to make it a little less confusing for the reader (I am glad she did), but by her discriptions of the dress, parties and houses/court you can almost imagine being there. 
The story is told through the eyes of Anne's best friend.  They grew up next door to each other and have similiar experiences, but Anne's family is better off and so Meg watches her friend recieve many more offers to the royal court.   Once Anne is brought to court because she catches Henry's eye, she takes Meg along as one of her ladies. 
This is maybe why the story is so compelling, this is a story of someone who loves her friend, but watches her over and over again make bad choices.  How do you question a friend who is really, as seen by society, your better?  Meg is a loyal friend all the way to the end. 
Happy Reading

Thursday, September 15, 2011

10 authors you aren't reading, but should be

Dear Readers,

Here is a very short list of authors that are good authors but are not getting read like I think they deserve.  They are in no particular order.  They write in several different genres, the one thing they have in comon is they write really good books. 

1.Mesu Andrews
2.J. Mark Bertrand
3.Tosca Lee
4.Tim Downs
5.Meg Moseley
6.Elizabeth Musser
7.Lisa Wingate
8.Karen Young
9.Eric Wilson
10.Gina Holmes

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tosca Lee and Ted Dekker

Dear Readers,
What kind of world would it be if none of us had any emotions but fear?  Fear that if you didn't live correctly you would not get to Bliss in the afterlife.  Fear that if you screw up at work you could be immediately fired.  Fear that if you disobey the Order you could disappear, to never be heard from again.  You don't love your spouse, you just marry because it is expected of you.  You don't love your children, they are just a bi-product of your marriage.   Perfection is craved and less than perfect is gotten rid of. 
Forbidden (The Books of Mortals)That is the setting for the first book, Forbidden, in the new series, The Book of the Mortals by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee.  They are two authors who are among my favorites.  I was so excited to hear they were writing together and could hardly wait to see what they came up with.  Now I already have my order in for book two.
I think I was worried that I would get a cross between the Circle series and Demon, but that is not the case.  Yes it is a fantasy and yes it is a thought provoking book, but it is also very different.  I will have a hard time discribing it without giving something away, so I will be very careful not to. 
Rom is leading a very normal life.  He quietly goes about his job of singing at funerals.  He obeys the Order.  He is planning on marrying soon to the woman that he has been paired with.  He just does what is required of him.  Which is easy to do if you have no emotions to mess that up. 
That all comes to a screeching hault when an old man chases him into a dark alley one night and thrust a vial into his hands.  Shortly after that Rom watches the man get murdered and his life is turned upside down. 
The book leaps off at a running pace and does not slow down.  I was able to read it in one weekend and that is while being quite busy.  So once again Ted shows that he is the master of slight of hand.  With Tosca's help they are very good at keeping everyone guessing. 
Happy Reading.

Monday, September 12, 2011

New Releases September 5-10

Dear Readers,

So as short as the list was last week it is longer this week.  I always wonder about the timing of books.  What I think of as prime times to sell books doesn't not match what the publishers think.  I believe December is a great time to release new books.  I actually get very few of them.  I don't get that.  Imagine getting a new book for Christmas, one you haven't read, because your spouse/kids/parents/etc... could safely buy one that had just arrived in the store that week just before Christmas.

What about May/June.  Summer is coming.  Why are they not stock piling the summer reads.  I find I get more books in in August than those months.  Which seems silly to me.  Yes August is the month most of us go on vacation, but with the wonderful temps in May and June I have more people looking for books then.  It seems to be that with school letting out teachers and students not to mention mothers seem to just have more time to read. 

Well anyways, whether I agree with publishing houses or not, you do have a good list this week.  Enjoy.

Happy Reading,

The Mercy - Beverly Lewis
A Necessary Deception - Laura Alice Eakes
The Measure of Katie Calloway - Serena Miller
A Time for Peace - Barbara Cameron
A Bride's Potrait - Erica Vetsch
A Wedding Blunder - Kim O'Brien
The Scroll - Grant R. Jeffery/Alton L. Gansky
The Crossing - Serita Jakes
Letters from War - Mark Schultz/Travis Thrasher

Friday, September 9, 2011

Serena Miller

Dear Readers,
I have found a new author that I really enjoy.  She writes under a genre that is not always my favorite, but I truly enjoyed this book.  The Measure of Katie Callaway by Serena Miller is listed as historical romance, not my favorites, but she writes them in an interesting manner.  I guess I probably liked it because the romance part of it is not the main part of the story, just a part of what happens.
 Measure of Katie Calloway, The, Serena Miller, 978-0-8007-1998-2
Measure is set in the Bay City area of Michigan and that might be another part of why I liked it.  It is set in the time just after the civil war has ended and many men are looking to get back on their feet after fighting and a nation is looking to heal and move forward.  One of the things that drove the rebuilding of America was the lumber industry of Michigan. 
Katie is trying to hide from her abusive husband.  He owned a southern plantation and fought on the side of the South.  Once he came home he blamed Katie, a northerner, for all his problems and takes it out on her and her younger brother.  When Katie realizes he is trying to kill her so he can remarry a wealthy widow, she runs.
Katie's journey leads her to the wilderness of Michigan.  She is sure Harlen will never be able to find her there, especially when she takes a job as cook for a logging company.  9 months out in the wilderness seems like a great way to earn money and remain hidden.
That is what I liked about the book.  Learning about what it was like in the logging camps.  They weren't always pleasant places and men will be men, but they also were fathers, brothers and husbands trying to earn a living so their families could survive another year. 
I don't want to give too much away about the book, but one of the things that I did learn was that Michigan was not highly thought of around the country.  It was thought that it was one giant swamp.  People figured that it wasn't the pleasant penninsula that we talk about today.  It was covered in trees and it was a land where only the strongest survived. 
Now I know I complain about the weather here in the winter, but while reading this book I realized we don't get as cold of winters as they used to. At one point when asked how cold it was one of the lumberjacks replies, " It is two feet below freezing."  Now that is cold.
Happy Reading

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Steven James

Dear Readers.
It is with a heavy heart that I report that the last Patrick Bower book has been released.  The Queen is the end of a wonderful series, at least for now.  I am hoping that the public outcry is so large that he will be forced to continue the series. 
The Patrick Bower series crashed onto the Christian fiction market with very little warning.  It kind of set the suspense/thriller genre on its ear.  It also turned non-fiction Queen, The, Steven James, 978-0-8007-3303-2readers into fiction readers.  It filled a niche that I had so been looking for in my store. 
The Queen is a bit different than the other 4 in the series.  Where they had more creep factor, this one reads closer to a Tom Clancy than a Don Koontz.  This is not a bad thing and I don't write it to talk you out of reading it, but it is true.  Of course you want to read this one to find out what happens to our favorite character, Raven.
Patrick is called to Wisconsin for a missing ex Navy man.  The man's wife and daughter are found killed and he is no where to be found.  The local police force assumes that he is guilty of the crime and is now on the run.  The problem with that theory is that the evidence doesn't add up. 
Patrick needs to figure out where the clues are leading him, while worring about Basque who seems to have followed him to Wisconsin.  Will we finally get to meet Basque?  I am not telling.
I hate to see Patrick go, he quickly became a favorite character. He is willing to ask the tough questions and he is willing to hear answers he wasn't always sure he wanted to know.  He didn't take something as truth just because he was told it, but yet he did trust those he loved.  He is just one of those guys that we all wished we had on our side.   Like I said earlier, I will just have to wait and see if Steven changes his mind and adds more books to this series, but in the mean time I will have to be content talking about this series and getting new converts to fiction.
Happy Reading

Monday, September 5, 2011

New Releases August 29 - Sept. 3

Dear Readers,

As I was starting to type up this short little list I was thinking it might not be worth looking at and maybe I should do a different list.  Then I noticed that I was putting on book #2 in the Father Tim series.  I read the orginal Mitford series many years ago.  I have loved everyone one of them and they sit quietly on my shelves at home just waiting to be read again.  I have shared them with many people and it is a series i have thought about reading them again.  *sigh* Maybe someday.

When I read them the first time I so wanted to go to Mitford and meet Father Tim and Cynthia and the whole gang.  I knew that where they lived isn't perfect, but it was just a neat reminder that there are places where people do care about their neighbors and enjoy each other's company even if they don't always agree.   I have truely never had a series of books that made me want to sit down and disappear into them completely, so enjoy a joke from Uncle Billy,a Bible verse with Barnabas and enjoy a cup of coffee with the gang at the diner and relax there isn't anything more important to do anyways.

Happy Reading

Against the Gates of Hell - Mylow Young
In the Company of Others - Jan Karon  - Paperback
The Queen - Steven James

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Francine Rivers

Dear Readers,
This is an anniversary that we don't celebrate in the Fiction dept. very often.  The shelf life of a fiction book is very short and right now it is the shortest it has ever been.  I see book #1 of series go out of print within months of the last book of the series being printed.  Ebooks have changed that a bit and older books are once again available for reading, good or bad. 
For an fiction book to still be in print from 20 years ago is very rare.  For it to be a book that isn't even considered a classic is even rarer, but Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is celebrating its 20th straight year in print. 
If you have not ever read this book, you need to.  In fact if you go to you can share your story about the first time you read it and maybe you will win a trip to San Fransico. 
I don't have much of a story to tell about the first time I read it, but I will say I didn't really plan on reading it because the orginal cover looked too much like a Harlequin romance and as most of you know that is not my favorite genre.  Thankfully there was a fellow employee who finally talked me into reading it.  Her exact words were, "Don't let the cover fool you."  Boy was she right.  That cover did not fit the book.  My favorite cover is still the one from a couple of years ago, it was the brown cover that looked more historical.  That is the cover that is on the book I have on my shelf, but don't loan out.  In fact if anyone wants to borrow it I go buy one instead. 
This book is a heart story.  It speaks to your heart and echoes the words that God whispers to us everyday of our lives.  "You are loved."  I have heard many many interesting stories about this book, it is one of the privileges of working in a bookstore.  They are each so very beautiful and wonderful.  I thank each one of you that have shared your stories. 
I remember one more than any others.  There was a lady who came into the fiction dept. several times a month.  She loved reading and really only wanted to read the best.  I had been trying to get her to read Redeeming Love several times and for some reason couldn't talk her into it.  I even tried my old trick of if you read it and don't like it bring it back and I will not only buy it back but also buy you another book for free (I have never had to buy anyone a different book).  She kept saying no, finally I brought in a copy I had at home and told her that this was my copy along with the spaghetti stains from where I stood at the stove stirring supper while reading. 
That was the trick and she took it home with her that night.  Like so many others she read it in one night and was back in the store the next morning.  With tears in her eyes she shared about the abuse in her past, which she had not shared with anyone else yet (she has since received counseling).  WOW, that just blew me away.  But that is the kind of book it is. 
If you haven't read it please do, if you have read it make sure you share it with someone and then you can both talk and share afterwards. 
Happy Reading