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