Monday, February 27, 2012

New Releases February 20-25

Dear Reader,

I am always interested in how differently each of us will view a book.  A friend of mine and I were talking just this morning about a book.  One that she just loved and I on the other hand was just so-so on it.  The most interesting thing about that conversation was that we talked about a book earlier that she was struggling to read and I just loved it when I read it.   Granted each book was very different, but she and I have pretty close taste in book, well at least in this genre.  She does lean more towards historical and romance and I definitely like suspense/thriller/mystery best.
That is one of the best parts of my job here at the store, figuring out what people like to read.  I get asked often who my favorite author is, but that doesn’t always mean that is the type of book they may be looking for.   I love to ask questions to find out what they are looking for.   I always ask what you like to read.   The funniest part of that question is there is never any logical answer.   I have had guys tell me they like the Amish and I have had the little old lady tell me they just love reading a good thriller.  
There isn’t any formula that shows who reads what.   It is just like your favorite color, you like what you like.  There is no should in it.  If you like romance, embrace it and enjoy, there are loads of good romantic books out there.  Do you like the thrillers, great just plan on not sleeping a few nights.  It doesn’t matter why you like the genre, all that matters is that you do and are on the hunt for the next really good read.
Happy Readers

Leaving Lancaster - Kate Lloyd - Can a splintered Amish family reconcile?

Echoes of Titanic - Mindy Starns Clark/John Campbell Clark - A tale of modern-day corporate intrigue with the deeply moving story of Titanic's fateful voyage.

The Scent of Cherry Blossoms - Cindy Woodsmall - Can Annie and Aden find a place for their love to bloom in the midst of the brewing storm?

Not this Time - Vicki Hinze -Small town scandal, international terrorist attack.  Who among them is the traitor?

The Hope of Shridula - Kay Marshall Strom - When the flame of revolt brought independence to India, they seared change into the familiy of Ashish.

River's Call - Melody Carlson - #2 the Inn at Shining Waters series - What happens when the ties between generations are severed?

Saving Hope - Margaret Daley - #1 the Men of the Texas Rangers - When the people you love are threatened, it's personal.  Human trafficking is one of the issues addressed in this book.

Texan's Honor - Shelly Gray - #2 the Heart of a Hero series - U.S. Marshal Will McMillan rishs his mission to rescue Jamie Ellis.  Will it cost him his life or just his heart?

Hearts that Survive - Yvonne Lehman - A novel of the Titanic - Will those who survived and their descendants be able to find a love more powerful than their pain?

Ellies Haven - Sharlene MacLaren - #2 River of Hope series - A courageous young woman seeking refuge... a widowed father with no domestic skills to speak of... a trial by fire of their wedding vows.

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

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ann H. Gabhart

Dear Readers,
Does any of this sound familiar?  Political parties accusing each other of destroying the country, worry about immigrants and how they are taking jobs from "real" Americans, news medias taking sides and trying to further the way of their own pet projects.  They all sound like headlines and activities from modern times.  They are actually the setting for Anne Gabhart's new book, Words Spoken True
The book is set in Louisville in 1855.  The city was in the midst of a struggle between the IrishWords Spoken True, Ann H. Gabhart, 978-0-8007-2045-2 Catholics and those that saw themselves as the "native" Americans because they were born here.  The Know Nothings (what a great political party name) saw the Catholics and immigrants in general as a threat to the real way of life in America. They thought the immigrants were bringing the beliefs etc. from their original countries here and were unwilling to change to fit the mold.
Adriene only wants to help run her father's paper.  She was practically raised at the newspaper office and loves everything that has to do with getting a paper out.  The only problem is she is a woman, and being a woman reporter is unheard of and her father just wants her to marry well and raise a family. 
Blake wants to start over and a chance to be the editor of a failing paper in Louisville looks like the opportunity he has been looking for.  The problem is, the owner of his paper wants him to take out the Tribune. Now that he has met Adriane, he is not sure he still wants to do whatever it takes to beat them to the story.   
When Irish girls start turning up dead, the city gets more and more on edge.  The police department doesn’t seem to be interested in solving the mystery; after all they are not ladies and probably deserved it.  But it leads to one more stick in the tinder box of the city until it all explodes on August 6. 
Now don’t panic, that information is at the front of the book and is really part of history.  On August 6th, 22 people were killed in the riots that have become known as Bloody Monday. I guess that is part of why I really do like this book.  It is an interesting mixture of history and fiction.  Ann is very good at mixing the two.
This is one of those books that it was just fun to read.  It is about a time in USA history that I haven't read that much about.  It is amazing to me how many parallels there were between modern news stories and the ones from this era.   I guess it just goes to show, history does repeat itself. 
I really like Ann’s books.  She writes these books that have lots of history in them without it sounding like a history book.  Her characters are easy to love or hate, depending on who they are.   She doesn’t always include a mystery, but I really do like her rich storylines.

Monday, February 20, 2012

New Releases February 13th - 17th

Dear Readers,

Last week I mentioned that I had 4 books that I really really wanted to read.  I am just over half way with the first one.  It is pretty strange and I think it just took an odd twist.  I am hoping it doesn't get to the point where it is just so unbelievable that I won't enjoy it. 
That is the problem with writing sci-fi/fantasy/speculative fiction.  While you are writing a book about something that doesn't actually exist, it still has to be believable or you will lose your reader.  It isn't that we have to believe this new world that was created by the writer has to exist, but we need to believe it can. 
Time travel became very believable in the book Time Machine by H.G. Wells.  Why?  Because he created something and someplace that the reader could believe in.  Scary as it was, it was a place we could think existed.   I muddled and struggled and slowly read my way through Tolkein's The Lord of the Rings series.  Why did I stick with it?  Because I could imagine the land and time in my head and I could believe it had happened. 

I have been to many different places created by writers that are just too tiresome to keep reading about because the lands themselves are way too complicated.   Nothing is worse than a badly written Sci-Fi book.  I am hoping that this one doesn't do that between where I am now and the end of the book
Happy Reading

The Messenger - Siri Mitchell - In a Time of War can two unlikely heroes find the courage to act?

Sarai - Jill Eileen Smith - He was promised a nation, she couldn't even give him a son.  The story of Abraham and Sarah.

Gone to Ground - Brandilyn Collins - 6 woman in Amaryllis Mississippi have been murdered.  3 other woman are sure they know who is commeting the crimes, but they each suspect some one different.

Far from Here - Nicole Baart - A story of love and loss, and ultimately starting over, Far From Here explores the dynamics of intimacy and the potentially devastating consequences of the little white lies we tell the ones we love.

Beauty for Ashes - Dorothy Love - She's a beautiful young widow. He's a Southern gentleman with a thirst for adventure. Both need a place to call home.

The Resurrection of Nat Turner - The Testimony - Sharon Ewell Foster - Sparked by an indigo sun, Nat Turner stormed into history with a sword in one hand and a Bible in the other.

The Last Plea Bargain - Randy Singer - Can one case actually bring the justice system to a halt?

Heart Echoes - Sally John - Only an Eartyquake could shatter the walls she's built.  Book #3 in the Side Roads series.

Beyond the Farthest Star - Brodie and Brock Thoene - A fracture Family, A Dangerous Secret, and A Stunning Transformation.  Based on the Screenplay written by Andrew Librizzi.

Loves Sacred Song - Mesu Andrews - Who was the young woman that inspired the Song of Songs?

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

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lisa Wingate

Dear Readers,
I am going to be completely honest with you all.  I had a terrible time getting into this book.  I am not sure what it was, but it just wasn't hitting a chord with me.  I struggled with the start of it, but am very glad I stuck with it. 
Blue Moon Bay by Lisa Wingate is the second book in the Moses Lake series.  I use the word series very loosely here as the two books (Larkspur Cove is the first one) have very little to do with each other.  The background characters are who you will remember the most from the first one with the main characters coming and going as part of the natural part of the community. 
Blue Moon Bay, , bpg9780764208225Heather fled Moses Lake as soon as it was legally okay for her to go.  She has not been back since and has no desire to return now.  Her family has forced her to revisit the place of her worst memories.  She has been working on a deal with her boyfriend’s brokering firm to buy her Uncle's home and land.  In return her architecture firm gets to help design the new building that will be going in and she may get lead architect.  Everything is looking good, that is until her mother changes her mind and meddles in the sale.
Heather flies into town thinking she will be back in time to spend Valentine’s Day with her boyfriend. 5 days, that should be enough time to put everything in motion again and save her job.   When she arrives in town no one seems to want to talk to her about why they are stalling the sale.  Her brother is there and he seems to think he is going to open a bed and breakfast, but Heather knows he has never finished anything in his life including college.  So how can he think he is going to run a resort? 
Then there is that guy from high school, the one Heather had the crush on.  He is still in town and even better looking than ever.  Could things get any worse? 
Like I said, I struggled with the beginning of the book.  I am thinking I had a hard time warming up to Heather herself.  She is very focused and doesn’t seem to care about anything or anyone except herself.  She is probably someone that if I met her, she would be a hard one to get to know or even like and that may have been why.  Just like I said earlier I also am glad I did finish the book.  It is a good story and Heather’s story is interesting.  It just took me a while to warm up to her.
Just rest assured that if you liked Lisa Wingate’s other books you will like this one.  Her writing style is consistent and very good.  She develops her characters well and that is why I am sure that I liked the end of the book.  I was just anxious to like Heather and Lisa knew I needed to understand her more than I would like her.
Happy Reading.

Monday, February 13, 2012

New Releases Feb 6th - 11th

Dear Readers,

At this moment there are no less than 4 books that I really really want to read on my "to read" pile.  Each one of them has come highly recommended or are favorite authors.  I am in the middle of a new author's books and enjoying that also, which means I don't want to quit reading it to start one of these others ones.  What's a reader to do.

This is one of my favorite problems.  Too many books to read.  That has not always been true in Christian fiction.  When I first started working for Baker I read very few Christian fiction, now I can't keep up with the good ones.  This has been such an exciting change to watch happen.  I still have people that think the Christian market is basically historical romance.  It is not, it is so much more than that and it is good.

I will keep you up to date on which ones I am reading and if I am liking them.  This new author, Dani Pettrey, writes in the style of Dee Henderson/Irene Hannon/ Lynette Eason.  It is set in Alaska and the book releases in May of this year.  It is one that you should put on your 'to Read" list.  I will have a review on it closer to it's release date to remind you.

Happy Reading 

Something New - Dianne Christner
A Ranger's Trail - Darlene Franklin
Honor Redeemed - Loree Lough
Ruth's Redemption - Marlene Banks
Prize of my Heart - Lisa Norato
Chasing the Sun - Tracie Peterson
Before the Scarlet Dawn - Rita Gerlach

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Gayle Roper

Dear Readers,
Gayle Roper has written many different genres in fiction.  Years ago I read her Seaside Seasons series, which had a bit of mystery to it, but it was mainly an issue driven series.  Each book had a different focus and I really liked them.  Over the years I have read some of Gayle's books off and on.  I enjoy them for their mysteries and got a good issue with it also.
Shadows in the Sand is a new addition to the Seaside Seasons, but is listed under Seaside Mysteries.  Which leads me to believe there will be more. 
When the dishwasher from Carrie's Cafe is murdered and then one of the young waitresses goes missing, the tweeters of Seaside get the community involved with trying to solve the mysteries.
Who would want to kill Jason, he is finally get his life back after spending time in a cult.  Where would Andi go?  Does she know who the murderer is?  Is there a connection between Jase and Andi? 
I got this book from Multnomah for the purpose of a review.  It has been out for a little while, but well worth the time it took to read it.  I enjoyed getting reacquainted with the people who live in Seaside.  It really does sound like a nice place to live, well of course except for those pesky murders.
Happy Reading

P.S. This book is available in the store or by request at

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Austin Boyd and Brannon Hollinsworth

Dear Readers,
There are reviews that are hard to write, there are reviews that are easy to write and then there is this review.  H2O by Austin Boyd and Brannon Hollingsworth is a very interesting book.  It is not an easy afternoon read.  It is a book that I kept reading because I had to know what was going to happen next even though I had a pretty good guess as to where it was going.
The problem with this review is to tell you about the book and its story line might not make sense.  It is not a "normal" story line, which intrigues some people and turns off others.   
Kate Pepper is on top of the world.  She has the job she always wanted, she is dating her boss, and her life is in perfect order. She has left behind her crazy mother who was always seeing visions and her deadbeat dad who never left his chair in front of the TV.  Everything is going her way.
When Kate has her first vision, she is sure she can control them and she does not want to turn into her mother.  This cannot be happening to her, she just won't allow this to happen.  But what can she do?  What is causing them to happen?  She refuses to lose everything because of something so stupid.   
I said earlier in a spot on my blog that reading this book was kind of like watching a train wreck.  I didn't really want to watch Kate's descent, but I couldn't look away either.  I wanted to know what happened to her.  Which is why I found the book so interesting.  The authors do not write Kate as a likable character and yet there is something about her that makes me want to cheer for her and hope she gets her life on track.   
This is one of those reads that kind of sticks with you later and I actually had to mull this book over for a bit before I could write this review.  I think it might be an interesting book to read with a book club or even a Bible study.  
Happy Reading