Thursday, March 29, 2012

Charlene Ann Baumbich

Dear Readers,
I occasionally read Charlene Ann Baumbich's books.  I completely enjoy them, who can forget the Dearest Dorothy books?  I mean to read them when they come out, but I am usually reading something else at the time and then I forget about them.  Once I get a chance to pick one up and read it, I tell myself "why have you waited so long to read another one of Charlene’s books?" 
I received a free advanced copy of Finding Our Way Home and needed something to relax with after reading a very intense book.  It was Christmas time and this book fit perfectly, even though it is set during the summer.  Finding Our Way Home is one of the Snow globe Connection series.  The nice thing about this series is that it doesn't have to be read in any order, even though you will meet several characters in each book. 
Sasha was forced into retirement from ballet dancing because of a terrible accident.  Her recovery has been slow and quite tedious.  She has shut herself off from the world, her loved ones and friends.  She figures it was better to make a clean break from them all so they wouldn't have to watch her suffer and she wouldn't have to see them dance.
Evelyn enters Sasha's life because Sasha needs help with everything.  She can't drive, she can't cook, she can't anything.  Evelyn is like her complete opposite.  She is outgoing, she is helpful and friendly and as delicate as Sasha is, Evelyn is big boned.  They make a very interesting pair.   
This was just a wonderful read for those days when you need something that is a quiet read.  It isn't going to surprise you in any way, but it will teach you a bit about yourself and how we can and do treat others.   
There are several little sideline stories.  They still deal with Evelyn or Sasha, but they flesh out this story perfectly.  The story of Evelyn and her fiancĂ© is a neat little aside and so is the one that explains the way Sasha believes how others see her.  They are each part of these stories that we all can probably relate to in one way or another. 
Happy Reading

Monday, March 26, 2012

New Releases March 19-24

Dear Readers,
The renovation has begun in earnest now.  Our front offices, which are where we run our internet sales, has now moved out of their space into the retail space.  It is a huge change for them.  They are used to pretty much being able to just talk to each other freely as they are not really part of the everyday flow of the retail part of the store.  Now with their cubicles set in the store, they will have to learn that yelling across to each other just won’t due.
On the other hand, us here in the retail part of the store have to get use to them being here with us.  In some ways this will be nice as we won’t have so far to walk when we need something from them.  It also means that we will get a chance to see if they really do work up there. (Just kidding guys, you work very very hard) J  It really just means we are all starting to squeeze down in to a smaller space before we get a chance to once again spread out. 
The excitement is building, the tense is getting higher, but it all for such a great reason.  I so can’t wait to show off the “new’ store come this fall.
Happy Reading

Finding Our Way Home - Charlene Ann Baumbich - When the road home becomes daunting- sometime a very capable girl on a bicycle can help find the way.

The Key on the Quilt - Stephanie Grace Whitson -Three women form an unlikely friendship that takes them to the end of themselves and on a journey that proves prison walls can neither frustrate God's plans nor keep love out.

Hazel Creek - Walt Larimore - A cast of colorful characters collide in a gripping struggle of good and evil amid eruptions of violence and tragedy.

The Mother Road - Jennifer Allee - Within the course of a week, marriage expert Natalie is dumped by her husband, receives an urgent call home from her father, and discovers her estranged sister.  A road trip on Route 66 may not help, but it couldn't hurt.

The Hardest Thing To Do - Penelope Wilcock

Always the Designer never the Bride - Sandra D. Bricker - How many dresses can a designer design before she finally designs her own?

Shakespeare's Lady - Alexa Schnee - For centuries, readers have debated the identity of the mysterious Dark Lady in William Shakespeare's sonnets.  Emilia Bassano - lady in waiting to Queen Elizabeth and one of the first women poets in England - could be the answer

The Restless Heart - Barbara Cameron - Mary Katherine is caught between the traditions of her faith and the pull of a different life.

Cooking the Books - Bonnie S. Calhoun - It's not easy being Sloane Templeton.  She has a bookstore she didn't plan on owning, she has a strange bunch of people in her neighborhood and now she is getting cyber threats.

Arms of Love - Kelly Long - The year is 1777. America is in turmoil and Amish life is far different than today.

The 13th Tribe - Robert Liparulo - Immortal vigilanted from the time of Moses have planned the unthinkable.  But how can you stop what you can't see?

The Dog that Talked to God - Jim Kraus - Sometimes the Least Expected can be the Most Amazing.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

R.J. Larson

Dear Readers,
A few weeks ago I read a book that I had declared would probably be my book of the year for 2012.  The publishing houses and authors must have taken that as a challenge as I have since read two other books that could easily make it to the top of the list.  What a wonderful problem to have!
Prophet by R.J. Larson has been promoted several different ways to me.  The one that made me hesitant on it was that they were saying it is for fans of the Hunger Games.  I have always had a problem with books that compare themselves to classics or say they are great for fans of...  I always figure it takes time to prove themselves first. 
Now personally I can’t speak to whether or not it is as good as or better than the Hunger GamesProphet, R. J. Larson, 978-0-7642-0971-0 books as I have not read them.  But I did ask my daughter, who has read them, to read this book and let me know what she thought.  I will simply say, she loved it and is not happy that she has to wait until later this year for book number 2 to release and then wait until next year for book 3. 
When Ela accepts the Infinite’s call to be his Prophet she knows it is with lots of risks involved, as the saying goes, “A silver-haired prophet has failed.”  She doesn’t understand why he would want her.  She is undignified, kind of clumsy, bad tempered and only 17.  Who will listen to her anyways?  She is sure that no one will and that she will be killed instantly by the first group of people she confronts with the Infinite’s warning.  
Now most of that you can find on the back of the book, but to talk about any more will give away a lot of the story.  Because this story flows so well and each item hinges on what happens in the story before, I really can’t talk about it as it won’t make sense without having to tell you most of the story.  It is frustrating for me.  This might have to be one of those times I say, ‘trust me on this book, it is that good.”
Oh let me say this though – I would have gotten in line for a destroyer. 
Happy Reading

Monday, March 19, 2012

New Releases March 12 - 17

Dear Readers,

This past Thursday we had a the pleasure of hosting Julie Lessman at the store.  It is one of the perks of my job that I never expected.  The chance to talk to authors and hear their hearts for their stories.  To listen to someone talk about their job that they are passionate about is so awesome.  It never ceases to amaze me that once I hear an author speak, I love their books even more, or if for some reason I didn’t enjoy their books (this is rare ;-) then it makes me understand them and maybe even like them at that point.
Julie’s visit was a bit unique in that she shared her testimony, which by the way was awesome to hear, but also she shared exactly why she writes the type of books that she writes.  She writes the specifically to try to reach the young ladies out there that may not be living a life style that is pleasing to God even though they profess to be Christians.  She wants to show them there is a different way to live than what society wants them to think. 
She also wants these girls to know that no matter what their past is, God still loves them.  No matter what.  That was part of her circumstances that made the so very important to her and something she had to learn.  Know she has taken the gift that God gave her and she is sharing that message with anyone who reads her books.  Wow
And here I was just reading a simple romance book.   

Happy Reading

Beckon - Tom Pawlik - Some things weren't meant to be discovered, but once they're unleashed there's no turning back.

The Irish Healer - Nancy Herriman - 1830s London is rich with promise and fraught with peril.  Rachel sunne and James Edmunds are about to discover that love is too.

A Perfect Square - Vannetta Chapman - #2 in a Shipshewanan Amish Mystery - There's more to the quaint town of Shipshewana than handcrafted quiltes

Frantic - Mike Dellosso - Can a deranged serial killer be stopped before it's too late?

Beyond Hope's Valley - Tricia Goyer - A Big Sky #3 - Marianna returns to Indiana and the Amish community she grew up in, but her heart is back in Montana.

Coming Home - Stacy Hawkins Adams - The Winds of Change #1 - If forgiving your ex-husband was easy, everybody would do it.

Prophet - R.J.Larson - Ela Roeh of Parne doesn't understand why her beloved Creator, the Infinite, wants her to become His prophet. She's undignified and bad-tempered, and at age seventeen she's much too young.

Hiding in Plain Sight - Amy Wallace - Place of Refuge Series - Peace eludes Ashley until she realizes the answers she seeks aren’t found in starting over but in returning to the simple truth that it’s God who overcomes the world, not her.

The Discovery - Dan Walsh - Michael discovers a story unlike any other that his grandfather has written.  Instead of a suspense story it is a love story and it is better than anything Michael has ever read before.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Jill Eileen Smith

Dear Readers,
Jill Eileen Smith bravely took on the wives of David in her wonderful series that include Michal, Abigail and Bathsheba.  This time she is taking on the father of the Jewish faith.  In Sarai she puts a face on Abram and Sarai.   Biblical fiction of this type helps me relate more to those beloved people of the Bible and puts a face on their stories.
Sarai, Jill Eileen Smith, 978-0-8007-3429-9Abram promised Sarai his heart and she promised him a son.  That is the tag line on the back of the book.  I guess I never really thought about it, but one of the things that was part of Sarai’s life is that she was not worth anything if she was unable to produce children, especially sons. Her husband could tell her that he loved her, but if he decided he could take another wife to get those sons.   Abram didn’t.  How very interesting.
I really don’t need to highlight any other part of their story as most of us have heard of Abram and Sarai even if you don’t read the Bible much.  He is considered the father of three of the major religions of the world.  The Jews, the Muslims, and the Christians all claim him as the father of their faith and yet he only loved one woman.   Interesting.
I am going to be honest, I never really thought about that much.  God promised Abram long before Isaac was born that He would make a great nation of him and his descendants.  Abram believed and followed him.  I really do wonder how that conversation went.   Sarai – “You heard what?  From who?  Now you want to leave home and family?”  I know how that would have gone at my house.  J
Anyways, I really did enjoy this story and it is one that makes for a great read.  It is a great way to refresh the telling of an old, old story. 
Happy Reading
P.S. this book is available in the store or by request at

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Author visit - Julie Lessman

Dear Readers,
This is just a short reminder that Julie Lessman will be in our store on March 15th at 7:00 p.m.    She is a Baker author who burst on the scene a few years ago with a new type of historical romance. 
She is in the middle of a series that will be concluded in Oct of the year.  The Winds of Change series is set at the conclusion of the roaring 20’s with the depression looming.  Life at that time in America was carefree and fun, but there are lessons to be learned and love to be found.   
Julie’s first series, the Daughters of Boston, was set on America’s shores during World War One.  It is almost more of a story of what was going on here in America during the war instead of the story of the war.  (Women and families waiting for their men to return and what was life like at that time. )
Come and hear what Julie has to say about her research and what other interesting tidbits that she learned while writing this series.
See you all on Thursday and
Happy Reading
Chris                                               Hope Undaunted, A, Julie Lessman, 978-0-8007-3415-2
Love Surrendered, A, Julie Lessman, 978-0-8007-3417-6
Heart Revealed, A, Julie Lessman, 978-0-8007-3416-9   

Passion Redeemed, A, Julie Lessman, 978-0-8007-3212-7
Passion Most Pure, A, Julie Lessman, 978-0-8007-3211-0Passion Denied, A, Julie Lessman, 978-0-8007-3213-4

Monday, March 12, 2012

New Releases March 5 - 10

Dear Readers,
I am reading a book right now that I have been so pleasantly surprised by.  I wasn't sure what I expected, but I am so enjoying the book.  I am reading every chance I get and don't want it to end quite yet, but I am close. 
One thing I am not looking forward to is the idea that the main character may die before the end of the book.  I can't tell for sure, just that is where this seems to be leading and I am not excited about it.  It was something that is talked about right at the beginning of the book and I was sure I didn't want to grow attached to the main character.  But that didn’t work out so good, because the writer has done such a beautiful job of making the character a person I have grown to love, almost from the beginning. 
I am not sure how I will react if and when the character dies.  I have wept over characters that pass that were my favorites.   I find interesting that I can’t say I have experienced that often though as most of the time authors elect not to kill off main characters.  Evil characters die often, but good and beloved characters very seldom die.  I can think of exceptions to the rule.  Charles Martin quite often kills off one of his characters, Nichols Sparks usually does also.  Those are emotionally charged books and I can’t imagine them being any other way, but they also don’t make me cry as I see it coming. 
How about you?  Have you ever cried over a book?  I have actually heard people that have asked for prayers for someone only to realize that the people they are asking for are characters in a book.   That is a good book. 
Happy Reading

Shadow of Light - Rodney Christian Power - Ever Met God?  Want to fin out what Heaven is like?  Even Wonder what they do up there all day? 

The Case of the Bouncing Grandma - A.K. Arenz - has Glory hit her head one too many times... or is there really a foot dangling out of that carpet?

The Case of the Mystified M.D. - A.K. Arenz - First a foot, now a hand.  What body part is next?

Mirrored Image - Alice K. Arenz - Their faces were the same.  Will their fates be as well?

Like Sweet Potatoe Pie - Jennifer Rogers Spinola - Shiloh Jacobs has plenty of problems, but the lack of money tops the list.  Can anything ever go right? 

Illusion - Frank Peretti - Dane heads home to recover from his injuries and from the loss of his wife.  He never plans to have anything to do with magic again, that is until a young woman enters his life that looks remarkedly like his late wife.

The Wedding Dress - Rachel Hauck - Charlotte finds her perfect wedding dress in a battered trunk.  She wants to find out the history of it and when she does she discovers the truth of her own heritage. 

Moe - Jim Hamlett - A story of friendship and how desperately we need at least one true friend to help us when the trials of life put us down.

By the Light of the Silvery Moon - Tricia Goyer -  The TItanic holds promise of a reunited family... and possible love waiting on American shores.

Cuts like a Knife - M.K. Gilroy - Kristen Conner goes undercover to catch a serieal killer... only to discover she is his new target

Almost Amish - Nancy Sleeth - Have you ever stopped to think, maybe the Amish are on to something?

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

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Julie Lessman

Dear Readers,
On Thursday March 8th I got a call at home from work.  This is a rare occurrence and so I was a bit worried it was going to be something bad.  It wasn’t in fact it was something great.  Sue our store manager called to say that Julie Lessman was going to be visiting our store.  I was very excited to hear that as she is one of the authors I haven’t met yet.  The only drawback is… she is coming this coming Thursday March 15th.  YIKES!!! 
So the planning and announcements need to go out quickly.  
If you don’t know Julie, she writes historical romance which kind of turn Christian romance on its ear.  She won ACFW Debut author in 2009, she is also the recipient of 13 Romance Writers of America awards along with several readers’ choice awards.   Her first series is set in America during WWl and her second series hits the end of the roaring 20s. 
It will be an interesting evening of talking about important times in America’s history.   I personally learn so much about an author and there books that I end up wanting to read them again just to catch the parts of the books that I missed. 
See you on Thursday and
Happy Reading

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Brandilyn Collins

Dear Readers,
I am always looking for a good mystery.  It is my favorite genre; in fact I probably lean a bit towards thriller more than straight mystery.  I love the edge of the seat chill those books have.  I want to not know who-dun-it until the author is ready to reveal it. 
That is why Gone to Ground by Brandilyn Collins was so fun to read.  I started reading Brandilyn years ago when she first started writing.  She added a new dimension to Christian fiction that I had been looking for.  She wrote mysteries that had that added element to them. 
Gone to Ground is set in Amaryllis, Mississippi.  It is a little back water town that has stood the test of time, even when other towns were not surviving various downturns in fortune.    It has its own ghost; of course every town in the south worth its salt has a ghost, a wonderful Main street and families that have lived in town for years.  It seems like the perfect town to live and bring up a family.  That is until 5 women in 3 years have been killed.   Suddenly no one trusts anyone, because the police can’t seem to figure out who it was.  Was it somebody that everyone knew?  Was it some stranger that snuck into town to commit the murders? 
Three women are sure they know who the killer is.  All three women have hard evidence that their person of interest is who the police need to know about.  All 3 are not sure if they can turn the person in.  All three women believe it is someone different.   Who is right?  Are any of them right?
This is that type of mystery.  Brandilyn is very good at laying down the clues and yet, not all of them will help you solve the mystery.   She is very good at hiding them in plain sight also, the clues I mean.   Which means of course it is more fun to try to solve the who-dun-it. 
Happy Reading

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

Monday, March 5, 2012

New Releases February 27 - March 3

Dear Readers,

I am struggling to write a review for a book that I just finished.  It was a good book and I really enjoyed it.  So that isn’t the problem, the problem is I liked it so much and I want to share that with you.  I really want you to read it, but how do I do that without giving away several key parts of the story.  They are for you to enjoy and find on your own. 
I have always been passionate about reviews that give part of a story away.   I really really try hard not to do that.   I will stop reading a review if it tells me there are “spoilers” in it.  I don’t want to anything to take away from my experience of reading the story that the author has laid for me. 
I had an experience just the other day that I accidently found out how a mystery ended while I was not very far into the book.  I did finish reading it, but it took away the fun of reading it.  I was disappointed in myself for having found out.  I dropped my book and when I grabbed it, it opened to where the answer was and I saw.  Rats.  It was my own fault, but I hate when that happens and that is why I try so hard not to do it.  It is also why sometimes my reviews drive me crazy.  J  I actually will end up rewriting them several times before I feel comfortable enough to release it for your reading.  That might be why I will never be an author, releasing a book would probably kill me. 
Happy Reading

Dawn Comes Early - Margaret Brownley - #1 A Last Chance Ranch series - Looking for a woman of good character and pleasant disposition willing to learn the ranching business in Arizonia Territory.  Must be single and prepared to remain so now and forever more.   Will be given ownership of the ranch - Eleanor Walker

Stand By Me - Neta Jackson - #1 SouledOut Sisters series - "Kat" Davies sometimes, ok most of the time, just says what she is thinking which can annoy those around her.  Avis has always been a pillar of faith, that is until she has a crisis of faith.  Can they help each other?

The Heart's Frontier - Lori Copeland/Virginia Smith - #1 The Amish of Apple Grove - A lot can happen on a week-long cattle drive

Covenant of War - Cliff Graham - #2 in the Lion of War series - The fate of the nation rests on King David's mighty men.

Downfall - Terri Blackstock - #3 in the Intervention series - Emliy has turned her life around, but her family still has trouble trusting her.  After her behavior during her drug years, Emily has a lot to prove.

Abby Finds her Calling - Naomi King - #1 Home at Cedar Creek - Generations of Amish neighbors and friends enjoy the simple things in life in the lush countryside of Cedar Creek, Missouri.  But matters of the heart have a way of complicating the most clear-cut plans...

These books are available at Baker Book House or by request at

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Julie Cantrell

Dear Readers,
I can't tell you how many times fellow readers will say to me, "you have got to read this book."   Sometimes that works out very well, like with The Help.  Other times is doesn't work out so well and no I am not going to mention any names here. 
Into the Free by Julie Cantrell is one I kept hearing about from people.  I had a chance to get it free and thought, "what the heck, let’s try it."   I am so glad I did!  I could hardly lay the thing down.  The writing is rich, the characters are very three dimensional, the setting fits the story line so very well.  It all works together perfectly.
It is 1936 in Mississippi and Millie longs to join the gypsies to run away from her parents.  Her father is only home part time and very abusive to her mother.  Her mother was addicted to drugs and suffers from depression.  Millie just longs for freedom to be who she wants to be.  She just doesn't know how to leave those she loves behind.
I don’t want to say any more as I don’t want to take away from the enjoyment of this story.  There are some twists and turns that I wasn’t sure I expected.  Nothing like a mystery, but things that make life, life.  Things that are not on our radar but happen anyways.  
I found myself cheering Millie on and wanting her to survive everything thrown at her.  I also found myself disgusted  with some of the choices she made.   I dare you not to fall in love with Millie and want to take her home with you. 
Happy Reading,
P.S. this book is available at Baker Book House or by request at