Thursday, January 31, 2013

Tosca Lee

Dear Readers,
I have loved Tosca Lee’s writing since reading Demon a few years ago.  She writes books that make me think about her characters. She encourages questions and she challenges you to think beyond what is the normal thinking of her characters.  I never thought I would feel sorry for a demon, but Tosca requires that of her readers; don’t stay where it is comfortable.
Iscariot: A Novel of JudasJudas Iscariot is one of the most hated men in Christendom.  He betrayed Jesus to the Jewish leaders which lead to his crucifixion.  What is his story?  Who is he really and what did he expect from Jesus?  In Iscariot Tosca Lee asks and sometimes answers these questions.  Using what we know about Israeli history, she writes an interesting fiction story of Judas.
Judas was born during a turbulent time in Jewish history.  They are waiting for a Messiah to appear and throw off the oppression of Roman rule.  Judas loses his father and beloved older brother to a rebellion that goes wrong.   He vows to never look for another savior and to live out his life taking care of his family.  That is until he meets Jesus.
Is this the man they have been waiting for?  With all the signs and wonders that Judas witnesses he is sure he has found the one. Giving up family and reputation, Judas becomes a follower, believing that soon Jesus will organize an army and kick the hated Romans out. 
One thing I did take away from this book is that Judas was human, just like you and me.  He was loved by his teacher, Jesus and yet chose to betray him to the authorities.  Why?   I think the one thing that the Judas story tells me is that I also try to make God who I want him to be instead of who he is.  I want a Savior who plays by my rules not the great plan that he has for mankind.
Happy Reading

Monday, January 28, 2013

New Releases Jan. 21 - 26

Dear Readers,

So our store is now offically opened.  We have cut the ribbon and can now relax and enjoy our new digs.  Of course the relaxing part is relative as we have many exciting plans. 

Once a month a local radio station has teamed up with us to start a book club here at the store. 105.7 STAR FM DJs Tommy and Brooke are the host.  Once a month they pick a book and we host the club here along with either an author visit or a Skype visit.  If the author is unavailable we will bringing in an expert. 

For more information on the book club you can contact the store or check out STAR's website.

Happy Reading

When the Heart Heals - Ann Shorey - #2 Sisters at Heart - Rosemary survived being a nurse in the Civil War.  Now she is just trying to support herself as a nurse.  But someone is threatening her, does she stay or does she run?

Picture Perfect - Janice Thompson - #1 Weddings by Design - Hannah is so close to achiving her goal of being one of the top sedding photographers in Galveston.  It will all happen if Drew doesn't mess it all up.

A Plain Scandal - Amanda Flower - #2 An Appleseed Creek Mystery - Once again a murder is loose in AppleCreek.  This time he is also cutting the hair off the women and the beards off the men.

Flora's Wish - Kathleen Y'Barro - #1 The Secret Lives of Will Tucker - Fatal Flora has had 4 different fiances' meet with odd and untimely deaths.  Will Lucas be able to survive as he pursues her heart?

For the Love of Eli - Loree Lough - Quilts of Love - When Eli looses both his parents, his Aunt Taylor vows to help him remember them.  She makes a quilt telling their story and that quilt becomes a tool in their healing process.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mel Starr

Dear Readers,
Once again I am reviewing a Mel Starr book for a Kregel blog tour.  They send you a free book and ask you to write a review for it.  This is not a problem with this series of books.
This is actually book #5 in the series about Hugh de Singleton, surgeon.  They are a series of books set in the 1300's, that always have a mystery to them  There is a quote on the book of the book from the Library Journal, "Fans of medieval mysteries will revel in Starr's lively blending of intriguing suspense and telling historical details."  Great quote, but one that made me laugh.  I am not a big fan of medieval stories at all, and who knew there was a genre for medieval mysteries. 
I guess I am saying that if you are a fan of mysteries and want something with a little bit different twist to it, then try these books.  Mel writes a good story and mystery that isn't solved in the first two chapters and his main character, Hugh, is very human and as Hugh himself will say, has some wit about him.  I actually enjoy Hugh's character because of the way he acts, speaks and does his job to the best of his ability.  Being a surgeon in 1367 could have been no easy task.  Modern medicine of any sort was unheard of.  Surgery was still viewed as something of the devil and the plague is busily wiping out hundreds of thousands of people. 
Because of his saving the local lord's life, Hugh is also the local sheriff.  This means when a man is found beaten to death it is his job to figure out who did it and why.  With not much to go on he first works on figuring out who the man was since he is not from Bampton.  The clues lead Hugh on a merry little investigation. 
Don't get me wrong here; I did enjoy the mystery part of it.  But learning about life in the 1300's was fascinating.  I have found it a pleasant part of the books before, but for some reason in this book I found it a much bigger part of the story.  I don't know if I just missed it in the other books or if Mel just included more this time.  At one point Hugh is going to do surgery on one of the men at the local monastery and the monk in charge won't let him do it because the stars are not aligned.  Who knew the Catholic Church followed the Zodiac?
I found this book just a bit different from the others and I am sure it's because of the everyday details that Mel put into it.  If he had done this before and I missed it, sorry, but if not then you can really enjoy it this time also.
Happy Reading

P.S. This book is available at Baker Book House or by request at

Monday, January 21, 2013

New Releases January 14 - 19

Dear Readers,
This week marks our official grand opening at Baker Book House.  We have been operating in the newly remodeled store since Nov.  We are now completely finished with the warehouse, offices and storage area.  No more workers, as nice as they were no more loud noises, and no more dust, well at least extra dust.  We are back to normal and ready to serve customers better than ever. 
If you get a chance to stop in, please do.  We have several author visits and loads of great deals. 
Happy Reading
A Dream for Tomorrow - Melody Carlson - #3 Homeward on the Oregon Trail - The wagon train has reached Oregon now is the time to settle in.  Sometimes that can be harder that the trip itself.
Flight of the Earls - Michael K. Reynolds - An Heirs of Ireland novel - Claire and her brother move to America to leave the famine in Ireland behind.  She worries about what life will be like for them.
A Quilt for Jenna - Patrick E. Craig - #1 Apple Creek Dreams - Jerusha just wants to win the prize money at the fair so she can leave the heartbreak of her Amish life.
Katie Open her Heart - Jerry S. Eicher - #1 of Emma Raber's Daughter - Katie fears she will never have a normal life again.  After her father's death her mother has become a very bitter woman.  She withdraws from the community and Katie believes no one will ever want to marry her.
Safe in His Arms - Colleen Coble - #2 Under the Texas Sky - After a series of "accidents" threatens everything that Margaret holds dear, she must decide what to trust: her own ears, her best judgment or her heart.
Fatherless - Dr. James Dobson/Kurt Bruner - Life in America in 2047 is very different.  Transitions are encouraged for all debits and parenthood is discouraged.  Julie is sure she knows where she stands on these issues until she starts meeting the faces behind the "breeders" and "debits."

Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker - Jennifer Chiaverini - Based on the friendship of Mary Todd Lincoln and her dressmaker, Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Patrick Carr

Dear Readers,
I am always on the lookout for good fantasy/sci fi/spec fiction.  There can be some really bad stories in this genre and there are some really good ones that have stood the test of time.  The much beloved The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien comes to mind along with his Lord of the Rings series.  Narnia by C.S. Lewis is another one of those must reads for fantasy fans.  But it is hard to tell if a book is going to stand the test of time as it first releases.  I know publishing houses would offer huge amounts of money for the formula that makes a book a best seller.
A Cast of StonesNow I am not saying this next book is going to be a book that stands the test of time, but it is one that I enjoyed immensely.   I know when I first learned about the book I could hardly wait to get my hands on a copy, not only for myself to read, but also for my daughter to read.  We both love this genre and it is fun to bounce the storylines off each other.  We are in agreement that A Cast of Stones by Patrick W. Carr is a good read.
Errol Stone is a very unlikely hero.  He is the village drunk and he carries his station in life, orphan, in his name.   He volunteers to deliver a message to the hermits in the hills; little does he know how that will change his life forever.  
Errol then joins a quest to save the kingdom.  He is not a willing participant to the quest.  He doesn’t feel like he is qualified to go and he also misses his old life.  The call of the cups calls loudly some nights and he isn’t sure he will survive being separate from it. 
I have to say that at first I wasn’t sure where Patrick was going with the book, but once it got moving it was a delight to read.  I can’t wait for book two in the series to come out.  Errol is a character that I found myself loving him and yet frustrated with him.  He is someone I personally would have left behind instead of taking on the quest, but I would have missed out on a very important part of the journey. 
Happy Reading

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Robin Jones Gunn

Dear Readers,
I thought I had read all of the Sisterchick books by Robin Jones Gunn.  Imagine my surprise and delight when I found one I had not read.  SisterChicks in Gondolas was released in 2006 and for some reason I did not read it.  I have no idea why I didn’t read it, it is the one that heads to Venice Italy, which is as most of you know is one of those countries I would like to visit someday. 
Sisterchicks in Gondolas! by Gunn, Robin JonesJenna has been on her own for many years.  After her husband walked out on her and their 3 month old daughter she has been in control of her life.  Because of her divorce Jenna is convinced she can’t do great things for God anymore, that is until the night she hears “you’re not done yet. “  Not sure what that means, she agrees to go and serve as a cook for a friend’s retreat in Venice. 
Sue goes along mostly to have a break. She and her family have had a very very difficult 5 years, with lots of adjustments to things that have happened.  Sue just needs to just breathe again and find herself.  She isn’t really planning on doing that while helping Jenna serve, but she is willing to spend a few days in Venice.
In the tradition of all the Sisterchicks books, this one will make you laugh, maybe shed a few tears and start planning a trip to Italy.  The two ladies do what I want to do if I ever visit Italy, rent an apartment there and walk around the neighborhoods, not just all the tourist-y spots.   That is what makes life interesting, the people we meet and in turn increase the size of our world.
Happy Reading

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Releases Dec. 24th - Jan. 5th

Dear Readers,

A new year has started and I am still trying to remember to write the new numbers.  It always strikes me funny that we are all such creatures of habbit.  That is probably why I don't do New Year Resolutions.  It is to hard to change a habit.  Unless I could get more in the habit of reading even more than I do already.  :-)

Happy Reading

The Tainted Coin - Mel Starr - #5 Hugh de Singleton - When a dead body reveals and rare coin, Hugh tried to figure out why someone would defend a coin with their life.

Camellia - Diane T. Ashley/Aaron McCarver - #2 - Song of the River - Camellia misses her "before the war"  life.  But a chance to go to finishing school changes everything.

A Wedding Date in Hot Springs, Arkanas - Annalisa Daughety - Violet needs a date for her sisters wedding, that is until she is matched with the wrong guy.

A Mother's Promise - Anna Schmidt -Rachel and her son move to Florida to take on a job as chaplain.  They both struggle with coping with the lose of father and husband. 

Today's Shadows - Becky Melby - #3 Lost Sanctuary - Heather is asked to watch her bosses 7 years old daughter in their old house.  When strange events begin to happen she hires Ryan to help find the answers.

Ashton Park - Murray Pura - #1 The Danforths of Lancashire - (from the backcover) Behind the doors of the Ancient and Magnificent Ashton Park estate, there lurks the high drama of romance between the nobility and staff.

Lily's Plight - Sally Laity/Dianna Crawford - #3 Daughters of Harwood House - Lily has served the Waldon family faithfully for years, but with Susan's health deteriorating she finds herself in a difficult situation.

Unholy Hunger - Heather James - #1 Lure of the Serpent - Evelyn is going to get revenge for her daughter's death.  But what she calls justice could be the lure of evil.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Christa Parrish

Dear Readers,
Ellen is just a young lady when she leaves her Bible in a motel one day as her family leaves.  She insists it is the thing that God wants her to do.  Her parents are not too happy when they find out what she does.  In fact they take money out of her allowance to pay for a new one.  Little do they know who that Bible will impact in years to come.
The Air We BreatheThe Air We Breathe by Christa Parrish is a story of different, very hurting people whose lives intertwine with other hurting people.  It's about how they are able to help each other even though they can barely help themselves.  Hanna is just a little girl when she sees her father gunned down in a bank robbery gone wrong.  Claire causes a car accident that kills all her children.  Neither one is able to heal, until they meet each other.
As a species, humans are connected through our similar experiences.  God made us that way so that we could help others that are going through what we have already experienced.  I have watched this happen in many many ways over the years.  Widows and widowers helping each other through the loss of a beloved spouse, mothers who have lost children reaching out to mothers who have just experienced it also, I could go on and on, but that is how we can understand someone and help them. 
One of the characters talks about a stroke she had, and she was convinced that she suffered her stroke so she could reach out to the woman in the bed next to her at the hospital.  She could reach out in a way that none of us that were not sharing a hospital room with her could have done.  This entire book seems to be a reminder of that.
Happy Reading