Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dale Cramer

Dear Readers,

The much anticipated conclusion to The Daughters of Caleb Bender Though Mountains Fall by Dale Cramer is now available.  This is one of those series that once you started it, you couldn’t find out fast enough what happens.  The only problem with that is Dale tells a gentle story that will not be hurried.  It's part of what makes this such a good read.

Though Mountains FallI recommend this series in order as each book follows right on the heels of the one before and book 3 is no different.  It isn’t hard to pick up the storyline as Dale does a great job reminding you so you won’t be lost long if you forgot what has happened.

Caleb and his family have survived the attacks by bandits, their farms are thriving, and families are growing.  The only thing they need is a bishop to come and make them a community.  The Amish are wondering when that will happen, but it should be soon.

That is all I can say as I could give parts of the story line away very easily and I hate when people do that.  So I won’t.   Just know that you will want to sit down and read the whole book to find what happens to Rachel, Miriam, Domingo and the rest of the Amish settlement.  Remember to enjoy and savor it also. 

Happy Reading

Monday, February 25, 2013

New Releases February 18 - 23

Dear Readers,
I am technically on vacation yet today.   I had the day off to recover from last week.  I was gone all week and thought I would take the Monday after to do wash and catch up on things.  Well those plans changed because of the author who will be in our store tonight.  Lynn Austin is coming for a visit and I am very excited to listen to her again. 
She is one of my favorite authors and she always has an interesting story or two to share.  She loves to talk about how she gets ideas for her books or how she even uses stories from her family history to create her books around. 
If you haven’t heard her before now is your chance, if you have heard her you don’t need me to tell you to come.  She will be speaking at 7:00 pm and then signing books.  I am sure she will be talking about her next book that will be coming out sometime this year.   I can’t wait to find out all about it.
Happy Reading

Love in the Balance - Regina Jennings - Whom will Molly choose?  Handsome cowboy or debonair Tycoon?

Unrivaled - Siri Mitchell - Lucy returns home with ideas of how to save her father's company.  The problem is the rivial hired a manager that keeps getting under her skin.

Moonlight Masquerade - Ruth Axel - Does Lady Celine's loyalities lie with the English or her home land - France?  Rees is determined to find out, but then things are not so clear the longer he knows her.

The Icecutter's Daughter - Tracie Peterson - #1 Land of the Shining Waters - Merrill is just one of the guys.  She takes care of her father's business and wonders if there is a guy out there that will notice her and not be afraid of her brothers.

Daybreak - Shelley Shepherd Gray - #1 The Days of Redemption - Viola is sure she knows what Edward is like, after all he abandoned his father while he went on the mission field.  Of course that is until she meets him.

Catherine's Pursuit - Lena Nelson Dooley - #3 McKenna's Daughters Series - Catherine finds out on her 18th birthday that she has two sisters.  When she sets out to find them, Collin is sent along to protect her.

Grace Given - Beth Shriver - #2 Touch of Grace - Elsie can't seem to forgive her sister for leaving the Amish.  Gideon longs to help her and he has a special place in his heart for her.  

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Dani Pettrey

Dear Readers,
For a long time Dee Henderson was a unique writer in that she was the only one writing romantic suspense.  There were and are many writers that were writing one or the other, but Dee kind of had the corner on the market of romantic suspense.  That started to change just a few short years ago and now there are several good authors writing in the same genre.  (Funny side note, it is often called “Dee Henderson like.”)
Dani Pettrey is one of those authors.  Her first book Submerged released in 2012 and was almost an instant hit with readers.  Personally here in the store I was getting asked about book #2 within a couple of weeks of that one releasing.  I am happy to say book #2, Shattered by Dani is on the shelves and readers are eating it up as fast as book one. 
Now let me say this first, I do recommend book one first as it sets up the family and lets you know who is who.  Book 2 starts on the thought that you already know this and doesn’t really cover it again.  Not a bad thing, just know it so you are prepared.
ShatteredLong lost brother Reef is back in town.  He stopped by his brother’s engagement party and to take part in a skiing competition.  When he is declared the suspect in a murder of one of his fellow skiers, his sister Piper is determined to prove his innocence.  One of the major obstacles in her investigation is Landon, someone that is like an older brother.
Landon is torn between doing his job correctly and falling on the side of the family and letting Reef go.   He determines to follow the evidence to the right conclusion no matter whether it proves Reef innocent or guilty.  The only obstacle standing in his way is Piper as she continues to put herself in danger, because if Reef isn’t the killer, than whoever is, is still out there and they won’t take kindly to someone trying to find them. 
This is an easy book to recommend.  If you liked book one you will like this one.  If you like Dee Henderson style books this is definitely the series for you.  Throw in an Alaskan backdrop and it makes for a wonderful little read.
Happy Reading

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Jennifer Chiaverini

Dear Readers,
I got interested in reading Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini because of an article in the local paper.  Jennifer was going to be at a different local independent store and I thought “Boy I should go and see her, I like her books.”  But other obligations kept me from being able to go.  Bummer, I love author visits as they really open up a book and let you see it through the eyes of the author and what they are trying to communicate to us.
I went to go look up Elizabeth Keckley and found out she really did exist and she really was a former slave who bought her and her son’s freedom.  She was a well-known dressmaker in Washington DC and became Mary Todd Lincoln’s dressmaker on the recommendation of another patron.  Elizabeth and Mary became close friends and Elizabeth walked through several trying times with Mary, the loss of her son, the War Between the States, and ultimately the loss of her husband.
The story line is not a big secret; you can find several books about the relationship between these two very different women.  In fact you can read Elizabeth’s own account in her book, Behind the Scenes that she wrote shortly after President Lincoln’s death. 
I think the one thing this book reminded me of was that very ordinary people make up history.  No one wakes up in the morning and decides to make history that day.  Elizabeth did want to be the dressmaker for whichever lady was in the white house, but not so she would be part of history, she was just doing the job that was asked of her.  She has a talent with the needle and thread, as people said of her, and she used it to support herself and her son.  She liked her life and enjoyed the freedom that she earned.  She had a close up view of the end of slavery and was able to rejoice with those still caught in that terrible institution.   She loved and respected both Lincolns and that comes through in this story. 
I also must say that I enjoyed this book, not only for the story of Elizabeth and Mary, but also for the personal look at President Lincoln.  Yes he was the President, but he was also a husband and father who loved his family dearly.  He did ask them to be second behind the country once and a while, but over all they were very important to him and he was just a man who happened to be President.
Happy Reading

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

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My Bookstore - various authors

Dear Readers,
I am reviewing a book today that I am not sure we will have on our shelves here at Baker.  I am going to encourage management to carry it, but that is their choice not mine.  The only reason we wouldn’t carry it is because of language, but the overall topic of the book is great.
My Bookstore is written by many different authors, 84 to be exact. Some I knew and had read their books and others I had not heard of before.  In either case it did not take away from what the book is about.  It is a very easy concept for a book, short essays of their favorite bookstores.  Some of the stories are about a bookstore from their past and some are about a bookstore that they haunt now, because writers are, first and foremost, readers. 
I have been savoring this book for a few weeks now; I pull it out to read when I just need something quick to read as each story is only a couple pages long.  But I have yet to find a story that didn’t make me want to drive over and see that bookstore.  The stores are from all over America and I kept thinking that it would make a really fun vacation to travel around the country visiting each of these bookstores.   Some are in college towns and some are in neighborhoods where you wouldn’t expect a bookstore to thrive.  But they each bring their own special character to their area and they are all loved by those that shop there.
Now I have to make a confession, I love bookstores.  In fact my husband will tolerate me going into a bookstore when we are on vacation.  He enjoys bookstores, but they are not his favorite place. He will go with me if I spot a unique one.  He knows that means a few hours of our vacation will disappear with me inside a store.  But he does spoil me.
There is a certain rhythm to an independent bookstore. Not to take away from the chains, they are wonderful places also.  But an indie has fought long and hard to survive in this age of eBooks, with the ease of two clicks and it is being sent.  One of the authors, Wendall Berry to be exact, talks about that in his chapter.  I haven’t read a ton of Wendall’s books but I do enjoy reading them once in a while when I get my hands on one.  Anyway, he says, “One can order a book from some distant place and receive it by mail.  I confess that I sometimes do that, and so I know by experience that to do so is to forsake one of the most decent and significant literary pleasures.”  He goes on to talk about how some of what makes a book special to him is the getting it at a bookstore.
I work at a bookstore.  It was a job that I never thought I would have and I love every minute of it.  Other than a library I can’t imagine working anywhere else that I would love so much.   So take some time and visit a couple bookstores around the country.
Happy Reading

Monday, February 18, 2013

New Releases February 11- 16

Dear Readers,

I have been helping reset our used fiction department.  For those that shop here, you know that the used fiction has had a very small selection of books in the past few months.  I did not enjoy that as I can't take a customer back there and show them some great books that are no longer available. 
I have so enjoyed working back there and visiting with old friends.  Ones I have kind of forgotten about, but as soon as I see them I think, "Oh this was such a good book."   Or “I have got to remember to tell so and so about this book, I am sure they will love it.”  I want to take them all home, to share with others, but that is not possible, so I visit with them here and make sure they go to a good home.
Of course there are the ones I see that I think to myself, “I always meant to read that one.”  That is where this becomes a problem.  Now I want to take it home with me to read and that is harder to resist.  So if you do come to shop our used fiction department and there seems to be several gaps on the shelves, it means I couldn’t resist and took several books home with me.
Happy Reading

Stitched with Love Collection - Various authors - collection of love stories to warm your heart on that cold February night.

Secrets over Sweet Tea - Denise Hildreth Jones - Secrets are hard to keep.   Especially in Franklin Tennessee.

Wings of Glass - Gina Holmes - Penny was looking for a way out of the one-stop-sign-town.  She thought Trent was the answer, until they married and he took control. 

Strand of Deception - Robin Caroll - When two girls are found murdered the FBI is called in.  Maddie is a forensic expert but her DNA results have an unexpected answer.

Beyond the Valley - Rita Gerlach - Sarah reaches out to her in laws when her husband is killed.  They want to get rid of her also and send her to America to live a life of servitude.

Love in a Broken Vessel - Mesu Andrews - The story of Hosea and Gomer.  An example God gave to the country of Isreal and us of His pursuit of us.

Swept Away - Mary Connealy - #1 Trouble in Texas - Ruthy is rescued by Luke after being swept off her wagon train, but she is anything but safe with him.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Walt Larimore

Dear Readers,
I just finished Hazel Creek by Walt Larimore over the weekend.  Yes I know the book came out a bit ago and I always meant to read it, I just never got to it.  So I put it on my book club's list which forced me to read it.  Boy am I glad I did.  We will be discussing this book tonight so by the time you read this I will know if others in the group liked it or not.  (So far the ones I have talked to have loved it.)
Hazel CreekNate Randolph lives up in the mountains of North Carolina.  He has acres of virgin wood that the lumber company would love to get their hands on.  They will get it any way they can.  Legally or not.  Even if it means sneaking onto people's land and cutting down trees and dragging them off to be sold.   Nate stand firm while trying to raise his girls to be wonderful upstanding people.
While reading this book I kept thinking it reminded me of someone that I knew.  I finally put my finger on it.  They reminded me of the Waltons.  Each family member is a unique person and celebrated for that and accepted.  They squabble; they have differences and in the end love each other dearly.  Family comes first and yet even the neighbors are like family. 
The story is full of quirky and loveable characters; ones that make you just want to continue reading to see how they fit in the tapestry of the story.  They even had their very own Haint who protected the family and yet is a thing of myth.   Reading about the Smokey Mountains and some of the folk lore that goes with it was fun to do.  The book itself was a wonderful get away from the business of everyday life.  There is always time to sit a spell on the porch and visit. 
The story of the Randolphs continues in Sugar Fork which is already on the shelves also.   
Happy Reading

Monday, February 11, 2013

New Releases February 4 - 9

Dear Readers, 

Today is my anniversary.  We have been married 30 years and I would love to say it has all been wedded bliss, but then I would be lying.  Like every marriage we have had our ups and downs, good and bad.  (Mostly good.)  We have had some bright shining moments, the births of our three children and three grandchildren come to mind.  We have had some very dark times, the loss of a parent, a child fighting cancer twice.  But through it all we held together and are now enjoying the season of empty nest. 

Now I didn't write this to have any call and say congratulations or any of that, I just mentioned it because like every one's life there are many seasons and we each help each other in different ways.  Sometimes it is an author penning something months before and it hitting home when I read it.  That is why I read, it helps me understand the dark times and enjoy the bright times.

Happy Reading

Congo Dawn - Jeanette Windle - Robin is no stranger to corruption and conspiracy, but she usually can tell the good guys from the bad guys. 

Iscariot - Tosca Lee - Who was this man Judas?  He was a man who loved his teacher and thought he was doing the right thing.

All for a Song - Allison Pittman - Dorothy's life is complete, but she longs for more.  When given a chance to experience the roaring 20's she struggles against temptations she never dreamed of.

Goodbye to Yesterday - Wanda Brunstetter - #1 A Lancaster County Saga - Newlyweds Meredith and Luke were hoping for a life of happiness.  When tragedy strikes will their faith be strong enough to survive.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Dr. James Dobson/Kurt Bruner

Dear Readers,          
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started Fatherless by Dr. James Dobson and Kurt Bruner and thankfully I was pleasantly surprised.  I am always a bit leery of fiction books written by authors who are known for their non-fiction.  I have been proven wrong on occasion, but other times I am correct and they can be very bad.
FatherlessFatherless is set in the not too far future.   We enter a very different America than we have now.  It is 2041 and the chickens have come home to roost.  The deficit spending is out of control.  Taxes have increased the gap between rich and poor.  The media is pushing its own agenda.  People are not marrying and if you have more than one child you are labeled a “breeder.”
Some of that sounds familiar correct?  Yet there is something different in this America, it is called transitioning.  People are now only counted by what they can give society.  If they are a drain on the government then they are considered a ‘debit.’  If you are a productive member of society then you are not encouraged to transition and you may continue your own selfish life.  Kids are not seen as a blessing and marriage is obsolete. 
Transitioning is where a person can commit suicide and “transition” their assets to their family members instead of bleeding it dry while slowly aging.
Ok enough, I want to keep telling you about the story but what fun would that be?  This book was in some ways very depressing.  Several of the characters were so desperate to find love they were willing to sleep with just about anyone and everyone in the hopes of finding something that their life style was preventing them from finding.  It was also disturbing as a couple days after I finished reading the book, I read an article in the local newspaper about how fertility rates are dropping in USA and they are not sure why. 
I hope and pray that America never gets to this point in our country and yet just a few short years ago the thought someone would drive a plane into a building or shoot 26 people at an elementary school was un-thought of.
Happy Reading

Monday, February 4, 2013

New Releases Jan. 28 - Feb. 2

Dear Readers,
As most of you know we have moved into our new digs.  One of the things we want to do, now that we have the space, is bring you more authors.  Now some of you had the pleasure on Thursday January 24th of seeing Wanda Brunstetter via Skype here at the store.  It is one way we are hoping to bring more authors in.  It is an easy inexpensive way for us to get to know our authors. 
We are also glad to say we will be having authors here the "old fashion" way, them being here at the store.  The first that I am excited to announce is Lynn Austin.  She will be here at the store on February 25th at 7:00 p.m. 
I don't know if you have ever had a chance to meet her or hear her speak, but she is a neat lady to listen to.  She has traveled extensively and loves to share her stories with her readers.  She is always glad to talk about up and coming titles and ideas she has for new books.  She is also happy to answer any questions you have about your favorite books of hers.
So mark your calendar for Lynn's visit and I will see you here.
Happy Reading

Threads of Grace - Kelly Long - #3 A Patch of Heaven - Grace is determed to not be trapped in a loveless marriage, but how else is she going to survive?

Moon over Edisto - Beth Webb Hart - "...there is something about Edisto that changes people." (from the backcover.)

Rosa's Land - Gilbert Morris - #1 Western Justice - Riordan longs for adventure, but is this unlikely gun slinger the protection Rosa and her ranch need?