Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Must reads of 2014

Dear Readers,
What a year 2014 has been.  We started off the year here in West Michigan with the winter that never seemed to end.  We have seen our share of disasters this year with two missing air planes and the rise of a new terrorist group with ISIS.  We watched nervously as Ebola made its march to our shores, but were quickly calmed when it ended just as quickly.  
We watched in awe as scientist hit a tiny little rock spinning through space with their robot and received messages back.  We mourned the loss of many great people.  It was a year to remember. 
It was also a great year in the fiction market.  I can’t think of one real run away book, but many who at one point or another topped my have to read list.  I wish I could say I have read them all, but there just isn’t enough time in the day or year to get them all read.  Below is some of that list of books of note that you may or may not have read but should have if you didn’t.
Happy Reading,

(In no particular order)
1. Lizzy and Jane – Katherine Reay – Two estranged sister walk through one sister’s battle with breast cancer.

2. Playing Saint – Zachary Bartels – Edge of your seat mystery.  A fresh new author I am looking forward to seeing what else he will do.

3. Somewhere Safe with Someone Good – Jan Karon – Welcome back to Mitford

4. The Butterfly and the Violin – Kristy Cambron – What was it like to have to play in the orchestra at Auschwitz as millions marched to their deaths.

5. A.D. 30 – Ted Dekker – This story will remind you how good a story teller Ted is.

6. A Table by the Window – Hillary Manton Lodge – How annoying a big family can be and why we love them.

7. How Sweet the Sound – Amy Sorrels – The re-telling of the story of Tamar through the eyes of a 12 year old.

8. Checkmate – Steven James – The ending to a wonderful series.  Thriller to the end.

9. To See the Moon Again – Jamie Langston Turner – Welcome back Jamie you were missed

10. The Story Keeper – Lisa Wingate – What happens when the family you swore to never see again lives in the area you have to visit for your job. 

11. A Cry from the Dust – Carrie Stuart Parks – A new fresh face to add to the mystery genre

12. Bridge to Haven – Francine Rivers – With a new book every 4 to 5 years, each is to be savored

13. For Such a Time – Kate Breslin – a new author that the reading world has high hopes for after her debut novel was so fantastic.

14. The Secret of Pembrook Park – Julie Klassen – Julie continues to turn out wonderful Regency Romances.   

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Release - Hidden Agenda - Lisa Harris

Dear Readers,

The week between Christmas and New Years is an odd week.  Lots of places of business are closed or down to a small staff.  We have always have an interesting week as most publishing houses are closed and it makes getting orders tricky, but not impossible.   Returns are happening, but mostly people are coming in to spend those wonderful gift cards they received as presents.  The wonderful thing is I got loads of new fiction in and it is ready to go home with you.

Hidden Agenda by Lisa Harris is book #3 in the Southern Crimes series.  Lisa is one of the many romantic suspense authors that Baker Publishing has added to their author list over the last couple of years.  The romantic suspense genre has been a growing field and one that looks like many readers love.

Michael Hunt is very much alive, but for how much longer.  His family and friends presumed him, he was just under cover, but that cover is blown.  He is on the run from both the cops and the cartel with his only hope being Olivia, the daughter of the man who called the hit on him. 

Fast-paced, Hidden Agenda will keep you reading till the end and make you want to read books 1 and 2 if you haven't already.

Happy Reading,

Monday, December 29, 2014

New Releases - Dec 22 - 27

Dear Readers,

The Monday after a holiday weekend is always feels like everyone is working a bit groggy.  It is almost like we all have a holiday hangover.  After running around franticly party to party we all seem confused with all this time on our hands.  Personally I find these few days between Christmas and New Years to be some of my favorite.  A time for quiet, reflection and of course reading.

Happy Reading,

Beyond all Dreams - Elizabeth Camden - Anna is willing to lead a very quiet life until a mystery catches her attention.  Joining forces with Congressman Luke Callahan to solve the mystery might end up costing both of them their dreams and maybe more.

At Home in Last Chance - Cathleen Armstrong - #3 a Place to Call Home - Kaitlyn and Steven are cut from the same cloth.  When the going gets tough - they get out of town and away from the problem.  But they are both back in Last Chance trying to straighten out their lives and put the past behind them.

Hidden Agenda - Lisa Harris - #3 Southern Crimes - Everyone thought him dead, but once his cover is blown, now the Drug Cartel wants him dead.  The only one who can save him is the daughter of the man who put out a hit on him. 

Currency of the Heart - Loree Lough - #1 Secrets on Sterling Street - Shaina Sterling is trying to keep up appearances after her husband's death.  She is secretly selling off valuable pieces to protect his reputation.  Sloan is trying to help her without telling her because of a promise to her dying husband.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Steven James

Dear Readers,

Steven James burst on to the Christian fiction market a few short years ago with the Pawn.  He wrote a thriller with a character who wrestled with moral issues because of the job he held.  Patrick Bower rapidly became a favorite of many readers and we all eagerly waited for the next release, racing each other to get a copy so we could read it and then talk about all that was included in the book.

I sadly report that the Patrick Bower series has come to a conclusion with Checkmate.  But that didn’t make me wait at all to read it, I wanted to find out how it was all going to conclude.  I was not disappointed either.  Once again Steven gives us a book that asks the question over and over – ‘How could it be worse?’  The story lines of Steven’s books always seem to be things of nightmares.  People are left in caves and tunnels.  Bad guys hide under cars so they can slash your Achilles tendon so you can’t run away.  People get snakes put in their shirts, which if you don’t sit still will bite you and kill you.  AHH! All of those things still haunt my dreams after reading about them.

Patrick is not the intended target of the bombing at a secret FBI facility, but he is the one the bombing is for, the bomber is trying to get Patrick's attention.  A criminal from Patrick’s past resurfaces and has put a story into action and Patrick must follow the story to figure out what is happening and why.   

That is the story in a nutshell, but it is so much more.  Of course Tessa and Lien-hua are back, Patrick’s nemesis Margaret has also returned to remind Patrick that he does need to follow some rules, and a whole cast of favorites along with new characters fill the pages once again with thought provoking clues but also discussion on a variety of topics.   I have to admit that is what I love the most about these books.  The mysteries, which are great, almost become secondary to the discussion the characters end up having.  Like when Patrick and his partner Ralph have a talk about how do you balance work and family life.  That is something we all can relate to and to put that in a book just makes those characters come to life. 

I will miss Patrick, but I have read that there is a possibility that we will hear from Patrick again and Steven asked the question on his Facebook page asking if we would be interested in a book with Tessa as the lead character.  I said “Yes, please,”  and am looking forward to where that series would lead.

Happy Reading,

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Wishing you a wonderful beautiful day. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

New Release - Steadfast Heart - Tracie Peterson

Dear Readers,

Your shopping is hopefully done and you are now relaxing at home with your feet up waiting for a Christmas Eve service to start or are soon headed to a Christmas party.  Which ever it is or if you are still struggling to find that last minute gift, I have a suggestion for you.

Steadfast+HeartTracie Peterson's Steadfast Heart starts a new series called Brides of Seattle and would make a wonderful gift for the reader on your list or even for yourself if you are looking to just quietly enjoy Christmas eve.

Lenore Fulcher believes a marriage should be based on love, not on who is available like her father believes.  He is trying to marry her off to his business partner, a man  who is 17 years her senior!  That is out of the question for Lenore.

Kolbein arrives in Seattle looking for his sister who answered an ad for a mail order bride.  He storms into storms into the Madison Bridal School demanding to know where she is.  He is sure she has been tricked into going to Seattle and marring someone quite horrible.  He doesn't find his sister, but he does find Lenore and she captures his attention.

Once again Tracie transports us to another time and treats us to a delightful story.  She is a favorite of many readers and her fans can hardly wait for a new one to arrive.  Thankfully she is very good at keeping them all happy.

Happy Reading,

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

New Release - The Wishing Season - Denise Hunter

Dear Readers,

The Wishing Season by Denise Hunter has the perfect cover to read at this time of year.  As you can see from the picture it just looks like a cozy little romance that makes you want to curl up with a warm quilt and some hot chocolate and let the hours pass. 

PJ has always dreamed of opening a restaurant of her own.  When she is giving the opportunity to receive a house for free, she enters the contest thinking she has the best idea for the old house and will win.  The problem is Cole is also confident his idea is best, he wants to open a home for foster kids in transition is the best idea.

The owner decides both ideas are wonderful and decides to let them share the space for a year.  One upstairs and the other downstairs.  At the end of the year she will make her decision as to who wins and gets ownership of the house. 

A cute light romance is a great way to pass the busy holiday season.  It is also a wonderful gift for that reader on your list that you just don't know what else to get.  Maybe even wrap a couple of envelopes of hot chocolate.

Happy Reading,

Monday, December 22, 2014

New Releases - Dec. 15 - 20

Dear Readers,

New books the week before Christmas, Hallelujah!!  I love having new titles to put on the shelf for readers this close to Christmas.  There is always that one or two shoppers that come in and go, "They read everything and I don't know what to buy them."  Perfect, this book came out this week.

May your Christmas stocking be filled with many new books.  

Happy Reading,

Like a Flower in Bloom - Siri Mitchell -  Charlotte is only interested in assisting her father in his botany studies.  Her meddling Uncle has other plans, plans to launch her in society.  When an assistant is found for her father, Charlotte becomes desperate to stop this plan to marry her off.

Steadfast Heart - Traci Peterson - #1 Brides of Seattle - Lenore believes marriage should be built on love.  Her father has other ideas.  He wants her to marry his business partners, 17 years her senior.  She doesn't see a way to escape until Kolbein arrives in town.

Esther - Angela Hunt - A Dangerous Beauty Novel - The beloved story of Esther comes to life at the hands of best selling author Angela Hunt.  King Xerxes is looking for a new wife and Hadassah is swept up in the contest.

Emissary - Thomas Locke - #1 Legends of the Realm - Hyam has a gift for languages.  He has other gifts also, but doesn't know about them all just yet.  He is sent on a journey to find his story and who he really is.

Old Fashioned - Rene Gutteridge - based on a screen play by Rik Swartzwelder -Clay Walsh turns his back on his former life and decides to take a more "old fashioned" look at love.  Amber, a free spirited woman isn't sure what to make of him, but decides to see what he is all about.

Embers of Courage - David and Diane Munson - Eva races against time to save her fellow task force member after he is kidnapped in Egypt.  Her faith is going to be tested as never before as she when mysterious ashes, her family Bible and 15th century persecution all weave together and come to a head in modern times.

Always on my Mind - Susan May Warren - A Christiansen Family novel - Casper returns home to claim the girl of his dreams, but she is pregnant with another man's child.  Licking his wounds he throws himself into help prepare the family resort for reopening.

The Song - Chris Fabry - Based on the motion picture screenplay - Jed wants to step outside his father's shadow, but can't seem to find the words to jump start his own singing career.  That is until he meets Rose and suddenly all he has dreamed of is his, along with the same temptation that cost his father everything.

Friday, December 19, 2014

New Release - Embers of Courage - David and Diane Munson

Dear Readers,

I love to support local authors.  When they have a national audience as David and Diane Munson do, it makes it so much easier.  Embers of Courage is their 9th book and once again they take us to the side of government you don't hear reported about on the news.

Embers of CourageEva and Griff are once again plunged into danger when Eva's task force teammate is captured while on a mission in Egypt.  She puts her life at risk while trying to save persecuted Christians. Past and present collide when her faith is tested like never before.

Because of their past work, David and Diane can give us a very unique perspective on the workings of the government and what happens behind the scenes.  They themselves have had to face dangers similar to what they write about in their books, so to say they know what they are writing about is an understatement. 

If you are looking for a novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat and yet is something you can share with everyone you meet, the books by David and Diane fit the bill.

Happy Reading,

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Thomas Locke

Dear Readers,

I have had the privilege to read and then share Emissary by Thomas Locke before it released.   I wish I could have shared it with each one of you, but I only got a certain number of copies.  Rats.  But I want to let you know if you are looking for a good fantasy book I  encourage you to pick this book up.

Our main character, Hyam, is about to turn 21 when his mother passes.  Her last request is he go to the Long Hall and find his father.  What he finds there is much different than anything he expects to find.  He finds out that not only is his father gone, he is not wanted in the Hall either and he can’t figure out why.

EmissaryWhy, it turns out, is a quest that you get to go with Hyam on.  What makes this book so fun is the way Thomas weaves the human element into a story about creatures that don’t exist.  We meet with Elves and a race of telepaths that come and go whenever they feel like it.  The story will have echoes of The Hobbit.

Now I want to quickly assure you that Thomas does not fancy himself the next J.R.R. Tolkien, but he so enjoyed Tolkien’s books, he wanted to make sure there were other books out there for those reading that genre. 

Emissary is book one of a new series with book #2 coming out soon.  I for one am looking forward to reading it, and I have heard back from several other readers that have said the same thing.

Happy Reading,

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

New Release - Petticoat Detective - Margaret Brownley

Dear Readers,

Petticoat Detective by Margaret Brownley is book number one in the Undercover ladies series.  It is right in Margaret's wheelhouse for writing.  It is a romantic historical comedy, with a bit of mystery to it.  Ones that Margaret's fans will fall in love with immediately.

As a Pinkerton Detective, Jennifer has been asked to do many things, but playing an lady companion at Miss Lillian’s Parlor House and Boots is a first for her.  She is hot on the trail of the Gunnysack Bandit when one of the lead witnesses meets an untimely death.  Only a hand full of people were present when the witness died and one of them is the killer.  Will Jennifer be able to solve the case before she becomes the target?

Of course there is a handsome ex-Texas Ranger involved in the story because where would a good western romance be if there were no handsome cowboys involved?  So not only do we have an delightful mystery we have  cowboys and that always makes for very good read. 

                                     Happy Reading,

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

New Release - The Bracelet - Dorothy Love

Dear Readers,

Before the Civil War Savannah Georgia was a hub for all the high society in the area.  Plantation owners and their families strolled the streets.  It was about appearance and the Browning family was heavily involved. 

The Bracelet by Dorothy Love takes a peek into this time in Savannah's history.  A time of hoop skirts and slaves.  A time where reputation was everything and a bad one could ruin you and or your family.

Celia is looking forward to when her childhood sweetheart is returning and hopefully will soon propose.  But there is a small fly in the ointment in the form of a newspaper reporter who uncovers a few unsavory details from the Browning's past. 

Celia knows all can be lost if any of it proves true and as the journalist digs deeper it looks like it all maybe.  Will Celia be able to uncover the real truth before the half-truths destroys everything?

Based on actual events, The Bracelet is one of those books that will need to be on your reading list.  It might even be one you add to your Christmas wish list.

Happy Reading,

P.S. It also has one of those very eye catching covers. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

New Releases - December 8 -13

Dear Readers,

10 days till Christmas.  Oh boy, that seemed to go quickly.  Here are few last minute gift ideas.  They are all new releases for the reader who read everything.  Oh course they can also just be for yourself to read when you need a break from the hectic holiday pace. 

Happy Reading,

House of Living Stones - Katie Schuermann - Things don't change much in Bradbury IL.  So when Pastor Fletcher hires a new choir director everything gets turned on its head. 

Winter Brides - Denise Hunter/Deborah Raney/Betsy St. Amant - 3 Novellas - A December Bride - Layla and Seth's engagement is only to save her career.  Well at least for Layla... A January Bride - A friendship developes between an novelist and the host of a bed and breakfast.   A February Bride - Allie flees the church on her wedding day because she doesn't want to make the mistakes that the women of her family make. 

Petticoat Detective - Margaret Brownley - Undercover Ladies #1 - Jennifer Layne is a Pinkerton Detective and she is hot on the trail of the Gunnysack Bandit.  When her main lead meets an untimely death, she needs to rethink her strategy on how to catch him. 

The Bracelet - Dorothy Love - When Celia's intended returns they will become in engaged and then married, uniting two very prominent families.  Then a reporter starts digging into her family's past and it threatens to unravel everything.

The Wishing Season - Denise Hunter - A Chapel Springs Romance - A contest for a house turns into a funny little tie-break.  Share the house for a year and see which idea is best.  Cole and PJ are not only rivals, they now are both feeling drawn to each other.  Who will win?

Friday, December 12, 2014

New Release - Checkmate - Steven James

Dear Readers,

Ever since reading Pawn by Steven James I have eagerly awaited the next installment of the Bowers File.  Sadly I am saying that Checkmate, which just released, is rumored to be the last one.  I am sad because I have really enjoyed getting to know Patrick, his step-daughter Tessa and his new wife Lien-Hua.  Even the evil Basque was a character not easily forgotten.

I have found the different issues Patrick wrestled with fascinating.  The way he is willing to hunt down a killer, just to keep people safe usually left us on the edge of our seats wondering if Patrick would live to see another day.  All of it made for a page turner of a book and now Checkmate is on the shelves and begging to be read.

Patrick is racing stop a terrorist threat that could be bigger than the 911 attacks.  As Patrick starts to put the clues together an old "friend" seems to be involved.  Who is pulling the strings behind the plot?  Why is it so important that Patrick is involved?  Will Patrick be able to stop the threat before any more people are killed?

Full of murder and mayhem, Steven's books are face paced thrillers that keep you awake until the very end.

Happy Reading,

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Book of the year - 2014

Dear Readers,

It is hard to believe that the end of the year is upon us.  Our family added a couple of members this year with a wedding and the birth of a grandchild, which made it busier than ever.  Time flew with all the blessings and fun we had this year.  One of the things that remains a constant in my life is the number of good books that I have the privilege to read every year.  It does make it harder to pick a favorite from among them all as every time I think I had one, someone would remind me of a different one I liked. 

A Table by the Window by Hillary Manton LodgeSo this year I went back through my list of books I have reviewed this year and there was one that made me stop a bit longer than any of the others. That was ATable by the Window by Hillary Manton Lodge.  I was so taken with this book when I first read it that I emailed the rep from Waterbrook wondering when the second half of the story was coming out.  I loved the characters, I love the setting and I loved that Hillary wove family and cooking together so beautifully.  It is something that my family seems to have also, most of our get-togethers seem to center around food in one way or another.

The story itself drew me, asked me to pull up a chair and enjoy a meal.  They made me part of their family, to partake in their arguments, laughter and tears.  To be welcomed so warmly into a family is a gift, to be given that gift by an author just adds to the pleasure.  I am looking forward to Reservations for Two which releases in April which is not soon enough, but I guess I will wait.

Happy Reading,

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

New Release - Sister Eve, Private Eye - Lynne Hinton

Dear Readers,

What could be more fun that a nun turned Private Eye?  Lynne Hinton is writing a series about just that and Sister Eve, Private Eye is the first installment. 

Sister Evangeline has for two decades lived at a monastery in New Mexico.  She is content to work, live and worship  there.  It isn't always easy as she still struggles with certain sins, but she is working on it.  Of course riding her motorcycle helps. 

When a friend of the families stops by to tell Eve about her father's surgery and how he is going to need help afterwards, she is quickly drawn back into the life of a Private Eye.  It is in her blood, but will she be able to give up the calling of her heart?

Sister Evangeline seems to have a no nonsense type of attitude.  She finds that most people don't agree with what she finds important and her faith is the same way.  I am not sure I would always get along with Sister Evangeline, but if she would be willing to take me along on the investigations, I think we would make a great team. 

Happy Reading,

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas titles - Part 2

Dear Readers,

Here is the second part of the Christmas title list.

Happy Reading,

Christmas at Rose Hill Farm - Suzanne Woods Fisher - Bess' friend Billy is back in Stony Ridge, but he has changed.  Bess isn't sure what has made him change so, but she knows that he can be drawn out by a rose.

Forever Christmas - Robert Tate Miller - Andrew is having an affair, not the kind you are thinking of, but one with his job.  His real marriage is suffering and he doesn't care.  That is until an accident of Christmas Eve makes him slow down and look at life differently.

Snowfall - Shelley Shepard Gray - A Day of Redemption Christmas Novella - Ruth looses her job because of budget cuts.  When she takes the job of helping widower Martin Rhodes with his 6 children it is suppose to only last until Christmas.  That is until they all find themselves become attached.

Where Treetops Glisten - Tricia Goyer/Cara Putman/Sarah Sundin - Three stories set during WWII.  White Christmas - Abigail lost a beau to the war and is not ready for romance - a certain young man needs her help. I'll be home for Christmas - Pete returns home to recover from more than physical injuries.  Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Meredith is a 1/2 a world away and confronts her deepest betrayal.

The Snow Globe - Laura V. Hilton - The Amish of Jamesport - Esther loves her job taking care of an elderly couple.  She dreads the return of the grandson.  Viktor was in her class in school as he did not make a great impression.  She is hoping he leaves soon after arriving or does she?

Evergreen - Susan May Warren - a Christian Winter Novella - Ingrid and her husband, John, are empty nesters.  That means two very different things to them each.  He is ready to travel and starts with a surprise trip to Paris! over the Holidays!?! 

Quilted by Christmas - Jodie Bailey - Quilts of Love series - After a horrible break up with her high school sweet heart, Taryn vows to never love again.  Years later when Justin comes back to town, her emotions seem to be getting the better of her.

Monday, December 8, 2014

New Releases - Dec 1 - 6

Dear Readers,

New books just in time for Christmas!  I love getting books as gifts. Now the complaint I get from family and friends is that I have read everything so they don't dare buy me books.  :-)  Ah well I guess I will just have to get them myself.

Happy Reading,

Masterpiece Marriage - Gina Welborn - Quilts of Love - Mary needs illustrations for her plants.  She turns to Priscilla Osbourne for help.  Zenus turns to his Aunt Priscilla for help with his flooded company.  Priscilla wants to marry off her nephew, but not to Mary. 

Sister Eve, Private Eye - Lynne Hinton - A Divine Private Detective Agency Mystery - Sister Evangeline is called home by her father to help him recover from surgery.  While there she takes of his latest P.I. case.  She needs to decide between the vocation of her heart and the job in her blood.

The Covered Deep - Brandy Vallance - Operation First Novel - Biance is looking for a man who can quote Shakespeare and Jesus equally.  But they are hard to find in her little back water hometown.  So when she wins a trip to London and Palestine she may finally find her true love.

Checkmate - Steven James - The Bowers File - The final installment of the Bowers File, sad to see this series end.  Patrick is racing to stop an attack on US soil.  One that could prove to be even more deadly than 911.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Gift ideas for Men - part 2

Dear Readers,

Ideas for Him part 2.

Happy Reading,


The Confession – Robert Whitlow – Holt Douglas has a secret, one he has kept since a fateful night in high school.  Now as he investigates the death of a prominate business man, that secret may just get revealed.

Playing Saint – Zachary Bartels – What is a little murder and mayhem among the churches of Grand Rapids MI?  Parker Saint is about to find out that it is not all fun and games.

Alligator Man – James Sheehan – may contain language - a story of greed, anger, love, redemption and two powerful trial attorneys who fight to the end-- and risk everything--for the truth.
The Patmos Deception – Davis Bunn – 3 people race to solve the mystery of the Greek artifacts that are disappearing before there is a worldwide economic collapse.

Advocate – Randy Singer – After trying to get Jesus released, Theophilus never forgets an innocent man killed.  3 decades later he gets his chance to once again defend an innocent, but to Nero.
Color of Justice –Ace Collins – Civil rights back in the 60’s, a trial that still is causing ripples today.  Coop Lindsey takes on a case in the 60’s and 50 years later his grandson returns to find out what happened.

Checkmate –Steven James – The conclusion of the Patrick Bowers series.  Murder and mayhem in the most intense way possible.  Will Patrick finally catch his nemesis?
Hawk – Ronie Kendig - #2 the Quiet Professionals – A promise may cost “Hawk” and his men their lives.  What choice will he make?

Sky Zone – Creston Mapes - #3 in the Crittendon files – Jack is asked to help when a presidential candidate arrives in town.  A plot is discovered, but will they be able to stop it in time?

Embers of Courage - Diane and David Munson - Once again Special Agents Eva and Griff race to stop terrorists before they have a chance to strike against innocent people.  When Eva's teammate is captured, she risks her life to rescue him.

Checkmate - Steven James - The Bowers File - The final installment of the Bowers File, sad to see this series end.  Patrick is racing to stop an attack on US soil.  One that could prove to be even more deadly than 911.



Thursday, December 4, 2014

Mel Starr

Dear Readers,

The Abbot’s Agreement, by Mel Starr, is book #6 in the Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, surgeon.  I have review a couple of them and loved all 6 of them.  I was unsure if I wanted to review another as I didn’t want to just repeat myself about the series, but as I was reading the book I was once again struck by how much fun this book was to read.  The quirks of some of the characters and even Hugh himself are so interesting to read.  To be able to experience life in the 14th century is a delight. 

Mel makes the characters and their experiences come to life.   How the pestilence –black plague – wiped out families and sometimes entire communities.  They lived in terror of if and when it would enter their communities.  It was part of life and nothing they could do anything about.  I have no experience with such a disease or anything that would just wipe out everyone I knew.  Mel weaves that into his stories, each and every person has lost family and friends to the pestilence and each understands when someone brings it up.  The work force is smaller because of it.  People have been able to purchase more land as landowners and churches lost money because of the loss to this tragedy.  I never thought of how much it would affect.  It made the story much more intriguing. 

Master Hugh is on the way to Oxford to purchase a Bible.  He has longed for one for some time now and has finally the coin and time to get one.  His wife is expecting their second child soon and he wants to be back in time for this event.  While on the way he is distracted by a flock of birds alongside the road and goes to investigate, what he finds is the body of a missing novice from the local Abbey.  He is soon hired by the Abbot to figure out who killed young John and why.  His wages for doing so?  A new and complete Bible.  More than ample reward for his services. 
As the clues start coming together, Hugh and groom Arthur find themselves at risk and the murderer would do just about anything to keep his secret.  Is it the younger son of the local land owner?  Is it a different suitor for beautiful young Maude’s hand?  When John’s father asks Hugh if he had any in mind that would kill his son,  Hugh responds with “Several.”  It is what makes the mystery so fun to read in these books.  It is all testimony and word of mouth.  No surprise DNA results to help you along the way.  No find a small drop of blood on the dagger that is tested to show you whose blood is on the dagger.  It is all just listening for the clues and trying to figure it out yourself.  Mel does a good job of pointing you in a certain direction and then changing your mind.  I love that part of the work, no CSI to come in and tell you the answer in the end, just good old fashion leg work.

Happy Reading.  

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Gift Ideas for Men - part 1

Dear Readers,

Sometimes it is hard to find the perfect book for that guy on your list.  Here are a few ideas broken down by genre.  Part two will be tomorrow's post. 

Happy Reading,


What Follows After – Dan Walsh – Colt and his little brother are sick of their parents arguing all the time. So they come up with a plan to get them to stop, but that plan goes terrible wrong.
Keepers of the Covenant – Lyn Austin - #2 in the Restoration Chronicles.  What was it like moving Israel back from Babylon?

Auschwitz Escape – Joel Rosenberg - Jacob Weisz joins the resistance to fight for his beloved country.  Through a terrible mistake he ends up at Auschwitz were all he can think of is escaping.  Will he be able to escape and tell the world what is happening?

Thief of Glory – Sigmund Brower - Jeremiah Prins has to do a lot of growing up quickly when the Japanese invade the Dutch East Indies where he and his family live.

Color of Justice –Ace Collins – Civil rights back in the 60’s, a trial that still is causing ripples today.  Coop Lindsey takes on a case in the 60’s and 50 years later his grandson returns to find out what happened.
A.D. 30 – Ted Dekker – A Bedouin princess goes to find Herod to ask him to honor the treaty his father and her father had made year before.  Set during the time of Jesus.
Sentinels of Andersonville – Tracy Groot – The story of the most notorious prison camp of the Civil War and the town’s people that lived near it.
Feast of Thieves – Marcus Brotherton – When Rowdy Slater returns from WWII he finds himself on the wrong side of the law.  When he is giving a choice serve time or serve the Lord.
Life Intercepted – Charles Martin – Is there life after football?  Is there life without football?  Part of the agreement for Matthew’s release from prison is he has nothing to do with football, but what if the only way to win his wife back is to mentor a young man in football.
First phone call from Heaven – Mitch Albom – Soft cover release of his best seller.  Why are families now getting phone calls from deceased family members?
In the Heart of the Dark Wood – Billy Coffey - #3 in the Mattingly VA books – Allie lost her mother in the tornado that stuck Mattingly 2 years ago.  Now the compass her mother left behind has started working about and Allie and her friend Zach set out to find where it lead
Prime of Life – P.D. Benton – Ben was a cardiothoracic surgeon and he gave it all up to be a janitor at the a retirement home.  But his past is about to catch up with him.

The Wish – Jake Smith -James McConnell’s one wish is for his son to be healthy.  His son’s one wish is to see his dad play in a major league game.

Sign Painter – Davis Bunn – Amy first loses her husband to illness and then her and her daughter become homeless.  A job lead maybe just what they needed, but can she trust enough to take the job.



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Christmas Titles - 2014 - Part one

Dear Readers,

Here is the annual Christmas title list.  I hope it is one that helps you decide which of the titles you wish to purchase and enjoy or share as gifts through out the holiday season.  There is something very special about being able to slow down, relax and rest while reading a Christmas book.

Happy Reading,

The Christmas Cat - Melody Carlson - There are very few authors that readers ask for the Christmas novel, but people wait for Melody's to arrive every year.  She is the queen of the Christmas story and must keep writing them or many o' folks will have their Christmas' ruined.  After Garrison's beloved grandmother passes, he must work to find homes for 6 cats. 

A White Christmas in Webster County - Laura V. Hilton - Mercy Lapp is not going to get involved in her new community as she doesn't plan on staying.  That is until her and Abner have a chance encounter.  It feels like love at first site, well as much as one can have while guarding your heart.

Silent Night, Holy Night - Colleen Coble - 2 novellas in one - What is Christmas without a little murder and mayhem.  You return to two of Colleen most popular series.  You venture to Rock Harbor with Bree and her search dog Samson.  If that is to cold, you can head to Hawaii with Leia and Bane as they prepare for their Christmas wedding.

Clara's Wish - Beth Shriver - Lizzy is planning on meeting and marrying an upstanding Amish man, but why does she find herself attracted to her best friend's rebellious brother?  Zack is the exact opposite that she is looking for, but her heart says otherwise.

Christmas comes to Little Hickman Creek - Sharlene MacLaren - Sharlene takes us back to her most popular series.  Sadie use to love Christmas, now all the merry and bright just makes her remember her loss.  When she is asked to be on the committee to find the town's Christmas tree, maybe things will begin to change.

An Amish Second Christmas - 4 Novellas in one - Beth Wiseman/Ruth Reid/Kathleen Fuller/Tricia Goyer - (from the backcover) - Second Christmas is a time of Family, fun and tradition in Amish Communities.  Come celebrate this special time with 4 heartwarming Amish Romances.

Nora Bonesteel's Christmas Past - Sharyn McCrumb - Return with Sharyn to her beloved characters of the Ballad series.  Someone finally buys the old Honeycutt place.  Nora is excited to see new life brought to the old mansion.  That is until the new owners decide to stay through Christmas.

Monday, December 1, 2014

New Releases - November 24-29

Dear Readers,

I never know what to expect in releases this time of year.  As much as I talk to publishers I can't quite seem to convince them that releases this time of year are great because of the Christmas season.  They seem to think no one buys books in December, especially new books.  Ah well, we will make do with the good ones we are getting and maybe this year the sales will prove it.

Happy Reading,

A Most Inconvenient Marriage - Regina Jennings - Abigail agrees to marry Jeremiah Calhoun on his death bed, she will have a place to go after the war between the states and he will have someone to take are of his sister.  Then who is this not only claiming to be Jeremiah but very much alive.

Destiny - Don Brown - Prequel to the Navy Justice series - When WWII starts, Walter Brewer has no idea that his life is soon going to become entwined with a Nazi Officer and a Royal Navel Commander.

Abbot's Agreement - Mel Starr - 7th in the Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton Surgeon - Master Hugh finds a body of a young novice on the way to Oxford and is soon embroiled in solving who stabbed the young man.

Pound Foolish - Neta and Dave Jackson - #4 Windy City Neighbors - a parallel novel with Penny Wise - Greg Singer's job put stress on his marriage and it seems his wife has noticed the handsome lawyer at the end of the block.  Will the recession give him a chance to "fix" things?

The Bachelor - Stephanie Reed - #2 Plain City Peace - Set in 1970 - Betsie is back home again and her life seems to be back on track.  Charley and her make a pledge to each other.  That is until Betsie agrees to do her English host family a favor.