Friday, October 30, 2015

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Busy, busy, busy

Dear Readers,

It has been a busy month for not only the store, but also myself.  I have tried very hard to keep up with my reading, which I did.  But it does mean that I didn't always have time to write a proper review for all the books I have read.  I can easily write a review that gives the basics for you and tell you I liked it, but I believe that if authors go through all the effort to write a good story, I need to take the time to write an honest review.

I have several books that I have just gotten read and am working on reviews for them.  But that means today there is no review for you and I am sorry about that.  Next week I will be back on track with reviews and other posts I normally do.  I hope they are helpful to you and that you enjoy the information I try to bring you.

Happy Reading,

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

New Release - A Respectable Actress - Dorothy Love

Dear Readers,

Every time I get done with a librarian's day and/or conference I am right away looking for new books to add to the list for the next one.  Dorothy Love's new book, A Respectable Actress came across my desk the morning after our fall librarian's day.

I am looking forward to reading it as it is about a time in the South during the recovery but it is also set in a place I am somewhat familiar with.  St. Simon's Island, just off the coast of Savannah Georgia.  One other interesting part of the book is it is about a stage actress at that time when they were trying to become respectable and change from being plays that are not fit for ladies and families.

India Hartley has just lost her father.  A way for her to honor his memory is to do a tour of Southern theaters that will not only provide her with a way to make money, but will also give her a chance to come to terms with her loss.

The second night in a tragedy happens and India is accused of murder.  To prove her innocent she must stay in Savannah and find the guilty party.  Thank goodness she has a patron who is willing to pay for a lawyer and he turns out to be the handsome Philip Sinclair.

So a bit of mystery a bit of intrigue and a dash of romance makes this a read that should earn it a place on everyone's TBR list.

Happy Reading,

Monday, October 26, 2015

New Releases - Oct. 19 - 24

Dear Readers,

I have the day off today.  I spent last week visiting with a group of school teachers and then a group of church librarians and so am spending today doing nothing.  Well at least sleeping in, relaxing and maybe even a nap.  The only problem is those really good books are calling my name.

Happy Reading,

The Respectable Actress - Dorothy Love - India Hartley is accused of murder.  After India's father's death, she is on a tour of theaters of the South.  During the second night performance, India's co-star is killed and everyone believes she is to blame.  Can she prove her innocent?

The Shock of Night - Patrick Carr - #1 The Darkwater Saga - Willet Dura is called to investigate the murder of one man and the wounding of a priest. When Willet questions the priest, he is screamed at in a foreign tongue and then the priest dies.  Will Willet be able to find the killer before he strikes again.

Rising Darkness - Nancy Mehl - #3 Finding Sanctuary - Sophie left Sanctuary under a cloud of shame and regret.  She is now back following the clues to a decades old unsolved crime.

The Tears of Dark Water - Corban Addison - Daniel and Vanessa seem to have it all together.  But in reality they are coming apart at the seams.  Daniel hopes his dream of sailing around the world together with bring them and their son back together.

Promise to Keep - Elizabeth Byler Younts - The Promise of Sunrise Series #3 - Esther is used to being on her own.  After taking care of her grandmother and now her deaf niece, Daisy, is has become the norm for her.  When Daisy's father returns from WWII he longs to connect with his daughter, but she refuses to leave Esther.  Will these to hurting adults be able to find an answer for one hurting child?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Ted Dekker

Dear Readers,
Last year Ted Dekker released A.D. 30, which reminded me how good a storyteller he is.  He wove a beautiful tale of Maviah and her search for love and exceptance from first her earthly father and then when he is killed, by others around her.  Her searched only ended when she was introduced to Jesus.  
It was a wonderful reminder to us all, that no matter how important or how unimportant we are, we are loved perfectly by our heavenly father.  Now Ted continues Maviah's story in A.D. 33.  We move forward in Maviah's story and how she is still trying to live her life according to what she learned from Jesus or Joshua as he is called in this book.  
That is not as easy as it seems as Maviah and her band of outcasts are living with the idea that Joshua is here for an earthly kingdom.  They don't understand that he is here to die for all mankind, not to free the Jews or any other outcasts that follow him.  
Once again Ted's story keeping skills come into play.  He takes us to a place of great despair and wonderful mountain tops. He reminds us that the walk we are called to isn't always easy, sometimes it takes us to places we don't know that we can survive, but He has promised to always walk along side of us even in times we are not sure he is there.  
Even if you have sworn off Ted's books because of how dark they have been in the past (I will admit I was close to doing that myself), come back and try this little series.  I know I gave a couple hints away from book number one, but really it isn't anything that you can't figure out by reading the title.  
Happy Reading. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

New Release - Luther and Katharina - Jody Hedlund

Dear Readers,

When you have heard about a historical figure all your life, sometimes it is easy to forget that they are actual people.  You know, people who have families and sometimes other jobs that have nothing to do with what we know them for.

Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund is a great reminder that Martin Luther was not just a guy who happened to rock the church, but he also fell in love with a beautiful woman and struggled to protect her while he was challenging the church.

Katharina von Bora was a nun and she expected nothing more of her life until she reads the writings of Martin Luther.  He awakens those longing she has long held in check because she was told they were not for her and she had no hope of gaining them.

It is hard to go on without just repeating what the backcover has written on it.  But this story is a great way to learn more about a man who could no longer keep quiet about the injustice of the church of his time.  He changed the world for not only all believers then and to come, but also for one little nun.
Reformation day is at the end of this week and it is the perfect time to learn more about the man who made it all possible.

Happy Reading,  

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

New Release - The Fruitcake Murders - Ace Collins

Dear Readers,

The are several readers that shop at our store that when I mention a new Ace Collins book, are usually here with in a couple of hours.  He has some very loyal fans and that makes it fun to recommend his latest release, The Fruitcake Murders.

In 1946 during the Christmas season, Chicago was in the grip of a serial killer.  He was terrifying people but his murder weapon was leaving more than one person puzzled, twenty year old fruitcake. The victims don't seem to have anything else in common except that, they were all killed with a fruitcake.

The+Fruitcake+MurdersLane Walker is tasked with solving the murders, but this won't be an easy thing to do.  Not only does he struggle to find the connection, political reporter, Betsy Clayton keeps getting in the way.

Ace's books are just plain and simply fun to read.  They have good mysteries to them, quirky character and the historical settings are well described.  He has a way of making you feel like you are in cold, blustery Chicago and if you are not there, you definitely want to walk the streets and see all the sights he talks about.

Pull up a chair and help detective Lane solve a strange string of murders.

Happy Reading,

Monday, October 19, 2015

New Releases - Oct. 12 - 17

Dear Readers,

The middle of the month already.  I know my TBR list should be shorter by now, but it is not, and with these good books continuing to arrive here at the bookstore.   What to do what to do?  I guess I will just keep plodding away at it and maybe someday I will find the bottom.

Happy Reading,

Valley of Decision - Lynne Gentry - #3 the Carthage Chronicles - After her mother made the choice to protect her, Maggie returns to 3rd century Carthage.  She returns to chaos and her grandmother's murder trial.  But Maggie is determined to change history.

A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn - Shelley Shephard Gray - #3 Amish Brides of Pinecraft - Emma's husband past away several years ago and yet her family expects her to stay a widow and honor his memory.  But Jay is a widower with 3 sons and there is something about him that makes Emma wonder if there could be more.

The Fruitcake Murders - Ace Collins - The only connection that homicide detective Lane Walker can find with the three victims is the murder weapon.  Old fruitcake tins.  Will Lane find a connection before the murder strikes again?

Murder, Plainly Read - Isabella Alan - #3 An Amish Quilt Shop Mystery - Angie is surprised she can find the time to organize the annual book sale.  Between her shop and new boyfriend it is hard to believe she can do anything else.  Of course the help of Austina Shaker does help.  But a dead body in Austina's bookmobile may ruin her forever.  Will Angie be able to figure out who-dun-it before someone else ends up dead?

Duplicity - Newt Gingrich/Pete Earley - Ripped from today's headlines, what if the there was someone leading the Islamic terrorist groups.  Organizing them and coordinating their efforts and attacks?  Is America prepared to stop them?

Luther and Katharina - Jody Hedlund - A Novel of Love and Rebellion - Katharina von Bora thought her life at the cloister was all she could hope for.  That is until Martin Luther took on the church and challenged the cloistered life and opened a new world of possibilities to Katharina

Friday, October 16, 2015

Oct. 21, 2015

This made me laugh out loud.  Our childhood is clashing with our adult life.  

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

New Release - My Brother's Crown - Mindy Starns Clark/Leslie Gould

Dear Readers,

Fresh off winning a Christy Award Mindy Starns Clark starts a new series with Leslie Gould.  My Brother's Crown is book #1 in their Cousins of the Dove series.  It will be a wonderful series with a blend of modern and historical.

In book #1 we meet Catherine Gillet. She lives in France in 1685.  It is a time of great persecution for anyone who is a Huguenots.  The Catholic King has decreed, become Catholic or lose everything, including your life.  Catherine's brother is involved in something, she doesn't know what, but it may put her entire family at risk.

Modern day - Renee is a direct descendant of Catherine's and has always found a document that has been part of her family since Catherine, fascinating.  The pages hold a secret and she is on the edge of figuring out what that secret is.  But searching rekindles a childhood trauma and now needs to work to put that behind her also. Will she be able to find the truth before the past catches up with her?

Mindy and Leslie are like a dream team of writers.  They are both very good at what they do and it makes for a very fun read for us.  I look forward to getting started on this series and learning more about the Huguenots.

Happy Reading,

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Librarians Day

Dear Readers,

Today is a big day at our store.  If you have read this blog for a few years now, you know all about our Librarian's days that we host in the Fall and Spring.

We have anywhere from 80-90 librarians in the store to purchase new books for the libraries.  Yes it is a good day for our store, but the best thing?  To have so many people in the store that are so excited about books.  I can say how many times during the day I hear, "I wish that I could buy them all."

I know that feeling, it is similar to the feeling, "I wish that I could read them all."  But to be part of the process of making sure all the newest and best books get into the hands of readers - that is an honor that is hard to describe.  I know for non - readers it makes no sense, but to readers what a fun time.

All day long that is all I do find, recommend, and talk about books.  It is pretty much a prefect day.  Of course the next day Wednesday, I sleep most of the day as working 12 hours is a lot harder to do that it use to be.  The funny thing about that?  I only really feel it once I leave the building and start to relax.  The ride home is the hardest part of the day.

Now that the day is upon me, I can just enjoy.  The work for the next one starts tomorrow, well maybe Thursday. :-)

Happy Reading,

Monday, October 12, 2015

New Releases - Oct. 5 - 10

Dear Readers,

I hate to admit it, but inside reading is becoming necessary around here.  It is just too cold to sit outside in my favorite rocking chair and read.  Even on the bright sunny days.  Of course it does mean I get to curl up in my big rocker inside, with a warm quilt and a cup of tea.  I guess that is okay also.  Mostly because I get to read, not because of the weather is colder, that is never okay.

Happy Reading,

The Bird House - Laura V. Hilton - The Amish of Jamesport - Greta needs to work to help ends meet.  She is asked to work at the local farmers market selling jams and jellies.  When she meets her friend Josh.  He walked away from his faith and her 3 years ago and she wants nothing to do with him.

The Bishop's Son - Kelly Irvin - #2 The Amish of Bee County - Leila has been in love with Jesse since the first time she saw him.  But he is struggling with his faith and feels he can't declare his love if he is unsure if he will stay in the Amish faith.

Miriam and the Stranger - #3  Land of Promise - After tragedy destroys Miriam's hope for a family she returns to school teaching.  But a freelance reporter enters her world and Miriam finds herself attracted to him, but he is an Englisher.

My Brother's Crown - Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould - #1 Cousins of the Dove - France 1685 - Catherine's brother is just trying to protect her from treats to the crown.  But he is involved in a deadly enterprise.  Modern day - Renee has always been interested in her descendent Catherine.  When she makes a shocking discovery it may force her to face her deepest fears.

The Abbess of Whitby - Jill Dallaby - A Novel of Hild of Northumbria - Hild is tossed between the goddess Eostre and the callous king and her crass husband.  Then she meets the Christian priests of Iona and finds a home for her bruised spirit.  That meeting not only changes her life, it changes a nation.

A.D. 33 - Ted Dekker - Sequel to AD 30 - Continue the story of Maviah and her kingdom of outcast.  As her power threatens those rulers around her, she must find a way to rule and protect without putting her people at risk.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Listening to books

Dear Readers,

I have found a new pleasure I never really thought I would like.  I have been reading, well listening to books on CD on my ride to and from work.  Really I never thought I would love it as much as I do, but it is lots and lots of fun.

I made this discovery but getting a free set of the Lord of the Rings.  Now that version was a theatrical version so was not word for word, but it sure was fun to listen to.  (I have to admit that I kept seeing the faces of the characters from the movie or hearing their voices, which didn't always match)  When that was over and I turned on the radio again I was a bit disappointed and made a beeline for my local library to find my next book.

There is only one rule for me on the books I listen to, they are not something that we would necessarily carry here at the store.  I have listened to a couple of classics and have once again found back several authors that I haven't read in years just because I don't always have time to read books that are not for the store.

I have gone to middle earth, I have meet the aristocrats of Russia.  I pedaled alongside midwives in post WWII England and I have stopped several terrorist threats to America.  All while driving back and forth to work.

So if the listening books is not something you have tried, let me recommend it to you.  Hopefully your work commute is not as long as mine, but really even just 10 minutes is long enough to get several more pages read.

Just remember to pay attention to where you are on the road, some day I am sure I will be calling work and saying yes I am on the way, but because I got so interested in my book I missed my exit and am now several miles down the road.  Oops.

Happy reading or listening,

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Susie Finkbeiner

Dear Readers,

Okay I am trying to write a review for a book that I really liked, A Cup of Dust by Susie Finkbeiner, and I am having a terrible time of it.  I feel like the only way I can talk about this book in an intelligent way is to tell the whole story line and then go on from there.

Don't worry, I am not going to do that as I hate reviews with spoilers.  It is very disappointing to me when that happens and I work very hard not to do that in my reviews.  I have started this review over more than once because I keep drifting into the spoiler area.  To me that is sign of a really well written story.  You can't talk about one part of the story without talking about all of the story.  It all flows together and you can't have the beginning without the end.  

A Cup of DustSet in the Dust Bowl of 1934, A Cup of Dust is written about Pearl who is 10 years old and doesn't always understand what the adults are talking about, why her sister is the way she is, or why God has decided to curse Red River, Pearl's home town.  But she does know that Eddie, one of the hobos that jumped off the train, gives her the creeps.  

That is about as far as I dare to go for fear of giving more away.  What I mentioned here is actually on the back of the book and I figured that was safe to at least let you know a bit more about the story.  I went into this with the thought that I never really liked books that are about the depression.  But after reading "Dust" I realize that even though this is one of the most difficult times in US history, it may also have been some of our finest times.  

People lost everything, were struggling to keep family together and feed them and yet they shared with each other what they had. They looked out for each other and helped each other when they could.  It might have been so small a thing as a piece of bread or cup of water, but it was given freely.  Susie includes this in her story. Yes there are bad guys, but she doesn't dwell on the negative, she makes sure we see the positive of what is happening during this very difficult time.  

She reminds us through a story of a little girl why we call them our greatest generation.  

Read this book and be reminded of that, but also to learn the story of Pearl, the little girl who will win your heart because somewhere in all of us is a child just like her.  Someone just wishing they understood all that is going on but secure in the love of our Daddy. 

Happy Reading, 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Dear Readers,

Tomorrow we will be hosting an evening with 6 different authors.  We have titled the evening Inspire as it has become the unofficial kickoff to the Breathe Writers Conference.  Last year was the first year and it was so much fun that we wanted to do it again.

This year we are hosting Steven James along with Zachary Bartels, Lorilee Craker, Susie Finkbeiner, Sharon Brown and   .

Each of the authors will be reading an excerpt from one of their books and then there will be a question and answer time.  There is something very unique about hearing the words come alive when the person who penned them reads them.  They understand better than anyone the emotion or passion that is behind the words they have written.  Having them share that really makes the pages come alive and suddenly the characters take on a whole new voice.

Whether you are an aspiring writer or not, tomorrow evening will be a fun evening here at the store and I hope you can join us.

Happy Reading,

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

New Release - Cup of Dust - Susie Finkbeiner

Dear Readers,

I am so excited to be able to tell you that A Cup of Dust by Susie Finkbeiner is on our shelves.  It is the third book that Susie has written and I can hardly wait to start reading it.

Pearl is 10 years old and growing up in Oklahoma during dust bowl.  Because her father is the town Sheriff they are a little better off than most families, but her mother shares their "wealth" with any and all in need.  Life is secure for Pearl.  That is until Eddie jumps of the train already knowing Pearl's name. Who is he and why does he make her so uncomfortable?

A Cup of DustStories that make you think they really happened, those are my favorite to read.  Sometimes that means bad things happen to your favorite characters and knowing Susie's writing style Pearl's world will not remain perfect.  But Susie also makes sure we all understand how to get through the tough times.

That is why books that don't have everything wrapped up in a bow by the end of the book are the best books.  They let you walk alongside and learn what it was like to grow up in the middle of the depression when there really seemed to be no end in sight.  Families completely uprooted, left everything behind and started over elsewhere.

Most of us still living have no idea what that is like, thankfully there are still fiction books being written that do give us that small glimpse into those stories.

Happy Reading,

Monday, October 5, 2015

New Releases - Sept/ 28 - October 3

Dear Readers,

October already.  Not sure I am ready.  Here at the store it is always one of our busiest months for events.  We have author visits, librarians can and several booktables and conferences we are working at.  It makes the time go very quickly.  But most importantly, it gives us all a chance to meet and greet fellow readers alongside the authors.  It is fun and an exciting time here at the store.

In the meantime, good fiction books continue to flow into the store.

Happy Reading,

Cup of Dust - Susie Finkbeiner - Pearl is living in Oklahoma during the dust bowl years.  Life is hard, but she is loved and happy.  That is until the strange man jumps off the train and calls her by name.

Deadlock - DiAnn Mills - #3 An FBI:Houston Novel - Does Houston have a serial killer or is it just a copycat killer trying to get away with murder.  Bethany Sanchez is eager to solve the crimes and show that she is is very capuble at her new job.  But her new partner might be a problem.  He is the same detective who once arrested her brother.

Eve - WM. Paul Young - When a shipping container washes ashore containing a young woman barely alive.  Many begin to wonder who she is.  It is discovered that she is no other than Eve, as in Adam and Eve.

Lightning - Bonnie Calhoun - #2Stone Braide Chronicles - Torn between two worlds, Selah had hoped finding her real father would answer all her questions.  Instead it has made new ones alongside trouble for not only her but her family she left behind.

The Columbus Code - Mike Evans - (from the backcover) When Christopher Columbus set out to discover the new world, was it because he wanted to serve king and queen or because he wanted to flee them?  Did he have stronger ties to Jerusalem than anyone suspected?  Was Columbus actually a Jew fleeing the Spanish Inquisition?

Another Way Home - Deborah Raney - #3 A Chicory Inn Novel - Grandbabies are arriving in the Whitman family left and right.  Except for Danae and Dallas.  She is ready to adopt, but he won't talk about it.  So she pours herself into volunteer work and finds a different answer to her longing.

Redemption - Beth Shriver - #3 The Spirit of the Amish - Fannie agrees to help Dr. David in the clinic to get away from a mother who won't quite planning Fannie's life.  Dr. David asks her to help only because he needs help.  What they find instead may change everything for both of them.

When Love Returns - Kim Vogel Sawyer - #3 The Zimmerman Restoration Trilogy - The conclusion to the Suzanne and Paul story.  One that began many years ago with a teenage pregnancy.  Twenty years later they still have feelings for each other, but will they be able to get over their painful past.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Reading, interrupt at your own risk...

Here is a blog post from Bethany Publishers that might give you some good ideas how to avoid beign interrupted, repeatedly.  I may give a few a try here at work and see what happens.

Happy Reading,

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Laura McNeill

Dear Readers,

Center of Gravity by Laura McNeill is not an easy read for anyone.  It is about a young lady who only longed for a happily-ever-after life.  The problem is, she ended up with a life that nightmares are made of.  I am thinking that Laura did not write this book for those caught up in the cycle of abuse, but for those who long to understand how someone can stay in that situation. 

In writing this book Laura draws us into the story of Ava just as the abuse is starting to make Ava really wonder what is going on with Mitchell and why is he acting this way.  She knows he is under a lot of stress at work, but even when she tries to make everything perfect at home, he seems unhappy with her and the boys.  But when he announces one morning that he is leaving her and filing for divorce, Ava is caught very flat footed.  She is in a situation that she never ever dreamed of being in and she is unsure where to start.

Center+of+GravityLike I said, this is not an easy book to read as Mitchell is one of those characters that I just wanted to rant against.  He undermines Ava, he paints her in a bad light to anyone and everyone, even those who know her.  He is basically a sociopath who sets out to not only divorce Ava, but destroy her.  But I also found myself frustrated and upset at Ava because I really wanted her to find a backbone and to stand up for herself and her boys.  There are times she makes questionable decisions and I really wanted to shake her.  As I learned her story I began to understand that she made those decisions based on the belief that her husband was not out to get her and then it made a bit more sense. 

The hardest part of the story was told through Jack’s voice.  He is Mitchell’s son from his first marriage now adopted by Ava.  Because of his age and the perspective that Jack gives, it just broke my heart every time I read the chapters in his first person. I don’t want to go into great details as I don’t want to give anything away, but the voice of a young child telling about what is happening, things he doesn’t understand, is heart wrenching.

I recommend this book because it is so well written from the first person perspective of all the main characters.  You may want to wring everyone’s neck, but you will walk away with a better understand of what it is like to be in such a situation.

Happy Reading,

P.S. I was given a free copy of the book from Harper Christian Publishers for my honest review.