Bookshop by the Sea – Denise Hunter – a book review

Dear Reader,

Spring weather in Michigan is a bit unpredictable. One day it is 70 and the next it is a rain-snow mix. We just recently had one of those blustery, cold spring weekends. It is a great excuse to curl up with a good book and not worry about the weather.

Bookshop by the Sea by Denis Hunter was thankfully on hand, and I enjoyed myself immensely while letting the wind blow.

Sophie has given up her dreams to care first, for her ailing mother and secondly, for her younger siblings. But now it is her time. She is moving to Piper’s Cove and opening her own bookstore. She can’t wait to get started! There’s only one problem: a hurricane  is also headed to town, stranding not only Sophie but the guy who broke her heart.

Hunter is able to write a story about a town that you have never heard of, and make it feel like home. She welcomes you to the neighborhood. Her towns and settings are in some of the most beautiful places in the US. The coastal area of North Carolina is breathtaking and a place I think I would like to live. Throw in a bookstore to work at and I would be all set.

I find myself wondering how one author can always make me long to visit her settings and get to know her characters. They are not perfect, but they are trying to live life as best as possible. They are always growing, changing, and teaching us readers lessons that we also need to learn.

Hunter’s books are those perfect vacation books, even when you are not leaving your own backyard.

Read on my friends, read on,


New Release Monday

Dear Readers,

It is librarian’s week again. We host a spring and fall event. March of 2020 I had to cancel my all day/week event for the first time. It was not a great feeling. Thankfully, we once again held our fall event, even if it was a bit different. Church librarians are amazing.
If you are a librarian, or know one, contact the store and find out how you can get involved.

Read on my friends, read on,

A Piece of the Moon – Chris Fabry – A beautifully delightful tale of a small radio station in the mountains of West Virginia that is the heart beat of the town of Emmaus.
The town is only known for the treasure that Gideon Quidley hid and left only a few clues using Bible verses. Many have tried to find the treasure but so far it remains hidden.
This book is so much more that a treasure hunt, it is about second chances. One that will warm your heart as you join the group of quirky characters as they move through this thing we call life. They will be people you will want to be friends with and may never forget.
Fabry is an author I recommend all the time to readers. His stories are just a joy to read and ones that welcome you home every time. (my goodreads review)

A Gentle Tyranny – Jess Corban – #1 Nede Rising series – What if women unraveled the evils of patriarchy? With men safely “gentled” in a worldwide Liberation, the matriarchy of Nedé has risen from the ashes. Seventeen-year-old Reina Pierce has never given a thought to the Brutes of old. Itching to escape her mother’s finca and keeping her training for the Alexia and her forbidden friendship a secret, her greatest worry is which Destiny she’ll choose on her next birthday. But when she’s selected as a candidate for the Succession instead, competing to become Nedé’s ninth Matriarch, she discovers their Eden has come at a cost she’s not sure she’s willing to pay.

Is It Any Wonder – Courtney Walsh – Twelve years ago, Cody Boggs and Louisa Chambers made a pact that no matter where their lives took them, they’d return to Nantucket Island’s Brant Point Lighthouse on July 30, their shared golden birthday, and continue their tradition of exchanging birthday wishes. But that was before a tragic accident upended both of their lives, irrevocably pulling them apart. Their worlds collide just months before that particular day when Louisa’s fledgling event planning company is hired by the local Coast Guard station, where she discovers Cody has recently returned to the island as the second in command. As they plan a regatta fundraiser, hoping to promote positive PR in the community, neither can deny the fireworks each encounter ignites. But working together also brings up memories of the day Cody’s father died, revealing secrets that have Cody and Louisa questioning everything they thought they knew and felt about their families and each other.

Roots of Wood and Stone – Amanda Wen – A story a about family and belonging. Sloane was abandoned as a baby and it has colored her whole life. She never felt good enough for anyone to love. When searching through a box of items donated to the museum, she finds a diary that leaves echoes in her heart. A sweet story that is a perfect read for a weekend. One that will leave you remembering whose family you belong to. (My Goodreads review)

Trial and Error – Robert Whitlow – a book review

Dear Readers,

I have been reading Robert Whitlow’s books for a few years now. Okay, many years, but I have enjoyed them all. His newest release, Trial and Error, has been a joy to read as it is reminds me of why I fell in love with his writing.

Buddy Smith has a daughter he has not seen since the week she was born. He has made it his life’s work to help reunite parents with missing children, even though he himself Is unable to find his daughter.

available at bakerbookhouse.com

Gracie Blaylock has known Buddy her entire life. They had been friends throughout school until some of Buddy’s choices separated them. Now that she is working as the Clerk of Court for the county, they run into each occasionally.

A missing teen draws them together, along with detective Mayleah, and they find out that they really do make a good team.

Whitlow write a lawyer book. I often call them mysteries, but I am probably using that word wrong. There is no huge mystery in the book. It is more like a case a lawyer is working on you we get to tag along with the work, research, and discovery part of the story. It makes for a very interesting read. I usually recommend Whitlow’s books when someone asks for a good story that has some intrigue to it. They fit that category very well.

Read on my friends, read on,


New Release Monday

Dear Readers,

We have had a very up and down March. Summer temps and snow. Which makes it hard to decide whether to read inside or out. But thankfully I don’t have to worry where my next good book is coming from.

Read on my friends, read on,

The Curator’s Daughter – Melanie Dobson – 1940. Hanna Tillich cherishes her work as an archaeologist for the Third Reich, searching for the Holy Grail and other artifacts to bolster evidence of a master Aryan race. But when she is reassigned to work as a museum curator in Nuremberg, then forced to marry an SS officer and adopt a young girl, Hanna begins to see behind the Nazi facade. A prayer labyrinth becomes a storehouse for Hanna’s secrets, but as she comes to love Lilly as her own daughter, she fears that what she’s hiding—and what she begins to uncover—could put them both in mortal danger. 2020 Eighty years later, Ember Ellis is a Holocaust researcher intent on confronting hatred toward the Jewish people and other minorities. She reconnects with a former teacher on Martha’s Vineyard after she learns that Mrs. Kiehl’s mother once worked with the Nazi Ahnenerbe. And yet, Mrs. Kiehl describes her mother as “a friend to the Jewish people.” Wondering how both could be true, Ember helps Mrs. Kiehl regain her fractured childhood memories of World War II while at the same time confronting the heartache of her own secret past—and the person who wants to silence Ember forever.

Present Danger – Elizabeth Goddard – #1 Rocky Mountain Courage – Former FBI Special Agent Jack Tanner is working as a detective in Montana when he comes across a body in the national forest during a search and rescue mission. He’s committed to finding the killer, even if it means working alongside his old flame, US Forest Service Special Agent Terra Connors. When Terra discovers that the murder victim had ties to a powerful and dangerous trafficker of archaeological artifacts, the investigation takes a deadly turn–one that hits too close to home. As Terra fears she lacks the courage to face what comes next, Jack is more determined than ever to protect her. But he’s failed her before. And if he fails this time, it will cost them far more than just their hearts.

Blackberry Beach – Irene Hannon – #7 Hope Harbor book – Katherine Parker is on the cusp of having everything she ever wanted–fame, money, and acclaim. So why isn’t she happy? In search of answers, she comes incognito to Hope Harbor on the Oregon coast for some R&R. Maybe in her secluded rental house overlooking the serene Pacific she’ll be able to calm the storm inside. Coffee shop owner Zach Garrett has found his niche after a traumatic loss–and he has no plans to change the life he’s created. Nor does he want to get involved with his reticent new neighbor, whose past is shrouded in mystery. He’s had enough drama to last a lifetime. But when Katherine and Zach are recruited to help rehab a home for foster children, sparks fly. And as their lives begin to intersect, might they find more common ground than they expected . . . and discover that, with love, all things are possible?

All That Really Matters – Nicole Deese – Molly McKenzie’s bright personality and on-trend fashion and beauty advice have earned her an impressive social media following, as well as a shiny monthly paycheck. When her manager-turned-boyfriend tells her of an upcoming audition to host a makeover show for America’s underprivileged youth, all her dreams finally seem to be coming true. There’s just one catch: she has little experience interacting with people in need.
To gain an edge on her competitors, she applies to volunteer at a transitional program for aged-out foster kids during summer, only the program’s director, Silas Whittaker, doesn’t find her as charming as her followers do. But since forfeiting a goal has never been her style, Molly’s only option is to accept the terms Silas lays out and submit to his rules–even the most ridiculous ones pertaining to social media. Soon as the residents of the home become more than a means to pad her career resume, and Silas becomes more than an obstacle on her path to fame, her once-narrow focus expands to include the deep needs of those she’s serving… and perhaps the ones she’s neglected inside herself as well. It took years to build her platform, but only one summer to discover what really matters most.

Her Steadfast Heart – Sharlene MacLaren – #3 Hearts of Honor – Widower Joey Fuller fights for the Union, leaving his four rambunctious children with nannies…who keep quitting. Joey’s solution? Advertise for a temporary wife to take care of his family until he musters out. Faith Haviland is desperate to escape heartbreak and a brute whose intentions are clearly wicked. Joey’s “Wife Needed” ad seems to be the answer to a prayer. Will Faith live up to her name when Joey’s children torment her with their mischief? And is this strange marriage part of God’s plan?

A Dance in Donegal – Jennifer Deibel – a book review

Dear Readers,

I love to travel. I would love to travel the world and just get to spend time at each stop to learn the culture and people. I have had a chance to do that to a few different spots already. One place I really want to spend time in is the Emerald Isle. It is something that I might just have to wait on a bit until it can happen, but thankfully we have books like A Dance in Donegal by Jennifer Deibel.

Available at bakerbookhouse.com

Moira Doherty is still mourning her beloved mother. One of her mother’s dream for Moira was for her to return to Ireland and teach in the village school where Moira’s mother grew up. She was never told why her mother left her home country, but Moira knows it was not for good reasons.

As Moira settles into village life, she finds allies and enemies. She begins to question if she should have even taken this job in the first place.

I enjoy the wonderful description of the area and the village. Deibel makes you feel right at home in cottages that you have never seen. She brought characters to life that I had no idea I wanted to meet and a storyline that was a delight to read.

I am still waiting for my trip to Ireland, and I would like to say Deibel made the wait easier. But she didn’t; I want to go even more and find all the new friends I found in this book.

Read on my friends, read on,

New Release Monday

Dear Readers,

April starts this week. It is time to think flower, planting and spring reads. Do you garden? I do and I have to admit my little garden is on my favorite places to sit and read. How about you? Where is your favorite place to sit and read?

Read on my friends, read on,

Hours to Kill – Susan Sleeman – #3 Homeland Heroes – Just as Homeland Security Agent Addison Leigh reaches the pinnacle of her cyber investigation into a firearms smuggling ring, she’s attacked and left for dead. Her estranged husband, ICE Agent Mack Jordan, is notified that she’s at the hospital in a coma. He may have let his past military trauma ruin their short marriage, but she never gave up on their relationship, and he remains her next of kin. Mack rushes to her bedside, where he promises to hunt down the man who attacked her. Mack failed her once when he bailed on their marriage, and he’s not about to let her down again. But when she wakes up in the hospital, she remembers neither the attack nor ever being married to Mack. And when a second attempt to take her life is made, it’s clear something very sinister is going on, and Mack and Addison are in for the ride of their lives.

The Incredible Winston Browne – Sean Dietrich – In the small, sleepy town of Moab, Florida, folks live for ice cream socials, Jackie Robinson, and the local paper’s weekly gossip column. For decades, Sheriff Winston Browne has watched over Moab with a generous eye, and by now he’s used to handling the daily dramas that keep life interesting for Moab’s quirky residents. But just after Winston receives some terrible, life-altering news, a feisty little girl with mysterious origins shows up in his best friend’s henhouse. Suddenly Winston has a child in desperate need of protection—as well as a secret of his own to keep. With the help of Moab’s goodhearted townsfolk, the humble and well-meaning Winston Browne still has some heroic things to do. He finds romance, family, and love in unexpected places. He stumbles upon adventure, searches his soul, and grapples with the past. In doing so, he just might discover what a life well-lived truly looks like.

The Girl in the Painting – Tea Cooper – Orphan Jane Piper is nine years old when philanthropist siblings Michael and Elizabeth Quinn take her into their home to further her schooling. The Quinns are no strangers to hardship. Having arrived in Australia as penniless immigrants, they now care for others as lost as they once were. Despite Jane’s mysterious past, her remarkable aptitude for mathematics takes her far over the next seven years, and her relationship with Elizabeth and Michael flourishes as she plays an increasingly prominent part in their business. But when Elizabeth reacts in terror to an exhibition at the local gallery, Jane realizes no one knows Elizabeth after all—not even Elizabeth herself. As the past and present converge and Elizabeth’s grasp on reality loosens, Jane sets out to unravel her story before it’s too late.

A Patchwork Past – Leslie Gould – #2 Plain Patterns – When wild child Sophie Deiner–the daughter of an Amish bishop–is forced to return to Nappanee, Indiana, quilt-shop owner Jane Berger is one of only a few who welcome her back. It’s the last place she wants to be, but Sophie’s recent illness requires that she recover for a while. As Sophie heals, she befriends a group of migrant workers and is appalled to learn of the wretched living conditions they’re forced to endure. Sophie begins advocating on their behalf, but soon finds herself opposed by an ex-boyfriend who is the farm foreman. Jane begins relating the story of an Amish couple who rescued survivors of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, many of whom were Irish immigrants. And Sophie is more convinced than ever that she needs to fight for the powerless. But when digging deeper makes conditions even worse, has she chosen a fight she can’t win?

Night Fall – Nancy Mehl – #1 The Quantico Files – Now that Alexandra “Alex” Donovan is finally free of her troubled upbringing, she’s able to live out her childhood dream of working for the FBI. But soon after she becomes a member of the FBI’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, authorities in Kansas and Missouri contact them about bodies found on freight trains traveling across the country–all killed in the same way. Alex never expected to be forced to confront her past in this new job, but she immediately recognizes the graffiti messages the killer is leaving on the train cars. When the BAU sends her to gather information about the messages from her aunt in Wichita, Kansas, Alex is haunted by the struggles she thought she’d left behind forever. In a race against time to solve the case while battling her own weaknesses, Alex must face how far she’ll go–and what she’s willing to risk–to put a stop to the Train Killer.

A Piece of the Moon – Chris Fabry – a book review

Dear Readers,

There is this small town in the mountains of West Virginia that has only one radio station that many can tune into. County 16 of Emmaus, West Virginia, the best country in the country. It is a place to get a second chance.

It is also the home to a hidden treasure. One that Gideon Quidley hid, and left clues using the Bible, for some deserving person to find. He did not want them to only find earthly treasure, but the treasure of eternal life.

Chris Fabry’s A Piece of the Moon is not to be missed. He brings us home again to characters you will remember from his other books and introduces us to a whole batch of new ones. Ones you will find yourself falling in love with right from page one. Well, Robby Gardner drives me a bit batty, but in a good way.

Available for pre-order at bakerbookhouse.com

Fabry has a writing style that invites you up on to the front porch for story time. You find yourself welcomed into a community to hear their side of the story. One that you might not have heard from anyone else.

The story takes you on a journey that you didn’t know you wanted to take, but you are glad to go.

If asked to compare Fabry’s writing with someone I would say he has a unique voice all his own, but I do recommend him to people who love Charles Martin. They both have a way of writing about those folks who keep this country moving forward. Ones that you might not always agree with but would be proud to call them friends and family.

Whether it is meeting Waite, Pidge or ‘The Kid’ you will find that you never want to finish their story even as you turn the last page.

Don’t worry if you haven’t read any of Fabry’s other books, this is a great one to start with. Just make sure that you pick up the others also and find yourself back home again.

Read on my friends, read on,

P.S. Chris will be joining me on April 6th at 7:00pm. Free tickets available at bakerbookhouse.com/events. You can pre- order A Piece of the moon at 35% off until the night of the event.