Sunday, June 21, 2015

Pen Pals: "The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend" by Katarina Bivald

Sara Lindqvist  is a young woman from Sweden who has never really had an adventure besides the ones she read about in the books from the book shop where she'd worked. For several years she has corresponded with and exchanged  books with an elderly lady named Amy Harris who lived in a small Iowa town called Broken Wheel.
As their friendship grows over their mutual love of reading, Sara is finally ready to experience something new and despite her parents reservations, and their pushing her to visit New York or Los Angeles, Sara finds herself, one day, in the center of the town of Hope, Iowa, with a book by Louisa May Alcott, a large suitcase and in need of a ride to Broken Wheel.
So begins one of the most delightful of stories and one that will warm the heart of any book lover. Like Sara,  the reader will get to know and love Broken Wheel and its quirky yet kind inhabitants. I won't spoil this absolutely enchanting story for you, better you should get a copy and join Sara, Amy and the good people of Broken Wheel on an adventure you won't soon forget.  Highly Recommended by the Recommender! Thank you to Edelweiss for the DRC!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Me and My Shadow: "The Angel's Shadow" by Louise Anne Bateman

In  Louise Anne Bateman's The Angel's Shadow Meg comes out of the fiction shadows to take her place as the star of this very intriguing retelling of the Phantom's story. This Meg is a girl of contradictions. On the one hand, she is caught up in the world of ballet and the opera, a loyal friend and confidant to Christine Daae' and a loving daughter to her single Mom, ballet mistress and concierge of the Paris Opera House, Madame Antoinette Giry. But on the other, she is fighting off a darkness she doesn't quite understand, and is also a girl who acts on her impulses.
One impulse was to sneak out of the safety of the Opera House one night to meet a man she doesn't really know. When this man attempts to have his way with her... someone steps out of the shadows and rescues her. Part of this rescue is the dark figure taking care of business by murdering the potential rapist. She is grateful, but a bit concerned at the loss of life. Who is this man who was willing to kill for her? As she begins to realize that the rumors and gossip about the Opera Ghost who haunts the hidden recesses of the Opera House is, in fact, a reality, and that both Christine and her mother have connections to this Phantom, her curiosity gets the better of her, and we follow Meg as she uncovers these secrets... and so much more! For the Erik who has saved her, might also hurt her in ways she can't imagine, and yet, she finds herself continuously drawn to this dark and damaged man. And you, dear reader, will be, too! Let me just say that I am looking forward to book 2! Which I hope will be very, very soon!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A Little Help from Your Friends:"The Happy Hour Choir" by Sally Kilpatrick

Beulah Land plays the piano and sings at a local honky-tonk bar called the Fountain. It sits across the street from  the County Line Methodist Church, a place that was part of her past and that's where she wants to keep it, but one evening, while playing country songs and requests from the regulars, a man walks in, a very attractive one, who orders a beer and sits down to listen. When Bill, the proprietor of the Fountain, calls for Beulah's signature song, the one she was named after, the old hymn, "Beulah Land"... this new guy frowns, even as all the patrons sing along with her. He doesn't like her risqué spin on it. "What are you?" she questions "Some kind of preacher?" "Fully ordained" he replies.
Thus begins this engaging and heartfelt story filled with equally engaging and heartfelt characters. Beulah, having gone through a teen pregnancy and kicked out by her preacher father and unforgiving mother has the good luck to be rescued and taken in by her piano teacher, Ginger Belmont, an old lady with spirit, gumption and the ability to straight talk anyone who deserved it, no matter their standing in the community.  Beulah is devoted to Ginger, and despairing at the fact that Ginger is ailing. Ginger, though, is not one to lie down and give up. She has some business to take care of first, like maybe getting Beulah fixed up with someone nice and possibly saving some other people out there that need rescuing. Ginger is one of those wonderful women you want in your corner. In fact, I think we all need a Ginger telling it like it is and bossing us around but only with our best interests at heart.
There's a lot more to author Sally Kilpatrick's The Happy Hour Choir, but, as is my policy, you've got to go get a copy to find out what happens and also enjoy the company of  Beulah, Ginger, Luke (the preacher) and a whole lot of other interesting types you'll meet hanging in and around the Fountain. This one's a great summer-time read. Heck, it's a great read anytime of year!
Thanks to NetGalley for the DRC!

This may not be Beulah's version of this old song but thanks to Youtube I found this very sweet version by Hope Montana singing at the Baker Creek Festival: