Sunday, July 23, 2006

Everything’s Coming Up Josey

So, what to do you do when your fiancé marries your sister (who just happens to be your best friend)?

Becoming a missionary to Russia isn’t the first thing to pop into my brain. In fact, I gotta say, the idea of the memoirs of a Russian missionary just didn’t appeal to me the same as they did to the heroine of Susan May Warren’s new book Everything’s Coming Up Josey. But, with Josey Berglund as the tour guide through her misadventures, I have to say I have a new outlook.

Ms. Warren’s foray into chick lit shows how well her voice is tuned to the genre. There’s just the right balance of snark to vulnerability, laughter to tears to make this one of the most enjoyable reads in a long time. To say I liked the book is to put it mildly. It is fun, it is quirky, it whispers a statement (rather than banging you over the head with a mallet) that keeps you thinking of Josey long after you put the book down. I highly recommend!

Fighting for Bread and Roses by Lynn A. Coleman

A mystery within a mystery, story within a story, Lynn A. Coleman’s Fighting for Bread and Roses keeps you guessing until the last.

While researching for her latest book on the Bread and Roses strike of 1912, well-known author Lindsey Marc (a.k.a. Lindsey Taylor) becomes wrapped up in a mystery nearly one hundred years old. And she’d better unravel it quick in order to solve the mystery stalking her every move.

Ms. Coleman paints a believable background for heroine, ratcheting up the stakes for a read that is hard to put down. ForeWord Magazine awarded Fighting for Bread and Roses their Book of the Year Award and in my estimation, it earned it. Ms. Coleman is to be congratulated. A great read. I highly recommend it.

Wish I’d Known You Tears Ago by Stephen Bly

Can you really live your dreams? Is there a way to revisit the happiest time of your life? Develyn Worrell, Indiana school teacher, took a chance and is about to put that to the test in Stephen Bly's Horse Dreams trilogy. This, the final book of the series, has her wrapping up her summer vacation in the sleepy little town of Argenta, Wyoming.

I hadn’t read the first two books of the series before I read this one so it took me a bit to get into the story—the confusion didn’t last long and though Wish I’d Known You Tears Ago can stand on it’s own, I suggest going back and reading the series in order for total understanding. This is a laid back read in spite of the excitement at the beginning and the end. The western way of life blankets everything—attitudes, drawls, and humor. What might be a tad bit strange in corn-fed Indiana will seem perfectly at home in Argenta. If you like a kicked back pace and cowboy wisdom, then you will enjoy Wish I’d Known You Tears Ago, but I still think you should read the first two (Memories of a Dirt Road Town and The Mustang Breaker) first.

Cowboy by Staci Stallings

A man who longs for someone to see his real self. A woman healing and learning to move on. One night in the rain their stories come crashing together to ask the question, “Can there be two loves of a lifetime in one life?”

Staci Stallings paints a poignant picture of learning to live again after the loss of a spouse in her book, Cowboy (also available as an e-book). The plot is simple yet pulls at the heartstrings. Learning to love, learning to trust, returning to God and being willing to hurt again if needed, Ms. Stallings takes you into the lives of people from two different worlds and lets their worlds collide. Beth is the determined breadwinning waitress and single parent to her five-year-old daughter. Timothy, as America’s number one country singer Ashton Raines, carries the world on his shoulders to keep his band and entourage going. But, as himself, Timothy longs to let someone else hold up the sky while he fights his grief over the loss of his wife.

If you like touching romance done God's way, I recommend Cowboy, available through Spirit-Light Publishing. If you’d like a sneak peek at the first three chapters, click here.