Monday, April 27, 2015

Blessings Brought To You By Beverly Jenkins

Hello All,

I was lucky enough to have met Beverly Jenkins during a library program I hosted when I lived and worked in Michigan. At the time, she was writing African American historical and contemporary romance; since then she has also given readers a wonderful new series, the Blessings series.

In Bring On the Blessings, Bernadine Brown catches her husband in bed with another woman. She takes him to court and along with her divorce, she is awarded 275 million dollars. She then opens her heart and asks for guidance to do something positive and meaningful with her wealth. Within a short period of time, she finds a town who has put itself up for sale on Ebay, and she buys it.

The town of Henry Adams, KS is rich with African American history, but low on funds to maintain the town, let alone invite growth. Once Bernadine arrives, things start happening. She uses her finances to start rebuilding the town, and to build new structures for more people to move to Henry Adams. Bernadine had also read about foster children, and matching them with parents who are interested in the long haul; really committed to one child and giving them love and family to grow up with. She matches five children with five sets of parents, herself included. Much of the remainder of the book is about how these new families negotiate life with each other, and how Bernadine helps Henry Adams grow into a special town.

Here is the series:

1. Bring on the Blessings
2. A Second Helping
3. Something Old, Something New
4. A Wish and a Prayer
5. Heart of Gold
6. For Your Love (published April 28, 2015)

Each of the books in the series shows the growth of the adults and the children, and especially of the love that is shared in this small, special place. They are best read in order.

I received the most recent title in the series, For Your Love, as an advance reader copy, and I read it a week or so ago. As I have with all the others, I loved it. Ms. Jenkins has added a few new characters, and each family experiences growth and change.

I love these books and these characters--and some of them are real characters (in the humorous sense)! The town really comes together to raise these foster children. One of my favorite things is that when the kids get in trouble, either together or on their own, one of their punishments is to paint a white picket fence! This has been a punishment for a generation or two. Also I really, really love how the town works together to solve problems, and they create ways to really be together as a community.

I wonder if Henry Adams needs a librarian...

Happy Reading!!!

Monday, April 20, 2015

More Book Blessings

Hello All!

As I have stated before, I am blessed with books. The list below are books I have been fortunate enough to receive from the publisher as an advance readers' copy (arc). Among them are favorite authors, favorite series, new-to-me authors, and debut authors. I read mostly fiction, though I am excited to read the new nonfiction title by Robert Kurson, The Pirate Hunters, as I loved Shadow Divers (also nonfiction).

I like to read arcs as close to the publication date as possible. I feel if I read too far ahead, I'll forget to post to Goodreads and/or write a review when the book is actually published.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik
The Fatal Flame by Lyndsay Faye
The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley
Ruined Abbey by Anne Emery
The Art of Baking Blind by Sarah Vaughan
Thin Air by Ann Cleeves (reading this may be delayed as I'm trying to catch up in the series)

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume(!!!)
Second Street Station by Lawrence H Levy
The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler
Clockwork Crown by Beth Cato
The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
The Pirate Hunters by Robert Kurson (nonfiction)
Run You Down by Julia Dahl
The Kill by Jane Casey (playing series catch-up, and the author was also recommended to me by Robin Agnew)
Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg
The Ways of the World by Robert Goddard
Enchanted August by Brenda Bowen (an "update" to Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim)
Madeleine's War by Peter Watson

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

The Race for Paris Clayton
Trouble is a Friend of Mine Stephanie Trombly (young adult)
Fishbowl Bradley Somer
Rome in Love by Anita Hughes
The Drowning Ground by James Marrison
Lamp Black, Wolf Grey by Paula Brackston
Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J Ryan Stradal

After typing all of the above, I've returned at least 4 books I had checked out of the library. So far.

Now, you may ask, where do I find the time to read? As many of you know--I don't have a house (just an apartment), I don't have kids, and I don't have pets. I do have a boyfriend, Mike, who reads (extremely helpful!), and I ride the bus most days (20 minutes of reading at least one way, if not both ways). I also read during some breakfasts and most lunches. I read during commercials when I'm watching TV, and I'll just read instead of watching TV if Mike is watching something I'm not particularly interested in. And of course I read in bed before turning out the light.

I do seem to like to complicate things for myself though. I have recently started reading comic books, so I've got squeeze those in too. And, I read other books besides the ones listed above; for example, Mary Robinette Kowal has a new book coming out at the end of April, Of Noble Family, which I have pre-ordered. And Ace Atkins has a new Spenser book coming out in May, Robert B. Parker's Kickback, for which I'm on the reserve list at the library. Additionally, I read about books constantly, both for my collection development work at the library and for personal interest, and I find myself bringing books home from work to add to the list above.

Thanks and blessings to the authors for writing these wonderful books, and to the publishers for sharing these books early, so I can tell people about them and purchase them for the library.

I don't think I'm completely crazy, just a happy, happy reader (and list-maker) who lives her life surrounded by books!

Happy Reading!