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New Reads for the New Year

By Gini Rainey

The beginning of the new year is a great time to set reading goals for yourself if you haven’t already done so. Looking for something to read? Pick up one or more of the top ten best-selling books in 2017 and enjoy!
• Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2 – J. K. Rowling
• When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi
• The Whistler – John Grisham
• The Last Mile – David Baldacci
• Killing the Rising Sun – Bill O’Reilly
• Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis – J. D. Vance
• Truly Madly Guilty – Liane Moriarity
• Night School: A Jack Reacher Novel – Lee Child
• The Black Widow – Daniel Silva
• The Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down – Gregg Hefley
Whether you choose one of these or one that I review, just read…it will open up so many worlds for you!

“Passages” by Anne Hamre
Based on journal writings made by Hamre’s ancestors, Passages follows the adventures of Anne Roberts and Frank Evans from the time they meet and fall in love in Wales until they ultimately make a home for themselves in British Columbia. Following Frank’s quest to raise cattle on his own land, the couple experiences the highs and lows of life faced by people living in the early 20th century.

With great character development, a grasp of Welsh idiosyncratic phrases, and an ability to describe living conditions of the early 20th century, it doesn’t take long to become completely immersed in the adventures of the young couple. From the boggy land of North Wales, to the piercing sun of Australia, and ultimately arriving to the cool, lush land of Frank’s dreams, Hamre weaves a tale of sacrifice, hardships, and the love and determination of two people building a life together.

Filled with historical reference, romance, and adventure, Passages is definitely a book that holds appeal for a broad spectrum of readers and is well worth the read.
5 of 5 – Copyright 2016 – FriesenPress


“Allie and Bea” by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Having read some of Hyde’s books, I might have set my expectations a bit too high for this book. While it is an interesting tale of the coming together of two completely different people, parts of it were difficult for me to swallow. Bea, a reclusive and angry old woman who finds herself evicted from her trailer and is living in her van with her cat, befriends teenager Allie whose parents have been arrested for tax fraud. When Allie is placed in a group home and has her life threatened by another resident, she runs away and life gets even worse, until Bea picks her up from the side of the road and their adventure begins.

Following the Pacific coastline on Highway One, Allie and Bea begin to form a unique relationship built on trust and caring, while not being totally sappy and unbelievable. Because of Allie’s encouragement, Bea found that she had an adventuresome soul, and because of Bea’s ultimate acceptance of her, Allie discovered that forgiving her parents was possible, if not necessarily easy.

While definitely not a heavy read, this book was an enjoyable escape from reality and does have some excellent encouragement for people who find themselves in situations beyond their control.
4 of 5 – Copyright 2017 – Lake Union Publishing



Spend the Summer Reading


“Bring Me Back”
by B. A. Paris
Just when you think an author can’t out do their last book, they jump right out there and do it!  Filled with even more deception and intrigue than her first two books, Behind Closed Doors and The Breakdown, Paris’ latest book will keep you spell bound until you turn the last page.  Telling the story about the mysterious disappearance of Layla from the perspectives of Finn, his girlfriend, and his fiancé while moving between the past and the present, it’s no wonder that Paris has carved out her niche in the psychological thriller genre.

As Finn digs deeper to determine who might be behind the disappearance and strange emails, his list of suspects grows to encompass even his closest friends.  Because Ms. Paris is a master at building believable characters, the reader finds himself drawn into the intrigue and feeling a certain empathy for everyone involved.

In Bring Me Back, Paris explores how traumatic events can impact, not only the individuals immediately involved, but also everyone they come in contact with.  Not afraid to explore new avenues of intrigue and mystery, she has created yet another spell-binding page turner that will keep you guess till the very last page.

5 of 5 – Copyright 2018 – St. Martins Press

“The Sisters”
by Janet Kay
If you’re looking for a book to read this summer that is filled with history, ghosts, romance, and family discord, this is the one for you.  Set in current day Galveston, this story tells the story of Veronica and Isabella, two sisters who had once be in love with the same man.

Weaving a spell around not only present-day Galveston, Kay’s story helps to explain the reason so many of the historical sites in this Island community are haunted.  From the pirate Jean Lafitte to the estimated six to twelve thousand people who lost there lives during the hurricane of 1900. Described as the deadliest natural ever in the United States, this storm took the life the of sisters’ grandmother, who continues in her afterlife as Isabella’s spirit guide.

If you are familiar with Galveston, and even if not, this book is an intriguing read that pulls you into its web of family deceit and mystery as the sisters strive to learn where they have come from and reconnect on a congenial level of understanding and acceptance.  It will definitely keep you turning the pages to find out where it all ends.

5 of 5 – Copyright 2018 – World Castle Publishing

“Neema’s Reason to Smile”
By Patricia Newman
This delightful book, colorfully illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini, tells the story of Neema and her mother who share big dreams for their life in Kenya.  Neema wants to go to school, while her Mama, who sews clothes by hand, dreams of a sewing machine and perhaps her own business. By not only entertaining, but also educating, Newman’s story sends the message to all that where there is a will, there is a way.

Motivated by actual students at the Jambo Jipya School in the town of Mtwapa, Kenya, where many kids are unable to go to school, Ms. Newman’s story provides inspiration to children of any age to never give up hope for a better life through education.

A lovely feature of this book are the glossary, discussion questions, and activities at the end of the book.  Although geared for younger children, the message won’t be lost on older readers.

5 of 5 – Copyright 2018 – Lightswitch Learning

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Book Worm Central: July Events & Book Signings


July 31st (10am) – Club Read – Join the Club Read group in discussing this month’s read, “Beach Music” by David Graham. The Tyler Public Library is located at 201 S. College Ave., Tyler. Club Reads’ events are free. For more info call (903)593-7323 or go to

August 4th (3-7pm) – Book Bash will be held at Harvey Hall Convention Center, 2000 W. Front St., Tyler. They are doubling the authors for 2018’s Book Bash – 80 authors are attending! There will be a free children’s reading at 12:30-2:30pm prior to the book signings beginning at 3pm. There will be multiple children’s authors present to read their stories and there may even be characters present to interact with the kids. Tickets will be on sale until the day of the event. Come on out and find a new favorite author as well as meet the authors behind the stories. For more info go to Tickets are $12-$17. If you have a child 13 and under, they will be able to get in for $5 the day of the event. VIP tickets will get you in 30 minutes earlier and a tote bag full of goodies. The children’s reading is free to attend.


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Chill Out With A Cool Book


By Gini Rainey

Send Down the Rain – By Charles Martin 

In his thirteenth novel, this New York Times Award-winning author successfully weaves the lives of several different people into a wonderful tale of love and sacrifice that will leave you thinking.  Taking Joseph, a Viet Nam veteran with many scars to heal and Allie, who has recently lost her families business in Florida, Martin created a novel that is full of lots of raw emotion that will keep you turning pages until you come to the surprising conclusion. 

Joseph, a victim of PTSD, has chosen to live in his cabin in the Carolina mountains with his dog, Roscoe.  That is, until Catalina and her two children stumble into his life.  Making sure to get them away from her abusive, drug running captor, he loaded them up and drove them to Florida to meet up with her brother and close to where he and his brother had lived before they grew up and grew apart. 

Charles Martin has skillfully created such believable characters that you will find yourself totally immersed in the plot and all that takes place.  Without leaving your chair you will find yourself involved in the panic of flight, the angst of unrequited love, the unselfish sacrifice of a brother and the joy of rediscovering a lost love. 

This is a definite “must-read” for this summer and is guaranteed to keep you wondering until you turn 

Five of Five – Copyright 2018 – Thomas Nelson 


Lang’s Labyrinth: Forest of the Fae Book Three – By K. Kibbee 

This book came to me as an advanced reading copy from the publisher and because I love to read, I was excited when it arrived in the mail.  Then I realized it was “one of those books.”  You know, the kind I would never pick up on my own – one about goth, faeries, fantasy, changelings, etc.  I was also concerned that, because it was the third book in a series, I might not have a clue about what was going on. 

I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Yes, this is a book about all of the above, however, it is also, on a much deeper level, about trying to figure out a mystery that was based on a secret code.  The main character, Anne along with her best friend Grace, who has been changed into a raven, is on a quest to solve the code so she can change Grace back to human form and rid the forest of all the faeries.  Along the way she meets some very interesting characters, and believe it or not, I found myself trying my best to solve the code too.   

I won’t even begin to let on how this book turns out for that would ruin all of the mystery and intrigue that Kibbee has created, but let me say it will take you on quite the adventure and make your summer reading most enjoyable.  Remember this too, don’t be afraid to try something new – you might discover you really like it – I know I did. 

Five of Five – Copyright 2017 – Incorgnito 

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