Hidden Secrets (review)

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Hidden Secrets (A Green Dory Inn Mystery, #2)Hidden Secrets by Janet Sketchley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

With batches of fragrant muffins and mugs of herbal tea, served up in an idyllic seaside setting, Janet Sketchley lures us into discovering the deadly secrets of the Green Dory Inn. Hidden Secrets is Book 2 in the Green Dory Inn Mystery series.

Thoroughly modern, with cell phones and drones, there are also elements of old sea tales with rogue ships and rum-runners in this cozy mystery. The Christian faith of the two main characters, Landon and Anna, adds value and heft to this hard-to-put-down read.

The believably imperfect characters (many of whom we met in Unknown Enemy, Book One of the series) remind me of the characters in Jan Karon’s Father Tim books. But the main player here is a 24-year-old college student, Landon, whose secretive personal past adds complications to the fast-moving plot. Sketchley has included a character list at the beginning of the book to help us keep straight the cast of characters and their relationships to each other. Though it works nicely as a standalone, reading Book One of the series would help you feel like you’re reconnecting with these folks.

Sketchley’s descriptive, yet tight writing and savvy plot combined to make me wish the book was longer. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am happy to hear that Sketchley is beginning work on Book 3.

I received Hidden Secrets as a gift from the author for the purpose of writing a review.

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“Hush, now listen…”

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“Hush, now listen, that’s the sound…”

I love old Christmas songs. I love new ones too, especially ones that are written by poet / musicians like Carolyn Arends.

arends-500A year ago Arends brought out a new Christmas album, Christmas: The Story of Stories. I enjoyed it then and continue to give it lots of play time this year. On it Arends sings a few old songs, but the majority are tunes that she’s written—her own take on the Christmas characters and stories.

Her style is folk/roots. Her voice is clear and pure. Her arrangements include accompaniment by piano, guitar, fiddle, mandolin and bouzouki. But it’s the clever, thoughtful, fresh, lyrical revisiting of the Christmas story that ties up the package for me.

On Wednesday she posted one of the songs from it on YouTube.  “The Sound”  begins:

Now the angels’ song has trailed away
And only earthly sounds remain
Oh, a baahing sheep, a bleating goat
And a nervous shepherd clears his throat.
And a husband asks, “Are you alright?”
As a weary mother lullabyes
And through it all … a baby cries …
Hush now, listen, that’s the sound
Of the Kingdom coming …

Listen to it (complete with all the lyrics) below:

In the week between now and Christmas day, I wish all who read here many “hush” moments as you enjoy the beauty of the season and contemplate its meaning.

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Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Diane Mayr at Random Noodling.

Inscribe Fall Conference – I’ll be there!

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I’m excited to share the poster for the Inscribe Fall Conference. It still seems eons away but September 27 & 28th will be here before we know it!

Inscribe Fall Conference 2013

Inscribe Fall Conference 2013

Learning From Our Peers

I’m also excited to be a workshop presenter. My poetry workshop “Learning From Our Peers” will happen Saturday morning of the conference. Here’s the description of that workshop from the Conference Workshop page:

Description: Explore what contemporary Christian poets are writing. In this 90-minute workshop we’ll look at poems and collections by contemporary Christian poets to discover: 1) the things they write about; 2) the poetic techniques they use; and 3) the sorts of books they assemble.

The goal of this session is to send poets on their way with a fuller kit of poetic tools, ideas for individual poems, and inspiration for possible collections.  Come prepared with one of your own poems to share during a short reading time at the end of the session (participation in the reading is optional). There will be poetry book giveaways!

You can also read about other workshops being offered at the link above. Find out more about the conference, a writing contest you can enter, accommodations in the Wetaskiwin area and how to register HERE.

Consider yourself invited!