Monday, August 22, 2016

Treason - A Review





Treason.jpg



A Review


Some books I look forward to reading. Others I figure I will give a try, but do not expect much. And there are some that I choose to review, but really expected to be disappointed. This was one of those. I was wrong.


The second book of a series coming from these authors, the book stood relatively well as a stand alone novel. The few parts dependent on the earlier book were written into the text not leaving the author in the dust.


Beginning with an attempted (actually two attempts) assassination of the US President, Major Brook Grant is drawn into a treasonous attempt to take down the American government. The evidence mounts up in the hallways of Congress, in the Washington DC metropolitan area, and in the dry heat of the Middle East. Neither the protagonists or their families are safe from the deadly plans of the Falcon, the moniker of terrorist associated with the Islamic State.


The book if a political lesson in how different Americans view the Islamic threats seen around the world. Characters in the book represent several of the view expressed in the daily news - some totally committed to keeping Islam and its terrorist leanings from American soil, some committed to the freedom of speech that allows this same terrorism to co-exist in the American culture, and others who understand that freedom mean letting those we disagree with live in peace within the same space we occupy. Answers are not provided, but the book does provide a door to communication.


Surprisingly, though the book is not an openly Christian book, I would think it could easily be found on the book lists of some major Christian publishers. Faith plays a positive role in the lives of characters as they develop throughout the story. Thus, the Christian reader may find themselves satisfied with the story as it continues to develop in the next book of the series - drawing in the political power of a deadly North Korean government.


My only disappointment in the book was the occasional writing style which at times seemed more like a seventh grader’s writing using short, staccato like sentences. The author moved in and out of this mode and did not leave this reader feeling too disappointed, though this writing style showed itself two or three times early in the book.


For the reader looking for a political thriller, a terroristic drama, or good solid summer read, TREASON may just be what the doctor ordered.
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This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Other People's Baggage - A Review

Other People’s Baggage


cover93447-medium.jpg


by
Kendel Lynn, Gigi Pandian
& Diane Vallere


A Review


Three stories for the price of one from two of my favorite authors and one new one make for a good deal. The stories have nothing in common - except for the lost luggage that belong to the main characters of the other stories. Together they form a trio of exciting novellas that prepare the reader to enjoy the longer novels that provide sequels to three stories provide here.


Each story is about a third of the length of a regular novel - though I was familiar with three of the authors, none of the three stood out as being great, but they each were enjoyable in their own right. I felt lucky to have the opportunity to review the book/stories.


The stories, being prequels to earlier published books, can be read as stand alone stories or they can be read later in the sequence, helping the reader to understand some of the events that brought the character into the situations we find in the corresponding novels. I enjoyed the break from reading novel after novel - reading these shorter works were a nice break from my usual fare.
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This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Deadly Encounter - A Review






Deadly Encounter


by
DiAnn Mills

A Review

There are a number of things that draw me into a fiction book.  A number of them are obvious: the quality of writing, the realism of the characters, the well designed setting of the story. One of the less obvious characteristics of a fictional story that I appreciate is its use of historical or real life settings that I call for me to search even deeper into the history or setting using Google or other internet resources.

Deadly Encounter was such a book.  My attention was drawn to a Google search before I finished page 1 of the book: “Who or what are the Houston Airport Rangers?” The book did answer the question a few pages in, but I found myself in Google within minutes of starting the book.  Sadly, Google provided little more details than the book - but enough to get me further into the book while I waited for the author to offer more own description.

The book dealt with themes that have attracted me in the past - Addiction/dysfunctional families, terrorism, and romance (but not too much). Mixing these themes with an underlying Christian faith, and we have a story that is both exciting and satisfying. We see individual’s faith being challenged and growing. We see faith being lived out. We also see the various conflicts that must be faced by modern law enforcement as they face the 21st century culture found in the USA.

Looking for a book with a positive Christian focus, with the right blend of suspense, danger, and romance? Deadly Encounter may be that book.   
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This review is based on a free copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Witnesses - A Review






Witnesses.jpg




A Review


Some authors catch a readers attention. Robert Whitlow has caught mine. I try to read as many of his books as I can, though I have missed a few. Here is an author that is trained as a lawyer, has the faith of a committed Christian, and has been compared, favorably. as an author to John Grisham. And he continues to succeed at his craft.


The Witnesses is proof of that fact.


Franz Haus, as he was called by his parents. or Frank House, as his family and friends know him now, has a long history.  He joined the German army near the start of World War II. He had a good intuition that often provided solid advice to General Berg, intuition that would allow him to meet and sit with some of the highest leaders in the German army, intuition that force him to see more atrocities committed in the name of Germany than he wanted to admit - to himself or to those who knew him best.


Frank House (nee Franz Haus) deserted the German Army  through  Switzerland (where he lived out the remaining months of the war) and eventually settled in New Bern, North Carolina; but when he did, he left with a secret that others were willing to kill for. A secret that would put both his own life and the life of his grandson in danger.


As always, Robert Whitlow has managed to draw together the brokeness of life, the drama of the legal system, and the role of faith into a readable novel that will appeal to both the believer and non-believer. It gives a glimpse of how faith can and does work in the life of men and women of faith.
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This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Jesus And Zacchaeus - A Review



Jesus And
Zacchaeus

&

Zacchaeus
And Jesus




by
Written By: Dandi Daley Mackall
Illustrated By: Lisa Manuzak


A Review


“Nifty!” - That was the word my wife used when I first showed her this unusual book. Her word is official - she is the Pre-K Sunday School teacher at church; she is the grandmother of two active preschoolers; and she is a member of the children’s bookseller team at the local Barnes and Noble. If she looks at a children’s book and says. “Nifty!”, it is nifty.


The book consists of two parallel stories (i.e. poems) telling the story from Jesus’ (who offers grace) perspective; and, after flipping the book over, it tells the story from Zacchaeus’ (who receives grace) perspective. The images are colorful and convey the story in an interesting manner for the young child or early reader.  


And though this grandpa’s word is not nearly as official, this reader does agree - this book will make a nifty addition to the home library, the church library, or the Sunday School classroom.
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This review is based on a free copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd - A Review




Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd


Thrice the Brinded Cat.jpg


by
Alan Bradley


A Review


It is time for the BBC to offer a new mystery series staring Flavia de Luce. It would fit right along side those they have done earlier with Miss Jane Marble and Mr. Hercules Poirot. Reading Alan Bradley’s latest work, the reader is taken back to the early 1950’s, almost seeing the story played out on the black and white TV sets of the era.    


Flavia has returned from her exile in Canada to a rather indifferent family. Her father is in the hospital, and others are at odds with her because she has inherited her mother's ancestral home where the entire family now lives. Shortly after returning home, she stumbles on a rather bizarre death scene (was this becoming a habit?) of a man she was just beginning to know. In the days to follow, as winter and Christmas set in, she will find herself two steps ahead of the police as clues accumulate. It is never clear to the reader whether the Inspector Hewitt appreciated her contributions or not - though, Flavia has no doubt as to how that question would be answered.


As this reader had not read previous works from this author, this story was not difficult to follow on its own. The only exception to this comment is perceiving the time frame for the book. Its regular mention of a war did not make it clear until somewhat later into the book, whether the reference was to the Bore Wars (ala Murdoch), WW I, or WW II. Eventually the reader can discern the time - but the uncertainty does not impact the telling of the story.  


For the reader looking for an early winter (or even a midwinter) book, Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d may well fill in one week of reading. Give me a hearty fire during a snowy week of cold, blustery weather, and one will feel right at home with Flavia, Gladys (her bike), and the family in jolly old England.
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This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.


Monday, July 11, 2016

American Woman’s Bible - A Review




American Woman’s Bible


by

Dr. Richard G. Lee

A Review

I have stumbled upon other Bibles using American history as the source notes, devotional thoughts, or commentary. However, I found this edition to be of greater value that those that have crossed my path in the past.

The notes focus on the role that Christian Women have played in American history and how their lives have exemplified the role Christ, Scripture, and the church has had in preparing them for those roles. This is accomplished by including biographical sketches, quotations that have shaped others by or about American women, and a series of essays focusing on the virtues that have shaped our nation and the women who have been a part of that history.

My biggest disappointment is that the publisher chose to name only one male author of the book: Dr. Richard G. Lee. I suspect, like most Study Bibles and Devotional Bibles, the work was a collaboration of many scholars and spiritual leaders - but they are totally unnamed, either in a list of contributors or as the authors of individual pieces of writing. It would seem, to this reviewer, that if we have a Bible focused on the contributions of women to history, its contents should in some way be guided by women. I do not know where the error was made - in not giving credit for the women’s contribution or in not allowing women to contribute - but it seems that an error was made.

Having said that, this Bible edition does have value - just less than it might. The collection of biographies and quotes might help a pastor in preparation for next Sunday’s message. The devotional thoughts could easily be used by a teen or adult Sunday School teacher or Bible Study leader in preparation for next weeks lesson. My copy will sit on a night stand for my wife and I use with our personal devotions. I do expect that others will find it a blessing.
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This review is based on a free copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.