Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Wonder Woman: The Lies - A Review

Wonder Woman Vol. 1:
The Lies 

Jody Houser

A Review

A complete story based on a 21st century living Wonder Woman. She is lost - she cannot find her way home; she has lost track of Steve Trevor; and her sister seems to have partially lost her sense of self. This Wonder Woman seems more powerful with different powers (this new Wonder Woman can fly, she has no need of an invisible plane) than the Wonder Woman I grew up with.

The graphics are well-done, pulling the reader into the story. The plot is a bit over the top and not quite believable - yet leaving this reader wanting more. Whether the potential reader is a long-term fan of Wonder Woman or a new fan, this new series is sure to be satisfying.

This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Death at Thorburn Hall - A Review

Death at Thorburn Hall

Julianna Deering

A Review

The year was 1935. The Open (we Americans incorrectly call it The British Open) was about to begin. But the bodies start to accumulate - The Farthering’s host (accident), the host’s lawyer (poison), and the host’s daughter’s fiance (gunshot) are each found dead. Though Drew Farthering and his friends have developed a reputation for helping the police solve crimes back home, the Scottish Inspector Boyd Ranald would have no part of Drew’s amateur sleuthing. Drew would have to work alone, rather than alongside, the local Police Department.

But the timing is all wrong - as the British public is becoming quickly aware of the awful consequences following the rise of Hitler’s power in Germany. And with nearby military encampments, Drew begins to suspect the murders are tied to a spy ring operating in the area.

The result is a compelling story weaving mid-20th century culture (I had never heard of potatoes dauphinoise), mysteries, and a touch of romance, together. I was disappointed that, though the set of side characters were present, they did not play as a significant role in this story as they have in the previous tales. This, however, was my only disappointment. I enjoyed the book and whether you are a golf fan or not (I am not), I expect others will as well.
Sadly, both the publisher and the author chose to not provide a copy of this book for review.  I fully anticipated that I would have access, having reviewed the other books in the series. Having received negative replies from my requests, I gave up on this title and moved on to other books on my review list. However, fortuitously, Amazon offered a free $5 gift certificate just after the Christmas rush. I used this gift to purchase the book. However, I still feel a bit of sting for being refused a review copy.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Wonder Woman: Her Greatest Battles - A Review

Wonder Woman:
Her Greatest Battles

A Review

We find traditional Wonder Woman doing her best to defeat all kinds of villains - human, animal, and alien. It was fun to relive some of my childhood with a heroine that I followed (somewhat) nearly a half-century ago. The editors have chosen a variety of worth while classic Wonder Woman stories. Though we see none of the complete story arcs, we do get a good glimpse of Wonder Woman in action.

I have no way of knowing if these are truly Wonder Woman’s greatest stories - they are certainly her strangest stories. And for being that, it is well worth getting the five stars I am awarding it.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Sherlock Effect - A Review

The Sherlock Effect

Raymond Kay Lyon

A Review

Christopher Sherlock Webster received his unexpected middle name because his father was obsessed with his well-known namesake, Sherlock Holmes. The new London based private investigation firm, The Baskerville Agency, got its start when Christopher was approached by his college pal, Morris Rennie. Morris proposed the agency, and because both Sherlock and Mo were at a point where they were ready to find a transition in their lives. Mo would finance the agency, Sherlock would provide the brains, and they would share the profits 50/50.

Besides reviewing the early history of The Baskerville Agency, the book is a collection of first-person reports of five early cases thrust upon the new agency. The cases are interesting to read, but are not as satisfying as those by Arthur Conan Doyle. I found the first one fairly simple to solve long before reaching the end of the story. The last was a bit uncomfortable (I did not finish it) as it dealt with the production of pornography. The other three were somewhere in between - though none measured up to the original canonical Sherlock Holmes collection of works. Having said all these things, the stories are worth reading and provided several evenings of entertainment.

This edition is the third printing from a new publisher of a book originally written in 1997. Though it has been 20 years since the original was published, I expect there is little chance that additional works in this series might be forthcoming - but one can hope.

This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Prayer Bible For Children - A Review

The Prayer Bible For Children

A Review

In spite of many positive reviews, I found this children’s Bible to be lacking. 

Using the description provided by Bible Gateway, the ICB is best suited for “a barely literate society because of its economy of words, acrostic literary form, and poetic parallelism.” Though the text is aimed at the third-grade reader, the book as a whole is not. Having said that, this version is also not presented in a manner that will be appealing to children. The chosen font is too small for most young readers. The illustrated pages use only gold and dark blue - with black text, possibly providing more appeal for an adult audience than for the children the title suggests the book is targetting. 

The various helps included might be more suitable for the middle school or junior high reader, but this reviewer doubts that typical middle schooler or junior high students would want to be carrying a “Children’s Bible”. Also attached as a separate booklet is a 64 page (lined) “Prayer Journal” for the child to record their own prayers. No suggestions are available for the use of this booklet and the child using this Bible will need assistance from a parent or Sunday School teacher in order to make use of it. 

My rating for this Bible is not that I do not think it has value, but because I question the value of this edition for a child. If an adult wants to say, “I gave my child a Bible as a gift,” this may be a suitable gift. But that would be more satisfying to the adult than to the child. There are more suitable children’s Bibles available. 

If the word “Children” were removed from the title, this book would be better suited for an audience working with a group where English is considered a second language. An adult ESL student would be able to overlook the title and be able to accept the format as appropriate for their age and educational status. 
This review is based on a copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Vanishing Point - A Review

Vanishing Point

Lisa Harris

A Review

Murders in and around Nashville, TN, haunt both the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Teams from both agencies are brought together over a period of a decade to find the person who is kidnapping young women, taking Polaroid pictures, and burying them in shallow graves.

But as the case is worked on over the years, relationships are growing. There are the human relationships that are often a part of these thrillers and the relationships the protagonists have with God. I found this second set of relationships particularly interesting as they struggled with the problem of evil in a God created and God controlled world. A prolonged discussion in chapter 32 of the book helped this reader resolve some of the issues related to this topic.

Whether the reader is looking for the next romantic thriller, a Christian thriller, or a readable murder mystery designed for fans of Criminal Minds, Vanishing Point might provide a satisfying read.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.

The Linking Rings - A Review

The Linking Rings

John Gaspard

A Review

The Linking Rings is a fascinating look at London’s Magic Circle, “ the most prestigious magic club in the world” (as per Wikipedia), through the eyes of an amateur sleuth from
America as he and his friends attempt to solve a series of murders which systematically whittles away at the club’s members.

As the reader makes his way through this unique novel, they are introduced to a number of real professional magicians as well as the characters in the story. This reader found himself visiting Wikipedia multiple times to understand the men and women who define the world famous magician that call The Magic Circle their home in London men like Jay Marshal,  Tommy Cooper, and Chung Ling Soo. I did not look up every name dropped in the course of the book’s 250+ pages.

As the deaths mount up, the list of suspects diminishes, but enough remain to make an interesting and provocative tale.  Though the presence of magicians might make one expect the appearance of the macabre and mysterious, it is clear that all the magicians (both historical and fictional) are professionals, trained to entertain more than to introduce an unknown spiritual world (i.e. a world of ghosts, goblins, beasties, etc.). Though a number of tricks are described within the pages of the book, no secrets are disclosed, except those needed to identify the murderer.

For the fan of magic, cozy mysteries, or English history, The Linking Rings will make a good book to grab on a cold winter night or any other night.   
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.