Wednesday, January 30, 2019

As Directed - A Review








As Directed



by

Kathleen Valenti

Pharmacy Tech (nee Pharmacy Researcher) Maggie O’Malley was developing a bad habit of discovering unhealthy people on the pharmacy floor - some, dead; some, nearly so. This was not a part of her job description. And with four (or was it five) really good suspects, the police (who were only looking at one suspect) and Maggie would have a long week ahead of them.

But murder was not the only crime at play - the lives of children, of pharmacy staff and customers, and of community citizens were also on the line. Maggie had some help from her fianc├ę, Constantine. Two local detectives, Austin Reynolds and Gladys Wren, would occasionally listen to Maggie’s banter; but, sadly, would not always act on it - upping the level of danger.

I was feeling disappointed through the first half of the book. Much of the character development and some of the story depended on knowing the back story found in the two previous books of the series. This reader felt at a lose. The second half of the book developed a life of its own - knowing the back story may have helped, but was needed for the reader to enjoy and to be drawn into the larger story. It may have helped for the author to provide brief summaries of the earlier books, without destroying the story lines of previous books - this could have been done as brief advertisements inviting the reader to read the previous stories. Alas, only a list of all three books was included as an appendix.

For those looking for a nice (not great) Spring read, As Directed might fill that prescription - it may be just what the doctored ordered.
__________
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.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Bad Pick - A Review






Bad Pick




by
Linda Lovely


A goat farm, goat milk, goat cheese, and goat yoga (yep, it is a real thing: http://bit.ly/Goat-Yoga), along with a right-wing Christian cult that met near the Udderly Goat Farm, are combined to make the foundation for a lively cozy mystery. A series of murders appear at first glance to implicate Brie Hooker, the owner and operator of the Udderly Goat Farm, and the real culprit must be discovered before Brie becomes the next victim.

The story is readable and enjoyable - making for a great Spring read. As expected, Henery Press has commissioned another winner - glad I was able to read this ARC prior to publication.
______________
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, January 22, 2019

Stratagem - A Review











It was a game. It ended up being a deadly game.

This corporate game was requested by Tim DuBois, CEO of Deets PR, in order to help his board work through an upcoming managerial promotion, from Game’s On You. The original request was made to Colton York, though he and Grayson Thibodeaux, the co-owner of Game’s On You, would both need to approve the contract before it was finalized. Grayson would design the game, Colton would administer it. And Grayson’s ex-wife, Anna Belle Thibodeaux would be dead before the game was over.

There were a number of suspects, but the evidence seemed to point to one person. It would take the work of Detective Brandon Gibbons and his partner, Detective Danielle Witz, and Grayson and his assistant, Pam, to independently stumble upon the guilty party. And the discovery came almost too late.

Robin Caroll has managed to weave together a bit of mystery and faith into a captivating story. Though at least one location is shared with previous books from this author, it is unclear whether this story is a sequel to those - and reads well as a standalone book.

Though Robin Caroll is an experienced writer, this was the first book of hers that crossed my path. I was satisfied - and will look forward to reading others. It easily is a five-star book.
______________

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, January 15, 2019

Sparkle and Changed International Children's Bible - A Review






Sparkle and Change
International Children’s Bible


publisher
Tommy Nelson




With the exception of the cover and some of the colors chosen for trim on the inside, these Bibles are identical. Using reversible sequins, they would appeal to girls from 1st through 4th grade. The 24 pages of full color helps include short essays, suggested Bible memory verses, and maps. Important verses are highlighted - though the paper is so thin that highlighting from the reverse side often appears on the reverse side of the sheet:


The highlighting above actually is from the verse (Psalm 139:23-24) on the previous page. A quick glance of this whole page looks as if four verses are highlighted - all four are from the previous page. The thin pages might make the Bible difficult to handle for a child - it is difficult to turn back a single page and pages may be easily torn.

The translation reads easily:

16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son. God gave his Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life. 17 God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through him. 18 He who believes in God’s Son is not judged guilty. He who does not believe has already been judged guilty, because he has not believed in God’s only Son. 19 People are judged by this fact: I am the Light from God that has come into the world. But men did not want light. They wanted darkness because they were doing evil things. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light. He will not come to the light because it will show all the evil things he has done. 21 But he who follows the true way comes to the light. Then the light will show that the things he has done were done through God.”

I am not qualified to evaluate the translation, per se. But neither is a child - if the stones can deliver the Word of God (Luke 19:40), so can this translation.

The publisher suggests that both version of this Bible are aimed at a feminine audience - similar resources need to made available for the boys in the church.
_____________
This review is based on a free copies provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.





Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Code of Valor - A Review






Code of Valor


by
Lynette Eason

A stolen boat and a missing friend lead to a case human trafficking involving law enforcement at many levels — local, state, and national. Emily Chastain would put her life on the line to find both the perpetrators and the victims. But in the process her own faith and the faith of those around her would be tested and proved. Lynette Eason has written a dramatic and intense thriller that will hold the reader’s attention from beginning to end. I would easily give the book a 5-star rating, except for one problem.

There is a “but” however. The book dealt with a major theme in law enforcement in the 21st century, human trafficking. The book does not provide resources for the average reader to find additional help. No web sites allowing the reader to learn more. No way to determine the size of the problem in local communities or within individual states. No signs or symptoms to suggest where help may found by somebody in trouble. No phone numbers to call for help if seen. The resources are there (see https://www.state.gov/j/tip/id/help/ for one site.)

Yes, this is a work of fiction, but the problems are real. It would make sense to add a list of resources as an appendix or addendum or even a single website where this information could found if needed, especially from a book coming with a Christian imprint. But there was nothing. I was disappointed.

I have no problem recommending the book for reading, having written a good story. I, however, would expect the author or publisher to take the initiative to assist the reader in understanding the larger issues involved.
______________

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, January 7, 2019

In Too Deep - A Review






In Too Deep


by
Lynn H. Blackburn

The story — plot, theme, characters — was well written. It was intense and held this reader’s attention. 

The Carrington, NC, dive team has just pulled a body from the water. Not sure whether they were looking at a suicide or an accident victim, they begin to examine the body. What they found surprised them. On her abdomen were found the words, "They killed me. Ask Adam Campbell." It was not an unfamiliar name - Adam was a white-­collar crimes investigator and was not usually called to the scene of a traffic accident. And that is where the story begin - with Adam's cell phone ringing just as Sunday dinner was starting for his extended family.

There is a “but” however. The book dealt with a major theme in law enforcement in the 21st century, human trafficking. The book does not provide resources for the average reader to find additional help. No web sites allowing the reader to learn more. No way to determine the size of the problem in local communities or within individual states. No signs or symptoms to suggest where help may found by somebody in trouble. No phone numbers to call for help if seen. The resources are there (see https://www.state.gov/j/tip/id/help/ for one site.)

Yes, this is a work of fiction, but the problems are real. It would make sense to add a list of resources as an appendix or addendum or even a single website where this information could found if needed, especially from a book coming with a Christian imprint. But there was nothing. I was disappointed.

I have no problem recommending the book for reading. Having written a good story, I would expect the author or publisher to take the initiative to assist the reader understand the larger issues involved.
______________
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.

Chosen People - A Review






Chosen People


by
Robert Whitlow

There are few authors that I look forward to reading whenever a new book comes to the market. Robert Whitlow is one of those authors for this reader. Chosen People does not disappoint.

Weaving the stories of believers and unbelievers from three different cultures, Robert Whitlow introduces the reader to the difficulties faced as cultures collide in Jerusalem. Beginning with a terrorist attack in Hurva Square in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, it becomes the job of two lawyers from different firms in Atlanta, GA, to tie the attack to specific actors that can be sued for the death of a mother in that attack. The evidence is weak and it would take a trip to the Holy Land to understand the crime and the people involved.

In the process, the reader is given a tour of Jerusalem and some of the surrounding area. We also are given a picture of life for the 21st century inhabitant of the middle east. The author takes us to the Western Wall, the Garden Tomb, as well as the site of the terrorist attack, Hurva Square. Though not the focus of the book, Whitlow manages to also weave in a bit of history and culture.

As expected, Whitlow delivers another legal thriller that holds the reader’s attention from beginning to end. Unlike his other books, the plot is now focused on international law — an added bonus. The book could easily find a place in a home, church, or public library. And it will make a good Winter read for most readers. It is easy to give this book a five-star review.
______________
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.