Thursday, July 30, 2015

Empire's End review

"Empire's End" or as it is sometimes called on sites "I, Paul"  by Jerry B Jenkins is the adult companion book to "I, Saul", a youth historical fiction about the Apostle Paul.  Though Paul wrote a huge chunk of the New Testament, little is known of his personal life.  In this fictional telling, Jenkins fills in the gaps starting with the horrors that Saul inflicted on the people of The Way and following him through his conversion and writings. 
The story starts off in an advanced writing style that might seem hard to follow for some, but the point is to catch up the reader with the politics of the times.  Following the Preamble, the writing takes a more readable fashion so that the reader can become more involved with the storyline.   Jenkins is one of the infamous duo who wrote "Left Behind" yet this is the first book of his I have read.  He is a brilliant writer, who writes with an intelligent fashion, yet can keep the reader interested without making it hard to understand. I  have always wondered how Christians found the 'turning a new leaf' of Paul to be authentic.  I don't think I would have believed him until he proved himself.  I don't think I would have forgiven him.  How many times have I lost something that could have been good because I wouldn't forgive?  He takes Paul's story and turns it into not only a thinker, but an adventure story.  I would recommend this to anyone, not just Christians as a good thriller. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Losing Yourself

"The Art of Losing Yourself" by Katie Ganshert follows two sisters:  Carmen, a meteorologist who is having fertility issues, and Gracie, a rebellious, unhappy teenager.  They are the children of an alcoholic mother who spent the majority of their childhoods neglecting them.  Carmen takes her experiences and turns them into an overachieving perfectionist.  Gracie takes hers and rejects any kind of hope and affection.  When Gracie gets in trouble at school she runs away to live in the motel that she as her sister had visited as children.   It takes her mother 8 days to realize she is gone.  Carmen and Gracie begin to bond and start  life fresh with the cleaning and remodeling of the motel. They get to know each other, plan their future's, recover from their pasts, and get in touch with God. 
The novel starts a little slow and Gracie is kind of annoying at first.  But don't let that make you put the book down.   Within a couple of chapters the book starts to find itself (for lack of a better phrase) and really takes off.  The reader becomes invested in the sisters and starts to cheer them on.  I never did grow to like the mother though.  Ganshert brings the sisters to God without becoming too preachy.  I really liked this book.  I have read all of Ganshert's books and I will continue to do so.  She is only improving as a writer.  I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review from www.bloggingforbooks.com

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

lethal beauty review

"Lethal Beauty" the latest installment in the Mia Quinn Mystery series by Lis Wiehl.  In this novel Mia is prosecuting a man who is accused of killing a Chinese immigrant working in a "massage parlor".  Following the hung jury verdict, Mia's not taking no for an answer.  She continues to try and find a way of bringing the murderer to justice.  She stumbles into an evil web the Chinese undocumented immigration, and the underground world of slavery, prostitution, and drugs. 
I found this book brought to mind many things that I know to be true, yet had not put together.  "Lethal" is probably the best book of the series.  Wiehl didn't include the football player in this one, so he was sorely missed; however, I liked that the series took a turn to focus more on Mia.  The reader became more involved with her children and work place.  The women in this book became more of the heroes as well.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from www.booklookbloggers.com

Monday, June 29, 2015

Fruitful Wife review

"The Fruitful Wife" by Hayley DiMarco is a non-fiction book about the study of the role of a wife from the biblical point of view.  Di Marco breaks the roles apart into the fruits of a Christian: peace, love, etc.  She goes back and forth between biblical texts and personal experience.  I read the book little bits at a time with my devotional each day.  This took quiet awhile.  The possibility of a liberal minded woman taking offence to this book are probably pretty good.  There were a few parts where even I was like, "hey!".  For the most part the book sticks with a logical point of view.  I would recommend it for a newly wed or a woman looking to recharge her marriage.  I received this book in exchange for a review from Crossway. 

Silent creed review

If this book doesn't make you paranoid, I don't know what will.  "Silent Creed" is the newest in the Ryder Creed series by Alex Kava.  Creed, a former dog handler with the army, has been called in to do a favor for an associate.  A land slide has wiped out a research facility in North Carolina.  A classified, off the radar, research facility.  Creed has been hired to quietly search the area  for signs and bodies attached to the facility. The military's history of experimenting with lethal doses has been both carried out and denied for years.  The congress has finally acknowledged the cover up, but is still denying any assistance with the soldiers that were harmed.  Kava uses several different characters and their angles into the past military research and cover-up involving both the military and US citizens. 
Ryder Creed is my new favorite fiction hero.  Creed and his dogs are always diligent in finding their victims and solving the crime while they are at it.  Kava combines her new main character, Creed, with her established O'Dell series.  Maggie O'Dell is an FBI agent.  The dog handler point of view is a fresh new angle of mystery solving and the characters are well written.  I received this novel from First to Read. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Janette Oke's When Calls the Heart brought to life

Janette Oke's "When Calls the Heart" has been brought to life.  Originally a Hallmark Channel movie, the novel has inspired a series by the same name.  I received a 10 DVD Edition of the complete season one from Fly By Promotions through a giveaway at www.kitchentable4.com.  Included in the 10 DVDs is 6 discs of season one, the original movie (which is in the middle of the box), one disc is a "get to know" disc about Michael Landon Jr, the director, and Ms. Oke.  The other discs are the episodes split up as shown on the Hallmark Channel. 
I really liked this series.  I have been a fan of Oke and the "Love" movies for years, especially the first one.  I like this series better.  (other than the first Love movie of course)  Elizabeth Thatcher, a well-to-do young woman from the East comes to the wild west in pursuit of her dreams of  being a teacher.  She finds herself in Coal Valley, a company town, with a scoundrel for a boss and a strong, wise woman, played by Lori Loughlin, for a confidant and town leader.  The actors portraying the characters are a perfect fit.  The story lines move easy yet still have a distinct plot for each episode as well.  Erin Krakow plays Miss Thatcher.  You may recognize her from "Army Wives"; and her sister is played by Charlotte Hegele of Bomb Girls fame.  The acting is wonderful, exceeding expectations!  I love this story and the show.  I am DVRing season 2 right now.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Better all the time review

"Better All the Time" the 2nd book in The Darling Family series by Carre Armstrong.  I had not read the first in the series, and it isn't necessary to read to "get" this novel.  The series revolves around the Darlings, a large family with a Christian background, that seems to have a running theme of self-absorption and addiction.  The first novel followed Ivy, the oldest sister; this follows the three younger sisters, Laura, Sephy, and Amy.  Laura, who lives in Arizona, has replaced her addiction for pills in exchange for alcohol. Sephy is an overweight college girl with the inability to tell anyone no.  Though her family insults her regularly for that trait, they also demand it from her as well.  Amy is in the beginnings of getting a community art center off of the ground.  A work-oholic, she has tunnel vision when it comes to others, cannot keep her opinion to herself (thinks she shouldn't either) and has gotten a little infatuation going with Mitch, a contractor at the center. Though they were raised by seemingly decent parents several of them have one form of addiction or another and all can't seem to see past their own point of view. 
This is a well written book, difficult to put down. However,  Armstrong had many different story lines going at once, and her characters lacked likability.  The book would have been stronger had it focused on Sephy, the most likable of the group.  Sephy decides to loose her excess baggage and develop some happiness while she is at it.  Though in order to do both, she must find her backbone and use it; something she dreads doing.   I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Tyndale House Publishing.