Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Melody Carlson

Dear Readers,
Melody Carlson is one of my favorite authors. I love the "realness" of her stories. It is just amazing. I know several of you have heard me say that the grittiness of stories make them hard to read, but so helpful to life.

In The Otherside of Darkness she takes on the story of Ruth. She is what seems to be a normal wife and mother on the outside, but she suffers from OCD. As the symtoms of her illness become worse she finds herself wrapped up in a church that is not teaching the true word of God. They are more focused on the "bigness" of Satan. They are more worried about what he is doing than what God is doing.

As Ruth's slide becomes stanger and stranger, it effects every aspect of her life. Her children suffer because they are lead down the path with her by the church. Her husband is falsely accused of many things and her spiritual life is always under attack and so she struggles to get the demons out of her house and life by getting rid of things.

This is a dark look at a subject that not many of us experience first hand. As her spiritual struggles and her OCD feed on each other, Ruth looses more and more control. She can't keep on top of it all...

Ok that is where I should stop or I will give the whole book away and there would be no need to read it. This is not a light read by any stretch of the imagination. It is not a quick read either. It is one that actually makes you want to stop reading it, but I know personally I needed to know how everything turned out.

I feel like this is one of those books that is a must read so we can be better prepared to help families or friends that maybe dealing with this. It is a subject I didn't know much about, but had heard a bit about it. I did have a co-worker that suffered from OCD to a smaller degree than Ruth does and she knew it, so was able to control it, but it doesn't go away either.

I can't say this was a great book as it was uncomfortable to read at times, but it is a interesting read. I did learn a lot from it.

Happy Reading

Ace Collins

Dear Readers,
Farrady Road by Ace Collins is a good book. I personally was not familiar with Ace's writing before this, but he has several books out. Including Stories Behind the Best-Loved Christmas Stories, Stories Behind the Great Christmas Traditions and many more. His bio also says he has been on several news shows including "Good Moring America" and "NBC Nightly News". So I guess I better pay more attention.

In Farrady Road Elijah and his wife Kaitlyn are attacked and left for dead, only Lije doesn't die. Why anyone wants him or his wife dead is beyond him and anyone who knows them. It doesn't make sense, but as Lije starts pulling the strings to figure it out there is another attack on his life. Why is someone after him? Did Kaitlyn die because of something he did?

All these questions just lead to different questions. Is there any end in sight? Do the police arrest the right person? Lije doesn't think so and sets out to find the real killer or killers and to free his friend. Each clue leads to a more bizzare answer that leads to a even bigger mystery.

I really enjoyed the storyline/mystery of this book. You will be able to tell from the front of the book he does plan on a series for Lije and his cohorts. They are interesting, fun and people that I found myself wanting to hang out with. There are some very interesting characters along the way. The folk lore of the area is interesting and adds to the story so well. Once you read this story you will understand this statement, I want to go live in Lije's house.

I must warn you, there is one sentence in the book that everyone who reads this book will hate. I am not going to tell you what it is or where it is, but you will know what it is when you find it. Happy hunting and ...

Happy Reading

Sharon Carter Rogers

Dear Reader,
Ok this review has been a bit difficult to write. I loved this book, but it is a bit different than most mysteries. In fact I have taken to calling it a "stalker" book. You know who does the crime and yet you spend the book following him and hoping he doesn't catch up with the only witness to the crime.

Unpretty is the follow up book to Sharon Carter Roger's first book Sinner. It is not a sequel as I had hoped, because of the characters I had come to love in the first one, but in and of itself this is a good book. It has it's own share of quirky characters. It is one that if you liked her first you will enjoy the writing style of this one. She is a good author and someone I will enjoy hopefully for sometime to come.

Now here is the hard part. I want to write a review that makes you want to read this book and one that makes me sound some what intelligent, while not giving any of the story line away. This is one of those books that if I say just a couple words to much it will take away from the story and may even make it not worth reading.

So here it goes... If you like murder and mayhem, if you like books a little off center and if you like books that are just a bit creepy, this is the book for you. It is probably a little more different than anything else you will read this year. It is one that I don't recommend for the middle of the night reading. (Even though I did do some of that) It is one that you will want to race to finish, but you don't want it to end for fear of what is going to happen.

I hope that helps you decide if you want to read this book. I really did like it and am already waiting for Sharon's next book.

Happy Reading

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Patricia Hickman

Dear Readers,
I have a love/dislike relationship with Patricia's book. It isn't that I "hate" them, I have just found a couple of them a little dry. With Painted Dresses I found one I enjoyed. It is the story of two sisters who are different as sister can be. One of the them is the good one and the other isn't. One has always tried to do what was right and the other just does her own thing without worring about anyone else.

Gaylen returns to her home town after father falls ill and dies. As she tries to decide what to do for her sister and how to take care of her. With her marriage on the rocks and not wanting to offend anyone, she is trying to do what is right, even if it isn't what is best for Delia.

When Delia takes a shot at a drug dealer's sister and on the run they go to keep Delia out of jail, but also to save her from the hitman that they hired to kill her. They decide to stay at an Aunt's cottage and find several pictures made of painted dresses. Each one tells a story and each one is left to a different person.

Each delivery reveals a little more about their family's history. Stuff that shouldn't have been hidden. Stuff that made their family the way it was. Things that they could have worked through and been able to heal.

Gaylen is dealing with a sister she doesn't like, a marriage that is struggleing, and these new stories that are awaking the nightmares of the past. Which do you deal with first? Which is more important? Can one lead to the healing in different areas?

This is not as complicated book as I have just made it sound, but it is one of secrets kept and people who have been hurt because of it. It is a terrific look at a family in crisis and how hiding the bad things is not helpful. I found that in some ways I really felt for Gaylen and yet sometimes I was a bit frustrated with her. Delia I found terriably annoying and yet in some ways I have to admit I did admire the way she is able to not be worried about what others thought of her.

Without giving the story completely away, this is a story that can help someone either going through the same crisis or someone trying to understand what happen to themselves or someone else they are walking with. I am would say this is a must have for every church library.

Happy Reading

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

T.L. Hines

Dear Readers,
I know some of you love T.L. Hines' books and some of you don't. His new book is not going to change your opinion of him. The Unseen is his newest release. It is very different and one that if you like a book that you are not sure what is going on this will be perfect for you. I am going to tell you right away, this is not my favorite of his. It kept me very interested the whole book, I liked the characters and the storyline was very intrigueing, but it wasn't a creepy "ghost" story like The Dead Whisper on and it isn't a mystery like Waking Lazarus. But don't let that turn you off it is a good book.

Lucas is the main character. He is off the radar for everyone and he likes it that way, he just doesn't exsist according the the goverment. He loves to hide in buildings and watch people as they work. He makes up stories about their lives. He never makes contact with them and never ever goes into peoples house. He washes dishes to earn the little money he needs. He sleeps in the buildings and other various places around the city. He likes his life and is quite content. Until...

...a chance meeting with Donavan. A fellow creeper as Donavan's group calls themselves. Suddenly a whole different world is opened up to Lucas and he isn't sure he likes it. Nobody is whom they seem to be. Nothing is as Lucas understands it. Nobody believes he is doing any of this just because he is a good guy.

This is one of those books that leaves you a bit unsettled after you are done. I did like the questions that T.L. has in the back of the book. It made for a little more thinking. In one question he askes you to compare your feelings for Lucas at the beginning of the book to those at the end of the book. It really made me stop and think as I really hadn't thought about it much before that, which in and of itself was surprising to me as I usually find a character that I really like or dislike. I did realize that I didn't really have any of those feeling for Lucas at the beginning. I did find I felt a lot more sympathy for him when I understood him more. I found him as a bit of a innocent and really not all that "street smart." Which maybe would have been endearing to some, I found it a bit annoying.

Once again I am going to say that if you like his other books you will like this one. It is the novel he was working on as he was fighting cancer. Which does give it a bit of a trivia thing, but doesn't effect the book. It is along his good storylines and his charcters are interesting. I don't think this book can be labeled a guy book, it is just a good "riddle book." One that is fun to try to figure out.

Happy Reading