Monday, November 24, 2008

Brandilyn Collins

Dear Readers,

Most of you who have belong to this review group for a while now know what I think of Brandilyn Collins. I really enjoy her books. They are good ones for reading when you need a good "chill." It doesn't usually take me long to read them as I need to find out who the killer is before I can sleep at night, not always, but sometimes.

Dark Pursuit is her newest and I read it over the weekend. Once again she has written one of those hard to put down books. I needed to know that all was well before I closed the book last night. I don't know if this is going to be a series, but I didn't see anything on the book that showed that is was. Authors have been know to change their minds about that after the first book because the characters won't leave them alone. (creepy I know:-)

I do have one complaint, this book is not long enough, but midnight is late enough to read at night and if it was longer I would have stayed up later... Well you can see where that is going.

Kaitlan thinks she finally has it all together. A great guy, a good job, and even a baby on the way. Little does she know that one unsceduled trip home is going to change all that. She is about to find the 3rd victim of the serial killer that is loose in their town. She is sure she knows who it is and off she heads for her Grandfather's house. He just happens to be the world famouse novelist Darell Brooke, the King of Suspense. If he can't figure out what to do then no one can help her. The only problem is the last time they spoke he told her he never wanted to see her again.

So the plot thickens quickly and Brandilyn is very good at giving you the clues, but can you figure out who-done-it?

This book seems to be a bit more creepy than her last couple of the Kanner Lake series. Not that I didn't like them, but they were much more like straight up mysteries, while this one has a bad guy who is not at all what you expect. If you liked her other stories and especially her Hidden Faces series you will like this one.

So if the snow is driving you inside and wrapping up in a warm blanket with some hot chocolate... Ok I am going home now... This is a good book for that. Not relaxing, but a good read.

Happy Reading

Tosca Lee

Dear Readers,
This book caught my interest the minute I heard about it. I know several of you read or tried to read Demon, it wasn't for everyone. I even struggled with it because it made me a bit uncomfortable.

Havah is the Story of Eve as the subtitle says. I understand that this is not necessarily how it was, but it sure was fun to imagine it.

Where they able to run with the Gazelles? Did they take naps while using a Lion as a pillow? What was it like to walk with God? Did it rain? How big was the garden? Did they get bored?

Now you can see why I liked this book. Of course this book doesn't answer all those questions, but what fun it is to think about it.

We all know the story of Adam and Eve and their (mankinds) fall. That happens very early on the book. It is reason behind the story, but it is only part of her story. Once the fall happens and they are removed from the garden, the rest of the story starts and is still happening today.
Imagine if all you knew was perfection. Your food at the ready. God's love shown to you as you walked along side of him. That all changed in two small bites. Now nothing is the same. Nothing is handed to you, rain is cold and comes to you in a storm and two of your animal "friends" are killed to clothe you. Imagine your confusion. Especially because you know that this is not how it was meant to be.

Ok ok I hear ya' all. I will stop giving the story lines away. I really like this story. I can't wait to discuss this book in our book club. It made me read the creation story again and even puts the Cain and Able story takes on a different light after you meet them and their mother.

Talk about putting flesh on a Bible story. This really does that. For the first time I saw Eve as a wife, mother, a woman and a child of God. She was not longer perfect, but she was still loved by God.

Happy Reading

Thursday, November 20, 2008

J.M. Windle

Dear Readers,

I know I usually try to review only really new or coming books. Well this time it isn't such a new book. It is one that came out in March of this year. Betrayed by J.M. Windle. I kept thinking I need to read this book and just never got there. It was a good one for this week.

Vicki Andrews goes to Guatemala to checkout a non-profit orphanage that her company would like to donate a grant to. While there she plans on visiting her sister Holly, who is working at a center that is trying to save the cloud forest of Guatemala. As it turns out Vicki only gets to see Holly once before she goes missing and then turns up dead in the very dump that most of the orphans come from.

When the local authorities list the death as just a mugging gone wrong, Vicki desides to play CSI and quickly finds out that she is not in the USA. She isn't alway sure who she can trust, even the police seem corrupt. No one seems real interested in finding out the truth, not even the American Embassy. It is all very frusttrating for Vicki and makes her even more determed to find out the answers.

I really liked the main character even if to me she seemed a bit less informed about foreign cultures than I thought someone who had been to several foreign fields for work would have been. Some of it seemed like common sense to me and I was a bit surprised by how much she fought against the way things are done. Now I am not saying that I wouldn't turn over every rock to find out who killed my own sister, but there are ways of going about it on the foreign soil that you don't do here.

I did like this book. It kept my interest all the way through it. I liked how Jeanette presented that you can be very concerned about the enviroment and people also. In fact they should go hand in hand, not two seperate things. They really do need each other to survive.
Anyone who likes mystery will enjoy that part of this story and those looking for an action adventure book will also like this one. It is a good mixture of both.

Happy Reading

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Neta Jackson

Dear Readers,
I was very sad to close the book on the Yada Yada Prayer Group. They were and are some of my most favorite book characters. They were a
group of woman I always felt like I could knock on the door where they were meeting and I would have been welcomed and then fit right in.

Well happy day the newest book by Neta Jackson, Where do I go, is subtitled A Yada Yada House of Hope. I can easily say that if you like the Yada's you will love this book. In fact several of the Yadas show up to help our main character out.

I have to tell you that the main character and my youngest daughter share a first name. I had dinner with Neta and her husband a couple of years ago and Neta asked me about my daughter's, Gabby name. She wanted to know why we called her that and how we spelled it etc... She asked me if it would be ok to use it in a book and I said yes of course. I didn't think about it or even remember that conversation until about 1/2 way through the book when it suddenly dawned on me that this was that book. I am not sure that Neta would even remember that conversation, but that is ok. I know that my daughter was just tickled by it and even read the book.

Ok on to the important stuff now that I have rattled on. :-)

Gabby is not sure she is all that excited about her new life in Chicago. Her sons are still at boarding school and she rattles around in their high rise apartment with nothing to do and no friends. That all changes after she has a close incounter with Lucy a bag lady.

After sending Lucy to the Manna House, Gabby desides to check on her to make sure she is ok. The rest is all part of the story. She learns there are many reasons for women to be homeless, not just because of drugs or alcohol. Sometimes it is curcumstances beyond their control. As Gabby falls more and more in love with the woman of Manna House, her husband becomes more and more upset about her job. Things really start falling apart when the boys come home. Add a new dog and Gabby loses all control.

I felt this is a bit darker book than I thought any of the Yada books were. Maybe darker isn't the correct word, but it just seems that this book doesn't have the lightness and joy that the Yada's do. Not a bad thing, just different. It also ends in a way that will make you want to either throw the book out the window or go find Neta and insist that she tell you what happens. :-)

I really enjoyed this book. It is a book that really opened my eyes to how sometimes people become homeless because of something that really has nothing to do with them. It does give you an understanding that the women at these shelters are still just women trying to take care of their families as best they can. Sometimes that just means needing help. I know I was with Gabby the first time someone makes a suggestion that they offer "fun" classes as well as ones that will help the ladies find jobs. Everyone needs to have fun no matter who you are or what you circumstances in life are.

So to put it simply if you liked the Yada Yada books read this one. If you haven't read them yet, you can easily start here and find a whole new group of friends you will want to share a cup of coffee with.

Happy Reading

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ginger Garrett

Dear Readers,
I have found one of those quiet authors that writes such great historical fiction, but not many people know about her. Ginger Garrett doesn't not take on or write books that are happy reads. They are quite often a bit dark and different than the "standard" story of the character that we all know about. Chosen: the Lost Diaries of Queen Esther and Dark Hours are both very good and interesting books, but not widely read.

In the Shadow of the Lions Ginger takes on the story of Anne Boleyn and Henry the Vlll. Which for me was a very different read. I am not really all that familiar with that time period and I figure who wants to learn about a ruler who would get sick of a wife and kill her. I have always found him to be a bit inmature and very selfish, so in otherwords normal for a dictator.

What I didn't know or remember was that the Tyndale Bible was starting to hit England at the same time as his rule. Which is interesting because he really fought with the church because of his marriages and the lack of an heir.

In this story you actually start in modern times meeting an unnamed editor who is dying. She is waiting to die and has an incounter with an angel who is one of the Scribes of "history." He wants the editor to write down the story that he will tell her and sell it after which she will die.
Let me add here, I was not very excited to read this part as I was afraid that this story would take over the book and take away from the actually story. It doesn't it. In fact it shows up very little and is used as a transition between the two stories going on.

Back to the story. This is the story of Anne as she becomes queen, but from a very different perspective than the story we have always heard. I had always thought she went after the crown, wanting to be queen and doing everything she could to get it. Well Ginger writes her as someone who was caught in a troubling time and is trying to serve God as best she can. That in and of itself adds a very different twist to this familiar story. I can't say that I find her a sympathic character, but I do in someways feel for her. I still think she used people to get what she wanted, but maybe to a different degree than what she is portrayed in the history books.

I really did find this book interesting even though we all know how it ends. I think sometimes I forget that those people that are so much a part of history are still "normal" people. Whether is is King Henry or the Yeoman that you meet in this book. I also love that God took a time in history that was very turbulent and used it to spread His word to the "common" man. It is an interesting look at a part of church history that I really didn't know much about.

By the way the Catholic Church in here really reminds me of a book I just read by Janette Oke called the Centurion's Wife. The Pharisees of the Bible sound a lot like the Cardinals in this book. Hmmm :-)

Happy Reading

P.S. Those in the Zeeland Book Club this will be our book for January