Tuesday, March 31, 2009

W.L. Dyson

Dear Readers,
I read W.L. Dyson for the first time a few years ago. She was writing under Wanda L. Dyson then and did a short three book series for Barbour. Abduction, Intimidation, and Obsession were a good mystery series. At the time I kept thinking somebody better pick her up in a larger publishing house as I think she is going places. Well Waterbrook finally did and Shepherd's Fall is book one of her new series.

Nick Shepherd was told to take care of his siblings and his mother by his dad just before he died. That is what he is trying to do. He employs his brother Steven at the family business, Prodigal Fugitive Recovery. He tries to visit his mother as often a possible even though she doesn't know him and he is trying to find his sister, Marti, to help with the business. He is trying to "help" raise a teenage daughter with his ex-wife.

The Prodigal Fugitive Recovery is struggling. As more and more Bail Bondsman are able to pay their own people to pick up the Bond-runners (as they are called), Nick is having a harder and harder time getting new jobs. It doesn't help that one of the crime families in town is now threatening not only Nick, but his daughter as well. It is just a stress that Nick doesn't need, ever.

I really had a hard time liking Nick. His is kind of a jerk, very "A" personality. Very much a control freak. If something isn't done his way... I think we all know people like him. (if you don't then is probably you;-) In his line of work this is a good thing, but when trying to "run" a family it is not a good thing. His sister, ex-wife, and daughter do not conform to his way of thinking and it makes things tougher. When the crime family starts moving in on his family he decides that he can take care of it himself.

I am sure I have given enough of a hint as to what this book is about. It is about crime and the underbelly of many of our big cities. It is also a story about a family that is struggling to understand each other and to be heard by the other members of their family. I really did enjoy it as W.L. once again writes a believable story that kept me "busy" the whole book. Book number 2 will be out later this year called Shepherd's Run. Which I am looking forward to.

Happy Reading

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Jill Eileen Smith

Dear Readers,

Michal by Jill Eileen Smith is not a book I would have maybe picked up myself. It is not really a time in history that I am real excited about reading. I have heard the story of David all my life, either at church, home or school. I wasn't really all that interested in hearing about him again. This is not really a story of David, he is a major character of course, but he is not the focus of this book.

Michal is Saul's daughter. She is a princess and believes she deserves to help rule a country with her husband someday soon. It does help that she is in love with David and he seems destined to rise in the ranks of Saul's kingdom. She is ready to do anything to become his wife, even betray her sister to get what she wants.

I will admit that I really had very little sympathy for her throughout this whole story. She is very much a princess, and feels she is owed the world. She kind of just rubbed me the wrong way. David is written as a guys' guy. He is not written as perfect, just a 20ish guy who isn't quite sure how his life is going to go.

Michal on the other hand is written very much as a control freak. 'If this happens I can make this happen.' As she learns that isn't always true. The one thing I hadn't thought about, but she was horribly hurt and angered by the lost of her family. Saul, Jonathan, sisters... they were all eventually killed. She was the last left, except Jonathan's son, but she didn't seem to care for him. She grieved the lose of the others, sometimes when someone is an evil or bad person we forget there is a family who will grieve that person. To Michal, Saul was still her father, no matter how evil he was. I did put more of a human face on her and even him.

I would recommend this book to any one who enjoyed the story of the OT kings that Lynn Austin wrote. It is another good look at a part of that time in history that we know so much about and yet can still learn from it. I am looking forward to the next one. I am not sure which wife that will be, I guess I will have to wait and see

Happy Reading

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Diana Wallis Taylor

Dear Readers,

This book actually made me go back to the Bible to make sure I hadn't read something incorrect in the account of the Samaritan woman. Diana Wallis Taylor in Journey to the Well puts her story in a whole different light. I guess that the reason I thought she had 5 husbands and the man she was living with wasn't her husband was because she had no morals, and yet Jesus has his longest individual conversation with her.

This intrigued Diana many years ago. She for several different reasons never got it published until this year. It was well worth the wait. The Samaritan woman is one of those characters in the Bible that has always made me want to know more about her. Why did she have 5 husbands, why was she living with someone not her husband, what brought her to the point that she got water from the well in the middle of the day when no one else would be there?

Marah is only 13 when her aunt decides that Marah is ready to marry the local sandal maker. Marah is not ready to be an adult yet, she still wants to play in the street with the other children. But obey she must. It is the law and one never goes against what your elders tell you to do. Zibeon has lost one wife already and he is not a gentle quiet man. He is known for his temper and Marah is afraid of him even before she gets to know him.

So starts the story of the woman at the well as she is known in the Bible. No name no history of why, just a woman at a well. It is not a easy story but it is hers. I know that this story could be completely different than this is written, but why not think of it this way. This could be any of us as we face Jesus at our own well. We don't show our sins to others for fear of what they would say to us as we walk down the street. Marah already knows what they would say, that is why she is avoiding them.

I really liked this story. I was worried at first that Diana was going to make her a victim the whole story. That she has 5 husbands through no fault of her own, but that is not how this story goes. She makes decisions on her own and it is not always the right one, but she does try her best to make the right ones for herself and her child. It is so interesting how God orchestrates her life to keep pointing her to her encounter with Jesus. I know it is fiction, but it sure does speak to our own lives.

Happy Reading

Monday, March 23, 2009

Terri Blackstock

Dear Readers,

Terri Blackstock has long been a favorite author of mine. She is a good mystery writer and puts a lot into her characters. I did struggle with her last series, Restoration series, but the mysteries within the series were very enjoyable.

Double Minds is her new step into writing stand-alones. She, and these are her words not mine, "is to old to remember all about each character in the series..." So we are the ones reaping the benefits of this and she is now writing books like this one.

Parker James is a fantastic song writer with the "want" to be a singer. She does have the ability, but can't seem to get any of the music "houses" to want to sign her. The night she is giving a concert, her brother Gibson calls and tells her that there has been a murder at the company she works for. Gibson is a detective for the Nashville police dept. He isn't sure that Parker wasn't the target and when Parker learns more and more she is sure that it was her that was the target.

Parker isn't ready to find out about the dark underbelly of the christian music industry. She can't believe all the backstabbing, theft of music and songs, and general nastiness that goes on behind the scenes. She can't figure out if they are all suppose to be Christians, why are they acting that way. Even when her best friend Serene hits it big, she has a boat load of baggage and is fighting an eating disorder. Things are just suppose to be different than the rest of the world.

This book doesn't pull any punches on what does happen behind the scenes anywhere and everywhere. People are all the same, even if they are famous. None of us is perfect, we just like to think our favorite stars are. It does make for an interesting perspective on this story. It is not a storyline you hear much about, but combined with the good mystery that has plenty of murder and mayhem.

Happy Reading

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Nicole Seitz

Dear Readers,

I love reading books set in the south on cold snowy "spring" days. This past week was perfect for that. Nicole Seitz's newest, A Hundred Years of Happiness. Nicole lives in the low country of South Carolina and loves living there and you can tell by her writing that she does. Her descriptions of the people, places and atmosphere capture that area so very well.

This book is a bit different, or maybe normal for Nicole, but a very good read. It is written in the style that each of the main characters is given their own turns to "speak." Which makes for very different views of the same story. I will admit that I do sometimes forget who I am reading about and it does confuse me once in a while, but that is easily remedied by quickly turning back a couple pages. I love when authors do this as it is so neat to see the different people's perspective on the story.

Katherine - Ann is a daughter who is worried about her father. He is a Vietnam vet and is not acting like himself. For the first time in her life he has actually shared about the war. Which gets her to thinking that maybe she needs to learn more about that time in his life. She invites him to the Medal of Honor dinner they are having in Charleston, where he meets the first MOH winner from the Vietnam war. He is able to sit with him at dinner and gets his picture in the newspaper, which opens a can of worms no one expected.

Lisa has always longed for a father. Her mother, her uncle and herself fled Vietnam after the fall of Saigon. It has been a terrible life, they own their own restaurant, but Lisa has always felt that something was missing. When she sees John Porter's picture in the newspaper, she realizes that he looks like the picture of the American soldier in her mothers room. She just knows that is her father and sets about to find him.

This is a story of recovery, forgiveness and love. Family love, brotherly love and sacrifice. It is a good look at some of the struggles these guys that give so much to their country go through. We didn't help these vets at all because of what we did to them when they came back. I am still shocked when I hear those stories. Who were we that we felt so compelled to actually attack these guys when they came home. There is not one person who should have been doing that if they were not willing to go over there and fight themselves.

Sorry back to the story. It is a good one with a fabulous ending. In fact Nicole is so good at the endings I almost want to skip to the end first, but of course the rest of the story would be lost then. She is a very good story teller and one worth the read.

Happy Reading

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ted Dekker

Dear Readers,
A Ted Dekker book is met with such different responses when I recommend them. It seems to be you either love him or hate him. If you are enjoy a good creepy mystery, ex. this will be the book for you.

BoneMan's Daughters is not a read at night when home alone book. It is creepy and every noise in the house is him coming to get you. I really did like this book and can't wait until more of you get a chance to read it so I can ask you what you thought of it. It has been interesting so far to see who has liked it or not liked it and why. But that is so few people it isn't a good read on that.

Ryan Evans is captured in Iraq and tortured beyond anything anyone would expect him to survive. But survive and escape he does. The military sends him home to recover. He is eager to go home and prove to his wife, Celine, and his daughter, Bethany, that he is sorry for the past and wants to make it up to them. The problem is they have moved on with out him.

BoneMan is trying to find the perfect daughter and hasn't yet found one that is. He is killing his victims by breaking their bones and leaving them to die. The police and FBI thought they had the guy, but now they are not so sure. When Bethany goes missing, Ryan is their first suspect. He needs to prove his innocence to everyone while trying to rescue his daughter.

Fast paced, edge of your seat mystery. It was not easy for me to lay it down once I got started. I will admit that a couple of times it was just plain scary to read. I didn't like that part of it, but I couldn't stop reading because I really had to know who the BoneMan was. It reminded me a bit of a Mary Higgins Clark book because it got to the point where I couldn't put it down until I knew the bad guy was caught.

If you are a fan of Ted's you will like it. If you are a fan of Steven James you may want to give this one a try. If you are a fan of a good creepy book this is one you will want to read. I wouldn't want to read this is my husband was out of town, but then again I am a big 'fraidy cat.

Happy Reading
P.S. This book releases on April 14th.