Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Stephen Lawhead

Dear Readers,

I won't spend much time on this review. I just wanted to mention that I did finish Tuck by Stephen Lawhead. It is number 3 in the King Raven Trilogy or the Robin Hood story. I have really liked this whole series and quite a few of Stephen's books. I also understand they are not for everyone. He takes a long time (usually a whole book) to develop his story line and characters, but to me it is worth the wait.

Each of the books have focused on one specific person in the "Merry Men." Well this one is on Tuck, the monk that joins the battle against the crown and the church because of the misuse of power he witnesses. I really enjoyed this character. He is written a bit more light-heartedly than the other two books. He is more of the comedy relief than a serious warrior. Don't get me wrong, he does his share of fighting, but is more worried about his next bit of food or ale offered than whether he killed anyone.

The battle comes to a fevered pitch in this battle. Bran and his band of woodland dwellers have split because some are sick of the struggle and the living in the forest. Abbot Hugo and Guy of Gysburne are down to just a few Frenic knights. Each side rushes to fill their ranks, hoping to be the side that will strike the last deadly blow.

I have found that most of the people who like Stephen are ones who have read the "Lord of the Rings" series. But again he is an acquired taste. For those with a church library these books have appealed to loads of teenage guys.

Happy Reading

Friday, April 24, 2009

Ann Tatlock

Dear Readers,

Ann Tatlock's book The Returning is very different. Ann's story telling is a quiet way of facing major issues that families are facing. It doesn't mean that all families are facing them, but it does happen.

John has been apart from his family for 5 years. He is returning today. Andrea is excited and yet not sure if she is ready to have him come live with them. He was in jail because of an drunk driving accident. She is worried about fitting him back into their family and routine. Billy is excited, Rebekah is indifferent and Phoebe never met her father outside of the prison visiting room.

This is a story of adjustment and forgiveness. It is a look at someone who is trying to turn his life around. John had a drinking problem before he left and his family doesn't really believe him when he says he has been changed. Especially his teenage daughter doesn't believe in his prison conversion. This is a major adjustment to the entire family.

I personally don't know any families that deal with the issue of a parent returning to the family after a prison stay, but I do know several families that have dealt with a few of the other issues that are dealt with. I don't want to talk too much about it as I don't want to give too much away. What I really found very interesting is the only one in the family who goes to church at all is Billy. He goes to the little church just down the street. It makes for an interesting dynamic that not many christian books take on. What if the family isn't Christian? What if the one that is Christan is the one that caused the problems to begin with? What if he or she isn't perfect as the family seems to think he should be? All points that make for a story that is a bit different than the "normal" story.

I am going to admit, I had a hard time liking or trusting John. I am sure Ann writes him that way on purpose, but for me it made the story harder to read, but no less real. Just because someone says they have changed, doesn't mean they have. When all was said and done it made for a better story with a "hero" that is more believable.

I have a read a couple different books by Ann. I have liked everyone I have read of hers. My favorite is still Every Secret Thing. It is the only one besides The Returning that is still in print. She tells a good story and makes it easy to read

Happy Reading

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Deborah Raney

Dear Readers,

First let me say, if you have never read a Deborah Raney book, do so. They are very good stories, touching on a great variety of topics. Yesterday's Embers is the third in the Clayburn series. Leaving November and Remember to Forget are the other two. I can easily say I have liked all three.

On Thanksgiving day Doug leaves his wife and daughter home so he can have dinner with his mother-in-law with his other 4 kids. That is the last time he sees them alive. How is he suppose to take care of 4 kids, a farm that is barely making it, and a second job to keep them all above water. Dishes never wash themselves, clothes do not ever put themselves in the wash machine and for some reason those kids think they need to eat everyday.

Mickey Valdez has ever only wanted a husband and beautiful children. It is what she still dreams of it while working at her job at her daycare. She figures God has given up on her and she will never have a family. Her heart goes out to the DeVore family as they all struggle with the loss of their family. When she seems to be drawn into family outings she finds herself falling in love with Doug, But he isn't ready for a new wife... or is he?

It is a story about loss and recovery. It is a story about how we need to wait sometimes on God's answer to our deepest desires. It is just a good story. It is just a gentle tale that is a quiet read for those days when you don't want to do anything, but enjoy time with a few friends.

The nice thing about this series is that you can read it in any order. They are stand-alones that happen in the same city at the same time. In fact the lost of Doug's wife is mentioned in another story. All good stuff which makes for interesting reading

Happy Reading

Friday, April 17, 2009

Latayne Scott

Dear Readers,

Here is one of those books that is so interesting that the mystery becomes almost secondary to what you are learning from the book, Latter Day Cipher. The author, Latayne Scott, is a former Mormon and now spends most her time warning others about the dangers of this religion and all they are about. Some of the things I knew about, like the if you are able to work your way high enough you to can be a god of your own planet and all the secrecy that surrounds all they do. I was a bit surprised by how "protective' they are of the church, but not necessarily of each other, and then I was very surprised to learn about the blood oaths and secret hand shakes etc...

Reporter Selonnah Zee is being sent to Salt Lake City to see if she can uncover more about the architect of the LDS (Latter Day Saints) temples. A new one is being built near where she lives and there are rumors surrounding it and all the symbols that are on the building. Instead of a nice visit with her cousin and his family, she steps in to a major murder mystery and her newspaper at home wants her to send first hand reports home, turning her vacation into work.

Making it more difficult is her cousin, Roger, who will do anything to protect his new religion. He is the representative the church sends to field all the questions the media has about the murder of Kirsten Young, a well known but former Mormon. Her murder is traced back to things about the LDS that they don't really want the world to know.

As the murders begin to mount the church is desperate to get rid of all the publicity that the murders are attracting. Is the murderer trying to send a message to the church or the world? Who are they trying to warn? Or is this the just the work of a very sick mind? Selonnah and her new friend, a policeman named Luke, race to put the clues together before more people are found dead.

I know I said it before the facts and truths about the LDS almost over shadows the mystery, but it is interesting. I did have a good guess as to who it was before Latayne was ready to let us all know who did it. It wasn't really a problem this is a good story and the action continues all the way to the end. I have to admit that it was a very eye opening book for me and if I need to have a discussion with anyone I know that has been attracted to this cult I have a couple more tools to fight against it.

Happy Reading

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Robin Jones Gunn

Dear Readers,

Ok for those of you living in West Michigan and those of you with Dutch heritage no matter where you live will want to read this book. The Sisterchicks head off to the Netherlands. Yes I know that is one place I never thought of as a fun place to go. Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes changed my mind. It makes the country sound like the place to go.

Summer and Noelle have been penpals since elementary school. They have never met, just become best friends by long distance. Sharing much through letters and emails. Watching each family grow, sharing heartaches and happiness. The one thing they both longed for was to meet.

Summer gets a test result back that is she is sure is going to change her life forever. Her breast exam comes back abnormal. She just knows that nothing will be the same again and decides on the spur of the moment to visit Noelle. She buys tickets, makes plans and tells her family that she is going on her own adventure.

Flying into Amsterdam, Summer wonders if she did the right thing. She is over whelmed by all the new things. But as soon as she meets Noelle she knows she did the right thing. They are like to long lost sisters, who just have to get know each other again. They are soon laughing and totally enjoying themselves.

Robin with her usual humor and joy writes a great story. It is full of fun, friendship and even silliness. Whether our dynamic duo are tip toeing through the tulips or having adventures in wooden shoes, Robin makes this sound like the trip of a life time. I don't know about you, but with every one of these books I have wanted to pack my bags, call my best friend and leave tomorrow. So see you at the airport...

Happy Reading

Ted Dekker

Dear Readers,
Did you know that Ted Dekker's newest, Boneman's Daughter, is in stores now? I am eager to hear from any of you that have read it. I have gotten a couple mixed reactions to it and I want to see what others have to say. I personally liked it as I am sure those who have read my review noticed.
Come get your copy here and then write me and tell me what you thought of it.

Happy Reading

Monday, April 13, 2009

Irene Hannon

Dear Readers,

Some of you know that I have been reading Against all Odds by Irene Hannon. I finished it this morning and I can safely say that if you like Dee Henderson and miss her books this is an author for you. The book very much has the feel of the O'Malley series to it. Instead of family members it looks like she is going to be writing the series about different members of the FBI team that you meet in the series.

Evan Cooper is on the Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) and his new assignment is not really all that exciting. He is assigned to guard a diplomat's daughter who has received a death threat. He is not eager to go, to him it is a waste of his weekend off.

Monica is even less excited to have Coop and his partner Mark in her house. It is her father that asked the government to protect her, and Monica feels he has no right to do that as he walked out of her life years earlier, choosing work over family. She has several engagements she can't miss and she refuses to let terrorists dictate her life. That is until they get into her home and threaten her directly.

I am sure most of you can see where this is going. There is a romance and to be honest with you I wasn't sure if I would like this book at first. But I did. It is just a fun little story that isn't overly intense. There are a couple parts that get exciting and make for a good story. Over all it is a good read. I do recommend it for those Henderson fans who have despaired of her ever writing another book.

Happy Reading

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spring Break reads

Dear Readers,
It is 91 here in AZ. I know that those in the north are getting snow, so I won't complain, but it is going to be 70's the rest of the week.
I finished Face of Betrayal. I still think it is to close to a news story from a few years ago. I will do a review when I get back.
I finished The Returning by Ann Tatlock. An interesting story. Not really what I expected. I can say that if you have read her other books, you will probably like it.
I am now reading Latter-Day Cipher. Just started, but should be able to to finish it in the next couple of days. I will keep you up to date.
Happy Reading

Sunday, April 5, 2009

spring break books

Dear Readers,
I have already finished White Picket Fences by Susan Meissner. It was a very interesting book, one that is going to strick a different cord in everyone who reads it.

I am about 50 pages from the end of Lis Whiel's book Face of Betrayal. Also an interesting read. One that reminds me to much of a very high profile case that was in the news not to long ago. So I have to finish it to see what it all does. I believe this is going to be a series.

Will be starting something new today. Not sure what yet. I don't know if I will have internet at the canyon, will update as I can.

Happy Reading

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Spring Break List

Dear Readers,
I have had a few of you ask what books I am taking on Spring Break. Some of you that know me from the Holland store know that I usually had a list out for the week I was gone. This year since some of you don't see me, I am going to send out my list using my blog. Know this is subject to change if I finish a book before I go or, as happen today, a different one becomes available then one has to stay home as I am only allowed a certian number along.

White Picket Fences - Susan Messiner - Releases Oct
Latter-Day Cipher - Latayne Scott now available
Tuck - Stephen Lawhead - #3 in the Robin Hood series.
The Preacher - Darren Dillman - new author, some compared to Dekker and Peretti
Face of Betrayal - Lis Wiehl
Yesterday's Embers - Deborah Raney - #3 in the Clayburn series
The Returning - Ann Tatlock - May book for Baker Book club
Guardian of the Flame - T.L. Higley - #3 in the Seven wonders series.

I may add a couple more depending on what I have at home. I will try to be blogging on vacation about these books if and when I get a chance. Otherwise look for the reviews when I get back.

Happy Reading