Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Robin Parrish

Dear Readers,

Today I took advantage of fellow employee Louis McBride's review of a new fiction title.  Louis is our academic buyer and usually I find him with his nose in a book that has little on nothing ot do with fiction.  There are certian types of fiction books he does like and I try to encourage him to write reviews for them.  He doesn't like to review fiction books, but I think he did a great job and it does really help me as I just can't seem to get them all read. :-)  

I did include a link to his website at the end of the review,  that way you can check out Louis' other reviews. 

Happy Reading

 “Vigilante” by Robin Parrish – A Review

28 Jun
I started reading Robin Parrish’s book, Vigilante, to kill some time one day and before you knew it I was hooked. I’ve read some of Parrish’s books in the past and enjoyed them. In particular, I enjoyed his Dominion Trilogy (Relentless, Fearless, and Merciless), now regrettably out of print.

Vigilante is very much a guy’s book. The hero of the book, who the media has dubbed “The Hand,” is like a modern day Batman and Rambo all rolled into one with his custom-made body armor and a conglomerate of great gadgets that every super hero should have. As he nears his debut as a crime fighter he’s plastered the country with bill boards announcing a “I will show you a better way.” He realizes his fight must be fought on two fronts: directly confronting criminal activity and secondly, by inspiring people with hope that there is a better way. “The Hand” will be that symbol of hope. Along the way “The Hand” finds himself not only battling a major crime lord (ironically created and empowered largely due to “The Hand’s” crime fighting efforts) but also the President of the United States who is unsure of our hero’s motives and his questionable methods.

Vigilante, , bpg9780764206085Vigilante is full of intense fight scenes and a couple of graphic images of executions. “The Hand” struggles throughout the book with the issues that are raised by someone who’s attempting to do the impossible: change the world. As a previous POW he carries buried deep within him the pain of that experience and he only allows people in to his world when necessary. While the character development is thin you get to know them well enough that by the end of the book you can genuinely feel for them.

To be perfectly honest the way Parrish has ended his books has sometimes left me less than satisfied. The same cannot be said of Vigilante. I was very happy with the ending. There were a number of twists which kept me guessing and while I wouldn’t describe the ending as a happy one I would say it is raw and real. Reality forces idealism to face its limitations.


Monday, June 27, 2011

New Releases June 20 - 25

Dear Readers,

I am almost done with the books that have been picked for me instead of my deciding which book I am going to read next.  It is a funny feeling, having someone else pick your books for you.  I am not sure I like it.  What was available to read next wasn't always what I was in the mood for.  I even found there were a couple books on the list were authors I hadn't enjoyed in the past.  That made it very difficult not to go into the book with a preconceived  notion.

So now that I can choose for myself again I don't even know where to start.  I have a huge pile of books waiting to be read and so many good titles.  I am still not sure where to start, but I will have to decide soon.   I hope to be finished with the last book by Wednesday or Thursday of this week.   I maybe reading one of these titles listed first. 

Happy Reading

Learning - Karen Kingbury - #2 in the Bailey Flanigan series
The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck - Kathleen Y'Barbo
Canary List - Sigmund Brower
The Muir House - Mary DeMuth
Jefferson Burke and the Secret of the Lost Scroll - Ace Collins
Hostage in Havana - Noel Hynd

Thursday, June 23, 2011

J. Mark Bertrand

Dear Readers,
I am a big fan of the old fashion who-dun-it books.  Don't get me wrong, I love the CSI type mysteries that keep me awake at night, but a good mystery where you hit the pavement, ask questions and follow your instincts is great.  J. Mark Bertrand has quickly become a favorite for that genre.

Pattern of Wounds is book 2 in Mark's Roland March mysteries.  You first meet Roland in Back on Murder.  I actually found myself not liking him, but yet cheering forPattern of Wounds, J. Mark Bertrand, 978-0-7642-0638-2 him as he struggled his way through the book.  In Pattern, you will actually learm more of Roland's background and his story, which of course makes for an interesting read, but also sheds some light on things that happen in book #1.

When a young woman is found brutally murdered, Roland finds similarities between this murder and one that he had solved many years ago.  How can it be the same killer, as he is serving a life sentence?  Is it a copy cat?  Or is it possible that Roland was wrong the first time? 
As the bodies begin to mount, Roland is racing to figure out which are real clues and which ones are not.  Will he be able to find the killer or killers before they strike again... and closer to home this time?

Once again Mark leaves a trail of clues and you are left to figure them out yourself.  He doesn't give much away and yet I found myself putting clues together alongside of Roland and enjoying every minute of it.  The characters are well written and whether they are good or evil doesn't matter, they are all part of the a very interesting mystery.

Happy Reading

Monday, June 20, 2011

New Releases June 13- 18

Dear Readers,

Some weeks I get lots and lots of reading done and then other weeks I find I hardly get anywhere on the books I am trying to read.  It usually has little to do with the book that I am reading, life just doesn't allow for it.  I can find myself to tired or busy,  but what ever the reason, I just don't like weeks where I don't get to read much.

I just had a week where it took me all week to read a 300 page book.  Part of it was I tired.  I have joined my two daughters in training for a 1/2 marathon and the training seems to have tired me out a get deal.  Part of it is with the weather in West Michigan finally acting lke spring/summer, I am just outside more.  But with all these great titles rolling in, I really really need to find more hours in the day to read. 

Happy Reading

Look to the East - Maureen Lang - #3 The Great War Series
Inside Threat - Jason Elam/Steve Yohn - #3 Riley Covington Thriller
Summer Dream - Martha Rogers

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Diana Wallis Taylor

Dear Readers,
There are a few people in history that we all know by one name only.  Madonna, Cher, Bono, Oprah and for those with even just a small knowledge of the Bible, Martha. 
I have always wondered about Martha.  Most people view her in a negative way because Jesus actually corrects her after she makes a complaint to him.  So we mostly think of her as a work-a-holic who also happens to be a whiner.
Martha, , bpg9780800734657Martha by Diana Wallis Taylor got me thinking more and more about her.  Ok I can already hear the Bible scholars out there having a fit, just stay with me on this. 
I have always wondered what Martha's story really is.  Why is she single?  How old is she really?  Is it a bad thing she is single or was she only 15 or 16 and so far hadn't had been betrothed?  How did she really feel about what Jesus said to her in front of everyone? 
I will say this is a fictional book, but it did make me think more about this.  Martha would not be considered a heroine by any standards, but maybe she should.  She was doing what she did best, taking care of her family and guests.  She maybe even would have said she was doing God's work, but Jesus still told her that Mary was doing what was right.  To me that means it becomes more of a message of balance.  Yes we must be about the jobs he gives us to do, but we must also spend time with him.  Life is busy but time with HIm alone is way more important than anything else.
So without telling you much about this book, I am going to say that it is a good read.  I enjoyed it even though I kind of knew what was coming (we all know the story).  It is a quiet little story that really makes you look at the Bible story with new eyes.  There is something (for me anyways) that really puts a face on someone who is so familiar and yet I know so little about.
Happy Reading

Monday, June 13, 2011

New Releases June 6 - 11

Dear Readers, 

I am always interested in what Hollywoods considers Summer Blockbusters.  I do love a good movie, but I very seldom go see one in the theater.  Especially in the summer, why waste the great days of summer sitting in a dark theather. 

I have already published my summer blockbuster ideas a couple of weeks ago and a couple of the books on that list came out this past week.  So it is time to get busy doing your summer reading.

Happy Readin

The Blessed - Ann H. Gabhart - #4 in her series on the Shakers
Vigilante - Robin Parrish
Pattern of Wounds - J. Mark Bertrand
Falls like Lightning - Shawn Grady
Lion of Judah - Davis Bunn
Fallen Angel - Jeff Struecker & Alton Gansky
Love Letters in the Sand - Diann Hunt
The Blackberry Bush - David Housholder
The Amish Nanny - Mindy Starns Clark/Leslie Gould
A Baby for Hannah - Jerry Eicher

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Booker T. Mattison

Dear Readers,
I always enjoying finding authors who write outside the "normal" box.  You all know that I love a good book no matter what genre it is in.  I have found some really good authors that way.
Booker T. Mattison is one of those authors and his newest book is Snitch. He does not write about the quiet neighborhoods in Zeeland, but about the gritty neighborhoods in Jersey City.  Which for me is not anything I know about.  I am going to say here, even though I know nothing about life in the 'hood' I still need the book to be believable and interesting. 
Life on the streets has a very simple code: you don't talk to the cops.  No matter what.  No matter what you saw or think you saw.  Andre is trying to turn his life around, he is trying to show his ex that he can support her and their son and do it honestly. That is until late one night he witnesses a murder.   What do you do?  If you don't do the right thing it could cost you your job, but if you do the right thing it could cost your life or the lives of your family? 
Snitch, , bpg9780800733964I will honestly say I am not sure what I would do.  I would like to say I would tell the cops what I saw, but that is without someone holding a "gun" to my family's heads.  I have never had the experience of having to try so hard to get my life straighten out and then having it yanked out from under me.  But lots of people have and walking through this with Andre was an interesting experience. 
This is a bit of a gritty book, but it is a good look at something I will probably never experience.   Booker's first novel, Unsigned Hype, was a teen fiction and I would be very comfortable recommending this book to the older teens that have read the first one.  (they are not a series)  I love being able to recommend books I like to many different types of readers.  
Happy Reading

Monday, June 6, 2011

New Releases May 30 - June 4

Dear Readers,

I don't kmow how the spring weather has been where you are, but here in West Michigan it can be described in one word.  WET, and we are very sick of it.  You can tell because when the weather is nice the sound of lawn mowers is almost deafening.  Everyone is out walking, biking, running, and reading.  It is amazing and if we string a few nice days together we actually feel brave enough to make plans to do stuff outside. 

I hope this list of new books encourages to go outside and "play' not just do yard work.

Happy Reading

Sons of Encouragement - Francine Rivers - A compilation of the 5 books she did on the men of the Bible.
The Constantine Codex - Paul Maier - 3rd in the Skeleton series and yes it is the Paul from West Michigan
Freedom's Stand - J. M. Windle - sequel to Veiled Freedom
My Foolish Heart - Susan May Warren
Twelth Prophecy - Brock and Brodie Thoene - the last one in the A. D.  Chronicles
Day of War - Cliff Graham
Simple Choices - Nancy Mehl

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Gilbert Morris

Dear Readers,
Today's Christian fiction writers owe a big debt to Gilbert Morris and other authors that led the way to what we now know as the Christian fiction market.  Gilbert Morris was one of the leaders in the market long before the Left Behind books brought the market into the spotlight.  The earliest I could find was a book published in 1984 - Delaney I could find little or no information on this book, but it actually looks like it might be an earlier addition of his Dani Ross Mysteries.  I can't tell for sure, but the cover reminds me of that, so I am going to make that conclusion (if you know differently let me know).
The Crossing, Last Cavaliers Series #1 
GIlbert is writing about what he does best.  History.  He sets The Crossing, book one of the The Last Cavaliers, during the Civil War.  He does an interesting job of mixing fictional characters and real historical figures throughout the story.  He uses Stonewall Jackson as one of his main characters and it is a different look at this bigger than life Civil War hero. 
Yancy is the other main character that he uses.  Yancy is a young man who is brought back to the world of the Amish when his father decides to return home after Yancy's mother passes.  Yancy is just not cut out to be in the Amish order.  He has trouble with all the rules and one of his biggest problems with the Amish is the "girly" straw hat the men are asked to wear.  He decides for the sake of his family to take a job elsewhere and ends up workng for Andrew Jackson.  Andrew sees that Yancy is fine military material and asks him is he would like to join the Virginia Military Academy.  The rest is, as they say, history (no pun intended).
I have read many different series by Gilbert.  Historical, contemporary, mystery, etc... and have liked them all.  I will admit that I did not read all 40 of the Winslow series.  I think I made it all the way up to the Civil War in that series, but I never finished it.  I loved the Dani Ross series and think that ended too quickly and the Cat's Pajama's series was loads of fun to read.  I enjoyed this book and I learned about what it was like during a part of America's history that has always interested me.  I think what I like the most about Gilbert's historical series is you can see and feel Gilbert's great love for his country and how he loves to tell everyone about how unique our story is.
For you history buffs this is a good read, but for anyone looking for an interesting story, this will fit that bill very easily.
Happy Reading