Saturday, November 5, 2016

Another Day, Another Dali by Sandra Orchard

Sometimes, reading is very heavy and thought provoking and can leave you needing to catch an extra breath.  It’s at that time that it’s nice to know that there are some great refreshing light reads out there to allow your inner reading monster a chance to take a break.  This book, this series, is one that will leave you feeling refreshed. 

This the second book in the Serena Jones series.  I would recommend that you read the first one in the series, “A Fool and His Monet” prior to reading this in order to enjoy all aspects of this novel. 

Serena is an excellent FBI Agent, one that focuses on high-dollar art theft and forgeries.  Thanks to doing a favor for her grandmother, Serena is drawn into a new mystery.  Serena is still torn between her two beaus and doesn’t seem to be any closer to deciding which one she likes more.  As the clues twist her one way and another, we are again entertained with her wit, her charm and of course, her family.  After two short books, we’re drawn into all of the antics and puns that make for a refreshing look at family dynamics.  Hang on for a wild ride when you go BUY THIS BOOK!!!

Is this a "Guys Book"?   I feel there’s always balance that’s needed when reading.  This will definitely provide the balance from all of the suspense, war, mystery, etc genres I normally read and review.  I think it’s a great book and will provide anyone with a feeling of delight when you turn the final page.


Connect with the Author


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Tangled Webs by Irene Hannon

Irene Hannon is back with another great novel starring the McGregor brothers.  Even with her infusion of romance, this is another great book that any man can enjoy.

Dana Lewis and Finn McGregor are both out in the National Forest hoping to refocus their lives and turn from agony in their past.  Neither knows the other, but as attacks begin on Dana and the cabin that she’s staying in, Finn is drawn into her world to protect her.  As they both fight against the danger coming Dana’s way, a relationship that neither is ready for begins to form.  Meanwhile, Chief Burnett has turned a new page in his life, one that will surely test him and the character that he thought he had built in his life.  Who’s behind all of the mayhem directed at Dana?  Can they both open up to a relationship after all of the hurt?  Can the Chief stay on the right course?  You’ll know all of these answers when you BUYTHE BOOK!!!

Is this a "Guys Book"?   There’s not a lot of suspense in this novel like her other novels as we know who’s behind all of the attacks on Dana.  This is more of a romance then her previous novels, but still one that will keep you entertained.


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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Raven by Mike Nappa

A street performer known as The Raven picks his audience's pockets while they watch.  In one city councilman’s wallet, he finds not money, but compromising photos of the councilman and his "personal assistants", The Raven decides to blackmail him. Soon the Ukrainian Mafia is after him. It’s up to private investigators Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill to sort out the clues and save hundreds of lives..

What’s the best thing about picking up a book and realizing that it’s the second book in a series?  Getting to pick up the first book!!  This book, “The Raven”, is the second in the Coffey & Hill Series by Mike Nappa.  The first book in the series, “Annabel Lee” is just as action-packed and suspenseful and shouldn’t be missed.  With that said, you don’t really need to read these in order, but there are parts of “The Raven” that make a lot more sense if you do.  I will warn you that there is a lot of violence in these books, enough so that the author convened a roundtable of other Christian authors to discuss this topic (http://www.beliefnet.com/Entertainment/Books/Whats-Too-Violent-for-Christian-Readers.aspx).  Getting past all of that, this is a terrific book filled with a great storyline, a very well developed plot and witty banter that plays well with all of the character interaction.

Is this a "Guys Book"?   No doubt about it!  Ukrainian mobs, corrupt politicians, gun runners, etc!  This book has everything you would want to read in a great suspense novel, without all of the garbage that comes along with a secular novel.



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Occupied by Craig Parshall

As a youth, Trevor Black unleashed spiritual forces he couldn’t comprehend. Years later, Trevor is a high-flying criminal defense lawyer in New York City, with a six-figure Aston Martin and a trophy wife. But in an extraordinary turn of events, he receives a burdensome gift: the ability to perceive the invisible. And the dark forces he now sees are all gunning for him.

When one of Trevor’s hometown friends is murdered, the MO is eerily similar to a shocking trail of murders that have already crossed the lawyer’s path. So Trevor must return home to find the killer. . . and face not only his own personal demons, but supernatural ones as well.

I enjoy a good mystery and I enjoy reading a great suspense novel, but put a piece of speculative fiction in front of me and I’ll devour the book.  This is one of those that doesn’t let you down.

Writing a story that breaks the veil between this world and the spiritual realm is not an easy task.  Craig Parshall has done this with the first book in his Trevor Black series.  I’m not a big fan of stories that use a lot of memories to tell a story, but you truly need those memories of Trevor’s as a kid to get the whole depth of this story.  Could there be more back story to the characters and more time spent fleshing them out?  Sure, but I feel Mr. Parshall gave me just enough of the story to still leave some to my imagination.  The story is wrapped up so it’s going to be interesting to see where the next book in this series takes us.

Is this a "Guys Book"?   For me, this is the ultimate type of a guy’s book.  I love the supernatural storyline, the battle between the spirits and demons always reminds me just what kind of world we live in.  It also reminds me that He saved me and protects me from the dark realm.



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Domino Effect by Davis Bunn

Esther Larsen, a leading risk analyst at one of the country's largest banking institutions, is becoming more and more convinced that she has uncovered a ticking bomb with the potential to overshadow 2008's market crash. And as her own employer pursues "investment" strategies with ever-increasing levels of risk, she becomes convinced she must do something. Yet what can one person really do?

The markets are edging closer to a tipping point--like the teetering first domino in a standing row that circles the globe. And when Esther does sound the alarm, she wonders if anyone will take her seriously. But as public support grows for her ideas, so does the desperation of those whose conspiracy of greed she seeks to expose. With global markets on the brink, and her own life in danger, Esther is locked in a race with the clock to avert a worldwide financial meltdown

At no other time is this book more relevant then today.  Yes, this is fiction, but there is enough truth in this book to scare anyone.

I am by no means a business savvy guy.  I do understand basic concepts of business and the stock market, but when it gets into the nitty-gritty, I get confused.  This book is all about the corruption that happens with the stock market and the manipulation of it by Hedge Funds and banks.  Even with my limited knowledge, Mr. Bunn was able to explain the key concepts that keep me feeling like I knew what was going on and a part of the story.  Esther faces a rather daunting moral dilemma concerning how her employer is handling their investments.  The answer to that dilemma makes up the rest of the book so I won’t go into the specifics.  You get to see how her character evolves from a meager introvert to one that garners everyone’s attention.  There isn’t much of a spiritual element in her other than Esther’s new boyfriend attending Seminary.  That didn’t seem to detract from the story, but I’m always one that likes to see how Jesus can work in anyone’s life no matter the situation.
 
Is this a "Guys Book"?   There’s not a lot of action but there is intrigue as Esther’s plan is unhatched.  The famous battle of “can this be prevented in time…..” is clearly at work here.  Want to know if she “saves the world”???  Go BUY THIS BOOK!!  It’ll be the smartest business decision maybe you’ve made today.


CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Long Journey of Jake Palmer by Jim Rubart

What if there was a place where everything wrong in your life could be fixed?
Corporate trainer Jake Palmer coaches people to see deeper into themselves—yet he barely knows himself anymore. Recently divorced and weary of the business life, Jake reluctantly agrees to a lake-house vacation with friends, hoping to escape for ten days.
When he arrives, Jake hears the legend of Willow Lake—about a lost corridor that leads to a place where one’s deepest longings will be fulfilled.
Jake scoffs at the idea, but can’t shake a sliver of hope that the corridor is real. And when he meets a man who mutters cryptic speculations about the corridor, Jake is determined to find the path, find himself, and fix his crumbling life.
But the journey will become more treacherous with each step Jake takes.


Coming off the success of the “Well Spring” novels, Jim Rubart has written two additional novels.  The first one, “The Five Times I Met Myself” and now most recently, “The Long Journey of Jake Palmer”.  Take your pick on which to read first as you’ll want to read them both.  But let’s talk about his newest novel, “The Long Journey of Jake Palmer”.


If you had a “do-over”, would you?  Jake’s life was on a path that anyone would have wanted.  Great job and a great wife, who could ask for more.  Then the unthinkable happened and his life changed in ways he may not be able to come to grips with.  Fast forward 18 months later and Jake is finally beginning to come back out of his shell.  A yearly trip with a group of friends,  that he avoided last year, has hit the 10 year mark and he gives in and decides to go.  A “coincidental” run-in with a seatmate on an airplane leads him to recommend a new lake for the trip.  The legend has it that there’s a corridor that will lead to a place where his deepest longings will be fulfilled.  Jake is sure that all he needs to do to get his life back on track is to find the corridor and go through it.   Is it real?  Can anyone enter the corridor? What happens when you leave?  Don’t just sit there, head down to your favorite bookstore and BUY THIS BOOK!!

Can I see myself as this character?  If I can answer yes to that question, then I think the author has done the remarkable because he’s made me believe in the character and therefore believe in the story.  What would I do if my life encountered a train wreck and then I heard of a chance to undo that which has gone wrong?  The author spends a lot of time around discussing what the label on our bottle says (what others think about us) in contrast to what we think about ourselves.  Does that label change based on who we’re around?  Can others see things in us that we don’t see?  I love a book that entertains me, but also drives me to consider a deeper perspective.  This book definitely did that!

Is this a "guy's book"?  No action, no intrigue and nothing blows up, but you won’t want to miss this book.  If you allow it, this book will push you to look harder at your “label” and decide if you’d want to do it all again if you had a chance.  For this guy, my label says all it needs to say.



About The Author

Grew up: Pacific Northwest: Seattle, Spokane, Kirkland, WA
College: University of Washington. B.A. in broadcast journalism
Work history: Started off on air at a radio station, then went into sales
Other job: Since ’94 I’ve owned an ad agency/marketing firm.

Favorite memories: They come from jumping off cliffs with my boys, water skiing together, long walks & talks with my wife, and going deep with friends.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Things We Knew by Catherine West

After her mother’s death twelve years ago, Lynette Carlisle watched her close-knit family unravel. One by one, her four older siblings left their Nantucket home and never returned. All seem to harbor animosity toward their father, silently blaming him for their mother’s death. Nobody will talk about that dreadful day, and Lynette can’t remember a bit of it.
But when next-door neighbor Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, he brings the past with him. But Nick has no intention of telling Lynette the truth. Besides the damage it might cause his own family, he doesn’t want to risk harming the fragile friendship between him and the woman he once thought of as a kid sister.

Let’s try something new, “he said”.  Let’s pick an author that writes like nothing you would normally read, “he said”.  You’ll enjoy it, “he said”.  It’ll stretch your reading limits, “he said”.  Boy, I’m glad ““he said”” all those things because this was one good book!


We’ve all been there.  A house full of kids and two doting parents.  Fast forward to the present and those kids are out on their own with no time to come back to the nest.  Life moves fast and sometimes families move further apart.  Lynette is the youngest of 5 children and the only one to remain at home.  With the death of her mother twelve years ago and everyone else out of the house, the care of the family homestead and her father has fallen on her.  As her father sinks deeper into the grips of Alzheimer’s, Lynette is pushed to the brink of frustration as the repairs and upkeep on the family home become more than she can handle.  She calls for all of the siblings to reconvene to discuss their next steps as there has to be a solution.  Nicholas Cooper, the neighbor with a history with Lynette, is home and all of those past feelings bubble up to the surface again.  This time, though, he may be bringing more than she can handle.  Can the kids agree on a medical plan for their father?  Will Lynette get help in dealing with their home?  What is all the secrecy around her mother’s death and what does Nick know about it?  Before things get too much for you to remember, head on down and BUY THIS BOOK!!


I’m not sure that I would have selected this book without the father in the book.  My mother was diagnosed 4 years ago with Alzheimer’s and it has been a daily struggle for her with this disease.  Though his character isn’t a major player, the inner workings of the family due to his illness are.  The upheaval of the everyday life for Lynette is written expertly. I found myself near tears in several points as I recognized events my mother would go through and thought how the author had captured it perfectly.  The story is so much more than that, though, so don’t get me wrong.  The author has taken 5 very different people and brought them back to manage life, together.  I “watched” all of this unfold in the pages of this book and was mesmerized by how graceful the author orchestrated the differences into a complete family. 

Is this a "guy's book"?  I won’t lie and say that it is.  It is a thought-provoking, heart-breaking look at a typical family when all the children have grown.  There’s a touch of suspense and intrigue built around the death of the mother that may hold your attention, but don’t miss out on this book for any reason.



Get to Know Catherine West
What’s your go-to activity to get out of writer’s block?
I like to do something active like walking or swimming, working in the garden. This gets me moving but also allows me to think and mull over new ideas.
When you were in kindergarten, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I think I always wanted to be a writer. I also enjoyed painting, but reading and writing were my thing from a very young age.
Favorite ice cream flavor:
Haagan Daz Macadamia Nut Brittle
If you had an extra room in your house, what would you use it for?
I would love to have the time to take up painting again, so I’d make an art studio.
What is the farthest place from home you’ve ever been?
South Africa
What book are you currently reading?
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
If you were a given a gift card to any restaurant, where would you want to eat?
An intimate, quiet place by the sea with great Italian food!
What was the best birthday present you ever received?
Ah, this one’s easy! I celebrated my 50 last year, and my husband surprised me by bringing my sister and her husband, as well as my son and his girlfriend, who all live in the US, down to Bermuda, and threw me a big party, too!
When do your best ideas come to you? Early morning or late at night?
Any time really. Usually when I’m doing dishes or something other than writing.
What task do you dread doing each day (or week)?
Grocery shopping! Hands down.



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”