Friday, June 5, 2015

Battered Justice by Linda J White

FBI Special Agent Jake Tucker works hard to be an excellent investigator and a great dad to his two kids, even if he is divorced. When a fellow agent is shot south of Baltimore, Jake and his partner Cass McKenna lead a team to find the shooter. Soon the agents are targeting a low-level street gang. Jake keeps finding evidence linking the gang and drugs to a nearby casino, one Senator Chase Westfield helped get approved. Chase is the new husband of Jake's ex-wife, Tam and tension builds between the two men as Jake discovers Chase is abusing Tam--and putting Jake's kids at risk. Soon they're on a collision course from which only one can emerge.  But Lady Justice can be battered, too, and soon Jake finds himself in a new fight–a fight of faith, the fight of his life.

The time between Bambi and Bambi 2 was over 63 years; Cinderella and Cinderella 2 over 51 years and Peter Pan to Return to Neverland over 49 years.  The time between “Bloody Point” and this book, its sequel, is only 10 years.  I’m very happy that Linda didn’t make us wait almost 40 more years to put another great thriller in our hands!

The sting of a divorce with kids is only trumped by the death of a partner and spouse.  Having two agents paired together like this, Cass with having lost her husband and Jake with being divorced, keeps the drama high throughout this book.  Mix in some dark political characters and you have the makings of “Battered Justice”.  When one of their own agents, close to retirement and participating in a basic surveillance operation is gunned down in the streets, Jake and Cass pick up the trail of some drug dealers making this appear to be a “wrong place at wrong time” shooting.  As the investigation leads to bigger paths and bigger targets, the case becomes personal for Jake.  Jake’s ex-wife is now married to a strong local politician with ties all over the city, with one big secret.  Jake is sure that his ex-wife’s new husband, Chase, is abusing his wife and possibly his kids.  As Jake tries to keep them safe, he’s roped into a murder allegation when his ex-wife is found murdered.  With Jake on desk duty, Cass has to go it alone to make all of the puzzle pieces fit together.  Would Jake be able to shake this allegation? Who is behind these drug shipments? Is Chase as clean as his image projects? Do Cass and Jake ever share their feelings about each other? Don’t wait for the sequel to show up at the theater near you, go BUY THIS BOOK!!!!

It’s my blog and I’ll provide my opinion if I want to.  What makes a Christian fiction book?  A great story that may or may not be based on happenings of today, made up of make believe people and places with some creative licensing thrown in to tie everything up in a neat bow at the end of the book.  What make a GREAT Christian fiction book?  When all of those other things happen and the characters have open and honest talks with God in their everyday life and those interactions are challenged and vetted and the reader gets to see a picture of the God we serve through the author’s eyes.  Linda does a perfect job in her books letting us see characters that are flawed like us, but that continue to approach the Throne in their daily walk and decisions.  This book does not disappoint in its action, wit or suspense.  It’s great to find an author that can provide all of that in one book.

Is this a "guy's book"?  FBI Agents, drug smuggling, political corruption, murder.  This list could go on and on but I think you get the picture.  Yep, all of these are in this book.  Yep, this has the markings of a great “Guy’s book”.

About The Author

Linda J. White writes FBI thrillers from her home in rural Virginia. Her husband, Larry, was a video producer/director at the FBI Academy for over 27 years. Mother of three grown children, Linda is also a national-award winning journalist and a women’s ministry speaker. When she’s not writing, she can be found playing with Keira, her Sheltie, reading a book, or dreaming of the beach.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Finding Me by Kathryn Cushman

After her father and stepmother's accidental death, Kelli Huddleston sorts through their belongings and learns a shocking secret. Years before, her father faked his death during a boat wreck at sea--and faked Kelli's as well. He'd run from a wife, a son, and a daughter back in Tennessee, meaning Kelli has a family she's never known.
She's already cashed the payout on her dad's life insurance check and looks at it as her ticket to a new life. The lure and puzzle of digging into this hidden past is too much to resist, and she soon finds herself in Tennessee. When the trip threatens to open doors to the past better left shut, and her plans for the future are threatened, Kelli must make an agonizing choice that will change her life forever.

So what do you do when you’re not feeling very well and you can’t sleep?  Me?  I pick up a copy of whatever is lying around and open it up.  Boy, this is one time that I can say that I’m glad I wasn’t able to sleep!

The tragedy of having a parent and siblings dying in a house fire when you’re just a baby and then your only surviving parent and your step-mother perish in an auto accident later in life would put anybody’s life in a tailspin  This is what has happened to Kelli Huddleston.  As she attempts to recover from all of the despair in her life, she begins the process of cleaning out her parents’ house.  With all rooms emptied except for her dad’s office, she finally tackles the once forbidden area.  Gaining entrance to the safe, she finds old photographs of a family.  Knowing that the fire that had killed her mother and siblings had destroyed everything including photographs, she’s not sure who these photos must be of.  There are also newspaper clippings of a father and his daughter disappearing in the ocean and their bodies never being found.  What connection would these photos and clippings have to her father?  With just a little information, Kelli pieces together that all of what it seems her father has told her has been a lie.  In order to find the truth, Kelli heads out to find these people and find out why her father would have abandoned them all by faking his and his daughter’s death.  What secrets will she find out when she connects with the people in the photo?  Will they believe her story of who she is?  Will she be able to add anything to their lives now?  Don’t worry about uncovering the truth now, just go BUY THIS BOOK!

This isn’t the first book that I’ve read from Katie Cushman, but I must say that it’s probably the one that I enjoyed the most.  The pace of the story was steady, there wasn’t much lag, but there always wasn’t much speed either.  I stayed in focus of what the character was trying to accomplish, nothing was too unbelievable.  I felt that a couple of the characters (Shane and Kenmore) could have been fleshed out a little more, as their acceptance of Kelli seemed a little rushed.  I loved the additional back story of Kelli and her view on salvation, what a great discussion this can open up to so many different people.  I do feel like the ending was a bit rushed, but I understand why it had to be presented in the way that it was.

Is this a "Man’s Book"?   I would say that this is a great book for a man to read, even without the obligatory smashups and explosions.  This book, though, is one that men need to read so that they can see consequences of actions when they think that the grass is greener in the other pasture.  I will point out, though, that the tagline to the author is “Women’s Fiction Author”, so just make sure that you cover that up before you sit down to read this great book.


Kathryn Cushman is a graduate of Samford University with a degree in pharmacy. She is the author of five previous novels including Leaving Yesterday and A Promise to Remember, which were both finalists for the Carol Award in Women's Fiction. Kathryn and her family make their home in Santa Barbara, California.

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Monday, May 11, 2015

The Color of Justice by Ace Collins

Justice, Mississippi, is a town divided. White and black. Rich and poor. Rule makers and rule breakers. Right or wrong, everyone assumes their place behind a fragile façade that is about to crumble.  When attorney Coop Lindsay agrees to defend a black man accused of murdering a white teenager, the bribes and death threats don’t intimidate him. As he prepares for the case of a lifetime, the young lawyer knows it’s the verdict that poses the real threat—innocent or guilty, because of his stand Coop is no longer welcome in Justice. As he follows his conscience, he wonders just how far some people will go to make sure he doesn’t finish his job?

To some, the result of the trial still feels like a fresh wound even fifty years later, when Coop’s grandson arrives in Justice seeking answers to the questions unresolved by the trial that changed his family’s legacy. When a new case is presented, again pitting white against black, this third generation Lindsay may have the opportunity he needs to right the wrongs of the past. 
But hate destroys everything it touches, and the Lindsay family will not escape unscathed.

Who has 36 (at least) novels to their credit and still has a Christy Award Finalist for 2015?  Ace Collins, that’s who.  And if you haven’t read anything buy this Ace yet, then shame on you.  Ace is, in my honest opinion, one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, author in the legal thriller genre today.

The setting is Deep South in the summer of 1964.  Racial division is alive and well, even if it’s rarely discussed out loud.  Having moved back to the town he grew up in to care for his mother, Attorney Coop Lindsay has thrown out his shingle in town.  What most locals accepts as an open and shut murder case of a white girl by a colored young man, turns into anything but when Coop agrees to represent the young man.  Not only is he committing career suicide, but he is placing himself and his family directly in harm’s way.  As the evidence, or lack of it, continues to mount, Coop is finally victorious in the courtroom, but at what cost.  Upon celebrating, Coop and the young man are never to be seen again.  Flash forward now to 2014 and the town has completed an about face.  The town is seemingly integrated now, but the bigotry from some of the past continues to shine.  Coop’s grandson visits the town upon reading some journals of his grandfather’s and seeks to find out what really happened to his grandfather.  The town is up in arms again, this time though, a young colored man has been killed by the white grandson of a very prominent citizen, one that played a major role in the last case of his grandfather’s.  Will justice be found again? Can Coop undercover what really happened to his grandfather?  Will the bigotry in town every go away?  You will be found guilty if you don’t run now and BUY THIS BOOK!!

The thing that I enjoy most about reading stories by Ace Collins is how believable his characters are and how easy it is to take an interest in their well-being.  This story presents a very tough subject during a tough time, but Ace handles it perfectly, even to the point of making me, the reader, pause to reflect what my prejudices look like.  The pace of this book is very fast, if you aren’t in for a story that takes off from the beginning and leaves you breathless, not knowing when to catch your breath, then I wouldn’t recommend this book.  I will admit that I thought I knew whodunit pretty early on, but I was wrong.  And not only was I wrong, I didn’t even see that there was an entire second half of this story to tell.  He makes every piece of this book come together realistically, that’s the kind of attention to detail that I’ve come to appreciate when I sit down and crack open a new Ace Collins novel.

Is this a "Man’s Book"?   This is not a “man’s book” or a “woman’s book”.  This is a book that must be read and will be enjoyed by everyone.  This is a book that will get you thinking and get you talking and one that will definitely keep you up as you try to finish the book.  If I could only have one legal genre author in my bookcase, it would definitely be a novel by Ace Collins.


Citing his Arkansas heritage, Christy finalist Ace Collins defines himself as a storyteller. In that capacity, Ace Collins has authored more than seventy books for 25 different publishers that have sold more than 2.5 million copies. His catalog includes novels, biographies, children’s works as well as books on history, culture and faith. He has also been the featured speaker at the National Archives Distinguished Lecture Series, hosted a network television special and does college basketball play-by-play


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Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Thorn Bearer by Pepper Basham

Ashleigh Dougall has a terminal disease and forgiveness is the only cure.

Ashleigh Dougall’s father stole her innocence, her selfish fiancé stole her heart, and unforgiveness is slowly stealing her life.  Drawn by the desire to help others, she tries to escape haunting memories and enlists her services as a nurse in war-torn Europe.  Along with her childhood friend and fiance’s brother, Samuel Miller, the fragile threads holding Ashleigh’s life in place one-by-one begin to snap. From the deck of the ill-fated Lusitania to the smoke-filled trenches of WWI, Ashleigh must choose between forgiveness of the past, life in the present, and a Savior who is willing to help her face them both

I am by no means a very important person when it comes to the world of blogging.  My poor little blog barely registers on any Google search and I think my Adsense has accumulated 9 cents in 3 years.  I say all of that to say this.  When someone tracks me down and asks me to review their book, I’m very skeptical as to why, what would my review offer any author.  My concern turns to doubt over the story if they have no other recourse but to have me issue a review.  Let me tell you something, though, I was dead wrong on this with Pepper Bansham and her novel, “The Thorn Bearer”.  This book was terrific!

Ashleigh has hidden the secret of what happened between her and her father from everyone, but the pain has caused countless struggles in her life.  With a disastrous end to her engagement to Michael, Ashleigh was on her way back to England to assist as a nurse at a local hospital.  The trip across the Atlantic aboard the Lusitania was going to be a struggle of a different kind, as her companion was to be Sam Miller, her best friend and sister’s latest throw away.  Sam is in need of a final response from Ashleigh’s sister, Catherine, on where they relationship stood.  But based on notes from her mother back in England, that relationship was as good as over.  Despite the warnings from Germany over the dangers of sailing into England, the boat sets sail and is within a stone’s throw of land when it is leveled by a couple of torpedo explosions.  As the ship goes down, Ashleigh is separated from Sam as the women and children are loaded onto life boats.  As Ashleigh frantically searches for Sam, she’s in fear of losing the one man who had won her heart.  Can Ashleigh find Sam amidst the turmoil of the ship sinking? Will they finally come clean about their feelings for each other? Will the secret from her past, the one that she can’t forgive, keep her from having a lasting relationship?  Get on the boat and set sail and go BUY THIS BOOK!!!!

Set in the early 1900’s and the early stages of the WWI battles, this book is written with a great emphasis on social customs as well as social norms during that time period.  It’s always interesting to me to see what would have been frowned upon as inappropriate during that time that is almost common place today.  I loved how the author switched between Sam and Ashleigh to provide you with additional insights into thoughts and actions, but not so much to distract from the main storyline.  This story is about forgiveness.  The act of forgiving others and allowing them second chances to make things right, and also forgiving yourself and making a new beginning.

Is this a "Man’s Book"?   This is not my typical genre to read, and I probably would have passed it up on my library shelf if I was looking for something to read.  I will say, though, that this book fascinated me with the way the author worked in biblical truths and principles in the daily lives of the characters.  As much as I wanted to put this book down, I was never able to do it, until I read the final page.  This may not be filled with action and adventure and mind-numbing intrigue, but it is filled with a great story of redemption and forgiveness that everyone needs to read about.


She wrote her first story when she was a nine year- old, freckled-faced tomboy in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Coming from a long line of oral storytellers, weaving a good yarn seemed a typical part of her life.  It wasn't until she finished college, had two children, and a full time job before she began to study the ‘craft’ of writing.

Her music-director turned pastor husband took his first senior pastor position eight years ago, moved the 6 of them to Tennessee, where they added their fifth and final kid to the Basham crew. And now hubby is a music minister in Asheville, NC.