Tuesday, December 28, 2010

To Have and To Kill by Mary Jane Clark

Piper Donovan is an actress out of work. She can no longer afford the rent of her apartment and decides to move back home to her parents house. One of Piper's best friend is actress Glenna Brooks who she met while working on the daytime soap A Little Rain Must Fall. Glenna and Piper played sisters until Piper's character was killed off. Glenna is getting married and asks Piper if her mom would bake her wedding cake. Piper says of course and the deal is set. However, Glenna tells Piper that she received a threatening letter and shows her. Piper says she will take it to her friend Jack, who works for the FBI. Jack says he does not think it's anything to worry about. Then Glenna and her co-star Travis York emcee a fund raiser at Glenna's daughter's school, which also happens to be where her new fiance is a teacher. Travis is poisoned during the event and Jack decides that there might be more to the letter that Glenna received. As Piper tries to help find who killed Travis and attempted to murder her friend Peggy, she is also dealing with helping in her mom's bakery. Piper learns that her mother is suffering from macular degeneration.

I really enjoyed this books and give kudos to Miss Clark. I have only read a couple of her books but have to say that this one is my favorite. There is a little bit of everything in it, from murder to romance to humor. Loved the characters of Piper and Jack and would have loved to see a little more interplay between them. But even so it was a very easy read and kept my interest until the end.

Tempted by Fate by Kate Perry

Willow Tarata is looking for the man that killed her mother. She has followed him for years and has always been one step behind. Now she is in San Francisco because she has heard he is there. The first night she is to meet her informant, but when she arrives she finds him and one of her employees murdered. While she is there the police arrive, Willow knows that she has been set up and pledges to find the Bad man. Inspector Rick Ramirez is in charge of the investigation into the murders. Then there is another murder and Willow always seems to be around. Rick's grandmother tells him that Willow is good and to trust and help her.

This books was a page turner for me. I really like that in a book, one that keeps my attention and makes me want to keep reading. The inter play between the main characters kept the book interesting. There were several minor characters that were very memorable including the other Guardians and Rick's grandmother. It was easy to read because the plot just came together effortlessly. Was it realistic, there were elements of the supernatural that might are not everyday occurances. Can these things happen, whose to say but they make for a good read. The cover is an attention getter to start off. Not sure it compliments the story though. All in all I would highly recommend this book. I liked it so much that I found the first two so I can read them.

Deadly Heat by Cynthia Eden

Lora Spade is a fire fighter that lost her fiance to a fire. Lora is sure there is a serial arsonist at work and contacts the FBI's elite Serial Services Division to help in finding the culprit. The first day Kenton Lake is in town he is pulled out of a fire by Lora. He decides he needs her help in finding out what is going on. Kenton is sure that it's a person with fire fighting experience or a cop behind the fire because they are done with knowledge of both departments. Lora can't believe it's anyone she knows and is heartbroken when her house is one of the targets. Still neither one will back off until they find who is behind the fires and the deaths.

This book was interesting to learn about the inner workings of the fire department and how fires are set. A serial arsonist has to be precise and have knowledge of what he is doing and that was all brought out in the story. Lora's character is very aggressive, not only in her work but also in her home life. Kenton is a good foil for her but sometimes his character seemed to go over the top. The story was well written and there were no gaps or really slow spots in it. The minor characters in this were not that memorable to me, it was all Lora and Kenton from page one. Liked the cover on this one and thought it went well with the plot of the book.

Manifest Destiny by Rick Robinson

Congressman Richard Thompson's good friend and one of his staffer's go to Romania to observe the Presidential election. The staffer is kidnapped the first night and Thompson and his wife travel to help find him and bring him home. Before they leave though, the Mace of the House of Representatives is stolen. While Thompson is in Romania his friend the Fat Man looks into the disappearance of the Mace. Agent Jane Kline is assigned to help Thompson find his staffer Josh Barkman. They hear that they car Barkman was taken away in is an old car of Richard Nixon's and know that it will not be hard to find. They go into the mountains to the home of General Gheorghe Alexandro who took the car when the government of Nicolea Ceausescu fell. Thompson winds up doing things he never thought himself capable of and has to keep it all to himself.

The storyline was a good one, however it seemed disjointed in places to me. There was so much going on that sometimes it overwhelms the plot. Although all was resolved in the end, it was hard getting there. This was not a fast read for me, in fact it took several days to get through. It did not keep my interest and I was not sure I was going to like it. However, in the end it was a nice story. Richard Thompson seemed like a typical politician. The stand out characters for me were Jane Kline and Michael Griffith. Griffith didn't really care what anyone thought of him, but he changed as the book went on. Jane Kline was a take charge woman and didn't take any guff from anyone. As I said before the story just did not flow smoothly for me, but was overall a good one. I did love the cover with the top of the Mace on it. However the Mace was not the central part of the story.

Christmas Eve Can Kill You by William Marantz

Val Virgo's life changes after an episode of his talk radio show. His guest is Inspector Angus Duncan. Val has him on to question him about recent bombings that cost lives. In the middle of the program Val receives a threatening phone call. Inspector Duncan calls him into his office to try and find out what enemies Virgo has. Val's apartment is bombed one night while he was taking a bath. He survived but had to move out. He tried to figure out what all the bombings had in common and why he was being targeted. He goes and visits the widow of a judge that had been killed and they start a relationship. Meanwhile his producer takes over his show and in order for Val to come back he has to adhere to her rules. Val and the Inspector work hard to find out who is responsible for the bombings.

The story was basically a good one, but did not flow all that well for me. I could put it down and forget about it and not feel like I had to get back to it and get it finished. The characters were ok, but not really any stand outs. Val to me was not very forceful in his approach to the things that were happening in his life. Abby was kind of airheaded and I didn't think that was how she would have been. After all she lost her husband and was pretty sharp in dealing with the finances. So I thought she should have had a better head on her shoulders for everything else. The mystery part of the book was pretty good because you don't really figure it out until it unfolds. I did like the cover and thought it went well with the book.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Secrets of Harmony Grove by Mindy Starns Clark

Sienna Collins just landed the biggest account of her advertising career. She is on cloud nine when she walks into her office. But there on the door is a note to go to her bosses office immediately on her return. Sienna notices that those people at their decks do not even look at her when she passes by. Her bosses tell her that she is suspended without pay because she is being investigated by the government. When she tries to question them more they tell her that they have nothing else to say. Sienna heads to her parents for some morale support but when she gets there her mother had a bad day after her treatment for MS. So she just lets her parents think that she has come for a visit and nothing more. While she is there she gets a call from her ex-boyfriend Troy. He keeps asking her about a fishing tree. Then he starts to slur his words but tells her that it's her B & B manager's fault that she is being investigated. Sienna decides to head to Lancaster county Pennsylvania to the Bed and Breakfast she owns. She inherited the house and land along with her father and brother but over time she bought both of their shares out and turned the house into a B & B. When she arrives she finds Troy dead by the swimming pool and her manager Floyd unconscious. Sienna calls the police and then gets involved in the investigation with the help of the lead detective. They think the clue to the case will be in the grove of trees her grandfather planted and dedicated to his first wife. Troy had been looking for the diamonds that family lore told her grandfather hid there. Suspicion is on her cousin Jonah because of the emu's that he raises, then they find chemicals used to poison Troy in her Uncle Emory's shed. Through it all Sienna deals with ghosts from her past and she tries to learn what happened to Troy and what she was unwittingly involved in.

I found this book rather hard to get into. It seemed to be a little wordy in parts but overall is a very good story. Liked the glimpse into the Amish way of life and how they related to their English cousin. The characters were enjoyable and well rounded. I liked the book but it took me longer to read than most.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Haunted Echos by Julie Ann Howell

Sarah Reddington has writer's block. Her publisher has sent her to a bed and breakfast in Maine to try and stimulate her creative juices. Not long after Sarah arrives strange things start to happen. She finds a key and then loses it. She hears noises and one day finds her dog tied up in the attic. Sarah begins to think that she is losing her mind. She goes to see the lighthouse keeper after talking to a local policeman. He reluctantly lets her in and begins to tell her stories about the inn where she is staying. When Sarah looks at the inn she sees a beautiful place, but when anyone else sees it they see a dilapidated, condemned house. Sarah's sister Abby and her niece Tessa arrived because Abby has not heard from her sister in quite awhile. With the aid of Riley Storms the policeman Sarah met, Abby and Tessa brave the inn and look for Sarah.

This book is definitely a page turner. It was interesting from beginning to end. The writer paints pictures with words and you can see the inn and everything that Sarah goes through in your mind as you read. Her writing style makes the book a fast and easy read. From the lead character to all the supporting characters each has a definite personality that leads much to the book. This story is worth taking the time to read.

A Plain and Simple Christmas by Amy Clipston

Anna Mae left her Amish family and community when she fell in love with Englisher Kellen McDonough. Now expecting her first child Annie longs to be reunited with the family that shunned her. Kellen encourages Annie to write to her sister in law Kathryn and see what the feeling is there. Kathryn is thrilled to hear from Annie and approaches her husband David about the impending visit. David tells Kathryn that Christmas is not the proper time for Annie's return and to write and tell his sister that they would visit in the spring. But, Kathryn feels God is telling her to facilitate the visit and goes behind her husband's back to ease Annie's visit. When Annie and Kellen arrive they are welcomed by Kathryn, David and their family. They allow them to eat at their table the first night. The next day, they are invited back to a meal with her parents. Mary Rose welcomes her daughter with open arms but her father Henry will not even acknowledge her. Kathryn begs Annie not to leave and to give her father one more chance.

This is a heartwarming book of reconciliation of a family during the holiday season. I especially liked that the author made a list of words commonly used by the Amish and the English meaning beside. The look into the Amish ways and customs was very interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.


And the Devil Laughed by Carole Sutton

Hannah Ford is a cop sent undercover to learn about drug trafficing in the small town of Draper's Wharf. Little did Hannah know but just before she arrived her cousin was raped and murdered. Hannah's cover is that of a reporter for a magazine and when she get a room from Mac Mckay he is not thrilled about a reporter staying in his place. But he lets Hannah help him out now that his waitress, who was Hannah's cousin, has been killed. The set up is ideal for Hannah as Mac's brother Doug is also helping him. Doug just happens to be Hannah's contact in the police department there. Although she is sent to find out about the drug traffic, Hannah can not let Vicky's murder go unsolved. So, she starts investigating on her own. Getting information from wherever she can including Vicky's mom Grace and her friends. With each piece of information that Hannah uncovers it brings back memories of her own rape right after the death of her husband. Still Hannah struggles on to find out what happened to Vicky. One night she hears a noise and sees something hanging from a yardarm. When she and Mac investigate they find a body hanging there. Hannah is sure the two murders are connected and set out to learn what really happened and put closure in her own life.

This book is set in Australia and was interesting to read the difference in slang expressions between there and America. The plot is well thought out and I liked how everything was tied up in the end. Did not grab me at first but once I got into the story it did keep my interest. Enjoyable read although not as fast as some others I have read.

The Coming Economic Armeggedon by Dr. David Jeremiah

Dr. Jeremiah tells about the falling economy and what it means to the future not only for Christian's but for everyone. He talks about all the bailouts of big corporations in order for there to be more government control. Also the failure of small banks who are then gobbled up by larger banks and thus more government control. He suggests that there is a move in this country to consolidated government. That the United States will soon be a socialist state. Then he discusses what will happen if the foreign countries that hold our notes, like China and Russia ever call in those notes. This country will be in a world of hurt. Even now there is a push to use another country's money as the standard since the dollar continues it fast devaluation. While discussing all the ramifications of poor government and government control, Dr. Jeremiah is quick to point out that the church will not be here to see it or have to worry about the Antichrist and the mark of the beast that will happen after the church is raptured.

While we can not know when all this will take place, this book is thought provoking in light of what is going on in the world today. Dr. Jeremiah's book is jam packed with all kinds of information that at first is hard to digest. This book may take more than one reading to understand all that's put forth. I appreciate all the time and effort that was put into gathering all the facts and figures that this book contains. For a student of the economy this is right up there alley.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Endangered by Mary Helen & Shuford Smith

Melanie Parker Evans lost her husband, son and parents in an automobile accident that left her in a coma. After dealing with doctors and therapists Melanie decides to go to the island off the Georgia coast that her family owns. Her brother Ashley is not happy about her decision to visit their aunt Patrice. Upon arriving Melanie meets a developer that is interested in buying and developing the family island. She then meets a researcher that her family has been funding in a desalination project. Before long the study group that comes to the island to watch the loggerhead turtles arrive. Melanie decides to go out with the study group and help them with their research of the loggerheads. She and Patrice spend time reading the old family journals. Melanie also gets reacquainted with one of her childhood friends. Before leaving New York, Melanie had been mugged. Not long after coming to the island her co-op apartment was robbed. Then, during a fire she is knocked unconscious. She begins to believe that someone is trying to kill her. When she voices her concern to researcher Grant and the Fish and Game warden, they don't seem to take her seriously. But to Melanie's mind too many things happened, and when she sees a suspicious shrimping boat she decides she can't be too careful.

This was a very interesting book in that it is set not far from where I live. I enjoyed reading about the loggerhead turtles and they way they are researched and watched. The story is very good and keeps your interest until the very end. There are several other underlying stories too. Reading about the Gullah culture was very informative and seeing their part written in their words was a plus. There had to be a lot of research done to put this book together and it was worth the effort.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball by Donita K. Paul

Cora Crowder is a new Christian and searching for the true meaning of Christmas. One day she stops in at a quaint bookstore to find a gift for her uncle. While she is making her purchase Simon Derrick, her bosses boss walks in. He is in search of a Christmas gift for a co-worker and a new book to read to his sister. When Cora gets home she starts to look at the book and out falls a ticket to the Wizard's Christmas ball. Cora thinks nothing of it and tosses the ticket aside. When Simon gets home he starts to read his sister the book he bought for her. A ticket to the Wizard's ball falls out of the book. Sandy, Simon's sister is thrilled and wants to go to the ball. Simon, however, can not find out where to get another ticket. At work Cora has a breakdown in Simon's office, she tells him she is not going to the ball and he can have her ticket for Sands. Simon tells her that Sandy wants a kitten for Christmas and Cora tells him that she can pick from one of the kittins her cat just had. Sandy and Cora strike up a friendship. Cora and Simon keep running into each other and finally he asks her to accompany Sandy and himself to the ball. Cora's apartment gets robbed and she is sure it was her sister. Simon tells her to give her sister the benefit of the doubt, but Cora knows how Zee works. She is very disappointed that Simon does not take her side and tells him that she will not go to the ball.

It was interesting to read about the characters of Cora and Simon each on a different level of their walk with Christ. Cora having been raised in a home of non-Christians and Simon being raised in a house of believers. Their reactions to different situations emphasized the their personal relationships with the Lord. I loved the minor characters of the sisters that owned the costume shop and the wizards that owned the bookstore. Cora's reaction to Simon's sister and family was also endearing. The imagery of the ball and the dresses that Cora and Sandy wore was pure fairy tale. This book was a very enjoyable and easy read. It was one of my favorite books I have read this year.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Power Thoughts by Joyce Meyer

This book is all about retraining your mind to think positively. Joyce Meyer gives 12 power thoughts to help in this task. From the first one I can do whatever I need to do in life through Christ to the final one I keep God first in my life, each is backed up with scripture and biblical principles. Satan throws arrows to our mind everyday and with the help of this book we can learn to fight off those darts and live victoriously. She talks repeatedly about meditating on each thought until it becomes ingrained in our daily lives. Taking each thought and concentrating on it for a week is a great idea. I also personally like the idea of writing them and sticking the notes all over the house as a reminder.

After listening to the book, it really makes you think about where your minds goes during the day. Joyce Meyer's book is filled with stories of how everyday people overcome Satan's arrows. It gives hope to be able to turn our thinking around to where God wants us to be. The scriptural references are very helpful with each thought. Think about it, really makes you take notice of what she is saying. I enjoyed listening to this book and recommend it to anyone as a tool in their everyday life.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Edge of Sight by Roxanne St. Claire

Samantha Fairchild has witnessed a murder at the restaurant where she works. The killer thinks she saw him and he is after her. Sam texts her friend Vivi to see if she can go and talk to her. Vivi works at a newspaper and Sam thinks she might have some information that Sam can use. Unknowingly Sam is texting with Vivi's brother Zach, who she had an affair with before he left for Kuwaitt. Zach broke Sam's heart when he did not contact her after he left and because of that Sam and Vivi's friendship suffered. She goes to meet Vivi and finds Zach instead. When Vivi gets home she tells Sam and she and her brother are forming a company that will be investigating and also provide protection for their clients. She decides that Sam will be their first client and Zach will be her bodyguard. Before this is all over, Vivi and Zach's cousins wind up involved with the company. Zach vows to Sam that he will keep her safe but Sam wonders if her heart can take being left by Zach again.

This book was pretty fast paced, you have to keep reading to find out what is going to happen. There are a lot of minor characters too. They enhanced the book and did not detract from the story. What I liked was that she did not keep repeating herself in the description. Most of it was new and fresh and did not bog down the story. The characters were interesting and the story gripped me from the first. To me that is what a good book is all about. I had never read a book by this particular author before, but will definitely look for more of her writing. Her writing style just made the book flow from beginning to the end.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Hornbrook Prophecy

This book deals with power hungry politicians and how one lone Senator tried to speak out against what he saw happening. The President wanted to be a god and looked up to by everyone. He liked his job and getting paid for not really doing all that much, until he decided to bankrupt the country. Henly Hornbrook saw what was happening and tried to get his fellow Congressmen to listen to the voice of reason and vote against the President's bill. They did not listen and the country was thrown into chaos.

I was not sure that when I started reading this book that I would like it. By the time I finished, I loved it. The whole story line is so believable in today's society that it's kind of scary. All through the book I was rooting for Senator Hornbrook and his people. Now, I can imagine what would happen if our country ever does go bankrupt, it was laid out very well in this story. I would definitely read another book by Mr. Wickes because he kept me engrossed through the entire book. There are characters that you can't help but cheer on and there are others that you just can't like. That's what makes an interesting read. I would highly recommend this book and hope that after it's read the reader will enjoy it as much as I did.