Thursday, March 12, 2015

Lethal Beauty... a book review

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Lethal Beauty

a Mia Quinn Mystery

By Lis Wiehl with April Henry

Thomas Nelson Publisher
ISBN: 978-1-59554-905-1
Available: March 3, 2015




Publisher’s Description:

Mia Quinn discovers that a series of seemingly unrelated murders are linked. How far up are the strings being pulled—and what happens when one of her own is at risk?

The murder Mia is prosecuting seems like an open and shut case—until the accused claims he was the real victim and that the dead girl attacked him first. The tabloids dub her a "lethal beauty." Still, a conviction seems imminent. Then a key witness goes missing. Just when it looks like the killer could walk free, the dead woman’s mother takes matters into her own hands. 

Meanwhile, Charlie Carlson, a Seattle homicide detective, is investigating the murder of a man whose body washed up on the beach of Puget Sound, but he's got little to go on. He has no dental work, fingerprints aren't on file, and he doesn't match any missing person reports. Then a church pianist is senselessly gunned down before horrified parishioners. 

All three cases seem unrelated—but are they? Together, Mia and Charlie race to find the answer before another crime hits too close to home.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  * 

Once again, Lis Wiehl with April Henry shines the spotlight on a current social issue alive and well in America – human trafficking and exploitation of illegal aliens.  As Mia and Charlie work together to solve seemingly unrelated cases, we are greeted with the seedier side of humanity.
Lis Wiehl works her magic in crafting not only believable characters but also a very realistic plot with numerous twists and turns!  You will find yourself engrossed in the storylines, both case-related and personal, in which Mia and Charlie find themselves.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
A

I received a complimentary copy of Lethal Beauty from Thomas Nelson Publishing and the BookLook Bloggers program for my honest review.

Happy reading,

  Ellen

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Last Sicarius... a book review

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The Last Sicarius


iUniverse LLC, Bloomington Indiana

ISBN-13: 9781491721087

Genre: Christian / Mystery / Thriller




Are the Gospels of Judas and possibly a diary of Jesus' earthly ministry worth dying for? 
Will they prove the Christian faith or destroy it forever?

Biblical intrigue
Theological thriller
Mystery
Suspense
Good versus evil

After surviving the Kolektor's rage and murderous plot against her and those she cares about, Chloe Lejeune returns to Louisiana to continue translating the ancient manuscripts of Jesus' earthly ministry found in the oil jars.  Yet, when a Vatican official turns up to have lunch with her, she soon realizes the mystery behind the ancient jars and evil is not finished.  Along with her son, Pope Francis "charges Chloe to find the cache of jars and keep them away from their adversaries" - the rightful heir of the Kolektor's organization.

Once again, Chloe works with Vatican officials and her son J.E following biblical clues to locate the Cave of Jars before the Kolektor's heir does.  As each clue brings them closer to the jars, it also brings the evil heir-apparent one step closer.  Who will find the cave first?  Will there be any survivors to the last stand between good and evil?

Van R Mayhall Jr once again has drawn the reader into the biblical narrative and locations.  With each twist and turn, you want to cheer on Chloe and her band of scholars and military Vatican guards.  Yet, the evil heir stays on their heels, or, even one step ahead.

I enjoyed The Last Sicarius as much as the first book, Judas the Apostle.  Unfortunately, the beginning of The Last Sicarius did not flow as smoothly as I had hoped.  In his attempt to make this book a "stand alone" in the series, Van R Mayhall Jr adds background information on the characters and basic plot from the first book into the beginning chapters of this one.  This strategy took away from the opening scenes of the new book.  I believe an introductory chapter summarizing Judas the Apostle would have achieved a smoother transition between the two books; thus, allowing the second book, The Last Sicarius, to stand alone.

My rating 4.5 out of 5 stars
A

Please note: I received a complimentary digital copy of The Last Sicarius from NetGalley.com and iUniverse Publishing for my honest review.

Happy reading!

     Ellen

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Dandelion Field.... a book review

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ISBN-13: 9780310339632
Zondervan Publishing
Available: January 2015

How many parents hope and pray that their child(ren) do not follow in their footsteps of bad decisions and/or actions.  Gin Lightly definitely prays for a better and brighter future for her daughter Raine; but, even a loving, mother cannot decide her child's actions and decisions.


When Raine and her mother's car breaks down in Banister Falls, Wisconsin, Gin agrees to stay so Raine can finish her senior year of high school.  During a class project, Raine is paired up with Cody Bennett.  Cody is a friend to all - athletes, nerds, and those not part of the "in" groups.  He is an outspoken Christian who helps lead the youth at Hope Community Church.


When Raine and Cody's relationship become serious, can he practice what he preaches?  Or will he lay aside his beliefs and walk away from God to live life his own way?


Kathryn Springer has written a story that so many women can relate to - poor decisions and the consequences which follow.  God's love is seen in and through the characters.  I look forward to enjoying more of Kathryn Springer's stories of faith, love, and understanding.


My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars


I received a complimentary copy of The Dandelion Field from Harper Collins and Zondervan Publishing for my honest review.


Happy Reading!


     Ellen

Judas the Apostle.... a book review

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Judas the Apostle

by Van R Mayhall Jr.
Published: September 2013
iUniverse LLC, Bloomington Indiana
ISBN 9781491703328

Judas the Apostle gives The DaVinci Code a run for its money!



Could the ancient manuscripts give a first-hand account of Jesus' earthly ministry?


Biblical intrigue
Theological thriller
Mystery
Suspense
Good versus evil

After the death of her father, Chloe returns to her childhood home in Louisiana to learn his death was far from a home invasion gone badly.  When she is given a hand-written letter from her father during the reading of his will, she embarks on a mystery of biblical proportions.

The mysterious jar and its contents bring both a future and a possible ending to any who come in contact with it. Will the ancient text prove beyond a shadow of doubt the ministry and mission of the Catholic Church?  Or, as the evil nemesis desires, disproves the basis of the Catholic religion once and for all. 

Immerse yourself with Chloe as she and other scholars try to unravel the mysterious Gospel of Judas before their time runs out!

My rating: 6 out of 5 stars, A++

I loved the way Van R Mayhall Jr intertwined biblical archeology, the study of ancient languages, and a riveting plot to make this a must read.  I was hooked from page one with the story ending much too quickly.  Good news - - - - - The next book in the series, The Last Sicarius,  was published on February 6, 2014. 

So, do you know who the Sicarii are?

Happy Reading!

     Ellen

Please note: I received a complementary digital copy of Judas the Apostle for my honest review from NetGalley.com and iUniverse Publisher for my honest review.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Captured.... a book review

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ISBN: 9781497692510
Available: January 27, 2015
Genre: Mystery, Thriller

When I read the description of the book, I was intrigued by the premise -

You are diagnosed with a brain tumor and only have 6 weeks to live.  How would you choose to spend your last hours, days, weeks?

Before I began the book, I mused how I would spend the remainder of my time here on earth.  I would choose to spend my time with family and close friends.  I cannot change my past, but I can speak life and love to those around me.

In Captured by Neil Cross, Kenny Drummond is informed by the doctors that he has six weeks to live.  As he processes the news, he makes a list of people he either wants to thank for helping him in the past or those he wishes to ask forgiveness from for past misdeeds.

What begins as a positive use of his remaining time turns into a downward spiral into all that is evil when he begins searching for a childhood friend, Callie. In all the different directions the mystery surrounding the disappearance of his childhood friend could take, this one had never crossed my mind.

Although I did not fully enjoy the storyline, Neil Cross' skill with the pen shines through.  His skill with the written word draws the reader into the story and allows them to feel the emotions as Kenny lives out his last days.  Add in some unexpected plot lines and you have an intriguing storyline.


My ratings:
2 out of 4 stars for my enjoyment
3.5 out of 4 stars for Neils writing style

I received a complimentary e-copy of Captured by Neil Cross from NetGalley and Open Road Integrated Media for my honest review.

Blessings,

    Ellen

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Patmos Deception... a book review

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Bethany House Publishing: a division of Baker Publishing Group
Available: November 2014
ISBN-13: 9780764211393
Fiction / Christian / Suspense


Publisher’s Description:


An Ancient Island Holds an Ancient Secret . . .

Nick Hennessy, a young Texas journalist yearning for his big break, finds himself in Europe--his assignment, to investigate the alarming disappearance of invaluable Grecian antiquities. Nick has the credentials--and cover ID--to unearth the truth. And he knows just the researcher to help him...




Carey Mathers, fresh from her studies in forensic archeology, has accepted a job with the prestigious Athens Institute for Antiquities--a dream come true, really, particularly when the Greek isle of Patmos, where the Apostle John received his vision of the Apocalypse, was a particular focus of her research.




Dimitri Rubinos, for whom the Greek islands represent his life, holds on by his fingernails to the family charter boat business. But his country's economic chaos isn't the only thing that has turned his world on its head...



 *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


 Oh. My. Gosh, what a terrific book!  Not only did it delve into the mystery surrounding the island of Patmos, but it also weaves in numerous, fast-paced, intriguing storylines for the main characters.


Set against the backdrop of Greece’s economic downturn, the reader steps back in time – a time when John the Apostle writes the book of Revelation in the New Testament Bible.  What would be worth killing for?  What would be more profitable than antique treasures?  


I love how Davis Bunn created characters to which everyday people could relate.  Casey’s character reminded me that my happiness does not depend on my circumstances… always a good reminder!  T. Davis Bunn left one of the storylines hanging.  Does this mean a series in the works?!?!


My rating: A
4.5 out of 5 stars


I received a complimentary copy of The Patmos Deception from Bethany House Publishing for my honest review. 


Blessings,


     Ellen

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Heretic... a book review

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Available: September 26, 2014
Lion Fiction Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-78264-095-0


I love good, historical fiction; fiction that bring life to bygone eras.  I looked forward to reading The Heretic from Henry Vyner-Brooks which opens in March 1536 during the reign of King Henry VIII – a time when true Christians suffered for their faith.

This book is written and published in England.  The style of writing is much different from the style of many American writers.  The Heretic is written in third-person which allows the reader to “read the thoughts” of the characters; yet, at times, you may come across numerous paragraphs of just the character’s thoughts.  Further, Henry Vyner-Brooks  assumes the reader knows the bigger historical context while he focuses on the day-to-day storytelling. 

The publisher’s description states:  The Heretic is based on historical events and real people.”  It would be wonderful if the author added a preface with historical details of the times and a more in-depth description of the main historical characters.  This would be especially helpful for those unfamiliar with English history regarding the Christian church.

Overall, the novel sheds light on the daily hardships of the believers during the mid-1530s.  It is not a light read, but needs to be read intentionally.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars             B-

I received a complimentary copy of The Heretic from Kregel Publishing for my honest review.

Blessings,

    Ellen
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