Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Real Enemy - 3 stars

The Real Enemy by Kathy Herman

Brill is the new police chief in town. Not only does she have the disadvantage of being the new kid on the block, but she is also a woman. Two strikes against her. Things start out pretty calm, but soon, people start disappearing. She is determined to not let anything happen to these people on her watch, but as the count of people missing grows, her confidence seems to shrink.

Brill's husband Kurt made a horrible decision that cost him his family. Sure, it seems like they are a family on the outside, but his wife won't even have a decent conversation with him. It seems that Brill is determined to never let her husband live down his horrible decision. She has forgotten all about the grace of God and therefore, doesn't even know how to give grace to her husband.

Brill has to face the fact that nothing in her life can be solved on her own power. She can't solve the case, and she can't solve the problem in her marriage. Turning to God would be the only choice to get her through, but it is a choice she will be willing to make?

I admit that this book did keep me guessing throughout. The suspense and the mystery behind the kidnappings was enough to keep the book going. The characters, on the other hand, were not as well developed. I was disappointed that Brill gave into her own temptation and we never got to see how that was resolved. It seemed that the ending of this book was rushed, and therefore it created some let down for me.

I recommend it as a good suspense/mystery, but it didn't really do much to get me thinking. I would just put this in the 'brain candy' category.

3 stars

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Indelible - 4.5 stars

Indelible by Kristen Heitzmann

If I had to choose a few adjectives to describe this book, they would be: creepy, intertwined, deep.

Kristen Heitzmann has woven an incredible novel.  My absolute favorite part about this book is the depth of the characters. Natalie Reeves is my favorite character, she has an incredible gift that makes her unique. Like any other gift, it also makes her a freak in the eyes of people who just don't understand.

Trevor MacDaniel is on the search and rescue team (it almost seems as if he IS the search and rescue team), he rushes into danger to save people. In the process, he not only dulls the pain from his past, but he attracts a very bizarre and sick victim.

Trevor starts receiving pictures that are incredibly disturbing. Children are in danger. And he has no way of saving them.

Natalie sees a side of Trevor that he doens't usually allow. He must face his past in order to let her in his heart. The part of their developing love story that stands out to me is Natalie's gift. I love how it adds a deeper dimension to their relationship.

I found this book deeply disturbing. The description of the delusional victim who stalks Trevor is well written - and quite believable. I found this book keeping me up at night, and not because I was reading it. Honestly, it creeped me out. For that reason, and that reason only, I give this book 4.5 stars instead of 5.

4.5 Stars.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook Publishing Company in exchange for my honest review 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Dangerous Mercy - 4 stars

 Dangerous Mercy by Kathy Herman

There is a bathtub killer on the loose.

And Adele Woodmore has a tendency to trust people too easily. As an elderly lady, she finds help in the most unlikely places. She employs men from the halfway house in town, hoping to make a difference in their lives. When one of them ends up dead, she begins wondering if there is more going on than she is willing to admit. Her most trusted helper, Murray, continues growing on her. She wants to get to know him better, but finds that he wants to hide his past. With the death toll growing, the town begins to lose their hope and faith.

I found this book to be a great story on faith in God. I personally, can't imagine being okay with people dying in my town and knowing that there is a serial killer on the loose. I wouldn't be able to sleep at night. Adele, is in the midst of all of this and yet her unwavering faith is a pillar of strength for others. I know God is there for me and will take care of me, but I am not sure I would have the same faith in that situation. Her faith ends up being what saves the person who needs grace so desperately.

This books reminds me of this news story I heard a few years ago, ABC News story

4 stars

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mercy Come Morning - 3 stars

Mercy Come Morning by Lisa Tawn Bergren 

Don't go another day without telling someone you love them.

This books starts out with the news that her mother is dying. Krista has long since stopped wondering about what might have been with her mother. Now, all those memories and questions come floating to the surface as she travels back to her roots to say goodbye. She reconnects with her old flame from high school, Dane, who is also in charge of the nursing facility that Krista's mother is at. Through the grieving process of watching her mother pass away, Krista must face memories; both positive and negative, in order to give her mother permission to go home.

I have never experienced life with someone who has Alzheimers, but this book gave me a glimpse of what it must be like. I was moved by emotional journey Krista must go through, in order to deal with her past. I have learned in my own life, you must deal with the past in order to truly live in the present. Krista learns this lesson, the more she is able to let go of the pain in her life, the more she is able to let herself be loved by Dane.

I was surprised at the length of this novel, there was so much in this book and yet it wasn't very long. I had wished that Lisa Tawn Bergren had developed a little more of the characters, specifically the realtionship between Krista and Dane. I also longed for more spiritual themes in this book and was a little disappointed by the lack of it.

Deeply moving, great setting, yet wished for more depth. 3 stars 

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook Publishing Company

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Breach of Trust - 4 stars

I was talking to my husband the other day about the books I usually choose to read. Here's how the short conversation went;

Me: I don't know why I always choose books about independent women who like to kick butt, but are in desperate need of a hero.

Long pause

My Husband: Well, maybe because that's you.


Isn't it interesting how often we choose books about characters that remind us of either ourselves, or who we want to be?

Breach of Trust by DiAnn Mills

Paige Roberts is an ex-CIA agent hiding out in small town America. She seems like a typical girl-next-door with her job at the library, beautiful home with a cozy front porch and her rural friendships; except for the fact that in her purse she is hiding a glock and before she leaves her home each day, she sets her own sensors just in case someone comes around when she's not there.

Everything goes according to her plan, until she starts falling for the town's football coach. Miles wants desperately to get to know Paige, but she desperately is trying not to be known. Isn't that so much like us? We want to be known so much, but the fear of rejection or failure often prevents us from getting into or keeping relationships that could be so meaningful. Paige has to learn to trust Miles and ultimately, trust that God knows the plans He has for her. It is a leap of faith, I must take daily.

Through a series of events, her life is in danger. Paige must risk everything she is to keep everything she wants.

This book was faced paced and it did keep me guessing. I was surprised to find out who the mole was at the end. I enjoyed the tension between Paige and Miles, but was disappointed that there wasn't more Christian influence in this book. I really enjoyed Miles and how He trusted in God through the disappointments he experienced with Paige, his job and his future. His solid faith was an encouragement to me through my own trials.

If you like suspenseful romance, you would definitely like this book. I give it 4 stars!

Friday, March 9, 2012

If God is Good - nonfiction

If God is Good by Randy Alcorn

It is so easy in our culture to get wrapped up in our Santa Claus view of God. We think God is there to serve us. We think that if suffering comes our way, then God has failed us. I admit that there were many times in my life I have felt this way, even now, it is an area that I am growing in.

Randy Alcorn has written a fantastic book explaining what the Bible says is true. God is not there for us, we are here for Him. Anything good from God is a gift. Evil exists in the world, people are evil. That is evidenced by just one segment of the evening news. God is so gracious in that He uses the evil in this world for His glory, He grows us and makes us more like Him.

If you struggle with the issue of suffering. If you have ever asked or been asked, "How can God be good, if there is so much suffering/evil?" and you didn't know how to respond, please get this book. It will open your eyes to what is true and what is just our culture speaking. There IS good and there IS evil in the world.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Rescuer - 5 stars

The Rescuer by Dee Henderson

Love is founded first on friendship.

I think that is why I enjoy this book so much. Stephen O'Malley is a burned out paramedic. He has seen too much of the evil side of life to want anything to do with the God his family believes in. After his sister dies, he runs away. Of course, he tells people he is just taking a trip, but he is really trying to run away from life's problems. And from the God who is pursuing Him.

Meghan is Stephen's friend and intercessor. She knows he is lost and does not give up praying for him. When he decides to settle down in her own town, she doesn't have to have sight to see that he cares for her. As much as she loves him, she loves her Lord more. So she faithfully continues praying for him. It takes disaster and threats to get Stephen to turn to God, and even then, trusting Him with everything is more of a challenge than Stephen originally thought.

I have known people, and God knows, I have been that person who thought I could run away from Him. Stephen foolishly (like I have) thinks he can flee from God's presence and the pain inside him, but it can never happen. Psalm 139:7-12 says:
7Where can I go from Your Spirit?
         Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
         If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
9If I take the wings of the dawn,
         If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10Even there Your hand will lead me,
         And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
11If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
         And the light around me will be night,”
12Even the darkness is not dark to You,
         And the night is as bright as the day.
         Darkness and light are alike to You.

This book reminded me that God is always with me, He will never leave nor forsake me. 5 stars! 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Piercing the Darkness - 5 stars

Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti

This book changed my faith and therefore, changed my life. Before reading this book, I wasn't much of a prayer warrior. I just didn't always see the effects of my prayers and didn't have the faith to continue. Then, I read this book.

Sally Beth Roe lives alone, and seems to like it that way. She tries to stay out of other people's business and hopes that others will give her the same courtesy. As the norm for people who just want to be alone, Sally Beth Roe is hiding something. It is something in her past that threatens to come up and haunt her again.

What grabbed me about this book, was how powerful the theme of prayer was. Of course, you have the story about Sally Beth Roe, but this book also has a secondary story about the powers and the angels fighting for her. The Bible talks about the fact that we are in a battle not with flesh and blood but with the powers of the air. Frank Peretti makes this battle more real.

A fiction book, that changed my prayer life...I give this one 5 stars!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Ever After - 4 stars

Ever After by Karen Kingsbury

Karen Kingsbury is one of my favorite authors. I love how she writes, I admire how she can take an average story and craft it with such delicacy and intelligence that we can't help but fall in love with the characters.

When I first read this book, years ago, I fell in love with Justin Baker. He was a man in uniform, he was chivolorous, he was kind and most importantly, he loved the Lord with all his heart.

Then I met my husband and realized that Justin Baker had nothing on my man.

Emily Anderson is in college, when she meets Justin Baker. He is Mr. Smooth (as referred to by a co-worker), and it doesn't take long for him to sweep Emily off her feet. Their relationship is an example of what realtionships should be. Their foundation is on the Lord, Justin loves Emily in a way that exudes Christ's love. Emily trusts and respects her boyfriend. They plan to get married, when they recieve the news, Justin is being called to Afganistan to fight. They knew this moment could come, but when it does, it shakes and rattles their faith and their relationship.

Emily's parents have found each other again, after so many years apart. Now that they are together in proximity, will their own differences continue to keep them at a distance?

When Emily's worst fears come true, she finds she must cling to her Savior and rely on His plan for her life.

This book made me sob like a baby. If you don't want to cry, do NOT read it. On the other hand, it also showed me what it meant to be loved by a man the way Christ loves us. It encouraged me, during a vulnerable time in my life, to continue holding out for the man that God wanted me to have.

4 stars - if you like to cry, then you would probably give this 5 stars.