Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Books I have read

Thought I'd blog about the books I read on vacation, so unless Christian fiction interests you, you may want to pass on by........ I have never reviewed this many books at one time, but then I have never been without internet while I read so many books either.

The Rose Conspiracy, by Craig Parshall. A last minute addition to my wish list for my birthday, and I am glad I did. Excellent book, I highly recommend it. A man is murdered, and pages from John Wilke's Booth's Diary that was in his possession are missing. The plot involves the Masons, the Gnostic Gospels, and a lot of intrigue and suspense. The same author has written some legal thrillers that are also great reading. I lost a couple of pictures while doing this, so that is why not every book is pictured. :-)

The Disposition, by Joe Hilley. A very disappointing book. The fifth, and I assume last, in a series, it was not a good conclusion to the series. The first three were really good, the fourth fair, and then comes number five. Most of the book is taken up with a priest giving a desposition as witness. The main character is hardly in the book. If you read this series, skip #5!

The Missionary, by William Carmichael & David Lambert. Got this one with a gift card I got for my birthday. The main character is a missionary in Venezuela. Due to being upset with the state of the poor, and the lack of help from the government, he unwittingly becomes part of something that has he and his family running for their lives. I really liked it. The plot was different, but it had a lot of action and suspense.

The Bone Box, by Bob Hostetler. The book sounded more exciting than it
panned out to be, but was an interesting read. It bounced back and forth between modern times and the time of Jesus' crucifixion. The bones of Caipahas - have no idea how to spell that - are found, and with them a letter that shows that Caipahas became a believer in Jesus. Interesting idea, one I never considered, but it is highly possible that one of the key people behind Jesus' crucifixion later came to believe - who knows. There was also some romance thrown in - woo hoo! :-) Was the book worth reading? Yes. Would I loan it to friends and encourage them to read it? Nah.

I was fortunate to get a free autographed copy of the next book,
The Night Watchman, by Mark Mynheir. Excellent book. The author is a homicide detective and has also been on SWAT and other things. He has done a series of 3 books, which were really good, but this one his is best. It had one disadvantage for me: It is an "I book" - I should have patented that word. I had it before Apple did the Ipod, Iphone, etc. :-) An "I book" is a book written in the first person, which I am not overly found of - I prefer third person. Regardless of that, the plot was excellent, the main character very likable, and a lot of suspense. It had me guessing who the bad guys were, and I was a bit surprised by the ending

Deceived, by James Scott Bell, is a book I set back for vacation a few months ago. He normally writes legal thriller/suspense novels, but this one had no lawyers involved, and was not his best work. If I had to nail down what I didn't like about the book, it would be that the plot was too far-fetched. Woman and her husband are hiking and find a dead motorcyclist that went over a ravine. In bags on his bike are diamonds. She wants to keep them. Her husband recently became a Christian, he doesn't. She slaps him, knocks him over the ravine. Then she goes on a killing spree to cover up the fact that she stole diamonds and killed her husband. Pretty bizarre and the way the book is written, just seemed too far-fetched for me. If I rated it one to five, I'd give it a 3 maybe - it was entertaining.

Certain Jeopary by Jeff Strueker & Alton Gansky. I loved this book. A lot of action - definitely a "guy book". Not extreme Christian content, but enough to label it Christian. I will paste CBD's description of the book instead of describing it:

Six American men live behind a protective facade, their real work hidden from neighbors and friends. Different in countless ways, they are intimately the same in one: at any moment their lives can be altered with a phone call, and their actions may change the world.They are Special Ops. And one team's mission is about to hit certain jeopardy status when the discovery of an Al Qaeda base in Venezuela becomes secondary to thwarting the transport of a nuclear weapons expert from that training camp to Iran.

Informed by the true combat experience of Captain Jeff Struecker and finessed by award-winning novelist Alton Gansky, Certain Jeopardy is an immersing and pulsating fictional account of what really happens at every level of a stealth engagement: the physical enemy encounter, the spiritual war fought within a soldier, and the emotional battles in families back at home.

Weird that I read two books set in Venezuela in the same week. Anyway, it is worth reading. Ladies, you might not enjoy it so much. And I have to add that it was free, thanks to my using Swag Bucks. :-)

White Soul, by Brandt Dodson. I bought this book on clearance months ago - possibly last summer, and never got around to reading it. The author has mostly written "I books" - so I had never tried him until my sister loaned me one. This one was not an "I book", and I really enjoyed it. The main character is a Christian who is an undercover agent who infiltrates a drug gang. He gets too involved in his job and almost loses his way. The book had a very surprising ending, and had a lot of violence in it, but I did enjoy it.

Robert Whitlow also usually writes legal thrillers/suspense, but has departed from that in his last few books. His books still involve lawyers and courtroom scenes, which I enjoy, but there isn't much suspense in the mystery/action/excitement department in this book,
Higher Hope, or the book it follows in a series. I almost think women might enjoy this series more than a man would. They are good books, just not what I am used to from this author.

That does it for vacation. I actually read nine and a half books while on vacation - didn't review the half one. :-) While I am on a roll, may as well review two other books I read before vacation that were birthday presents. I love books as gifts!

Fatal Illusions, by Adam Blumer, was a book I really enjoyed. I would give it five out of five for a rating. This is the first fiction book by this author, though he has written non-fiction Christian books. Added to that, the book is from Kregel publishing, not a big fiction publisher, but the book sounded really good, so I picked it out, and was not disappointed.

There are a couple of issues in the story. You have a very disturbed young man who has turned into a serial killer, and you have a pastor who is too involved in his ministry and not enough with his family, until circumstances force the family into seclusion where the family and killer will meet. The book had some surprising twists, and kept me guessing. If you like suspense, I recommend it highly. Don't want to say too much about it that would give anything away. Awesome book.

Wanda Dyson wrote a series of 3 books a few years back that were pretty good for a new author. She hasn't written anything since 2005, so when I saw she had a new book coming out, with a better fiction publisher than before, I was interested. So this was another book I picked out for my birthday,
Shepherd's Fall.

This is the first of three books in a series, all revolving around a family who owns a bounty hunters agency. I was interested to learn about bounty hunters - I really didn't know much about it, so I learned something. This book was packed with action and suspense, and also some very surprising twists and turns I did not see coming.

The series is called "The Prodigal Recovery Series". In addition to the suspense, this book, and I assume those that follow, deal with that. God recovering prodigals. Another book that I recommend to suspense lovers.

I have never reviewed this many books at one time, but I may as well go for one more. Thomas Nelson sent me two books due to an email I had sent them. They are the first two books in a series of six books, with three more still to be written. I loved them so much, that I got the third with some of my Swag Bucks - not a commercial, just stating a fact. :-)

These books are actually geared for teenagers, but hey, I'm young at heart! An adult can easily enjoy these books. The Dream House Kings series, by Robert Liparulo. There is not a lot of Christian content in the books, but they are exciting and end with cliff hangers.

The books were described somewhere as "horror", so I was a bit doubtful about them, but I wouldn't call them that - I like suspense, but not horror. There is time travel involved, and a lot of excitement and suspense. I myself cannot wait for the fourth book to come out in July - it will be one I use my Amazon credit on for sure!

Below, a description of book one:

"Dream house . . . or bad dream?

When the Kings move from L.A. to a secluded small town, fifteen-year-old Xander is beyond disappointed. He and his friends loved to create amateur films . . . but the tiny town of Pinedale is the last place a movie buff and future filmmaker wants to land.

But he, David, and Toria are captivated by the many rooms in the old Victorian fixer-upper they moved into--as well as the heavy woods surrounding the house.

They soon discover there’s something odd about the house. Sounds come from the wrong directions. Prints of giant, bare feet appear in the dust. And when David tries to hide in the linen closet, he winds up in locker 119 at his new school.

Then the really weird stuff kicks in: they find a hidden hallway with portals leading off to far-off places--in long-ago times. Xander is starting to wonder if this kind of travel is a teen’s dream come true . . . or his worst nightmare."

There you have it. I reviewed fourteen books in one blog post, if you count that last one as three. Hopefully someone will find it of interest, if not, it kept me entertained for a while.


AussieT said...

If you want to try something Australian, look at Dangerous Days: The Autobiography of a Photojournalist, a four-part novel just released in New York by Eloquent Books/AEG Publishing. Okay for teens and adults.

Adam Blumer said...

Thanks for the great review of Fatal Illusions. I'm so glad you liked it!

Joe said...

Thanks for reading The Deposition. Of all my books, that one receives the most interesting responses. People either like it or they don’t. Few readers have an indifferent opinion. When I began writing fiction I made a conscious effort to push the stories toward greater obscurity. Judging from the responses, I’d say this book achieves that goal.

The Deposition is told from multiple points of view that switch with each chapter but events continue to happen to the characters between the chapters. So, for instance, you read about Tatiana in one chapter, then don’t see her again until four chapters later. By then she’s moved on from where you saw her last and something has happened to her in between, perhaps something significant. You didn’t see it but you learn about it from the dialogue in that later chapter. All of the main characters in the book except Father Scott are treated that way.

Some of the characters, John Somerset for instance, have experiences that are important to the storyline but are never mentioned or explained in the book and only evident through nuance. Other characters enter the story without introduction or explanation, then just as abruptly disappear. The chapters with Father Scott are a string – perhaps a thread – that holds the story together, sometimes just barely. The chapters covering his deposition are plodding, tedious and slow because that’s the nature of a deposition.

The Deposition turned out to be very subtle and quirky but I hope it’s not the last of the series. I have ideas for two more stories I would like to tell through Mike Connolly.

Thanks for your interest in my work and for reading all five of the Mike Connolly mysteries. I’m working now on a nonfiction book about the Civil Rights era. Contact me through my website and I’ll have them put you on the list for a review copy.
Joe Hilley
Fairhope, Alabama