About Me and My Blog and Amazon Store

My photo
Langley, BC, Canada
I love to read. I love books. I like to talk about books and recommend them. I read everything including cereal boxes and junk mail! I heard once that if you're not reading at least 3 books at a time you're not reading enough! This blog will keep track of the books I've read and whether or not I liked them. It will be a little bit of everything from Christian fiction to Science fiction and fantasy. Feel free to participate by suggesting books to review and giving your comments. Occasionally I am given free books by Publishers in exchange for a review. I am not told how to review them or compensated in any way for the review.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Theory of Opposites by Allison Winn Scotch

This was the last book in the package from Get Red PR.   This is not normally my type of book so I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. 
Willa Chandler’s father is a famous author with his book “Is it really your choice?  Why Your Entire Life May Be Out of Your Control.”  He doesn’t believe in free will but instead thinks that everything happens for a reason and it will happen no matter the choices you make.  Willa has had no trouble with this philosophy fully embracing everything that life has brought her way.  Then things start to happen; her husband wants to “take a break”; she loses her job and is suddenly faced with the startling realization that she could maybe have made different choices and had different results.  The story unfolds from there and we are involved in Willa’s quest to change her life.
This is a smart, funny book with quirky characters that I thoroughly enjoyed meeting.    The fact that I don’t necessarily agree with the philosophy behind the story or her ultimate choices had no bearing on my enjoyment of it.  Allison Winn Scotch is a new author for me and I think I will have to try some of her other books.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Death Never Sleeps by E.J. Simon

This was included in the box of books I got from Get Red PR.  I had high hopes for this book as I liked the premise of the novel but it fell a bit flat for me.

Alex Nicholas is a bookie and loan shark living in New York City.  He leads a life that crosses over the moral and legal limits continuously and that life eventually gets him killed.  His brother Michael is the exact opposite; pillar of society, happily married man and successful businessman.  After Alex’s untimely death, Michael is pulled into his brother’s life in an effort to clean up his messes and provide for Alex’s family.  The problem is that Alex is not as dead as Michael thinks he is!

This is a story about family, values and artificial intelligence.  It should be a fascinating read and in some parts it is.   There is good information about the development of AI (artificial intelligence) and how it could impact society over time.  But the story didn’t really flow for me.  Each scene seemed to be set in a different restaurant in New York or Paris; there is lots of eating and drinking in this book!  There is an over -abundance of swearing in my opinion.  I just don’t think it’s necessary to portray every bad character with a curse word.   At times it felt a bit one dimensional; like reading a script.   There needed to be some life put into the conversations and action.

This is Simon’s first novel so some of the flatness could just be inexperience.   I’m sure that this will be a series so I’ll read the next book and hope that the writing improves somewhat.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Crystal Blue by John H Cunningham

One of the perks of having a book review blog is that I occasionally get emails from publishers or agents asking me to review a book .   Recently an agent from Get Red PR out of New York asked me to review another John H. Cunningham novel.    If you’re interested you can read  my reviews of his first two books, Red Right Return and Green to Go.

Crystal Blue is his newest book (I’m not sure if he is doing primary colour titles or just colours in general but it seems to be a theme).  This is the third in his series of Buck Reilly Adventures.  Mis-adventures might be a better term as his is definitely a good luck/bad luck story.  Buck’s ability to make strategic friendships is a continuing theme and it’s entertaining to see who he will connect with next.

Buck is the owner of Last Resort Salvage and Charters.  His latest customer has frayed his last nerve and he resolves to give up the charter part of the business.  However on his return to base he’s coerced into a well- paying gig flying celebrities around the Caribbean for a charity concert.  This seems to be the good luck part of the story.  The bad luck part comes when the husband of the couple planning the party is kidnapped.  Buck commits to helping  the wife (yes her name is Crystal) find her husband.  The adventure story unfolds with the lines between the good guys and bad guys often getting blurred.

This is a fun adventure story with likable characters continuing from the previous two books.   It’s an easy , entertaining read and I highly recommend this colourful series.  

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Woman Who Died A Lot by Jasper FForde

Thursday Next is dealing with getting older and not healing so fast from her last near fatal accident in One of our Thursdays is Missing.   The opening of this novel finds her in a career crisis, dealing with memories that aren’t real and a threat to the city she lives in.  Her accident has prevented her from being able to do her detective work within the Book World so she’s faced with dealing with the real world problems.  Well, real in Jasper FForde’s sense of the word
While I missed the adventures that usually take place in the Book world, this is still a very book related story.  In fact Thursday’s new job is as chief librarian of the city’s library.  This story tackles politics and religion in a typical FForde tongue in cheek style along with some time travel anomalies. 

It all makes for a mind bending story.  There are some paragraphs that I had to read twice just to figure out what he was saying but that’s part of the charm of the book at least for me.  If you are a Jasper FForde fan you will enjoy these continued adventures of Thursday Next who does indeed die a lot in this story, or does she?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny also available as an audiobook

MacMillan Publishers asked me to let you know that How the Light Gets in by Louise Penny is also available as an audiobook from MacMillian audio.  If you click on the soundcloud clip you can hear a sample.
(Please note that despite the  'F" word in this sample there is not a lot of swearing in this book. )

Monday, September 2, 2013

How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny

Louise Penny is one my favourite authors and one of the things I like the most about her is that there is not a very long wait in between books.    Another thing that I like about her is that not only the characters continue in her novels about so does the story line.  How the Light Gets in is the culmination a story line that began 4 books back.  Penny says that when she began telling this story In the Brutal Telling she knew how it would end. Each book has revealed a bit of the plot and this book was definitely worth the wait

All the regular characters are back and we see the result that the ending of The Beautiful Mystery has had on Gamache.  While dealing with the decimation of his department he is desperately trying to find out who has been behind all that’s been happening.    As he becomes more isolated and unsure of who he can trust he must rely on his instincts and the help of his friends in the Village of Three Pines that he has come to know so well.

But like all of her novels, this isn’t the only storyline.  She weaves an interesting tale of quintuplets, murder and political espionage that keeps the pages turning and the ending shrouded in mystery. 

I’m not certain if this is the end of the Gamache series or not.  I am certain that she will continue to write great books.  Each of the villagers in Three Pines could merit their own novel so perhaps she will go that route; or else something totally different.  All I know is that whatever she writes I will read.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

I was given a copy of this book by Penguin Books to review.
In the year 2059 London and several other cities are under the regime of the Scion.  This regime has banned all clairvoyants thus creating an underground of criminal activity which is where Paige Mahoney lives and works.  She is a type of clairvoyant termed a dreamwalker.  This is the one of the highest levels of clairvoyants and makes her a highly desirable commodity.  One night she is captured by an enemy that turns everything she thought she knew about her world upside down.  As she learns more about her surroundings, her captors and herself she’s faced with tough decisions and a battle for her mind, body and soul.
 The Bone Season is a fantasy novel that’s being compared to Harry Potter or The Hunger Games.  I’m not sure I agree with these comparisons.    It doesn’t have the rich detail of Harry Potter or the tension of the Hunger Games.  It reminded me more of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher with its interplay between the spirit world and humans.   However, the story is good and there is plenty of action as Paige learns to hone her gift and interacts with her captors. 
This is Samantha Shannon’s first novel and she is only 21 which I think accounts for the lack of depth in her characters and descriptions.  I suspect that she will only get better as there is a plan for 6 more books in this series.   I enjoyed the book and the story was entertaining and for a first novel I think it’s a good introduction and shows good potential for the rest of the series.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Dangerous Fiction by Barbara Rogan

(I received a copy of this from Penguin Books on to review)
35 year old Joanna Donavon owns a successful literary agency and has a sixth sense about which books will sell.  She’s mourning the death of her husband of 10 years and trying to get on with the rest of her life when she is accosted by a wann- be writer in Central Park.  Her Agency has rejected his manuscript so he has opted for a more direct approach.     The encounter begins a series of frightening and potentially harmful incidents, at least to her agency, until a murder occurs and that changes the game.
I always enjoy books with a literary bent to them and since Barbara Rogan is an editor,  agency owner and writer the settings ring true to life.   There is behind-the-scenes quality to the book that is fun and informative.  The thriller aspect of the novel had me jumping at noises in my house while I was reading it which shows I was really engrossed in the story.   I had almost figured out the suspect by the end of the book but that didn’t lessen the ending’s satisfaction for me.  This is a good, solid mystery with great characters and I hope there is a sequel in the works.

Barbara Rogan has been around for a while as a writer but she is new to me so I will definitely be reading some of her other books.   

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Pawn by Steven James

The Pawn introduces us to Patrick Bowers; an FBI agent specializing in geographic profiling of violent crimes    He’s back at work after his wife of 5 months has passed away from cancer and left him with a teenage stepdaughter and a lot of emotional baggage to work through.
The case he is involved with is a serial killer who is crazy smart and always seems to be one step ahead of them.  Patrick’s job is to make sense of the patterns before he kills again but the bodies are piling up and the killer seems to be targeting him and his family as well.
This is a well written thriller that actually had me scared sometimes.   The themes are good vs. evil, choices and family ties.  There is an understated Christian message that has the main character questioning God, the problem of pain and suffering and the problem of good vs. evil. 
I’m always happy to discover a new author and especially happy that this is the start of a series.  I’ve already downloaded the Rook, the second in the series and look forward to reading it.  But first I have to do some housework as I almost didn’t put this book down until I was done.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Believing the Lie by Elizabeth George

This is the 17th book in George’s long running series starring Inspector Thomas Lynley, a British Lord turned Detective and one of Scotland Yard’s finest.  
This book begins with a lie, is saturated with lies and at the end, no one is really set free by the truth.   Lynley is sent to investigate an accident and to prove that it’s not a murder.  The problem is that he can’t tell anyone that he is investigating so he needs to concoct other ways to interview suspects and inspect the scene of the crime.  As his investigation continues all sorts of lies and secretes are revealed while he is struggling with his own problems after the death of his wife a couple of books ago.
I’ve read most of the books in this series and was starting to get a bit tired of the characters and the story telling.  But my faith has been restored in this latest book. Unlike most series, this is a book that you could read and not have any need for the back ground.    There’s enough of a sense to give you an idea of what has gone on before but this is a story where the characters are trying to move on from their past and learn from their mistakes.
The best part for me is that this is a long book but I didn’t lose interest in the story.   I’m looking forward to seeing how she continues the tale in subsequent books.

Friday, July 12, 2013

419 by Will Ferguson

419 is the nickname for the Nigerian-run internet scam that preys on people’s natural desire to help someone in need.  Just after reading this book I received an email much like the ones portrayed in this book.   Fortunately I knew enough to just delete it and not respond!
Laura Curtis’ father dies in a car crash that at first seems like an accident and is later ruled a suicide.  During the investigation it is revealed that he has been a victim of an internet scam and has lost all his life savings.    In her grief, Laura decides that the perpetrators of the scam must pay for what they did to her father.    And thus starts a quest for revenge that will have her questioning her beliefs, her lifestyle and her relationships.
Juxtaposed on this plot line is another plot that follows the Nigerian scam artist and his family along with a mysterious woman whose journey across the desert is interspersed between these two story lines.   At times this is a complicated book to follow but the stories do eventually intersect and resolve.
I enjoyed this book although I found some of the descriptions a bit long and boring.  There is a lot of African history which didn’t always add to the flow of the book in my opinion but was interesting none the less.  You won’t find much of the humour that Ferguson is so well known for in this story but the tale is well-told and will convince you to double check your email security.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Question of Identity by Susan Hill

Susan Hill’s Simon Serrailler novels are all set in the town of Lafferton in England.   Throughout the series we have been introduced to Simon and his family.   It’s been interesting to watch the characters develop and grow and A Question of Identity continues to flesh out the Serrailler family in a fascinating study on family dynamics while entertaining us with his most complicated murder investigation to date.
Identity is a big theme in this novel.      Obviously it’s a question of identity because Simon needs to identify a killer who seems to be invisible.  But it’s also a question of identity for Simon’s sister who is trying to make a life for herself after the death of her husband.  It’s a question of identity for the woman who loves Simon yet is bound to her ill and dying husband.  It’s a question of identity for Simon’s 14 year old nephew who seems to be morphing into the opposite of who he has been.    Surprisingly in a way the only person not questioning his identity in this novel seems to be Simon himself.     He has a handle on his job, his love and his life. 
This is not really a whodunit as the reader knows early on who Simon is looking for.  In between chapters is a chilling look into the mind of the killer which helps to move the plot along.   It is a good police procedural with lots of twists and turns. 
I enjoyed this novel and look forward to more of the Serrailler family drama in future stories.  You can read other reviews of her books here and here.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Confession by John Grisham

John Grisham is well known for his legal thrillers.  Tackling corrupt juries, judges and lawyers is the fodder of most of his novels.  He has also attacked issues like prejudice, vigilantism and in this latest book he takes on the death penalty.
Wrapping up a counselling session, Reverend Keith Schroeder reads a quick email from his wife who is covering the office that day; the email says “there’s a convicted felon out here who says he must see you.”  Not realizing what he’s getting into the pastor allows Travis Boyette into his office and hears his confession. 
Meanwhile, Donte  Drumm is sitting on death row about to be executed for a crime he supposedly committed 9 years earlier.  He has always maintained his innocence.  His lawyers believe him and have been frantically filing last minute appeals to get a stay of execution.  But Texas is a state that loves its death penalty and so far every appeal has been denied.  Throw in a couple or three corrupt police and government officials and you have the recipe for a cover up.
  Once Keith Schroeder realizes that he has the real murderer in his office; the quest to stop the execution begins and no one’ s life is ever the same.
The story is told in the 3rd person  and this gives us the ability to see into the thoughts and minds of all the main characters.  Often I prefer a 1st person story but in this case it really helps to be able to see all sides of the story.    The story is not centered on the court room drama as so many of his books are.  Instead the action is in the lawyer’s office and the debate as both sides of the death penalty are discussed.   This could have been a preachy novel but Grisham manages to avoid that and it is a harrowing but entertaining look at a very divisive issue.
Wherever you land on the death penalty debate I highly recommend this book but don’t expect to get anything else done while you’re reading it; it is hard to put down.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

His Majesty's Hope by Susan Elia MacNeal

His Majesty’s Hope by Susan Elia MacNeal covers a few genres namely historical/mystery/spy.  I don’t read a lot of historical fiction but I do like mysteries and the fact that this was a female spy story set in WW 2 Berlin made this an intriguing story for me. 
The story doesn’t disappoint.  Maggie Hope is a newly trained spy for the British Intelligence and is set to go on her first foreign mission into Berlin.  There are specific reasons that she’s been chosen for this mission although she isn’t privy to this knowledge for most of the novel.   The historical background in this novel is impressive and the characters are well-written.  The story has lots of intrigue and suspense and I found this book hard to put down.
When I requested a copy from to review I had no idea it was the 3rd book in a series.  However, you don’t necessarily need to know the back story to enjoy this book.  There’s enough information to be able to connect the dots and if you happen to start with this book it will just make you want to read the first two.
If you like spy stories that feature strong female characters then you will like this book.  I would recommend it even if you haven’t read the first 2 but if you want to read them in order it starts with Mr. Churchill’s Secretary and then Princess Elizabeth’s Spy.  She is at work on the 4th installment and I look forward to reading them all.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Ground Truth by Rob Sangster

I’ve discovered that I am considered a “professional reader” because I review books on my blog.   Because of that I’ve been able to join    Netgalley is a place where professional readers can request titles to review direct from publishers.   There is a good selection of titles available.  As far as I can tell only digital formats are available so if you don’t have an e-reader you’re out of luck.  Otherwise they seem to support all the popular brands of e-readers.
So Ground Truth was the first title I requested.    I requested it because it was a mystery/thriller and because it is Sangster’s first novel. 
The main character is Jack Strider, a corporate lawyer with aspirations to the Supreme Court.  His world is turned upside down when his father commits suicide and ugly truths are revealed about what he was involved in.   Jack is immediately tainted by this even though he and his father were not close or working together.   As a result he is thrust into a new company with a new mandate which almost immediately starts getting him into trouble.
This novel is a fast-paced thriller that was only slowed down for me by some of the awkward formatting on my Kindle.    I felt some of the scene changes were a bit sloppy and I sometimes had to read a few pages back to figure out how the transition had happened.   This could just be an editing issue rather than a flaw in the writing. 
The plot centers on hazardous waste and water issues in Mexico.  It turns out that Sangster has the background to write this type of novel since he was a lawyer, has done a lot of travelling and is involved in bringing clean water to Mexico.
The story is interesting and the characters are well-developed.  It seems a bit preachy at times but clearly the author is passionate about his subject so that the novel not only entertains but informs.
I would highly recommend this book and look forward to more from this author.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Review of the Human Division by John Scalzi and a Rant

First the Review:

This is typical Scalzi;  brilliantly written, very funny and imaginative. 
On to the Rant:
There’s a relatively new phenomena in publishing, only it isn’t really that new, just an old form updated.  I’m talking about serial writing.  In the early days of publishing, stories were serialized in magazines and readers would have to wait for their next monthly installment to find out what happened.  Well this form has reared its ugly head again in the form of episodic chapters written for e-readers and audio books.   I experienced this recently with the novel by John Scalzi called the Human Division. 

As you will know from my other reviews of Scalzi’s works I’m a big fan.  His view of alien/human interaction is funny and I enjoy reading his books.  So I was pleased to see the Human Division in my Kindle Store.  It was written in episodes and I immediately downloaded several and began enjoying the story.  It wasn’t until I got to the end of the available episodes that I realized that this was still a work in progress and so I’ve had to download the final several episodes weekly to find out the end of the story.  At $1.15 per episode this seems reasonable until you discover that there will be 14 in all.   This irks me as I have steadfastly refused to pay the rising costs on Kindle and would never have started the novel if I had realized what was happening.

I don’t understand the appeal of this form of writing from a readers point of view (I fully understand it from an author/publisher point of view).  These episode are short and the cliff hanger aspect of waiting for the next one gets old really fast.  Moreover it’s easy to lose track of the characters especially in this case as each episode tends to feature different people and that loses some of the continuity for me.  I suppose if you’re a slow reader or an especially big fan of short stories you might enjoy this type of reading.  I’m not and I don’t.  Maybe it boils down to what my mother calls “chicken today feathers tomorrow” philosophy.  I’ve always been the type of person who wants the whole chicken today and I’ll deal later  with only having feathers tomorrow.  If you’re the type of person who likes to prolong their pleasure then maybe this type of reading is for you.

I have no idea how many people read this blog so I could be ranting into thin air.  I know there a couple publishers that stop by occasionally  and I hope they take note of this. ( Incidentally, the book I previously reviewed Wool was also first published as a serial.  I’m glad I didn’t get it until there was a fully published novel!)




Sunday, March 31, 2013

Wool by Hugh Howey

It’s not often these days that I find a book so good that I read it in a couple of days but Wool was definitely that book.  Simon and Schuster sent me a copy to review.
In a post-apocalyptic world, a remnant of humans remain living underground in a silo that is 144 levels deep. It is a society based on strict rules and regulations and generations have already come and gone when we meet the current inhabitants of the silo.  The society is segregated by function; the farmers and mechanical people are in the lower third, the people who run the information technology sector are in the middle third and the professionals are in the top third.  The top third is the only place that there is a view to the outside.  The silo is self-sufficient and efficient in the way it’s run.  But the secrets are becoming known and the fabric of the society is starting to unravel.  The heroine of the story is a 34 year old woman named Juliette who is from the mechanical sector.  A series of events lead to her moving up to the top level and becoming entangled in the mysteries of the silo.
The writing is tight and atmospheric.  Sometimes I almost felt the claustrophobia of people who had to live underground all their lives.  There is lots of action and the characters themselves are likeable, well-written and I found myself caring about what happened to them.   This book is a page-turner and like Juliette the reader becomes entangled in the mysteries of the silo.   
I was happy with the ending and I hope there is a sequel in the works.    I recommend this book to everyone, even if this isn’t your typical genre to read.    The story is just that good.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St Patrick's Day

St.  Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and although I’m not catholic I am part Irish so top of the mornin’ to you and may St Patrick’s prayer be your prayer today.

The Prayer of St. Patrick

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me;
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's hosts to save me
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a multiude.

Christ shield me today
Against wounding
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise todayThrough the mighty strength
Of the Lord of creation.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Billy Graham and Me by Steve Posner and Amy Newmark

Simon and Schuster sent me a copy of Billy Graham and Me to review.   This is an anthology of stories from the Chicken Soup for the Soul people.

This is a collection of short stories from the famous people who have known Billy Graham throughout his lifetime; presidents, ministry leaders, leaders of other countries, actors, actresses and musicians have written their memories and praises of this iconic figure in modern Christianity.  Interspersed among these stories are memories from the people who know him best, his family and co-workers.    Also included are leaders from other faiths who have interacted with Billy Graham and appreciate him for his ability to be with those who don’t believe the same as he does and to interact without judgement or condemnation. 
This is an amazing and inspirational read.  It’s like a living eulogy for a 94 year old man who has lived his life and served God with integrity and humility.   To a person, they laud his gentle spirit, his caring for others and his unwavering faith in the message that he preached.    Although offered other positions of power and influence throughout his life; he remained committed to preaching the gospel.
This is also a fun book to read.  Besides the touching memories are funny stories and behind the scenes glimpses that bring Billy Graham and his ministry to life.
The best part of the book for me is the Afterword from Billy Graham.  He can’t write any more because of eye disease but he humbly thanks the people who have written and then, in typical Billy Graham style says “to God be the glory”.
I highly recommend this book.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Crossroads by Wm. Paul Young

This is Young’s second book after his controversial and popular book   The Shack.  For the first few chapters I thought it was too much like the Shack to bother with reading.  And then somehow the story took hold in my mind and I had a hard time putting the book down.
Anthony Spencer is a self-made millionaire, twice divorced and twice married to the same woman.  He’s vindictive, selfish and lousy at relationships.    And he’s in a coma.   While in the coma he “wakes up” in another time and place.   The first person he meets is Jack and they have a conversation about God and belief and unbelief.  This is where the story mirrors the Shack.   But as the story moves along Tony encounters the Holy Spirit portrayed as a First Nations woman.  As Tony begins to examine his choices throughout his life he comes face to face with the kind of person he was.   Finally he is told he is going on another journey.  I’m not going to describe this part.  Suffice it to stay that I’ve watched enough Star Trek not to be wierded out by entities inhabiting human beings.   I enjoy a good science fiction story.  It’s a little harder to follow in a spiritual sense but as the story continues I was able to ignore the way Tony was getting around and enjoyed the characters he was meeting.  Each person helps him with the decision he needs to make and along the way he, well you should really read the book if you want to know how it ends.
Young has found his writing style and it is improving in my opinion.  The characters are endearing; the conversation crisp and humorous and there are spiritual nuggets to glean and enjoy.  I doubt this will be as controversial as the first book was.    I wasn’t expecting to but in the end I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it if you can read it with an open mind and heart.


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Morning Cup of Murder by Vanessa Gray Bartal

I desperately needed a break from reading Anna Karenina so I downloaded    Morning Cup of Murder by Vanessa Gray Bartal to my Kindle.
This is what would be termed a cozy mystery.  The main character is Lacy Steele, a 25 year old writer who is back home living with her grandma after a failed relationship.  Life isn’t perfect but she loves her Grandma and is working out what to do next in her life when there is a murder in town and her Grandmother is inexplicably arrested for the murder.  
A lot of the story is a formula; geeky high schooler returns to home town a beauty and runs into the popular jock who is now the good cop in town and at first they don’t get along etc.  but the characters are believable; the mystery itself is a good one and the ending is a surprise.   Along with the good cop there is a new single pastor in town.  He adds and interesting faith element to the story.  I would not immediately label this Christian fiction but grace and mercy are definitely themes in the story.
I enjoyed this.  It was easy to read and only cost .98 cents for my Kindle.  It’s the first of a series so I’ve also downloaded the second one.  If you’re looking for an easy and entertaining read I would recommend this book.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

I often pick the books I’m going to read based solely on the title.    I like quirky names; I picked Jasper Fforde’s books to read because of the two F’s in his last name.  So when I saw this book that not only had a quirky name but was about a bookstore I was sold.
Web designer Clay Jannon has lost his job and is on the hunt for a new one.  Being tired of sitting at a computer all day he decides to take a walk and discovers a sign in bookstore advertising for help.  But this is no ordinary bookstore as he finds out on his first evening shift.

This is a remarkable story based on the oldest theme in the world, the quest for immortality.  The story combines modern day technology with old world literature and charming characters. The mixture of old and new in the story is part of what makes this book so remarkable.  I don’t want to give away any spoilers so I can only say that technology helps to break an ancient code that is hiding in plain sight.  Old vs.  young is also a theme as the young Clay Jannon is mentored by the elderly Mr. Penumbra. And finally the book is about friendship; old and new and what friends will do for each other.
This is Robin Sloane’s first book, I sincerely hope that he’s working on another.


I’m reading a novel about the quest for immortality.  This seems to be the theme of many books both fiction and nonfiction.  As humans we have a natural desire to live forever.   But I don’t think we really start thinking about this until we hit 50 or 60 years old.  All of a sudden time speeds up and years go by in the blink of an eye and we start to wonder about eternity. 
There are many ways to prolong our lives from living a healthy life style to cryonics (the act of freezing the body after death hoping for resuscitation later on).  There are also ways to ensure we leave a legacy after our death; having families, producing a great piece of art or literature, becoming a philanthropist etc. 
The Bible says in Ecclesiastes says that God has put eternity in our hearts.  Our quest for immortality is really a God shaped vacuum longing to be filled put there by the Creator Himself.   The search for immortality is ultimately a search for God.    The good news is that God wants to be found and that He has provided a way for us to live eternally. 
  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday Morning Musings

I’ve decided to do some other posts besides just book reviews.  These will be labeled as Sunday morning musings and if you are here strictly for the book reviews feel free to ignore them; but if my musings generate thoughts and discussion all the better.
In my yearly quest to read through the Bible (sadly I almost never make it through to the end of the year) I was reading in Genesis this week where Isaac and Rebekah can’t have children (Gen 25:21).  This struck me in a new way as I remembered that Isaac is the son God gave to Abraham to fulfil the promise that he would be a great nation.  Secondly, Rebekah is the wife God chose for Isaac.  (Gen. 24)  Seems to me God should have remembered that she needed to be able to have children!!  Instead, Isaac must pray to the Lord on behalf of his wife and God answers his prayer with twins.  God could have skipped this step and just given them the twins but  I think that the prayer of a faithful man was “needed” to show that this was something only God could accomplish.
The Christian journey is one that is begun in faith and travelled by faith.   Hebrews 11:1-2 says that “faith is the being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  This is what the ancients were commended for.”    We can be sure of God’s love and care for us even through the times when it is only our faith that keeps us believing. 

Enjoy your Sunday.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Still Life by Louise Penny

Still Life is Louise Penny’s debut novel, published in 2005.  Since then she’s written 7 more  novels each of them featuring Armand Gamache a Quebec detective with a literary bent and an eclectic collection of quotes and sayings sprinkled through his conversations.
Still Life introduces us to the village of Three Pines in Quebec.  This quiet village has been plunged into a murder investigation with the murder of one of its elderly citizens.   The investigation opens old wounds, exposes hidden character flaws and forever changes life in Three Pines.
Penny’s characters are richly drawn and even in this first book there is a suggestion that there is much depth in the main characters who will continue to be featured throughout her books.
I read this book when it first came out and was hooked.  Since then I’ve read all her books and am eagerly waiting for the 9th one to be published later this year.     Still Life is being made into a movie and so I re-read the book again this Christmas.  It was fun to go back to the beginning and see how much her characters have grown through the next 7 books.    I highly recommend this series if you’re looking for an entertaining, intelligent mystery that will leave you wanting more.