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Friday, September 27, 2013

Experiencing Father's Embrace By Jack Frost

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Karen Lewis

The heart warming Christian book called Experiencing Father’s Embrace by Jack Frost is a moving and inspiring testimony of one remarkable family man who was a former sea captain and enjoyed fishing.

He was also an author, Bible teacher and an ordained pastor of evangelism who touched the hearts and minds of people throughout the world. Jack and his wife Trisha were also founders of Shiloh Place Ministries, but sadly he passed away after an uphill struggle with cancer on March 5, 2007, aged 54.

I loved reading this book and found it not only encouraging but easy to understand. It tackled a deep subject but was presented in a well written, simplistic and to the point way; in an area not everyone at first may fully experience in their own life but through having read the book may understand better, and most will likely see that certain issues are raised within their own lives as individual readers. It speaks to the heart!

The testimony helps to bring light to areas from your life that may be holding you back from experiencing the love of our Heavenly Father.

Jack is open and honest about his insecurities and the struggles he has experienced. He shares lessons learned and how important making God the center of your life is. He also talks about the importance of having balance between ministry and family life.

Image source: Destiny Image

I find his story unique and interesting as Jack came from a background of addictions like drugs, alcohol, pornography and reveals how the amazing power of God’s unconditional love and grace set him free. The book speaks about issues connected with fathers and also touches upon mother issues. The desires he once had were exchanged for the desire to help heal a broken world.

I am sure the lessons learned gained Jack profound wisdom and insight, and as this is shared with others it will continue to speak to many hearts, myself included.

I would very much recommend this book to everyone. I would give it a 5 out of 5 rating.

Karen Lewis was born in Scotland and is currently living in Leeds, England with her husband Chris, who is originally from Reedley. They are both serving in Christian ministry. Karen is also involved with a charity called 'New Hope' that helps people find freedom from addictions. She enjoys writing and blogs at Beyond The Horizon. Her story, "The Dead Body," is being published in the book Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just us Girls which is due to be released on November 5, 2013.

Friday, September 20, 2013

High Treason By John Gilstrap

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Sandra Murphy

Check out details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of this review.

Jonathan Grave is in the business of kidnap recovery also known as covert rescue–pay the ransom and get the victim home again, safe and sound. This time he’s not in the middle of a Mexican jungle, but the urban jungle of Washington D.C. and searching for no less than the First Lady of the United States, code name FOTUS. As First Ladies go, she’s pretty rebellious and likes to take unplanned trips to seedy night clubs, much to the dismay of her Secret Service detail. On one such outing, there are shots fired, explosions and when the dust settles, she’s nowhere to be found.

The pace picks up even more when a reporter gets involved via his buddy, a D.C. cop. Things are not going so well there either and for once, the reporter can’t charm his way out of a situation.

The thing is–when crimes go this high into the government, is the government itself involved or is somebody really stupid enough to take on the President through his wife? The alphabet agencies are too secretive and too intertwined to help. Information is power and leaks, authorized or not, too readily available. The motto has to be “trust no one” which becomes a problem for Jonathan, as he acquires more and more help along the way.

Jonathan has to use every bit of his experience, ingenuity and skill to get himself, the target and his crew out of this mess, because there’s a lot more going on than a missing person, even if she is FOTUS. The American way of life is in jeopardy as well.

Image source: Pinacle Books

Gilstrap once again weaves a tale that doubles back on itself with twist and turns you won’t see coming. The addition of Striker as a last minute hire for the team is a good one. This is no cozy– bodies abound, gunfire and explosions are rampant, while the snappy banter and absolute trust between partners is steadfast.

The side characters are as interesting as Jonathan himself–Boxer, always ready to make things go boom, Venice who’s a whiz on the computer, Striker who comes out of retirement to lend a hand and Irene the government contact with the code name, Wolverine.

Reader Warning: Be prepared for a sleepless night and dark circles under your eyes. Come up with a convincing story of why you’re missing work. Have snacks on hand. It’s 500 pages of fast paced action, camaraderie and intrigue. You won’t be able to put it down once you get started!

At the back of the book, there are two bonuses. One is a short story titled, Discipline. It’s an exclusive that provides a lot of insight into Jonathan’s character and a good read on its own. There’s also an excerpt of Soft Targets, an e-book exclusive coming from Pinnacle in October, 2013.

Previous books featuring Jonathan Grave include: No Mercy, Hostage Zero, Threat Warning, and Damage Control (reviewed by KRL).

To enter to win a copy of High Treason, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Treason”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September 28, 2013. U.S. residents only.

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the arch, in the land of blues, booze and shoes—St Louis, Missouri. While writing magazine articles to support her mystery book habit, she secretly polishes two mystery books of her own, hoping, someday, they will see the light of Barnes and Noble. You can also find several of Sandra's short stories on UnTreed Reads including Bananas Foster.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Dog In The Manger By Mike Resnick

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Cynthia Chow

Check out details on how to enter to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.

Being an honorable cop and attempting to bust powerful politicians may have made Eli Patton a hero, but it also resulted in his being pushed out of the Chicago police department, blacklisted from the Cincinnati force, and finally landing in Cleveland as a private investigator. It is there that he finds himself the last resort for Hubert Lanz, a dog handler for the missing Baroness von Tannelwald, recent Best in Show at the Westminster. The Baroness also just happens to be the Weimaraner owned by Maurice Nettles, who claims that the Baroness never arrived on her flight from Cleveland to Casa Grande, Arizona. Declaring that the Baroness is worth twenty-five thousand dollars, Lanz demands that Eli find the Baroness and the dog assistant entrusted to deliver her to the airport, Alice Kent.

When Alice and her car are pulled out of the Little Miami River, Eli assumes that he has a retainer to return, but with the dog still missing Lanz demands that Eli stay on the case. As Eli follows the path of the missing Weimaraner from Ohio to Arizona and even to Mexico, Eli discovers a trail of bodies of everyone who seems to have last had contact with the pricey pooch. Luckily for Eli, he has the help of an attractive show dog owner and his own considerable perseverance and dedication to getting the job done. Eli will need all the aid he can get as he can't believe that murder, kidnappings, and Mexican thugs are all because of a funny-looking skinny dog.

In the first of a series, Eli is revealed to be a refreshingly rational, practical, and very wry detective who is skilled at his job but never foolhardy or overestimating his bulletproofness or ability to take a beating. Eli follows a dark path that seems to involve far more lethal motives than the insanely competitive and expensive show dog world should incur, but even he will be shocked at the insidious plot he has tumbled into.

Image source: Seventh Street Books

According to an introduction by the extraordinarily prolific and award-winning science fiction and fantasy author, Dog in the Manger was originally published in 1995 as a standalone mystery due to Resnick's daunting prior science fiction commitments. When Prometheus and its Seventh Street Books imprint picked up this reissue and its proposed sequel The Trojan Colt, Resnick was able to continue the series and give it the attention it and Eli Patton deserves. Eli has the humor, humility, and disdain of the rich prevalent amongst old-school detectives, but without their arrogance or seeming invulnerability to getting punched.

As an added bonus, also included is an Eli Patton short story "Even Butterflies Can Sting," in which Eli is hired by an arrogant, obnoxious, demanding, but well-paying client to bodyguard her and her million-dollar earrings at a Cincinnati Opera Society dinner. That the night ends in murder, a twist, and an unreturnable tux is a pleasure for readers even if it’s another example of poor Eli being bested by a four-legged companion.

To enter to win a copy of The Dog In The Manger, simply email KRL at life@kingsriverlife[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Dog”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September 21, 2013. U.S. residents only.

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Bride Wore Black: A Cinnamon Greene Adventure Mystery By Bonnie J. Cardone

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Cynthia Chow

Check out details on how to enter to win an e-book copy of this book at the end of the review.

The Bride Wore Black follows the disastrous but hilarious events that occurred in the author’s short story caper “The Last of the Recycled Cycads,” featured in the Sisters in Crime collection Last Exit to Murder.

After witnessing her celebrity photographer husband canoodling with a supermodel on The Tonight Show, Cinnamon Greene finally decides to end her eight-year marriage with the philandering Ted Quiero, packing her few belongings to leave Hollywood and return to her hometown of Cliffview, California. Working for her father at Greene’s One Stop Camera and Photo Shop at the local mall is not the best remedy for her faltering self-esteem, but it does get her out of her best friend’s house and the well of depression Cinnamon has fallen into. Having followed a path in life that seemed laid out, rather than planned, Cinnamon feels as though she has to start her life over and her first assignment, photographing the wedding of the mayor’s unlikable daughter, doesn’t bode well, considering that Cat Callahan left her previous fiancĂ©e at the altar.

The only person who is liked less than Cat is her impending groom, Chip Forester, who himself jilted the town hair stylist in favor of the runaway bride. However, it is Cat who drops dead after being fed a piece of her wedding cake laced with peanuts, which induces a fatal allergic reaction in the bride. Police suspicion falls on Cat’s aunt and cousin, owners of The Bakery that created the tiered wedding cake, and Cousin Georgia’s sudden disappearance is definitely not a good indicator of her innocence.

Image source: Sea Scenes

In the small coastal California town of eight-thousand people, everyone knows everyone, gossip flies and it seems that all of the residents had some relationship with or reason to kill Cat. Even Cinnamon’s father’s new and very young girlfriend had her previous relationship destroyed by the predatory Cat. Faced with the challenge of forging a new life in a town that remembers her previous one, Cinnamon is given a boost when she meets Danny Decker, a diving instructor who accompanies her, her father and his new girlfriend on their Wednesday Warriors dives. That Danny’s own marriage was torn apart by his brief affair with Cat is a stumbling block, but hopefully not a fatal one. As Cinnamon begins to question the events at the wedding she places herself and her father at risk, as their studio and even their homes become targets for a relentless killer.

A devoted scuba diver and a former writer and photographer for Skin Diver Magazine, author Bonnie J. Cardone incorporates alluring but never overwhelming details of diving and photography that add fascinating details to the story and make it entirely unique. The attacks upon Cinnamon seem a little extreme, but the emotions behind the violence are entirely too real and human. At this point in her life Cinnamon has regained some of her confidence and it is refreshing to see her take a mature approach to her ex-husband, neither vengeful nor gullible to his charms. Her relationships with her father and Danny are also realistically played out in a manner which makes them all very likable and sympathetic. The charm of this quickly moving story lies with its characters who are never too over-the-top, and scenery that is beautiful and serene.

To enter to win an e-book copy of The Bride Wore Black, simply email KRL at life@kingsriverlife[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Bride”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September 14, 2013. U.S. residents only.

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).