Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Hope For Each Day - A Review






Hope For Each Day 


by
Billy Graham

A Review

Hope for Each Day provides daily devotions by the most well-known evangelist of the 20th Century. Each entry consists of brief portion of scripture (normally a part of a single verse, a brief devotion, and “takeaway” providing a short item to do in response the day’s devotion.

Though written by a near-centenarian, the devotionals are current and applicable. The particular edition I received was “large” print – but in actuality, the print is only slightly larger than that found in normal paperback books. The cover is a “deluxe”, leather-like, material. I can find no statement as to whether it is truly leather or imitation leather; regardless, it has a nice feel and looks smart.

This book would fit well on a coffee table, a bedside table, or in a pastor’s study. It would make a great gift for a believer of any age – though someone 50+ years of age would have a greater appreciation for the author’s contribution to the church.
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This review is based on a free copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.




The Pajama Frame - A Review





The Pajama Frame




by
Diane Vallere
A Review

Diane Vallere has another winner with The Pajama Frame. The book opens with the death of an old friend. Along with the death of Alice Sweet, Madison Night, the owner of the Mod for You decorating studio gets a couple of nice gifts. First comes the unsurprising fact that  would inherit the contents of Alice’s house. What was a surprise was that the Madison would also be inheriting the locked and sealed pajama factory that had been a major source of income for the women of Dallas, TX, during WWII and in the years immediately following the war.
The first person story continues to move - keeping the reader involved and guessing. Madison Night, entrepreneur, amateur sleuth and the inheritor of the aforementioned gifts, working with newly promoted Captain Tex Allen (her boyfriend) will spend days finding bodies, tracking suspects, and messing with typical crime investigation procedures. The author brings together the elements to make a great cozy mystery - mystery, humor, and a touch of romance - and she does it successfully.
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This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Murder on the Rocks - A Review






Murder on the Rocks


by
Shawn Reilly Simmons

A Review

A cozy mystery that does not make the cut for this reviewer.  The underlying plot has potential, but the author fails to carry it out well. Though I regularly review books from this publisher, this is the first book from this series that has crossed my path; thus, I was not sure what to expect.

What I found was a story that focused on a caterer that, from my experience, was understaffed. Many of my college days were spent working on the catering crew for large trail rides in the mountains surrounding California's Central Valley. We were equipped to feed 40-60 men for a week. It required a staff of 12 or so (the owner, the chef, two cooks, and a support staff to feed and clean up after each meal). There is no way a crew of four could have completed the job. This made the story less believable from the very beginning.  

But, besides being unbelievable, the story seemed slow as it developed. Some chapters appeared to offer little to the ongoing plot, other than adding pages to the book. A broken family, a newly hired chef/cook, and a difficult and mobile setting provided a familiar backdrop - but the story just did not want to hold together. I wanted to finish the book so I could move onto the next book in my to be read list. The story was not so poorly composed I wanted to put it down (I have read some like that), but it was sometimes easier to leave the book on the bed stand and hit the hay rather than pick it up to finish the current chapter.

The bottom line:  I will want to read another book by this author. The series has potential, but this book missed the target for this reader. I give it 3½ stars.
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This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Wonder Woman: The Lies - A Review





Wonder Woman Vol. 1:
The Lies 


by
Jody Houser



A Review



A complete story based on a 21st century living Wonder Woman. She is lost - she cannot find her way home; she has lost track of Steve Trevor; and her sister seems to have partially lost her sense of self. This Wonder Woman seems more powerful with different powers (this new Wonder Woman can fly, she has no need of an invisible plane) than the Wonder Woman I grew up with.



The graphics are well-done, pulling the reader into the story. The plot is a bit over the top and not quite believable - yet leaving this reader wanting more. Whether the potential reader is a long-term fan of Wonder Woman or a new fan, this new series is sure to be satisfying.
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This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Death at Thorburn Hall - A Review






Death at Thorburn Hall




by
Julianna Deering


A Review



The year was 1935. The Open (we Americans incorrectly call it The British Open) was about to begin. But the bodies start to accumulate - The Farthering’s host (accident), the host’s lawyer (poison), and the host’s daughter’s fiance (gunshot) are each found dead. Though Drew Farthering and his friends have developed a reputation for helping the police solve crimes back home, the Scottish Inspector Boyd Ranald would have no part of Drew’s amateur sleuthing. Drew would have to work alone, rather than alongside, the local Police Department.


But the timing is all wrong - as the British public is becoming quickly aware of the awful consequences following the rise of Hitler’s power in Germany. And with nearby military encampments, Drew begins to suspect the murders are tied to a spy ring operating in the area.


The result is a compelling story weaving mid-20th century culture (I had never heard of potatoes dauphinoise), mysteries, and a touch of romance, together. I was disappointed that, though the set of side characters were present, they did not play as a significant role in this story as they have in the previous tales. This, however, was my only disappointment. I enjoyed the book and whether you are a golf fan or not (I am not), I expect others will as well.
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Sadly, both the publisher and the author chose to not provide a copy of this book for review.  I fully anticipated that I would have access, having reviewed the other books in the series. Having received negative replies from my requests, I gave up on this title and moved on to other books on my review list. However, fortuitously, Amazon offered a free $5 gift certificate just after the Christmas rush. I used this gift to purchase the book. However, I still feel a bit of sting for being refused a review copy.



Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Wonder Woman: Her Greatest Battles - A Review





Wonder Woman:
Her Greatest Battles




A Review


We find traditional Wonder Woman doing her best to defeat all kinds of villains - human, animal, and alien. It was fun to relive some of my childhood with a heroine that I followed (somewhat) nearly a half-century ago. The editors have chosen a variety of worth while classic Wonder Woman stories. Though we see none of the complete story arcs, we do get a good glimpse of Wonder Woman in action.

I have no way of knowing if these are truly Wonder Woman’s greatest stories - they are certainly her strangest stories. And for being that, it is well worth getting the five stars I am awarding it.
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This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.







Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Sherlock Effect - A Review






The Sherlock Effect




by
Raymond Kay Lyon


A Review


Christopher Sherlock Webster received his unexpected middle name because his father was obsessed with his well-known namesake, Sherlock Holmes. The new London based private investigation firm, The Baskerville Agency, got its start when Christopher was approached by his college pal, Morris Rennie. Morris proposed the agency, and because both Sherlock and Mo were at a point where they were ready to find a transition in their lives. Mo would finance the agency, Sherlock would provide the brains, and they would share the profits 50/50.

Besides reviewing the early history of The Baskerville Agency, the book is a collection of first-person reports of five early cases thrust upon the new agency. The cases are interesting to read, but are not as satisfying as those by Arthur Conan Doyle. I found the first one fairly simple to solve long before reaching the end of the story. The last was a bit uncomfortable (I did not finish it) as it dealt with the production of pornography. The other three were somewhere in between - though none measured up to the original canonical Sherlock Holmes collection of works. Having said all these things, the stories are worth reading and provided several evenings of entertainment.

This edition is the third printing from a new publisher of a book originally written in 1997. Though it has been 20 years since the original was published, I expect there is little chance that additional works in this series might be forthcoming - but one can hope.
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This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.