Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Kill Me Twice by Jerry Bayne link for Kill Me Twice

Kill Me Twice is an absolutely superb political thriller. Start to finish this book was exciting and suspenseful. I don’t like to give too much information about the plot, especially when the book is as intense as this one, so my plot description is simple. When three government officials cause lead character Bradley Cardiff’s life to fall apart, his only goal is revenge.

The characters, their relationships, and friendships are well-developed and interesting. Cardiff’s character is one of a focused, highly qualified CIA agent who uses his skills to seek vengeance, but he was also a man who loved his family. One of the police characters, Mike Sams, also stands out as an interesting and likeable character. The crooked political figures, unfortunately, are probably not too far off from real life with their dirty deals and corruption.

Kill Me Twice is an outstanding, fast-paced tale of political intrigue. Some language and violence in the book, but dare I say well deserved? I was engrossed through the entire book and found the ending very satisfying. I confess that when I read a book I like, I always find a character that I would like to see continue into the author’s next book. It’s just me. Mike Sams was the character in this book, and I would like to see his story continue from the last page of this book to another.

I can’t wait to order a copy of the author’s previous book, The Gatherer.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Linda's Tuesday Notes

Watch for my upcoming reviews.

I am almost finished with Kill Me Twice by Jerry Bayne, a VERY EXCITING new thriller.

Also I am near finished with The First Thirty Seconds by Stephen M. Armstrong, a book that is almost like a secular devotional for a better attitude. (I know, an odd description!)

I have started Over The Gap, probably one of the most important books written for today’s employment climate. More on all of these when I write the reviews.

Next is:

Until Now by Denise Skelton

Vigil by Cecilia Samartin

I am so excited that Zondervan Publishing has sent me three fiction books:

Swope’s Ridge by Ace Collins

Midnight in Madrid by Noel Hynd

Exposure by Brandilyn Collins

Sometimes life is good!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Distant Thunder by Jimmy Root Jr

Amazon Link for Distant Thunder

Book Description:
The prophet Ezekiel was never taken seriously when he predicted the destruction of Israel s enemies; unfortunately for them, he was right. The truth of Ezekiel s words will be felt by the entire modern-day world, and it seems chaos will reign supreme. In the midst of the ensuing mayhem, Pastor Ty Dempsey arises as the man who is able to connect modern-day occurrences to the teaching of old. Meanwhile, Israeli pilot Moshe Eldan starts to see the truth of the prophecies in his daily dealing with terrorists. Dempsey and Eldan soon realize that they are part of a bigger plan; however, they are not alone. This thriller provides an answer to an age-old question: What would happen if the entire world turned on Israel? This thriller provides the answer in a fast-paced read, filled with all the action and adventure that usually accompanies the end of the world.

My Review:
It is always interesting to read books that compare prophecy of the Bible with current events. I liked the layout of the book with the change of locations, and I especially like the characters of Moshe and Tasha. I would have had liked more development of the complex conversion from Judaism to Christianity by these characters. The relationship between the husband and wife was touching.

Unfortunately, there were several things that were distracting to me. I knew right away that the book was written by a pastor because of the storyline of the challenging church member and the poor attacked pastor who can do no wrong. It is one that shows up in many fiction books written by pastors. Also distracting are a few scenes of emotionalism that are exhibited in the Charismatic movement.

Aside from these things, Distant Thunder is still well-written story and a good start to a series of prophecy thrillers. With the changes in our world today and the constant threat of terrorism, we can not ignore the comparisons.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Morning Sunshine Book Giveaway & Review

Congratulations to the Winners of the Book Giveaway: All have been claimed! thank you
The winners have been emailed and have 48 hours to respond with their addresses.
Winners were chosen by

Amazon Link for Morning Sunshine
My Review :

On HLN’s news show Morning Express with Robin Meade, the anchor absolutely shines with confidence as she brings the news each morning. You would never guess that she was at one time frozen with fear and questioning her ability to do her job. With an inside look at some of the insanity in the news business, Robin tells her story of overcoming her doubts and fears.

Morning Sunshine is not a stuffy self-help book written by a psychologist delving into your brain. Instead it is a “Hey, sit down here friend and let’s talk about this” pep-talk book. She shares her experiences at work, some embarrassing moments, her upbringing, and many touching and personal stories. Especially helpful for me were her ideas on handling criticism. Each chapter has a Confidence Booster, The Takeaway (sort of the final thought of the chapter), and Robin’s Ramblings.

The book is a well written, warm, and interesting look at how we react to others, the pressures we put upon ourselves, and how it hinders us personally and professionally. I enjoyed the book and it makes me appreciate her television show and professionalism even more.

Last Chance = giveaway ends tonight at midnight. Winners will be drawn tomorrow and notified by email. Thank you to Hachette Book Group for allowing me to have this give away.

About the Author:
Millions of viewers each week tune into HLN morning show star Robin Meade and her show, Morning Express with Robin Meade, which airs weekdays from 6 am to 10 am. Her extraordinary, fun personality has attracted an enthusiastic following, including Stephen King, who devoted an entire Entertainment Weekly column to her.


Morning Sunshine:
Robin Meade is the poster child for confidence and self-assurance. But the anchor of Morning Express with Robin Meade wasn't always that way. In fact, there was a period in her career when she was plagued with anxiety and panic attacks. In MORNING SUNSHINE, she tells how she overcame her fear of public speaking to go on and achieve her dream of becoming a news anchor. Robin Meade offers her own tried-and-true four-step approach to building confidence. Her trademark warm, personal style translates from the screen to the page in this book, which will give readers even more insight into the young woman who came out of nowhere to become one of the most popular news anchors on television today.

5 copies of Robin Meade’s Morning Sunshine will be given away. Here are the “rules” :

1. USA or Canada only and no P.O. Boxes

2. Contest will run from Sept 7 – 23

3. 1 entry for adding a comment

4. 1 entry for following me (Separate comment - if you are already a follower, just say so)

5. Make sure there is an e-mail address in each entry.

6 . If you enter the first week, you may enter one more time with a comment the second week if you would like.

Hey, is that easy or what! Five winners will be drawn randomly on Sept 24. I will email the winners and you will have 48 hours to e-mail me back with your name and address. The books will be shipped by the publisher.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Rasner Effect by Mark Rosendorf

Amazon Link for The Rasner Effect

Book Description:
Rick Rasner escaped death in a New York City bridge explosion - but he couldn't escape becoming an unwitting participant in a top secret military experiment. When the Duke Organization, a group of ruthless killers, set off a violent explosion, they wiped out Rick Rasner's life as he knew it. Many years later, as he still struggled to remember any shred of his former existence, he put a new life together - as a therapist in the Brookhill Children's Psychiatric Residence, a facility for troubled urban teens.

My Review:
The Rasner Effect is one of the most unusual thrillers I’ve read. It is also difficult to review without giving away any of the surprising plot twists. The mysterious past of Rick Rasner and his current work at the psychiatric home creates an interesting story, and just when you are very comfortable with the plotlines, everything changes. I mean, really, everything changes. At first, I was not happy with the changes in the book. I was actually disappointed in the twists, but by the end of the book I was pleased to have read such an unusual thriller and I swear, I think the author winked at the reader by the end.

The characters are well-developed and vary in personality and nature. Be sure to read the About Author Mark Rosendorf at the end of the book. It made me laugh and put the book in perfect perspective. The Rasner Effect is a great story that captured my attention and didn’t let go. I am looking forward to reading more from Mark Rosendorf .

Monday, September 14, 2009

Just Listen by Mark Goulston, M.D.

Amazon link for Just Listen

Are you a good listener? Do you really listen? Even if your answer is yes, you may be surprised when you read this book.

In Just Listen, Dr. Mark Goulston uses case studies from his extensive experience as a clinical psychiatrist, business advisor, and FBI/police hostage negotiation trainer. The author gives specific examples of problem solving conversations for managing not only co-workers and employees, but also family members, including teenagers.

In the workplace, the author gives details on how listening, questioning, and leading conversations help to motivate and encourage teamwork. There are specific remedies for those problem people in employment situations. I was impressed with the way the author suggested compassionate solutions when investigating the reasons for problem behavior. My favorite story was of a businessman who sought advice on his work situation. It changed his life, not because he used that advice at work, but because he used it in his home.

Each section ends with a “Usable Insight” and an “Action Step” with specific ideas for the reader to put the words into action. Just Listen has broad appeal as an instruction book not only for business, but also for personal relationships. Learn about yourself and how you relate with those around you. Transform yourself and those around you.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dreamer by Philip L. Davidson

Amazon link for Dreamer

Book Description:
As war between Britain and Argentina looms over the barren Falkland Islands, a group of men, former Green Berets who left the service in disgrace and now live their lives in the 'darkness', are brought together by God to save one of his servants who is being held hostage in a prison at the end of the earth. For one man in the group, the mission is personal, for it is David's wife, Sunny, who is the hostage they are trying to save. Taking the form of one of their dead comrades, God gives them the chance to stand in the light of men once more. But their path is compromised by God's loyal servant, Satan, who places death and betrayal before them. Dreamer takes place in Washington, D.C., Georgia, Mexico, Central America and Argentina. As they fight their way to Los Estados prison, the men encounter the CIA, Contras, the Narco-Terrorists M-19, and Captain Alvarez, who is the head of the Argentine Secret Police. Dreamer is a tale of redemption, love, courage, belief in God and betrayal!

My Review:

Dreamer is the story of good and evil, heaven and hell, God and Satan, all wrapped up in a military adventure/thriller. Haunted by their past, a group of former Green Berets are gathered together for reasons they do not understand. Troubled by their stint in Vietnam, the group rallies to fulfill an oath they took to a now dead member.

Dreamer is an outstanding story that completely held my interest throughout. The story line was action-packed and suspenseful with many unexpected twists. I was impressed with the individual development of all of the characters. Often with a large number of people to keep track of I get a little lost, but with Dreamer every character was unmistakable. Waiting to find out if redemption would come about and determining who specifically Keaton was kept me enthralled.

Listed as religious fiction, this is certainly not your ordinary religious book. Containing some rough language and harsh situations gives Dreamer that gritty realistic essence. I enjoyed the book very much and think that would create much discussion in both religious (not just Christian) and secular book clubs.

This one earns my Fave award :

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Breaking Barriers by Jason Frenn

Amazon Link for Breaking Barriers

Book Description:
In a world filled with dysfunction, futility, and confusion, people are looking for meaning and significance. They want to break through the barriers holding them back.
BREAKING THE BARRIERS offers three foundational pillars to equip readers for overcoming the most difficult obstacles in their lives. These three pillars teach readers how to:-Take on the character of God the Father-Take on the wisdom of the Son-Take on the discipline of the Spirit.
Through dynamic stories of people who have overcome seemingly insurmountable odds, and the powerful example of the author who has overcome great adversity in his own life, this book shows readers that God is on their side and desires for them to fulfill the dreams and purposes he has placed in their hearts.

My Review:
In three sections on “The Heart of the Father, The Wisdom of the Son, and The Discipline of the Spirit, the author explains how you can be the type of person God expects you to be. In story-telling style, the author describes Godly character and how to develop it in the reader’s life. I especially enjoyed the chapter on True Wisdom and how important it is for us to learn Godly wisdom.

There are several things that I think set this book apart from others. The author did not come from a perfect family, so he has experiences that can be helpful for others, especially young people. It is written in a comfortable, relaxed style. The author opens up and shares stories of his life, decisions he had to make, and situations that required wisdom in behavior. Imagine being approached by a rough looking character in the middle of the night asking for money and a ride. Then think about helping him and learning an important spiritual lesson from the stranger. Another story of unattended baggage at the airport demonstrates behavior choices.

Although anyone can learn from this book, I would highy recommend it for teens and young adults.

Fatal Encryption by Debra Purdy Kong link for Fatal Encryption

Book Description
Dressed as Kermit the Frog on Halloween night, an unemployed Alex Bellamy wonders where his life went wrong. It could be worse. A few miles away, Zachary Ternoway is stabbed at his front door. In need of cash, Alex agrees to help catch a computer prankster at McKinleys' Department Store. But things turn serious when someone vows to permanently encrypt the store's data and torch the building unless ten million dollars is handed over in two weeks. Alex knows there's a connection between the murder and the extortion threat, yet time's running out. People are questioning his competency, and a killer's threatening his life.

My Review:
In Fatal Encryption, the author brings together the old and the new. The book is a well thought out mystery that combines computer geeks and old fashioned detective work. The book is dialog heavy in the style of the mysteries in which the “Inspector” questions suspects and listens in on conversations. In Fatal Encryption it is not an inspector, but Alex, a computer specialist. When he gets caught up in a family business, he just can’t help getting involved when someone connected to the business turns up dead.

There are quite a few characters to keep track of with the large family, their spouses, lovers, employees and friends, but then that makes for more suspects in the murder. The characters are likeable especially Alex and his friend Tristan, the single dad trying to take care of his baby. The twists and turns will keep the reader guessing until the end. Fatal Encryption is the second Alex Bellamy mystery.

The Lost Dog by Michelle de Kretser

Amazon link for The Lost Dog

Although this writing style is enjoyed by some, I find it extremely annoying. The story was lost in the flowery language and non-stop metaphors. It was not a pleasant read for me. Because I don’t like the style doesn’t mean that this is a bad book, it was just too distracting for me to enjoy. The characters are not anyone I would ever want to meet, except for the poor dog.

I would encourage you to go to Amazon and utilize their "Look Inside" and read a little of the book and decide for yourself.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Bride Backfire by Kelly Eileen Hake link for The Bride Backfire

Book Description:
Two feuding families, the Specks and the Grogans, have been maintaining a tenuous peace in the Nebraskan Territory of 1857. So when Adam Grogan gets caught trespassing on their land, he knows the murderous Speck men won't listen to reason and let him walk away. Adam's prepared to meet his maker, but things take a turn when Opal Speck declares he's the father of her unborn child. Will Adam accept the slur to his name and marry the girl in order to save his life? Or will Opal's desperate lie ignite the flames of hatred to an all-out war?

My Review:
Kelly Eileen Hake has written a beautiful historical romance in The Bride Backfire. The feuding families bring a unique twist to this romantic relationship. The characters of Opal and Adam, both wanting peace, are caught in the middle of the violent hatred between their families. The tension builds to an explosive level when Opal steps in to save Adam’s life, but the lies she tells have consequences, and in the process she loses Adam’s trust and respect. Opal not only has to overcome the challenges of her relationship with Adam, but also living with a family that hates her simply because she is from the wrong family.
I enjoyed this very well-written story. The characters of the two families and Opal’s friends are diverse in personality and moral fiber. The book clearly demonstrates Biblical consequences of hate, lies, and jealousy, but also what is possible with love and forgiveness. The Bride Backfire is a lovely, romantic tale, and I hope the characters of Opal and Adam are included in another book in the future

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


With thanks to One Eyed Stuffed Bunny for this really CUTE award. Here is the meaning:

"The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken-- excellence, grace, and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all."

Scared to death of the zombie chickens, so I choose the following newer blogs for the award.

Mindful Musings

My Tea Time is Book Time

Parajunkee's View

The Sweet Bookshelf

The Optimistic Pessimist

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

When the Church Was a Family by Joseph H Hellerman

Amazon Link for When the Church Was a Family

When the Church Was a Family
Recapturing Jesus’ Vision for Authentic Christian Community
By Joseph H Hellerman

Product Description
Spiritual formation occurs primarily in the context of community. But as the modern cultural norm of what social scientists call “radical American individualism” extends itself, many Christians grow lax in their relational accountability to the church. Faith threatens to become an “I” not “us,” a “my God” not “our God” concern.

When the Church Was a Family calls believers back to the wisdom of the first century, examining the early Christian church from a sociohistorical perspective and applying the findings to the evangelical church in America today. With confidence, author Joseph Hellerman writes intentionally to traditional church leaders and emerging church visionaries alike, believing what is detailed here about Jesus’ original vision for authentic Christian community will deeply satisfy the relational longings of both audiences.

My Review
When the Church Was a Family depicts the author’s vision of what a church family should be based on life in the first century church. The author documents through Bible stories and scripture verses the hierarchy of family relationships and loyalty. Through this family relationship, the church family is adopted in.

The book is interesting, thoughtful, and well written. The author believes that the Bible shows that Christians should be accountable to the church family not only for his/her behavior, but also for vocation, spouse, and residence. The author believes that a Christian’s loyalty is to the church family over the spouse and children, based on the blood-based orientation to kinship. This Mediterranean-style family would require the male to be loyal to his brothers over his spouse and children (the church family being the adopted brothers and sisters).

Pastors, church leaders, and those wanting to learn more about the first-century church will enjoy this book.

My opinion is that this system in today’s society would be fraught with abuse and people who crave control. Jim Jones and David Koresh had congregations based on this system.
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