Monday, July 21, 2014

Critical Pursuit Book Review

Cover: Critical Pursuit

From the publisher's website, "Officer Brinna Caruso has built a reputation at the precinct as the cop to call when a child goes missing. For Brinna, it’s personal because she was once one of them. Brinna and her K-9 search and rescue dog, Hero, will stop at nothing to find a missing child, no matter the stakes.

Detective Jack O’Reilly isn’t ready to return to his homicide duties, after losing his wife to a drunk driver. He’s on the downside of his career, and bent on revenge, when he’s assigned as Brinna’s partner. While on patrol, Jack struggles between his quest for personal justice and his responsibility to those around him, especially his partner.

Skeptical of Jack’s motives, Brinna isn’t sure she can rely on her new partner, whose reckless abandon endangers the safety of those around him. But when a man surfaces with an MO similar to the criminal who abducted Brinna twenty years earlier, Brinna and Jack must cast aside previous judgments and combine efforts to catch the kidnapper, and finally allow Brinna the peace stolen from her as a child."

Brinna Caruso was abducted as a child and miraculously rescued. Now twenty years later, the anniversary of her rescue plunges this policewoman into a series of events that will forever change her outlook on life and God. She searches for missing children with the help of her trusty K9 partner, Hero.

I had some difficulty in reading this book due to the pedophile character. Nothing is graphic, but it just disturbed me greatly. I felt the character were all well written and complex. The story moved along at a good speed but I did see several events way before they occurred. Nonetheless I enjoyed the book overall and recommend it to anyone who likes crime stories.

Heart of the Country Book Review

Cover: Heart of the Country

From the publisher's website: "Faith and Luke Carraday have it all. Faith is a beautiful singer turned socialite while Luke is an up-and-coming businessman. After taking his inheritance from his father’s stable, lucrative business to invest in a successful hedge fund with the Michov Brothers, he’s on the fast track as a rising young executive, and Faith is settling comfortably into her role as his wife.

When rumors of the Michovs’ involvement in a Ponzi scheme reach Faith, she turns to Luke for confirmation, and he assures her that all is well. But when Luke is arrested, Faith can’t understand why he would lie to her, and she runs home to the farm and the family she turned her back on years ago. Meanwhile, Luke is forced to turn to his own family for help as he desperately tries to untangle himself from his mistakes. Can two prodigals return to families they abandoned, and will those families find the grace to forgive and forget? Will a marriage survive betrayal when there is nowhere to run but home?"

I wasn't too interested by this book at the beginning. However by the end, I was crying. It was a nice read with some well written characters. I did enjoy the way the author set the scenes with such details to help you truly imagine the places described. I liked the way each chapter was from a different character's point of view, but it also could be confusing at times.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Uncommon Marriage Book Review

Cover: Uncommon Marriage

From the publisher's website: "What does it take to build a marriage that will last? Tony and Lauren Dungy have together known the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. They fell in love, built a family, and made sports history when Tony became the first African American head coach to win the Super Bowl. Yet they’ve also gone through difficult, relationship-testing setbacks, including job loss and devastating personal tragedy. In a culture where it seems harder and harder to make marriage last, what has kept the Dungys strong through it all? In Uncommon Marriage, Tony and Lauren share the secrets that hold them together, revealing what they’ve learned so far about being a good husband or wife; getting through times of loss, grief, or change; staying connected despite busy schedules; supporting each other’s dreams and goals; and helping each other grow spiritually. They offer encouragement and practical advice to equip your marriage to survive tough issues and flourish with joy, purpose, and partnership—in other words, to be a marriage that is truly uncommon."

I'm unsure exactly how to review this book. When I first saw this book on the list for the summer reading program, I assumed it would give advice on a God-centered marriage with selected stories and such from their marriage. What is, in fact, is a memoir of their marriage. I liked their story but the way that they chose to "tell" it was very hard to read at times. It moved very slowly and was at times dull. That being said, they did have some good advice. But again, it was just their story told and then at the very end of this book there was a few pages stating tips on how to have an uncommon marriage with pages referencing examples from their marriage. I was disappointed. They do seem like a wonderful, committed couple, to each other and to the Lord.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Blind Descent Book Review

Cover: Blind Descent

From the publisher's website: "Former Navy rescue swimmer Brian Dickinson was roughly 1,000 feet from the summit of Mount Everest—also known as “the death zone”—when his Sherpa became ill and had to turn back, leaving Brian with a difficult decision: should he continue to push for the summit, or head back down the mountain? After carefully weighing the options, Brian decided to continue toward the summit—alone. Four hours later, Brian solo summited the highest peak in the world. But the celebration was short-lived. After taking a few pictures, Brian radioed his team to let them know he had summited safely, and got ready to begin his descent. Suddenly, his vision became blurry, his eyes started to burn, and within seconds, he was rendered almost completely blind. All alone at 29,035 feet, low on oxygen, and stricken with snow blindness, Brian was forced to inch his way back down the mountain relying only on his Navy survival training, his gut instinct, and his faith. In Blind Descent, Brian recounts—in fantastic detail—his extraordinary experience on Everest, demonstrating that no matter how dire our circumstances, there is no challenge too big for God."

When I first start reading this book, I wasn't sure if I would enjoy it or not. It was a well-written and compelling story. I especially liked the format he used in telling the story. A lot of authors, when penning their memoirs, will begin the story of the most compelling part or experience and then backtrack and tell their entire life story until that point. While those books are still enjoyable, I really enjoyed the way Mr. Dickinson weaved his background throughout the Mt. Everest climbing story. What an experience he had and what a testimony as well. One criticism that I have is that while he does explain a few of the terms and procedures of mountain climbing, he doesn't explain all. And for someone like me, who has little to no experiences with these terms and procedures, doesn't understand everything that he describes. With that said, it took nothing away from his incredible story and imagery of the climbing of Mt. Everest.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

It Had To Be You Book Review

Cover: It Had to Be You

From the publisher's website: "Eden Christiansen never imagined her role as her younger brother Owen’s cheerleader would keep her on the sidelines of her own life. Sure, it feels good to be needed, but looking after the reckless NHL rookie leaves little time for Eden to focus on her own career. She dreamed of making a name for herself as a reporter, but is stuck writing obits—and starting to fear she doesn’t have the chops to land a major story. If only someone would step up to mentor Owen . . . but she knows better than to expect help from team veteran and bad-boy enforcer Jace Jacobsen.

Jace has built his career on the infamous reputation of his aggressive behavior—on and off the ice. Now at a crossroads about his future in hockey, that reputation has him trapped. And the guilt-trip he’s getting from Eden Christiansen isn’t making things any easier. But when Owen’s carelessness leads to a career-threatening injury and Eden stumbles upon a story that could be her big break, she and Jace are thrown together . . . and begin to wonder if they belong on the same team after all."

This is a large book. I enjoyed reading it. There were a lot of wonderful, inspirational scripture references and situations with the characters. The characters were very real and complicated. I'm not a huge fan of "romance" novels, Christian or otherwise, but this book had a nice story and added elements of a mystery to solve too. I recommend reading it. It was nice.