Thursday, December 5, 2013

Deadline by Sandra Brown

Dawson Scott is a reporter that just returned from Afghanistan. He has come home with some emotional issues and despises his boss. This has caused him problems with his job. He gets a call from a family friend and FBI agent. He is informed about the murder trial of former marine Jeremy Wesson. This is a way for Dawson to get out of town and away from his boss, so he heads down to Savannah to observe the trial. Once down there, he sees Jeremy’s ex-wife, Amelia, and knows that his life is changed forever. He feels an emotional attachment to Amelia but this attachment may cost them both their lives and put them in danger.

I enjoyed this book. It kept me entertained throughout the story. I found each of the characters fascinating and I wanted to know more about them. The characters alone made me want to continue to read the book. The story line was fascinating and kept my interest as well. I was glad that there was action and suspense without the story dragging on or seeming too unrealistic. Sandra Brown does a fantastic job at writing intimate tension and also leaving some things to the imagination and not making the reader too uncomfortable.

Overall, I would recommend this book to my fellow mystery readers. It has a little romance, great characters, and an interesting story line. I feel that this is a book that I can re-read and enjoy again. I’m glad that Sandra Brown is continuing to write good books and I look forward to reading her next one.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Hollow Bones by CJ Lyons

Caitlyn Tierney finds herself on a missing person case. A young woman, who is the daughter of an influential person, has gone missing from a cruise. They young girl has been lured away and into the jungles of Guatemala with the idea of working on an archeological dig at Mayan ruins. Caitlyn’s friend and fellow FBI agent, Jake Carver, joins her in Guatemala in the search for this young woman. They encounter unsavory characters and lots of action in the search for this missing woman.

This is the first CJ Lyons book I have read. I feel that I would have understood the characters more if I had read previous books by this author. That left me a little frustrated at time but I was able to work through it. I felt that the author developed a great character in Jack but I felt like I was missing something that a previous book may have explained to me. So I’m not sure this is a good series to start in the middle and that I need to go back and read previous books to get more out of this one.

I struggled with some of the transitions in the book and the story line got a little too complicated at times but overall it had a good plot. The story opened up with an intense action scene and there were many more throughout the book. The descriptions were accurate and realistic, even down to acknowledging that the character would be sweaty and smelly after time in the jungle. I really enjoyed the resolution chapters at the end of the book. The author provides a little humor at times and really opens the reader’s eyes to things like tissue donations. It was a moving story and I’m sure it will introduce many people to the dangers of traveling alone in foreign countries and the possible dangers of these tissue donation farms.

Bones of the Lost by Kathy Reichs

Temperance Brennan has found herself assessing the body of a young Jane Doe that was killed in a hit and run accident. It immediately grabs Brennan’s attention and she is determined to find out who the young girl is and who killed her. The case puts Brennan in some uncomfortable areas and forces her to have conversations with people to which she would not normally have contact. In the midst of the investigation, she does a favor for her ex-husband and it takes her to Afghanistan to exhume some bodies. At least she gets a chance to see her daughter who is station in the same area. Once Brennan gets home, she gets back to work on her Jane Doe case. Along the way, she finds out interesting information about people she thought she knew and links to past cases.

It has been awhile since I have read a Temperance Brennan book but I could still follow the story. It helps that you do not have to read all the books and you do not need to read them in order. I love the Temperance Brennan character. She is relatable. I love her interaction with other characters in the book. It is refreshing to see that her relationship with her ex-husband is not hostile and there is not anger associated with it. I was glad that there was not any tension between them since there was enough tension with the plot line. Brennan also has a fun and snarky side to her that makes me smile while I am reading the book. I like the determination that Brennan showed to finding justice for a young Jane Doe. It made me like Brennan even more.

I like Kathy Reichs writing style. Although I was slightly lost with some of the descriptions when Brennan is traveling to Afghanistan, it did not detract from the enjoyment of the book. Reichs does a wonderful job describing medical terms in a way that is understandable to those who have no idea what those things mean. Reichs also includes great synonyms like how she describes an eye roll as an “orbital roll beyond my control.” The descriptions in the book are not too wordy but understandable. You get a sense of the scene without being bored with too much detail. I also liked how all the stories resolved at the end of the book. I am definitely interested in reading the next book by Kathy Reichs.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

You Never Know When Someone/Something Is Going To Change Your Life

Today (Saturday, August 10, 2013) I had the opportunity to listen to one of my favorite authors, Amanda Kyle-Williams, talk about writing and how she got started. I have read many things about Amanda and I have talked with her through social media, but hearing her speak this afternoon gave me a new insight into her life…and my own.

Amanda started out thanking libraries, library staff, and friends of the library for what they give to the community. She explained that the first book she read was in a library at the age of twenty-three.  She told us that she had not read before then because she had to work through dyslexia. When she approached the librarian, she asked where she should start. The librarian recommended “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen.  Wow! Now that is quite a book with which to have a new reader start. I’m glad it didn’t make her give up! Instead it inspired her to read more and to begin writing.

Amanda told us about sitting alone in a corner of the library and working on reading. She said that people called her slow and stupid and she didn’t want anyone to see her reading slowly. She explained that the best way she can read is to follow along the words with her fingers. She didn’t want anyone to see her struggling and have to face the embarrassment of feeling stupid or slow. What shocked me is that people call others slow who follow the words with their fingers. I’m always surprised by how mean and insensitive people can be to others…although I shouldn’t be since I have faced some of that kind of judgment myself. Over the years, Amanda has continued to go to the library. It has become a safe place for her. We all need that place where we can go that we know will always be safe. I’m glad the library can be that place for Amanda.

Amanda continued to talk about her character development, her setting, and how she came up with the ideas for her books. She gave wonderful advice to new writers. She talked about how she didn’t start working as a full-time writer until 2010 (later in life). When she was talking about how she came up with her first book (published by Random House), she talked about seeing her niece and how a creepy tow truck driver influenced her characters and the story line. She said, “you never know what the universe will hand you.” She told us to let our world around us influence our writing. Tonight I’m following that advice in this blog entry.

As I listened to Amanda’s story tonight, I was inspired to keep pursing my goals. I’ve heard people tell me to never give up and that age doesn’t matter but I think Amanda’s story of perseverance is what changed all that advice for me. As I endeavor to continue to read/review books and to start my chain maille jewelry business, I have to remember that my lupus does not have to hold me back. I still need to work on my self-confidence and my self-motivation, but I can achieve my goals.

I knew Amanda was an incredibly talented writer but I had no idea that she writes through some frustrating challenges. It is an inspiration for me. If a writer can write despite having a learning disability concerning words and reading, I can work through lupus. I can...and I will…continue to reach my goals. I will persevere. I know Amanda was not talking directly to me this afternoon but it hit home like she was talking directly to me.  I’m sure she didn’t write that speech with the intention of changing a life but she changed mine. It will be something that stays with me forever…don’t let your disability hold you back and “never, ever give up on your dreams,” as Amanda said at the end of her speech.

So, embrace what life throws you and continue to persevere. You never know who/what will come into your life and change it.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

You'll Get Through This by Max Lucado

This book was life changing for me. The opening phrase that is repeated three times throughout the first chapter is now on my bathroom mirror so I see it every morning and I’m reminded that I will get through each day.

Max Lucado has written a fantastic book that takes you through the journey of Joseph and the challenges he faced throughout his life. Lucado reminds us that Joseph’s story in Genesis is just a matter of chapters but it was years and years to Joseph. Lucado has changed Joseph’s story for me and I will never read that story the same way again. I feel a kinship with Joseph now and I can use his story to help me through all the hard times in life.

Lucado’s book doesn’t give you a step by step process in how to overcome life’s trials but he does give you examples of how Joseph and others have conquered their challenges with God’s help. The chapters are broken up into areas that tend to plague us all when we are down and struggling. Lucado reminds us that we must seek God in all of these areas but that we are also still human and we will have to continue to work at it. As long as we are aware, we can work on being better.

Lucado has reminded us that God will use evil for good. We have to believe that although bad things happen to us, God is still there and He will take these bad things and make something positive from it. He will always win against satan. We can rest on that promise and we can and will get through this hard time!

At the end of the book there is a section of reflection questions. I thought the book was probing but these reflection questions are amazing. I found it was great to go back and start at the beginning when I got to the questions. It made me go through the whole book again and get even more out of it.

My life has been changed from this book. I am planning on purchasing multiple copies to give to friends and family. I look forward to sharing it and seeing how it changes the lives of those around me.

Please note:  This book was received as an advanced reader copy through NetGalley and the publisher Thomas Nelson.