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I'm a mommy, wife, chauffeur, zookeeper, reader and book reviewer

Thursday, February 24, 2011

So glad it's done

Flight of Shadows: A Novel (A Caitlyn Brown Novel, #2)Flight of Shadows: A Novel by Sigmund Brouwer

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Flight of Shadows by Sigmund Brouwer

I like to read a variety of books—mystery, suspense, children’s, fantasy, paranormal, sci-fi, young adult, mainstream and Christian. I chose this book because the description said Christian, young adult, speculative fiction. This is the only Sigmund Brouwer book I have read, but I did not like his style of writing in this novel. He takes whole paragraphs for description and background instead of interweaving and sprinkling it in naturally. Perhaps the sentence structure and group titles (Outsiders, Influentials, Enforcers, etc.) work for this age group, but it didn’t work for me. While the action picked up about half-way through the book, really the only reason I made myself finish reading was hoping the story would get better and give a proper and thorough review.

Maybe if I had read Broken Angel (the prequel to Flight of Shadows) the story would have been easier to follow. As it was, I had a hard time keeping track of all the characters, their actions, and storylines. Caitlyn is the main character and the result of an experiment with genetic DNA codes. She tries to blend in and hide her deformity, trying to decide if it is a blessing or a curse. Jordan and Charmaine are the scientists who originally worked on the Genesis project, the one that performed the DNA experiments. Jordan tried to rescue Caitlyn from being a science experiment, but the two ended up separated and left Caitlyn on her own. Theo and Billy rescued Caitlyn from drowning in one of her attempts to escape a bounty hunter named Mason. Theo and Billy seem to be the only ones who accept Caitlyn unconditionally.

Now on the Outside, Caitlyn is running from Everett—someone who lives in a hotel where she cleaned rooms, from Mason the bounty hunter, Pierce Carson from the NI agency, the military, and Charmaine who wants to continue the DNA research and experiments now that she knows Caitlyn survived. Then there is Razor who seems to help Caitlyn, but you’re never really sure whose side he is on.

I read the story from beginning to end, but was never drawn in. There seemed to be three to four different viewpoints going on, but I don’t think the characters had enough of a distinct voice to be able to follow the transitions smoothly. When the same scene is written from different viewpoints, Brouwer spent too much time retelling descriptions and dialogue. There were some suggestive scenes that I did not expect and did not appreciate finding in what was supposed to be a Christian young adult book. In fact, the author describes everything Mason the bounty hunter did in such a disturbing and gruesome manner that I would not recommend this book to young adults and I would caution adults and Christians both. I do not plan on reading anything else by Sigmund Brouwer.

Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher to give an honest review.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Great Christian suspense/myster

Deeper Water (Tides of Truth, #1)Deeper Water by Robert Whitlow

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Deeper Water by Robert Whitlow is book one of the Tides of Truth series. This is the first Whitlow book I've read and I came across it as a free kindle download via the Vessel Project.

Tammy Lynn Taylor is from a devout Christian family with some rather strict beliefs: females wear dresses and skirts below the knee, no makeup except on rare and special occasions, children must consult their parents for decisions, and the Sabbath is strictly reserved for resting. She was homeschooled until high school when she was allowed to attend the public high school and play sports while wearing very modest sports uniforms. As a second or third year law student, she is preparing for an internship of sorts.

Moses Jones lives in a shack on the Ogeechee River. When he goes fishing, he sees faces in the water. He wonders why they haunt him so and when they will pull him under with them.

Normally I don’t care for a female main character, but Robert Whitlow has done an excellent job of not only creating memorable characters but also mystery and suspense. I became so emotionally wrapped up in the story that I wanted to sit down and talk to some of the characters and I cried through the last two chapters. Tammy, though in her second or third year of college, came across as much younger, but I’m sure that is due to her family’s beliefs and convictions and the more I read the more I could relate. While in some ways she comes across as shy and timid, at others, especially when her convictions are on the line, she has steadfast confidence. Though I find it hard to believe that a law firm would manage to take on 3 such religious summer clerks, I am not surprised that two rather different Christian men (Zach and Vince) would find her attractive.

Moses and Tammy’s paths cross when Judge Cannon assigns each summer clerk with a misdemeanor case. Moses Jones is accused of twenty-four counts of trespassing. As she researches the charges, she discovers connections between Moses Jones and one of the partners of the law firm, Joe Carpenter and an unsolved missing child case. Zach Mays, her supervising lawyer, cautions against digging any deeper than the relevant charges. Vince Colbert, a fellow summer clerk, passes along any info he stumbles across, including warning her that he has overheard the partners talking about her and her case. Tammy believes that God put her in that law firm with that case to uncover the unresolved death of a little girl from years ago and to tie up the loose ends, even if it means the end of her career and possibly her life.

This is one of the few Christian fiction books I have read that was not overly preachy except what fit each of the characters. While the main character is a young woman and two men are attracted to her, romance is kept as a shadow in the background. Whitlow’s knack for mystery and suspense are fantastic—one of the best Christian mystery/suspense I have ever read. I will definitely be reading the next one in this series and will look for more books by Robert Whitlow.

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

I wish I had this book when I was a teen

The Truth About Dating, Love, and Just Being FriendsThe Truth About Dating, Love, and Just Being Friends by Thomas Nelson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Truth About Dating, Love & Just Being Friends by Chad Eastham

Chad Eastham uses a lot of the questions he receives from teens as a springboard and answers them honestly from his opinion, experience, and documented evidence. The teenage years are about relationships and Eastham covers the popular questions of when to start dating, being friends, what is love, what is dating, how to know if someone is into you, and more.

This is an informative book, packed with humor and I wish this book had been around when I was a teenager. Eastham presents answers to typical questions in a normal, down-to-earth fashion that I think is quite palatable to teens. He presents Biblical principles without being preachy. My favorite part is when he addressed the issue of a lot of teens being miserable and suffering through high school. Eastham gave practical advice about what makes happy people happy and how to be positive. This book was an enjoyable read that I didn’t want to put down. He answers questions I remember having, I just wish someone had delivered the answers the way he does. Not only will I be recommending this book to anyone with teens, works with teens, but also a few who just left their teenage years and it will become a permanent part of my library. I look forward to passing it along to my daughters when they enter their teens.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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