Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Willowtree, by Mike Bove is a light-hearted mystery. It kept me interested from beginning to end with intrigue and humor. Set in Arizona, near Sedona, it is a story told from Bruce DelReno’s point of view. I truly enjoyed Bruce’s description of his part of Arizona as I’ve spent a fair amount of time visiting this wonderful state. Bruce is also an avid golfer so that was fun for me also. But the mystery is what this is all about. It begins when Bruce retrieves a golf ball and ends up finding a body! After the police get involved, Bruce decides to take it upon himself to do his own investigation. As you might expect, it gets him into a bit of trouble. But in the end, the mystery is solved and the reader, along the way, has learned a great deal about Arizona, local history, and the game of golf. The book is a quick read and I read through it quickly. My biggest complaint (and yes, I’ve said this before), there needs to be a great deal of editing to make this a professional job. Why would someone with such talent for writing not get his book edited? It definitely takes away from the story – at least for me. But all in all, it’s an excellent book and I even got some good golfing tips!
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
All-Pro Dad, by Mark Merrill, is an instructional book about being a good father. But it also contains the guidance to be a good person, husband, citizen, etc., etc. Being a good father doesn’t mean providing the means for the family to live well – providing a roof over their heads and food on the table. It goes way beyond that. This book shows how giving of yourself is so much more important. And it’s difficult but can certainly be accomplished by anyone. Mark Merrill provides seven steps to accomplishing this feat. You need to know yourself, determine your purpose, motive, method, know you’re a model to your children, know your message and your master – for what you are living. The book is full of personal stories, which make reading it so much more interesting than a book that’s simply instructional. It’s organized in a step-by-step fashion and suggests questions you can ask yourself. But, interestingly, it’s never preachy.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
I’ll Follow the Moon, by Stephanie Lisa Tara and illustrated by Lee Edward Fodi, is an adorable little book for toddlers. The illustrations are excellent and the story is sweet. It’s a tale of a baby sea turtle that follows the moon to find his mother. As the author tells her story, the little turtle chants “I’m coming, Mama, I’ll see you soon. I know just how . . . I’ll follow the moon.” It’s entertaining and soothing at the same time – the perfect combination for a bedtime story. Your child will love I’ll Follow the Moon.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Taken, by Debra Lee is set in a small town in Pennsylvania. Mary, a secretary in the district attorney’s office is about to tell her long-time boyfriend that she’s pregnant. But before she can do that he announces he’s leaving her for another woman. Distraught, she goes on with the pregnancy despite the arguments of her best friend who tells her childhood stories living in foster homes. The baby is born and the ex-boyfriend Kyle realizes he’s probably the father. Oh, but he’s already married with a newborn of his own, born on the same day, of course. With his own political aspirations, he helps financially but cannot have a relationship with his daughter – his wife’s decision – not his. Then it happens – the baby is snatched from the nursery one night. Mary is devastated but also deals with the haunting memories of her own brother’s kidnapping twelve years earlier. The story continues with a few twists and turns. Many subplots are formed but none have much meat to them. I feel this story was written down in outline form and then the author forgot to fill in the details. Somewhat boring and quite predictable. It’s a shame because it definitely had a good plot but no one bothered to give it the meat it deserved. And I won’t even go into the editing (or lack of editing) issue. If you have Taken on your list to read, take my advice: give it back.
Monday, May 14, 2012
Redemption, by Bran Clay with Joel Kilpatrick, is a spiritual book about Bryan, an Olympic champion in the decathlon. Raised in Hawaii and a product of a broken marriage, Bryan seemed to follow trouble. And when he wasn’t following, trouble was still out to get him. Despite drugs and violence in his life, he somehow came through it all the way to the Olympics – a totally different person. Bryan tells of all his life experiences – good and bad – from his troubled childhood to college to sponsored training and marriage. Bryan won the silver medal in 2004 and the gold in 2008. But even when he found his faith and followed a better life track, he continued to waiver in his training and routine. He almost gave up time and time again. His faith got him though it all and he definitely gives credit to God. But he didn’t always feel God was his guidance. This is a motivating story and one anyone, no matter what your faith or lack of it, would enjoy.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Solo, by Sarah Schofield, is a fun book for teenage girls. It clearly shows issues teenagers often face – moving to a new area, meeting new friends, dealing with bullying and, of course, boyfriend/girlfriend issues. Eliana Davis has to relocate to a new area because of her father’s deployment. She faces a new home, new school and new classmates and all the problems that go with a new environment. Set in Oregon, Eliana sets out to get through her year alone. She builds a wall around her but gradually is accepted by others and seems open to friendships. She’s a good student, a great athlete and dancer, and is above the petty interactions often found in the world of teenagers. Somehow Eliana is almost too perfect. Ms. Schofield creates a delightful story and a fun read for the younger set. However, I would have hoped that the editing could have been improved so that the reader doesn’t have to stop and think, “What is she saying here?” There are many small grammatical errors but they add up and are completely unnecessary. One of my biggest pet peeves is that the characters often had “desert” instead of “dessert.” Ms. Schofield is a good writer, but she must get an editor for her next book. Despite my editorial issues with Solo, I feel it’s a great story and teens will enjoy it.
Monday, May 7, 2012
Kissed in Paris, by Juliette Sobanet, is a fun book despite being a bit farfetched. I still enjoyed it a great deal. With only a week left before her wedding, Chloe is asked to head to Paris to handle an event while her boss is home sick. But the night before heading back to the States, she meets a man in the hotel bar. No, this is not going where you think it is. The man drugs her drink and heads back to her hotel room. She wakes up in the morning with her passport, luggage, purse and clothing gone. All that’s left is a skimpy red dress and a pair of high heels. She runs to the lobby to report the theft and the adventure begins. Julien, an undercover agent, manages to “save” her from the police officers interrogating her as if she were a suspect and not the victim. Off she goes with this mystery man on an adventure of a lifetime. She finds that her checking account has been “tapped” and realizes her engagement ring is even missing. The adventure takes her all over France from one hair-raising episode to another. After a series of close calls, Julien finally manages to get her a new passport and she flies home just days before the big event. Then she needs to face her fiancé who isn’t totally sympathetic to her woes – just to how it affects him and his career. Kissed in Paris needs some editorial work and the ending isn’t a total surprise, but it’s still a fun story and I recommend it.
Friday, May 4, 2012
Defending Jacob, by William Landay is an excellent murder mystery set within the struggles of a family. Andy is an assistant district attorney in Boston. He’s called to investigate the murder of a 14-year-old boy. Life changes overnight when he’s pulled off the case because his own son Jacob is a suspect. The book shows the struggles within the family and their sudden isolation from friends and normal life. Andy and his family have to deal with the possible “murder gene” as his own father is a convicted murderer. Laurie, his wife, finds this out for the first time. The story covers the investigation and the courtroom scenes. It covers secrets and foolish actions on their parts. What would you do to defend your child? Almost anything, I’m sure. It’s a bit drawn out but it leads to an ending that is a total surprise. A shocker, you might say. I enjoyed the book and had a hard time putting it down. Read Landay’s Defending Jacob.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
By Faith, Not by Sight, by Scott Macintyre is an amazing and inspiring story. Scott Macintyre competed on American Idol but he’s wasn’t just any contestant. Scott was born blind and later diagnosed with severe illness. He was dying when he finally got a kidney transplant. But this book about a brilliant and very talented young man goes way beyond. It’s about the faith he had throughout his ordeal and about the closeness and loyalty of his family. What a beautiful story. I literally read it in one long sitting. I couldn’t put it down. Read Scott’s story – it will inspire you.