Thursday, June 30, 2011

Book Review: Operation Bonnet by Kimberly Stuart

Product Description

Twenty-year-old Nellie Monroe has a restless brilliance that makes her a bit of an odd duck. She wants to be a private investigator, even though her tiny hometown offers no hope of clients.
Until she meets Amos Shetler, an Amish dropout carrying a torch for the girl he left behind. So Nellie straps on her bonnet and goes undercover to get the dish.
But though she’s brainy, Nellie is clueless when it comes to real life and real relationships. Soon she’s alienated her best friend, angered her college professor, and botched her case. Operation Bonnet is a comedy of errors, a surprising take on love, and a story of grace.


Okay, I'm not even sure I should admit this... but I absolutely loved this book! Every few pages I would break out into laughter, and my wife would look over and wonder what on earth was going on. Amos Shetler's comments from his Amish perspective made me laugh so hard I had tears in my eyes. And yet the story had it's tender elements, and provided opportunity to think about what our faith means in our world today. I would highly recommend this book and look forward to trying future works by this author. 5 of 5 stars.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Book Review: Vicious Cycle by Terri Blackstock

Product Description

When fifteen-year-old Lance Covington finds an abandoned baby in the backseat of a car, he knows she's the newborn daughter of a meth addict he's been trying to help. But when police arrest him for kidnapping, Lance is thrust into a criminal world of baby trafficking and drug abuse. His mother, Barbara, looks for help from Kent Harlan---the man whom she secretly, reluctantly loves and who once helped rescue her daughter from a mess of her own. Kent flies to her aid and begins the impossible work of getting Lance out of trouble, protecting a baby who has no home, and finding help for a teenage mother hiding behind her lies. In this latest novel of suspense and family loyalty, bestselling author Terri Blackstock offers a harrowing look at drug addiction, human trafficking, and the devastating choices that can change lives forever.


Terri Blackstock has been responsible for far too many late nights spent trying to convince myself to put down her novels and get some much needed rest. Vicious Cycle proved true to form, and I devoured this book in record time. The action was non-stop, and yet the deeper issues Blackstock explored such as human trafficking and substance misuse were convincingly woven into the fabric of the story without distracting from the pace.

I must admit that I was somewhat frustrated by the way she portrayed the "system" handling the issue of the baby; I am very familiar with child protection issues, and this aspect of the story did not seem realistic. At least where I live, the hospital nurses would not have allowed Jordan to just leave the hospital with her baby with the knowledge that she had been high on crystal meth when she gave birth; at the very least, the child protection social workers would have been contacted upon Jordan being admitted to the hospital. However, I realize that laws in different provinces and states do vary, and so I tried to suspend my judgment regarding this issue. The rest of the story certainly captured my interest and was highly entertaining. 4 of 5 stars.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Review: Possession by Rene Gutteridge

Product Description

In the aftermath of investigating the D.C. sniper case, police detective Vance Graegan is burned out on life and love. Hoping to save his marriage, he quits the force and moves his wife and son to the other side of the country. But when the movers decide to hold his belongings for ransom, Vance is determined to ensure that his family’s new beginning is not ruined. Soon, though, losing his possessions becomes the least of his problems as everything they are fighting for begins to unravel in the hands of Vance’s past. In an unforgettable climax, a little boy’s innocent faith brings a group of desperate people to their knees. What is at stake counts for everything, but nothing can prepare Vance for who is behind it.


Rene Gutteridge continues to surprise me with her ability to write both suspense novels and laugh-out-loud books. Possession resides in the former category; it was a fascinating book with a story-line unlike any other I'd read before. I loved the blend of mystery and suspense along with elements of faith and drama. The author is clearly a talented story teller who not only captured my imagination, but caused me to examine my priorities in life and the value I place my own possessions and materialistic tendencies. Bravo Rene! 4.5 of 5 stars.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Book Review: Greater Love by Robert Whitlow

Product Description

The Tides of Truth series follows one lawyer's passionate pursuit of truth--in matters of life and the law.

As the storm clouds gather, Tami does her best to weather the growing turbulence in every area of her life.
She's just accepted a job with a law firm but now wonders if she made the right decision. She has two strong men vying for her heart--and is about to lose them both if she can't determine which one is right for her.
And Tami's new case is anything but simple. When she first meets her prospective client, she immediately knows the rough young teen is lying, guilty...and utterly terrified of something beyond the charges she's facing. What she doesn't realize is just how far reaching the effects of the case will go. Or how close to home the deadly results will hit. For by the time the storm breaks, someone close to Tami will have paid the ultimate price. Through it all, Tami will experience greater sacrifice, greater friendship, and greater love than she's ever known.


The Tides of Truth Series has been one of my favourite series of the past several years. Tami was a supremely satisfying character to meet, and I greatly enjoyed reading the scenes where she was interacting with her family and examining the cultural differences between mainstream society and that of her family background. Greater Love was an excellent conclusion to this series, and I loved the new characters that were introduced. Whitlow does a remarkable job of intertwining the suspense elements with a look at faith issues and even the romantic subplot. I was sad to see this series come to an end, and I know I'll be going back one day to re-read this great series. 5 of 5 stars.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Book Review: Ends of the Earth: A Bug Man Novel by Tim Downs

Product Description

Nick Polchak must stop a terrorist from causing a global ecological nightmare. Two beautiful women from Nick's past are competing for his heart. He's not sure which impending disaster makes him more nervous.

When forensic entomologist Nick Polchak is called to the scene of a murder on a small organic farm in North Carolina he is astonished to find that the victim's estranged wife is an old friend, a woman he once worked with--a woman he once had feelings for. When she asks Nick to investigate her husband's drug-related murder, Nick seeks the assistance of Alena Savard, the reclusive dog trainer known to the people of northern Virginia as the Witch of Endor.

Alena jumps at the chance to renew her relationship with Nick--but when she arrives in North Carolina she discovers that she's not the only woman who has her eye on the Bug Man. Soon Nick finds his usually analytical mind clouded by thoughts of a strangely human nature. These two women have stirred feelings that he can't quite fathom, feelings of lost opportunities and future possibilities...

Now Nick must navigate the unexplored territory of his own heart while he solves an agroterrorist's plot to ignite an environmental holocaust that could spread to the ends of the earth.

Ends of the Earth was an outstanding novel. I cannot think of a single way it could be improved. The plot was creative, and Nick's character continues to be my favorite of all time. The suspense was absolutely solid, and the theme of agricultural terrorism was fascinating to consider. I also found myself completely caught up in Nick's dilemma about which woman he should pursue! I really could go on and on about how much I love the Bug Man novels, but all I really need to say is you will not be disappointed when you get this book in your hands! 5 of 5 stars.