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A Question of Power by Susi Wright

A Question of Power (The Fire Chronicles Book 2) by Susi Wright

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Where is Emma Butler's Life Plan

Where is Emma Butler’s Life Plan? by Julia Wilmot

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Takedown

Takedown: A Small-Town Cop’s Battle Against the Hells Angels and the nation’s biggest drug gang by Jeff Beck with Jon Land and Lindsay Preston

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Good Morning Diego Garcia

Good Morning Diego Garcia: A Voyage of Discovery (Journeys) (Volume 2) by Susan Joyce

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Giant Killers

Giant Killers: Overcoming Obstacles and Seizing Opportunities by Steve Lawson

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My Best Friend and Loyal Companion

My Best Friend and Loyal Companion
by Nancy Eaton

About six months ago, I had to have my Shih Tzu euthanized. She was very ill and did not want to eat. No one wants their beloved pet to suffer. I was devastated. Today, I am still not over the hurt I feel over her loss. When I tried to More »

A Question of Power (The Fire Chronicles Book 2) by Susi Wright

Reviewed by Timea Barbaras

A Question of PowerA Question of Power is the second book of the series The Fire Chronicles by Susi Wright. Preceded by Lord of Fire, this Question offers some answers in this volume, but hides several more in a sequel yet to come. If you want to take a trip into a land of fantasy, filled with adventure and romance, embark on the journey of The Fire Chronicles.

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While it is preferable that you read the first volume, the second volume is also strong enough to stand on its own. Before you land on Susi Wright’s fantasy realm she equips you with a map and a crash course of Gaian philosophy, so you have a sense of orientation once you arrive. It is refreshing to notice the abundance of female characters in the book. Some of them are present since the first volume while others are introduced just now. They are quite intriguing and portray different visions of the ideal Woman.

Where is Emma Butler’s Life Plan? by Julia Wilmot

Reviewed by Lisa Gilbert-Brown

Where is Emma Butler's Life PlanA sublimely witty and thoroughly entertaining read, Where is Emma Butler’s Life Plan? authored by Julia Wilmot,entrances Chick Lit readers from page to page, with its successful combination of humor, spirituality, and the pursuit of happiness and fulfillment by contemporary woman Emma Butler.

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A light hearted, but provocative read, this intriguing narrative stars main character Emma Butler, she’s single, youthful, intelligent, attractive and gainfully employed, but she begins to realize that she is worthy of something more rewarding career-wise, and with no man in her life her biological clock is ticking away as well. Somewhat complacent with her life, and not quite ready to make any big moves to change her life, Emma’s life stays somewhat stagnant.

Takedown: A Small-Town Cop’s Battle Against the Hells Angels and the Nation’s Biggest Drug Gang by Jeff Buck with Jon Land and Lindsay Preston

Reviewed by Russell Ilg

TakedownJon Land has proven once again that he’s much more then just a thriller writer with Takedown. This is Land’s second non-fiction book, spinning the story of one of the biggest drug busts in modern history, born of an unholy alliance between the Hells Angels out of Montreal, a corrupt Indian reservation in New York State, and the Russian mob.

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But the man at the center of the bust, Jeff Buck, actually comes from a small town in Ohio where he still serves as chief of police after a much lauded twenty-year career as an undercover drug officer that rightfully earned him the nickname “Dope Ghost.” This is Buck’s story, told in nourish, tough guy prose that features alternating chapters between the major case he spearheaded in 2009 and the chain of events the year before that led to his involvement in the first place.

Giant Killers: Overcoming Obstacles and Seizing Opportunities by Steve Lawson

Reviewed by Veronica Alvarado

giantkillersPart Christian self-help book, part Biblical exegesis, emotional intelligent consultant and former pastor Steve Lawson’s Giant Killers: Overcoming Obstacles and Seizing Opportunities, is a brief, but inspiring guide to aid the reader in conquering difficulties and becoming the best version of “you” that you can be.

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Giant Killers begins by recounting the Biblical story of David and Goliath, the tale of how one small boy with faith was able to beat a larger-than-life opponent. Lawson uses this story as the foreground of his entire book, encouraging the reader to conquer his or her own “giants,” by trusting in faith and grace. Divided into five sub-sections that emphasize a different character trait, each of these sections begins with a real-life story of someone close to Lawson. He identifies these individuals as “giant killers,” meaning that he or she overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to beat their fears and live their lives as good Christians. Aside from making the book more relatable to the reader, these brief vignettes greatly help add to the credibility of Lawson’s message, as they are proven accounts ordinary persons acting as “giant killers.”

While each of the five sub-sections that Lawson outlines contain their own particular pieces of wisdom and guidance, “Section Two: Discipline” will especially resound with American readers who are surrounded by a culture steeped with excess and consumerism. Lawson speaks at great length about disciplining one’s self in a spiritual, caring manner that respects above all God’s vision of yourself. Calling a variety of sources, ranging from the Bible to modern scholarship, Lawson outlines the importance of concepts such as training, self-regulation, controlling one’s actions, and focusing on the act of disciplined growth. All of these concepts underline the essential notion that becoming the best version of oneself must take into account God’s vision of you, as well as acknowledging and accepting your strengths and weaknesses as a person.

“Part Four: Action” serves as another strong section of the book, as it provides the reader with essential advice aimed towards becoming a “giant killer.” Among other tips, Lawson advises the reader to not separate the spiritual from the nonspiritual, to begin with small steps, and to study Scripture for inspiration.

Written in a conversational and often humorous tone, Giant Killers is clearly a labor of love on the part of Steve Lawson. Throughout, he deftly utilizes examples from a variety of sources—the entirety of the Christian canon, popular culture, and personal experiences, to name a few—to strengthen his work and make it accessible to all readers. While Giant Killers will not appeal to those who disdain spirituality, it will prove as useful and enlightening read for Christians.

Good Morning Diego Garcia: A Voyage of Discovery (Journeys) (Volume 2) by Susan Joyce

Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

Good Morning Diego GarciaWith Good Morning Diego Garcia: A Journey of Discovery (Journeys – Book 2), talented author Susan Joyce relates her further memoirs, which she began in The Lullaby Illusion: A Journey of Awakening (Journeys – Volume 1). The result is a fascinating book, combining the genres of memoirs and travel books, relating the author’s further adventures, when she and her husband, Charles, are invited by friends to travel in a yacht they are breaking in on its maiden voyage, and they travel to many exotic locations. Like in the first book, the author undergoes an internal journey of self-discovery as well as experiencing the journey of a lifetime places many people only dream of seeing.

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Good Morning Diego Garcia begins with the narrator and Charles back in Ojai, California, after having spent a tumultuous time in Cyprus, living through the 1974 coup and war there. The couple are settling into a house they have rented, with Charles waiting on his old job to call him back and let him know work is available for him. They do not seem to be worried about financial matters very much, as Charles has money socked away in at least a couple of bank accounts for them to get by on.

Lie in Wait by Eric Rickstad

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Lie in WaitLie in Wait is, in stripped down terms, a bit of a cliché. The setting is a remote small town in Vermont, with a reasonably inexperienced police detective in charge of a brutal case. The victim is a teenaged girl babysitting-can you not just here the musical sound effects for this one? Her charges for the evening are the children of the attorney involved in a high profile, controversial case which threatens to tear the town apart and expose long hidden secrets. And yet, after a rather slow start, the book is captivating and very hard to put down.

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Fire and Ice (J. P. Beaumont Novel) by J.A. Jance

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Fire and Ice
Quite a story J.P. Beaumont, with his wife/partner Mel, is working on a mystifying case involving the murders of six different women. All of this is going on up in the state of Washington while down in Arizona, the Cochise County Sheriff Joanna Brady is looking for someone who it appears murdered a man leaving only his dog behind.

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OK? You ask how do these two come together in a murder mystery? Only J.A. Jance figures out stuff like that!

And she does a good job once again as she moves the reader back and forth between the two locales keeping the action moving. What actually brings all of the action somewhat together toward the ending is the fact that one of the murdered women in Washington is actually the somewhat estranged sister of one of Brady’s cops down in Arizona.

The Oxford Inheritance: A Novel by Ann A. McDonald

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

The Oxford InheritanceCassie Blackwell, a Smith College student, has come to Raleigh College at Oxford University for her sophomore year abroad. Although the obvious reason for her journey is an exciting year of study at one of the world’s premiere universities, Cassie has another motivation. After receiving a box of her mother’s possessions, Cassie is determined to uncover the life her mother led before Cassie’s birth. A life that apparently ended when she left Oxford.

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When the book opens, Cassie has just arrived on campus and has to hurry around to get to her orientation, mandatory photographs and try to settle in to her new room. We know nothing of what brought Cassie to Oxford except that she has won a prized seat in the class. Right away we meet some of the other characters from fellow students to professors, who will be major players throughout the book.

It is through her quest for her mother’s past that readers become familiar with Cassie’s childhood, her life with a bipolar mother who couldn’t care for herself little lone her child. We learn of her personal struggles that led her not only back to school but drove her to excel-all so that she could make this trip to Oxford. We sit with Cassie in the bowels of the library as she searches for photos and other information of about her mother’s time here.

The book appears to be an academic mystery for most of the book. The author puts the reader squarely in the day to day life of the college and does a fairly good job of giving readers a sense of the class distinctions among the students. But even early on there is a definite sense of foreboding. There are hints along the way that not everyone nor everything is as presented. There is a darkness that lingers.

The Oxford Inheritance is a difficult book to review without giving away some of the main plot twists. The turn in the story comes when someone close to Cassie commits suicide and Cassie realizes that the behavior leading up to the suicide mirrors her own mother’s before her death by suicide. This realization makes Cassie even more determined to figure out what is really going on at Raleigh College. The book would be classified as “Gothic” I suppose, although I didn’t really find it to be that exactly. I’d say it’s more of a traditional academic mystery with a Stephen King ending. However it is categorized, it is a compelling read.

Dust Up: A Thriller (Doyle Carrick) by Jon McGoran

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Dust UpDetective Doyle Carrick is awakened by banging of someone pounding on his front door. Before he can get downstairs to the door he hears another kind of banging-that of gunshots. Flinging his door open he finds the very dead body of a stranger on his front stoop and just catches a glimpse of a woman in a car speeding away. Was she the shooter? Why had these people come to his house? This is how Dust Up begins. The action does not slow down for the next 350 plus pages.

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Carrick soon learns that the victim is Ronald Hartwell and the woman speeding away was most probably his wife, Miriam. Both were employed by Energene, a huge bio tech company which has been developing genetically modified foods. The company is in a hot competition with another firm, most recently with a product roll out in Haiti. Carrick began to suspect that Hartwell was either a whistleblower or involved in or had uncovered industrial espionage and had reached out to him because of Carrick’s former cases. Unfortunately for Carrick, the case was assigned to his nemesis in the department, Mike Warren whom Carrick viewed as a territorial prick.. Worse, in Carrick’s eyes, Warren was a lazy, bad cop. Okay, anyone who reads crime fiction is going to know where this is going. Carrick begins to investigate anyway digging himself in deep with the department heads, while Warren tries to shut him down at every turn. Carrick is not deterred however, and is soon having secret meetings not only in Philadephia, but Miami and Haiti as well.

Aunty Lee’s Chilled Revenge: A Singaporean Mystery by Ovidia Yu

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Aunty Lee's Chilled RevengeAunty Lee’s Chilled Revenge is the third book in author Yu’s mystery series set in Singapore. The book opens with Aunty Lee temporarily off her game as she recovers from an ankle injury. Having to sit out the actual work of running her popular cafe, Aunty Lee’s Delights, leaves Aunty Lee both cranky and with a lot of time on her hands. So when her business partner Cherril schedules a meeting with her former animal rescue group at the cafe, Aunty Lee is all ears.

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The group has gathered to meet with Allison Fitzgerald, a woman who adopted a pet from their rescue three years earlier. She tired of the pet and asked to return it per the contract she signed, but before the group could get the puppy back, Allison had the dog put down. Outrage ensued, Allison left the country and the rescue group dissolved. Now Allison has returned with the intention of suing the former partners for causing the break up of her marriage. The problem is, she’s a no show, her sister shows up in her place and Allison is found dead in her hotel room. The plot continues with Aunty Lee becoming deeply involved in the investigation no matter how many times the police warn her to stay out of police business. And warn they do, but Salim, her officer-boyfriend does appreciate the clues she uncovers.

The Girl from Home by Adam Mitzner

Reviewed by Teri Davis

The Girl from Home“…I loved my penthouse and the East Hampton oceanfront house I was going to buy. But it was all in the same kind of way, I loved what I thought they said about me. That I was successful, I guess. That I mattered.”

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Jonathan Caine is living the life he dreamed of living. He is a well-respected and successful currency trader earning huge bonuses annually and in command of a team of advisors and underlings. Outside of work he has the beautiful trophy wife, wears designer suits, drives a Bentley and can’t imagine a life that he is not currently experiencing.

Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Sebastian Rudd who in fact is the Rogue Lawyer is a different sort of Rogue Lawyerand a completely different lawyer. He pretty much works as a public defender taking the cases that no other lawyer usually wants. He defends those that he believes are innocent or at least they have had their cases distorted by police and courts that are just looking for someone to take the blame in cases they have a hard time solving.

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The first case involves a young man who fits the bill of a down and out no- account who likely could have done the deed he is accused of. However Rudd, unlike the rest of the little town, really believes that the man is not guilty. To prove it he needs to get the blood of the man he truly believes did the crime. By using a cage-fighter that he backs in fights and bets on, Rudd is able to get the blood sample matched as he needs and also luckily one member of the jury attempts to talk with him when he is at one of the weekly cage fights that he attends. These two events comprise the necessary steps that Rudd needs for a not guilty verdict.

The British Lion: A Novel by Tony Schumacher

Reviewed by Teri Davis

The British Lion“Chess wouldn’t work without pawns.”

Are we just pawns in the game of life? Like the game of chess are we just moved about or sacrificed in a scheme where we do not completely understand the rules or even the purpose?

In a world where Germany won the war during WWII and is currently occupying England, The British Lion offers readers the rare opportunity to judge the characters not by their national allegiances but by their actions.

Mail-Order Kid by Marilyn June Coffey

Mai- Order KidReviewed by Teri Davis

Naturally the hope was to be adopted by a loving family. The name for this movement was usually through by train. This became known as the orphan train.

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Like all children, some were fortunate and loved by their new families. However some of these children had horrific experiences, being beaten and even slaves to their adopted family. Probably most of these orphaned and unwanted children lived with families that were somewhere between these two extremes.