Salt & Light; The Complete Jesus by Jonathan Geoffrey Dean

Book Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

An extraordinary deep dive into the life of an extraordinary man, Jonathan Geoffrey Dean’s Salt & Light; The Complete Jesus presents a masterful guide for inquiring minds to the definitive life and ministry of Jesus. The first edition to his two-book series, this book offers an intelligently posed wealth of knowledge, garnered from many years of research and fueled by the layman author’s ignited curiosity.

As a whole, the book was written in search of the entire true scope of Jesus’ life and works, particularly as an earnest way of seeking to answer three simple questions, 1. Who was Jesus? 2. What did he do? 3. What did he say? However, instead of focusing on the religious elements, author Jonathan Geoffrey Dean leaves his faith out of his search, choosing to focus primarily on the academic aspects, which works out very well throughout the book.

Albeit while there is no simple answer to discovering the complete life of Jesus, however, the level of work ethic, thorough research, comparative analysis, and discernment employed by author Dean raises the bar for other books of this nature to meet.

Moreover, as thorough, as it is well-written, this work provides a masterful reading venture that is part historical dissertation, populated with literate reaches into obscured aspects of biblical texts, such as the Gospels, and Acts, which contain elements of the true history of Jesus.
Moreover, the information contained in this book is catalytic in the way that it does well to offer definitive, perception-altering data when it comes to the life of Jesus, often bruising long-standing myths and alternate religious-based concepts previously known, concerning the life of Jesus. Meanwhile also included are instances of contact with those around him used to establish a credible timeline of his life and ministry.

Case of a Puzzling Book: A Maximo Morgan Mystery by William LeRoy

Book Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

Case of a Puzzling Book: A Maximo Morgan Mystery by William LeRoy is a tricky mystery told in a uniquely creative format. Readers are immediately drawn into a rollicking adventure set off by the actions of a baldheaded stranger who goes into the Twisted Sister Coffeehouse in the small town of Henryetta, Oklahoma. Popo Crowder owns the coffee shop that includes a free library book exchange with erotic novels and similar literary fiction as part of the collection. The literary works on the bookshelves are regarded with antipathy by Eppie, her twin sister. Eppie is part of a group that “edits” books of an “objectionable” nature. The differing points of view between Popo and Eppie have created a rift in the sisters’ relationship, which comes into play in the story.

When the baldheaded stranger takes Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence and leaves The Same Old Story by William LeRoy in its place, Popo is perplexed as to why words and sentences are missing from pages in the book. Popo hires private detective Maximo “Max” Morgan, whose role model is private investigator Brad Runyon, a character created by novelist Dashiell Hammett. Popo asks Max to look into why The Same Old Story is the target of intentional defacing of parts of the text. Is there more to the case than meets the eye? Will Max figure out who might be responsible for the vandalism and the purpose behind it?

Time Off for Good Behavior by Lani Diane Rich

Book Reviewed by Nancy Eaton

It all starts when Wanda Lane was testifying for a case involving the Hastings Gas and Electric Company. They were responsible for the explosion three years ago that destroyed Whittle Advertising. At the same time, the explosion nearly killed Wanda.

After a heated exchange with the defense attorney, whom Wanda called pencil face, she pulled back to take a swing at him. He did not see her swing coming as he turned to look at other Hasting Gas and Electric guys. The witness stand railing gave out and slammed Wanda’s head to the floor. She ended up in the hospital with a concussion and some swelling of the brain.

This was only one of Wanda’s problems. She kept getting calls from her ex-husband. He wanted her to forgive him – other times he would threaten to kill her. Wanda’s parents haven’t spoken to her in years. On top of all this, she lost her job. She is also “hearing” music as a result of her fall.

What can she do? She decides the only answer is to start over.

Behind Closed Doors by Susan R. Sloan

Book Reviewed by Nancy Eaton

When Valerie O’Connor met Jack Marsh, she fell head over heels in love. She met Jack while visiting her sister, Marianne, in Boston. They had several dates and when the time came, Jack just said goodbye to Valerie and told her he would write.

Valerie was unhappy. She had very strong feelings for Jack. In November, Valerie had a big surprise. Someone knocked on the door. Valerie’s father answered. It was a man who said, “Hello, sir, my name is Jack Marsh and I’ve come to marry your daughter.”

Everyone believed this was the beginning of a fairy-tale marriage. Or was it?

As time goes on Valerie realizes how little she really knew about Jack. She was Catholic and believed in her principles of being an ideal wife and mother. Jack, now an airline mechanic, arrives home many times late with the smell of perfume on his clothes. Many times, he is drunk and violent. Valerie puts up with this for some time.

Then, one day, something happened. Jack did something that Valerie could not ignore any longer. What did Jack do? How did Valerie respond?

Sam’s Letters to Jennifer by James Patterson

Book Reviewed by Nancy Eaton

Jennifer has been through a difficult time in her life. Her husband, Danny, and baby were killed in an accident. Jennifer receives an urgent phone call informing her that Sam, her best friend, and grandmother, was in the hospital. Sam packed and was on her way to Lake Geneva where she grew up. When Sam arrived at the hospital, her grandmother was in a coma. Reverend Farley gave her a key to Sam’s house.

When Jennifer arrived at Sam’s house, she was getting ready to place her bag on the vanity table and noticed something already there. It was a stack of about a hundred envelopes each numbered and addressed to Jennifer. Jennifer told Sam that she would like to hear her story one day. Apparently, this was the way Sam wanted to tell Jennifer about her life. Sam explained in the letters that she made a decision to tell Jennifer the secrets that she never told anyone before. As Jennifer began to read the letters, she was in for a big surprise. What was it?

Good Grief by Lolly Winston

Book Reviewed by Nancy Eaton

Sophie Stanton never expected to be such a young widow. She was only thirty-six years old when her husband, Ethan, passed away from cancer. After all, as Sophie states, “widows are supposed to wear horn-rimmed glasses and cardigan sweaters that smell like mothballs”. She had only been married three years. Sophie has a difficult time dealing with her loss and turns to items like Oreos and ice cream to comfort her. She falls apart if a telemarketer calls to ask for Ethan or when she receives mail with his name on it.

Her psychiatrist suggested she attend a form of group therapy to help with her healing. She was thoroughly disgusted with her mother-in-law who wanted to come over and help her clean out Ethan’s clothes so they could be given to Goodwill.

The Red Hat Society: Fun and Friendship After 50 by Sue Ellen Cooper

Book Reviewed by Nancy Eaton

The author of this book, Sue Ellen Cooper is the founder and Queen Mother of The Red Hat Society. When Sue had a friend who was about to turn 50 years old, she would give them a red hat. This soon became her signature gift. When she and her friends went out for tea, they would wear a red hat and something purple. At the beginning of the book, it gives a “Warning” – “When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple, with a red hat which doesn’t go…” It was here that the first chapter of the Red Hat Society was born. Can you believe that now there are over three hundred thousand Red Hatters across the USA and Canada and even around the world?

Losing My Faculties: A Teacher’s Story by Brendan Halpin

Book Reviewed by Nancy Eaton

This book is about Brendan Halpin’s experiences of being a high school teacher. It follows him through teaching jobs in an economically depressed white ethnic town, a middle-class suburb, a last-chance prevention program in the inner city and an ambitious college-prep urban charter school.

Halpin describes his first test as a student teacher where he states he failed miserably. He turned around to write something on the board and someone threw a piece of chalk. He turned around and said, “you know…that is not cool”. The class giggled. Halpin states that he knew he lost them right at that moment. From then on it was open season when Halpin turned his back – spitballs, chalk and basketballs were thrown. To make matters worse, the school had no kind of detention. You had to deal with this type of thing on your own.

Run for Your Life (Michael Bennett, Book 2) by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

Book Reviewed by Nancy Eaton

What has Michael Bennett done to deserve this double whammy?

A psychopath is killing people in New York. He seems to be hung up on his victims’ manners. What do all these killings have in common? The killer, who refers to himself as The Teacher, has a list of people he wants dead. Why?

Detective Michael Bennett is assigned to this case. Just as Michael was set to begin work on this case, his children get sick with the flu. Michael’s wife died a few years ago and he has 10 adopted children. He gets help from his grandfather Seamus who is a Catholic priest and Mary Catherine, the nanny. Could there be a future romantic interest between Michael and Mary Catherine starting to take place?

The Day of the Ferret by Michael Woodman

Book Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

A witty, satirical romp through the political world of the President of the United States, author Michael Woodman’s The Day of the Ferret, craftily intersects politics, intrigue, comedy, and a cast of well-devised, skewed characters into a memorable and overall humorous journey into presidential politics.

Aiming for the jugular of this specific political machine, in this case, the presidency of the United States, this is the type of book that you either dislike or love, due to its undeniable relatability to a former president (especially judging from the front cover of the book) as well as some similarities to some of his antics while in office. Personally, I loved the provocative nature of this book and found it easy to laugh at its often-comical moments.

The story starts out with a sarcastic bang as characters are brought into focus beginning with (ahem) President John Thomas Rump.   He’s narcissistic, gross and a character that you may grow to have a love-hate relationship with. Moreover, facing low approval ratings, and sexual harassment accusations Rump needs something to alter the public view of him and the answer to his political dream comes in the form of an idea from his lawyer and “yes” man Benedetto Luigi Capone, which involves an intriguing entanglement of characters.   In particular, Eve Coronata is beautiful, intelligent and a former beauty queen looking for some payback when it comes to President Rump . The exchange between the two men is hilarious and sets the tone for the rest of the book.  As well, the additional characters who follow, as the story progresses, offer their own unique personality quirks, issues, and machinations into the fray of this wholly engrossing satire.

Overall, I truly and resonantly enjoyed The Day of the Ferret. It was a gritty humorous jaunt into politics, which while reading often made me laugh or smirk. But most of all, this was a story that showcased (to me at least) the human or inhumane conditions that can be brought on by excesses of political privilege and wealth told in a dark humorous way.  Essentially, ensconced in adept storytelling, and told through characters that were gritty and often morally challenged. Overall, author Michael Woodman brought forth a well-written narrative, replete with seedy politics, plot twists and turns, affairs, backstabs and strange friendships, which ultimately made for a great adult themed read which was very entertaining. This is a definite must add to the “want to read” list.

 

 

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