Friday, January 19, 2018

A Guardian Angel Story

Maxine has always been fascinated by the locked armoire in her grandmother’s room. When her grandmother dies, Maxine inherits the key. She has to search for it. When she finds it and opens the door, she’s surprised to find the only thing on the shelves is a beautiful feather. Puzzled and slightly disappointed, she picks it up and a glittering angel appears.

The angel is her guardian angel. When asked what she most wants, Maxine confesses that she wants to know her purpose in life. With this goal, they set out on an adventure. The angel shows her wonderful things and terrible things. Through all these experiences, Maxine understands that God has a plan. Some things can be changed, but the important thing she learns is to accept God’s plan.

I could not warm up to the main character. Maxine seemed too much the good girl, expecting always to be the chosen one. I found this somewhat repellent and some of the adventures boring. However, the book is not difficult to read and the over all spiritual journey is interesting.

If you enjoy Christian stories about angels and the magic of the universe, this is a well done book. The adventures Maxine goes on show both the beauty and the tragedy of the world. It’s an enjoyable journey and a quick read.

I received this book from PR by the book for this review.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A Legal Thriller with a Background of Domestic Violence

Emilie Wesley is an attorney working at the Haven, a women’s shelter. Because of her own abusive relationship and that she has a stalker, Emilie feels close to these women. Kaylene Adams is a woman Emilie wants to help. She is very attached to her two young daughters and wants to get them away from their abusive father.

Outside the courthouse, Emilie waits for Kaylene to arrive for her hearing to get a restraining order against her husband, but Kaylene doesn’t show. With horror, Emilie learns that Kaylene is dead, an apparent suicide after killing one of her daughters and wounding the other. Unable to believe the story, Emilie begins an independent search to prove that Kaylene couldn’t have done these terrible things. Although the director of the Haven tells Emilie to move on from the case, she can’t. Kaylene’s brother, Reid, is also sure that Kaylene couldn’t have killed the girls. Together, he and Emily work to solve the case.

The plot of this novel is very topical. It focuses on women in abusive relationships and how difficult it is for some of them to move on and others to escape. Although, the ending was no surprise, the author does a good job of keeping the story moving both through the search for facts and Reid and Emilie’s budding romance.

Emilie is a driven character. In some ways, it makes it hard to read about how distraught she is over her client’s death. I felt her attitude was almost too over the top, but it works in this tragic story, especially since Emilie is at the same time being pursued by a stalker.

If you enjoy legal thrillers, this is a good one.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A Missing Diadem and an Egyptian God Stalking London

Victoria and Stoker are ensconced in Belvedere, a museum they are starting for their benefactor, the Earl of Rosemorran. However, their work is interrupted by a disappearance that could put Stoker in danger.

The Tiverton Expedition is returning to London from Egypt after a successful season. They uncovered the unfinished tomb of an Egyptian princess. The princess’ mummy was wearing a priceless diadem and the grave-goods constitute a significant find. Unfortunately the diadem is missing along with the expedition photographer.

Victoria and Stoker are drawn into the mystery because Stoker is the only enemy the police are aware of for the photographer. Stoker’s ex-wife is married to the photographer, and it is well known in London that there is bad blood between the two men. So Stoker is in danger of becoming a suspect. Victoria would to anything to help Stoker, so they are immediately involved in trying to solve the disappearance and find the missing diadem.

As usual, Deanna Raybourn creates an enthralling picture of London in the late 1800s. The Egyptian background is particularly well done. The pace is fast and the outcome somewhat of a surprise, although, I thought the mystery was less engrossing than in the previous two books.

The best part of the book was the deepening romance between Victoria and Stoker. There is no overt sex (although Victoria would not be averse to it), but the tension between the two leads to misunderstandings as well as tender moments. The fact that they are so adept at pushing each other’s buttons shows
the depths of the attraction.

If you enjoy historical romance with an Egyptian motif, this is a delightful book.

I received this book from Berkley Publishing for this review.  

Friday, January 12, 2018

Adult Children Still Need Your Prayers

Although our children grow up and have children of their own, they never stop needing our prayers because the challenges of life never cease. Jodie Berndts book is an excellent way to shape our prayers for the special needs of our adult children.

The book is structured around the particular problems that face children once they’re grown up. Each chapter deals with a problem of older children: relationships, finding a home, securing a job, health crises, and dealing with addictions. Although we don’t wish problems on our children, they happen. Once the children are on their own, there is a limit to how we can help them. Prayer is one of the best ways.

The book is filled with the author’s experiences with her own children as well as the experiences of other parents. Even if you do everything well, troubles will occur. Instead of feeling guilt about what you did wrong, look to help through meaningful prayers.

At the end of each chapter the author has a series of Bible verses to use in your prayers for your child followed by verses to use for yourself. It’s important to remember that when we’re worried about our children, we have to back off and worry about our responses as well.

This is an excellent resource for parents who see their children from afar, living their own lives. The stories of other parents will let you see that you’re not alone and the prayers will give you a good way to connect with God.

I received this book from Handlebar Publishing for this review.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Renovating an Apartment in Paris is Not For the Faint Hearted

David Lebovitz loves his life in Paris. It was nearly perfect, but he wanted to own an apartment rather than rent. The search was time consuming and frustrating. Nothing seemed right. Then he found the “perfect” place. It needed work, but it had possibilities.

Purchasing the apartment was nearly as frustrating as looking for it. After many problems, including finding that the renovations would be far more expensive than he planned. The deal was done. That was only the beginning.

The restoration began, but it seemed for every improvement there were additional problems. David writes about the difficulties with humor, but the reader can see what a difficult situation it was. It makes you think twice about renovating an apartment in a foreign country, although from experience I can say that it can be equally frustrating in the US.

In addition to the tales of woe, the book has lively descriptions of life in Paris, particularly tracking down tasty food. I admit it makes me jealous to think of being able to buy such delicious pastries and produce within walking distance in your neighborhood.

Being a cookbook writer, David also includes recipes. I only tried the beef stew. It was delicious. I’m sure the other recipes would be equally delightful. The sprinkling of French words in the text can be off-putting if you’re not familiar with the language, but it does add to the atmosphere.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.   

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Murder and Intrigue in Gilded Age New York

An exotic Renaissance themed house party ends in tragedy when the owner, Bayard Van Duyvil and his wife Annabelle, are murdered. Bay is found with a knife in chest in the back garden. Annabelle is presumed to have drowned in the river. It’s a scandal for the old New York family, doubly so since Annabelle is English and society has suspected that she’s up to no good.

Janie, Bay’s sister, believes that there’s more to the tragedy than is being reported. She joins with Burke, a newspaper reporter, to find the truth no matter where it leads.

The book presents a well researched picture of the gilded age. The background and descriptions are very well done as are the character’s motivations. My favorite character was Janie. She had been beaten down by her mother, who wanted to be the arbiter of society, but Janie maintained her independence even working with poor women who were trying to better themselves.

The mystery is not a police procedural where witnesses are interviewed. We’re led to the solution through getting to know the characters. Two English girls are involved, Georgina and Annabelle. Are they two different people, or the same? Bay is an illusive character. He’s wealthy and handsome, but almost too good to be true. Does he have a secret?

I enjoyed the plot and the background of New York in the Gilded Age. I recommend this book if you enjoy well written historical novels with interesting characters and background.

I received this book from St Martin’s Press for this review.

Pike and Jennifer Thwart an International Incident and Rescue Aaron

Aaron and Shoshana, now married, are freelancing for Mossad. Aaron is tracking a group of suspicious men who Mossad worries are involved with the Israeli Diamond Exchange. Shoshana has been left behind, because Aaron takes Alexandra, a novice who works at the Diamond Exchange, as his partner. Shoshana is not happy.

Coincidentally, Pike and Jennifer are tracking a US arms dealer, Tyler Malloy. The Task Force, believes he may be engaged in subversive activities. The trail leads Pike and Jennifer to Israel where they try to meet up with Aaron and Shoshana. Shoshana puts them off. She hasn’t heard from Aaron and fears the worst.

The two threads come together for an exciting ending. As the all Pike Logan books, the action is non-stop. Also as usual, Pike moves beyond his assignment and has to convince the boss, Kurt, to let him go ahead.

I love the Pike Logan series; this is the 12th book. There’s a good blend of action and interplay between the characters. This book has particularly good character development. Shoshana, who is one of my favorite characters, grows significantly. Her love for Aaron turning her from a killing machine into a more vulnerable human.

At the end of the book, Taylor has a description of how he got interested in the plot and researched it. I highly recommend reading this section, but not until you’ve finished the book to avoid spoilers. It’s almost as exciting as the book itself.

I received this book from Dutton for this review.