Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Prophet Jeremiah's Early Life

The story opens when Jeremiah, an unruly twelve-year-old, invades the stall of an idol seller. He destroys some of the idols and calls on the people to return to the worship of the one true God and not put their faith in idols.

Josiah, the king of Judea, knows Jeremiah well because he is often involved in escapades that call the Jews to worship the true God, but start riots that cause Jeremiah to be brought before the king.

Although this book is categorized as a novel, it is much more of a history of the time of Nebuchadnezzar when Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon were powers in the Middle East. The history is well researched and there are numerous footnotes. As a history, it is well done.

As a novel, the book leaves much to be desired. The characters are described and there is dialog, but they are primarily used to tell the history, either in their thoughts, or in description by the author.

I can't recommend this book as a novel, but if you enjoy history, particularly biblical history, you may enjoy this book.

I received this book from BookLook Bloggers for a review.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

More Romance than Mystery

Lydia Bancroft is fascinated by the mysterious man who visits her reading room. He appears every day and reads for awhile but hasn't asked for a library card. In fact they haven't spoken.

Lydia's father's death changed everything for her and her mother. With no money, Lydia is forced to work in the library, but her mother hasn't given up on getting her a good marriage. All seems well when Jason Avondale proposes, but Jason has secrets.

Sebastian Marks, the mystery man from the library, also has secrets. He grew up in extreme poverty and now runs a gambling hall. Reading gives him escape from his life, and he has become fascinated by Lydia.

Lydia and Sebastian become friends when he steps in to keep Avondale from hurting her, but their secrets keep them from the closeness they desire.

This book is described as a mystery, but the mystery is very much in the background. The heading of most chapters is a news story from the Courier newspaper about the beatings and murders that take place around the gambling clubs. However, there is no attempt to solve the crimes. They form a background and lend support for why Sebastian feels insecure courting a lady of good character. The story focuses almost completely on the romance, although the author does bring the threads together at the end.

If you enjoy a period romance, this is a good one. However, don't expect a traditional mystery where the characters work to solve the crime.

I received this book from BookLook Bloggers for a review.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Meeting Your Double Can be a Nightmare

Average people dealing with normal problems find themselves living a nightmare. Tess and her ex-husbland, Nick are trying to co-parent their daughter. The relationship is uneasy but fairly cordial. However, when she sees him on a street in Boston, she thinks he ignores her, and it makes her furious.

Frank is battling alcoholism and the loss of his dream of being a crime reporter. He thinks he may have found an out when he meets his violent double in his own home.

When it turns out that Nick is in New Hampshire not Boston when Tess saw him, she wants to investigate. Her friend Lili agrees to help her, and it becomes even stranger when Lili also finds that she has a double. Their search leads them to an elegant townhouse on Beacon Hill where events begin to spin out of control.

If you like ghosts, paranormal, and horror movies, you love this book. Seeing your double can be frightening, but when evil surrounds you, it becomes a nightmare from which you can't wake.

The plot is fast paced and cleverly written taking advantage of the idea of doppelgängers with a new twist. The characters feel like real people which makes the horror stronger. I enjoyed the book, but unless you're a hard core horror fan, I wouldn't suggest reading it when you're alone on a stormy night.

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

Friday, November 20, 2015

A Farmer's Christmas

Even on Christmas Eve, a farmer's work continues. Casey lives on a farm with her animal and equipment friends. They're all looking forward to Christmas: decorating the farm, making cookies, putting up stockings, and preparing for the celebration.

On Christmas Eve Casey still has to feed the animals, and when a fence needs mending she has to take care of it. On top of all the work, Casey feels ill and falls asleep before the preparations for Christmas are complete. It could be a very disappointing Christmas, but Casey has good friends on the farm.

I love stories about farms probably because I grew up on one and live on one. If you don't live on a farm, it's hard to envision how much work has to be done every day to keep the animals fed, the equipment working, and the fences mended. This is a good book for children. It shows them a different way of life, unless they live on a farm.

The book has a good message about the importance of friends and family. The illustrations are cheerful and the text is easy for older children to read, or to read to younger children.

I highly recommend this book for part of your Christmas collection.

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

Love and Challenges for a Single Mother

When she was seventeen, Ally made a mistake. Now she has a beautiful daughter to show for it. While taking care of her daughter, Ally managed to finish college, get a graduate degree and is now teaching at Brown. Amid all the responsibilities of teaching, including a difficult boss, and taking care of her daughter, Ally hasn't much time for romance, or sex.

One day she's feeling completely frazzled with responsibilities when Jake, a student, comes into her life challenging her to have some fun. Ally is attracted, but sends him away afraid of how it might affect her daughter and perceptions of her on campus.

Ten years later, her daughter is grown up struggling to make her own way when surprise, Jake shows up as her daughter's date.

This is a book you'll enjoy if you like romantic stories without too much explicit sex. Ally is likable. If you're a single mom, you'll empathize with her dilemma of raising a daughter, being a professional, and putting her sex life on hold. Jake is the kind of almost too good man you'd love to know, and Lizzie has her own rebellious charm.

The plot is a bit thin. There are no major catastrophes. Instead the challenges revolve around a single mother trying to let go of her grown daughter. and the daughter trying to find her own way.

I received this book from Dutton, Penguin-Random House for a review.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Tangled Web of Murder Confronts Liska and Kovac

Detective Nikki Liska misses her partner Kovac. With her sons growing up, she feels the need to be at home more so she transferred to the cold case unit. Here she catches a case she doesn't want. Thomas Duffy, a decorated sex crimes detective, was killed 25 years ago. In spite of the best efforts of the police, his case remains unsolved, and Nikki fears it may stay that way.

Kovac has a new partner. Taylor is green and Kovac resents the time it takes to bring him up to speed. They catch a case Nikki would love to have. A professor and his wife were hacked to death by a killer wielding a Japaneese samurai sword.

A third complication in this novel is Evie Burke. She has the perfect life, but she's hiding an old secret, and it may be catching up with her.

This was my first experience with Liska and Kovac. Although not working together, their paths continue to cross. Nikki's tough and Kovac is a typical old school detective. They work well together.

The complex plot follows the three threads weaving back and forth until pulling them together at the end. I thought the author did a masterful job keeping me interested in all three plot lines. The twist at the end came as a surprise, but the author had cleverly left clues, so I wasn't shocked by the ending.

I highly recommend this book if you're a fan of detective stories where the detectives interview suspects and look for clues to solve crimes.

I received this book from Penguin-Random House for a review.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Death Greets the New Manager of Java Jive

When his father dies, Pete is left trying to manage Java Jive and hold down his regular job. Recruiting his ex-girlfriend, Juliette, as the new manager seems like a perfect solution. Juliette had her own café before her fiancé ran off with her cash and forced her to close.

Juliette is experienced, but she's not totally ready for the fact that some of the staff, particularly the cook, just don't want her there. She's planning to get around the staff problem when the cook turns up dead, and she's afraid that she's the primary suspect.

The plot is amusing and fast paced. It's fairly easy to figure out what's happening, but there are twists that keep it amusing. The setting in a coffeehouse is realistic and makes a good background for the unusual characters that populate the novel.

Although the antics are amusing, I found Juliette too adventurous and naïve. She jumps to the conclusion that she must be the principal suspect and drags Pete along to help her solve the mystery before the police do. I did love Gertie, Pete's grandmother. She is a completely delightful character who makes you glad you're reading the book.

The book is a fast amusing read with a mystery that takes some thought to unravel. If you enjoy the Evanovich books, you'll enjoy this novel.

I received the book from Alibi for a review.