Monday, June 30, 2014

And Then There Were None



Title:  And Then There Were None               
Author:  Agatha Christie   http://www.agathachristie.com/
Pages:  247
Year:  2011; originally published in 1939
Publisher:  Harper Collins
As a young teenager, around 13-15 years of age, I saw a black and white movie of this book.  At the time, I loved the movie and decided to read Agatha Christie’s mysteries, which I did, reading any of her mysteries I could get my hands on.  When I had a chance to read this story again, I jumped at it.  It has been many, many years since I read this story and didn’t remember “whodunit”.  I was excited to read a good, old-fashioned, British mystery.
Keeping in mind the culture and time when the book was originally written, I must mention the use of one particular curse word several times in the novel as well as a derogatory attitude toward Jewish people as expressed by one or two of the characters.  I’m not excusing this or agreeing with this, but I just want to make readers aware of it.
The gist of the story is that 10 British people are lured by Mr./Mrs. U.N. Owen to stay for a week on an island in a luxury home once owned by an American.  The only way off the island is by boat.  A local fisherman comes to the island every day with the newspaper and supplies.  Once he has taken the last guest to the island and leaves, everyone gets settled in their room.  The guests gather for before dinner drinks and an unknown voice from an unknown source accuses each guest of murdering someone.  Then, the killing begins.  Thereafter, death becomes a frequent occurrence over the next few days.  In the center of the table is a circular glass stand with 10 china figures on it.  After each murder, one of the figures mysteriously vanishes.  The tension gains tremendously with each murder and everyone is suspicious of each other, trusting no one so it seems.  Readers are treated to the thoughts of each guest at various times, which I really found interesting.
I enjoyed trying to figure out the culprit, even though I was wrong!  The psychological elements of the story are well-done, seeing the characters turn on one another so sure of who was guilty and then their supposed culprit would wind up dead, so the tension ratchets up another notch.  If you like mysteries, you will want to get a copy of this classic “whodunit”.  This has made me think that I just might have to read some more of these oldies, but goodies!
My rating is 4 stars.
Link:  http://www.harpercollins.com/9780062073471/and-then-there-were-none#
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book. The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457
  #monogrammurders

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Lost Loves of WW 2



Title:  Lost Loves of WW II Collection
Author:  Bruce Judisch & Sharon Bernash Smith
Pages:  480
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Barbor Books
Those who love history along with the flavor of mystery will be captivated in no time at all!  These aren’t recently published with Katia in 2010 and For Maria in 2012 were written by Brice Judisch.  The last novel written by Sharon Bernash Smith, The Train Baby’s Mother, was published in 2013.  The novels take readers back to a time when life in other countries was anything but stable or safe.
Katia (2010)
Madeline is an exchange student specifically requested by an older German woman who wants her to write her memoir.  When Madeline first meets Fraulein Mahler in her home, the older woman has more spirit than Madeline is prepared for.  The first action Fraulein Mahler does is to see how much she can push Madeline around.  As the student journalist begins her assignment, what comes next as the interview progresses takes your breath away.
For Maria (2012)
What Madeline sets off to do is to try and locate other family members she learned about when interviewing Fraulein Mahler.  Her heart’s desire is to bring about a family reunited after such a long time apart, but Madeline discovers just how difficult a job she has undertaken.  Trying to balance her family life with her heart’s desire may be more than she can accomplish.  Readers will be engrossed to follow the journalist’s adventure.
The Train Baby’s Mother (2013)
Jammed into a train headed for certain death a couple must find a way to save their baby before it is too late.  Their choice is throw the baby off while they are near a village, hoping that the children nearby will take the baby to someone who will take good care of their little girl.  The one decision brings about a chain of events that touches not only the little girl, but a whole village.
At first I found it hard to get involved in the first story not sure how to pronounce some places overseas where the first story takes place.  Yet, the rich history of WW II pulls the reader deeper into the pages, making it impossible to put down, plus curiosity in how the conclusion was going to be brought about made it worth turning pages!
My rating is 4 stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
 Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Wildflowers of Terezin


Title:  Wildflowers of Terezin
Author:  Robert Elmer
Pages:  355
Year:  2010
Publisher:  Abingdon Press
Historical novels touch the heart as they remind us of those who lived, loved, lost and faced times filled with uncertainty.  In this particular book, the author highlights the Danish resistance during WWII based on real events told through fictional characters. Through fiction, we can be inspired to resist any evil intent with faith and hope amidst suffering and trials.
The main female character is a Jewish nurse who seeks to help anyone and everyone who is hurting even at the risk of her own life.  Hanne Abrahamsen isn’t a practicing Jew; yet, as trials become more intense, she unknowingly remembers the prayers she has recited since she was a youth.  When she meets a Lutheran pastor named Steffen, who has a passion for God, Hanne is intrigued.  As the town learns that the third Reich plans on gathering the thousands of Jews who live in Copenhagen, many begin to participate in the resistance movement.
The novel is a fascinating and spellbinding tale mainly focusing on Hanne and Steffen’s growing romance in uncertain times.  Dangers lurk in the shadows and some people aren’t sure who they can trust anymore when the resistance encounters trouble after trouble getting Jews out of town.  Some of the characters are ones which highlight the evil they harbor in their hearts.  Others show the sacrifice they are willing to make to protect the lives of God’s people.
I can’t imagine living in a time when such evil was unleashed on a certain people no matter the age or gender.  What courage it took for those willing to hide and evacuate these people to safety, some at the cost of their own lives.  May we never forget such historical events or those who lived or died during that time.  It should spur us to action to be prayerful and ready to resist any evil intent to destroy life.
My rating is 4 stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Spirit Bridge by James L. Rubart


Title:  Spirit Bridge (Well Spring #3)
Author:  James L. Rubart
Pages:  375
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Once again the small group of Warriors Riding is attacked by Zennon and his demonic soldiers.  There are two new characters introduced in this book, Simon and Miyo.  At first, it is unknown if they are evil, good or neutral in their dealings with the Warriors.  Their roles are discovered, and the Warriors begin battle strategy.  After another skirmish, the Warriors think they are done only to discover another huge battle with Zennon awaits them.  This battle will take every single one of their skills working together.  As the time for the fight looms closer, Zennon’s hidden strategy is released and threatens to destroy all the Warriors have worked for.  Some are deceived and unwilling to open their eyes while others climb to new heights with the Spirit.  As in the other books, there are individuals who must deal with their sin before it is too late and the devil gets a foot hold by sneaking in through a seam in the soul.
While there are some great battle scenes, both in the spiritual realm and the physical realm, this last book in the trilogy fell a little flat for me.  I can’t really put my finger as to why, but the first two books I couldn’t put down and immensely enjoyed, giving them both 5 stars.  I did enjoy meeting the characters again with their individual nuances and personalities, their strengths and weaknesses.  I also liked the visible manifestations of the power of prayer, faith and belief in God.  I thought it great how the author pointed out how deceptive and sly the lies of Satan are and how to thwart them.  I can recommend this entire series wholeheartedly as it will challenge how readers think about how they view themselves and their place in God’s kingdom contrasted with how God views them.  I look forward to see what this imaginative and talented author writes next.
My rating is 4 stars.

Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Memory's Door

Title:  Memory’s Door (A Well Spring Novel #2)
Author:  James L. Rubart
Pages:  353
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
This story picks up shortly after Soul’s Gate, the first book in the series, ends.  It is just weeks later when the Warriors Riding are called together and are told they will be fighting the Wolf soon.  Each member faces his or her own temptation to avoid the fight.  Again, they are called to travel into the spiritual realm to do battle or to gain information.  This time they might have some help from some new characters introduced.  Are Tristan, Jotham, Orson and Simon humans?  Demons?  Angels?
Once again the Riders meet Zennon in differing forms.  I loved how they used Scripture and the name of Jesus as their strength, as well as their close communication with the Spirit to guide them.  Zennon and his ilk try their best to deceive the Riders on their various journeys.  Each warrior must use the gifts God has given them in their role within the group to thwart evil.  However, they can’t fight alone and win; they must rely on help from their fellow warriors, but most importantly they must rely on their faith in God and His abilities, faithfulness and love.
James Rubart has been gifted by God with a great ability to tell a story.  His descriptive vocabulary creates vivid images in the mind that bring the story to life.  I could almost feel the joy, love, hope and freedom the warriors experienced on some of their travels.  The visual word pictures he uses easily show the points he makes.  I especially liked the visual of the church congregation with their backpacks being loaded down with rules and regulations.  I think readers will also identify with Marcus, the secret he carried and how it affected his whole life.  These images also caused me to think about the spiritual realm and become more aware of the unseen battles being fought.  I’m looking forward to the conclusion of the trilogy in Spirit Bridge, which I’ll review here soon.  If you missed book one, Soul’s Gate, grab a copy and start with that one, then continue on a fantastic journey with Memory’s Door.
My rating is 5 stars.
Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Silenced (Alaska Courage #4)

Title:  Silenced (Alaskan Courage #4)
Author:  Dani Pettrey
Pages:  327
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Bethany House Publishers
Book #4 in this series doesn’t disappoint!  The story this time centers on Kayden McKenna and Jake Westin.  It is again set in Alaska, but unlike book #3 that was set mostly at sea, this was is back on land.  We also see a lot more of the fifth McKenna sibling, Reef, in this book.
While Kayden is out rock climbing she discovers a body.  It is quickly discovered that the climber was murdered and didn’t die due to an accidental fall while climbing.  With the abrupt resignation of the sheriff, Landon Grainger is promoted from deputy to temporary acting sheriff.  Since he is overloaded with work he asks Jake to temporarily be deputized and work the murder case.  Kayden is also asked for her climbing expertise to help Jake investigate.  Both Jake and Kayden are secretly thrilled they will be working together as they both have realized their strong attachment to the other.  They won’t tell each other how they feel because they can’t see a future together.  As they investigate, their attraction and love only increase with the time spent in each other’s company.
Jake discovers he really enjoys being back on the force.  He tells himself it is only temporary as God didn’t make him to be a cop because of his failure on his last case three years ago in Boston.  That failure caused him to resign his job as detective and move to Alaska to start over.  That case also cost him a lot more than his job.  He knows he shouldn’t open his heart again to future hurt, but someone Kayden has snatched his heart without him being aware of it.  He will do anything to keep her safe, which skills will come to the forefront as they encounter someone from his past who will stop at nothing to hurt Jake by hurting Kayden.  Kayden must also admit to herself how she has cut herself off emotionally from her family and friends when her mother died.  She is terrified of inheriting her mother’s rheumatoid arthritis and as a result is a health and exercise fanatic almost to the point of obsession because she needs to feel like she can control something about her life.  Can she surrender this control to the One who is always in control?  The One who always knows what is best for His children?
I have spent a lot of time with the McKenna family over the past week as I’ve read all four books over that time period.  They have come to be like my own brothers and sisters.  What a wonderful job their parents did, raising such strong Christian children.  While strong Christians, they aren’t perfect.  I can identify with their foibles and struggles, which makes them so easy to relate to.  There is also a lot of action and suspense to enjoy as well.  I can’t wait to read Reef’s story!
My rating is 5 stars.
Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457