Thursday, April 28, 2016

Brooklyn on Fire by Lawrence H. Levy

Brooklyn on Fire by Lawrence H. Levy is the second in the Mary Handley Mystery series.  You don't have to have read the first one which is Second Street Station.  Mary Handley was made famous in New York City when she received credit for solving this mystery but now it is 18 months later and Mary is not exactly setting the world on fire with her sleuthing skills.  No one seems interested until a murderer is on the loose strangling people and then setting the site on fire and at the same time Emily Worsham seeks to employ her to find out who murdered her Uncle John Worsham.  Now no one except Emily seems to think that John has been murdered and he wasn't exactly murdered yesterday--its been 20 years since John's death of what everyone believed to be heart failure .  Well Mary uses her status to get the body exhumed only to find a casket full of rocks buried in the cemetery.    Hmm that would peak anyone's interest even if after working for 4 weeks on the case Mary has only been paid for 2 of those weeks.  Then Emily is murdered and Mary finds that Emily also known as Abigail is an actress who had been hired to impersonate the real Emily.  Where will it all end and will Mary figure it all out before more are murdered.
This novel is set in early New York City in 1890.  This is the time that millionaires like the Carnegies, and the Rockefellers were coming into their own and joining ranks with the Vanderbilt family and others like them.  This book though a novel brings in the crooked politics taking place during that time which helped them achieve their millions.  The story is fiction but it is set within factual circumstances.  During this time of politics as our country  gets ready for a new election it lets the reader be aware that the shenanigans taking place  today are nothing new just different from the "Good Ol Days".
I liked this book and would recommend it for reading for anyone who loves a good mystery.  I often find that men who write books where a woman is the leading lady don't get the essence of how a woman thinks this author has it down.  Mr. Levy has a talent for knowing a woman's thought and why she does as she does which adds to the realism of this novel.  Good book thank you Mr. Levy.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

A Dream of Miracles by Ruth Reid

A Dream of Miracles by Ruth Reid is this author's 3rd book in her Amish Wonders series.  In this novel Mattie Diener is starting to move on with her life after the death of her husband, Andy.  Her son, Nathan, who has always been sickly and small was once again sick.  When she takes him to see her familiar doctor she finds that he has gone on a sabbatical and left Dr. Wellington to run his office.  Dr. Wellington quickly looks and Nathan and his chart and immediately diagnosis child abuse.  She starts and investigation with child protection services.  Mattie is confused by the hospital admission and their insisting on TV monitors.   In addition, Nathan who speaks only German cannot understand the nurse and the nurse is concerned that he doesn't understand her.  The child protection investigator sometimes seems friendly enough but Mattie doesn't know if she can trust him.  Mattie sees some improvement in Nathan's condition and takes him out of the hospital against medical advice.  This starts a downward spiral into Nathan and Mattie's other child, Amanda being taken into state custody and Mattie being jailed for abuse.  The child protection investigator, Bo, can't shake the feeling that Mattie is innocent but also has recently made a mistake in judgment which resulted in the death of a child and he didn't want to repeat it with Nathan. Bo has experience in being on the wrong side of the belt when he was a child in an Amish family so he knows that though the Amish do have their problems he just is sure that Mattie deserves the benefit of the doubt.  To find out how this saga pans out read this delightful but though-provoking book.

Child abuse, misjudging child abuse and Munchausen's syndrome are all difficult subjects to read about and this novel is no different.  I did enjoy how Ms. Reid wove the story and held my interest though sometimes it was difficult to read the subject matter.  As always her novel is well written and researched.  I love reading this author.
I received this book from Booklook for this review.  

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Counted With the Stars by Connilyn Cossette

Counted With the Stars by Connilyn Cossette is this authors first novel and also the first of the Out of Egypt series.  This novel tells the fictional story of how Kiya who was an Egyptian born of privilege who had always had a slave dress her and do all of her bidding from birth became sold by her father into slavery to a woman who hated her.  Her family had always lived beyond their means but in order to get out of debt her father sold her to his friend.  How could this father who had always treated her like a prize jewel just sell her to avoid shame?  Her mother now sold items in the market to pay the bills.  Kiya was screamed at daily by her mistress for her numerous mistakes.  In the year she had been enslaved she still made many mistakes.  Then strange things started happening in Egypt.  The River Nile had started to bleed and stunk with the many dead fish and other water life.  Kiya heard from her Hebrew slave friend, Shira, that a prophet Moses had returned and because of him that this was only the first of many signs that the Hebrews would be set free.  Sure enough soon after the Nile started to run clear again there was the many frogs. Frogs everywhere.  You couldn't sweep fast enough to even clear a path for the mistress to walk without a frogs slipping underfoot.  The frog plague had just barely ended when the biting insects came--oddly enough to only bite the Egyptians.  When the darkness plague came it nearly scared the wits out of Kiya.  Kiya had always been terrified of darkness and now 3 days and nights of darkness.  Shira said that the Hebrews would be set free and she would not be enslaved anymore.  Shira told wonderful stories of her Jewish culture.  How could Kiya believe these stories that Shira swore were true?  Can Kiya renounce her culture and believe this slave girl and her prophet Moses?

I liked this story of the escape from Egypt and can hardly wait until the next story of Shira comes out.  This fictional account of how the average slave made the trip into the Promised Land is an interesting accounting of how it may have been for average slave.  The Bible only tells of how it was for Moses and his family but how was it for the rest of the slaves?  How did they find out what was coming next?  Did it just sneak up on them like the rest of Egypt?  How did the water stand up to let the people walk through on the dry land?  Read this book to find answers and then decide for yourself.
I received this book from BethanyHouse for this review.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Forgiving My Daughter's Killer by Kate Grosmaire

Forgiving My Daughter's Killer by Kate Grosmaire is quite possibly the hardest book that you will ever read.  BUT if you want to read a humbling book about grace and forgiveness this is that book.  Kate and Andy are very close to this young man, Conor, though they do not want their daughter to marry him.  It is not that they expected him to kill their daughter, they don't even suspect that there is any violence in their relationship.  In fact when they first hear that their daughter, Ann, has been shot their first thought is, " where is Conor?"  Conor while facing some difficulty with his own parents had even lived with them for a short while.  But just a little while into finding out that Conor is who shot their daughter who is now clinging to life on a ventilator both Kate and Andy decide separately to forgive him.  This book not only tells the process that each of them went through to get to this point but also what they did after to help Conor through the wheels of justice and offer him restorative justice.  Restorative justice not just in their heart but working with the justice system and being the first capital murder case to offer restorative justice in Tallahassee.  Conor placed Kate as one of the only 4 people that could visit him in jail even though that meant that if she never visited him he could not replace her for a month.  Conor's parents though they had never met the Grosmaires immediately came to the hospital room to offer whatever help they could.  This began the process of the two families working together to help Conor through the justice process.

This book is most definitely a difficult read.  I had to stop numerous times during the first 4 chapters to stop crying.  This book does not portray any of the characters as perfect.  No one would ever confuse this book with fiction.  This book tells in a loving way how Kate and her husband, Andy, lived through and came out on the other side of their youngest daughter's horrible murder and decided to forgive him.  Now I don't mean forgive and forget they will never forget Ann and what she meant to them I mean forgive him and want good for him.  They still wanted him punished but didn't want him to spend the rest of his life in prison--rather they wanted him to complete a shorter stint in prison and then do community work in things that mattered to Ann.
There are probably children out there who could read this book and get some good out of it but let me be the first to say this is an adult book with hard difficult matters to discuss on murder and the justice system.  I am so glad that I read it but you must be prepared for it especially if you have children of dating age.  I would most definitely say read it but just be prepared this is not a pretty subject and though the author is very loving in the handling of the subject some things you just can't pretty up and murder by shotgun is one of them.
I received this book from Booksneeze for this review.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Room for Hope by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Room for Hope by Kim Vogel Sawyer is an endearing novel of hope when everything around you is falling apart.  This novel is set just after the stock market plummet of  the 1930s.  Neva's husband, Warren, travels a lot for the business that they run in the little community that they live.  When he returns he always brings new merchandise to refill the shelves in their little store.  Neva runs the store while he is away but she is happy to turn over the responsibility when he returns to home.  Neva had always wanted a large family but after the twin's birth she will never be able to have more children, Bud and Belle will have to be enough.  When the wagon finally rolls up to the house Neva is shocked to learn from the driver that Warren and his wife have died leaving their 3  children for Aunt Neva to finish raising.  HIS WIFE?  When Neva gets over the shock she agrees to raise the children, well physically not emotionally.  She finds she can't even look into the eyes of little Charlie since he looks so much like Warren.  Then Charlie runs away.  Not only because Bud hates him and teases him but because he believes that Aunt Neva hates him.  When Sheriff Jesse finds him stowed away along with his oldest little sister behind the seat of his truck Charlie opens up about his troubles living with his new family.  Jesse has a talk with Neva.  Will Neva be able to open up her heart to her dead husband's other children and love them as her own?  What other secrets did Warren hide from his wives?  Will the town love and accept the new family with all their hidden faults and secrets?

I loved this book.  I usually like this author but this is my favorite so far.  This book really looks at the characters both the good Christians and those who have fallen away and sees their faults and either helps them to live with life as it is or change in a way that Jesus would have done.  Neva needs to live with her dead husband's faults as well as deal with the grief of losing the love of her life.  She learns to be strong enough to handle all her new responsibilities as well as learn to accept help as it comes along.  Neva needs to learn to trust people again as well as deal with the citizens who look down their nose at her for something for which she has no control. Can she?   Great book.  Good read.  Anyone who loves reading historical Christian love stories will love reading one with some meat in it.
I received this book from WaterBrook Press for this review.