January 27, 2009
by Ted Dekker & Erin Healy
Thomas Nelson Publishers
Wow! I was hooked from page one of this exciting mystery. I picked the book up in the morning and finished before bedtime. (Didn’t get much else done that day!)
Shawna is trying to deal with her painful past; her mother’s death, her father’s rejection, and her step-mother’s abuse. She has walled off her heart and lost her faith. (Sound familiar? I promise that this one will be different.) On her way home from one more painful argument with her father, Shawna and her brother are in a terrible accident. She wakes up with no memory of the last six months, and her brother… well she can’t find out exactly what has happened to him.
Shawna begins to search for her missing past, and as she does, she begins to encounter the memories of other people. It is a strange and terrifying experience that she cannot understand or control. Is she going crazy? People want her to think so. She doesn’t know what is happening or who she can trust. She only knows that her future is incomplete without knowing her past, no matter how painful. As she continues to try to fill in the gaps, she finds that the search may prove deadly. There are powerful people involved who have a great deal to lose if she remembers the wrong thing.
It’s difficult to write a review without giving away the good stuff. Kiss was enjoyable and suspenseful, with a number of unexpected twists and turns. The characters are engaging – with good guys, and bad guys, and those you can’t quite figure out. Some don’t make sense until the very end, but all falls into place in a very satisfying conclusion. The only problem was that I didn’t want it to end. I suspect that you won’t either!
December 17, 2008
HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS by Robert Liparulo
Thomas Nelson Publishers
What a great book! I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Although written for young adults, it can be enjoyed by any age – although it might prove a bit scary for children.
When dad gets a new job, the King family moves from L.A. to a very small town in northern California. Adjustment is difficult for the family. Leaving their friends behind, they move into a very large and creepy Victorian house in the middle of the deep dark woods. Is there any wonder that mystery awaits? Strange sounds, a stranger wandering the house leaving huge footprints, doorways that lead to… I don’t want to give away the good stuff. You just have to read it!
Although published by Thomas Nelson, known for their Christian books, this could not in any way be considered religious fiction. There is nothing spiritual about the story line and the family never mentions praying or depending on God for help. That was somewhat disappointing to me. However, I did appreciate the wonderful family dynamics. Even with the normal sibling teasing and arguing, Xander, David and Toria have a close and loving relationship with each other and with their parents. In a time when we are bombarded with dysfunctional relationships, it is refreshing to read about a family that actually loves one another and isn’t afraid to show it.
There is, however, a secret that comes back to haunt the King family and puts them in grave danger. The secret is not revealed until the end of the book, paving the way for a great series. The end is a cliffhanger, so be prepared to look for the next book in the Dreamhouse Kings series. The back cover says that “Robert Liparulo’s adult thrillers have received rave reviews.” Having read House of Dark Shadows, I can believe it and am looking forward to reading them.
December 7, 2008
Thomas Nelson Publisher.
Lucas lives apart from society – watching and only rarely participating in the life of the city. He moves through tunnels and buildings, unseen and unnoticed. He longs for connection and tries to find it through observing others. He makes up stories to go with their faces and tries to make their happiness his own. Lucas has learned how to be invisible in the most public of places.
One day he meets another watcher and is drawn into a world of violence and indifference. While it shocks and disgusts him, it also appeals to a part of him that he would rather not recognize. When he tries to intervene, he is pulled into a hall of mirrors where no one is what they seem and the world is uglier and more dangerous than he dreamed it could be.
Lucas finds himself both recruited and pursued. The people who should be trustworthy often turn out to be the most dangerous. The man who has spent his life disengaged from others, becomes the pivot point for plots and counter-plots that leave him running for his life. In the midst of the chaos and fear, he finds that he does indeed have one friend and that one friend is enough.
I expected to enjoy this book but ended up quite disappointed. I didn’t even get interested until a third of the way into the book. Although there was plenty of action, the plot seemed rather aimless. The end was surprisingly abrupt and I was left feeling that it was not quite finished. Character development was very weak and I never really did understand where the author was going with the story. While the basic idea of the book had promise, unfortunately the execution left much to be desired. I wish I could recommend this book, but I’m sorry to say that reading it felt like a waste of time.
November 25, 2008
IN THE SHADOW OF THE SUN KING
Golden Keyes Parsons
Thomas Nelson Publisher
I’ve always enjoyed historical novels, and In the Shadow of the Sun King did not disappoint. The book gave an intriguing glimpse of the complexity and danger of life in the French court, and the descriptions of Versailles made me want to plan a trip to France – now!
The book had plenty of action and the descriptions were captivating, but I thought the character development was a little weak. I like to end a book feeling like I know the characters, and sad that my journey with them is ending. This didn’t quite hit that mark. However, the characters were enjoyable, if not well fleshed out. There was enough adventure and suspense to keep me turning the pages even when my eyelids were drooping.
As I read the book, I was often left wondering if I would risk everything to live my faith openly in a culture that forbade it. We live in a country where it is easy to be a Christian and blend in with the world. Would I be willing to call myself something else and live my faith secretly if it would preserve my comfort and security? Would persecution strengthen my faith or destroy it? These questions all floated through the back of my mind as I read this novel.
The descriptions of life in that time were so interesting that I went online after finishing the book and did a little research about Louis XIV. What a fascinating period of history that was! In the Shadow of the Sun King was an enjoyable read with a generous dollop of history thrown in. I was left with a better understanding of the persecution of the Protestants in France and a desire to read more about that period in history.