Monday, May 24, 2010

"The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie" by Alan Bradley

"Unless some sweetness at the bottom lie,
Who cares for all the crinkling of the pie?" pg. 419

Flavia is an eleven year old girl with a huge imagination, a gift for chemistry, and a love of "solving." She lives at Buckshaw with her father and two sisters (Ophelia - 17 y.o., and Daphne - 13 y.o.). After a dead bird is found by their door and a dead body in the garden, Flavia sets out to solve the crime. Did someone in her own house do this? If so, who? If not, who acted unnoticed around them? Flavia calls on all of her knowledge to puzzle out pieces to the puzzle. But, will she figure it out in time? Will she be found out?

I really enjoyed this book and had a hard time putting it down. While it was hard to think of an eleven year old working through some of these scientific puzzles, it was also intriguing to step into her mind. It was fun to read about her process for extracting poisons from plants. The characters are fun, and the story drew me in. If you haven't read a fun mystery lately, this is the book for you! I hope it becomes a series so that I can follow her exploits!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

"Forget Me Not" by Vicki Hinze

Kelly is carjacked, attacked, and left for dead. She has amnesia and the only clues to who she is are a cross necklace and a business card. Thankfully, she still has her faith in God. Ben lost his wife and son to a murderous shooter three years ago, along with his faith in God. They meet through the Crossroads Crisis Center, and when they meet, there are fireworks. What is the tie between them? What is NINA? Can Kelly remember who she is before it is too late? Murder, amnesia, NINA, and more suspenseful moments await you as you open "Forget Me Not" by Vicki Hinze.

I won this book through the "Summer Suspense Giveaway" at WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers, and am so glad I did. It is a murder mystery filled with suspenseful twists and turns that kept me reading. It is a great read and is for anyone who loves suspense! I will definitely look for more books by Ms. Hinze.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

"The Heart Mender" by Andy Andrews

Andy Andrews writes a beautiful story of love and the process of forgiveness. As the story begins, we are introduced to two people destined to meet. Josef is in the German Navy against his will. Helen is angry with everyone because of the death of her husband in the war. Can each help the other forgive the ravages of war? The characters and story line immediately draw the reader in and push you to keep reading until the end. Is the story truth, fiction, or a mixture of both? Readers everywhere will decide that for themselves.

I received this complementary copy of the book as part of the "Book Sneeze" program at Thomas Nelson Publishers.  It has definitely made it to my favorites shelf!  The characters, setting, and story were realistic and the plot was believable. It is a great gift book for the broken-hearted; will lead to great discussions as a book group selection; and is wonderful for personal spiritual growth. Here is one of my favorite passages from the book.

"Warming to the thought, Margaret asked, "Billy, where is it written that for one person to forgive another, the offender must ask for forgiveness? Where is it written - not in the Bible, for sure - that for one person to forgive another, the offender must deserve it?" Margaret stood. Eyes narrowed, head cocked, she asked, "how about this...where is it written that for one person to forgive another, the offender has to approve it, accept it, or even know about it?" pg. 157

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"The Other Boleyn Girl" by Philippa Gregory

Adventure, intrigue, romance, court politics, double-dealing – these are all part of “The Other Boleyn Girl.” This work of fiction is truly a masterpiece. Philippa Gregory gives us a wonderful view of court life as she tells us her story of the Boleyns and Howards. Family loyalty reaches new heights as the women are expected to do anything, and do. Family rivalry also reaches new heights as the futures of two sisters clash. Children are pawns as the adults try to figure out who is going to come out on top. What would you be willing to do to see your family rise in rank, prestige, and power? Can true love ever prevail?

I totally enjoyed this book and felt like I had stepped back in time. The characters are real, and I had empathy for most of them and anger for some of them. The story drew me in from page one and I could hardly put the book down. It is a great book for either individual readers or groups, lending itself to some topical discussion.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

"Plan B" by Pete Wilson

"He (God) knows what you're going through. He's right beside you, sharing your pain, even though he may not take it away." pg. 96

What do you do when your plan for something falls through? "Plan B" offers encouragement and strength through Scripture passages, personal stories, and wise applications that you can keep going. Pete Wilson masterfully shows how God stays with us though all the storms in our lives, never leaving even though we may think otherwise. Can you still praise Him when things go very wrong? Yes. Jan's story, as well as that of Jeff and Vicki, will encourage you. Is having to go to "Plan B" a bad thing? This book will help you  explore that question and answer it for yourself.

I enjoyed reading "Plan B" for many reasons. It is uplifting and yet doesn't downplay the way we feel when life takes a wrong turn. It was nice to read about over-comers! There were times I thought Mr. Wilson's use of today's lingo was too heavy, but it didn't ruin my enjoyment of this book. I recommend it not only to other individuals, but to groups as well. The topics explored lend themselves to discussion.