Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Rare Earth


Back Cover

Marc Royce stares out of the helicopter, a sense of foreboding rising with the volcanic cloud. Below, the Rift Valley slashes across Africa like a scar. Decades of conflicts, droughts, and natural disasters have left their mark.

Dispatched to audit a relief organization, Royce is thrust into the squalor and chaos of Kenyan refugee camps. But his true mission focuses on the area's reserves of once-obscure minerals now indispensable to high-tech industries. These strategic elements - called rare earths - have inflamed tensions on the world's stage and stoked tribal rivalries. As Royce prepares to report back to Washington, he seizes on a bold and risky venture for restoring justice to this troubled land.

Review

Marc Royce is an agent for the State Department and does undercover covert operations when needed.  Last time it was the Middle East, and this time he is being sent to the heart of Africa to look into a relief organization.  The only problem is that he doesn’t know what he is looking for.  There is something about the organization that is raising red flags, and it is up to him to pinpoint what it is.

Against the backdrop of an erupting volcano, Marc navigates the politics of a ravaged land to find the truth.  From corruption within an aid organization, to displaced villagers, Marc handles everything thrown at him with a clear, level-headed, if not a bit unorthodox, approach. 

This novel had all the great elements: action, conspiracy, adventure, and slight touch of romance encapsulated by strong characters and a well-developed storyline.  It was a multi-layered novel, as the conspiracy kept getting deeper and deeper.  The action scenes were fabulous to read, and probably my favourite parts of the novel.

All in all, it was a great book!  It is actually book two in a series, the first being Lion of Babylon.  That is one book I will be checking out very soon!

Book Trailer



Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

The Deposit Slip


Back Cover

$10,000,000 is missing.

Erin Larson is running out of options. In the wake of her father's death, she found a slim piece of paper - a deposit slip - with an unbelievable amount on it. Only the bank claims they have no record of the money, and trying to hire a lawyer has brought only intimidation and threats. Erin's last chance is Jared Neaton.

When Jared wearied of the shady ethics of his big law firm and went out on his own, he never expected the wheels to fly off so quickly. One big loss has pushed him to the brink, and it's all he can do to scrape by.

He's not sure if Erin's case is worth the risk, but if the money is real, all his problems could vanish. When digging deeper unleashes something far more dangerous than just threats, both Jared and Erin must decide the cost they're willing to pay to discover the truth.

How far will one lawyer go to find the money? And how far will someone go to stop him?

Review

Jared Neaton is getting rather down in his luck.  He took a big chance on a potential “breakthrough” case, and unfortunately the scales of justice did not tip in his favour.  Now collection notices are a daily occurrence and his current clients are getting anxious and impatient about being neglected.  The last thing Jared needs is another sketchy “breakthrough” case to lose more money and resources on.

But then his former mentor refers him to Erin Larson.  Erin is just trying to determine if the deposit slip she found in her deceased father's safety deposit box is actually legitimate, and if so, where did the money go?  It’s not even about the money – she just wants some answers.  Being rebuffed at every turn, undergoing daily threats and vandalism to her property, and with her case coming close to being dismissed, Jared is her last hope.

As Jared reluctantly takes the cash, it becomes increasingly clear that the more Jared and Erin push for answers, the more convoluted and shady things appear.  With time and money running out, it becomes a round the clock race to find the truth. 

A debut novel for trial lawyer, Todd M. Johnson, The Deposit Slip, shows a promising second career for Mr. Johnson.  The plot was quite unique, and story had several twists and turns.  While I wasn’t as immersed in this novel as I would in a John Grisham work, it was a decent read.  You can tell that Mr. Johnson enjoys courtroom drama and theatrics, and I equally enjoyed reading the verbal parrying between the lawyers.  While this novel has made no mention of being the beginning of a series, there is definitely potential for one. 

Given this promising debut, I will be looking forward to Mr. Johnson’s next work!


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Inescapable


Back Cover

Lizzie Engel is used to running away. At eighteen, she left her Mennonite hometown, Kingdom, Kansas, with plans never to return.

But five years later, the new life she built is falling apart. Lizzie knows she's being followed, and she's certain the same mysterious stranger is behind the threatening letters she's received. Realizing she'll have to run again, the only escape Lizzie can manage is a return to the last place she wants to go.

Once she arrives in Kingdom, Lizzie is confident she'll be safe until she comes up with a new plan. In reacquainting herself with the town and its people - especially her old friend, Noah Housler - she wonders if she judged her hometown and her Mennonite faith too harshly. However, just as she begins to come to terms with her roots, Lizzie is horrified to discover the danger she ran from is closer than ever.

No longer sure who to trust and fearful for her life and the lives of those around her, Lizzie finds she has only one place left to run - to the Father whose love is inescapable.

Review

What do you do when you have seemingly nowhere to turn?  Who do you turn to for help?

For Lizzie Engel and her daughter Charity, the answer meant home.  Home to Kingdom, Kansas, a strict Mennonite community, and an even stricter father, the same things she ran away from years earlier.  She hopes that the residents of Kingdom would have forgotten about her and the scandal she ran away from so she can hide out in obscurity until the danger has passed.  What she didn’t expect was the many welcoming faces and open arms.

Her father, on the other hand, is as harsh and unyielding as ever.  Unable to stay at her old home, Lizzie and Charity are taken in by a kindly widow who provides Lizzie with a job.  However, not soon after Lizzie arrives, the danger she thought she escaped shows up again, and she is forced to contemplate running yet again.  The ante doubles when someone from her past shows up with highly questionable motives.

Inescapable, the first book in the “Road to Kingdom” series, was a really pleasant, nice read.  The characters were well-developed and the story moved along at a good pace.  Everyone can relate to Lizzie at some point in their life - that moment when everything seems to be falling apart and the only One you can look to is God above, Who is ever faithful.  Noah is the quintessential wonderful, strong guy that any girl would love.  He is always there to lend a hand – even to those who dislike him - and has a fierce protectiveness for the ones he loves.

Overall, it was a really good light read and I enjoyed the journey to Kingdom, Kansas.  I’m looking forward to book two in the series, Unbreakable, coming in Spring, 2013.




Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

I am Second


Back Cover

Countless Stories.  One Incredible Ending.

A major league baseball player.  A Tennessee pastor.  A reality TV star.  A single mom.  A multi-platinum rocker.

What do these people have in common?

They’ve all hit bottom.

And none of them stayed there.

Famous or unfamiliar, these are the stories of real people who reached the end of their strength, the end of their control, and found the most surprising truths.

It taught them not to rely on self or substance but to lean on the only completely reliable source of love, hope, and freedom:  the God who created them.  Shocking in their honesty, inspiring in their courage, these testimonies are critical reminders that no one is too far from God to find him.

Join these and thousands more who have discovered the life-changing power in putting God first and proclaiming, “I am Second.”

Review

I am Second is a powerful book.  Jam-packed with emotional testimonies of people who got to a point in their lives where they hit bottom and declared themselves “second” and God first, you cannot help but be awestruck at the power of God in how he transformed their lives.

Today’s culture is all about “me, myself, and I”.  As humans, we live to serve ourselves, our wants and desires.  But we were created to serve our Creator.  We were created for His great purpose, to glorify and praise Him.  Seeking a life of pleasure will not bring full satisfaction in your life.  True peace only comes when embracing the grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love God extends to us and leaning on the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus.  It does not mean that your life will get better, that it will be smooth sailing, but that there will be a Captain at the helm Who will guide you through the rough waters. 

I am Second is a great and moving read.

A little bonus: 

Newsboys singing “I am Second”:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLH4gDgBqaM.


Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Thomas Nelson.