Review: Broken Ground

Broken Ground Broken Ground by Val McDermid
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love the UK background and culture, and that makes this book quite good. The character development and environment is very good.

The book really isn't about the mystery so much as the characters and motivations. And that makes this book quite unique. I haven't read anything by Val McDermid before, but I definitely will check out more of her books.

The plot is intriguing, though, and the inheritance is surprising.

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Review: The Last Tourist

The Last Tourist The Last Tourist by Olen Steinhauer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This will be a short review because it was extremely hard to get into the book. I love spy thrillers, especially ones like Robert Ludlum and Alister MacLean wrote. Steinhauer doesn't write like them. Of course, this is 4th in a series so it's difficult to get into something that been going on and developing for 3 books.

I liked the fast pace, the foreign places, some transitions (needed a lot more to keep the pace from being so disjointed), and the brief descriptions to try to bring new readers up to date. However, in order to completely understand this book and not get lost in all the characters and the switching from first person to third person, one should read the first 3 books or at least a couple of them.

I didn't like the number of characters I had to keep up with, the switching from first person to third person, the lack of really good transitions to keep the pace a flow instead of jump, jerk, start, flow, stop, etc.

The writing was good, so I will check out another of Olen Steinhauer's books

3 of 5 stars

Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.

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Review: The Blue Cloak

The Blue Cloak The Blue Cloak by Shannon McNear
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think Shannon McNear did an excellent job with this gruesome tale of two serial killers in 1784. I admire how she remained a bit vague with the gory details of each murder. My imagination is strong enough to have filled in the details and the murders were quite shocking and terrible.

I highly recommend this book for it's faith value and how McNear's characters focus on prayer to defeat the satanic forces at work in these two serial killers. I am appalled at their complete sociopathic and psychopathic lack of regard for human life.

I also agree with the author that the women these men owned were so co-dependent they could not leave. Two hundred years ago, people didn't understand co-dependency, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen regularly. It is a huge problem in some marriages even today.

Timing seemed a little off, though. She made it seem like letters and communications were really fast rather than taking weeks and months to travel from one part of the country to another. That is the ONLY thing I could fault.

This is 5-star writing on a subject that is quite dark. It may be too dark for some readers, and certainly the subject is not good for younger readers because it is so dark. However, McNear does an excellent job of differentiating man's free will of choice and God's control over justice.

Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.

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Dare to Live Greatly

Dare to Live Greatly is a wonderful book but has a several technical errors (the reason for the 4 stars instead of 5 stars). I can't help but read books as an editor because that's my day job :) so these typos, punctuation, and capitalization errors were distracting for me -- they probably won't be detected or be distracting to the general public except for teachers, and professors, and other editors :). For some reason, there were a lot of things missed, which can happen even to the best professionals.

The  content far exceeds and overcomes the annoyance. This is a super correlation between Navy SEAL training and living the Christian Life. Living Christian is hard and those who do it well do it well because they want to please God and be obedient to Christ. God gives us the ultimate training, and that is on the job training that we get in a nasty, dark world. Fowler gives you an amazing, clear vision of how to tackle living Christian.

The content is very good, very uplifting and encouraging. He not only tackles common challenges and opportunities that Christians face daily, but he also shows how to overcome them and capitalize on them. That is often times rare in these types of books. The examples are excellent, the quotes are very apropos, and the SEAL steps for dealing with anything in life are way beyond good. I can definitely tell that God was the guiding hand in this endeavor. A joy to read, study, hide in my heart. Fowler's biblical knowledge is a pleasure to read because the insight is clearly Holy Spirit led and God taught, not man-taught. Another rare thing in this type of book.

The rat sandwich and the Tijuana sludge bath were a bit hard to take. I have an excellent, overcharged imagination and I could taste that spoiled rat, and I could smell and feel that sludge. That is excellent writing. However, it is also stomach churning. My professional self is applauding and saying great job, but my personal self was gagging. It was a bit hard for me to stay focused, especially when he mentioned them while making another point or two in the narrative. I definitely appreciated the descriptions of events and places... I could feel the cold and the heat, and generally used most of my senses while reading. Excellent.

Fowler made living the Christian life come alive with purpose. This is a keeper.
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