CHURCH HISTORY #1                            EVERETT FERGUSON
Posted:  Feb. 11, 2015

From Christ to Pre-Reformation: The Rise and Growth of the Church in Its Cultural, Intellectual, and Political Context (Church History #1)Church History offers a unique contextual view of how the Christian church spread and developed. It did so not in a vacuum, but in a setting of times, cultures, and events that both influenced and were influenced by the church. Church History looks closely at the integral link between the history of the world and that of the church. Volume one explores the development of the church from the days of Jesus to the years prior to the Reformation. Filled with maps, charts, and illustrations, it offers overviews of the Roman, Greek, and Jewish worlds; insights into the church s relationship to the Roman empire, with glimpses into pagan attitudes toward Christians; the place of art and architecture, literature and philosophy, both sacred and secular; and much more, spanning the time from the first through the thirteenth centuries. Volume One Content Overview 1. The Setting for the Story s Beginning 2. Jesus and the Beginnings of the Church 3. The Subapostolic Age 4. The Church and the Empire 5. Heresies and Schisms of the Second Century 6. The Defense Against Rival Interpretations 7. The Fathers of the Old Catholic Church and Their Problems 8. Church Life in the Second and Third Centuries 9. Development of the Church During the Third Century 10. Diocletian and Constantine: On the Threshold of the Fourth Century 11. The Church in the Fourth Century: Doctrine, Organization, and Literature 12. The Church in the Fourth and Early Fifth Centuries: Monasticism, Expansion, Life, and Worship 13. Christological Controversies to Chalcedon 14. Augustine, Pelagius, and Semipelagianism 15. Transitions to the Middle Ages: Germanic Migrations, Doctrinal Developments, and the Papacy 16. Eastern and Western Churches in the Fifth and Sixth Centuries 17. The Eastern Church from the Seventh to Eleventh Centuries 18. The Western Church from the Seventh to Ninth Centuries 19. Decline and Renewal of Vitality in the West: The Ninth to Eleventh Centuries 20. The Papal Reform Movement and the First Crusade 21. Intellectual Revival: The Rise of Scholasticism 22. Monastic, Literary, Political, and Cultural Activities in the Twelfth Centuries 23. The Glory of the Western Medieval Church: The Thirteenth Century 24. Portents of Decline" 

This is a very through and detailed look at the history of the church and what was going on around at the time. The beginning of the church along with the Roman Empire and through the growth and changes. He covers controversies, Doctrine polices, medieval times, Augustine, the roll of the Pope. Even decline and then renewal. The crusades and just about any other subject you can think of. A very in depth look at the church and everything inside and out. A good book for history, seminarian or anyone just wanting one book to look up instead of many which needed to be done in the past. Would have been a good guide when I was in the seminary oh so many years ago. A plenty of maps and charts as well to help guide you through. A very long read. Will take a while to get through it but worth it. I got this book from net galley.  4 Stars.


WHEN JOSS MET MATT                       ELLIE CAHILL
Posted:  Feb. 11, 2015

When Joss Met MattDating can be fun, but it can leave a nasty taste in your mouth. For Joss, ever since her longtime boyfriend cheated on her, she doesn’t want her last memory of a guy to be that jerk. Enter her college friend, Matt. They come up with a theory: after a bad break-up, a person needs to cleanse the palate with a little sorbet sex. Lovers for a night, but always back to being friends in the morning. The two can handle it because they have a contract: rules they wrote, rules they follow and rules they can sometimes bend. The arrangement works: everyone needs a little sorbet now and again … until it starts to be the only thing you want. And then Joss breaks the one rule they never wrote down: don’t fall in love. 

This story begins as Jocelyn Kiel, got a phone call from Matt Lehrer, about wanting to meet. She is getting ready and her friend Nellie, wanting her to call Matt and to cancel with Matt. Then the author takes you back in time when Matt and joss, which she likes to be called first meet and how they became friends and then into a beginning of something called sorbet sex. This would only happen after one of them had a break up and it was just for one night and then breakfast the next morning. She takes you through their college years and past. How they came up with rules and how eventually they knew more about each other than the people that would date them for any period of time. She is thinking that Matt is wanting sorbet sex and yet both want to tell each other something very important. As the author takes you through this story you find out that really they have become a couple, they just have not realized it. They are looking for things in the people they date that are the qualities in the other person and then to top it off they are supportive of each other, they left each other up when someone else has tried to tear them down, and though it may seem like just sex in the book the author makes it have feeling, compassion and true love, even though the two characters are trying to be funny. They are funny when they are together and they have been together more than they think. He went with her to her mom’s for the holidays and she was there for him when his father past. And that is what gets him to realize that he is not looking forward to dating anyone, but when they break up so he can be with her, as he is trying to tell her this she hears I no longer want to see you and leaves before hearing the whole conversation. Now weeks later she starts going over what was said and realizes she never let him finish plus she never got to tell him that she is in love with him. When she goes to his apartment he has moved and now she is searching for him. I won’t tell you the end, but this is a good book better than I thought it was going to be. I got this book from net galley.  4 Stars.


HARD RETURN                                       J. CARSON BLACK
Posted:  Feb. 11, 2015

Hard Return (Cyril Landry #2)Cyril Landry has been a dead man since he escaped a firefight off the coast of Florida three years ago. In all that time, the former Navy SEAL has been living off the grid to protect his wife and teenage daughter, who have mourned him and moved on.

Five days a week, Landry watches from a distance as his daughter Kristal leaves school—his only chance to see her. One day a shooter in black unloads his M-16 on the students, killing eight kids—including Kristal’s boyfriend, Luke. Landry takes out the gunman with a single sniper shot before melting back into the city. But this wasn’t a typical massacre, and the clues add up to only one conclusion: someone knows Landry’s alive, and wants him dead—again. Teaming up with Detective Jolie Burke—a homicide cop who plays by her own rules—Landry must find a way to protect his family, and avenge Luke’s death.

In the second Cyril Landry thriller, black ops turn the world red.

This is my first time reading this author but certainly will not be my last. An excellent book with plenty of action, mystery and who done it to go around. Cyril Landry, is making sure his daughter and wife are safe, and one is showing up after school every day. This one day a gun also shows up and he does saves his daughter but he can’t save some of the other children nor her boyfriend who actually protects her before being killed himself. That is when he makes a shot to take out the shooter. From there the story just takes off and you are in for a wild ride trying to figure out who is the person that is after him and his family. You have all of these people to choose from and the author does a good job in setting up the cast of villains but I was still surprised at the end. For that I must say this is one of the most under rated books so far. I have never heard about this book or this author. So take the time to read this book you will not be disappointed. I got this book from net galley.  5 Stars.


DARE TO SUBMIT                                 CARLY PHILLIPS
Posted:  Feb. 11, 2015

Dare to Submit (Dare to Love, #4)Decklan Dare knows about the unexpected loss of loved ones and for this reason, he values control in all areas of his life. Amanda Collins enjoys the freedom she finds in casual encounters without the emotional connection a relationship brings. They meet and their physical attraction is mutual but both experience feelings that could run deeper – if they drop their guard and let each other in. Decklan is first to trust, but when he discovers the secret Amanda’s been hiding, will he forgive? Or will he rebuild every wall before she has a chance to explain?

Decklan Dare, likes to be in control though really he is not. Amanda Collins, is his kryptonite and together they combine for a hot and went a very deep book about a relationship that starts off about sex but turns into something much, much more and for it to work they both must give to each other and trust each other. Then comes the difficult part forgiveness and if that can happen then and only then the relationship will work. An excellent with very good charters and a wonderful story line that helps put the story in its right place. By the end of the book you are hoping that each character can forgive the other one and get to a place where they can begin again as a couple because they are good for each other. A wonderful book. I got this book from net galley.  4 Stars.


SEAL'S HONOR #1                                   ELLE JAMES
Posted:  Feb. 11, 2015

SEAL's Honor (Take No Prisoners, #1)SEAL Reed Tucker doesn’t believe in commitment, until he tangles the sheets with one hot pilot, Delaney O’Connell. His phobia against commitment is challenged when his best friend asks Delaney to marry him first. 

As a helicopter pilot for the 160th Night Stalkers, Delaney knows the risks of loving a SEAL. When her lover's friend loses an arm in battle, she can’t refuse his marriage proposal when he's already lost so much. In love with one man, pledged to marry another, she’s torn. 
Tuck and Delaney must come to grips with the happiness they owe themselves and the happiness of their friend who has lost so much. 

Tuck and Cory, have been together since BUD/s training and after they were assigned to the same Seal Team, being team mates and watching each other’s back neither wants to do anything to put the team in harm’s way since they are gearing up to be deployed again. They have been training with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR), along with Army Captain Delaney O’ Connell, she always felt she had to be better than the men since she was the only female on the (SOAR) and this all started when her boyfriend, fiancé Mad Max, Captain Chase Madden was killed two years ago and she does not have time for love or relationships in her life. But she and Tuck, Reed Tucker, started to foul around and neither one was serious. Her for her reasons and him because his parents always fought, got drunk and would leave him by himself, he saw no good come out of relationships and therefore never had any. He never cared until the night when they were all told that the 160th was shipping out, they were having a party for some of the none married personal and during this time Tuck’s, friend Reed Nipton (Reaper) asks Delaney to marry him but then in the middle of everything says think about and tell me later when we see each other next. Now Delaney is upset because Tuck did not step in to stop his friend and tell him that they were an item. Reed kisses Delaney, but it has no effect on her and she is starting to feel that she is in love with Tuck, who also trying to figure things out as well but before they can do that Tuck and her spend one last night together before she leaves to really confuse her and him. She left for Afghanistan, maybe a week later they end up meeting inside of a helicopter and the guy she knows loves her but can’t say the words can lead his team through all types of danger not worrying about himself, but the team. She of course wants them all to come back but mostly Tuck. This goes on for a while and there are a few confrontations while in camp and they both just walk away knowing he still is having issues with commitment and she is now going forward with her plans especially when both her and Reaper are injured and sent back to the States. Tuck now beside himself volunteers for practically every mission that comes up so as he does not have to go to the wedding. But he is still given time off and is ordered to go. I will not tell you how it ends but this is a good book and it also shines brightly with our men and women in the arm forces. I enjoyed the story line and the characters. I got this book from net galley.  4 STARS.


LOSERS LIKE US                                    DANIEL HOCHHALTER
Posted:  Feb. 11, 2015

Losers Like Us: Redefining Discipleship after Epic FailureIn 2008, after seven years of preparation, Daniel Hochhalter permanently failed his PhD, leaving him with no refunds, no transferable credits, no recourse to appeal or try again, and no hope of gaining the qualifications needed for his desired career. Then he lost his job. Devastated and in crisis, with no Plan B and no clue how to redeem his future, he looked to the twelve disciples and discovered that—despite their gaping faults and sins—God still loved them and used them to change the world.

With fresh warmth and wisdom, ample hope and humor, Losers Like Us skillfully intertwines Dan’s own story with theirs to show how our worst mistakes and greatest failures bring us to a place of teachableness, egolessness, brokenness, and empathy—the very qualifications required to receive God’s love and grace, and to manifest his kingdom on earth.

The author Daniel Hochhalter, picked this title because as he was sitting across from two people who had just told him that all of his work for hi PHD was for not, it was not accepted. He had no plan B. he felt like a lot of people like a failure. How could I spend so much time and money and come away with nothing to show for it. How I am I going to look to my family and friends, to my place of employment, will I still have a job? He then goes through his failure or not by writing about how each one of the disciples had short comings or failures. He brings these out from stories from his past but also through scripture and brings to life each one and you begin to see that they had fear, doubt, and other human short comings and this was after being with Jesus. How does a Zealot, a tax collector, and fishermen all seem to live and work together? This is all something I had never thought about before. What were the disciple’s lives before and what about during or after Christ? Then of course how did they, like us overcome our own short comings that at times makes us feel like a loser. This is a fascinating book and one that I really enjoyed reading. Maybe if he had gotten his PHD he would not have written this book, so in the long run he is a winner and God had the plan b all the time. A great book. I got this book from net galley.  5 Stars.


Posted:  Feb. 11, 2015

The Psalm 119 Experience: A Devotional Journey You Will Not ForgetThe Psalm 119 Experience: A Devotional Journey You Will Not Forget, invites you to discover a secret. In this inspiring devotional, you'll find daily encouragement for the challenges you face in life. Through five devotionals for each of the twenty-two sections in Psalm 119 you'll gain fresh insights into how God's word both challenges and consoles. 
Through this unique experience, author John Kramp invites readers to think, reflect, and to feel, to have an experience with God through this powerful, poetic psalm. If you chose to download the twenty-two songs written for each section (available on iTunes), readers will be able to memorize this entire psalm, drawing on the power of words and music to lock God's truth in your mind in heart. 
Imagine a day in the future when you will write in your journal, "Walked around the block repeating the 119th Psalm in great comfort." On that day, you'll understand the secret that Christians through centuries of church history have discovered; experiencing the Psalm 119 will change your walk with God for the rest of your life.


I found this to be a wonderful book that I actually read it twice before I decided to give my review. I had read Psalm 119 I don’t know how many times before but this was first time in a long time that I had really stopped and went slowly as the author suggested and kept a journal. I must say this Psalm would be on my mind throughout the day and would help me at times get out of myself and look at the good that surrounds me. He suggests singing my family is grateful that, that part stays quite for it would do harm to my love ones and eventually me. This is a great book on mediation and to slow down with yourself. Really enjoyed it. I got this book from net galley.  5 Stars.


THE SECRET HEART                             ERIN SATIE
Posted:  Feb. 11, 2015

The Secret Heart (No Better Angels, #1)She's a fortune-hunter. He's nobody's prey. 

Adam, Earl of Bexley, lives to work. His only relief is the sordid savagery of bare-knuckle boxing. Not women, and definitely not a disreputable, scheming woman who dances in secret with such passion...

Caro Small is desperate to escape her selfish family. Her only chance is a good marriage, and she intends to marry Adam--whether he likes it or not. But the more she schemes to entrap him, the more she risks trapping her own heart.

Adam won't be caught by a fortune-hunter's ambitious schemes. But the vulnerable, passionate woman underneath the plots might just bring him to his knees.

A historical romance about a women Caro Small, who is wanting to get away from her family who just drags her down. She is invited out to the country with the cousin of the Earl of Bexley. His name is Adam. Both of them have a secret his is boxing, which a gentleman does not do, and hers is ballet which a lady does not do. They each find out about the others secret and this makes for an interesting story and when Adam’s father comes home from his trip he is not happy that the two of them are together she has to put up with being put down and humiliated in front of guests that were also at the grounds along with staff, so she leaves since no one is fighting for her and she goes to the one person who can help her. That is the women who took over raising her after her mother died and also taught ballet. She gives her a job and now it is up to her to overcome her loss love, for she fought for them but he did not fight for her. He is realizing he has to give up more than just Caro, now also boxing, and then it turns into something else. Will he leave his father house being the last heir he must decide want to do? This is a good book with a good story line and the characters are well thought out. Overall not a bad story. I got this book from net galley.   3 Stars.


Posted:  Feb. 11, 2015

The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten SongsUnlike all previous versions of rock ’n’ roll history, this book omits almost every iconic performer and ignores the storied events and turning points that everyone knows. Instead, in a daring stroke, Greil Marcus selects ten songs recorded between 1956 and 2008, then proceeds to dramatize how each embodies rock ’n’ roll as a thing in itself, in the story it tells, inhabits, and acts out—a new language, something new under the sun.

“Transmission” by Joy Division. “All I Could Do Was Cry” by Etta James and then Beyoncé. “To Know Him Is to Love Him,” first by the Teddy Bears and almost half a century later by Amy Winehouse. In Marcus’s hands these and other songs tell the story of the music, which is, at bottom, the story of the desire for freedom in all its unruly and liberating glory. Slipping the constraints of chronology, Marcus braids together past and present, holding up to the light the ways that these striking songs fall through time and circumstance, gaining momentum and meaning, astonishing us by upending our presumptions and prejudices. This book, by a founder of contemporary rock criticism—and its most gifted and incisive practitioner—is destined to become an enduring classic.

The history of Rock N’ Roll in Ten Songs, I thought I would give this book a shot not thinking you could pick ten songs. But after reading this book I got sort of what I think the author Greil Marcus, was trying to do maybe not. He starts off the book about how he decided to come up with this idea of ten songs and he takes you through his process of coming up with the book. Sitting at a diner in New York and hearing “Shake, Rattle and Roll”, by Bill Haley and the Comets not by Big Joe Turner, who also wrote it. He heard other songs but the one that got me is “Dream Lover” by Dion, not Bobby Darin, there are many other songs but you get the point. For the most part this was a very entertaining book, I liked most of the chapters especially when he went more into the history of Chess Records, and the life of Buddy Holly, and young he was 22 when died in the crash and what might have been with him and of course Ritchie Valens, who was 17 at the. I would think these both would have still been big in the music field. His pick of Etta James and Beyoncé, was an interesting choice and though younger people would will listen to Beyoncé, I will always listen to James, hear voice was something else especially though Chess years and through the 60’s. As for ten songs he picked ten and gave you a history beyond them which I thought was different. My one big complaint was it seemed that he somehow worked Bob Dylan into every chapter, at least it seemed like every chapter. Maybe he should write a book about him? Overall not a bad book a liked the history of the songs and some of the people. I got this book from net galley.   3 Stars.


BLOOD LINE                                           JOHN J. DAVIS
Posted:  Feb. 11, 2015

Blood Line: A Thriller (Granger Spy Novel, #1)Blood Line is a high-voltage spy thriller that redefines rogue—the Granger Spy Novel series introduces a loving family with lethal issues caught in the crosshairs of global arms dealers.

When a simple home invasion turns out to be not so simple, Ron Granger must put aside his quiet rural life and return to the Central Intelligence Agency.

Aided by his brilliant wife, Valerie, and resourceful teen daughter, Leecy, Ron must quickly decide who to believe among the calculating opportunists, shrewd criminals, and power-hungry rival agencies racing to possess the technology that will change modern warfare forever. But when Leecy is kidnapped, Ron and Val must choose between the mission and a rescue. With time quickly running out, Ron only knows one thing:

When you can’t trust anyone else, trust your family.

Bloodline, is a fast paced and action packed book from the beginning all the way to the end. It has intrigue, murder, mystery in who is the mole trying to kill Ron Granger, and his family. He has retired from the CIA, and both he and his wife Valerie have secrets that their daughter Leecy, does not know about. Ron must get in touch with his old handler from the CIA. Meanwhile they all need to be gone until they can figure out the, who, and why? This makes the story more appealing because as they are on the run they are explaining the back ground of the mother, later you get to find out about the father and together they make a killer team. The daughter just seems to be soaking this in not really panicking. Like I said this was fast paced and difficult to figure out at first but then when they start putting everything together it makes the story work. A very good book, with good characters and a good storyline. I got this book from net galley.  5 Stars.


Posted:  Feb. 11, 2015

The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose from Defeat to Create the New MajorityAfter suffering stinging defeats in the 1960 presidential election against John F. Kennedy, and in the 1962 California gubernatorial election, Nixon's career was declared dead by Washington press and politicians alike. Yet on January 20, 1969, just six years after he had said his political life was over, Nixon would stand taking the oath of office as 37th President of the United States. How did Richard Nixon resurrect a ruined career and reunite a shattered and fractured Republican Party to capture the White House?

In The Greatest Comeback, Patrick J. Buchanan--who, beginning in January 1966, served as one of two staff members to Nixon, and would become a senior advisor in the White House after 1968--gives a firsthand account of those crucial years in which Nixon reversed his political fortunes during a decade marked by civil rights protests, social revolution, The Vietnam War, the assassinations of JFK, RFK, and Martin Luther King, urban riots, campus anarchy, and the rise of the New Left. Using over 1,000 of his own personal memos to Nixon, with Nixon’s scribbled replies back, Buchanan gives readers an insider’s view as Nixon gathers the warring factions of the Republican party--from the conservative base of Barry Goldwater to the liberal wing of Nelson Rockefeller and George Romney, to the New Right legions of an ascendant Ronald Reagan--into the victorious coalition that won him the White House. How Richard Nixon united the party behind him may offer insights into how the Republican Party today can bring together its warring factions.

The Greatest Comeback is an intimate portrayal of the 37th President and a fascinating fly on-the-wall account of one of the most remarkable American political stories of the 20th century.

This is a fabulous book about not only the rise of Nixon from the political death to being elected to the Presidency, but also a look at the sixties and the goings on during those years. Still there are names that are in the news today, Romney, not Milt, but his father, Rockefeller, who might have gotten an nomination but during the convention after Nixon gave a speech bringing all the Republicans together and stop fighting, Nelson Rockefeller got up and did as he always di and attacked his own party and the ones who make the decisions. After this convention Nixon was back. Mr. Buchanan, takes you back through his defeat to Kennedy, and how people listening to that debate on the radio thought Nixon won, but if you watched it on TV Kennedy did. Yes the times were changing. By 65 when Johnson was elected President the Democrats held 295 seats in the House and 68 in the Senate. Since Ike had first taken office the Republicans controlled both Houses and now their strength had been cut to less than one-half of the Democratic Party. Mr. Buchanan, started working for Nixon in 65 and would continue to work with or for him until the day he resigned from office, so as you can see you are actually being told a story by someone who was actually their and at the back of the book there are copies of memos as well which I found to be fascinating. Now not everyone likes Nixon, I on the other hand grew up in a home that talked politics and Nixon was not a bad guy, all politicians are humans so they have good and bad that is what you get when they are elected. Back to the book. In 65 and leading up to the election of 66 which were all midterm elections Nixon was traveling to 35 states visiting 80 congressional districts, after the election the republicans picked up 47 seats in the house 3 in the Senate, 8 new governorships, and for states GOP 540. This was after losing seats from 58,60,62,64. It changed and people were crediting Nixon this all would come back to help him in 68, because people remember what he did for them in 66 and how he brought the party back. He then takes you through what went on to not only get the nomination but to win in 68 and again in 72. I people still think of water gate, but Nixon did do good he created the Environmental Protection Agency that everyone seems to love, the occupational Safety and Health Administration, the National Cancer Institute, I am glad for that one. Plus some others. Theses book would be a good read to get a feel for the 60’s and is a good political story of someone coming back for a third time. Well written and a good book. I got this book from net galley.  5 Stars.


Posted:  Feb. 11, 2015

Marrying the Marine: The Brides of Hilton Head IslandMarrying the Marine 
Criminal Investigator Braylon Wexler has arrived in Hilton Head Island to dutifully serve his country on Paris Island Military base. As soon as he arrives the calm he's been longing for is pleasantly shattered by the tantalizing stormy presence of Sandella Summers. She is an unexpected surprise that stirs a hot longing in him, like a hot poker through blazing coals. 

Sandella Summers is perfectly happy with baking her pies, her life is simple and pleasing, just the way she likes it. But her contentment is interrupted by the appearance of Braylon Wexler, a seductive and arrogant Marine, not her typical choice in a man. 

Sandella holds a secret to her heart, slowing Braylon down in his quest to win her over. But Braylon excites Sandella in ways she never thought possible. Braylon is a man of honor and he’s determined to not only to win her heart, but bring her family to closure of a deeply rooted conflict. 

As danger and menace ensue the two lovers, can they make peace with the past and truly let love heal? Will Braylon risk his heart and his life to get everything he wants?


In this love story the two main characters must overcome the elephant in the room. Years ago her mother was killed and the story goes it was done by the hand of a Marine. Sandella Summers, who works for the Wexler family, and is taking care of Royce who has Downs’s syndrome. Meets Marine Braylon Wexler, who has just been transferred to the criminal investigative unit at the nearby base. Once they meet there is an instant attraction between them and he finds that not only is she great working with his uncle Royce, but that she is a fantastic baker even supplying a few area bakeries with her pies. As the story goes along once he reports to base strange things start to happen to him. Example the file for Sandella’s mother ends up in his truck, even though it is a copy he is now ready to find the killer of her mother and is trying to figure out why certain people who are still on base have not done more with the case. Have a while the attraction between the two of them can’t be denied and she is doing everything to hide it from her father and brothers. Meanwhile he still gets little clues about the case and then when he goes to talk to someone their house starts on fire that very night so now he is feeling like he is getting closer, but he is still trying to find the person who is leaving him clues either on his desk or at his truck. He is also putting together a list of suspects. The relationship starts getting intense between the two of them and the next thing she knows is that he is helping her to take her business to the next level in getting a license, a bakery, a name, and the orders are starting to go out the roof. When the author brings the book to a close and you find out what happens she has done it a way that makes sense and true to the story that she had already created, she has also created closer for some of the other characters. This is good story, with mystery and romance and sex. A good book. I got this book from net galley.  4 STARS.


BLUE LABYRINTH                                PRESTON & CHILD
Posted:  Feb. 11, 2015

Blue Labyrinth (Pendergast, #14)A long-buried family secret has come back to haunt Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast...

It begins with murder. One of Pendergast's most implacable, most feared enemies is found on his doorstep, dead. Pendergast has no idea who is responsible for the killing, or why the body was brought to his home. The mystery has all the hallmarks of the perfect crime, save for an enigmatic clue: a piece of turquoise lodged in the stomach of the deceased.

The gem leads Pendergast to an abandoned mine on the shore of California's Salton Sea, which in turn propels him on a journey of discovery deep into his own family's sinister past.

But Pendergast learns there is more at work than a ghastly episode of family history: he is being stalked by a subtle killer bent on vengeance over an ancient transgression. And he soon becomes caught in a wickedly clever plot, which leaves him stricken in mind and body, and propels him toward a reckoning beyond anything he could ever have imagined...

This is only my second Pendergast, book that I have read but like the last one it is filled with murder, mystery and intrigued. Pendergast is looking for the person or persons who killed his oldest son. Not reading the earlier books I did not know of the two sons he has and now his search for the killer takes him to Europe, South America and a look into the long past of the Pendergast line. Maybe it is someone from his past or no someone from even farther back in the family line that has an ax the grind and has now from generations decided that it is time to inflict pain onto the Pendergast family. As you the reader are taken on a journey to the past where he needs to find where his family has come into contact with others you are glued the pages for this story has you by the way the characters are coming through the pages and you don’t want to stop, you want to continue even though you know it is only a book. That my friends is when you know the authors have done the job and now you stay up until the next morning so you can finish the book. Maybe not for all but for me. A great book. I got this book from net galley. 5 STARS.


Posted:  Feb. 11, 2015

The Assassination of Europe, 1918-1942: A Political HistoryIn this fascinating volume, renowned historian Howard M. Sachar relates the tragedy of twentieth-century Europe through an innovative, riveting account of the continent's political assassinations between 1918 and 1939 and beyond. By tracing the violent deaths of key public figures during an exceptionally fraught time period--the aftermath of World War I--Sachar lays bare a much larger history: the gradual moral and political demise of European civilization and its descent into World War II. In his famously arresting prose, Sachar traces the assassinations of Rosa Luxemburg, Kurt Eisner, Matthias Erzberger, and Walther Rathenau in Germany--a lethal chain reaction that contributed to the Weimar Republic's eventual collapse and Hitler's rise to power. Sachar's exploration of political fragility in Italy, Austria, the successor states of Eastern Europe, and France completes a mordant yet intriguing exposure of the Old World's lethal vulnerability. The final chapter, which chronicles the deaths of Stefan and Lotte Zweig, serves as a thought-provoking metaphor for the assassination of the Old World itself.

The Assassination of Europe, takes a look at the events after WWI and the treaty at Versailles. You also have the League of Nations which really never gets any support. The author looks at different assassinations in Europe and how when you add all of these events together you are looking at the next war, it is the only conclusion really you can come up with. You had the Bolsheviks Revolution in Russia and then the German Revolution November 1918 to August 1919, and then by 1923 the Nazi, party was in control in Germany. Some of the most powerful people had been assassinated, Rosa Luxemburg, Kurt Eisner, and then in 1921 and 1922, Matthias Erzberger, and Walter Rathenau. Same as what was happening for years in Russia was now going to happen in Germany, the hatred of Jews and they were the cause of the first war and the reason we were having to pay so much and give up land. Should be noted that France and Germany had been fighting for that land for years prior to the war and it always came up in any conversation they had when the leaders meet. While this was happening Mussolini, was taking power in Italy the same way as in other countries killing the opposition scaring the people to not say anything for fear of death. This was happening in Germany. And Russia as well it is just that Germany and Russia did not get along for centuries as well. This is a fascinating book and a truly in depth look into the beginnings of the Second World War a good book with a lot of information. I got this book from net galley.  4 Stars.


ST. NICK                                                    ALAN RUSSELL
Posted:  Feb. 11, 2015

St. NickWhen Santa Claus is a cop, you better watch out.
It’s not looking like a very merry Christmas for San Diego cop Nick Pappas. Suspended from his job, alienated from his family, and persecuted by the press, he’s sorely tempted to turn his gun on himself. Except for his first name, he couldn’t possibly have less in common with jolly old St. Nicholas. But when a local mall decides it needs a secret Santa to help collar some vicious muggers preying on its holiday shoppers, Nick’s persuaded to red-suit up so as to take the naughty punks down and avert a ho-ho homicide. For a chance to bust bad guys, Nick’s willing to deal with crying kids, pushy parents, and a chronically cheerful “elf” sidekick. But the biggest challenge for this cop-turned-Claus is one that would confound even the real Kris Kringle: making a pair of next-to-impossible Christmas wishes come true for two children in need…before it’s too late.
This book was initially released in episodes as a Kindle Serial. All episodes are now available for immediate download as a complete book.
This is a story about Nick Pappas, who is on leave from the San Diego, police dep. Because of a shooting he was involved in. He is in a bad mood because it is the one job he liked to do and now it is Christmas also on top of everything else. He gets a call from an ex-partner who retired and is now head of security at the mall and talks Nick into coming down to his office for a talk. After a while he realizes that they want him to be the malls Santa Claus, and the perky elf who always seems happy Angie Gordon, helps Nick get into the role of Santa. Nick who is really a bah hum bug, until the children and he starts to warm up to the children still trying to find the people who are robbing customers. The story moves along and he is asked to fill in for a man who normally plays Santa at the children’s wing at the local hospital, this is not for the faint of heart and while he is there he meets Raymond a young boy who helps Nick get his bearings back slowly. He ends up going to see Raymond every day or in the evening and this along with what is happening to him at the mall starts a change. He finds things out about Angie the elf, and he begins to think that his problems are not that big. He then starts delivering baskets to people and when someone also volunteers she becomes interested in him not knowing anything about him and once he tells her who he is she tells him he needs to tell his side to the press instead of being quit, and supports him. This book is funny at times and is also sad but the whole story works and just because it is not Christmas it is still a good story to remind us that people sometimes just need someone to listen, or sit with them in the hospital. A good book. I got this book from net galley.  4 Star.


EMPIRE OF SIN                                     GARY KRIST
Posted:  Feb. 11, 2015

20697466Empire of Sin re-creates the remarkable story of New Orleans’ thirty-years war against itself, pitting the city’s elite “better half” against its powerful and long-entrenched underworld of vice, perversity, and crime. This early-20th-century battle centers on one man: Tom Anderson, the undisputed czar of the city's Storyville vice district, who fights desperately to keep his empire intact as it faces onslaughts from all sides. Surrounding him are the stories of flamboyant prostitutes, crusading moral reformers, dissolute jazzmen, ruthless Mafiosi, venal politicians, and one extremely violent serial killer, all battling for primacy in a wild and wicked city unlike any other in the world. 

Empire of Sin, is a history of New Orleans from really after the Civil War. The author looks into some of the more not so pleasant stories of this storied city. Like the lynching of 11 Italians one day after a trail found 3 to be not guilty, 3 a hung jury, and 5 still had not been tired yet. This was for the alleged murder of the police chief after he had just fired two police officers an hour before. This is a story that I had read about a while back. An entire book was written just on this crime that book went into more detail because the man who created the lynching was also the one who wanted control of the docks where houses where both of the head of the Italian families owned and did not want to sell. After this the man was able to control the docks with paying, this was not brought up in this book, they just keep saying that the Black Hand, killed the Chief. Black Hand is what the Sicilians, before the Mafia. The author then goes into the seedy night life and how for decades the city leaders tried to get rid of that part of town but really never succeeded. He also goes into the race problems that started really in the late 1890’s and then proceeded to get worse year after year. This part of the story was strange to me because originally New Orleans was probably the most diversified city in our Nation up to the Civil War. Then 30 years after the war as more white people moved into the city they pushed out the population that had been there the longest. Just like the Native Americans. Then when they were elected they then had some of the strictest racial laws in the Nation. When now we think of Orleans as Jazz, well once a musician became well known they left for Chicago usually and most never returned to their home. Louie Armstrong, was gone for a little over 40 tears and when the city had new leaders and trying to change the city once again the begged for him to come home and gave him a big party to welcome there now favorite son home along with jazz, but for almost 50 years they pushed the music and the people out of their home town New Orleans. The author gives you many individual stories that were very interesting to say the least. My only complete is slight is he makes a jump from the beginning of 1950 to now, touching a little on the effects of Hurricane Katrina, and the destruction and how still some of the Wards are not rebuilt and the people left were effected once again. Overall though a good book and some fascinating stories. I got this book from net galley.  5 Stars.


Posted:  Feb. 11, 2015

22242410Little Miss Sure Shot is a fictionalized account of the life of Annie Oakley, drawing heavily on the real timelines and events of her life. However, the book is not a biography - it invents situations, people she meets, and a myriad of conversations. Moreover, while the book is presented chronologically, apart from the prologue, it skips certain periods and attempts to focus on those that are especially vital, such as the early years Annie spent with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, including the tours through Europe. A special feature of the novel is the framing of Annie's loving marriage to fellow sharpshooter Frank Butler, whom she married at sixteen and remained married to for 50 years until her death. Frank was far more than just her husband - he was her manager (he gave up his own shooting for that role) and her constant companion. The novel closes with an epilogue in Frank's voice, presenting an overview of their lives together and the circumstances of her death in 1926.

This is a fantastic book about the life of Annie Oakley, from her early life in Ohio to when she passed away. The author is able to bring you to the beginning when she began to shot for food for her family after her father passed away. Using a Kentucky long rifle she was bringing home rabbits and squirrels, and most of the time she was able to shot the head off the squirrel. She soon found out that a man who ran the local store a few miles away would pay for animals like squirrels if their heads were shot off and after a while she was making .50 cent that would also help her mom, sisters and brother. Soon she was gaining a reputation as an excellent shot and was starting to outshoot the local men in competitions. Soon she was having her brother help set up targets for practice and all would be at different heights and angles. Then she would go through her practice of firing, reloading, then with her back towards the targets turning and firing. This was just one of her practices. By the age of fifteen her reputation was starting to grow and a promoter for a fair asked if she would like to compete against Frank Butler, another sharp shooter, and she agreed. When they meet they both were taken with each other but he was 10 years older than her. After she gained her composer she ended up defeating him. This meeting would turn into a lifelong affair, they were married almost a year later. They would begin touring putting on shooting demonstrations and she would still compete when the opportunities would come up. They were making a decedent living when the opportunity came to join Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, the only thing was they just wanted her not Frank. They agreed that Frank would be her manager and she would join the show. This where she really became famous doing her trick shots from, horses, bicycle, running, Frank tossing glass globes in the air, and then later her shooting from behind looking through a mirror. This had to be an amazing performance, I have problems shooting looking straight ahead without a mirror. This show and her shooting took her to Europe where she meet Kings, Queens, Princes, Dukes, and other royalty. She was invited to go hunting with these men and always came back with more birds, she would also out shot them in a completion when someone would say for her to let them win she would say that is not how it is done in America. She became good friends with Libby Custer, her husband taught her to read and wright. After a horrible train accident in 1901 that broke her leg and injured her back she stopped touring with the show, she had to have a few surgeries. In 1904 she sued Hearst newspaper for libel for a story that was about a women with the same name but spelled the same. Hearst would not print an apology so she sued and won 54 out 55 cases having to travel to each town or city for the trials and it cost her more than what she won but for her it was about reputation and not letting Hearst get away with lies. This part of her story I had never heard before, good for her. Her and her husband settled in Pinehurst, North Carolina, and would eventually open a gun club to teach people how to shot, and safety around weapons, she would go on in her fifties and sixties doing demonstrations and still shooting 100 out of 100 clay pigeons which is amazing. This is a fantastic book about an extraordinary women who stood only five feet tall but was a giant to many. To have her mother tell her before she passed that she was proud of her world traveler and would have never expected her to be the one out of all her children to see and do what she did probably meant more to her than all of those things combined, that is what a child wants to hear, that their parent is proud of them. She had come full circle. The sad part of the book is that Annie got sick and made Frank go to Detroit for a shooting convention they agreed to speak at. Frank took ill when he got their and was rushed to the hospital and three days later found and out that Annie had passed, he would pass in eighteen days. Her family made sure that they were together in the family cemetery. A fantastic book about a strong women and a strong couple. I normally don’t give stars but five out of five. I got this book from net galley.  5 STARS.


THE FAMILY GIRL                                KATHERINE BRANKIN
Posted:  Feb. 11, 2015

The Family GirlIce-cold assassin Catalina Bennett wants a Faberge egg. A CIA funded venture-capital investment firm wants to get the mysterious product they’ve been funding. Mother, Catalina’s handler, wants her dead. CIA operative Jim Campbell wants to catch her. And all her father Frank, a retired assassin, wants is for his daughter not to shoot his neighbors. 
The Family Girl introduces Catalina Bennett as one of the deadliest and most effective assassins in the world, bred to kill by a quiet and secluded Sicilian Famiglia. Her success is illustrated by an extensive collection of art and Christian Louboutin shoes.
Her latest job seemed like an easy way to procure a fabulous Faberge egg for her collection, but Catalina ended up opening Pandora’s Box when she learned that the mark was an asset for the CIA. Soon she is on the run, being hunted by the veteran intelligence agent, Jim Campbell.
She takes refuge with her father in the suburbs of Chicago, and discovers that dealing with the neighbors can be just as dangerous as dodging bullets. Using her network of connections, spearheaded by the imposing Eddie Washington – her childhood friend turned arms dealer – Catalina begins putting together the pieces of the puzzle. Her journey takes her from Chicago to New York, Washington D.C., and finally Miami, where she aims to settle all her affairs… or go out with a bang.

This book titled Family Girl. Is about a female hit women, who comes from a long line of assassins from the Bonedetto Family from Sicily and they now work out of Chicago part time. Catalina, who is the assassin does a job and then takes an extra job not looking at it all the way through. After it is finished it turns out that she was set up and now the entire family is in danger. She must find out who sent her the job and why and deal with the problem. What I like about this story besides being fast paced is that the author gives you a back story on every character that she comes in touch with and how each person that is helping her or chasing her all have some connection. This makes the story more interesting and for me more enjoyable than just a shot them up story. I like how she goes into detailed about cars, cloths, disguises, weapons, etc… this made for a very entertaining book and much better read than I was expecting. Full of action and a little suspense, overall a great read. I got this book from net galley.  4 STARS.


HERE TOMORROW 7 PM PST. TAYLOR SULLIVAN  AUTHOR OF: 3,000 miles, TWO secrets, ONE man who can change everything. Sam...