Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Congratulations to foreverbama! You are the winner of 3 books, check your email for information on how to get the books!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Book Review: The Betrayal + GIVEAWAY

Title: The Betrayal
Author: Jerry B. Jenkins
Publisher: Tyndale House
Pages: 290

The Betrayal is the sequel to Jenkins The Brotherhood. I recommend the first book just as much as the second.

(Spoiler Alert) In reviewing this book I will have to reveal a few small spoilers, so if you are an anti-spoiler type, skip this and buy the book :-)

Boone Drake is now in recovery mode from his injuries sustained in the first novel and much of the novel touches on his dealing with the pain and encumbrances in trying to go about his day, his relationship with Haeley, and friendship with Jack.

To add to the physical pain, there are several emotional battles Boone must deal with this time around. There appears to be a traitor in the Chicago PD and Boone's mission is to make sure the correct person is identified and brought to justice.

Jenkins does a good job keeping you on the edge of your seat and trying to figure out the who and why of this insider mole. This book contained a little more of the "investigation" work you might find from a real life officer, as compared to the first book.

The Betrayal effectively portrays the struggles and joys of the young Christian Boone. This is done in a non-preachy way, but Christ is professed perfectly through several of the characters.

This novel is not necessarily a edge-of-your-seat, suspense at every turn type book, but a detective story about love, betrayal, and friendships.

4.5 / 5 Stars

Disclaimer: This book was provided to me for free by the Tyndale Blogger Review team in exchange for an unbiased review.

I am giving away 1 copy of The Betrayal (ARC), Go Down to Silence, and The Personified Project (ARC).

How to win!:

1 vote: Follow my blog (and let me know you are doing so in the comments)
1 vote: Leave me a comment and let me know which unread fiction book in my library I should read next: http://www.librarything.com/catalog/mudrash

Winners will be selected using random.org on 12-5-11

Monday, September 19, 2011

Book Review: Nick of Time

Book: Nick Of Time
Author: Tim Downs
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 336

I have come to a conclusion, Tim Downs is my favorite author.

Nick of Time is the most recent novel by Downs, and it is a doozy. Continuing in the travels, exploits, and adventures, is no other than Nick Polchak. Our beloved forensic entomologist is once again in the middle of trouble, and in this story, love. A former co-star appears again in this novel, and she is one to be reckoned with.

Tim Downs is top dog author in my book because of the way he weaves suspense, forensics, and comedy into one grand tale, and boy is this one grand! The turns in this one bowled me over and the huge plot twist at the end...never saw it coming!

If you are new to Tim Downs' offerings, I would recommend all of his books (starting with Shoofly Pie). If you want to jump in with the current story arc, check out "Less than Dead", "Ends of the Earth", and then "Nick of Time."

Although this is from a Christian publisher house, this is not a "Christian" book per se, where Christ is preached blatantly throughout, it remains "clean," with no foul language, or sexual overtones. There are several positive characters that speak great truth into the lives of the characters.

Disclaimer: I was provided a review copy of this book as part of the booksneeze.com / Thomas Nelson Blogger network.

5 / 5 Stars

Monday, September 5, 2011

Book Review: The Final Summit

Title: The Final Summit
Author: Andy Andrews
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 256

From the dust jacked:  "This is humanity's last chance.  Centuries of greed, pride, and hate have sent mankind hurtling toward disaster, and far from its original purpose.  There is only one solution that can reset the compass and right the ship-and that answer is only two words.

I have enjoyed several of Andy Andrew's novels in the last several years.  He is an excellent writer and does a great job creating a suspenseful and exciting storyline with purpose.

Unfortunately, I can't say the same about The Final Summit.  As described above, this story centers around finding the answer to life.  The cast of characters in "heaven" trying to figure it out, are many.  The Lord only knows who will be in heaven, but Andrews does take some liberty with some of the famous people.  This is of course a fiction read, so I will not belabor this later point too much.

This novel falls apart for me in two different ways. (Minor Spoilers ahead)...

First of all, it becomes pretty obvious from the start of this process to find the answer to life, that they are not going to figure it out on the first guess, or the second, or the third...so the constant brainstorming between the main characters goes on and on.  Secondly, the final answer miserably fails in my opinion.  As a Christian, reading a book from a Christian publisher, in a heavenly setting, I thought that there just might be a mention of Jesus...nope.

This book has some good advice, but certainly no "solution" to life.

1.5 / 5 Stars

I received this book free of charge, as part of the Thomas Nelson Booksneeze.com Book Review blogger network.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Book Review: Ale Boy's Feast

So ends one of the best fantasy series I have read.

I have read all of Jeffrey Overstreet's "The Auralia Thread" and it has been a wonderful adventure.

This book does an excellent job of bringing the story to a conclusion. I did make the mistake of reading several of the books many months apart, so I was a little lost with some of the characters and plot lines when I got to the final book. I am looking forward to going back and reading all of the books in succession.

The Ale Boy's Feast finishes "The Auralia Thread" and Overstreet's amazing writing style continues throughout. The characters and especially the environments come alive in this final story.

There are plenty of twists, surprises, and exciting moments in this novel.

I would highly recommend this novel to anyone that is looking for a different take on the fantasy genre.

4.5 / 5 Stars

Sunday, June 12, 2011

DVD Review: unPlanned

Title: Unplanned
Publisher: Tyndale
Media Format:  DVD

"Abby Johnson thought she was helping women in crisis. She was about to learn the truth . . . and facing the secrets of her own painful past would be the toughest truth of all. In this documentary based on the book Unplanned, learn how Abby Johnson went from Planned Parenthood clinic director to leading voice for life and women in crisis."

This is the first movie about abortion/pro-life that I have ever watched and I must say it was well done. Unplanned details Abby's Christian upbringing, new experiences and freedom's in college and choices she personally made of whether or not to keep her own child when she was pregnant.

Most of the movie focuses on Abby's work at the Planned Parenthood facility and the work of a pro-life from just down the road. The particular agency that Abby eventually ends up joining made a huge impact on Abby as she was working for PP. The pro-life agency was not a ranting, picketing and condemning group, but faithful and compassionate prayer warriors that wanted to help women going through the tough decisions that come with pregnancy.

This was a great reminder of Christ's love and grace toward me and that "His kindness leads to repentance."

I would recommend this DVD to anyone that is wanting more information about what happens in abortion clinics as well as pro-life facilities. One word of caution: A late term abortion is described in some detail halfway through the movie - this is definitely a pertinent piece of information for this topic, but it is graphic.

4.5 / 5 Stars

Note: I received this DVD free of charge as part of the Tyndale blog network reviewers program.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Gray Matter Review

Title: Gray Matter
Author: David Levy with Joel Kilpatrick
Pages: 304
Publisher: Tyndale

Gray Matter by David Levy is an excellent non-fiction account of his career as a neurosurgeon and his steps of faith to make prayer a central part of his career.

One of my favorite things about this book is what he doesn't write about. Many non-fiction auto-biographies will spend 4 to 5 chapters discussing the main character's background, family history and what had they had for lunch when they were 7 years old :-) Levy and Kilpatrick do an excellent job of getting right into the action by describing a consult and surgery of a women with a brain aneurysm. The story delves into Levy's calling to pray for his patients before surgery. There are several different surgeries highlighted throughout the book.

Levy's stories carry heavy emotion (especially since many of these cases are life or death matters) and he does an excellent job describing his own inner turmoils he deals with as a surgeon. Several times I was really pulled into the stories of people that were entrusting their lives to a doctor, who was in turn calling on the Lord, that all things might be done in his name.

Toward the middle part of the story, as Levy becomes comfortable praying with his patients, he shares his experience of helping patients ask for forgiveness from those that have heart them in the past. Some of these parts of the book feel a little bit like a psychology/psychiatric session, but for the most part it was done in the right way.

I will finish with two final notes. Some of the surgeries and consults seemed to run together and be similar, but again not to the point of annoyance. If you are interested in a faith-based novel with excellent and fascinating descriptions of neurosurgery this novel is for you. Great read!

4.5/5 Stars

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dragons of the Valley Review

Title: Dragons of the Valley
Author: Donita K. Paul
Publisher: Waterbrook
Pages: 370

Dragons of the Valley is the wonderful sequel to The Vanishing Sculptor by Donita K. Paul.

Invasion is upon the land of Chiril and the main character Tipper Schope is tasked with protecting the statues crafted by her father from falling into the wrong hands.

The eccentric wizard Fenworth, librarian Librettowit, prince Jayrus, artist Bealomondore, and many of the characters from the first book join this tale. Several new races are introduced which in turn presents several new faces that take a prominent place in the story.

As noted by some other reviews, I found this one a little harder to get into compared to the first book. There was quite a bit of running around in the first eight chapters and different characters going this way and that on mini-adventures. For the most part it starts to all come together about mid-book and that is where this novel starts to shine.

I thoroughly enjoyed Donita Paul's use of witty dialogue especially Lady Peg (Tipper's mother) and the banter back and forth between the wizard and librarian. I found myself laughing out loud several times.

There is one dastardly character introduced in this story and his name is The Grawl. With the addition of this bad dude the story does have a darker tone when focusing on his plans. The way this evil character was written into the story was done perfectly and the ultimate conclusion of the story involving this character brings shows redemption.

Several times in this story I was hugely encouraged by the spiritual message. Paul has a canny ability to write a crazy tale of fantasy, but still pull in elements of the Christian faith to ask tough questions, encourage people, and illuminate grace. As this was written by a Christian author, by a Christian publisher, with an allegorically Christian God as the creator written into the story, this should be expected if you chose to pick this one up.

Looking forward to the third book!

4/5 Stars

Note: I was provided a free review copy of this book by Waterbrook press through Librarything early reviewers program.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Adventures in BoogaBooga Land DVD Review

Title: Adventures in BoogaBooga Land: Squid Sushi Loses His Marbles

3 Episode DVD

First for the good news: My 6 year old daughter and 3 1/2 year old son said they "liked" the 3 episode DVD of Booga Booga Land.

The bad news far outweighs the good:

- First off the sound volume was a little messed up and I had to turn the volume way up to hear it.
- In all three of the episodes there was no mention of Jesus or God and the Biblical allegories that were promoted and advertised on the front and back of the DVD were very unclear.
-The animation of this DVD was ok, but definitely not of high quality.
-I was also dissapointed that there was no extra dvd content.
-Lastly, the story jumped frantically from subplot to subplot and felt very disconnected.

I had high expectations for this movie because of it's proclaiming to have it's stories so well connected to the parables of Jesus. I just can not recommend this movie based on my viewing. If you asked a child they might say different, but all this film has going for it is some slapstick humor, slightly funny looking animated characters, and some well hidden allegories.

1/5 Stars

(I have received this DVD free as a review copy from Thomas Nelson Publishers)