Monday, August 22, 2011

About the Book:

Sometimes small towns hold the biggest secrets.

Ambitious young attorney Tom Crane is about to become a partner in a high-profile Atlanta law firm. But first he must clear one final matter from his docket-the closing of his deceased father's law practice in his hometown of Bethel, Georgia. Killed in a mysterious boating accident, John Crane didn't appear to leave his son anything except the hassle of wrapping up loose ends.

But instead of celebrating his promotion, Tom finds himself packing up his office, having suddenly been "consolidated." To add insult to injury, that same night his girlfriend breaks up with him . . . by letter.

Returning to Bethel with no sense of his future and no faith to fall back on, Tom just wants to settle his father's final affairs and get back to Atlanta. But then he runs into an unexpected roadblock-two million dollars of unclaimed money stashed in a secret bank account. And evidence that his father's death may not have been accidental. Worse still, a trail of data suggests his father played a role in an international fraud operation.

Tom follows the money into a tangled web of lies, theft, and betrayal. Along the way, he meets a woman who is as beguiling as she is beautiful. And her interest in the outcome of the case is just as high as his. She challenges Tom's assumptions . . . and his faith. Now he has to decide who he can trust-and how far a father's love can reach.

My Review:

This intense, fast-paced page turner is a piece of fiction reminiscent of John Grisham. It is full of suspense from the very beginning, and every time you think you have it figured out, a new mystery unfolds. The characters are endearing and the storyline complex. What I most appreciate about this book, however, is that it truly is Christian fiction. Its not just an occasional mention of God, or a Scripture verse here or there, but the story includes Tom Crane’s conversion, repentance, and growth detailed thoroughly throughout.

I strongly recommend this book.

I must mention that I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Thomas Nelson publishers through their Book Sneeze program. That in no way influenced my opinion of it.

Never the Bride

About the book:

Eleven Bridesmaid Dresses Don’t Lie

Since she was just a little girl, Jessie Stone dreamed up hundreds of marriage proposals, doodled the romantic ideas in her journal with her treasured purple pen, and fantasized about wedding dresses and falling in love. She’s been a bridesmaid nearly a dozen times, waved numerous couples off to sunny honeymoons, and shopped in more department stores for half-price fondue pots than she cares to remember.

But shopping for one key component of these countless proposals hasn't been quite as productive–a future husband. The man she thought she would marry cheated on her. The crush she has on her best friend Blake is at very best…well, crushing. And speed dating has only churned out memorable horror stories.

So when God shows up one day, in the flesh, and becomes a walking, talking part of her life, Jessie is skeptical. What will it take to convince her that the Almighty has a better plan than one she’s already cooked up in her journals? Can she turn over her pen and trust someone else to craft a love story beyond her wildest dreams?

My Review:

The character of Jessie Stone is unique, complex, and fun in a very “OCD” way. This makes for a fun and interesting “romantic comedy” type novel. I appreciated the light-hearted manner in which her part of the story was told.

However, the other characters were rather dull and under-developed.  There is little detail given to any of them, and I really didn’t find myself able to connect with them.

My biggest problem with the book, however, was the casual manner in which God was portrayed. Rather the being portrayed as the Author and Creator of the Universe, the perfectly just Judge, and the One Who is sovereign over all, He is portrayed as some sort of cosmic cupid who exists merely for the purpose of writing our love stories. There was a kind of gospel presentation towards the end, but with no mention of sin, judgment, or repentance. For that reason, I cannot recommend this book.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
You can read the first chapter here.