Book Review: The Yellow Packard

1 Sep

267520When George Hall buys a luxury auto he’s able to bring his baby girl home from the hospital in style. But then a parent’s worst nightmare becomes reality when his daughter is abducted. Will FBI agent Helen Meeker have the patience and the tenacity to apprehend the kidnapper before it’s too late?

 

 

ace-collins-199x300Bestselling author Ace Collins has written more than fifty books including novels Farraday Road, Swope’s Ridge and Words of the Father, as well as the nonfiction Stories Behind The Best-Loved Songs of Christmas, grAttitudes, and Lassie: A Dog’s Life. His books have become movies and network television specials. He has appeared on Good Morning America, the NBC Nightly News and The Today Show and has been featured in the Distinguished Lecture Series at the National Archives in Washington D.C. Ace Collins has sold more than 1.5 million books during his career.

 

My Impressions:

In an attempt to whittle down my Kindle TBR list, I randomly choose books to read. Last week I picked The Yellow Packard by Ace Collins. Was it really a random choice (more on that later)? Not sure, but I am glad I did. What a great story. Again a winner from Ace Collins!

The Yellow Packard can be described as an historical mystery. Set in the years leading up to WWII, Collins has done a great job in making his novel feel authentic — from the old cars, to the police work, to the descriptions of people and places. The characters are nicely developed with realistic actions and reactions to the stress the author puts them under. One of my favorites is Helen Meeker, an attorney with a past that drives her to try to break into the FBI, a job not just dominated by men, but at the time reserved only for men. Her intelligence and ambition, plus intuition help her to crack a case that others give up on.

A cursed car, greed, murder and kidnapping — all the elements needed for a twisting, turning mystery that will surely keep you on your toes. As the Packard changes owners blessings abound. But many find the car to be the cause of heartache. And just as you think you know what is going on, Collins takes the story in a whole other direction. Seemingly random events build on each other to bring the final conclusion — one you won’t see coming. It is the randomness of life that Collins explores. Coincidence and happenstance follow the Packard and its owners. But two verses from the Bible kept coming to my mind as I read:

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together  for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose

Genesis 50:20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

Characters struggle with a good God in the face of evil. The truth of God’s sovereignty, wisdom and provision are subtly expressed throughout the novel.

If you are looking for a complex mystery as well as a story well-told, definitely check out The Yellow Packard. And if you love Helen Meeker’s character there is good news! Collins has developed an episodic series, In The President’s Service, available in ebook form that features Helen as she takes on criminals and spies during WWII.

Highly Recommended.

Audience:  Older teens and adults.

Great for Book Clubs.

(I purchased this book for my Kindle. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

Book Review: Dying to Read

29 Aug

721580Cate Kinkaid is just dipping her toe into the world of private investigating until one of the many resumes she has floating around lands her a real job. All she has to do is determine that a particular woman lives at a particular address. Simple, right? When the big and brooding house happens to contain a dead body, this routine Pi job turns out to be anything but simple. Is Cate in over her head?

 

 

935704394bc10a7f023586-l-_v198106322_sx200_

 

Lorena McCourtney is a long-time resident of Southern Oregon and enjoys using Oregon settings in her books. She wrote numerous short stories for children before moving on to romances and now to mysteries, often with a bit of humor. She won the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Mystery “Book of the Year” and twice won the Daphne Du Maurier Award of Excellence.

 

My Impressions:

When I read and reviewed Death Takes A Ride last month (review HERE) I knew I had to go back to the scene of the crime, er, first book in the series. Dying to Read, book 1 in Lorena McCourtney’s Cate Kincaid Files is a great place to start for those who love cozy mysteries. Cate, who is new to the PI business, gets her man, along with getting into life threatening situations. But this is a cozy series, so you know that the good guys always prevail and that there will be a good dose of humor as well.

Cate has her first assignment from her uncle’s PI agency — find the current address of a young woman for her family. But right from the start, Cate knows she is in over her head. A dead woman, a book club full of suspects as well as a tree-hugging missing housekeeper keep Cate looking into the mystery long after she discovers the address. Along the way Cate is continually mistaken for one of the suspects and finds herself in trouble and a budding romance. A lovable deaf cat also plays a big role in the action.

Cate is a great character. She has had some disappointments in life and love and is unsure where to go next. Her PI gig is only temporary, or so she thinks. But her inner instincts keep Cate going. Maybe she really should be a PI! The other characters add color and enough quirk to be funny, but not so much that they strain credibility. Moral issues, such as one character’s problem with telling the truth, are death with in a tongue in cheek naturalness that is never preachy. Cate’s faith is also natural — just the way she lives her life.

So if you are looking for a fun cozy mystery, start with Dying to Read. You won’t be sorry, especially since there are two more books in the series!

Audience: Older teens to adults.

(I purchased this book for my Kindle. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

Book Review: Dating, Dining and Desperation

28 Aug

679310Daphne Ballinger has learned to accept her deceased, eccentric aunt’s strange request that she marry in order to inherit her estate, along with taking over her aunt’s hometown paper’s advice column.

But knowing and accepting that God’s will be done becomes harder when a new neighbor, a divorced socialite, learns of Daphne’s predicament and takes on the task of finding her the perfect man, even if it includes speed dating. When God does open Daphne’s heart, it is instead to take in a young girl left parentless and in the care of her dying grandmother. It may be a temporary arrangement until the girl’s uncle returns from the Marines, but God uses Daphne to speak His heavenly love and protection into the life of the child — whom Daphne soon discovers has a very handsome and single uncle.

 

 

bio_photo5Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books, several of them Christmas novellas from Revell, including her much-loved and bestselling book, The Christmas Bus. She also writes many teen books, including Just Another Girl, the Diary of a Teenage Girl series, the True Colors series and the Carter House Girls series. Melody was nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her books, including the Notes from a Spinning Planet series and Finding Alice, which is in production as a Lifetime Television movie. She and her husband serve on the Young Life adult committee in central Oregon. Visit Melody’s website at http://www.melodycarlson.com.

 

My Impressions:

Dating, Dining and Desperation is the second book in Melody Carlson’s Dear Daphne series. (You can read my review of book 1, Lock, Stock and Over A Barrel, HERE.) It is just a few month after Daphne’s Aunt Dee has died and named her as her heir, with a catch. Daphne has one year to meet and marry or she will forfeit all claim to the estate. While Daphne feels the pressure from the will, her family and her friends to find Mr. Right, she is sure that the desperation she feels is just not what God wants.

New friends and old characters arrive in Daphne’s life. The perky, Southern divorcee, Sabrina Fontaine, offers comedic touches to the story, while young neighbor, Mabel, touches Daphne and the reader’s heart. I like that Daphne decides to step  away from her own life, problems and the parade of somewhat eligible men and gives her time, money and love to this child in need.

Dating, Dining and Desperation has a small town setting that provides a relief to busy and stress-filled lives. The charming town and its lovable residents will make you want more. I am looking forward to more adventures with Daphne as she discovers what is important and what God wants for her life.

Note: The first two books were published by B&H Publishers. Due to changes at B&H, Carlson will be publishing books 3 and 4 in an ebook form. I am hoping they will be available soon!

Recommended.

Audience: YA to Adults.

(Thanks to B&H for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this novel, click on the image below.

Book Review: Merlin’s Nightmare

27 Aug

735093Haunted by the past, chased by the present.

Arthur is now eighteen, and Merlin, tired of hiding and running from his enemies, wants nothing more than to spend his days with his family and train Arthur for his rightful place as king. But when Arthur goes missing, a desperate Merlin must abandon all other quests to find him before a shadowy pursuer catches Arthur first.

Having everything to fight for, and almost nothing to fight with, Merlin and Arthur must rally Britain’s warriors against three overwhelming enemies: Saxenow hordes in the south, Picti raiders in the north, and a chilling new enemy that has arisen in the west.

At the same time, Mórgana brings Merlin’s deepest fear to life and sets a horde of werewolves loose to destroy Britain. But when the secret purpose of this nightmare is finally revealed, will Merlin and Arthur find a way to survive—without unleashing an even greater evil?

 

My Impressions:

Robert Treskillard‘s Merlin Spiral is an outstanding series featuring meticulous research of Britain in the 5th century AD — language, customs, warfare — as well as the traditions of the Arthurian legends he uses as its foundation. I am going to leave it to others on the tour to discuss the symbolic and spiritual aspects of the book. What impressed me the most is that Merlin’s Nightmare is a man’s book. Yes, there is a lot of warfare described in bloody, if not gory detail, but it is the strong male characters and their development that stand out the most. In this time of marginalization of men, when even TV commercials depict men as silly and weak, it is refreshing to see men acting like men, real men.

First there is Merlin, a now experienced leader and advisor. He is also a committed man — to family, country and king. He struggles with fears (don’t we all) and is reluctant to face them head on. But it is his commitment to God’s will and leadership in his life that causes Merlin to step beyond himself, his yearning for peace and comfort, and into the purposes and plans placed before him.

Arthur is now an eighteen year old — brash, reckless and a bit naive. His emotions spur him into action. But as the book progresses, Arthur learns the true costs of being a man. He has to make tough decisions and put others ahead of himself. Although he has a long way to go, this servant-king is committed to his people.

Commitment is the keyword for Merlin’s Nightmare. Loyalty, devotion, and faithfulness are on display, and what great lessons for the young men in our lives. There are some great female characters as well, but in this book the men shine. So go out and get all three books in The Merlin Spiral and make sure your sons and daughters read them. Girls need to know what real men look like too! ;)

Highly Recommended. 

Audience: Young adults and adults

(Thanks to Blink in conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour for a review copy of this book. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

 

CSFF Blog Tour Participants:

Jeff Chapman
Vicky DealSharingAunt
April Erwin
Carol Gehringer
Victor Gentile
Rebekah Gyger
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Emileigh Latham
Jennette Mbewe
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirriam Neal
Joan Nienhuis
Nissa
Writer Rani
Nathan Reimer
Audrey Sauble
Chawna Schroeder
Jojo Sutis
Robert Treskillard
Phyllis Wheeler
Elizabeth Williams

CSFF Blog Tour Day 2 — Merlin’s Blade and Merlin’s Shadow

26 Aug

The CSFF Blog Tour is featuring Merlin’s Nightmare by Robert Treskillard. The third book in the Merlin’s Spiral series, it could be read as a standalone. Robert does a good job catching the reader up on all the action from the previous 2 books. But . . . I really think you should start with book 1 first and then proceed to book 2 before reading Merlin’s Nightmare. Below you will find the blurbs on the books and links to my reviews.

 

73507xMerlin’s Blade. A strange meteorite. A deadly enchantment. And only Merlin can destroy it. A meteorite brings a mysterious black stone whose sinister power ensnares everyone except Merlin, the blind son of a swordsmith. Soon, all of Britain will be under its power, and he must destroy the stone—or die trying.

My Review

 

 

 

 

735083Merlin’s Shadow. After destroying the sinister Druid Stone and freeing his people from its dark control, Merlin finds himself to be a royal advisor without a king. Along with his friend Garth and Natalenya, his betrothed, Merlin treks north with the orphaned Arthur in hopes of keeping the young ruler safe from soldiers misled by their turncoat captain. Relentlessly pursued by his nemesis Vortigern, Merlin and his band make for the fortress of Dintaga.

But dangers multiply when Merlin realizes that Vortigern is not his only enemy. Even his own sister appears bent on Merlin’s destruction. As the threat on all their lives increases, Merlin discovers their only hope is sailing to the lands of eternal darkness and once again cleansing the world from an ancient and powerful evil.

My Review

 

CSFF Participants

Jeff Chapman
Vicky DealSharingAunt
April Erwin
Carol Gehringer
Victor Gentile
Rebekah Gyger
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Emileigh Latham
Jennette Mbewe
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirriam Neal
Joan Nienhuis
Nissa
Writer Rani
Nathan Reimer
Audrey Sauble
Chawna Schroeder
Jojo Sutis
Robert Treskillard
Phyllis Wheeler
Elizabeth Williams

Christian Science Fiction And Fantasy Blog Tour — Merlin’s Nightmare

25 Aug

This month the folks at the CSFF Blog Tour are featuring Merlin’s Nightmare, the third and final installment in Robert Treskillard’s YA fantasy series, The Merlin Spiral.  Tomorrow I will highlight books 1 and 2, and then on Wednesday I will post my review. In the meantime, make sure to look at the book blurb and author info., and of course, all the participants on the tour.

735093Haunted by the past, chased by the present.

Arthur is now eighteen, and Merlin, tired of hiding and running from his enemies, wants nothing more than to spend his days with his family and train Arthur for his rightful place as king. But when Arthur goes missing, a desperate Merlin must abandon all other quests to find him before a shadowy pursuer catches Arthur first.

Having everything to fight for, and almost nothing to fight with, Merlin and Arthur must rally Britain’s warriors against three overwhelming enemies: Saxenow hordes in the south, Picti raiders in the north, and a chilling new enemy that has arisen in the west.

At the same time, Mórgana brings Merlin’s deepest fear to life and sets a horde of werewolves loose to destroy Britain. But when the secret purpose of this nightmare is finally revealed, will Merlin and Arthur find a way to survive—without unleashing an even greater evil?

 

 

1u5alhtqntqi0oujr6ggRobert Treskillard, a Celtic enthusiast who has been crafting stories from his early youth, is a software developer, graphic artist, and sometime bladesmith. He and his wife have three children and are still homeschooling their youngest. They live in the country outside St. Louis, Missouri. It all began when Robert’s son wanted to learn blacksmithing and sword-making. The two set out to learn the crafts and in the process were told by a relative that they were descended from a Cornish blacksmith. This lit the fire of Robert’s imagination, and so welding his Celtic research to his love of the legends of King Arthur, a book was forged—Merlin’s Blade, book one of The Merlin Spiral, now published by BLINK Young Adult Books and available wherever books are sold.

 

To purchase Merlin’s Nightmare, click on the image below.

 

CSFF Participants
Jeff Chapman
Vicky DealSharingAunt
April Erwin
Carol Gehringer
Victor Gentile
Rebekah Gyger
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Emileigh Latham
Jennette Mbewe
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirriam Neal
Joan Nienhuis
Nissa
Writer Rani
Nathan Reimer
Audrey Sauble
Chawna Schroeder
Jojo Sutis
Robert Treskillard
Phyllis Wheeler
Elizabeth Williams

Page Turners’ September Selection

23 Aug

We are continuing our reading in the South with a classic — Lighthouse by Eugenia Price. Many of Price’s novels are being reissued right now, having been out of print for years. Have you read this one? Let us know what you think.

 

13357750First Novel in the St. Simons Trilogy

A compelling, vibrant saga of conflict, love, and a young man’s search to fulfill his dreams.

In this enthralling first novel of the St. Simons Trilogy, Eugenia Price shares the compelling story of James Gould, a young man with a passionate dream. Raised in post-Revolution Granville, Massachusetts, Gould could only imagine the beauty and warmth of lands to the south. It was there that he longed to build bridges and lighthouses from his very own design and plans. The gripping story unfolds as Gould follows his dream to the raw settlement of Bangor on the Penobscot River, to St. Simons Island off the coast of Georgia, to lawless Spanish East Florida, and back—at last and finally—to St. Simons. Along the way, he encounters hardship, peril, failure, and success, but it is the unwavering love of Janie Harris, an especially beautiful and strong-willed young woman, that fulfills his deep need for someone who can share the dream and the life he has chosen.

 

6320a6901ff60a82390b78.L._V356503853_SX200_Eugenia Price — Beloved New York Times bestselling author of 39 books, with over 40 million copies sold. Best known for her historical romantic antebellum novels.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 216 other followers