Monday, October 24, 2011

Through the Fire by Shawn Grady

Growing up I never really wanted to be a fireman, I was more of the policeman type.  As I have gotten older (and hopefully wiser) I have come to realize more and more that I think I would like to be a firefighter.  Not in a big city like NewYork or Chicago, or even Reno (where this book is based), but in a small community.

Aiden O'Neill (or A-O) is a third generation firefighter and is beginning to have some trouble "hearing" the fire when he goes in.  He has an inate talent to "hear" the fire and know what it is going to do next ... so did his dad.  The problem is, his dad died in a fire five years ago ... in a circumstance where he shouldn't have been in harm's way.

This is what is making Aiden think about life ... well that and him almost getting his new partner killed in an accident where he wasn't following orders.  Aiden is "every-man" ... working hard to make something of himself, often putting it before everything else.  His life is in shambles and he is places on two week leave.  He visits his uncle in Mexico and comes back to face his fears once again.  He speaks candidly to his father's friend Ben, and Ben tells him that he can still hear the fire ... he just needs to listen.  Kinda like we can always hear God talking, but are we really listening.

Decent read ... it was worth the time.

Rating: 3/5

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Day of War (Lion of War Series) by Cliff Graham Review

Finally ... another post regarding a book review.

Let me start off by saying that I have never read First or Second Samuel, but reading this book made me dive into the Old Testament with fervor.  David was an amazing person, with all his warts, problems, issues, lusts, and everything else he loved God above all else.

This book takes a small reference from 2 Samuel and novelizes it.  It is gracefully done, and follows not only David through a very trying time but it also follows his Three and the one who should also be considered Benaiah.  It gives great historical references and is so true to how things were in Davids time that you feel as if you are right there in the dust and grime.  It is extremely graphic in its description of the battles and how they tried to totally annihilate the opposing forces, not just make them surrender.  They tried to kill them all.

The story centers mostly on Benaiah and his struggles in his personal life, and how it is affecting his entire world.  He is a sturdy character and it is nice to see that some of the most important people in the Bible were really human as well.

I guess that Cliff Graham is going to be writing four more books in this series.  I'm interested to see how he is going to do it.  This is definitely a book that I'd recommend if you are into Biblical history.  From reading in 2 Samuel I see that the historical evidence is there for the basis of this story, and I appreciate Mr. Graham's ability to expound on what was handed down to us in the Scriptures.

I'm not sure what is next, but I'll let you know when I finish it.
Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dragon Ore by Brian Rathbone

Let me start off by saying that I really felt that this series was beginning to be drawn out.  That was until I started to read Dragon Ore.

This story chronicles the final installment to the Catrin Volker saga.  Catrin is (as normally the case) just a normal kid who is given some amazing powers.  She is the Herald of Istra.  Basically the incarnation of a goddess and has been given amazing powers.  Catrin has travelled all over the know world, from her home on the Godfist to the Greatland and on to the Firstland.  In her travels one thing has remained constant ... her friends have been there.  They have protected her and she has protected them.  She gained more friends and more enemies, and at the end she even decided to settle down.

This was a pretty cool series.  I was skeptical at first, but became enthralled in the world of Catrin Volker and her adventures.

See my other reviews on the series here:
Call of the Herald
Inherited Danger

Overall I'd give the series a 3.75/5, only because of the seeming longness of the story.  I'd rate Dragon Ore a bit higher , but it could have been better.

For Dragon Ore:

Rating - 4/5

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pentecost: A Thriller by Joanna Penn

Fatherhood (for the second time) is pretty stinking cool.  Seeing Emma smile up at me just melts my heart.  Hearing Sydney say, "Daddy, I made this for you." turns me into a mess of emotions.  I have been a little lax lately in posting.  I finished this book a couple of weeks ago.

I've always liked the name Morgan for a girl.  And that just so happens to be the main character's name in Pentecost.  Morgan was born and raised in Israel, and has a twin sister that she never really knew since Morgan had lived with her father and her sister lived with her mother.  They were (and still are) drastically different people.  Morgan is a psychologist at Oxford University in England, where she specializes in the connection between religion and the mental acuity of some  of the problems that it may cause for an individual.  Her sister is married to a pastor and has a beautiful daughter whom Morgan adores.

The story revolves around the Apostles Stones, and the power that they may (or may not) have.  Stories tell of the time of the Resurrection of Jesus and the power that it took for that to happen.  The Apostles took small parts of the stone and kept them as a memento and reminder of that day and the power that they have been given.  Through time the stones were scattered across northern Africa, southern Europe and of course through the Middle East.

Morgan and her sister each have one of the stones ... you can see where this is going.  There is also and evil politician (really ... a politician that is evil ... never) who has a twin brother who has a sever medical condition.  He also thinks that if he is able to get all twelve stones together he will be able to heal his brother.  He does everything he can to get the stones ... kidnapping, murder, deceit, hatred ... you name it, he's done it.

Morgan teams up with Jake Timber from the ARKANE Corporation, to try to get the stones and deliver them to the political madman.  ARKANE specializes in "protecting" religious artifacts, no matter the cost.  Jake is directed to get the stones and get them to the ARKANE headquarters.  Morgan thinks that he is there to help get her sister and niece back ... oh yeah, they were kidnapped by the evil politician.

I'll stop there ... you can probably guess where it goes from there.

It was a decent read overall ... supposedly is is going to be a series.  I'm looking forward to the next installment to see if it can make the story more realistic.

Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Inherited Danger by Brian Rathbone

The Dawning of Power trilogy is getting better with each book.  Brian Rathbone is a very skilled author and develops the characters wonderfully.

Catrin Volker is the heroine and becomes bigger than life.  She struggles with the cards that she has been dealt, and that is mostly with moral issues.  Should she risk the lives of her friends and family?  Should she risk the lives of total strangers?  Should she do what she has set out to do?  She has her protectors; her cousin Chase, friends Osbourne and Strom, and her surrogate father Benjin Hawk.

She makes the journey to the Greatland in search of answers.  Is she really the Herald of Istra?  Can she control these powers that she is conflicted with?  Will Benjin stay at her side?  Will she ever see her father again?

Catrin finds out much more than she ever reckoned she would when she makes it to the Greatland.  She finds out more of her mother and her father, and how Benjin played a part in it all.

The story is a mixture of Hunger Games and Lord of the Rings.  There is a heroine, with magic and swords and special journeys that only the main character can complete with the assistance of her protector.  Catrin is much like Frodo, and Benjin is muck like Sam.  Catrin is much like Katniss and Benjin is much like Haymitch.  Both Frodo and Katnis are on a journey, like Catrin.  Both Sam and Haymitch are there to protect, much like Benjin.

I am excited to see where this story ends.  I have already begun to read Dragon's Ore, and am excited by the title.

Inherited Danger by Brian Rathbone

Rating: 4/5

The Gift by Bryan Litfin

First off let me apologize for being a little lax in my reviewing lately.  Since my last post on July 15 my wife and I have had our second little girl.  She was born on July 16 and is healthy and mom and baby are doing great.

Onto the review of the second book in the Chiveis Trilogy.  This book, much like the first in the series (The Sword), took me to a time where swords and not guns were the weapon of choice.  Horses were ridden and cars were just the rusty motorized carriages that littered the landscape.

Well Teo and Ana are exiled from their homeland because they will not renounce their God, who is know as Deu.  This story begins as they arrive over the mountain in the Beyond, and come in to a group of soldiers where Teo is employed as a mercenary.  A bit of a downgrade from his well respected title of Captain in Chiveis.  He is employed due to the ability that he has to wield a sword, and wield it he does.

Ana, on the other hand, comes to be befriended by some very wealthy ladies in the country and begins to struggle with moral issues, since there is s definite lack of morality in the country.  She is pursued by a Dojh (or prince/king) and Teo comes to the rescue, as the Dojh attempts to force Ana's hand in marriage.

The pursuit of the New Testament is the main story in this tale.  There are many other sub-plots that are mixed in for good measure.  Some seemed to drag along and others seemed to flow effortlessly.  Many of the new characters are very endearing and others make you want to jump inot the book and take them on yourself.

I am going to rate this a touch lower than The Sword, but still very much worth a read.

The Gift by Bryan Litfin

Rating: 3.5/5

Friday, July 15, 2011

Call of the Herald - Pre-Review Problem

So I'm again in a quandary.  I have just been offered a lent copy of Bryan Liftin's The Gift.  Which is the second in the Chiveis Trilogy.  I totally loved the first novel The Sword as you can see from my prior review.

I am just about done with Call of the Herald, which has been slow at times, but I can definitely see myself finishing the series.  It is about a girl and her becoming the Herald of Istra.  The book has been well written and I anticipate the others to be that way as well.

Here is my plan ... I am 80% complete with Call of the Herald and the loan offer is available for 7 days from today.  I'm going to do my best to finish COTH over the weekend and download the loaned The Gift on Monday.  Sound like a good plan?  Here is the catch ... my wife is 100% pregnant and could give birth to our second daughter any day now ... that MAY throw a little wrench in the works.  I think I can make it to still read even though we'll have another little one in the house.

UPDATED 8/16/11 - Call of the Herald Complete!!!

I was able to complete Call of the Herald and loved it so much that I dove right into the second story.  Catrin Volker is just your normal farm girl, who struggles with the rich brats in the town.  She and her cousin Chase and her friend Osbourne mut endure abuse and torture daily.  Until ... one day Catrin is faced with a life or death situation.  Life wins ... at least HER life wins.  She protects those that she loves on numerous occasions, and is accused of being a witch with amazing powers.

She fights her way through this book with the help of those who have sworn to protect her.  Her cousin Chase, her friends Osbourne and Strom and her father's friend Benjin.  There are struggles and problems, and Brian Rathbone weaves a thread that develops over time.  The characters grow and it is quite enjoyable.

Rating: 4/5