Sunday, July 22, 2012

Perfectly Ridiculous by Kristin Billerbeck

A Universally Misunderstood Novel

Daisy's ready for summer fun--but it seems summer has something else in store.

High school is over, and Daisy Crispin is happy to leave it in her past and look forward to a bright new future at college. In the meantime, she is planning an all-expenses-paid trip with her best friend Claire to Argentina--home of exotic food, the tango, and her handsome sort-of boyfriend Max.

When Daisy discovers she needs to do missions work to fulfill the requirements of her scholarship, she chalks it up to her monumental bad luck in life and kisses her vacation goodbye. What was supposed to be a relaxing time in the lap of luxury turns into hard work, sleeping on a cot, avoiding scorpions, and stressing about where she stands with Max. Daisy wonders if anything in her life will ever go according to plan.

My Review:
This Christian fiction novel perfectly captures the voice of Daisy, a teenage volunteer on a summer mission trip to Argentina. Written in the first-person account, the book reads like a journal; in fact, some pages are written as entries in Daisy's travel journal.

Daisy struggles with the problems that most young people experience: her over-protective parents, her out-of-reach wish-he-could-be boyfriend, her plans for college, her BFF whose parents are decidedly richer than Daisy's. (Even though I'm far from a teenager, I enjoyed it. I would recommend it for any teen.)

Thank you to Donna Hausler at Baker Publishing Group for my copy.

Available July, 2012, at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Litigators by John Grisham

The partners at Finley & Figg—all two of them—often refer to themselves as “a boutique law firm.” Boutique, as in chic, selective, and prosperous. They are, of course, none of these things. What they are is a two-bit operation always in search of their big break, ambulance chasers who’ve been in the trenches much too long making way too little. Their specialties, so to speak, are quickie divorces and DUIs, with the occasional jackpot of an actual car wreck thrown in. After twenty plus years together, Oscar Finley and Wally Figg bicker like an old married couple but somehow continue to scratch out a half-decent living from their seedy bungalow offices in southwest Chicago.

And then change comes their way. More accurately, it stumbles in. David Zinc, a young but already burned-out attorney, walks away from his fast-track career at a fancy downtown firm, goes on a serious bender, and finds himself literally at the doorstep of our boutique firm. Once David sobers up and comes to grips with the fact that he’s suddenly unemployed, any job—even one with Finley & Figg—looks okay to him.

With their new associate on board, F&F is ready to tackle a really big case, a case that could make the partners rich without requiring them to actually practice much law. An extremely popular drug, Krayoxx, the number one cholesterol reducer for the dangerously overweight, produced by Varrick Labs, a giant pharmaceutical company with annual sales of $25 billion, has recently come under fire after several patients taking it have suffered heart attacks. Wally smells money.

A little online research confirms Wally’s suspicions—a huge plaintiffs’ firm in Florida is putting together a class action suit against Varrick. All Finley & Figg has to do is find a handful of people who have had heart attacks while taking Krayoxx, convince them to become clients, join the class action, and ride along to fame and fortune. With any luck, they won’t even have to enter a courtroom!

It almost seems too good to be true.

And it is.

My Review:
John Grisham has long been one of my favorite authors. Time zooms by and I realized that there's a novel he's authored that I've not yet read. That's why I love my local library; I checked this book out and thoroughly enjoyed it!

The plot moves at a good pace. Characters are easily understood. I connected to David Zinc, who is introduced as a David who is almost defeated by the huge Goliath law firm. When David cross examined the witness, I found myself smiling. I love the way Grisham writes legal thrillers.

Folks, I recommend this one.

Note: contains some mild profanity.

If you'd like to read chapters 1 and 2, click here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Deposit Slip by Todd Johnson

This Gripping Legal Thriller Is a Perfect Summer Read.

When Jared Neaton grew tired of the shady ethics of his big law firm and left to go out on his own, he never expected the wheels to fly off so quickly. One big case collapsing on him has pushed him to the brink and it's all he can do to scrape by. He can't risk another bad loss.

Erin Larson is running out of options. In the wake of her father's death, she found a slim piece of paper--a deposit slip--with an unbelievable amount on it. Ten million dollars. Only the bank claims it has no record of the deposit and stonewalls her attempts to find out more. This lawsuit, her last chance, has brought only intimidation and threats. Now she needs to convince Jared to take a risk, to help her because the money is real. And both need to watch their backs as digging deeper unleashes something far more dangerous than just threats.

My Review:
This is a page-turner; I liked it! Fast paced writing with short chapters, makes this a good "beach book." A good plot with many twists and turns--along with surprises--kept this reader's attention. It's the tale of an one lawyer's struggle against a large, legal corporation--a David and Goliath.

The novel is authored by an attorney, who I hope decides to continue to write. If you like John Grisham, you'll like this one.

Thank you to Bonnie at Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and Bethany House Publishers for my copy.

If you would like to read the first chapter, click here.

If you would like to buy a copy, click here.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Inescapable by Nancy Mehl

Road to Kingdom (Book One)

Page-Turning Romantic Suspense Set Against the Backdrop of a Small Mennonite Town

Lizzie Engel is used to running away. At eighteen, she left her Mennonite hometown, her family, and her faith with plans never to return. Five years later, Lizzie finds she'll have to run again. False accusations at her job, a stalker, and a string of anonymous threatening letters have left her with no other options. This time, however, her escape is back to Kingdom, her hometown.

As Lizzie becomes reacquainted with Kingdom, she realizes she may not have left her Mennonite roots and her faith as firmly in the past as she thought. She draws on the support of Noah Housler, an old friend, as she hides out and attempts to plan her next steps.

When it becomes painfully clear that the danger has followed Lizzie to Kingdom, suspicions and tensions run high, and she no longer knows who to trust. With her life and the lives of those she loves at risk, Lizzie will have to run one last time--to a Father whose love is inescapable.

My Review:
Lizzie, a single parent, is being stalked. To further complicate her life, she is falsely accused of criminal activity at her workplace. She decides that she must take her child and go into hiding. This concept had me hooked at the beginning of this novel, but unfortunately, there wasn't enough to reel me in. The plot flounders and the end is quite unbelievable.

Characters are flat. Charity, a six-year-old still takes naps, yet, most every night, she can hardly keep her eyes open. She is content to sit all day and color. Hmm, I don't remember my children acting like this. Matthew Engels, Lizzie's super stern father, causes anyone in his presence to tremble whenever he glares their way. The entire town is afraid of him; although he's an elder in the church, he is without friends. Somehow, he softens so as to become a marshmallow-like; why, at one point, he even has tears coursing down his face (286).

Perhaps you'll enjoy this one. I did not.

Discussion questions are included.

Thank you to Bonnie at Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and Bethany House Publishers for my copy.

If you would like to read the first chapter, click here.

If you would like to buy a copy, click here.