Saturday, 22 February 2014

The 500 by Mathew Quirk

Today on Bookaholic I bring you a real page turner of a mystery thriller.

This is the first book published by Matthew Quirk and I sincerely hope it will not be his last. Mike Ford has escaped from his upbringing and background as a member of a crime family.  After working hard to graduate from Harvard law school he has landed a job in a prestigious Washington firm. The job and the income seem like a dream. However,  he soon comes to realise that he is in it right up to the top of his new designer suit in more trouble than he left behind. His supposedly "honest" firm is not what it seems and Mike is playing a part that he wasn't expecting to play and certainly doesn't want to play.

I can't say much more without giving the plot away, but no one is who they seem and throughout the book would will be wondering, 'who are the good guys,who are the bad guys'? Often it is difficult to work out. As I say nothing is apparent. This is a well written book, with a good writing style which hooks the reader, pulls them in and keeps them reading. I could really identify with all the characters, good and bad and they are certainly well scripted. There are a lot of twists and turns and this kept me turning the pages. It is not a long book, but the story does not suffer for this. It is not your usual blood and guts thriller, with dialogue being used to paint the picture of what is happening, but some scenes are quite gruesome. I loved this book and would highly recommend it.

I was given a copy of this book from the publishers in return for a fair and honest review. I was not expected or urged to write a positive review. The review I have given is fair and based on my reading of the book. 

So that's it for another day. The next book I am reading is almost 800 pages long so it may be a couple of days before I get to you again. With all the bad weather around the world why not download this book and spent a pleasant few hours in the warmth reading. See you all next time on Bookaholic. 

Monday, 17 February 2014

It's a God Thing: The Powerful Results of Ministry Evangelism by Charles L. Roesel


Ministry Evangelism and ministering to the poor is something which God has laid on my heart for the past few years. Today's book gives an example of how Ministry Evangelism works in practice and gives guidelines and examples of how this can be carried out. It demonstrates how important it is to pray and to listen to God for what he wants us to do. This is us in both a corporate and individual sense.

This book is not long but it is packed with power. It is written primarily for Pastors and Church leaders, however as an individual I felt I and a lot to learn from the advice given. The exhortation throughout the book is to reach out to the poor and disadvantaged in our communities. It is to look for need and to address this need as a church. I found this advice to be thought provoking and a call to change about the way we think about ministry.

The chapters cover four key areas:

  • Importance of Discipleship
  • Leadership First
  • Money Matters
  • Getting started
These are packed with practical examples of how this was done in the author's ministry. Every area is backed up by passages from the bible as to where God shorts us to carry out this particular type of ministry. God, Christ, the Holy Spirit and the Bible are at the core of everything which is discussed. This book left me with a profound sense of how the people in our communities are hurting and what we as a church can do to help them and show them God's love. It left me thinking and praying long into the night and was on my mind when I awoke the next morning. You cannot read this book with getting a sense of what God wants to do to mobilise his Church in this area.

I would advice all Church leaders to read this book. However, I would also encourage all Christians to read this book. It will change the way you think about ministry forever.

I was given a copy of this book from the Publisher in return for a fair and honest review. My review is based on my reading of the book and was not influenced in any way by external factors or people.

A rather more in depth book this week but one which is soul searching. Thank you for taking the time to read an I will see you all back here soon. 

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Slimy by Karen Arnpriester - An Honest Look at Bullying

I bring you a completely different book today on Bookaholic. Bullying is becoming a increasingly large problem in Western Society. Many children have to live with this day after day. Today's book takes an honest look at how this had an effect on one young girl.

Karen Arnpriester is a talented author of several books and loved by many people. What many people may not know about her is that she was severely and repeatedly bullied as a child. This book, the story of her schooldays and her bullying, is for children. It is written for those whoa re being bullied but also for the bullies to help them recognise the effect that this has on a child.

This is an emotional tale but at the same time is very powerful. It is definitely one worth reading. Karen has opened up her heart and her past to us as readers and this must have been extremely difficult for her to do. The impact that the bullying has had on her self esteem is evident. However, this is also a tale of overcoming and testimony to the person she is now.

Although this is a book for children, I as an adult found it compelling. There will be a an adult version coming out in the future. This sia book which all parents should buy for their children. There are discussion questions at the back of the book aimed at both the bullied and the bullies.

I was given this book in return for a fair and honest review. At no time was I pressured into writing a positive review and the rating I have given is based on my reading of and response to the book.

I will leave you there for today. This book is well worth buying and reading for everyone. If you have been affected by bullying then this book may help. 

I post this blog today with prayer for anyone who is affected by this post. 

Friday, 14 February 2014

The Inspector and Mrs Jeffries (A Victorian Murder Mystery) by Emily Brightwell

Today on bookaholic I bring you a quirky Victorian Murder Mystery which I loved. How can you resist a book which has this on the first page. 

"Dr Bartholomew Slocum was definitely dead. ... Aware of the two pairs of eyes staring at his back Inspector Witherspoon leaned forward and examined the dead man. It was not a chore he relished. The fact was, he was rather squeamish about dead people , but as corpses went this was rather a nice one."

Now doesn't that just make you want to read more. I can assure you the rest of the book is just as good. 

At first glance this is a police procedural but it is really a cozy mystery, or it could be a mixture of the two. To be honest it doesn't matter if it isn't categorised as this book defies Categorisation. Inspector Witherspoon of Scotland Yard is investigating the death of a seemingly upright Doctor. The Inspector does' know it but it is really his housekeeper, Mrs Jeffries who is the solving the murder. She is helped by a diverse crew, compromising the remainder of the household servants. This will give you an idea of how different this book is. The characterisation is spot on with Mrs Jeffries being a particular shining star. The Inspector, although somewhat puzzled by the whole thing, is endearing and I found myself wanting to look after him. There are several even more eccentric characters and those all take their place, no matter how minor their roles.

The book is just one of a whole slew of Victorian Murder Mysteries all starring Mrs Jeffries. I am sure that you are already realising that Mrs Jeffries is the real star of the books. This is the first one I have read and I cannot wait to read another. I haven't a clue where this fits into the series but it really doesn't matter. Back story is integrated well to support the plot. Another one I would highly recommend to all my bookaholic friends.

We are in the middle of piping rain and storms here in the UK so I'm off to grab a book and curl up, safe and sound, in the warm. As I write, the weather all over the world is in turmoil, with extreme weather conditions battering the UK, US, France and Portugal. Stay safe Bookaholic's and I will see you all safely back here soon. 

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Black Bear (Peter Cotton) by Aly Monroe

We are going back in time today on Bookaholic, with a thriller which is gentle and yet immediately absorbing.

As thrillers this is not an example of non stop action or a roller coaster ride. What it is, is a compelling and absorbing read driven by excellent characterisation and dialogue. It presents a slice of life, from days long gone, just after the second World War. This is the fourth outing for Petter Cotton, Aly Monroe's engaging spy. He is in America assisting with the set up of the new United Nations. Whilst there he finds himself wakening up in a private clinic for veterans. He has no memory of what has happened or how he got there. It is fairly quickly apparent that he has been drugged and the book revolves around how this happened. Whilst recovering he meets an engaging cast of characters and this is where the book comes into it's own. There is a mystery running through the book and we are aware of this, however it takes second place to the characters.

Each character is expertly drawn and beautifully brought to life. I found myself quickly warming to them and wanting to know more about both them and there lives. It is through them that Peter pieces together what has happened to him. As I said at the beginning of this review this is a compelling book and I could not put it down. It is solid and entertaining read which I would highly recommend. This is not just a book for lovers of spy stories but for everyone. I can't quite put my finger on why this book held my attention so well but it did. That should sum up how good it was.

So there we are for another day. I can assure you this is a book that is worth downloading and reading straight away. You wont regret it. If you do, curl up, put plenty of time aside, and enjoy. Keep reading.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Women in Fiction

We're back to writing again on Bookaholic, looking at women in fiction. I, and probably much of the UK, watched Mr Selfridge on the television last night. For those of you who haven't yet seen this show it is a drama about the life of the owner of Selfridge's store in London. Yes I know this is a book blog but I'm getting there. be patient. In series one Mr Selfridge's wife, Rose, was a somewhat put upon secondary character. In this series she has transformed into a strong woman who has found her own voice. I like and admire the new Rose.

This got me thinking about the female characters in novels. Often they only seem to exist as an extension of the male characters with no voice of their own. Developing female characters can be complex especially if that character takes the lead. As a writer it is important to know each character as well as you know your own self. The female character needs to stand out in some way as being their own person, with their own wants and needs. Someone who is different to all who have gone before them.  Their drive often needs to be greater than their male counterparts as can often be the case in the real world. 

I am aware of this when writing the character of Detective Inspector Shona McKenzie in my own novels. Shona is a feisty soul with a strong determination to succeed. Both funny and strong she does things her own way. Not that she always always let's me write her character the way I want to. She has her own voice. If I were to have a conversation with her it would probably go like this:

"Er, I'm the author. Do what your told."

"Not a chance. I'm the Detective Inspector so hold on to my coat tails and come along for the ride. I'll take you places you never knew you wanted to go."

It is great fun writing female characters and seeing how they develop, not only through the book, but through the series. Much like my life it is a whistle stop tour through the unknown. 

See you next time on Bookaholic's. Get that book that's about an inch from your elbow and keep reading. 

Sunday, 9 February 2014

The Babylon Gene by Alex Churton

We're back to thrill's and spills today on Bookaholic and what a book I bring to you. One you wil definitely want to buy and read.

This book is very complex and you need to keep your wits about you whilst reading. However, it is one of the most gripping books I have read. At it's basic level this is a thriller with non stop action. The leader of an Ancient Kurdish Tribe is being sought as it is thought he holds the key to something which will allow countries or organisation to gain word dominance. This leads to a whirlwind tour around the world, with the action keeping you both breathless and reading. The characters are superbly written. Toby Ashe, the main character, is believable and I found myself drawn to him and liking him. However, other seemingly less important characters, such as Aslan, are also compelling and complex.

The authors' footnote says this is a work of fiction but it is based on present day fact. You are left wondering what is fact and what is fiction. I loved this book. I was sorry to see it end and would highly recommend. An outstanding debut from an author it is worth watching out for in the future.

So there we have it for another day. I'm off to read a book about a former spy who is helping to form the United Nations after WW2. Looks good to me. See you all soon Bookaholic's and keep reading. 

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Keys to Lasting Joy by Ken Edwards - Christian Living Series

We are moving away form novels this week on Bookaholic and bringing you a superb book which looks at the experience of Christian Joy.

In this excellent book Ken Edwards examines Joy, as lived by Paul, and demonstrated in his letter to the Phillipian Church. Despite, what many would consider, unsurmountable difficulties, Paul lived a life of joy whatever his circumstances. However, as Edwards points out in his book, many Christians today do not live a life of Joy. We look for our joy in all the wrong places rather than turning to God. It is only through God we can find lasting joy.

Edwards outlines 11 principles which can be gleaned form Paul's life. He then looks at them in depth and applies them to our life today. This book is easy to read but do not be deceived into thinking it does not have depth. The text is thought provoking and encourages us to go beyond what we consider to be the normal things which bring joy to our life. The book encourages us to think about our circumstances and the way in which God is at the centre of any situation in which we find ourselves.

I would say this book is essential reading for all Christians. It is not a quick read as it is meant to be studied and applied to our own circumstances. It certainly made me think about where I am and where I would like to be. This is definitely a highly recommended book for all Christians.

I was given a copy of this book by the author in return for a fair and honest review. I was not at any time asked to provide a positive review. My review is based on the reading and study of this book and was not influenced by any other factor.

That's it for Bookaholic today. I will be bad soon with another great review. Grab a book, keep reading and enjoy every last book.