Posted in christmas, mystery, suspense on January 29, 2009

Author – David Morrell
Publisher – Vanguard Press, The Perseus Books Group
November 2008

And a child shall lead them
5 out of 5 stars

David Morrell is an award winning author for his novel First Blood in which the character Rambo was created. He has written other best selling novels such as Extreme Denial, Brotherhood of the Rose and Desperate Measures. He currently resides in Santa Fe with his wife.

‘The Spy Who Came for Christmas’ starts off with Pyotyr (aka Paul) running for his life in downtown Santa Fe being chased by his “partners” in the Russian mafia for a package that he took from the job they just started. The package turns out to be a child that is the son of a charismatic Palestinian, Ahmed Hassan, who preaches peace in the Middle East and is destined to change the future. Needless to say, Pyotyr’s boss is not happy that he took this child because those that want him have paid a pretty penny and they want him now and will not accept failure by those they contracted for the job.

The book starts off in the middle of the story and then goes back and forth to fill in the story until near the end where they only go forward. By doing this they really grab the reader’s attention because you wonder why this man is running through Santa Fe and you wonder what he is carrying and why.

As Pyotyr is running along the streets of Santa Fe, he has to find a safe place for him and the child. He stumbles across a residential community and finds a home that is occupied by a woman, Meredith, and her son, Cole, that are planning to leave her husband, Ted, because he is an alcoholic and a drunk. Cole is very protective of his mother and when he sees Pyotyr he thinks it is his father returning and is determined to not let Ted hurt his mother again. However, Cole realizes that this is not his father and manages to bring Pyotyr and the child into the house. This sets them up for potential danger should Pyotyr’s partners find him. Pyotyr manages to secure the house with the help of Meredith and Cole and while they wait to see what happen, he begins to tell the story of Jesus’ birth in the bible and the role of the Magi to Cole.

I truly enjoyed this book and the author’s spin on the story of Jesus’ birth and the possible role that the Magi had in helping keep Jesus alive and away from King Herod. It was interesting to see how the author took a story that we all know but in a different direction, that the Magi were spies (like the main character, Pyotyr) and perhaps their destiny was to keep the child alive.

This book is a fairly quick read and it kept me on the edge of my seat wondering if good or evil would prevail. The ending was a little bit of a surprise but it was a very good ending and I can’t see it turning out any other way now that I have finished the book. It is a combination of a spy novel crossed with a Christmas story and while it seems an unlikely combination, it works for this novel.

Reviewed by Leslie Storey for RebeccasReads (1/09)

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Posted in Idaho, romance on January 22, 2009

Written by Lani Diane Rich
Published 11/08 by Forever, Hachette Book Group USA
ISBN: 978-0446618250

You don’t have to be in the big city to find love
4 out of 5 stars

Lani Diane Rich is a best-selling author, with titles such as: Crazy in Love, The Comeback Kiss, Maybe Baby, Ex and the Single Girl, and Time Off for Good Behavior. She resides in New York with her family.

“Wish You Were Here” starts off with Freya Daly traveling from Boston to Deer Creek Idaho in an attempt to purchase a run down camp for her father and his business. The owner is Nate Broday, who is a chef and father of a 12 year old daughter, Piper. He inherited the camp when his father died and all he knows is that he isn’t supposed to sell the camp until he finds a purple tackle box. He doesn’t know what is in it or why it is so important, but he feels he must honor his father’s wishes.

What Nate doesn’t know is that while Freya may appear to be a hardened business woman, she is so much more than that. He especially discovers this when her cabin is on fire and when she is being held hostage by his crazy Uncle Malcolm who would think nothing of shooting her to further his own agenda.

As most romance type novels go, this does end with the boy getting the girl but only after she leaves him in Idaho to go home and a few other mishaps along the way.

I had never read anything by Lani Diane Rich and wasn’t sure what to expect. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and considered it lighter reading than say a mystery or thriller novel. The characters seemed more real than other books with real problems and lives that I could understand and relate to even though my life may not be exactly the same. I could also relate to Freya’s life as a corporate executive and how that can impact your personal life. I liked the interaction with her father especially when she found out that she was passed over for a promotion within the family business.

I think most anyone would enjoy this book and if they can’t relate to the story line at least understand it and appreciate the situations that the characters are in at this junction of their life.

Reviewed by Leslie Storey for RebeccasReads (1/09)

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Posted in Uncategorized on January 9, 2009

Written by Ron Hall and Denver Moore
Published March 11th 2007 by W Publishing Group
ISBN 978-0849919107
Book Description: A dangerous, homeless drifter who grew up picking cotton in virtual slavery.
An upscale art dealer accustomed to the world of Armani and Chanel.
A gutsy woman with a stubborn dream.
A story so incredible no novelist would dare dream it.

It begins outside a burning plantation hut in Louisiana and an East Texas honky-tonk and, without a doubt, in the heart of God. It unfolds in a Hollywood hacienda, an upscale New York gallery, a downtown dumpster and a Texas ranch.

Gritty with pain and betrayal and brutality, this true story also shines with an unexpected, life-changing love.

I wasn’t sure what to expect before I started reading this book. It is primarily set in Fort Worth Texas, close to where I live, so the landmarks were very familiar which is always a nice touch. Once I started reading the book, it took me a bit to get used to the chapters alternating between the two authors, Ron and Denver. There was a good introduction as to who these guys were and how they grew up and what they experienced from life.

The chapters aren’t long, some are only one page, which made the chapters fly by and very easy to read. There is some mention of religion and the author finding his way back from a life filled with a focus on possessions and money to one that included helping others.

Overall I really enjoyed the book. It is a great true story of how if you just reach out a little and trust that you can forge a great friendship. It also teaches you that live is a lot more than just possessions or money.