mostly book reviews: tends to be christian books, whatever is free for a review
"Empire's End" or as it is sometimes called on sites "I, Paul" by Jerry B Jenkins is the adult companion book to "I, Saul", a youth historical fiction about the Apostle Paul. Though Paul wrote a huge chunk of the New Testament, little is known of his personal life. In this fictional telling, Jenkins fills in the gaps starting with the horrors that Saul inflicted on the people of The Way and following him through his conversion and writings.
The story starts off in an advanced writing style that might seem hard to follow for some, but the point is to catch up the reader with the politics of the times. Following the Preamble, the writing takes a more readable fashion so that the reader can become more involved with the storyline. Jenkins is one of the infamous duo who wrote "Left Behind" yet this is the first book of his I have read. He is a brilliant writer, who writes with an intelligent fashion, yet can keep the reader interested without making it hard to understand. I have always wondered how Christians found the 'turning a new leaf' of Paul to be authentic. I don't think I would have believed him until he proved himself. I don't think I would have forgiven him. How many times have I lost something that could have been good because I wouldn't forgive? He takes Paul's story and turns it into not only a thinker, but an adventure story. I would recommend this to anyone, not just Christians as a good thriller.
"O! Jackie" by Mercedes King is fictional tale of a president, First Lady, and their complicated lives. This is a fictional account, loosely based on the lives of JFK and Jackie Kennedy. Loosely. A lot of it is true, but there is plenty of rumor, probably, maybe, coulda, shoulda, and what ifs to go around. I will treat this review as a review of a work of complete fiction to protect the innocent/guilty. I will review the writing rather than the research and/or daydreaming.
The first third of this book is basically one infidelity after another on the part of the husband. Though it is repeated by the wife that she "ultimately loves him" so she never leaves, the writer never says what there is to love about him. Usually when the man is in-your-face sleeping around he hands out a fair amount of romance and gifts to the wife to get back in her good graces. This husband does not. He just keeps doing it. Its almost as if part of the book is missing; it needs some reason to keep him. The second third of the book includes that. King turns on the charm and JFK becomes more complete while still doing his extra curricular activities. The couple as characters are much more developed and the plot is more interesting. Now when you start to get to the end, you may roll your eyes or think this is waaaay out in left field!" But keep in mind that it is fiction, and then story is riveting. This is sort of what you wish had happened. The first 1/3 needs more editing, but stick around and King won't disappoint. Just remember it is fiction! I received this book for free from the author through www.bookblogs.ning.com.
"The Aviator's Wife" by Melanie Benjamin is a phenomenal book. I started reading this with minimal knowledge of Charles and Anne Lindbergh. I knew he was the first to go over the Atlantic alone and I knew they had had a baby kidnapped. I knew he was immensely famous because I watch "Pawn Stars". I knew there was a huge conspiracy thing going on with the kidnapping because my late step-father-in-law believed he was the missing child. Yeah, I said it. However, I knew little else. This novel centers on Anne. She was a pilot in her own right. She was his crew. She raised 5 children by herself and lost a 6th one in the most cruel and public way possible. She was no slouch. At first I just wanted to slap her with her complete godlike worship of her husband. Her whole world was him, to the point of even sacrificing her children. Later, things start to change. She changes. She changes things.
The novel starts with her meeting Charles Lindbergh and ends with her "taking off" on her own after his death. The character depth is amazing; the reader not only is invested in the characters, but starts to see through and live through the characters. This is an amazing book. I can see men or even die-hard Lucky Lindy lovers not liking it, but all women will. I had not known Anne had written books. I think I will read the one mentioned in the book. Again, amazing, 5 stars. I received this book for free from Random House Publishing.
Mary Todd Lincoln is by far one of the most interesting First Ladies there has ever been. Over one hundred years later and there is no question who she was or what she was like. Mrs. Lincoln had a unique relationship with her modiste, Elizabeth Keckley, a former slave, who was the Versace of her time. I have always been fascinated by this relationship, and though I have read a great deal about Mary Lincoln, little has been read (by me) of Keckley. "Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker" by Jennifer Chiaverini is my first book written about the dressmaker herself.
"Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker" follows Elizabeth from the beginning of the first term through to her death. Most of it focuses on Lincoln's time in office and her relationship with Mary. Mary is exuberant to say the least. I would not call her crazy but rather an attention seeker. Too passionate for one body. I usually felt a little sorry for Robert Lincoln. Elizabeth gets caught up in the drama created by Mary and for some reason thinks it would be a good idea to write a book about her life, including the Lincoln years. That didn't work out too well and ended the long term friendship with the First Lady. This novel is very well written and the relationship with the two women is so inviting to the reader. The only fault I found was that I wanted to know more about what was going on in Elizabeth's head; but granted, Mary's head was probably more interesting. I really liked this book and highly recommend it. I received this book for free from Penguin Publishing.
"The Third Bullet (Bob Lee Swagger)" by Stephen Hunter is the newest in the Swagger series by Hunter. I have never read any of the Swagger novels and I might add one doesn't have to in order to read this book. Swagger becomes involved in the Kennedy assassination through a woman whose husband is murdered while looking into one of the murder for a novel he is writing. Swagger is a former (current?) agent for the government and he recognizes one of the clues connecting to his past. He follows the trail and attempts to solve the murder of President Kennedy.
This book is VERY fiction. This follows just one many of the theories, but it does not solve any murder. It is simply a "what if". It is a good what it. There is a lot of research in this novel and some of it is true. It's one of those books that gets into your head and you keep trying to solve the murder yourself instead of sleeping at night. The only fault I found with it is that it is a little too long. After the first third of the book, it starts to become a back and forth between Swagger's point of view and the killer's. The killer's side of it should have been shortened up to make the story flow faster. Conspiracy galore! Good book. I received this book for free from www.edelweiss.abovethetreeline.com.