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Original Essays | September 18, 2014

Lin Enger: IMG Knowing vs. Knowing

On a hot July evening years ago, my Toyota Tercel overheated on a flat stretch of highway north of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A steam geyser shot up from... Continue »
  1. $17.47 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    The High Divide

    Lin Enger 9781616203757


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Sheila Deeth has commented on (233) products.

The Reluctant Jesus by Duncan Whitehead
The Reluctant Jesus

Sheila Deeth, September 9, 2014

If God is an Englishman, what would the devil's voice sound like? Readers can find out in Duncan Whitehead's the Reluctant Jesus, where thirty-year-old Jewish architect Seth learns some very surprising news from his parents. By turns zany, hilarious, seriously thought-provoking, and odd, this is not a novel for the easily offended. But its humor is delightfully up to date, its characters are thoroughly human and likeable (even when not human), and the plotline keeps you guessing right to the end.

With truths alternately revealed and obscured, miracles intriguingly reinvented, and disciples gathered at the bar, the story invites readers into a secular life turned upside down and some serious pondering on the sins of absent fathers. Meanwhile the world just might be going to end with a whimper or a bang.

Imagine Christopher Moore's Gospel according to Biff set in New York around the turn of the millennium and you'll get the idea. There's a wonderful cat, one seriously cool doorman, fearsome traffic and daunting weather, plus the inevitable question of just how much is under divine control. The dialog is smoothly convincing, as is the narrator's voice. And there's even a certain logic to it all. A few unedited Americanisms are easily excused in an American raconteur, and my only complaint is the cover had me thinking in all the wrong directions. I really enjoyed the story.

Disclosure: I was given a free copy and I offer my honest review; I loved it!
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A Peek at Bathsheba by Uvi Poznansky

Sheila Deeth, September 3, 2014

I really enjoyed Uvi Poznansky’s Rise to Power, so there was no way I would miss the chance to read A Peek at Bathsheba, second in her David Chronicles. It’s a wonderful story, well able to stand alone, and gorgeously, lyrically told. Those familiar with the Bible account will know where King David is coming from and going to. But every twist and turn of this plot feels fresh and new as David truly comes to life, an old man recollecting past mistakes; a king with many wives and honest loves and needs; a father who never quite knew what a father should do; and a man who, in volume three, will most surely be In Search of Redemption.

Author Uvi Poznansky has a wonderful talent for making the Biblical real, turning classic heroes into their humanly flawed counterparts, and rendering them totally fascinating. By the end of the tale, readers will feel they have truly sat at David’s feet, listening to him speak.

By turns cynical, sad, excitable, eager, foolish, wise, and maybe even driven a little mad by circumstance, this great king leads his people, sometimes leads his armies, and tries to lead his family into legacy. Meanwhile his prophet reminds him of God’s decrees, memories remind him of friendships past, and soldiers remind him of who they think put him on this throne. Faith is a lithesome thing in this tale, hard to grasp yet always waiting to threaten from the wings. And the victor writes the history, or at least the victor employs the historian.

Familiar Bible phrases echo, from psalms and from further afield, turned sometimes to God, sometimes to love. “How much nagging can a man take from his wives?” David wonders, even as he writes, and the twin roles of warrior and poet twist his words. Told with powerful sympathy and irony, a nicely prophetic touch, and plenty of earthy, human emotion, this novella has a classic feel blended with a wholly new approach. It’s beautifully researched, gorgeously rendered, and enticingly provocative in its blend of familiar and new. And it’s highly recommended.

Disclosure: It was free and I couldn’t resist it.
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Return to Sender by Steena Holmes

Sheila Deeth, September 3, 2014

The setting reminds me of that old TV series, Fantasy Island, though readers might never meet “the Master” as they read Steena Holmes’ romantic novella, Return to Sender. Triplet Lauren works with her sisters planning perfect vacations for weddings, honeymoons and more. But all the time, as soul-mates enjoy her aid, Luaren tries to forget the soul-mate she left behind.

Six years ago Lauren’s perfect relationship with Marc fell apart, but nothing can drive him from her heart. A perfect surprise vacation in Eden offers possibilities though. Perhaps it will finally help. Or it just might change everything.

Chocolate abounds in this short sweet tale. Handmade chocolates; perfectly made chocolates; and chocolates with messages printed on the box. But what matters, in the end, is who you choose to share those chocolates with. A enjoyable romance, with a richly sweet tooth, and a plethora of characters to feed a series or two, Return to Sender sends readers to a perfect fantasy island, with Greek gods and more than just desserts.

Disclosure: I was given a free ecopy and I offer my honest review.
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Murder of an Oil Heiress by Candy Ann Little

Sheila Deeth, September 3, 2014

Crossing TV's Dallas with Agatha Christie, Candy Ann Little’s Murder of an Oil Heiress combines the sensual seductions of HBO with the classic twists of Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot. Evil temptress Mallory has her claws in everyone, shares her body with whoever can offer her power, and loves no one but herself. Sensual details and seductively gorgeous people flow through her life to fill the first half of this novel. But a downfall is coming, and by the time it arrives, the reader is probably as eager as everyone else to see murder committed. The question is, who will die? And who will do the deed?

The second half of the novel fulfills all my Agatha Christie mystery needs, as alibis twist and bend, while a plethora of suspects points fingers in different directions. I guessed, toward the end, what might have happened. But the clues are well-drawn, well-placed, and nicely followed. There’s a pleasing logic to the story’s resolution, and a satisfying sense of recovery.

The dialog is great, equally convincing in bedroom seduction, boardroom plot, and cop car argument. The betrayals are annoying, but maintain a logical conviction. And the end result is a novel that draws you in and keeps you turning pages, like a soap opera with the promise of more---a promise it amply fulfills.

Disclosure: I was given a copy and I offer my honest review. I enjoyed the read.
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Legacy by Hugo Jackson

Sheila Deeth, September 3, 2014

High fantasy, epic action, seriously cool world-building, and not a dwarf or an elf in sight; Hugo Jackson’s Legacy begins what I’m sure will be a great fantasy saga, but it stands alone as a thoroughly enjoyable novel for teens, young adults, and all other fans of the genre. The characters are humanoid animals, and the author imbues them with an almost perfect mix of human and animal traits, from wild raccoon to wary fox to fierce and loyal wolf and more, plus dragons! Gorgeous clothes, fast action, cool steampunk technology, and plenty of mystery fuel this tale as a future Empress sets off on a quest to save her father, gathering allies and strangers along the way.

Legacy is a classic quest tale, rich with history and mystery, nicely character-driven and filled with possibilities. Forgiveness and friendship are both powerful forces, ranged against betrayal and mistrust. But the most powerful, and dangerous of all, might be the curious resonance of crystals with nature. If only Faria could learn to control and understand her gift.

Fierce battles are fought in strange new lands. Scary technology comes to bear. And history’s secrets are slowly revealed, together with their hidden surprises, as this tale draws to an end. I will certainly be eager to read more of this curious place.

Disclosure: I was given a free copy and I offer my honest, and very satisfied review.
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