Saturday, June 25, 2011

When the Lights Go Out by Max Elliot Anderson

When the Lights Go Out. Max Elliot Anderson. Comfort Publishing. August 2011. YA Ages 8-13. 172 pages. ISBN #: 9781936695478.

Set to be published near the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Max Elliot Anderson's book is meant to convey to young boys (and I think girls, as well as readers of any age) the seriousness of that catastrophic day when 3,000 people died because of a terrorist attack!

Peyton's Dad is a Colonel in the Army. What he does Peyton doesn't know, but he thinks it's something like being a Ranger. So Peyton and his friends decide they will begin their training so that they can become actual Rangers who conduct special missions. One morning while they are hiding, Peyton overhears a telephone conversation between his Dad and someone else about a secret "package" being delivered which must be guarded because of its dangerous contents.

In a second overheard conversation, Peyton and his friends learn that other people are aware of this delivery and are determined to steal it, somehow distracting the soldiers by another means. The plot quickens as the Rangers-in-training try to figure out how to stop this theft from happening without letting Peyton's Dad know about the overheard phone call. The author does a great job in creating the tension, fear, and seriousness of this new and very real mission these boys take on.

The end will surprise you and at the same time make you realize the threat is constant and one's alertness and preparation must be just as vigilant. Great job, Mr. Anderson!!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Frostbound:The Dark Forgotten by Sharon Ashwood

Frostbound: The Dark Forgotten. Sharon Ashwood. A Signet Eclipse Publication. June 2011. 384 pp. ISBN #: 9780451231956.

Lore, the alpha hellhound, is serving as deputy sheriff in a town brimming with excitement and trouble! For an upcoming election in which a supernatural being is running is pitting not only humans against supernaturals but also a mysterious killer against a vampire. This enemy has necromancy or magical powers that starts a huge fire that can burn right through concrete and steel. Immediately after that conflagration begins, a human, Michelle, is slaughtered, and her vampire cousin, Talia is overcome by grief and then rage. But in her initial confusion, she is caught by Lore, who thinks she may be the murderer and yet is totally besotted by her, leading to an unyielding need to kiss her and make her his, a very dangerous connection!

At the same time, it seems like Lore's status as Alpha or leader of the pack is under question unless he soon finds a mate of his own kind, a fact that his wild desire for Talia could lead to the loss of his leadership. Talia never wanted to become a vampire, and the reader is gradually introduced to her family, her background of terror and freedom achieved at a devastating cost. To Lore's pack, however, Talia is the enemy whom he must forsake.

Gradually the mystery unfolds into terrible battles to the death, as well as a menacing threat that looms large over the city. Lore enlists the aid of a radio journalist with special connections and powers of her own, Errata Jones. After a while, her words about love between the hunter and prey are replayed in multiple nail-biting scenes that depict the ravenous nature of all in both love and war!

Finely plotted, sensitive, fierce, tender, and complex, Frostbound is the fourth book in the Dark Forgotten series that is a must read for those who love the supernatural fantasy genre. Karen Ashwood knows how to craft an eerie, old-fashioned, terrorizing tale!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

On Hummingbird Wings: A Novel by Lauraine Snelling

On Hummingbird Wings: A Novel. Lauraine Snelling. Faith Words: Hachette Book Group. April 2011. 288 pp. ISBN #: 9780446582117.

Gillian Ormsby is a powerful business executive whose world is about to come to a shrieking halt, with massive changes forcing her to review her entire life. She's used to the tension of her consuming job but is now about to undergo a true test of stamina. For her mother, Dorothy, has decided she is dying; and to make sure she gets the message across, she's not eating or talking. All she does is sleep. Gillian's sister, Allie, calls for desperately needed help because she just can't cope. At the same time, Gillian discovers on the news that her company has been bought out and she's out of a job, albeit with a severance package. So Gillian moves from Manhattan in New York to California to take care of her mother and to eventually plan for her very vague future. Huge stressors!

But Gillian's life is about to be blessed through the friendship of Adam, a neighbor who shares her love of gardening, and Enzio who is a friend to Dorothy, even when he's not wanted. No one can figure out at first how to find out what's really wrong with Dorothy and how to get her living again.

Little by little, without me providing a spoiler, Gillian learns to relax even though she's doing lots of physical things. Allie finally tells her, after pages and pages of snide remarks and alternative silence, what's really bugging her. A plan begins to emerge, but even Gillian isn't prepared for the shocking revelations she receives in a series of emails and is pleased to bits about the relationship with Adam that seems to be evolving in a wonderful way.

On Hummingbird Wings is a novel about what's first and foremost, the blessings of family and friends, exactly as they are. These conflicts bring Gillian into a world of practical faith that stands the daily tests, simple or gigantic! People rather than work become the priority in her new world. This is a novel about growing, changing, and loving in a creative, accepting, inspiring, and real way. Very nicely done, Ms. Snelling!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Death By China: Confronting the Dragon - A Global Call to Action by Peter Navarro and Greg Autry

Death by China: Confronting the Dragon - A Global Call to Action. Peter Navarro and Greg Autry. Pearson Education Corp. publishing as Prentice-Hall. June 2011. ISBN #: 9780132180238.

The United States to any astute observer has become a nation dealing with the after-effects of multiple disasters, some natural and some very man-made in nature. What is sorely lacking is a large dose of preventative measures meant to restore our economic, military, social, psychological, cultural, educational, etc. leadership throughout the world. That usually means preventing a problem from beginning; but in this well-researched, critical novel, the call is for individuals and the government of the United States to prevent China from destroying America. That sounds like a tall order, and yet these two passionate authors lay out past behavior, intentions and effects on many policies active between China and America that seem designed to enrich China and bring the United States to its knees!

Each chapter herein specifically covers how China is poisoning America. First, the authors describe how lethal fillers, additives, chemicals, and more are inserted into our food, furniture and drugs. Notice the emphasis on multiple specific examples. The specificity of these facts as one reads makes it all the more frightening. Who hasn't heard about poisoned drugs or wood for baby cribs?

Navarro and Autry next canvas China's increasing economic domination, a fact many have heard but fail to appreciate just how widespread this takeover has spanned the American economy. Consider, as the authors advise, the elaborate web of illegal subsidies, the undervalued currency, piracy and theft of our intellectual property, massive environmental damage, lax health and safety standards, unlawful tariffs and more, protectionism, and more. Very often, our business and political leaders are aware this is happening but claim to be helpless to stop it. As one reads more and more, one questions and wonders how we have reached this point.

Then one might be more horrified after reading about China's theft of our technology, including manufacturing, space programs, financial systems, and national secrets. If one hasn't previously believed this was a deliberate conspiracy, by now one cannot with a level amount of thinking believe otherwise. On and on it goes. Finally, however, the authors offer a chapter with multiple suggestions for American individuals to take in demanding our government respond to these nightmarish scenarios, as well as offering leaders a path to restore our country's economy, intellectual, military, and political future to a position of strength rather than victimized weakness that spells out the potential for America's total demise.

Death in China is a moving, passionate, and gripping wake-up call to American citizens and leaders. According to the authors of this book about the decline of America, it is not too late to change our American journey from its present complacency to a vigorous stance leading to success and prosperity.

Very nicely done and sure to be debated everywhere and by anyone who reads
Death At China.