Milt Gross Book Review: "Plum Lucky" by Janet Evanovich
Robert Parker and Evanovich are my favorite two writers, both fiction mystery, murder, and mayhem and both with humor tossed into the plot. The difference between the two is that Parker covers Boston, while Evanovich covers California and other warm places like Florida. In this one, there's crime, including kidnapping of Plum's grandmother, Grandma Mazur, as well as the horsey adventures. It's hard to imagine anyone with the courage to kidnap Stephanie's grandma! I can't loan you my copy, as its going back to Searsport's Carver Memorial Library soon.
Aug 30, 2015 - 5:03:12 AM
R.P. BenDedek Book Review: "Unseen Tears" by Beau Sides
This book is an easy and quick read with a simple storyline and is full of cultural information and anecdotes. It would not qualify as a 'dramatic tear jerker,' but this fictional story is certainly an excellent vehicle for the author's educational purpose. Some readers may be shocked by some of the things that they will learn from this story, and that is to be expected because westerners naturally view the entire world through their own cultural perspective -- or 'rose colored glasses.' At one point in this story, Anne, the private orphanage director says, "...most foreigners have to be here a long, long time before they can begin to understand." How true that is. And I guess that is why the author has chosen to write the book. Merely quoting facts, figures and statistical information is hardly likely to engage readers with the reality of life in China.
Aug 26, 2015 - 10:30:07 PM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Dog on It" by Spencer Quinn
Does a writer become better as he writes through several books? Does he hone his skills for a better tale? I've wondered that and still do. But in Dog on It, Spencer Quinn did a better job on his first, this one, than in the one of his I had read earlier, the seventh one of his dog-and-mystery series. But in Dog on It, Quinn did a much better job of combining doggie humor with the actual story. In fact, some of the story featured Chet, the dog in question, with his being the only action and Bernie, the doggie master, not being present for those parts.
Aug 23, 2015 - 7:05:50 AM
M.W. Johnson Review: "Hope for the Nations" by Dr. Tom Holland
This book does not seem to be specifically designed for scholars and theology students. It is not a complicated read. The author's writing and expository style are delightful and illuminating. His presentation on the 'Law' and 'Circumcision' will surely be understood by everyone as will his explanation of the significance of 'Passover' and 'Atonement.' It is my personal belief that most Christians today have, and most Christian Preachers today preach, a poor quality imitation of Christianity. "Hope for the Nations" is not some fresh revelation of Christ but rather the 'meat of the Word of God.' It's purpose is to help the reader UNDERSTAND.
Aug 18, 2015 - 7:27:27 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Wolf in Timber" by John Connolly
The first part of the story was good, a mysterious tiny church in the woods on the outskirts of the town, a mysterious preacher at the church who doesn't preach because there are no services, an evil Police Chief Morland, and a host of Prosperous locals who took in the stealthy goings on that begin the mystery. Maybe I'm just too old and numb to have followed the complicated plot, but I didn't. Parker is the lead character in a series of John Connolly novels, described in a cover page as a "thriller." You may find it really good. I hope so.
Aug 16, 2015 - 8:07:36 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "The Special Prisoner" by Jim Lehrer
This is an excellent book. The Special Prisoner is a novel, written by a career news journalist on public TV whose long-time job was telling the truth. John Quincy Watson, the lead characters, took part in bombing Japan during World War II. He was captured, when his plane went down, tortured and learned to hate his main torturer. Years later, as a bishop, Watson comes across the torturer by accident in an airport, follows the man to a hotel, and subsequently kills him.
Aug 2, 2015 - 7:12:07 AM
M. Stevens-David Book Review: "The Curious Autobiography of Elaine Jakes" by H.R. Jakes
This book "The Curious Autobiography of Elaine Jakes," told by her son "H.R. Jakes" was very interesting to say the least. The book itself is not an "easy" read but the reader will learn a lot from what was written. Elaine Jakes lived in the eccentric community of New Hope, Penn., and in the 1970s and 1980s set out to discover her Welsh heritage, herself, and her God.
Jul 29, 2015 - 4:43:14 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "The Taking" by Dean Koontz
My impression of The Taking is that the story keeps repeating itself, the lead characters go to different places where the same gooey critters show up. This continues for most of the book, when, presto, the sun is out and the critters are gone. I've read a number of Koontz's books (for example Intensity which I reviewed in December 2012), but this one did not make the grade.
Jul 26, 2015 - 8:54:45 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "A World War I Adventure" by a group of the main character's relatives (The House of Harkness)
From the hype in the book, the story should have been about Harkness' chores for the British -- he was from Australia -- during the First World War. But what I found were apparently unedited (unless for spelling) page after page of the fighter's journal, including only a minor part, of interesting reading. I found the wartime stories credible, but I'm not sure I would use the word "adventures" to describe them. The parts about the early aircraft, seeming to be somewhat like a modern day Piper Cub or a bit larger, were fascinating. I would guess about 60 old photos caught my interest. Apparently some family member found Harkness' journal in an attic. And apparently the self-publishing publisher accepted good money from the family to have this non-book material published.
Jul 19, 2015 - 6:47:44 AM
Martha Stevens-David Book Review: "Just Maagy" by Virginia Burton Stringer
First of all, I commend the author, Virginia Burton Stringer for having the insight and courage to take on a task such as this. Not only is her description of the young princess very interesting but the way she depicted this young child's feelings about her place in life, was very interesting also. I also loved the author's inclusion of a "glossary" for the reader to check the meaning of new or difficult words in the story and the drawings of each new event little Maagy encountered in young life.
Jul 19, 2015 - 6:43:21 AM
Martha Stevens-David Review: "New Beginnings" by J. Gawlik
Right from the very beginning, the story carried the reader on a journey that sadly, many other humans have found themselves involved in when trying to make sense of life, love and the pursuit of happiness. The main character finds herself married with a small child and soon realizes that the man she thought would be with her all of her days, was the worst kind of husband possible.
Jul 14, 2015 - 8:17:13 AM
Laure McCourt Lopez Review: "It's All about Him: Intimacy with God" By Dr. Lois Brittell
There are books that engage the reader in fast-paced adventure or melancholy drama while others offer visitations to historical backdrops but "It's All about Him," by Dr. Lois Brittell, allows its reading audience moments of reflective solitude and places of pause while journeying a road less travelled. May the reader feel inspired by the gentle prompting along the way as the tangibles of today's society such as anxiety, fear, anger, just to name a few, are thoughtfully explored; note that along the road less traveled there is ample time to put down the backpack, curl up into a comfortable spot and seek wisdom and answers in this narrative of spiritual refreshment.
Jul 14, 2015 - 8:15:24 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Death of a Mill Girl" by Clyde Linsley
There is no information anywhere I looked about how to contact the author. I'd like to contact him, and his photo makes him appear friendly. Should he read this, maybe he'll contact me. Are you reading this, Clyde Linsley? A very interesting book based on a true setting. This is the first self-published book I've felt was really good. This book was good, a good story except that things got a bit wordy near the end so I was losing part of the story.
Jul 14, 2015 - 8:12:27 AM
Martha Stevens-David Review: "A Life in Two Worlds" by Thomas Hughes
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the author's writings of having been born into a family, that due to his father's occupation and time and place, had to endure many heart wrenching incidents in order to just survive. And I was also impressed that as a very, intelligent young man, the author had the wherewithal to keep detailed diaries of what "war" really brings. As humans, we often never give much thought about how a "father's" profession might bring harm to one's innocent family members.
Jul 14, 2015 - 8:10:06 AM
Martha Stevens-David Review: "Shot in the Head" by Katherine Dering
Paul, one of the boys in this Irish clan is diagnosed with Schizophrenia at age sixteen and the telling carries one through the devastation that his large family had to endure for the his sake and well-being. This work is very well-done and extremely educational because nearly every family can relate when a family member is stricken with an incurable illness. I was struck by the way the author told of her family's love for one another and I could feel their suffering and sorrow when they finally had to let Paul go.
Jul 14, 2015 - 8:07:02 AM
Martha Stevens-David Review: "Death of a Mill Girl" by Clyde Linsley
Death of a Mill Girl" by Clyde Linsley held my attention from the very beginning. I found the author's "historical inclusions" to be very interesting. His ability to build the "suspense" factor in his story was also very well-done. According to the publicity material for this book two million American children suffered harsh working conditions during the Industrial Revolution but fixing the problem didn't happen until the early twentieth century.
Jul 9, 2015 - 12:24:20 AM
Martha Stevens-David Review: "The Sketching Detective" by Jack McCormac
This story is a murder mystery but I found that most of the story line was combined with the story of a marriage that had gone off the road and one man's attempt to get his wife to show her love for him once again. It was not easy to understand because it has so many characters involved in the plot.
Jul 9, 2015 - 12:03:18 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "The Oregon Trail" by the late Francis Parkman Jr.
The book follows in first person a trip across part of the West, and it mentions contact with wagon trails heading for Oregon. But I didn't read of any trip in the first person of the Oregon Trail itself. The incidents in the book seem to be real, including camping with Native Americans. It's a book I'd recommend, because it shares the values or lack thereof of that period in American history, not made up from today but as the values were then. I personally am glad those values have changed. Had they not, there probably would be no buffalo alive today nor any parks of any type where the visitor can see what the land was like when the parks were founded.
Jul 8, 2015 - 11:24:34 PM
M. Stevens-David Review: "A Forbidden Boundary" by Shauna Springs
This book, "A Forbidden Boundary" is an "historical" fiction novel written by Shauna Springs. Set in 1902, this work details the interactions of a wealthy inestment banker and his unrelenting control over his family and its servants. As the publicity material states: "..it teaches that some things never change. There are still issues of racism, classism and women's rights. Sometimes you have to sacrifice everything, including family, to be with the one you love."
Jul 8, 2015 - 11:20:47 PM
Milt Gross Book Review: "My Own Cape Cod" by Gladys Taber
But Taber wrote about a quieter Cape, kind of like rural Maine was when I visited as a kid. Taber built a house at Still Cove near which is Mill Pond. She writes mostly about her neighborhood. But she does include a geological history going back 50,000 to 70,000 years, when she said the Cape was left when a sheet of ice from Labrador finally melted and, as Taber puts it, "Cape Cod was born." This edition of My Own Cape Cod was published in 1981 by Parnassus Imprints by an arrangement with Harper & Row.
Jul 8, 2015 - 11:00:01 PM
Martha Stevens-David Review: "The Doctor's Stories" by Dr. Charles T. Chase
Dr. Chase, through his well-written stories, cited many examples of how a caring doctor can help others in dire medical need and even when circumstances were not as expected, this well-educated caring man, stepped up and did what was expected of him and more. Dr. Chase can go into his twilight years in peace.
Jun 24, 2015 - 7:15:20 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "House of Earth" by the late Woody Guthrie
Singer Woody Guthrie apparently wrote this book to promote building houses in Dust Bowl-era Texas from mud bricks, an improvement over the rickey wooden shacks most residents called home. Guthrie, who lived from 1912 to 1967, was an American folk song singer, whose best known song was the well-known "This Land Is Your Land." The back cover of the book states that Guthrie's "legacy" included over 3,000 songs with themes of history, politics, culture, spiritual, narrative and children's interests.
Jun 20, 2015 - 8:14:45 PM
Martha Stevens-David Book Review: "Choosing to Live" by Jerry D. Campbell
"Choosing to Live" though small in pages, contains life changing information that all human beings should read because what Mr. Campbell experienced in the loss of his wife, can and will help prepare all those left behind in knowing what to do next. One never wishes to be "blindsided" by a sudden death as so many of us are. I was brought to tears upon reading the love-filled passages of a couple's love for one another the writer's agony in dealing with the loss of his beloved wife Veta.
Jun 19, 2015 - 9:15:21 PM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Hound-dog Man, a novel", by Fred Gipson
This fiction novel covers a raccoon hunt by Blackie Scantling and two boys, one of whom, Cotton Kinney, is the hero of the story. It also covers home life in the Texas outback, the threats and defeat of a bad guy, a baby being born, and other typical incidents of early-twentieth-centure rural Texas. Gipson wrote it in first person...Years ago when I was teaching, I read Gipson's books, and I highly recommend this one if your sense of adventure has remained youthful.
Jun 14, 2015 - 1:10:15 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Running with Scissors, a memoir" by Augusten Burroughs
The book is kind of quirky, weird, about a young man, the author, Augusten Burroughs, and his years as a teenager. Actually the book is a memoir, not fiction, and it is crass, describing many indecent scenes -- according to me -- of how Burroughs mother was mentally ill, his living a good part of the time in the house of the psychologist who is treating her, and the weird occurrences that took place.
Jun 9, 2015 - 4:50:13 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Backpacks, Boots and Baguettes" by Simon Calder and Mick Webb
My understanding is this trail along the Pyrenees crossed many roads as well as rough places including hard climbing. Many times the two described their coming down a trail to a road and walking along the road. Their overnights were far different from the Appalachian Trail, as well. They seldom camped and spent most nights in hotels or inns with adequate meals.
May 31, 2015 - 6:35:40 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Star Island" by Carl Hiaasen
I've been enjoying Hiaasen's books for years, and this one was no exception. Except for the story's becoming too complicated and some humor I found a bit below the good humor belt. This was typically Hiaasen amusing and a bit crude, a little confusing, but overall a good book. I've enjoyed Hiaasen's books more for the weird happenings than for the story plots.
May 24, 2015 - 6:15:14 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Western" by Frank Yerby
In 2012, The New York Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote an article telling about an at-risk child whose life was turned around by reading Yerby books that one of his teachers was secretly providing to him. Yerby left the United States in 1955 in protest against racial discrimination, moving to Spain (then under the Franco regime), where he remained for the rest of his life.
May 17, 2015 - 8:40:10 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Absolute Power" by David Baldacci
According to part of Wikipedia's write up, "David Baldacci was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia. A graduate of Henrico High School, he received a B.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University and a law degree from the University of Virginia, after which he practiced law for nine years in Washington, D.C. "Baldacci and his wife, Michelle, are the co-founders of the Wish You Well Foundation, which works to combat illiteracy in the United States. Baldacci became involved with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society after his sister, author Sharon Baldacci, was diagnosed with MS."
May 9, 2015 - 9:24:42 PM
M.W. Johnson Book Review: "Jewels found along the path of life" by Michael Francis England
I personally found the book to be a very good, honest, straightforward and plainly written story or testimony of this man's experiences. The first half of the book walks us through his life up until his missionary experiences overseas. He mentions but glosses over his sinful pre-salvation life; a factor which I found refreshing since I have no interest in listening to people practically reminiscing about the good bad old days. The stories and anecdotes plainly told allow the reader to directly connect with the author's experiences and for that reason this book would be ideal reading for both the unconverted and the new convert alike. For the older souls it brings back to remembrance the many different fears and burdens during the initial walk with Christ and for me personally, brought back many fond memories of people, churches and circumstances about which I had not thought of for many years.
May 6, 2015 - 8:37:07 PM
Milt Gross Book Review: "The Mists of Adriana Book I" by Roger M. Woodbury
The author, Roger M. Woodbury, is a retired military off, decorated for service during the Vietnam War, and resides in mid-coastal Maine. The story has a good plot. In the story, the first-person unnamed lead character first meets Adriana when he stops to change a flat tire for her. His acquaintance with her leads to the rest of his adventures. Adriana says she is a lawyer, living and working in Portland. A large part of the action occurs in Portland. The title of this Kindle, The Mists of Adriana Book I, is the first thing I questioned about it. There are no mists.
May 3, 2015 - 12:10:40 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "That Yankee Cat, the Maine Coon" by Marilis Hornridge
The book has a chapter on tales of various Coon-cats, one of which is of a woman, Miss Lucinda, whose cat died at the age of 18. The woman "...swore she would never have her another cat, and she didn't for a long time. Then one day during a rainstorm, there came up on her porch a half-grown kitten, gold with dark orange stripes and meowed to be let in. He was all scraggly and scruffy and thin as a pencil and she couldn't resist him, so she let him n -- only for a while, she said, until she could find out who he belonged to. Of course, he took up his residence, and when he grew big, his tail fluffed out and his coat got all long and shaggy...," the homey language of this story is because it was told by another lady in a nursing home.
Apr 26, 2015 - 7:15:45 AM
M.W. Johnson Book Review: "God's Trinity Demystified" by Rev. Adedeji David Adeoye
Now what is interesting about this book, is the way in which Rev Adeoye examines the issue of trinity, and I feel sure, that of all theological attempts to prove the posit, this book is unique in that its author does some strange investigating into the matter of creation to prove the Trinity. The author's fundamental idea is that God is comprised of three personalities consistently revealed in Genesis to be "Thought," "Word" and "Action." Using Genesis he shows that God thought the world into existence, then God spoke, and then God did actions.
Apr 23, 2015 - 7:32:15 AM
Martha Stevens-David Book Review: "A Fox in the Family" by Jane King
This story is for more mature children and the subject matter will bring tears to one's eyes upon being read. One can only hope that there are more humans like the author "Jane King" who will step up and try their very best to save and support these wild creatures.
Apr 20, 2015 - 7:12:20 PM
M. W. Johnson Book Review: "What is Salvation?" by Pastor Bill Parker
I found the book to be very well written and consider Pastor Parker an obviously good teacher. I would recommend the book to everyone who calls themselves a Christian, if for no other reason than to succinctly study again, what the basis of salvation is. I've read a lot of Christian books in my life, but none are as enjoyable as those which teach in simple fashion, the Scriptures as they appear. Well done Pastor.
Apr 20, 2015 - 10:28:36 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Divine Justice" by David Baldacci
The author, David Baldacci, the author of 15 New York Times best sellers. His books have been published in over 40 languages and sold in over 80 countries, according to the book jacket. The book jacket relates that, with his wife, Baldacci began the Wish You Well Foundation, a non-profit organization supporting literacy efforts throughout America. They reside in Virginia from where the foundation also attempts to spread books across the U.S.
Apr 19, 2015 - 6:26:01 PM
Milt Gross Book Review: "Smokin' Seventeen" by Janet Evanovich
I don't know if it's the location, Trenton, NJ, that has held my interest in all the Janet Evanovich novels I've read. But the location is part of it. I've only driven through Trenton once, carefully keeping my eyes straight ahead on the road so as not to see the unfriendly-looking groups hanging around on porches, steps, or from open windows.
Apr 13, 2015 - 8:30:03 PM
R.P. BenDedek Book Review: "Extravagant Love" By Heather Smith
This is a very easy read that would appeal to most women and probably few men. It is what I would call a 'feel good' book. The writing is good, the personal glimpses into the author's life are inspiring, and I just know there is a big market for books of this type. "Extravagant Love" consists of a series of generally short edifying letters to the readers that provide some glimpse of the love, wonder and kindness of God as demonstrated in some event or situation in which the author has found herself. For instance: When her brother died, everyone was devastated and after the funeral she found herself avoiding any mention of him to friends and family. She writes:
Apr 11, 2015 - 1:05:00 AM
R.P. BenDedek Book Review: "Tough Conversations" by Richard Tiller
The book is something along the lines of an instructional manual with the instructions being provided within the body of a story that the author relates. Sometimes that story is directly from the Bible and at other times it is about situations from contemporary life. The layout of the book is excellent and the author has achieved a balance between storytelling and advice giving. It is professionally written by a person whose qualifications indicate that he ought to know what he is talking about.
Apr 7, 2015 - 5:51:15 AM
Milt Gross Book Review: "W is for Wasted" by Sue Grafton
Grafton's writing is exciting and fast paced. But I found the double story line to be a bit confusing and slowed down the action. The story involves three of a hobo crowd, and the professor had used one of them for his experiments, along with other people. Plenty of action and some suspense filled the 433 pages, which kept me reading.
Apr 7, 2015 - 5:48:43 AM