The Fourth Vow by Richard T. Dolezal – A Book Review


The Fourth Vow

By: Richard T. Dolezal

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake, richard330@yahoo.com

A Diabolical Plot – Clandestine Meetings – Political Corruption – International Intrigue and Realism in the genre of Fiction

Repercussions were felt around the world within hours of the news flash of a nuclear explosion at the American Civil Liberties Union holiday fundraiser in San Francisco, California. An estimated 500 or more ACLU leaders, supporters, and innocent bystanders were killed in the blast.

Members of ACLU Headquarters top executives in New York City, and Staff members of the ACLU office Washington DC are in a state of shock. Pope Benedict in the Vatican sets plans in motion to discredit rumors of scandal among the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.

The President of the United States feels the pressure of an ongoing barrage from the news media; pressing for an immediate update on what government agencies have uncovered, competing for headlines, generating a tirade of hatred through groundless insinuations, under the guise of the public’s right to know the facts.

As United States Attorney General, Tom Owens is in charge of the investigation. Owens calls on a personal friend, Blake Elliot, a brilliant and successful former attorney, to review the evidence. Chapter by chapter the international intrigue thickens as a sinister complex plot become more far reaching.

Dolezal understands the important building blocks of a good story. He delivers a well-crafted, fast moving, action packed plot, filled with diabolical conspiracy, and hair raising suspense. I found myself reading into the wee hours of the morning, a definite page turner. Richard has created a master piece of political corruption, diabolical evil deception, and fictional realism.

Author Richard T. Dolezal skillfully weaves into his story insights from his experience working in the Department of Justice as an Assistant United States Attorney. Dolezal’s “The Fourth Vow” is destined to attract fans from the political, legal, and suspense genre of adventure thrillers. I am looking forward to more from Richard Dolezal

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Create Space Independent Publishing Platform, North Charleston, South Carolina, 9781540337122, $ 15.00, 2016, 414 Pages

 

 

Sammy’s Broken Leg (Oh No!) and the Amazing Cast That Fixed It, By Judith Wolf Mandell– Illustrated by Lise C. Brown – A Book Review


Sammy’s Broken Leg (Oh No!) and the Amazing Cast That Fixed It

By Judith Wolf Mandell– Illustrated by Lise C. Brown

 

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

The Fall, the Break, the Cast, the Whooshing Kisses, and the Recovery

Sammy (Samantha) ignites friendships through her rebounding spirit, response to love, her resolute determination, and her encouraging empathy for others.

Judith’s story telling skill and whimsical approach draws the reader’s and the child’s attention, stimulates their imagination, and teaches valuable lessons; on the benefits of following the doctor’s instructions, and on the importance of giving and receiving. . I especially enjoyed the “Whooshing Kisses” symbolic of the thoughts and prayers, and of love and concern family and friends. The book is filled with the concept of comfort, the need for patience, relief from anxiety, and reality of suffering.

The story prepares kids for the stages of recovery and recuperation from a broken bone, a short or long term illness, or any emergency department or hospital situation.

Lise C. Brown’s clever colorful artwork magically depicts the action of the story from Sammy’s waking “YAWN and s-t-r-e-c-h,”  the excitement of going “higher and faster” on the trampoline, Mommy’s warning, the painful fall, arrival at the emergency room,  right up to the time  the doctors wrapped Sammy in a wet fiberglass cast, and sent Sammy and her parents’ home with “The Rules for Sammy’s Cast.”

The whimsical nature of Judith’s writing adds a note of family fun, togetherness, and lighten the “emotional hurt” and physical pain of recovery. “Sammy’s Broken Leg” is encouraging, educational and entertaining.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Harpeth Ridge Press, Nashville, TN

978-0997444919, 2017

Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart – A Book Review


Some Kind of Courage,

By Dan Gemeinhart

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A Courageous Journey While Finding Home

“Some Kind of Courage” is an action adventure story filled with drama and suspense for readers ages 8 – 12 in grades 3-7. Gemeinhart reveals amazing insight and understanding into the feelings of his target audience.

Young Joseph Johnson has lost is dad in an accident, his mom and young sister through illness, and when an evil man stole and sold his Indian pony to an unscrupulous trader, Joseph vowed to get her back. “Some Kind of Courage” is the story of Joseph’s efforts to find and reclaim his pony and of the lessons he learned on the trail to finding family and home.

Dan Gemeinhart’s writing is highly imaginative, delightfully entertaining while stimulating character building traits and ideals. He demonstrates a depth of feeling, gripping the heart of the reader with a tenderness, and compassion, seldom captured in preteen fiction. His characters are believable, his protagonist, young Joseph Johnson, is multi-dimensional revealing growth and development by carrying out the core values of bravery, trust, honesty, loyalty, and always hope. His descriptions are vivid

“Some Kind of Courage” is ideal for family night reading. The story is rich in material for stimulating questions for application and discussion for children of all ages. Heartwarming, deeply moving adventure, a page turner, highly recommended.

Scholastic Book Service, 557 Broadway, New York, N. Y. 10012, 978-0545665834, $ 16.99, 2016, 240 pages

 

 

 

 

Realm of the Drells, by Kenneth Zeigler – A Book Review


Realm of the Drells, By Kenneth Zeigler

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A Fast Moving Adventure Combining Suspense, Action, the Supernatural, Science Fiction Fantasy, and Spirituality

Debbie and a group of teenage friends meet to participate in a séance. In the midst of what is planned to be an innocent experience, Debbie is mysteriously transported back in time into the dark underground world of the Drell’s. She finds herself in the midst of a melting pot of youth from all nations working as slaves, in ankle shackles, ruled by a taskmaster who uses a whip to inflict fear and pain.

Unknown to Debbie, a group of scientists on earth are working on a plan to save her and her friends from the evil realm of the Drells. In response to a dream, Debbie makes it her mission to free these new friends from bondage, and to abolish the barbaric cruelty, oppression and spiritual darkness of the Drells.

Ziegler’s inventive word pictures stimulate creativity in the mind of the reader adding a unique dimension to a fast moving plot, with a diverse cast of characters. The genres of science fiction and fantasy open the door to the intriguing possibilities of verifiable fact, and a Biblically based message through a fictional approach to spirituality, the supernatural or any reasonable theory of science or medicine. His well-developed dialog encourages thought provoking questions as to the existence of mystical beings, witches, curses, magic and other popular beliefs accepted as the norm in the seventeenth century regardless of personal bias of the reader.

Recurring themes in areas of faith, sacrifice, personal mission, redemption, and deliverance from bondage will inspire the reader, regardless of personal bias. Ziegler is an excellent communicator with amazing insight into the Scriptures, scientific theories, and the art of storytelling.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257, 978-0768408126, $ 17.99, 2016, 347 Pages

 

 

Friends of the Wigwam – A Civil War Story by John William Huelskamp – A Book Review


Friends of the Wigwam – A Civil War Story

By: John William Huelskamp

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake,

True Life Characters, Flawless Research, Historical Fact, and a Creative Historical Plot

“Friends of the Wigwam” is set in the state of northern Illinois in the years 1857 and 1865. The locations, battles, and other events are based on historical fact and come alive throughout the development of the narrative.

One by one six young friends become bonded together through the discovery of the hidden cave, “The Wigwam,” near the shore of the Pecatonica River. This fictional account of their lives is a testament of their value for principles of loyalty, of uniting behind a cause, dedicated to bigger than life heroes. It is a story of bravery and sacrifice, where the innocence of youth is stolen in exchange for the atrocities of war.

Will, Aaron, Allie, Jenny, T. J. and Trick are intertwined throughout the chronology of the events of the Civil War. These remarkable incidents are representative of their struggles, successes, determination to make a contribution in unifying our nation. Their efforts are told in a way that will be indelibly imprinting on the memory of the reader and will not be soon forgotten.

Huelskamp has an amazing ability for using descriptive words and phrases that form distinctive images and inspire the reader to use all five senses; to capture a scene that matches the action, to listen for the quiet, to feel the muddy slime of the riverbed, or taste the “grass stem” between the lips.

Reading Huelskamp’s “Friends of the Wigwam” has given me a new appreciation for the insight and research necessary to create the right balance of historical accuracy, realism, and creative license. “Friends of the Wigwam – A Civil War Story” is an important dramatic reminder of sacrifice, dedication, and courage of the heroes of American history.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Burlington Group Publications, Chicago, Illinois, 978-0692348826, $ 16.95, 2016, 372 Pages

 

 

 

 

 

The Jerusalem Secret by Ron Cantor – A Book Review


The Jerusalem Secret – Identity Theft Series – Book Two

By: Ron Cantor

Destiny Image Publishing, Inc., 978-0768409260,  $ 15.99, 2016, 304 Pages

God’s Unfolding Plan – Revealing Jewish Roots in the Ne

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

God’s Unfolding Plan – Revealing Jewish Roots in the New Covenant, the Message of Yeshua and Christian Messianic Judaism

“The Jerusalem Secret” opens where “Identity Theft” left off. David Lebowitz, a young and successful journalist has progressed from skeptic to seeker, becoming a believer that Yeshua is the promised Messiah. Just as the implications of what it means to be a follower of Yeshua are becoming clear, David gets the news that his father has been taken to the hospital and is in critical condition.

As David sits by his father’s bedside, grasping his hand he begins a prayer “In the name of Yeshua” he suddenly finds he has being transported into the heavenly realm; standing in a large bright room in the presence of the angel Ariel, his angelic guide and companion, in earlier supernatural experiences.

Ariel informs David that he has been summoned for a purpose; he is to take the message of Yeshua to the current generation of Jews and non-Jews to awaken Israel to errors prevalent in religious teaching and practice today. Ariel immediately begins a training program that takes David back into history-shaping events and the prophecies of Isaiah, Daniel, and other Old Testament prophets.

David is than supernaturally taken back in time to Jerusalem and Rome to learn directly from the Apostles Paul, and James, and from other early disciples, of the culture, religious, and political environment of the day and the implications this had on the writing of the scriptures in the original Jewish context to better understand the questions raised and issues being addressed.

Although Cantor is using the medium of fiction as a platform, his research into the background sources are thorough and well documented in his chapter endnotes. I have been personal challenged recently to be more intentional about my verbal my sharing of the Gospel message. While reading the book I have had several open doors for dialog on the Jerusalem secret and message of Yeshua.

“The Jerusalem Secret” must reading for all those seeking clarification and a better understanding of the mission and message of Christian Messianic Judaism.

 

 

 

Drones Over Machu Picchu by Edward Curry – A Book Review


Drones Over Machu Picchu – An Inca Mystery

By Edward Curry

Create Space, Merlin and Associates, Virginia Beach, VA 23452, 978-0692031940, $ 15.00, 2016, 252 pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Ancient Inca History Discovered using the Latest in Modern Technology

Fans of Edward Curry’s earlier adventure novels of the Maya and Inca peoples will be eager to “Drones Over Machu Picchu,” number 5 in the Maya – Inca book series.

James Hamilton, president of Smithsonian, has commissioned Allie Lea Keshaw, executive vice president of Smithsonian’s explorations, to lead an archaeological team to explore the ancient Inca artifacts at the Larco Herrera Archaeological Museum of Lima, Peru. Allie Lea’s husband Ryan Keshaw, owner of RK Consulting, initiates a plan to extend the assignment to include the Smithsonian’s ALSM drone specialists in a search for the burial chamber and final resting place of the great Saba Inca leader Pachacuti and for priceless Inca artifacts.

Detailed introductions of the characters and the role each of them will play are narrated by protagonist Ryan Keshaw. This is done through a series of fast-moving chatty dialog, family banter, and sometimes cryptic conversations. Throughout the character development Curry provides a hint of danger, suspense, and a mystical foreboding.

Once this foundation is in place, the pace picks up and develops into a page-turning plot, adding new insight and perspective into the ancient Inca and their society, including traits of brutality and the barbaric practice of pagan human sacrifice. In addition to strong plot and a cast of believable characters Curry brings ancient historical accuracy in a modern technical thriller that builds anticipation of danger, and a sense of mystery, intrigue and romance.

Curry has done extensive research into the arts, astrology, and ethos of the ancient Inca as well as their enlightened leadership, amazing construction skills, insight into astronomy and the agrarian process. This combination of extensive research, a creative imagination, and a thorough grasp of the elements of a well-crafted novel assures the reader of an enjoyable reading experience and genuine literary entertainment

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

 

 

 

 

Double Trouble in the Everglades, by Mary Morgan – A Book Review


Double Trouble in the Everglades

By Mary Morgan

Buttonwood Press, LLC, P. O. Box 716, Haslett, MI 44840, 978-0996556200, $ 7.95, 2015, 144 pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake, richard330@yahoo.com

The Cooper Twins Uncover Trouble in the Everglades – Secrets of the Slough

Fast moving dialog adds to intrigue and mystery of the suspense filled plot in “Double Trouble in the Everglades,” the fifth in the “National Park Mystery Series.” Mary Morgan blends her gift of storytelling with an incredible understanding of a young reader’s spirit of adventure.

The Cooper twins were selected by Twins for Life Magazine to participate with twenty-five sets of twins in the, spring break, Everglades National Park Triathlon.

Ben and Bekka’s curiosity, instinct for mystery, and tenacity for following up on clues, enable them to uncover vital information in solving an ingenious conspiracy of robbery and deception during the Twins Magazine Everglades Triathlon.

Clever extras in the book include Bekka’s F.Y.I. (For Your Information) Florida Facts, with trivia questions, facts about the Everglades’ National Park, photos of wildlife in the Everglades, and illustrations by Dawn McVay Baumer add to the enjoyment of the story.

Morgan’s wonderful alliteration, sense of humor, fascinating trivia and detailed data capture the young reader’s imagination with a balance of fiction and fact, entertainment and information.

“Double Trouble in the Everglades” is designed for readers, ages seven through eleven, and is ideal for home school assignments, public school libraries, and for fun filled family reading of all ages. Highly recommended.

A complimentary copy of the book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

 

Troubled Mission by John Wagner – A Book Review


Troubled Mission

By: John Wagner

Kelly House, Sacramento, California, 978-0996248501, $ 14.99, 2015, 292 pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A Quest for Personal Transformation and Self Discovery in the Midst of Terrorist Violence, Corrupt Government, and Injustice

In “Troubled Mission” author John Wagner takes his reader on a dramatic adventure; a quest for personal transformation, justice and human rights, in the midst of terrorist violence, and increasing corruption in government. Wagner combines the literary forms of the fictional novel with this gripping personal memoir presented as an eye witness account of his personal mission to fight for the plight and rights of the underprivileged in Peru, South America. The novel is based on the events, terror, and bloodshed which occurred during the chaotic period of Sendero Luminoso’s regime.

Wagner’s writing is penetrating and thought provoking, filled with descriptive phrases and carefully crafted word pictures that enable the reader to visualize the scenic wonders of Peru and become immersed in the culture of the people. The introduction of romance adds another human dimension to an already dramatic, fast moving plot filled with corruption and terror, spiritual redemption and social interaction.

“Troubled Mission” is a fascinating account of one man’s potential impact while on mission for the human rights of the under privileged in the midst of a country plagued by injustice, under an autocratic government, and political corruption. The book is highly readable, with unforgettable content; steeped in social, political, and spiritual awareness.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

The Ultimate Legacy by Jim Stovall – A Book Review


The Ultimate Legacy, By Jim Stovall

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake, richard330@yahoo.com

A Legacy of Significance – Embracing the Future

‘The Ultimate Legacy” is the final chapter in the “Ultimate Gift” and the “Ultimate Life” series. Miss Sally Anderson, wealthy owner and of the exclusive Anderson House is recognized as hostess to prominent world leaders and celebrated personalities. The Anderson House has a reputation as a house of healing, hope, and destiny. Meetings around the Anderson House dining had more influence and impact on “humanitarian work around the world than any board room in the world.”

Miss Sally Mae presents the conditions of her will to her trusted attorney, Theodore J. Hamilton, naming her grandson Joey Anderson, as heir to The Anderson House. It is her aspiration that through Joey, the only remaining link to the Anderson House Legacy, will create an indelible impact for generations to come

Jim Stovall is a gifted and natural story teller. The elements of good story telling are evident in his narrative, his character development, dialog, and with an under lying message or “take away.” His characters are multi-dimensional, are believable. They show personal values and unique personalities. They continue to develop depths in their insights and concern for other; as demonstrated by Joey’s transformation and vision for the Anderson money to continue as a source of healing, education and inspiration for now and future generations.

“The Ultimate Legacy” is entertaining, inspiring, and motivating. The novelization of the film gives the reader a photographic visualizing of each scene

Sound Wisdom, P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257, 978-0768410426, $ 9.25, 2016, 176 Pages

A complimentary of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.