Saturday, September 25, 2010

THE KNIGHT by Steven James

After I read The Pawn by Steven James, I didn't think he could top it. Then I read The Rook and thought that would be my favorite. Now I finished The Knight, and I am again amazed at how much I'm enjoying this series.

James weaves a story of a serial killer who has a story to tell. Hot on his trail is FBI agent Patrick Bowers. With a tale that integrates ancient books, the Renaissance, a heartless killer, and an evil game, Bowers tries to stay alive long enough to capture the murderer who always seems to be a step ahead.

Steven James' books are well thought out, captivating, exciting, and don't shy away from showing evil for what it is. Without glamorizing the darkness, James provides a character who wrestles with doing the right thing while exploring the blackness in his own heart - and at the same time giving us a man we can route for. I'm looking forward to reading the fourth installment of this series, The Bishop.

Friday, September 24, 2010

GREAT PARENTS, LOUSY LOVERS by Gary Smalley and Ted Cunningham

I've been married for six years and have three kids ranging from 4 1/2 years old to four weeks. It's hard for me now to remember the days when it was just my wife and me, when all our attention was on each other. Now, instead of holding hands we hold babies in the middle of the night; now, instead of rubbing her feet or going out on a date, I'm wiping baby bottoms and breaking up arguments between the two oldest.

When I saw this book's title, I knew I wanted to read it.

My wife and I strive to be good parents, and in doing so, sometimes we completely run out of energy and passion for each other. Authors Gary Smalley and Ted Cunningham write a much-needed book that gets to the heart of couples with small children. One of the best ways to parent is to first love your spouse.

Smalley and Cunningham provide simple ways for couples to again focus on each other in the midst of a hectic parenting lifestyle. While these tips were good, I most appreciated the authors' approach to explaining why spiritual aspects are so important in a marriage. A good marriage is founded on a faith in Jesus Christ. If you're not living your life in recognition of his authority and presence in your life, you're falling short and your marriage will suffer.

I'll be keeping this book on my bookshelf and going to it during times I feel my wife and I separated by the toils of parenthood. Any of their suggested dates are sure to get us back on track and reminding us how important our marriage relationship is to our parenting skills.

I received this book free from Tyndale Publishing as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Saturday, September 11, 2010

THE PAWN by Steven James

I think I've discovered a new favorite author. Steven James, author of the Patrick Bowers Thriller series.

I just finished James' first book in the series, The Pawn. It's a grab-you-and-won't-let-go thriller. FBI agent Patrick Bowers is an expert environmental criminologist who studies the significance of time and space in crime investigations. His newest case involves a cunning serial killer who's killed eight women and calls himself The Illusionist. The killer leaves a number of calling cards, including a yellow ribbon and a chess piece--and he always seems to be a step ahead.

With a back story linked to the Jamestown Massacre and Jim Jones, James weaves an exciting story that captured my imagination and kept me guessing to the end. This book is not for the faint of heart. It is graphic and doesn't shy away from the dark side of evil. But that's what makes hope, light, and integrity that much more powerful. I look forward to reading his second book, The Rook.

This book was nominated for a Christy Award in 2008.

4.5 out of 5