Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Heartbeat Away by Michael Palmer link to purchase A Heartbeat Away by Michael Palmer

 One of the most talented authors in the medical thriller genre has done it again!  I don’t think I have ever read a bad Michael Palmer book and this one did not disappoint me at all.

The story opens on the night of the State of the Union address.  In a split second the president has to make life and death decisions when terrorists release a highly contagious and deadly virus. The president must rely on virologist, Griff Rhodes, a man he sent to prison as a terrorist, to reopen his lab and work on a way to save the leaders of the free world.   

The storyline is believable, and there is a good balance of the medical/lab information in the story without getting too technical.  The story is fast paced, and I was not sure what would happen until the end.   As a matter of fact, it fooled me a few times.  The characters are believable, and I thought the terrorist organization was quite realistic.  I even found myself matching some of the personalities of the characters with real life Congress men and women.  Whether or not that was the author's intention for the characters, I don’t know, but I had fun with it!

I enjoyed the subplot that dealt with Griff’s pledge to use no animal testing in his experiments. He was challenged by his deep conviction to protect animals and the time constraints to save those who were exposed to the virus. 

I enjoyed A Heartbeat Away very much and highly recommend it for those who love their thrillers with a little medical twist. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Witnessing to Dracula - A Memoir of Ministry in Romania by Billy Ng link for Witnessing to Dracula 
I have read quite a few books about missionaries on the field, but I have never before read one that was this entertaining and honest. In his story of his mission to Romania, Billy Ng puts on no pretense. You see his discouragements, his problems, and his humor. There is never once an “I am so holy” attitude. He is an honest guy trying to serve the Lord in the middle of a culture shock.

The book is easy to read as each of the 61 chapters has its own short story. In one chapter he takes us through a city overrun by stray dogs. Then there are the painful experiences with dishonest people. I loved his attitude as he endured a six-hour search by border guards, sharing his faith the entire time.

Billy Ng explains much of the daily life –and death- in this unique country, along with a little history of the real Dracula and the culture of the Gypsies. He shares his conversations with God about the mistakes he made and how he learned what it means to have a meaningful ministry.

I highly recommend this engaging story. It is well written and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

My only criticism of the book is the cover art. I understand the Dracula reference, but it is just too graphic for me. I normally will take a book with me when I know I will be waiting somewhere, but I would have been embarrassed to be seen with this book. I LOVED the book, but hated the cover.

Here is the website for the book where you can read an excerpt:  Witnessing to Dracula

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Second Chance by Sandra J. Gerencher

Link to purchase Second Chance by Sandra J. Gerencher

Second Chance is a charming story written in the point of view of a rescue dog. Chance is adopted by a family with an autistic child, Ryan, and three other dogs, P.J., Little Rascal, and Shelby. A special bond develops between Ryan and Chance. There are many things Chance doesn’t understand about his new home (especially why Shelby likes to bite at his paws!), but he gradually learns about his family and his new home. He also doesn’t initially understand Ryan’s behavior or what the word “adopt” means. All becomes very clear and he is embraced by this loving family.

The book is a wonderful way to teach children about autism, and adoption of both children and dogs. I loved reading the story from this confused and frightened dog’s point of view.

The first paragraph of this book brought back memories of when I went to our local Animal Control Center and a beautiful white and brown puppy walked up, sat down, and leaned against my leg. Then he peed all over the floor, and I knew he was going home with me.

Read an Excerpt
Sandra J. Gerencher Bio:

Sandra J. Gerencher is a special education teacher in the Bangor Area public school system. Prior to becoming a teacher, she worked at Lehigh University in a school-based program, as a Program Specialist for adults with disabilities. Over the past 20 years she has worked with children and adults with special needs in such areas as counseling, Behavior Specialist Consultation, behavioral research, crisis intervention and abuse therapy. Sandra graduated from Lehigh University with a M.Ed. in Special Education (2004) and from Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia with an M.S. in Counseling Psychology (1999).

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