Self Incrimination by Randy Singer (A Guest Review)

Guest Review

When Robbie drafted me for another guest review, I was deep in the Randy Singer whodunit, Self Incrimination.  Randy Singer wrote The Advocate, my favorite Christian legal fiction thriller.  Scratch the modifiers.  My favorite book, ever.

Robbie and I have a running conversation about Christian fiction that contains “un-Christian” elements of the culture in which Christianity is necessarily immersed – scenes of explicit sexual immorality or profane language, for instance.  Some writers insert “edgy” content into their Christian message to attract readers who might not otherwise read a book that contains the gospel.  Robbie thinks immoral content dressed up as Christian fiction is flying under a false flag.  Personally, harsh words do not phase me.  But then, I had a job as a teen-ager shoveling horse manure.  When the wind shifted, flecks of urine-soaked sawdust would blow across my face, and I really didn’t mind that either.

Self Incrimination is edgy and gritty.  It deals with child abuse, child sexual assault, rape and cold-blooded murder.  Nothing in it seems “sanitized.” Yet, upon reflection, I could not recall a single profanity, obscenity, or concession to contemporary sexual mores.  I told Robbie she would love this book, so she invited me to review it.

Leslie Connors is a first-year attorney, working in partnership with the lawyer she is about to marry.  As the novel opens, a wealthy socialite walks into the office to hire Leslie’s partner (who happens to be a famous trial advocate).  The woman’s sixteen-year-old daughter is charged with murdering her Dad.  The sixteen-year-old, however, hires Leslie.  In Leslie’s first trial, she has a client she believes in, but cannot believe.  Corrupt and incorruptible opponents are arrayed against her, and Leslie can hardly decide which are worse, or more formidable.  During it all, she is planning a wedding, but a bombshell explodes in its path and shakes Leslie’s confident, plucky life to its core.

While Leslie reels, a former client, the wife of a martyred missionary, hands her a copy of C. S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity.  Leslie has a logical mind, like Lewis, her friend believes.  Unable to sleep, Leslie reads.  Passages haunt her.  Lewis describes sin as Jesus did in the Golden Rule – treating others in a way we ourselves would not want to be treated.  He describes sins as events that will inexorably overtake each one of us, next month, next week, or “perhaps this very day.”

That phrase echoes in Leslie’s mind as she remembers harboring health secrets from Brad, her fiancé. She remembers cringing when her client’s autistic brother spit on her.  We readers encounter these incidents as the story unfolds.  They gave me slight pause as I read them.  Then I thought I might have done the very same things.  Of course.  Most of us would have.  Because “All have sinned…”  Randy Singer has trapped us, and C. S. Lewis’ words convict us when they convict Leslie.  “…perhaps this very day.”

The book’s courtroom climax is a stunner, if you are like me and happily let an author lead you where he will.  I predict that when Robbie reads Self Incrimination, she will solve the mystery early on.  However, solving the mystery was not Randy Singer’s raison d’etre for writing the book, nor ours for reading it.  God uses the tragedy that unfolds in this story to lift the scales from a skeptic’s eyes.  A skeptic we are rooting for.

You will want to read Self Incrimination if you won’t mind buying or borrowing the rest of Randy Singer’s dozen-odd novels, because you certainly will.

Publisher’s Summary

Tara Bannister’s abusive stepfather finally pushed her too far. To save herself she had to kill him. Or did she? Tara’s confession doesn’t add up, and as her self-defense claim crumbles, attorney Leslie Connors must overcome more than first-trial jitters to mount a credible defense. Leslie must save Tara’s life—against her client’s will. In the midst of this taxing case, Leslie’s wedding plans to law partner Brad Carson are interrupted by a devastating diagnosis. Does she dare tell Brad? Before the final gavel falls, Leslie must confront the truth about herself and her mysterious client, or the darkness of the past will swallow them both.

Advertisements

Devotions for the Hungry Heart: Chasing Jesus Six Days from Sunday by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson

My Review

Shellie Rushing Tomlinson’s book. Devotions for the Hungry Heart: Chasing Jesus Six Days from Sunday, is a delightful devotional.

The book features 20 weeks running Monday through Saturday. Each week has a personal anecdote to illustrate each of the days with Monday being titled-A Hungry Heart Is Surrendered, Tuesday-A Hungry Heart Is Intentional, Wednesday-A Hungry Heart Is Praying, Thursday-A Hungry Heart Is Celebrating, Friday-A Hungry Heart Is Needy and Saturday-A Hungry Heart Is Sharing. Every devotional is short, only 1 to 1 ½ pages and ends with a Bible verse. Also, included in the middle section is a short, colorfully illustrated set of recipes.

I enjoyed reading Devotions for the Hungry Heart. However, there are 4 caveats: 1) the pages are not a pure white, but more of a dusky color, 2) the color of the text is a blue-green color (almost a turquoise or teal), 3) the verse at the end the day’s devotion is a golden or gilded color and 4) this is not an in-depth study, but more of an ending for your daily devotional. The first three things make it a little difficult to read. Nonetheless, it is well worth the effort.

Tomlinson writes in a folksy, sharing a cup of coffee kind of way that I enjoyed. I am sure she would attribute it to her Southern roots, as she does for many aspects of the book. Her stories made me wish I knew her or that she was a neighbor of mine.

I received this book from Barbour Publishing and NetGalley. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

This simple little book of story-based devotions will change your world, one day at a time.

“Whether you have a healthy craving for more Jesus, or the barely discernible taste for a relationship with Him that seems beyond your reach, the glorious truth is that God put that hunger in your heart in the first place, and He is more willing to fan that flame than you or I could ever be.”
–From the Introduction

Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, the Belle of All Things Southern, is back with a devotional guide for the Jesus-hungry heart. Grounded in scripture and offered in the author’s signature storytelling style, this devotional invites you to God’s table for a continual feast. With six prominent themes including Sharing, Needing, Celebrating, Praying, Surrendering, and Being Intentional, you’ll be challenged and encouraged to develop God-honoring traits in your spiritual life.

A delightful companion book to Tomlinson’s Hungry Is a Mighty Fine Sauce, Devotions for the Hungry Heart features a bonus full-color insert featuring more than a dozen mouthwatering recipes plus photos. You’re guaranteed to find nourishment for your body as well as your spirit!

The Sea Before Us (Sunrise at Normandy Book #1) by Sarah Sundin

My Review

The Sea Before Us is Sarah Sundin’s first book in her new series, Sunrise at Normandy. The story focuses on Dorothy Fairfax, a WREN (The Women’s Royal Naval Service-WRNS, known as WREN/S), and Lt. Wyatt Paxton.

First, I have to say, that the research and authenticity of the story is astounding. The time-frame is from January through June of 1944. There are so very many historical (and very sad) tidbits of information highlighting the time leading up to and including D-Day.

As you read, you are transported back to a different era and three different countries, England, France and Scotland. It’s not hard to picture yourself right in the middle of everything going on-from the urgency of preparing for a military invasion to the freneticism of trying to squeeze the last drop of normalcy from a life that seems as if it will never be normal again.

Both Dorothy and Wyatt have some significant issues in their lives and need to learn to rely more fully on the Lord. The spiritual thread is woven seamlessly into the book, with most of the truths applicable to anyone’s life.

I have always loved historical fiction, and The Sea Before Us doesn’t disappoint.

I received this book from Library Thing. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

(Release date February 6, 2018)

Publisher’s Summary

In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France. He works closely with Dorothy Fairfax, a “WREN” in the Women’s Royal Naval Service. Dorothy pieces together reconnaissance photographs with thousands of holiday snapshots of France–including those of her own family’s summer home–in order to create accurate maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt will turn into naval bombardment plans.

As the two spend concentrated time together in the pressure cooker of war, their deepening friendship threatens to turn to love. Dorothy must resist its pull. Her bereaved father depends on her, and her heart already belongs to another man. Wyatt too has much to lose. The closer he gets to Dorothy, the more he fears his efforts to win the war will destroy everything she has ever loved.

The tense days leading up to the monumental D-Day landing blaze to life under Sarah Sundin’s practiced pen with this powerful new series.

When Christ Appears: An Inspirational Experience Through Revelation by David Jeremiah

My Review

David Jeremiah’s book, When Christ Appears, is set up as a devotional study of the book of Revelations. Dr. Jeremiah divides Revelations into short, easy to digest and understand chapters. In each chapter, he begins with several verses from Revelations and explains them in a way that is simple and straight-forward. He then ends the chapter with prayer.

The book is an interesting and somewhat fascinating study of the last book of the Bible.

I must admit, I usually skip over most passages in Revelations when I read the New Testament. One reason, and Dr. Jeremiah seems to agree (at least in some areas), is parts of it seem so foreboding. However, reading When Christ Appears, gave me a new perspective. Although, I will probably still skip a lot of it in future readings.

One small detail about the book that was a little frustrating is its constant enjoinders to read and references to The Jeremiah Study Bible, which I don’t own.  It was not noted as being a necessary accompaniment when I received the book.

I received this book from NetGalley. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publishers Summary

HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED HOW THE BOOK OF REVELATION APPLIES TO YOUR LIFE?

When Christ Appears brings clarity to one of the most misunderstood books of the Bible. The book of Revelation promises a special blessing for those who take the time to peer into the future with the apostle John. Readers learn that Christ triumphs. Satan loses. Sorrow, sickness, and death disappear. And God Himself wipes away the tears from every eye. When the heartache of this present world weighs heavily on us, we have only to look up and look ahead at the radiant end of one story and the joyous beginning of a new story that will never end.

Being Brave: A 40-Day Journey to the Life God Dreams for You by Kelly Johnson

My Review

Kelly Johnson’s book, Being Brave: A 40-Day Journey to the Life God Dreams for You, is a 40-day devotional. The book is divided, counting the introduction, into six chapters broken into daily devotionals. Each day starts with Bible verses, followed by the devotional section, consisting primarily of personal insights or anecdotes. The day’s lesson concludes with perspicacious questions and a prayer for the day. She ends the book with an invitation from God to start an adventure and Scripture references relating to fear and courage.

Kelly delves into the life of Christ and those closest to Him during the last weeks leading up to His crucifixion. She focuses on His teachings to the disciples and His bravery, courage and unimaginable love for mankind.

Being Brave provides us with the necessary means to overcome our thoughts, doubts, anxieties and apprehensions and take the actions needed to move into a more significant and personally fulfilling life of bravery.

We, as readers, are challenged and encouraged to “Be Brave,” to let go of our fears and pre-conceived ideas of ourselves and become the person God wants and intends for us to be.

I received this book from NetGalley. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV)

God has made us brave, not fearful beings. In a forty-day devotional format, author and blogger Kelly Johnson invites you to consider a new way of thinking about what it means to be brave and challenges you to seek a greater intimacy with God and the people God has placed in your life.

Through Scripture, stories, prayers, and thought-provoking questions, you will recognize the seeds of divinely inspired bravery and learn the strength found in community. Using letters of the word brave as a guide, Being Brave highlights what God’s Word has to say about the characteristics of bravery: Bold, Resilient, Authentic, Vulnerable, and Engaged and Empowered by the Spirit.

Banish the fear that holds you back. You are a brave soldier!

Break Time Is Over!!!

Well, the break is over. The time was filled with a flurry of doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, holidays, more appointments and therapy, culminating in yesterday’s holiday!

I’ll be catching up with comments, etc. later today and tomorrow (that is if I don’t lose internet because of the ice and snow we are predicted to get later today!).

snowing GIF

(giphy image)

Be on the lookout for new reviews, a list of the best of 2017 and some exciting news to be announced soon.

Taking a Break!

I have whatever the crud is that’s been going around, and it’s kicking me big time.  Now is a perfect time to take a break, since I’ve already missed almost a week of WP and FB. I’ll be offline all of next week too because of multiple Doctor’s appointments and PT.
Happy New Year’s everyone and God’s Blessings~