Sunday, April 08, 2012

Book Review: Beyond Justice by Joshua Graham



Sam Hudson, a reputable San Diego attorney, learns this when the authorities wrongfully convict him of the brutal rape and murder of his wife and daughter, and sends him to death row. There he awaits execution by lethal injection.

If he survives that long.

In prison, Sam fights for his life while his attorney works frantically on his appeal. It is then that he embraces the faith of his departed wife and begins to manifest supernatural abilities. Abilities which help him save lives– his own, those of his unlikely allies–and uncover the true killer’s identity, unlocking the door to his exoneration.

Now a free man, Sam’s newfound faith confronts him with the most insurmountable challenge yet. A challenge beyond vengeance, beyond rage, beyond anything Sam believes himself capable of: to forgive the very man who murdered his family, according to his faith. But this endeavor reveals darker secrets than either Sam or the killer could ever have imagined. Secrets that hurtle them into a fateful collision course.

About the Author
Winner of the 2011 INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARDS, and #1 bestselling author Joshua Graham's Barnes & Noble #1 bestselling novel BEYOND JUSTICE is taking the world by storm, one reader at a time. Many of his readers blame him for sleepless nights, arriving to work late, neglected dishes and family members, and not allowing them to put the book down.

BEYOND JUSTICE, THE ACCIDENTAL EXORCIST, THE ACCIDENTAL HERO, THE ACCIDENTAL HEALER, and DEATH AND TAXES, have reached the top of multiple bestseller list on Barnes & Noble topping titles by John Grisham, Linda Fairstein, Scott Turrow and James Lee Burke, Ted Dekker and Steven James. Soaring to the top of the Barnes & Noble lists, BEYOND JUSTICE recently hit #1 in the Legal Thriller and Christian Thriller categories, topping by John Grisham, Joel C. Rosenberg, and Michael Connelly. It has also remained on the top 100 bestselling Kindle bestseller list months after its release.

Suspense Magazine listed BEYOND JUSTICE in its BEST OF 2010, alongside titles by Scott Turrow, Ted Dekker, Steven James and Brad Thor.
His short story THE DOOR'S OPEN won the HarperCollins Authonomy Competition (Christmas 2010.)

Publishers Weekly described BEYOND JUSTICE as:
"...A riveting legal thriller.... breaking new ground with a vengeance... demonically entertaining and surprisingly inspiring."

My Review

This was an interesting book to review. Having read the blurb, I was really looking forward to reading it. 

The plot was incredible. It was extremely well planned; a couple of times I thought I had it worked out, but it surprised me. I like not having something predictable to read, where you can guess the ending or how it is going to work out long before you get there, and Beyond Justice was certainly able to keep the suspense going right the way through, and still have a couple of surprises left for the end.

The characters were very believable, you could feel the emotions of Sam, as he went through each obstacle that was put in his journey, and almost ending up wanting to shout about his innocence when the justice system was blind to the truth. I could feel my own frustration rising with what was going on, the ability of Joshua Graham to drive that in the reader, should be particularly praised. I especially liked some of the prison characters, the way the various factions were portrayed felt very real (not that I have any experience to base that on, you understand!) Pastor Dave was also a favourite; it was nice that despite everything he had been through he was still prepared to stand by Sam throughout.

Overall I wasn’t disappointed by Beyond Justice, the pace was a little slow for me, but it fitted the story well, so this was really a personal thing. I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes legal thrillers, and anyone who wants a book that doesn’t pull it’s punches, and keeps the reader guessing as to how things will play out.

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Friday, April 06, 2012

Book Review: Charlie: A Love Story by Barbara Lampert


About The Book

Charlie: A Love Story tells of the beautiful love between Charlie, a Golden Retriever, and the author, Barbara Lampert. It takes place in Malibu, California. When Charlie turned eleven years old and started having some health problems, a journal Barbara was keeping about her garden quickly became mostly about Charlie. Charlie: A Love Story is an intimate look at an incredible connection between a canine and a human. And as a psychotherapist who specializes in relationships, Barbara brings that sensibility and understanding to Charlie’s story as well. Charlie was Barbara’s loyal confidante and best friend. He was indomitable, had a zest for life and an uncanny emotional intelligence. Charlie: A Love Story is about devotion, joy, loss, and renewal, about never giving up or giving in. But mostly it’s about an extraordinary dog and an extraordinary relationship.


About The Author

Barbara Lampert is a Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in relationships. She’s been in private practice in Brentwood, California for over twenty years. She considers her work a calling and loves what she does. She has a doctorate in medical sociology and two master’s degrees – one in psychology and one in sociology. Barbara has adored dogs her whole life. They’re her passion! She notes that for a lot of people, their dogs are their best friends. She loves helping people know that’s ok – that a soul-satisfying relationship may be found with any being and needs to be treasured. Besides her love of dogs, Barbara is an avid gardener and finds herself gardening in much of her spare time. She sees her garden as a work of art. She loves being in nature – the miracle of growth, the ever-changing landscape, its beauty. Today Barbara lives happily in Malibu, California with her husband David (married twenty-eight years!) and their six-year-old Golden Retriever, Harry. Barbara hopes that Charlie: A Love Story will be a tribute not only to a magnificent dog but to all dogs everywhere. You can visit her website at

My Review

The story of Charlie is a sentimental journey, told from the twilight of his life. Charlie is a Golden Retriever, one of stoic character and full of life. The author, Charlie’s owner, Barbara Lampart, narrates the story of the last few years of Charlie’s life, with all the trials that they had to overcome, but how her love for Charlie was an overriding constant.

It is easy to see how close the bond is between Charlie and Barbara, and I think anyone who has ever loved any animal will be able to relate to the words on the pages. 

The backdrop for the story is the authors own garden, indeed the publicity information that came with my review copy, mentioned that the book started life as a garden journal; and it is in this setting where we are introduced to Charlie quite late in his life. As the book progresses we are treated to glances of a younger Charlie, including how the author came to become his owner.

I said that this book is a sentimental journey, and it is, the overriding sentiment is the love that the author has for Charlie, and her other animals. It is clear that Charlie has carved a very special place in the authors’ heart, and it is easy to see why such a dog would do that. Charlie’s character brings the book to life, through well written gentle prose which makes the book a pleasure to read.

For a dog that obviously led a very full life, this short book, is but one snapshot in the life of Charlie, it is not hard to imagine however the adventures that the author and Charlie had together earlier in his life. It is Charlie’s strength of constitution and character that really bring home how marvellous a dog Charlie was, and how he was prepared to share that with everyone he met, and now, through the pages of this book, with anyone who reads its words.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars, I Really Liked It.

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Sunday, April 01, 2012

Book Review: From the Ashes by Jeremy Burns


About the Author


An avid reader since the age of three, Jeremy Burns was devouring novels by the time other children his age were still learning their ABCs. Blessed (and, at times, cursed) with a decidedly active imagination and an insatiable curiosity for nearly everything, Jeremy made learning and storytelling two of his chief passions. After earning his degree in History from Florida State University, Jeremy accepted a position teaching literature, creative writing, political science, and philosophy at an international school in Dubai. Like the characters in his books, Jeremy is an intrepid explorer whose own adventures have taken him from Mayan ruins in the Yucatan to the pyramids of Egypt, from medieval castles across Europe to the jungles of Bangladesh, and beyond. To date, Jeremy has travelled to more than twenty countries across four continents, seeking adventure, discovery, and ideas for future novels. When not exploring a new corner of the globe, Jeremy lives in Florida, where he is working on his next thrilling novel.



Graduate students Jonathan and Michael Rickner, sons of eminent archaeologist Sir William Rickner, are no strangers to historical secrets and archaeological adventures. But when Michael is discovered dead in his Washington, D.C. apartment, Jon refuses to believe the official ruling of suicide. Digging deeper into his brother’s work, he discovers evidence that Michael was murdered to keep his dissertation research buried. Joined by Michael’s fiancée Mara Ellison, Jon travels to New York where he uncovers the threads of a deadly Depression-era conspiracy – one entangling the Hoover Administration, the Rockefellers, and the rise of Nazi Germany – and the elite cadre of assassins that still guard its unspeakable secret. Finding themselves in the crosshairs of the same men who killed Michael, Jon and Mara must navigate a complex web of historical cover-ups and modern-day subterfuge, outwitting and outrunning their all-powerful pursuers as they race through a labyrinthine treasure hunt through the monuments and museums of Manhattan to discover the last secret of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., before their enemies can bury the truth – and them – forever.

My Review

This is a great conspiracy thriller which mixes accurate historical facts with just enough fictional make-believe to spin a very strong tale. The action takes place both in Washington and New York, with both cities being accurately portrayed, adding to the strength of the story.

The historical elements are very well done, without being overplayed or making the story drag. There’s just enough of a taste of history to make the whole story believable. The fictional side also seemed plausible, although I had problems believing that the conspiracy, really was something that required being covered up to such an extent. Even when it came out it didn’t cause that big a stir, ergo why the need for the level of cover-up?

There were a couple of continuity problems that also detracted from the story e.g. cell phones that one minute don’t have voicemail, and yet the next minute do; which was a shame.

The characters were believable and strong, they seemed human enough, and had strengths and flaws which added to the story. It was easy to see why they were doing what they were doing, particularly Jonathan and Mara.

This would make a good holiday or travelling read, I could see myself sitting on a beach somewhere with a copy of this book.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars – I liked it.

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