Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Sign Painter by Davis Bunn

Genre: Fiction/Christian/Genre 

Publisher:  Howard/Simon & Schuster

Reviewer:  Jean Eastwood


Good vs Evil:
This is a book about faith and that believing in God will get you through the tough times and find a way. It is true what they say, “Money is the root of all evil.”

The main character Amy and her 4-year-old daughter, Kimmie have had a rough life so far. Amy has been doing odd jobs like painting signs for businesses when she gets a job at Bob Denton Chevrolet. Amy brings the camper she and her daughter have been living in to work and immediately hits it off with Bob. Mr. Denton was losing his long time secretary to retirement when Amy showed up. He offered her the job and of course, she needed the stability of the job and a new family to be part of so she gladly accepted it.

Just when she thinks life is going good, she finds a large sum of money left out in plain sight at the dealership that the owner’s son was trying to steal from his dad, Bob and she returns it to Bob. Now the bad guys (Bob Jr. and his gang) are after her for the money. They are brutal in their car chases and looking for her at her home. Bob decides to take her and Kimmie under his wing to live at his home while this is going on. Bob admits to Amy that he fell in love with her the very first time he saw her. 

The book is well-written and there were times of suspense – on and off throughout the book. It was a good weekend read. I enjoyed reading it.

Somebody Like You by Beth Vogt

Genre: Fiction/Christian

Publisher:  Howard/Simon & Schuster

Reviewer:  Jean Eastwood


Stephen Ames is an identical twin to his brother Sam, who gets killed by a sniper in Afghanistan. Sam was married to Haley, who is pregnant with Sam’s child. Haley was never told that Sam had a twin brother. There was a long time of silence between Sam and Stephen once Sam had decided to join the military against Stephen’s wishes all those years ago. Sam’s mother, Miriam never offered any information to Haley either in this regard even at Sam’s funeral. 

There are clear differences in the personalities of the twins. Stephen is more caring and supportive of Haley and her newborn. Haley remembers Sam being very independent and always traveling, making her wonder if he ever really loved her. Stephen is at the right place at the right time when Haley goes into labor and gives birth to a baby girl. Haley is quite surprised because up until now she had reason to believe it was a boy and had a name picked out for him.  Now she had no name for the baby girl, but Stephen suggested Katherine Elizabeth, a female Marvel comic hero, which Haley liked, and called her Kit for short. Kit was born six weeks premature and her lungs weren’t fully developed at the time, but she got up to speed in no time.

In the end, Stephen realizes he sought out Haley and Kit to get to know his long lost brother and remember the good times they had as kids. But, along the way he did fall in love with Haley and she seems to fight him until the end when he does propose and she accepts his marriage proposal.

The book is a bittersweet story about true love and will keep you reading until the end. The title “Somebody like you” has a much deeper meaning once you have read the book. I truly enjoyed the author’s way of keeping your suspense. It was a good weekend read!

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Beer Drinker's Guide to God by William B. Miller

Genre: Essays

Pages: Soft Cover

Publisher: Howard Books

Jags: 6

Pop a top, or twist off the cap of a cold one and take a sip, because Father William Miller, a priest at St. Michaels and All Episcopal Church in Kauai, Hawaii, takes you on a laugh out loud journey about God and libations. 

In this humorous and somewhat pointed conversation about religion, beer, and most importantly, God, Father Miller introduces to what he believes is a sound argument to enjoy one of the greatest gifts from the Lord; alcohol. He puts together beautiful and insightful reflections as his explorations into his faith take him to deep conversations with Trappist Monks, to a one-week Celtic pilgrimage across the Emerald Isle, a stoning from some Palestinian teenage boys, right up to his current position as a Priest/bar-owner in Marfa, Texas. Father Miller explains the importance of spiritual generosity and sacrifice, with a shot of tequila. 

The Beer Drinker’s Guide to God is the perfect beer drinking companion to not only Christians, but to anyone who enjoys a cold one after a Sunday service. A toast to the marvel of The Lord. 

The Jag Review has received a free copy of this book from Howard Books, for our honest review. The opinions expressed here are our own. 

Fair Play by Deeanne Gist

Fair Play by Deeanne Gist

Genre: Fiction/Christian/Historical 

Pages: Soft Cover

Publisher: Howard Books 

Reviewer:  Jean Eastwood

Jags: 7

Set in 1893 at the World’s Fair in Chicago, IL, this love story will keep you reading until you are finished with the book. Dr. Billy Jack Tate is a woman doctor in a time when women as doctors were unheard of.

Dr. Tate tried to get in the Women’s building at the fair where she was to give a speech through the front door, but the Centurion guard would not believe she was a lady doctor and refused to let her in. Some women took her around to the back, to the basement window and propped it open for her to sneak in that way. After managing to get in without hurting herself, she finds herself face to face with another Centurion guard (Hunter Scott). She manages to get away from him and up the stairs to the room where she delivers her speech. She has no idea that this guard she ran away from will find her again and fall in love with her, and she with him.

The guard (Hunter Scott) is a Texas Ranger, temporarily on duty as a Centurion guard at the Chicago’s World Fair when he finds an abandoned infant boy. He turns it over to Dr. Tate to see if she can find the parents and/or provide a home for the child. They both took him to the Hull House which served as a temporary orphanage for some of the children, but it was in the slum areas of Chicago. Hunter and Dr. Tate soon took an interest in cleaning up the slum area and built a playground for the children. The infant boy whom Dr. Tate called “Joey” was adopted one day and Hunter did some research to find the boy was adopted by a millionaire. 

Hunter and Dr. Tate get involved in saving and adopting a 9-year old boy (Derry) who was wrongly accused of murder. Hunter and Dr. Tate get married and move to Texas with the boy. They have a total of 5 children and Hunter becomes a sheriff in a small town in Texas. Dr. Tate still practices medicine in Texas after a prominent person puts in a good word for her with the locals.
The author has a way to keep you interested by subtle humor from the main characters, both adults and children alike. I enjoyed it very much!

The Jag Review has received a free copy of this book from Howard Books, for our honest review. The opinions expressed here are our own. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Iscariot by Tosca Lee

Genre: Biblical Fiction

Pages: Soft Cover

Publisher: Howard Books

Jags: 8
Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve of Jesus’s disciples and the most infamous traitors of all time, was never the person we thought we knew. Tosca Lee takes us on a journey from the perspective of the only man Jesus called friend.
Judas was a scholar of the law, a learned man among the people of Israel. From the very beginning of Judas life, biblical law and prophecy surrounded him. His father and older brother were strong opponents to Roman occupation of the holy land, which influenced Judas greatly, and in doing so, paved the way for him to meet his future Teacher, Messiah, and Lord.
Tosca Lee has woven a beautifully written story about one of the most famous religious icons in history-a mesmerizing tale that gives a brief glimpse into the world of Jesus Christ and the man who would betray him. This book will make you rethink the story of Christ and how innocence and the need to do what’s right can sometimes be confused.
The Jag Review has received a free copy of this book from Howard Books for our honest review. The opinions expressed are our own.

Monday, April 14, 2014

An Interview with Tosca Lee, Author of Iscariot

History has called him many things: Thief. Liar. Traitor. Reviled throughout history and infamous for his suicide, he is the man whose very name is synonymous with betrayal . . .

And the only disciple that Jesus called “friend.” 


But who would take a journey through the Lenten season with Judas, of all people?

The answer: readers of New York Times bestselling author Tosca Lee's Iscariot, in which Lee dares to delve into biblical history’s most maligned character—from his tumultuous childhood to his emergence as the man known to the world as the betrayer of Jesus. But more than the story of one man, Iscariot is a view into the life of Jesus that forces readers to reexamine what they thought they knew about two of the most famous—and infamous—religious icons in history.

The study guide, “A Journey with Judas," is available to book clubs and small groups free along with daily devotionals from now until Easter at toscalee.com.

Who is Tosca Lee, and why did she choose to write a book on the Bible’s most controversial character? An interview with the award-winning author of Havah: The Story of Eve and the Books of Mortals trilogy (with Ted Dekker) follows.

Q: How did you start writing biblical fiction?

A: I kind of fell into it, actually. Around 2000, I wrote this story about a fallen angel. I did it in six weeks. And then it took nearly seven years to sell. When we were doing the deal, the editor said, “What else do you have?” I rummaged around and found one page I had done a year before of a very old Eve starting to tell her story. I don’t know why I started writing that, but I pulled it out and said, “I have this!” And they bought it. It eventually became the prologue to Havah: The Story of Eve.

Q: Why Judas? Of all people—why did you choose to write about him?

A: Several years ago, an editor—the same editor who acquired Demon and Havah—suggested a story on Judas. I’d already done a fallen angel and Eve, after all. I flatly refused. Too much research. Too much controversy. Too hard. But the idea started following me around. Finally, about a year later, I was sitting in this New York restaurant eating dinner and found myself scribbling a scene between Judas and his mother on the paper tablecloth. I knew then I was a goner. I realized I wanted to become this disciple Jesus called “friend,” wanted to slip into his skin and sit down next to this enigmatic teacher and healer that people to this day call “Messiah.” I wanted to see and experience him, for myself.

I tore the scene off, shoved it in my purse, and called my agent a few days later, hoping he would talk me out of it. He didn’t. After two years of research, with much fear and trembling, I started writing.

Q: Did you always want to be a writer?

A: Writing was never the plan, even though I’d won some contests growing up in school. Ballet was my first love—I danced with a local ballet company as a teenager and spent my summers studying dance in Kansas City and New York. But within a few years I literally outgrew ballet: I’m nearly six feet tall en pointe. After a torn groin and other injuries, I knew it just wasn’t going to happen. The summer after my freshman year in college, I decided I’d take a stab at writing a novel. I wrote it. It got rejected. It’s still in a crate down in my basement like a skeleton. I’m afraid to look at it. It’s probably got three arms and two heads. 

Q:  What’s the coolest thing about writing biblical/historical fiction?

A: We all know the story of Judas, of Adam and Eve—of myriad other two-dimensional characters we first met as flannel board characters in Sunday School with just the barest detail to define the morality tale of their lives. But if these were real people, then they had hopes, aspirations, influences, and motivations. There’s always more to the story. And that makes them much more like us than we might care to admit. That’s scary. Inevitably—and this happened with Iscariot, too—there comes a point about hallway through the story where I realize I’m no longer writing Judas’ story, or Eve’s… but my own.

Q:  Iscariot has been recognized as a Best Christian Fiction title of 2013 by the Library Journal and has been nominated for several other awards. Why do you think Iscariot resonates with readers?

A: I think because like Judas, we are all seeking answers. We are seeking some kind of deliverance—maybe not from Roman occupation, but from a situation, or a fear, or a sickness, anything. We are looking for answers, and expecting God to intervene in certain ways. I think we all identify with trying so hard to do the right things, with having expectations for how God will act, and how, if I do this and that, God will do this and that. But it doesn’t always work out that way, and the question becomes how we will respond. I think we all can identify with that. And I think we all find ourselves completely ruined, in the best and worst of ways, by love we cannot understand.

Q: What do you do when you’re not writing?

A: I love to adventure travel—whether it’s fishing for piranha in the Amazon or trekking through the Balkans, every now and then I just have to get out of town. And I cook. There was a time when I could burn water and ruin cereal, but today I make a pretty mean quiche and haven’t managed to poison anyone in years.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: The Queen of Sheba! I figured it was time to be a girl again.

For more on Tosca and her books, including the free reading guide “A Journey with Judas," go to toscalee.com.

In addition to this Q&A, Tosca is offering a special give-away to her readers this Easter. Enter by April 19th to win on her site. www.toscalee.com 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Sing For Me by Karen Halvorsen Schreck

Genre: Fiction 

Pages: Soft Cover 

Publisher: Howard Books 

Jags: 7 

New York durning the Depression was anything but forgiving, especially for a young woman with a gift. Rose Sorensen knows the music coming out of her neighbor's windows and on the radio isn't what her Danish Baptist family would consider godly, except Rose has a secret. Not only does she know the lyrics to these songs, but she can sing them as beautifully as the performers. 

At first, Rose was content to hold this yearning deep down inside, until one random night, her cousin convinces her to sneak away and go to Calliopes, a jazz club in Bronzeville. What happens next is nothing short of miraculous. Rose enters a world where praising The Lord isn't just confined to hymns on Sunday, but also on stage performing in front of an audience. 

Sing For Me is a beautiful story exploring the bonds of family, societies norm, and the very notion of following your dreams. Karen Halvorsen Schreck has woven together memorable story that allows you to connect with the characters from the first page, right down to the last. 

The Jag Review has received a free copy of this book from Howad Books for our honest review. The opinions expressed are our own.

Fearless Hope by Serena B. Miller

Genre: Fiction/Amish & Mennonite 

Pages: Soft Cover

Publisher:  Howard Books/Simon & Schuster

Reviewer:  Jean Eastwood

Jags: 8

This is a captivating and wonderfully-written fictional story about an “Amish” woman named Hope who lost her husband in a tragic farming accident and falls in love again. This book holds your interest and you can’t seem to put it down, wondering what will happen next. 

The story takes place in Holmes County, Iowa. Since her husband died, Hope needs and starts a part-time housekeeping job for Logan, a writer from New York who just bought one of the old “Amish” homes. He starts to have “déjà-vu” feelings about the town, the house next door and the community in general. 

Logan has a fiancé (Marla) back in New York but that relationship does not last very long once he realizes he has fallen in love with Hope and her two children. He goes back to New York to break off the relationship with Marla and catches her cheating on him. He evicts her and puts his New York apartment (worth millions of dollars) back on the market again.

The ending is quite surprising in that we find out the main character Logan was actually kidnapped when he was a small boy while on vacation with his family in Sarasota, Florida. His name was Joseph then. Logan’s mom makes the long trip back to Iowa with him to apologize to the family next door for kidnapping their son and after a very emotional conversation with the family she is forgiven.
Hope and Logan get married and have their own child. Logan tries to learn the “Amish” ways to go back to his “Amish” roots and fit in within this community.

The sporadic insertion of the “Amish” language throughout the book helps the reader visualize the “Amish” culture. Their beliefs are very strong and they rely on the opinion of their Bishop for the moral decisions they need to make in life. This was a great read! 

The Jag Review has received a free copy of this book from Howard Books for our honest review. The opinions expressed here are our own. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Growing Up Duggar by Jana, Jill, Jessa and Jinger Duggar

Genre: Family & Relationships

Pages: Hard Cover

Publisher:  Howard Books/Simon and Schuster

Reviewer:  Jean Eastwood

Jags: 8 

Growing up Duggar is about the Duggar family from Arkansas who are well known for the television show on TLC (the learning channel) called  “19 Kids and Counting”. Mrs. Duggar actually had a 20th child, a girl, but she was stillborn. All of the children have names that start with the letter “J”. There are 10 boys and 9 girls.

This book is written by several of the older girls whose names are mentioned above. They are very insightful for being so young. They all have discovered their “vocation” in life and are happily involved in serving others at such a young age. They are happy to share their Christian ways of thinking and living with anyone but especially find it rewarding to work with teenagers who need their guidance.

I think it is amazing that all of the 19 children play piano and violin and every one can play another instrument as well, like the cello, guitar, mandolin, or harp. All of the children are raised to be very well-mannered. The boys are taught to serve and protect the girls and learned this behavior from watching their dad. They even open the car doors for the girls which you really don’t see very often anymore. 

After reading this book on relationships, I think the Duggar children have a bright future ahead of them. They are obedient and mature for their age. I give credit to the parents for instilling the right behavior at a very early age and make it possible for the children to have emotional and financial support.

I enjoyed reading the book and it was a fun weekend read. Keep up the good work Duggars!

The Jag Review has received a free copy of this book from Howard Books, for our honest review. The opinions expressed here are our own. 


Incognito by Andrea Raynor

Genre: Autobiogrphy

Pages: Soft cover 

Publisher: Simon & Schuster 

Reviewer: Virginia Armstrong 

Jags: 5 

Incognito is the biography of Andrea Raynors personal journey during her days at Harvard Divinity School. Finding the campus to be more than what she expected, Andrea is thrust into a world of diversity in cultures and lifestyles. What she discovers is a world she could have never imagined, especially at such a reputable institution.

Andrea's first experiences range from openly gay students on campus, to Geishas and even preop transsexuals that unfolds into colorful moments in her life. She introduces you to the men that meant the most to her, and the ones she left behind. She also includes all the stories of the homeless she strives to help, champion individuals that would otherwise be swept under the rug. 

During this time, Andrea's convictions strengthen in God, believing she is on the the path that The Lord has chosen for her. She shares all the intimate moments when she felt closest to God, as well as the times she heard Him speak to her without words, reassuring and comforting her in her desicions. 

Incognito was a fast moving story, starting in Andrea's home state of Ohio, and ending in Cambridge. She details her life and relationships, but never really gets to meat of the story, which ultimately takes away from the personalities of the people she interacted with. Couldn't help but feel unfullfilled. 

The Jag Review has received a free copy of this book from Howard Books, for our honest review. The opinions expressed here are our own.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Healer of Carthage by Lynne Gentry

Genre: Fiction

Pages: Soft Cover

Publisher:  Simon and Schuster

Reviewer:  Virginia Armstrong

Jags: 7 

First-year resident Dr. Lisbeth Hastings is overworked and sleep-deprived when her father summons her to his archaeological dig site.  It’s during her visit at the Cave of the Swimmers in northern Africa that she falls through a hidden portal, casting her back thousands of years to the ancient city of Carthage.   Finding herself the subject of a slave auction, she must put her trust in Cyprian Thascius , a legal advocate for the Bishop and a hidden Christian.  Thrown together, they must contend with many obstacles in their path fight for the freedom of themselves as well as their household.  Can their love possibly survive the onslaught that awaits them? 

Healer of Carthage is a story that intertwines present day life, especially that of medicine, with the tumultuous past.  It is a time of religious persecution, slavery and disease without medicine.  The story encompasses faith, love, betrayal and courage. 

The writing style is done in perfect form, flowing nicely from page to page.  The content is somewhat disappointing as the characters did not come to life as well as they could have, nor did the ambience of the past fill the pages.  Still, the story is worth the read, filled with growing romance, suspense, and a journey to the past.  

The Jag Review has received a free copy of this book from Howard Books, for our honest review. The opinions expressed here are our own. 

Vow Unbroken by Caryl McAdoo

Vow Unbroken by Caryl McAdoo

Genre: Fiction/Christian Romance

Pages: Paper Back 

Publisher:  Howard Books Simon & Schuster

Reviewer:   Jean Eastwood

Susannah Baylor’s vow is to never marry again without her father’s blessing. She hasn’t seen her father in over ten years and doesn’t even know if he is still alive. He has never answered any of her letters.
Susannah is a cotton farmer in Texas and lives with her young daughter Rebecca and nephew Levi who are a tremendous help with the farming and chores. It is time to take the cotton to harvest and get enough money to make it through another year. The local cotton buyer renegotiated on his original offer from 4 cents a pound to now only two cents a pound. Susannah told him that was way too low of a price to pay. She decided to load her cotton and hire a helping hand by the name of Henry Buckmeyer to take her family and cotton to the town of Jefferson where they were paying 6 cents a pound. 

There definitely is an adventure waiting to be experienced in this book. I could not put the book down for more than a day, and could not wait to find out what happens next. Henry, Susannah, Levi, Rebecca and Blue Dog begin a long suspense-filled journey of two mule-driven cotton-loaded wagons over hills and rivers, fighting off wolves, drunks, thieves, gypsies, bad weather and snakes to get to Jefferson to sell their cotton.

Once they get there, the cotton buyers have bought enough cotton and will return in nine days. Henry saves the day by selling the mules, making deals with the locals, and getting their cotton to New Orleans where they get 10 cents a pound for their cotton. With the money they get, they travel to Memphis, Tennessee to see Susannah’s father and get his blessing to marry Henry whom she has fallen in love with and he with her. Her father is still alive and gives his only daughter his blessing to marry Henry who has become “born again”. They get married at her father’s home in Memphis while visiting him. 

Excellent read! Easy to read and follow, keeps your suspense and can actually make you cry! Loved it!

The Jag Review has received a free copy of this book from Howard Books, for our honest review. The opinions expressed here are our own. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Thief by Stephanie Landsem

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: Paper Back 

Publisher:  Simon and Schuster

Reviewer:   Virginia Armstrong

6 Jags

Mouse is the best thief in all of Jerusalem.  It is with his help that Nissa, a young Jewish woman, is able to keep a roof over her family’s heads and food on the table.  Shouldering the responsibility for her blind brother and negligible parent’s, Nissa has gained a sharp tongue and fighting spirit.

Longinus is a Roman Centurion in the Judean Providence, haunted by the death of his best friend and desperate to avenge him.  Staking the precious sword that once belonged to his father, he must find the thieves that are causing havoc in the marketplace.

As Longinus seeks Mouse, and Nissa tries to conceal him, a mysterious stranger comes to town with the ability to miraculously heal the people.  It is during this time that Nissa and Longinus are pulled together unexpectedly, and thrown into the spiral of events that lead to the mysterious stranger’s arrest, trial and crucifixion.  

The Thief started out very well.  Mouse and Nissa were especially lively and engaging characters, keeping the reader wanting more of them.  Once Jesus made an appearance, the story veered too far for this reader.  Perhaps being all too familiar with the stories of the bible, I already had a mental picture of certain characters imagined and revisiting it through the eyes of another did not sit well for me.  For this reader, the merging of biblical and fictional characters did not merge as well as I would anticipate.  As for style, the author definitely has a flair for writing.  Her characters are lively and engaging, keeping the reader wanting more.

The Jag Review has received this copy of this book from Howard Books for our honest review. The opinions expressed are our own. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Traitor's Wife by Allison Pataki

Genre: Histoical Fiction 

Author:  Allison Pataki

Publisher:  Simon & Schuster

Reviewer:  Virginia Armstrong

Rating:  9

The Traitor’s Wife is a story of war, hope love and betrayal.   As America is fighting for its very freedom during the Revolutionary War, Socialite Peggy Shippen, swayed by thoughts of royalty and riches, has placed her loyalty with the Brits.

After being abandoned by Major John Andre, she sets her sights on General Benedict Arnold.  A man crippled from war and twice her age, Arnold falls for her cunning and deception.  After they are married, Peggy becomes even more calculating as she teams up with Major John Andres once again.  Believing a life of royalty awaits her, she convinces her husband to betray America and the freedom it offered.

Clara Bell, Peggy Shippen Arnold’s maid, is privy to the conspiracy.  With her belief in the nation at hand, and refusing to lose the freedom it offered, she must risk everything and intervene in the plot before the Red Coats take control of West Point and capture General George Washington. 

The Traitor’s Wife is a very good read.  It merges fact with fiction, keeping your mind open to various aspects of Benedict Arnold’s life and the events that led up to his act of treason.   The question being, was Peggy Shippen Arnold the mastermind behind it?  Perhaps we will never know, but Allison Pataki  does an excellent job of humanizes and bringing about another perspective into Arnold’s life. 

The story is filled with engaging characters and universal emotions that can never be dated.  Everyone should read this book.

The Jag Review has received this book from Howard Books, for our honest review. The opinions expressed here are our own. 

Friday, January 31, 2014

Friend Me by John Faubion

Genre: Fiction
Pages: Soft Cover
Author:  John Faubion
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster
Reviewer:  Virginia Armstrong
Rating:  8 Jags

Rachel is a stay- at- home mom who is losing sight of who she is and what her purpose in life is about.  Worse, her marriage to Scott, a businessman in a high-stress job, is stagnating. In a dire need to confide to someone, she stumbles across a virtual website that allows her to custom-make an friend who she can confide in.
Soon, she has a virtual re-creation of her best friend who has passed away years earlier.  It is only a matter of time before she is able to rekindle her past friendship over the web. Scott, who witnesses his wife’s joy and fulfillment with her new found friend online, decides to explore the same website. Unbeknownst to his wife, Scott’s career is taking a turn for the worst and the day to day stress is mounting. He creates a female avatar and begins to share things he could never tell his wife. 
Little do either of them realize, Melissa a raging psychotic, is not only the mastermind behind the software, but she is also manipulating Rachel and Scott without their knowledge. Soon, the intimate online relationship becomes a fatal attraction, leaving both of them to fight for not only their marriage, but their lives.

From the first page, the story grabbed my attention and kept me on the edge of my seat.  The Characters are true-to-life facing the same issues many couples of today are.  Then the author interweaves another faction, bringing in virtual computer software.  The entire time you are reading, you’re wondering about the people who actually create these types of programs and what makes them tick.  Are they crazy like Melissa?  Did they have ulterior motives when they devised their plans?  It leaves you more cautious about the information you give and the people you befriend on the web.  John Faubion did an excellent job on this novel. 

The Jag Review has received a free copy of this book from Howard Books for our honest review. The opinions expressed here are our own. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Clean Gut by Alejandro Junger M.D.

Pages: Hard Cover

Genre: Health 

Publisher: Harper Collins

Reviewer: Virginia Armstrong

JAGS: 10

Described in the book Clean Gut, it seems in today’s world sickness and disease look as if  it is out of control. Dr. Alejandro Junger excellently explains how a clean gut can actually cure most of today’s aliments. He came to this conclusion after several years following the standard marching orders of the current medical field mentality of sweeping the underline problem aside and focuses on curing the symptom instead of the disease.

Dr. Junger shows how the gut is the stem of all health problems. With just a change of diet, say good-bye to fatigue, blood pressure, diabetes and several other full blown illnesses. With just a minor life-style change on our consumption habits, even the medication prescribed by Doctors can be minimized or all together avoided. He also details a well thought out plan of action by eliminating foods that cause most of these types of health related issues. Dr. Junger assures us in “Clean Gut” that a change into our diet, all aspects of physical and mental health will change for the better. Over 70% of illness is preventable.

Clean Gut is a book that should be a must read for everyone. For me, Dr. Junger hit the nail on the head. All his information made absolute sense. Assessing my own diet, I realized that I could be taking better care of my health both mentally and physically. Just using his simple advice on what few foods that should be on everyone’s “no” list, the benefits seem almost instantaneous.

Everyone should read this book and take charge of their health. Individually, we are the only ones who can judge the change that takes place after minor modifications to our diets. This information is vital to all who want a better quality of life.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Fifth Assassin by Brad Meltzer

Pages: Paper

Genre: Fiction

Reviewer Virginia Armstrong


In The Fifth Assassin, it seems a copycat assassin is on the loose on the streets of Washington D.C. and Beecher White is on the case. Targeting clergy in the area, the killer is imitating the assassinations of former U.S. Presidents to the very last detail. Beecher, a historian working at the National Archives, must now figure out if the original Assassins from history past were working alone, or if a larger conspiracy was involved. He has his work cut out for him as he races to unmask the killer before the fifth assassination can take place.

As figures from his past begin to show up on the scene, and bitter memories rise to the surface of his mind leaving him vulnerable and open to danger, Beecher must determine if one of these former friends is actually the killer.

The Fifth Assassin kept me guessing. My mind was continuously wondering how the puzzle was going to be pieced together. The further I read into the story, the better I got to know and understand the characters and the reasoning behind their actions. At one point, I was torn between the guilt of rooting for the villain and didn’t want to perceive them in a negative light. This latest Brad Meltzer sequel to his earlier work The Inner Circle, takes you on an adventure into the past the details involving the assassination of former U.S. Presidents.

This was a better read than I anticipated.  The ending definitely leaves you wanting more.