Monday, April 9, 2012

Three Easy Pieces: Recently Read

Prove It! GodProve It! God by Amy Welborn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was recommended to me when I was asking for good books that might help questioning atheists. It is aimed at a young audience (meaning teenage, I assume, from the way it was written). Although I found the arguments didn't change in substance from those I already am familiar with, they were substantially easier to understand in some cases. Welborn does a good job of breaking down the logic and showing where questioners' assumptions may be based on faulty premises. Overall a good resource even for adults, if they are willing to overlook the spots where it is specifically using language to make teens comfortable with it.

Vanished (Nick Heller, #1)Vanished by Joseph Finder

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Where did I first hear of this? I'd have thought Brandywine Books which keeps my mystery/thriller "to read" list filled. But I don't see it there in my extremely casual search. Perhaps it was via The Curt Jester.

Wherever I found it, this book is a really enjoyable, fast-paced thriller. Here's some of the description.
Nick Heller is tough, smart, and stubborn. And in his line of work, it's essential. Trained in the Special Forces, Nick is a high-powered intelligence investigator--exposing secrets that powerful people would rather keep hidden. He's a guy you don't want to mess with. He's also the man you call when you need a problem fixed.

Desperate, with nowhere else to run, Nick's nephew, Gabe makes that call one night. After being attacked in Georgetown, his mother, Lauren, lies in a coma, and his step-dad, Roger, Nick's brother, has vanished without a trace.
I particularly enjoyed the dichotomy of how Nick loves his brother deep down and struggles with whether to trust what appears to be unfolding as he investigates. But without whiny angst one sometimes finds in these books (yes, even from big, strong men). I myself not having Nick's childhood traumas to hold me back rarely trusted anyone in the book (aside from Nick, Gabe and Dorothy) to be who they said they were. Which sometimes paid off and sometimes didn't. A great book and I have requested the sequel from the library.

The Secret Country (The Secret Country, #1)The Secret Country by Pamela Dean

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I discovered this trilogy in the best way - at the book store long ago when the first book had just come out. So as the story unfolded I was left on tenterhooks until each book came out. Frequent rereading has done nothing to dim my enjoyment. Here's the brief summary.
For the past nine years, cousins Patrick, Ruth, Ellen, Ted, and Laura have played at "The Secret"-a game full of witches, unicorns, a magic ring and court intrigue. In The Secret, they can imagine anything into reality, and shape destiny. Then the unbelievable happens: by trick or by chance, they find themselves in the Secret Country, their made-up identities now real. They have arrived at the start of their game, with the Country on the edge of war. What was once exciting and wonderful now looms threateningly before them, and no one is sure how to stop it . . . or if they will ever get back home.
.I particularly enjoy the fact that when they arrive in the Secret Country much of what they imagined doesn't match the Secret Country's "reality." People look different, the story goes off target occasionally, and so forth. That makes it all the more disconcerting when it is exactly right. Great fun, an imaginative "country" and I highly recommend it.


  1. Thank you! I had read the first of The Secret Country and then forgot it continued, so now I have no wonderfulness to seek out. And I was able to find your recommendation from a bit ago, Michael Gruber's Valley of Bones, at a used bookstore over the weekend (it was the one in his series my library didn't have) so I'm about to have fun with that, too!

  2. Pretty sure that was indeed one of my recommendations. I came upon Joseph Finder from a free audiobook once and he hooked. Many of his other novels are kind of like what if Tom Clancy did corporate espionage.

  3. I just wanted to thank you for the review of The Secret Country. I am about half way finished, and have already requested the rest of the trilogy through inter-library loan. I can't imagine how I missed it before.

  4. You are very welcome! I am always glad to enable fellow book addicts to my favorites! :-D