Deep Undercover by Jack Barsky – Filled with Intrigue That May Keep You Up At Night

Some books are a pleasure to read and the review is easy to write.  That holds true for Deep Undercover by Jack Barsky with Cindy Coloma.

If you like intrigue, suspense and mystery look no further than Deep Undercover which tells true story of KGB spy Jack Barsky, or should I say Albrecht Dittrich.

I found this book fascinating and of particular interest was Albrecht’s early life.  He was born in 1949 in East Germany, following WWII.  As I read about his early years, I was struck by the contrast between growing up in his war-torn country and life here in the United States of America.

Have you even wondered how someone becomes a spy?  How are you trained to do the job?  What skillsets do you need to be a KGB operative?  What happens if you fail or if you change your mind?  Can a spy have any kind of a real life with a wife, children and friends?  Or is a spy destined to live a life of loneliness where no one really knows him?

Those questions and much more are answered in Deep Undercover which tells about the intriguing life of Jack Barsky.  While his life started much different than your typical American, and his career path took some twists and turns, this man came to love this country and the freedoms that regular everyday Americans have.  The freedom and capitalism that he once fought against, he came to embrace, even at the risk of losing his life.

At the end of the book, Jack explains how he came to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.  I especially liked how he shared about God providentially weaving together the circumstances of his life which resulted in him coming to America and ultimately becoming a Christian.

Something I would like to clarify, the statement by Jack’s soon to be wife Shawna, “You are already a Christian; you just don’t know it.”, is not Scripturally accurate.  Jack may have been in the process of learning about Christ and she saw that his faith was growing, but accepting Christ is a purposeful decision.

I highly recommend Deep Undercover by Jack Barsky, it’s a fascinating book.  Be forewarned, this book may keep you up at night so you can find out what happens next.  If you like mysteries and intrigue, biographies, or you just like to know what makes a man tick, pickup Deep Undercover.  You won’t be disappointed.

I would like to thank Tyndale House Publishers for the opportunity to read Deep Undercover for free.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

 

Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter & Me – A Memoir by Lorilee Craker

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First and foremost let me say, I love this book!  Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter & Me by Lorilee Craker is a lovely and delightful book.  In this heartfelt exploration about adoption the author shares about  feelings and emotions experienced by adoptees, adoptive parents and biological parents.

I’ve never read any books by Lorilee Craker, but when I read the description of this book, I was hooked.  “What my favorite book taught me about grace, belonging and the orphan in us all.”

I’m an adoptee and Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorite books.  I think I’ve read every book by famed author, Lucy Maud Montgomery.  That’s why I couldn’t turn down this opportunity to read Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter & Me.

Throughout the book Lorilee skillfully weaves characters and scenes from much the beloved books, Anne of Green Gables, as she shares about her own life which began with her adoption.  Lorilee and her husband Doyle are the forever real parents to their sons Jonah and Ezra and their adopted daughter Phoebe.  She also shares about Phoebe’s unique and special journey to become part of the Craker family.

I really appreciated how Lorilee shared the birth mother’s perspective.  She was open and transparent in her quest to find her birth parents and what happened.  Even if an adoptee never seeks out their birth parents, the curiosity remains.

Lorilee shared about her own forever and very real parents and what she and her husband experienced when they flew halfway around the world to bring their daughter Phoebe home.

Interwoven throughout this book are scenes from the precious books and movies, Anne of Green Gables.  This memorable story is about a young girl with carrot red hair who was orphaned and adopted by the unlikely parents of spinster Marilla Cuthbert and her bachelor brother Matthew.  Who would ever think that a spinster and bachelor would be the perfect parents for this spunky, feisty and imaginative girl?  Anne’s life would be forever changed and filled to overflowing with love and friends on the enchanting and beautiful Prince Edward Island.

This story is made even richer as Lorilee shares about author Lucy Maud Montgomery’s life, who herself was orphaned.  While her story turned out different than Anne’s, it’s from her rich imagination this beloved character has a special place in the hearts of many young girls and women.

Lorilee delves into some painful and deep thoughts and emotions from those impacted by adoption.  She tackles the conundrum of how one who is chosen and adopted may focus on being abandoned, rejected and orphaned.  Most importantly she shares how God Himself has adopted Christian believers into His forever family.  Orphans are very close to His heart.

I highly and unreservedly recommend Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter & Me by author Lorilee Craker.  It’s filled with grace and truth; it will enrich your life and touch your heart.

I would like thank the people at Tyndale House Publishers for the opportunity to read Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter & Me in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

Drawing Fire by Janice Cantore – Hits the Target

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I love a good mystery filled with intrigue and interesting characters.  I hit the target with Drawing Fire by author Janice Cantore who is a former Long Beach police officer.  This is the first book I’ve read by Janice Cantore and I look forward to reading her earlier books.

Drawing Fire is filled with suspense and lots of action, but not at the expense of character development.  I really liked the characters and learning about what drives them and makes them tick.  The story takes place in Long Beach, California.  Having lived in So Cal for many years it was fun to read about the various locations and visualize the scenes.

I appreciate when a Christian author weaves their faith into the characters and storyline.  I thought that Janice did a good job in showing what a loving and supportive Christian community can be like.  It wasn’t contrived but flowed naturally as we learn about the characters and see them interact in everyday life and in crisis situations.

At the end of Drawing Fire there are twelve discussion questions which can be used for a book club or the individual reader.  I found the questions compelling as I remembered the characters and storyline and wondered how I might have responded.

When Drawing Fire concludes the readers will know who done it, but things aren’t neatly and perfectly tied up, which is kind of like real life.  It proves to be a good stopping off point because the characters will be continued in the next book of the Cold Case Justice series.  That’s a book I will want to read.

I would like to thank Tyndale Publishers for the opportunity to read Drawing Fire by Janice Cantore in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

C. S. Lewis & Mere Christianity – Interesting & Insightful

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It’s been my privilege to read Paul McCusker’s book C. S. Lewis & Mere Christianity.  I didn’t want to rush through this book because I was learning about C. S. Lewis, the events that help shape him and the formidable works he produced that would impact Christianity and the common everyday Christian, even up to this present day.

In the book, as the subtitle states, I was learning about “The Crisis That Created a Classic.”  I must confess I am woefully ignorant about much of World War II history.  It was very sobering reading about the long and great suffering that the people of Great Britain enduring during World War II.  I learned a lot and gained a new appreciation for the people, what they suffered, and the strength and character of the WWII generation.  How different our world would have been if they had not persevered and triumphed over evil.

One of the things I appreciated about this book is that the author interspersed sidebars with detailed information about people, places, and events that were part of C. S. Lewis’ life.  The reader will benefit and learn from the detailed research that went into this book.

I feel like I gained peek into the life of C. S. Lewis and I think that will help me as I read his work.  It was very interesting learning how some of his most well-known works came to be.

If you are an admirer of C. S. Lewis, apologetics or have an interest in World War II, I would highly recommend this book.  Paul McCusker did an excellent job of painting a picture of C. S. Lewis and Great Britain during this transformational time in recent history.

I would like to thank Tyndale House for providing me with a copy of C. S. Lewis & Mere Christianity to read in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.