Vacation Mini Book Reviews

We had a great vacation. We relaxed and ate so well, we probably wouldn't have come back if we hadn't run out of money.

Before I went, I asked for fiction recommendations. I went to Half Price Books the day before I left, and bought several of your recommendations. Here are some brief reviews:

Inside the Revolution by Joel C. Rosenberg - Okay, so technically this one isn't fiction. But, I read it at my in laws' house and in the airport before we left. I'm glad I did. It's a really great book tracing 3 major movements within Islam in the middle east: Radicals, Reformers, and Revivalists. We hear a lot about the radicals, and rightly so - Rosenberg describes their theology of how the world will end, and how many world leaders (especially the leader of Iran) are radicals who are set out to bring the end. The Reformers are peaceful Muslims who represent the majority, albeit a silent majority. The Revivalists are the millions of Muslims who are trusting Christ across the middle-east. If you are at all interested in what is going on in the Middle East, Rosenberg (who has served in the White House, and is well-connected throughout Washington as well as being a Bible student) writes a really good book.

Divine Justice by David Baldacci - This was the first novel I read on the trip. Baldacci is (apparently) known for suspense novels. This one was pretty fast-paced and an easy read. Basically, a former spy is on the run after two major political players are assassinated. As he seeks a hiding spot, he ends up in the wrong town and races against the clock to stay hidden and solve a series of mysterious deaths in a small coal mining town. Oh yeah, and there's a love story too. This was a good book, though fairly predictable.

Runaway Jury by John Grisham - Several people recommended this one, and it was the second one I read. Everyone who walked by on the beach commented about how much they liked the book, so I guess everyone had read it except me. My review will be short: really liked the book. I like a good twist at the end, and although I had this one figured out before it happened, I wasn't disappointed. I like Grisham's ability to pay attention to detail without bogging the reader down. The book moved just quickly enough for me. Good read.

The Sigma Protocol by Robert Ludlum - This was my least favorite of the books I read, though it wasn't awful. I read it toward the end of our trip, and wanted to finish it before we got home so I may have rushed through it. It's not a good book to rush through. A guy gets shot at by a former friend while on business in Europe. As he tries to piece things together on the run, he realizes that he is near uncovering a deep, dark secret leftover from Nazi Germany. He runs from country to country trying to stay a step ahead of assassins while trying to uncover the truth despite the fact that it could destroy his family. Oh yeah, and there's a love story. The book was good, though it seemed every person had two or three aliases and spoke in different languages while they jumped around to several different locations. That made the characters and storylines almost impossible to follow. The book came together at the very end, though I thought the end was weird. The language in this one was particularly rough too. Someday when I finish all the other books in my queue, I might pick this one up and give it another shot because I think it has potential. Nah... I'll just wait for the movie.

I read one other book at my parents' house when we got back. It's non-fiction - the story of a West Point soldier who goes to Afghanistan. I'll post more about it in the future, because I'm not quite done with it. I'm loving it though and will want to recommend it to you.