“Convicted”–Review

51KKYkaafTL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_A crooked cop, an innocent man, and an unlikely journey of forgiveness and friendship.

Taking place in Benton Harbor, a small city on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, this story is narrated by Andrew Collins—a white narcotics officer—and Jameel McGee. When Andrew Collins became a police officer, he knew he always wanted to make a difference in his community. Things got better for him when he moved up to being a narcotics officer. However, the more drug busts he went out on, the bigger his ego. He got a bit too greedy. That’s when everything changed for Jameel McGee—a black man who was in the wrong place, at the wrong time—who Collins had framed for possession of drugs.

After his being falsely convicted, McGee had spent four years in federal prison. During his time behind bars, McGee vowed to get back at the cop who’d ruined his life.

A few years later, after investigations of his falsifying police reports, Collins is thrown in prison. During his time in prison, Collins starts to face his reality, that he’d become everything he’d hated, that he’d ruined too many lives, all because of his greed and his ego. It is during an unexpected reunion, however, that makes the two men face their own realities and how they wound up where they were. No matter how much anger and mistrust they have in their hearts, they both must learn, that in order to truly live again, that they need to forgive.

I enjoyed reading this book. For a while, I really was wondering how things were going to go down between Collins and McGee. As difficult as it was for the two of them, it definitely took a lot of strength to make peace with everything that went wrong in their lives, to let go of all the remaining anger, and to maintain a strong friendship. If you’re interested in this story, I recommend it.

Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

Convicted will be available on September 19, 2017.

*I received this copy from Waterbrook Multnomah, in exchange for an honest review.

About the authors: Jameel McGee works for Emergency Shelter Services, a program to help the homeless find sustainable housing. Andrew Collins works with youth, as part of Young Life. Mark Tabb is the New York Times best-selling author and collaborator of Mistaken Identity and other books.

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“The Dog Who Was There”–Review

51bjP8hjO+L._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_Set in first century Jerusalem, this story is told from the point-of-view of Barley, a dog who was abandoned and nearly drowned when he was a puppy, until a husband and wife rescued him and brought him to their home. While Barley grows up in the home of the compassionate woodcarver and his wife, tales of a special teacher from Galilee are spreading throughout the villages. While it causes quite a stir for many, others are influenced in positive ways and want to follow this teacher.

When life unexpectedly changes, however, Barley is on his own again, wandering the outskirts of Jerusalem. It is there that he meets Samid, a homeless and petty criminal. Soon the two become friends. With his new master, Barley experiences new struggles and new revelations. After his encounter with the Teacher, Barley learns the lessons of forgiveness, compassion, and love after witnessing events to what has been known as “the greatest story ever told.”

I enjoyed reading this book. It was so sad, yet it had some moments that made me smile. The ending really surprised me and that’s when I knew I already loved the book. In fact, when I got home from work, I immediately hugged my dog. Whether you’re a dog person or not, I still recommend this book. Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

About the author: Ron Marasco’s first book, Notes to an Actor, was named by the American Library Association an Outstanding Book of 2008. He cowrote the book About Grief: Insights, Setbacks, Grace Notes, Taboos, which has been translated into multiple languages. His most recent work is Shakespeare: Portals to Prayer and he is currently writing a book about Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Ron has acted extensively on TV in everything from Last to West Wing to Entourage and has done recurring roles on Freaks and Greeks and Major Crimes. He appeared opposite screen legend, Kirk Douglas, in the movie Illusion, for which he cowrote the screenplay. He has a Ph.D in Theatre History from UCLA and is a professor at Loyola Marymount University.