Rise of the Mystics by Ted Dekker Review

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Synopsis:

Some say the great mystery of how one can live in two worlds at once died with Thomas Hunter many years ago. Still others that the gateway to that greater reality was and is only the stuff of dreams. They are all wrong.

Rachelle Matthews, who grew up in the small town of Eden, Utah, discovered just how wrong when she dreamed and awoke in another world. There she learned that she was the 49th Mystic, the prophesied one, tasked with finding five ancient seals before powerful enemies destroy her. If Rachelle succeeds in her quest, peace will reign. If she fails, the world will forever be locked in darkness.

In The 49th Mystic, Rachelle found the first three of those five seals through great peril and mind-altering adventure. But two seals remain hidden and the fate of both worlds hangs in their balance.

As Rachelle Matthews sits deep in a dungeon, Vlad Smith is just getting started. Thomas Hunter’s world is about to be turned inside out. The mystics say that there is no defense against the Fifth Seal–but finding it will cost Rachelle everything.

So begins the final volume of high stakes in one girl’s quest to find an ancient path that will save humanity. The clock is ticking; the end rushes forward.

My Thoughts:

This is the thrilling conclusion to the Beyond the Circle Duology and it did not disappoint. The story picks up where the first one leaves off. We continue to follow Rachelle, the 49th Mystic as she goes on adventures to solve mysteries.

I preferred the storylines that occurred in present day over the scenes in the more fantastical world. Like the first story, there were times when I felt the story became bogged down by wordiness and dialogue.

I loved the characters and following them on their adventures. The scenes were described vividly and the action was intense.

If you are looking to dip your toes into the fantasy genre, this would be a great place to start.

My Rating:

3 stars

I received this book from the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Daughters of Northern Shores by Joanne Bischof Review

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Synopsis

Aven Norgaard understands courage. Orphaned within an Irish workhouse, then widowed at just nineteen, she voyaged to America where she was wooed and wed by Thor Norgaard, a Deaf man in rural Appalachia. That the Lord saw her along the winding journey and that Aven now carries Thor’s child are blessings beyond measure. Yet while Thor holds her heart, it is his younger brother and rival who haunts her memories. Haakon—whose selfish choices shattered her trust in him.

Having fled the farm after trying to take Aven as his own, Haakon sails on the North Atlantic ice trade where his soul is plagued with regrets that distance cannot heal. Not even the beautiful Norwegian woman he’s pursued can ease the torment. When the winds bear him home after four years away, Haakon finds the family on the brink of tragedy. A decades-old feud with the neighboring farm has wrenched them into the fiercest confrontation on Blackbird Mountain since the Civil War. Haakon’s cunning and strength hold the power to seal many fates, including Thor’s which is already at stake through a grave illness brought to him as the first prick of warfare.

Now Haakon faces the hardest choice of his life. One that shapes a battlefield where pride must be broken enough to be restored, and where a prodigal son may finally know the healing peace of surrender and the boundless gift of forgiveness. And when it comes to the woman he left behind in Norway, he just might discover that while his heart belongs to a daughter of the north, she’s been awaiting him on shores more distant than the land he’s fighting for.

My Thoughts

I was eager to return to the world of the Norgaard family and Joanne Bischof’s rich storytelling and I wasn’t disappointed. This story picks up a few years where the first one left off and, though one could probably read this as a standalone and catch up, it would be much better to read the first book as well (the romance in it is definitely worth it!)

Thor and Aven’s relationship is so beautiful and it was even sweeter in this book. There is also a lot of turmoil surrounding the Norgaard family in this book…angry people and someone seeking forgiveness.

Reading Bischof’s stories always transports me to another time and place, I adore her writing style and descriptions, and her characters are people that I wish I really knew.

This is another winner by Joanne Bischof and I highly recommend it!

My Rating

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I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Spotlight on Moments We Forget by Beth K. Vogt!

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This is my stop during the bookstagram blitz for Moments We Forget by Beth K. Vogt. This bookstagram blitz is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. This bookstagram blitz runs from 7 till 13 May. See the tour schedule here.

Moments We ForgetMoments We Forget (The Thatcher Sisters #2)
By Beth K. Vogt
Genre: Women’s Fiction/ Christian Fiction
Age category: Adult
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Release Date: May7, 2019

Blurb:
Jillian Thatcher has spent most of her life playing the family peacemaker, caught in the middle between her driven, talented older sister and her younger, spotlight-stealing twin sisters. Then on the night of her engagement party, a cancer diagnosis threatens to once again steal her chance to shine.

Now, Jillian’s on the road to recovery after finally finishing chemo and radiation, but residual effects of the treatment keep her from reclaiming her life as she’d hoped. And just when her dreams might be falling into place, a life-altering revelation from her husband sends her reeling again.

Will Jillian ever achieve her own dreams, or will she always be “just Jillian,” the less-than Thatcher sister? Can she count on her sisters as she tries to step into a stronger place, or are they stuck in their childhood roles forever?

You can find Moments We Forget on Goodreads

You can buy Moments We Forget here:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Tyndale House Publishers
Books-A-Million
IndieBound
Get It Local Now
Christian Book Distributors
Walmart

Excerpt:
I had half an hour, no more than that, to get my life in order so my sisters would never suspect how unprepared I was for this morning.
I kicked the back door shut, dumping the plastic grocery bags onto the kitchen counter, easing the ache in my arms. If Johanna were hosting this morning, she’d have something homemade baking in her oven, the appealing aroma filling her immaculate kitchen.
Well, one thing was for certain—I was not Johanna.
Winston’s frantic barks sounded from upstairs. Seconds later, he was scampering around my feet, his sudden appearance meaning I’d forgotten to lock him in his kennel. Again.
“Bad dog.” A halfhearted reprimand. “You’re not supposed to be down here.”
I pulled items from the plastic bags. Please don’t let me have forgotten anything during my mad dash through the grocery store.
Cream for Johanna’s and my coffee—although she was going to have to make do with my Keurig coffeemaker, not French press.
A small box of sugar so Payton could enjoy her coffee with the preferred three heaping spoonfuls per cup.
A premade fruit salad.
Blueberry muffins.
Keurig pods.
Nothing fancy. But at least I wouldn’t look like a complete failure.
I suppose to a casual observer, Johanna, Payton, and I—the three remaining Thatcher sisters—appeared successful. And yet, while we might claim certain professional and romantic achievements, we still struggled to find our way as sisters.
At times Pepper’s words—the ones Payton had shared with Johanna and me several months ago—seemed more of a taunt than an encouragement.
“Sometimes you just have to forget all the other stuff and remember we’re sisters.”
Shouldn’t a role you acquired at birth be simple? Something you learned to do, along with walking and talking and navigating adolescence?
But then Pepper’s death at sixteen splintered our already-precarious bonds.
I selected three mugs from a kitchen cupboard. This was no time to try to unravel the complicated dynamics between me, Johanna, and Payton—not when they’d be here any minute. And not with so much riding on this morning.
It’s funny how much hope people put into a cup of coffee.
Social media—Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and Pinterest and even millions of people’s text messages around the world—overflow daily with memes and GIFs lauding the miracle qualities of coffee.
Coffee is the gasoline of life.
All I need is coffee and mascara.
Behind every successful person is a substantial amount of coffee.
I drink coffee for your protection.
Drink coffee and do good.

And now . . . now coffee would be the glue that bonded the three of us together.

Check out the first book in this series!
Things I Never Told You (The Thatcher Sisters #1)
Things I Never Told You
As old wounds reopen and possible tragedy awaits, the Thatcher sisters must decide if they will pull together or be driven further apart.

Links for Things I Never Told You:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Tyndale House Publishers
Books-A-Million
IndieBound
Get It Local Now
Christian Book Distributors
Walmart

Beth K. VogtAbout the Author:
Beth K. Vogt is a nonfiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an Air Force family physician (now in solo practice) who said she’d never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four who said she’d never have kids. Now Beth believes God’s best often waits behind doors marked Never. Beth’s first novel for Tyndale House Publishers, Things I Never Told You, released in May 2018. Moments We Forget, book two in the Thatcher Sisters series, releases May 2019. Connect with Beth at bethvogt.com.

You can find and contact Beth K. Vogt here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Amazon
Bookbub
Instagram


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A Silken Thread by Kim Vogel Sawyer Review

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Synopsis

For readers who love a heartwarming romance and a rich historical setting comes a tale of a young woman with a heavy burden, the International Cotton Exposition, and the pursuit of true love.

Eighteen-year-old Laurel Millard, youngest of seven children, is expected to stay home and “take care of Mama” by her older siblings, but Laurel has dreams of starting her own family. Operating a silk loom at the Atlanta Exposition will give her the chance to capture the heart of a man wealthy enough to take care of Laurel and any children she might bear, as well as her mother.

Langdon Rochester’s parents have given him an ultimatum: settle down with a wife or lose his family inheritance. At the Exposition, Langdon meets Laurel. Marrying her would satisfy his parents’s command, she would look lovely on his arm for social events, and in her besotted state, he believes she would overlook him continuing pursuing rowdy adventures with his unmarried buddies. Langdon decides to woo Laurel. Willie Sharp is not well-off and must take on an extra job at the Atlanta Exposition as a security guard. When mischief-makers cause trouble in the Women’s Building, Willie is put in charge of keeping the building secure. He enjoys visiting with Laurel, who seems like the little sister he never had, but his feelings for Laurel change to something much deeper. Can Willie convince Laurel that he can give her better life–even with so little to offer?

My Thoughts

Although I’m not a fan of romance, I always enjoy books by Kim Vogel Sawyer. She is very gifted in her storytelling ability and I always find myself immersed in her books. This story is set in 1895, during the Atlanta Cotton Exposition. It is 30 years after the Civil War but racial tension is still running very strong.

Sawyer addresses the issue of racism in a realistic way without sugar coating the ugliness and hatred that was present.

The main character, Laurel is courted by a very wealthy man named Langdon. It is very clear throughout the book that Langdon’s character is extremely poor but Laurel doesn’t see it. I became extremely frustrated with her and it ruined my enjoyment of the book a bit.

I loved the setting of the story, the sights and sounds of the Cotton Exposition were described very well and I felt as though I was there.

Overall, this was another good story by Kim Vogel Sawyer but it wasn’t my favorite.

My Rating

3 stars

I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Justice Delivered by Patricia Bradley Review

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Synopsis:

Carly Smith came by her trust issues honestly. A victim of sex trafficking, she’s been at the mercy of merciless men, ignored by law enforcement officers who should have helped her, and seemingly rejected by her family. She can’t even trust herself to do the right thing. Though she escaped her captors and is working hard on building a new life, the past continues to haunt her when she discovers that the man she couldn’t bring herself to report to police for fear of reliving her captivity is still out there, luring vulnerable girls under the guise of being a modeling agent.

When her own niece is kidnapped, Carly must overcome her fears and come forward with the information she has before it’s too late. When that proves to be not enough, she’ll have to go after the perpetrators herself.

Award-winning author Patricia Bradley keeps the suspense taut and the stakes high in this fast-paced story that will have readers turning pages long into the night.

Review:

I always enjoy Patricia Bradley’s books and this one was no exception. It was full of suspense and mystery that kept the reader on their toes with every twist and turn. This book focuses on the terrifying issue of human trafficking. The author doesn’t shy away from the awful reality of this issue but also doesn’t go into gory details, which I appreciated.

The characters in the book were well written and had many flaws (which made them feel more real). There were a lot of characters in the story and at times it was a bit difficult to keep track of who was who.

The pacing was good and there weren’t any moments in the story that dragged. I did feel like it was a bit longer than it could have been (at one point it felt like the story should have been done and then another event occurred to keep it going).

Overall, this was another great story from Patricia Bradley. I really enjoy her stories and look forward to reading more!

My Rating:

4 stars

I received this book from the publisher to read and review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Beauty in Hiding by Robin Patchen Review and Giveaway

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About the Book

Book: Beauty in Hiding

Author: Robin Patchen

Genre: Christian romantic suspense

Release Date: March 12, 2019

Beauty In Hiding

Book 2 in the Beauty in Flight series:

Harper’s second chance at life will become a second stint in prison if anyone connects those two dead men to her.

Nutfield, New Hampshire, is as good a place as any to hide from the murderer Harper left behind in Maryland. All she has to do is lie low and make enough money to keep herself and Red alive until she can figure out who her enemies are.

Jack Rossi isn’t sure what to make of his beautiful new tenant and her confused grandfather. Something’s not right, but the love he sees between them and the care she takes of the old man convinces Jack they’re trustworthy. As drawn as he is to Harper, she’s his tenant, so she’s off limits.

Derrick, Harper’s ex-boyfriend and Red’s grandson, needs to find his grandfather and get his hands on the old man’s money before Derrick ends up with a bullet in the skull. And when he gets his hands on Harper, she’ll be sorry for what she’s put him through.

Harper and Jack grow closer, but so do her enemies. If Harper can’t trust Jack with the truth, she may lose more than just this glimpse of true love. She may lose her freedom—or her life.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Thoughts

This is the second book in a trilogy by Robin Patchen. Although one could read this book as a standalone, it would be best understood if read after the first book in the trilogy. A lot occurs in the first book and this book picks up right where that one left off.

The story is great… all throughout the book, I was aware of this lurking danger that was approaching Harper, the main character. The characters in this book felt very real. Harper was someone I was rooting for the whole time and although she had a lot of walls built up, it was understandable after learning about her backstory. Red was also a fun character…my favorite scenes were the ones that featured him. Jack was also a great candidate for a “book boyfriend”, he was definitely swoon-worthy.

The romance in the story was subtle and sweet. There was definitely no instalove, which I was thankful for. (This is the kind of romance that I enjoy).

The pacing of the story was steady and I found myself finishing the book rather quickly. It ended on a bit of a cliffhanger (as did the first book) so it would be good to have the whole trilogy in hand when reading!

I really enjoyed the suspense and plot of the story and will be picking up more books by Ms. Patchen in the future, highly recommended!

I received this book from the author/publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the Author

Robin PatchenAside from her family and her Savior, Robin Patchen has two loves—writing and traveling. If she could combine them, she’d spend a lot of time sitting in front of her laptop at sidewalk cafes and ski lodges and beachside burger joints. She’d visit every place in the entire world—twice, if possible—and craft stories and tell people about her Savior. Alas, time is too short and money is too scarce for Robin to traipse all over the globe, even if her husband and kids wanted to go with her. So she stays in Oklahoma, shares the Good News when she can, and writes to illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.

 

More from Robin

I was raised in a Christian home. Our parents took my sister, my brother, and me to church every Sunday. They taught us right from wrong, but eventually, kids have to make their own choices. In my case, I chose wrong for a long time.

Don’t misunderstand: I was always a pretty nice person. I wasn’t a thief, and I didn’t kill anybody, but I made a lot of bad decisions. Sinful decisions. I discovered that one bad choice often led to the next and the next until I was trapped in a life of my own making with no idea how to get out.

But God… two of my favorite words in the English language.

God had a different plan, and He pulled me out of the muck and changed my life. He showed me that I was not the person I’d been acting like. He showed me who I was, and He taught me to walk in the truth of my identity.

Harper Cloud isn’t me, not at all. First of all, she tall and blond and drop-dead gorgeous. More than that, her choices are nothing like mine were. But she’s in the same boat I was. Thanks to a series of bad decisions, Harper was in a hole, and she didn’t know how to get herself out of it. She used drugs to quiet the condemning voices and told herself lies to make herself feel better. Someday, she told herself, she’d get her life together enough to go home to her parents. Because she couldn’t go when she was a mess. She couldn’t go until she’d done something they could be proud of.

Thanks to a bad choice in boyfriend, Harper not only didn’t go home, she ended up in prison.

Harper’s story begins two years after she’s released. It’s the story of a woman desperate to be free of her past, clinging to hope when there’s every reason to despair, and desperate to believe what she’s been told about this Savior, Jesus Christ.

Harper will learn about love and redemption and salvation in the course of the three books that make up the Beauty in Flight series. That is, if she can survive the danger that seems to follow her wherever she goes.

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 13

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, April 13

amandainpa , April 13

Through the Fire Blogs, April 14

Blogging With Carol, April 14

Ashley’s Bookshelf, April 14

Genesis 5020, April 15

Spoken from the Heart, April 15

Lights in a Dark World, April 15

Through the Lens of Scripture, April 16

Among the Reads, April 16

All-of-a-kind Mom, April 16

Godly Book Reviews, April 17

Living Life Free In christ, April 17

Remembrancy, April 18

Just One More, April 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 18

Emily Yager, April 19

Reader’s Cozy Corner, April 19

Texas Book-aholic, April 19

Daysong Reflections, April 20

Carla Loves To Read, April 20

janicesbookreviews, April 20

Just the Write Escape, April 21

For Him and My Family, April 21

EmpowerMoms, April 22

Simple Harvest Reads, April 22 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

Maureen’s Musings, April 23

Bigreadersite, April 23

A Reader’s Brain, April 23

Real World Bible Study, April 24

The Lit Addict, April 24

Older & Smarter?, April 25

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 25

Inklings and notions, April 25

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, April 26

Pause for Tales, April 26

The Becca Files, April 26

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Robin is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and the entire Beauty in Flight Series!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/de7a/beauty-in-hiding-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Reluctant Disciple by Jim O’Shea Review

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Synopsis:

Ryan Kates is a paranormal expert, TV host, and skeptic. He hosts News4th, a nationally popular cable show focused on UFOs, ghosts, and everything that goes bump in the night. Ryan is used to dealing with the weird and unexplainable, but when bizarre paranormal phenomena rock the planet he finds himself questioning his long-held views.
As these phenomena escalate, mass hysteria and political tensions begin to mount on a global scale. The world begins to spin out of control and a former flame reenters Ryan’s life, bringing her family along for the ride. The pawns are moved into place, and Ryan must confront the ultimate evil on the world stage, culminating in a supernatural encounter far beyond his wildest dreams.
The Reluctant Disciple establishes a credible connection between End Times biblical prophecy and our society’s fascination with the paranormal, taking readers on a thrill ride they won’t soon forget

My Thoughts:

I’ve read many books about the end times but this one was very unique. The story begins with a “ghost story feel” and then evolves into something far more sinister.

The author’s take on the events leading up to the tribulation period (the rapture, the antichrist and false prophet) are very interesting and thought provoking. Because the prophecies in the Bible that have yet to come true are sometimes vague or told with symbolism, there are various theories on how things will occur. There was one thing in the book that really seemed far-fetched to me but could be possible, depending on the current state of society at the time this would occur.

There were many very creepy moments. Demons are the scariest entity to me so there were parts of this book that were very scary.

I loved the chess references and the way everything came together in the end. The way the author weaved the story together was very skillful and clever.

Overall, this was an interesting and creepy story that I enjoyed.

My Rating:

I received this book from the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.