The Girl behind the Red Rope by Ted and Rachelle Dekker Review

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Synopsis:

Ten years ago, Grace saw something that would forever change the course of history. When evil in its purest form is unleashed on the world, she and others from their religious community are already hidden deep in the hills of Tennessee, abiding by every rule that will keep them safe, pure–and alive. As long as they stay there, behind the red perimeter.

Her older brother’s questions and the arrival of the first outsiders she’s seen in a decade set in motion events that will question everything Grace has built her life on. Enemies rise on all sides–but who is the real enemy? And what will it cost her to uncover the truth?

For the first time, bestselling authors Ted Dekker and Rachelle Dekker team up and deliver an intense, tightly focused ride through the most treacherous world of all.

My thoughts:

In a lot of ways, this story reminded me of the film, The VIllage, which was a movie that I loved. A group of people living off the grid to avoid the terrifying Furies that are lurking outside the red rope that circles the perimeter of the compound.

I enjoyed the story but for some reason I had a difficult time connecting with the characters. I’ve found that fictional stories about spiritual warfare can be difficult to pull off. I didn’t find this one to be well done. I loved the atmospheric quality to the story but the plot was somewhat lacking.

Overall, this was a book that I was not bored by but I wasn’t a huge fan of it.

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

My Rating:

2.5 stars

Meet the Misfits and Odd Girl Out by Melody Carlson Review and Giveaway

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About the Book

Book: Zoey:  Meet the Misfits & Zoey: Odd Girl Out

Author: Melody Carlson

Genre: Middle grade fiction for girls

Release Date: April 15/ August 15, 2019

Meet the Misfits and Odd Girl Out coverZoey’s pretty sure her life is over when her wannaba-rockstar mother uproots her from from their home in Seattle and deposits her in Nowheresville, Oregon to live with her whackadoodle grandparents. Things start to look up, though, when she reconnects with Louisa, the girl from across the street. Maybe, just maybe, Louisa won’t mind that Zoey’s always been a bit of a misfit. Louisa’s ex-BFF, however, doesn’t seem too happy to welcome Zoey to the neighborhood. And when they all end up at church camp together, it’s not just a matter of whether or not Zoey can fit in…it becomes a firsthand lesson in what it really means to “love your enemy.”

When the school year begins, Zoey’s terrified to go without Louisa—who’s out with a nasty flu. The same enemies she made over the summer are there to haunt her, but she and another new girl stick together…and even seem to find a place among the in-crowd. But is this who Zoey wants to be? Are they really her friends? Who’s going to stick beside her when cyber bullying leaves her as the odd girl out?

 

Click here to grab your copy.

My thoughts

These books took me back to my pre-teen years…those moments of insecurity, awkwardness, and longing for acceptance. Both stories focus on a girl named Zoey, who just moved in with her grandparents after her mom decided to pursue her dreams of becoming a rockstar. Zoey encounters bullies and peer pressure and also comes to know Jesus.

I really enjoyed these books as an adult and know that I would also have loved them as a child. Zoey was very relateable…she was reserved and didn’t like to stand out. She also struggled to fit in. The first book, “Meet the Misfits”, focuses on the summer before 6th grade and Zoey’s adjustment to living with her grandparents. She also goes to church camp, which was a lot of fun to read about…I have many memories (good and bad) about church camp…I can attest to the fact that mean girls go to church camp too. The second book, “Odd Girl Out” revolves around Zoey’s 6th grade year…her friend is sick and she makes a new friend that wants to be part of the popular crowd.

These stories contain themes that are great for middle school girls, many lessons can be learned and the faith content is subtle but powerful.

I highly recommend these books to the middle school aged girl in your life, I’m sure she will love them!

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

 

About the Author

Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books for teens, women, and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her young adult novels appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including RT’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita and the Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog.

 

More from Melody

Being a tween these days is more complicated than ever. With our culture’s fast pace, social networking, peer pressure . . . growing up is hard to do. So I wanted to create a relatable character with some tough challenges. And Zoey Petrizzo definitely gets more than her fair share. About to start middle-school, Zoey is forced to relocate her life with her less than conventional grandparents. And it’s not easy! My hope is that readers will either relate to Zoey, or develop more empathy for ‘misfit’ kids like her.

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, August 29

Blogging With Carol, August 29

Andrea Christenson, August 30

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 30

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, August 31

Christian Bookaholic , August 31

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, September 1

Remembrancy, September 1

Older & Smarter?, September 2

Artistic Nobody, September 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 3

Back Porch Reads , September 3

Through the Fire Blogs, September 4

Just the Write Escape, September 5

amandainpa , September 5

A Reader’s Brain, September 6

Patiently Waiting, September 6

Godly Book Reviews, September 7

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 7

Texas Book-aholic, September 8

For the Love of Books , September 8

Reader’s Cozy Corner, September 9

Vicky Sluiter, September 9

Hallie Reads, September 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 10

janicesbookreviews, September 11

Inklings and notions , September 11

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Melody is giving away a grand prize package of Meet the Misfits and Odd Girl Out, Sketching Pencils, and a Sketchbook!!

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/e809/meet-the-misfits-odd-girl-out-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Yellow Lantern by Angie Dicken Review and Giveaway!

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About the Book

Book: The Yellow Lantern

Author: Angie Dicken

Genre: Christian Historical/Suspense

Release Date: August, 2019

The Yellow Lattern CoverJosephine Is Forced to Spy for Grave Robbers
Step into True Colors—a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

In Massachusetts in 1824, Josephine Clayton awakes on the table of the doctor she’s assisted all these months. She was presumed dead by all and has become the doctor’s next corpse for his medical research. Frightened, the doctor tries to kill her, but Josephine begs to be spared. A deal is struck—Josie will leave her village and work at a distant cotton mill. All the while, she’ll await her true mission—posing as a mourner to help his body snatcher procure her replacement. At the mill though, Josie is praised for her medical remedies among the mill girls, gaining attention from the handsome factory manager Braham Taylor. Yet, when Braham’s own loved one becomes the prey for the next grave robbing, Josie must make a choice that could put her dark past behind her or steal away the promise of any future at all.

What price will Josie pay for love when her secrets begin to unravel?

 

Click here to grab your copy.

My Review

This is the third book in the True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crime series…books by different author that focus on various historical crimes with a fictional twist. The books are all unique to each other and can be read out of order. I’ve read the first 2 books in the series as well, and this one was my favorite so far.

This story takes place in 1824 and focuses on grave digging for the purpose of acquiring wealth as well as to experiment on bodies for medical purposes. The main character, Josie, finds herself in a very difficult predicament of being forced to assist a gravedigger in order to keep her father safe. Josie was a very endearing character and I appreciated that though she was sweet and kind, she was also assertive.

One issue I sometimes have in Christian Fiction is the presence of romances that feel forced. This book had a romance but it felt more genuine and wasn’t “instalove” that is often the case in Christian crime stories.

The author did an excellent job at setting the scene of this book. I truly felt like I was alongside the characters in 1824. There is a scene that is not very detailed but did make my stomach turn a bit (in regards to grave digging). I also enjoyed the setting of the cotton mill…seeing the lives of the women who worked in the factories was interesting.

Overall, this was an enjoyable story that I highly recommend to fans of crime stories.

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

About the Author

AngieDickenAngie Dicken credits her love of story to reading British literature during life as a military kid in England. Now living in the U.S. heartland, she’s a member of ACFW, sharing about author life with her fellow Alley Cats on The Writer’s Alley blog and Facebook page. Besides writing, she is a busy mom of four and works in Adult Ministry. Angie enjoys eclectic new restaurants, authentic conversation with friends, and date nights with her Texas Aggie husband. Connect with her online at www.angiedicken.com.

 

More from Angie

Barbour’s True Colors Crime concept intrigued me from the very beginning. Being the daughter of a doctor and discovering the ties of grave robbing to the early medical profession, I was excited to dive deep into 19th century Massachusetts. Grave robbing around Boston and New York was often employed by doctors desperate for medical advancement. Men and women were both involved in the procuring of bodies for doctors. Finding these accounts led me to take took a look at the current medical remedies of the time—tinctures, elixirs, and herbal concoctions. My heroine was created in the tension of a desire to heal and the desperation of medical pursuits.

Amidst these medical ties to the historical moment of 1824, something was also shifting among women in rural areas of New England. Many women were employed by newly built cotton mills (Lowell Mill was my inspiration for the fictional Gloughton Mill in The Yellow Lantern). These working opportunities for women offered an escape from their home-bound lives and the rare chance for independence. Of course, with such industrial environments, injuries, and sometimes death, would occur. Noting the accounts of these kind of fatalities in historical articles, my research came full circle.

I found three strong threads to weave into my grave-robbing story—desperate doctors in need of research, a doctor’s assistant needing an escape from her village, and a mill, not only offering that escape, but the chance at bodies for the desperate medical community.

My heroine, Josie Clay, found life in the tangle of these threads of mills, medicine, and grave robbing—all playing out within the pages of The Yellow Lantern.

Blog Stops

Genesis 5020, August 15

Seasons of Opportunities, August 15

All-of-a-kind Mom, August 15

Bigreadersite, August 16

Emily Yager, August 16

Inspired by fiction, August 16

The Christian Fiction Girl, August 17

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 17

Daysong Reflections, August 17

Retrospective Spines, August 18

Spoken from the Heart, August 18

Kathleen Denly, August 19

Through the Fire Blogs, August 19

Christian Bookaholic, August 19

Maureen’s Musings, August 20

For the Love of Literature, August 20

Simple Harvest Reads, August 21 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Godly Book Reviews, August 21

A Reader’s Brain, August 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 22

Betti Mace, August 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 22

Hallie Reads, August 23

Mary Hake, August 23

Inklings and notions, August 23

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 24

For Him and My Family, August 24

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, August 24

Connie’s History Classroom, August 25

Pause for Tales, August 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 25

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 26

Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 26

amandainpa, August 26

Blossoms and Blessings, August 27

Texas Book-aholic, August 27

janicesbookreviews, August 27

Back Porch Reads, August 28

Just the Write Escape, August 28

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Angie is giving away a grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of each of the books in the 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/e71c/the-yellow-lantern-celebration-tour-giveaway

The String by Caleb Breakey Review

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Synopsis

A sociopath is running a deadly social experiment on a university campus. Markus Haas is the first to refuse to play the game. What unravels is a sequence of impossible decisions and a race against time to stop the sociopath before others pay the ultimate price.

My Thoughts

The synopsis of this book made me so excited. This definitely sounded like my kind of story. Unfortunately, this one didn’t quite hit the mark for me.

The story started out very promising…the first few chapters had me extremely intrigued and the plot is very interesting and unique. I was enjoying it until about the middle of the book and then I started to become confused with the amount of characters and all of the various “knots” in the string. It became difficult for me to follow and I also began to lose interest and felt that it was a bit long.

The content is clean and I definitely think we need more clean or Christian thrillers out there. There was violence but it wasn’t descriptive.

Overall, this was an average thriller. I enjoyed it for the most part but I don’t feel that it will be memorable.

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

My Rating

3 stars

Fragments of Fear by Carrie Stuart Parks Review and Giveaway!

Fragments-of-Fear-FB-Banner

About the Book

Book: Fragments of Fear

Author: Carrie Stuart Parks

Genre: Suspense

Release date: July 23, 2019

Fragments of FearFrom award-winning author Carrie Stuart Parks comes a new novel with danger that reaches from a New Mexico Anasazi archaeological dig to micro- and nano-chip technology.

Evelyn Yvonne McTavish-Tavish to her friends-had her almost perfect world in Albuquerque, New Mexico, come to a crashing end with the suicide of her fiancé. As she struggles to put her life back together and make a living from her art, she’s given the news that her dog is about to be destroyed at the dog pound. Except she doesn’t own a dog. The shelter is adamant that the microchip embedded in the canine-with her name and address-makes it hers.

Tavish recognizes the dog as one owned by an archaeologist named Pat Caron because she did a commissioned drawing of the two of them months earlier. The simple solution is to return the dog to his owner, but she arrives only to discover Caron’s murdered body.

After meeting undercover FBI agent Sawyer Price the mystery deepens as more people start disappearing and Tavish becomes a target as well. Her only solution is to find the links between microchip technology, an Anasazi site in the desert, her fiancé’s death, a late-night radio show, and the dog. And the clock is ticking.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Thoughts

I have read one other book by Carrie Stuart Parks and I enjoyed it so I was looking forward to reading this one as well.

I enjoyed many things about this story. Tavish, the main character was enjoyable to read about and I adored her relationship with Marley, the dog in the book. The setting of the story was also great and unique to me…it takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico and there are several scenes in the deserts and canyons that were described very well.

There was no shortage of action in this book. The plot moves very briskly and there were no moments when I felt that the story lagged or was slow. The content was very clean and appropriate and the faith message was presented well.

The plot was a bit complicated and full of many characters that I found difficult to keep track of at times. I also found that romance was definitely an instalove situation.

Overall, the mystery was interesting and kept me guessing and there were a few twists that I didn’t see coming. I highly recommend this one to fans of suspense and action.

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

About the Author

Parks Carrie StuartCarrie Stuart Parks is a Christy finalist as well as a Carol Award-winning author. She has won numerous awards for her fine art as well. An internationally known forensic artist, she travels with her husband, Rick, across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic art to law-enforcement professionals. The author/illustrator of numerous books on drawing and painting, Carrie continues to create dramatic watercolors from her studio in the mountains of Idaho.

 

More from Carrie

Using Art to Solve Crime: Techniques Used by Forensic Artists

 

Since 1981, I’ve been a forensic artist—an amazing feat since I’m only . . .um. . . well, younger than that. In those years, I’ve seen some shifts and trends, but some things have never changed. Despite the overwhelming prevalence of computers in almost every other field, they have never been able to replace a trained forensic artist. Artists have an amazing toolbox of techniques we use to gather the information we need to help solve crime.

  1. The pencil. Any forensic artist worth her weight in graphite knows the power of the lowly pencil and a sketchpad. Law enforcement would love a photographic image of the suspect, but all we have to work with is memory…and memory is faulty. The more the image looks perfect, the more imperfect it is for helping to identify a suspect. We want the drawing to just suggest a likeness and eliminate those not similar.
  2. Now that we brought up the subject of memory, a forensic artist needs to understand how memory works. The average witness will remember between four and five facial features. When they describe the person they saw, they will do so from their strongest memory to their weakest memory, from most important to least important. We listen carefully to the order of facial features.
  3. Whole vs Parts. We don’t look at faces as individual parts, although a particularly outstanding nose or Marty Feldman eyes might catch our attention. We will remember the face as a whole, with the proportions of the face an unacknowledged part of that. Forensic artist prefer to use reference photographs where the whole face is viewed.

Want more? Check out the rest of my article at The Strand Magazine

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, July 23

All-of-a-kind Mom, July 23

Blogging With Carol, July 23

A Reader’s Brain, July 23

A Baker’s Perspective, July 24

The Avid Reader, July 24

CarpeDiem, July 24

Fiction Aficionado, July 25

Christian Bookaholic, July 25

Godly Book Reviews, July 25

Through the Fire Blogs, July 26

Livin’ Lit, July 26

The Becca Files, July 26

Inklings and notions , July 26

Real World Bible Study, July 27

Cathe Swanson, July 27

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, July 27

For Him and My Family, July 28

Lights in a Dark World, July 28

Retrospective Spines, July 28

Bigreadersite, July 29

Simple Harvest Reads, July 29 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Mary Hake, July 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Acdemy, July 30

Blossoms and Blessings, July 30

EmpowerMoms, July 30

Aryn The Libraryan, July 31

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, July 31

For the Love of Literature, July 31

Inspired by fiction, August 1

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 1

By The Book, August 1

Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 2

Remembrancy, August 2

amandainpa, August 2

Pause for Tales, August 3

For the Love of Books, August 3

Just Your Average reviews, August 3

Hallie Reads, August 4

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, August 4

Daysong Reflections, August 4

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, August 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 5

Texas Book-aholic, August 5

janicesbookreviews, August 5

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Carrie is giving away a grand prize of her book!!

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/e592/fragments-of-fear-celebration-tour-giveaway

Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations by V. Joy Palmer Review

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Synopsis

Seventeen years after being orphaned, Apryl Burns and her twin sister Courtney have their own expectations for life. While Courtney continues to shine at everything, Apryl holds fast to the mantra that as long as her potato chip stash remains intact, then she’ll be fine.

But when their beloved grandmother ends up injured and unable to manage her struggling antique store, Courtney makes it their mission to revamp the business and save what’s left of their family’s legacy. Despite rampant doubts in her abilities, Apryl finds herself trapped under the weight of family loyalty as they transition to a wedding venue decorating service. Soon she’s forced to ask (translation: blackmail) their grandmother’s renter/handyman, Chance McFarland, for help, an arrangement that is made even worse by the fact that Chance is her former (ahem, and current) crush.

Chance knows a few dozen things about family loyalty, which is why he begrudgingly agrees to Apryl’s insane plan. While Apryl claims they’re archenemies, the girl Chance only glimpsed in their teens starts to emerge, stealing what remains of his heart.

But expectations are a powerful thing. Amidst the glamorous weddings and swaying willows, can those old expectations be revised into something new?

My Thoughts

Every once in a while I like to take a break from my usual reading diet of dark, mysterious thrillers and cleanse my palette with a cutesy fun contemporary. This story was the perfect break from my usual morbid fare.

The story follows Apryl, who has always struggled with her self esteem, as her twin sister Courtney is well loved “shines at everything”. Apryl hides her pain with a lot of sarcasm and forced humor and although I found it funny at first, there were times when I felt like it was too much and made Apryl less likable.

The business that Apryl and her sister make from their grandmother’s antique store was very creative and I loved reading about all the wedding stuff.

I enjoyed the romance, it was sweet without being too quick. The faith content was also very strong with a great message.

Overall, this was an enjoyable story that I would recommend.

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

Pulse by Linore Burkard Review and Giveaway!

Pulse-Celebration-Tour-FB-Banner

About the Book

Book: Pulse

Author: Linore Burkard

Genre: Christian YA/Apocalyptic Suspense

Release date: August 24, 2015

PulseWhat do you do when the whole world stops?

Andrea, Lexie and Sarah are just ordinary teens until a mysterious event shuts down all technology. In the dead of winter, there’s no heat, no internet, no cell phones–not even a working car.
In this chilling Christian YA tale, most of the population doesn’t survive. Pitting faith and grit against a world without power, the girls and their families must beat the odds. But can they find the strength to survive when society collapses and technology fails?

 

Click here to get your copy.

 

My Thoughts

The thought of an EMP, or Electro Magnetic Pulse has always terrified me. Everything that has electrical parts will cease to work…including cars and cell phones. Our country could be crippled in a matter of seconds. This book delves into that scenario by following 3 teenage girls who are friends and all live in different types of homes…Andrea’s family is on the wealthier side but her dad is not the nicest person to be around…Lexie was raised in a Christian home and her family has been “prepping” for a difficult situation for years…and Sarah lives in an apartment in the city with her parents, older brother, and younger cousin.

The story is narrated by the 3 girls and  it’s interesting to see the EMP effects through each of their eyes. There are some very gritty moments in the book but I imagine that everything described is something that would happen if this scenario occurred.

There were a few times when the author got very political in the story, which isn’t my cup of tea, whether I agree with the sentiments or not. Other than that I found the story to be very intense and stressful and it caused me to evaluate what I should do to prepare should this ever happen in the future. It’s definitely a thought provoking book!

I am interested to read the second story to find out what happens next!

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

 

About the Author

Linore_SmallerLinore Rose Burkard wrote a trilogy of genuine regency romances for the Christian market before there were any regencies for the Christian market. Published with Harvest House, her books opened the genre for the CBA. She also writes YA Suspense/Apocalyptic fiction as L.R. Burkard. Married with five children, Linore home-schools her youngest daughter, teaches workshops for writers, and is the Vice President of the Dayton Christian Scribes.  Her latest PULSE EFFEX SERIES, takes readers into a “chilling possible future for America, while affirming the power of faith in the darkest of times.”

 

More from Linore

When my sweet historical romance series was published, I never dreamed my next would be YA/dystopian. What a switch in genres! So, how did I go from one end of the writing spectrum to another? Blame it on an idea that refused to die. I read a headline about how close the earth came to suffering a catastrophic electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, in 2012. We missed the worst effects of a solar flare by a hair (in space terms); but the “what if” factor had been set in motion. What if that flare hadn’t missed us? What if I was a teen raised on electronics–or an adult medically dependent on them–and it all went dead in a matter of seconds? What if the next flare doesn’t miss? PULSE, the first book in my PULSE EFFEX Series, was born.

The books shows life in the aftermath of such an event for three teens and their families. With the world plunged into a new dark age, can they keep hope alive?

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, July 13

Through the Fire Blogs, July 14

amandainpa, July 14

Genesis 5020, July 15

Real World Bible Study, July 15

Retrospective Spines, July 16

Blogging With Carol, July 17

Artistic Nobody, July 17 (Spotlight)

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, July 18

All-of-a-kind Mom, July 18

Inspired by fiction, July 19

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, July 19

Mary Hake, July 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 20

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, July 21

Pause for Tales, July 21

Inklings and notions, July 22

janicesbookreviews, July 23

Emily Yager, July 23

Ashley’s Bookshelf, July 24

Texas Book-aholic, July 25

God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae, July 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 25

A Reader’s Brain, July 26

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Linore is giving away the grand prize of an eBook copy of her book and a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!

https://promosimple.com/ps/e683/pulse-celebration-tour-giveaway