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.

Gone Too Soon by Melody Carlson Review and Giveaway!

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About the Book

Book: Gone Too Soon

Author: Melody Carlson

Genre: Young Adult

Release Date: November 15, 2018

Gone Too SoonAn icy road. A car crash.
A family changed forever.

Hannah Josephson had always been the “perfect” daughter. Kiera couldn’t live up to her before, and she certainly can’t now that her older sister has died in a car accident. But the image she carried resentfully of Hannah is challenged when she finds her dead sister’s diary and begins to read. Apparently Hannah’s final year wasn’t as perfect as everyone thought.

Caught in a pattern of blaming each other, the Josephson family is falling apart. Their father has left, their mother is mixing opiates and alcohol, little sister Maddie has been shipped off to spend the whole summer with their grandmother, and Kiera feels utterly alone with her grief and anger. A summer job helping at a park in a poor section of town provides a friend and a purpose.

But it’s Hannah’s diary that fills her thoughts. For the first time in years, she feels close to the sister she’s lost. But can the knowledge she gleans about her possibly help her patch back together the family that seems determined to implode?

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Thoughts

This was a very gritty and sad story about a family that is falling apart after the death of one of the teenage daughters.

The story follows Kiera, the sister of Hannah, who passed away in a car accident. Kiera just discovered Hannah’s diary and begins reading it to learn more about what Hannah was going through up to the accident. The chapters following Kiera are told in first person. I enjoyed reading about Kiera, she was very honest and her development throughout the story was great.

The reader also follows Kiera’s mother Moira (in third person), who is struggling with many addictions while trying to cope with the loss of her daughter. The relationship between Moira and Kiera was very difficult to read and sad.

The message of faith in the story was good and the ending was almost a bit chilling. I appreciated the story but I found it very sad to read.

Overall, this would be a good story for older teens who enjoy contemporary stories.

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

About the Author

Melody CarlsonMelody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women, and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, True Colors etc.) 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

I think I’ve written about a hundred or more teen novels, but Gone Too Soon, a rather serious story, is a bit different. There’s no denying I’ve covered a bunch of gritty issues—everything from self-harm to suicide to murder—but I’ve never written a novel quite like this one. For starters, I wrote it from two viewpoints. Both the teenage daughter and her mother express themselves in this story. And because the premise involves an untimely death, the family is torn apart. As a result, there’s a lot of guilt and blame and confusion going around. They’re all in pain.

I’ve been asked several times what “inspired” this story. And I’m sad to say that it’s simply a case of “art imitating life.” I live in a small community where too many young people have died “too soon.” These untimely deaths—for a variety of random and unexplainable reasons—are devastating. I know more than a dozen families (some very close friends) who have tragically lost a child. So I’ve seen up close how it can tear a family apart. It’s truly heartbreaking, often leaving friends and family without words of comfort or explanation.

But that’s not the only reason I wrote this story. My hope is that teens (who often feel invincible) will be reminded that they are mortal and that this earthly life is temporary. Hard as it sounds, death is inevitable. And it’s not that I want everyone to be obsessed about dying, but we do live in a culture that practices denial about the end of a life. No one really wants to talk about it. My hope is that readers will take a hard, honest look, peel back some layers, and face death for what it is—a part of earthly life. And I hope readers will close the book with a little more understanding . . . and hope.

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, April 25

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, April 25

Emily Yager, April 26

The Power of Words, April 26

Moments, April 26

Christian Bookaholic, April 27

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 27

Hallie Reads, April 27

Caffeinated Christian Raves – N – Reviews, April 28

Mary Hake, April 28

janicesbookreviews, April 28

Christian Bookshelf Reviews, April 29

SusanLovesBooks, April 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 29

All-of-a-kind Mom, April 30

Just the Write Escape, April 30

Carla Loves toRead, May 1

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 1

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 2

Blogging With Carol, May 2

Ashley’s Bookshelf, May 2

Through the Fire Blogs, May 3

Reading Themes, May 3

For The Love of Books, May 3

the Midnight Bookaholic, May 4

amandainpa, May 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 4

Bigreadersite, May 5

Texas Book-aholic, May 5

The Becca Files, May 6

Remembrancy, May 6

Inklings and notions, May 7

this chattanooga mommy saves, May 7

A Reader’s Brain, May 8

For Him and My Family, May 8

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Melody is giving away a grand prize of paperback copy of Gone Too Soon and a matching journal!!

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/dfa9/gone-too-soon-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

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.

The 49th Mystic 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 wrong. In the small town of Eden, Utah, a blind girl named Rachelle Matthews is about to find out just how wrong.

When a procedure meant to restore Rachelle’s sight goes awry, she begins to dream of another world so real that she wonders if Earth might only be a dream experienced when she falls asleep in that reality. Who is a simple blind girl to have such strange and fantastic dreams?

She’s the prophesied one who must find and recover five ancient seals–in both worlds–before powerful enemies destroy her. If Rachelle succeeds in her quest, peace will reign. If she fails, both worlds will forever be locked in darkness.

So begins a two-volume saga of high stakes and a mind-bending quest to find an ancient path that will save humanity. The clock is ticking; the end rushes forward.

Ready? Set?

My Thoughts

I have heard a lot of good things about Ted Dekker’s Circle Series so I was thrilled when I won this book from the Goodreads giveaways. This is a spin off of the Circle series but it easily stands alone (I haven’t read the Circle series, but now I want to!). It is the first book in a duology, with book 2, The Rise of the Mystics also released.

The story falls into several genres…dystopian, fantasy, post-apocalyptic. It has no romance, which I loved. The pacing is brisk and the story is full of action. Although I’m new to fantasy and it’s not my go-to genre, I found that this story was very easy to follow and picture.

The characters were very interesting and thought out. There were many characters but I didn’t struggle to distinguish them from one another.

Beyond the story is a much deeper meaning that I appreciated but at times I felt that the theological explanations and speeches became very wordy and drawn out.

Overall, the story was enjoyable and ended with me excited to read the next installment.

My Rating

3.5 stars

I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. 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