Rise of the Mystics by Ted Dekker Review

rm.jpg

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.

Beauty in Hiding by Robin Patchen Review and Giveaway

bh

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 White City by Grace Hitchcock Review and Giveaway!

wcbanner

About the Book

Book: The White City

Author: Grace Hitchcock

Genre: Christian Historical/Suspense

Release Date: March, 2019

The white CityMysterious Disappearances Taint the Chicago World’s Fair

Step into True Colors—a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

While attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Jude Thorpe, a policeman, for bodyguard.

Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim?

 

Click here to order your copy.

 

My Thoughts

First of all, the cover on this book is gorgeous and really pulled me in! This is the first in a series of books called True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crime that focus on true crimes in the past, told from a fictional perspective.

The White City focuses on the Chicago World’s Fair and America’s first serial killer, H.H. Holmes…a man who built a hotel in Chicago that was full of dead ends, torture devices, trap doors, and many more confusing things to lure people in just to kill them. For some strange reason, I am very interested in true crime stories and so I was very eager to pick this book up. Unfortunately, if you are looking for a book that mainly focuses on Holmes and his sinister practices, this may not be the book for you.

The main focus is the romance and love triangle that forms between the main character, Winifred, and her two potential suitors. The romance was sweet but, if you’ve followed me for any length of time, you’ll know that romance is my least favorite genre. Luckily, there were some great scenes that took place at the World’s Fair, which I loved. I’m always excited to read stories at carnivals, fairs, circuses, amusement parks, etc, so this was a lot of fun. I also loved Winifred’s courage and independence, which was less common in her day. It was fun to follow her on her undercover mission and there were moments when I was on the edge of my seat and very concerned for her safety.

There were also some great scenes that took place in Holmes’ “murder castle”  but not enough to satisfy my penchant for mystery and suspense. For anyone nervous to read this story because of the content, I would assure you that it’s fairly tame. There are a few references to some of the gory things that had occurred but the author allows the reader to draw their own conclusions.

I think the verdict for this book is that it just was not the book for me. I did enjoy it but I went into reading it with the wrong expectations. It was definitely a fun book and I highly recommend it to those who are looking for a sweet historical romance with some creepy suspense thrown in.

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

 

About the Author

grace hitchcockGrace Hitchcock is the author of three novellas in The Second Chance BridesThe Southern Belle Brides, and the Thimbles and Threads collections with Barbour Publishing. The White City is her debut novel and releases March 2019 with Barbour Publishing. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace lives in southern Louisiana with her husband, Dakota, and son. Visit Grace online at GraceHitchcock.com.

 

Guest Post from Grace

True Colors—Fiction Based on Strange, But True, American Crime Stories

True, riveting stories of American criminal activity are explored through 6 unique stories of historical romantic suspense in the exciting new True Colors series.

In book one, The White City, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped while attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Jude Thorpe, a detective, for bodyguard.

Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim?

The Real Criminal Behind the Story

While Winnifred Wylde is a fictional character, Doctor H. H. Holmes was very real and became infamously known as America’s first serial killer. Learn more about him HERE.

 

Blog Stops

Just the Write Escape, March 14

A Baker’s Perspective, March 14

The Lit Addict, March 14

janicesbookreviews, March 14

The Power of Words, March 15

Multifarious, March 15

Back Porch Reads, March 15

Livin’ Lit, March 16

Lis Loves Reading, March 16

Just Your Average reviews, March 16

Rev. Rebecca Writes, March 17

For the Love of Literature, March 17

Bibliophile Reviews, March 17

Reflections From My Bookshelves, March 18

Through the Fire Blogs, March 18

By The Book, March 18

A Reader’s Brain, March 18

Girls in White Dresses, March 19

Stories By Gina , March 19

EmpowerMoms, March 19

Inklings and notionsMarch 19

All-of-a-kind Mom, March 20

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 20

Bigreadersite, March 21

Genesis 5020, March 21

Blossoms and Blessings, March 21

The Becca Files, March 21

Emily Yager, March 22

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, March 22

Pause for Tales, March 22

Inspired by fiction, March 23

Mary Hake, March 23

Book by Book, March 23

Real World Bible Study, March 23

Blogging With Carol, March 24

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, March 24

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 24

Maureen’s Musings, March 25

amandainpa, March 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 25

Older & Smarter?, March 26

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 26

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner , March 26

Godly Book Reviews, March 27

For Him and my Family, March 27

Texas Book-aholic, March 27

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Grace is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of The White City!!

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/dd7d/the-white-city-celebration-tour-giveaway

Castle on the Rise by Kristy Cambron Review

cr

Synopsis

A storied castle. A band of rebels. And a nation chasing the centuries-old dream of freedom . . . What legacy will they leave behind?

When Laine Forrester travels to France to attend her longtime friend’s vineyard wedding, she expects to find a bride on the brink of a fairy-tale life. But after a series of unforeseen setbacks–a devastating diagnosis, a castle restoration put on hold, and the emergence of deep-seated family dynamics that threaten to derail the new couple’s fledgling marriage–it seems the storybook life Laine had imagined for her friend–and once, for herself–is suddenly crumbling before her eyes.

With hopes of resurrecting a happy ending for one of them, Laine throws support behind her friend and agrees to accompany the couple to the groom’s family home in Ireland, where the merging of a mysterious inheritance, long-buried wounds, and a fractured family set out to upend the trip from the start. It’s in the unlikely corners of a historic Dublin pub, and across the wide-open moors bordering Ireland’s majestic Wicklow Mountains, that Laine is slowly drawn in by the land and the people, sparking hope for something she never imagined possible: the courage to heal. But with secrets of her own–and a heart afraid to trust again–Laine must determine how much she’s willing to risk in mending the broken places within herself, and whether she believes that even through the depths of our pain, a beautiful story can emerge.

Set in three time-periods–the revolutionary era of the late eighteenth century, Ireland’s turbulent Easter week of the 1916 Rising, and present day–Castle on the Rise weaves a story of legacy, conviction, and redemption against the backdrop of Dublin’s storied streets, and the stretch of Ireland’s stunning emerald shores. It raises the question: given the choice between the fairy tale or a life of truly anchored faith–which legacy would you choose?

My Thoughts

This story is told in 3 different time periods (present day, 1916, and 1798) and follows many characters in Ireland. All the stories involve a crumbling castle and manor near the Irish Sea.

The story is very atmospheric, as I read the words, I was swept away to Ireland and felt as though I was travelling along with the characters. Kristy Cambron is very gifted of describing everything so that the picture is very clear and vivid.

I found the book to be very educational as I had never learned about the 1916 Easter Rising or even the snugs in Irish pubs (which I found very interesting and had to google pictures after reading about them).

I did find the plot to be a little bit dull and I was not very interested in any of the romances. I also felt as though the story didn’t seem like a Christian fiction story…it seemed more like a clean fiction story.  I also at times got confused by the number of characters and the 3 timelines switching back and forth.

Overall, the atmospheric quality of the story was my favorite part.

My Rating

3 stars

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

 

Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh Review and Giveaway

jlgbanner

About the Book

jlg

Title: Just Let Go

Author: Courtney Walsh

Release Date: June 5, 2018

Genre: Contemporary Romance

For Quinn Collins, buying the flower shop in downtown Harbor Pointe fulfills a childhood dream, but also gives her the chance to stick it to her mom, who owned the store before skipping town twenty years ago and never looking back. Completing much-needed renovations, however, while also competing for a prestigious flower competition with her mother as the head judge, soon has Quinn in over her head. Not that she’d ever ask for help.

Luckily, she may not need to. Quinn’s father and his meddling friends find the perfect solution in notorious Olympic skier Grady Benson, who had only planned on passing through the old-fashioned lakeside town. But when a heated confrontation leads to property damage, helping Quinn as a community-service sentence seems like the quickest way out—and the best way to avoid more negative press.

Quinn finds Grady reckless and entitled; he thinks she’s uptight and too regimented. Yet as the two begin to hammer and saw, Quinn sees glimpses of the vulnerability behind the bravado, and Grady learns from her passion and determination, qualities he seems to have lost along the way. But when a well-intentioned omission has devastating consequences, Grady finds himself cast out of town—and Quinn’s life—possibly forever. Forced to face the hurt holding her back, Quinn must finally let go or risk missing out on the adventure of a lifetime.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

This is the second book by Courtney Walsh that takes place in Harbor Pointe, Michigan and I was delighted to revisit this quaint little town and to see some of my favorite characters from “Just Look Up”.

This story follows Grady and Quinn, two broken people who at first glance seem like opposites but after digging deeper, they come to realize they have a lot in common.

I loved the character development that occurred in both of the main characters. It was gradual and felt genuine. I also loved the inclusion of the side characters…Quinn’s dad, her friends, and the judge were developed very well and made a nice addition to the story.

The faith content was great in the story. I loved how Quinn stuck to her morals regarding purity and dating, but there were also discussions about redemption and forgiveness in regards to this.

I enjoyed this story but not as much as the first in the series. I didn’t relate to the characters as much in this book and at times I found that the plot was becoming a bit repetitive.

My Rating

3.5 stars

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

About the Author

cw

Courtney Walsh is a novelist, artist, theatre director, and playwright. Her debut novel, A Sweethaven Summer, hit the New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller lists and was a Carol Award finalist in the debut author category. She has written two more books in the Sweethaven series, as well as two craft books and several full-length musicals. Courtney lives in Illinois with her husband and three children. Visit her online at http://www.courtneywalshwrites.com.

Blog Stops

By The Book, June 26

Faithfully Bookish, June 26

Luv’N Lambert Life, June 26

Reading Is My SuperPower, June 27

Among the Reads, June 27

Splashes of Joy, June 27

God is Love, June 28

Fiction Aficionado, June 28

Genesis 5020, June 28

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 28

Carpe Diem, June 29

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, June 29

100 Pages per Hour, June 29

The Power of Words, June 30

Lighthouse Academy, June 30

Radiant Light, June 30

Just the Write Escape, June 30

Quiet Quilter, July 1

C Jane Read, July 1

A Baker’s Perspective, July 1

Cordially Barbara, July 2

Baker kella, July 2

The Christian Fiction Girl, July 3

Remembrancy, July 3

amandainpa, July 3

Two Points of Interest, July 4

Daysong Reflections, July 4

SusanLovesBooks, July 4

Vicky Sluiter, July 5

proud to be an autism mom, July 5

Moments Dipped in Ink, July 6

Pause for Tales, July 6

Bibliophile Reviews, July 7

Texas Book-aholic, July 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 7

Janices book reviews, July 8

Bigreadersite, July 8

Blossoms and Blessings, July 8

Godly Book Reviews, July 9

Jeanette’s Thoughts, July 9

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, July 9

Giveaway

jlggiveaway

To celebrate her tour, Courtney Walsh is giving away a grand prize of a library of Courtney Walsh’s books and a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/d0a4/just-let-go-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Justice Betrayed by Patricia Bradley Review

jb.jpg

Synopsis:

It’s Elvis Week in Memphis, and homicide Detective Rachel Sloan isn’t sure her day could get any stranger when aging Elvis impersonator Vic Vegas asks to see her. But when he produces a photo of her murdered mother with four Elvis impersonators–one of whom had also been murdered soon after the photo was taken–she’s forced to reevaluate. Is there some connection between the two unsolved cases? And could the recent break-in at Vic’s home be tied to his obsession with finding his friend’s killer?

When yet another person in the photo is murdered, Rachel suddenly has her hands full investigating three cases. Lieutenant Boone Callahan offers his help, but their checkered romantic past threatens to get in the way. Can they solve the cases before the murderer makes Rachel victim number four?

My Thoughts:

This is the third book in the Memphis Cold Case series and the second book I’ve read in the series. Although the stories are slightly connected, the books work fine as standalone novels. One thing that stood out in both books I’ve read by Patricia Bradley were the first chapters…they both started out with a bang and let me know that I was in for a wild and adventurous ride.

This story is a murder mystery that involves Elvis impersonators and takes place in Memphis Tennessee. The book is Christian fiction but is still gritty and disturbing, which I strangely enjoy.

I liked that this story was light on the romance…it’s there but it’s subtle.

There were a lot of characters to keep track of, which became a bit confusing at times and I was able to guess the culprit pretty early on but I still found the story to be a lot of fun.

Overall, this was another winner from Patricia Bradley. I now consider her one of my favorite Christian Fiction author.

My Rating:

4.5 stars

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

The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo

pb.jpg

Synopsis:

A Former Privateer and a Desperate Heiress Join Forces to Find a Treasure
Jump on board with a brand new series for fans of all things related to history, romance, adventure, faith, and family trees.

One hundred years after her mother’s family came to the New World on the Mayflower, Maribel Cordova has landed in New Orleans to seek the man who holds the key to finding her father’s lost treasure. Attorney Jean-Luc Valmot has buried his past life so deep that no living person will ever find it—or so he hopes as he accepts a position on the governor’s staff. But the daughter of an infamous pirate threatens all he holds dear. Can Maribel and Jean-Luc compromise so they both can hold onto what they most desire?

Join the adventure as the Daughters of the Mayflower series continues with The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo.

My Thoughts:

Although this book is only 247 pages, it took me a long time to read. The story was interesting but a bit confusing at times. I never felt like the characters were developed and although we followed Maribel throughout the entire book, I didn’t feel like I knew much about her by the end.

The setting was one that I always enjoy…a ship with pirates is very interesting. I also love the cover of the book…all of the covers in this series are gorgeous.

Although I didn’t love this book, I will continue with the series as each book is written by a different author.

The books would all work as standalones as they all involve new characters.

Unfortunately, despite my anticipation of reading this book, it wasn’t for me.

My Rating: 2 stars

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