A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes

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If you knew what day you would die, how would you live? Parvin Blackwater’s clock says that she has just one year left on her life. She feels that she’s  wasted the first seventeen  years of her life, so Parvin is determined to make this last one count. She wants to rescue Radicals from being sent to their deaths by the corrupt government system. But when her plans get her sent through the Wall, Parvin must first survive before she can begin to help others back home.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I began this book. It sounded so interesting when I saw it in the bookstore at the RealmMakers Conference in July, and it turned out to be so much more than merely interesting. From the very first line (“There once was a time when only God knew the day you’d die.”) to the cliffhanger-ish ending, A Time to Die doesn’t slow down, nor does it let you down. Absolutely stuffed with intensity, from the thoroughly fleshed characters to the intricately drawn story world to the plot that keeps you wanting more, Brandes’ début novel is extraordinary.

It is so much more than just a great story, too. It’s a fictional, yet at the same time personal, journey of self-discovery. Parvin ask questions of herself and God that we all find ourselves asking at some point in our lives… what’s my purpose? Am I wasting my life? What do You want me to do? Are You even here, God? And within this tapestry of fiction, Brandes deftly braids silky strands of Truth for us all to weave into our own stories.

My heart soared and plummeted; I smiled and I cried; I did not want the book to end! So, it’s a very good thing to know that this is only the first book in the series!

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The second book, A Time to Speak, is available through major retailers. And the final book, A Time to  Rise, will be released in just a few weeks (October  14th)! atimetorise_6_29

 

For more info, check out Nadine Brandes’ website (click here 😊). And, in all seriousness, pick up a copy. It is so worth a read (or two or three!).

 

My  most  hearty thanks to Nadine Brandes for the copy of this book for review purposes. She didn’t ask for a positive review, but I so thoroughly enjoyed it, I can’t praise it enough! 😁

Trial Run by Thomas Locke

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From the publisher: “Reese Clawson’s work is mind-bending–literally. Her company specializes in global data analysis for an elite group of industry executives, and now a lucrative government contract is moving her into the realm of cutting-edge intelligence gathering. She is determined to crack the limits of consciousness–and in doing so, the boundaries of secrets and lies. But her experiment crashes as test subjects slide into a coma-like state. Reese is left scrambling to maintain control, drawing three disparate people into the search for answers–an adrenaline-amped thrill junkie with altered brain chemistry, an Italian scientist working on remote-viewing technology, and a math prodigy whose algorithms subvert computer encryption.

“Will this piecemeal team prevail when a government operative is sent to investigate? As the threads of perception and reality become tangled and even time itself twists in unexpected directions, one warning remains clear: what you don’t know can kill you.

“With a concept so daring and writing so gripping, readers will swiftly fall under the spell of Thomas Locke’s endlessly creative mind. This thrilling psychological journey into the very nature of causation and consciousness will leave them turning the pages and grasping for solid ground.”

I’ve read Thomas Locke before (recently, the Legends of the Realm series), and I’ve read his more prolific alter ego, Davis Bunn, as well. I have thoroughly enjoyed every book of his I’ve read, and Trial Run is no exception. The plot is fast-paced, packed with intense moments. It reminded me of a Michael Crichton novel with its questioning of limits of science, the value to place on morality, and the importance of faith, and how they all intertwine. It was smoothly written, and I was immediately sucked into the world of the Fault Lines series.

Trial Run is definitely on my “read it again” list, that’s how much I enjoyed it! I’d highly recommend you check it out. *Note: there is also a prequel (Double Edge) that is free from Amazon, and the second book in the series is called Flash Point, which is on my “to read” list.🙂

IQ by Joe Ide

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From the publisher: “East Long Beach. The LAPD is barely keeping up with the neighborhood’s high crime rate. Murders go unsolved, lost children unrecovered. But someone from the neighborhood has taken it upon himself to help solve the cases the police can’t or won’t touch.

They call him IQ. He’s a loner and a high school dropout, his unassuming nature disguising a relentless determination and a fierce intelligence. He charges his clients whatever they can afford, which might be a set of tires or a homemade casserole. To get by, he’s forced to take on clients that can pay.

This time, it’s a rap mogul whose life is in danger. As Isaiah investigates, he encounters a vengeful ex-wife, a crew of notorious cutthroats, a monstrous attack dog, and a hit man who even other hit men say is a lunatic. The deeper Isaiah digs, the more far reaching and dangerous the case becomes. ”

I enjoy a good mystery, and Joe Ide’s debut novel, IQ, is just that: a decent detective story. I started off laughing about chloroform in the prologue, dove into the bulk of the story believing I knew whodunit, and finished up fairly impressed with the book as a whole. Plot twists, multi-faceted characters, and some pretty philosophical moments make this a good read for lovers of detective stories.

IQ will be available from Mulholland Books on October 18th!

Thanks to Mulholland Books and NetGalley for the free copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own!🙂

 

Rebirth by Amy Brock McNew

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From the publisher: “Liz Brantley has a gift she wants to return. Able to see and fight demonic forces, she has spent her life alone, battling the minions of hell bent on her destruction, running from the God who gave her this curse. Drawn to her abilities, the demon Markus unleashes havoc on her hometown and pulls Liz further into the throes of battle. She’s desperate for a normal life. When she meets a mysterious man who seems unaware of the mystical realm that haunts her, the life she’s always wanted moves within reach. But her slice of normal slips from her grasp when an old flame, Ryland Vaughn, reappears with secrets of his own. Secrets that will alter her destiny. Torn between two worlds, Liz is caught in an ancient war between good and evil. And she isn’t sure which side to choose.”

Oooh, this is a good one! Rebirth is a fascinating picture of what spiritual warfare might look like in the physical realm. Liz and Ryland are captivating characters: both are complicated by their pasts, needing to let go of who they were and what they’ve done and let God use them as He will. Sometimes I wanted to smack Liz and ask her why she insisted on being so stubborn, but the more you read, the more you get to know her and understand her motivations – beautiful character building!

My favorite line? “No one else can fulfill your calling.” Kind of sums it up for me – no matter your situation (whether you are fighting off demons with a katana or flipping burgers in a fast-food joint), you have a purpose, and God will use you for His glory, if you let Him.

This book was an excellent read: moments of heart-pounding excitement, blended with flashes of heart-rending realism, mixed with a dash hopeful expectancy, Rebirth is one I’d highly recommend. Even better, the ebook version is currently on sale for only $1.99 through Amazon! Click here to check it out…

 

*Special thanks to the amazing Louise Shiles-Burcham for letting me borrow this book before she even got a chance to read it herself! God is using you for His glory every day!!

A Time of Torment by John Connolly

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When private investigator Charlie Parker is contacted by recently released hero-turned-inmate, Jerome Burnel, he hears a story that he’s not sure he believes. According to Burnel, he was set up by someone and is still being tormented and hunted by them. When Burnel disappears, Parker dives into the investigation, uncovering strange links to an area in West Virginia known as the Cut. The further he delves, the weirder things get, and the more certain he is that there is something more than just a close-knit family living in the Cut.

John Connolly’s A Time of Torment (Charlie Parker #14) is an intense, sinister ride. This is the first Charlie Parker Thriller that I have read, but I find myself wanting to start the series from the beginning now. Connolly seems to have a unique insight into the mind of a psychotic killer – I don’t know if that is a good thing or not. I really do wonder what he eats before bed to give him the nightmares he must have to come up with some of this stuff! Maybe he should consider changing his diet. Or maybe not, since it does make for a seriously creepy and super interesting story.

If you like your stories weird and wild, grab a copy of A Time of Torment. But be prepared to climb into the mind of some seriously whacked-out characters…

Many thanks to Atria Books and NetGalley for the free copy of this ebook for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own!🙂

DawnSinger by Janalyn Voigt

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From the publisher: “The High Queen is dying… At the royal summons, Shae mounts a wingabeast and soars through the air to the high hold of Faeraven, where all is not as it seems. Visions warn her of danger, and a dark soul touches hers in the night. When she encounters an attractive but disturbing musician, her wayward heart awakens. But then there is Kai, a guardian of Faeraven and of Shae. Secrets bind him to her, and her safety lies at the center of every decision he makes. On a desperate journey fraught with peril and the unknown, they battle warlike garns, waevens, ferocious raptors, and the wraiths of their own regrets. Yet, they must endure the campaign long enough to release the DawnKing and the salvation he offers into a divided land. To prevail, each must learn that sometimes victory comes only through surrender.”

It’s hard to believe that DawnSinger is Voigt’s debut novel. She has so masterfully crafted this world that I fell into it immediately, stayed in it willingly, and left it only reluctantly (when my nemesis, a.k.a. the real world, felt it necessary to intrude). The narrative is beautiful, ringing with lyricism and that magical element that somehow turns what would elsewise be mundane into high fantasy. One of my favorite scenes was when Shae and Maeven discussed the tapestry of life – what an extraordinary picture Voigt painted!

The story is both lovely and exciting, the characters are complex yet familiar, and the themes are profound and personal. DawnSinger is not to be missed. Pick up a copy today and prepare to be transported.

Many thanks to Pelican Book Group/Harbourlight Books and NetGalley for the free digital copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own!🙂

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d by Alan Bradley

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The intrepid Flavia de Luce, 12-year-old chemistry aficionado and part-time sleuth, has returned home to Buckshaw from her “exile” at Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy in Canada, only to find not only no welcoming party, but her father in hospital and her beloved chicken, Esmerelda, gone. At least her faithful companion, Gladys the bicycle, is still there to take her on an errand…on which Flavia, naturally, discovers a dead body in a very strange position. Can Flavia figure out why the body was tied, upside-down, to the back of a door, or will distractions on the home front keep her from finding out the truth?

How can you not love a Flavia de Luce novel? Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d, the eighth of the full length novels in the series, is overflowing with whimsy, suspense, a healthy dose of snark, and even heartbreak – it’s got it all. All of the notes I took while reading were smiley faces, chuckles, and *snorts*s, with the exception of a few of those Flavia moments where she gets beautifully philosophical.

Alan Bradley has done a marvelous job of creating one of the greatest young protagonists to ever grace the page. Flavia is one of my all-time favorite characters. Her interactions with Gladys always make me giggle. Who knew a bicycle could have such a great personality? I find myself laughing out loud more often reading a Flavia de Luce mystery than probably any other novels I’ve ever read.

If you have not read a Flavia de Luce novel, you are so missing out! I started with the first in the series, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, and fell in love instantly. While I don’t think you’d have a problem starting anywhere in the series, I personally would recommend you take them all in. They are fabulous! Pick up a copy as soon as possible – Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d will be released September 20th!!🙂

Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group and Net Galley for the free advanced copy of this novel for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own!🙂