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!🙂

Courageous by Dina L. Sleiman

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The young Lady Sapphira has been given a vision from God: she is to inspire others lead herself and a group of kids to help set captives free in the Holy Land. Rosalind of Ipsworth and Sir Randel Penigree have both decided to join this crusade, but for their own very complicated reasons. Both are running from pasts that continue to haunt them, but will running halfway across the known world hide them from their demons? God will find them wherever they are, yet they will need to make the decision to listen to Him or to their own fallible hearts.

Courageous is book three in the Valiant Hearts series (following Dauntless and Chivalrous). I have not read either of the first two books in the series, yet, but that certainly did not hinder my enjoyment of the story. It is a terrific tale of love, redemption, strength of spirit, and learning to hear and trust the will of God.

Sleiman does a marvelous job of revealing both the triumph and the tragedy of the Crusades, showing how not everyone who went on Crusade did so with pure motives and not every Muslim bore hatred toward the Christians they encountered. I truly enjoyed getting to know her characters and watching them strengthen or soften as God worked through each of them.

I so enjoyed reading Courageous and would definitely recommend you pick up a copy. And I think I’ll go back and read the first two books in the series as well. Happy reading!🙂

Many thanks to Bethany House Publishers 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!

Firebird by Kathy Tyers

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Lady Firebird, third daughter of Queen Siwann of Netaia, knows that she is slated to die. Netaian law states that she is an unnecessary threat to the line of succession of the crown, so she must sacrifice herself in an honorable manner for the good of the world. In her desire to do what is best for her homeland, Firebird has trained to be a fighter pilot. Yet, on her first mission, Firebird’s grand plans are thwarted by Federate General Brennen Caldwell, and she must rethink what is best for both her and Netaia.

Firebird is a story of choices – those we make and those forced upon us. Firebird knows that she is supposed to die honorably, but only because other people’s actions forced a law upon her and all other noble children in her homeland. The religion of her ancestors has never given her the freedom to choose any other path. Yet, when she learns that other religions hold ideas different from hers, her eyes are opened to the possibility that she doesn’t have to believe what her family has believed for generations. And the story is wonderfully conceived and written.

I will admit that I am not a sci-fi fan – I’ve never been able to get into Star Trek or things like that, because I’m just not excited about space-y stuff. However, I found myself continually fascinated by Tyers’ ability to both imagine all of the sci-fi space-y stuff and then to keep it all straight. Her writing was so interesting and her theme so strong and beautiful that the spaceships and laser guns and things faded into the background for me. She made a non-sci-fi girl really enjoy a thoroughly sci-fi story – it was both intelligently and creatively crafted. And I was impressed!

I would highly recommend you read Kathy Tyers’ Firebird, even if, like me, you’re not a fan of sci-fi. Definitely a great read!

Delilah: Treacherous Beauty by Angela Hunt

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You know the Bible story: Samson, judge of Israel, falls in love with Delilah, who then betrays him to his enemies, the Philistines. While the Bible tells us the basics, you have to know that there is more to this story: who was Delilah, where did she come from, and why would she betray Samson?

Angela Hunt does a marvelous job of remaining faithful to the events laid out in the Bible while filling in possible details of what could be the truth behind the story of Samson and Delilah. Instead of portraying Delilah as the traditional evil woman out to destroy Israel, Hunt gives her a plausible back story and realistic motives for what she did. She also manages to make Samson more than just the strongman of Israel.

And beyond that, Hunt’s writing brings to life the Holy Land during the 1100s B.C. and fills it with a cast of flawed, yet empathetic characters. It is simply a great story made greater by Angela Hunt’s talent.

I highly recommend you grab a copy. And while you are at it, don’t forget that there are two other novels in the series (Esther: Royal Beauty and Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty).

Many thanks to Bethany House Publishers for the free copy of this novel for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own!!🙂