The Wounded Shadow by Patrick W. Carr

wounded shadowAbout the book:

The kings and queens of the northern continent lay siege to the Darkwater Forest, desperate to contain its evil. But rumors of gold and aurium have lured deserters and the desperate into its shadow, creating a growing army held in its sway. Desperate after the death and dissolution of their greatest ally, Willet and the Vigil seek the truth of what lies at the heart of the evil they face. They delve the mind of an old enemy and find an answer far worse than they could have imagined.

Danger stalks the cities of the north, striking at the rulers of the kingdoms. As Willet and the rest of the Vigil seek to find answers, the group is scattered with an ever-growing darkness around them. Will they discover a path to keep their land safe, or will an ancient evil reclaim the world it once called its own?


My review:

So I’ve been sitting here for a while trying to come up with the words to describe just how much I liked this third book of the Darkwater Saga (and how much I hope Patrick Carr doesn’t wrap this series up, but continues it forever!!), but words seem rather inadequate. It was just so good, it took my breath away a bit!

I really liked the first two books (and the introductory novella) in the series, but I loved The Wounded Shadow. It was absolutely crammed with everything I love in a good read: terrifically crafted and intelligent characters, intricate world building, intense and exciting adventure, good and evil, love and heartbreak, and fabulous wit. Willet, Gael, Rory, Bolt, and all the characters that I have gotten to know over the first books, I came to cherish in this book, and I already miss spending time with them! I have a feeling I’ll be re-reading this series. 🙂

Patrick Carr just keeps getting better, and I can’t wait to see what he has for his readers next!

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

 

Advertisements

Isaiah’s Daughter by Mesu Andrews

isaiahs daughter

About the book:

In this epic Biblical narrative, a young woman taken into the prophet Isaiah’s household rises to capture the heart of the future king.

Isaiah adopts Ishma, giving her a new name–Zibah, delight of the Lord–thereby ensuring her royal pedigree. Ishma came to the prophet’s home, devastated after watching her family destroyed and living as a captive. But as the years pass, Zibah’s lively spirit wins Prince Hezekiah’s favor, a boy determined to rebuild the kingdom his father has nearly destroyed. But loving this man will awake in her all the fears and pain of her past and she must turn to the only One who can give life, calm her fears, and deliver a nation.


My review:

This is an extraordinary reimagining of the backstory of a rather minor character in the annals of history (I think she’s only actually mentioned once in the Bible)–Queen Hephzibah, wife of godly King Hezekiah of Judah and mother of very ungodly King Manasseh of Judah. It’s a coming-of-age story, but it’s also so much more than that. It is a tale of love, hope, strength, determination, and faith.

I know that this is a work of fiction, but it is so beautifully told and weaves the words of prophets and kings directly from Scripture so seamlessly, that it seems amazingly real! Mesu Andrews brought the world of Isaiah to life for me as I’ve never imagined before, and I enjoyed every minute of reading this book.

Biblical fiction, such as Isaiah’s Daughter, can bring a new depth of cultural and historical understanding to your study of the Word, while entertaining you wonderfully. I’d highly recommend you snatch up a copy for both the enjoyment and education!

Many thanks to WaterBrook & Multnomah and NetGalley for the digital copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

 

The Resurrection by Mike Duran

 

 

resurrection

When the dead come back to life, someone must pay the price.

About the book:

When Ruby Case raises a boy from the dead, she creates an uproar in the quiet coastal town of Stonetree. Some brand her a witch; others, a godsend. But the controversy is just the beginning. For this resurrection has awakened more than just a dead boy.

Reverend Ian Clark does not believe in miracles. Haunted by demons, both past and present, he is resigning from the ministry and has no interest in the city’s spiritual climate, much less its urban legends. But he is about to get a wake-up call…

Together, Ruby and Reverend Clark are thrust into a search for answers…and a collision with unspeakable darkness. For the forces unleashed by Ruby threaten to destroy them all. In the coming battle this unlikely duo is the town’s only hope. But can they overcome their own brokenness in time to stop the evil, or will they be its next victim?


My review:

Honestly, I really had no idea what to expect from this novel. I’ve read a couple of Mike Duran’s stories before, but this was his debut novel, so I wasn’t sure what it would be like.

Well, now I can honestly say it was awesome! It was rife with tension, keeping me turning pages into the wee hours. The characters were thoroughly crafted, with just enough backstory to fill them with a wealth of doubts and passions to drive the story ever more intensely. The setting was well-drawn, yet still common enough to be your own neighborhood, making the agitating force behind everything even creepier. And the censure of lukewarm churches, of lukewarm faith, exposes the roots of evil, while calling Christians to excavate their own hearts and dig out the seeds of doubt and worldliness that lead to lukewarm living.

Do yourself a favor and pick up your own copy of The Resurrection. It will both convict and entertain, and it will be worth every moment of reading! 🙂

 

A Light on the Hill by Connilyn Cossette

a light on the hill

About the book:

Though Israel has found relative peace, Moriyah has yet to find her own. Attempting to avoid the scorn of her community, she’s spent the last seven years hiding behind the veil she wears. Underneath her covering, her face is branded with the mark of the Canaanite gods, a shameful reminder of her past captivity in Jericho and an assurance that no man will ever want to marry her.

When her father finds a widower who needs a mother for his two sons, her hopes rise. But when their introduction goes horribly wrong, Moriyah is forced to flee for her life. Seeking safety at one of the newly established Levitical cities of refuge, she is wildly unprepared for the dangers she will face and the enemies–and unexpected allies–she will encounter on her way.


My review:

Connilyn Cossette certainly knows how to draw a picture with her words that is both attention-grippingly tense and heart-touchingly beautiful. Moriyah is a character whose captivity story was described in the last book of the Out of Egypt series, Wings of the Wind. I was so glad to see that Cossette decided to continue Moriyah’s story and color in this fascinating and tragic character some more. Strong on the outside, yet broken on the inside, Moriyah’s struggle to feel close to the God she loves is a silhouette of what many people face each day. Cossette does a remarkable job of penciling in the highlights and shadows of Moriyah’s heart and drawing her back to who God created her to be.

She also beautifully illustrates the Promised Land during the time of Joshua, painting dramatic and lovely images of the flourishing land and its multitude of characters: from vintners, to priests, to soldiers, to traders, she draws a rainbow of colorful people and scenery to support the story.

I’m entranced by Connilyn Cossette’s biblical fiction and look forward to reading the next in the Cities of Refuge series. I highly encourage you to snuggle up with a copy of this book. 🙂

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

The Bones Will Speak by Carrie Stuart Parks

1570788634

About the book:

A killer with a penchant for torture has taken notice of forensic expert Gwen Marcey. . .and her daughter.

When Gwen Marcey’s dog comes home with a human skull and then leads her to a cabin in the woods near her Montana home, she realizes there’s a serial killer in her community. And when she finds a tortured young girl clinging to life on the cabin floor, she knows this killer is a lunatic.

Yet what unsettles Gwen the most is that the victim looks uncannily like her daughter.

The search for the torturer leads back in time to a neo-Nazi bombing in Washington state–a bombing with only one connection to Montana: Gwen. The group has a race-not-grace model of salvation. . .and they’ve marked Gwen as a race traitor.

When it becomes clear that the killer has a score to settle, Gwen finds herself in a battle against time. She will have to use all of her forensic skills to find the killer before he can carry out his threat to destroy her–and the only family she has left.


My review:

I actually bought this book for my mom for her birthday a year or two ago, and it managed to resurface from the vortex of books in her bedroom when I was helping her a few weeks back. It sounded like a decent read, so decided to show it to my book club to see if they’d be interested. They agreed right away, so I figured I’d better read it.

Well, once I started reading this book, I could not stop. I finished it in less than a day, despite having to put it down and do real life once in a while. That is vastly quicker than I normally read a book, but the plot was so interesting and the writing so smooth that I wanted to keep going. Every spare moment, I snatched it up and dove back into Gwen’s harrowing tale.

The author certainly knows how to build tension, throw false leads, and keep you guessing to the last moment. I really enjoyed her writing style and will most certainly read Carrie Stuart Parks again.

This is the second novel in the Gwen Marcey series, and I have not yet read the first, but that certainly didn’t hamper my enjoyment of this story. I highly recommend you grab your own copy and hang on for a thrilling read! 🙂

Reclaiming Shilo Snow by Mary Weber

Reclaiming-Shilo-Snow-book-cover-Mary-Weber

About the book:

She was far more capable than Earth’s leaders had accounted for—and they had no idea what she’d do next.
Known as a brilliant mind that could hack humanity’s darkest secrets, seventeen-year-old Sofi Snow is the most wanted teenager alive. She found her way to the icy, technologically brilliant planet of Delon to find Shilo, the brother everyone but Sofi believes is dead.
But as she and Ambassador Miguel partner to find her brother and warn those on Earth of Delon’s dark designs on humanity, Sofi’s memories threaten to overtake her, distorting everything she holds true. She knows the Delonese kept her in a dark, deceptive place . . . and destroyed a portion of her life. Now, the more they discover of Sofi’s past, the more Sofi feels herself unraveling—as each new revelation has her questioning the very existence of reality.
In this harrowing sequel to The Evaporation of Sofi Snow, Sofi and Miguel must trust each other and discover the secrets locked inside Sofi’s mind as the line between what’s real and what they imagine begins to slip away . . . threatening to take humanity with it.


My review:

For those of you who took my advice and read book one in this series, The Evaporation of Sofi Snow (you can read the review here, if you haven’t yet), you know it ended in one of those awful cliffhangers that made me want to scream, “WWWHHHHHYYYYYY????” Well, thankfully the wait is finally over, since Reclaiming Shilo Snow is set to be released in just a few days. And trust me, it was worth the wait.

While it took me a while to change gears from Weber’s Storm Siren world to her Sofi Snow world in the first book, I did not have that issue at all in Shilo Snow. The action picks up right where she left us hanging, and it does not quit until the end.

And she continues to peel back even more layers on Sofi and Miguel to reveal deeply scarred, yet dramatically beautiful characters that you can’t help but cheer for.

Weber did leave the ending a bit open, so I’m not sure if this is the last of the series or if she plans to continue the Snows’ adventures in this dystopian world or not. Either way, thank you Mary Weber for giving your readers some resolution and helping to ease the heartache you left us with last year. (Although, **minor spoiler alert** she did leave me with different heartache at the climax of the story!)

Thrilling, poignant, creative, fascinating…I definitely recommend you read Mary Weber’s Reclaiming Shilo Snow (and The Evaporation of Sofi Snow, if you haven’t experienced it yet.)

Many thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for the digital copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

Common by Laurie Lucking

Common-cover

About the book:

One person knows of the plot against the royal family and cares enough to try to stop it—the servant girl they banished.

Leah spends her days scrubbing floors, polishing silver, and meekly curtsying to nobility. Nothing distinguishes her from the other commoners serving at the palace, except her red hair.

And her secret friendship with Rafe, the Crown Prince of Imperia.

But Leah’s safe, ordinary world begins to splinter. Rafe’s parents announce his betrothal to a foreign princess, and she unearths a plot to overthrow the royal family. When she reports it without proof, her life shatters completely when the queen banishes her for treason.

Harbored by an unusual group of nuns, Leah must secure Rafe’s safety before it’s too late. But her quest reveals a villain far more sinister than an ambitious nobleman with his eye on the throne.

Can a common maidservant summon the courage to fight for her dearest friend?


My review:

Royalty, romance, and a murder plot…what more could you want in a story? And Laurie Lucking has done a fantastic job of weaving them all into a beautiful and charming debut novel.

The relationship between Leah and Rafe is so smartly crafted—starting out unexpectedly and growing over the years as friendship, then finally, despite their best efforts, more. It made them seem even more innocent and charming and worthy of cheering them on through the twists and turns of court life.

And Lucking manages to keep the story going without it seeming to drag. She keeps her characters in just enough peril to keep the reader turning pages, but not so much that you need extra oxygen to keep up!

And finally, I have to admit, I loved the nuns! What a collection of characters! I truly hope that I get to know them more in the next installment in Lucking’s Tales of the Mystics series.

Common was a truly enjoyable read and I highly recommend you pick up your own copy today. Then just curl up with your favorite hot beverage and get happily lost in the world of Imperia! 🙂