A Hideous Beauty by Jack Cavanaugh

 

hideous beauty

About the book:

This isn’t the world you think it is…

Every day they slip across our borders to infiltrate our government, our schools, our neighborhoods.

Homeland security can’t stop them.

The armed forces are no threat to them.

Powerful and unseen, they cannot be stopped.

They have been doing this for millennia.

On what should have been the best day of his life, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Grant Austin learns of a plan to assassinate the president of the United States. Every attempt to sound the alarm is thwarted, and Grant soon finds himself at the center of an even greater battle that predates time as he stands alone against ancient powers and unspeakable evil — evil that can only be described as a hideous beauty.


My review:

I guess the best way I can explain  this book is that it is kind of a combination of Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness, in its bringing spiritual warfare to life; Tosca Lee’s Demon, in its telling the history of angels/fallen angels; and maybe even a bit of Joel C. Rosenberg’s works in its adventures in D.C. politics.

It was an relatively engaging read, with plenty of action (more towards the end), interesting enough characters, and an intriguing take on spiritual warfare. However, I unfortunately didn’t feel like it lived up to its blurb. For most of the book, the focus was so much more on the main character, Grant Austin, than on the spiritual battle, that I found my mind wandering while I read, having to go back and re-read to figure out what was going on. And, while I know it’s a work of fiction, I didn’t always agree with the theology presented, so I got frustrated with some of the characters. I also set the book down several times, debating about whether or not I should finish it.

I’m glad I did finish it, because the climactic scene was more compelling than I expected it to be. If the rest of the series keeps up with the level the first book was at near the end, I would definitely read the remaining books when Enclave publishes them.

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

Advertisements

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

 

evelynhardcastle

About the book:

How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?

The Hardcastle family is hosting a masquerade at their home, and their daughter Evelyn Hardcastle will die. She will die everyday until Aiden Bishop is able identify her killer and break the cycle.

But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up each day in a different  body as one of the guests.

Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend. But nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that’s an Agatha Christie mystery in a Groundhog Day Loop, with a bit of Quantum Leap to it.  Perfect for fans of Kate Atkinson and Claire North.


My review:

Intrigued by the title; absolutely fascinated by the story. From the very first page to the last, I was captivated. I never expected the answer, and that is the hallmark of an amazing mystery.

There was so much about this book that I loved. The mixed-up timelines and the uncertain chemistry between Aiden and Anna reminded me of River Song and The Doctor. Each of Aiden’s “hosts” was so well-crafted and their movements so intricately woven together, it was mind-boggling. The lyricism Turton entwined throughout the story brought beauty to what could have been an overly dark plot. He managed to write a non-stop, mind-bending mystery wrapped in lyrically intense prose with a dash of social commentary…and it was awesome!

I most highly recommend you grab a copy of The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle as soon as it hits the shelves next month. You will definitely enjoy the ride! 🙂

Many thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark Publishers and NetGalley for the advanced digital copy of this novel for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

City of Endless Night by Preston & Child

city of endless night

About the book:

When Grace Ozmian, the beautiful and reckless daughter of a wealthy tech billionaire, first goes missing, the NYPD assumes she has simply sped off on another wild adventure. Until the young woman’s body is discovered in an abandoned warehouse in Queens, the head nowhere to be found.
Lieutenant CDS Vincent D’Agosta quickly takes the lead. He knows his investigation will attract fierce scrutiny, so D’Agosta is delighted when FBI Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast shows up at the crime scene assigned to the case. “I feel rather like Brer Rabbit being thrown into the briar patch,” Pendergast tells D’Agosta, “because I have found you here, in charge. Just like when we first met, back at the Museum of Natural History.”
But neither Pendergast nor D’Agosta are prepared for what lies ahead. A diabolical presence is haunting the greater metropolitan area, and Grace Ozmian was only the first of many victims to be murdered . . . and decapitated. Worse still, there’s something unique to the city itself that has attracted the evil eye of the killer.
As mass hysteria sets in, Pendergast and D’Agosta find themselves in the crosshairs of an opponent who has threatened the very lifeblood of the city. It’ll take all of Pendergast’s skill to unmask this most dangerous foe-let alone survive to tell the tale.


My review:

I mentioned in my “Sneak Preview” post last week that I am a fan of Preston & Child and their Agent Pendergast series. Because I am a fan and have read all previous sixteen novels in the series, I’m always a tiny bit leery when I start a new one: I would hate to be disappointed! Thankfully, again that is not the case with book number seventeen in the Pendergast series. Yay!

With City of Endless Night Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child showed me once again why I am a fan. Their books are always packed with tension, building and building to a magnificent crescendo, where you are so caught up, you are completely lost to the action. And their characterization, of even minor characters, is phenomenal. You can’t beat a Preston & Child for the atmosphere and action that keep you turning pages into the very wee hours and gripping your book so tightly your hands cramp up!

Be sure to block out a nice section of time where you won’t be disturbed to read City of Endless Night, because you won’t want to put it down.

Many thanks to Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for the advanced copy of this novel for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross by Lisa Tuttle

Curious-Affair-of-the-Witch-of-Wayside-Cross-The-315x466

From the book:

The paranormal answer to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Jesperson and Lane are turning the Victorian era upside down in this bewitching series from John W. Campbell Award winner Lisa Tuttle.

“Witch!” cries the young man after stumbling unexpectedly into the London address of the consulting-detective partnership of Mr. Jasper Jesperson and Miss Lane. He makes the startling accusation while pointing toward Miss Lane . . . then he drops dead. Thus begins the strangest case yet to land—quite literally—on the doorstep of Jesperson and Lane.

According to the coroner, Charles Manning died of a heart attack—despite being in perfect health. Could he have been struck down by a witch’s spell? The late Mr. Manning’s address book leads Jesperson and Lane to the shrieking pits of Aylmerton, an ancient archaeological site reputed to be haunted by a vengeful ghost. There they sift through the local characters, each more suspicious than the last: Manning’s associate, Felix Ott, an English folklore enthusiast; Reverend Ringer, a fierce opponent of superstition; and the Bulstrode sisters, a trio of beauties with a reputation for witchcraft.

But when an innocent child goes missing, suddenly Jesperson and Lane aren’t merely trying to solve one murder—they’re racing to prevent another.


My review:

Reading the description of this book made it sound like it was going to be fabulous. Unfortunately, it didn’t fully live up to its expectations for me. While I did enjoy parts of the story, I found that I just couldn’t really get lost in this book for some reason.

Now, let me clarify…the book is not bad. It is fairly well-crafted, with plenty of little twists and a variety of interesting characters. However, I simply had trouble staying interested. Maybe it’s just me. Perhaps you should try it for yourself and prove me wrong. Let me know if you do! 🙂

Thanks to Random House Publishing Group-Hydra and NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own!! 🙂

 

Crown of Souls by Ronie Kendig

crown of souls

From the book:

When you stare into the abyss, it also stares into you.

The bullet that rips into Cole “Tox” Russell was never meant to kill. It was meant to send a message. Only one man is skilled enough to have taken the shot, a rogue Special Forces operator who vanished months ago.

Alec King is perhaps the only person as skilled as Tox, and he’s out for justice. Furious with orders that got his men killed, he intends to make those responsible pay. And he insists Tox join him, believing they are the same breed of soldier.

Afraid his old friend could be right, Tox battles a growing darkness within himself as he and his team are forced into another deadly encounter with antiquity. It appears Alec is harnessing the power of a mysterious artifact, a crown that history has linked to some of the worst slaughters in humanity. Racing to stop Alec before his vengeance is unleashed, Tox must fight the monster without becoming one.


My Review:

Ronie Kendig has done it again—written a book I couldn’t put down! I really enjoyed reading the prequel novella to this series, The Warrior’s Seal (which is free on Kindle, if you’d like to get to know Tox and his crew), and I was impressed with the first Tox Files novel, Conspiracy of Silence (you can check out my review here). But Crown of Souls surpassed them in my eyes.

Cole “Tox” Russell has deepened even more as a character, torn between love and justice. And the plot was full of so many twists, turns, and whaaaats??, that I couldn’t help staying up way past my bedtime to keep turning the pages. And did I regret it the next morning? Absolutely not! The read was definitely worth the bags under my eyes!

With shades of some of my favorite suspense authors, like Steve Berry and David Baldacci, Kendig has crafted a series that I want to keep reading (and re-reading!). Here’s hoping a new installment of the Tox Files comes soon!

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

The House on Foster Hill by Jamie Jo Wright

9780764230288

From the book:

Kaine Prescott is no stranger to death. When her husband died two years ago, her pleas for further investigation into his suspicious death fell on deaf ears. In desperate need of a fresh start, Kaine purchases an old house sight unseen in her grandfather’s Wisconsin hometown. But one look at the eerie, abandoned house immediately leaves her questioning her rash decision. And when the house’s dark history comes back with a vengeance, Kaine is forced to face the terrifying realization she has nowhere left to hide.

A century earlier, the house on Foster Hill holds nothing but painful memories for Ivy Thorpe. When an unidentified woman is found dead on the property, Ivy is compelled to discover her identity. Ivy’s search leads her into dangerous waters and, even as she works together with a man from her past, can she unravel the mystery before any other lives–including her own–are lost?


My Review:

It’s a bit hard to believe that this multi-layered, intricately crafted tale is Jamie Jo Wright’s debut novel. She did a marvelous job of building tension and creating that perfectly eerie atmosphere that a good mystery needs. I found my eyes flitting across the page (against my will!) to see what was coming up—that, to me, is a great sign of a well-written mystery.

And it’s almost like you get two complete novels in one, because of the historical story running alongside and intertwining with Kaine’s story. Bonus! The House on Foster Hill is a terrific read! I’d recommend you pre-order it or grab your copy as soon as it is released on December 5, 2017.

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

Zachary by Raymond Springer

1495247077

From the publisher:

“Two enemy factions race toward a childbirth: The Circle of Benediction, a secret society whose mission is to destroy anyone with supernatural abilities, and the Watchers, an underground group sworn to protect those with powers.

“The Watchers, led by Jacob Pennington- an elderly man of unnatural strength, secure the child just before the Circle destroys him. But, can they keep him alive despite the Circle’s resources?

“Held up at Pennington’s Rampart Industries, the Watchers will make their stand. Will they withstand the assault without the assistance of the child, or the child’s blood?

“The birth of this child changes everything…and so would his death.”

I’m really sorry to say, but it took everything I had in me to finish this book. The blurb was intriguing, but that was probably some of the best writing in the entire novel. The idea for the book was okay, but the execution was barely mediocre — and that description does not even include the horrible state of the grammar and spelling throughout most of the book.

And the “Christian” fiction classification is loose at best. There are a few references to the story of the Nephilim before the flood in Genesis, but otherwise everything else is extra-biblical, not to mention the superfluous and rather explicit sex scene near the end of the book. Seriously?

I rarely say this, but don’t bother to pick this book up. Even if an editor cleaned it up (which would be a huge task), the overall story is not good enough for me to recommend it to you. Sorry. 😦

Thanks to NetGalley and Black Rose Writing for the digital copy of this book for review purposes. I (obviously) was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own.