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Dec 20, 2018

Rise of the Mystics (Beyond the Circle Book #2) by Ted Dekker

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Rise of the Mystics (Beyond the Circle Book #2) by Ted Dekker
read my earlier review of the first book The 49th Mystic by Ted Dekker
Revell publication October 2018

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. Ready? Set? Dream.

I was so excited to get to this novel as a sequel to The 49th Mystic so I could see if Rachelle saved all that was left of the world. While the first book set up a lot of what Rachelle knew as Eden, this sequel focuses on how Rachelle needs to fulfill her destiny by finding the hidden clues (seals) that will help her. The story is set on its own plane - knowing that technically this is Christian Fiction yet there are so many truths that it has that sort of that heretical quality as it doesn't outright name Jesus/Lord but yet there are characteristics and allusions to give off the same nuance. And this causes many issues with those who want a theological study because this is actually allegorical to help open up your mind, to give you that nudge to the perception that you may have ignored. Which it did for me - I know that there is more to this life than the day to day drudgery of work and home therefore I am quite eager to learn that there is a reason behind my existence. (Looking forward to my upcoming Christmas gift of The Way Of Love books!)

Ted Dekker's previous series The Circle has a character Thomas Hunter and he is mentioned in The 49th Mystic and is featured more in this sequel. I have not read the previous series but plan on it, and you do not need to read any others of Dekker's works except for The 49th Mystic before this one. This is a fantasy tale of elyon, horde and albinos facing off as we hope for the Rise of The Mystics; the best spin you've seen on that epic battle of good versus evil. Dekker will have you believing that you too are meant for more than this. Challenge your mind. Prove your worth. This story of Rachelle and her quest will make you want to.

I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Dec 19, 2018

What Blooms From Dust by James Markert

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

What Blooms From Dust by James Markert
HarperCollins/Thomas Nelson June 2018
borrowed from the library

Just as Jeremiah Goodbye is set to meet his fate in the electric chair, a tornado tears down the prison walls, and he is given a second chance at life. With the flip of a coin, he decides to return to his home town of Nowhere, Oklahoma, to settle the score with his twin brother Josiah. But upon his escape, he enters a world he doesn’t recognize—one that has been overtaken by the Dust Bowl. And the gift he once relied on to guide him is as unrecognizable as the path back to Nowhere.

After one jolt in Old Sparky, Jeremiah sees things more clearly and begins to question the mysterious circumstances surrounding the murders he was accused of. On his journey home, he accidentally rescues a young boy who follows him the rest of the way, and the pair arrive at their destination where they are greeted by fearful townspeople. When the Black Sunday storm hits the very next day, the residents of Nowhere finally begin to let the past few years of hardship bury them under the weight of all that dust.

Unlikely heroes, Jeremiah and his new companion, Peter Cotton, try to protect the townspeople from themselves, but Jeremiah must face his nightmares and free himself from the guilt of flipping the coin on those men who died.

Filled with mystery and magic, What Blooms from Dust is the story of finding hope in the midst of darkness and discovering the beauty of unexpected kindness.

I had seen this novel a few places online but it really caught my eye at the library and even though I had a zillion other books that I "was supposed to review" this won. What Blooms From Dust is such a wonderful story - a bit of magic, a lot of sadness but so much goodness that proves it is okay to hope for something for better. The synopsis here is a long one and it is really hard to explain the nuance of the book without writing another synopsis, so go read that description.

Jeremiah the Coin Flip Killer is not all he is cracked up to be - turns out he is not a killer at all and as luck would have it instead of being executed a tornado rips through and saves his life. He recklessly returns home, manages to not get shot (well, not get killed..), and finds himself a boy and they rescue each other. They each end up rescuing an entire town, one that was once Majestic but is now Nowhere. What a fantastic setting the dusty town is, so reclusive yet so dependent on each other to survive.  Is it possible for roses to bloom from mere dust? Well of course this story says it is possible. Go ahead and read this and I dare you to not shed a tear for all of humanity.

Favorite part in the book "Kindness had made roses bloom from dust."

A definite gem, so glad this one jumped into my hands while I was waiting on my dawdling boy to finish wasting my time! I am looking forward to reading more of James Markert's wonderful writings. OH and the cover art was perfect, I loved it enough that it made me want to read it, well done!

I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Dec 18, 2018

A Bound Heart by Laura Frantz

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

A Bound Heart by Laura Frantz
Revell Publications January 2019
review copy from the publisher

Though Magnus MacLeish and Lark MacDougall grew up on the same castle grounds, Magnus is now laird of the great house and the Isle of Kerrera. Lark is but the keeper of his bees and the woman he is hoping will provide a tincture that might help his ailing wife conceive and bear him an heir. But when his wife dies suddenly, Magnus and Lark find themselves caught up in a whirlwind of accusations, expelled from their beloved island, and sold as indentured servants across the Atlantic. Yet even when all hope seems dashed against the rocky coastline of the Virginia colony, it may be that in this New World the two of them could make a new beginning--together.

Laura Frantz's prose sparkles with authenticity and deep feeling as she digs into her own family history to share this breathless tale of love, exile, and courage in Colonial America.

I have a few of Laura Frantz's works but many are just gathering dust, so when I was surprised with this novel in my hands I decided well HECK I think I am gonna just read this sweet thing right now! And I am so glad I did, the characters of Lark and Magnus are unforgettable and while they are perhaps a bit too perfect for reality they are perfect for each other. The problem is that in 1700s Scotland Magnus is one of those titled lords also known as 'laird' and the heroine Lark is a servant girl who mixes herbs for medicinal purposes. But these two characters knew each other as they were tutored together as children and they have remained respected friends. Lots of comings and goings at Magnus' castle and pirate booty and dangerous cliffs lead to crazy accusations which then lead these two off on a not so great adventure as indentured servants and then you just have to read the book to see what happens next because you deserve the blessing to have so much love and goodness that will fill your soul as you reach the conclusion. Scotland, British America and Jamaica are all part of this story -- not to mention the long ocean trek, themes of slavery and politics but, most of all, redemption.

I loved the Scottish dialect that was part of the story and how the author took her time with the setting of the story-- even though I was a tad impatient to get to the heart of the action I am glad it was not rushed as the lingering pace really helped me fall in love with the characters. I am a little anxious about the next 'chapter' because I cannot tell if there really is one (a sequel); I really would love to see what could happen next. There could be a lot more to tell! A Bound Heart by Laura Frantz is a fantastic novel for those who like their sweet historical romances with a dash of scripture themed conflicts.

I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Nov 3, 2018

Praying With Jane: 31 days through the prayers of Jane Austen by Rachel Dodge

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Bethany House, a div. of Baker Publishing October 2018

The charm of Jane Austen and her novels has been enjoyed for over 200 years by readers around the world. Much has been written about her fascinating life, yet little is known about Jane's spiritual side. In this lovely 31-day devotional, you will get an in-depth look at Miss Austen's vibrant, steadfast prayer and faith life. Her intimate relationship with the Father comes to life through her exquisite prayers, touching biographical anecdotes, intimate excerpts from family letters and memoirs, and illuminating scenes from her novels.

Spiritual insights and Scripture references shed light on the profound meaning behind Miss Austen's prayers and the enduring truths they contain. Each day ends with a key Bible verse and invitation to "pray with Jane," helping to ignite and deepen your own vibrant relationship with the Father.

This 5"x7" devotional comes packed with biblical insights all while using favorite regency author Jane Austen's own prayers. Jane Austen fans will love the tie-in from Austen's novels as she examines Jane's inspirations for writings as they relate to God's word. The author of this devotional book, Rachel Dodge, expertly arranges each day by a topic with several references to both scripture and also Jane's prayers. It will examine the thought process that Jane had and presents a small biographical context to each topic and then tie in Jane's prayer with how you can pray for yourself with room to add in your own petitions.

a sneak peek!

It was a true marvel at how so much can be included in each page and how it offers a better understanding of both Jane Austen and God's word together. Especially wonderful is that readers of Jane Austen will be completely delighted with this new facet of Jane's spirituality and yet those unfamiliar with Austen will be made instant fans without reading any of her classics! The daily intentions are so easy to respond to with the invitation to prayer. Each "day" is about four pages long which is a perfect length for our busy days of distractions. Starting off a day on the right foot with the daily encouragement through Rachel Dodge's devotional featuring Jane Austen is definitely a recommendation, but the devotions can be read at any spare time you may have such as lunch breaks or after dinner. With the holidays coming up, this would be a great gift for a co-worker or friend who you feel would appreciate the nostalgia of Austen blending with a daily biblical truth. A link to the publisher page is here.

Thank you to Bethany House for sending me this Devotional to review. 

I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Oct 22, 2018

Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks

Monday, October 22, 2018
Every Breath

Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks
UK Publisher: Sphere (16 Oct. 2018) £18.99
US Publisher: Grand Central (October 16 2018)$28.00
Review copy from the publisher, thank you!

In the romantic tradition of
The Notebook and Nights in Rodanthe, #1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks returns with a story about a chance encounter that becomes a touchstone for two vastly different individuals -- transcending decades, continents, and the bittersweet workings of fate.

Hope Anderson is at a crossroads. At thirty-six, she's been dating her boyfriend, an orthopedic surgeon, for six years. With no wedding plans in sight, and her father recently diagnosed with ALS, she decides to use a week at her family's cottage in Sunset Beach, North Carolina, to ready the house for sale and mull over some difficult decisions about her future.

Tru Walls has never visited North Carolina but is summoned to Sunset Beach by a letter from a man claiming to be his father. A safari guide, born and raised in Zimbabwe, Tru hopes to unravel some of the mysteries surrounding his mother's early life and recapture memories lost with her death. When the two strangers cross paths, their connection is as electric as it is unfathomable . . . but in the immersive days that follow, their feelings for each other will give way to choices that pit family duty against personal happiness in devastating ways.

Illuminating life's heartbreaking regrets and enduring hope,
Every Breath explores the many facets of love that lay claim to our deepest loyalties -- and asks the question, How long can a dream survive?

I have heard about Nicholas Sparks' books for quite a long time but this one knocked on my door, so Every Breath is the first of his that I've read. It was impressive; something that makes you want to reach out and hug your loved ones as Every Breath is one of those emotive love stories that gets your eyes watery and your nose all red and sniffly. The story of these two souls of Tru and Hope colliding is a poignant one and seems improbable that a love so deep can blossom from a simple weekend of a chance encounter. It is a fictional story of course, but the writing sets it up so that you are unconsciously pulling for these two characters as if they are as real as you and I.

Kindred Spirit is the name of a mailbox that is located near a resort community that inspires both the story and our characters, and I will always (incorrectly) associate this book with that title. It perfectly described the connection between Tru and Hope. Have you ever met your own kindred spirit and selflessly let them go? Have you always wondered what would happen if you met again, perhaps in a different time, a different circumstance? Have you loved two people at the same time, but maybe in a different way? It's a romance novel yet so poignant and touching that you really could not forget these two characters. Go ahead and give Nicholas Sparks a try.. I am so glad I did!

I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Oct 3, 2018

Join me for Sarah Koontz's bible study BEFORE I GO (giveaway!)

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Sarah Koontz
Sarah Koontz, Living By Design
BEFORE I GO is the name of an upcoming bible study presented by a very inspiring lady Sarah Koontz that I wanted to share with you. Some of you may or may not know that at some point over the last year I have found a new hobby for bible journaling and it was through online sharing on Facebook that I found the loveliest of ladies Sarah Koontz. Someone had posted about a bible study coming from Sarah focusing on Solomon's Wisdom  which I was able to focus on during my lunch breaks (in the car!). That study was so eye opening for me and perhaps it was because I felt she was talking to me! Her audio commentary spoke to my heart in such an exceptional way I could not help but want to follow more of her devotionals. I've studied each of her studies after that and recently participated as a launch team member for the brand new study Before I Go through the Living By Design Ministries.

And while the name of this blog is Burton Book Review I realize the book in question here, the bible, may not be your thing for so many personal reasons. I want to say that I respect you for that. I also implore to try out this study of Jesus's last words from the book of John. A fun fact I learned through this study is that John uses the word BELIEVE ninety-eight times in his gospel. One simple action, believe! Why should you follow Jesus? This study will show you how worth it it is!

All you need to complete this free online Bible study is 15 minutes per day, an open mind and your mobile device (or your computer).

The Before I Go study will offer you an email full of engaging content each morning including a few days of rest on the weekend with an emailed goodie like a cellphone wallpaper to keep your mind creatively inspired, continually aiding in your reflection. Perhaps you will be inspired to create in your bible journal!

The 21 day study will focus on John 14-17. You may have been told Jesus is the way and you doubtfully ponder this context for our modern lives. Let Sarah help you apply Jesus's teachings found in these three very important chapters of John's gospel. There are so many ways this study will help you apply some of Jesus's teachings to your everyday life. This could help you deal with work issues, your relationships and bring you to a greater understanding of God's truth.

This is an invitation to show you who Jesus really is! What a glorious opportunity to see Jesus Christ through the eyes of one of His closest friends, John.

Won't you join me?
visit this site to enter your email address and you're in!

Each day will focus on a key verse from the scripture alongside the commentary from Sarah to help put things in a new perspective.
There will be action points. Things to ponder.
There is a discussion question if you choose to follow along on the daily facebook thread.
There are references to other resources to help us find more truths because even Sarah knows that even she can use some back up.

My favorite feature is the link that will be in each emailed devotional to her Audio Commentary! You can listen to her devotional at any time by just clicking on her link to the audio. The Bible can be confusing and Sarah really hones in on the scripture and examines what God really wants us to do, and you don't need to do anything but sit back and listen (or read)! You do need to register with your email address so that she can send you her goodies starting on October 15th. I do hope you will join me using the #BeforeIGo hashtag for discussions.

We are celebrating the release of this powerful new study with weekly giveaways at and other collaborating blogs. Each handcrafted giveaway item is inspired by the beautiful truths in John 14-17 and we are so grateful for our talented creative partners who have donated these items to support the study.

This week’s giveaway bundle is worth more than $122. It features handcrafted items from Drift Design Co, AE Lettering Co, Evy Letters, and Copperhead Jewelry. Enter below for your chance to win!

In addition to this fantastic giveaway, everyone who pre-registers for the study by October 14 will be entered to win a custom handpainted Bible from Wheat and Honey Co.

THIS STUDY IS FREE! There is no reason you cannot pre-register today! Please feel free to reach out to me to ask any questions.

I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Oct 2, 2018

Shelter of the Most High (Cities of Refuge #2) by Connilyn Cossette

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Shelter of the Most High (Cities of Refuge #2) by Connilyn Cossette
Published by Bethany House October 2 2018
eGalley from NetGalley, thank you!

The daughter of a pagan high priest, Sofea finds solace from her troubles in the freedom of the ocean. But when marauders attack her village on the island of Sicily, she and her cousin are taken across the sea to the shores of Canaan.
Eitan has lived in Kedesh, a City of Refuge, for the last eleven years, haunted by a tragedy in his childhood and chafing at the boundaries placed on him. He is immediately captivated by Sofea, but revealing his most guarded secret could mean drawing her into the danger of his past.
As threats from outside the walls loom and traitors are uncovered within, Sofea and Eitan are plunged into the midst of a murder plot. Will they break free from the shackles of the past in time to uncover the betrayal and save their lives and the lives of those they love?

This was an intriguing story set long ago before the times of Christians but a time when there are villages devoted to serving a 'god' of their choosing. Sofea was brought up in such a way that her father was a bit of a 'god' himself, and while she thought he was a terrible person she just accepted that sacrifices and violence was okay as long as it was for her father's purposes. When a tragedy strikes her village Sofea and her cousin soon find themselves on a new land with new customs and a language she did not understand.

While this is book two of a series, I did not read book one and is not necessary to enjoy this story. In fact, it wasn't until others had started talking about this book did I realize it was part of a planned trilogy. This novel continues with Eitan and Moriyah's family and now it includes Sofea and Prezi for this installment. Eitan is smitten with the wild haired Sofea but she has seen the evil ways of man and trusts no one. It takes time and patience to trust; since this is told as a historical romance we learn a lot of the history behind the customs of the earlier generations of Yahweh believers.

Love, patience, service, forgiveness are just a few of the themes covered in this story. I most appreciated the way Sofea was wary at first of the new (to her) God of Israel and rightly asked questions first before letting herself jump in blindly. The spiritual growth was wonderful to watch yet it is not told in that preachy way that turns more secular readers off. The other fantastic part was the way the historical context was presented; I could easily imagine the settings that were portrayed. There was even a plot to kill the high priest underfoot as part of the scandalous intrigue! I am definitely looking forward to reading more from Connilyn Cossette. Another great historical and inspirational novel from Bethany House.

I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Sep 12, 2018

The Other Woman by Sandie Jones

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Other Woman by Sandie Jones
Publisher: Minotaur Books August 21, 2018
Review copy from publisher, thank you!

A deliciously disturbing, compulsively readable debut domestic suspense--prepare to meet The Other Woman: there’s nothing she won’t do to keep you away from her son ...

Emily thinks Adam’s perfect; the man she thought she’d never meet. But lurking in the shadows is a rival; a woman who shares a deep bond with the man she loves.

Emily chose Adam, but she didn’t choose his mother Pammie. There’s nothing a mother wouldn’t do for her son, and now Emily is about to find out just how far Pammie will go to get what she wants: Emily gone forever.

The Other Woman is an addictive, fast-paced psychological thriller about the destructive relationship between Emily, her boyfriend Adam, and his manipulative mother Pammie.

When I first read the blurb for this novel I was already thinking it was another girl after her man, but it is really about a psychopathically over protective mom. Everything that Emily does just perturbs the heck out of the mom-in-law-to-be, but Adam doesn't ever witness any of the sabotage that his mom does to his girlfriend. It is a basic storyline that builds up to a diabolic ending ~ another fast yet suspenseful read that really helped get me out of the reading slump after some tedious books. I stayed up late one night so I finished it within 24 hours :0

This is a book that really helped boost the number of books read for the Goodreads reading challenge, as of now I am at number 32!

I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Her Pretty Face by Robyn Harding

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Her Pretty Face by Robyn Harding
352 pages Gallery/Scout Press (July 10, 2018)
review copy via Goodreads giveaway

The author of the bestselling novel The Party—lauded as “tense and riveting” by New York Times bestselling author Megan Miranda—returns with a chilling new domestic drama about two women whose deep friendship is threatened by dark, long-buried secrets.
Frances Metcalfe is struggling to stay afloat.
A stay-at-home mom whose troubled son is her full-time job, she thought that the day he got accepted into the elite Forrester Academy would be the day she started living her life. Overweight, insecure, and lonely, she is desperate to fit into Forrester’s world. But after a disturbing incident at the school leads the other children and their families to ostracize the Metcalfes, she feels more alone than ever before.
Until she meets Kate Randolph.
Kate is everything Frances is not: beautiful, wealthy, powerful, and confident. And for some reason, she’s not interested in being friends with any of the other Forrester moms—only Frances. As the two bond over their disdain of the Forrester snobs and the fierce love they have for their sons, a startling secret threatens to tear them apart.
Because one of these women is not who she seems. Her real name is Amber Kunik. And she’s a murderer.
In her masterful follow-up to The Party, Robyn Harding spins a web of lies, deceit, and betrayal, asking the question: Can people ever change? And even if they can, is it possible to forgive the past?

I won this one via Goodreads so I put it on my to-review list of reads for the summer and it did the trick as a interesting but quick read. Read in one day it was an intriguing storyline with multiple points of view. The main character Frances just wants to belong in a world of catty moms and loves that the beautiful newcomer Kate pays attention to her. Two families become intertwined as their children become close friends, and then the parents.

The summary does not set the tone properly as it feels like it is more of a dark creepy read channeling the undertone of a Law & Order SUV episode as we try and decipher all the deep dark secrets everyone seems to have. When Kate's daughter doesn't mind meeting up with a stalker things get exciting and the secrets start to reveal themselves and then Frances is scared for her life when she discovers how twisted Kate really is. But is she really twisted or was her past transgressions just a mistake? Can she change? Who can Frances trust? Can Kate be forgiven for things she has done years ago? Good storyline, quick read recommended to fans of the suspense genre.

I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Lies by T.M. Logan

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Lies by T M Logan
Published September 11 2018 St. Martin's Press MacMillan
review copy provided by the publisher, thank you!

What if you have the perfect life, the perfect wife and the perfect child--then, in one shattering moment, you discover nothing is as it seems? Now you are in the sights of a ruthless killer determined to destroy everything you treasure.

It's the evening drive home from work on a route Joe Lynch has taken a hundred times with his young son. But today, Joe sees his wife meet another man--an encounter that will rip two families apart. Raising the question: Can we ever really trust those closest to us?
Joe will do whatever it takes to protect his family, but as the deception unravels, so does his life. A life played out without any rules. And a cunning opponent who's always one step ahead.
T. M. Logan's Lies is an unputdownable thriller that will keep readers guessing until the jaw-dropping finale.

This was a well-written thriller that kept me guessing until the end. When Joe Lynch happened to see his wife where she was unexpected, things unravel all around him and his mundane life of being a teacher is never the same. He suspects his wife of cheating on him but doesn't have real proof and one confrontation with her supposed boyfriend spins completely out of control and social media wreaks havoc on his life.

Aptly titled Lies there is no way to know if the wife is telling the truth and the reader has no idea either. Joe follows along on a path of one mistake to another however as the boyfriend disappears but yet continues to contact Joe. Then Joe is suspected of murdering the boyfriend. With a small cast of characters it is pretty easy to think you know what is going on behind the scenes but the story unravels slowly until the surprise at the end that was wicked but amazingly fun.

An intriguing read and I am looking forward to the next book from T.M Logan.

I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Sep 3, 2018

The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton

Monday, September 03, 2018

The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton
Review copy via netgalley
Atria Books, October 2018

From the bestselling author of The House at Riverton and The Secret Keeper, Kate Morton brings us her dazzling sixth novel, The Clockmaker's Daughter. 
My real name, no one remembers.
The truth about that summer, no one else knows.

In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor on the banks of the Upper Thames. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing, and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins. 
Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing a drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river. 
Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets?

Told by multiple voices across time, The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a story of murder, mystery, and thievery, of art, love, and loss. And flowing through its pages like a river is the voice of a woman who stands outside time, whose name has been forgotten by history, but who has watched it all unfold: Birdie Bell, the clockmaker’s daughter.
It took me a month to read this book. July 17th I was enthralled with the amazing lyrical first sentences and I was so excited to begin another adventure from Kate Morton's mind! The writing style is definitely something to be envious of, but this actual story was so long and slow going that I was so relieved when I was done with it. I definitely could have lived without this cobweb of forgettable characters and not to mention the fact that the house was a character, too...

In a nutshell as I understood it is that a few artists meet at the spooky house and something crazy happens and the artist's lives are never the same and now the current generation tries to unravel what happened. Schoolgirls, siblings, parents,  and lovers' lives all intermingle into this story of a house and a rare blue stone.

My status updates on Goodreads while reading this reminded me of how I kept falling asleep while reading it. I think if the main character Elodie was an actual main character instead of disappearing from the plot for chapters on end it may have helped with the transitional periods but I don't know. Somehow it was all supposed to come together but it never did for me and it seemed that the author was so tired of the story that she finally just ended it, the end. Definitely a novel you're going to really get, or really hate.

I adored The Lake House and The Forgotten Garden, so all hope is not lost as I still have some others from Morton's backlist to read.

I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Aug 20, 2018

My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

Monday, August 20, 2018

My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton: Wife, Widow, and Warrior in Alexander Hamilton’s Quest for a More Perfect Union by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie
William Morrow, April 2018 paperback edition
eBook from library
Link to BurtonBookReview of authors' last work

From the New York Times bestselling authors of America’s First Daughter comes the epic story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton—a revolutionary woman who, like her new nation, struggled to define herself in the wake of war, betrayal, and tragedy. Haunting, moving, and beautifully written, Dray and Kamoie used thousands of letters and original sources to tell Eliza’s story as it’s never been told before—not just as the wronged wife at the center of a political sex scandal—but also as a founding mother who shaped an American legacy in her own right. 

A general’s daughter… 
Coming of age on the perilous frontier of revolutionary New York, Elizabeth Schuyler champions the fight for independence. And when she meets Alexander Hamilton, Washington’s penniless but passionate aide-de-camp, she’s captivated by the young officer’s charisma and brilliance. They fall in love, despite Hamilton’s bastard birth and the uncertainties of war. 
A founding father’s wife... 
But the union they create—in their marriage and the new nation—is far from perfect. From glittering inaugural balls to bloody street riots, the Hamiltons are at the center of it all—including the political treachery of America’s first sex scandal, which forces Eliza to struggle through heartbreak and betrayal to find forgiveness. 
The last surviving light of the Revolution… 
When a duel destroys Eliza’s hard-won peace, the grieving widow fights her husband’s enemies to preserve Alexander’s legacy. But long-buried secrets threaten everything Eliza believes about her marriage and her own legacy. Questioning her tireless devotion to the man and country that have broken her heart, she’s left with one last battle—to understand the flawed man she married and imperfect union he could never have created without her…

I thoroughly enjoyed this writing teams' last novel based on Thomas Jefferson and family, and I could not wait until the library loan became available for this novel based on Eliza Hamilton, wife to Alexander Hamilton. Most of what I remember from grade school history studies is more on place names and the colonies themselves along with important dates. What I had not gathered was how my country was born divided and really still is, despite its "united" moniker. The founding fathers were not all that super special but were certainly intelligent and eager to get their opinions out there. This novel delves into the behind the scenes as it happened during the revolutionary times to the Schuyler family but shows us a flawed but devoted marriage of Eliza and Alexander Hamilton.

"Worse than that, he made me despair of the traitor in him, too. For though Alexander Hamilton did not betray his country, he did betray me. And now, I struggle with whether love or hate burns more intensely inside me."

The character of Alexander Hamilton is fleshed out as much as possible given the history that is available to us, and there are a lot of letters. Through the tenacity and sheer will of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton is how Hamilton's legacy has not been thoroughly erased. The ways in which we see the mainstream media at work today is not much different than centuries before as we may never know what really is true or not. We are lucky to have the letters that Hamilton liked to write regarding his opinions on how an economy should work and how a country should be run.

The fact that Alexander Hamilton could have been gay is something I never came across until now .. and the novel does address it some.  Again this is through Eliza's eyes however -- so what is truth and fiction is fit for the tabloids. There are many intriguing angles to the novel which made for fast reading and I felt like I learned so much more than a year of grade school could have ever provided. The character of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton is one that forces you to admire her and wish you could have known her, and wish that there were that same caliber of women survivors around for today's generation:
"Silence is often the only weapon available to ladies. And I wield mine expertly."

I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Jul 24, 2018

The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl (release day giveaway)

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl
Berkley Publishing Group, July 24 2018
review copy via NetGalley

Set against a stunning Scandinavian backdrop, a gritty novel of psychological suspense that asks the question how far would you go to hold onto what you have?

Cecilia Wilborg has it all--a loving husband, two beautiful daughters and a gorgeous home in the affluent Norwegian town of Sandefjord. And she works hard to keep it all together. Too hard. Because one mistake from her past could bring it all crashing down around her.

Annika Lucasson lives a dark life with her abusive, drug-dealing boyfriend. She's lost everything one too many times and now she's got one last chance to save herself, thanks to Cecilia. Annika knows her secret--and just how much she's willing to do to make it all go away...

When someone forgets to pick up their little boy at the local pool, Cecilia agrees to take him home, only to find an abandoned, empty house. It's the first step in the unraveling of her meticulously crafted life, as her and Annika's worlds collide...

The Boy At The Door is such an intriguing read that makes it hard to categorize. Marketed as a thriller it's more of a psychological twisted read as we try and figure out if Cecelia is really bonkers or not. The theme is centered on the fact that absolutely nothing may be out of place in Cecelia's idyllic life in Norway as she lives a farce of happiness as a rich wife and mom in Norway. Her zeal for perfection is thwarted as she finds herself as a temporary guardian of a small boy who seemingly appears out of nowhere.

Upsetting Cecelia's natural order of things she copes through alcohol and medicinal concoctions and yet she is still losing control of the changes this boy brings to her family life. Small fractures in her perfection are actual beginnings of an earthquake and questions how far will one lady go to promote herself in the ideal image?

And then we sit back and wonder -who the heck is this boy? And why is Cecelia freaking out when she is questioned about her relationships to those she and the boy both know? And is society so fickle as to not allow a person's past be forgiven if it was hidden?

I really enjoyed the novel and the meandering way we eventually tie it all together. A story that will keep you guessing till the very end!

I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Jul 9, 2018

A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan

Monday, July 09, 2018

A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan
496 pages, Redhook/Hachette September 2017
Personal kindle copy bought for a secret read along

Discover a magical historical saga of mothers, daughters, and the power of witchcraft - perfect for fans of Alice Hoffman.
Brittany, 1821. After Grand-mère Ursule gives her life to save her family, their magic seems to die with her.
Even so, the Orchires fight to keep the old ways alive, practicing half-remembered spells and arcane rites in hopes of a revival. And when their youngest daughter comes of age, magic flows anew.
The lineage continues, though new generations struggle not only to master their power, but also to keep it hidden.
But when World War II looms on the horizon, magic is needed more urgently than ever - not for simple potions or visions, but to change the entire course of history.

This novel was an intriguing saga of generations of women all who passed down the gift of witchcraft. The gift comes in the form of being able to see into a crystal ball but is called a scrying stone in the novel. The settings change as each generation passes, which is a succession of strong willed women but all with changing characteristics. It was enjoyable to read of their traditions of invoking the goddess which was the tradition of their ancestresses but I most appreciated the historical aspect of how the craft evolved over time.

With so many generations, it is hard to pick out the favorite characters but ending with Veronica who is married to someone with so much possibility for a sequel though I can imagine it being difficult to recreate the same tone when there isn't many years left to cover, and the historical context would be lost. Something to ponder though for the author as I am sure she has been asked about the possibility.

This is a great novel for those who enjoy any type of mystical/magical paranormal type read that actually doesn't seem too far-fetched. It would be a good YA novel read as well as the romance was tame. Thanks to my reading buddy who read along with me, always makes it for a fun ride!

I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Jul 8, 2018

Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley

Sunday, July 08, 2018

August 07 2018 USA edition 
Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley
August 07 2018 Sourcebook Landmark
448 pages HistFic/Sci fi/Fantasy
egalley provided via NetGalley from the publisher, thank you!

"The house, when I first saw it, seemed intent on guarding what it knew; but we all learned, by the end of it, that secrets aren't such easy things to keep."

It's late summer, war is raging, and families are torn apart by divided loyalties and deadly secrets. In this complex and dangerous time, a young French Canadian lieutenant is captured and billeted with a Long Island family, an unwilling and unwelcome guest. As he begins to pitch in with the never-ending household tasks and farm chores, Jean-Philippe de Sabran finds himself drawn to the daughter of the house. Slowly, Lydia Wilde comes to lean on Jean-Philippe, true soldier and gentleman, until their lives become inextricably intertwined. Legend has it that the forbidden love between Jean-Philippe and Lydia ended tragically, but centuries later, the clues they left behind slowly unveil the true story. Part history, part romance, and all kinds of magic, Susanna Kearsley's latest masterpiece will draw you in and never let you go, even long after you've closed the last page.

I do like this cover as a departure from their previous covers but I think there are a few different covers depending on region. I have to sadly state that this was not my favorite Susanna Kearsley novel. No matter how much I tried to enjoy it there were times I just could not talk myself into picking it up again. I spent 20 plus years on Long Island and I thought I would feel a special connection to the setting but it was not very atmospheric for me. I love ghost stories and the novel was unsuccessful in trying to be a creepy ghostly goose bumps thing. Being told in the same style of dual time period that Susanna Kearsley is known for writing the ghosts were in the form of the occasional unplugged lamp in the house, or the spark of a lantern in the woods and the modern day characters would imagine that they were there in the house of the Wilde family.

The historical time period story was very interesting:  the Wilde family (all fictitious unfortunately) hosting prisoners of war while keeping a slave that they called a cook. The modern day story of Charley dealing with her restless/depressed niece as Charley discovers clues of the Wilde family is very slow but I did appreciate the slavery issue and how the descendants of the family were saddened that their family did indeed have slaves which was a no-no for the northern half of the country at the time. (The time being when there was a war going on so when the Canadian prisoner falls in love with the young daughter Lydia all drama is supposed to ensue.)

The house is a character in itself, since the spook factor is the fact that some things just don't work right when Charley is around but the best part of the story was the thread of romantic tension between Charley and the guy who was working on renovations. There were a lot of loose threads for Charley to tie together as she learned more about the Wilde house and the people who lived there. The ending did actually make up a bit for the slow start and I appreciated the happier than expected conclusion.

The one thing that set me off on the wrong foot altogether was the dividing line of Canada and USA. Canada readers were treated to an April publication date while Long Island and the rest of the USA had to wait until an August publication date. BOOOO

Maybe since it was my eighth Susanna Kearsley it was just destined to be boring all the way around, but this one just wasn't all there for me as much as some of her others were. 

I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Jun 23, 2018

Announcing the 2018 Reader Survey

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Discovering reader preferences, habits and attitudes
by M.K. Tod, Heather Burch and Patricia Sands

It has been really fascinating to see what makes readers read. M.K. Tod is an author who really wanted to find out the nitty gritty of our likes and dislikes and started running annual surveys geared towards historical fiction readers. Results from previous years can be found at M.K. Tod's site here and here (just a sample).

Readers and writers – a symbiotic relationship. Ideas spark writers to create stories and build worlds and characters for readers’ consumption. Readers add imagination and thought to interpret those stories, deriving meaning and enjoyment in the process. A story is incomplete without both reader and writer.

What then do readers want? What constitutes a compelling story? How do men and women differ in their preferences? Where do readers find recommendations? How do readers share their book experiences?

ANNOUNCING A 2018 READER SURVEY designed to solicit input on these topics and others.

with friends and family via email or your favourite social media. Robust participation across age groups, genders, and countries will make this year’s survey – the 4th – even more significant.

Participate by clicking this link. Those who take the survey will be able to sign up to receive a summary report when it becomes available.

M.K. (Mary) Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, Time and Regret was published by Lake Union. Fellow authors Patricia Sands and Heather Burch helped design and plan the survey. Mary can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her blog A Writer of History. 

Jun 21, 2018

Somebody's Daughter by David Bell

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Somebody's Daughter by David Bell
Berkley Publishing Group/New American Library, July 10 2018
Psychological suspense/Thriller
Review copy via NetGalley, thank you!
My review of author's work Somebody I Used to Know by David Bell (2015, 5 stars)

In this pulse-pounding novel of psychological suspense from the USA Today bestselling author of Bring Her Home and Since She Went Away, a man must save the life of a little girl who just might be his daughter....
When Michael Frazier's ex-wife, Erica, unexpectedly shows up on his doorstep, she drops a bombshell that threatens to rip his family apart: Her ten-year-old daughter is missing--and Michael is the father. Unsure whether this is the truth but unwilling to leave the girl's fate to chance, Michael has no choice but to follow the elusive trail of the child he has always wanted but never knew he had.
After Michael departs, his wife, Angela, learns shocking news about Erica and fears for the safety of both her husband and the endangered girl. When a stranger, a man who claims a connection to Erica and her missing daughter, knocks on the door, Angela is drawn out into the night--and deep into the tangled web of Michael's past....
Over the course of one night, lies that span a decade come bubbling to the surface, putting Michael, his wife, and his whole family in jeopardy. And as the window for a little girl's safe return closes, Michael will have to decide who can be trusted and who is hiding the truth....

I really enjoyed reading David Bell's novel in 2015 (my review of Somebody I Used To Know) and I was eager to see what 2018 brought with the novelist's first hardcover published. Full of twist and turns, Somebody's Daughter does not disappoint as one night unfolds for over 400 pages. Isn't that crazy?! I thought that was wild, and it was so well done I had not even noticed that until I started writing this review.

The story revolves around that of a young girl's disappearance. On the outside it looks that Michael and Angela Frazier are living their perfect life with their perfect house and their squeaky-clean routines until the ex-wife shows up asking for help about her missing daughter. At that point everything Angela thought she knew about Michael goes out the window because this is the first time Angela hears about the existence of the pre-teen daughter Felicity. We kind of sort of don't know if Michael knew about Felicity either as the story progresses so that was a good twist.

 'Who is the bad guy here?' is the obvious thread, and quite surpisingly it could have been the sister, the mom, the ex-wife, the music teacher and the ex-wife's ex-boyfriend. Throw in a babysitter or a neighbor and we've got ourselves a twisted tangle of a hot mess. I loved the fast paced writing and how it truly kept me guessing. The part played by the lead detective was also well written-- so many angles and this is how we get that one crazy night spilling into over 400 pages. Oh and there's a dog, too. Every aspect you expect from a thriller is here for our enjoyment - five stars all the way to the bank.

If you like Ruth Ware, Gillian Flynn, Mary Kubica then add David Bell to your want-to-read list.
The absolute best part is that David Bell has several other titles for me to investigate. Sad though that my local library owns just one. Get with the program, Rockwall!

I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Jun 16, 2018

The 49th Mystic by Ted Dekker

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The 49th Mystic (Beyond The Circle #1) by Ted Dekker
May 2018, Revell/Baker Publishing group
Review copy from publisher, thank you for your generosity!

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 wrong. In the small town of Eden, Utah, a blind girl named Rachelle Matthews is about to find out just how wrong.

When a procedure meant to restore Rachelle's sight goes awry, she begins to dream of another world so real that she wonders if Earth might only be a dream experienced when she falls asleep in that reality. Who is a simple blind girl to have such strange and fantastic dreams?

She's the prophesied one who must find and recover five ancient seals--in both worlds--before powerful enemies destroy her. If Rachelle succeeds in her quest, peace will reign. If she fails, both worlds will forever be locked in darkness.

So begins a two-volume saga of high stakes and a mind-bending quest to find an ancient path that will save humanity. The clock is ticking; the end rushes forward.

Ready? Set?


This book caught my eye before it was published and I entered a few giveaways et voila! it landed on my doorstep like the amazing gift that it was. I am writing this review weeks after I read this book because I know I could not ever possibly begin to explain the wonderfulness of it. You know when you're just not going to give it any justice kind of thing (besides WoW woW)? I wrote a mini-reviews post recently and I could not lump this one in the same post because it at least deserved its own review post, right? Yes.

So Ted Dekker has been around a while writing over thirty thriller/suspense and even historical titles; I've gotten a few of his works here and there including the entire Circle series which is categorized as fantasy and speculative. And now The 49th Mystic book comes along and it has something about a circle in it, but this book is categorized as a thriller. But then of course I have to wait for book two (bangs head) to see where this circle is going. This is definitely faith driven, so if you are not of that mind just stop right here.

metanoia: change in one's way of life resulting from penitence or spiritual conversion.
μετάνοια, μετανοίας, ἡ (μετανοέω), a change of mind: as it appears in one who repents of a purpose he has formed or of something he has done, Hebrews 12:17

The novel focuses in on a strange little town of Eden all on its own, dependent on each other as a whole with a new world order and Rachelle must go on a journey to save it from itself. It's a little bubble of a town and nothing goes in and nothing goes out. But the Shadow Man is there suddenly and Rachelle and her life are turned upside down.

"What begins as White that man has made Black?" is the first riddle that Rachelle needs to solve to save her little Eden. Rachelle is blind (but are we all blind anyway?) and the Shadow Man comes along and heals her blindness (or was it a scientific breakthrough) then kidnaps her dad or is it just a spell? Or just a dream? A nightmare.

Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. and the lion lays down with the lamb. Where is your faith? Is it in the seen? What is your cognitive perception? As Rachelle tries to deal with living in two different worlds and being tasked to save Eden and find five seals to defeat evil she is undergoing a transformation of what she really is. Can she master her earthen vessel and sacrifice that what she holds dear? Can she live up to her prophecy as the One?

"There are those among the human race called mystics who know that God is infinite." - says the Shadow Man who calls brains tissue tops. There is a wonderful fluidity of the writing of Dekker even when your own tissue top brain is struggling to keep up with the reality of what is going on in their world and yet it is so similar to what is in our world in front of us today. "The light only used the darkness to reveal its brilliance."

"God is infinitely secure, the mystics say. Would such a being ever need to defend himself...".
I can't quite accurately explain The 49th Mystic as we have theology and science doing a merry dance in a circle and it brings us to the one undeniable truth that the world is doing its very best to forget and ignore, much to our peril. To read and comprehend this book is a gift, but to actually live out the message is a challenge. Do you dare?

A book that I will cherish and pick up when I need a reminder of my purpose as there are so many hidden gems throughout that one just needs a minute to find one and then a few more minutes to mull it over. It will be a lifetime before I reach the ultimate goal that is hinted at but it would be a blessing to die trying. Cannot wait for the second installment and I also feel so blessed that I have so many other of Ted Dekker's books to read too!

I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Jun 14, 2018

Jody Hedlund's Orphan Train Series: With You Always & Together Forever

Thursday, June 14, 2018

With You Always (Orphan Train #1) by Jody Hedlund
June 2017, Bethany House
(borrowed from library)

Could following the opportunity of a lifetime cost them the love of their lives?
One of the many immigrants struggling to survive in 1850s New York, Elise Neumann knows she must take action to care for her younger sisters. She finds a glimmer of hope when the New York Children's Aid Society starts sending skilled workers to burgeoning towns out west. But the promise of the society's orphan trains is not all that it seems.
Born into elite New York society, Thornton Quincy possesses everything except the ability to step out from his brother's shadow. When their ailing father puts forth a unique challenge to determine who will inherit his railroad-building empire, Thornton finally sees his chance. The conditions to win? Be the first to build a sustainable community along the Illinois Central Railroad and find a suitable wife.
Thrown together against all odds, Elise and Thornton couldn't be from more different worlds. The spark that ignites between them is undeniable, but how can they let it grow when that means forfeiting everything they've been working toward?
The novel sets up the Orphan Train series with a trio of teen sisters who end up on the streets after their parents have died. They have also taken charge of two little ones who were left behind. Elise and Marianne are the elder of the group and tasked with the burdens of taking care of each other when the economy is not fit for any working family. In 1857 New York there is a financial crisis with bankrupt businesses which spread nationally and eventually globally. Elise is from a poor German immigrant family and already regarded with prejudice during the tough times of increasing European immigrants flooding the population where no work was available. Elise leaves the younger children at an orphanage and heads west in hopes to earn money to send back to her sisters. She is among many other men and women forced to leave their families behind but she is lucky to have found a kinship with the very man with the means to found a new town.

Thornton is a young man always seeking approval from his father and still overshadowed by his twin brother. Throughout the story we see Thornton's maturity expand as he realizes what truly matters in God's eyes and inevitably in Elise's. There are several characters that help create an intriguing story arc so that even with a predictable outline I enjoyed the novel very much. I especially appreciated the historical aspect of how many children were farmed out across the country and the struggles of America during that era. The series is geared towards the inspirational market but I feel would be suitable for any historical romance fiction reader as there is not an over abundance of the Lord's word to distract from those just wanting a feel-good story.

Together Forever (Orphan Train Series #2) by Jody Hedlund
May 1, 2018 Bethany House
Review copy provided by the publisher, thank you!

Will the mistakes of their past cost them a chance at love?
Determined to find her lost younger sister, Marianne Neumann takes a job as a placing agent with the Children's Aid Society in 1858 New York. She not only hopes to offer children a better life, but prays she'll be able to discover whether Sophie ended up leaving the city on an orphan train so they can finally be reunited.
Andrew Brady, her fellow agent on her first placing-out trip, is a former schoolteacher who has an easy way with children, firm but tender and friendly. Underneath his charm and handsome looks, though, seems to linger a grief that won't go away--and a secret from his past that he keeps hidden.

As the two team up, placing orphans in the small railroad towns of Illinois, they find themselves growing ever closer . . . until a shocking tragedy threatens to upend all their work and change one of their lives forever. 
I am so glad I was offered this book for review, and especially glad I found the first book at the library so I could be fully invested in the Neumann family. While book one featured Elise's story, book two focuses on Marianne as she heads out as a chaperone of sorts as she is responsible for placing the orphan children in positions outside of New York. This novel does directly show possible situations for the riders of the orphan train which tears at your heart when you think of the 30,000 displaced and abandoned children which prompted the orphan train movement.

Marianne's partner is Drew Brady and as fate would have it, they really have some great chemistry. But the stars keep dimming on them as one thing after the other keeps happening to them which makes it seem like maybe they aren't meant to be together after all. Their relationship was really fun to watch bloom but even I admit once Drew started closing himself off I was getting a little ticked off at him and I had to take a break from him and the story for a bit. He is very touch and feely and quite frankly I just don't think that was the norm back in the day - but this is a historical romance series.

The nagging thought throughout the story was that the third sister Sophie is nowhere to be found, and no one seems to be freaking out, but maybe that was the norm back in the day? Overall though I am definitely still a Jody Hedlund fan and I do want to know what the heck is going on with Sophie so I would love to read the next installment (aptly named Searching For You) scheduled for December 2018. 

From the book's dedication, 2 Corinthians 12:9:
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Jun 9, 2018

Recommended Reads for Summer 2018

Saturday, June 09, 2018

These are all books that I have recently enjoyed and wanted to share here as they are worthy of summer binge reading. All of these books but one were personal copies or library loans.

December 2017, 419 pages St Martins Press

While I am not one who followed Nora Roberts specifically but perhaps have read one or two of her books in my lifetime, this book has prompted me to rethink that. This was so darn awesome.
The story-line follows a few threads of people as life as they knew it is over because "They returned the rental car, infecting the clerk and the businessman who rented it next. They infected the porter who took their bags when tips exchanged hands. By the time they reached and passed through security, the infection had passed to an easy two dozen people."
I have discovered that I love me some funky dystopian off the beaten path other type of world stuff and this one has magic(k) and apocalyptic goodness that I am definitely going to re-read before I buy the second book in the series. I have a love-hate relationship with series books because my brain is getting super old and I cannot remember stuff like who was who in the last book and so I cannot just pick right up a year or two later when starting another book in a series because my brain is zapping trying to remember what way was north.
It's a tough thing because when you love a book so much like Year One and you are shattered that the book has ended but then you're like Holy Cheese on A Cracker I Can't Wait For The Next Book Cuz I Am So Glad It's Not Really Over but Damn Just Gimme It Right Now.. you know what I mean. When I finished this one my official recorded thought on Goodreads was:
Mere words cannot express the fluidity of this novel. I am pretty certain but cannot recall if I have read a book by Roberts, but I shall never forget this one.

And so book two is of course on my eagerly awaited hurry up and publish that pie because I am going to devour you and not share the crumbs list. Kleenex worthy reading, too.

When I finished that one I moved on to another fantastic read, thank God, as it's so hard to follow when that one was epic...

February 2018, 512 pages Tyndale

The Masterpiece is the newest release by popular Christian Fiction author Francine Rivers. I have read one of her most popular novels and have been collecting many of her back-list for quite a few years now. This is a story of two people meant to be together but have to go through a lot of soul searching and misunderstandings before the happy ending. The characters were very well-drawn with a story that pulls you in no matter how simple the plot would sound of a he and she fall in love and live happily ever after. He is the famous painter is a recluse with a past that he prefers to stay there yet he has to fight his demons before he can be who he wants to be. She has to learn to trust again after her own train wreck of a life. What I loved about this story the most was how the message reveals itself - we are all His masterpiece created for One Life/One Purpose. Worldly pursuits and pleasures and forgiveness for our sins, the redemption offered, the promise of new life, the gift of love .. and kleenex worthy.

2015 released as 352 page paperback March 2018 edition
This is the one book that I received as a review copy several years ago, but I only got around to reading it when the paperback was chosen as a local book club read recently. I had actually read several other Ruth Ware novels and knew I would enjoy this one as it is the same genre of the psychological thriller suspense type books that she writes so well. I read it in a day. It was a twisty gothic adventure of a tale not meant to be one of those scary keep you up at night reads. Ruth Ware, Mary Kubica, Gillian Flynn all write in this fashion. Ware's newer titles are The Woman in Cabin 10 and The Lying Game which I enjoyed both. Great stories, good plots and intriguing endings.

These are older titles that I got caught up on:
2015 release of book three of All Souls Trilogy
I have a partner in crime for this one as we did a buddy read so it was super fun to explore the world of daemons, witches, vampires and wizards with a fellow nerd. Harkness has written a fantastic series that I really did not think I could enjoy as much as I have. I even used up Mothers Day Wish on the newest release not OF the series but ABOUT the series which is a compendium of sorts which just tells you how awesome the books are when you have people like me begging for a book about a book. I love that I know about familiars and blood-rage now but still a little freaked out about the origin of the Ashmole. I love how some Hist-fic gets thrown in too with this series such as Elizabethan England (Mary Sidney!). There will be yet another book (Time's Convert, September 2018) not technically of the series but a spin-off featuring characters of this series.. OK I see I have lost you, lol

I spotted this one when I was picking up books for my kid at the local library and I couldn't walk away from it. I had loved Code Name Verity back in 2012 and this one can be read as a stand alone. It is about a prisoner of war, an unlikely female pilot who shows amazing tenacity and grit while enduring the Holocaust that people to this day like to pretend did not happen. The story revolves mostly around Ravensbruck, the concentration camp known for housing primarily women.
While in reality there are certain things that happen to Rose that are a bit too unrealistic it does not distract from the overall tone of the story. It's another kleenex worthy read that will have you googling stuff about the sickness of those concentration camps, barrage balloons and doodlebug tipping.

Which of these have you read? And did I peak your interest of any? What's on your Summer Reading Pile? I am looking forward to Susanna Kearsley's newest title Bellewether!

You may need to re-subscribe by the way. No idea what is going on with the mailchimp thing when we had to do the GDPR compliance thing that was such an annoyance. No one won the giveaway since no one entered etc. but unsure if that was because of mailchimp's compliance or because giveaways are lame nowadays. No worries! I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.