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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.

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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.