The world is in a vortex of hate and one girl’s bravery has the power to save them all.

Book Blurb:

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.

Book Review:

Rise of the Mystics is my second experience with a Ted Dekker novel. The first book I tried to read, I didn’t finish but I might go back and try again at a later date.

When I requested a copy of this book from Revell, I was warned I should read The 49th Mystic first. I didn’t, and I regret it because I felt somewhat lost for a large portion of the book.

I have mixed feelings with this book. I loved the world-building and imagery but sometimes the dialogue ran way too long and repeated itself to the point I wanted to skip the conversation entirely. My favorite parts of the book were Rachelle on Earth. Other Earth was wonderful, and Rachelle’s character growth was phenomenal. Normally, I would be all about the fantasy world as opposed to the ‘real’ world. I’m not sure what caused the change.

On the spiritual front, I again have mixed feelings. Maybe I didn’t read deeply enough but some of the theology really rankled. When Rachelle gave the impromptu interview at the church with Calvin and Karen, I honestly could not make heads or tales out of her response. Later, she was surprised at her own answer. That’s part of why I was surprised that I enjoyed this version of Rachelle more than the other. Rachelle of Other Earth had her problems but she was without a doubt spiritual.

I requested a copy of this book from Revell Reads and was provided a copy via NetGalley. I was not required to leave a review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

 

Advertisements

Is the Heart of a King strong enough to hold the wisdom of his defeat?

Book Blurb:

King Solomon was wealthy and wise beyond measure. He could–and did–have anything he wanted, including many women from many lands. But for all his wisdom, did he or the women in his life ever find what they searched for all of their lives?

In this engrossing novel, you’ll find yourself whisked away to ancient Israel, where you’ll meet Solomon and four of the women he loved: Naamah the desert princess, Abishag the shepherdess, Siti the daughter of a pharaoh, and Nicaula the queen of Sheba. As you experience the world of Solomon through his eyes and the eyes of these women, you’ll ask yourself the ultimate question: Did Solomon’s wisdom ultimately benefit him and those he loved . . . or did it betray them?

Book Review:

I picked up this book because I’ve been studying about King Solomon in the Bible. Seeing his story from another perspective was interesting as all Biblical fiction is grounded in some truth. I was relieved to see multiple sections of the book included near word-for-word what I’ve read in the Bible. I can’t promise every single thing in The Heart of a King is directly from the Bible, but I know large portions are portrayed accurately.

I found myself increasingly frustrated with Solomon but that is not the fault of the author. I feel she did an exceptional job portraying how Solomon might have felt during those years. You have to consider the laws of Solomon’s time. And his pride. In The Heart of a King, Solomon believes his unbelievable wisdom will keep him from making a bad decision. Just thinking that constitutes a bad decision.

One line repeats through the book: A king’s might is shown by the size of his harem. This, in itself, is where my problem rests. Solomon should have trusted God. Solomon had already been reassured that the land was his so long as he did not stray from God. He should have trusted that even if he refused marriage and did not have a mighty harem, he would have remained king. Again, this was Solomon’s doing, not the whim of the author.

On to the writing. Beautiful descriptions abounded throughout the novel, detailing everything from the land, to the palaces, and even to the clothes of the different wives. The Heart of a King is told from several viewpoints including Solomon and each of the four main wives. My only issue here is, once Solomon married another, we no longer heard the viewpoint of a previous wife.

Although Solomon’s story is one I already know, I was still anxious to see how everything played out in the book. I highly recommend The Heart of a King to all readers but especially fans of Biblical fiction.

I requested a copy of this book from Revell Reads and was provided a copy via NetGalley. I was not required to leave a review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author:

Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling, award-winning author of the Wives of King David series, the Daughters of the Promised Land, the Wives of the Patriarchs, and The Loves of King Solomon series. Her research has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times.

When she isn’t writing, she loves to spend time with her family and friends, read stories that take her away, ride her bike to the park, snag date nights with her hubby, try out new restaurants, or play with her lovable, “helpful” cat Tiger. Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan.

Contact Jill through email (jill@jilleileensmith.com), her website (http://www.jilleileensmith.com), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/jilleileensmith), or Twitter (https://twitter.com/JillEileenSmith).

What constitutes an Act of Valor? Review, Tour, and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Act of Valor

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Inspirational romantic suspense

Release Date: June 1, 2019

Act of Valor cover

A True Blue K-9 story …When airline employee Violet Griffin encounters several suspicious passengers, she’s thrust into the crosshairs of a drug smuggling operation. NYPD officer Zach Jameson and his drug detection beagle, Eddie, can tell this is no small-time threat. Someone’s gunning for Violet, and after recently losing his brother, Zach refuses to lose her, too…especially now that she’s gone from friend to the woman he’s falling for.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

Book Review:

What happens when you combine life-long friends, cops, drug-sniffing dogs, and tough damsels in distress? You get Act of Valor. The friends-to-lovers trope has always been a favorite, and Act of Valor satisfied that need with aplomb. With high action and soulful intensity, Violet and Zach danced around their feelings while fighting off would-be murderers with the help of Eddie the drug-sniffing beagle.

Violet is an easy favorite for the heroine category. She’s no shrinking violet (sorry, couldn’t pass up the opportunity). Her New York tough way of life is a breath of fresh air in the middle of a subway filled with overripe bodies. She might be a tad stubborn, but that just adds to the fun. Zach is far from helpless. He’s struggling from the death of his brother, blaming himself and God, but he never backs down from a challenge. When Violet becomes an intended target, he is willing to put his life on the line for his best friend.

From the spiritual side, Zach is struggling and Violet is there to help pull him from the mire. The message isn’t in-your-face preachy, but it’s undeniable…my favorite presentation. The writing style is like a bouquet, bright and crisp, clean and beautiful. No wasted words but filled with flowery language artfully arranged to present a complete package.

About the Author Dana-Mentink

Dana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and a Holt Medallion winner. She is a national bestselling author of over forty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Barbour, and Harvest House. Dana was thrilled to be a semi-finalist in the Jeanne Robertson Comedy With Class Competition. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, teen bear cubs affectionately nicknamed Yogi and Boo Boo, Junie, the nutty terrier, and a chubby box turtle. You can connect with Dana via her website at danamentink.com, on Facebook, YouTube (Author Dana Mentink) and Instagram (dana_mentink.)

 

More from Dana

Cops and killers and beagles, oh my! It was a ton of fun writing the second book in the new True Blue K-9 Continuity series. First of all, I had the honor of working with some AMAZING authors. (It’s challenging creating a world together and keeping all those details straight!) I had the privilege of following the amazing Lynette Eason, so that’s always a plus! Second, I learned all about the astonishing world of beagles!  Those critters are just amazing. For instance, the original beagles were tiny, only 8 inches tall and could be carried in a pocket, which is why they called them Pocket Beagles. I need one of those! The name beagle comes from the French, which is translated “wide throat” or “loudmouth.” This is well earned by Eddie in my story, who will occasionally let loose with the trademark baying. The beagles small size, general friendliness, and ferocious scent drive, make it the perfect dog to sniff around airports and get into compact spaces. Eddie enjoys doing just that with Zach, his handler and best friend. He earns those gourmet treats that Zach bakes up for him. Best of all, Eddie was rescued from death before he became a canine cop star! It’s just awesome when you can twine fact with fiction to come up with a tail wagging suspense story! I hope you enjoy the second installment in the series!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 16

Genesis 5020, May 16

Multifarious, May 17

Through the Fire Blogs, May 17

Lighthouse Academy, May 17

Reading Is My SuperPower, May 18

Blogging With Carol, May 18

Daysong Reflections, May 19

Carla Loves to Read, May 19

Wishful Endings, May 20

EmpowerMoms, May 20

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, May 20

Remembrancy, May 21

Blossoms and Blessings, May 21

Simple Harvest Reads, May 22 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Hallie Reads, May 22

Among the Reads, May 23

Moments, May 23

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 24

Just Your Average reviews, May 24

Real World Bible Study, May 25

Pause for Tales, May 25

Ashley’s BookshelfMay 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 26

Texas Book-aholic, May 26

Bigreadersite, May 27

janicesbookreviews, May 27

Inklings and notions, May 28

Rev. Rebecca Writes: Read, Write, Pray, May 29

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, May 29

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away a grand prize of a print copy of the book, a beagle coloring book, and an Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e012/act-of-valor-celebration-tour-giveaway

Past Forward: Review, Tour, and Giveaway

 

About the Book

Book: Past Forward

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Fiction, Romance, Suspense

Release Date: April 19, 2017

Past Forward CoverAlone without friends or family to comfort her after the death of her mother, Willow Finley’s idyllic life is over—and just beginning.

The Finley women’s lives, while rich and full, aren’t easy. rejecting electricity and many other modern conveniences, they live purposefully and intentionally–alone and isolated from the world around them.

When Willow Finley awakes on a hot summer morning, she is unprepared for the grief that awaits her. Jerked from a life of isolation with her mother, Willow learns what alone really means when she finds her mother dead.

From the moment Willow arrives in the police station with her startling announcement, Chad Tesdall fights the friendship he knows he can’t avoid.

The Past Forward series opens with Willow’s life-changing discovery and gently guides the reader through aspects of her life–the past weaving through the present and into the future. Experience her first morning in church, her first movie, and the culture shock of her first trips to the city. A birthday party and a street faire add welcome diversion from butchering, canning, and the beating of area rugs. Disaster strikes. Will she choose to continue her simple life, or will an offer in the city change it all? Find out in this first volume.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

Book Review:

I had so much fun reading these books. The message is intense and pointed. Seeing the world through Willow’s eyes brought a fresh perspective to the world we live in. Chad’s reluctance to becoming her friend gave their relationship an added spark.

The amount of detail in Willow’s day to day life put me in mind of Janette Oke and Lauraine Snelling. You feel as though you’re right there, peeking over Willow’s shoulder, learning how to live her life. Sometimes, I would nearly forget that Willow lived in the current century. While the stories are rich in detail, they never become dull or monotonous as there seems to be a disaster of some sorts around every corner. These moments of intensity bring a steady reminder that Willow’s life has ups and downs and will likely never be perfect.

Willow and Chad’s disagreements left me cringing. With their tempers and beliefs, there were a few ‘you’re gonna regret that’ moments. My favorite though was seeing Chad and Willow’s spiritual journeys. Willow has a strong belief, but there are times when she’s tested, when she questions God, and those moments made Willow real for me.

About the Author

ChautonaChautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her on the web and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

 

More from Chautona

HOW DID MY WEIRD HIGH SCHOOL YEARS INSPIRE THIS BOOK?

December 1985. The time had finally come. After two months of living in a run-down motel in Rosamond, California, we were finally moving to our own place. Seventeen miles away.

Just off Highway 58, outside Mojave, California (about the place that Alton Gansky’s, Distant Memoryopens), a huge billboard loomed. For the curious, it’s still there today. Aqueduct City.

For the record, there was no city. There still isn’t. Just a dirt road or three. Oh, and the aqueduct. In fact, that’s eventually how we got our water—stole it from the California aqueduct.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

At the edge of all those parcels lay our new land. Twenty-two acres of desert sand, creosote, sage, and a tiny, baby Joshua tree at the end of our long, U-shaped dirt driveway.

I took out that sucker with my first attempt at backing down the drive. It looked like a snake had slithered back and forth across the sandy strip of cleared dirt, and somehow I managed to run over the foot-high tree. It wasn’t often I managed to shock my mother speechless. That was one time. I now have mad back-upping skills. Thought you oughtta know.

On that land, my parents put an 18’ travel trailer.

We hauled in water in 55-gallon drum barrels—first from a friend’s house and later from that aqueduct. It was several miles closer. One of those barrels ended up on top of the trailer for showers. The water pressure depended on how full that sucker was. Navy showers? Ever had one? It goes like so:

  • Turn on water.
  • Make one slow turn under the water to get all wet.
  • Turn it off.
  • Lather up.
  • Shampoo hair.
  • Turn on water.
  • Turn off.
  • Work conditioner into hair.
  • Turn on water.
  • Turn off.
  • Get out.
  • Try to stop your teeth from chattering.

For the record, that chattering is no joke. When it’s twenty degrees out there, water gets cold. And we had no way to heat it.

Our plumbing also included a shovel. For… um… other plumbing needs. Winter was the worst and the best time for the call of nature. Worst because, well, 40 mph winds and twenty-degree weather. Best, because no snakes.

We used Coleman propane lanterns, a propane refrigerator (that sat outside our door), and eventually, a gas-powered generator. Once a week, Dad would fire that thing up so I could iron my church clothes. #darkages

For the curious, summer was blistering hot.

No fans (except for stiff cardboard we used arm-power to operate). No air conditioner. Not even a swamp cooler. Mom and I would go into town and read at the library when we just couldn’t take another minute in 112-degree desert heat. She’d drive me to Lancaster so I could go sit in an air-conditioned movie theater and watch another movie. If it came out in 1986 or 1987 and wasn’t pure smut, I probably saw it. Out of self-preservation.

Before long, I’d been relegated to the “porch.” That consisted of a redwood lattice “patio” enclosure in front of the trailer door. (For those who haven’t figured it out yet, I was the dictionary definition of “trailer trash” in some people’s books.) That space was eight feet wide and sixteen feet long.

I had a twin bed out there. When winter came, dad made sleeping out there more bearable by heating huge rocks in one of those 55-gallon drum barrels and wrapping them in old quilts. That went at the foot of my bed to keep my feet warm.

If only the wind hadn’t blown sand into my hair every night…

What does all of this have to do with Past Forward?

Just this. People have often asked why Willow would choose to live without electricity. Some have said you couldn’t live only five miles outside of town and be so isolated and reclusive.

I disagree.

We did it. By choice. Because it’s who my father is. And of all of my characters, Kari Finley, Willow’s mother, is the most like my father. The way Kari taught Willow? That’s exactly how Dad used to teach me—by making it a natural part of life.

I didn’t know it when I wrote the series, but Past Forward really does show exactly what kind of life my father would have chosen to live if he’d ever really considered it. The self-sustaining work, the emphasis on beauty, the isolation—all of it shows the kind of man I call Dad.

If you’d asked me as a kid what I thought of living out there in Mojave, I would have said I hated it. Not only that, I would have believed myself. But if you’d talked to me for a while, you would have figured out that I said that because I was expected to. No one thinks you’ll like living with almost nothing, in the middle of nowhere, especially as a teenager.

Looking back, though, I actually I liked it. Dad. Mom. Me. And Boozer, our dog. I’d tell you about her, but that’s a story for another day. Yeah, I liked my life there “out on the property,” as we called it.

Except for the Mojave green rattlesnakes. Not a fan of those. Not then or today.

Just sayin’.

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, May 15

A Reader’s Brain, May 15

Godly Book Reviews, May 16

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 17

Blogging With Carol, May 18

Inklings and notions, May 18

Bigreadersite, May 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 19

All-Of-a-kind Mom, May 20

Texas Book-aholic, May 20

Aryn The Libraryan, May 21

Quiet Workings, May 22

Retrospective Spines, May 22

Inspired by Fiction, May 23

Carpe Diem, May 24

For Him and My Family, May 25

janicesbookreviews, May 25

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 26

Rebekah’s Quill, May 27

Inspiration Clothesline, May 28

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize that includes a complete paperback set of Past Forward & a custom Past Forward Lavender Lemonade candle!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e319/past-forward-celebration-tour-giveaway

More to Love: Review, Tour, and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: More to Love

Author: Robin Helm

Genre: Christian Historical Sweet Romance

Release Date: February 12, 2019

More to Love Cover“She is tolerable, I suppose, but there is rather too much of her to tempt me.” Overhearing Mr. Darcy’s rude dismissal of her shocks and mortifies Elizabeth Bennet to the core. She is living her worst fear, and it galvanizes her into action. Soon, the gentleman cannot keep his eyes from her, but can she forgive his thoughtless judgment of her appearance and character? Especially since he faces a worthy competitor for her attention? Who will win the lady’s hand, along with the right to love her through thick or thin?

Click here to purchase your copy.

Book Review:

I’m gonna say it. Whimsical. I’ve been waiting *forever* to say that about a book. Now, I can. Truth Alert: I’ve never read Pride and Prejudice (I’m ducking away from the computer. I can feel your gasps and cries of consternation.) I’ve been meaning too…really! That being said, I cannot compare More to Love with Pride and Prejudice. I’ll simply have to report on the book itself.

I found More to Love to be a fun book, as you’ve likely discovered from my use of whimsical earlier. Elizabeth and Darcy are flawed, dramatic, and often hilarious. Elizabeth takes his words to heart and Darcy seems to always be doubtful he can trust Elizabeth. I see this relationship going all over the map, in a fun, annoying way.

Robin Helm does well with descriptions and character portrayal. Her writing style is lyrical and clean, very reminiscent of poetry with its steady cadence. There is very little romance, making More to Love a clean read appropriate for all ages.

Elizabeth’s reactions to Darcy’s words at the beginning of the story show how harmful and shameful comments can be. Her worth should not be dependent on physical looks, no ones should. Your worth lives in how you act, how you love, and the way you represent God. Darcy is arrogant and must learn the consequences of his actions by continuously fighting to win Elizabeth’s affection.

From a spiritual standpoint, there are Bible verses or appropriate quotes at the beginning of each chapter, and Elizabeth mentions God twice, I think. Otherwise, He is between the lines, showing up in Elizabeth’s forgiveness and Darcy’s desire to protect the woman he loves.

About the Author

robin helmRobin Helm’s books reflect her love of music, as well as her fascination with the paranormal and science fiction. Previously published works include The Guardian Trilogy: GuardianSoulFire, and Legacy (Christian paranormal romance); the Yours by Design series: Accidentally YoursSincerely Yours, andForever Yours ( ChristianTime Swap romance), and Understanding Elizabeth (Christian Regency romance). She contributed to A Very Austen Christmas: Austen Anthologies, Book 1, an anthology featuring like-minded authors, in 2017, and A Very Austen Valentine: Austen Anthologies, Book 2, in 2018. New releases for 2019 include More to Love, a stand-alone Christian historical sweet romance dealing with body image; Lawfully Innocent, a Christian historical U.S. Marshal romance book in the Lawkeepers series; Maestro, a Christian historical sweet romance featuring a brilliant musician and his student; and A Very Austen Romance: Austen Anthologies, Book 3. She lives in sunny South Carolina where she teaches piano and adores her one husband, two married daughters, and three grandchildren.

More from Robin

Have you ever been judged on the basis of your appearance – what you weigh, how you dress, how you wear your hair or do your makeup? I am a professional dieter, and I have been on all of them. I lose, and I gain it back. I know the lengths a woman will go to after she overhears remarks about how she looks, so I relate to Elizabeth in More to Love in a way that’s a bit beyond my comfort zone.

Another aspect of this book which is personal is that I chose to base a supporting character on a wonderful, Christian lady at my church (with her permission). Mrs. Donna Bailey has been a constant encouragement to me in regards to my writing. She often gives me beautiful sugar cookies she painstakingly decorates with holiday themes. Mrs. Bailey is the housekeeper and dessert cook at Longbourn, and she helps Elizabeth through thick and thin, so to speak.

Blog Stops

Just the Write Escape, May 13

Genesis 5020, May 14

Through the Fire Blogs, May 14

Carla Loves To Read, May 15

Blossoms and Blessings, May 15

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, May 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 16

Just Your Average reviews, May 17

Hallie Reads, May 17

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 18

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, May 19

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 19

Pause for Tales, May 20

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 20

A Baker’s Perspective, May 21

Maureen’s Musings, May 21

My Devotional Thoughts, May 22

Remembrancy, May 22

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 23

Texas Book-aholic, May 23

janicesbookreviews, May 24

Inklings and notions, May 25

A Reader’s Brain, May 26

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Robin is giving away

Grand Prize: a $25 Amazon gift card
1st Place: An autographed paperback of A Very Austen Valentine: Austen Anthologies, Book 2
2nd Place: An autographed paperback of More to Love
3rd Place: A set of three eBooks – Reader’s Choice of any three of my books!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e270/more-to-love-celebration-tour-giveaway