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In modern day England, Professor Felix Guichard is called in to identify occult symbols found on the corpse of a young girl. His investigation brings him in contact with a mysterious woman, Jackdaw Hammond, who guards a monumental secret–She’s Dead. Or she would be, were it not for magic which has artificially extended her life. But someone else knows her secret. Someone very old and very powerful, who won’t rest until they’ve taken the magic that keeps her alive….

In Krakow in 1585, Dr John Dee, the Elizabethan Alchemist and Occultist, and his assistant Edward Kelley have been summoned by the King of Poland to save the life of his niece, the infamous Countess Elisabeth Bathory. But they soon realize that the only thing worse than the Countess’ malady, is the magic that might be able to save her…
As Jackdaw and Felix race to uncover the truth about the person hunting her, it becomes clear that the answers they seek can only be found in the ancient diary of John Dee’s assistant, Edward Kelley. Together they must solve a mystery centuries in the making, or die trying.

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Two stories; one problem.  As Jackdraw and Felix race to solve their problem and save a second teen, so did Dr. Dee and Edward Kelley race as well, to save their lives whilst not falling prey to the evil magic surrounding the Countess.  thesecretsoflifeanddeath

It doesn’t take long to understand that a “borrowed timer” is essentially a vampire. And, if you’ve had your ear to the historical ground, you might have actually heard of the **Countess Elizabeth Bathory.

Jack and Felix race against not only time to protect Sadie from two sets of threats, but also struggle to help Sadie understand what she is and what she must do to stay alive-ish. Jack struggles to trust Felix; Felix seeks understanding.

Dr. Dee and Edward Kelley struggle to save the Countess, despite the releasing of the evil needed to do so, as well as protect their own lives. If the Countess dies; so too, will they lose their lives. If the Countess lives……..

I think this is the first I’ve read by this author. Initially off to a slow start, the connection between the two stories wasn’t readily apparent for a bit. For the first bit, I found myself thinking, “Get to it already!” Once it got going though, whew!

5 out of 5 stars for this one. I especially love the historical element to this book. The author shares a bit of the actual history at the conclusion, which I appreciate.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

**The Countess is known as the most prolific female serial killer. The official record stands at 80 victims, as the witness’ recorded total of 650 victims could not be authenticated. Yes, this is the lady who killed and then allegedly bathed in the girls’ virginal blood. She was eventually tried, and walled up in her castle with small slots for ventilation and food. It took her 4 years to die in this solitary confinement. Her 4 other cohorts were summarily punished: 2 burned at the stake after having their fingers ripped off by hot pincers; 1 beheaded and body burned; the last one was imprisoned for life. She was later known as the ‘Lady Dracula’.

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[youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HYTC66332M%5D

Go watch the video. I’ll wait. 🙂

Ok. Everybody here?

If you’ve been reading my book reviews, you’ll probably remember that I generally like Sigmund Brouwer’s books, and don’t shy away from reviewing them.

This one, though…… I’m starting off with my rating. I’d give this book 10 stars if I could.

Go. Read. It.

This is a story, which, while fiction, was inspired by the author’s own parents’ experiences. {That hooks me every time.} It starts with a picture of a young boy’s freedom, family life, and conflict with another boy of similar age. By the end of the book, we’ve gone full circle; right to old age and deeply buried secrets.  thiefofglory

The tale of those secrets- of love lost; assault; tragic decisions made by parents; protection- all revealed- is told through the eyes of an aged man, seeing through his childhood eyes.

Compelling. Riveting, Gut wrenching. Heartbreaking.

“Thus, in solitude one night all these decades later, while still cognizant of the words I spoke, I found the strength and courage to fold my hands together and bow my head and finally ask His mercy.

I etch these last words not from a need after my death to share and dissipate the shame of what I did on the night my mother died at the internment camp, but from a desire to comfort Laura and Rachel, who led me, for the first time since that horrible night, to find the courage in that solitude and pour out my soul in prayer and weep with all the anguish I had denied myself for far too long.”

It’s been a while since a book has affected me like this. I imagine it will be a good long while until I read another one like it.

Go. Read. It.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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“As dawn approaches in New York, literary agent Isabel Reed is turning the final pages of a mysterious, anonymous manuscript, racing through explosive revelations about powerful people. In Copenhagen, veteran CIA operative Hayden Gray, determined that this sweeping story be buried, is suddenly staring down the barrel of an unexpected gun. And in Zurich, the author himself is hiding in a shadowy expat life, trying to atone for a lifetime’s worth of lies and betrayals while always looking over his shoulder.  theaccident

Over the course of one long, desperate day, these lives will collide as the book begins its dangerous march toward publication, toward saving or ruining careers and companies, placing everything at risk—and everyone in mortal peril . . .”

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This book had a slow and confusing start. I was beginning to wonder if it was a dud. But, I felt obligated to read it, so I did.

There’s a lot of back and forth in this book; meaning, a lot of jumping around from character to character and year to year/time to time. It took a while and a lot of thinking to figure out what was going on. This was a Kindle edition, so I don’t know if the hard copy had those flashbacks italicized or not. That would have helped considerably. I love a good mystery, but this one was challenging to even understand. Once I got to that point, it was exactly as I thought it would be.

One thing that kind of bothered me was the body count. I mean, it was unreasonably high. It just seemed to me that given how the dead folks were related to each other (not family, but professionally), the cops would have been all over this in real life, which means much of the plot would have been much more complicated in order to work around a police investigation. There were parts that were too convoluted to do anything but get a chuckle out of the absurdity.

I’m giving this one 3 out of 5 stars. I would consider reading more by this author, but I don’t think I would go out of my way to do it.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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The only thing that Cassie Robichaud has ever really wanted is Will Foret, the love of her life. But when Will discovers that Cassie is part of S.E.C.R.E.T., an underground group devoted to helping women experience their deepest sexual fantasies, Will breaks it off. Heartbroken, Cassie dries her tears and focuses on her work with helping the latest S.E.C.R.E.T. recruit, Solange Faraday. Cassie also reignites her relationship with sexy bad-boy Jesse, even though she knows he can never love her as deeply as Will did. secretrevealed

Meanwhile, beautiful, brilliant Solange, a local news anchor and divorced mom, has a great career but a wilting love life. She rekindles long-lost passions, going deeper and hotter than any other S.E.C.R.E.T. candidates before her. Can Solange find what her heart most desires? And when Will realizes he’s made a tragic mistake, will Cassie be able to forgive him?

S.E.C.R.E.T. Revealed is the explosive, sexually-charged finale to the phenomenal S.E.C.R.E.T. trilogy.

 

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You’ll have noticed that I’m using the publisher summary instead of my own. Why, you might ask? In a nutshell, this is an x-rated book. 😯

This is the final book in the trilogy. Despite that, you don’t need to read the previous titles to get the gist of what’s going on. If you enjoy this genre, you will likely find this title fits right in. I’ve been reviewing for the Blogging for Books program for almost three years, and this time is the first time I’ve been stumped on what to write. There was a lot of “OMG!”s and “I can’t believe this book came from this publisher!”s going on throughout. I’ve been done with this book for over a month, and obviously, had a tough time sitting down to write the review.

Without a whole lot of detail, I can say it’s imaginative, although I’m absolutely sure the actual premise is something that I would never get into. ……

Anyhow. Because it’s the last in a series and I wasn’t lost; the writing was definitely descriptive; overall well-written, and because the only thing that gives me pause is the subject material, I’m giving this one 4 out of 5 stars. If sexually explicit writing is not your cup of tea, pass this one by. Really. Trust me on this. Don’t even crack the cover open.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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Are some mysteries better left alone and unsolved?

When Laura returns home to the South to settle the estate of her recently deceased mother, she can’t help but to feel the tug of her heartstrings; wondering what really happened to her daddy. They say he drowned in the lake all those years ago, but now folks are whispering that they’ve seen him around.  astillnessofchimes

Sean didn’t want to tell her about the rumors, but he knew it was better coming from him than anyone else. Laura didn’t need the heartache. And Sean knew heartache. He was still pining for Laura, 18 years later. Some things can never be resolved until they actually are.

Do Sean and Laura have a future together, given their past? Is there any truth to the rumors about her father not being dead? Does she even want to go down that rabbit trail of reasoning?

When Meg Moseley is on, she’s *on.* This was another fantastic title by this author. I love a good mystery, even if it seems a bit implausible at first. I wouldn’t say this book is action packed, but if you are anything like me, you might find your mind racing; thinking of possibilities and variables. And then, you might wonder what you would do in this situation.

5 out of 5 stars for this title. Read it if you can! Other Meg Moseley titles you might enjoy: Gone South and When Sparrows Fall.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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12 years old is a terrible time to lose one’s father. Drew ought to know. Having his father killed in action started the momentum that sends Drew’s life spiraling. Things settled for a while, then life changed again, uprooting him and his mother. As a high schooler, Drew watches his football career go down the tubes after a car accident leaves a teammate dead. The investigation didn’t turn up anything to charge Drew with, but his soul was imprinted nonetheless.  cloakoflight

College finds Drew and his best friend, Ben, at the same college. Ben, as nerdy as ever, has some serious work going on with his physics professor, who has gone missing. And, to top it off, Ben has some concerns about what was found during the last experiment with laser light acceleration technology. He’s determined to replicate the experiment to see if he can discover what happed to Dr. Waseem, who shut down the equipment and forcefully told him to leave.

Drew isn’t sure they can duplicate anything, but he figures he’d better go along and back up his buddy. What a difference a single decision can make…….

After the accident in the lab, Drew is rendered blind. He’s trying to cope with being told he’ll never see again. Ben visits him; running scared. Dr. Waseem’s body was found, and Ben figures he’s next. Drew was not surprised to learn later that Ben has also vanished.

And then- Drew’s vision starts coming back. And, it’s not the same. He can still see the other dimension the lab experiment revealed, but he doesn’t need the laser or the equipment. Is he losing his mind?

Throughout the years since his father’s death, in addition to his mom, one constant has been his dad’s team member, Jake. Drew confides in Jake, only to find a psychiatric doctor waiting for him at home. While Jake does believe Drew is sane,  Drew knows he needs to leave to protect his family. Knowing his mother is in good hands, and with years of Jake’s training under his belt, Drew knows it’s time.

He needs to find Ben. Before he heads out, he pays a visit to a long-time friend who’s kept his interest since high school- pastor’s daughter Sydney. Before he leaves her at college, they find themselves in the middle of a shooting- and Drew cannot believe his eyes. He sees the Invaders from the other dimension pushing the shooter to shoot. Even more astonishing, is yet another Invader that interferes, which allows Drew and Sydney to escape.

As time goes by, Drew’s wondering about the forces of evil grow stronger, and he finds himself time and again in a position to affect the outcomes of those acts.

Can Drew sort it out and get to the truth of the Invaders? Are they after him?  Can he find Ben before it’s too late?

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The concept of this book was intriguing. It was a bit dry, though. The writing covered a lot of territory; many years, which I understand as laying the ground work for the characters. It did not take me long to figure out what was going on. I will say, though, that the ending was terribly abrupt. It looks like this is going to be a series, but gosh, I really wish things would be left a bit more tidy and not completely ‘unfinished’ feeling.

The author clearly knows his Bible, though. There’s a good portion of the book that goes chapter by chapter and correlates events with scripture. Because this title was interesting enough, I’m giving it 4 stars. I’ll also keep my eye out for the next title in the series and give it a go if I get a chance.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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Thomas fought to conquer Magnus. Now his hold is hanging on by a thread. The faux Priests of The Holy Grail are doing a number on the inhabitants of his island. Who can argue with the ‘divine’ miracles they present?  martyrsfire

Feeling the lack of choice amidst the threats, Thomas allowed the 15 so-called priests to “grace” his land with their “truth.” They claimed to guard the Holy Grail. As they took over the local parish, displacing the priest via a “miracle” of the “weeping Madonna,” Thomas knows he must escape before they kill him.

Dressed as a beggar, Thomas makes his way to the parish, after learning that it’s filled with the poor who have taken an oath of loyalty to the interlopers.  He’s also learned that his castle has fallen without a fight. Meeting with his trusted and recently beaten friend, Gervaise, Thomas learns quickly that his life is at stake. He must escape.

Gervaise gives Thomas cryptic directions to a secret passage out of the church. “After sixty steps, you must make the leap of faith. Understand? Make the leap of faith. You will find the knowledge you need near the burning water.”

Thomas is confused and unsure of the directions, but knows he must trust or perish.

To add to Thomas’ dilemma, Isabelea is alive and the banished Katherine keeps showing up uninvited. Will Thomas’ journey to Jerusalem provide him with the answers he needs? Can he make it there alive?

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If you’ve read my review of book 2, Fortress of Mist, you will remember how disappointed I was that the sequel had not yet been released. I was thrilled when I got the chance to review the next title in the series.

I was really disappointed, though, with the length of this next installment. This really only qualifies as a snack; an hors d’oeuvre; a novella.

I was bummed. There were parts that were equally confusing as the last story, but I have confidence that it will all get tied in together.  I wouldn’t suggest trying to read this as a stand-alone title, because you will be completely lost. Much of the storyline is the continuation of previous events, and without knowing those, you really won’t have a clue as to the role of the girls, in particular, and you won’t understand why Thomas doesn’t trust either of them.

It looks like the next installment comes out in January. I will be reading it. I seriously hope there is some meat to the next book, because this one was just a tease. I give this one 4 out of 5 stars, mostly because I enjoy the author and think the overall story is good.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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