Exploring Time and Redemption in Venice

All the Lost Places by Amanda Dykes is a novel that intertwines history, mystery, and faith in a richly detailed narrative set against the backdrop of Venice. The story spans two centuries and follows Sebastien Trovato and Daniel Goodman, whose lives intertwine through the enigmatic Book of Waters. 1807: Sebastien Trovato is found floating in a basket along the canals of Venice. Raised by a guild of artisans, he grows up skilled in various trades but haunted by questions about his origins. His quest for answers intensifies when a mysterious woman washes ashore on his lagoon island. 1904: Daniel Goodman, a reformed thief from California, seeks redemption and a fresh […]

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A Weekly Devotional to Nourish the Mind, Body, and Spirit

Soulfull is a gentle nudge to reorient our intentions and seek more from our one precious life. This collection of spiritual reflections, recipes, activities, and prayers acts as an encyclopedia of hope and spiritual direction. Are we truly living the life we want to live? Sometimes, but not nearly enough. Our souls crave authentic experiences, but seeking them is a challenge in our over-committed world, where we often focus more on “making it through” than “making it sacred.” We need regular soul wake-up calls and holy daily rhythms to live a life that feels good from the inside out, shines with meaning, and radiates joy. In this refreshingly original invitation […]

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A Thrilling Tale of Espionage, Friendship, and Unfinished Business

Former spy Maggie Bird, at 60, has settled in the seaside village of Purity, Maine, hoping to leave her dangerous past behind. She lives a quiet life on her chicken farm, enjoying cocktails with her close-knit group of friends—all retired CIA operatives. But when a body is dumped in her driveway, and someone takes shots at her, Maggie soon realizes her past isn’t done with her yet. Enlisting the help of her “Martini Club,” Maggie dives back into the world of espionage to uncover who’s trying to kill her and why. Complicating matters is Purity’s acting police chief, Jo Thibodeau, who is more used to handling rowdy tourists than homicides […]

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A Convoluted, Offensive Adventure

I had high hopes for this book, especially with its intriguing premise of Templar Knights, ancient artifacts, and secret societies. Unfortunately, it fell short in too many ways. The story follows attorney Cameron Thorne and British researcher Amanda as they race around New England, trying to uncover 600-year-old mysteries. It sounded like a thrilling adventure, but the execution left much to be desired. The plot was convoluted and hard to follow, making it a struggle to stay engaged. One of the major issues was the book’s strong anti-Christian tone. It felt heavy-handed and detracted from the story rather than adding any meaningful depth. The author’s handling of religious themes was […]

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A Harrowing Tale of Survival and Sisterhood in Ancient Pompeii

In The Wolf Den, author Elodie Harper brings to life the brutal and unforgiving world of Pompeii’s notorious brothel. Amara, once the cherished daughter of a Greek doctor, is sold into slavery by her mother, and is now a prostitute. Despite her circumstances, Amara finds solace in the bonds she forms with the other women in the brothel. Together, they navigate the dangerous streets of Pompeii, dreaming of freedom and a better future. The narrative is engaging, and Amara’s strength and resourcefulness make her a character worth rooting for. However, the book’s explicit depiction of sex and violence makes it a tough read for those who prefer gentler stories. The […]

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Intrigue and Secrets in a Kentish Village

“There was something about even the smallest fire that was more unsettling than other crimes of a similar caliber. The match idly thrown on tinder can become an all- consuming blaze, while sparks ignored can envelop a mansion if left unchecked. And flame ignited for the sake of malicious damage strikes at the very heart of individual and collective fear, for isn’t fire the place where the devil resides?”—Jacqueline Winspear, An Incomplete Revenge. Set in 1931 during an economic downturn, An Incomplete Revenge by Jacqueline Winspear follows psychologist and investigator Maisie Dobbs as she tackles a puzzling case in the picturesque village of Heronsdene, Kent. Every year, during the bustling […]

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The Traitor Beside Her

This book had potential but ultimately fell short of expectations. Set in 1944, it follows 21-year-old Justine Byrne, who is recruited by US Army Intelligence, to work at Arlington Hall, a code-breaking facility to uncover a traitor. Initially, the premise promised a gripping WWII espionage thriller. Unfortunately, the execution didn’t live up to that promise. The pacing was inconsistent, with the plot dragging in places where it should have been tense and thrilling. The characters, especially Justine, lacked depth and development. Though portrayed as an intelligent woman, she came across as flat and one-dimensional. The historical setting was well-researched, but it often overshadowed the plot. The repetition of words throughout […]

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A Beautifully Woven Tale of Love and Family Secrets

The story centers on Matelda Roffo, an Italian grandmother nearing the end of her life, who decides it’s time to reveal her family’s hidden secrets. As she unfolds the past, we’re transported back to her mother Domenica’s life in pre-World War II, Italy. Domenica thrives in the coastal town of Viareggio, Italy until she is banished by the Catholic Church. Her journey takes her from the rocky shores of Marseille to the mystical beauty of Scotland and onto the dangerous streets of war-torn Liverpool. Trigiani’s writing is lush and evocative. She captures the essence of Italian culture—the food, the landscapes, and the deep-rooted traditions. I could almost taste the homemade […]

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Legal Mystery with Christian Themes

In Double Indemnity, Robert Whitlow crafts a tale of mystery and suspense set in north Georgia. Matt and Elena Thompson’s seemingly perfect life starts to unravel with secrets and financial troubles. Their marriage faces a critical blow when Matt dies in a suspicious hunting accident. New attorney Liz Acosta and pastor Connor Grantham are drawn into the turmoil of the Thompsons’ lives. Liz digs into the legal intricacies of Matt’s death, while Connor, who counseled the couple, finds himself entangled in their explosive arguments. Whitlow’s legal knowledge adds authenticity, and elements of faith and clean romance provide a wholesome touch. However, uneven pacing and a slow start might test some […]

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A Stirring Historical Mystery

Clark and Division by Edgar Award-winner Naomi Hirahara brings readers into the poignant struggles of a Japanese American family in 1944 Chicago. After spending two years in the Manzanar internment camp, twenty-year-old Aki Ito and her family face another blow—the mysterious death of Aki’s sister, Rose, ruled a suicide by police. Convinced of foul play, Aki is determined to uncover the truth, thrusting us into a tale woven with historical intricacies and the harsh realities of racism and displacement faced by Japanese Americans during and after World War II. Hirahara’s portrayal of 1940s Chicago is rich in historical detail, offering a vivid backdrop to the personal and communal challenges Aki […]

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