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Customer Reviews for Monarch Books Mortal Fire, The Secret of the Journal Series #1

Monarch Books Mortal Fire, The Secret of the Journal Series #1

Emma, a young and self-contained professor of history, leaves Cambridge for a post in an exclusive university in the USA, intent on finding a long-overlooked seventeenth century journal. Bound within its pages are secrets that threaten to bring Emma into conflict with the present; but can she discover the truth; and if so, will she believe it?
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10 out of 1191%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for Mortal Fire, The Secret of the Journal Series #1
Review 1 for Mortal Fire, The Secret of the Journal Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Palpable tension and intense romance

Date:September 21, 2012
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The Loopy Librarian
Location:Atlanta, GA
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
I was drawn into this story almost immediately. The author created a setting and atmosphere that breathed tension and suspense. The danger was unknown and unseen, but palpable. The characters were well-formed for the most part and the romantic elements managed to be almost erotic without conflicting with Christian values. It stands out from other Christian fiction that I've read in that it has flawed characters and never gets preachy. The plot itself unfolds rather slowly, but the relationships, especially the one between Matthew and Emma with their intense attraction to one another, keep the reader's interest. Also, the author does an amazing job of sustaining the suspense and tension before anything particularly sinister occurs. I'm looking forward to the sequel as I can't wait to see what happens next!
In compliance with FTC regulations, please note that I received a free review copy from Kregel Blog Tours.
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Review 2 for Mortal Fire, The Secret of the Journal Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A Page-Turning, Heart-Racing, Action Suspense Thri

Date:September 20, 2012
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VicsMediaRoom
Location:Irvine, CA
Age:55-65
Gender:male
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
C. F. Dunn in her new book, “Mortal Fire” Book One in The Secret Of The Journal series published by Monarch Books takes us into the life of Emma D’Eresby in a contemporary thriller.
From the back cover: Emma, a young and self-contained professor of history, leaves Cambridge for a post in an exclusive university in the USA, intent on finding a long-overlooked seventeenth century journal. Bound within its pages are secrets that threaten to bring Emma into conflict with the present; but can she discover the truth–and will she believe it?
You would not think that a long-lost 17th century journal could cause so much trouble today. Yet that is exactly what happens to Emma, trouble, as she searches for this scroll. I am not a conspiracy theorist however I do enjoy a good conspiracy theory and “Mortal Fire” is a conspiracy theorist’s dream. Emma has left her home and position in England for a new home and position in the States to study this journal. She has left all her friends and what she knew behind for new people and a new place. Now others are trying to stop her from doing what she came over here to do.
This is a thriller as Emma is great danger and is actually attacked. This is an adventure suspense story as Emma is off on her search and as she begins to dig up her answers she is forced to question the motives of those around her. The only person she feels she can trust, Matthew, is keeping secrets even from her. “Mortal Fire” is also a mystery filled with twists and turns that will make a roller coaster kneel in surrender. The only bad thing is that it is part one of a trilogy. Well, maybe not so bad, we will be able to get more story in two more books! We will just have to wait for them that’s all. I think C. F. Dunn is an extremely talented writer who really knows how to tell a story that will grab you and keep you flipping pages until you find out what is going on. ”Mortal Fire” is a very exciting book that will keep you engrossed in the characters. This is a wonderful series and I am glad I discovered C. F. Dunn. I look forward to a long and pleasant relationship. I recommend this book highly.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Monarch Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Review 3 for Mortal Fire, The Secret of the Journal Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

On Fire for Mortal Fire

Date:September 19, 2012
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April Erwin
Location:Independence, MO
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I am so excited about this new series! Mortal Fire is kind of the intellectuals' turn at Twilight. I say that with all respect for Stephanie Meyers' series, I love Twilight. It's not that Twilight isn't intelligent, but the setting and characters for this series are older and more academic.
Emma is quiet, private and obsessed with a a very unusual part of history - torture, all kinds throughout history and how it's affects have touched humanity. Although a gruesome subject, Emma sees it differently and her unique research has led her to the states to teach and study a diary. Emma's sheltered academic walls of safety begin to crumble when the evil she studies intellectually becomes real on the campus.
Then there is the handsome doctor Matthew Lyons. She's drawn to him despite her efforts to avoid romantic entanglements. He's unexplainable and always there to protect her. In fact he begins to seem more than human.
I love the mix of academia, mystery, faith and dare I say, possibly a little of the supernatural? I was hooked from the start and couldn't put it down. I read half the night and couldn't wait to pick it up the next morning. C.F. Dunn has you speeding through the pages all the way to the ending that makes you say, "WHAT?!"
Don't worry, there's a second book coming and there is a preview in the back of the book, which may have just saved my sanity. Fantastic start for a very promising author.
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Review 4 for Mortal Fire, The Secret of the Journal Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Unusual story with unexpected ending

Date:September 18, 2012
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Vera
Location:North Carolina
Age:Over 65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
My thoughts: I found the book interesting and perplexing. I found very little connectivity between "The Journal" and the plot except for the fact that the heroine's main reason for accepting the position in the USA was because it housed the original "journal" a transcribed portion of which held her interest since childhood.
The introduction of each character is slow but thorough and lends to the surface flow of the story. However, the slow progression of the story almost lost this reader before I could engage in the seemingly main idea. This main idea is truly not one that you can really grasp as it is most elusive in nature. In fact, where the title "Mortal Fire" gets its genesis is lost to this reader.
I did finish the book and ultimately I found it quite interesting. It seems as though the "hero" of the story is somewhat supernatural, not human, or most rare and unusual at the least. There is not a clue as to why he is different, he just is. He is certainly a gentlemanly and kind individual of many talents and strengths.
I found this read in the land of academic interesting because they being highly educated individuals are ultimately pretty normal folks after all. But some really interesting personalities were revealed in the characters Ms. Dunn created for Mortal Fire.
I am sensing connection between the "hero," The Journal, and the dying grandmother (wife of the grandfather who introduced our heroin to "The Journal." Only future books will reveal if this is indeed so.
I am not overly fond of books in a series unless they can still be read as "stand alone" books. This one literally begs to be finished and the promise of completion only seems to be in the upcoming sequel, "Death Be Not Proud."
The genre is Christian fiction thriller or mystery. There is an element of Christian emphasis in the book, through not strong. The heroin is a Christian and endeavors to let her faith in Christ be her guide and her strength. There is an element of evil and danger, of love and romance, of friendship and avoidance, and of family love. There is also the element of things seemingly being non-Earthly or other-Worldly.
Would I recommend it? Let's just say I could recommend it. The author, C.F. Dunn, certainly has a gift with words and the telling of a story. Mortal Fire is just a bit different from that which I normally read - even when I'm ready for a heavier read instead of the lilting light reads that you settle down with when you need to simply relax. I do think I would like to read the followup book/s. The cliff hanging ending has just simply whetted my appetite.
I received a complimentary copy of Mortal Fire from Kregel Publisher in order to render my honest review and all opinions expressed are solely my own.
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Review 5 for Mortal Fire, The Secret of the Journal Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Incredible suspense and intrigue

Date:September 18, 2012
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LaTawnia Kintz
Location:Forest Grove, Oregon
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I am always excited to receive a package in the mail. Invariably it contains a new book for reviewing. I usually have a few books going at the same time in the review process, so I will let a new one wait until I get the others finished. Can't get too many books going at once.
However, today when I received the review copy of Mortal Fire, I knew it was a book that couldn't wait to be read. The cover alone was intriguing. Dark and mysterious, old books in the foreground and an eye surrounded by wisps of smoke. Very intriguing, indeed. But the best part lay in-between the pages.
Once I began reading this book, I couldn't put it down. I only stopped because my dogs wouldn't stop pestering me to take them outside. I had to know what was going to happen next.
Extremely well-written, strong, bold characters and a plot so tight with suspense I found myself holding my breath more often than not.
Emma D'Eresby, a visiting History professor from England, is on a journey, a quest, searching for a lost journal. The people she meets at Howard's Lake College in Maine, USA, are a cast of characters in and of themselves. Sam Wiesner, the "lady's man;" Elena Smalova, intelligent and excitable, and Matthew Lynes, mysterious, strong, and maybe even something more.... just who is he?
Mortal Fire is a book you want to read with the lights on and during the day. But if you are like me.... you won't be able to put it down.
This review was made possible by Kregel Publications providing me with a free review copy. I am under no obligation to write a positive review.
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Review 6 for Mortal Fire, The Secret of the Journal Series #1
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Intriguing

Date:September 17, 2012
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kattrox
Location:Indiana
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Sometimes a thought cannot be trusted.
Emma D'Evesby professor from the University of Cambridge is being welcomed into the US from the UK. A book catches her eye, one that is reminiscent of medievel times and one that seems to intrigue her love of history. The Dean at the University appoints several mentors to assist Emma in transitioning as she seems unsure of herself at times. However there is noone who is safe when lives are at risk. Will Emma discover the secrets before the clock ceases to tick?
Danger, intrigue and suspense come together to form the storyline. This is a plot building book with description happening progressively. Scenery worked and was descriptive, dialogue flowed smoothly and I was able to connect with the characters fairly well. Although the novel did have a few parts that drug slightly towards the middle it does get better as the book moves along. Hints of faith seemed to strengthen values, however, a few of the conversations amongst the characters casually mentioned sexual situations but did not describe details. A good first novel 3.5 stars! Thanks to Kregel Publications Monarch Books for the complimentary copy for my review.
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Review 7 for Mortal Fire, The Secret of the Journal Series #1
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Leaves You Hanging

Date:September 17, 2012
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Jill Stanish
Location:Midwet
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
The book is full of mystery. From the first chapter, the ominous tone is firmly set and carried throughout each page. Some details take awhile to come out--pieces about the main character's life are dispensed in very small tidbits which added to the overall mystery.
Emma faces quite a mixed reception when she arrives at Cambridge. Some colleagues treat her warmly and others prove to be rather menacing. Emma's experience of some very real harassment from a colleague along with rumors of the president's moral misconduct created quite a bit of tension and foreboding. I was surprised at how long the harassment went on between Emma and another professor and nothing was done until she became in very serious danger. And the book ends before justice is served--adding yet more mystery to the storyline.
Reading this book was like venturing through an elaborate maze with twists, turns and redirections. Unfortunately readers will not find the exit in book one. By the end of the book, Emma hasn't even cracked open the journal that she was so obsessed with researching. I can appreciate the strategy of leaving readers hanging so they'll buy the next book. But I can't help feeling as though some may be turned off with the absence of closure on so many different fronts.
I would put this book into a somewhat more "edgy" Christian fiction category. Christianity was woven into the book as more of a philosophical discipline--along the lines of an academic exercise. The main character claimed to have had a conversion experience but some of the choices she made did not line up with behavior I would expect from a born-again believer. I can understand pre-Christian indiscretions. But I would expect them to be viewed as wrong in hindsight. I never honestly felt as though Emma felt true remorse for those past decisions. And Emma also made what I consider morally wrong choices even after her conversion--actions that within the confines of the first book seemingly had no consequence.
Usually it's obvious within the first few chapters where the book is going. So to get all the way to the end and find out that one character may be something other than human was a little frustrating as I have difficulty reconciling my faith with paranormal stories. Obviously the paranormal genre is extremely popular right now so for those readers looking for a clean alternative with Christian overtones, C. F. Dunn's Mortal Fire may be a good choice. Just be prepared to remain in suspense before learning the rest of Emma's story.
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Review 8 for Mortal Fire, The Secret of the Journal Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Held me captive

Date:September 16, 2012
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Christianfictionaddiction
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Seeking access to a seventeenth-century journal, history Professor Emma D'Eresby leaves England for a temporary position at a prestigious university in America. Her arrival sparks a flurry of curiosity at her British accent and her surprising area of expertise examining the historical use of torture for the "benefit and salvation of the recipient". She soon catches the eye of several male admirers, one of whose attention grows increasingly disturbing by the day. When Emma is attacked, she is rescued by a doctor, Matthew Lynes, who she finds herself growing to love, a doctor shrouded in mystery, a man who appears to be connected to the past and the truth Emma is seeking to uncover.
Mortal Fire is a book of suspense, of secrets, of unexpected developments, and I was held captive by the tale that Dunn has woven. Emma is a brilliant character, someone who is smart and unique, with an interesting personality that makes you want to spend time getting to know her. I enjoyed the moments of humour sprinkled throughout the book, while the scene where Emma is attacked is utterly chilling. My one criticism of the book is that at times Emma's infatuation with Matthew and her dealings with other admirers felt a bit more juvenile than I would have liked, detracting somewhat from my enjoyment of the character. However, taken as a whole, I greatly enjoyed the book, finding it to be well-written and action-packed, leaving me craving more.
As with most books in a series, I came to the end with more questions than answers, but with enough hints to what is going on to make me appreciate what the author has accomplished. Mortal Fire is an excellent debut novel, and the author has gained a new follower as I highly anticipate the next book in the series, and the further revealing of Emma's story and that of the mysterious Mathew. 4 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, Monarch Books, as distributed by Kregel Publications, for the purposes of this unbiased review.
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Review 9 for Mortal Fire, The Secret of the Journal Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

British style paranormal novel set in Maine

Date:September 16, 2012
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bookwomanjoan
Location:Oak Harbor, WA
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Emma D'Eresby is a professor of history at Cambridge, following in her grandfather's profession. She specializes in the history or torture. Her grandfather had studied an obscure seventeenth-century journal and had left her a portion of the journal he had copied. She is obsessed with being able to study the journal in its entirety.
The opportunity comes when she is offered a post at an exclusive university in Maine. This university has the journal in the library's rare manuscript collection so Emma leaves Cambridge to take the year long post.
Life for Emma becomes complicated as a colleague attempts matchmaking. Then there are brutal attacks on women she thinks might be the work of a sinister English professor. And most distracting of all is her growing attraction to Dr. Matthew Lyons, a handsome yet secretive man.
This novel is Dunn's debut entry into the genre of paranormal romance. While the novel takes place in America at an exclusive university in Maine, the writing style is British. If you like P. D. James or Elizabeth George, as I do, you'll like this book. If you want a novel that moves at a fast pace, this may not be the one for you.
There is definitely the paranormal, or supernatural, element in this novel. As the story progresses, the evil element builds. But there is a “good guy,” too, with abilities beyond that of regular humans.
The Christianity in this novel follows after the British style. It is not the evangelical, church going, kind of Christianity we expect in American novels. There is definitely a sense of good and evil, and Emma is squarely on the God side of the battle.
One warning. This book is the first in The Secret of the Journal series (chapter one of the sequel is included in this book). Usually, each book in a series is pretty much self contained and can be enjoyed on its own (especially the first in a series). That is not the case with this book. There are loads of loose ends left hanging at this book's completion. This novel could well have been described as “Part One” of the series, giving one the warning that only part of the story is told in this novel. Much more must come in the next novel to make full sense of this one.
If you like to read the kind of novel that will get the hair standing on your neck, read this one. But be prepared to wait for the sequel to finish the story!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel for the purpose of this review.
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Review 10 for Mortal Fire, The Secret of the Journal Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Awesome and engrossing story!

Date:September 16, 2012
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DynamicUno
Location:Lutz, FL
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Knowing that C.F. Dunn is "across the pond," I figured British spelling and vocabulary would be used throughout the book. I was not disappointed. For those of you wondering if it detracts from the story, please know that it does not. In fact, as Emma is from the UK, it lends an air of authenticity to the story.
When we come across a traffic accident with a fatality within the first few pages, I wasn't sure what to expect. After all, I was just being introduced to the characters and I didn't really know their motives yet. Reading on, I found myself being sucked into the story as Emma, being a stranger in a strange land, found her way amongst the academia and was introduced to new friends and some unsavory characters on staff.
I enjoyed getting to know her colleagues and students (from Emma's perspective) and enjoyed the conversations about Emma concentration of history and how it has shaped her beliefs. I even enjoyed the anticipation of a blossoming relationship that held immense mystery. But as a librarian, I doubly enjoyed Emma's trips into the land of literature to find the journal she so intensely wanted to understand. I even understood her actions with the journal, but was disappointed that she was stopped so violently from learning its secrets.
The characters are complex and multi-faceted. Just as I thought I understood what they were thinking, something would crop up and completely change the direction of my own thinking. (Isn't this true of us as living humans as well?) I'm completely engrossed in the story and want to know what happens next. No, I need to know what happens. Does Emma discover the mysteries surrounding her recent relationship? How will she react to the truth that she so desperately wants to uncover? And what will the secrets in the journal reveal about her own and others' pasts?
If you enjoy mystery with a hint of romance, you will love this book! Make sure you carve out a chunk of time because you will not want to put it down. It's THAT engrossing. I just hope that book #2, Death Be Not Proud, comes out soon!
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Review 11 for Mortal Fire, The Secret of the Journal Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

A thriller that'll know you out of your knickers!

Date:September 16, 2012
Customer Avatar
CarliAlice
Location:Union, MO
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
C.F. Dunn is the author of Mortal Fire, the first book in "The Secret of the Journal" series. She also happens to live in the U.K. I may have to go there and wait patiently on her front doorstep while she writes book two. I'd wait inside the house but I'm afraid I'd disrupt her thinking process and "my" book would be totally messed up.
Emma D'Eresby is a young history professor who leaves the confines of Cambridge to teach at an esteemed university in Maine. It's not money or esteem that draws her there. It is the possibility of touching, reading, researching the full original text of a seventeenth-century Englishman's journal of which her grandfather had willed her a portion. When she gets to Maine her quiet research is thwarted by odd match-making, the jailing of a student, attacks on young women and through it all the continual tug of her heart to a beautiful, yet mysterious, man.
This romantic thriller is just that. Often times more thriller than romance. I found myself trying to guess the ending, wanting to look ahead, but afraid that I'd ruin the fun.
To be perfectly honest, the first two chapters did little for me. I found myself not wanting to read the book. The style is quite poetic in nature with descriptions so detailed that it did not allow your mind to wander at all. However, somewhere in the third chapter things just clicked. It's like Dunn found her writing groove and drew me in so deep I didn't think I was ever going to dig myself out. The characters seemed real, I suddenly found myself wanting to learn more about history (entirely odd), and just when I thought I had it all figured out...that was it. The end. Wait for book two. Ugh!!! That's an entirely good "Ugh" by the way.
Even those who do not normally enjoy Christian literature will enjoy this. Yes, Emma is a Christian but the book is not necessarily about challenging your faith. It is about entertainment, wonder, and giving you goosebumps as you turn each page. Yes, there were times I thought I'd jump out of my knickers (as the Brit's would say).
As mentioned earlier, I'm not sure that I can wait to read the second book. C.F. Dunn, please put a pot of tea on for me. I might get cold waiting on your doorstep.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Kregel Publications. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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