The Man He Never Was by James L. Rubart

The-Man-He-Never-Was

About the book:

What if You Woke up One Morning and the Darkest Parts of Yourself Were Gone?

Toren Daniels vanished eight months back, and his wife and kids have moved on—with more than a little relief. Toren was a good man but carried a raging temper that often exploded without warning. So when he shows up on their doorstep out of the blue, they’re shocked to see him alive. But more shocked to see he’s changed. Radically.

His anger is gone. He’s oddly patient. Kind. Fun. The man he always wanted to be. Toren has no clue where he’s been but knows he’s been utterly transformed. He focuses on three things: Finding out where he’s been. Finding out how it happened. And winning back his family.

But then shards of his old self start to rise from deep inside—like the man kicked out of the NFL for his fury—and Toren must face the supreme battle of his life.

In this fresh take on the classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, James L. Rubart explores the war between the good and evil within each of us—and one man’s only chance to overcome the greatest divide of the soul.


My review:

Wow. James Rubart never disappoints. His stories are always a smidge of mind-bending mixed with a bit of heart-wrenching and a lot of soul-searching. The Man He Never Was combines all of these into one gripping tale.

He’s obviously a keen observer of human nature. In this book, Rubart has created a group of characters that are at once fresh and familiar; no one I may actually know, but I can see reflections of myself and others I do know so easily in each of these characters, that it’s almost like he’s been taking notes as he observes my life. Okay, not really, but he has done a marvelous job of illustrating the battle that Paul the Apostle noted we all face: what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do (Romans 7:15).

This is one you definitely want to read. Grab a copy as soon as it hits the shelves on the 20th of February. 🙂

Many thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for the advanced copy of this novel for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

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A Reluctant Assassin by J C Morrows

A Reluctant Assassin

About the book:

HER MISSION WAS SIMPLE

GET CLOSE TO THE PRINCE AND KILL HIM…

Kayden entered the palace under a lie — one designed to get her close to the prince. She may look like a princess but beneath the mask, a killer lays in wait for the perfect moment.

Dvarius was not ready to take the crown, nor was he ready for a wife…but due to his father’s unexpected death and an archaic law, he must find a bride before he is allowed to take his rightful place on the throne.

And the one woman he wants — just might be the one…who’s there to kill him.


My review:

This was an interesting story with a slightly different take on the fairy tale ideal of the prince falling in love with the pauper. I want to say that I loved it, but, honestly, there were a few things that just won’t allow me to give it a really good recommendation.

First, I felt like the story skimmed over some of the more important details and focused on some things that were maybe not as vital to the plot. For example, we really don’t have much of Kayden’s history with the Order, why she reacts in certain ways, or what the Order of the Moonstone is actually all about (besides sending young, beautiful women to kill people), but we do know that she has a closet full of clothes. Because the characters were not quite as fleshed out as they could have been, it did seem as if I knew more about what they were wearing than about what motivated them to speak or act.

Next, the flow of the story was often interrupted by random dashes and ellipses. Sometimes characters’ thoughts or speech would pause in strange places and I’d find myself having to read the same sentence a few times to make sure I understood just what was happening.

It was, however, an enjoyable read, and I would really like to know what happens to Kayden and Dvarius in the next book of the series.

But I would recommend you buy this in ebook format, in the hopes that you can adjust the font (which in the paperback version was an all-caps copperplate that was strange for me to read) to your liking.

**I did start by reading the VERY short Order of the Moonstone short story, “A Perilous Assignment.” It is a brief glimpse into how Kayden was chosen for the assignment. You certainly don’t have to read it, since the content of the prequel doesn’t really add any important information to the overall story. But it is interesting…

A Perilous Assignment

Amish Vampires in Space by Kerry Nietz

AViSFrom the book:

Jebediah has a secret that will change his world forever and send his people into space.

The Amish world of Alabaster calls upon an ancient promise to escape destruction. They end up on a cargo ship bound for the stars.

But they are not the only cargo on board. Some of it is alive…or used to be.

Now, with vampires taking over and closing in on the Amish refugees, these simple believers must decide whether their faith depends upon their honored traditions or something even older.


My review:

I bet I know what you’re thinking (because it’s the same thing I was thinking when I first saw this book)…this has to be a joke, right? A spoof or parody or something? I imagined I would be laughing my way through this book, while the author poked fun at Amish fiction.

Then I started reading it. Wow! Not only is it not a spoof, it is a terrifically well-written piece of science fiction. Kerry Nietz managed to take three forms of fiction that I’m not a huge fan of (space opera, paranormal/vampire fiction, and Amish fiction) and mesh them into a remarkable story that I couldn’t put down. The core of this story is not about Amish vampires in space–they are simply a rather interesting medium for a discussion about what is truly important to you. What do you truly rely on when the proverbial chips are down: tradition, pop culture, or something bigger than all that?

I never thought I’d find myself recommending a book called Amish Vampires in Space, but I can’t seem to recommend it highly enough. You definitely need to read this 🙂

Crown of Souls by Ronie Kendig

crown of souls

From the book:

When you stare into the abyss, it also stares into you.

The bullet that rips into Cole “Tox” Russell was never meant to kill. It was meant to send a message. Only one man is skilled enough to have taken the shot, a rogue Special Forces operator who vanished months ago.

Alec King is perhaps the only person as skilled as Tox, and he’s out for justice. Furious with orders that got his men killed, he intends to make those responsible pay. And he insists Tox join him, believing they are the same breed of soldier.

Afraid his old friend could be right, Tox battles a growing darkness within himself as he and his team are forced into another deadly encounter with antiquity. It appears Alec is harnessing the power of a mysterious artifact, a crown that history has linked to some of the worst slaughters in humanity. Racing to stop Alec before his vengeance is unleashed, Tox must fight the monster without becoming one.


My Review:

Ronie Kendig has done it again—written a book I couldn’t put down! I really enjoyed reading the prequel novella to this series, The Warrior’s Seal (which is free on Kindle, if you’d like to get to know Tox and his crew), and I was impressed with the first Tox Files novel, Conspiracy of Silence (you can check out my review here). But Crown of Souls surpassed them in my eyes.

Cole “Tox” Russell has deepened even more as a character, torn between love and justice. And the plot was full of so many twists, turns, and whaaaats??, that I couldn’t help staying up way past my bedtime to keep turning the pages. And did I regret it the next morning? Absolutely not! The read was definitely worth the bags under my eyes!

With shades of some of my favorite suspense authors, like Steve Berry and David Baldacci, Kendig has crafted a series that I want to keep reading (and re-reading!). Here’s hoping a new installment of the Tox Files comes soon!

Many thanks to Bethany House for the copy of this novel for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

The House on Foster Hill by Jamie Jo Wright

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From the book:

Kaine Prescott is no stranger to death. When her husband died two years ago, her pleas for further investigation into his suspicious death fell on deaf ears. In desperate need of a fresh start, Kaine purchases an old house sight unseen in her grandfather’s Wisconsin hometown. But one look at the eerie, abandoned house immediately leaves her questioning her rash decision. And when the house’s dark history comes back with a vengeance, Kaine is forced to face the terrifying realization she has nowhere left to hide.

A century earlier, the house on Foster Hill holds nothing but painful memories for Ivy Thorpe. When an unidentified woman is found dead on the property, Ivy is compelled to discover her identity. Ivy’s search leads her into dangerous waters and, even as she works together with a man from her past, can she unravel the mystery before any other lives–including her own–are lost?


My Review:

It’s a bit hard to believe that this multi-layered, intricately crafted tale is Jamie Jo Wright’s debut novel. She did a marvelous job of building tension and creating that perfectly eerie atmosphere that a good mystery needs. I found my eyes flitting across the page (against my will!) to see what was coming up—that, to me, is a great sign of a well-written mystery.

And it’s almost like you get two complete novels in one, because of the historical story running alongside and intertwining with Kaine’s story. Bonus! The House on Foster Hill is a terrific read! I’d recommend you pre-order it or grab your copy as soon as it is released on December 5, 2017.

Many thanks to Bethany House Publishers and NetGalley for the advanced digital copy of this novel. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

Sun and Moon by Desiree Williams

30047544From the publisher:

There is nothing in life that eighteen year old Zara craves more than her freedom. Stolen from her home in Cadrebia at the age of eight, Zara has spent more years than she cared to admit as a slave to the Tankadesh courts. Her days are filled with protecting the princess, while she spends nights entertaining the king and his officials with her mastery of weapons. Any spare moment in between, she plots escape.

Yet her hopes for freedom come to a crashing halt when a stranger arrives bearing the mark of her assigned lifemate, and he threatens war if she isn’t turned over into his care. But a lifemate is not part of the plan. Her dreams, of choosing her own path and being the master of her own will, weaken as her Moon seeks to claim his Sun.

Is it possible that this stranger, with gentle blue eyes and a ready smile, didn’t come to be her new master? That there could be more to his tale?

Zara soon finds that neither her captivity nor her parents’ deaths were mere random attacks. And by returning to Cadrebia, she may have put the future of the royal line—and her Moon—in jeopardy. While Zara breathes in her first taste of freedom, her enemies move in, seeking to rob Cadrebia of its blessed prophecy.

To keep what she holds dear, Zara must rise above the pain and uncertainty to claim the lifemate assigned to her, or more than her freedom will be stolen this time.


My (brief) Review:

I really enjoyed Sun and Moon. I must have, since I devoured it in just a day 🙂 I found it to be a unique and wonderful concept, and thought Desiree’s smooth writing definitely did the idea justice. She created an interesting world, peopled with multi-faceted, relatable characters, and tied it all together with heartstrings.

It made my heart flutter, made me laugh, made me tear up, all of it! Can’t wait to read another book by Desiree Williams 🙂

The Space Between Words by Michèle Phoenix

the space between words

From the publisher:

“There were seconds, when I woke, when the world felt unshrouded. Then memory returned.”

When Jessica regains consciousness in a French hospital on the day after the Paris attacks, all she can think of is fleeing the site of the horror she survived. But Patrick, the steadfast friend who hasn’t left her side, urges her to reconsider her decision. Worn down by his insistence, she reluctantly agrees to follow through with the trip they’d planned before the tragedy.

“The pages found you,” Patrick whispered.

“Now you need to figure out what they’re trying to say.”

During a stop at a country flea market, Jessica finds a faded document concealed in an antique. As new friends help her to translate the archaic French, they uncover the story of Adeline Baillard, a young woman who lived centuries before—her faith condemned, her life endangered, her community decimated by the Huguenot persecution.

“I write for our descendants, for those who will not understand the cost of our survival.”

Determined to learn the Baillard family’s fate, Jessica retraces their flight from France to England, spurred on by a need she doesn’t understand.

Could this stranger who lived three hundred years before hold the key to Jessica’s survival?


My Review:

The description of this book snagged my attention, and I couldn’t resist reading it. Now, I’m grateful to have read it, for it has given me a new perspective: a deeper understanding of the effects of terrorism, both in our world today and in our history.

How do I put the beauty of this novel into words? Phoenix has crafted a novel with genuine characters, flawed and loveable and completely real; with drama that is timely and relevant, yet still hauntingly beautiful; with history and heartache and healing and hope.

This is a book that uses the power of fiction to present truths that will affect you profoundly. Read it with an open heart and a box of tissues.

Many, many thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for the advanced copy of this novel for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own. 🙂