Thursday, September 21, 2017

Crown of Souls, The Tox Files #2 by Ronie Kendig

Book description:

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:

I have been a fan of Ronie Kendig's books ever since I read the first one, a suspense/intrigue novel. She went from that to finding her true niche, writing military/special ops fiction. She is not alone in the Christian fiction market with this genre', but she is hands down the best at writing this genre'. She has proven that time after time with each book she has written, and has done so again with The Crown of Souls. And it also shows she keeps getting better and better.

  The Tox Files are different from her other series. In her previous series, she has created a team of guys and focused on a different guy in each novel in that series. In the Tox Files, she has again created a great team of guys, but each book focuses on the same man: Cole Russell, aka Tox. She still does a lot of character development on the other characters in the book, which she always does masterfully, but I have enjoyed the whole series focusing on one character and seeing more character development than normal. And Ronie has created a great and likable, though flawed, character in Cole Russell.

 This series has also been different from her others in that she blends history with the modern, going back in history in between what is happening in the here and now.

 Crown of Souls is the most intriguing novel in this series so far, and the most gripping. At the center of the story is a very misguided former special ops and friend of Cole's, Alec King. King has seen too much bad left unchecked because of politicians decisions, and is now taking things in his own hands, meting out his form of justice and vengeance. He is borderline insane in his lust for vengeance, and is pushed over the edge by an ancient crown that seems to have the power to corrupt the person wearing it.

 Ronie did a great job of portraying the feelings of King, which are echoed in Cole, as he struggles to understand his friend, yet still condemn his actions. I myself have read of the atrocities committed in other countries and how our soldiers are commanded to ignore some things and stand down instead of taking really bad guys out. I can see how a soldier could go over the edge like the fictional Alec King, and how a soldier like Cole could also struggle in that area.

 Slight spoiler alert: one interesting part of this series has been the fact that Cole Russell is dead to  the world, including his parents. I was curious and eager to see where that would go, and found out in this book.

  As to what I thought of the book overall: a word that gets overused, but definitely applies here: awesome. Ronie has outdone herself yet again. The book was a perfect blend of suspense, intrigue, humor, internal conflict, flawed but likable characters,  history, and Christianity. I made the mistake of taking this book with me to work and reading on my breaks, and had a very difficult time putting it down to go back to my job. I loved the book, and can't wait to read the next one in the series.

 I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 Get the e-book prequel, The Warrior's Seal free on Amazon.

About the author:


An Army brat, Ronie Kendig grew up in the classic military family, with her father often TDY and her mother holding down the proverbial fort. Their family moved often, which left Ronie attending six schools by the time she’d entered fourth grade. Her only respite and “friends” during this time were the characters she created.

It was no surprise when she married a military veteran—her real-life hero—in June 1990.  Married more than twenty years, Ronie and her husband  have homeschooled for the last eighteen years. Despite the craziness of life, Ronie finds balance and peace with her faith, family, and retired military working doge in Northern Virginia.

Ronie has a deep love and passion for people, especially hurting people, which is why she pursued and obtained a B.S. in Psychology from Liberty University. Ronie speaks and teaches across the country and mentors other writers.




Since launching onto the publishing scene in 2010, Ronie and her books have hit bestseller lists and garnered awards and critical acclaim, including:

2015 RT Book of the Year Finalist – Firethorn
2015 INSPY Shortlist – Firethorn and Embers
2015 Lime Award Winner – Firethorn
2012 Christy Award Winner – Wolfsbane (Contemporary Romance)
2013 HOLT Medallion Winner – Trinity: Military War Dog (Best Book by a Virginia Author)
2013 Selah Award Winner  – Firethorn (Fiction – Suspense)
2013 Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award Winner – Trinity: Military War Dog (Romantic Suspense)
2012 Lime Award Winner – Firethorn (Suspense)
2012 Carol Award Finalist – Wolfsbane (Romantic Suspense)
Christian Retailing’s 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards Finalist – Nightshade
2011 Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award Finalist – Nightshade (Romantic Suspense)
Named one of the Top 25 Christian Fiction Suspense, Mystery, and Thriller Writers by FamilyFiction (Sept 2011)
2011 FamilyFiction Readers’ Choice Awards – 3rd place as New Favorite Author, 8th place with Nightshade for Novel of the Year.
INSPY Award Shortlist final in Mystery/Thriller (Dead Reckoning)
The Christian Manifesto’s 2010 Lime Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Nightshade)


  Conspiracy of Silence is available from Bethany House Publishing, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

 Thanks to the Crown of Souls Quick Reaction Force Group for the review copy.

Check out Ronie's website at RonieKendig.com

Download the e-book novella The Warrior's Seal here, which is free at the writing of this review.









Monday, September 11, 2017

The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life by Erwin Raphael McManus

Book description:

When a person comes to end of their days they will not measure the value of their life based on wins and losses or successes and failures. All of those will begin to blur together into a singular memory called life. 

What will give someone solace or haunt them until their final breath is what they could have done but did not, who they could have been but never became, the life they could have lived that never came to life. 

This book is a call and much needed push towards that "most courageous life." By examining the account of Elisha and the King of Israel, McManus demonstrates why it is best to follow God into battle with an empty quiver. He shows the reader why leaving everything on the battle field feels risky but yields the deepest sense of fulfillment.

My review:

   There is a story in the Old Testament that is the idea behind this book. It is the story of the prophet Elisha having King Joash shoot an arrow, then beat the rest of the arrows on the ground. The king was chastised for not beating the arrows on the ground more times than he did.

 The idea behind the book, and the description of the book intrigued me enough to apply to be in the launch team, and the book did not disappoint. Using his scare with cancer and some other events in his life, McManus has written a great book addressing this issue of holding nothing back as we live our lives for Christ.

 The book is well written, and is very convicting. I am sure I am not the only person who tends to hold back, and this book is all about doing the complete opposite. I found the book to be a quick and easy read, though one that definitely makes you think.

 I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review,.

About the author:  


Erwin Raphael McManus is an iconoclast known as a cultural pioneer for his integration of creativity and spirituality. He is an artist, entrepreneur, and cultural thought leader who is also the founder of MOSAIC, a community of faith in Los Angeles California. Known for their innovation, creativity, and artistry, MOSAIC has been named one of the most influential and innovative churches in America.

Engaging such issues as culture, creativity, change, and leadership, Erwin is widely known as a thought-provoking communicator, poet, and wordsmith. His travels have taken him to over 50 countries and he has spoken to over a million people from a wide variety of audiences, from professional sports, Wall Street investors, universities, film studios, and conferences across the world.

McManus is the author of Soul Cravings, Chasing Daylight, and other leading books on spirituality and creativity. His newest book is The Artisan Soul: Crafting your Life into a Work of Art.

Erwin Raphael McManus sees the imagination as the principle vehicle through which we create a better self, a better world, and a better future. He argues that creativity is both uniquely human and the essence of human uniqueness. Creativity, McManus contends, is a natural expression of our spirituality. When we are most fully alive we create out of love all that is good and beautiful and true.

Erwin has a BA in psychology from UNC Chapel Hill, a Masters of Divinity from Southwestern Theological Seminary, and a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Southeastern University.


The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life is available from Waterbrook/Multnomah Publishing.

Thanks to Waterbrook/Multnomah for the review copy.

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Unreformed Martin Luther by Andreas Malessa

Will the real Martin Luther please stand up? 

After five hundred years of examining the life of the "father of the Reformation," we must surely know all there is to know about Martin Luther. But is that true?

Did he really nail his Ninety-Five Theses to the church door?

Did he throw an inkpot at the devil?

Did he plant an apple tree?

Did his wife escape her convent in a herring barrel?

German radio and television journalist Andreas Malessa looks at the actual history of Luther and concludes that many of the tales we know best are nothing but nonsense.

Diving gleefully into the research, Malessa investigates many of the falsehoods and fallacies surrounding the reformer, rejecting them in favor of equally incredible facts. Full of humor and irony, this book educates and entertains while demonstrating a profound respect for Luther's life and mission.

If you're looking for the truth of the man behind the theses, come discover his faith and influence--with the myths stripped away.

My review:

  Martin Luther is a very well know, well loved, and very controversial individual. I thought I knew a lot about him, but this book looked interesting, so I requested it.... and found out I didn't know as much about him as I thought.

 The author does a great job of addressing what is true and what is false in what we know about Luther. Often humorous, he tackles several ideas we have about Luther and dispels the ones that are not true.

 I found the book interesting, and learned a few things along the way. Recommended for church history buffs, and anyone interested in Martin Luther.

About the author:

Andreas Malessa is a theologian, author, and lyricist, most recently for the musical Amazing Grace. He and his wife live near Stuttgart and have two grown daughters.


The Unreformed Martin Luther is available from Kregel Publishing. Thanks to Kregel for the review copy.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Patterns Evidence: Exodus with a giveaway

The Bible’s Exodus account is under attack from many of the world’s leading experts who say there is no evidence for this foundational story – they claim it’s just a myth. Faced with the skepticism, filmmaker Timothy Mahoney experienced a crisis of faith. Mahoney had been investigating the Bible’s Exodus account, and this controversy forced him to refocus on one question – is there any evidence that this foundational story really happened?

The result of the 12-year investigation was the feature-length documentary film, Patterns of Evidence: the Exodus. It reveals a powerful and faith-affirming pattern of evidence matching the major events of the Bible’s Exodus and Conquest accounts in the archaeology of Egypt and Israel. This evidence has been largely unrecognized because it exists in an earlier period of history than where most scholars are looking. Yet the historical information in the Bible itself points to the Exodus happening in a historical period that is centuries earlier than the standard view today.

Mahoney combines a vivid retelling of the biblical story with interviews of top authorities from both sides of the debate in an investigation spanning the ancient and modern worlds. His bold new approach identifies six primary steps of the Exodus account before looking for evidence matching these steps wherever it exists in Egypt‘s history. The results are startling and could fundamentally transform the way the world views history and the Bible.

My review:

  I don't watch many documentaries, but decided to review this one since it sounded interesting. The producers and narrator did a great job on it. There are a lot of interviews with experts, some of whom say there is no evidence of the Exodus and some who do. The producers are honest about their doubt throughout the DVD, of course coming to the conclusion that there is indeed evidence of  The Exodus.

 There are a lot of video shots of the Holy Land, especially in the area of the Exodus. This documentary is well done, interesting, and they do a great job of showing there is evidence of the Exodus.

 A bonus feature DVD is also included that has features such as meeting the cast, behind the music, and more.

About the author/filmmaker/producer :

Tim Mahoney founded Mahoney Media Group, Inc. (MMG) in 1989. MMG focused its business on television and video production for regional and national companies. In 2014 Tim founded Thinking Man Films & Media as an international documentary & publishing company with a focus on education and the Bible. Tim produced numerous productions for Christian organizations including the Billy Graham Association, World Wide Pictures, and Compassion International. Tim also served as the President of the board for the International Christian Visual Media Association (ICVM). Tim’s first full feature documentary film, “PATTERNS OF EVIDENCE: THE EXODUS”, released in January 2015. The film took 12 years to develop and takes a scientific approach to investigate the events of the biblical Exodus. The overall vision for his film company is to explore “patterns of evidence” that support the biblical narrative and engages the world in a conversation. The film takes a balanced approach and leaves the audience to decide for themselves if the Bible is real history or myth.


About the film

Won 13 awards on the film festival circuit in 2014, including a Gold Remi Award winner for Best Director at the Worldfest Houston Intl. Film Festival, the Gold Crown Award for Best Picture and Best Documentary at ICVM 2014, and Official Selection at the Soho International Film Festival in New York.

Supplemental resources associated with the film include a nearly 400-page hardcover book, small group Bible study, Movie Event kit, youth version (called Young Explorers), homeschool curriculum and others.

It includes powerful interviews with some of the top experts in the fields of archaeology and Egyptology as well as people of influence in the Middle East.

The film has an objective, fair-minded and balanced approach. It allows viewpoints from all sides to be heard in a respectful way while asking honest questions of the Bible and scholars’ views. It does not preach and lets the evidence speak for itself. This allows the film to be very shareable with those of different viewpoints.

Social Corner

*Buy Link is...   https://store.patternsofevidence.com/collections/movies
*Main website for people to watch movie trailers and see more info is www.patternsofevidence.com
**If you want to offer a discount code for your readers to put in when purchasing the DVD at our store, they can use MK1 for $3 off the DVD price which retails for $19.95.


Thanks to FlyBy Promotions for the review copy.

Giveaway:

Comment on this post to be entered to win a copy. I will pick one winner using random.org 10 days from today on September 6.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Legacy, Secrets of the Shetlands #3 by Michael Phllips

The Dramatic Conclusion to Michael Phillips's Shetland Islands Saga 

Loni Ford's unexpected inheritance of substantial real estate--not to mention a title--in the Shetland Islands has caused more than a stir in the quiet fishing hamlet of Whale's Reef. How is life ever to be the same with an outsider--and a woman, at that--playing such a pivotal role in the life of this conservative community? But it isn't just the locals who have deep misgivings about the current situation. Loni herself never imagined this in her wildest dreams. 

What Loni is more sure of, however, is that she is falling in love--with Whales Reef, with its hardy people, with its simple, peaceful way of life, and with local chieftain David Tulloch, whose inheritance she has usurped, at least in the eyes of some. 

But life in Whales Reef is not without drama. Deep rifts exist between certain lifelong residents, and when one local resident turns up dead, suspicion is cast in the direction of the island's most prominent family. How Loni and David deal with this challenge will go a long way in determining their future, and that of the quaint island community.

My review:

   This is by far the best series Michael Phillips has written..... at least that I have read. I loved the first two books, and have been eagerly waiting for this third and final book in the series.

 This book goes back and forth between the past and future more than the two previous books did, focusing on Loni's great grandfather and great grandmother's meeting, dating, marriage, and the rest of their lives. To be honest, I was a bit distracted by this at first and wished the author would stick to the modern day story...... but then I got caught up in the story of Brogan and Emily. Though their story and Loni and David's story were all fictional, it was neat the way the author showed the legacy of a family down through a few generations. The book flowed well as Phillips went back and forth between the past and present, weaving them together to make one great and entertaining story.

 This is a long book, but it was one I had difficulty putting down. Though not the suspense I normally read, this and the books it follows were all gripping reads and Phillips excelled in his writing in the whole series.

 The Legacy takes  the reader from the small Shetland Islands across the sea and back, and across the years and back. The ending result was a great read that I enjoyed, though I was sorry to see the series end. I highly recommend this series, it is definitely worth reading.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:


Michael Phillips has been writing in the Christian marketplace for 30 years. All told, he has written, co-written, and edited some 110 books. Phillips and his wife live in the U.S., and make their second home in Scotland.


The Legacy, and the rest of the Secrets of the Shetlands Series, is available from Bethany House, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Bethany House for the review copy.

The Heist: How Grace Robs Us of Our Shame by Chris Durso

Some say there were two thieves crucified on Golgotha, but I believe there were Three 

In the ultimate act of sacrifice, Jesus robbed the Enemy of every claim he ever had on our lives. He stole all our shame and guilt, and gave us back our lives so that we could live in true freedom. 
The real scandal of Jesus' work on the cross is found not only in what it gives but also in what it steals. The Grace of God robs the enemy of his ability to shame us. It robs death of its sting. And it robs sin of its power to destroy. 

We've all felt the weight of shame and brokenness. Like the prodigal son, we've pursued our own path only to find ourselves far from home and out of options. We long for a fresh start, but what we need most is the ability to see ourselves through God's eyes of grace. 

New York City pastor Chris Durso believes grace is the central message of all Scripture. While there have been some daring heists and cunning capers throughout history, this book is about the greatest heist the world has ever seen...a daring raid where God's son took back what the enemy had stolen, freeing us from the power of shame, sin, and Satan. 

Through a fresh take on the parable of the prodigal son, and the fascinating account of a true modern day diamond heist, The Heist offers a bold invitation into God's boundless grace.

My review:

  I had never heard of Chris Durso before reading this book, but the title and premise intrigued me... so I requested it to review.

 There have been a lot of books written and sermons preached on and about grace. I am sure it is difficult to come up with something new and fresh on the topic, but Durso has done a great job of doing so. Comparing Grace taking our shame to a robbery/heist, he does indeed take a different approach and look at this immense topic of grace.

 Filled with personal stories and his take on grace and the prodigal son, he has written an intriguing, interesting, and encouraging book. I tend to read more fiction than non-fiction, but I found this book as interesting of a read as the average Christian fiction novel I read. No matter how mature the Christian, we often have trouble letting go of shame. Through his book, Durso shows how it is possible to get rid of that shame with God's grace and forgiveness and move on from it.

 I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:

Chris Durso is the founding pastor at Misfit NYC, a ministry for millennials in New York. He is co-pastor of Christ Tabernacle church in Queens, New York. Chris resides with his wife, Yahris, and two children, Dylan and Chloe, in New York.

The Heist is available from Waterbrook/Multnomah Publishing

Thanks to Waterbrook/Multnomah for the review copy.

God's Crime Scene for Kids by J Warner and Susie Wallace with a giveaway

Book description:


In this companion to Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, Jason uncovers a mystery in his grandmother's attic. He and his friends, Hannah, Daniel and Jasmine, enlist the help of Detective Jeffries at the Jr. Detective's Academy. Along the way, they develop the skills needed to investigate the mystery and the evidence of God's existence. The cadets learn logical-thinking skills as they examine the contents of a mysterious box and the vast universe.

In God's Crime Scene for Kids, real-life detective J. Warner Wallace shows kids ages 8 to 12 what skills are needed to solve Jason's mystery, and at the same time looks at evidence in the universe that demonstrates God is the creator. Ultimately, kids will learn how to make their own case for God's existence.



My review:

  The subtitle of  this book is "Investigate Creation with a real live detective." Using his experience as a cold case homicide detective, Wallace has written a book for kids with Creation being the case to be solved. The premise of the book is a detective named Jeffries is training kids in  the Special Investigation Junior Academy. Throughout the book, there is interaction between the detective and the kids he is training. He explains the methods used to solve cold cases, and helps them apply them to Creation to prove it really happened.

 The book is a fun and interesting read. Even with myself being an adult, I found the crime solving methods interesting, especially when applied to Creation. The Wallaces have put together a great book for kids that will not only entertain, but will also teach.

 I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:


J. Warner Wallace is a cold-case homicide detective who has been featured on
Dateline, FOX News, and Court TV. A former atheist, he is the author of Cold-Case Christianity and God's Crime Scene. Wallace has a master's degree in theology and lives in California with his wife and four children.



Thanks to Litfuse for the review copy.




God's Crime Scene for Kids