The Man He Never Was by James L. Rubart: A Book Review

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: I was intrigued from the very start. Inspired by the classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, this book explores the battle between good and evil within us all.

We all have parts of ourselves that are ugly and dark, and sometimes those parts consume us and seek to destroy our lives. This book explores one man’s journey to discover how to overcome the darkness within him and restore the life he has lost. Entertaining, suspenseful and all-together intriguing, paired with an excellent cast of characters, this is ultimately a spiritual book with an excellent message.

There were several moments in this book that gave me pause spiritually. I read a decent amount of Christian fiction, but these moments don’t happen often. I think the author did an incredible job weaving together an entertaining story, while imparting lasting spiritual truth.

As mentioned, this book is inspired by Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I love that story and I think the author did an excellent job honoring the original story with his own creative interpretation. This was my first read by James L. Rubart, and it definitely won’t be my last.

* I received a copy of this book free of charge from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.


Blessed Are the Misfits by Brant Hansen: A Book Review

Book Description

Warning: If modern church culture makes perfect sense to you, and you always fit in seamlessly, don’t read this. As for the rest of us…

While American church culture (and American culture at large) seems largely designed for the extroverted, it’s estimated that half of the American population is introverted, and they’re often left wondering how, even if, they fit in the kingdom of God. As one of them, popular radio host Brant Hansen brings news. It’s wonderful, refreshing, and never-been-said-this-way-before good news.

In his unique style, Hansen looks to answer questions that millions of people carry with them each day:

If I don’t relate to God as emotionally as others do, is something wrong with me?
How does one approach God, and approach faith, when devoid of the “good feelings” that seem to drive so much of evangelical church culture?
How does God interact with those who seem spiritually numb?
Is the absence of faith-based emotion a sign of that God has moved on or was never there?
What if we aren’t good at talking to people about our faith, or good at talking to people at all?
What if I’m told I’m too analytical, that I “think too much”?
Where does a person who suffers from depression fit in the kingdom? Is depression a sure sign of a lack of faith?

This book is good news for people who are desperately looking for it. (And for their loved ones!)

It’s also for those who want to believe in Jesus, but inwardly fear that they don’t belong, worry that don’t have the requisite emotion-based relationship with God, and are starving for good news.

Blessed Are the Misfits is going to generate discussion, and lots of it. It’s simultaneously highly provocative and humbly personal. It’s also leavened with a distinct, dry, self-effacing humor that is a hallmark of Hansen’s on-air, writing, and public speaking style.

My Review: From the moment I saw this book, I knew I had to read it. Being an introvert in the world and in the church, I always feel like a misfit. This book blew me away from the start with just how relatable it was. Some of the experiences the author describes have been my exact experiences. I just kept thinking “yep, that’s me!”

Hansen talks honestly about feelings and emotions and one of my favorite take-a-ways is this: “Our feelings have nothing to do with whether God loves us or is still involved in our lives.” So often in the church, feelings are over-emphasized. I remember many times trying to manufacturer certain emotions because you were supposed to feel those particular emotions if you were “spiritual”. I worried about what was wrong with me and I convinced myself I wasn’t spiritual enough. It’s refreshing to hear someone say it’s okay to not always “feel it”.

Hansen doesn’t leave us in our misfit state with no hope. He does an excellent job reminding us that we are chosen.  That Jesus chose the misfits, the introverted, the broken, the skeptic, the melancholy. He didn’t pick the ones anyone would have expected. He chose us. A bunch of misfits. And, the church is full of us.

There is so much to take away from this book that I can’t even begin to scratch the surface. It’s a book that everyone who has ever felt like a misfit in the church and in the world should absolutely, definitely read.

*I received a copy of this book free of charge from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Death at Thorburn Hall by Julianna Deering : A Book Review


Investigating a suspicious accident leads Drew on a path that points to international intrigue and ever-growing danger

Drew Farthering arrives in idyllic Scotland for the 1935 British Open at Muirfield, hoping for a relaxing holiday with his wife, Madeline, and friend Nick. But death meets him once again when Lord Rainsby, their host at Thorburn Hall, is killed in a suspicious riding accident–only days after confiding in Drew his fears that his business partner was embezzling funds.

Thorburn Hall is filled with guests, and as Drew continues to dig, he realizes that each appears to have dark motives for wanting Rainsby out of the way. Together with Madeline and Nick, he must sort through shady business dealings, international intrigue, and family tensions to find a killer who always seems to be one step ahead.

My Review: This is the 6th installment in the Drew Farthering Mystery series, and it continues to be a solid mystery series. The characters remain as charming as ever, the story-line keeps you engaged and guessing and the end leaves you satisfied, but looking forward to the next installment.

As always, I appreciate the subtly with which the author incorporates the faith of the characters. Drew and Madeline are such a sweet couple and this installment also highlighted Nick and Carrie’s sweet and unsure relationship. I enjoyed reading as their relationship bloomed.

The mystery itself held good twists and turns and offered many unexpected surprises. A solid offering from Julianna Deering in what is becoming a most-beloved series.

* I received a copy of this book free of charge from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Julianna Deering is the creator of the acclaimed Drew Farthering Mystery series. She has always loved British history and is a particular fan of the writings of Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie. She graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a degree in business administration and spent several years as a Certified Public Accountant. She lives outside Dallas, Texas. For more information visit



Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard: A Book Review

Journey with Much-Afraid to new heights of love, joy, and victory!
For the first time, this beloved Christian allegory is a mixed-media special edition complete with charming watercolor paintings, antique tinted photography, meditative hand-lettered Scripture, journaling and doodling space, and designs to color. As you read and connect with the story of Much-Afraid and her trials, the pages of this book become a canvas on which to chronicle your own story, struggles, and personal triumphs.

Hinds’ Feet on High Places, with more than 2,000,000 copies sold, is a story of endurance, persistence, and reliance on God. This book has inspired millions of people to become sure-footed in their faith even when facing the rockiest of life’s terrain. The story of Much-Afraid is based on Psalm 18:33: “He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights.”

The complete Hinds’ Feet story is accented by 80 full-color paintings, photography, and hand-lettered Scripture.

My Review: Wow! I am so impressed with the design of this book. I absolutely love how this classic story has been refreshed with the inclusion of beautiful full-color painting and photography. It’s gorgeous and such a joy to read! I love that the book also includes areas where you can write short journaling notes and there is even an opportunity to color scriptures in the back of the book. Beautifully and thoughtfully done.

This book is one that will have a cherished place on your shelf for years to come. It would also make an incredible gift item. Highly recommended.

*I received a copy of this book free of charge from Tyndale House Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

31 Proverbs to Light Your Path by Liz Curtis Higgs: A Book Review

Wherever you are on your journey, here is the wisdom you need for the road ahead. Maybe you’re stuck and want to move forward. Or you feel anxious and long to know what’s next. Or you’re ready for an uplifting reminder that God holds your future in His loving hands.

Chosen by hundreds of women as their favorite verses in Proverbs, these thirty-one nuggets of truth reveal how faithfully God honors His promise, “I will instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths” (Proverbs 4:11).

Best-selling author Liz Curtis Higgs examines each word with care and adds a sprinkling of humor through her honest stories and personal examples. For each verse you’ll find a unique “One Minute, One Step” challenge—a do-it-now task that requires one minute or less. You’ll soon discover how practical and meaningful the book of Proverbs is as you apply its ancient wisdom to your thoroughly modern life.

With a study guide included, 31 Proverbs to Light Your Path is a daily devotional and a small-group Bible study, wrapped in a beautiful gift book brimming with encouragement!

My Review: This is one of those devotionals that really make you think, ponder and grow. It’s a study in Proverbs that teaches and encourages you daily with deep and insightful devotions. This is one of the “meatier” devotionals I’ve read. Each devotion is about 3-4 pages with an additional page called One Minute, One Step. I love this page. It encourages you do to something now that will only take one minute, but can have lasting effects. There is a good amount of scripture used in each devotion too. This devotional is encouraging, practical and full of wisdom.  I highly recommend this devotional to anyone looking for a deeper study of Proverbs and a desire to grow in God’s word.

*I received this book free of charge from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

The Beautiful Word for Christmas: A Book Review

Enjoy the beauty and wonder of Christmas with The Beautiful Word for Christmas. The hand-illustrated Christmas story Scriptures are accompanied by 31 devotional readings. Featuring a lovely, embellished cover and beautiful color interior, this book will be a welcome addition to your home as you and your loved ones celebrate the birth of Jesus.

My Review: What a beautiful book! This 31 day Christmas devotional is as unique as it is beautiful. This book is filled with gorgeous full color pages, thoughtful devotions to focus on during the season and  activities to inspire your heart. What a wonderful way to draw near to God during this busy time of year. Take time each day of this 31 day journey to focus on the true meaning of the season. This book is wonderful to own, but would also make an excellent and inspiring gift for anyone on your list.

*I received a copy of this book free of charge from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander: A Book Review

Amid war and the fading dream of the Confederacy, a wounded soldier and a destitute widow discover the true meaning of Christmas—and sacrificial love.

Recently widowed, Aletta Prescott struggles to hold life together for herself and her six-year-old son. With the bank threatening to evict them, she discovers an advertisement for the Women’s Relief Society auction and applies for a position—only to discover it’s been filled. Then a chance meeting with a wounded soldier offers another opportunity—and friendship. But can Aletta trust this man?

Captain Jake Winston, a revered Confederate sharpshooter, suffered a head wound at the Battle of Chickamauga. When doctors deliver their diagnosis, Jake fears losing not only his greatest skill but his very identity. As he heals, Jake is ordered to assist with a local Women’s Relief Society auction. He respectfully objects. Kowtowing to a bunch of “crinolines” isn’t his idea of soldiering. But orders are orders, and he soon discovers this group of ladies—one, in particular—is far more than he bargained for.

Set against the backdrop and history of the Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee, Christmas at Carnton is a story of hope renewed and faith restored at Christmas.

My Review: Christmas at Carnton is a novella set during The Civil War. The author does a great job in capturing the emotion of that era. The uncertainty, fear, harshness and heartache of the time period really show through the characters and their stories. I found myself immediately absorbed in the storyline and I was actually quite sad that this was only a novella. However, I am looking forward to reading the series that this novella introduces.

This was an emotional and gripping love story, full of hope and life. This was my first “Christmas” read for this season, but I wouldn’t say it was a central theme to the book, but more of a backdrop. Still, it was a cozy and sweet story, and a nice way to shift into the holiday season as it approaches.

I really fell in love with the characters and I’m eager to see which of them become a central part of the series. I think the author does an excellent job at making her characters relatable and emotional.

* I received a copy of this book free of charge from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.