Short Reviews (1-2 Star Rating)

A Few Fiction Flops

I told you all a while back that I meant to make an effort to read new genres, hoping to appeal to a variety of reading tastes. The line-up of historical fiction reviews lately attests to the lack of success I’ve had so far! Here are two books I’ve tried recently and just couldn’t finish.


First off–the book I was so certain I would love–The Man He Never Was by James L. Rubart. Promising an interesting plot (a man wakes up with no memory of where he’s been for months and discovers he’s a new person, free of the anger he used to struggle with) in a more uncommon genre (speculative Christian fiction), I was all set to gobble this story up. Disappointingly, several contradictions of the book either frustrated or offended me. A Christian character pours out prayers and then only four pages later seemingly takes God’s name in vain. Rubart’s earlier book Rooms (which I enjoyed) had some very allegorical/ spiritual elements, but this story went so far with them that it felt mystic and new age. Here’s an excerpt that should make clear what I mean:

They sat, and she poured him a clear dark-red liquid from a teapot. It steamed as it swirled its way into the cup.


Eden gave a tiny nod. “This is a tea that is not well known outside of a small area in the Himalayas. There it is plentiful. Here it comes at a price that is steep, but it is needed for what we are about to accomplish.”

“And what is that?”

“To continue on your journey, of course, To go deeper. To concentrate your energy on the central point of this path. Is is my point as well. The point of everyone who has chosen to traverse this passageway.”

Do I need to say more? What does this even mean? It only gets more confusing.


I also gave Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering a try; I want a good “whodunit” to liven up the blog. The feeling I got from other reviewers was that this was a lighthearted, Agatha Christie-style mystery oozing with fedoras, vintage cars, rich estates, and snappy dialog. The dialog was witty… but unrealistic and excessive. After a few chapters I wanted to beg the characters for just one paragraph of normal conversation exempt from coy expressions, flirting, or references to Sherlock Holmes. The main characters didn’t seem to live a Godly lifestyle, but since I didn’t make it very far I’m not sure if the author intended to include some sort of conversion/ change of heart. I don’t think I will ever find out, since several attempts at reading this have yet to hold my interest.

As much as I dislike being let down, hopefully these reviews will help you and prevent you from feeling the same loss of time and money spent that I do. If you have any good mystery suggestions, I would be grateful for your comments!

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