Crown of Souls (The Tox Files #2) by Ronie Kendig

Genre: Military Suspense
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Publication Date: September 2017

Peaceful and tranquil lives elude Cole “Tox” Russell and his team. Six months after stopping a deadly plague, their much-deserved rest abruptly comes to an end when a sniper shot strikes Cole. The enemy turns out to be none other than a rogue Special Forces operator and possibly the only other person as skilled as Cole.

Alec King seeks to execute judgment on the people he deems responsible for the death of his men. To accomplish his mission, he gives Cole an ultimatum — join his ranks or pay the price. As Cole hunts his old friend, he must fight his own demons and the fear that he might be more like Alec than Cole cares to admit.

Ronie Kendig returns with another action-packed read as secrets are revealed and loyalties tested. In Crown of Souls, the team once again jets around the globe as it searches for ancient relics and a madman bent on inflicting pain and destruction. Indiana Jones with a military twist, the story delivers Kendig’s trademark high-octane suspense with a hint of romance and a supernatural element. Intriguing characters and vivid writing capture the reader’s attention.

The author seamlessly combines fact and fiction, making it hard to detect the line between them. Considering the havoc the Knights Templars wrecked in history, they were portrayed too kindly, making it a bit jarring when their historical footprints and purposes were compared with Cole’s modern-day role. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the story and following the elite team across borders (including Israel!) as they strove to thwart evil.

Kendig leaks more hints into Ram’s past that have me salivating to learn what mysteries the Israeli American conceals. It goes without saying that I’m counting down the days for the release of Thirst of Steel, the conclusion in The Tox Files series. I recommend Crown of Souls to military suspense fans who enjoy tracking down ancient artifacts.

Review copy provided by the publisher. Thanks!

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Conspiracy of Silence (The Tox Files #1) by Ronie Kendig

conspiracy-of-silenceGenre: Military Suspense
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Publication Date: December 2016

Former Special Forces Operative Cole “Tox” Russell has spent the past four years under the radar, dead to the world. A fact he relishes. After all, he prefers to be left alone with himself and the haunting memories of the tragic mission that destroyed his career and team. But some ghosts refuse to stay in the past, and Tox is forced to resurface when an ancient plague erupts.

FBI agent Kasey Cortes has loved Cole since she was a young girl. A piece of her died the day, they buried him — only now he’s back, flesh and blood and as volatile as ever. Together, they must jet around the globe in search of answers and a way to stop the disease. When the mission pits them against a secret society with powerful connections and an unknown agenda, the fight will hit close to home.

As the plague expands, the answers they need may lie with the Crown of Jerusalem, an ancient codex. But with some doubting its validity and others going to extreme lengths to keep it hidden, Tox and the team are plunged into a race against time and history.

Ronie Kendig’s Conspiracy of Silence combined elements of romance, faith, suspense, history, and archeology in the intense, action-packed opening to The Tox Files series. While the entire novel pinned me to the edge of my seat, prepare for the ending. Wow! I literally held my breath as a sequence of events culminated with whiplashing speed.

The author intertwined fact and fiction so seamlessly that I couldn’t always tell the difference. I confess that at one point I Googled a certain secret society mentioned in the story and half expected to never be heard from again. Thankfully, I’m still here!

As usual, Kendig brought to life an intriguing and endearing cast. Cole’s tortured soul, Kasey’s loyal heart, Ram’s mysterious ways, and Chiji’s steadfast spirit quickly made them my favorites, but it’s impossible not to love the entire team. The author created some equally infuriating characters that made my blood boil, and one of the villains, couldn’t he just stay down already? I know, I know, we wouldn’t have a story if he did. (As a sidenote: I was fascinated by Kasey’s job description — deception expert — and enjoyed seeing it play out in the novel.)

The mission carried the team across various countries making for some incredible settings — two of which I hold particularly close to my heart (Israel and Spain).

I would have found a character list at the beginning helpful, especially when it comes to the Special Forces team. Each had a name, last name, and code name. I got a little turned around a few times and reverting to a character list would have been helpful.

Reading the prequel novella, A Warrior’s Seal, isn’t indispensable to understanding this book, but I would recommend starting there since it provides a deeper understanding of Cole’s backstory. And it’s free!

I recommend Conspiracy of Silence to military suspense fans looking for an intense, breathtaking read.

Review copy provided by publisher via NetGalley. Thanks!

**Originally posted on Fiction Addict.

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The Warrior’s Seal (A Tox Files Novella) by Ronie Kendig

the-warriors-sealGenre: Military Suspense
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Publication Date: October 2016

A deadly plague ravages villages, an ancient artifact vanishes, and a power-thirsty group has kidnapped the president of the United States. As a special forces operative, Cole “Tox” Russell knows danger. He has come face-to-face with it on more than one occasion. For that reason, his team is sent to find and rescue the president. However, the mission quickly goes awry when they are sidelined due to the mysterious toxin and the people who might know how to stop it disappear or are taken hostage.

The Warrior’s Seal is the fast-paced prequel novella that introduces the elite team in Ronie Kendig’s new series The Tox Files. Combining history and modern day, archeology and military, it reminds me of Indiana Jones with a special forces twist. True to her style, Kendig delivers plenty of action, along with the chance to travel the globe without leaving your chair. Intense from beginning to end, the novella closes in a way that has me fervently begging for more.

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Look at those soulful eyes!

Those of you who know or follow the author, guess who makes a special appearance? MWD (military working dog) Vvolt!! I’m pretty sure I squealed when I first saw his name.

Ready for the best part? The Warrior’s Seal is free! So make sure to download and read your copy before Conspiracy of Silence releases in December.

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Hover by Anne A. Wilson

hoverGenre: Military Suspense
Publisher: Forge
Publication Date: June 2015

As a navy pilot, Lt. Sara Denning is a woman in a man’s world. She loves her job and is good at it — one of the best in fact. But her success hasn’t come without a price. To survive, Sara has learned to blend in, burying her feminine side beneath so many layers that even she’s not sure it exists anymore. That is, until Lt. Eric Marxen enters her life.

Eric coordinates the flight operations for the Navy SEAL team that has requested Sara as their exclusive pilot. The handsome, confident lieutenant elicits feelings in Sara that she never thought she’d experience, but lowering her defenses could cost Sara everything she’s worked to achieve.

Anne A. Wilson’s Hover delivers an intense roller coaster ride, plunging readers in the deep end from the get go as the book opens with Sara trapped underwater. My own lungs clamored for air as Sara navigated her escape plan, her oxygen running out.

A navy pilot herself, Wilson afforded an unparalleled level of realism to her plot that had me standing on the ship feeling the salty wind or flying the helicopter, its rotors whipping overhead. Wilson placed me in the center of the action without convoluting the story with technical mumbo jumbo present in many debut novels. In fact, for a while, I had to keep reminding myself that this was her first book, she had me so entrenched in Sara and Eric’s story. Unfortunately, that seemed to change after the half-way mark.

While briefly on land, Sara and Eric hook up, falling just short of turning into a full-blown sex scene that still went further than I cared or needed to know. From then on, the chemistry that had crackled between the protagonists fizzled out and their relationship turned into something out of a soap opera. They resembled the unrealistic caricatures found in Emily’s (Sara’s roommate) Harlequin novels (thankfully, without any further bedroom scenes) instead of people I might encounter in real life.

I still enjoyed the military side of the story — Sara’s missions, and her relationship with her team — I just couldn’t care less what happened to Sara and Eric as a couple. Protective or not, Eric crossed some lines he had no right to, making decisions about Sara’s direction that weren’t his to make. On the other hand, strong, independent Sara became a whiny, needy high school girl who feels slighted by the cute boy in school. This saddened me considering how much I liked them in the beginning. The villain too felt like the stereotypical bad guy plucked out of a Harlequin novel, created only to make the protagonists look good. This person could be seen coming a mile away, leaving little mystery in that department.

Had the entire book followed this pattern from the start, the let down wouldn’t have been so acute. I would have settled in for an average story, good for a one-time read. The strong beginning, however, led me to expect more, causing my disappointment. Readers should also prepare for foul language, which did nothing to enhance the story.

For the most part, it offers an entertaining read that military suspense fans might enjoy. I am looking forward to her next book. After all, this is Wilson’s debut novel, so I have hopes for her.

Review copy provided by publisher. Thanks!

**Originally posted on Life is Story.

Falcon (The Quiet Professionals #3) by Ronie Kendig

FalconGenre: Military Suspense
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press
Publication Date: May 2015

Special Forces operator Salvatore “Falcon” Russo has made many mistakes in his life, but one he intends to never repeat is trusting Lieutenant Cassandra Walker. Now, four years after tragedy tore them apart, Cassie is back. An elusive cyber terrorist is responsible for several attacks on Raptor 6 and the US military, and they’ll need their combined skills to catch him. But just because they are forced to work together doesn’t mean he has to like it, and it definitely doesn’t mean he’ll let her back in his heart.

Cassie didn’t expect Sal to receive her with open arms after what happened, but neither did she anticipate his volatile anger or the consequences that would follow protecting an asset who could help end the assaults.

The highly-anticipated conclusion to The Quiet Professionals trilogy has finally arrived and Ronie Kendig doesn’t disappoint her fans. Falcon is a heart-pounding page turner that puts the reader’s emotions through the ringer. I fluctuated between tears, joy, anger, hope and more as I wound my way through a labyrinth of emotions and twists that kept me completely engrossed in the journey.

This is one series I hated to see come to a close. Several times, I tried to put the book down, hoping to postpone the inevitable. Alas, the need to know what would happen next won out every time, bringing the dreaded last page much too soon.

Through characters that take on lives of their own, Kendig tackles poignant and heart-wrenching issues while imparting a message of hope. Though some of the topics can be difficult to handle, the author addresses them with sensitivity and care.

I strongly recommend The Quiet Professionals to Kendig’s fans and anyone who enjoys military suspense stories with a positive message. For those who are new to the trilogy, I suggest starting with book one since the main villain arches throughout the entire series.

Review copy provided by publisher. Thanks!

**Originally posted on Life is Story.