Counted With the Stars by Connilyn Cossette

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Other than Francine Rivers trilogy, The Mark of the Lion, I have not been drawn in to a Biblical historical fiction, as I have with Counted With the Stars, by Connilyn Cossette. When a writer weaves a story that makes me feel as if I am there with the characters, that I can imagine with vivid clarity the picture that the author is creating then I know I have a book that will remain with me long after the last page. When I have found a book that makes me think of my relationship with God because I see in these characters something that I wish I had and feel such a pull to find then I know I have found a writer,a book and a story that I will re-read many times over and will be in my thoughts for some time to come. Counted With the Stars is a story that fits all of this.

Kiya is a young Egyptian girl who is thrust into a world she had taken for granted all her life. When her father is financially destitute he sells her into slavery to a man she once considered a family friend, but will now serve his wife in defeat. Raised to worship the gods of Egypt she has no idea that the Hebrew God, Yahweh, has a plan for her that will take her from the lands of her birth, from her father and from the life she knows. When faced with slavery beneath those she considered her equals and living alongside those who where once beneath her, Kiya finds herself alone and not a part of either group. When a Hebrew slave girl, Shira befriends her, Kiya is exposed for the first time to Yahweh. Not ready to forsake her gods, Kiya is stricken with the same pain as the other Egyptians as Yahweh pours down his wrath with plague after plague. With the last plague set to fall upon them, Shefu, a man once her friend now her master, sets her on the path to follow the Hebrews while taking her Mother and handicapped brother with her. As she follows the Hebrews, she learns that she has been set upon this path not by Shefu but by the hand of Yahweh.

This amazing story will make you realize the power of God and how even in our lowest times, He will protect you, that he will love you and he will accept you. I love these characters and the journey they traveled. Shira’s story is due out in October and I am very excited to read it as well.

I truly recommend this book as one to read this year. It is a moving telling of those who experienced the Exodus in seeking their freedom from oppression and the ability to follow Yahweh. The story doesn’t focus on the kings or priests of Egypt, but that of the Hebrews and those Egyptians such as Kiya, her Mother Nailah, and her brother Jumo.

One of the last questions the author asks in her enclosed study guide is which characters you wish to know more about. My answer to that is see closure between Kiya and Shefu. Kiya found her answers with her Mother and Father, but there is a sadness that Shefu must live with and answers Kiya must know. This is of course my opinion, but my answer all the same to the author’s question.

 

 

Amazon Link:  http://amzn.to/208i3RM

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A Light Upon My Heart…

A Light Upon My HeartFront Cover

A Light Upon My Heart is coming out April 30th. It’s on preorder now. Here’s a little about this Christian Historical Romance.

Naomi Harris, a poor farm girl from Georgia, stepped off the stagecoach as a mail order bride, not sure what her new life would hold. Joseph Walsh, a wealthy Montana rancher, needed a bride and with few women in the northern territory he was forced to pay for one. The moment he slid the gold band on her finger, she decided to be the best wife she could, but she had a secret, one that could make him change his mind. But she couldn’t go back home, ever.  It’s a true test of their faith as they set out to make their marriage work, but things stand in their way. They have to work to push the obstacles away.

This book is a sweet, quirky Christian Historical Romance that will have you smiling one minute and holding your breath the next.

 

The Preacher’s Lady by Lori Copeland

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A sweet love story of two young people torn apart and brought together again years later.  With promises broken and pain to difficult to let go, these two souls have along road of self-reflection, forgiveness and acceptance to travel before they can decide if they want to give their love another try.

Bo Garrett Loves Elly Sullivan with all of his heart and knows that she is the woman he will marry and live his life with.  When Bo decides he wants to go and experience some of what lies outside of their home, he promises he will return for Elly in a month.  But he doesn’t.  Bo falls into the wrong crowd and soon finds himself living a life of  drinking, women and so much more sin.  But then God gets his attention in a very blunt way and Bo wakes up to what life should be for him.  Bo finds a church and  soon becomes a preacher, something Elly who has fought with God all her life had asked him not to do.  Bo stays away from home for seven years until his Mother calls him home and he is then forced to face the pain he has caused others especially Elly.  Will she ever forgive him?

Elly Sullivan wanted nothing more than to be Mrs. Bo Garrett and run their family cranberry farms.  She trusted Bo to come after he had his fun, but when it didn’t she lost her trust in him, but more importantly in God.  Trusting God and holding onto faith in Him has always been hard for her.  The Reverend preached of fire and brimstone when she wanted to have a loving God to believe in. When Bo comes home, Elly must work through the pain, lack of trust to see God’s plan for her. What she didn’t expect was have a little help in that direction from Bo himself.  Just when she thought she had it all figured out, Elly comes face to face with yet another betrayal from Bo, one that cuts deeper than any other.

A wonderful story of redemption, forgiveness and unrequited love finding a new beginning.  God has promised to make something good come from the pain.  Ms. Copeland has written a beautiful story showing that promise.  A love so strong that it withstood the awful pain of betrayal.  I truly recommend this book as  a heart warming story that is worth reading.

Amazon Link:   http://amzn.to/1TIORMA

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A Sweet Misfortune by Maggie Brendan

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A sweet historical romance by Maggie Brendan, A Sweet Misfortune brings us the tale of one stubborn woman and a misguided man brought together over her family’s homestead.

Rachel Matthews is alone more or less since her parents died leaving her and her brother who left for the gold mines in California.  When they couldn’t make the mortgage, Preston left to try and get the money through the mines but not before making a land deal with his friend John McIntyre. John made the payments and if in two years, Preston didn’t have the money to pay him the land became John’s.  Unfortunately, Preston never let his sister, Rachel, in on the deal.

John is all business and his sights are on land, land and more land.  He takes care of his grandmother, runs his ranch, and attends church.  Once in a while he takes Beatrice out for a Sunday ride thinking she would be a good wife…or guesses anyway.  When he receives a letter from Preston to help his sister, John never expects his life to be up ended.  It first starts when he has to bodily remove Rachel from the stage of the saloon where she is a dance hall girl.  Bringing her home to his ranch he isn’t sure what to make of her, but he does decide she isn’t just a dance hall girl and quickly places her into not being what he was wanting even if he finds himself attracted to her.  John and his grandmother help Rachel find a new job and allow her to remain in their home until the land deal deadline gets there.

Rachel doesn’t know what to do about her attraction to John, but she does know she will fight to keep her land.  As she waits for Preston to return with the needed money, Rachel keeps her faith that God will help her find a way to keep her home.  As she waits, she finds herself being courted by a few different men, making a true friend, and learning to help others and accept them as Jesus would do.  When devastating news comes about Preston, Rachel is shocked and uncertain about her future.

John and Rachel must battle a few unexpected situations and troublesome people bent on keeping them apart, but the biggest issues they must put to rest is Rachel’s family homestead and John’s belief that Rachel gave herself to the men at the saloon.

God’s love and grace shines through in understanding, helping and accepting others and their mistakes, and accepting God’s will.  To find this love and grace, the characters must first put aside stubbornness, pride and greed by keeping their faith in God.

I enjoyed this book because of the sweetness and humble characters.  The devotion and huge caring heart of the grandmother was a great choice as a mentor for the stubborn Rachel and judgmental John. I also loved the character of Beatrice.  She was such the opposite of Rachel and shallow in her own character that she was a great comparison. She was also effective in showing that no matter what one may be like in personality, there is someone out there for them.  One feature of the book that I took notice of was the print.  The print was medium sized and helped in the easy and fast reading of this book.  I am looking forward to book 3 in the Virtues and Vices of the Old West Series.

 

Amazon Link:  http://amzn.to/254fNOU

From Scratch by C. E. Hilbert

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From Scratch is a sweet contemporary Christian romance by author C.E. Hilbert.  If you are in the mood for a heartwarming good over comes evil type romance this is the one.

Maggie McKitrick is an enigma to Sean Taylor.  She is beautiful, bakes like a goddess, and nice to everyone except him.  He and his brothers own the building that Maggie has rented to run her bakery but the problem is she won’t pay her rent!  When he enters the bakery to get the rent he is met with a scowl, a list of repairs, refusal to pay rent until said repairs are done and several names none of which is actually his own!  It doesn’t take long for Sean Taylor to fall for Maggie and her Mint Chocolate brownies.  But it does take him a while to figure out the mystery of one Maggie McKitrick.

Maggie McKitrick found her love of baking but only after suffering a horrific experience that haunts her daily. Music use to be Maggie’s life until a crazed man became obsessed with her.  In order to survive, Maggie must run and become someone else.  She discovers along the way that she loves to bake and with the help of a friend she begins her bakery where she meets Sean Taylor and holds out hope that she can finally lay the past to rest.  As she and Sean grow closer and begin their relationship, Maggie allows some of her guarded walls to come down.  It doesn’t take long for Sean to learn that Maggie has a voice of an angel and the soul of one as well and that he wants to learn even more.

When a mysterious rental car and the town busy body draw Sean to a stranger in their town, Sean soon learns that the past Maggie has been running from has caught up to her.  Maggie’s stalker is back to lay claim to what he believes is his…Maggie.  Sean isn’t about to let this happen and is determined to keep Maggie safe and exactly where she belongs…with him.

Maggie has always trusted God and placed her faith in him, but now she must also learn to place her faith in Sean.  She doesn’t want to leave Sean and the love they have and any future together, but can she stay and place Sean in danger?  Will Sean be able to stop the horror from happening again?

This is a wonderful story of holding onto faith even during the most difficult times.  I loved the sweet romance between Sean and Maggie and how it developed from an antagonistic beginning to a strong love between them.  The author’s descriptions of Maggie’s bakery creations sounded delicious and had me disappointed that such a bakery wasn’t near me!  I could go for one of those Mint Chocolate brownies or maybe one with caramel!

Would I recommend this book?   Yes, most definitely.  The Christian tone of the book isn’t overwhelming, but is read as it gently intertwines with the storyline.  The issues regarding the stalker that Maggie must deal with are not graphic but could be enough to be a disturbance for some readers.

 

Amazon Link:  http://amzn.to/1U2ySMf

 

Where she Belongs by author Johnnie Alexander

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Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1XLfl63

If you felt as if you didn’t belong anywhere in your present life, but a long ago feeling of love and security beckoned you from the past, wouldn’t you do everything you could to return and hope for the future?  That is exactly what Shelby Kincaid is doing.  She is desperate to belong and the only place she ever felt that was at her Grandparents farm.  But there is a problem with going back.

The family farm was stolen from her Grandparents by the Sullivan’s and Shelby wants it back.  AJ Sullivan owns the farm now and considers it punishment from his Grandfather.  When Shelby contacts him, her heartfelt letter speaks to him and with his Grandmother’s blessing he agrees to help Shelby get her family farm back.

Shelby and AJ feel a connection when they meet and in fact Shelby calls him her hero.  But Shelby can’t get passed the idea she should be mad at AJ since he is a Sullivan.  AJ can’t seem to think of anyone other than Shelby.  When cold reality takes them both for rides, Shelby and AJ can do nothing but trust God.

When the secrets of their Grandparent’s past, secrets of AJ’s past all come colliding together it seems that AJ and Shelby won’t be able to hold onto each other.  AJ finds an ally where he didn’t expect and the secrets are brought to light.  Can AJ forgive in order to move forward with Shelby? Will AJ trust that God will make something good out of the betrayal?

Shelby learns new lessons on what she really wants out of her life as she fights to keep her families legacy intact.  When the past continues to unfold will the secret to keeping the farm lie in the past? Is Shelby’s future tied to the past or will she break free to embrace a future she never considered?

Johnnie Alexander is a new author for me.  I never had an opportunity to read one of her books until “Where She Belongs”.  I can’t think of a better story than this one to learn of her.  This story was so interesting and held my attention until the end.  She had so many secrets swirling together from the past and the present that you have to keep reading to find out what is going on!  I loved the way Ms. Alexander worked the Civil War forbidden love and the Underground Railroad into her story.  Her characters were brilliant.  I loved the secondary characters and how they developed and supported the main characters. When reading about the young and yet strong love between Shelby’s daughter and her friend, Jason’s son and seeing history repeating itself, you can’t help but have a warm smile.  I truly enjoyed this story and look forward to the second book in this series.

With this Ring? A Novella Collection of Proposals Gone Awry

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With This Ring is a collection of heartwarming stories of engagements that didn’t start out in a normal way.  This collection was written by four well-loved authors….Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings and Melissa Jagears.  These authors are known for writing Christian stories set in the 1800’s.

The Husband Maneuver was written by Karen Witemeyer, and tells the story of a young woman who has been in love with her father’s foreman for a few years.  As far as Marietta Hawkins knows, Daniel Barrett thinks of her as his boss’s daughter and not someone of marriageable potential.  Marietta overhears Daniel tell her father he is leaving the ranch for his own ranch and future plans.  Determined that he won’t be leaving without her she decides to show him she is the perfect wife and just what he needs. Daniel on the other hand wants to be with Marietta but hides his love because of her father.  When a natural disaster throws the two together, their feelings are brought out into the open but a misunderstanding sets them apart again.  An unexpected push will come to help these two find their way to their future.

Her Dearly Unintended is another story written by Regina Jennings and involving the families of Pine Gap, Missouri which was introduced (to me anyway) in her book At Love’s Bidding.  In Her Dearly Unintended Katie Ellen has loved Josiah for some time and thought at one time they would marry, but when he didn’t seem to act as if he wanted to be with her anymore, she shut herself off from any pain by denying her feelings.  Josiah loves Katie Ellen but has a secret reason for his behavior towards her.  When the river washes out the bridge to Katie Ellen’s family home, Josiah goes to check on her but never thought a stranger would force them the two of them to pretend to be married.  Josiah isn’t about to leave Katie Ellen alone with the stranger so when they must act a husband and wife their hurt feelings surface in witty encounters.  When a flood and a stranger work together to help these two individuals admit they belong with each other, you can surely believe God has had a hand in the situation.

Runaway Bride is wonderful adventure written by Mary Connealy. Carrie and her brother Isaac are running away from the lives that will only set them up for a future of pain or possibly worse.  Carrie has been traded to a cruel man as his bride in exchange for her father’s debt.  Their older sister has sent in a friend to save Carrie and unknowingly their little brother.  Big John Conroy, a Texas Ranger with a band of friends which are more like family and willing to fight as an army, to save Carrie from the evil that is tracking her.  Big John never thought he would settle down and have a family, but with Carrie he finds himself with feelings he can’t shake.  When the suggestion comes for the two of them to marry in order to keep Carrie safe, Big John and Carrie both say no.  But when her stalker closes in, Big John and Carrie find themselves agreeing to this wild plan.

Engaging the Competition is the last story in the collection and is written by author Melissa Jagears.  In this story we have two people who aren’t really “friends” but are thrown together when the one causes the other a setback.  When Charlotte Andrews is forced to accept a marriage proposal, Harrison finds that their time together has shown that Charlotte means more to him than he thought.  Harrison will step forward in a marriage proposal that will help Charlotte if only she will accept.

 

Each of these authors tells stories of love and of people who are brought face to face with a plan they never considered.  With love thrown at them when they were not expecting it or never considered it possible, they find themselves falling in love and heading to the alter!

These authors have a wonderful style of writing where you find yourself stepping into the story along with the characters and laughing at their antics, cheering them on or wondering what they will do next.

Amazon Link:  http://amzn.to/1Tp78nZ