A Light on the Hill: Cities of Refuge Book 1 By Connilyn Cossette

a light on the hill

 

A light on the Hill, is another beautifully written story by author Connilyn Cossette.  This woman is a fantastic, gifted writer that I can’t say enough about.  Her stories bring alive the Bible times and bestow upon you the sense that you walk with her characters, that they are truly within your reach as you envision their story, feelings and ultimately their individual relationships with God.

One of the main reasons I enjoy reading this authors stories, besides her gift of storytelling, is how she chooses to use names for her Characters.  For instance, she uses “Yahweh” for God as is used in the Jewish faith.  For Joshua we read, “Yehoshua” and Moses becomes, “Mosheh”.  The research that has been done is so evident and adds to the compelling style of the author.   At the back of the book, the author shares how she developed her storyline.  She mentions reading in Joshua 20 and being caught up in the idea of the cities of refuge and how they beckoned to her.  The author also mentions her research taken from Book V of The Antiquities of the Jews.  It is very clear that the author delves into ancient times and Biblical teaching to provide as many true facts as possible to base her fictional characters and story.

In A Light on the Hill, our main character is one that we met earlier during the series, Out of Egypt: Wings of the Wind. She wasn’t a main character but still an important one that left an impression not only on the reader but the author as she mentions in her notes that she knew Moriyah would be the heroine in the next book.  Moriyah’s past has filled her with fear which has also allowed misplaced shame to trap her in a prison of her own making.  Through this fear and shame, she has done what so many of us have…. shut God out.  Moriyah wears a veil on the outside, but on the inside, she also has a veil blocking her from hearing God’s whispers.  She believes God has forsaken her, but she is the one who has forsaken him and kept him behind that inner veil.  I think that is a message many of us can relate to.

In A Light on the Hill, Moriyah must leave her life and learn to break the shackles of her “prison” when accused of a heinous crime.  Along the way she finds she is to travel with someone she can’t fully trust, one she feels betrayed her, and even hates her…. but one who holds her heart.  As she travels to find sanctuary at one of the cities of refuge, Moriyah learns who she is and what she is capable of.  She also learns that the shame she has placed upon herself isn’t truly there and that others may not view her as she has thought. As events begin to heat up she realizes God has never forsaken her and all she must do is simply remove the veil and trust God with her life and those she loves.

Moriyah’s life isn’t pain free…. whose life is?  The beauty of this story shows that life can be hard, but we are never alone and all we have to do is trust God and his plans for us.  Have faith and allow God to lead you and listen for those whispers.  How beautiful is that?

Connilyn Cossette is one of my favorite authors and I am so thrilled have read each of her books.  They are beautiful, compelling, and vivid.  The imagery is so surreal that I feel as if the characters are acting out a scene right in front of me and when that last page is turned, I feel like shouting because I am not ready for an end.

 

Author’s Bio:

connilyn cossette

Connilyn Cossette is the Christy Award Nominated and CBA-Bestselling author of the Out from Egypt Series from Bethany House Publishers. There’s not much she enjoys more than digging into the rich, ancient world of the Bible, discovering new gems of grace that point to Jesus, and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience. Connect with her at http://www.ConnilynCossette.com

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A Passionate Hope: Hannah’s Story by Jill Eileen Smith

HANNAH'S STORY

I had started a few months ago by reviewing another series and still plan to continue with it but after a little detour.  I have two very wonderful authors who write in the Christian Fiction genre that have new books out, so I am excited about them and wanted to make sure I got my review posted as they are very newly published.

I am a confusing individual….  One moment I am reading MC Romance Fiction and the next Christian fiction followed by a textbook of some sort after.  I can never get enough to read or to learn.  I wonder if you are like that as well.  When I can add a fact or two in a discussion and people look at me in surprise and ask, “how in the world do you know that?”  I just laugh and tell them I read all kinds of books and you never know what I have stored away.  It can be priceless depending on the bit of information I put out there!

Why Christian Fiction?  I am a Christian who is always searching for something I have yet to put my finger on.  I want more, more, more but what is the more I am looking for?  I don’t know.  When I read I feel I am getting closer to knowing what that might be, but I am still not sure. It seems closer, but still too far away.  What I can say about reading fiction is that if I can find a lesson I need to give more thought to then I have found a wonderful author and story.  If that author can make me understand a Bible story that has been a little vague or make me see it in a whole new light with new possibilities, then I have found something worthwhile.

Jill Eileen Smith has done precisely that with her newest book, “A Passionate Hope: Hannah’s Story”.  When I heard this book was coming out, I wanted to read it, but I also didn’t.  Hannah’s story has always made me so sad and because of that, I kept thinking …. “No, I can’t, I’m not ready”.  Hannah was placed in such a sad situation.  She had married expecting to have children but didn’t and all believe she never would.  Then she was delivered of another blow.  Her husband took another wife and she would have to share him.  Could it get any worse for such a woman?  Yes, she received blow after blow of mocking and hatred from not only others but this second wife of her beloved husband’s who gave him the children she desired.  For years, Hannah pleaded for God to deliver her a child and then came the day in grief and desolation Hannah made a vow to God.  If he gave her the son she desperately wanted, she would give him back to God when he was old enough to leave her.  Hannah fulfills that vow to God.  Would I have had the strength to do so?  No…. simply no.

 

Jill Eileen Smith brings Hannah story alive and creates a beautiful story of love, acceptance, trust and ultimately forgiveness.  Hannah truly loves the Lord, and even after years of being barren, of being mocked, of feeling that she has lost her beloved husband, she still placed her trust in God.  We read of a woman who was kind even to her “enemy” the second wife of her husband who treated her so badly.  We read of a woman whose trust in God would be greatly rewarded.

But let me tell you what else we read…. we read of a husband who is pulled in so many directions that he cannot grasp what to do and the stress is heavy on his heart.  He loves Hannah as his beloved and it did not matter if she was barren or not for she is all he wanted.  However, his family intervenes and pushes him to take a second wife.  Elkanah is devastated but does as his family and even Hannah has asked of him.  He knows not what to do to bring peace in his family, and he hurts for the pain he knows Hannah hides.  His beloved is his heart and although he cares for his second wife and loves the children she gave him, he is not fully at peace.

We also read about the second wife and her view.  Her jealousy of Hannah, her love of Elkanah and the pain of feeling unwanted.  It was indeed an eye-opener to view Hannah’s nemesis in a different light. And there is one of the lessons…. what is behind the actions of others?

The dynamics of the family unit created by Elkanah and his two wives are shown by the author to have suspicion, jealousy, hatred, and so much pain. Through these dynamics and the ending, she provides, the author gives the reader some thoughts to dwell on.  A Christian will not help but think are we living up to the example Hannah set in her love of God?  Have we placed our complete trust in God as she did through the storms we face in our lives?

 

“A Passionate Hope: Hannah’s Story” is beautiful and one you will enjoy from the first to the last page.  I hope you give it chance and I would love to hear your comments and if you feel the same as I do.

Enjoy Hannah’s story!

 

Ravage Me by author Ryan Michele

ravage me

I have been on an MC reading frenzy.  I love an alpha bad boy and to me, the MC biker is one of the best you can find to be your book hottie. Think about it……Sexy, leather, raw power, Harleys, and dangerous vibes.  Yep, I am hooked!  I also am very selective in my expectations of MC stories.  I expect my biker to be an alpha and one with a heart and a strong sense of protecting his woman and family is a must.  Too much alpha in an overbearing way, meaning controlling his woman so she has no say, is a big turn off to me.  I consider that more abusive than sexy.  I also don’t like to read about a biker that falls short of the alpha and would have been better suited to a character set working a desk and a 9-5 job.  I got a few of those and found I just couldn’t finish them because what I wanted and expected to read just wasn’t anywhere in those pages.  My biker hottie needs to sexy as sin, know what words to say and more importantly how to say them with just enough inner Dom that will singe my panties.

I have reviewed some MC series before such as those by my favorite MC authors…. Natasha Thomas and Lana Grayson.  Natasha has a way with her stories where you get sucked in and the characters come alive as a family.   You just have to keep reading to know what happens.  Her stories also have some hard truths that you may not want to read about but her material comes from her heart and from life-hers or maybe someone she knows. And of course, her bikers do live lives expected of an MC club.  I also like the fact that she has several spin-off series so that none of her characters are left without a story, and the next generation can grow up and have their own lives while giving us a glimpse of the previous characters in a new light.   Lana Grayson wrote a series which still captivates me and disappointments me that it isn’t complete.  I would so love for the next book to come out!  Lana writes more of a darker type biker.  The image that most of us associate with that lifestyle is what lies within the pages of her stories.  Secrets, violence, hardcore outlaws are the bikers of her books.  As you can imagine you will be reading some topics that may be too sensitive for some readers.  This MC storyline is not focused on the family as Natasha Thomas’s but more the club and the family members can be expendable.

Now the authors I found to share with you this time are some great ones!  The first Series and one I absolutely love is by Ryan Michele.  Ryan Michele has a couple of MC series that have characters making appearances in the different storylines, but it never spoils the reading. Ravage MC is a generational MC that is similar to Natasha Thomas style of family involvement within the club and the bonds that are formed and strengthened by the club influence.  The Ravage MC broadens its scope to the next generation with “The Bound” series, and yes, the characters from the original Ravage MC are still a large part of the family united as the next generation takes the lead.  This author also has a fabulous beginning of the Viper’s Creed MC with just a few books written and the last leaving a cliffhanger regarding a secondary but very important player of the storyline.  I want answers!!!!

Ravage Me

Ravage Me is the first in the series and it does a fantastic job of setting the pace for an exciting read with expectations of each book that follows.

Princess……a name we would associate with a beautiful, darling daughter of a King.  Or perhaps the name of daddy’s little girl?  How about a middle ground of those two?  Princess, or Harlow Gavelson, is the daughter of the Vice President of the Ravage MC.  She is also the “darling daughter” of the club.  Is she soft as a princess should be?  Not on your life and if you value your life you won’t make her mad!

As I mentioned before, even though family members are not “members” of the club they are considered expendable or useful depending on the club’s needs.  Ravage Me begins with Harlow being released from prison.  If you want to know why she was there and perhaps what she was doing while in prison you will need to read the story…. sorry I do try to keep from giving out too many spoilers.  Now Princess is a soft name but Harlow Gavelson is far from soft.  She is a fighter! She can hold her on with men with both fists and guns.  She is a no-nonsense, loyal, smart-mouthed and straight to the point woman who is a better representation of the Ravage MC than most men would be.

Princess plays a major role in this book and the subsequent stories for the Ravage MC and the “Bound” series.  She is the lead alpha female.   Her counterpart aside from her Vice President daddy would be Cruz.  How she meets this testosterone wielding alpha is one of the most surprising ways two people could begin their relationship.  Together Princess and Cruz will become a Ravage MC legend.

So now you have an idea of the foundation of this book, but there is always more isn’t there?  The answer is of course yes.  How boring would it be if there were absolutely no action, no storyline besides burning up the sheets?

Let me say this, the trouble that placed Princess in prison is far from over.  The demented mind behind all this is still lurking in the shadow and as it slithers slowly toward Princess ready to strike, Princess comes out fighting with Cruz and the Ravage MC with her.  When an innocent is threatened there will be no stopping Princess and Cruz from ending the evil for good. But do they………?  Princess and Cruz will battle the past for the future with everything they have.

 

If I have piqued your interest in reading what I consider the start of a fantastic MC series, then maybe knowing it is currently free on Amazon will make you extremely happy!  Check it out and let me know what you think!  Next up for review will be book 2, Seduce Me.

Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette

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Wings of the Wind, book three in the Out of Egypt series by Connilyn Cossette is another amazing story by this author!  I have enjoyed everyone her books and each leaves me in a state of awe.

I am a true believer that if you read a story in which the author has you putting yourself in the place of the characters and thinking of their circumstances to gain a true sense of the author’s storyline, then you have found an author above the norm.  Each of the books in this series has accomplished that.

The writing style that Ms. Cossette uses is beautiful in how she develops her story’s and her characters.   For instance, the main female character in Wings of the Wind is Alanah, a Canaanite.  Alanah has lost everything…..her father, brothers, and her home to the war with the Hebrews.  When she makes the decision to fight as a man, she does so believing she will not see the next sunrise.  But Yahweh has plans for Alanah that she could not have expected.  Tobiah, a Hebrew warrior, finds Alanah on the battlefield and rescues her.  The Hebrew law is clear in the expectation that Tobiah will have to marry Alanah to protect her.  As Alanah learns the Hebrew ways she is confused by her own beliefs and those of Tobiah.  Ms. Cossette gives a wonderful look in to Alanah’s thoughts with this passage:

“If I submitted to this marriage, I was turning my back on everything I knew.”

Isn’t that what God asks us to do when we are reborn? To leave behind our lives of sin to live the life He has planned for us.  The character Alanah is shown to be under a great deal of stress and confusion as she begins the path Yehweh has set for her.  I think we can all relate to those feelings.

Beyond the use of characters and their circumstances, Ms. Cosstte had me really thinking on the issue of Manna.  The Bible tells the story in Exodus, of God providing Manna for his children who wandered the desert for 40 years.  I have read that story so many times, yet I don’t believe I gave it as much deliberation as I did when reading this story.  Ms. Cossette describes the character’s daily gathering of Manna, making meals, and strictly following Yehweh’s law regarding how much to gather.  For some of the characters eating the Manna became a hardship, a mundane habit that they couldn’t wait to be done with.  They had lost the heavenly quality of the Manna and looked upon it as if it was a chore or an expectation and not the awesome gift it was.  Alanah, with a fresh outlook and newly opened eyes looks upon the offering of Yehweh as it was meant to be… a gift that had no equal.  While reading of Alanah’s experiences, I couldn’t help but wonder what did Manna truly look and taste like.  I posted on Facebook and found my friend’s remarks interesting.  Some felt it was a substance similar to pita bread, others mentioned an earthy quality such as mushrooms and my Pastor’s wife being the funny woman she is said Chicken….after all everything taste like chicken! I have finally decided for me, I want to have Manna as one of my treasures stored away in Heaven waiting for me.  I want to try it so that I can answer my own question of what did Manna look and taste like.

Connilyn Cossette has given us a story that is full of interesting characters, some fictional from her own thoughts and then as with Rahab she weaves a larger picture to bring this Biblical woman into her storyline.  The story itself is spellbinding, encouraging, and thoughtful.  I have to admit that I am saddened to read that this will be the last in this series, but knowing Ms. Cossette has plans to bring a new story to life is heartening.  I cannot stress the how much I enjoy this writer’s evoking style.  As a reader, you can truly read how much Ms. Cossette has put into her story and the scope of dynamics brings so much to characters.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.  This is one series I believe is worth having on my shelf!

 

Amazon:   https://www.amazon.com/Wings-Wind-Out-Egypt-Book-ebook/dp/B01MUHIJOR/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498347274&sr=8-1&keywords=wings+of+the+wind

Barnes & Nobel:   https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wings-of-the-wind-connilyn-cossette/1124824750?ean=9780764218224

Christianbook.com:   https://www.christianbook.com/wings-of-the-wind-3/connilyn-cossette/9780764218224/pd/218224?event=ESRCG

 

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The Sapphire Bride by Cynthia Woolf

sapphire bride

The Sapphire Bride is an endearing western romance by Cynthia Woolf and is the second book in her newest series, The Central City Brides.  The brides, of course, are mail order requested by men out west.  In this series, Cynthia Woolf, has created the scenario that the brides are coming with “baggage” that means to kill them.  The grooms are friends and seem to be following the first in ordering brides and become very protective of their brides against their enemies.

In the Sapphire Bride Ava is an independent woman from New York who designs jewelry.  Because the social restrictions of the times, Ava can’t exactly get ahead with her own business there.  She is in her mid-twenties and doesn’t believe she will marry because, after all, how many men would let her continue with her own dream?  Her twin brother, Jeffrey who is an Archeologist, understands her and encourages her dream.

When Jeffrey arrives on her doorstep wounded and dying, he shares with her a secret and news that the men after him will also come after her.  In order to flee quickly, Ava signs on as a mail order bride leaving the next day.  Her destination is Central City where she will marry Seamus Madigan, better known as “Lucky”.

Lucky is a saloon owner and wants a wife and children.  What he has to offer is absolutely NO love, a saloon as their home and a painful past.  He doesn’t want a wife whom he must babysit when he has a business to run.  When his new wife, “Jane Ava Smith” arrives he is more than ready to begin on those children, doesn’t mind her jewelry designing, and continually hurts with his “I don’t love you” comments.

Lucky and Ava have some truths to face when they are confronted by the malicious revenge of a spurned woman and men bent on thievery and murder.  Can Lucky save Ava?  Will Ava trust and forgive Lucky?  What will happen when they must face a devastating loss?

Ms. Woolf writes a story that I call a clean, charming western that is a quick read.  There are interactions with the characters from the first book in the series, which I haven’t read yet but I must say I didn’t feel I needed to in order to understand this story.  Sapphire Bride is stand-alone even though it is part of a series.  From what I picked up there is the continued theme that the brides are coming to Central City with danger close behind them.  Both brides so far are also from New York which I don’t know if all in the series will be or just these two, but it was an opening for the “brides” to open up to each other and speak of home.  The reader was also given a glimpse of the other male friends in the group and now will have to wait to see who will be the next to order his mail order bride.  My assumption and it is strictly my personal guess as I haven’t read anything on what to expect, but I believe there are two more friends left which would mean two more books for the series.

Chemistry of Magic by Patricia Rice

Chemistry of Magic

Another fantastic tale in the Malcolm-Ives family by Patricia Rice.  I have not found another author who can spin the tale that combines the romantic pairing of a man of science and a woman of magic like Patricia Rice.  Her Malcolm-Ives stories are now in the second generation from when she first started them several years ago.  The two families have a history that first began with a pairing of the families that would cause a rift that would find closure as they families find themselves bound by marriage time and again.  Each of these marriages unites a man and a woman so different in character, yet once their differences are accepted by the couple they are melded together through the strongest love.

In Chemistry of Magic, we learn of two people who decide to marry for the benefit of convenience.  A man dying and woman desperate decide that the only acceptable course to follow is to unite in marriage.  Sounds easy, right?  Maybe a little too easy in the world of science and magic and the Malcolm and Ives families.

Viscount “Devil” Dare, is dying of consumption and his only heir is his obnoxious cousin who threatens to throw Dare’s Mother and sisters out of their home.  As he struggles daily with his deteriorating health, his only worry is how to provide for his family when he is gone.  He uses his scientific mind, to run test after test with no answers to his cure.

Emilia McDowell is a distant relative to the Malcolm family and as all Malcolm’s she possesses her own magical gift.  Emilia can heal with her touch, but to do so she suffers through the same pain.  Along with this gift of healing, Emilia dreams of publishing her life work…. A pharmacopeia.  But to do this, Emilia must marry for her to receive her inheritance.

Emilia and Dare marry for their mutual benefit.  She will use her inheritance to not only secure housing for Dare’s family but also gain her laboratory to continue her studies and complete her pharmacopeia.  A marriage of convenience that would lack love and would only last as long as Dare lives.  But neither anticipated how powerful fate is and how love would come along.

As Emilia and Dare work toward fulfilling each of their plans, a few surprises come along that will alter what they believed to be true which may, in turn, alter those plans.  But never fear, a few of the earlier Malcolm-Ives characters we have grown to love will make appearances to help Emilia and Dare.

Patricia Rice never lets me down when I read her stories.  I love her characters immensely with my favorites being the Malcolm-Ives.  Each story can be read as a stand-alone, however, I really would encourage reading all the Malcolm-Ives (the first and then this second generation) in order to truly value the wonderful world of science and magic coming together.

Someone Like You Victoria Bylin

someone likeyou

Amazon Link:  http://amzn.to/2b6otlo

 

I received this book from the publisher to review and I chose it because I had never read this author before.  I found this to be a light Christian romance that was easy to read and enjoy. 

The premise of the story is of two characters who first met while doing internships in college.  There was actually a triangle of relationships during this internship involving the two main characters and one important side character.  A few years later, our characters come full circle.

During college, Zeke Monroe worked at a refuge house because being a strong Christian he wanted to help others.  It was there that he met Julia Dare and Hunter Adams.  Neither Julia nor Hunter were Christians but Zeke had hoped to teach them of God’s love through their interactions.  Zeke fell in love with Julia and soon their relationship took on a level that didn’t mesh with his beliefs.  Not long after they parted and their lives changed.

Now as a general manager of a resort, Zeke is at odds with his Christian life.  He has lost his parents and no longer knows what to do.  He exists.  When the opportunity arises for him to come face to face with the one woman he gave his heart to and who hurt him, he finds himself realizing he still loves her even after all they had been through.  When he hears that Julia is now a Christian his emotions are turned around so he doesn’t know how to handle that news when his own spiritual life is bitterly in pieces.

With the resort’s future on the line, Zeke and Julia worked together to create the best wedding in 30 days to impress one of the owners to keep the resort open.  As they work alongside of each other, Zeke is tested with his lack Christianity and Julia’s newly discovered acceptance in God.  Julia is a Christian but she hasn’t always been and because of that she has made mistakes which has led to her carrying around a secret that she knows will hurt Zeke so she is scared to tell him.

Secrets will always come out whether by our own admittance or by another source.  Julia shares her secret with Zeke because that secret will be walking in the door of the resort and possibly ruin all the work they have done.  Zeke must face the past and decide if his love of Julia is enough to forgive and move forward.

This is a beautiful story of losing your way and finding it again through redemption, forgiveness and love.  Sometimes those who are the teachers will need to be the student in order to remember; which is where Zeke finds himself.

A wonderful developed story involving strong main characters struggling to find themselves with the help of some amazing secondary characters.