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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Ravage Me by author Ryan Michele

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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.

Aura of Magic by Patricia Rice

aura of magic imageAura of Magic is the newest release by the marvelous magic spinner Patricia Rice and continues the Malcolm-Ives family tales.  It is finally Uncle Pascoe’s turn at Ms. Rice’s enchanting imagination into the world of melding magic and science that ends in a burst of applause!

Uncle Aaron Pascoe-Ives, the youngest illegitimate son of the late Marquess who was raised with his nephews due to their close ages, has worked for the king in hopes of achieving his own Knighthood.  He prefers to be recognized as Pascoe, often dropping the Ives to remain separated from the family. Pascoe is a covert spy who easily blends in to learn secrets that will aid his king.  It is on one of these missions that Pascoe must either fight to continue with his carefully planned future goals or decide if it is time to change them.

Lily, Pascoe’s wife has passed away leaving him with two adorable but precocious toddlers that has him frustrated.  Nannies come and go with no one able to control them.  Just as the king gives him his newest assignment investigating trouble brewing in the north, the latest nannie leaves in tears.  Pascoe now must take his toddlers with him and hope they can stay with his family.

Edward and Emma are Pascoe’s children.  They have not spoken to anyone but seem to communicate with each other and the spirit of Lily who hovers over them in protection and guidance.  Lily tells Edward and Emma they must go with their father to meet their new Momma.  When Pascoe learns of this I don’t know if he is more shocked that his children have spoken or that they are saying such far-fetched things such as getting a new Momma!

Bridey has lived as a Countess since marrying her husband at the age of 16.  She has given her heart to helping the women and children of her area to survive the harshness their lives face.  Betrayed by those she sought to help, Bridey has hardened herself to the point she has gained the nickname of “the Ice Queen”.  With her plans to start a school to teach women about their own care as well as that of their children, Bridey refuses to give into her own heart.  With her Malcolm family gifts and her own dreams, Bridey moves forward to make her plans a reality.  But Bridey never counted on meeting two beautiful toddlers, the most handsome man ever, a thief or a host of spirits waiting to make her change her mind.

I truly believe this is my favorite of the newest generation of Malcolm-Ives descendants.  I love the solid strength of reality that Pascoe possess along with the denial of his Malcolm gifts from Lady Ninian Malcolm.  What he considers ordinary and not worth a second thought are in fact gifts set in magic!  I also enjoyed how the story was written with two characters so strong in their convictions to obtain their personal goals that they lost track of using compromise to fit in more than just the narrow tunnel vision they possessed in making their goals a reality.  With a little help from magic, will Pascoe and Bridey finally see what is right in front of them?

One comment made in the story was of a library regarding the Ives men and their progeny as the women have for the special gifts associated with the Malcolm women.  I would really like to see this happen in a future book of Ms. Rice’s.  I think it would be an interesting storyline for someone to hunt down the past and record it for the future of the Ives men.

Next in line for release is the title, “Chemistry of Magic”.  Of course, the except included in “Aura of Magic” shows another wonderful story to read.

Shadow of the Storm by Connlyn Cossette

 

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Last year I read a new author of Christian Fiction and she totally amazed me.  Her story came alive from word to word on every page and more importantly her story made me stop and look inward to answer some hard questions about my personal relationship with God.  I can’t tell you how often pieces of that story came to me even months after I read it.  I couldn’t wait for the next book in her series to come out.  I knew what I expected from this author by this point and she didn’t disappoint.

Connilyn Cossette has published book two in the Out of Egypt Series, Shadow of the Storm.   This series is based upon the Exodus that God’s people experienced when they left Egypt and the slavery they were forced to endure at the hands of their Egyptian masters.  The characters that soon became loved and cherished in book one, Counted Among the Stars, are seen again as their lives continue to unravel from the old and become new with God’s help.  Counted Among the Stars was focused on the life of a young Egyptian girl, Kiya, who went from a pampered life to one of slavery alongside the Hebrews.  She was befriended by another slave, a Hebrew girl and through their friendship God was introduced to her. The story for book one, was central to her but we were introduced to Shira whose story is told in Shadow of the Storm.

Shira’s character is a young woman with a beautiful soul and heart for God.  She is kind, compassionate and giving to those she loves.  Connilyn Cossette brings us a young woman who is shown a life she wants as a midwife but Shira must consider her family and the livelihood that she is expected to follow.  Can she go against her Mother’s wishes? But her heart has been captured and with it a way to embrace even a part of the life she never thought she would have after an act of cruelty left her with little choice

Being a midwife isn’t the only dream Shira comes to hope for.  Shira comes to know her brother’s friend, Ayal.  A man, she believes to be honorable and caring.  She begins to trust him and hope for a future for the two of them only to have that come crashing down.   When events cause Shira to face some truths about Ayal it also forces her to face some decisions on what she wants.

Through the storms that invade her life, Shira must learn to trust in the Lord and understand that whatever may come, God will remain with her.  One of my favorite passages in the story that reflects the title and what life brings us:

“We have to endure the storms, dear one so we know how deep our roots go.  So we can appreciate the depths of our strength and the freshness of the gentle breezes afterward”

If you enjoy reading fictional stories that bring the Bible to life, this is an author you want to read.  Her characters are so real and their lives so completely dimensional that you are transfixed from beginning to end.  This is truly a wonderful and captivating story!

The Billionaire’s Beautiful Mistake by Elizabeth Lennox

bold alaskan men

I have been waiting to write this review since the release date, but unfortunately I had some computer issues.  I never knew how dependent I was on my computer until I lost the use of the letter “r”.  It was funny to watch me try different ways of getting around that one letter such as reworking an entire sentence to not use a single “r” or as one friend suggested…cutting and pasting.  I was willing to try everything until I could get my laptop fixed!  Finally, as I still wait for that to happen, I broke down and bought myself a notebook.  I feel so much better having my ability to write back in my hands.  My checking account may be a little less in numbers but I am less anxious. 

Elizabeth Lennox has released the first of her new series for the Bold Alaskan Men….The Billionaire’s Beautiful Mistake.  I enjoyed reading this book and am looking forward to more.  One of the reasons I liked it is that although I really enjoy reading Ms. Lennox’s sheik romances, it is nice to see the stories take on a new location and the wilds of Alaska I believe is an amazing choice for relocation.  She still has her focus of several characters that create her bonded group and each will have his own story in the series.  The men are childhood friends that came from very humble beginnings and clawed their way to success.  Each of the characters are definitely strong, intelligent alphas that lead the industry of their choosing and leave their competitors quaking.  But when they are no longer in the board room or office, they have each other to lean on, to trust and to protect as brothers. 

In the first book, The Billionaire’s Beautiful Mistake, Ms. Lennox brings us Creek and Violet who are a wonderful match!  Creek is very much wrapped up in his business and never looks at women as a possible permanent situation, but one of need and convenience.  Until he meets Violet and finds that no matter what he can’t stay away.  Everything about Violet holds his attention.  Violet is no different than Creek with this attraction that sizzles between them.  She thinks he is the most delicious thing she has seen, but unfortunately Violet has self-esteem issues and doesn’t believe Creek would be interested in her. 

Violet and Creek begin their relationship but they unknowingly fall victim to another’s manipulations and greed.  Violet’s step-father is a shallow, untrustworthy jerk that she feels sorry for so she lets him stick around.  But when opportunity knocks with Creek’s arrival, dear step-daddy makes his move.  He tells Creek that Violet is a prostitute with special skills which will cost him $5000 a night.  Creek is easily fooled because his past has left him jaded and believes the worst and he makes his mistake…he pays it.  Violet has fallen in love with Creek which makes finding out that he paid for her devastating.  Her hurt and the betrayal leads her to walk away from Creek.

When Creek spirals into depression, we get our taste of the bond the men share as they step forward to help him.  But it is surprising who they stand up for and who they are willing to defend.  Can they make Creek and Violet understand they love each other enough to forgive the duplicity that tore them apart?

I love the alpha males that believe they can conquer all and keep emotions and relationships out of the equation.  Better yet, is the one woman who is the key to unlocking those barriers and polishing those buried hearts of gold.

 

Book 2, The Billionaire’s Challenging Beauty is releasing August 12 and will be the story of Saeger and Tyla and from what I have read of the previews this is going to be a great book with Tyla’s spunkiness.  You can pre-order a copy today and enjoy it right away on the 12th like I am doing.  I usually can’t wait to get up and find my book already there and begin reading.