Different Perspective to a familiar story

51o8LWzlAPL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

Can vengeance give way to forgiveness when one woman’s destiny becomes entangled with the very enemies she sought to destroy?

Motherless and raised alongside her brothers, Alanah, a Canaanite, is no stranger to fighting. When her father and brothers are killed in battle with the Hebrews, she disguises herself and sneaks onto the battlefield to avenge her family. The one thing she never counted on was surviving.

Tobiah, a Hebrew warrior, has spent his share of time on the battlefield and is shocked to find an unconscious woman among the casualties. Compelled to bring her to a healer back at the Hebrew camp, he’s unprepared for the consequences of what he intended as an act of compassion.

In order to survive, Alanah must unite with her enemy. But will a terrible revelation drive her toward an even greater danger?

 

This is the first novel from this author I have read and I absolutely love her!  What a fabulous book – I loved how Connilyn, the author, increased my understanding and knowledge of the ancient Hebrews in a fascinating, can’t-put-it-down way!

I have read the story from Exodus of the Hebrews leaving Egypt, wandering 40 years before arriving in the Promised Land – but never from a Canaanite view.  Alanah is a Canaanite, who, after fighting the Hebrews and being left for dead is rescued by Tobiah, a Hebrew warrior.  To save her he must marry her – but does she want to be saved by her enemy?  This is Alanah’s story as an alien among the Hebrews.

I found this novel fascinating as it tells of a foreigner coming among the Hebrews and learning their rules and seeing everything for the first time from a new perspective.  Alanah learns of the Creator – she sees the giant cloud above the encampment.  She is not jaded to the taste of manna –

“The manna lay thick on the ground like a heavy snowfall, almost to my ankles.  I scooped up a handful and tasted it.  It exploded against my tongue like the most exquisite honey-spiced wine.”

Her mentor, a Hebrew, had a different take on the manna, “She shrugged, indifferent. ‘I’ve been eating it since I was a babe.  It’s the same today as it was yesterday and the day before that.’”

Alanah “blinked at the dichotomy.  These Hebrews ate the most mouthwatering food every single day and yet it had become mundane to them.  They had forgotten the pleasure of its taste and texture.  Bread was supplied from the heavens each day, but they were blind to the amazing miracle of it.”

I think I found a new favorite author in reading this book.  I can’t wait to read more of hers!  (This is the 3rd in the series but I haven’t read the previous 2 – I think I’ll go find them and read them now!)  I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I am freely writing a review – all thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

The Author: Connilyn Cossette

B1qnuAa6q+S._SY200_

Connilyn Cossette is the CBA-Bestselling author of the Out from Egypt Series from Bethany House Publishers. There is not much she likes better 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.

When she is not homeschooling her two sweet kids (with a full pot of coffee at hand), Connilyn Cossette is scribbling notes on spare paper, mumbling about her imaginary friends, and reading obscure, out-of-print history books. There is nothing she likes better than digging into the rich, ancient world of the Bible and uncovering buried gems of grace that point toward Jesus. Although a Pacific Northwest native, she now lives near Dallas, Texas. Connect with her at http://www.connilyncossette.com.

A Love So True

A Love So TrueI so enjoyed this novel and I just felt for the heroine – poor spinster Evelyn – she has no husband, she has pox marks on her face, no hope of ever having her very own children and now, she might even be losing her livelihood!  Yes, if her parents retire she would need to leave the orphanage too as a single woman could not possibly run it.  Made me so grateful to not have the some of the same societal rules they had back in the early 1900’s!  I also loved Evelyn’s large heart – she adores kids – both the orphaned ones and the societal outcast ones born to prostitutes.  But not only does she care for the children, she also cares for their mamas – the “soiled doves”, trapped in demeaning, abusive jobs with no hope of ever escaping.  Evelyn brings hope, even as she despairs ever escaping her own past.

“A Love So True” is the second book in the series but completely stands alone.  It’s a bonus to have read the previous Teaville Moral Society novel but not necessary.

I know this is a story about early 20th century Kansas, but the author also made me think about the attitudes I might have towards societal outcasts.  Would I act like some in the book and turn a blind eye or even avoid coming into contact with the outcasts or would I try to help them?  This was a great book to read yet it also made me think.  I highly recommend it!  I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher to help promote it. No review was required but I am freely writing one. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

For those in the local area, the Burke Community Church Fiction bookclub will be reading one of Melissa’s books for our September meeting and Melissa has graciously agreed to chat with us via Skype for the meeting!

 

The Author:

jagearsheadshotcompressed

Much to her introverted self’s delight, Melissa Jagears hardly needs to leave her home to be a homeschooling mother and historical romance novelist. She doesn’t have to leave her house to be a housekeeper either, but she’s doubtful she meets the minimum qualifications to claim to be one in her official bio. Her passion is to help Christian believers mature in their faith and judge rightly. Find her online at http://www.melissajagears.com, Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

“I stay home with my kids, and though that’s PLENTY enough to do, I decided to add homeschooling and writing novels into my schedule too! I am an English/English as a Second Language teacher by trade and still occasionally convince myself to stuff an English class into my schedule since I LOVE adult second language learners (When students are eager to learn, that’s a teacher’s dream job).

My husband and I have been married since 2001 and have a daughter and two boys. My husband loves blacksmithing, knife smithing, traditional archery, hunting, etc. Generally whatever a mountain man does, he does it or has or wants to attempt it. He comes in handy for research!”
About Mesm18
PS – I love this sepia photo – what a great idea!!!

Was it a dream?

Was it all a dream?? Last week my daughter Kate and I flew from Washington Dulles to Frankfurt, Germany. She is a flight attendant so our flights don’t cost much and we were ready for an ADVENTURE! And adventure we had – albeit a whirlwind one which is why now I wonder if it was just a dream!

Since we fly standby and an earlier flight to Frankfurt had been cancelled that day, we wondered if we would even make it on the flight – but we did and we even got to sit next to each other which was nice as we tried to make ourselves comfortable enough on a long trip overnight. Landing in Germany around noon, our first stop (besides the WC – otherwise known as the ladies’ room) was Hertz – time to get a rental car. I had requested the cheapest available car – but alas, they didn’t have a standard shift and gave us an automatic after we waited ½ hour. So soon we were on our way to Stuttgart – just a 3-hour drive with lots of traffic on a rainy day in a foreign country with little sleep the night before (can you see how fast I’m driving?)! But with Kate navigating and me driving we made it without problems.

Kdrive (002)  IMG_5710

Dinner was waiting for us when we arrived at my friend Ali’s house so we were able to eat, go for a walk and finally go to sleep in a nice comfy bed! The next morning, we arose bright and early and set off for our adventure – going to POLAND! It was a long drive (in the rain – again) but fun because we chatted and chatted for hours about everything (and Ali’s daughter was happy because Kate’s IPad delivered show after show of Flea Market Flipit). IMG_5759

IMG_5752

At long last we arrived in Boleslawiec, Poland and the Polish Pottery shops. There was so much to see – and buy! Shop after shop! Pattern after Pattern! What did I need  – or more accurately – want! With the tiny car filling out, our bellies saying they were hungry and the stores closing, it was time to get some dinner.

20170428_145335            20170428_160501

 

 

Yes, Italian food was our choice in Poland! Restauracja Giovanna 20170428_190401.jpgserved great pizza, pasta, salad and dessert! We had all of that, and fries, for just $18 for the two of us! And it was a beautiful restaurant – although the service was a little (a lot) slow!!

 

But then. We went to our home away from home – our Polish Palace. Elim Christian Center ( http://elimcenter.pl/) was established in 1992 in Lwowek Slaski, Poland. There an Australian couple bought a ruined, 450-year-old palace (it was built in 1550 by the Von Talkennberg’s) to provide a base for their ministry to the needy, the poor and the handicapped in that region of Poland. One of the women, Judy, who serves there used to be in the US Army before she (long story) eventually married a Polish man and now they and a few others run the mission and live in the palace. Anyway, we were so blessed to be able to stay there in a beautiful room with the most comfortable beds!

20170429_081827

20170429_085614

20170429_083604

20170429_081640(That’s Kate in front of our little Citroen).

The next morning I had some tea in our little breakfast nook before the others joined me for a yummy cold pizza breakfast. We then had the pleasure of getting a quick tour around the mission – seeing the dining room, the clothing room and the nativity room (they have Polish women sew 6” nativity figures with each lady sewing only the one character and then they put them all together and sell them, bringing an income to the ladies. We were able to get 2 boxes/sets of them in the car to take back to be sold at the base in Germany).20170429_081002

And then we sadly departed from our Polish Palace, returning to the pottery shops for “just one more thing!” which, without saying, turned into several quickly purchased items before we were on our merry (long) way back to Germany. 20170429_090805There we spent the night, repacked our suitcases with all our Polish pottery, made the return trip back to Frankfurt and then flew home! Okay, we had our worst moments trying to find a gas station to fill the car up once we got back to the airport and then we discovered an earlier flight had been cancelled so now our flight was totally full and we just barely made it on the plane – did I mention that we fly standby so we never really know if we’ll make it on the plane?  But we made it on the plane and every single piece of the pottery made it home safely as well!

We had such a wonderful adventure – we left on Wednesday night and were back in our own beds Sunday night. We bought pottery, spent the night in a palace, drove the autobahn and just enjoyed the adventure! Can’t wait to travel again! But such a fast adventure leaves me wondering if it really was a dream!  Except the pottery sitting on my kitchen table reminds me that it happened!

20170501_173825

Bread of Angels

This book isn’t coming out until June but I got the privilege of reading an advanced copy of it and I absolutely loved it!!

Bread_of_Angels_300x450

Purple. The foundation of an influential trade in a Roman world dominated by men. One woman rises up to take the reins of success in an incredible journey of courage, grit, and friendship. And along the way, she changes the world.

But before she was Lydia, the seller of purple, she was simply a merchant’s daughter who loved three things: her father, her ancestral home, and making dye. Then unbearable betrayal robs her of nearly everything.

With only her father’s secret formulas left, Lydia flees to Philippi and struggles to establish her business on her own. Determination and serendipitous acquaintances―along with her father’s precious dye―help her become one of the city’s preeminent merchants. But fear lingers in every shadow, until Lydia meets the apostle Paul and hears his message of hope, becoming his first European convert.

Still, Lydia can’t outrun her secrets forever, and when past and present collide, she must either stand firm and trust in her fledgling faith or succumb to the fear that has ruled her life.

I confess – I was predisposed to like this book because I read the previous one – and I was not disappointed! It was phenomenal and I just absolutely loved it! It did cost me a little sleep one night because I just could not put it down!

Lydia is known in the Bible as the dealer of purple cloth who Paul meets in Philippi (Acts 16). This is her story – from her early adolescence in Thyatira to her life in Philippi. The author Tessa Afshar has done her research on Roman life and brings the ancient days to life, giving the reader a rich understanding of Biblical days but in an enjoyable, fascinating novel. She adroitly weaves in Biblical narrative, bringing so much more meaning and understanding to the events in Acts.

Bread of Angels is a sequel to Land of Silence but is a complete separate story – the characters of the previous novel are briefly woven into this story but knowledge of them is not important to the following of the story line.

“I lost everything and found God. But it wasn’t until you (Paul) came into my life and told me the Truth that I found peace.” Early in the novel Lydia faces some extreme tragedies and then finds the God of the Old Testament through a Jewish friend. But it is not until much later that she finds Christ through his messenger Paul.

I wish I could give this book more than 5 starts as it was just so wonderful! I received it from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

I’ve never posted a link to Amazon on my blog before, but the book is on sale right now as a presale on Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Bread-Angels-Tessa-Afshar/dp/1496406478/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492033186&sr=8-1&keywords=Bread+of+angels

 

The Author:  Tessa Afshar71ECfis7JBL._UX250_

Tessa Afshar is an award-winning author of historical and biblical fiction. Her novel, Land of Silence, was voted by Library Journal as one of five top Christian Fiction titles of 2016, and nominated for the 2016 RT Reviewer’s Choice Award for best Inspirational Romance.

Harvest of Gold won the prestigious 2014 Christy Award in the Historical Romance category.

Her book, Harvest of Rubies, was a finalist for the 2013 ECPA Book Award in the fiction category.

Her first novel, Pearl in the Sand, won her “New Author of the Year” by the Family Fiction sponsored Reader’s Choice Awards 2011.

Tessa was born in Iran and lived there for the first fourteen years of her life. She moved to England where she survived boarding school for girls and fell in love with Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, before moving to the United States permanently. Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life forever.

Tessa holds an MDiv from Yale University where she served as cochair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. She serves on the staff of one of the oldest churches in America. But that has not cured her from being addicted to chocolate.

Pursued by Lisa Harris

51uvJTwBCvL__SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

Wow! The action doesn’t stop from beginning to end – from plane crash in the beginning to the end where Nikki says, “Uneventful. I’d like that.” I loved how real the author made that plane crash though – describing one of the flight attendants after the crash with these words, “Nikki didn’t miss the fear mingled with determination in the young woman’s eyes. She couldn’t be more than twenty-five, trained to be able to open the door of an airplane in her sleep, while hoping to never experience something like this.” But right after the crash Nikki realizes her seat companion has disappeared – even though she made it through the crash. Since there are so many inconsistencies in this disappearance, Nikki, an investigator with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, is drawn into a hush-hush case. Will she be able to figure out where Erika has gone?

Nikki seems to be a magnet for trouble – plane crashes, hostage situations, and more! Every page seems to bring more trouble, not to mention the standing mystery of whatever happened to Nikki’s sister Sarah who disappeared years ago.

I really enjoyed this book although it is not a good one to start reading if you must get a good night’s sleep – I stayed up way too late because I just had to know what would happen next! I loved, too, how Nikki has personal struggles and keeps trying to give them over to God, but is having such a hard time doing it. So, this book has mystery and suspense, romance, and a heroine trying to live fully for God. What a great combination, in my opinion! And speaking of opinion, I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion of it.

 

The Author:  Lisa Harris

pursued-lisa-harris-photo

LISA HARRIS is a Christy Award finalist for Blood Ransom and Vendetta, Christy Award winner for Dangerous Passage, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 and 2015 from Romantic Times for her novels Blood Covenant and Vendetta. She has over thirty novels and novella collections in print. She and her family have spent over twelve years living as missionaries in Africa where she leads a women’s group, and runs a non-profit organization that works alongside their church-planting ministry. The ECHO Project works in southern Africa promoting Education, Compassion, Health, and Opportunity and is a way for her to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves…the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” (Proverbs 31:8)

When she’s not working she loves hanging out with her family, cooking different ethnic dishes, photography, and heading into the African bush on safari. For more information about her books and life in Africa visit her website at http://www.lisaharriswrites.com or her blog at http://myblogintheheartofafrica.blogspot.com.

 

Still Life

Still-Life-Book-Cover

What a bunch of twists and turns and dead bodies that Dani Pettrey has woven into a riveting suspenseful romance novel! This is the second in the Chesapeake Valor novels – Cold Shot came before it. In Still Life the author highlights the romance/stories of Avery and Parker. Avery is a photographer, who, at the beginning of the book has gone to a gala to celebrate the opening of a photography exhibit as her childhood friend is a model for the photographer. When her friend Skylar doesn’t show and seems to have disappeared, Avery seeks the help of Parker, a crime scene investigator. Parker loves Avery (their romance began in the previous book) but can Avery trust him enough to love her, even with her past? And why did Skylar not show on the night of her big event?

Blacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime-scene photographer. She expected to be laughed at, but crime-scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright- and changed her life. But six months ago, when her feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart.

Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejected her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit for which her friend modeled. But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead- and the photographer insists he didn’t take the shot. Worse, her friend can’t be found, and so Avery immediately calls Parker for help.

As Avery, Parker, and their friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat.

Mystery, romance, murder, abductions, forgiveness – it’s all inside! And I loved the wonderful descriptions of Baltimore and its surrounding areas! I had never heard of Fort Howard, the abandoned military base,  and found it both fascinating and creepy! So I highly recommend this book if you like CSI type books – a real murder mystery that doesn’t shy away from frightening scenes but is clean in the language and sex scenes – and has a sweet romance. On the other hand, if you have a weak stomach like some of my friends, this one is not for you!

 

The Author: Dani Pettrey

Dani-Press-Page-PhotoDani Pettrey is a wife, mom, grandma, and the author of Cold Shot, the first book in the Chesapeake Valor series, and the Alaskan Courage romantic suspense series, which includes her bestselling novels Submerged, Shattered, Stranded, Silenced, and Sabotaged. Her books have been honored with the Daphne du Maurier award, two HOLT Medallions, a Christy Award nomination, two National Readers’ Choice Awards, the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence, and Christian Retailing’s Best Award, among others.

She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves—the thrill of adventure, nail-biting suspense, the deepening of her characters’ faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland, where they enjoy time with their two daughters, a son-in-law, and a super adorable grandson.

Never Forget

never-forget-cover-002

What a fabulous book! Oh my goodness my heart wept for poor Abbie! Her parents abandoned her, her beloved grandpa who raised her has dementia, she married a louse of a man who left her and now she is facing the very real possibility of being booted from the only home she has ever known and her source of livelihood. “Abbie laughed again, bitterly. She should have known he wouldn’t stay. No one in her life ever did. Not her father. Most certainly not her mother. Gran had died and left her for heaven. Debbie had gone off and gotten married to Menard. Even Gramps lived forty years in the past as a young lighthouse keeper, leaving her stranded alone in 1880.” What a lot to have dealt with by the age of eighteen!

But then a man washes up on the shore of her lighthouse island – Rose Island – and he has no memory but because of an overheard conversation, thinks he is her missing/dead husband. But will this be a complication or a game changer?

I really loved the unexpected twists and turns the story had – as well as the depictions of the hard lives lighthouse keepers had. This book is based on a real lighthouse – Rose Island lighthouse in Newport, Rhode Island – and on real stories of lighthouse keepers and the storms they battled. I also loved how real Abbie seemed – trying so hard to do the right thing, even when it was so hard, and also how she struggles with how to work with her grandpa to keep him from getting agitated.

Although this book is the fifth book in the series, it really is a stand-alone novel with just a few sentences linking it to the previous books (and personally, I think it is my favorite). I received this book from the author in return for my honest opinion.

 

jody-hedlund-headshot-002The Author:  Jody Hedlund

Winner of the 2016 Christian Book Award and finalist for the Christy Awards, best-selling author Jody Hedlund writes inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

And I just found out that Jody loves the TV show Survivor!!