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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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!

Someone Like You Victoria Bylin

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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. 

A Bond of the Heart: A Sacred Bond Friends and Family Novella by Lee Tobin McClain

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Amazon Link:   http://amzn.to/29IVTTy

Shane MacQuaid was born rich but now he is homeless by choice. When his connection to childhood friends first introduces to him to God he quickly sees that his family isn’t what he wants. They have the riches and the corporate family business but he decides he doesn’t want it, so he enlists into the military.  When a bomb blast causes him physical harm with lasting repercussions he returns home to only once again leave when his family becomes oppressive and his future is unclear.

Dani Cooper is a sweet person who has issues with trusting too much to everyone else’s too little.  She has been married twice and left twice with children from each marriage.  Her older sister is the only family she has left in her home town and although Dani relies on her help she could do without her constant advice and criticism.

Shane rents the garage apartment from Dani while building a business as a local handyman.  He soon becomes a part of the community so that it feels like home and every day he falls a little more in love with Dani and her kids.  Just as he feels he is breaking through Dani’s self-imposed rules of not getting involved again, his interfering family shows up.  His sister in law has Dani’s sister believing him to be dangerous and deranged and his brother is trying to force him home for medical treatment and then to take over as CEO of his family’s business.  When Dani walks away Shane feels his life is falling apart just as he was putting it together.

The author has created a storyline in which God is central to these characters.  Shane’s character wasn’t exposed to God and his grace until he met the young men from the Sacred Bond Brotherhood.   It was through this friendship God is working with Shane and showing him that by following the plan God had for him that his life would be enriched.  Dani trusted God more than she did herself after her failed marriages and teen pregnancy.  With a leap of faith both of these two are brought together for a beautiful romance and a happily ever after with God leading them forward.  This is a wonderful story of sacrifice and trust with love as the ultimate prize.  I have always enjoyed the Sacred Bond Brotherhood men and how strong their faith is and was very happy to read this novella showcasing their friends and family. Truly heartwarming and recommended.

I received this ARC in exchange for my review.

 

The Magnolia Duchess by Beth White

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Amazon Link:  http://amzn.to/1TO1vOI

Beth White writes a story that is intriguing in its complexity.  She writes of a family in Florida that has no ties to England as the Revolutionary War moves forward. This is a family of brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles that will hold onto that familial bond through generations and separation.

Fiona lives in Florida with her Aunt, Uncle, cousin and brothers after her parent’s death.  She is close to her cousin Maddy who is a widow thanks to the war and to her very distant cousin Sehoy. Upon hearing the devastating news that her twin brother, has been taken as prisoner by the British Fiona is shocked to discover a British soldier washed upon the shore.  What is more shocking is this soldier is a childhood friend and secret love of hers.  What to do with a British soldier, friend or not, is a dilemma as ill feelings toward the British escalate.

Charlie has no memory of why is there and what he may have been sent to do.  Is he a British soldier with ties of allegiance or is he actually a spy. As the intrigue builds and the romances for three of the women in the family blossom where will they end up?

The war comes to their door with suspicions rising of happenings on each side, but this family will hold strong to their faith in God and in one another. Men and women will fight together to protect their home and each other.

The war and its intrigue fought in Florida with a family of mixed heritage…French, Creek, Spanish and African is a very interesting story.  Throw in spies, corrupt leaders, pirates and plain American spunk and your attention is caught. You will no doubt enjoy this book and the strong characters who will hold on to God and will do what they believe to be right when confronted with war.  The characters are written with depth to their personalities which add to the enjoyment of this book.  This is the third book in the Gulf Coast Chronicles.

 

 

Live Fearless An Adult Coloring Book by Margaret Feinberg

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Amazon Link:  http://amzn.to/1XSJaS6

One of the latest items on the market is the adult coloring book.   I admit I was skeptical. I am not an artist nor am I a child whom I assumed fit the model coloring book enthusiast. But when given the chance to review Live Fearless an adult coloring book by Margaret Feinbeg I decided to try it.  Something new to try, right?

My mail arrived and with it my package from Bethany House containing the coloring book.  I accepted my package from the postmaster but with a blasé attitude.  I wasn’t really giving it a chance was I?  My daughter asked if she could open it and I said of course, after all she is a kid and loves art so she would probably be ecstatic.  From the back seat I hear gushes of oohs and ahhs.

Once home I sat down with my newest acquisition.  I was impressed.  The coloring book wasn’t anything like I was expecting and it was extremely interesting.  I found the book to be devotional in nature but meant to relax and allow one to meditate more on the verse and spending time with God.  The left page is set up and titled, Pray & Reflect with a verse to spend your time contemplating and with an area for you to write your thoughts down.  The right page is the picture that you can spend your quiet time coloring and losing yourself in your thoughts.  The pictures are not simple but actually very detailed most likely to provide you with quality time to become immersed.  Once you are done coloring, and if you stayed within the lines, you may even want to hang some of your pictures as they are that nice in detail.

My first opinion of adult coloring books was wrong and judgmental.  Had I not been given this copy from the publisher then I most likely would have continued on it that thinking.  Now that I have tried it, I did learn of relaxing benefits but more importantly I learned not to judge a book by its cover!  I believe I would find myself purchasing another of these journaling coloring books.

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