Monday, December 26, 2016

Shadows of the Storm

Shadow of the Storm (Out From Egypt Book #2) by [Cossette, Connilyn]


In the Depth of the Storm's Shadow, Only Truth Can Light Her Way
Having escaped Egypt with the other Hebrews during the Exodus, Shira is now living in freedom at the foot of Mt. Sinai, upon which rests the fiery glowing Cloud containing the shekinah glory of God. When the people disobey Yahweh and build a golden idol, the ensuing chaos gives Shira an unexpected opportunity to learn the arts of midwifery. Although her mother wishes for her to continue in the family weaving trade, Shira's gifts shine brightest when she assists with deliveries. In defiance of her mother, Shira pursues her heart's calling to become an apprentice midwife.

When a delivery goes horribly wrong, Shira finds herself bound to a man who betrayed her, the caretaker of three young children, and the target of a vengeful woman whose husband was killed by Shira's people, the Levites. As contention between the Hebrew tribes and the foreigners fans the flames of another dangerous rebellion, Shira will come face-to-face with the heartbreak of her past that she has kept hidden for so long. How can she let go of all that has defined her to accept the love she's denied herself and embrace who she truly is?


I love Biblical Fiction. I especially am a fan of the Exodus, so getting my hands on Connilyn's new books were a must. The detail she put in her books were amazing. I felt like I was right there with the Israelites as they traveled, and experienced it in a new way. And her characters were amazing. A lot of the characters from the previous book were in Shadow of the Storm as well as new ones. I really enjoyed Connilyn's writing style. She wrote in a way I hope to one day write when I try my hand at biblical fiction. A lot of the biblical fiction I read, I don't always enjoy. There are some things that I just don't fully grasp, or am not particularly excited about. But Connilyn's books were amazing. Out of the books I have read, these have been my favorite. It could be because of the time the stories are set in, or just her writing style. Either way, I am excited to read more of her writing.

There was a lot of things going on during the story. It is set during the time right after the Israelites have left Egypt, and are in the desert. The main character, Shira, was one of my favorites. She was a minor character in the previous book, and it was exciting to read what her story was. She had a lot of things she went through, and because of an event that happened, she is even more hurt and confused. Not telling anyone what is truly going on. But despite all that happened to her, I loved her in the book. She had people who greatly disliked her continually putting her down, a mother who didn't fully understand what her hopes where, a man who lied to her, and children and pregnant mothers who depended on her. Despite all, she still forgave. She learned to continue on despite her problems and to learn from her mistakes.

Do I suggest this book? Definitely. If anyone loves Biblical fiction, than this series is one you must read.

Genre: Biblical Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
I received this book free for an honest review.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Storm by Bonnie Calhoun

                                            Storm (Stone Braide Chronicles Book #3): A Novel by [Calhoun, Bonnie S.]

Summary: Now That Glade, Selah's Protecting Force, Is Gone, the Hunt Is On to Capture Her

Selah has survived the forces of both man and nature to reunite her family. But her happiness is short-lived as they are forced into a barren world of volcanic ash that conceals the storm boiling beneath. The clock is ticking and Selah's abilities are growing--along with the list of those out for her blood. 

Selah feels unworthy of her status as a novarium and is tortured by the knowledge of lives lost to protect her. Her physical and mental abilities will tempt her to be reckless, but she must learn to wield such power responsibly. Time is running out as more lives are tragically cut short and the search for the Third Protocol takes Selah into lands that have fallen into legend. Can Selah follow the trail of ancient artifacts and finish the quest? Or have she and her companions pinned their hopes on nothing more than a fanciful story?

Calhoun's characters race headlong into an explosive combination of futuristic technology, age-old greed, and the sacrifices for love that drive them to impossible choices.


This is the third book in the Stone Braide Chronicles, and I must say it was a good read. I enjoyed the characters. Seleh, Rylla, Bodhi, and the others. There were some awesome minor characters. I have not read any of the other books in the series, so I was a little bit confused (my own fault XD)  Seleh is the main character, and a novariom. She has to complete the Third Protocal, or she will break. (basically when she will go insane.) She is traveling with her sister, brother, and mom, as well as other companions, and meets new people along the way. Though she is being hunted. Many are seeking her out because they think she is the cure- and in a way, she is- but instead of helping her, many just want to use her. She goes through many trials, and has only so much time before she breaks, thus adding to the suspense.

 I liked how it was set in a futuristic America. There were a lot of cool gadgets and stuff, and had some really creative tech. The U.S. had been seperated because of the event, Sorrows, and the middle had recently been breached so people could travel through. It's sort've dystopian, but not really. It is more futuristic. One of the things that I thought could have used some more storyline was Selah's sister. There were times it just didn't feel like it, but they did have a lot of different circumstances that they went through before this book. I just feel like the author could have devoloped that relationship a bit more.
Overall, it was a fun read, and I hope at some point I'll be able to read the first two to understand more of Selah's world.
If you've read any of the Stone Braide chronicles, what did you think of them?

I received this book free for an honest review
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Temple and the Tabernacle

Summary:  Grasp the Majesty, Beauty, and Significance of God's Dwelling Places

At various points in Israel's history, God dwelt in specific, significant places, most notably in the tabernacle and the temple. These structures, meticulously planned, extravagantly furnished, and regularly frequented by the devout, were more than just places of worship and sacrifice. They were pictures of God's relationship with his chosen people and of the atoning work that would be done by the Messiah. To understand the tabernacle and the temple, then, is to understand how we are brought into God's family through the sacrifice of his only Son, Jesus.

Visually stunning and theologically rich, this full-color resource brings together the latest scholarship and archeological discoveries to bring God's dwelling places alive for modern believers. It places these important structures in their historical and theological contexts, connects them with the overall biblical story, and shows how they bring meaning and depth to the faith of Christians today.


So, I haven't finished this book all the way yet. (I've been crazy busy) but this book is so good! I am really interested in the Exodus, and this book talks a lot about the history of the Tabernacle and Temple. It shows you many different graphs, pictures, and word origins. Explaining what the Scriptures meant when it mentioned the Temple or Tabernacle. Or what they people of that time did (a few examples of idolatry) It is full of a lot of interesting facts and details that make it more interesting when you read the Bible. It shows the layout of the Temple Jesus went to, and where He was when it talks about the temple court and other locations. It adds a new perspective, and a way to imagine yourself back then, seeing the sights you read about.

Whether it is a picture of the ruins of a thought location of the Temple, or a digital picture recreating the scene, I fully enjoyed this look into history. The detail it went into in explaining how each building was set up, and all the pieces that were inside, was just amazing. God was very specific when he gave Moses and David/Solomon instructions on how to build both of his dwelling places.  If you want a book that will help you dig deeper into scripture, research or study, and a "look" at the Temple, than I suggest you read this book.

Genre: Non-fiction, Biblical study, historical.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
I received this book free from Baker Books for an honest review.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Hidden Gems: Melanie Dickerson

Be sure to check out Shantelle's blog for an interview and giveaway!

Image result for melanie dickersonMelanie Dickerson is one of my favorite authors. She writes fairytale retellings set in Europe, and they are so cool. (plus, her covers are beautiful as well) She has a wide range of retellings she's written, and they are in such a way that give you a fun new look at fairytales.

Image result for melanie dickerson

I was about to start making this post like the other's I've done for the Hidden Gem Tour, but there are so many books I won't be able to list a summary of all of them, though I would love to.  :)  For now, I'm just going to list a few of my favorites.
Why do I like them? For one, the retelling's are really cool, Some may think them all cheesy, but they are all really sweet.  The character's are all adorable, and the author has written the fairytale's in a new and unique way. I love how Melanie also has them set in historical times- where they could have happened. I encourage you to check them out!

The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest:
A beautiful maiden who poaches to feed the poor.

A handsome forester on a mission to catch her.

Danger and love are about to unite in Thornbeck Forest.

The margrave owns the finest hunting grounds for miles around—and who teaches children to read, but by night this young beauty has become the secret lifeline to the poorest of the poor.

For Jorgen Hartman, the margrave’s forester, tracking down a poacher is a duty he is all too willing to perform. Jorgen inherited his post from the man who raised him . . . a man who was murdered at the hands of a poacher.

When Jorgen and Odette meet at the Midsummer festival and share a connection during a dance, neither has any idea that they are already adversaries.

The one man she wants is bound by duty to capture her; the one woman he loves is his cunning target . . . What becomes of a forester who protects a notorious poacher? What becomes of a poacher when she is finally discovered?

Fairest Beauty:
Sophie has long wished to get away from her stepmother’s jealous anger, and believes escape is her only chance to be happy. Then a young man named Gabe arrives from Hagenheim Castle, claiming she is betrothed to his older brother, and everything twists upside down. This could be her chance at freedom—but can she trust another person to keep her safe?

Gabe knows he defied his parents Rose and Wilhelm by going to find Sophie, and now he believes they had a right to worry: the orphan girl has stolen his heart. Though romance is impossible—she is his brother’s future wife, and Gabe himself is betrothed to someone else—he promises to himself he will keep her safe, no matter what.

When the pair are forced to run to the Cottage of the Seven, they find help—but also find their feelings for each other have grown. Can they find a way to protect Sophie while also safeguarding their hearts?

The Healers Apprentice:
In author Melanie Dickenson’s new book, a young healer’s apprentice named Rose believes she will never marry … until she meets Lord Hamlin, the future ruler of her village. Hamlin is everything she could ever want—kind, understanding, and a man of faith—but her low station and the fact he’s already betrothed to a mysterious woman makes their romance impossible. As Lord Hamlin seeks to find the sorcerer who cursed his future bride, Rose’s life spins toward confusion. A creative retelling of the classic Sleeping Beauty tale.

Melanie Dickerson's newest book "The Silent Songbird," just came out a few days ago, and it looks so good! It is a Little Mermaid retelling, and I can't wait to read it.

Have you read any of Melanie's books? If so, which did you enjoy the most?

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Promise of Jesse Woods

Summary:  The summer of 1972 was the most pivotal of Matt Plumley’s childhood. While his beloved Pirates battle for back-to-back World Series titles, Matt’s family moves from Pittsburgh to Dogwood, West Virginia, where his father steps into the pulpit of a church under the thumb of town leader Basil Blackwood. A fish out of water, Matt is relieved to forge a fast bond with two unlikely friends: Dickie Darrel Lee Hancock, a mixed-race boy, and Jesse Woods, a tough-as-nails girl with a sister on her hip and no dad in sight.

As the trio traipses the hills and hollers, Matt begins to fall for Jesse, and their promises to each other draw him deeper into her terrifying reality. One night, the wrath of the Blackwoods and the secrets of Jesse’s family collide, and Matt joins Jesse in a rescue that saves one life and ends another . . . and severs the bond of their friendship.

Years later, Matt is pulled back to Dogwood and to memories of that momentous summer by news of Jesse’s upcoming wedding. He could never shake the feeling that there was more to the story of that fateful night, and he’s determined to learn the truth behind the only promise Jesse Woods ever broke.


Matt is just living a normal life when he finds out his best friend Jesse is soon marrying. Memories resurface from his childhood in the 70s, and Matt quickly heads home to decipher all that is happening.

So, this book wasn't all that bad, I just didn't enjoy it all that much. The reason(s)? The characters were good, but I didn't feel like the main character changed a whole lot by the end of the story like the author was wanting. It just felt like there was a lot of words trying to keep you busy until the end of the book. Generally I enjoy books that go back in time while in present time, but I wasn't much of a fan of it in this book. Though the author was trying to give some backstory on the main character, his friends, and what was going on in the story, some of it just wasn't needed.
I will say Chris Fabry did a good job in describing the settings and characters, but overall it isn't a book that I will be reccomending to everyone as a must read.

Genre: Historical Fiction, Contemporary Fiction.

Rating 2.7 out of 5 stars.
I recieved this book free from Tyndale Blog Network for an honest review.

Monday, October 31, 2016

October Wrap-Up and Book Haul

It's the end of October?!!! I'm still happy it's Fall though. Such a beautiful time of the year. This month I was super thankful for the cool weather, and still am. I've missed the brisk mornings and foggy sunrises.

I was able to visit one of my friends, and it was such a good time to just hang out with her. Had a lot of fun.

This month I was able to go to a women's conference my mom started, and had a wonderful time serving and worshiping with women I've grown up knowing. They are such amazing women. God encouraged me through it, and I was so happy to see God move throughout that weekend.

I went and saw the movie PRICELESS. It was amazing, and I thought they did an excellent job filming it. (So thankful that there are more and more well made Christian films coming out.)

I went to a Voice of the Martyrs conference, and got to meet and listen to some amazing  Gracia Burnham, Sara Liu, Brother John, Jason P. They shared some amazing testimonies about themselves and other persecuted Christians. (I even got to almost meet a fellow NaNoer. We "meet" on the phone since she couldn't make it, but it was still cool)


I got some great books this month, and am excited to begin some of them. Have you read any of these? If so, what did you think?

I was finally released from my awful no reading sentence and began devouring a book as soon as October 22nd rolled around. I got some great books this month, and am excited to start some of them. I read two of the books from the Selection series by Kiera Cass, Counted With the Stars by Connilyn Cossette, Neverseen by Shannon Messenger, and
The two I read and reviewed this month were:

Unblemished by Sara Ella: SO good! I really enjoyed it, and am excited to read the sequel when it comes out next year.

Guilt Hollow by Lorie L: Another great book. Full of mystery and some awesome characters.


I am super excited to start writing again, and NaNo is the perfect excuse. This year is a bit of plotting, and a lot of plantsing (not having a plan). I have a general idea on what I want to write, and can't wait! It feels like forever since my hands have been able to create another story, and I am happy to soon be creating another world. Basically I'll be doing a story inspired by a fairytale, and adding my own twist to it. I know a lot of you guys did a post on your story, but as I'm still figuring it all out, I'll just share a small glimpse into the world I'll be journeying through this November...

Katie Grace: Exploring my NaNoWriMo Novel
Jonathan: 15 Writerly Excuses
Rachael: Beautiful Books
Raechel: Q&A Tag
Savannah: 10 til Midnight
Mary: The Eye of the Storm
Rebekah: 21 Answers to the Question "Why Aren't You in School?"
Abigayle: National Novel Writing Month

Are you doing NaNo? If you haven't already, friend me! (username: smb) What are you writing right now? Are you excited for November?