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Connilyn Cossette’s Counted with the Stars

Counted With the Stars (Out From Egypt Book #1) by [Cossette, Connilyn]

A Story of Love, Desperation, and Hope During a Great Biblical Epoch

Sold into slavery by her father and forsaken by the man she was supposed to marry, young Egyptian Kiya must serve a mistress who takes pleasure in her humiliation. When terrifying plagues strike Egypt, Kiya is in the middle of it all.

To save her older brother and escape the bonds of slavery, Kiya flees with the Hebrews during the Great Exodus. She finds herself utterly dependent on a fearsome God she’s only just beginning to learn about, and in love with a man who despises her people. With everything she’s ever known swept away, will Kiya turn back toward Egypt or surrender her life and her future to Yahweh?

Review

I will admit that I am not a huge fan of Biblical fiction. It almost sounds like an oxymoron to me. However, after having read Tessa Afshar (who I love) I decided to give it a second chance with Cossette. So glad I did! My thoughts:

What I loved

History. The author did her research. I learned so much about the Egyptian culture…from the big things like their use of the Nile, to the small things like the way in which they used makeup. The author was able to teach me without stopping to have a paragraph explain why things were the way they were. Also, her focus on the details really made her come across as credible.

Kiya. Kiya experiences a lot. She becomes a slave, has a hard mistress, and experiences all ten of the plagues. I enjoyed being in her head. The author could have written her as a bitter heroine, and while she wasn’t always happy, what came across was grit and tenacity.

Spiritually, Kiya comes to realize that the God of the Hebrews cares for her. That He is not a god who ignores his people.

What I didn’t like:

The romance. I loved the idea of it, the Hebrew and the Egyptian. And it wasn’t bad, but it was definitely the secondary story as Kiya and Eben spent most of the book exchanging long looks instead of really talking and developing a relationship. Mind you, this is my own pet peeve and doesn’t take away from the book. I just enjoy books where the romance has a strong foundation.

Romantic scale: 6.5-7

Overall, so glad I picked up this book and I’m excited to start the next one!

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Becky Wade’s True to You

True to You (A Bradford Sisters Romance Book #1) by [Wade, Becky]

After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford has decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now.

Unlike Nora, former Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. But when he’s diagnosed with an inherited condition, he’s forced to dig into the secrets of his past and his adoption as an infant, enlisting Nora to help him uncover the identity of his birth mother.

The more time they spend together, the more this pair of opposites suspects they just might be a perfect match. However, John’s already dating someone and Nora’s not sure she’s ready to trade her crushes on fictional heroes for the risks of a real relationship. Finding the answers they’re seeking will test the limits of their identity, their faith, and their devotion to one another.

Review

I love Becky Wade books. I really do. Not every Christian romance writer can write contemporary fiction, but Becky Wade can and she does it so well. This book reminded me of all the reasons why I fell in love with her writing. My thoughts:

What I liked:

Nora. There are so many times when I read novels where I love the hero and cannot stand the heroine. Not here. Nora was completely relatable; there was everything from her obsession with a British show, to her relationship with her sisters and family, to her love for her job, to her hopes and fears as a single woman. I liked that she was an older single (late 20s) woman. These women do exist too! I liked that she saw a man who was attractive and really liked him. There were no games played here, which I really appreciate (okay John definitely has a girlfriend at the start of the book, but come on, he wasn’t married yet. I could understand why she still wanted to know him.)She had insecurities, but at the same time they didn’t drive her. She had something in her life (her town and research) that she was passionate about, but it didn’t own her. She wasn’t perfect, but when she made mistakes she fixed them.

John. Come on now, retired Navy Seal? Yes, please. I liked how serious and focused he was. I was able to appreciate his honor and how he treated and cared for those around him. John is facing quite the problem, but he doesn’t let it get him down.

Romance. It was wonderful. Nora is taken with John right away, but him not so much. To see him fall in love with her on the pages was so lovely. They spent time together, they became friends. They argued. They made up. Nothing felt superfluous. Just lovely.

Secondary characters. Nora’s sisters are so interesting. I eagerly await their romance novels!

Spiritually, the novel deals with identity. It doesn’t matter where you came from or what the past looks like, once you become a believer, your identity is in Christ.

What I didn’t like:

Okay, this is not necessarily something I didn’t like. But there is an interesting twist that’s thrown in here…one I should have seen! But somehow managed not to. I’m still not sure what to think about the twist. It was neither good nor bad, I’m just not sure what to think.

Romantic scale: 9.5

Overall, I just loved this book. Loved it!

**I received a copy from BethanyHouse. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

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Irene Hannon’s Sandpiper Cove

Sandpiper Cove: A Hope Harbor Novel by [Hannon, Irene]

Hope Harbor police chief Lexie Graham has plenty on her plate raising her son alone and dealing with a sudden rash of petty theft and vandalism in her coastal Oregon hometown. As a result, she has zero time for extracurricular activities–including romance. Ex-con Adam Stone isn’t looking for love either–but how ironic is it that the first woman to catch his eye is a police chief? Yet wishing for things that can never be is foolish.

Nevertheless, when Lexie enlists Adam’s help to keep a young man from falling into a life of crime, sparks begin to fly. And as they work together, it soon becomes apparent that God may have a different–and better–future planned for them than either could imagine.

Review

There’s something about an Irene Hannon novel that is comforting. She has solid characters, suspense, and a good message. My thoughts:

What I liked:

Characters. I have complained before that Irene Hannon’s characters kinda feel all the same to me. The only difference is that they face different circumstances. However, this book tosses that theory on its head. Instead of the police figure being a male, its a female. And instead of that male being the smart, intelligent, gun-toting person, he’s sweet, quiet and very hesitant. Adam is extremely beta while, dare I say it, Lexis is Alpha. It’s a very strange dynamic, and for the most part I liked it.

Mystery. This novel is not one of Hannon’s traditional mysteries. No one has been murdered here. No one was kidnapped. What we have is vandalism and pranks. And that’s ok. This is more character focused book, than plot driven. Yet, Hannon still makes me want to know who-done-it.

Romance. I loved the combination of an ex-con and a lady cop. It’s why I requested this book in the first place. I thought the author did a lovely job showing the characters falling for each other. They come from such different backgrounds that it was important to show how they were willing to cross them for each other. While I do wish Adam had been not quite so passive, overall I really enjoyed it.

Spiritually, the novel deals with forgiveness and grace and what that really looks like.

What I didn’t like:

Adam Stone. Okay, I liked him. But there were times when he was a bit too beta. I know he was an ex-con and I could understand why he would be mellow, however, I wish the man had taken some pride in something. Lexie had to prop him up a bit too much. Also, I think it would have made him a richer character if we could have learned more about his crime. It was very vague. I get that the author wanted to focus on the now, but I found him so interesting I wanted more.

Romantic scale: 7.5

Overall, a very enjoyable read. Once I started it, I had no desire to finish it and I love the risk the author took, by presenting a very unique couple.

**I received a copy from Revell. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**