Summer 2019 Reading Recap

Since I haven’t been keeping up with my monthly reads I thought I would recap what I have read over the summer.  It is hard to believe that summer is nearly over.  Though as someone who lives in the south the cooler weather of Fall probably won’t make its way here until mid October.

From May to July, I have read 15 books.  This might be my most productive summer, in terms of reading, that I have ever had.  Usually Fall and Winter dominate when it comes to the amount of books I manage to get through the most during the year, but for whatever reason the past few months I’ve found more time to pick up a book or two.  Also managing to squeeze in a few audibooks does help to up my reading count.

So here it is! What I’ve read lately:

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I managed to read more nonfiction than I have in the past.  In fact, 2019 might be the year of nonfiction for me, especially since I read 4 of them in the past 3 months alone.  As for my favorite, I would have to go with Storm Glass by Jeff Wheeler.  It is the first in a series, and I’ve had to pace myself so I don’t go through it too quickly.

I think I managed to do quite well in reading a large variety of books.  Though I think being able to read this many in a such a short amount of time for me probably won’t be how I finish out the year.

Happy Reading,

Meghan

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Shadow of the Storm: Book Review

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“There will be times when there is nothing you can do but survive, to place one foot after the other into the driving rain.” 
― Connilyn Cossette, Shadow of the Storm

Title:  Shadow of the Storm

Series: Out of Egypt Series

Author:  Connilyn Cossette

Publish Date:  October 18th, 2016

Reading Format:  Kindle Book

Goodreads Summary: 

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?

Review:

Connilynn Cossette has become a favorite author of mine over the past few years.  I love that she focuses on Biblical fiction, and her ability to tell a story about women from so long ago that can still feel relevant today.  I have enjoyed her Out of Egypt Series and have finally concluded it after unknowingly reading the books out of order.  (I accidentally read the 3rd book first before knowing it was the final book in the series. Oops!)

Shadow of the Storm is my favorite of the trilogy.  I found Shira’s story to be the most moving to me of the three, but that might have been because I felt like I was reading this book at the exact time I needed to.  You know what I mean?  Have you ever opened a book and knowing this is exactly what you needed for the mood or life moment you are in?  This was definitely it for me!

It had been almost two years since I read the 1st book, Counted with the Stars, in the fall of 2017.  I wasn’t sure if I would remember too much, but it wasn’t too hard to recall Shira and Kiya’s adventures from before.  In this book Shira is the main character this time around and it is set at the base of Mount Sinai, where the Hebrews resided for 1 year following their exodus from Egypt.  Having grown up hearing and reading the biblical stories of Moses and the Israelites exodus to the promise land, I always find Biblical fiction so fascinating.  It seems to feel in the blanks a bit about what daily life would have been like and give more detail to the bigger picture.

Much like the other 2 books, Shadow of the Storm is filled with a lot of action and drama with an overarching love story. The story lines can fill like they follow a specific pattern in each book, but each story feels different and unique without feeling like a been-there-done-that plot line.

If your looking for a historical fiction novel that isn’t set in World War II then I would suggest checking out this series.  As a fellow lover of historical fiction, reading a time period not set between 1936-1945 has helped me not to burnout in my reading life and enter into a book slump.

And as a trigger warning to some who may chose to read this, Shira does have a traumatic event in her past that makes her uncomfortable around men.  You may want to research further before deciding to read if you are sensitive to certain themes.

Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

Counted with the Stars: Book Review

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Title: Counted with the Stars

Series: Out of Egypt

Author: Connilyn Cossette

Genre: Christian Fiction/Historical Fiction

Publish Date: April 5th, 2016

Reading Format: Kindle book

Review:

Over the summer I was given the opportunity to review Wings of the Wind, the 3rd book in this series Out of Egypt, but at the time I had thought it was a standalone book.   It hadn’t seemed to matter that I’d read the last book first; however, now that I’ve started from the beginning I’m seeing how different Wings of the Wind could unfolded as some the characters would have been familiar.  Counted with the Stars makes the title of the series more understandable, as the first book is mostly set in Egypt.  The novel follows Kiya, the daughter of a prominent man in Egypt, who is sold into slavery after her father loses all of his money.  Kiya serves in a house along with Shera, a Jewish slave, who begins an unlikely friendship with Kiya and can explain all of the strange things happening in Egypt.

This book is a Christian Historical Fiction novel and it centers on the exodus of the Jews from Egypt and follows along with the events during the seven plagues.  Much like the other story I read in this series, the author writes the events that happen during the Old Testament from the points of views from those who would have witnessed them first hand.  Biblical Historical Fiction in Christian novels are far more preferred by myself than those set in Victorian or early 20th Century eras.  I find the latter to often feature the lead female of these novels with weakened character traits who are too enamored with romance and toil over seemingly mindless things.  While Biblical Fiction can be more adventurous and have stronger female characters that I often like reading about better.

Counted with the Stars flows much like Wings in the Wind did, which is common in most books written by the same author.  This wasn’t however too evident while reading Counted with the Stars and I didn’t feel that the plot was becoming overly predictable.  I enjoyed following the events through Kiya’s eyes.  Seeing it as an Egyptian who witnesses the plagues before her and not understanding it as Shera did, Kiya makes for a great narrator.  When I originally read the summary I assumed that half of the book would focus on Egypt and the other would concentrate on the exodus, but much to my surprise a majority of the book is set in Egypt.

I would rate this book higher than Wings in the Wind, though barely.  The series has been really great so far and I look forward to when I’m able to read the second one.  As has been the case with other book series I’m almost certain the second book will be my favorite.

 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Happy Reading,

Meghan

Wings on the Wind: Book Review

*This book was given to me by the publisher for review purposes.  All thoughts and opinions are my own*


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Title: Wings of the Wind

Series: Out of Egypt

Author: Connilyn Cossette

Publish Date: May 2, 2017

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Reading Format: Paperback

Publisher Summary: 

Alanah, a Canaanite, is no stranger to fighting and survival. When her family is 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, is shocked to find an unconscious, wounded woman among the Canaanite casualties. Compelled to bring her to a Hebrew healer back at their camp, he is soon confronted with a truth he can’t ignore: the only way to protect this enemy is to marry her.
Unused to being weak and vulnerable, Alanah submits to the marriage—for now. As she comes to know and respect Tobiah and his people, however, she begins to second-guess her plans of escape. But when her past has painfully unanticipated consequences, the tentative peace she’s found with Tobiah, the Hebrews, and Yahweh is shaken to the core. Can Alanah’s fierce heart and strength withstand the ensuing threats to her life and all she’s come to love?

Review:

Wings of the Wind is the third book in a Series called Out of Egypt.  I was not aware of this when I got the book, however, I didn’t feel that I was missing anything by not having read the first two.  The two main female characters from books one and two do play supporting character roles in this novel and they share enough of their background to the main character Alanah that I was aware they had importance to the series but didn’t find that I was losing the plot of Wings of the Wind without having read the first two books.

With that side note out of the way, let me dive into my thoughts on this book.  When I received my email from the publisher for the books they were offering for the month of May I took one look at this cover and immediately requested it.  I was also drawn in by the summary as I don’t often read ancient historical fiction novels but when I do I usually enjoy them.  This book was no exception to that rule.

The Out of Egypt series is set from the exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt through their wandering of the desert for 40 years.  Wings of the Wind takes place towards the end of the 40 years when the Hebrews are beginning to take back their promise land from the Canaanites.  Alanah is a Canaanite woman who loses her Father and her Brothers to the war with the Hebrews.  She wants to avenge their deaths and disguises herself as a man where she sneaks onto the battlefield.  Alanah is wounded and found by a Hebrew Soldier named Tobiah, who upon discovering that she is a woman takes her back to the Hebrew camp.  Tobiah makes the decision that in order to protect Alanah from the other Israelites, as she is seen as the enemy, he must marry her. It sounds like a cheesy plot line, and I’ll admit that I was expecting it to be too gooey of a romance to really get into the book. However I was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case and instead the romance is built up nicely through out the book.

My favorite thing about Wings of the Wind has to be that the Author Connilyn Cossette fills in the space with details of what might have happened during the stories of the Bible.  I grew up in church and I’ve heard the stories of Moses and Israelites the wandering through the desert many times.  As most stories are told in the Bible they are direct and too the point, conveying the message without filling in the details. Connilynn Cossette presented a fictional observation of what daily life may have been like during this time.  And she does it with a strong female character in Alanah who can stand on her own but is lovingly supported by Tobiah and not possessively sheltered as some stories can portray a woman rescued by a man.

I’d really love to read the first two books in the series and also see this one progress to when the Israelites have established themselves in the promise land.

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars


Happy Reading,

Meghan