Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette

Well, I missed my normal Monday review date. Sorry… It’s been a rough couple of weeks: between wretched allergies and the sudden loss of my beautiful Aunt Faith, I’ve gone through a ridiculous amount of Kleenex lately. However, the need to stay inside on these too warm, too windy, too pollen-filled days has given me the blessing of time to read (when my eyes aren’t too puffy to see!) and catch up on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 🙂 I hope I’ll be back on schedule in a few days. So without further ado, here’s my review of Connilyn Cossette’s Wings of the Wind:

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From the book: 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?”

Wings of the Wind is a sweeping historical drama, covering events from the last bits of the Exodus and the crossing into the Promised Land. Cossette does a beautiful job of bringing the biblical stories into new, fresh life, giving her readers a different perspective on the dramatic events recounted in Numbers 21 (the Bronze Serpent) and Joshua 2 (Rahab and the Spies), among others. I love historical fiction — especially when it makes you look at stories you already know in a new light, makes you really think about the rest of the story. Cossette definitely does just that and masterfully blends a ton of historical research with everything from thrills to romance, thoroughly fleshed and sympathetic characters, and even a giggle or two.

This is actually the third book in Connilyn Cossette’s Out from Egypt series. I have not read the first two (Counted with the Stars and Shadow of the Storm), but that certainly didn’t dampen my enjoyment of this story. In fact, I plan on reading those first two books as soon as I can. 🙂 And I’d certainly suggest you grab your own copy of Wings of the Wind.

Many thanks to Bethany House for the copy of this lovely book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

The Book of Whispers by Kimberley Starr

bookofwhispersFrom the publisher:

Tuscany, 1096 AD. Young aristocrat Luca can see demons invisible to others, but must hide the fact. A powerful book seems to hold the key to their mystery, but he can’t decipher it. In Cappadocia, during a Crusade, Luca encounters Suzan, a girl who can read the book’s cryptic language. Together, Luca and Suzan realize their true quest.

That brief description of the book grabbed me immediately. And the cover is actually pretty cool too, so I thought this might be a good book to try out a new author. Then I read the book…

…and was in no way disappointed 🙂 Starr does a magnificent job of weaving historical fact with demons and magic to create a lush and fascinating tale of the Crusades. I mean, seriously, take a moment in history, add demons, and boom! Way cooler story!

Honestly though, this story, what Starr calls “augmented history,” definitely can make a reader see the Crusades in a new light. There were motivations behind the atrocities of the Crusades, and this story shows that while many of those motivations were impure, there were those who went on the Crusades for true and good reasons as well. If only more of those motivations would have been the driving force, our world may be completely different today. But, as Starr mentions in her author’s note, there are changes we can all make to help create a better world today, and knowing why we do something — knowing that driving motivation behind our own actions and those of the people around us — is one of the most important things we need to have to begin to change the world.

This was a fascinating story and I’d definitely recommend you grab a copy when it is released in September.

Many thanks to Text Publishing and NetGalley for the digital copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

 

The Most Misused Stories in the Bible by Eric J. Bargerhuff, PhD

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We all heard those great stories from the Bible when we were kids; we know all about Cain and Abel, Jonah and the whale, and the Three Wise Men. Okay, so we know the stories, but do we really know what God is trying to tell us through these stories?

Many times, we don’t actually know the full story, because Scripture is often taken out of context, intentionally or not. We also live in a completely different culture than the biblical writers did, so we may not fully comprehend the subtleties of language and cultural contexts that shaped the lessons contained in the Word. Our traditions and societal differences can skew our understanding of the Bible, if we only take the bits and pieces we know and love out of their context.

But thanks to teachers like Eric Bargerhuff, we can be shown and/or reminded of the Truth behind some of the most popular stories in God’s Word. In The Most Misused Stories in the Bible: Surprising Ways Popular Bible Stories are Misunderstood, Bargerhuff does a fantastic job of placing the stories back into their context–biblically, culturally, and historically–to help seekers of the Truth understand the Bible more deeply.

A few years ago, I got Bargerhuff’s The Most Misused Verses in the Bible and really appreciated his expository style and easy-to-read information. His latest is just as good and would be a wonderful tool for pastors, Bible study leaders, and students of the Word alike.

If you want to have a deeper, more meaningful understanding of the Word of God, I suggest you grab a copy of The Most Misused Stories in the Bible. And happy learning!

Many thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for the digital copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own!! 🙂

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

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From the publisher: “Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct.

“Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help. Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn’t she want to be found?

“It’s time for Sunnie to face her own demons—because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.”

Can I be honest with you? I was never a fan of Temperance Brennan and the Bones books (or the TV show). I tried, I really did. But I could simply not force myself to be interested in that character. So, when I saw that Kathy Reichs had a standalone novel with a new heroine, I debated whether or not I should bother to read it.

However, I’m glad I picked it up. Sunnie is very different (to me, at least) than Temperance was. I felt much more at ease with these characters than with previous Reichs books that I’ve read. And the story, including both the mystery Sunnie is trying to solve and her own backstory, was intriguing enough to keep me interested, wanting to know if I’d really figured it out or if Reichs had another twist to throw at me.

Two Nights is a great beach read, so grab a copy when it is released on July 11th and head to your favorite chill spot.

Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group and NetGalley for the digital copy of this novel for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own!! 🙂

The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber

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From the book: “Ever since the Delonese ice-planet arrived eleven years ago, Sofi’s dreams have been vivid. Alien. In a system where Earth’s corporations rule in place of governments and the humanoid race orbiting the moon are allies, her only constant has been her younger brother, Shilo. As an online gamer, Sofi battles behind the scenes of Earth’s Fantasy Fighting arena where Shilo is forced to compete in a mix of real and virtual blood sport. But when a bomb takes out a quarter of the arena, Sofi’s the only one who believes Shilo survived. She has dreams of him. And she’s convinced he’s been taken to the ice-planet.

“Except no one but ambassadors are allowed there.

“For Miguel, Earth’s charming young playboy, the games are of a different sort. As Ambassador to the Delonese, his career has been built on trading secrets and seduction. Until the Fantasy Fight’s bomb goes off. Now the tables have turned and he’s a target for blackmail. The game is simple: Help the blackmailers, or lose more than anyone can fathom, or Earth can afford.”

If you’re like me and you loved Mary Weber’s debut Storm Siren trilogy, don’t expect this series to be the same. It is a completely different world, a completely different genre–but it is just as gripping to read.

It took me a bit to get into the book, because it is so different from her Storm Siren world, but Weber had to build this world, write history for this dystopian Earth society, and give us reason to cheer for or want to strangle her characters (which I absolutely did on both counts). Once I felt at home with the Corps and gamers and ambassadors (and never felt comfortable with the Delonese…), I could not stop reading.

There are so many layers to this story, each one more intense than the one before, and many lessons that can be taught through this book. It could be a great classroom (or dinner table) conversation launcher for issues that we face (or, sadly more often, ignore) in our own society.

But the ending…

 

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*Thanks to BookBub for this pic.

I just have to say, there’d better be another book coming soon! Until then, read it!

Many thanks to Thomas Nelson Fiction and NetGalley for the ARC of this book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

 

The Toch Island Chronicles by Kat Heckenbach

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Angel doesn’t remember her magical heritage…

…but it remembers her.

Angel lives with a loving foster family, but dreams of a land that exists only in the pages of a fantasy novel. Until she meets Gregor, whose magic Talent saves her life and revives lost memories.

She follows Gregor to her homeland…a world unlike any she has imagined, where she travels a path of self-discovery that leads directly to her role in an ancient Prophecy…and to the madman who set her fate in motion.

 

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It may be Angel’s wish…..

IT’S BEEN two years since Angel learned the magic chip of wood inside her locket would grant any wish. What is taking her so long to choose?
An alarming discovery about her beloved foster brother Zack makes the decision easy…but everything else gets complicated after she runs into her old friend Melinda, who demands to go along for the return to Toch Island.
…but it’s Melinda’s journey.
MELINDA doesn’t fit in with the magical freaks any more than she did with the losers back in Florida, but she never wanted to belong before. A secret world surrounds her where even the bugs have magic…
She’s more of an outsider than ever.
So when ex-con Doran Ashe slinks out of the shadows and offers her an easy road to powers of her own, Melinda follows him despite—or maybe because of—everyone’s warnings.
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Magic and mystery entwine – hidden in the web of time.

Melinda knew Kalek’s music created powerful visions, but it wasn’t supposed to actually send her into the past!

It definitely wasn’t supposed to bring someone back to the present with her. Especially not someone tied so tightly to Melinda’s own past, someone to prove, once again, that her family ancestry was made up of psychopaths who should never have existed.

Now it’s her chance to change her lineage–and history–forever.


When I began my journey to Toch Island in Protection’s Prison back in February, I knew this series would be good, but I had no idea just how wonderful the stories would be. Kat Heckenbach has created a realm that I long to actually visit. Her descriptions are vivid, her characters are full and complex, her plots are engrossing. I giggled, I cried (which I hate doing…thanks, Kat!), I didn’t want the stories to end.

I, very honestly, read all three of these novels in one day…I could not stop! I was sucked in instantly and did not want to leave. And to keep from dropping some spoilers, I’ll leave it at that. Great for everyone from tweens in age to teens at heart, the Toch Island Chronicles are books that I would highly recommend to all fantasy lovers. 🙂

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Recruits by Thomas Locke

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From the Book: “It’s a world they’ve only seen in their dreams–until now.

“Twins Sean and Dillon Kirrel have dreamed about a world beyond their own since they were children, but it has always been a fantasy. Not long before their eighteenth birthday, however, the arrival of a mysterious new neighbor and the revelations he shares bring that far-off world within reach.

“When Sean and Dillon learn they share a unique gift–the ability to transfer instantly between worlds–they are offered an opportunity to prove themselves as recruits to the planetary Assembly. But unlocking their abilities awakens an enemy beyond anything they ever imagined, thrusting them into an interplanetary conflict that could consume the entire human race.”

I love to read Thomas Locke books. His “Legends of the Realm” series is one of my favorites. It’s cool to see an author like Thomas Locke not pigeonhole himself into one specific genre, and Recruits is definitely different from the “Legends of the Realm.” I’d say it’s more similar to his “Fault Lines” series, but for young adults, and with aliens.

But I have to be honest, I wasn’t able to get as into this book as I wanted to. I am more than certain, however, that it was not the writing or character development or anything Thomas Locke did that caused me to be a bit apathetic–I’ve just been too distracted lately. The book was well-written, fast-paced, and kept me wanting to know how it would all turn out. And Locke posited some really interesting ideas about space travel and other planetary populations, that made me go hmmm.

If you like your sci-fi, check this book out. I’d definitely recommend it 🙂

I won this book from Revell in a Goodreads giveaway! So, if you’re on Goodreads, make sure you enter any contest that you actually want to win–they really do work! 🙂