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Review of A Light on the Hill by Connilyn Cossette   Leave a comment


Seven years ago, Moriyah was taken captive in Jericho and branded with the mark of the Canaanite gods. Now the Israelites are experiencing peace in their new land, but Moriyah has yet to find her own peace. Because of the shameful mark on her face, she hides behind her veil at all times and the disdain of the townspeople keeps her from socializing. And marriage prospects were out of the question . . . until now.

Her father has found someone to marry her, and she hopes to use her love of cooking to impress the man and his motherless sons. But when things go horribly wrong, Moriyah is forced to flee. Seeking safety at one of the newly-established Levitical cities of refuge, she is wildly unprepared for the dangers she will face, and the enemies–and unexpected allies–she will encounter on her way.



Connilyn Cossette continues the stories she started in her previous series, “Out from Egypt”, with a brand new one: “Cities of Refuge”. Since reading her books, I’ve become a huge fan of Cossette’s Biblical adventures, and was excited to get the first book of her latest series, A Light on a Hill.

I’m not going to go in-depth on the plot. I think that’s been gone over numerous times on Amazon, so you have a sense of what’s going on in the book. So instead, I’ll go over the things I loved with this story.

As with Cossette’s previous books, the character development is excellent. You truly feel for Moriyah who has lived her life apart from the public, and is so afraid of the judgment of others that even though she hides behind a veil, she still quakes in fear any time an eye so much as focuses on her. Her dreams to have a family of her own have long since crumbled into dust. The mark on her flesh is also etched in her heart, and she wonders why Yahweh seems to no longer be with her. Her little happiness is gained in burying herself in cooking and helping others.

I could really empathize with Moriyah there. I think there are many of us who, because of fear or despair, isolate ourselves from almost everyone and bury ourselves in our own little world. Yes we may be lonely, but we feel safe. And that is how Moriyah is in the story.

Being accused of murder nearly undoes her. Never has she wanted to hurt anyone else, but now people are dead because of her. Even as she flees to a city of refuge to escape the avenger of blood in hopes of having a fair trial, she is torn with just letting herself be killed. Because she doesn’t believe herself worth saving anymore.

Moriyah’s journey is one of heartache and healing, as she learns to let go of the fear that has bound her and accept God’s grace. To learn that it wasn’t God who had left her, but she who had shut out His voice from her heart. And with that realization, she hears from Him once more and becomes the light He always meant for her to be.

And yes, the romance is good. 😉 For those of you who’ve been reading my reviews, you know I’m a huge fan of a good romance, and this story will definitely please those who love that.

Darek (the male lead) is thankfully not one of those hardheaded numbskulls who believe rumors instead of seeing a person’s heart for themselves. In spite of being related to the ones Moriyah has murdered, he still treats her with respect and honor, and by watching her actions in the face of danger, sees Moriyah for the wonderful person she is.

You definitely get it all with A Light on the Hill: action, suspense, romance, and a powerful story of God’s grace to us even when we don’t deserve it.

Verdict: Buy this book at once!

(I received a free copy of the book from the publisher and author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)


Book Review of A Passionate Hope by Jill Eileen Smith   2 comments

Hannah and her husband, Elkanah, share a deep and abiding love, for each other, for their God, and for his tabernacle at Shiloh. Greatly disturbed by the corruption of the priests, they long for restoration and pray for a deliverer. But nothing changes as the years pass. Years that also reveal Hannah to be barren.

Pressured by his family to take another wife, Elkanah marries Peninnah, who quickly begins to bear children. Disgraced and taunted by her husband’s new wife, Hannah turns again to prayers that seem doomed to go unanswered. Do her devotion and kindness in the face of Peninnah’s cruelty count for nothing? Why does God remain silent and indifferent to her pleas?

Travel back to the dusty streets of Shiloh with an expert guide as Jill Eileen Smith brings to life a beloved story of hope, patience, and deliverance that shows that even the most broken of relationships can be restored.


This is my first book from Jill Eileen Smith. Though this is the fourth book in the series, each book focuses on a certain character from the Bible, so the stories are self-contained. With this book, the author brings Hannah’s story to life.

It’s very rare to find good Biblical fiction. This book joins that list of amazing and beautiful works that you will not only want on your shelf, but want to revisit over and over again. Smith paints a poignant and moving story. Hannah’s greatest wish is to be the mother of Elkanah’s sons. But year after year goes by, and she wonders if God sees her, if He even bothers to listen to her prayers, though she has loved and obeyed Him her entire life. She feels worthless, even though her husband loves her.

Elkanah is a great character who loves Hannah with all his heart, in spite of receiving no children from her. You, like me, are probably going to shake your head and wish he’d grown a spine in resisting his family who pressured him to marry Peninnah. But then again, it’s hard to judge when you’re not in the person’s shoes. And I think we all know how hard it is when you have family pressuring you to do something. From the beginning Elkanah regrets his decision, and with Peninnah’s unpleasant attitude and nasty behavior towards Hannah, you can feel his doubts and grief as he wonders if his family will ever be at peace and why God could not have allowed Hannah to bear his children.

Peninnah is spoiled, demanding, and lives in continual bitterness over the affection she longs to receive from Elkanah, but who instead gives it all to Hannah. No matter how many sons she gives him and how she derides Hannah and points out her barrenness, she cannot gain Elkanah’s love.

I’d already read through half of the book before I decided to just take the day off and blast through the rest because I couldn’t wait for the next part any longer. I enjoyed reading of Elkanah and Hannah’s love for each other, and the drama in Elkanah’s family with the friction Peninnah causes will definitely keep you turning those pages. And you will root for Hannah as, through all her doubts and sorrow, she holds onto God even when she thinks He doesn’t listen to her. And in the end, her faith is rewarded.

You will see this multiple times in the reviews posted on here, but I have to agree with the consensus. It really is a beautiful and moving tale of faith, forgiveness, of letting go of your doubts and despair, and allowing God to make your heart whole again.

This is a book that gets my highest recommendation. And on a side-note, I gave this to my mother to read, and she loved it so much, she’s rereading it a second time.

Verdict: A compelling and poignant retelling of Hannah that deserves its place on the shelf.

(I received a free copy of the book from the publisher and author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)

Review of Judah’s Wife by Angela Hunt   Leave a comment


Seeking peace and safety after a hard childhood, Leah marries Judah, a strong and gentle man, and for the first time in her life Leah believes she can rest easily. But the land is ruled by Antiochus IV, descended from one of Alexander the Great’s generals, and when he issues a decree that all Jews are to conform to Syrian laws upon pain of death, devout Jews risk everything to follow the law of Moses.

Judah’s father resists the decree, igniting a war that will cost him his life. But before dying, he commands his son to pick up his sword and continue the fight–or bear responsibility for the obliteration of the land of Judah. Leah, who wants nothing but peace, struggles with her husband’s decision–what kind of God would destroy the peace she has sought for so long?

The miraculous story of the courageous Maccabees is told through the eyes of Judah’s wife, who learns that love requires courage . . . and sacrifice.




After reading the first book in Angela Hunt’s Silent Years series, I waited with eager anticipation for the next in the series. In the second book of the Silent Years, Angela Hunt takes us back to the time of the Maccabees and their heroic struggle to follow their faith.

I had high hopes for this book, and initially it started out strong enough. Leah, the wife of Judah, has lived for years with an abusive father. So when she is offered in marriage to Judah, she hopes she can finally escape the violence that has plagued her entire life, and have peace. Judah proves to be nothing like her father, instead being a kind man willing to stand up for his family and faith. When events take a drastic turn, however, Leah struggles to love and trust Judah as he becomes the leader of the bloody revolt against Antiochus IV. Judah is a reluctant hero, a man forced into a role which he never asked for, but follows out of his desire to obey God and not repeat the mistakes of his ancestors. But in choosing to follow God’s lead, he risks losing the woman he loves.

Angela Hunt does a great job bringing her characters to life. Even secondary characters stand strong in the story. But there are some issues.

When it comes to the romance part, Hunt tends to skim over it. To her credit, she did a better job in this book than the last, but it still felt rushed and pushed aside to make room for the rest of the story. Mainly, the Maccabees’ struggle. Which brings me to another issue, and that is including too much history and not enough story. Angela Hunt’s goal is telling you the historical events of the Maccabees. That means fleshing out certain elements is going to be minimal, and that is how the interaction between Judah and Leah was. While there are pauses every now and then when she halts history to focus on the characters themselves and how events challenge them, she quickly moves on.

Leah, honestly, got on my nerves more than once. I understand when you live in an abusive household for your entire life, you can’t just open up and give love out. However, her mother is the one who takes the brunt of the abuse for her. Like 99% of it. Leah’s reaction? Scorn because her mother did not fight back or do anything. Zero gratitude for what her mother endured for her sake, until Judah’s mother pointed it out to her.

Next, she hated violence, so despite Judah being kind and gentle to her for several years, being a husband every woman would want to have, she becomes convinced he will start beating her once he becomes a warrior. So what does she do? Act like a spoiled brat and throw tantrums when she doesn’t get her own way. I actually felt sorry for Judah and what he had to put up with.

I won’t spoil the end for all of you. Suffice it to say that I already knew how it would end since I know the history of Judah. But the way Angela did it was so abrupt, you end up feeling very disappointed once you’ve finished the book.

I did like how Leah’s thoughts and perceptions of God grew. She doubts in the beginning as to whether God hears her prayers after the repeated violence she has seen in her home, and questions whether he really has a plan for her. Then slowly, she finally comprehends the destiny He has for her life and His love for her.

If we could have focused more on her and her relationship with Judah, the story would have been better (as well as some maturity on her part). As it is, while it starts out with a strong beginning, it loses pace pretty quick in favor of focusing on historical events over the characters and their relationship with each other.

Verdict: A semi-decent read that should please most enthusiasts of Biblical fiction, except those looking for more depth to a story and characters.

(I received a free copy of the book from the publisher and author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)

Review of The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas   Leave a comment

Judd Markley is a hardworking coal miner who rarely thinks much past tomorrow until he loses his brother–and nearly his own life–in a mine cave-in. Vowing never to enter the darkness of a mine again, he leaves all he knows in West Virginia to escape to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It’s 1954, the seaside community is thriving, and Judd soon hires on with a timber company.

Larkin Heyward’s life in Myrtle Beach is uncomplicated, mostly doing volunteer work and dancing at the Pavilion. But she dreams of one day doing more–maybe moving to the hollers of Kentucky to help the poor children of Appalachia. But she’s never even met someone who’s lived there–until she encounters Judd, the newest employee at her father’s timber company.

Drawn together in the wake of a devastating hurricane, Judd and Larkin each seek answers to what tomorrow will bring. As opposition rises against following their divergent dreams, they realize that it may take a miracle for them to be together.


After a mining accident that nearly claimed Judd Markley’s life and took that of his brother, Judd decides on a drastic change by leaving all he’s ever known and embarking on the life he would have wanted his brother to have.

Larkin Heyward is a pampered rich girl who dreams of doing something big in the world that will make her feel useful, but feels compelled to stay with her family after the loss of her brother.

I’m always been drawn to deep stories. Those make up some of my all time favorites, so when I read the summary for this, its promise of a haunting and poignant story convinced me to give it a try. Unfortunately, its promise turned out to be hallow, at least for me.

The beginning starts out decent enough, with us trapped in the cave-in with Judd. And even his journey to South Carolina as he tries to mend his broken heart keeps you turning the pages. Larkin is okay, but not what you would call ever compelling. Still, I waited to see her journey of growth and romance with Judd.

Results were less than adequate. Like one reviewer already mentioned here, the premise advertised for this story is a little deceptive. Part of the draw in selecting this story was reading about a hurricane ripping through the town and drawing Judd and Larkin together. That hurricane went by as fast as it came, and left next to zero impact on the characters, unless you can count getting soaked in the rain as something. I didn’t even reach the halfway point in the story before it was gone. Expecting to see the characters rally after the horror and trauma of this devastating ordeal, I was surprised at how quickly the whole ordeal was glossed over. We then move to Larkin attempting an escape away from her domineering father so she can join her brother in bringing help to those “poor Appalachian folks”. And yes, my reaction did mirror Judd’s with that one.

With the hurricane moment gone, I thought we were going to do the whole ‘rich woman goes to the backwoods and learns how to fend for herself’ thing. Again, glossed over.

Honestly, the story wandered. I felt the author really didn’t know where to lead the story, so we kind of just weaved in and out of bits of drama, that were thrown in there just to keep things going.

The part about learning to live your life and healing is great, but you want to see some kind of journey with that and growth on the characters’ parts. Judd stayed as the mild-mannered man always reflecting on the loss of his brother and doing the same thing every day, while Larkin remained as a spoiled and impulsive woman who doesn’t change until practically near the end of the book.

Spiritual elements are about the same. One character will go off spouting a sermon or such, but that’s about the extent of it. You more cringe than feel anything resonant within you, which is quite disappointing. The only positive thing I can give this story is that the writing is good. I just wish the story had measured up to it.

Conclusion: As a mild, light read that takes its time and doesn’t worry about pacing, character growth, or a meaningful spiritual connection much, this is it, and judging from the amount of positive reviews on here, I believe the majority will find this story much more to their liking.

Verdict: Pass

(I received a free copy of the book from the publisher and author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)

Cyber Monday Sale!   Leave a comment

Hello, everyone! It’s Cyber Monday today, which means bargains galore. After putting this off for months, I’m finally having a free ebook sale on The Dark Wolf! 😀 So if you’re curious about the series and been wanting to give it a try, now is your chance. The sale only runs for 5 days, from now to December 1st, so you have a limited time to grab a copy.

Buying from Amazon is easy. Simply create a free account on their site. Once you’re registered, go to the book’s page and press “Buy now with one click”. Done! Now if you don’t have the Kindle app, again, it’s free to download. You can enter your email or phone number to get it straight from Amazon, or just grab it from one of the major app stores out there.
And if none of you mind, please consider leaving an honest review of The Dark Wolf on Amazon once you’re done. 🙂

Click to order The Dark Wolf on Amazon


Here are some of the current reviews for The Dark Wolf:


Okay.. so overall THE DARK WOLF is something I want to see in a movie. It’s an honest, ‘say yes!’ Characters are well presented, especially with the main two, Darvir and Elaine. There are parts that reminds of LOTR, but I’m happy how you put things together to form a solid and unique turn of the story. – Mary  J

For the Dark Wolf of The Heart Of Trilogy. I’m still in love with the book until these days. How I prayed that the book will become a bookseller in the market and will turn out to be a movie. I’m not just saying this because the author is my friend. Rather, the book is greatly written. It has a very intricate plot but I can see the beauty it withhold. And I didn’t see any loopholes. The author weaved together the story wonderfully. And every character in his book have their own tales to tell. May it be the protagonists, the antagonists and even the supporting characters. You definitely can learn from them and even relate to them. Because it may be a Christian fantasy but it’s also happening in reality for some sort. There are some part of the book that made me so emotional. And what I truly love about the book because it really emphasized that Elosha, or Abba Father in reality will always be powerful, merciful, compassionate, loving to His people. – Whinnlight

Truly a five star rating! Could not put the book down. Loved the plot and the characters. This book had excitement, thrilling build-ups, and twist in the plot. Believe me you will not waste your money. Going to go get the second part right now. – Mike B

J.M. Christian weaves together a masterful tale in The Dark Wolf. The reader feels and empathizes with what the characters feel as they go through their struggles. Christian’s development of his characters allows the everyday person to completely relate to them. The entire world comes to life with breathtaking realness. Prepare to be transported to another world by the magic only a skilled author can create…and there are not many of them. –Kya Lightwing

I enjoyed this book very much. For one thing it was fantasy, (woot woot) and for another it has a deeper meaning to its storyline and characters. The adventures were described well and gave it a real feel. The characters were very round and shifted with the book as their circumstances challenged and changed them. There’s more than one story within this book, and each of them adds a special glimmer to The Dark Wolf’s shine. –Trista Vaporblade (Author of Quest for the Swords of Healing)

It’s epic, amazing—without a doubt, it’s one of the best reads I’ve read in awhile! –Angel (Author of Whispers of my Soul)


Click to order The Dark Wolf on Amazon


Review of A Dangerous Legacy by Elizabeth Camden   Leave a comment


Lucy Drake’s mastery of Morse code has made her a valuable asset to the American news agencies as a telegrapher. But the sudden arrival of Sir Colin Beckwith at rival British news agency Reuters puts her hard-earned livelihood at risk. Newly arrived from London, Colin is talented, handsome, and insufferably charming.

Despite their rivalry, Lucy realizes Colin’s connections could be just what her family needs to turn the tide of their long legal battle over the fortune they were swindled out of forty years ago. When she negotiates an unlikely alliance with him, neither of them realizes how far the web of treachery they’re wading into will take them.

I usually enjoy historical romance fiction, so I decided to give this a try. One thing is for certain. Elizabeth Camden will definitely not be getting added to my favorite authors’ list.

Our main characters are Lucy Drake, a skilled telegraph operator at the AP news agency and Sir Colin Beckwith, head of the rival agency, Reuters. Lucy and her brother have been embroiled in a bitter court battle with their dastardly uncle who managed to cheat their family of a special plumbing valve their father invented. With all their time and money being spent to keep their Uncle Thomas at bay, they have no time to actually live. Lucy keeps them going by reminding herself that once they win the fight, the valve can be offered at cheaper prices so everyone can have running water in New York.

Sir Colin Beckwith is heir to a title, but with no wealth to match it. While he loves his job at Reuters, he feels the weight of his ancestral duty pressing down on him. His only hope for restoring his home in England and taking care of the tenants who live on the estate is to marry a wealthy heiress.

Despite resisting a romance with Lucy, he soon becomes embroiled in the mystery surrounding her family.

The time period is 1903 and Elizabeth Camden does a good job portraying the excitement of the telegraph and the way news could be received over it. Plus other historical facts from this time, like plumbing, homing pigeons, journalism.

Unfortunately, it saturates the very beginning, practically the first quarter of the book. And as one reviewer already mention, there was a lot of repetitive writing. From details of why Lucy and her brother were still fighting, to the telegraph itself.

The plot meandered, and I fought to get through it. Finally reaching the halfway mark, things started to pick up, and the plot finally perked my interest. The ending was so-so. I liked where it left the characters, but the resolution of the fight with Uncle Thomas was weak and chopped short. In fact, it was like a passing breeze.

What I like: Honestly, Colin is the character who makes this book shine. His British snobbery and belief that Americans knew zero of culture was hilarious. Even Lucy’s brother Nick proved to be a pretty strong character. I really liked also when Lucy discovered just how much of her life that had been so devoted to the lawsuit with her Uncle, she’d never really taken the time to live.

What I didn’t like: Lucy’s character was just annoying. I won’t go into specifics to avoid spoilers, but let’s just say that I wish Colin had someone else to go for.
As for the romance, it was okay, but I’ve read better. Same goes for the spiritual content, which was downright sparse and then shoved in there for the sake of being a Christian novel.

So final conclusion? It’s a comfortable read for the most part, if you’re looking for light reading material. But it’s not really compelling in the characters, romance, or spiritual aspects. I should add that I passed this book on to my mom, thinking this would be something she would enjoy more than I did. Unfortunately, she did not. She actually got so bored trying to press through the beginning that she gave up.

Verdict: Pass

(Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher and 
author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)


Review of Crown of Souls by Ronie Kendig   Leave a comment

Six months after stopping a deadly plague, Cole “Tox” Russell and his team are enjoying a little rest. That peace is short-lived when a sniper shot hits Tox. The enemy is discovered to be one of their own, a rogue Special Forces team operator.

Alec King is perhaps the only person as skilled as Tox, and he’s out for justice. Furious with orders that got his men killed, he intends to make those responsible pay. And he insists Tox join him, believing they are the same breed of soldier.

Afraid his old friend is right, Tox battles a growing darkness within himself as he and his team engage in another deadly encounter with antiquity. It appears Alec is cheating–he’s using a mysterious artifact, a crown that history has linked to some of the worst slaughters in humanity. Racing to stop Alec before his vengeance is unleashed, Tox must fight the monster without becoming one.


This is another read that’s most unusual for me. I have never read or been interested in military suspense. But when I read that there was a touch of sci-fi and supernatural elements in there (plus the fact this was the only appealing read in the fiction request section) I decided to take a chance on it.

Despite being the second book in the series, I had no problems picking up on the story, which starts out with a shot on the very first page with our hero Cole “Tox” Russel. While there were a couple clunky parts in places, I have to be very honest. This is one of the best written suspense stories I have ever read! Especially being military focused, because I usually don’t like either suspense or military fiction. Crown of Souls proved to be the exception. I actually got hooked, which amazed even me. The plot was pretty face-paced (again, couple clunky spots that sagged, but nothing major) and the character development was just beautiful. I didn’t like some spots where the author made some rapid switches from one character’s point of view to another, but the story is too good to really care.

Tox makes for one incredible character. He’s a warrior haunted by death and worse, the things he’s had to do in the name of serving his country that not even his own team know. Is he worthy of redemption? Would his team leave him if they found out about his secret? And what is always foremost in his mind, would the one girl he loves ever be able to forgive him?

Through it all, Haven shines like a beacon. Her love for Tox is an anchor, and her quiet faith both draws him and dares him to believe.

If you’re looking for an action-packed story with faith, romance, and intrigue that will keep you up turning those pages, I highly recommend buying this book. I’m already looking to get the first book, and I’m certainly going to be waiting eagerly for the third!

Small warning here to those a little squeamish: there are some graphic scenes in here. This is a military novel, so this kind of stuff will be present, but it’s not a book jammed to the hilt with it. But zero in the bad language and sexual content.

Verdict: Buy immediately!

(I received a free copy of the book from the publisher and author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)

Samantha The Reader



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