If you’ve been looking at new Christian fiction lately you may recognize the cover of A Light on the Hill by Connilyn Cossette. If you didn’t buy the book immediately because the illustration is so gorgeous (likely the prettiest in my small collection of books) you’ve probably wondered about it. Today, rather than delving into a comprehensive review, I just want to highlight what I feel are the best and worst aspects of this popular new novel I’m seeing everywhere! Continue reading “Best and Worst of A Light on the Hill by Connilyn Cossette”
From what I’ve seen as I’ve explored the internet, you’re not a true book blog till you host a giveaway! You’ve probably figured out by now that I really like Christian fiction—what you don’t know is that I also love snail mail and packages. I’m hoping you’re following along because you’re a tiny bit like me, and will enjoy the chance to get a little bundle of reading bliss in your mailbox. For legal reasons and also due to shipping costs, I’m not opening this to followers with mailing addresses outside the United States—and if that eliminates you, I’m truly sorry. 😦 That said, on to the rules:
*First off, no purchase necessary to enter.
*Must be 18 years old and a resident of the U.S. to enter. Void where prohibited.
*Giveaway will be open from now until closing on Sunday night, July 29th 2018
*Prize is a copy of the book Counted with the Stars by Connilyn Cossette as well as a red velvet bookmark hand-made by me! I purchased the book online as a new copy, although I do want to note it came with a small defect (ink mark on bottom edge).
*The number of eligible entries determines the odds of winning.
*Entry is free; all you need to do is leave a comment on this post. Please tell me what you would like to see more of on the blog in the future! Only one entry/comment per eligible entrant, please.
*Within a day of closing (by Monday night) I will use random.org, a random number generator, to select the winning comment (for example, if the number generated is “2” the second eligible comment will be the winner.)
I will then email the winner notifying them of their win. They will have one week to email me back with the U.S. address they would like their prize to be shipped to. I will mail it to them free of charge! However, if they do not respond within a week, they forfeit their prize. In that case, I will choose another winner using the same method.
* By entering you agree to the rules and release apageoutofherbook.com and myself personally from any liability.
There, now all the fancy-schmancy lingo and laws are out of the way. I’m going to be checking in often to see who’s entered and what suggestions you have. Thank you so much to those of you who’ve stuck with me as I’ve gotten this site going, and welcome to anyone who’s just discovering me through the giveaway!
Counted With the Stars
Bethany House Publishers, ©2016
Had Yahweh been calling to me? Without words? Had he guided my steps to be among his people? To be set free from bondage and to follow him into the wilderness for some purpose I did not yet understand? Perhaps even the dream that had plagued me after the Nile turned red, when the gods themselves bled, was a message that Yahweh would destroy their power.
My heart contracted as I imagined the possibilities. Did Yahweh, the Almighty Creator, hear me? An Egyptian slave? Even though I had refused to surrender to him?
I dipped my toes back into the cool, rich waters of the Nile with another foray into the world of ancient Egypt! The biblical tale of Moses and the Exodus is lush with meaning to be gleaned about our Redeemer, so it’s not surprising to me that it has inspired more than one novel. Counted With the Stars is written from a fresh perspective; the protagonist is an Egyptian (rather than a Hebrew) fearful for herself and her people as the plagues unfold.
Kiya, the main character, grew up with riches but was sold into slavery when her family becomes unexpectedly destitute. She forms a close friendship with a fellow Hebrew slave, who tells her the stories of their people and Yahweh’s covenant with Abraham and his descendants (see Genesis 15.) Eventually Kiya flees Egypt with the Hebrews and must decide if she will surrender her life to the same God who decimated her homeland.
There were some issues; in my mind there was a strong disconnect between the first and second halves of the book. Excellent characters, who had been built up and fleshed out, disappear without a satisfying ending when Kiya leaves Egypt . New characters (particularly a villain) pop up out of nowhere and seem cliché by comparison. I also thought the romantic arc between Kiya and her Hebrew love interest was unrealistic and their dialog too contemporary. “Eben” spends most of the book glaring at Kiya and treating her with contempt and for some reason she continues to find him all the more appealing. Eben’s behavior is explained to be due to his father being murdered by Egyptians, but I still don’t understand Kiya’s attraction.
Cossette does an excellent job expounding on the plagues and miracles of God; I especially found her interpretation of the parting of the Red Sea interesting. She imagines the strong east wind God sends to divide the waters (Exodus 14:21) to be very cold, and it freezes the waters on each side of the dry ground into the walls on their right and left. One of my favorite things about Biblical fiction is how it has me constantly reaching for my Bible to reread passages; to me, Exodus 15:8, which speaks of the water being “gathered together…the depths congealed” doesn’t suggest icy walls, but I don’t think it is firmly exclusive of it. Cossette makes it very clear the parting is a miracle of God and not simply a natural phenomenon!
All in all, I think Counted With the Stars earned itself a solid 3/5 rating. Parting thought—are you tired of Biblical Christian fiction? Are there any genres you are really interested in seeing me review? I recently purchased a mystery, which is supposed to be like a Christian version of Agatha Christie. I also may be getting started on some speculative works. What do you want to see most? Suspense, legal, mystery, apocalyptic? Something else?
The Pharaoh’s Daughter—Written by Mesu Andrews
An imagining of the life of Pharaoh’s daughter, fearful that Anubis-the god of the afterlife- may try to take her at any moment. Ties in with 1 Chronicles 4:18, which names a daughter of Pharaoh who marries into the tribe of Judah.
A very intriguing idea for a novel but in my opinion not well executed. I feel some Bible passages are interpreted strangely; for example, in Exodus 2:9-10 Pharaoh’s daughter instructs Jochebed to take Moses (in my Bible the wording is take this child away) but this novel has Jochebed and Moses live with pharaoh’s daughter in her chambers for years. Apart from this, some fictional elements rubbed me the wrong way. At one point a Jew proposes marriage to a woman while his previous wife is still lying dead, not even buried yet, in the house. The timing as written seemed very contrived and unnecessary to me.
Overall the novel treated the Biblical events and characters with reverence, and there were some beautiful messages woven in (my favorite was an overarching arc about one character’s names and how they define her– eventually culminating in her receiving the name Bithiah, which means daughter of God). I still believe this author has promise and I would be interested to see what else she has to offer– with the right plot I think she could go far. –2/5 stars
Thoughts? Disagree? Ready for a full review? Sutter’s Cross, coming up! Thank you so much, friends!