Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Book Review: Between the Wild Branches by Connilyn Cossette

About the Book

Ten years ago Lukio fled Kiryat-Yearim, where he'd been adopted by the Levite family who guarded the Ark of the Covenant. Feeling betrayed by everyone, he returned to his birthplace in Philistia to become a famous fighter. Now the champion of Ashdod, Lukio has achieved every goal with the help of his ruthless cousin. But just as he is set to claim the biggest prize of all, the daughter of the king, his past collides with his present in the form of Shoshana.

After a heartbreaking end to her secret friendship with Lukio, Shoshana thought to never see the boy with the dual-colored eyes and the troubled soul again. But when she is captured in a Philistine raid and enslaved in Ashdod, she is surprised to find that the brutal fighter known as Demon-Eyes is Lukio himself.

With explosive secrets and unbreakable vows standing between them, finding a way to freedom for both may cost them everything.

This book is available for purchase here.

My Review

Between the Wild Branches is the second book of the Covenant House duology, but it reads well as a stand-alone.  Having read its predecessor, I found this book especially heart-wrenching because of the decisions Lukio had made.  Upon further reading, I was astounded by all the positive choices he had made - as a businessman, home owner, and master of his household.

Shoshana's life had been one filled with heartbreak, but she remained strong, yet kind and loyal.

This was a great story.  Details about the time and place were thoroughly fleshed out.  The characters were believable.  And in the midst of an evil civilization, there was still hope.  Author Connilyn Cossette has penned an unforgettable story that readers of Biblical fiction, historical fiction, and Christian fiction will enjoy.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Connilyn Cossette is a Christy Award and Carol Award winning author whose books have been found on both ECPA and CBA bestseller lists. When she is not engulfed in the happy chaos of homeschooling two teenagers, devouring books whole, or avoiding housework, she can be found digging into the rich ancient world of the Bible to discover gems of grace that point to Jesus and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience. Although she and her husband have lived all over the country in their twenty-plus years of marriage, they currently call a little town south of Dallas, Texas their home.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Book Review: The Substitute Bride by Carrie Fancett Pagels

About the Book

A Christmas Carol meets It’s A Wonderful Life.

A letter for Sonja’s deceased friend arrives at the post office in Michigan, and with it a proposal. With her father threatening to kick her out of his home, Sonja impulsively responds, offering to travel west to be a substitute bride. At the same time, Louis’s railroad promotion sends him back to Michigan, the one place on earth he’d hoped to never return—where Christmas past was full of pain. A mysterious stranger leaves him marked copies of “A Christmas Carol” as he considers romancing Sonja in Christmas present. Will Louis discern the best choices for Christmas future? Does it include the Poor House, again? Even so—will God bring healing and love to him this year?

This book is available for purchase here.

My Review

This story could have been a comedy of errors, with Louis proposing to his long-distance pen pal Cora, and with Sonja replying to his proposal after Cora's passing.  But upon meeting, they remembered each other from their youth and their good and caring character drew them to each other.

In the short duration of this novella, Louis and Sonja must deal with hurts and insecurities, but their love for each other brought healing.  It was easy to like and root for these characters.

This was a quick, pleasant read, which I recommend to readers of Christian historical romance.

I was gifted a copy of this book by the author.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., writes stories about overcoming with God's help (including a Romantic Times Top Pick inspirational novel). She has eighteen published romances. Carrie is an ECPA-bestselling award-winning author of Christian historical romance. She won the Maggie Award for Excellence medallion in 2018 for her novel, "My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island." Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn't "cure" her overactive imagination.