Book Spotlight: A Light on the Hill by Connilyn Cossette

Hi, reader friends! Today’s book spotlight features a leading lady with an exciting and inspiring story of overcoming the past, embracing her heritage, and remembering the Hope of her first Love.

about the book

A Light on the Hill by Connilyn CossetteSeven 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.

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A Light on the Hill by Connilyn Cossette

 

about the author

Connilyn CossetteConnilyn Cossette is the CBA-Bestselling author of the Out from Egypt Series from Bethany House Publishers. There is not much she likes better than digging into the rich, ancient world of the Bible, discovering new gems of grace that point to Jesus, and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience.

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More from Connilyn Cossette on Diversity Between the Pages
Giveaway opportunities on Goodreads & Faithfully Bookish

What are your thoughts, reader friends?

Spotlight by Beth Erin
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Book Review: Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette

Hello, reader friends! We’re featuring the final book of The Out of Egypt series which takes a closer look at the culture and diversity of a miraculous time in our history. Plan to join us tomorrow for our Saturday discussion post dedicated to these and other covers.

About the Book

Wings of the Wind by Connilyn CossetteAlanah, 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?

goodreads | amazon | bookdepository | christianbook

 

My Thoughts

This story filled my heart and convicted my spirit… that’s powerful fiction, y’all! The characters, setting, and storyline captivated my attention while the underlying messages of God’s constant presence in our lives and our restless complacent tendencies struck a chord deep down inside of me.

Alanah is a fiercely independent woman. She has the strength and tenacity of half a dozen women (or more)! Alanah’s warrior spirit carries her across a rough and dangerous land and into the chaos of battle in the name of vengeance for her family. As a survivor and captive of the conflict, she expects a fate worse than death but Yahweh and His people turn her world upside down.

Tobiah is a steadfast and devout Hebrew warrior. His dedication to his family is surpassed only by his commitment to obey Yahweh in every way. Tobiah must overcome grief, expectations, and prejudice to embrace the Creator’s will for his life. A classic quiet, steady hero (with a fiery inner strength), Tobiah grows and matures in confidence and compassion throughout the story.

Although the majority of the characters within this story are fictional, the thorough research and care taken with the biblical accounts are superb. The emotional and spiritual depth combined with vivid visuals and skilled storytelling send this book straight to my all-time favorites.

I requested the opportunity to read and review this title through NetGalley and the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.
This review was originally posted on Faithfully Bookish.

 

About the Author

Connilyn CossetteConnilyn Cossette is a homeschooling mother of two with a passion for writing stories of timeless grace.

She hopes to draw readers into a personal encounter with the rich ancient world of the Bible and spark curiosity that will lead to digging deeper into the truth of the Word.

Her novel Counted With the Stars won the 2013 Frasier Contest and was a semi-finalist in the 2013 ACFW Genesis Contest. She lives near Dallas, Texas.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Out of Egypt series

book 1 book 2 book 3 preorder

goodreads | amazon | bookdepository | christianbook

 

Share your thoughts, reader friends! Are you discouraged or comforted (in a “nothing is new” kind of way) by the presence of prejudice throughout history?

 

 Review by Beth Erin

Book Review: Shadow of the Storm by Connilyn Cossette

Hello, reader friends! We’re continuing our look at The Out of Egypt series which takes a closer look at the culture and diversity of a miraculous time in our history. Plan to join us for a Saturday discussion post dedicated to these and other covers later this month.

About the Book

In the Depth of the Storm’s Shadow, Only Truth Can Light Her Way.

Shadow of the Storm by Connilyn CossetteHaving 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?

Goodreads | Amazon

 

My Thoughts

Yes! This book, y’all must read it!!! The desert sun must be getting to me because I just can’t find words that adequately express the wonderfulness of this series.

Shira’s character is so easy to love. She’s kind, compassionate, and self-sacrificing. I loved seeing her friendship with Kiya continue to grow despite the turmoil surrounding them. Even as Shira deals with the shadow of her past experiences, she is driven by a deep need to care for others.

Shira’s interest in midwifery gives readers a peek at child birthing practices and family expectations for choosing a trade during that time. Throughout the book, I was fascinated by the way the events recorded in the Bible are brought to life. I especially enjoyed reading about the scope and scale of the Tabernacle’s construction.

I highly recommend this series and check out Connilyn Cossette’s Pinterest boards for pictures of artifacts and story inspiration.

I requested the opportunity to read and review this title through NetGalley and the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.
This review was originally posted on Faithfully Bookish.

 

About the Author

Connilyn CossetteConnilyn Cossette is a homeschooling mother of two with a passion for writing stories of timeless grace.

She hopes to draw readers into a personal encounter with the rich ancient world of the Bible and spark curiosity that will lead to digging deeper into the truth of the Word.

Her novel Counted With the Stars won the 2013 Frasier Contest and was a semi-finalist in the 2013 ACFW Genesis Contest. She lives near Dallas, Texas.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Out of Egypt series

book 1 book 2 book 3 preorder

goodreads | amazon | bookdepository | christianbook

 

Shira and Kiya’s friendship is strengthened by their shared faith. Do you have friendships that are built solely on shared faith, defying all other differences?

 

 Review by Beth Erin

Book Review: Counted with the Stars by Connilyn Cossette

Hello, reader friends! The biblical account of the Exodus is one many of us have read countless times which often means we don’t take the time to slow down, experience, and appreciate the story. The Out of Egypt series takes a closer look at the culture and diversity of this miraculous time in our history. We are dedicating a Saturday discussion post to these and other covers later this month.

About the Book

Counted with the Stars by Connilyn CossetteA Story of Love, Desperation, and Hope During a Great Biblical Epoch

Sold into slavery by her father and forsaken by the man she was supposed to marry, young Egyptian Kiya must serve a mistress who takes pleasure in her humiliation. When terrifying plagues strike Egypt, Kiya is in the middle of it all.

To save her older brother and escape the bonds of slavery, Kiya flees with the Hebrews during the Great Exodus. She finds herself utterly dependent on a fearsome God she’s only just beginning to learn about, and in love with a man who despises her people. With everything she’s ever known swept away, will Kiya turn back toward Egypt or surrender her life and her future to Yahweh?

Goodreads | Amazon

 

My Thoughts

Wow. In all the times that I’ve read the Biblical account of the plagues, not once do I recall wondering about the Egyptian perspective. This story completely intrigued and captivated me.

Kiya enjoys a life of comfort and ease as the daughter of a wealthy Egyptian businessman until he loses everything and sells her into slavery. Her world is turned upside down and then inside out yet she doesn’t give up. Kiya’s mistress is determined to humiliate her but she doesn’t break.

Then the plagues hit and what hope do the Egyptians have against the unknown and unseen God of the Hebrews? Instead of blindly believing what she has been taught, Kiya questions and seeks answers. Oh, I like that! Kiya keeps putting one foot in front of the other, doggedly searching for a way to save herself and her family.

God saves the weak and poor by bringing down the mighty and strong. Right? Except, life doesn’t really come in black and white, does it?! Welcome to the IMAX level story experience, reader friends!!! I encourage you to pick up this title and experience a richer understanding of the places and culture from the Exodus account.

I purchased this book and the opinions expressed are my own.
This review was originally posted on Faithfully Bookish.

 

About the Author

Connilyn CossetteConnilyn Cossette is a homeschooling mother of two with a passion for writing stories of timeless grace.

She hopes to draw readers into a personal encounter with the rich ancient world of the Bible and spark curiosity that will lead to digging deeper into the truth of the Word.

Her novel Counted With the Stars won the 2013 Frasier Contest and was a semi-finalist in the 2013 ACFW Genesis Contest. She lives near Dallas, Texas.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Out of Egypt series

book 1 book 2 book 3 preorder

goodreads | amazon | bookdepository | christianbook

 

Have you considered the lives of the Egyptians who fled their homeland in the Exodus?

 

 Review by Beth Erin

Book Review: My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah

Hi, reader friends! Have you ever gone Greek? Besides watching “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” my knowledge of this rich culture is limited so I am delighted by all the history and heritage within the pages of today’s featured book!

About the Book

My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah by Angie DickenSchoolteacher Leanna McKee plans on leaving the coal mining town of Castle Gate, Utah, and never looking back. Good riddance to coal dust, rugged men, and the fatal mine that took her husband’s life.

Until the widow meets a widower who awakens her heart…and she finds herself inexplicably falling for miner Alex Pappas which stirs up a whole heap of trouble.

Alex’s Greek parents have arranged a more traditional match for him. When the schoolteacher’s association with the Greek family begins to anger the American miners, they threaten Alex and his family. Leanna has received an offer to teach elsewhere and feels she has no choice but to leave Castle Gate. . .though she will be leaving her heart behind.

goodreads | amazon | bookdepository | christianbook

 

My Thoughts

This story of love, hope, and second chances amid heartbreak, disappointment, and prejudice tugs at my heartstrings and reveals yet another pocket of history we would do well to remember.

Leanna McKee is angry and frustrated by her circumstances and I can’t say that I blame her! She surely didn’t expect to end up a poor miner’s widow practically stranded and alone. I have to admire Leanna for marrying both for love and for the freedom to follow her convictions and dreams of teaching the less fortunate.

Alex Pappas has been working in the mines for several years now and he has dealt with a lot over the years. He is a dedicated worker and devoted family man. Alex has made more friends than enemies during his time in America yet it is the actions of a few that tend to be the loudest and most troublesome.

I would love to spend a day or two visiting with the extended Pappas family (especially after they learn a little more English because I don’t speak Greek!) not only for the company but also for the FOOD! Oh, the many tempting dishes in this book make me want to hunt down the nearest Greek restaurant and try everything!

I definitely recommend this story and look forward to more stories from this author and within this series!

I requested the opportunity to read this book through Celebrate Lit.
The opinions expressed are my own.
This review was originally posted on Faithfully Bookish.

 

About the Author

Angie DickenAngie Dicken is a third generation Greek American, the granddaughter of strong men and women who endured hardship to grow American roots.

My Heart Belongs In Castle Gate, Utah is set near the birthplace of her grandfather, a Greek coal miner’s son, and published 100 years after his birth.

Angie is a contributor to The Writer’s Alley blog and an ACFW member since 2010. She lives with her husband and four children in the Midwest where she enjoys exploring eclectic new restaurants and chatting with friends over coffee.

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Author InterviewGUEST POST on Faithfully Bookish

 

What aspects of Greek culture do you find most interesting or appealing?
The Pappas family’s deep apprecitation for food is completely endearing.

 

Review by Beth Erin

 

Author Interview: Lee Tobin McClain

Hello, reader friends! From Rescue River and Sacred Bond to her new Arcadia Valley Romance seriestoday’s featured author often highlights diversity through her contemporary romance. 

About the Author

Lee Tobin McClainLee Tobin McClain read Gone With The Wind in the third grade and has been an incurable romantic ever since. The PW bestselling author of fifteen contemporary Christian romances, she enjoys crafting emotional, faith-infused love stories with happy endings.

When she’s not writing, she’s probably driving around a carload of snarky teen girls, playing with her rescue dog and cat, or teaching aspiring writers in Seton Hill University’s MFA program. She is probably not cleaning her house.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

 

Interview

Beth: Writing is generally a solitary endeavor. Tell us a little bit about writing within the Arcadia Valley Romance universe. 

Lee: Writing in Arcadia Valley feels communal in two ways. First, it’s fun being part of a community of writers who are creating Arcadia Valley together. We’ve become good friends and are in touch all the time with questions, ideas, and support for each other.

And second, Arcadia Valley has become a community that feels very alive, with families and shops and greenhouses and farms and churches. We have pictures of the town (it’s modeled on a real town in Idaho) and of the surrounding terrain. When I write about Arcadia Valley, I feel like I’m actually there!

Wise at Heart takes place primarily at the hero’s home—a big converted barn surrounded by open land. That’s because Daniel, the hero, is a bit introverted, and he feels alienated from his family and community. Throughout the book, that changes, and he becomes more strongly connected to his siblings and to Arcadia Valley.

 

About the Book

Wise at Heart by Lee Tobin McClainWhen Daniel Quintana needs a summer nanny for his twins, it only makes sense to hire Tabitha Moore. Just back from an extended mission trip, she needs the job. The fact that she was his wife’s best friend shouldn’t matter, and neither should the fact that he finds her attractive. Daniel’s not in the market for relationships because he’s just so bad at them.

Tabitha Moore doesn’t want to work for Daniel because she knows a terrible secret about his daughters. But when staying with her sister is no longer an option, she feels like she has no choice. After all, it’s just for the summer…

With the help of Daniel’s five-year-old twins, Daniel and Tabitha start to become more than friends. Growing vegetables, rescuing a mama cat and her kittens, eating delicious Mexican food at El Corazon… all of it makes these two lonely souls crave to create a family long term… unless Tabitha’s secret rips apart everything they’re starting to build.

GOODREADS | AMAZON

 

Beth: I’m certainly looking forward to reading Wise at Heart! What do you want readers to gain from this story?

Lee: First, of course, I want readers to escape from their problems and immerse themselves in a happily-ever-after story. Because Wise at Heart has a secret at the center, I want readers to stay up late, turning the pages, to discover how everything plays out.

And I also hope that readers will enjoy seeing how God’s hand hovers over everything, gently nudging us in the directions we need to go in order to become the people He means for us to be.

 

Beth: What inspires you to create diverse minority characters like the Quintana family?

Mexican food

Lee: When I got involved in the Arcadia Valley project, I was immersed in studying Spanish, so that was a factor.

Also, the fictional town of Arcadia Valley is set in a part of Idaho where about 1/3 of the population self-describes as Latino or Hispanic, but when I joined the group, we didn’t yet have any major Latino characters.

Since the series is food-oriented—and since I love Mexican food—it made sense to create the restaurant, El Corazon, run by a family of Mexican descent.

 

Beth: I appreciate your dedication to crafting authentic settings, characters, and stories for your readers. In what ways do the second (and third) generation of the Quintana family honor their Mexican heritage?

Lee: One big way is through food! The Quintana siblings update their family restaurant throughout the series, moving toward healthier, more contemporary fare, but they keep many of their mothers’ traditional recipes untouched.

star-shaped piñata

They also maintain some Mexican holiday customs. For example, in Wise at Heart, the story ends with a traditional posada celebration that marks the beginning of the Christmas season—and leads into the hero and heroine’s happy ending.

On a deeper level, in traditional Latino families, the oldest male is considered as the head of the family. That would be Javier Quintana, the hero of Secrets of the Heart (review), and he feels every bit of that responsibility. His siblings alternately rely on, and get exasperated with, him and his tendency toward bossiness and control.

Honoring your heritage isn’t a simple matter, especially when you’re living in a different country and are surrounded by competing cultural traditions and ideals.

 

Beth: Since food plays such a major role in Arcadia Valley Romance, what is your favorite authentic Mexican dish?

Lee: My favorite authentic Mexican dish is tacos! Not the crunchy Americanized ones, or that abomination my daughter adores, the Walking Taco of concession-stand fame. But rather, small soft tacos made with homemade corn tortillas and various fillings. Buying a tortilla press and learning to use it rocked my culinary world! I’m mostly vegan, so my taco fillings tend to be vegetable based.

 

Coming soon from Lee Tobin McClain…

Available in stores mid-February


preorder now

Romance from the Heart: an Arcadia Valley Romance series

  
Look for Book 3
Joy of My Heart
April 2018

 

Lee, thank you so much for joining us!
Are y’all familiar with Mexican posada celebrations? I learned something new today!

 

interview by Beth Erin

Open Discussion: Vanilla Questions

Hello, reader friends! It’s me again, timidly edging out of my comfort zone to ask an (innocent and hopefully not offensive) question to spark open and honest discussion.

As mentioned in the previous Vanilla Confessions, my home county is not blessed with diversity (96.6% “White alone, not Hispanic or Latino” according to Census.gov).

The only descriptions needed on a regular basis around these parts, besides hair and eye colors, are various degrees of “white” and “farmer’s tan.”

Share which comparisons or adjectives you find appealing,
which ones make you cringe, and why.

What kinds of descriptors are preferable in diverse fiction?
Is it taboo to use food to describe skin color?
Are there alternative ways to identify ethnicity without physical descriptions?

Post by Beth Erin

Book Spotlight: Wise at Heart

Hello, reader friends! Today’s featured book takes us back to my favorite fictional foodie community, Arcadia Valley, Idaho! It’s time for a sweet yet reluctant romance.

About the Book

Wise at Heart by Lee Tobin McClainWhen Daniel Quintana needs a summer nanny for his twins, it only makes sense to hire Tabitha Moore. Just back from an extended mission trip, she needs the job. The fact that she was his wife’s best friend shouldn’t matter, and neither should the fact that he finds her attractive. Daniel’s not in the market for relationships because he’s just so bad at them.

Tabitha Moore doesn’t want to work for Daniel because she knows a terrible secret about his daughters. But when staying with her sister is no longer an option, she feels like she has no choice. After all, it’s just for the summer…

With the help of Daniel’s five-year-old twins, Daniel and Tabitha start to become more than friends. Growing vegetables, rescuing a mama cat and her kittens, eating delicious Mexican food at El Corazon… all of it makes these two lonely souls crave to create a family long term… unless Tabitha’s secret rips apart everything they’re starting to build.

goodreads | amazon

 

About the Author

Lee Tobin McClainLee Tobin McClain read Gone With The Wind in the third grade and has been an incurable romantic ever since. The PW bestselling author of fifteen contemporary Christian romances, she enjoys crafting emotional, faith-infused love stories with happy endings.

When she’s not writing, she’s probably driving around a carload of snarky teen girls, playing with her rescue dog and cat, or teaching aspiring writers in Seton Hill University’s MFA program. She is probably not cleaning her house.

website | facebook | twitter

 

Also Available

Arcadia Valley Romance

 Summer's Glory by Mary Jane Hathaway       

 

Eeep! What could the terrible secret be?!
What are your thoughts, reader friends?

Spotlight by Beth Erin

Book Spotlight: The Esther Paradigm by Sarah Monzon

Hello, fiction fans! Today’s featured book simply knocked my socks off! I did NOT see this one coming, the blurb didn’t much appeal to me but I took it for a spin since I enjoy the author’s work… Great romance, intense culture clash, and deep faith elements are all wrapped up in this engaging and entertaining story. Definitely a #mustread!

About the Book

The Esther Paradigm by Sarah MonzonHannah Pratt dreams of starting a school for the Bedouin clan she grew up with as a missionary kid, and finally her hopes are coming true. But shortly after she returns to the desert from her college years in the U.S., she discovers her parents have received threats from their Muslim neighbors. As the danger escalates, Hannah finds she’s in the middle of a battle no one seems to understand. She must decide to what lengths she’ll go to stay faithful to the mission to which God has called her. Even if it costs her everything.

As sheikh, Karim Al-Amir feels the weight of responsibility as the leader of his people. When a mysterious illness ravishes the clan’s flocks and threatens to destroy their centuries-old way of life, locals believe the American doctors and their daughter, his childhood friend, Hannah, are to blame. Karim must do something to keep them safe—even if the only solution can be found within marriage vows.

In a society where the line is drawn between us and them, Christianity is outlawed, and foreigners are mistrusted, will their union heal wounds or inflict the final fatal blow?

goodreads | amazon

 

RT Book Reviews The Esther Paradigm review quote

 

About the Author

Sarah MonzonSarah Monzon is a Navy chaplain’s wife and a stay at home mom to the two cutest littles in the world. Playing pretend all day with them isn’t enough, she spends the evenings after their heads hit the pillow to create her own imaginary characters.

When she isn’t in the world of make believe, she can be found in a small desert town in central Washington taking care of her family, fostering friendships, and enjoying all the adventures each day brings.

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What are your first impressions, reader friends? 

Karim Al-Amir character spotlight on Faithfully Bookish

spotlight by Beth Erin

Open Discussion: Vanilla Confessions

Hi, y’all! I am an avid reader and actively seek out diverse fiction yet I am seriously lacking in the life experience department. Growing up in our small rural farming community has a lot of benefits but exposure to cultural diversity is not one of them.

HandsI was taught that we are all the same, regardless of skin color, which is true at the very core of who we are, members of the human race, children of God, residents of the third rock from the sun, yet we are also shaped by our experiences. Although I am still not completely sure why… colorblind doesn’t make it all better.

Fellow Christian fiction enthusiasts, share your thoughts and help a vanilla sister out!

What do you as members of a multicultural community want us backcountry white folks (with little to no exposure to diversity apart from the media) to know?