Winners: Favorite Reads and Favorite Covers 2017 Giveaways

My hearty thanks to everyone who entered 2017’s Favorite Reads and Favorite Covers giveaways!

I’m happy to announce that Shamekka won a copy of Home by Ginny L. Yttrup, Cassandra won a copy of Loving Luther by Allison Pittman, sbmcmh won a copy of The Last Operative by Jerry B. Jenkins, Kathy won a copy of The Illusionist’s Apprentice by Kristy Cambron, Linda won a copy of Weaver’s Needle by Robin Caroll, and Pat won a copy of Egypt’s Sister: A Novel of Cleopatra by Angela Hunt. Congrats!

  

  

Be sure to check out all of this year’s Favorite Reads and Favorite Covers for great books to add to your reading list.

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World of the Innocent

When It’s Time Series

 

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One Night with the King (2006)

Film reviews are subjective. I tend to rate films not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

One Night with the King (2006) from Gener8Xion Entertainment
Rated PG. Drama, Royalty, Faith Film, Historical/Period Film, Romance

Description (from the film case): Born into poverty, Hadassah (Tiffany DuPont) grows up to become a beauty who catches the eye of the powerful King Xerxes (Luke Goss) and ultimately becomes his bride. But despite her position, Hadassah’s life is in danger, as the state has decreed that all Jews will be put to death. Defying warnings to remain silent, however, Hadassah struggles to save her people, even as she attempts to hide her heritage…

My thoughts: The music, set design, and many of the costumes are what I like best about this film, which is based on one of my all-time favorite novels. I also appreciate the film’s take on Queen Vashti, not making her just a haughty or conniving beauty with her nose stuck up in the air but a woman with poise and conviction who does appear to have some genuine concern for the king.

Vashti is certainly more queenly than Hadassah/Esther in this movie, as there isn’t much that’s distinctly regal in the lead actress’s carriage or speech, even after her time of preparation to meet the king. It’s also unfortunate that she has to spend so much of the film, particularly the second half of it, in tears.

However, going on about more of the movie’s weaknesses (yes, I see them) would make it sound more horrible than I’ve found it to be on the whole. All things considered, I do enjoy this movie for what it is, and at the time of its release, I think it served as a come-up from previous Christian features.

My corresponding reading: Hadassah: One Night with the King and The Hadassah Covenant by Tommy Tenney and Mark Andrew Olsen.

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Egypt’s Sister: A Novel of Cleopatra by Angela Hunt

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. Bethany House provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

Egypt’s Sister by Angela Elwell Hunt

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

As the Jewish daughter of a royal tutor, Chava grows up close to palace life in Alexandria. She’s sure that she’ll not be parted from her girlhood friend, the princess Urbi, not even when Urbi ascends to the throne and becomes Queen Cleopatra. But when a crushing betrayal lands Chava in slavery, she wonders what will become of her life and a promise God once spoke to her in Egypt’s Sister, a novel by author Angela Hunt.

I’ve enjoyed Biblical Fiction by this author before and was intrigued to hear that she’d be writing a series about the biblical “Silent Years.” My favorite aspect of this novel is the fact that Chava hears God during this period when He’s supposedly silent. (Yeah—I don’t believe God goes mute so much as we go deaf, but I won’t get into that.)

Now, there were some things in the novel that didn’t make complete sense to me. The process of Chava’s enslavement, for one, didn’t seem to make logical business sense. Aside from that, while this book is called A Novel of Cleopatra, the queen is off screen for most of it. She’s out there living her (now notorious) life, while Chava is left to pine and obsess over her. Eventually, Chava herself alludes to “obsessing over Urbi” for years.

I also found the extent of Chava’s naiveté to be unbelievable at times. Although she’s done some growing by the later chapters, it’s hard for me to be super-enthused about a story when I only feel so-so about the main character.

Still, the ending of the novel has put me in anticipation of the next one in The Silent Years series.

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Judah's Wife: A Novel of the Maccabees (The Silent Years #2)

 

Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. Tyndale House provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

With the potential for greatness, Lydia is poised to become a notable expert and seller of purple in a Roman world, despite her being a woman–and an unmarried one, at that. But it will take more than success in her trade to free her from deep-seated fears that threaten to be her undoing in Bread of Angels, a novel by author Tessa Afshar.

I don’t have many “I’ll read any novel with his/her name on it” authors, but this author is one of those for me. I got what I was expecting here: a rich and touching story, delving deeply into the life of the heroine in a historical/biblical setting. While this book is certainly a standalone, if anyone may be interested in or plans on reading the novel Land of Silence by Afshar sometime, I’d recommend reading it before this one, for possibly spoiler-ish reasons.

Now, I’ll admit I enjoyed the first two-thirds or so of this novel more than the final parts. Recognizing Lydia from the Bible, I knew the renowned apostle Paul would be a part of this story. But I’ve seen it before in a different book by another author too, when Paul’s presence onstage practically nudges the main character into more of a minor role while Paul is there. Lydia seems to fade somewhat with the incoming of new characters in the later scenes, and as the story stalls a bit in the midst of their increasing Scripture and faith discussions, it felt for a while like I was reading a different book than the one I’d started. It also appears the story runs out of time for some major events and rushes to tie them up with a few short summaries in the last chapter.

Still, I’d gladly recommend this novel to fellow readers of Biblical Fiction, and I’m keeping my eyes open for more from this author.