Miriam by Mesu Andrews

What an fascinating, intriguing historical fiction book! Not only do we dive into more of Miriam coverthe culture and political climate in this period of the Israelites’ history, but we also feel the possible emotions and relationships surrounding Miriam, a familiar and yet lesser know historical woman.

Miriam introduced herself as “old but of use. I am a slave, a midwife, a healer with herbs. This is what I do, but El Shaddai makes me who I am.” She is called a prophetess, but she sees herself as a messenger of El Shaddai who speaks to her in dreams and visions. He has been her whole world, He satisfies her heart, she seeks He’s wisdom as she treats the injured slaves and talks with those around her…

As we enter into Miriam’s world, the Israelites have been slaves for 400 years. That’s all they know…

Now Moses, her brother and former Egyptain prince, comes back with news from Yahweh, El Shaddai’s newly revealed name, that freedom is coming for the Israelites. However, the freedom won’t come immediately or without pain. Miriam feels left out and unneeded. Will she learn to trust this El Shaddai and His gifts of love or give in to anger and bitterness?

“Based only on the first three plagues—before the distinction between Egypt and Goshen was made, when there was no clean water, frogs were hopping, gnats were biting—what would you have thought of Yahweh’s nature? Would you have trusted Him, or would you have feared such a God? Only after His fierce majesty was displayed did Yahweh show His great love the the Israelites. That’s what we find in the Bible we hold in our hands today. Only after we see God’ fierce holiness through the Old Testament Law can we fully appreciate Jesus’s great love through grace in the New Testament.

It is my prayer that you, dear reader, will come to know Yahweh—intimately, personally, and fully—and become as Miriam was, captivated by a God you can’t understand that will do things you know are impossible.” —from the Author’s Note

Miriam is the second book in Mesu Andrews’s A Treasures of the Nile Novels. The first was The Pharaoh’s Daughter. I haven’t read it and didn’t feel like I was missing anything. However, I’m sure you will meet some of the historical characters, including Miriam in that first book. If it’s as well written as this one, I would recommend both!

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**Disclosure: I received a free copy of Miriam from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. THEN the book was stolen! Yes, there is a real life “book thief” that thought this book looked good enough to take! I think that’s a huge recommendation in itself!! I contacted Blogging for Books, and they kindly sent me another copy to finish reading! Thank you, Blogging for Books 🙂

In This House We Will Giggle by Courtney DeFeo

Let me get to the point…LOVE the title, LOVE the subtitle “Making Virtues, Love & Laughter a DailyIn This House We Will Giggle book cover Part of Your Family Life”, AND LOVE the cover design for Courtney DeFeo’s book, In This House We Will Giggle!!!! 🙂 Therefore I was really excited to read this book. I DEFINITELY want more giggles in our home!

Through love and laughter, each of the chapters focus on teaching a different virtue. The virtues included are joy, love, forgiveness, faith, patience, perseverance, respect, responsibility, service, humility, gratitude, and generosity. DeFeo presents the option of focusing on one virtue each month of the year starting with Joy in January through Generosity in December. This is a great way to not feel overwhelmed but give your family time to really learn about, practice, and embrace each virtue. The chapters include a section called “catch phrase for_(the virtue)_, a memory verse for the month, a kid-friendly definition for the virtue, questions to discuss, a Bible story to read (from The Jesus Storybook Bible), activity ideas and more.

I started reading the book around the end of January, so I didn’t want to rush to start it in January. However, I loved how some of the virtues go very well with the holidays of a few of the months, such as Love in February, Gratitude in November and Generosity in December. Therefore I decided to start implementing the monthly virtue focus in order, but starting in February with the second chapter Love: Letting Concern for Others Guide Our Behavior. (We’ll go back to January at the end. Don’t want to miss Joy: When the Reality of Life Meets a Heart of Gladness!) The kids have totally jumped on board – doing chores for each other, writing notes, ….! It’s been a sweet family experience so far and we are just starting. 🙂

I’ll close my review with some good questions from the heart of In This House We Will Giggle by Courtney DeFeo…

“Our home, and the environment we create within our family, sets up the impression our kids will have of faith and God. Will they believe Jesus loves only well-behaved, model children, or will they know He loves them just as they are? Will they see the Christian life as a series of rules to be followed, or will they follow Jesus because they’ve learned from us what it means to love Him and find joy in being with Him?”’ -pg. 5

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**I received this book from Blogging for Books for an honest review.

Cloak of the Light by Chuck Black

As I was reading Cloak of the Light, at first I thought “When is the action going to start?”. Then I looked closer at the cover and Cloak of the Light book coverrealized that it wasn’t a stand alone book (silly me!!) but the first book of the Wars of the Realm series! 

And what an awesome start is was…with well developed characters, an interesting story that opened up a mysterious unseen world of invaders, and YES even battles …I was hooked (and I got this book for my husband). I am definitely looking forward to the rest of the series! We are also planning to check out more from the author Chuck Black, because, Yes, I was that impressed with my first book of his!!

I really appreciate the author’s note and the readers guide at the end of the book. “The Readers Guide explains the biblical framework from which much of the speculation for the novel is derived. I hope you find it informative and helpful in your own investigation of understanding spiritual warfare.” 

As a mom deep in the seemingly mundane, repetitive tasks of parenting and educating our children, I appreciated this book not only as a great read but also as a needed reminder and encouragement of what is important in this life! Thank you, Chuck Black. 🙂

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**I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for an honest review.

Heart Wide Open by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson

As I read the subtitle of Tomlinson’s Heart Wide Open… “Trading Mundane Faith for an Exuberant Life with Jesus”, the back cover summary… Heart Wide Open book cover“Shellie invites you to answer the call of your restless heart and refuse to settle for anything less than the intimate friendship of God” and the many recommendations, I knew I needed this book! So I found out what date Heart Wide Open would be available for review, marked that on my calendar and set a reminder. I purposely waited to choose a book from this publisher, making sure I wouldn’t be tied up in another book.

Once Heart Wide Open by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson arrived, I consumed it. I read, reread, and worked through the Bible Study/Discussion Guide in the back. I marked, highlighted and dog-eared page after page. I took pictures of sections and texted them to my husband, mom, mother-in-law, other family members, and friends! My husband feels like he has already read this book with everything I shared! (It is labeled as being for women, but he would also recommend this book!!) 🙂

This is a book from Tomlinson’s raw cry to the Lord, “I admit it. I don’t love You like I should, but I want to love You. Help!”. Her honesty touched my heart as I prayed along with her, her humor allowed me not to cry on every page, and her practicality encouraged me!

Just the titles of the chapters are great!! 1) When All You Can Bring Him is a Broken Want-To, 2) Courage for Us Not-So-Super Saints, 3) I Suppose CliffsNotes Are Out, 4) Does God Want Out of Our Quiet Times?, 5) Are Some of Us Stuck with Messed-Up Mustard Seeds?, 6) We Are Always on Our Mind, 7) May We Have Permission to Slap ‘Em Silly in Jesus’s Name?, 8) Till We See Him Face to Face. Also, don’t miss the Bible Study & Discussion Guide at the back.

I HIGHLY recommend this book. You’ll cry, laugh, and grow in your passion for Jesus!

“Father God loves you with a steadfast love. He wants to do life with you. You’re not an isolated case, someone who can’t find God. He is just as available to you as He has been to any other human being who has ever drawn a breath. This is His promise: ‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart’ (Jeremiah 29:13).” -pg. 23


Disclosure of Material Connection: Blogging for Books provided this book to me for free in exchange for an honest review.