Thursday, March 24, 2016

Miriam: A Treasures of the Nile Novel

 Mesu Andrews newest release is Miriam, in which she writes the story of Moses older sister, Miram during the time of the Exodus. This is Book 2 of the Treasures of the Nile series. She picks up the story from the time just before Moses returns to Egypt, after forty years in exile.  Let me give you the "cons" (for lack of a better word) of this story, for me, before the "pros."   From page one, actually from the prologue, the author uses the word inundations to mark age.  Taking this from the annual flooding of the Nile, as a way that time was marked.  I had never heard that type of reference before and it was puzzling to me which was distracting.  After a few chapters, I understood what she was doing, and that the Hebrews marked their age by how many times they had seen the annual flooding.  Possibly the Egyptians had the same practice.  The terms Doda, Ima, Saba, Savta were all new to me and I had to keep flipping back to earlier references to remind myself what those terms meant.  Such as Doda Miriam, Ima Jochebed, Savta Jochebed. I am very familiar with Abba being one of the names our Heavenly Father tells us to call Him, so Abba Amram was father if Aaron or Miriam was speaking, Savta Amram if Eleazar was speaking.  That allowed me to put meaning to the words for Aunt, Uncle, Mother, Father, etc.  None the less, this kept me from getting into the story from the start.  I "soldiered" through and it did become easier, but not to the point that I was able to be absorbed in the story and get lost in it.  It was more work than I want to do to read a book.
Having said that, I must say this is very well written grammatically with excellent sentence structure and I learned a few things from this book which I will talk about here. If you read my reviews at all, you know that I am a stickler for grammar and sentence structure.  These are the things that make for easy reading and when an author does those things well, he/she has at least 3 stars from me, right off the bat.
 Mesu gives a scriptural quote at the beginning of each chapter, which sent me to my Bible to look it up.  I was pleased to find that she has indeed done her research and written each chapter very closely tied to what God gives us in His Word. I had no idea Miriam was a prophetess, or if I did, I have forgotten.  And I have done my share of O.T Bible studies. My bad there.  I also appreciated that quote because it gave me a preview of what was coming next.  The author has added some fictional characters which are all within reason for the time and culture of ancient Egypt and the Hebrew slavery so they added character to her writing of this story.  I learned some spiritual truths from this writing as well, which is a real bonus.  The wisdom that she writes coming from Amram and Jochebed, tell me that Mesu has a strong relationship with God and spends time in His Word.  If you are going to write Biblical fiction, those are two really good things to have.  She writes about the culture and relations between men and women, slave and master which add a human reality to the book.  As Amram was dying, he gave understanding to Miriam and Moses when he told them "Greater suffering means deeper revelation as you near God's promise." God's promise of deliverance was real to Amram and that gave strength to his children.
This was my first time to read a novel by Mesu Andrews.  She is a good writer and this is a good book.  It may not be my cup of tea because of the issue I had with the names, but that does not keep me from recommending this book.  I give Miriam four stars.  I suggest you pick up a copy and give it a read.  I think you will be glad you did.  I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Blogging for Books for review purposes.  These words are my opinion.  If you would like to read and review books check it out at

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

On Lone Star Trail

In the third and last book of the Texas Crossroads series, Amanda Cabot does not disappoint.  I read the second in this series last year, which was my first read of this author's work. I was pleasantly surprised that it was not just a romance novel.  She is able to bring real life situations with typical people working out their problems with faith at the center.  I appreciate that.
 Gillian Hodges was robbed of her lifetime passion for the concert piano by an automobile accident.  T.J. Benjamin was robbed of his life's work by a loss he felt he could not bear.  Gillian and T.J. meet when his motorcycle hydroplanes in the rain, narrowly missing Gillian's car.  She offers him a ride to her destination, Rainbow's End Resort.  There begins an uneasy stay on his part, waiting for repair to be done on the bike.  Gillian is there to visit Kate and Greg, owners of the resort.  Kate and Gillian are best friends and have been since high school.
As the story develops, we see Gillian and T.J. drawn together in friendship.  At this point enters another male interest, so....
Gillian and T.J. are both working out their disappointments and coming to terms with big changes in their lives.  Amanda Cabot weaves this tale in a very believable way.  I was trying to predict the ending as I read,  but just when I thought I had it figured out, another layer was peeled away.
This book was easy to read and absorbing at the same time.  Those two characteristics don't usually come together and it was refreshing.  I loved the descriptions of the Texas Hill country.  It sounds picturesque and engaging.  The author has a firm grasp of grammar and sentence structure (one of my sticking points!).  Her addition of multiple plot lines with secondary characters was spot on.   All in all, watching this story take place was interesting, engaging, absorbing, all of the good words that I associate with a pleasing read.
The first two books in this series are At Bluebonnet Lake and In Firefly Valley. I plan to pick up the first in this series to read next and suggest you do the same.
I highly recommend On Lone Star Trail and gladly give it five stars!
I received a copy of this book from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing, in exchange for an honest review.  These words are my opinion.
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See you soon,

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Intern

Robert DeNiro and Ann Hathaway are delightful in this movie.  Of course, if Bob is in it, I am probably going to make a point of seeing it.  I like pretty much every movie he is in.  Ann is someone I like to see as well.  She has matured into an excellent actress, from the Princess Diaries (2001) all the way through LeMiserables (2012) to this flick.  
The premise is that Ann (Jules Ostin) is an entrepreneur as well as a married mother of one sweet little girl. Her husband was a rising star and gave all that up to be a stay at home Dad when her business took off.  He believes in her ability and her dream. She started an e-com fashion website, promising (and delivering) great service with integrity.
Her right hand man, Cameron, sets up an intern program for senior citizens.  Those who have business experience and are retired.  One qualification is to be over 65 years of age.  To apply, you have to submit a video instead of a cover letter which the ad says is "so old fashioned."  Robert plays Ben Whittaker, the man who gets the job.  He has a "hole" in his life that needs filled.  He is a retired widower and has done everything he can to explore new activities and is looking for something productive to do when he sees the ad for the Internship program on the bulletin board at his local Starbucks.  The comedic experience that ensues for the viewer during Ben's video episode is laugh-inducing and heart-warming.  Just as all the comedy in this movie is.  He comes to work for Jules who is suspicious of him as an older worker and does not want him involved in her work life.  She swears Cameron did not run this by her before he moved ahead with it-he insists he did and she agreed.  She is so frantic with her schedule as Pres, CEO, Head Honcho that she misses some things;  like this one!  She agrees to a limited time with Ben as her intern and brings him on giving him very little to do for her.  He finds ways to be useful and relevant, ending up with everybody in the company liking him, Jules included.  The friendship that unfolds with his well placed words of wisdom and dependability make for a tender camaraderie that is genuine and easy to watch.
You know I do not give it all away, so I am leaving it there.  There are some heartaches in this story as well as laugh out loud comedy.  It is easy to escape into, making for a pleasant interlude.  It is genuine, warm, real and I highly recommend it as one to be watched.  Written and directed by Nancy Meyers, the creator of Something's Gotta Give, The Holiday, What Women Want, it has her signature warmth and realism.
I give The Intern five stars!  Grab the popcorn and your beverage of choice and settle in!  You'll be glad you did!
Don't go far, I'll be back soon with a review of a  literary new release for your reading pleasure, Ann Cabot's newest and last in the Texas Crossroads series.
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