#1: Counted With the Stars  -     By: Connilyn Cossette
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#1: Counted With the Stars

Bethany House / 2016 / Paperback

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Product Description

Counted With the Stars #1, in the Out From Egypt Series, by Connilyn Cossette

Kiya is an Egyptian who’s father sold her into slavery, the man she was to marry deserted her and the plague takes over Egypt.  She joins the Hebrews during the Great Exodus to escape slavery and save her older brother and becomes dependent on God she knows nothing about.  Will she return back to Egypt or surrender her life to God?

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 352
Vendor: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0764214373
ISBN-13: 9780764214370
Series: Out From Egypt

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Publisher's Description

A 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?

Author Bio

Connilyn 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. Connect with her at www.connilyncossette.com.

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  1. Cedar Falls, IA
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Stunning
    December 3, 2016
    Jocelyn Green, author of Faith Deployed
    Cedar Falls, IA
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    A stunning depiction of an age-old story, told with such a fresh perspective I couldn't put it down. The depth of the author's research is commendable and obvious as she weaves her tale against the backdrop of an ancient culture in bondage to false gods. I loved this novel not just for the characters and the plot, but for the way it made me grateful anew that we serve a loving God who demands no tribute, no sacrifice, but a contrite heart eager to reconcile with our Creator. Can't wait to read the rest of this series from Connilyn Cossette!
  2. IL
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: Female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Excellent fresh perspective of the Exodus story!
    October 26, 2016
    BethErin
    IL
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Wow. In all the times that Ive 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. Kiyas new mistress is determined to humiliate her but she doesnt break.

    Then the plagues hit and what hope do the Egyptians have against the unknown and unseen God of the Hebrews? Kiya keeps putting one foot in front of the other, doggedly searching for a way to save herself and her family.

    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.
  3. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    Loved it!
    October 1, 2016
    CozyWriter'sDen
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    What an impactful debut novel! Connilyn Cossette has trumpeted her arrival to the line up "must read authors" with a decisive and gorgeously written first novel. I was very impressed with Counted With The Stars, and my only disappointment was that it had to end. Since finishing this book a week ago I have had a hard time not going back to re-read it.

    I am, undeniably, a huge fan of Biblical fiction. What I really liked about Connilyn Cossette's interpretation of the Hebrew exodus from Egypt was the Biblical accuracy and her truthfulness in staying with the time and culture of her setting. To be honest, this Bible story has never come to life for me more than during this last week when I read this novel. In the past when I've read this Biblical account of the exodus I read over the plagues with a grimace and continued on reading - I never really stopped to think what it would have been like to actually live through those plagues. Thanks to this novel, I was immersed in the terrifying reality of what it would have been like for an unknowing Egyptian to be at the mercy of Yahweh's punishment upon pharaoh. There would have been so many Egyptians who had no clue as to what was happening and why; this novel really showed the terror of the unknown God of the Hebrews and the pain and suffering that would have resulted from the onslaught of the plagues.

    In addition to loving the re-telling of the Bible story, I also really enjoyed the fictional character of Kiya. Her story, interwoven into the Bible story, is a riveting one. The tragic twists in her life and the dramatic fall from being a wealthy nobleman's daughter to a slave makes for incredibly good reading. I loved her as a character and felt that hers were the perfect eyes to see the story through.

    I would definitely recommend this book and am looking forward to the second book in this series when it is released, "Shadow of the Storm".

    Thank-you to Graf Martin Communications Inc and Baker Publishing House for a complimentary copy of "Counted with the Stars" in exchange for my honest opinion.
  4. Gastonia, North Carolina
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Lovely Debut!
    October 1, 2016
    Rebecca Maney
    Gastonia, North Carolina
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 0
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    Panic seizes Kiya, a lovely young Egyptian teen, when she is faced with the fact that her father has sold her as a household slave in order to absolve his unfortunate business debts. Forced to serve a cruel and demanding mistress , she is befriended by a young Hebrew woman, Shiya, who gently introduces Kiya to the one true God, an anomaly for any Egyptian to comprehend.

    When a Hebrew prophet enters Egypt bringing with him a myriad of pestilence and plagues, Kiya bravely listens when urged by her kind master to flee their beloved homeland under the cover of darkness, on the historic Night of Death. Convinced that this decision will save the life of her mother and beloved brother, Kiya cautiously joins Shira's family even though Eben, Shira's enigmatic older brother, appears to vacillate between attraction and disdain for his sister's new friend.

    Connilyn Cossette has skillfully breathed new life into the familiar biblical account of the Exodus, carefully crafting her fictitious characters to mirror those who might have witnessed this miraculous event. Enjoy meting Yahweh through Kiya's eyes, as she learns the glorious truth of being "counted with the stars".
  5. Arden, NC
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    New life breathed into a classic biblical tale!
    September 23, 2016
    ADFehl
    Arden, NC
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Many of us are pretty familiar with the biblical stories of plagues that rained down upon the people of Egypt (we're talking BC days) -- locusts, frogs, rivers with water that turned to blood. livestock and crops decimated, Egyptians overcome with boils! Author Connilyn Cossette takes those familiar tales and infuses them with some relatability for her readers.

    Our story opens in 1448 BC where we are introduced to Kiya, the privileged daughter of Jofare, a successful ship merchant / trader. At least he was successful for a time. Shortly after the reader meets Kiya, doing some frivolous shopping in the marketplace, she is urgently summoned home. Once there, she enters her father's office to find him with his back turned to her, his business partner, Shefu, also in the room. After some hesitation, the news is broken to Kiya that she has been sold into slavery to Shefu to pay off the debt of a massive loan Shefu gave Jofare. Tragically, five of Jofare's ships were sunk, the loss sinking his business in turn. Selling Kiya to Shefu was the only way to spare Jofare's wife and son. So Kiya is forced to relinquish all aspects of the life she knew and take up the clothes and position of servant to Shefu's cold-hearted wife, Tekurah.

    The novel spends some chapters giving the reader a feel for what life for a slave in that time might have been like -- being a breath away from all the riches in the world, yet unable to partake except to tidy up the mess the entitled might leave behind. If a slave was lucky, there might be some scraps to partake of, but no promises. Cossette is quite adept at bringing Kiya's new world to life: the sound of sandals down the hall, early mornings gathering water at the river, standing in the shadows of banquets, observing. Insane attention to detail in the early parts of this novel, almost to the point of distraction. I started off enjoying it but then found myself wondering when we'd get to the meat of the story. Stick with it readers! Those early chapters are largely world-building set up. The pay-off comes when Kiya survives all the various plagues.

    The Egyptians blame the Hebrews, who appear virtually untouched by all that has befallen Egypt, for bringing this blight on their nation. A decree is announced that the firstborn son of every family will be murdered. The Hebrew people, encouraged by their leader Moses, decide to trek across the desert in hopes of reaching a place they can start new lives as "the chosen people". Kiya, who also appears untouched though she's Egyptian, is freed by Shefu when he feels the end is near. After reuniting with her mother and brother, Jumo, Kiya begins her journey across the desert with her new Hebrew friend (and former fellow slave) Shira, along with Shira's family and other members of the Hebrew community. Kiya is not driven by any religious conviction though; she simply wants to save the life of Jumo. Not only is he a first born son, but he is also physically and mentally handicapped.

    The journey across the desert is long and arduous. Not only do the Hebrews fear being found and attacked by the Pharoah's men but they must also struggle through various wild animal predators, violent thunderstorms (which often cause raging floods whenever the travelers are around a wadi), food or water shortages. No one knows where they are going exactly, only that they feel compelled to follow a bluish-purple cloudy beam of light that lights the sky day and night. Kiya even calls the beam "blue fire".

    During the months of travel, Kiya gets more acquainted with two men, specifically -- Eben, Shira's older brother, and Sayaad, a fellow Egyptian who later joins the traveling party. The acquaintance between Kiya and Eben is a strained one at first, as Eben lays the blame for his father's death at the feet of ALL Egyptians. Still, he develops a bond with Jumo and cannot deny his interest in Kiya, much as it confuses him. When he sees her getting close with Sayaad, Eben tries to warn Kiya that Sayaad is not entirely the good guy he seems. Sayaad tries to win Kiya over with his big plans to sneak them back into Egypt but one fateful night reveals his true motive.

    Not only does this novel feature stunning world building, but the reader is also taken in by the topsy-turvy way about the characters. Nothing and no one is what they seem! While this can be frustrating at times for a reader, when you feel duped for falling in like with "one of the bad ones", it makes the ride so much more fun! It's impressive how much life Cossette breathes into stories you've likely heard a million times in Sunday school. She also incorporates touching themes -- the idea of loving one's family regardless of the strife they bring to your life; the beauty of children with spirits unaffected by bias or prejudice; learning that the softest hearts can lie under the most stern faces. It was also nice to see Kiya struggle with her ideas of faith and a higher power, her working through those feelings that because she's not getting the answers she wants then it must mean she is unacknowledged and unimportant to that higher being. But then of course she learns the lesson that the right answer is not always one in the same with the wanted answer.

    This series is perfect for fans of biblical fiction with epic scope. Even if you don't normally do this genre but like evocative environments, try this one out!

    FTC Disclaimer: Bethany House Publishers kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own.
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