Book Review: ‘Miriamne the Magdala’ by J.B. Richards

This is a wonderful book that gives the reader a rich and rewarding reading experience.
I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Miriamne the Magdala’ and look forward to reading the next book in the series.

This is a wonderful book that gives the reader a rich2016-10-22-12-11-02

and rewarding reading experience.

The reader is taken on Miri’s journeys of discovery,

love, anguish and coming of age as the story progresses, sharing in her thoughts and secrets as a close confidante. Richards’ portrayal of Miri as a strong, faithful and somewhat feisty young woman gave a new and quite captivating dimension to this young woman, whose character is quite one-dimensional and only briefly touched upon in Biblical accounts. An important note is that the novel does not purport to be a retelling of any Biblical story, nor does it seek to preach or “convert” anyone: this is  historical fiction, and must be understood as such. Comparisons with the Bible must be put aside when one picks up this book and enters the world of Miri, Yeshua and their families.  It is a considerable achievement on the author’s part to have succeeded in blending historical traditions with fiction to craft such a powerful and beautiful story.
The fabric of the novel is woven seamlessly. Events, relationships and challenges interweave to create a compelling story that develops against the backdrop of first-century Galilee. The entire cast of characters is vibrant and realistic, each richly portrayed through expressive writing and magnificent imagery. Every setting is vibrant and full of life, feeding the reader’s imagination with enough detail to allow each scene and environment to evolve in the mind as one reads. This novel offers rich sensory experiences – sounds and smells abound with the narration, and the reader experiences both the heat of the day and the coolness of a tiled floor underfoot with equal impact.
One of the most enchanting elements of this novel is the dialogue, which almost speaks itself aloud in one’s mind as the story is read. The reader can hear the voices, the laughter, and the feeling between characters as they converse and tell their own stories through the pages of the book.
The mystery and questions that develop throughout the novel also serve to keep the reader  engrossed, always wanting to know more and to discover the answers that they, and the characters, are seeking.
I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Miriamne the Magdala’ and look forward to reading the next book in the series.

‘If I Wake’ by Nikki Moyes

‘If I Wake’ by Nikki Moyes is a really powerful and confronting book that speaks directly to the issues of bullying, peer pressure and suicide among kids and teens.

if-i-wakeIt’s a journey through Lucy’s world of despair that is punctuated by moments of joy and hope along the way.  Her times of escape are a respite for both Lucy and the reader.

As someone who still grieves one of my own senior high students who took her own life just five months ago, I found this really compelling reading. I wept and, at times, sobbed. I felt angry and defensive, feeling very protective of Lucy and her alternate realities. Lucy isn’t flawless; in fact, she’s portrayed quite realistically. While she’s not perfect, she certainly doesn’t deserve the cards she gets dealt by either her peers or her family.
“If I Wake’ made me want to reach into the world of the book and change things to give Lucy some hope for her future. To be honest, I wanted to be able to mete justice on some of the characters, which worked very effectively in keeping me
hooked right to   the end of the book.
However, that’s not how life works. ‘If I Wake’ firmly places the responsibility on those who make life so desperately hard for others, and demonstrates that their behaviour cannot be excused, regardless of whatever might be going on in their own lives.
Eventually, in something of a coup for the author, I was led to experience some compassion for the personal circumstances of some – but only some – of the characters who gave Lucy such a difficult life. This is really a testament to the power of Moyes’ writing.
I recommend ‘If I Wake’ for every teen, every parent, and every teacher. I’d love to see it as compulsory reading on every school’s book list.
Six stars out of five for ‘If I Wake’. ratings-1482011_960_720-4 ratings-1482011_960_720-2unnamed
Don’t tell me I can’t do that.  I was never good at counting.

Sealskin Coast by Rowena Evans

This is a wonderful Australian story…


This is a wonderful Australian story for older kids, young adults and families.

‘Sealskin Coast’ is filled with engaging, delightful characters, especially Wallace. It’s delightful to be allowed into this world of possibilities, and it’s a privilege to share Wallace’s journey of hope and discovery.

I highly recommend this beautiful story.


Sealskin Coast is available on Amazon as a kindle edition.

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