What's in a Name? | Twins Edition

Happy Monday, y'all!
I thought I'd spice up another name post today and do a new edition featuring twins.  {Click here to see the first (and only, for some reason)!}

It's not too often stories feature main characters as twins, or even featuring a twin.  I think the names are important in those that do!  They could be awfully cruel and rhyme, start with the same letters, have opposite meanings of the other, or not match in any way at all.  

For example, my dear padawans, the names could have opposite meanings like water and fire, sun and moon, or calm and storm.  Or they could start with coinciding letters of the alphabet (i.e. "a" and "b", "s" and "t", or even "a" and "z").  Or they could be extremely similar and begin with the same letters in order to confuse family members and friends.  *wink wink*

Here are some I think pair perfectly:


Lani
F | Hawaiian

Meaning "sky, heaven, royal, majesty" in Hawaiian


Terra
F | English

Possibly influenced by the Latin word terra meaning "land, earth."






Aiden
M | English (modern)

Variant of Aidan, which is ultimately derived from the Old Irish name Aodh, meaning "fire."

Zander
MEnglish (modern)

Variant of Xander, which is the short form of Alexander, meaning something along the lines of "defender of men."


Roland
MEnglish, French, German, Swedish, Dutch, Hungarian, Medieval French

From two Germanic elements: hrod meaning "fame" and land "land," though there are theories that the second element may have been nand, meaning "brave").

Rochelle
F | English

From the name of a city in France, La Rochelle, meaning "little rock." 

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Would you use any of these names for your characters?  What other combos do YOU think make great pairs for twin siblings?  I'd love to hear your feedback! (I may even feature it in the next twin post.)  :]
Have a lovely week!

Names & meanings via behindthename.com.
Photos via Pinterest.

The Unpronounceable

BEHOLD!!!
. . .


I had the idea for this topic after reading an article of what-nots somewheres. . . and realized, wow, this could definitely be an great writerly post featuring more of what I love to collect: NAMES!!

Have you ever read a novel or story of any kind with names so difficult to pronounce you tend to stumble over them every time?

Sure, it is incredibly helpful if the author provides a character glossary in the back of the book, which I absolutely love when reading novels set in other cultures: for instance, Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier, is set in medieval Transylvania.  In those cases, where the names are real, cultural names from real, cultural countries with stranger pronunciations than our usual "slang," *wink wink* it is usually necessary to have a glossary to ensure the reader reads correctly.

However, it is an entirely different matter, in my opinion, to have made-up names (whether inspired from other names or not) be tongue-twisters, so to speak.
If you read my most recent Name post, the Unknown Edition, I mention names with unknown meanings, and briefly asked if you've ever come up with your own unique originals for your characters.  I did not mention that in making up your originals, be conscious of how the fresh eyes of your reader will perceive them.  YOU know how to pronounce your characters' names, but will they?

One of the best examples of original names that are rather easy to pronounce (for the most part) hail from the amazing novels of one J.R.R. Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, and all the other stories in the realm of Middle Earth.  Why do I mention these, you may ask? (You have to ask??)  While most of his characters' name are lengthy and with many syllables, they are usually pronounced exactly as they are spelled.  Note, I say "usually."  (This isn't the case in some, I'm sure.) The Hobbits have fun names, ya gotta admit.  :]  And the ELVES.  *swoons*

Need I name a few?
Lúthien (aka Tinúviel), Celeborn, Galadriel, Legolas, Elrond

Other unique names of Middle Earth:
Beregond, Beorn, Pippin, Aragorn, Faramir, Éowyn, Éomer, Frodo, Meneldil, Mariadoc (Merry)

Need I go on?  *grins broadly* 
So, how does one avoid the UNPRONOUNCEABLE?

I have ONE simple solution for you, my friends.  I call it The-Simple-Method-for-Choosing-the-Perfect-Easy-to-Say-Names-for-Your-Characters.

a)          If you have chosen names already, but are slightly unsure of them, or even not certain they are THE names you want to use. . . I would suggest letting a friend/sibling/bestie/parent/whoever read a chapter of your WIP and see what they think.  Do not be afraid to do this!  Criticism in writing can be a great thing, and who knows?  You may be thinking your story is missing something, or you are stuck in a scene or two.  Having a fresh set of eyes read it may be the best thing you ever do.  Don't ask them beforehand about the names and such.  Let them read without distraction, and once finished, then ask your questions: "What did you think of the names?  How was the storyline? La dee da. . .?" and so on.

b)          If you have yet to find a name(s) and wish it/them to be perfect and/or rather uncommon, I would suggest finding a one-word meaning or description that fits the character and searching for names with said meanings.  This is super easy if you go to BehindtheName.com.  (Go to the search bar, click the gear icon next to it, select "search meanings," and you're good to go!)  For instance, if your character favors a flower or has the heart of a lion, search for those meanings!  You may find names such as Hana and Millaray, or Leo and Asad.

c)          Keep it simple.  If a name does seem rather difficult, tweak it a bit! There's nothing wrong with that, and you may find the result to be a beautiful, new, original.  :]

See?
That wasn't so difficult, was it? 
What think ye?
Do you agree with the difficulty in reading hard-to-say names in books?  What's the most difficult name you've ever heard of?  

P.S.  What did you think of the cover photo?? *bursts out laughing*  I was looking for the right expression in designing the blog banner, and somehow that statue popped up. . . 

What's in a Name? | UNKNOWN Edition

So, for this particular post, I decided to attempt something different.
Instead of sharing names and their origin and meanings, I thought, "Why not post names whose meanings are unknown?"  These monikers are often combinations of other names, tweakings is that a word? of the more common ones, or simply and truly unique.


To begin, let's go with the lovely, feminine names. . .

Narah
Simple, yet lovely.

Evony
Reminds me of Ebony.

Teylie
This one could be a play on Taylor or possibly Kaylee.

Neysa
Extremely unique!

Pareysia
Could be pronounced however you like.
I keep thinking pah-RAY-see-ah or even pah-RAY-zhah.


And now for a bit of the masculine.  :]

Emric
Personally, I think this would be an awesome fantasy name.  Maybe an Elf??

Te'o
Could be a form of Teo, which may ultimately be derived from Theodore.

Jarran
Again, this would be an awesome fantasy/medieval guy.
Or perhaps a character in some sci-fi tale.

Saegan
This was a character's name in The Binding of the Blade series by L.B. Graham.

Janner
This name is also from a book series: The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson.


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So, what do you think? Do you have some awesome, unique names to add that may not have known meanings? Have you ever come up with a new, original name?? (I did! :] Her name is Kyndi, a character for one of my concept stories.) What about you?  Do share!

So You Say You're a Writer. . .

I've heard it said you are only as good a writer as the work and effort you put into your stories.  Basically, you are a writer or merely a person who claims to be.  And lately (I'm ashamed to say) I have been more of the latter. . . 

I thought by now I might have had the first draft of my WIP, Noya, completed---or at the very least, quite close to it.  REALITY:  I haven't touched it since December.  TT_TT

Why?

Two words:


Yes, it's a thing.  
I can see you nodding with me.

Writer Procrastination is this condition many writers suffer through and endure.  It could include everything from a prolonged writer's block to self-doubt, frustration, boredom in uninteresting (but necessary) scenes, difficulty of any kind, or unstructured outlines.

However, it's up to the writers whether or not they stay in that diagnosis, or be INTENTIONAL and push to fix it---not simply treat the symptoms.  Make sense? *nods*

Regarding this very subject, I read an amazing article that sums this up nicely and has a simple four-step plan for overcoming this nasty thing.

For me, I struggle with all of the above-mentioned negative traits: doubts, boredom, plot difficulties, and unstructured EVERYTHING.  But my biggest problem is most likely the most common---TIME I procrastinate, because I don't make time to write.  And my stories and poor characters suffer for it.  Aaaannnddd I tend to blame it all on reality. 

So.

What am I going to do?  
First, make a check list.  (Cuz I love to make lists and then actively cross 'em off) :]

  • Make time.  Time is a gift.  One I wish to use wisely and on things I enjoy.  My goal is to set TEN minutes of my time aside every day to write a minimum word count for my current WIP.
  • Be intentional.  Goals literally DO NOT complete themselves.  Ever since reading a dear blogger-friend's inspirational 2018 post, that word [intentional] has stuck with me.  I've realized over at least the past two years, I have not been deliberate in the many things I've wished to be diligent and intentional in.  Writing is certainly one of them.  As a result, those hobbies/goals have gotten nowhere fast.  I've said I wanted to change that, but have I?  Sadly, no.  Change, I must!
  • Find joy!  Have fun!  Writing, blogging, painting, reading---these are all things I so enjoy in my wonderful life.  But if I don't make time, be intentional, or actively find the joy in the midst of it all (which includes accomplishing goals) nothing of what I've shared will be true.  Writing is a passion, and that makes it enjoyable to me.  :]
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*takes deep breath*
With all that said. . . I NEED ACCOUNTABILITY!! Which is why I've shared this long spiel with all you dears.  No one understands us writers better than other writers in the bloggy world.  *nods vigorously*  Thanks for hanging in there, y'all.  I think I needed to share this.  Motivation spurs intentionality. (Is that a word??) 

So now, I'm off to follow my own simple advise.  I'm gonna log out, pulled up my Noya docs, and see how far I can get before my soft, warm bed calls me.  :]  Good evening to you!


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What of you, me lovelies?
Do you suffer from the dreaded Writers Procrastination? You're not alone! I could betcha cookies every author and writer has endured the same. So, how do YOU overcome? Do share!

Happy Valentine's Day!

So, I realized yesterday, I haven't posted my usual posts for the week (or hardly anything last week, for that matter).  Nor have I even drafted them or prepared ANYTHING for the week. . .

*le sigh*  

Well, as it is the lovely little holiday that celebrates the memory of St. Valentine,
Happy Valentine's Day!!


Ah, Shakespeare.  While I've never actually read the romantic play of Romeo & Juliet, I believe I understand enough of the gist of the story.  And the above quote happens to be one of my favorites.  

Most of the time, we associate Valentine's Day as only a romantic "holiday."  But to me Valentine's Day represents not just agape-love, which is the highest form of love, unconditional; but also philia-love, brotherly, familial love.  

If you have come to dread this holiday because there's not yet a "significant other" in your life, DON'T.  Make it something special!  Celebrate the love you have for your family and friends.  Don't miss out on the little things.


Today also happens to be the anniversary to my surrendering completely to my Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ.  I have full faith in Him, and believe Him to be the resurrected Son of God.  He saved me from an eternity in Sheol, and will forever be my first Valentine.  :]

And of course, I wish my amazing husband, Evan, a Happy Valentine's Day!  His unconditional love reminds me of our Lord's and our love story is most certainly my favorite.  I love you, Hubs!  <3


P.S.
If you're in the mood for a short story, click here to read one I wrote for Valentine's Day way back in 2015.

Happy Day, y'all.

The Bibliophile Sweater Tag

A HUGE thank-you to my dear friend Jameson, from Lovely Whatsoevers, for passing this little tag on to me!  Go on, click on over to view her post.  The books she lists are so intriguing -- you'll want to add them to your TBR list (if you haven't already), and her photos for each are PERFECT.


"GUIDELINES"

1] Give the person who tagged you a never-ending supply of cookies (or just thank them - either works)

2] Answer all the questions and use the blog graphic for this tag somewhere in your post (either the one above, or design your own!)
3] Pass along the tag to at least five other people to wear a sweater (okay, this is optional...but why wouldn't you want to??).





(Please bear with me on the photos, y'all. . . They were the best I could do under the circumstances of horrid lighting and cold, rainy weather.  Heheh. . .)

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Fuzzy sweater 
(a book that is the epitome of comfort)

I adored this little novel.  Unforgettable is one of those good, clean romances that leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.  This was the first book of the author's that I had picked up, and I was pleasantly surprised.  (Although I may have had high expectations due to the fact the MC owned a dance studio. . .)  ;D
*****
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Striped sweater

(book which you devoured every line of)



Oh my.  THIS BOOK.  I definitely devoured every line of mystery, intrigue, wit, and humor in this novel.  Anon, Sir, Anon had me laughing more than any other murder mystery I've read.  The writing style and hilarity is similar to that of P.G. Wodehouse (another great reason to snag this one) and Rachel Heffington's characters were spot on and full of wit.  Extremely likable from the start! 
*****
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Ugly Christmas sweater
(book with a weird cover)

The cover of this one may not be as weird as the title itself. . . But I couldn't find a stranger one right away.  (What does that say of my library?  Do I really judge a book by its cover??  Probably. . . *wicked laugh*)  The Tattooed Rats is an interesting, if not a kinda scary take on the future where Christians are in hiding for their faith and followers of Christ turn out to be members of a gang, covered in tattoos, and probably the only ones that Patch (the MC) can trust.  Faith is challenged, betrayal abounds, true friends are difficult to find, and spiritual forces battle (literally) for the fate of the world.
****
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Cashmere sweater
(most expensive book you've bought)

Honestly, this was a difficult subject to answer, as most every book I own and purchase is either thrifted or hunted down until a reasonable price is discovered.  Seriously, I don't ever pay more than $3-$5 for a book, on average.  There are some exceptions, of course, where I MAY dish out a whole $10 for a special something. . . xD  Haha, no really.  Unless it's some antique, in-great-condition book/one I've been hunting FOREVER, then I rarely spend more that $3.  This one, however, was an exception.  And, while it isn't a fiction story, rather a dictionary of biblical names, I still think it counts for this tag.  (Right??)  All the Names in the Bible is pretty amazing if you are an appellationist -- a collector of names -- like myself.  (Click here to see the unofficial definition of appellationist.  The article is rather hilarious! It has a list of funny names of actual real people.)  I spent maybe $18 for this thing.  O__O I know! So much moolah. . . Still, extremely worth it!
*****
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Hoodie
(favorite classic book)

If you've seen and loved the 2004 BBC drama North & South featuring Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe, then you'll know what this classic novel is.  It's just as good as the mini-series, if not even better -- in my opinion.  While in the drama you get to SEE the characters and their circumstances and squeal like little girls and wish you could live in a period drama, the book adds so much more to the story and characters themselves.  I actually liked the ending a little better in the book than I did in the film.  But I'm not gonna give it away. *maniacal laugh* READ it yourself!!
*****
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Cardigan
(book that you bought on impulse)

This was definitely an impulsive buy.  And I wasn't disappointed!  It was such an intriguing storyline, I had a rather difficult time putting it down.  In Origin, you follow the steps of Pia, a genetically altered girl of seventeen, who is meant to be the start of an immortal race of humans.  She's been an unknowing prisoner of a laboratory compound deep in a jungle, until she finds a hole in the fence.  Despite the studies and knowledge she's gathered over the years, she knows little of the world that exists outside, and just how wondrous it can be in person.  Or what secrets can be discovered.
****
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Turtleneck sweater
(book from your childhood)

There are so many I could list here: the Nancy Drew series, Junie B. Jones books, 
the DragonKeeper Chronicles,  the Magic Treehouse series, the Cooper Kids series, the Chronicles of Narnia, Twilight Child, ALL the Louis L'Amour westerns, and so many more.  But I chose this not-so-well-known one because it's one of my absolute favorites (which probably doesn't mean much as I have countless absolute favorites, but still. . .).  Written by the author of the Redwall series, Castaways of the Flying Dutchman is an intriguing tale of a boy and his dog who happen to get caught up in the curse of the Flying Dutchman, a ship captained by a rather wicked man (not the Davy Jones from PotC).  A trilogy, it follows the now-immortal two as they travel the world serving those in need and solving mysteries and riddles in the villages they stumble upon.  In short, they're almost like guardians.  Love this one!
*****  
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Homemade knitted sweater
(book that is Indie-published)

An amazing debut novel from an amazing, bloggy friend! (aka Jameson)  :]  The Assassin's Daughter was an easy, clean read.  If you love fantasy, reluctant assassins, sweet friendships, government rebels, and adventure, then you'll enjoy this novel.  I love Kat and Ed's friendship.  And the character Delest is SO INTRIGUING.  Can't wait for the second book!!
****
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V-neck sweater
(book that did not meet your expectations)

TT_TT
*sobs*  I was SO DISAPPOINTED in this one.  So much so, I didn't finish it.  *GASPS* I know, I know.  I tried so hard to get into the story and the characters, simply because the premise and story idea seemed so unique and most certainly intriguing.  HOWEVER, due to the amount and content of language, the outright bratty attitude of the macho "heroine," among other issues, I couldn't stand it or get any further than the first ten chapters. . .  That said, I have no rating for Stormdancer, and would not recommend.

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Argyle sweater
(book with a unique format)

I believe this one fits into the "unique format," right?  :]  This is a book where the reader will either like it or not.  I actually enjoyed this one simple because it was COMPLETELY different from any other novel I've read.  Set in 2250, Aquifer focuses on a community of people living on the barren wastes of the earth.  Water is scarce and extremely precious.  The people rely on their Deliverers, a generation of men chosen to travel to the underground depths to treaty with the Water Rats down below who mine the water.  Those who govern the people do so cruelly, and it's up to sixteen-year-old Luca to expose their tyranny.  An interesting, clean read with a teensy bit of romance, a dose of faith, and the journey for truth.  (Read my review here.)
****
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Polka dot sweater
(a book with well-rounded characters)

Ahhh, last but certainly not least, a novel I most recently finished reading.  AND ABSOLUTELY LOVED.  Wildwood Dancing is a fantastic, whimsical faerietale retelling based on the stories of The 12 Dancing Princesses and The Frog Prince.  Don't go judging too quickly, however, as this story is completely and wholly original.  Any fantasy, faerietale-lover will enjoy this book.  The characters are so well-fleshed out, extremely easy to relate to, and of course lovable.  I love Jena's character, second eldest of five sisters and the practical, sensible one.  She feels the burden of providing for her family while their father is away recovering from an illness.  She makes many mistakes, to be sure, and she comes to learn she simply cannot do everything on her own.  But her sisters stick by her through it all, and while there may be times for sorrow, faerietales have happy endings.  :]
*****

THE NOMINEES
[Please feel free to skip the tag, if you'd like.  You're not obligated!]
Hannah @ Plottinger Twist
Catherine @ The Rebelling Muse
Katie Grace @ A Writer's Faith
And anyone else who would like to join in!  Just because your name isn't listed doesn't mean you're not permitted to partake.  If you do, please let me know! I'd love to see your post.  :]

 THE QUESTIONS
Fuzzy sweater (a book that is the epitome of comfort)
Striped sweater (book which you devoured every line of)
Ugly Christmas sweater (book with a weird cover)
Cashmere sweater (most expensive book you've bought)
Hoodie (favorite classic book)
Cardigan (book that you bought on impulse)
Turtleneck sweater (book from your childhood)
Homemade knitted sweater (book that is Indie-published)
V-neck sweater (book that did not meet your expectations)
Argyle sweater (book with a unique format)
Polka dot sweater (a book with well-rounded characters)

What's in a Name?

Happy Monday, my dears!
Welcome back.  How was your weekend?  Didja watch the Super Bowl??? Or did you do something a little more worthwhile?  *wink wink*  My family always hosts a fun Super Bowl party/get-together.  It's a MUST -- especially as my hubby hails from MA. . . Who were you rooting for??  Even if you weren't rooting for a particular team, just watching the commercials and movie previews are enjoyable.  The Solo (Star Wars) teaser was my FAVORITE!!

Anyways, on to today's post!  I've got some fresh new names for you.
Enjoy.

Milo
M | English, Ancient Germanic
MIE-lo

Old Germanic and Latinized form of Miles, whose meaning is not known for certain, but could possibly be derived from Latin miles meaning "soldier."

MY NOTES:  This is the name of one of my favorite characters in Louis L'Amour's westerns, Milo Talon.  :]




Tinúviel
F | Literature (Tolkien)

Means "nightingale" in Sindarin.  In J.R.R. Tolkien's Silmarillion (1977), this was the given name of the daughter of the Elven king Thingol.  Beren was her beloved, and together they retrieved one of the Silmarils from the iron crown of Morgoth.

Kanoa
M & F | Japanese, Hawaiian
kǝ-NO-wǝ

Means "the free one," from the two elements ka (a definitive article) and noa meaning "freedom." Of Japanese origin.

Eira
F | Swedish, Norwegian, Welsh
AY-rah (Swedish), or possible EYE-rah

A modern form of Old Norse Eir, meaning "mercy."  In Welsh, it means "snow."








Names & meanings via behindthename.com.
Photos via Pinterest.

Book Review | Judah's Wife

Judah's Wife
The Silent Years #2 // A Novel of the Maccabees
Angela Hunt

Bethany House | January 2nd, 2018
Historical Fiction, Biblical History, Christian

{GoodReads}
Seeking peace and safety after a hard childhood, Leah marries Judah, a strong and gentle man, and for the first time in her life Leah believes she can rest easily. But the land is ruled by Antiochus IV, descended from one of Alexander the Great's generals, and when he issues a decree that all Jews are to conform to Syrian laws upon pain of death, devout Jews risk everything to follow the law of Moses.

Judah's father resists the decree, igniting a war that will cost him his life. But before dying, he commands his son to pick up his sword and continue the fight--or bear responsibility for the obliteration of the land of Judah. Leah, who wants nothing but peace, struggles with her husband's decision--what kind of God would destroy the peace she has sought for so long? 

The miraculous story of the courageous Maccabees is told through the eyes of Judah's wife, who learns that love requires courage . . . and sacrifice.


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WARNING: Possible Spoilers

{The Basics}
I am going to be completely honest:  I did NOT enjoy this book.  This is my personal opinion, and I will not look down my nose on anyone who disagrees with me.  It was simply not my cup of tea.  That said, I will do my best to give a fair and simple review, sharing what I believe needs mentioned and such -- pros AND cons.  :]

First of all, this is written entirely in first person, BUT from the perspective of two different people: Leah and Judah.  I had never read such a style before.  Normally, if a novel is first person and has multiple point-of-views (story is told from the views of more than one character), the secondary characters are in third person.  This kind of threw me off at first.  While both Judah and Leah had extremely different personalities and it was easy enough to keep them separate in each chapter, I wasn't very fond of this style.

{Positives}
Judah comes from a strong family in mind and faith.  They look out for each other, and while the brothers often brawl together in wrestling matches, it is all in good fun.  Their father, a well-known priest, encourages them in the way of their Lord, and they strive under his example to live by faith.

Leah has much to learn.  It is a long and difficult journey, but eventually she comes to learn the purpose HaShem (more on the name below) has for her in her life and embraces it, no matter the cost.

Once they are married, Judah's family welcomes Leah as their own, and she finds a place and an actual, loving family with them.

{Negatives}
Leah's father was abusive to her and her mother (the mother more so).  Because of this, her actions and love seems rather limited.  She is fearful of her new husband and what he could potentially become -- someone like her hypocritical and temperamental father.  She is not an open person, and keeps her emotions to herself.

At one point, Judah's older brother Johanan attempts to manipulate and discourage him from his role as commander of the Israelite army.  He felt as the older brother that it should have been him to lead, not Judah.  (Eventually, they all accept Judah as leader and no love is lost.)

You must remember in the era that this novel takes place, women were to be submissive and quiet, expected to do as they were told without question.  Some of the wives of Judah's brothers seem a little bitter at times because of this expectation.

{Spiritual Content}
This is a fictional account of the Jews in the four hundred "silent years" from the last book of the Old Testament to the first of the New.  We may never know exactly what happened in all those years, but history can give us a peak at what it may have been like.  The capitol city of Jerusalem was under the rule of a wicked king.  The great Temple was defiled as the Greek infiltrated their own culture and customs and rituals into the city.  This greatly grieved the pious Jews who lived and worshiped the One God, or HaShem (or Jehovah), as He is known in this tale.  Scripture is quoted -- many from the Psalms of David or the Proverbs of his son, Solomon.  The story is divided into at least four parts, and at the beginning of each verses from the book of Maccabees is shared.

When the capitol city falls to the king, heavy laws forbid worship of Jehovah and enforce the people to eat unclean foods, such as swine.

Judah has strange dreams and visions that could be interpreted to represent things in the future.  (Personally, I did not see the point in them.)

Characters pray and fast and cry out to God for deliverance.  They feast in His honor and sing and dance His praises.  Faith runs strong in the midst of death and difficulty. 

{Violence}
Street fight between young men over the honor of two young girls -- mainly just fisticuffs.

Judah's family moves to Modein, just in time to escape the devastation in Jerusalem.  But the aftermath follows them there in the form of king's officials.  The men attempt to make the people of Modein, and Judah's family in particular, sacrifice to the king.  In response, Judah's father (and then his sons) kill the men for blasphemy -- a distant cousin, and coward, who was willing to sacrifice to save himself and family, was killed in the scene as well.

Judah was called as commander of the army of Israel.  And this is a tale of war.  Blood and gore abound.  Tortures, massacres, dismembering, beheadings, etc. etc.  I will not go into detail as I believe you get the picture.  But in short, the wicked king sends his soldiers to ravage the great city.  Millions are killed (this book has one of the HIGHEST body counts I've ever read. . .) and tortured -- families, children, infants, old and young. 

Jerusalem falls.  People are tortured and led through the streets.  Countless battles, numerous victories (at first), some losses.  Soldiers and volunteers are cut down with swords, slings, spears, daggers, etc.

{Language; Alcohol & Drugs}
None.

Wine is a celebratory drink, as well as one to forget one's pains and difficulties in life.

{Love-y Content}
As a newly married couple, Judah and Leah are rather awkward at first and later rather intimate.  No details, just normal husband-wife things. . .  It was an arranged marriage, but they come to love and care for each other.  Leah conceives, but after three long days of labor, the infant is born dead.  (Obviously, she is torn by grief and afraid of what her husband will do -- though she's been shown time and again, Judah is NOT like her father.  In anger she argues with him to beat her or kill her; she swipes at his face with a blade, leaving a shallow cut on his jaw.)

{Conclusion}
There's more I could add, and if you love the Biblical, historical side of stories, then you may very well enjoy this one.  I encourage you to give it a try!  I just could not get into it.  Leah was an absolute brat, in my opinion, and annoyed me to no end.  I found myself wanting to slap her silly.  Grrr. . . I apologize, but I just did not connect with this story.  She does come to her senses (by the END of the book), and gives her husband her full support, encouraging him as she ought, and eventually accepting his role as commander.  Judah, on the other hand, was an upright and righteous young man, who gave his all to his God and was used greatly by Him.  I must say this though, [SPOILER] this novel does not have a happy ending. . .

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