Maximus by Richard L. Black

I received this book via NetGalley for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.


Maximus has never known peace. In command of one of Rome’s finest legions, he and his closest friend, Androcles, have fought side by side to uphold the glory of the empire.

But at the end of a long and bloody campaign, Maximus begins to question his purpose, his past, and the gods he has been taught to believe in.

When word reaches Rome of a man named Jesus who is causing a stir in faraway Judaea, Maximus and Androcles are sent, disguised as Jews, to ascertain the truth of the situation: Is this Jesus merely a radical preacher, or is he instigating a revolution against Rome?

As Maximus immerses himself in Jewish culture, he must confront questions that could change his life: Is it possible this carpenter from Nazareth is the Son of God? Is it possible for a man of war to live a life of peace?


Maximus is a neat story that demonstrates the heart of it’s author.

In reading Maximus, one can definitely see the author’s desire to spread the Gospel in his own special way, and that is exactly what he did! The story was well researched and I was pleased with how well the characters were made and how each one had his/her own special part in the story.

However, in reading this book, I could tell that this was Black’s first book. The writing was kind of choppy and he switched in between point of views far too often, making the characters seem too vulnerable. In books like this, it would have been better to keep the story in only 2 or 3 different characters’ point of view so that the book would not have been so predictable. There were also several glitches in the grammar of the e-book version that I read.

But overall, I loved the story as well as the mission that the author gave it, so I do recommend it as an entertaining read and give it a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.

Add to Goodreads Shelf





Purchase From Amazon

Esther by Angela Hunt

I received this book from the author/publisher for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.


An ambitious tyrant threatens genocide against the Jews in ancient Persia, so an inexperienced, beautiful young queen must take a stand for her people.

When Xerxes, king of Persia, issues a call for beautiful young women, Hadassah, a Jewish orphan living in Susa, is forcibly taken to the palace of the pagan ruler. After months of preparation, the girl known to the Persians as Esther wins the king’s heart and a queen’s crown. But because her situation is uncertain, she keeps her ethnic identity a secret until she learns that an evil and ambitious man has won the king’s permission to exterminate all Jews–young and old, powerful and helpless. Purposely violating an ancient Persian law, she risks her life in order to save her people…and bind her husband’s heart.

Esther marks bestselling author Angela Hunt’s return to biblical fiction. In each novel she explores an example of a Hebrew Old Testament tob woman: a woman whose physical beauty influences those around her–and can change the course of history.


Esther is possibly one of the most popular Old Testament stories told  again and again. But every author who writes about Esther seems to get a different message from her story, and it was very interesting to read Angela’s take on Queen Esther.

Though Angela has a gorgeous writing style and her characters were engaging and entertaining, I did find it difficult to actually get into the story. The way the story is written is in a two-person point of view, so it goes back and forth between two characters, Hadassah and Harbonah, both of which are recorded in first person. You can feel what each character is going through and relate back and forth between the two sides of the story, but because it was in first person, the author had a tendency to tell the story rather than to show it.

This was the main reason that I had trouble engaging with the book; I already knew the story of Esther and how it ends, so in reading this book I wanted to watch it pan out with enticing scenes and maybe a slight new twist here and there, but that is not what I got.

I still loved this book and will give it 3 out of 5 stars, but I’m afraid that the author could have done a better job at showing the story instead of just retelling it. She could have done so much to make it unique and stand out. However, if you do not know the story of Esther, or are only slightly familiar with it, then I encourage you to pick up a copy of Esther by Angela Hunt, it is very informative and enjoyable to read!

Add to Goodreads Shelf



Purchase from Amazon