For the Love of Literature

For the Love of Literature

As a bibliophile, my passion for books coalesces with a love of writing, and writing book reviews allows me to share literature with the world.

Review
5 Stars
Eden Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  Eden

Author: Brennan S. McPherson

Genre:  Biblical Fiction

Release Date: April 1, 2020

“You want me to tell of how I broke the world.”

It’s the year 641 since the beginning of the world, and when Eve passes away, she leaves Adam the only man on earth who remembers everything from the beginning of the world.

When Enoch, God’s newly appointed prophet, decides to collect the stories of the faithful from previous generations, he finds Adam in desperate need to confess the dark secrets he’s held onto for too long.

Beside a slowly burning bonfire in the dead of night, Adam tells his story in searing detail. From the beginning of everything, to how he broke the world, shattered Eve’s heart, and watched his family crumble.

Will Enoch uncover what led so many of Adam’s children away from God? And will Adam find the redemption and forgiveness he longs for?



Click HERE for your copy.
 

About the Author

 


BRENNAN S. MCPHERSON writes epic, imaginative biblical fiction with heart-pounding plots and lyrical prose, for readers who like to think biblically and feel deeply. He lives with his wife and young daughter in the Midwest, and spends as much of his spare time with them as possible.
 

 

 

Read an Exclusive Excerpt

 

In my beginning was not darkness, but Light.

As I opened my eyes for the first time, I saw dust motes swirling around five bright points. I reached for them and realized the dust was not blowing past me but instead settling across the complex shapes in my arms.

Distracted, I twisted my wrist, seeing muscle, tendon, bone, and a partial layer of skin. Clenching my fingers one by one, I saw the movement in my joints.

Fascinated, I watched as a swathe of dust poured over me like a sheet of silk and morphed into smooth, brown flesh. I ran my fingers across my new skin, and when the sound of shifting sand settled, noticed what sounded like gentle Music riding on the breath that flowed into me.

I inhaled.

Exhaled.

Inhaled again.

“Adam,” I said, for I had heard that name—my name—in the Music.

I realized that my Father was singing over me, and in his singing, he had given me life and form, and had named me Adam.

He smiled at me, with those dark brown eyes, and let soft melodies fall from his tongue as I lay on my back.

He lifted me from the mud and burned the remaining dust from my skin with the heat of his presence. But he did not hurt me as a natural flame might. Instead, he filled and cleansed me. And the joy of him filled me with an insatiable desire to experience everything around me, to understand the world he had sung into existence.

I’ve never since felt so whole as I did with him in Eden. Because inside me was nothing that did not belong. Only him, and the breath he gave, and the Music he sang, and the smells of Eden, and the touch of his Light, and the taste of his name on my lips as I spoke for the second time. “Father.” I smiled and laughed.

He stood magnificent, warm, compassionate. The image of the invisible condensed in a life foreknown before the foundations of the world were formed.

I felt his pride over me and laughed again, only now with tears.

My first moments were not like those of a newborn child come from a womb. Instead, they were of a child gone into the womb. Swaddled in the Light of God. Cocooned in his satisfaction.

I was Adam. Man fully formed. Reflection of perfection.

In joy, I fell to my hands and knees and bowed my forehead to the ground. Tears flowed to the soil I’d been formed from. How great! How wonderful this being was who had made me for himself, and who so unendingly satisfied me. Nothing I’ve experienced in my long years could ever make me forget it. That sense of purpose. Of everything being right.

Ah, yes. I see wonder on your face, Enoch, at how tears could be present in a world yet unbroken by sin.

Have you never wondered why the kiss of a lover can bring tears to our eyes? It is because some goods are so great that they must be given vent. For not all tears spring from sorrow. And not all aches are unwanted.

Yet still, my Father lifted me and wiped my cheeks. Then he led me across hills and valleys, puddles and rivers. He pointed at plants and skittering animals and insects, and it seemed as though I could hear the echo of his melodies in their movements.
 
 

My Review

 

Over the past couple of years, Biblical fiction has become one of my favorite genres—but only when it’s done well. And that is where it becomes thorny, and where it sinks or swims. The key to writing Biblical fiction is twofold: illuminating the Word without adding anything to it or contradicting it, and causing readers to think more about the Bible and to want to study it more deeply. This is especially important when writing about Biblical accounts themselves, as opposed to fictional characters who lived during Biblical times. Suffice it to say, succeeding is very difficult. In spite of this, however, Brennan McPherson excels at crafting Biblical novels that stem from the original Bible stories and that take readers on thought-provoking journeys into the heart of God’s Word.

“Eden,” Brennan McPherson’s latest Biblical fiction novel, approaches the story of the first couple in a unique manner. Told from Adam’s point of view, McPherson employs the mise-en-abyme technique. Thus, instead of a detached third-person account, the story is related by Adam himself to Enoch. This infuses untold emotion and empathy into what is for many a very familiar story. Adam relates, “I was Adam. Man fully formed. Reflection of perfection,” a description that stood out to me because it reminds me that we are all created in God’s image. In the novel, God appears in human form in the Garden, and this is one aspect that I’m not entirely comfortable with; I’m not sure if I can accurately articulate what bothers me about it, but I have issues with how God’s character is portrayed in these passages. I think that what I struggle with is not so much how God appears, because of course He later in history comes to earth as a man to ultimately die for our sins, but some of His actions. Adam notes His reticence as the event of the fall approaches, and how at various times He has expressions of regret or unhappiness on His face. While I agree that He would of course have known that the fall was going to happen, I personally do not think that He would have allowed this foreknowledge to taint the time He spent with Adam and Eve.

While reading, many things caused me to stop and ponder, which is, again, a mark of well-written Biblical fiction. Adam observes in hindsight that God taught him and Eve everything they would need to know in order to survive after being cast out of Eden. There are also some beautiful descriptions of life with God in Eden before the fall, which in my mind prefigure the face-to-face relationship that we will have one day in God’s Kingdom. On the other hand, from the time of her creation, there seems to be tension between Eve and Adam, and this intensifies after they leave Eden. Adam describes fallen human nature by relating that “Everyone strives to blame another for sin, but sin is inside us. Sin is the purposeful twisting of our hearts to anything other than our original Father.” Indeed, this brought up another point; in this novel, Adam is hated and heavily criticized in the story for “breaking the world.” For some reason, this surprised me; I never considered that he would be treated almost as an outcast among his own family, because today I think that most of us acknowledge the fact that we all sin and fall short of God’s glory, but to bear the blame for all of humanity’s fallen-ness would be tortuous. It is another example of God’s great love for us, that Jesus took our blame, our sin upon Himself.

McPherson has added some commentary at the end of the book; it takes readers through Genesis 1-4, upon which “Eden” is based, and explains some of the choices that the author made in writing this story. The note about Cain and Abel is one that I also found interesting, but I will leave that to readers to discover on their own. I will say that I am intrigued by the author’s view that some level of pain may have existed in Eden based on the phrasing of some of the Biblical text. While much of the story itself is somber and forlorn, there is a thread of hope, just as God has placed in the very first chapters of the Bible. Throughout the heartaches and strife that comprise his life after Eden, Adam eventually comes to a peaceful conclusion: “He realized then that the Father’s will had not been broken by his evil, yet was still coming to be.” Because God had a plan from the very beginning and nothing ever takes Him by surprise, we can always rest confidently in Him, knowing that He holds all our yesterdays, todays, and tomorrows, and that when we accept Jesus as our Savior, we have the promise of an eternity with Him, free of pain and suffering, to look forward to, a glorious promise that shines brightly in the darkness.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 

Blog Stops

 

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate his tour, Brennan is giving away the grand prize package of a “McPherson Publishing bundle”, which includes the following books: a copy of Flood, Babel, the three Psalm Series novellas, and The Simple Gospel book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

Review
5 Stars
The Merchant's Yield Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book


Book:  The Merchant’s Yield

Author: Lorri Dudley

Genre:  Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: March 31, 2020

It was a marriage of inconvenience, but life has a wicked sense of humor.

Charlotte Amelia Etheridge has cowered to her mother’s sharp tongue and endless demands for the last time. In a fleeting moment of rebellion, she recklessly asks a foreigner from the Leeward Islands for a dance. But her one courageous act lands her in a compromising position. Forced to wed a stranger, Lottie leaves the only home she’s ever known to reside on the isle of St. Kitts.

Nathaniel Winthrop’s troubles are mounting, and the rumors of him being cursed are spreading. Due to the dwindling sugar crop, he risks everything to start his own shipping company. The last thing he needs is a wife, especially one with a weak constitution. Yellow fever has already claimed the lives of his mother and siblings. He must guard his heart against falling in love with this gentle beauty, knowing island life will be a death sentence.

No longer under her mother’s scrutiny, the newfound freedom of the island rejuvenates Lottie’s spirit. If her days on this earth are limited, then it’s time she lives life to the full. Now it’s up to her to prove that even though Nathan was coerced into marrying her, she’s the one he can’t live without.


Click HERE for your copy!
 

About the Author

 


Lorri Dudley has been a finalist in numerous writing contests and has a master’s degree in Psychology. She lives in Ashland, Massachusetts with her husband and three teenage sons, where writing romance allows her an escape from her testosterone filled household. Find her online at www.lorridudley.com.
 

 

 

 

More from Lorri

 

The Merchant’s Yield is the second book in the Leeward Island series. The idea for my heroine, Lottie Etheridge, stemmed from a writing prompt—Pretend you are a relative from your past. My family has often speculated where the bright red hair that pops up every other generation (my dad, my cousin, and my niece) originated, since my grandfather was adopted. My opening hook at one time was Lottie’s mother stating, “Red hair is for opera singers and ballet dancers. You should have powdered your hair.”

In my research about the island of St. Kitts, I came across a French-American pirate named Jean Lafitte, educated at the military academy on St. Kitts. The concept of my hero, Nathaniel Winthrop, a merchant who could have schooled with a pirate, set my creative juices flowing, especially after reading about Lafitte’s outlandish and quirky behavior. I couldn’t resist interlacing the lives of my main characters with the daring pirate.

I enjoyed writing Lottie’s struggle between pacifying others, yet trying to stay true to how God made her. Also, I can relate to her attempts at rebellion backfiring, for I too could never get away with anything. Lottie’s soft heart contrasts nicely with the guarded hero, Nathan, as she peels back each painful layer of his thick façade to reveal the devoted and ardent love he holds beneath.

To learn more, check out my website at lorridudley.com or watch The Merchant’s Yield’s book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQLKqJfMf0o&feature=youtu.be
 

My Review

 

Heretical though it may be, the Regency era generally does not appeal to me. I’m a country girl, and I’ve always been much more comfortable with pioneer stories and tales of the Old West. The aristocracy and le bon ton (“the ton”) do not really strike a chord with me except to make me glad that I do not belong in high society. However, since reading and thoroughly enjoying Abigail Wilson’s historical fiction, I have been challenging myself to step into the Regency period occasionally. Thus I came to read this second book of the Leeward Islands series, which can be read as a standalone.

 “The Merchant’s Yield” by Lorri Dudley opens in a London ballroom but moves forward at a fast pace, encompassing a handful of locations along a journey of intrigue, romance, and yes, piracy. Heroine Lottie Etheridge has lived her entire life under her mother’s odious control, never measuring up to her standards, and after one ill-fated act of rebellion, she finds herself with a future she never expected. Nathan Winthrop, owner of both a sugar plantation on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts and a shipping company, is struggling to keep himself and his employees afloat, and his life just became more complicated. These two make for a very interesting novel because it is beautiful to watch them grow, in affection and in spirit. As Nathan sagely observes, “Pain is unavoidable, but misery is optional.” And although both are Christians to begin with, their faith undergoes trials and turbulence. Early on in the story, Lottie echoes her friend Priscilla in saying that “Everything would work out in the end. God had a plan for her life. Every miracle began with a problem. Did it not?” What an encouraging sentiment! If there were no problems, there would be no miracles, and that seems like it would be a mundane existence.

A few of the things that I enjoyed most about this story include the epigraphs at the beginning of each chapter. While I always find these enlightening, in this book they are even more so because they are unique to any other story I can recall; they are comprised of quotations from the characters within the story, either from letters, journals, or other documents written by the characters. This technique offers valuable insight and behind-the-scenes information about the characters and their thoughts and emotions, which greatly enhances the story itself. Also, the curse that seems to plague Nathan is interesting because it speaks to the culture and superstition of St. Kitts and how even Christians can sometimes come to believe things that are only lies the enemy propagates, whereas God’s Word directs us to Romans 8:28. No matter the circumstances, if we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior and believe His Word, God will work all things out for our best and for His glory, always. “The Merchant’s Yield” is a beautiful illustration of this, especially in uncertain times.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 

Blog Stops

 

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, April 1

Life of Literature, April 1

Inklings and notions, April 2

Read Review Rejoice, April 2

For Him and My Family, April 3

Books, Life, and Christ, April 3

The Christian Fiction Girl, April 4

Older & Smarter?, April 4

Texas Book-aholic, April 5

deb’s Book Review, April 5

Betti Mace, April 6

Spoken from the Heart, April 6

Batya’s Bits, April 6

Reflections From My Bookshelves, April 7

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, April 7

For the Love of Literature, April 8

Britt Reads Fiction, April 8

Remembrancy, April 9

Maureen’s Musings, April 9

Through the Fire Blogs, April 9

Reading Is My SuperPower, April 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 11

Emily Yager, April 11

Blossoms and Blessings, April 12

janicesbookreviews, April 12

Blessed & Bookish, April 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 13

Hallie Reads, April 13

Pause for Tales, April 14

Vicky Sluiter, April 14

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Lorri is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon Gift Card!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

Review
4 Stars
Capsized by Death Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  Capsized by Death

Author: Catherine Finger

Genre:  Christian Mystery/Thriller

Release Date: December 2019


As Police Chief Jo Oliver prepares for her dream wedding in Maui, she and her team must keep a serial killer with ties to her past from derailing her plans for the future.



Click HERE for your copy!
 

About the Author

 


Catherine Finger loves to dream, write, and tell stories. Retired from a wonderful career in public education, she celebrates the ability to choose how to spend her time in a new way during the second half of life. So far, she chooses to write books, ride horses, serve others, and generally find her way into and out of trouble both on the road and at home.  She lives in the Midwest with a warm and wonderful combination of family and friends.

Capsized by Death, the fourth novel in her Jo Oliver Thriller series, will be released by Elk Lake Publishing in December, 2019. Anchored by Death, the third novel in her Jo Oliver Thriller series, received the Bronze Medal for the 2018 Independent Publisher Book Awards, was a finalist for the National Indie Excellence Awards, and  Her second Jo Oliver Thriller, Shattered by Death, was a finalist in the International Book Awards and the National Indie Excellence Awards. Catherine and her novels have been featured on radio stations, blogs, and in numerous articles—all posted at www.CatherineFinger.com.

Catherine loves to interact with her readers at www.CatherineFinger.com Follow her on Facebook at Catherine Finger, Author, and on Twitter at CatherineFinger.
 

More from Catherine

 

In writing my Jo Oliver Thriller series, I find myself driven by passion. The genesis of the series—Cleansed By Death—was fueled by a passion to create a story about strong women embedded in a male-dominated profession, facing difficulties they could only solve through faith and community. I was vacuuming when I was hit by the idea of pitting two strong women against each other and seeing which one would win, the theme of book 2, Shattered by Death. Information gleaned during an FBI writers workshop on techniques for tracking criminals, superimposed over the mitten map of Wisconsin formed the bones for Anchored By Death, the third book in the series.

My latest novel, Capsized By Death, contains all of my favorite elements. The astute series reader will note that the foundation for the killer’s appearance in this book was introduced years ago in Cleansed By Death. But he first appeared to me during one of my many solo writing vacations on an island.

At the end of a fairytale day spent kayaking, snorkeling and listening to the sound of whales singing under water in Maui, the gorgeous male host of my day trip stood silhouetted in the setting sun. This man was beautiful in every way, and had the sort of personality that describes the essence of attractive—he pulled you into his beautiful ocean world. At that moment, I knew I had found my perfect killer for my next book! It became my goal to create a killer who was beautiful on the outside and evil on the inside. I used the New Testament book of Jude as my guide for the internal workings of my killer and thus the skeletal framework for Jude, my killer in Capsized By Death—book 4 of the Jo Oliver Thriller series—was born.
 

My Review

 

Always on the lookout for a good Christian suspense or mystery novel, I was excited to have the opportunity to read and review Catherine Finger’s “Capsized by Death.” It wasn’t until afterward that I realized that this book is the last in a tetralogy; while it can technically stand alone, it is obviously meant to go along with the other three books in this series due to clearly-established relationships and references to people and events that did not mean anything to me but doubtless come from previous installments. As such, it did take me a while to feel that I was absorbed enough into the storyline to feel comfortable, and it was a bit difficult for me to keep the characters straight.

Nevertheless, Catherine Finger’s “Capsized by Death” is an interesting Christian mystery that takes place in Maui as police chief Jo Oliver prepares to marry the man of her dreams. The opening chapters caught me by surprise and get the story off to an unexpected start. As the plot develops, Jo and her entourage find themselves drawn into an open investigation involving disappearances and murder. I will admit that I was hoping for a bit more suspense, particularly after the exciting prologue and opening, but it is still a good mystery novel. I enjoyed having short chapters and having sections within the chapters, as this allows for plenty of stopping points while reading. Maui traditions and phrases add a layer of foreign culture, but they also underscore Christianity and how Jesus saves us from our sin and from the evil in this world.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 

Blog Stops

 

 

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Catherine is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of the book and an Amazon gift certificate for $25!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

Review
5 Stars
A Consuming Fire
Out of the Embers - Cabot,  Amanda

Beginning a new series always evokes a special joy, and as nice as it is when all of the books have been published and can be read back-to-back, there is a certain thrill that comes with following each book as it first releases. This feeling is augmented when the author is new, either to the writing world itself or to the individual reader. Such proved to be the case with “Out of the Embers” by Amanda Cabot, whose work I have hitherto not had the opportunity to read. What immediately appealed to me, even before knowing any details about the synopsis, was the cover. The young woman (Evelyn) stands with her head to the left, facing a light breeze and gazing into the distance with both hope and a degree of wariness. Below a title banner made of a wooden plank, a dirt road stretches on through fields of bluebonnets. As I read, the significance and aptness became clear.

A captivating mixture of genres, “Out of the Embers” offers a tenderhearted, tragic, mysterious journey through the lives of Evelyn Radcliffe (later Radner when she changes her name) and Polly, the little girl she has vowed to keep safe. I did not read the plot summary prior to picking up this book, and this enhanced the reading experience for me because I did not expect the pivotal event at the beginning of the novel. Throughout the story, Cabot interjects a few chapters that interrupt the flow of the narrative; their significance does not become fully apparent until the final chapters, but they add to the aura of mystery. As for the romance, it is tender and gradual and does not overwhelm the other aspects of the story, which I appreciated, and the secondary characters are likewise well-developed. Dorothy and Isolde, in particular, blossomed in this book, and I am interested in seeing what the future has in store for Sam and especially for Caleb, the latter of whom seems to have faded into the background by the last third of the novel. I love Cabot’s resolution of Evelyn’s story, and I find it particularly fitting for Easter, although its significance never goes out of season.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Review
5 Stars
Hope in the Mountain River Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  Hope in the Mountain River

Author: Misty M. Beller

Genre:  Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: March 31, 2020

This epic journey is not at all what she expected.

Joel Vargas can’t believe he’s lost his older brother in the wilds of the Rocky Mountains after surviving their harrowing voyage across the Atlantic. And he can’t shake the feeling that Adam—his only living relative—is in dire trouble. No matter what the cost, he and his band of friends won’t stop until Adam is found. He doesn’t have time to contend with the two Indian women who seem to be shadowing his every move.

After the devastating loss of her daughter and husband to a sickness that swept through their Nez Perce camp, Elan is desperate to find an escape from her grief. As she and her friend journey through the mountains toward the great river, a band of white men is the last thing she expects to find, especially as winter blows in full force.

When the dangers increase, accomplishing Joel’s mission becomes the only hope for all their survival. If the elements don’t consume them, Elan has a feeling life will never be the same for any of them.

From a USA Today bestselling author comes another epic journey through breathless landscapes and intense adventure.



Click HERE to get your copy.
 

About the Author

 


Misty M. Beller is a USA Today bestselling author of romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love.

She was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep that priority today. Her husband and children now add another dimension to her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

God has placed a desire in Misty’s heart to combine her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life, writing historical novels that display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.
 

More from Misty

 

I’ve always been a horse lover, and was blessed to grow up on a farm. My brother and I each had ponies of our own and rode hours each day. When we were old enough to graduate to full-size horses, we met neighbors who also had horses and loved to ride together. The two mares they rode had a mottled black and white spotted look, which I knew to be part of the Appaloosa breed. Through years of riding together, I developed a deep appreciation for those two Appaloosa horses, as well as respect for the entire breed! Those two mares proved they could outrun and outlast any of the other horses in our riding group.

I’ve long wanted to include Appaloosas in one of my stories, especially since the breed was said to have begun in the Nez Perce tribe who lived just west of the Rocky Mountains. I’m so excited for you to meet Elan, the heroine in Hope in the Mountain River!

Elan and her friend are traveling through the Rockies on their Appaloosa horses, animals who can ride faster and longer than all the other horses in their group—even through the treacherous terrain of the Rocky Mountains!

I pray you love this story as much as I loved writing it. Enjoy a glimpse of the famous Appaloosa horse!
 
 

My Review

 
“From the time she first heard the stories, something had resonated in her heart. A God who created His people, then didn’t leave them to fend for themselves but walked beside them, guiding and helping them. Every time she thought of it, an intense longing stirred deep inside her.”

Although I am a relative newcomer to this author’s work, she has quickly become a favorite. Misty Beller, perhaps more than any other author I’ve known, has a gift for writing variations on a theme without any of her work becoming entrenched in repetition. The nineteenth century has always been my favorite time period, so I was looking forward to this read, and it did not disappoint. Opening in the Bitterroot Mountains in December 1830, “Hope in the Mountain River” brings together a cast of characters who include Joel Vargas, a recent immigrant who is searching for his brother Adam, and Elan, a Nez Perce woman who is desperate to escape the grief of losing her husband and child. Both have heard of the God who loves and walks with His people, but neither have personally encountered Him. As the two groups band together to aid in locating Adam, they soon face trials that will challenge them physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Beller implements a shifting third-person narrative viewpoint in this novel, which serves to provide readers with insight into the thoughts and motives of several characters, especially Joel and Elan. Because they come from such different ethnic backgrounds, this technique is very helpful in understanding them both to a greater extent. Also, their mutual attraction is not straightforward and comes burdened with societal perceptions and their own backstories. Add to this the beautiful yet treacherous landscape and weather, and there is no shortage of conflict to keep readers engaged and anticipating the next step of the adventure.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
 

Blog Stops

 

Inklings and notions, March 31

Mary Hake, March 31

Through the Fire Blogs, April 1

deb’s Book Review, April 1

A Baker’s Perspective, April 2

Genesis 5020, April 2

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, April 2

Texas Book-aholic, April 3

Jeanette’s Thoughts, April 3

For the Love of Literature, April 4

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 4

Rebecca Tews, April 5

For Him and My Family, April 5

Blessed & Bookish, April 6

Splashes of Joy, April 6

Bigreadersite, April 6

Betti Mace, April 7

She Lives To Read, April 7

Book of Ruth Ann, April 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 8

Simple Harvest Reads, April 9 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, April 9

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 10

janicebookreviews, April 10

Blossoms and Blessings, April 11

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, April 11

Artistic Nobody, April 12 (Guest Reviewer Donna Cline)

Pause for Tales, April 12

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, April 13

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, April 13

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Misty is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon Gift Card!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

A People Chosen Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  A People Chosen

Author: Karen Engle

Genre:  Non – Fiction / Christian / Bible Study

Release Date: March, 2017

Is God finished with the Jewish people? Understanding Israel according to the Bible and not the media, political views, or personal opinion sheds incredible light on why Israel and the Jewish people exist today. God is not finished with the tiny nation and has a great purpose and plan for Israel that will impact the world. A People Chosen: God’s Purpose and Plan for Israel and the Nations is a self-guided eight-lesson Bible study. You will learn about the creation of Israel in Genesis, God’s promises to Israel and the nations, Israel’s scattering and current regathering to Israel, the return of King Jesus to rule and reign from Jerusalem, and why Israel is pivotal in God’s plan of redemption. It is a love story of faithfulness, mercy, and justice. It is the story of a people chosen by God to be a conduit for God’s blessings to all mankind. It is a weighty call, and it has not come without a price.



Click HERE to get your copy!
 

About the Author

 


Karen earned a master’s in biblical studies from Western Seminary. She is an adjunct writing instructor with Moody Bible Institute, a copy editor for Faithlife Corporation, and owner of East Gate Editing. Her passion is taking study groups to the land of Israel, which she says brings the Bible from “black and white to technicolor.”
 

 

 

 

More from Karen

 

There is something peculiar about the Jews. They are one of the few ancient people groups that has endured into modern times, and their religion—Judaism—is one of the world’s oldest.

The Jewish people have been miraculously regathered together into a thriving nation after being scattered throughout the earth. Hebrew, Israel’s official language, was once a dead speech but has been revived and is now an active, living language with more than five million native speakers.

They have been the most persecuted people in history and as such their existence baffles historians and theologians alike. There is no logical rationale for the Jews’ existence. Considering the Holocaust alone, the Jewish people should not have survived. And yet, they do.

In fact, they have flourished and been a blessing to the world.

The narrative of the Bible is centered on this unique nation of individuals established by God thousands of years ago in ancient Mesopotamia. From Abraham to King David to Jesus, the story of the Bible is knit together with a common thread: the Jewish people. It is a love story of faithfulness, mercy, and justice. It is the story of a people chosen by God to be a conduit for God’s blessings to humanity. It is a weighty call, and it has not come without a price.

Yet, many people, even Christians, don’t give this a second thought.

About twelve years ago, God stirred my heart toward this tiny nation, and I subsequently spent years studying the history of the Jewish people and God’s purpose and plan for them according to Scripture. And it rocked my theological world. I was in the middle of seminary, and no one (outside of one professor, who is still my favorite) talked about Israel. And though there were books on the topic, I could not find one Bible study.

When I talk to people about Israel and its importance in Scripture and thus modern-day world events, there seems to be a disconnect—a lack of understanding as to why anyone would bring up the topic. Why should anyone care? What is so significant about Israel?

I wrote this Bible study to answer these questions. It’s a cross between a book and a Bible study and is designed to take participants by the hand and help them understand why God cares so deeply about this peculiar nation. It’s a culmination of many trips to the land and years of personal study—and I’m still learning. Heavy on Scripture, full of beautiful images from around Israel, and focused on Christ, the study will turn the black and white pages of your Bible to technicolor.

I hope that those who do the study will begin to see Israel as a beautiful example of God’s faithfulness to his Word.
 
 

Author Interview

 

What drew you to the time period that you write about?

 

The Lord put Israel on my heart about twelve years ago. It was out of nowhere, but the compulsion to study about Israel, the people, and the land was so strong I couldn’t deny it. I went to Israel for the first time in 2012, and that sealed the deal. My Bible went from black and white to technicolor. As I learned more and more about God’s plan for Israel and the nations, I was struck by how there was so much to learn from a biblical perspective but no clear Bible study to teach about it. After creating a 16-week curriculum for the college level student in my master’s program (which never was used because I don’t teach Bible at the university level), I realized God had outlined the Bible study for me through the creation of that curriculum. A People Chosen was half-written before I even put pen to paper.

 

I now have a deep love for the culture and context the Bible was written in and helping others to understand it better, too. I also have a passion for helping others to understand why what’s happening not only in the land today but around the world as God brings his Jewish people home is so important. He’s a promise-keeping God, and when he says he will “gather [the] again from all the nations where he scattered [them], he will do it—and is doing it in our day.



Describe your book in five words.

 

Biblical evidence of God’s faithfulness.



What is your favorite book?

 

Our Father Abraham by Marvin R. Wilson. I’ve read it five times and will read it again next year. It’s the most solid resource I’ve found for understanding the link between Judaism and Christianity, between the Old and the New Testament. It’s biblical and historical yet relevant.

 

 

Who is your biggest inspiration?

 

Carl Laney, one of my professors at Western Seminary and a fellow Israel-lover!

 

 

Do you prefer traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

 

I prefer traditional books. I’m one of those weirdos who loves the feel of a book cover, the smell of the pages. I like to write in my books (I know, sacrilegious to some!) but it helps me remember important information I want to remember later. I listen to audiobooks, but only for pleasure. If I’m reading anything more academic, it’s a real, old-fashioned book.

 

Blog Stops

 

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Karen is giving away the grand prize package of an Israel-themed basket: 6 copies of my book/Bible study A People Chosen, the movie The Hope on the rebirth of Israel in 1948, the book Your People Will Be My People, and a $25 gift card!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

Review
5 Stars
Draw Me to Your Side Review and GIVEAWAY!
 
 

About the Book


Book:  Draw Me To Your Side

Author: Marguerite Martin Gray

Genre:  Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: February 25, 2020

Warships in the harbor explode with battle cries for freedom in the hearts of Charles Town’s Patriots.

Charles Town, South Carolina, 1776—With the British war ships threatening his family and livelihood, Louis Lestarjette commits to aid Francis Marion, Christopher Gadsden, Silas Deane and other fiery Patriots with secret correspondences in code and in French. Although not convinced that the colonies can succeed in separation from Britain, he abides by his word—available with funds, his time, and if necessary, even his life.

Louis’ potential volatile role leaves Elizabeth Lestarjette uncertain of the future. Add to that her impending confinement, the secret missions her friends embark on, and the ever-encroaching danger into her domestic world, and the cost of independence grows steeper with each passing day. How will her family survive the coming turbulence?  How will she survive not being an active part of it?  One thing is certain, she must draw to God’s side or lose heart altogether.

Draw Me to Your Side… a prayer whispered against the coming destruction.



Click HERE to get your copy.
 

About the Author

 


Marguerite Martin Gray enjoys history especially when combined with fiction. An avid traveler and reader, she teaches Spanish and French and has degrees in Spanish, French, and Journalism from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. She received her MA in English from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. Presently, she lives in north Louisiana with her husband and rescue cats.
 

 

 

More from Marguerite

 

I have always loved history, probably because my father took me to every historical site he could find on our travels. As I listened to him tell the story of our ancestors to a group of tourists at our Antebellum home, I suddenly realized that he was weaving tales about my own blood line. Very soon after that I flew to Charleston, South Carolina and began my research. From that first of many trips, my Revolutionary Faith Series arrived.

Draw Me to Your Side is Book Four of the series. The titles play a very significant role in the series, each having a dual meaning. The human element is obvious. Although the series is more historical than romance, the titles offer a glimpse into a potential romance. The other element is spiritual. God is the one who weaves his love and hope into their lives.

If you love book titles as I do, as you read this series, see if you can determine the dual meanings of Hold Me Close, Surround Me, Bring Me Near, and now Draw Me to Your Side.

Happy Reading!
 
 

My Review

 

Definitely among my favorite series to date, Marguerite Martin Gray’s Revolutionary Faith series belongs just as much to the attended upon than as to the smallest boy, stoking the patriotism of Americans then and now. As in the Colonial period in which events are heating up and hurtling toward war, I can’t help but notice parallels between the current Coronavirus pandemic. Both situations require us to come together as a nation, united under a common cause; in the case of the Revolutionary War, this is the first time that the colonies stand independently as one entity, a fact that never occurred to me until Louis realizes it in the book.

Book four, “Draw Me to Your Side”, represents the culmination of the rising action of South Carolina and the other colonies as war is declared and what will become known as the Revolutionary War begins. Louis Lestarjette commits fully to the patriot cause, which seems to be doomed from the beginning due to lack of resources and the might of the English King’s opposition. Looking back through history, it is easy to see the heroes and recognize the victories, but we tend to forget that those same brave patriots were living in the midst of great uncertainty, risking everything for the cause of freedom. This includes the women, too, both those carrying out dangerous missions and those caring for their homes and families. Elizabeth’s internal conflict about this demonstrates how much the unstable political environment has affected the colonies: “She may never understand the timing of her love for Louis, her marriage, and the births of her children. But she’d do the best she could as a faithful wife and mother.” This is one of the traits that I admire most about Elizabeth, however, and also about Louis: their ability to look beyond the present discomfort and conflict and see a positive resolution.

The Lestarjettes are a family whom I never grow tired of reading about, and their faith in God and love of country and each other is something that we should seek to emulate, a testament to the foundation of America as truly one nation under God. I hope that there will be more books to follow since the American Revolution is still raging at the conclusion of “Draw Me to Your Side.” There are a few discussion questions focused on Elizabeth and Louis, respectively, as well as a Revolutionary Faith short story entitled “A Heart’s Home (Jeanette’s Story)” at the end of this book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 

Blog Stops

 

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Marguerite is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon Card and a copy of the eBook!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

Review
5 Stars
Book Review of Tatiana by Madeline Brock

 

Blurb:

 

Tatiana Bergman views life through a different lens than most. She says and does what she likes without regard for hurt feelings on the way. Living in the 1840s in rural Pennsylvania, her passionate, impulsive behavior confounds her sisters and appalls her peers.


Life only gets more complicated when Tatiana befriends Jonny Creek, a mischievous young man whose Native American blood puts him on the fringes of society. Jonny is trouble; Tatiana is intrigued. Together they spell out disaster. From being chased by wolves, to bashing around fancy gatherings, the unlikely pair get into one scrape after another.


When tragedy strikes the Bergman family, Tatiana is compelled to leave the security of her childhood home to live in the bustling city of Philadelphia. There, she is forced into adulthood as she deals with a mysterious young coworker and an unsavory employer.


Tatiana struggles to subdue her wild spirit and keep her heart pure while making the right choices and wrestling with her own woman she finds herself in a battle of her will between two young men and the God she serves.

 

 

Book Purchase Link: 

 

https://amzn.to/2RH8H39

 

 

Author Bio:

 

Madeline Brock's love of people, history, the Lord, and good storytelling flows over into her writing. She was born and raised in Northwest Ohio and came from a homeschooling family of seven. Madeline has loved reading and writing from a very young age.

In childhood, a favorite activity was taking family road trips across the country. Several unique part-time jobs filled her teen years. Among these were: music teacher, nanny, and a historic museum costumed guide. A chocolate factory and a produce stand were also memorable work experiences.

After graduation, Madeline spent two years on a Navajo Reservation in New Mexico. Her primary activity was teaching at a private school. Now California's beautiful Central Valley is her home. She resides with four cats, her carpenter husband, and their infant daughter.

Two of Madeline's favorite books are Little Women and Anne of Green Gables. She loves the timeless way the authors relate and portray their characters. Madeline strives to write with the nostalgia and emotion of her favorite authors.

 

 

Author Social Media Links:

 

https://www.amazon.com/Madeline-Brock/e/B00RZUN60E

 

https://www.instagram.com/madeline_c55

 

https://www.facebook.com/maddybrockbooks

 

https://twitter.com/MadelineBrock01

 

 

My Review:

 

 

This book was a surprising and refreshing change of pace! While I was expecting a rather typical nineteenth-century romance, Madeline Brock offers so much more with “Tatiana.” It is easy to see the influence of “Anne of Green Gables” and “Little Women” that are mentioned in the author’s biographical information. I was not expecting the eponymous heroine to be ten years old at the story’s opening, and I loved being able to read about her childhood for about half of the book, which was a bit unique from other books within this genre. In fact, “Tatiana” could easily be enjoyed by a young adult or even teenage audience.

 

 

 

 

Tatiana herself undergoes a dramatic yet convincing character transformation throughout the course of the novel, to the extent that I would classify this book as a bildungsroman. An impetuous, undisciplined 10-year-old with no sense of decorum, Tatiana’s life begins to change when she meets Jonny Creek, a half-Indian boy fostered by a local family. Her metanoia, however, comes after a harrowing nighttime escape from a pack of wolves. While a bit melodramatic at times, Tatiana demonstrates the inevitable marching on of time and the importance of friendship and family.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 

 

Review
4 Stars
Vengeance is Mine Saith Mi'Lord Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  Vengeance is Mine Saith Mi’Lord

Author: Tammy Kirby

Genre:  Inspirational Victorian Romance

Release Date: October 9, 2019

A SISTER FOR A SISTER

Forced into a peer’s realm. Devastated by the death of his beloved sister. With vengeance burning a hole in his heart, will a distraught brother see the damage he’s causing in time to prevent the worst mistake of his life?

Kidnapped for a crime she didn’t commit. Ostracized from society. Can a broken debutante find the peace she craves at Haven House, or must she face her monsters over a ballroom—again?

Captain Nick Rutherford vows revenge against the man who murdered his sister. When the coward escapes, Nick discovers a way to flush him out. Never mind that what he proposes goes against everything he believes in.

Lady Piper Connor faces society’s whispers with her head high. When Captain Rutherford, the new Marquess of Blackwell, forces her to spend the night in his townhouse, she wants to hide in shame—for a moment. Is it wrong to feel relief when one is cast out of society?

Squaring her shoulders, she steps into the morning wearing the same clothes she’d worn to a ball the previous evening. Let them stare.

Join these two hurting people as they walk through overwhelming obstacles to find forgiveness and each other.

God loves her unconditionally, and that is enough. If only a certain marquess didn’t plague her thoughts.



Click HERE to get your copy.
 

About the Author

 


Tammy Kirby holds an associate degree in Registered Nursing, a cosmetology license, and the title of author. When she’s not helping heal the sick, or dabbling in color, you can find her at her computer, giving life to the characters clamoring inside her head to be set free.

In 2018 she released her debut novel, His Grace Forgiven, the first book in the Victorian Inspirational Romance series, Haven House. She developed a love for reading at a young age. Beauty and the Beast is her favorite fairytale, and I Love Lucy her favorite tv show from childhood. That being said, you’ll always find one of her characters having some of the same characteristics in Tammy’s works.

She uses her writing to show God’s love and forgiveness through characters from hundreds of years in the past, who face the same problems people face today. Taking broken heroes and heroines and showing them this truth is her mission.

Tammy lives with her husband, Roger in Northeast Louisiana, where she spends her free time doting on grandchildren, reading, crocheting, sewing and, of course, writing about how the Lord can take any sin, no matter how bad and turn it into a blessing to glorify Him. Her desire is for her writing to speak to her readers in a way that draws them closer to the One who loves them above all.
 

More from Tammy

 

When God placed the Haven House series on my heart and instructed me to put them on paper, I asked Him why me? He said because you’re not afraid to write what I tell you even if it’s uncomfortable. This entire series deals with forgiveness in some form or another. Can you forgive the unforgivable? What happens if you can’t?

As an avid reader, my favorite books are those I can apply to real life—my life. I will read almost any genre, but historical romance is my preference. My characters are flawed, even the Christian ones. In my writing I use them to show the world that God can fix anything we get ourselves into—if we ask.

Vengeance is Mine saith Mi’Lord is the third book in a series of five. One day I was sitting at my kitchen table working on the second book, when a handsome ship’s captain waltzed across the room. I knew then, Captain Rutherford would have his own story.

Because of hurtful circumstances, my hero, Nick acts completely out of character. Even though he doesn’t like himself for it, he can’t seem to stop the emotional carriage wreck he’s causing himself at the expense of my heroine, Piper. Throw in a cat named Satan whose alter-ego is Angel (according to my heroine), a cabin boy with a secret, a murder coverup, and you have all the makings for a fulfilling read.

I hope you enjoy Nick and Piper’s story. I certainly enjoyed bringing them to life for you.
 

My Review

 

When I opened this book on my Kindle, I have to admit that I had some reluctance. It is certainly the first book of its kind that I’ve read, with the sobering subject matter and what appeared at first glance to be a dismal storyline. If this also sounds like your reaction, do what I did; take a step of faith and give this book a chance. I found myself warming to the story as I read, and while I don’t think that “enjoy” is the proper word, I do feel that I have benefited spiritually from my time within its pages. Sexual slavery is, sadly, still a major issue around the world, even in the U.S., and I applaud the author for shedding light on this problem and also for addressing PTSD through her characters. It is easy to think of these problems as belonging to the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, but they have been around just as long as the troubles that cause them.

Opening in London in 1863, “Vengeance is Mine Saith Mi’Lord” by Tammy Kirby is the third book in the Haven House series and the first that I have read, but I did not have any difficulty following along. As I read, I thought about this being Dickens’ London, with its poverty and hardships. This made it easier for me to connect with the setting, even though the main characters are from the upper echelons of society. Later on in the story, as some of the poorer characters emerged, my heart went out to them even more for the lack of choices they had and for the treatment they endured. Haven House is a beautiful mission amidst the backdrop of the evils prevalent in society, much the same as is the case today. This book is not one that sugar coats, but rather that highlights concerns relating to the characters’ wellbeing with respect and an eye toward the Savior.

“Vengeance is Mine” deals, as the title suggests, with Captain Nick Rutherford’s, the Marquess of Blackwell, burning desire for revenge against the man whom he believes murdered his sister. Believing that to be Piper Connor’s brother, he kidnaps her during the night in order to draw her brother’s attention and to recoup some of his own emotional losses. While it’s easy to quickly condemn, there is great value in forgiveness, and we shouldn’t expect characters to be flawless any more than we expect people to be. Ecclesiastes 1:9 reads: “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” And as Piper tells one of the girls at Haven House, “You are more than your past mistakes. You are more than what those people who had power over you made you. Do not remember the lies. Your future started when you entered the halls of Haven House. Make it what you want, not what others have told you is your destiny.”

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 

Blog Stops

 

For Him and My Family, March 23

All 4 and About Books, March 24 (Author Interview)

Through the Fire Blogs, March 25 (Author Interview)

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, March 25

Remembrancy, March 26

Inklings and notions, March 27

Connect in Fiction, March 28

Artistic Nobody, March 29 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, March 29

Texas Book-aholic, March 30

For the Love of Literature, March 31

Vicky Sluiter, April 1 (Author Interview)

Betti Mace, April 2

A Baker’s Perspective, April 3 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 5

 
 

Giveaway


 
To celebrate her tour, Tammy is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card & two signed books, His Grace Forgiven and Joy to the Earl!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

Review
5 Stars
The Blue Cloak Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  The Blue  Cloak

Author: Shannon McNear

Genre:  Christian Historical/Suspense

Release Date: March, 2020

Evil Incarnate Leaves a Trail of Destruction across the Frontier

Book 5 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

Rachel Taylor lives a rather mundane existence in 1797 at the way station her family runs along the Wilderness Road in Tennessee. She attends her friend Sally Rice’s wedding only to watch the marriage dissolve into horror has the groom, Wiley Harpe, and his cousin Micajah become murderers on the run, who drag their families along. Declaring a “war on all humanity,” the Harpes won’t be stopped, and Ben Langford is on their trail to see if his own cousin was one of their latest victims.

How many will die before peace can return to the frontier?



Click HERE for your copy.
 

About the Author

 


Transplanted to North Dakota after more than two decades in Charleston, South Carolina, Shannon McNear loves losing herself in local history. She’s a military wife, mom of eight, mother-in-law of three, grammie of two, and a member of ACFW and RWA. Her first novella, Defending Truth in A Pioneer Christmas Collection, was a 2014 RITA® finalist. When she’s not sewing, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she enjoys being outdoors, basking in the beauty of the northern prairies. Connect with her at www.shannonmcnear.com, or on Facebook and Goodreads.
 

 

More from Shannon

 

How dark is too dark for a Christian to write?

That was the question I wrestled with when deciding whether or not to take on the story of the Harpes. The histories in Scripture itself aren’t rated G, but writing fiction requires a level of detail and depth of emotion I wasn’t sure would be wise, or helpful, to explore in this case. But as I prayed and sought the counsel of those whose discernment I trust, the answer came back, overwhelmingly …

Is God stronger than the darkness, or not?

Well, of course He is. And nothing in human history has ever escaped His notice, or taken Him by surprise.

So, was there something redeeming to be found in the tale of the Harpes?

For the first few weeks of research, I walked around in a state of shock at the horror of the historical accounts, but details surfaced that helped me shape my fictional characters Rachel and Ben. With Rachel working in her family’s trading post near the wild frontier town of Knoxville, Tennessee, and Ben a lawyer who recently passed the bar, the real-life Hugh Lawson White provided a handy connection point between them. Many other details fell together in ways I had not foreseen when I began developing the story. Sally Rice Harpe, however, rose to the forefront. This was more her story than anyone’s, but realizing I couldn’t properly write the book without using her point of view? That was scary. I knew the moments I’d have to visit, some of them in real-time.

Despite the tragedy, however, I could see an overarching story of spiritual warfare. Felt a growing conviction that prayer must have played a vital role in bringing the Harpes’ reign of terror to an end. So it is my hope that against the backdrop of one of the most chilling episodes of our country’s early history, the hand of God shows clearly, and that yes, the reader finds it redemptive.
 
 

My Review

 

Barbour’s True Colors series always has me anticipating the release of the next installment, and each story seems more intriguing than the last. True crime is a genre that I have watched on television as well as read about, and although I can’t remember exactly which medium provided the information, I’m sure that I’ve heard of the Harpes before, although the details are extremely hazy. Due to having some medical background and chronic illnesses, descriptions of bodies tend not to bother me as much as the next person, so in my case that is not a deterrent. This book does include content that some readers may find disturbing insomuch as to make them want to avoid reading it, but these passages are few and far between and are handled tactfully, without sensationalized graphic details. As usual, the pop of color (blue, in this case) on the otherwise monochromatic background infuses life and dimensionality into the cover.

A horrifying look at the two brothers who are considered by many to be America’s first serial killers, Shannon McNear’s “The Blue Cloak” is a book that will stay with you after turning the last page. The first third of the story is, in my opinion, a bit more slow-paced, with exposition and character development, but that is certainly not to say that it is lacking in activity, which becomes apparent later on. From the beginning, Sally Rice’s wedding to Wiley Harpe felt wrong, but unfortunately in the late eighteenth century along the Wilderness Road in Tennessee, the threat can remain hidden for a long time. Rachel Turner is a godly heroine, relying on prayer and trusting God to work in all situations. As an employee of her family’s trading post business along the Wilderness Road, she also represents a working woman who does everything that she can for those she loves. Her work, and that of lawyer Ben Langford, serves to not only seek out justice but also to bring the hope and love of God to even the most desolate. In times such as these, this message is all the more important; may we be lighthouses guiding the lost to the safe shores of the Savior’s arms.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 

Blog Stops

 

Just the Write Escape, March 24

Texas Book-aholic, March 24

Inklings and notions, March 25

Girls in White Dresses, March 25

Emily Yager, March 25

Godly Book Reviews, March 26

Genesis 5020, March 26

Remembrancy, March 26

Among the Reads, March 27

Through the Fire Blogs, March 27

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 28

Christian Bookaholic, March 28

Inside the Wong Mind, March 28

For the Love of Literature, March 29

For Him and My Family, March 29

Betti Mace, March 30

Older & Smarter?, March 30

deb’s Book Review, March 30

Robin’s Nest, March 31

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 1

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, April 1

Stories By Gina, April 1

By The Book, April 2

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, April 2

Blossoms and Blessings, April 2

A Reader’s Brain, April 3

Connie’s History Classroom, April 3

Artistic Nobody, April 3 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Tell Tale Book Reviews, April 4

Back Porch Reads, April 4

Daysong Reflections, April 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 5

Pause for Tales, April 5

Britt Reads Fiction, April 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 6

Hallie Reads, April 6

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, April 6

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Shannon is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of The Blue Cloak and a $25 Amazon gift card!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

Review
5 Stars
Balaam's Curse Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book


Book:  Balaam’s Curse

Author: C.L. Smith

Genre:  Biblical fiction

Release Date: 2016

Unfathomable evil grips the ancient homeland of the Children of Israel. When Yahweh, Most High God, led his people out of slavery in Egypt to confront it, they failed miserably and spent the next forty years wandering homeless in the desert. Now they are ready to try again. But before they can cross the Jordan River to enter the Promised Land, the prophet Balaam is summoned from Babylon to stop them. Joining forces with supernatural powers, he unleashes a plot so twisted that the name of Balaam is used as a synonym for seductive evil a thousand years later in the Book of Revelation.

Aided by the ruthlessly ambitious Princess Cozbi, the prophet gathers a coalition of five Midianite kings who will stop at nothing to defeat Israel and prevent a crossing that will change the world. Balaam’s Curse, Book One of The Stones of Gilgal, is an epic telling of the resulting deception, revolt, plague, and war. Familiar biblical characters—Moses, Caleb and Joshua—stride through this tale of mayhem and miracles. But this is the coming-of-age story of the next generation, young people nurtured in a simple wilderness life who suddenly find themselves caught in a vortex of violence and upheaval beyond anything they could have imagined.



Click HERE to get your copy.
 

About the Author

 


C.L. Smith, retired junior high school English and history teacher, former missionary, and lifetime student of the Bible, has been captivating audiences around the world for years with the timeless thrill of biblical tales. More than twenty years ago while reading the books of Joshua and Judges, Othniel caught her attention and then his future wife, Acsah. They are only mentioned in a few short verses, but there were a lot of possibilities embedded there. They lived through an exciting era peppered with some other fascinating minor characters of the Bible. The more she thought about them, the more it seemed they were begging her to tell their story. Well, Acsah was. Othniel didn’t say much. He’s pretty quiet. But they convinced her that their impressive and important story had been buried too long among the spectacular events of the time of Joshua. It was about time someone told it. The idea for a biblical novel quickly grew into The Stones of Gilgal series. Balaam’s Curse was published in 2016, A River to Cross in 2017, and Trouble in the Ruins in September, 2019.
 

More from C.L. Smith

 


The light of God’s love dispels the darkness obscuring the era of Joshua and the violent conquest of Canaan. Be inspired by this epic series of biblical novels illuminating the murky mists of ancient time with truth applicable to modern life.


Balaam’s Curse

The first book of the series plunges the reader into a nightmarish tale of terror instigated by an evil prophet from Babylonia. If you think you remember the story of Balaam and his talking donkey from Sunday School, think again. When God puts words of blessing in the prophet’s mouth, thwarting his attempt to curse Israel, Balaam joins forces with supernatural powers in a scheme so twisted that his name is used as a synonym for seductive evil a thousand years later in the Book of Revelation.

Forming a coalition with five Midianite kings and the ruthlessly ambitious Princess Cozbi, the evil prophet unleashes a deadly plot against the twelve tribes of Israel. He will stop at nothing to prevent them from crossing into the Promised land to claim their inheritance. This is a gripping tale of the seduction, revolt, plague, and war that traps the Children of Israel in the Valley of Acacias east of the Jordan for months. Well-known Biblical heroes—Moses, Caleb and Joshua—stride through its pages, but the story unfolds primarily through the eyes of the next generation, young people born and nurtured in the simple wilderness life of the forty-year Wanderings. Suddenly, on the brink of their new life in the Promised Land, they find themselves in a life or death struggle that tests their strength and batters their faith before they’ve even crossed the river.


The Story Behind the Story

This series of biblical novels began with a new interest in Othniel, the first of the biblical hero-judges. His love story with Acsah and his heroic adventures are summarized in only a few words of scripture, but I saw a lot of possibilities embedded in those brief verses. Digging deeper, I realized that Othniel and Acsah came of age during the turbulent era of Joshua along with a handful of other fascinating minor biblical characters. The more I thought about Othniel, Acsah, and friends, the more I was convinced that their impressive and important story had been buried too long among the spectacular events of the time of Joshua and it was about time someone told it. The result is the six-part Stones of Gilgal saga showing how the obstacles overcome in their youth shape each character for their ultimate roles in the story of the settlement of Canaan. The series ends with Othniel rising to save Israel from an oppressive enemy as the first and most noble of the hero-judges.


The Dark Side

The Stones of Gilgal saga includes several “tales of terror,” dark episodes standing in juxtaposition to some of the Bible’s most dazzling miracles. I see these stories as dark and light puzzle pieces, making sense only when viewed within the framework of the Great Cosmic War. Whether read as ancient history or truth-teaching myth, these incidents are chapters in the epic story of the entire Bible, a good God working to save humanity from the forces of evil.


The Characters

Six of my characters are minor but real characters found in scripture who lived during the era of Joshua, experiencing the transition from the Wilderness Wanderings to the Promised Land. They all crossed the Jordan, witnessed the fall of Jericho and the sun standing still at a word from Joshua—life-changing events that prepared them for leadership roles in the book of Judges.

  • Othniel, who becomes the first hero-Judge of Israel
  • Acsah, only daughter of the heroic Caleb
  • Phinehas, grandson of Aaron, future high priest
  • Jonathan, grandson of Moses whose story appears in Judges 17-18
  • Salmon, prince of the tribe of Judah, who appears only in genealogies as the husband of Rahab
  • Rahab, the courageous Canaanite harlot not only saved by faith but honored with a place in the lineage of King David and Jesus Christ.
  • Plus Abihail, fictionalized daughter-in-law of the biblical Achan


My Review

 

Thus far this has been an incredible year for Biblical fiction! Tessa Afshar’s “Daughter of Rome”, Connilyn Cossette’s “Like Flames in the Night”, Brennan McPherson’s “Babel” (2019, but I read it this year) and “Eden”, and now “Balaam’s Curse” by C.L. Smith. It is a blessing to see more and more Christian authors approaching Biblical fiction without compromising God’s Word. When done well, it encourages the reader and reinforces or perhaps even introduces the Biblical text, inspiring deeper study of the Word. Such was the case for me with “Balaam’s Curse.”

This year I am following a YouVersion Bible reading plan that consists of daily readings from both the Old and New Testaments, and therefore the foundation of this novel is one that I’ve recently read, making my reading experience all the more enjoyable. One technique that I recognized Smith employing early on is referencing other Bible stories that would already have occurred prior to the setting of Balaam’s and thereby demonstrating that the ancient Israelites were aware of previous Biblical history. Similarly, the fact that Moses is recording the Israelites’ journey out of Egypt and through the wilderness further displays the accuracy and eternal longevity of God’s Word.

Told through multiple viewpoints, “Balaam’s Curse” chronicles a fictionalized account of the prophet Balaam, whose story appears in the Bible in Numbers 22. In Smith’s fictional account, Balaam has spoken blessing over the Israelites rather than cursing them, and now he pledges himself to Baal in order to get rid of God’s people so that they cannot enter the Promised Land. Othniel, Acsah, and Rahab all have parts in this saga, as do more familiar characters such as Moses, Caleb, and Joshua, offering readers a panoptic view of this seminal point in the history of God’s people. Ephesians 6:12 encompasses the overall theme of this novel, and it repeatedly came to mind as I read: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” As such, while there are certainly some disconcerting scenes in this book, it is important to remember that other gods such as Baal are false gods and are not real, but the evil of our true enemy, the devil, is very real. Despite the power struggles between good and evil in this story and in our lives today, we need to remember that God is good and that He will always prevail; our victory is already secure in Christ’s sacrifice for us.

A few details that I appreciated and would like to call attention to are the simple map at the beginning of the book, which really helps readers to visualize where the events are occurring, and “The Family of Nations descended from Terah” family tree and List of Characters found at the end of the story. These resources are a great help in understanding the story and in making further Biblical connections. Nevertheless, “Balaam’s Curse” is highly readable and, while containing supernatural elements that may be disturbing to more sensitive readers, is an excellent work of Biblical fiction that explores the transition time between Israel’s 40-year wilderness wandering and their entry into the Promised Land.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 

 

Blog Stops

 

 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, C.L. is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

The Ministry of Healing Spotlight Post
 

About the Book

 


Book:  The Ministry of Healing

Author: A. J. Gordon

Genre:  Christian non-fiction, spiritual growth

Release Date: January 17, 2020

Classic Christian author A. J. Gordon expresses curiosity about whether the healing miracles from the Middle Ages up to his day can be verified as a continuation of Christ’s Spirit in the church. Through deep study and inquiry of the established history, Gordon concludes that the power to heal followers remains with the church—there was no special era of miracle working. God and His powers remain the same in the modern era as they have right through human history. For Gordon, God’s intervention in the suffering and sickness of His followers is frequent; the will of the Lord however is variable—but He will not prolong the pain of someone whose illness is too great. Throughout this text, A. J. Gordon makes his argument from a biblical perspective, citing passages in both the Old and New Testament that support the continuation of spiritual gifts. Quoting testimonies of believers across the ages, he offers a convincing argument that the church ministry is, to this day, one of healing.



Click HERE to get your copy!
 

About the Author

 

Adoniram Judson (A. J.) Gordon (1836–1895) came to prominence in the United States as the evangelical pastor of Clarendon Street Baptist Church in Boston for more than twenty-five years. During his tenure there, he saw the church completely transformed into one of the most spiritual and aggressive churches in America, with an unsurpassed effort in missions. A missionary training school and publishing house were associated with the church, and Gordon preached at many of D. L. Moody’s Northfield Conferences, along with other notable preachers such as A. B. Simpson, A. T. Pierson, and R. A. Torrey. His training school eventually became Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. He also founded Gordon College, in Wenham, Massachusetts. He wrote his most famous book, The Ministry of Healing, in 1882, but he also wrote at least fifteen hymns, including “My Jesus, I Love Thee,” as well as other books of Christian instruction.
 
 

More from Whitaker House

 

This classic Christian work has previously only been self published. Gordon is renowned as founder of Gordon-Conwell Seminary and Gordon College. His writings became foundational work for what later became the spirit-filled movement.
 
 

Blog Stops

 

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 18

Blossoms and Blessings, March 19 (Spotlight)

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, March 20

Artistic Nobody, March 21 (Spotlight)

Inklings and notions, March 22

Lukewarm Tea, March 23 (Spotlight)

Texas Book-aholic, March 24

Andrea Christenson, March 25 (Spotlight)

deb’s Book Review, March 26

For the Love of Literature, March 27 (Spotlight)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 28

Simple Harvest Reads, March 29 (Spotlight)

CarpeDiem, March 30

For Him and My Family, March 31

 
 

Giveaway

 

To celebrate their tour, Whitaker House is giving away the grand prize of a $20 Starbucks Gift Card!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

The Builder's Reluctant Bride Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  The Builder’s Reluctant Bride

Author: Stacey Weeks

Genre:  Christian romance, women’s fiction

Release Date: July 8, 2016

He wants a second chance. She says there’s no going back. Ten years ago, a public disgrace sent Jenna Jenkins running from her hometown. Now, the success of her professional future hinges on joining her hometown church restoration project. Her partner and team leader on the job is William Scott—expert renovator, volunteer fireman, and the ex-flame who ruined her life.  William is in crisis, facing the tightening screws of personal and professional failure. When the interior designer on the church renovation project turns out to be Jenna Jenkins, William sees it as a chance to make amends. But Jenna wants nothing to do with him.  How much will William sacrifice to redeem his mistakes and prove his love? Can Jenna protect her heart this time or will William break her for good?


Click HERE to get your copy.
 

About the Author


Stacey Weeks is the multi-award-winning author of Glorious Surrender (2016), and Chasing Holiness (2020), inspirational romances The Builder’s Reluctant Bride (2016), Mistletoe Melody (2018), Mistletoe Mission (2019), and inspirational romantic suspense novels In Too Deep (2017), and Fatal Homecoming (2019). Stacey lives in Ontario where she speaks at women’s conferences, teaches writing and bible study workshops, and writes about the things of the Lord. www.staceyweeks.com
 

More from Stacey

 

Afflicted but not Crushed

I created the character, Jenna, from The Builder’s Reluctant Bride, during a time of life filled with chaos. Changed ripped stability out from underneath me. I couldn’t tell if my challenges were from God deigned to build my faith or if they were a temptation from the enemy to doubt God. Life struck with a severity that stole the breath from my lungs, so I retreated into a fictional world to process. I needed to be reminded, like Jenna, that my current struggles didn’t negate the ways God was using me. I needed to remember that God would use everything in my life to shape me into His image and draw me closer to Him.
“I thought after his mom died, I had lost the both of them. Then, you came around.” The corners of his eyes crinkled.

“Me?” she squeaked.

“Yes. You changed everything for him. I know you left for college right after graduation, so you likely didn’t see the change. But God took that seed you planted in my son and grew this man.” He gestured to William, who stood with his fire jacket off and held a dog while it licked his soot-covered face. “This man of God.” Carmen looked squarely into her eyes. “I am indebted to you, Jenna.”

She squirmed at his unquestionable sincerity. She didn’t deserve his praise for directing his son to faith, the same faith that later let her down in every conceivable way.

When life’s chaos hit Jenna, it caused her to question her faith and question God’s goodness. It took her time to sift through the mess and find the truth. God is good.

Still.

Always.

Never changing.

Good.

It might not feel good. You might want to give up. You might think there is no way for God to redeem your story, but Jenna would tell you that you would be wrong.
 
 

Author Interview

 

Which author has most influenced your own writing?

 

Sandra Orchard is a great mentor and teacher to me. She has invested much into my writing career and has stirred a passion in me to invest into other writers as well. The Builder’s Reluctant Bride would not be in print without her influence.


Which one of your characters speaks most to your heart? Why?

 

I love Jenna. I connect with her because I know what it is like to hold tight to a dream or desire and struggle to submit it to God’s will. I ached as she ached, wept when she wept, and celebrated her victories because I know the struggle. I know what it means to want to forgive yet still feel anger. I understand wanting what God wants but battling with the hardened and wounded heart within. Life isn’t fair, it is too hard, and forgiveness seems to cost too much.

 

Jenna’s moment of complete surrender is my favorite passage in the book. It’s where she considers that God did hear her prayers, and He collected every tear she shed, that His love for her was not dependent on her ability to trust more, act more, pray more, or be more — but was based on Him. Because God remained near her during her struggles, she blamed Him instead of leaning on Him.


What are your hobbies?

 

I love to read and write (obviously!). I enjoy running, music, studying Scripture, and home reno projects.

Do you prefer traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

 

I like reading traditional books for non-fiction because I want to mark up the text with observations or comments, and I like eBooks for fiction. The lower price of eBooks allows me to try out more new-to-me authors.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

 

Be teachable. Eventually, someone will tell you that you’ve made a mistake. You’ll learn a new grammar rule or an old grammar rule and recognize the dozens of ways you’ve mishandled the English language. You can be embarrassed. You can get angry (at yourself). You can run and hide, vowing never to publish again. Or, you can be teachable. You can hear, apply, learn, and grow. I’ve discovered that most other writers will share their knowledge with a student eager to learn. Many editors will graciously explain tricky grammar rules when the student responds to their correction and advice with a teachable spirit. It’s not always about being perfect. It’s about being teachable.

 


Blog Stops

 

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 14

deb’s Book Review, March 15

Texas Book-aholic, March 16

Artistic Nobody, March 17 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, March 18

For Him and My Family, March 19

Andrea Christenson, March 20 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 21

A Baker’s Perspective, March 22 (Author Interview)

Create! Teach! Inspire!, March 23

CarpeDiem, March 24

By The Book, March 25 (Author Interview)

Simple Harvest Reads, March 26

For the Love of Literature, March 27 (Author Interview)

 
 

Giveaway

 

To celebrate her tour, Stacey is giving away the grand prize of a dainty bracelet with each word spelled out in Morse Code with beads!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

Review
5 Stars
Escape to Vindor Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book


Book:  Escape to Vindor

Author: Emily Golus

Genre:  Young Adult Fantasy

Release Date: December 1, 2017

For as long as she can remember, Megan Bradshaw has imagined herself as the heroine of Vindor, her own secret world populated with mermaids, centaurs, samurai, and more. When school pressures and an upcoming move make life unbearable, Megan wishes she could escape to Vindor for real.
 
And then she does. Megan finds herself trapped in Vindor, with flesh-and-blood versions of her imaginary characters. Dreaming about being a hero and actually fighting monsters are two very different things–especially when the Shadow, the frightening creature now tearing Vindor apart, is one Megan doesn’t remember putting there.
 
Megan, playing the part of her alter ego, Selena, embarks on a dangerous journey, accompanied by a know-it-all centaur and a goblin she’s not sure she can trust. Will the Shadow destroy her before she can find a way to save her world?
 
 
Click HERE for your copy.
 
 

About the Author

 


Emily Golus has been dreaming up fantasy worlds since before she could write her name. A New England transplant now living in the Deep South, she is fascinated by culture and the way it shapes how individuals see the world. Golus aims to create stories that engage, inspire, and reassure readers that the small choices of everyday life matter.

Her first novel, Escape to Vindor, debuted in 2017 and won the Selah Award for young adult fiction. Its sequel, Mists of Paracosmia, released in April 2019.

Golus lives in Upstate South Carolina with her woodworking husband, an awkward cat, and the world’s most talkative baby.
 
 

More from Emily

 

In Escape to Vindor, teen Megan Bradshaw spends nearly every quiet moment she has in a world of her own imagination. Writing this part of Megan’s story came naturally to me, because that was the way I spent my adolescence, too.

While other girls were thinking about—I don’t know what they were thinking about, actually. Boys, maybe?—I was creating epic melodramas about rival mermaid queens or magical rainforest civilizations. The world of my imagination filled my quiet life with vivid technicolor.

My stories also helped me survive. Worldbuilding was a welcome escape from my ever-growing list of fears.

See, I was the extra-good girl, the one who followed every rule to a T, always giving a hundred and ten percent. Few people suspected I did all of this not because I had a lot of drive and confidence, but because I thought I had to be extra-perfect in order to be loved—by people, and by God. I had a deep-seated terror of making one little mistake, losing my way, and being abandoned forever.

The world of Vindor started out as a private daydream, a way for me to work through my anxieties. But as I grew, I discovered something amazing—and the story took an unexpected turn.

I wrote Escape to Vindor for the dreamers, the bookworms, and anyone who enjoys dazzling new worlds. More importantly, I wrote it for the quiet ones who struggle without anyone knowing, who need to hear: You are seen, you are known, and you are loved.
 
 

My Review

 

Right from the start, I knew that this was going to be a great read. Growing up, I never really fit in (and still don’t), and I was usually the kid who always had her head stuck in a book. I had a very active imagination and could thus easily relate to Megan. I always had an ongoing dialogue in my mind, which became the stories that I wrote; today these are usually book reviews! Often with fiction intended for or meant to include younger generations, there is a noticeable distinction in writing style that detracts from the allure of the story, for me at least. However, that is not the case here, and I love it!

With “Escape to Vindor,” Emily Golus skillfully combines elements from such classics as The Chronicles of Narnia in order to create her own unique world and plotline. I honestly never imagined that I would enjoy this book as much as I have, and for readers who desire a little more background and a map of this curious world, both can be found at www.worldofvindor.com in a delightful format. “Escape to Vindor” draws upon the fantasies we all exhibited as children and flips them around, placing us inside them as the hero/heroine, but one who is seemingly inept and obviously flawed.

In at least some way, we can all relate to Megan, thrust into a situation or circumstance that we weren’t prepared for: “She didn’t want to do this. She wasn’t an adventurer. She was shy, plain-vanilla Megan Bradshaw, who was used to a class speech being the most stressful thing she had to worry about all day”.  Sooner or later we all face things we don’t want to, and if we learn to rely on God and reach out and allow others to help us, we can weather the storms.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 

 


Blog Stops

 

Inklings and notions, March 19

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 20

Texas Book-aholic, March 21

Wishful Endings, March 22 (Author Interview)

For the Love of Literature, March 23

For Him and My Family, March 24

deb’s Book Review, March 25

Through the Fire Blogs, March 26 (Author Interview)

Blogging With Carol, March 27

Emily Yager, March 28

Vicky Sluiter, March 29 (Author Interview)

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, March 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 31

Pause for Tales, April 1

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Emily is giving away the grand prize package of signed copies of both Escape to Vindor and Mists of Paracosmia, an amethyst pendant, and a $25 Amazon gift card!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

Review
5 Stars
Encountering God's Heart for You Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  Encountering God’s Heart For You

Author: Diane Stortz

Genre:  Christian non-fiction, Devotional

Release Date: September 3, 2019

God put the Bible together for you, and he wants you to understand and know him better. But sometimes you can get lost in the details and miss the big picture. The Bible is more than just a collection of wisdom, instructions, and history. It’s one unified story of the incredible love of God!

Encountering God’s Heart for You
 takes you on a daily journey through the full narrative of Scripture in a year. And in the process, it will draw you nearer to God as you discover his love and compassion. It won’t cover every verse, or even every chapter, in the Bible, but by the time you’re through, you’ll have a strong grasp of what the Bible is all about.

Reading Scripture isn’t just a way to collect information or check something off a to-do list. Let this book bring you into God’s presence to better understand the Bible’s story of love, sacrifice, and redemption as he draws you to himself.


Click HERE to get your copy!
 

About the Author

 


Diane Stortz is a multipublished author who writes to make God’s wonders known to the next generation. Diane’s books for women, A Woman’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year and Encountering God’s Heart for You, both from Bethany House, encourage women to get to know God through His Word, the Bible. Her children’s releases include the best-selling Say & Pray Bible and I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God, both from Tommy Nelson. Diane and her husband have two married daughters and five grandchildren—all boys! Visit her at www.DianeStortz.com.
 

More from Diane

 

Twenty years ago, I was invited to join a women’s Bible study group planning to read through the Bible in a year to get to know God.
 
Although I’d been a Christian for many years and had read many parts of the Bible and used the Bible in my work as an editor, I had never actually read the entire Bible.
 
I joined the group. We read about three chapters a day and met weekly on Monday nights to discuss what we’d read.
 
I’ve repeated that experience in various forms most years since then, and it has changed my life in so many ways. (Getting to know God does that, right?)
 
I’m convinced that one of the most loving things we can do for someone else is to invite and encourage her to become a lifelong reader of the Word, and to read it together.
 
That’s how I view my new devotional, Encountering God’s Heart for You. It’s an invitation to every woman to pick up her Bible, read along with me, and look together for all the ways God teaches us about himself on every page.
 
 

My Review

 

This beautiful, unique devotional book is one of the best I’ve come across. Reading from cover to cover takes readers through the whole story of the Bible, a novel approach that I personally have not encountered before. While not a substitute for the Word of God, this daily devotional is an excellent and fairly comprehensive supplement, suitable both for those who are familiar with the Bible and those who aren’t. Because each page-long entry is numbered from 1 to 365, there is no set start or end date, unlike many devotionals that are divided into month and day. Each day has a title and the books and chapters of the Bible being discussed, as well as a Scripture verse taken from that designation, and each reading concludes with a prayer. The short reading sometimes consists of Biblical context or the Biblical story, and at other times it focuses on a contemporary connection. I love everything about the formatting; while not every single chapter of the Bible is examined, the highlights are, and this book goes very well with my Bible reading plan this year, which consists of concurrently reading both Old and New Testament chapters daily and results in reading the entire Bible by the end of the year.

Diane Stortz’s “Encountering God’s Heart for You” is structured in such a way that it can serve as a supplemental go-to book for addressing and praying about specific needs or exploring certain books or chapters of the Bible. To this end, I do wish that there was a table of contents, but the chronology follows along closely enough (although not completely) to the Bible that readers should be able to locate certain books without much difficulty. There are two main sections: Encountering God’s Heart for You in the Old Testament and Encountering God’s Heart for You in the New Testament. Each of these two sections is further divided into categories. For the Old Testament these include: The Books of Law, The Books of History, The Books of Poetry and Wisdom, and The Books of Prophecy. For the New Testament: The Gospels, The Book of History (Acts), The Letters, and The Book of Prophecy (Revelation). My favorite during this read-through was The Books of Poetry and Wisdom, although I think that would be subject to change depending on what is going on in my life at the time. This is definitely a book that is going onto my favorites list and that I will refer back to frequently.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 

 

Blog Stops

 

 

Giveaway

 

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Diane is giving away the grand prize package of a journal, a set of Scripture cards, and a set of gel pens!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

 

Review
4 Stars
One Little Lie Book Review
 

About the Book

 


Book:  One Little Lie

Author: Colleen Coble

Genre:  Romantic Suspense

Release Date: March 3, 2020

It started with one little lie. But Jane Hardy will do everything in her power to uncover the truth in this gripping new romantic suspense.

Jane Hardy is appointed interim sheriff in Pelican Harbor, Alabama, after her father retires, but there’s no time for an adjustment period. When her father is arrested for theft and then implicated in a recent murder, Jane quickly realizes she’s facing someone out to destroy the only family she has.

After escaping with her father from a cult fifteen years ago, Jane has searched relentlessly for her mother—who refused to leave—ever since. Could someone from that horrible past have found them?

Reid Bechtol is well-known for his documentaries, and his latest project involves covering Jane’s career. Jane has little interest in the attention, but the committee who appointed her loves the idea of the publicity.

Jane finds herself depending on Reid’s calm manner as he follows her around filming, and they begin working together to clear her father. But Reid has his own secrets from the past, and the gulf between them may be impossible to cross—especially once her father’s lie catches up with him.



Click HERE to get your copy.

About the Author

 

Best-selling author Colleen Coble’s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has over 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana. You can visit her website at http://colleencoble.com.
 

My Review

 

“Something disturbing was going on in her town, and she wasn’t sure how to solve the puzzle.”

Always on the lookout for well-written Christian suspense books, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to read “One Little Lie.” This is the first book in the Pelican Harbor series, and I love it when I’m able to hop aboard a new series as it’s releasing. I also realized that this seems to be the first Colleen Coble book that I’ve read, and after this experience, it won’t be the last.

What harm can there be in telling one little lie? The ripple effects are devastating and leave a trail of pain and destruction in their wake. Not only that, but a group of people find their lives inextricably linked by the falsehood, because trials usually cause people to draw apart from the world in general, and especially their faith. During times of difficulty and uncertainty, let us not ever forget that it is on Christ the solid Rock we stand.

In “One Little Lie,” relationships play a prominent role in the plot. Father-daughter, father-son, and even that between a mother and her children, as Jane Hardy reflects on her own boy, whom she lost briefly after giving birth to him, and as her relationship with her father becomes challenged as untruths keep piling up. Circumstances threaten her heart against trusting, but she can’t walk this path alone.

A fast-paced work of romantic suspense, this book will have you questioning everyone’s motives in the quest for the truth. It does contain some graphic details regarding crime scenes, as well as mentions of domestic violence and abuse, but neither is overdone. My favorite character is, admittedly, Parker the golden retriever because I love dogs and have a great respect for working dogs, which are all heroes in my book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 


Blog Stops

 

Back Porch Reads, March 10

Life of Literature, March 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 10

Texas Book-aholic, March 10

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, March 11

The Avid Reader, March 11

Lighthouse Academy, March 11

By The Book, March 12

Older & Smarter?, March 12

Through the Fire Blogs, March 12

Remembrancy, March 12

Betti Mace, March 13

April Hayman, Author, March 13

Emily Yager, March 13

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 14

Bigreadersite, March 14

deb’s Book Review, March 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 15

Inklings and notions, March 15

CarpeDiem, March 15

Christian Bookaholic, March 15

Just the Write Escape, March 16

For Him and My Family, March 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 16

Robin’s Nest, March 17

All-of-a-kind Mom, March 17

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 17

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, March 17

Stories By Gina, March 18

Janicesbookreviews, March 18

Mary Hake, March 18

Empowermoms, March 18

For the Love of Literature, March 19

Blossoms and Blessings, March 19

Because I said so – and other adventures in Parenting, March 19

Hallie Reads, March 19

A Baker’s Perspective, March 20

Quiet Quilter, March 20

Simple Harvest Reads, March 20 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Splashes of Joy, March 21

Moments, March 21

amandainpa, March 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 21

Pause for Tales, March 22

Britt Reads Fiction, March 22

Spoken from the Heart, March 22

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 22

To Everything There is a Season, March 23

Life love writing, March 23

Daysong Reflections, March 23

Lights in a Dark World, March 23