Biblical Fiction, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Purchase

Trouble in the Ruins, #3 Stones of Gilgal by CL Smith Celebrate Lit Tour and Giveaway



About the Book

Book:  Trouble in the Ruins

Author: C.L. Smith

Genre:  Biblical fiction

Release Date: September 2019

Return to the turbulence of ancient Canaan in Book Three of The Stones of Gilgal. Even the raging floods of the Jordan could not stop the Israelites from crossing the river and setting up camp near Jericho. Canaanite kings and kingdoms—even the Anakim giants—are in turmoil. Former enemies jostle for power in new alliances, united only in their determination to destroy the Israelite invaders.

When the massive fortifications of Jericho collapse, Salmon rushes into the ruins to save Rahab, the beautiful harlot who had rescued him and his fellow spy from certain death. But saving her from her own city is not so easy. And that is only the beginning of the trouble, treachery and devastating ruins they and their friends face as they settle into their new life in the Promised Land.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

CL Smith’s Trouble in the Ruins, # 3 Stones of Gilgal, gripped my heart with terror and wonder. Terror of the Anakim in the land. I wondered as Smith describes the Anakim and their devotion to Baal if I would have been faithful to follow Joshua and Caleb’s urging to conquer the Promised Land (although that actually occurred in a previous book, we see so much of the Anakim, I can understand the Israelites’ fear. If only they could KNOW that their God is greater…) Wonder at the greatness of God.
“Night after night, the stars declared Yahweh’s message. Israel did not face evil alone. God would provide a deliverer. It was the message of Passover.”
Evil abounds, whether in Jericho, or in the Anakim, or the hearts of man, not fully committed to God. We travel with Israel and observe the wondrous defeat of Jericho, only to see the treachery that causes the defeat at Ai. I love how each character is presented as realistically, struggling, and sometimes failing, in their walk with Yahweh. Yet we see several attaining redemption, while others reject Yahweh and rail against Him. I liked how even the “good” characters like Caleb’s daughter Acsah and her friend Abihail find they need forgiveness and cleansing. Sometimes those who think themselves most righteous have to re-examine God’s Word for guidance on how to treat others.


My heart yearned in agreement with statements about the young people:
“Passover is not their story, but it must become so. It is the birth story of our people. I must tell it and retell it. Make it theirs. Tell it every year until I die—my parting gift to future generations.”
So many touching quotes. So many competing storylines, yet they work. Especially if you have read the first two books, which I had not, or are familiar with the Biblical Exodus. I give Ms. Smith points for putting the map in front (where I believe all maps belong) and the lengthy character list in back, where one can refer to it, once you have enough knowledge to hang your hat on. Otherwise, I find a list of names at the front off-putting. Add footnotes to Biblical allusions and references, great! At times the prose is not only compelling, but it is also melodic. This is a book that was hard to put down, as I followed each character and grew to love them.
Of course, with so many characters getting their turn in the sun, many did not see the ending I was hoping for. Fortunately, we are promised two or three more books to bring this Israelite saga to a satisfying conclusion. I went and bought the first two stories. I would have bought the sequels if they were available. If you like exciting Biblical fiction, give Trouble in the Ruins a try.
Notable Quotables:


“…we must not let the living force of the story be lost.”

“God transforms tears into jewels. He has a new plan for me than the life I imagined. A higher place, and it will be good.”

“Welcome to a place where identity and dignity are found in covenant with Yahweh.”

I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. (I also bought my own copy.) All opinions are my own, and no positive review was required.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent

About the Author

C.L. SMITH, former missionary, retired junior high English/history teacher, has captivated audiences around the world for years with the timeless thrill of biblical tales. Now her six-part Stones of Gilgal saga brings the mayhem and miracles of the book Joshua to life. Well researched and beautifully written, the author weaves her lifetime love of learning and people into the fabric of the biblical text, creating a tapestry of rich scenes and colorful characters the reader will not soon forget.

Learn more at www.stonesofgilgal.com

More from C.L. Smith

The Stones of Gilgal biblical novels follow the epic adventures of a group of ordinary young Israelites. As they battle evil together, they sink their roots deeper and deeper into the bedrock of God’s Truth and Love, slowly growing from a stand of saplings to a forest of giants.

Two of the seven young characters in my series have to deal with a lot of Trouble in the Ruins in this bookLots of trouble. Lots of ruins.

Rahab the Harlot barely escapes the ruins of Jericho, but the ruins of her former life threaten to keep her ever an alien among the people of Yahweh.

Abihail is Acsah’s best friend from childhood, but she is also a fictionalized daughter-in-law of the biblical Achan. Her life is slammed with heart-rending trouble and ruin as that horrific Old Testament drama unfolds.

The Title: Trouble in the Ruins

The inspiration for this title comes from a couple of “plays on words” in Hebrew.

Trouble: The name Achan in Hebrew sounds very similar to the word Achor meaning trouble. The story of the biblical character Achan is forever tied to the word trouble at the end of Joshua 7 when the valley where he was stoned and buried under a “monument” of rocks received the name the Valley of Achor.

Ruins: Achan’s sin led to defeat at a little fortress known as Ai which means ruin. Some scholars suggest that the fortress was built on or near the ruins of a city destroyed in an earlier time. Following the glory of the crossing of the Jordan and the crumbling walls of Jericho—the Hebrew mind would find great dramatic irony in Israel being defeated by a “ruin.” The story jolts us out of complacency, underscoring the life and death consequences of obedience versus breaking covenant with God.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 1

For the Love of Literature, September 2

For Him and My Family, September 3

Sara Jane Jacobs, September 4

Emily Yager, September 4

Artistic Nobody, September 5 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 6

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 7

deb’s Book Review, September 7

Inklings and notions, September 8

Betti Mace, September 9

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 10

Batya’s Bits, September 11

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 12

Mary Hake, September 12

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 13

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 14

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, C.L. Smith is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!! (U.S. Only)

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/fff7/trouble-in-the-ruins-celebration-tour-giveaway

Biblical Fiction, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour

Eden, #1 The Fall of Man, by Brennan McPherson

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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.”Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00026]

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.

 

My Review

When Eden by Brennan McPherson was offered through Celebrate Lit, I was excited. I had read his Babel, #3 The Fall of Man, and loved it. Eden is book one in that series. I am not so much a fan of this book. “Man’s pervasive fallenness compared with God’s incredible mercy” is McPherson’s stated theme. I could relate to man’s incredible fallenness, though I felt it was heavy and dark. I could not see so much of the incredible grace of God.
Eden includes some action but is in a large part a book of attitudes and memories. It’s the sad tale of Adam and Eve, after creation, sinning and losing their place of fellowship with the Father. Not only is life now cursed, but Adam spends much of his life trying to win Eve’s love. Eden gives the impression Adam can only have God’s love or Eve’s following the fall. Eve alternately loves Adam or is angry and bitter at Adam. Then Adam withdraws, hurting Eve, and the cycle repeats as Eve falls away from not only a relationship with Adam but her original trust in God. I found there was way too much emphasis on the discord between Adam and Eve. It was difficult to read, as Eve seemed very evil and cruel, but yet the Father holds Adam responsible for her behavior. Once again, as I read the notes at the end, I began to understand why McPherson wrote this way, but I feel God ultimately holds each person responsible for his/her own sin. Also, “God” seems to demand unreasonable obedience, as in the First “Day of Atonement.” God may ask us to do the hard, seemingly impossible, but He understands our human limitations. God’s supposed demands on Eve that day do not show the God of either the New or the Old Testament Law concerning birth. I think it would be fair to say I am very uncomfortable with making God a “character” in Biblical fiction.

Eden 1
Again, when Cain and Abel bring their differing sacrifices to the Father, some will, like me, have difficulty with the reason McPherson gives as to why God was unhappy with Cain’s sacrifice. I agree it had to do with pride. However, God made it clear sins could only be atoned for by a blood sacrifice. So, the fruit of the earth as a sacrifice? One other thing I must mention. McPherson, in his notes, admits to including some fantasy. In my thinking, fantasy has no part in Biblical fiction.

Eden 2
The notes at the end actually caused me to pause and think. I looked up the birth of Cain and Abel in several versions. Is it possible they were twins? With the textual notes McPherson added, I would have to say that’s not impossible, although not what I’ve been taught.
I also understood better why he wrote as he did. I wish he would have had footnotes to refer the reader to his notes. I could have read with a more understanding heart.
Many people may not be bothered by the examples I’ve mentioned. This book may also be for you if you enjoyed The Shack.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Celebrate Lit. This in no way influenced my opinions, for which I am solely responsible.

My Rating

3 Stars- Good; I Liked it, but would not necessarily recommend it.

I do think it could be an interesting book club pick if readers know they are in for some controversy as they discuss it.

About the Author

brennanBRENNAN 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.

Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 2

Rev. Rebecca Writes: Read, Write, Pray, April 3

Mary Hake, April 3

Texas Book-aholic, April 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 5

My Devotional Thoughts, April 5

Through the Fire Blogs, April 6

Genesis 5020, April 6

Inklings and notions, April 7

For Him and My Family, April 8

deb’s Book Review, April 8

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 9

Betti Mace, April 9

For the Love of Literature, April 10

EmpowerMoms, April 10

Pause for Tales, April 11

Ashley’s Bookshelf, April 11

A Reader’s Brain, April 12

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 13

Hallie Reads, April 13

Mamma Loves Books, April 14

Lights in a Dark World, April 14

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, April 15

 

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.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f8a9/eden-celebration-tour-giveaway

Bethany House, Biblical Fiction, BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley

Like Flames in the Night, #4 Cities of Refuge by Connilyn Cossette

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About the book

Title: Like Flames in the Night

Series: Cities of Refuge, #4

Author: Connilyn Cossette

Publisher: Bethany House

Released: March 2020

Strong-willed Tirzah wants to join her people in driving the enemy from the land of Israel and undergoes training for a secret mission inside the stronghold of Shechem. But soon after she has infiltrated the ruthless Aramean commander’s kitchen, she makes a reckless decision that puts her and her allies in grave danger.

Fresh off the battlefield, Liyam returns home to discover his beloved daughter is dead. After his vow to hunt down her killer leads to months of fruitless pursuit, his last hope is in a family connection that comes with strings attached. Strings that force him to pose as a mercenary and rescue an infuriating woman who refuses to leave her mission uncompleted.

When an opportunity to pave a path to a Hebrew victory arises, can Tirzah convince Liyam to fight alongside her in the refuge city of her birth? Or will Liyam’s thirst for vengeance outweigh his duty to his people, his God, and the woman he’s come to love?

 

My Review

Connilynn Cossette consistently brings us novels of Biblical times that draw the readers in and make us believe that we are part of the ancient world she has flung open like a door. Like Flames in the Night is a tale of the nation of Israel as it is terrorized by the cruel Arameans, with Othniel leading the resistance. More specifically, we meet brave, bold Tirzah, who yearns to do her part to free the Hebrew people. Liyam is a warrior who loses his faith when he loses his dearest possessions. Somehow these two are key players in Israel’s struggle to be free. 

Tirzah is a highly relatable character because she has several brothers and is very comfortable competing against them. Many female readers will either relate to the idea of competing with brothers or just wanting their contributions to be as valued as men’s. Some may say that women leaders were unheard of in Israeli history, but we can easily recall names of heroines such as Miriam, Deborah the judge, or Esther. I love how Tirzah slowly recognizes that Yahweh Himself has spoken through her outspoken personality. God uses us as we are. 

Ah, Liyam. Heartthrob, spy, blood-avenger. He looks so good in his protective role, one might actually think he can let go of his blood-lust. What a tension this creates as Tirzah’s family tells their own history, and multiple friends urge the angry Hebrew to pursue life, not death. But is that even possible for Liyam? 

I almost forgot Odeleya. She will worm her way into your heart and find a permanent spot.  

If you like Biblical fiction, you need to add this last book in Cities of Refuge series to your collection. You could read this book as a stand-alone, but the series is too great. You will want to read all four books in Connilynn Cossette’s series.  

So many “notable quotables.” I will keep them to just a few. 

“Has Yahweh disappeared? Or has the power that split the sea diminished since the Arameans took control? Or have we simply forgotten who we are?” 

flames in the night 1

“…where the black shadow of Har Ebal stood, and at its peak, the altar of Yehoshua.  “A fire will burn there again soon. And when it does, be assured that it was your iron strike against our flint hearts that created the first spark.” 

“But it is our duty as men consecrated by Adonai Most High to speak truth. We have hidden too long in our homes, cowering, keeping His Words locked in our hearts instead of on our tongues.” 

flames in the night 2

“If the people of Yahweh rise up and remember who they are, nothing will stop our armies from being victorious over the Arameans this time. Nothing.” 

“Who was I to speak to the mind of the Eternal One? Or to turn my face away from the gifts he’d given me?  Perhaps even the trials I had endured were gifts in a way, making me stronger, wiser, more prepared to accomplish his purposes.” 

“Justice without mercy was tyranny, and mercy without justice was lawlessness.” 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House and the author. This in no way influenced my opinions, which I am voluntarily leaving. I am solely responsible for these opinions. 

My Rating

5 Stars – Superior – Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

About the author

14134437Connilyn Cossette is the Carol Award Winning and ECPA Bestselling author of the Out from Egypt Series and the Cities of Refuge Series from Bethany House Publishers. When she’s not engulfed in the happy chaos of homeschooling two teenagers, devouring books whole, or avoiding housework, she can be found digging into the rich ancient world of the Bible. She delights in discovering new gems of grace that point to Jesus and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience. Connect with her at www.ConnilynCossette.com

Biblical Fiction, BLOG, Favorite, PB, Waterbrook-Multnomah

Isaiah’s Legacy, #3 A Novel of Prophets and Kings by Mesu Andrews

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About the Book

Title: Isaiah’s Legacy

Series: A Novel of Prophets and Kings

Author: Mesu Andrews

Publisher: Waterbrook-Multnomah

Genre: Biblical Fiction

Released: February 2020

The drama of the Old Testament comes to life as Judah’s most notorious king ascends to the throne in this gripping novel from the award-winning author of Isaiah’s Daughter.

At eight years old, Shulle has known only life in a small village with her loving but peculiar father. When Uncle Shebna offers shelter in Jerusalem in exchange for Shulle’s help tutoring King Manasseh, Judah’s five-year-old co-regent who displays the same peculiarities as her father, she’s eager to experience the royal court. But Shulle soon realizes the limits of her father’s strict adherence to Yahweh’s Law when Uncle Shebna teaches her of the starry hosts and their power.

Convinced Judah must be freed from Yahweh’s chains, she begins the subtle swaying of young Manasseh, using her charm and skills on the boy no one else understands. When King Hezekiah dies, twelve-year-old Manasseh is thrust onto Judah’s throne, bitter at Yahweh and eager to marry the girl he adores. Assyria’s crown prince favors Manasseh and twists his brilliant mind toward cruelty, beginning Shulle’s long and harrowing journey to discover the Yahweh she’d never known, guided with loving wisdom by Manasseh’s mother: Isaiah’s daughter, the heartbroken Hephzibah. Amid Judah’s dark days, a desperate remnant emerges, claiming the Lord’s promise, “Though we’re helpless now, we’re never hopeless–because we serve El Shaddai.” Shulle is among them, a girl who becomes a queen through Isaiah’s legacy.

 

My Review

“Never begin a sentence with ‘Yahweh can’t.’ Our minds are too small to imagine what He can do.” Indeed, Mesu Andrews has tackled the granddaddy of all difficult stories. All my life, as long as I was old enough to understand there were good and bad kings in Judah, Manasseh has been the penultimate bad guy. Evil beyond any king that came before him, the Bible says. The normal person would have given up on this absolutely atrocious Judahite king, but Yahweh did NOT! 

Isaiah's Legacy 1


And this is where Mesu Andrews gets her story. We start at the beginning of Manasseh’s life (or Nasseh ) as righteous Hezekiah’s life is coming to a close. So, the million-dollar question for me, all these years: how does one go from having such a righteous father as Hezekiah to being the most wicked king so far? Andrews has a plausible answer as she draws in characters like Shulle, a young tutor who understands autism (a modern-day plague Andrews gives Nasseh and one we struggle to understand; Shulle’s power-hungry uncle Shebna; and the Babylonian sorceress Belit, determined to rise within the court. We see ZibahNasseh’s beloved mother and her crusty adopted father, Isaiah. Let the power games begin. 

Isaiah's Legacy 2


While it appears to be a play for power behind the throne of Judah, the Yahwists and the sorcery workers know the truth. It is a battle between Good and Evil, the One True God vs. the many false gods of the surrounding nations. 
Love, fear, betrayal, brutality, power-grasping and a search for respect and belonging are all part of this fantastic, sweeping, Biblical saga. Intense, sweet, horrifying at turns, we eventually are pointed to the mercy of a Father longing for the prodigal to return home. 
Such a tragic story (be sure you have at least one box of Kleenex ready), but Andrews explains so well why she wrote it with an eye to imparting hope. 
Your heart will be full by the time your eyes have traversed all the pages of this amazing novel. It would be helpful to have read the first two novels, but unfortunately, I did not beforehand and still found this to be a beautiful book. Thank you, Ms. Andrews. I realized today there is hope for yet another Prodigal in my life! 

Isaiah's Legacy 3


I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Waterbrook-Multnomah. This is no way influences my opinion, which I have freely given, and for which I am solely responsible. 
 
Notable Quotables: 
“Why questions lead only to doubt. Only Who questions build faith. Who is sovereign over the kings of the universe? Who spoke light into darkness? And Who promised to capture and build Nasseh’s heart?” 
 
“Yahweh did not give me the vision to prevent it but to prepare us for it.” (Isaiah) 
 
“I can do whatever I wish, Ima. I am Judah’s king.” 
 
“A king need never raise his voice. His power is like a trumpet.” 
 
“He’s a child and a king, Shulle. It’s an unwieldy combination.” 
 
“Why questions lead only to doubt. Only Who questions build faith. Who is sovereign over the kings of the universe? Who spoke light into darkness? And Who promised to capture and build Nasseh’s heart?” 
 
“We’re helpless in this moment… but we’re never hopeless. Not as long as we serve El Shaddai, the Almighty One.” 

 

My Rating

5 Stars – Superior – Hits My Reading Sweet Spot and gives me hope for the Prodigals in my life!

About the Author

Mesu grew up with a variegated Christian heritage. With grandparents from the Pilgrim Holiness, Nazarene, and Wesleyan Churches, her dad was a Quaker and mom charismatic. As you might 3513697imagine, God was a central figure in most family discussions, but theology was a battlefield and Scripture the weapon. As a rebellious teenager, Mesu rejected God and His Word, but discovered Jesus as a life-transforming Savior through the changed life of an old friend.

The desire for God’s Word exploded with her new commitment, but devotional time was scarce due to the demands of a young wife and mother. So Mesu scoured the only two theology books available–children’s Bible stories and her Bible. The stories she read to her daughters at night pointed her to the Bible passages she studied all day. She became an avid student of God’s Word, searching historical and cultural settings as well as ancient texts and original languages.

Mesu and her husband Roy have raised those two daughters and now enjoy a tribe of grandkids, who get to hear those same Bible stories. Mesu’s love for God’s Word has never waned. She now writes biblical novels, rich with spiritual insight learned through fascinating discoveries in deep historical research.

Her first novel, Love Amid the Ashes (Revell)–the story of Job and the women who loved him–won the 2012 ECPA Book of the Year in the Debut Author Category. Her subsequent novels have released with high praise, shedding light on some of the shadowy women of Scripture. Love’s Sacred Song (Revell, 2012) tells the story of the beloved shepherdess in King Solomon’s Song of Solomon. Love in a Broken Vessel (Revell, 2013) tells the story of Hosea and Gomer and is the final stand-alone novel in the Treasures of His Love Series. Her fourth novel, In the Shadow of Jezebel (Revell, 2014) tells the fascinating story of Queen Athaliah and the courageous Princess Jehosheba.

The Treasures of the Nile series (Waterbrook/Multnomah, 2015-16) included The Pharaoh’s Daughter and Miriam and spanned Moses’ life from birth to the Exodus. Her 2017 release, Isaiah’s Daughter (Waterbrook/Multnomah), explores the life and ministry of the prophet Isaiah and the tumultuous days of Judah under the reigns of Ahaz and Hezekiah but focuses on the woman Hephzibah–a fascinating character in Jewish legends.

Mesu writes in their log cabin tucked away in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains. Her best friend is an American Staffordshire Terrier named Zeke, who keeps her company on long writing days. Zeke also enjoys watching movies, long walks in the woods, and sitting by the fireplace on rainy days.

Biblical Fiction, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite

Babel, #3 Fall of Man by Brennan McPherson and Giveaway

Babel

About the Book 

Book: Babel

Author: Brennan S. McPherson

Genre: Biblical fiction

Release Date: July 29, 2019    47197728._SY475_

 

A sweeping, epic retelling of the story of the Tower of Babel. . . 

More than a century after the worldwide flood, Noah, now the forefather of the living world, works peacefully in his vineyard until tragedy tears apart his relationship with his son, Ham.

Years later, dark prophetic dreams inextricably link him with a young man carrying scars from a painful past, and a young woman who longs for acceptance yet harbor secrets darker than either of them imagine.

Will Noah face the role he played in the slow unraveling of his family? Or will everything collapse when they meet the evil attempting to swallow the world at. . . the Tower of Babel?

Read today to experience biblical fiction that helps you think biblically and feel deeply.

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Wow! Powerful, eye-opening, electrifying. Babel, by Brennan McPherson, is the presentation of a world wiped clean by the Flood, only to quickly degenerate into a nefarious world leading up to the demise of that great Tower. Pulled in by Noah’s sorrow, quickly followed by Canaan’s curse, I couldn’t believe the paths the characters were forging. Choices made had staggering consequences, as even Noah discovered. I stayed up late to finish Babel to avoid bad dreams. This was not the book I wanted to start the New Year with, but I am so glad I did. Certainly, my reading year started with a bang!

Babel 1

Brennan McPherson has created a thought-provoking novel that stays true to what we know of Scripture and yet fills in what could have been. His words answer the “why’s” and the “how’s” of those early Genesis chapters. While McPherson believes his theories plausible, he is quick to explain his thinking and admit this is one idea of how things happened. Those that love Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness or the nonfiction books by Michael Heisler that speak of “lesser gods” will enjoy the underlying spiritual warfare.
Some themes are even the best are sinful, and that filters down and grows malignantly; wickedness tries desperately to hide or annihilate the Light, and God’s mercy can forgive even indescribable wickedness. We are all responsible to/for the world around us. There was at least one more very heavy-hitting theme that I thought was overdone. Reading the author’s note at the end helped me understand why.

Babel 2
What an amazing Biblical fiction novel that will leave you petrified, yet hopeful and secure in God’s unfailing love!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author through Celebrate Lit. This in no way affects my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating 

5 Stars- This novel certainly hit my reading Sweet Spot and stoked my imagination and thinking.

About the Author

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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. Find out more about him at brennanmcpherson.com.

More from Brennan

10 Facts You Might Not Know About the Story of the Tower of Babel

When I first heard the story of the Tower of Babel as a kid, it was hard for me to take it seriously. A guy named Nimrod builds a tower that he thinks is going to reach to the heavens (what a nimrod) and God punishes him? That’s pretty humorous sounding.

But is that really the whole story?

Upon closer look, we see that’s not quite what happened! And neither is the story any laughing matter. So, let’s dive through 10 facts you might not know about the story of the Tower of Babel in the book of Genesis:

  1. The entire account of the Tower of Babel is in Genesis 11:1-9, but additional details and references are found from Genesis 9 through Genesis 11:26. There’s WAY too much here for just one point, so suffice it to say that to get a true understanding of the events in Genesis 11:1-9, you have to dig deep and cross-reference the surrounding Scripture text heavily. Because Genesis is written as what seems to be a poetic historical account, the events of the flood in Genesis 6-9 directly impact the events of the Tower of Babel. As do the troubles between Noah and his children, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. In addition, the text of Genesis 9 through Genesis 11 is not perfectly chronological. Noah’s death is talked about in Genesis 9, and yet Noah was alive during the events of the tower of Babel in Genesis 11. This is part of the reason why we have to read carefully, and cross-reference often, to make sense of the nuanced details in the story.
  1. The story of the Tower of Babel wouldn’t have happened without Noah getting drunk in Genesis 9. In Genesis 9:18-29, we are given a general overview of the breakdown of Noah’s family, and the end of Noah’s life. Noah plants a vineyard, gets drunk, then gets naked (a little strange), and his son Ham sees him naked and ridicules him to the family. Noah wakes up, hears what happened, and curses Ham’s lineage instead of directly cursing Ham, because as a prophet of God, Noah doesn’t presume to curse whom God has blessed (Genesis 9:1). This curse splits the family, and Noah’s failure to be a spiritual leader in his family is part of what allows the events of the tower of Babel to happen, because the Tower was most likely a religious structure made to aid in the worship of the celestial bodies (i.e. sun, stars, moon). If Noah had not allowed a schism in his family, he would have been more capable of speaking against occurrences of idolatry. Seeing this connection, along with the next point, was what gave rise to the plot for my full-length novelization of the story, BABEL: The Story of the Tower and the Rebellion of Man.
  1. Noah was alive during the events of the tower of Babel. In Genesis 9:28-29, we’re told that Noah lived 350 years after the flood, and died when he was 950 years old. If we flip ahead to Genesis 11:10, we find several VERY interesting clues that help us piece together a reasonably accurate timeline. Shem’s son Arpachshad (I don’t know how to pronounce that either) was born two years after the flood. If we assume that every descendant afterward is a father-son relationship (meaning that there’s no skipping generations—which we see in other genealogies in Scripture), we end up finding out that a man named Peleg was born 101 years after the flood. We’re also told Peleg lived 239 years, so he died 340 years after the flood (ten years before Noah died). We’re also told in the mirrored genealogy in Genesis 10 that the earth was “divided” in Peleg’s lifetime. We know that this doesn’t refer to a continental divide, or the flood, because the flood happened 101 years before Peleg was born, and a continental divide would have caused worldwide flooding again (which God promised to never do). The only other divide we’re told about in Scripture is the divide in languages and countries from the events at the Tower of Babel. Thus, we can pretty safely conclude that Noah was alive during the events of the tower of Babel.
  1. Abram could have been alive during the events of the tower of Babel, and was definitely alive during Noah’s lifetime. Following the timeline given in Genesis 11 (along with the assumption we already talked about in point 3 above), we see that Abram was born 292 years after the flood. This is 58 years before Noah died, and 48 years before Peleg died. It’s therefore reasonable to assume that Abram could have both known about (or been present at) the Tower of Babel event, and that he could have been directly discipled by Noah himself, learning about the beginning of the universe and the world’s greatest cataclysm from someone who had experienced the violent baptism of the world first-hand. In addition, Noah’s father, Lamech, could have known Seth (Adam’s son), and gotten a second-hand account of the garden of Eden. Not hard to see how an accurate oral tradition about the beginnings of the universe could have been passed down to Abram’s lineage and written in some form in his day (because they definitely had Semitic cuneiform writing back during the Tower of Babel days).
  1. The Tower of Babel story could have happened anywhere from 101 years after the flood, to 340 years after the flood. This is interesting for several reasons. The closer the events were to the timing of the flood, the more we question what in the world Noah was doing during the events of the Tower of Babel. Why wasn’t the prophet of God stopping the world from gathering in rebellion against God with blatant idolatry? This was the provocative “What-if” question that gave rise to my novel, BABEL: The Story of the Tower and the Rebellion of Man, which is (you guessed it) largely about Noah’s involvement (and failure) in the events at the Tower of Babel. But in addition to that, we can also see that the population size could have varied widely, from a thousand or so people, to tens of thousands of people.
  1. Just like the hundreds of flood myths in myriad cultures around the world, there are countless myths about the confusion of the world’s languages. Many of these language myths arose through oral tradition in areas that were untouched by the biblical text, which strongly indicates that there was a real event that spawned the disparate accounts. Some of the accounts include an Australian myth that attributes the language split to cannibalism, an African tale where madness struck people during a famine and they all spoke different languages and scattered, and a Polynesian tale that talks of a God who, in his fury, scattered the builders of a tower, broke its foundation, and made the builders speak in many different languages. Pretty crazy, right?
  1. It’s possible that Nimrod didn’t build Babel OR the Tower, though he was likely involved in the process. We’re told in Genesis 10:9 that Nimrod was primarily a hunter (a man of violence), and that the “beginning of his kingdom” was Babel, among other cities, before he went and built Nineveh, among others. If he built Babel, it likely would’ve said so there (though this is, of course, still up for debate). In addition, the actual account of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11 cites that the people communally said to one another, “let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens.” There was no one person who was commanding the building, but rather a group deciding in unison. Again, Nimrod could have been involved in this process. Or, he could have come to power afterward.
  1. The trinity was involved at the events of the Tower of Babel. Traditional interpretation of Genesis 11, and God’s words saying, “Let us go down and see the tower” that mankind had built, is that Jesus, God (Yahweh), and the Holy Spirit were present and involved in the event. This makes sense with our New Testament understanding of the trinity for several reasons. First, Jesus is the Word, and his relation to God’s spoken revelation is inseparable throughout Scripture. Second, the world was created through Jesus (John 1:3), so he and the Holy Spirit are shown as involved in everything God has done from the beginning (“Spirit hovered over the face of the waters”). We also know the Holy Spirit’s involvement in human speech is profound from the account at Pentecost in the Book of Acts, which seems to be a sort of divine symbolic reversal of the confusion of languages at the Tower of Babel. Furthermore, if God was speaking in the plural to beings unified with him and who needed to be involved at the Tower, he could only have been speaking to Jesus and the Holy Spirit. If God took a physical form in some way, traditional interpretation says that it would likely have been as a humanoid prefigurement of the Christ. Now we’re getting kindof “out there,” but this is important because we can see Christ and the Holy Spirit at work in this ancient, Old Testament story, along with links to their work in the New Testament church and the covenant we have with God under Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection. Because Noah was atypeof Adam. The world began anew with Noah through the baptism of the world. And we know that Christ is the last Adam, the undoing of Adam’s mistakes, and that his baptism is by the Spirit, not by water, which pointed ahead to the baptism we experience through Christ’s blood. Baptism came to represent the death of the old world because of the literal destruction of the old world through water at the almighty hand of God. In this way, we see powerful symbolic connections and importance layered into the Tower of Babel story, and the lives of those involved.
  1. The tower of Babel was likely finished when the languages were confused. In Genesis 11:5, it says God went down to see the city and the tower which the children of man “had built.” In addition, In Genesis 11:8, it claims God spread them out from there over the face of the earth, and that the people left off building the city (but not the tower, which implies the tower was already finished).
  1. For the last time, the Tower of Babel story is NOT about technological advancement. Baked bricks were no new technology. In fact, though modern sociologists who don’t hold the Bible to be trustworthy often say that iron-working didn’t exist until much later, the Bible claims that in the first couple generations of humanity’s existence (long before the flood), humanity was building cities, creating pipe and stringed instruments, forging bronze andiron, and cultivating livestock (Genesis 4:19-22). So, we know that brick-making and using mortar were no great technological advancements. Especially after reminding ourselves that Noah (who was still alive) built the world’s largest wooden boat, waterproofed it with pitch, and survived the greatest cataclysm to ever strike the earth. He had some advanced building skills and would not have been impressed by bricks. The point of the story of the Tower of Babel is to illustrate man’s pride (wanting to make a name for themselves separate from their identity as children of God – i.e. “children of man”), along with man’s tendency toward idolatry, and God’s unlimited power coupled with his mercy and gentleness. The confusion of languages was a brilliant, non-violent way of disrupting their prideful plans. All in all, however, this story is a fascinating view into human nature, family dynamics, mankind’s purpose and ambition, and God’s personhood. If you want a more detailed historical study on the Tower of Babel, check out Bodie Hodge’s book, Tower of Babel, which is a careful study of the historical details, and which is endorsed by Answers in Genesis.

Before working on the full-length novelization of the story of the Tower of Babel (BABEL: The Story of the Tower and the Rebellion of Mankind), I didn’t know any of this. This is part of the reason why I love writing biblical fiction. It drives me back to the text of the Bible in a way nothing else does. I hope reading it does the same for you! Blessings, and thanks for reading. And if you want to pick up a copy of the book, you can do so now on Amazon or Audible.

Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 4

Discipling4Life, January 4

Simple Harvest Reads, January 5 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 6

Literary Reflections Book Blog, January 6

For the Love of Literature, January 7

My Devotional Thoughts, January 7

Through the Fire Blogs, January 8

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, January 9

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Texas Book-aholic, January 11

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Novels Corner, January 12

Inklings and notions, January 13

Emily Yager, January 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 14

Aryn The Libraryan 📚, January 15

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, January 16

Pause for Tales, January 16

CarpeDiem, January 17

Hallie Reads, January 17

Giveaway

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To celebrate his tour, Brennan is giving away a McPherson Publishing Bundle, which includes paperback copies of Flood, Eden, the Psalm Series, and The Simple Gospel!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/f445/babel-celebration-tour-giveaway

Biblical Fiction, BLOG, Favorite, LPC

Lioness: Mahlah’s Journey (Daughters of Zelophehad #1) by Barbara Britton

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on a link, I may be compensated.

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About the Book

Title: Lioness: Mahlah’s Journey

Series: The Daughters of Zelophehad (#1)

Author: Barbara Britton

Genre: Biblical Fiction

Publisher: Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas

Released: October 2019

Get your copy here.

Fiction from Numbers 27:1-11 and 36:1-13 “Go Forth With God”

While the Israelites struggle to occupy the Promised Land of God, Mahlah bat Zelophehad is orphaned and left to care for her four sisters. But daughters of the dead are unable to inherit land, and it will take a miracle for Mahlah to obtain the means to care for her sisters and uphold the vow she made to her dying mother.

Mahlah must seek Moses, the leader of her people, and request something extraordinary—the right for a daughter to inherit her deceased father’s land. A right that will upset the ox-cart of male inheritance and cast her in the role of a rebel.

My Review: 

Lioness: Mahlah’s Journey
I was sold on this Biblical fiction book when I received a free excerpt. That took me under, hook, line, and sinker, and I had to purchase a full copy of this book for myself. This is a story based on the daughters of Zelophehad in Numbers 27:4. Barbara Britton, the creator of Lioness: Mahlah’s Journey, has planned a whole series. You can anticipate all three books by next April (book 2, Heavenly Lights: Noah’s Journey-February; and book three, Claiming Canaan, Milcah’s Journey-April). Highly recommended!!

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Mahlah has a good sense of humor, with a mother-like love for her younger sisters. She is more concerned for the well-being of the family than her surly father, who is a complainer to boot.

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The tone of this novel is one of quiet desperation and determination, mixed with unwavering faith in Yahweh. Britton paints a great picture of what life in the wilderness, traveling towards the Promised Land, may have been like for the Israelites. You will be blessed as you read Mahlah’s story if you love Biblical fiction. Words and situations make it fit for mature readers. Ready, set, go grab!

My Rating

5 Stars- Superb- Hit My Reading Sweet Spot

About the Author

14983213Barbara M. Britton was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, but currently lives in Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. She writes romantic adventures for teens and adults. Barb has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Wisconsin Romance Writers of America, Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers. You can visit Barb online at www. barbarambritton.com or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

 

Bethany House, Biblical Fiction, BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley

Until the Mountains Fall, #3 Cities of Refuge, by Connilyn Cossette

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ABOUT THE BOOK

TITLE: Until the Mountains Fall

SERIES: #3 in Cities of Refuge

AUTHOR: Connilyn Cossette

RELEASED: July 2, 2019

Recently widowed, Rivkah refuses to submit to the Torah law compelling her to marry her husband’s brother and instead flees Kedesh, hoping to use her talents as a scribe to support herself. Without the protections of her father, Kedesh’s head priest, and the safety of the city of refuge, Rivkah soon discovers that the cost of recklessness is her own freedom.

Malakhi has secretly loved Rivkah for years, but he never imagined his older brother’s death would mean wedding her himself. After her disappearance, he throws himself into the ongoing fight against the Canaanites instead of dwelling on all he has lost. But with impending war looming over Israel, Rivkah’s father comes to Malakhi with an impossible request.

As the enemies that Rivkah and Malakhi face from without and within Israel grow more threatening each day, is it too late for the restoration their wounded souls seek?

Get your copy of the book here.

MY REVIEW

Travel back in time and cultures to a land so different from ours, yet so very alike. Israel is a young nation, yet they are already leaving their first love. Compromise and complacency coupled with a blatant refusal to follow the Creator Who has led them to the new land leaves them vulnerable and divided.
It is against this thrilling backdrop we meet Rivkah, a widow who is promised to her husband’s brother. To what lengths will Rivkah go to escape an unwanted match, meant to give her security?
Connilyn Cossette is now one of my favorite Biblical historical fiction writers. She sets the scene so well, with meticulous research presented throughout a very engaging story. I suspect there are enough Biblical references, suspense, and masculine thoughts (pov is first person, shifting between Rivkah and Malakhi) that even men would enjoy reading this account. Until the Mountains Fall is the third book of the series, The Cities of Refuge. While sweeter if one has the background of the other two, this novel can certainly stand on its own.
So much emotion is packed into this one volume! So many parallels between ancient Israel and God’s people in a free land today.“We do not know the whole of the story. But Yahweh does, and we trust Him with the outcome.”.png
One issue I grew tired of, I began to realize was simply Malakhi holding a view common to his time and culture. As a woman, I come away from this tremendous work glad that I did not live as a woman of that time. Yet, Cossette also points out the need for women to be treated humanely and loved well, which would have erased much of the burden of being a woman at that time.
Favorite quotes.
“The more prosperous we’d grown, the less generous we’d become with those who’d been appointed to serve Yahweh and were therefore unable to inherit land of their own.”
“We do not know the whole of the story. But Yahweh does, and we will trust Him with the outcome.”

Copy of The more prosperous we’d grown, the less generous we’d become with those who’d been appointed to serve Yahweh and were therefore unable to inherit land of their own.
“So many of our young people don’t care enough to defend this land, Malakhi. They’ve given in to compromise. It’s all too easy to sit back and take tribute from the Canaanites, profiting off our disobedience instead of finishing what Yehoshua and Calev started. We need men to stand and fight with careless abandon. If your generation does not take heed, we would do better to strap on our sandals and walk right back to Egypt, because the enemies that surround us here have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. This did not affect my opinions, which are solely my own.

MY RATING

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

14134437Connilyn Cossette is the CBA-Bestselling, Christy Nominated author of the Out from Egypt Series and the Cities of Refuge Series from Bethany House Publishers. When she’s not engulfed in the happy chaos of homeschooling two teenagers, devouring books whole, or avoiding housework, she can be found digging into the rich ancient world of the Bible. She delights in discovering new gems of grace that point to Jesus and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience. Although she and her husband have lived all over the country in the last twenty-plus years, they currently call North Carolina home.