Bethany House, BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley, PB

Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green

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About the Book

Title: Veiled in Smoke

Series: The Windy City Saga (#1)

Author: Jocelyn Green

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Released: February 4, 2020 ( I read an ARC.)

Genre: Christian Historical

Meg and Sylvie Townsend manage the family bookshop and care for their father, Stephen, a veteran still suffering in mind and spirit from his time as a POW during the Civil War. But when the Great Fire sweeps through Chicago’s business district, they lose much more than just their store.

The sisters become separated from their father, and after Meg burns her hands in an attempt to save a family heirloom, they make a harrowing escape from the flames with the help of Chicago Tribune reporter Nate Pierce. Once the smoke clears away, they reunite with Stephen, only to learn soon after that their family friend not only died during the fire–he was murdered. Even more shocking, Stephen is charged with the crime and committed to the Cook County Insane Asylum. Though homeless, injured, and suddenly unemployed, Meg must not only gather the pieces of her shattered life, but prove her father’s innocence before the asylum truly drives him mad.

My Review

“It was a lie, Meg had realized years ago, that the end of the war meant the end of suffering.” The Civil War is over, and the boys and men who survived are home. Yet Meg and her sister, Sylvie Townsend, discover that Stephen Townsend’s time in notorious Andersonville has wreaked havoc with his grip on reality. Meanwhile, Nathaniel Pierce of the Chicago Tribune interviews Stephen as a veteran. Life becomes murky when the city catches fire and Stephen’s best friend is murdered, leaving Stephen the cops’ main suspect.

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Jocelyn Green is an expert at creating historically accurate and intriguing backgrounds while painting in-depth portraits of her characters. Both Meg and Sylvie exhibit intense loyalty and love for their parents, as well as a great need for their approval. Unfortunately, their understanding of their parents’ love and care is limited by the blinders they wear.
The young ladies also wear blinders when it comes to the young men in their lives. They cannot truly see the love, honesty, and true character(or lack thereof) of their beaux.
So many ideas and themes are presented. Forgiveness. The idea that it’s ok to be imperfect, and in fact, sometimes imperfect is better. Also, accepting life as it is, imperfect, not expecting it to be rosy or requiring others to be perfectly well or perfectly behaved all the time. (Ouch! Preaching to myself!!) True compassion. Sometimes we can’t achieve this until we’ve walked a mile in somebody else’s shoes, or at least had a bit of hardship in life. Faith, believing God is limitless and truly in control.
Two more thoughts. It was hard to breathe as I traveled with Meg and Sylvie and Nate as they desperately tried to outrun the Great Fire. I could smell the smoke, my lungs felt full to bursting, and my anxiety level was high. And then many somethings began falling from the sky!

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I had never heard of the term, “soldier’s heart.” How fitting. How sad. So many times, we, the civilians for whom those men and now women sacrificed, refuse to understand and accept with open arms our vets who return to us.
As usual, Jocelyn Green will have me thinking for a long time to come about people and their treatment of others.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher. No positive response was required. All opinions are my own.
 

My Rating

5 Stars- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot ( and makes me think and think!)

About the Author

2578437Jocelyn Green is a former journalist who puts her investigative skills to work in writing both nonfiction and historical fiction to inspire faith and courage.

The honors her books have received include the Christy Award in historical fiction and gold medals from the Military Writers Society of America and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.

Complex and nuanced characters, rich historical detail and twisting plots make her novels immersive experiences. Her fiction has been praised by Historical Novel Society, Romantic Times, Library Journal, historians specializing in her novels’ time periods, as well as popular and acclaimed authors Laura Frantz, Lori Benton, Jody Hedlund, Sarah Sundin, Joanne Bischof, Julie Lessman, and more.

Jocelyn loves Broadway musicals, the color red, strawberry-rhubarb pie, Mexican food, and well-done documentaries. She lives in Iowa with her husband, two children, and two cats she should have named Catticus Finch and Purrman Meowville.

Visit her at jocelyngreen.com.

 

 

 

 

 

BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley, Revell

An Uncommon Woman by Laura Frantz

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About the Book

Title: An Uncommon Woman

Author: Laura Frantz

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Publisher: Revell

Released: January 7, 2020

Unflinching and plainspoken, Tessa Swan is not your typical 18th-century woman. Born and bred on the western Virginia frontier along with her five brothers, she is a force to be reckoned with.

Quiet and courageous, Clay Tygart is not your typical 18th-century man. Raised by Lenape Indians, he returns a hero from the French and Indian War to the fort that bears his name, bringing with him Tessa’s long-lost friend, Keturah, a redeemed Indian captive like himself.

Determined to avoid any romantic entanglements as fort commander, Clay remains aloof whenever he encounters the lovely Tessa. But when she is taken captive by the tribe Clay left, his hand–and heart–are forced, leading to one very private and one very public reckoning.

Intense, evocative, and laced with intricate historical details that bring the past to life, An Uncommon Woman will transport you to the picturesque and dangerous western Virginia mountains of 1770.

My Review

 

If Laura Frantz’s name is on it, that is enough to tell me I’m going to love a novel, and most probably, consider it a favorite. An Uncommon Woman is no exception. Ms. Frantz takes the reader back to colonial Virginia, but the far side of the Appalachians, where the Buckhannon River runs free and life is hard. At a time when the Colonies are bursting at their seams, some have traversed the mountains to make the wildlands their home. But with Indian tribes both mistreated and feared, life on the frontier is unstable at best.

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Laura Frantz has an enviable way with words that mesmerizes the reader as she paints a comprehensive word picture of the dangers of the forts established at this time.
“How would I feel if” is the question I find myself asking when reading a Laura Frantz novel. One can’t help but be drawn into the lives of Tessa and her bereft family, who are honoring her pa by continuing the life he staked out for them. Yet Tessa remembers a fearful time in childhood that affected the whole community. She also longs to return to the East, a refined land she has never seen.
Colonel Clay Tygart, for whom the fort is named, is an enigma both in appearance and personality. A “white Indian,” where will his loyalties lie when the Indian unrest breaks loose?

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The secondary characters of Keturah, Tessa’s brothers, Tessa’s ma and the neighbor fill in the background to help weave a taut, suspenseful narrative that exposes human prejudices for what they are.
Vengeance-based feelings against people who might differ from oneself, held accountable for someone else’s actions. I wanted to cry at times, at others beg and plead with characters and whole groups of people to think more clearly, with forgiveness.
This is a story of many loves. A few romantic. * Sigh. * Several familial, but each different depending on the character of the persons involved. One strong friendship that supersedes all, beautifully portraying that “friend that is closer than a brother.”
I received a complimentary copy of this book. This in no way affects my opinions, which are solely my own.
 

 

My Rating

5 Stars- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot Straight On!!

About the Author

Now that you’ve read about a real favorite book of mine (Laura Frantz rarely misses!) it’s time to learn a little about the author herself.

Laura Frantz is passionate about all things historical, particularly the 18th-century, and writes her manuscripts in longhand first. Her stories often incorporate Scottish themes 2986307that reflect her family heritage. She is a direct descendant of George Hume, Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, settled in Virginia, and is credited with teaching George Washington surveying in the years 1748-1750. Frantz lives and writes in a log cabin in the heart of Kentucky. According to Publishers Weekly, “Frantz has done her historical homework.” With her signature attention to historical detail and emotional depth, she is represented by Janet Kobobel Grant, Literary Agent & Founder, Books & Such Literary Agency of Santa Rosa, California. Readers can find Laura Frantz at www.laurafrantz.net.

 

 

 

 

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!

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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.

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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

Betti Mace, January 10

Mamma Loves Books, January 10

Texas Book-aholic, January 11

janicesbookreviews, January 12

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

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, NetGalley, Thomas Nelson

Smoke Screen by Terri Blackstock

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About the Book

Book: Smoke Screen

Author: Terri Blackstock

Genre:  Christian Suspense

Release Date: November 5, 2019

One father was murdered, and another convicted of his death.Smoke-Screen-197x300 All because their children fell in love.

Nate Beckett has spent his life fighting wildfires instead of the lies and rumors that drove him from his Colorado home town. His mother begs him to come to Carlisle now that his father has been released from prison, but it isn’t until he’s sidelined by an injury that he’s forced to return and face his past. But that means facing Brenna too.

Fourteen years ago, Nate was in love with the preacher’s daughter. When Pastor Strickland discovered Brenna had defied him to sneak out with Nate, the fight between Strickland and Nate’s drunken dad was loud—and very public. Strickland was found murdered later that night, and everyone accused Roy Beckett. When the church burned down, people assumed it was Nate getting even for his father’s conviction. He let the rumors fly and left Carlisle without looking back.

Now, Brenna is stunned to learn that the man convicted of murdering her father has been pardoned. The events of that night set her life on a bad course, and she’s dealing with a brutal custody battle with her ex and his new wife where he’s using lies and his family’s money to sway the judge. She’s barely hanging on, and she’s turned to alcohol to cope. Shame and fear consume her.

As they deal with the present—including new information about that fateful night and a wildfire that’s threatening their town—their past keeps igniting. Nate is the steady force Brenna has so desperately needed. But she’ll have to learn to trust him again first.

 

Click here to get your copy.

My Review

“Innocent until proven guilty.” If only those words were true for Nate Beckett, who left his high school sweetheart behind when Nate’s dad was accused of killing Brenna Strickland’s dad. When the church where Brenna’s father pastored burned down shortly after that, townspeople whispered Nate was responsible. 

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Terri Blackstock is one of the best voices in Christian suspense. I always start her books thinking, maybe I won’t like this one as much as her others. But each time Ms. Blackstock proves me wrong, whipping up the tension into high winds, my reading satisfaction spreading like wildfire as I navigate (in this case) through the very realistic, sad mess that two families have made of their lives once tragedy strikes. I loved the twists that Blackstock incorporates, as well as the strong, solid faith message she projects. Blackstock’s remarks about faith are clear and concise, not preachy. I questioned an event at the end, but then again, people can be unpredictable and don’t always make the decisions one might expect.

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If you love faith-filled suspense, this is a great book for you. 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit via NetGalley. This is no way influenced my opinions, which are solely my own. 

My Rating

5 Stars- Superior- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot

About the Author

Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA TODAYTerri-Blackstock-200x300 bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of InterventionVicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series. Visit her website at www.terriblackstock.com; Facebook: Blackstock; Twitter: @terriblackstock

 

Excerpt from Smoke Screen

I woke up in a blinding bright room, my clothes off and something clamped to my face. I tried to reach it, but I couldn’t bend my right arm, and my hand stung. An IV was taped to my other hand, but I moved carefully and touched the thing over my face.

An oxygen mask. I tried to sit up. “What happened?”

T-bird came to my bedside, a sheen of smoky sweat still soiling his face. “Nate, lie back, man.”

“The fire,” I said. “Need to get back. My men.”

“They’re still there. Making progress. But you’re not going anywhere near a fire for a month or so.”

I took the mask off and coughed a little, but managed to catch my breath. “A month?”

“Yep. Second degree burns on 20 percent of your body. Some of the burns are deep.”

It came back to me, the event that had gotten me here.

“The family. Were they injured?”

“Not a scratch or burn. Turns out it was a U.S. Senator from Kansas. He says you’re a hero.”

“You know I had no choice. They were in the path—”

“Take the praise where you can get it, man. We don’t get that much.”

I looked at my right side. My right arm was bandaged, and so was my side and down my right leg to the point where my boots had stopped the flames. Second degree wasn’t so bad, I told myself. Third degree would have been brutal. I’d be able to leave the hospital soon. I’d heal.

“I won’t need a month,” I said.

“Yes, you will. They can’t let you go back. Doctor’s orders. You’re grounded until he releases you.”

I managed to sit up, but it was a bad idea. The burns pulling on my skin reminded me why I shouldn’t. “I can’t be grounded during fire season. Are you crazy? I need to be there. You don’t have enough men as it is.”

“Sorry, Nate. It is what it is. Why don’t you go home to Carlisle for a while? Take it easy.”

Go home? Pop had just been pardoned, and he and my mom were trying to navigate the reunion. Though she would love to have me home, I didn’t know if I was up to it. My father could be challenging, and fourteen years of prison hadn’t done him any favors.

 

Taken from “Smoke Screen” by Terri Blackstock. Copyright © 2019 by Terri Blackstock. Used by permission of http://www.thomasnelson.com/.

Blog Stops

As He Leads is Joy, November 9

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 9

CarpeDiem, November 9

Christian Bookaholic , November 9

Fiction Aficionado, November 10

KarenSueHadley, November 10

Quiet quilter, November 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 10

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 11

Among the Reads, November 11

Genesis 5020, November 11

A Reader’s Brain, November 11

Robin’s Nest, November 12

All-of-a-kind Mom, November 12

Bigreadersite , November 12

Blogging With Carol , November 12

Betti Mace, November 13

Spoken from the Heart, November 13

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 13

Emily Yager, November 13

By The Book, November 14

For Him and My Family, November 14

A Baker’s Perspective, November 14

Splashes of Joy , November 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 15

Through the Fire Blogs, November 15

Andrea Christenson, November 15

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 16

The Christian Fiction Girl, November 16

Just the Write Escape, November 16

Mary Hake, November 16

Remembrancy, November 17

Simple Harvest Reads, November 17 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

EmpowerMoms, November 17

Bloggin’ ’bout Books, November 17

Blessed & Bookish, November 18

Older & Smarter, November 18

For the Love of Literature, November 18

Inklings and notions, November 18

Lights in a Dark World, November 19

amandainpa , November 19

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 19

Pause for Tales, November 19

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 20

For The Love of Books , November 20

Hallie Reads, November 20

Cathe Swanson, November 21

Christian Bookshelf Reviews, November 21

All 4 and About Books, November 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 21

Batya’s Bits, November 22

Livin’ Lit, November 22

Texas Book-aholic, November 22

janicesbookreviews, November 22

*No Giveaway for this Celebration Tour

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.

 

 

 

BLOG, Favorite, NetGalley, Revell

Stitches in Time, #2 The Deacon’s Family by Suzanne Woods Fisher

(My post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on a link.)

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About the Book

Title: Stitches in Time

Series: The Deacon’s Family

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Publisher: Revell

Released: October 2019

Detachment had worked well as a life strategy for horse trainer Sam Schrock. Until he met Mollie Graber . . .

New to Stoney Ridge, schoolteacher Mollie has come to town for a fresh start. Aware of how fleeting and fragile life is, she wants to live it boldly and bravely. When Luke Schrock, new to his role as deacon, asks the church to take in foster girls from a group home, she’s the first to raise her hand. The power of love, she believes, can pick up the dropped stitches in a child’s heart and knit them back together.

Mollie envisions sleepovers and pillow fights. What the 11-year-old twins bring to her home is anything but. Visits from the sheriff at midnight. Phone calls from the school truancy officer. And then the most humiliating moment of all: the girls accuse Mollie of drug addiction.

There’s only one thing that breaks through the girls’ hard shell–an interest in horses. Reluctantly and skeptically, Sam Schrock gets drawn into Mollie’s chaotic life. What he didn’t expect was for love to knit together the dropped stitches in his own heart . . . just in time.

Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to the little Amish church of Stoney Ridge for a touching story of the power of love.

 

Get your copy here.

My Review

Suzanne Woods Fisher’s trademark warmth, humor, and faith combine to make Stitches in Time (The Deacon’s Family, #2) another of her special, not-to-be-missed books. While this book is touted as the story between Mollie and Sam, it is very much also a continuation of the story of a maturing Luke Shrock and his marriage to Izzy. Will we see Luke chosen by lot to be the new deacon? In the last book, Luke desperately needed to grow up. In this book, God has been at work in Luke. Yet others need to find God’s help for their situations and stations in life.

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The fun thing about this story is that God had bigger plans than the characters. You can’t outmaneuver God; He lined up situations and people in such a way to bring the outcome He desired, despite the characters. God does this in real life, too.

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As you might guess, I was most impressed with Luke and Izzy, but Mollie and Sam do have a great story.
“…the more I pray, the more things happen.” Just one of the super great quotes in this book. You don’t need to read book one to enjoy this book, although I would highly suggest it. I found the three pages of “who’s who” in the front of the book helpful as I could see which books I’ve missed by which characters I didn’t know well.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher via NetGalley. (I also bought my own paperback copy.) This in no way influenced my opinions, which are solely my own.

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My Rating

5 stars – Superior- Hit My Reading Sweet Spot

About the Author

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Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling, award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books, host of the radio-show-turned-blog Amish Wisdom, a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine.

Her interest in the Amish began with her grandfather, who was raised Plain. A theme in her books (her life!) is that you don’t have to “go Amish” to incorporate the principles of simple living.

Suzanne lives in California with her family and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To her way of thinking, you just can’t take life too seriously when a puppy is tearing through your house with someone’s underwear in its mouth.

Suzanne can be found online at: www.suzannewoodsfisher.com

 

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite

Forever, Lately: A Regency Time-Travel Romance by Linore Rose Burkhard

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About the Book

Book: Forever, Lately  47933390._SY475_

Author: Linore Rose Burkard

Genre: Time-Travel Romance

Release Date: October 2019

 Maine, present day
Author Claire Channing needs to write a bestselling book to salvage a failing career. She moves to her grandmother’s rustic cottage, but without the deed, the clock is ticking on how long she can stay. She thinks she’s writing St. John’s story until an old prayer shawl with embroidered lovebirds transports her to his Regency world! She falls in love with him–a man she thought she created. But a jealous Miss Andrews would rather see Julian dead than in another woman’s arms!
Claire and St. John must beat the clock to prevent a deadly tragedy, but can love endure past the limits of time?
Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Can a twenty-first-century author and a Regency gent find common ground, let alone find themselves in the same time period for any length of time? Join them in their race against time to save their lives and love.
What a perfect story of time-travel. This novel, Forever, Lately, by Lenore Rose Burkhard, was much more than just a Regency/modern romance. It morphed into a suspense, became a mystery, and involved more twists and turns than one might have imagined possible. The serpentine path of the plot moved the narrative from “simple” to “complex” and “compelling.”

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I loved the main characters, Julian St. John and Claire Channing, and her grandmother. So charming! I strongly disliked a main character, but I did like how well the supporting characters came together to enhance the tale. This is a great Regency time travel that I recommend.
I received this complimentary book from the author via Celebrate Lit. This is no way affected my opinions, which are solely my own.

My Rating

5 Stars – Superior — Hit my reading sweet spot!!

About the Author

Linore Rose Burkard wrote a trilogy of genuine regency romances for the Christian Linore_Smaller-276x300market before there were any regencies for the Christian market. Published with Harvest House, her books opened the genre for the CBA. She also writes YA Suspense/Apocalyptic fiction as L.R. Burkard. Married with five children, Linore home-schools her youngest daughter, teaches workshops for writers, and is the Vice President of the Dayton Christian Scribes.  Her latest  PULSE EFFEX SERIES, takes readers into a “chilling possible future for America, while affirming the power of faith in the darkest of times.”

More from Linore

I wanted to write a Regency time travel for years. When I saw the movie “Kate and Leopold” I thought, Oh no! Someone used my idea! But I needn’t have worried. Leopold (Hugh Jackman) was a Victorian gentleman, not a Regencian. Secondly, though I enjoyed the flick, I kept thinking it missed many opportunities for humor. (Having written a screenplay since then, I now realize why it missed so many: tight scripts just don’t have room for all the scenes that could be fun.) When I wrote my story, however, I was able to include a lot of the humor scenes that had been floating around in my head for eons. It’s one of the reasons the book is a lot of fun to read—particularly when the Regency hero appears in the present.

On a side note, I started this book and then dropped it—for years—mostly because I wanted to write it as Christian romance like my other Regencies. But I kept running into roadblocks. And Christian publishers weren’t interested. Finally I realized I had to let God out of MY box and write the story he was giving me, not the one I thought he should give me. After that, it came together remarkably easily and quickly. And, I think, in a very fun way. I might even do a sequel.

Blog Stops

A Reader’s Brain, September 19

Betti Mace, September 20

Worthy2Read, September 20

Reading Is My SuperPower, September 21

Reflections From My Bookshelves, September 21

For Him and My Family, September 22

Through the Fire Blogs, September 23

Godly Book Reviews, September 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 26

Texas Book-aholic, September 27

janicesbookreviews, September 28

Inklings and notions, September 29

Remembrancy, September 30

Sara Jane Jacobs – Blog, September 30

 Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 1

The Avid Reader, October 2

Mia Reads, October 2

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Linore is giving away the grand prize of a $25 gift card to Bed, Bath, and Beyond!!

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/eb9d/forever-lately-celebration-tour-giveaway