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, 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

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

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.

 

 

BLOG, Favorite, Waterbrook-Multnomah

Of Fire and Lions by Mesu Andrews

ABOUT THE BOOK:

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TITLE: Of Fire and Lions

AUTHOR: Mesu Andrews

PUBLISHER: Waterbrook-Multnomah

PUBLISHED: March  2019

The Old Testament book of Daniel comes to life in this novel for readers of Lynn Austin’s Chronicles of the Kings series or Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion series.

Survival. A Hebrew girl first tasted it when she escaped death nearly seventy years ago as the Babylonians ransacked Jerusalem and took their finest as captives. She thought she’d perfected in the many years amongst the Magoi and the idol worshippers, pretending with all the others in King Nebuchadnezzar’s court. Now, as Daniel’s wife and a septuagenarian matriarch, Belili thinks she’s safe and she can live out her days in Babylon without fear–until the night Daniel is escorted to Belshazzar’s palace to interpret mysterious handwriting on a wall. The Persian Army invades, and Bellili’s tightly-wound secrets unfurl with the arrival of the conquering army. What will the reign of Darius mean for Daniel, a man who prays to Yahweh alone?
Ultimately, Yahweh’s sovereign hand guides Jerusalem’s captives, and the frightened Hebrew girl is transformed into a confident woman, who realizes her need of the God who conquers both fire and lions.

 

MY REVIEW:

Of Fire and Lions by Mesu Andrews lives up to its exciting, exotic name. It will be one of my faves for 2019!! Such a complex story, so many deep emotions, and such great God lessons set against the impossibly capricious and precarious times of the rising and waning Babylonian empire. Themes of faithfulness to Yahweh, the strength of love, HIS forgiveness, restoration with family, secrets, and so much more. My heart is so full, I would urge anyone with an interest in Biblical history to read Andrews’ well-researched and amazingly crafted account of Daniel.
One of the themes I found most applicable to my life: What is more important? Personal comfort or following God’s Will? Ouch!!
Quote(The heart-rending cry of many a parent, including myself):
“ ‘I failed to convince the people I love most that Yahweh is real.’
‘You have not failed, and you can’t convince them. Only Yahweh can work in a heart to help those we love to believe. We must simply love them with an honest and transparent heart.’ “
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook-Multnomah. I am not required to leave a positive review and all opinions are solely my own.
 

MY RATING:

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Copy of Copy of Of Fire and Lions

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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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 imagine, 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.

Bethany House, BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour

Shelter of the Most High, #2 Cities of Refuge by Connilyn Cossette

Shelter-of-the-most-high-copy

 

About the Book

 

Book: Shelter of the Most High

Author: Connilyn Cossette36436246

Genre: Christian Biblical Fiction

Release Date: October 2018

The daughter of a pagan high priest, Sofea finds solace from her troubles in the freedom of the ocean. But when marauders attack her village on the island of Sicily, she and her cousin are taken across the sea to the shores of Canaan.

Eitan has lived in Kedesh, a city of refuge, for the last eleven years, haunted by a tragedy in his childhood, yet chafing at the boundaries placed on him. He is immediately captivated by Sofea, but revealing his most guarded secret could mean drawing her into the danger of his past.

As threats from outside the walls loom and traitors are uncovered within, Sofea and Eitan are plunged into the midst of a murder plot. Can they uncover the betrayal in time to save their lives and the lives of those they love?

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

 

MY REVIEW

“The Almighty Creator spoke your being into existence. How could you be anything less than precious?” This is a quote to end all quotes for me, one I want to memorize, because it is TRUTH.
What a wonderful, yet chilling, story Connilyn Cossette has penned in Shelter of the Most High. As always, I especially pay attention when a book has a double-entendre title. Well- done from the start!
Cossette takes the reader back to the time in Israel’s history when Israel has just entered the Promised Land, captured much territory, and now their revered leader Joshua is ready to die.
One of Israel’s traveling spies, Darek, finds Sofea and Prezi, malnourished and greatly abused, on an island. Taking them back to his family,
Sofea and Prezi slowly heal as they are assimilated into a large family whose God is so very different from their own.
Cossette is a new-to-me author that I can’t wait to begin reading more, starting with the first and soon-to-come third book of this series. This book, although book two of a series, stands well on its own. Spell-binding could describe Cossette’s writing. Once started, it was hard to stop reading. Perhaps gritty also describes Cossette’s style. Not in language, but the physical abuse, carnage, and false god worship may turn a few delicate stomachs.
What else, besides the compelling storyline, history immersion, and sweet romance make this a great book? Themes of unrelinquished guilt, undeserved mercy, and unconditional love. If you have not tried Cossette’s Biblical fiction, or at least not Shelter of the Most High, I strongly invite you back to Cossette’s ancient Israel, the Cities of Refuge, and the Great Sea.
I was given a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. No review was required, and all opinions are my own.

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About the Author

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Connilyn Cossette is the CBA bestselling author of the Out From Egypt series. Her debut novel, Counted with the Stars, was a finalist for the Christy Award, the INSPY Award, and the Christian Retailing’s Best Award. She lives in North Carolina with her husband of twenty years and a son and a daughter who fill her days with joy, inspiration, and laughter. Connect with her at www.ConnilynCossette.com.

 

 

 

 

Guest Post from Connilyn

Shelter of the Most High, the second book in my Cities of Refuge Series, will be the first I’ve written to have been influenced by my trip to Israel last year. When I started writing Biblical fiction almost nine years ago, I was limited to exploring the Land of Promise via Google Earth, books, and through a plethora of photos on the good ol’ world wide web, but of course, nothing can compare to actually experiencing the atmosphere and scenery for yourself.

So although I’d already written Shelter of the Most High by the time I hopped on a plane to join fellow author Cliff Graham’s GoodBattle Tour, once I returned my editing was filtered through the sights and sounds I’d witnessed for myself. It had been a life-long dream to go to Israel and it did not disappoint, in fact, it just went way too fast!

One of my greatest fears was that I would see the places I’d written about in my books and realize I totally messed up my descriptions, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that for the most part, I’d been fairly accurate (although I did tweak a few things here and there).

Standing on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee I was able to envision Eitan, our hero in Shelter of the Most High, sitting on one of the black boulders there, defeated and weary as he searched for his love. I was able to look toward the snowy peaks of Mount Hermon in the north and over the fertile Hula Valley just below the ancient ruins of Kedesh, the city of refuge, and consider how Sofea must have felt as she experienced the landscape of her new home for the first time, both the fear and the awe.

One of my favorite sites was Tel Dan and although it does not feature in Shelter of the Most High it’s lush greenness and dense forest gave me a better sense of what Israel must have been in the past before deforestation, war, and shifts in climate have done to the fertile land God himself called a land of milk and honey. Since I was so affected by Tel Dan (or Laish in ancient times) that city will be one of the settings in my upcoming third installment of the Cities of Refuge Series, Until the Mountains Fall.

Being a super visual person who is highly sensitive to sensory input, I took great pleasure in absorbing with all my senses as we walked paths, climbed mountains (yes, mountains), slogged through a long, cold, and wet tunnel deep beneath Jerusalem, hiked up to the secret oasis of Ein Gedi where David hid from Saul, and rocked along on a boat over the glassy surface of the Galilee. I felt like a sponge just soaking up every little detail and every grand vista.

Smelling the salty breeze off the Mediterranean and hearing the waves crash against the sandy beach in Tel Aviv and Caesarea Phillipi made me imagine our heroine Sofea looking over that enormous, blue expanse and wondering what sort of god had control of such a powerful thing.

Feeling the timeworn cobblestones beneath my feet gave me a sense of what it must have been like for Eitan and Sofea to walk through the streets of Kedesh, their own sandals scuffing against the rough-hewn stone as they went about their daily activities.

Running my fingers along the pitted surfaces of ancient buildings and tracing the chisel marks from craftsmen of the Bronze Age wrapped me in a whirl of imagination about who the people were that hefted those same rocks into place and the ingenuity it took to create structures that have lasted so long.

Tasting the unique spices and flavors of the Middle East gave me a sense of the passion Moryiah (our hero’s mother) has for creating delicious new dishes to feed her growing family and the guests at her inn.

Although I write fiction, my stories are woven into Biblical accounts so going to Israel was a perfect reminder for me that the people that lived between the pages of Genesis to Revelations were real. They breathed, they cried, they loved, they mourned, they suffered, and they celebrated with their families. I am so grateful to have gleaned some great new insight into the Land and its resilient, vibrant people and hope that through Shelter of the Most High readers get a small sense of the beauty and wonder I experienced there. I cannot wait to go back!

 

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, November 20

The Power of Words, November 20

Among the Reads, November 21

Gensis 5020, November 21

God’s Little Bookworm, November 22

Book by Book, November 22

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 22

Remembrancy, November 23

Real World Bible Study, November 23

Inklings and notionsNovember 23

The Becca Files, November 24

Baker Kella, November 24

Bibliophile Reviews, November 25

The Meanderings of a BookwormNovember 25

By The Book, November 26

Reading Is My SuperPower, November 26

Aryn The LibraryanNovember 27

All-of-a-kind Mom, November 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 27

Abbas Prayer Warrior Princess, November 28

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, November 28

Simple Harvest Reads, November 29 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

For the Love of Literature, November 29

Janices book reviews, November 29

The Lit Addict, November 30

Texas Book-aholic, November 30

Just the Write Escape, December 1

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 1

Connect in Fiction, December 2

The Christian Fiction Girl, December 2

Bigreadersite, December 2

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 3

Purposeful Learning, December 3

Carpe Diem, December 3

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Connilyn is giving away

Grand Prize: All five of Conni’s novels, including Shelter of the Most High, plus AHAVA Dead Sea Bath Salts

Three other winners will receive a copy of Shelter of the Most High!!

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/d66d/shelter-of-the-most-high-celebration-tour-giveaway