The Blizzard Bride (2020)

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About the Book

wp-1578790368833.jpgBook:  The Blizzard Bride

Series: Daughters of the Mayflower #11

Author: Susanne Dietze

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: January 15, 2020 (eBook), February 1, 2020 (paperback)

A Blizzard Changes Everything

Abigail Bracey arrives in Nebraska in January 1888 to teach school…and to execute a task for the government: to identify a student as the hidden son of a murderous counterfeiter—the man who killed her father.

Agent Dashiell Lassiter doesn’t want his childhood sweetheart Abby on this dangerous job, especially when he learns the counterfeiter is now searching for his son, too, and he’ll destroy anyone in his way. Now Dash must follow Abby to Nebraska to protect her…if she’ll let him within two feet of her. She’s still angry he didn’t fight to marry her six years ago, and he never told her the real reason he left her.

All Dash wants is to protect Abby, but when a horrifying blizzard sweeps over them, can Abby and Dash set aside the pain from their pasts and work together to catch a counterfeiter and protect his son—if they survive the storm?

Click HERE to purchase your eBook copy!

Click HERE to pre-order your paperback copy!

My Thoughts

The Blizzard Bride by Susanne Dietze is a wild ride. I mean the kind of ride that leaves the reader holding her breath and clinging to the edge of her seat. These Daughters of the Mayflower novels are excellent, and with each subsequent novel, they just keep getting better and better. Just when I think, “Aw, that book was the best!”, another story comes out and blows me away with its awesomeness. The Blizzard Bride packs a serious punch in only 256 pages and is definitely one of my favorites in this series.

Abby, the heroine of The Blizzard Bride, has had a rough few years. The love of her life up and left her with NO explanation, her father was murdered, she and her mother lost everything because of his death — their finances, their home, and their social standing. Eventually, Abby’s mother dies from a broken heart. And, Abby has broken ties with God. If He is going to abandon her, she thinks, then she will abandon Him. In six year’s time, Abby has slowly become a bitter, angry, and spite-filled woman bent on making the villains pay. She has closed herself off — no God, no friends, no loved ones. Abby figures that if she is closed off from everyone and everything she will save herself from getting hurt. But then Abby meets curmudgeonly Mr. Yates and sees a glimpse into what her future will be if she continues her path of anger and isolation. So Abby makes the only choice she can — she befriends Mr. Yates. She recognizes that, like her, Mr. Yates has some serious trauma that’s not been properly dealt with, and so reaches out to him in an attempt to get them both back on the right track.

wp-1578790368864.jpgThis subplot in The Blizzard Bride provides an excellent warning to us all — it is imperative that we deal with our lives with God, or we will end up alone and deeply hurting. This actually makes me think of Psalm 32:2-3 (ESV; my emphasis): “Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groanings all day long.” When Abby stops and really takes a look at Mr. Yates she sees dark, deep pouches under his eyes, a permanent downcast to his mouth, tight, crossed arms, and stooped shoulders. Clearly, Mr. Yate’s anger, hatred, and alienation have worn him down and he is wasting away. Abby comes to understand as David does in this Psalm, that unconfessed pain and sin eat at us and hurts our physical and spiritual selves. Abby realizes that she must turn back to God, speak her feelings, confess her sins, and ask for forgiveness. Mrs. Dietze’s subplot beautifully points out that when we turn to the One who can truly heal, we find the real peace we need in order to move beyond the hurts of our past.

As I stated above, this book packs a punch. In fact, it contains multitudes. There are super endearing characters that I won’t soon forget. A winter storm that terrified me. In fact, I didn’t take a full breath for three chapters because the storm is that intense. The romance is sweet and the mystery is captivating. All in all, The Blizzard Bride is a great read I highly recommend. This book is another home run by Susie Dietze.

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the author via her publisher, Barbour Books through NetGalley. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

An Uncommon Woman (2020) — Release Day, My Thoughts, and a Giveaway

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♥♥♥ HAPPY RELEASE DAY ♥♥♥

About the Book

wp-1578193266907.jpgBook:  An Uncommon Woman

Author: Laura Frantz

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: 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.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

Tessa Swan is an amazing woman. She is bright, passionate, and strong-willed. She is also beautiful, compassionate, and hard-working. But, Tessa is also just like every woman who’s ever walked the face of this earth — she, too, has insecurities and fears and doubts. While it is clear that Clay, the fabulous hero of An Uncommon Woman, is very attracted to Tessa for a plethora of reasons, Tessa still worries that she is not good enough for him. I completely understand Tessa’s feelings, as unfounded as they may be. For the most part, I’m pretty confident in the woman God has made me, but every now and then I, too, struggle with thoughts that I’m not good enough or pretty enough or skinny enough or smart enough for my husband. In Tessa’s case, she knows that Clay has access to genteel, upper-class women, women who have access to the best clothes money can buy and are always put together daintily and prettily. These women definitely do not have grime under their nails from working the land. Tessa has a blessed life — she’s educated where most are not, she has a loving family, and her needs are definitely met — but Tessa works for a living. Her hands are not pristine and her clothes are workworn. How could she ever compare to a back-east belle?

What I love so much about Tessa is she refuses to give in to these depressing thoughts and comparisons. In fact, a verse from Proverbs 31 comes to mind, which “renews her courage and straightens her shoulders” (113). She acknowledges that she may not be fancy like the ladies back east, but she does have the Bible to strengthen her. Tessa understands that God has made her a woman of strength and honor no matter how humble her circumstances (113). Isn’t this so beautiful? And it’s super encouraging too. Our worth as women is established by the loving Creator who made us, not by fickle society. Tessa’s example of going to her Bible to be reminded of how God sees her is the BEST message, and a reminder I think a lot of us ladies need today. The next time I’m feeling a little uncertain in my skin, when I’m feeling a little down or frumpy, I’m going to do what Tessa does — I’m going to go to God so He can remind me of my true value.

An Uncommon Woman by Laura Frantz is a beautiful illustration of a Proverbs 31 woman hard at work. Tessa Swan is a superb heroine, and I am really going to miss her. She is a heroine I will remember long after finishing this book! If you are looking for a story that is well-crafted and beautifully penned, that takes you on a journey during a tumultuous time in our American history, and that is delightfully romantic, I highly recommend An Uncommon Woman. It’s truly a breathtaking story!

I received a review copy of this novel in paperback form from the author via her publisher, Revell. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.


GIVEAWAY

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I am giving away ONE (1) paperback copy of An Uncommon Woman by Laura Frantz. My giveaway begins today, 1-7-20 at 5:00 am (PST) and ends on Saturday, 1-11-20 at 12:00 pm (PST). To enter, click on the Rafflecopter link below. Good luck!

Congrats to Patty R.!

You have won this giveaway. Thank you for participating. I appreciate your support!

***Please Note: Open to Continental U.S. mailing addresses only.*** One winner will be notified via email at the end of the giveaway and will be announced here on this page. For full giveaway disclosures and policies, click HERE.

The Christmas Ranch (2019) — A Book Spotlight

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Happy Release Day to Melinda Dozier!

About the Book

the christmas ranch 1600x2400Book: The Christmas Ranch

Author: Melinda Dozier

Publish: Anaiah Press

Release Date: December 13, 2019

Megan Palmer, a TV journalist for True Faith Network, is assigned to report on Flying B Ranch, which is known for its Christmas lights and tree farm. She assumes it will be an easy assignment—until she meets owner Brody Blackstone, a single father and cowboy. Now she must decide what’s truly important — her career or her heart.

With his ranch in jeopardy and family responsibilities, Brody has given up on relationships. But when Megan shows up, his life is turned upside down. Can he move forward and learn to listen to God? Or will his usual stubborn ways cause him to lose everything?

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

About the Author

HDMelindaDozier-4Melinda is Louisiana born, New Mexico raised, Guatemala adopted, and recently a newcomer to Houston, Texas. Though Melinda has only lived in Texas for four years, she feels she’s a Texan at heart. Melinda has been known to watch too much reality T.V. or sit by the pool in the hot Texas sun.

Website  ♣   Twitter   ♣   Instagram   ♣   Facebook

A Christmas Haven (2019) + A Giveaway

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About the Book

81Iqf7gszpL.jpgBookA Christmas Haven

Series: An Amish Christmas Romance #2

Author: Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall

Publisher: WaterBrook Press

Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance

Old Order Amish Ivy Zook is wrestling with her need to shed her community’s ways so she can grow the business of her dreams: planning parties. As long as she’s stuck living without modernization, she can barely get her business on its feet. But if she leaves too soon, she’d cause trouble for her sister, Holly, who is planning her wedding to Joshua Smucker. All of their plans become twice as complicated when an old car crashes into the storefront of Greene’s Pharmacy, carrying a Swartzentruber (ultra-conservative sect) Amish man, Arlan, and his very ill sister.

The Zooks take in Arlan and Madga, tending to the woman’s illness and Arlan begins helping around the family farm. Ivy and Arlan are on different tracks, one wanting to leave her community and the other to return to his. But both young people are trying to discover what God has in store for their futures and what miracles might lie around the corner this Christmas season.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

I believe wholeheartedly that God puts us exactly where He wants us to be, and God NEVER makes mistakes. So, if God puts us where we are supposed to be and He never makes mistakes, why do those places sometimes feel like a prison? In A Christmas Haven by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall, Ivy Zook and Arlen Keim deal with this notion of being trapped in the wrong place. In Ivy’s case, she feels trapped by her stifling Amish community. She has a plan and believes God made her to fulfill this plan, but she cannot see how her God-ordained future can be fulfilled in a community with so many rules. Arlen comes from a very, very strict order of Amish called the Swartzentrubers. When he meets Ivy under very scary circumstances, Arlen is immediately disturbed by how free and worldly Ivy and her Old Order Amish community is. He knows God put him in this community for a time in order to help his sister, but Arlen can’t help but feel stuck in the wrong place.

Both Ivy and Arlen believe God is in charge of their steps but they really struggle with where God’s physically planted them. Over time, though, both Ivy and Arlen come to realize that following God’s purpose for their lives means letting God lead. God is the master planter for a reason. We need to be patient and we need to listen. God will always eventually show us why He’s planted us where we are at — even in those places that leave us feeling a bit trapped for a time. This was definitely a message I needed to hear again. I’ve felt a little stuck for a while now, but I know God’s got me where I’m at for a purpose. My job right now in the stuck time is to simply listen. God will explain things to me in His time just as He did for Ivy and Arlen.

A Christmas Haven is a thoroughly enjoyable Christmas novella. The characters are sweet, endearing, and very relatable. The plot is highly engaging. And the themes and issues that Ivy and Arlen wrestle with are things I felt I needed to tackle too. I really love this story and find I cannot recommend it enough. I hope you will purchase a copy today. You will not be disappointed you did!

I received a copy of this novella in paperback form from the publisher, Waterbrook Multnomah, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.


GIVEAWAY

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I am giving away ONE (1) paperback copy of A Christmas Haven by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall. The giveaway begins today, 9-24-19 at 5:00 am (PST) and ends on Friday, 9-27-19 at 12:00 pm (PST). To enter, click on the Rafflecopter link below. Good luck!

Congrats to Kay G.!

You have won this giveaway. Thank you for participating. I appreciate your support!

***Please Note: Open to Continental U.S. mailing addresses only.*** One winner will be notified via email at the end of the giveaway and will be announced here on this page. For full giveaway disclosures and policies, click HERE.

Underestimating Miss Cecelia (2019) — Release Day + Review + Giveaway

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About the Book

UMCShy, sweet Cecilia Hatherleigh has always been in love with Edward Amherst, the boy next door. Yet he’s never seen her as anything but the quiet girl in the background as he flirts with the other vivacious women of the ton. 

When a near tragedy brings Edward’s attention to his family duties, this prodigal son decides he needs to settle down with a proper wife. Cecilia hopes to convince him to choose her—but God may want her to forget the wayward nobleman and put her future in His hands alone.

These two try to find their way toward happiness, but prejudice, political riots, and the changing face of England’s societal structures begin to block them at every turn. Can their struggles turn to triumph—or will their paths permanently diverge?

Amazon  ♥   CBD  ♥   Goodreads

About the Author

Carolyn   Miller

Carolyn Miller lives in New South Wales, Australia with her husband and four children. A longtime lover of Regency romance, Carolyn’s previous novels have won several contests, including the 2014 RWA “Touched by Love” and 2014 ACFW Genesis contests. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and My Book Therapy.

WEBSITE   FACEBOOK   TWITTER   INSTAGRAM

My Thoughts

I have read every novel Carolyn has published, so I feel like an expert who can say that Carolyn Miller is the #1 Regency-era writer of modern times. I’m blown away by Underestimating Miss Cecilia; it’s such a fantastically penned romance. It’s sweeping, it’s heartbreaking, it’s frustrating, it’s sweetly romantic, and it’s filled with timely lessons. Suffice to say, Underestimating Miss Cecilia is an exquisite read!

One of the most interesting and authentically thought-provoking concepts weaved throughout the narrative is that of idols. Cecilia has loved Ned her entire life. It wrecks her spirit that Ned never notices her as anything more than a little sister. Why can’t he see her?! I have to admit, I didn’t see anything wrong with Cecy’s love for Ned at first. To me, she is just a girl in love with a clueless man. She doesn’t do anything crazy to try to get Ned’s attention. She is respectful and considerate and kind. But the more I read, the more I realized that Cecy is a bit obsessed. And then a conversation takes place between Cecy and Lord Abbotsbury that rocked my world. Lord Abbotsbury states to Cecy, “We too often put our trust in people and treat them like gods, when really we would be better served seeking such approval from the One whose principles never change, and is ever infallible” (230). Boy, did this comment change my mind about how much Cecy “loved” Ned!

This comment also forced me to take a good look at myself. I have truly believed myself to be a woman who has tossed over her “idols” and given herself wholly to the Lord, but I have been struggling a lot lately, and now I think I know why. About a month ago, my daughter was diagnosed with petit mal seizures. My husband and I are working with a really good neurologist who is helping us to find the right medicine + diet combo for Bella. I didn’t think I was too messed up by this bump in the road, but then I got to talking to a couple of my friends the other day. In a fit of tears, I confessed that I am afraid of losing my daughter. This seed of fear has been growing since Bella was born. Bella’s birth was insane. We almost lost her three times. God 100% is the only reason she has reached her 7th birthday. I think that I’ve always treated her with kid gloves because I know I can never have any other children, so adding a seizure diagnosis has thrown me into a fear cycle I am not sure how to overcome. I cannot lose my kid! I have confessed this fear struggle with God, but the fear isn’t going away. I think, like Cecy has done to Ned, I have turned my sweet little girl into my idol. I think this is why I’m still struggling with fear even though I’ve confessed the fear to God. My real issue is that I haven’t confessed my actual sin — idolatry.

When this thought first stuck me I gasped and said, “NO!” I mean moms are made to love their kids fiercely. But then I considered my fear: I do NOT want to lose my child. To me, my child dying is a pain I am not sure I could ever overcome. But this is where I have gone wrong. This is how I have made my child an idol. Psalm 106:36 (ESV) states, They served their idols, which became a snare to them. The piece of this verse that resonates with me, and I dare say would resonate with Cecy, is the idea of the snare. A snare is a trap. I never meant to be trapped in this type of idol worship, and neither did Miss Cecilia. I just thought I was loving my child, and Cecy believed she was loving the man God made for her. But the truth is both fictional Cecy and very real me stopped trusting God. Instead of going to God for help, I became the one who would find the answers. I’ll figure out the medicines. I’ll watch Bella like a hawk. I’ll stay up until two in the morning worrying. It became all about me, me, me! I have become so wrapped up in my daughter that I forgot she is actually God’s daughter. I lost sight of the fact that God sets Bella’s steps in this life, not me. As Abbotsbury puts it to Cecy, I made Bella a god and I did not seek out the One who knows best.

I am SO grateful for Underestimating Miss Cecilia. Carolyn Miller has penned something more than just a Regency-era novel. She has crafted a fictional place that allows the reader the opportunity to wrestle with various internal struggles and hopefully come out the other side stronger in relationship with God. Yes, the plot is engaging. Yes, the characters are well-written and endearing. Yes, the happily ever after is satisfying. But it is the timely themes that make this novel stellar. I highly, highly recommend Underestimating Miss Cecilia. Purchase a copy today. You will not be disappointed.

I received a review copy of this novel in paperback form from the author via her publisher, Kregel Publications. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.


GIVEAWAY

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I am giving away ONE (1) paperback copy of Underestimating Miss Cecelia by Carolyn Miller. The giveaway begins today, 7-23-19 at 5:00 am (PST) and ends on Saturday, 7-28-19 at 12:00 pm (PST). To enter, click on the Rafflecopter link below. Good luck!

Congrats to Dianna G.!

You have won this giveaway. Thank you for participating. I appreciate your support!

***Please Note: Open to Continental U.S. mailing addresses only.*** One winner will be notified via email at the end of the giveaway and will be announced here on this page. For full giveaway disclosures and policies, click HERE.

A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh (2019) — Release Day + Review + Giveaway

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About the Book

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Can a proper noble lady find a future with a fossil-hunting man of faith?

As the daughter of Viscount Aynsley, Caroline Hatherleigh knows every rule of society–and she’s always followed them precisely. But when she visits south Devonshire and encounters a fossil-hunting scientist and his sister, her assumptions about what is right are shaken. Questions she has never considered about the importance of friendship and faith suddenly confront her–and her comfortable understanding about how the world works is thrown off balance. What if God wants to be the center of her life, rather than merely a social obligation?

Gideon Kirby loves science, and hunting down proof of past lives is a joy he won’t willingly give up. But his scientific leanings are being challenged both by his personal beliefs and by local smugglers in the Devonshire countryside. And every day his sister’s illness becomes more desperate, her care growing more demanding. Adding a viscount’s daughter to the mix is a complication Gideon never expected–especially since he must stay far away from this young woman he’s falling for in order to protect his beloved sister’s secret.

When a mysterious stranger visits the village, that secret will be exposed, no matter how Gideon fights. Then tragedy strikes in a smugglers’ cave. And the threat of scandal may lead to broken hearts and passionless propriety. Will the shaky bond these two have nurtured be strong enough to overcome their differences–or will the trust they’ve withheld from each other tear three lives apart?

Amazon    ♥     CBD    ♥     Goodreads

About the Author

Carolyn   Miller

Carolyn Miller lives in New South Wales, Australia with her husband and four children. A longtime lover of Regency romance, Carolyn’s previous novels have won several contests, including the 2014 RWA “Touched by Love” and 2014 ACFW Gensis contests. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and My Book Therapy.

Website   Facebook   Twitter   Instagram

My Thoughts

I have read and enjoyed every novel that Carolyn Miller has penned. With each novel I think, “Aw, this is her best book yet!” Carolyn Miller could not write a bad book if she tried. She is a truly gifted storyteller. A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh is a beautiful Regency-era story. The plot is highly engrossing — so much so I read way past my bedtime two nights in a row. The characters are wonderfully crafted and so realistic. And, the themes discussed throughout this book are timely. A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh is definitely a 2019 must read, especially if you love Regency-era stories.

At the start of this novel, Caroline Hatherleigh is not a believer in Christ. She is a product of her exceptionally wealthy society, and is her own god. I won’t lie — she bugged me so hard! I found her to be selfish, self-centered, and I could not stand how she initially treats others. But I didn’t give up on her. Through no fault of her own, Caroline is momentarily expelled from her society and sent to her grandmother’s house in the Devonshire countryside. It is during her exile that she meets Mr. Kirby, his sister Emma, and their good friend Mr. Kenmore. Kirby, Emma, and Kenmore all deeply love and respect God; it is evident in their words and actions. At first, Caroline struggles with the notion of believing in an “invisible being,” and finds their faith strange. But slowly she transforms and comes to understand God’s Truth. She also realizes how awful she’s been to others, and longs to be a better woman. I found Caroline’s transformation to be realistic and satisfying, and I could not help cheering for her. By the end of the story, Caroline completely endeared herself to my heart and she became my favorite character.

One of my greatest downfalls is that I judge others. It’s so ingrained in me, I don’t even realize I am doing it. A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh convicted me mightily. For 20 chapters, I disliked Caroline. I found myself thinking, “If she were real, I wouldn’t want anything to do with her.” At one point, I stopped and analyzed why I disliked a fake person so much, and realized it’s because she didn’t love God. Instead of being gracious and understanding of her background, I just refused to like her. When this understanding dawned on me I got really sad. What an awful christian I am. How can I be the Christian Fiction Girl and have such an ugly, rock-hard heart? Over time, I have convinced myself that my hours of study and prayer have made me better than those who are not christian. I didn’t even realize I was doing this. A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh really held a mirror to me and showed me that my Pride has taken great hold of me. I am so grateful and truly blessed to have read this wonderful story. I know I have a lot of work and prayer to do to fix myself (with God’s help, mercy, and forgiveness), but at least now it’s not too late. God has given me more time to work on becoming the woman He wants me to be. What a loving God we serve — He met me where I’m at in the pages of a beautifully crafted novel!

A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh is a wonderful story filled with endearing characters, fascinating seaside settings, a dash of danger, and lovely romance. I truly cannot recommend this book enough. If you are a fan of excellent writing and fantastic storytelling, and you love a good, clean romance with timely themes, then this is definitely the book for you!

I received a review copy of this novel in paperback form from the author via her publisher, Kregel Publications. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.


GIVEAWAY

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I am giving away ONE (1) paperback copy of A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh by Carolyn Miller. The giveaway begins today, 3-19-19 at 5:00 am (PST) and ends on Saturday, 3-23-19 at 12:00 pm (PST). To enter, click on the Rafflecopter link below. Good luck!

CONGRATS TO KIM H.!

YOU HAVE WON THIS GIVEAWAY. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION.

IT IS GREATLY APPRECIATED.

***Please Note: Open to Continental U.S. mailing addresses only.*** One winner will be notified via email at the end of the giveaway, and will be announced here on this page. For full giveaway disclosures and policies, click HERE.

Of Fire and Lions (2019) — Release Day + Review

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About the Book

Of Fire and LionsThe 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.

Amazon    ♥     CBD    ♥     Goodreads

About the Author

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.

Website    ♥     Facebook    ♥     Twitter

My Thoughts

Biblical fiction is my most favorite genre, and Mesu is one of my most favorite authors. I have read a number of Mesu’s works, and have loved every single one. She is such a stellar writer, and her research is impeccably done. But what I love the most about Mesu’s books is that she is so willing to tackle the hard stories of the Bible. She does so honestly, respectfully, realistically, and in a manner that proves she really has a BIG heart for Jesus. Of Fire and Lions is a superb novel that deftly illustrates life during the Babylonian exile. I admit to being totally mesmerized and slightly terrified the entire time I was reading. And, best of all, this novel had me doing a bit of soul searching — exactly what a Biblical novel should do!

When I read the Bible, I’m always inspired by and in awe of God’s chosen people. The Bible is filled with men and women who are fantastic examples of grit, strength, zeal for God, and a steadfastness that seems unshakable. I’m encouraged by characters like Joseph, Moses, Esther, and Daniel. I attempt to glean from their stories ways I can be a better christian, but I do have to admit that many times I feel I could never measure up. I think about what I would do or say if I was in Joseph’s, Moses’s, Esther’s, or Daniel’s sandals, and I’m afraid I wouldn’t be as brave and courageous as they were. Daniel has always been, to me, one of the most intimidating figures in the Bible. He goes through terrifying ordeals, yet he never seems to waiver. He appears to be perfect in his trust and faith in Yahweh. Is this the truth though? Did he really never question or fear? Did he never get frustrated or angry at God?

One of the reasons I LOVE Of Fire and Lions is because Mesu made Daniel real. In this novel, he does have moments of confusion, insecurities, doubt, and fear. Yeah, he’s Daniel and his faith is unwavering, but in this story I see a man who feels things the way I might feel if I were taken captive into an unknown land by a brutal and cruel man. Daniel’s thoughts and questions resemble thoughts and questions I had when I went through scary times myself. And, the way Mesu envisions how Daniel feels when he’s taken to the lion’s den — the terror one feels when facing a brutally scary unknown — was like looking in the mirror. I don’t ever want someone to feel so frightened by fear they’re almost paralyzed, but it is nice to know I’m not the only one on this earth who struggles with fear. I really appreciated seeing Daniel as a man with normal feelings, thoughts, and insecurities instead of the seemingly perfect prophet one sees in the Bible.

CollageMaker_20190304_142924180.jpgI highlighted and made notes on half of this book. So many topics and ideas resonated with me, but there is one question that Daniel poses to his child that struck me hard. At one point, when discussing the return of a remnant to Jerusalem, Daniel asks his daughter, “Can you give up your comfortable routine to live in the tension of God’s uncharted plan?” What a FABULOUS question! I finished reading this novel over 24 hours ago, but I’m still fretting over this question. I would LOVE to say, “Yes!”, but I’m not sure I can and that scares me a little. Not being able to immediately say yes to this question means I have some idols in my life, and that shames me a bit. I can’t say, as I sit her typing this post, that I am fully resolved on this issue, but I very much appreciate that Mesu’s novel allowed for such self-reflection. This is definitely something I am going to have to work on and talk to Jesus about for some time.

Of Fire and Lions is an amazing novel. There is SO much more I could talk about, but I don’t want to spoil a thing. Suffice to say, I really appreciate the new insight I gained into the life of one of the coolest humans in the Bible. And, being able to self-reflect as I did makes this novel a Biblical fiction gem. I highly, highly recommend this stellar novel.

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook and paperback form from the author via her publisher, WaterBrook. The eBook was supplied via NetGalley. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.