Review: Of Fire and Lions by Mesu Andrews

F5428F3A-D9A6-4497-9686-CE80768E57A9This past week I was captured. I was a stranger in a foreign land. I was scared. I had my heart broken a few times. I found myself trapped in a fiery furnace, with no way of escape before me. I was thrown into a den of lions, terrified for my life. I was angry. I was bitter. I was in denial. And, in the end, I was restored and filled with hope. All between the lines and within the pages of Of Fire and Lions by Mesu Andrews, her newest release, coming out on March 5, 2019.

Let me share with you the synopsis of this book before I get started with my review:

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.

As usual, one of the things I love most about Mesu Andrews’ writing is how detailed and well-researched it is. She truly makes history come to life! From the horrors of Jerusalem under siege, to the city bursting with people that is Babylon, I felt as though I was with Belili (the female lead) every step of the way. No, I was Belili. That’s how much the writing drew me in.

Daniel’s faith is matchless. How could he have doubted? He had seen the Lord deliver men from fire, and he would one day see himself delivered from lions. Could you go there? Even in the lion’s den, would you have faith in God? This book showcases total faith, absolute surrender to God, and the undeniable grace that covers all things, that only He can give. Full of deep emotion, passion, intrigue, and mystery, this is one Biblical fiction book you won’t want to miss!

Be inspired to deepen your own faith and pre-order Of Fire and Lions today!

I vlogged my reading experience for this book! Watch my reactions to Of Fire and Lions here:

Did I mention I’m also hosting a GIVEAWAY to win a copy of this book? Β Head over to my Instagram to read all the details and enter! One winner (U.S. ONLY!!!) will be chosen at random on March 5th, 2019 at 8 PM EST. Best of luck! Trust me, you won’t want to miss this book!

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Special thanks to Waterbrook & Multnomah. I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review of this book, all opinions are my own and I do not receive compensation for leaving a positive review.

Until next time everyone, happy reading!

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Review: In the Field of Grace by Tessa Afshar

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The best endings are only the beginning! And the ending may have been my favorite part of this novel, because it wasn’t an ending at all.

You all know the familiar tale of Ruth and Boaz. One of the great love stories of the Bible, the story of a kinsman redeemer who honored his duty and the story of a faithful young woman who refused to give up in times of hardship. These two figures come to life layer by layer in Tessa Afshar’s skillful writing, revealing deep spiritual truths that anyone can relate to.

And for real, I mean anyone! I listened to the audiobook version of this while my dad and I were working together on some home renovations. Even he enjoyed listening to the story, the writing, and the inner monologue of each character (Also, hi dad!!! I heard you read my blog posts sometimes! πŸ˜€ ).

There’s a little surprise in this novel as well for those who have read Pearl in the Sand, also by Tessa Afshar. It’s an “Easter egg,” if you will! Those who are “in on it” will thoroughly enjoy the message it carries over from Afshar’s previous work.

I meant what I said however, the ending of this book was only the beginning. Spoiler alert, but God used Ruth as one of the few recorded women in the lineage of Jesus Christ. The ending of this book was the beginning of a chapter in history, a part of God’s glorious plan to bring His people back to Him. Like all of Tessa Afshar’s books, this book points you back to Him in a way that leaves the reader feeling fulfilled, inspired, and hungry for more.

As I’ve said before, Tessa Afshar was my favorite discovery of 2018 which is when I first came across her books. If you haven’t already had the chance to read any of her work, then let 2019 be the year that you discover her books, and devour them all, as I am slowly but surely doing! You won’t be disappointed.

Until next time, happy reading!

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Review: The Painter’s Daughter by Julie Klassen

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I was never a regency fan until recently, when I discovered the world of Pride and Prejudice and all things Austen. Fans of those classics, will also be fans of Julie Klassen’s writing.

But before we get into my review, let me share with you the synopsis of this book:

Sophie Dupont, daughter of a portrait painter, assists her father in his studio, keeping her own artwork out of sight. She often walks the cliffside path along the north Devon coast, popular with artists and poets. It’s where she met the handsome Wesley Overtree, the first man to tell her she’s beautiful.

Captain Stephen Overtree is accustomed to taking on his brother’s neglected duties. Home on leave, he’s sent to find Wesley. Knowing his brother rented a cottage from a fellow painter, he travels to Devonshire and meets Miss Dupont, the painter’s daughter. He’s startled to recognize her from a miniature portrait he carries with him–one of Wesley’s discarded works. But his happiness plummets when he realizes Wesley has left her with child and sailed away to Italy in search of a new muse.

Wanting to do something worthwhile with his life, Stephen proposes to Sophie. He does not offer love, or even a future together, but he can save her from scandal. If he dies in battle, as he believes he will, she’ll be a respectable widow with the protection of his family.

Desperate for a way to escape her predicament, Sophie agrees to marry a stranger and travel to his family’s estate. But at Overtree Hall, her problems are just beginning. Will she regret marrying Captain Overtree when a repentant Wesley returns? Or will she find herself torn between the father of her child and her growing affection for the husband she barely knows?

I mean, talk about drama, am I right? And if I’m being honest, dramatic turns in stories are my “guilty pleasure,” if you will.

This book may not be a “hate-to-love” romance, but there are a lot of characters you will “love to hate.” Honestly, I’ve never in my life despised a villain more. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where the guy named Wesley wasn’t evil either, so that’s a little interesting factoid for you (Question, what names do you associate with “bad guys” in books? Wesley… Clive… Wickham… Chauvelin…).

I also enjoyed the slow building love story between Sophie and Stephen. Both were flawed characters, but showed something that their villainous counterparts did not: remorse, redemption, and a desire to change.

There were many plot points specifically that reminded me of Pride and Prejudice itself. Two brothers (or brother-like figures), one a rebel, and the other who has to take responsibility. A girl easily persuaded by men she probably shouldn’t trust. A young woman of humble means marrying into a wealthy family. And of course, the English countryside!

If regency era romance, high-stakes plots fueled by threats, and of course, Christian fiction is your thing, you might want to check out The Painter’s Daughter and other books by Julie Klassen. For me this is a four out of five star book, with some of the content making me pull away from the story, but overall the protagonists drawing me back in and making the read worth my while!

Until next time,

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Favorite Book Covers of ALL TIME

If you aren’t subscribed to my YouTube channel then there is a very good chance that you didn’t see my latest book series, called “Favorite Book Covers.” The idea is pretty self-explanatory. A list of my favorite book covers. Although, I didn’t come up with this video series idea on my own. Alas, I have to thank Alysha from the blog For the Love of Christian Fiction, who is a both gifted genius of a blogger and a glittering gem of a friend!

I shared the first part of this series on my blog but I never got around to sharing the others. Since I didn’t have a blog post yesterday (Sorry! So far I’ve only been able to maintain my blogging schedule every other week, without problems! Moving to CA has definitely caused my life to go a little bit crazy…), I thought I’d remind you that I’ve got this content on my YouTube channel for you to enjoy instead.

  1. Favorite Book Covers in HISTORICAL FICTION:
  2. Favorite Book Covers in BIBLICAL FICTION:
  3. Favorite Book Covers in CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN FICTION:

Y’all. I love book covers. So much.

REMINDER: I’m SOOOOoooooOOOOO close to reaching TWO. HUNDRED. SUBSCRIBERS. on my YouTube channel, so if you could make sure that you’re subscribed if you haven’t already, that would seriously help me out. Thanks in advance! I plan on doing something special when I finally reach that goal πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

Until next time,

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Review: True by S. E. Clancy

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You all know about my *near* obsession with Biblical fiction. Let’s face it, the genre dominates my blog! No shame in that, everybody has their favorite books, tropes, genres, character types… You name it!

Now, you also know that I struggle with the contemporary genre. Like, a lot. I know a lot of AMAZING contemporary authors, I’ve read and loved some truly inspired works of contemporary fiction, but it’s not my go to. It’s also not the genre I immediately gravitate towards, so I’m very picky when it comes to which contemporary stories I will and won’t pull off the shelves.

So why this contemporary? Well, when S.E. Clancy reached out to me on Instagram and asked me if I’d be interested in reviewing her contemporary retelling of Rahab’s story, True, I was intrigued! I’ve only ever read one other contemporary retelling of a Biblical story, and I LOVED it. Ever since I’ve been trying to figure out why more of this unique sub-genre doesn’t exist! When I heard the plot of the novella, how could I refuse? It was exactly what I was looking for!

And let me tell you, it did NOT disappoint. Even in only a hundred pages, the redemptive power of God is abundantly clear. The symbolism, the characters, the message of faith and the grace of God are found all throughout.

Like others have said, the limited number of pages is anything but a weakness for Clancy. The author gives each page – no, each paragraph – a purpose. Even though it’s a story you know, I guarantee you’ll be flipping the pages waiting to see what happens next.

Interested in exploring this genre for yourself? Pre-order True today!

Until next time,

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*Disclaimer – I received a copy from the author, for the purpose of reviewing. This has in no way affected my opinions. Also, this book is a contemporary retelling of Rahab, the prostitute from the Bible whose faith in God saved her during the battle of Jericho. Readers should be advised that this book deals with and alludes to heavy topics and thematic elements that have to do with prostitution and war.