Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads

“The Heart of a King” by Jill Eileen Smith ~ Book Review

 

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“The Heart of a King” by Jill Eileen Smith

The Loves of Solomon

Biblical/historical Fiction

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

The Heart of a King (The Loves of King Solomon #1-4)

About the book:

Four women captured King Solomon’s heart in different ways, and he indulges his desires despite warnings. For all his wisdom, did Solomon or the women he loved ever find what they were searching for?

 

King Solomon was wealthy and wise beyond measure. He could–and did–have anything he wanted, including many women from many lands. But for all his wisdom, did he or the women in his life ever find what they searched for all of their lives?

In this engrossing novel, you’ll find yourself whisked away to ancient Israel, where you’ll meet Solomon and four of the women he loved: Naamah the desert princess, Abishag the shepherdess, Siti the daughter of a pharaoh, and Nicaula the queen of Sheba. As you experience the world of Solomon through his eyes and the eyes of these women, you’ll ask yourself the ultimate question: Did Solomon’s wisdom ultimately benefit him and those he loved . . . or did it betray them?

 

 

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My Thoughts:

 

Before I go into my review, I want to state how much I love this cover. The colors just pop and it is beautifully designed! And the spine of it too – it’s beautiful!
The inside of this attractive novel was very enjoyable as well. Not once was I bored or lacking interest. I found this book to be very well-written, and captivating.
It was really interesting to see into King Solomon’s life, as well as a few of his many wives’ lives.
I was really impressed with how the author wrote King Solomon’s character  – he was likeable and understandable, and yet so frustrating with his weakness for many, many women. I have always wondered about him and his many wives, and honestly, he was irritating in this aspect but I couldn’t hate him. His flaws made up his character, and his strengths were shown as well. Like I said, I was impressed with the overall respect the author wrote into his story.
And I also found the four wives highlighted in this novel to be fascinating and well-written. I felt for each of them and enjoyed getting to know them. I think Naamah and Abishag were my favorites, but they each were unique characters that had complex stories.
I would like to add as well that it was all tastefully written. I was a little cautious about how…passionate it might become at times because of the nature of the story, but the descriptions never went too far, and it was handled really well. I was very appreciative of this!
The historicalness of the story felt natural, and I would easily classify it as such; historical fiction.
“The Heart of a King” is definitely my favorite of this author’s work thus far, and I would recommend it to fans of Historical/Biblical fiction. This novel felt similar to the author Mesu Andrews’ writing, so if you’ve enjoyed her novels, be sure to check out this one as well.
:)
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_It did no good to try to rewrite what was already past. What could never change. The very idea was futile._
_Sometimes suffering brings people together in a way prosperity never can._
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publishers as apart of the books launch team. I was not required to write a positive review.  
Posted in Book reviews, Books

“Of Fire and Lions” by Mesu Andrews ~ Book Review

Happy Release Day to this book!! Mesu Andrews writes some great Biblical fiction – I am happy and honored to be on her team! <3

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“Of Fire and Lions” by Mesu Andrews

Biblical Fiction

Review copy from the publishers as apart of Mesu’s BFF launch team

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Of Fire and Lions

About the book:

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.

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My Thoughts:

 

This is an exquisitely told tale of…so much. To say it was only about one character, or one theme would be an error because so much was ensconced in this novel.

The story is told through the eyes of Abigail – or Belili as she is most often referred to – and Daniel, and spans across their lives from when they first met, when they felt lost to each other, and when they were reunited, and beyond.

It took me a bit to adjust to the time-jumping, but it was handled smoothly, and expressed the novel so well.

Belili had to endure a lot of heartache. As we learn her story, we are endeared to her and understand her pain, and her decisions. Time after time God gently reveals Himself to her, and that was a beautiful part of this story.

Daniel’s faith was spectacular, of course. And inspiring. To be faced with death for following Yahweh, and still remaining true to Him – it is encouraging to say the least. I thank God that we can still worship and pray to Him freely.

“Of Fire and Lions” really is such a full book that it almost seems impossible to cover everything and do the book justice. It was more than a pleasurable read, and I absolutely loved the faith shown throughout. Seeing the transformations at the end was just wonderful, and seeing God work – always amazing!

A beautiful Biblical Fiction piece from Mesu Andrews – I always look forward to more of her novels!

 

 

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Posted in Book reviews

“Jairus’s Girl” by L.R. Hay ~ Book Review

 

“Jairus’s Girl” by L.R. Hay

Biblical Fiction for younger readers

Review copy from the author

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

About the Book:

Tammie’s life in a quiet fishing town would never be the same again. 
Her future wasn’t looking good (understatement!), but things quickly went from bad to WICKED with the arrival of a strange grown-up with nice eyes. 
And as for the business with Daniel’s lunch, or Dibs’s roof. . . 

Jairus’s Girl is an entertaining and moving account of the Galilee side of Jesus’s story – aimed at pre-teens, though some adults have sneakily read and enjoyed it too.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

What a delightful story! My family and I have discussed how lovely it would be to have more Biblical fiction written for younger ages – and this book fits that marvelously.
Through this story, we see many of Jesus’ miracles and healings through the eyes and experiences of Jairus’ daughter – the girl whom Jesus raised from the dead. In this book, the girl’s name is Tamar – with some more names after that; the author affectionately dubs her as Tammie. Easy to say and remember!
Reading “Jairus’ Girl” is very much like you are sitting down with the author and she is telling you this tale.
Sometimes modern words were used that didn’t seem quite right (Tammie would say exclamations such as “wicked” or “cool” etc.)  – I didn’t find them offensive or what-have-you, just not authentic or fully fitting to the story itself. She also seemed quite young for her age, but that wasn’t so much a qualm as an observation.
I found this book to be very enjoyable, and one I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to any reader, but especially younger ones! I can tell you what a relief that is. I am admittedly a rather picky book- recommender when it comes to younger readers, wanting the books I recommend to be wholesome and enjoyable. I think “Jairus’s Girl” is one such read! I would say it might be best enjoyed by readers aged anywhere from 8-15, with 10-12 being the most ideal, but that is certainly not restrictive or exhaustive. I think it would make a great read-aloud for parents or siblings too. I am in my early twenties and I enjoyed myself :)
My favorite parts were those involving Jesus firsthand. They were heartfelt and gentle, and I found them very sweet. Sure, the conversations were a bit more modern, but the heart was there, and it was touching. As any encounter with Jesus should be! <3
Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“Shelter of the Most High” by Connilyn Cossette ~ Book Review

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“Shelter of the Most High” by Connilyn Cossette

Biblical Fiction// Cities of Refuge book Two.

Review copy from the publisher

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

 

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 and 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. Will they break free from the shackles of the past in time to uncover the betrayal and save their lives and the lives of those they love?

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

What fun to be able to read little Eitan’s story from when we first met him in “A Light on the Hill”. Except…little Eitan is no longer little in “Shelter of the Most High”! What happened?! ;) He grew up. Into a very strong, Yahweh-following, handsome young man.
This story is also shared with heroine, Sofea. The foreign speaking spitfire with the utmost concern for her cousin, Prezi. Both of these young woman are strong characters and immediately endearing. Kidnapped from their Island and families that were murdered, the girls manage to escape off the ship on which they were imprisoned, making it to shore but nearly dying in the process. They are rescued by a group of Hebrews who bring them back to the city of refuge, Kedesh.
Not only would the ordeal be terrifying, but not speaking their language or understanding at all would be remarkably hard. It was lovely to see the girls adapt, even through continued hardships.
Some of the tension that occurred towards the middle/end was a bit predictable, though there was one event that I hadn’t suspected that was interesting for sure.
I know the relationship tension is something done in almost every novel and it works for the stories, but I have to admit that I get a little tired of it. I certainly don’t mind realistic relationship problems because relationships are hard, but when it just seems to be a part of the plot it isn’t my favorite.
However, I loved how it was resolved, and the ending was very, very good! I don’t want to give any spoilers, but after the tension event occurred, I was completely riveted, wanting to know how a certain plot was going to be unwound.
I also loved the small hints we got for Prezi’s relationship status, though I know we probably won’t get a book for her story. I loved Prezi, Sofea’s cousin, and fell in love with her sweet character!
This is Biblical Fiction, so of course mentions of Yahweh are woven throughout. Its message wasn’t as strong as I was expecting, so I think that’s why it wasn’t my favorite compared to the first book in this series, but it was still very good, and as I said, I loved the ending – that is where we received some very lovely truths that were healing to the characters. I would’ve liked to see Sofea develop more in her faith in Yahweh, though. I feel like that wasn’t touched upon very deeply.
Eitan’s story was very good in this aspect though.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
Posted in Book reviews

“By The Waters of Babylon” by Mesu Andrews ~ Book Review

By the Waters of Babylon (Psalm #2)

 

“By The Waters of Babylon” by Mesu Andrews

Book #2 in the Psalm Series

Biblical Fiction

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

 

When Babylon destroys Jerusalem, as Yahweh warned through his prophets, the captives’ bitterness and grief pours out in the Captives’ Psalm:

“[By the rivers of Babylon] we sat as exiles, mourning our captivity, and wept with great love for Zion. Our music and mirth were no longer heard, only sadness. We hung up our harps on the willow trees.” (Psalm 137:1-2, The Passion Translation)

A young Israelite woman is among them, captured by a mercenary Scythian prince. Driven toward Babylon by both hatred and hope, she endures captivity to reunite with her husband.

But will he be there when she reaches Babylon? Will the prince risk the Scythian throne–and his life–to believe in the Hebrew God? Can they both find what they seek when they meet the prophet Ezekial. . . by the rivers of Babylon?

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

This is the second book in the Psalm Series (each one by a different author). I love the idea behind this series, and am most assuredly enjoying them! They give lovely insight and story behind the Psalms they represent.
While BtWoB is a shorter story, it is not a light one. There is a lot of depth and Biblical history that I have grown to expect from Mesu Andrews. She writes so well and makes it so easy to fall into the stories, which I love.
Merari’s story was one of more seriousness and hardship from the life she lived as a captive. But there was still hope. The latter half of the book surprised me a bit, but I was happy with the direction it took.
One thing I would caution about is some fairly descriptive shocking scenes regarding bloodshed/cannibalism. It might not be the best for sensitive readers, and especially for anyone under 16. I myself am not a fan of reading about such things, but I know everyone has a different level of “tolerance” and sensitivity, so this may not bother other readers at all. Just wanted to mention it for anyone who might be like me. :)
I liked Idan a  lot, and sometimes disliked him for his stubborn behaviour. I wouldn’t mind reading more about him though and seeing his story continue! Being reunited with his wife and child…I would’ve loved to have read about that. ^.^
In summation, I enjoyed this book very much, the writing style was engaging and the history extremely well written. There were a few parts that weren’t my favourite, but not enough to turn me away from the book. And as always, I look forward to more by Mesu Andrews!
And am excited for the next book in this Psalm series. :)
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Quotes:
“Perhaps Yahweh has revealed Himself to you – spared you – so you can share Him with your people”
“Your gods were created by men, Idan. My God created men.”
“People and courage may fail, but Yahweh is a Fortress whose mercies are new every morning.”
“You will always have your memories, but your hands must be empty to embrace new treasure.”
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
Posted in blog tour, Book reviews

“Trust and Obey” by Faith Blum ~ Blog Tour/Review

Trust and Obey Blog Tour

Faith Blum has a new book. And it’s not a Western. It is a fairy tale retelling set during the time of King Saul. Read on to learn more about the book.

About the Book

Trust and Obey_KindleA wicked priestess, a morally corrupt king, and two children stuck in the middle…

Hadassah and Gidal love their parents and will do anything for them. When Priestess Basmat tell Ehud and Jerusha to pay their debt, they cannot and she takes Hadassah and Gidal as her slaves for two years.

The priestess works them hard, but there are two other servants to divide the load with, so they cope as well as they can. Then King Saul comes in disguise requesting the priestess’s other services—as a medium.

Will Hadassah and Gidal trust Adonai to take care of them? What will happen after Priestess Basmat comes face-to-face with the prophet Samuel?

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07D939ZPL Continue reading ““Trust and Obey” by Faith Blum ~ Blog Tour/Review”

Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

Judah’s Wife by Angela Hunt ~ Book review

 

Judah’s Wife by Angela Hunt

Biblical Fiction

Review copy through Bethany House Publishers

My rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

Seeking peace and safety after a hard childhood, Leah marries Judah, a strong and gentle man, and for the first time in her life Leah believes she can rest easily. But the land is ruled by Antiochus IV, descended from one of Alexander the Great’s generals, and when he issues a decree that all Jews are to conform to Syrian laws upon pain of death, devout Jews risk everything to follow the law of Moses.

Judah’s father resists the decree, igniting a war that will cost him his life. But before dying, he commands his son to pick up his sword and continue the fight–or bear responsibility for the obliteration of the land of Judah. Leah, who wants nothing but peace, struggles with her husband’s decision–what kind of God would destroy the peace she has sought for so long? 

The miraculous story of the courageous Maccabees is told through the eyes of Judah’s wife, who learns that love requires courage . . . and sacrifice. 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

I was actually hesitant to read this book at first because the other books I’ve read by this author were not favourites. But since this one was about the Maccabees, I was very intrigued and willing to give it a chance. Happily, I didn’t find it to be like the other books I’d read previously, which was good. It was pretty clean, as a whole, though since it is largely a battle-book, there are definitely some graphic scenes, but the graphic-descriptions never lasted too long.
Being someone who celebrates The Feast of Dedication with my family, I was particularly interested in that aspect of this novel, but honestly, that specific account was told in a matter of 2 or so pages without much depth.
A lot of the book seemed mostly factual instead of story-sounding, and I realize facts are good, but it wasn’t what I was expecting.  I prefer a Biblical based book to explain things more in a story-telling way – where you relate to it at a deeper level because it is incorporating characters and storylines along with the information.  I couldn’t really connect with the main characters because, well, there wasn’t much about them. The first half of the book showed them well enough, and I was able to connect a bit there and the book’s title made sense, but at the middle-mark, when the battles all started to happen, it lost the character-relation and was really more of a battle play-by-play and less about Leah and much more about Judah. Which is fine for many, just not what the title suggests at all, or what I was hoping for.
Things that I thought they would spend time on were glossed over within a paragraph, or mentioned as just a passing thought, which I thought was a little odd.
It was nice to see each battle-victory be given to the glory of Adoni, though.
I appreciate the author’s intent, writing a novel about the Maccabees, because it is fascinating, I just personally could not connect with this book.

Quote:

“And we are to teach our children that no king can ever take the place of HaShem in our hearts. The Hellenes may abolish our Temple service, they may forbid us to circumcise our children or observe the Sabbath, and they may encourage us to eat unclean animals. But they can never unseat HaShem from His throne. He still owns heaven and earth, and He still controls the fate of kings and priests.” 
** I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher.  All opinions expressed are mine alone.