Tag Archives: Biblical fiction

Top 10 Tuesday — Favorites of 2018 (So Far)

17 Apr

This week That Artsy Reader Girl of Top 10 Tuesday is letting bloggers have a Freebie. After much thought, I finally settled on sharing the Best Books I’ve Read So Far This Year. The books on this list all were given a Highly Recommended rating by me. Covering a variety of genres, these books offer realistic and endearing characters, are beautifully written, and share messages of hope, healing, and grace. I loved them, and I think you will too. If you have read any of them, let me know if you agree with my assessment.

 

 

 

 Best Books I’ve Read in 2018 (So Far)

The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

Hurricane Season by Lauren K. Denton

Lead Me Home by Amy K. Sorrells

The Melody of The Soul by Liz Tolsma

Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

On This Foundation by Lynn Austin 

A Passionate Hope by Jill Eileen Smith

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

A Song of Home by Susie Finkbeiner

Steal Away Home by Billy Coffey

What book is your favorite this year?

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Top 10 Tuesday — To Re-Read Or Not To Re-Read

10 Apr

In February TTT explored books that can be re-read over and over. Because I hardly ever re-read anymore (too many books, too little time and all), I listed books that deserve a re-read. Well here we are with a challenge to name books that we loved but will not re-read — my list could go on for pages! So I have again limited myself to 10 stellar books that not only deserve a first read, but a re-read over and over again. If you haven’t read any on the list at all, be sure to check them out. They are great. And don’t forget to head over to That Artsy Reader Girl to find out more books that bloggers love.

 

Top 10 Books That Won’t Be Re-Read by Me, But Should Be Read by You!

 


Bad Ground
by Dale Cramer

Poignant and thought provoking, this is a down-to-earth, sometimes humorous novel filled with suspense, action, redemption, and even romance. Seventeen-year-old Jeremy Prine decides to honor his mother’s dying wish and seek out his estranged uncle who was badly burned in the accident that killed Jeremy’s father. He finds the man working as a hard-rock miner in the south, an extremely dangerous occupation. His uncle seems a bitter and lonely man, but Jeremy senses more beneath the surface. Against his uncle’s wishes, Jeremy takes a job as a miner and soon his young faith is tested by his rough and gritty co-workers, the threat of danger … and the possibility of love.

Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta

The year is 1838, and seventeen-year-old Julia Elliston’s position has never been more fragile. Orphaned and unmarried in a time when women are legal property of their fathers, husbands, and guardians, she finds herself at the mercy of an anonymous guardian who plans to establish her as a servant in far-off Scotland.

With two months to devise a better plan, Julia’s first choice to marry her childhood sweetheart is denied. But when a titled dowager offers to introduce Julia into society, a realm of possibilities opens. However, treachery and deception are as much a part of Victorian society as titles and decorum, and Julia quickly discovers her present is deeply entangled with her mother’s mysterious past. Before she knows what’s happening, Julia finds herself a pawn in a deadly game between two of the country’s most powerful men. With no laws to protect her, she must unravel the secrets on her own. But sometimes truth is elusive and knowledge is deadly.

Dancing on Glass by Pamela Binnings Ewen

In the steamy city of New Orleans in 1974, Amalise Catoir meets Phillip Sharp, a charming, magnetic artist, unlike any man she has known.

A young lawyer herself, raised in a small town and on the brink of a career with a large firm, she is strong and successful, yet sometimes too trusting and whimsical. Ama’s rash decision to marry Phillip proves to be a mistake as he becomes overly possessive, drawing his wife away from family, friends, and her faith.

His insidious, dangerous behavior becomes her dark, inescapable secret. In this lawyer’s unraveling world, can grace survive Ama’s fatal choice? What would you do when prayers seem to go unanswered, faith has slipped away, evil stalks, and you feel yourself forever dancing on shattered glass?

For Time And Eternity by Allison Pittman

All Camilla Deardon knows of the Mormons camping nearby is the songs she hears floating on the breeze. Then she meets one of them—a young man named Nathan Fox. Never did she imagine he would be so handsome, so charming, especially after Mama and Papa’s warnings to stay away. Though she knows she should obey her parents, Camilla can’t refuse her heart. But even Nathan’s promises cannot prepare her for what she will face in Utah.

 

 

Invisible by Ginny Yttrup

Cafe owner Ellyn DeMoss seeks protection from pain behind extra pounds. So why is a handsome widower attracted to her? Abandoning her family, Sabina Jackson comes to Northern California to heal. But is she doing more hiding than healing? And Twila Boaz once wanted to disappear. Now she wants to conquer her eating disorder. Will she succeed?

 

 

 

 

Iscariot by Tosca Lee

Judas Iscariot…the name of Judas conjures up the ultimate betrayer. What could possibly bring him to such a vile decision to betray Jesus? Tosca Lee brilliantly captures Judas’ life; why he chose to follow Jesus when he was a respected scholar, what he witnesses day after day being near and speaking with Jesus. You will be captivated by every nuance of Judas’ story as he walked with Jesus and Judas’ history that led him to that point. Why did Jesus choose the path that he chose, from angering those in esteemed positions by not just allowing those who were “unclean” near him, but encouraging their presence? Judas struggled to understand Jesus’ motives and questioned them all along the way. The places where you question how and what Jesus did are brilliantly speculated by Tosca Lee in the amazing story of Iscariot.

The Sweetest Thing by Elizabeth Musser

Anne “Perri” Singleton’s world is defined by the security of family, the camaraderie of friends at an exclusive Atlanta girls’ school, and an enviable social life. She isn’t looking for new friends when Mary Dobbs Dillard arrives from Chicago. Besides, “Dobbs,” the passionate and fiercely individualistic daughter of an itinerant minister, is her opposite in every way.

But just as the Great Depression collides disastrously with Perri’s well-ordered life, friendship blossoms—a friendship that will be tested by jealousy, betrayal, and family secrets..

A Thousand Sleepless Nights by Michael King

In the 1970s, escaping a home where he knew nothing but violence and hate, Jim Harding found work, and love, on the largest horse ranch in Virginia. The object of his affections, Nena St. Claire, is the daughter of the owner, a man who ruled his ranch with an iron fist and would do whatever it took to keep Nena and Jim apart.
Against the wishes of her family, Nena marries Jim, and after her father dies, she sacrifices everything – -including her family — to keep the ranch alive. Now their three grown children have lives of their own and want nothing to do with Nena. She was never the mother they needed.

 

 
Wings of Glass by Gina Holmes From the best-selling author of Crossing Oceans comes a heartrending yet uplifting story of friendship and redemption. On the cusp of adulthood, eighteen-year-old Penny Carson is swept off her feet by a handsome farmhand with a confident swagger. Though Trent Taylor seems like Prince Charming and offers an escape from her one-stop-sign town, Penny’s happily-ever-after lasts no longer than their breakneck courtship. Before the ink even dries on their marriage certificate, he hits her for the first time. It isn’t the last, yet the bruises that can’t be seen are the most painful of all.When Trent is injured in a welding accident and his paycheck stops, he has no choice but to finally allow Penny to take a job cleaning houses. Here she meets two women from very different worlds who will teach her to live and laugh again, and lend her their backbones just long enough for her to find her own.

Yesterday’s Tomorrow by Catherine West

She’s after the story that might get her the Pulitzer. He’s determined to keep his secrets to himself.

Vietnam 1967.

Independent, career-driven journalist Kristin Taylor wants two things: to honor her father’s memory by becoming an award-winning overseas correspondent, and to keep tabs on her only brother, Teddy, who signed up for the war against their mother’s wishes.
Brilliant photographer Luke Maddox, silent and brooding, exudes mystery. Kristin is convinced he’s hiding something.

Willing to risk it all for what they believe in, Kristin and Luke engage in their own tumultuous battle until, in an unexpected twist, they’re forced to work together. Ambushed by love, they must decide whether or not to set aside their own private agendas for the hope of tomorrow that has captured their hearts.

What Book Would You Recommend?

Book Review: Madman

8 Mar

If there is a way into madness, logic says there is a way out. Logic says. Tallis, a philosopher’s servant, is sent to a Greek academy in Palestine only to discover that it has silently, ominously, disappeared. No one will tell him what happened, but he learns what has become of four of its scholars. One was murdered. One committed suicide. One worships in the temple of Dionysus. And one . . . one is a madman.

From Christy Award–winning author Tracy Groot comes a tale of mystery, horror, and hope in the midst of unimaginable darkness: the story behind the Gerasene demoniac of the Gospels of Mark and Luke.

 

Tracy Groot is the critically acclaimed and Christy Award-winning author of several works of historical fiction. Her books have received starred Booklist and Publishers Weekly reviews and have been called “beautifully written” and “page-turning” by Publishers Weekly, and “gripping” with “exquisitely drawn” characters by Library Journal.

Tracy and her husband have three sons, one daughter (in-law) and live in Hudsonville, Michigan.

Connect with Tracy at her website (tracygroot.com), or follow her on Facebook (@tracy.groot).

 

My Impressions:

I lead a combo Bible study/book club at my church. Our Faith And Fiction group was concentrating on the healing miracles of Jesus and chose Madman by Tracy Groot as the complimentary novel. The book is based on the Biblical account of the Gerasene demoniac. While the book received mixed reviews from the members of the study, I found it a challenging and viewpoint-expanding read. Complex in structure as well as characterization, Madman is a book that must be read slowly to experience all that it has to offer. It is Biblical fiction like no other I have encountered. Told from the perspective of a servant of a Greek philosopher, a student in his own right, Madman gives the reader a look into the Gentile life of Palestine. Should you read it? This one is not for someone who wants a quick, easy, or even light read. Its subject matter is madness and demonic possession and the power of Jesus to reach into both and set the captive free. If you are up for a challenge, then I urge you to give this one a look.

Tallis has been sent by his master, Calimachus, to the Decapolis in Palestine to find out what has happened to the philosophical school that had been founded in his name. What Tallis finds is mystery and danger and a tormented man who lives in the tombs.

The story is told from the third person point of view of Tallis and letters to his master back in Athens. Tallis has scars from a childhood trauma that make him vulnerable to both human and spiritual attack. But as he receives warning after warning to go home, Tallis is determined to find the truth. Supporting characters are interesting and unlike what I am used to in traditional Biblical fiction. Part of that may stem from the fact that all of the characters are Gentiles, descendants of Greek colonists that now make the Decapolis their home. The Decapolis is very definitely not a Jewish enclave. Its cultural life is based upon its Greek origins and includes the pagan rites and worship foreign to their Jewish neighbors. It is this paganism that I found the most interesting. While the Greeks prided themselves on rational thought and discourse, parts of their society clung to worship of gods that demanded much from their adherents. Tallis must deal with the whys of the man’s demonic possession, something that is missing from the Biblical record. The reader soon discovers that pride, arrogance, and the search for god-like power and knowledge leave more than the man in the tombs vulnerable to demonic attack. The entrance of Jesus into the story comes late in the book, but there is a great anticipation of his arrival that is felt throughout. I found the portrayal of the demoniac’s torment and his ultimate deliverance especially powerful.

Madman is an early book by Tracy Groot. This Christy Award winner for historical fiction has just been recently re-released. While I am not sure my reading experience was one of enjoyment, I am glad I read this riveting novel.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(I purchased this book from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Top 10 Tuesday: First Lines

6 Mar

Today I am recycling because that is what busy bloggers do when they are short on time and inspiration! 😉 This week That Artsy Reader Girl is challenging bloggers to list their Top 10 Favorite Book Quotes. I’m a slacker when it comes to keeping a journal filled with the wonderful nuggets I find in the pages of a book. But as I thought about the topic, I couldn’t help but think how it is the first lines that I almost always remember. I haven’t read (or rather re-read) Rebecca in a long while, but I can still quote that memorable first line — Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. Another wonderful weekly meme I participate in is First Line Friday hosted by Hoarding Books (their tagline is it’s not HOARDING if it’s BOOKS — great, huh?). It has been lots of fun discovering new books and authors through first lines. So today, I will share some first lines from books that were fabulous reads. I hope that you find your next great book today!

 

Top First Lines

Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey

Christy by Catherine Marshall 

Melody of The Soul by Liz Tolsma

Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

Oath of Honor by Lynette Eason

A Passionate Hope by Jill Eileen Smith

Rule of Law by Randy Singer

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

A Song of Home by Susie Finkbeiner

Stars in The Grass by Ann Marie Stewart 

 

What’s your favorite book quote?

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Valentine’s Day with A Twist Edition

13 Feb

Valentine’s Day is all about love and romance. And who doesn’t like a good love story? You know the kind. Heroic hero who loves you no matter what, a love that transcends time, a story that stays with you long after the last page is turned. That Artsy Reader Girl has allowed bloggers a Love Freebie this week on Top 10 Tuesday, so I am sharing Biblical love stories because no one loves like God. These novels involve flawed characters, messy (and sometimes disgusting) situations, and a God who is indeed the lover of our souls. I’m sharing books based on OT stories, the ones that you know from Sunday School, but may have never read in quite this way. Well-researched, these books don’t always have God-honoring elements (because let’s face it, God’s people often have their own agenda), but they do have at the center a God who loves unconditionally even when the characters (and we) mess up.

For what other bloggers are sharing, click HERE.

Top Biblical Love Stories

 

Abraham and Sarah (A Love That Stands The Test(s) of Time) — Sarai by Jill Eileen Smith 

Boaz and Ruth (Love And A Great MIL) — Redeeming Grace by Jill Eileen Smith

David And Bathsheba (Lust at First Sight) — Bathsheba by Angela Hunt

Hannah and Elkanah and Penninah (A Mean Girl Love Triangle) — A Passionate Hope by Jill Eileen Smith

Hosea and Gomer (A Bad Girl Love Story) — Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

Jacob/Leah/Rachel (A Really, Really Messy Love Triangle!) — The Lowlands of Scotland Series by Liz Curtis Higgs

Job and Dinah (Wait! What? Yes, It Really Works!) — Love Amid The Ashes by Mesu Andrews.

Rahab and Salmon (Opposites Attract) — Pearl in The Sand by Tessa Afshar

Samson and Delilah (Love and Betrayal) — Delilah by Angela Hunt

 

What’s your favorite love story?

 

First Line Friday — A Passionate Hope

9 Feb

Yay, it’s Friday! Many of you are probably saying finally! With that being said, what’s a better way to start the weekend early than with First Line Friday. Please leave a comment with the first sentence in the book nearest to hand, then head over to Hoarding Books to find out what other bloggers are spotlighting today.

 

This week I am featuring the first line of Jill Eileen Smith‘s newest release, A Passionate Hope. I loved this book! (You can read my review HERE.) If you like Biblical fiction, then this novel is a must-read!

 

 

Hannah and her husband, Elkanah, share a deep and abiding love, for each other, for their God, and for his tabernacle at Shiloh. Greatly disturbed by the corruption of the priests, they long for restoration and pray for a deliverer. But nothing changes as the years pass. Years that also reveal Hannah to be barren.

Pressured by his family to take another wife, Elkanah marries Peninnah, who quickly begins to bear children. Disgraced and taunted by her husband’s new wife, Hannah turns again to prayers that seem doomed to go unanswered. Do her devotion and kindness in the face of Peninnah’s cruelty count for nothing? Why does God remain silent and indifferent to her pleas?

Travel back to the dusty streets of Shiloh with an expert guide as Jill Eileen Smith brings to life a beloved story of hope, patience, and deliverance that shows that even the most broken of relationships can be restored.

Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling, award-winning author of the Wives of King David series, the Daughters of the Promised Land, the Wives of the Patriarchs, and The Loves of King Solomon series. Her research has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times.

When she isn’t writing, she loves to spend time with her family and friends, read stories that take her away, ride her bike to the park, snag date nights with her hubby, try out new restaurants, or play with her lovable, “helpful” cat Tiger. Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan.

Contact Jill through email (jill@jilleileensmith.com), her website (http://www.jilleileensmith.com), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/jilleileensmith), or Twitter (https://twitter.com/JillEileenSmith).

 

What’s your first line?

 

Happy Book Birthday! A Passionate Hope by Jill Eileen Smith

6 Feb

It’s release day for A Passionate Hope by Jill Eileen Smith, the fourth book in her Daughters of The Promised Land series. Yay! This Biblical novel retells the story of Hannah from the book of 1 Samuel. Check it out!

Hannah and her husband, Elkanah, share a deep and abiding love, for each other, for their God, and for his tabernacle at Shiloh. Greatly disturbed by the corruption of the priests, they long for restoration and pray for a deliverer. But nothing changes as the years pass. Years that also reveal Hannah to be barren.

Pressured by his family to take another wife, Elkanah marries Peninnah, who quickly begins to bear children. Disgraced and taunted by her husband’s new wife, Hannah turns again to prayers that seem doomed to go unanswered. Do her devotion and kindness in the face of Peninnah’s cruelty count for nothing? Why does God remain silent and indifferent to her pleas?

Travel back to the dusty streets of Shiloh with an expert guide as Jill Eileen Smith brings to life a beloved story of hope, patience, and deliverance that shows that even the most broken of relationships can be restored.

To purchase, click HERE.

Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling, award-winning author of the Wives of King David series, the Daughters of the Promised Land, the Wives of the Patriarchs, and The Loves of King Solomon series. Her research has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times.

When she isn’t writing, she loves to spend time with her family and friends, read stories that take her away, ride her bike to the park, snag date nights with her hubby, try out new restaurants, or play with her lovable, “helpful” cat Tiger. Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan.

Contact Jill through email (jill@jilleileensmith.com), her website (http://www.jilleileensmith.com), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/jilleileensmith), or Twitter (https://twitter.com/JillEileenSmith).