Tag Archives: Biblical fiction

Book Spotlight (+Giveaway!) — The Heart Changer

21 May

 

Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for Heart Changer by Jarm Del Boccio with JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: The Heart Changer
Author: Jarm Del Boccio
Publisher: Ambassador International
Release Date: April 26, 2019
Genre: Middle Grade Biblical Fiction

Can an Israelite captive, wrenched from all she loves, serve the very man who destroyed her village? Miriam is asked to do the impossible: serve the wife of Naaman, commander of the Syrian army. Clinging to treasured memories of home and faith, Miriam faces captivity with worry and bitterness. Little does she know the Heart Changer is wooing and preparing her for a greater mission far beyond what she could imagine.

This middle-grade historical novel reflects the heartache and angst of a young refugee in a foreign land where all hope seems lost.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Christian Book

 

EXCERPT

“RUN! RUN, MY DAUGHTER! DON’T let them see you!” Miriam’s mother cried in alarm, shielding baby Zacchaeus in her long robes. She watched, helpless, as her precious child ran to escape the oncoming invasion.

Picking up her skirts, the young girl fled down the center of the Shunem town market, following the frantic path of others, terror- stricken by the billowing clouds of dust gathering in the distance. As the villagers ran for their lives, baskets of fruits and vegetables, nuts and spices were carelessly scattered on the parched ground. Carts of fish and goat’s cheese were upset, the sound of splintering and cracking adding to the mayhem as striped awnings ripped from their doorframes. Goats and sheep scattered, and those who could not be freed from their leads bleated in fear. Shouts of the Syrian army, and the sound of clomping horse’s hooves on the stone pavement signaled the enemy’s advance. Cries and screams escaped from the villagers as they dropped a trail of precious belongings in their flight. A keepsake and a fresh loaf of bread meant nothing. Only their lives mattered now.

Miriam eyed another overturned cart, its sweets scattered in the dust, and swiftly darted behind it to evade the soldiers’ haunting advances. She covered her face with the cloth from her head covering, tucking it in to hide her maturing face. Heart pounding, she took a deep breath, pressing her head against the rugged wood, praying no one had seen her. At twelve, who knew what the enemy would do if they caught her? Miriam shuddered as she heard the screams of women and children running past. She wiped her palms and forehead with the hem of her skirts, and shut her eyes tightly, trying to block out the horrifying scene.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jarm  Del Boccio (‘J’ pronounced as a ‘Y’) finds her inspiration in everyday life, but in particular, when she travels the globe, observing the quirky things that happen along the way. Focusing on lives of characters from the past, Jarm is devoted to breathing new life into the pages of history.

Jarm has a background in elementary and high school education, and served for seven years as a school librarian. Grateful for the opportunity, she taught three missionary kids in an isolated area of Papua New Guinea. She is part of SCBWI and American Christian Fiction Writers, and has published articles in “The Old Schoolhouse” magazine.

“The Heart Changer,” her debut MG historical/biblical fiction, released with Ambassador International April 26th 2019. Jarm is content with the journey God has placed her on, and lives with her husband and adult son and daughter (when they are not away) in a tree-lined suburb of Chicago.

CONNECT WITH JARM: Website | Facebook | Twitter


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive 1 print (US only)
AND
(1) winner will receive 1 ebook (open internationally except where prohibited by law)

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight May 20, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm May 27, 2019. US only. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

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Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

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Book Review: The Heart of A King

6 May

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?

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).

 

My Impressions:

Solomon, the storied King of Israel known for his wisdom, is the subject of Jill Eillen Smith’s newest novel, The Heart of A King. Drawn from her ebook novella series, The Loves of Solomon, this standalone novel brings all four women’s stories together with the unifying thread of Solomon’s life. Set in the exotic courts of Jerusalem, Sheba, and Egypt, this what-if explores the motivations and heart-decisions of the last ruler of the unified kingdom of Israel. As always, Smith delivers a highly readable novel that causes a reader to reach for her Bible, as well as examine her own life.

In a dream, God offers Solomon what his heart desires. Although Solomon could have asked for any number of things — wealth, love, a larger kingdom — he chose wisdom. In the Bible, Solomon is described as the wisest man who ever lived, astonishing the many visitors to Jerusalem with his knowledge of nature and his insight into human hearts. Smith portrays Solomon as a charismatic leader and a sensitive lover — he has 700 wives, you know! 😉 But the wisdom he cherishes becomes a burden when he puts it above all else, including his relationship with God. I think that is the most important take away of this novel. Despite the fact that he has such a powerful gift, the advice of his priests and a godly mother, and the word of the Lord, Solomon believes in his own abilities more than anything else. The four women who figure prominently in the novel, Namaah, a princess of Ammon, Abishag, his father’s last wife, Siti, the daughter of Pharaoh, and Nicaula, the Queen of Sheba, are interestingly portrayed. There isn’t much in the Biblical record from which to draw, but Smith makes them believable. They love Solomon, and he in turn loves them, but never whole-heartedly. Solomon is a restless man striving to gain more and more. Each part of the novel is introduced by musings of the Teacher, an older Solomon who found that life is meaningless. While it would be easy to throw stones at Solomon, this novel made me examine the many blessings that God has given me that I in turn take for granted. Like Solomon, I believe in my own abilities and wisdom in running my life.

The Heart of A King will appeal to fans of Biblical fiction. Its unique perspective, historical details, and insightful message make this book a recommended read.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Revell for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

2019 Inspy Awards Shortlists!

4 May

A big congratulations to all the talented authors whose books are represented on the 2019 Inspy Award Shortlists! So many great books Now you have your summer reading list! 😉

 

Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense

All Made Up by Kara Isaac

Falling for You by Becky Wade

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

Debut Fiction

Among The Poppies by J’Nell Ciesielski

Engraved on The Heart by Tara Johnson

The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham

General Fiction

No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert

Things Left Unsaid by Courtney Walsh

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

Historical Romance

Romancing The Bride by Melissa Jagears

The Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

The Thief of Corinth by Tessa Afshar

Literature for Young Adults

The Edge Over There by Shawn Smucker

Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon

A Worthy Rebel by Jody Hedlund

Mystery/Thriller

Delayed Justice by Cara Putman

The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright

Thirst of Steel by Ronie Kendig

Speculative Fiction

Fierian by Ronie Kendig

Mark of The Raven by Morgan L. Busse

The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin

Happy Book Birthday! — The Heart of A King

30 Apr

 

It’s the book birthday of The Heart of A King by Jill Eileen Smith! Woo hoo! You can now get your hands on this Biblical novel that explores the life of King Solomon and 4 of the women who loved him. I can’t wait to dive in!

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?

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).

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Book Quotes

30 Apr

This week Top Ten Tuesday is challenging bloggers to list their 10 favorite book quotes. Because first lines are very important in grabbing a reader’s interest (and because it has been very busy around here 😉 ), I am sharing some favorite first lines that made their debut in my First Line Friday posts. Hopefully, they will pique your interest (perhaps again) and spur you to pick up a new book.

For more great book quotes (and certainly more creative posts), visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top 10 Fabulous First Lines

 

What’s your favorite book quote?

First Line Friday — The Heart of A King

26 Apr

Happy Friday everyone! Today I am excited to share the first line of a highly anticipated novel, The Heart of A King. Jill Eileen Smiths newest Biblical fiction offering officially releases on April 30, 2019. I am really looking forward to diving into the story of Solomon and 4 women who loved him. Hopefully this first line will pique your interest — you can pre-order now!

Please leave a comment with the first sentence of the closest book to hand, then head over to Hoarding Books for more fabulous first lines!

 

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?

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).

Book Review: The Legend of Sheba

24 Apr

There is the story you know: A foreign queen, journeying north with a caravan of riches to pay tribute to a king favored by the One God. The tale of a queen conquered by a king and god both before returning to her own land laden with gifts.

That is the tale you were meant to believe.

Which means most of it is a lie.

The truth is far more than even the storytellers could conjure. The riches more priceless. The secrets more corrosive. The love and betrayal more passionate and devastating.

Across the Red Sea, the pillars of the great oval temple once bore my name: Bilqis, Daughter of the Moon. Here, to the west, the porticoes knew another: Makeda, Woman of Fire. To the Israelites, I was queen of the spice lands, which they called Sheba.

In the tenth century BC, the new Queen of Sheba has inherited her father’s throne and all its riches at great personal cost. Her realm stretches west across the Red Sea into land wealthy in gold, frankincense, and spices. But now new alliances to the North threaten the trade routes that are the lifeblood of her nation. Solomon, the brash new king of Israel famous for his wealth and wisdom, will not be denied the tribute of the world — or of Sheba’s queen. With tensions ready to erupt within her own borders and the future of her nation at stake, the one woman who can match wits with Solomon undertakes the journey of a lifetime in a daring bid to test and win the king. But neither ruler has anticipated the clash of agendas, gods, and passion that threatens to ignite — and ruin — them both. An explosive retelling of the legendary king and queen and the nations that shaped history.

Tosca Lee is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of ten novels including The Line Between, The Progeny, Firstborn, The Legend of Sheba, Iscariot, and the Books of Mortals series with New York Times bestseller Ted Dekker. Her work has been translated into seventeen languages and been optioned for TV and film. A notorious night-owl, she loves movies, playing football with her kids, and sending cheesy texts to her husband.

You can find Tosca at ToscaLee.com, on social media, or hanging around the snack table.

 

My Impressions:

I chose The Legend of Sheba by Tosca Lee as a complimentary novel for my Faith And Fiction Bible Study/Book Club. My group spends 3 weeks studying scripture and then on the 4th week we have book club. Sometimes I read the novel before starting the study; other times I do not. I am glad I waited until after studying the scripture before diving into this book. Lee does an admirable job bringing the legendary Queen of Sheba to life. However, she mixes myth and legend with the scriptural text to come up with this what if? I found Lee’s Sheba fascinating — a woman who does not fit into her time and place, yet comes to power and influence through sheer force of will. Known as Bilqis in Saba (modern Yemen), Makeda in Punt (modern Somalia/Ethiopia) and Sheba in Israel, she matches wit, wisdom, and will with King Solomon. I had a few takeaways from my reading experience:

  1. Sheba gives a unique perspective to Solomon. Lee depicts him as a man who has been given much, but is still very restless in his drive for more — perhaps she drew inspiration from the Book of Ecclesiastes.
  2. Israel is portrayed as an infant nation. Although Abraham’s covenant with God occurred centuries before, it is true that compared to other nations in the Middle East, Israel was an upstart.
  3. Sheba’s desire is to be fully known — by God and man. Lee articulates that very human need extremely well.

The Legend of Sheba is not an easy or quick read. The first person account from Sheba’s perspective involves a great deal of observation and pondering. There is action of course, but the feelings of the heart and soul are predominant. As always Lee writes in a beautifully descriptive prose that engages all of the reader’s senses. The book is described as cinematic by one reviewer — very apt. And don’t forget that Sheba was a pagan queen and that Solomon, though the wisest man ever to live, did have a LOT of wives and concubines. 😉 Lee does explore the intimate side of relationships (though not in a graphic manner).

So who would I recommend this book to? Readers who want more than a love story, more than an historical account, and more than a quick read are the target audience. You have to be willing to invest some time and thought into Sheba’s story. From early conversations with my group, I anticipate a great discussion. Not everyone liked the book, but are glad they read it.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

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