Spotlight on Biblical Fiction — And Their Numbers Grew

7 Dec

And Their Numbers Grew JustRead Blog Tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour for And Their Numbers Grew by Naomi Craig & Donna E. Lane, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About The Book

And Their Numbers Grew

Title: And Their Numbers Grew
Author: Naomi Craig and Donna E. Lane
Publisher: Bear’s Place Publishing
Release Date: November 7, 2023
Genre: Biblical Historical Fiction

Four lives. Four destinies. One gospel.

Fans of Mesu Andrews and Connilyn Cossette will love And Their Numbers Grew.

If you love The Chosen, the story continues in And Their Numbers Grew.

Rumors of the risen Christ spread through Jerusalem like a wildfire—and the Sanhedrin is paying attention.

Their efforts to stifle the name of Jesus only fuel the cause until a young Pharisee gets involved, breathing threats of imprisonment—or worse. Stephen’s brutal stoning accelerates the persecution and sends the faithful fleeing the city for their lives.

They are afflicted in every way, but not crushed. As the fledgling church disperses, their numbers continue to grow. Now, the apostles must train the new believers in the ways and words of Jesus—and what it means to live in God’s Kingdom here on earth.

The Kingdom of God spreads to Damascus, Joppa, Caesarea, Antioch, and Tarsus through the testimonies of Ananias, Tabitha, and Barnabas. While an outraged Saul sets out for Damascus to arrest them all, the followers press on fervently, with the help of the Holy Spirit—though it may cost them their lives.

Four disciples whose lives are intertwined, told in four novellas, chronicling the birth pains of the early church.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub


“I’m a realist. What Jesus has given us to accomplish is impossible. First, none of the leaders are educated men—except Matthew, but who will listen to a former tax collector? Yet, somehow, we’re supposed to spread His message to all nations? I’ll be surprised if we can spread it in Judea.”

Tabitha frowned. “You still don’t understand. We aren’t going to accomplish anything. You believe it’s up to us? No wonder you’re discouraged.”

Why is she criticizing me? I’m simply stating the obvious. “Well, who’s going to accomplish it then?” My gut clenches. I didn’t mean for my tone to be so harsh.

Tabitha stops in her tracks and slams her free hand on her hip. “Why do you think the Lord told us to wait on the Holy Spirit?”

Is her question rhetorical? The heavy silence in my pause hangs between us like an accusation.”

About The Authors

Naomi CraigDonna E. Lane

Author of Biblical fiction, avid reader, pastor’s wife, Naomi Craig loves reading the Bible and imagining how things were at the time. When she’s not serving in various areas at church or trying to stay on top of mountains of dishes, you’ll most likely find her enjoying a good book and a cup of coffee. Naomi co-hosts #BehindTheStory on YouTube and helps facilitate Biblical Fiction Aficionados Community on Facebook. When not writing or trying to wrangle social media, Naomi attempts to get her rescue dog to be cute on command for the many pics she takes throughout the day.

Connect with Naomi by visiting to follow her on social media and sign up for email updates.

Donna E. Lane is an award-winning, multi-genre author with a passion for exploring all aspects of the human experience. As a Christian counselor and spiritual director, Dr. Lane has dedicated herself to guiding individuals on their spiritual journeys, offering solace and wisdom through her integrated approach. Her 46 years of experience in this field have provided her with insights which she seamlessly weaves into her writing, delving into the complexities of relationships and the depths of the human heart.

With a boundless imagination, a fervent devotion to Jesus, a love for history, and a fascination with time, she crafts stories that resonate deeply with readers, offering the opportunity to embark on unforgettable journeys to other worlds, across time, and into space.

A devoted wife of 44 years and mother of three, she now cherishes her role as a grandmother and mom to her new puppy, a little white furball named Rosie Cotton.

Connect with Donna by visiting to follow her on social media and sign up for email updates.

Tour Giveaway

(1) winner will win a paperback copy of And Their Numbers Grew and a $25 amazon gift card!

And Their Numbers Grew JustRead Blog Tour Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight December 4, 2023 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on December 11, 2023. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US/CAN only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.

Enter Giveaway

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

JustRead Publicity Tours

Mini-Audiobook Review — The Unbroken Song

6 Dec

December is for Christmas-y books, in my opinion. The Unbroken Song, a historical romance novella by new-to-me author Jennifer Q. Hunt, was the perfect accompaniment to walks on the treadmill and chores I just couldn’t avoid. 😉 This sweet story made the time fly by in a very agreeable way. Set primarily in Atlanta in the 1890s (there is a beginning and ending in the 1940s that introduces and concludes the story), this novella which is part of Hunt’s Sorrow And Song series, brought to life the burgeoning city still rebuilding following the Civil War. Sarah Fuller struggles with keeping her family together, taking on all the responsibilities of a homemaker at a very early age. Her Native American and impoverished roots, combined with a lack of formal education, make Sara believe she could not be worthy of a man like Boston-born John Sweet. John has struggles of his own, believing that he is a failure in his calling from God and never good enough for his family. Both grow to believe God truly does direct their steps regardless of their own abilities or lack thereof. I found The Unbroken Song to be a sweet love story with a strong spiritual message. While the story takes place over several months, it finishes with a very Christmas-y ending. As to the audiobook version, I enjoyed the pace and voice of the narrator — her reading of the book fit the style perfectly.

The Unbroken Song is for those who love a Christmas-y historical romance.


Audience: Adults.

(Thanks to the author for a copy of the audiobook. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Coming from opposite worlds, what could possibly unite them?

Rejected, frustrated, and no longer confident about God’s plan for his life, John Sweet takes a year-long assignment in Atlanta, Georgia. The city is bustling with preparations for the Cotton States and International Exposition to be held in the autumn of 1895. Sarah Fuller is also new to the city but trying desperately to make a home for her lonely father and motherless little sister. When a special assignment for the Exposition puts John and Sarah in close contact, they discover that while their pasts are completely different, their future dreams are much the same. As their families create obstacles and opposition, will they be able to find a way forward together?

At Christmas 1945, with her family still reeling from the changes brought by the Second World War, “Grandma Sarah” tells her teenage granddaughter about the year that changed her life. Can her simple story bring the healing and perspective they both need to embrace a different future than they had planned?

This standalone Christmas prequel to the Sorrow and Song Trilogy will transport you back to a Victorian Christmas, when the world was very different, yet the same longing for peace and purpose resounded in every heart.

A lifelong storyteller, Jennifer Q. Hunt has worked as a writer of both fiction and nonfiction, as well as an editor and ghostwriter. She has over twenty-five years of ministry writing experience for churches, pastors, and Christian ministries.

Jennifer writes fiction with faith and purpose. Her Sorrow and Song trilogy shows multi-generations as they wrestle with their place in history and following the Lord through challenging circumstances.

Back in north Georgia after several years away, Jennifer is a happy wife to Christopher and homeschool mother to four elementary-aged children.

For history tidbits, deleted scenes, and more “extras” as well as information about upcoming releases, visit or follow Jennifer on Facebook at Jennifer Q. Hunt, Author or Instagram at

Top 10 Tuesday — Hospitals!

5 Dec

Today is a TTT Freebie, s0 I thought I would tackle the depressing setting of hospitals. LOL! My husband laughed and rolled his eyes at me when I announced the topic. Surely I could have found a cheerier setting for the first TTT of December 2023? Probably, but I am in a rebellious mood. 😉 The books I am featuring all revolve around a hospital of some sort and encompass various time periods and genres. They are great for whatever ails you. Ugh!

For cheerier Freebie topics, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Books Set In And Around Hospitals

Airborne by DiAnn Mills

Ghost Heart by Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry

Hope Beyond The Waves by Heidi Chiavaroli

In This Moment by Gabrielle Meyer

Step by Step by Candace Calvert

Surgeon’s Choice by Richard Mabry

Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green

When I Close My Eyes by Elizabeth Musser

With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden

With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin

Happy Release Day — Sniffing Out Murder

5 Dec

Happy release day to Kallie Benjamin aka Valerie Burns. Book 1 in her newest cozy mystery series, Sniffing Out Murder, is now available. Valerie will be joining the Coffee, Tea, and Murder discussion panel at Turning A New Page Book Festival in Perry, Georgia in January. If you live nearby, you won’t want to miss it!

When a murder unleashes a widespread investigation through Crosbyville, children’s book author Pris and her trusty bloodhound, Bailey, must sniff out the truth before the whole town goes to the dogs.

After deciding that life as a teacher wasn’t right for her, Priscilla found inspiration for her first children’s book in her three-year-old bloodhound’s nose for truth, and so The Adventures of Bailey the Bloodhound was born. After the book’s massively pawsitive response led Pris to move back to her hometown of Crosbyville, Indiana, to continue the series, she’s surprised by how things have changed in the town, but even more so how they haven’t.

Pris is frustrated to discover that newly elected school board trustee Whitney Kelley—a former high school mean girl—is intent on making Crosbyville more competitive by eliminating “frivolous spending” on the arts and social programs, including Pris and Bailey’s beloved pet-assisted reading program. A minor altercation between them isn’t anything unusual, but after Bailey sniffs out Whitney’s body in a bed of begonias, locals start hounding Pris and Bailey as suspects for the crime.

With Bailey’s sharp senses and Pris’s hometown know-how, can they prove to the community that they’re all barking up the wrong tree?

Kallie E. Benjamin (Valerie Burns) is the author of the Bailey the Bloodhound Mystery series. Valerie is an Agatha, Anthony, Edgar, and Next Generation Indie Book Award finalist. Writing as V. M. Burns she is the author of the Mystery Bookshop Mystery, Dog Club Mystery, and RJ Franklin Mystery series. Writing as Valerie Burns, she is the author of the Baker Street Mystery series.

Valerie is also an adjunct professor in the Writing Popular Fiction Program at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA. Born and raised in northwestern Indiana, Valerie now lives in Northern Georgia with her two poodles.

Mini-Book Review — The Bells of Christmas

4 Dec

The Bells of Christmas by Amanda Tru combines the spirit of the holiday season with romance and mystery. Tayde Wright, who dreams of being an investigative journalist, takes on an advice column that gains instant popularity. The only problem is she seems to be missing perspective. Mr. Bells, the anonymous writer of letters, always seems to be a step ahead of Tayde when it comes to knowing the “rest of the story”. The two spar, until chemistry takes over. There’s some mystery and intrigue as well, which added a nice dimension to the book. Looking for the truth is a big theme in this Christmas-y novella. Emphasis is on looking deeper even when a situation seems clear cut. A light and quick read, The Bells of Christmas is a good choice for your holiday reading.


Audience: Adults.

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

Can you hear the bells?

When Tayde Wright lands a job at a distinguished magazine, she knows her dreams of being an investigative reporter are about to come true. But then her boss assigns her an advice column that is the equivalent of the magazine’s complaint box. Though she abhors writing clickbait to fuel the magazine’s online presence, she either follows her boss’s wishes and adopts the Wrongs made Wright column as her own, or she loses her job.

Her first column unexpectedly goes viral when an anonymous stranger replies, revealing a different side to Tayde’s column and completely humiliating her in the process. Now, Tayde must satisfy her boss’s wishes while also avoiding any further humiliation from the mysterious stranger, dubbed Mr. Bells.

Tayde’s journey passes alongside the stories of many others as she tries to right the wrongs of the world, but sometimes right and wrong are difficult to determine. Despite her best efforts, Mr. Bells continually paints her as the villain, and the public loves it. Who is Mr. Bells, and what compels him to respond to Tayde’s column? And why does he always ask the same mysterious question at the end of his letters?

Each story Tayde encounters changes her perspective and provides her more clues. It’s a message that will change the world, but can she lift her voice to speak it?

With a lifelong love of reading and writing, Amanda Tru loves to let her imagination paint pictures in a wide variety of genres. Her current book list includes everything from a Christian time travel / romance series, to an action-packed suspense, to inspirational and holiday romance. Amanda is also the mastermind behind the popular Crossroads Collection series, which interweave five independent books into one beautiful, page-turning novel.

Amanda is a former elementary school teacher who now spends her days being mommy to four young children and her nights furiously writing. Amanda lives in a small town in Idaho where the cows outnumber the people.

Find out more about Amanda Tru and her upcoming books at her website

December Book Club/First Line Friday — Better Watch Out

1 Dec

Is it really December 1st already?! I am again behind in my Christmas preparations . . . except for my TBR. LOL. I have already finished 5 Christmas-themed books including my book club’s choice for this month, Better Watch Out. I really enjoyed Natalie Walter‘s NYC setting. My husband and I had such a great time there one Christmas, and this book brought back great memories. I am glad I didn’t run into all the mayhem main characters Frannie and Andrew did though!

Here’s the first line:

Bells! Literal jingle bells rang out as if the city of New York was saying, “Welcome to your holiday dreams, Francis Frost, where romance sparkles brighter than the lights in Times Square.”

An accidental meet-cute, a case of mistaken identity, and a bucket-list of Christmas activities befitting a Hallmark movie make this holiday romantic adventure the perfect Christmas read.

Leave the candy canes, take the pepper spray!

Nothing screams Christmas like a week spent ice skating, visiting Santa, and sharing a kiss or two under the mistletoe. Frannie Frost has crafted the perfect bucket list of romantic activities to surprise her boyfriend in the most magical place at Christmas time—New York City. When he unexpectedly becomes her ex, her plans are derailed leaving her with a choice. Wallow in self-pity at Christmas time or take matters into her own hands.

Former NHL defenseman turned personal protection agent, Andrew Bishop, loves his job—when things go as planned—but Frannie Frost is definitely not part of the plan. Still, when her brother, the man who saved Andrew’s life last year, asks him to deliver his sister safely to the airport, he can’t say no.

The only problem? Frannie isn’t leaving. She’s determined to make the most of her trip by checking off a bucket list of cliché Christmas activities that would make even Santa’s elves jealous. Andrew’s content to let her go until he learns that Frannie’s been mistaken for his client and thrust into the midst of danger.

Mini-Book Review — When Stone Wings Fly

1 Dec

Karen Barrett‘s National Park-based novels are always a treat. When Stone Wings Fly is a dual timeline novel set in The Great Smoky Mountains. The modern-day story features a young woman desperately trying to learn about her heritage in the face of her grandmother’s worsening Alzheimers. The Depression-era storyline presents the beginnings of the park with the loss of family farms and homesteads. I knew little about that part of the story. The park today is magnificent, but so much of family legacies were lost when the federal government began buying the land to create it. Both Kieran and Rosie learn the importance of not holding on too tightly, yet continuing a family legacy. There is a good bit of heartache and hard times in this novel, but God redeems when we allow Him to set our flight.

If you are a fan of historical novels based in the early 20th century or love a story about family and faith, then When Stone Wings Fly is a good choice.


Audience: Adults.

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

Kieran Lucas’s grandmother is slipping into dementia, and when her memory is gone, Kieran’s last tie to the family she barely knows will be lost forever. Worse, flashbacks of her mother’s death torment Granny Mac and there’s precious little Kieran can do to help.

In 1931, the creation of the new Great Smoky Mountains National Park threatens Rosie McCauley’s home. Rosie vows the only way the commission will get her land is if they haul her off in a pine box. When a compromise offers her and her disabled sister the opportunity to stay for Rosie’s lifetime, her acceptance sets her apart from the other mountain folk. And the bond she’s forming with ornithologist and outsider Benton Fuller only broadens the rift.
Eighty-five years later, Kieran heads back to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to find answers to her great-grandmother’s mysterious death and bring peace to Granny Mac before it’s too late. Park Historian Zach Jensen may be the key to locating both the answers. But what Kieran needs clashes with the government regulations Zach is sworn to uphold. Can she trust God for a solution to heal this generations-old wound?

Karen Barnett, the award-winning author of eight novels, writes historical romance that sweeps readers into the beauty and adventure of our national parks. A former park ranger and naturalist, she worked at Mount Rainier National Park, Oregon’s Silver Falls State Park, and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two kids, and three mischievous dachshunds. When not writing, Karen enjoys photography, hiking, public speaking, and decorating crazy birthday cakes. In 2016, she was named Writer of the Year by the prestigious Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Oregon Christian Writers (OCW) honored her with the Writer of Promise Award in 2013 and a 2014 Cascade Award for her debut novel, Mistaken.

Spotlight on An Advent Devotional — Where He Dwells

30 Nov

My friend Chrissie Tomlinson is a Bible teacher extraordinaire plus a great writer of devotionals. This year she shares her thoughts and God’s truth in Where He Dwells: Readings for Advent. If you are on the lookout for a book to help you really discover the Christmas Spirit, then you need to check out her book. It is available in print as well as on Kindle (only $5!). Find out more below.

There is something about Christmas that turns our hearts toward home. It’s the season that we focus on Jesus coming to make His home among us and accomplishing a redemptive work so our home with Him can be eternal. This Advent devotional book for 2023 is about how our Lord longs to dwell with us. It’s about Christmas, but it’s also about Heaven. Your heart will be encouraged and inspired as you set aside time each day of this season to abide with Christ in a deeper way.

If You Liked . . . Daughter of Eden

30 Nov

My book club read Daughter of Eden by Jill Eileen Smith this month. We haven’t met to discuss it yet, but I am hoping for some lively discussion. The novel based on the Biblical story of Adam and Eve presents some interesting what-ifs. You can read my review HERE.

If you liked it too, here is a list of books you may enjoy:

Havah: The Story of Eve by Tosca Lee

Created, not born. Her name is Eve. Myth and legend shroud her in mystery. Now hear her story.  

She knew this earth when it was perfect – as she was perfect, a creature without flaw. Created by God in a manner like no other, Eve lived in utter peace as the world’s first woman, until she made a choice, one mistake for which all of humanity would suffer. But what did it feel like to be the first person to sin and experience exile; to see innocence crumble so vividly; and to witness a new strange, darker world emerge in its place?  

From paradise to exile, from immortality to the death of Adam, experience the epic dawn of mankind through the eyes and heart of Eve – the woman first known as Havah.

The Heavens Before by Kacy Barnett-Gramckow

Marginalized by society and mistreated by her own family, Annah befriends a young man she’s never seen before. Shem is captivated by Annah’s courage, and he risks everything to help her gain her freedom. Trusting in the Most High, Annah marries Shem and joins her strange new family in their solitary faith that will ultimately separate them from an ancient world of amazing beauty and appalling violence–a world fast approaching the unimaginable catastrophe of the Great Flood. Out of this chaos, only eight people will survive. Their world is our world. Their future is our own. 

Praise for the first book in Kacy’s The Genesis Trilogy:

The Heavens Before is full of incredible characters living during an incredible time period. It’s a compelling story of one woman’s choices between those contrasts. Highly recommended.
-Tim Frankovich, Christian Fiction Review

This novel breathes life into the familiar story of Noah’s ark. This book is an engaging and informative read for anyone interested in the Flood, but many will also enjoy the insightful characters.
-Christian Library Journal

The Ark And The Dove by Jill Eileen Smith (releases January 2024)

Zara and Noah have walked together with the Creator for their entire lives, and they have done their best in an increasingly wicked and defiant world to raise their three sons to follow in their footsteps. It has been a challenge–and it’s about to get much, much harder.

When the Creator tells her husband to build an ark to escape the coming wrath against the sins of humankind, Zara steps out with him in faith. But the derision and sabotage directed their way from both friends and extended family are difficult to bear, as is knowing that everyone she interacts with beyond her husband, her sons, and their wives is doomed to destruction. And when the ark is finally finished and the animals have been shut up inside, Zara and her family embark on an adventure that will test their patience and their faith as they await deliverance and dry ground.

Experience the story of Noah and the flood like you never have before. With bestselling and award-winning author Jill Eileen Smith as your guide, you’ll never look at a rainbow the same way again.

Children’s Corner — Twas The Season of Advent

30 Nov

If you are looking for a meaning-filled advent guide for your family, look no further than the beautifully illustrated Twas The Season of Advent: Devotions And Stories for The Christmas Season by Glenys Nellist. This hardcover book features 25 advent readings that are perfect for family reading time. Each day begins with a stanza of a Night Before Christmas-inspired poem sharing the Christmas story. The daily reading proceeds with scripture verses chosen from both the Old and New Testaments. A story is then presented, and the reading ends in a simple prayer. The illustrations will captivate the littlest reader, while older children will have a chance to learn more about the Advent season and discover God’s plan. Great for your home library or as a gift for a special family.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: families with children.

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

Celebrate the Advent season with this beautiful and heartwarming collection of devotions and stories from beloved, bestselling author Glenys Nellist. Told in the style of the classic ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas poem, make this read aloud your new holiday tradition.

‘Twas the Season of Advent is a 25-day devotional that will inspire your family as you eagerly await the arrival of Christ’s birth. Written in both prose and poetry, this beautiful picture book will engage children and adults alike and become a new holiday tradition for families everywhere!?

Glenys Nellist was born and raised in a little village in northern England. The author of multiple award-winning children’s books, including the bestselling ‘Twas the Evening of Christmas, The Wonder That is You, and five popular series: Love Letters from God, Snuggle Time, ‘Twas, Good News and Little Mole, her writing reflects a deep passion for helping children discover joy and hope in the world. Glenys lives in Michigan with her husband, David.