Tag Archives: Biblical fiction

First Line Friday — The Apostle’s Sister

27 May

Happy Friday all! Today I am featuring a Biblical novel by Angela Hunt, The Apostle’s Sister. I love how Hunt blends scriptural truths, historic and cultural details, and a what-if story to create great fiction. Book 4 in the Jerusalem Road series, it is due to release on June 7.

Here’s the first line:

Aya, daughter of Zebulon of Tarsus, does not want a traditional life. Because she has always lived in the shadow of her brilliant brother, she wants to use her gifts and be something more than a wife and mother. When her traditional father insists she marry Avidan, a Torah student, she reluctantly agrees, but when Avidan leaves for Jerusalem, she seizes an opportunity to fulfill her deepest yearning, realizing she may never have another chance to do so. 

After moving to Jerusalem, she expects to be bored in her role as wife to a Torah student, but finds herself fascinated by her husband’s studies. And when her brother Sha’ul makes a life-altering decision, she finds herself faced with a troubling question: How can she remain true to all she’s been taught since infancy and still love her blasphemous brother?

Top 10 Tuesday — Book Quote Freebie!

24 May

*****

I read all parts of a book. That’s right — the prologue, the afterword, even the copyright page 😉 . I also read epigraphs — any quotes that the author chooses to begin the story. Many authors choose scripture or a quote that gives some insight into what their book is all about. I like to keep them in mind as I delve into the stories. Today I am sharing those quotes from random books on my shelves. In the cases of the author using several quotes, I randomly chose just one. Lots of genres represented — enjoy!

For more bookish quotes, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Epigraphs — Quotes That Authors Chose to Begin Their Stories

***************

Yet he commanded the skies above and opened the doors of heaven, and he rained down on them manna to eat and gave them the grain of heaven. Man ate of the bread of angels.

Psalm 78:23-25

*****

I speak of peace, while covert enmity

Under the smile of safety wounds the world

William Shakespeare, King Henry IV, Part 2

*****

“I once was lost, but now I am found, was blind, but now I see.”

John Newton

*****

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

John 15:5

*****

Love is not consolation. It is light.

Simone Weil

*****

Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.

Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

Psalm 82:3-4

*****

Loose yourself from the chains around your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.

Isaiah 52:2

*****

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

*****

There’s a bit of magic in everything

And then some loss to even things out.

Lou Reed

*****

It is necessity and not pleasure that compels us.

Dante, The Inferno

Top 10 Tuesday — Biblical Fiction

5 Apr

Happy Tuesday! Today I am featuring Biblical Fiction — books set during the Old or New Testament — that are on my TBR shelf. These are physical copies that I own. I have lots more on my Kindle. Why do I read Biblical Fiction? I like how an author brings to life the culture of the time and also makes me aware of things I don’t always see when reading Scripture. Instead of keeping me from opening my Bible, these novels draw me more into God’s word. I use many of the books for a Bible Study/Book Club I periodically lead at my church. We study scripture for 4-6 weeks, then have an evening discussion of a story inspired by what we have studied. It combines my love of fiction with the truths found in the Bible. Win-win.

The books on my list today are those I have not read yet, but need to. If you have read any of these, let me know what you thought. 🙂

For more great book lists, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top 10 Biblical Fiction on My TBR Shelf

The Prince And The Prodigal by Jill Eileen Smith

Joseph is the pampered favorite son of the patriarch Jacob. His older brothers, deeply resentful of his status in the family, take advantage of the chance to get rid of him, selling him to slave traders and deceiving their father about his fate. It seems like their troubles are over. But for Joseph and older brother Judah, they are just beginning.

While Joseph is accused of rape and imprisoned, Judah attempts to flee the memory of his complicity in the betrayal of his younger brother. After decades apart, the brothers will come face-to-face in a stunning role reversal that sees Joseph in a position of great power while Judah begs for mercy. Will forgiveness or vengeance win the day?

Bestselling and award-winning author Jill Eileen Smith brings her considerable research and imaginative skills to bear in this vivid retelling of one of the most popular stories found in Scripture–a story of jealousy, betrayal, and a reconciliation that only God could bring about.

Counted Among The Stars by Connilyn Cossette

Sold into slavery by her father and forsaken by the man she was supposed to marry, young Egyptian Kiya must serve a mistress who takes pleasure in her humiliation. When terrifying plagues strike Egypt, Kiya is in the middle of it all.

To save her older brother and escape the bonds of slavery, Kiya flees with the Hebrews during the Great Exodus. She finds herself utterly dependent on a fearsome God she’s only just beginning to learn about, and in love with a man who despises her people. With everything she’s ever known swept away, will Kiya turn back toward Egypt or surrender her life and her future to Yahweh?

The Priest by Francine Rivers

His courage covered his brother’s fear.
His sacrifices atoned for the people’s sin.
His voice carried the words of God.


Moses parted the Red Sea. But in his shadow stood Aaron, a man who symbolizes forever our great High Priest. Be challenged by this faithful man whose story we must never forget.

The Priest is the story of Aaron and book one in the popular Sons of Encouragement series about five men who quietly changed eternity.

Unashamed by Francine Rivers

She was a woman with a past to whom God gave a future.

Meet Rahab, one of the five women in the lineage of Christ. Exploited by men who saw only her beauty, she held fast to her faith in an all-powerful God and was rewarded by being grafted into the family tree of the Messiah. In Rahab’s compelling story, discover the overwhelming truth that God seeks and finds those whose hearts are tender toward Him, no matter how far away they are.

Unashamed is book two in the popular Lineage of Grace series about five unlikely women who changed eternity.

Isaiah’s Daughter by Mesu Andrews

In this epic Biblical narrative, ideal for fans of The Bible miniseries, a young woman taken into the prophet Isaiah’s household rises to capture the heart of the future king. 
 
Isaiah adopts Ishma, giving her a new name–Zibah, delight of the Lord–thereby ensuring her royal pedigree. Ishma came to the prophet’s home, devastated after watching her family destroyed and living as a captive. But as the years pass, Zibah’s lively spirit wins Prince Hezekiah’s favor, a boy determined to rebuild the kingdom his father has nearly destroyed. But loving this man will awake in her all the fears and pain of her past and she must turn to the only One who can give life, calm her fears, and deliver a nation. 

Love in A Broken Vessel by Mesu Andrews

Hosea has been charged by God with a difficult task–marry a prostitute in order to show God’s people the nature and depth of his love for Israel. When Hosea goes to Israel to proclaim God’s message, the prostitute God tells him to marry turns out to be his childhood friend Gomer. He finds her broken and abused, unwilling to trust Hosea or his God. But when marrying Hosea becomes her only choice, Gomer does what she’s good at–she survives. Can Hosea’s love for God and God’s love for Israel heal Gomer’s broken spirit?

With her potent combination of in-depth research and masterful storytelling, Mesu Andrews brings to life a complex and fascinating biblical story of the power of love and forgiveness in the face of utter betrayal.

Of Fire and Lions by Mesu Andrews

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.

Magdalene by Angela Hunt

Mary Magdalene
The controversial woman with a past only one Man could forgive. A true love story that changed the face of history.

“I was Miryam of Magdala, seller of fine fabrics and wife of Yaakov the fisherman. With my husband and son, I held a place of honor among my countrymen until a company of rogue soldiers took everything from me. I might not be Roman, but I knew injustice when I saw it. And I had been most grievously wronged.”

In an era when women are sequestered and silenced, Miryam of Magdala lives a contended life until her son’s careless gesture evokes a hostile action that shatters her serenity. With no hope of justice, Miryam commits an unthinkable act…and descends into depths of darkness that threaten her life and her sanity.

Even after Yeshua the Messiah dramatically restores her life, Miryam can neither forget nor forgive unresolved injustices. Prodded by a hunger for vengeance she will not deny, this woman of uncommon courage risks her life and her heart by drawing destiny into her own hands.

Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar

Purple. The foundation of an influential trade in a Roman world dominated by men. One woman rises up to take the reins of success in an incredible journey of courage, grit, and friendship. And along the way, she changes the world.

But before she was Lydia, the seller of purple, she was simply a merchant’s daughter who loved three things: her father, her ancestral home, and making dye. Then unbearable betrayal robs her of nearly everything.

With only her father’s secret formulas left, Lydia flees to Philippi and struggles to establish her business on her own. Determination and serendipitous acquaintances—along with her father’s precious dye—help her become one of the city’s preeminent merchants. But fear lingers in every shadow, until Lydia meets the apostle Paul and hears his message of hope, becoming his first European convert. Still, Lydia can’t outrun her secrets forever, and when past and present collide, she must either stand firm and trust in her fledgling faith or succumb to the fear that has ruled her life.

The Scribe by Francine Rivers

His wealth allowed him a position a power.
His obedience led him to give up his worldly possessions.
His humility helped him dedicate his life to recording the words of others.


After the death and resurrection of Jesus, Peter and Paul preached to the nations, carrying Christ’s message to all who would listen. But when they were silenced, it was their scribe Silas who brought their words to future generations. Be challenged by this faithful man whose story we must never forget.

The Scribe is the story of Silas and book five in the popular Sons of Encouragement series about five men who quietly changed eternity.

First Line Friday — The Prince And The Prodigal

4 Feb

Happy Friday! I am happy to spotlight the newest release by Jill Eileen Smith, The Prince And The Prodigal. This biblically-based novel features Joseph. I’m looking forward to discovering the history of Genesis through the lens of this talented author.

Now for the first line:

Prologue

Mamre, 1842 BC

Jacob paused at the outskirts of Mamre near Hebron, taking in the familiar hills and fields where he had spent the early years of his life.

Joseph is the pampered favorite son of the patriarch Jacob. His older brothers, deeply resentful of his status in the family, take advantage of the chance to get rid of him, selling him to slave traders and deceiving their father about his fate. It seems like their troubles are over. But for Joseph and older brother Judah, they are just beginning.

While Joseph is accused of rape and imprisoned, Judah attempts to flee the memory of his complicity in the betrayal of his younger brother. After decades apart, the brothers will come face-to-face in a stunning role reversal that sees Joseph in a position of great power while Judah begs for mercy. Will forgiveness or vengeance win the day?

Bestselling and award-winning author Jill Eileen Smith brings her considerable research and imaginative skills to bear in this vivid retelling of one of the most popular stories found in Scripture–a story of jealousy, betrayal, and a reconciliation that only God could bring about.

Top 10 Tuesday — Titles with Names

1 Feb

Happy Tuesday everyone! Who knew there were so many book titles that feature names? That’s the prompt for this week’s TTT. I didn’t have to go far in my reading log to find some great books. I have included a few older titles to go along with new-ish releases. There are lots of genres too — something for everyone.

For more bloggers’ lists, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Book Titles with Names

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

Belinda Blake And The Snake in The Grass by Heather Day Gilbert

Burying Daisy Doe by Ramona Richards

For The Love of Joy by Janet W. Ferguson

Judah’s Wife by Angela Hunt

Keturah by Lisa T. Bergren

Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

My Dearest Dietrich by Amanda Barratt

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton

Saving Mrs. Roosevelt by Candice Sue Patterson

Top 10 Tuesday — 2021 Releases I Didn’t Read (Who is surprised!)

18 Jan

Every year I vow to read more from my TBR shelves, to be purposeful in the books I acquire. And every year total failure! I really have no self-control when it comes to books. The following are 2021 books still on my NetGalley shelves. I don’t even want to list those that are on my Kindle or my physical shelves.

For more bloggers who are big fat failures too didn’t meet their reading goals last year 😉 , check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top 2021 Releases I Didn’t Read

The Chase by Lisa Harris

Dead Fall by Nancy Mehl

A Midnight Dance by Davidson Joanna Politano

The Nature of A Lady by Roseanna M. White

Paint And Nectar by Ashley Clark

The Paris Betrayal by James R. Hannibal

The Way It Should Be by Christina Suzann Nelson

Woman in The Shadows by Carrie Stuart Parks

A Woman of Words by Angela Hunt

Book Review: A Light on The Hill

10 Jan

I lead a Bible study/book club at my church. We discuss a scripture topic for 2-3 weeks and then we have a book club night in which we discuss a novel inspired by the particular Bible story/scripture/or character that we have studied. It’s a great way to combine a love of reading with the truths that form its foundation. This month we are looking at the Cities of Refuge as described in Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Joshua and discussing A Light on The Hill by Connilyn Cossette. Cossette’s book/series is what inspired me to explore this topic. Another reason to read Biblical fiction — an impetus to go deeper into God’s word. 🙂 All the details on the book and my thoughts are below.

Seven years ago, Moriyah was taken captive in Jericho and branded with the mark of the Canaanite gods. Now the Israelites are experiencing peace in their new land, but Moriyah has yet to find her own peace. Because of the shameful mark on her face, she hides behind her veil at all times and the disdain of the townspeople keeps her from socializing. And marriage prospects were out of the question . . . until now.

Her father has found someone to marry her, and she hopes to use her love of cooking to impress the man and his motherless sons. But when things go horribly wrong, Moriyah is forced to flee. Seeking safety at one of the newly-established Levitical cities of refuge, she is wildly unprepared for the dangers she will face, and the enemies–and unexpected allies–she will encounter on her way.

Connilyn Cossette is a Christy Award and Carol Award winning author whose books have been found on both ECPA and CBA bestseller lists. When she is not engulfed in the happy chaos of homeschooling two teenagers, devouring books whole, or avoiding housework, she can be found digging into the rich ancient world of the Bible to discover gems of grace that point to Jesus and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience. Although she and her husband have lived all over the country in their twenty-plus years of marriage, they currently call a little town south of Dallas, Texas their home.

My Impressions:

A Light on The Hill is the first book in the Cities of Refuge series. While some of the characters were part of Cossette’s Out from Egypt series, it is not necessary to have read those books. Inspired by scripture found in Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Joshua, the novel centers on Moriyah, a young unmarried Jewish woman who hides behind a veil and in the safety of her home after being branded by a Canaanite priest. Moriyah believes she has sheltered herself and her family from judgment and shame. This novel takes Moriyah on a journey of discovery as she seeks to flee danger. While some of her adventures seemed a bit far-fetched, they showed the culture, geography, and customs of Israel and Canaan following Israel’s conquest. I really liked the historical details that Cossette introduced, including the foods! Moriyah grows considerably during her trials and discovers that the only real refuge that can be trusted is within God’s care.

The Biblical message is strong, this is a Biblical novel after all. The law of Moses discussed in this book is interesting and pertaining to Moriyah’s circumstances, a bit foreign for a modern reader. But the Old Testament always points to Jesus, and this book’s depiction of the Cities of Refuge — their purpose and meaning — opened up a new understanding of Jesus as our spiritual refuge and his role as High Priest. There’s also romance and suspense that will appeal to the modern reader.

I very much enjoyed A Light on The Hill and look forward to discussing it with my book club. By the way, there are excellent discussion questions included.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

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

Top 10 Tuesday — Santa Baby, Can You Put Some New Books Under The Tree, For Me? Been An Awfully Good Girl . . .

21 Dec

What self-respecting book nerd enthusiast doesn’t want books for Christmas? I know you are with me on this one. Although the books on my list are not yet released, I think Santa can manage some bookish magic. If that doesn’t work, how about a gift card for pre-order shopping?! 😉

For more bookish wishes, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Upcoming Releases I Can’t Wait For

The Catch by Lisa Harris

Critical Alliance by Elizabeth Goddard

The Deadly Shallows by Dani Pettrey

Elysium Tide by James Hannibal

Fatal Code by Natalie Walters

Malicious Intent by Lynn Blackburn

The Mozart Code by Rachel McMillan

Potiphar’s Wife by Mesu Andrews

Sea Glass Cottage by Irene Hannon

The Souls of Lost Lake by Jaime Jo Wright

The Sweet Life by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Turn to Me by Becky Wade

Top 10 Tuesday — Winter TBR

14 Dec

I have scaled back my reading a bit in the past 2 years, due both to design and circumstances. My 2021 reading goal is 100 books. With 18 days left, my list stands at 90. I don’t think I am going to make it. 😉 Oh, well — life! Even with reduced time to read, I still plan to read some really great books. Today’s TTT list includes a variety of genres, which I like. I enjoy mixing it up a bit. I hope you find a book to love too!

To find out what other bloggers are reading this winter, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top 10 Books on The Winter TBR

After She Falls by Carmen Schober

As Dawn Breaks by Kate Breslin

The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox

Every Word Unsaid by Kimberly Duffy

A Heart Adrift by Laura Frantz

A Light on The Hill by Connilyn Cossette

Saving Mrs. Roosevelt by Candice Sue Patterson

Shadows of Swanford Abbey by Julie Klassen

The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews

Sunrise by Susan May Warren

Top 10 Tuesday — First Character Lines

9 Nov

The last 2+ weeks have been a whirlwind around here with both expected and unexpected travel. I have been out of town many more days than at home — lots of catching up to do! All that to say I have chosen the easy way out with my TTT list. Memorable character quotes is being twisted to a variation on first lines — the first sentence uttered by a character. All the books featured today are on my near future TBR list. I hope you find a book that piques your interest.

For more memorable character quotes, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Character First Lines

“And King David, a warrior poet, cried out to God, ‘Out of my distress I called upon the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.'”

“You’ll never believe it, but I discovered two more diaries!” Miss Cora’s voice wavered, but even at ninety-two it had not lost its cultured tone.

“Thanks for coming with me today. I needed this.”

“What are you doing, Miss Travers?”

“We shouldn’t be doing this.” Lindsey Waters whispered as she stood in the dark hallway next to her sometimes friend, sometimes enemy, and all-the-time troublemaker.

“I’m green with envy! Paris is the most beautiful city in Europe!”

“It will be over soon, little Hebrew,” said the man with painted lips, blood-red and curving with false tenderness.

“Seif, you will send your child to this school?”

The last child, a girl with wide brown eyes and a riot of red curls trailed her hand over the robe. “It’s softer than I thought it’d be.”

“You’ve got manure in your hair, Gerrit,” Luisa whispered, her Italian accent still strong even after thirty years in the States.