Book Review: Of Fire and Lions by Mesu Andrews

of fire and lions mesu andrews book review

Synopsis:

The Old Testament book of Daniel comes to life in this novel for readers of Lynn Austin's Chronicles of the Kings series or Francine Rivers' Mark of the Lion series.

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.

  • Genre: Biblical Fiction

  • Publisher: Waterbrook Press

  • Published: 3/15/2019

  • Pages: 400

  • Goodreads Rating: 4.71 Stars

Of Fire and Lions Mesu andrews book review
In that moment, I knew my greatest failures as a mother hadn’t been protecting my children too fiercely or even holding back secrets. My most dire mistake had been neglecting to trust Yahweh’s power and sufficiency in both their lives and my own.
— Belili

Why I Chose This Book

I am part of Mesu Andrew’s BFF Program so I was told about this book a few months before it came out. I was absolutely excited to read Mesu’s book because I always found the Book of Daniel interesting and inspiring.

First Initial Thoughts

When I first opened this book, there was 3 pages list of characters. I was like… oh boy. I have to remember all these people?! Sometimes, a story with a lot of characters can be overwhelming and a little confusing.

The beginning of the book we start off with the invasion of Jerusalem (how many times does this city get invaded?!). Abigail (later known as Belili) is taken prisoner and is made maid for Daniel and his best friends. During this time they become fast friends and are very close. But that was only for so long.

As the story progresses though we see Belili be taken again and eventually married to a man named Gadi. Before she became his wife, she was a high priestess. These are women who served in temples. During this time she was so ashamed of her life- and who wouldn’t blame her. Gadi is a good man. I actually did like him. He wasn’t mean or spiteful. They had a son together named Allamu, and he has an important role later on in the story.

I liked Daniel. He was so sweet, kind, and loyal to everyone he met, despite his status. He truly had so much faith in God, and that was very inspiring.

Setting

The last time I ever read a book about Babylon was The Odyssey back in High School. So it’s been a few years. I remember learning briefly about Babylon in my Archaeology classes but it wasn’t taught extensively. Mesu brings Babylon to life. It’s rich culture, traditions, and people were well researched and I felt like I was there right along with the characters. Also, fact of the day if you didn’t know. Babylon was once located in the present day Iraq - about a few miles south of Baghdad. I personally don’t know too much about that region so it was interesting to learn more about it.

Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place.
— Daniel 9:24

Final Thoughts

Poor Belili. Mesu is a master at emotion in a book. I really felt Belili’s pain throughout this book. I won’t spoil anything but I just wanted to give her a big hug! She definitely went through some major and traumatic events in her life but she kept on going. I really admired her for that. She was so ashamed of her past as a Priestess that she was too blind to see the faith she had in God all along. I am sure some people in that circumstance wouldn’t be able to carry on afterward because of the shame.

I loved how Mesu wrote the two stories we learned as a child about Daniel. The first one being of the fireplace and God saving Daniel’s best friends from the fire. And the second being of Daniel in the Lion’s den. These stories are stories of faith and trust in God. Trusting in God when all things could go wrong.

Speaking of trust, Daniel was ever so faithful to God the entire story. I also think he helped Belili restore her faith and provide an example of true faith. I also really liked them together. The only thing I found kind of odd was that they both loved each other at the age of 10. I just found that kind of…interesting. I for one don’t think that one could really understand love at age 10 but it was a different time back then and many women were married off by the age of 14. However, in the story their love stands the test of time throughout the entire book- so that was reassuring.

Even though this book is only 400 pages, I felt like it was a long epic story. Some sections of the book dragged on a little too long but I think that was done on purpose to create a backstory and suspense. Even though there were a ton of characters, I didn’t feel like I forgot who each person was and how they were important to the story.

Would I Recommend?

Oh yes! Fans of the story of Daniel and the Lions will absolutely love a take on that story. Even though we learned about this story as a child, I would say this is the more adult version. It definitely has some violence so I would only suggest for ages 16+.



You can purchase the book —-> HERE

Have you read the Book of Daniel? If so, what were your thoughts?



the caffeinated bibliophile

Note: I was sent an ARC copy of this book to review from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Book Blast: The Golden Hour by Malia Zaidi

the golden hour malia zaidi book blast

The Golden Hour Malia Zaidi Book Blast

Synopsis:

Lady Evelyn Carlisle has barely arrived in London when familial duty calls her away again. Her cousin Gemma is desperate for help with her ailing mother before her imminent wedding, which Evelyn knew nothing about! Aunt Agnes in tow, she journeys to Scotland, expecting to find Malmo Manor in turmoil. To her surprise, her Scottish family has been keeping far more secrets than the troubled state of their matriarch. Adding to the tension in the house a neighbor has opened his home, Elderbrooke Park, as a retreat for artistic veterans of the Great War. This development does not sit well with everyone in the community. Is the suspicion towards the residents a catalyst for murder? A tragedy at Elderbrooke Park’s May Day celebration awakens Evelyn’s sleuthing instinct, which is strengthened when the story of another unsolved death emerges, connected to her own family. What she uncovers on her quest to expose the truth will change several lives forever, including her own. With the shadow of history looming over her, Evelyn must trust in her instinct and ability to comb through the past to understand the present, before the murderer can stop her and tragedy strikes again.

  • Publication Date: March 26, 2019

  • BookBaby

  • eBook & Paperback; 398 Pages

  • Genre: Historical Mystery

  • Series: Lady Evelyn Mystery, Book 4

The Lady Evelyn Mystery Series

Lady Evelyn Mystery Series

About the Author

02_Malia Zaidi.jpg

Malia Zaidi is the author of The Lady Evelyn Mysteries. She studied at the University of Pittsburgh and at the University of Oxford. Having grown up in Germany, she currently lives in Washington DC, though through her love of reading, she resides vicariously (if temporarily) in countries around the world.

Connect with Malia:

WEBSITE | BLOG | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Giveaway Time!!

During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away a paperback copy of The Golden Hour! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on April 8th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– No sweepstakes accounts.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner will be chosen.

I hope you enjoyed learning more about The Lady Evelyn Mystery series! Good luck if you entered the giveaway!

the caffeinated bibliophile

Note: I am part of the Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour for this book. However, I was not compensated to promote this book.

Book Review: Glory Road by Lauren K Denton

glory road lauren denton book review

Synopsis:

The only thing certain is change—even in a place as steady as Perry, Alabama, on a street as old as Glory Road.

Nearly a decade after her husband’s affair drove her back home to South Alabama, Jessie McBride has the stable life she wants—operating her garden shop, Twig, next door to her house on Glory Road, and keeping up with her teenage daughter and spunky mother. But the unexpected arrival of two men makes Jessie question whether she’s really happy with the status quo. When handsome, wealthy businessman Sumner Tate asks her to arrange flowers for his daughter’s lavish wedding, Jessie finds herself drawn to his continued attention. Then Ben Bradley, her lingering what-could-have-been from high school, moves back to the red dirt road, and she feels her heart pulled in directions she never expected.

Meanwhile, Jessie’s fourteen-year-old daughter, Evan, is approaching the start of high school and navigating a new world of emotions—particularly as they relate to the cute new guy who’s moved in just down the road. At the same time, Jessie’s mother, Gus, is suffering increasingly frequent memory lapses and faces a frightening, uncertain future. Once again, Jessie feels her protected and predictable life shifting.

In one summer, everything will change. But for these three strong Southern women, the roots they’ve planted on Glory Road will give life to the adventures waiting just around the curve.

  • Genre: Christian Contemporary

  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson

  • Published: 3/19/2019

  • Pages: 368

  • Goodreads Rating: 4.47

Praise For Glory Road:

“Rich colorful characters capturing my heart, combined with a story that kept me up till the wee hours, Glory Road is a perfect read. Lauren Denton has done it again!” —Lisa Patton, bestselling author of Rush and Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’easter

“Once again Lauren Denton brings her lyrical writing and compelling characters to a story that will enthrall readers from page one.” —Marybeth Mayhew Whalen, author of Only Ever Her and co-founder of She Reads, for Glory Road

Glory Road lauren denton book review
But if I learned anything in my life, it’s that real love is always worth the risk
— Jessie

Why I Chose This Book:

This is my first time reading a book from Lauren Denton. I have promoted her books before on my Instagram account but never had the chance to read them. So I was excited to get the chance to review her new release.

First Initial Thoughts:

Jessie is settling into Perry quite well with her garden business with her daughter Evan and her mother, Gus. I found it really interesting that she had a garden business. I never heard of someone just having their own single garden business in their own property before. I found that to be quite unique and stood out for me in this book. I liked that Jessie was independent and free spirited but she also guarded her heart. Not only did her heart break once but twice - so I could see that she was guarded and wary of letting anyone into her life/heart.

Ben, we don’t meet till later on in the story but we get his backstory early on. Jessie and Ben were in High School together and overtime they both developed feelings for each other but didn’t admit to each other till it was too late. I think Ben feel for her hard more than Jessie did however. He comes back into town after 20 years being away. He comes back with his son Nick in a house down the road from Jessie.

Gus is Jessie’s mom. I absolutely adored Gus. She is that Grandmother that you would turn to advice for because she always has the best advice- even if it’s that advice you don’t want to hear.

Setting:

Perry definitely sounds like the kind of town I would eventually like to settle down in later in life. Maybe just not in Alabama- I do not like the southern heat one bit. The small town atmosphere where everyone knows everyone and life goes at a slower pace. It just seems like the ideal place. I absolutely loved the house and nursery business Lauren created for this story. Quiet, charming, and small - just the way I would like my house to be.

I knew there was more—Mama loved to remind me of that—but Glory Road was what I knew and loved.
— Jessie

Final Thoughts:

First off, this story kind of reminds me of one particular popular movie- The Notebook.

Both Ben and Jessie met in High School and fell in love over time and then meet again in their mid 30’s. One particular moment in the story, she mentioned when she got engaged to her Ex-Husband, Chris, Ben flashed across her mind. Remember that moment too in The Notebook?

Later on in the story we meet Sumner, he approaches Jessie to create wedding flowers for his daughter’s wedding. She doesn’t do flowers nor weddings. So she is hesitant at first, but she also needed the money. So she agrees. Sumner is a very rich man and his house has appeared in many magazines. Despite the house and his money, Sumner was actually a really nice man. I also liked his daughter, Olivia. She wasn’t this Bridezilla. So I appreciated that none of the characters were really annoying or appeared to be “rich snobs”.

This story reminds us of second chances at love. I appreciated that Sumner was a good man. He was sweet, charming, and a perfect gentleman. But he wasn’t right for her. And I am glad that Jessie that too. She had a relationship with Ben that couldn’t be matched. Personally I think they really understood one another and it was natural for them to be together. Especially after 20 years, they were able to re-spark their relationship after that long. If that doesn’t say something…

I also really liked that we got perspective of the story from each character. I think this gave the story depth and feeling. I don’t think this kind of book would have suited well from just one point of view. However, we never got perspective from Ben’s mind. I would have liked to see at least a few chapters with his perspective.

Another thing I found interesting, and really liked that Lauren included in the story was that Gus was suffering from Alzheimer’s. I think we don’t see that too much in novels today and I liked how raw and honest Lauren was about the onset of Alzheimer’s.

Would I Recommend?

I definitely think anyone would just about love this story. It’s sweet, romantic, and just a feel good story. Perfect for the upcoming spring/summer season!

About Lauren Denton

Lauren Denton

Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Lauren now lives with her husband and two daughters in Homewood, just outside Birmingham. In addition to her fiction, she writes a monthly newspaper column about life, faith, and how funny (and hard) it is to be a parent. On any given day, she’d rather be at the beach with her family and a stack of books. Her debut novel, THE HIDEAWAY, was a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Amazon Charts bestseller. Her second novel, HURRICANE SEASON, released in spring of 2018, is a USA Today bestseller. GLORY ROAD will release in March, 2019.

Connect with Lauren

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Did you grow up in a small town? Or would you like to move to a small town one day?

the caffeinated bibliophile

Note: I was sent an ARC copy of this book to review from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Christian Book Suggestions Based on Movies

book suggestions based on movies

I absolutely love watching Movies and TV Shows. It’s so easy to turn on Netflix and before you know it, went through a whole binge watching session. However, I also love to read and try to read more than watch tv/movies. While reading certain books I have thought - this would make a really great movie!

If you love a particular movie, there are many amazing Christian books similar to that movie to read. So without further ado, here are 3 movies and books related to them.

Photo via Vanity Fair

Photo via Vanity Fair

If You Love Gladiator…


Photo via Daily Express

Photo via Daily Express

If You Love Dances With Wolves…


Photo Via Mental Floss

Photo Via Mental Floss

If You Love The Notebook…


I hope you found some good books to read!

What are your favorite movies? List them below in the comments!

the caffeinated bibliophile