Book Review: “Havah: The Story of Eve” by Tosca Lee

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Book Review: Havah: The Story of Eve

The Book

Myth and legend shroud her in mystery. Now hear her story. From paradise to exile, from immortality to the death of Adam, experience the dawn of mankind through the eyes of Eve, the woman first known… as Havah.

My Thoughts

I’ve read the story of Adam and Eve in the Bible more times than I can count. I’ve known it since I was in diapers; I’ve been able to recite it like a fairy tale. Until now, it was blasé–something that I knew held important meaning for my life, but meaning I never stopped long to consider.

After reading Havah, I will never look at the first five chapters of Genesis the same. I have never been so emotionally impacted by a book–not that I can remember. The author made the Garden of Eden, the relationship that Adam and Eve enjoyed with God, the love and emotionally intimacy shared between Adam and Eve before the fall, so real–so relevant to me–that for the first time, I realized how devastating the whole thing was–in a literal sense, not just in some abstract, “that-happened-to-someone-else” kind of way.

Before I finished the last chapters, I was trying not to cry. Afterwards, when the last page was closed, I did cry. I finished the book in bed, and I cried (as quietly as possible, so my husband wouldn’t panic!) until I fell asleep. Because even though the true details of history certainly must have differed from those in this book, the overall story is true, and it’s our story–the story of all humankind.

I don’t expect that every, or even most, readers of Havah will be touched the way I was, but I do know that in reading this book, I was able to grieve for what was lost at the Fall between God and man.

Havah attempts to tell the beginning of our story; I’m so thankful that for believers and followers of Jesus, there is a triumphant ending that remains to be seen.

What I Thought Could Have Been Better

There were a few things about the story that were a stretch or that seemed unlikely. For example, in the book, when people saw the mark God placed on Kayin (Cain), they supernaturally saw their own flaws and failures, so they did not harm him. I did think this was a genius idea, however, as well as several other of the artistic liberties the author took in writing this story.

I didn’t like the almost unhealthy bond between Kayin and Havah (or between Adam and one of his daughters, for that matter), but again, the way the author wove it into the story “worked.” It made sense that Kayin might get upset enough to kill his own brother with the hopes of his mother weighing heavy on his shoulders.

I personally don’t feel that Eve ever expected to be able to return to the garden, as was her lifelong goal in this book. While I can see where she might have taken hope in seeing the day when her seed would crush the serpent’s head, I feel Adam and Eve were fully aware that they’d sinned, and as a result, things could never go back to the way they were.

There were several details in the book that I didn’t feel were compatible with a pre-Flood world. There were rainstorms, the people ate meat, and they also aged very quickly considering they still had hundreds of years to live.

All that being said, I don’t think anybody could have done a better job crafting a story like this; there are just so many details we can’t know.

This is an adult book; I wouldn’t recommend it for young people, mostly due to sensual content and suggestion.

I give this book 4 stars.

One star – No comment!
Two stars – Couldn’t get into it.
Three stars – Pretty good.
Four stars – Great read!
Five stars – Worth reading more than once.

Visit Tosca Lee’s website.
Follow Tosca Lee on Twitter and Facebook.
Purchase a copy on Amazon.

“Just 18 Summers” Giveaway

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Just18Summers / WordSmith


I just finished reading Just 18 Summers, and due to an ever-shrinking amount of space on my bookshelves, I’d like to give away my copy! The book is still in good condition, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a great mix of funny and tear-inducing scenes. (Full review coming in May.)

The Book:

With just eighteen summers . . . don’t forget to make some memories. 

After the tragic death of Butch Browning’s wife, Jenny, four families begin to realize how precious–and fleeting–their time together is. Each is at a different stage in life: Butch if facing single parenthood. The O’Reillys are expecting their first child. The Andersons are approaching an empty next, and the Buckleys are so focused on providing their children with everything that they’ve forgotten what they truly need. With just eighteen summers before their children are grown, how do they make the most of that time when life so often gets in the way?

As summer flies by, each of these parents must learn about guilt and grace . . . and when to hold on to their kids and when to let go.

If you’re interested in being entered in the giveaway, just answer one of the following questions in the comments:

1. For those whose kids are grown: What would you do differently if you could go back and raise your kids all over again?

2. For those who currently have kids at home: What are some things you are doing to make the best of your time with your kids?

3. For those with no kids: What is one of your favorite childhood memories?

Don’t forget to leave your email address!
(If you use this format–name(at)email(dot)com–I won’t have to approve your comment.)

Drawing will be April 27th.
Open to readers with US mailing addresses.

5 Fun Wedding Ideas

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I’m blogging at Dainty Jewell’s today! Stop by and check out my post: 5 Fun Wedding Ideas

5 Fun Wedding Ideas: WordSmith blog

Image courtesy of once like a spark photography


I had SO much fun writing this post. Where was Pinterest when I was getting married?

Have you seen any unique wedding ideas you just loved? Let me know in the comments!

CrossReads Book Blast with Lillian Duncan

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By Lillian Duncan

About the Book

The Witness Protection Program claims they can keep anyone safe if only they follow the rules, so Maria follows the rules–every rule. She’s given up everything–her friends, her family, her past–even her name–to ensure her daughter has a future.

Reborn as Veronica Minor in the sleepy little town of Sunberry, Ohio, she struggles to rebuild their life amid the beauty of her flower shop.

A life where her daughter can have a happy normal childhood.

A life where her daughter will never know that her father was a monster.

When a child disappears, Veronica prays it has nothing to do with her past. But what if she’s wrong? Not knowing who to trust, she trusts no one…and that’s her first mistake


lil2011dLillian Duncan

Stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem.

Lillian is a multi-published writer who writes the type of books she loves to read—suspense with a touch of romance. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: She also has a devotional blog at: as well as her personal blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes at

Follow Lillian Duncan

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Enter to Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Enter below to enter a $50 amazon gift card, sponsored by author Lillian Duncan!

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This book blast is hosted by Crossreads.

We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads book blast bloggers!

My Special Kiss!

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Tricia Goyer is doing a blog link-up/giveaway on her blog right now, and I thought I’d join in the fun!

These are the instructions:

“I’m thrilled to announce the latest release in my Amish series Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors. The Kissing Bridge is the story of a young woman caught between a stifling Amish community and the unnerving outside world and the daredevil bachelor determined to find an Amish woman who can quench his thirst for adventure.

Find out more here.

I’m celebrating by hosting a ‘Beautiful Bridges and Special Kisses’ giveaway. I want to hear about your favorite bridge or your most special kiss!”


I’m sure few want to hear the details of my romantic life, so I’ve decided to share this very special kiss instead: the first time I kissed my newborn son!


I love the little smile on his face in this picture!

I love the little smile on his face in this picture!

Axton, my son, is almost two years old now, but I remember the years leading up to his birth like they were yesterday. My husband and I thought we were ready for kids soon after we were married, but it would be nearly five years before we would hold our baby in our arms.

Once, probably within months of us finding out we were expecting, my husband told me, “I want a baby more than anything.” I felt so helpless and sad because there was nothing I could do to make his desire a reality.

Thankfully, our son’s arrival into this world was orchestrated by God with impeccable timing. At a doctors visit on October 25, 2011, I got the shock of my life when the doctor informed me I was expecting. I was afraid to believe it could really be true.

But apparently, it was. :)

Less than eight months later when the same doctor handed me my red little wrinkled son, I kissed his perfect, tiny forehead.

As long as I may live, I think that will be one of my most special kisses ever. :-)

Interested in sharing your story for a chance to win great Amish fiction? Check out Tricia’s blog!


First Blog Post for Dainty Jewell’s

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My first blog post for Dainty Jewell’s is up!

"A Night in Paris" - Photo Courtesy of KB Photography

“A Night in Paris” – Photo Courtesy of KB Photography

I’m excited to be part of a team that works so hard to make gorgeous, modest dresses available to women of all sizes and ages. I’ll be blogging over there weekly on Thursdays, and I’m looking forward to covering many fun topics.

If you’ve never stopped by Dainty Jewell’s website, go over and look around!

"A Night in Paris" Dress - Photo Courtesy of KB Photography

“A Night in Paris” Dress – Photo Courtesy of KB Photography

If you’re looking for inspiring reading, new blog posts by different writers will be posted each day of the week–all on topics relevant to today’s Christian woman.

Book Review & Giveaway: “Claiming Mariah” by Pam Hillman

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WordSmith Book Review: Claiming Mariah by Pam Hillman

The Book

After her father’s death, Mariah Malone sends a letter that will forever alter the lives of her family. When Slade Donovan, strong willed and eager for vengeance, shows up on her front porch, Mariah is not ready to hear his truths: her father’s farm, the only home she’s ever known, was bought with stolen gold. With Slade ready to collect his father’s rightful claim and force Mariah and her family out on the streets, Mariah must turn to God for guidance. Though Mr. Frederick Cooper, a local landowner, promises to answer her financial woes if she agrees to be his bride, Mariah finds herself drawn instead to the angry young man demanding her home.

With the ranch now under Slade’s careful eye, he unearths more than he ever imagined as a devious plot of thievery, betrayal, and murder threatens the well-being of the ranch, endangering those who hold it dear. As the days dwindle until the rest of the Donovan clan arrives at the Lazy M ranch, Mariah and Slade must rise above the resentment of their fathers and see their true feelings before greed changes their futures forever.

My Thoughts

I love books where I know from page one that I’m in for a great read. This was one of those! I read Claiming Mariah while suffering with a major case of allergies. Even though I spent the majority of my reading time wanting to claw my face off, I loved the story. That’s saying a lot!  :)

From the start, Claiming Mariah made me wish I had a few uninterrupted hours to curl away somewhere and just read. I liked the characters and thought they were easy to sympathize with. For some reason, I enjoyed Mariah’s grandma in particular. The familial structure in this novel–Mariah, her grandma, and her sister who spends the book away in Philadelphia–was a little different, and I thought it provided nice variety.

There was one surprise toward the end, around page 300 or so, that I thought I probably should have seen coming, but didn’t. I think Pam Hillman is an excellent writer. If you like Old West romances, you’ll love this book.

What I Thought Could Have Been Better

At the beginning of the book, Mariah feels obligated to hand her land over to Slade, the male lead in this story. Though I understood why she did it, I felt like she handed over the only place she’d ever known as home too easily. She was upset that she was forced out of her home, but wasn’t quite as freaked out about it as I would have been.

I give this book 4.5 stars.

One star – No comment!
Two stars – Couldn’t get into it.
Three stars – Pretty good.
Four stars – Great read!
Five stars – Worth reading more than once.

In compliance with FTC regulations: I was given a complimentary copy of this book by the publicist on behalf of the author and publisher in exchange for this honest review. No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Visit Pam’s website.
Visit the Blog Tour Page.
Follow Pam on Facebook and Twitter.
Purchase a copy on Amazon.

About the Author

Pam Hillman was born and raised on a dairy farm in Mississippi and spent her teenage years perched on the seat of a tractor raking hay. In those days, her daddy couldn’t afford two cab tractors with air conditioning and a radio, so Pam drove the Allis Chalmers 110. Even when her daddy asked her if she wanted to bale hay, she told him she didn’t mind raking. Raking hay doesn’t take much thought so Pam spent her time working on her tan and making up stories in her head. Now, that’s the kind of life every girl should dream of!



Pam Hillman is giving away a Kindle Fire!
Find details here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below!

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Book Review: “KnowOrphans” by Rick Morton

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KnowOrphans Book Review

The Book

The global orphan crisis is complex. The church’s response should be comprehensive, but is it? In this provocative follow-up to Orphanology, author Rick Morton provides the framework for families and churches to have a gospel-centered response to the growing global issue of orphan care.

KnowOrphans addresses three distinct areas associated with global orphanology. Delving deeper into the criticisms of the movement, the need for reform, and what families can expect, author Rick Morton helps shape realistic perceptions of the challenges and rewards adoptive parents face in transnational adoptions. Through illuminating the work internationally adoptive families can expect, KnowOrphans offers solutions for the church in remedying the ills and deficiencies surrounding the church’s role in equipping and supporting families before, during, and after the adoption process. Knowing that the church’s response and attitude should be one that goes beyond adoption, KnowOrphans also addresses the complexities of how Christians are to respond ethically, compassionately, and comprehensively to the biblical call to care for orphans.

KnowOrphans is the next step in conversation as this evangelically based movement of orphan care matures and begins to live out James 1:27 globally.

My Thoughts

I love reading material that forces me to remember that life exists outside my own sphere of family and friends. This book did that for me. KnowOrphans is a great guide and information source for those thinking of adopting–especially transnationally–or getting involved in orphan care in any way.

I expected two things of this book before reading it: that it would be full of stories that tugged at my heartstrings and that it would amount to a 188-page persuasion essay on the subject of adoption. I was wrong on both counts. Instead, KnowOrphans is a how-to and informational handbook for the church and for potentially adoptive families on the subject of God’s call for us to take care of the fatherless.

This is a great resource for those thinking of adopting or in the process of adopting. It’s also great for those who want to get involved in orphan care without adopting–a concept mentioned in this book several times. Rick Morton makes it clear that many people are not called to adopt, but we are all called to care for the fatherless. I love his examples of churches with strong orphan care programs.

This passage from page 38 stood out to me, and I thought I would share:

“Repeatedly throughout the Old Testament narrative, we find a consistent association among widows, orphans, and sojourners . . . God associates caring for these three groups as evidence of His people’s obedience and righteousness (Deuteronomy 10:18; 14:28-29). God even says abuse of vulnerable groups, such as widows, the fatherless, and the sojourner, sometimes identified as poor or oppressed, is among the most glaring evidence of the disobedience of His people” (Isaiah 1:17; 10:2; Jeremiah 5).

What I Thought Could Have Been Better

This isn’t something that could have been “better,” because I believe the book fulfilled the purpose the author intended; however, many organizations were mentioned, and it was hard to keep them straight. This is definitely a book you read with purpose, not for leisure.

I give this book 4 stars.

One star – No comment.
Two stars – Couldn’t get into it.
Three stars – Pretty good.
Four stars – Great read!
Five stars – Worth reading more than once.

In compliance with FTC regulations: I was given a complimentary copy of this book by the publicist on behalf of the author and publisher in exchange for this honest review. No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Visit Rick’s website.
Visit the Blog Tour Page.
Follow Rick on Twitter.
Purchase a copy on Amazon.

About the Author

KnowOrphans Book Review

Rick Morton is the father of three transnational adopted children and coauthor of the popular book Orphanology: Awakening to Gospel-Centered Adoption and Orphan Care. His dedication to the plight of orphans extends beyond his own family. The Mortons were cofounders of Promise 139, an international orphan-hosting ministry based in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. An inspiring speaker for the gospel to be expressed by the church living out God’s heart for the fatherless, Rick presents at adoption and orphan-care conferences and pastor’s conferences. Rick and his family live in the Greater Memphis area.

April’s Pick-a-Book Game & Giveaway

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Time for another giveaway! April 1 – 15, you can enter to win any book from the list I’ve reviewed in 2014. For fun, I’ve decided to include a game for those who want a chance to win an extra book:

1. Leave a comment on this post. Make sure you leave your email address!
(If you leave it like this–name(at)whatever(dot)com–your comment will not need approval.)

2. One random commenter will win any book of his or her choice. Drawing is noon April 15.

3. If you want a chance to win an extra surprise book, here’s the game!

Five strangers–a youth pastor, a banker, a cheerleader, a Target store manager, and an English teacher–are stranded for three hours in a broken elevator. When the elevator starts back up, two are in love and two can’t stand each other. Which two are in love, which two can’t stand each other, and why?

The person with my favorite response will win a surprise book. Give it a try, even if you think your scenario is silly. You never know what might strike my fancy. (Just ask those who’ve played Apples to Apples with me!)

 A few sentences is sufficient–unless a full-blown plot pops into your head and you’re willing to share. :)

US mailing addresses only, please. Winner(s) will have 3 days to respond to my email to claim prize.
Winner of game and winner of random drawing may be the same person.

For more Christian book giveaways, check out Christian Bookshelf Reviews’ weekly giveaway link-up!

UPDATE: Congrats to Michelle for winning the drawing and to Hannah Peasha for winning the game!
More giveaways to come…