Let’s Talk about Diverse Christmas Reads

Hey, Friends!

Are you looking for some ethnically diverse Christmas reads? Look no further! I’ve compiled a list of Christmas reads from my awesome author friends for your reading pleasure.

And since this is a Open Discussion day, let’s talk about our favorite diverse Christmas reads. If I forgot one, leave a link in the comments!

Happy reading!


Book Review: Beauty From Ashes

Happy Friday! Can you believe it’s almost Christmas?!? Less than two weeks away – it’s like we blinked in January & suddenly it’s December lol.

Today I’m sharing a review of a book that has such a pretty cover! The story inside is just as beautiful.

ABOUT THE BOOK

beauty from ashesSERIES: Orchard Grove #1
GENRE: Inspirational Women’s Fiction
PUBLISHER: Firstfruits Publishing
RELEASE DATE: July 7, 2017
PAGES: 327

A baby was never part of Tiff’s plans. Especially not a sick baby in a NICU, struggling for life on a ventilator.

As days in the hospital turn to weeks, Tiff grows more and more convinced that God is punishing her for turning her back on him so many years ago. Or is it possible he’s working in the midst of her daughter’s bleak prognosis to draw Tiff back to himself once more?

The Orchard Grove Christian Women’s Fiction books are standalone literary novels about real-life believers facing real-life struggles. You won’t meet perfect saints whose lives are faultless models of the Christian faith. Instead, you’ll meet a perfect God whose plans of redemption are far more glorious than what the mortal mind could ever imagine.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

other books in this series

before the dawn  breath of heaven

MY THOUGHTS

“…whatever you’ve done, you can’t pluck yourself out of God’s hand.”

Beauty From Ashes is an incredibly moving story about a young woman in a heartbreaking situation. It reads like a conversation between the main character Tiff and the reader, as she tells us about the events leading up to and including the past few months of her life. In her frank yet endearing manner, Tiff reflects on her years in foster care, her relationship with God, and how she wound up married with a baby in the NICU.

I loved how honest Tiff is about God, and we see this particularly during the church service. There’s no guile to her as she struggles to pay attention, struggles to make sense of the service, and then as something touches her deeply. Side note: If you haven’t spent time with people who aren’t familiar with church and God, you are really missing out on seeing your faith and your worship practices in fresh ways ♥

One thing I love about Alana Terry’s writing is that she always surprises me. Just when I think a scene or a character is about to slide into cliche territory, she turns it on its end and takes it somewhere I wasn’t expecting. This happened more than once in Beauty from Ashes, not the least of which involved Tiff’s incredibly difficult mother-in-law. I also loved the diversity of the characters – their ethnic backgrounds as well as their backstories.

I will say that, if you’re currently going through a very difficult season, Beauty from Ashes may feel almost too heavy to keep reading at certain points. Life just continues not to turn around for Tiff and instead of seeing ‘beauty’ you see mostly ‘ashes’. In fact, I remember looking at the ‘time left in book’ on my kindle copy and thinking, “I’m not sure how the author is going to pull this one off with the 18 minutes left of my reading speed.” And, of course, as usual Alana Terry surprised me yet again. So I want to encourage you – if the ‘ashes’ overwhelm you in this story, keep reading for the ‘beauty’.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author.
All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
Review first appeared on ReadingIsMySuperPower.org

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alana TerryAlana Terry is a pastor’s wife, homeschooling mom, self-diagnosed chicken lady, and Christian author. Her novels have won awards from Women of Faith, Book Club Network, Grace Awards, Readers’ Favorite, and more. 

Alana’s passion for social justice, human rights, and religious freedom shines through her writing, and her books are known for raising tough questions without preaching

She has also been accused of making her readers stay up way too late.

Alana and her family live in rural Alaska where the northern lights in the winter and midnight sun in the summer make hauling water, surviving the annual mosquito apocalypse, and cleaning goat stalls in negative forty degrees worth every second.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR: website | Facebook | Twitter


 

What about you?

What interests you about Beauty From Ashes?

Book Spotlight: If Only

Happy Wednesday!

Today we’re featuring Dionne Grace’s If Only on our book spotlight. Have you read it?


About the Book

What do you do when your heart is breaking because you lose your first love?

Tragic circumstances change the course of Justin’s life.

Lana Howard gives him hope for a future he never thought he would have again. Without her, he is certain he is unable to move forward. But his past, his present, and his imminent future have left him filled with regrets, and he is at the point of despair—is it over?

If only… things were different.

If only… he could turn the clock back.

When Lana meets the mysterious, handsome Justin Stewart, she is captivated by his good looks and charm, but the intrigue is short-lived. Her expectation of men amounts to zero based on past experiences, and as far as she is concerned, Justin is no exception. But in spite of herself, Justin sweeps into Lana’s life and she finds herself slipping into something that she seems unable to get out of.

Will Justin see past his pain and make the right decision for them both?

Amazon | Goodreads


About the Author

I’m a romantic at heart. I love reading books, which in my early teenage years enhanced my vivid imagination. I would often invent fascinating love stories to entertain my school friends involving famous pop stars. I used to scribble notes on the back of school books while the teacher’s backs were turned! My friends loved it, and remind me of it to this day!

I love to write and when I’m not writing, I’m reading and I juggle this with my full-time job.

I write sweet romances, about couples in relationships who have a passion for each other. Sometimes this passion leads them into situations where they lose themselves, taking them down a path which possibly they should not have gone down or in contrast, through life’s experiences, they reject the love that is offered, not having the faith or forgiveness to trust it.

My books are intentionally thought provoking, and real life. A message about a discovery of how the scars of life can be healed, no matter how difficult this sometimes seems in this imperfect world. And ultimately, through God’s divine intervention he imparts a revelation of what his purpose was all along.

As you must have guessed, I have a love for God and everything spiritual, I hope this shines through in my books.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads


Post by Toni Shiloh

Book Review: A Proxy Wedding

Hi, reader friends! Today’s review features A Proxy Wedding by Toni Shiloh, a sweet novella that is now available as a stand-alone ebook, formerly part of a two-author novella collection, A Spring of Weddings.

About the Book

A Proxy Wedding by Toni ShilohSaying I Do was more than they bargained for.

Carly James values loyalty and friendship above all. So when her best friend calls asking her to be a proxy bride, she says, ‘yes.’ How hard can it be to say ‘I do’ so that her best friend can be with the one she loves? Only, Carly never counted on the feelings that began to swirl around with the proxy groom.

Damien Nichols likes life lined up from A to Z, but when his best friend calls in a favor, disorder begins to reign. Instead of taking a quick flight to the proxy wedding, he has to take a road trip with the proxy bride. Carly’s free-spirit attitude bumps heads with his meticulous approach to life. As Damien discovers the woman underneath the carefree façade, his emotions become involved.

goodreads | amazon

 

My Thoughts

Are y’all seeing this absolutely adorable cover?! It’s downright irresistible and so is the sweet story inside! I’m really glad this whole proxy wedding situation didn’t launch into a mishandled paperwork meets accidental marriage of inconvenience debacle. Instead, Shiloh crafts an engaging opposites-attract romance with the wonderfully creative meet-cute of a double-proxy wedding (much more enjoyable and believable than my wild imaginings)! Carly and Damien won me over quite quickly and I couldn’t put this story down until the satisfying conclusion! I love the contrast of artsy meets workaholic in a suit but the icing on the cake is the way these two characters complement one another and bring out one another’s strengths! I highly recommend this feel-good story. It will brighten your day and warm your heart.

I borrowed this book through the Kindle Unlimited program. The opinions expressed are my own.

 

About the Author

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer.

Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.

She spends her days hanging out with her husband and their two boys. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and president of the Virginia Chapter.

website | facebook | twitter | INSTAGRAM

Have y’all even heard of proxy weddings, readers?
Be sure to read A Proxy Wedding by Toni Shiloh on KU or
pick up a copy for just $0.99!

Review by Beth Erin

Book Spotlight: Taye’s Gift by Pat Simmons

Happy Wednesday! Christmas is fast approaching (how did that happen?!?) and ’tis the season for Christmas reads! Today, I’m spotlighting Taye’s Gift by prolific author Pat Simmons!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Welcome to Snowflake, Colorado—a small town where wishes come true! When six old high school friends receive a letter that their fellow friend, Charity Hart, wrote before she passed away, their lives take an unexpected turn. She leaves them each a check for $1,500 and asks them to grant a wish—a secret wish—for someone else by Christmas. It sounds simple but the friends soon discover that it isn’t as easy as it seems! With the clock ticking, will they make it happen in time?

Join Mia, Caro, Nate, Sara, Holly, and Taye on their journey to make a wish come true—and find love along the way.

taye's giftTaye’s Gift is part of a series of 6 Sweet Inspirational Romances from 6 Sweet Romance Reads authors.

Who lays off someone before the holidays? Taye Thomas’ employer did, so instead of Christmas shopping, she’s job hunting. More devastating news comes when an old high school friend passed away. Could God be answering her prayers for help when she learns that Charity Hart left a $1500 check?

No, the caveat is it’s more blessed to give than receive. Taye has 30 days to find someone else in need to bless. To complicate matters, she’s lives in Kansas City, which is more than eight hours away from Snowflake and she can’t do it alone. Keeping a secret has never been so much work.

GOODREADS | AMAZON
Also available to read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited

OTHER BOOKS IN THIS SERIES:

mia's gift  caro's gift  nate's gift

sara's gift  holly's gift


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pat's picturePat Simmons is the multi-published author of more than 30 Christian titles, including the #1 Amazon bestseller in God’s Word category A Christian Christmas. She is a self-proclaimed genealogy sleuth who is passionate about researching her ancestors and then casting them in starring roles in her novels, in the hope of tracking down any distant relatives who might happen to pick up her books.

She describes the evidence of the gift of the Holy Ghost as an amazing, unforgettable, life-altering experience. She believes God is the Author who advances the stories she writes.

Pat holds a B.S. in mass communications from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. She has worked in various positions in radio, television, and print media for more than twenty years. She oversaw the media publicity for the RT Booklovers Conventions for fifteen years. She has been a featured speaker and workshop presenter at various venues across the country.

Pat’s other hobby includes sewing. She has converted her sofa-strapped sports fanatic husband into an amateur travel agent, untrained bodyguard, GPS-guided chauffeur, and administrative assistant who is constantly on probation. They have a son and a daughter. Readers may learn more about Pat and her books by connecting with her on social media.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | PINTEREST | INSTAGRAM


What about you? What interests you most about Taye’s Gift? Have you read it?

Author Interview with Rosey Lee

Happy Monday and Happy December!

Can you believe 2019 is almost over? I hope you’ve done a lot of diverse reading this year. If you need some recommendations, well look no further. Toni is interviewing Rosey Lee today, so be sure to add her book to your TBR pile!


Interview:

Toni: Thank you so much for joining me today! I’m so excited to talk about. How did you get the idea for this collection?

Rosey: Thank you for having me! I’m excited to share with you and your readers. I enjoy writing about all sorts of families–from families of origin to the ones we cultivate over time, whether through marriage, friendship, church relationships, or some other choice. I’d initially planned to just write a few flash fiction stories to put on my website as a writing sample and then return to working on novels. However, family members and friends encouraged me to keep writing the flash fiction stories. I loved the idea of providing a reading option for people who feel like they don’t have time to read, so I stuck with it. As I began to notice themes in my stories, I started thinking about putting together a flash collection as a way of introducing myself to new readers. I played around with the idea of bundling my very short stories into small packages. The result is Beautiful, Complicated Family. The collection has two volumes, and most people can read both volumes in about an hour total.

Toni: What a great idea! Is there a particular story in the collection that’s your favorite? Why or why not?

Rosey: My “favorite” seems to change with my mood. I have a special connection to each of the stories. Writing each of the stories challenged me in a different way, so each one represents a personal victory. I can’t pick an overall favorite. I’ve tried a bunch of times, but I haven’t been able to do it.

Toni: It’s so hard picking favorites! Now let’s talk a little about you. What’s your office look like?

Rosey: My office is pretty simple. It’s got a desk, where I sit with my laptop. I’m surrounded by writing utensils, notebooks, and nail polish (I love letting my nails dry while I type). I also have small speakers on my desk, because, I always need to have access to music. Sometimes I listen to music while I write. Sometimes I only listen to it during breaks. My office is decorated with two important things–photos of family members who inspire me and lots of books. All of these are helpful when I hit a rough patch with my writing and need a boost of motivation.

Toni: Nail polish and music. We have something in common! 🙂 If you have to sum up the collection with one verse, what would it be?

Rosey: This is a great question! I would choose 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” Most of us are dealing with heavy things in our lives, so I try to make my stories hopeful but real. Through writing, I receive a gift that extends beyond myself–the opportunity to share comfort, positivity, and hope with others. My author’s tagline is Uplifting stories with a little bit of hope, faith, and love.

Toni: I love that! Do you prefer winter or summer?

Rosey: Definitely summer

Toni: Agreed. Coffee or tea?

Rosey: It depends. Coffee when I need it, and tea when I want it. I prefer not to need coffee, but you know…

Toni: Such is life! Fiction or nonfiction?

Rosey: Hmmm, tough. I love them both, but I probably read nonfiction a little bit more right now.

Toni: Cool. Candy or chocolate?

Rosey: Chocolate

Toni: It does have its perks! Last but not least, how can we pray for your writing journey?

Rosey: I love this question. Please pray that I continue to grow into the writer God wants me to be.

Toni: We certainly will. Readers, do you have any questions for Rosey?


About the Book

Beautiful, Complicated Family: Volume 1 and Beautiful, Complicated Family: Volume 2 explore the connections that can hold people together or tear them apart. The stories in this collection capture struggles that are common in today’s families—secrets, mother-daughter conflicts, coping with aging family members, and a more subtle question of what makes a family. The issues will seem familiar to you, but there are unexpected twists when you least expect them. The relatable characters and endings may pull at your heartstrings, so don’t be surprised if you laugh or cry along the way. Like most families, the relationships in this uplifting collection consist of intricate elements. Sometimes things get messy, but it’s always beautiful. Each volume contains five flash fiction stories (very short stories of 1000 words or less each). Read each story in about 5 minutes and get Volume 2 of the collection for free using a link within Volume 1.

Amazon | AppleBooks | B&N | Kobo


About the Author

Rosey Lee writes uplifting fiction stories about family and friendship. A native of the Westbank of New Orleans, Louisiana, Rosey is a fan of good food and a good time. As a child, she dreamed of a career in writing, fashion design, and acting. She uses the pen name Rosey Lee as she pursues her passion for writing. Her alter ego is a physician who has dedicated her career to individual and community-based approaches to health equity. She enjoys cooking, flower arranging, listening to live music, and occasional bursts of fanatical bargain shopping.

Rosey’s flash fiction has appeared in Necessary Fiction, Bending Genres, Barren Magazine, Turnpike Magazine, The Wellington Street Review, and elsewhere. Her work has also been nominated for the 2019 Best of the Net anthology. Connect with her at roseyleebooks.com on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Book Spotlight: No Longer a Stranger

Happy Wednesday!

Today we have Chloe S. Flanagan on the blog! Her book, No Longer a Stranger, features a Native American character. Check it out below and don’t forget to add to your TBR pile!


About the Book

EJ Handler is the perpetual class clown, but he’s also a loyal friend and dedicated worker at the tech company he helped found. Friendship and work are the only commitments he needs. Yet a dangerous scandal quickly upsets his laid back life and dredges up the old heartaches that made him fear responsibility in the first place. His only hope rests in his faith and the reluctant assistance of a mysterious female detective.

Sloan is a tough, unemployed cop with a penchant for taking on the cares of the world by herself, when an unexpected job offer gives her the opportunity to do what she loves. Little does she know that a simple job will bring the infuriating, but endearing EJ and a chance at the friendships she’s avoided for so long.

Amazon | Goodreads


About the Author

Chloe S. Flanagan is an author, technical writer, blogger, and graduate of New York University. She enjoys exploring the Christian walk frankly and thoughtfully in her fiction and in her blog, The Candid Corinthian. When she’s not writing, Chloe loves music, travel, reading books in all genres, and spending time with family.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Post by contributor Toni Shiloh

Book Review: The Someday List

Happy Friday! Today, I’m pleased to bring you my thoughts on The Someday List by Stacy Hawkins Adams. I was recently introduced to Stacy and her books on this great discussion at Seekerville!

About the Book

somedaylist

*an Essence magazine bestseller*

Rachelle Covington has it all. A fabulous home, a handsome and prestigious husband, two beautiful children, and a place in the upper crust that’s quite comfortable. But her life is not all it’s cracked up to be. When her husband goes away on business trip and the kids are sent off to the grandparents for a month, Rachelle takes up the challenge of a dying friend to start a list of things to do before she dies. She heads back to Jubilant, Texas, to reconnect with her past, her purpose, and herself. But when her ex shows up in town looking very fine and very single, Rachelle must confront feelings she thought she’d long buried. Will she give up everything to recover the past? Or will she find a reason to plan for the future?

The Someday List is an honest look at what makes us who we are and what can throw us off track. Author Stacy Hawkins Adams writes with a voice that is fresh, sincere, and completely real. Her characters jump off the page and into her readers’ hearts.

SERIES: Jubilant Soul #1
PUBLISHER: Revell
RELEASE DATE:
January 1, 2009

BUY THIS BOOK: goodreads | amazon | b&n | book depository


My Thoughts

This may have been my first book by Adams but it won’t be my last! In fact, I’m already wishing the next two books in the series were available to read on Kindle Unlimited like The Someday List is.

One thing I loved the most about this story was that Adams spared no one when it came to flaws, some hidden beneath the surface and others more obvious. From devoted believers to prodigals and every level in between, the characters in The Someday List present an authentic picture of the struggle to share this planet with each other. Every reader should be able to see themselves in at least one character in this book, if we’re being honest with ourselves. Perhaps we may not share the specific sins or stumbling points… perhaps we may… but the bottom line is that these characters are real and honest with weaknesses common to many.

Aunt Melba was my favorite character, hands down. She brought smiles and laughter when needed & also brought home some wisdom at the appropriate time. She was full of life – with a surprising history – and I’d love to read more of her story (she doesn’t seem to have her own book but I hope we spend more time with her in the next two books.)

The writing style was a little disjointed sometimes, at least as far as background information. Most of the time we’re left to connect the dots on our own, and that works just fine with a couple of exceptions. I struggled to connect with Rachelle in certain areas, particularly regarding her first marriage, and I would have liked to see a bit more to the ending. But, then again, life doesn’t always make sense nor tie up nicely with a red bow so in that sense Adams continues the pattern of authenticity that we see throughout the story.

The Someday List is a story of decisions that change the trajectory of our lives. Good decisions that lead us closer to each other & Jesus… and poor decisions that cause painful divisions and lifelong regret. Some surprising twists and turns are in store as you get to know & love these characters and, while I wish there was a bit more emotional dimensionality to the events that transpire, it really touched my heart.

I voluntarily reviewed this book after reading it via Kindle Unlimited.

About the Author

Stacy's fotoStacy Hawkins Adams is an award-winning author and journalist who loves to inform, entertain and inspire readers through the written word. She has a gift for weaving tales in both the fiction and nonfiction genres, and in both faith-based and secular markets, that help readers thrive and grow confident in their own stories.  

She has penned 10 books – nine women’s fiction novels and one nonfiction faith-based devotional book. Her fiction features themes related to personal growth, self-esteem, matters of faith, forgiveness, friendships and family, and some of the books have been featured reading selections in high school and college courses.

Beyond the literary world, Stacy is a marketing and communications professional for an independent school. She holds a graduate degree in women’s leadership studies, and often shares messages with corporate, civic and faith-based organizations related to empowerment and leadership, personal growth, and the power of storytelling. She devotes considerable volunteer time to advocating for women and children, leading to recognition in recent years as a YWCA of Richmond “Outstanding Woman of the Year” and a Style Weekly magazine Top 40 honoree. Stacy is also an alumna of Leadership Metro Richmond and is well-versed in diversity and inclusion issues as a result of that experience and her communications work. She lives with her family in suburban Richmond, Virginia.

CONNECT WITH STACY: website | blog | facebook | twitter


What about you? Have you read The Someday List?

Book Spotlight: Kairos

Happy Wednesday!

Today we’re spotlighting Natasha D. Frazier’s book, Kairos. In fact, if you’ve never read it, be sure to enter the Rafflecopter below for an opportunity to win an eBook.


About the Book

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… Ecclesiastes 3:1

Kensi Jacobson believed in that truth with all of her heart, but when she’s up for a promotion for her dream job as assistant editor-in-chief of The Big Apple Chronicle, she hits a roadblock. She put in the work and trusted God for what she believed was her season of elevation, but her boss’ idea of promotion was to send her to Pepperton, TX for another assignment.

This new assignment pairs her up with a handsome widower, Darren Shaw, who helps her learn that delay and disappointment can sometimes become a catalyst for something greater. Seemingly burdened with the fact that she is the only one in her circle who isn’t married with children and a career that isn’t headed in the direction she planned, she begins to wonder when her time and season are coming. Will Kensi learn that Kairos – God’s perfect timing, is much more powerful than Chronos – her chronological timetable, and trust that things will fall into place at the right time? What begins as a crush to her ego and life plan may become the perfect time for love and everything else she’s wanted.

Amazon | Goodreads


About the Author

Natasha Frazier has authored both devotionals and Christian fiction titles. Throughout her writing career, she has published ten books. Out of the Shadows: Love, Lies & Consequences Book 4 is her most recent release and is the final title in the award-winning Love, Lies & Consequences series. With her writing, Natasha hopes to inspire readers to grow in their relationship with our Heavenly Father, in spite of past mistakes, holding on to the truth that God loves us no matter what we’ve done. Because of His love for us, we should desire to live better lives.
 
Natasha is also a licensed CPA and alumni of THEE Jackson State University and Texas A&M University. Natasha resides in the Houston Metro area with her husband, Eddie, and their three children. Connect with Natasha and sign-up for her mailing list to be the first to learn about new releases:www.natashafrazier.com.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


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Post by contributor Toni Shiloh