Book Review: The Moses Quilt by Kathi Macias

The Moses Quilt by Kathi Macias is an oldie, but a goodie! An antique quilt prompts the story of Harriet Tubman for a young woman struggling with life decisions. A dual time line brings the historical tale into the present. I highly recommend this book!

About The Book

693586_w185The Moses Quilt is a contemporary novel that bridges racial and generational divides. With a realistic and compassionate look into a twenty-first-century dilemma, multiple award-winning author Kathi Macias introduces readers to a confused and apprehensive young woman, Mazie Hartford. Facing major decisions about the love of her life and her future, she must also wrestle with a nagging question about her family’s past. She finds the answer to her questions in a most unexpected way—her great-grandmother’s Moses quilt. As her great-grandmother begins to explain how each patch represents a story of courage and freedom, Mazie must decide if she has the courage and freedom to overcome her own personal fears and prejudices.

About The Author

kathi-macias-photo-200x300Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 40 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences. She won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) and was the 2011 Author of the Year from BooksandAuthors.net. Her novel set in China, Red Ink, was named Golden Scrolls 2011 Novel of the Year and was also a Carol Award Finalist; her October 2012 release, Unexpected Christmas Hero, was named 2012 Book of the Year by BookandAuthors.net. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

My Thoughts

I love that Kathi Macias’ novels are written with a passion for the subject matter. Whether it is the persecuted church, abused and enslaved women, or the homeless, Kathi brings an authenticity and a clarity to the subject that allows her readers to feel the importance of her stories as well as put themselves into the action. In The Moses Quilt, book 1 of the Quilt Series, Kathi explores the heroic figure of Harriet Tubman, but with a bit of a twist. Harriet’s story is shared by a 93 year old, white, Southern woman seeking to impart meaning and relevance into her great-grandaughter’s life. It is this contemporary slant to the story that brings modern circumstances and historical significance to light.

Maizie is a young woman who has a decision to make. Her boyfriend Edward has asked her to marry him repeatedly. But Maizie is reluctant to commit, leading her family, Edward and Edward’s family wondering if their different races is the problem. Maizie doesn’t even know herself. But her great-grandmother, Mimi, is determined, with God’s help, to expose Maizie’s fears and help her to decide where her heart truly lies. Mimi begins to tell Harriet Tubman’s story using a quilt she purchased years before. In her last days, Mimi wants to help Maizie understand not only the past, but the present.

The Moses Quilt is a two part novel, telling both Harriet and Maizie’s stories. The two are intertwined and the story takes on an air of mystery. The full extent of Harriet Tubman’s story was new to me, and I appreciate the research Kathi did and the clever way she told it. Edward and Maizie’s story is also one that many, even in the Christian community, still have trouble with. Old prejudices are hard to overcome. Kathi has handled that subject with grace and love.

This book is a recommended read and the perfect choice for a book club — lots to discuss!

(I received a complimentary copy of The Moses Quilt from Pump Up Your Book. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

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Book Spotlight: Know You More

Happy Wednesday, reader friends!

Today, we’re shining the spotlight on Know You More by Jan Thompson.


About the Book:

He loves her… He loves her not…
She’s waiting for him to decide.

A young pastor of a growing church in a thriving community, Diego Flores has to come to grips with God’s will for his church and his personal life.

From USA Today bestselling author Jan Thompson come 10 clean and wholesome, sweet and inspirational contemporary Christian romances set on the beaches of Tybee Island and in the city of Savannah, Georgia, two of the most romantic coastal towns in the world.

Welcome to Savannah, Georgia, in the multicultural new south! Meet a group of multiracial and multiethnic churchgoing Christians who love the Lord, work hard in their careers, and seek God’s will for their love lives. Against a backdrop of ocean, sand, and sun, these inspirational romances showcase aspects of the human need for God and for one another.

These sweet and wholesome Christian beach romances begin with KNOW YOU MORE, the story of Diego Flores and Heidi Wei living in the city of Savannah and on the sunny beaches of Tybee Island.

*Buy Jan’s book on Amazon, Google Play, Kobo/Walmart, Apple Books or Barnes & Noble.


Author Bio:

USA Today bestselling author Jan Thompson writes clean and wholesome multiethnic contemporary Christian romance with elements of women’s fiction, Christian romantic suspense with an air of mystery, and inspirational international thrillers with threads of sweet Christian romance.

Jan’s books are for readers who love inspiring stories of faith, hope, and love in Jesus Christ.

Follow Jan on social media: Website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Interview with Kathy Douglass about her book, “How to Steal the Lawman’s Heart”

Good Monday Morning, reader friends!

Today, we’re interviewing Kathy Douglass again. This time, we’re talking about another one of her books. This one is titled, How to Steal the Lawman’s Heart.

Enjoy!


Interview with Kathy Douglass about her book, How to Steal the Lawman’s Heart:

Alexis: Why did you write this book?

Kathy: I wrote this book because the characters called to me. The idea began floating through my mind and I couldn’t rest until I put their story on paper.

Alexis: What do you want readers to take away from this story? Why?

Kathy: I want readers to understand that no matter what happened in the past, you have to move forward. Trent had a wonderful wife and a truly happy life ripped away from him without warning. It was hard for him to let go of the happy memories or the bitterness at losing it all. Carmen had so many regrets for mistakes she had made. Neither one of them could change the past, so they had to find a way to put it behind them and move forward in the present with an eye toward the future.

Alexis: Would you like to see more stories that feature characters of color published by the Christian book industry? Why or why not?

Kathy: Absolutely. People of color read Christian books so they should be able to see themselves reflected in the stories they read. Not that POC should be the only people who read those stories. Just as POC read stories featuring white couples, white people should also read stories featuring POC. 

I’ve heard books referred to as mirrors and windows. Mirrors reflect people like you and windows give you the opportunity to see into the lives of people not like you. Both are important. Both must be done well by authors who know what they are writing about. That’s why own voice books are so important.

Alexis: Who is your story’s heroine? Describe her looks, personality, and heart for the hero and then explain the conflict that she is experiencing.

Kathy: Carmen Shields is the heroine in this story. Whenever I create a character, I find someone to serve as the physical model. In this instance, I used actress Rochelle Aytes. Carmen is beautiful and kind. She’s had some difficulty in her past, so she is sympathetic. As a person who’s made mistakes in her youth, she can spot a person who is on track to make similar mistakes. When she does, she tries to help them avoid the pitfalls.

Carmen feels guilty for her role in the accident that resulted in the death of Trent’s wife and wants to make amends. But since she knows he doesn’t care for her, she is reluctant. Not only that, she refuses to beg for his affection.

Alexis: Who is your story’s hero? Describe his looks, flaws, strengths and his heart for the heroine and then explain the conflict that he is experiencing.

Kathy: Trent Knight is the hero in this story. I used actor Henry Simmons as his physical model. Trent sees the world as black and white. No gray. He expects a lot of himself and others. He can be hard and unforgiving. He is loyal and loves his daughters with his whole heart.

He blames Carmen for the death of his wife. As he gets to know her, he discovers she is not the monster he’d believed she was. Still, he is not happy when he finds himself falling for her and fights hard against his feelings.

Alexis: Why is forgiveness as important as a stolen kiss in this story?

Kathy: Forgiveness is important in this story. Trent needs to forgive Carmen in order to put the past behind him. Carmen also needs to forgive herself for the same reason.

Alexis: If you could step into this story as a licensed counselor, what would you tell Trent and Carmen to help them live their best life?

Kathy: I’m not a counselor, but I would tell them they need to put the past behind them. They need to forgive themselves and each other in order to embrace the present.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Kathy! Would you like to share closing thoughts?

Kathy: Thank you so much for the interview. I love hearing from my readers, so if you want to drop me a note, please do so via my website kathydouglassbooks.com. Also while you’re there, feel free to sign up for my newsletter.

*Interview conducted by Alexis A. Goring, contributor


About the Author:

Kathy is a born reader who as a child always had her nose in a book. That love of reading grew with her. She often would finish one book and immediately pick up another. She went from reading Bobbsey Twins to long, lush romance novels. One day she stumbled upon The Shining by Stephen King and was hooked. She turned her back on romance and became a serious Stephen King fan, reading every word he wrote. When she caught herself checking under the bed and looking in the closet for monsters or worse, she knew it was time to put down the horror stories and pick up the romance novels.

Her return to romance novels was short lived. She’d started law school and soon her reading was limited to legal opinions. Then one happy day her younger sister handed her a Harlequin romance. They were just what the doctor ordered. The books were short enough to read in a week and still get her required reading done. Best of all she knew there would be a happy ending and she wouldn’t have to search her room before she went to bed each night.

When her first child was born, she stopped practicing law to become a stay at home mom. Her second child followed nineteen months later. With two little ones in the house, reading suddenly became limited to Dr. Seuss and other children’s books. Any free time was spent trying to catch up on sleep or laundry.

All too soon her kids were attending pre-school two hours a day. She spent those few precious renewing her relationship with romance novels. After a while, she felt the urge to write a book of her own and she began writing the stories she wanted to read. She spent many years writing some really terrible books and learning her craft. In 2016, Kathy sold to Harlequin Special Edition. Her first book, How to Steal the Lawman’s Heart, was released in February 2017. Since that time she has released three more books in her Sweet Briar Sweethearts series with more to come.

Follow Kathy on social media: Website, Facebook, Twitter


About the Book:

Forgiveness starts with a stolen kiss.

Chief of police Trent Knight had it all until an accident took his wife and he was left alone to raise two beautiful girls.

Now the person he always blamed for his loss is back in town, and all bets are off. But soon his anger toward Carmen Shields gives way to a very different emotion—awareness of Carmen as a woman.

On one hand, it feels like a betrayal of his late wife’s memory. On the other, it could be his second chance at life—and Carmen’s shot at redemption. Maybe she can go home again—with the help of a certain lawman…

Buy How to Steal the Lawman’s Heart on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Books-A-Million

Book Review: Between Two Shores

We’re so glad you visited today to learn more about Jocelyn Green’s historical novel, Between Two Shores.

About the book

Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green.jpgShe Has Always Moved Between Worlds,
But Now She Must Choose a Side

The daughter of a Mohawk mother and French father in 1759 Montreal, Catherine Duval would rather remain neutral in a world tearing itself apart. Content to trade with both the French and the British, Catherine is pulled into the Seven Years’ War against her wishes when her British ex-fiancé, Samuel Crane, is taken prisoner by her father. Samuel claims he has information that could help end the war, and he asks Catherine to help him escape.

Peace appeals to Catherine, even if helping the man who broke her heart does not. But New France is starving, and she and her loved ones may not survive another winter of conflict-induced famine. When the dangers of war arrive on her doorstep, Catherine and Samuel flee by river toward the epicenter of the battle between England and France. She and Samuel may impact history, but she fears the ultimate cost will be higher than she can bear.

Buy Between Two Shores on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or CBD

 

My Thoughts

Between Two Shores is a rich historical tale of a woman who has never quite fit in. I was touched by her desire to be enough, to be loved for who she was and respected for the choices she made. After the death of her mother, she chose to live with her father and thus alienated her sister. Her feelings of inadequacy were compounded by the realization that her father always compared her to a daughter he had lost – one who was wholly French and wholly loved. His cruel treatment of her when he was drunk was endured by this tenderhearted woman who held on to a handful of moments when he showed her kindness.

I loved Catherine’s younger brother, Joseph, who showed such deep love for her as he continued to seek after her protection and care. As a full-blooded Mohawk, he made for a very interesting secondary character.

Though they were not mentioned in detail, I was reminded anew of the sacrifices that the Jesuit priests made when they came to the wilderness of North America amidst the savage tribes who inhabited the land. The image of the mission in the midst of a camp with streets lined with poles proudly displaying scalps gave me a new appreciation of the things they would have seen an endured as they sought to bring the Gospel to a people who had never heard.

As Catherine navigated the waters of a country at war, she learns the need for forgiveness and that love is not a trade. And she comes to realize the love of “the Great Good God” has made her complete.

The battle that she fought regarding the choices she was faced with was intense — is it right to help the enemy in order to end suffering?

Readers should be aware that as a war story, some gruesome situations are described, though not in great detail. The cruel practices of the tribes in this area are also described, again, not in great detail. It is not a pretty story and yet it is beautiful with a satisfying conclusion.

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley. The opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author

Jocelyn-Green-Author-100x150.jpgJocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning and bestselling author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, including The Mark of the King; Wedded to War; and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. Her books have garnered starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly, and have been honored with the Christy Award, the gold medal from the Military Writers Society of America, and the Golden Scroll Award from the Advanced Writers & Speakers Association. She graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, with a B.A. in English, concentration in writing. She loves Mexican food, Broadway musicals, Toblerone chocolate bars, the color red, and reading on her patio. Jocelyn lives with her husband Rob and two children in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Follow Jocelyn: WebsiteBlogTwitterFacebookGoodreadsNewsletter

Book Spotlight: Between Two Shores

Welcome, readers! It’s Wednesday and that means another book spotlight! Today I’m happy to share Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green with you.


About the book

Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green.jpgShe Has Always Moved Between Worlds,
But Now She Must Choose a Side

The daughter of a Mohawk mother and French father in 1759 Montreal, Catherine Duval would rather remain neutral in a world tearing itself apart. Content to trade with both the French and the British, Catherine is pulled into the Seven Years’ War against her wishes when her British ex-fiancé, Samuel Crane, is taken prisoner by her father. Samuel claims he has information that could help end the war, and he asks Catherine to help him escape.

Peace appeals to Catherine, even if helping the man who broke her heart does not. But New France is starving, and she and her loved ones may not survive another winter of conflict-induced famine. When the dangers of war arrive on her doorstep, Catherine and Samuel flee by river toward the epicenter of the battle between England and France. She and Samuel may impact history, but she fears the ultimate cost will be higher than she can bear.

Buy Between Two Shores on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or CBD


About the Author

Jocelyn-Green-Author-100x150.jpgJocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning and bestselling author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, including The Mark of the King; Wedded to War; and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. Her books have garnered starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly, and have been honored with the Christy Award, the gold medal from the Military Writers Society of America, and the Golden Scroll Award from the Advanced Writers & Speakers Association. She graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, with a B.A. in English, concentration in writing. She loves Mexican food, Broadway musicals, Toblerone chocolate bars, the color red, and reading on her patio. Jocelyn lives with her husband Rob and two children in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Follow Jocelyn: WebsiteBlogTwitterFacebookGoodreadsNewsletter

Interview with Jan Thompson, author of “Know You More”

Good Monday Morning, reader friends!

Today, we’re interviewing Jan Thompson about her book Know You More.

Enjoy!


Interview with Jan Thompson about her book, Know You More:

Alexis: Know You More is Book 1 in the Savannah Sweethearts series. Briefly tell us about this series. Why is it special to you?

Jan: Savannah Sweethearts is my series of contemporary Christian romance, set in the city of Savannah, Georgia, and on the small beach town of Tybee Island by the Atlantic Ocean.

There are 11 books in all in Savannah Sweethearts, a mix of novels and novellas, including a prequel novel (that doubles up as a prelude to other spin-off and sister series). In this series, 7 of the books are multiracial romances.

I love the city of Savannah, where I have visited with my family on vacations. I decided to create a story world there, on the warm and sunny (in the summer, anyway) coast of Georgia, rich with history and vibrant with modern life. I am happy to showcase the ethnic diversity of my home state of Georgia in these books.

Alexis: What or who inspired you to write this book?

Jan: Across the board, whether contemporary Christian romance, romantic women’s fiction, or Christian romantic suspense, my inspiration to write is the same: to God be the glory. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

Alexis: Tell us about your story’s heroine Heidi Wei. What is she like (looks and personality)? Who does she love (people)? What is her strongest trait? What does she value in life? Explain.

Jan: A Chinese-American, Heidi Wei is working on her doctorate in history. When Know You More starts, Heidi is in a conversation with her brother about their lives as they know it. Heidi has been in graduate school for years. Her brother wants her to go out there and do something more than just perpetually earning degrees.

Sneak peek: Ming’s own story is in the next book, Tell You Soon.

Heidi’s strongest trait is her sincere care for people, which has led her to help in the Riverside Chapel ministry of visiting elderly church members who are unable to physically attend worship services.

Most of all, Heidi values God’s perfect will for her life.

Alexis: Tell us about your story’s hero Diego Flores. What is he like (looks and personality)? What are his strengths and weaknesses? What are his core values in life? Explain.

Jan: A biracial Christian pastor whose father is Latino and mother is Italian, Diego Flores is the young pastor of Riverside Chapel. He is tasked to grow the small church and feed the flock. He is so busy with church life that he doesn’t think he has time for his own personal life. Along comes Heidi…

Diego’s biggest strength is that he is committed to the calling of God for his life as the pastor of a busy church. He handles the Word of God carefully, and honors God when he preaches Sunday after Sunday. He takes after his father, a retired pastor who still counsels him and gives him advice.

However, when it comes to matters of his own heart, Diego is at a loss. He tries to keep Heidi at bay, being quite sure that he doesn’t need her. And yet…

Alexis: What draws Heidi and Diego together? What threatens to tear them apart?

Jan: Heidi and Diego have been friends for some years, so they are often in each other’s company, whether at church or doing ministry projects together. Both of them are Christians who desire to serve the Lord.

What threatens them apart? I’m trying to be careful not to give away spoilers! However, you’ll find out about the ups and downs of their lives when you read the book. At this time, the Know You More ebook happens to be free at these major online book retailers (see retailer links).

Alexis: You’ve mentioned that your book Know You More is a Multiracial Christian Romance. What does that mean?

Jan: I do believe that God created the human race, so we are all one race. By multiracial, I mean that my two main characters have multiethnic ancestries. My story world culture is still definitively Christian, since I write primarily about Christians. Thus, the books in Savannah Sweethearts are not multi-religious, as I focus on the Christian church life environment.

Alexis: What are the racial makeup of Diego and Heidi? Briefly describe their backgrounds.

Jan: A Latino-Italian-American, Diego Flores is the last unmarried son in his family, and the only one called to be a pastor of his own church. He is very close to his father, who travels a lot with his wife, now that all their sons have grown up with lives of their own.

A Chinese-American, Heidi Wei has been on her own with her brother since their parents perished in the mission field. They live on Tybee Island, minutes from the city of Savannah, where they are helping Diego Flores to build and grow their small church on the Savannah River.

Alexis: Why was writing this multiracial romance story important to you as an author of color?

Jan: For years I have been unable to find clean Christian fiction that reflects real life America, with its rich ethnic diversity—that is, my world, my community.

My own family is multiracial. I have relatives who are from various ethnic origins around the world. My all-American son has at least five ethnicities in him, from Chinese and Japanese to English and Irish to Native American.

I find it ironic that it took so long for Christian publishers to come around to publishing books showing that America is a melting pot of many ethnicities and cultural origins.

Therefore, in the words of Toni Morrison, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” (source: Goodreads)

So there by the grace of God, go I, with not just one book, but several series of books that reflect my multiethnic world.

Alexis: What kind of impact are you hoping that this book will make on your readers? Why?

Jan: It is my hope that not only are my readers entertained by this beach romance, but that they also take away some verses that might be encouraging to them or to someone they know. Throughout Know You More, I mention Bible verses that apply to Diego’s and Heidi’s many situations. In a church life series, it’s impossible to avoid mentioning the Word of God, and I am happy to talk about God all day long.

Alexis: What role does faith in God play in this story?

Jan: In every book in the Savannah Sweethearts series, I sign off with a farewell verse from the main characters. I hope that those scriptural references would be a good reminder to my readers about the importance of faith in God.

For Know You More, the overarching verses at the end of the book are: 

“And the Lord, He it is that doth go before thee; He will be with thee, He will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8).

“What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee” (Psalm 56:3).

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Jan! God bless you.

Jan: Thank you very much for having me here. I appreciate the interview. These are amazingly insightful questions. I am delighted to be able to share a little bit about the main characters in Know You More and the setting of the Savannah Sweethearts series. Thanks again, and may God bless you too!

*Interview conducted by Alexis A. Goring, contributor


Author Bio:

USA Today bestselling author Jan Thompson writes clean and wholesome multiethnic contemporary Christian romance with elements of women’s fiction, Christian romantic suspense with an air of mystery, and inspirational international thrillers with threads of sweet Christian romance.

Jan’s books are for readers who love inspiring stories of faith, hope, and love in Jesus Christ.

Follow Jan on social media: Website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram


About the Book:

He loves her… He loves her not…
She’s waiting for him to decide.

A young pastor of a growing church in a thriving community, Diego Flores has to come to grips with God’s will for his church and his personal life.

From USA Today bestselling author Jan Thompson come 10 clean and wholesome, sweet and inspirational contemporary Christian romances set on the beaches of Tybee Island and in the city of Savannah, Georgia, two of the most romantic coastal towns in the world.

Welcome to Savannah, Georgia, in the multicultural new south! Meet a group of multiracial and multiethnic churchgoing Christians who love the Lord, work hard in their careers, and seek God’s will for their love lives. Against a backdrop of ocean, sand, and sun, these inspirational romances showcase aspects of the human need for God and for one another.

These sweet and wholesome Christian beach romances begin with KNOW YOU MORE, the story of Diego Flores and Heidi Wei living in the city of Savannah and on the sunny beaches of Tybee Island.

*Buy Jan’s book on Amazon, Google Play, Kobo/Walmart, Apple Books or Barnes & Noble.

Book Review: We Hope for Better Things

We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels started the new reading year out right — it is a 5-star time-slip novel with not two, but three story lines. It not only was a beautifully written novel, but an eye-opening book that shows the effects of racism on every aspect of our lives. I highly recommend this book!

About The Book

51JLHN44hoL._SX322_BO1204203200_When Detroit Free Press reporter Elizabeth Balsam meets James Rich, his strange request–that she look up a relative she didn’t know she had in order to deliver an old camera and a box of photos — seems like it isn’t worth her time. But when she loses her job after a botched investigation, she suddenly finds herself with nothing but time.

At her great-aunt’s 150-year-old farmhouse north of Detroit, Elizabeth uncovers a series of mysterious items, locked doors, and hidden graves. As she searches for answers to the riddles around her, the remarkable stories of two women who lived in this very house emerge as testaments to love, resilience, and courage in the face of war, racism, and misunderstanding. And as Elizabeth soon discovers, the past is never as past as we might like to think.

Debut novelist Erin Bartels takes readers on an emotional journey through time — from the volatile streets of 1960s Detroit to the Michigan’s Underground Railroad during the Civil War — to uncover the past, confront the seeds of hatred, and discover where love goes to hide.

My Thoughts

We Hope for Better Things begins in present day Detroit with main character Elizabeth, a young journalist hungry for the big story, the juicier the better. But she soon finds herself out of a job and in rural Lapeer, Michigan. A family homestead harbors a reclusive great-aunt and stories that may have a greater impact than Elizabeth could ever dream.

Although We Hope for Better Things has not just one, or two, but three story lines, they are so skillfully interwoven that the reader feels just how integral they are to each other. Three very strong female characters dominate — Mary Balsam, a young woman left to run a farm when her husband enlists to fight for the Union during the Civil War, Nora Balsam Rich, who falls in love with the right man at the wrong time, and Elizabeth, who finds her family legacy more important than her own ambition. The novel moves from one story to the other — the 1860/1870s, the 1960s, and present day — with never a misstep or loss of continuity. The breaks between stories just kept me turning page after page as fast as I could. There’s a lot of history involved (the Underground Railroad and the Detroit riots), but it is really the individual reactions of the characters that steer their destiny. I really liked that. It is easy to see historical movements or circumstances as the product of a society as a whole, but in We Hope for Better Things individual choices are important to the development of those movements and to future generations. There are a lot of parallels between the women, showing that one time doesn’t have any greater or lesser moral authority than another. Racism is the overarching theme in the novel with the author again showing it in very personal ways. Its insidiousness reaches into all aspects of life, including the life of the church. Bartels subtle hand doesn’t take away from the big truths shining through. In the end, the reader knows more than the characters, but there are still some mysteries left unsolved or hinted at. I liked that too, because it is those questions that will fuel great reader discussions. And this novel is perfect for book clubs — you will definitely want to talk about this book.

I could go on and on about the merits of We Hope for Better Things, but I will leave you with just one final thing — Read. This. Book. You will love it.

Very Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

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

About The Author

A10zq7b5JZL._US230_Erin Bartels is a copywriter and freelance editor by day, a novelist by night, and a painter, seamstress, poet, and photographer in between. Her debut novel, We Hope for Better Things, released in January 2019 from Revell Books. I Hold The Wind, which was a finalist for the 2015 Rising Star Award from the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, will be released in November 2019. Her short story “This Elegant Ruin” was a finalist in The Saturday Evening Post 2014 Great American Fiction Contest. Her poems have been published by The Lyric and The East Lansing Poetry Attack. A member of the Capital City Writers Association and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, she is former features editor of WFWA’s Write On! magazine.

Erin lives in the beautiful, water-defined state of Michigan where she is never more than a ninety minute drive from one of the Great Lakes or six miles from an inland lake, river, or stream. She grew up in the Bay City area waiting for freighters and sailboats at drawbridges and watching the best 4th of July fireworks displays in the nation. She spent her college and young married years in Grand Rapids feeling decidedly not-Dutch. She currently lives with her husband and son in Lansing, nestled somewhere between angry protesters on the Capitol lawn and couch-burning frat boys at Michigan State University. And yet, she claims it is really quite peaceful.

Find Erin on Facebook @ErinBartelsAuthor, on Twitter @ErinLBartels, or on Instagram @erinbartelswrites. She blogs semi-regularly at http://www.erinbartels.com.

Book Spotlight: How to Steal the Lawman’s Heart

Happy Wednesday, reader friends!

Today, we’re shining the spotlight on How to Steal the Lawman’s Heart by Kathy Douglass.


About the Book:

Forgiveness starts with a stolen kiss.

Chief of police Trent Knight had it all until an accident took his wife and he was left alone to raise two beautiful girls.

Now the person he always blamed for his loss is back in town, and all bets are off. But soon his anger toward Carmen Shields gives way to a very different emotion—awareness of Carmen as a woman.

On one hand, it feels like a betrayal of his late wife’s memory. On the other, it could be his second chance at life—and Carmen’s shot at redemption. Maybe she can go home again—with the help of a certain lawman…

Buy How to Steal the Lawman’s Heart on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Books-A-Million


About the Author:

Kathy is a born reader who as a child always had her nose in a book. That love of reading grew with her. She often would finish one book and immediately pick up another. She went from reading Bobbsey Twins to long, lush romance novels. One day she stumbled upon The Shining by Stephen King and was hooked. She turned her back on romance and became a serious Stephen King fan, reading every word he wrote. When she caught herself checking under the bed and looking in the closet for monsters or worse, she knew it was time to put down the horror stories and pick up the romance novels.

Her return to romance novels was short lived. She’d started law school and soon her reading was limited to legal opinions. Then one happy day her younger sister handed her a Harlequin romance. They were just what the doctor ordered. The books were short enough to read in a week and still get her required reading done. Best of all she knew there would be a happy ending and she wouldn’t have to search her room before she went to bed each night.

When her first child was born, she stopped practicing law to become a stay at home mom. Her second child followed nineteen months later. With two little ones in the house, reading suddenly became limited to Dr. Seuss and other children’s books. Any free time was spent trying to catch up on sleep or laundry.

All too soon her kids were attending pre-school two hours a day. She spent those few precious renewing her relationship with romance novels. After a while she felt the urge to write a book of her own and she began writing the stories she wanted to read. She spent many years writing some really terrible books and learning her craft. In 2016, Kathy sold to Harlequin Special Edition. Her first book, How to Steal the Lawman’s Heart, was released in February, 2017. Since that time she has released three more books in her Sweet Briar Sweethearts series with more to come.

Follow Kathy on social media: Website, Facebook, Twitter

Open Discussion: Must Read AA Books

It’s Black History Month!

This month always gets me so excited to share the many accomplishments found in the Black community. And since this is a blog about books, what better thing to discuss! I want to know what are your must read African American books. If you can list clean/Christian fiction reads that would be great. But if your must read is not, please leave a disclaimer letting us know why it’s a must read despite the language or situation that removes it from clean/CF category.

I’ll go first. My top 3 recommendations are:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

*It’s not clean or CF due to the language.

This book is a phenomenal look at the struggles the Black community faces. Not just going back in forth between the Black community and the world but the struggles they face with racial profiling from law enforcement. If you haven’t seen the movie either, I’d highly recommend it.

Hidden Blessings by Kim Cash Tate

*Christian fiction

This book had me sobbing my eyes out. I’m not even going to lie or pretend otherwise. The powerful message of God’s goodness and mercy cannot be denied. Ms. Tate is one of my favorite Christian fiction authors. I’ll read anything she writes.

Watercolored Pearls by Stacy Hawkins Adams

*Christian Fiction

It’s been awhile since I read this book but I still remember how I felt afterward. Books like that are ones I consider a must read. Because even though time has passed I remembered that this is a book I had to keep close to me.

So what say you. What are your top 3 (AA books) must reads?

 

Book Review: Novelly Upon a Time

Hi, reader friends! Today’s review features a bookish novella which is available as a stand-alone ebook or as part of Book Nerds and Boyfriends, a 3-in-1 print or ebook collection, and I highly recommend it!

About the Book

Author Harper Jones prides herself on the impeccable research she does for her novels, so when early reviews come pouring in claiming her romance reeks of inauthenticity, her editor suggests pulling her nose out of her books and getting some real-life smooching experience.

But her plans to do just that are thwarted by her archnemesis from high school who has recently returned to town. Now she’s left with an impossible decision—kiss her worst enemy or kiss her three-book contract goodbye.

goodreads | amazon

 

My Thoughts

A quirky author and brooding officer?! Yes, please! What’s not to love?! Harper’s unique research methods are delightfully entertaining, but the way Kyo pushes her buttons had me chuckling my way through each chapter. From aggression to attraction, these two have it all with tension to spare. Monzon takes what could have easily been a romcom fluff piece (nothing wrong with that but this reader likes more) and delivers remarkable depth, sincerity, and heart. I highly recommend this spunky story and plan to revisit its page as often as possible.

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

 

About the Author

Sarah Monzon is a Navy chaplain’s wife and a stay at home mom to the two cutest littles in the world. Playing pretend all day with them isn’t enough, she spends the evenings after their heads hit the pillow to create her own imaginary characters.

When she isn’t in the world of make-believe, she can be found in a small desert town in central Washington taking care of her family, fostering friendships, and enjoying all the adventures each day brings.

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Also Available

What do you look for in a romance novella, readers?
Do you love being surprised like I do?!

Review by Beth Erin