Book Review: A Song for the Stars

Happy Friday everyone!

Fall is finally here. The leaves are changing, pumpkin flavors are everywhere, and I am excited to be reading books with a comfy blanket and warm drink! Today I’m sharing a book that simply takes your breath away – A Song for the Stars by Ilima Todd. Simply put, this is a book you need to read!


About the Book

Inspired by a true story

Hawaiian Islands, 1779

As the second daughter of a royal chief, Maile will be permitted to marry for love. Her fiancé is the best navigator in Hawaii, and he taught her everything he knows how to feel the ocean, observe the winds, read the stars, and how to love.

But when sailors from a strange place called England arrive on her island, a misunderstanding ends in battle, and Maile is suddenly widowed before she is wed.

Finding herself in the middle of the battle and fearing for her life, Maile takes John Harbottle, the wounded man who killed her fiancé, prisoner, and though originally intending to let him die, she reluctantly heals him. And in the process, she discovers the man she thought was her enemy might be her ally instead.

John has been Captain James Cook’s translator for three voyages across the Pacific. He is kind and clearly fascinated with her homeland and her people and Maile herself. But guilt continues to drive a wedge between them: John’s guilt over the death he caused, and Maile’s guilt over the truth about what triggered the deadly battle a secret she’s kept hidden from everyone on the island.

When Maile is tasked with teaching John how to navigate using the stars so he can sail back to England, they must also navigate the challenges of being from very different cultures. In doing so, they might also find the peace that comes when two hearts become one.

Amazon | B&N | Goodreads


My Thoughts

There is so much culture, history, romance, and character development in this story. Todd easily held my attention from page on until the very end. The setting was vivid, and the story was beautifully written. Todd’s attention to detail is evident in every chapter, and it made the story come alive in my mind.

This is no regular love story. This is two different people, two different cultures, coming together and learning how to trust and balance each other. The inclusion of journal entries from John only added to the depth of the story, providing readers a glimpse of his thoughts while experiencing this new world. There is joy, pain, sorrow, love, healing, and so many more emotions that readers will feel right along with the characters. I suggest taking your time to read this one so that you can enjoy every ounce of it.

Caution – reading this will probably make you want to go explore the Hawaiian islands. But in all honesty, Todd writes so vividly that you’ll already feel as if you are there! I highly recommend this remarkable novel.


About the Author

Ilima Todd

Ilima Todd was born and raised on the north shore of Oahu and dives for octopus with her dad every time she visits—otherwise she’s diving into books in the Rocky Mountains where she lives with her husband and four children. She graduated from BYU with a degree in physics and eats copious amounts of raw fish and avocados without regret. But mostly she loves being a wife and mama and wouldn’t trade that job for anything in the world.

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Some Of My Favorite Diverse Reads (Part 2)

Happy Wednesday again, friends!

Today, I’m picking up where I left off last week in my spotlight of several of my favorite diverse reads, specifically with ethnically diverse characters & blended cultures.

Set against the stunning landscape of Kenya, the multi-generational From Kenya, With Love series by Rula Sinara is a feast for the senses.

every serengeti sunrise

In This Courageous Journey by Misty M. Beller, we meet Daniel, a complex character wrestling with the many dimensions & nuances of his heritage.

this courageous journey

Sydney Tooman Betts’ People of the Book series will make God’s Word come alive for you in fresh ways, seeing His Story from the Native American’s perspective with new eyes.

a river too deep

Terri J. Haynes’ “Legacy of Love” in The Runaway Brides Collection is a sweet romance & also gives insight into a different perspective on the Reconstruction era than what we’re normally taught in history class.

The Runaway Brides story collection

Speaking of history not really taught in schools, the Creek Country Saga from April Gardner is powerful and emotional as it highlights a period of history we don’t often read about

The Red Feather by April W. Gardner

In Camy Tang’s Protection for Hire series, we get well-defined & layered (sometimes hilarious) characters, romance, humor, faith, cultural diversity & smartly-plotted suspense (with martial arts!)

protection for hire

Randy Alcorn’s Safely Home, a compelling inside look at the underground Chinese church, quite simply changed my life.

safely home

Pick up any book by Lori Benton for an emotional and compelling story of blended cultures that will linger long in your heart

the woods edge

Pick up the Secrets of Rios Azules suspense series by Alexa Verde and meet a diverse group of friends & multicultural relationships

color of danger

I love the biracial characters – and relationships – in Ruth Logan Herne’s Shepherd’s Crossing series from Love Inspired

her cowboy reunion

The Long Highway Home by Elizabeth Musser is a multicultural, multi-continent story that will open your eyes

the long highway home

What about you? Have you read any of these diverse reads yet?

Book Spotlight: Some Of My Favorite Diverse Reads (Part 1)

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Today, I want to look at more than one book – in fact, several of my favorite diverse reads, specifically with ethnically diverse characters & blended cultures. But there’s …. uh… a lot… so I’m breaking this into more than one post 😀

First up – visit the Maple Run series by Toni Shiloh for mouthwatering food, compelling characters and touching romance!

buyinglove

Still hungry after visiting Maple Run? Hungry for a good cozy mystery? Definitely check out the Noodle Shop Mysteries by Vivien Chien.

death by dumpling

And if you’re still hungry… Plan a trip to the Kebab Kitchen Mysteries by Tina Kashian

Hummus and Homicide - Final Cover

I love Sixty Acres and a Bride by Regina Jennings, a retelling of the biblical story of Ruth & Naomi, with a young Mexican widow learning to navigate the ways of the American West.

sixtyacresandabride

And prepare to fall in love with Red Shirt in Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz!

courting morrow little

Speaking of falling in love… Karim. The Esther Paradigm (and swoony Karim) by Sarah Monzon is bravely unique to Christian fiction but it is here ‘for such a time as this’.

theestherparadigm

Millie may only have a supporting role in The Memoir of Johnny Devine by Camille Eide, but I adore her character. Not to mention the unforgettable side plot involving racial oppression and how it directly affects her.

the memoir of johnny devine new

What about you? Have you read any of these diverse reads yet? (Stay tuned for the rest of my list next week!

Book Review: One Final Breath

Happy Friday!

Today I’m sharing my thoughts on Lynn H. Blackburn’s One Final Breath. It’s the third and final book in the Dive Team Investigations series which makes me sad to see this group go. But oh so happy because #teamgabe.

Have you started reading this series? If not, what are you waiting for?


About the Book

When investigator Gabriel Chavez had his cover blown by an aggressive reporter, the silver lining was being able to rejoin the dive team. The downside? Dive team captain Anissa Bell–a woman who both fascinates and frustrates him.

Anissa grew up as a missionary kid on the Micronesian island of Yap and always planned to return after college. But she remained stateside, determined to solve the case that haunts her–the murder of her best friend and the disappearance of a three-year-old child.

When Anissa’s fractured past collides with Gabe’s investigation into the tragic shooting death of a teenage boy in Lake Porter, they’ll have to put their complicated history with each other aside in order to uncover the identity of a killer. What they’ll discover is that revenge has no statute of limitations.

Amazon | B&N | CBD | Goodreads


My Thoughts

Y’all, I’ve been #teamgabe since book one in the Dive Team Investigations (which can be read standalone, but why would you when you could read all 3?). And One Final Breath did not disappoint in that area. I had a few favorite lines out of the mouth of Gabe that made my heart melt and a bigger fan of his story.

Gabe has a backstory that melted my heart and made me want to give him a big hug. But Anissa’s….phew…that girl needs some friends who will surround her with the love of Christ and never let go. She’s fierce and vulnerable, independent and in need of love, and all the cool quirks you like to read about a character.

And seriously, I may have found a new way to eat cupcakes.

But One Final Breath wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine with hearts and swoony sighs. There were a few mystery threads woven in the suspense that had me hooked and turning the pages for me. When it all finally came together, it left me with a happy sigh of justice.

Oh and that epilogue…BEST EVER!

All in all, One Final Breath filled my expectations and left me assured that they will all live happily ever after.

*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. This review was not required nor influenced.


About the Author

Lynn H. Blackburn loves writing suspense because her childhood fantasy was to become a spy—but her grown-up reality is that she’s a huge chicken and would have been caught on her first mission. She prefers to live vicariously through her characters and loves putting them into all kinds of terrifying situations—while she’s sitting at home safe and sound in her pajamas!

Her Dive Team Investigations series kicked off in March with Beneath the Surface. The second book in the series, In Too Deep, releases in November with the third book to follow in 2019. She is also the author of Hidden Legacy and Covert Justice, which won the 2016 Carol Award for Short Novel and the 2016 Selah Award for Mystery and Suspense. Lynn lives in South Carolina with her true love and their three children. You can follow her real life happily ever after at WWW.LYNNHBLACKBURN.COM.

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Post by contributor Toni Shiloh

Book Review: “Legacy of Love” by Terri J. Haynes

Happy Friday! Who else is looking forward to it finally feeling like Fall outside?!?

Today, I’m excited to bring you a review of “Legacy of Love” by Terri J. Haynes. It’s one of the novellas in The Runaway Brides Collection from Barbour.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Runaway Brides story collection

What is a woman of the 1800s to do when she feels powerless to choose her own spouse and marry for love—run!

Amy’s home is at stake if she doesn’t marry her neighbor. Delia’s father wants her to marry into a political family. Georgiana is posing as a wealthy man’s wife in order to hide from her groom. Callie is fleeing one wedding and racing to marry a stranger. Emily flees her wedding with the help of a mysterious coachman. Josey’s best friend leaves a letter proposing marriage unanswered in order to elope. Bernadine becomes the ward and pawn of her evil uncle. Where will each turn when they have only God to trust?

Seven women facing the marriage altar make the decision to flee, but who can they now trust?

Legacy of Love by Terri J. Haynes

1877, Kentucky

Delia McClure longs to create a family legacy like her father, a former slave, who now owns a general store in a black community outside Lexington. But can Delia consent to her father’s choice of a husband for her when she has come to love another?

BUY THIS BOOK: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Barbour


MY THOUGHTS

Haynes is quickly becoming one of my fave Barbour collection authors – both novellas of hers that I’ve read to date have been engaging and romantic, both touching and really fun to read.

In “Legacy of Love”, part of The Runaway Brides Collection, we have one of my very favorite tropes – friends who fall in love. Josiah and Delia live in very different economic situations – Delia, the daughter of a former slave turned wealthy merchant & Josiah, a hard worker who promised his dying parents he would take of his little sister Grace. The two have become good friends, however, in spite of their societal differences – and beneath the surface some deeper feelings are simmering. That first kiss? Whew! Mercy, it’s the stuff of swoons and weak knees and husky voices. The emotion behind it – and the realizations it prompts – leaves it in ‘memorable kisses’ territory for sure.

But the other thing I loved about this story is the compelling history that frames it. Along with the layered diverse characters Haynes has created, the perspective that she brings to the Reconstruction period is one I was, sadly, unfamiliar with. The tidbits about the Exodusters & the black migration to the West (specifically in this case to Kansas) is something that was never covered in my American history classes in school, nor in the citizenship materials I used to teach international adults in more recent years. Yet, it should have been, because the courage shown and the sacrifices made by those who left behind the familiar for the unknown deserve to be remembered and honored.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Terri J. HaynesTerri J. Haynes, a native Baltimorean, is a homeschool mom, writer, prolific knitter, freelance graphic artist and former Army wife (left the Army, not the husband).

She loves to read, so much that when she was in elementary school, she masterminded a plan to be locked in a public library armed with only a flashlight to read all the books and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She is a storyteller at heart. Her passion is to draw readers into the story world she has created and to bring laughter and joy to their lives.

Terri is a 2010 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis contest finalist, and a 2012 semi-finalist. She is also a 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarterfinalist. Her publishing credits include Cup of Comfort for Military Families, Crosswalk.com, the Secret Place Devotional, Vista Devotional, Urbanfaith.com and Publisher’s Weekly.

Terri and her husband pastor a church where she serves as executive pastor and worship leader. Terri lives in Maryland with her three wonderful children and her husband, who often beg her not to kill off their favorite characters.

Follow Terri online: Website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Book Spotlight: A Song for the Stars

Happy Wednesday!

I hope your week is off to a good start! I’m sharing a book spotlight on Ilima Todd’s A Song for the Stars. If you haven’t read it, be sure to put it on that TBR pile!

*Please be aware this is not Christian fiction but it is clean. There are references to gods but that is because this is historical fiction.


About the Book

Inspired by a true story

Hawaiian Islands, 1779

As the second daughter of a royal chief, Maile will be permitted to marry for love. Her fiancé is the best navigator in Hawaiʻi, and he taught her everything he knows—how to feel the ocean, observe the winds, read the stars, and how to love.

But when sailors from a strange place called England arrive on her island, a misunderstanding ends in battle, and Maile is suddenly widowed before she is wed.

Finding herself in the middle of the battle and fearing for her life, Maile takes John Harbottle, the wounded man who killed her fiancé, prisoner, and though originally intending to let him die, she reluctantly heals him. And in the process, she discovers the man she thought was her enemy might be her ally instead.

John has been Captain James Cook’s translator for three voyages across the Pacific. He is kind and clearly fascinated with her homeland and her people—and Maile herself. But guilt continues to drive a wedge between them: John’s guilt over the death he caused, and Maile’s guilt over the truth about what triggered the deadly battle—a secret she’s kept hidden from everyone on the island.

When Maile is tasked with teaching John how to navigate using the stars so he can sail back to England, they must also navigate the challenges of being from very different cultures. In doing so, they might also find the peace that comes when two hearts become one.

Amazon | B&N | Goodreads


Follow the Author

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