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Book Review: Shadow Among Sheaves

Happy Friday!

I’m super excited because I’ll be heading for the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat this afternoon. But before I go, I have to share my thoughts on Naomi Stephens’ Shadow Among Sheaves. Her debut novel released Monday, so if you haven’t heard about it or had an opportunity to read it, continue reading.


About the Book

A Timeless, Beautiful Allegory of the Biblical Love Story of Ruth and Boaz

The Great Rebellion of 1857 was a remarkably bloody business. At a time when Britain’s imperial influence in India was sparking brutal clashes on both sides, no one could have expected Rena, an Indian woman, to marry a British officer—nor do they understand her decision to follow her mother-in-law to England after her husband’s tragic death.

Once the two widows are in Abbotsville, the stern yet compassionate Lord Barric attempts to help them despite his better judgment. Soon he is torn between the demands of reputation and his increasing desire to capture Rena’s heart for his own.

Amazon, B&N, CBD, Goodreads


My Thoughts

Okay, y’all, I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts together so I’ll start with my initial impressions.

Wow. The prologue sucked me right in as I entered Rena’s world. An Indian woman, she vows to follow her mother-in-law back to England. From that prologue, I knew this would be a story I’d read until the very end. I love Ruth’s story, one of my favorites in the Bible. I couldn’t wait to find out what Ms. Stephens did with the story and how she made it her own. Plus, an Indian woman in England after a rebellion that had happened in India makes for some page turning tension.

I loved Rena as a heroine, a woman, and just an interesting character to follow. She’s amazing and I was pulling for her through the entire story. I often asked myself if I would have that strength and dedication to another. It’s remarkable and one of the reasons I have always loved Ruth.

And that leads me to the English Lord Barric, because what’s a Ruth retelling without a Boaz? Barric is very stern but he has his moments of kindness that peek out every now and then. And although I wasn’t in love with him as a hero, I didn’t dislike him either. His standoffish mood made it difficult to fall in love with his character. Still, I continued reading to see what would happen with his thread. But about 80% in, there’s a scene that turned my opinion. In the end, I just can’t say that I think he deserved Rena. I feel like she deserved someone wholly gallant and worthy of her and all that she sacrificed. Because Barric wasn’t that for me, I would lower my review rating, but that’s the only reason why.

Because this story is rich in history. Filled with a beautiful wealth of emotion. I was invested in the story and that’s saying a lot because not every historical story moves me. I will be reading more of Ms. Stephens in the future.

*I received a complimentary copy through NetGalley. My review was not influenced nor required.
**Review first appeared at Soulfully Romantic blog.


About the Author

Naomi Stephens is a bookworm turned teacher turned writer. She received a B.A. in English from Concordia University in Ann Arbor and an M.A. in English from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. 

In bookstores, Naomi gravitates towards 19th-century British novels—the broodier the better (i.e., Jane Eyre)—but she can also be found perusing the young adult, mystery, and fantasy sections. Anything that keeps her turning pages past midnight.

Though she has called many places home over the years, she currently lives in Ohio with her husband, her two children, and a rascal of a dog named Sherlock. When not writing or having adventures with her family, she can be found drinking tea, practicing photography, and pining for London.

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Review post by contributor Toni Shiloh

Book Review: The Winter Reunion

Happy Friday and Happy 1st of March!

I hope that this year is treating you right. And I hope you are seeing signs of warmer weather to come. As I type this post, I’m eyeing the possible snow coming out way. Good thing I have books to read! 😉

If you need something to read and it is still a winter wonderland, might I recommend Rhonda McKnight’s The Winter Reunion. It’s sure to entertain you.


About the Book

Everyone knows the woman in the “viral” video that hit two million views on YouTube. Humiliated, Tamar Johnson changed her name and disappeared behind the embarrassing video that captured her losing her virginity on prom night. But who was the guy?

NFL Running Back Stephen Pierce is football’s darling. He’s spent his entire career doing community service work with at-risk kids, and endeared fans as a devoted Christian, even claiming celibacy. It’s time for his high school reunion. Stephen is determined to get his EX, Tamar, to come out of hiding, even going as far as posting their prom picture on Instagram in hopes that she would accept the challenge to show up.

Tamar isn’t interested in the reunion, but her boss is. She writes for a small magazine. Stephen Pierce is a BIG story.
With reunion activity in full swing, the tension between Tamar and Stephen reaches an unbearable level. Before it’s over will the world find out who the real Stephen Pierce is? And will Tamar survive spending time with the only man who’s ever had her heart?

Links: Amazon, Goodreads


My Thoughts

This book has a really interesting premise. I wasn’t sure how Tamar would be able to overcome the pain of her past and the man who caused it. I liked how Ms. McKnight threaded the faith through the story line and showed us the power of God and forgiveness.

I also really enjoyed the reunion aspect of the book. They are one of my favorite tropes to read so I enjoyed seeing how Ms. McKnight put her spin on it. All in all an enjoyable read to pass my winter reading time with.


About the Author

Rhonda McKnight is the author of several award-winning novels and Black Expressions Top 20 bestsellers, including An Inconvenient Friend, What Kind of Fool and Breaking All The Rules. She is the winner of the 2015 Emma Award for Inspirational Romance of the Year. She was also a 2010 nominee for the African-American Literary Award. Rhonda writes edgy stories that touch the heart of women. The themes of faith, forgiveness and hope mark her stories.

Rhonda has done free-lance work as a developmental editor and writing coach for the past seven years. She’s also the founder of the Write It Right Online Fiction Writer’s Workshop. Originally from a small, coastal town in New Jersey, she’s called Atlanta, Georgia home for nineteen years. She can be reached at her website at www.RhondaMcKnight.net and at www.BlackChristianReads.com.

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Post by contributor Toni Shiloh

Book Spotlight: Sunday Brunch

Happy Hump Day!

I hope you’re having a good week and staying warm! Today here at Diversity Between the Pages, we’re sharing a book spotlight of Sunday Brunch by Norma L. Jarrett. Have you read it? It was published in 2004 so it’s a throwback. 🙂 Explore the info below!


About the Book

Waiting to Exhale meets Church Folk as five female attorneys do brunch each week to trade tales about their love lives, law firms, and the Lord!

Meet Capri, an attorney at a top Houston firm. She seems to have it all together all the time until a seductive client topples her self-control. Then there’s Jermane, a devout Catholic who met her husband in law school and has never been with another man. But now her workaholic marriage is threatened by temptation.

Angel, on the other hand, sees men merely as a means to sex. Her scorn for love of all kinds—godly or otherwise—is challenged by a serious health scare. Meanwhile, Jewel bases her dating choices on the size of a man’s bank account until she meets a new flame who causes her to reconsider her requirements.

Finally, there’s Lexi, the link between the ladies, who provides sage advice while praying for Mr. Right. But what happens when depression hits hard?

Through conversation and consolation, these dynamic characters provide one another with divine inspiration—encouraging readers to root for them along the way.

Links: Amazon, B&N, Goodreads


About the Author

Norma L. Jarrett, J.D. is a speaker and award winning author of Randomhouse novels, Sunday Brunch, Sweet Magnolia and The Sunday Brunch Diaries (Essence bestseller) and other works: Bridal Brunch, Brunchspiration, Christmas Beau, Love on a Budget, Valentine’s Day…Again??? and Salt and Sky.  Her work has been featured in USA Today, Essence, Ebony, Publisher’s Weekly, Rolling Out,Southern Living, Upscale, Hope Magazine and other media. Norma has been a featured guest on The Yolanda Adams radio show, ABC 13’s Crossroads, Outlook Houston, Majic 102, Atlanta’s V103 and other media. Among other honors, Ms. Jarrett has received a Certificate of Congressional Recognition for her literary work. She has served as a panelist and/or speaker at events such as the Baltimore Book Festival, Miami Book Fair, Faith & Fiction Retreat, Harlem Book Fair, the Essence Music Festival, Christian Book Lovers Retreat and other venues. Ms. Jarrett is a graduate of North Carolina A & T State University and Thurgood Marshall School of Law.  Norma is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.  She is married and resides in Houston, Texas.

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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?

 

Open Discussion: What Would You Like More of?

Happy Saturday, Friends!

I know it’s been awhile since we’ve had a open discussion. Hopefully we’ll have more as we get back into the groove of blogging after our wonderful Christmas break.

Today’s question/discussion is pretty simple. What would you like to see more of in diverse fiction? The world’s your oyster so share in the comments!

 

Book Spotlight: Homely Girl

Happy Hump Day, Reader Friends!

If you need a book to get you over the hump, check out Brenda Barrett’s Homely Girl. 


About the Book

A love to last a lifetime?

The odd couple: April and Taj were opposites in so many ways. He was the cute, athletic, boy genius on campus that everybody wanted to be friends with. She was the overweight, shy and withdrawn girl who the bullies teased mercilessly.

But they were friends and the older they got the deeper their friendship became. As friendship turns into something more, do April and Taj have a love that can last a lifetime? Or will time and separate paths rip them apart?

Links: Amazon, Goodreads

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Book Review: Music of My Heart

Happy Friday, Reader Friends!

Can you believe it’s the first Friday of the new year? Tell us what diverse book you wish to read this 2019 in the comments!

Our first book review of the year is Music of My Heart by Sophia Isaac. Have you read it?


About the Book

Alyson believes her divorce is the end. Marcus wants to help mend her wounded faith. Will these friends become lovers or will the pressure to change cause their new friendship to crumble?

Alyson Stefanelli pushes everyone away. She’s convinced she is marked by her divorce and unworthy of love. The young mother of two is determined to start over on her own and doesn’t want help from anyone, especially not her good-looking temporary employee who reminds her of her ex. She must maintain tight control of her world, or risk everything falling apart. If life has taught her anything, it’s that you can’t depend on anyone but yourself.

Marcus Powell is a gifted musician who plans to write movie scores in Hollywood someday—but someday never seems to come. Instead, he’s still dodging his family’s expectations that he’ll take a pastorship in his father’s church.

When Marcus uses his talent to help Alyson on the job, their friendship blossoms. He sees how hurt she is and wants to help mend her wounded faith. He persuades her to spend Christmas with his large family so she and her sons won’t spend Christmas alone.

Over the holidays, their defenses break down, secrets come out, and the feelings between them grow stronger than either ever imagined.

But getting involved with a young mother will surely curtail Marcus’s Hollywood dreams. And Alyson refuses to let herself fall for someone again when it can only result in heart break.

Sometimes, a broken heart is a blessing in disguise.

Links: Amazon, Goodreads


My Thoughts

This was my first read by Ms. Isaac and it won’t be my last. I loved the faith thread that was woven into this story. It was tender with the hand prints of God.

I also loved that this was an interracial relationship. You don’t see that too often in writing so I always enjoy seeing how the authors handle that aspect. I think Ms. Isaac addressed stereotypes and misconceptions very well and I didn’t feel like it was contrived. In fact, I think it helped to see how sometimes we assume what the other is thinking and how it can be wrong. Everyone has a back story we’re not privy too.

All in all, the romance was sweet. The story engaging. And I look forward to book 2.


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Posted by contributor Toni Shiloh

Book Spotlight: The More the Merrier

Happy New Year, Reader Friends!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year! We at diversity are looking forward to expanding your TBR pile for 2019! So we’re starting with a book spotlight featuring The More the Merrier by Liwen Y. Ho!

I know Christmas is over, but you can still continue to read the stories since it is winter. 😉


About the Book

Fed up with a string of bad blind dates, health blogger Alyssa Wu just wants to drown her sorrows in ice cream. But there’s one more evening she must endure – a fake date with her best friend Barry Chang. They must convince her family they are in love, an act which may (or may not) be easy to pull off, thanks to the magic of some mistletoe.

This 10,000 word short story is perfect for your lunch break, workout or while you wait in line at the mall. Read it today to get in the Christmas spirit any time of the year!

Links: Amazon, Goodreads


About the Author

Liwen Y. Ho works as a chauffeur and referee by day (AKA being a stay at home mom) and an author by night. She writes sweet and inspirational contemporary romance infused with heart, humor, and a taste of home (her Asian roots).

In her pre-author life, she received a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Western Seminary, and she loves makeovers of all kinds, especially those of the heart and mind. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her techie husband and their two children, and blogs about her adventures as a recovering perfectionist at www.2square2behip.com.

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