Color of Danger by Alexa Verde

About the Book

Color of Danger by Alexa Verde
Secrets of Rios Azules #1
Genre: Romantic Suspense

color of dangerFormer runaway Mari Del Lobo works hard to save her struggling restaurant and to trust people again. Dallas surgeon Dr. Luke Goodman turns her world upside down with terrifying news. A recent murder has her late brother’s – aka the Smiling Killer – signature and MO. When attacks on her escalate, Mari fights her growing attraction to the good doctor as fiercely as she fights for her life. To rescue herself and those she loves, will she be able to stop the murderer before he strikes again?

Luke couldn’t save his fiancée from the Smiling Killer, but he’ll do anything to prevent more murders, even ask help from the serial killer’s sister. Finding a kindred tortured soul and the perpetrator’s next target in Mari, Luke is determined to protect the stubborn ex-rebel. But Mari would rather face danger than risk the safety of the man she comes to love.

GOODREADS | AMAZON

My Thoughts

Life in the sleepy small town of Rios Azules in South Texas was not so calm and monotonous after all.

Color of Danger is packed with suspense! It starts off with some pretty high-stakes tension and doesn’t let up for very long throughout the course of the novel.  There’s not a lot of action necessarily, but the suspense is set up more psychologically. As a reader I got to the point where I almost didn’t trust anyone and about the time I thought I had it figured out, the author threw me another curve. This not only kept the pace of the novel steady, it also kept me engaged throughout.

Mari is the kind of character that makes you smile – spunky, feisty, determined. She loves fiercely and refuses to let anyone put her into a certain mold or expectation. Luke is the yummy doctor who thinks he’s part-cop, but I’m not complaining because his protective instincts made him even yummier. A cast of secondary and tertiary characters add more layers to the multi-cultural relationship between Mari and Luke. Part of that diverse blend is Mari’s childhood group of friends who are featured in the prequel novella and subsequent books in the series as well.

If you want a nail-biter of a suspense novel with plenty of twists and turns, then you’ve come to the right place! While it’s true that some of the characters’ motives and reactions didn’t ring true for me and others fell flat, the romance is sweet and endearing and the friendships are inspiring. I also really enjoyed watching Mari journey closer to Jesus – her progress was very sweet and without pretense. Again, the suspense held my attention nicely and kept me guessing through most of the novel. If you’re a fan of the TV show Criminal Minds, you need to add Color of Danger to your TBR list!

I VOLUNTARILY REVIEWED A COMPLIMENTARY COPY OF THIS BOOK WHICH I RECEIVED FROM THE PUBLISHER. ALL VIEWS EXPRESSED ARE ONLY MY HONEST OPINION.
THIS REVIEW ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON READING IS MY SUPERPOWER

About the Author

alexa-verde-253x300Alexa Verde writes sweet, wholesome books about faith, love, and murder. She penned her first literary masterpiece, a rhymed poem, at the ripe age of eight, and since has had 200 short stories, articles, and poems published in the five languages that she speaks. She has bachelor’s degrees in English and Spanish, a master’s in Russian, and enjoys writing about characters with diverse cultures. She can claim her 15 seconds of Amazon fame with her books climbing to the #1 spot in Hispanic American and #3 in Christian Mystery & Suspense. She’s worn the hats of reporter, teacher, translator, model (even one day counts!), caretaker, and secretary, but thinks that the writer’s hat suits her the best. After traveling the world and living in both hemispheres, she calls a small town in south Texas home. The latter is an inspiration for the fictional setting of her popular series Secrets of Rios Azules. For giveaways (for example, Russian souvenirs), news, and recipes, please sign up for her newsletter at www.alexaverde.com.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER


Review by Carrie

Buying Love by Toni Shiloh

buyingloveWill money ruin everything?

Nina Warrenton is ready for the next step in her life plan—marriage, but no one has proposed. Taking matters into her hand, she places an ad in the newspaper hoping to entice a willing stranger. But when she begins to fall for the small-town chef, she realizes how much she wants him to love her and not her money.

Dwight Williams needs fast cash to save the family restaurant. When he sees Nina’s monetary offer for a husband, he goes for it. He’s determined to save the legacy his dad left him, but can he let it go to prove his love for her?

Can Nina and Dwight find true love, once money has entered the equation?

GOODREADS | AMAZON


My Thoughts

“She didn’t want to ruin a family. Just belong to one.”

I have one word to start out with – Dwight. Another word – yummy. And I’m not JUST talking about the delicious mouth-watering recipes he cooks up at his family’s restaurant The Maple Pit. Dwight himself is quite the swoonworthy hero. Not just because he looks like Laz Alonso but because he’s a man of solid character and a kind heart.

Dwight’s mama and I had a few words during the course of this novel though! She was in danger of a purse whomping a time or two, I must say. Good thing SHE doesn’t know how close she came or I might be the one in danger 😉

Nina is a great character! A little bit sassy, a little bit sweet – I enjoyed getting to know her as the story progressed. Her background is not as idyllic as Dwight’s, far from it in fact, but her relationship with Dwight is made all the more poignant because of these differences. While she may be rich monetarily, she’s all alone in the world – no friends, no family, no legacy. On the other hand, Dwight may have some financial difficulties in his business but he’s the rich one where it matters. This disparity between them – on both sides – gives depth to what could otherwise be a typical marriage-of-convenience tale.

Not that I have anything against a typical marriage-of-convenience tale. I happen to love them as a matter of fact. But this added dimension gives some meat (I’m clearly still thinking about that maple fried chicken…) to the story and to their relationship.

The theme of adoption and belonging in Buying Love really touched me. Such a beautiful picture of God’s love for us, and our relationship with Him. And y’all know I don’t like pausing my story for a “sermon”… well, in Buying Love there’s an actual sermon!! Lol! But, in this case, it fits pretty naturally with the course of the story and is a turning point emotionally for Nina so I’ll allow it 😉

“All these years she had wanted desperately to be adopted, it turned out she was adopted the moment she became God’s.”

Buying Love is a great start to a new series! The supporting characters set the stage nicely for future books, and I’m looking forward to more from Maple Run and Toni Shiloh. Dwight and Nina’s romance is sweet and even though it’s somewhat of a slow burn buildup it’s got plenty of sizzle and spark! This would be a wonderful choice for book clubs with many possible discussion threads throughout.

I VOLUNTARILY REVIEWED A COMPLIMENTARY COPY OF THIS BOOK WHICH I RECEIVED FROM THE PUBLISHER. ALL VIEWS EXPRESSED ARE ONLY MY HONEST OPINION.
THIS REVIEW ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON READING IS MY SUPERPOWER

About the Author

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Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Before pursuing her dream as a writer, Toni served in the United States Air Force. It was there she met her husband. After countless moves, they ended up in Virginia, where they are raising their two boys.

When she’s not typing in imagination land, Toni enjoys reading, playing video games, making jewelry, and spending time with her family. Toni is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) as well as the ACFW Virginia Chapter.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST

What is something you’ve wanted desperately for years but finally found in God?


Review by Carrie Schmidt

Author Interview: Grace Ibitamuno Obienu

I originally ran this interview with Grace Ibitamuno Obienu a couple of weeks ago on my own review blog, but I went back and talked with her some more about her characters in preparation for posting the interview here on Diversity Between The Pages.


About the Author:

Grace Ibitamuno Obienu has been a storyteller all her life, completing her first novel at the age of twelve, which thankfully went unpublished. She has worked as a technical writer in Biotechnology but has recently embarked on a journey toward dual doctoral degrees in Medicine and Public Health. With roots in Nigeria, she calls Central New Jersey home, where she lives with her husband and son.

You can connect with Grace on Facebook.


About the Book:

Burdened by the shame of her past and by the pain in her body, hope for a better tomorrow is a heavy chain to wear for Lola, a nineteen-year-old survivor of years of trafficking and exploitation.

Jaisen, a police officer, is drawn to Lola, both for the fire in her eyes and the hesitation in her step.

For Deja, Jaisen’s cousin, marriage to her fiancé is the greatest prize—a prize for which she would forsake all else.

As the story unfolds, vivid flashbacks of lurid moments past, lurking former owners, long buried secrets, and the search for a murderer threaten each of their quests, testing their mettle and their faith.

Could hope possibly flourish in the face of such painful obstacles? Is love truly a worthy pursuit, or a consolation prize for unwitting fools?

Not Yet Beautiful, a debut novel set in the Northeast corridor, is grippingly raw in its portrayal of love, loss, and restoration.

Purchase at: Amazon, B&N


Carrie: Hi Grace! Welcome to the blog! Thank you so much for chatting with me!

Grace: Thanks for having me. It’s great to chat with you!

Carrie: Let’s start with a ‘fast four’. Apples or oranges?

Grace: Oranges for on the go. Apples if I have time. I really don’t like the feel of apple skin against my teeth so I have to peel them before I can eat them. And oranges are so refreshing.

Carrie: Winter or Summer?

Grace: Winter… but only because it is closer to Fall temperature-wise. I like cooler weather, running in the 50s and 60s… cool enough for a light jacket and boots kind of weather.

Carrie: Dogs or Cats?

Grace: Haha, I’d unfortunately have to say neither at the risk of offending all the wonderful cat and dog people. But I hear pets are great, so who knows maybe one day…

Carrie: Coffee or Tea?

Grace: Coffee if I need the caffeine. Tea if it feels like a put-my-feet-up-I-have-time-to-relax kind of day. So coffee 🙂

Carrie: On my blog I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?

Grace: I like to think that is the power of imagination. I always have stories running around in my head.

Carrie: That’s an awesome superpower for a writer to have! When you walk into a bookstore, where do you head first?

Grace: The Inspirational Romance aisle. I like to see what’s new in the genre. Or the section with books on leadership.

Carrie: Inspy romance is the first place I go too! Do you have any strange writing habits/quirks?

Grace: I like to outline my stories in as much detail as possible both before I begin and as I write. Usually before bed is my time to imagine scenes in my story down to the details of the dialogue. So, as I lie in bed waiting to fall asleep, I imagine scenes in my story, complete with dialogue, visualizing the characters moving, talking, walking, whatever the case may be. I have even been known to hug myself when my characters do :-). Night after night, I can work on the same scene till it feels perfect then I either add it to my outline or flesh out the one I have with details I gathered from my bed time brainstorming 🙂

Carrie: Oh gosh! I think remembering these scenes is another superpower you have! I would forget by the time i woke up lol 🙂

Not Yet Beautiful addresses the issue of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Describe your main characters for us and – without giving spoilers, of course – explain how they’ve been touched by human trafficking.

Grace: There are three main characters – Lola, Jaisen and Deja. Lola is a survivor of sex trafficking trying to find her way, searching for hope and love in the midst of the pain of her past wounds. Jaisen is a police officer and Lola’s love interest. Equal parts fervent, equal parts impulsive, he pursues Lola passionately, drawn by her. Deja, Jaisen’s cousin, befriends Lola, though her vision is clouded by her own troubled relationship with her fiancé.

Carrie: These three main characters – Lola, Deja, and Jaisen – are all of Nigerian descent. How did your own heritage influence your development of these characters?

Grace: As a Nigerian American who lived in Nigeria for 10 years, I drew on my own experience in creating these characters – their mannerisms, the things that mattered to them (for Deja, feeling the pressure from her mother to marry for instance), the native food, the colloquial Pidgin English used in one scene. The name “Lola” is native to one of the many Nigerian languages in fact. It means “wealth.”

Carrie: They all sound like very powerful and intriguing characters!  I think a lot of us don’t realize how prevalent human trafficking is, even in our own cities. What inspired you to write Not Yet Beautiful?

Grace: I was at a Writer’s Conference a few years ago sharing about how badly I wanted to write a novel and how I wanted it to be about something compelling when I got to talking with a faculty member. She brought up the topic of human trafficking. Inspired, I started my research when I returned home and it wasn’t long before I grew infuriated with the heinousness of the crime as well as the fact that it happens under our noses. So, I chose to write about it, looking at the group of people forced into the trade and held by debt bondage. However, I wanted the story to be hopeful and to focus on the aftermath of the experience, looking at the recovery process from trauma. I wanted to attempt to humanize the choices – good, bad or otherwise – people (in this case my characters) make in trying to confront or overcome painful pasts, while still highlighting the God factor, the work He does in us when we ask.

Carrie: The process of recovery is so inspiring, from the accounts I’ve read. And God is THE ultimate Rescuer, isn’t He? What do you most want readers to take away from Not Yet Beautiful?

Grace: I tried to cover a lot of grounds – looking at trauma and recovering from trauma, how hardships affect what we believe in or think we believe, how they force us to look inward and examine ourselves. And where we end up when all is said and done, whether that be where we thought we would or not. And perchance if it is, if that be for reasons we ordinarily would have thought would lead us there. I tried to look at people as consummate, influenced by our own psychology, our social lives, our faith, our fears and hopes and mostly by our dreams. But still imperfect because none of us are.

I’m really glad you asked this question as it gives me a chance to reflect. I hope everyone takes something from the book about the power of hope and love, something that makes their lives a little richer.

Carrie: Grace, thank you so much for taking time to talk with me twice! LOL. What’s coming up next for you?

Grace: I have a lot of things in the works, though they are all mostly in my head at this point. The first order of the day is the sequel to Not Yet Beautiful – spotlighting Deja’s story a little more and continuing Jaisen and Lola’s journey.

Carrie: We will be praying for you as you continue to breathe your heritage and God’s grace into their stories!


Interview conducted by Carrie Schmidt