Book Review: Jade’s Match

Today, I’m happy to share my review of Jade’s Match with you. This is the 7th book of the Jewel Series. Each book in this series includes characters from the previous stories but stands alone.

As a woman who enjoys receiving courteous treatment that tells me I am valued, I love having doors opened for me. I know some women are like Cora, however, and think that men who do this are questioning their ability to do it themselves. I loved the discussions throughout the book about this and the beautiful way that author Hallee Bridgeman showed that these chivalrous acts are not a condescension but a show of respect. I couldn’t resist including the excerpt below to show you what might have been my favorite part of the book.

Cora also needed to learn lessons about the importance of not judging based on partial information and especially about keeping a rein on her tongue. It is so sad how hurtful our words can be. I am so glad Cora learned that and was willing to do the right thing.

Davis was a tough, yet tender hockey player headed to the Olympics. He struggled to control anger and even feared he might hurt those closest to him because of it. The author handled this extremely well and offered an insightful perspective on it.

Davis was half-Korean and Cora part Native American. A prejudiced and jealous man confronted them with hatred for this, which led to some major conflict in the story.

I love when authors make an effort to make the formatting of their books attractive. The chapter headings of Jade’s Match were so lovely as was the overall look and feel of the book. As Cora loved to write out scripture and embellish it, I could picture that she might have created something similar to these headings.

I especially enjoyed this excerpt from the book:

Cora watched as Song sprinkled sugar into a cup and added a little bit of milk, then filled the cup with hot tea. She handed it to her husband almost ceremonially, slightly bowing her head as he took the cup from her. Cora felt a flood of emotion and longing at the love in Grant’s eyes as he took the tea. He could have very easily poured his own tea. Song respected him by pouring it for him, and Grant respected Song by letting her. This wasn’t a show for Cora’s benefit. This was a mark of the mutual love and respect that they held for each other every day.

She remembered the conversation she’d had with Davis about opening her door and holding out her chair. Suddenly, she understood what he meant. Suddenly, she longed to be back in his presence so she could step aside and give him the opportunity to respect her by opening her door. She couldn’t imagine missing him more than she missed him right now.


About the book:

Jade's Match by Hallee BridgemanTwo Olympians are matched in a media campaign that turns into something more than a game.

Rio Games silver medalist and social media darling CORA “JADE” ANDERSON is approached by a popular cell phone company to launch a flirty but fake media campaign with ice hockey star DAVIS ELLIOTT. When things get off to a rocky start, Cora and Davis both wonder what they’ve gotten into and how they’ll get through the months until the Korean games.

It’s not long until things start to warm up between the athletes and soon this fake romance becomes something much more real. Cora knows just how to work social media and engage her fans, and as the world watches and interacts with them, their love grows. When Davis is selected for Team USA, the opposition starts. As a Korean American, he’s already facing odds Cora can never comprehend, but he takes his frustration at the racism to the ice and lets the puck take the beating.

Things come to a head just weeks before the games begin. Can Davis and Cora’s very public relationship survive the aftermath of a very public confrontation, or are they going to have to let their love go when the Olympic flame is extinguished at the closing ceremonies?

Buy Jade’s Gift on Amazon


About the Author:

Hallee Bridgeman

With more than half a million book sales, Hallee Bridgeman is a best-selling Christian author who writes action-packed romantic suspense focusing on realistic characters who face real world problems. Her work has been described as everything from refreshing to heart-stopping exciting and edgy.

An Army brat turned Floridian, Hallee finally settled in central Kentucky with her family so that she could enjoy the beautiful changing of the seasons. She enjoys the roller-coaster ride thrills that life with a National Guard husband, a college student daughter, and two elementary aged sons delivers.

A prolific writer, when she’s not penning novels, you will find her in the kitchen, which she considers the ‘heart of the home’. Her passion for cooking spurred her to launch a whole food, real food “Parody” cookbook series. In addition to nutritious, Biblically grounded recipes, readers will find that each cookbook also confronts some controversial aspect of secular pop culture.

Hallee is a member of the Published Author Network (PAN) of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) where she serves as a long time member in the Faith, Hope, & Love chapter. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the American Christian Writers (ACW) as well as being a member of Novelists, Inc. (NINC). An accomplished speaker, Hallee has taught and inspired writers around the globe, from Sydney, Australia, to Dallas, Texas, to Portland, Oregon, to Washington, D.C., and all places in between.

Hallee loves coffee, campy action movies, and regular date nights with her husband. Above all else, she loves God with all of her heart, soul, mind, and strength; has been redeemed by the blood of Christ; and relies on the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide her. She prays her work here on earth is a blessing to you and would love to hear from you. You can reach Hallee at hallee@halleebridgeman.com.


Connect with Hallee:

Website – http://www.halleebridgeman.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/authorhalleebridgeman/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/halleeb
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/105383805410764959843
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/RegencyMaid
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/halleebridgeman/

Sign up for her newsletter  at: 
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Review by Phyllis Helton

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Book Review: The Bashful Bride

Happy Friday, reader friends!

Are you ready for the weekend?

Today, we’re featuring my review of Vanessa Riley’s new novel, The Bashful Bride.

It’s the perfect weekend read!


My Review of The Bashful Bride:

This book was amazingly well written, and completely captivating from start to finish. Vanessa Riley, the author, has really outdone herself with this one. I’m not a big fan of historical romance but Vanessa’s stories are delightful and make me want to read more books by her brilliant mind!

Reading this book was a theatrical experience on paper. It’s like the author takes you by the imagination from page one and transports you back in time to the Regency era then invites you to a front row seat as you watch this beautiful story unfold.

The characters were likable, their background was believable and the dialogue was beautiful. I loved the idea of love at first sight and enjoyed seeing how the heroine’s celebrity crush became her real-life love interest via a meet-cute that threw them together in the most unique and intriguing way.

The author is not afraid to make her characters real and heroic in every sense—the hero is a famous, handsome actor with the passionate platform of an abolitionist. Arthur Bex is his name and he’s not afraid to speak out a time in history where most kept silent. He’s passionate about freedom and he’s not afraid to express his views even when his push for equality threatens to overhaul the status quo.

The heroine, a shy heiress by the name of Ester Croome, is heroic in terms of honesty and loyalty because she refuses to marry anyone who her heart does not love in a society where sometimes women married for money, status or other practical reasons. She may be shy but when it comes to marriage, she knows what she wants and who she wants—handsome actor Arthur Bex. But beyond good looks, Ester wants a man of character and integrity, and Arthur seems to fit the bill.

But love at first sight only becomes the forever kind of love that lasts when it’s tested and tried to be true. The author doesn’t shy away from testing the love between Arthur and Ester. She throws her main characters into quite the plight as the story progresses! Riley knows how to build tension and leave the readers wanting more at the end of each scene. I kept turning the pages until I finished this story in one sitting!

Even if you’re not a fan of historical romance, read this book by Vanessa Riley. It will captivate your heart!

*I (Alexis A. Goring) received a complimentary copy of this book (The Bashful Bride) from the author for me to read. My opinions in this book review are my own.


About the Book:

A friend’s newspaper advertisement for a groom nets the most famous actor in London, Arthur Bex. Shy heiress Ester Croome proposes to elope with the handsome man, who she’s secretly loved for two years, in order to escape an impending engagement arranged by her overbearing family.

Trying to outlive the shadow of his villainous uncle, Bex needs to marry quickly—to a woman of good character. And smart, beautiful Ester fits the bill. But a harrowing trip to Gretna Green and dangerous abolition rallies prove to be a more treacherous stage than either imagined. Infatuation and a mutual love for Shakespeare might not be enough to bind a couple looking to outrun the chains and secrets of family and the past.

Buy The Bashful Bride on Amazon


About the Author:

Vanessa Riley writes Regency and Historical Romances of dazzling multi-culture communities with powerful persons of color. 

Vanessa writes for historical romance readers who admire and acquire books that showcase women who find joy in sweeping kisses and strong sisterhoods. Even in the darkness, she promises to give you laughs and to show you how light always prevails and how love always, always wins. 

Vanessa juggles mothering a teen, cooking for her military-man husband, and speaking at women’s and STEM events. She’s known for her sweeping romances and humorous delivery of poignant truths. You can catch her writing from the comfort of her southern porch with a cup of Earl Grey tea.


Connect with Vanessa:

Website – http://www.vanessariley.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/VanessaRileyAuthor/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/VanessaRiley/
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/RegencyMaid
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/vanessarileyauthor/

Sign up for her newsletter to get access to free stories, giveaways, and more at: 
http://www.vanessariley.com

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Book Review: Chasing the Wind by Paula Scott

Hi, readers! This series blew me away with its vibrant culture, rich history, and authentic faith. I learned so much about California’s journey to statehood and the story is intense!

About the Book

Chasing the Wind by Paula ScottA beautiful, half-Indian girl raised by the Californios finds her fate intertwined with an American frontiersman haunted by his past in 1850 California.

As California comes to statehood amidst the madness of the gold rush, Isabella Vasquez must wed a buckskin-clad American who wins her in a card game. Though their union is passionate, Isabella soon finds herself abandoned in a brothel, where she rises to fame as a singer known as the Bluebird. Yet because of her Indian blood, the Bluebird will always be bought and sold in the white man’s world. When more is demanded of the Bluebird than just singing, Isabella flees to Fort Ross in search of her Russian father and her own race of people.

Peter Brondi has battled Indians all his life. The last thing he wants is a half-Indian wife. While taming the West with Kit Carson and John C. Fremont, Peter has fought the Mexican War and lost his beloved fiancée, Maggie, to his half-Indian brother, Paul. To satisfy his father’s dying wish, Peter vows to find his brother and put an end to the hate that’s between them. But when history repeats itself and Paul steals Isabella away, Peter must come to terms with his past and the animosity he holds against all Indians, including his half-brother and the wife he has forsaken.

goodreads | amazon

 

California Rising series

  

 

My Thoughts

Like many historical fiction fans, I go absolutely gaga over rarely explored (or new-to-me) settings! While territorial California isn’t the exclusive setting (and it has likely been the destination of a few stories I’ve read in the past), the California Rising series is an ode to California’s roots and growing pains.

This series is loaded with nuggets of historical content related to and preceding the transitional period of the 1840-50s. The cultural climate is vibrant and rich with several diverse backgrounds thoroughly represented. Many race related injustices and tragedies are mentioned or explored yet the beauty of what makes each culture unique is respected and revered.

Saints and sinners alike fight temptations and even unseen forces. In my opinion, California Rising’s crowning glory is its engaging tales of good versus evil and God’s boundless redeeming grace which covers the heights, width, and depths of human depravity. While I was entertained by the overall story in Until the Day Breaks and Far Side of the SeaChasing the Wind touched my heart.

Readers who don’t shy away from the raw truth of sin and darkness will especially enjoy this series. Paula Scott has a uniquely straightforward writing style with complex interwoven story threads and I look forward to her future work.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. The opinions expressed are my own. THIS REVIEW WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED ON FAITHFULLY BOOKISH.

 

About the Author

Paula ScottPaula began her writing career as a civilian contracted to write for the United States Air Force’s newspaper and magazines. Later, she wrote feature stories for a daily California newspaper.

A fifth-generation Californian, Paula’s great great grandmother came to California in a covered wagon and married a California farmer.

Paula’s family has been farming ever since. Paula works on her family’s farm, writes historical fiction, and blogs about life, love, and farming at her website.

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Share your thoughts about this book or time period, reader friends!

 

 REVIEW BY BETH ERIN

Book Review: The Masterpiece

Happy Friday, Reader Friends!

I don’t know about you, but I’m thankful for each Friday that comes my way. I have dreams of diving into my TBR pile throughout the weekend. But first, let me share a book review of Francine Rivers’ The Masterpiece. I read this book a couple of weeks ago and new it would be a great fit.


About the Book

The Blurb: “A successful LA artist, Roman Velasco appears to have everything he could possibly want―money, women, fame. Only Grace Moore, his reluctant, newly hired personal assistant, knows how little he truly has. The demons of Roman’s past seem to echo through the halls of his empty mansion and out across his breathtaking Topanga Canyon view. But Grace doesn’t know how her boss secretly wrestles with those demons: by tagging buildings as the Bird, a notorious but unidentified graffiti artist―an alter ego that could destroy his career and land him in prison.

Like Roman, Grace is wrestling with ghosts and secrets of her own. After a disastrous marriage threw her life completely off course, she vowed never to let love steal her dreams again. But as she gets to know the enigmatic man behind the reputation, it’s as if the jagged pieces of both of their pasts slowly begin to fit together . . . until something so unexpected happens that it changes the course of their relationship―and both their lives―forever.”

Links: Amazon, B&N, CBD, Goodreads


My Thoughts

I heard a lot of good things about The Masterpiece before I picked it up, but it was a recommendation from a close friend that had me adding it to my TBR pile. From the very beginning I was hooked. I had to know what was going on behind the scenes with Grace and Roman.

Y’all this book is captivating and so very worth the time to read. If my TBR pile wasn’t so massive, and if this wasn’t a book on loan from the library, I’d reread it. Who else wouldn’t want to read about a budding romance, exploration of faith, and desire to be free from shame?

Francine Rivers has the ability to get to the heart of the matter and engage the readers’ heart in the process. I was thoroughly invested in the faith lives of Grace and Roman and the spark flying between them both. Bonus was the info that Ms. Rivers shared at the end of the book. So awesome and now the cover has a whole new meaning for me.

Add this book to your TBR list. You will not be disappointed.


About the Author

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Book Review: Dear One by Brandi Boddie

Happy Friday! Today I’m reviewing a novella that we spotlighted here on Diversity Between the Pages in February – Dear One by Brandi Boddie

About the Book

Dear One by Brandi BoddieLove in Steel Town America during the midst of WWII

Youngstown, Ohio 1944

Molly Clayton works as a ladies columnist for the Valley Bulletin, the town’s most prominent African American newspaper. Between writing, aiding the war effort, and helping her struggling parents pay the bills, she doesn’t have time for her favorite pastime of swing dancing.

When a friend gives her tickets to a Valentine’s Day dance for her birthday, Molly can’t wait to attend. She meets Stephen Keller, a handsome jazz magazine editor. She’s attracted to him, but a painful secret lurks beneath the surface of Stephen’s easy charm that makes him defensive to others and suspicious of her faith.

Things take a turn for the worse when a vicious rumor threatens to destroy both her career and her blossoming courtship. Will she gain the courage to confront the rumor and speak her heart to Stephen before it’s too late?

GOODREADS | AMAZON

My Thoughts

Dear One is a short novella, but it is rich in historical tidbits that will make you want to do your own research. The pace flows well (it doesn’t feel rushed at all) and the plot is vividly drawn. In cases of stories with this short of a page count, sometimes the end result is a narrative that barely scratches the surface of the emotions or history of the day. Other times, it has the opposite problem – everything but the kitchen sink is crammed into those few pages. With Dear One, Boddie achieves the right balance of story pace and character development, covering a lot of ground in the plot and tying things up nicely too. However, you wouldn’t hear me complaining at all if she ever rewrote this as a full-length novel – I enjoyed it that much to willingly invest more time in the plot and characters if given the opportunity.

I very much appreciated the history covered by Dear One; in our historical fiction, we – to our detriment – don’t often focus on the soldiers of color who fought during WW2 or on what wartime looked like for black Americans back at home. The fictional African-American newspaper in Youngstown is based on similar papers of the day, papers I never knew existed and which prompted me to do further study on my own on these and the Associated Negro Press. Boddie also explores prejudice from within the African-American community, as well as from without, and weaves a tender message of faith throughout the story too.

And yes! She does that all in less than 75 pages without feeling rushed or incomplete. I thoroughly enjoyed this novella and would recommend it for everyone, especially readers who believe that learning about the past can better help us understand the present and change the future.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this novella which I read for free with Kindle Unlimited.

About the Author

Brandi BoddieBrandi Boddie writes historical and contemporary romance. She holds a juris doctorate from Howard University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Youngstown State University. She lives in Texas with her husband and two rambunctious canines who aspire to be food critics. When she’s not writing or playing dress up in Victorian/steampunk/1940s garb, you can find her swing dancing or getting her daily fill of antioxidants through coffee and dark chocolate.

Connect with the author: WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

What about you? What most intrigues you about this novella?

Reviewed by Carrie

Book Review: No One Ever Asked

Happy Friday, Reader Friends!

Thanks for stopping by Diversity Between the Pages. I’m thrilled to share my review of Katie Ganshert’s No One Ever Asked. This poignant story travels three different women. It’s a must read so be sure to add it  to your TBR pile!


About the Book

The Blurb: “When an impoverished school district loses its accreditation and the affluent community of Crystal Ridge has no choice but to open their school doors, the lives of three very different women converge: Camille Gray–the wife of an executive, mother of three, long-standing PTA chairwoman and champion fundraiser–faced with a shocking discovery that threatens to tear her picture-perfect world apart at the seams.

Jen Covington, the career nurse whose long, painful journey to motherhood finally resulted in adoption but she is struggling with a happily-ever-after so much harder than she anticipated.

Twenty-two-year-old Anaya Jones–the first woman in her family to graduate college and a brand new teacher at Crystal Ridge’s top elementary school, unprepared for the powder-keg situation she’s stepped into.

Tensions rise within and without, culminating in an unforeseen event that impacts them all. This story explores the implicit biases impacting American society, and asks the ultimate question: What does it mean to be human? Why are we so quick to put labels on each other and categorize people as “this” or “that”, when such complexity exists in each person?”

Links: Amazon, B&N, CBD, Goodreads


My thoughts:

Wow. Just wow. I knew when I picked up this book that Katie Ganshert would take me on an emotional journey that would challenge my intellect as well as my mind. And wow, oh wow, Ms. Ganshert did NOT disappoint.

No One Ever Asked follows the journey of three very different women, or are they? Camille Gray seems to have it all and there were moments where she made me cringed. I’ve met women like her and have been on my guard around women like her. By the end of the novel, I wanted to give her a hug.

Jen Covington, bless her heart, I wanted to give her a hug the entire time I read her story. She went through so much and bottled her emotions, something I can completely identify with. I ached for her to let the fear go and embrace love and hope.

Anaya Jones. As the only African American of the group, I identified with her right away. It wasn’t just the race that had me empathizing with Anaya, it was her life experiences. Man, oh man, did Ms. Ganshert bring me back to the days where I went to the beauty shop every 2 weeks. I felt like I was right in there when those scenes unfolded. The way Anaya was cautious about how she responded, careful to no perpetuate any stereotypes, I felt that to my core. And the issues we women face, I could empathize with that too.

But it wasn’t just these three ladies that captured my attention. That kept me turning the page. The secondary characters were so integral to this story. The issues that Ms. Ganshert tackled were nothing short of amazing. For one, she chose to tackle them. Two, they were done in such a way that not one overlapped the other. I mean we have racial issues, social class issues, sexual harassment issues, etc. Each time she unveiled a piece of the story my mind was whirling, thinking of times I’ve experienced the same or haven’t and understanding what a person could have been dealing with.

If you don’t find an ounce of empathy growing in your heart after reading this book, I’d ask you to read it again. It’s that great. That life altering.

*I received a free copy from the publisher. This review is my own, honest opinion. I was not required to do a review.

**Review first seen at Soulfully Romantic blog.


About the Author

Award-winning author, Katie Ganshert, graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with a degree in education, and worked as a fifth grade teacher for several years before staying home to write full-time. She was born and raised in the Midwest, where she lives with her family. When she’s not busy penning novels or spending time with her people, she enjoys drinking coffee with friends, reading great literature, and eating copious amounts of dark chocolate. You can learn more about Katie and her books by visiting her website or author Facebook page.


Review by contributor, Toni Shiloh

Book Review: Beneath the Surface

Happy Friday, Reader Friends!

Today I’m bringing you a book review of Lynn H. Blackburn’s Beneath the Surface. Leight Watson, the heroine in this book, was adopted from China. She’s in desperate need of protection and Investigator Ryan Parker is just the man.


About the Book

The Blurb: “After a harrowing experience with an obsessed patient, oncology nurse practitioner Leigh Weston needed a change. She thought she’d left her troubles behind when she moved home to Carrington, North Carolina, and took a job in the emergency department of the local hospital. But when someone tampers with her brakes, she fears the past has chased her into the present. She reaches out to her high school friend turned homicide investigator, Ryan Parker, for help.

Ryan finds satisfaction in his career, but his favorite way to use his skills is as a volunteer underwater investigator with the Carrington County Sheriff’s Office dive team. When the body of a wealthy businessman is discovered in Lake Porter, the investigation uncovers a possible serial killer–one with a terrifying connection to Leigh Weston and deadly implications for them all.

Dive into the depths of fear with an exciting new voice in romantic suspense. Award-winning author Lynn H. Blackburn grabs readers by the throat and doesn’t let go until the final heart-pounding page.”

Links: Amazon, B&N, CBD, Goodreads


Review

This is a great start to a new series. Book 1 in the Dive Team Investigations, Ms. Blackburn has set up a great group that you want to get to know more of. The hero and heroine in this book were refreshingly different in my opinion. The heroine has some anxiety, but she’s determined not to let it shake her. I love that!

The hero wants to do right by Ms. Watson which ranks him high on the hero skill. Throw in an over protective big brother and you have a great romance.

But that’s not all this book is. The suspense is fantastic! I couldn’t figure out who did it until the story revealed it. I loved that because I was guessing throughout the entire story on who I thought was the bad guy. I did feel like there were some loose ends in the bad guy’s story. I’m not sure if those will be revealed in book 2 or I’ll be left to wonder forever.

Regardless, this is a series I’ll continue to read.


About the Author

Lynn Huggins Blackburn believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. She’s passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don’t make her choose) and experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul. She lives in South Carolina with her true love, Brian, and their three children. Her first book, COVERT JUSTICE (Love Inspired Suspense), won the 2016 Selah Award for Mystery and Suspense and the 2016 Carol Award for Short Novel. Her second book, HIDDEN LEGACY (Love Inspired Suspense), released in June 2017 and her new Dive Team Investigations series kicks off in March of 2018 with BENEATH THE SURFACE (Revell).

Follow: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, Newsletter

Book Review: When God Made Light

Hi reader friends! Let’s be honest, some children’s books are annoying, especially when they are requested over and over and over. When I find one that I enjoy reading (even repeatedly over a long period), I simply have to tell all y’all about it!

About the Book

When God Made Light by Matthew Paul Turner‘Let there be light!’ that’s what God said. And light began shining and then started to spread.”

Wild and creative illustrations from top children’s illustrator David Catrow pair with Matthew Paul Turner’s lyrical verse in this message of a God-made light that cuts through darkness to bring vision and hope to all young readers.

This light radiates, chasing away the shadows, providing the wonder and fun of stargazing or firefly chasing.

Most important, this light appears in each child–an inner God-given spark that grows and will be used to change the world.

goodreads | amazon | bookdepository | christianbook

 

Review

A children's book you'll read again and again - When God Made Light by Matthew Paul Turner (graphic credit Waterbrook Multanomah)When God Made You, has been a favorite in our home since its release last year so we were all delighted when When God Made Light arrived! Each one of our children (ages 5 through 13) has taken a turn spontaneously reading the pages and/or perusing the whimsical illustrations, soaking up each detail and pointing out parts that make them laugh or stop to ponder.

This book blesses my reader mama heart! It is a joy to see our children pour over the pages of an encouraging and faith-filled book like this one. The engaging artwork and beautiful prose are soothing and heartfelt. The vocabulary used by this author rises above the usual simplified children’s storybook fare with words to enrich and engage thirsty young minds.

Reading this book aloud is a delightful experience and one I look forward to reliving often for years to come.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. The opinions expressed are my own.
This review was originally posted on Faithfully Bookish

 

Also Available

When God Made You

 

About the Author

Matthew Paul TurnerMatthew Paul Turner has authored 16 books including Churched and Everything You Need to Know Before College.

He has written for publications including USA Today, The Washington Post, Relevant, Christianity Today, and The Daily Beast.

His unique blend of story with spiritual commentary has garnered him a large and loyal fan base.

Matthew lives with his wife, Jessica, and their three young children in Nashville.

website | twitter | facebook | instagram | amazon

 

About the Illustrator

website | twitter | facebook | amazon

 

Fill your story times iwth Light and Love - When God Made Light by Matthew Paul Turner (graphic credit Waterbrook Multanomah)

 

Book Trailer

 

Doesn’t this story look adorable?! 

Enter to win a copy of When God Made Light on goodreads!

 

Review by Beth Erin

Book Review: Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

Hi, reader friends! This book is a must-read for vanilla folks (like me). If y’all remember our discussion on vanilla confessions, many white people honestly don’t know what they don’t know about diversity!

About the Book

Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser LuesseThere was another South in the 1960s, one far removed from the marches and bombings and turmoil in the streets that were broadcast on the evening news. It was a place of inner turmoil, where ordinary people struggled to right themselves on a social landscape that was dramatically shifting beneath their feet. This is the world of Valerie Fraser Luesse’s stunning debut, Missing Isaac.

It is 1965 when black field hand Isaac Reynolds goes missing from the tiny, unassuming town of Glory, Alabama. The townspeople’s reactions range from concern to indifference, but one boy will stop at nothing to find out what happened to his unlikely friend. White, wealthy, and fatherless, young Pete McLean has nothing to gain and everything to lose in his relentless search for Isaac. In the process, he will discover much more than he bargained for.

Before it’s all over, Pete–and the people he loves most–will have to blur the hard lines of race, class, and religion. And what they discover about themselves may change some of them forever.

goodreads | amazon | bookdepository | christianbook

 

My Thoughts

Southern rural community culture plays an essential role in Missing Isaac, the setting is more than a simple canvas for this story to be painted on. It is the South and the collective pride and prejudices of her people that form the foundation and framework of this immersive experience. 

I like Pete McLean. He is just a nice young man and I’m sure his mama is over the moon proud of him. Isaac Reynolds might be employed by the McLean family but Pete is unconcerned by age, social class, and skin color. As far as Pete is concerned, Isaac is simply his father’s friend and now his friend, too. The grief and desperation Pete must have experienced when Isaac goes missing tugs at my heartstrings.

If the culture of our setting is the foundation and framework, Isaac’s disappearance is the hallway that flows right down the middle of the story. Readers don’t necessarily spend a lot of time in the hallway but it’s a constant guiding factor. Picture, if you will, many doors on either side of this hall, these rooms are filled with people but few of them leave their own room and fewer still give a care about the simple hallway.

Except for Pete. He wants to experience it all and take those he cares about along with him. Pete encounters resistance yet inspires those around him to see with their hearts instead of their eyes, listen to the Spirit instead of the crowds. I cried no less than three times during this book yet there were also moments bursting with joy, full of hope, and some light-hearted mischief as well. I highly recommend this story and look forward to future works of fiction from this author!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. The opinions expressed are my own. This review was originally posted on FAithfully Bookish.

 

About the Author

Valerie Fraser LuesseValerie Fraser Luesse is an award-winning magazine writer best known for her feature stories and essays in Southern Living, where she is currently a senior travel editor. Her work has been anthologized in the audio collection Southern Voices and in A Glimpse of Heaven, an essay collection featuring works by C. S. Lewis, Randy Alcorn, John Wesley, and others.

As a freelance writer and editor, she was the lead writer for Southern Living 50 Years: A Celebration of People, Places, and Culture. Specializing in stories about unique pockets of Southern culture, Luesse has published major pieces on the Gulf Coast, the Mississippi Delta, Louisiana’s Acadian Prairie, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Her editorial section on Hurricane Katrina recovery in Mississippi and Louisiana won the 2009 Writer of the Year award from the Southeast Tourism Society.

Luesse earned her bachelor’s degree in English at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, and her master’s degree in English at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She grew up in Harpersville, Alabama, a rural community in Shelby County, and now lives in Birmingham.

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Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse quote

“…you think there’s just one world we all live in, but there’s not. There’s a bunch of ’em.
…the only people that don’t seem to know that are the ones that come from yours.”

 

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 Review by Beth Erin

Book Review – Love the War Woman by April W. Gardner

Happy Friday, friends! If you haven’t yet checked out the Creek Country Saga series by April Gardner, you really must! Today, I’m looking at book #5 in the series but you could also read it as a standalone (though you’re missing out on all the other wonderful books that preceded it).

About the Book

Love the War WomanFor the DEFIANCE of a nation. For the DEFENSE of a tribe. For the LOVE of a war woman.

War woman Fierce Mink has loved Tall Bull as long as memory. He is beauty and power, but in the secret pockets of her spirit, he is vastly more. He is the brave to whom she swore her heart, the friend to whom she owes her life, and the chief to whom she will never be bound. Soon, he will be required to take a wife, but lamentably, Mink is severe, intimidating, hard-bitten by war—qualities a man appreciates in combat, not so under the bearskins. But perhaps it’s best he’s blind to her, for he clings viciously to the Beloved Path, and unbeknownst to him, she has joined her fire with Jesus.

Since his youth, Chief Tall Bull has treasured Mink. Even now, in their turbulent refugee world, she is comfort; she is home. Better yet, she shares his passion to preserve the Beloved Path and his fight to start anew in a land where they are no longer hunted. Then, a startling omen: before the blood moon, Tall Bull must make restitution for his transgressions, or the spirits will take payment. From her. A tragedy he would die to prevent.

Another portent looms—that of a horde of bluecoat soldiers pecking at their borders, threatening to drive the Red Stick Defiance into uninhabitable swamps. The Defiance will not go quietly, and as Tall Bull prepares for a brutal strike, he realizes the bluecoats aren’t his only enemy, and Mink’s life isn’t all he stands to lose.

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My Thoughts

With a richly atmospheric narrative and gorgeous word pictures, April Gardner takes us once again into Spanish Florida in 1817/18. The events closely parallel those of Bitter Eyes No More, but for a new perspective we follow Mink’s and Tall Bull’s stories instead.

Mink is fierce and fearless, but also insecure in many ways. Not only is she a Muscogee warrior, but she is also a new believer in Jesus. One who is still learning how to balance her vibrant tribal traditions with being a new creation. Yet, even in the transformation that Gardner exquisitely paints for her, Mink retains her culture and tribal identity. She does not, as so often fiction like this portrays, cease to be a Muscogee warrior when she also becomes a follower of Jesus. Instead, she finds new meaning and a covering of grace in her traditions, as well as seeing it all from eyes of faith.

Mink is also a woman long in love with her best friend – Tall Bull, a tribal micco who (as Beth Erin says) is an “unintentional master of mixed messages”. His own heart’s desires seem to catch him by surprise, and his intense pride often keeps him from those very desires. He is, like Mink, a complicated character but one well worth exploring each newly uncovered layer.

I also have to briefly mention Ten Cats, a seemingly minor character who grew in importance as the story progressed. He also grew on me and became one of my favorite characters in the whole book.

Mink and Tall Bull’s relationship is not a ‘typical’ love story. It’s a tumultuous path marked with detours and uncertainty, with other loving relationships, and with a conflict in faith. It’s often deliciously unpredictable but always exquisitely told with rich detail and lyrical prose. Gardner’s choice to include the tribal language (as well as a linked glossary) immerses you into a deeper reading experience that honors Mink and Tall Bull’s culture. And woven through it all is the overwhelming grace of Jesus, pursuing Mink and Ten Cats and Tall Bull – relating to them as their personal Savior, not as a white man’s God. Gardner does a beautiful job depicting the unity found in Jesus, as well as the cultural diversity He created.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, which I received from the author.

About the Author

aprilwgardner

A military spouse, April has performed the art of homemaking all over the world. Currently, she lives in Georgia with her two children and USAF spouse. She is unashamedly a child of the King. In her free time, April enjoys reading, organizing, and DIY. In no particular order, she dreams of owning a horse, visiting all the national parks, and speaking Italian.

After a year gaining experience as a content editor with Clean Reads, April is now a freelance editor, certified through the University of California, San Diego. As a way to give back to the writing community and to promote Christian fiction, April founded and runs the literary contest site, Clash of the Titles.

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