Book Review: The Ebony Cloak by April W. Gardner

About the Book

In the wilds of 1816 Florida, a beautiful slave is free game for depraved men. But for an honorable man, she is a military objective, an asset to be protected, a love that should never be pursued.

The Ebony Cloak by April W. GardnerMilly’s pale skin provides her with special privileges, but every luxury comes with a command. And Milly is done yielding. On the run, she can pass for white only as long as no one demands she lower her hood. But there’s hope. It lies in the Floridas in a refuge commanded by an army of runaways. Negro Fort. The first sweet taste of freedom convinces Milly that surrender is not an option. But the U.S. Army is keen on the fort’s conquest, and when it accomplishes the unthinkable, Milly must decide whether life is worth fighting for.

Major Phillip Bailey has orders to subdue the uprising and return the runaways to their masters, all the while being forced to fight alongside Creek warriors—the same who etched the scars into his mind and flesh. The same who, in a storm of flame and blood, ripped out Phillip’s heart and took her for himself.

And then came Milly…

While musket balls fly, a war of another sort rages inside Phillip—perpetuate a crumbling dream or pursue the forbidden; follow orders or follow his heart.

goodreads | amazon

 

My Thoughts

Y’all!!!! Just go buy this series. Seriously. Love and war, prejudice and duty, people of all sizes, shapes, and colors… this story is a historical fiction lover’s dream!

Phillip Bailey is haunted day and night by his past horrors and heartache. Although I sometimes questioned his motives and character in previous books, the significant time spent in his perspective during this story won me over! I most admire Phillip’s integrity and courage.

Milly is a beautiful, strong, and intelligent woman. She has suffered terror and sorrow few can comprehend yet Milly remains compassionate and steadfast. Her backstory breaks my reader-heart but Milly’s endurance and attitude make me so proud of her.

While Totka, Copper Woman, and the rest of the McGirth family continue to play important roles in this saga, the addition of some exceptional secondary characters enhances this great adventure. The Ebony Cloak is a splendid expedition! This series has earned a place among my all time favorites!

I received a copy of this book from the author. The opinions expressed are my own.
THIS REVIEW FIRST APPEARED ON FAITHFULLY BOOKISH.

 

About the Author

April W. GardnerA 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.

Read more in April W. Gardner’s author interview

website | facebook | twitter

 

Also Available


 
goodreads
| amazon
book 1 review | book 2 review

REVIEW BY BETH ERIN

Book Review: Hidden Blessings by Kim Cash Tate

Happy Friday, Diverse Reader Friends!!

Can you believe it’s already August? Where does the time go? Anyway, I’m happy to share my review of Kim Cash Tate’s Hidden Blessings. If you haven’t read it, move it up on your TBR pile!


About the Book

The Blurb: “Diagnosis: breast cancer
Prognosis: terminal
Life: just beginning

Her diamond caught the sun’s rays and refracted light across the room. She’d asked herself again and again: How could she be so blessed? Partner at a prestigious law firm and engaged to the man of her dreams . . . there was no doubt. God had smiled on Kendra Woods.

But the moment Kendra is diagnosed with terminal breast cancer, her world collapses. Within days, her fiancé backs out of the wedding and the firm suggests a leave of absence during her treatment. Of all the roles Kendra has played over the years—daughter, sister, friend, student, attorney, bride-to-be—cancer patient seems the most unwelcome in the world.

When her path crosses with that of youth pastor Lance Alexander, Kendra only sees the troublemaker she knew in high school. But Lance could prove an unexpected spark in the darkness that covers her. Will Kendra be able to embrace a glimmer of hope?”

Links: Amazon, B&N, CBD, Goodreads


About the Author

KIM CASH TATE is the author of several books, including Cling (2017) and If I Believe (2017). A former practicing attorney, she is also a Bible teacher and is currently doing a study on First Samuel on YouTube. She’s been married to her husband Bill for more than two decades, and they live in St. Louis with their two young adult children. You can find Kim online at kimcashtate.com and on social media @kimcashtate.

Follow: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube


Review

Y’all, I sobbed like a baby while reading Hidden Blessings. I’m not even lying. It was probably an ugly cry, too. This book is simply beautiful. It’s just not about the romance in this book, although there is that.

Every girl needs a Lance in her life. One who will seek to follow the Word in how he treats a lady. It’s a beautiful thing to see and a great reminder of the relationship between Christ and the Church.

This book is also about God’s love and the way it transcends our earthly sorrows. There’s no escaping the fact that Kendra was dealt a raw hand. I mean my heart was aching for her when she receives her diagnosis. But to see her grow close to God, to be able to bask in His peace in moments of sorrow, I hope I have that kind of faith if I ever need it.

And that’s what this book is all about. Finding your faith. Seeing the hidden blessings beneath the worldy sorrow and pain. God is still there. Still on the throne and able to use it all for good.

Do not miss out on this story.

*Thanks to my local library for feeding my reading addiction. 🙂


Review by Toni Shiloh

Book Review: Finding Love by Toni Shiloh

About the Book

FindingLoveDelaney Jones has finally started to pick up the pieces of her shattered life after the death of her husband, Parker.

Just as life enters a new normal, in walks Army soldier, Luke Robinson.

Just when she makes the decision to trust him, life deals her a heavy blow.

Sergeant First Class Luke Robinson can’t get over his part in the death of Delaney’s husband. In hopes to assuage his guilt, he offers to lend a hand.

Only, he never counted on the feelings she evokes with just a smile. Will his secrets widen the gulf or will he finally find absolution?

Series: Maple Run #2
Publisher: Celebrate Lit
Release Date:
June 28, 2017
Pages: 197

GOODREADS | AMAZON

My Thoughts

I’ve been eagerly waiting for a return to Maple Run ever since I read Buying Love. (Some of that may have been cravings by proxy for the delicious food, too. Don’t judge.) And Finding Love definitely was worth the wait! I’m also pleased to report that I did not want to purse whomp Delaney’s momma as much as I did in Buying Love. 😉 

The characters in Finding Love are diverse and layered with Delaney and Luke each bringing emotional baggage to the table. After the death of Delaney’s husband Parker, her life for all intents and purposes stopped too. So did Luke’s. Delaney, because she doesn’t know how to go on without Parker. Luke, because he feels responsible for Parker’s death.

The meeting of their hearts results in a swoonworthy romance, yes, but also some soul-searching that all of us can apply to our own lives too. Delaney is scared to fall in love with Luke, a soldier still on active duty, “because if it ended up with her receiving another set of widow’s benefits, she would be crushed.” She – and Luke both – must wrestle with this truth (and its application):

“God was the keeper of her heart, keeper of her entire being. She needed to let God hold her heart.”

Bottom Line: This second visit to the quaint community of Maple Run is even better than the first! Mouthwatering food, a swoon-inducing hero (complete with dimples and military uniform), adorable/hilarious children, and a compelling heroine (complete with a great family and a yummy restaurant) – just one of those elements would be reason enough to love Finding Love. All of them together, plus a tender story of second chances and trusting God? Yes please!

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 first appeared on Reading Is My SuperPower.

About the Author

tonishilohToni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.

She spends her days hanging out with her husband and their two boys. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the president of the ACFW Virginia Chapter.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST


Review by Carrie Schmidt

Book Review: Healing Love by Jennifer Slattery

TGIF, Diverse Reader Friends!!

I hope you had an awesome week and are ready for the weekend! Today, I’m sharing my review for Jennifer Slattery’s latest noel, Healing Love. Let’s get started!


About the Book

The Blurb: “A news anchor intern has it all planned out, and love isn’t on the agenda.

Brooke Endress is on the cusp of her lifelong dream when her younger sister persuades her to chaperone a mission trip to El Salvador. Packing enough hand sanitizer and bug spray to single-handedly wipe out malaria, she embarks on what she hopes will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

But Brooke is blindsided by the desperation for hope and love she sees in the orphans’ eyes. And no less by the connection she feels with her handsome translator. As newfound passion blooms, Brooke wrestles with its implications for her career dreams.

Ubaldo Chavez, teacher and translator, knows the struggle that comes with generational poverty. But he found the way out – education – and is determined to help his students rise above.

When he agrees to translate for a mission team from the United States he expects to encounter a bunch of “missional tourists” full of empty promises. Yet an American news anchor defies his expectations, and he finds himself falling in love. But what does he have to offer someone with everything?”

Links: Amazon, Goodreads


About the Author

Author, speaker, and ministry leader Jennifer Slattery writes for Crosswalk.com and is the managing and acquiring editor for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, an imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She believes fiction has the power to transform lives and change the culture. Healing Love is her sixth novel, and it was birthed during a trip she and her family took to El Salvador that opened her eyes to the reality of generational poverty and sparked a love for orphans and all who’ve experienced loss.

Her deepest passion is to help women experience God’s love and discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she travels with her team to various churches to speak to women and help them experience the love and freedom only Christ can offer. When not writing, editing, or speaking, you’ll likely find her chatting with her friends or husband in a quiet, cozy coffeehouse. Visit her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her and her Wholly Loved team at WhollyLoved.com.


Review

What I love about Jennifer Slattery’s work is that she always tackles unusual subject matter. You can see she has a heart for all people when you read her writing. I loved that about Healing Love.

Brooke and Ubaldo both have preconceived notions about each other’s culture. I like how they had an opportunity to see deeper than surface level. It’s a reminder that we all have a back story and issues we’re struggling with. Add to that, the backdrop of El Salvador and you have a great diverse Christian read.

But Brooke and Ubaldo aren’t the only ones with a voice in Healing Love. Fatima, a girl struggling to see God in her life, is given a voice as well. I loved that authenticity she added to the book. I could picture her working hard in El Salvador and wondering “what’s the point?”

This book definitely deals with romantic love, but it goes deeper and shows us the power of God’s healing love.

*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. This review is my own, honest opinion.


Review by Toni Shiloh

Book Review – Dance from Deep Within

Happy Friday, Reader Friends!!

Thanks for stopping by Diversity Between the Pages. I’m excited to share my review of D.L. Sleiman’s Dance from Deep Within. You may remember I did an interview with her early this month. Check it out here if you haven’t read it already.


About the Book

“Despite her conservative Muslim heritage, Layla Al-Rai longs for a chance to earn her degree in engineering and perhaps even…dare she dream…to choose her own husband. But young women from her background rarely enjoy such freedoms. When she finally talks her parents into letting her attend college, she is drawn to fellow twenty-something students, Allie and Rain, over a class project.

Allie, the blonde ballerina, faces her own struggles as she deals with an ex-fiancé and a church she had hoped to leave behind. Rain, the bi-racial hippie chick, longs for something to believe in, but her questioning could cost her the love of her life.

When Layla’s childhood sweetheart reenters her world, it seems her dreams might become real. Until everything falls apart. When she meets truth face to face, will she find the courage to accept it even if it requires the ultimate sacrifice?”

Links: Amazon, Goodreads


Review

I loved the premise of this novel when I first read the blurb. Normally, I don’t read the blurb, but I did for the purpose of this blog. 🙂

The lives of Rain, Allie, and Layla are authentic, believable, and fraught with life issues. I loved how Ms. Sleiman didn’t force salvation on the characters. All of their reactions were very realistic to me.

I appreciated exploring the hippie culture that Rain grew up in. It’s not something I know a lot about. I also loved Rain’s character. She cracked me up and at times broke my little heart. I can’t wait to see her in any sequels. (There will be more, right?)

I enjoyed Allie’s character. Her quite faith was refreshing, but not without trials. My heart ached for her and wanted so much for her to have closure. I LOVED the ending for her.

Layla. *sigh* I knew I would like her character from the get go. She has a quite strength that is undeniable. Her faith journey tugged at my heart. I wanted to pray for her, but remembered she wasn’t real. Still, there are those who are living her life and that brings me to my knees.

Overall, this book has greatness in spades. In the diversity department, 5 stars. Can’t get more diverse than a Christian, Muslim, and hippe. In the faith department, 5 stars. Seriously, any time you have a Christian overcoming untruths, a hippie searching for truth, and a Muslim looking at Christianity, you know the faith element is going to be off the charts. There’s also romance sprinkled in that makes me happy. All in all, a must read!

*Much thanks to my local library to adding to my book reading habit.


About the Author

Award-winning author, Dina Sleiman, writes stories of passion and grace. Most of the time you will find this Virginia Beach resident reading, biking, dancing, or hanging out with her husband and three children, preferably at the oceanfront. Since finishing her Professional Writing MA in 1994, she has enjoyed many opportunities to teach literature, writing, and the arts. Her debut novel, Dance of the Dandelion with Whitefire Publishing, won an Honorable Mention in the 2012 Selah Awards, and her cross-over YA novel, Dauntless, won the 2016 Carol Award in its genre from the American Christian Fiction Writers. Also look for her books, Love in Three-Quarter Time, Dance from Deep Within, and the rest of her Valiant Hearts series with Bethany House Publishers including Chivalrous and Courageous. Dina serves on the editorial board for WhiteFire as well, and during the day she utilizes her writing talent with the humanitarian organization Operation Blessing International. Join her as she discovers the unforced rhythms of grace.

Follow: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest


Review conducted by Toni Shiloh

Book Review: Hand in His by Cynthia Marcano

TGIF, Diverse Reader Friends!

I pray this week has been a blessing to you. Today I’m sharing a book review of Hand in His. I read this book earlier in the year and was thrilled to see a Latina featured.

Check it out!


About the Book

“The man intended for Nicole De León will come along when she is good and ready and not a minute sooner, no matter how desperately the older women of her church try to find her a match. She simply does not have the time to date with Nursing courses, her best friend’s wedding, work and volunteering at church. If and when she finds the time to find love, it will be with a man in love with Jesus and most certainly not the flirty best man that makes her heart do funny things.

Drew Wells is adamant that falling in love is a waste of time, as is organized religion. As long as he has a say, neither are in his future and the closest he will ever get to either is being the best man at his cousin’s wedding and spending a week with the bible thumping bridal party. The beautiful brunette bridesmaid is fun to flirt with but she will most certainly not make him want to think about settling down or worse, become a holy-roller.

Can either stop their hearts from betraying their minds?”

Links: Amazon, Goodreads

Follow Author: Website, Twitter


Review

I was tickled pink to read Nicole’s story. It’s not too often I read a book with a Latina heroine. It was nice to see another culture and another part of the world. I’ve never been to Jersey so I enjoyed the description. The food, family, and secondary characters added to this heartwarming read.

My favorite: the faith element. Nicole had to walk the path of self-examination. Was she too judgmental? Too hard on Drew? It’s a question that a lot of long-standing Christians must ask ourselves. Too often we forget what it was like before we knew Christ. I loved how Ms. Marcano dealt with this subject.

I also enjoyed Drew’s faith journey. It was such a strong plot line that the ethnicities took a background place in my reader’s mind. There’s a moment in here that melted my heart.

This is not the first book in the series, but the book completely stands alone. I say this because I didn’t read the first ones in the series. 🙂


Review by Toni Shiloh

Book Review: A River Too Deep by Sydney Tooman Betts

About the Book

a river too deepIn the spring of 1817, Alcy Callen and her father visit a step-uncle they have long presumed dead; but instead of enjoying a loving reunion, they are plunged into treachery and deceit. Nothing is as they expected and little is what it seems. Even the man who helps her escape is not the reliable suitor he appears.

Alcy is caught between gratitude and fear, unable to avoid her rescuer’s attentions or understand the responses they stir. Neither can she tell what sort of man he is or what he intends to do with her in the strange place they are going. Will he keep her for himself or will he sell her to the highest bidder?

Of one person only is she certain, but will he come for her before it is too late?

GOODREADS | AMAZON

My Thoughts

Long before I had the chance to read it, I’d already heard so many great things about A River Too Deep by Sydney Tooman Betts. So when the opportunity first arose to review it, I jumped at the chance to finally read this much-talked-about book for myself.  I can now safely say that I see what all the fuss was about.

A River Too Deep is almost an allegory of our relationship with God, though it stops just short of fully falling into that category.  Certain characters and plot points beautifully illustrate the concept of God as our Adopted Father, of Jesus as our Bridegroom. The history, the setting, the characters, the romance brought to mind Laura Frantz or Lori Benton but with a voice unique to this author.

In the first quarter of the book, I did think that some of the events/reactions felt a bit unrealistic. For example, after unexpectedly losing someone very close to her and then suffering some additional trauma of her own, Alcy didn’t have nearly the emotional reaction that I would have had, were I in her shoes. Maybe I’m just a wimp lol (entirely possible) but some of this first part fell flat like that to me.

On the other hand, the last three quarters of the book is stunning in its emotion, its richness, its characters. Alcy’s transformation into Eyes-Like-Water is poignant and bittersweet but “right”, highlighted by the power of the Creator and His Book to change lives. There was so much spiritual truth woven through these pages, not just what is blatantly expressed but subtle nuances that make it all the sweeter.

And Preying Eagle? What can I say except SWOON! My goodness. The intensity of his watchful stares, the tenderness of his care for Alcy, the depth of his feelings. All of these add to the layers of his already-complex character and make him one unforgettable hero.

“I was sorry I had judged him a savage without knowing anything about his character.”

The diversity between cultures in this novel is thought-provoking as well as inspiring. To coexist peacefully in her new situation, Alcy must come to terms with her own prejudices and assumptions. As do the people who have taken her in. Wrestling with a fresh awareness of what causes people to dehumanize one another – “If we label a whole group savage, we feel justified fulfilling our manifest destiny at their cost.” – Alcy’s eyes are also opened to the bias of her own religious traditions and thus a deeper understanding of her Creator.

“How much of what we call Christian is our own tradition, unrelated to Scripture or morality?”

A River Too Deep is rich with history and steady tones of faith, and while romance certainly plays a role in the story it is more of a subplot than the focus. Vivid and diverse characters gallop through the chapters, stealing your heart and carving out a permanent residence. They grapple with issues which are still exceedingly relevant for today’s world and do so with poignancy and grace. “…they were not the people of my flesh but had become the people of my heart.” Oh, that more people today would open their hearts and minds to the same transformation.

I received the opportunity to read and review this book through the author. The opinions expressed are my own. This review first appeared, at least in part, on Reading Is My SuperPower.

About the Author

sydney tooman bettsSydney Tooman Betts and her protagonist-husband currently reside in the Shenandoah Valley near the extensive cavern system that inspired the setting for several early chapters of her second book.

While single, Ms. Betts (B.S. Bible/Missiology, M.Ed) was involved in a variety of cross-cultural adventures in North and Central America. After marrying, she and her husband lived in Europe and the Middle East where he served in various mission-support capacities. Her teaching experiences span preschool to guest lecturing at the graduate level and serving as the Sunday School Superintendent, Children’s Church Director, or Women’s Ministries facilitator in several evangelical denominations.

Before penning her first novel, A River too Deep, she ghost-wrote several stories for an adult literacy program.

FACEBOOK

People of the Book series

a river too deep light bird's song straight flies the arrow

One of my favorite quotes from the book is “…they were not the people of my flesh but had become the people of my heart.” Who comes to mind in your own life, the people of YOUR heart, when you read these words?

Review by Carrie