Book Review: Veil of Pearls by MaryLu Tyndall

She thought she could outrun her past…

It is 1811, and the prosperous port city of Charleston is bustling with plantation owners, slaves and immigrants. Immigrants such as the raven-haired Adalia Winston. But Adalia has a secret: her light skin belies that she is part black and a runaway slave from Barbados. Skilled in herbal remedies, Adalia finds employment with a local doctor and settles into her quiet life, thankful for her freedom but still fearful that her owner will find her.

Born into one of Charleston’s prominent families, Morgan Rutledge is handsome, bored—and enamored of the beautiful Adalia, who spurns his advances. Morgan’s persistence, however, finally wins, and Adalia is swept into the glamorous world of Charleston high society.

But Adalia’s new life comes at a high price—that of denying her heritage and her zeal for God. How far is she willing to go to win the heart of the man she loves? And when her secret is revealed, will that love be enough, or will the truth ruin Morgan and send Adalia back into slavery?

REVIEW

I read Veil of Pearls a few years back. I remember thinking “Wow, I can’t think of another Christian fiction book that has a person of color as lead.” The seeds were already being planted back then!

Re-reading books is always a fun and interesting experience. Some books I realize are no longer for me, but that was not the case with this one. While there were some things that I wasn’t a fan of (specifically some of the ways secondary characters were described or treated), I like that Tyndall chose to deal with a something that was prevalent throughout the history of slavery and Jim Crow; people choosing to “pass” as white.

This idea of “passing” for white was something many people experienced and wrestled with during this historical era. Even some of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings’ children passed as white once they were freed by Jefferson.

Sidenote/Bonus: This story reminded me of The House Behind the Cedars (published in 1900) by Charles W. Chesnutt (who himself could have passed for white, his grandfather was a white slaveholder, but chose not to). His story also deals with many social issues, one being the main character passing for white, falling in love and what happens from there. (I highly recommend reading it). 

Tyndall has well researched pieces (of both Charleston and Barbados) and faith plays a strong role in the story. There are some dramatic scenes (in very much Tyndall fashion), along with characters who wrestle with their identity, their long held beliefs and come face to face with racial views. I like that this novel opens up that discussion. If you enjoy history, consider adding this to your list.

Where to Buy: Amazon | CBD | BN.com | Goodreads

The Red Feather by April W. Gardner

War, captivity, hunger that will not be denied. And a blackberry moon with enough pull to endure the test of time.

The Red Feather by April W. GardnerFrontierswoman Adela McGirth has never feared her neighbors, the Creek Indians, but a suspicious encounter with a steely-eyed warrior shakes her confidence. As dreaded, a skirmish with the natives sends her family fleeing into a hastily constructed fort. But no picket is strong enough to hold off a party of warriors who fear nothing but the loss of their ancient ways.

Totka Lawe, a Red Stick bound by honor to preserve his heritage, will do what he must to expel the whites from Muscogee soil. But in the midst of battle, he is assigned to protect those he’s expected to hate and kill. One of whom is the copper-haired woman who has haunted his thoughts since that strange night under the blackberry moon. The war was simpler before his enemy became a beautiful face with a gentle warrior’s spirit he cannot resist.

But what woman would have a warrior whose blood-soaked hands destroyed her life? Then again…does she have a choice?

Goodreads | Amazon

 

My Thoughts

Dances with Wolves meets The Last of the Mohicans with a splash of The Colonel’s Lady and oh the warm fuzzies as I read this book, y’all! There are precious few things I enjoy more than a thoroughly researched historical novel. Native Americans are some of my favorite people groups to learn about and the strength of their spirit is awe inspiring.

At first glance, Adela McGirth is a simple, carefree, middle daughter of an Alabama territory family. Her faith carries her through trials and tragedy, revealing a fierce and feisty young frontier woman ready and able to stand up for herself and her loved ones. Adela lives out her faith and chooses to literally love her enemies even in the most trying circumstances.

From the first time he sees her, Totka Lawe is both enchanted and befuddled by the copper-haired woman. He is torn between his duty to preserve his heritage and the growing desire he has to make Copper Woman his own. Totka is frustrated by the obstacle of her faith yet he remains honorable and patient.

April Gardner has captured the beautiful contrast between the beliefs, traditions, and history of the frontiersman and those of their Muscogee neighbors. This story captured my heart and transported me to that tumultuous time in our history. I am a BIG FAN now and I can’t wait to read more!

I received a copy of this book from the author. The opinions expressed are my own.
This review 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 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.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

REVIEW BY BETH ERIN

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

Inconceived (Sharyn Kopf) – Review

~ About the Book ~

Realizing you’re a spinster is one thing; understanding what that means and how to handle it is another. And it would seem Jolene, Uli, and Catie still have a ways to go before they truly comprehend what God is trying to show them not only in their desire to marry but in their longing to have children of their own.

As one relationship ends and another begins, Jolene Woods realizes she needs to finally deal with the guilt and regret of her past if she’s ever going to move on. And so she embarks on a journey she hopes will bring forgiveness … but may, in fact, only lead to more regret. Did she forever destroy her chance to be a mother in her youth?

Uli Odell has her own journey, though it’s more of an escape from the pain and embarrassment of a broken engagement. She ends up at her mother’s home in Iowa, separated from her friends and desperate for money. But there are some problems she just can’t run away from.

Though Catie’s heart is in a stronger place since she met God on a mountain three months ago, she still doesn’t have answers to many of her questions. Then the possibility of an unhealthy relationship and the reality of a life-altering medical diagnosis make her wonder if she’s figured out anything at all.

As their lives head off in different directions, each of these friends will need God—and each other—to find their way to healing.

Amazon  //  Goodreads


~ Excerpt ~

Sometimes all I want is a chance to start over. Not just with recent mistakes but with life. A series of potential do-overs scrolls through my brain as I add more concealer to cover the bags under my eyes—a natural consequence of a nightmare-filled sleep before the alarm went off at 6 a.m. so I could get to Easter breakfast on time.
Once again I had that dream. The one I’ve had periodically for most of my life, with minor variations. Always the baby crying. Lost. Pleading. And me, desperate and searching and powerless to do anything about it.
Much like thirty years ago. Only I wasn’t powerless. Just ignorant and immature and confused enough to destroy my own child. Twice. And now…
Stop it, Jolene.
But I can’t. The truth of my choice has haunted me for so long, but lately the grief has hit me with such force, I feel it compelling me to action. If only I knew what action that should be.


~ My Review ~

You may remember I did a book spotlight a couple of weeks ago for the novel Spinstered, by Sharyn Kopf. (If you missed it, you can find it here.) Today I’m reviewing the second novel in the series, Inconceived, which continues the stories of Catie, Jolene, and Uli: three over-forty women who are still unmarried and wondering what, if anything, they’re supposed to do about it. I do recommend that you read Spinstered first, and I will try to avoid giving spoilers for that novel in this review!

The first thing that struck me about this series was the engaging first person narrative that drew me straight into the heart and mind of each of the three characters. Regardless of how different my own circumstances are, it created an immediate emotional connection with these women that has only strengthened as I have walked through their stories with them, sometimes smiling at their wry observations and sometimes aching for the honesty and vulnerability they shared directly with the reader.

While there are developments in the stories of all three women over the course of the novel, Inconceived focuses more on Jolene, a not-so-young woman of Caribbean descent who grew up in a large family in the South. She runs Cocoon House (a home for women who are transitioning out of prison life), so she’s used to dealing with other people’s emotional baggage, but her own emotional baggage caught up with her at the end of Spinstered and she can’t run away from it any more. It takes her on a poignant journey—more so because of who walks it with her—and was a beautiful way of working through the emotional and physical repercussions of the choices she had made in her youth. If you are inclined to be an empathetic crier, you may want to have a tissue or two on hand!

I should add I was no less engaged in the developments in Catie and Uli’s lives, both of whom are still struggling in different ways with their spinsterhood and their desire for a husband. Regardless of whether the reader has been in similar circumstances as these women, at the core, their struggles are universal: Is our happiness found in God, or in our circumstances? Have we wandered away from God in our attempt to satisfy our needs outside of Him?

The final novel in this series is yet to be released, but I will be eagerly awaiting the conclusion to these women’s stories. I’m fairly hopeful for at least one wedding in there!


~ About the Author ~

sharynSharyn Kopf didn’t discover her voice until she found a way to turn grief into hope. For her, that meant realizing it was okay to be sad about her singleness. In doing so, she was finally able to move past her grief and find hope in God.

It also meant writing about the heartaches and hopes of being an older single woman. She published her first novel, Spinstered, in 2014, and a companion nonfiction version titled Spinstered: Surviving Singleness After 40 in 2015. Her work has also appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul and Splickety Love magazine.

Besides writing and speaking, Sharyn is an editor and marketing professional. She loves to connect with readers and singles on Facebook or email and has plans to start a monthly newsletter soon. In her spare time, she enjoys goofing off with her nieces and nephews, making—and eating!—the best fudge ever, long hikes through the woods, and playing the piano.

Connect with Sharyn:  Website  //  Facebook  //  Girls Night In (blog for single, over 40 women)


Review by Katie Donovan

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

SONY DSC

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

By Your Side by Candace Calvert

byyoursideER nurse Macy Wynn learned essential, gritty lessons in the California foster care system: land on your feet and trust no one. She’s finally located the fellow foster child she loves like a sister, but the girl’s in deep trouble. Macy’s determined to help, no matter what it takes. Her motto is to “make it happen” in any situation life throws at her—even when she butts heads with an idealistic cop.

Deputy Fletcher Holt believes in a higher plan, the fair outcome—and his ability to handle that by himself if necessary. Now he’s been yanked from Houston, his mother is battling cancer, and he’s attracted to a strong-willed nurse who could be the target of a brutal sniper.

When everything goes wrong, where do they put their trust?

goodreads | amazon

 

My Thoughts

Candace Calvert is a new-to-me author. The fact that she is a trained and experienced nurse made this medical drama even more enticing. Deputy Fletcher Holt is a born and bred Texan temporarily living and working in Sacramento. He has a very close relationship with his parents and is determined to do everything in his power to help them. Fletcher’s mama is one tough lady with a compassionate heart and I love the authentic relationships she has with her husband and son.

After a stinging dismisal from her biological father, weathly international businessman Lang Wen, ER nurse Macy Wynn dedicates herself to her career and reconnecting with her foster sister. Because of her painful childhood in the foster care system, she tends to hold people at an arm’s length in her personal life but she has an immense compassion for her patients and co-workers. Seems to me, Macy is still that lost little girl on the inside and she’s just managing the pain through an intense, high-adrenaline lifestyle.

Fletcher and Macy initially clash like a couple of wet cats. Over time, they develop a special connection while evading danger at every turn and continually crossing paths. By Your Side has it all, suspense, mystery, and romance. This book grabbed my attention from the first page and kept my attention through the end. Both characters develop a deeper understanding of themselves and their relationship with God.

I’m already itching to know what is going to happen in the next book of the series and I will definitely be seeking out more titles from Candace Calvert.

I requested the opportunity to read and review this book through The Book Club Network. The opinions expressed are my own.
This review first appeared on Faithfully Bookish

 

About the Author

Candace CalvertCandace Calvert is a former ER nurse and author of the Mercy Hospital, Grace Medical, and Crisis Team series. Her medical dramas offer readers a chance to “scrub in” on the exciting world of emergency medicine.

Wife, mother, and very proud grandmother, Candace makes her home in northern California.

website | facebook | twitter

 

Do you tend to rely on your own strength when life gets tough?
Like Macy & Fletcher, this is something I struggle with!

 

Review by Beth Erin

 

Review: Virtuous Ruby by Piper Huguley

 

517x0kfa6rlBlurb:

After fifteen months of hiding from the shame of bearing an illegitimate child, two words drive Ruby Bledsoe to face the good citizens of Winslow, Georgia. Never again. She vows to speak out against injustice. For her sisters. For her parents. For her infant son, Solomon.

When she comes to help an injured mill worker, she bristles when a tall, handsome man claiming to be a doctor brushes her aside. Despite his arrogance, Ruby senses he’s someone like her, whose light skin doesn’t quite hide who he is.

Up north, Dr. Adam Morson easily kept his mixed race a secret. Now that he’s in Georgia, summoned by his white father, he can feel restrictions closing in around him.

Something powerful draws him to the beauty whose activist spirit is as fiery as her name. And soon, Adam wants nothing more than to take Ruby and her child far from Georgia’s toxic prejudice. But Ruby must choose between seeking her own happiness and staying to fight for the soul of her hometown.

Review:

This book is rich in history, imagery and heart. The first in the Migrations of the Heart series, Huguley tells the story of Ruby and Adam, both leading difficult lives in Winslow, Georgia. The book takes a unique look at an oft-told tale: segregation in the south. It is a delight to read a different perspective of that time in Black history.

Ruby’s strong spirit has the reader rooting for her from the early pages. And Ruby proves she is worth rooting for. Her love for her family and her son drive her, but so does justice. Although her ideas about civil rights make her seem like a woman out of her time, that doesn’t stop her. She still champions the rights of others all while living with a deep hurt.

Huguley does a great job of showing two worlds in one character: Dr. Adam Morson. He could pass for white, but his entrance into that community is tentative. The author deftly shows the tension in his identity and the tension he creates. His choice to live as a white man and attend school was a difficult one, but his noble reasons adds another thread of richness to this story.

One of the highlights of the books is the realistic progression of Adam and Ruby’s romantic relationship. Huguley gives their love story the perfect amount of conflict and admiration but she doesn’t make it easy for them to reach their happily ever after. This makes the romance even sweeter.

If you are looking for a fresh, engaging historical fiction book featuring diverse characters, this is a must read.


Book review by Terri J. Haynes