Book Review: History Lesson

Happy Friday!

I’m super excited about February because it’s Black History Month. I love learning about past Black Americans and the awesome inventions and contributions they blessed us with. This month I decided to look at some historical fiction written by Black authors. The first one I read was History Lessons by Linda Leigh Hargrove. It’s set in the 70s so not a true historical, but a throwback enough I counted it. 😉


About the Book

Rural North Carolina, 1973

At first, Paula Raye Lawrence is dead set on leaving the small farming community of Cherry, North Carolina. She’s willing to work in the cucumber fields, take in sewing, and tutor GED students to realize her dream of escaping her rural roots (and past mistakes) to become a big-city math teacher.

But then a visit from Dr. Edward Anderson, a young handsome history professor, from UNC Chapel Hill changes her mind. Through Edward’s eyes, Paula begins to see the influences of Harriet Tubman and Booker T. Washington hidden in plain sight all around her tiny coastal North Carolina community.

After rumors surface about why he’s not fighting in the war raging in Vietnam, she begins to doubt his real romantic intentions. Is he worth giving up her dreams for or is he just like her late father — just another rolling stone.

Amazon | Goodreads


My Thoughts

I really enjoyed this book. There was so much about it that painted a vivid picture that almost displayed itself like a movie reel in my mind. The North Carolina community Ms. Hargove set this in came to life with the scenery and the history it offered.

Paula Raye was a great heroine who struggled to see her dreams come to fruition. Yet she was determined not to give up. I loved that!

And Dr. Edward Anderson seems to have it all at first glance, but little by little, the reader sees the heartache he’s experienced.

These two were perfect for one another, and I enjoyed seeing their romance unfold as I got a glimpse of the past.

*I read this through Kindle Unlimited. My review was not required nor influenced.


About the Author

Linda Leigh Hargrove blends suspense, humor, and faith into compelling stories about race and class in America. Her writings include three novels, two romance novellas, and two works of nonfiction.

Linda has taught workshops on fiction writing to adults and teens. To further help would-be writers realize their dreams of publication, she plans to launch “TheFaithToWrite.com” in Spring 2018.

She is a native of Washington County, North Carolina and currently resides near Charlotte with her husband and three sons. Connect with Linda on your favorite social media platforms.

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Post written by contributor Toni Shiloh

Book Review: Bookmarked for Murder

Happy Friday, friends!

Today I’m delighted to bring you my review of a cozy mystery by author V.M. Burns! Bookmarked for Murder is book #5 in her Mystery Bookshop series, which is considered a ‘clean read’ in the trusty cozy mystery formula of no excessive profanity and nothing explicit. Plus, I mean, it’s set in a BOOKSTORE so how can you go wrong? 😉

Bonus points: it can easily be read as a standalone

ABOUT THE BOOK

bookmarked for murderAmateur sleuth Samantha Washington’s shopping trip to Chicago takes a deadly detour when a man is murdered on her bus . . .

After some post-Christmas retail therapy in the Windy City, mystery bookshop owner and historical whodunit novelist Sam Washington is returning home to North Harbor, Michigan, on a chartered bus. With Nana Jo and her gal pals Irma, Dorothy, and Ruby Mae from Shady Acres Retirement Village along for the ride, it’s a lively trip. But one passenger is not so lively—a gentleman Irma befriended is found dead in his seat after an unscheduled stop. The ladies immediately shift gears to find out who punched his ticket, while Sam slips into the driver’s seat to make sure Nana Jo and her crew steer clear of fatal conclusions . . .

PURCHASE: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N


MY THOUGHTS

The Mystery Bookshop series is quickly becoming one of my fave cozy series, and the latest installment – Bookmarked for Murder – reminds me why. Witty, sweet, clean, and smartly written, it’s also lots of fun!

The delightful cast of characters is back and just as quirky as ever (Irma, I’m looking at you…), and they are definitely a big part of what makes the book so entertaining and endearing. I love Nana Jo & her Shady Acres gang of senior sleuths (picture a sort of Golden Girls ensemble cast), and Samantha is a strong protagonist that readers can easily relate to. These characters just make me smile as I get to know them, and add in the mystery bookstore setting & I’m a happy reader.

The mystery in Bookmarked for Murder is full of twists and turns and red herrings, as any good cozy should be. How it comes about is rather unique right from the beginning & that makes investigating it a little trickier than normal for Sam. There’s also an adorable little girl with a compelling story who will capture your emotion, adding an extra layer of heart to the plot.

As always, I love the mystery within a mystery that shows up when Sam works on her historical cozy mystery that I enjoy just as much as the current timeline’s story. It’s clear Burns has versatile talent, and this element to the story elevates this series a notch above other cozies. Readers get two-in-one, after all!

Bottom Line: Bookmarked for Murder thoroughly entertains and holds readers’ interest from beginning to end. The mystery itself is well-crafted and layered, and the characters are as well. Sam & Nana Jo & the Shady Acres sleuths are lots of fun, and I love the close community of family and friends that Sam has established around her mystery bookshop. You can’t go wrong with this series, and Bookmarked for Murder is even better than the last!

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
This review first appeared on Reading Is My SuperPower

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VM Burns picV.M. Burns was born in Northwestern Indiana and spent many years in Southwestern Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. She is a lover of dogs, British historic cozies, and scones with clotted cream. After many years in the Midwest, she went in search of milder winters and currently lives in Eastern Tennessee with her poodles. Her debut novel, The Plot is Murder was nominated for a 2017 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and a lifetime member of  Sisters in Crime. Readers can learn more by visiting her website at vmburns.com

CONNECT: website | Facebook | Twitter


Do you like cozy mysteries?
If you could run a bookstore, what genre would you focus on?

Book Review: Tropical Kiss and Tell

Happy Friday! I am so glad to put this stressful week behind me – how about you?

One respite in the craziness that was the past few days was this delightful novella – Tropical Kiss and Tell by Liwen Y. Ho. I’ve been meaning to read her books for much too long and, now that I finally have, I can tell I’ll be adding her backlist (and future releases) to my teetering TBR mountain!

ABOUT THE BOOK

tropical kiss and tellTITLE: Tropical Kiss & Tell
AUTHOR: Liwen Y. Ho
SERIES: Tropical Kisses #2
GENRE: Christian Contemporary Romance
PUBLISHER: 2 Square 2 Be Hip
RELEASE DATE: November 2017
PAGES: 101

Falling in love with the girl next door was never part of his plan … until she fell for someone else.

Micah Chan has loved Lucy Choi ever since they were kids, but life—and some regretful decisions—stopped him from pursuing her. Now he has a choice to make: Let her marry another man or break up her engagement to make this Christmas the most memorable one of their lives?

Micah and Lucy were introduced as children in the books Tropical Kiss or Miss and Taking a Chance on the Enemy, respectively. Meet them now as adults on the brink of discovering their own happily-ever-after.

GOODREADS | AMAZON


MY THOUGHTS

I haven’t yet read the author’s previous books in which Micah and Lucy appeared (as children) but I definitely want to go back and read them soon – because I fell in love with both of these characters! Through the flashbacks of their close friendship that started in adolescence to the present day scenes where things could either go very right or very wrong with new awareness of deeper feelings… Micah and Lucy leapt off the pages and into my heart.

Micah seems at first to be Lucy’s polar opposite – he’s buttoned up where she’s free-spirited, for instance – but once we get to know them a bit more, we can see how alike they really are, too. Both have big hearts, both are loyal (even if they have different ways of showing it), both have a gift at connecting with people. They also have a similarly blended family, a shared cultural heritage, and hold onto the truth that God works all things for good for those who love Him. This smooth blend of personalities makes for some very sweet scenes as well as other scenes that will leave a grin on your face.

The author’s writing voice is engaging and bright, the characters layered and well-developed in spite of the relatively short word count. The plot progressed at a steady pace, and the transition between flashbacks to present day was seamlessly executed. I also loved the organic way that Asian-American culture & family life is part of the dimensions to both the characters and the plot. Micah and Lucy & their story could not be separated from their heritage and have the story still be as dimensional or enjoyable as it – a balance that’s sometimes hard to achieve in other books I’ve read but Liwen Y. Ho has done so in a way that feels effortless.

A well-written, tender, witty, and sweet friends-to-more romance that will have you rooting for Micah and Lucy to see (and embrace) what – and who – has been right in front of them all along.

(I voluntarily reviewed this book, which I read through Kindle Unlimited)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

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

CONNECT WITH LIWEN: website| Facebook | Twitter


Have you read any of Liwen’s other books? What interests you most about Tropical Kiss and Tell?

Book Review: The Ranger Takes a Bride

Hi, reader friends! Today’s review features The Ranger Takes a Bride by Misty M. Beller, the second book of her debut series, Texas Rancher Trilogy.

About the Book

The Ranger Takes a Bride by Misty M. BellerThe bloody Las Cuevas War robbed Alejandra Diaz of her father, her fiancé, and her home—and left her with an intense hatred for men in uniform. She escapes across the border with her almost-mother-in-law and finds work on a quiet Texas ranch. The place seems like the safe haven she’d been looking for. Until she meets the rancher’s tall, handsome brother who wears the soldier’s badge of a Texas Ranger…

Edward Stewart has spent years proving his abilities as a man, separate from the overbearing protection of his family. As a Texas Ranger, he has the chance to help tame the Wild West and save the innocent. Innocents like the enchanting Mexican woman he rescued, who now lives and works on his sister’s ranch. But the moment she sees his badge, she won’t have anything to do with him.

Can Edward prove to Alejandra that he’s different from the cruel soldiers she’s known before? Will Alejandra hold onto the fear ingrained from her past, or can she open her heart to the kindness of this good lawman? When danger escalates in the form of a band of desperados with deadly intent, Alejandra must fight her hardest battle yet…

goodreads | amazonBOOKDEPOSITORY | bookbub

 

My Thoughts

What a lovely trio of redemptive, feel-good stories! I completely enjoyed getting to know all the folks on this small-town Texas ranch. These stories have just the right amount of spunk and action to liven up the sweetly romantic plots. Settings and cultures are figuratively painted across each chapter with vibrant brushstrokes.

Alejandra’s plight is heartwrenching yet inspiring as she overcomes her fears and the language barrier (without the help of Rosetta Stone) to remain with her fiance’s mother in a foreign country. Edward isn’t perfect but he makes up for his flaws with a large helping of patience and compassion.

I’m a big fan of Misty M. Beller’s Mountain series so I’ve had my eyes on this Texas series for a while now and it does not disappoint! Since I listened to this book on audio, here are my brief thoughts on the recordings: in my opinion, the narrations for the series are fair to good. For me, the first book’s performance is best followed by the third book with the second book starting out a bit rough (almost echoing) but improving in quality as the story progressed.

I borrowed this book through an audible escape trial. The opinions expressed are my own.

 

About the Author

Misty M BellerMisty M. Beller writes Christian historical romance and is the author of the bestselling Mountain Dreams Series and the Texas Rancher Trilogy. 

She was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep that priority today. Her husband and daughters now add another dimension to her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

God has placed a desire in Misty’s heart to combine her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life, writing historical novels that display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.

Writing is a dream come true for Misty. Her family—both immediate and extended—is the foundation that holds her secure in that dream. Visit her website!

 

Texas Rancher Trilogy

The Rancher Takes a Cook The Ranger Takes a Bride by Misty M. Beller The Rancher Takes a Cowgirl

I love stories of cultures diverging in a peaceful blend of something new!
The Texas Rancher Trilogy is also available on Kindle Unlimited
!
Listening to this story gave me a richer experience than reading since my Spanish vocabulary is limited to foods, numbers one through ten, a few greetings, and “where is the bathroom?”!

Have you listened to any audiobooks with unfamiliar phrases or languages recently? 

Review by Beth Erin

Book Review: New Light

Happy FRIDAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS! Yay! It’s almost here!!

I know everyone is busy making lists, checking them twice, baking and cleaning and shopping and packing and wrapping and Hallmark movie-ing so today’s book review is short and sweet – because so is the story!

ABOUT THE BOOK

new light

Desperate to keep his job after a failed drug test, Tobin Mills agrees to therapy. Just when he feels he’s beat his addiction, demons from his past catch up with him and his world starts to crumble. That’s when Eimy Castillo shows up, opening his eyes to the power of love, friendship and other things he’s never considered.

GOODREADS | AMAZON


MY THOUGHTS

I’ve never read anything by Rose Fresquez but that will change right now. I love the interracial and multi-cultural perspective to her stories & her characters. It’s not done just to check a box but because the author herself is passionate about these characters & the blending of their cultures.

New Light is a short story but at the same time the characters are layered and fairly well-developed for such a brief read. It presents an honest picture of addiction, how it affects everything and everyone around us, and the power of people in your corner to help you get clean and stay clean. Since it is such a short story (31 pages), the author obviously can’t touch on everything a recovering addict goes through. Still, she gives us enough of an idea to set the stage appropriately for Tobin’s journey and remind us that it’s not a quick fix or an easy one.

I loved Eimy and would easily spend an entire novel with her! Her personality and kindness are contagious, and especially at this time of year we crave that kindness in our fellow humans. She’s a breath of fresh air from the moment she enters the scene, and she remains credible throughout.

New Light has definitely whet my appetite for more from this author – so look for more reviews of her books coming from me here in the new year!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

rose fresquez twitter

Rose Fresquez is a stay-at-home mom, with a husband and four kids. In her free time, she likes to spend time outdoors with the family, sing gospel music and plotting her next writing project.

Rose’s writing projects include both Christian non-fiction and Christian fiction.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

Book Review: Beauty From Ashes

Happy Friday! Can you believe it’s almost Christmas?!? Less than two weeks away – it’s like we blinked in January & suddenly it’s December lol.

Today I’m sharing a review of a book that has such a pretty cover! The story inside is just as beautiful.

ABOUT THE BOOK

beauty from ashesSERIES: Orchard Grove #1
GENRE: Inspirational Women’s Fiction
PUBLISHER: Firstfruits Publishing
RELEASE DATE: July 7, 2017
PAGES: 327

A baby was never part of Tiff’s plans. Especially not a sick baby in a NICU, struggling for life on a ventilator.

As days in the hospital turn to weeks, Tiff grows more and more convinced that God is punishing her for turning her back on him so many years ago. Or is it possible he’s working in the midst of her daughter’s bleak prognosis to draw Tiff back to himself once more?

The Orchard Grove Christian Women’s Fiction books are standalone literary novels about real-life believers facing real-life struggles. You won’t meet perfect saints whose lives are faultless models of the Christian faith. Instead, you’ll meet a perfect God whose plans of redemption are far more glorious than what the mortal mind could ever imagine.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

other books in this series

before the dawn  breath of heaven

MY THOUGHTS

“…whatever you’ve done, you can’t pluck yourself out of God’s hand.”

Beauty From Ashes is an incredibly moving story about a young woman in a heartbreaking situation. It reads like a conversation between the main character Tiff and the reader, as she tells us about the events leading up to and including the past few months of her life. In her frank yet endearing manner, Tiff reflects on her years in foster care, her relationship with God, and how she wound up married with a baby in the NICU.

I loved how honest Tiff is about God, and we see this particularly during the church service. There’s no guile to her as she struggles to pay attention, struggles to make sense of the service, and then as something touches her deeply. Side note: If you haven’t spent time with people who aren’t familiar with church and God, you are really missing out on seeing your faith and your worship practices in fresh ways ♥

One thing I love about Alana Terry’s writing is that she always surprises me. Just when I think a scene or a character is about to slide into cliche territory, she turns it on its end and takes it somewhere I wasn’t expecting. This happened more than once in Beauty from Ashes, not the least of which involved Tiff’s incredibly difficult mother-in-law. I also loved the diversity of the characters – their ethnic backgrounds as well as their backstories.

I will say that, if you’re currently going through a very difficult season, Beauty from Ashes may feel almost too heavy to keep reading at certain points. Life just continues not to turn around for Tiff and instead of seeing ‘beauty’ you see mostly ‘ashes’. In fact, I remember looking at the ‘time left in book’ on my kindle copy and thinking, “I’m not sure how the author is going to pull this one off with the 18 minutes left of my reading speed.” And, of course, as usual Alana Terry surprised me yet again. So I want to encourage you – if the ‘ashes’ overwhelm you in this story, keep reading for the ‘beauty’.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author.
All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
Review first appeared on ReadingIsMySuperPower.org

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alana TerryAlana Terry is a pastor’s wife, homeschooling mom, self-diagnosed chicken lady, and Christian author. Her novels have won awards from Women of Faith, Book Club Network, Grace Awards, Readers’ Favorite, and more. 

Alana’s passion for social justice, human rights, and religious freedom shines through her writing, and her books are known for raising tough questions without preaching

She has also been accused of making her readers stay up way too late.

Alana and her family live in rural Alaska where the northern lights in the winter and midnight sun in the summer make hauling water, surviving the annual mosquito apocalypse, and cleaning goat stalls in negative forty degrees worth every second.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR: website | Facebook | Twitter


 

What about you?

What interests you about Beauty From Ashes?

Book Review: A Proxy Wedding

Hi, reader friends! Today’s review features A Proxy Wedding by Toni Shiloh, a sweet novella that is now available as a stand-alone ebook, formerly part of a two-author novella collection, A Spring of Weddings.

About the Book

A Proxy Wedding by Toni ShilohSaying I Do was more than they bargained for.

Carly James values loyalty and friendship above all. So when her best friend calls asking her to be a proxy bride, she says, ‘yes.’ How hard can it be to say ‘I do’ so that her best friend can be with the one she loves? Only, Carly never counted on the feelings that began to swirl around with the proxy groom.

Damien Nichols likes life lined up from A to Z, but when his best friend calls in a favor, disorder begins to reign. Instead of taking a quick flight to the proxy wedding, he has to take a road trip with the proxy bride. Carly’s free-spirit attitude bumps heads with his meticulous approach to life. As Damien discovers the woman underneath the carefree façade, his emotions become involved.

goodreads | amazon

 

My Thoughts

Are y’all seeing this absolutely adorable cover?! It’s downright irresistible and so is the sweet story inside! I’m really glad this whole proxy wedding situation didn’t launch into a mishandled paperwork meets accidental marriage of inconvenience debacle. Instead, Shiloh crafts an engaging opposites-attract romance with the wonderfully creative meet-cute of a double-proxy wedding (much more enjoyable and believable than my wild imaginings)! Carly and Damien won me over quite quickly and I couldn’t put this story down until the satisfying conclusion! I love the contrast of artsy meets workaholic in a suit but the icing on the cake is the way these two characters complement one another and bring out one another’s strengths! I highly recommend this feel-good story. It will brighten your day and warm your heart.

I borrowed this book through the Kindle Unlimited program. The opinions expressed are my own.

 

About the Author

Toni 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 president of the Virginia Chapter.

website | facebook | twitter | INSTAGRAM

Have y’all even heard of proxy weddings, readers?
Be sure to read A Proxy Wedding by Toni Shiloh on KU or
pick up a copy for just $0.99!

Review by Beth Erin

Book Review: The Someday List

Happy Friday! Today, I’m pleased to bring you my thoughts on The Someday List by Stacy Hawkins Adams. I was recently introduced to Stacy and her books on this great discussion at Seekerville!

About the Book

somedaylist

*an Essence magazine bestseller*

Rachelle Covington has it all. A fabulous home, a handsome and prestigious husband, two beautiful children, and a place in the upper crust that’s quite comfortable. But her life is not all it’s cracked up to be. When her husband goes away on business trip and the kids are sent off to the grandparents for a month, Rachelle takes up the challenge of a dying friend to start a list of things to do before she dies. She heads back to Jubilant, Texas, to reconnect with her past, her purpose, and herself. But when her ex shows up in town looking very fine and very single, Rachelle must confront feelings she thought she’d long buried. Will she give up everything to recover the past? Or will she find a reason to plan for the future?

The Someday List is an honest look at what makes us who we are and what can throw us off track. Author Stacy Hawkins Adams writes with a voice that is fresh, sincere, and completely real. Her characters jump off the page and into her readers’ hearts.

SERIES: Jubilant Soul #1
PUBLISHER: Revell
RELEASE DATE:
January 1, 2009

BUY THIS BOOK: goodreads | amazon | b&n | book depository


My Thoughts

This may have been my first book by Adams but it won’t be my last! In fact, I’m already wishing the next two books in the series were available to read on Kindle Unlimited like The Someday List is.

One thing I loved the most about this story was that Adams spared no one when it came to flaws, some hidden beneath the surface and others more obvious. From devoted believers to prodigals and every level in between, the characters in The Someday List present an authentic picture of the struggle to share this planet with each other. Every reader should be able to see themselves in at least one character in this book, if we’re being honest with ourselves. Perhaps we may not share the specific sins or stumbling points… perhaps we may… but the bottom line is that these characters are real and honest with weaknesses common to many.

Aunt Melba was my favorite character, hands down. She brought smiles and laughter when needed & also brought home some wisdom at the appropriate time. She was full of life – with a surprising history – and I’d love to read more of her story (she doesn’t seem to have her own book but I hope we spend more time with her in the next two books.)

The writing style was a little disjointed sometimes, at least as far as background information. Most of the time we’re left to connect the dots on our own, and that works just fine with a couple of exceptions. I struggled to connect with Rachelle in certain areas, particularly regarding her first marriage, and I would have liked to see a bit more to the ending. But, then again, life doesn’t always make sense nor tie up nicely with a red bow so in that sense Adams continues the pattern of authenticity that we see throughout the story.

The Someday List is a story of decisions that change the trajectory of our lives. Good decisions that lead us closer to each other & Jesus… and poor decisions that cause painful divisions and lifelong regret. Some surprising twists and turns are in store as you get to know & love these characters and, while I wish there was a bit more emotional dimensionality to the events that transpire, it really touched my heart.

I voluntarily reviewed this book after reading it via Kindle Unlimited.

About the Author

Stacy's fotoStacy Hawkins Adams is an award-winning author and journalist who loves to inform, entertain and inspire readers through the written word. She has a gift for weaving tales in both the fiction and nonfiction genres, and in both faith-based and secular markets, that help readers thrive and grow confident in their own stories.  

She has penned 10 books – nine women’s fiction novels and one nonfiction faith-based devotional book. Her fiction features themes related to personal growth, self-esteem, matters of faith, forgiveness, friendships and family, and some of the books have been featured reading selections in high school and college courses.

Beyond the literary world, Stacy is a marketing and communications professional for an independent school. She holds a graduate degree in women’s leadership studies, and often shares messages with corporate, civic and faith-based organizations related to empowerment and leadership, personal growth, and the power of storytelling. She devotes considerable volunteer time to advocating for women and children, leading to recognition in recent years as a YWCA of Richmond “Outstanding Woman of the Year” and a Style Weekly magazine Top 40 honoree. Stacy is also an alumna of Leadership Metro Richmond and is well-versed in diversity and inclusion issues as a result of that experience and her communications work. She lives with her family in suburban Richmond, Virginia.

CONNECT WITH STACY: website | blog | facebook | twitter


What about you? Have you read The Someday List?

Book Review: Valerie’s Verdict

Happy Friday!

I hope you have a bookish weekend of reading planned. If not, read Toni Shiloh’s thoughts on Hallee Bridgeman’s Valerie Verdict. You may find a new book (and series) to read!


About the Book

VALERIE FLYNN grew up with the Dixon brothers, never differentiating one more than the other. When she leaves for college, she puts Atlanta and her childhood behind her, ready to make a life for herself somewhere else. An abusive relationship almost destroys her physically and emotionally, and manages to wipe out her relationship with God.

Since boyhood days, BRAD DIXON has always carried a flame for VALERIE. Her engagement to another man shattered his dreams. When she comes home, battered and bruised, recovering from a nearly fatal relationship, he prays God will use him to help her heal.

VALERIE returns to Atlanta seeking a fresh start, but she finds herself in a strange place. Not only is BRAD now her boss, she starts to develop feelings for him. Is it possible she can overcome the past and open herself up to another relationship, or did the damage done to her body and soul permanently take away any chance of happiness and love?

Amazon | Goodreads


My Thoughts

In preparation for this read, I read book one in this series, Courting Calla. Having read both books, I can honestly say they standalone. No need to read book one, but it’s much more fun to read sequentially in my opinion. 🙂

If you follow me, you know I judge a book by it’s cover and that’s actually why I wanted to read this book. An interracial story? Yes, please. You don’t see too many of them so I grabbed it.

And I’m glad I did. Race was handled on both sides (but not the factor that kept the couple apart). Valerie has a turbulent background and it made me cringe, broke my heart, and had me wanting to pray for her as if she were a real person.

This story was gripping!

And Brad had  a lot to learn. I was glad to see him grow in knowledge of domestic violence and in empathy for all Valerie had been through.

All in all, a great read.

*I used my Kindle Unlimited subscription to read. A review was not required nor influenced.


About the Author

With over half a million 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. Hallee 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.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | BookBub


Post by contributor Toni Shiloh

Book Review: Missing Mercy

Happy Friday, friends!

I’m delighted today to bring you my review of Missing Mercy by Stephenia H. McGee. Come back on Monday for portions of my interview with the author about the book!

ABOUT THE BOOK

missing mercy.jpgMISSING MERCY
SERIES:
Ironwood Plantation Family Saga #3
GENRE: Inspirational Historical Fiction
PUBLISHER: By the Vine Press
RELEASE DATE: October 1, 2019
PAGES: 376

Mercy is missing, Faith is floundering. Only truth can lead them to freedom.

The venture ahead could leave their friendship behind.

Made a safe-haven after the Civil War, Ironwood Plantation is a refuge of equality for former slaves. But twenty years and a new generation later, they have become an isolated community with little contact with the rest of the world.

Mercy Carpenter is everything the world thinks she shouldn’t be. Educated and adventurous, she longs to make a life for herself beyond the beautiful prison of Ironwood. When she secretly submits an article to the Boston Globe under a man’s name and receives an enthusiastic response and an offer for employment, she’s determined to take advantage of the opportunity. But she isn’t prepared for a startling world that won’t accept her color or her gender, and her ambitions soon land her in grave danger.

The privileged daughter of a plantation owner and an aspiring suffragette, Faith Harper is determined not to marry. Especially not her father’s opportunistic new business partner. She doesn’t want any man telling her what to do, least of all the annoyingly chivalrous Nolan Watson. But when Mercy goes missing, Faith will do anything to find her best friend, even if it means trusting a man she doesn’t understand. In a time where prejudices try to define them, Mercy and Faith must push the boundaries of their beliefs and trust in the God who holds the keys to freedom.

Pick up your copy HERE!


MY THOUGHTS

“I have this impossible idea that God wants all his children to realize that what makes them different isn’t nearly as important as what makes them the same.”

It always amazes me how historical fiction can be just as relevant today as the themes were at the times in which they were set. In Missing Mercy, we encounter racism (born of ignorance as well as hatred) and human trafficking – two things that are still prevalent in our world today. For all of our technological advancements, humankind doesn’t change all that much as far as our prejudices and sins, do we? If nothing else, Missing Mercy reminds us that ‘there is nothing new under the sun’ and ‘Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it’ .. and thereby challenges us to always be alert to how we can be used to change the current course.

But that’s not all that Missing Mercy does – it also captivates readers with a beautifully written story of friendship, forgiveness, and the truest Love that pursues us through our faults and failures. It’s an adventure, a love story, a tear-jerker, and a smile-inducer. Mercy & Faith are strong heroines, due in part to their unusual upbringing at Ironwood Plantation – a  community protected from racism and one which encourages female education and independence. Both young women are in for a rude awakening when they venture out into the world, and both must learn to lean into God and surrender to His plans for them.

I loved both Faith and Mercy (and Nolan and Jed, too, for that matter) but oh how I wanted to shake both of them at various times throughout the book. Probably because I share similar traits with each one and heaven forbid fictional characters point out my own flaws LOL. During their separate character arcs in Missing Mercy, my heart alternately sank with dread and swelled with pride. One scene in particular, near the end, almost had me standing up and clapping (I refrained, because my husband was already asleep lol).

And then there’s Hezzie – oh my heart, one of my fave fictional characters ever, I think. I wanted to pick her up and hug her more than once. At other times, I wanted to sit at her feet and just listen. She was adorable, intuitive, wise, and kind – and she just made me smile.

Bottom Line: Missing Mercy by Stephenia H. McGee is simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking. While it’s the third book in this series, it can easily be read as a standalone. The theme of freedom – and where it’s truly found – manifests in various ways and through various characters, and its contribution to the story is well-written and pivotal. The layered plot keeps you firmly engaged from beginning to end, and the multi-dimensional characters capture your heart. Thought-provoking and entertaining, Missing Mercy is a must-read!

THIS REVIEW FIRST APPEARED ON READINGISMYSUPERPOWER.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author.
All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stephenia H McGee HeadshotWinner of the 2012 RONE Best Inspirational Book of the year (2012) and author of seven Historical novels, Stephenia H. McGee has a fascination with hoop skirts and ball gowns, Greek revival homes and horse-drawn carriages, quirky Southern sayings, and home-grown recipes. She currently lives in Mississippi with her husband and two boys, (accompanied by their two spoiled dogs and mischievous cat) where she writes stories of faith, redemption, and stories steeped in the South.

Visit her website at www.StepheniaMcGee.com and be sure to sign up for the newsletter to get sneak peeks, behind the scenes fun, the occasional recipe, and special offers.

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