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: 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: To Capture Her Heart by Rebecca DeMarino

 About the Book

It is 1653 and Heather Flower, a princess of the Montauk tribe, is enjoying her wedding feast when her groom is killed and she is kidnapped by a rival tribe and held for ransom.

Though her ransom is paid by an Englishman, she is nonetheless left to die in a Connecticut forest–until she finds herself rescued by handsome Dutch Lieutenant Dirk Van Buren.

Torn between her affection for Dirk and her long friendship with family friend Benjamin Horton, Heather Flower must make a difficult choice–stay true to her friend or follow her heart.

goodreads | amazon

 

My Thoughts

I had a very positive yet conflicted relationship with this book as I was reading it. The historical element was enthralling, excellent attention to detail brought the past to life. The characters were complex and authentic and that’s what left me so conflicted, I felt just as torn as Heather Flower!

Heather Flower is the niece of our good friend Winnie from book 1. She is both widowed and kidnapped on her wedding day, rescued then wooed by two white men. That’s enough to make her head spin but then both suitors are stand up guys!

Although Dutch Lieutenant Dirk Van Buren rescues Heather Flower after her abduction, he’s still a bit of the outsider/bad boy since the Montauk are allies of the English. Heather Flower shares a special bond with long-time friend Benjamin Horton but he is also nursing a broken heart.

The historical struggles between different native tribes, the English, and the Dutch serves as an exciting and intricate backdrop for this rich story of love, loss, brokenness, and healing. Here’s my review for book 1, A Place in His Heart.

I received the opportunity to read and review this book through the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own. This review first appeared on Faithfully Bookish.

 

About the Author

Rebecca DeMarinoWhen Rebecca DeMarino traveled to Horton Point, Long Island, with her mother, Helen Jean Horton Worley, in 1999, passions collided: her love of faith, family, travel, history, and writing.

Rebecca’s series, The Southold Chronicles, is a historical romance based on Mary and Barnabas Horton, Rebecca’s ninth great-grandparents. Set in 1600’s Southold, Long Island, book three, To Follow Her Heart, released from Revell in July 2016.

Rebecca is the author of A Place in His Heart and To Capture Her Heart. She lives in the Pacific Northwest and when not writing, she enjoys family and genealogy, travel, reading, running, baking and gardening.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

The Southold Chronicles series

goodreads | amazon

 

Generally speaking, I’m not a fan of love triangles but it worked for this story.
What are your thoughts on these tangled romantic relationships in fiction?

Review by Beth Erin

Book Review: Hello Stars (Faithgirlz / Lena in the Spotlight)

Book title: Hello Stars

Author: Alena Pitts

Contributor: Wynter Pitts

Illustrator: Annabelle Métayer

Number of Pages: 176

 Book blurb: Lena Daniels never thought she’d get the chance star in a movie. Headstrong and determined, she has her life planned out to the minute. But when her best friends, Savannah and Emma, tell her about an audition, she knows there’s nothing else in the world she’d rather do. And now that she’s gotten her wish, Lena finds that being in the spotlight is harder than it sounds. She got everything she never wanted! Her face turns up everywhere she goes, and everything in her life is flipped upside down. Lena wonders if this is a dream come true or a horrible nightmare. Even a visit from her best friends during filming turns into a disaster.

With her little sisters—Ansley, Ashton, and Amber—and her mischievous pup, Austin, constantly at her side, Lena must face the challenges of everyday life while chasing her dreams of being a model and actress on the big screen. Lena tackles tough choices, learns the value of perseverance, and keeps her hopes high. She knows her faith and family will keep her feet on the ground and her eyes on the stars.

This Faithgirlz series entitled Lena in the Spotlight, written by Alena Pitts, star of War Room and tween blogger of For Girls Like You, and co-written with her mother, editor and author, Wynter Pitts, is a reflection of Alena’s own life experiences as she reaches for the stars and keeps her faith in balance.

Book purchase links: Amazon, B&N, CBD

~*~
My Thoughts:

Hello Stars is a children’s book written by Alena Pitts.

Alena is an author, actress, model and contributor to the magazine, For Girls Like You.

Hello Stars features Lena Daniels who the reader can infer is based on Alena and her real-life experience as a movie star, except the characters in this story have been changed. In real-life, Alena played Danielle, the daughter of Priscilla Shirer’s character Elizabeth Jordan in the movie War Room. In the story Hello Stars, Lena gets to meet her favorite celebrity. She goes through an audition process and is chosen to star in a movie with Mallory Winston.

Lena’s best friends Savannah and Emma play a role in helping her become a movie star because they were the ones who told Lena about the audition. The friendship between Lena and her best friends is sweet, solid and heartwarming. The bond that Lena shares with her parents, sisters and pet dog is also very encouraging. This fictional family is portrayed as happy, healthy and helpful. It’s very refreshing to read.

This story is not without challenges. Lena works hard on making her dreams come true. But when Lena starts working on the movie, she realizes that being in the spotlight is more difficult than she dreamed. She doesn’t like seeing her face on advertisements and being in the public eye. This is where Lena’s faith plays a strong role. She writes letters to God in her journal. She prays, and she relies on her parents to help her navigate fame. Through it all, Lena learns how to persevere, make good decisions, and trust God.

Alena’s real-life Mom Wynter Pitts contributed to the writing of this book. Just like Mrs. Daniels (fictional Lena’s Mom), Wynter plays a crucial role in keeping her daughter Alena grounded in reality and soaring high with her faith in God as her dreams come true.

My favorite character in this story was Lena because of her sweet personality, strong work ethic, drive to succeed and her heart for helping people. The characters in this book, though fictional, felt real. The storyline was a bit predictable but did have its surprises with plot twists that keep the reader guessing at times. My favorite part of this book was watching Lena’s dreams to star in a movie with her favorite celebrity come true. It’s my favorite part because it reignited my hope that my own creative career dreams—though I am much older—can come true if it’s God’s will for me.

There are no heartbreaking scenes in this book that will make the reader cry. But there are highs and lows that Lena experiences in the journey to her dreams, causing her faith walk with God to be tested. The author writes these scenes with believability, skill and perfect prose. The way she details Lena’s journey endears her character to the reader’s heart. Readers may find themselves rooting for Lena from the start of the story and caring about what happens—or does not happen—to her throughout this book.

There is a very tense scene in this story that involves a moment where Lena disappoints the entire film crew and something Mallory says crushes her spirit. But to find out the details on this, you’ll have to read the book!

This book didn’t make me laugh or cry but it did make me smile quite often. I loved reading this story! There honestly is not anything about Hello Stars that I did not like. I was pleasantly surprised that this story did not have any cliffhangers. As a reader, I enjoyed journeying through this story with Lena, her family and friends. The characters are relatable and the dialogue is lively. The author’s writing style is sweet and engaging.

Overall, Hello Stars is a wonderful story filled with captivating characters, a creative premise, hope, faith, love, and a heroine’s journey that will encourage you as the reader to dream again.

I’d recommend this book to younger readers ages 8 to 12. But I’d also tell teenagers and young adults to read this book because the heroine’s journey to her dreams is relatable with a lesson that’s universal. This book is unique and in a class of its own though the theme is slightly reminiscent of Natalie Grant’s book, Miracle in Music City (Faithgirlz/Glimmer Girls), which is also a Faithgirlz book series.

Hello Stars is worth every bit of a five-star rating!

~*~

Author Bio: 

 Alena Pitts is a young actress and model from Dallas, Texas. As the oldest of four girls, Alena first cut her teeth in acting through making home videos and dramas with her sisters, using their entire home as their recording studio. She has a natural love for all things creative which falls right in line with her gifts and talents. The Kendrick Brothers’ War Room marks Alena’s professional acting debut. With only school theater on her young resume, Alena jumped at a chance to audition for the role of Danielle Jordan. In addition to school and acting, Alena models and is a frequent contributor for the magazine For Girls Like You.

Connect with Alena: Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Instagram

~*~

Contributor Bio: 

 Wynter Pitts is the founder of For Girls Like You Magazine and the author of For Girls Like You: A Devotional for Tweens and You’re God’s Girl. The mother of four girls, Wynter’s mission is to empower and equip girls to walk boldly into becoming who God has created them to be and to provide parents with the resources and support needed to raise strong Christ followers. In addition to publishing the quarterly magazine, Wynter is a frequent blogger, a contributor for LifeWay’s ParentLife Magazine, and a public speaker. She is also the niece of Dr. Tony Evans. Wynter, her husband Jonathan, and four daughters (ages 6-11), reside in Dallas, Texas.

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