Book Review: One Final Breath

Happy Friday!

Today I’m sharing my thoughts on Lynn H. Blackburn’s One Final Breath. It’s the third and final book in the Dive Team Investigations series which makes me sad to see this group go. But oh so happy because #teamgabe.

Have you started reading this series? If not, what are you waiting for?


About the Book

When investigator Gabriel Chavez had his cover blown by an aggressive reporter, the silver lining was being able to rejoin the dive team. The downside? Dive team captain Anissa Bell–a woman who both fascinates and frustrates him.

Anissa grew up as a missionary kid on the Micronesian island of Yap and always planned to return after college. But she remained stateside, determined to solve the case that haunts her–the murder of her best friend and the disappearance of a three-year-old child.

When Anissa’s fractured past collides with Gabe’s investigation into the tragic shooting death of a teenage boy in Lake Porter, they’ll have to put their complicated history with each other aside in order to uncover the identity of a killer. What they’ll discover is that revenge has no statute of limitations.

Amazon | B&N | CBD | Goodreads


My Thoughts

Y’all, I’ve been #teamgabe since book one in the Dive Team Investigations (which can be read standalone, but why would you when you could read all 3?). And One Final Breath did not disappoint in that area. I had a few favorite lines out of the mouth of Gabe that made my heart melt and a bigger fan of his story.

Gabe has a backstory that melted my heart and made me want to give him a big hug. But Anissa’s….phew…that girl needs some friends who will surround her with the love of Christ and never let go. She’s fierce and vulnerable, independent and in need of love, and all the cool quirks you like to read about a character.

And seriously, I may have found a new way to eat cupcakes.

But One Final Breath wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine with hearts and swoony sighs. There were a few mystery threads woven in the suspense that had me hooked and turning the pages for me. When it all finally came together, it left me with a happy sigh of justice.

Oh and that epilogue…BEST EVER!

All in all, One Final Breath filled my expectations and left me assured that they will all live happily ever after.

*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. This review was not required nor influenced.


About the Author

Lynn H. Blackburn loves writing suspense because her childhood fantasy was to become a spy—but her grown-up reality is that she’s a huge chicken and would have been caught on her first mission. She prefers to live vicariously through her characters and loves putting them into all kinds of terrifying situations—while she’s sitting at home safe and sound in her pajamas!

Her Dive Team Investigations series kicked off in March with Beneath the Surface. The second book in the series, In Too Deep, releases in November with the third book to follow in 2019. She is also the author of Hidden Legacy and Covert Justice, which won the 2016 Carol Award for Short Novel and the 2016 Selah Award for Mystery and Suspense. Lynn lives in South Carolina with her true love and their three children. You can follow her real life happily ever after at WWW.LYNNHBLACKBURN.COM.

Follow: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram


Post by contributor Toni Shiloh

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Book Review: “Free to Love” by Terri J. Haynes

Happy Friday! I hope you’re finding some place cool to read in this summer heat! Is it Fall yet???

Today, I’m excited to bring you a review of “Free to Love” by Terri J. Haynes. It’s one of the novellas in The Underground Railroad Brides Collection from Barbour.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Underground Railroad Brides collectionLove Guides Hearts Along the Road to Freedom

Nine historical couples walk the road to love even as they dare to escape and help others break free from the injustices of slavery between 1849 and 1860. From Southern states of Georgia and South Carolina to above the Mason-Dixon Line in Indiana and Pennsylvania, they work within the network known as the Underground Railroad.

Free to Love by Terri J. Haynes

East Towson, Maryland—1850
Winnie is hiding a secret—Hiram, a fugitive. Their lives cross at an Underground Railroad station. Can they overcome danger and find freedom in love?

BUY THIS BOOK: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Barbour

MY THOUGHTS

“Love had never been as valuable as strength and freedom. Until now.”

I absolutely loved this story!

Despite being limited to a short novella-length word count, the author has packed the riveting plot with heart-in-your-throat moments of life or death… and a sweet romance that lightens the emotion a bit when needed. Layered and well-defined characters will quickly settle in your heart, and you’ll be rooting for them every step of the way.

Additionally, the author’s writing style is very engaging as well as entertaining. Every page makes you eager to read the next one & I would love to see a follow-up novel with these characters – specifically related to the escaped slaves’ stories Winnie has recorded in her notebook.

Winnie’s revelation about her owners will also linger with me for a while – how many similar things in modern times have we passed off as well-meaning or kind when in fact it’s sin? And once we realize that, what are we willing to do about it?

A sobering but simultaneously encouraging story of the power of love and the pull of freedom – and the people who risked their lives to give others the chance at both. Perfect for your weekend reading list. I’m off to catch up on the author’s backlist 🙂

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Terri J. HaynesTerri J. Haynes, a native Baltimorean, is a homeschool mom, writer, prolific knitter, freelance graphic artist and former Army wife (left the Army, not the husband).

She loves to read, so much that when she was in elementary school, she masterminded a plan to be locked in a public library armed with only a flashlight to read all the books and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She is a storyteller at heart. Her passion is to draw readers into the story world she has created and to bring laughter and joy to their lives.

Terri is a 2010 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis contest finalist, and a 2012 semi-finalist. She is also a 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarterfinalist. Her publishing credits include Cup of Comfort for Military Families, Crosswalk.com, the Secret Place Devotional, Vista Devotional, Urbanfaith.com and Publisher’s Weekly.

Terri and her husband pastor a church where she serves as executive pastor and worship leader. Terri lives in Maryland with her three wonderful children and her husband, who often beg her not to kill off their favorite characters.

Follow Terri online: Website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

 

Book Review: Broken Heart by Tyora Moody

Happy Friday!

I hope you’ve had  a great week of bookish delight. In case you’re looking for something to read, why not check out Tyora Moody’s Broken Heart. 


About the Book

In the past year Detective Josephine “Jo” Reed-Powell brought down one of the most notorious serial killers in a decade in Charlotte-Mecklenburg County. When Jo arrives at a new crime scene, something seems very familiar to her. She immediately thinks she may be dealing with a copycat killer. Or is she?

How can she keep her mind on finding a killer when her life is falling apart? Jo is struggling with her shattered marriage knowing her husband, Bryan Powell, has had an affair. As Jo questions the twists and turns of her murder investigations, can she let God mend her broken heart?

Amazon | Goodreads


My Thoughts

I started reading this series out of order and that makes me cringe. However, it also lets me know that each book can be read as a standalone and that brings immediate relief.

There is so much going on in this book, but not in a bad way. First, Jo is dealing with some personal issues. Oh how my heart broke for her. It wrapped around me and was one of the reasons I kept turning the pages. I had to know how it would resolve.

The second is the professional aspect. Jo’s a police detective and her case appears to be a copycat…or is it? I admit, I love reading books like that. I always want to try and figure out who did it and why. If I can’t guess correctly, I consider that a raging success. This book had me hoping in that department and made the read go by quickly.

All in all, I enjoyed my visit to the Reed family and look forward to reading the rest of them.


About the Author

Tyora Moody is the author of Soul-Searching Suspense books which include the Reed Family Novellas, Eugeena Patterson Mysteries, Serena Manchester Series, and the Victory Gospel Series. She is also the author of the nonfiction book, The Literary Entrepreneur’s Toolkit, and the compilation editor for the Stepping Into Victory Compilations under her company, Tymm Publishing LLC.

As a literary-focused entrepreneur, she has assisted countless authors with developing an online presence via her design and marketing company, Tywebbin Creations LLC. Popular services include virtual event planning, book covers and book trailers.

To contact Tyora about book club discussions or for book marketing workshops, visit her online at TyoraMoody.com.

Links: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Post by contributor Toni Shiloh

Interview with Ann Marie Bryan

Happy Monday!

Today we’ve invited the awesome Ann Marie Bryan to join us here and talk about her latest book, Hearts over the Line. Grab a cup of tea (or coffee) and chat with us!


About the Book

A STAND-ALONE NOVEL: From #1 Amazon bestselling author Ann Marie Bryan comes the highly anticipated final installment in the Encounters of the Heart series—a riveting story about rising from the ashes, unlocking love, and learning to create and maintain an atmosphere of faith.

Chandler Peynard has it all—family, fame, fortune, and salvation. This A-list celebrity has come a long way from his philandering days. That’s no longer his style. He’s head-over-heels in love with Sabrina, his wife, and in full pursuit of God’s calling on his life. But when shadows of the past beckon, he panics. Eventually, he has no choice but to face his previous indiscretions, but will Chandler’s past activities be more than his wife can handle?

Larry and Rozene Kanate have moved beyond the consequences of their mirrored sin. The birth of twin daughters helped to seal their happily-ever-after. Life is wonderful, until it’s not. After the beaded curtain falls, Rozene scrambles to put the pieces together and avoid public humiliation. As the past crosses paths with the present, will their marriage survive?

Madison Bradshaw has moved past her inability to trust and love. But when Tyler, her husband, makes a special request, she hides the truth from him. What could go wrong?

In this captivating conclusion to the bestselling Encounters of the Heart series, unresolved issues make unwelcomed visits to test the resiliency of love. Will the characters learn to reset the atmosphere in which they live? Will they live in a place where God finds it easy to bless them? In a season that brings many challenges, they must summon the courage to forgive, heal and fall in love again.

Amazon | Goodreads


Interview

Toni: Thank you so much for joining us today at Diversity Between the Pages. I’m so excited to talk about your latest release, Hearts Over the Line. You’ve got a few couples featured in this book. Tell us a little bit about Chandler and Sabrina?

Ann Marie: Chandler and Sabrina Peynard are a power couple. Their love story can be described as an emotionally gripping account of a most unexpected love, and a marvelous reflection of God’s grace. Book 3 – A Place for My Heart in the “Encounters of the Heart” series, gives a detail account of how the relationship developed between Chandler and Sabrina.

When Chandler literally staggered into Sabrina Benjamin’s life, he was desperate for an escape route. Battling feelings of isolation, he had erected barriers around his heart, often times leaving a trail of broken dreams behind him. During that time, Sabrina was also struggling emotionally. Her happily-ever-after had been ripped away, but she hadn’t given up on finding love. Still, she was caught off guard by her feelings for Chandler, a man whom she could hardly describe as a model man of God. Nevertheless, an unexpected bond developed between them.

Touched by Sabrina’s kindness and faith, Chandler makes a life-changing choice; but complication occurred when the past he’d thought was long buried, pushed him to confront matters he would have given anything to forget. As Chandler struggled to release himself from his past and embrace the future, he offered Sabrina a place in his heart, but she demanded all of it. That was a lot more than Chandler was prepared to give, because falling in love and putting down roots were not in his plan.

But love fines a way. With the help of the Lord, Chandler and Sabrina found the strength to take a chance at life and love.

In Book 5 – Hearts over the Line, we witnessed life with Chandler and Sabrina, eleven years later. They have a family and they’re in full pursuit of God’s calling on their lives. Again, shadows of the past beckoned and Chandler had no choice but to face his previous indiscretions. As unresolved issues made unwelcome visits, Chandler and Sabrina must weather the storms of life and learn to create and maintain an atmosphere of faith. Above all, they must summon the courage to forgive, heal and fall in love again.

Toni: Do you have a favorite couple from the Encounters of the Heart series? Who are they and why?

Ann Marie: At first, my favorite couple in the series was Blake and Gabrielle Montgomery (Book 1 – Shades of the Heart). However, as the series continued, I developed a special love for Chandler and Sabrina Peynard (Book 3 – A Place for My Heart).

Initially, Chandler and Sabrina seemed to be total opposites. They had to come out of their comfort zones and be open enough to understand each other. The lessons learned were priceless.

Witnessing the development of the relationship between Chandler and Sabrina was precious. I enjoyed so many things about them—the growth in their personal relationships with Jesus Christ, the love they shared, and their friendship. They were two souls ideally suited for each other. Oh, watch out for their playfulness and compassion for each other.

Getting to know Chandler was like peeling back an onion. Even though he was seemingly living the good life, he had a gaping hole in his heart—one that could not be filled by his fleeting relationships or any of his earthly possessions.

Sabrina was a dedicated woman of God, but when Chandler entered her life, that devotion was put to the test. Rooted in her faith, she was resolute in the things she stood for, refusing to bend because of Chandler’s foolishness.

In the end, they were able to create a love for all times.

Toni: How does your own ethnicity influence your writing?

Ann Marie: I am sure my ethnicity has influenced my writing. However, I attempt to write for a world-wide audience. I’m not just writing a great love story; I am writing to inspire and empower readers, hoping that they will see the awesome power of God in the lives of people and places. It is my desire to write many inspirational, life-changing books. I want my words to encourage hope, change, forgiveness, healing, restoration and new beginnings.

Toni: Beautifully stated. If you could explain your writing style to a reader, what would you say?

Ann Marie: I would use the words—emotional, inspirational, fluid, compelling, romantic—to describe my writing style. I like to put readers in the heart of the story—to pick a side, a team, a couple, or a cause—and give them a chance to think how they would react in a similar situation.

Toni: Nice! Do you prefer sunrises or sunsets?

Ann Marie: I love both. I am an early riser, but I love sunsets.

Toni: Susnets are pretty. Chocolate or Vanilla?

Ann Marie: Vanilla.

Toni: I’m the same. Old school music or current hits?

Ann Marie: This is a hard decision. I’ll go with old school music.

Toni: Books or movies?

Ann Marie: I love both, but I’ll go with books.

Toni: Yay, books! Describe your dream writing spot.

Ann Marie: I don’t think I have a dream writing spot. I like to write in the morning… early mornings, when it is quiet. My favorite writing spot—in bed, propped against pillows.

Toni: And last but not least, how can readers help you on your writing journey?

Ann Marie: I am extremely excited about my writing journey, and I am thankful for the opportunity to share with readers. Consequently, I would love to hear from readers. I would like to know how my stories impacted them, and of course, I want to hear their testimonies about God’s faithfulness. I am available for book club or group meetings.

Toni: Readers, do y’all have any questions for Ann Marie?


About the Author

Ann Marie Bryan is a dedicated multi-talented leader with a passion for excellence. She is the CEO and Founder of Victorious By Design, an organization committed to providing top quality professional writing services, comprehensive personal and professional development programs and exceptional performing arts services to meet the unique needs of individuals and organizations.

A Christian Fiction author, Ann Marie writes to educate, inspire and empower others. She desires to tell great stories with fascinating characters to show the awesome power of God in the lives of people and places. Her celebrated bestselling Encounters of the Heart series, blend faith and romance that test the resiliency of love.

Ann Marie’s greatest passion is to empower others to succeed by tapping into their God-given potential. She enjoys writing, reading, dancing, teaching, meeting people and traveling. With all the knowledge and experiences that God has so graciously blessed her with, Ann Marie is determined to make her life a ministry for the Lord.

Follow: Website | Facebook | Reader Group | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Newsletter | Amazon | Goodreads


Post by contributor Toni Shiloh

Book Review: Over the Line

Happy Friday!

I hope y’all had a great week and an awesome weekend planned. Today I’m sharing my thoughts on Kelly Irvin’s Over the Line. This book releases Tuesday the 11th, so be sure to pre-order if you haven’t already.


About the Book

In this high-stakes romantic suspense novel where tensions mount on both sides of the border, bestselling author Kelly Irvin explores what happens when the past explodes against the present and the only person you can turn to is the one who broke your heart.

When a college student dies at Gabriella’s feet after muttering her brother’s name, vicious gun smugglers believe she knows too much. And they’re determined to make sure she suffers the same fate. With no one else to turn to, Gabriella reunites with her former fiancé, homicide detective Eli Cavazos, to investigate the dead man’s murder and her brother’s disappearance.

In a desperate race against time, Gabriella and Eli are determined to clear her brother and find him before the gun smugglers can kill them both. Bit by bit, they tear away the masks worn by men masquerading as law-abiding citizens. No one can be trusted.

Working as a team forces Gabriella and Eli to face the problems that ended their relationship. She realizes she’s the one who needs to learn to forgive, but Eli must also learn to trust her with his secrets.

This ragtag team must fight a powerful ring of criminals protected by the very institutions that should prosecute them in an all-out battle that may cost them their lives.

Amazon | B&N | CBD | Goodreads


My Thoughts

First off this book starts in San Antonio, my hometown! I’m not sure I was cognizant of anything else for a few minutes after that tidbit. 🙂

The opening was great and Ms. Irvin set the mood for suspense and a backstory of broken romance.

I loved that the hero was a Latino and that we got to see some of the action from his pov. Hero and heroine povs always up the romantic factor in my opinion.

However, I would say that this book is more suspense with a thread of romance. Also, it took forever (again, in my opinion) for them to say why they broke up. There was such a hush about it and then when it came out in the open, you got the feeling there was still more to the subject. I would have liked the end result to be more clear and feel a little bit more organic, but that’s my preference.

As far as the suspense, it was good. There was good pacing and so much action I didn’t know who to believe or who was the ultimate bad guy. For that alone, I would read Ms. Irvin again.

*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via NetGalley. My review was not required nor influenced.


Follow the Author

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Post by contributor Toni Shiloh

Book Spotlight: If Only In My Dreams

Happy Wednesday!

We’re sharing a book spotlight on Belle Calhoune’s If Only In My Dreams!


About the Book

Seven boys adopted from the foster care system by Alec and Maggie Donahue, a loving Irish couple living in Breeze Point, Cape Cod. Now grown men, the brothers are making their way in the world in their chosen professions, each hoping to find a love to last a lifetime. Faith. Family. Honor. And an abundance of love.

Seven Brides, Seven Brothers series

The Millionaire

Self-made businessman Brandon Donahue has walked the halls of Ivy League colleges, conquered Wall Street and built up his small company into a multimillion dollar business. Now, after moving his company to Cape Cod, Brandon is back in the fold of his loving family. Dumped on live television by his supermodel girlfriend, Brandon is more humiliated than heartbroken. Yet he still yearns for the type of love his brothers have found.

Principled beauty, Rose Maddock has been Brandon Donahue’s secretary for five long years. And for all that time she’s tried her best to find things about him to like. In her opinion, he’s arrogant, and way too blunt for her liking. And he seems to think life revolves around his business. When Brandon moves the company to Cape Cod, Rose starts fresh in Breeze Point with her six year old son, AJ. When she strikes a bargain with Brandon that revolves around him including AJ in his family’s holiday events, she begins to see a whole new side of Brandon.

But is it wise to mix business with pleasure?

Amazon | Goodreads


About the Author

Belle Calhoune grew up in a small town in Massachusetts as one of five children. Although her mother was a doctor and her father a biologist, Belle never gravitated toward science. Growing up across the street from a public library was a huge influence on her life and fueled her love of romance novels. Belle is the author of nine Harlequin Love Inspired novels with a tenth hitting the shelves in March of 2018. She has Indie published the popular and best-selling inspirational romance series, Seven Brides, Seven Brothers. The Secrets of Savannah and Pelican Bay are both spin-offs of her debut series. Belle loves writing romance and crafting happily-ever-afters. When she’s not wrangling her two high maintenance dogs or spending time with her husband and two daughters, Belle enjoys travel and exploring new places.

Follow: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Open Discussion: Summer Diverse Reading Challenge

Summer is here and we have a great way to spend it reading!

Reading challenges are a fun way to connect with a community and read some new-to-you authors. It’s also a good way to put a dent in your TBR pile. So let’s do a summer diverse Christian fiction reading challenge.

Post below how many diverse Christian fiction books you want to read between now and Labor Day, September 2nd. We have compiled a list of diverse Christian fiction HERE. Each Saturday, check in and let us know how you are doing. The person who gets the closest to their goal will be featured on the blog. We will announce the winner on September 7th.

Let’s get reading!

Author Interview with Alexa Verde + Giveaway

Happy Monday, Friends!

I’m excited to talk to Alexa Verde today about her latest book, Love Me. It’s set in the awesome fictional town of Chapel Cove, Oregon, “where life begins at forty.” Grab a cup of tea (or coffee) and chat with us.


About the Book

Welcome to Chapel Cove, Oregon, where life begins at forty.

The biggest disaster of her life or the beginning of something wonderful?

Growing up, Kristina Vela never imagined she’d meet her fortieth birthday divorced by her cheating, manipulative husband, and without a house, degree, or career. Back in her hometown, Chapel Cove, to start anew, she’s given up on men. Then she meets grieving widower Greg Matthews and his adorable five-year-old daughter and helps them renovate a house. Just when Kristina feels she can love again, her ex gives her an ultimatum. Can she choose between her own happiness and Greg’s?

Former snowboarder Greg Matthews is moving to Chapel Cove so his daughter can be close to her grandparents. After his wife died, his heart closed to romance. As caring and compassionate Kristina helps him repair his house and his life, he might be falling for her. But if she decides to leave, will he survive a second heartbreak?

Amazon, Goodreads


The Interview

Toni: Welcome, Alexa! I’m so excited to talk about your latest release, Love Me. Let’s talk about your heroine, Kristina Vela, first. What would her dream job be and why?

Alexa: Happy to be here, Toni, and thank you so much for inviting me!

It takes a while for Kristina to find her dream job because for many years she dedicates herself to raising her twins and taking care of her rather demanding husband. When he leaves her and she finds herself starting over at forty, she recalls the dreams she had in childhood and decides to become an interior designer. Growing up in a dilapidated house, she wants to help people make their homes beautiful and full of life, laughter, and happiness.

Toni: I always thought being an interior designer would be cool. How does her ethnicity influence her background and/or the story?

Alexa: Kristina is a Latina and cooking delicious Mexican food is partly how she remembers good parts of her childhood (not so good part was constant arguments between her parents and her mother’s complaints). Coming back to her roots is an important part of Kristina’s spiritual growth. This is how she returns on the path to the person God wanted her to be. Her ex-husband didn’t like her to listen to Tejano music or use Spanish words, and it was one of many ways of him controlling her, but now she can listen to the music she likes, pursue the career she wants, or talk in Spanish to her brother or cousin to her heart’s content. She speaks Spanish fluently and can make great fajitas and tacos!

Toni: You’re making me hungry! 🙂 How does your own ethnicity influence your writing?

Alexa: I’d say rather my nationality influences my writing because I try to incorporate pieces of my Eastern European culture in many of my books. In real life, I’m a blue-eyed blonde living in south Texas, so I stand out like a sore thumb even before I open my mouth (I have a strong accent). But I found Hispanic community as friendly and hospitable as the warm and sunshine weather here. Many of my characters are Hispanic, and I learned to speak Spanish and even got a degree in it. I decided to be grateful to God for creating me just the way I am. Yes, it’s difficult to be different when we have that deep-rooted desire to belong, but God made us diverse for a reason and we should embrace it.

Toni: Amen! One of the things I loved about this story was the age difference. What made you have Kristina be older than Greg?

Alexa: After verbal and emotional abuse from her husband, she feels insecure and unsure of herself. The large age difference with the man she’s now falling for only adds to this internal conflict. However, the age difference doesn’t bother the hero in the least. I wanted to show that when it comes to love and affection, it’s really not about the age, social status, or appearance. It’s the heart that matters. Kristina has a wonderful, loving heart that was hurting for a long time. In the end, she is the right person not only for the hero, but also for his little daughter, Chelsea.

Toni: Aw! What would your characters eat for breakfast and why?

Alexa: That would be a tough choice between chocolate-filled brioches and tacos. Kristina loves anything chocolate (I wonder where did she get that from?), as well as fish tacos, beef tacos, chicken tacos, okay, you get the idea. Of course, she’d never make fish tacos now because Chelsea is allergic to shellfish.

Toni: I approve of tacos! 🙂 How long does it take you to write a novel start to finish, including editing process?

Alexa: It can be from a month to a year. A lot depends on how much time I have to write!

Toni: That makes sense. And last but not least, how can readers help you on your writing journey?

Alexa: I love this question! Readers’ support means so much to me, and it also help other readers find Christian books they might enjoy. Here are some ways that would help tremendously:

– writing a review (even several words count!)

– recommending books on BookBub, GoodReads, social media, and/or in person (the word of mouth matters so much!)

– mentioning the book in readers’ group on social media

– following us on Amazon

– commenting on author’s posts to make them more visible and sharing the posts

– participating in giveaways

– subscribing to the newsletter and forwarding it to friends

– just sending me an email saying they enjoyed my books.

It keeps us authors going. Besides, publishing is extremely competitive these days, and support for books is needed like air! I want to say heartfelt thanks to many of my wonderful readers who are already doing many of those things. I love you.

Toni: Those are great tips! Readers, do you have any questions for Alexa?


About the Author

Alexa Verde writes stories of love, faith, and mystery to warm your heart. She’d love it if you subscribed to her newsletter (every subscriber gets a free Christian romance after confirming the subscription as a thank-you gift). She penned her first literary masterpiece, a rhymed poem, at the ripe age of eight, and since has had twenty books and 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’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 Rios Azules Christmas and Secrets of Rios Azules.

She hopes and prays that her stories will bring joy to her readers. Heartfelt thanks for interest in her books!

Follow: Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, BookBub


Giveaway

Alexa Verde is kindly offering a $5 Amazon gift card to one randomly chosen commenter of this post. You have until May 13th, 9 p.m. CDT to comment. The giveaway is open to people with  an www.amazon.com account.
To enter, answer the question: What would you most likely eat for breakfast?

Book Review: It’s Like That

Happy Friday!

I hope you’ve had a great week and an awesome weekend plan. Before you jump into your weekend reading, check out our contributor, Toni Shiloh’s thoughts on It’s Like That. Now’s definitely a good time to add to your TBR pile!

Let’s get started!


About the Book

After suffering a tragic loss ten years ago, twenty-six-year-old Jasmine Richardson has traded her love of lyrics for writing legal briefs. It only takes one encounter with the microphone for Jasmine to realize the music is still in her heart—if only it could pay the bills. After making some bad decisions, Jasmine is thrown into a tailspin. She is forced to consider taking a case that could make her legal career from someone from her past. Suddenly, Jasmine finds herself questioning her future. When the music is still in your heart, sometimes life forces you to make some tough decisions. Sometimes…it’s like that.

Links: Amazon, Goodreads


My Thoughts

This book has it all. Romance. Mystery/Suspense. Family drama. Etc.

I loved Ms. Splond’s writing voice. It hooked me in and kept me turning the pages. I also liked the story premise. How many of us have wavered between choosing a job that pays the bills versus following your dreams? And that’s essentially what the book is about and what Jasmine has to decide.

With some great secondary characters and a come-to-Jesus moment, It’s All That will entertain you from beginning to end.


About the Author

Chandra Sparks Splond is an editor, speaker and award-winning author and blogger. Her young adult novel Make It Work was named Alabama’s Great Read 2017,  Spin It Like That was chosen as a Popular Paperback for Young Adults by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), and The Pledge was a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. Black Pearls Magazine honored Splond as a Legends & Leaders for 2017 for her blog, Book of Splond (formerly known as Magic City Momma).

Splond is the owner of West End Publishing, LLC, and Live Life Creations, a personalized gift and party boutique. In addition to working for Kensington Publishing as the consulting editor for Arabesque romance, Splond has also done work for Random House, Moody Publishers, Kimani Press (formerly known as BET Books), and Hyperion. She has edited books for several New York Times, USA Todayand Essence bestselling authors. Splond has interviewed New York Times bestselling authors Karen Kingsbury, Kimberla Lawson Roby, Eric Jerome Dickey and actress Meagan Good. She has also worked for Good Housekeeping, Black and Married with Kids, Brides Noir, Weddingpages, Newsday, The Morning Call and Romantic Times. 

Of all the titles she has held, Splond’s most important remain child of God, wife and mommy. Splond graduated from Ramsay High School in Birmingham, Alabama and the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa with a degree in journalism. She received her master of science in education degree with a focus on instructional design and technology from Samford University. Splond is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and resides in Birmingham with her family. They are members of Forty-fifth Street Baptist Church.

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Book Review: The Winter Reunion

Happy Friday and Happy 1st of March!

I hope that this year is treating you right. And I hope you are seeing signs of warmer weather to come. As I type this post, I’m eyeing the possible snow coming out way. Good thing I have books to read! 😉

If you need something to read and it is still a winter wonderland, might I recommend Rhonda McKnight’s The Winter Reunion. It’s sure to entertain you.


About the Book

Everyone knows the woman in the “viral” video that hit two million views on YouTube. Humiliated, Tamar Johnson changed her name and disappeared behind the embarrassing video that captured her losing her virginity on prom night. But who was the guy?

NFL Running Back Stephen Pierce is football’s darling. He’s spent his entire career doing community service work with at-risk kids, and endeared fans as a devoted Christian, even claiming celibacy. It’s time for his high school reunion. Stephen is determined to get his EX, Tamar, to come out of hiding, even going as far as posting their prom picture on Instagram in hopes that she would accept the challenge to show up.

Tamar isn’t interested in the reunion, but her boss is. She writes for a small magazine. Stephen Pierce is a BIG story.
With reunion activity in full swing, the tension between Tamar and Stephen reaches an unbearable level. Before it’s over will the world find out who the real Stephen Pierce is? And will Tamar survive spending time with the only man who’s ever had her heart?

Links: Amazon, Goodreads


My Thoughts

This book has a really interesting premise. I wasn’t sure how Tamar would be able to overcome the pain of her past and the man who caused it. I liked how Ms. McKnight threaded the faith through the story line and showed us the power of God and forgiveness.

I also really enjoyed the reunion aspect of the book. They are one of my favorite tropes to read so I enjoyed seeing how Ms. McKnight put her spin on it. All in all an enjoyable read to pass my winter reading time with.


About the Author

Rhonda McKnight is the author of several award-winning novels and Black Expressions Top 20 bestsellers, including An Inconvenient Friend, What Kind of Fool and Breaking All The Rules. She is the winner of the 2015 Emma Award for Inspirational Romance of the Year. She was also a 2010 nominee for the African-American Literary Award. Rhonda writes edgy stories that touch the heart of women. The themes of faith, forgiveness and hope mark her stories.

Rhonda has done free-lance work as a developmental editor and writing coach for the past seven years. She’s also the founder of the Write It Right Online Fiction Writer’s Workshop. Originally from a small, coastal town in New Jersey, she’s called Atlanta, Georgia home for nineteen years. She can be reached at her website at www.RhondaMcKnight.net and at www.BlackChristianReads.com.

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Post by contributor Toni Shiloh