Book Review: Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette

Hello, reader friends! We’re featuring the final book of The Out of Egypt series which takes a closer look at the culture and diversity of a miraculous time in our history. Plan to join us tomorrow for our Saturday discussion post dedicated to these and other covers.

About the Book

Wings of the Wind by Connilyn CossetteAlanah, a Canaanite, is no stranger to fighting and survival. When her family is killed in battle with the Hebrews, she disguises herself and sneaks onto the battlefield to avenge her family. The one thing she never counted on was surviving.

Tobiah, a Hebrew warrior, is shocked to find an unconscious, wounded woman among the Canaanite casualties. Compelled to bring her to a Hebrew healer back at their camp, he is soon confronted with a truth he can’t ignore: the only way to protect this enemy is to marry her.

Unused to being weak and vulnerable, Alanah submits to the marriage—for now. As she comes to know and respect Tobiah and his people, however, she begins to second-guess her plans of escape.

But when her past has painfully unanticipated consequences, the tentative peace she’s found with Tobiah, the Hebrews, and Yahweh is shaken to the core.

Can Alanah’s fierce heart and strength withstand the ensuing threats to her life and all she’s come to love?

goodreads | amazon | bookdepository | christianbook

 

My Thoughts

This story filled my heart and convicted my spirit… that’s powerful fiction, y’all! The characters, setting, and storyline captivated my attention while the underlying messages of God’s constant presence in our lives and our restless complacent tendencies struck a chord deep down inside of me.

Alanah is a fiercely independent woman. She has the strength and tenacity of half a dozen women (or more)! Alanah’s warrior spirit carries her across a rough and dangerous land and into the chaos of battle in the name of vengeance for her family. As a survivor and captive of the conflict, she expects a fate worse than death but Yahweh and His people turn her world upside down.

Tobiah is a steadfast and devout Hebrew warrior. His dedication to his family is surpassed only by his commitment to obey Yahweh in every way. Tobiah must overcome grief, expectations, and prejudice to embrace the Creator’s will for his life. A classic quiet, steady hero (with a fiery inner strength), Tobiah grows and matures in confidence and compassion throughout the story.

Although the majority of the characters within this story are fictional, the thorough research and care taken with the biblical accounts are superb. The emotional and spiritual depth combined with vivid visuals and skilled storytelling send this book straight to my all-time favorites.

I requested the opportunity to read and review this title through NetGalley and the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.
This review was originally posted on Faithfully Bookish.

 

About the Author

Connilyn CossetteConnilyn Cossette is a homeschooling mother of two with a passion for writing stories of timeless grace.

She hopes to draw readers into a personal encounter with the rich ancient world of the Bible and spark curiosity that will lead to digging deeper into the truth of the Word.

Her novel Counted With the Stars won the 2013 Frasier Contest and was a semi-finalist in the 2013 ACFW Genesis Contest. She lives near Dallas, Texas.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Out of Egypt series

book 1 book 2 book 3 preorder

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Share your thoughts, reader friends! Are you discouraged or comforted (in a “nothing is new” kind of way) by the presence of prejudice throughout history?

 

 Review by Beth Erin
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Book Review: Shadow of the Storm by Connilyn Cossette

Hello, reader friends! We’re continuing our look at The Out of Egypt series which takes a closer look at the culture and diversity of a miraculous time in our history. Plan to join us for a Saturday discussion post dedicated to these and other covers later this month.

About the Book

In the Depth of the Storm’s Shadow, Only Truth Can Light Her Way.

Shadow of the Storm by Connilyn CossetteHaving escaped Egypt with the other Hebrews during the Exodus, Shira is now living in freedom at the foot of Mt. Sinai, upon which rests the fiery glowing Cloud containing the shekinah glory of God. When the people disobey Yahweh and build a golden idol, the ensuing chaos gives Shira an unexpected opportunity to learn the arts of midwifery. Although her mother wishes for her to continue in the family weaving trade, Shira’s gifts shine brightest when she assists with deliveries. In defiance of her mother, Shira pursues her heart’s calling to become an apprentice midwife.

When a delivery goes horribly wrong, Shira finds herself bound to a man who betrayed her, the caretaker of three young children, and the target of a vengeful woman whose husband was killed by Shira’s people, the Levites. As contention between the Hebrew tribes and the foreigners fans the flames of another dangerous rebellion, Shira will come face-to-face with the heartbreak of her past that she has kept hidden for so long. How can she let go of all that has defined her to accept the love she’s denied herself and embrace who she truly is?

Goodreads | Amazon

 

My Thoughts

Yes! This book, y’all must read it!!! The desert sun must be getting to me because I just can’t find words that adequately express the wonderfulness of this series.

Shira’s character is so easy to love. She’s kind, compassionate, and self-sacrificing. I loved seeing her friendship with Kiya continue to grow despite the turmoil surrounding them. Even as Shira deals with the shadow of her past experiences, she is driven by a deep need to care for others.

Shira’s interest in midwifery gives readers a peek at child birthing practices and family expectations for choosing a trade during that time. Throughout the book, I was fascinated by the way the events recorded in the Bible are brought to life. I especially enjoyed reading about the scope and scale of the Tabernacle’s construction.

I highly recommend this series and check out Connilyn Cossette’s Pinterest boards for pictures of artifacts and story inspiration.

I requested the opportunity to read and review this title through NetGalley and the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.
This review was originally posted on Faithfully Bookish.

 

About the Author

Connilyn CossetteConnilyn Cossette is a homeschooling mother of two with a passion for writing stories of timeless grace.

She hopes to draw readers into a personal encounter with the rich ancient world of the Bible and spark curiosity that will lead to digging deeper into the truth of the Word.

Her novel Counted With the Stars won the 2013 Frasier Contest and was a semi-finalist in the 2013 ACFW Genesis Contest. She lives near Dallas, Texas.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Out of Egypt series

book 1 book 2 book 3 preorder

goodreads | amazon | bookdepository | christianbook

 

Shira and Kiya’s friendship is strengthened by their shared faith. Do you have friendships that are built solely on shared faith, defying all other differences?

 

 Review by Beth Erin

Book Review: Counted with the Stars by Connilyn Cossette

Hello, reader friends! The biblical account of the Exodus is one many of us have read countless times which often means we don’t take the time to slow down, experience, and appreciate the story. The Out of Egypt series takes a closer look at the culture and diversity of this miraculous time in our history. We are dedicating a Saturday discussion post to these and other covers later this month.

About the Book

Counted with the Stars by Connilyn CossetteA Story of Love, Desperation, and Hope During a Great Biblical Epoch

Sold into slavery by her father and forsaken by the man she was supposed to marry, young Egyptian Kiya must serve a mistress who takes pleasure in her humiliation. When terrifying plagues strike Egypt, Kiya is in the middle of it all.

To save her older brother and escape the bonds of slavery, Kiya flees with the Hebrews during the Great Exodus. She finds herself utterly dependent on a fearsome God she’s only just beginning to learn about, and in love with a man who despises her people. With everything she’s ever known swept away, will Kiya turn back toward Egypt or surrender her life and her future to Yahweh?

Goodreads | Amazon

 

My Thoughts

Wow. In all the times that I’ve read the Biblical account of the plagues, not once do I recall wondering about the Egyptian perspective. This story completely intrigued and captivated me.

Kiya enjoys a life of comfort and ease as the daughter of a wealthy Egyptian businessman until he loses everything and sells her into slavery. Her world is turned upside down and then inside out yet she doesn’t give up. Kiya’s mistress is determined to humiliate her but she doesn’t break.

Then the plagues hit and what hope do the Egyptians have against the unknown and unseen God of the Hebrews? Instead of blindly believing what she has been taught, Kiya questions and seeks answers. Oh, I like that! Kiya keeps putting one foot in front of the other, doggedly searching for a way to save herself and her family.

God saves the weak and poor by bringing down the mighty and strong. Right? Except, life doesn’t really come in black and white, does it?! Welcome to the IMAX level story experience, reader friends!!! I encourage you to pick up this title and experience a richer understanding of the places and culture from the Exodus account.

I purchased this book and the opinions expressed are my own.
This review was originally posted on Faithfully Bookish.

 

About the Author

Connilyn CossetteConnilyn Cossette is a homeschooling mother of two with a passion for writing stories of timeless grace.

She hopes to draw readers into a personal encounter with the rich ancient world of the Bible and spark curiosity that will lead to digging deeper into the truth of the Word.

Her novel Counted With the Stars won the 2013 Frasier Contest and was a semi-finalist in the 2013 ACFW Genesis Contest. She lives near Dallas, Texas.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Out of Egypt series

book 1 book 2 book 3 preorder

goodreads | amazon | bookdepository | christianbook

 

Have you considered the lives of the Egyptians who fled their homeland in the Exodus?

 

 Review by Beth Erin

Book Spotlight: Upcoming Diverse Christian Fiction

Happy New Year! Instead of just spotlighting one book today, I thought I’d take a look at several upcoming diverse titles in Christian fiction!

January 2018

missing isaac

Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse
Revell Books

There was another South in the 1960s, one far removed from the marches and bombings and turmoil in the streets that were broadcast on the evening news. It was a place of inner turmoil, where ordinary people struggled to right themselves on a social landscape that was dramatically shifting beneath their feet. This is the world of Valerie Fraser Luesse’s stunning debut, Missing Isaac.

Goodreads | Amazon

thebittersweetbride

The Bittersweet Bride by Vanessa Riley
Entangled Publishing

Widow Theodosia Cecil needs a husband to help protect her son. The former flower seller turned estate owner posts an ad in the newspaper, and no one is more surprised than she when her first love, the man she thought dead, reappears.

Goodreads | Amazon

February 2018

Love the War Woman

Love the War Woman by April W. Gardner
Big Spring Press

He is the moon to her tide, the sun to her corn, and the beautiful chief she will never have. She is the scent of home, the glory of a dozen battles, and the woman he didn’t see until she was seen by another.

Goodreads | Amazon

when god made light

When God Made Light by Matthew Paul Turner & David Catrow
WaterBrook

‘Let there be light!’ that’s what God said. And light began shining and then started to spread.” Wild and creative illustrations from top children’s illustrator David Catrow pair with Matthew Paul Turner’s lyrical verse in this message of a God-made light that cuts through darkness to bring vision and hope to all young readers.

Goodreads | Amazon

a light on the hill

A Light on the Hill by Connilyn Cossette
Bethany House

Seven years ago, Moriyah was taken captive in Jericho and branded with the mark of the Canaanite gods. Now the Israelites are experiencing peace in their new land, but Moriyah has yet to find her own peace. Because of the shameful mark on her face, she hides behind her veil at all times and the disdain of the townspeople keeps her from socializing… Her father has found someone to marry her… But when things go horribly wrong, Moriyah is forced to flee. Seeking safety at one of the newly-established Levitical cities of refuge, she is wildly unprepared for the dangers she will face, and the enemies–and unexpected allies–she will encounter on her way.

Goodreads | Amazon

March 2018

reclaiming shilo snow

Reclaiming Shilo Snow by Mary Weber
Thomas Nelson

Known as a brilliant mind that could hack humanity’s darkest secrets, seventeen-year-old Sofi Snow is the most wanted teenager alive. She found her way to the icy, technologically brilliant planet of Delon to find Shilo, the brother everyone but Sofi believes is dead.

In this harrowing sequel to The Evaporation of Sofi Snow, Sofi and Miguel must trust each other and discover the secrets locked inside Sofi’s mind as the line between what’s real and what they imagine begins to slip away . . . threatening to take humanity with it.

Goodreads | Amazon

Also in March – Freedom Lake series #2 by Toni Shiloh

April 2018

no one ever asked

No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert
Waterbrook

When an impoverished school district loses its accreditation and the affluent community of Crystal Ridge has no choice but to open their school doors, the lives of three very different women converge… Tensions rise within and without, culminating in an unforeseen event that impacts them all. This story explores the implicit biases impacting American society, and asks the ultimate question: What does it mean to be human? Why are we so quick to put labels on each other and categorize people as “this” or “that”, when such complexity exists in each person?

Goodreads | Amazon

June 2018

the solace of water

The Solace of Water by Elizabeth Byler Younts
Thomas Nelson

In The Solace of Water, Elizabeth Byler Younts tells the story of two women, one white and one black, in racially charged 1956, who fight personal battles of freedom and form a friendship that neither expected.

Goodreads | Amazon

Also in June – Maple Run series #3 by Toni Shiloh

July 2018

river to redemption

River to Redemption by Ann H. Gabhart
Revell Books

Orphaned in the cholera epidemic of 1833, Adria Starr was cared for by a slave named Louis, a man who stayed in Springfield, Kentucky, when anyone with means had fled. A man who passed up the opportunity to escape his bondage and instead tended to the sick and buried the dead. A man who, twelve years later, is being sold by his owners despite his heroic actions. Now nineteen, Adria has never forgotten what Louis did for her. She’s determined to find a way to buy Louis’s freedom. But in 1840s Kentucky, she’ll face an uphill battle.

Goodreads | Amazon


 

What about you? Which of these upcoming titles are you most looking forward to?

 

 

Book Spotlight: Pain’s Purpose by LaToya C. Martin

Happy Wednesday, Reader Friends!

I’m so excited for today’s book spotlight featuring Pain’s Purpose by LaToya C. Martin! I’ve had the pleasure of knowing LaToya since childhood. (We won’t say how long it’s been.) Check out her debut novel!


About the Book

The Blurb: “With life growing inside of her, Talia Williams finally understood that love could no longer hold her abusive marriage together. To prevent losing another baby, she seeks refuge with her parents, but with Khalil hot on her trail, she is forced to move in with her sorority sister, Alanna Davis. Living under one roof gives the women an opportunity to reconcile past differences and together deal with love, pain, and life’s transitions.

Realizing that the search for his wife is in vain, Khalil retreats. He comes to accept the consequences of his actions and attempts to reconstruct his life, but an unexpected visitor from his past may destroy all that he has worked to rebuild.

Eventually, futile efforts to handle life on her own push Talia into the arms of Christ and give her the hope that she needs to believe that her marriage can be healed. Just when all seems well, she is blindsided by tragedy, causing her faith and relationships to be stretched to the limit.

Pain’s Purpose is the first in a series that tells the story of reconciliation, forgiveness, and discovery of unconditional love.”

Links: Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, Goodreads


About the Author

The first-time novelist LaToya C. Martin has loved writing since childhood. LaToya hails from San Antonio but has resided in the Houston for almost a decade, where she raises a precocious daughter and teaches students with hearing loss, all the while remaining an active member of her church and community.

Follow: Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads

Interview with Belle Calhoune about her book “Reunited at Christmas”

About the book:

 A Season to Remember 

Two years after the avalanche everyone thought had claimed her life, Ruby Prescott returns to the remote Alaskan town of Love. And no one is more ecstatic than her husband, Liam, and their young son. Even if amnesia has robbed Ruby of her memories, she’s soon woven back into the fabric of their lives. As they celebrate the holiday season, Ruby is falling head over heels for the man she’s told was the love of her life. But she can’t escape the feeling that there’s something Liam is keeping a secret. Will the return of her memories tear them apart for good—or will this be a Christmas she’ll never forget?

Book purchase link: Amazon

~*~

Interview with Belle Calhoune, author of Reunited at Christmas:

Alexis: The setting for your story, Reunited at Christmas, is an Alaskan town called “Love”. How sweet! It’s a very unique name for a town. What makes it special? Paint a picture of it with words.

Belle: Love is a quaint Alaskan town that is very special due to the charming townsfolk and its remote location. Love is only accessible via ferry boat and seaplane. The town has an imbalance of males to females, so the premise of the series is that the town mayor, Jasper Prescott, starts a program called Operation Love that brings single females who are looking for love to the lovelorn town called Love. There is lots of love in this town along with warm-hearted folks who live their life with faith.

Alexis: Ruby Prescott is the heroine of your story. What is she like? Describe her looks, personality and heart.

Belle: Ruby is a beautiful woman with tawny colored skin, long black hair and warm brown eyes. She is African American. She is very brave. In the story she is suffering from amnesia, so when she returns to Love it is on a wing and a prayer. She’s forced into situations where she is completely lost, so she really has pluck and grit. She’s very honest and loving. She has a very big heart and she tends to think of others before she thinks of herself.

Alexis: How was Ruby’s life before the avalanche that almost claimed her life and how is it different now that she survived?

Belle: Prior to the avalanche she was working as a member of a search and rescue team which required a lot of courage and mental fortitude. She was happily married to Liam and raising a small child, Aidan. Although she and Liam were very much in love, he was very concerned about her career and the inherent dangers, so that was an issue standing between them. Overall, she was happy but conflicted about her career.

Alexis: Liam Prescott is the hero of this story. What is he like? Describe his looks, personality and tell us what defines his outlook on life.

Belle: Liam is very handsome. He’s tall with dark brown hair and brown eyes. He is probably the quietest Prescott. He’s a doctor who cares deeply about the world around him and his patients. He looks at life as an opportunity to care for others and show compassion and love. It takes a lot to anger or upset him. He’s a loving husband and devoted father.

Alexis: Ruby and Liam have a son. Tell us about him. How old is he? Who does he look like the most, his Mom or Dad? What is his favorite hobby?

Belle: Their son is named Aidan. He’s a really cool kid. He’s five years old. He looks like a sweet combination with dark hair and light brown skin. He’s biracial and beautiful. His favorite hobby is sledding. He loves the Alaskan outdoors and spending time in nature. He also loves pizza.

Alexis: How did Liam and his son react when Ruby’s avalanche accident happened?

Belle: They were both devastated by her death. Liam had to hold it together so he could raise Aidan as a single father, but he was really messed up emotionally by losing Ruby, the love of his life. One of the beautiful aspects of this story is how Liam and Aidan had to band together in the absence of Ruby so that their little family didn’t fall apart at the seams.

Alexis: Why does Ruby have amnesia? What are her husband and son doing to help her regain her memory?

Belle: Because of the fall she sustained during the avalanche, Ruby suffered a head trauma. She does have spurts and flashes of memory, which lead her back to her hometown of Love. Through the course of the story we see that Ruby begins to remember things. The hope is that she will get back most of her memories, although it is quite possible some things will be forever lost to her. I think Liam and Aidan’s role is to be quietly supportive. Their very presence helps Ruby remember her past.

Alexis: The cover models for your book are beautiful! What race are Ruby and her husband? Why did you choose to write about an interracial romance?

Belle: Yes, they really are gorgeous. Ruby is African American. Liam is Caucasian. Aidan is both. I wanted to write about an interracial couple because that reflects my reality. I myself am biracial and it is something very natural for me to see in my environment. My ancestry is diverse. I am African, Irish and have many other European ties. I think it is realistic in this day and age to show a loving, devoted couple who are interracial.

Alexis: Did you experience any roadblocks to getting your interracial romance story published by a traditional Christian (CBA) publisher? Why or why not?

Belle: Not at all. I presented the character and the story and my editor, Emily Rodmell and Harlequin Love Inspired embraced it. We never discussed race and it was never raised in the story. It was not relevant to their love story in any way, shape or form.

Alexis: Would you like to see more interracial romance stories published by CBA? Why or why not?

Belle: Absolutely. First, I would like to see more diverse characters in CBA. So far, they are really behind the curve in representing people of color in their books. In 2017 this shouldn’t be happening. We need to reflect the world we inhabit, especially as Christians.

Alexis: What were the challenges of writing this book? What were the rewards?

Belle: It was challenging to write an amnesiac because I had to reconcile her new personality with her old personality. In essence, Ruby was born after the head injury. She’s the same person, but different. So I had to remind myself of that fact. Also, I had to portray amnesia in a realistic manner. I didn’t want to have Ruby suddenly remember everything. I think flashes of memory are more realistic. And also, I had to show that she may never regain those memories because that is what happens with real life individuals who suffer from amnesia.

Alexis: If you could spend this Christmas with The Prescott Family, what would you all do? Why?

Belle: If I could spend Christmas with the Prescott Family I would ask them to take me sledding with them on the mountain. It would be so much fun to sled in Alaska and share fun times with this incredible family. I would also love to meet Mayor Jasper Prescott because he is the center of this quaint town and quite a character. He would definitely make me laugh out loud.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Belle! God bless you and Merry Christmas!

Belle: Thanks for having me on your blog. Merry Christmas to you as well. Blessings!

~*~

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 Sandra on Twitter

*Interview conducted by Alexis A. Goring, contributor

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Book Review: My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah

Hi, reader friends! Have you ever gone Greek? Besides watching “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” my knowledge of this rich culture is limited so I am delighted by all the history and heritage within the pages of today’s featured book!

About the Book

My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah by Angie DickenSchoolteacher Leanna McKee plans on leaving the coal mining town of Castle Gate, Utah, and never looking back. Good riddance to coal dust, rugged men, and the fatal mine that took her husband’s life.

Until the widow meets a widower who awakens her heart…and she finds herself inexplicably falling for miner Alex Pappas which stirs up a whole heap of trouble.

Alex’s Greek parents have arranged a more traditional match for him. When the schoolteacher’s association with the Greek family begins to anger the American miners, they threaten Alex and his family. Leanna has received an offer to teach elsewhere and feels she has no choice but to leave Castle Gate. . .though she will be leaving her heart behind.

goodreads | amazon | bookdepository | christianbook

 

My Thoughts

This story of love, hope, and second chances amid heartbreak, disappointment, and prejudice tugs at my heartstrings and reveals yet another pocket of history we would do well to remember.

Leanna McKee is angry and frustrated by her circumstances and I can’t say that I blame her! She surely didn’t expect to end up a poor miner’s widow practically stranded and alone. I have to admire Leanna for marrying both for love and for the freedom to follow her convictions and dreams of teaching the less fortunate.

Alex Pappas has been working in the mines for several years now and he has dealt with a lot over the years. He is a dedicated worker and devoted family man. Alex has made more friends than enemies during his time in America yet it is the actions of a few that tend to be the loudest and most troublesome.

I would love to spend a day or two visiting with the extended Pappas family (especially after they learn a little more English because I don’t speak Greek!) not only for the company but also for the FOOD! Oh, the many tempting dishes in this book make me want to hunt down the nearest Greek restaurant and try everything!

I definitely recommend this story and look forward to more stories from this author and within this series!

I requested the opportunity to read this book through Celebrate Lit.
The opinions expressed are my own.
This review was originally posted on Faithfully Bookish.

 

About the Author

Angie DickenAngie Dicken is a third generation Greek American, the granddaughter of strong men and women who endured hardship to grow American roots.

My Heart Belongs In Castle Gate, Utah is set near the birthplace of her grandfather, a Greek coal miner’s son, and published 100 years after his birth.

Angie is a contributor to The Writer’s Alley blog and an ACFW member since 2010. She lives with her husband and four children in the Midwest where she enjoys exploring eclectic new restaurants and chatting with friends over coffee.

website | facebook

Author InterviewGUEST POST on Faithfully Bookish

 

What aspects of Greek culture do you find most interesting or appealing?
The Pappas family’s deep appreciation for food is completely endearing.

 

Review by Beth Erin

 

Book Spotlight: A Champion’s Heart

Happy Wednesday, Reader Friends!

Thanks for stopping by Diversity Between the Pages to check out the latest book spotlight. We’re featuring Piper Huguley’s  A Champion’s Heart. If you haven’t read it, now’s the time to learn more about it!


About the Book:

The Blurb: “1935. Champion Bates left poky old Winslow, Georgia when he was seventeen years old. He had promised to elope with his childhood sweetheart, but pressured by other influences, he took an earlier train leaving his Delie behind. The pain at leaving her behind has tormented him for the seven years he fought as a ham and egg boxer, trying to make himself worthy of her. He had no chance for the big time until now. He has a fight with a contender boxer–a white man. However, he has been told more fighting will possibly blind him.
Back in Winslow, Cordelia “Delie” Bledsoe is out of luck. A teacher in the local school, she has the care of several children who have been abandoned by their parents. She’s offered $200 to take the children out of Georgia. She wants to take them to her family in Pittsburgh to live on a family farm, but Champion Bates shows up, insistent on helping her. She does not want to trust her old love, but has little choice.
Champion wants to redeem himself with his former sweetheart and doesn’t expect much, but the hair and eyes of one of Delie’s young children tugs at his heart. In this story of sacrifice, Champ and Delie struggle to learn about love and both must grow A Champion’s Heart.”

Links: Amazon, Goodreads


About the Author:

Piper G Huguley, named 2015 Debut Author of the Year by Romance Slam Jam and Breakout Author of the Year by AAMBC, is a two-time Golden Heart ®finalist. and is the author of “Migrations of the Heart,” a three-book series of historical romances set in the early 20th century featuring African American characters, published by Samhain Publishing. Book #1 in the series, A Virtuous Ruby, won Best Historical of 2015 in the Swirl Awards. Book #3 in the series, A Treasure of Gold, was named by Romance Novels in Color as a Best Book of 2015 and received 4 ½ stars from RT Magazine.

Huguley is also the author of the “Home to Milford College” series. The series follows the building of a college from its founding in 1866. On release, the prequel novella to the “Home to Milford College” series, The Lawyer’s Luck, reached #1 Amazon Bestseller status on the African American Christian Fiction charts. Book #1 in the series, The Preacher’s Promise was named a top ten Historical Romance in Publisher’s Weekly by the esteemed historical romance author, Beverly Jenkins and received Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest Contest of Self-Published e-books in 2015.
Her new series “Born to Win Men” starts with A Champion’s Heart as Book #1. A Champion’s Heart was named by Sarah MacLean of The Washington Post as a best romance novel selection for December 2016.
She blogs about the history behind her novels at http://piperhuguley.com. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son.

Follow: Website, Facebook, Twitter

Author Interview: Lee Tobin McClain

Hello, reader friends! From Rescue River and Sacred Bond to her new Arcadia Valley Romance seriestoday’s featured author often highlights diversity through her contemporary romance. 

About the Author

Lee Tobin McClainLee Tobin McClain read Gone With The Wind in the third grade and has been an incurable romantic ever since. The PW bestselling author of fifteen contemporary Christian romances, she enjoys crafting emotional, faith-infused love stories with happy endings.

When she’s not writing, she’s probably driving around a carload of snarky teen girls, playing with her rescue dog and cat, or teaching aspiring writers in Seton Hill University’s MFA program. She is probably not cleaning her house.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

 

Interview

Beth: Writing is generally a solitary endeavor. Tell us a little bit about writing within the Arcadia Valley Romance universe. 

Lee: Writing in Arcadia Valley feels communal in two ways. First, it’s fun being part of a community of writers who are creating Arcadia Valley together. We’ve become good friends and are in touch all the time with questions, ideas, and support for each other.

And second, Arcadia Valley has become a community that feels very alive, with families and shops and greenhouses and farms and churches. We have pictures of the town (it’s modeled on a real town in Idaho) and of the surrounding terrain. When I write about Arcadia Valley, I feel like I’m actually there!

Wise at Heart takes place primarily at the hero’s home—a big converted barn surrounded by open land. That’s because Daniel, the hero, is a bit introverted, and he feels alienated from his family and community. Throughout the book, that changes, and he becomes more strongly connected to his siblings and to Arcadia Valley.

 

About the Book

Wise at Heart by Lee Tobin McClainWhen Daniel Quintana needs a summer nanny for his twins, it only makes sense to hire Tabitha Moore. Just back from an extended mission trip, she needs the job. The fact that she was his wife’s best friend shouldn’t matter, and neither should the fact that he finds her attractive. Daniel’s not in the market for relationships because he’s just so bad at them.

Tabitha Moore doesn’t want to work for Daniel because she knows a terrible secret about his daughters. But when staying with her sister is no longer an option, she feels like she has no choice. After all, it’s just for the summer…

With the help of Daniel’s five-year-old twins, Daniel and Tabitha start to become more than friends. Growing vegetables, rescuing a mama cat and her kittens, eating delicious Mexican food at El Corazon… all of it makes these two lonely souls crave to create a family long term… unless Tabitha’s secret rips apart everything they’re starting to build.

GOODREADS | AMAZON

 

Beth: I’m certainly looking forward to reading Wise at Heart! What do you want readers to gain from this story?

Lee: First, of course, I want readers to escape from their problems and immerse themselves in a happily-ever-after story. Because Wise at Heart has a secret at the center, I want readers to stay up late, turning the pages, to discover how everything plays out.

And I also hope that readers will enjoy seeing how God’s hand hovers over everything, gently nudging us in the directions we need to go in order to become the people He means for us to be.

 

Beth: What inspires you to create diverse minority characters like the Quintana family?

Mexican food

Lee: When I got involved in the Arcadia Valley project, I was immersed in studying Spanish, so that was a factor.

Also, the fictional town of Arcadia Valley is set in a part of Idaho where about 1/3 of the population self-describes as Latino or Hispanic, but when I joined the group, we didn’t yet have any major Latino characters.

Since the series is food-oriented—and since I love Mexican food—it made sense to create the restaurant, El Corazon, run by a family of Mexican descent.

 

Beth: I appreciate your dedication to crafting authentic settings, characters, and stories for your readers. In what ways do the second (and third) generation of the Quintana family honor their Mexican heritage?

Lee: One big way is through food! The Quintana siblings update their family restaurant throughout the series, moving toward healthier, more contemporary fare, but they keep many of their mothers’ traditional recipes untouched.

star-shaped piñata

They also maintain some Mexican holiday customs. For example, in Wise at Heart, the story ends with a traditional posada celebration that marks the beginning of the Christmas season—and leads into the hero and heroine’s happy ending.

On a deeper level, in traditional Latino families, the oldest male is considered as the head of the family. That would be Javier Quintana, the hero of Secrets of the Heart (review), and he feels every bit of that responsibility. His siblings alternately rely on, and get exasperated with, him and his tendency toward bossiness and control.

Honoring your heritage isn’t a simple matter, especially when you’re living in a different country and are surrounded by competing cultural traditions and ideals.

 

Beth: Since food plays such a major role in Arcadia Valley Romance, what is your favorite authentic Mexican dish?

Lee: My favorite authentic Mexican dish is tacos! Not the crunchy Americanized ones, or that abomination my daughter adores, the Walking Taco of concession-stand fame. But rather, small soft tacos made with homemade corn tortillas and various fillings. Buying a tortilla press and learning to use it rocked my culinary world! I’m mostly vegan, so my taco fillings tend to be vegetable based.

 

Coming soon from Lee Tobin McClain…

Available in stores mid-February


preorder now

Romance from the Heart: an Arcadia Valley Romance series

  
Look for Book 3
Joy of My Heart
April 2018

 

Lee, thank you so much for joining us!
Are y’all familiar with Mexican posada celebrations? I learned something new today!

 

interview by Beth Erin

Open Discussion: Vanilla Questions

Hello, reader friends! It’s me again, timidly edging out of my comfort zone to ask an (innocent and hopefully not offensive) question to spark open and honest discussion.

As mentioned in the previous Vanilla Confessions, my home county is not blessed with diversity (96.6% “White alone, not Hispanic or Latino” according to Census.gov).

The only descriptions needed on a regular basis around these parts, besides hair and eye colors, are various degrees of “white” and “farmer’s tan.”

Share which comparisons or adjectives you find appealing,
which ones make you cringe, and why.

What kinds of descriptors are preferable in diverse fiction?
Is it taboo to use food to describe skin color?
Are there alternative ways to identify ethnicity without physical descriptions?

Post by Beth Erin