Book Review: The Samurai’s Heart by Walt Mussell

About the Book

Japan, 1587. Sen must find a husband to marry into her family’s swordsmith business. She seeks a Christian husband, though Christianity is banned.

Enter Nobuhiro. Third son of a high-level samurai, Nobuhiro fled his harsh father and apprenticed himself to a swordsmith. He yearns to prove his worth.

They seem an ideal match. But for Sen, the choice is faith or family. For Nobuhiro, choosing a Christian ends any reconciliation with his family. Can love be forged from the impossible?

goodreads | amazon

 

My Thoughts

This book’s rare setting alone is enough to tempt a horde of historical fiction fans. The story is saturated with the everyday culture and historical climate of late-sixteenth century Japan as well as a healthy dose of suspense and a dash of romance. After months of eager anticipation, I’m so pleased to share my experience of this intriguing literary journey.

Sen is an innocent young woman who is devoted to her faith and her family. As the only living child of her parents, Sen’s duty is to marry and ensure the family business and family name lives on. Simple, right?! Wrong! The ban on Christianity complicates her search for a good husband and endangers her life.

Nobuhiro is completely dedicated to his work and to the master swordsmith he is apprenticing under. While he has tight bonds with his brothers, Nobuhiro is estranged from his father yet still desperate to make him proud. Nobuhiro sets the bar high for himself and bends over backwards to care for his master’s family.

Take your time to savor the little things in this story and a slower pace will help keep those long unfamiliar names from becoming a stumbling block. This book is first in a three part series and while Sen and Naobuhiro’s story came to a satisfying conclusion, there seems to be a suspense thread that will continue throughout the series. Now onto the next order of business, eagerly anticipating the release of book 2!

I received the opportunity to read this book through the Kindle Scout program. The opinions expressed are my own.
This Review was originally posted on Faithfully Bookish.

 

About the Author

Walt MussellWalt Mussell lives in an Atlanta-area suburb with his wife and their two boys. He works for a well-known corporation and writes in his spare time.

Walt primarily writes historicals, with a particular focus on Japan, an interest he gained during the four years he lived there. He refers to his work as “Like Shogun, but the heroine survives.”

Outside of writing, his favorite activity is trying to keep up with his kids. As they are both teenagers, this is proving more difficult each day.

website | facebook | twitter

 

I highly recommend this one, reader friends!
Enter to win The Samurai’s Heart here and here!
What are your thoughts?

 

Reviewed by Beth Erin
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Open Discussion: What Diverse Books Have You Read Lately?

DBTP - letstalk

Hello, fellow diverse book readers! Happy Saturday! Summer is officially over and fall has begun. The perfect time to curl up with a diverse read and drink a mug of hot chocolate or spiced cider or pumpkin spice coffee. 🙂

The question of the day is: what have you read lately in diverse fiction? And/or what’s on your reading list? We want to grow our list of diverse fiction and the only way that works is hearing from others about what they have read or have heard is awesome!

Comment below with your recent diverse reads.

Open Discussion – How to Deal with Prejudice/Racism towards Diverse Books

DBTP - letstalkHappy Saturday, Diverse Book Readers!

I hope everyone has had a lovely week. There has been a lot of negative news in the last few days, so I am glad to have a place like this where people can encourage each other and where we can see that there is hope for a brighter, more diverse future in literature and the world in general.

With the current volatile climate towards diversity, diverse books are more important than ever. Diverse books throughout time have changed people’s views and hearts.

But still there will be people who are angry about diversity and who may even quote scripture or use their words of hatred to quell excitement about diverse books.

This week’s question is: What should we do (or what have you done) when confronted with prejudice or racism towards diverse literature? And what are some of your favorite diverse books that have made a difference in the world?

Please comment below! We can all learn from each other. 🙂

Discussion by Allison K. Garcia

Book Spotlight: Watercolored Pearls by Stacy Hawkins Adams

Happy Wednesday, Reader Friends!

Thanks for stopping by Diversity Between the Pages.

Today, we’re featuring Watercolored Pearls, another book written by the famous journalist-turned-author Stacy Hawkins Adams!

~*~

About the book:

 Three women spend a summer discovering that their less-than-perfect circumstances, their friendships with one another, and their faith are steppingstones to the lives they long to live.

Serena never thought she’d have children; now she has two active toddlers. But instead of being overjoyed, she’s overwhelmed. Did she make the wrong choice in giving up her successful career to be a stay-at-home-mom?

Tawana, an ambitious new lawyer, is trying to pull her life to together, but her past keeps getting in the way. An incredible opportunity at a prestigious law firm forces her to confront her demons. Can her new responsibilities fit with her growing faith?
Erika’s estranged and once-abusive husband wants her back. He says he’s changed, and he’s even going to church. But is he telling the truth? Or is he just smooth-talking her back into a bad situation?

Enjoy this anniversary edition of Stacy Hawkins Adams’ bestselling inspirational women’s fiction novel.

Book purchase links: Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Kobo

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About the Author: Stacy Hawkins Adams is an award-winning author, journalist, and writing mentor whose fiction and nonfiction enlightens readers while helping them find confidence in their own stories.

She has penned nine faith-based novels and one devotional book. She also serves as a parenting columnist for a Virginia-based newspaper and blogs for the Huffington Post on social justice issues.

Stacy lives in Virginia with her family.

Learn more about her at www.StacyHawkinsAdams.com.

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Connect with Stacy:

Website – www.StacyHawkinsAdams.com

Twitter – www.twitter.com/shadams

Facebook – www.facebook.com/stacyinspires

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Book Spotlight: Bitter Eyes No More by April W. Gardner

Hi, reader friends! Today’s featured book is straight from my tbr and I have to say, I am eager to find out what happens when yet another culture is thrown into the mix as the Creek County Saga continues.

 

About the Book

A man of abiding honor, tested by a woman of ruinous passion. A woman of unspeakable sins, pursued by a God of unquenchable mercy.

Bitter Eyes No More by April W. GardnerSpanish Florida once sheltered Lillian McGirth from her fears. Now, it feeds them. Mercy is for the deserving; for Lillian, an unwed mother accused of treason, there is only battering and defeat, but her fall breaks softly in the arms of an unexpected arrival, a man too beautiful of soul to stain with her lost character.

Captain Marcus Buck sails in on a pledge to save Miss McGirth from herself and from her child’s father, a ruthless don. All the while, he’s to regard her as virtuous and worthy of protection and to guard said virtue from pilfering. But the terms are flawed since he must first guard her from himself. Regardless, he is determined. He will free her, repair her name—simple labor compared to dodging the army’s noose, mending wounds three years deep, and navigating a host of rebel Natives bent on inflicting more.

Through the steady crumble of his pledge, their friendship becomes a consolation, for she knows his pain as no other can or will. Their scars are one; their paths, however, might irrevocably become two…

goodreads | amazon

 

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.

website | facebook | twitter

 

Giveaway

Hop on over to goodreads for a chance to win one of five autographed paperback copies of Bitter Eyes No More.
Enter here… giveaway ends June 30!

 

Spotlight post by Beth Erin

Open Discussion – The Importance of Advocacy

Happy Saturday, friends!!

I’m so glad you’ve decided to take time out of your busy schedule to stop by Diversity. We really appreciate your support in making this blog great!

I’m excited to delve into this week’s topic: “Open Discussion – The Importance of Advocacy.”

One of the goals of our blog is to share with avid readers the availability of ethnically diverse Christian fiction. There are authors who write the fiction. Readers who want the fiction. Yet, how can we make a greater impact?

Is it as simple as reading diverse books?

Having authors who write them?

To make a global change, we have to band together. In the comments, share some ways we can advocate for diverse books and what you plan to do. 🙂


Written by Toni Shiloh

Author Interview: Alexis A. Goring

Today we are featuring one of our very own contributors, Alexis A. Goring! I not only got to chat with her about writing, but also about Hope in My Heart. Hope y’all enjoy!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexis A. Goring is a passionate writer with a degree in Print Journalism and an MFA in Creative Writing. She loves the art of storytelling and hopes that her stories will connect readers with the enduring, forever love of Jesus Christ.

Connect with Alexis:
Facebook | Twitter | Website | Pinterest | Goodreads | “God is Love” Blog

INTERVIEW

1. Why did you want to write three short stories in Hope In My Heart: A Collection of Heartwarming Stories? What were the inspirations for each?
It was more of a matter of “What’s ready to publish?” with my first book. So, I chose three of my best short stories that I’d written over the years, found a good book editor and the rest is history! ☺ Since I wrote these short stories over a time span of about maybe 12 years, I don’t remember the inspirations for each one. But I can say that my love for music, movies and people fuel my creativity for each story that I write.

2. What do you hope readers will walk away with after reading the collection?
I hope that readers will have warm hearts and sweet smiles on their faces because they’ve read an example of how all things work together for the good of those who love God (Romans 8:28) in the stories and that’s true to real-life.

3. Do you have a favorite (or two!) character? We promise not to tell the others.
I have a favorite character in each story! ☺ Esmeralda is my favorite in the first story, “Love Unexpected” because she’s beautiful, brilliant and a very good matchmaker for Chandra (the heroine). Eric Hazelton (Christina’s love interest) is my favorite character in “The Best Gift” because he’s swoon-worthy, smart and so kind to Christine (I adore how he woos her heart). Elle is my favorite character in “Peace and Love” because I relate to her plight as a “starving artist”.

4. What role does faith play in these stories?
Threads of faith in God are woven throughout each story and play a critical role in the outcome of each story. I think that my readers will appreciate and maybe relate to the journey that my characters go on with God.

5. What made you want to be an author? And more specifically, a Christian fiction author?
I wanted to be an author since age 9 because of my love for reading and writing. Also, that was when I wrote my first “book” and fell in love with the creative process. As an adult, I wanted to be an author of Christian fiction because I believe that our world needs stories of hope, love and faith in God. It’s important to share God’s love for humankind with the world in a way that brings them closer to His Heart and changes the world for the better. I believe that good Christian fiction is like a witnessing tool for spreading the good news of Jesus Christ and encouraging people who need hope. It’s also refreshing to read books that make the reader feel good about life, books that make them want to know more about the real God that the fictional characters in these books pray to and believe in.

6. Who are some authors who have inspired you?
Becky Wade, Brandy Bruce and Mary Manners inspire my writer heart!

7. What is something about your life right now that you would never have imagined 5 years ago?
I never would have imagined that I’d be friends with my favorite authors! It is a blessing from God and I’m so grateful.

8. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
Nothing because my journey got me where I am today.

9. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
When Cynthia Hickey offered me my first writing contract with her traditional publishing company, Forget Me Not Romances.

10. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
The Creator of the Universe loves you unconditionally! Seek Him because He has good plans for your life. Read John 3:16 and Jeremiah 29:11.

And now a couple for fun!
Yay!

Tea or Coffee?
Green tea from PANERA

Cats or dogs?
Adorable puppies

Beach or mountains?
The beaches in California and the Caribbean islands!

ABOUT THE BOOK

 

Hope in My Heart is a collection of short, heartwarming stories with characters in need of hope.

In Love Unexpected, a car crash brings commitment-wary Sebastian and career woman Chandra together. Neither is looking for romance, but those around them see the potential, and Sebastian and Chandra discover that sometimes love shows up unexpectedly.

Christmastime is the setting for the middle story, The Best Gift. Christina desires to lose ten pounds so she can fit into her dress for her sister’s wedding. Jordan wishes her mom would stop trying to marry her off. And Joshua hopes to be reunited with his ex-girlfriend but eventually learns that the best gift this Christmas will be the restoration of his relationship with God.

In Peace and Love, three characters living in a metropolitan area are desperately searching. Elle, a starving artist, aspires to become a paid professional. Eric, a divorce attorney, wants to resolve his issues concerning his parents’ divorce. Kristine anticipates finding her birth mom before she marries Derek. All characters pray their searches will conclude this holiday season and fill their hearts with peace and love.

WHERE TO BUY: Amazon

Thanks so much for sharing Alexis and I hope y’all enjoyed getting to know more about Alexis and her writing!

Book Review: Veil of Pearls by MaryLu Tyndall

She thought she could outrun her past…

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

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

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

REVIEW

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Spotlight: A Girl Named Mister by Nikki Grimes

We have another YA book for you all to check out from award winning author Nikki Grimes!

About the Book

3052eb_f450Mary Rudine, called Mister by almost everyone, has attended church and sung in the choir for as long as she can remember. But then she meets Trey. His long lashes and smooth words make her question everything, and one mistake leaves her hiding a growing secret.

Another Mary is excited about her upcoming wedding, and has done everything according to Jewish law. So when an angel appears and tells her—a virgin—she’ll give birth, Mary can’t help but feel confused, and soon finds herself struggling with the realities of God’s blessing.

While feeling abandoned, Mister is drawn to Mary’s story, and through reading begins to understand the future laid before her.

What Critics Are Saying

“This novel in poetry looks clearly at both teen pregnancy and struggles with faith. Mister is exceptionally well characterized … The language is intimate and immediate.” -Kirkus Reviews

Where to Buy: Amazon | B&N | CBD

About the Author

ph_nikkigrimes_2016_300dpi_3x5New York Times bestselling author Nikki Grimes is the recipient of the 2017 Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, the 2016 Virginia Hamilton Literary Award, and the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Her distinguished works include the much-honored books Garvey’s Choice, ALA Notable book What is Goodbye?, Coretta Scott King Award winner Bronx Masquerade, and Coretta Scott King Author Honor books Jazmin’s Notebook, Talkin’ About Bessie, Dark Sons, Words with Wings, and The Road to Paris. Creator of the popular Meet Danitra Brown, Ms. Grimes lives in Corona, California.

Connect with the author!
Website | Twitter | Facebook

Book Spotlight: Black, White, Other: In Search of Nina Armstrong by Joan Steinau Lester

Today’s spotlight features award winning author, Joan Steinau Lester’s YA novel, Black, White and Other: In Search of Nina Armstrong.

About the Book

Black white and otherIdentity Crisis.
As a biracial teen, Nina is accustomed to a life of varied hues—mocha-colored skin, ringed brown hair streaked with red, a black father, a white mother. When her parents decide to divorce, the rainbow of Nina’s existence is reduced to a much starker reality. Shifting definitions and relationships are playing out all around her, and new boxes and lines seem to be drawn every day.

Between the fractures within her family and the racial tensions splintering her hometown, Nina feels caught in perpetual battle. Stranded in a nowhere land of ethnic boundaries, and struggling for personal independence and identity, Nina turns to the story of her great-great-grandmother’s escape from slavery in hopes of finding her own compass to help navigate the challenges before her.

What Critics and Others Are Saying

“Lester conjures a credible plot and complications; divorce is a fact of life and racially mixed heritage is conspicuously becoming one. The simple contrapuntal narrative of Sarah Armstrong’s escaping slavery distinguishes the book emotionally and psychologically, raising it above other issue-oriented Young Adult novels. Lester writes with social sensitivity and an ear for teen language and concerns. This is engaging treatment of a challenging subject that comes with little precedent.” * – Starred Publishers Weekly Review

“The tenderness and truth of your book moved my heart. As well as the enormous love you have.” – Alice Walker

“Teens will be caught by the alternating stories, and yes, by the messages about…prejudice, then and now, which will make for great group discussion.” – Booklist

Where to Buy: Amazon | B&N | CBD.com | Goodreads

About the Author

joanlester_6532-210-expJoan Steinau Lester, Ed.D. the award-winning commentator, columnist, and author of four critically praised books, is also a freelance editor.

A Bellwether Prize Finalist, Arts & Letters Creative Nonfiction Finalist, and NLGJA Seigenthaler Award winner, her writing has appeared in the Alaska Quarterly Review, Essence, USA Today, LA Times, SF Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, Cosmopolitan, NY Times Syndicate: New American Voices, Huffington Post, Black Issues in Education, and Common Dreams. Her commentaries regularly air on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” San Francisco’s KQED “Perspectives,” and Public Radio International’s “Marketplace.”

She is the author of the acclaimed biography ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON: FIRE IN MY SOUL, as well as THE FUTURE OF WHITE MEN And Other Diversity Dilemmas and TAKING CHARGE: Every Woman’s Action Guide.

BLACK, WHITE, OTHER: The Search for Nina Armstrong, her first novel, garnered starred reviews and her second, MAMA’S CHILD, has just been released to critical acclaim.

After receiving her doctorate in multicultural education, Dr. Lester was Executive Director of the Equity Institute for sixteen years. This national nonprofit firm, first based in Amherst and then Emeryville, California, pioneered the diversity wave of the ’80s and ’90s. She continues as a member of its successor, the Equity Consulting Group.

Lester’s books have earned praise from print media like Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus Review, Ms, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Detroit Free Press, The San Francisco Chronicle, Executive Female, American Personnel Journal, Belles Lettres, Black Issues Book Review, and the American Society of Trainers and Developers. Her books are in wide use as college texts and corporate handbooks.

Her numerous recognitions include the NLGJA Siegenthaler Award for commentary on National Public Radio. The San Francisco’s Women’s Heritage Museum nominated TAKING CHARGE as a Best Women’s Book; Amazon.com named TAKING CHARGE one of its “10 BEST BUSINESS BOOKS FOR WOMEN” and The Washington Post singled out FIRE IN MY SOUL for its top-listed, recommended books, “What Washingtonians are reading.”

Dr. Lester is quoted as an expert by print media from The New York Times to Woman’s World. Her published work has been excerpted in publications as varied as Essence, Executive Female, legal journals, and books on diversity. She has been a guest expert on Donahue, CNN, Caryl & Marilyn Show, G. Gordon Liddy, and SkyRadio, as well as hundreds of other radio and television programs. FIRE IN MY SOUL was featured on Terry Gross’ top-rated “Fresh Air” Program.

A member of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, Dr. Lester lives in Northern California and enjoys the full-time writing life she long envisioned.

Connect with the author!
Website | Twitter | Facebook

Have you had a chance to read this one?