Book Review: This Courageous Journey by Misty M. Beller

Happy Fri-nally, friends! Are you as ready for the weekend as I am?!?

Well if you’re looking for a great diverse read for your weekend plans, I’ve got another recommendation for you!

About the Book

this courageous journeyAs the fifth daughter in a family of nine children, Noelle Grant has spent her life working to be unique. Her love of stories helps define her goal—to be known around the country as one of the top news correspondents of her time. And what better way to uncover sensational stories than to travel through the mountain wilderness to visit the brother she hasn’t seen in years? The trip comes together perfectly as she plans to journey with family friends who will be settling in the same area. Her first inkling that things may not be as perfect as planned comes in the form of the mountain man they hire as their guide for the final leg of the journey.

When Daniel Abrams agrees to guide the small group of easterners along his usual journey northward to the Canadian mountains, his gut tells him he’s making the wrong decision. But if he doesn’t take them, who will? The man in charge refuses to consider turning back. As they start out, Daniel can’t help but notice the woman traveling under the care of her friends. Though she appears too genteel to last long in these mountains, she soon reveals a strength that draws him more than he should allow.

As the dangers of this wilderness become more than the group bargained for, Noelle is faced with the choice to delay her journey northward or proceed alone with the man she’s come to trust against all reason. She never imagines her decision will place her—and the man she loves—in a situation more hazardous than any story her imagination could conjure.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | B&N

My Thoughts

Misty Beller has quickly become one of my favorite historical romance authors. While I didn’t start reading her books until this Heart of the Mountains series, I can’t kick myself too much because that just means I have her backlist waiting for me to discover and enjoy next!

In This Courageous Journey, book #4 in the Heart of the Mountains series, we meet Simeon’s little sister Noelle Grant (don’t worry though – you can definitely read this as a stand alone too) and her group’s wilderness guide Daniel Abrams. As in each of these Heart of the Mountains books, the journey through the Canadian Rockies is treacherous and gives me a new appreciation for those who braved the often-fatal terrain to forge a new life. These characters and their courage – knowing that, while Noelle and Daniel are fictional, there were real people who endured these journeys – is so inspiring.

Daniel in particular is a complex character with many dimensions to his backstory. Namely, in his heritage and how he wrestles with the nuances of that history. Beller has framed this character well – with all the various layers that make Daniel uniquely himself. The way he relates to the various people they meet along their journey – and how he guards himself even among people he trusts – is further testament to the cultures and complexities that make up his history.

Tucked away in the adventure and romance is a gentle thread of faith that has a two-fold message. One is that God is with us, even when things seem to be getting worse instead of better. He’s there. He’s good. And He loves us dearly. The other part of the thread is a tender reminder that the way we see ourselves, even the way others see us, is a pale – and often inaccurate – reflection of the strength and worth God sees when He looks at us. And since we are never outside of His watch, our truest self is held there in His heart for us to find as we know Him (and ourselves) better along the journey.

Bottom Line: If you have not yet discovered this edge-of-your-seat, heart-in-your-throat series you are really missing out. I experienced the whole gamut of emotions while reading This Courageous Journey – moments that had me gasping out loud in shock, sighing in (sometimes very short-lived) relief, swooning at the passionate kisses and love, and even nearly praying for their safety. That’s how invested I was in this story and the characters that Beller has so skillfully crafted. Adventure, humor, romance, and faith are all a part of this riveting novel which is not to be missed!

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
Review first seen, in part, on ReadingIsMySuperPower.org

About the Author

misty beller.JPGMisty M. Beller writes romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love.

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

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

CONNECT WITH MISTY:  website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

This Courageous Journey is on tour right now with CelebrateLit – follow along HERE for a chance to win a gift card!

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Author Guest Post: Matt Mikalatos

Happy Monday, friends! Today, Matt Mikalatos is sharing why diversity is so important – in life and in fiction. His newest book The Crescent Stone features diverse characters, humor and an intriguing fantasy world.


Diversity – Why We Need Each Other

by Matt Mikalatos

When I first started writing my fantasy novel, The Crescent Stone, I knew a key theme was going to be about privilege and ethnic diversity. My main character, Madeline Oliver, was well-off, white, well-educated, attractive and intelligent . . . privileged in nearly every way you can be in our culture. She did not, however, have great health: she had a terminal lung disease, and even though she was young she was dying.

One of her classmates, Jason Wu, had fewer of the same privileges, but still was doing pretty well for himself. He had a personal tragedy in his recent past that he was working through, and had decided he would only tell the truth no matter what happened. He would, in fact, volunteer the truth when it wasn’t strictly necessary.

In my first few chapters, the plan was to keep Madeline as the main character, and Jason as one of a host of other characters around her in her journey. But it became clear, part of the way through, that we needed Jason’s point of view, too. Madeline by herself wasn’t seeing everything she could.

My editor suggested making Jason and Madeline both point-of-view characters, with alternating chapters, and I agreed to try it. The book came alive in a new way! Here are three things I noticed as I wrote the novel this new way.

  1. Diverse points of view help us to see things we miss.

Early in the novel, Madeline and Jason are walking through a tunnel that leads them into a magical world called the Sunlit Lands. In the first draft, from Madeline’s point of view, we’re told how the tunnel gets increasingly older . . . from concrete to brick to very old brick and eventually to stone walls. When I retold the same moment from Jason’s point of view, he noticed something that Madeline had not: Chinese characters etched into the oldest bricks. Jason stopped to think about something that never occurred to Madeline: who built this place? He stopped and read some of the names etched there, and he talked to Madeline about his own ancestors, who had come to the United States and worked on things like building the railroads. This was something that Madeline missed completely, and I, as her author, didn’t notice until I was writing as Jason. That was a weird feeling!

  1. We learn best in diverse settings.

Madeline and Jason arrive in the Sunlit Lands to discover that the people of the Sunlit Lands are dizzyingly diverse . . . not just the “magical races” of other creatures, but also a variety of ethnicities and nationalities from Earth. Madeline’s roommate is a Syrian Christian, and Jason’s two roommates are Hawaiian and Native American. As Madeline works to unravel the mystery of the Sunlit Lands, each of these people contributes along the way. If it had been (like my favorite fantasies of my youth) all white British kids, they would likely never discover the answer to what is happening in the Sunlit Lands, because it wouldn’t occur to them to ask.

  1. We make better decisions with diverse advisors.

Once Madeline realizes what is happening in the Sunlit Lands, she’s struck with a nearly impossible choice . . . one that requires either enormous sacrifice or the harm of many other people, or possibly both. I don’t want to include any spoilers, but through the relationships and help of the people with her, she’s able to find a third choice . . . a hard decision, still, but something that lets her be true to herself without harming innocents. She wouldn’t have found that path on her own, because she wouldn’t have seen it.

In the “real world” we need each other, too. Our diverse points of view and experiences help us to see the world, to learn better, and to make better decisions.


About the Book

the crescent stoneA girl with a deadly lung disease . . .
A boy with a tragic past . . .
A land where the sun never sets but darkness still creeps in . . .

Madeline Oliver has never wanted for anything, but now she would give anything just to breathe. Jason Wu skates through life on jokes, but when a tragedy leaves him guilt-stricken, he promises to tell only the truth, no matter the price.

When a mysterious stranger name Hanali appears to Madeline and offers to heal her in exchange for one year of service to his people, Madeline and Jason are swept into a strange land where they don’t know the rules and where their decisions carry consequences that reach farther than they could ever guess.

GOODREADS  | AMAZON | B&N

About the Author

matt miklatosMatt Mikalatos writes books (surprise!). In the past, Matt worked as a high school teacher and a comic book clerk, but currently focuses on nonprofit work devoted to helping people love one another despite their differences.

He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, three daughters, two unicorns, a gryphon, a dragon, and three brine shrimp.

website | Facebook | Twitter

Author Interview: Jaycee Weaver

Welcome to another week of diverse Christian reads here at DBP! Today, we’re kicking things off with an author interview. Jaycee Weaver is the author of Whatever Comes Our Way, the second book in her Everyday Love series.


q&a

Why do you write stories with diverse characters?

Jaycee: The world is a big, beautiful, multi-colored place. Why wouldn’t we want to represent the beautiful tapestry of cultures and peoples in fiction the way they are in reality? At least, that’s how I think.

I’m an overly avid reader, and I firmly believe that fiction readers tend to learn empathy well because they are always putting themselves in other characters’ heads. That makes fiction a perfect vehicle for reaching people’s hearts and showing them that we are all just human beings. While we might have different values or traditions or cultural identities that set us apart from others, ultimately, we are all humans who love and live on the same planet. We are children of the same God, which means we should honor one another and treat each other with love and understanding.

With that, I felt led to set my books in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I live. It’s not a place very well represented among all the big cities and fictional small towns, but it’s a wonderful place that holds my heart. There is absolutely no way I could set stories here without being willing to represent all the different facets of our culture. Hispanics outnumber every other people group here, so it’s just logical to tell stories that involve characters of Hispanic descent. I have always been fascinated by the culture, food, language, and love of family I experience in this state.

Beth: I couldn’t agree more with your thinking! 

Tell us a little bit about your latest series. 

Jaycee: The Everyday Love series is about regular people in everyday situations. I love that I can showcase my city and all of the many things I love about it!

What Could Be, the first in the series, is about a college student named Brynn who is trying to figure out what it really means to follow God’s will. She has all of these massive expectations for herself, some good, some unrealistic, and it isn’t easy for her to let go of the preconceived notions she’s grown up believing. Josh Davis is a single father who has rededicated his life to Christ. He’s drawn to Brynn and her innocence, but the things that pique him also make him second-guess himself. As their friendship develops, they really have to figure out if maybe God has a bigger plan for them than they thought possible.

Whatever Comes Our Way is actually my personal favorite of the two (so far). Gina Hernandez has some fairly deep-rooted issues. She’s a bundle of contradictions sometimes, but she has a heart for taking care of other hurting people. Jaydon Bennett is a reformed pastor’s kid, now a youth pastor himself, who has a painful past of his own. The two immediately share a strong connection, but while they are trying to navigate this new relationship, Jaydon comes across a family in crisis. Their experiences just might make them the perfect people to help do the Lord’s work in their lives.

Beth: Oh, these stories sound like they’re right up my alley!

Describe Gina.

Jaycee: I have to admit, I really adore Gina. She was raised by a single mother whose partying ways put her at risk and led to a whole slew of issues including severe anxiety, a distorted body image, and an overdeveloped sense of personal responsibility. By nature, she’s determined and strong-willed, with a bit of snark and sass, but she’s also a natural caregiver. Her first-generation immigrant grandparents helped raise her early on, and their loving influence is what has helped her get past the damage her mother inflicted unaware.

My heart when writing her story was to really get at the heart of some of the ugly things that happen to people in this fallen world, but how a loving God takes those things and makes something beautiful from them. Gina has to learn to trust, and Jaydon makes it easy. My favorite stories are those that take heavy issues and make them not feel so heavy. I want to be inspired, to reaffirm my undying belief that God will never leave us to deal with things on our own and that we are never too far gone. Ever. So that’s how I tried to write Gina.

Beth: Gina sounds like a great character! 

What do you hope readers will gain from your story?

Jaycee: I think I pretty much summed it up already. My prayer is that readers will finish my books inspired and uplifted, maybe even with a renewed sense of hope for their own lives. I hope readers connect to my characters and think, “Whoa, that’s me. I’m not perfect, I’m not always a ‘good Christian,’ but God still loves me.” I don’t want to write white-washed fiction where everybody is living a perfect faith walk, because the reality is, even Christians struggle with sin and fall short. We need hope that the Lord can still use us and show Himself in our everyday lives because LOVE is what draws us to Him.

Beth: Yes, yes, yes!!! I’m so excited about reading your stories, friend!

Who are some of your favorite authors of “diverse reads”?

Jaycee: I’ll be honest. I don’t go into a book specifically hoping it’s “diverse”. I go into it hoping it’s authentic, with characters from lots of different walks of life.

But when I consider authors that come to mind right off the bat who represent diverse characters? Definitely Toni Shiloh, for one. I get so hungry when I read her Maple Run series! Sarah Monzon is another of my favorite writers, as is Chautona Havig. Belle Calhoune is one I haven’t read in a while but used to. Jenn Faulk is one of my most favorite authors because I just love her voice. I know quite a few of her characters have been from Africa and Japan, and she also features several missionary characters. I could easily list another three dozen writers I follow whose books I voraciously devour, but I think I’ll quit here. HAHA!

Beth: We share several favorites! 

What book are you reading right now?

Jaycee: Oh, now that’s so hard to answer, because it will change four times between writing, submitting, publishing, and someone reading this! If you look at my GoodReads profile, it will tell you I’m loving the Once Upon a Laugh collection, still trying to finish the Timeless Love collection (I’m a moody reader with historical), the Yesterday’s Mail collection, but also All the Way to Heaven by Becky Doughty. That’s way more collections than I normally read at once, but so many good ones have been in my TBR pile for entirely too long!

Beth: I can completely relate!  Thanks so much for visiting with us, Jaycee! 

 

about the book

Gina Hernandez is no stranger to hard work. She’s got three jobs to prove it. Trauma in her teens may have left her with severe anxiety and some body image issues, but no one can say she’s not a fighter. Her life has never been easy. It’s what’s made her strong.

Then she meets youth pastor Jaydon Bennett, a gentle giant with a big beard and an even bigger heart—though it does have a few scars. He’s never doubted God could bring him the perfect woman, he just never thought He really would. Until Gina.

When Jaydon encounters a troubled teen whose family is in crisis, he and Gina have to figure out if maybe the painful pasts they’ve been dealing with just might equip them to help this hurting family.

Goodreads | amazon

 

about the author

Jaycee Weaver lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her amazing husband, three daughters, a crazy shih-tzu, and a dwarf rabbit. When she’s not writing, she’s probably in hot pursuit of her 90 million other hobbies or shuttling the kids around.

Jaycee loves to read books in multiple genres, drink too much coffee (honestly, when are they going to make the coffee IV a real thing?!), sing, take landscape and floral photos, sew, cook, bake, and craft just about anything (can we say Pinterest?).

She considers herself a recovering perfectionist and sometimes hot mess. She does her best to live her faith in action, being open, honest, and real and letting God be Lord over the good, the bad, and the ugly even when it’s hard.

website | facebook | twitter | instagram | pinterest

 

Don’t y’all just want to be Gina’s friend and learn all about her story?!
I’d love to meet her grandparents too! Be sure to say hi to Jaycee in the comments.

 

interview by Beth Erin

Book Review: Finally Accepted by Toni Shiloh

Happy Friday, friends! YAY! I hope you have fun plans for the weekend – and I hope those plans include a great book 🙂

Speaking of great books, I highly recommend this one by Toni Shiloh!

About the Book

finallyacceptedfinalThere’s only one thing Chloe Smith has ever wanted: family. Yet the DNA results she’s received have thrown her life into a tailspin. Her utmost desire has ended up being the catalyst for shaking her faith. She doesn’t even know who she is anymore, and she’s certainly too messed up for her longtime crush to give her more than a second glance.

Darryl Jones is struggling between his past and the grace God so freely offers. His sins feel too big for him to handle, let alone expect the woman of his dreams to accept. Chloe is the only woman he’s ever wanted and the one he doesn’t deserve.

As they form a tentative relationship and examine their faith, Chloe and Darryl ache to know they are finally accepted and fully loved.

GOODREADS | AMAZON

My Thoughts

One of my favorite things about Toni Shiloh’s books is the way she writes such warm stories that also tackle tough issues. It’s not an easy balance to keep the tone friendly and relatable while also wrestling with emotional topics such as abortion, racial identity, abuse, etc. Even with heavy plot lines, the tone of the story never feels heavy itself.

Shiloh shines in this area once again with Finally Accepted. Chloe and Darryl are layered characters who are struggling to feel accepted – by God and by the ones they love. It shows up in different ways in each of them, but the driving force is very similar. Related to their insecurities, these characters also explore racial identity issues, specifically related to being biracial. This perspective was particularly intriguing to me, as a white woman. Chloe’s struggles with not knowing how to relate to herself anymore, with feeling like she wouldn’t be accepted by either race – these are all things that had never occurred to me before, and I so appreciate the author broadening my own perspective in the process.

The romance between Chloe and Darryl has been brewing since book one in the Freedom Lake series, and Darryl in love is just adorably awkward. Lol. He doesn’t know quite what to do with himself whenever Chloe is around – and Chloe is much the same way around Darryl. I very much enjoyed watching the two of them figure out what the rest of us have seen all along 😉

One final element that I loved about Chloe and Darryl’s relationship was watching them navigate the different steps in their journeys with Jesus. Chloe has been a believer for a long time but her faith is a little shaken by the news she’s received about her family. Darryl is just beginning his relationship with Jesus, and there are lots of ins and outs and ‘finer details’ that he doesn’t quite get yet. Shiloh does a great job here of authentically grasping the faith struggles that both encounter along the way – and framing it from the right perspective.

If you haven’t yet traveled to Freedom Lake, you really must ‘book’ a trip soon!

And while you’re at it, Toni Shiloh is profiling Chloe and Darryl today over at my own blog with a giveaway – check it out HERE

About the Author

tonishilohToni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.

She spends her days hanging out with her husband and their two boys. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and president of the Virginia Chapter.

website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

Book Spotlight: Finally Accepted by Toni Shiloh

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Today I’m spotlighting the newest book by our own Toni Shiloh, the third book in her Freedom Lake series.

About the Book

finallyacceptedfinalThere’s only one thing Chloe Smith has ever wanted: family. Yet the DNA results she’s received have thrown her life into a tailspin. Her utmost desire has ended up being the catalyst for shaking her faith. She doesn’t even know who she is anymore, and she’s certainly too messed up for her longtime crush to give her more than a second glance.

Darryl Jones is struggling between his past and the grace God so freely offers. His sins feel too big for him to handle, let alone expect the woman of his dreams to accept. Chloe is the only woman he’s ever wanted and the one he doesn’t deserve.

As they form a tentative relationship and examine their faith, Chloe and Darryl ache to know they are finally accepted and fully loved.

GOODREADS | AMAZON

About the Author

tonishilohToni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.

She spends her days hanging out with her husband and their two boys. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and president of the Virginia Chapter.

website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram


Have you been following the Freedom Lake series? Which character is your fave?

Book Review: Protection for Hire by Camy Tang

Happy Friday, friends! I hope you have fabulous plans for the weekend that involve reading lots of great books! Today, in our latest book review, I’m looking at a romantic suspense by author Camy Tang, whose books I’ve been wanting to read for a long time.

About the Book

protection for hireTessa Lancaster’s skills first earned her a position as an enforcer in her Uncle Teruo’s Japanese Mafia gang. Then they landed her in prison for a crime she didn’t commit. Now, three months after her release, Tessa’s abilities have gained her a job as bodyguard for wealthy socialite Elizabeth St. Amant and her three-year-old son.

But there’s a problem or two … or three …. There’s Elizabeth’s abusive husband whose relentless pursuit goes deeper than mere vengeance. There’s Uncle Teruo, who doesn’t understand why Tessa’s new faith as a Christian prevents her from returning to the yakuza. And then there’s Elizabeth’s lawyer, Charles Britton, who Tessa doesn’t know is the one who ensured that she did maximum time behind bars.

Now Tessa and Charles must work together in order to protect their client, while new truths emerge and circumstances spiral to a deadly fever pitch. Factor in both Tessa’s and Charles’s families and you’ve got some wild dynamics—and an action-packed, romantic read as Tessa and Charles discover the reality of being made new in Christ.

GOODREADS | AMAZON

My Thoughts

This may have been my first read by Camy Tang but it won’t be my last! Well-defined and layered (sometimes hilarious) characters, romance, humor, faith, cultural diversity, and smartly-plotted suspense (with martial arts!) all come together for a truly entertaining and compelling reading experience.

Tessa’s life is complicated, to say the least. It was already complicated before she went to prison while ‘taking one for the team’ for her beloved uncle’s yakuza (Japanese mafia gang). But in prison she decided to follow Jesus and while she knows she’s been made new she’s struggling to adapt to the drastic changes she has made and the uphill battle she faces in a family that doesn’t understand her decision. I really loved Tang’s portrayal of Tessa’s journey. It’s never preachy, but it is an authentic look at what it means to follow Jesus as a new believer whose family is not at all supportive of the transformation – and what being made new in Jesus really means.

Tessa’s and Charles’ families are wonderfully wacky and are sure to leave a smile on your face! Elizabeth is hilarious too, even though her story is sobering and all too common, and there were many moments that I laughed out loud at something one of these characters said or did. Even Tessa and Charles’ meet-cute is hysterical – it’s not every day that … well… you’ll just have to read it for yourself 😉 On top of the humor and heart, this story is also action-packed with a few surprising twists and an intriguing blend of cultures.

If you love diverse characters, grinning from ear-to-ear, and staying completely immersed in a story’s action and suspense, then you really must go grab a copy of Protection for Hire (and its sequel) today!

About the Author

camy tangCamy writes Christian contemporary romance and romantic suspense as Camy Tang and Regency romance as USA Today bestselling author Camille Elliot. She grew up in Hawaii but now lives in northern California with her engineer husband and rambunctious dog. She graduated from Stanford University in psychology with a focus on biology, but for nine years she worked as a biologist researcher.

Then God guided her path in a completely different direction and now she’s writing full time, using her original psychology degree as she creates the characters in her novels. In her free time, she’s a staff worker for her church youth group and leads one of her church’s Sunday worship teams. She also loves to knit, spin wool into yarn, and is training to (very slowly) run a marathon.

CONNECT: website | Facebook | Twitter

What about you?
What interests you most about this book?

 

Open Discussion: Dealing with Haters

DBTP - letstalk

Hey, friends! So lately I have found myself at odds on social media. My books deal with the topic of undocumented immigrants and about loving your neighbors, regardless of their status. I truly feel like through my books, God wants me to both challenge other white Christians’ negative stereotypes against immigrants and help them recognize that they too, are made in God’s image, and should be loved as anyone else, and I want to represent people of color as being the strong, amazing people they are and accurately depict their struggles and joys.

For this reason, I often share and comment on posts that deal with this subject, which, as you can imagine, have been numerous these days.

I feel so many emotions flow through me as I read posts and responses from friends and family and acquaintances: anger, disbelief, sadness, desperation, hurt, even helpless at times. To see the anger, the hate, pouring from the screen as they speak of my brothers and sisters in Christ, my husband and his family, my son, my friends, it is exhausting.

I’m not going to give up on writing my books, because I have prayed about it and God keeps giving me ideas. But, part of me wonders if it will make a difference, if people are too far gone…if hate has taken them over so deeply that they will be unable to recognize it in themselves and stop it in its path before its too late.

So, pardon my sad ramblings, but has anyone else ever felt this way while writing diverse Christian fiction or being a POC or just in general? And if so, how do you deal with the haters and take care of yourself?

Please let me know below!

Book Review: Pursued by Linda K. Rodante

Yay! it’s Friday!

And that means a book review!

About the Book

pursued rodanteThe man Cristina Torres has fallen in love with kisses her and then disappears for ten years. Now he’s back but with two detectives as shadows, and someone’s trying to kill her.

Should she trust him or run for her life?

Dr. Chase Richards has fled his Christian roots long enough. He’s returning to his hometown in Tennessee to make amends—at what he thinks is God’s direction. But the way is not just hard, it’s almost impossible.

The girl he once loved is now a woman—and she wants nothing to do with him.

In addition, the opioid study he started and left in Virginia has followed him across state lines. The police have warned him that he’s in imminent danger. His well organized life is no longer safe or ordered—and neither is Cristina’s.

Can he discover who’s trying to kill them before she becomes collateral damage?

GOODREADS | AMAZON


My Thoughts

“So what if free sometimes felt like lonely…”

Pursued is my first book by Linda Rodante but it won’t be my last! And while it’s the 6th book in her Dangerous series, it can be easily read as a stand alone. Characters from book #4 – Looking for Justice – play a role in Cristina and Chase’s story but, other than feeling like Luke and Alexis had a story of their own somewhere, you don’t ever feel lost or like you’ve missed something important.

Cristina is a strong heroine who does battle in the courts as a children’s advocate lawyer. She’s not easily intimidated but she carries a lingering burden of abandonment by the man she fell in love with at 16. Completely understandable since he kissed her and then pretty much immediately disappeared with no contact for 10 years. If I was Cris’ friend, Chase would be in my purse-whomping sights. Just saying.

Chase is a good guy who made some stupid decisions in his young adulthood (and who hasn’t?) – decisions that cost him a lot of relationships. After dealing with the grief that made him act out and renewing his relationship with God and others he hurt in the grief process, he has one remaining name on his list – Cristina. I love love LOVED his gentle pursuit of her in Pursued. Coincidence? I think not 🙂

The way the author framed the title throughout the story has many great layers. Cris and Chase are not only being pursued by some malicious-minded person (perhaps the same one?), but Chase is intent on pursuing Cristina’s heart once again. In the meantime, God has been unceasingly pursuing Cristina since the day she walked away from Him in anger and disillusionment. He hasn’t given up on her, and neither has Chase. And while the first pursuit clearly means her harm, the wooing from both Chase and God has only the best of intentions for her tender heart. I always love it when a book’s title has more than one meaning to the story, and Rodante nails it in this story!

Bottom Line: A Tennessee mountain setting, tense suspense, sweet romance, diverse & compelling characters. My kind of book. The story is well-paced, and you’ll want to be friends with all the main characters. While some parts of the plot become a bit predictable toward the end, you won’t care because of the smartly-drawn action and character development. It deals with timely real-life issues like opiod/prescription drug addiction from more than one angle. A swoony ending will put a smile on your face, and the message of restoration is clear without being preachy.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author.
All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
THIS REVIEW ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON READING IS MY SUPERPOWER

About the Author

linda rodanteLinda was born and raised in Florida. She is married with two grown sons, a daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren. At twenty-six, she discovered the miraculous love of Jesus Christ. God blessed her with a passion for the written word—especially mysteries and romantic suspense novels, from Nancy Drew to Agatha Christie, from Dee Henderson to Kristen Heitzman. She speaks about and works against human trafficking. Visit her blog on this subject: Writing for God, Fighting Human Trafficking.

website | Facebook | Twitter

What about you, dear readers? How have you been pursued by God?

Author Interview with Alexis A. Goring

loveinpictures

Interview with Alexis A. Goring, author of Love in Pictures:

Allison: Alexis, I am so excited to interview you today! Please tell me a little about your background and what brought you to writing.

Alexis: Hi, Allison! I’m a writer and editor with a B.A. in Print Journalism, MFA in Creative Writing, and more than 10 years of work experience as a media professional. I’ve always loved the written word but it was my Mom who started me on this writing journey around the age of four when she required me to write in a journal everyday. My love of writing soon took flight! I pursued it throughout my school years and after graduation from college, started getting paid to write.

Allison: I just finished reading your latest book, Love in Pictures, and really enjoyed it. Can you tell us what inspired the story and what you hope readers will get from it?

Alexis: I am happy to hear that you enjoyed reading my book! A writing prompt inspired my story. I was given a challenge to share the first line of my latest work in progress, with fellow writers. Since I’m very protective of my stories that are not done yet, I didn’t want to share the first line of what I was working on but I did want to participate in the challenge. So I made up a sentence and submitted it to the writers’ e-mail loop. Within minutes, I made a new friend—Jessica Mae, a wedding photographer who loved the line and the fact that my story’s heroine was a wedding photographer. Jessica Mae offered to share her real-world expertise to help me perfect the photography-related scenes in my story and for that, I am grateful.

So that one sentence, turned into a paragraph and that paragraph, a page then a full scene, to full chapter and I continued writing until my story was completed nine months later.

 Allison: What surprised you when you wrote the book?

Alexis: How easily the story came to me once I got into the grove of writing it. There were challenges and I dealt with writer’s block but with the help of God and God-fearing friends who helped me by talking about tough points, the story flowed.

Allison: I especially enjoyed how you didn’t shy away from talking about race and racism in your story. Have any of your own personal experiences inspired these parts of the story?

Alexis: Yes, there were some personal experiences that I drew from as I wrote the story in terms of the struggle of realizing your true value in a world that can be hostile to people of color based on their skin color and other ethnic features.

 Allison: How does your culture influence your writing?

Alexis: This is the first time that I infused my own real-life culture into the story. Like Michelle (my story’s heroine), my Mom is Black American and my Dad is West Indian from Barbados. My personal real-world experiences regarding that culture are reflected in the Michelle’s story, mainly with references to the beautiful, clear-blue waters of the Caribbean and steel band music, which is very popular in Barbados.

 Allison: How does your faith influence your writing?

Alexis: My faith influences my writing in one main way and that is my mission to give people hope in the midst of various real-world situations that seem hopeless, and to warm their heart with God’s Love when they read my stories.

 Allison: What are some of your favorite diverse Christian reads?

Alexis: Oh dear. Too many to name! But to name a few: Reunited at Christmas by Belle Calhoune, The Bashful Bride by Vanessa Riley, Love’s Promise by Melissa Storm, Chances Are by Traci Hunter Abramson, The Esther Paradigm by Sarah Monzon, A Rebel in Jericho by Mimi Milan, and Worth A Thousand Words by Stacy Hawkins Adams.

 Allison: What else have your written? And what’s next?

Alexis: I’ve written a lot of uncompleted stories! Lol. But next, I’m working on a fictional story about a five-star quality bakery in the heart of a very important city. The story focuses on the characters that love it (the bakery).

Allison: Finally, a fun question! 🙂 If you could interview any character out of a fiction novel, who would it be and why?

Alexis: I’d love to interview Celia Park from Becky Wade’s book, Meant to be Mine because she’s a lot like me and I adore how her love story unfolded.

 

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About the Author

 alexis-a-goring-nov-2014, author foto

Alexis A. Goring is a writer at heart who loves the arts and the color blue because of its serenity and soulful beauty.

She’s an established author, blogger, editor, writer, and photographer who enjoys exploring matters of the heart.

As a freelance writer, she covered President Barack Obama, wrote the “Growing Up” column for Collegiate Quarterly (CQ), which reached readers around the world, and served as the editor of a county newspaper.

Blogging is one of her favorite pastimes, and she founded the mission-focused blog “God is Love.”

Love in Pictures is her second book published by Forget Me Not Romances. Alexis hopes that her writing will connect readers with the forever love of Jesus Christ.

When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending quality time with loved ones, shopping, dining in her favorite restaurants, reading, listening to music, and baking for her church.

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Book Blurb for Love in Pictures:

Wedding photographer Michelle Hadley has a passion for diversity and believes that love comes in all colors. So, she’s working hard to convince editors to feature her clients’ images on the covers of the mainstream bridal and wedding magazines.

Despite having a career that focuses on celebrating forever love, Michelle has never actually been in a romantic relationship, and she’s not looking for love, until she meets the one man she cannot forget.

Since his fiancée broke his heart, Logan Emerson’s focus has been on his career. He’s won awards for his work as a print journalist and dreams of greater success on television as a broadcast journalist. But his personal struggle presents many challenges that might prevent his dreams from coming true.

Michelle doesn’t date often, and since his heartbreak, Logan has shied away from the dating scene. But something about Michelle awakens Logan’s desire to love again.

 Get a copy of Love in Pictures exclusively on Amazon.com.

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Follow Alexis on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAlexisAGoring/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PennedbyAlex

Website: https://alexisagoring.jimdo.com

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/capturingidea/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7260528.Alexis_A_Goring

“God is Love” blog: http://capturingtheidea.blogspot.com

 

Book Review: Jade’s Match

Today, I’m happy to share my review of Jade’s Match with you. This is the 7th book of the Jewel Series. Each book in this series includes characters from the previous stories but stands alone.

As a woman who enjoys receiving courteous treatment that tells me I am valued, I love having doors opened for me. I know some women are like Cora, however, and think that men who do this are questioning their ability to do it themselves. I loved the discussions throughout the book about this and the beautiful way that author Hallee Bridgeman showed that these chivalrous acts are not a condescension but a show of respect. I couldn’t resist including the excerpt below to show you what might have been my favorite part of the book.

Cora also needed to learn lessons about the importance of not judging based on partial information and especially about keeping a rein on her tongue. It is so sad how hurtful our words can be. I am so glad Cora learned that and was willing to do the right thing.

Davis was a tough, yet tender hockey player headed to the Olympics. He struggled to control anger and even feared he might hurt those closest to him because of it. The author handled this extremely well and offered an insightful perspective on it.

Davis was half-Korean and Cora part Native American. A prejudiced and jealous man confronted them with hatred for this, which led to some major conflict in the story.

I love when authors make an effort to make the formatting of their books attractive. The chapter headings of Jade’s Match were so lovely as was the overall look and feel of the book. As Cora loved to write out scripture and embellish it, I could picture that she might have created something similar to these headings.

I especially enjoyed this excerpt from the book:

Cora watched as Song sprinkled sugar into a cup and added a little bit of milk, then filled the cup with hot tea. She handed it to her husband almost ceremonially, slightly bowing her head as he took the cup from her. Cora felt a flood of emotion and longing at the love in Grant’s eyes as he took the tea. He could have very easily poured his own tea. Song respected him by pouring it for him, and Grant respected Song by letting her. This wasn’t a show for Cora’s benefit. This was a mark of the mutual love and respect that they held for each other every day.

She remembered the conversation she’d had with Davis about opening her door and holding out her chair. Suddenly, she understood what he meant. Suddenly, she longed to be back in his presence so she could step aside and give him the opportunity to respect her by opening her door. She couldn’t imagine missing him more than she missed him right now.


About the book:

Jade's Match by Hallee BridgemanTwo Olympians are matched in a media campaign that turns into something more than a game.

Rio Games silver medalist and social media darling CORA “JADE” ANDERSON is approached by a popular cell phone company to launch a flirty but fake media campaign with ice hockey star DAVIS ELLIOTT. When things get off to a rocky start, Cora and Davis both wonder what they’ve gotten into and how they’ll get through the months until the Korean games.

It’s not long until things start to warm up between the athletes and soon this fake romance becomes something much more real. Cora knows just how to work social media and engage her fans, and as the world watches and interacts with them, their love grows. When Davis is selected for Team USA, the opposition starts. As a Korean American, he’s already facing odds Cora can never comprehend, but he takes his frustration at the racism to the ice and lets the puck take the beating.

Things come to a head just weeks before the games begin. Can Davis and Cora’s very public relationship survive the aftermath of a very public confrontation, or are they going to have to let their love go when the Olympic flame is extinguished at the closing ceremonies?

Buy Jade’s Gift on Amazon


About the Author:

Hallee Bridgeman

With more than half a million book sales, Hallee Bridgeman is a best-selling Christian author who writes action-packed romantic suspense focusing on realistic characters who face real world problems. Her work has been described as everything from refreshing to heart-stopping exciting and edgy.

An Army brat turned Floridian, Hallee finally settled in central Kentucky with her family so that she could enjoy the beautiful changing of the seasons. She enjoys the roller-coaster ride thrills that life with a National Guard husband, a college student daughter, and two elementary aged sons delivers.

A prolific writer, when she’s not penning novels, you will find her in the kitchen, which she considers the ‘heart of the home’. Her passion for cooking spurred her to launch a whole food, real food “Parody” cookbook series. In addition to nutritious, Biblically grounded recipes, readers will find that each cookbook also confronts some controversial aspect of secular pop culture.

Hallee is a member of the Published Author Network (PAN) of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) where she serves as a long time member in the Faith, Hope, & Love chapter. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the American Christian Writers (ACW) as well as being a member of Novelists, Inc. (NINC). An accomplished speaker, Hallee has taught and inspired writers around the globe, from Sydney, Australia, to Dallas, Texas, to Portland, Oregon, to Washington, D.C., and all places in between.

Hallee loves coffee, campy action movies, and regular date nights with her husband. Above all else, she loves God with all of her heart, soul, mind, and strength; has been redeemed by the blood of Christ; and relies on the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide her. She prays her work here on earth is a blessing to you and would love to hear from you. You can reach Hallee at hallee@halleebridgeman.com.


Connect with Hallee:

Website – http://www.halleebridgeman.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/authorhalleebridgeman/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/halleeb
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/105383805410764959843
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/RegencyMaid
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/halleebridgeman/

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Review by Phyllis Helton