Book Spotlight: A Sidelined Christmas

Happy Wednesday, Reader Friends!

If you’re traveling for Thanksgiving we at Diversity Between the Pages are praying safe travels for you! If you need a book to read while on holiday, check out today’s newest book spotlight: A Sidelined Christmas by Toni Shiloh.


About the Book

The Blurb: Part of the Making Spirits Bright boxset collection.

“Sidelined with a career-ending injury, wide receiver Jahleel Walker is forced to return to his hometown of Peachwood Bay, Georgia to heal. Nothing shocks him more than running into his high-school sweetheart, Lucille “Bebe” Gordon.

Bebe Gordon returned to Peachwood Bay three years ago with a divorce certificate and her daughter, Hope. When Jahleel returns, all the memories of the past come rushing back. She can’t decide if he’s changed or if her heart is holding onto past hurts.

Will Jahleel and Bebe take a chance on love or let life sidelined them at Christmas?”

Links: Amazon, Goodreads


About the Author

Toni 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.

Follow: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, BookBub

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Review: Returning Home by Toni Shiloh

~ About the Book ~

Jo Ellen Baker is shocked to find out that the boy who teased her mercilessly throughout high school, has returned to their hometown of Freedom Lake, and he’s missing a leg. When his mother asks her to renovate their carriage house to give him a place to gain his independence back, she wants to say no. But one look at him brings a rush of forgotten feelings.

Evan Carter can’t believe he has to return home and live with his parents. Every hope and dream he ever had dissipated in a car crash that cost him his leg. Stuck in a wheelchair, he’s forced to reexamine his relationship with God and the local carpenter, Jo Ellen Baker.

Will renovating his home open the door for a mended relationship, or are some wounds too deep to heal from?

Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Release date:  26 September 2017
Pages:  266
Publisher: Independent

Amazon US  //  Goodreads

~ Excerpt ~

Evan let out a whoosh of air. Jo Baker stood illuminated in the doorway by the sun’s light. He knew returning home raised the potential of running into his former classmates, but he never thought he’d see Jo again. He figured she’d be long gone by now. The last time he’d seen her, she’d had braces, frizzy hair, and big-framed eyeglasses and was walking across the graduation stage.
The woman standing before him now was a far cry from the awkward teenager he used to tease. It was obvious she fell into the late bloomer camp. Sure, she had dressed in a long-sleeve shirt and overalls, but her curves couldn’t be ignored. Her black hair had been swept into a ponytail. Was that the reason her cat-shaped eyes seemed more pronounced? Gone were the glasses and braces. Her copper-colored skin glowed and her cheeks held a rosy hue.
Was she wearing makeup?
He hid his surprise. He never pegged her as the type to wear the stuff. Despite her shockingly good looks, the venom in her facial expression couldn’t be ignored. Her rich brown eyes seemed to drill a hole right through to his soul. He froze at the shock of her anger. No one had ever glared at him like that. Especially since he had landed in a wheelchair.
“Good afternoon, I’m here to see Mrs. Carter.”
There was no mistaking the frost in the air. Jo’s voice had traveled into winter territory. It took every effort not to gape. He couldn’t believe it. She acted like she didn’t remember him. Acted like she didn’t see him in the stupid chair. Everyone stared at the chair. Everyone.
He puffed up his chest, trying to appear taller. If she wanted to cop an attitude, he could definitely oblige her. “And hello to you, Four Eyes. Although, I suppose I’ll have to find a new name for you.” He gestured to her face, referencing the lack of glasses. Hopefully the snide look on his face came across as strongly as he intended it to.
“Ah, still up to your old ways, I see. Why did I ever imagine you could have grown up?” She walked right past him as he struggled to move out of the way. He rolled backward and let go of the door, hoping the weight would close it.
He turned around and found her waiting impatiently. So, she did remember him. How dare she act as if seeing him in a wheelchair was an everyday occurrence.

~ Review ~

Well, the sparks sure do fly in this novel—once the frosty atmosphere lifts for long enough for them to light up, anyway! Jo Ellen Baker and Evan Carter seem to have enough angst in their lives without adding each other into the mix, but that’s exactly what happens when Evan has to return home and Jo is asked to do the renovations that will better accommodate his new situation. What’s more, neither of them is happy with God. Evan is angry about his accident, and Jo resents the fact that she’s lost the one person in her life who accepted her the way she is. And if her mother is an example of what God is like, Jo’s not interested in Him anyway.

Forgiveness and trusting God through the hard times are major themes in this story, both for Jo and Evan, and for some of the secondary characters. One of this novel’s strengths was the way in which the characters explored these tough issues through their Bible study group, only to discover that applying what they’re learning in their own lives isn’t always easy. Anyone else able to relate to that? 😉

Another thing I appreciated was that the focus wasn’t just on Jo and Evan’s relationship. There’s a lot of friction between Jo and her mother and sister (both of whom I could have happily strangled at various points in this story!) and Evan has to work through the emotional and physical struggles that follow his amputation. And, of course, the path to true love isn’t going to be smooth for characters as strong-willed and sparky as these two! But as they mature in their walk with the Lord, they also mature in their relationship with each other.

If you’re after a contemporary romance with flawed but relatable characters and strong spiritual growth, then this is your book.

I received a copy of this novel from the author. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.

~ About the Author ~

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

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

Connect with Toni:  Website  //  Facebook  //  Pinterest


Posted by Katie Donovan.

Book Review: Finding Love by Toni Shiloh

About the Book

FindingLoveDelaney Jones has finally started to pick up the pieces of her shattered life after the death of her husband, Parker.

Just as life enters a new normal, in walks Army soldier, Luke Robinson.

Just when she makes the decision to trust him, life deals her a heavy blow.

Sergeant First Class Luke Robinson can’t get over his part in the death of Delaney’s husband. In hopes to assuage his guilt, he offers to lend a hand.

Only, he never counted on the feelings she evokes with just a smile. Will his secrets widen the gulf or will he finally find absolution?

Series: Maple Run #2
Publisher: Celebrate Lit
Release Date:
June 28, 2017
Pages: 197

GOODREADS | AMAZON

My Thoughts

I’ve been eagerly waiting for a return to Maple Run ever since I read Buying Love. (Some of that may have been cravings by proxy for the delicious food, too. Don’t judge.) And Finding Love definitely was worth the wait! I’m also pleased to report that I did not want to purse whomp Delaney’s momma as much as I did in Buying Love. 😉 

The characters in Finding Love are diverse and layered with Delaney and Luke each bringing emotional baggage to the table. After the death of Delaney’s husband Parker, her life for all intents and purposes stopped too. So did Luke’s. Delaney, because she doesn’t know how to go on without Parker. Luke, because he feels responsible for Parker’s death.

The meeting of their hearts results in a swoonworthy romance, yes, but also some soul-searching that all of us can apply to our own lives too. Delaney is scared to fall in love with Luke, a soldier still on active duty, “because if it ended up with her receiving another set of widow’s benefits, she would be crushed.” She – and Luke both – must wrestle with this truth (and its application):

“God was the keeper of her heart, keeper of her entire being. She needed to let God hold her heart.”

Bottom Line: This second visit to the quaint community of Maple Run is even better than the first! Mouthwatering food, a swoon-inducing hero (complete with dimples and military uniform), adorable/hilarious children, and a compelling heroine (complete with a great family and a yummy restaurant) – just one of those elements would be reason enough to love Finding Love. All of them together, plus a tender story of second chances and trusting God? Yes please!

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion. This review first appeared on Reading Is My SuperPower.

About the Author

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

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

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST


Review by Carrie Schmidt