31 October 2016

Author Interview and Blog Tour: Janet W Ferguson

Guest post By Janet W. Ferguson

A number of years ago, my friend really wanted a cat, but her husband said he didn’t want all that fur all over. Not to be detoured, she researched and bought a hairless cat, also known as a Sphynx.

I’ve always enjoyed being owned by cats…mostly. (We never really own them, right?) I’ve lived with a number of them over my lifetime, all with their own very  distinct personalities, some sweet, some not so much, most a bit quirky. I was excited to meet her hairless cat. He was quite a character, and he really stuck in my mind. Sadly, that kitty passed on, but my friend has acquired another Sphynx that she loves dearly.

Years later, I began writing, and pets seem to make an appearance in my stories, probably because I usually have my dog plus one of our cats staring at me or sitting on me when I write. In my fourth book in the Southern Hearts Series, Blown Together, my heroine is a romance writer who is highly allergic to pollen and dust, and dating has never gone well for her. Being a bit lonesome, I knew she would have a pet. My friend’s hairless cat came to mind. The perfect fit for my isolated, allergy-prone author named Elinor. She writes romance novels set in the 1800s and is a fan of Jane Austen, so, of course, the Sphynx had to be named Mr. Darcy.

So what about you? Are you a cat person? Dog person? Either way, I hope you enjoy meeting Elinor and Mr. Darcy in Blown Together!

About the Author:
Janet W. Ferguson grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served her church as a children’s minister and a youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a few cats that allow them to share the space.

Connect with Janet

Janet's Website

About the Book:

When love storms in…

Wealth manager Sam Conrad is accustomed to his domineering father ordering him around, especially at the bank where they both work. But when his father demands that Sam manage the inheritance of his bossy ex-fiancée, Sam has finally had enough. He leaves in search of a new life, and attorney Big Roy Bosarge from Mobile, Alabama agrees to mentor Sam on his quest for direction. Sam didn’t expect to be thrown together with Big Roy’s eccentric and opinionated daughter.

Storm damage forces lonely romance writer Elinor Bosarge and her hairless cat, Mr. Darcy, out of her Fort Morgan Beach cottage. She plans to take refuge in the boathouse on her parents’ estate, but finds the place already occupied by one of her father’s “projects.” She’s shocked her father would allow another young man onto the property after his last mentee robbed her family and broke her heart. And from the moment she meets Sam Conrad, they disagree about everything from her cat to how to best renovate a local nursing home.

Between her mother’s health issues and the hurricane brewing in the Gulf, Elinor feels like her life is being ripped apart. It doesn’t help that she’s falling for the man she’s determined not to trust. Sam finds himself drawn to Elinor, wanting to help her and this new family he’s grown to love. But can he overcome the barrier she’s built to keep him out? When the storm rages and the two of them are blown together, can Elinor find the faith to open her heart again?

Buy Now: 
Barnes & Noble

Visit all the stops along the tour

28 October 2016

Friday Fifteen: Cecily Wolfe

Today I'd like to support Cecily Wolfe to Iola's Christian Reads. Cecily's debut novel, Throne of Grace, releases today. Now she's going to share some of her favourite novels with us. Welcome, Cecily!

1. Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

This disturbing children’s story is a fantastic look at human nature – it is also one of the most spectacular examples of writing I have ever seen.

2. The Sign on Rosie’s Door by Maurice Sendak

I can still recite the words to this one . . . a nostalgic look at the freedom and creativity of childhood. My favorite book ever.

3. Sabriel by Garth Nix

I’ll read anything by Nix. The writing is stunning, and the stories are fascinating. The characterization is incredibly realistic, and I find myself relating to these women in different ways with each reading.

4. Jordan County by Shelby Foote

And you thought your family was messed up? The ties between the past and present are Foote’s strength, and his characters are as unforgettable as they are disturbing.

5. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

One of the greatest love stories ever – but really, this is all about power. The movie is great (Colin Firth, Ralph Fiennes – oh, yes), but be sure to read the book as well, or you’re missing some smooth writing by a master.

6. The Friendly Persuasion by Jessamyn West

This one makes me cry every time. Simple folk in a simple world, with complex feelings and relationships that make them anything but ordinary. This is a look at the life of a couple, from youth to death, as well as the home and family they create. This is about as American as it gets.

7. Emma by Jane Austen

Who doesn’t adore Austen? Quick wit, charming romance, misunderstandings – with some life lessons thrown in when you might not expect it. I always catch myself analyzing my own behavior and motivations after reading Austen, whether it is the fifth or the fiftieth time.

8. Never Let Me Go by Kauzo Ishiguro

Cloning scares me, and this story sure didn’t make me feel any better about it. The writing is sharp and clear, a cold contrast to the intensity of emotions and exploration of identity. What does it mean to be human? Are we really just a jumble of body parts, and what price do such parts carry? Money equals power, but to what ends? I get upset just thinking about this book, but it has influenced me in ways I’m not sure I understand very well.

9. March by Geraldine Brooks

Little Women is often described as a children’s book. People must be kidding, or else they are reading a different book than I am. When the girls’ father returns from the war, we don’t get much on him, and that has always bothered me. Brooks tells about his experiences in the war and who he is beyond a few words in what is really a difficult commentary on family life and the role of women during the Civil War.

10. Their Wedding Journey by William Dean Howells

Howells doesn’t get any attention these days, which is very sad. He has been a grandfatherly guide to my own literature studies, and I appreciate his attention to physical details and life in America post-Civil War. This reads like a travel journal, and is beautifully diverting.

11. Kristin Lavransdotter by Sigrid Undset

Kristin’s story is a long one (over 1000 pages) covered in three books and pretty much shares what it is like, emotionally, to grow up. Making mistakes, overcoming emotions, connecting (and disconnecting) with others – this is one heck of a soap opera. Fourteenth century Norway has never been so interesting. As a Catholic, I am particularly fond of Kristin’s faith journey.

12. The Buccaneers by Edith Wharton

The only Wharton with a happy ending – because she died and someone else finished it decades later. Fans of Gilded Age America and the trend for wealthy girls to travel to Europe and marry nobility (yes, that would be me) will find the perfect fairy tale romances - and their attendant troubles – here. Wharton does a fine job of detailing the drama of the mind in all of her work, reminiscent of her friend Henry James.

13. Podkayne of Mars by Robert Heinlein

My favorite Heinlein. A teenage heroine heading from her Mars home to visit Earth must make adult decisions when those she loves are endangered. This was published in the early 1960s, before the abundance of teen heroines came into play. If you don’t love sci-fi (like I do) but like tough, smart girls, Poddy’s for you.

14. Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor

Classic and disturbing. Classically disturbing. O’Connor is so compelling, so sarcastic, so honest. There is a recording of her reading one of her stories (you can Google it) and her breathless, accented race through fierce prose is hilarious and terrifying. There is something dark in all of us, and O’Connor makes sure we don’t forget it.

15. The Black Velvet Gown by Catherine Cookson

The writing is good but not noteworthy, but the story is a wonderful triumph of a girl in poverty rising above – just as all Cookson’s stories are. She is an escape into a world where anything is possible, if you don’t give up and don’t let those rotten rich boys who grab at you get you down.

About Cecily Wolfe

Ceci Wolfe writes whatever her characters tell her to write. A Harvest of Stars is realistic, literary fiction about two teens dealing with abuse in a small Kentucky town. Throne of Grace is a historical inspirational romance set in beautiful turn of the century Newport, Rhode Island. Her stories have been published in the Rubbertop Review, Pilgrimage Press, Crack the Spine Literary Magazine, Rose Red Review, and Persephone's Daughters (forthcoming).

She shares a Pinterest page with her sisters Alys and Katy at pinterest/alyswolfe and has book-specific playlists on Spotify as ceciwolfe.

She is currently working on the sequel to A Harvest of Stars (Starlight) and a contemporary re-telling of a Henry James classic.

27 October 2016

Review: The Honorable Heir by Laurie Alice Eakes

Enjoyable Gilded Age Romance

Amazon Description

An American heiress and widow of a rakish English earl, Catherine has returned to New York high society determined to make amends for the scandal she caused when she crossed the Atlantic to elope with her best friend’s suitor and win the title of Lady Bisterne. But a ruined reputation isn’t the only thing that’s followed her home: Lord Tristram Wolfe, the rightful heir to the Bisterne estate, has vowed to track down his family’s stolen jewels—gems he’s certain Catherine stole.

Catherine has more to think about than charming, handsome Tristram and his accusations, even if he’s beginning to change her mind about never returning to England. Back at her family’s Tuxedo Park estate, she resolves to restore her honor by earning the forgiveness of her best friend and protecting her younger sister from other fortune-seeking Englishmen with dubious titles, all while abiding by the etiquette of the Gilded Age.

Yet when Tristram’s quest takes a dangerous turn, she must decide whether to follow the rules or save her accuser’s life.

Note: The Honorable Heir is apparently a re-edited version of a previously published novel.

My Review

There were a few things which confused me about The Honorable Heir. One was the beginning, which had too many characters to the point I found it difficult to work out who was who (and who was related to who). It also wasn’t immediately clear who Catherine’s love interest was to be, as there seemed to be good reasons why it shouldn’t be Lord Tristram Wolfe. I was pleased to find it was, as he made a lovely hero.

But the number of character wasn’t the only thing which confused me. Catherine said she hadn’t seen the pictures in the safe, but I thought she meant the jewels. At one point she said she hadn’t seen all the jewels, but later she said she’d watched as her husband had gone through them. She said she’d missed the snow while living in England, but later complained how cold it had been in Kent. Each of these things can be explained, but each gave me pause and pulled me out of the story—not good.

I also wasn’t sure whether this was meant to be Christian fiction or not, despite being published by Waterfall Press, Amazon’s Christian imprint. No, The Honorable Heir didn’t have any content that Christian readers might object to, but nor did it have any content that made it Christian. Yes, you could argue that the underlying themes had Christian undertones: honesty, honour, staying true to yourself, not taking the easy path, being prepared to stand up for your beliefs. But themes such as these could just as easily have been a general market novel (although not the one I reviewed on Tuesday …).

Despite that, I did enjoy the developing romance between Catherine and Tristram, and I was relieved to find that the American setting meant I didn’t notice historical glitches (I have little patience for American authors writing English characters who read as American). The result was I enjoyed The Honorable Heir a lot more than I enjoyed previous novels I’ve read by Laurie Alice Eakes.

Overall, it’s a sweet romance set in the Gilded Age, where nouveaux riche Americans fight for English titles … and find that while they might get what they want, they might not actually want it. The writing was solid, the characters interesting, and the suspense plot provided a nice foil for the romance.

Thanks to Waterfall Press and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

25 October 2016

Review: The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

Not Christian Fiction

Marybeth Mayhew Whalen’s Amazon biography says she’s the author of The Things We Wish Were True “and five previous novels”. That’s a clue, that The Things We Wish Were True is not like her previous novels, which were all published by CBA (Christian) publishers such as David C Cook and Zondervan.

Instead, The Things We Wish Were True is published by Lake Union Publishing, a general market publisher. And it’s definitely a general market novel. The clues are in the new publisher, the new name (she was previously Marybeth Whalen, no Mayhew), and the disassociation with her previous work.

I’ve read a couple of Marybeth Whalen’s previous novels, including She Makes Things Look Easy (in which the ‘perfect’ titular character turned out to be not nearly as perfect as she looked). The Things We Wish Were True has some of the same ‘feel’, in that it’s a novel about secrets and lies.

It’s told from several points of view—too many, I thought. Most of the novel was written in third person, and I always got the feeling these third-person narrators were hiding something from me, the reader (spoiler: they were). I also got frustrated, because there was no real character change. Instead, the novels were about bringing the character’s secrets into the open and seeing them for who they really were rather than the people they pretended to be (or the people they wished they were).

I also didn’t like their names. 

They were weird, and I know how hypocritical that is, coming from a reviewer named Iola. The viewpoint characters were Bryte (female. It took me a while to be sure), Everett, Jencey (which I thought was a stupid name, until she revealed she’d gone through school as one of two Jen’s in her class, so she was always Jen C.), Lance, and Zell.

The only character I felt was completely honest was Cailey, a child. Cailey was a curious mix of innocent and grown-up, and the only character written in first person. This in itself took a little getting used to, the continual switches between third and first, but they ended up being the best part of the novel for me.

Is The Things We Wish Were True Christian fiction? 

No, not by even the broadest definition. Is it written from a Christian world view? I didn’t think so, for three reasons. First, there was no mention of God or Jesus, no characters of faith (Christian or otherwise). However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the novel isn’t written from a Christian world view, simply that it is Christian fiction (as usually defined).

Second, there was no underlying Christian theme like hope or love or trust or forgiveness. If anything, the theme was ‘fake it until the truth comes out (and the truth always comes out)’. Hardly uplifting, and the ending didn’t satisfy me.

Finally, there were the actions. Several of the characters did several “unchristian” things, like have affairs, and there was no acknowledgement that this might be less than ideal behaviour.

However, I knew going in that this wasn’t a Christian novel, so I shouldn’t discount it simply because it didn’t meet Christian moral standards or include Christian themes.

But I still didn’t like it. 

The names. The points of view. The secrets. The lies. And the writing, frankly, didn’t impress me. It wasn’t bad—and you could argue the way she hid information from the reader was good. But I don’t like unreliable narrators unless they have a reason to be unreliable (like Cailey, who interpreted things from a child’s point of view).

So overall, this didn’t work for me, and I don’t think it’s Whalen’s best work. Ironic, really, as over 3,300+ Amazon reviews shows this has had more commercial success than her previous books (for example, She Makes it Look Easy has a paltry 115 reviews, although both books have the same 4-star average).

Thanks to Lake Union and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

24 October 2016

October Clash of the Titles. Vote Now!

Autumn leaves are falling from the trees, and we've raked in some great books for this month's Clash of the Titles!
Vote for your Fave!

Scroll through these releases and cast your vote for your fave.
It's a tough choice, but it's up to you to determine our Clash Champion!


Love's Faithful Promise  by Susan Anne Mason
Widower Dr. Matthew Clayborne is devoted to two things: his work with wounded soldiers and his four-year-old daughter, Phoebe. When Deirdre O’Leary, a feisty New Yorker, arrives requesting he use his skills to help her stricken mother, he has no idea how his life is about to change.


Feta and Freeways by Susan M. Baganz

Nikolos Action is the lead singer of the band and doesn't realize love is right in front of him until their manager, Tia, is almost killed trying to save his life. After years of ignoring her is it too late to earn her trust...and her love?


Dangerous Alternative by Kelli Hughett

Hollywood grip Levi Boulter unknowingly puts himself in the crosshairs of a murder plot. Now, he'll do anything to keep the woman he loves safe, even if it means losing her forever.


Inconceived by Sharyn Kopf

Realizing you’re a spinster is one thing; understanding what that means and how to handle it is another. And, it would seem, Jolene, Uli and Catie still have a ways to go before they truly comprehend what God is trying to show them not only in their desire to marry but in their longing to have children of their own.


Child of Dust by Shoba Sadler

After the sudden death of her parents, Vietnamese socialite Cao Kim Lye steps out of a world of crystal and chandelier to enter the dust and chaos of working-class Hanoi when she goes to live with her Amerasian chauffeur and his adoptive family at a shop cum living quarters.


If you have trouble viewing the entire survey, CLICK HERE to load a dedicated page to the survey.

21 October 2016

Friday Fifteen: Kelley Rose Waller

Today I'd like to introduce author Kelley Rose Waller. I recently reviewed her debut novel over at Suspense Sisters Reviews (click here to read my review), and was impressed and a little frightened by her vision of a future dystopian USA.

Welcome, Kelley!

1. Everything by Francine Rivers

Francine Rivers is the master. Everything she's written would be on my list. And the Shofar Blew would rank as my personal #1. But I could never discount The Scarlet Thread, Redeeming Love, The Atonement Child, The Mark of the Lion series, The Lineage of Grace series, and all the rest. Moving, captivating, romantic, inspired.

I have to agree!

2. Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling

I don't know how anyone could read this series and not list it among their favorites. It's the most riveting series I've ever read, hands-down. I am personal friends with all of the characters because they are 100% real.

You'd get on well with my teenage daughter ... who is currently watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

3. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

This masterpiece is revolutionary. Dagny Taggart is completely brilliant.

4. On Writing by Stephen King

Aside from being slightly pretentious about how much all aspiring authors must read and write (the rest of us still have full-time jobs and families, Mr. King!), this is a must-read for anyone who wants to write. Also, it's heart-warming and hilarious.

Yes, but I did find his quotes from his own work scary enough that I don't actually want to read the full novels!

5. Everything by Sandra Boynton

I'm a mother of three young boys, and some children's books make me cringe. But Sandra Boynton is hilarious, fresh, rhythmic, and charming. Each one of her stories is a national treasure. I have The Going To Bed Book and Barnyard Dance memorized and recite them when my kids are ancy.

6. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins

This series is fabulous, the characters are great, and the world is incredibly rich and immersive. Katniss is one of the inspirations behind Brenna, the protagonist in my novel The Senator's Youngest Daughter.

7. Invasion of Privacy by Christopher Reich

A crime/political thriller with a strong, female protagonist who's stronger and more capable than she thinks. Mary Grant's journey also contributed to my character Brenna.

8. Masquerade by Gayle Lynds

A groundbreaking work that's still hugely relevant. The worldwide scope is enormous. Lots of twists!

9. The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones

You can't read this book without getting misty, and if you're reading it to your children, you'll probably cry. Stunning. Unlike anything I've ever read.

One of my favourites as well. 

10. The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King

This was a unique read, and it makes my list for the simple, beautiful fact that Ms. King makes something new and awesome from something old and awesome. (Here, a young woman apprentices with an aging Sherlock Holmes.)

11. The Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis

Amazing and inspired. My personal favorite is The Magician's Nephew, watching Aslan speak Narnia into existence.

12. Everything by Janette Oke and Gilbert Morris

If my church library kept the old 3 x 5 cards from their book pockets, there would be a shoebox full of cards from Janette Oke and Gilbert Morris books with my junior-high handwritten name on every other line.

Pretty sure this one is cheating ... but I can't disagree with you.

13. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

This is my only non-fiction choice. I often find non-fiction books to be preachy, but this one invited me in and let me choose to change my own perspective.

If you enjoyed this, you need to read Made Well by Jenny Simmons. 

14. The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond

Don't laugh that a cookbook is on my list! Ree knows how to tell a story. She shares very short but transformational glimpses into her farm and country life that connected with me as a wife and mother. As an added bonus, the recipes are oh-so-delicious.

15. Myst series by David Wingrove with Rand and Robyn Miller

I am a proud nerd, and this is a book series based on a video game. Frankly, the game was awesome and so is the series. Compelling and epic. This concept particularly connects with me as an author, because the concept is a race of beings who can write entire worlds into existence and then travel into their books.

This sounds fascinating! Thanks for visiting, Kelly. 

About Kelley Rose Waller

Kelley writes fiction to imagine new life experiences. Her debut novel, The Senator's Youngest Daughter, was released on October 1, 2016. This conservative political thriller pits a young woman and her family against a media tycoon backed by the president of a very different United States.

Kelley's day job as a marketing strategist offers her the opportunity to write and plan for clients in diverse fields. Kelley and her husband are Pennsylvania foster parents. Kelley lives and writes to uplift and glorify the name of Jesus Christ.

Kelley is a ridiculous fan of science fiction and board games. She has a B.A. in English and lives in Lancaster, PA, with her husband, three sons, and their dog.

20 October 2016

Review: Aboard Providence by Keely Brooke Keith

Much better than some other famous prequels ...

Aboard Providence is the first book in a series of prequels to Keely Brooke Keith's Land Uncharted series. If you've read one or all of the books in that series (three novels and a Christmas novella), then you'll absolutely want to read Aboard Providence - no matter what I have to say about it. Spoiler: I thought it was excellent!

If you haven't read any of the Land Uncharted series, you have a treat in store. I don't want to tell you anything more about the series because that might be a spoiler for this novel (kind of like if you'd never seen The Empire Strikes Back, you wouldn't get the significance of the bratty Anakin Skywalker character in the first movie in the Star Wars saga).
Aboard Providence starts in 1861, and Jonah Ashton's father has just ordered him home to Virginia from medical school in Philadelphia. Dr Joseph Ashton has a long-held dream of emigrating to South America, to escape the trouble he believes is coming to Virginia (and as readers, we know he is right. Trouble is coming, in the form of the Civil War). Dr Ashton has assembled eight families for the trip, and he insists Jonah come with them.

Jonah isn't so sure--there are accusations against him at college, and he's only months away from achieving his lifelong dream of graduating from medical school. He wants to stay and fight the accusations and finish school, not be seen as a runaway. But he's also intrigue by his childhood schoolmate Marian Foster, who has grown into a lovely young lady, one he'd like to know better.

Marian is looking forward to this new adventure (as are all the other immigrants). Her hobby is botany, and she is looking forward to finding new plants to study, and especially to see if any can be used for medicinal purposes.

Reading this novel as someone who has read the Land Uncharted series, I felt some of the information at the beginning was unnecessary. I didn't much care whether Jonah wanted to go on the voyage or not; I just wanted them all to get underway because ... can't give a spoiler ... because I know Anakin Skywalker is going to turn out to be Darth Vader and I wanted to know how it happened (apologies to anyone who hasn't seen Star Wars). But I'm sure that anyone who hasn't read the earlier stories will enjoy this part and not be so impatient!

I was impressed with Dr Ashton and the level of planning he put into his scheme. He was far better prepared than, say, the Mayflower immigrants in their overcroweded ship with too few resources. His fellow immigrants were carefully selected to have the range of skills the new community would need, and - most importantly - to have a shared faith.

Overall, I very much enjoyed Aboard Providence, and now I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.

Thanks to Keely Brooke Keith for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Keely Brooke Keith at her website.

18 October 2016

Review: Made Well by Jenny Simmons

Jenny Simmons is apparently most famous as the lead singer in Christian contemporary music band Addison Road, and singer of the song Hope Now. At the risk of stereotyping myself, I’d never heard of the band or the song before I picked up this book.

Okay, I see the appeal.

But that’s not what Made Well is about. Made Well is challenging our views on healing, pointing out that healing is often a process rather than an act, and that it can come in many forms. It’s not one of those self-help books promising health or wealth or happiness if you follow the author’s formula. Rather, it’s an exploration of the healing journey. She quotes Becca Stevens as saying:
My healing journey has taken thousands of prayers, countless small bits of bread, and gallons of wine one sip at a time.
And Simmons says:
Some of the world’s greatest miracles happen because doctors and nurses show up and do their jobs well.

She doesn’t discount the possibility of instantaneous miraculous healing, although she says she hasn’t experienced it for herself. That may be true, but I’d say that she’s been used in the miraculous healing of others, and she’s learned many things about healing that those who are intent on seeking the instant will miss out on:

Perhaps in our zealous quests to live long and prosper, we have confused Jesus’ invitation to be made well with our own desire for fully cured bodies [and minds?], and in doing so, we have altogether missed a deeper knowing of what it means to be healed by the Savior.
It’s a valid point: Jesus said to seek him, to seek the Kingdom of God. Not to seek healing. Do we make healing into an idol?
Healing is a prolonged process, not an instant, magical fix. It’s a book with many chapters. The road towards wholeness is long and winding.
One review I read of Made Well recommended it to fans of Ann Voskamp. That may well fit, but I personally didn’t get in to Ann Voskamp’s style. But I still found Made Well to be well worth reading - thought provoking, and written from the heart. Recommended.

Thanks to Baker Books and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

14 October 2016

Friday Fifteen: Kimberly Rose Johnson

Today I'd like to welcome Kimberly Rose Johnson to Iola's Christian Reads. Kimberly is here to celebrate the release of her latest novel, A Christmas Homecoming (and isn't that cover gorgeous!). Welcome, Kimberly!

Fifteen Authors Who Have Influenced Me from Kimberly Rose Johnson

1. Debbie Macomber

Her sweet romance stories and her success inspire me to work harder.

2. Sandra D. Bricker

I love the humor in her books. I never considered adding humor to my stories until I was an influencer for her years ago and discovered I love romantic comedy.

3. Colleen Coble

Not only does Colleen write fantastic romantic suspense, she is a great teacher. The first class I ever took at an ACFW conference was taught by her.

4. DiAnn Mills

She writes romantic suspense, which I love, but I also enjoy her no-nonsense blog posts for writers.

5. Lynette Eason

The pacing of her books is fast and is a great example of excellent romantic suspense. I used to aspire to be a romantic suspense writer, so I sought out exceptional romantic suspense.

6. Dee Henderson

I love her books. She hooked me with her O’Malley series before I ever thought about writing. Her writing style influenced me the most in my early years of writing.

7. Margaret Daley

I aspire to be like Margaret when it comes to writing. She writes both sweet romance and romantic suspense.

8. Susan Sleeman

I first discovered Susan when she was looking for influencers. I was not yet published. Since that time I’ve watched how she interacts with her influencer group and tried to learn from her example.

9. Jordyn Redwood

I simply enjoy reading her books.

10. Melissa Tagg

I discovered Melissa when she put out a notice on Twitter that she was looking for influencers. I love her books and have learned from her regarding influencer groups AKA street teams.

11. Rachel Hauck

Rachel’s books grab me and hold me. I’ve taken a couple of her classes at conferences and they are always excellent.

12. Melody Carlson

I’ve been reading Melody’s books long before I ever thought of writing. Next to Dee Henderson, I’d say she has been one of the biggest influences on my writing. I also took a class at the Oregon Christian Writers Conference many years ago and found it to be very helpful.

13. Denise Hunter

Aside from enjoying her books, I enjoy watching how she communicates with her fans. I try to learn from observing other writers.

14. Irene Hannon

I own a lot of books by Irene. It’s my belief that we are influenced by what we read, so I included her in my list.

15. Miralee Ferrell

She may not appear to fit with the list above as she doesn’t write in the genre I read, however, I first met Miralee ten years ago, and she has been my writing mentor and critique partner ever since. Of any writer out there, she has probably influenced my writing the most when it comes to writing technique.

About Kimberly Rose Johnson

Kimberly Rose Johnson married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest, USA. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing.

She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul.

Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science, and she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2autVLe
Facebook Group: http://bit.ly/2b1Obp6
Website: www.kimberlyrjohnson.com

13 October 2016

Review: Since You've Been Gone by Christa Allan

When I grow up, I want to write like Christa Allan.

Amazon Description

One moment, Olivia Kavanaugh is preparing to walk down the aisle and embrace her own happily ever after. The next, she learns that her fiancé, Wyatt Hammond, has been in a fatal car accident. Then comes a startling discovery: Wyatt’s car wasn’t heading toward the church. He was fifty miles away…with a baby gift in the backseat.

Her faith shaken, Olivia pores over the clues left behind, desperate to know where Wyatt was going that day and why. As she begins uncovering secrets, she also navigates a tense relationship with her judgmental mother and tries to ignore the attentions of a former boyfriend who’s moved back home. But when she starts receiving letters written by Wyatt before his death, she must confront a disturbing question: Can we ever know anyone fully, even someone we love?

When an unexpected path forward—though nothing like the life she once envisioned—offers the promise of a new beginning, will she be strong enough to let go of the past and move toward it?

My Review

It’s every bride’s worst nightmare: jilted at the altar. And then things get worse. No, Olivia wasn’t jilted—her husband-to-be died in a car accident just hours before the wedding. While driving away from the church. With a gift for a small boy in the car—except neither Olivia nor Wyatt know any small boys. And then Olivia finds out she’s pregnant. Which wouldn’t have mattered if she were married, but she’s not and now her mother is barely speaking to her because what will Scarlett’s church friends think when they find out?

This is Christian fiction, and is fascinating for the two views of Christianity it presents: faith vs works. Doing the right thing vs being seen to do the right thing. Displaying God’s love in action vs … not. Scarlett, Olivia's mother, is like too many people in church: not prepared to do what most people would think was right because of how it might reflect on her. Ruthie, Scarlett’s mother and Olivia’s grandmother, doesn’t care what people think.

Behind the awkward relationship between Olivia and her mother is the even more awkward situation regarding Wyatt … which her parents initially hid from her, a decision which provokes even more fractures in an already-fragile relationship. Why was he heading away from town? Where was he going? Who was the gift for? And does Olivia really want to know?

Okay, so the plot is obviously full of questions which hooked me immediately as a reader. The characters were fascinating, especially the contrast between Ruthie and Scarlett (and with Olivia’s poor father pulled between the twin loves of his wife and his daughter).

And the writing was outstanding. There were so many good lines, so many truths, Christian truths and life truths. Olivia has a lot to learn in both areas, and she does.

Yes, when I grow up, I want to write like Christa Allan.


Thanks to Waterfall Press and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

11 October 2016

Review: Can't Help Falling by Kara Isaac

Even Better than Close to You

I enjoyed Kara Isaac's debut novel, Close to You, mostly because it was set in New Zealand. Okay, the story was also very good, but it was set in New Zealand. It had places I knew--a novelty for me.

Can't Help Falling wasn't set in New Zealand, and that did lead to an intial feeling of disappointment. But it did still feature Close to You's Allie and Jackson as characters, now transplanted to England where Jackson is studying at Cambridge and Allie is teaching at Oxford--the main setting for Close to You.

Narnia freak Emilia Mason has left her LA life as mudraking celebrity "journalist" and taken a events/fundraising job in a small literacy charity in Oxford. Here she meets rowing coach Peter Carlisle, who seems to know almost as much about Narnia as she does ... and who she works with at the charity.

I thought Close to You was great. But Can't Help Falling is even better. Better writing, better characterisation (perhaps because I already 'know' Allie and Jackson), and especially better integration of Christian themes: Peter is a Christian and won't even consider dating Emilia because she isn't--something Emilia finds even more odd than the fact Allie and Jackson aren't sleeping together.

Peter is a great Christian character. Well, he's a great character, period, who happens to be a Christian. Yes, he has his faults (this is a romance and the path of true love never did run smooth. At least, not in fiction), but he also has wisdom and grace beyond his years.

Recommended for all lovers of Narnia and a good contemporary romance.

Thanks to Howard Books and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Kara Isaac at her website.

7 October 2016

ACRBA Tour and Review: Beyond the Fight by Carol Preston

3 - 7 October 2016
is Introducing 
( Rhiza Press, 1 April 2016)
By Carol Preston
About the Book:

Percy Smith has always wondered why he didn’t identify with his father, but he never expected the revelation about his past that comes at the beginning of the First World War. In shock and pain he finds himself in a place far from home, where he meets Mabel Smart, a young woman who is also struggling to find her own identity in her family.
Both Percy and Mabel must confront the issues raised by the war; internment of German born Australians, the push for conscription, the rush of young men to fight on the battlefields of Europe, and divisions in the Australian population over enlistment.
Ultimately Percy and Mabel’s search will be about finding a way to be at peace with their families.
About the Author:
Carol lives with her husband, Neil, in Wollongong, New South Wales. After their two children, Tammy and Adam, started school, Carol returned to study and completed a PhD at Wollongong University in 1986.
She is now a Psychologist in private practice. Carol enjoys gardening, bushwalking, spending time with her family and researching her family history. Her novels are based on her Australian ancestory. Carol's books in her Turning the Tide series published by Even Before Publishing include Mary's GuardianCharlotte's AngelTangled Secrets and Truly Free.
Carol is also the author of Suzannah's Gold and Rebecca's Dream. Her first book with Rhiza Press is Next of Kin.
For more information about Carol's books and her other interests she can be contacted on her website: www.carolpreston.com.au

My Review

Beyond the Fight gets into the story quickly, and we are immediately introduced to Emma and gain an insight into her major conflicts: her frustration around the debilitating effects of her asthma, and her clashes with her overbearing mother (a problem that isn't unique to any particular period in history).

I was impressed by the research that must have gone into writing Beyond the Fight. It gave me a real sense of the issues and challenges faced by Australia as a country in the early months of the Great War. This includes many things I’d never heard before, such as the internment camps (and the dire conditions some of the German internees faced), the pro-war and anti-war protests, and the debate around conscription. It was also interesting to watch the turning of public reaction from the women not wanting their sons to go to war, to practically accusing Percy of cowardice and not being ‘Australian’ for not being gung-ho about the prospect of joining up.

All in all, this was excellent historical fiction, with fascinating situations, interesting characters, and good writing.

6 October 2016

Review: Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin

Dual Timeline, Dual Impact

It's been a while since I've read a novel by Lynn Austin, and I'm ashamed to admit I'd forgotten what an outstanding author she is. As you can probably guess, I thought Waves of Mercy was excellent.

It's a dual timeline story - I seem to have had a run of these lately, with The Wedding Shop by Rachel Hauck (excellent), A Tapestry of Secrets by Sarah Loudin Thomas (good), and now Waves of Mercy (outstanding).

The present (!) story is set in 1897 that of Miss Anna Nicholson, who is staying at the Hotel Ottawa on the shores of Lake Michigan to recover from her broken engagement and consider her future. William, her fiance, says he can't marry a religious fanatic like those who attend Mr Moody's church. Yet Anna finds comfort in the church, feels that the words touch and fill an empty part of her soul. She wants to know more about this God they preach about--a God she never hears about in her own upper-class church.

This is also the story of Geesje, one of the original immigrants to Holland, Michigan. She and her family left religious persecution in the Netherlands in the late 1840s to seek a new life in America, and that's the more historic part of the story--Geesje's memories of life in the Netherlands, the voyage to the New World, and establishing the settlement of Holland. But it's also her personal life story, and the story of her struggles with God, especially her relationship struggles.

What joins the two women is Derk, an employee at the Hotel Ottawa, and Geesje's next-door neighbour. He becomes Anna's confidant, and seeks counsel himself from Geesje, a woman full of godly wisdom:

Both stories are fascinating--Anna's, because the search for God is universal, and Geesje's because there is a lot to admire in the early settlers, and a lot we can learn from them. While there are touches of romance, this is more a love story, as both Anna and Geesje are God-seekers, admitedly from different perspectives and from different parts of their lives:
We think Christians should do more than just agree with what the Bible says. We should obey it and do things like loving our enemies.
Lynn Austin is from Michigan and attended Hope College in Holland, Michigan, and that knowledge of the setting and the people comes through in the writing. It's not obtrusive in any way, but reading the Author's Note at the end gave me the 'aha' moment that explained how she was able to make the setting come alive.

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Lynn Austin at her website.

4 October 2016

October 2016 New Releases in Christian Fiction

October 2016 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Biblical Fiction:

Providence: Hannah's Journey by Barbara M. Britton -- When the prophet of Israel refuses to heal her, Hannah flees Jerusalem and is captured by an enemy with a curse all his own. (Biblical from Harbourlight [Pelican])

Shadow of the Storm by Connilyn Cossette -- 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? (Biblical from Bethany House [Baker])

Christmas Novella:

Christmas Lights by Chautona Havig, Vikki Kestell, Cathe Swanson, and April Hayman -- From historical romance to contemporary cozy mysteries and Christmas wonder, these four "light" reads will warm your heart and ignite your Christmas spirit! (Christmas Novella, Mixed Genres, Independently Published)

Contemporary Romance:

Risking Love by Brenda S. Anderson -- Can cautious bank employee Lissa Morgan risk falling in love with a former thrill-seeker, a widowed single dad, when she may have to foreclose on his house? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

A Mom for Christmas by Lorraine Beatty -- Noah's dream of a happy family and Beth's dream of a continuing ballet career are both dashed, but when they come together they discover that the Lord might have a new dream for both of them. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Sleigh Bells Ring by Sandra D. Bricker, Barbara J. Scott, Lynette Sowell, and Lenora Worth -- Santa Claus is coming to town, and so are the Tucker sisters. The girls have inherited their father's run-down horse farm for Christmas. It needs some serious TLC in order to make it sell-ready. Joanna knows that by recruiting her sisters and one handsome ranch hand they can fix up the place and even celebrate one last Christmas while they're at it. However, to Isabella, returning to their home in Kentucky bluegrass country for Christmas seems like an impossible hurdle. Can her Chicago boyfriend make life merry and bright again? One thing's for sure: nothing is peace on earth for Sophia as a new beau brings up old wounds. And when the fate of the horse farm is put in jeopardy because Amy accidentally fraternizes with the enemy, tensions rise. But it's not like the land developer stole Christmas . . . just her heart. Can the Tucker sisters have themselves a merry little Christmas? (Contemporary Romance from Gilead Publishing)

Do You Hear What I Hear? by Margaret Brownley -- Stranded at the old Star Inn until the road back to his cabin reopens, lumber mill owner Rick Talbot suddenly comes face to face with the past. The only woman he's ever loved is standing in front of the inn's blazing fire trying to get warm. Both Rick and Sally regret what happened between them years ago, but his family lumberyard clashes with her tree-hugging ways and neither is willing to try again. It will take the storm of the century, one stage-struck young boy, a certain meddling "angel"--and even a cranky cat--to convince them that in matters of the heart, sometimes the second time around is best. (Contemporary Romance from St. Martin Press)

More Than a Tiara by Valerie Comer -- Marisa Hiller abandoned her modeling career to nurse a broken heart in Montana, far from the photographer who ruined everything. Her family farm is now part of a CSA program teaching gardening and cooking to single moms, but when the coordinator begs her to represent the program in the Miss Snowflake Pageant, Marisa balks. God has forgiven Jase Mackie but hasn't answered his prayer to bring Marisa back into his life… until Jase finds himself out West as the official photographer for a beauty pageant, face to face with the woman he's never forgotten. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Room at the Inn for Christmas by Mary Connealy -- Ambitious hotel executive Amanda Star's has got her sights set on the CEO job at the multi-national Halston hotel chain. But then she inherits the Star Inn, a place her father had always wanted her to run alongside him. With no time to be away from her job, she rushes home to put the inn up for sale. Once there, she's struggles against keen regret, sweet memories, and the longing to return, which grows stronger when she is reunited with an old classmate: Anthony Carter, a handyman with a guarded heart. (Contemporary Romance from St. Martin Press)

Can't Help Falling by Kara Isaac -- A funny, heartfelt romance about how an antique shop, a wardrobe, and a mysterious tea cup bring two C.S. Lewis fans together in a snowy and picturesque Oxford, England. (Contemporary Romance from Howard [Simon & Schuster])

A Christmas Homecoming by Kimberly Rose Johnson -- Interior design assistant Bailey Calderwood suspects the mysterious admirer sending her cards and flowers is none other than the son of her unpleasable, bed-ridden boss. When Stephen Belafonte's mom demands he fire Bailey, can he find a way to heal the rift in his family as well his own heart, or will he be forced to let Bailey go? (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

Where Two Hearts Meet by Liz Johnson -- When Caden Holt's boss asks her to show off their own beautiful Prince Edward Island to impress a visiting travel writer and save the Red Door Inn, the reclusive executive chef is forced to face a world much bigger than her kitchen--and a man who makes her wish she was beautiful. (Contemporary Romance from Revell [A Division of Baker Publishing Group])

Trust My Heart by Carol J. Post -- Grant McAllister, a jaded big-city lawyer and small-town reporter Jami Carlisle have no hope for finding true love--except for a zany old matchmaker who won't give up. In the unspoiled beauty of the Smoky Mountains, there's healing and forgiveness to be found. And for Grant, this unplanned detour may be just what's needed to finally guide him home. (Contemporary Romance from Waterfall Press)

Insight by Deborah Raney -- She's having a baby. It's a blessing that brings comfort to newly widowed Olivia Cline. Yet with no insurance, no job and precious little money, how will Olivia care for herself and her child? The answer is a handsome and brooding artist seeking an assistant. Reed Vincent has recently regained his eyesight thanks to a donor. And through his eyes, Olivia begins to see all the possibilities before her. Before them. Until, in a flash of insight, she knows why his signature is so hauntingly familiar. (Contemporary Romance from Raney Day Press)

Silver Bells by Deborah Raney -- As Elvis croons from the radio and Christmas descends upon a small Kansas town, two people find the miracle of love. (Contemporary Romance from Raney Day Press)

A Family Under the Christmas Tree by Terri Reed -- In this heartwarming tale set during the Christmas season, a single father and a fashion photographer are brought together by a young boy and a mischievous Bernese mountain dog--but first they must learn to set aside their differences if they are willing to let their relationship bloom. (Contemporary Romance from Howard [Simon & Schuster])

Third Strand of the Cord by Catherine Richmond -- Caroline will do anything to keep her ex-husband from putting her son with Down syndrome in an institution--even enroll the boy in a class taught by a know-it-all karate instructor. Lee Marivaux is an expert at reading people. He knows his feisty new student will thrive with firm guidance - and he's right. He pegs the boy's mother as a clueless socialite who loafs at the country club - and he's never been so wrong. When Caroline's abusive ex shows up, demanding custody, Lee and Caroline must join forces to keep the boy safe. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Buying Love by Toni Shiloh -- Impatient for marriage, Nina Warrenton places an ad in the newspaper for a husband--attaching a monetary reward. But when she begins to fall for the small-town chef who answers her ad, she realizes how much she wants him to love her and not her money. Dwight Williams needs fast cash to save the family restaurant, but can he let it go to prove his love for Nina? (Contemporary Romance from Celebrate Lit)

Moonlight Over Manhattan by Carrie Turansky -- Professional organizer Sarah Montgomery is hired to organize her elderly neighbor's cluttered apartment by Justin Latimer, her neighbor's grandson. Sarah believes free-spirited Justin is a lazy, unemployed poet who is taking advantage of his grandmother's generosity. Though attracted to him, she guards her heart against her growing feelings. As Sarah and Justin work together to help his grandmother and enjoy Christmas events in NYC, romantic sparks fly. When Sarah discovers who Justin really is, she must decide if she will continue to hide behind her protective wall or open her heart and embrace love. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Love Bears All Things by Beth Wiseman -- Charlotte Dolinsky needs time to recover after breaking up with her boyfriend, Ryan. But when a surprise visitor shows up on her doorstep in Texas, she's forced to put aside her own worries to help her Amish friends in Lancaster County. Daniel Byler struggles each day in his Amish community to heal from his fiancée's betrayal. When he discovers that a member of his family is in danger of being shunned, his pain turns to fear. His only way to help is by partnering with Charlotte, a woman he barely knows who has already deceived them all before. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

General Contemporary (includes Women's Fiction):

Paint The Storm by Dawn V. Cahill -- When Meg is challenged to love her lesbian daughter as Christ would, she struggles to live out God's command, and when her daughter goes missing, she finds herself joined with the unlikeliest of allies in her search for Linzee, and finally learns of God's unconditional grace for sinners. (Contemporary Women's Fiction from Spring Mountain Publishing)

Restoration Road by Elise Phillips -- Mallory Andrews's short trip back to Texas for her mother's funeral quickly becomes a move home to help her grieving father with his contracting business. When her old crush, Tres, hires them for a restoration project Mallory falls in love with the crumbling old house. And when feelings bloom between her and Tres, she finds herself on the road to a brand new, unexpected life filled with faith, sweet tea, and fresh paint. (General Contemporary from Desert Breeze Publishing)

Above All Things by Deborah Raney -- Expecting their first baby, Judd and Evette McGlin are thrilled to become parents. But the couple faces the ultimate test when Judd learns he already has a child: a six-year-old mixed-race girl born amid secrets and lies. Now, Evette must decide if she can accept the child. She thought she was open-minded--until hidden prejudices threaten the future of an innocent little girl, Evette's marriage and the very notion of who she thinks she is. (Contemporary Women's Fiction from Raney Day Press)

Restoring Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti -- Alexis set out to restore a fieldstone farmhouse in need of repair. She didn't expect to restore a life in the process. (General Contemporary from Worthy Inspired)

Strings of Faith by Terry Stafford -- Darcy is a classically trained violinist who dreams of playing bluegrass and winning The National Oldtime Fiddle Contest in Weiser, Idaho. When tragedy strikes, Darcy lays her gift aside for her family and faces unimaginable pain and loss, leading to dissension with her husband, disappointing judgment from her church, and anger with God Himself. Can her gift of music survive when her life is turned upside down? (General Contemporary, Independently Published)


The Lost Generation by Erica Marie Hogan -- On August 5th 1914, the world changed forever. For John and Beth Young, it meant the happiness they finally achieved was snatched out from under them. For Emma Cote, it meant that her husband Jared would do his duty, despite her feelings. For Christy Simmons it meant an uncertain future with the boy she loved. The lives of six people, spread across the British Empire to America were changed forever. (Historical from Elk Lake Publishing Inc.)

Aboard Providence by Keely Brooke Keith -- When an accident forces Jonah Ashton to serve as a ship's physician, he boards the Providence with the plan to escort a group of families to their new settlement in South America and then return to Pennsylvania to finish medical school before rumors of Southern rebellion erupt into all-out war. What he doesn't count on is getting lost at sea... and Marian Foster. When the settlers finally reach land, Jonah makes a startling discovery that changes everything, but will it change his heart? (Historical from Crossriver Media Group)

Historical Romance:

The Rails to Love Romance Collection by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, Amanda Cabot, Lisa Carter, Ramona K. Cecil, Lynn A. Coleman, Susanne Dietze, Kim Vogel Sawyer, Connie Stevens, and Liz Tolsma -- Journey the Transcontinental Railroad along with nine unlikely couples who encounter all the dangers and disappointments of traveling the rails in the late 1800s. From sight-seeing excursions to transports toward new lives, from orphan trains to circus trains, can romances develop into blazing love in a world of cold, hard steel? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Cowboy Christmas Homecoming by Mary Connealy, Ruth Logan Herne, Julie Lessman, and Anna Schmidt -- For widow June Harper, another cold front is about to hit. Most call him Hugh. She'd call him Scrooge, except as the man ensures her needs are met, June can't help but wonder how to meet the needs of his heart. Netty Lewis can take care of herself, has for a while now. And even if Roy, her hired help for the holidays, does take care of her, that doesn't mean he cares for her or that he'll stay past Christmas. Pastor Colton McCabe is not sure he'll make it through the holidays with his new housekeeper. Grace can't seem to do anything right but love. Perhaps being a homekeeper will earn her a permanent residence in his heart. Connie Lancaster is determined to return to St. Louis, and no cowboy can change her mind. But if Isaac can change her heart, maybe Connie will see the homecoming she's been longing for isn't to a place but a person. (Historical Romance from Gilead Publishing)

The Captive Heart by Michelle Griep -- Stranded in a strange land, Eleanor Morgan faces starvation or marriage . . . but who wants to marry a murderer? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

The Rightful Heir by Angel Moore -- Cowboy Jared Ivy must work with stranger Mary Lou Ellison until a judge comes to town and determines which one of them is the rightful heir to his family's Texas newspaper. Intrepid reporter Mary Lou won't lose the Pine Haven Record--the legacy he left her--without a fight. But when she and Jared stop sparring long enough to investigate a story together, they become a force to be reckoned with. Will they let their battle over the Record get in the way of something even more newsworthy: true love? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Christmas at Stoney Creek by Martha Rogers -- When newspaper reporter Tom Whiteman befriends a homeless man named Joe, Tom decides to bring him home to Stoney Creek, Texas for Christmas. As Tom and his childhood friend Faith Delmont set out to learn the truth about the mysterious old man with the kind, sad eyes, they discover that God's love can turn tragedy and loss to triumph, and that true love comes to those who wait. (Historical Romance from Realms [Charisma Media])


Another Day, Another Dali by Sandra Orchard -- In order to regain her grandmother's favor FBI Special Agent Serena Jones agrees to investigate a missing Salvador Dali painting. But when the evidence points to members of the owner's own household, it becomes clear that Serena won't be winning any popularity contests. Then Serena stumbles upon links to her grandfather's unsolved murder. (Mystery from Revell [A Division of Baker Publishing Group])

Romantic Suspense:

Tangled Webs by Irene Hannon -- After a disastrous Middle East mission ends his six-year Army Ranger career, Finn McGregor needs some downtime in the woods. But when someone threatens his neighbor, publishing executive Dana Lewis, Finn and Dana must work together to discover who wants her to leave her lakeside cabin before it costs both their lives. (Romantic Suspense from Revell [A Division of Baker Publishing Group])

Identity Unknown by Terri Reed -- When a John Doe washes up on the shores of Calico Bay, no one knows who he is—including him. But one thing's instantly clear to deputy sheriff Audrey Martin: the man's marked for murder. And she's the only one who can protect him from the assassins who lurk at every turn. The arrival of a team of men claiming he's Canadian Border Services officer Nathanial Longhorn only further complicates the matter. As his memories slowly start drifting back, Nathanial and Audrey work to uncover who wants him dead and why. If they don't, this Christmas might be their last. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


A Time to Rise by Nadine Brandes -- What more can you sacrifice than your life? Parvin Blackwater is dead. At least that's what the Council and the world thinks. But her sacrifice tore down part of the Wall long enough to stir up hope and rebellion in the people. Parvin and Solomon must uncover the mysterious clues that Jude left behind in order to destroy the projected Wall once and for all. Meanwhile, the Council schemes to new levels of technology in its attempts to keep the people contained. Can a one-handed Radical and a scarred ex-Enforcer really bring shalom to the world? (Speculative Young Adult from Enclave Publishing)

Unblemished by Sara Ella -- Eliyana can't bear to look at her own reflection. But what if that were only one Reflection—one world? What if another world exists where her blemish could become her strength? (Speculative Young Adult from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Beast by Chawna Schroeder -- For as long as Beast can remember, she has lived among her master's dogs. With them she sleeps. With them she eats. With them she fights and struggles to survive. But through hunger and cold she dreams of one day becoming her master's favorite, earning bones with meat and a place beside the fire. When her pack scatters after a surprise raid, Beast must defend herself against slavers, hunting down the loners. They are so strong, and she is only a beast . . . or is she? (Speculative Allegory from Enclave Publishing)

Accelerant by Ronie Kendig -- He'll destroy the world. But he must save it first. As the only able-bodied heir to the Fire Throne, Haegan, Prince of Seultrie must return to the Nine Kingdoms and fight for his people. But there are insidious forces at work. When reality itself falls into question, Haegan struggles to know where to fight, who to trust. Caught between duty to his country and duty to the world, Haegan must see clearly enough to choose the right path to save his devastated world. (Speculative High Fantasy from Enclave Publishing)


Death in the Mind's Eye by Rick Acker -- It knows what you're thinking. It knows when you're lying. Does it know how to kill? San Francisco attorney Mike Webster and Dr. Johanna Anderson, a brilliant and beautiful psychologist, must clear Jo's name of a malpractice case before the controversial, technologically-assisted Mind's Eye therapy is seized by a shadowy finance firm and used as a weapon. (Thriller/Suspense from Waterfall Press)

The Warrior's Seal by Ronie Kendig -- A Special Forces team is thrust into a war with the past to save the president after an artifact unleashes a deadly toxin. Special Forces operative Cole "Tox" Russell and his team are tasked in a search-and-rescue--the U.S. president has been kidnapped during a goodwill tour. The mission nosedives when an ancient biblical artifact and a deadly toxin wipe out villages. Tox must stop the terrorists and the toxin to save the president. This is a free e-novella prequel! (Thriller/Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])

Deadly Infiltration by W. Richard Lawrence -- Infiltrators inside the American government are betraying undercover agents while helping sneak weapons of mass destruction across our borders. To keep their work hidden, they are willing to murder anyone who gets in their way. Sara, a brilliant computer expert working for the FBI, finds herself caught in the middle. Sara's young faith in God is gravely tested when she is framed for the murder of an FBI agent, forcing her to go into hiding. Meanwhile, Sara's fiancé Derry lives up to a promise he made to her, and gives up his future to save her and hopefully the country. (Thriller/Suspense from Boarding House Publishing)

Western Historical:

Refining Fire by Carol Cox -- Meet the Arizona Territory Brides. Four strong, independent women--each determined to stand on her own two feet, and not one of them looking for romance. But sometimes love shows up when you least expect it... (Western, Pioneer/Prairie, Independently Published)