28 February 2017

Review: The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller

Debut Regency Romance

Amazon Description

Handsome appearance counts for naught unless matched by good character and actions.

That's the firm opinion of not-so-meek minister's daughter Lavinia Ellison. So even though all the other villagers of St. Hampton Heath are swooning over the newly returned seventh Earl of Hawkesbury, she is not impressed. If a man won't take his responsibilities seriously and help those who are supposed to be able to depend on him, he deserves no respect from her. In Lavinia's pretty, gray eyes, Nicholas Stamford is just as arrogant and reckless as his brother--who stole the most important person in Livvie's world.

Nicholas is weighed down by his own guilt and responsibility, by the pain his careless brother caused, and by the legacy of war he's just left. This quick visit home to St. Hampton Heath will be just long enough to ease a small part of that burden. Asking him to bother with the lives of the villagers when there's already a bailiff on the job is simply too much to expect.

That is, until the hoydenish, intelligent, and very opinionated Miss Ellison challenges him to see past his pain and pride. With her angelic voice in his head, he may even be beginning to care. But his isn't the only heart that needs to change.

These two lonely hearts may each have something the other needs. But with society's opposition, ancestral obligations, and a shocking family secret, there may be too many obstacles in their way.

Fans of Georgette Heyer, Lori Wick, and Julie Klassen will enjoy the spirited exchanges between the bluestocking minister's daughter and the bruised war hero as they move past pride and presumption to a humbled appreciation of God's grace and the true strength of love.

My Review

The Elusive Miss Ellison is everything a good Regency romance should be: it’s consistent with the writings of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, and features plenty of wit and sparkle in the dialogue, especially that of the titular Miss Lavinnia Ellison. She reminds me of a combination of Austen and Heyer heroines, and there is a definite nod to the BBCs Ehle/Firth version of Pride and Prejudice in terms of the characters.

The plot isn’t P&P (thankfully), but again has echoes of Austen. The big difference (improvement?) is that The Elusive Miss Ellison is clearly Christian fiction: Livvie is a minister’s daughter with a real faith in God, and unwilling to be romantically involved with any man who doesn’t share her faith. Especially not the man she holds responsible for the death of her beloved mother, and who appears to hold too little regard for the wellbeing of his tenants.

Nicholas obviously has his own personal and faith journey, and I think his is the stronger story—he’s the one with the obvious character faults which need to be changed through the influence of a good woman. And perhaps her love as well ...

I’m a big Regency romance fan, so very much enjoyed the authentic Regency voice and attention to detail. Some of the writing was a little shaky, and the pacing was somewhat uneven. Parts of the novel sparkled with wit, but others felt as though the sparkled had been scrubbed out.

All the same, I’ll be keen to read the sequel, The Captivating Lady Charlotte (love the title!). Recommended for fans of Christian Regency romance.

Thanks to Kregel and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Carolyn Miller at her website

24 February 2017

Friday Fifteen: Lea Waterhouse

Yesterday I reviewed Dawn on the Road, the debut YA novel from author Lea Waterhouse (click here to read my review). Today Lea is here to share her Friday Fifteen: the fifteen authors who have most influenced her life and writing.

Most authors who visit to share their Friday Fifteen share authors and books they've loved. Lea shares one she didn't love ... but which influenced her all the same. (And I have to say I agree with her!)

Welcome, Lea!

15 Authors Who Influenced My Life

by Lea Waterhouse

1. Robin Jones Gunn

She arguably influenced my life more than any other author. After reading Summer Promise at age 14, I became a Christian. My parents allowed me to attend a church, and her continuing Christy Miller books were a constant companion during my early spiritual journey.

2. Paul Watkins, AND 3. Geraldine Brooks

Brooks and Watkins are my two favorite contemporary authors. Their books are prime examples of meaningful historical fiction. I especially recommend Brooks’ Year of Wonders and Watkins Promise of Light.

4. Jack London

Because I love travel and adventure stories! I think exploration and creation go hand-in-hand (which is why both are important themes in Dawn on the Road).

5. Fred Rogers

Yes, Mr. Rogers! His writing captures his gentle, loving, accepting spirit. He embodies the attributes of Christ.

6. Marguerite Henry

She was my first favorite author. I got her books from my elementary school library, and when I’d read them all, I started writing my own stories for the first time.

7. John Steinbeck

His deep insight into the human experience (and his particular affinity for working classes) changed the way I view the world and my fellow human beings, regardless of religion or background. Grapes of Wrath is especially poignant in the current political climate here in the United States.

8. C.S. Lewis

Mere Christianity and Letters to Malcolm, Chiefly on Prayer are regularly re-reads.

9. Carson McCullers

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter digs deep (in an unpretentious way) into the loneliness and isolation of those often left without a voice in society.

10. James Joyce

This is an odd one to add here…because I don’t like his stuff. I know, I know: He’s “the best.” He was influential in making me realize I don’t have to force myself to like a writer just because other people say I should.

11. Lin-Manuel Miranda

Have you listened to Hamilton??? Have you listened to In the Heights??? His lyrics are delicious poetry, and I consider him one of our best narrative storytellers.

12. J.R.R. Tolkien

Because of the Lord of the Rings…obviously!

Obviously! If you ever visit Hobbiton, look me up and we can have Second Breakfast at The Shire's Rest Cafe.

13. Roger Scruton

He unwraps philosophy from a non-religious position, but is both fully intellectually and fully respectful of religion.

14. J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter brought a whole new generation (and not just the born-bibliophiles like me) to view books as a delight--something to devour.

15. Mark (of The Bible fame)

His was the first gospel I ever read. It added meat and truth to the glimpse of Christianity that Robin Jones Gunn’s books had given me as a teenager.

Some great choices ... and some inspiring titles to add to the to-read list. Thanks, Lea!

About Dawn on the Road


Dawn Berlin dreams of adventure, inspiration, and to feel something deeper. She’s certain that art will be the catalyst for these goals, except that the adults around her think she’s not being realistic. When Justin Devenport returns to her life the summer before her senior year, he convinces her to find inspiration on the road. Now she’s off, perched on the back of his motorcycle, heading up the coast to a preview weekend at an art school. 

It isn’t long before Dawn realizes Justin’s view of inspiration is quite different than hers. He believes it comes from a God she was taught absolutely does not exist.

On the road, maybe she’ll find a friendship renewed. Maybe art. Maybe even love. Or perhaps she’ll find all three wrapped up in a different kind of inspiration, but only if Dawn can break from her upbringing, open her heart, and figure out what she believes.

23 February 2017

Review: Dawn on the Road by Lea Waterhouse

YA Road Trip

Dawn Berlin is a high school senior with her life mapped out for her. At least, her mom has Dawn’s life mapped out, starting with an Ivy League college. But Dawn wants to go to art school and study photography. And her first choice of school has an open day next weekend. Not that she’ll be able to go. No way would her mother allow it.

But then Justin Devenport, her childhood best friend, walks into the diner where she works, and the impossible becomes possible. Justin has a motorbike and a tent, and the time to take Dawn north to Vancouver …

Dawn on the Road is a solid coming-of-age story. 

Sure, there are few glitches. It took a while to get going, and the end was abrupt, if fitting. The story is told entirely in first person, which works for young adult, but which made the repeated I thought” tags feel redundant.

I wasn’t entirely convinced by Justin. 

He was an excellent character—intelligent, ambitious, and growing in his Christian faith. But I wasn’t sure exactly what motivated him to look Dawn up after all those years. I guess that’s one of the down sides of first person—we don’t always understand the secondary characters (because Dawn doesn’t understand him either).

Dawn I understood only too well, the internal battle between doing what she wants and doing what everyone else tells her is the right thing to do.. The desire to try her own way, even just once. And the complete lack of thought over the possible consequences …

Yes, I enojoyed Dawn on the Road. 

It was a quick and easy read, although those readers who prefer the more traditional third person past tense might not agree. Recommended for fans of Serena Chase.

Thanks to the author for providing a free ebook for review. You can come back tomorrow to find out more about Lea Waterhouse, as she'll be sharing her Friday Fifteen—her fifteen favourite books and authors.

You can connect with Lea via Twitter or her website.

21 February 2017

Review: The Writer’s Book Launch Guide by Keely Brooke Keith

Short, but to the point

This is a short book, because it’s one that is meant to be acted upon rather than just read (in fact, there is an accompanying Writer’s Book Launch Journal for tracking the details of your book launch plan).

But while it might be short on words, it’s not short on ideas … or timing. The author recommends writers begin planning their book launch a full year before the launch of their first book, by establishing (or updating) their author website. This might scare off some authors, but it makes sense. Couples planning for a new baby (especially a first baby) start planning months before the birth (I certainly did. We needed a new place to live and a new car to start with, and those things don’t just happen). The same is true of a book launch. As this book makes clear,

The weakness of this Guide is that it doesn’t go into sufficient detail in some areas. For example, many aspiring authors know they should have a website, but what kind? Blogger, Weebly, Wix or Wordpress? Self-hosted or not? What does that even mean? What are the relative advantages of Hootsuite vs. TweetDeck vs Buffer?

This is where the guide could have done with more detail. However, the author rightly says that a lot of this information changes, and there is already a huge amount of information available.

One thing I particularly liked (and that other debut authors could learn from) is her recommendation that authors start finding potential book reviewers nine months before their launch day. As a book reviewer, I agree. I’m often approached by authors wanting reviews for their book which releases next week (or if they’re planning ahead, next month). Few authors realise how quickly our reviewing schedules can fill up!

Not all authors will want to undertake every activity (*cough* podcasting *cough*). But the list is a starting point, and it’s up to the author/reader to decide what is going to work best for them and their book.

There is also an accompanying Writer's Book Launch Journal (paperback only), for tracking all the details of your upcoming launch.

Thanks to the author for providing a free ebook for review.

If you'd like to find out more about Keely Brooke Keith, visit her website, or pay a visit to Christian Editing Services tomorrow, where Keely will be my guest as she discusses the basics of launching a book.

16 February 2017

Review: Raging Storm by Vanetta Chapman

Exciting Sequel to Deep Shadows

Raging Storm is the second book in Vanetta Chapman’s The Remnant series, following Deep Shadows, and it’s definitely a series you need to read in order. If you haven’t read Deep Shadows, I recommend you read it before even reading this review. But you can click here to read my review of Deep Shadows.

Long story short ...

A solar flare has fried every computer chip in North America, so there are no computers, no Wi-Fi, no electricity … and little in the way of government or police protection.

(At this point I’m wondering how New Zealand would fare after a solar flare. After all, our local hydroelectric power station predates computer chips by decades, so surely it would still run. It also makes me thankful for our gun control laws—I don’t know anyone who owns a gun except a couple of farmers who keep them for shooting possums.)

Raging Storm starts with Shelby and her teenage son in Abney, Texas, in relative safety. But not for long—Shelby needs insulin to manage Carter’s diabetes, which means a trip to Austin, in the hope there will be some there. And a trip to Austin in this increasingly lawless society means facing unknown dangers.

Raging Storm seemed to start slowly, because it took a while for me to get into it. But once I did, it was solid conflict and action. There were a lot of bad people, but there was also a significant minority who tried to do the right thing—and some paid the price.

The whole novel takes place over a relatively short period of time, which means there isn’t a lot of room for character change and growth. The focus is more on fast-paced action.
I guess what shocked/surprised me most (but perhaps shouldn’t have) was the selfishness of most of most of the minor characters. Not just the low-key selfishness of wanting to do our own thing rather than something harder that is in the best interests of other people, but the willingness to abandon any semblance of civilised behaviour the moment it becomes clear there will be no consequences.

I suppose this is everyday life for people outside my first-world bubble.

An exciting dystopian thriller, recommended for those who want to read something a little outside the Christian norm.

Thanks to Harvest House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Vanetta Chapman at her website, and you can read the introduction to Raging Storm below:

14 February 2017

I'm Reviewing Still Life by Dani Pettrey at Suspense Sisters Reviews!

I'm over at Suspense Sisters Reviews today, reviewing Still Life by Dani Pettrey. It's the second novel in her new Chesapeake Valor series, recommended for those who enjoy fast-paced thrillers from authors such as Terri Blackstock and Ronie Kendig.

Click here to read my review. Here's the Amazon book description:
Romantic Suspense's Rising Star Continues to Win Fans
Blacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime scene photographer. She expected to be laughed at, but crime scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright--and changed her life. But six months ago, when her feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart.
Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejected her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit and support her best friend, who modeled for the show. But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead--and the photographer insists he didn't take the shot. Worse, her friend can't be found. She immediately calls Parker for help. As Avery, Parker, and his friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat.

And here's a link to the first book in the series, Cold Shot: Click here to read my review.

10 February 2017

Review: Murder on the Moor by Julianna Deering

Another Excellent Drew Fathering Mystery

I have enjoyed every one of Julianna Deering’s Drew Farthering Mysteries, but I think Murder on the Moor is the best yet. It’s the fifth book in the series, and although there is a minor subplot arching over the series, this can be read as a standalone, or as part of the series. And best of all, reading them out of order won’t hurt.

In Murder on the Moor, Drew and Madeline Fathering are called to an old house in a tiny village on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors after the local vicar is found murdered on the steps of the church. There is no apparent motive but there is a village full of interesting characters with secrets to hide … the handsome Welsh gamekeeper, the bright unsatisfied wife, the unhappy neighbours, the rough local poacher, his blind daughter who weaves yarn in beautiful colours, and the tales of an enormous wild beast which roams the moors.

And there are the village secrets Drew gradually uncovers, one of which will lead him to the truth about the murder … if he isn’t killed first.

Murder in the Moor is set in the 1930s, and is written in the classic style of writers such as Agatha Christie, and Georgette Heyer (who wrote ‘contemporary’ mysteries as well as her better-known Regency romance). The style and tone perfectly captures the feel of the era, especially the different classes, and the ending was perfect: unexpected, yet obvious enough (in hindsight) to be satisfying.

Overall, recommended for mystery fans.

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. Julianna Deering also writes as DeAnna Julie Dodson, and you can find out more about her at her website. You can read the opening to Murder on the Moor below:

9 February 2017

ACRBA Tour and Review: Once Confronted by Lynne Stringer

6 - 10 February 2017

is Introducing 
(By the Rhiza Press, 1 October 2016)

By Lynne Stringer

About the Book:
After a normal day turns disastrous, Madison Craig tries to put her life back together. She’s jumping at shadows and finds even familiar places terrifying. Can she forgive the men who hurt her?
Her friend Evan Mansfield sees no need to do anything but hate their assailants. He struggles with bitterness, but Maddy wants to move on. What will she do when one of the men asks for forgiveness? 

About the Author:
Lynne Stringer has been passionate about writing all her life, beginning with short stories in her primary school days. She began writing professionally as a journalist and was the editor of a small newspaper (later magazine) for seven years, before turning her hand to screenplay writing and novels.

Lynne is the author of the Verindon trilogy, a young adult science fiction romance series released in 2013. Her latest novel, released in October 2016, is Once Confronted, a contemporary drama. Visit www.lynnestringer.com for more information.
Lynne is the author of the Verindon series including The HeirThe Crown and The Reign.

My Review

I reviewed Once Confronted last year, and thought it was excellent. Click here to read my review: Once Confronted by Lynne Stringer.

7 February 2017

Review: The Swap by Nancy Boyarksy

Great first line—it promises suspense by the bucketload, and that’s definitely what The Swap delivered. Nicole and Brad are from LA, and have swapped houses for three months with Muriel and Freddy Lowry of Chiswick, London. Nicole hopes the trip will help revitalise her marriage,

The thing which impressed me the most about The Swap was the research. I’ve lived in London, and the details were spot on, from the description of Victoria Station to Nicole’s fascination at her first visit to Sainsbury’s (one of the major UK supermarket chains).

Most books I read that are from American authors but set in England (or anywhere outside the US) are riddled with vocabulary and setting errors, so it was refreshing to find one that not only had no noticeable errors, but perfectly captured the London I remember. The only thing which caught me was when Nicole commented about how a character pronounced ‘vase’ as ‘vaaze’. Well, that’s how I pronounce it, so I was left wondering how Nicole pronounces it.

But that’s not to say the story wasn’t good. It was. Yes, I still have fingernails but only because I set the book aside a couple of times to recover. The plot and suspense were both excellent, with plenty of unpredictable twists. If The Swap has a failing, it would be that the characters weren’t quite as good. I didn’t get the impression Nicole grew or changed as a character, but that is often the nature of thrillers.

I requested The Swap for review because it was from Light Messages Publishing, and I’ve recently reviewed another Light Messages book which was Christian fiction. I therefore assumed Light Messages was a Christian publisher, as few publishers straddle both markets. In terms of writing and editing, The Swap was by far the better book, but it’s definitely not Christian fiction. There is a lot of bad language, as well as violence and sex (not on the page, but implied).

I checked the Light Messages website, and there is nothing to indicate they are a Christian publisher (despite the name, which seemed like the kind of name a small press focusing on Christian fiction would choose). I’m now left wondering why a general market publisher published the other book, which was full of Christian romance cliches. Perhaps that’s the explanation: they don’t publish Christian fiction, so didn’t realise the other book was full of badly written cliches and too many romance tropes.

No matter. I'm glad I read the swap, and I'll be watching for the sequel.

Thanks to Light Messages Publishing and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

3 February 2017

New Releases in Christian Fiction

February 2017 New Releases

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


redeeming-graceRedeeming Grace by Jill Eileen Smith -- When famine visits Bethlehem, Boaz holds out hope for rain while his relative Elimelech moves his wife Naomi and their sons to Moab. For a while, it appears the Lord is blessing Elimelech's family, and his sons marry two lovely Moabite women. But calamities strike, one after another, leaving Naomi alone in a foreign land with only her childless daughters-in-law for comfort. When news reaches Naomi that the famine in Bethlehem has lifted, only Ruth will hazard the journey to her mother-in-law's homeland. Destitute and downhearted, Naomi resigns herself to a life of bitter poverty, but Ruth holds out hope for a better future. And Boaz may be the one God has chosen to provide it. (Biblical from Revell - A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Biblical Romance:

building-benjaminBuilding Benjamin by Barbara M. Britton -- Naomi desires to dance well enough to catch the eye of a wealthy landowner. Her father needs a substantial bride price due to the deaths of her brothers at the hands of the tribe of Benjamin. But when Benjamites raid the Ephraimite feast and capture young girls, Naomi is bound and carried from her home by Eliab, a troubled shepherd who needs a wife. As Naomi awaits rescue, she finds Eliab has a strong faith in God and a just reason for abducting her. A reason that affects all the tribes of Israel. The future of the tribe of Benjamin hangs in the balance, but if Naomi follows her heart and stays with Eliab to rebuild his lineage, she must forfeit her family and become a traitor to her own tribe. (Biblical Romance from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])

Contemporary Romance:

grace-and-the-rancherGrace and the Rancher by Mary Alford -- Can a runaway singer and a makeshift rancher, thrust together by circumstance and held together by the common thread of loss and a love of music, find hope and a happily-ever-after under the stars of Delaney Mountain? (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

capturing-beauty Capturing Beauty by Brenda S. Anderson -- Photographer Haven Carlysle is a changed man. He returns to Duluth to capture the North Shore's beauty ... and to recapture the love of his son. But that means making amends with his ex-girlfriend too. Enter Callie Beaumont. All her life, Callie has longed to work outdoors soaking up God-breathed beauty, and the opportunity is finally on the horizon. But being the liaison between the handsome photographer and his son has thrown her dreams, and her heart, into chaos. Can Haven capture her heart when she won't let him capture her image? And will his poor choices cost Callie her dream job and him the love of his son? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

the-lawman's -secret-sonThe Lawman's Secret Son by Lorraine Beatty -- Suddenly a Father Police officer Seth Montgomery knows all about order—but his world is thrown into chaos when he learns he has a five-year-old son. With little Jack suddenly in his care, Seth turns to neighbor Carrie Fletcher for help. Given her checkered past, Carrie prefers to keep to herself, but there's no denying she cares for the boy—and her feelings for charming Seth are rapidly developing, too. When someone from Carrie's past shows up threatening to jeopardize the life she's worked so hard to build, Carrie will have to fight for her future with the new family she's found...or risk losing everything. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

maybe-it's-youMaybe It's You by Candace Calvert -- Micah Prescott's goal is to improve the Hope hospital image, but his role as a volunteer crisis responder is closer to his heart. The selfless work helps fill a void in his life left by family tragedy. So does a tentative new relationship with the compassionate, beautiful, and elusive ER nurse, Sloane Ferrell. Then a string of brutal crimes makes headlines, summons responders . . . and exposes disturbing details of Sloane's past. Can hope spring from crisis? (Contemporary Romance from Tyndale House)

a-second-chanceA Second Chance by Alexis Goring -- Newly single food critic and newspaper reporter Traci Hightower is done with dating. After the man of her dreams left her at the altar on their wedding day and ran off with her “best friend,” Traci resigned herself to being a bachelorette for life. Marc Roberts is a political reporter who is known as Mr. Nice Guy, the one who always finishes last. But his widowed sister Gina Braxton appreciates his compassion and kindness, since she's raising her two kids alone. With God's guidance and the help of Gina's matchmaking skills honed by her career as a bestselling romance novelist, Traci and Marc find hope for their broken hearts. (Contemporary Romance from Forget Me Not Romances)

the-amish-wandererThe Amish Wanderer by Laura V. Hilton -- After her daed, the bishop, is admitted to a mental hospital after hurting their small Amish community, Bethany Weiss is ready to get away from Jamesport, MO—and away from God. Silas Beiler, dogged by a rough childhood and a family who blames him for each new disaster, is hitchhiking toward Pennsylvania in hopes of stability. He sleeps in barns where he can and works for food when possible. When Bethany spies a man asleep in the hayloft, she first fears the return of an unwelcome suitor. But when it is Silas who turns and speaks, the memories flood back: a happy summer six years ago, full of lemonade, long walks, and budding courtship. Can their old love overcome both this new pain and the hurt and rejection of their past? (Contemporary Romance from Whitaker House)

avalancheAvalanche by Gayla K. Hiss -- Set in the North Cascades National Park of Washington State, Avalanche is the inspirational story of one man set on revenge and the woman who risks everything to help him find the fugitive who killed his partner. (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

the-doctor's-texas-babyThe Doctor's Texas Baby by Deb Kastner -- When Carolina Mason shows up in Haven, Texas, after a three-year absence, no one is more surprised than town veterinarian Wyatt Harrow. Especially when he sees Carolina's two-year-old son, Matty. Their son. How could she have kept his child a secret? Carolina doesn't deny the boy is his. She thought she was doing what was best for everyone when she left, but she realizes she was wrong. Though Wyatt is eager to make up for lost time with Matty, Carolina's not so sure that extends to her. Can these former sweethearts navigate their complicated past to make a family for their son? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

spring-raineSpring Raine by Delia Latham -- A last-minute decision sends a young woman to a seaside community and lodging at Paradise Pines...where life takes a whole new path. (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

finding-joyFinding Joy by Melanie D. Snitker -- A horrific accident changed everything for Parker Wilson. He returns to his family's ranch, the scars on his face a daily reminder of all he's lost, yet his mom still insists he needs to stop hiding and live his life again. The beautiful new employee she hires is the last thing he needs, and he'll do whatever it takes to make the girl quit and regain the peace and quiet he prefers. Only deep desperation could force Chelsea Blake to work on a cattle ranch. But if she's going to avoid her parents' judgment when they arrive in three weeks, she must turn the temporary job into a permanent one. Between dodging mud, feeding longhorn cattle, and dealing with a handsome boss who keeps giving her the cold shoulder, staying gainfully employed is proving to be a challenge. Chelsea may not be cut out for ranch life, but her determination to succeed is stronger than Parker's efforts at forcing her to leave. Surprisingly alike, will the two set aside their disapproval to find immeasurable joy? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

General Fiction:

the-secret-heartThe Secret Heart by Marie Wells Coutu -- After a whirlwind romance, beautiful Shawna Moore marries Hunter Wilson, the governor of Tennessee. Now, she wonders if the governor ever loved her or only hoped to avoid a scandal. In this modern re-imagining of the biblical story of Bathsheba and King David, an investigative reporter is asking questions--the wedding took place only six weeks following the death of Shawna's first husband in Iraq. If he discovers the truth about Shawna's baby, Hunter's chances for reelection, as well as Shawna's reputation, will be ruined. But keeping their secret is destroying their marriage. Will Hunter's choice mean the end of his political career or his family? (General Fiction from Write Integrity Press)

home-at-lastHome at Last by Deborah Raney -- All her life, Shayla Michaels, owner of the Coffee's On bakery, has felt as if she straddled two worlds. Her mother's white family labeled her African American father with names Shayla didn't repeat in polite--well, in any company. Her father's family disapproved as well, though they eventually embraced Shayla as their own. After the death of her mother, and her brother Jerry's incarceration, life has left Shayla's father bitter, her niece, Portia, an orphan, and Shayla responsible for them all. She knows God loves them all, but why couldn't people accept each other for what was on the inside? For their hearts? Everything changes one icy morning when Portia runs into the street and Link Whitman nearly hits her with his pickup. Soon he is falling in love with Shayla. Can they overcome society's view of their differences and find true love? (General Fiction from Abingdon Press)

baggage-claimBaggage Claim by Cathe Swanson -- When Ben Taylor, widower and single dad, gets caught up in a dangerous insurance fraud network, he has to learn to take a stand for right - and make a leap of faith: can he trust his nanny - who isn't quite what she appears to be - and his newly-discovered biological father to hide and protect his four young children? (General Fiction, Independently Published)

Historical Romance:

the-matchmaker-brides-collectionThe Matchmaker Brides 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 -- Meet nine women of the late 1800s who have found themselves in the role of matchmaker. They think they have mastered the art of recognizing romantic potential in others, but when it comes to their own lives they have been unlucky in love. In small communities from Tennessee to Colorado, Wyoming to Indiana, love unexpectedly enters the women's lives with men they never imagined marrying. But what will it take to get these ladies to say "I do"? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

the-reluctant-guardianThe Viscount's Proposal by Melanie Dickerson -- Leorah Langdon has no patience for Regency society's shallow hypocrisy and unnecessary rules, especially for women. She's determined to defy convention by marrying for grand passion instead of settling for a loveless union like her parents--or wedding a stuffy, pompous gentleman like Edward, the Viscount Withinghall. But when a chance meeting in the countryside leads to Leorah and Withinghall being discovered in his overturned carriage--alone and after dark--the ensuing gossip may force them together.Withinghall has his reasons for clinging to propriety and he certainly has no time for a reckless hoyden like Miss Langdon. But soon the two discover that Withinghall's coach "accident" was no such thing: the vehicle was sabotaged. Strong-willed Leorah and duty-driven Withinghall will have to work together if they have any hope of saving her reputation, his political career--and his life. (Historical Romance from Waterfall Press)

the-reluctant-guardianThe Reluctant Guardian by Susanne Dietze -- When Gemma Lyfeld inadvertently interrupts a dangerous smuggling operation in her English village, she's rescued by a mysterious Scottish spy. Now with criminals after her and her hopes for an expected marriage proposal recently dashed, she will make her society debut in London. But not without the man tasked with protecting her... Covert government agent Tavin Knox must keep Gemma safe from the criminals who think she can identify them—a mission he never wanted. But as he escorts her and her rascally nephews around London, the lovely English lass proves braver than he ever imagined. Suddenly, the spy who works alone has one Season to become the family man he never dreamed he'd be. (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

shine-like-the-dawnShine like the Dawn by Carrie Turansky -- In a quiet corner of northern Edwardian England, Margaret Lounsbury diligently works in her grandmother's millinery shop, making hats and caring for her young sister. Several years earlier, a terrible event reshaped their family, shattering an idyllic life and their future prospects. An even which...might not have been an accident. When Nathaniel Harcourt returns from his time in the Royal Navy and inherits his father's vast estate, Morningside Manor, he also assumes partial control of his father's engineering company and the duty of repaying an old debt to the Lounsbury family. But years of separation between Nate and Maggie have taken a toll and Maggie struggles to trust her old friend. Will the search for the truth about her parents' death draw the two friends closer or leave them both with broken hearts? (Historical Romance from Waterbrook Multnomah)

the-bounty-hunter's-babyThe Bounty Hunter's Baby by Erica Vetsch -- Bounty hunter Thomas Beaufort has no problem handling outlaws, but when he's left with a criminal's baby to care for, he's in over his head. And the only person he can think of to ask for help is Esther Jensen, the woman whose heart he broke when he left town. But can he convince her to put aside the past until he tracks down the baby's outlaw father? Esther is ready to run Thomas off her Texas ranch--until she spies the abandoned newborn in his arms. Soon, working together to care for the precious babe stirs old hopes of a family. With trouble heading to their door, they could overcome it together--if she'll entrust her wary heart to this sweet, second-chance family... (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


raging-stormRaging Storm by Vannetta Chapman -- When a massive solar flare wiped out all modern technology across the globe, the small town of Abney, Texas, was thrown into chaos. Shelby Sparks and her diabetic teenage son, Carter, have found refuge, but Shelby knows Carter can't survive without insulin--and Shelby will risk her life traveling to Austin to make sure he gets it. Shelby's best friend and high school sweetheart, Max Berkman, won't let her make the journey alone. Together, they reach the capital--only to discover that Austin has turned into an urban nightmare on the brink of anarchy. Now the only thing more uncertain than finding what they need is the hope of making it out of the city alive. (Thriller/Suspense from Harvest House Publishers)


long-time-goneTime Search by Danele J. Rotharmel -- While the TEMCO staff searches for clues to unravel the mystery of his real name, their enemy is lurking in the shadows searching for his targets--it's anyone's guess whose search will be completed first! (Speculative/Time Travel Fiction from Prism Book Group)

Western Romance:

long-time-goneLong Time Gone by Mary Connealy -- Rancher Justin Boden is normally an unshakable and rugged man, but with his brother, Cole, shot and in mortal danger, even a tough man faces doubts. And it doesn't help that Angie DuPree, the assistant to the doctor trying to save Cole, is as distracting a woman as Justin ever laid eyes on. With her and the doc's timely skills, Cole looks to be on the mend, and Justin and the rest of the Bodens can turn their attention back to the dangers facing them. It's clear now that everything that's occurred is part of a much bigger plot that could date back to a decades-old secret. Can they uncover all the pieces before danger closes in on them, or is the threat to the ranch even bigger than any of the Bodens could imagine? (Western Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

2 February 2017

I'm Reviewing at Australasian Christian Writers

Today I'm reviewing Long Way Gone by Charles Martin at Australasian Christian Writers. It's an excellent novel, so click here to read my review. Or read the introduction below: