Author Archives: Janet Sketchley

About Janet Sketchley

Janet Sketchley is an Atlantic Canadian writer whose Redemption’s Edge Christian suspense novels have each been finalists in The Word Awards. She's also the author of the devotional collection, A Year of Tenacity. Janet blogs about faith and books. She loves Jesus and her family, and enjoys reading, worship music, and tea. Fans of Christian suspense are invited to join her writing journey through her monthly newsletter: bit.ly/JanetSketchleyNews.

New Releases in Christian Fiction (April 2020)

April 2020 New Releases from Members of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW)

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

 


Biblical:


 

Claiming Canaan: Milcah’s Journey by Barbara M. Britton — When the tribal elders make marriage a requirement for claiming her land, Milcah bat Zelophehad must find a betrothed straightaway. The only problem in finding a husband is that all her suitors were slain while conquering the land of Canaan. Men avoid her in order to stay alive. After praying to God to send her a bold suitor, a man from her father’s clan plummets from a tree right on top of her. Is this God answering prayer, or a foolish antic by Eli, the war-scarred brother from one of her clan’s rival families. Will settling in Canaan sort out Milcah’s troubles, or have her woes just begun? (Biblical Fiction from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])

 


Contemporary Romance:


 

Ryan’s Father by June Foster — The rippling influence of Ryan Reid’s less than moral mother and absent father made a mark on his soul. Yet everything changed when the young school teacher accepted Christ—almost everything. An earthquake hurls the beautiful Sandy Arrington into his life, tossing his world upside down. When God calls him to build an annex for needy teens at his church, Ryan must face the carefully guarded secret he’s held deep in his heart. Though Sandy falls in love with him, Ryan’s forbidden affections lie elsewhere, and he must depend on the Lord to see him through a struggle he always hoped he’d never have to face. Sandy’s wealthy cardiologist father and the battle Ryan is powerless to win are hurdles to their romance. Can he dig his way out to find Sandy’s love? (Contemporary Romance from Winged Publications)

 


Historical Romance:


 

The House at the End of the Moor by Michelle Griep — What Can a London Opera Star and an Escaped Dartmoor Prisoner Have in Common? Opera star Maggie Lee escapes her opulent lifestyle when threatened by a powerful politician who aims to ruin her life. She runs off to the wilds of the moors to live in anonymity. All that changes the day she discovers a half-dead man near her house. Escaped convict Oliver Ward is on the run to prove his innocence, until he gets hurt and is taken in by Maggie. He discovers some jewels in her possession—the very same jewels that got him convicted. Together they hatch a plan to return the jewels, clearing Oliver’s name and hopefully maintaining Maggie’s anonymity. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Spies & Sweethearts by Linda Shenton Matchett — A secret mission. A fake bride. A run for their lives. According to the OSS training manual, the life expectancy of a radio operator in Nazi-occupied France is six weeks. Partnered with one of the agency’s top spies, Gerard Lucas, newly-minted agent Emily Strealer plans to beat those odds. Then their cover is blown and all bets are off. The border to neutral Switzerland is three hundred miles away-a long way to run with SS soldiers on their heels.
Will Emily and Gerard survive the journey and get home? And what about their hearts? Nothing in the manual prepared them for falling in love. (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)

Devyn’s Dilemma by Susan G Mathis — 1910, Thousand Islands, New York. Others may consider The Towers castle on Dark Island an enchanting summer retreat, but to Devyn McKenna, it’s a prison. Yet as she works as a maid for Frederick Bourne, former president of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, her life blossoms under the kindness of his family and fascinating entrepreneurs such as J.P. Morgan, Thomas Lipton, and Captain Vanderbilt. But more than anything, the growing friendship of Mr. Bourne’s valet, Brice McBride, begins to pry away the painful layers that conceal Devyn’s heart. Brice is drawn to the mysterious Devyn even though he’s certain she’s hiding a secret, one far more dangerous than the clues they find in The Towers that hint of a treasure on the island. When Devyn is accused of stealing Bourne’s investment in Vanderbilt’s New York City subway expansion, he might not be able to protect her. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

A Life Renewed by Olivia Rae — In 1554, Lady Jane Grey, “The Nine Days’ Queen” was executed for high treason. But what if, instead of feeling the blade on her neck she secretly survived? Escaping execution, Lady Jane hides as a peasant girl in a principality in Germany. She loves the simple life and never wants to return to England. But her benefactor, a power-hungry German prince, wants to march on London and place her on the English throne again, thereby increasing his dominance in Europe. If she doesn’t agree to his plan, her beloved childhood nurse will be put to death. Desperate for help, Jane must put her trust in the mysterious spy Asher Hayes. Asher Hayes is done rounding up Protestants for “Bloody Mary” and wants nothing more than to live a quiet life as a farmer and expunge the blood of many from his hands. Except Queen Mary isn’t done with him yet. She throws his father, mother, and sister into prison on false charges in order to force him to accept one last mission – find and kill Lady Jane Grey. But when Asher discovers Lady Jane isn’t a threat to the throne as he believed her to be, he faces a devastating decision – does he sacrifice his family for the woman who reigns in his heart? (Historical Romance from HopeKnight Press LLC)

The Chisholm Trail Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo — Stubborn Hearts Clash on a Cattle Drive Eliza Gentry’s pursuit of marriage to the son of her family’s sworn enemy has cost her greatly. Furious at his daughter’s choices, her father sends her off with the cattle drive heading toward Fort Worth and the Barnhart ranch, but under the watchful eye of Wyatt Creed, a Pinkerton man he has hired to see to her safety. With danger at every turn—not the least of which to his heart—can Wyatt Creed keep his focus with Eliza Gentry around? Is the Chisholm Trail a place for falling in love or a place to die at the hands of cattle thieves? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

 


Mystery:


 

Cooking Up A Mystery by Gail Pallotta — In this romantic mystery Laney Eskridge battles insecurities, loss and a criminal who attempts to destroy her tea house and catering business. (Cozy Mystery from Inspired [Prism Book Group])

 


Romantic Suspense:


 

Flight Risk by Cara Putman — Savannah Daniels has worked hard to establish a small law practice, and her early career gambles have paid off with a life that she loves. Jett Mason Glover has almost reached the pinnacle of the journalism ladder in Washington, DC. He just needs one breakout story to seal his destiny. When a plane crashes into the 14th Street Bridge during take-off from Reagan National, everyone thinks it’s a freak accident—until the passenger list is released and the black box is compromised. Savannah does not expect to be connected to the crash until she learns her ex-husband was piloting the plane. She must manage his estate while his name is under a fog of accusations leveled by a journalist named Jett who now claims he wants to help Savannah find the truth. As the threads untangle, Savannah begins to question what she knows and whether she’ll survive the investigation. Maybe she’s as deceived as everyone else, but someone believes she’s closer to the truth than she is. And that belief may just kill her. (Romantic Suspense from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Border Breach by Darlene L. Turner — When drugs are smuggled across the border, it’s their duty to stop the culprits…at any cost. Forming a joint task force, Canada border officer Kaylin Poirier and police constable Hudson Steeves have one objective: take down a drug-smuggling ring trying to sell a new lethal product. But when the smugglers come after Kaylin and Hudson, this mission becomes more than just a job. Can they live long enough to solve the case? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:
Only a Glimpse by LuAnn K. Edwards, Contemporary Romance
Fugitive Trail by Elizabeth Goddard , Romantic Suspense
Critical Decision by Richard L. Mabry, MD, Medical Mystery
Glacier of Secrets by J Carol Nemeth, Romantic Suspense
A Perfect Fit by Christine Schimpf, Contemporary Romance
Riven by H.L. Wegley, Romantic Suspense (Historical)

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Review: Silent Shadows, by Natalie Walters

Silent Shadows, by Natalie Walters (Revell, 2020)

A single mother hiding from a gang. Her young son. And a military intelligence officer discharged with an unexplained movement disorder that causes seizure-like muscle contractions.

Pecca Gallegos loves her job as a nurse at the Home for Heroes. Her son, Maceo, is unhappy at school. And Captain Colton Crawford, her newest patient, may be what they both need—if he can see beyond his limitations.

Maceo has a prosthetic leg and what seems like an impossible dream to play football. Helping him may be what Colten needs to help himself.

My personal preference is for an understated romantic thread, so I found Pecca and Colton’s swoony thoughts about one another a little much in the first half. That said, their first true date was definitely an “aww” moment.

And there’s a lot to like in this story. I appreciated the clean suspense and the frank wrestling with the tension between faith and painful circumstances. I also enjoyed the camaraderie among the “D-Wing” patients. Team dynamics, belonging, and purpose play an important part in the book, along with faith and second chances.

Favourite lines:

You look at yourself as less than. Is that the message you want your life to reflect? [Kindle location 3755]

“…Allow yourself to believe that even though this isn’t how you planned your life, it doesn’t mean it’s not exactly where you need to be.” [Kindle location 3761]

Silent Shadows is book 3 in the Harbored Secrets romantic suspense series. I haven’t read the previous books, but had no trouble settling into this one. Books 1 and 2 are set in the same town of Walton, Georgia, but feature different characters.

Natalie Walters’s author bio says that she “comes from a long line of military and law enforcement veterans and is passionate about supporting them through volunteer work, races, and writing stories that affirm no one is defined by their past.” For more about the author and her books, visit nataliewalterswriter.com.

[Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.]

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Some Things Never Change (Guest Post)

Image by Engin_Akyurt from Pixabay

Some Things Never Change

by Steph Beth Nickel

Livestreaming church services. Economic upheaval. Social distancing. Self-isolation. Pandemic.

It’s what we talk about. It’s what we think about. It’s what we pray about—when we can muster the energy to pray.

It seemed like a very good time to focus on some of those things that simply never change. Here are 11 things to consider:

We are called to be outwardly focused.

As Christians, we’ve known this all along. But true confession time … Until recently, I didn’t realize just how self-focused I am. Am I really doing what I do to 1) honour God and 2) bless others? I want these goals to be my motivation, but too often they haven’t been. These days are the perfect opportunity to ask God to refine our motives. (All the while, we must extend grace to ourselves and remember that self-care isn’t necessarily selfish or self-centred. See below for further encouragement in these areas.)

There are always opportunities to minister to others.

Even now, there is so much we can do to bless others: post something encouraging on social media; pick up the phone and check on a senior who doesn’t have access to the Internet; offer to drop off groceries to someone who is apprehensive about venturing out. Even with social distancing, there is much we can do for one another.

Turns out our parents and Kindergarten teachers were right; it is nice to share.

This truth needs no explanation except to say there will be people who need financial assistance, a kind word, and/or a smile today. If we have the opportunity, let’s be generous with what we have and trust the Lord to provide for our needs.

We need one another.

Of course, this is another truth we’ve known all along, but it’s crystal clear with the current situation. Kindness and acts of service are crucial at this time. There may be restrictions as to how we can help, but we certainly need one another.

Our healthcare workers need our prayers—as do our government leaders.

There has never been a more important time to add our government leaders and healthcare workers to our prayer list. With the everchanging information about this virus that is circulating—even among the professionals—it’s difficult for them to know what the right thing to do is. They need the Lord’s wisdom and protection. (If you are either a healthcare professional or a government leader, thank you so much for your service!)

During difficult, uncertain times, we have Someone to turn to.

We’ve all gone through difficulty in our life: illness, loss, economic hardships … God was faithful then, and He’s faithful now. When we’re confused, overwhelmed, and struggling to make sense of it all, God invites us to draw near to Him, promising that He will draw near to us (James 4:8).

God loves us.

Don’t you love the fact that the Bible teaches not only that God is loving but also that He is love (1 John 4:7)? We can rest assured of His love when things are going well—and when a worldwide pandemic has changed so much.

God was not taken by surprise.

When the world changes overnight—and sometimes, hour by hour—we don’t feel equipped to keep up. Could any of us have seen ourselves in this situation a month ago? I know I couldn’t. Still, God wasn’t taken by surprise. And whether or not we feel prepared to face the days ahead, He’ll see us through.

No matter what happens in our world, we can rest assured that God never changes.

This is, perhaps, the singular truth that sees me through each day. While my life hasn’t changed all that much, I still sense the heaviness of this new reality. I can vegetate on the couch and watch Netflix and sleep more than usual—or I can trust in our unchanging heavenly Father and seek to accomplish the tasks He has set before me.

We are called to extend grace—to others and to ourselves.

The word should can cause big problems. Of course, the Bible lays out hundreds of clear Shoulds and Should Nots. However, when it comes to facing our current, unprecedented situation, we must be careful how we seek to impose our convictions—even God’s—on others. Even as believers, there are many times we’d be in big trouble if it weren’t for the Lord’s grace and Jesus’s sacrifice on our behalf. We must remember that many of the people we interact with do not know Jesus as Saviour, which I believe provides the opportunity for us to show them we are Christians by our love—not our judgment.

There is a balance between self-sacrifice and self-care.

We can find several examples in the Scriptures that indicate that we are to put others’ needs ahead of our own. At the same time, we must remember that, unless we care for our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, we will soon have virtually nothing to offer those the Lord has brought into our life. May we prayerfully seek God’s perspective in this area, as in all others.


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Steph Beth Nickel
Steph Beth Nickel

Steph Beth Nickel is a communicator who seeks to Nurture and Inspire in her many eclectic endeavours: editing, writing, podcasting, etc. Steph coauthored Paralympian Deb Willows’s memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances. Steph and Deb are working on a follow-up, tentatively titled Keep Looking Up. Steph is also a regular contributor to HopeStreamRadio. You can connect with her on Facebook or via email.

99-cent Ebooks While We’re Self-isolating

I hope you’re doing okay in these uncertain days. The most important things we can do are to pray for one another (and for our leaders!) and to care for one another in whatever way we can.

One small thing I can do is to reduce the price of my ebooks — people who are spending more time at home need distractions from the never-ending news loops. Books are great for that, and books that remind us of God’s care are extra-valuable now. Many Christian authors I know have been able to reduce their prices, and we all seem to be saying “it doesn’t seem like much, but it’s something I can do.”

So for the rest of March and into April, each of my ebooks will be 99 cents worldwide.

For convenience, the buy links on my Books2Read page should lead to the appropriate country for Kindle, Kobo, Nook, and Apple. Link: https://bit.ly/Books2ReadJanetSketchley

This applies for the three Redemption’s Edge novels (suspense/romantic suspense), the two Green Dory Inn Mysteries, and my daily devotional book. Feel fee to share this offer with your reading friends.

Review: No Way Up, by Mary Connealy

No Way Up, by Mary Connealy, The Cimarron Legacy book 1

No Way Up, by Mary Connealy (Bethany House, 2016)

A year under the same roof?

Their father’s near-fatal injury in a rock slide (and the terms of his will, which he insists they obey immediately) require Sadie Boden and her brothers Justin and Cole to live together on the family ranch for the next year. It’s inconvenient for Cole, who prefers to run the family’s mining interests from town. And it costs Sadie her role of working in the town’s orphanage.

The avalanche may have been deliberate—which means the siblings may be in danger. Who could be after the ranch? And are they connected with past trouble?

No Way Up is a western mystery set in 1880 New Mexico Territory. It’s also a romance, as ranch employee Heath Kincaid proves his worth to the Boden family siblings.

I enjoyed the banter between the characters, as well as the setting. The title No Way Up refers to Skull Mesa, part of the ranch property that’s believed to be un-climbable and yet from where someone seems to be keeping watch. Heath, loving a challenge, is determined to reach the top. Never one to stay behind, Sadie insists she accompany him.

Favourite lines:

Heath’s voice deepened until Sadie felt it rubbing like gentle sandpaper against her heart. [page 28]

Right now he saw the strongest resemblance between the three he’d ever noticed. First time he’d ever realized that stubborn could be a look. [Heath observing the Boden siblings, page 130]

This is the start of the Cimarron Legacy series, and I suspect that through Heath it’s linked to the author’s Kincaid Brides series. The prequel novella, The Boden Birthright, is available as a free ebook. Click here: maryconnealy.com/books/cimarron-legacy/the-boden-birthright.

For more about Mary Connealy and her books, visit maryconnealy.com.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

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Keeping Track of What We Read

Do you love reading?

Reads to Remember: A book lover’s journal to track your next 100 reads is now available.

Whether it’s a book a day or a book a year, in print, digital, or audio, this reader’s journal is the perfect way to track the next 100 books in your life.

  • Jot your reactions and reflections.
  • Note key details:
    • author
    • subject
    • format
    • date finished
    • rating
    • favourite lines
    • and more
  • Track your reading habits across genre/subject.
  • List those rare, life-impacting reads.
  • Manage your to-read list.

Includes bookmarks you can cut out and colour for the print books on your list.

At this point, these readers’ journals are only available through Amazon (only in print form… who wants to write on their tablet or e-reader?)

Amazon links:

Book Stack Edition:
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Amazon.co.uk

Books With Tea Edition:
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Amazon.co.uk

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Review: Hems & Homicide, by Elizabeth Penney

Hems & Homicide, The Apron Shop Series book 1, by Elizabeth Penney

Hems & Homicide, by Elizabeth Penney (St. Martin’s, 2020)

Iris Buckley and her recently-widowed grandmother, Anne, are a good team. Add Quincy, a marmalade cat who thinks he’s the real boss, and their Ruffles & Bows shop could be a hit. If the skeleton they find in the cellar of their building doesn’t stop their grand opening plans.

Welcome to Blueberry Cove, Maine: a quiet, tourist town where everyone knows everyone’s business. Or at least they thought they did—someone may be a secret murderer.

Iris is a skilled seamstress with a special interest in vintage linens and designs. (Be prepared, “vintage” can mean 1960’s!) I appreciate how it’s her grandmother, Anne, who’s the more knowledgeable about online security.

Iris has been back in town for a few months and has reconnected with good friends from school. Also back is her high school crush, Ian Stewart, who’ll be doing the renovations on the new shop.

Hems & Homicide is book 1 in the Apron Shop Series, and it’s a clean cozy mystery in a charming setting. I enjoyed the descriptions of the rural landscape outside of town. As you’d expect with a main character who’s skilled with fabrics, descriptions often focus on colours and textiles. And as Iris and Anne investigate the long-ago death, Iris gets a peek at Anne’s life as a young woman. 

This is a fun read, and a good start to a new series. Book 2, Thread and Dread, releases later in 2020. For more about Elizabeth Penney, visit elizabethpenneyauthor.com.

[Review copy from the public library.]

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New Releases in Christian Fiction (March 2020)

March 2020 New Releases from Members of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW):

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

 


Contemporary Romance:


 

Love & Liberty by Elsie Davis — A New Hampshire firefighter and an Audubon Society member go head to head when his work involving controlled forest fires threatens a rumored eagle nest. (Contemporary Romance from Sweet Promise Press)

Formula for a Perfect Life by Christy Hayes — College senior Kayla Cummings’ dreams are crushed by an unplanned pregnancy after a one-night stand with her secret crush. When she confronts the baby’s father, Ben Strickland, his destined life spins out of control. With the clock ticking and decisions to make, Ben and Kayla embark on a journey where falling in love might be the biggest surprise of all. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published )

Hill Country Redemption by Shannon Taylor Vannatter — When Rance Shepherd takes a job stocking cattle for a local rodeo, he’s shocked that his new client is his ex-sweetheart, Larae Collins. Now he’s determined to prove to the single mother that he isn’t the restless cowboy she remembers. But when he discovers her little girl is his, they both must forgive past mistakes for a second shot at a future together. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Spring Splash by Denise Weimer — An injured college swimmer volunteers to help with a Special Olympics swim team as a part of her sports marketing practicum and butts heads with the team’s handsome but stubborn coach. (Contemporary Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

 


Children’s:

 

Selah’s Stolen Dream by Susan Count — Thirteen-year-old Selah’s perfect life unravels when her beloved horse is stolen. Then ten-year-old Emma buys the dream of a lifetime at a horse auction. When she learns the horse was stolen, even removing her hearing aid won’t drown out the voice telling her to make it right.But two girls can’t divide the horse they both adore. So will life surprise them with an answered prayer? (Middle Grade from Hastings Creations Group)

 


Historical:


 

Sorrento Girl by Dawn Klinge — It’s 1938, and Ann Brooks has big dreams of her new life as a Seattle College coed. She’s left the old-fashioned ways of her small country town behind to pursue higher education and a teaching career. But not everyone is ready for change. Society still preaches that a woman’s place is in the home. Some refuse to see Ann as an equal deserving of an education — let alone a career — and Ann’s friends think school is simply a springboard to pursue a marriage of wealth and convenience. When Ann meets Paul, an aspiring journalist with strong ideas of his own, she learns an unexpected lesson in courage and discovers what it really means to live her dreams. Will Ann give up everything she thought she wanted for love? Or can she have it all? (Historical, Independently Published)

The Blue Cloak by Shannon McNear — Based on real events beginning in 1797 — Rachel Taylor lives a rather mundane existence at the way station her family runs along the Wilderness Road in Tennessee. She attends her friend’s wedding only to watch it dissolve in horror has the groom, Wiley Harpe, and his cousin become murderers on the run, who drag their families along. Declaring a “war on all humanity,” the Harpes won’t be stopped, and Ben Langford is on their trail to see if his own cousin was one of their latest victims. How many will die before peace can return to the frontier? (Historical from Barbour Publishing)

Roll Back the Clouds by Terri Wangard — Sailing on the Lusitania is a dream-come-true for Rosaleen and Geoff Bonnard, but their journey turns into a nightmare. Will they ever find their joy again? (Historical, Independently Published)

 


Historical Romance:


 

The Heart’s Stronghold by Amanda Barratt, Angie Dicken, Gabrielle Meyer, and Kimberley Woodhouse — Join four brave women making their mark on history at Colonial forts. Faced with tragedy and distrust they will fight to bring civility, family, and love to the frontier. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Hope in the Mountain River by Misty M. Beller — This epic journey is not at all what she expected. Joel Vargas can’t believe he’s lost his older brother in the wilds of the Rocky Mountains after surviving their harrowing voyage across the Atlantic. And he can’t shake the feeling that Adam—his only living relative—is in dire trouble. No matter what the cost, he and his band of friends won’t stop until Adam is found. He’s not sure if two Indian women they meet on the way will be a help or hindrance. After the devastating loss of her daughter and husband to a sickness that swept through their Nez Perce camp, Elan is desperate to find an escape from her grief. As she and her friend journey through the mountains toward the great river, a band of white men is the last thing she expects to find, especially as winter blows in full force. When the dangers increase, accomplishing Joel’s mission becomes the only hope for all their survival. If the elements don’t consume them, Elan has a feeling life will never be the same for any of them. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Out of the Embers by Amanda Cabot — Ten years after her parents were killed, Evelyn Radcliffe is once more homeless. The orphanage that was her refuge and later her workplace has burned to the ground, and only she and a young orphan girl have escaped. Convinced this must be related to her parents’ murders, Evelyn flees with the girl to Mesquite Springs in the Texas Hill Country and finds refuge in the home of Wyatt Clark, a talented horse rancher whose plans don’t include a family of his own. At first, Evelyn is a distraction. But when it becomes clear that trouble has followed her to Mesquite Springs, she becomes a full-blown disruption. Can Wyatt keep her safe from the man who wants her dead? And will his own plans become collateral damage? (Historical Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Woman of Sunlight by Mary Connealy — From a remote Colorado mountain to the bustle of Chicago. Ilsa finds herself married and dragged into rushing wagons and horses, high rise buildings and a ruthless killer who’s followed them across a country. (Western from Bethany House [Baker])

The Merchant’s Yield by Lorri Dudley — A debutant finds herself in a compromising situation with a Leeward Islander, which lands her in a marriage of inconvenience with the man who then carries her across the Atlantic to his home. When he learns of her weak constitution and believes she can’t survive the hardships of island life, she sets out to prove him wrong. (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)

A Love Not Forgotten by Linda Shenton Matchett — Allison White should be thrilled about her upcoming wedding. The problem? She’s still in love with her fiancé, Chaz, who was declared dead after being shot down over Germany in 1944. Can she put the past behind her and settle down to married life with the kindhearted man who loves her? It’s been two years since Charles “Chaz” Powell was shot down over enemy territory. The war is officially over, but not for him. He has amnesia as a result of injuries sustained in the crash, and the only clue to his identity is a love letter with no return address. Will he ever regain his memories and discover who he is, or will he have to forge a new life with no connections to the past? (Historical Romance by Shortwave Press)

 


Romantic Suspense:


 

Killer Harvest by Tanya Stowe — Can she stop a deadly crop virus from ending up in the wrong hands? Biologist and single mom Sassa Nilsson just witnessed her mentor’s brutal murder by environmental extremists. Now she’s the last link to a deadly pathogen they plan on unleashing—and their number one target! But can handsome border patrol agent Jared De Luca shield Sassa and her baby long enough to find a cure…before the entire world faces the unthinkable consequences? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Traces by Denise Weimer — When a failed romance and a $500,000 prize lure Kate Carson into participating in the reality TV show, Traces, the least she expects is to pick her partner. After all, she’s the PR spokeswoman of the company that derived a thirteen-lens, rotating camera from military use and installed it atop Atlanta’s tallest skyscraper. But she never would have chosen to evade techno hunters for twenty days with “G.I. Joe.” Stoic, ex-military Alex Mitchell is the sort of man she always vowed to avoid, while the shadows of Alex’s past cause him to spurn emotional involvement. When Kate’s insider knowledge makes her a target of someone more threatening than game show hunters, Alex offers her only hope to reveal the dark plans of proponents of The Eye. (Romantic Suspense from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Song in the Dark by Jessica White — After graduating from Juilliard, harpist Jenna Fields returns home to Albany to escape her manipulative ex and prove to her controlling mother that she can orchestrate her own life. Homicide detective Dean Blackburn spends his days seeking justice for the dead. But darkness taints everything, including him. When his three Dobermans lead him to Jenna playing in the park, he tries to resist the beautiful musician and focus on his cases. At least until he witnesses Jenna’s ex attempt to blackmail her and learns she’s being stalked, just like one of his homicide victims. When her world crumbles beneath her feet, and Dean learns she has her own dark secrets, he helps Jenna see that the key to escaping her mother’s gilded cage is already in her hands. (Romantic Suspense from Mantle Rock Publishing)

Secrets She Knew by D.L. Wood — Boston police detective Dani Lake dreads returning to her small hometown of Skye, Alabama, for her ten-year high school reunion–and not just for the normal reasons. At only fifteen, Dani tragically discovered the body of her murdered classmate, setting in motion the process that led to the unjust conviction of her dear friend and an unshakable burden of guilt she carries to this day. So when new evidence surfaces during her trip home which suggests the truth Dani’s always suspected, she embarks on a mission to expose the real killer, aided by Skye detective Chris Newton–who happens to be the man Dani’s best friend is dying to set her up with, and also the only person who believes her. But when Dani pushes too hard, someone pushes back, endangering Dani and those closest to her as she unearths secrets deeper and darker than she ever expected to learn—secrets that may bring the truth to light, if they don’t get her killed first. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

 


Suspense:


 

Chasing the White Lion by James R. Hannibal — Rookie spy Talia Inger goes deep undercover in the world’s first crowdsourced crime syndicate to unveil a monster and rescue kidnapped refugee children. (Techno-thriller from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Kings Falling by Ronie Kendig — Leif Metcalfe and his team, dubbed Reaper, need to recover the stolen, ancient Book of the Wars if they hope to stop the Armageddon Coalition and their pursuit of global economic control. But their attention has been diverted by a prophecy in the book that foretells of formidable guardians who will decimate the enemies of ArC. While Iskra Todorova uses her connections in the covert underworld to hunt down the Book of the Wars, Leif and Reaper attempt to neutralize these agents but quickly find themselves outmaneuvered and outgunned. The more Reaper tries to stop the guardians, the more failure becomes a familiar, antagonistic foe. Friendships are fractured, and the team battles to hold it together long enough to defeat ArC. But as this millennia-old conspiracy creeps closer and closer to home, the implications could tear Leif and the team apart. (Military Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:

Love & Hope by Elsie Davis, Contemporary Romance
Bite the Dust by Jackie Layton, Cozy Mystery
Jordan’s Arrow by Allen Steadham, Speculative
The Letters by C. Kevin Thompson, Suspense

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Review: Left Turn to the Promised Land, by Rachel Starr Thomson

Left Turn to the Promised Land, by Rachel Starr Thomson (Little Dozen Press, 2018)

“One Author’s Journey of Writing, Business, and Walking by Faith.” Rachel Starr Thomson’s openness in sharing the practical and spiritual development of her writing reads like a novel. It’s present-tense first-person, with some lyrical descriptions.

You might want to read this book if:

  • You’re a Christian writer. Your experiences will be different than the author’s, but there will be overlap. Like the struggle to discern direction, and the danger of allowing sales to become an idol.
  • You’re an indie author, Christian or not. No matter what you think of the spiritual aspect, this book is an interesting case study of someone who’s been an indie author since before it was popular.
  • You’re a Christian creative who’s struggling with the idea of maybe being called to use your creativity for God.
  • You like Rachel Starr Thomson’s books and want to know more about her.

What I loved most about this book was the author’s frankness in sharing her spiritual growth. Her story challenges me to sit more with God and ensure I’m being honest with Him—and with myself. And that I’m aligned with what He wants to do with the gifts He’s given me.

I also appreciated how she clarified the sometimes-mystical idea of “calling,” reminding us that callings aren’t just for us—they’re for others. And that a creative calling is as valuable as any other. Too often, maybe because creativity is fun, writers and other creatives diminish its value. (Not that creating is easy, or always fun, but there’s that certain zing to it at times.)

Rachel Starr Thomson is an author, speaker, and ministry leader. She writes fiction and nonfiction, “always exploring the kingdom of God.” For more about the author and her ministry, visit rachelstarrthomson.com.

[Review copy from the public library.]

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When a Plan Comes Together (Guest Post)

When a Plan Comes Together

by Steph Beth Nickel

Planners. Journals. Notebooks.

Do you love them as much as I do?

Maybe you make a simple To Do List on paper or on your phone.

Maybe you keep it all in your head. (Kudos if you do!)

Still, there’s a challenge no matter what method you use to record your plans, hopes, and dreams … follow-through.

I can make a mean To Do List. I can decorate it with stickers and even use fancy writing if I’m so inclined. But none of that matters unless I take the needed steps to make my plans come together.

Sadly, creating a beautiful, comprehensive list and then lying back on the couch to watch “just one more episode” on Netflix doesn’t get me any closer to my goals.

Plus, nine times out of ten, I fall asleep. And when I wake up, I either 1) restart the episode I missed or 2) head to bed, promising myself I’ll do better the next day.

So, what practical steps can you and I take to move beyond list-making?

  1. As much as possible, head to bed at the same time every night and rise at the same time every morning.
  2. Get regular exercise.
  3. Eat well.
  4. Pray before putting pen to paper, asking God to guide you as you make your list.
  5. Be honest with yourself. Just how much can you reasonably accomplish in one day? Your list should reflect reality.
  6. Your list should also reflect what is truly important, including time with God, family, and friends.
  7. Assign a time for each task, remembering to factor in “the margins,” times to catch up on projects that take longer than expected, and scheduled downtime.
  8. Pray again, committing your plans to Him. After all, Proverbs 16:9 is true, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (ESV).

February 17 was Family Day. I had prepared what I felt was a reasonably long list of things I wanted to accomplish, most of them in my home office. Before I got busy there, I did some extras around the house, which turned out to be a very good thing. Not only did I enjoy looking around at the less cluttered areas I had dealt with but also, we had unexpected company. (See Proverbs 16:9 above.)

I was able to sit and chat with a young man who has been a friend of the family for many years. And as it turns out, he has been reading the Bible in order to overcome his dark thoughts and draw close to the Lord. He wants to begin coming to church and was asking about baptism. What a wonderful way to spend an hour or so!

Our visit reminded me of the importance of positioning myself to be ready to be a blessing—online and in person. While sleep will still lure me away, tempting me to procrastinate and escape the overwhelm that prowls around the perimeter of my mind, there are steps I can take to make my plans come together—and steps I can take to be attentive when the Lord is bringing His plans together.

How do you handle your To Do List? What potential stumbling blocks do you have to overcome? What suggestions could you add to the list above?

Steph Beth Nickel
Steph Beth Nickel

Steph Beth Nickel is a communicator who seeks to Nurture and Inspire in her many eclectic endeavours: editing, writing, podcasting, etc. Steph coauthored Paralympian Deb Willows’s memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances. Steph and Deb are working on a follow-up, tentatively titled Keep Looking Up. Steph is also a regular contributor to HopeStreamRadio. You can connect with her on Facebook or via email.