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 (July 2020)

July 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:

How Sweet It Is by Robin Lee Hatcher — A businessman trying to reconnect with his brother returns to his hometown and rents the apartment where his great-great-grandparents lived during the late 1920s. He never suspects his attractive landlady, a struggling restaurant owner who works with women at a local shelter, is the one person who might help him reach his brother. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Love’s Autumn Harvest by Patricia Lee — A widow, a divorcee, and a widower find themselves in a love triangle that gets complicated as each one finds themselves drawn into the tangled web they weave. (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

 

Ready to Trust by Tina Radcliffe — Rancher Reece Rainbolt’s shocked to learn he’s inherited half of Claire Ballard’s family farm—and that he’s a father. Now Claire’s determined to break ties with the man who once left her behind. But Reece will buy her half only on one condition: she must stay in town to help with the harvest…and let him get to know his little girl. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

 

The Truth About Fame by Toni Shiloh — When a superstar’s bodyguard pretends to be her fiancé to flush out her stalker, the woman starts falling for a happily ever after that’s just as fake as her tabloid life. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

 

Falling for the Innkeeper by Meghann Whistler — Single mom Laura Lessoway won’t accept her mother’s plan of selling her late grandmother’s inn without a fight. But when big-city attorney Jonathan Masters arrives to arrange an offer from his client, she’s drawn to him. And working together as he helps with repairs only brings them closer. With his career and her home on the line, can they ever find common ground? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Historical Romance:

 

A Place to Call Home by Susan Page Davis, Susanne Dietze, and Erica Vetsch — Duck for cover in the Superstition Mountains as a woman flees her capture and a marshal pursues his prisoner while the couple is handcuffed together. Exit a stagecoach in an Idaho boom town, where a mail-order mix-up has everyone scrambling to right an embarrassing mistake—or was it really a blessing? Gallop into Fort Bliss, Texas, where a battle wages between an eastern fashion artist and a US Cavalry surgeon for the custody of two orphans. Delight in the journey as faith and romance intersect in these three full-length novels. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

 

The Gentleman Spy by Erica Vetsch — A bluestocking and a newly minted duke join forces to unravel a mystery…but the greatest mystery might be the duke’s true identity. (Historical Romance from Kregel Publications)

 
 


Mystery:

 

A Bitter Brew by Elizabeth Ludwig — The cousins are thrilled when Jan is invited to compete in a nationally televised baking contest. Things go awry, however, when the prize money disappears. Worse, Jan and Elaine find themselves as the prime suspects! Certain they are being framed, the cousins seek out clues that will lead them to the thief. Can they do it before the contest ends, or will they fall faster than Jan’s award-winning souffle? (Cozy Mystery from Guidepost Publications)

 

Murder at Madison Square Garden by Linda Shenton Matchett — A private investigator helps a scrappy, female photojournalist, who is accused of murder after an assassination attempt on Charles Lindberg at the America First rally leaves another man dead. (Historical Mystery from Shortwave Press)

 
 


Romantic Suspense:

Explosive Situation by Terri Reed — With his K-9 partner at his side, can he survive false accusations and a bomber? Detective Henry Roarke’s determined to prove his innocence to internal affairs officer Olivia Vance—but first he must survive the bomber targeting him and his bomb-sniffing K-9, Cody. With a coming baby to protect and an investigation to pursue, Olivia has her hands full…until she becomes a target, as well. Can they catch the bomber before they all lose their lives? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Rocky Mountain Revenge by Rhonda Starnes — To survive her deadly homecoming, she’ll need to trust a man from her past… Temporarily home to help at her family’s vet clinic, Grace Porter has no intentions of staying—but someone’s determined she won’t live long enough to leave. With both Grace and her sister in the crosshairs, her ex-boyfriend, Police Chief Evan Bradshaw, must protect them. But can the single dad lawman uncover the truth about why a killer’s out for vengeance before time runs out? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

 
 


Suspense:

 

Relative Silence by Carrie Stuart Parks — Forensic sketch artist Tucker Landry and American heiress Piper Boone form a bond after surviving a mass shooting on Curlew Island. Amid rumors of the Curlew Island Curse which whispers say has taken the lives of several members of Piper’s family, the pair must unravel the Boone family’s true history before Piper becomes the next victim. (Suspense from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)


Young Adult:

Heart of a Princess by Hannah Currie — Behind the smiles and designer clothes, Princess Alina has a secret. She’s barely holding it together. After a moment of panic almost ends in tragedy, Alina is sent to a refuge far from the palace to recuperate. Her family claim it’s for her own good but – faced with cows, knife-beaked ducks and far too many of her own insecurities – Alina is pretty sure it will kill her first. And Joha Samson, infuriating man that he is, will laugh as it does. Only there’s more to Joha than she realizes, and more to herself too. When the time comes to make a stand, will she find the courage? (Young Adult from WhiteFire Publishing)

 

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

Before Summer’s End by Johnnie Alexander, Brenda S. Anderson, Eleanor Bertin, Sara Davison, Deb Elkink, Stacy Monson, and Marion Ueckermann, A collection of stories of faith, family, and forgiveness. (General Contemporary)

Honor Bound by Carol Ashby, Honor had forced him to act. Time would tell if he’d regret it. (Historical)

Ralley Point: Place Of Refuge by Daniel Bishop, The Baskins overcome the loss of their unborn child and come to a place of refuge, redemption, restoration. (General Contemporary)

Two Autumns, One Spring by Elizabeth Ann Boyles, A deceitful mother-in-law, Nagasaki’s vengeful official, conflicting beliefs—all work against a near-perfect marriage in 1861 Japan. (Historical)

The Sugar Baron’s Ring by Lorri Dudley, A ring is her only tie to a distant homeland, until a marooned Englishman anchors her heart. (Historical Romance)

Let Him Go by LuAnn K. Edwards, Keedryn and Blake acknowledge their love in this wholesome romance, only to find trouble brewing at the office and turmoil bursting in their hearts. (Contemporary Romance)

Afraid of the Light by Cynthia Ruchti, Clinical psychologist Camille Brooks vows she’ll never let another family suffer from the fallout of a hoarding disorder like her mom’s, but soon discovers that she has her own collection of hurts to confront. (General Contemporary)

Deadly Hideaway by Marissa Shrock, A relaxing getaway. A rocky romance. And a dead body. Will life ever be normal? (Cozy Mystery)

The Cowboy’s Missing Memory by Shannon Taylor Vannatter, He needs to remember and she’s his best hope to help him reclaim his past and build a future. (Contemporary Romance)

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Review: Set the Stars Alight, by Amanda Dykes

Set the Stars Alight, by Amanda Dykes

Set the Stars Alight, by Amanda Dykes (Bethany House, 2020)

Lyrical, beautiful, heart-warming and satisfying, Set the Stars Alight is a must-read.

Page one welcomed me in like I was coming home.

Before I even reached that page, the dedication spoke to me—the part about wonder:

Hang on to it, brave ones.
And more—hang on to the Giver of it.
Though darkness may fall and times grow hard,
hold fast to this given light. [Kindle location 45]

Timely words for a hard year like 2020.

The novel follows two timelines: 1987 – 2020 and the 1800s during the Napoleonic wars, each revealing what’s needed to understand the other. It’s not choppy, switching timelines each chapter; instead, the story flows in segments with time enough to settle in place and care about the people involved.

In the contemporary thread, childhood friends Lucy and Dashel reunite as adults in a quest to locate a legendary shipwreck in the English Channel. The historical thread follows Frederick, a landowner’s son, and the young lovers Juliette and Elias.

Some of the many lines I highlighted in the book are sparks of light to hold close:

Taking note of the good, the true, the just, the miracles hidden at every turn is like…a deliberate act of defiance against the darkness. [Lucy’s father, Kindle location 431]

Such freedom, to know our limits. And to know the God who has none. [Clara, Kindle location 3347]

Others are just beautiful:

The woman had a way of almost gliding—not in the graceful, practiced way of the ladies of gothic novels, but rather more like an apparition gliding over ice. [Kindle location 1625]

Set the Stars Alight is a novel of love and loyalty, friendship and faith, that encourages wonder and affirms the value of everyday actions and individual lives. As an added bonus, readers who loved Amanda Dykes’ debut novel, Whose Waves These Are, will welcome the quiet nod to that book in chapter 25.

For more about author Amanda Dykes, visit amandadykes.com.

[Review copy provided by the publisher via #NetGalley.]

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In Search of Joy and Wisdom (Guest Post)

Red heart with a puzzle piece missing.
Image by PIRO4D from Pixabay

In Search of Joy and Wisdom

by Steph Beth Nickel

In the English Standard Version, James 1:2-5 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

I can almost guarantee we’re all going through a trial of some description. Thankfully, as believers, we can cling to the promises in this passage.

It won’t be easy. And the full effect of steadfastness won’t happen overnight, but we can rest assured that God will be with us each step of the way. And I need that assurance right now. How about you?

In the early days, COVID-19 exacerbated my tendency to procrastinate to a full-on “What’s the use?” attitude.

With God’s help, I pushed through … although I still have a tendency to put things off. However, I no longer believe my efforts to forge ahead are essentially futile.

And then George Floyd and the racial divide spotlighting the need for God-honouring forgiveness and reconciliation.

In Ontario, churches have been allowed to reopen with restrictions. You would think this would be a cause for celebration, that we would delight in the opportunity to be together again. And while that’s the case to a certain extent, we are witnessing everything from those staying away because of fear to those who think we should completely disregard the governments directives.

We have come to realize we don’t know one another as well as we thought.

Enter social media. Facebook, in particular, has become a place where we hurt one another because of the hurt we’ve been carrying, the hurt that those who attend church with us may not be aware of.

Enter, once again, the “What’s the use?” mindset.

Why would I explain myself? What good would it do?

Why would I share my perspective with that particular person? Their mind is already made up.

Why would I voice my opinion? It will only cause an argument.

Or the other extreme …

Why shouldn’t I voice my opinion? I want to start a conversation. (Sadly, this “conversation” often devolves into something completely emotion-driven and just causes more hurt—especially if posted online.)

After 35+ years in the same church, I have seen countless hurts and disagreements. Those are unavoidable. I get that.

But what do you do when one person you love and care about wounds another but you haven’t witnessed it firsthand?

You want to submit to authority.

You don’t want to cause division.

But you believe we, as the body of Christ, could be more than this, more genuine, more authentic, more loving.

I long for the day when beloved brothers and sisters don’t simply disappear into the night as it were.

However, in all this, I must cling to James 1, trusting God to work it all out not only for me but also for all those involved.

When we face trials and heartbreak, we can count on God’s promises.

When we just don’t know what to do or say, we can ask for wisdom and trust Him to provide it.

It may be cliché, but “God’s got this!” And boy, am I glad!

Tweetables:

The full effect of steadfastness won’t happen overnight. (click to tweet)

God will be with us each step of the way. (click to tweet)

What do you do when one person you love and care about wounds another? (click to tweet)

When we face trials and heartbreak, we can count on God’s promises. (click to tweet)

When we just don’t know what to do or say, we can ask for wisdom and trust God to provide it. (click to tweet)

Steph Beth Nickel
Steph Beth Nickel

Steph Beth Nickel is eclectically interested and eclectically involved. She is an author, blogger, a regular contributor to the HopeStreamRadio online radio station, a freelance editor, and birth doula. Steph brings her interests together under the Nurture and Inspire umbrella. Ladies, you’re invited to join her Facebook group by the same name: Nurture and Inspire

New Releases in Christian Fiction (June 2020)

June 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:

 

Forever Home by Amy Grochowski — A Canadian Amish farmer proposes a convenient marriage to a Lancaster Amish businesswoman so they can join a new community welcoming married couples only. They are both surprised when a Prince Edward Island foster child finds her way to them in need of a home. Yet what will happen when the English world and the Amish world collide? (Romance from Ambassador International)

Start With Me by Kara Isaac — A professional woman and her old flame, who doesn’t remember her, are forced to work together when the companies they work for merge. (Romance, Independently Published)

A Father’s Promise by Mindy Obenhaus — Is he ready for fatherhood? He doesn’t think he deserves a family… But now he has a daughter. Stunned to discover he has a child, Wes Bishop isn’t sure he’s father material. But his adorable daughter needs him, and he can’t help feeling drawn to her mother, Laurel Donovan—a woman he’s finally getting to know. But can this sudden dad overcome a past tragedy that has him convinced he’s not meant to be a husband or a father…and make a promise of forever? (Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Historical:

 

Until June by Barbara M. Britton — When a young seamstress agrees to take care of a WWI amputee in a remote Alaskan lodge, there’s enough friction to melt a glacier. (Historical from Inspired [Prism Book Group])

A Cord of Three Strands by Christy Distler — As 1756 dawns, Isaac Lukens is torn between loyalty to his Lenape heritage and a childhood friend who needs to marry in order to raise her siblings after her father was killed by his people. (Historical from Avodah Books)

Persuaded: The Story of Nicodemus by David Harder — From the prison colony on Patmos, the Apostle John entrusts Nicodemus with manuscripts for the Christian fellowships increasing throughout the Roman Empire. While transcribing the manuscript, Nicodemus is prompted to recall his former life and his encounter with Yeshua – a man of mystery, a healer, a teacher, and a prophet. An encounter that changed everything. Under the cover of darkness, risking his reputation and endangering his life even further, it is here that Nicodemus realizes the world-changing power of the Good News . . . and what being a follower of Yeshua truly means. (Historical from Ambassador International)

Historical Romance:

 

Love’s Mountain Quest by Misty M. Beller — When a Rocky Mountain widow returns home from work to find her son and the woman watching him missing–and the sheriff dead–she enlists a man she prays has enough experience in this rugged country to help. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

The Damsel’s Intent by Mary Davis — Washington State 1893. Nicole Waterby has lived her whole life in the hills away from town due to her grandfather’s mistrust of people. But now he’s passed away, and Nicole is left to care for her two younger cousins. Feeling inadequate to handle the responsibility, she heads down the mountain to fetch herself a husband. She doesn’t realize women don’t wear trousers, buckskins, or carry a gun. She has a lot to learn about being a lady if she’s going to catch a husband. And the quilting circle is just the group of women to help her. Rancher Shane Keegan has drifted from one location to another to find a place to belong. He longs to have a family of his own but feels doomed to live a life alone. When Nicole crosses his path, he wonders if he can have love, but he soon realizes she’s destined for someone better than a saddle tramp. Even though he knows there’s no future for him with the intriguing mountain girl, he still steps in to help her at every opportunity. Will love stand a chance while both Nicole and Shane try to be people they are not? (Historical Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

Line By Line by Jennifer Delamere — Since she was young, Alice McNeil has seen success as a telegrapher as the best use for her keen and curious mind. Years later, she has yet to regret her freedom and foregoing love and marriage, especially when she acquires a coveted position at an important trading firm. But when the company’s ambitious junior director returns to London, things begin to change in ways Alice could never have imagined. For Douglas Shaw, years of hard work and ingenuity enabled him to escape a life of grinding poverty. He’s also determined to marry into high society—a step that will ensure he never returns to the conditions of his past. He immediately earns Alice’s respect by judging her based on her skills and not her gender, and a fast camaraderie forms. However, when Alice accidentally angers a jealous coworker and his revenge threatens both their reputations, Alice and Douglas are forced to confront what is truly important in their lives. Will their growing bond give them the courage to see the future in a different light? (Historical Romance from Bethany [Baker])

An Appalachian Summer by Ann H Gabhart — After the market crash of 1933, the last thing Piper Danson wants is to flaunt her family’s fortune while so many suffer. Although she reluctantly agrees to a debut party at her parents’ insistence, she still craves a meaningful life over the emptiness of an advantageous marriage. When an opportunity to volunteer with the Frontier Nursing Service arises, Piper jumps at the chance. But, her spontaneous jaunt turns into something unexpected when she falls in love with more than just the breathtaking Appalachian Mountains. (Historical Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

The Widow & The War Correspondent by Linda Shenton Matchett — Are a new life and new love possible in a country devastated by war? Barely married before she was widowed after Pearl Harbor three years ago, journalist Cora Strealer travels to England where she’s assigned to work with United Press’s top reporter who thinks the last place for a woman is on the front lines. Can she change his opinion before D-Day? Or will she have to choose her job over her heart? A sought-after journalist, Van Toppel deserves his pick of assignments, which is why he can’t determine the bureau chief’s motive for saddling him with a cub reporter. Unfortunately, the beautiful rookie is no puff piece. Can he get her off his beat without making headlines…or losing his heart? (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)

An Impossible Price by Davalynn Spencer — With no husband of her own, midwife Sophie Price lives to keep others calm in their hour of need. But when a handsome horse handler steps off the train with a fiery stallion, he brings anything but calm as he looks her dead in the eye and clear through to her soul. Clay Ferguson returns to the place he once called home, hunting a fresh start and the one woman who could draw him back. If he can hide his battered heart and the brutality of his past, maybe she’ll take another look and give him a second chance. Both bear scars from their fathers. Both fight for life. Together, they may learn that love is worth its impossible price. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Mystery:

 

Pride and Pettiness by Elizabeth Ludwig — A hairdresser fears she may lose her business when appointments go terribly wrong. (Mystery from Guidepost Publications)

 

Romantic Suspense:

 

Don’t Keep Silent by Elizabeth Goddard — Investigative reporter Rae Burke will do anything to find her missing sister-in-law, even if it means facing Liam McKade, a man who almost lost his life saving hers. (Romantic Suspense from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Closer Than She Knows by Kelly Irvin — Court reporter Teagan O’Rourke thinks her job taught her everything she needed to know about murder until a serial killer decides to teach her a new lesson–up and personal. (Romantic Suspense from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Direct Threat by Kimberly Rose Johnson — One little girl. Two bodyguards. Only one chance to guard their hearts. Protection Inc. co-owner, Carissa Jones, an ex-cop turned bodyguard, has one goal—keep her young client safe. When her business partner brings in a new guy to help, she discovers her heart desires more. Can she still do her job and follow her heart without compromising her client’s safety? Marc Olsen, a former Military Police officer, struggles to find his way as a civilian. He agrees to help out an old friend for the summer. He gets more than he bargained for when he’s assigned to work with the feisty co-owner of Protection Inc. When sparks fly faster than bullets, will the bodyguards be distracted from their task, or will they work together as an even stronger team? (Romantic Mystery, Independently Published)

Imminent Threat by Kimberly Rose Johnson — The Protection Inc. team is growing, and so is their client list. Former cop and new team member, Peter King, seeks to solve the mystery surrounding threatening notes being sent to Jenna Walsh. Facing an uncertain future, Jenna is afraid for her life. Will the team at Protection Inc., specifically Peter, be able to stop the threats before things escalate, or will tragedy strike before Peter is willing to face his growing attraction to Jenna? The team must divide and conquer when two big cases present themselves at the same time. Carissa Jones and Marc Olsen work to protect a young college student who is staying in the home of a federal judge. All work and no play has put a strain on their relationship. Can they find balance or will their fragile bond be extinguished? (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

Plain Refuge by Dana R. Lynn — On the run from hired gunmen, can she find safety in Amish country? After overhearing an illegal weapons deal, Sophie Larson knows two things: her uncle’s a dangerous criminal…and he wants her dead. Now undercover cop Aiden Forster has no choice but to blow his cover and protect Sophie by hiding her and her deaf sister in Amish country. But with a mole in the police force, danger isn’t far behind. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Speculative:

 

Evocatus by Burke Speed — Jamie is a young veteran with a painful history. He’s done battling for others…until the whole “fight for your life in a mini-mart” thing. Without warning, Jamie is attacked by a sword-wielding man and warned to stay away. From what, he’s not sure. Unexpectedly, he is invited to join a covert band of brothers that fights to keep these evil beings, called Malum, at bay. To accept their invitation is to add death matches against evil to his resume. To decline is to live . . . at least for a while. Kate is a beautiful barista and an important member of this undercover organization. She just might have the key to victory over the Malum but is kidnapped before she can tell what she knows. Everything hinges on a timely rescue of Kate as Jamie’s past and present collide. Now an Evocatus, a veteran called again to duty, Jamie must decide how far he’s willing to go to fight-and love-again. (Speculative from Ambassador International)

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


Three Steps Away
by Luana Ehrlich, Romantic Suspense
Perfect in His Eyes by Linda Goodnight, Contemporary Romance
Cross Shadow by Andrew Huff, Thriller/Suspense
That Place Called Home by D. L. Lane, Romance
Then There Was You by D. L. Lane, Romantic Suspense
The Same River Twice by Mark Medley, Adventure
Fade to White by Tara Ross, Young Adult
Doubly Dead by Lisa Wessel, Cozy Mystery

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Giveaway and Interview

Remember a while back I posted about my new reader’s journals? Nope? That’s fair, we’ve had a lot going on in our world. Want a chance at a free copy?

If you like to keep track of what you read, maybe with some extra details beyond author – title – date, pop over to Reading is My SuperPower. I’m giving away two copies of the Reads to Remember journal, and there’s a fun interview as well. [Giveaway ends June 24, 2020, and it’s limited to Canada/US. Sorry, but postage is expensive.]

And while you’re there, if you’re not familiar with Reading is My SuperPower, check out the other posts. Just be prepared to add more books to your to-read list

Review: A Dangerous Legacy, by Elizabeth Camden

A Dangerous Legacy, by Elizabeth Camden

A Dangerous Legacy, by Elizabeth Camden (Bethany House, 2017)

New York City, 1903: Can a plumber and a telegraph operator win a decades-long battle of lawsuits and intimidation? When the opponent is their rich and unscrupulous uncle?

Siblings Lucy and Nick have each other’s backs. They have to. There’s nobody else—their uncle has seen to that. When Lucy uncovers a murderous plot, the stakes rise even higher.

Amid the war of wills and mounting intrigue, Lucy finds another ally in a British news rival, Sir Colin Beckwith. But Colin has his own struggles, with PTSD and the need to wed an heiress if he’s to save the family estate.

The insights into turn-of-the-century reporting and news dissemination are interesting, and the many news tidbits bring the times to life. The American/British contrast adds another dimension, and Colin introduces Lucy to his homing pigeons, letting us learn about them too.

A Dangerous Legacy is book 1 in the Empire State series, and I’m interested to read on. For more about Elizabeth Camden and her books, visit elizabethcamden.com.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

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Hidden Secrets: Sale Pricing + You’re Invited!

I posted earlier how happy I am that Hidden Secrets (Green Dory Inn Mystery #2) is one of three suspense novels short-listed for The 2020 Word Awards. Here’s a link to that post, which tells you more about the other two finalists: )

In celebration, the ebook version of Hidden Secrets is on sale for 99 cents this week (ends June 14, 2020). This link will take you to international links for Amazon, Apple, Kobo, and Nook: books2read.com/hidden-secrets.

One unexpected side benefit of The Word Awards ceremony not being held in a conventional venue is that readers can join the live-stream and enjoy the action! 

Winners will be announced Saturday, June 13, at 7pm EDT (that’s 8pm here in Nova Scotia). Here’s a link to a time zone converter if you, like me, struggle with doing time conversion in your head. 

You are invited to join in if you can. You might find some good new summer reads! 

The livestream will be available on Facebook and YouTube. A little before start time, head to The Word Guild Facebook page or The Word Guild YouTube page.  Can’t stay for the whole celebration? Check out the schedule to see when you’d most like to join in: 2020 TWA Celebration Program.

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Review: When Mountains Sing, by Stacy Monson

Wen Mountains Sing, by Stacy Monson

When Mountains Sing, by Stacy Monson (His Image Publications, 2019)

Mikayla Gordon’s discovery of a family secret sets her on a quest to find answers. In the process she may find herself—and find God. 

Mikayla is the outdoor, adventurous type, thriving from childhood on fishing with her father. Her journey takes her away from her magazine-writer job on a cross-country trek, with a tiny dog as her travel buddy.

From her native Minnesota, Mikayla ends up Colorado, where the mountains capture her heart. Camp director Dawson Dunne, who offers her a temporary job, may claim her heart too, although Mikayla’s committed to returning home in time for her sister’s wedding.

The scenery in this novel makes it a beautiful place to linger, and I enjoyed hanging out with the characters. Mikayla’s anger and hurt takes time to work through, but the kind people she meets are a balm to her and to readers as well.

Favourite lines:

“No use hurrying through life when all we have is what’s here in front of us.” [Kindle edition, page 75]

Layers of jagged mountain peaks surrounded them, from green and detailed in front to a hazy blue in the distance. Thick forests spread like carpeting, a river winding through the valley. [Kindle edition, page 178]

Recommended for nature lovers, this gentle story of self-discovery and romance includes themes of disappointment, family secrets, forgiveness, faith, and relationships. The bond between Mikayla and her two sisters is warm and strong, despite their very different personalities.

When Mountains Sing is book 1 in the My Father’s House Series, and it’s one of the books in The Mosaic Collection. Visit stacymonson.com to learn more about author Stacy Monson and her books.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

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Review: The Traitor’s Pawn, by Lisa Harris

The Traitor's Pawn, by Lisa Harris | #romanticsuspense #Christianfiction

The Traitor’s Pawn, by Lisa Harris (Revell, 2020)

Shootings, abduction, traitors, and national security risks in Corpus Christi, Texas. The danger in The Traitor’s Pawn starts almost immediately and doesn’t let up.

Somehow the abduction of Detective Bree Grayson is linked with FBI agent Jack Shannon’s investigation. The crisis reunites these two former best friends, and as they work together they discover romantic feelings that have lain dormant since college. Bree finds herself again dealing with her father’s abandonment, pain she thought she’d left behind.

The stakes in this novel are high, but the characters’ introspection allows readers chances to breathe. Along with the romance thread, there’s a theme of anger and forgiveness as Bree processes her lack of relationship with her father.

One thing I found a little disappointing was the resolution of the conflict with a particular antagonist. This person will remain nameless, to avoid spoilers, but was introduced as a worthy villain in a way that had me expecting far more involvement in the final crisis.

Overall, though, The Traitor’s Pawn is an enjoyable romantic suspense with a strong thread of faith.

Favourite line:

My father always told me that God is about the long game. That he’s more interested in who you become, even if the actual process is difficult. [Jack speaking about his own father, Kindle location 2933]

Visit lisaharriswrites.com to learn about author Lisa Harris and her books and ministry.

[Review copy provided by the publisher via #NetGalley. My opinions are my own.]

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An Extrovert’s Journey through Months of Social Distancing (Guest Post)

Steps and trail, with text: "An extrovert's journey through social distancing"

An Extrovert’s Journey through Months of Social Distancing

by Steph Beth Nickel

I gave up listening to the news … well, when one still did so at 6:00 PM on network television.

And then the headlines became virtually unavoidable thanks to the worldwide web.

And then … COVID-19.

Our world changed overnight.

Some people got sucked into the 24/7 coverage of the virus. Some tried to avoid it altogether. Whether sheltering in our homes or trying to live life as we’ve always done, there’s no denying our world has changed. But what about us?

You might think that introverts aren’t struggling as much as extroverts, but that’s oversimplifying the situation. (Click to tweet)

It’s one thing to choose to come apart and recharge your batteries. It’s another thing to be told you have no choice. For those living on their own, it can become very lonely—depressing even. And no matter how much introverts love their family, it may be challenging to share the same four walls with them day in and day out.

And while there are memes about how difficult social distancing and sheltering in place have been on those of us who are extroverts, there is another side to the story.

Given, I share my home with my hubby, and we love spending time together. I have been allowed to continue working—while keeping my social distance from co-workers and keeping the doors of the church locked. That has made it easier on me than many people.

Plus, I have discovered how nice it is to have fewer obligations. Sure, I have a mile-long To Do list, but most things are far less time-sensitive than before. There are fewer people counting on me to be at a certain place at a certain time on a certain day.

Still, there have been indicators of how this situation has affected me. Can you relate?

  1. I spent so much time talking to my pastor that he had to admit he’d become frustrated. He is a task-oriented introvert. So, you can see the challenges with the two of us working together at the best of times. (I often refer to myself as “an extrovert on steroids.”)
  2. Although I didn’t spend much time watching the news, I was aware of what was going on. I’d spend the evening on the couch, overwhelmed by the surreal days we are living in, and often fall asleep early. (I may be an early bird, but I didn’t used to fall asleep before 8:00.)
  3. I became mildly resentful when I got the impression that someone thought I should be doing more. I suppose I was well-aware already of what I wasn’t getting done and couldn’t imagine taking on anything more. To an extent, I became withdrawn. I haven’t reached out to family, friends, and neighbours the way others have, even others who would normally find it more difficult than I do.

But during this time there have been many blessings as well.

  1. My pastor confessed that he had become frustrated. I explained that talking was my way of processing the situation. And we settled into a routine that has been better for both of us.
  2. Some evenings I still fall asleep early, but those evenings are fewer and further between. Now, I intentionally go to bed between 9:00 and 10:00 and get up at 4:00, so I can get some things done when I’m fresh and (somewhat) more raring to go.

    And…
  3. While not having as many obligations as pre-COVID, restrictions have begun to ease up some, and I’ve been sharing my space, at a safe distance of course, with more people. And, wow, have I missed it! I’m still a little overwhelmed with all the changes we’re going to have to implement going forward, but I look forward to seeing people I haven’t seen in months—even if I can’t give them a hug. I didn’t realize how much I’d missed being around them.

How about you? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Alone or sharing your space with family? How have you been coping these last few months?

Other Tweetables:

I’d spend the evening on the couch, overwhelmed by the surreal days we are living in. (Click to tweet)

I look forward to seeing people I haven’t seen in months—even if I can’t give them a hug. (Click to tweet)

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Steph Beth Nickel
Steph Beth Nickel

Steph Beth Nickel is eclectically interested and eclectically involved. She is an author, blogger, a regular contributor to the HopeStreamRadio online radio station, a freelance editor, and birth doula. Steph brings her interests together under the Nurture and Inspire umbrella. Ladies, you’re invited to join her Facebook group by the same name: Nurture and Inspire