Janet Sketchley https://janetsketchley.ca writing Christian suspense Mon, 10 Aug 2020 23:28:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5 https://i1.wp.com/janetsketchley.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Janet-Sketchley-headshot-cropped-512x512-5588455bv1_site_icon.png?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 Janet Sketchley https://janetsketchley.ca 32 32 57316717 Review: Calm Before the Storm, by Janice L. Dick https://janetsketchley.ca/calm-before-the-storm-janice-l-dick/ https://janetsketchley.ca/calm-before-the-storm-janice-l-dick/#respond Tue, 11 Aug 2020 09:00:46 +0000 https://janetsketchley.ca/?p=16511

Calm Before the Storm, by Janice L. Dick (Tansy & Thistle Press, 2020)

Family dynamics, faith, coming-of-age, and gentle romance, all set in the turbulent days leading up to the Russian Revolution.

From a haven-like estate in Crimea to impoverished rooms on the wrong side of town in St. Petersburg, from starving soldiers near the front lines of World War 1 to a private hospital for the mentally ill, and with other settings along the way, Calm Before the Storm evokes 1914-1916 Russia as experienced by the Hildebrandt family and their friends.

The Hildebrandts are Russian Mennonites, people of German heritage whose ties to this land only go back a hundred or so years. As the poorer classes grow more desperate for political reform, hostility also brews toward these “German” Russians.

Katarina Hidebrandt is a young woman who sees the best in everyone, yet she must acknowledge the growing tension and the sense that life is about to change. As her family separates and the young teacher she loves is sent to serve in the hopeless war effort, she learns to rely on her faith and to make what difference she can in her world.

What could be a depressingly heavy tale is instead told with a careful touch, beautiful descriptions, and traces of humour. The characters are honest in their questions and their choices, and somehow despite the pain they find hope (most of them).

As well as providing a fascinating glimpse into this period of history, the novel resonates particularly well with the brooding uncertainty of 2020. Katarina’s struggles in the face of unwanted change and trouble can help readers who are feeling the same concerns even if our situations are different.

It’s not a preachy story, but Katarina’s and others’ examples of living out their faith give us clues we may take to heart. I feel a bit better-equipped to face my own doubts when they sneak up on me again.

Some favourite lines:

The Juschanlee River wandered westward over the Russian steppes, collecting little villages on its meandering way… (Chapter 1)

“The air is so clean and clear, like it’s been washed and left to dry in the sun.” (Johann, in Chapter 5)

“In political crises people cease to view others as people, and instead consider them merely a means toward an end or, in this case, an obstacle to a desired end.” (Heinrich, Chapter 6… timely, no?)

“Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow is in God’s hands. No regrets, no worries. I can put all my energies into this day.” (Katarina, Chapter 8, but this peace was not easily won)

Calm Before the Storm is book 1 in Janice L. Dick’s Storm series. Book 2, Eye of the Storm, is expected to release in December 2020. The series was originally published by Herald Press and is now out of print. I’m glad to see new editions being released in print and ebooks as part of The Mosaic Collection. For more about the author and her work, visit her website.

[Advance review copy provided by the author. My opinions are my own.]

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New Releases in Christian Fiction (August 2020) https://janetsketchley.ca/new-releases-in-christian-fiction-august-2020/ https://janetsketchley.ca/new-releases-in-christian-fiction-august-2020/#respond Tue, 04 Aug 2020 09:00:00 +0000 https://janetsketchley.ca/?p=16437

August 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:

 

The Price of Dreams by Toni Shiloh — Ballet has always been my life, but one terrible moment may have destroyed everything I’ve worked so hard for—especially my title of Octavia Ricci, principal ballerina. I thought for sure my physical therapist, Dr. Noah Wright, could help me obtain my dream once more, but he wants more than I’m prepared to give. I’ve seen firsthand the trials of interracial relationships. I’m a product of one myself and promised I’d never put my hopefully-someday kids through that drama. Everyone keeps telling me to let go of other people’s expectations, but I’m just not sure I can. Besides, if my dreams of returning to ballet are futile, what hope is there in seeking unconditional love? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Peace in the Valley by Kelly Irvin — After a devastating wildfire sweeps through her town, one young Amish woman is shown a different way to practice her faith . . . but pursuing it could cost her everything she holds dear, including the man she loves. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

 


Contemporary:

 

The Plans We Made by Kathryn Cushman and Lauren Beccue — Caroline Chapman is reeling from a broken engagement. Determined to start again, she moves cross-country for her dream job of planning events in the historical mansions of Newport, Rhode Island. Just as her life is getting back on track, she gets an email that shakes her very foundations. Linda Riley’s life looks picture perfect – a wonderful husband, two great kids, involved in church and the community. Then comes the diagnosis that shatters the facade. In order to save her son’s life, she must reveal secrets that can rip everything apart. Connected by more than painful circumstances, these two women discover a sacred bond. In this beautiful story of love, loss, and the fight for life, Caroline and Linda experience the reality that things don’t always go according to The Plans We Made. (Women’s Fiction from White Glove)

 


Historical:

 

In High Cotton by Ane Mulligan — While the rest of the world has been roaring through the 1920s, times are hardscrabble in rural South Georgia. Widow Maggie Parker is barely surviving while raising her young son alone. Then as banks begin to fail, her father-in-law threatens to take her son and sell off her livelihood—the grocery store her husband left her. Can five Southern women band together, using their wisdom and wiles to stop him and survive the Great Depression? (Historical from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

The Heart of Courage by Lynne Basham Tagawa — In 1753, troubling news comes to Russell’s Ridge… Susanna Russell longs to escape her valley home. When war breaks out, she gets her wish to study in fabulous Williamsburg. But she realizes she’s lost something important along the way. Something—and someone. James Paxton is studying for the ministry. But when violence threatens the valley, his path becomes clouded. What is God’s will for his life? The answer is alarming—and impossible. Red Hawk spies white surveyors near his home, a harbinger of trouble to come. Shawnee chiefs go to Philadelphia to treat for peace, but the unthinkable happens, and Red Hawk loses all he once held dear. Then he has a strange dream. What can it mean? (Historical from Blue Rock Press)

 

 


Historical Romance:

 

Heart of a Warrior by Angela K. Couch — All Christina Astle wants is to reach Oregon before her baby is born, but the wagon train is attacked, and her husband killed, stranding her in a mountain labyrinth. Raised in the East, within civilization’s embrace, survival is not a skill she’s learned. Neither is evading the lone warrior dogging her trail. Disgusted by the greed and cruelty of men like his white father, Towan has turned to the simpler existence of his mother’s tribal people. He is not prepared for the fiery woman who threatens to upturn his entire life … and his heart. (Historical Romance from Prism [Pelican Book Group])

The Shopkeeper’s Widow by Izzy James — When the love of her life returns with a load of smuggled firearms, she must discover a new way to happiness. (Historical Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

Dinah’s Dilemma by Linda Shenton Matchett — Dinah Simpkins has no chance of making a good marriage. Her outlaw brothers and her father’s gambling addiction have ruined the family’s reputation. Then the Westward Home and Hearts Matrimonial Agency provides an opportunity for a fresh start. After Dinah arrives in Nebraska, she discovers her brothers played a part in the death of her prospective groom’s first wife. As a former Pinkerton detective Nathan Childs knows when someone is lying. The bride sent by the matrimonial agency may be beautiful, but she’s definitely hiding something, and he has no intention of marrying her until he uncovers the truth. But an easier solution may be to send her packing. Then his young daughter goes missing. He and Dinah must put aside their mutual hurt and mistrust to find her. (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)

Katherine’s Arrangement by Blossom Turner — Marrying him is her only choice to save her family, but Josiah Richardson isn’t at all the man she expected. A marriage of convenience is the last thing she wants, but there doesn’t seem to be a better option for her family or herself. Meanwhile, Josiah works hard to befriend Katherine, to earn her trust and win her love. And Katherine is pleasantly surprised to find herself drawn to Josiah, until an unexpected friendship tears apart all they’ve worked for. Where once the promise of love had budded between Josiah and Katherine, now they wonder what to do with their so-called marriage. Is love strong enough to weave its healing power through two broken hearts? (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)

The Black Midnight by Kathleen Y’Barbo — Called to London by her great grandmother Queen Victoria, former Pinkerton agent Alice Anne von Wettin goes undercover to assist Scotland Yard in catching Jack the Ripper after working a similar case in Austin, Texas. (Suspenseful Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

 


Romantic Suspense:

 

Accidental Target by Theresa Hall — Allison Moore can’t deny what she sees—a lifeless hand sticking out of a tarp in the back of a crashed pickup truck. Seconds later, she’s on the run with a murderer on her heels. Nowhere is safe and no one can be trusted…except police sergeant Jackson Archer. But with someone set on silencing her, can Jackson keep his promise of protection? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Minutes to Die by Susan Sleeman — It’s the intel every agent fears—terrorists have been smuggled into the country intent on unleashing the most deadly attack since 9/11. With the threat imminent, FBI Agent Kiley Dawson and ICE Agent Evan Bowers are charged with taking down this terrorist cell. Only problem is, Kiley blames Evan for the death of her former partner, and she can barely be in a room with him. But with millions of lives on the line, she has no choice. If it wasn’t for a bad call Evan made, Kiley’s former partner would still be alive, and Evan has to live with that guilt for the rest of his life. When he starts falling for her, the agent’s death seems an impossible obstacle—but it’s also the last thing he needs to think about. As the terrorist plot veers toward targeting Kiley’s family, the two are pushed to the breaking point in a race to save countless lives. (Romantic Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])

 

Speculative:

 

Kokopelli’s Song by Suzanne J Bratcher — Seventeen-year-old twins Amy Adams and Mahu Sekatewa team up with Mahu’s friend Diego James to stop ancient evil from tipping our universe into chaos. (Speculative from Scrivenings Press)

 
Rose in the Desert by K.M. Daughters — Anna Babic Robbins, dubbed “The Rose Of The Adriatic” by pilgrims to her village, leaves her home bound for America. She is to deliver secrets concerning the fate of the world to a Chicago priest who will shepherd mankind to prepare to hear God speak. Four women travel to Las Vegas, and while there, snow begins to fall during triple digit heat. They soon learn that the non-accumulating snowfall is a worldwide phenomenon—a universal sign from God preceding the gift of a permanent sign inexplicable by earthly standards. With the culmination of these miraculous events, all their paths intersect, and God will reveal His plans to each soul on earth. Will mankind listen? (Speculative from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

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

Song of Mercy by Brenda S. Anderson, When a vlogger spots a man stalking young children, she’s spreads it on social media only to learn she may be mistaken–the man might be innocent. (Contemporary Romance)

Faith and Hope by Amy R. Anguish, Two sisters. One summer. Multiple problems. (Contemporary Romance)

Grace in the Desert by Christine Dillon, Must yesterday’s pain strangle tomorrow’s hope? (General Contemporary)

When Heaven Sighs by Susan Guinn, Angels, death and mysticism surround the arrival of a Dead Sea Scroll in Nashville, Tennessee as a dedicated homicide detective and a local pastor struggle to capture the murderers of two young men brave enough to believe in the scroll’s unique message. (Mystery)

Where She Belongs by Pamela Harstad, A Hawaiian woman desires love and struggles to belong, but a murder changes everything. (Romantic Suspense)

Two Hearts by Ruth Kyser, Tory Hendricks visits a guest ranch in the Hill Country of Texas where she meets the owner, Reed Montgomery. Even though they’ve both decided to remain single, they become good friends. The question is, does God have something more in store for them than just friendship? (Contemporary Romance)

Legacy Redeemed by Robin Patchen, Vanessa will fight to rescue her sister. Caleb will fight to protect Vanessa. But Abbas has evil plans for them all. (Romantic Suspense)

No Secrets No Lies by Tamara Tilley, Charlie lives in hiding. Hunter lives in the limelight. She is afraid to be a part of his world. He cannot imagine her not being in it. (Contemporary Romance)

Devil’s Cauldron by Michael Jack Webb, The FBI asks an ex-Special Forces Ranger once accused of domestic terrorism to investigate a Black Swan event in Antarctica. He must battle interdimensional, supernatural enemies attempting to regain power over humanity after ten-thousand years. (Supernatural Thriller)

I’ll Be Yours for Christmas by Dalyn Weller, Christmas magic in the Cascade Mountains. (Contemporary Romance)

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Love One Another (Guest Post) https://janetsketchley.ca/love-one-another-guest-post/ https://janetsketchley.ca/love-one-another-guest-post/#respond Fri, 31 Jul 2020 23:31:06 +0000 https://janetsketchley.ca/?p=16429
Photo credit: Pixabay

Love One Another

by Steph Beth Nickel

A simple walk through Walmart. That’s when it hit her. I don’t think I can do this mask thing for the long haul.

Deep breath. You’ll be okay.

Thankfully, with God’s help, she talked herself off the ledge. But it was scary. It was the first time she could, in a small way, empathize with those who deal with full-fledged panic attacks.

This isn’t a post about the benefits and drawbacks of wearing masks. It’s about something far more important. It’s about love and respect.

Years ago, our former pastor said we can’t know for sure what motivates a person to speak and act the way they do. We may have our suspicions, but two people can do exactly the same thing for entirely different reasons.

It breaks my heart to read how people are attacking one another on social media. Like many people, I find conflict upsetting—even when I’m not directly involved.

While some conflict is inevitable, much is avoidable—especially when it stems from the assumption that we know why people are choosing to respond to COVID-19 in the way they are.

This situation isn’t going away anytime soon—barring divine intervention. How can we love one another well?

Here are nine ideas:

  1. Draw close to the Lord. We can only love others well if His love becomes a wellspring in us, bubbling up and overflowing to those around us.
  2. Be kind to yourself. It’s especially important these days to take care of ourselves. It’s not selfish; it’s vital.
  3. Admit it when you’re struggling in one way or another. We all need at least one confidante in our life who will actively listen as we pour out our heart, someone who won’t simply spout platitudes and expect us to “get over it.”
  4. Become a good listener. Stephen Covey said, “Listen with the intent to understand, not the intent to reply.” I prefer the simpler version: listen to learn, not to respond.
  5. Begin a Gratitude Journal. While the situation can be overwhelming, when we deliberately examine our life for things to be grateful for, it changes our attitude—and that splashes over onto the people around us.
  6. Plan fun activities. Instead of grieving what we can’t do—at least for prolonged periods—it’s important to make the best of the situation. We are created for community. It’s important to enjoy time with family and friends, whether in person or online.
  7. Look for an opportunity to reach out to someone who is lonely. Even pre-COVID it was easy to neglect those who are isolated and on their own. It’s even harder for them these days. While we can’t necessarily go for a visit, we can write them a letter or give them a call. A simple act can brighten someone’s day more than we realize.
  8. Fellowship with other believers. The Lord used the analogy of a body for good reason. We truly need one another. Whether we get together in person or learn to use Zoom, it’s crucial to our spiritual wellbeing to spend time with other Christians. While watching a church service online can be beneficial, it isn’t the same as interacting with one another.
  9. Pray for one another. We see throughout the Scriptures that prayer is a command and an invitation. One of the most incredible things someone can do for us is pray. Why not let someone know today that you are praying for them—and don’t forget to do just that.

This list could be much longer, but these ideas provide a good jumping off point.

I’d love to hear how you are loving others in the midst of these challenging times.

Tags and Keywords

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

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Review: Iced Over, by Heather Day Gilbert https://janetsketchley.ca/iced-over-heather-day-gilbert/ https://janetsketchley.ca/iced-over-heather-day-gilbert/#respond Tue, 28 Jul 2020 09:00:00 +0000 https://janetsketchley.ca/?p=16405
Iced Over, Barks & Beans Cafe Mystery Series book 2, by Heather Day Gilbert

Iced Over, by Heather Day Gilbert (WoodHaven Press, 2020)

An accident on an icy road leaves one armoured car driver dead and the other in a coma—and a surprising amount of people looking for money stolen from the scene.

Macy Hatfield, co-owner of Barks & Beans with her brother Bo, discovers the injured man is uncle to one of their employees at the café and brother to one of her friends from church. Macy’s protective streak kicks in, and her curiosity isn’t far behind.

This is a light-hearted series, with no graphic scenes or profanity. The characters attend church, but that’s the only overt faith content you’ll see.

Being light doesn’t mean fluffy, though. While on the one hand we have Waffles, the adorable-but-clueless shelter dog who can’t behave, on the other we have teenaged Ethan (the injured man’s nephew) on regular dialysis and needing a kidney transplant. And we have stolen cash in West Virginia, but also international criminals with a wider agenda.

I enjoy being able to read mystery and suspense without getting tense or worried. The Barks & Beans series fits that bill nicely, and I like the characters—both human and animal. For the cat-lovers among us, Bo has a delightful kitten named Stormy.

Dog-wise, we have Coal, Macy’s Great Dane, and the various shelter dogs delivered to the café each day in hopes of finding a café patron who’ll adopt them. The food and drinks that come out of this café make it a place I’d definitely like to visit, and I’d like to visit with the dogs too.

Favourite lines:

Sometimes, in the empty spaces, it was almost like my heart was beating too loudly, shouting for someone else to hear it. [Macy thinking about living alone in a large house, Kindle location353]

I was about to raise his interest in buzzing off from Barks & Beans for good. “I understand,” I said, offering that honeyed smile of the South that meant you had another thing coming. [Macy again (the whole book is in her point of view), Kindle location 779]

Heather Day Gilbert writes cozy mysteries, romantic suspense, and Viking historical fiction, both clean mainstream and Christian. Iced Over is book 2 in The Barks and Beans Café Mystery Series. Book 3, Fair Trade, releases fall 2020. For more about the author and her work, visit heatherdaygilbert.com.

[Review copy provided by the author. My opinions are my own.]

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How I Write https://janetsketchley.ca/how-i-write/ https://janetsketchley.ca/how-i-write/#respond Tue, 21 Jul 2020 09:00:00 +0000 https://janetsketchley.ca/?p=16411 Editor/Novelist/Teacher Karin Beery says, “There’s no right-or-wrong answer when it comes to the best way to publish a book. It boils down to what you’re willing and able to do.”

That’s the start of a chat we had on Karin’s Write Now Editing blog. She asked questions like which was harder to write: first book or later books, and do I plot or write seat-of-the-pants style. We also talk about traditional and/or independent publishing, and I have a long list of suggestions for new writers.

Click over and join the conversation! http://writenowedits.com/2020/07/how-i-write-janet-sketchley/

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Review: Relative Silence, by Carrie Stuart Parks https://janetsketchley.ca/relative-silence-carrie-stuart-parks/ https://janetsketchley.ca/relative-silence-carrie-stuart-parks/#respond Tue, 14 Jul 2020 09:00:00 +0000 https://janetsketchley.ca/?p=16372
Relative Silence, by Carrie Stuart Parks

Relative Silence, by Carrie Stuart Parks (Thomas Nelson, 2020)

When Piper Boone survives a shooting, the press label it the latest incident in her family’s curse. It’s true the Boones have seen more than their share of death, but all accidental.

To keep reporters away from the stranger who saved her life, Piper invites him to join her family on their private island. Tucker comes with secrets of his own, a tragic past that has led him to faith.

Piper’s life and losses have crippled her faith and left her broken. But as she begins to look at her family with fresh eyes and to suspect what’s unspoken, her strength surprises them all.

Favourite lines:

Does the presence of death etch into the face? A tightness around the mouth? Eyes narrowed, or worse, turning cold? [Kindle location 263]

I felt like someone had just dumped a second box of puzzle pieces into my partially finished jigsaw. [Kindle location 2205]

Set in an opulent South Carolina island getaway against the backdrop of an approaching hurricane, Relative Silence is a complexly-plotted novel of romantic suspense, family treachery, and second chances.

Visit carriestuartparks.com to learn about the author and her books.

[I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.]

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New Releases in Christian Fiction (July 2020) https://janetsketchley.ca/new-releases-in-christian-fiction-july-2020/ https://janetsketchley.ca/new-releases-in-christian-fiction-july-2020/#respond Tue, 07 Jul 2020 09:00:00 +0000 https://janetsketchley.ca/?p=16369

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 https://janetsketchley.ca/set-the-stars-alight-amanda-dykes/ https://janetsketchley.ca/set-the-stars-alight-amanda-dykes/#respond Tue, 30 Jun 2020 09:00:00 +0000 https://janetsketchley.ca/?p=16350
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) https://janetsketchley.ca/in-search-of-joy-and-wisdom-guest-post/ https://janetsketchley.ca/in-search-of-joy-and-wisdom-guest-post/#respond Fri, 26 Jun 2020 09:00:00 +0000 https://janetsketchley.ca/?p=16347
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

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New Releases in Christian Fiction (June 2020) https://janetsketchley.ca/new-releases-in-christian-fiction-june-2020/ https://janetsketchley.ca/new-releases-in-christian-fiction-june-2020/#respond Tue, 23 Jun 2020 09:00:00 +0000 https://janetsketchley.ca/?p=16337 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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