Tag Archives: Christian fiction

Review: The Scent of Water, by Elizabeth Goudge

Book cover with a home's windows and door visible among pink flowers.

The Scent of Water, by Elizabeth Goudge (ebook version: Hendrickson Publishing Marketing, 2011; original print edition copyright 1963)

Why would practical, sensible Mary Lindsay leave a satisfying job in London and move to a country village to live in a house she inherited from a relative she’d met only once as a child? She doesn’t know, but it feels like the right decision.

The inheritance brings back memories: of that one meeting with her father’s cousin, also named Mary Lindsay. Of the instant connection with the house and then with the unusual Cousin Mary. Of the lady’s treasured collection of “little things” – miniatures that delighted them both.

The move triggers other memories: of her fiancé John who died before their wedding. In some unknown way, she hopes to understand him better now – and also to get to know Cousin Mary through the journals she finds in the house.

The characters, both living in the village and as found in the journals, are portrayed with an honest compassion, not glossing over their flaws or hiding their emotional struggles. Cousin Mary endured bouts of mental illness. A prayer, shared with her by a fellow sufferer, is the one thing that stuck with me through the probably 40 years since I first read the story:

“My dear,” he said, “love, your God, is a trinity. There are three necessary prayers and they have three words each. They are these, ‘Lord have mercy. Thee I adore. Into Thy hands.’ ” [chapter 5]

That covers most things, doesn’t it?

Two other favourite lines, one evocative and one amusing:

“…what I seek is the goodness of God that waters the dry places.” [chapter 5, Cousin Mary in her journal]

“He has a two-track mind, which is more than most of us have, but the tracks are narrow.” [chapter 10]

One caution: this book was originally published in the early 1960s and refers (positively) to North American First Nations and Romany peoples using terms that are now considered offensive.  

Causing offence would never be the author’s intent. This is a novel that embraces readers, drawing us in like the welcoming door that invited the child Mary into the house. It offers charming descriptions of settings both in nature and in the houses, gentle conversation, and people allowed to make the wrong choices in the hope they’ll find some good in themselves.

Elizabeth Goudge was a beloved British writer. I appreciated her books many years ago and am delighted to find some of them now in digital form when I’d assumed they’d be out of print and gone. The Scent of Water was the one I remembered most fondly by title, due to the prayer which strengthened me through some difficult days.

For more about the author, visit the Elizabeth Goudge Society website.

[Review copy from the public library via the Hoopla Digital app.]

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New Releases in Christian Fiction (May 2024)

May 2024 New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:

A Cameo for a Cowgirl by Carolyn Miller — Welcome to Three Creek Ranch, home of the James family for over a hundred years, complete with its own Western movie set. Franklin James might be a famous pro hockey player, but just because he’s Cassie’s older brother doesn’t mean she wants to step into the limelight. She’s too busy helping her dad run the ranch and managing the ranch’s movie set, and negotiating with the giant egos of movie stars like Harrison Woods, who’s supposed to be filming the new TV series of As The Heart Draws. And while his TV hero character might be hugely popular, Harrison’s real character is anything but noble. Cassie is convinced he’s hiding something, and she’s determined to make sure it doesn’t reflect badly on Three Creek Ranch. Can she remind him what being a true hero is all about? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])

The Farmer Takes a Wife by Candice Sue Patterson — Librarian Gemma Breckenridge hates the spotlight. She’s content in her small town, living alone with books for company and caring for her once famous sister, Cammie, who’s now suffering from a degenerative brain disease. But Cammie’s care is expensive, and when the grant Gemma was counting on is denied, she’s forced to take desperate measures and applies to be a contestant on a reality television show where a wealthy farmer is looking for a love connection. What better place to keep her sister’s identity incognito than a thousand-acre farm in the middle of nowhere, South Dakota? Colby Graham will do anything to save his almost bankrupt farm, even if it means that all of primetime will think he’s incapable of finding a wife on his own. The sponsorships alone should carry his business out of the red, and royalties from the producer will help to keep it there. But choosing a bride from among eight gorgeous strangers is tougher than Colby bargained for. Especially when the one woman he wants isn’t a contestant. With a cast of vivid characters, join the crew in this witty romance filled with drama, heartache, elimination challenges, and fancy luggage full of secrets. Amid the beautiful setting of the Midwest, this tale unravels the tightly bound threads of sacrificial love. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])

Her Son’s Faithful Companion by Jill Weatherholt — Former barrel racer Caitlyn Calloway wants her son with epilepsy to have everything—even if it means selling her family home. Problem is, the place is in disrepair. Her former crush, service dog trainer Logan Beckett, offers to help. But letting Logan and his dogs into their lives makes the past almost impossible to leave behind…especially when it opens the door to love. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Love Overboard by Shannon Sue Dunlap — A snort-laughing, cruise ship romance takes readers into topsy-turvy waters. When a group of four quirky friends retire on a never-ending round of cruises, their attire consists of more than floral shirts and gaudy skirts. Armed with walkie-talkies and battle plans, these relationship experts–who’ve dubbed themselves the “Shippers”–target hostess Lacey Anderson and director Jonathan King in their romantic schemes. But the young couple refuses to cooperate. They’ve been on the “love boat” together before, and it went down in flames. Boss matchmaker Emily Windsor has orchestrated multiple romantic successes, and these two upstarts certainly won’t get the best of her. The chemistry between Lacey and Jonathan is obvious, but the couple rebuffs every outlandish plot and “coincidental” meeting, forcing the matchmakers to chart a new course to true love–all while inadvertently thwarting drug smugglers threatening to ruin their floating home on the ocean. This laugh-out-loud rom-com features loveable characters, over-the-top situations reminiscent of 1950s sitcoms, and a dash of mystery. The toe-curling romance will push the reader overboard and all in with Shannon Dunlap’s new series. (Romance from Kregel Publications)

Muskoka Promise by Carolyn Miller — All Anna Morely has wanted since she was a child is to feel loved. All Tom Woodmore has wanted is to uphold the law without fear or favor. When a traffic incident brings these two opposites together, sparks fly. But Anna’s wealthy family has certain social expectations that a humble police officer doesn’t exactly meet. And after the death of his fiancée, Tom has his own challenges in learning to risk his heart again. And then there is the matter of whether Anna will ever reconcile with her too-persistent friends… Join Anna and Tom as they discover the path to real love holds unexpected joys and trials, and that God’s promises can always be relied on – including in beautiful Muskoka. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])

Romance in the Land Down Under by Narelle Atkins — Three sweet and clean Christian contemporary romance novellas that will warm your heart and inspire you to explore the beauty of Australia. Perfect beach reads for lazy summer days. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])

A Run at Love by Toni Shiloh — As a Black woman in a field with little diversity, Piper McKinney is determined to make her mark on the horse-racing world. Raised on a Thoroughbred farm in Kentucky, Piper’s dream is for her horse to win the prestigious Kentucky Derby. With the help of her best friend and trainer, Tucker Hale, she gains national attention but must grapple with the complications that arise when a journalist delves into her past as a transracial adoptee. In an effort to win Piper’s heart, Tucker formulates a plan to train Piper’s horse to victory, hoping to prove himself to her, her parents, and his own self-doubts. Then a shocking scandal hits the media, implicating both Piper and her parents, and she and Tucker will have to survive the onslaught to find their way to the winner’s circle–and each other. (Contemporary Romance from Bethany House [Baker Publishing Group])

General Contemporary and Women’s Fiction:

An Amish Healing by Beth Wiseman — Ada Glick enjoys her role as resident veterinarian in her small Amish community. Even though true love hasn’t found her yet, Ada occupies her time by caring for her neighbors’ fur-babies after receiving informal training from a veterinarian in town. When an injured dog shows up unexpectedly on her front porch, Ada tends to him with the care she’s always given to animals in need. During the time she cares for the dog, Ada becomes attached to her furry new friend. Ollie—as she names him—doesn’t have a collar and isn’t well enough to travel, however she knows she must take him to be checked for an identification chip. Is there an owner who is missing him? Jeremiah Huyard has suffered a terrible loss. His family is grieving the deaths of two loved ones, a tragedy that has Jeremiah roiling in grief. When he sets eyes on the beautiful Ada at his relatives’ funerals, he is unexpectedly distracted, but he is also sure he will never see her again. (General Contemporary, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])

Just Another Home by Kimberly Banet — Sixteen-year-old Sam Keller has lived in foster homes and group homes most of his life and has long ago given up on the dream of a stable, forever family. Adults have always let him down and so has God, and he has no use for either. John and Abbie Grayson are a respected, successful couple in their fifties with two grown children. They live in their dream home in Franklin, TN, an idyllic suburb of Nashville, where John is a successful college basketball coach, and Abbie works part-time at their local church. But Abbie feels something is missing from her life and convinces John they should become foster parents. Their worlds collide when Sam is placed in the Grayson home for a few days. Days turn into months, and Sam thrives with the Graysons and allows himself to dream of a forever family, while John and Abbie realize the teen has found his way into their hearts. As the Graysons begin to investigate the possibility of adopting Sam, an evil agenda emerges, and a secret past is revealed. Nothing short of a miracle can save Sam from a harrowing ordeal and keep the Grayson family together. (General Contemporary from Scrivenings Press)


Historical Romance:

Healing of the Heart by Heidi Gray McGill — Step into the bustling streets of post-Civil War Philadelphia, where cultural injustice and class disparity run rampant. Amidst this chaos, Thomas, an aspiring doctor from the wilds of Missouri, struggles to find his place in a society to which he is unaccustomed. But when he meets debutante Emmaline Whitaker, she teaches him more than the social graces – she holds the key to his future. Only it is the independent, fun-loving Theodora Morse who holds his attention. As Thomas navigates the complexities of high society, he must also confront his inner turmoil. When devastating news comes from home, Thomas is forced to use his waning faith to determine the desire of his heart. Will Thomas stand by his convictions and fight against the malaise of those around him, or will he choose the safety and comfort of his new life? (Historical Romance, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])

Heart of Integrity by Edwina Kiernan — Ifor Morgan and his father have traveled far from their home in Wales to settle in the small mining town of Lone Pine, California—driven by a need to escape the shame and sorrow of his brother’s fatal scandal. Susan Kelly is starting over, too. Miles from her home in Ireland, she’s determined to build a life for herself in Lone Pine that doesn’t involve any of the deception she was caught up in back home. As Ifor and Susan forge a cautious connection, people from Susan’s past show up in town, entangling her in a fresh web of illegal activity. And when a devastating earthquake throws the town into a state of upheaval, secrets soon shake those least expecting to uncover them. (Historical Romance from Moliant Publishing)

Pressed Together by Kim Garee — Falling for a detective post WW2 at a pier amusement park sounds romantic … unless a childhood sweetheart’s life is being threatened, and keeping him hidden from that detective might mean saving his life! (Historical Romance from Mt. Zion Press)

Sheltered by the Doctor by Danielle Grandinetti Mindy Zahn can’t understand why her parents deserted the family farm, leaving her mute younger sister in her care. Until her mother’s cryptic warning to keep her sister safe becomes a life-threatening task. Searching for that elusive something to ease his weary heart, Dr. Nick Matrone is drawn to the cheery Mindy. He would never presume to bring such a sweet woman into his beleaguered past, so friendship is all he can offer. Except, he doesn’t expect needing to save her life. As the danger grows, they both must battle through physical and emotional wounds to have a hope of their counterfeit relationship becoming true.. (Historical Romance from Hearth Spot Press)

The Song of Sourwood Mountain by Ann H Gabhart — Though the twentieth century dawned with such promise, it is just 1910 when Mira Dean’s hopes of being a wife and mother are dashed to pieces. Her fiancé is dead from tuberculosis and Mira must resign herself to being a spinster schoolteacher. But then Gordon Covington shows up and the doors that once seemed shut forever begin to open—even if only a crack. No longer the boy she knew from school, Gordon is now a preacher who is full of surprises. First, he asks Mira to come to Sourwood in eastern Kentucky to teach at his mission school. Second, he asks her to marry him. Just like that. Though the prospect of stepping onto a new path is scary, Mira takes a leap of faith and lands in a life she never imagined. In this place filled with its own special challenges, the people she serves just might end up becoming the family she always yearned for. (Historical Romance from Revell, a Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Tangled Promises by Lynn U. Watson — Clara Reinhold’s father publicly pledges her hand to Georg Wolff. His character and arrogance match the stench of his odious cigars, but his lineage offers a suitable alliance for the station of a baron’s daughter. A charades clue years earlier turned friendship into a promise of forbidden marriage between Clara and family carriage driver, Daniel Becker. If she refuses Georg and follows her heart, her father disowns her and she loses everything—her loving family, dear friends, and the only home she’s known. As a tangled web of scandal and deceit unwinds, hidden motives and illicit activities emerge among an unsuspecting ring of players changing everything but nobility’s rules. How will justice be served? How will Clara and Daniel overcome obstacles to claim a future beyond that of a charade?? (Historical Romance from Celebrate Lit Publishing)

Texas Forsaken by Sherry Shindelar — Seven years ago, Maggie Logan (Eyes-Like-Sky) lost everything she knew when a raid on a wagon train tore her from her family. As the memories of her past faded to nothing more than vague shadows, Maggie adapted, marrying a Comanche warrior, having a baby, and rebuilding her life. But in one terrible battle, the U.S. Cavalry destroys that life and she is taken captive again, this time by those who call themselves her people. Forced into a world she wants nothing to do with, Eyes-Like-Sky’s only hope at protecting her child may be an engagement to the man who killed her husband. Enrolled in West Point to escape his overbearing father, Captain Garret Ramsey finds himself assigned to the Texas frontier, witnessing the brutal Indian War in which both sides commit atrocities. Plagued by guilt for his own role, Garret seeks redemption by taking responsibility for the woman he widowed and her baby. Though he is determined to do whatever it takes to protect them, is he willing to risk everything for a woman whose heart is buried in a grave? (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)

To Catch a Coronet by Grace Hitchcock — Muriel Beau, country baker turned heiress, can’t stop instigating outrage. She discards two arranged engagements, then further antagonizes Kent society by publicly proposing to a baron at a ball. His rejection leaves her with no choice but to flee to the city and to secure a coronet so splendid that her peers will forget her debacles. The glitter of the London courts convinces Muriel that it’s possible to find the future she dreams of, until she finds herself entangled in yet another escapade–one that may cost her more than her crumbling reputation. After years of serving as a privateer under an assumed name, Captain Erik Draycott, heir to Draycott Castle and soon to assume his uncle’s title of Earl, returns to his London home to find it in disrepair thanks to his longtime nemesis. A staunch bachelor intent on returning to his ship, the captain is shocked when his mentor encourages him to take a wife. But while his alleged pauper status causes the potential London brides to turn their noses up at him, the ladies of Kent have no such qualms and are eager to fill his coffers with their fathers’ wealth. Caught in a whirlwind of high society and high seas, Muriel and Erik navigate a risky undertaking that threatens their futures and creating stakes that soar above the masts of Erik’s ship. Will Muriel’s bold charm and Erik’s daring bravery be enough to outsmart the scandal and secure a future as glittering as the crown Muriel seeks? (Historical Romance from Kregel Publications)

Treasure and Trouble by Betty Woods Eugenia Hampton wants to be loved for who she, not what she has. Her parents intend to see her married and cared for, but she’s determined not to be a mere parlor decoration to show off some man’s achievements. She wants a love match or no match. Paul Stuart is tired of clashing with people over his abolitionist views. Especially with his father, the overseer for Eugenia’s father. He’s saving money to move from Tennessee and buy a farm in Illinois where he can live in peace with people who accept his ideas. Paul rescues Eugenia after her horse throws her. They form a secret, forbidden friendship based on their common family problems. Neither expects their relationship to grow into love. When Eugenia’s father selects a non-Christian man for her husband, she must choose between her known, comfortable life of luxury or a lifetime of love with Paul where little else will be certain. (Historical Romance from Scrivenings Press)

When Hope Sank by Denise Weimer — The Civil War has taken everything from Lily Livingston—her parents, her twin brother, her home. Now she works at her uncle’s inn and keeps her head down. Speaking up for her beliefs proved too costly in a part of Arkansas split by conflicting loyalties and overrun by spies and bushwhackers. Emaciated in body but resilient in spirit, Lieutenant Cade Palmer is crowded onto the Sultana with other paroled Andersonville and Cahaba POWs for the journey north. But a fiery explosion on April 27, 1886, rends the steamer and empties two thousand men into the frigid Mississippi River. Recovering from wounds that might end his career as a surgeon but clinging to his faith, Cade threatens both Lily’s defenses and her heart. How can she tell him she might’ve prevented the tragedy if only she’d reported a suspected saboteur’s claims? And when the man returns to town and encoded messages pass through the hotel, will Lily follow her convictions to prevent another tragedy? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

With Each Tomorrow by Kimberley Woodhouse and Tracie Peterson — As the formation of Glacier National Park takes Eleanor Briggs and her conservationist father on a journey west to advocate for public lands, her heart carries the weight of a painful past. Since the death of her mother, she has spent her life traveling the country with her father and helping him with his work, but now he’s considering settling down and writing a book–and she’s not sure what that means for her future. Carter Brunswick faces trials of his own when the Great Northern Railway’s departure threatens his family’s livelihood and the entire town of Kalispell. In the visiting conservationist’s daughter, Ellie, he finds a spirited woman who challenges his convictions in ways he never anticipated, and his own dreams for the future begin to change. When tensions over the railroad’s departure boil over, Ellie and Carter are drawn together on a daring journey that tests the depths of their feelings and their faith in God. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker Publishing Group])

Romantic Suspense:

Finding You by Robin Patchen — When antiquities professor Bryan Wright is tasked with discovering why a band of terrorists might target a museum in Munich, he teams up with the museum’s attractive exhibit designer to study their ancient artifacts. Something in this collection holds special value to the terrorists, and Bryan must figure out which item and why—before enemies get their hands on it. An American living in Munich, Sophie Chapman wouldn’t have expected to be attracted to a musty old antiquities professor—but this guy is neither musty nor old. Even so, she’s not ready for a new boyfriend, considering she hasn’t figured out how to get rid of the old one. When her apartment is broken into, she has bigger worries than the ex who won’t leave her alone. The seemingly random break-in is anything but. Terrorists are closing in, and their plot will destroy more than the romance growing between Bryan and Sophie. It’ll destroy everything they hold dear. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])

Hunting Justice by Sami A. Abrams and Lynette Eason — Ex-detective and current Elite Guardian Noelle Burton survived a horrifying attack by a serial killer as a child. Now, determined to put the scars of her past behind her, she’s intent on helping the Elite Guardians set up shop in her hometown of Savannah, Georgia. More, she’s wondering if her friendship with Dr. Jonah Harris, an ex-ER doctor turned medical examiner, might be more. But he has his own demons to fight—namely guilt over the death of his wife. So, maybe not. Meanwhile, Jonah can’t ignore the growing desire he feels for Noelle. If only he knew he wasn’t going to destroy their friendship… And then, tragedy strikes—the sudden death of a colleague rocks his world, and Jonah knows that there’s more to the incident than meets the eye. In fact, he may have been the intended target. Now he needs Noelle…not just as a friend, but as a protector. Noelle will have to protect Jonah, while not letting their friendship spark into something more, and Jonah will have to unravel the threat that stalks him. When they stumble upon the chilling possibility of a serial killer lurking in the shadows, all Noelle’s nightmares come back to life. Noelle and Jonah race against time to expose the truth and capture the killer…and when their friendship becomes something deeper, it’s clear they have everything to lose. (Romantic Suspense from Sunrise Publishing)

Secondary Target by Angela Carlisle — After the brutal murder of her mother and brother twelve years ago, Corina Roberts built a new life in Kentucky. But when strange things begin to happen, she is thrust into a perilous game of life and death. With nowhere else to turn, her best hope of survival depends on her ex-boyfriend, army veteran Bryce Jessup. Recently returned from service, Bryce has every intention of staying away from Corina, but when threats close in around her, he isn’t willing to leave her safety to chance. As their search for answers uncovers lethal secrets her detective father kept hidden, Bryce and Corina must untangle the mystery of the merciless killer intent on terrorizing and eliminating Corina’s family before it’s too late. (Romantic Suspense from Bethany House [Baker Publishing Group])

Shielding the Innocent Target by Terri Reed — After witnessing her boss’s murder, Paige Walsh must trust Deputy US Marshal Lucas Cavendish to bring her to safety. But when a notorious assassin targets her and her son, Lucas’s short-term assignment turns into a dangerous cross-country mission. For Paige to identify her boss’s killer, Lucas must get the family into witness protection. Except the hit man knows their every move…and trusting the wrong person could get them killed. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Speculative Fiction:

Lady of Basilikas by Ronie Kendig — Under attack from without and within, Jherako teeters on the brink. Vaanvorn Thundred, suddenly in possession of a throne he never expected to inherit, will do anything to pull his kingdom from the edge, even if it means striking a marriage bargain with the formidable Faa’Cris. But a skycrawler opens Vorn’s eyes to realities outside his world, and his limits are tested. Lady Valiriana has one goal when she is sent out from Deversoria: prove this Jherakan king, the one his people call the Errant, unworthy of an alliance with any Faa’Cris. When she exchanges her freedom for that of another, Valiriana finds herself under house arrest—in the king’s house. Determined to take advantage of her proximity, she delves into the depths of the king’s character. What she finds turns her mission on its head. Vorn must decide: break a planet-wide Accord, risking his throne and life, or leave his country—his planet—vulnerable to threats far bigger than he ever imagined. And Valiriana grapples with unpalatable truths as she discovers the king is anything but errant, while her heart, on the other hand, is a different story (Speculative Fiction from Enclave Publishing)

Historical Mystery:

Show Me Deceit by Ellen E Withers — Take a walk back in time with Liesl, Nicole, and Detective Kurt Hunter to solve a contemporary death that may be related to the discovery of bones from the Civil War era. Can Liesl and Kurt work to solve these mysteries and set aside their hard feelings about their former romance? (Historical Mystery from Scrivening Press)

 

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

These Tangled Threads by Sarah Loudin Thomas — Set in the shadow of Biltmore Estate, a poignant tale of friendship, restoration, and second chances. (Historical General)

The Heart Leads West by Joanna Deputy — The Heart Leads West is a story of resilience and trust in the face of upheaval and danger. Unexpected provision and new relationships prove God’s faithfulness even when tragedy threatens to destroy the new future Eliza has worked so hard to secure. (Historical General)

The Bride’s Dilemma by Susan Page Davis — In 1883, Eve Martin arrives in Cheyenne, Wyoming to learn that the man she came to marry is in jail, accused of a violent murder. Should she get on the next eastbound train, or has God brought her here to help save Caleb Blair’s life? (Historical Romance)

Caragin Farm by Renee Hodges — With the Caragin family, we see true faith lived out in authentic – flawed and beautiful – characters as they respond to petulant teenagers, outrage culture, long-buried secrets, past sin, and unexpected life changes with the grace that only God can provide. (General Contemporary)

Ruthie by Sharon Srock — Young love – separated by war in 1970. Separated by life after the war. Reunited 45-years-later. Can they take a chance that love will find them one more time? (Contemporary Romance)

The Rejected Mail Order Bride by Greta Picklesimer — Rose Henderson is running from an ill-fated marriage up north. Can the southern gentleman and self-proclaimed bachelor, Harl Adams, help her find a fresh start without losing his heart to the enticing red-head? (Historical Romance)

Wrestle the Stars by Susan Lyttek — The portal and dinosaur that call Ne-tel are not on land, but on the sea. How can he rescue them when he cannot wrestle the stars? (Speculative Fiction/High Fantasy)

Three Impossible Tasks by Susan Lyttek — With the new ability to create portals, Subja’s scientists unleash vicious and ravenous beasts on the population of Telba. Bern, Garth, Ne-tel are each given separate tasks to complete on their own. Bern must convince Telantia to emerge from the safety of the city and fight for the citizens of Telba. Garth must take technology from Subja’s fortress.Ne-tel must travel to the Gold Coast to raise an army. All three must succeed if Telba is to have hope for a future, but even Prophet Nevv says these tasks are impossible. (Speculative Fiction/High Fantasy)

Sum of All Expectation by Susan Lyttek — Garth, Bern, and Ne-tel are looking for a savior, the prophesied one who will come to free Telba from the grip of the evil one. But in the first world, Garth and Nellie are being tortured, while Ne-tel and Ally have been captured and forced to work as slaves. Bern’s group of refugees battle evil and the elements. Is Telba doomed by the choices of its people? They will need aid that’s greater than the sum of all expectation. (Speculative Fiction/High Fantasy)

Outside Space and Time by Susan Lyttek — The Portal Watchers are separated… Trapped in first world, Garth is given a surprising aid which will assist him upon his return to Telba, while Bern and the Telantian army advance on Subja’s city. And on the Gold Coast Ne-tel leads a meager regiment against the ravenous beasts that have decimated the region. (Speculative Fiction/High Fantasy)

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New Releases in Christian Fiction (April 2024)

April 2024 New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:

Love in Tandem by Becca Kinzer — She’s perfectly content leading a quiet life in her small hometown. He’s an adventurer with unquenchable wanderlust. The two couldn’t be any more opposite if they tried. But a tandem bicycle and a 500-mile road trip just might change all that. (Contemporary Romance from Tyndale House)

Playing For Keeps by Deborah Raney — The love story of Art and Maddie continues in Playing for Keeps. But their fledgling marriage faces challenges when expectations collide. When Maddie is offered a chance to take a research trip to Paris, it appears a short separation might help them both figure out what happily-ever-after looks like for them. Yet even the beautiful City of Lights is lonely without the man she loves with all her heart. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])

Safe Haven Ranch by Louise M Gouge — It should be easy for widow Olivia Ortiz to despise Will Mattson, the man keeping her from buying the ranchland she needs for herself and her daughter, Emily. But when Emily becomes instant friends with Will’s nephew, Jemmy, Olivia and Will find themselves growing closer as well. And as Olivia’s feelings for the handsome cowboy shift, competing for the property could be the start of something more… (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

General Contemporary and Women’s Fiction:

Cookies & Eggnog from Welcombe Bay by Kate Darroch — The prequel to the first novel in the Sweets By the Sea series, “Thanksgiving in Welcombe Bay.” In this Christmas novella we learn that Lily met her former husband Gary on her 18th birthday, and we see how Gary establishes his ascendancy over her. We watch God’s love operating in her life through the actions of her grandparents and her vicar’s wife, and learn why that ultimately leads Lily to a moment of truth when she must seek to reclaim her wavering faith. (General Contemporary, Independently Published [Ad Astra Press, Inc.])

Always Think of Me by Lori Keesey — Tyrus Cal, TC for short, had no plans to leave his party boy life, but when he met Ginny at an outdoor music festival, he fell. Hard. When their budding relationship ends abruptly, TC moves on, assuming he won’t get a second chance with the captivating Ginny. But then he does. Just not in the way he expected. (General Contemporary, Mascot Books)

Why the Mountains Stand by Ashlyn McKayla Ohm — When skating coach Addisyn Miles becomes responsible for Kenzie, a turbulent new student, she’s blindsided by the girl’s troubling link to her own past. But when Kenzie rediscovers a local legend, more is at stake than either of them realized. Now, Addisyn must choose between allowing the secrets to destroy them both…or finally finding the purpose behind their shared pain. (Contemporary, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])


General Historical:

Secrets of the Wildflowers by Sarah Talbert — After a tragic event involving the sacrifice of her brother, Miu escapes the stifling gods and patriarchal norms of ancient Ur, embarking on a transformative quest for freedom, like wildflowers in bloom; she grapples with control issues and learns to trust in Abraham’s personal god, Yahweh, finding a community where she can live as she was created to be. (General Historical, Eternal Threads Publishing)


Historical Romance:

Earning the Mountain Man’s Trust by Misty M Beller — Naomi Wyatt has finally given up on the man who once promised to love her for the rest of his life—then disappeared with no way to contact him. She’s now a single mother with a beautiful baby girl to provide for. When Jonah Coulter asks for her hand in marriage, she knows she would be hard-pressed to find a better husband and father. But when her first love rides onto the ranch property saying he’d been searching for her for months, her heart is shredded once again. Before she has time to catch her breath though, a new threat appears on the horizon. This time she has far more at stake than her heart, and only a Divine hand can turn this disaster for their good. (Historical Romance, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])

The Sleuth of Blackfriars Lane by Michelle Griep — As co-owner of The Blackfriars Lane Enquiry Agency, Kit Forge fearlessly takes on a missing child case, only to find herself and her husband, Chief Inspector Jackson Forge, risking everything to save their own baby from the dangerous criminals involved. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

A Spring at The Greenbrier by Sandra Merville Hart — Marilla has resigned herself to spinsterhood in order to help care for her sister but more than that obstacle stands in the way of courting the wealthy brother of her sister’s best friend. (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)

Dreams for Courage by Shanna Hatfield — When a private investigator’s trail leads her to an aloof rancher, will love give them the courage they need to face his past and dream of a future together? (Historical Romance from Wholesome Hearts Publishing)

Even in Death by Rebecca Hemlock — Private Detective Trix Fredson wants her husband’s murder solved, and the couple responsible live in her old home. Her husband’s best friend, Ted Mcallister pulled some strings to get Trix the job at the detective agency. He promised to help her solve Ron’s murder, which would be difficult. But how can he do that and keep himself from revealing his true feelings for her? That was going to be even harder. (Historical Romance from Bluecap Publishing)

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller:

The Garden Girls by Jessica R Patch — On a remote Outer Banks island, a serial killer collects his prized specimens. And to stop him, an FBI agent must confront his own twisted past. (Contemporary Psychological Suspense Thriller from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Romantic Suspense:

Lethal Danger by Jerusha Agen — This K-9 team is trained to eliminate threats. This threat could eliminate them. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])

 

One Good Time by Luana Ehrlich — CIA covert operative Titus Ray is asked to do the unthinkable and allow a terrorist to enter the country illegally in order to stop an attack on the U. S., but as he tracks the terrorist to his destination, he suffers a devastating loss that threatens to derail the mission. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])

Grave Consequences by Elle E. Kay — Cate Garrison is working as a wildlife biologist for the Pennsylvania Game Commission and crosses paths with a mysterious park ranger whose dangerous past has caught up with him. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])

 

Yukon Wilderness Evidence by Darlene L. Turner — When skeletal remains are uncovered in the Yukon forest, forensic botanist Keeley Ash is called to the crime scene—and ends up abducted. She never expects her ex, paramedic Brett Ryerson, to come to her rescue, or her gathered evidence to be linked to a cold case. And when their son—who Brett never knew existed—is kidnapped, they’ll stop at nothing to save him and outrun the hunters determined to silence Keeley. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Speculative Fiction:

Never Forget the Truth by F.D. Adkins — When the forces of darkness masquerade in the light, is your sword sharpened in TRUTH and wielded to fight? (Speculative Fiction, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])

 

Split-Time:

Braving Strange Waters by Sarah Hanks — Stella Lindy is supposed to be soaking up the sunshine with her bridesmaids on a bachelorette cruise to Hawaii. But when she hits the wrong button on the elevator, the glamorous luxury of the modern ship is replaced with the Missouri River steamboat Arabia filled with strangers—and a mysterious doctor informs her it is 1856. Communicating through an antique mailbox, her friends on the cruise try to guide her back home before the steamboat sinks, but Stella finds herself caught in a tangled web between pro-slavery Border Ruffians and anti-slavery Jayhawkers. Standing up for what’s right in the face of peril and uncertainty might mean never making it home. (General/Split-Time, Independently Published [SonFlower Books])

Young Adult:

Protector by Megan Schaulis — Nanotech, royal romance, and biblical themes combine in this YA dystopian retelling of Esther—perfect for fans of The Selection or The Hunger Games. (Young Adult from WhiteCrown Publishing)

 

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

Deep Trouble by Mary Connealy — When an aimless wanderer and fearless female determined to find a city of gold are forced to work together and set out to find the treasure, trouble is hot on their trail. (Historical (Western) Romance)

His Unexpected Grandchild by Myra Johnson — This toddler will steal his heart…Just in time to open it… (Contemporary Romance)

An Unlikely Arrangement by Cindy Patterson — Abigail stands to lose all if Garrett Barringer sees past her physical beauty and uncovers the ugliness of her imperfect past. Will Abigail continue on the condemned path she’s fashioned for herself, or trust that God wants a future for her she never believed possible? (Historical Romance)

Phooey Kerflooey by Kristen Joy Wilks — Through a raucous tornado of personal growth, the boys and Phooey work together to save the day. But when the dust (and squirrel poo) settles, can they convince Dad and Mom to let them keep their puppy princess? (Middle-grade Chapter book)

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New Releases in Christian Fiction (March 2024)

March 2024 New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:

For Better or For Granted by Amy R. Anguish — Divorce was never in the plans for Genevieve Stewart. Only four years into marriage, and everything has gone wrong. If only she could find her way back to the way things were before Scott’s job took all his time and energy, leaving nothing for her. Scott Stewart achieved his goal of becoming a high school principal younger than most in the state. Everything in life seems to be going exactly as planned until Genevieve threatens to leave. Suddenly, his dreams aren’t as clear as they once were. He desperately wants to stay married, but he can’t let down his school, either. The way back to love isn’t easy when you’ve grown used to taking each other for granted. (Contemporary Romance from Scrivenings Press)

A Slice of Paradise by Nancy Lavo — Single mother and baker Eden Lambert arrives in quaint Village Green looking for a home for herself and her 18-month-old son, Jake. Her warm welcome by her elderly hostess is offset by the cold disdain of Mary Jo’s self-appointed protector, Joe Wolfe. At first, the long-legged blonde and her kid look like trouble to Joe. Mary Jo saved the builder’s life years ago, and he will do no less for the woman he considers a surrogate mother. But as he keeps an eye on the unwanted guests, Joe’s suspicions soon become replaced by admiration and respect for Eden’s resolve and dedication to her son. With his background of abuse and abandonment, Joe is aware of the dangers facing the vulnerable and wants better for Eden and Jake. He offers her a business arrangement–he’ll build her a bakery, and she can run it. As they join forces to start the bakery, can they overcome the scars of the past to find a recipe for love? (Contemporary Romance from Iron Stream Media)

Tangled Up in Love by Carolyn Miller — When Ellie Reilly returns from a dream overseas trip, a too-long hug from her best friend Jasper Cohen clues her in that his feelings might be more than what she suspected. He’s unsure about pushing their friendship further, and doubly uncertain when her European friend, Sebastian, seeks her out in Trinity Lakes. Uncertainty is something Ellie knows all too well. Since returning from her vacation, Ellie feels like she doesn’t fit at her family’s ranch or in small town life. When she is asked to take on responsibility for reopening Trinity Lakes’ historical museum – a dream she’s always wanted – she can’t help but wonder if settling for life in the familiar is all that God has for her, or can she dare trust Him for more? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])

Prestige of Hearts by R.F. Whong — When Chicagoan Grace Feng, a recent college graduate and a devout Christian, delivers her late mother’s letter to a billionaire, Mr. Lam, in Hong Kong, she expects a quick exchange. Upon their meeting, he offers her a job and luxurious accommodations. She reluctantly stays and befriends Kevin Cheung, the butler’s atheist son, and a jobless unpublished author. Haunted by a tragic past, Kevin finds solace in Grace’s company, but a mystery troubles him: Grace resembles several movie stars who date Mr. Lam, the town’s most eligible bachelor. Can Kevin unravel the enigma? Meanwhile, Mr. Lam’s college-aged son and a fugitive who fled China after the Tiananmen Square Massacre also vie for Grace’s affections. Caught amid a love quadrangle, will she retain her Christian values and guide them toward true grace? (Contemporary Romance from Vidaysm Publishing)

General Contemporary and Women’s Fiction:

Between You and Us by Kendra Broekhuis — When Leona Warlon heads across the city to meet her husband, David, for a rare dinner out, she hopes they can share a moment of relief after their year of loss. But Leona quickly realizes this is no ordinary date night. She hasn’t just stepped into an upscale ristorante; she’s stepped into a different version of her life. One in which her marriage is no longer tender, in which her days are pressured by her powerful in-laws, and in which her precious baby girl lived. Now Leona must weigh the bitter and sweet of both trajectories, facing an unimaginable choice: Stay in a world where tragedy hasn’t struck but where the meaningful life she built with David is gone? Or return to a reality that’s filled with struggle and sorrow but also deep and enduring love? (Contemporary from Waterbrook/Multnomah)

Chokecherry Valley Faith by Jean Rezab — Alex Richmond is being released from prison after a two-year term for embezzlement. His former boss’s cancer has returned, and the town blames Alex.
His wife, Courtney, looks forward to his return but worries about how the community will react.
Can Alex and Courtney work as a team after having been apart for two years and face the trials that will come with his return home? (Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Independently Published)

Cozy Mystery:

Saguaro, Snowflakes, and Murder by Jenna Hendricks — Maisy Bransky’s life takes an unexpected turn when she inherits a quirky bookshop from her beloved great-aunt Jo. The giant saguaro cactus out front named Siggy, shelves filled with rare books, and the possibility of a small coffee shop inside seem like the perfect recipe for a peaceful life. However, tranquility is shattered when Jo’s archnemesis, the notorious local troublemaker Homer Kimball, is found dead near her bookshop. As the gossip mill starts churning, Maisy becomes the prime suspect. Determined to clear her name, Maisy embarks on a journey to unravel the mysteries hidden within the dusty shelves of Aunt Jo’s bookshop. With the help of a rescued Frenchie named Ollie, a mysterious old cowboy, and unexpected allies like a quirky cactus enthusiast, Maisy discovers cryptic messages, hidden compartments, and a secret diary that hints at Aunt Jo’s enigmatic past. As Maisy delves deeper, she uncovers a forged will, a lost treasure map, and a series of red herrings that lead her to suspect everyone from Aunt Jo’s best friends, The Fearsome Foursome, to the local pirate. Can Maisy solve the mystery, unearth the secrets of the past, and prove her innocence? (Cozy Mystery, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])

The Luck of the Irish by Kate Darroch, Kathleen Marple Kalb, C.A. Phipps, Amy Grundy, Jessica Brimer, Jessica Thomson, J.L. Lancaster, Jaclyn Weist, K. Rose, W. Jenkins– Ten Tantalizing Cozy Mysteries and the authors’ favorite Saint Patrick’s Day Recipes – sure to make you chuckle, and to keep you guessing! (Cozy Mystery from Ad Astra Press Inc)


Historical Romance:

Streams of Courage by Sandra Merville Hart — In a world turned upside down by war and betrayal…will his role as a spy bring them closer…or tear their future apart? The war that Julia Dodd prayed to avoid is now reality, and with it, her world has been turned on its head. Her fellow citizens, who stood with her in their support of the union, have crossed firmly to the side of the south. And her mother, lost in her grief over the loss of her husband and children, can think of nothing but protecting Julia’s brother’s inheritance. She insists that her daughter seek a wealthier husband than Ashburn Mitchell. Ash knows what his fellow citizens think of him when he refuses to fight for the confederacy. Shouldering the accusation of being a coward and refusing to hide behind his limp, Ash remains in Vicksburg to support his family as a saddler while his two best friends join the fight. Struggling to increase his business so he can marry the woman he loves, Ash becomes a spy in support of the Union. He can’t fight for the South but won’t raise a musket against them. As tragedy instigates Ash to risk greater danger to speed the end of the war, Julia can only pray it won’t cost them everything. She’s already lost her father and two siblings. Must she lose the man she loves too? (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)

To Speak His Name by Tara Johnson — Avalina is a woman trapped in silence. Stolen from her home in Ireland and sold as a slave to a Barbados plantation owner, the trauma of her past has left her mute, wrapped in a prison of loneliness and isolation amid an island of beauty. Though she longs to be free from the cruelty of her overseer, her heart yearns for a greater freedom…something just beyond her grasp. Josiah Holland has been born into a South Carolina slave-holding family but all it takes is one trip to the island of Barbados to open his eyes to the ugly cruelty that abounds beyond the confines of his plantation. With the aid of fiery abolitionist Benjamin McGee, Josiah forges a new future, fighting the very ideals he was once a part of. When Avalina and Josiah’s lives entwine, will their spark engulf them in destruction, or ignite a revolution? (Historical Romance from Story Architect)

Uncharted Peace by Keely Brooke Keith — Lena’s stay at The Inn at Falls Creek leaves her torn between loyalty to her family and marrying Philip for love. (Historical Romance, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])

Seashells in My Pocket by Terri Wangard — German-Brazilian Isabel Neumann delights in creating seashell art, but it’s her mathematical ability that lands her a job at the American air base in Natal, northern Brazil during World War II. She doesn’t need a calculator to determine the correct weights and balances for the Air Transport Command’s cargo planes. Daniel Lambert, an American transport pilot based at Natal, endures the taunts of combat pilots that he is “allergic to combat.” His flying skills win him respect, however, and his friendship with Isabel deepens, even as a new source of trouble looms. Isabel is caught in the crosshairs of a German saboteur who is obsessed with her. He insists that she belongs with him and demands that she help him sabotage the Allied base. Her growing relationship with Daniel angers the Nazi, who will do anything to get of rid him. What will happen to Isabel if the madman captures her? (Historical Romance from Scrivenings Press)

Set in Stone by Kimberley Woodhouse — From the time she was little, Martha Jankowski has been digging in the dirt, much to the dismay of her mother. Now, she dreams of being a paleontologist and is determined to make her parents proud by uncovering the next big discovery. When Martha finds what she hopes to be a fully intact dinosaur skeleton–one that that could win her an acclaimed exhibit–she learns another team is competing against her and could steal her chance at being recognized for this momentous discovery. Paleontology student Jacob Duncan has fulfilled his dream of digging for dinosaur bones at last. In a race against time, he and his team are bent on unearthing a complete skeleton to claim a museum exhibit with their names on it. But when Jacob meets their charming competitor Martha and uncovers foul play within his team, love and danger grow hand in hand until a menacing ruse threatens to destroy it all. (Historical Romance from Bethany House)

Levi’s Vow by Peny Zeller — Wrongfully imprisoned for a crime and disowned by his family, Levi Callahan endeavors to put the past behind him. When he travels to the Idaho Territory and secures a job on a small farm, he has no idea he’ll once again be defending the vulnerable. Norah Hammett knows what it means to suffer loss. After her husband leaves her and their children for a “better” life and her hired hand steals from her, she is left to run the farm alone. When ruthless men attempt to steal Norah’s Idaho farm, can Levi help her save it? Or will he prove to be disloyal like the rest of the men in her life? Will God use desperate circumstances to bring two hurting hearts together? (Historical Romance from Maplebrook Publishing)

Love’s Promise by Penny Zeller — Can one man’s love win a fragile woman’s heart? After Amaya Alvarado lost her fiancé to a senseless tragedy, she vows never to love again. Two years later, at her grandmother’s request, she travels to Poplar Springs to assist with the mercantile and help care for her ailing grandfather. During a stagecoach accident and a confrontation with nefarious outlaws, she crosses paths with a man named Silas McFadden who rescues her and the other passengers. Silas is not the man he once was. After a stint on the wrong side of the law, he’s now a respectable rancher in Poplar Springs, Wyoming. Amaya’s and Silas’s friendship soon grows, and she begins to trust him with everything but her heart. Can she push her growing feelings for him aside? When the past comes back to haunt him and revenge is sought, can Silas protect the woman he has come to love? (Historical Romance from Maplebrook Publishing)

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller:

Open Water by Betty Thomason Owens — As much as Lisa Oliver wanted to believe that she could be safe in the small mountain community of Benning, Kentucky, she knew that wouldn’t be the case when Agent Farrow’s car pulled next to the school where she had been working. They’d found her again? Who was stalking her and why? Jake Bradley uses his widely popular “Jake on the Road” articles to help him continue to follow leads into Lisa’s past, but he didn’t expect the people whom he spoke with to be attacked and killed. How could he possibly protect this woman who had become so important to him when he so miserably failed at learning about her past and why someone had killed her parents? Lisa and Jake learn more about her past, and about each other, in this dramatic suspense. (Contemporary Mystery/Suspense from Write Integrity Press)

Romantic Suspense:

Never Fall Again by Lynn H Blackburn — Landry Hutton has spent three years rebuilding her life behind the secure gates of The Haven, an exclusive resort on the outskirts of Gossamer Falls, North Carolina. As the artist-in-residence, and with her pottery prized by The Haven’s guests, she’s finally ready to settle in permanently. She wants to give her daughter, Eliza, a safe home to grow up in and hires former Marine Callum Shaw to handle the construction. Cal grew up in Gossamer Falls and always knew he would someday join his family’s business. He longs for a family of his own but has almost given up on that ever happening. Landry is funny, gifted, and everything Cal could ever want in a partner, but he vows to keep his distance. Landry has a daughter and a past. Cal has been down that road before and barely survived when the woman he loved left, taking her two sons with her. He can’t bear to lose like that again. Before construction on the house can begin, Landry’s pottery is destroyed in a suspicious fire. It soon becomes clear that Landry and Eliza are in grave danger—but from whom? Despite his best efforts to remain unattached and uninvolved, Cal knows that Landry needs him— and he fears he needs her just as much. (Romantic Suspense from Revell)

Even in Death by Rebecca Hemlock — After receiving a note that her ninety-three-year-old great aunt is very sick, Emily Fredrickson assumes the worst. She’s always known that she’d someday lose the only blood relative she has, but when she’s met with a ghost story and a mysterious family keepsake, she must dive into the past to figure out how to get rid of the ghosts in Fredrickson Mansion and bring peace to her troubled aunt. (Romantic Suspense from Bluecap Publishing)

Cold Case Target by Jessica R Patch — Caught in a serial killer’s deadly game with nowhere to turn… Interrupting an attempted murder—and leaving with incriminating evidence—makes Sissy Spencer a serial killer’s next target. With a flash drive in her possession containing disturbing proof of multiple murders, Sissy has no choice but to trust her ex-boyfriend, private investigator Beau Brighton, to keep her safe. But can they unravel the clues and track down a killer…before he catches them first? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Sweet Deceit by Sally Jo Pitts — Someone will stop at nothing to keep the secrets of Sweet County hidden. Public Relations Consultant ANNIE MCAFEE hopes to spend a quiet summer in Sugarville waitressing, housesitting and job hunting. But her plans are upended after she’s run off the road and narrowly escapes with her life. Rookie state investigator WILL BRICE is looking forward to a bright future with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement until the governor removes the Sweet County Sheriff and appoints Will to take his place. Propelled into the middle of Sweet County’s dark secrets, Will and Annie find that deceit hides beneath its sugar-coated façade and the townspeople prefer to turn a blind eye to wrongdoing. Confronted with a web of mysterious threats, life threatening crises, and the death of a teenager, the two must work together with the help of an unusual sidekick to expose the corruption. Can this unlikely crime fighting trio crack the town’s sweet cover? (Romantic Mystery from Elk Lake Publishing)

Caught in the Crosshairs by Melanie D. Snitker — For single mom Erica Keyes, a normal day swiftly changes to one of terror when someone intentionally runs her off the road, endangering her and her son’s life. Already unsettled by the encounter, strange things begin happening at the B&B she owns, leaving her watchful and on edge. Unable to find a connection between the events, Erica is grateful for a handsome guest who insists on helping. In town to scout a new location for his private security employer, Cole Shepherd rents a room at the Tranquil Bed & Breakfast. When he realizes someone is harassing the lovely owner and her son, he’ll do whatever it takes to keep Erica and Peter safe. As the danger escalates and the suspects grow increasingly desperate, it’s clear that Cole and Erica are missing a key piece of information. Can they stay one step ahead long enough to figure out who is behind it all and thwart their evil plans? (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])

Young Adult:

Salvaged by Shanna M Heath — Hadley, forced to relocate with her estranged father at age seventeen, searches for belonging. A cancer diagnosis threatens to take her beloved Nonny, and a looming senior project might just break her. Has God forgotten Hadley Edwards? (Young Adult, Independently Published)

 

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

Trust and Trickery-Hivites by Christine Dillon — But what can a mere baker do to save his family, his city, and his people? (General Historical)

Dawn’s Hidden Threat by Elizabeth Goddard — An unexpected search and rescue uncovers a hidden threat. Angie Harris doesn’t know whom to trust, except for the man who rescued her from a cold, dark cave and a grizzly bear. *Previously published in the Heroes in the Crossfire collection. (Romantic Suspense)

Guardian by Cathy McCrumb — In order to save her allies, the Recorder must activate a drone, but her success might destroy any hope for freedom, a future, and a name. (Speculative Fiction)

Dysfunction Junction by Robin W Pearson — At the junction of healed and hurting, broken and whole, and past and present, three women wrestle with their inability to forgive and forget in this riveting Southern family drama about sisterhood. (Contemporary Literary Fiction)

The Medici Quest by Jeff Raymond — Highlighted by accurate locations and blending in factual historical characters and events, The Medici Quest touches on the real-life topics of faith, grace, and redemption. (Thriller/Suspense)

Who Brought the Dog to Church? by Tracy L Smoak — God works in mysterious ways—and through ordinary people. The town of Prosper is about to experience some drama—and it all starts with a dog who comes to church. (Contemporary General)

Caleb’s Cross by Urcelia Teixeira — A suspenseful true crime murder mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end. (Crime/Mystery)

Former Things Forgotten by Thomas Michael Trezise — This intriguing and unforgettable story of love at the intersection of heaven and earth, where relationships are eternal and hard choices determine destinies, examines the questions, answers, and consequences of life lived for self or for God. (Contemporary Literary)

Rocky Road by Becky Wade — Escape to Maine for this swoon-worthy “fake romance”! Banter, humor, perfume, and a mystery from the past intertwine in this sweet Sons of Scandal love story. (Contemporary Romance)

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Review: The Divine Proverb of Streusel, by Sara Brunsvold

The Divine Proverb of Streusel, by Sara Brunsvold (Revell, 2024)

Sometimes when life hurts, you run away. Even from the people you love.

Nikki has so much going for her: a solid faith, a loving mom and sister, a good friend at the school where she teaches, and a caring guy who’s been talking about rings. But second-hand news of her unfaithful father’s remarriage—so soon after the divorce that bankrupted her mother—leaves her unable to face any of them.

She flees to the one untouched memory of safety: her paternal grandparents’ home in rural Missouri, now owned by her bachelor uncle, Wes.

Wes is an army veteran drawn home to the peace of the farm. He doesn’t agree with his brother’s behaviour but understands the wounds that made the man who he is. Coached long-distance by his feisty Aunt Emma (Nikki’s Grandma Ann’s sister) and with a regular rhythm of prayer, Wes will do all he can to help Nikki heal.

Nikki stays for the summer to help fix up the old farmhouse, finding some measure of peace in her mother’s example of “just do the next thing.” One of the “next things” involves cooking her way through a handwritten book of old German recipes, each of which opens with a farm wife’s words of hard-earned wisdom and proverbs for making the best of life.

This is a heartwarming, gently-told tale of hurt and healing, family heritage, and comfort food. Be warned, you may find yourself heading for the kitchen (or a restaurant). Or prayerfully making yet another attempt to show love to someone you’d rather avoid.

A few of my favourite lines:

Home should be where peace comes to roost. But peace is never an uninvited guest. As the keeper of the home, you must invite it daily. Bring it in, give it the place of honor, sit with it until you are filled with its tenderness. Turn away the indignation that will invariably come to your door too… [chapter 12, page 4 in chapter]

People prefer to hang on to their own view of things far longer than they should, particularly about their own family. [Chapter 13, page 6 in chapter]

Stories are the universal heart language. They bring together what is scattered. [Chapter 24, page 13 in chapter]

The world gives enough reasons to fret. Be not one of them. Be the help. [Chapter 29, page 5 in chapter]

Recommended for anyone who enjoys intergenerational Christian women’s fiction with heart. Readers who also enjoy nonfiction in the Christian living genre and who like to read cookbooks will totally love this book.

Sara Brunsvold is also the author of the highly acclaimed The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip. Her website says her “chief aim is to create stories that speak hope, truth and life.” For more about the author and her work, visit sarabrunsvold.com.

[Review copy from the public library via the Hoopla Digital app.]

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New Releases in Christian Fiction (February 2024)

February 2024 New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:


Finally Forever by Karin Beery — Former competitive dancer Caroline Novak dreams of leaving the corporate world to work with special needs women at the Pathways nonprofit, but the organization can’t afford a fulltime director. All-American defensive end Ben Allen was on his way to the NFL when a knee injury sent him home and into the same office as Caroline, his best friend’s older sister. When Pathways participates in a Dancing with the Stars-inspired fundraiser, Caroline quickly volunteers, and Ben joins her as the local “star.” It doesn’t take long for Ben to realize it’s more than a dance competition, and Caroline is more than his best friend’s sister, but after two failed engagements, she’s hesitant to trust her heart with another man. When the NFL calls Ben, it looks like his dream might finally come true—but it could cost them the championship and Caroline her heart. (Contemporary Romance from Elk Lake Publishing)

Taylor’s Trek to Love by Elsie Davis — Escape to the Great Smoky Mountains…where fresh mountain air and love await! This is the fourth heartwarming Christian Inspirational Women’s Fiction Romance that will take you to the Great Smoky Mountains for a vacation getaway that will change the lives of Taylor and Andrew in ways they would have never expected! (Contemporary Romance from Sweet Romance Publishing)

Much Ado about Romance by Susan Page Davis, Shannon Sue Dunlap, Linda Fulkerson — A collection of novellas inspired by Shakespearen romantic comedies. (Contemporary Romance from Scrivenings Press)

A Mommy for Easter by Linda Goodnight — Back in his hometown after a decade, Jake Colter and his adorable toddler are a reminder of everything Rachel Hamby lost. And working on the same Easter committee with her ex-husband makes avoidance impossible. Throw in a small town’s matchmaking scheme and Jake’s sweet dog, and soon Rachel’s falling for the little girl…and her father. But will Rachel risk a second chance with the painful secret she’s keeping? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Cozy Mystery:

 

Birds Alive! by Jennifer Dodrill — Widow, mom blogger, and empty nester Peg forms the Empty Nesters Birding Group. On their first outing, a birder dies from an allergic reaction to peanuts from birdseed that should be peanut-free. Later, she finds another of her new birder friends wounded and dying. Peg recruits a fellow birder and her mother-in-law to help solve the crime. She teams up with the detective investigating the case, whose dimples draw her in a way she hasn’t experienced in years. (Cozy Mystery from Scrivenings Press)

Mardi Gras and Mayhem by Jann Franklin— Just a fun girls’ weekend in New Orleans during Mardi Gras…except for the murders. Chantilly Romero held an important place as a mover and a shaker within the New Orleans business world. But she had her secrets. Did she run an illegal high-stakes poker game out of her whiskey distillery? Had her bodyguard committed a few dastardly deeds, so Chantilly could profit? Did Chantilly’s husband die by his own hand, or did she help him along to the pearly gates? Regardless, the police never found proof of any wrong doing. Did someone take matters into their own hands? (Cozy Mystery, Independently Published from Rougarou Press)


Historical Romance:

A Reluctant Melody by Sandra Ardoin — Kit Barnes’ drinking ruined more lives than his own. Now sober, he wants to make amends by opening a mission for drunkards. The most suitable location belongs to Joanna Cranston Stewart, a love from his sordid past and the person he hurt the most. A pariah among her peers, Joanna is all too eager to sell her property and flee the rumors that she sent her late husband to an early grave. But she will let the gossips talk and the walls of her rundown property crumble around her before she’ll allow Kit back into her life. When a blackmailer threatens to reveal her long-held secret, she must choose between trusting Kit or seeing her best friend trapped in an abusive marriage. (Historical Romance from Corner Room Books)

Protecting the Mountain Man’s Treasure by Misty M. Beller — Jude Coulter is far more comfortable in his family’s sapphire mine tucked in the Montana mountains than on the bustling streets of New York City, where he’s been sent to deliver a shipment of gems. His relief at boarding the train for the first leg of his journey home is short-lived when an accident renders him unconscious. Angela Larkin worked hard to earn this assignment for the Treasury—an undercover mission to determine the source of the sapphires brought each year for auction in the city. When an accident causes her target to lose his recent memory, Angela jumps at the opportunity to create the ideal ruse. Jude seems surprised to learn the two of them had married and were returning from a glorious wedding trip, but his severe head injury keeps him from protesting…for now. But the accident is far from the worst threat they face. When enemies close in, Angela and Jude must depend on each other to survive the treacherous journey home. (Historical Romance, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])

An Uncertain Road by Abbey Downey — When young widow Flora Montfort returns to America, she’s determined to use her training in auto racing to support herself and her French mother-in-law—even if female drivers are rare in 1905. When the owner of a successful sporting goods store hires her to drive in a ten-day race through New England, she jumps at the opportunity. Jensen Gable is not convinced that joining the team as the ride-along mechanic is worth the risk. After losing his best friend in a tragic racing accident, Jensen has vowed never to participate in the sport again. But a promise to protect his friend’s younger brother, also on the tour, outweighs his fear of the dangers. As they race through New England, Flora and Jensen find common ground that ignites their interest in each other, but doubts and old enemies come between them. As the race of a lifetime heats up, one question rises above all others…can their love find the road that leads to forever? (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)

Relying on the Enemy by Danielle Grandinetti — All widowed mother Marian Ward wants is to provide for her girls. However, she faces the dead of winter with no income and dwindling resources. Then she overhears a nefarious conversation, putting her life and that of her children in immediate danger. Aiming to make amends to the Wards, Gilbert steps in when the threat to Marian escalates. It costs him dearly. Either lose his career or marry her and be tied to his past until death do them part. He leaves the decision to Marian, who will do anything to protect her girls, even marry the son of the man who ruined her family. How will their fledgling trust prove strong enough to fulfill their vows as winter tightens its grip and desperation stalks at the door? (Historical Romance from Hearth Spot Press)

To Marry an English Lord by Robin Lee Hatcher — Sebastian Whitcombe, Viscount Willowthorpe, comes to America to experience the great Wild West for himself before it disappears for good. The adventure comes with a convenient bonus—it postpones his father’s edict that he take a wife from the British aristocracy. Sebastian isn’t so much against marriage as he is an arranged marriage to the wrong woman. Jocelyn Overstreet hasn’t returned to her family’s eastern Idaho cattle ranch in six years. She’s far too busy managing the New York City offices of Overstreet Shipping. But when her older brother has a serious run-in with a bison, she returns to the ranch only to find the Overstreet home invaded by visitors from England, one of them a disturbingly handsome viscount who disarms her defenses at every turn. Sebastian’s future lies in England. New York City holds Jocelyn’s future. Amidst the clash of their worlds, Sebastian and Jocelyn find that the risk of love, against all odds, might just be a risk worth taking. (Historical Romance, Independently Published from RobinSong, Inc.)

Embers in the London Sky by Sarah Sundin — After fleeing the German invasion of the Netherlands, Aleida Martens searches for her missing child in London—which sets her on a collision course with BBC radio correspondent Hugh Collingwood. During the London Blitz, they will risk their lives to discover the truth—and find a connection closer than they imagined. (Historical Romance from Revell – A division of Baker Publishing Group)

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller:

A Day Ago by Luana Ehrlich — As he prepares to defend his client of murder charges, not only does Attorney Mylas Grey receive unexpected news about his future, he discovers he has feelings for a former female acquaintance and uncovers evidence that points to the real killer, someone who’s determined to put an end to Mylas’s future. However, Mylas has other plans. (Crime/Mystery, Independently Published)

8 Down by Kimberley Woodhouse — Investigator Carrie Kintz is new blood with the Alaska Bureau of Investigation in Anchorage. But with a serial killer on the loose, there’s no easing into the job. The only clues to stop this madman are the taunts he drops into crossword puzzles across the country–always in the same 8 DOWN position. Calling in security specialist Scott Patteson for his expertise seems like the right move–until Carrie realizes that he may be a dangerous distraction for her heart. With her faith fading in the face of horror and uncertainty and her career in danger of ending, this is no time for flirtation. But with a killer who is determined to prove that he’s smarter than everyone else, it may be impossible to fight both the madman and their feelings for each other . . . (Contemporary Thriller/Suspense from Kregel Publications)

Romantic Suspense:

Hidden Chance by Shawna Coleing — Hannah spent her childhood on the mission field in Burma, but witnessing the tragic murder of her father propelled her into a life dedicated to making a difference. A specialized military team is carrying out a mission in Burma to stop a militant group that has been wreaking havoc on local villages. After breaking into a school that has been the militia’s base of operations, they uncover an elaborate plan to exploit those most vulnerable. Robby, the specialized military team leader, determined to expose the truth, discovers a company based in America may be behind the chilling acts of savagery. Robby and Hannah must find common ground to save the lives of countless children and bring an end to the threat at their front door. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])

Rebuilding Joy by Regina Rudd Merrick — Single mom Darcy Emerson Sloan has enough to do raising twins and running a restaurant. She’s doing fine on her own and doesn’t need the complications of a man in her life. But when her café turns into a crime scene, putting her and her children in danger, she begins to take interest in the handsome young FBI agent that comes on the scene. Contractor Del Reno is as even-keeled as they come, but even he has his limits. And Darcy Sloan has pushed him too far. Every time he tries to help, it backfires. But now that Darcy and her kids are in trouble, he has no choice but to come to her aid and to protect her. She’s just going to have to deal with it. Secret tunnels, organized crime, adorable children, and a wedding. (Romantic Suspense from Scrivenings Press)

Western Romance:

Chasing the Horizon by Mary Connealy — Uncovering her tyrannical father’s malevolent plot to commit her to an asylum, Beth Rutledge fabricates a plan of her own. She will rescue her mother, who had already been sent to the asylum, and escape together on a wagon train heading west. Posing as sisters, Beth and her mother travel with the pioneers in hopes of making it to Idaho before the others start asking too many questions. Wagon-train scout Jake Holt senses the mysterious women in his caravan are running from something. When rumors begin to spread of Pinkerton agents searching relentlessly for wanted criminals who match the description of those on his wagon train, including Beth, she begins to open up to him, and he learns something more sinister is at hand. Can they risk trusting each other with their lives–and their hearts–when danger threatens their every step? (Western Romance from Bethany House)

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

Marrying the Mountain Man’s Best Friend by Misty M. Beller — A marriage of convenience, desperate escape from danger, and the Christmas miracle of love that heals wounded hearts. (Historical Romance)

Silencing the Witness by Laura Conaway — Can he keep both of them alive long enough for her to testify. (Romantic Suspense)

Meet Me Where the Windrush Flows by Valerie Massey Goree — Will the threat to her life and accusations of malpractice against him aid their romance or keep them apart? (Romantic Suspense)

Love or Lies by Craig Hastings — Overcoming the lies of the past: A journey of self-discovery, faith, and love. (Contemporary Romance)

Testimony: The Fourteenth Codex by Christopher J. Mooney — Can a Coptic nun complete the quest and find relics of the founders of the church? (General Historical)

The Rare Jewel of Everleigh Wheaton by Susan L. Tuttle — In her search for a rare gem, will she end up uncovering the true treasure of her heart? (Contemporary Romance)

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New Releases in Christian Fiction (January 2024)

January 2024 New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:


The Love Penalty by Carolyn Miller — With her fondness for tattoos and spider jewelry Sylvie Miles is used to being pre-judged and misunderstood. She has friends and connections but she still feels alone, and works several jobs while daydreaming about finding a guy who sees further than skin deep and won’t shy away from her battered heart. So when a hot pro hockey player with a smile as vast as his skills takes a shine to her what’s a poor girl to do but fall in love? Ryan Guillemette sure wasn’t looking for romance in a bookstore in his hometown but quickly becomes intrigued by the sassy Goth-like assistant with a snarky way with words. When an accidental kiss proves dangerously addictive, she soon becomes embedded in his heart. But even as the romance heats up he’s torn as she’s not following God. Can these two opposites make a match or should he call a permanent time out? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Yellow Roses by Suzie Waltner — Mia Mason has always strived to meet others’ expectations. Her adoptive family, her fans, even her friends in the band. She works hard at pleasing everyone because she’s never felt like she truly belongs. After connecting with a cousin through a DNA website, she plans a covert road trip, hoping to find her biological mother and the answers she desires. During a music awards ceremony, Levi Sinclair receives two messages that ruin his night. One is a breakup text from his girlfriend of six weeks. The other is from the father who abandoned his family seventeen years ago and wants to reconnect. Then Levi discovers Mia’s secret mission and insists on going along to keep her safe. As the two friends pass the miles and see the sights, Levi’s true feelings for Mia rise to the surface. And her journey to the past might open the door to their future. Family issues and a shared career are just two of the hurdles they’ll have to jump if they want a shot at love. Could the end of the road lead these friends to a new beginning? (Contemporary Romance from Anaiah Press)

Their Inseparable Bond by Jill Weatherholt — Training service dogs is single dad Jake Beckett’s calling. He’s determined to train rambunctious puppy Callie to help his ailing friend Myrna live independently with her growing blindness. Myrna’s granddaughter, Olivia Hart, isn’t easily convinced, but Jake, his twins and Callie are an incredibly persuasive team. If Olivia agrees to give Callie a chance, will working with Jake risk her lifelong dreams? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

General Contemporary:


Chokecherry Valley Love by Jean Rezab — Ashley Richmond’s goal to become a psychologist becomes derailed by sudden doubts. She questions what direction her new career track should take. In her personal life, her brothers have become strangers, but she’s ready to try to forgive past mistakes and reconnect. While trying to decide on her career and figure out her sibling relationships, life takes another turn when she meets Jason. Their mutual attraction is complicated by his family obligations and her uncertainty over the future. (General Contemporary, Independently Published)

Historical Romance:


The Legacy of the Rocking K Ranch by Mary Connealy, D.J. Gudger, Becca Whitham, Kimberley Woodhouse — Six Decades of History Unfurls on a Wyoming Ranch Journey to untamed Wyoming where four generations of women experience love, loss, grace, adoption, struggles with the law, relationships with natives, and through it all, family bonds. (Historical Romance Novella Collection from Barbour Publishing)

A Summer on Bellevue Avenue by Lorri Dudley — Wealthy heiress Amanda Mae Klein is set to marry the man she loves. Wesley Jansen-the only person she trusts to help ease her anxiety among the social climbers of high society. Until the daughter of a union boss falls down a flight of stairs at Wesley’s office in the middle of the night…and the woman claims Wesley pushed her.
Seeking solace from the growing scandal. Amanda flees to the mansion-dotted seaside of Newport. Wesley follows to disprove the rumors and win back the trust of Amanda and her father. But soon, Amanda finds not only her social status but her life at risk. As dire events pit the two against each other, will their love find a way to survive? (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)

Polly (Apron Series) by Naomi Musch — The Great War has ended, but Polly Holloway’s heart is shattered when her fiancé finally returns home—with a French war bride. Now her future feels desolate, until she fastens onto the idea of using her skills and a special cookbook to turn her grandfather’s Victorian house into a fashionable ladies’ tearoom. Yet, how will she endure the patronage of the woman who stole her sweetheart? Moreover, the suave tavern owner down the block is interfering in her business, personal and otherwise. Heaven only knows what goes on behind his doors. Ross Dalton can no longer sell liquor in his establishment. With prohibition in force, it’s a mixed blessing. Ross met God on the battlefield, and he wants to start fresh, but he must earn a living. Converting his bar into a coffee house offers a partial solution. Still, bootleggers are pressing him to pedal their moonshine, and the girl up the street is convinced his place is a front for a speakeasy. She’s awfully cute when she turns up her pert little nose at his friendly overtures. How can he convince her he isn’t going to tarnish the neighborhood or ruin her business? And will she believe he’s a changed man when the bootleggers double down? (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

When the Waters Came by Candice Sue Patterson — Pastor Montgomery Childs has tended his flock in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, for two years. While his pews are full every Sunday, he most desires to see a reckoning between God and the kings of industry who recreate on Lake Conemaugh. Like Noah, Monty prays against the evil surrounding him, but he never expects God to send a flood. It takes five days for the Red Cross to respond to the Johnstown flood disaster, but when it does, Annamae Worthington is ready to help. Apprenticing under Clara Barton has prepared her for the job, but nothing can prepare her for the death and destruction that awaits. As if the survivors haven’t suffered enough, typhoid fever ravages the town, resurfacing suppressed emotions regarding her father’s death. Narrowly surviving the flood and the horrifying things he’s witnessed, Monty’s faith is floundering. Then a Red Cross nurse puts him to work helping with the typhoid fever victims arriving at the hospital tents every hour. Monty and Annamae work together distributing disinfectants and supplies, housing orphans, and serving those left behind. Slowly, his faith resurfaces. A kinship forms between them neither can ignore. But when an investigation into the collapsed dam points to the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, secrets emerge that may tear them apart. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Redemption for the Cowboy by Z Peabody — Remington Haylord is a preacher’s son. Instead of running with his biker buddies down in Texas, Remington ran with the horses. He feels a preacher’s life is not for him. Now, after a few years in the corporate arena, he’s found a peaceful life at the Sawyer Ranch. While standing at the head of a church, officiating his best-friend’s wedding, Remington looks down the aisle and in a vision of pastel-yellow, is the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. Phoebe Washington has never been to Montana, and if it wasn’t for her best friend’s wedding, she wouldn’t be there now. Despite any first impressions, Phoebe has a change of heart about staying on in Montana when she sees the big, handsome cowboy standing next to her best friend’s soon-to-be husband. He’s quiet, withdrawn, and yes, he’s grumpy. Yet on the rare occasions when he does smile, his face lights up like the big Montana sky. But to Phoebe’s chagrin, he avoids her whenever she gets within a few feet of him. How can she make Remington see that here, with him, is where he wants her to be—and where she needs to be? (Western Romance, Independently Published)

A Cherished Betrothal by Denise Weimer — Alexander Morris bears the childhood scars of the Long Canes massacre that killed his brother and father. Forced by his dark past into the lonely life of Georgia Ranger, Alexander joins the bordering South Carolina Rangers in their revolt against the Crown. When he’s posted to the fort erected to defend the community once decimated by the massacre, duty demands he court the loyalty of his sworn enemies, the fierce Cherokee warriors. Elspeth Lawrence never forgot the boy who sacrificed himself for her at Long Canes-any more than she forgot the younger sister taken captive. She’s learned not only to forgive, but also to help minister to the Cherokees at her father’s mission. When Alex Morris arrives at nearby Fort Charlotte, Elspeth finds her memories-and her emotions-stirred. When Alex uncovers a long-held secret and a plot to sabotage patriot talks with the Cherokees, he must choose between his desire for revenge and his love for the girl he rescued long ago. (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)

Independence Trail by Betty Woods — To escape an arranged marriage, Heidi Schultz runs to the ranch owned by her sister, Lily, and brother-in-law, Toby. No one will ever run or ruin her life again. Jethro Bannister likes his life as foreman for Toby Grimes. Memories of the way his Georgia family turned on him don’t plague him while living on a secluded Texas ranch. Until Heidi interrupts his carefully arranged, placid world of quiet. The too talkative woman could worry the horns off an entire herd of longhorns. Plus, her family problems remind him too much of what he left behind. Despite their misgivings, Heidi and Jethro form a tenuous friendship based on their common wish to be left alone. Confiding in one another deepens their friendship more than either intends. Will Heidi and Jethro’s past wounds bond them together in an unexpected love or push them apart? (Historical Romance from Scrivenings Press)

Romantic Suspense:


Offshore Ambush by Sherri Wilson Johnson — Gretchen Overton’s world is shattered when someone murders her brother on a remote offshore platform in the Gulf of Mexico. As medicolegal death investigator for Baldwin County, Alabama, she vows to uncover the truth and bring the killer to justice. But little does she know, her path to finding answers requires the help of Everett Forrester, the rig’s Drilling Foreman and her ex-boyfriend.
(Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

Romantic Suspense:


Rescuing You by Robin Patchen — CIA agent Michael Wright’s world crumbles when his girlfriend, Leila, is snatched off the street and later seen in the grasp of a terrorist he’s been tracking, Michael blames himself. Keeping his identity secret from her clearly didn’t protect her. Now he must defy the Agency and fly to Iraq to rescue her. Leila Amato escaped Iraq a decade earlier, only returning in her worst nightmares. But those nightmares have come true when she finds herself captive and all alone, or so she thought until she sees her identical twin sister. Michael tracks Leila to a desert compound, but his rescue mission goes awry when he discovers her sister needs to escape as well. His detailed strategy can only ensure one woman’s safety. Now they’re on the run, trying to get out of the country before their enemies track them down. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])

Smoking Flax by Jennifer Hallmark — Who Is He–Really?
Almost nineteen-year-old Reed Anderson wants to belong in a world where he hasn’t always fit. Three days after graduation, he decides to ride a bus back to Louisiana and deal with the events of his thirteenth summer once and for all. Back then, he’d stood up to his abusive Pa, protecting Momma and his sister, taking control of his life. But who was the faded image of the child he saw that day? Aunt Lula predicted his life would shift and change. Something about space-time-continuum and the fourth dimension? He tucks her words into his heart. If he survives the shift, this could be his chance to start over. But the ghost child haunts his dreams. Even though six years have passed, does he want to confront the lies he’s always believed? (Romantic Suspense from Elk Lake Publishing)

The Samaritan’s Patient by Chevron Ross — Teenager Paige Abernathy awakens after a severe beating to find that she suffers from amnesia, and that everyone seems to hate her. She has only flashes of memory until the night a grieving parent attacks her in her hospital room. Paige then remembers her role as creator of an online group where members talk about ways to commit suicide. After recovering from the beating, Paige embarks on a journey of penance to atone for a disaster born of good intentions. Her odyssey launches her on a mission of mercy and into new danger. (Romantic Suspense, AIA Publishing)

 

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

Welcome to Bellechester by Margaret A. Blenkush – As Dr. Mary Elizabeth Senty and DCI William Donnelly adjust to life in Bellechester, they find themselves used as bait to catch jewel thieves. (General Historical)

Sundancer’s Star by Elsie Davis – “Sundancer’s Star” is a tale of resilience, love, and the transformative power of second chances. (Contemporary Romance)

Kate by the Book by Susan Page Davis – Charlie’s attracted to children’s librarian, Kate, but his job and his family situation make him keep his feelings in check. But a mystery keeps taking him back to the library, where Kate may be in danger. (Contemporary Romance)

A Daddy for Christmas by MaryAnn Diorio PhD, MFA – Young widow Julie Melitto’s ten-year-old daughter Laney needs a daddy. When Nick Carbone unexpectedly throws a monkey wrench into Julie’s well-ordered life, she must choose between following her head or following her heart. (Contemporary Romance)

Letters of Understanding by Christopher J. Mooney – Inspired by a true story, this is the sole surviving record of the paths of three generations involved in the growth of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, Russia’s KGB, and the Franciscan’s Ordo Fratum Minorum, and the deadly consequences of their decisions. (General Historical)

The King’s Ransom by Patti Jo Moore – Kindergarten teacher Tina Ransom never imagined that her dream vacation to Italy would include an emergency landing on a small tropical island that would change her life forever. (Contemporary Romance)

The Cyrenian, Crossroads and a Cross by Donovan Peterkin – Two men, on two separate roads, betrayed and pursued by the same enemies, destined to carry one Cross. (Biblical)

No Romancing the Passengers by Lee Wimmer – God uses DR, even as he runs from faith and family, accomplishing great things, and a great life, with great love that he often overlooks—as he battles a demon, a dark secret from his youth. (Romantic Suspense)

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Review: The Color of Sky and Stone, by Sara Davison

Book cover: The Color of Sky and Stone, In the Shadows, Book One, by Sara Davison.

The Color of Sky and Stone, by Sara Davison (Three Dreamers Press, 2023)

Part thriller, part romance, and part Christian women’s fiction, The Color of Sky and Stone is a beautiful story that’s clearly hard for me to categorize. (Although I’ve learned a couple of new terms: this can be called upmarket fiction or book club fiction, since it’s designed to stimulate thought and discussion.)

Thriller: Tane is a secret operative in a Canadian organization tasked with taking down drug lords and crime rings. The brief scenes from the enemy’s point of view had me very nervous reading this book. I’m left with an unanswered question, but as an increasingly-timid reader I don’t think I’ll be brave enough to read the sequel in search of an answer. If this is the last high-suspense novel I read, though, I’m glad to have ended with one so appealing. [Note that only portions are intense; most scenes engage the heart and spirit. Also, what I feared didn’t transpire… yet.]

Romance: Lia and Tane are both isolated by their roles in life. Their relationship begins as two strangers exchanging letters. In the honesty and vulnerability of what they write (they’re not expecting to meet) watching them fall in love is sweet.

Christian women’s fiction: Themes of forgiveness (of self and others), honesty, secrets, identity, faith, childhood trauma, risk-taking, and emotional healing make this a book where readers walk with the characters and perhaps find something that makes a difference in their own lives. Discussion questions at the end offer additional opportunities for personal reflection and/or group discussion.

Lia and Tane’s experiences leave them both questioning their chosen roles. What makes the story beautiful is the honesty they risk sharing and the way it frees Tane from hurts he’s carried for years. None of this is contrived or pushy; it’s an organic outcome of their shared experience.

The Color of Sky and Stone is book 1 in the “In the Shadows” series. Sara Davison is an award-winning Canadian author of romantic suspense. Visit her website to learn more about her and her books: saradavison.org.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

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New Releases in Christian Fiction (December 2023)

December 2023 New Releases

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


Contemporary Romance:

Bidding on a Second Chance by Emily Conrad — His bid for a second chance this Christmas might lead to her most disastrous fall yet. Police officer Graham Lockhart’s life is dangerous enough without accident-prone Piper Wells tripping around in it—at least that’s what she claimed when she declined his marriage proposal two years ago. But he can’t help but wonder if there is more to her refusal. Piper always cared for Graham, but she is incapable of giving him the one thing he wants more than anything—family. All her orphaned self knows about that is how much it hurts to lose. She’s better off focusing on caring for her nephew and running her business. Secondhand furniture doesn’t break hearts. When an injury sidelines Piper leading into the holidays, Graham steps up to help her keep her commitment to a Christmastime auction benefiting a local family. Can they overcome the hurdles between them, or will the past and their warring hopes and fears trip them up for good?? (Contemporary Romance from Hope Anchor LLC)

Home from the Storm by Laurel M. Blount — After a senseless loss, hotheaded Caleb Hochstedler left his Amish faith and his young wife to seek justice. Two years later, he tracks his parents’ killer back home to Johns Mill, where he’s astonished to learn he’s the father of twins. Now he’s determined to protect his children and the woman he still loves—if she’ll let him. Her new husband’s abandonment broke Rhoda Lambright’s heart and proved her father, the bishop, right. Such a stubborn man could never be happy among the peaceful Amish. When Caleb unexpectedly returns, Rhoda is caught between her rock of a husband and a very hard place. Her church forbids divorce and requires forgiveness, so Rhoda lets Caleb back into their home. But can she ever let him back into her heart? One thing’s for certain sure. This second chance will take all the faith they can find. (Contemporary Romance from Berkley)

The Care of a Cowboy by Elsie Davis — In the sprawling landscape of Crossroads Creek, where the Texan sun paints golden dreams, Max Turner suddenly finds his dream of reclaiming his family’s lost ranch put on hold. To avoid draining his savings account, Max is desperately searching for a new job and a place to live, except ranch foreman jobs weren’t easy to come by. As the scorching summer unfolds, Max’s path crosses with that of Lucy Carrington, a determined young woman whose dreams clash with the expectations of her traditional rancher father. When her father hires Max to secretly oversee the ranch because he doesn’t trust his daughter to handle a man’s job, Max is caught in a web of deceit. As Max and Lucy navigate the complexities of their new roles, including the surprise news that Max is guardian to Crystal…a twelve-year-old niece he never knew existed, they discover the power of love and resilience, and the true meaning of family. (Contemporary Romance from Sweet Romance Publishing)

General Contemporary:

Broken Spirit by Sheridan Lee — The dream of motherhood eludes her. Can she find her way back to hope? Belinda Briggs’ life is shattered by losses and crises, shattering her faith and leading her on a quest for renewed hope, faith, and peace in this series finale contemporary Christian women’s fiction tale. (Contemporary Women’s Fiction from Winged Publications)

Chokecherry Valley Comfort by Jean Rezab — One accident. Two devastated families. Paul Richmond’s life changed in an instant when his wife and seven-year-old daughter die in a car accident. He struggles to move forward with this huge change. As his two-year sobriety anniversary approaches, he knows he’s on the edge of a relapse. He takes a sabbatical from his work as a doctor and heads to his in-law’s farm to get perspective and try to come to terms with his new life. Tyler Garvey is the only survivor of the two-vehicle accident in which his younger brother dies. He feels guilty because he should have been driving. His parents don’t blame him, but he blames himself, and so does Paul. Both families try to put their lives back together. It’s going to take time, a great deal of comfort, and forgiveness on all sides. (General Contemporary, Independently Published)

Chokecherry Valley Joy by Jean Rezab — Abby feels like everything is wrong with her life. She’s never dealt with the grief of losing her twin sister, Samantha, and niece, Amy, in an accident. Her marriage to Mark has fallen into the routine of his long hours of work and her erratic schedule as a nurse in a busy Houston hospital. Their failed attempt to have a child puts further strain on their relationship. Unhappy in her current job, she needs a break. She travels to Chokecherry Valley to spend two weeks with her parents at their farm. Mark plans to join her after he finishes his current work project, and she hopes to reconnect with him and discuss their future. (General Contemporary, Independently Published)

The Year of Goodbyes and Hellos by Kelly S. Irvin — Determined to save Sherri’s life, Kristen drops everything to guide her sister on the harrowing cancer treatment journey. When she’s unable to balance the strain of caring for her patients, being a wife and mother, and her frantic efforts to save her sister, Kristen’s carefully balanced life crumbles, starting with her marriage. Desperate to regain her footing, she vows to rebuild her broken relationships . . . as soon she’s sure Sherri will beat the odds stacked against her. Unlike her sister, Sherri Reynolds has worked to cultivate balance in her life. Her children, her job as a teacher, and her strong faith keep her grounded—until her diagnosis sends her spiraling into the scary world of what-ifs and unknown outcomes. Sherri faces the agonizing realization that family history may be about to repeat itself. With the clock ticking, she’s determined to use whatever time she has left to heal old wounds and restore relationships. Together, the sisters are forced to reexamine their priorities, address the still tender wounds of their childhood, and delve more deeply to discover what it means to live each day to its fullest.? (General Contemporary from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Christmas in Ohio by Bettie Boswell, Tamera Lynn Kraft, Penny Frost McGinnis, and Michelle Levigne — Come join us for a celebration of Christmas in the Buckeye State, with snow and mistletoe, a dash of suspense and danger, mystery and reunions, healing and hope. (General Contemporary from Mt. Zion Ridge Press)


Historical Romance:

When Love Comes by Penny Zeller — A woman with a broken heart. A man struggling with the loss of his brother and the subsequent care of his young niece. And two silly aunts who discover it’s never too late for true love. When Charlotte’s and Tobias’s paths cross in Prune Creek, Wyoming, can they put aside their preconceived disdain for each other? Does God have a plan for them and for a young girl in search of someone to take the place of the parents she lost? (Historical Romance from Maplebrook Publishing)


Cozy Mystery:

Deadly Burden by Janet Sketchley — Obey the police and stay safe, or follow her heart and help unmask a killer? Landon Smith solved the last murder by accident—and nearly became the next victim. When a shocking death strikes her close-knit circle, can this amateur sleuth discover who wanted the town busybody dead? The dead woman knew too much about too many people. Was she silenced to protect a secret? Or because of one she wouldn’t tell? And how can a dyslexic trauma survivor find clues the professionals miss? Landon can’t afford to be sidetracked by a vindictive guest at the inn or by unexpected family drama. Or by falling for the geeky writer next door—now that he’s over her. With a storm closing in and no leads in sight, Landon’s first Christmas at the Green Dory Inn is shaping up to be anything but merry and bright. (Cozy Mystery, Independently Published)

Romantic Suspense:

Buried Grave Secrets by Darlene L. Turner — Standing guard…with threats on all sides. When bones are found at an unmarked grave site—and then shots are fired—forensic anthropologist Jordyn Miller knows someone wants old secrets to remain buried. She’ll do anything to uncover the truth about these suspicious deaths, including accepting the protection of her ex-boyfriend, Constable Colt Peters, and his K-9. But with targets on their backs, can Jordyn stay alive long enough to bring a serial killer to justice?? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired Suspense/Harlequin)

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

A Courageous Betrothal by Denise Weimer – A wounded lieutenant, a woman fierce enough to protect her family, and an American Revolution with everything at stake. (Historical Romance)

Another Outer Banks Christmas by Christina Sinisi – She’s a role model for everything good, and he comes from a rough and broken home. (Contemporary Romance)

Finding Baby Jesus by Lynn Weathington – Will Baby Jesus find his way back into the nativity in time for Christmas? (Contemporary Romance)

Hilltop Christmas by Kathleen D. Bailey – When the integrity of the Festival is threatened, Noah must call on his Lord, and Jane on the God from whom she’s drifted, to find justice and restore Hilltop to what it is. (Romance)

Her Christmas Healing by Mindy Obenhaus – With love, faith, a support dog and some Christmas spirit, maybe it’s not too late after all… (Contemporary Romance)

For Love or Money by Susan Page Davis – When he learns where the money probably came from, will it keep their two families apart? (Western)

Hope’s Hills by Ruth Kyser – Will they remain good friends, or has God got other plans for their futures? (Contemporary Romance)

Snow Globe Secrets by Laura Thomas – Shootings, snow globes, and secrets abound when Alexis James witnesses the shooting of a British author outside the local bookstore. (Romantic Suspense Novella)

The Quilting Circle Box Set by Mary Davis – All four books from the Quilting Circle Series in one box set. (Historical Romance)

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TWO Christmas Fiction Pre-orders!

Pre-order Deadly Burden  in time for Christmas. Text details  include $2.99 USD pricing ends Dec. 6
For curated buy links, click the image or visit https://books2read.com/deadly-burden.

Pre-order pricing ends on release date, December 6, at which time the paperback version will also be available.

What’s Deadly Burden about? Here’s a teaser:

When a shocking death strikes her close-knit circle, can Landon discover who wanted the town busybody dead? Was the dead woman silenced to protect a secret? Or because of one she wouldn’t tell? And how can a dyslexic trauma survivor find clues the professionals miss? With a storm closing in and no leads in sight, Landon’s first Christmas at the Green Dory Inn is shaping up to be anything but merry and bright.

[Find the full back cover synopsis on my Deadly Burden page.]

And another Christmas mystery, releasing on the same day:

Cover art: Murder by Eggnog, a Kelsie Butler Mystery

Murder by Eggnog, A Kelsie Butler Mystery, Book 2 by Karin Kaufman.

Join Kelsie Butler and her friends as they investigate a sinister murder in an independent living home. With evidence in short supply, can they solve the case before it’s too late?

You can pre-order Murder by Eggnog on Amazon. Find my review of book 1, Outline for Murder, here.


So… two engaging Christmas reads. Release date for both books will be December 6. Treat yourself to some early Christmas reads–order now!

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