Tag Archives: clean reads

New Releases in Christian Fiction (January 2023)

January 2023 New Releases from Members of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW)

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

Contemporary Romance:



Where Faith Belongs by Heidi Chiavaroli — Amie Martin has never been more ready to trade in her quaint seaside Maine hometown for a life of studying art in New York. But when old flame August Colton returns to Camden and proclaims his undying love, Amie is torn between her future plans and forgiving August’s secret past. Fresh out of college, August is intent on helping the family business as an architect. He’s finally earned the respect of his brother and grandfather and he’s finally glimpsing a way out from beneath his past. But when August’s grandfather suffers a health crisis and the woman he loves shows interest in a wandering artist staying at the bed and breakfast, August wonders if he won’t be paying for his past mistakes for the rest of his life. Can Amie and August find faith in each other again? More importantly, can they find a faith that heals the broken parts of their past? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)


General Historical:



Truth and Honor (Light in the Empire) by Carol Ashby — Is truth worth the price if it costs you everything? For Tribune Glabrio, descended from three consuls of Rome and determined to be the fourth, commanding the troops policing Carthago appears ideal for hastening his political rise. Arriving from Rome with the secretly Christian Sartorus as his aide, Glabrio discovers the man he was to replace has vanished without a trace. Was the missing tribune too close to finding the counterfeiters Glabrio is now hunting? But no matter the cost, duty and honor require him to enforce Roman law. Orphaned as a child and taken to live with her pagan grandfather, Martina met Jesus through her step-grandmother. Their faith was a well-kept secret, even from most of their family. With both grandparents now dead, her uncle helps Martina hide the faith he doesn’t share. But after a single dinner at her uncle’s, the new tribune is determined to get to know her. No matter what she does to discourage Glabrio, he won’t leave her alone. But if he discovers her faith, will it mean her death? (General Historical from Cerrillo Press)


Historical Romance:



A Winter at the White Queen by Denise Weimer — Ellie Hastings is tired of playing social gatekeeper-and poor-relation companion-to her Gibson Girl of a cousin. But her aunt insists Ellie lift her nose out of her detective novel long enough to help gauge the eligibility of bachelors during the winter social season at Florida’s Hotel Belleview. She finds plenty that’s mysterious about the suave, aloof Philadelphia inventor, Lewis Thornton. Why does he keep sneaking around the hotel? Does he have a secret sweetheart? And what is his connection to the evasive Mr. Gaspachi, slated to perform at Washington’s Birthday Ball? Ellie’s comical sleuthing ought to put Lewis out, but the diffident way her family treats her smashes a hole in his normal reserve. When Florence Hastings’s diamond necklace goes missing, Ellie’s keen mind threatens to uncover not only Lewis’s secrets, but give him back hope for love. (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)

Redemption’s Trail by Betty Woods — Newly widowed with her second child due in a few months, Lily Johnson has nowhere to go until Toby Grimes, her late husband’s boss, asks her to stay on as housekeeper at his ranch. Remaining in the house Mr. Grimes built for her and her husband is an answered prayer. But malicious gossips see her godsend job as a ruse for a sinful dalliance since her employer is a nice-looking single man. God and a lot others turned their backs on Toby during the war, so he returns the favor by keeping to himself. Yet the need to care for and protect Lily overwhelms him. The way she tugs at his heart scares him more than going into a losing battle. Unwilling to allow anyone to destroy a fine woman’s reputation, he proposes a marriage of convenience. After much prayer, Lily accepts. Her first marriage was a love match made in heaven. The second leads down a trail only God knows the end to. (Historical Romance from Scrivenings Press)

The Heir’s Predicament by Lorri Dudley — Maggie Prescott may not know her real name, the circumstances of her birth, or her father’s identity, but based on a song her shipwrecked birthmother taught her before she died, Maggie’s certain the answers lie on the island of Antigua. Unbeknownst to her beloved adopted family, she sends her maid to finishing school in her stead and convinces her uncle, Captain Anthony Middleton, to sail her to the Leeward Islands. Time is of the essence to discover her heritage before the next family gathering exposes her duplicity. Lord Samuel Fredrick Harcourt Granville was groomed to inherit the Cardon title and lands, but the possession of his father’s temper has put Samuel’s future in jeopardy. After discovering his fiancée cavorting with his so-called friend, the ensuing altercation lands Samuel in court before of the House of Lords. As an example, for all aristocratic sons to quell their hedonistic living, the House of Lords banishes Samuel to the island of Antigua until he can prove he’s worthy of his privileged birth. On the island, Samuel works to rein in his temper and revive a dying sugar plantation. Still, his return to England and all his efforts are threatened when a mysterious woman breaks into his island home, claiming to be the true heiress of the sugar plantation. Guilt, resentment, and fresh yearnings sizzle under the island sun as Maggie’s search uncovers a much greater treasure than either of them expected. (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)

The Highlander’s Loving Heart by Z. Peabody — Cillian Pherson is the Duke of Blackridge and chieftain to the legendary Pherson Clan, one of Scotland’s oldest and fiercest. A strong leader with an honest warrior’s loving heart, Cillian prefers settling clan wars and making sure Scotland maintains independence to sitting in the Grand Hall, listening to his father regale old stories. Cillian also has no thoughts of settling down to beget heirs, as his father constantly reminds him he must, until the night he gets a glimpse of his future. Upon returning home after months away serving his king, Cillian brings back good news about the war, along with unpleasant news about his future. After an argument with his father, Cillian storms out of the castle and takes to the mountainous paths of his Scottish lands, only to witness a ship crashing against the rocks below the cliffs. But even with Aoife’s best intentions to help her good friend, Aoife finds the call of adventure too hard to resist. She soon finds out that adventure is closer than she thinks, and right where she never would have thought she wanted to be.  Now, Cillian must find a treasure that is missing from the wreckage—one the crew claims is the most-valued jewel aboard, and one he only caught a glimpse of. (Historical Romance from Z. Peabody Publishing LLC)


Romance: Amish:



The Amish Bachelor’s Bride by Pamela Desmond Wright — Marrying in name only…Could lead to more than they expected. Single mother Lavinia Simmons’s world is turned upside down when she discovers her late husband gambled away their home. A quick marriage of convenience to bachelor Noem Witzel in return for caring for his niece and nephew is the solution both Lavinia and Noem need. Neither of them is looking for romance. But what if these perfect strangers have other ideas? (Amish Romance from Love Inspired (Harlequin))


Speculative Fiction:



Penny’s Journal: Fortune Lost by Gina Detwiler — Grace and Jared have inexplicably disappeared. For the next decade, their friend Penny keeps a prayer journal, detailing her personal struggles in a society slowly unraveling from pandemics, natural disasters, famine, crime, and war. When all seems lost, a new leader arrives on the scene who claims he will save the world—but who is he really? (Speculative Fiction from VINSPIRE)


Thriller/Suspense:



Ambush in Alaska by Darlene L. Turner — Saving a boy who has escaped his captors puts Canadian border patrol officer Hannah Morgan right into the path of a ruthless child-smuggling ring. Now with help from police constable Layke Jackson, she must keep the child safe. But can they rescue the other abducted children and bring down the gang…all while protecting a little boy and keeping themselves alive? (Thriller/Suspense/Romance from Love Inspired (Harlequin))

Edge of the Storm: Two Novellas by Tanya Stowe & Heather Woodhaven — Wilderness Sabotage by Heather Woodhaven: 
Investigating sabotage on a construction site, journalist Jackie Dutton stumbles on a murder—and barely escapes when she flees and falls off a cliff. Only quick thinking from law enforcement ranger Shawn Burkett, her ex-boyfriend, saves her. Now facing a massive blizzard and relentless pursuers together, they must rely on their fragile trust and wilderness skills to get out alive…


Vanished in the Mountains by Tanya Stowe: When domestic violence counselor Dulcie Parker uncovers evidence of a human trafficking ring in the Four Corners area, she’s determined to stop it or die trying. With corruption all around her and killers on her trail, Deputy Sheriff Austin Turner’s the one person she can trust. But can they work together to expose the crime ring before she becomes the next victim? (Thriller/Suspense/Romance from Love Inspired (Harlequin))

What Happens Next by Christina Suzann Nelson — Popular podcaster and ex-reporter Faith Byrne has made a name for herself telling stories of greatness after tragedy–but her real life does not mirror the stories she tells. While her daughters spend the summer in Hawaii with her ex-husband and his new wife, she must manage life on her own. But all that changes when she’s asked to spotlight her childhood best friend’s missing person case on her podcast. Dora Crane has never accepted that her younger daughter could be dead, keeping her home looking the same as when her daughter disappeared. But when her husband leaves her, and her older daughter intervenes, she agrees to counseling and to pack up her missing daughter’s belongings under one condition: Faith Byrne comes to Deep Valley and sheds light on the cold case. As the investigation moves forward, the two women uncover desperate secrets, and Faith and Dora must face the long-hidden truth before they can begin to move forward. (Thriller/Suspense/Contemporary from Bethany House (Baker) Publishing)

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

Doxxi No More by Roger E. Bruner, What part will a book-length homework assignment play in solving Richard’s problems? (Contemporary Romance)
 
Framing the Marshal by Sharee Stover , Proving his innocence may cost him his life… (Thriller/Suspense/Romance)
 
In Love’s Time by Kate Breslin, When Marcus’s secret mission damages his relationship with Clare, he hopes to reconcile with her later, but his hope is dashed with an accident and both must learn to trust in order to find their way back together. (Historical Romance)
 
Rebecca’s Anchor by Patricia Reece, Will Brother Jack keep his promise to Starlyn? (General Historical)
 
Runaway by Jennifer Heeren , A novel memoir that dreams of a time where all people are equal. (General Historical)
 
The Masterpiece Beneath by Lisa Buffaloe, As Veronika’s secrets come to light, will they destroy those she loves or reveal God’s masterpiece beneath? (General Contemporary)
 
The Return of a Cowboy by Elsie Davis, Will they realize the greatest gift is theirs for the taking…the gift of love? (Contemporary Romance)

 

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Review: Roast Date, by Heather Day Gilbert

Roast Date, by Heather Day Gilbert (WoodHaven Press, 2022)

Macy Hatfield is a good friend and a good neighbour. So she can’t help but get involved to try to clear her neighbour Vera’s name after a woman is found dead in Vera’s home. Especially since there’s no family around to help… and Christmas is coming.

The Christmas activities fit into the story to add atmosphere without feeling tacked on like they do in some books. There are cookies, carols, presents, and a visit to a Christmas tree farm. It would be a good book to read any time of year, but I enjoyed reading it mid-December.

The Barks & Beans Café Mystery Series is perfect for readers who like a fun, clean read with engaging characters… and pets. The stories aren’t fluff, but neither are they deep and brooding. Adult siblings Macy and Bo make a good team—both in the café and in solving the mysteries that keep coming their way. And of course Coal, the gorgeous Great Dane pictured on all the book covers, is a treat in his own right.

I always enjoy a virtual trip to the Barks & Beans Café to discover what’s on the menu and to see the interaction with the shelter dogs. Macy’s friend Summer brings them for café patrons to visit and hopefully adopt.

Roast Date is book 7 in the series and I think it’s one of the best. New readers could begin here and not feel lost. Doing so would give some minor spoilers for earlier books.

It’s a good series to read from the beginning, though, as the characters’ relationships do develop and there’s a behind-the-scenes villain who shows up from time to time. (Each mystery is self-contained and fully solved at the end of each book.)

This one ends with a hint of trouble to come in book 8, Shade Grown, which will release in 2023.

Heather Day Gilbert’s books range from clean mainstream cozy mysteries to Christian romantic suspense to Viking historicals. For more about the author and her work, visit heatherdaygilbert.com.

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

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New Releases in Christian Fiction (December 2022)

December 2022 New Releases from Members of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW)

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

 


Contemporary Romance:



A Christmas Bargain by Mindy Obenhaus — When single mom Annalise Grant inherits a fledgling Christmas tree farm in Texas, she vows to do whatever it takes to make it a success. But when neighbor Hawkins Prescott claims some of her trees are on his property, the only option is a partnership. As Christmas draws closer, Annalise and Hawkins find themselves growing closer as well. Could a family by Christmas become part of the deal? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired (Harlequin))

 

Roadtrip for Two by Amy R. Anguish — Dallas wasn’t in the plans when Bree Henley set out to use the nonrefundable honeymoon tickets from her canceled wedding. Nor was running into ex-fiancé Nathan Hart. But their mutual friends and the weather have other ideas. A hurricane cancels their cruise and Bree decides to turn the disaster into a roadtrip for one, never imagining Nathan would object. Nathan is furious when he uncovers the plot to get him back with Bree. But he can’t just let her go roaming around the big city of Dallas alone. Though he knows calling off their wedding was the right thing to do, he still cares for Bree. And before he knows what hits him, he’s volunteered to tag along. Suddenly, it’s a trip for two. Spending the week together might remind them of why they fell in love. But is it enough to overcome the obstacles standing in the way of ‘til death do us part”? (Contemporary Romance from Scrivenings Press)

 


General Contemporary:



The Amish Mother’s Secret by Diane Craver — Sometimes a miracle comes to you at exactly the wrong time… Lindsay is 40 and single when tragedy strikes. Diagnosed with stage 4, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer, her instinct is to right the wrongs in her life. Driven to break free of her alcoholic mother at 17, she fell for Harris. Harris’ life was already planned out for him. Falling for Lindsay had been a dream. However, compelled to wed the woman his parents chose for him, he’d left her to endure a shaky marriage. Pregnant with identical triplets, Lindsay adopted two daughters to an Amish couple, the Yoders. In the years that followed, Mrs. Yoder worked hard to keep her away. When you let go of a miracle, can you ever capture it again? Revealing the truth may prove more devastating than the hurdles that came before…and all that will surely come after for a woman fighting for her life.. (General Contemporary from Vinspire Publishing)

 

 


General Historical:



The Wanderer Reborn by Natasha Woodcraft — Can hope triumph in the aftermath of murder? Reeling from the shock of Havel’s murder, Awan doesn’t know how she will ever recover. Kayin’s action torments her. As the years pass, and her younger siblings move on with their lives, she is left behind feeling bitter and lonely. Will she ever learn to forgive and find healing? Then Awan makes a terrible error which threatens to break up what remains of her fractured family. That same day, her God calls her to undertake a radical journey. A journey that will test her faith and force her to face all her darkest fears. (General Historical, Independently Published)

 

 


Historical Romance:



All She Ever Dreamed by Robin Lee Hatcher — A dream sometimes comes at great cost. Betrothed in a sensible match, even if the man isn’t the love she’s always imagined, Sarah McNeal relies on the advice her late grandmother gave as well as her own common sense. Dreams of a mysterious European count who rides in and sweeps her off her feet are the stuff of girlhood. And she’s a woman now. But when her fiancé’s older brother, Jeremiah, returns to Boulder Creek, he unknowingly awakens that discarded dream. Nine years ago, Jeremiah West lost his wife and newborn son in an epidemic, and he’s been wandering ever since. A survivor of the Spanish-American War, he finally returns to Boulder Creek to settle on the farm he inherited from his father, an inheritance his younger brother still begrudges. When a blizzard threatens Sarah’s life—and her reputation—Jeremiah is there to rescue her. But the pain of his past remains a stumbling block. Then fate brings Jeremiah and Sarah to a crossroads, and love demands a decision that will change the course of their lives. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Defending Truth by Shannon McNear — Ava Sanford longs to be known as more than the pastor’s kid. When the opportunity arises to study abroad in Scotland, she jumps at the chance to leave the Texas coast and the pressures of Grace Church behind. But she never meant to leave God too. Her roommate’s partying lifestyle promises the fun Ava has been missing out on—until a traumatic assault leaves her faith and pride in ruins. As her life in Scotland begins to crumble, rumors race back home, threatening her relationships with her family and friends, including Jack Shields. A former athlete, Jack keeps his head down, working through college and coasting through life. After losing both his mother and his scholarships, he knows the things you love can disappear at any moment. But when his best friend seems to be next, the nonchalance and security he carefully guards are broken. Fighting for Ava will mean risking it all, and he can’t do it alone. Only God can show them both how far grace can go. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Love’s New Beginnings by Penny Zeller — Lydie Beauchamp recently moved with her aunts—sisters Myrtle and Fern—to the untamed Wyoming Territory. When a teaching position in nearby Willow Falls captures her attention, can she leave her aunts, one of whom just suffered a broken heart, and embark on this new adventure? Will she find the courage to persevere in the midst of challenges, one being a handsome challenge named Solomon Eliason? Reverend Solomon Eliason has the goal of making a difference. Hired as the pastor of Willow Falls, he must convince the congregation that he is able to undertake the role of a reverend. When he’s nominated to be the adult in charge of the annual prank tradition at the school, he embraces the idea, thinking the new teacher will be an elderly crotchety woman like his former teacher. What he doesn’t realize until it’s too late is that the teacher is far from crotchety and elderly. When Lydie and Solomon’s paths cross in an unexpected way during the prank tradition at the Willow Falls school, can Solomon redeem himself in the eyes of the lovely new teacher? (Historical Romance from Maplebrook Publishing)

The Seasoning of Elizabella: A Jamestown Bride Story by Tamera Lynn Kraft — Elizabella can’t imagine anything worse than being a Jamestown bride — but her sister is determined to do just that. On the way to the ship to stop her sister, she witnesses a brutal murder and must flee for her life. She takes refuge on the ship, pretending to be her sister, intending to leave as soon as she is safe. Before she knows it, she is headed for the New World, trapped by desperation and deception. 
Miles fled to Jamestown with his family to escape the shame from their father’s actions. Tragedy has tested his faith, including the loss of his wife and newborn son. His grief makes him more determined than ever to keep his one remaining brother from following in their father’s footsteps. Will God heal their pain? How can their love grow when Elizabella desires nothing more than to return to London, and Miles desires nothing more than to remain in Jamestown? (Historical Romance from Mt Zion Ridge Press LLC)

 


Romance: Amish:



Her Unlikely Amish Protector by Jocelynn McClay — He’s learned from his mistakes…But can he protect her from his past? Miriam Schrock has one rule in her quest for a respectable Amish life—stay away from troublemakers like Aaron Raber. That is, until their employers play matchmaker and Miriam sees a different side to the former rebel. Aaron promises his time with an Englischer gang is behind him. But when his past returns, will protecting Miriam from their threats mean losing her for good? (Romance: Amish from Love Inspired (Harlequin))

 


Thriller/Suspense/Romance:



Found: An Almost Perfect Christmas by Kimberly Rose Johnson — When a young boy’s life is threatened, his dad will do anything to keep him safe, including eliciting the help of his single and beautiful school teacher. One of Hope Creek, Montana’s most desired single men has his hands full this Christmas with a new puppy litter, work, and a rambunctious young son. Now, someone has threatened to harm his son if he doesn’t reveal the location of a mystery woman. Second grade teacher, Bethany Evans, loves her job, but she wants more. Could Toby and his dad hold the key to making this Christmas extra special, or will the trouble they are facing not only ruin Christmas but destroy their lives in the process?. (Thriller/Suspense/Romance, Independently Published)

Texas Smoke Screen by Jessica R. Patch — Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And where there’s fire, there’s a killer…FBI profiler Vera Gilmore has the scars—both outside and in—to remind her how deadly fire is. Now homicide detective Brooks Brawley—her once sweetheart—needs her help with a serial arsonist and murderer in his small Texas town. But almost immediately, Vera becomes a target. Will staying at Brooks’s ranch with him and his daughter keep them all safe…or put them right in the killer’s path. (Thriller/Suspense/Romance from Love Inspired (Harlequin))

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

A Christmas Blessing by Judith McNees, Can two opposites look past appearances to see each other’s hearts? (Romance: Novella)
 
Deadly Conclusion by Kathy Harris , Beau leads a manhunt to find her before the outcome reaches a deadly conclusion. (Thriller/Suspense/Romance)
 
Fractured Mind by Sheridan Lee, “Fractured Mind” is an edgy contemporary Christian women’s fiction story which depicts how a ‘baby Christian’ with a troubled past bumbles about trying to live up to the Biblical perspective she knows she needs to follow. (Contemporary)
 
Hope Again at Christmas by Cathe Swanson, Three heartwarming novels that will have you laughing and crying… and swooning over the sweet romances tied up with tinsel, carols, and hope for the future. (Contemporary Romance)
 
Kindred Star by M.D. House, Is the galaxy ready for a new set of storms? (Speculative Fiction/Military)
 
Lilly’s Promise by Terrie Todd, Will the truth she uncovers about her grandmother, Lilly, inspire her to let go of her fear and rise to the occasion? (General Contemporary/Split Time)
 
Oddball Ornaments: The Story of Christmas by Terry Overton, When animated ornaments discover they are not the reason for Christmas, they set off in a quest to find the true meaning of Christmas. (Children’s)
 
Where Dreams Reside by Heidi Chiavaroli, A shameful past, an orchard camp, and a kindling romance…not exactly Little Men, but Bronson Martin never liked being compared to the March family anyhow. (Contemporary Romance)
 
The Wildness of Spring by Lana Lynne, Meeting Mr. Wright. Quil meets Mr. Wright and discovers he is all wrong. (Contemporary Romance)

 

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Review: The Christmas Hummingbird, by Davis Bunn

The Christmas Hummingbird, by Davis Bunn (Kensington Books, 2022)

Find out how a rescued hummingbird becomes a symbol of hope for a town on the brink of despair in this heartwarming, feel-good story with a thread of mystery and danger.

This Christmas, the fictional southern California town of Miramar Bay, ordinarily a haven, is under threat of sweeping wildfires. Wildfires which some clever thieves can use to their advantage. After all, if the evidence of break and entry burns up, who’s to say the stolen items didn’t burn too?

Stopping the thieves is personal for Ethan Lange, who barely escaped the fire with his life. And it’s one of many Christmas wishes for hard-edged police officer Ryan Eames, a single mom with a socially awkward son, Liam.

This is the backdrop for a sweet love story between two wounded souls—and a tale of friendship between Ethan the artist and eleven-year-old Liam with his secretive drawings.

The Christmas Hummingbird is book 7 in the Miramar Bay series, and while readers of previous books will recognize some of the other town residents each story stands alone with its own central characters.

Fans of Davis Bunn (and his pen name, Thomas Locke) know he writes in many genres from gentle stories like this one to thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction. While much of his work is overtly Christian fiction, some, like the Miramar Bay books, are not. They’re still clean reads.

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

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New Releases in Christian Fiction (November 2022)

November 2022 New Releases from Members of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW)

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


Contemporary Romance:



Authentically, Izzy by Pepper Basham — Dear Reader, My name is Isabelle Louisa Edgewood—Izzy, for short. I live by blue-tinted mountains, where I find contentment in fresh air and books. Oh, and coffee and tea, of course. And occasionally in being accosted by the love of my family. (You’ll understand my verb choice in the phrase later.) I dream of opening my own bookstore, but my life, particularly my romantic history, has not been the stuff of fairy tales. Which is probably why my pregnant, misled, matchmaking cousin—who, really, is more like my sister—signed me up for an online dating community. But I’ve played it safe for a long time. Maybe it’s time for me to be as brave as my favorite literary heroines. Maybe it’s time to take the adventures from the page to real life. Wish me luck. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (Thomas Nelson and Zondervan))

Her Christmas Redemption by Toni Shiloh — Can she find a second chance…on a town’s holiday wish list? Organizing her church’s Christmas Wishes program is the perfect start to Vivian Dupre’s new life—one without the shame of her recent mistakes. But as she grows closer to co-coordinator Michael Wood, she’s even more determined to keep her past hidden. Together they can give joy to their small town. But when Michael discovers her secret, will he be willing to grant Vivian’s holiday wish—forgiveness? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired (Harlequin))

Like the Wind by Robin Lee Hatcher — Olivia Ward arrived in Bethlehem Springs alone—with no job, no home, and no money—after her manipulative ex-husband used his power and wealth to destroy everything. Six years later, the peaceful life she rebuilt is once again turned upside down when she learns that her fifteen-year-old daughter, Emma, will be coming to live with her. The reunion should be a dream come true, but years of deception have driven a wedge between them. And Emma seems more interested in an old diary she discovered than reconciliation with her mother. In this latest novel from award-winning author Robin Lee Hatcher, an antique diary, a family-fueled investigation, and unexpected feelings collide to create a promise that’s worth fighting for. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (Thomas Nelson and Zondervan))

Muskoka Christmas by Carolyn Miller — Staci Everton is a multi-published author of historical romances, whose Christmas Eve deadline for a new book sees her leave her Chicago home to go write while staying with her grandmother in the beautiful small town of Muskoka Shores, Canada. Staci is determined to finish her manuscript, despite the small town’s Christmas charm – and Muskoka Shores most eligible bachelor. (Contemporary Romance, ACFW QIP)

Waiting on the Tides by Tabitha Bouldin — People are more than the sum of their mistakes. After a life lived in her older brother’s shadow, Abby Solomon is ready to take on the world—or at least a teaching position that puts her face to face with the one guy who thinks she’s nothing more than an immature nuisance. When his daughter’s mother abandoned them, Christian Johnson swore off women and the trouble they bring. No wife—no drama. Just how he likes it. But as Christian struggles to juggle his job as a cop with raising his daughter and tracking down a runaway teen, he’s forced to ask the one woman who reminds him of his wife for help. Abby is thrilled with the opportunity to show Christian that there’s more to her than what he thinks. But just as Christian begins to trust Abby, she makes a colossal mistake that threatens to ruin everything. She just wanted to be accepted. He wanted to be left alone. It’ll take a runaway teen to show them that love is not measured by a single mistake. (Contemporary Romance from Celebrate Lit Publishing)

 


General Contemporary:



Outside of Grace by Anne Daugherty — Ava Sanford longs to be known as more than the pastor’s kid. When the opportunity arises to study abroad in Scotland, she jumps at the chance to leave the Texas coast and the pressures of Grace Church behind. But she never meant to leave God too. Her roommate’s partying lifestyle promises the fun Ava has been missing out on—until a traumatic assault leaves her faith and pride in ruins. As her life in Scotland begins to crumble, rumors race back home, threatening her relationships with her family and friends, including Jack Shields. A former athlete, Jack keeps his head down, working through college and coasting through life. After losing both his mother and his scholarships, he knows the things you love can disappear at any moment. But when his best friend seems to be next, the nonchalance and security he carefully guards are broken. Fighting for Ava will mean risking it all, and he can’t do it alone. Only God can show them both how far grace can go. (General Contemporary from Black Rose Writing)

Shining Stars and Mason Jars by Jann Franklin — The Town of Graisseville, Louisiana is in crisis, and the mayor needs Jen Guidry’s help! Jen has finally embraced small town life with open arms, but now she’s facing new challenges that test her faith. She struggles to balance family and her desire to help, but her husband Mike prefers she leave well enough alone. While working with the mayor to save the town from financial crisis, she discovers others who also need her help. With Jen’s hilarious enthusiasm for navigating her career, friendships, and matchmaking schemes, she nearly loses sight of God’s blessings for her family. Follow the plucky adventures of a small-town wife, mother and friend, as she discovers how to embrace God’s plan for her life. (General Contemporary from Rougarou Press LLC)

 


General Historical:



A Life Reclaimed by Olivia Rae — A Scoundrel, A Spy, and A Secret. Will She Ever Learn the Truth? Desperate to avoid a second loveless marriage, Anne Howell hides out in a cave on the Welsh coast. If she can get to England, she should be safe from her stepfather’s long-reaching hand. She thinks her prayers are answered when she rescues a shipwrecked sailor, Thomas Armstrong, who agrees to help her, claiming he has ties to Queen Elizabeth I. Though she fears he may be an accomplished liar, she has no choice but to trust him, especially when a secret from her past puts spies on her trail and threatens to destroy her future. Years ago, Thomas Armstrong learned his real mother was executed in place of a dethroned queen. Determined to avenge her death, he sets out to find the cowardly monarch. But when his ship goes down in a storm leaving him broke and in debt, he fears his quest is finished – until he discovers that the woman who rescued him, Anne Howell, has a price on her head. All he has to do is turn her in and he’ll have the money he needs. But in helping Anne, he’s begun to lose his heart, and now he faces a devastating choice – avenge the past for his mother or follow his feelings to an uncertain future with Anne. (General Historical from HopeKnight Press)

Strong Currents by Delores Topliff — Is any price too great to pay for love and freedom? Strong Currents surge in the river and in the hearts of men. Josh Vengeance survives Midway but may never fight again. Erica Hofer escapes Nazi Germany for America to show the world that German Christians resist their nation’s madman, but instead of being accepted, she is suspected and attacked. Will Josh’s love and courage be enough to win the fight to safeguard America and keep them both safe from the evil that stalks her? (General Historical from Scrivenings Press)

Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams by Jennifer Lamont Leo — Hollywood, California, 1933. Selling perfume in a department store is far from the life Helen Corrigan envisioned when she headed for Hollywood with stars in her eyes. Beneath the glittering façade, things in Tinsel Town are seldom what they seem, and Helen fights to maintain her moral scruples amid trials and temptations. However, she’s not about to give up on her dream. All she needs is a lucky break. But what if the only “break” involves her heart? Screenwriter Rusty Noble has one goal in mind: to make moving pictures that uplift and inspire their audiences. But his thankless job at Cooperman Studios keeps him toiling away on B-grade movies. Worse, box-office sensation Cynthia Starling—beloved by audiences and detested by those who actually know her—won’t let Rusty out of her talons. The idea of breaking away and starting fresh with his own studio seems a sketchy pipe dream at best, a career-ending fiasco at worst. (General Historical from Mountain Majesty Media)

 


Historical – Biblical:



Daughter of the King by Carlene Havel — I Samuel 18:20 “And Michal Saul’s daughter loved David…” Threatened by David’s popularity, mad King Saul devises a clever plan. He gives his daughter Michal to the brave young giant-killer, commanding her to remain loyal to her father above all others. When the princess is forced to choose between David and King Saul, she risks everything for her husband—and pays a terrible price. (Historical – Biblical, Independently Published)

 

 


Historical Romance:



A Daughter’s Courage by Misty M. Beller — Her quest to repair what’s been broken leads to imminent danger–and soon it’s more than her own life on the line. After accidentally destroying the intricately carved chalice her people have treasured for over a hundred years, Charlotte Durand sets out in search of a skilled artisan who can repair the damage. What she expected to be a two-day trek becomes much more daunting when a treacherous snowstorm sets in. Searching for solitude and respite from his troubling past, the last thing Damien Levette needs in the middle of a mountain blizzard is to tend to another person, but he can’t leave behind the mysterious woman he finds half frozen at the edge of a mountain lake. As they battle both the elements and their distrust of each other, Charlotte and Damien must work together to survive the peril of the mountains–or it could be the downfall of them both. (Historical Romance from Bethany House (Baker) Publishing)

His Delightful Lady Delia by Grace Hitchcock — Delia Vittoria’s mother has lost her voice at last. After five years of being her diva mother’s understudy, it is time for Delia to assume her place as the lead soprano on stage behind the Academy of Music’s faded velvet curtain. And she is all that stands between the Academy and its greatest threat–the nouveaux riche’s lavish new Metropolitan Opera House. Kit Quincy never misses opening night, but when his sister begs him to help get her husband out of an Italian opera star’s arms, Kit confronts the wrong Lady Vittoria. When he happens upon the stunning young diva again at Mrs. Astor’s dinner the following night, he attempts to make amends and is instead pulled into a plot to win the great opera war. To draw attention to Delia Vittoria as the new soprano star, Kit is convinced to act as both Delia’s patron and the enigmatic phantom who once haunted the Academy years ago. But when a second phantom appears, more than Delia’s rising career is threatened. (Historical Romance from Bethany House (Baker) Publishing)

The Hidden Prince by Tessa Afshar — The beloved daughter of Jewish captives in Babylon, Keren is sold into Daniel’s household to help her family survive. She becomes Daniel’s most trusted scribe, while taking lessons and swordsmanship training alongside Daniel’s sons and their best friend, Jared. After a tragic accident changes the course of her life, Keren finds herself in a foreign country, charged with a mysterious task; teaching a shepherd boy how to become a lord. When she overhears whispers that hint at his true identity, she realizes she must protect him from the schemes of a bloodthirsty king. Jared cannot forgive Keren. Still, he finds himself traveling over mountains to fetch her back to the safety of home. When he discovers the secret identity of Keren’s pupil, Jared knows he must help protect him. Love battles bitterness as they flee from the king’s agents, trying to save the boy who could one day deliver their people from captivity. (Historical Romance from Tyndale House)

The Letter by Edwina Kiernan — Restless and ready for a change, Grace Stratton gladly accepts the opportunity to leave her remote parsonage home to serve as a wealthy spinster’s companion in the idyllic country town of Lindenfell. Its warm atmosphere and friendly inhabitants soothe Grace’s lonely heart. But when a mysterious stranger arrives, she soon discovers things aren’t always what they seem. Convinced chloroform will revolutionise the medical world, Dr. David Carbury frequently administers it to his London patients — until one of them dies. Facing a grave trial to prove his innocence and defend a drug most people view as poisonous, he makes hasty plans to buy time to bolster his case. But he wasn’t expecting to face an even deadlier challenge. As attraction sparks not long after they meet, Grace soon suspects he’s hiding something, and David knows he can’t run from the truth forever. But neither of them could imagine the sinister threat lurking just around the corner…. (Historical Romance from Moliant Publishing)

 


Mystery:



The Gold Doubloons by Suzanne J. Hatcher — When Coronado marched through the Verde Valley in 1542 looking for the Seven Cities of Gold, Yavapai scouts took him to a mine near present-day Jerome. Coronado didn’t find what he was looking for, but a persistent legend says he left behind a bag of gold doubloons. Now, almost five hundred years later, Reed Harper, Paul and Marty Russell’s foster son, needs those precious coins to finance the future he dreams of. But Reed isn’t the only one determined to find the gold doubloons. As the search intensifies in the caves around Jerome and extends to the ancient cliff dwelling called Montezuma Castle, a young Yavapai woman dies. Was Mina Tewa’s fall from a cliff that borders Montezuma Well an accident—or was it murder? 
When a second fall from the same cliff puts Reed in a coma, the sheriff arrests him for Mina‘s murder. But Scott Russell knows his foster brother is innocent. Convinced a ruthless killer is after Reed, Scott rushes to protect him. Will Paul and Marty find the teens in time to rescue them, or will the murderer claim another victim? (Mystery from Scrivenings Press)

 


Speculative Fiction/YA:



Collapse: The Death of Independence by Angela D. Shelton — If malnutrition doesn’t kill seventeen-year-old Olivia, her search for security just might. Basic survival is the goal for most after the apocalypse strikes. So, when Olivia’s father abandons her with relatives who can barely feed themselves, the resentment is obvious. Hungry for something more than just scraps of food, Olivia meets the connected, suave, and handsome Nick, who offers her just what she’s after. Nick seems to help many local women. But there’s something about him that Olivia can’t quite put her finger on. She wonders why he makes so many promises and what he’s going to expect in return. Will the lure of security make Olivia fall for Nick and lose more than she bargained for? Or can she stand to survive on her own? (Speculative Fiction/YA from Two Oaks Publishing, LLC)

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

A Haunting of Revenge Jann Franklin, et. al.., Can these sleuths overcome their fears, and solve the case? (Cozy Mystery)
 
A Hill Country Christmas Gail Kittleson, et. al , Eighteen holiday stories from every corner of the Texas Hill Country. (General Historical)
 
Desolate Escape Sherri Wilson Johnson, It was just a weekend reunion among old friends. How did it turn so deadly? (General Historical)
 
Five Days Lost: A Mylas Grey Mystery Luana Ehrlich, Mylas Grey agrees to investigate a personal matter for Senator Davis Allen. (General Historical)
 
Hope is Built  Davalynn Spencer., She’s running from a planned future. He’s hiding from a broken life. (Historical Romance) 
 
Restoring Miss Hastings Edwina Kiernan, When outside forces threaten their burgeoning fondness, each will be compelled to re-examine what they really believe about one another. (Historical Romance)
 
The Glass Road Alyssa Schwartz, One unexpected secret could have the power to unravel it all. (Contemporary Romance)
 
The Merchant’s Curse Antony B. Kolenc, Does the disfigured woman in the marketplace really have power over life and death? Will Nigel stop his dealings with a known traitor? (Mystery: YA)
 
The Misadventures of Itchy Izzy N.Y. Dunlap , Is Isabelle Chevalier’s obsession with the Spirit of God residing in Peter Stephens or just the man himself? (Contemporary Romance)
 
To Steal Maggie’s Heart Ronda Simpson, Will these men become grooms for any of the ladies of Garfield, or cause more havoc than harmony? (Historical Romance)

 

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Included in the Angel Book Awards!

I’m excited to share that my newest release, Bitter Truth, received second place in the Angel Book Awards (mystery/suspense category)!

Congratulations to first-place Carrie Stuart Parks with Woman in Shadow and third-place Mary Dodge Allen with Hunt for a Hometown Killer. I feel like my characters are in good company!

You can see the full list of winners at the Faith & Fellowship Book Festival page on Facebook. Here’s the link to the announcement post.

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Review: The Inn on Hanging Hill, by Christy Barritt

The Inn on Hanging Hill, by Christy Barritt

The Inn on Hanging Hill, by Christy Barritt (River Heights, 2021)

A dilapidated old inn. A painful past. A reunion of friends.

Childhood friends Lindsey and Benjamin haven’t seen each other since the night she was abducted and he was sent away to live with relatives. She doesn’t remember that two-week period of her life. He’s hiding secrets.

As they work to renovate the inn where Lindsey grew up, can they discover what really happened that night and somehow unlock her memory?

Between threats, unfriendly locals, a suspicious sheriff, and fallout from her disastrous former job, will they have the chance?

Set in a small Virginia town on the Chesapeake Bay, the novel is a quick read where nothing is as it seems. It’s a clean read with a thread of faith. The atmospheric old inn adds a suitably spooky touch.

The Inn on Hanging Hill is book 2 in the Beach House Mystery series but it reads well as a stand-alone. I haven’t read book 1, The Cottage on Ghost Lane, and I had no trouble finding my place in this one. They appear to have entirely different characters.

Christy Barritt has written over 70 books in a number of fast-paced romantic suspense series. Some are funny, some quirky, and some serious. For more about the author and her work, visit christybarritt.com.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

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Review: The Shadow of Memory, by Connie Berry

Book cover: The Shadow of Memory, by Connie Berry

The Shadow of Memory, by Connie Berry (Crooked Lane Books, 2022)

A stranger is found dead in the church yard—and he turns out to have a past connection with a local woman. When their mutual friends begin dying, can those deaths really be of natural causes? Meanwhile, Kate senses something fishy—and sinister—about a painting whose owners need to sell for quick cash.

I’ve been enjoying the Kate Hamilton mystery series, and book 4, The Shadow of Mystery, continues that trend. We have welcoming small British towns with just enough detail for atmosphere—and with plenty of good food for readers to savour vicariously.

In these books, the mystery comes first: cleverly plotted, clean, and with the present-day death somehow connected to secrets from one or more generations past.

The characters feel lifelike and come with personal and relational complications. These never overshadow the mystery, instead adding background flavour.

American Kate is an expert on antiques, currently assisting her English friend Ivor Tweedy (don’t you love his name?) with his shop, The Cabinet of Curiosities. Kate’s fiancé, Tom Mallory, is in British law enforcement. Once they set a date for the wedding they’ll need to decide which continent to call home. Kate and Tom have each lost a previous spouse and each have adult children. They each have a mother, too: Kate’s is a steadying source of advice, while Tom’s can’t accept him remarrying. Guess which one lives nearby?

We also have the elderly Vivian Bunn, with whom Kate currently boards, and the even older Lady Barbara Finchley-fforde living in the nearby manor house.

Readers can begin with this book with only mild spoilers for the previous ones, but I’d encourage you to start with book 1, A Dream of Death. You won’t regret it.

Despite the familiar and detailed way she writes British small town settings, Connie Berry is an American author based in Ohio. Check out her books at connieberry.com and sign up for her monthly newsletter, The Plot Thickens.

[Review copy from the public library.]

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Interviewed at Fiction Finder!

I missed sharing this interview back in May. Pop by and have a read. Fellow Canadian writer Pearl Fredericksen asked some fun questions, including “If I were not an author, I would be __).”

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Review: The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip, by Sara Brunsvold

The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip, by Sara Brunsvold (Revell, 2022)

Life-affirming, inspiring, and heartwarming, this novel pairs a young female reporter with an elderly woman at the end of her days. Clara Kip may be dying, and she may claim to be ordinary, but the “simple” acts of love and friendship that unfold from her past have changed hearts, impacted her city’s history, and saved lives. All because she dared to hold onto her Saviour and love those He allowed to cross her path.

What begins as a disciplinary assignment for Aidyn Kelley will upend and reshape her life and goals. What she discovers in Clara’s words will challenge readers as well.

Clara is the star of the story: feisty, faithful, fierce, and not at all prepared to lie down and let the cancer take her quietly. Instead, arriving at the hospice that she knows will be her final earthly home, she believes the Lord has work for her to do even in this place. [Spoiler: He does!]

This beautifully-crafted novel celebrates friendship, faith, sacrifice, love, endurance, laughter, human kindness, care for refugees, and much more. Definitely life-changing fiction and well worth the read. Expect to see it showing up in lots of “favourites” lists and literary awards.

The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip is Sara Brunsvold’s debut novel. For more about the author, and to download a copy of “Mrs. Kip’s 8 Rules to Live By” (limited time offer) visit sarabrunsvold.com.

[Review copy from the public library via Hoopla.]

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