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New Year Reading Goals and Challenges

Do you set reading goals? or participate in reading challenges?

Last year was the first I’d ever tried, and it didn’t quite go like I anticipated. Not only did I not read all the books I’d listed here last year on my beginning of the year goal page, I read less than I wanted to in general.

Sort of.

When I reevaluated my reading year, I discovered I read a ton more non-fiction than I first supposed, few of which I logged into Goodreads. I also read several full-length novels for critque partners…all of which are books not yet published and so can’t be entered into Goodreads. (But let me tell y’all, there are some AMAZING stories coming out in 2020.)

So this year, instead of claiming what and how many books I’m going to read at the beginning of the year, I’m just going to give myself freedom to have an ambiguous list with a mixture of fiction, non-fiction, and not-yet-published. 🙂

I AM going to start of my 2020 TBR pile with these books on top:

1865 – Marietta Hughes never wanted to be a spy, but the family legacy of espionage is thrust upon her as the War Between the States rolls on. Unknown to her, the Knights of the Golden Circle – a Confederate secret society bent on destroying the Union her brother died for – has been meeting in a hidden lair beneath her home. Faced with the secrets of her late husband and his brother, whom she thought she could trust with anything, Marietta’s world tilts out of control. Can she right it by protecting a Union agent infiltrating the KGC?  

Slade Osborne, an undercover Pinkerton agent, is determined to do whatever is necessary to end the conflict between the North and the South. When he infiltrates this secret cell, it isn’t just their inner workings that baffle him – it’s the beautiful woman who seems to be a puppet for the new leader and yet…so much more.  

Do they dare trust each other in this circle of intrigue? Will their shared faith sustain them? And can Mari and Slade stymie the enemy long enough to see their beloved country reunited?

A feisty army laundress must disarm a grieving Confederate captain’s pride to win his heart. A minister’s daughter abandoned during war must rely on faith to survive. A wounded widower feels God has forsaken him. Will her devout care bring medicine to his soul or rub salt in his wounds? Ellen White is assigned to attend a debilitated artillery captain after the Battle of Second Manassas. She offers God’s strength, but Gideon Sharpe would rather rely on his own. He would prove himself devoted to his motherless infant daughters, the sort of father he never had.Ellen longs for the security of a home and to feel cherished. Can a jaded and broken man be God’s plan to fulfill her fondest hopes?

Can Love Form Amidst Tensions of War?

During the clash between Union and Confederacy, quiet Tennessean Pearl MacFarlane is compelled to nurse both Rebel and Yankee wounded who seek refuge at her family’s farm. She is determined to remain unmoved by the Yankee cause—until she faces the silent struggle of Union soldier Joshua Wheeler, a recent amputee. The MacFarlane family fits no stereotype Joshua believed in; still he is desperate to regain his footing—as a soldier, as a man, as a Christian—in the aftermath of his debilitating injury. He will use his time behind enemy lines to gather useful intelligence for the Union—if the courageous Rebel woman will stay out of the line of danger.

So be on the lookout for these reviews to come up soon!

If you noticed the Civil War theme to the books, it’s because I’m researching and writing my own Civil War novel. Remember how I said I read a lot of non-fiction? This year is no different. I’ve already read three research books for the Civil War with sixteen more on my desk as I type. I can’t wait to share more with you.

What are your reading goals and challenges this year? Are there any books I should put on my reading radar?

Merry Christmas!

There is a meme floating around that in Iceland, they enjoy Christmas Eve as a day to exchange books, drink hot chocolate, and read. May your Christmas Eve be filled with blessings, love, and lots of reading.

The Announcement of Jesus – Luke 1: 26- 38 (HCSB)

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel  was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth,  to a virgin engaged  to a man named Joseph, of the house of David.  The virgin’s name was Mary. 

And the angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you.”  

But she was deeply troubled  by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be. 

Then the angel told her: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Now listen:You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will call His name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. He will reign over the house of Jacob  forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”

Mary asked the angel, “How can this be, since I have not been intimate with a man? ” 

The angel replied to her: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the holy One to be born will be called the Son of God. And consider your relative Elizabeth — even she has conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called childless. For nothing will be impossible with God.” 

“I am the Lord’s slave,”  said Mary. “May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel left her.

The Birth of Jesus: Luke 2:1-7 (HCSB)

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole empire  should be registered. This first registration took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.  So everyone went to be registered, each to his own town.

And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth  in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem,  because he was of the house and family line of David,  to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him  and was pregnant. 

While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough — because there was no room for them at the lodging place.

The Shepherds and the Angels – Luke 2:8-20

In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before  them,  and the glory of the Lord  shone around them, and they were terrified.  

But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid,  for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people:  Today a Savior,  who is Messiah  the Lord,  was born for you in the city of David. This will be the sign for you:  You will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.”

Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth  to people He favors!   

When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”

They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough. After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, and all who heard it were amazed  at what the shepherds said to them. 

But Mary was treasuring up all these things  in her heart  and meditating on them. 

The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God  for all they had seen and heard, just as they had been told.

December 2019 New Releases (ACFW)

It’s time for the monthly TBR Pile Tip-Over. 😉 Also, CONGRATULATIONS Kim H. on winning the choice of one of my top six books I am thankful for from last week’s post. Check your email so we can exchange details!

Everyone else, HAPPY READING!!

December 2019 New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:

Stranded for the Holidays by Lisa Carter — Running away led her right where she belonged. A new mom for Christmas? She’s everything they’ve wished for. Runaway bride AnnaBeth Cummings needs shelter for the holidays when a blizzard leaves her stranded, and rancher Jonas Stone’s happy to help. But his son’s been wishing for a mommy for Christmas, and town matchmakers are convinced Annabeth and Jonas are perfect for each other. As the storm clears, city girl AnnaBeth will have to decide: does her heart now belong in the country? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

The Dating Charade by Melissa Ferguson — After a knockout first date where Cassie Everson and Jett Bentley claim to not want kids, both come home to find three children dropped in their laps. . . each. While struggling to keep their heads above the parental waters, and without wanting to break up their relationship, they decide to do the mature thing: hide the kids from each other while sorting it all out. What could go wrong? (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Home for Christmas by Candee Fick — After an embarrassing failure, a prodigal retreats to a secluded cabin in backwoods Missouri where he encounters an intriguing young woman and an old guitar. When the message in the music touches his heart, will he make it home in time for Christmas? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Getting Out of the Comfort Zone: Ayanna by Barbara James — While interning as a hospital chaplain, a young military officer falls for an EMT who is an antiwar activist. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Children’s:

Battle In The Valley by Susanne Blumer — The church bell tower transports Chip, Caroline and Billy back thousands of years to an ancient battlefield. There they meet a young shepherd destined to be king and a giant warrior bent on his destruction. Will the children survive the upcoming fight and make it back to Palmetto Island in one piece? (Middle-grade from Sutton Avenue Press)

Historical:

Hope Unchained by Carol Ashby — When a former legionary and a gladiator are hired to escort a young woman on her quest to rescue her brother and sister from slavery, more chains are broken by forgiveness and love than any of them thought possible. (Historical from Cerrillo Press)

Historical Romance:

The Major’s Daughter by Regina Jennings — In a western land run, an adventurous socialite stakes a claim on an orphaned outlaw’s chosen land, so he decides to stake a claim on her heart. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

Sew In Love by Debby Lee, Jacquolyn McMurray, Darlene Panzera, and Kimberley Woodhouse — When four women put needle and thread to fabric, will their sewing lead to love? In Hearts Sewn with Love, during the California gold rush, a beautiful seamstress finds her heart torn between the men who want to marry her and the one fortune hunter who won’t. In Woven Hearts, a shirtwaist factory fire survivor struggles to provide for her family despite the disastrous misguided intentions of the handsome union organizer who tries to help. In A Language of Love, a milliner with thick Irish accent and a renowned baseball player with speech impediment meet at the office of a language teacher. But the issues with their backgrounds that first brought them together will also drive them apart. In Tailored Sweethearts, a parachute seamstress struggles with her faith in desperate circumstances. A fighter pilot teaches her to hope in her darkest hours. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

The Rebel Bride by Shannon McNear — During the clash between Union and Confederacy, quiet Tennessean Pearl MacFarlane is compelled to nurse both Rebel and Yankee wounded who seek refuge at her family’s farm. She is determined to remain unmoved by the Yankee cause—until she faces the silent struggle of Union soldier Joshua Wheeler, a recent amputee. The MacFarlane family fits no stereotype Joshua believed in; still he is desperate to regain his footing—as a soldier, as a man, as a Christian—in the aftermath of his debilitating injury. He will use his time behind enemy lines to gather useful intelligence for the Union—if the courageous Rebel woman will stay out of the line of danger. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:

Silent Night Suspect by Sharee Stover — Suspected of a crime she knows she didn’t commit… All she wants for Christmas is to remember. Blood on her blouse. A gun in her hand. A cartel leader’s dead body in front of her. Widow Asia Stratton can’t remember what happened—just that she’s been framed. The only way to prove her innocence is to work with her ex-sweetheart, Nebraska state trooper Slade Jackson. But can they clear her name before this Christmas turns even deadlier? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Speculative:

Brand of Light by Ronie Kendig — After a catastrophic explosion, Kersei Dragoumis awakens in a derelict shuttle, alone, injured, and ignorant of the forbidden technology that has swept her into a nightmare. The brand she’s borne since childhood burns mysteriously, but the pain is nothing to that when she learns her family is dead and she is accused of their murders. Across the quadrants, Marco Dusan responds to the call of a holy order-not to join them, but to seek a bounty. Gifted-or cursed-with abilities that mark him a Kynigos, a tracker sworn to bring interplanetary fugitives to justice, Marco discovers this particular bounty has nothing to do with justice and everything to do with prophecy. One that involves the hunter as much as the hunted. (Speculative from Enclave Publishing)

Thriller/Suspense:

Laynie Portland, Renegade Spy by Vikki Kestell — Laynie must fight to earn her place on the task force—even as unfolding events expose a looming danger. Wolfe’s task force has a leak . . . one that threatens them all. (Suspense, Independently Published)

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

Promise for Tomorrow by Michelle De Bruin, Historical Romance
Call to Love by Mary A. Felkins, Contemporary Romance
Joy’s Song by Ruth Kyser, Contemporary Romance
Hope Between Us by Christy LaShea, Contemporary Romance
The Trouble in Willow Falls by Pat Nichols, Contemporary
Off the Ground by Catherine Richmond, Historical Romance
Crinoline Cowboys by Patty Smith Hall, Cynthia Hickey, Marilyn Turk, Kathleen Y’Barbo, Historical Romance
A High-Country Christmas by Davalynn Spencer, Historical Romance
The Christmas Gazebo by Marilyn Turk, Lenora Worth, Historical Romance

Giveaway and Six Books I’m Thankful For

Everyone (hopefully) have books which have inspired them or changed their lives. Ones they will cherish for a lifetime. I certainly do. Below are my top six, and if you would like a chance to win a copy of your choice of one of my top six, just comment with one book you are thankful for and why. Give away is open until December 2nd at midnight. So you don’t have to leave your email for all to see, just enter it here on Rafflecopter and click that you left a blog post. That’s all there is to it. Share it with others.

In no particular order, 10 books (besides the Bible) that I am thankful for on my reading journey.

When Calls the Heart by Janette Oke – This was the first Christian Fiction book I ever read and it is what pulled me from reading some books that were definitely not healthy for my young Christian walk at the time. This particular series showed me what a healthy marriage looks like and what God-honoring love looks like.

“Nothing in her cultured East Coast upbringing prepared Elizabeth for a teaching position on the Canadian frontier. Yet, despite the constant hardships, she loves the children in her care. Determined to do the best job she can and fighting to survive the harsh land, Elizabeth is surprised to find her heart softening towards a certain member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Book 1 of the bestselling Canadian West series.” – Amazon.com

A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano – This book just has so much depth and really gave me new understanding about being attached to the Vine.

“Tressa Harlowe’s father did not trust banks, but neither did he trust his greedy extended family. He kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it. Tressa and her ailing mother are left with a mansion and an immense vineyard and no money to run it. It doesn’t take long for a bevy of opportunists to flock to the estate under the guise of offering condolences. Tressa knows what they’re really up to. She’ll have to work with the rough and rusticated vineyard manager to keep the laborers content without pay and discover the key to finding her father’s fortune–before someone else finds it first.” – Amazon.com

Brentwood’s Ward by Michelle Griep – The book that introduced me to this amazing author and continues to guide me in my own edits and writing style.

“Place an unpolished lawman named Nicholas Brentwood as guardian over a spoiled, pompous beauty named Emily Payne and what do you get? More trouble than Brentwood bargains for. She is determined to find a husband this season. He just wants the large fee her father will pay him to help his ailing sister. After a series of dire mishaps, both their desires are thwarted, but each discovers that no matter what, God is in charge.”

Stealing the Preacher by Karen Whitemeyer – I read most of this book to my Grandmother during my good-bye trip the fall before she passed on. This book will forever be precious to me. I still haven’t worked up the nerve to read it all the way through, but maybe soon.

On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can scarcely believe it when he’s forced off the train by a retired outlaw and presented to the man’s daughter as the minister she requested for her birthday. Worried this unfortunate detour will ruin his chances of finally serving a congregation of his own, Crockett is determined to escape. But when he finally gets away, he’s haunted by the memory of the young woman he left behind–a woman whose dreams now hinge on him.

For months, Joanna Robbins prayed for a preacher. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. A man to help her discover answers to the questions that have been on her heart for so long. But just when it seems God has answered her prayers, it turns out the parson is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett to stay in her little backwoods community? And does the attraction between them have any chance of blossoming when Joanna’s outlaw father is dead set against his daughter courting a preacher?” – Amazon.com

Where Dandelions Bloom by Tara Johnson – This book really taught me to look at hard circumstances differently, and especially dandelions. Every time I see one now, I smile and feel encouraged to keep on going.

Cassie Kendrick is on the run. Her abusive father arranged her marriage to a despicable man, but she’s discovered an escape. Disguised as a man, Cassie enlists in the Union army, taking the name Thomas Turner. On the battlefields of the Civil War, keeping her identity a secret is only the beginning of her problems, especially after she meets Gabriel Avery, a handsome young photographer.

Anxious to make his mark on the world and to erase the darkness and guilt lurking from his past, Gabriel works with renowned photographer Matthew Brady to capture images from the front lines of the war. As Gabriel forges friendships with many of the men he encounters, he wonders what the courageous, unpredictable Thomas Turner is hiding.

Battling betrayal, their own personal demons, and a country torn apart by war, can Cassie and Gabriel learn to forgive themselves and trust their futures to the God who births hope and healing in the darkest places?” – Amazon.com

A Confident Heart by Renee Swope – This nonfiction book really taught me how to look at myself through God’s eyes after what I felt was a devastating blow to what I thought my identity was. It was so good, I pick up a physical copy whenever I find one and save it to pass on to someone in need of that assurance.

“Often the biggest obstacle to living out our faith is our own doubt–about our worth, our abilities, our relationship with God, and situations in our lives. A Confident Heart gives voice to the questions, doubts, struggles, and hopes so many women have. Author Renee Swope shows us how to identify, overcome, and learn from our self-doubts so that we can live confidently in God’s assurance, truth, and grace. Perfect for women’s small groups or individuals, A Confident Heart is an authentic, insight-filled and encouraging message for any woman who wants to exchange defeating thought patterns with biblical truth that will transform the way she thinks, feels, and lives.” – Amazon.com

Don’t forget to leave a comment with what book you are thankful for and why!

Finding Lady Enderly by Joanna Davidson Politano

Finding Lady Enderly by Joanna Davidson Politano

I just absolutely love the books Joanna Davidson Politano writes. She is truly the only first person POV author I can count on to pull me in and never let me go. Her latest release is no different for me in that regard. Though life was busy and I had to rely on taking sips of the story in the car rides in between picking up and dropping kids off, I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, the audio was so great, when hubby and I finally had a couple hours alone with nothing to do, I read the print copy as I listened to the audio while cuddled up against my hubby. TV shows just have no appeal when you can be reading one of Joanna’s books. Her lovely complexity of writing and keeping the reader guessing is well displayed and I loved following the mystery of it all. It’s definitely one I recommend and will be giving copies away at Christmas.

Genre: Historical Romance, Victorian England

Plot Overview:

Raina Bretton is a rag woman in London’s east end when a handsome stranger appears in a dank alley and offers her a glittering smile and a chance for adventure. Rothburne Abbey has a unique position for her, one that will take her away from her hardscrabble life and give her a chance to be a lady. Things she could only dream of might be coming true. But some dreams turn out to be nightmares.

Though Raina has traded squalor for silk and satin, something about the abbey is deeply unsettling. As she wrestles with her true identity, the ruin, decay, and secrets she finds at the heart of the old mansion tear at her confidence and threaten to reveal her for who she really is. Only one man stands between her and the danger that lurks within–and only if he decides to keep her biggest secret hidden.

What I loved:
Finding Lady Enderly is a multilayered story. I love the mystery behind the story, the twists revealed, and the spiritual parallels which can be drawn. And who of course doesn’t love Sully? The poor man just wants to love and keep this stubborn woman safe. I’m sure my husband can relate to Sully. I’m always getting into trouble.

Favorite Character and Why: I really love Raina. You understand her struggle and fears, as well as get to grow with her. She really as a beautiful growth arc. And I can’t not mention Sully. The man is the sweetest thing, and hearing his voice on the audio? I still hear his swoony accent in my head.

Who would like this? If you love mystery, subtle romance, and literary connections, you’ll love this book. The way Sully and Raina communicate is absolutely amazing. It makes me want to sneak one of my husband’s books away, mark a page, and underline something to say him.

Of course, he reads ebooks, and the print books aren’t exactly romance, so sigh. I guess I probably shouldn’t underline the threats of death. Not unless, he forgets to pick up the dirty laundry again. 😉

Rating and Why: Five stars. I really love the way you just get swept into the story into another time and place. It doesn’t even feel like you are reading first person, which is an amazing accomplishment in my opinion.

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon.com Barnes and Noble Christianbook.com Joseph-Beth Target Walmart

November 2019 ACFW New Releases

Here’s hoping that November allows me some more reading time! Also this is the LAST few days to enter to win the whole Bow Street Runners Trilogy from Michelle Griep. Use this link to enter, or visit last week’s post for more details. Now on to this month’s TBR Pile Topple. 🙂

November 2019 New Releases

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


Contemporary Romance:

Royally Yours by Betsy St. Amant, Ashley Clark, Liz Johnson, and Melissa Tagg — Tinsel, Vermont is known for its no-paparazzi policy and Christmas decorations that are fit for a queen. This holiday season, join four royals on a stroll through town square as they each find their Christmas wishes for a happily-ever-after…tiaras optional. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Restoring Christmas by Julie Arduini — A young woman overcome by grief teams up with a special education teacher to bring joy to the community through a Christmas-themed tourist attraction. (Contemporary Romance from Surrendered Scribe Media)

Valerie’s Verdict by Hallee Bridgeman — Broken and battered, Valerie comes home and finds a lifetime of love waiting for her. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

An Unexpected Family by June Foster — Grant Elliot leaves his father’s veterinarian dynasty and overambitious twin brother to practice in the small town of Homedale, California. When local baker Kate Klein brings her ailing dog into the office, Grants’s intrigued by the lab’s gorgeous owner. He wants to get to know her but can’t reveal his origins. What would she think if she knew his father’s clinics cater only to the wealthy who spoil and pamper their pets instead of practicing genuine medicine? Kate Kline inherits Aunt Ella’s Bake Shop when her aunt passes away and must make a success of the failing business or lose her father’s respect. Now California Plastics, her major account, has moved their plant to Sacramento. She’s faced with the possibility of closure and won’t accept Grant’s offer to bail her out. She doesn’t need a man’s help. (Contemporary Romance from Forget Me Not Romances [Winged Publications])

All is Bright by Chautona Havig, Toni Shiloh, Cathe Swanson, and Kari Trumbo — Four of your favorite contemporary romance authors join festive forces to bring you the fourth-annual Christmas Lights Collection. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Simply Smitten by Kimberly Rose Johnson — Business brought them together but will betrayal pull them apart? Michael Pierce co-owns a start-up software development company. They are well on their way to success when Michael discovers something that changes everything. Can the beautiful economist he hired fix the mess, or are they doomed to bankruptcy? Hailey is under a lot of pressure at work. Not the least of which comes directly from her new boss. She’s dreamed of being a successful businesswoman, but now her heart wants more. Can she have love and a career, or will she have to choose? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

By All Appearances by Dawn Kinzer — An attractive special events planner from a wealthy family and a disfigured musician find their lives entangled when he is hired as a caretaker on her family’s estate. (Contemporary Romance from Mountainview Publishing)

Courting the Amish Nanny by Carrie Lighte — Embarrassed by an unrequited crush, Amish maedel Sadie Dienner needs a vacation from her life in Pennsylvania—and from romance. Until Christmas, she’s working in Maine as a nanny to Amish widower Levi Swarey’s twins. But Levi is frustratingly overprotective and they just can’t see eye to eye on anything. And the worst part? Sadie can’t seem to stop herself from losing her heart… (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


General Contemporary/Women’s Fiction:

Meant For Her by Joy Avery Melville — Kidnapped, raped, brutally beaten, and left for dead, Candi Reynolds becomes a prisoner of fear. Faced also with the impact of the unexpected break-up with her fiancé, and an unwanted pregnancy resulting from the attacks, she believes God has forsaken her. Choosing to move back to the Michigan horse farm owned by her older brother, Dr. Cam Reynolds, Candi goes into seclusion. Dr. Patrick (Mack) MacKevon, long-time friend of Cam’s, watches from the sidelines at the farm where his horses are stabled, while Candi struggles to regain a sense of normalcy. His own big-brother tendencies develop into a much deeper emotion over the months he prays for her. Is it possible for Candi to put all of the pain and trauma behind her and renew her former relationship with the Lord? Will she allow her heart to open enough to discover authentic love, while making decisions of victory on her personal journey to joy? (General Contemporary, Independently Published)

When I Close My Eyes by Elizabeth Musser — A bestselling author, her daughter, and the perpetrator of her assassination attempt are brought together in a story about complicated choices, mental illness, forgiveness and grace. Set against the flaming hills of North Carolina and the peaceful shores of the Mediterranean Sea, When I Close My Eyes tells the story of two families, struggling with dysfunction and finding that love is stronger than death. (Contemporary from Bethany House [Baker])

A Beautiful Mess by Brenda S. Anderson — A single mother becomes guardian of her ex-husband’s love child. (Women’s Fiction, Independently Published)


Historical:

Wounded Heart by Colleen Hall — Orphaned Della Hughes chafes at her strict Victorian upbringing and goes west with her uncle’s family in order to find adventure and freedom. (Historical from Anaiah Press)

Misleading Miss Verity by Carolyn Miller — What happens when the hoydenish youngest daughter of the Viscount Aynsley is spirited off to Scotland and meets a kindhearted gardener of the mysterious Laird of Dungally? (Historical from Kregel Publications)

The Silk Merchant of Sychar by Cindy Williams — One woman, five husbands and a weary rabbi at the well who knows ‘everything she ever did.’ From the olive groves of Samaria to the bloodied sand of a Roman stadium to the exquisite silks brought from the East, The Silk Merchant of Sychar weaves color into the biblical account of the woman at the well. (Historical from Rhiza Press)


Historical Romance:

The Highlanders by J’nell Cieselski, Janet S. Grunst, Jennifer Lamont Leo, and Naomi Musch — Never underestimate the heart of a Highlander in these four romantic novellas set across two centuries from 1715 to 1915. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Marisol by Elva Cobb Martin — Alone and with child, Marisol Valentin flees Spain after murdering the nobleman who molested her. She is sold as an indentured servant at the Charles Town Harbor, but her ship is captured at sea by privateer Captain Ethan Becket, once a Charles Town minister, who is grieving his deceased wife. Ethan decides Marisol’s elegant manners make her a perfect governess for his young son. But when he sets out on a quest to find his captured sister, said to be in Cartagena, little does he expect his new Spanish governess to stow away on his ship with her six-month-old child. Her offer of help to free his sister, however, is too tempting to pass up. As is her beauty and strength of character—until he learns she is a wanted murderess. Once their paths intertwine on a journey filled with danger, intrigue, and romance, only love and the grace of God can overcome their pasts and ignite a new beginning. (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)

In Black and White by MaryAnn Diorio — When graduate student Tori Pendola and Jebuni Kalitsi, a Ghanaian exchange student and heir to his tribe’s chieftaincy, fall deeply in love, they must face not only their own inner demons of rejection and guilt but also the demons of societal hatred bent on destroying their relationship. Will their love survive the cruel and bitter attacks against them? (Historical Romance from TopNotch Press)

Serving Up Love by Regina Jennings, Tracie Peterson, Jen Turano, and Karen Witemeyer — On the Menu for These Ladies? Adventure, Independence, and a Big Serving of Romance! A storied part of American history, Harvey Houses offered women a unique chance to gain independence and see amazing parts of this great country. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)

While the Rain Whispered by Kim Williams — Clara Williams has a good life, but she would walk away from it if she could. She longs for adventure greater than both the confines her rural Texas town and the people she loves have to offer. Clara is certain the stories she writes for children contain more adventure than her reality. She cannot reconcile the internal frustration with her faith. When opportunity presents itself at last, Clara is faced with a choice between the life she’s known and the life she longs to know, and the men who each belong in one but not the other. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)


Mystery/Thriller/Suspense:

Pocket Change by Debbie Archer — When Publisher’s Clearing House winner, Mary Clare Casteel, decides to help rejuvenate her dying town, she has no idea she’ll end up solving not one but two mysterious deaths. (Cozy Mystery from Mantle Rock Publishing)

Dead Wrong by Vannetta Chapman — When Agatha Lapp’s brother and sister-in-law are tragically killed in a buggy accident, Agatha relocates to the new Amish community in Hunt Texas, nestled in the Texas Hill Country. She’s there to make a success of her brother’s dream–an Amish B&B. Agatha is friendly, efficient, and capable. She’s also a fifty-five year old widow who has learned to be independent. When she discovers Russell Dixon’s lifeless body in Cabin 3, she runs next door where retired detective Tony Vargas lives. The police determine that her guest died of natural causes, but as Agatha and Tony put together the events of the previous two days they become convinced that the police are Dead Wrong. (Cozy Mystery, Independently Published)

A Cross to Kill by Andrew Huff — John Cross is a small-town pastor, bent on leading his flock to follow God’s calling. He’s not the sort of man one would expect to have a checkered past. But the truth is that the man behind the pulpit preaching to his sheep was once a wolf–an assassin for the CIA. When John decided to follow Christ, he put that work behind him, determined to do penance for all the lives he took. He vowed never to kill again. Now someone wants the peaceful pastor to pay for his sins with his own life. And when a terrorist out for revenge walks into the church, John’s secrets are laid bare. Can he keep his vow–even when the people he loves are in mortal danger? Will his congregation and the brave woman he’s learning to care for be caught in the cross fire? In the end, John’s life may be the only sacrifice he has left to offer. . . (Thriller/Suspense from Kregel Publications)

The Sleuth’s Conundrum by Kimberly Rose Johnson — Danger lurks and suspicions abound when a librarian, her young assistant, and a local reporter try to solve the mysteries of both a dead woman and an abandoned child. (Cozy Mystery from Mountain Brook Ink)

Deadly Harmony by Marissa Shrock — Georgia Rae Winston’s romance has broken up. But that’s the least of her problems. Georgia and Detective Cal Perkins are through. Fine. Maybe it’s an opportunity to give charmer Hamlet Miller a chance. But there’s no time for romance when Georgia hosts her stepsister and her roommate, Quincy, during a college chorale tour—and Quincy steals Georgia’s car and disappears. When her car turns up in a cemetery with a cryptic note lying on the front seat, Georgia decides to take action. As Georgia and her stepsister dig into the mystery, they uncover Quincy’s tumultuous past. A past that points to a frightening present. They dig deeper and discover a web of deception they’re determined to untangle, if they can stay alive long enough to bring the truth to light. (Cozy Mystery, Independently Published)


Romantic Suspense:

One Day Gone by Luana Ehrlich — Mylas Grey, the chief investigator for Senator Davis Allen, enlists the help of a beautiful photographer when he returns to his hometown to investigate the disappearance of Lizzie Allen, the senator’s missing daughter. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

Dangerous Christmas Memories by Sarah Hamaker — Hiding in witness protection is the only option for Priscilla Anderson after witnessing a murder. Then Lucas Langsdale shows up claiming to be her husband right when a hit man finds her. With partial amnesia, she has no memory of her marriage or the killer’s identity. Yet she will have to put her faith in Luc if they both want to live to see another day. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Speculative:

What If? by Roger E. Bruner — Three teens join forces with Holyland’s outgoing president to prevent the inevitable election of a man who’s determined to wipe out the remnant of New America’s few remaining Christians. (Speculative, Independently Published)

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