June ACFW New Releases

June 2017 New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:

Engaged by Julie Arduini — Trish Maxwell returns to Speculator Falls with egg on her face and apologies to make as she tries to determine what’s next, especially when around paramedic Wayne Peterson. (Contemporary Romance from Surrendered Scribe Media)


Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter — When Noah and Josephine Mitchell discover their divorce was never actually finalized, their lives are turned upside down. But when Josephine drives out to Noah’s North Georgia cottage to deliver the corrected papers, they are trapped there during a snowstorm. Things couldn’t get worse…until they are forced out into the storm and must rely on one another to survive. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Zondervan])

Then There Was You by Kara Isaac — Would you give up everything for a life you hate with the person you love? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)


An Encore for Estelle by Kimberly Rose Johnson — A former A-list actress seeks to redeem herself in the most unlikely of places—a children’s theater. The writer/director didn’t anticipate a famous actress would ever show interest in his musical much less him. Will their pasts pull them apart or join them together? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

The Cowboy’s Baby Blessing by Deb Kastner — When Ex-soldier Seth Howell suddenly becomes guardian of a two-year-old, he needs Rachel Perez’s help. Though she is gun-shy about relationships, this handsome cowboy and his adorable son break through. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Finding Love by Toni Shiloh — Delaney Jones is putting her life back together after widowhood when in walks Army soldier, Luke Robinson. Luke had a part in the death of Delaney’s husband–will his secrets widen the gulf in their relationship or will he finally find absolution? (Contemporary Romance from Celebrate Lit)

Cozy Mystery:

The Copper Box by Suzanne Bratcher — When antiques expert Marty Greenlaw comes to Jerome, Arizona to search for a copper box she believes will unlock the secrets of her past, deadly accidents begin to happen: someone else wants the copper box, someone willing to kill for it. (Cozy Mystery from Mantle Rock Publishing)

General Contemporary:

Coming Home – A Tiny House Collection by Yvonne Anderson, Michael Ehret, Kimberli S. McKay, Pamela S. Meyers, Ane Mulligan, Chandra Lynn Smith, Linda W. Yezak — Tiny houses are all the rage these days, but what can you do with something so small? Here are seven stories about people chasing their dreams, making fresh starts, finding love, stumbling upon forgiveness, and embarking upon new adventures in tiny houses. (General Contemporary, Independently Published)


Katie’s Quest by Lee Carver — Katie Dennis hopes for fulfillment as a single missionary nurse after the death of her fiancé. She trusts God for a new direction, but she’ll never fall for a pilot again. (General Contemporary, Independently Published)

Historical Romance:

 


A Sweetwater River Romance by Misty M. Beller — Rocky Ridge Stage Stop Manager Ezra Reid is put in a difficult situation when two ladies show up on his remote doorstep seeking refuge, one of them being Tori Boyd, the mysterious correspondence partner writing him letters for over a year now. Tori refuses the most proper solution to their circumstance—marriage. But when danger follows, it will take a lot more than luck to ensure Ezra’s heart is the sole casualty. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin — In German-occupied Brussels, a WWI nurse struggles to keep two life-threatening secrets. She’s in league with the British Secret Service, and she’s harboring a wounded British pilot. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])


Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Husbands Romance Collection by Susan Page Davis, Susanne Dietze, Darlene Franklin, Patty Smith Hall, Cynthia Hickey, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Gina Welborn — Meet seven of Turtle Springs, Kansas’, finest women who are determined to revive their small town after the War Between the States took most of its men. . .and didn’t return them. The ladies decide to advertise for husbands and devise a plan for weeding out the riff raff. But how can they make the best practical choices when their hearts cry out to be loved? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

The Captain’s Daughter by Jennifer Delamere — When a series of circumstances beyond her control leave Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater that is presenting the most popular show in London. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage. A hand injury during a skirmish in India has forced Nate Moran out of the army until he recovers. Filling his time at a stable of horses for hire in London, he has also spent the past two months working nights as a stagehand, filling in for his injured brother. Although he’s glad he can help his family through a tough time, he is counting the days until he can rejoin his regiment. London holds bitter memories for him that he is anxious to escape. But then he meets the beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate can’t wait to leave behind. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)

Grounded Hearts by Jeanne M. Dickson — Set in WWII, an Irish woman must choose between her heart and her freedom when she finds a downed combatant pilot. (Historical Romance from Waterfall Press)

Mail Order Sweetheart by Christine Johnson — Singer Fiona O’Keefe must make a wealthy match to support her orphaned niece. Musically talented Sawyer Evans is a self-made, but not wealthy, sawmill-manager. Unwilling to live off his father’s railroad fortune, can Sawyer prove to Fiona he’s the man she needs when she’s already determined to mail-order a rich husband? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Freedom’s Price by Christine Johnson — On a quest to find her mother’s family in Louisiana, Englishwoman Catherine Haynes enlists a dashing Key West man seeking revenge for his own family. When an incredible secret comes to light, she and Tom will face a choice. Can they relinquish their dreams to step forward in faith? (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker])

Sutter’s Landing by Betty Thomason Owens — Still reeling from tragic losses, Connie and Annabelle Cross face life with their signature humor and grace, until fresh hope arrives on their doorstep. (Historical Romance from Write Integrity Press)

Romantic Suspense:

Hidden Legacy by Lynn Huggins Blackburn — When someone threatens the baby she’s adopting, Caroline Harrison must rely on Detective Jason Drake, the man who once broke her heart, to figure out why. If Jason wants a chance at a future with with Caroline and her son, he’ll first have to help them outrun a hit man. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Weaver’s Needle by Robin Caroll — Pitted against each other to recover a map to the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine, two recovery specialists follow the trail to Arizona. But someone doesn’t want them to find the map. . .or the mine. They must work together despite their mistrust and growing attraction, to save themselves. (Romantic Suspense from Barbour Publishing)

Speculative:

The Revisionary by Kristen Hogrefe — Revisionary or Rogue? To rescue her brother, Portia might have to break every rule in the book she set out to rewrite. (Speculative from Write Integrity Press)

Women’s Contemporary:

Redemption’s Whisper by Kathleen Friesen — Desperate to escape her past, a suicidal young woman flies from Toronto to a Saskatoon pastor’s home, the only people who may be able to help her. If only someone could love her, in spite of all she’s done. On the flight, she meets a young man torn between seeking affirmation in the big city and helping his parents in Saskatoon. Can these two troubled souls gain the peace they need—and in the process, find love? (Women’s Contemporary from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

Young Adult:

All Things Now Living by Rondi Bauer Olson — Her whole life Amy has been taught the people of New Lithisle deserve to die, but when she falls for Daniel, she determines to save him. (Young Adult from Written World Communications)

WCW: The Comparison Trap

 

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The comparison trap.

We’ve all been warned about it. We all try to avoid it. But it happens… over and over again. So what do we do to combat it? Last week, while in the deepest bouts of comparison, I learned a very important concept.

 

Getting Caught

I am a member of a great learning community called Novel.Academy. God led me there and is continually providing me with the tools to “train” and become the best writer I can be for Him.

Novel.Academy

 

Even as great as it is, it can cripple me too.

After three weeks of being away from writing due to family needs and a traveling husband, I finally stepped back into my story last Monday.  Life continually interrupted, but I was able to confidently write a few times before our lesson on Thursday.

Then I fell in the trap.

 

It was an amazing lesson about writing a synopsis. The example was glorious! There was voice, conflict, and excitement. It was everything I wanted mine to be and more! And then I read my own synopsis…

 

It reads like a manual for installing a toilet. Boring and a bit disgusting if you think about how close your face gets to where people’s butts go… but I digress.

 

I just know there is no way I can write like Susie! My story sounds boring and worthless compared to hers. But she cannot write the story that God has given me… Good to know, just not all that helpful to remember when pinned in the comparison trap.

 

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For a couple hours I struggled, and then finally, I just gave up and went to bed.  Waking up Friday morning, my insecurity lingered like a crippling bout of the flu. I didn’t want to get out of bed. Depression was slipping its cold fingers around my ankles and dragging me down.

 

But children have to be dressed for school, and oops! I guess they will have to buy lunch there because mom took too long fighting to get out of bed herself.

 

It was rough, but I prayed for God to help me, to remind me, and to sustain me, and then forced myself to face the morning.

 

The one bright note was Fridays are my Bible Study days, and we are doing this great study on a book called A Confident Heart by Renee Swope. Knowing how God likes to show off, I asked, “So what are you going to show me today?”

 

The chapter title of Friday’s lesson? When Doubt Whispers “I Don’t Have Anything Special to Offer.”

 

I hope you laughed out loud like I did. I love my God. He is beyond words, so great and amazing. The weight of my depression still had me in its grip, though. Hopping in the car to drive my son to school and then Bible study, my Skillet CD started blaring “Undefeated”.

“Hands on my neck

Foot on my back

Closing in from every side

Bleeding me dry I’m fading fast

Left for dead but I will rise up”

 

That is exactly how I felt.

 

I was in a fight, a battle, and I was being defeated. Then in that last line, “Left for dead but I will rise up” I could see Jesus in my head reaching down to pull me up from the ground. He smiled with the confidence of a warrior and pulled me up with His strength, saying, “We’ve got this.”

 

We. Him and me.  Together we can fight against this stupid comparison trap and I can move forward in my writing journey with Him.

 

Sometimes writing is a battle… a battle against yourself, and you just have to fight the feelings that want to rob us and cripple us on our journey. So if you are in the comparison trap right now, turn on some fight music, imagine Christ pulling you from the ground, and soak up His Word.

“We’ve got this.”

Skillet’s “Undefeated”

A Season to Dance by Patricia Beal

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A Season to Dance by Patricia Beal

5star

The day has finally arrived, the day I can share with you about Patricia Beal’s debut novel, A Season to Dance.

 

Ana dreams of dancing on stage at the Met in New York, and with plans to marry Peter and join the Atlanta Ballet Company firmly in place, she is well on her way.

Then the kiss happened.

Not with Peter, but with Claus, her first love and a premier ballet dancer who left her heartbroken.  The story follows the aftermath of that single incident that changed all three of their lives forever.

 

This heart-wrenching story will have you reaching for tissues and remembering the dizzying and often sickening dance of emotions and poor choices that lead to more heartache than one can bear. Or maybe you are one of the lucky ones and have a perfect life. If you are, then you are probably in denial or haven’t reached middle school yet.

None of Ana’s dreams go as planned, yet God touches her life in a very real-life way. There are no great miracles or sudden turnaround and see God moments.

Instead, God is Ana’s spotter.

While she is spinning out of control, God is slowly tugging at her, pursuing her, and guiding her. Spiritual truth falls on Ana like a gentle spring rain, refreshing, soul soaking, and easy to deflect until she is ready to accept it.

 

This is a wonderful story that is unlike any Christian romance out there, and I would venture to even categorize it differently – women’s fiction with a touch of romance. The story is really about one woman’s harsh struggle to know true love and to chase her dreams in our contemporary culture. There are no clean easy answers, and happily ever after comes in fits and spurts, showing that love endures even when there are difficulties and grief.

 

However, I wish to forewarn Christian readers, that Ana is not the sweet, innocent heroine usually found in Christian romance. Ana is real, with real flaws. While there is no graphic material, there is sex before marriage and drinking. Ana’s relationship with Christ does not form until the end of the story and as Paul says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Most of the story takes place in Ana’s old life, but every instance of sex ends with the closing of the bedroom door. It is not something that should keep you from reading the book, but I felt it was fair to warn readers who may not be accustomed to less than perfect heroines.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to readers who love real characters and true to life complications and responses. And if you love ballet, it is chalk full of beautiful dancers and scenes to thrill your imagination.

 

*I was given an advanced reader’s copy in hopes of an honest review, which you have read above.*

 

Check out the blurb and links for purchase below.

Ana Brassfield has her path to the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House all figured out until her first love, renowned German dancer Claus Gert, returns to Georgia to win her back. Despite a promising start towards her ballet career and pending marriage to landscape architect, Peter Engberg, Ana wonders if her dreams of dancing at the Met are as impossible as her previous romantic relationship with Claus.

Then, an on-stage kiss between Ana and Claus changes everything.

Convinced the kiss is more than a one-time mistake, Peter breaks off their engagement. With an old dog crippled by arthritis and dreams deferred but not left behind, Ana moves to Germany to be with Claus. But the ghost of his late wife, Ana’s own feelings for Peter, and the pressure of earning a spot in a large ballet company are a high price for a shot at success. Ana seems on the verge of having everything she ever dreamed of, but will it be enough?

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon

Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

 

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ACFW May Releases

It has a been a wild start to May for my household, so pardon the late post. Before moving on to all the ACFW May releases, I wanted to highlight the release of A Season to Dance by Patricia Beal, a friend and wonderful author. Come back next week to see my review of her new book on May 9th.


A Season to Dance
by Patricia Beal — The heart-wrenching love story of a small town professional ballerina who dreams of dancing at the Met in New York, of the two men who love her and of the forbidden kiss that changed everything. (General Contemporary from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

 

May 2017 New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:

Amish Brides by Jennifer Beckstrand, Molly Jebber, Amy Lillard — Under bright blue skies, wedding bells ring–fulfilling sweet dreams, impossible wishes, and joyous new beginnings among these three new stories. (Contemporary Romance from Kensington Publishers)


Sprouts of Love by Valerie Comer — An overzealous community garden manager delivers more than the food bank manager can handle. Can love sprout amid the tsunami of vegetables? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Summer Dreams by Delia Latham — God’s love…reflected in the waters of the Pacific, and in the eyes of a young couple who walk its moonstone shores. (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])


Right Where We Belong by Deborah Raney, Melissa Tagg, Courtney Walsh — Three sweet stories of small-town romance by three tried-and-true authors. Whether in a quaint home bakery in Langhorne, Missouri, a cozy boho coffee shop in Maple Valley, Iowa, or a charming lakeside cottage in Sweethaven, Michigan, love grows best in small towns just like this! (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

A Spring of Weddings by Toni Shiloh and Melissa Wardwell — Two Spring wedding novellas, “A Proxy Wedding,” and “Hope Beyond Savannah.” (Contemporary Romance from Celebrate Lit Publishing)


True to You by Becky Wade — Former Navy SEAL John Lawson hires genealogist Nora Bradford to help him to uncover the identity of his birth mother. As they work side-by-side, this pair of opposites begins to suspect that they just might be a perfect match. (Contemporary Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)

Cozy Mystery:

What the Bishop Saw by Vannetta Chapman — A fire blazes out of control in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, leaving an elderly, Amish bachelor dead. Bishop Henry Lapp rushes to the scene, and he learns the fire was no accident. When the police point the finger at a suspect Henry knows is innocent, the bishop must decide whether or not to use his mysterious, God-given gift—one he’s tried desperately to ignore all these years—to try and set the record straight. (Contemporary Romance from Harvest House Publishers)

General Contemporary:
A Season to Dance by Patricia Beal — The heart-wrenching love story of a small town professional ballerina who dreams of dancing at the Met in New York, of the two men who love her and of the forbidden kiss that changed everything. (General Contemporary from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Looking Glass Lies by Varina Denman — A poignant and relatable novel, Looking Glass Lies captures the war women wage against themselves, and the struggle to see beauty reflected in a mirror not distorted by society’s unrelenting expectations. (General Contemporary from Waterfall Press)

Historical:


Blind Ambition by Carol Ashby — What began as a bored man’s decision to try a different road turns into an emotional and spiritual quest that changes the direction of his entire life. (Historical from Cerrillo Press)

Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette — A broken and bitter Canaanite woman dresses as a man to fight against the invading Hebrews, never expecting that she would live to be captured and married to one of her enemies, and certainly not to find love and healing among the very people who killed her family. (Biblical/Historical from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)

Historical Romance:


The Secret Admirer Romance Collection by Amanda Barratt, Lorraine Beatty, Molly Noble Bull, Anita Mae Draper, CJ Dunham, Jennifer Uhlarik, Becca Whitham, Kathleen Y’Barbo, Penny Zeller — Shy expressions of love lead to nine historical romances. Declaring one’s love can be hard–even risky–especially when faced with some of life’s greatest challenges. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson — She lost everything to an evil conspiracy . . . but that loss may just give her all she ever wanted. (Historical Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)


My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho: Rebecca’s Plight by Susanne Dietze — It’s a mail-order disorder when newlyweds realize they’ve married the wrong partners with similar names. An annulment seems in order–and fast. But when the legalities take longer than expected, Rebecca Rice wonders if Tad Fordham wasn’t the right husband for her all along. . . . (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

A Love So True by Melissa Jagears — They begin with the best of intentions, but soon the complications pile up and Evelyn and David’s dreams look more unattainable every day. When the revelation of a long-held secret creates a seemingly insurmountable rift between them, can they trust God still has a good plan for them despite all that is stacked against them? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)


Road to Harmony by Sherry Kyle — When Jonas returns to Harmony, Elena’s heart is torn between her secret love, and the storeowner her parents hope she marries. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Hills of Nevermore by Janalyn Voigt — Can a young widow hide her secret shame from the Irish preacher bent on helping her survive? (Historical Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

Romantic Suspense:
Fatal Mistake by Susan Sleeman — Each day could be her last…but not if he can help it. An FBI agent must protect the woman who can identify a terrorist bomber in bestselling author Susan Sleeman’s riveting romantic suspense novel. (Romantic Suspense from Faith Words [Hachette])

TBT: Secret Service Dictionary and Fun Facts

Just as any career has its own jargon, so did the counterfeiting world and the Secret Service. Below are a few of the most important terms to know.  Below that are a few fun facts about the Secret Service.

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Secret Service and Counterfeiting Dictionary

  • Boodle – notes bought from a production firmBoodle carrier – a courier who delivered counterfeit notes from the dealer to the shovers.

    Chief Operative – first-class men assigned to the division’s major districts, each chief operative would have assistant operatives working under his direction, and would be responsible for all administrative and investigative activities within his district.

    Dealers – people who bought the counterfeit notes from wholesalers and then used shovers to distribute the money into general circulation

    Distribution – the spread of counterfeit money through an underground sales network

    Engraver – the person who created the plates used to print money

    Firm – the collective group of people used to print money

    Issue – an edition of a set of counterfeit bills

    Manufacturer – a person or group of people who printed counterfeit money

    Network – the sum of one’s personal acquaintances (which included non-criminals).

    Notes – another term for paper money

    Operative – the official title of the Service’s employees

    Plant – a term used to reference where counterfeiters made their money

    Plates – metal pieces with copied images from the bill being counterfeited

    Product – another name used for counterfeit money, generally used by the counterfeiters

    Production Firm – the collective group of people used to print money

    Queer – another term for counterfeit money

    Retailer – another term for a dealer

    Shover – a person who bought low priced items with a higher counterfeit bill to get real money back in change

    Straw bail – a situation in which a false bondsman was contracted to swear they possessed sufficient property to pay the bond, and then the counterfeiter would subsequently fail to appear in court

    Wholesalers – men or women who would buy counterfeit notes from manufacturers and then recruit potential customers through personal contacts or the mail to create a sales network

     

     

  • Fun Facts about the Secret Service

    • D.C. was the Service’s bureaucratic headquarters and the chief lived there
    • Between 1875 and 1910, the division never employed more than 47 men, and the average was only 25. 1878-1893, the average number of servicemen was well below that.
    • Chief operatives often had several cases under investigation at once and had silhouette-407659_640testy battles with headquarters over conflicting demands for economy and results
    • Each chief operative maintained a retinue of assistants and informers
    • Each district contained a number of states and a single operative maintained a headquarter in a major city
    • There were field offices in 11 cities across the nation.
    • Operatives were paid once a month on a daily scale, an average of $7 per day.
    • Each work day ranged from 12 to 16 hours long.
    • There were no days off and any “vacation” time was unpaid.
    • Operatives were required to itemize all their expenses for everything from travel to personal needs.
    • Operatives were to maintain peak physical fitness, swear unquestioning obedience to chief’s directives
    • In 1881, all toy money was removed from shelves and industries.
    • While time-consuming, the work was not particularly dangerous (no Service employee was seriously hurt in the line of duty until the murder of an operative in 1908).

     

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