Saturday, March 21, 2020

The House at the End of the Moor by Michelle Griep #BookReview

Review: The House at the End of the Moor by Michelle Griep



Book Description:

Opera star Maggie Lee escapes her opulent lifestyle when threatened by a powerful politician who aims to ruin her life. She runs off to the wilds of the moors to live in anonymity. All that changes the day she discovers a half-dead man near her house. Escaped convict Oliver Ward is on the run to prove his innocence, until he gets hurt and is taken in by Maggie. He discovers some jewels in her possession—the very same jewels that got him convicted. Together they hatch a plan to return the jewels, clearing Oliver’s name and hopefully maintaining Maggie’s anonymity.

My Thoughts:

The relationship arc between Oliver and his father, as well as the redemption thread throughout, sets this story apart. I enjoyed seeing the mending of hearts and souls, the hope that underscores the whole book. Also, the themes of mercy, justice, and redemption are woven nicely into each character's arc. 

Narrative Style:

I enjoyed the heroine's first person, present tense narrative, even though I usually prefer second person, past tense. I thought this was a creative approach and though I struggled reading her portions as quickly as the others at first, by the end of book, the flow became familiar.

Historical Aspects:

Michelle Griep's historical details are transportive and woven seamlessly into the story. Her historical notes at the end of the book are fascinating.

Faith Thread:

The spiritual aspect is constant, well thought out, and permeates all aspects of the story. In some places, the information felt dumped or wedged in, so a little smoothing of the sentences/thoughts/gestures surrounding the spiritual mentions might have helped. Overall the theme is portrayed well and supported by all the main characters.

Romance Thread:

The romance between the hero and heroine felt natural, except maybe one line of the hero's introspection during the midpoint where he thinks of her in terms of love, which seemed too early based on what he knew about her (see pacing notes below about sharing backstory). Their relationship is built on shared values and admiration, and I think Oliver's grand gestures at the end of the story were particularly sweet. Maggie's boldness to encourage Oliver in his spiritual change arc shines a light on the deeper issues in the novel and moves him to address his relationship with his father, while Oliver's persistence in kindness and restraint where she is concerned endear him to her and the reader. The understated mention of Maggie's calling the barrister "father"  at the end was touching as well.

Pacing & Character Motivations:


Maggie's motivation for meeting with her manager around the 70% mark was a little hard for me to believe. I could more easily see her motivated by a fear for her father's safety, rather than fear of being followed by the man she was going alone to meet. Also, it seemed the guardians at that meeting, having witnessed her manager's actions, would have taken legal action immediately, and I was left wondering why they didn't. 

The hero/heroine's backstories are kept secret until 65% or after, when they might have helped with believability if they had shared those histories with one another or the reader at the 50% mark or earlier. Sometimes I see this in novels--and have done this myself--when the motivations themselves aren't overly strong, so the author leaves the reader to imagine much worse until the last possible moment. Maggie's paralyzing fear of Ambrose from across the room before she is supposed to sing was hard to believe as well. She isn't afraid to meet her manager alone even though she's felt the brunt of his cruelty, but she freezes across a crowded room at the sight of Ambrose, who propositioned her, but never physically hurt her or her father. 

The hero's dressing as a footman for a disguise might have come across more believably if Maggie had helped him with stage makeup, but as is, the outcome of that scene was easily foreseeable.

Overall Impression:

The reader in me delighted in Barrow's arc, and I'm hoping to see him in another book or two. The set up definitely allows for subsequent stories, maybe even featuring the lost Marquis. The story is interesting on the whole, but feels like the polishing stage was rushed. The book might have benefited from a few astute beta readers with an eye for smoothing dialogue, strengthening motivations, and rounding out characters. Michelle Griep holds a deep knowledge of English Regency culture, and I look forward to reading more from her.

Quotes from the Book:

"True justice starts with repentance. How can we ask God to show justice in the world while willfully nursing our own hidden prejudices, selfishness, lusts, greed...our own broken relationships?"

"I'd say there is much hope for you both, for God yet softens the hardest of hearts."

"Wonderful scents take me back years. The somewhat greasy smell of ink. The slight mustiness of dust collecting on the highest shelves. The unique aroma of old books that comforts like a gentle spring rain, as ancient as time itself."

"The written word taught me I was not alone, that hardship comes to all, and connected me to the heroes and heroines who conquered those hardships, ultimately giving me courage. Indeed. Books are light and air."

Enter to win the book on Goodreads, where the author is giving away 100 copies! 
Ends March 24 at 12:00 a.m.


*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley and have provided my honest opinion.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Like Flames in the Night by Connilyn Cossette ~ Book Reviewed

Book Review: Like Flames in the Night by Connilyn Cossette


Stay tuned at the end of this post, where I'm giving away an e-book title from Connilyn's backlist! Check the details at the end!


Book Description

Strong-willed Tirzah wants to join her people in driving the enemy from the land of Israel and undergoes training for a secret mission inside the stronghold of Shechem. But soon after she has infiltrated the ruthless Aramean commander's kitchen, she makes a reckless decision that puts her and her allies in grave danger.
Fresh off the battlefield, Liyam returns home to discover his beloved daughter is dead. After his vow to hunt down her killer leads to months of fruitless pursuit, his last hope is in a family connection that comes with strings attached. Strings that force him to pose as a mercenary and rescue an infuriating woman who refuses to leave her mission uncompleted.
When an opportunity to pave a path to a Hebrew victory arises, can Tirzah convince Liyam to fight alongside her in the refuge city of her birth? Or will Liyam's thirst for vengeance outweigh his duty to his people, his God, and the woman he's come to love?

My Review

In her latest novel, Connilyn Cossette unfolds a vivid, inspiring journey not easily forgotten.

The Setting

Set in a time when God’s Chosen People had surrendered to idol worship, and subsequent oppression under Aramean rule, Like Flames in the Night follows two spies whose mission is to infiltrate the house of the commander who controls the Aramean army. These Arameans had enslaved and killed many of the Hebrews in their own land, but it’s up to the main characters to sew the seeds of faith once more, encourage the people to rise up in faith, overthrow the enemy, and retake the inheritance promised them by Yahweh.

The Characters

We sympathize with the hero and heroine from the beginning due to their painful pasts. Liyam, a redheaded, half-Canaanite, half-Hebrew warrior sets out for revenge against the Moabite trader who killed his daughter. Tirzah, daughter of the fiercest trainer of spies in Israel’s army, is now widowed and grieving miscarried pregnancies, searching for self-worth in her quest to turn the tide in the fight for her nation’s survival. Connilyn seamlessly weaves in characters from previous books as well, updating the reader on different families introduced throughout the series. I loved getting to see these old friends and their continued commitment to the growth they experienced in their own stories.

The Plot

The first plot point hinges on a controversial, and admittedly disturbing step for Liyam’s character, one he defends while still entrenched in his flaws, but which never seems to incur serious consequences. Otherwise, I enjoyed the twists and turns of this story. I love when a book surprises me with plot twists. Some developments I saw coming. Others, I didn’t. And that made me smile, because I know this is a difficult thing authors work hard for, and Connilyn makes it look so easy and smooth. With each new switchback, my heart pounded in hopes the characters would overcome, or at least survive, the challenge. I tend to bite my lip when the stakes are high in a book I'm reading and...let’s just say after reading this book, I don’t think I’ll need a lip exfoliator for a long time. 😉

The Romance

Though Liyam and Tirzah’s first meeting is not without its challenges, these two skilled spies are well matched, both hearts brimming with courage while running from deeply buried pain. Their flaws hinder their mission and their growing relationship as he clings to his need for revenge and she to her need to prove her worth. On the other hand, Liyam challenges Tirzah to have faith and make wise choices while she encourages him to smile again, to live in light of the blessings God has given him.

The Spiritual Thread

Above the gripping plots, unique characterization, sweet love stories, and complex character webs, the spiritual content of Connilyn’s books is what draws me back time and again. I found myself connecting to both Liyam and Tirzah in their faith-journeys from revenge to forgiveness, from insecurity to identity, from latent unbelief to fearless, conquering faith. I loved the through-line of challenging God’s people to rise up in faith and live out what they claim to believe, throwing off complacency, fear, and idolatry to engage in the spiritual fight under the banner of the Almighty.

Other Books In the Series



Book Related News


I am excited about Connilyn's newest story, To Dwell Among Cedars, the first in her The Covenant House series. 

*

SALE:

The first title in this series, A Light on the Hill, is on sale for $0.99 cents through the end of March 2020!

*

GIVAWAY:

I'm giving away an e-copy of BOOK 2 in this series, Shelter of the Most High (pictured above), which can be read as a stand-alone story. Read my review for BOOK 2 HERE

TO ENTER: Comment with your email address (email at address dot com) and the titles of some recent Biblical or Historical fiction you've really enjoyed. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

March 2020 New Releases in Christian Fiction from #ACFW

March 2020 New Releases

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

Note: The posting of this list on the Sweet South Blog is not a review or an endorsement of any book on the list. All authors whose books are included on the ACFW New Releases list attest that their book meets CBA standards for clean, Christian content.

Contemporary Romance:


Love & Liberty by Elsie Davis -- A New Hampshire firefighter and an Audubon Society member go head to head when his work involving controlled forest fires threatens a rumored eagle nest. (Contemporary Romance from Sweet Promise Press)



Formula for a Perfect Life by Christy Hayes -- College senior Kayla Cummings’ dreams are crushed by an unplanned pregnancy after a one-night stand with her secret crush. When she confronts the baby’s father, Ben Strickland, his destined life spins out of control. With the clock ticking and decisions to make, Ben and Kayla embark on a journey where falling in love might be the biggest surprise of all. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published )



Hill Country Redemption by Shannon Taylor Vannatter -- When Rance Shepherd takes a job stocking cattle for a local rodeo, he’s shocked that his new client is his ex-sweetheart, Larae Collins. Now he’s determined to prove to the single mother that he isn’t the restless cowboy she remembers. But when he discovers her little girl is his, they both must forgive past mistakes for a second shot at a future together. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])



Spring Splash by Denise Weimer -- An injured college swimmer volunteers to help with a Special Olympics swim team as a part of her sports marketing practicum and butts heads with the team’s handsome but stubborn coach. (Contemporary Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Children’s:


Selah's Stolen Dream by Susan Count -- Thirteen-year-old Selah’s perfect life unravels when her beloved horse is stolen. Then ten-year-old Emma buys the dream of a lifetime at a horse auction. When she learns the horse was stolen, even removing her hearing aid won’t drown out the voice telling her to make it right.But two girls can’t divide the horse they both adore. So will life surprise them with an answered prayer? (Middle Grade from Hastings Creations Group)

Historical:


Sorrento Girl by Dawn Klinge -- It’s 1938, and Ann Brooks has big dreams of her new life as a Seattle College coed. She’s left the old-fashioned ways of her small country town behind to pursue higher education and a teaching career. But not everyone is ready for change. Society still preaches that a woman’s place is in the home. Some refuse to see Ann as an equal deserving of an education — let alone a career — and Ann's friends think school is simply a springboard to pursue a marriage of wealth and convenience. When Ann meets Paul, an aspiring journalist with strong ideas of his own, she learns an unexpected lesson in courage and discovers what it really means to live her dreams. Will Ann give up everything she thought she wanted for love? Or can she have it all? (Historical, Independently Published)



The Blue Cloak by Shannon McNear -- Based on real events beginning in 1797 — Rachel Taylor lives a rather mundane existence at the way station her family runs along the Wilderness Road in Tennessee. She attends her friend’s wedding only to watch it dissolve in horror has the groom, Wiley Harpe, and his cousin become murderers on the run, who drag their families along. Declaring a “war on all humanity,” the Harpes won’t be stopped, and Ben Langford is on their trail to see if his own cousin was one of their latest victims. How many will die before peace can return to the frontier? (Historical from Barbour Publishing)



Roll Back the Clouds by Terri Wangard -- Sailing on the Lusitania is a dream-come-true for Rosaleen and Geoff Bonnard, but their journey turns into a nightmare. Will they ever find their joy again? (Historical, Independently Published)

Historical Romance:


The Heart's Stronghold by Amanda Barratt, Angie Dicken, Gabrielle Meyer, and Kimberley Woodhouse -- Join four brave women making their mark on history at Colonial forts. Faced with tragedy and distrust they will fight to bring civility, family, and love to the frontier. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)



Hope in the Mountain River by Misty M. Beller -- This epic journey is not at all what she expected. Joel Vargas can’t believe he’s lost his older brother in the wilds of the Rocky Mountains after surviving their harrowing voyage across the Atlantic. And he can’t shake the feeling that Adam—his only living relative—is in dire trouble. No matter what the cost, he and his band of friends won’t stop until Adam is found. He’s not sure if two Indian women they meet on the way will be a help or hindrance. After the devastating loss of her daughter and husband to a sickness that swept through their Nez Perce camp, Elan is desperate to find an escape from her grief. As she and her friend journey through the mountains toward the great river, a band of white men is the last thing she expects to find, especially as winter blows in full force. When the dangers increase, accomplishing Joel’s mission becomes the only hope for all their survival. If the elements don’t consume them, Elan has a feeling life will never be the same for any of them. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)



Out of the Embers by Amanda Cabot -- Ten years after her parents were killed, Evelyn Radcliffe is once more homeless. The orphanage that was her refuge and later her workplace has burned to the ground, and only she and a young orphan girl have escaped. Convinced this must be related to her parents' murders, Evelyn flees with the girl to Mesquite Springs in the Texas Hill Country and finds refuge in the home of Wyatt Clark, a talented horse rancher whose plans don't include a family of his own. At first, Evelyn is a distraction. But when it becomes clear that trouble has followed her to Mesquite Springs, she becomes a full-blown disruption. Can Wyatt keep her safe from the man who wants her dead? And will his own plans become collateral damage? (Historical Romance from Revell - A Division of Baker Publishing Group)



Woman of Sunlight by Mary Connealy -- From a remote Colorado mountain to the bustle of Chicago. Ilsa finds herself married and dragged into rushing wagons and horses, high rise buildings and a ruthless killer who's followed them across a country. (Western from Bethany House [Baker])



The Merchant's Yield by Lorri Dudley -- A debutant finds herself in a compromising situation with a Leeward Islander, which lands her in a marriage of inconvenience with the man who then carries her across the Atlantic to his home. When he learns of her weak constitution and believes she can’t survive the hardships of island life, she sets out to prove him wrong. (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)



A Love Not Forgotten by Linda Shenton Matchett -- Allison White should be thrilled about her upcoming wedding. The problem? She’s still in love with her fiancĂ©, Chaz, who was declared dead after being shot down over Germany in 1944. Can she put the past behind her and settle down to married life with the kindhearted man who loves her? It’s been two years since Charles “Chaz” Powell was shot down over enemy territory. The war is officially over, but not for him. He has amnesia as a result of injuries sustained in the crash, and the only clue to his identity is a love letter with no return address. Will he ever regain his memories and discover who he is, or will he have to forge a new life with no connections to the past? (Historical Romance by Shortwave Press)

Romantic Suspense:


Killer Harvest by Tanya Stowe -- Can she stop a deadly crop virus from ending up in the wrong hands? Biologist and single mom Sassa Nilsson just witnessed her mentor’s brutal murder by environmental extremists. Now she’s the last link to a deadly pathogen they plan on unleashing—and their number one target! But can handsome border patrol agent Jared De Luca shield Sassa and her baby long enough to find a cure…before the entire world faces the unthinkable consequences? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])



Traces by Denise Weimer -- When a failed romance and a $500,000 prize lure Kate Carson into participating in the reality TV show, Traces, the least she expects is to pick her partner. After all, she's the PR spokeswoman of the company that derived a thirteen-lens, rotating camera from military use and installed it atop Atlanta's tallest skyscraper. But she never would have chosen to evade techno hunters for twenty days with "G.I. Joe." Stoic, ex-military Alex Mitchell is the sort of man she always vowed to avoid, while the shadows of Alex's past cause him to spurn emotional involvement. When Kate's insider knowledge makes her a target of someone more threatening than game show hunters, Alex offers her only hope to reveal the dark plans of proponents of The Eye. (Romantic Suspense from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)



Song in the Dark by Jessica White -- After graduating from Juilliard, harpist Jenna Fields returns home to Albany to escape her manipulative ex and prove to her controlling mother that she can orchestrate her own life. Homicide detective Dean Blackburn spends his days seeking justice for the dead. But darkness taints everything, including him. When his three Dobermans lead him to Jenna playing in the park, he tries to resist the beautiful musician and focus on his cases. At least until he witnesses Jenna’s ex attempt to blackmail her and learns she’s being stalked, just like one of his homicide victims. When her world crumbles beneath her feet, and Dean learns she has her own dark secrets, he helps Jenna see that the key to escaping her mother's gilded cage is already in her hands. (Romantic Suspense from Mantle Rock Publishing)



Secrets She Knew by D.L. Wood -- Boston police detective Dani Lake dreads returning to her small hometown of Skye, Alabama, for her ten-year high school reunion--and not just for the normal reasons. At only fifteen, Dani tragically discovered the body of her murdered classmate, setting in motion the process that led to the unjust conviction of her dear friend and an unshakable burden of guilt she carries to this day. So when new evidence surfaces during her trip home which suggests the truth Dani’s always suspected, she embarks on a mission to expose the real killer, aided by Skye detective Chris Newton--who happens to be the man Dani’s best friend is dying to set her up with, and also the only person who believes her. But when Dani pushes too hard, someone pushes back, endangering Dani and those closest to her as she unearths secrets deeper and darker than she ever expected to learn—secrets that may bring the truth to light, if they don’t get her killed first. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

Suspense:


Chasing the White Lion by James R. Hannibal -- Rookie spy Talia Inger goes deep undercover in the world's first crowdsourced crime syndicate to unveil a monster and rescue kidnapped refugee children. (Techno-thriller from Revell - A Division of Baker Publishing Group)



Kings Falling by Ronie Kendig -- Leif Metcalfe and his team, dubbed Reaper, need to recover the stolen, ancient Book of the Wars if they hope to stop the Armageddon Coalition and their pursuit of global economic control. But their attention has been diverted by a prophecy in the book that foretells of formidable guardians who will decimate the enemies of ArC. While Iskra Todorova uses her connections in the covert underworld to hunt down the Book of the Wars, Leif and Reaper attempt to neutralize these agents but quickly find themselves outmaneuvered and outgunned. The more Reaper tries to stop the guardians, the more failure becomes a familiar, antagonistic foe. Friendships are fractured, and the team battles to hold it together long enough to defeat ArC. But as this millennia-old conspiracy creeps closer and closer to home, the implications could tear Leif and the team apart. (Military Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])

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

Love & Hope by Elsie Davis, Contemporary Romance
Bite the Dust by Jackie Layton, Cozy Mystery
Jordan's Arrow by Allen Steadham, Speculative
The Letters by C. Kevin Thompson, Suspense


Saturday, February 1, 2020

February 2020 New Releases in Christian Fiction from #ACFW

February 2020 New Releases

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

Note: The posting of this list on the Sweet South Blog is not a review or an endorsement of any book on the list. All authors whose books are included on the ACFW New Releases list attest that their book meets CBA standards for clean, Christian content.

Contemporary Romance:


Hands of Grace by Brenda S. Anderson -- She's always looked for love in the wrong places. He wants nothing to do with love. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)



Desert Willow by Patricia Beal -- A stubborn ballerina and a charming young officer are brought together by an old woman's dying wish and last love letter. (Contemporary Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)



A Gift to Cherish by Victoria Bylin -- Rafe Donovan, a cop from Cincinnati, is haunted by a recurring nightmare about the drug death of his high school sweetheart. Those nightmares force him to take leave from his job, seek help, and shelter in Refuge, where he pounds nails for his brother’s construction business. Rafe has no desire to stay in Wyoming. His goal is to get back to being a cop in Ohio as soon as possible. But then he meets Daisy Riley . . . When he finds her stranded late at night with a flat tire, he’s impressed by her courage. Daisy is equally impressed by him, but as a former victim of violence, she treasures her safe and secure life in Refuge. Together they navigate the road to love—one that’s complicated by the arrival of Daisy’s troubled best friend, online dating, and the impossible obstacle of 1,600 miles between her home and his. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)



Her Rocky Mountain Hope by Mindy Obenhaus -- Learning to trust can be the greatest adventure. She’s always played it safe…Can he reach her guarded heart? Ready to open his camp for young cancer patients, Daniel Stephens must impress foundation overseer Blythe McDonald to ensure she approves funding for next year. But the cautious former cancer patient was once let down by a similar program, and she’ll leave no stone unturned in her evaluation. Can he convince her his camp is worthy of the money…and that he’s worthy of her love? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])



The Story of Us by Teri Wilson -- When a bookstore owner and an architect go head to head over a new development that threatens her store, they find a box of love letters from the past that may hold the key to their future. (Contemporary Romance from Hallmark Publishing)


General Split Time:


The Tea Chest by Heidi Chiavaroli -- Boston, 1773... Emma Malcolm’s father is staunchly loyal to the crown, but Emma’s heart belongs to Noah Winslow, a lowly printer’s assistant and Patriot. Her father has promised her hand to Samuel Clarke, a rapacious and sadistic man. As his fiancĂ©e, she would have to give up Noah and the friends who have become like family to her?as well as the beliefs she has come to embrace. After Emma is drawn into the treasonous Boston Tea Party, Samuel blackmails her with evidence that condemns each participant, including Noah. Emma realizes she must do whatever it takes to protect those she loves, even if it means giving up the life she desires and becoming Samuel’s wife. Present Day... Lieutenant Hayley Ashworth is determined to be the first woman inducted into the elite Navy SEALs. But before her dream can be realized, she must return to Boston in order to put the abuse and neglect of her childhood behind her. When an unexpected encounter with the man she once loved leads to the discovery of a tea chest and the document hidden within, she wonders if perhaps true strength and freedom are buried deeper than she first realized. Two women, separated by centuries, must find the strength to fight for love and freedom. . . and discover a heritage of courage and faith. (General Contemporary from Tyndale House)

Historical:


Heavenly Lights by Barbara M. Britton -- God gave Noah bat Zelophehad four sisters, a way with four-legged creatures, and a strong spirit. She will need all three gifts to thrive in the Promised Land of God and find love with a special shepherd. (Historical from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])


Historical Romance:


Waltz in the Wilderness by Kathleen Denly -- Eliza Brooks is haunted by her role in her mother's death, so she'll do anything to find her missing pa—even if it means sneaking aboard a southbound ship. When those meant to protect her abandon and betray her instead, a family friend's unexpected assistance is a blessing she can't refuse. Daniel Clarke came to California to make his fortune, and a stable job as a San Francisco carpenter has earned him more than most have scraped from the local goldfields. But it's been four years since he left Massachusetts and his fiancĂ© is impatient for his return. Bound for home at last, Daniel Clarke finds his heart and plans challenged by a tenacious young woman with haunted eyes. Though every word he utters seems to offend her, he is determined to see her safely returned to her father. Even if that means risking his fragile engagement. When disaster befalls them in the remote wilderness of the Southern California mountains, true feelings are revealed, and both must face heart-rending decisions. But how to decide when every choice before them leads to someone getting hurt? (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)



The Brightest of Dreams by Susan Anne Mason -- Quinten Aspinall is determined to fulfill the promise he made to his dying father and keep his family together. To do so, he travels to Canada to find his younger siblings, who were sent there as indentured workers when Quinn was away at war. While overseas, he agrees to look for his employer’s niece who ran off with a Canadian soldier. If Quinn can bring Julia back, he will receive his own tenant farm, allowing him to give his ailing mother and his siblings a true home at last. Julia Holloway’s decision to come to Toronto has met with nothing but disaster. When her uncle’s employee rescues her from a bad situation, she fears she can never repay Quinn’s kindness. So when he asks for her help to find his sister, she agrees. The quest draws the two of them together, but soon afterward, Julia receives devastating news that will change her life forever. Torn between reuniting his family and protecting Julia, will Quinn have to sacrifice his own happiness to finally keep his promise? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])



Three Little Things by Patti Stockdale -- Hattie Waltz should forget the troubled neighbor leaving for boot camp in 1917. He forgot about her ages ago. It had always been the Waltzs verses the Kregers, his family pitted against hers. When she hands him a farewell gift, a chemistry lesson unfolds. The good kind. Arno Kreger can't leave Iowa or his old man fast enough. He's eager to prove his worth on the battlefield and stop blaming himself for his brother's death. Before entering the train, he bumps into Hattie. He's loved her forever, always from the sidelines, because nobody crosses Hattie's pa. One innocent letter soon morphs into many. Arno and Hattie share three little secrets in each letter and grow closer together. But he's on his way to war across the ocean, and she's still in her father's house. Their newfound love will need to survive dangers on both fronts. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)



The Land Beneath Us by Sarah Sundin -- With his future stolen by his brothers’ betrayal, Private Clay Paxton trains hard with the US Army Rangers, determined to do his best in the upcoming Allied invasion of France. Leah Jones works as a librarian at the army base, hoping to find her lost sisters. A marriage of convenience binds them together, but will D-day—and a foreboding dream—tear them apart? (Historical Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)



Taming Julia by Jodie Wolfe -- A gun-toting, breeches-wearing wife wasn't what the minister ordered. In 1875, Kansas bachelor Drew Montgomery's sole desire is to serve God, but his congregation's ultimatum that he marry or leave, forces him to advertise for a wife by proxy. Jules Walker strides into Drew's life wearing breeches and toting a gun and saddle--more cowboy than bride. After years on the trail, she's not exactly wife material, but she longs for home and family, and will do anything to ensure Drew never discovers what she really is. (Historical Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])


Mystery:


Under Cover by Linda Shenton Matchett -- In the year since arriving in London, journalist Ruth Brown has put a face on the war for her readers at home in the U.S. Thus far, juggling her career and her relationship with Detective Inspector Trevor Gelson hasn't proven too challenging. The war gets personal for Ruth when her friend Amelia is murdered, and Trevor is assigned to the case. Life gets even more unsettling when clues indicate her best friend, Varis, is passing secrets to the enemy. Convinced Varis is innocent, Ruth must find the real traitor as the clock ticks down toward Operation Husky-the Allied invasion of Sicily. Circumstantial evidence leads Trevor to suspect her of having a part in Amelia's death, and Ruth must choose between her heart and her duty. (Historical Mystery from Shortwave Press)


Romantic Suspense:


Legacy Reclaimed by Robin Patchen -- She’ll risk anything to save the company her parents built. When someone makes threats on her life, he’ll risk anything to save her. But that someone will stop at nothing to make sure they both fail. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)


Speculative:


Cry of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse -- Lady Selene Ravenwood has come into her full power as a dreamwalker just as the war with the Dominia Empire begins. Working with the other Great Houses, Selene and Damien use their gifts to secure the borders and save those devastated by the war. But conflict, betrayal, and hatred begin to spread between the Great Houses, destroying their unity as the empire burns a path across their lands. At the same time, Damien Maris starts to lose his ability to raise the waters, leaving the lands vulnerable to the empire's attacks. The only one who can unite the houses and restore her husband's power is Selene Ravenwood. But it will require that she open her heart to those who have hurt her and let go of her past, despite the one who hunts her and will do anything to stop her power. Will Selene survive? Or is she destined to fall like the dreamwalkers before her? (Fantasy from Bethany House [Baker])


Young Adult:


Follow the Dawn by Rachelle Rea Cobb -- Anna Emory grew up the invisible, shy younger sister, and she prefers it that way. But when her father attempts to arrange an unsavory marriage, Anna learns that courage is sometimes found in adversity. Then she meets a boy and his father struggling in their relationship, and they tip her quiet world upside down. Captain Mathieu Tudder has run from responsibility, entrusting his young son’s care to another and devoting his Sea Beggar ship to the Dutch Revolution. After that cause fails, Tudder returns to England for the son he left behind. But his son seems to have given his heart to a unknown and quiet lady—a woman who reminds him of all he’s ever loved and lost. Will these two hearts—the battle-scarred and the broken—ever find true freedom? (Young Adult Historical from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)



The Vault Between Spaces by Chawna Schroeder -- Every legend must start somewhere... No prisoner who enters the gates of HopeWell ever leaves. But from the moment Oriel sets foot inside Anatroshka's most formidable prison camp, she unsettles both commandant and prisoner alike with eyes that see beyond the surface and music that trails her everywhere. Petite and delicate though she appears, Oriel bows before neither threat nor punishment. Moreover, she makes no attempt to hide her intention: Oriel plans to escape the inescapable HopeWell. But when facades are stripped away and myth becomes clothed in flesh, what begins as a prison break becomes a mission to stop the invasion of evil itself. (Young Adult Fantasy from Enclave Publishing)


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

The Duke’s Refuge by Lorri Dudley, Historical Romance
Hannah’s Courage by Molly Jebber, Amish Romance
The Missing Manuscript by Sylvia A Nash, Cozy Mystery
Silvyn’s Tale by Sara Nicole, Fantasy
Freedom Lake Collection: Books 1 - 3 by Toni Shiloh, Contemporary Romance
Yellowstone Yondering by Kristen Joy Wilks, Contemporary Romance




Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Christian Fiction Releasing This Month #ACFW January 2020 New Releases

January 2020 New Releases

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

Note: The posting of this list on the Sweet South Blog is not a review or an endorsement of any book on the list. All authors whose books are included on the ACFW New Releases list attest that their book meets CBA standards for clean, Christian content.
Contemporary Romance:


A Rancher to Trust by Laurel Blount -- Suddenly a husband…and a father? This bachelor is ready to claim his instant family. After learning his ex-wife isn’t so ex after all, rebel turned rancher Dan Whitlock is determined to prove he’s a changed man…but Bailey Quinn is just as set on finally ending their marriage. When tragedy makes Dan the guardian of little orphaned twins, he and Bailey are drawn back together. But can she forgive the past and open her heart to the family she’s always wanted? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired (Harlequin))



Star Rising by Janet W. Ferguson -- Star Youngblood tries to protect her employer, Mrs. Priscilla Kelly, from the woman’s neglectful son, an aspiring flight instructor who has issues with religion, but finds her own heart is at the greatest risk. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)



A Promise to Keep by Melony Teague -- Savannah, a widowed research librarian, goes to her twenty year class reunion and gets reacquainted with Michael, a former troublemaker who is now a professional technical rescuer. Before the night is over, a pact between these two old friends will lead them on an adventure into uncharted emotional territory where Michael must confront his past regrets and find the courage to reveal the truth. But can Savannah fly from her sheltered nest and risk her heart on a real-life hero? (Contemporary Romance from Anaiah Press)

General Contemporary:


A Long Time Comin by Robin W. Pearson -- To hear Beatrice Agnew tell it, she entered the world with her mouth tightly shut. Just because she finds out she's dying doesn't mean she can't keep it that way. If any of her children have questions about their daddy and the choices she made after he abandoned them, they'd best take it up with Jesus. There's no room in Granny B's house for regrets or hand-holding. Or so she thinks. Her granddaughter, Evelyn Lester, shows up on Beatrice's doorstep anyway, burdened with her own secret baggage. Determined to help her Granny B mend fences with her far-flung brood, Evelyn turns her grandmother's heart and home inside out. Evelyn's meddling uncovers a tucked-away box of old letters, forcing the two women to wrestle with their past and present pain as they confront the truth Beatrice has worked a lifetime to hide. (General Contemporary from Tyndale House)

Historical Romance:


Freedom in the Mountain Wind by Misty M. Beller -- A young woman faces overwhelming odds to make her father’s dream come true before he dies of lung cancer, but paddling upriver through fierce rapids and fighting hungry grizzlies to follow the Lewis and Clark trail isn’t what terrifies her the most. Beaver Tail endured more than he can stand from the women in his Blackfoot camp, but the last disaster gave him the final shove he needed to join this band of brothers searching for one of their group who’s gone missing. The last thing he expected was to find a white woman and her sick father stranded at the base of a massive waterfall. His plan is to help them carry their oversize canoe and supplies, then leave them to their strange mission. Yet, the more he learns about the pair, the more he realizes his life is about to be derailed—again. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)



Uncharted Promises by Keely Brooke Keith -- Sybil Roberts uses the warmth of delicious meals to lift the spirits of road-weary travelers at The Inn at Falls Creek. Her life at the inn would be perfect if she could just get her brothers and mother to move back home. And if she could see Isaac Owens again. He visited the inn once when he interviewed for the farm manager job, and she’s dreamed of his return to Falls Creek ever since. Isaac Owens knows how to run a farm. His family might not have faith in him, but if he succeeds at Falls Creek, he’ll prove them wrong. He arrives at the inn thinking the job is his, but the inn’s senile owner offered the position to another man too. Isaac must spend the winter competing if he wants to win the job… and Sybil’s heart. It will take more than warm meals on cold nights for Sybil and Isaac to find love while working at the isolated inn. (Historical Romance from Edenbrooke Press)



Forever Hidden by Kimberley Woodhouse, Tracie Peterson -- Sybil Roberts uses the warmth of delicious meals to lift the spirits of road-weary travelers at The Inn at Falls Creek. Her life at the inn would be perfect if she could just get her brothers and mother to move back home. And if she could see Isaac Owens again. He visited the inn once when he interviewed for the farm manager job, and she’s dreamed of his return to Falls Creek ever since. Isaac Owens knows how to run a farm. His family might not have faith in him, but if he succeeds at Falls Creek, he’ll prove them wrong. He arrives at the inn thinking the job is his, but the inn’s senile owner offered the position to another man too. Isaac must spend the winter competing if he wants to win the job… and Sybil’s heart. It will take more than warm meals on cold nights for Sybil and Isaac to find love while working at the isolated inn. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])



The Gray Chamber by Grace Hitchcock -- On Blackwell Island, New York, a hospital was built to keep its patients from ever leaving. With her late father’s fortune under her uncle’s care until her twenty-fifth birthday in the year 1887, Edyth Foster does not feel pressured to marry or to bow to society’s demands. She freely indulges in eccentric hobbies like fencing and riding her velocipede in her cycling costume about the city for all to see. Finding a loophole in the will, though, her uncle whisks Edyth off to the women’s lunatic asylum just weeks before her birthday. Do any of Edyth’s friends care that she disappeared? At the asylum she meets another inmate, who upon discovering Edyth’s plight, confesses that she is Nellie Bly, an undercover journalist for The World. Will either woman find a way to leave the terrifying island and reclaim her true self? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:


Secret Mountain Hideout by Terri Reed -- Staying hidden has kept her alive… But now she’s been found. A remote Colorado mountain town and a fake identity have been Ashley Willis’s safe haven since fleeing after she witnessed a murder—but now the killer has found her trail. Desperate and terrified, she’s prepared to run again…but Deputy Sheriff Chase Fredrick won’t let her. With the lawman by her side, can she face danger head-on…and live long enough to bring a murderer to justice? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

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

50-50 by Roger Bruner, Contemporary
Shattered Treasure by Cindy Patterson, Romantic Suspense
The Contessa Is Missing by Linda Siebold, Romantic Suspense
The Forever Sky by Janalyn Voigt, Western Romance
Northern Hearts by Laurie Wood, Romantic Suspense