Monday, June 5, 2017

June 2017 Fiction Releases #ACFW

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)


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)

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

Friday, May 26, 2017

Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette #BookReview #BookGiveaway

***Please read giveaway rules carefully.***
Wings of the Wind

From the Back Cover:
Alanah, a Canaanite, is no stranger to fighting and survival. When her family is killed in battle with the Hebrews, she disguises herself and sneaks onto the battlefield to avenge her family. The one thing she never counted on was surviving.
Tobiah, a Hebrew warrior, is shocked to find an unconscious, wounded woman among the Canaanite casualties. Compelled to bring her to a Hebrew healer back at their camp, he is soon confronted with a truth he can't ignore: the only way to protect this enemy is to marry her.
Unused to being weak and vulnerable, Alanah submits to the marriage--for now. As she comes to know and respect Tobiah and his people, however, she begins to second-guess her plans of escape. But when her past has painfully unanticipated consequences, the tentative peace she's found with Tobiah, the Hebrews, and Yahweh is shaken to the core. Can Alanah's fierce heart and strength withstand the ensuing threats to her life and all she's come to love?

The Main Characters:
Alanah and Tobiah, two fierce warrior-hunters—one Canaanite, one Hebrew. The conflict between them is overwhelming, too overwhelming for them to have any kind of future, except for the mercy Tobiah shows. Though imperfect in his humanity, as are we all, he is such a beautiful picture of Jesus, as we should all hope to be. Tobiah’s foremost traits as he relates to Alanah are his patience and protectiveness, the last of which translates into the all-too relatable flaw of his need to control circumstances. Contrasting Tobiah’s gentleness, quiet personality, and warm-toned, bear-like description, Alanah is colorful with her bright red hair, flashing blue eyes, sassy mouth, agility, rough Canaanite ways, and a deeply wounded heart. Watching them react to one another and the circumstances which bring them together was fascinating to me.

The Secondary Characters:
We get to revisit beloved characters Shira and Kiya as well as others. Tzipi serves as a strong antagonistic force, but her motives pulled at my emotions and I sympathized with her. Though we never see him alive during the front story, Shimah and his death play a vital role in the development of his family and Alanah as well.

The Romance:
With these two outdoorsy types—not to mention that they’re sworn enemies—courtship takes on a unique form as they get to know one another while traveling and generally surviving in the desert. Whereas we saw music, then the tending of children and lambs, play major parts in drawing together the lead characters of the first two books in this series, Alanah and Tobiah fall in love by hunting game together, rescuing small desert animals, and engaging in verbal sparring. She has much to learn of Hebrew ways, and Tobiah’s role as teacher, protector and provider, affords her many opportunities to learn to respect him, though she still sees him as a warrior and therefore a predator. Tobiah is altogether intrigued with Alanah’s fierceness, her unusual appearance, and the mystery surrounding her presence on the battlefield. As he gains her trust, he delights in unraveling her stitched-up past and discovering the true woman living inside this wildcat he has rescued.

The Pace:
The pages in a Connilyn Cossette book turn with uncanny ease. 😊 I sit down to read a section or two, and, when I return to my surroundings, I’ve read three chapters. There is an inexplicable and unrivaled delight in falling into a story that sweeps you away, and the Out From Egypt Series accomplished this without fail.

The Faith Element:
Many CBA books contain meaningful references to faith, others have characters struggle with spiritual issues throughout the story, and yet others show the presence of God living and moving in the characters’ lives, producing what I can’t put into words beyond calling it a “God moment.” The Out From Egypt Series envelopes all these things. Seeing the Old Testament events unfold as Biblically recorded, and experiencing along with the characters the provision and care of Yahweh for His people renews my hunger to study the Word of God and makes me grateful for how God has worked in my own life. This series brought me encouragement, conviction over my own failings, and most importantly it brought me to the point of worship. I haven’t often run across a book that reminds me of the awe-inspiring workings of God, miracles both big and yet infinitely quiet, so much that I’m compelled to look up from the book and give praise to my Creator and Redeemer. The two other books like this that readily come to mind are Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love and Joanne Bischof’s The Lady and the Lionheart. As a rule, I read Christian fiction to enjoy the unfolding of clean fictional plots while learning new applications of Christian principles. But on the occasions where I’m surprised by an impromptu worship moment, I consider it a delightful blessing! A heartfelt thank you to Conni for pointing us toward the Lord and extolling the wonder of Who He is!

The Stakes:
Readers' hearts will race alongside the hero and heroine as they fight to preserve their own lives, the future of two nations, a group of heart-wounded little girls, one woman’s hope, the life of an unborn child, a young woman’s virtue, a tenuous mother-daughter relationship, and several women from permanent imprisonment, torture, and sexual abuse in a pagan temple.

The Author’s Trademarks:
Other than authoring page-turning, faith-filled books that keep me nibbling my nails over whether the characters will finally find peace, Connilyn Cossette has a knack for incorporating historical details into the character’s actions so they captivate the reader while moving the story forward. Her heroes also stand out to me, each unique while owning admirable depths of gentleness, faith, and rugged masculinity.

The Overall Impression:
As a reader, this story took me on a journey into a “living history” of a world I’ve read about, but never deeply explored. The plot is compelling and the characters ones to cheer for. I also loved how the relevant issue of human trafficking is visited in one of its earliest forms and brought to the table for modern consideration. Later on in the book, readers will recognize characters and cities from a well-loved Bible story and be swept up with the leads in their quest for survival. Fans of Biblical fiction and historical romance alike will be delighted with this series!

The More Factor:
I’m most eagerly awaiting the cover-reveal for Conni’s fourth book, first in her Cities of Refuge Series, featuring Moriyah, a vital character from Wings of the Wind! I've wanted to read fiction surrounding the cities of refuge for some time, and am doubly excited that they will be coming from Connilyn Cossette's pen!

I’m giving away one e-copy each of the FIRST TWO BOOKS in the Out From Egypt Series, Counted With the Stars and Shadow of the Storm (pictured below), to one winner. Comment on the blog with your email address to enter! International entrants welcome! Giveaway ends June 2, 2017. GIVEAWAY EXTENDED TO JUNE 3, 2017!!!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book, and have voluntarily and most happily provided my honest opinion in this review. 😊

Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Love So True by Melissa Jagears #BookReview #BookGiveaway

***Please read giveaway rules carefully.***

Back Cover Blurb:
 Evelyn Wisely has a heart for the orphans of Teaville and works at a local mansion that rescues children out of the town’s red-light district and gives them a place to live. But her desire to help isn’t limited to orphans. The owner of the mansion, Nicholas Lowe, is willing to help her try to get the women working in prostitution out of the district as well–if she can gain the cooperation and support of local businessmen to go against the rest of the community.
David Kingsman has recently arrived in Teaville from Kansas City to help with one of his father’s companies in town. While he plans on staying only long enough to prove his business merit to his father, he’s shown interest in Evelyn’s work and is intrigued enough by her to lend his support to her cause.
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?

The Main Characters:
Gotta love characters with quirks! From Evelyn's unhealthy penchant for wandering the bad side of town, alone, with a gun hidden on her person, to David's dear love of food and offense at one's leaving a piece of bacon uneaten, these characters gave me so much to look forward to while on this book-journey! Evelyn is a strong female character that carries a mysterious secret. I enjoyed getting to know her and related to her in her age, longing for children of her own, and her people-pleasing tendencies. But I actually related to David’s character the most in this story. Both David and Evelyn are people-pleasers to a fault, though from different angles. David wonders at Evelyn’s cool treatment of him and cannot abide the thought of someone disliking him without wanting to make it right. He is a unique hero and Evelyn complements his personality even as they clash because of her secret. Their interactions brought more than one giggle, and the more I read, the more reluctant I was to leave these characters.

The Secondary Characters:
We get to revisit our favorite characters from A Heart Most Certain, including Nicholas and Lydia Lowe, Caroline O’Connor, Henri Beauchamp, Sadie, and Charlie. Also, the orphanage children play major roles in this story. Comical scenes involving orphanage staff and the ever-crying baby help bring Evelyn’s goals to life, while struggles with the children and Evelyn’s aging parents ground this ministry in hard work.

The Romance:
David and Evelyn’s relationship grows from animosity to a tentative acquaintance, then slowly to friendship and love. The plot necessitates this slow discovering of character and personality, which builds a beautiful foundation for a lifetime of commitment.

The Pace:
This novel develops gradually, allowing many facets of the different characters to be explored. The gentle flow of the characters’ internal thoughts reveal relatable struggles and connect them with the reader.

The Faith Element:
Throughout this novel, the hero and heroine are required to make hard, life-altering decisions because of their faith. They are put through the refining fire of circumstances and the ending of the book shows us the results. I always enjoy the journey of the faith message in Melissa’s books, and this one tackles an especially difficult subject while making the reader think.

The Stakes:
Along with the lives of suffering orphans and women trapped in the red-light district, the desire for acceptance from others, including family, society, love interests, and God, is a strong influence in A Love So True. The lengths each character will go to keep or attain this acceptance is challenged on many levels and stretched until the climax of the story when the characters grow into the new truths they’ve learned.

The Author’s Trademarks:
Deep exploration of character emotions and reactions, strongly reminiscent of Lori Wick’s style, make Melissa Jagears books some of my favorite to sit and digest with a cup of tea. Her tackling of tough subjects with a gentle approach and her Biblical accuracy make every book a heart-journey for the reader.

The Overall Impression:
From chapter to chapter, I couldn’t wait to see what would happen to Evelyn, David, and their friends. The intrigue and dynamics of their gentle friendship kept me turning pages and wanting more time with the characters.

The More Factor:
I can’t wait to spend more time with these characters as they discover more about faith and their calling to help others.

***Please read giveaway rules carefully.*** 
I'm giving away an e-copy of A Heart Most Certain, the first book in the Teaville series (pictured below). To enter the giveaway, leave your email in a spam-repellent format in the comments of this blog. International entrants welcome! Giveaway ends May 27, 2017.

***As always, please consider leaving a book review online at, CBD, Barnes & Noble, Lifeway or any other review site you choose. This helps the author and also other readers who are considering reading the book! I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.

Winner of last week's giveaway of A Season to Dance by Patricia Beal is Heidi Robbins! Congrats, Heidi! I'll be contacting you soon.