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July 2019 New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:

Hometown Hope by Laurel Blount — In the three years since her mother’s death, widower Hoyt Bradley’s daughter, Jess, hasn’t spoken—until she suddenly begs him to save her favorite bookstore from closing. Hoyt is desperate to hear his daughter’s voice again, but he and the bookstore’s pretty owner, Anna Delaney, share a less-than-friendly past. Working together is complicated enough…but can they avoid falling in love? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

A Heart Surrendered by Joy K. Massenburge — Since her teens, pastor’s daughter Sharonda Peterson devoted her life to church service and solitude after the one night she gave Carl Ray Everhart everything. Sobered by a near-death experience, prodigal Carl returns home from an acting and singing career to serve as the worship leader at Sheronda’s church, and she finds that it takes every ounce of her resolve to resist his pursuits … not to mention memories that threaten to overturn the delicate balance she’s created. Can she finally surrender the one thing she’s tried all these years to protect: her heart? (Contemporary Romance from Harambee Press [Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas])

Starting Anew by Melanie D. Snitker — He’s afraid to trust. She has a secret that could change everything between them. Will they let go of their fear, or allow it to rob them of their chance at happiness? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Historical:

Underestimating Miss Cecilia by Carolyn Miller — Can shy, sweet Cecilia overcome her family’s prejudice to see a future with the recently returned prodigal son from next door? (Historical from Kregel Publications)

Benaiah: Might Man of God by PH Thompson — A novel of Biblical, historical fiction about Benaiah, one of King David’s mighty men, examining the premise: What happens when the king’s most obedient soldier is issued a wicked command? (Historical/Biblical from Word Alive Press)

Historical Romance:

Waltz with Destiny by Catherine Ulrich Brakefield — When the men and women of World War II marched off to war, they didn’t know what lay ahead. All they knew was that upon their young and inexperienced shoulders rested the plight of the free world. (Historical Romance from CrossRiver Media Group)

Thimbles and Threads by Mary Davis, Grace Hitchcock, Suzanne Norquist, and Liz Tolsma — Enjoy four historical romances that celebrate the arts of sewing and quilting. When Tilly, a schoolteacher; Alice, a bridal shop owner; Sarah, a seamstress; and Melissa, a rag doll designer, put needle and thread to fabric, will their talents lead to the surprising gift of love? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Refiner’s Fire by J.M. Hochstetler
Will the promise their hearts cling to finally find joyful fulfillment, or will war’s refining fire separate them forever? (Historical Romance from Sheaf House Publishers)

Where Dandelions Bloom by Tara Johnson — To escape an arranged marriage, Cassie Kendrick enlists in the Union army as a man, 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 past guilt, Gabriel works with renowned photographer Matthew Brady to capture images from the front lines of the war. As Gabriel forges friendships along the way, 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 forgive themselves and trust their futures to the God who births hope and healing in the darkest places? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

The Express Bride by Kimberly Woodhouse — Jacqueline Rivers manages a Pony Express station in 1860 Utah territory after her father’s death. There are daily stresses placed on her in this unconventional role—and now a government official is asking her to sniff out counterfeiters. When Elijah Johnson passes through on the stage while on an exhausting quest to find his boss’s heir, he doesn’t want to leave the beguiling station manager. In fact, he may never leave when caught in the crossfire of the territory’s criminal activities. Can she remain strong when secrets of the past and present are finally unearthed? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:

Legacy Rejected by Robin Patchen — She’s not giving up her home, no matter what threats come against her. Realtor Ginny Lamont’s family has abandoned her, leaving her with nothing but a warning that she’s in danger. But Ginny’s built a home in New Hampshire. After a childhood of nomadic living, she’s not running again, certainly not because of some nameless, baseless threat. Real estate developer Kade Powers is thrilled to go out with Nutfield’s beautiful new real estate agent. But the prowler they surprise after their first date offers a glimpse into Ginny’s past and the legacy of lies her parents left her with. She brings a mystery, one he’s determined to help her solve. With Kade’s help, Ginny searches for the truth of her parents’ criminal activity while her enemies close in. When mobsters show up in her quaint New England town, will she find a way to bring them down, or will she lose the home—and the man—she’s come to love? (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

Suspense:

Storm Rising by Ronie Kendig — Mentioned in the pages of the Old Testament but lost to history, the Book of the Wars has resurfaced, and its pages hold secrets–and dangers–never before seen on earth. Tasked with capturing the ancient text, former Navy SEAL Leif Metcalfe is once more given command of his own team. But their best efforts are ruined when a notorious Bulgarian operative known as Viorica snatches the volume right out from under them. Iskra “Viorica” Todorova is determined to use the book to secure the thing that matters most–freedom. But a series of strange storms erupts around the globe, and the coming dangers foretold in the text threaten crops, lives, and entire nations. Though both are haunted by secrets of their past and neither trusts the other, Leif and Iskra must form an uneasy alliance to thwart impending disaster. However, the truth hidden in centuries-old words could unleash a storm of their own destruction. (Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])

Speculative:

The Story Raider by Lindsay A. Franklin — Deceiving an empire is a treacherous game. Tanwen and the Corsyth weavers race to collect the strands of an ancient cure that might save Gryfelle. But Tanwen has a secret–Gryfelle isn’t the only one afflicted by the weaver’s curse. As Queen Braith struggles to assert her rule, a new arrival throws her tenuous claim to the Tirian throne into question. Braith’s heart is turned upside down, and she’s not sure she can trust anyone–least of all herself. The puppet master behind Gareth’s rise to power has designs on Tanwen and the story weavers, and will stop at nothing to reclaim the throne. A plot to incite the angry peasants of Tir takes shape, and those dearest to Tanwen will be caught in the crossfire. As the fight for Tir consumes the realm, no one can remain innocent. (Speculative from Enclave Publishing)

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Absolutely delightful!

Five stars for The Vanderbeekers of 141stStreet by Karina Yan Glaser.

In brief, the family Vanderbeeker lives in Harlem, on 141stStreet, of course, in a lovely old brownstone. The six Vanderbeeker children are a unique and lively bunch, and this particular December, shortly before Christmas, their landlord, a Mr. Beiderman, a.k.a. “The Beiderman,” or “The Beezleman,” refuses to renew their lease, and they must prepare to move.

Since this is the neighborhood Mr. Vanderbeeker grew up in, and they all have wonderful relationships with almost everyone, the thought of a move is a heartbreaking reality. Unwilling to accept the inevitable, the children band together to change the mind of The Beiderman. Their antics are both heartwarming and wacky. Will their efforts succeed?

This is a great read-aloud book for all ages. The good news is, there are more Vanderbeeker books out there.

Renewal

pixabay.com

It’s been a dry spring. We had little snow, no run-off, and only one tenth of an inch of rain to start off the crops and gardens. Not nearly enough. I mowed my grass a couple of times, but it was becoming brittle and yellow.

Then the rain came. A shower that amounted to over half an inch. It helped. The flowers perked up, and the ground drank every drop as it fell. Then the clouds dropped two more inches, and our world changed. Dry, dormant grass awoke and began to grow again. Crops flourished. Gardens sprung up almost overnight. Flowers nodded and smiled.

Sometimes we go through dry spells, and the reasons are myriad. Illness and loss, disappointment, financial trouble, all these can leave us temporarily stricken. Nothing to give, lack of energy, no motivation.

Just like the seasons of the year, our times of drought can deplete our resources. We need time, patience, and showers of renewal from the Lord in order to re-energize and move forward. Even small bits of input can increase our energy and inspire us to refocus.

This week I had to mow the grass twice. Even though it makes more work, the result is the luscious look of green that feeds both the eye and the soul.

pixabay.com

If you’re in a season of drought, take heart. It will not last. Nourishment of the soul will come, and with it, renewal. We only need to look up and believe in the Creator who knows exactly what we need, and often uses our dry times to prepare us for the busy growing season ahead.

Today I’d like to introduce you to Bonnie Rawling, a new author with one book out and another in the works. Since Bonnie has written a non-fiction story about her life, her responses will be different from my usual fiction authors’.

      Bonnie Rawling

Bonnie, how long have you been writing and how did you come to it?

BONNIE:  I started my book about 15 years ago, and after many failed attempts, along with the busyness of life, I finally finished it in 2016. I always knew I would write a book about my story, I just needed to get through to the other side of some things before I could write from a healthy perspective.

JAN:  Who are some of the people who most influenced your decision to write?

BONNIE:  I would say my biggest influence was my desire to share my experience of how God completely healed me by His touch, and began the metamorphic changes in me.

JAN:  What’s your preferred genre?

BONNIE:  Real and authentic stories.

JAN:  Why do you write? You’ve hinted at this already, but fill us in a bit more.

BONNIE:  I write because I want to share a message of hope to a hurting world. If I can impact just one life with my story and my writing, it will have been worth it. If I can help just one person know the Jesus that I know, it will have been worth it.

JAN: That’s a lofty and worthy goal, and after reading your book, I’m sure you are greatly influencing your readers.

How and where do you write?

BONNIE:  I have to write near a large window or outside on the deck. Always with my feet up in my recliner or glider rocker with my lap table on my lap.

JAN: What inspires you?

BONNIE:  I can only imagine writing about real stories.

JAN:  How do you research and how do you know you can trust your sources?

BONNIE:   I am a journaler. All of my sources for my books have involved reviewing stacks of journals.

JAN:  The best way to accurately reveal what happened at certain times in life. What do you like most/least about writing?

BONNIE:  What I like most about writing is the depth of being able to bring a thought or an experience to life so that my reader is able to know and feel exactly what was happening in the moment. What I like the least is final edits, more edits, and more edits!

JAN:  Yes, that’s a challenge and seems to go on and on. I can’t seem to stop tweaking mine! What are your favorite/most effective methods of promoting your work?

         Bonnie’s first book

BONNIE:  The best way that I have found to promote my book is touring with my husband where I speak and he sings, or I send books along with him when he goes on tour by himself.

JAN:  That’s a great opportunity for you. Do you have favorite social media that are effective for promotion?

BONNIE:  To be honest, I try to avoid social media, though I know it would probably help my book distribution. I’d just rather not join the drama.

JAN:  Understood! How do you balance professional time with personal time?

BONNIE:  All of my children are grown and out of the house, so balancing professional and personal time is easier now. I usually write for three to four hours in the afternoon, after I’ve finished my personal devotion time. If I’m really on a roll then I write until I am tired and can’t think anymore.

JAN: What are you currently reading? Do you prefer print or digital?

BONNIE:  To be honest I am not really a reader, but currently I am reading through the Bible again. It’s a pretty good book! I would recommend it! I much prefer print!

JAN: I agree. There’s no other book like the Bible that I can read again and again and never tire of, and always learn something new. What are some of your favorite things? What makes you unique?

BONNIE:  My favorite things: spending time with my Lord…days of fasting and prayer, my grandchildren, gardening, sewing, knitting, soaking up Vitamin D, swimming, curling. What makes me unique…my abandoned faith.

JAN:  What do you mean by abandoned faith? Does it refer to living your faith with abandon?

BONNIE: I suppose the best way for me to explain abandoned faith is using the illustration of Peter getting out of the boat.

Seven years ago, the Lord called Bruce and I to sell our acreage in Taber, Alberta and come follow Him. So we sold or gave away, or stored everything that we had, left our careers behind, and moved into a bus.

That began a wonderful journey of listening closely to “the Wind of the Holy Spirit” and being trained in obedience to go wherever he sent us. It’s kind of like the last paragraph in my book where I describe the horse that has been bridled to be broken, submissive, and obedient to His will for my life.

JAN:  Thanks for the story. Your faith-in-action inspires me. What keeps you going in your writing career?

BONNIE:  I don’t really feel that I have a writing career; I just wanted to write my story and share my faith.

JAN:  Simple and honest. So how is your faith reflected in your writing?

BONNIE:  My writing is all about my faith, I hope that is what is most reflected in my story.

JAN:  What are some things you learned from your own writing?

BONNIE:  One thing I learned from my own writing is that I can be very repetitious and wordy! Lol

JAN:  I know what you mean, speaking for myself here! What is your next writing goal?

BONNIE:   To finish my second book.

JAN:  That would be a good focus. Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

BONNIE:  I would consider myself a beginner writer so I don’t feel I could offer any advice.

JAN:  Thanks for taking the time to do this interview with me, Bonnie. I encourage you to keep telling your story so others can benefit from the hope you offer in Jesus. This world certainly can use that kind of hope. All the best as you continue to allow God to use you in His service.

 

June 2019 New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:

The Art of Rivers by Janet Ferguson — Can a woman whose life has been damaged by addiction trust her heart to a man in recovery? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Cross My Heart by Robin Lee Hatcher — Horse rescue farmer Ashley helps Ben start an equine therapy barn on his great-great grandfather’s farm. When they consider a relationship together, her bitter experience with her opioid addict brother reins in any hope for a future with Ben, who is five years in recovery from alcoholism. Ben knows that with God, all things are possible—but will Ashley find it within herself to give love a chance? (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Risking Love by Toni Shiloh — Nikki lives with a perfect trifecta of noes. No guys. No dates. No way. After years of keeping men at bay, Nikki Gordon has it down to a science. No one, not even sweet, hunky Shorty Smalls can change her mind. Period. So if she’s got it all figured out, why does her heart sink to her toes when she sees Shorty with another woman? (Contemporary Romance from Celebrate Lit)

General:

Uncharted Destiny by Keely Brooke Keith — When Bailey sets out to rescue her lost friend in the Land’s dangerous mountain terrain, she discovers more about the Land—and herself—than she bargained for. (General from Edenbrooke Press)

Six Houses Down by Kari Rimbey — Two days after Sharon Webster’s distant husband returns for a surprise visit, their autistic son slips out of the house and is lost in historic Washington D. C. As they search for their boy, Sharon is forced to rely on the husband she believes no longer loves her. An elderly black couple down the street seems to understand her unspoken hurts. Has God sent them to help her find trust again? (General Contemporary, Independently Published)

Historical:

In the Shadow of the King by Melissa Rosenberger — Beset by doubts and jealousy about prophecies spoken over her brother Yeshua, Hannah struggles to see the truth before her eyes until it is too late…or is it? (Historical from Carpenter’s Son Publishing)

Historical Romance:

This Healing Journey by Misty M. Beller — An adventure-seeking wilderness girl and an ex-cavalryman looking to settle down fall in love while caring for a wounded Indian child that shows up in his barn. Will their differences keep them apart or become their greatest strengths? (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Cameo Courtships by Susanne Dietze, Debra E. Marvin, Jennifer Uhlarik, and Kathleen Y’Barbo — In 1851, a special cameo is gifted by Queen Victoria to Letitia Newton, who though considered an old maid, meets the perfect gentleman minutes after donning. Told by the Queen the cameo is to be shared, Letitia gifts the “Victoria Cameo” to a woman in her family, hoping adventure and romance will follow each of its subsequent wearers. Adventure indeed follows two competing journalists, one of whom carries the cameo while looking to expose a smuggler, a trouser-wearing frontierswoman and a reverend who are on a mission to ransom the cameo from a manipulative brothel owner, two Pinkertons who are charged with the care of the cameo but must rely on one another when the cameo is once again stolen, and a young woman who doubts the cameo can help her when a handsome Scottish library administrator ruins her dream of overseeing the new Carnegie Library children’s department and keeps a social chasm between himself and her father. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Mail-Order Refuge by Cindy Regnier — Carly Blair from Baltimore buys a train ticket to Kansas where she will become the wife of a man she’s never met. She must leave Baltimore to escape the evil plans her ex-fiance has for using her artistic talents for a counterfeit operation. Rand Stafford, Kansas cattle rancher is looking after his two orphaned nieces, but knows they need a mother. He’s not interested in love since being left at the altar so he advertises for a mail-order bride, willing to do whatever it takes to give Mary Jo and Jenna a proper home and upbringing. Can Carly and Rand find love where they least expect it, or will the shadows of the past dash their hopes for the future? (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

No Ocean Too Wide by Carrie Turansky — Between the years of 1869 to 1939 more than 100,000 poor British children were sent across the ocean to Canada with the promise of a better life. Those who took them in to work as farm laborers or household servants were told they were orphans—but was that the truth? (Historical Romance from Waterbrook/Multnomah [Random House])

Romantic Suspense:

Darkwater Truth by Robin Caroll — Adelaide Fountaine, general manager, is enthusiastically renovating parts of the Darkwater Inn. Her intentions come to a screeching halt when a skeleton is found behind a makeshift wall—an axe beside it. As Adelaide works alongside owner Dimitri Pampalon and Detective Beau Savoie, the two men who have been pursuing her heart, she learns the eerie death has tentacles that reach deep into the seedy past of both the Darkwater Inn and the evil underground of New Orleans. The past and the present collide as the stakes are upped—not only for Adelaide’s heart, but for her very life and her father’s life as well. The threats are deadly, the coils of evil are tightening around everyone involved, and they are more powerful than anyone could have ever imagined. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

Over the Line by Kelly Irvin — Gabriela’s brother is missing, he’s a suspect in a murder, and she’s in the cross hairs of a criminal organization. The only person who can help her is the one man she can’t trust. Will Gabby & Eli find her brother before it’s too late? (Romantic Suspense from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Long Walk Home by DiAnn Mills — As an Arab Christian pilot for a relief organization, Paul Farid feels called to bring supplies to his war-torn countrymen in southern Sudan. But with constant attacks from Khartoum’s Islamic government, the villagers have plenty of reasons to distrust Paul, and he wonders if the risks he’s taking are really worth his mission. American doctor Larson Kerr started working with the Sudanese people out of a sense of duty and has grown to love them all, especially Rachel Alier, her young assistant. But despite the years she’s spent caring for them, her life feels unfulfilled. It’s a void noticed both by Paul and by Rachel’s older brother, Colonel Ben Alier of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army. When Rachel is abducted, Paul, Ben, and Larson agree to set aside their differences to form an unlikely alliance and execute a daring rescue. Their faith and beliefs tested, each must find the strength to walk the path God has laid before them, to find their way home. (Romantic Suspense from Tyndale House)

The Last Chaplain by Carl M. White — At the request of Pastor John Grant, the last chaplain of the United States Senate, Lisa Smithy embarks on the adventure of a lifetime: find a former Senate staff member and convince him to reveal to a DC reporter the plot that led to Dr. Grant’s removal and the discrediting of his best friend, a United States Senator. From the South, to the West, to the Midwest, evil men are desperate to stop her, and romance surprisingly finds her. Can she bring together the former Senate staffer who knows all and the Washington reporter who can tell all, while eluding the men who would end it all? (Romantic Suspense from Austin Brothers Publishers)

If you like period fiction and Jane Austen, you will love Linore Rose Burkard’s regency romance, Before the Season Ends.

The setting is early 1800s, the plot involves a true-hearted young woman of little means, Ariana Forsythe, who decides to marry an elderly parson because marrying someone who shares her faith is her utmost priority. Her parents whisk her off to London to live with a wealthy aunt, who sets her up in fine state for the season. She eventually meets Mr. Mornay, a disgruntled and angry young aristocrat who has determined never again to be taken in by feminine wiles or fruitless faith. But there is always more to a person than is commonly known.

A simple story, but the author so artfully and adeptly wraps it in authentic period language, style and custom, that the reader imagines herself in the scenes. The journey is well worth the obstacles that stand in the way of the main characters, who are realistic and identifiable. And wherever Miss Forsythe goes, she carries her faith with her unapologetically, giving the novel added depth.

I would recommend this novel to anyone who likes regency romance, especially with a faith based story.

The author employs authentic language which at times may require a look at the glossary for clarification, an aspect of regency fiction that I enjoy.

       Linore Rose Burkard

I recently came across the following quote sometimes attributed to motivational speaker Tony Robbins: “If you do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always gotten.”

The quote resonates with me, because I am preparing to launch a new book the same way I launched the previous two, yet expecting it to sell better than they did. How can I honestly expect anything different if my plan of action is the same as it was? Or if I don’t really have a plan? Obviously, I desperately need to redirect the process this time.

              photo credit to pixabay.com

If my expectations aren’t being met, if my goals go unachieved, then something has to change.

How will I go about making the necessary changes?

  1. Become aware of the problem. In other words, stop pretending it’s not there. Stop denying.
  2. Decide what I want to accomplish. What are my goals? My expectations?
  3. Decide when I want to accomplish my goals.
  4. Decide how to meet these goals. This may take a bit more effort to break down, but this might be a good time to put the SMART method into action. I was reminded of this at an InScribe WorDshop I attended in Saskatoon this spring, in a workshop led by Sally Meadows, who expanded the acronym to SMARTER:

S — Specific

M— Measurable

A— Actionable

R— Risky (discomfort can be a catalyst for growth)

T— Time-keyed

E— Exciting

R— Relevant

  1. And one more thing. I need to make myself accountable to someone, at regular intervals. I need to reassess my progress from time to time. And I need that objective viewpoint to encourage me forward.

               photo credit to pixabay.com

Even if the changes I make are small, the outcome will improve. And life is for learning.

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