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As usual with Lisa Flickinger’s books, I love the cover.

A young woman—Alda Lealand—travels with a string of donkeys from Kansas to California, and encounters many trials along the California Trail. She also meets a young bounty hunter named Cord, who helps her accomplish her goal.

The characters in Fool’s Notion are strong. Alda is as feisty as one might expect of a young woman who takes on such a challenge, and her brilliant, curly red hair seems to add exclamation to her personality. She has trouble trusting, due to past experiences, but won’t give up. Cord has his own reasons for doubting her, as well as himself. The relational advancement is intriguing, and the dialogue natural and believable, giving the reader a sense of individual character development and story progression.

I was drawn into the setting of this book: the old West, wagon trains, the law of the land, how people engaged with each other when their lives were in constant danger from men and nature. The author has done much research in order to present this story in a credible manner.

I also appreciated the use of humor for pacing and interest, with just enough romance to engage the historical romance reader.

As far as plot goes, this novel is full of unexpected twists, which make the read exciting. One never knows what the next challenge will be or where it will appear from. There are definitely some unanticipated sources of the obstacles in Alda’s path.

Throughout the novel, Alda senses the fragrance of faith, which influences her life and its direction. A great take-away value for a fascinating story.

I recommend this book to readers who appreciate a well-told story, especially one from a historical perspective with a touch of romance. Five stars from this reviewer.

For more about Lisa, check out her website.

LISA FLICKINGER

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JUST IN TIME TO ORDER FOR CHRISTMAS: Secret Christmas Twins

I’m pleased to share a review of Lee Tobin McClain’s newest Love Inspired romance: Secret Christmas Twins. Release date: TODAY! October 17, 2017.

Story in a Nutshell:  Erica and her twin baby boys arrive at the Stephanidis farmhouse in rural Pennsylvania shortly before Christmas, sent by her good friend, whose grandfather owns the farm. She has no idea that her friend’s brother, Jason, has returned home to help out on the farm.

Both Erica and Jason have been wounded by life, and although they are drawn to each other, aided by the adorable twins, they have trust issues resulting from past experiences and relationships.

Just as life seems to be shaping up for Erica and Jason, a well-kept secret threatens to divide them for good.

My Reaction:  This lovely Christmas tale has all the makings of a good Christian romance: two main characters who are broken and needy, a couple of solid secondary characters who add wisdom and humor to the story, a setting complete with snow and sleigh rides, two adorable babies who win the hearts of all, spiritual struggles, and a huge secret that threatens to create disaster and prevent the two from happiness and healing.

I was captivated by the story and the characters’ efforts to overcome the obstacles between them and a fulfilling life.

I give this book 5 stars for its quality and positive impact. Readers of Christian romance will love it.

Lee Tobin McClain

Look for more from Lee Tobin McClain.

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October 2017 New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner — Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. Best because, well, that’s obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she’s made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she’s chosen. She’s still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book she’s not sure she can write anymore. She’s beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a “scandalous” book. And the fact that she’s falling in love with her pastor doesn’t make things any easier. (Contemporary Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

A Waltz for Amber by Kimberly Rose Johnson — Amber, a struggling dance teacher, is desperate to make a success of her studio. The quickly approaching Christmas recital should help except for one problem—the high school music teacher scheduled the holiday program on the same night, causing a conflict for her students. Will she be able to sustain her business or will she lose everything in the pursuit of her dream? Chris is thrilled to be back in his hometown. However, his past won’t stay in the past, and the pretty dance instructor is a constant reminder of his failings. He wants to make up for his youthful mistake directed at her, but how? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Secret Christmas Twins by Lee Tobin McClain — Christmas came early for Erica Lindholm! Suddenly a mom to adorable twin baby boys and part owner of a snowy small-town Pennsylvania farm, Erica is living her dream. Until the boys’ estranged uncle, Jason Stephanidis, comes home to celebrate the holidays. The handsome, brooding detective turns out to be a natural with the babies…and with Erica’s wounded heart. But if Jason knew the truth about their identities, her picture-perfect life could melt away. Will Erica’s secret cost her everything? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Fall Into Romance by Melanie D. Snitker Surround yourself in the romance of the autumn season with 10 heartwarming, sweet novellas from USA Today, national bestselling, and award-winning authors. Each story takes you inside the heart of a small town—its people—and features adorable animal friends in need of a forever home.
Take a trip to Romance, Oregon, where falling in love has never been easier and happily-ever-after is guaranteed! (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

A Texas Holiday Reunion by Shannon Taylor Vannatter — With her foreman out of commission, Resa McCall needs horse trainer Colson Kincaid to run her family ranch through the holidays. But having the handsome single dad back in Bandera, Texas, is unsettling. Colson broke Resa’s heart years ago, and she can’t risk getting close again. Still, working with him and bonding with his sweet little girl is making the ranch feel merry and bright. Being at Resa’s side stirs up emotions Colson thought were long gone. But he has a powerful secret that could keep them apart forever. Can Colson give Resa the one Christmas present that might finally bring them back together—the truth? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

The Gift of Christmas Past by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall — Arson wasn’t the only fire that ignited between them. Promises shattered. Lies spoken. She was arrested. He returned to the safety of his wealthy parents.
Almost ten years later, Hadley and Monroe are both specialists in the field of speech therapy. They meet again . . . thrown together to help a four-year-old-girl rendered mute after being rescued from a fire. Years of secrets and anger beg to be set free as Hadley and Monroe try to push aside past hurts and find common ground in order to help the traumatized child and her family. Can the love of Christmas past drift into the present, bringing healing and hope for all? (Contemporary Romance from Woodsmall Press)

General Contemporary (includes Women’s Fiction):

Piper’s Passion by Lee Carver — Piper Jordan, an American reared in Brazil, had her pilot’s license before she could drive and her aviation maintenance certificate before her business degree. Pulled between two countries, two career paths, and separated parents, she strives to determine what is significant and what to do with her life.
Kyle Chamberlain, pilot with Outreach for Christ, wears a wedding ring that says he’s not ready to date again after Rosanna’s death. Wielding a wrench with the cutest pilot/mechanic he’s ever seen turns his head. But would a dynamic woman with her talents and eventual inheritance accept his missionary life in the Amazon? (Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Independently Published)



Grace in Strange Disguise by Christine Dillon — Physiotherapist Esther Macdonald is living the Australian dream, and it doesn’t surprise her. After all, her father has always said, “Follow Jesus and be blessed.” But at twenty-eight, her world shatters. Everyone assures her God will come through for her, but what happens when he doesn’t? Has she offended God? Is her faith too small? So many conflicting explanations. Will finding the truth cost her the people closest to her heart? (General Contemporary, Independently Published)

Historical:

Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano — When Aurelie Harcourt’s father dies in debtor’s prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet houseguest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company. When Aurelie decides to complete her father’s unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother’s disappearance–and perhaps even her father’s death. (Historical from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

The Other Side of Freedom by Cynthia T Toney — In 1925, a thirteen-year-old boy witnesses a crime—the murder of a family friend—and must choose whether to remain silent as his father asks or defy mobsters and corrupt police to save his family. (Historical from Write Integrity Press)

Historical Romance:
Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander — In the midst of war and the fading dream of the Confederacy, a wounded soldier and a destitute widow discover the true meaning of Christmas, the cost of love . . . and of loving again. (Historical Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

The Captive Brides Collection by Jennifer AlLee, Angela Breidenbach, Susan Page Davis, Darlene Franklin, Patty Smith Hall, Cynthia Hickey, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Lucy Thompson, and Gina Welborn — Journey along as nine historical women are about to make their escape from some of life’s greatest challenges. Can their captive hearts be freed to dream, to dare, to love? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)


A Mountain Christmas Romance by Misty M. Beller — Stripped of the family so important to his Viking heritage, Matthias Bjork is now on the hunt for his sister. Despite combing the entire Wyoming Territory, he hasn’t found any substantial leads regarding his sister’s whereabouts, but he has discovered a most unusual woman.
Opal Boyd has finally found the haven she’s longed for all her life, in a most unlikely place—working for a German couple in this remote Wyoming mountain town. She learned long ago that most men couldn’t be trusted, but when a mountain man stops in the boarding house where she works, he seems to have the respect and affection of the two people she’s learned to trust implicitly.
But when Matthias’ search for his sister takes an unexpected twist, Opal is forced to make a choice that will alter the course of her life—no matter which answer she chooses. When Matthias’ decisions land Opal in danger, what must he sacrifice to rescue her? (Historical Romance, ACFW Qualified Independently Published)

Fool’s Notion by Lisa J. Flickinger — Feisty Alda Lealand braves fifteen hundred miles with a pack string of mules—and the help of an unexpected cowboy–to save the family farm. (Historical Romance from Forget Me Not Romances [Winged Publications])

Playing by Heart by Carmela A. Martino — Emilia Salvini dreams of marrying a man who loves music as she does. But in 18th-century Milan, being the “second sister” means she’ll likely be sent to a convent instead. Ironically, Emilia’s pious older sister, Maria, would gladly become a nun. But Father won’t allow it—her brilliant language skills are too important to his quest for noble status. Emilia’s only hope is to prove her musical talents are as indispensable as her sister’s skills. First, though, Emilia must win over her music tutor, who disdains her simply for being a girl. Before she can carry out her plan, though, Emilia’s mother dies in childbirth. In her sorrow, Emilia composes a heartrending sonata that causes the maestro to finally recognize her talent. He begins teaching her music theory alongside handsome violinist Antonio Bellini, the great-nephew of a wealthy marquis. The two begin as rivals, but Emilia gradually falls in love with him. (Historical Romance from Vinspire Publishing)

Historical Western:

Too Far Down by Mary Connealy — A citified mine operator and a tough western cowgirl are the most unlikely couple of all as they team up to fight the outlaws that want the Cimarron Ranch. (Historical Western from Bethany House [Baker])

Romantic Suspense:

Dangerous Ground by Gayla K. Hiss — Deputy Marshal Kate Phillips comes to the Great Smoky Mountains in search of answers concerning her uncle’s suspicious death, and finds herself in the middle of an ancient family feud and a land dispute with handsome first responder, David Jennings. (Romantic Suspense from Mountain Brook Ink)

Christmas Captive by Liz Johnson — On his cousin’s Christmas cruise wedding, navy SEAL Jordan Somerton anticipated having the typical best man duties—not facing down criminals boarding the ship. But when the luxury liner is infiltrated by men determined to kidnap the flower girl, he’s plunged into an unexpected mission. Maid of honor and DEA agent Amy Delgado hasn’t forgiven Jordan for a misunderstanding in their pasts. But with her young niece targeted, she must draw on Jordan’s skills as a protector. Signs point to an inside job. With a traitor in their midst, can they ensure that every passenger returns home safely for the holidays…even as they find love amid deepening danger? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Speculative:

Transfusion by Victoria Buck — The world’s first transhuman must save the world, or save the woman he loves. (Speculative from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])

Suspense:

Kill Zone by Rick Acker, Christy Barritt, Patricia Bradley, Braxton DeGarmo, Luana Ehrlich, Heather Day Gilbert, Heather I. James, Robert Liparulo, Jordyn Redwood, and Jan Thompson — Espionage, hacking, police procedural, international crime and intrigue, covert action, spy, secret police, revenge, snipers…and so much more! Ten brand-new, never-before published novellas of suspense, intrigue, and thrills from ten bestselling Christian thriller authors, all packed into this one anthology. (Suspense from Georgia Press LLC)

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The Rescuing Day is a lovely children’s storybook, reminding me of the wholesom

e, uplifting reads of my childhood. No wild magic rides, no goblins or fairies, just good storytelling that a child can connect with. This is a great read-aloud book for parents, or an early reader’s chapter book for a child

Experience a day with Megan and her favourite doll Callista, as they interact with friends and family, and deal with major and minor catastrophes. This story touches on a number of themes, among them obedience and truthfulness, courage (Callista’s) and kindness

This book is set up in eight short chapters with easily readable font and intriguing pencil sketches by illustrator, Wendy Siemens. Siemens also designed the inviting bright-red cover

Author Christine Goodnough writes many forms of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, as well as regular blogs at christinegoodnough.com and christinecomposes.com. You may also contact her at christinevanceg@gmail.com

This little book makes a great gift.

Canadians should order directly from the author, or they can order through the Prairie View Press website, with Credit Card. (Paypal is set up only in US funds).

 

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A Worthy Heart is the second in the historical fiction series, Courage to Dream by Susan Anne Mason.51kdxzdubel-_sx322_bo1204203200_

Quick story review: One reason Maggie Montgomery leaves Ireland for the United States is to avoid her former fiancé. She and her brother, Gabe, arrive in New York to stay with their brother and his wife, who run an orphanage.

During their stay, Maggie and Gabe each meet someone who affects their lives and their hearts. Meanwhile, Maggie’s nemesis turns up in New York, with progressively threatening plans that affect not only her, but also those dear to her.

Although Gabe’s love interest returns his affections, her family does not approve. There is much of social standing in this novel.

A Worthy Heart is primarily a double romance between these two couples, but it includes the backdrop of unrest, epidemic and rumblings of war in Europe. It is also a story of faith, forgiveness and the truth that social status does not affect God’s love for his people.

I think the characters are well developed, and fairly well managed. This cannot have been a simple task because of the number of family members and minor characters involved. The plot is interesting and not without unexpected conflicts to keep it moving. I did find the two romantic sub-plots fairly similar in development, but still interesting. And the book has a lovely cover.

The first book in this series, Irish Meadows, featured another member of the O’Leary family, who is briefly present in this second book as a secondary character. I’m sure the intertwining of families will keep this series attractive to readers.

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A Mystery Remains Unsolved for Seventy Years

51ldxpniytlA rundown estate, a child missing for seventy years, and a detective who refuses to give up. All these add up to another excellent demonstration of Kate Morton’s power to captivate, mystify, surprise and superbly entertain her readers.

The Lake House takes place in England in two distinct eras: the early 1930s (with earlier flashbacks), and 2003.

The first chapter opens in Cornwall, England in 1933, with a wealthy family that lives in a mansion beside a lake. While there, the mother, Eleanor, gives birth to three daughters and a son. All is bliss until one fateful day when the eighteen-month-old son disappears. The family leaves the house, unable to live there any longer.

We see much of this storyline through the eyes of the third daughter, Alice Edevane.

Next, we are introduced to Sadie Sparrow, a young detective with the London police force. She has come into some trouble at work for insubordination, specifically, not wanting to let an unsolved case go cold. Her boss suggests a vacation to distance herself from work and worries and to pull her life together.

Sadie goes to Cornwall to stay with her beloved grandfather, Bertie, and stumbles across the ruins of a neglected mansion beside a lake. Gradually, the story of the Edevanes emerges, and Sadie is hit by yet another cold case that she cannot release.

With many switches of scene and time period, author Kate Morton weaves a tapestry with many background knots and misplaced stitches. D.C. Sparrow continues to gather information about both cases, while retaining a low profile so she won’t lose her job. She eventually locates Alice Edevane, who has become a famous mystery author, and together, they untangle the secrets of the past. 

After much tension and stress, the story wraps up with a well-crafted and satisfying conclusion to the mysterious adventure. As with Mortons’ books other books, The Lake House is a uniquely structured and fascinating read.

This is the fifth Kate Morton book I have read, and I love them all. I recommend these stories, especially The Lake House, to anyone who adores well-crafted mystery, deeply developed characters, and settings that sing. Read and enjoy.

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“Dru controlled most of her waking hours, but she wouldn’t control Ella’s thoughts. You haven’t been the same size as your mother since you were ten.”         Ella

 

Alberta (Canada) inspirational novelist, Lisa J. Flickinger, just released a fun, summer novella based on the Cinderella story:

Ella Goodwin, abandoned by her father and abused by her stepsister, seeks to make sense of her new life as a prisoner in her own home. Squirreled away in the attic, she lets her imagination soar by designing and sewing a magnificent gown. However, all hopes of attending the masked ball are dashed when she’s discovered and her gown is stolen.

Thomas Bailey, withdrawn from active duty in the Foreign Service, struggles with a moral issue he must resolve if he wishes to keep his position. He arrives at his coworker’s home to deliver a parcel, a beautiful pair of red silk shoes, and unaware of any deception he agrees to escort the women of the house to the ball.

Chaos and confusion ensue as Thomas attempts to extricate himself from the clutches of an obnoxious stepsister. Will he unravel the mystery and learn the true identity of the beautiful woman who has captured his heart? Join author Lisa Flickinger as she takes you on a fairytale journey though time when life was simpler … or was it?

This fun and familiar novella reached #1 Christian Historical Fiction on Amazon.ca. Congrats, Lisa.

Lisa Flickinger

Lisa Flickinger, author of historical novels Fool’s Notion, and All That Glitters, lives and writes from the cliff of a river along the majestic Rocky Mountains. When not writing or reading, you will find her scouring antique shops to add to her collection of old ladders, brooms, linens … or sipping a maple latte with friends and family.

To purchase Ella, click on the cover above, or to visit Lisa, go to www.lisajflickinger.com

 

BONUS BOOK REVIEW by Janice L. Dick

Think Ever After with an underpinning of morality and faith, and the perfect spark of humor. Lisa J. Flickinger’s redo of the Cinderella story is entertaining and fresh.

Ella’s father is away on an extended military posting abroad, and his new wife has brought her two daughters, formerly unknown to her new husband, to live in the household. As the story goes, they mistreat Ella at every opportunity.

Ella has no way of contacting her father, until an officer shows up who has worked for him. But how can she contrive a way to convince him that she is the real daughter, and that her father’s estate is in jeopardy if left in the clutches of his new family? And what is this feeling that has arisen toward the man who has the power to step in and save her?

Oh, and the red slippers, brought along by Ella’s father’s emissary for his “only daughter.” Perfect. The mean stepsister claims them, then fabricates a long list of excuses and postponements to trying on the slippers, which are half the length of her foot. And in the end, whom do they fit? This is one of those stories that’s fun to read even though you know the ending. Or do you?

The truth is, the cover grabbed me first. It’s gorgeous, a more accurate rendering of a historical character than many I’ve seen on other historical fiction covers. Definitely a winner in my opinion.

I found the Ella novella to be engaging, and although it is based on a premise that good will win out, there is enough tension to keep me reading. I recommend this short book to all those who love fairy tales, especially those with a romantic bent.

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