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Today, I’m excited to introduce you to Linore Rose Burkard. I read some of her work, then signed up to do an ARC review of her latest novel, Forever, Lately. I thought, why not make a deal? I write a review for Linore, and she does an interview for me. Thanks, Linore, for taking time to answer a few questions about your writing/writing life.

JAN: Hi Linore. How long have you been writing and how did you come to it?

LINORE: I started writing at age nine after reading My Side of the Mountain. The story, inwhich a young boy is able to live by himself in peace on a mountainside, coupled with the ways he learned to survive, thrilled me. I immediately wrote a copycat novel with myself as the protagonist. Unfortunately, I didn’t recognize this as an inkling that I was meant to write; even in college, since I worked full time and wasn’t certain I could ace a creative writing class, I never took one. I majored in English Literature, but didn’t take creative writing out of fear. Only God would turn that girl around to make her a fiction writer!

JAN: What’s your preferred genre?

LINORE: Though I am a multi-genre author, I think my favorite is Regency romance. My contemporary novels seem to center on more serious themes, so there’s no fun like Regency fun. Ever since I stumbled upon Georgette Heyer and Marion Chesney in my twenties, I’ve loved that time period and the sometime madcap humor it supports.

JAN: Ahh. I certainly see humor in Forever, Lately. Tell us, why do you write?

LINORE: I think all (Christian) writers suffer from a mixture of motives along the lines of, ‘I write because I’m called to write, because God has gifted me for it.’ AND, ‘I write because I can’t help it. I can’t stop.’ While there are times in life when we can get more writing done and times when we’re too busy with family, or ministry, or just plain life, a writer will always return to the blank page. I could no more give up writing entirely than give up breathing, and to some degree, I think that’s universal for creatives, whatever their given sphere. (On a less noble vein, I also write because it’s fun. When a work isn’t making me pull my hair out, I’m loving it.)

JAN: How and where do you write?

LINORE: I can write just about anywhere. I wrote my first book mostly in one room, a basement bedroom in our house on Long Island. But I also scribbled scenes while my toddler son crawled across my lap upstairs, or in the car while Mike drove us somewhere we had to go. Since then, I have written each book in different places as my office space has changed with the needs of the family. When my oldest daughter left for college, her room became my office. When she came back, I moved upstairs. Later, I had a room at one end of the house, but then my husband started working from home and he needed it. I’ve worked on books from the sofa, from a temporary desk, on writing retreats, and in someone else’s house in order to escape home distractions. I’ve camped out in a coffee shop for hours and done writing. For me, it isn’t the space that matters most, but simply focusing on the work. I strongly prefer quieter places, but if there’s one advantage of growing up in a family with eight children, it’s that you learn to zone out noise!

JAN: Wow, that’s focus! Are you a plotter or a pantser?

LINORE: I wish with all my heart that I could say I’m a plotter. I do start every book with a good idea of where it’s going and how it must end. Aside from that, I’m a dyed-in-the-wool pantser. I may have a vague idea of what the villain or major obstacles will be, but nothing too concrete. I admire plotters. I think their method is superior in terms of efficiency. But I find that the more I write even without detailed outlining, I waste less time writing unnecessary scenes. I think I’ve grown an inner sense of what’s needed and what isn’t. And it’s not something that can easily be taught. Once, during a stressful week of college, the Lord graciously gave me an outline. I mean that, word for word. It was for a paper that was coming due. And I got enormous praise from my professor for the resulting paper, the easiest one I ever wrote. (He called it “Brilliant” and other wonderful things. He was actually excited by it.) Besides learning how much God cared for me and how he knows everything, that experience taught me that GOD IS AN OUTLINER! Unfortunately, I still can’t write good outlines and stick to them.

JAN: We do what works for us. Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

LINORE: I see many, many first drafts of newer writers who don’t realize that what they’ve got is only a first draft. I wish all writers understood that nearly all books go through edits, and the newer the writer, the more editing is likely needed. Too often, with the ease of self-publishing today, a writer is excited to “finish” a story and they rush to publish it. If you are a newer writer, my advice is to find three people who do NOT love you, and have them read your work and give you feedback. And hire an editor with experience. The retired school teacher, though she taught English, is not equivalent to an experienced book editor. Your book took a lot of work. Now give it the professional touch it deserves with good editing and manuscript preparation.

JAN: Great advice. Thanks so much for spending time with us today, and all the best on your future writing.

Website: http://www.LinoreBurkard.com

Bio: Linore Rose Burkard is a serious watcher of period films. She wrote a trilogy of regency romances“for the Jane Austen Soul,” which opened the genre for the CBA. Now a multi-genre author, including a YA/Suspense Pulse Effex Series written as L.R. Burkard, Linore is also the founder of Lilliput Press, where  “little dreams become books.”  Raised in NYC, she graduated magna cum laudefrom City University. Now living in Ohio, she juggles family life with homeschooling, editing, novel writing, and publishing. She is Vice President of the Dayton Christian Scribes, and a Regional Director of CAN, Christian Authors Network.

“Heartwarming Regency Romance”
“Gripping Suspense”
Let’s Connect!

Linore’s latest time-travel romance, Forever, Latelyis available NOW  on  Amazon.

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(NOTE: Possibly some early-story spoilers.)

I found Home Front to be a riveting novel about hopes, failures and new beginnings. A wife and mother is deployed to Iran, where her helicopter is shot down. While she’s away, her husband realizes what she means to him, but when she returns home broken in many ways, they must learn to cope or lose everything they’ve lived for.

This novel reaches into lives torn by war, separation and marital conflict. It also focuses on the reality of PTSD and how it affects the victim, the family, and others around them.

I am neither American nor military-minded, but I believe this novel is important for the reasons stated, and readable because of the skill of the author in presenting real characters who are far from perfect, who disappoint themselves and others, who don’t have the resources to fight their problems on their own.

Home Front is a novel of struggle and hope, an excellent read/listen.

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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)

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May 2019 New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:

When Love Won’t Wait by Roger E. Bruner — Laugh at Pastor Dan’s impulsive efforts to get out of the ministry and marry a woman of his own choosing by going against his domineering widowed mother’s wishes. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

A Perfect Amish Match by Vannetta Chapman — After three failed relationships, Amish bachelor Noah Graber would rather disappoint his parents than try again. But when matchmaker Olivia Mae Miller agrees to provide courting lessons, Noah’s perfect match becomes clear—it’s Olivia Mae herself! With ailing grandparents at home, she hadn’t planned on love or marriage. Might a future with Noah be everything she’s been missing? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Sing a New Song by Candee Fick — Songbird Gloria Houghton has always needed to be the center of attention, but the spotlight has shifted. Seeking fame and a fresh start, she finds a new stage in Branson, Missouri…only to risk being replaced by a manipulative rival. If Gloria can’t be the star, who is she? Jack-of-all-trades Nick Sherwood is just one leaf on a vast family tree that includes a restaurant chef, hotel owners, and even the headline act at a family-owned theater. He’s seen how fame can blind a person with jealousy and is more than content to stay in the background thank you very much. If only he wasn’t so fascinated–and irritated–by the newest addition to the staff. After a disaster of a first impression and financial difficulties land Gloria in the humblest of jobs—with Nick as her boss—it might be time for her to learn to sing a new song. (Contemporary Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Pigtails and a Tool Belt by Janetta Fudge-Messmer — The Christian Romance where circumstances seem impossible. But with God – all things are possible. (Contemporary Romance from Winged Publications)

Wooing Cadie McCaffrey by Bethany Turner — After four years of dating Will, Cadie questions his love for her and sends him packing. Their breakup only makes Will more determined to become the man Cadie wants him to be. With the help of his work buddies and tactics drawn from Cadie’s favorite romantic comedies, he devises a “foolproof” plan. What could possibly go wrong? (Contemporary Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing)

General Contemporary:

Over the Waters by Deborah Raney — As “Dr. Botox” to the bored rich women of Chicago, plastic surgeon Max Jordan was shocked by the decision of his son, Joshua, to focus his medical talent on Haitian orphans. Embittered by Joshua’s death, Max searches for resolution in the very place his son called home. The selfless labor of Joshua’s coworkers stuns Max. He is particularly taken by American volunteer Valerie Austin, whose dream of a honeymoon on a tropical beach were crushed, replaced by a stint working in the impoverished orphanage. But Valerie’s view of Joshua’s sacrifice challenges everything Max has lived for. Now Max wonders if he can ever return to his “Max-a-Million” lifestyle, or if the doors to his gilded cage have finally opened. (General Contemporary from Raney Day Press)

Historical:

True Freedom by Carol Ashby — When a Roman slave rescues his master’s daughter from the kidnapping arranged by her own brother, will his sacrificial service earn the freedom and love he never dreamed possible, or will it only end in death? (Historical from Cerrillo Press)

Historical Romance:

The Daughter’s Predicament by Mary Eileen Davis — Can a patient love win her heart? As Isabelle Atwood’s romance prospects are turning in her favor, a family scandal derails her dreams. While making a quilt for her own hope chest, Isabelle’s half-sister becomes pregnant out of wedlock and Isabelle–always the unfavored daughter–becomes the family sacrifice to save face. Isabelle loves her sister, but with three suitors interested, will she really allow herself to be manipulated into a marriage without love? Or will the man leaving her secret love poems sweep her off her feet? (Historical Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

Mail-Order Mishaps by Susan Page Davis, Linda Ford, Vickie McDonough, and Erica Vetsch — In The Bride’s Dilemma by Susan Page Davis, Eve Martin arrives in Cheyenne to learn that man she came to marry is in jail, accused of a violent murder. But has God brought her here to help save Caleb Blair’s life? In Romancing the Rancher by Linda Ford, Amelia expects a safe home for herself and her niece in Montana as mail-order bride to Zach Taggerty. Only Zach has never heard of her. In The Marriage Sham by Vickie McDonough, Texas mail-order bride Zola Bryant is a widowed newlywed. Worse, they were never truly wed because the officiant was an outlaw not a preacher. What will she do now that her life and reputation are in tatters? In The Galway Girl by Erica Vetsch, a mail-order mix-up sends Irish lass Maeve O’Reilly to the Swedish community of Lindsborg, Kansas. Will Kaspar Sandberg consider it a happy accident or a disaster to be rectified as soon as possible? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Lord of Her Heart by Sherrinda Ketchersid — Lady Jocelyn Ashburne suspects something is amiss at her family’s castle because her father ceases to write to her. When she overhears a plot to force her into vows—either to the church or a husband—she disguises herself and flees the convent in desperation to discover the truth. Malcolm Castillon of Berkham is determined to win the next tournament and be granted a manor of his own. After years of proving his worth on the jousting field, he yearns for a life of peace. Rescuing a scrawny lad who turns out to be a beautiful woman is not what he bargained for. Still, he cannot deny that she stirs his heart like no other, in spite of her conniving ways. Chaos, deception, and treachery threaten their goals, but both are determined to succeed. Learning to trust each other might be the only way either of them survives. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Love’s Belief by Linda Shenton Matchett — When the Third Reich implements mandates that require Jewish babies and other “undesirables” to be killed as part of The Final Solution, is midewife Pia Hertz’s new faith in Christ strong enough to defy the laws of man? Dieter Fertig is relieved he’s no longer part of Hitler’s army, despite the reason–a battle that cost his arm. After he returns to Berlin, only to discover the Nuremburg Laws require his best friend’s baby girl to be killed, he must find a way to spirit the child out of Germany before the Nazis discover her existence. (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)

Shelter Bay by Pamela S. Meyers — Adventurous bicyclist Maureen Quinn and her best friend, Preston Stevens, a member of the U.S. Life Saving Service, find love and face life-altering events on the shores of Lake Michigan. (Historical Romance from Mantle Rock Publishing)

Mystery:

Fallen Leaf by Julie B. Cosgrove — When a DNA kit reveals blond, blue-eyed Jessica Warren is half Cherokee, she confronts her adoptive parents and learns her birth father is in prison…for murder! Now he wants her help in exonerating him. Can Jessica trust the handsome, young Tulsa district attorney to help, or does he have an agenda of his own? (Cozy Mystery from Write Integrity Press)

Bitter Pill by Richard L. Mabry, MD — Things were going along just fine until the miracle fouled them up. (Medical Mystery, Independently Published)

Latter-day Cipher by Latayne C. Scott — Kirsten Young, a well-known and rebellious Utah heiress, is found murdered in Provo Canyon. The strange markings carved into her flesh and the note written in 19th century code seem to cast a shadow on ancient Mormon laws. Journalist Selonnah Zee is assigned to cover the story– and it quickly grows out of control. (Historical Mystery from Moody)

Romantic Suspense:

Running Target by Elizabeth Goddard — A routine patrol turns deadly when marine deputy Bree Carrington’s boat is sunk by men carrying illegal weapons. Fleeing a barrage of bullets, she’s suddenly rescued by DEA agent Quinn Strand—her ex-boyfriend. Quinn’s return threatens more than Bree’s heart…because he’s the one the men are really after. As criminals hunt her to get to him, can Quinn and Bree take down a drug ring? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Speculative:

The Pages of Her Life by James L. Rubart — Allison Moore’s dad was living a secret life and left her mom in massive debt. As she scrambles to help her mom find a way out, she’s given a journal, anonymously, during a visit to her favorite coffee shop. The pressure to rescue her mom mounts, and Allison pours her fears and heartache into the journal. But then the unexplainable happens. The words in the journal, her words, begin to disappear. And new ones fill the empty spaces—words that force her to look at everything she knows about herself in a new light. Ignoring those words could cost her everything…but so could embracing them. (Speculative from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

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I belong to a writing group that meets twice a month. It’s great to talk shop, critique the pieces members have sent out ahead of time, and discuss in a group the ideas we have concerning the submissions. We learn as much from critiquing as from submitting.

Our group holds a workshop every year, supported by the Saskatchewan Writer’s Guild, of which most of us are members. This year’s guest asked what we did in and with the community to make people aware of our existence and to promote the art of writing. We were silent as we looked around the table at each other. We meet regularly, but don’t reach far beyond that. The presenter encouraged us to become more visible and active in our area.

“Let’s host a coffeehouse,” suggested one of our members. “We can each present a short reading and invite people from the area.”

The event was organized and advertised, and the people came. Not a lot, but more than just the readers and their families. A good beginning.

image credit pixabay.com

We invited a local businessman/musician to play guitar and sing for us, which added to the ambiance, and each of us read a short piece from our work. Of course, there was coffee and snacks as well. At the end of the evening, the emcee, not a member of our group, announced that this was the first “annual” writer’s workshop, and the audience applauded. Those who had never heard of us before, or didn’t know who “we” were, said they were looking forward to next year’s offering, and would bring others with them. We, as members, felt supported and positive.

Not every community needs the same kind of event, but if you are part of a writing group, it’s good to create a way others can hear about you and offer interest and support. Why not set up a short program and put the coffee on?

image credit pixabay.com

 

 

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April 2019 New Releases

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

Children’s:

The Heart Changer by Jarm Del Boccio — Miriam is asked to do the impossible: serve the wife of Naaman, commander of the Syrian army. Clinging to treasured memories of home and faith, Miriam faces captivity with bitterness. Little does she know the Heart Changer is preparing her for a greater mission — far beyond what she could imagine. (Children’s from Ambassador International)

Contemporary Romance:

Faith and Hope by Amy R. Anguish — Younger sister Hope has lost her job, her car, and her boyfriend all in one day. Her well-laid plans for life have gone sideways, as has her hope in God. Older sister Faith is finally getting her dream-come-true after years of struggles and prayers. But when her mom talks her into letting Hope move in for the summer, will the stress turn her dream into a nightmare? Is her faith in God strong enough to handle everything? For two sisters who haven’t gotten along in years, this summer together could be a disaster…or it could lead them to a closer relationship with each other and God. Can they overcome all life is throwing at them? Or is this going to destroy their relationship for good? (Contemporary Romance from Mantle Rock Publishing)

Match Made in Heaven by Julie Arduini — Beth Prescott wants to make a difference with the senior citizens she serves as a volunteer coordinator, but their matchmaking efforts leave her guarded. She’s experienced too much pain to make that leap again. Dean Kellerman returns to the Finger Lakes area to help his grandfather and heal his own broken heart. He’s recommitted his life to Christ, and doesn’t want any distractions.
When his grandfather needs assistance with a senior program, it places Dean right in Beth’s path. Can these two surrender their pasts to Christ and have faith in each other and their future? (Contemporary Romance from Surrendered Scribe Media)

An Amish Reunion by Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, Kathleen Irvin, and Beth WisemanTheir True Home by Amy Clipston: Marlene Bawell’s new friendship with an old crush is threatened when change once again disrupts the home she’s tried to make in Bird-in-Hand. A Reunion of Hearts by Beth Wiseman: Separated after tragic grief, husband and wife Ruth and Gideon Beiler are reunited when they accept an invitation to a family reunion they each believe the other has declined. A Chance to Remember by Kathleen Fuller: Cevilla Schlabach, Birch Creek’s resident octogenarian matchmaker, is surprised when Richard, a man from her Englisch past, arrives in Birch Creek for a visit. While he and Cevilla take several walks down memory lane, they wonder what the future holds for them at this stage of life—friendship, or the possibility of something else? Mended Hearts by Kelly Irvin: Abandoned by her father, penitent single mother Hannah Kauffman finds support in her old friend Phillip, who has loved her for years, but fears risking another mistake by opening herself up to love. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson and Zondervan])

Her New Amish Family by Carrie Lighte — Widower Seth Helmuth needs a mother for his sons, but for now, hiring the Englischer next door as their nanny will have to do. Trina Smith plans to stay in Amish country only long enough to claim her inheritance and sell her grandfather’s house. But as she falls for Seth, his twin boys and Amish life, will she inherit a home and a family? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Beauty for Ashes by Kathleen Neely — Well-known novelist Nathan Drummond revisits painful memories when family responsibilities force him to return to his home town. Although he’d intended the living situation to be temporary, Nathan didn’t count on falling in love. As guilty memories threaten a return of panic attacks, Nathan begins to write a novel paralleling the tragic event from his youthful folly. Will the novel be seen as a work of fiction, or will it expose his secret? (Contemporary Romance from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])

Restoring Her Faith by Jennifer Slattery — An artist fighting to save her career must find a way to work with the handsome yet stubborn cowboy overseeing a church restoration project–without falling for his southern charm. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Sweet On You by Becky Wade — Britt Bradford and Zander Ford have been the best of friends since they met thirteen years ago. Unbeknown to Britt, Zander has been in love with her for just as long. As they work together to investigate Zander’s uncle’s mysterious death, will the truth of what lies between them also, finally, come to light? (Contemporary Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

General Contemporary:

The Edge of Mercy by Heidi Chiavaroli — A dying request from an elderly neighbor forces a woman in a troubled marriage to find the 300-year-old story of a young colonial woman—one forced into an unwanted betrothal but drawn to a man forbidden to her by society. (General Contemporary from Hope Creek Publishers)

All My Tears by Kathy McKinsey — Meet five women who struggle with life’s deep sorrows. Beth fights to recover from alcoholism and to mend her relationships with her family. Ann doesn’t believe God will forgive her. Kathleen wrestles with a years-old fear and with saving her marriage. Cassie needs to learn to deal with chronic depression. Martie finds herself the single parent of the eight-year-old niece she barely knows when the child’s parents die in a car wreck.
See how God gives them the gifts of hope, healing, and love. (General Contemporary from Mantle Rock Publishers)

Historical:

The Refuge by Ann H Gabhart — Can Darcie Goodwin find love and a way to keep her baby in a community that doesn’t believe in marriage or individual family units? (Historical from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Historical Romance:

The Artful Match by Jennifer Delamere — At loose ends in London after a near-tragedy, Cara Bernay finds herself at odds with the Earl of Morestowe after she befriends his brother, a talented but troubled young artist. Soon she finds herself drawn to the earl as she becomes more involved with his family. Like Cara, they are suffering from unresolved mistakes in their past. Can they form an unlikely alliance and find a way to a new beginning? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

The Golden Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse — Olivia Brighton finds herself widowed and working her brother’s restaurant in San Francisco during the height of the 1849 Gold Rush. Even though she receives at least twenty marriage proposals a day, she will never marry a gold miner. Her brother’s friend Joseph Sawyer has gotten caught up in local politics and the plight of Chinese in forced labor. The more Joseph gets pulled into investigating crime in the city, the less Olivia sees of the compassionate man. And just when she thinks she could love again, a fire threatens to steal all hope. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:

Justice Delivered by Patricia Bradley — An escaped victim of sex trafficking must find the courage to report her captors to the authorities—some of whom could be corrupt—when her niece is kidnapped by the ringleader. (Romantic Suspense from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

You Shouldn’t Have by Susan Page Davis — “I SAW MY NEIGHBOR MURDER HIS WIFE!” But the police don’t believe Petra Wilson. There’s no body, no evidence, no murder. But Petra knows what she saw. And now her dangerous neighbor knows it, too. Her sisters introduce her to private investigator Joe Tarleton. Petra tells Joe her story, expecting him to decide there is no case. But the dedicated P.I. accepts her word, and he vows to uncover the truth. Still, he can’t guard Petra twenty-four hours a day. In spite of her precautions, her neighbor makes inroads in her vulnerability. Petra is left open to a killer intent on silencing the only living witness. (Romantic Suspense from Tea Tin Press)

Beauty in Battle by Robin Patchen — Harper doesn’t want to return to Maryland to face the police. The mess she left behind makes her look guilty of the worst, but it’s too late to run again. Red is safe and the authorities are waiting. At least Jack is by her side.
Now that Jack knows the truth, his feelings for Harper are deeper than ever. He’s not about to leave her side, especially knowing a killer is after her. But Derrick is on their trail, and he’s come unhinged. And he may not be the biggest threat lurking. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])

Speculative:

Flight of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse — Selene Ravenwood, once the heir to House Ravenwood, is now an exile. On the run and free of her family’s destiny, Selene hopes to find the real reason her family was given the gift of dreamwalking. But first she must adapt to her new role as wife to Lord Damien Maris, the man she was originally assigned to kill. While adjusting to her marriage and her home in the north, her power over dreams begins to grow. As the strongest dreamwalker to exist in ages, her expanding power attracts not only nightmares but the attention of the Dark Lady herself. With a war looming on the horizon and a wicked being after her gift, Selene is faced with a choice: accept the Dark Lady’s offer or search out the one who gave her the gift of dreamwalking. One path offers power, the other freedom. But time is running out, and if she doesn’t choose soon, her decision will be made for her. (Speculative Fantasy from Bethany House [Baker])

Snow Globe Travelers: Samuel’s Legacy by K.A. Cummins — Transported into another world, an Austrian girl must face a genetically-engineered warrior with an army of vicious hybrids. (Hard Science Fiction (for Children), Independently Published)

The Baggage Handler by David Rawlings — A hothead businessman coming to the city for a showdown meeting to save his job. A mother of three hoping to survive the days at her sister’s house before her niece’s wedding. And a young artist pursuing his father’s dream so he can keep his own alive. When David, Gillian, and Michael each take the wrong suitcases from baggage claim, the airline directs them to retrieve their bags at a mysterious facility in a deserted part of the city. There they meet the enigmatic Baggage Handler, who shows them there is more in their baggage than what they have packed, and carrying it with them is slowing them down in ways they can’t imagine. And they must deal with it before they can leave. (Speculative Allegory from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson and Zondervan])

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There are three books in the Out from Egypt series, and I will give you a glimpse into each below:

#1 COUNTED WITH THE STARS

A book worth reading, the first of the Out from Egypt series by Connilyn Cossette. Five stars!

Kiya is a young Egyptian woman who has been sold into slavery by her father, in order to save the rest of her family. She works for a cruel woman, alongside a Hebrew girl, Shira, who tells her about the Almighty God of the Hebrews. Readers experience the biblical plagues through the eyes of Kiya and Shira, and follow along as these two women become aware that this invisible God loves them personally.

 

 

 

#2 SHADOW OF THE STORM

Again, 5 stars for this excellent story that takes us into the heart of the Hebrew people and their God.

This novel follows the story of the former Egyptian slave, Kiya (see review of the first book, Counted With the Stars, above), as she travels with the Hebrews out of Egypt, but focuses on the former Hebrew slave, Shira, who befriended Kiya while under the same cruel mistress.

Shira has told Kiya about the God of the Hebrews, and in this second volume of the Out from Egypt series, Shira must learn to depend upon this God in practical ways. Faced by betrayal, disloyalty and fear, Shira journeys through the desert of her own self-doubt.

An excellent biblical fiction, this is a story of God’s love and forgiveness, a reminder that Almighty God longs for us to be His, to follow Him and receive His help and blessing and hope. The author portrays the characters realistically, in a setting that is foreign to the readers, but brings us into the life of the Israelite camp under the shadow of the Cloud.

#3 WINGS OF THE WIND

Wings of the Wind is the third and final book in the Out of Egypt series by Connilyn Cossette. This series has been a renewing read for me, featuring biblical content sensitively and as accurately handled as possible, with strong takeaways.

This third book, set in the fortieth year of Israel’s desert wanderings, and shortly before the fall of Jericho, features Alanah, a young Canaanite woman rescued during the ravages of war, and Tobiah, the Israelite warrior who saved her. As per Torah law, Israelite men were required to marry a woman taken in war, so Tobiah, against the wishes of his family and friends, marries Alanah, rather than sending her to her death in the wilderness.

That’s the only part of the plot that is anywhere near expectation, and one aspect that makes it a great read. Alanah and Tobiah face many tense situations and misunderstandings in their life together, life-and-death events, and matters of the heart.

During the course of Alanah’s struggles and lostness, she discovers that the God of the Hebrews is much more than the gods of her people, which she neither loves nor trusts. One of my favorite parts is when she first tastes manna. It becomes one of the pivotal occurrences of her new life, one she sees as a direct provision from this Hebrew God.

There are a few characters from the previous books, but since almost everyone from the older generation died before entering Canaan, these are few.

A definite recommendation to readers of biblical/historical fiction, with 5 stars.

NOTE: I hated to leave the characters of this series, so borrowed another book by Connilyn Cossette, only to realize that she carries on the story of the Hebrews in the Promised Land with her new series: Cities of Refuge.

 

 

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