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51spno9f2klIt’s September, 1871. Tessa Taylor has braved the journey from Detroit to Eagle Harbor in northern Michigan to escape her past, but also to lay hold of the future as a schoolteacher for the children in this rough mining community.

However, Tessa is not welcomed by the people of Eagle Harbor. She learns quickly that the mine superintendent, Percival Updegraff, runs the town in every way, and he does not appreciate a female teacher, nor someone who stands up to him. Apparently, he will stop at nothing to control her as he does every other person and aspect of life in this harsh town. Except the Bjorklund brothers.

Tessa is impressed with Alex and Michael Bjorklund and their independence from Updegraff, until she learns that they run the lighthouse. Memories of her family’s involvement with another lighthouse and the resulting loss and heartache, have made her swear never to set foot in one again.

The more Tessa learns about the sinister life of Eagle Harbor, the more determined she is to stay and change things for the better. But how will she manage to avoid her worst fears when people come to count on her? And how will she choose between two men who both desperately need her?

Author Jody Hedlund has crafted a fine novel in Undaunted Hope. It is a story of determination, faith and unexpected love. The characters are realistic and flawed, which makes them believable. I love the variety of secondary characters that inhabit Eagle Harbor. The plot is layered with tension, conflict and romance, as well as the hope that the title promises. The setting aptly describes mining life and the running of a lighthouse, and the author paces the story with mishaps and lighthearted humor in the midst of impending disaster. An altogether pleasing read.

Check out Jody’s website for other award-winning titles.

 

 

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November 2016 New Releases

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

Biblical:

Slender Reeds: Jochebed’s Hope by Texie Susan Gregory — In a deadly race to save her son, a young slave woman dares defy the most powerful man in the world. (Biblical from Barbour Publishing)

Contemporary Romance:

Crazy Woman Christmas by Renee Blare — A quiet cowboy whisks Bianca to his ranch to ride out the Christmas blizzard where she discovers life is cold but also beautiful in the “Cowboy” state. (Contemporary Romance from Inspired [Prism Book Group])

Other Than a Halo by Valerie Comer — Even though she’s a new woman in Christ, single mom Bren Haddock was no angel as a teen. Now managing the Hiller Farm for a CSA, life is good until a friend offers to enter her daughter into the Little Miss Snowflake Pageant. Old insecurities flare when she meets the intriguing head of marketing the pageant. Rob Santoro isn’t so sure about handling the pageant portfolio until he meets Bren. Soon he’s fallen for her and her two kids. When a Thanksgiving adventure goes awry, he’s left wondering how to love a woman who refuses to be loved. What will it take for Bren to retire her tarnished halo and move into the future God has for her? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Do You Know What I Know? by Becky Melby — What if a phone call from the obstetrician’s office went to the wrong person? Elizabeth Schmidt can’t figure out why her husband doesn’t seem excited about the news she’s sure he heard. Is he unhappy? Or is James cheating on her? Pastor Jay Davidson is in shock. Bethany Schmidt, the woman he’s in love with, is pregnant. Should he walk away, or is God asking him to play the part of Joseph in real life and not just in the church Christmas program? Bethany can’t figure out why Jay is acting so weird. Has he figured out one of the two secrets she’s keeping until after Christmas? Can a ponytailed itinerant carpenter with a pet chicken help unravel the confusion? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

How to Charm a Beekeeper’s Heart by Candice Sue Patterson — Weddings are the last thing beekeeper Huck Anderson wants to be associated with, considering his past. So when he inherits a building occupied by a bridal boutique, he aims to evict the failing business and open a sporting goods store. That is until his tenant ends up being Arianne Winters, a woman he’s indebted to from a mistake made years ago. When a life-threatening injury derails Huck entirely, Arianne offers to aid in his lengthy recovery if he’ll allow her to remain in his building. But nursing her adversary proves challenging when her adolescent crush resurfaces. (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay — After a whirlwind romance and marriage, Emily Price returns home to Italy with her new husband and learns that life at its richest is only found when she accepts its chaotic beauty. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson and Zondervan])

Contemporary Women’s Fiction:

Forgiveness by Marianne Evans — Country music bad boy, Chase Bradington is on the comeback trail. Fresh from rehab for alcohol addiction and transformed by the power of Christ, Chase is battling to rediscover the music he loves and a career he nearly ruined. Then he meets up-and-comer, Pyper Brock and instantly sparks ignite. Despite her rampant attraction to the handsome and talented icon, Pyper knows of Chase’s reputation and soundly dismisses his romantic overtures. No way will Pyper repeat the mistake of trusting a man whose done battle with the bottle. Can a sin-damaged past be released in favor of forgiveness? (Women’s Fiction from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])

Historical:

Beneath a Golden Veil by Melanie Dobson — As elegant as the Sacramento residence she operates, Isabelle Labrie keeps her past concealed, like the treasure she hides under the Golden Hotel. Then, unexpected guests—fugitive slaves seeking safe passage to the North—force her to confront her past and reconsider her path. (Historical from Waterfall Press)

Forest Child by Heather Day Gilbert — Historically based on the Icelandic Sagas, Forest Child brings the memorable, conflicted persona of Freydis Eiriksdottir to life. (Historical from Elk Lake Publishing Inc.)

The Lost Generation by Erica Marie Hogan — On August 5th 1914, the world changed forever. For John and Beth Young, it meant the happiness they finally achieved was snatched out from under them. For Emma Cote, it meant that her husband Jared would do his duty, despite her feelings. For Christy Simmons it meant an uncertain future with the boy she loved. The lives of six people, spread across the British Empire to America were changed forever. (Historical from Elk Lake Publishing Inc.)

Historical Romance:

The Blue Ribbon Brides Collection by Jennifer AlLee, Angela Breidenbach, Darlene Franklin, Cynthia Hickey, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Amber Stockton, Niki Turner, Gina Welborn, and Becca Whitham — Meet nine men and women whose competitive goals take them to state and county fairs between 1889 and 1930. From baking pie to polishing pigs, from sculpting butter to stitching quilts, everyone has something to prove to themselves and their communities. But in going for the blue ribbon, will nine women miss the greatest prize of all—the devoted heart of a godly man? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Left at the Altar by Margaret Brownley — In the wild and untamed West, time is set by the local jeweler…but Two-Time Texas has two: two feuding jewelers and two wildly conflicting time zones. Meg Lockwood’s marriage was supposed to unite the families and finally bring peace until she’s left at the altar by her no-good fiancé. Hired to defend the groom against a breach of promise lawsuit, Grant Garrison quickly realizes that the only thing worse than small-town trouble is falling for the jilted bride. But there’s something about Meg’s sweet smile and determined grit that draws him in…even as the whole crazy town seems set on keeping them apart. (Historical Romance from Sourcebooks)

Mail Order Mommy by Christine Johnson — Nursing a broken heart, Amanda Porter had answered a frontier mail-order bride ad placed by Garrett Decker’s children—only to find the groom-to-be didn’t want a wife. But his adorable children are determined she’ll be their mother by Christmas… His wife’s betrayal and tragic death demolished Garrett’s life. Now he can’t even look at another woman, let alone marry Amanda, who resembles his first love. But with his daughter convinced Amanda is the perfect mother, will Garrett realize she’s also his perfect match? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Hope’s Design by Dawn Kinzer — An independent city girl aspiring to be a fashion designer falls for a stubborn artist from the country who wants to keep his talent a secret. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Brides of Wyoming by S. Dionne Moore — Roam the Wyoming range alongside three couples who meet under danger from bands of outlaws. Renee escapes a gang of outlaws and lands in the arms of a sheepherder. Olivia’s sleuthing upturns secrets key to solving the murder of a reluctant rancher’s father. Maira is trying to keep her ranch running alone when a drifting cowboy offers a hand. Can love develop where suspicion and greed roam the range? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

The Negotiated Marriage by Christina Rich — When the railroad pushes to buy her land, orphaned Cameron Sims will do anything to keep the only home she and her sisters have ever known. Even if she must marry a stranger. Duncan Murray doesn’t want a wife. He wants Sims Creek, a sanctuary that can help him forget a troubled childhood. But his reluctant, and captivating, bride-to-be is key to making his dreams a reality. And despite their business arrangement, Camy and Duncan might be signing on the dotted line for true love… (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Love in the Seams by Jodie Wolfe — A little girl on a quest for a new mama has the local seamstress in her sights. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Romantic Suspense:

His Perfect Love by Sharon K. Connell — On the run from a hit man, Patricia Campbell is unaware of the FBI’s search for her to learn what information she might hold, so she continues to hide out. Then she meets a persistent computer technician, a charming philanthropist, and a handsome, wealthy businessman who wants to marry her. But her fears resurface, and she wonders if she can trust any of them. Can she survive long enough to find peace…and perfect love? (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

Counter Point by Marji Laine — Her dad’s gone, her diner’s closing, and her car’s in the lake. Cat McPherson has nothing left to lose … except her life. And a madman, bent on revenge, is determined to take that, as well. Her former boyfriend, Ray Alexander, returns as a hero from his foreign mission, bringing back souvenirs in the form of death-threats. When several attempts are made on Cat’s life, she must find a way to trust Ray, the man who broke her heart. (Romantic Suspense from Write Integrity Press)

Speculative:

The Flaming Sword by Heather L.L. FitzGerald — When evil joins forces in the Tethered World, Sadie Larcen must risk all to protect the Flaming Sword and her family…even if it takes her life. (Speculative Young Adult from Mountain Brook Ink)

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51Y8gZvg0mL._SY346_This first book in the Serena Jones Mystery series begins with the words: “I should have listened to my mother.” The story ends with the same words, but don’t jump ahead.

Serena Jones, twenty-eight and single, has joined the FBI as an art crime detective. She loves the work, although it often puts her in danger. One of her quirks is that she’s terrified of elevators, which can be dicey when she’s escaping down multiple flights of stairs in high heels.

Serena has a curious relationship with her boss, Tanner Calhoun, who is about ten years her senior. She tries to follow his directives, but often her own ideas take precedence, resulting in frustration between them, coupled with a certain level of mutual attraction.

Nate Butler, the superintendent of Serena’s apartment building, is more her age and also very good looking. He can be depended upon to rescue her in times of trouble.

A Fool & His Monet carries a creative plot with a good supply of red herrings and possible suspects. The story it a fast-paced whodunit with many twists and turns and double-backs.

Author Sandra Orchard has produced a tightly written, clean and professional book that is superbly researched. It sparks with tension, a strong plotline, an intriguing romantic triangle, realistic characters, credible settings and good action.

The mood is light, fed by wacky humor that will be sure to tickle the reader. On page 13, Serena refers to the bullet-riddled desk as “newly aerated.” She tends to compare people to movie stars. She admits that no matter how quirky her family is, she craves their approval. And she lives among nosy neighbors.

The first chapter of Orchard’s next book appears at the end of this one, which is enticing because although the necessary storylines have been tied up for the first book, there are still some threads left to be resolved over the course of the series.

A Fool & His Monet has been endorsed by a list of excellent authors such as Susan May Warren, Lorena McCourtney, Patricia Bradley and Christy Barritt. It’s published by Revell, categorized as mystery fiction, Christian fiction, detective fiction.

I encourage you to come along for the ride. It’s a blast.

press-kit-headshotSandra Orchard is a multi-award-winning author of mysteries and romantic suspense  She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America and The Word Guild (Canada). A mother of three grown children, she lives in Niagara, Canada with her real-life-hero husband and writes full time…when not doting on her young grandchildren.  Learn more about Sandra’s books and bonus features at www.SandraOrchard.comor connect at www.Facebook.com/SandraOrchard

Sandra is represented by Steve Laube of the Steve Laube Agency.

 

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51wrxfWrGAL._AA160_Two sisters, two dreams.

Vivian Connor wants nothing more than peace and contentment. She is the generous, caring older sister who does her best to look after her younger siblings and her parents. But her younger sister Virginia—Ginny—“will suffocate if I have to stay in this house one more minute.” Her dreams prove to be much broader and wilder than any of her friends or family can guess. No matter what Vivian says, Ginny cannot be dissuaded from forging ahead toward her dreams.

When Ginny gets herself into more trouble than she bargained for, believing that her “friend” Logan will truly strike it rich in the Klondike, Vivian determines to rescue her, with God’s help. But how can she leave to follow Ginny when her father’s health is failing, and her parents struggle with enormous financial burdens?

Alistair, a young doctor from the town where the Connor family now lives, has also been seeing Ginny and has fallen for her. When he realizes her dangerous situation, he determines to find and give what aid he is able.

Ben McCormack, a local farmer whom Vivian has met in town, has arranged to marry a girl from Dawson City, although he’s never met her. He ends up traveling the same route as Vivian and discovers that, against his will, he has feelings for her.

Author Lisa Flickinger writes a riveting historical fiction set in the time of the Klondike Gold Rush, a time when vast numbers of men—and women—are consumed with greed as they risk all to seek their fortunes. She has done her research well, making the situations and locations real and believable, from the busy and dangerous waterfront, to Dawson City and the desolate tent communities nearby. Lisa writes from a Christian worldview, offering hope in the face of extreme distress.

The main characters in this book are individual and distinct, but they also grow and change as they meet with obstacles in their paths. The wide variance in characters adds to the tension in the book, especially between Vivian and Ginny. How can you help someone who doesn’t wish to be helped?

I think the plot is the strongest element of this story. The reader truly cannot foresee what will happen next. The twists and turns defy imagination. This story kept me flipping quickly through screens as I read, wishing I could warn Ginny, encourage Vivian, applaud Alistair and ask Ben what he was thinking.

I’d recommend this book as a good read for anyone who appreciates historical fiction with a strong plot, a Christian message and a positive takeaway.

 

Author Lisa Flickinger

Author Lisa Flickinger

Wife of one, mother of three, and grandmother of seven, I live and write in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains of Alberta. My journey to publication began in the stacks of our local library where I devoured fiction as a young girl and created small books out of construction paper.

When I’m not writing or reading, you will find me combing through antique shops, walking in the woods with my faithful Labrador Zeke, or sipping a Creme Brulee latte with friends. 

The release of my first novel All That Glitters fulfills the lifelong dream of sharing the characters in my head with you, dear reader.

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I admit it. I’m a sucker for a good romance now and then. I like it even better is if there’s more to the story than romance, more depth of character and plot.517EweYbSwL._AA324_PIkin4,BottomRight,-54,22_AA346_SH20_OU15_

All for Anna is just that. Author Nicole Deese offers realistic characters, clearly established settings, engaging dialogue, and a plot that keeps twisting. The kind of book that keeps the reader turning the pages/tapping the screen.

Victoria Sales, better known to most as Tori, has been involved in a devastating car accident, and her guilt has escalated to the point of severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Her family can’t reach her. She has distanced herself from social situations. Her chosen method of coping is to bury herself in her job as an ER nurse and to run long distances in her off hours. No time to think, no time to feel…and although she doesn’t realize it, no time to heal.

Tori moves back to Dallas to stay with her sister after a self-imposed seventeen-month “working exile” in Phoenix. Her sister is pregnant, and since her husband must be away for an extended time, Tori agrees to stay with her. The situation works well, as long as Tori continues to drown out the pain with work and running.

Then she meets Kai Alesana, a hunky EMT, and her determination to hold her pain inside begins to crumble. Will he be able to draw Tori out of herself? Will she learn to trust him?

Just as she begins to gain confidence that her inner devastation can improve, flashbacks drag her back to square one. As her friends and family do their best to support her, she begins to open up to the possibility that God cares about her. We think we see an upward trend, until Kai reveals a secret that sets Tori against him and everyone else in her life.

Author Deese has obviously researched PTSD extensively, and has successfully shown the progress of the disorder through the character of Tori. I appreciated the author’s realistic approach, in that Tori experiences no sudden miraculous turnaround that leaves her healed. As in most cases, the comeback is slow, unsteady, riddled with obstacles to healing.

I was so intrigued by the story I had to stop everything else to finish reading. A well-written story, a memorable plot, a lovely romantic line, recommendable to anyone who likes Christian romance.

Only one issue kept me from giving it the full five stars: after the halfway point, there were a number of grammar and usage glitches that interrupted the flow of the narrative. Although there were apparently many beta-readers involved in the proofreading, there could have been a couple more, in my opinion. Other than that, I loved the book and look forward to more from Nicole Deese. See below for the second and third books in the Letting Go series.

Books Two and Three of the Letting Go series can be read as stand alones, but they involve characters from Deese’s first book.

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UnknownFrom the introduction to the final page, Threaten to Undo Us is an intense and fast-moving historical novel. Even though the story covers several decades, the author seamlessly connects time lapses and points of view without interfering with the storyline. In the introduction, we see Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt discussing the redrawing of Poland after World War II. At the receiving end of their dictates, war-weary Poles live with the aftermath. Consequently, millions of Germans living east of the “Oder-Neisse line” are forced to leave their homes, to be treated inhumanely by their new Communist overlords. It’s obvious from the first pages of this novel that the author has done extensive research on World War II and the post-war period, creating a story both realistic and credible. Ernst and Liesel are happy to live quietly and securely in their home. The house is solid, the barn stalls occupied, the garden flourishing, and their children happy. But things have not always been so. Liesel remembers hiding from the Bolsheviks during her childhood back in 1919, and the memories terrify her. Now, a man named Hitler is determined to change the world. Ernst resists enlisting in the German army, but his resistance is suspect, especially from his brother, who is an active member of Hitler’s Nazionale Socialist Party (Nazis).  When Ernst is eventually conscripted into the Wehrmacht, Liesel is left alone to care for the farm and the children. Life is difficult. Polish neighbors reject them because of their ethnicity, and their food supply dwindles. Then Liesel, pregnant and terrified, must flee with the children into the unending night of turmoil. When the tide of war shifts against Germany, the army suffers at the hands of the Russians. Ernst is listed as missing in action somewhere in Russia. Liesel is homeless and desperate. As months turn into years, they move from hope to despair, wondering if they will ever find each other again. How will the re-configuration of their home country affect their lives? Will their faith remain intact? Author Rose Seiler Scott does an exemplary job of keeping the reader in the story. Intensity is ratcheted up by character dilemmas and constantly escalating conflict. Every scene is woven into solid setting without excess description. People suffer and are forever changed. Threaten to Undo Us is skillfully shown, finely crafted. I believe this book will have a substantial impact on readers of historical fiction, as well as people whose families have gone through war and its aftermath. Rose Seiler Scott

Rose Seiler Scott is the author of “Threaten to Undo Us” which is due for release May 1, 2015. She is also a contributing writer to “Hot Apple Cider with Cinnamon,” due out September. Says Rose: “I live in Surrey, BC with my husband and our two youngest who aren’t really children anymore. Until our daughter was born, I was the lone feminine voice in a crowd of loud and louder, but the older two are married, which nicely evens the male-female ratio when everyone comes to dinner. “I knew when I was about ten I wanted to be a writer, but life being what it is, I sort of forgot for a few years and did stints as a bookkeeper, piano teacher and PAC President at my kids’ school. “I never really stopped writing, if you count church newsletters, parent advisory council minutes and raving letters to the editor. But what really brought me back was the compulsion to tell a story, a complex, but compelling tale that has unfolded over the course of many years… “I am also a Christ-follower and a student of God’s Word. My Christian worldview will colour my perspective; I sincerely hope in a gracious and God-honouring sort of way. “In between writing, I like to sing, read, scrapbook, play the piano and bike ride.” For more information about Rose, check out her website at http://roseseilerscott.com.

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Brentwood's Ward coverMiss Emily Payne is a spoiled young woman in nineteenth-century London, seeking fulfillment and security in a high-society marriage. She seems to care for nothing beyond the young man she has decided to win, and her purchases of bonnets and jewelry for the conquest.

When Emily’s father hires Nicholas Brentwood, a Bow Street Runner, to protect her while he’s away on business, Emily meets her match in strong-willed character. Nicholas has only one reason for accepting this awkward assignment, and that is to save the money to help his gravely ill sister.

Those are the goals and motivations of the main characters. The obstacles that spring from this premise are considerable. What stands between Emily and her father? Where has he gone and why has his business partner been murdered? And why has Emily herself become a target?

Nicholas is challenged to protect Emily from herself as well as the criminals who stalk her.

Inherent in this tightly written romance are faith in God and commitment to morality. In light of the situations the characters find themselves in, their convictions are severely tested.

Readers are held by the conflict until the last page, yet all necessary threads are ultimately tied and solved. While faith in God is rewarded, life is neither easy nor predictable.michelle-griep-headshot

 

Michelle Griep has been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She seeks to glorify God in all that she writes—except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. An Anglophile at heart, she runs away to England every chance she gets, under the guise of research. Really, though, she’s eating excessive amounts of scones while rambling around a castle. Michelle is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and MCWG (Minnesota Christian Writers Guild). Keep up with her adventures at her blog “Writer off the Leash” or visit http://michellegriep.com/about-3/

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