Friday, October 30, 2009

M.L.Tyndall's The Blue Enchantress ~ Reviewed

The Blue Enchantress
Charles Towne Belles Book 2
M. L. Tyndall
Barbour Publishing 2009

Still grieving the loss of her mother—and private tragedies of her own—Hope Westcott plays the part of a dutiful admiral’s daughter. But longing for the love and acceptance she never felt at home, Hope plunges into Charles Towne society…and an illicit affair with Lord Falkland.

For Captain Nathaniel Mason, wealth means security, so he is determined to build his shipping business—ignoring God’s call on his life to become an impoverished pastor. He also ignores his attraction to the frivolous, vain Hope Westcott.

Hope’s adventure seeking lands her in the hands of an unscrupulous ship captain who wants to sell her to the highest bidder. When Nathaniel sees Hope on the auction block, will he listen to God and sacrifice his ship, cargo, and security to save her?

The Blue Enchantress is the long awaited second book in the Charles Towne Belle series, and if you think the first book left you hanging, just wait until you finish this installment. Author MaryLu Tyndall has quite the knack for leaving the reader begging for more after the last page.

Main character Nathaniel Mason is everything a hero should be…strong, handsome, a man of integrity. Heroine Hope Westcott has some rough edges at first, but by the end, her bristly flaws are smoothed out. As leading figures in the story, both are multi-faceted characters, but I’ve got to admit—it’s the pirates that captured my attention.

Captain Poole doesn’t even appear until halfway through the story, but when he does come on the scene, he takes front and center. A self-proclaimed ruffian, Pirate Poole has a way of endearing himself not only to Nathaniel and Hope, but to the reader as well. He’s got a sharp wit and a dangerous edge, but beneath his tough exterior is a big heart and fair manner. In fact, Tyndall nails all the pirates’ humor, dialect and swagger, making for an entertaining read.

If you’re looking for a historical swashbuckling adventure, then The Blue Enchantress is the book for you.

Reviewed by: Michelle Griep

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ace Collins's Farraday Road ~ Reviewed

Farraday Road
By Ace Collins
Published by Zondervan
ISBN# 978-0-310-27952-5
352 Pages

Back Cover:

A quiet evening ends in murder on a muddy mountain road.

Local attorney Lije Evans and his beautiful wife, Kaitlyn, are gunned down. But the killers don’t expect one of their victims to live. After burying Kaitlyn, Lije is on a mission to find her killer—and solve a mystery that has more twists and turns than an Ozark-mountain back road.

When the trail of evidence goes cold, complicated by the disappearance of the deputy who found Kaitlyn’s body at the scene of the crime, Lije is driven to find out why he and his wife were hunted down and left for dead along Farraday Road. He begins his dangerous investigation with no clues and little help from the police. As he struggles to uncover evidence, will he learn the truth before the killers strike again?


I bought this book because of the author Ace Collins, who is best known for his non-fiction books Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas,Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas, etc. He has been around for a long time and has written many books I’ve enjoyed. I was curious to see what Ace had up his sleeves in reference to fiction writing. Wow! I was pleasantly surprised, but then again I wasn’t. What else would you expect from such a gifted writer?

Ace starts out this book like the TV show Murder She Wrote. The murder happens in the first chapter or two. I didn’t know where he would go from there. Was it going to be gruesome or not? I’m happy to report, not!! Ace takes his time to let you get to know the town and it’s history, the victims, their lives, hopes and dreams. He does a great job of walking you down a path where clues are uncovered, only to find that more questions come to mind because of something recently discovered.

This book is also a little like the movie National Treasure, in the fact that there is a bit of history to be learned in the middle of all the action, mystery and adventure. Ace is very creative and clever in the way he lets the story unfold. You, the reader, discover all the clues at the same time as the characters in the book. If you are looking for all things to be tied up in a pretty bow at the end of this story, you won’t find it here. But, the good news for you is that Ace Collins’s new book, Swope’s Ridge, the sequel to this one, is out on bookstores right now.

This is definitely a "who-done-it", taken to a brand new level. I enjoyed Lije, the local attorney who’s wife was murdered. He has a whole new lease on life and will stop at nothing to solve his wife’s murder. I can’t wait to read the next installment.

Reviewed by: Nora St. Laurent
Finding Hope Through Fiction

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tracey Bateman's Thirsty ~ Reviewed

By: Tracey Bateman
Published by WaterBrook Press
ISBN 978-0-307-45715-8

Back Cover:


“Hello, I’m Nina Parker…and I’m an alcoholic.”

For Nina, it’s not the weighty admission but the first steps toward recovery that prove most difficult. She must face her ex-husband, Hunt, with little hope of making amends, and try to rebuild a relationship with her angry teenage daughter, Meagan. Hardest of all, she is forced to return to Abbey Hills, Missouri, the hometown she abruptly abandoned nearly two decades earlier—and her unexpected arrival in the sleepy Ozark town catches the attention of someone—or something—igniting a two-hundred-fifty-year-old desire that rages like wildfire.

Unaware of the darkness stalking her, Nina is confronted with a series of events that threaten to unhinge her sobriety. Her daughter wants to spend time with the parents Nina left behind. A terrifying event that has haunted Nina for almost twenty years begins to surface. And an alluring neighbor initiates an unusual friendship with Nina, but is Markus truly a kindred spirit or a man guarding dangerous secrets?

As everything she loves hangs in the balance, will Nina’s feeble grasp on her demons be broken, leaving her powerless against the thirst? The battle between redemption and obsession unfolds to its startling, unforgettable end.


Markus knew the moment the air changed that Nina Parker had come home. The spring breeze had lifted her scent and brought it to him, part offering and part beckoning. –Taken from Thirsty by Tracey Bateman.

A Christian vampire story? Really? I wasn’t sure what to expect when I opened Ms. Bateman’s book, but as I read those words above, I shivered in anticipation. This was going to be a good read, and I knew it.

In fact, Thirsty was a lot more than just a good read. The underlying analogy between redemption and obsession made me think long and hard about the assumptions I make. Can I automatically toss out a story idea simply because it does not fall into the traditional guidelines of Christian publishing? Should I?

While Thirsty in no way parallels another popular vampire saga currently on the market, it did provide a little bit of the dark undertones that are so attractive to young readers. Vampire storyline aside, this book was primarily an account of the struggle people face in overcoming addiction and obsession. It was a fast, intelligent read with plenty of suspense woven through to keep me turning pages to the end. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and at the end…well…I thirsted for more. (wink)

Reviewed by: Elizabeth Ludwig

Bonus Review:

Horror makes me imagine things going bump in the night and sometimes think I've seen something shadowy in the hall. Twilight is a series I plan to read but have been told I will want to devour the entire series in one sitting so I'm waiting for that perfect block of time. But this review is about Thirsty so I'll get past my meager background with vampires and start reviewing Thirsty.

Bateman writes a story that is fascinating on several levels. And its beyond the usual parameters of Christian fiction. However, there is still a strong Christian message.

I found myself transfixed with some of Bateman's scenes and the compelling voices of Nina and Markus. As Markus shared the story of the Ozark vampire legend I was completely caught up. I also found Nina's journaling at the beginning of each chapter to be compelling as she unfolded into a three-dimensional person. The multiple points of view that Bateman chose to tell the intertwining stories was another excellent way to build on the characterization of Nina and Hunt and their tumultuous relationship. She was able to make Nina a sympathetic character in spite of her addiction and the damage she had done to her family and herself.

The weaknesses in the story were few. Some dialogue and a few scenes pulled me away from the story and more into the many connected plots that weren't quite as compelling. This isn't a bloodless book. Chickens beware.

I would love to see a follow-up story and I'm intrigued by the undead themes and how this one played out within a Christian context. The book cover is one of the most compelling ones I've seen this year.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Bonus Review:

I’m a huge Tracey Bateman fan, so when the opportunity came to sign up for Thirsty’s blog tour and receive a review copy, I quickly signed up. I’ve read Tracey’s Leave it to Claire series, the Westward Heart Series, and the Drama Queen Series, all of them showing different aspects of this talented author. Thirsty shows yet again how versatile Tracey is in her writing.

I’m not a vampire expert by any stretch of the imagination. In fact the only other vampire book I’ve read is Twighlight, which took a lighthearted, humorous look at vampires, their families and how they got along in a High School setting.

Tracey’s book is far from humorous. Thirsty begins with a prologue where you meet Markus, a male vampire. Chapter one you meet Nina, the main character who struggles with addiction. Nina has made decisions under the influence that have cost her dearly.

After rehab, Nina moves back to her childhood home in Texas, with the support of her ex-husband Hunt and her family that lived there. Nina desired a new beginning. She needed strength to face the demons and pain that haunted her mind and emotions daily. They lived there. She was facing them without a pain killer? Would she make it?

Tracy explores the struggles Nina faces trying to change her life. God is the only one who can bring change and healing in relationships. This is what her ex-husband says about loving Nina, “Too bad winning her heart meant giving her the power to break mine into a million pieces.” Hunt knows all too well that loving someone makes you vulnerable.

Markus the vampire seeks Nina out because she is the only one that can truly understand him. She struggled with demons inside her like he did. The struggle he had to battle with his thirst to kill humans for their blood, he knew she could relate to that struggle.

This story surprised me. Tracey really gets to the heart of an addicts struggle to be free. The only way to truly do that is through Jesus Christ. No way around it; this was part of Nina’s struggle too. She was running from God. This is a heartfelt story. Tracey has you care about her characters even the vampires. I could feel the characters struggles, cheer with them in their victories and feel sad for their loss.

Nora St.Laurent
Finding Hope Through Fiction

Monday, October 26, 2009

Maggie Brendan's The Jewel of His Heart ~ Reviewed

The Jewel of His Heart
by Maggie Brendan
Published by Revell
ISBN 978-0-8007-3350-6


Their future is as wide open as the Montana sky. Juliana Brady is alone in an 1890s Montana mining town, with few prospects for making a living. But she is determined not to be dependent on the charity of others.

Josh McBride is trying to scrape up a living from his sheep herd while he builds his ranch. But when he discovers some rare stones on his property, he’s tempted by the prospect of fast money.

When their paths cross, Juliana and Josh must make a choice - the world’s riches and promises, or the eternal value of love.


Maggie Brendan’s characters make this novel stand out among the rest of the historical romance genre. The hero and heroine fast become your friends, and the supporting cast cries out for their stories to be told. Although it follows some of the predictable paths romances do, paradoxically, Brendan weaves in enough of her unique style to keep it unpredictable. I didn’t read the first book in the Heart of the West series, but I’m going to buy it, and I’m looking forward to the third book in the series. This from a reviewer who is not a fan of historical romances. If you are, you’ll love it. If like me, you’ aren’t, you’ll still love it. Novel Reviews and I give it a high recommendation.

Reviewed by Ane Mulligan
Editor, Novel Journey

Bonus Review:

3/5 Stars

Originally, in reading the first book in the Hearts of the West Series "No Place for a Lady", I had to say: Having a plot line that starts and grows with tragedy, this is a novel that grabs your heart and makes you silently or even sometimes verbally cheer on the heroine to succeed at her current goal. Maggie Brendan has done well with her first novel and I definitely look forward to more. This is easily one of those stories where you are screaming for the characters to see what you as a reader are seeing. There are times where I thought something would come out differently, but with the story coming to a close I could not have imagined anything better than the way it was itself. I cannot wait for the next book in the series!!

My review of the second in the series, The Jewel of His Heart: The romantic prose of Maggie Brendan is very visual and a reader can easily imagine what it was in Montana in the late period of the 1800s. The writing and characterization of the protagonist was good, I could tell, because they aggravated me to no end with the decisions and flip flops of emotions. A slight thing that threw me was some of the serious events that occurred in the lives of our main characters and how quickly the story just seemed to move forward without much time for the characters much less a reader to reflect. This is a sequel in continuing the life of main character Josh McBride from No Place for a Lady yet this story completely holds it's own as a stand-alone. Once a cattle-rancher's son, McBride is attempting to make his own as a sheepherder. The details of the life are intriguing and as a reader going along for the journey one routes for Josh to succeed. Juliana Brady has had it rough and has her pride, but with each day as she grows closer to Christ she learns a bit more of what He has in store. I definitely plan to read more titles to come from Maggie Brendan. This was a great story, I just did not personally mesh with the character's personalities and felt they were quick to jump and assume, but then that just hits a nerve. The romance is vivid and chill bumps present, this is one to read with imagination and time to reflect the lessons within as well as revel in the kisses stolen.

Reviewed by: Margaret Chind

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ginger Garrett's In the Arms of Immortals ~ Reviewed

In the Arms of Immortals
Book II Chronicles of the Scribe
Ginger Garrett
David C. Cook, publisher
ISBN: 978-0-7814-4888-8

Sicily, 1347. It starts with a strange ship in the village harbor. That night an old man falls ill… then the baker’s wife… then a street urchin. By morning half the townspeople are dead and more are dying—horribly. Civic order breaks down. Wolves move in from the countryside. And no one has a clue what is happening or how to stop it. Not the local priest. Not the rich baron. Not the baron’s proud daughter, nor the powerful knight who loves her. Certainly not the outcast healer whom many call a witch.

Only the Destroyer and the unseen Watchers know the real story… along with an unwilling visitor from another time. Mariskka recognizes the Black Death that will soon decimate Europe. But she has no voice to speak, no way to help… until she dares open her pain-hardened heart to the unfathomable truth.

Not only does Ginger Garrett take one of her main characters back to the past, but by reading In the Arms of Immortals, you’ll travel along as well—and it’s not a fluffy B&B excursion. As much as I personally love to view history through romantic colored glasses, the ugly side of humanity and sin is revealed through this tale…which makes the amazing love and mercy God holds for His creation all the more awesome.

What really shines through in Garrett’s characterization is that you’ll not only find bits and pieces of yourself in the hero and heroine but also in the antagonist. Panthea is a woman who slowly gives herself over to sin, and it all starts with simple little thoughts she knows she shouldn’t be harboring. How many times have I caught myself doing the very same thing? A great reminder that the path leading away from God is taken one step at a time. But though this is a dark tale, the hope God offers is woven throughout. Even until her dying breath, Panthea is offered complete and total forgiveness.

Another aspect worth mentioning is the glimpses Garrett gives of the unseen spirits around us. There’s a reason the first thing out of an angel’s mouth is, “Fear not.” You’ll understand why after you read some of the shocking descriptions of these immortals.

With the usual Garrett style, In the Arms of the Immortals is filled with wit, irony and truth, all packed into a fast paced story. Make sure to buckle up for a great ride when you crack this book open…a satisfying adventure indeed!

Review by: Michelle Griep

Bonus Review:

Ginger Garrett has a unique talent for blending history, imagination and the supernatural. In the Chronicles of the Scribes series Garrett takes a slice of history, looks at it through a different than usual angle, then slips in a present-day character who sees/participates or "writes" the story. Then, if that's not enough plot, there is the addition of angels and demons.

In the Arms of Immortals finds a thief being sent back to mutely witness the Sicilian plague. As the story unfolds, so does the horror and the sorrow of the time and of the choices made by the thief. Garrett writes with realism and poetry at times, but the scene changes were sometimes choppy. I found it difficult to love the story but it was a fascinating read. Anyone who is a fan of tweaky historicals might want to check it out.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Lynch, Thrall, McNicols' Bo's Cafe ~ Reviewed

By John Lynch, Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol
Published by Windblown Media
246 Pages

Back Cover:

High-powered exec Steven Kerner has no idea his tightly wound American dream is about to come crashing down. His high-profile, high-octane life has always provided everything he’s wanted. Or so he thought.
When his unresolved anger threatens his marriage, and his attempts to fix it only drive the one he loves further away, he is pushed to the brink. An invitation from mystery man, Andy Monroe, may be the greatest hope Steven’s ever been handed.


After reading the last page of this book I’m speechless, pondering all that I had read. Where do I begin to tell you the hope this book released in my heart, mind and emotions. The thing I LOVE about Christian Fiction is the fact that it can take you places you’d never go on your own. It can help you explain things that are just unexplainable, and put you in situations where you can see GRACE and LOVE in a very real way.

The opening scene read like the movie Mr. Destiny, where a distraught man heads to a run-down restaurant, meets a man that knows everything about him, then the distraught man makes a wish and lives his dream. No magic here -- only a book filled with hope in the future and a way to live life to the fullest. What does a real loving community of believers look like? You’ll meet Andy, Hank, Carlos and Cynthia, just to name a few of the fun loving, real characters; who tell it like it is. It’s refreshing and at times painful to read because I found them talking right to my heart!

Here’s a clip from the book—Steven and Andy first meet—he asks Andy a question.
” It starts young doesn’t it? They get hurt.”

Andy says, “All those people down there, walking and driving around, confused—angry, hurt, wounded, afraid, resentful—they all have something in common.”

“What’s that?” Steven says.

“…they’ve learned to protect themselves. Now they’re adults and they’re discovering this cruel secret: they can’t protect themselves. In fact, the last person who can protect them is them.” Wow!!
Bo’s Café helps me identify some of the lies that I believed about myself, some of the old tapes I had playing in my head until Jesus set me free. Andy takes it a little deeper in a very simple but profound way. It think this is a must read for everyone. I know that I’m going to be reading this book again and again, giving it out to my family and friends.

Reviewed By: Nora St.Laurent
Finding Hope Through Fiction

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Christa Parrish's Watch Over Me ~ Reviewed

Watch Over Me
By Christa Parrish
Published by: Bethany House
ISBN# 978-0-7642-0554-5
349 Pages

Back Cover:

Things like this don’t happen in Beck County. Deputy Benjamin Patil is the one to find the infant girl, hours old, abandoned in a field.

As police work to identify the mother, Ben and his wife Abbi, seem like the obvious couple to serve as foster parents. But the newborn’s arrival opens old wounds for Abbi and shines a harsh light on how much Ben has changed since a devastating military tour.


When this book became available to read through an author blog tour I signed up. I had read Home Another Way, Christa’s first book, and couldn’t wait to see where this new author would take me next!

Edgy! Christa has away of not only talking about the elephant in the room, but describes it too. Not in great detail, but enough to make you experience the moment and maybe start to have some compassion and understanding of an uncomfortable situation.

This book is gut-wrenchingly honest, transparent and difficult to read in parts because of the subject matter. God loves what most people deem unlovable. Christa shows this very aspect of God’s love in a powerful and moving way!

Another fascinating aspect of Watch Over Me, is the fact that a young deaf boy is one of her main characters. No one makes special accommodations for him; he’s a deaf boy making his way in a hearing world. He learns to adjust. He explains himself to someone that asks him if it’s hard.

“What part?”

“Any of it.” She asks.

He thinks..."this part. The communication. His inability to say the very thing he had pent up inside.

“It’s hard to fit everything I want to say on a scrap of paper!”

The font in the book is set to look like Matt, the deaf boy's, actual handwriting. I liked that. Christa showed many struggles a deaf boy might have going to school, also living day-in and day-out trying to talk to everyone he met, by writing everything he wanted to say on a note pad. I can't even imagine doing that.

The author describes what goes on inside a person’s heart, mind, and emotions when someone meets God where it hurts. Where the rubber meets the road; where life is messy and uncomfortable. When life happens fast and furious, when you lose control and there seems to be no hope. Can you really lean on God? Does He care? Will He help? Christa Parrish answers these questions and so much more in a very honest, riveting way. These characters and this story will stay with you long after you close the book.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
Finding Hope Through Fiction

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cara Putnam's Trial by Fire ~ Reviewed

Trial by Fire
By Cara Putman
Published by: Steeple Hill
221 Pages

Back Cover: Her mother’s house was first, then her brother’s. County prosecutor, Tricia Jamison, is sure she’s next on the arsonist’s list. But who is after her family? And why does every fire throw her in Noah Burst’s path?

Noah can’t forgive Tricia. Her failure to protect him on the stand the previous year meant his father’s reputation was ruined. Yet every time the firefighter is near her, he’s drawn to her again. The vulnerability she hides under her confident veneer surprises and moves him.

REVIEW: Tricia Jamison has a tough job and has seen things the average person won’t see in their lifetime. Tricia says this about her job, “Somehow she had to take joy in the small victories rather than focusing on the fact that domestic violence hadn’t ended and likely never would. She could help victims—one at a time—reclaim control of their lives.”

If only she could have that happen in her personal life. Tricia had done a great job at keeping people and her emotions under control--by shutting down relationships in her life. Stuffing her emotions down deep so that they didn’t affect her, how long could she do this? Who was she kidding? This latest case has her confronting her past - up-close and personal. She had a choice...she could let anger and bitterness run her life and isolate her, or she could reveal the secrets of her past and deal with the outcome. How was she going to push through? She couldn’t do it without God’s help.

Tricia realized for the first time that ”Maybe she’d never understand why God had allowed the horrors happen to her, but she could choose to accept His love and commit to moving forward to the future.”

Things get crazy when her mother's and brother's houses burn. What’s going on? Who is doing this? One firefighter, Noah, wants to help her discover who is starting these fires. Tricia will have to trust Noah and deal with her feelings toward him. Again she’d have to lean on God to see her through.

Cara weaves a very interesting web of mystery as fires are breaking out all around the characters. I learned a lot about how firefighters go about investigating a fire to find out how it started. It was fascinating.

I received a review copy of this book and I’m glad I did. I like how the author has the characters deal with the hurts in their life in a very real way. They struggle to let God heal their hurts and trust Him to complete the work He’s started.

Reviewed by: Nora St. Laurent
Finding Hope Through Fiction

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Jack Ford's The Osiris Alliance ~ Reviewed

The Osiris Alliance (Hardcover)
Jack Ford
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Ovation Books (April 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0981453457


Nuclear weapons materials are being smuggled from the United States to somewhere in the former Soviet Union. Federal prosecutor Adam Stark, his investigation frustrated by dead-ends and vanishing witnesses, reluctantly joins forces with Megan Delaney, a reporter chasing down rumors of the arms deals, who suspects the shadowy Osiris Corporation may be involved. Delving deeper into the mystery, Adam and Megan learn of a stolen diary that contains the answers to the nuclear arms puzzle-together with an astonishing link to the infamous Lindbergh baby kidnapping. But the powerful and mysterious owner of the diary wants it back before the secrets are revealed, and will stop at nothing to recover it.


What can I say about the first book written by Jack Ford? I like to read political intrigues and thriller type books to read as this one is. My favorite authors in this area are John Grisham, James Patterson and Robert Ludlum for favorite fiction writers. When I was asked if I would review “The Osiris Alliance” even though I have only reviewed Christian fiction books so far, I have been challenged to broaden my horizons in my reviews to express opinions on secular or non-religious books while still keeping my family focused reviewing. While I get what they mean, I believe that people can read anything if they want to and find a little bit of themselves in any fiction story without having to be put a Godly spin or Christian spin to the story. However, with this story, “The Osiris Alliance,” I am going to start a rating system on my reviews and consider reviews outside of my comfort zone.

Why do I want to start a rating system? Because I realized that there are no rating scales on books and this one requires a rating. The movie industry has one from Rated X down to Rated G so why not books. I will give you my rating of the book later at the end of my review.

“The Osiris Alliance” is a story of mystery, national security matters and dealing with a kidnapping of the Lindbergh child. It starts out on April 3, 1936 discussing the execution of Bruno Richard Hauptmann, the convicted killer of the famous pilot Charles Lindbergh’s child. After this is explained, the story jumps to 1998 New York City, NY or Long Island, NY to be precise. After which, the story slowly builds for few chapters after introductions and then it rockets until the end.

Adam Stark, a U.S. attorney for the Justice Department, has been brought in to investigate and break a smuggling ring to import and export nuclear weapons to the Russians. As he starts to investigate, he determines that a reporter Megan Delaney has been also investigating the same thing for her TV station and they decide to become allies in trying to solve this case. With many different turns and switching from the Lindbergh kidnapping to the Russians while trying to track down a missing journal with all the secrets, this story picks up steam on many levels.

Now as for the reasons I think this book got me thinking about a book rating, it became clear this should be rated R for excessive and unneeded excessive profanity, extreme written violence and the steamy love scenes described throughout. This book fits the “Goodfellas” level of profanity. I can see this book turned into a movie with the ways Mr. Ford describes scenes in detail for a screenwriter to use. This story seems to be a cross between “The Firm” meets “Clear and Present Danger” meets “The Bourne Identity.”

I do like “The Osiris Alliance” but would have enjoyed it better without the profanity and non-consideration of his reader. This is not a book for anyone under 16 to read. If you are a religious person, then you might want to consider if you should read this knowing what will take place as I have vaguely described. I will give Mr. Ford a 2 out of 4 stars rating for this first novel. I hope that if he writes again in the future he considers a wider audience to appeal to with less profanity and better description of feelings. The use of God’s name in vain is not a good description of anger. Until next time…

Be blessed!

Reviewed by: Bradley Evans

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Kay Marshall Strom's The Call of Zulina ~ Reviewed

The Call of Zulina (Grace in Africa)
Kay Marshall Strom
Paperback: 303 pages
Publisher: Abingdon Press (August 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1426700695


With the tensions between rival tribes and between native Africans and the white settlers, Africa in 1787 is a place of dangers and Grace Winslow plunges into the thick of the conflict. The daughter of an English slave trader and an African princess known as “the killer lioness,” Grace struggles to endure the strife in her home and the knowledge that she’s a disappointment to both her parents. Her father regrets she’s not the perfect English lady and her domineering mother abhors her for the tint of red to her hair and the hint of cream to her dark skin—in short, for her “whiteness.” She’s caught between two worlds and her home is in neither one.

All her life, her parents insulated her from the slave trade they practiced, so when she flees an arranged marriage and comes face-to-face with the realities of the slavery her family profits from, her shock knows no bounds. Her choices throw her in the company of slaves, and she risks her life in the war sweeping the African plains.

Call of the Zulina gives a fascinating glimpse into a little explored aspect of slavery—Africans enslaving and profiting off the sale of rival tribe members—and what the slave trade looked like at its origin point in Africa. It spares little detail exposing the brutality and the harsh reality of how men and women, white and black, sought to profit from the misery of others. The setting is drawn with vivid detail and the conflicts, internal and external, drive the story along at a good pace.

The omniscient POV—not my personal favorite—was my main complaint and a distraction at times; however, I still found much to enjoy in this compelling tale about one woman’s struggle with her heritage and identity on the gripping backdrop of the African plains.

Reviewed by: Sarah Sawyer

Monday, October 12, 2009

Cindy Woodsmall's The Sound of Sleigh Bells ~ Reviewed

The Sound of Sleigh Bells

By Cindy Woodsmall
Published By: Water Brooke Press
ISBN# 978-0-307-44653-4
194 Pages

Back Cover:

Beth Hertzler works alongside her beloved Aunt Lizzy in their dry goods store and serves as a contact between Amish craftsman and Englischer retailers. But remorse and loneliness still echo in her heart every day, and she still wears dark dresses to indicate her mourning of her fiancé. When she discovers a large, intricately carved scene of Amish children playing in the snow an Englischer store, something deep inside Beth’s soul responds, and she wants to help the unknown artist find homes for his work.

Lizzy sees the changes in her niece when Beth shows her the woodworking, and after meeting Jonah, the artist, she is determined that Beth come to know this man whose hands create healing art. But it’s not that simple—Beth has cut herself off from any possibility of romance. Will Lizzy’s elaborate plan to reintroduce her niece to love work? Will Jonah be able to offer Beth new hope and a second chance at real love—or just more heartbreak?


Amish customs are fascinating. There is a time for every season. Their customs allow for a structured time of grieving. For example the person in mourning is to wear black for the grieving period of time. This signals everyone to be respectful of that persons feelings and time of sadness.

Beth Hertzler is a young energetic, hard working woman who should have been done with the grieving process months ago but she can’t seem to get on with life emotionally. Life has hit her with a blow, too great to tell anyone - a secret that couldn’t be shared.

One day, Beth saw a piece of artwork on a shelf—it moves her to the core of her being. The artist's name is Jonah. He’s suffered some significant blows from life too. He says, “...some things in life are just that way. They demand more of you than you have, and even knowing you’ll lose, you have to attempt it anyway. Everyone is damaged one way or another...some people's scars you can see because they are on the outside of their body, others you can’t see because they are hidden within!! In the middle of this gripping, fun Christmas story are jewels like this that make your think—I liked it.

This is not only a beautiful love story but it’s a story of healing, family and unconditional love. It’s definitely a feel good book that gets you in the spirit of Christmas.

Reviewed by: Nora St. Laurent
Finding Hope Through Fiction

Bonus Review:

I love Christmas novellas, and New York Times Bestselling author Cindy Woodsmall has written a captivating one. Well known for her exquisite, complex characterization, Woodsmall brings us three more vivid portrayals in The Sound of Sleigh Bells.

Beth Hertzler will own your heart from the moment you meet her. The hero in this story, Jonah, is all that a hero should be. But it was Beth's Aunt Lizzy who is concentric in the tale. Delightful and somewhat nonsensical, Aunt Lizzy acts on an impulse that creates a casserole of confusion.

A heartwarming romance, The Sound of Sleigh Bells is an ideal Christmas gift to yourself and others. Novel Reviews and I give it a high recommendation.

Reviewed by: Ane Mulligan

Editor, Novel Journey

Bonus Review:

The sound of sleigh bells is something that brings great joy into the life of Beth Hertzler, yet the same sound brings pain to Jonah Kinsinger. This is a great Christmas or anytime read of growth, strength, forgiveness, moving forward, and romance with true love. Straight from the beginning even with the mystery of what really holds Beth back from looking for love brings a reader in to care for her with a slight of intrigue. Each chapter causes one to wish for her to open up to love. In a different manner, our other protagonist has his own set of dark past issues that hold him back from moving forward with life. It is one of those things were romantic or not, God put them together to learn something. It is the opening and shutting of doors in the future both good and bad for our characters that keeps those pages turning to see what happens next. The side story of true love unseen is fabulous and even though not a main picture in the book, so appropriate and good.

This is one of those books that has a good plot and so many little facets that keep it interesting and different from other stories. A reader may assume they know what is to come next, but they do not see the whole picture until the end. Family is a theme, Christmas spirit is through out, and each chapter brings one deeper into the lives of very interesting characters. Cindy Woodsmall did well with her other series with the Sisters of the Quilt, and even though this is a stand alone Christmas book the quality of the story is right on key. I highly recommend her books to anyone looking for a short-ish story at right about two hundred pages for the winter time. I personally could hear the sleigh bells and children's giggles while reading her words of text.

I look forward to reading her other new series coming soon starting with The Hope of Refuge.
Reviewed by: Margaret Chind

Friday, October 09, 2009

Alice J Wisler's How Sweet it Is ~ Reviewed

How Sweet It Is

By Alice J. Wisler
314 Pages

Back Cover:

Deena Livingston leaves behind a broken romance and her chef job in Atlanta, to spend time at her grandfather's cabin in the mountains of North Carolina. But her grandfather has an odd request: he wants Deena to teach cooking classes to the ragtag group of middle-schoolers who attend the local afterschool program, The Center.

Reluctantly, Deena agrees, but how is she supposed to convince these kids that cooking at home is better than eating at McDonalds? And after all she went through in Atlanta, why is she attracted to Zack, the social worker at The Center? Can a Dr. Seuss-quoting plumber, a curly-haired basketball player and a group of middle-schoolers, change Deena's outlook on life?


Deena Livingston leaves Atlanta, the only home she’s known, to move into her grandfather’s cabin in the North Carolina mountains. Deena wouldn’t even have considered moving, if her life in Atlanta hadn’t taken such an unexpected turn. It hurt too much to stay—too much had happened.

Her grandfather left her the cabin in the woods and a few surprises. Upon her arrival to Brayson, her aunt informs Deena that part of grandfather’s will states she has to teach at The Center for six months, doing the very thing she was good at -- cooking!! Deena was a bakery chef in Atlanta and hoped to start a catering business in this new town. Teaching wasn’t part of the gig. But no teaching, no cabin. Ok, she decides to do it—how bad could it be?

Deeana loved her grandpa and finds another surprise—a note from him to her. It read “It’s funny how humans are never quite content with what they have. The key to happiness lies in putting your whole hand into Gods!” She's glad she discovers the note, but what does it mean?

I really enjoyed Deena and how she tries to discover where she fits in this new community. Her grandfather was a hoot and loved her so, and she discovers that as she lives in his house and gets to know him better.

I loved how the author puts Deena into a classroom full of middle school students and she teaches them how to cook white sauce in the first class. How funny was that? It’s funny, real and gut-honest funny! I loved the fun and reading about what she liked about Atlanta.

As an extra bonus the author has included some recipes she talks about in the books. I can’t wait to try them and you’ll definitely want to try them and this book.

Reviewed by: Nora St. Laurent
Finding Hope Through Fiction

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Mary Connealy's Cowboy Christmas ~ Reviewed

Cowboy Christmas
By Mary Connealy
Published by :Barbour
ISBN# 978-0-602-0145-1
304 Pages

Back Cover:

Singer Annette Talbot used her voice to spread the gospel with a traveling missionary troupe. When the Latrells take over and want Annie to dress provocatively and give up singing her beloved hymns, Annie flees to Ranger Bluff, Wyoming, dreaming of reuniting with her father for Christmas. But trouble chases her—right off the edge of a cliff!

Elijah Walker’s heart turned as cold and barren as the high plains in December after his ex-fiancee betrayed him and caused his father’s death. But when he recues Annie out of a freezing river, Walker’s instincts tell him he must help a stranger in need.

Has Annie hidden the truth about wanted posters bearing her fact too long for anyone to believe her now?

Can Elijah, over come the painful past and learn to love again? Will there ever be peace in their hearts in time for Christmas?


I read the title of this book and plunged in, thinking I might read about a cowboy Christmas. What does that look like? If you are looking for the answer to that question you won’t find it here. What you will find is one wild, action filled adventure story, cowboy style.

Mary Connealy doesn’t hold back in this Christmas tale, get a grip on your seat belt when you start reading this book. On the first page there’s fist fighting, gun slinging and everything breaking loose at the seams. I’ve read some of Mary’s other books and they are a hoot. This one’s no exception.

Mary usually has at least one character in her stories that just gets under your skin, in this book it’s Annette Talbot, her main character. Annette is the smartest dumb person I’ve read about. She’s a strong willed, stubborn young lady that doesn’t know when to give up when the getting’s good! Ha! Ha!

Elijah the other leading character is crazed by Annette and her ways. He’s fed up with her and her stubborn streak. Why won’t she just listen to reason? After all he was the man and knew about things out in the west. Elijah thinks this about Annette, “even if he couldn’t quite pin down Annette’s lies, he knew for a fact she was a full-blown idiot. She’d pretty much only survived this long through direct, miraculous intervention from God. A woman shouldn’t need a miracle a day to stay alive. Not even God had time for that nonsense. A person needed some survival skills and Annette had none.”

Annette did trust God with her life how did she end up in such a mess? Hadn’t she heard and followed his lead?

If you are looking for a cozy, warm and fuzzy Christmas story you won’t find it here. What you will find are every loveable, characters like Ruby Elijah’s mother who loves the Lord with all her heart and her son knows that and so does Annette.

Ruby takes a liking to Annette and tries to do a little match making. She tells Elijah to lighten up in regards to giving Annette a bad time. It’s almost Christmas they have to enjoy the time they have and forgive. They all had a past they needed to get unstuck from, so they can enjoy the future. Don’t miss another wild adventure from Mary, it’s guaranteed a good time, with a good message just in time for Christmas.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
Finding Hope Through Fiction

Bonus Review:

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At first while reading the latest of Mary Connealy, a special Christmas book, "Cowboy Christmas", I was not quite as impressed as every other western comedy romance that I have read by such a fabulous author. Yet then I got to read chapters twenty-six and twenty-seven and every reason that I love to read Mary's books came out. I was just about hooting and hollering with chuckles. I even kept reading segments aloud to my dear hubby, who just does not care, yet even he enjoyed them. With this story, overall I love it. But I never really did connect to the main protagonist Miss Annette Talbot. She frustrated me too much. The character in this novel that I really enjoyed and anticipated each next page about was the other protagonist Elijah Walker. It was just everything about him that I loved.

This is a Christmas novel, yet can be enjoyed anytime of year. The plot just tells and anticipates of the special day to come. Once again we have a fabulous cast of characters with the good guys and the bad. This time we have both a woman that needs to understand growing in her faith, and a man who needs to find it again. Trust is a big issue, and moving past pain is another. Serious events are portrayed and of course the wonderful Mary laughs are filled through out bringing a fabulously enjoyable lightness to a page turner.

Reviewed by: Margaret Chind

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Terri Blackstock's Intervention ~ Reviewed

Intervention: A Novel

Terri Blackstock
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (September 22, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 031025065X

Barbara Covington has one more chance to save her daughter from a devastating addiction, by staging an intervention. But when eighteen-year-old Emily disappears on the way to drug treatment—and her interventionist is found dead at the airport—Barbara enters her darkest nightmare of all.

Barbara and her son set out to find Emily before Detective Kent Harlan arrests her for a crime he is sure she committed. Fearing for Emily’s life, Barbara maintains her daughter’s innocence. But does she really know her anymore? Meanwhile, Kent has questions of his own. His gut tells him that this is a case of an addict killing for drugs, but as he gets to know Barbara, he begins to hope he’s wrong about Emily.

The panic level rises as the mysteries intensify: Did Emily’s obsession with drugs lead her to commit murder—or is she another victim of a cold-blooded killer?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Intervention, go here.


Intervention is a raw, painful look inside teen drug addiction and the resulting trauma unleashed on all those involved with the addict.

I recommend this book to anyone who might be suffering through a similar situation if that reader is looking for a flicker of hope, or a sense of connectedness, even if it's connectedness to fictional characters. The characters are at their breaking points and the drama feels real and isn't at all pretty though the story ends with hope. Those struggling with faith issues might benefit, too, as a few characters wrestle out their feelings toward God and what He has allowed to happen in their lives.

I didn't connect with the characters. Reading about a highly intense situation containing two very broken women lashing and battling and hurting was a struggle.

As far as casual, escapist reading -- there is the mystery involved in solving the murder, and suspense as the pieces of the puzzle fall together. I did have a few questions regarding the details involved with police procedures and Barbara's hands-on help in several scenes.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer


“She had once dreamed of college and careers for her children, godly spouses and bouncing grandchildren. Though she still held that dream or Lance, she had only two goals for Emily – to keep her daughter from prison or death.” (p. 23)

Terri Blackstock’s latest novel, Intervention, is about a mother’s worst nightmare – rescuing a child from drug addiction. Barbara Covington prepares her heart and mind to do an intervention for her daughter Emily, and once she introduces her to the rehab facility’s representative all hell breaks loose – literally. Emily doesn’t want to admit there is a problem. Yet she finally agrees to go into rehab, convinced she can survive the ninety days away from family.

But Emily never makes it to the rehab facility. Neither does the rehab facility’s representative – Trish. Things go terribly wrong once the plane lands in Atlanta, and Emily is swept up into the darkest storm of her drug-addicted life. Barbara’s mother-heart is shredded in two when she learns what has happened to her daughter, and she is once again placed in the position of risking everything to save her daughter – even when it seems her efforts up to this point have been in vain. Will she be able to save Emily? Or will illegal drugs claim another victim?

As soon as I saw the cover of this book and its title I knew this was going to be an emotionally difficult read. By the grace of God, substance abuse has never touched my personal life, but after more than two years of volunteer work in a drug rehab facility I know only too well about the hellish destruction that addiction can wreck upon its victims. I immediately began to wonder how this amazing author could write of a mother’s anguish over their child’s addictions – then I read her testimony at the back of the book. Terri Blackstock has been that mother going to battle for the life of her child. Talk about a powerful story! Talk about a story written realistically from a heart that knows God’s power to perform the ultimate intervention!

Folks, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It’s real. It’s solid. It’s a beautiful picture of God’s unfailing love for His children and the power to redeem even the darkest of choices. Intervention – go buy your copy today and share it with a friend! Terri Blackstock has written her best novel yet!

Reviewed by: Kim Ford

Monday, October 05, 2009

Jennifer Erin Valent's Cottonwood Whispers ~ Reviewed

Cottonwood Whispers

By Jennifer Erin Valent
Published by Tyndale
ISBN# 978-1-4143-3336-7
340 Pages

Back Cover:

“I’ve heard the dead whisper,” so begins the sequel to Jennifer Erin Valent’s award-winning debut novel, Fireflies in December. It’s 1936, and though Jessilyn Lassiter and her best friend Gemma Teague have survived prejudice and heartache in their life-long friendship, this summer threatens to tear them apart yet again. Gemma’s job with the wealthy Hadley family leads to a crush on their youngest son. But Jessilyn’s insistence that he’s no good and that no rich white man would ever truly fall for a poor black girl like Gemma puts them at odds.

Tragedy strikes when Jessilyn’s cherished neighbor girl is hit by car and killed. Things get worse when an elderly friend is falsely accused of the crime, and the only way to clearn his name is to put her family’s livelihood in jeopardy. For Jessilyn, this is a choice too hard to bear and she wonders where to turn for answer, especially when an angry mob threatens vigilante justice.


1937...a year when life was simple and carefree - or so we think? Can you imagine a time in life when you could send your kids walking to a store or to church without you? They did in 1937; Jessilyn and Gemma are best friends that have grown-up quick. Life was simple, but it wasn’t without its own racial tensions, where the rich tried to push around the poor, and a time when people thought they could take justice into their own hands.

Jessilyn says, “Daddy had told me before that sometimes the Lord lets us feel the weight of the world so we figure out how to let him carry it for us.”

I loved the innocence and truth in this story seen through the eyes of young Jessilyn who struggles to know the Lord and have the same relationship with him that her parents and Gemma have.

I was captivated once again by the likeable, fun and life like characters Jennifer Valent, creates. In this sequel, we’ve seen Jessilyn and Gemma as teenagers, both living together but separate because one is white and the other is black.

Jennifer sprinkles sweet innocent moments from childhood and living in a small town, in this story amongst important aspects of becoming a woman and finding true love. Jessilyn tries so hard to get everyone (especially Luke) to view her as a woman, not as a girl. I enjoyed how Jennifer hits this topic head on.

Jessilyn is a feisty and courageous, young white girl full of life, not afraid of telling people what she thinks, and willing to take a stand for what she believes in with her very life. I enjoyed the relationship she has with Gemma, her best friend. Jessilyn learns about growing up the hard way, when Gemma gets very upset with her for not keeping a secret - again. This time it could end their friendship. Jessilyn says this about herself, “I knew from my fingers to my toes that bad things were right around the corner. One more time I’d gone and opened my mouth when I should have kept it sewn up…bad things were in store for my family. Because there was no doubt that I’d brought ruin to us all with my loose lips.”

This sequel can be read as a stand alone story, but rest assured, you’ll want to read the first book to see what these young ones and their families went through. It’s another incredible story you wont’ soon forget. I love Jennifer’s style of writing in the first person through youthful eyes in 1937. I also liked how she tackles really hard to talk about issues. This book was entertaining, fun and down right heart-wrenching in parts. I loved the depths of emotions and issues this story took me. I will definitely want to read more of Jennifer’s books, you will too.

Reviewed by: Nora St. Laurent
Finding Hope Through Fiction

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Stacy Hawkins Adams's Worth a Thousand Words ~ Reviewed

Worth a Thousand Words, Jubilant Soul Series #2
By: Stacy Hawkins Adams
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 256
Vendor: Revell
Publication Date: 2009
ISBN: 0800732677

Product Description:

Life has always gone Indigo Burns's way. She's smart, pretty, and talented, and she knows exactly what she wants. A photography internship at her hometown's local newspaper is the next step in her well-laid plans for her future. But her long-term goals are put to the test when her boyfriend Brian proposes--two years before he's supposed to and in front of all the guests at her college graduation party. Too concerned about his feelings to say no, she heartily agrees, but inside she's cringing.

Indigo knows in her heart that she's not prepared to sacrifice her dreams to become Brian's wife--not before she has achieved any of them. Will she find the answers among family and friends in Jubilant, Texas? Or will the picture-perfect life she dreams of be left behind?


I’ve never read anything by Stacy Hawkins Adams before this book. While reading this “slice of live” story I soon discovered what a honest and deep thinker this author is.

In her book Pastor Taylor, says this to a gathering, “We want God to fix things, or grant our desires, but we want Him to do it in the way that we think is best. We want the answer now, in the fashion that we’ve decided would be perfect. Am I telling the truth?”

Ouch, sometimes the truth hurts. I’ve felt this in my life at one point. Another character says, “Sometimes God leads us to the foreign land so we can take our eyes off of ourselves and our drama, and focus on Him.” I’ll Amen this one. Yes, I’ve experienced this too.

This story delves into the life of Indigo Burns, who is young and on the brink of having hear dreams come true. Her life has suddenly been filled with so many enticing choices. What to do? Is she supposed to throw her dreams away for someone else’s? She struggles to do the right thing in her life.

Another character says to Indigo,” The key is to keep prayer at the forefront of every decision. If God gives you a peace about the choices you’re making, then it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Have you prayed about this Indigo?”

She had to admit she hadn’t. I like how Stacy shows a slice of life where a young person is trying to walk out this Christian life in a very natural way. It’s not preachy or over the top church drama. It’s just gut level honest and innocent at times.

I also like how this author shows young people struggling but desiring to do what they feel God wants them to. “Learn how to thrive despite life’s challenges. I’ve learned that sometimes the turns we didn’t anticipate can lead us to our biggest blessings.” Indigo stops and really thinks about this one when life takes a sudden unexpected turn.

I was pleasantly surprised by Worth a Thousand Words. This story is honest, refreshing, revealing, intriguing, and it allows the reader to evaluate if they earnestly seek God for the decisions in their life or do they tell God how it’s going to go and seek His blessings on the plan they’ve come up with. You’ll want to read this story to discover how Stacy Hawkins Adams brings up this issue and many more inside this revealing book.

Reviewed by: Nora St. Laurent

Thursday, October 01, 2009

ACFW October Book Releases

1. A Star Curiously Singing, The DarkTrench Saga, Book 1, by Kerry Nietz from Marcher Lord Press. An augmented human programmer is sent to space to solve the mystery of a bot’s destruction.

2. Double Take, by Jenness Walker from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. When a stalker becomes obsessed with a woman, the key to stopping him lies in a best-selling thriller…until he stops going by the book.

3. Dreaming of Home, by Glenna Kaye from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Two wounded hearts must learn to trust that God's dreams for them far exceed any they may have for themselves.

4. Eternity Falls - A Rick Macey Cyberthriller, Book 1 of the Rick Macey Cyberthriller series, by Kirk Outerbridge from Marcher Lord Press. A cyber-enhanced detective must stop a religious zealot from destroying a serum for eternal life.

5. Gripped By Fear, Chicago Warrior Thriller Series, 2nd book, by John M. Wills from Total Recall. Chgo Detectives hunt a serial rapist in the mean streets of Chicago in the midst of personal struggles.

6. Leaving Yesterday, by Kathryn Cushman from Bethany House. A mother rejoices at the return of her prodigal, but is faced with an impossible decision as evidence from his past refuses to stay buried.

7. Loves Finds You in Bethlehem, New Hampshire, by Lauralee Bliss from Summerside Press. Set in the Guilded Age within the beauty of New Hampshire's White Mountains, successful artist Tom Haskins and penniless Sara McGee discover through their circumstacnes that the most precious gifts of life and love don't always come as they're expected.

8. Love Finds You in North Pole, Alaska, by Loree Lough from Summerside Press. A story that's sure to warm your heart, despite the icy Alaskan setting!

9. Love is a Battlefield, Book One in the Walk in the Park series, by Annalisa Daughety from Barbour Publishing. War rages again at Shiloh, but this time it’s a battle of the heart.

10. Seaside Letters, by Denise Hunter from Thomas Nelson. Sabrina Kincaid didn't intend to fall for Nantucket native Tucker McCabe, the man she serves coffee to every morning-a man tied deeply to a past she deeply regrets. But she has. And she's fallen hard. But she's kept this a secret from her handsome customer. And now Tucker wants to hire Sabrina to help locate his friend "Sweetpea"-the mysterious woman he's falling in love with online. Sabrina is not inclined to help, but if Tucker hires someone else, it could spell disaster. Because if someone else sifts through the emails and figures out the truth-then Tucker will discover that the person he's trying to find is . . . her.

11. Soldier Daddy, Wings of Refuge Series-book 5-all standalones, by Cheryl Wyatt from Steeple Hill. A USAF Pararescue Jumper searches for a nanny for his twins and instead finds a future with a woman harboring a secret tied to his past.

12. The Case of the Mystified M.D., Book 2, Bouncing Grandma Mysteries, by A.K. Arenz from Sheaf House. First a foot, now a hand--what body part is next?

13. The Christmas Journey, by Winnie Griggs from Steeple Hill Love Inspired.

14. The Jewel of his Heart, Heart of the West Series, by Maggie Brendan from Revell. Discover the classic struggle between the world's wealth and the lure of eternal love in this Western story of elegance and survival.

15. The Matchmaking Pact, After the Storm #4
, by Carolyn Aarsen from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. A single father and a single mother have to deal with matchmaking children.

16. Thirsty, by Tracey Bateman from Waterbrook. “Deep, cutting, an intoxicating blend of human and supernatural, of characters scarred by the past, drained by life. This is the book I’ve waited for.”

17. Trial By Fire, by Cara Putman from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. When an arsonist targets her family, Tricia has to find him before harm is done without losing her heart to a fireman.