Tuesday, July 1, 2014

New Releases: July 2014

July 2014 New Releases

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

Biblical Fiction:


In the Field of Grace by Tessa Afshar -- Destitute, grief-stricken, and unwanted by the people of God, Ruth arrives in Israel with nothing to recommend her but Naomi's, love. Her loftiest hope is to provide enough food to save Naomi and herself from starvation. But God has other plans for her life. While everyone considers Ruth an outcast, she is astounded to find one of the most honored men of Judah showing her favor. Long since a widower and determined to stay that way, Boaz is irresistibly drawn to the foreign woman with the haunted eyes. He tells himself he is only being kind to his Cousin Naomi's chosen daughter when he goes out of his way to protect her from harm, but his heart knows better. (Biblical Fiction from River North [Moody Publishers])

Contemporary Romance:

A Plain Love Song (The New Hope Amish) by Kelly Irvin -- Adah Knepp wants nothing more than to sing and play the guitar and write her own songs. That's a dream that will never come true in her strict Amish community. But then she meets Jackson Hart, and all of a sudden she finds the chance for a different kind of life. But pursuing her dreams means turning her back on her family and community--and saying goodbye to Matthew, the gentle Amish farmer she can't get out of her mind. Is it worth giving up the only home she's ever known to pursue her dreams? (Contemporary Romance from Harvest House Publishers)

When I Fall in Love (Christiansen Family) by Susan May Warren -- Hawaii was the last place Grace Christiansen ever imagined she'd vacation, much less fall in love. But when her family surprises her with a cooking retreat in paradise, she is pulled-or maybe yanked-away from her predictable, safe life and thrown headfirst into the adventure of a lifetime. (Contemporary Romance from Tyndale House)

Contemporary Women's Fiction:

Hope Deferred by Elizabeth Maddrey -- Can pursuit of a blessing become a curse? June and July and their husbands have spent the last year trying to start a family and now they're desperate for answers. As one couple works with specialists to see how medicine can help them conceive, the other must fight to save their marriage. Will their deferred hope leave them heart sick, or start them on the path to the fulfillment of their dreams? (Women's Fiction from HopeSprings Books)

The Tidewater Sisters by Lisa Wingate -- Tandi Reese and her sister, Gina, have always been bound by complicated ties. Amid the rubble of a difficult childhood lie memories of huddling beneath beds and behind sofas while parental wars raged. Sisterhood was safety . . . once. But now? Faced with legal papers for a fraud she didn't commit, Tandi suspects that her sister has done something unthinkable. With Tandi's wedding just around the corner, a trip to the North Carolina Tidewater for a reckoning with Gina was not part of the plan. But unraveling lies from truth will require confronting strained sibling bonds and uncovering a dark family secret that could free Tandi from her past or stain her future forever. (Novella) (Women's Fiction from Tyndale House)

Historical Mystery:

Murder at the Mikado (A Drew Farthering Mystery) by Julianna Deering -- Just as Drew Farthering thinks his life has found smooth waters, Fleur Landis, an old flame, reappears in his life. She's married now, no longer an actress, and he expects she'll soon disappear--until she comes to him in dire need. The lead actor in her old troupe's production of The Mikado has been murdered, and Fleur is the police's number one suspect. Drew would love nothing more than to just focus on his fiancé, Madeline, and their upcoming wedding, but he can't leave Fleur in the lurch--even if she did break his heart once. As Drew, Nick, and Madeline dive into the murder, they discover more going on behind the scenes of the theater troupe than could ever have been imagined. Nearly everyone had a motive, and alibis are few and far between. It's Drew's most complicated case yet. (Historical General Fiction from Faith Words [Hachette])

Historical Romance:

Captured By Love by Jody Hedlund  -- Michigan Territory, 1814. A voyageur and a young woman swept up in a time of upheaval and danger discover firsthand the high price of freedom. The British Army has taken control of Michilimackinac Island and its fort, forcing the Americans to swear an oath of loyalty to the crown in order to retain their land. Pierre Durant is a fur trader who returns after being away from the island for years, only to find the family farm a shambles and those he cares about starving and at the mercy of British invaders. Pierre is drawn deeper into the fight against the British--and into a relationship with Angelique MacKenzie, a childhood friend who's grown into a beautiful woman. She now finds herself trapped by the circumstances of war and poverty, and the cruelty of her guardian, Ebenezer Whiley. As tensions mount and the violence rages on, Pierre and Angelique must decide where their loyalties rest and how much they'll risk for love. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker Publishing Group])

Groom by Design (The Dressmaker's Daughters, #1) by Christine Johnson   -- Dressmaker Ruth Fox gave up her dream of a husband and children long ago. Her family's floundering dress shop, her ailing father and her two younger sisters require Ruth's full attention. Though the handsome new stranger in town is intriguing, Ruth is certain he wouldn't look twice at a plain spinster of twenty-six. Sam Rothenburg's connection with the shy young woman next door is immediate, but he knows Ruth will be crushed when she discovers his real purpose in town. Sam is secretly working to open one of his father's large department stores in Pearlman, Michigan, which will surely put Ruth out of business. How much is Sam willing to sacrifice to claim Ruth's heart? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

A Hero in the Making (Brides of Simps) by Laurie Kingery -- Nate Bohannan won't let anything stand in the way of his grand plans in California. Even if it means traveling there with unreliable huckster Robert Salali. But after a destructive bender in Simpson Creek, Texas, the unscrupulous Salali runs out, leaving Nate to carry the blame-and the debt. He can fix broken furniture...but can anything fix the despair in café owner Ella Justiss's eyes? When her café was destroyed, Ella felt sure she'd lost her dreams along with it. Yet somehow Nate's cheerful care and optimism fill her with hope again. When danger threatens, will Nate be the hero Ella can finally trust-and love? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

The Warrior's Vow by Christina Rich -- Swept away from her home and into the desert, Abigail is as much a prisoner as she is a princess. A ruthlessly ambitious captain of the palace guard intends to force her into marriage and rule Judah through her. Yet the badly beaten soldier Abigail rescues offers another choice-if she dares trust him.  (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Historical:

Annie's Stories (Ellis Island) by Cindy Thomson -- The year is 1901, the literary sensation The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is taking New York City by storm, and everyone wonders where the next great book will come from. But to Annie Gallagher, stories are more than entertainment-they're a sweet reminder of her storyteller father. After his death, Annie fled Ireland for the land of dreams, finding work at Hawkins House. But when a fellow boarder with something to hide is accused of misconduct and authorities threaten to shut down the boardinghouse, Annie fears she may lose her new friends, her housekeeping job . . . and her means of funding her dream: a memorial library to honor her father. (Historical Women's Fiction from Tyndale House)

Military Suspense:

Operation Zulu Redemption: Overkill by Ronie Kendig -- In this FREE TEASER episode, readers meet the Zulu team. In the aftermath of their first highly successful op, the first all-female special ops team, known as Zulu, discovered that innocent civilians-women and children-died at their hands. Zulu was set up to take the devastating fall. Fearing for their lives, the Zulu team vanished. With new identities and spread across the globe, they live in relative but isolated peace-yet still haunted by the past. Five years after that horrific night, they've begun to hope they might be safe and the tragedy forgotten. Until two of them are murdered.  (Military Suspense from Barbour Publishing)


Operation Zulu Redemption: Collateral Damage Part 1 by Ronie Kendig -- Five years ago, six soldiers made American military history as the first all-female Special Forces team, named Zulu. A tragic mistake in Misrata, Libya, leaves twenty-two dead and Zulu fleeing for their lives. Now Jessica Herring and Candice Reyna are dead at the hand of an assassin. Keeley Shay clings to life in a hospital. The last three Zulu members are forced into a fight for answers, for redemption, and for their very lives. They must track down who hit the team and deliver justice to the enemy-before the interference of Sam Caliguari and relentless Army intelligence analyst Lieutenant Francesca Solomon gets them all killed. (Military Suspense from Barbour Publishing)

Operation Zulu Redemption: Out of Nowhere - Part 2 by Ronie Kendig -- Zulu continues the fight! The remnant of the first all-female Special Forces team, Zulu, will do whatever it takes to determine what really happened that night five years ago-when a trap entangled Zulu in the deaths of twenty-two innocent people in Misrata, Libya. With Lieutenant Colonel Trace Weston and Boone Ramage leading the way, Annie Palermo, Téya Reiker, and Nuala King are training harder and stronger, digging deeper for clues, and tracking down leads in the U.S. and Europe to clear their names. Just when things start to turn for Zulu, one of the team is targeted by one of the world's most deadly assassins. Then another vanishes. Zulu wanted the truth, but they didn't know it might cost every one of their lives. (Military Suspense from Barbour Publishing)


Romantic Suspense:

Seagrass Pier (The Hope Beach Series) by Colleen Coble -- Elin Summerall was one of the lucky ones. Not only did she get a heart transplant, but the donor was a perfect fit. A miraculously perfect fit. But when Elin begins having violent flashbacks-and vivid dreams of being strangled-she realizes that she has been the recipient of more than just a new heart . . . Elin is remembering her donor's murder. Her strange affliction has attracted some unwanted attention: from the press, from the authorities . . . and from the killer himself. Now, living alone with her young daughter and aging mother, Elin is being stalked-by a man she's only met in her nightmares. (Romantic Suspense from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson & Zondervan])

Firewall (Deadly Force) by DiAnn Mills -- After a whirlwind romance, Taryn Young is preparing to board a plane at Houston International Airport, bound for a dream honeymoon, when a bomb decimates the terminal. Injured but still alive, she awakens to discover her husband is missing and they're both considered prime suspects in the attack. Further, the FBI is convinced her husband isn't who he appears to be. Agent Grayson Hall's number-one priority is to catch those responsible for the day's act of terror. All evidence is pointing to Taryn and her new husband. But his instinct tells him her pleas of innocence are genuine. With both their lives and reputations on the line, and the media outcry for justice increasing with each passing minute, Taryn and Grayson have no choice but to trust one another . . . and pray they can uncover the truth before they become two more casualties. (Romantic Suspense from Tyndale House)

Shake Down by Jill Elizabeth Nelson -- To clear his imprisoned father's name, Shane Gillum must find evidence hidden in a Martha's Vineyard cottage. But he arrives to find the "vacant" property being prepped for sale by real estate agent Janice Swenson. Is she tied to the notorious owners? Or is she in over her head as the "accidents" on the property grow increasingly dangerous? And who is the saboteur targeting-Shane with his search, or Janice with her dark, hidden past? With so much at stake, trusting Janice is a huge risk...but keeping silent about the cottage's mysteries could mire them both in a deadly scheme. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Historical Speculative Fiction:

Shenandoah Dreams by Lisa Belcastro -- What if she met the man of her dreams...in another century? (Speculative Fiction/Historical from OakTara Publishers)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

ACFW New Releases: May 2014

May 2014 New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:


One More Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong -- Sarah Cooley's ex-fiancé wanted to change everything about her. She has come home to Last Chance, New Mexico, for one reason--because it stays the same. Chris Reed, on the other hand, wants nothing more than to spark some change in the little town. He's shaking things up to draw folks from all over the Southwest into his new restaurant. As it turns out, the winds of change are blowing into Last Chance--just not in the ways that Sarah or Chris might expect. (Contemporary Romance from Revell [Baker Publishing Group])

The Nurse's Perfect Match by Narelle Atkins -- After her marriage ends in tragedy, nurse Amy Wilkins returns to Snowgum Creek to rebuild her life. There she meets widower Ben Morton, who's not looking for romance, though his young children are eager for Amy's attention. She's given up on her dream of being a mother, but can't ignore how she's drawn to Ben's little ones, and to their handsome farmer dad. As love kindles between Ben and Amy, she worries how she'll ever measure up to the wife he lost. And Ben is concerned about how Amy ever truly fit into life on the farm. They could be the answer to each other's prayers—if the secret Amy is keeping doesn't tear them apart. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

One Perfect Spring by Irene Hannon -- Claire Summers is a single mother who is doing her best to make lemonade out of the lemons life has handed her. Keith Watson is an executive assistant to a philanthropic businessman and is used to fielding requests for donations. But when a letter from Claire's eleven-year-old daughter reaches his desk, everything changes. The girl isn't asking for money, but for help finding the long-lost son of an older neighbor. As Keith digs reluctantly into this complicated assignment, he has no idea how intertwined his life and Claire's will become--nor how one little girl's kindhearted request will touch so many lives and reap so many blessings. (Contemporary Romance from Revell [Baker Publishing Group])

Tumbleweed Weddings by Donna Reimel Robinson -- Watch as true love triples in tiny Ft. Lob, Wyoming, where three siblings each find love unexpectedly. Callie Brandt thinks she's destined to be a spinster librarian. . .until a gorgeous newcomer arrives in town. Tonya Brandt is so self-absorbed, she just might miss out on true love. . .until a secret admirer helps her see that true beauty is much more than skin deep. Derek Brandt sees no good reason to disrupt his life with a wife right now. . .until he realizes the best girl for him might not wait around forever. (Contemporary Romance from Barbour Publishing)

A Season of Change by Lynette Sowell -- Amish widower Jacob Miller is Stranded in Sarasota until his daughter recovers after being struck by a car. Jacob grows increasingly wary of his unfamiliar surroundings-including the strange curiosity of Englischer Natalie Bennett. Natalie never thought her circus career as an aerial silks artist would end with a blown-out knee at the age of 25. She also never knew her late mother had a secret-that she was once Amish. When Natalie meets the Millers at the Sarasota hospital, she wonders if they can help her find her mother's family. As Jacob and Natalie fall in love, their worlds collide. Will their differences tear them apart? Or will their love be strong enough to blend their clashing cultures? (Contemporary Romance from Abingdon Press)

Here to Stay by Melissa Tagg -- After playing nomad for five years, Blake Hunziker has finally returned to Whisper Shore. He's stunned at not only a warm welcome from his hometown but also a job offer contingent on his pulling off the annual Christmas Festival. If only he knew the first thing about coordinating events... If there's one thing Autumn Kingsley knows, it's Whisper Shore. For years, she's been stuck running her family's inn when all she wants is to see the world. Now she has an appointment with a potential investor who could take over the inn, as well as a dream job offer in Paris. But with just two weeks to whip the inn into shape, her chance at escape is a long shot. The Hunzikers and the Kingsleys don't get along, but Blake knows Autumn's the only one who can help him. She agrees to help with the Festival if he'll help with inn repairs. Their simple trade becomes much more involved when the guy who's done running away joins forces with the girl who can't wait to leave. (Contemporary Romance from Bethany House [Baker Publishing Group])


Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade -- After a whirlwind romance deposits them at a Las Vegas wedding chapel, Ty Porter and Cecilia Park wake to a marriage certificate and a dose of cold reality. Celia's ready to be Ty's wife, but Ty's not ready to be her husband. He's a professional bull rider, he lives on the road, and he's long planned to settle down with the hometown girl he's known since childhood. Five and a half years pass. Celia's buried her dreams so that she can afford to raise her daughter. Ty's achieved all of his goals. Or thought he had, until he looks again into the eyes of the woman he couldn't forget and into the face of the child he never knew he had. How much will Ty sacrifice to win back Celia's trust and prove to her that their spontaneous marriage can still become the love of a lifetime? (Contemporary Romance from Bethany House [Baker Publishing Group])



Young Adult Speculative Fiction:

Merlin's Nightmare by Robert Treskillard -- Merlin, tired of hiding and running from his enemies, wants nothing more than to spend his days with his family and train Arthur for his rightful place as king. But when Arthur goes missing, a desperate Merlin must abandon all other quests to find him before a shadowy pursuer catches Arthur first. Having almost nothing to fight with, Merlin and Arthur must rally Britain's warriors against three overwhelming enemies: Saxenow hordes in the south, Picti raiders in the north, and a chilling new enemy that has arisen in the west. At the same time, Morgana brings Merlin's deepest fear to life and sets a horde of werewolves loose to destroy Britain. Will Merlin and Arthur find a way to survive-without unleashing an even greater evil? (Fantasy from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson & Zondervan])


Historical:

Through the Deep Waters by Kim Vogel Sawyer -- Born to an unloving prostitute in a popular Chicago brothel, timid seventeen-year-old Dinah Hubley was raised amidst the secrets held in every dark, grimy room of her home. Anxious to escape, Dinah pursues her dream of becoming a Harvey Girl, waiting tables along the railroad in an upscale hotel. But when she finds out she isn't old enough, her only option is to accept a job as a chambermaid at the Clifton Hotel in Florence, Kansas. The Clifton offers a life Dinah has never known, but blinded to the love around her, Dinah remains buried in the shame of her past. When a handsome chicken farmer named Amos Ackerman starts to show interest, Dinah withdraws further, convinced no one could want a sullied woman like her.  Despite his self-consciousness about his handicapped leg and her strange behavior, Amos resolves to show Dinah Christ's love. But can she ever accept a gift she so desperately needs? (Historical from Waterbrook/Multnomah [Random House])


Historical Romance:

Out of the Ruins by Karen Barnett -- While her sister lies on her deathbed, Abby Fischer prays for a miracle. What Abby doesn't expect, however, is for God's answer to come in the form of the handsome Dr. Robert King, whose experimental treatment is risky at best. As they work together toward a cure, Abby's feelings for Robert become hopelessly entangled. Separated by the tragedy of the mighty San Francisco earthquake, their relationship suddenly takes a back seat to survival. With fires raging throughout the city, Abby fears for her life as she flees alone through burning streets. Where is God now? Will Robert find Abby, even as the world burns around them? Or has their love fallen with the ruins of the city? (Historical Romance from Abingdon Press)

The Heart's Pursuit by Robin Lee Hatcher -- Silver Matlock is a Colorado beauty in search of revenge against the man who stranded her at the altar and fled with the remnant of her family's fortune. Jared Newman, rugged as the West itself, is relentless in his pursuit of lawless men---but unable to escape his own tragic past. Hardened by his life as a bounty hunter, he must learn to forgive before he loses his soul. Joining forces, the two set out in search of Silver's betrayer. The handsome but embittered Jared finds himself powerfully drawn to the beautiful woman whose drive for justice equals his own. But lack of honesty keeps Silver and Jared from fully trusting each other, even as a shocking revelation intensifies their pursuit of the cunning---and deadly---quarry. (Historical Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson & Zondervan])

While Love Stirs by Lorna Seilstad -- After graduating from Fannie Farmer's School of Cookery in 1910, Charlotte Gregory is ready to stir things up. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to travel, lecture, and give cooking demonstrations on the very latest kitchen revolution--the gas stove--and certainly doesn't mind that the gas company has hired the handsome Lewis Mathis to perform at her lectures. Lewis encourages her work, especially her crusade to introduce fresh, appetizing, nutritious food to those convalescing in hospitals. But young hospital superintendent Dr. Joel Brooks is not convinced any changes should be made--especially by this outspoken young woman. When Charlotte and Joel are coerced into planning a fund-raising gala for the hospital, will this combustible pair explode? (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker Publishing Group])

Branding the Wrangler's Heart by Davalynn Spencer -- Whitaker Hutton always gets his way. When cattle go missing from the Bar-HB Ranch, the tenacious foreman will stop at nothing to find them. But his boss's granddaughter, Olivia Hartman, is more than Whit bargained for. Once the victim of Whit's childhood pranks, Livvy has grown into a feisty beauty. Livvy can't forget the way Whit used to tease her. Even worse, he doesn't think she's capable of helping in the roundup. She could stay mad at him forever-if he wouldn't act all sweet toward her. But when he literally rides to her rescue, Livvy starts to wonder whether her old enemy might turn out to be much more than a friend. (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])



Contemporary Women's Fiction:

All My Belongings by Cynthia Ruchti -- After years of running from the shame her father put on her family, Jayne is determined not to let him steal her future. Changing her name to Becca Morrow, she moves to California and settles into a new job caring for the ailing mother of intriguing but caregiver-challenged young businessman, Isaac Hughes. Just as she's wondering if she and Isaac are headed for a relationship, Becca's patient passes away under unusual circumstances. Suddenly, her past catches up with her and the unnerving details of her heritage threaten to destroy all hope for love. Even if she could clear her name, her estranged father now calls for her help. But can Becca open her new life to the man who ruined her past? (Contemporary from Abingdon Press)


General Fiction:

Chateau of Secrets by Melanie Dobson -- Giséle Duchant guards a secret that could cost her life. Tunnels snake through the hill under her family's medieval chateau in Normandy.  When German soldiers take over the family's chateau, Giséle is forced to host them-while harboring resistance fighters right below their feet. Taking in a Jewish friend's baby, she convinces the Nazis that it is her child, ultimately risking everything for the future of the child. When the German officers begin to suspect her deception, an unlikely hero rescues both her and the child. Seventy years later, Chloe Sauver, Giséle's granddaughter, arrives in Normandy. After calling off her engagement with a political candidate, Chloe pays a visit to the chateau to escape publicity and work with a documentary filmmaker, Riley, who has uncovered a fascinating story about Jews serving in Hitler's army. Riley wants to research Chloe's family history and the lives that were saved in the tunnels under their house in Normandy. Chloe is floored-her family isn't Jewish, for one thing, and she doesn't know anything about tunnels or the history of the house. But as she begins to explore the dark and winding passageways beneath the chateau, nothing can prepare her for the shock of what she and Riley discover… (Contemporary from Howard [Simon & Schuster])

Medical Thriller:

Third Trimester by Dianna T. Benson -- Paramedic Jodi Duncan recognizes the work of a serial killer before the Myrtle Beach Detective Nate Quigley even suspects a connection between the deaths of two pregnant women. After digging deep into the separate investigations, Nate finds no evidence to support a serial killer theory, and he warns Jodi to back off police business, which only fuels her passion for the cases. When a third pregnant woman is murdered, Nate works to link the deaths in order to unmask and stop the serial murderer, a disturbed man who fixates on Jodi since he discovered her obsession with ending his rampage. (Medical Suspense from Ellechor Publishing House, LLC)


Supernatural Thriller:

Spirit Bridge by James L. Rubart -- The Warriors Riding, Reece, Dana, Brandon, and Marcus,  have battled in astounding supernatural realms, set captives free, and awakened thousands of hearts . . . but each is reeling from vicious attacks. The warlord demon Zennon is raging and will give them no quarter. Now their only chance of survival depends on calling for The Spirit Bridge. But Zennon holds a hidden strategy that will detonate the team from the inside out. And he's just set it loose. (Supernatural Thriller from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson & Zondervan])


Romantic Suspense:

Bodyguard Reunion by Margaret Daley -- Reunions can be deadly. Teaming up with an old flame is not what bodyguard Chloe Howard would call a smart move. Nine years ago Chloe and T. J. Davenport worked on a case together, fell in love, then went their separate ways. Now she's reunited with the fearless bodyguard to protect a controversial couple on a book tour through Texas. The reunion reminds Chloe of dreams best forgotten. She knows she has to keep her emotions in check so their clients' protection remains their top priority. Protection that is the only thing keeping them from falling prey to a stalker's deadly schemes. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Raptor 6 by Ronie Kendig -- Captain Dean Watters keeps his mission and his team in the forefront of his laser-like focus. So when these two things are threatened by hackers, Dean's Special Forces training kicks into high gear. Failing to stop the hackers from stealing national security secrets from the military's secure computers and networks isn't an option. Zahrah Zarrick is a missionary teacher to Afghan children in Mazar-e Sharif. And a target. When Zahrah is captured because of her expertise in quantum cryptology, endangering the US national security, Dean is forced to crack the lockbox around his heart-a move that might come at the highest cost. (Romantic Suspense from Barbour Publishing)


Grave Danger by Katy Lee -- When skeletal remains are found on a small Maine island, forensic anthropologist Lydia Muir is sent to investigate the time of death. Island sheriff Wesley Grant seems sure the murder didn't happen on his watch.  But when Lydia uncovers the victim's identity, someone goes to great lengths to get Lydia off the island. Wes vows to protect her, but is the handsome lawman holding something back? To help catch a killer, she'll have to trust him-or become the next victim. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Trail of Secrets by Sandra Robbins -- "CALL SETH." After a brutal attack, that's all that Callie Lattimer's uncle Dan, a former police officer, can say. Callie knows that Memphis cop Seth Dawtry will help, even if it means working with the woman who rejected him. The attack seems tied to a decades-old unsolved murder Dan could never let go. Now it's up to Seth and Callie to follow the clues. But as they uncover answers, they discover the real threat is closer than they ever thought possible.  (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Children's/Middle Grade:

Samantha Sanderson: At the Movies by Robin Caroll -- Sam Sanderson is an independent, resourceful, high-tech cheerleader. She dreams of becoming an award-winning journalist like her mother, and so she's always looking for articles she can publish in her middle-school paper (where she secretly hopes to become editor). And with a police officer for a father, Sam is in no short supply for writing material. When an explosive device is found in the local theater, Sam gets the lead on this developing and controversial story. The movie theater has recently come under attack by a renowned, outspoken atheist for allowing a local church to show Christian movies. Sam's police-officer father is heading the investigation, and Sam can't resist doing some sleuthing of her own with the help of her best friend Makayla's techno-genius. But when Sam's theories end up being printed in the school paper, she lands in big trouble---and danger!  (Children's/Middle Grade Fiction from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson & Zondervan])

Samantha Sanderson: On the Scene by Robin Caroll -- What if getting to the bottom of a mystery means learning how to love your enemy? As Samantha and the rest of the middle schoolers prepare for the upcoming Spring Fest, 'mean girl' Nikki faces the reality that her parents are getting divorced. Samantha has a hard time sympathizing---Nikki has never been very nice to anyone, let alone Samantha. But when Nikki becomes victim of a string of attacks, Sam takes it upon herself and uses her super sleuth abilities to get to the bottom of the bullying. After all, articles on bullying are just what the school paper needs instead of all that silly fluff like popularity tips. Samantha enlists the help of her tech-savvy BFF, Makayla, but while the two track down clues, they leave a trail of trouble behind---and may even be directly responsible for the break-in of their very own school's computer lab! (Children's/Middle Grade Fiction from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson & Zondervan])

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Being Vulnerable -- It Can Be a Good Thing

Our church just had a ladies retreat weekend. I wasn't able to go, however, two of the ladies in my life group reported on the retreat.  Sounds like I missed a good one.

The theme was about being vulnerable.  When we're vulnerable and open to others, we also learn we're not alone.  We find fellowship, support and encouragement with one another.

Now, this is something that I understand, but I still struggle with.  I'm not always open when I have needs. I'm not one to always request prayers.  I'll share the joys, but don't always share the stuff with which I'm really struggling.

This isn't because my friends won't be there for me.  I know they would be in a heartbeat!  The few times I have opened up when I've needed prayer and support, they've been there.

I think my issue is that I don't want to come across whiny or negative.  Do you have people in your life that when you see their name come up on your caller ID, you almost dread talking with them. It's going to be something negative -- because that's just their personality.  Then sometimes you end up ducking their calls.

I don't want to be that person, the one who is avoided.  Generally, I'm a very positive person and try to look at the bright side of life (to use a cliche).  But I'm also sensitive.  It's hard to be open and vulnerable, because you don't want to get stomped on either.

A couple of weeks ago, a woman at the gym, who truly was trying to be encouraging, said something about me needing cuter workout clothes.  What was something that was meant to encourage me in my workouts, only hit a sensitive spot of my weight.  Now I've lost 75 pounds, and I feel good.  And I definitely don't go to the gym to impress anybody else.  But for some reason, her words just hit a mark.  Stupid, huh?

But things like that shouldn't prevent from opening up to my friends, to those who care about me.  When we open up, we learn that we're not alone in this life and that others are going through the same things we are.  We really can share together and learn from our various experiences.

One thing to remember though, is that why you're asking for prayer from someone and sharing your story, take the time to listen to them and let them share with you.  Let's be there for each other.

Being vulnerable isn't one-sided.

What are your thoughts on being vulnerable?  Opening up or trusting another? Is it easy or difficult for you to do?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

ACFW New Releases: April 2014

April 2014 New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:


A Plain Man by Mary Ellis -- When a man returns to Amish ways after years apart, rigid district rules, a judgmental father, and his own pride conspire to separate him from the woman he loves. Josie Yoder was just a girl when he left. All grown up now, she gives Caleb hope for the future and reminds him that while his faith may have wavered, God never left his side. But will past mistakes end up destroying their fledgling romance before it really has a chance to begin? (Contemporary Romance from Harvest House Publishers)

A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert -- After ten years in the fashion industry, twenty-four year old model Ivy Clark has learned a sacred truth-appearance is everything. When it starts to unravel, she'll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother's bridal wear line-an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white. If only her tenuous future didn't rest in the hands of Davis Knight, her mysterious new photographer. Not only did he walk away from the kind of success Ivy longs for to work maintenance at a local church, he treats her differently than any man ever has. Is it possible that God sees her-a woman stained and broken by the world-yet wants her still? (Contemporary Romance from Waterbrook/Multnomah [Random House])

Rescued by the Firefighter by Gail Gaymer Martin -- A firefighter who has saved many lives except his own meets a woman with a surprising secret who could save him if she would allow him to save her first. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Unexpected Wedding by Carla Rossi -- In a wheelchair since a fall in college, Rocky Lionakis plays guitar and shares his testimony every week with the campers at Towering Pines summer church camp. At peace with his chair, he has settled into a boring but successful career in technology...but then stunning camp counselor, Gia Rinaldi, enters his life and turns it upside down. Giavanna Rinaldi, with a trail of bad choices in her wake, has finally grown up and found her niche as a student of Christian child psychology. She returns to Camp Towering Pines where she's worked since high school, but unsettling dreams and an unexplained illness lead her to a harrowing discovery. (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

Rodeo Song by Shannon Taylor Vannatter -- Jenna Wentworth found the man of her dreams. But when silken-voiced Garrett Steele set out for stardom, he left Jenna-and his cowboy past-far behind. A chance encounter at one of his concerts propels him back into Jenna's life. Once upon a time, Garrett vowed he'd be a success, no matter what. But that path shattered his soul. His reunion with Jenna makes him long for things he once took for granted. Now he must show her that he's found what he was looking for all along...right here in his hometown.  (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Historical Romance:

For Such a Time by Kate Breslin -- A young, bitter, Jewess-in-hiding must send her own people to Auschwitz in order to survive, or put her trust in God by giving her heart to the man responsible for their doom. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

Rainy Day Dreams by Lori Copeland and Virginia Smith -- When the Burgert family moves to Seattle in 1852, Kathryn is convinced her father has destroyed her life. The backwoods settlement offers none of the comforts and culture she loves in San Francisco. She cares nothing for the new sawmill the townsfolk are so excited about. That is, until she meets Jason, a lumberjack with dreams for a bright future. As she comes to know Jason, Kathryn can't help catching his vision. But the future they hope for is anything but secure. There are some who see Seattle as a threat and will stop at nothing to make sure the sawmill fails. A gripping story of love, tenderness, and survival in the rugged Pacific Northwest. (Historical Romance from Harvest House Publishers)


The Preacher's Bride Claim by Laurie Kingery -- For the Thornton brothers, the Oklahoma Land Rush is the perfect opportunity to finally put down some roots. A new start, a new community-what more could preacher Elijah Thornton need. Not a wife-not after losing his fiancée. But something draws him to the pretty nurse whose eyes are clouded by trouble. (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Sincerely Yours by Ann Shorey, Laurie Alice Eakes, Amanda Cabot, and Jane Kirkpatrick -- Four young women find their lives altered after each receives a letter that sets her on a new path toward a changed life--and perhaps lifelong love. From a Hudson River steamboat to a lush drawing room, from a carousel carver's workshop to a remote and controversial hospital, readers will love being swept into the lives of four young women who are making their way in the world and finding love where they least expect it. (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker Publishing Group])

The Pelican Bride by Beth White -- It is 1704 when Genevieve Gaillain and her sister board a French ship headed for the Louisiana colony as mail-order brides. Genevieve knows life won't be easy, but at least here she can establish a home and family without fear of beheading. But when she falls in love with Tristan Lanier, an expatriate cartographer whose courageous stand for fair treatment of native peoples has made him decidedly unpopular in the young colony, Genevieve realizes that even in this land of liberty one is not guaranteed peace. (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker PublishingGroup])

Circle of Spies by Roseanna M. White-- Baltimore, 1865--Marietta Hughes never wanted to be a spy...but espionage is thrust upon her as the War Between the States rolls on. Unbeknownst to her, a Confederate secret society bent on destroying the Union she loves has been meeting in her basement. When she discovers the plots and papers covering her walls, she feels as though she is losing her world. Slade Osborne, an undercover Pinkerton agent, is determined to do whatever is necessary to help end the conflict between the North and the South. When he infiltrates this secret cell, it isn't just their inner workings that baffle him--it's the beautiful woman who seems to be a puppet for the new leader and yet...somehow not an enemy of the Union. Can he trust her? (Historical Romance from Harvest House Publishers)

Contemporary:

Dynamo by Eleanor Gustafson -- Jeth Cavenaugh trains both show jumpers and the 5-gaited stallion Dynamo, but God, in extraordinary ways, is training Jeth-for what? (Contemporary from Whitaker House)

Just 18 Summers by Rene Gutteridge and Michelle Cox -- After the tragic death of Butch Browning's wife, Jenny, four families begin to realize how precious-and fleeting-their time together is. Each is at a different stage in life: Butch is facing single parenthood. The O'Reillys are expecting their first child. The Andersons are approaching an empty nest, and the Buckleys are so focused on providing their children with everything that they've forgotten what they truly need. With just eighteen summers before their children are grown, how do they make the most of that time when life so often gets in the way? (Contemporary from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])

The Women of Valley View: Pam by Sharon Srock -- Pam's divorce broke her heart. The cruelty of her ex-husband broke her spirit. A bottle of sleeping pills almost took her life. Four years later the scars of Alan Archer's emotional abuse are beginning to fade under the love of her new husband. When Alan returns to Garfield, Pam must learn that buried secrets and carefully cultivated indifference do not equal forgiveness. (Contemporary from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])

Medical Thriller:

Critical Condition by Richard L. Mabry M.D. -- It was supposed to be a quiet dinner party with her colleagues. Not the scene of a murder. Dr. Frasier couldn't save the gunshot victim on her front lawn. Now she's fighting for her own life. With a sister suffering from addiction, and her own fear of commitment to her "almost-fiancé" causing guilt, she turns to her pastor-father for help, only to learn he's just been diagnosed with leukemia. Shannon thought it couldn't get any worse. Then the late-night, threatening phone calls begin, the rough voice asking, "What did he say before he died?" With everything around her in a critical state, simply staying alive will require all the resources and focus Shannon has. (Thriller/Suspense from HarperCollins [Thomas Nelson & Zondervan])

Romantic Suspense:

Perilous Waters by Sandra Orchard -- On an Alaskan cruise, an undercover FBI agent, seeking evidence of art crimes, befriends an heiress trying to convince her twin to sell their gallery, except an assassin has different plans. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bloom Where You're Planted

In watching the Winter Olympics over the past few weeks, it struck me that many of these athletes more than likely became athletes because of where they were born or living at the time they became passionate about their sport.

I know that's not always true -- examples like the Jamaican bobsled team, the lone athlete from the Philippines, who was a figure skater, and even a skier or snowboarder who was from Indiana. Hmmm.... I don't recall many mountains in Indiana.

But how much does geographic location influence our life choices?  I'm a military brat, so we moved frequently.  In elementary school, we lived in Virginia.

I loved Virginia! The beaches were great. I loved learning about colonial history.  I loved the field trips to Jamestown and visiting Williamsburg. I could see myself attending the College of William and Mary and hanging out in Williamsburg or at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. for the rest of my days.

Alas, the military moved us again -- to New Mexico.  New Mexico couldn't have been much different from Virginia!  As our location shifted, so did my dreams. Throughout middle school and the beginning of high school, I knew I was going to California.  I was going to attend UCLA and work in the entertainment industry. That was my plan. I was going to make it big in Hollywood.

But plans change. In the middle of high school, we were transferred again. This time to Austin, Texas.  Yep, it's true. Texas is like a whole other country.  And Austin had a great university right there, so I ended up close to home, going to the University of Texas (Hook 'Em Horns). My entertainment dreams were still around, because I studied studied Radio, Television and Film.

Geography did have an influence on my life. I haven't been to Virginia since I was a little girl.  I have never lived in California.  Now, I did work for 15 years in Radio and Television -- in New Mexico, so that dream never died. It just moved with me to where I was living at the time.

Six and a half years ago, my husband got a job in the Dallas area.  Dallas?  No, if I was living in Texas, it should be Austin or San Antonio.  Dallas wasn't even on my radar.

But guess what?  We love it here.  Like any good military brat, I know how to make wherever I'm living be "home."  And this truly does feel like home to me.

While there are some who will leave home to pursue their dreams -- the Olympic athletes who go to where the best training facilities are, who learn the love of their sport from growing up surrounded by that sport -- most of us will bloom where we're planted.  It may be a different place than our childhood home or it may be the place where we're born and raised and "everybody knows your name."

In all my dreams of Williamsburg and Hollywood, even Austin, I never thought about Dallas. It's a good thing God knows best.

I believe that God has me right where he wants me -- and I need to bloom right here.

I wouldn't change a thing.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Can You Be an Inspiration?

Olympic MedalsThe Winter Olympics are happening, and yes, I'm watching.  I love the inspiring and uplifting stories, the competition, patriotic pride and more.

To see athletes achieve their lifelong goals along side those who are just happy to be in Sochi right now is heartwarming.  Remember the young American skier, Heidi Kloser, who was injured in a training run before opening ceremonies, and hobbled into the stadium on crutches? When she was injured, her first question was "Am I still an Olympian?"

During opening ceremonies, the commentators talked about another athlete, I believe the only athlete from his particular country,  who knew he would come in dead last his event, but it didn't matter. He was just happy to be there.

So while we are inspired by the medalists and all they've accomplished, are these two athletes  I've mentioned any less inspiring?  I love that these two (and so many others) are happy to be Olympians, to have strived, trained, and worked to make it that far and to experience this international competition that's unlike anything else.

Most of us won't make such a big impact on an international, or even national stage in our lives.  But I believe we can be an inspiration in our own little world.  What can we do for others around us -- in our city, neighborhood, at our jobs, or heck, even in our own home?  Are we striving to make a difference? Are we shining God's light and inspiring someone else no matter where we are?

What can you do today to shine?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Being Whole with Missing Parts




I saw a story on CBS Sunday Morning this past weekend about wounded warriors playing music, lead by Roger Waters of Pink Floyd.

One of these hero warriors lost a hand and both legs in Afghanistan.  He told the story of how when his world was crashing down around him, he heard God's voice ask "do you still trust me?"  In that moment, that brave soldier trusted. The result, despite the loss of limbs, he said he's never felt more whole in his life.

His words and his attitude touched me and inspired me in a profound way. 

That statement brought me to tears as I watched the video of this young man singing "Hallelujah", backed up by a band of other hero soldiers, including a drummer who had lost both legs and an arm, and could still play a mean set of drums.

In a very tiny, tiny way, I can relate. Having a double mastectomy due to breast cancer hasn't made me less of a person...or less of a woman. (Of course I have the most amazing husband, who encourages and supports me with his unconditional love.)

I can relate to that soldier because in some ways I've never felt more whole.  God uses the tragedies and tough times in our lives to lead us to something good. God saved my life, and saved the lives of these soldiers for a purpose.

I have such gratitude for my life, and pray to fulfill the purpose of God's will.

So, despite what we all think is missing in our lives, whether physical or emotional, maybe we need to take a moment to be grateful for all we do have....and not focus on what's missing.  

I guess we need to ask ourselves "do we trust God?"

Thoughts to ponder as we head into the season of thanks.

If you're interested, here's the link to the uplifting and inspiring story on CBS Sunday Morning:  http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-3445_162-57611639/band-of-brothers/

It's worth your time to watch.