Month: January 2018

Quote from The View from Rainshadow Bay

Book Review | The View from Rainshadow Bay by Colleen Coble

Fast-paced Romantic Suspense

Colleen Coble is the master of Christian romantic suspense, and The View from Rainshadow Bay is no exception. It starts with a murder in the Prologue, and the pace never lets up.

It’s been a year, but Shauna McDade still blames Zach Bannister for the death of her husband. Unfortunately, she needs his help as a father-substitute for her son’s class trip. Two murders and a mysterious box later, she needs Zach’s help for more than just the class trip.

One of the items in the box is a unique necklace that belonged to Shauna’s mother—one that was supposed to have been buried with her. Shauna and Zach chase clues together, but there are no easy answers. It’s a detailed plot, with lots of seemingly insignificant events coming together in an unexpected end twist (no spoilers, but I really hope this is fiction!).

And that makes it kind of hard to review—pretty much anything I might want to say could be giving away a significant plot point. So I’ll keep it simple and say that if you’re a fan of Colleen Coble, Christian romantic suspense, or both, then you’ll want to read this book.

The View from Rainshadow Bay is the first in the new Lavender Tides series from Colleen Coble, so it’s a great place to start if you’ve never read her books before. Recommended.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Colleen Coble

Colleen CobleBest-selling author Colleen Coble’s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has over 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana.

 

Find Colleen Coble online at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

About The View From Rainshadow Bay

After her husband, Jack, dies in a climbing incident, Shauna has only her five-year-old son and her helicopter charter business to live for. Every day is a struggle to make ends meet and she lives in constant fear of losing even more than she already has.

When her business partner is murdered, his final words convince Shauna that she’s in danger too. But where can she turn? Zach Bannister was her husband’s best friend and is the person she blames for his death. She’s barely spoken to him since. But right now he seems her only hope for protecting her son.

Zach is only too happy to assuage his guilt over Jack’s death by helping Shauna any way he can. But there are secrets involved dating back to Shauna’s childhood that more than one person would prefer to stay hidden.

In The View from Rainshadow Bay, suspense, danger, and a longing to love again ignite amid the gorgeous lavender fields of Washington State.

Find The View from Rainshadow Bay online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

#FirstLineFriday | Week 25 | Before We Were Yours

It’s First Line Friday, which means it’s time to open the book nearest you and share the first line. Today I’m sharing from Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. It’s an NYT bestseller. It’s also the winner of the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards for historical fiction (which is kind of odd, as it’s set in the past and the present). From what I’ve read so far, it totally deserves the award.

Here’s the first line:

First Line from Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate: My story begins on a sweltering August night, in a place I will never set eyes upon.

About Before We Were Yours

Two families, generations apart, are forever changed by a heartbreaking injustice in this poignant novel, inspired by a true story, for readers of Orphan Train and The Nightingale.

Born into a world of wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all. A loving daughter to her father, a US senator, with her own ambitious career as a lawyer and a handsome fiancé waiting for her in Baltimore, she has lived a charmed life.

But when Avery returns to Aiken to help her father weather a health crisis and a political attack, a chance encounter with May Crandall, an elderly woman she’s never met before, leaves Avery deeply shaken. Avery’s decision to learn more about May’s life will take her on a journey through a hidden history of stolen children and illegal adoption. A journey that will reveal a secret that could lead to devastation…or redemption.

Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals–in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country–Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.

(Yes, for some unknown reason, the Kindle and hardcover versions have different covers).

You can find Before We Were Yours online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

Click the button to check out what my fabulous fellow FirstLineFriday bloggers are sharing today:

You can then click the link which will take you to the master page of all this week’s #FirstLineFriday posts.

And you can click here to check out my previous FirstLineFriday posts.

Share your first line in the comments, and happy reading!

#ThrowbackThursday | Close to You by Kara Isaac

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m sharing my extremely biased review of Close to You by Kara Isaac. It’s biased because Kara is a fellow Kiwi, and it’s the first Christian novel I’ve read that is set anywhere near what I call home.

To the best of my knowledge, Close to You by Kara Isaac is the first novel from a New Zealand author contracted and published by a major US Christian publisher. That alone is worth five stars, at least from this parochial Kiwi reader. Those of you who can’t see the appeal of a romance novel set in the Land of the Long White Cloud (and the land of hobbits) … I don’t know. What do people who don’t like New Zealand or hobbits read? Do they read? Can they read?.

Anyway, on to the novel.

Allie is short of money, as her funds are currently tied up in a messy divorce. She’s working as a tour guide delivering high-class (i.e. expensive) tours of New Zealand’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movie locations, making good use of her PhD in English literature. Unfortunately, she now loathes all things Tolkien.

Jackson’s company has just gone bust, and he’s accompanying a long-lost—and rich—uncle on Allie’s Lord of the Rings tour in the hope he can persuade uncle to invest in his next business idea. Unfortunately, he knows nothing about Tolkien, hobbits or Lord of the Rings … despite telling his uncle he’s a die-hard fan.

Naturally, Allie and Jackson start off on the wrong foot and equally naturally (this is Christian romance!), things change as they start to get to know each other. Throw in a tour bus full of seriously eccentric characters, a wily uncle and a weasly almost-ex-husband, and the stage is set for fun and romance.

I loved all the Kiwi touches.

The nail-biting approach to Wellington Airport. The lush greenery of the Waikato. The “scents” of Rotorua. The majesty of Queenstown. The Tolkien tourist mecca of Hobbiton (which is even better in real life. I love the Second Breakfast at The Shire’s Rest cafe). The writing was good, with a good dose of humour (people actually speak Elvish?) and a subtle underlying Christian theme.

Recommended for fans of Carla Laureano and Susan May Warren. And New Zealand, and Tolkien. So that should cover pretty much everyone.

Thanks to Howard Books and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Kara Isaac

Kara Isaac is a RITA® Award nominee who lives in Wellington, New Zealand, where her career highlights include working in tourism as Private Secretary for the Prime Minister. She loves great books almost as much as she loves her husband and three Hobbit-sized children.

You can find Kara Isaac online at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

About Close to You

A disgraced scholar running from her past and an entrepreneur chasing his future find themselves thrown together—and fall in love—on a Tolkien tour of New Zealand.

Allison Shire (yes, like where the Hobbits live) is a disgraced academic who is done with love. Her belief in “happily ever after” ended the day she discovered her husband was still married to a wife she knew nothing about. She finally finds a use for her English degree by guiding tours through the famous sites featured in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. By living life on the road and traveling New Zealand as a luxury tour guide, Allison manages to outrun the pain of her past she can’t face.

Jackson Gregory was on the cusp of making it big. Then suddenly his girlfriend left him—for his biggest business competitor—and took his most guarded commercial secrets with her. To make matters worse, the Iowa farm that has been in his family for generations is facing foreclosure. Determined to save his parents from financial ruin, he’ll do whatever it takes to convince his wealthy great-uncle to invest in his next scheme, which means accompanying him to the bottom of the world to spend three weeks pretending to be a die-hard Lord of the Rings fan, even though he knows nothing about the stories. The one thing that stands between him and his goal is a know-it-all tour guide who can’t stand him and pegged him as a fake the moment he walked off the plane.

When Allison leads the group through the famous sites of the Tolkien movies, she and Jackson start to see each other differently, and as they keep getting thrown together on the tour, they find themselves drawn to each other. Neither expected to fall in love again, but can they find a way beyond their regrets to take a chance on the one thing they’re not looking for?

You can find Close to You online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

You can read the opening to Close to You below:

Click here to find Close to You and other great Christian fiction in my Amazon store.

Paperback giveaway from Spirit Filled Kindle

Giant Paperback Giveaway from Spirit Filled Kindle

Spirit Filled Kindle is hosting a giant paperback giveaway!

Yes, they’re calling it a Winter Giveaway which totally doesn’t fit the fact it’s the middle of summer Down Under, but don’t let details like that stop you from entering.

The prize is 20 Christian books covering a range of fiction and non-fiction genres. It’s open worldwide, and the winner will receive their choice of paperbacks or ebooks.

There is something for everyone on this list. The titles you don’t want to keep for yourself will cover some of your 2018 gift-giving obligations 🙂

The books are:

  • The C. S. Lewis Bible
  • God is in the Manger by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • Come Empty by Saundra Dalton-Smith
  • Marriage God’s Way by Scott LaPierre
  • Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
  • Anxious for Nothing by Max Lucado
  • Freedom from Fear by Pauline Creeden
  • The World is Mine by Keisha Jenkins
  • Christmas in Sugarcreek by Shelley Shepard Gray
  • War of the Heart by Jenna Victoria
  • Secrets and Sacrifice by Juliette Duncan
  • Know You More by Jan Thompson
  • Sparks in Spearfish by Kari Trumbo
  • A Pony Express Romance by Misty M. Beller
  • Michel: The Fourth Wise Man by Katheryn Maddox Haddad
  • The Last Summer by Brandy Bruce
  • Then There Was You by Kara Isaac
  • One Night in Tehran by Luana Ehrlich
  • The New Rulebook by Joy Ohagwu
  • Dash for Cash by Hope Callaghan
  • The Last Jihad by Joel C. Rosenberg
  • Threads of Suspicion by Dee Henderson

Click here to enter, and remember to share your unique code to increase your chances of winning. You’ll also receive emails from each of the participating authors (you can unsubscribe later if you want).

The giveaway closes on 31 January, so click here to enter now.

Paperback giveaway from Spirit Filled Kindle

Book Chat 41

Book Chat #41 | What Books are You Hoping to Read Over The Summer Holidays?

It’s halfway through January and while my children still have several weeks left of their summer holidays, my husband is back at work. We did get away for a short summer holiday, and we’ve also spent several Saturdays at the beach (perfect for reading!). And I’ve read a few books …

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

Oath of Honor by Lynette Eason

Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano

Death at Thornburn Hall by Julianna Deering

If I Live by Terri Blackstock

Of course, there are still a few more on my to-read pile that I’d like to finish before the end of summer …

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

A Season to Dance by Patricia Beal

The Esther Paradigm by Sarah Monzon

Second Chances for Trampled Hearts by Shoshanna Gabriel

So which books have you read (or are hoping to read) over the summer holidays?

Book Review | Oath of Honor by Lynette Eason

Oath of Honor is the first book in Lynette Easons new Blue Justice series. At first glace it looks similar to the O’Malley series by Dee Henderson or the Alaskan Courage series by Dani Pettrey, in that it centres on a large family, most of whom are involved in law enforcement or other service occupations.

And it delivers. I fully expect stories about Brady, Lincoln, Ruthie, Chloe, and Derek St. John in the future. But this story focuses on Isabelle—Izzy—Derek’s twin.

The story was a little confusing at first, as there were a lot of characters to introduce—the six St. John siblings, as well as Izzy’s police partner, Kevin, his family, and other members of the police force … and the criminal classes.

But once I worked out who was who (and that Kevin was the victim, not the hero—oops) … Then the story really got going. This is not one of those books where I have a heap of quotes to share, because it was a pageturner. I was so engrossed in what was happening and in the growing relationship between Izzy and Ryan that I barely paused for breath.

Oath of Honor was great. A perfect Christian romantic suspense novel.

The suspense plot was excellent, with plenty of tension and twists, and the ongoing question of what Derek was doing. The romance was excellent, as Izzy and Ryan took tentative steps towards transitioning from friends and neighbours to something more. And there was a definite Christian aspect to it, which was good because I like my Christian fiction to have a discernable but not overbearing faith element.

In short, Oath of Honor was everything I look for in a Christian romantic suspense novel.

I’m looking forward to the next in the series. Recommended for romantic suspense fans. Thanks to Revell and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Lynette Eason

Lynette EasonLynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice series, the Deadly Reunions series, and the Hidden Identity series, as well as Always Watching, Without Warning, Moving Target, and Chasing Secrets in the Elite Guardians series. She is the winner of two ACFW Carol Awards, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award. She has a master’s degree in education from Converse College and lives in South Carolina.

Find Lynette Eason online at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

About Oath of Honor

Police officer Isabelle St. John loves her crazy, loud, law-enforcement family. With three brothers and two sisters, she’s never without someone to hang out with–or fight with. And she knows they’ll be there for her when things get tough. Like when her partner is murdered and she barely escapes with her own life.

Determined to discover exactly what happened, Izzy’s investigation sends her headfirst into a criminal organization, possibly with cops on the payroll–including someone from her own family. With her dead partner’s handsome homicide detective brother Ryan shadowing her every move, Izzy’s head is spinning. How can she secure justice for her partner when doing so could mean sending someone she loves to prison? And how will she guard her heart when the man she’s had a secret crush on for years won’t leave her side?

With her signature fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat action, Lynette Eason invites readers into a captivating new series where justice is a family affair.

You can find Oath of Honor online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

You can read the introduction to Oath of Honor below:

Click here to find Oath of Honor and other great Christian fiction at my Amazon store!

First Line Friday

First Line Friday | Week 24 | Lady Jayne Disappears

It’s First Line Friday, which means it’s time to open the book nearest you and share the first line. Today I’m sharing from Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano. This book has so many great lines!

Here’s the first line:

Well, Miss Harcourt. Are you, or are you not, Nathaniel Droll?

And here is another one of my favourite quotes—I have to love a heroine who loves reading!

Reading is the perfect way to engage and excite your mind while appearing to merely pass the time.

About Lady Jayne Disappears

When Aurelie Harcourt’s father dies in debtor’s prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet houseguest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company.

When Aurelie decides to complete her father’s unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother’s disappearance–and perhaps even her father’s death.

Author Joanna Davidson Politano’s stunning debut set in Victorian England will delight readers with its highly original plot, lush setting, vibrant characters, and reluctant romance.

You can find Lady Jayne Disappears online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

Click the button to check out what my fabulous fellow FirstLineFriday bloggers are sharing today:

You can then click on the link which will take you to the master page, which holds all this week’s #FirstLineFriday posts.

And you can click here to check out my previous FirstLineFriday posts.

Share your first line in the comments, and happy reading!

#ThrowbackThursday | The Hearts we Mend by Kathryn Springer

It’s Throwback Thursday, which means it’s time to revisit an old favourite. Today it’s The Hearts We Mend by Kathryn Springer, one of my top reads of 2016.

About The Hearts We Mend

Planning and Post-It notes are the epitome of Evie’s life. But when she meets Jack, her life gets more than a little complicated.

Thirteen years ago, Evie’s firefighter husband was killed in the line of duty, leaving her to raise their young son, Cody, alone. Now, Cody is marrying the love of his life, and as he packs up his belongings, the house feels as empty as Evie’s heart. But for all her planning and mad organizational skills, Evie could never have anticipated the dramatic shift her life is about to make.

Tattooed, rough-around-the-edgesJack raises quite a few eyebrows in the tight-knit community of Banister Falls. Where Evie’s life is stream-lined, Jack’s approach to living is moment-by-moment. But as Evie gets drawn into Jack’s world—a world that isn’t as safe or predictable as the one she’s worked so hard to create—he challenges her to open her eyes to the problems outside the walls of the church.

Jack doesn’t make Evie feel comfortable, but he definitely makes her feel something. Something she hasn’t felt since Max passed away—or, maybe ever. Because even though Jack isn’t anything like her late husband, he just might be everything she needs.

Recommended Second-Chance Romance

One of the challenges of writing a series must be around how much of the early books you include in later books in the series. I’ve read some truly awful examples, including one which shall not be named where the author spent the first half of the novel (yes, over 150 excruciatingly boring pages) rehashing the backstories of characters I already knew from the first 22 books in the series.

At the other end of the spectrum are novels where the author must assume readers will recall every minute detail of the earlier book/s, because nothing is explained. It’s equally excruciating, because it’s like finding yourself at a party where no one introduces you to anyone because everyone assumes you know everyone else, except you know no one.

The Hearts We Mend initially felt like the party. Actually, it did begin at a party, but I didn’t know anyone although it was obvious I was supposed to. Too many characters too quickly, and I couldn’t work out who was who, and who was meant to be important. Yes, I had read—and enjoyed, and recommended—The Dandelion Field, the first of the Banister Falls series, but that was more than a year ago. I’ve read a lot of books since . . . Yes, Chapter One of The Hearts We Mend was beyond awkward.

But it improved with Chapter Two, because we got to meet our hero, Jack Vale, and he’s new in town so felt as lost as I did. And the book suddenly got a whole lot better. As time went on, I remembered Evie from the first novel: she’s the widowed mother of Cody, who is getting married to his pregnant girlfriend despite them both being a mere eighteen (as Cody tells Evie, the age she was when she married).

A lot of romance readers are looking for novels about “older” couples.

I’m not convinced Evie and Jack count as older—they’re both in their mid-thirties, scarcely older than the first-love couples in many novels (especially romantic suspense novels). But Evie is about to become a grandmother, which certainly places her ahead of me in terms of life experience category, if not years.

Anyway, Jack is new in town, here to look out for his deadbeat brother and his family. He’s got a temporary job at the church where Evie is director of women’s ministries, which brings the two of them together a lot. They’re opposites in many ways: he’s never married and never had children, she’s widowed and about to become a grandmother. He’s from a rough upbringing and his family have had more than a few brushes with the law. She’s not had an easy life, but none of it involved excess alcohol or drugs, and her relationship with the law is as friends, not foe.

But they find they have things in common: their faith, their concern for Lily, Jack’s niece, and their attraction for each other. Evie’s faithful friends aren’t going to make it easy for Jack, and nor is he.

I thought The Hearts we Mend was excellent, a great sequel to The Dandelion Field.

I loved all the characters, especially Lily, and Jack’s unorthodox neighbours. And Jack was the perfect hero, the way he brought Evie out of the shell no one even realised she was in. I especially liked the way the Christian themes were shown in the way Jack reached out to his neighbours. Recommended.

Thanks to Zondervan and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Kathryn Springer

Kathryn SpringerKathryn Springer, winner of the 2009 ACFW Carol Award (Family Treasures), grew up in a small town in northern Wisconsin, where her parents published a weekly newspaper. As a child, she spent many hours sitting at her mother’s typewriter, plunking out stories, and credits her parents for instilling in her a love of books – which eventually turned into a desire to tell stories of her own. After a number of busy years, when she married her college sweetheart and became a stay-at-home mom, Kathryn rediscovered her love for writing. An unexpected snow day from school became the inspiration for a short story, which she submitted to Brio magazine. She went on to publish over a dozen more short stories for Brio, but it wasn’t until her youngest child started school that she decided to pursue her dream to write a novel. In August 2004, her Love Inspired® debut novel, Tested by Fire, was published.

Encouraging women in their faith journey is the reason Kathryn loves to write inspirational fiction. She hosts a women’s Bible study in her home and volunteers in a local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) ministry. When she isn’t at the computer, you’ll find her curled up with a good book, spending time with family and friends or walking on the trails near her country home.

You can find Kathryn Springer online at:

Website | Facebook

You can read the introduction to The Hearts We Mend below:

Click here to find The Hearts We Mend and other recommended Christian fiction in my Amazon store!

New Releases in Christian Ficiton via ACFW Fiction Finder

January 2018 | New Releases in Christian Fiction

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

Contemporary Romance

Her Handyman Hero by Lorraine Beatty — Reid Blackthorn arrives in Dover on a personal mission—to make sure his terminally ill brother gets a chance to meet his daughter. Deceiving little Lily’s guardian isn’t his intention. Yet once Tori Montgomery mistakes Reid for her new handyman, he knows it’s the only way to be close to his niece. Tori is honoring her friend’s last wish by keeping Lily away from her father’s family. And once she learns who Reid truly is, she realizes there’s too much at stake—including custody of Lily—for her to fall for the former DEA agent. But in keeping a promise, is she losing out on her chance for a happily-ever-after? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Beneath the Summer Sun by Kelly Irvin — It’s been four years since Jennie’s husband died in a farming accident. Long enough that the elders in her Amish community think it’s time to marry again for the sake of her seven children. What they don’t know is that grief isn’t holding her back from a new relationship. Fear is. A terrible secret in her past keeps her from moving forward. Meanwhile, Leo Graber nurtures a decades-long love for Jennie, but guilt plagues him—guilt for letting Jennie marry someone else and guilt for his father’s death on a hunting trip many years ago. How could anyone love him again—and how could he ever take a chance to love in return? (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Ain’t Misbehaving by Marji Laine — True, Annalee’s crime amounted to very little, but not in terms of community service hours. Her probation officer encouraged her with a promise of an easy job in an air-conditioned downtown environment. She didn’t expect her role to be little better than a janitor at an after-school daycare in the worst area of town. Carlton Whelen hides behind the nickname of CJ so people won’t treat him like the wealthy son of the Whelen Foundation director. Working at the foundation’s after-school program delights him and annoys his business-oriented father. When a gorgeous prima donna is assigned to his team, he not only cringes at her mistakes but also has to avoid the attraction that builds from the first time he sees her. (Contemporary Romance from Write Integrity Press)

This is on my to-read list – look out for my review later in January!

Finding Grace by Melanie D. Snitker — Single dad Tyler Martin can’t be more grateful to the woman who finds his missing daughter. Even though he feels a spark between them, falling in love is a risk he shouldn’t take. Too bad chance encounters and his stubborn heart keep trying to convince him otherwise. After escaping a nightmarish relationship, Beth Davenport is content with her safe and blessedly normal life. Yet something about Tyler and his adorable daughter makes her wish for more. With the walls around her heart finally starting to crumble, she’s afraid of a future she can’t predict. Can they let go of their fear and trust God to lead them to the love they desperately need? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Marrying Mandy by Melanie D. Snitker — Mandy Hudson swore she’d never marry. Abandoned by her parents and raised by her grandparents, she has a hard time trusting that real love will last. When her grandmother dies, Mandy’s shocked to discover a stipulation in the will. Considering marriage to her best friend may be the only way to keep her family’s beloved bed-and-breakfast. The loss of his job threatens Preston Yarrow’s shaky financial stability. Besides, he can’t watch his best friend give up the only real home she’s ever known. Frustrated by Mandy’s stubborn refusal to let him help, he’s certain they are stronger together than they are apart. A marriage of convenience might be crazy… or an answer to both their prayers. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

This sounds like fun!

Historical

Son of Promise by Caryl McAdoo — Can a wife find the grace to forgive when her husband’s withheld the truth? Travis Buckmeyer has a secret son, and the morning’s come to tell his sweet wife. He hates breaking Emma Lee’s heart. She promised him one ten years ago, but hasn’t been blessed to carry a baby to term. Every miscarriage made the telling harder, but now his clock’s run out. He’s going for his son, praying he won’t lose her.

Cody knows who his mother claims his father is, but he’s only interested in getting sprung from reform school then boosting enough from the do-gooder to bust out on his own. Can Travis find redemption, Emma Lee forgiveness, or Cody the love he’s been longing for? (Historical, Independently Published)

Historical Romance

Hearts Entwined by Mary Connealy, Melissa Jagears, Regina Jennings, and Karen Witemeyer — Four top historical romance novelists team up in this new collection to offer stories of love and romance with a twist of humor. In Karen Witemeyer’s “The Love Knot,” Claire Nevin gets the surprise of her life awaiting her sister’s arrival by train. Mary Connealy’s “The Tangled Ties That Bind” offers the story of two former best friends who are reunited while escaping a stampede. Regina Jennings offers “Bound and Determined,” where a most unusual trip across barren Oklahoma plains is filled with adventure, romance, and . . . camels? And Melissa Jagears’ “Tied and True” entertains with a tale of two hearts from different social classes who become entwined at a cotton thread factory. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])



A Bouquet of Brides Collection by Mary Davis, Kathleen E. Kovach, Paula Moldenhauer, Suzanne Norquist, Donita Kathleen Paul, Donna Schlachter, and Pegg Thomas — For seven bachelors, this bouquet of brides means a happily ever after. Meet seven American women who were named for various flowers but struggle to bloom where God planted them. Can love help them grow to their full potential? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)



A Mother For His Family by Susanne Dietze
Lady Helena Stanhope’s reputation is in tatters…and she’s lost any hope for a “respectable” ton marriage. An arranged union is the only solution. But once Helena weds formidable Scottish widower John Gordon, Lord Ardoch, and encounters his four mischievous children, she’s determined to help her new, ever-surprising family. Even if she’s sure love is too much to ask for.
All John needs is someone to mother his admittedly unruly brood. He never imagined that beautiful Lady Helena would be a woman of irresistible spirit, caring and warmth. Or that facing down their pasts would give them so much in common. Now, as danger threatens, John will do whatever it takes to convince Helena their future together—and his love—are for always. (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])



His Forgotten Fiancee by Evelyn M. Hill — Liza Fitzpatrick is stunned when her fiancé finally arrives in Oregon City — with amnesia. Matthew Dean refuses to honor a marriage proposal he doesn’t recall making, but Liza needs his help now to bring in the harvest, and maybe she can help him remember… Matthew is attracted to the spirited Liza, and as she tries to help him regain his old memories, the new ones they’re creating together start to make him feel whole. Even as he falls for her again, though, someone’s determined to keep them apart. Will his memory return in time to save their future? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

A Song Unheard by Roseanna M. White — Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a critical task at the outset of World War I–to secure a crucial cypher key from a famous violinist currently in Wales. Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he’s won–until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father’s work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only distraction he finds from his worry is in meeting the intriguing and talented Willa Forsythe. But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn’t–that she must betray him and find that key, or her own family could pay the same price his surely has. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

 

 

I’ve already read and reviewed A Song Unheard – it was excellent. Click here to read my review.

Mystery

Surgeon’s Choice by Richard L. Mabry, MD — Dr. Ben Merrick thought his biggest problem was getting his fiancé’s divorced parents into the same room for the wedding–and then, people started dying. (Mystery, Independently Published through White Glove)

Another one on my to-read list!

Romantic Suspense

Innocent Lies by Robin Patchen — Desperate to be safe from the man who held her captive and ruined her life, Kelsey must ensure her child is protected before she can take her enemy on. But a string of bad luck gets her arrested and lands her face-to-face with the only man she’s ever loved—the only man who can destroy all her plans. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

Cold Truth by Susan Sleeman — When research chemist Kiera Underwood receives the cryptic phone call about her twin brother, she tries to contact him to no avail. Her twin sense tingles, warning her that something is wrong. Kiera’s not prepared when an attempt is made on her life and Blackwell Tactical operative Cooper Ashcroft delivers her second shock of the day. Someone killed the supervisor at the research lab where her brother works and stole a deadly biotoxin. The main suspect? Her brother, and Blackwell Tactical has been hired to bring him in. If that wasn’t shocking enough, she’s suspected of colluding with him. Setting out to prove herself and her brother is innocent, she is almost abducted before Ashcroft rescues her. He’s faced with the reality that she’s telling the truth and someone has likely abducted her brother—perhaps killed him—and now Kiera’s very life is in danger, too. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

 

Lot’s of great books here. What’s on your to-read list for January?

Book Chat

Book Chat #40 | Are you doing a reading challenge in 2018?

I have participated in the Goodreads Reading Challenge for the last six years. I’ve committed to read between 150 and 200 books each year, and have succeeded … although some years it was down to the last couple of days and relied on a fair few novellas or short non-fiction books. I kind-of cheated last year and included books I started and gave up on, because if I start a book three times and still can’t finish it, I’m never going to finish it. So I count it as read.

I’ve tried other reading challenges over the last few years, with less success. I tried a Mt TBR Challenge a couple of times. Mt TBR is Goodreads shorthand for the mountain of unread books many of us own (To Be Read). The first year I attempted to climb Mt TBR, I met my low goal of two books a month, a win made less impressive by the number of books I added to Mt TBR during the year.

I tried again the following year, with a more ambitious goal, and fell by the wayside by around March. My excuse was there were too many good new books to read.

Another year I tried a challenge where we had to read books that fit various categories. This was fun for the first nine months, but then I got towards the end of the year and realised that while I’d chosen books that fit all the remaining criteria, I didn’t have any interest in reading them. So I quit because spending time reading books I didn’t want to read when there were other books I did want to read seemed silly.

I’ve signed up for the Goodreads Reading Challenge again for 2018. I’m aiming for 180 books, the same as in 2017 (which I did achieve, although I cheated a little by including those books I didn’t finish). No conditions. No specific genres to read (although I will be reviewing a contemporary Christian romance novel here each week, and guest reviewing historical or non-romance novels at Australian Christian Writers and International Christian Fiction Writers).

I’m also doing a read the Bible in a year challenge with an online group. I’ve completed this twice before, but fell away in the middle of 2017 because of a lack of accountability. I’m looking forward to reading the Bible with a group of new friends. (Although it would be a lot easier for my Goodreads challenge if the Bible counted as 66 books, not one!)

What about you? Are you doing a reading challenge in 2018? Which one, and how many books are you aiming for?