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Quote from Guarded Prognosis: We're told that the Christian will face troubles. It's promised in the Scriptures. God's promise is that he'll provide the strength we need at the time we need it.

Book Review | Guarded Prognosis by Richard Mabry

Dr Mabry is the master of the medical thriller, and Guarded Prognosis is one of his best. It’s a novel rather than a novella, and that gives him the opportunity to pile on the trouble for the main character, Dr Caden Taggart.

Dr Taggart has two strangers in his waiting room. They say they’re from the DEA, and they’re there to investigate a drug-related death where Dr Taggart apparently prescribed the fentanyl that killed the man. Except Taggart doesn’t prescribe fentanyl—he’s a surgeon, and fentanyl is something that would be prescribed by the referring physician. Things get more complicated when his father calls to say he’s taken a few tests, the results look like cancer … and Dr Henry Taggart wants his son’s help to commit suicide.

Yeah. Plenty of thing going wrong in this one. And plenty of room for more things to go wrong.

The characters are intriguing. Beth is a Christian, but Caden doesn’t seem to be: “That was her thing, not his.” This kind of leaves me wondering why she married him … However, that does leave room for Caden to have a crisis of faith.

One thing that continues to impress me with Dr Mabry’s novels and novellas is the way he weaves Christianity and medical terminology into the story in a natural way. There is always enough medical terminology to convince us the characters are real doctors, yet never so much that we don’t understand what’s going on. The same with the Christian content—it’s there, but it’s not forced.

All in all, Guarded Prognosis is a strong medical thriller with plenty of twists and turns.

Thanks to the author for providing a free ebook for review.

About Richard Mabry

I’m a retired physician who, in addition to writing, is a husband and grandfather, plays (and enjoys) golf, and does the hundred-and-one other things that retired people do.

I got into non-medical writing after the death of my first wife with my book, THE TENDER SCAR: LIFE AFTER THE DEATH OF A SPOUSE. I’m gratified that it continues to help those who have lost a loved one.

Now I’m writing what I call “medical suspense with heart.” My novels have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Award, Romantic Times’ Best Inspirational Novel and their Reviewer’s Choice Award, have won the Selah award, and been named by Christian Retailing as the best in the mystery/suspense/thriller category. My latest novel is CARDIAC EVENT, which has been given a 4 1/2 star rating and a “Top Pick” by Romantic Times. I’ve also published three novellas, the latest one DOCTOR’S DILEMMA.

You can find Dr Richard Mabry online at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

About Guarded Prognosis

When Dr. Caden Taggart saw the two men sitting in his waiting room, he didn’t think they were patients. He was right, and when they introduced themselves as agents of the Drug Enforcement Agency, things started to get bad.

Then Caden felt as though someone had gut-punched him when his father, Dr. Henry Taggart, told him he probably had carcinoma of the pancreas. When he talked about his son assisting with his suicide, Caden wondered how he could talk him out of that.

When he shared his news with his wife, Beth, she tried to assure Caden that God was in control. But as things progressed, he was unsure that was true. At first, he feared for his freedom. Then for his ability to cope. Eventually, he feared for his life.

Find Guarded Prognosis online at:

Amazon | BookBub | Goodreads

Read the introduction to Guarded Prognosis below:


Bookish Question #85 | Have you discovered a new favourite author this year?

Bookish Question #85 | Have you discovered a new favourite author this year?

I’ve read a lot of new authors this year, some on the recommendation of friends (usually good), some because they’ve approached me for reviews, and a lot because I’ve found them on NetGalley or Amazon. Some have been great, others have been added to that great did-not-finish pile in the cloud. Here are a few of new favourite authors for 2018:

Nadine Brandes

I subscribed to Nadine’s email list on the recommendation of Jebraun Clifford. This year I read my first Nadine Brandes book, Fawkes, which is a fantasy twist centred around Guido Fawkes (well, his son) and the Gunpowder plot. It’s kind of like reading a novel about the Titanic—you know the broad facts, but that’s it.

Connilyn Cossette

It’s been a while since I’ve read any biblical fiction. A lot of it is written in series, and I’m the kind of reader that wants to start at book one … and won’t read the rest of the series if I didn’t enjoy book one. I read A Light on the Hill because I saw so many bloggers raving about it, and they were all spot on. I have the sequel waiting on my Kindle …

J’nell Ciesielski

J’nell approached me to review her debut novel, Among the Poppies. I agreed because her hero shared a name with my great grandfather, and I’m glad I did. It’s an excellent World War I adventure-romance, and I’m looking forward to reading her next book soon.

Christy Hayes

Christy Hayes is a New York Times bestselling author of New Adult romance. Her current releases are all general market, but if you’re a fan of authors like Kara Isaac, Amy Matayo, and Courtney Walsh, then you’re going to want to keep an eye out for Christy’s next release.

CC Warrens

I read the Criss Cross series on the recommendation of Christine Dillon, author of Grace in Strange Disguise and Grace in the Shadows. Christine is pretty picky, so I paid attention when she recommended Criss Cross, Cross Fire, and Crossed Off. They’re a hard suspense read, but worth the effort.

I think I’ll stop there or I’ll have nothing to write in my upcoming Top Ten Reads for 2018 post!

What new author or authors have you discovered this year?

New Releases in Christian Ficiton via ACFW Fiction Finder

New Releases in Christian Fiction | July 2018

We’re officially halfway though 2018. Is it just me, or have these last six months just disappeared? Anyway, a new month means more new releases in Christian fiction. In-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

What’s on your to-read pile for July?

Contemporary Romance

A Widow’s Hope by Vannetta Chapman — After tragedy claimed her husband’s life and her son’s ability to walk, Hannah King doesn’t want a new man. She has her family, a home and mounting debts. Scarred Amish bachelor Jacob Schrock offers Hannah the job she desperately needs. But while Hannah helps Jacob resolve his accounting issues, can she and her little boy also heal his wounded heart? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Firestorm by Laura V. Hilton — Bridget Behr can’t shake the guilt that it was her fault her family moved—and is too afraid to trust anyone, especially the flirtatious, overly-friendly Amish man who lives next door. Just as Bridget is finally settling into friendship, a new life, and maybe even love, a devastating forest fire ravages the county, destroying both land and the Behrs’ dreams. Now Bridget and her family must decide: will they leave behind the ashes and start anew in another Amish community? Or will they dare to fight for the future they’d hoped for in Mackinac County? (Contemporary Romance from Whitaker House)

General Contemporary

Ride to the Altar by Linda W. Yezak — Cattle are dying on the Circle Bar, putting the Texas ranch in financial jeopardy. Newly engaged Patricia Talbert and Talon Carlson must root out the cause before they can concentrate on wedding plans—which involves Patricia’s traveling to New York to patch things up with her domineering mother. While she is away, Talon discovers that the attacks on the ranch are connected to the murder of his first fiancée over eight years ago. Before they can move forward together, each have to resolve the past. Will they be able to start their new life with a clean slate? (General Contemporary from Canopy Books of Texas)

General Historical

My Heart Belongs in Galveston, Texas by Kathleen Y’Barbo — Dodging bullets takes a simple missing person case to a new level as Jonah Cahill, a Pinkerton agent, and Madeline Latour, an investigative reporter, form a tentative truce in Galveston, Texas, 1880. Are they on to a much bigger story when their best witness is suddenly kidnapped? (General Historical from Barbour Publishing)

Historical Mystery

The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright — Two women, separated by a hundred years, must uncover the secrets within the borders of their own town before it’s too late and they lose their future–or their very souls. (Historical Mystery from Bethany House [Baker])

Historical Romance

This Freedom Journey by Misty M. Beller — Adrien Lockman left France to finally live life on his own terms, but when he discovers a half-starved and half-frozen woman in the treacherous Canadian mountains, the truth soon becomes clear—the only way they’ll survive is together. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

I’ve recently read this, as part of the Timeless Love novella collection. It was one of my favourites.

The Widow’s Plight by Mary Davis — After moving to a new town and joining a quilting circle, a single mother steps out of the shadows of abuse and into the sunshine. But will a secret clouding her past cost her the man she loves? (Historical Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

River to Redemption by Ann H. Gabhart — Orphaned during an early 19th century cholera epidemic and helped by a slave to find a new home, Adria Starr must now stand up for his freedom—and maybe find her own in the process. (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker])

A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano — A young heiress is suddenly the poorest wealthy woman in all of England when her father dies without telling anyone where he put his money. (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker])


Shifting Sands by Elizabeth Ludwig — A mysterious key hidden in the depths of an ancient lighthouse unlocks family secrets hidden for generations. (Cozy Mystery from Guideposts Publications)

Guarded Prognosis by Richard L. Mabry — At first Dr. Caden Taggart feared for his freedom, then for his ability to cope, and eventually he feared for his life. (Medical Mystery, Independently Published)

Romantic Suspense

Darkwater Secrets by Robin Caroll — When Adelaide Fountaine, the general manager of a hotel in New Orleans, finds the body of a guest who was stabbed with a kitchen knife, her childhood friend Detective Beau Savoie is shocked to discover a connection between his friend–the woman he’s quietly loved for years—and the murdered guest. But Beau can’t press Adelaide too hard . . . because he’s keeping secrets of his own. Can Adelaide and Beau afford to hide from the truth with a killer on the loose? (Romantic Suspense from Gilead Publishing)

Camp Hope by Sara L. Foust — Facing dehydration, starvation, and a convoluted kidnapper, will Amy succeed in recovering her precious foster daughter or get lost in a vast wilderness forever? (Romantic Suspense from Mantle Rock Publishing)

Dead Drift by Dani Pettrey — Seven years ago, operative Luke Gallagher vanished to join an elite team of terrorist hunters. Private investigator Kate Maxwell never stopped loving or looking for Luke after he disappeared. But she also never imagined he left her or his life by choice. Now he’s back, asking her help to stop America’s newest terrorist threat—an attack that would shake the country to its core. Together they must navigate secrets, lies, and betrayal, all while on the brink of a biological disaster. Will they and their love survive, or will Luke and Kate become the terrorist’s next mark? (Romantic Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])

Young Adult

Launch by Jason C. Joyner — Teens with special abilities are invited to an exclusive conference where tech billionaire Simon Mazor is looking for those who can help him influence the world. (Young Adult from Little Lamb Books)

First Line Friday

First Line Friday | Week 42 | The Theory of Happily Ever After

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 The Theory of Happily Ever After by Kristen Billerbeck. I’m actually sharing the first two lines, because the first line only makes sense if you also read the second.

Here’s the first line:

First line: Life is filled with irony. I mean, I wrote the book on bliss, and currently I am the most miserable person I know.

About The Theory of Happily Ever After

According to Dr. Maggie Maguire, happiness is serious science, as serious as Maggie takes herself. But science can’t always account for life’s anomalies–for instance, why her fiancé dumped her for a silk-scarf acrobat and how the breakup sent Maggie spiraling into an extended ice cream-fueled chick flick binge.

Concerned that she might never pull herself out of this nosedive, Maggie’s friends book her as a speaker on a “New Year, New You” cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. Maggie wonders if she’s qualified to teach others about happiness when she can’t muster up any for herself. But when a handsome stranger on board insists that smart women can’t ever be happy, Maggie sets out to prove him wrong. Along the way she may discover that happiness has far less to do with the head than with the heart.

Filled with memorable characters, snappy dialogue, and touching romance, Kristin Billerbeck’s The Theory of Happily Ever After shows that the search for happiness may be futile–because sometimes happiness is already out there searching for you.

You can find The Theory of Happily Ever After 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!

Have you contacted an author you admire?

Bookish Question 57 | Have you contacted an author you admire?

I’m a book reviewer and often feature author interviews on my blog, so you’d think my answer to this would be yes.

But it’s not that easy. I’ve never proactively contacted an author I admire, as in I’ve never written a fan letter (or fan email).

But I have come into contact with many authors I admire—and have found them to be as wonderful in real life as in their fiction. Most of this has come through my reviewing, at least at first, when authors have contacted me.

One of the first books I reviewed online was Picking up the Pieces by Australian author Paula Vince. I then pestered my local Christian bookseller to get her other books for me to read. Not long after I started my original book review blog, Iola’s Christian Reads, I received an email from Paula asking if I was the same Iola who had reviewed some of her books on Amazon (I guess it was a safe bet!).

Anyway, that email started a conversation.

It led to me getting involved in the Christian Writers Downunder and Australasian Christian Writers Facebook Groups, and the opportunity to meet other Australian and Kiwi authors I knew of. One of these was Mary Hawkins, the author of one of the first Christian romance novels I ever read, Search for Tomorrow. I still own that original paperback.

Since then I’ve attended what has become the Omega Writers Conference in Australia five times, and the Romance Writers of New Zealand conference three times, and met authors such as James Scott Bell, Marie Force, Kristen Lamb and others, and met and formed relationships with many other authors, including Ian Acheson, Carolyn Miller, Narelle Atkins, Andrea Grigg, Dorothy Adamek, and Rose Dee.

I’ve also met dozens more authors online, through Facebook groups and through my membership of American Christian Fiction Writers. But I’m still reluctant to contact authors I don’t know!

Don’t let my hesitation stop you contacting an author you admire. Almost without exception, the authors I’ve come into contact with have been wonderful people, and they all love to hear from readers.

What about you? Have you ever contacted an author you admire? Who? And what was their response?

Bookish Question 55: Where is your favourite place to read?

Bookish Question #55 | Where is Your Favourite Place to Read?

Where is my favourite place to read?

Short answer: anywhere.

Slightly longer answer: anywhere I can find where no one is talking to me.

Longer answer: I read in three main places depending on the time of day and time of year, so I guess they are my favourite places to read.

On summer days I like to read at the beach or in the back garden while I’m soaking up the sun. This is where the Kindle is great, because I can still read while lying on my back. The backlit screen means I can also read in direct sunlight (which you can’t do with an iPhone).

In winter I move into the spa pool (hot tub) and drag out the print books. I don’t want to ruin a print book by dropping it in the water, but at least it’s still readable when it dries. A Kindle might not recover, and I’m not willing to take that risk. I know some people read on their Kindles in the bath or in the hot tub—they put it in a ziploc bag. I’m not that confident!

The rest of the time I tend to read in my favourite easy chair in the lounge, usually while my husband watches sport on TV. I find it easy enough to follow a game of rugby or cricket at the same time as reading a book. Watching a movie takes a little more skill, especially if he’s watching a foreign film. In a way, foreign films are best for reading to, because it’s easy to tune out background noise in a foreign language.

What about you? Where is your favourite place to read? Leave a note in the comments.

From No Less Days by Amanda G Stevens: He could admit that a century of overreacting to fire was a strong indication he always would.

Book Review | No Less Days by Amanda Stevens

Yes, contemporary romance is my favourite genre.

No, No Less Days is not contemporary romance.

Although it does have a minor romance subplot (most novels could be improved with the addition of a minor romance subplot). While I enjoy reading romance, when it comes to watching, my favourite TV shows and movies tend to be science fiction of some form: Star Wars. Star Trek. Stargate. Fringe. Forever. (Chuck.)

I’d categorise No Less Days as Forever with a dash of Highlander. It’s part science fiction and part urban fantasy.

David Galloway is 167 years old, but looks thirty-five, thanks to a doctor who saved his life over 130 years ago. He’s survived five major wars, and now makes a living selling second-hand and antique books. He thinks he’s the only one of his kind until he sees a news story about a daredevil who falls to his death crossing the Grand Canyon, yet miraculously survives.

David is curious. There is no way this daredevil, Zachary Wilson, could have survived that fall. Is there someone else like David? He goes to Nevada to find out the truth, and finds something unexpected: he is not alone.

Like I said, No Less Days isn’t the usual book I review.

But if there were more Christian novels like this, I’d read and review them because No Less Days was excellent. A unique hook: the man who lives forever. Great characters: David, Zac, Tiana. A moral dilemma to work through. And lots of amusing insights from a man who has lived longer than he should.

From No Less Days by Amanda G Stevens: He wished people valued books—paper, ink, effort, art, knowledge—the way they used to.

The story of No Less Days is told entirely from David’s viewpoint, and that’s one of the strengths. Learning things about the Longevites as David learns them gives the sense of being in the story. The writing is excellent, and while this story comes to a complete and satisfying end, there is certainly scope to turn No Less Days into a series.

I recommend No Less Days for fans of TV shows like Fringe and forever who’d love to see more Christian fiction delve into these areas of the unknown.

Thanks to Barbour Publishing for providing a free book for review.

About Amanda G Stevens

Author Photo: Amanda G StevensAs a child, Amanda G. Stevens disparaged Mary Poppins and Stuart Little because they could never happen. Now, she writes speculative fiction. She is the author of the Haven Seekers series, and her debut Seek and Hide was a 2015 INSPY Award finalist. She lives in Michigan and loves trade paperbacks, folk music, the Golden Era of Hollywood, and white cheddar popcorn.

You can find Amanda G Stevens online at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

About No Less Days

David Galloway can’t die.

How many lifetimes can God expect one man to live? Over a century old, David Galloway isolates himself from the mortal humans who die or desert him by making a quiet life as a used bookstore owner in Northern Michigan. But then he spots a news article about a man who, like him, should be dead.

Daredevil celebrity Zachary Wilson walked away unscathed from what should have been a deadly fall. David tracks the man down, needing answers. Soon David discovers a close-knit group of individuals as old as he is who offer the sort of kinship and community he hasn’t experienced for decades—but at what cost?

David finds himself keeping secrets other than his own. . .protecting more than himself alone. He’ll have to decide what’s worth the most to him—security or community. When crimes come to light that are older than any mortal, he fears the pressure is more than he can stand. What does God require of him, and is David strong enough to see it through?

You can find No Less Days online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

You can read the introduction to No Less Days below:

Book Review | The Struggle: 4 Girls and 1 Bathroom

The Struggle: 4 Girls and 1 Bathroom is not the normal kind of book I review.

For one thing, it’s not a novel. Well, not really. The first book in the “series”, Mom and the Summertime Blues, was a summer holiday project Patrice Smith assigned her four daughters so they wouldn’t get bored (click here to read my review). This is the follow-up, written over the course of a school year. While the names have been changed, I have no doubt all these events actually occurred. This makes The Struggle more memoir than fiction.

Four sisters, two parents, and one bathroom.

I can see The Struggle! But that’s not all the book talks about. Each of the four sisters contributes three chapters, one from the beginning of the school year, one from the middle, and one from their summer trip. Mom starts with an apology, and wraps up loose ends to finish.

I enjoyed The Struggle.

I know it’s meant for middle grade and younger young adult readers, but I’d also recommend it toe homeschooling parents looking for ideas for school (or holiday) projects. I suspect there is a large market of grandparents who would love a real printed book by their grandchildren. Amazon CreateSpace and other Print on Demand printers means such an undertaking doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.

I’d also recommend The Struggle: 4 Girls and 1 Bathroom to those writing for a middle grade or young adult audience because of the insight it offers into the way modern pre-teen and teenage girls think. Part of me wants to know if the whole project is Patrice Smith’s sneaky plan to get to know her daughters better … or maybe not:

“I must say, my mom has done really well with the manipulating of her kids to eat the way she wants them to. She should write a book. Wait, what did I just say?”

Parts made me laugh out loud:

“My teacher makes coffee at the same time every morning. Nothing happens until she has some coffee in her hands. If you are smart, you stay out of her way until she has had at least one cup.”

I couldn’t possibly comment. Other parts reminded me how fast trends move on:

“My mom says by the time this book is published, I won’t want a fidget spinner anymore and people willl no longer be excited by them, but I doubt it.”

I suspect Mom was right. Big surprise.

The book also includes discussion questions (with thorny questions such as “Why do parents say No?”), and a word list, including the words that some younger readers might not know or understand (like vegan and chia).

Thanks to Patrice Smith for providing a free ebook for review. I’ll look forward to reading the next family project!

About the Authors

The StruggleThe authors of the book The Struggle: Mom and the Summertime Blues and The Struggle: 4 Girls & 1 Bathroom are from Middle Georgia. The authors consist of a mom and her four daughters. The mom, Patrice Smith, is a second-time author, who has previously coauthored a healthy living cookbook. She received a Bachelor of Science in Human Resources and Family Studies from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.

The four adolescent authors are Donna Smith age 16, Shannon Smith age 15, Charity Smith age 13, and Faith Smith age 12. They are all very active, school-aged girls with a variety of interests which include reading, drawing, singing, art and more. The inspiration for the first book came from their real-life mom’s summer writing assignment. This book is inspired by their real life, but it is a work of fiction. Be on the lookout for future works by these talented authors.

About The Struggle: 4 Girls and 1 Bathroom

The Struggle: 4 Girls & 1 Bathroom is the sequel to the book entitled The Struggle: Mom and the Summertime Blues. It is also about the lives of four sisters, Diamond, Shelia, Crystal, and Felicity. Previously, these sisters wrote about having to endure a long summer with their mom and her never-ending lists of chores and schoolwork. Now they are back to discuss their upcoming school year. But this time, no one is safe from their complaints!

Read the introduction to The Struggle below:

New Releases in Christian Fiction: July 2017

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

Contemporary Romance

On Love’s Gentle Shore by Liz Johnson — When Natalie O’Ryan’s fiancé books their wedding in her hometown, Natalie didn’t know the only reception venue available would be an old barn belonging to Justin Kane–the best friend she left behind all those years ago after promising to stay. As they work together to get the dilapidated building ready for the party, Natalie and Justin discover the groundwork for forgiveness–and that there may be more than an old friendship between them. (Contemporary Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Their Ranch Reunion by Mindy Obenhaus — Single mom Carly Wagner is surprised to learn she’ll have to share ownership of the home she’s inherited with her first love—and first heartbreak—Andrew Stephens. The man who fled their tiny Western town is back and standing in the way of her dreams to expand her B&B.

Now a successful businessman, Andrew has eight weeks to buy Carly out. But Carly’s too stubborn to persuade—and too beautiful to ignore. When fire ravages her inn and she and her daughter move in to their shared property, Andrew’s in over his head. Time is running out and Andrew must decide: leave and chase another deal…or stay and chase Carly’s heart. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Time and Tide by Kristen Terrette — Recovering from addiction and a near death experience, Chad moves to Moanna Island, a small island close to Savannah off the Atlantic coast, to begin a job with his family’s real estate empire, a job he was supposed to have taken years ago. Free-spirited Ryan Mason is a Moanna local girl from a blue-collar family. She’s dropped her own dreams to help her father care for her schizophrenic brother.

When Chad and Ryan meet at the rehabilitation center where her brother lives, feelings develop between them. Can their crazy worlds ever fit together once he learns her secret and she finds out he is the sole heir to the Cusher Empire? (Contemporary from Hartwood Publishing Group)

Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh — When a workaholic interior designer returns to her hometown to check on her brother’s welfare, she reconnects with a soldier, secretly in love with her, over a renovation project that will help the struggling town. (Contemporary Romance from Tyndale House)

If there is one book on this list I want to read, this is it.

Cozy Mystery

A Tempting Taste of Mystery by Elizabeth Ludwig — Judging a pie contest leads Cheryl Cooper and friends into mayhem and mystery after someone begins methodically sabotaging the entries. (Cozy Mystery from Guideposts Publications)

Over Maya Dead Body by Sandra Orchard — FBI Special Agent Serena Jones arrives on Martha’s Vineyard with her family, ready for a little bit of R&R and a whole lot of reminiscing as they celebrate the engagement of an old family friend. But crime doesn’t take a vacation, and she’s soon entangled in an investigation of a suspicious death tied to an antiquities smuggling ring.

When her investigation propels her into danger, Serena must stay the course and solve this case before anyone else dies. But just how is she supposed to do that when the two men in her life arrive on the scene, bringing with them plenty of romantic complications–and even a secret or two? (Cozy Mystery from Revell [Baker])

Historical Romance

The American Conquest (Window to the Heart Sage, Book 3) by Jenna Brandt — Margaret must leave behind her title and wealth in Europe in order to escape and start a new life in the Colorado Territory. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Of Rags and Riches Romance Collection by Susanne Dietze, Michelle Griep, Anne Love, Gabrielle Meyer, Natalie Monk, Jennifer Uhlarik, Erica Vetsch, Jaime Jo Wright, and Kathleen Y’Barbo — Journey along in nine historical romances with those whose lives are transformed by the opulence, growth, and great changes taking place in America’s Gilded Age.

Nine couples meet during these exhilarating times and work to build a future together through fighting for social reform, celebrating new opportunities for leisure activities, taking advantage of economic growth and new inventions, and more. Watch as these romances develop and legacies of faith and love are formed. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

A Rebel in My House by Sandra Merville Hart — Promises can be impossible to keep–especially when a Confederate soldier trapped behind enemy lines looks to a Gettysburg seamstress for help. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

A Match for Melissa by Susan Karsten — Wanting a godly husband, Melissa’s only choice is to follow her father’s wishes, even when doing so may not achieve the desires of her heart. (Historical Romance from Prism Book Group [Pelican]).

My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island by Carrie Fancett Pagels — Moor your heart on Mackinac Island along with resident sweetheart Maude Welling, an heiress trying to prove her worth by working incognito as a maid at the Grand Hotel. Meet Ben Steffans, a journalist posing as a wealthy industrialist who has come to the island to uncover a story about impoverished men pursuing heiresses at the famed hotel. Will a growing love between Maude and Ben be scuttled when truths are revealed in this Gilded Age romance? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Salvation by the Sea by Kristen Reed — Life has been anything but easy for Muirigan thanks to a series of life-altering calamities, but she’s found peace with her new, understated life by the sea. However, the maid’s past comes back to haunt her when she saves the shipwrecked Prince Halvard one morning.

Failing to recognize one of his dearest childhood friends, the prince invites Muirigan to live at court as a reward for her valiant heroism. As the two reconnect, something deeper than friendship blossoms, but will their newfound affection survive when Muirigan’s lies are revealed and Halvard learns the truth about what has befallen since their tragic separation? (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Romantic Suspense

Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble — As a 911 dispatcher, Dana Newell takes pride in being calm in tough circumstances. In addition to her emotionally-charged career, she’s faced enough emergencies in her own life. She recently escaped her abusive fiancé to move to tranquil Rock Harbor where she hopes life will be more peaceful. But the idyllic town hides more danger and secrets than it first appeared.

Dana is continually drawn to her new friend Boone, who has scars inside and out. Then she answers a call at her job only to hear a friend’s desperate screams on the other end. Soon the pain in her past collides with the mysteries of her new home—and threatens to keep her from the future she’s always wanted. (Romantic Suspense from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson and Zondervan])

I’m reviewing Beneath Copper Falls at Suspense Sisters Reviews next Monday.


The Genesis Tree by Heather L.L. FitzGerald — Deception is rampant, the enemy is subtle, and love dares to tug at Sadie’s heart amid the turmoil that forces her and her family back to the Tethered World below. (Speculative/Contemporary Fantasy from Mountain Brook Ink)

Review: Five Days in Skye by Carla Laureano

Romance in Scotland: What more could you want?

Andrea Sullivan may have sabotaged her career with that last potential client. Now, as punishment, she has to convince TV chef James MacDonald, owner of three Michelin-starred London restaurants, that her company is perfect to help him renovate and market the family hotel he has inherited on the Isle of Skye. She has just a few days, and her job is on the line.

There is an immediate attraction when Andrea and James meet, but Andrea wants nothing to do with men, and especially wants nothing to do with a client. James has his own problematic romantic history, not to mention an even more problematic relationship with his brother, who owns one-third of the hotel.

I found all the characters to be intelligent and likeable, and I was especially impressed by the research. I’ve not been to Skye but I’ve lived in London and visited Scotland, and Five Days in Skye made me feel I was there. I had to laugh Andrea’s reaction to James calling her ‘love’. It’s a common term, particularly in the hospitality industry.

Right, love?

This is a Christian novel, but the Christian element is somewhat understated. Both Andrea and James come from rural backgrounds where the Christian faith was an integral part of the family. But both have abandoned that faith, yet realise on Skye that perhaps they need to pursue God once more.

Five Days in Skye has it all: an excellent opening, a funny first meeting between Andrea and James, intelligent lead characters who are both successes in their chosen careers, excellent attention to detail, and the Isle of Skye, a beautiful and unique setting. And the last line is a beautiful illustration of the eternal romance between us and God. Recommended for romance lovers.

Thanks to David C Cook and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Carla Laureano at her website, and you can read the introduction here: