Tag: Janet W Ferguson

The past has light and shadows we don't see without looking from a different perspective.

Book Review | The Art of Rivers by Janet W Ferguson

Artist Rivers Sullivan has the almost-perfect life …

Until her fiancé is gunned down by a drug addict just ten days before their wedding. A year later, she’s on St. Simons Island, Georgia, preparing to pack up and sell the Barlow family cottage and art gallery, which she inherited from Jordan.

Here she meets Jordan’s cousin, an ex-addict who tore Jordan’s family apart when Jordan’s younger sister died in Cooper’s care. Jordan’s family still blames Cooper for Susannah’s death, although Jordan had been trying to reconcile with Cooper before his death. Rivers meets Cooper and finds he works in the gallery and runs a ministry for addicts, Re-Claimed.

Rivers doesn’t want to have anything to do with addicts, past or present.

Jordan was murdered by an addict. His sister lost her life due to an addict’s carelessness. Her mother is an alcoholic. Addicts can’t be trusted. Yet she’s attracted to Cooper, to his faith, to his passion for art. Almost against her will, Rivers finds herself getting involved in the gallery, in Re-Claimed, and with Cooper. But someone seems to want Re-Claimed closed, and is prepared to go to great lengths to make that happen …

The Art of Rivers is an excellent example of self-published Christian fiction.

The writing is top quality—as good as any Christian novel I’ve read. The characters feel real, and their conflicts a natural outworking of their personalities. There was no feeling that the conflict was contrived, or that the author had manipulated the characters to build the required tension. Some novels I read have an almost paint-by-numbers approach to the plot and characters, which doesn’t make for an engaging read. The Art of Rivers had none of that, which was excellent.

The real strength is that The Art of Rivers is a novel with Christian characters doing their best to live a Christian life in a world full of sin.

This is something that’s often missing from the novels from the large mainstream Christian publishers (many of which are owned by non-Christian multinational media conglomerates). While I’m happy to read these “Christian-lite” novels that have good stories and none of the content I’d rather not fill my mind with, it’s great to have more serious Christian fiction that deals with real-world issues from a Christian perspective. Recommended.

The Art of Rivers by @JanetwFerguson is an excellent example of self-published Christian fiction, showing Christian characters doing their best to live a Christian life. #BookReview #ChristianRomance Click To Tweet

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

About Janet W Ferguson

Janet W FergusonJanet W. Ferguson grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served her church as a children’s minister and a youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a few cats that allow them to share the space.

Click here to read my interview with Janet W Ferguson.

Find Janet W Ferguson online at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | BookBub

About The Art of Rivers

Rivers Sullivan bears both visible and invisible scars—those on her shoulder from a bullet wound and those on her heart from the loss of her fiancé during the same brutal attack. Not even her background as an art therapist can help her regain her faith in humanity. Still, she scrapes together the courage to travel to St. Simons Island to see the beach cottage and art gallery she’s inherited from her fiancé. When she stumbles upon recovering addicts running her gallery, she’s forced to reckon with her own healing.

After the tragic drowning of his cousin, James Cooper Knight spends his days trying to make up for his past mistakes. He not only dedicates his life to addiction counseling, but guilt drives him to the water, searching for others who’ve been caught unaware of the quickly rising tides of St. Simons. When he rescues a peculiar blond woman and her sketch pad from a sandbar, then delivers this same woman to his deceased grandmother’s properties, he knows things are about to get even more complicated.

Tragic circumstances draw Cooper and Rivers closer, but they fight their growing feelings. Though Cooper’s been sober for years, Rivers can’t imagine trusting her heart to someone in recovery, and he knows a relationship with her will only rip his family further apart. Distrust and guilt are only the first roadblocks they must overcome if they take a chance on love.

Find The Art of Rivers online at:

Amazon US | Amazon AU | Goodreads

New Releases in Christian Fiction

New Releases in Christian Fiction | June 2019

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

Contemporary Romance:

The Art of Rivers by Janet Ferguson — Can a woman whose life has been damaged by addiction trust her heart to a man in recovery? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

I’ve been lucky enough to read an advance copy of The Art of Rivers. I’ll post my review next week, but it’s a great read—the best kind of Christian fiction.

Cross My Heart by Robin Lee Hatcher — Horse rescue farmer Ashley helps Ben start an equine therapy barn on his great-great grandfather’s farm. When they consider a relationship together, her bitter experience with her opioid addict brother reins in any hope for a future with Ben, who is five years in recovery from alcoholism. Ben knows that with God, all things are possible—but will Ashley find it within herself to give love a chance? (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Risking Love by Toni Shiloh — Nikki lives with a perfect trifecta of noes. No guys. No dates. No way. After years of keeping men at bay, Nikki Gordon has it down to a science. No one, not even sweet, hunky Shorty Smalls can change her mind. Period. So if she’s got it all figured out, why does her heart sink to her toes when she sees Shorty with another woman? (Contemporary Romance from Celebrate Lit)

This sounds like a fun read. I’ll have to check it out!

General:

Uncharted Destiny by Keely Brooke Keith — When Bailey sets out to rescue her lost friend in the Land’s dangerous mountain terrain, she discovers more about the Land—and herself—than she bargained for. (General from Edenbrooke Press)

I’ve enjoyed all the Uncharted books so far, and I’m looking forward to reading Uncharted Destiny. Watch out for my review later this month.

Six Houses Down by Kari Rimbey — Two days after Sharon Webster’s distant husband returns for a surprise visit, their autistic son slips out of the house and is lost in historic Washington D. C. As they search for their boy, Sharon is forced to rely on the husband she believes no longer loves her. An elderly black couple down the street seems to understand her unspoken hurts. Has God sent them to help her find trust again? (General Contemporary, Independently Published)

 

Historical:

In the Shadow of the King by Melissa Rosenberger — Beset by doubts and jealousy about prophecies spoken over her brother Yeshua, Hannah struggles to see the truth before her eyes until it is too late…or is it? (Historical from Carpenter’s Son Publishing)

Interesting—I’ve never read any fiction from the point of view of one of Mary’s daughters.

Historical Romance:

This Healing Journey by Misty M. Beller — An adventure-seeking wilderness girl and an ex-cavalryman looking to settle down fall in love while caring for a wounded Indian child that shows up in his barn. Will their differences keep them apart or become their greatest strengths? (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Cameo Courtships by Susanne Dietze, Debra E. Marvin, Jennifer Uhlarik, and Kathleen Y’Barbo — In 1851, a special cameo is gifted by Queen Victoria to Letitia Newton, who though considered an old maid, meets the perfect gentleman minutes after donning.

Told by the Queen the cameo is to be shared, Letitia gifts the “Victoria Cameo” to a woman in her family, hoping adventure and romance will follow each of its subsequent wearers.

Adventure indeed follows two competing journalists, one of whom carries the cameo while looking to expose a smuggler, a trouser-wearing frontierswoman and a reverend who are on a mission to ransom the cameo from a manipulative brothel owner, two Pinkertons who are charged with the care of the cameo but must rely on one another when the cameo is once again stolen, and a young woman who doubts the cameo can help her when a handsome Scottish library administrator ruins her dream of overseeing the new Carnegie Library children’s department and keeps a social chasm between himself and her father. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Mail-Order Refuge by Cindy Regnier — Carly Blair from Baltimore buys a train ticket to Kansas where she will become the wife of a man she’s never met. She must leave Baltimore to escape the evil plans her ex-fiance has for using her artistic talents for a counterfeit operation. Rand Stafford, Kansas cattle rancher is looking after his two orphaned nieces, but knows they need a mother. He’s not interested in love since being left at the altar so he advertises for a mail-order bride, willing to do whatever it takes to give Mary Jo and Jenna a proper home and upbringing. Can Carly and Rand find love where they least expect it, or will the shadows of the past dash their hopes for the future? (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

No Ocean Too Wide by Carrie Turansky — Between the years of 1869 to 1939 more than 100,000 poor British children were sent across the ocean to Canada with the promise of a better life. Those who took them in to work as farm laborers or household servants were told they were orphans—but was that the truth? (Historical Romance from Waterbrook/Multnomah [Random House])

A promising start to a new series from Carrie Turansky. My review will post later this month.

Romantic Suspense:

Darkwater Truth by Robin Caroll — Adelaide Fountaine, general manager, is enthusiastically renovating parts of the Darkwater Inn. Her intentions come to a screeching halt when a skeleton is found behind a makeshift wall—an axe beside it. As Adelaide works alongside owner Dimitri Pampalon and Detective Beau Savoie, the two men who have been pursuing her heart, she learns the eerie death has tentacles that reach deep into the seedy past of both the Darkwater Inn and the evil underground of New Orleans.

The past and the present collide as the stakes are upped—not only for Adelaide’s heart, but for her very life and her father’s life as well. The threats are deadly, the coils of evil are tightening around everyone involved, and they are more powerful than anyone could have ever imagined. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

I read and enjoyed the first in this series, but somehow seem to have missed Book #2, because this is the third in the series!

Over the Line by Kelly Irvin — Gabriela’s brother is missing, he’s a suspect in a murder, and she’s in the cross hairs of a criminal organization. The only person who can help her is the one man she can’t trust. Will Gabby & Eli find her brother before it’s too late? (Romantic Suspense from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

I’ve already read and reviewed Over the Line—click here to read my review.

Long Walk Home by DiAnn Mills — As an Arab Christian pilot for a relief organization, Paul Farid feels called to bring supplies to his war-torn countrymen in southern Sudan. But with constant attacks from Khartoum’s Islamic government, the villagers have plenty of reasons to distrust Paul, and he wonders if the risks he’s taking are really worth his mission.

American doctor Larson Kerr started working with the Sudanese people out of a sense of duty and has grown to love them all, especially Rachel Alier, her young assistant. But despite the years she’s spent caring for them, her life feels unfulfilled. It’s a void noticed both by Paul and by Rachel’s older brother, Colonel Ben Alier of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army.

When Rachel is abducted, Paul, Ben, and Larson agree to set aside their differences to form an unlikely alliance and execute a daring rescue. Their faith and beliefs tested, each must find the strength to walk the path God has laid before them, to find their way home. (Romantic Suspense from Tyndale House)

This sounds very similar to a book I read from the church library several years ago, which highlighted the southern Sudanese struggle for independence. South Sudan gained independence in 2011, so this might be a reprint.

That’s all for June!

There is plenty of winter (or summer) reading on this list. What’s going on your to-read pile?

First Line Friday

First Line Friday | Week #95 | Falling for Grace by Janet W Ferguson

It’s First Line Friday! That means it’s time to pick up the nearest book and quote the first line. Today I’m sharing from Falling for Grace by Janet W Ferguson:

It was finally over. Like some kind of cruel joke, mile after mile of long rays of Florida sunlight splashed across the steering wheel of the Toyota Camry, highlighting Grace Logan's empty ring finger.

Falling for Grace is a novella in Janet W Ferguson’s Coastal Hearts series, and I will confess I couldn’t stop at this first line!

What’s the book nearest you, and what’s the first line?

About Falling for Grace

Grace Logan has taken a lot of tumbles in life, but she works hard to bounce right back. Dreams shattered and hope for reconciliation gone, Grace needs a place where she can pick herself up now that her ex is marrying her former best friend. Her boss’s beach house in Santa Rosa seems like the perfect getaway, but stumbling into the attractive-but-damaged handyman next door isn’t part of the plan.

After losing his infant son—and his marriage—Seth Gibbs is left with smothering grief and guilt. Bad memories make it difficult to find a new normal, so he escapes to his family’s vacation home. Three years later, he’s still in Santa Rosa with no plans to leave. That is…until Grace falls into his life.

You can find Falling for Grace online at:

Amazon | Goodreads

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!

And don’t forget to click here to check out my Amazon shop for my top picks in Christian fiction!

First Line Friday

First Line Friday | Week 90 | The Art of Rivers by Janet W Ferguson

It’s First Line Friday! That means it’s time to pick up the nearest book and quote the first line. Today I’m sharing from The Art of Rivers by Janet W Ferguson:

Love, like art, took on different forms with each creator.

What’s the book nearest you, and what’s the first line?

About The Art of Rivers

Rivers Sullivan bears both visible and invisible scars—those on her shoulder from a bullet wound and those on her heart from the loss of her fiancé during the same brutal attack. Not even her background as an art therapist can help her regain her faith in humanity. Still, she scrapes together the courage to travel to St. Simons Island to see the beach cottage and art gallery she’s inherited from her fiancé. When she stumbles upon recovering addicts running her gallery, she’s forced to reckon with her own healing.

After the tragic drowning of his cousin, James Cooper Knight spends his days trying to make up for his past mistakes. He not only dedicates his life to addiction counseling, but guilt drives him to the water, searching for others who’ve been caught unaware of the quickly rising tides of St. Simons. When he rescues a peculiar blond woman and her sketch pad from a sandbar, then delivers this same woman to his deceased grandmother’s properties, he knows things are about to get even more complicated.

Tragic circumstances draw Cooper and Rivers closer, but they fight their growing feelings. Though Cooper’s been sober for years, Rivers can’t imagine trusting her heart to someone in recovery, and he knows a relationship with her will only rip his family further apart. Distrust and guilt are only the first roadblocks they must overcome if they take a chance on love.

Find The Art of Rivers online at:

Amazon US | Amazon AU | Goodreads | Kobo

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!

And don’t forget to click here to check out my Amazon shop for my top picks in Christian fiction!

Book Recommendation | Magnolia Storms by Janet W Ferguson

Magnolia Marovich is a meteorologist who lost her father, a river bar pilot, in Hurricane Katrina. Now another hurricane is bearing down on the Mississippi and Alabama coasts, and she receives a phone call that calls her home—her sister is in hospital, and Maggie is needed to take care of Cammie’s daughter, and their elderly aunt.

Josh Bergeron has followed in the footsteps of his teenage idol, Mr Marovich, and become a ship’s pilot—a decision that cost him his relationship with Maggie. But now they are brought back together when she returns to her childhood home in Ocean Springs … next door to where he lives with his son.

I loved Magnolia Storms.

I think I read it all in one sitting (or I would have if my family hadn’t tried to talk to me). Magnolia was an excellent character—an intelligent and competent professional woman, but not perfect. A long way from perfect. But someone I could like and relate to and want to spend time with.

Josh (great hero name, by the way) was an equally strong character. He’s a boat pilot, and it was great (if scary) to see him in action in his work. He was also an excellent father—a testament to his relationship with Mr Marovich, because his own father was nothing like that.

The writing was excellent, and I especially liked the humour, and the way both Maggie and JD had a Christian faith that was central to the plot without being overwhelming or preachy. Okay, so maybe the end was a little cheesy, but this is a romance. It’s to be expected. There was also a lot of yummy-sounding Southern food like etouffee and beignets.

Recommended for fans of contemporary Christian romance, with an emphasis on the Christian.

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

Have you eaten etouffee? I’d love to try it – do you have a recipe you can recommend?

About Janet W Ferguson

Janet W FergusonJanet W. Ferguson grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served her church as a children’s minister and a youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a few cats that allow them to share the space.

Click here to read my interview with Janet W Ferguson.

Find Janet W Ferguson online at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | BookBub

Find Magnolia Storms online at:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Kobo | iBooks | Nook Goodreads

Author Interview - Janet Ferguson

Author Interview | Janet W Ferguson

Today I’d like to welcome author Janet Ferguson, to share about her new release, Magnolia Storms.

Janet W Ferguson

Janet W. Ferguson grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served as a children’s minister and a church youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. She writes humorous inspirational fiction for people with real lives and real problems.

Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a few cats that allow them to share the space.

Welcome, Janet!

Hi! I’m super-excited to be your guest!

We’ll start off with some quick questions so we get to know you a little better. I highlighted questions you could leave out if you want to make it shorter.

What is your favourite fruit?

So hard, because I love food! I’m going with watermelon, especially the ones grown in Smith County, Mississippi.

Which is your favourite season?

I’m a summer girl! I like warm weather.

I agree! Snow is pretty to look at, but too cold for my taste.

Where is your favourite place?

The warm weather above goes with my favourite place—the beach! Most any beach with the summer sun will do! I often go to Fort Morgan, Alabama, and read my favourite novels on the shore.

Then you’ll love New Zealand. We have miles of beaches.

What is your favourite Bible verse?

Not sure how to pick just one, but I focused on Isaiah 61 in my first series. Each book took a part from the chapter as a theme.

  • Book 1: Beauty for ashes
  • Book 2: He binds up the broken hearted.
  • Book 3: He frees the captives
  • Book 4: They shall be oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord.

What a great idea!

I love the thought of how God heals our broken, messed up places. That’s the focus of my writing. Mostly because my own life has been pretty broken and messy at times, and I needed to grasp hold of His promises.

It’s a reminder we all need to hear sometimes. 

What’s something funny or quirky that not many people know about you?

Now, I have a lot here I could add, but I’ll go with being deaf in one ear. I’m constantly circling people to get them on “my good ear,” so I can hear them.

Now, let’s talk about your book, Magnolia Storms. Here’s the description off the back cover:

Maggie Marovich couldn’t save her father or her home from Hurricane Katrina, but she’s dedicated her life to meteorology so she can warn others when the monster storms approach. Except…she works three hours inland and rarely risks returning to her childhood hometown of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Both her single-parent sister and the ship pilot Maggie once loved refused to leave the Coast, despite Maggie’s requests. Now a hurricane’s headed toward Mississippi, and Maggie’s sister is seriously injured, leaving Maggie little choice but to head south—into the storm.

The water and tides flow through Josh Bergeron’s veins, and he can’t imagine giving up piloting—even for the love of his life, the infuriating Magnolia Marovich. He tried to move on without her, marrying and having a child. But after his wife abandons him and his little boy, his career choice is threatened by the weight of his parental responsibilities. Moving next door to Maggie’s sister and sharing their child care seems like the perfect set-up. Until Maggie blows back into town.

Being forced to lean on Josh for help washes up the wreckage in Maggie’s faith. Where was God during the destruction of Katrina? Why do some prayers seem to go unanswered? Between the hurricane looming in the Gulf and another gale raging in her heart, can Maggie overcome her past and find the trust to truly live?

Your tagline is Faith. Humor. Romance. Southern Style. What does “Southern Style” mean when it comes to fiction?

The Deep South in the U.S. is known to speak more slowly, do life a bit more slowly…in a bit more relaxed way. We use the word y’all and have quirky phrases, and we’ve fried most any food you can think of. The South is famous for friendliness and hospitality, like we’re all one big family.

We wave at people in the neighbourhood and around town, when driving, whether you know them or not. We’ve often been trained in particular manners, like saying yes ma’am and no sir to anyone possibly older than us. It’s just a certain flavour that permeates the area where I live.

I had heard you were famous for your fried food. It sounds great to me … waistline? What waistline?

How does this relate to Magnolia Storms? I see plenty of room for faith and romance in that book description, but humour? (Humor?) How does that fit in?

In my real life, I often joke during hard times, or find humour in the midst of despair at some small thing. Maybe some silly thing happens during a crisis, like my cat chasing its tail, which breaks up the moment. I believe laughter helps get us through in dark situations, so I plug in a bit of comedic relief for my characters and my readers—a little romantic comedy amidst deep issues.

What inspired the plot of Magnolia Storms?

Researching the port of Mobile, Alabama, for my book Blown Together, I emailed a college friend who is a ship pilot. When he answered my questions, he also included of videos ship pilots transferring from their pilot boat to larger vessels to guide them into the mouth of the Mississippi River. It was fascinating and beautiful and exciting. I knew right away, I had my next hero!

Here’s a video (You might want to turn off the sound of the heavy metal music):

That brings Josh’s work in Magnolia Storms to life.

The other part of the story is Hurricane Katrina. Once the levees broke in New Orleans, many people missed the fact that the storm obliterated whole towns and communities on our coastline and wreaked havoc over three hours inland. For Mississippians, time is often divided Before Katrina or After Katrina. There are still vacant lots on our coast after over a decade due to the storm surge that was up to thirty feet high in places.

Magnolia Storms is asking one of the big faith questions—where is God when bad things happen? How was that to write, and to answer?

Writing it was hard but cathartic. Prayer and God’s answers are things I’ve struggled with as my mother died from Alzheimer’s, my son went through multiple joint issues and surgeries, and other trying storms in life. I believe that if I am wrestling with my faith and understanding, at times, then perhaps others are, as well, and God helps me work through these hard issues by processing them with my characters.

Is there a particular theme or message in Magnolia Storms?

Yes! The words from Isaiah 43, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.” My heroine has an elderly aunt who is funny and provides wisdom throughout the novel. She offers this advice:

“Your faith can’t keep tossing and turning with the wind.” Aunt Ruth rubbed up and down Maggie’s shoulder. “Sooner or later, you must decide, ‘Though He slay me, still I will trust Him.’ Know that He is with you when you pass through the rough waters of life.”

Magnolia certainly has to pass through the waters. So does Josh. It’s a great message.

Magnolia Storms looks like it’s the first book in a new series. Is this the case? What can you tell us about the future books in the series?

It is a new series. I think each book will be only loosely tied by the fact that they are all set at coastal locations…I think.

The next one I’m working on deals with drug addiction, and it is set in St. Simmons, Georgia. The title will be The Art of Rivers. Addiction is such a tragic issue that touches most families these days.

How is Magnolia Storms different from your previous series? Will the same readers enjoy it?

All my books have grappled with difficult issues, but perhaps, Magnolia Storms has a tad less humour than the previous novels. The heroine is tougher and more stubborn than some of my past heroines. I like her, though. She is someone who is dependable and will get the job done or die trying.

What do you find is the easiest part of the writing and publishing process? What’s the hardest?

I love coming up with the idea for a story and creating! I hate editing and proofreading!!

What impact does your faith have on your writing?

Each time, I work through a sort of element of faith, so I’m studying, listening for messages from the Lord, and grappling to understand that piece of the puzzle. I think it helps me grow in faith.

Finally …

Where can we find Magnolia Storms online?

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Kobo | iBooks | Nook Goodreads

Where can we find you online?

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | BookBub

Thank you, Janet! It’s been great to meet you, and learn more about Magnolia Storms.

Thank you!! I’m so happy to be here!

Readers, what question would you like to ask Janet? Let us know in the comments!