Monday, January 1, 2024

New Releases from ACFW authors for January, 2024 !

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

Contemporary Romance:

The Love Penalty by Carolyn Miller -- With her fondness for tattoos and spider jewelry Sylvie Miles is used to being pre-judged and misunderstood. She has friends and connections but she still feels alone, and works several jobs while daydreaming about finding a guy who sees further than skin deep and won’t shy away from her battered heart. So when a hot pro hockey player with a smile as vast as his skills takes a shine to her what’s a poor girl to do but fall in love? Ryan Guillemette sure wasn’t looking for romance in a bookstore in his hometown but quickly becomes intrigued by the sassy Goth-like assistant with a snarky way with words. When an accidental kiss proves dangerously addictive, she soon becomes embedded in his heart. But even as the romance heats up he’s torn as she’s not following God. Can these two opposites make a match or should he call a permanent time out? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published) 

 

Yellow Roses by Suzie Waltner -- Mia Mason has always strived to meet others’ expectations. Her adoptive family, her fans, even her friends in the band. She works hard at pleasing everyone because she’s never felt like she truly belongs. After connecting with a cousin through a DNA website, she plans a covert road trip, hoping to find her biological mother and the answers she desires. During a music awards ceremony, Levi Sinclair receives two messages that ruin his night. One is a breakup text from his girlfriend of six weeks. The other is from the father who abandoned his family seventeen years ago and wants to reconnect. Then Levi discovers Mia’s secret mission and insists on going along to keep her safe. As the two friends pass the miles and see the sights, Levi’s true feelings for Mia rise to the surface. And her journey to the past might open the door to their future. Family issues and a shared career are just two of the hurdles they’ll have to jump if they want a shot at love. Could the end of the road lead these friends to a new beginning? (Contemporary Romance from Anaiah Press) 

 

Their Inseparable Bond by Jill Weatherholt -- Training service dogs is single dad Jake Beckett’s calling. He’s determined to train rambunctious puppy Callie to help his ailing friend Myrna live independently with her growing blindness. Myrna’s granddaughter, Olivia Hart, isn’t easily convinced, but Jake, his twins and Callie are an incredibly persuasive team. If Olivia agrees to give Callie a chance, will working with Jake risk her lifelong dreams? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin]) 

 

General Contemporary:

Chokecherry Valley Love by Jean Rezab -- Ashley Richmond’s goal to become a psychologist becomes derailed by sudden doubts. She questions what direction her new career track should take. In her personal life, her brothers have become strangers, but she’s ready to try to forgive past mistakes and reconnect. While trying to decide on her career and figure out her sibling relationships, life takes another turn when she meets Jason. Their mutual attraction is complicated by his family obligations and her uncertainty over the future. (General Contemporary, Independently Published) 

 

Historical Romance:

The Legacy of the Rocking K Ranch by Mary Connealy, D.J. Gudger, Becca Whitham, Kimberley Woodhouse -- Six Decades of History Unfurls on a Wyoming Ranch Journey to untamed Wyoming where four generations of women experience love, loss, grace, adoption, struggles with the law, relationships with natives, and through it all, family bonds. (Historical Romance Novella Collection from Barbour Publishing)

 

A Summer on Bellevue Avenue by Lorri Dudley -- Wealthy heiress Amanda Mae Klein is set to marry the man she loves. Wesley Jansen-the only person she trusts to help ease her anxiety among the social climbers of high society. Until the daughter of a union boss falls down a flight of stairs at Wesley's office in the middle of the night...and the woman claims Wesley pushed her. Seeking solace from the growing scandal. Amanda flees to the mansion-dotted seaside of Newport. Wesley follows to disprove the rumors and win back the trust of Amanda and her father. But soon, Amanda finds not only her social status but her life at risk. As dire events pit the two against each other, will their love find a way to survive? (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)

Polly (Apron Series) by Naomi Musch -- The Great War has ended, but Polly Holloway’s heart is shattered when her fiancĂ© finally returns home—with a French war bride. Now her future feels desolate, until she fastens onto the idea of using her skills and a special cookbook to turn her grandfather’s Victorian house into a fashionable ladies’ tearoom. Yet, how will she endure the patronage of the woman who stole her sweetheart? Moreover, the suave tavern owner down the block is interfering in her business, personal and otherwise. Heaven only knows what goes on behind his doors. Ross Dalton can no longer sell liquor in his establishment. With prohibition in force, it’s a mixed blessing. Ross met God on the battlefield, and he wants to start fresh, but he must earn a living. Converting his bar into a coffee house offers a partial solution. Still, bootleggers are pressing him to pedal their moonshine, and the girl up the street is convinced his place is a front for a speakeasy. She’s awfully cute when she turns up her pert little nose at his friendly overtures. How can he convince her he isn’t going to tarnish the neighborhood or ruin her business? And will she believe he’s a changed man when the bootleggers double down? (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

 

When the Waters Came by Candice Sue Patterson -- Pastor Montgomery Childs has tended his flock in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, for two years. While his pews are full every Sunday, he most desires to see a reckoning between God and the kings of industry who recreate on Lake Conemaugh. Like Noah, Monty prays against the evil surrounding him, but he never expects God to send a flood. It takes five days for the Red Cross to respond to the Johnstown flood disaster, but when it does, Annamae Worthington is ready to help. Apprenticing under Clara Barton has prepared her for the job, but nothing can prepare her for the death and destruction that awaits. As if the survivors haven’t suffered enough, typhoid fever ravages the town, resurfacing suppressed emotions regarding her father’s death. Narrowly surviving the flood and the horrifying things he’s witnessed, Monty’s faith is floundering. Then a Red Cross nurse puts him to work helping with the typhoid fever victims arriving at the hospital tents every hour. Monty and Annamae work together distributing disinfectants and supplies, housing orphans, and serving those left behind. Slowly, his faith resurfaces. A kinship forms between them neither can ignore. But when an investigation into the collapsed dam points to the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, secrets emerge that may tear them apart. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Redemption for the Cowboy by Z Peabody -- Remington Haylord is a preacher’s son. Instead of running with his biker buddies down in Texas, Remington ran with the horses. He feels a preacher’s life is not for him. Now, after a few years in the corporate arena, he’s found a peaceful life at the Sawyer Ranch. While standing at the head of a church, officiating his best-friend’s wedding, Remington looks down the aisle and in a vision of pastel-yellow, is the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. Phoebe Washington has never been to Montana, and if it wasn’t for her best friend’s wedding, she wouldn’t be there now. Despite any first impressions, Phoebe has a change of heart about staying on in Montana when she sees the big, handsome cowboy standing next to her best friend’s soon-to-be husband. He’s quiet, withdrawn, and yes, he’s grumpy. Yet on the rare occasions when he does smile, his face lights up like the big Montana sky. But to Phoebe’s chagrin, he avoids her whenever she gets within a few feet of him. How can she make Remington see that here, with him, is where he wants her to be—and where she needs to be? (Western Romance, Independently Published)

 

A Cherished Betrothal by Denise Weimer -- Alexander Morris bears the childhood scars of the Long Canes massacre that killed his brother and father. Forced by his dark past into the lonely life of Georgia Ranger, Alexander joins the bordering South Carolina Rangers in their revolt against the Crown. When he's posted to the fort erected to defend the community once decimated by the massacre, duty demands he court the loyalty of his sworn enemies, the fierce Cherokee warriors. Elspeth Lawrence never forgot the boy who sacrificed himself for her at Long Canes-any more than she forgot the younger sister taken captive. She's learned not only to forgive, but also to help minister to the Cherokees at her father's mission. When Alex Morris arrives at nearby Fort Charlotte, Elspeth finds her memories-and her emotions-stirred. When Alex uncovers a long-held secret and a plot to sabotage patriot talks with the Cherokees, he must choose between his desire for revenge and his love for the girl he rescued long ago. (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)

 

Independence Trail by Betty Woods -- To escape an arranged marriage, Heidi Schultz runs to the ranch owned by her sister, Lily, and brother-in-law, Toby. No one will ever run or ruin her life again. Jethro Bannister likes his life as foreman for Toby Grimes. Memories of the way his Georgia family turned on him don't plague him while living on a secluded Texas ranch. Until Heidi interrupts his carefully arranged, placid world of quiet. The too talkative woman could worry the horns off an entire herd of longhorns. Plus, her family problems remind him too much of what he left behind. Despite their misgivings, Heidi and Jethro form a tenuous friendship based on their common wish to be left alone. Confiding in one another deepens their friendship more than either intends. Will Heidi and Jethro's past wounds bond them together in an unexpected love or push them apart? (Historical Romance from Scrivenings Press) 

 

Romantic Suspense:

Offshore Ambush by Sherri Wilson Johnson -- Gretchen Overton's world is shattered when someone murders her brother on a remote offshore platform in the Gulf of Mexico. As medicolegal death investigator for Baldwin County, Alabama, she vows to uncover the truth and bring the killer to justice. But little does she know, her path to finding answers requires the help of Everett Forrester, the rig's Drilling Foreman and her ex-boyfriend. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)


Rescuing You by Robin Patchen -- CIA agent Michael Wright's world crumbles when his girlfriend, Leila, is snatched off the street and later seen in the grasp of a terrorist he’s been tracking, Michael blames himself. Keeping his identity secret from her clearly didn’t protect her. Now he must defy the Agency and fly to Iraq to rescue her. Leila Amato escaped Iraq a decade earlier, only returning in her worst nightmares. But those nightmares have come true when she finds herself captive and all alone, or so she thought until she sees her identical twin sister. Michael tracks Leila to a desert compound, but his rescue mission goes awry when he discovers her sister needs to escape as well. His detailed strategy can only ensure one woman’s safety. Now they’re on the run, trying to get out of the country before their enemies track them down. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])

 

Smoking Flax by Jennifer Hallmark -- Who Is He--Really? Almost nineteen-year-old Reed Anderson wants to belong in a world where he hasn’t always fit. Three days after graduation, he decides to ride a bus back to Louisiana and deal with the events of his thirteenth summer once and for all. Back then, he’d stood up to his abusive Pa, protecting Momma and his sister, taking control of his life. But who was the faded image of the child he saw that day? Aunt Lula predicted his life would shift and change. Something about space-time-continuum and the fourth dimension? He tucks her words into his heart. If he survives the shift, this could be his chance to start over. But the ghost child haunts his dreams. Even though six years have passed, does he want to confront the lies he’s always believed? (Romantic Suspense from Elk Lake Publishing) 

 

The Samaritan’s Patient by Chevron Ross -- Teenager Paige Abernathy awakens after a severe beating to find that she suffers from amnesia, and that everyone seems to hate her. She has only flashes of memory until the night a grieving parent attacks her in her hospital room. Paige then remembers her role as creator of an online group where members talk about ways to commit suicide. After recovering from the beating, Paige embarks on a journey of penance to atone for a disaster born of good intentions. Her odyssey launches her on a mission of mercy and into new danger. (Romantic Suspense, AIA Publishing)   

 Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month: Welcome to Bellechester by Margaret A. Blenkush - As Dr. Mary Elizabeth Senty and DCI William Donnelly adjust to life in Bellechester, they find themselves used as bait to catch jewel thieves. (General Historical) Sundancer’s Star by Elsie Davis - "Sundancer's Star" is a tale of resilience, love, and the transformative power of second chances. (Contemporary Romance) Kate by the Book by Susan Page Davis - Charlie's attracted to children’s librarian, Kate, but his job and his family situation make him keep his feelings in check. But a mystery keeps taking him back to the library, where Kate may be in danger. (Contemporary Romance) A Daddy for Christmas by MaryAnn Diorio PhD, MFA - Young widow Julie Melitto's ten-year-old daughter Laney needs a daddy. When Nick Carbone unexpectedly throws a monkey wrench into Julie's well-ordered life, she must choose between following her head or following her heart. (Contemporary Romance) Letters of Understanding by Christopher J. Mooney - Inspired by a true story, this is the sole surviving record of the paths of three generations involved in the growth of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, Russia's KGB, and the Franciscan's Ordo Fratum Minorum, and the deadly consequences of their decisions. (General Historical) The King’s Ransom by Patti Jo Moore - Kindergarten teacher Tina Ransom never imagined that her dream vacation to Italy would include an emergency landing on a small tropical island that would change her life forever. (Contemporary Romance) The Cyrenian, Crossroads and a Cross by Donovan Peterkin - Two men, on two separate roads, betrayed and pursued by the same enemies, destined to carry one Cross. (Biblical) No Romancing the Passengers by Lee Wimmer - God uses DR, even as he runs from faith and family, accomplishing great things, and a great life, with great love that he often overlooks—as he battles a demon, a dark secret from his youth. (Romantic Suspense)

Friday, December 1, 2023

New Christian Fiction Releases in December!

Hey, friends! Looking for something to read this month? American Christian Fiction Writers has an online resource called Fiction Finder. Below are new and recent releases, with links. Read on!

December 2023 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website
 
Contemporary Romance:
 
Bidding on a Second Chance by Emily Conrad -- His bid for a second chance this Christmas might lead to her most disastrous fall yet. Police officer Graham Lockhart’s life is dangerous enough without accident-prone Piper Wells tripping around in it—at least that’s what she claimed when she declined his marriage proposal two years ago. But he can’t help but wonder if there is more to her refusal. Piper always cared for Graham, but she is incapable of giving him the one thing he wants more than anything—family. All her orphaned self knows about that is how much it hurts to lose. She’s better off focusing on caring for her nephew and running her business. Secondhand furniture doesn’t break hearts. When an injury sidelines Piper leading into the holidays, Graham steps up to help her keep her commitment to a Christmastime auction benefiting a local family. Can they overcome the hurdles between them, or will the past and their warring hopes and fears trip them up for good?? (Contemporary Romance from Hope Anchor LLC) Home from the Storm by Laurel M. Blount -- After a senseless loss, hotheaded Caleb Hochstedler left his Amish faith and his young wife to seek justice. Two years later, he tracks his parents’ killer back home to Johns Mill, where he’s astonished to learn he’s the father of twins. Now he's determined to protect his children and the woman he still loves—if she’ll let him. Her new husband’s abandonment broke Rhoda Lambright’s heart and proved her father, the bishop, right. Such a stubborn man could never be happy among the peaceful Amish. When Caleb unexpectedly returns, Rhoda is caught between her rock of a husband and a very hard place. Her church forbids divorce and requires forgiveness, so Rhoda lets Caleb back into their home. But can she ever let him back into her heart? One thing’s for certain sure. This second chance will take all the faith they can find. (Contemporary Romance from Berkley) The Care of a Cowboy by Elsie Davis -- In the sprawling landscape of Crossroads Creek, where the Texan sun paints golden dreams, Max Turner suddenly finds his dream of reclaiming his family’s lost ranch put on hold. To avoid draining his savings account, Max is desperately searching for a new job and a place to live, except ranch foreman jobs weren’t easy to come by. As the scorching summer unfolds, Max's path crosses with that of Lucy Carrington, a determined young woman whose dreams clash with the expectations of her traditional rancher father. When her father hires Max to secretly oversee the ranch because he doesn’t trust his daughter to handle a man’s job, Max is caught in a web of deceit. As Max and Lucy navigate the complexities of their new roles, including the surprise news that Max is guardian to Crystal…a twelve-year-old niece he never knew existed, they discover the power of love and resilience, and the true meaning of family. (Contemporary Romance from Sweet Romance Publishing)
 
General Contemporary:
 

Broken Spirit by Sheridan Lee -- The dream of motherhood eludes her. Can she find her way back to hope? Belinda Briggs’ life is shattered by losses and crises, shattering her faith and leading her on a quest for renewed hope, faith, and peace in this series finale contemporary Christian women's fiction tale. (Contemporary Women’s Fiction from Winged Publications)

  Chokecherry Valley Comfort by Jean Rezab -- One accident. Two devastated families. Paul Richmond's life changed in an instant when his wife and seven-year-old daughter die in a car accident. He struggles to move forward with this huge change. As his two-year sobriety anniversary approaches, he knows he's on the edge of a relapse. He takes a sabbatical from his work as a doctor and heads to his in-law's farm to get perspective and try to come to terms with his new life. Tyler Garvey is the only survivor of the two-vehicle accident in which his younger brother dies. He feels guilty because he should have been driving. His parents don’t blame him, but he blames himself, and so does Paul. Both families try to put their lives back together. It’s going to take time, a great deal of comfort, and forgiveness on all sides. (General Contemporary, Independently Published) Chokecherry Valley Joy by Jean Rezab -- Abby feels like everything is wrong with her life. She’s never dealt with the grief of losing her twin sister, Samantha, and niece, Amy, in an accident. Her marriage to Mark has fallen into the routine of his long hours of work and her erratic schedule as a nurse in a busy Houston hospital. Their failed attempt to have a child puts further strain on their relationship. Unhappy in her current job, she needs a break. She travels to Chokecherry Valley to spend two weeks with her parents at their farm. Mark plans to join her after he finishes his current work project, and she hopes to reconnect with him and discuss their future. (General Contemporary, Independently Published) The Year of Goodbyes and Hellos by Kelly S. Irvin -- Determined to save Sherri’s life, Kristen drops everything to guide her sister on the harrowing cancer treatment journey. When she’s unable to balance the strain of caring for her patients, being a wife and mother, and her frantic efforts to save her sister, Kristen’s carefully balanced life crumbles, starting with her marriage. Desperate to regain her footing, she vows to rebuild her broken relationships . . . as soon she’s sure Sherri will beat the odds stacked against her. Unlike her sister, Sherri Reynolds has worked to cultivate balance in her life. Her children, her job as a teacher, and her strong faith keep her grounded—until her diagnosis sends her spiraling into the scary world of what-ifs and unknown outcomes. Sherri faces the agonizing realization that family history may be about to repeat itself. With the clock ticking, she’s determined to use whatever time she has left to heal old wounds and restore relationships. Together, the sisters are forced to reexamine their priorities, address the still tender wounds of their childhood, and delve more deeply to discover what it means to live each day to its fullest.? (General Contemporary from HarperCollins Christian Publishing) Christmas in Ohio by Bettie Boswell, Tamera Lynn Kraft, Penny Frost McGinnis, and Michelle Levigne -- Come join us for a celebration of Christmas in the Buckeye State, with snow and mistletoe, a dash of suspense and danger, mystery and reunions, healing and hope. (General Contemporary from Mt. Zion Ridge Press)

 
Historical Romance:
 
When Love Comes by Penny Zeller -- A woman with a broken heart. A man struggling with the loss of his brother and the subsequent care of his young niece. And two silly aunts who discover it's never too late for true love. When Charlotte's and Tobias's paths cross in Prune Creek, Wyoming, can they put aside their preconceived disdain for each other? Does God have a plan for them and for a young girl in search of someone to take the place of the parents she lost? (Historical Romance from Maplebrook Publishing)
 
Cozy Mystery:
 
Deadly Burden by Janet Sketchley -- Obey the police and stay safe, or follow her heart and help unmask a killer? Landon Smith solved the last murder by accident—and nearly became the next victim. When a shocking death strikes her close-knit circle, can this amateur sleuth discover who wanted the town busybody dead? The dead woman knew too much about too many people. Was she silenced to protect a secret? Or because of one she wouldn’t tell? And how can a dyslexic trauma survivor find clues the professionals miss? Landon can’t afford to be sidetracked by a vindictive guest at the inn or by unexpected family drama. Or by falling for the geeky writer next door—now that he’s over her. With a storm closing in and no leads in sight, Landon’s first Christmas at the Green Dory Inn is shaping up to be anything but merry and bright. (Cozy Mystery, Independently Published)
 
Romantic Suspense:
 

Buried Grave Secrets by Darlene L. Turner -- Standing guard…with threats on all sides. When bones are found at an unmarked grave site—and then shots are fired—forensic anthropologist Jordyn Miller knows someone wants old secrets to remain buried. She’ll do anything to uncover the truth about these suspicious deaths, including accepting the protection of her ex-boyfriend, Constable Colt Peters, and his K-9. But with targets on their backs, can Jordyn stay alive long enough to bring a serial killer to justice?? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired Suspense/Harlequin)    

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month: 

A Courageous Betrothal by Denise Weimer - A wounded lieutenant, a woman fierce enough to protect her family, and an American Revolution with everything at stake. (Historical Romance) Another Outer Banks Christmas by Christina Sinisi - She’s a role model for everything good, and he comes from a rough and broken home. (Contemporary Romance) Finding Baby Jesus by Lynn Weathington - Will Baby Jesus find his way back into the nativity in time for Christmas? (Contemporary Romance) Hilltop Christmas by Kathleen D. Bailey - When the integrity of the Festival is threatened, Noah must call on his Lord, and Jane on the God from whom she's drifted, to find justice and restore Hilltop to what it is. (Romance) Her Christmas Healing by Mindy Obenhaus - With love, faith, a support dog and some Christmas spirit, maybe it’s not too late after all… (Contemporary Romance) For Love or Money by Susan Page Davis - When he learns where the money probably came from, will it keep their two families apart? (Western) Hope’s Hills by Ruth Kyser - Will they remain good friends, or has God got other plans for their futures? (Contemporary Romance) Snow Globe Secrets by Laura Thomas - Shootings, snow globes, and secrets abound when Alexis James witnesses the shooting of a British author outside the local bookstore. (Romantic Suspense Novella) The Quilting Circle Box Set by Mary Davis - All four books from the Quilting Circle Series in one box set. (Historical Romance)

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Treat Yourself to Christmas Novellas!

 

Novellas: A Christmas Duet and A Christmas Romance

 

I enjoyed exploring artistic careers in these e-book novellas that are set on Puget Sound at Christmastime. 

A Christmas Duet  

Sequel to Finding Love on Whidbey Island, Washington

 

A professional cellist.
A widower pianist.
And the duet that brings them together.

 

A Christmas Romance

Sequel to Finding Love on Bainbridge Island, Washington

A wannabe novelist with writer's block.
A best-selling children’s book author with a knack for story.
And the romance they brainstorm together.


Though these novellas are each sequels to my full-length novels, they can be read as stand-alones.

They're free on Kindle Unlimited!

 

 

Friday, November 24, 2023

Kiss Me on Christmas by Sarah Monzon

 

Kiss Me on Christmas by Sarah Monzon

As I mentioned earlier this year on this blog, Sarah Monzon is on my authors to watch list. She’s very good!

Let’s begin with the summary:

Single mom Kaitlyn Stafford has never considered Christmas a balancing act, but when her sister calls with the news that she’s getting married in less than two weeks—on Christmas Day—that’s exactly what the holiday looks like becoming. Helping with the out-of-state wedding will be fun. The challenge will be doing so while accommodating her neurodivergent son’s need to keep every single one of their Christmas traditions while they’re away from home. It’ll be tricky, but she can do it.

At least, that’s what she thinks before her son’s favorite YouTuber, Beckett Walsh, shows up on the scene, knocking her world off-kilter with his speaking glances and knowing smiles. How on earth is she supposed to pull off her balancing act when her world’s just tilted on its axis?


And now, my review:

If you’ve experienced neurodiversity or lived with someone who is neurodivergent, you’ll resonate with this story’s descriptions of behaviors. I appreciated the heroine’s listing the behaviors, helping readers who can relate feel less alone. Also, showing us an example of how to navigate a world that is only just now beginning to understand neurodivergence.

There’s a belief by folks unfamiliar with neurodivergency that those affected can simply “get over it” or “change already” or “figure it out.” But that’s like saying, “Just have blue eyes and red hair. What are you waiting for?” Without tinted contacts and hair dye, we can’t will ourselves to be what’s expected if we aren’t wired/designed that way.

For these reasons and many more, this book really resonated with me.

The author mentions stimming, overstimulation, a need for routines, making noises, having tics, dissociation, and decompressing.

Now, for the story! It’s so much fun. We get to meet a very interesting hero who is thoughtful and not put off by the heroine’s son’s condition. While she teaches the hero, she’s educating readers, possibly, on the challenges she and her son face. But the prose doesn’t come across as preachy or bitter.

In fact, I felt the heroine handled the challenges of being misunderstood by others with a lot of grace. I yelled at the rude, impatient characters in the book, but she stayed calm. Heh!

Sarah’s prose is well done. She’s competent with the romance genre and in story telling. She’s very good at characterization. I loved how the hero and heroine were opposites in some ways. He was upbeat, she was burdened. His coming along lightened her burden. And all this against the backdrop of a Christmas setting.

Highly recommended!

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Last Week for the Sale Price - 11/7 through 11/10!

 

It's been wonderful to share this new book with readers! 

If you haven't had a chance to pick up A Christmas Romance, my latest novella, now's the time to grab it at the new release price! Kindle Unlimited members read for free!

This is the sequel to my award-winning novel, Finding Love on Bainbridge Island, Washington. Here's a tip: though these stories are related by location, and you'll find a cameo of a favorite character in these pages, my current books are stand-alones. I recommend reading them in order, but it's not necessary. You won't be lost.

Here's a little more about this story:

Come to the island bookshop this Christmas!

A wannabe novelist with writer's block.

A best-selling children’s book author with a knack for story.

And the romance they brainstorm together.

A Christmas Romance: a novella

Here's the summary:

Bookshop owner Peyton McKinley lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington. An inspired reader, she writes wholesome romance novels, dreaming of publication. Unfortunately, a past breakup has soured her on relationships. When a literary agent wants to see her manuscript as soon as she can finish it, writer’s block stalls her progress.

Best-selling picture book author and illustrator Eli Jaxon has relocated to Puget Sound to be nearer to his family. He’s on deadline for his next Prescott the Proper Peacock volume, but worry for his niece distracts him. Past mistakes keep him closed off to dating.

When Peyton needs help with her story, previously married Eli volunteers to help her brainstorm. Can they deny their attraction, or will they live their own Christmas romance?

Join them near picturesque Puget Sound at Christmastime for a delightfully bookish love story.

If you get a chance to read either book, please leave a rating or review. Happy reading, friends!

 

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

All’s Fair in Love and Christmas by Sarah Monzon

 

All's Fair in Love and Christmas by Sarah Monzon

Don’t you just love a Christmas story?

Let’s begin with the summary:


Two workplace rivals. One festive competition. And a romance that upends it all.

Every December two things are guaranteed for graphic designer Mackenzie Graham—Christmas celebrations and the annual promotion at her workplace. Those two things are by no means mutually exclusive. In fact, the better an employee is at harnessing the Christmas spirit, the more likely they’ll win the new job. With her social anxiety, Mackenzie never thought she’d be a contender in her company’s holiday competition, so how exactly has she found herself dueling her workplace crush with wrapping paper tubes and using tinsel as her weapon of choice for a much-needed raise?

Jeremy Fletcher’s life is meticulously planned out, including how to win this year’s promotion at work. Not only will the new position fulfill some of his career goals, but as a single guardian to his twin niece and nephew, he needs the salary increase to support his family. Jeremy has barely noticed Mackenzie Graham around the office, but now that she’s his rival, he can’t stop thinking about her. Her quirkiness intrigues him, and he’s afraid that if he can’t get his head on straight, the promotion isn’t the only thing he’ll end up losing to Mackenzie.


And now, my review:

Overall, I enjoyed this book! I enjoyed the snarky first-person female protag’s voice. Loved the humor sprinkled throughout the story.

Our pour heroine is stuck in insecurity. She overthinks everything—what Meyers Briggs’ updated personality charts calls “turbulent.” She habitually rejects herself, undervalues her own strengths and positive traits, and fears she’ll fail in social situations. She has difficulty communicating her thoughts due to paralysis of social anxiety.

Her bff will help her overcome her tendencies, and the heroine will use interesting strategies to do so.

I felt the author did a fantastic job with the heroine’s characterization and her hang-ups. Her story line resonated with me as genuine, flawed, and relatable. I cheered for this heroine to overcome. Hooked, I was curious how she would.

The faith element was interesting here too. The heroine prayed for deliverance, but it didn’t come the way she expected. I loved this subtle thread. The flawed hero has some growth ahead of him too. He’s confident, but perhaps teetering on cocky. He doesn’t always have compassion on others, he blurts things out to his buddies, and he overlooks the underdog at work. His nobility is in his guardianship of his sister’s orphaned children. So we don’t dislike him for long. It was satisfying to watch him grow as well.

I liked that the male protag was the planner. This is a welcome twist on the usual trope. Another helpful author choice was putting the female MC’s voice in first-person narrative, and the male MC’s voice in third person. That helps readers track whose POV we’re in as we come back to the story. Watching the heroine find her voice, celebrate her strengths, and overcome her fear kept me engaged. The simple answers didn’t solve it. I loved that! God often takes us through a process to find healing or breakthrough. He overcomes our misguided attempts or beliefs while teaching us the truths that set us free. He answers our prayers over time. I loved that part of the book. Kudos to the author for going deeper than a surface, pat answer.

I love the competition and the aptly chosen title wording. They’re at war, after all.

My only drawback was with Frank. Not that the author included him, but that, at first, the hero’s pursuit didn’t feel any different than Frank’s. This is a fine line—not to let heroes come across as creepers as they back heroines against walls. Otherwise, this book is very, very well written.

I also read her book Kiss Me on Christmas and appreciated her inclusion of an autistic child. See my review on this blog for that book as well! Sarah is making a name for herself (at least with me) of competently writing about autism and anxiety disorders. I appreciate these deeper layers and tougher topics, especially since she doesn’t gloss over these challenging issues nor does she offer easy answers. Her work feels authentic because of her approach. She’s on my list of authors to watch!

November's New Releases from Christian Authors!

Here are some of the new releases put out by ACFW authors in the month of November. I love that we're seeing more Christmas titles!

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

Contemporary Romance:
12 Days of Mandy Reno by Regina Rudd Merrick -- Law student Amanda Reno is stuck in her tiny hometown in Kentucky for Christmas and work part-time at the Clementville CafĂ©. Her parents are stuck in Brazil, leaving Mandy to celebrate Christmas without them. Young Sheriff Clay Lacey takes matters into his own hands, devising a plan to take Mandy’s mind off her crushed expectations. She is no longer his classmate’s tagalong kid sister, but a young woman he is increasingly attracted to. How will Mandy react when she finds out Clay is the one working to make sure she has a memorable Christmas? Will she be pleased? Or will she cringe as she thanks the man who may be falling in love with her? (Contemporary Romance from Scrivenings Press) A Family for the Orphans by Heidi Main -- Three little hearts have been broken. Now they must find a way to heal them…Tragedy turned Walker McCaw from bachelor cowboy to guardian of his late best friend’s three children. Now they’re living on a new horse farm—and it’s a disaster. Trisha Campbell’s arrival couldn’t come at a better time. Together, they’ll need to work to save the struggling farm. But it takes more than hard work to make a family. It takes courage and love… (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired/Harlequin) Repairing Hearts by Julie Arduini -- Ryan, the independent, brooding second oldest of the Hart sextuplets, can’t enjoy the solitude he craves when he agrees to star on a reality show. The plan is to discover a project manager to renovate his hole of a property. The show reveals that it's more about Ryan’s dating life. Can he keep his guard up when everything around him is falling apart faster than the shingles on his roof? BJ Wallace loves her quiet life in Wisconsin that she’s created far from her traumatic childhood. Everything changes when she learns she's competing on Repairing Ryan's Heart. As the show focuses more on Ryan than the house, BJ falls for him. Will she win the show and destroy Ryan with her secret, or sacrifice her heart to protect Ryan? (Contemporary Romance from Surrendered Scribe Media) The Cowgirl’s Last Rodeo by Tabitha Bouldin -- She left home to chase her dreams. Now she’s back seeking a second chance…When Callie Wade’s horse goes blind, there's only one man who can save her barrel racing career. Brody Jacobs is the best horse trainer she knows—if he’s willing to help. She broke his heart when she left him behind to go after rodeo stardom. This time, will they put their hearts on the line to reach the championship…and a future together? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired/Harlequin) Wooing the Widower by Elle E. Kay -- Margie, a successful Colorado realtor, finds herself looking for a change of scenery and a dash of adventure after her only daughter embarks on a missionary journey, so she heads to Redemption Ranch to fulfill a long-held dream: learning to ride horses. Meanwhile, Chaz, having swapped his tailored suits and executive boardrooms for the 'aromatic' allure of horse manure, relishes his new life at Redemption Ranch. The retired businessman and former CEO of Freedom Mountaineering now assists his brother on the ranch, his days filled with hard work, peaceful solitude, and bittersweet memories. When Margie arrives at Redemption Ranch, their lives intersect in the most unexpected of ways. Amid horse rides and starlit conversations, they discover companionship and the tender buds of love in their twilight years. As Margie explores this unexpected turn of her adventure, will she find a love she hadn't planned for? And can Chaz see Margie as a vibrant woman with shared passions and dreams rather than simply his son's mother-in-law? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
Cozy Mystery:
An Unexpected Christmas Gift by Janetta Fudge Messmer -- Breanna Snow owns the Snowed Inn B&B outside of Boulder, Colorado. And the city manager, Matthew Jacobson, is irritating the socks off of her. The Go-By-The-Book-Kind-Of-Guy wants to shut her bed and breakfast down. And Bree has no clue why. But she doesn’t have time for Mr. Jacobson’s nonsense. She’s getting married. However, a tiny hiccup occurs while she’s trying on her wedding dress. It literally turns her world upside down. And to her dismay, the city manager is right in the middle of it. Will the mortal enemies find a way to work things out before her B&B closes? Or will they die trying? And can a random act of kindness from years ago change her heart to hear the truth? (Cozy Mystery from Winged Publications)
General Historical:
Crushed Hopes and Hopeful Beginnings by Carol Ashby -- Can God work all things for good if you don’t even think he’s real? Lusario was content in Cyrene as part of the Philandros household. After he returns from serving the youngest son, Diokles, while he studies in Alexandria, Lusario expects to become a paid tutor for his master, earning the money to buy his freedom. But when Diokles uses him to pay a gambling debt, he must go to Carthago as the slave of a man who hates him. His once-bright future is gone forever. So why does his Christian friend Timon insist things will turn out so much better than he expects? But Carthago brings new people, like Caelus Martinus, and new possibilities into Lusario’s hopeless world. Could Timon be right? When Lusario sees a chance to escape his fate, will going for it give him a future again, or only hasten his death? (General Historical from Cerillo Press)
Historical Romance:
The Lamp by Edwina Kiernan -- Beatrice Beckwith is an orphaned young lady living with her aunt. On the brink of her deepest wish coming true, her plans unexpectedly collapse. Then, a startling discovery and an outbreak of cholera set in motion a series of catastrophic events, plunging her into even bleaker darkness. Isaac Taylor is forced to leave Miss Beckwith just as he's arranged a meeting to propose. His deceased great-uncle's derelict house needs restoration. But dust is not his only enemy, and a web of secrets soon entangles him. Kept apart against their wills, Beatrice and Isaac must navigate deadly illness, family deception, and scheming neighbors, yearning for the time they’ll be reunited. But as they each face their darkest moments, they’ll endure more devastation than ever before. Can joy once again be found, or will dangerous circumstances extinguish its light—and their very lives? (Historical Romance from Moliant Publishing)
Mystery:
Six Days Spent by Luana Ehrlich -- When private investigator Mylas Gray gets a call from the wife of a high-powered Pentagon official, he assumes it’s about her appointment to discuss a possible stalker. It’s not. It’s about her husband – he’s just been murdered. Mylas agrees to investigate the murder, even though he's supposed to help Whitney find a place to live in the next six days. Can he do both? As it turns out, finding a murderer and finding a house have a lot in common. (Mystery, Independently Published) True Blue Christmas by Susan Page Davis -- New neighbors, cryptic Christmas cards, and jury duty. What next? Campbell McBride is juggling her new role as a private investigator with her slightly wacky personal life. Can she and her dad figure out who stashed a valuable painting in their client’s attic? And is the murder of an egocentric landlord somehow connected? (Mystery from Scrivenings Press)
Romance:
Gifts of the Season by Deborah Raney -- THEN: Inspired by a family Christmas tradition of the author’s family, "Circle of Blessings" is set in Dakota Territory in 1864. Stella Bradford is determined to win the love of James Collingwood, her English professor at the university where Stella is studying to be an architect. But the object of Stella’s affection hides a dark secret from his past. And even if Stella could capture James's attention, she is certain her father would not approve of the match. But neither James nor Stella has an inkling that his secret is woven into her own past in a way that will ultimately bring blessing to them both—if only he dares to reveal it. NOW: “Measured with Love” is a contemporary tale set in a Mississippi River town in Southeast Missouri. Benjie Gabriel believes the chef’s position she’s just taken at an award-winning bed and breakfast is temporary—only a stepping stone to greater things. The B&B’s owner, Trevor Keye, thinks the same and—given the haughty attitude of his new chef—that’s fine with him. Will five months be long enough for them to figure out that what they’ve each been longing for, praying for, is right beneath their noses? (Romance, Independently Published) The Hope of Christmas by Carol James -- Cameron Blake has everything a man could want. Or so it appears. But in the dark of night, the contents of an old manila envelope remind him that the one thing he truly wants is beyond his reach. Kristin Hansen returns home after a messy break-up. While her parents think she' s returned to recuperate after surgery on a broken arm, she' s actually escaping from an abusive relationship. When the pastor of a local church recruits Kristin and Cameron to supervise the building of the church' s float for the upcoming Christmas parade, their hidden secrets are exposed. Cam sees in Kristin what he truly desires... but knows he can never have. As Christmas nears, can Kristin help him find the thing that' s eluded him all these years? The one thing his heart truly desires? Hope (Romance from White Rose Publishing/Pelican)
Romantic Suspense:
12 Days by Heidi Glick -- Scott Newton retires from the sheriff's office after a fellow officer is killed. Wracked by sorrow and the need for justice, Scott grows distant from his girlfriend, aspiring crime writer, Lindsay Billings. But, when Lindsay goes missing, and Scott discovers her research on the missing person cases thought to be the work of a serial murderer known as the Christmas Killer, Scott vows to find her at all costs. Police have never found the bodies of the people who went missing many Christmases ago, and Lindsay won't become just another statistic. Then, someone kills again in Blanchardville. Police locate a corpse atop one of seven inflatable swans on a pond, and another body in a pear tree. Scott receives odd texts from Lindsay's phone and deduces they're from the killer. In order to save Lindsay, Scott agrees to meet the madman and play his game. As time runs out, Scott must learn to trust in God again, no matter what. (Romantic Suspense from Harbourlight Books/Pelican) Beneath the Surface by Melanie D. Snitker -- As the county's chief medical examiner, many of the bodies coming into the morgue hold a mystery that Genevieve "Eve" Marks is determined to solve. In discovering what happened to the victims in her care, she can be their voice when they are no longer able to speak for themselves. Until one particular body includes a message challenging her to examine the past and solve a puzzle before the killer strikes again. Detective John Paris is leading a murder investigation that's going nowhere. What he desperately needs is a break in the case. Unfortunately, that break comes in the form of another body that is obviously tied to the first. Even more disturbing than the idea that he may have a serial killer on his hands is the fact that the beautiful Eve Marks seems to be a target. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published) Deadly Sabotage by Elizabeth Goddard -- A fatal explosion hides a lethal conspiracy. After barely escaping a lab explosion that kills her boss, microbiologist Kinsley Langell discovers that the blast was no accident—someone intentionally set off a bomb. With a target on her back and the police compromised, Kinsley must rely on her ex, protection specialist Brett Honor, to help investigate the crime. But someone won’t stop until she’s silenced—this time permanently. Can Kinsley and Brett uncover the culprit before hired killers finish the job? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired Suspense/Harlequin) K-9 National Park Defenders by Sheree Stover and Katy Lee -- Peril at Christmas awaits… in these gripping Pacific Northwest K-9 Unit novellas. A Christmas skiing retreat turns treacherous when Pacific Northwest K-9 Unit officer Veronica Eastwood’s sister is kidnapped—and only rival officer Parker Walsh can help her in Katy Lee’s Yuletide Ransom. And in Sharee Stover’s explosive Holiday Rescue Countdown, K-9 officers Dylan Jeong and Brandie Weller must race against the clock when they face a Christmas parade bomb threat…and a killer from Dylan’s past. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired Suspense/Harlequin)
Young Adult:
Rise of the Y by Angela D. Shelton -- In a world on the brink of revolution, where the iron fist of the Imperium orchestrates every destiny...Seventeen-year-old Lexi refuses to bow to a future with an assigned spouse and a dictated profession. A fiery spirit of defiance burns within her, ready to ignite a revolt. But destiny has other plans. When tragedy unveils a hidden diary—a legacy of secrets and rebellion—Lexi is thrust into the perilous shadows of the elusive rebel group Y. In a whirlpool of danger, deceit, and forbidden alliances, every revelation blurs the lines between friend and foe, making trust the ultimate weapon in a battle for truth. Caught between duty and a yearning for freedom, Lexi navigates a treacherous path where love and loyalty are tested at every turn. Who can she trust in a world where betrayal lurks in the shadows? As the foundations of the Imperium tremble, Lexi battles not only for her world but for the person she is destined to become. (Young Adult, Two Oaks Publishing)  

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month: A Mistletoe Christmas by Davalynn Spencer - When writer Georgia Andrew’s handsome, widowed pastor takes more than a passing interest in her, she wonders if there is hope in her real life for a second-chance romance. (Contemporary Romance) A Morgan Family Christmas by Ruth Kyser - A Morgan Family Christmas is a peek into the past of Samuel Clemens Morgan, Jackson and Mary Byrd, and the rest of the Morgan family. (General Contemporary) Beneath a Michigan Moon by Candice Sue Patterson - Will they open their hearts and give in to the stormy attraction brewing between them, or will illuminated secrets tear them apart? (Historical Romance) Emily’s Trials by Henry McLaughlin - One of the first female attorneys in 1880's Kanasas chooses justice and fights for her life and the innocent. (General Historical) Hashtag Hitched at Christmas by Cathe Swanson - Who knew that meeting of their minds would spark a meeting of the lips? (Contemporary Romance) Julia Monroe Begins Again by Rebekah Millet - It seems inevitable that the man who was hard to forget might just be impossible to resist. (Contemporary Romance) Offsides by Lori Z. Scott - When an older man seems to be grooming Dani's neighbor, Dani determines to do whatever she can to keep the girl safe. But she must watch her back, or she could become the next victim. (Young Adult)

And don't forget my novella, A Christmas Romance, released this fall too! A wannabe novelist with writer's block. A best-selling children’s book author with a knack for story. And the romance they brainstorm together. (Contemporary Romance)