Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Merry Little Christmas by Catherine Palmer & Jillian Hart

Dear readers, I hope you've had a wonderful Christmas!

Today's review is the second of the novellas in this collection. First, the back cover copy--

"Christmas, Don't Be Late" by Jillian Hart

When a misunderstanding caused millionaire Colton Nichols to be taken for Santa Claus by neighbor Amanda Richards's young son, Colton was determined to keep his distance. But the Christmas-wish letter Jeremy sent broke his heart--Jeremy asked only that his sick sister be well and his mom's heart not be sad. Colton found himself praying for just that--and wishing this family were his own.

And now my review--

I enjoyed this Christmas read. Usually Christmas novellas are light and cheery. This story was a bit heavier as it dealt with a young cancer patient. I have to say, though, that didn't turn me off reading it, even this time of year. I don't mind a heavier story so long as the ending is happy. (You'll have to read the novella to learn if that's the case.) The romance of the story seemed to take a secondary role with the love of a mother and her daughter at the forefront. Again, that seemed to work well since Jillian painted the maternal aspects very believably and warmly. I recommend this holiday story, especially if you enjoy novella-length stories this time of year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bundle of Joy by Robin Lee Hatcher

This story was originally released in 1998 as Daddy Claus. But in 2008, Robin updated the story as Bundle of Joy. I never read the original, but I'm very glad I picked up this newly reworked novel.

First of all, what's not to love about that cover? As a mother of three children, I found this little baby in the Santa hat adorable. Within the book's pages, though, a delightful Christmas romance.

Somehow, pregnant Alicia Harris convinces childhood friend Joe Palermo to conspire with her and appear married for the sake of her ailing grandfather. They'll keep up the ruse through Christmas, then part after Grandpa returns to his home far away. Thus we have the setting of our story, two characters forced together to fall in love. Conflict number one--they end up having to get married, due to circumstances. And before you think Alicia too guilty for your sympathy, you should know her first husband (the baby's father) abandoned her.

I enjoyed Robin's skill of drawing us into her heroine's world. The author's motherhood references really spoke to me. One of the elements which drew the hero to the heroine was Alicia's obvious maternal warmth. Robin's romance works very well, too. We watch these two fall believably in love. She demonstrates what, specifically, the pair like about each other. In the midst of their adventures, Robin throws in a couple surprises. I believe readers will enjoy this Christmas romance.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hearts Evergreen by Robin Lee Hatcher & Kathryn Springer

Don't you love reading Christmas books at Christmastime? I do! Especially "bite-sized" novellas paired for compilations.

First, the back cover copy:

A Cloud Mountain Christmas
by Robin Lee Hatcher

Take one lonely divorcee at Christmastime. Send her on business to the romantic Cloud Mountain Lodge. Add a complication: handsome innkeeper Tony Anderson. And mix!

A Match Made for Christmas
by Kathryn Springer

Cynical reporter Connor Lawe discovers that getting youth leader Sarah Kendle to agree to a story about her merry band of carolers is easier said than done -- but well worth the effort.

And now, my review:

This novella compilation (two separate stories) was delightful to read. Robin's reunion romance story cruises along with some complications, a dash of predictability and a believable romance. I enjoyed her characters and setting. I noticed the head-hopping POV shifts, but I don't think most readers will care. Then, the second novella, Kathryn's, surprised me! Her writing voice is delightful. I hadn't read much of her work in the past. Her writing is fresh and her characters believable. The challenge I noticed in this story was a bit of a pacing issue. Overall, I'd recommend readers check out this fun Christmastime read.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Courteous Cad by Catherine Palmer

I've long been a fan of Catherine Palmer's, so I was thrilled to receive a copy of her new release to read for review.

First, a bit about the book:

On her tour of the English countryside, a chance encounter in the streets alerts Miss Prudence Watson to the inhumane working conditions at the worsted mill. She learns that the owner is William Sherbourne, a Royal Naval officer just returned from sea. Following in his wake is his reputation as a cad and a secret so ghastly he'll do anything to protect it. Even worse, he's handsome and charming and not at all the villain Prudence expected him to be.

And now, my review:

Catherine Palmer’s characters, the warmth she infused into her stories, and the well-crafted romantic element all shine in her upcoming release—The Courteous Cad.

This was my first exposure to her series including Miss Pickworth, yet I didn’t feel like I was thrust into a world I couldn’t understand or a cast of characters I couldn’t follow. I enjoy reading a novel without feeling I need to go back and read the previous books in a series. Catherine gave me that reading pleasure with this book.

What lover of inspirational romance would expect to admire a cad as a hero? Yet, I did. Catherine’s hero was believable and likable, and flawed. I took to him immediately.

Her heroine’s drive to help the down-trodden mill workers draws respect from the reader, and though you may not agree with her methods, you have to admire her spunk.

I appreciated the history included in Catherine’s novel. Also, the regency setting caused me to crave another viewing of a Jane Austen film.

A delightful read.

Highly recommended.

This book is available now through For more information, visit Catherine's Web site here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Cowboy Christmas by Mary Connealy

Recently, Mary Connealy visited Seriously Write, a blog my friend Dawn Kinzer and I cohost. After reading her journey to publication and the promo on her recent release, I had to get my hands on a copy of her book, Cowboy Christmas. I'm glad I did.

First, a peek at the summary:

Get ready for a fun and suspenseful Christmastime romance. Trouble follows singer Annette Talbot to Wyoming—and rancher Elijah Walker finds himself directly in its path. Though still wounded by the betrayal of his ex-fiancĂ©e, Elijah finds himself attracted to the secretive singer. When it appears Annie is a threat to his mother’s life, Elijah must decide if Annie’s deep faith and love of God is genuine or if it’s all just a ruse. He decides to trust her—until he discovers she’s a wanted woman. As Christmas draws near, will Elijah respond to God’s gentle persuasion to find the truth before he loses Annie forever?

And now my review:

What romance readers can resist a cowboy story?

Mary depicted her hero well. True to his cowboy designation, he hated crying, but she told you why. He didn’t trust women, and this fit with his history.

Mary’s heroine was fun to follow through her adventures. It’s interesting to read a book where the heroine bears my name. Annette is an unusual name, and I’ve rarely seen it in books I’ve read. At times, "Annie" drove me crazy with her annoying choices, but I kept turning the pages, which shows Mary had me hooked.

The beginning of this story plays out with a scene of violence, which is not a good representation of the rest of the novel's tone. On the whole, the novel is a fun read, lighter than the opening tone suggests. (though a suspenseful element exists behind the scenes). Not one for reading violence or suspense, I'm glad I kept reading.

Mary has a great command of romance. She showed us her characters’ love story developing in a believable way with a sometimes humorous backdrop. Romance readers will eat it up.

Overall, readers will enjoy this full-length Christmas novel. The title and cover (and story, once you crack it open) are irresistible. There’s nothing like reading a new Christmas-themed book at Christmastime. Grab a warm beverage, plunk down in front of the fireplace, and give yourself permission this season to dive into a good romance with Mary’s novel.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New Christian Fiction Releases for December, 2009

1. A Bouquet for Iris, by Diane Ashley & Aaron McCarver from Barbour Heartsong Presents. Iris Landon travels to Daisy, Tennessee, to care for two Cherokee children and finds romance and danger while aiding one family in the struggle to keep their land.

2. A Lady Like Sarah, Rocky Creek Romance, by Margaret Brownley from Thomas Nelson. He's a preacher. She's an outlaw. Both are in need of a miracle.

3. ANGEL WITH A BACKHOE, by Deb Kinnard from Desert Breeze Publishing. A small-town widower and a spunky suburban transplant match wits over a church construction project, finding true love can mix with blueprints and concrete footings.

4. Child Finder: Resurrection series: Child Finder Trilogy, 2nd book, by Mike Angley from Total Recall Publications, Inc. Child Finder: Resurrection…the highly-anticipated sequel to the award-winning debut novel, Child Finder, which Library Journal placed on its 2009 Summer Reads list for Christian fiction!

5. Christmas Peril, by Margaret Daley from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. Christmas themed, romantic suspense stories.

6. Cup of Joe, by Teri Wilson from White Rose Publishing. A grieving woman resists the cups of comfort offered by the shy, but handsome, owner of the neighborhood coffee shop.

7. Field of Danger, by Ramona Richards from Love Inspired Suspense. When April Presley can’t remember details of the murder she witnessed, deputy Daniel Rivers must help her recall the event and protect her from the killer determined to silence her.

8. Her Patchwork Family series: The Gabriel Sisters, by Lyn Cote from Love Inspired. In spite of opposition from the rich and influential, can Felicity Gabriel establish a home for children orphaned by the Civil War and heal two wounded hearts?

9. Patterns and Progress series: Michigan historical, book 3, by Amber Stockton from Barbour Publishing. A farmer's daughter would rather turn back the hands of time than accept the fact that advancement in technology could be in God's plan.

10. The Sheriff's Surrender series: #1 of The Ladies' Shooting Club Series, by Susan Page Davis from Barbour Publishing. The men of Fergus aren’t keeping the town safe, so a group of feisty women take matters into their own hands.

11. The Glassblower series: First book in the New Jersey Historical Series, by Laurie Alice Eakes from Barbour Publishing. Colin Grassick moves from Edinburgh, Scotland to Salem county New jersey totake a position as a master glassblower. He loves his work and hopes of bringing his family to America for a better life. But his love for Meg, the daughter of the owner of the glassworks, threatens his job...and then his life.

This list is compiled by a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers based on the names and book information she receives from the members. This is not an exhaustive list of new fiction releases.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie, Montana by Ocieanna Fleiss and Tricia Goyer

Want to win a copy of a fun new Summerside release? Read on to learn about TWO contests with this fun post.

If you peek inside the cover of Ocieanna's and Tricia's book, and glance at the acknowledgements page, you might find an interesting connection. Ocieanna and I have been friends for years. In fact, we live only about seven minutes apart. We are in the same critique group. As Ocieanna and Tricia were writing and finishing this book, they gave me the privilege of helping edit/critique the manuscript. Because of that, I won't be posting a review. But I will say readers' response has been very positive. I'm thrilled to highlight my friend's first novel. (Waving at my new friend Tricia, the prolific author of books which span multiple genres.)

A fun aside: You'd think with a word like lonesome in the title this book would be heavy and perhaps sad. Not so. You'll probably chuckle out loud a few times reading the fun prose about some quirky characters. I found myself thinking of these characters after I'd finished the book.

First, the back cover copy:

In 1890, Julia Cavanaugh travels west from New York City to unite orphans in her care with new families.

Imagine her horror when she discovers that she's to be "delivered," too--as bride to an uncouth miner! But with no return fare, Julia's options are bleak.

What does God have planned for her on the lonesome prairies of Montana?

Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie, Montana. I'll have a drawing on Monday, November 30th for the winner. Please don't forget to leave your email address: address (at) wherever (dot) com

About the authors:

Tricia Goyer is the author of several books, including Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights, both past winners of the ACFW's Book of the Year Award for Long Historical Romance. Goyer lives with her family in Montana. To find out more visit her Web site.

Ocieanna Fleiss is a published writer and has edited six of Tricia Goyer's historical novels. She lives with her husband and their four children in the Seattle area. Connect with Ocieanna on Facebook!

Pictured: Ocieanna Fleiss & Tricia Goyer

SECOND contest information:

The authors, Tricia and Ocieanna, have put together one humdinger of a contest for this blog tour! Enter the Fall in Love With Lonesome Prairie Contest and WIN a perty Montana Gift Basket!

To enter, simply fill out the entry form ( ), (then tell 5 or more friends about the contest)! The winner will be announced December 14th, just in time for an old-fashioned Montana Christmas. Giddy-up!

The Winner of our ‘Fall in Love with Lonesome Prairie’ giveaway will receive a fantastic Montana Gift Basket, including:

*Winter fleece throw
*Huckleberry chocolate bar
*Paula Dean candle
*Burt’s Bees gift set
*Wild Huckleberry taffy
*Montana stationary notebook
*Montana greeting card set
*Montana ball cap
*Montana apron
*Montana refrigerator magnet
*Charlie Russell 2010 Montana Calendar

To win a copy of their book, leave a comment with this post by 11/29/09. Drawing to be held on 11/30. I will email the winner AND post the winner's name here in the comments section. Check back. :-)

Click on this
link to leave a comment for a chance to win the basket mentioned above. Feel free to enter BOTH contests!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Familiar Stranger by Christina Berry

Christina Berry is a debut novelist with Moody Publishers. Every time I've met her among groups of writers, she is smiling and friendly. As soon as I saw the information for her book, I knew I wanted to read it. Today, I'm thrilled to review her book The Familiar Stranger.

Back cover copy:

Craig Littleton's decision to end his marriage would shock his wife, Denise . . . if she knew what he was up to. When an accident lands Craig in the ICU, with fuzzy memories of his own life and plans, Denise rushes to his side, ready to care for him.

They embark on a quest to help Craig remember who he is and, in the process, they discover dark secrets. An affair? An emptied bank account? A hidden identity? An illegitimate child?

But what will she do when she realizes he's not the man she thought he was? Is this trauma a blessing in disguise, a chance for a fresh start? Or will his secrets destroy the life they built together?

Here's an interview with Christina:

How did you come up with the story?

In the summer of 2006, two stories appeared in the newspaper. One was a huge, national story; the other a smaller, local-interest item. I wondered what it might look like if those two stories conceived a child. Boom! I had the entire plot for The Familiar Stranger. It will be interesting to see if readers can figure out which stories inspired the book.

Can you tell us a little bit about how your personal life influenced the story?

Though the plot of The Familiar Stranger came from news stories, I’d been looking for a fictional vehicle to express the lessons I’d learned regarding forgiveness in my own marriage. I knew no one was interested in reading my particular story, but I still felt God had given me something to say. My husband and I worked through a major issue six years ago and found a vibrant, completely renewed marriage on the other side.

However, seven months ago, that same issue broke our bond. Now as a newly-single woman, I’m in the midst of promoting a book that touches far closer to home than I would have ever dreamed. If no one else ever reads it, I’ve been convicted and encouraged by my own words. If that isn’t a gracious God at work, I don’t know what is!

Most difficult part to write?

I was in the middle of revisions when my marriage fell apart. God orchestrated it so that I was beefing up a "struggle with forgiveness" scene in those first few weeks of singleness. While aspects of that were hard to deal with, the very words I thought would help someone else ministered to me.

What challenges do you face with your writing in general? What comes easy to you?

As a single mother of young children, and currently serving as a foster parent, time is my biggest challenge. I have to make sure my family knows they come first, but to balance that with treating writing as a career.

Strength-wise, while the idea of writing or editing may seem hard, I usually get quite a lot done in a short amount of time once I start. An object in motion tends to stay in motion. That applies to our writing. A little momentum can go a long way!

What surprised you about the publishing process after your novel was contracted?

I knew that titles were frequently changed for publication, but I didn’t expect the title to change before the contract was officially signed. Also, I knew that editors move from house to house fairly often in this industry, but I didn’t expect to lose my dream editor two days after signing the contract. (Hi, Andy!)

After getting over the shock of losing my editor, I was very surprised at how much Moody valued my input, how frequently they communicated with me, and how they lifted my family up in prayer. In fact, everyone from my editor to the marketing manager to the author liaison has been amazing!

What takeaway value do you hope readers receive after reading your novel?

The recent changes in my life—losing my husband, facing finding a “real” job, selling my home—have done nothing but solidify what I hope to be the theme of the book and my life: Live Transparently—Forgive Extravagantly. If reading The Familiar Stranger makes even one man or woman be more honest with his or her spouse or delve into trust issues in a healthy way, I’ll consider it a success. Maybe there’s a hurting heart that can find a new path to forgiveness because of the story.

Just for fun: Who would play the roles in a movie version of The Familiar Stranger?

This is tough! Moody gave me the cover--which I love--in the midst of edits, so the characters became even more the man and woman on the front. Can I cast them? :)

For Denise ... maybe Christina Applegate, though she's a bit young. Craig could be played by Christian Bale, but a decade older. (Hmm ... Christina and Christian in a movie based on a book written by a Christian Christina!)

You know, Sandra Bullock with corn-silk blond hair could nail it! And Matt Damon would also make a great Craig.

Christina's bio:

As a single mom and foster parent, Christina Berry carves time out of her busy schedule to write about the heart and soul of life. She lives with her family in rural Oregon. The Familiar Stranger is her debut novel. Get to know her better at her Web site.

And now my review:

Though this story’s blurb intrigued me, I didn’t know what to expect when I cracked open Christina’s debut novel The Familiar Stranger. But, she had me from the first lines. I half expected a romance, based on the book’s description. And you get some romance, but you get so much more from this first book.

This writer knows her stuff. First person POV, each lead—female and male. Phenomenal. Author Randy Ingermanson has taught the male POV at writers’ conferences. He says she “really knows how men think.” Indeed, Christina’s characters read like two different genders (which they should, but it’s very difficult to do). Very impressive.

Craig’s amnesia adds a deep plot element as we watch him recover from the car accident. Both characters have been dramatically impacted by their circumstances—rethinking life. As a reader, you may find yourself rethinking the way you relate with those closest to you. Every time Denise’s world starts to settle, you watch her situation upend itself again, bringing more change, inside and out.

I enjoyed this book very much. This novel stands out among the multitudes I read in a year. Christina’s prose is genuine, real, well-crafted. Her pacing keeps you up at night. I am on alert for her next novel.

Highly recommended.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Snow Kissed by Cindy Green

Today I'm pleased to welcome fellow White Rose author Cindy Green whose e-book "Snow Kissed" is now available.

First, a bit about the book:

Today is one of those days Logan Reilly wished he'd stayed in bed. Not only does he have to deal with the annoying Winter Wonderland Carnival but his close friend, that whimsical lover of snow, Holly Armstrong, is leaving town forever. The question is, why didn't she tell him and why today, of all days, does he realize she might be more than a friend?

Holly can no longer stay in town knowing the man she loves only sees her as a friend. It's time to move on. Besides, she has other career prospects.

As the carnival unfolds, watch God work in amazing ways. Can He change Holly's mind and make her stay? Can He help Logan see beyond the friendship?

Here's an interview with the author:

Which came first: the story or the characters for Snow Kissed?

This was an unusual one for me. I always create a story first and then the characters. This story broke the mold for me because I created Logan Riley, grumpy auto body shop owner who hates snow, and whimsical Holly Armstrong, music writer and lover of snow, before I ever came up with the plot.

What love song would you pick to be the “Theme Love Song” for Snow Kissed?

I believe that song would be “Let it Snow.” In Snow Kissed, snow does play an important part. It hasn’t yet snowed for the Winter Wonderland Carnival so of course everyone (except the hero) are waiting for snow. Although, that’s not a very romantic song, is it? Let me try again. When the hero and heroine dance in the gazebo, the music is soft and romantic sung by an awe-inspiring baritone. I was listening to a lot of Josh Groban when I wrote that scene and so I suppose it’s one of his songs that I imagine they are dancing to.

Can you give us a tidbit about Snow Kissed?

When I began planning Snow Kissed, I knew right off that I wanted the heroine to love snow and the hero to hate it. Well, I grew up in Southern California where there is no snow unless you go to the mountains. Now I live in North Carolina but where I live there is hardly ever any snow. I decided to ask for insight into the good, bad, and ugly of living in snow from my fellow authors living up north. I received some wonderful replies and even an “Incomplete Guide to Snow” complied by a friend of mine from Wisconsin.

Why do you write romance novels?

I grew up reading many different genres but when it came to what kind of story I would write there was no other choice than romance. I love a good love story and I am a hopeless romantic at heart. It gives me a thrill to create these characters and find a way to bring them together by the end of the story.

Of the writing process, what do you enjoy most?

Creating characters before I ever write a word of the story is probably my favorite part. There’s no pressure about the right words, style, voice, pov—none of that. My imagination is free to ramble on and on about these characters and what’s going to happen to them.


Cindy K. Green is a multi-published author with degrees in History and Education. Previously a middle school English & History teacher, she now homeschools her own children and writes in several genres: Inspirational, Contemporary, Suspense, Fantasy and Historical romance. No matter what she writes, she always throws in a bit of humor and fun. Find out more about Cindy and her books at her Web site and her blog. To join her newsletter email her at newsletters[@] cindykgreen[dot]com, and she will send you out all three parts of her FREE READ serial, “Valentine’s Challenge.”

Thanks for visiting, Cindy. We wish you the best.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Christmas Miracles

Want a chance to win a great Christmas gift basket? Among the goodies are two free copies of the book! One to keep and one to give away. Keep reading to learn more.

Christmas Miracles

Cecil Murphey/Marley Gibson
Foreword: Don Piper
St. Martin’s Press, Oct. 2009
Hardcover, 256 pages
ISBN: 978-0312589837
Retail: $14.99

(Atlanta, GA) Many ordinary people experience Christmas miracles—those special moments during the season of giving and receiving when Christmas becomes more than just a holiday. In Christmas Miracles (St. Martin’s Press, October 2009), Cecil Murphey and Marley Gibson share the stories of those who have recognized the special moments that transcend daily experience and transform their lives.

In these stories, people overcome desperate situations through a miraculous twist of fate—all during the most wonderful time of the year. A young boy sits down to read a Christmas book and discovers that his learning disability has vanished. A woman stranded in a blizzard is rescued by a mysterious stranger who she suspects is an angel. And a woman living far from home gets an answer to her prayer in the form of an unexpected gift.

Bestselling author Cecil Murphey says, “We all face discouraging times, whether it's the lack of money, being stuck on a road in a snowstorm, feeling stress, or being hungry and homeless. But God's help is available. I want readers to see that miracles do happen—sometimes simple, unexpected blessings or those that involve the supernatural. We start by asking, and in strange and wonderful ways God tiptoes into our dark nights; we experience renewed joy in life and witness God in action through people and unexpected events.”

Here's an interview of Cecil (Cec) Murphey by Marley Gibson:

I am extremely privileged to have the opportunity today to talk to my friend and co-author, Cecil “Cec” Murphey, and to chat about our upcoming book, Christmas Miracles.

Marley: Cec, thanks for spending some time with me today.

Cec: Marley, it's great that you could take time away from important things like making a living to spend a little time with me.

Marley: I’m so jazzed about our Christmas Miracles book that’s coming out soon. I’ve had a lot of questions from folks wanting to know how we met, what brought us together, etc. So, I thought we’d do a back and forth on how it all came to be. Of course, I have to give props to our amazing agent and friend, Deidre Knight, for bringing us together. For those of you who don’t know, Cec co-authored the runaway New York Times bestselling hit 90 Minutes in Heaven with Don Piper.

Cec: I have to say thanks to Deidre Knight as well. Between Deidre and my assistant, Twila Belk, I've been able to sell quite a few books. 90 Minutes in Heaven has been my big book. I'm also proud of a book I wrote in 1990 called Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story. The book has never been out of print and has hit close to four million in sales. Early this year, Cuba Gooding Jr. starred in the made-for-TV film version.

Marley: That’s amazing! You are truly prophetic and definitely “the man behind the words.” Now, people ask how we teamed up. Sadly, there was a personal tragedy that brought Cec and me together as friends.

Cec: True. In early 2007, our house burned and our son-in-law died. Aside from the grief over Alan, we lost everything. Deidre and Jan, my-then-assistant, sent the word out of our tragedy without telling me. I'm immensely grateful for every gift people sent, but I probably wouldn't have admitted I needed help and wouldn't have asked. They taught me how much we need other people.

Marley: Deidre put out a call to other clients of The Knight Agency, to help Cec and his family out in any way in their time of need. At the time, my company was moving and we were cleaning house. We had a ton of office supplies that we were either going to throw away or give to some of the charities the company worked with. I got my boss’ permission to send a large care package to Cec…full of office supplies for him to re-stock his writer’s office. You name it…post-its, staples, paper clips, pens, pencils, markers, white out, ruler, scissors, paper, notebooks, notepads, envelopes, a laptop case, tape, glue, folders, binder clips…etc. A veritable potpourri of office delights. I was hoping that it would help Cec have a sense of getting his office back so he could keep working.

Cec: Marley's gift was the most unexpected I received. We hadn't met, although Deidre Knight had spoken of her many times and kept telling me she was wonderful. I wonder if you can imagine what it was like for me to open that box from someone I didn't know. I saw all those practical things for my office and yelled for my wife. I felt as if I were reading a first-grade book. "Look! Look and see! Oh, look!" I was overwhelmed by the gift and even more to receive it from a stranger. Those supplies were the most practical gift anyone could have given me. I'm still using black paper clips and red folders from Marley.

Marley: Awww…thanks, Cec! I didn’t have to think twice about doing it. Writing is such a solitary “sport,” but the writing community always astounds me with how they help their own. Not long after that, over plates of spinach and Gouda omelets, Deidre introduced me to Cec in person and I was thrilled to finally meet the man behind the words. Deidre knew we needed to work on a project together and thus began our brainstorming. What did you think of that first meeting, Cec, and cooking up the idea to work together?

Cec: Deidre and I had already spoken about a Christmas book and I had some idea about what it should contain, but nothing had come together. One day Deidre told me that Marley was coming to visit her and she wanted us to work together on a Christmas project. Marley and I talked before we ate and again during the meal. Everything felt right to me. I knew my strengths and Marley knew hers (and Deidre knew both of us). Everything clicked. Marley, a far better networker than I am, immediately sent out the word for submissions. Within days she had almost four times more than we could use. (She read every one of them!)

Marley: I was truly impressed with the submissions we received and it was hard narrowing it down to the ones we chose for the book. We’re fortunate to have such a go-getter agent in Deidre Knight. Cec, can you share how the whole idea of Christmas Miracles came about and what you thought of the project originally?

Cec: For me, it actually started while I was on the rapid-rail train from the Atlanta airport when I listened to teens talk about Christmas and it was mostly about gifts. I had the idea then, but nothing really came together. Months later when Deidre I and had a meeting, she brought up the idea of a compilation and mentioned my working with Marley. I've been Deidre Knight's client since 1997 and I've learned to listen carefully when she comes up with an idea. I said yes before she gave me all the information.

Marley: That’s the truth about Deidre! Getting back to those submissions, I want to say we got more than two hundred submissions for Christmas Miracles. So many wonderful stories to read through and select for the book. It was a challenge to pick and choose which ones were right for the book, but I loved every minute of it. After I chose the entries that would go into the book, Cec toiled long hours editing the works for a unified voice. What was the biggest challenge you found in the editing process, Cec?

Cec: I've been a ghostwriter and collaborator for twenty-plus years and this was a switch to give the book a unified voice—which was mine. It would have been easier to stay with each writer's voice, but the book—like many compilations—would have been uneven in tone and quality. When I discussed this via email with our delightful editor, Rose Hilliard, she was (to my surprise) familiar with my work. She told me she liked the warm tone of my writing and that I don't waste words. "That's the voice we want," she said. It still wasn't easy, but it was an exciting challenge. After Marley and I agreed on the stories and gave them that unified voice, our editor pulled six contributions. Although different, Rose felt they were too similar to other stories.

Marley: Can you give our readers a preview of the book? A favorite story perhaps…or one that moved you to tears? (I have to say the little boy who wished for nothing but to be able to read a book all the way through because of his stutter had me bawling when I read the submission.)

Cec: That's not fair! I liked them all. The one that touched me most, however, is the last story in the book, "Sean's Question." We had almost finished the book and I was teaching at a conference in Florida. I felt we needed one strong story at the end. Despite all the good ones, I didn't feel fully satisfied to conclude the book. On the last day of the conference, I met a conferee named Sara Zinn for a consultation. As we talked, I mentioned Christmas Miracles and that I still needed one more story. "I have a Christmas story," she said and told me about Sean. As I listened, tears filled my eyes—but, being the macho type I am, I was sure it was an allergy. Sara wrote the story, and it became the one I sought.

Marley: Oh yes…that one is an emotional one all right. It was meant to be in the book because of how you met at the conference. Now, you and I have both had challenges in our lives that others might have found too much to take, but we are both very strong in our faith and our relationship with God. How do you think Christmas Miracles is going to help others feel closer to God and experience His miracles in their own lives?

Cec: Awareness and appreciation are the two things I want readers to grasp. Awareness means for them to realize that they're never totally alone in life. Those unexpected, out-of-the-ordinary events remind us of that. Appreciation means to be thankful for what we already have. Too often, and especially at Christmas, we focus on what we'd like or what is supposed to make us happy. Christmas Miracles gently reminds readers of both.

Marley: In this day and age when our country is fighting two wars, unemployment is high, and a lot of people have a lack of hope and faith for their future, what do you want readers of the book to take away from Christmas Miracles and how can the stories in our book help provide comfort to those struggling?

Cec: I want readers to see that miracles do happen—sometimes simple, unexpected blessings or those that involve the supernatural (as in one of Marley's stories). I call myself a serious Christian. For me, the world's greatest miracle began with the birth of Jesus. Regardless of a person's religion, this book encourages readers to think about life during the Christmas season and see that life as more than gifts and celebrations. It's also a reminder that God loves us and hears our needy cries.

Marley: Beautifully put, Cec, and I couldn’t agree with you more. Can we share what’s next after Christmas Miracles? :-)

Cec: Why it's the Cec and Marley show, of course. Because of our go-getter agent and our enthusiastic editor, we've already received thumbs up for The Christmas Spirit. This will be stories of people who express the true spirit of Christmas by acts of love and kindness, for release in the fall of 2011.

Marley: And I can’t wait to start working on that project! Thank you so much for your time, Cec, and answering my questions. It was a privilege and honor to work with you and I look forward to our future projects together. You’ve helped me along during a trying time and I appreciate your friendship and support.

Cec: I liked this project because Marley had to send out the word, collect submissions, read them, and discard the weaker ones. I get to see only the better-written stories. (Don't tell her that I have the better job.) Although I mentioned only one story, all of those in the book touched me because of the poignancy of their situations and the miraculous answers. I won't say the stories increased my faith, but they increased my appreciation for the delightful mix of human need and divine intervention.

Marley: Thanks again, Cec! God Bless! And to our readers, please be sure to pick up a copy of CHRISTMAS MIRACLES, out October 13, 2009 from St. Martin’s Press. It’s a great stocking stuffer or gift basket filler. We hope you, too, will discover your own Christmas Miracles in your life.

Now, for the contest information!

Leave a comment for a chance to win the Christmas Miracles gift basket. Wouldn’t you love to take home this amazing basket filled with Christmas goodies galore? This amazing gift basket contains everything you’ll need to make your Christmas holiday a success. Inside you’ll find a stocking stuffed with hard candies, kitchen towels and oven mitts, seasonal potpourri, holiday-colored candles, stuffed animals that talk, snowman candle, nutcrackers, Christmas ornaments, gift bags, gift tags, gift bows, ornament hangers, Christmas cookie cutters, a Merry Christmas doorstopper, a picture frame, Christmas cards, Santa ear muffs, and not just one, but two copies of Cecil Murphey and Marley Gibson’s Christmas Miracles – one to keep and one to give away to someone special. Leave a comment with your email address by 11/15/09. I’ll choose a winner and forward that name to the blog tour coordinators. Then, check back for the overall winner’s name.


Marley Gibson is a young adult author whose first published books in the Sorority 101 series were released by Penguin Group in 2008 under the pen name of Kate Harmon. She has a new Ghost Huntress series with Houghton Mifflin written under her own name. She can be found online at

Award-winning writer Cecil Murphey is the author or co-author of 114 published books, including the NY Times bestseller 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper) and Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (with Dr. Ben Carson). He’s also the author of When Someone You Love Has Cancer and When God Turned Off the Lights, both 2009 releases. Murphey’s books have sold millions and have given hope and encouragement to countless readers around the world. For more information, visit

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Never the Bride by Cheryl McKay & Rene Gutteridge

What if God showed up in the flesh and offered to write your love story? That's the premise for great this book.

Jessie Stone has spent thirty-five years fantasizing about marriage proposals, wedding dresses, and falling in love. She’s been a bridesmaid eleven times, waved dozens of couples off to sunny honeymoons, and shopped in more department stores for half-price fondue pots than she cares to remember. But shopping in the love-of-her-life department hasn't been quite as productive. The man she thought she would marry cheated on her. The crush she has on her best friend Blake is at very best…well, crushing. And speed dating has only churned out memorable horror stories.

So when God shows up one day, in the flesh, and becomes a walking, talking part of her life, Jessie is skeptical. What will it take to convince her that God has a better love story than one of the thousands she’s cooked up in her journals? Will she trust Him with her pen when it appears her dreams of being the bride are forever lost?

A romantic comedy with a spiritual twist, Never the Bride is what it means to lose control—and getting more than any woman could ever imagine.

My review:

I just finished rereading Never the Bride, this time, aloud to my husband. We both laughed our way through, hmm-ing at the poignant prose. Rene’s writing is such fun to read. She gives you glimpses into the heart of her heroine while keeping the story light, fun and moving swiftly forward.

My favorite part? God. I loved how Rene (and Cheryl) portrayed God longing for relationship with us. And for God to write your love story? C’mon! But the story doesn’t ignore the truth about how waiting on God can be confusing, difficult and painful. The story dives into those emotions. You’ll see your own struggles.

Bravo to Cheryl for coming up with this story (& writing the screenplay) and to Rene for penning the novelization. Fantastic teamwork and a fantastic story. Can’t wait to see it on film.

Highly recommended.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Christian Fiction Releases - November, 2009

Here is a list compiled by American Christian Fiction Writers of new releases in fiction this November.

1. A SILENT PURSUIT, by Lynette Eason from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. Gina Santino has something someone desperately wants. Now, she's on the hunt to find it. Her deceased fiance's best friend, US Ranger, Ian Masterson is her only hope of staying alive while they race to be the first to discover the treasure her fiance left behind.

2. Chasing Shadows, by Terri Reed from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. An heiress turns to her former love, a cop, for help when she fears for her grandmother's life.

3. Close to Home, by Carolyn Aarsen from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. A reunion of old lovers brings up the shadows of past tragedy.

4. Fit To Be Tied, The Sisters of Bethlehem Springs, Book #2, by Robin Lee Hatcher from Zondervan. Who says a woman can't do a man's job?

5. I'm So Sure, A Charmed Life, Book 2, by Jenny B. Jones from Thomas Nelson. Its prom time and someone is trying to sabotage the queen contest. Can Bella solve the mystery in time AND keep it together as her life goes public on a wrestling reality show?

6. The Bartered Bride, by Erica Vetsch from Barbour Heartsong Presents. Tempests rage, in the board room, the ball room, and on treacherous Lake Superior as two hearts set sail on a collision course.

7. Together for the Holidays, Fostered by Love series-book 5, by Margaret Daley from Love Inspired. Can the true meaning of Christmas bring two loners together?

Happy reading!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Zora & Nicky: A Novel in Black and White by Claudia Mair Burney

Today I'm featuring a book by new-to-me author, Claudia Mair Burney.

First, the back cover copy:

Two Hearts, One God.

Should Anything Else Matter?

Zora Nella Hampton Johnson knows exactly where she comes from—and her daddy won't let her forget. Of course for that privilege he keeps her in Prada and Kate Spade, Coach and YSL. He chooses her boyfriend, her car, her address, and ignores her love of painting, art, and the old ways of her grandaddy's soulful AME church—where the hymns pleaded, cajoled, and raised the roof. Her daddy may be a preacher, but some-where among the thousands of church members, the on-site coffee house, and the JumboTron, Zora lost God. And she wants Him back.

Nicky Parker, a recent graduate of Berkeley and reformed playboy, also suffers the trials of being a preacher's kid, and he can't remember the last time he saw eye-to-eye with his white, racist, Southern Baptist father. What he does remember—and it will be forever burned in his brain despite myriad prayers to Jesus—is the way Zora looked the first time he saw her. Like Nefertiti. Only better. When they meet at a bible study far from their respective home churches, the first churlish, sarcastic sparks that fly sizzle with defensiveness. But God has a special way of feeding the flames and though of different flocks, these two lost sheep will find Him and much, much more.

And now for my review:

Wow. Where to begin? I’ll give you the phrase which I began the book with, an endorsement from Liz Curtis Higgs. She wrote: “Zora and Nicky isn’t safe. But it’s good.”

The book is listed as a Fiction: General. But I’d call it a romance with a lot more going on.

I hadn’t read Mair’s earlier work so I wasn’t sure what to expect. All I knew is the cover intrigued me, front and back. I was drawn to interrupt my TBR (to be read) pile and devour it. And that’s exactly how it happened. I read it very quickly because Mair’s story seizes you and doesn’t relent.

Mair boldly tackles issues of racism, religion, sexuality, family, poverty, and I’m sure so much more that you will see yourself on the pages (whether you want to or not). One of Mair’s very effective tools in Zora & Nicky was the use of first-person, present-tense writing, in each main character’s POV – the hero and the heroine. You read the words in first person, “I” language, and it’s like holding a mirror up to your soul. Ugh! What we might see there. I think that’s why the book rings so true based on reviews and endorsements. And though I didn't always agree with the author's position on all of those subjects listed above, the story would not let me go.

This book isn’t for everyone, and yet it fairly represents the human condition of prejudice, even if we hate it about ourselves. Of temptation even while we’re seeking God with all our hearts.

If you’re looking for a read that is way outside the box in Christian fiction, and if you’re open to conviction by the Holy Spirit (on more than one level, likely), get ahold of this book. Let it change you.

Highly recommended.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sweetwater Gap by Denise Hunter

Today I’m featuring Denise Hunter’s Sweetwater Gap, a Women of Faith title.

Here is the back cover copy:

A story of love and second chances. She wished she could go back and change things . . . but life doesn't give do-overs. Could anything but good-byes be waiting on the other side of Sweetwater Gap?

Josie Mitchell's sister Laurel thinks she's come home to pitch in with the apple harvest and save the family orchard. Her brother-in-law Nate thinks she's there to talk the overworked, very pregnant Laurel into finally selling the family business. The orchard's new manager Grady Mackenzie just thinks she's trouble with a capital T. They're all right . . . and all wrong. Because no one really knows what drove Josie from home in the first place. Why she's never come home before, even for her own father's funeral. Why she pushes herself so hard . . . and what she's running from. And nobody, not even Josie, is prepared for the surprising new fruit she'll find on her last trip home.

And now, my review:

Who doesn’t wish they could go back and fix something from their past? But if we could go back, would we have the courage to face the truth?

Josie is faced with returning to her home after avoiding the orchard for years. But for her sister, she’ll return. Now she has to face her past as well as the negative consequences of her beliefs about the past. She has a choice—to put the past to rest and embrace life, or give up on life because her past was so painful (for which she blames herself).

Denise’s stories always draw me in. She is a gifted story-teller. Her books prompt soul-searching, which is a key element of good Christian fiction. Readers put themselves in the shoes of her heroine and ask themselves tough questions: would I have the courage to face the situation? Have I truly embraced life? Those are two of the questions I asked myself while reading Sweetwater Gap.

I highly recommend Sweetwater Gap. This story will minister to you.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Blue Enchantress by M.L. Tyndall

I enjoyed M.L. Tyndall's first series: The Legacy of the King's Pirates, so I was excited to read her book The Blue Enchantress for review.

First, the back cover copy:

Trying to forget about a painful past, Hope Westcott plunges into Charles Towne society trying to find love and acceptance. Captain Nathaniel Mason is determined to build his shipping business and doesn't need a romantic entanglement--especially with a woman like Hope. When Hope's adventure-seeking puts her freedom--and her life--in jeopardy, will Nathaniel turn his back or follow God's voice and sacrifice everything to save her?

And now my review:

From her first pirate novel, The Redemption, I’ve enjoyed M.L. Tyndall’s writing.

One element which stands out is spiritual warfare. She uses figures or symbols to represent evil in her stories. I like how this helps round out a reader’s understanding of her characters—helping readers be sympathetic to her characters, making sense of their decisions. By depicting this influence on her struggling characters you see the depths of their bondage until their conversion. A realistic depiction which I haven’t seen in other Christian romantic fiction. In this way, M.L.’s writing stands out. Also, by including this element, her romance doesn’t come across as quite so formulaic.

Although I didn’t enjoy The Blue Enchantress as much as her Legacy of the King’s Pirates series books, I still appreciated her well-drawn characters and realistic spiritual depiction. I’d read M.L.’s books again. Her aquatic settings and pirate characters always fully engage my imagination.

Learn more at M.L's Web site.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Slow Burn by Mary DeMuth

I'm excited today to feature Mary DeMuth's "A Slow Burn." Here's the back cover copy before I share my review:

She touched Daisy’s shoulder. So cold. So hard. So unlike Daisy.

Yet so much like herself it made Emory shudder.

Burying her grief, Emory Chance is determined to find her daughter Daisy’s murderer—a man she saw in a flicker of a vision. But when the investigation hits every dead end, her despair escalates. As que
stions surrounding Daisy’s death continue to mount, Emory’s safety is shattered by the pursuit of a stranger, and she can’t shake the sickening fear that her own choices contributed to Daisy’s disappearance. Will she ever experience the peace her heart longs.

The second book in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy, this suspenseful novel is about courageous love, the burden of regret, and bonds that never break. It is about the beauty and the pain of telling the truth. Most of all, it is about the power of forgiveness and what remains when shame no longer holds us captive.

And now my review:

In her acknowledgements, Mary mentions being challenged to “dig deeper” in the telling of this tale. As you read, you see her doing just that. The depths of one woman’s despair after the disappearance of her only daughter is haunting, poignant. (See book one—“Daisy Chain”—the precursor to “A Slow Burn.”) You watch her fall again and again, desperate for relief from her burdens of guilt. I have not lived the life of Mary’s heroine, have not experienced the same hardships or made the same mistakes, still I found myself asking personal questions of the woman in the mirror. Questions about leaving regrets untended or loving those around me 100%. Questions I could not answer like I’d like.

Isn’t that what great fiction does? Makes you ask those deeper questions. Takes you someplace emotionally heartbreaking to offer you hope in the midst of your analysis. Mary’s contrast of good versus evil, of despair versus hope, of death versus life will have your mind munching as you read, but also after you finish. This was the strength of the first book, a power which continues through this second book.

And whether you appreciate the inner journey her books take you on or not, there is one sure thing: you won’t be able to put the book(s) down. Mary’s prose, pacing and mysteries keep you reading. Longing for book three.

I can’t fail to mention her symbolism—the setting of “Defiance, Texas,” the hero’s placing his coat over the heroine, pursuing her and loving the unlovable, protecting her—loved how all these items (and more) increased my enjoyment of this read.

Mary DeMuth is a speaker and the author of three parenting books and four novels, her latest entitled A Slow Burn. As a book mentor, she helps aspiring writers seeking publication at Mother of three, pet owner of two and wife of one, she lives in Texas. Find out more at

Readers: on October 23, Mary will appear on Seriously Write, a blog I co-host with Dawn Kinzer. Come have a look. She's going to share her "success story" in writing.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Bluegrass Christmas by Allie Pleiter

Please welcome guest blogger Allie Pleiter today to share about story inspiration as well as her new release "Bluegrass Christmas."

Rabbit Trails
by Allie Pleiter

Where do stories come from? Because of the . . . shall we say, unusual . . . nature of my stories, I get asked this all the time. Exactly where do opera singing cockatoos and cartoon owls and men in masks who dash around
San Francisco’s 19th century streets come from?

I’m not really sure. And part of me doesn’t want to look to closely at this process, for fear I’ll spoil the wonder. But it is part of the great, marvelous mystery of writing for me, and I’d guess, many writers. We create worlds, people, and situations out of thin air. God hands us the ball and tells us to run with it. Or maybe just to play with it for a while.

But how does the “ball” get “handed”? The best answer I can give is “rabbit trails.” I’m off to a museum today in search of just such a rabbit trail. Some little detail that gives life to the all important “what if” question from which all stories spring. I don’t know what I’m looking for, but I’ll know the moment I find it. For My So-Called Love Life it was a cartoon voice, and a wondering what it was like to be behind that voice. For an upcoming book it was the true story of a postmaster’s compassion and valor during the
San Francisco earthquake. For Bluegrass Hero, it was an ad for an artisan soap. Sometimes the details are crucial story elements, other times they’re just the portal to a character’s world. I like to think I find them, but it’s really more accurate to say they find me. Or, more precisely, that I pray God sends them and He always does.

For my current book, Bluegrass Christmas, it was a toy commercial. And then I got to thinking about the song in the commercial, and the person behind the song...and so on.

No good story starts out with a sweeping plot line. Just a tiny detail, a single object, an insightful question. Add imagination, time, a set of fingers poised over a keyboard or around a pen, and stir . . .

Bluegrass Christmas released October 1st.

An Old Fashioned Christmas . . .

That’s what led new believer Mary Thorpe to start over in quaint Middleburg, Kentucky. As director of the church’s Christmas pageant, Mary’s job is to bring the townspeople together, to remind them what the season is really about. But everyone is all riled up over one very handsome man: the man daring to run against Middleburg’s popular long-standing mayor. Mac MacCarthy wants change. Mary wants things to stay as they are. Is there a happy medium? Both Mac and Mary are in for one very big Christmas surprise.

Enthusiastic but slightly untidy mother of two, Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction. An avid knitter, harp player, and non-reformed chocoholic, she spends her days writing books, doing laundry, running carpools, and finding new ways to avoid housework. Allie grew up in Connecticut, holds a BS in Speech from Northwestern University and currently lives in suburban Chicago. The "dare from a friend" to begin writing eight years ago has blossomed into a career that includes numerous public speaking engagements, two books on parenting; BECOMING A CHIEF HOME OFFICER and FACING EVERY MOM'S FEARS, and now novels for Steeple Hill. She is the mother of two children and, most recently, a Havanese dog named Bella.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Christian Fiction Releases - October, 2009

Happy Autumn! Here are the latest Christian fiction releases as compiled by American Chrisian Fiction Writers.

1. A Star Curiously Singing, The DarkTrench Saga, Book 1, by Kerry Nietz from Marcher Lord Press. An augmented human programmer is sent to space to solve the mystery of a bot’s destruction.

2. Double Take, by Jenness Walker from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. When a stalker becomes obsessed with a woman, the key to stopping him lies in a best-selling thriller…until he stops going by the book.

3. Dreaming of Home, by Glenna Kaye from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Two wounded hearts must learn to trust that God's dreams for them far exceed any they may have for themselves.

4. Eternity Falls - A Rick Macey Cyberthriller, Book 1 of the Rick Macey Cyberthriller series, by Kirk Outerbridge from Marcher Lord Press. A cyber-enhanced detective must stop a religious zealot from destroying a serum for eternal life.

5. Gripped By Fear, Chicago Warrior Thriller Series, 2nd book, by John M. Wills from Total Recall. Chgo Detectives hunt a serial rapist in the mean streets of Chicago in the midst of personal struggles.

6. Leaving Yesterday, by Kathryn Cushman from Bethany House. A mother rejoices at the return of her prodigal, but is faced with an impossible decision as evidence from his past refuses to stay buried.

7. Loves Finds You in Bethlehem, New Hampshire, by Lauralee Bliss from Summerside Press. Set in the Guilded Age within the beauty of New Hampshire's White Mountains, successful artist Tom Haskins and penniless Sara McGee discover through their circumstacnes that the most precious gifts of life and love don't always come as they're expected.

8. Love Finds You in North Pole, Alaska, by Loree Lough from Summerside Press. A story that's sure to warm your heart, despite the icy Alaskan setting!

9. Love is a Battlefield, Book One in the Walk in the Park series, by Annalisa Daughety from Barbour Publishing. War rages again at Shiloh, but this time it’s a battle of the heart.

10. Seaside Letters, by Denise Hunter from Thomas Nelson. Sabrina Kincaid didn't intend to fall for Nantucket native Tucker McCabe, the man she serves coffee to every morning-a man tied deeply to a past she deeply regrets. But she has. And she's fallen hard. But she's kept this a secret from her handsome customer. And now Tucker wants to hire Sabrina to help locate his friend "Sweetpea"-the mysterious woman he's falling in love with online. Sabrina is not inclined to help, but if Tucker hires someone else, it could spell disaster. Because if someone else sifts through the emails and figures out the truth-then Tucker will discover that the person he's trying to find is . . . her. (NOTE: see my review of this awesome book on 9/29/09)

11. Soldier Daddy, Wings of Refuge Series-book 5-all standalones, by Cheryl Wyatt from Steeple Hill. A USAF Pararescue Jumper searches for a nanny for his twins and instead finds a future with a woman harboring a secret tied to his past.

12. The Case of the Mystified M.D., Book 2, Bouncing Grandma Mysteries, by A.K. Arenz from Sheaf House. First a foot, now a hand--what body part is next?

13. The Christmas Journey, by Winnie Griggs from Steeple Hill Love Inspired.

14. The Jewel of his Heart, Heart of the West Series, by Maggie Brendan from Revell. Discover the classic struggle between the world's wealth and the lure of eternal love in this Western story of elegance and survival.

15. The Matchmaking Pact, After the Storm #4, by Carolyn Aarsen from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. A single father and a single mother have to deal with matchmaking children.

16. Thirsty, by Tracey Bateman from Waterbrook. “Deep, cutting, an intoxicating blend of human and supernatural, of characters scarred by the past, drained by life. This is the book I’ve waited for.”

17. Trial By Fire, by Cara Putman from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. When an arsonist targets her family, Tricia has to find him before harm is done without losing her heart to a fireman.