Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tomorrow We Die by Shawn Grady

After reading Shawn Grady's debut novel, Through the Fire, and loving it, I could hardly wait for his sophomore offering. This book does not disappoint.

Let's begin with the summary:

Jonathan Trestle is a paramedic who's spent the week a few steps behind the angel of death. When he responds to a call about a man sprawled on a downtown sidewalk, Trestle isn't about to lose another victim. CPR revives the man long enough for him to hand Trestle a crumpled piece of paper and say, "Give this to Martin," before being taken to the hospital. The note is a series of dashes and haphazard scribbles. Trestle tries to follow up with the patient later, but at the ICU he learns the man awoke, pulled out his IVs, and vanished, leaving only a single key behind. Jonathan tracks the key to a nearby motel where he finds the man again--this time not just dead but murdered. Unwilling to just let it drop, Jonathan is plunged into a mystery that soon threatens not only his dreams for the future but maybe even his life.

And now, my review:

I was barely a teenager when I started volunteering at our local hospital, then held paying jobs there after I turned sixteen. As an adult, I became a medical transcriptionist. So, I’m drawn to medical stories, so long as they aren’t too gory. Now, this book may assault some sensitivities, at times, but I enjoyed it and highly recommend it. And for the record, I found a good balance between story building and edge-of-your-seat pacing. Also, I loved the romantic interest thread.

When it comes to emergency response, Grady obviously knows his stuff; he has served as a firefighter and paramedic for over ten years. So, when he takes you into fictional crisis situations, you feel like you’re right there, on the sidewalk beside the guy who’s dying. Compelling writing.

But you also get a sense that Grady is a wordsmith. He seems to enjoy toying with our language and presenting things in new ways. The dreaded malady of clich├ęs do not infect his writing.

And I love that, at least so far, Grady writes in first person point of view. Readers feel like they’re in the hero’s mind and heart. Speaking of which, Jonathan (the hero of TWD) has one. Immediately we relate with this broken guy whose life is dedicated to being able to help people in emergencies (with good reason). We feel his regrets over the past and his caring for his father who can’t seem to move on. I liked how Grady painted a “real” person who is himself a hero, but mostly unaware of that truth.

Readers of suspense, and those who enjoy medical themes, will love this book. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fiction Course Interview with Janice Thompson

Today I'm excited to host friend and fellow author Janice Thompson who has just finished recording a host of lessons in a fiction course. Read on to learn more.

Janice, I understand you’re about to debut a new fiction course online. Why fiction? What is your background, as it relates to fiction writing?

Every writer hopes to one day write “The Great American Novel.” I started writing novels as a child, so the desire to craft “story” has always been inside of me. In the mid ‘90s I started writing with the desire to be published. After years of trial and error, my first novel hit the shelves in 2000. Since then, I’ve published over forty novels—everything from inspirational romance to cozy mysteries to Y.A. (young adult) to romantic comedies. It’s been a great run! I’ve noticed a trend in recent years. “Young” writers approach me, one after the other, asking the same questions and struggling with the same problems. I’ve worn myself out giving the same answers! (There are only so many times and ways you can say, “You’re head-hopping, honey!”) Because of that, I decided it would be easier to compile the information into a fiction course, will debut mid-June at www.freelancewritingcourses.com. I can’t wait to see what novelists think of this exciting new course!

You’ve started with a lesson on understanding the genres. Why is that?

As mentioned above, I’ve been published in multiple genres. My first book was a suspense-thriller. I’ve since written historicals, contemporaries, children’s, young adult, romances, mysteries and much, much more. Because I’ve been able to successfully cross genre lines, I feel qualified to teach on the subject. Before writers can establish themselves as novelists, they must develop an understanding of the fiction genres/categories. Choosing the best genre (or genres) is critical to your success. But with so many categories to choose from, how do you know which is your best fit? This lesson will give writers a thorough introduction to genre writing and will provide them with the necessary information to choose the one(s) best suited to their literary style and voice.

I see you’ve included a lesson on plotting. Is this based on your “Plot Shots” teaching, which you’ve offered at conferences?
Yes! I’m so tickled to finally be able to offer this teaching in a course format. I’ve become known as “that Plot Shots lady.” That’s okay. I can live with that! I’m a firm believer in laying out a great plotline. Why? Because every story needs a beginning, middle and end. Careful plotting will lead the reader on a satisfactory, realistic journey through each of those stages, creatively weaving in and out, up and down. The "Plot Shots" method gives writers the tools they need to plot their novel in twelve easy snapshots. It’s a fun and easy approach to plotting that won’t confuse or complicate the story.

Characterization is such an important component of fiction writing. Can you tell us more about your characterization lesson?

Years ago I developed a teaching that I call “Pandora’s Box.” It’s a layered approach to characterization, which uses the illustration of multiple boxes, one inside the other. In this lesson, I lay out the need for great characterization, then present the Pandora’s Box method. After presenting the method, I take the student through the process four times, using four fictional characters as a foundation. (Each character has a different personality, so the student learns how to apply the technique to the various personalities.)

So many writers struggle with P.O.V. (point of view). Is that why you included a lesson on that very tough subject?

Point of View (P.O.V.) is a critical fiction component. Employing to your best advantage is tough! Most of the young writers I know struggle in this area. The head-hop. Oh, they don’t mean to. . .but they do! My detailed lesson on Point of View offers students a thorough teaching on the various P.O.V.s (omniscient, third person, second person, first person), and gives specific examples and tips so that writers can become P.O.V. purists.

What is passive writing? Why have you included a lesson about it?

Many of the manuscripts I edit are written in passive voice. They’re loaded with passive verbs and include huge sections of “telling.” The author “information dumps,” which stops the flow of the story. Knowing the difference between active voice and passive voice is key to writing a great novel. Conquering the art of "showing" instead of "telling" will give writers an added advantage. This detailed lesson--filled with nuggets of wisdom from published authors--will give writers the tools they need to strengthen their stories and pull them into active voice.

Ack! Backstory! It’s so tough to add to our novels. Is that why you included a lesson on the subject?

Backstory. We all struggle with it, don’t we? In so many ways, it's critical to our story. After all, the reader needs to know where our primary character has come from--what she's been through--why she acts like she does. So, do you add the backstory or not? If so, can you do so without resorting to author intrusion? And where will you place it? At the beginning of the story? Elsewhere? Will it come out in lumps or snippets? This lesson offers students an intense look at backstory and includes tips for interjecting it without stopping the action.

Many writers struggle with finding their “voice.” Can you tell us more about that?

A writer’s “voice” is her/her “stamp.” It’s the author’s “personality on the page.” And many young writers haven’t “found their voice” yet. This lesson delves into the topic, in detail, giving perspective on this very personal issue. The lesson (titled “Themes, Style and Voice”) also covers the various themes found in popular books, as well as style components.

Can you tell us some of the top fiction mistakes?

Sure! After editing hundreds of manuscripts, I can point out some of the “top” fiction mistakes: Lack of a good hook. P.O.V. issues. Passive writing. Weak characterization. Poor plotting (no “belly of the whale” scene). Overuse of adverbs. On and on the list goes. Many writers simply don’t realize they’re making these mistakes until someone points them out. They wonder why the book keeps getting rejected. This lesson offers writers a thorough list, detailing the top twenty mistakes novelists make.

Why did you decide to add a lesson on humor writing?

I’ve been writing comedies for years and have learned so much along the way. Humor writing is tough stuff! Some writers are born with an overactive funny bone. Others have to work hard to be funny. (Ironic, isn't it?!) If you're interested in adding a little har-de-har-har-har to your novel, then you've come to the right place. In this light-hearted lesson on humor writing, I share my top ten tips for adding humor to your writing. The bonus feature contains another twenty tummy-tickling techniques, so hang on for the ride!

Putting together a book proposal is tough! What have you learned over the years?

Book deals are won or lost based on the proposal. If you've got a completed manuscript and you're ready to pitch it to an agent or editor, then this exciting lesson on query letters and book proposals will point you in the right direction, giving you all the confidence you need to submit, submit, submit! Students who use the information provided in this lesson can compose polished query letters and dazzling book proposals, sure to impress both editors and agents, alike.
Thanks so much for joining us, Janice. Where can people learn more about your courses? And where else can they find you on the web?

They can learn more at www.freelancewritingcourses.com. On that site, they will also find my “Becoming a Successful Freelance Writer” course, which many students have already taken. Folks can learn more about that one by clicking on this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-5IZSNaZFU. I offered a free webinar on the subject about six weeks ago, and it can be found here: http://www.freelancewritingcourses.com/?s=webinar. We’ll be adding to the course list every couple of months, so stay tuned for more announcements!

Other places to find me on the web:
My website: www.janiceathompson.com
My blog: http://janiceathompson.com/blog/?cat=1
My facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/jhannathompson

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Love's Pursuit by Siri Mitchell

Siri Mitchell has once again written a moving and poignant historical novel. Here's the summary for Love's Pursuit (a June, 2009 release):

In the small Puritan community of Stoneybrooke, Massachusetts, Susannah Phillips stands out both for her character and beauty. She wants only a simple life but soon finds herself pursued by the town's wealthiest bachelor and by a roguish military captain sent to protect them. One is not what he seems and one is more than he seems. In trying to discover true love's path, Susannah is helped by the most unlikely of allies, a wounded woman who lives invisible and ignored in their town. As the depth, passion, and sacrifice of love is revealed to Susannah, she begins to question the rules and regulations of her childhood faith. In a community where grace is unknown, what price will she pay for embracing love?

And now, my review:

Siri is a versatile writer, capturing readers as surely with her historicals as she once did with her chicklit. Her description of 17th century Puritanical life was so vivid in Love’s Pursuit. She took us into the minds and hearts of two New England heroines, a rare experience in a novel. She wrote first-person for each (without tags) and though I love that point of view, I do admit the characters were difficult to follow at first, until I “knew” them better. Story wise, I appreciated her ability to use both of them to show that feeling shame or trapped are common ailments of those seeking piety but finding condemnation.

Small-Hope is her secondary heroine, someone who can become “invisible” in a crowd, whose rescue from an abusive father mirrors God’s redemption of people. Her husband came on the scene and purchased her freedom, but exacted no payment from her. She battles to get free from the shame and violence of her past and embrace her new life. Her husband just wants her healed, which only God can do.

Redemption is also enacted in the main heroine’s life. We see her long for freedom from the laws and stifling rules and work of her family’s faith. I learned a lot about Puritans, how far they were from biblical principles with their controlling rules. How far from God’s love. How far from His grace. Made me thankful for His grace in my life. I don’t have to earn His favor. I just have to believe in His goodness and grace.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes

Gina Holmes's well-written debut novel is making a splash with readers and writers alike. Here's a look at the summary:

Jenny Lucas swore she'd never go home again. But being told you're dying has a way of changing things. Years after she left, she and her five-year-old daughter, Isabella, must return to her sleepy North Carolina town to face the ghosts she left behind. They welcome her in the form of her oxygen tank-toting grandmother, her stoic and distant father, and David, Isabella's dad . . . who doesn't yet know he has a daughter. As Jenny navigates the rough and unknown waters of her new reality, the unforgettable story that unfolds is a testament to the power of love and its ability to change everything-to heal old hurts, bring new beginnings . . . even overcome the impossible. A stunning debut about love and loss from a talented new voice.

And now my review:

This book was an intense look inside and through the eyes of a loving and sacrificial mother. As a mom myself, I related with the relational aspects of this story as the heroine interacted with her dearly-loved daughter. Gina painted the mom with wisdom and I could feel her affection for her child. One aspect I didn’t appreciate as much was the heroine’s passivity where her other relationships were concerned. This grated on me and almost caused me to give up on reading the book a few times in the course of its pages.

Just when the emotional undertow would begin to pull me under, the author surprised me with a plot twist which kept me reading through the painful emotions to see how she would work it out. This novel is impressive for a debut. Gina is obviously a good storyteller. The preview of her next book Dry as Rain from the back of the book is very intriguing. I get the feeling that all of Gina’s books will be emotional rides, just as Crossing Oceans was. It’s a challenge to write like this, and I believe Gina has mastered the technique. I look forward to reading more books by Gina Holmes.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Life in Defiance by Mary DeMuth

It's so satisfying to read the third book in a trilogy, don't you think? Especially when there's a mystery to solve. Let's begin with the summary of Life in Defiance by Mary DeMuth.

In a town she personifies, Ouisie Pepper wrestles with her own defiance. Desperate to become the wife and mother her husband Hap demands, Ouisie pours over a simple book about womanhood, constantly falling short, but determined to improve. Through all that self-improvement, Ouisie carries a terrible secret: she knows who killed Daisy Chance. As her children inch closer to uncovering the killer's identity and Hap's rages roar louder and become increasingly violent, Ouisie has to make a decision. Will she protect her children by telling her secret? Or will Hap's violence silence them all? Set on the backdrop of Defiance, Texas, Ouisie's journey typifies the choices we all face---whether to tell the truth about secrets and fight for the truth or bury them forever and live with the violent consequences.

And now, my review:

Mary DeMuth has a way with words. From the first book in the Defiance, Texas trilogy (and/or the first book you read by her) you pick up on this. She also is a masterful storyteller. In Life in Defiance, her main ministerial focus, as referenced by her dedication and her heroine’s plight, is that of abused wives. How even the church has told abused women they are to “submit” to their husbands and win them by their “obedience.” A sick, perverted lie. Tackling this issue by depicting abuse must not have been enjoyable for Mary. It certainly wasn’t “enjoyable” to read. But you will find hope in the story, life on the other side.

Honestly, not every one of my friends or family members would be able to stomach this book, or this series. Mary is a gutsy writer, going places in her imagination that sometimes I’d rather not go. But like while reading Daisy Chain, (Book One in the Defiance, Texas trilogy) I couldn’t put the book down. A sign of a good writer—they take you places you wouldn’t ordinarily go, whether you want to go or not. And, for the record, I’m glad I went.

I believe readers who like a deeper read, one with heavier emotions, will enjoy Life in Defiance. And while we’re visiting here upon the book’s title, I want to say the heroine spends the entire book trying not to be in defiance, but rather in compliance. (Ironic, isn’t it?) All the forces of the world around her, the authoritative influences seem to come against her, perpetuating the lies. Readers may find themselves frustrated in her powerlessness. But I also believe, like any good fiction, readers will question what they, themselves, would do in the same situation.

I liked Mary’s use of a non-fiction book (which does not exist, but whose themes do, no doubt) in her novel. She brings in an estranged wife/author to impact the heroine’s life. Just in reading that I believe readers will discern, this woman’s point of view is not truth. That was one of my concerns—will the readers who need the message of Mary’s book, get the message? For most of the novel there is so much confusion. The issues of being “a good, Christian wife” in the late 1970s were depicted with murky answers through most of the text. Of course, fiction isn’t meant to preach truth like non-fiction can. But I was hoping for more hope to be weaved in before the end of the novel. You’ll find hope, but it comes after much, much turmoil and pain.

As in her other books, I enjoyed Mary’s writerly voice. Her use of first-person. Her use of second-person, on occasion. As a writer, I delighted in the play. And of course, she used third-person, too, for the villain.

Overall, this is a well-written novel, a satisfying ending to the Defiance, Texas trilogy. A word of insight, the novels build on each other. Read them in order to follow these characters on their journey. But roll up your sleeves. These are not comedies. You’ll be looking inward and sometimes watching helplessly as this author digs around in the soil of your heart.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Interview with Cynthia Ruchti & Contest

As a follow-up to my review of Cynthia Ruchti's debut novel yesterday, here's an interview with the author, as well as information about a contest. Read on!

1. How would you describe your book?

The tagline for the book is “She’d leave her husband . . . if she could find him.”

When Libby’s husband Greg doesn’t return from a two-week canoe trip to the Canadian wilderness, the authorities write off his disappearance as an unhappy husband’s escape from an oatmeal marriage and mind-numbing career. Their marriage might have survived if their daughter Lacey hadn’t died and if Greg hadn’t been responsible. Libby enlists the aid of her wilderness-savvy father-in-law and her faith-walking best friend to help her search for clues to her husband’s disappearance. What the trio discovers in the wilderness search upends Libby’s assumptions about her husband and rearranges her faith.

It’s my prayer that this fictional adventure story and emotional journey will reveal its own hope-laden clues for those struggling to survive or longing to exit what they believe are uninspiring marriages. How can a woman survive a season or a lifetime when she finds it difficult to like the man she loves?

2. How were you different as a writer and as a person when you finished writing They Almost Always Come Home?

This book changed me in a profound way. It forced me to take a more honest look at myself and my reactions to crises so I could write Libby’s character with authenticity. Libby is a composite of many women. I haven’t experienced what she did, but I identify with some of her struggles and longings, as I hope my readers will. I see my friends in her eyes and know that her tears aren’t hers alone. Her shining moments feed my courage. Libby speaks for me and for many others when she discovers that she is stronger than she realized and weaker than she wanted to admit.

Writing her story was a journey for the author as much as for the character.

3. When did you feel the tug on your heart to become a writer?

My journey toward a lifetime of writing began by reading books that stirred me, changed me, convinced me that imagination is a gift from an imaginative Creator. As a child, I read when I should have been sleeping . . . and still do. I couldn’t wait for the BookMobile (library on wheels) to pull up in front of the post office in our small town and open its arms to me. Somewhere between the pages of a book, my heart warmed to the idea that one day I too might tell stories that made readers stay up past their bedtimes.

4. What books line your bookshelves?

My bookshelves—don’t ask how many!—hold a wide variety of genres. The collection expands faster than a good yeast dough. I’m a mood reader, grabbing a light comedy one day and a literarily rich work the next. Although I appreciate well-written nonfiction, I gravitate toward an emotionally engaging contemporary women’s fiction story.

Let's hear more from Cynthia . . .

Ten years ago, my husband almost didn’t come home. His canoe adventure with our son Matt soured on Day Two when Bill grew violently ill from what we presume was either pancreatitis or a gall bladder attack. He’s an insulin-dependent diabetic, so any grave illness is a threat. One in the middle of the Canadian wilderness is morgue material.

With no satellite phone with which to call for help, Matt took turns caring for his father and watching the shore for other canoeists happening past their hastily constructed campsite. The few other canoes were headed deeper into the remote areas of the park, not on their way out. None had a satellite phone. And none of them were doctors.

As my husband grew sicker, his diabetes went nuclear. He couldn’t eat, yet needed insulin because his liver thought it should help out by dumping vast quantities of sugar into his system. Even in a hospital setting, the situation would have been difficult to control, and the nearest hospital was light years away across vast stretches of water and woodland, through peopleless, roadless wilderness.

Our son stretched a yellow tarp across the rocks on shore and wrote S.O.S. with charcoal from a dead fire. He scratched out countless notes on pieces of notebook paper torn from their trip journal:

Send rescue! My dad is deathly ill . . .

Read the rest of the story at the KCWC BLOG

And now, a contest! Leave a comment here at Net's Book Notes regarding either They Almost Always Come Home by Cynthia Ruchti post by June 17th, and I'll pick a winner's name to be passed along to the pool of names from which the final winner's name will be chosen. Here's what you could win:

Blog Tour Giveaway Includes:

North Pak 20 inch cinch sack (lime)

Day Runner journal

Canoe Brand wild rice

Canada's brand blueberry jam

Coleman 60-piece mini first aid kit

Wood canoe/paddle shelf ornament

Six original photography notecards from video trailer

"Hope" hanging ornament

Mini Coleman "lantern" prayer reminder

Cynthia Ruchti writes stories of “hope that glows in the dark.” She writes and produces The Heartbeat of the Home, a syndicated drama/devotional radio broadcast, and is editor for the ministry’s Backyard Friends magazine. She also serves as current president of American Christian Fiction Writers. Cynthia married her childhood sweetheart, who tells his own tales of wilderness adventures.

Monday, June 7, 2010

They Almost Always Come Home by Cynthia Ruchti

From the moment I heard about this book, I've been excited to read it. Cynthia is a debut author and her novel's premise sounded great. See for yourself:

When Libby’s husband Greg fails to return from a two-week canoe trip to the Canadian wilderness, the authorities soon write off his disappearance as an unhappy husband’s escape from an empty marriage and unrewarding career. Their marriage might have survived if their daughter Lacey hadn’t died…and if Greg hadn’t been responsible. Libby enlists the aid of her wilderness savvy father-in-law and her faith-walking best friend to help her search for clues to her husband’s disappearance…if for no other reason than to free her to move on. What the trio discovers in the search upends Libby’s presumptions about her husband and rearranges her faith.

I've had a chance to read Cynthia's prose and become familiar with her voice in the context of her emails to the ACFW e-loop. She has a distinctive, poetic, profound and witty voice. I just knew I'd find that in her writing. And I was not disappointed.

Here's my review:

Add this book to my list of top favorites ever! Make room on the shelf.

There have been few times I’ve enjoyed a novel as much and devoured one as quickly as They Almost Always Come Home by Cynthia Ruchti.

How many times did I permit a three-second pause in voracious reading to exclaim over her delectable prose: “She’s a genius!”? I lost count.

Or choke back a sob, so deep in her heroine’s POV was I?

Or chuckle aloud, even in public?

Or try to balance the need to know with not wanting to miss a syllable and savoring the words?

This novel never disappointed me.

I will be watching impatiently for Cynthia’s name on another cover. Her debut novel is beyond-words beautiful, poignant, poetic and satisfying. Don’t miss it.

Highly recommended!

Note to readers: if you have a Kindle (or the free Kindle for PC app), you can download the Kindle version of They Almost Always Come Home for free right now through this link. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Christian Fiction Releases: June, 2010

Here is the monthly list compiled by ACFW for new Christian Fiction releases. Read on!!

1. A Hopeful Heart by Kim Vogel Sawyer -- An Historical from Bethany House. Can she turn her second-best chance into a golden opportunity?

2. A Love of Her Own; Heart of the West series by Maggie Brendan -- A Romance from Bethany House. April McBride has everything her heart desires . . .except the one thing money can't buy.

3. A Matter of Character; The Sisters of Bethlehem Springs, #3 by Robin Lee Hatcher -- A Romance from Zondervan. In 1918, writing dime novels simply isn't done by an heiress, so when Joshua looks for the author who's sullied his grandfather's name, he never suspects Daphne's the guilty party.

4. A Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer -- An Historical from Bethany House. Sparks fly when a dressmaker who values beauty tangles with a liveryman who condemns vanity.

5. Almost Forever; Book 1, Hanover Falls Novels series by Deborah Raney -- Women's Fiction from Howard Books/Simon & Schuster. Survivors of five fallen firefighters band together to try to make sense of the tragedy that took their loved ones.

6. Anna Finch and the Hired Gun; Women of the West series, Book 2 by Kathleen Y'Barbo -- A Romance from Waterbrook. When an aspiring reporter and a Pinkerton detective get tangled in Doc Holliday's story ˜and each other˜sparks can't help but fly.

7. Chasing Lilacs by Carla Stewart -- Women's Fiction from FaithWords/Hachette. A coming-of-age story set in Texas in the 1950s as a young girl struggles with her own identity in light of her mother's mental illness.

8. End Game; Big Sky Secrets, book #3 by Roxanne Rustand -- A Romance from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. Big Sky Secrets--a five-book Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense series set in the Rockies of Montana

9. Her Abundant Joy by Lyn Cote -- An Historical from Avon Inspired. Can a beautiful young widow find peace in the arms of a Texas Ranger?

10. Maid of Murder; India Hayes Mysteries, Book One by Amanda Flower -- A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Five Star Mystery. College librarian and reluctant bridesmaid, India Hayes, sets out to prove her brother's innocence when the bride is murdered.

11. Maid to Match by Deeanne Gist -- An Historical from Bethany House. Two servants at Biltmore House at the turn of the century find that God can take your life in a very different direction than you had planned.

12. Manor of the Ghost by Tina Pinson -- Women's Fiction from Desert Breeze. Kaitlin didn't believe in Ghosts, until she saw them in Devlin's eyes and heard them in the deafening silence of her son, Derrick.

13. My Son, John by Kathi Macias -- Women's Fiction from Sheaf House. Can God bring healing to a family torn apart by a brutal crime?.

14. Ruby Red; Ruby Red and The Colors of Home Series by Robin Shope -- A Multicultural from Sparklesoup. Eleven-year-old Ruby Red sneaks on board the Orphan Train, meant only for white children, with her pet cockroach in her pocket.

15. Sabotage by Kit Wilkinson -- A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Steeple Hill. Equine veterinary student Derrick Randall tries to help Olympic hopeful Emilie Gill find faith and a way to her Olympic dreams.

16. Shades of Morning by Marlo Schalesky -- A Romance from Waterbrook. When Marnie becomes the guardian of her Down syndrome nephew, will she run again?

17. Steadfast Soldier; Wings of Refuge #7 by Cheryl Wyatt -- A Romance from Steeple Hill. These soldiers of the skies are fearless, faithful...and falling in love.

18. The Heart's Song by Winnie Griggs -- A Romance from Love Inspired. Two lonely people work together to help others and ultimately find love.

19. The Homecoming; Sequel to The Unfinished Gift by Dan Walsh -- An Historical from Revell. Shawn Collins returns home from the dangers of WW2 to face the loss of his first love, but discovers God has set in motion a plan to heal his broken heart.