Friday, December 30, 2016

Christian Fiction Favorites of 2016!

Here are my favorite Christian fiction releases of 2016: #2: An Elegant Facade   -     By: Kristi Ann Hunter
 Flirtation Walk  -     By: Siri Mitchell

A Flight of Arrows by Lori Benton (WaterBrook); Colonial

An Elegant Facade by Kristi Ann Hunter

Flirtation Walk by Siri Mitchell (Bethany House); Antebellum

The Reluctant Duchess (Ladies of the Manor Book #2) - eBook A Lady Unrivaled (Ladies of the Manor Book #3) - eBook The Ringmaster's Wife  -     By: Kristy Cambron
The Reluctant Duchess by Roseanna M. White (Bethany House); Edwardian - Ladies of the Manor, book 2

A Lady Unrivaled by Roseanna M. White (Bethany House); Edwardian - Ladies of the Manor, book 3

The Ringmaster's Wife by Kristy Cambron (Thomas Nelson); 1920's

Cold Shot, Chesapeake Valor Series #1   -     By: Dani Pettrey
 The Goodbye Bride  -     By: Denise Hunter
 Like Never Before  -     By: Melissa Tagg
Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey (Bethany House)

The Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter (Thomas Nelson)

Like Never Before by Melissa Tagg (Bethany House)

What are your favorite releases of 2016?

Monday, December 26, 2016

2017: Christian Fiction I am most looking forward to!

Here are the books I'm most looking forward to in 2017--at least, those whose titles have been released anyway. It will be updated as Fall's releases are announced. There are a lot of really good releases, including several from authors I love that didn't put out a book in 2016 (Tamera Alexander, Kate Breslin, Laura Frantz, Jocelyn Green).

A Moonbow Night An Uncommon Courtship #4
January: A Moonbow Night by Laura Frantz (Revell)

January: The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green (Bethany House)

January: An Uncommon Courtship by Kristi Ann Hunter (Bethany House); Hawthorne House, book 3

A Note Yet Unsung #3 The Illusionist's Apprentice When Tides Turn #3
February: A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander (Bethany House); Belmont Mansion, book 3

March: The Illusionist's Apprentice by Kristy Cambron (Thomas Nelson)

March: When Tides Turn by Sarah Sundin (Revell); Waves of Freedom, book 3

Behind the Scenes (Apart From the Crowd #1) Heart on the Line (Ladies of Harper’s Station #2) A Name Unknown (Shadows Over England)

April: Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano (Bethany House); Apart from the Crowd, book 1

June: Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer (Bethany House); Ladies of Harper Station, book 2

July: A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White (Bethany House); Shadows Over London, book 1

   An Inconvenient Beauty (Hawthorne House, #4)
August: To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander (Zondervan); Belle Meade Plantation, book 3

September: Many Sparrows by Lori Benton (WaterBrook)

September: An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter (Bethany House); Hawthorne House, book 4
 Lady Jayne Disappears Out of the Ordinary (Apart From the Crowd #2) True to You (Bradford Sisters #1)
October: Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano (Revell)

November: Out of the Ordinary by Jen Turano (Bethany House); Apart from the Crowd, book 2

Contemporary Romance:

May: True to You by Becky Wade (Bethany House); Bradford Sisters, book 1


#2: Still Life  -     By: Dani Pettrey
 Over Maya Dead Body (Serena Jones Mystery #3)Blind Spot (Chesapeake Valor #3)

February: Still Life by Dani Pettrey (Bethany House); Chesapeake Valor, book 2

July: Over Maya Dead Body by Sandra Orchard (Revell); Serena Jones Mysteries, book 3

October: Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey (Bethany House); Chespeake Valor, book 3

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

"The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill" by Julie Klassen

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill (Tales from Ivy Hill, #1)After a year of mourning her husband's death, Jane Bell, the owner of the Bell Inn, discovers that her inn is deep in debt, and if she can't turn it around in three months, she'll lose it. With her critical mother-in-law back to help, do they have a chance to save it?

In the tradition of a British mini-series, Klassen begins a series with more than just a leading couple--it's a story of community, and it is three women who lead the tale, though primarily Jane Bell, the owner of the inn, and her mother-in-law, Thora.

There are some things that are trademark Klassen--the incredible attention to period detail, the complex characters, the realistic trials besetting the characters. But it's definitely different from her other novels, too.

I would call it women's fiction rather than romance. Yes, there are definitely hints of romance throughout the story, but less than I expected from Klassen novel (however, I expect some of this will be remedied in the coming books). Instead, it's much more a story of the women finding worth and their own place and purpose. There's a strong feel of women working together to run businesses in a time that was not friendly to women business owners.

It isn't gothic or mysterious, or fast-paced. But it is a good story, and I think it will get even better as the series continues and the community and characters grow. I definitely enjoyed this introduction to Ivy Hill.

I received a free copy from the publisher. No review, positive or otherwise, was required; all opinions are my own.

Tales from Ivy Hill
1. The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill
2. The Ladies of Ivy Cottage
3. The Bride of Ivy Green (Dec 2018)

Friday, December 16, 2016

2016 reading challenge

2016 Reading challenge by Bethany House - for fun, I did Bethany House's reading challenge again this year. It was hard coming up with a book I haven't read since a teenager (I reread favorites often), and it turns out not many books are set in autumn. But I managed to succeed in spite of a couple tricky ones!

For the RecordFavorite season: For the Record by Regina Jennings (autumn)

Haven't read since a teenager: Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith

Set in a place I'd like to visit: A Flight of Arrows by Lori Benton (upstate New York)

Nonfiction about the era/setting of a favorite novel: The Coming of the Fairies by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Edwardian Era England, like Roseanna M. White's Ladies of the Manor series; however, it's admittedly pretty delusional for nonfiction)

Carry Me Home (Blue Wren Shallows, #1)
Playing the Part (A Class of Their Own Book #3) - eBook
Found at yard sale/thrift store: Christy by Catherine Marshall

Animal as a significant character: Wildwood Dancing by Juliette Marillier (a talking frog)

Another author recommends: Carry Me Home by Dorothy Adamek (recommended by Sarah Sundin)

Contains one of my favorite things in the title: Death by the Book by Julianna Deering (that'd be BOOKS, rather than death)

Ends a series: Playing the Part by Jen Turano (A Class of Their Own, book 3)

Has a character with my best friend's name: A Heart Most Certain by Melissa Jagears (Nicholas)

Is at least 100 years old: Anne of the Island by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Has a movie adaptation: Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Monday, December 12, 2016

"For the Record" by Regina Jennings - fun and engaging

For the Record  -     By: Regina Jennings
Deputy Joel Puckett didn't want to leave Texas, but unfair circumstances have made moving to the Ozarks his only shot at keeping his badge. With vigilantes running the town, he needs to prove that he's the law--and that job is made more difficult with a nosy reporter following his everywhere he goes. Betsy Huckabee has been rejected again and again by big-city newspapers, but with the deputy as the inspiration for a fictional serial, she finally reaches her publication dream. But what will her ambition cost her hero?

This a great conclusion to the Ozark Mountain Romance series (though it definitely can stand on its own). I'd been looking forward to seeing what happens to Betsy when she grows up, and it didn't disappoint.

I ended up really liking how Jennings portrays the vigilante Bald Knobbers. They oppose Joel, our Dashing Deputy, which of course can't be good. But on the other hand, they're comprised of some good guys (and some questionable guys) who are pushing for justice and safety in a place where the law hasn't been doing its job. She handles the idea of vigilante justice in a way that doesn't declare it black or white, but also offers a better way.

Betsy is a cute and spunky heroine, while Joel makes a most aptly named "Dashing Deputy." Fun and sweet, the story was highly entertaining, with some good inspirational .

I received a free copy from the publisher. No review, positive or otherwise, was required--all opinions are my own.

Ozark Mountain Romance
1. A Most Inconvenient Marriage
2. At Love's Bidding
2.5 "Her Dearly Unintended" from the novella collection With This Ring?
3. For the Record

And a small tie-in to the Ladies of Caldwell County series, particularly Caught in the Middle

Friday, December 9, 2016

One Enchanted Eve by Melissa Tagg

One Enchanted Eve (Enchanted Christmas Collection #2)After years of making a wreck of his life, Colin Renwycke has a plan: to complete culinary school and become a pastry chef, proving to his family once and for all that he can do something right. However, thanks to his frequent messes and slip-ups, his by-the-book teacher is ready to kick him out of the school entirely. Instructer Rylan Jefferson has one more chance at grasping her dream of her own bakery, but she knows she doesn't have the creativity that would guarantee her the job. When her worst student Colin shows up with a crazy proposal to help her out--and hopfully convince her to not expel him--she can hardly believe she agrees. But the next thing she knows, she's in the car with him on the way to his family home in Iowa where they will combine her skill with his creative flair to create masterpiece pastries . . . and maybe even something more.

As fun and quirky as her stories always are, it's amazing how much depth the author also includes. They aren't sugar-coated; there's some poor choices, heavy regrets, and messed up family life in there too. But there's also a lot of hope, dreams developed, and dreams realized, even in something so short as a 100-page novella.

Colin's struggles with what he really wants to do--not to mention the knowledge that he has never managed to follow through on really anything--is easy enough to relate to, but combine that with his wounded heart, he's really a sweet, swoonworthy hero. He's made some pretty poor choices, but he's also trying to do better. He and Rylan are similar enough in certain areas to understand each other, yet different enough in others to provide balance. It's a good combination.

And, of course, the story is another fun tie-in to the Walker Family novels, the author's other books set in Maple Valley, IA.

Enchanted Christmas Collection
1. One Enchanted Christmas
2. One Enchanted Eve
3. One Enchanted Noel

Walker Family
0.5: "Three little Words"
1. From the Start
2. Like Never Before
3. Keep Holding On
3.5: "A Maple Valley Romance" (published in Right Where We Belong collection of small-town novellas)
4. All This Time

Monday, December 5, 2016

One Enchanted Christmas by Melissa Tagg - a fun, quirky romance

One Enchanted ChristmasAfter Maren Grant falls head-over-heels for the image of the cover model on her first published novel, going on a date with him cements the feeling that it was meant to be. But after a year with only a single postcard and an open invitation to visit his family home in Iowa, as well as an overwhelming case of writer's block, she's losing heart. A friend convinces her to drive down there and use the house as a writer retreat, hoping the change of scenery will stir up ideas for her next book. But what she doesn't expect is to find the house occupied--not by her cover model, but by his responsible older brother Evan. And for reasons known only to him, he invites her stay. And for whatever reason, she agrees. And from there . . .

Why I didn't read this story a year ago is beyond me. I love the author's voice, especially the humor that colors it. It's quirky, fun, and romantic, just like I've come to expect from the author, while still tugging the heartstrings. I love that she writes characters who know how to laugh at themselves. In this world, we need it!

Often times Christmas-related stories can be pretty cheesy, but this is more a story that happens to take place around Christmas, not heavily focused on holiday sentiment. And for fun, it's tied in to the Walker Family series! It's definitely worth the read.

Enchanted Christmas Collection
1. One Enchanted Christmas
2. One Enchanted Eve
3. One Enchanted Noel

Walker Family
0.5: "Three Little Words"
1. From the Start
2. Like Never Before
3. Keep Holding On
3.5: "A Maple Valley Romance" (published in Right Where We Belong collection of small-town novellas)
4. All This Time

Friday, December 2, 2016

December 2016 Christian Fiction Releases!

Exciting new releases for December 2016:


The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen (Bethany House); Tales from Ivy Hill, book 1

Upon the death of her husband, an inexperienced young woman becomes the proprietor of a busy village inn, and it's up to her to save it from financial ruin.

For the Record by Regina Jennings (Bethany House); Ozark Mountain Romance, book 3

A small-town newspaper reporter finds inspiration for a serial in her town's new deputy sheriff, but what will her ambition cost her?

#1: The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill  -     By: Julie Klassen
For the Record  -     By: Regina Jennings
#1: Conspiracy of Silence  -     By: Ronie Kendig
Contemporary Suspense:

Conspiracy of Silence by Ronie Kendig (Bethany House); The Tox Files, book 1

Disavowed after a mission gone bad, a former Special Forces operator is lured back into the field to stop an ancient plague and track down the society behind it.