Tuesday, October 6, 2015

ACFW October New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:

Her Christmas Hero by Lorraine Beatty -- Gemma Butler has a grand vision to transform Dover, Mississippi's fledgling Christmas celebrations and bring visitors to the town. It's also the single mom's last chance to provide for her son and revive her event planning business. But Gemma's not the only one with something to prove. Linc Montgomery has the weight of the family business on his shoulders. And he'll go down swinging before he'll let anyone disrupt the traditions he holds dear. Yet when a storm threatens to destroy the holiday, he'll join forces with the beautiful planner and discover she just might be the love he's been searching for. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Anna's Healing by Vannetta Chapman -- Anna Schwartz's life is changed forever when she suffers a spinal cord injury and suddenly finds herself learning to live as a paraplegic. Three people--Chloe Roberts, Jacob Graber, and Ruth Schwartz--join forces to help Anna through her darkest days. Chloe is an Englischer who writes for the local paper. Jacob has recently arrived in town and stays on as a hired hand at her uncle's. And Ruth is her grandmother, a woman of deep faith and a compassionate spirit.Then one morning Anna wakes and finds herself healed. How did it happen? Why did it happen? And what is she to do now? Her life is again turned upside down as the world's attention is drawn to this young Amish girl who has experienced the unexplainable. (Contemporary Romance from Harvest House Publishers)

An Amish Christmas Gift by Amy Clipston, Kelly Irvin, and Ruth Reid -- Naomi's Gift by Amy Clipston: Naomi has started to think that she isn't meant to find love, but she might receive more than she ever hoped for this Christmas. A Christmas Visitor by Kelly Irvin: Frannie Mast returns to Bee County for Christmas, but her heart stays back in Missouri with an Englisch farm boy. An Unexpected Joy by Ruth Reid: Abigail has driven other suitors away, but can Micah find a way to show her he cares? (Contemporary Romance Novella Collection from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson and Zondervan])

Team Bride by Valerie Comer -- After meeting as part of a wedding party, can Corbin convince Sarah he’s ready to settle down and make her the head of her own Team Bride, or will their past keep getting in the way? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Intertwined by Jennifer Slattery -- Abandoned by her husband for another woman, Tammy Kuhn, an organ procurement coordinator often finds herself in tense and bitter moments. After an altercation with a doctor, she is fighting to keep her job and her sanity when one late night she encounters her old flame Nick. She walks right into his moment of facing an unthinkable tragedy. Because they both have learned to find eternal purposes in every event and encounter, it doesn’t take long to discover that their lives are intertwined but the ICU is no place for romance….or is it? Could this be where life begins again? (Contemporary Romance from New Hope Publishers)

Every Girl Gets Confused by Janice Thompson -- Katie Fisher and Brady James may be a match made in heaven, but that doesn't seem to guarantee them a happily ever after accompanied by angelic choirs. Katie's parents are nagging her to get out of Dallas and come home to tiny Fairfield where her former boyfriend Carson is waiting for her, ready to rekindle their relationship. Oy vey! What's a girl to do? And will she ever be able to wear that gorgeous wedding dress she won? (Contemporary Romance from Revell - A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Love in the Details by Becky Wade -- Eight years have passed since Holly last saw her high school sweetheart Josh. Now the wedding of Josh’s best friend has brought Josh back to Martinsburg, Texas. As they work behind-the-scenes to plan a beautiful November wedding for their friends, Holly and Josh are forced to confront painful reminders of what might have been. Holly broke up with Josh all those years ago to give him a better life, but it turns out that she was the future he’d always dreamed of. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson and Zondervan])

Contemporary Women's Fiction:

Another Way Home: A Chicory Inn Novel by Deborah Raney -- Danae and Dallas Brooks have been trying unsuccessfully to start a family for years, and when Dallas refuses to discuss adoption, it effects their once-happy marriage. Despairing of ever having a family of her own, Danae decides to pour her passion and energies into volunteer work with a newly opened women’s shelter in town. Then heart-wrenching events on Thanksgiving weekend threaten to pull her entire family into turmoil—and leave them all forever changed. (Contemporary Women's Fiction from Abingdon Press)

An Endless Christmas: A Novella by Cynthia Ruchti -- On the way to Christmas with his family, Micah asks Katie to marry him. She says no, but there is no getting out of Christmas now. The Binder family celebrates every Christmas as if it were their last. Too many people, too much snow, and too little room should be a recipe for disaster. But sometimes too much is just enough. Especially when it's Christmas. (Contemporary Women's Fiction Novella from Worthy Inspired)

General Fiction:

A Reason to Stay: A Texas Gold Novel by Kellie Coates Gilbert -- s the host of her own television news show, Faith Marin works to expose the truth for her viewers. But in her personal life, she's anchored her world with firm boundaries in order to hide a family history she'd like to forget. Her pro bass fisherman husband Geary's life is an open book, and unfortunately his busybody family doesn't know the meaning of boundaries. Deception and crippling differences soon derail their tender relationship, leading Faith to believe her only option is to end the marriage. But while Faith considers whether divorce is the only answer to their issues, tragedy strikes and her heartrending decision is interrupted. With her life in the balance, Faith finds that the one she has been shutting out may be the very one she cannot bear to lose. (General Fiction from Revell - A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Historical Romance:

The Lady and the Mountain Promise by Misty M. Beller -- Guatemalan American Lilly Arendale has fought the anger of prejudice all her life. Now, orphaned and alone in the mining town of Butte in the Montana Territory, the effects of racism have left Lilly with a one-year old daughter and a fierce desire to avoid men at all costs. Marcus Sullivan is a born adventurer, and the new preacher in town. He’s his ways may be unconventional, but he’s determined to add some joy into the lives of these townspeople. Especially the beautiful young mother who won’t have anything to do with him. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

The 12 Brides of Christmas Collection by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, Margaret Brownley, Amanda Cabot, Mary Connealy, Susan Page Davis, Miralee Ferrell, Pam Hillman, Maureen Lang, Amy Lillard, Vickie McDonough, Davalynn Spencer, and Michelle Ule -- Christmas is the time for love--and weddings--and twelve historical women are on their way to the altar, whether they know it or not. In nineteenth-century settings across the heartland of America, readers will experience heartfelt gifts, old-fashioned Christmas traditions, sweet romance, and inspiring faith from twelve acclaimed Christian authors. (Historical Romance Novella Collection from Barbour Publishing)

Fire and Ice by Mary Connealy -- Skilled rancher Bailey Wilde has been living disguised as a man for a while, but when Gage Coulter comes to drive her off her homestead, he quickly realizes he's dealing with a woman--a very tough, very intriguing woman at that. Five thousand acres of his best range land is lost to him because Bailey's homestead is located right across the only suitable entrance to a canyon full of lush grass. Gage has to regain access to his land--and he's got to go through Bailey to do it. Can these two independent, life-toughened homesteaders loosen up enough to earn each other's respect--and maybe find love in the process? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)

The Sound of Silver by Rachelle Rea -- After Dirk rescues Gwyneth from the Iconoclastic Fury, she discovers that faith is sometimes fragile and hope is not as easy as it may seem. Now truly orphaned yet not alone, Gwyneth continues her quest to learn more about the love of God preached by Protestants she once distrusted. Dirk's quest is to prevent his sullied name from staining hers. Will his choice to protect her prove the undoing of her first faltering steps toward a Father God? Once separated, will Dirk and Gwyneth's searching hearts ever sing the same song? (Historical Romance from WhiteFire Publishing)

A Refuge at Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky -- The Great War shakes the world of a spirited young woman and the brave British pilot she loves, taking her from the busy streets of London to her family’s magnificent country estate, and sending him into the war-torn skies over France. Can their love and faith see them through the heartbreak of war? (Historical Romance from Waterbrook/Multnomah [Random House])

Romantic Suspense:

Flee from Evil by Connie Almony -- A pastor with a past uses his underworld connections to try and save the child of the woman he wronged many years ago. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

Deadlock by DiAnn Mills -- Special Agent Bethany Sanchez never dreamed her new partner in solving violent crime would be Special Agent Thatcher Graves, the same agent who'd sent her brother to jail. An attempt on their lives turns up the heat and brings them closer together. Two murders have rocked the city of Houston, and a third victim might yield the clue that will help them zero in on a killer. This could be the case of their careers . . . if they can survive long enough to solve it. (Romantic Suspense from Tyndale House)

Speculative Fiction:

A Time To Speak (Out Of Time Series Book 2) by Nadine Brandes -- What happens when you live longer than you wanted to? Parvin Blackwater wanted to die, but now she's being called to be a leader. The only problem is, no one wants to follow. The Council uses Jude's Clock-matching invention to force "new-and-improved" Clocks on the public. Those who can't afford one are packed into boxcars like cattle and used for the Council's purposes. Parvin and Hawke find themselves on a cargo ship of Radicals headed out to sea. What will the Council do to them? And why are people suddenly dying before their Clocks have zeroed-out? (Speculative Fiction from Enclave Publishing)

Embers by Ronie Kendig -- A prince flees for his life when his sister transfers her fire-wielding gift to him, leaving the kingdom vulnerable against its most powerful enemy. (Speculative Fiction from Enclave Publishing)


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Monday, October 5, 2015

All is Bright

All is Bright
A Hope Beach Christmas Novella

Colleen Coble
(HarperCollins/Thomas Nelson
October 2015/89 pages/$2.99

A romantic, Christmas wedding at her seaside hotel gives Delilah a chance to shine with her unique gifts. But will her light be snuffed out before the bride and groom say “I do”?

As manager of the Tidewater Inn, Delilah Carter has been planning a spectacular Christmas wedding for her friends at the grand hotel overlooking the ocean. While picking up still more twinkly lights and some last-minute groceries for the reception dinner, a huge truck runs her off the freezing, wet roads into the dark night. Her car stops just short of an enormous tree and the truck speeds off into the night. Delilah escapes with her life and has almost convinced herself the whole thing was an accident, but then she begins to receive threatening phone calls. With the wedding just hours away, she’s distracted and anxious. Then Sheriff Tom Bourne stops by the inn and volunteers to help.

Tom has always had a soft spot for Delilah, and he’s determined to protect her. But he is pulled away by a bizarre Christmas stunt that has the neighborhood reeling, and Delilah is attacked again.

Will Delilah have to cancel the Christmas wedding at Tidewater Inn? And will Tom’s protection be enough to save Delilah from the shadowy figure looming in the background?


Best-selling author Colleen Coble’s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has over 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana. Visit her website at www.colleencoble.com.


I loved Colleen Coble's Hope Beach series, and this is a great little novella celebrating the Christmas season at this charming setting on the Outer Banks. Filled with delightful characters and Coble's trademark suspense, this digital novella is an enjoyable and quick read. Coble packs a lot of action and danger into this brief story. Kick off the holiday reading season with All is Bright

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson's BookLook Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Hiding Places

Hiding Places
Erin Healy
(HarperCollins/Thomas Nelson)
ICDN: 978-1401689605
September 2015/368 pages/$15.99
Available at
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD,
and other booksellers

The Harrison lodge is full of hiding places where young Kate can discover all the secrets no one wants her to know.

Eleven-year-old Kate keeps her knowledge to herself—one sister’s stash of marijuana, the other’s petty cash pilfering, her grandfather’s contraband candy bars. She protects her mother and Gran, too, screening out critical comments from the hotel suggestions box. But suddenly the stakes are raised; her grandfather’s best friend is murdered the day after Kate heard the two men arguing.

At the same time, far from the quiet mountain resort, a homeless man sees a robbery gone wrong . . . a gang member seeks revenge for the death of his son . . . and a boy chooses the worst time to wield spray paint on a store window. In a strange and spiraling sequence of events, their disparate worlds collide at Harrison Lodge.

Kate offers shelter to one of them, unaware of the terrible consequences to the family she loves. But people can hide in all kinds of ways, sometimes even in plain sight . . . and some secrets are just waiting to be exposed.

Read an excerpt


Erin Healy is the bestselling co-author of Burn and Kiss (with Ted Dekker) and an award-winning fiction editor for numerous bestselling authors. Erin is the owner of WordWright Editorial Services, a consulting firm specializing in fiction book development, and she is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and the Academy of Christian Editors. Her novels include such thrilling stories as Never Let You Go, The Baker’s Wife, and Stranger Things. She lives with her family in Colorado.


I've always been a bit cautious to read Erin Healy's books because I'm not a fan of supernatural fiction, thanks to reading experiences from my childhood. This novel, however, falls simply into the suspense category, and compelled me to keep reading. A portrayal of various "families" and their complex relationships and interactions, Hiding Places swept me into a world of secrets and invisibility, some of which were cloaked in full view. My heart ached for Kate, who loved and paid attention to her dysfunctional family far more than they did her. I even cared for Fox, whose son was murdered, as Healy's excellent character development provided a peek into his world and his heart. Twists and turns bring the distant circumstances and individuals of this novel together, and the danger and suspense escalates as the book builds to its heart-stopping climax. "Find" your copy of Hiding Places today!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from HarperCollins Fiction Guild. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Be Caught in a Deadlock!

FBI: Houston #3

DiAnn Mills
(Tyndale House)
ISBN: 978-1414389950
October 2015/416 pages/$14.99

Two murders have rocked the city of Houston. Are they the work of a serial killer, or is a copycat trying to get away with murder?

That is the question facing Special Agent Bethany Sanchez, who is eager for her new assignment in violent crimes but anxious about meeting her new partner. Special Agent Thatcher Graves once arrested her brother, and he has a reputation for being a maverick. Plus, their investigative styles couldn’t be more opposite: he operates on instinct, while she goes by the book.

When hot leads soon fizzle out, their differences threaten to leave them deadlocked. But an attempt on their lives turns up the heat and brings them closer together, and a third victim might yield the clue that will help them zero in on a killer. This could be the case of their careers . . . if they can survive long enough to solve it.

Read an excerpt.


DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne du Maurier, Inspirational Reader's Choice, and Carol Award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; the 2015 president of the Romance Writers of America's Faith, Hope & Love chapter; and a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at www.diannmills.com.


I know when I pick up a book by DiAnn Mills that I won't be doing anything else until I finish it, and Deadlock indeed brought my day to its titular standstill! Mills never disappoints with her compelling romantic suspense novels that grip the reader from the opening scenes to the final page. I'm continually impressed by the depth of knowledge she possesses about FBI procedures, knowledge gleaned from thorough research and interviews with active and retired agents. As someone born and raised in Houston, the setting of these novels provides a personal connection and I can visualize many of the locations mentioned in the story. Equally gifted at character and plot development, Mills perfectly balances the relational and romantic with the suspenseful aspects of this and her other novels. The interactions between Bethany and Thatcher reflect the many complexities that impact their working and (potential) personal relationship--from the different ways they approach a case to their shared background regarding the arrest of Bethany's brother--and add depth to the story. Combined with the escalating suspense, the result is a riveting, read-in-one-sitting novel. Don't miss Deadlock, available now!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from DiAnn Mills. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Read my reviews of the first two stand-alone books in the FBI: Houston series:
Double Cross

DiAnn Mills talks about writing Deadlock:


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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Jody Hedlund Discusses Luther and Katharina

Yesterday I told you about Jody Hedlund's new book, Luther and Katharina, which releases on October 6. Today I am happy to share a Q&A that she has provided which tells a bit about the writing of this compelling novel.

Luther and Katharina
A Novel of Love and Rebellion

Jody Hedlund
(WaterBrook Press)
ISBN: 978-1601427625
October 2015/400 pages/$14.99
Available for pre-order at
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD,
and other booksellers


Katharina von Bora is a name that most people would never connect with Martin Luther. Why do you think it’s important that we uncover and shine a light on some of the forgotten female figures who helped shape the Church?
My goal is to give a voice to the forgotten women of the past. Since most of history has been written by men, unfortunately all too often the accounts neglect to include or minimizes the many women who played critically important roles in the shaping of history.

As a mother of five children and a wife to a husband in Christian ministry, I've had a firsthand learning experience of the incredible work load and responsibility that comes with raising a family, being a wife, managing a home, as well as helping do all of the things necessary to provide emotionally, physically, and financially for our family. As I go about this calling God's given me at this stage in my life, I have a greater appreciation for the women of the past who also struggled through the same issues (but without all of the modern conveniences that I have!).

I believe modern women will benefit from hearing their stories, will be incredibly encouraged to see these women who persevered through discrimination and found the strength to use their God-given abilities to make a difference. Not only did they make a difference in their era, but today (decades and even centuries later) we can see the fruits of their bravery and strength. These women of the past have encouraged me to persevere and to use my skills and talents to make a difference in my time. No matter how big or small that difference might be, I want to be faithful to leave an impact, just as those women did.

As you began to read and learn more about Katharina, what particularly captivated you about her?
I was particularly fascinated by the fact that Katharina had once been a nun. And as we know, nuns take a vow of celibacy.

I was curious to know why she'd become a nun in the first place. What led her to that decision? And then what made her later decide to forsake her vows? What was life like for her after escaping her convent knowing that if she was caught and recaptured, she could face persecution and even death for running away? What were her hopes and dreams for her life after she'd denied herself for so long? What was it like for her to interact with men when she'd never before had the opportunity?

All of those questions and more reverberated through my mind. And what I really wanted to know was how she'd ended up with Martin Luther. What brought this couple together? It was a forbidden love during a time of incredible turmoil. It was a love that was never-meant-to-happen. So how did it come about?

What was the biggest surprise in researching this story?
As I dug into the research, the thing that surprised me most was that Luther and Katharina didn't experience "love at first sight." In fact, they had no thought of marrying each other. Katharina was a woman of noble birth and Luther a man of peasant beginnings. They were in two different social classes, which doesn't sound like a big deal to us today. But at that time, social class was extremely important.

After leaving the convent, Katharina expected to marry a nobleman. And even though Luther preached the goodness of marriage and encouraged other monks and nuns to leave their convents and get married, he had no intention of getting married himself. So, the question begs answering, how did these two opposite people with opposing personalities and aspirations, end up together? You'll have to read the book to discover the answer!

Tell us a little about the cloistered life that Katharina von Bora would have grown up in. What was it like to be a nun?
During the middle ages, many men and women entered cloistered life. Everywhere throughout Europe, abbeys and monasteries were built and the church at the time encouraged cloistered life. For men, becoming a monk was a way to gain a good education, to learn to read and write when there weren't many options to do so. Monastic life provided protection from the many dangers of the middle ages. And it also was a way to become more spiritual during a time when salvation was thought to be something one could earn or buy.

Women usually didn't enter cloistered life voluntarily, at least during the time of Martin Luther during the late 1400's and early 1500's. Instead, noblemen often looked at a convent as a place to put their unwanted daughters. Many noblemen, particularly land-rich but monetarily poor knights, couldn't afford a large dowry for their daughters which was required to make a favorable and advantageous match within the nobility. Of course, it was out of the question for those noble daughters to "marry down" in class, to laborers or tradesmen who wouldn't require so hefty a dowry. So rather than try to come up with the appropriate funds to make a noble match, many noblemen decided to put their daughters into convents.

Similar to men who entered monasteries, cloistered life for women was seen as advantageous. So fathers didn't feel too guilty about putting their unwanted younger daughters into a sheltered life of service to God because the convent was a place where they would be safe, fed, clothed, housed, and usually taught to write and read. Although a severe lifestyle, it was relatively easy and comfortable and suited to a woman of noble birth.

At the time of the story, how were Luther’s teachings and writings already inspiring change and revolution?
At the start of the book in 1523, Martin Luther had already been declared a heretic by the pope and the church. He'd already nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenburg church (which detailed his concerns about the corruption within the church). He'd already faced an inquisition by important people sent by the pope in the city of Worms. He'd faced the Emperor himself and had refused to recant his teachings and writings. He'd been excommunicated and declared a heretic. And since that time he'd essentially been hunted down so that he could be burned at the stake for his beliefs.

Luther went into hiding for a time, but continued to write and preach. During that time, his band of followers began to grow exponentially. As Luther's popularity grew, his teachings spread and made their way secretly into the convent where Katharina lived. When Katharina and some of the other nuns heard Luther's views on the unnaturalness of cloistered life and the goodness of marriage, something about his message resonated deeply within them. And their lives (and many others like them) would never be the same again.

It's also thought by some that Luther's teachings incited the peasants in Germany to revolt against authority. Although Luther was of peasant origin and was tempted to side with the peasants, he maintained his relationship with the Elector and a number of other princes.They finally gave the Reformation and the gospel their allegiance in a move that likely wouldn’t have happened had Luther sided with the peasants during the Peasant Revolt. He had alienated himself from the peasant class, but in doing so had preserved the success of the Reformation.

Beyond the entertainment factor, what do you hope your books bring to your audience? What do you want a reader to walk away with after having read Luther and Katharina?
First, I hope that after witnessing the great commitment of faith of believers in past ages, readers will come away with a greater commitment to their own personal faith especially in light of the difficulties and trials that may come our way. If a man like Martin Luther was willing to go to the stake for what he believed, that should give us courage. And if a woman like Katharina von Bora risked her life, comfort, and future for her growing faith, that too should inspire us to do the same.

Second, I hope that readers will have a greater appreciation and understanding of the dangers and difficulties that many went through in their efforts to preserve the gospel of Jesus and to correct corruption. Again, I ask readers to consider what they're willing to face in order to stand against corruption and to speak the truth in today's culture that is once again shifting away from Scripture.


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Monday, September 28, 2015

Luther and Katharina

Luther and Katharina
A Novel of Love and Rebellion

Jody Hedlund
(WaterBrook Press)
ISBN: 978-1601427625
October 2015/400 pages/$14.99
Available for pre-order at
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD,
and other booksellers

She was a nun of noble birth. He, a heretic, a reformer…an outlaw of the Holy Roman Empire.

In the 16th century, nun Katharina von Bora’s fate fell no further than the Abbey. Until she read the writings of Martin Luther.

His sweeping Catholic church reformation—condemning a cloistered life and promoting the goodness of marriage—awakened her desire for everything she’d been forbidden. Including Martin Luther himself.

Despite the fact that the attraction and tension between them is undeniable, Luther holds fast to his convictions and remains isolated, refusing to risk anyone’s life but his own. And Katharina longs for love, but is strong-willed. She clings proudly to her class distinction, pining for nobility over the heart of a reformer. They couldn’t be more different.

But as the world comes tumbling down around them, and with Luther’s threatened life a constant strain, these unlikely allies forge an unexpected bond of understanding, support and love.

Together, they will alter the religious landscape forever.


Jody Hedlund is a CBA best-selling author of ten books. Her first novel, The Preacher's Bride, won the Reader's Choice Award as part of the RWA Faith, Hope, and Love contest. Hedlund revels in bringing forgotten historic women to life and can usually be found with a book, a cup of coffee and a piece of chocolate. She lives in Midland, Michigan with her husband and five children.

"Katharina von Bora is one of those women who has been largely ignored by today's culture, but she's a strong woman whose story deserves to be told every much as her husband's. I'm excited about sharing her story, about her daring and dangerous escape from a convent, how she met Luther, and how the two of them overcame many obstacles to eventually fall in love and form a strong marriage." Jody Hedlund


Wow. I don't even know where to begin to talk about this book. I am generally not a big fan of novels set in the 16th century because it was such a bleak and primitive time, but I was drawn to this one for several reasons. For starters, beyond knowing the basics of Martin Luther and the Reformation, I knew very little about his life and had never even considered whether or not he ever married and the implications of that, so the premise intrigued me. Secondly, I've enjoyed many of Jody Hedlund's novels and knew she would handle the story well. And then there's the cover! We say don't judge a book by it but this one is just as impressive as the story within! Hedlund immediately plunged me into the tale by opening with Katharina's daring escape from the convent where she had been since she was five years old. (My heart ached at the idea of parents dropping off their little girls and sentencing them to the cloistered life, either because they were unwanted or because they couldn't afford to feed them.) The danger, corruption, and coarseness of the era was realistically portrayed without being brutal or graphic. This is no idyllic romance, by any means. In fact, Katharina and Luther both repeatedly demonstrate their strong wills and tempers when interacting with each other! The class distinctions between nobility, from which Katharina hails, and the commoners such as Luther, establish boundaries that Katharina especially determines not to cross as she yearns for someone to give her a home, if not love. While this is a work of fiction, it is steeped in research, and Hedlund seamlessly blends the two into a compelling tale. Completely satisfying from a reader's perspective, the novel enhanced my appreciation for the boldness of Martin Luther, and now for Katharina, and all they did for the cause of Christ. Do not miss this inspiring novel! Available for pre-order now, it releases in just one week on October 6!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Jody Hedlund and Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Join me tomorrow for a Q&A with Jody Hedlund!


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Saturday, September 19, 2015


The 2015 Carol Awards were presented Saturday night at the ACFW Annual Gala. The Gala is always an eagerly-anticipated event that closes out the annual conference. The Carol Award winners are listed below, along with other honor recipients from the evening's festivities.

Francine Rivers

Sandie Bricker – Managing Editor, Bling! Romance (imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Mary Sue Seymour – Agent, The Seymour Agency

Joy Avery Melville


The ACFW Genesis Contest is for unpublished Christian fiction writers. With ten categories to enter, Genesis provides the opportunity for unbiased feedback on writers' work by published authors and experienced judges, and the chance for finalists to have their work read by Christian publishing house editors and literary agents.

Lindsay Harrel - One More Song to Sing

Jeannine Brummett - Heirlooms

Elizabeth Lukinuk - he Knight’s Promised Bride

Joseph R. Courtemanche - Assault on Saint Agnes

Chandra Lynn Smith - Turtle Box Memories

Courtney Ballinger - Flipping Hearts

Sarah Hamaker - The Dark Guest

Preslaysa Williams - Coming Home to Love

Carol Eaton - Null

Sarah Tipton - Forgetting Yesterday

(Hyperlinked titles will take you to my reviews.)


The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate, Tyndale House, editors Sarah Mason, Jan Stob


Chateau of Secrets by Melanie Dobson, Howard (Simon & Schuster), editor Beth Adams


With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden, Bethany House (Baker) Publishing, editor Raela Schoenherr

A Cry from the Dust by Carrie Stuart Parks, HarperCollins Christian Publishing, editors Amanda Bostic, Natalie Hanemann

An October Bride by Katie Ganshert, HarperCollins Christian Publishing, editor Becky Philpott

The Wishing Season by Denise Hunter, HarperCollins Christian Publishing, editors Ami McConnell, L.B. Norton


Under a Turquoise Sky by Lisa Carter, Abingdon Press, editor Ramona Richards


Second Chance Summer by Irene Hannon, Love Inspired (Harlequin), editor Melissa Endlich


A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes, Enclave Publishing, editors Jeff Gerke, Karen Ball


Storm Siren by Mary Weber, HarperCollins Christian Publishing, editor Becky Monds

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Monday, September 14, 2015

The Sea Keeper's Daughters

The Sea Keeper's Daughters
A Carolina Heirlooms Novel
Lisa Wingate
(Tyndale House)
ISBN: 978-1414386904
September 2015/448 pages/$15.99

From modern-day Roanoke Island to the sweeping backdrop of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains and Roosevelt’s WPA folklore writers, past and present intertwine to create an unexpected destiny.

Restaurant owner Whitney Monroe is desperate to save her business from a hostile takeover. The inheritance of a decaying Gilded Age hotel on North Carolina’s Outer Banks may provide just the ray of hope she needs. But things at the Excelsior are more complicated than they seem. Whitney’s estranged stepfather is entrenched on the third floor, and the downstairs tenants are determined to save the historic building. Searching through years of stored family heirlooms may be Whitney’s only hope of quick cash, but will the discovery of an old necklace and a Depression-era love story change everything?

Read an excerpt.


Selected among Booklist's Top 10 for two consecutive years, Lisa Wingate skillfully weaves lyrical writing and unforgettable settings with elements of traditional Southern storytelling, history, and mystery to create novels that Publishers Weekly calls "masterful" and Library Journal refers to as "a good option for fans of Nicholas Sparks and Mary Alice Monroe."

Lisa is a journalist, an inspirational speaker, and the author of twenty-five novels. She is a seven-time ACFW Carol Award nominee, a multiple Christy Award nominee, a two-time Carol Award winner, and a 2015 RT Book Reviews Reviewers' Choice award winner for mystery/suspense. Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life. Booklist summed up her work by saying, "Lisa Wingate is, quite simply, a master storyteller." More information about her novels can be found at www.lisawingate.com.


Lisa Wingate once again demonstrates her gift of story-telling with The Sea Keeper's Daughter. She intertwines the past and the present in this tale that pulsates with emotion. While the beginning of the novel certainly held my interest, I didn't particularly like Whitney or several of the other characters. However, as the story developed, I discovered a richness and depth that made it impossible to put down. I could practically hear the waves lapping the shore as Wingate transported me to the Outer Banks. This is a gem of a story. Don't miss it!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Tyndale House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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