Book Recommendation ~ A Season to Dance by Patricia Beal

Book Description:

Ana Brassfield has her path to the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House all figured out until her first love, renowned German dancer Claus Gert, returns to Georgia to win her back. Despite a promising start towards her ballet career and pending marriage to landscape architect, Peter Engberg, Ana wonders if her dreams of dancing at the Met are as impossible as her previous romantic relationship with Claus.

Then, an on-stage kiss between Ana and Claus changes everything.

Convinced the kiss is more than a one-time mistake, Peter breaks off their engagement. With an old dog crippled by arthritis and dreams deferred but not left behind, Ana moves to Germany to be with Claus. But the ghost of his late wife, Ana’s own feelings for Peter, and the pressure of earning a spot in a large ballet company are a high price for a shot at success. Ana seems on the verge of having everything she ever dreamed of, but will it be enough?

Narelle’s Thoughts:

I absolutely loved reading A Season to Dance. I read the book within twenty-four hours, during the time I should have been using to write my own book, because I just couldn’t put it down. I needed a bunch of tissues to mop up my tears toward the end of the story and my family had a late dinner because I lost track of the time.

It was a powerful story and an emotional read, but before I go into more detail there’s something I’ll share with you first. This wasn’t the first time I’d started reading this book.

Patricia’s debut novel released in early May and I’d planned to read and review it for my May posting date on Inspy Romance. I’ve known Patricia online for a few years through the group blog, International Christian Fiction Writers, and I was thrilled to see her debut book release. A Season to Dance had great endorsements and early reviews, and I’d set aside time after the release date to read the Kindle version.

There was only one problem. I read Chapter One and the ending chapter hook triggered a deep fear I’d been grappling with for eight months. The fear of losing my husband to a life threatening health issue. I read Chapter Two but it became too hard to continue reading. The characters were too real, the writing too vivid, the story too good and too painful to read at that point in time.

For Inspy Romance in May, I used this reading experience to springboard my ideas for the post I wrote on Hot Button Issues and Trigger Warnings in Christian Romance. And I prayed. A Season To Dance had revealed to me an issue in my life that I needed to work through and hand over in prayer. I made the decision to put the book aside and read it in His timing. At the same time I won a print copy from Patricia’s giveaway on the International Christian Fiction Writers blog. The print book sat at the bottom of a pile of books on my bedside table, waiting for its turn to be read.

Ana is a girl from small town Georgia who has big dreams of an international ballet career. Her goal is to dance at the Met in NYC.

Ana isn’t a Christian at the start of the story. This means she doesn’t hold Christian values and doesn’t follow Biblical principles regarding morality. She’s real and she makes mistakes. Her life is complicated and messy as she lives out the consequences of her unwise decisions. The bedroom door is closed but the reader is aware of the physical nature of Ana’s romantic relationships in the story.

A love triangle plays out between Peter, the landscape architect from back home and Claus, a successful German dancer who travels the world. I’m not usually a fan of the love triangle romance trope, but the unique twist it adds to the plot is brilliant.

We journey with Ana to Germany and Prague and also experience the angst in her complex journey to faith. The setting in Europe and Georgia is stunning. I enjoyed travelling with Ana and gaining an insight into the world of ballet.

The opening chapter doesn’t reveal the identity of her husband and it may seem odd to jump ahead in time at the start. In the second half of the book the importance of the placement of Chapter One makes sense and adds to the building tension in the story.

I loved the ending and closed the book with a smile on my face. The gospel message in the story is clear and powerful. The author’s note at the end of the book explains how the author herself became a Christian while writing the book.

A Season to Dance is contemporary romance I’d recommend to Christians and seekers who are exploring Christianity. It addresses the hard issues in life and how our inherent selfishness will hurt others, including the people we love.

Many thanks to Patricia for blessing me with a print copy. It’s now on my keeper shelf.

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com

ACRBA Tour – Birds and Bees by the Book by Patricia Weerakoon

13 – 17 November 2017

Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance

Is Introducing

 

by Patricia Weerakoon

Publisher: CEP, July 19, 2017

Book Description:

People have been talking about the birds and the bees since Adam and Eve walked the earth. Yet the conversation hasn’t become easier! With so many messages about sexuality, gender and identity around them, our children need a safe space to learn about these topics now more than ever.

Designed for parents and carers to read with children aged 7 to 10, Birds and Bees by the Book has been created to help you to have these conversations at your own pace.

Written by renowned sex educator Patricia Weerakoon, the six books in this set are designed to be read in whichever order suits you and your child. They cover three foundational topics that help children to understand the family structures in the world around them, and how their body and brain are developing as they grow. There are also three extension topics that teach children what is involved in sexual activity, what it means to be a boy or a girl, and how to protect themselves against pornography if they stumble across it.

All of these topics are framed within the Bible’s message that children are unique creations of God, and that sex is a precious gift to be used carefully and wisely in the context of marriage.

Video link: https://vimeo.com/218748624

About the Author:

Patricia Weerakoon is a Sexologist and Writer. She trained in medicine in the University of Sri Lanka.

She is an evangelical Christian. She is married to Vasantha. Her son Kamal is a Presbyterian minister.

As a Sexologist she has translated her passion to bring good holistic sexual health to all people into practical sex education, sex research and sex therapy.

Her writing and speaking brings together her enthusiasm for sex and her love for the glory of God.

The Christian framework of sex therapy she offers has enriched and empowered the sex life of couples and singles.

She has a recognised media presence and is a highly regarded public speaker and social commentator in sexuality and sexual health.

Patricia retired in 2011 after a twenty three year career as an academic with the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Sydney. The last eight years of which she was the director of an internationally acclaimed graduate program in Sexual Health.

Narelle’s Thoughts:

Birds and the Bees by the Book is a 6-book set that covers all aspects of sexuality. The books are designed for parents to read with their children aged 7-10. The statistics I’ve seen quoted from various sources indicate that children are accidentally being exposed to online pornography at a young age. I can understand the logic for why it’s important for parents to discuss issues relating to sexuality, gender and pornography with their primary school aged children.

The books provide a Biblical perspective on the issues in Patricia’s trademark straight forward manner. There are no euphemisms and the correct anatomical words are used to describe the human body. The books explore and address the dynamics of family relationships, brain science, body image, gender, sexuality and the dangers of pornography. The language is clear and pitched at an appropriate level to provide comprehensive information for children.

The set includes Me And My Family, Me And My Body, Me And My Brain, Learning About Sex, Learning About Gender and Learning About Pornography. Recommended for parents who are looking for a helpful educational resource written from a Christian perspective.

Many thanks to CEP for providing a complimentary copy of the books.

ACFW New Releases: November 2017

Source: ACFW New Releases November 2017

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

Contemporary Romance:

Rooted in Love by Valerie Comer — A divorcé with a set of rambunctious twins falls for the boys’ daycare administrator, but does he deserve another chance at love? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Prescription for Romance by June Foster — Though history teacher Scott Townsend made a commitment to the Lord as a teen, he can’t relinquish his bitterness toward his younger brother after he squanders their parents’ money. When a beautiful, young pharmacist seeks affirmation in a way that challenges Scott’s values, he must uphold his Christian upbringing. (Contemporary Romance from Forget Me Not Romance [Winged Publication])

Believing in Tomorrow by Kimberly Rae Jordan — Sammi struggles to accept the consequences for her actions and to live with her new reality—unwed mother instead of wife and then mother. Though it eats at her soul, she feels that the judgment she faces is her lot to bear. Can Levi get Sammi to see that their child deserves better? Or will she lose everything she’s dreamed of for her tomorrow because she can’t accept that forgiveness is hers for the taking? (Contemporary Romance, ACFW QIP)

Texas Christmas Twins by Deb Kastner — Miranda Morgan’s Christmas will be twice as busy now that she’s guardian of her sister’s sweet twin babies. But the celebrity photographer is happy to trade a glamorous LA lifestyle for motherhood in her small hometown of Wildhorn, Texas. Unfortunately, the twins’ handsome godfather, Simon West, is unconvinced. The brooding rancher isn’t thrilled about letting sunny, spontaneous Miranda into his carefully managed world. Though they disagree on almost everything, Simon and Miranda discover common ground as they work to make the twins’ first country Christmas cozy and bright. Could this holiday transform Miranda and Simon’s tentative friendship into a forever love? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Historical:


The Legacy by Carol Ashby — A father’s martyrdom makes his son and daughter hunger for revenge on their brother who betrayed him and the people who led him to faith until God answers their father’s final prayer in unexpected ways. (Historical from Cerrillo Press)



Jerusalem Rising by Barbara M. Britton — When Adah bat Shallum finds the governor of Judah weeping over the crumbling wall of Jerusalem, she learns the reason for Nehemiah’s unexpected visit,God has called him to rebuild the wall around the City of David. Nehemiah challenges the people of God to labor on the wall and in return, the names of their fathers will be written in the annals for future generations to cherish. But Adah has one sister and no brothers. Will her father, who rules a half-district of Jerusalem, be forgotten forever? Adah bravely vows to rebuild her city’s wall, though she soon discovers that Jerusalem not only has enemies outside the city, but also within. Can Adah, her sister, and the men they love, honor God’s call? Or will their mission be crushed by the same stones they hope to construct? (Historical from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])


Historical Mystery:

Death at Thorburn Hall by Julianna Deering — Amateur sleuth Drew Farthering and his wife Madeline travel to Scotland for the 1935 British Open, but instead of a relaxing holiday, they find murder, mystery, and international intrigue. (Historical Mystery from Bethany House [Baker])

Waiting for His Return by Carrie Turansky — The daughter of a wealthy Tennessee doctor falls in love with an injured artist-correspondent on assignment to cover the battles near Union occupied Nashville. (Historical Mystery from Flowing Stream Books)

Historical Romance:

The Virtuous Viscount by Susan M. Baganz — Lord Remington falls for a woman he rescues and recovers in his home, but can Miss Storm trust his virtue when he risks his reputation to unbeknownst to her, saves her life. (Historical Romance from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])


Lord Phillip’s Folly by Susan M. Baganz — Lord Westcombe finds himself falling in love with his unexpected wife and having to rescue her from the devices of the Black Diamond with the help of his friends and newfound faith. (Historical Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

The Regency Brides Collection by Amanda Barratt, Angela Bell, Susanne DietzeMichelle Griep, Nancy Moser, MaryLu Tyndall, and Erica Vetsch — Romance is a delicate dance bound by rules and expectations in Regency England…Seven couples must navigate society’s gauntlet to secure the hand of true love…. Charity and Luke are strangers who were forced to marry three years ago. Adelaide and Walter share a love of music and disdain for elitism. Caroline and Henry are thrown together by three orphans. Helen and Isaac harbor his unlikely secret. Esther is empowered to choose between two men. Sophia is determined not to choose a man like Nash. Jamie and William face a daunting London season together. Will their faith grow and love prevail in a time when both were considered luxuries the elite could not afford? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas — Judd Markley is a hardworking coal miner who rarely thinks much past tomorrow until he loses his brother–and nearly his own life–in a mine cave-in. Vowing never to enter the darkness of a mine again, he leaves all he knows in West Virginia to escape to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It’s 1954, the seaside community is thriving, and Judd soon hires on with a timber company. Larkin Heyward’s life in Myrtle Beach is uncomplicated, mostly doing volunteer work and dancing at the Pavilion. But she dreams of one day doing more–maybe moving to the hollers of Kentucky to help the poor children of Appalachia. But she’s never even met someone who’s lived there–until she encounters Judd, the newest employee at her father’s timber company. Drawn together in the wake of a devastating hurricane, Judd and Larkin each seek answers to what tomorrow will bring. As opposition rises against following their divergent dreams, they realize that it may take a miracle for them to be together. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])


Legal Thriller:

Guilty Blood by Rick Acker — A desperate mother tries to prove her son’s innocence, but shadowy forces want to keep him in jail–and kill him there. (Legal Thriller from Waterfall Press)


Romantic Suspense:

An Unexpected Legacy by Amy R. Anguish — When Chad Manning introduces himself to Jessica Garcia at her favorite smoothie shop, it’s like he stepped out of one of her romance novels. But as she tentatively walks into a relationship with this man of her dreams, secrets from their past threaten to shatter their already fragile bond. Chad and Jessica must struggle to figure out if their relationship has a chance or if there is nothing between them but a love of smoothies. (Romantic Suspense from Tulpen Publishing)

Christmas Double Cross by Jodie Bailey — Undercover Texas Ranger Colter Blackthorn’s convinced Danielle Segovia is really a wanted criminal—until she’s nearly kidnapped right in front of him. Now Colter must keep her out of the clutches of the notorious drug cartel leader whose traitor sister is a dead ringer for Danielle. The drug czar wants the drugs he thinks the pretty shop owner stole from him. And with the younger brother Danielle is raising dragged into the crosshairs, Colt has to find a way to protect them both. But a showdown at Christmas—with Danielle as bait—may be the only way to make sure they all survive the holidays. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright — Kaine Prescott is no stranger to death. When her husband died two years ago, her pleas for further investigation into his suspicious death fell on deaf ears. In desperate need of a fresh start, Kaine purchases an old house sight unseen in her grandfather’s Wisconsin hometown. But one look at the eerie, abandoned house immediately leaves her questioning her rash decision. And when the house’s dark history comes back with a vengeance, Kaine is forced to face the terrifying realization she has nowhere left to hide. A century earlier, the house on Foster Hill holds nothing but painful memories for Ivy Thorpe. When an unidentified woman is found dead on the property, Ivy is compelled to discover her identity. Ivy’s search leads her into dangerous waters and, even as she works together with a man from her past, can she unravel the mystery before any other lives–including her own–are lost? (Romantic Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])


Speculative:

Awakened by Morgan L. Busse — The monster has awakened. After her escape from the Tower and from her father’s experiments, Kat Bloodmayne wakes up to discover the dark power inside of her has grown stronger. Now more than ever she needs to find the doctor who holds the key to healing her, but the only one who can help her find him is Stephen Grey, the very man who betrayed her. Stephen Grey cannot change the past or what he did to Kat, but he will do everything he can to help her now. But will Kat let him? Or will his transgression be too much to overcome? Time races against them as they travel with sky pirates through harrowing storms and across the war-torn country of Austrium in search of the doctor who can cure Kat. But can he cure what is broken inside of her? Or will the monster inside of Kat consume her soul? (Speculative from Enclave Publishing)