Book Recommendation – In Search Of A Prince by Toni Shiloh

Book Description:

It seems like a dream come true . . . until it forces her to question everything.  

Brielle Adebayo is fully content teaching at a New York City public school and taking annual summer vacations with her mother to Martha’s Vineyard. But everything changes when her mom drops a bombshell–Brielle is really a princess in the island kingdom of Ọlọrọ Ilé, off the coast of Africa, and she must immediately assume her royal position, since the health of her grandfather, the king, is failing.

Distraught by all the secrets her mother kept, Brielle is further left spinning when the Ọlọrọ Ilé Royal Council brings up an old edict that states she must marry before her coronation, or the crown will pass to another. Brielle is uncertain if she even wants the throne, and with her world totally shaken, where will she find the courage to take a chance on love and brave the perils a wrong decision may bring?

Narelle’s Thoughts:

There are so many things to love about In Search Of A Prince, and the gorgeous international setting tops my list. The fictional tropical island setting in West Africa was a lovely place to escape into a story. Brielle is the only daughter of a NYC doctor and she enjoys her life in the city. When Brielle learns her late father, who she never knew, was an African prince, and her paternal grandfather, the king, is unwell, she packs up her life and travels by private jet with her best friend, Iris, to the African tropical island kingdom.

The big complication in the story is Brielle’s search for a suitable prince to marry before her grandfather passes. The story is written in first person single viewpoint, and I was happy I picked the ‘winner’ early on who would claim Brielle’s hand in marriage. The romance includes a royal love triangle setup mixed with the marriage of convenience trope. Brielle must choose a husband and marrying for love is not necessarily at the top of her criteria list.

In Search Of A Prince also includes coming of age themes and explores the island’s culture. Brielle is on a journey of discovering her heritage and she quickly develops a close relationship with her grandfather. I loved the strong faith element that was an essential part of the story. Brielle practices her faith. She prays, reads the Bible, and seeks wisdom in her decision making. Brielle has humility and she understands the servant heart that’s needed for her to become a great queen who will lead her people as their head of state.

I recommend In Search Of A Prince to contemporary romance readers who enjoy royalty princess marriage of convenience stories with a strong faith element in a stunning tropical African island setting.

Many thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for the advanced reader copy.

Book Recommendation – A Painted Summer by Amy Matayo

Book Description:

Darby Sparks has lived a very sheltered life. As a homeschool graduate, a small town resident, and the only child of two over-protective parents, she’s dreamed of chasing big dreams. But big dreams take big courage. So in a moment of uncharacteristic boldness, Darby leaves the only life she’s ever known and sets off for California to test her skills in Hollywood. It works…until she runs out of money. That wasn’t part of her spur-of-the-moment plan, and she finds herself stuck in an unfamiliar city with too much pride to call home for help.

With limited options, Darby finds herself working for dangerously hot Lennon Dixon, the owner of a downtown Los Angeles tattoo parlor. Lennon needs help and finds it in Darby. What he doesn’t expect is her odd aversion to his place of business…or his attraction to her. As for Darby, to call her new job unfamiliar is the world’s biggest understatement. But to call her mutual attraction to Lennon unexpected is a very close second.

Previously published as part of the Just One Summer collection.

Narelle’s Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading A Painted Summer, a short romance novella that fits within the college and new adult book category and is set in Los Angeles. Darby reached her milestone twenty first birthday and decided to leave her small Washington town and overprotective parents for the bright lights of L.A. She’s on summer break after completing her sophomore year at college, and has switched to an online course that she wants to quit.

L.A. is not what Darby expected, and is a world away from her homeschooling small town life back home. She collects acting audition rejections, runs low on cash, and takes the only job she can secure as a receptionist at a downtown L.A. tattoo parlor.

Lennon owns the tattoo parlor and offers Darby a job. He gives Darby the nickname, Sparky, and soon learns about her quirks. Darby doesn’t know what to make of Lennon, or the simmering attraction that pulls her into his orbit. Four years her senior, he’s the one new friend she’s mades in L.A. who looks out for her. He’s inked and inks others for a living, and she’s massively afraid of needles. What could possibly go wrong?

A fun romance unfolds in Darby’s viewpoint. We journey with Darby and experience her often hilarious life challenges and growing feelings for Lennon that lead to a satisfying story ending. I recommend A Painted Summer for readers who like short romance novellas in an urban setting that embrace realistic life challenges for young adults with a light faith element.

Christian Fiction New Releases: January 2022

Hope for the Cowboy by Hannah Jo Abbott

He’s committed to the ranch he loves, she’s just here for a job, but they just might find each other too.

Katie Wadford is devastated after being fired from her job as an account manager. When no other large firms in town will hire her, she’s desperate to find a place to prove herself. Reluctantly she returns to her hometown in hopes of working for a small business to boost her resume.

Sawyer Macklin is certain that his family ranch doesn’t need a business manager. When his father hires one anyway, Sawyer agrees to get along. But the woman who shows up in high heels isn’t anything like what he expected.

When Katie offers the ranch as the location for a church fundraiser, Sawyer volunteers to help, but only so he can tell her it’s a bad idea and put an end to it. He finds out Katie is a hard person to say no to.

As they learn to work together, will Sawyer’s fears of his past mistakes keep them apart, or will they both find a future they didn’t expect?

Truth is a Whisper by Mandi Blake

They both want the truth, but are they willing to pay the price?

Ava Collins is more than ready to say goodbye to the breakneck pace of the city, and an invitation to her grandfather’s ranch is exactly what she needs. Finding out her former flame is running the ranch, on the other hand, was entirely unexpected. How can she put aside her memories of that whirlwind summer when she has to work beside the handsome cowboy every day?

Jameson Ford was grateful to be offered the new foreman job at Wolf Creek Ranch. He’s eager to prove himself, but quickly distracted by the reappearance of his first love, who also happens to be his boss’s granddaughter. It’s been years since they promised each other forever, and neither of them know how to pick up where they left off or if they should forget it ever happened.

Allied by their love of the ranch, Jameson and Ava have to work together, despite the lingering feelings between them. When Ava uncovers secrets about her family, she doesn’t know if she can trust anyone. Most of all, can she learn to trust her heart on her way to discovering the truth?

Truth is a Whisper is the first book in the Christian romance Wolf Creek Ranch series.

Dancing with Dandelion by Tara Grace Ericson

They can’t agree on anything—except that the job comes first.

Dandelion “Andi” Bloom has sacrificed a lot for her career in the Army. Now that she’s retired, playing security guard at Bloom’s Farm for high-profile events is a welcome change of pace. That is, until hosting a string of political events means working with a Secret Service detail – including a certain special agent she would have rather left behind in Virginia.

Special Agent Ross McClain takes his job seriously. Even if he has to come to the middle-of-nowhere in Indiana to work events for the Vice-Presidential candidate. On Bloom’s Farm, Ross runs into a familiar—and unwelcoming—face. Could this assignment get any worse?

Despite their mutual disdain, Andi and Ross must work together to provide security for the farm and the candidate. As the assignment goes on, it becomes impossible not to clash over every decision—and even harder to deny their growing chemistry.

Dancing with Dandelion is Book 7 in the Bloom Sisters Series. This small town, family saga is full of heartwarming themes, swoony-worthy kisses, and sweet happy endings.

Waiting for Right Now by K. Leah

He’s the one who broke her heart. She’s the one he can’t forget.

Elle learned the hard way that summer love doesn’t always last. But now Cort is back, and after how long it took her to get over him last time, she’s not willing to risk that heartbreak again.

Cort didn’t know what a big mistake it was to leave town until years later. Now, he’s forced to choose between the woman he loves or the family that raised him.

Cort is determined to win back his girl but Elle isn’t sure a second chance is worth the risk. Can they put aside the past to look to the future, or are some things just not meant to be?

Waiting for Right Now is the 4th and final book in the Finding Home series.

Postcards by Elizabeth Maddrey

Turns out, my sister was serious about everything she said in that phone call.

The cancer.
The leaving.
The postcards.

So I was already struggling to figure out just what God thought He was doing. And then my boss introduced me to the guy who would be taking over the new project.

My project.

Sure, Owen’s hot. And so what if he has the world’s most impressive resume? He’s not getting my job without a fight.
And my job isn’t the only thing I’m not going to surrender.

I’m also not going to let Owen take over my heart.

Love on Ice by Carolyn Miller

She’s focused on winning gold. He wants to lose the player tag. Can a fake relationship become something real?

Aussie short track skater Holly Travers has one goal – make the Vancouver Games, no matter what it takes. She has no time for distractions, even if they come in the handsome form of her Canadian best friend’s twin brother. This hockey player may say he’s not a player, but can she trust him?
Brent Karlsson has one goal – make his sister’s best friend realize he’s a changed man and she should give him a chance. When a set-up in Hawaii helps these two opposites realize they have more in common than they thought, what happens when he wants to turn their fake relationship into something real? And how can a relationship work when these two elite athletes never see each other and live on opposite sides of the world?

Love on Ice is the second book in the Original Six hockey romance series, a sweet, slightly sporty, contemporary romance series.

Her Faith Restored by Cynthia Herron

Can two polar opposites meet in the middle to achieve a winning outcome?

Sunset Meadows’ activity director Melinda Brewer has her work cut out for her. As a five-year veteran with the cutting-edge retirement community, “Mel” wears many hats. But her job is more than a title. The residents at “The Meadows” are like family—some of whom she’s known her entire life. Ruby—this little niche in the Ozark Mountains—may be a mere dot on the Missouri map, but it’s also Mel’s birthplace, the land of her heritage, reminiscent of old ways while cognizant of new seasons.

Leave it to new kid on the block Matt Enders to upset the apple cart. When Enders is hired as the facility’s new social worker, his idea of a well-oiled machine is to eliminate a few rusty cogs—chiefly, some of Mel’s most successful programs. Mr. City Slicker doesn’t care about making waves. He delivers a hurricane!

Matt Enders isn’t budging. Let Mel Brewer think what she will. While he’s willing to meet the pint-size package of TNT halfway regarding new ideas and innovation, he won’t sacrifice improvement for the sake of hurt feelings. Can he convince Mel that a team approach is better than a single-handed effort?

Ironically, crabby Clinton Farley, a Meadows’ resident and devout non-believer, is the catalyst that draws Matt and Mel closer. Together, the two must set aside differences to work for a common cause—introducing Clinton to a sunnier side of life and a new way of living.

When they finally learn Clinton’s story, can Matt and Mel open their hearts to new opportunities, as well as each other?

Finding Her Way Back by Lisa Carter

Healing his daughter is worth risking his heart.

After a tragic event leaves Rob Melbourne’s little girl traumatized, he’ll do anything to help her recover—even enlist his first love, Juliet Newkirk, and her therapy pup, Moose. Working with Juliet stirs up old feelings for Rob, a distraction he doesn’t need. But with the dog’s help, the road to healing his daughter might just give Rob and Juliet a second chance at happiness…

The Rebel’s Return by Myra Johnson

Surprise fatherhood could be just the thing to reform this black sheep.

Called home after an injury in the family, prodigal son Samuel Navarro shocks everyone by arriving with his surprise baby in tow. When Samuel’s mom is unable to act as a full-time babysitter, his childhood love, Joella James, reluctantly takes the job. But can the newly devoted dad convince Joella he’s a changed man…and that she’s the perfect final piece to his little family?

His Road to Redemption by Lisa Jordan

A veteran in need of a fresh start
will get more than he bargained for…

Veteran Micah Holland’s scars go deeper than anyone knows. An inheritance from his mentor could be a new beginning—if he shares the inherited goat farm with fiercely independent Paige Watson. Now the only way they can keep the farm is to work together. But first Micah must prove he’s a changed man to keep his dream and the woman he’s falling for.

Searching for Home by Jill Weatherholt

Can three little matchmakers

lasso a cowboy father?

When injured professional bull rider Luke Beckett returns to his hometown to recover, he doesn’t expect his B and B host and physical therapist to be his first and only love, Meg Brennan. He’s also unprepared for Meg’s adorable triplets to steal his heart. Luke’s past has him doubting he’s good enough for Meg and the children, but they might be just what the doctor ordered to help him heal… 

Undercover Mountain Pursuit by Sharon Dunn

An undercover assignment turns into a perilous mountain escape.

After witnessing a shooting in a remote mountain location, high-risk photographer Willow Farris races to help—and runs into her old flame, Quentin Decker. Undercover to take down an international smuggler, Quentin has a mission to complete. But with Willow in the crosshairs, shielding her takes priority. If they want to bring the criminals to justice, Quentin and Willow must first get off the mountain alive…

Secret Sabotage by Terri Reed

The crash was intentional… But he can’t remember why.

With no memory of the crash that landed him in a hospital, Ian Delaney is determined to uncover who sabotaged his helicopter—without the protection of his family-appointed bodyguard. But Simone Walker’s used to stubborn clients and won’t let Ian leave her sight. To catch an unknown traitor, they must rely on each other…or the next attack could prove lethal.

Following the Trail by Lynette Eason

Tracking leads in her sister’s disappearance could make a K-9 handler the next victim.

Lacey Jefferson’s search for her missing sister quickly turns into a murder investigation—thrusting Lacey and her search-and-rescue K-9, Scarlett, into a killer’s sights. Now teaming up with her ex-boyfriend, Sheriff Creed Payne, is the only way to discover the murderer’s identity. But can they survive long enough to dig up the truth?

Life Flight by Lynette Eason

EMS helicopter pilot Penny Carlton is used to high stress situations, but being forced to land on a mountain in a raging storm with a critical patient–and a serial killer on the loose–tests her skills and her nerve to the limit. She survives with FBI Special Agent Holt Satterfield’s help. But she’s not out of the woods yet.

In the ensuing days, Penny finds herself under attack. And when news reaches Holt that he may not have gotten his man after all, it will take all he and Penny have to catch a killer–before he catches one of them.

Bestselling and award-winning author Lynette Eason is back with another high-octane tale of close calls, narrow escapes, and the fight to bring a nefarious criminal to justice.

Never Leave Me by Jody Hedlund

In the last stages of a genetic disease, Ellen Creighton has decided to live out her remaining days at the estate of her longtime friend Harrison Burlington. Harrison cares deeply for Ellen, but as a wheelchair-bound paraplegic, he’s never allowed himself to get serious in a relationship. However, he’s desperately trying to save her by finding the holy water that is believed to heal any disease.

When he locates two flasks, Ellen refuses to drink one of them because she believes the holy water killed her sister and father. In an effort to convince her to take it, Harrison ingests the contents first, and when Ellen witnesses the effects, she can no longer deny the power of the substance in the bottles. Dangerous criminals are also seeking the holy water, and Ellen soon learns they will go to any lengths to get the powerful drug–including sending her back into the past to find it for them.

Bestselling and award-winning author Jody Hedlund plunges you into the swiftly flowing river of history in a race against the clock in this breathtaking, emotional second Waters of Time story.

Grace Across the Miles by Christine Dillon

How can you belong when you don’t know who you are?

Gina Reid is surrounded by people getting married or having babies. She’s under pressure to settle down but how can she do that when she doesn’t even know where she came from? Since the startling revelation that she was adopted, it’s felt like there is something missing. Fear has kept her from searching for her biological parents.

What if learning the truth is worse than not knowing?

But now an overheard comment has propelled her into action. Can Gina find out who she truly is? Or will she discover that some secrets are best left undisturbed?

Grace Across the Miles is a soul-stirring contemporary Christian novel. Book 6 in the Grace series.

The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water by Erin Bartels

The best fiction simply tells the truth. 
But the truth is never simple.

When novelist Kendra Brennan moves into her grandfather’s old cabin on Hidden Lake, she has a problem and a plan. The problem? An inflammatory letter from A Very Disappointed Reader. The plan? To confront Tyler, her childhood best friend’s brother–and the man who inspired the antagonist in her first book. If she can prove that she told the truth about what happened during those long-ago summers, perhaps she can put the letter’s claims to rest and meet the swiftly approaching deadline for her next book.

But what she discovers as she delves into the murky past is not what she expected. While facing Tyler isn’t easy, facing the consequences of her failed friendship with his sister, Cami, may be the hardest thing she’s ever had to do. 

Plumb the depths of the human heart with this emotional exploration of how a friendship dies, how we can face the unforgivable, and how even those who have been hurt can learn to love with abandon.

Harmony on the Horizon by Kathleen Denly

Her calling to change the world may be his downfall.

On the heels of the Great Rebellion, Margaret Foster, an abolitionist northerner, takes a teaching position in 1865 San Diego—a town dominated by Southern sympathizers. At thirty-seven years of age, Margaret has accepted spinsterhood and embraced her role as teacher. So, when Everett Thompson, the handsomest member of the School Board, reveals his interest in her, it’s a dream come true. Until her passionate ideals drive a wedge between them.

After two decades of hard work, Everett Thompson is on the verge of having everything he’s dreamed of. Even the beautiful new teacher has agreed to his courtship. Then two investments go south and a blackmailer threatens everything Everett has and dreams of.

As Everett scrambles to shore up the crumbling pieces of his life, Margaret unwittingly sets off a scandal that divides the small community and threatens her position as teacher. With the blackmailer still whispering threats, Everett must decide if he’s willing to risk everything for the woman still keeping him at arm’s length.

The Winter Rose By Melanie Dobson

In this gripping WWII time-slip novel from the author whose books have been called “propulsive” and a “must-read” (Publishers Weekly), Grace Tonquin is an American Quaker who works tirelessly in Vichy France to rescue Jewish children from the Nazis. After crossing the treacherous Pyrénées, Grace returns home to Oregon with a brother and sister whose parents were lost during the war. Though Grace and her husband love Élias and Marguerite as their own, echoes of Grace’s past and trauma from the Holocaust tear the Tonquin family apart.

More than fifty years after they disappear, Addie Hoult arrives at Tonquin Lake, hoping to find the Tonquin family. For Addie, the mystery is a matter of life and death for her beloved mentor Charlie, who is battling a genetic disease. Though Charlie refuses to discuss his ties to the elusive Tonquins, finding them is the only way to save his life and mend the wounds from his broken past.

A Heart Adrift by Laura Frantz

A Virginia chocolatier and a privateering sea captain collide once more after a failed love affair a decade before. Will a war and a cache of regrets keep them apart? Or will a new shared vision reunite them?

It is 1755, and the threat of war with France looms over colonial York, Virginia. Chocolatier Esmée Shaw is fighting her own battle of the heart. Having reached her twenty-eighth birthday, she is reconciled to life alone after a decade-old failed love affair from which she’s never quite recovered. But she longs to find something worthwhile to do with her life.

Captain Henri Lennox has returned to port after a lengthy absence, intent on completing the lighthouse in the dangerous Chesapeake Bay, a dream he once shared with Esmée. But when the colonial government asks him to lead a secret naval expedition against the French, his future is plunged into uncertainty.

Will a war and a cache of regrets keep them apart, or can their shared vision and dedication to the colonial cause heal the wounds of the past? Bestselling and award-winning author Laura Frantz whisks you away to a time fraught with peril–on the sea and in the heart–in this redemptive, romantic story.

Her Darling Mr. Day by Grace Hitchcock

New Orleans’ most eligible bachelor insists he’s not on the market . . . but he couldn’t be more wrong.

Jilted in front of all New York, Theodore Day decides to lose himself in his family’s luxury riverboat business in New Orleans and compete against his brother to become the next company head. The brother with the most sales by summer’s end will win the position. Thanks to Theodore’s fame as a suitor in a socialite’s outlandish competition to find a husband, he has become very desirable royalty in Southern society and thus has an advantage.

It took Flora Wingfield’s best work to convince her family to summer in New Orleans, but with Teddy Day a bachelor once again, she’s leaving nothing to chance. Desperate to stand out from all the clamoring belles, Flora attempts a bold move that goes completely awry, only to find it’s her interior design skills that finally catch his notice.

But when Flora’s father’s matchmaking schemes come in the way of her plans, Teddy will have to decide where his happiness truly lies and what he is willing to sacrifice for it.

Marrying Mr. Wrong by Melissa Jagears

Can a man who’s completely wrong for her help her find Mr. Right?

Gwendolyn McGill wants to be loved and accepted for who she is, but that’s hard to do in a small town where everyone judges her by the scandal her father caused. Unfortunately, the man she hoped would sweep her away from all the wagging tongues is no longer interested in marrying her. Unable to leave town, she’s determined to prove she’s more than just a pretty face who knows how to bat her eyelashes.

For years, Timothy O’Conner has loved Gwen from a distance, knowing someone like her would never be attracted to a lowly ranch hand with a blemished face like him. When Gwen unexpectedly shows up at the ranch, asking him to help her learn how to attract a man of quality, Tim’s feelings become even harder to suppress.

When danger pushes them together, they discover there’s more to each other than either of them imagined. Though God is no respecter of persons, is the desire of their hearts strong enough to defy society’s expectations?

Marrying Mr. Wrong is the fourth book in the Frontier Vows Series by award-winning Christian romance author Melissa Jagears. If you like to read about unexpected characters falling in love, you’ll enjoy this tender love story that has the perfect mix of romance and adventure.

Song for the Hunter by Naomi Musch

Tragedy brought them together. Now truth might tear them apart.

Wed to a trading company partner to escape life in Montreal under her harsh father’s thumb, Camilla Bonnet finds herself widowed and pregnant in the Upper Country frontier. When her brother fails to return for her from Fort William, she is cast on the mercy of the trading post owner’s family. She also draws comfort from Bemidii Marchal, a Métis hunter who soothes away her misgivings as he finds his own refuge on Lake Superior’s Madeline Island.

Bemidii’s thoughts of courting a maiden are cut short when he raises his knife against a company man at Fort William’s Great Rendezvous. No one will believe he killed to protect his sister—least of all the beautiful Frenchwoman on Madeline Island who stirs his affections—not when she learns that her brother is dead and Bemidii stands accused of his murder. As the sharp blade of truth divides them, will Bemidii survive the justice of powerful men who are a law unto themselves?

Ever Constant by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse

She’s always determined to be the stable, reliable one. But now her commitment may destroy her.

On the surface, Whitney Powell is happy working with her sled dogs and welcoming the new additions to her family through her sisters’ marriages and an upcoming birth. But her life is full of complications, including an estranged father, that have her on the edge of losing control. Growing up, she was the strong sister, and she can’t give that up now.

When villagers in outlying areas come down with a horrible sickness, Dr. Peter Cameron turns to Whitney and her dogs for help navigating the deep snow, and they become close while ministering to the sick together. Peter has long recognized her finer qualities but is troubled by the emotions and secrets she keeps buried within. He wants to help but wonders if she is more of a risk than his heart can take.

As sickness spreads throughout Nome and another man courts Whitney, she and Peter will discover that sometimes it is only in weakness that you can find strength.

To Disguise the Truth by Jen Turano

When a man arrives at the Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency, anxious to hire them to find a missing heiress, Eunice Holbrooke realizes her past has finally caught up with her . . . and that she may no longer be able to hide under the disguise that has kept her safe for so long. 

Arthur Livingston’s goal in life is to make his mark on the world as a mining industrialist, but after the man who could help him achieve his goal is murdered, Arthur feels compelled to seek justice for the family–but he’s left with more questions than answers after the eccentric Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency refuses to take on his case. 

Desperate to conceal her real identity and avoid the irritatingly handsome Arthur, Eunice takes on a different case that requires her to go deep undercover and entangles her in one troublesome situation after another. When other secrets come to light, Eunice has no choice but to confront her past, hopeful that it will set her free but knowing it could very well place her life–and the lives of those she loves–in jeopardy.

To Treasure an Heiress by Roseanna M. White

1906 

Beth Tremayne has always been drawn to adventure. During her childhood, she fed that desire by exploring every inch of the Isles of Scilly. Now, after stumbling across an old collection of letters and a map buried on her family’s property, she’s found more adventure than she ever anticipated in the hunt for pirate treasure. But in order to discover where the clues lead, she must search alongside Lord Sheridan, a man she finds insufferable.

Sheridan has spent years pursuing whatever archaeological interests pique his imagination. And when he discovers that Beth’s search connects with one of his far-removed pirate ancestors, he can’t help getting involved. Plus, he finds her irresistible, even though she insists he stole a prized possession of hers.

As they work together following different clues and drawing closer to danger, they start to piece together a story of tragic love and piratical adventure. But which treasure will bring the greatest surprise–the one they find in each other or the one just out of their reach?

Love’s Twisting Trail by Betty Woods

Stampedes, wild animals, and renegade Comanches make a cattle drive dangerous for any man. The risks multiply when Charlotte Grimes goes up the trail disguised as Charlie, a fourteen year-old boy. She promised her dying father she’d save their ranch after her brother, Tobias, mismanages their money. To keep her vow, she rides the trail with the brother she can’t trust.

David Shepherd needs one more successful drive to finish buying the ranch he’s prayed for. He partners with Tobias to travel safely through Indian Territory. David detests the hateful way Tobias treats his younger brother, Charlie. He could easily love the boy like the brother he’s always wanted. But what does he do when he discovers Charlie’s secret? What kind of woman would do what she’s done?

The trail takes an unexpected twist when Charlotte falls in love with David. She’s afraid to tell him of her deception. Such a God-fearing, honest gentleman is bound to despise the kind of woman who dares to wear a man’s trousers and venture on a cattle drive. Since her father left her half the ranch, she intends to continue working the land like any other man after she returns to Texas. David would never accept her as she is.

Choosing between keeping her promise to her father or being with the man she loves may put Charlotte’s heart in more danger than any of the hazards on the trail can.

Four Days Famous by Luana Ehrlich

Mylas Grey doesn’t want to be famous. Not even for a day.
As a private investigator, he prefers to fly under the radar.

However, when a well-known doctor asks Mylas to investigate his father’s murder, that’s exactly what happens. Suddenly, Mylas is dodging reporters while interviewing suspects and searching for the dead man’s elusive girlfriend.

In the end, he narrows his suspects down to three people . . .

First, there’s the fired employee . . .
The man had opportunity and means, but did he have enough fire in his belly?

Then, there’s the ambitious daughter . . .
She had motive, opportunity, and means, but would she really kill her own father?

And finally, there’s the disgruntled client . . .
He had motive and means, but did he have opportunity?

Mylas has a few other things on his mind besides catching the killer, like learning to work with the staff he’s put together at his new private investigative agency, an undertaking that turns out to be more difficult than he anticipated.

And then, there’s the love of his life, Whitney Engel, who’s not sure she wants to be involved with someone who keeps showing up on the national news every night.

As Mylas closes in on the killer, he makes a costly mistake, one that could prove deadly. Will his desperate prayers for a miracle be answered?

Book IV in the Mylas Grey Mystery Series is a fast-paced whodunit, full of intriguing characters, excellent storytelling, and inspiring faith.

The Sword and the Song by Carla Laureano

THE SHADOW OF WAR

Seare is at war. The Red Druid has continued to gain strength and power, and the people of Seare suffer beneath the ravages of the isle’s unbound spirits. The Fíréin are all that stand between the land and certain disaster. But there is strife within the Brotherhood as well: Eoghan still refuses to claim his rightful throne, leaving the responsibilities of rule to Conor and creating an uncomfortable distance between the sworn brothers.

When Conor leaves Ard Dhaimin to find the key to defeating the Red Druid, he delves into a world of shadows and danger which will bring him to the brink of madness and back. All the while Eoghan and Aine are left to pursue their own mission to defeat their adversary through her magical gifts.

But as the final battle looms ever closer, they realize that the cost of defeating the Red Druid may be greater than they’re willing to pay… and that nothing—and no one—is as it seems.

Book Recommendation – Taking a Chance on the Heartbreaker by Liwen Y. Ho

Book Description:

She’s a grad student inexperienced in love. He’s a charming negotiator with a colorful past. Insecurities threaten their relationship when she decides to take a chance on the heartbreaker.

Ashlynn Peters is ever the optimist when it comes to love, but even she’s surprised to cross paths with a real-life Prince Charming. Her childhood crush is back in town, and he’s more handsome than she remembers and also more intriguing than any man she’s ever dated.

Ashlynn finds herself falling hard for Jeremy, only to discover he’s not the perfect guy she thought he was. Will she choose to look past Jeremy’s tarnished armor or give up on finding her happily-ever-after?

Inspired by the author’s own love story, this romantic novella will have you laughing, dreaming, and wondering if fairy tales really do come true.

Narelle’s Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading Taking a Chance on the Heartbreaker, a lovely Christmas romance novella set in San Jose, California. Ashlynn is a grad student who’s living with her older brother and sister-in-law while finishing her Masters degree to become a school counsellor. She works at a jewellery store around her college classes.

Jeremy was the older guy at the church youth group who Ashlynn crushed on when she was in middle school. His family moved away to the East Coast, and he has returned to the Bay Area to work as a contract negotiator. Jeremy and Ashlynn’s meet cute at the jewellery store is adorable, and a sweet romance develops as they get to know each other.

Ashlynn has survived the tragedy of losing her parents, and her older brother is very protective of her. She’s an idealist who wants to marry a man who holds her Christian values regarding love and marriage. Although Jeremy shares her faith, his bad boy past is at odds with Ashlynn’s ideals. I appreciated how Jeremy and Ashlynn navigated this issue in the story. I recommend Taking a Chance on the Heartbreaker to contemporary romance readers who like Christmas novellas with a relevant faith element in the story.

Book Recommendation – A Cross-Country Christmas by Courtney Walsh

Book Description:

Lauren Richmond isn’t a fan of Christmas.

Which is why she rarely makes the trip home to the Midwest for the holidays. After all, she has plenty to keep her busy—namely, her duties as a set decorator on a TV sitcom.

But this December, Lauren‘s brother and his wife are expecting a baby, so her brother arranges a ride home for her with his good friend, Will. 

Unfortunately for Lauren, she’s been trying to forget college baseball coach and childhood crush Will Sinclair for more than ten years.

Now, thanks to her fear of flying, she’s stuck in a car with him from California to Illinois. 

She’s circumspect and organized. He’s flirty and spontaneous.

She’s convinced that people don’t change. He’s trying to prove to her (and himself) that he has. 

On this cross-country road trip, they’ll both discover that history doesn’t exactly repeat itself. . . but like any good Christmas carol, it does have a second verse.

Narelle’s Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading A Cross-Country Christmas and journeying with Lauren and Will on their road trip from the Santa Monica Pier to their hometown in Illinois. Lauren is a very independent person and she has a successful career in TV set design. She likes to be in control and plan out every aspect of her life. But she can’t say no to her brother’s request to come home for Christmas and the imminent birth of her niece or nephew.

Will is a baseball coach in L.A. who’s still coming to terms with how he messed up his major league opportunity in college and disappointed his family and friends. He says yes to his best friend’s request to drive Lauren home to Illinois for Christmas. Will has had feelings for Lauren for years, but he knows he’s not good enough for his best friend’s sister.

Lauren’s heart took a beating years ago when she saw Will at his worst, and she’s determined to protect her heart and resist Will’s charms. She can endure a few days on the road with Will and leave the past in the past.

The road trip detours on their journey home for Christmas are super fun to read. The characters in the story are adorable and hilarious. Will and Lauren’s bumpy romance journey has a poignant and satisfying ending. I recommend A Cross-Country Christmas to readers who like Christmas rom com road trip stories that include the ‘I-hate-you’ and ‘brother’s best friend’ romance tropes.

Book Recommendation – Christmas at the Inn by Ashley Clark

Book Description:

Fairhope, Alabama. 1952.

Take a trip to Millie’s Boardinghouse this Christmas…

When Walter and Violet fake a relationship for the sake of their families, they find themselves in a surprising situation under the mistletoe thanks to Millie, the inn’s owner.

But just as sparks begin to fly and Walter prepares to confess his feelings, he gets news from his family that will have both he and Violet reevaluating what they really want this Christmas… and for their future.

Narelle’s Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading this short historical romance novella set in the early 1950’s in Alabama, USA. Violet has big plans to travel and see the world. She takes a short term position at Millie’s Inn to help her family financially and save money for her overseas travels. Violet wants to marry for love and she resists parental pressure to marry and settle down.

The story opens with Walter proposing to his girlfriend at the Inn. His public humiliation is on full display when his girlfriend rejects his proposal and runs away. The awkward proposal is Violet’s first impression of Walter, and she’s drawn to him despite the unique circumstances.

Walter asks Violet if she can pretend to be his fiancé because he doesn’t want to disappoint his parents. She agrees, and in return Walter will assist Violet by faking a relationship when visiting with her family.

A fun and charming romance unfolds in first person, present tense viewpoint. I recommend Christmas at the Inn to historical romance readers who like 1950’s era sweet and wholesome fake relationship Christmas romance novellas.

Book Recommendation – A (kinda) Country Christmas by Krista Phillips

Book Description:

Celebrate the holidays with this sweet contemporary inspirational romance novella (with a splash of humor!) about a woman who is surrounded by Christmas and a man who could – eh- do without it.

Sadie Jenkins lives and breathes Christmas every, single day of the year. Owner of Bethlehem’s Boutique in the tourist mountain town of Gatlinburg, TN, she has no room for the bad boys of her past and devotes her whole life to the struggling boutique and her teenage daughter, Maribelle. She’s perfectly happy with her country-living life until he walks into her store.

Nate Myers travels the globe for his job and has the bank account to prove his success. The former “bad” boy is in town for a short visit with his sister and is determined to not get caught up in all the Christmas hype. But then he falls for the beautiful shopkeeper—quite literally. 

Will these two (sorta) opposites be able to find a happily-ever-after together?

Narelle’s Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading A (kinda) Country Christmas novella set in the small Smoky Mountains town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Sadie is a single mother who inherited her parents’ Christmas store. Her parents relocated the family from Indiana to Tennessee after Sadie became pregnant at sixteen to her drug addicted boyfriend. Sadie grew up fast and has raised her daughter, Mari, to share her faith. The Christmas store is struggling financially and Sadie is worried about how they will pay for Mari’s college tuition.

Nate is a well traveled businessman with no financial concerns and no real home. His sister, Kendra, lives in Gatlinburg and he agrees to visit with her and stay long enough to watch her theatre performance. Nate discovers Sadie’s Christmas store and their meet cute is hilarious.

Kendra is good friends with Sadie, and Kendra’s matchmaking efforts are complicated by Sadie and Nate’s initial first impressions of each other at the Christmas store. A fun romance develops as Nate searches for home and Sadie wrestles with finances and moving into the empty nest stage of life when Mari leaves for college. I recommend A (kinda) Country Christmas to readers who like fun small town Christmas romantic comedies with a strong faith element.

Book Recommendation – The Breakup Project by Carolyn Miller

Book Description:

New Year. New Resolution. New Love?
What happens when the best-laid plans break a friendship?

As the twin sister of hockey’s hottest forward, romance-loving Bree Karlsson is used to being ignored, leading to a New Year’s resolution to not date any athlete in her attempt to find Mr. Right. But what happens when the man who might prove to be her personal Mr. Darcy is her brother’s hockey-playing best friend?

Mike Vaughan might be happy playing in Boston, but he’d be even happier if Bree could one day see him as more than a good friend. He agrees to help Bree with a special project in the hope she’ll finally see him as something more. But when a misunderstanding ends in a Valentine’s Day disaster, Bree realizes that her breakup project may have broken her friendship with Mike in two. Can she ever redeem her mistake?

This friends-to-more romance has plenty of heart, humor, and swoon-worthy kisses in this first book of the Original Six, a sweet, slightly sporty Christian contemporary romance series.

Narelle’s Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading The Break-Up Project, set in Toronto, Canada, and Boston, USA. Bree feels like she lives in the shadow of Brent, her hockey star twin brother. She is happy working in a day care centre in Toronto, and her normal life is poles apart from her twin’s life. Bree is concerned that Brent’s current life choices, including a new and glamorous social climbing girlfriend, are at odds with his faith and Christian beliefs. Bree enlists the help of her brother’s best friend, Mike, to encourage her twin to get his life back on track.

Mike plays hockey for Boston, and has long kept his feelings for Bree a secret. When Bree asks for his help with the Brent situation, Mike is happy to assist and rekindle his friendship with Bree. Mike would love their friendship to progress into romance territory, but Bree is determined to avoid dating hockey players and she keeps giving Mike mixed signals.

A fun and engaging romance develops as both Bree and Mike are challenged to consider whether they could become more than friends in God’s timing. They live in different countries, and Mike’s philanthropy includes supporting a child sponsorship charity based in the Philippines. I highly recommend The Breakup Project (Original Six Romance, Book 1) to contemporary romance readers who like friends-to-more romances and brother’s best friend romance stories with a strong faith element set in the sporting world of ice hockey. Many thanks to Carolyn for providing an Advanced Reader Copy. The Breakup Project is available for pre-order at a special pre-order price and will release on December 29, 2021. Pre-order at Amazon here.

Book Recommendation – Upon A Midnight Snow by Tari Faris

Book Description:

Can a return home find the answers they are both searching for?

Interior Design student Ellie Matthews has escaped to New York City, leaving behind her small town of Heritage, and most importantly, the boy who almost derailed her dreams, Kade Paxton. Sure, she’s excited to return home for Christmas, but she’s fixed her gaze on her future. Even when her sister, Olivia begs her to plan the annual Heritage Christmas Ball. And then her partner in planning shows up…

Wanna-be painter, current mechanic Kade Paxton can’t believe the girl who walked out of his life is back…and that in order to keep his promise to his aunt, he’ll have to actually work with her. The last thing he’s going to do let Ellie in to break his heart all over again. But, with the opportunity to showcase his paintings, this might be his one chance to grab ahold of his dreams…But working together stirs up old dreams, and soon they find themselves caught up in the holiday magic…but what happens when the ball is over? Is there a future beyond the small town and snowflakes?

It’ll take some miracles under a Midnight Clear to find the answer. Return to Heritage one more time with this heartwarming Christmas novella.

Narelle’s Thoughts:

Tari Faris’ Restoring Heritage series is one the best contemporary Christian romance series I’ve read this year. I enjoyed reading Upon A Midnight Snow that chronologically follows on from Since You’ve Been Gone (Book 3).

Upon A Midnight Snow is a short Christmas novella that can be read as a standalone story. However, the delightful Christmas novella While It Was Snowing (Book 2.5) introduces Kade and Ellie and the early days of their romance. Upon A Midnight Snow opens a year later at Christmas time in Heritage, Michigan.

Ellie is a small town girl with big New York City dreams. Six months ago she left Heritage and left behind Kade for college at New York University (NYU). She relies on her parents to help pay her interior design tuition and she shares a NYC apartment with her college friend, Rylie. Ellie and Rylie plan to spend their Christmas break in Heritage with Ellie’s large family.

Kade is a mechanic who dreams of earning a living from his art and painting full-time. He’s heartbroken by Ellie’s decision six months earlier to break up with him because she doesn’t want to do a long distance relationship. Kade has applied to colleges in NYC and is collecting a pile of rejection letters. His mother left his father a few years ago to follow her artistic dreams, and Kade’s dad is opposed to Kade following in her footsteps. A small town job as a motor mechanic, or working on the floor at Heritage Fruits, is the future Kade’s father wants for him.

A fun and charming reunion romance unfolds as Ellie and Kade are thrown together to organise the annual Christmas Adam dance on December 23. Otis, the brass hippo who mysteriously moves around town, also makes an appearance in the story. I recommend Upon A Midnight Snow to contemporary romance readers who enjoy small town Christmas romance novellas with a light and relevant faith element.

Book Recommendation – Nowhere for Christmas by Heather Gray

Book Description:

Two virtual strangers, one teen, and the worst rental car in the history of mankind…

Let the road trip begin.

Avery Weston is a journalist and mom to teenager Eli. Gavin Eastly is an enigmatic photographer.

A botched schedule lands them all in a rental car for Christmas. With everything that goes wrong, it’ll take a miracle to get them anywhere. But miracles come in surprising packages – like a bait shop owner moonlighting as a mechanic and a deputy whose family can’t agree on how to remove a skunk’s stink.

It’s the perfect recipe for romance.

Join Avery, Eli, and Gavin as they learn that reaching the destination doesn’t mean the journey’s over. God has so much more in store for them.

After all—anything can happen on the road to Nowhere.

Narelle’s Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading Nowhere for Christmas and journeying with the characters on their crazy and hilarious road trip to Nowhere, Oklahoma. Avery is a single mother with a 15 year old son, Eli. Avery works at the local newspaper in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and is sent on an assignment with a photographer to write a Christmas feature on Nowhere, Oklahoma.

Gavin is a successful photojournalist who walked away from his career for reasons that are not in the public domain. He has been hired by the newspaper and will be working with Avery on the new syndicated assignments that require travel. Gavin is not impressed when Avery arrives to collect him for their road trip assignment in an ancient hatchback rental with her teen son.

The road trip is one disaster after another, and both Avery and Gavin see each other at their worst. Desperate circumstances can be bonding, and the group of three gets to know each other as they face many unexpected challenges on the road to Nowhere. I loved the heartfelt moments and character vulnerability exposed as they all worked together to survive the road trip and somehow celebrate Christmas. I recommend Road to Nowhere to readers who like fun and laugh-out-loud rom com Christmas novellas underpinned by a solid faith message.