Book Recommendation – Under a Blue Moon by Phillip Cook

A terrifying insight into the dangers lurking in the unseen spiritual world.

Book Description:

Sometimes a circle of like-minded people can cause grave concerns…

Ruby Fisher has a world full of possibilities but no sense of direction. The twenty-something hopes an island festival will give her life new purpose. But she never expected it to end with her buried alive …

When Ruby miraculously survives her ordeal, she becomes the target of an obsessed woman and her partner—their motives unclear but influenced by dark forces and driven to complete what they had not finished. With the help of two detectives and a demon seer, Ruby learns she can no longer deny the existence of an invisible world.

And to uphold the balance between worlds, she may just need the help of a supernatural deity…

Under a Blue Moon is the third book in an electrifying series of faith based supernatural mysteries. If you like explorations of things unseen, breakneck pacing, and crime dramas with a dash of spirituality, then you’ll love Phillip Cook’s entrancing series.

Narelle’s Thoughts:

Can you imagine being buried alive and left for dead? This is the nightmare that confronts Ruby Fisher when she unknowingly enters a world of darkness during a weekend away at a remote island near Brisbane in Queensland, Australia.

Under a Blue Moon provides a terrifying insight into the dangers lurking in the unseen spiritual world. Recommended for readers who enjoy Christian supernatural mysteries.

Tuesday Book Chat – Australasian Christian Writers | 22nd October 2019

Today I’m hosting the Tuesday Book Chat on the Australasian Christian Writers (ACW) blog. Each Tuesday we discuss a bookish question of the week.

Our question for this week – What’s next on your to-read list? (Or is yours a mountain?)

Stop by the ACW blog to join in the conversation.

https://australasianchristianwriters.com/tuesday-book-chat-29/

First Line Friday | Grace in the Shadows by Christine Dillon

Today I’m joining in the fun by sharing a book for First Line Friday. The deal is we pick up the nearest book (or in my case, the nearest device with an ebook in it) and quote the first line.

Congratulations to Christine! Grace in the Shadows won the CALEB Award General Fiction category at the Omega Writers Conference held in Sydney, Australia.

I liked reading Grace in Strange Disguise, the first book in the series, but I loved reading Grace in the Shadows! Check out my book recommendation for Grace in the Shadows here.

I’m sharing the first two paragraphs because the first line, on its own, is a cliche. Add the second paragraph and you have beautiful writing with emotional power. I used Christine’s opening pages as an example in my Omega Writers Conference fiction workshop last weekend.

It was love at first sight.

And second. And third.

#FirstLineFriday – Grace in the Shadows by Christine Dillon #ContemporaryFiction – via @NarelleAtkins Click To Tweet

Here’s the book description:

Physiotherapist Esther has survived cancer, but wounds within her family remain unhealed. Is her revived faith the reason for the rift or could a simmering secret be the root cause?

Cosmetics consultant Rachel buried her past – and her father’s God – but the past refuses to stay buried. Will she continue to run or is confronting her pain the way to freedom?

Two women. One collision course with truth.

Can God’s grace shine even in the darkest of shadows?

Click the image below for the Hoarding Books Blog to check out the opening lines posted today by the #FirstLineFriday bloggers. Share the opening line from a book in the comments. Happy Reading!

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Book Recommendation ~ Grace in the Shadows by Christine Dillon

I laughed and I cried and I couldn’t put this book down. A brilliant story with a strong gospel message that makes this book a keeper.

Book Description:

Physiotherapist Esther has survived cancer, but wounds within her family remain unhealed. Is her revived faith the reason for the rift or could a simmering secret be the root cause?

Cosmetics consultant Rachel buried her past – and her father’s God – but the past refuses to stay buried. Will she continue to run or is confronting her pain the way to freedom?

Two women. One collision course with truth.

Can God’s grace shine even in the darkest of shadows?

Narelle’s Thoughts:

Wow. If I could only describe my thoughts on this book using a single word, then wow is the word. I’ve read Grace in Strange Disguise (Book 1) and it was a good read, but it’s the collision course in this book of Esther’s continuing story with Rachel’s story that makes this book a compelling read.

I loved Rachel’s character, and I empathised with her as I learned more about her past. Rachel’s deep emotional pain is raw and real. It took great courage for Rachel to deal with the consequences of the difficult choices she’d made when she was younger. Esther’s life isn’t easy, and her strong faith is a shining light despite the problems in her own life and her frustration in trying to reconcile her fractured family.

I laughed and I cried and I couldn’t put this book down because I had to know what happens next. I highly recommend Grace in the Shadows to readers who are looking for a brilliant story with a strong gospel message that will challenge them to consider a Christian perspective on contemporary issues.

Tuesday Book Chat – Australasian Christian Writers | 15th October 2019

Today I’m hosting the Tuesday Book Chat on the Australasian Christian Writers (ACW) blog. Each Tuesday we discuss a bookish question of the week.

Our question for this week – Do you like maps in a book, or not? What about family trees, or word lists?

Stop by the ACW blog to join in the conversation.

https://australasianchristianwriters.com/tuesday-book-chat-28/

Book Recommendation – Love and Other Mistakes by Jessica Kate

A fun contemporary romance with many layers that explores the family dynamics behind the ‘perfect Christian’ mask.

Book Description:

Jessica Kate’s hilarious, romantic debut novel proves that love comes in God’s own time.

Natalie Groves once had big dreams. But soon after her fiancé, Jeremy Walters, inexplicably broke off their engagement and left town, her father was diagnosed with cancer. Now tasked with keeping her family afloat, Natalie’s grand plans have evaporated . . . and God feels very far away.

Fast-forward seven years, and Jeremy is back in Charlottesville with an infant son and years of regrets. When his niece, Lili, lands on his doorstep in need of a place to stay, Jeremy needs help—and fast.

An internship opening finally presents Natalie a chance at her dream job, but she needs a second income to work around it—and the only offer available is Jeremy’s. They could be the solutions to one another’s problems, provided they don’t kill each other in the process. When they join forces, sparks fly. But they both know there’s a thin line between love and hate . . . and that love will turn out to be the best decision—or the biggest mistake—of all. 

Narelle’s Thoughts:

Life is messy and Christians are imperfect people who make a lot of mistakes. That’s the takeaway message I pondered after reading Jessica Kate’s debut contemporary romance novel. This is not a story that sugarcoats the tough issues or promises a rosy life for believers.

Natalie was a complex character who I had mixed feelings about as I read the book. Her willingness to make sacrifices and devote time and energy to care for her elderly parents was commendable. At times her immaturity had me rolling my eyes and wondering if she really was twenty-six years old. I also didn’t connect with her almost obsessive determination to achieve her ‘career-Christian’ goals, and I totally understood why Jem (Jeremy) questioned her motives and ambition.

Jeremy was an interesting character who had taken responsibility for the choices he’d made in his life. He was one of the few characters in the story who was living an authentic life. He’s now a single dad who regrets breaking off his engagement to Natalie seven years earlier, and he appreciates Natalie helping him out by nannying his adorable baby son. Jem was willing to explore his strong connection with Natalie and see where it leads, despite her less-than-encouraging attitude.

I enjoyed the reunion romance element in the story and the humorous moments from Natalie and Jem’s shared history. I’m personally not a big fan of what I call the ‘I-hate-you’ romance trope, and I liked the second half of the book much more because Natalie and Jem’s relationship had progressed past that stage.

My favorite character in the story was Lili, who is Jem’s sixteen year old niece. Lili was real and broken by the burden that was placed upon her by her self-absorbed pastor parents. Lili’s friendship with Nick and her struggle to negotiate her messy family situation added a complexity to the story that exposed the truth behind the happy family facade.

Love and Other Mistakes is a fun contemporary romance with many layers that explores the family dynamics behind the ‘perfect Christian’ mask. Recommended for readers who enjoy rom-coms that include family drama.

ACFW New Releases: October 2019

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

Biblical Fiction:

Lioness: Mahlah’s Journey by Barbara M. Britton — To keep her orphaned sisters together, Mahlah must seek what has never been granted to girls, an inheritance of God’s Promised Land. (Biblical from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])


Contemporary Romance:

Hiding from Christmas by Alice K. Arenz — No matter how hard she tries, Maddie Kelley can’t seem to fit in at Ornamental, a company founded by her great grandfather and his best friend. Now, after yet another screw-up, she’s been sent into the “enemy’s” camp—two hours away from home for the next two months. A punishment or a blessing? Her life is turned upside down when the mundane turns unexpected, and she finally discovers where her heart truly lies. (Contemporary Romance from Forget Me Not Romances [Winged Publications])

Practically Married by Karin Beery — Ashley Johnson moved to northern Michigan to finally meet her fiancé face-to-face, but she arrived in time to attend his funeral. With no home back in Ohio, she decides to stay in what would have been their house, except his cousin Russ lives there too, and Russ has never heard of Ashley. To complicate matters, her fiancé accidentally willed her the family farm house. Eager to please everyone and desperate to disappoint no one, she proposes a marriage of convenience that could solve her and Russ’ problems, if they can get past her aunt, his sisters, and an ex-girlfriend. (Contemporary Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Once Upon a Christmas by Andrea Boyd, Mikal DawnToni ShilohAngela Ruth Strong, and Jaycee Weaver — Embrace the magic of the Christmas season with these contemporary twists on timeless tales. Upon a Dream: A rare sleeping disorder keeps Talia from performing, but when Philip recognizes her gift, he’ll do whatever it takes to see her onstage. Claim My Heart: Li Na and Colin Wen face off in a Mulan-esque courtroom battle where the real win might be losing their hearts. A Snow White Christmas: Sheltered heiress Amala White flees her conniving stepmother’s plans and finds refuge with a handsome orchard owner and his seven quirky uncles. Christmas Ella: Reality TV meets Cinderella story when a location director is swept off her feet by a rising star. A Splash of Love: Las Vegas glitz meets Land of Enchantment culture in A Splash of Love, a modern twist on the Little Mermaid. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

The Twin Bargain by Lisa Carter — A mutually beneficial temporary arrangement…But can they keep it strictly professional? Nursing student Amber Fleming couldn’t be more stunned when ex-marine Ethan Green makes an offer: he’ll babysit her twin girls if she cares for his injured grandmother. Amber knows it’s temporary. Ethan isn’t one for roots—or their hometown. But his steadfast caring has her wanting more than friendship. And with help from Amber’s mischievous twins, can they risk becoming a forever family? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

The Amish Christmas Matchmaker by Vannetta Chapman — With her wedding business thriving, Annie Kauffmann could never leave her beloved Amish community. So when handsome Amish cowboy Levi Lapp tries to convince her father to move the family to Texas, she must put a stop to it. If Annie finds Levi a wife, he might forget his dream of moving…but can she keep from falling for him herself? (Amish Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Sara’s Gift by Kimberly Rose Johnson — Christmas is the season of giving, but Sara isn’t sure she is up to the task. Playing secret angel in high school was fun, and now, years later, Sara has the opportunity to do it once more on a bigger scale. She enlists the help of Gabe, her long-time best friend, to come up with a deserving recipient. But something is off with Gabe—he’s more attentive than usual.
The Christmas season has put Gabe in a reflective mood. His evaluation of his life has left him lonely and wanting more. But can his heart have its desire? That’s up to Sara. Can these two long-time best friends navigate their changing relationship, or will the romance Grinch steal their Christmas joy? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Their Christmas Prayer by Myra Johnson — Searching for a new start, Pastor Shaun O’Grady can’t wait for his next foreign missionary assignment…until he begins working with Brooke Willoughby on the church’s Christmas outreach program. Even as they clash over program specifics, Shaun and Brooke are drawn to each other. Now Shaun’s not sure where he belongs: overseas for his ministry, or at home by Brooke’s side… (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Her Amish Holiday Suitor by Carrie Lighte — Lucy Knepp has no time for heartbreaker Nick Burkholder…until a pretend courtship means she can finish her embroidery for a Christmas fund-raiser in peace. Nick’s arrangement with the too-reserved Lucy is the perfect cover while he repairs the cabin his brother damaged. But once Nick sees how vibrant Lucy really is, can he prove himself—and show their love is for all seasons? (Amish Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


General/Contemporary:

Chasing Dreams by Deborah Raney — Reconsidering her dream of law school, Joanna Chandler finds promise in a possible wedding planning career—especially when she meets wedding DJ Lukas Blaine. But there’s more to Luke than meets the eye. The angry young boy he’s been mentoring has lost his mother and become Luke’s ward. How can Luke possibly find the time to start a new relationship or saddle someone else with a wounded child? He may have to let go of the woman of his dreams–and crush her dreams at the same time. (General/Contemporary from Kregel Publications)


Historical Romance:

Unwrapping Hope by Sandra Ardoin — When Phoebe receives a handcrafted cigar box by mistake, her desperation to give her daughter something special for Christmas drives her to suggest a trade with Spence Newland, a man she views as no more principled than her daughter’s late father. But the more time she spends with the department store heir, the more Phoebe struggles to keep up her guard against him. Spence believes the cigar box will help him gain a reclusive investor’s financial support for his proposed five-and-ten-cent stores. Yet he hesitates to bargain with a widow who mistrusts him for no apparent reason…until he meets a charming little girl at the train station who awaits the arrival of a prince. Will a betrayal in Phoebe’s past and Spence’s unraveling business plans derail their hope for happiness and keep a child’s fairy tale from coming true? (Historical Romance from Corner Room Books)

Hope’s Highest Mountain by Misty M. Beller — Ingrid Chastain travels readily with her father to deliver vaccines to a mining town in the Montana Territory. But after a tragic accident leaves her alone and injured, Ingrid finds rescue in the form of a mysterious mountain man who tends her wounds. Micah Bradley gave up his own medical career after unintentionally bringing home the smallpox disease that killed his wife and daughter. With Ingrid dead set on trekking through the mountains to deliver the medicine as soon as she’s well enough, he has no choice but to accompany her through the treacherous, snow-covered Rocky Mountains. The risk-laden journey ahead will change their lives more than they could have known. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

Aiming for Love by Mary Connealy — Josephine Nordegren is one of three sisters who grew up nearly wild in southwestern Colorado. She has the archery skills of Robin Hood and the curiosity of the Little Mermaid, fascinated by but locked away from the forbidden outside world–a world she’s been raised to believe killed her parents. When David Warden, a rancher, brings in a herd much too close to the girls’ secret home, her older sister especially is frightened, but Jo is too interested to stay away. David’s parents follow soon on his heels, escaping bandits at their ranch. David’s father is wounded and needs shelter. Josephine and her sisters have the only cabin on the mountain. Do they risk stepping into the world to help those in need? Or do they remain separated but safe in the peaks of Hope Mountain? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

Lessons on Love by Susanne DietzeRita Gerlach, Kathleen L. Maher, and Carrie Fancett Pagels — Step back into the classroom alongside four new teachers who face unexpected tests. In 1840 New York, Gilda’s religious beliefs are challenged. In 1870 Kansas, Mary helps ostracized immigrant children. In 1894 Michigan, Jesse discovers an unlikely friendship. And in 1904 Virginia, Margaret wants to make controversial changes. Will these tests teach the teachers about faith and love? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)


Mystery:

The Silver Lode by Suzanne J Bratcher — A dying child and a seventy-year-old cold case draw historian Paul Russell and antiques expert Marty Greenlaw into a desperate search for the silver lode, a rich deposit of silver and gold one person considers worth murdering to keep. (Mystery from Mantle Rock Publishing)


Romantic Suspense:

Deadly Commitment by Kathy Harris — When Danielle Kemp walks out of her downtown Nashville condominium, she gets the eerie feeling that someone is watching her. She’s convinced that the homeless man outside her building is stalking her. But after learning the real identity of the intimidating stranger, she faces something even more threatening?the truth about her fiancé. (Romantic Suspense from New Hope Publishing)

Cold Pursuit by Gayla K. Hiss — A December tour of Yellowstone National Park sounded like the perfect escape from Faith Chandler’s problems at home—until she discovers her tour guide is her jilted childhood sweetheart, Jake Mitchell. (Romantic Suspense from Mountain Brook Ink)

Legacy Restored by Robin Patchen — She’s a new Christian working to take down an art thief and murderer. He’s a grieving artist who refuses to let another woman die needlessly. When their desires clash, will it lead to hostility… or fireworks? (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)


Young Adult:

Heart of a Royal by Hannah Currie — Brought to the palace as a newborn, the royal life bestowed upon Mackenna Sparrow was never meant to last forever. With Princess Alina engaged to be married, Mackenna’s presence as companion is no longer required and, like it or not, she must return to the birthright which should have been hers – that of a commoner. But not everyone at the palace wants her gone. When the truths she’s based her life on start crumbling as fast as her future, will she find the courage to trust, both herself and the prince she’s fallen in love with? (Young Adult from WhiteFire Publishing)

First Line Friday | Dancing at Daybreak by Valerie Comer

Today I’m joining in the fun by sharing a book for First Line Friday. The deal is we pick up the nearest book (or in my case, the nearest device with an ebook in it) and quote the first line.

I’m sharing the first line from Dancing at Daybreak by Valerie Comer. A great emotion-charged opening line that makes me want to read more.

Before I read this book, I need to catch up and read a couple of the earlier books in the series that are sitting in my Kindle tbr list. I have too many favourite authors who write and publish books faster than I can keep up with reading them, lol. A good problem to have, right?

“Mama, why don’t you live here anymore?”

#FirstLineFriday – Dancing at Daybreak by Valerie Comer @valeriecomer #ContemporaryRomance #NewRelease – via @NarelleAtkins Click To Tweet

Dancing at Daybreak was a September new release. Here’s the book description:

A reformed party boy wants to make an honest woman out of his baby’s mother in this second chance romance.

Dixie Wayling thought she’d found love with her third child’s father until the guy found Jesus. Right. Like she wanted anything to do with killjoy religion, especially when Dan issues his ultimatum: get married… or one of them moves out. Wasn’t going to be her.

Dan Ranta can’t give up his newfound faith to keep Dixie, but after she leaves the kids to go drinking with friends, he turns the tables and boots her out of the house he’s paying rent on. She declares her own conditions: give up Jesus and she’ll take him back.

What will it take for Dixie to overcome her past and find a deep faith of her own? How can Dan stand strong? Sorrow has certainly come for the night, but will there truly be joy in the morning?

Click the image below for the Hoarding Books Blog to check out the opening lines posted today by the #FirstLineFriday bloggers. Share the opening line from a book in the comments. Happy Reading!

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

First Line Friday | A Heart Rearranged by Elizabeth Maddrey

Today I’m joining in the fun by sharing a book for First Line Friday. The deal is we pick up the nearest book (or in my case, the nearest device with an ebook in it) and quote the first line.

I’m sharing the first line from A Heart Rearranged  by Elizabeth Maddrey. I’ve including the first two paragraphs to provide context for the intriguing opening line.

“Why are you in here?”

Vanessa Fisher turned, scowling, and saw Topher Adams standing next to three large, rolling coolers with his hands on his hips. The guy might be hot, and his wedding cakes were amazing works of art, but he defined unfriendly and hard to work with. “Checking on flowers. Which I see you moved. Again.”

#FirstLineFriday – A Heart Rearranged by Elizabeth Maddrey @elizabethmaddre #ContemporaryRomance #NewRelease – via @NarelleAtkins Click To Tweet

A Heart Rearranged was a September new release. Here’s the book description:

Her professional life would be perfect, if he’d get out of her way.

Vanessa Fisher delights in providing the flowers for weddings and other social events. Except when Topher Adams is doing the cake. The man is always rearranging her centerpieces and deriding her job. It’s almost as if he’s doing it just to get under her skin.

Topher can get along with everyone—with the notable exception of Vanessa. That woman brings out the worst in him. It wouldn’t be a problem if she wasn’t so good at what she did. As it is, they keep ending up at more and more events together.

Something has to change, and Topher is man enough to take the first step.

When he drops by her shop with a peace offering, he walks in on a tense moment between Vanessa and her mother. Agreeing to be Vanessa’s date at a family dinner is easy. Having her in his debt is just a bonus.

Vanessa realizes spending time with Topher isn’t so bad. Maybe they could continue the charade for a few more weeks.

A fake relationship with Vanessa? What could go wrong?

It’s not like they’re going to fall in love for real . . .

Return to Peacock Hill and reconnect with old friends and make new ones in this clean, Christian contemporary romance full of realistic problems and a journey to lasting love.

Click the image below for the Hoarding Books Blog to check out the opening lines posted today by the #FirstLineFriday bloggers. Share the opening line from a book in the comments. Happy Reading!

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Tuesday Book Chat – Australasian Christian Writers | 24th September 2019

Today I’m hosting the Tuesday Book Chat on the Australasian Christian Writers (ACW) blog. Each Tuesday we discuss a bookish question of the week.

Our question for this week – Where would you like to visit in a novel?

Stop by the ACW blog to join in the conversation.

https://australasianchristianwriters.com/tuesday-book-chat-27/