Thursday, April 29, 2010

Christy Award Nominees 2010

The Christy Award nominees were announced this week and the list is full of some great books. I've read three of them and have a handful of others yet to be read on my shelf. The winners of the award will be announced on June 26, 2010.

Breach of Trust by DiAnn Mills - Tyndale House Publishers
How Sweet It Is by Alice J. Wisler - Bethany House Publishers (Baker Publishing Group)
Stand-In Groom by Kaye Dacus - Barbour Publishing

Who Do I Talk To? by Neta Jackson - Thomas Nelson
The Hope of Refuge by Cindy Woodsmall - WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group
Daisy Chain by Mary DeMuth - Zondervan

June Bug by Chris Fabry - Tyndale House Publishers
The Passion of Mary-Margaret by Lisa Samson - Thomas Nelson
Veiled Freedom by Jeanette Windle - Tyndale House Publishers

The Familiar Stranger by Christina Berry - Moody Publishers
Fireflies in December by Jennifer Erin Valent - Tyndale House Publishers
Scared by Tom Davis - David C. Cook

A Flickering Light by Jane Kirkpatrick - WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group
Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin - Bethany House Publishers (Baker Publishing Group)
The Swiss Courier by Tricia Goyer & Mike Yorkey - Revell Books (Baker Publishing Group)

Beyond This Moment by Tamera Alexander - Bethany House Publishers (Baker Publishing Group)
A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist - Bethany House Publishers (Baker Publishing Group)
The Inheritance by Tamera Alexander - Thomas Nelson
The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen - Bethany House Publishers (Baker Publishing Group)

Intervention by Terri Blackstock - Zondervan
Lost Mission by Athol Dickson - Howard Books: a Division of Simon & Schuster
The Night Watchman by Mark Mynheir - WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson - Marcher Lord Press
The Enclave by Karen Hancock - Bethany House Publishers (Baker Publishing Group)
Valley of the Shadow by Tom Pawlik - Tyndale House Publishers

Beautiful by Cindy Martinusen-Coloma - Thomas Nelson
The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason - David C. Cook
North! or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson - WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Spring's Renewal by Shelley Shepard Gray

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Spring's Renewal

(Avon Inspire - April 2010)

Shelley Shepherd Gray


Since 2000, Shelley Sabga has sold twenty-six novels to numerous publishers. She has written a seven book contemporary series for Avalon books. She also published The Love Letter, a western for Avalon. Five Star Expressions published Suddenly, You in February of 2007. This novel is a historical western set in the mountains of Colorado.

Shelley has written nine novels for Harlequin American Romance. Cinderella Christmas, her first novel with them, reached number six on the Waldenbooks Bestseller list. Her second book with them, Simple Gifts won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice award for best Harlequin American Romance of 2006. The Mommy Bride, was chosen by Romantic Times Magazine as one of their TOP PICKS for May, 2008.

Under the name Shelley Shepard Gray, Shelley writes Amish romances for Harper Collins’ inspirational line, Avon Inspire. HIDDEN and WANTED the first two novels of her ‘Sisters of the Heart’ series, were chosen to be Alternate Selections for the Doubleday/ Literary Guild Book Club. FORGIVEN, book 3, has received glowing reviews. Avon Inspire will release four novels by Shelley in 2010.

Before writing romances, Shelley lived in Texas and Colorado, where she taught school and earned both her bachelors and masters degrees in education. She now lives in southern Ohio and writes full time. Shelley is married, the mother of two teenagers, and is an active member of her church.


Tim Graber arrives in Sugarcreek to help his aunt and uncle with spring planting. At first, Tim doesn't fit in with his many cousins and their crowded lifestyle. But when he meets Clara Slabaugh, the local school teacher, he understands why the Lord brought him to Sugarcreek.

Clara is shy and quiet. Scarred from a fire when she was small, Clara has resigned herself to living alone and caring for her mother, who tells her that no man will ever see past her scars, and that Clara needs to keep teaching in order to make ends meet.

Her father passed away years ago, and her mother depends on her. But the scars mean nothing to Tim. He appreciates her quiet nature and her wonderful, loving way with children. Yet Tim has a sweetheart back home in Indiana. As these two hearts struggle to determine their path, tragedy strikes, and every other worry seems insignificant in comparison.

Though they now face a life they never imagined, will Tim and Clara have the faith to step out and risk everything for a chance at true love?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Spring's Renewal, go HERE.

The Anonymous Bride by Vickie McDonough

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Anonymous Bride

(Barbour Publishing, Inc. - April 1, 2010)

Vickie McDonough


Award-winning author Vickie McDonough believes God is the ultimate designer of romance. She loves writing stories where the characters find their true love and grow in their faith.

Vickie has had 18 books published. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and is currently serving as ACFW treasurer. Vickie has also been a book reviewer for nine years.

She is a wife of thirty-five years, mother of four sons, and grandmother to a feisty four-year-old girl. When not writing, she enjoys reading, watching movies, and traveling.


How many brides does one man need?

It's been years, but Luke Davis is back--older and wiser--and still alone. Returning as Lookout's new town marshal, Luke is determined to face the past and move on. He flippantly tells his cousin he'd get married if the right woman ever came along. But then he discovers that the woman who betrayed him is now a widow, and all his plans fall at his feet.

Rachel has carried her guilty shame for eleven years. Her marriage to James Hamilton was not what Luke or the town thought it to be. Now James is dead, and her long-time love for Luke is reignited with his return to town. So when three mail-order brides appear, she panics.

Could they possible find love a second time?

Rachel begs his forgiveness, but Luke finds he has none to give.

And then the brides arrive. Three of them--ordered for Luke through newspaper ads by his incorrigible cousins. The only place in town for them to stay is Rachel's boardinghouse. And none of the ladies is willing to let Luke go. When choosing a bride becomes a contest, the chaos that ensues is almost funny.

When the mayor forces Luke to pick a bride or lose his job, will Luke listen to his heart that still longs for Rachel or choose one of the mail-order brides?

Will Rachel find the courage to tell Luke that she loves him? Or take an anonymous part in the contest for his hand?

My thoughts:

What do you get when you combine matchmaking men with ladies who will do just about anything to win the heart of the handsome lawman, especially when he's not even sure he wants a bride? You get a hilarious look at what desperation will make a woman do for love! This book has a perfect blend of mystery, humor, and could you pass that up!

I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of fun and frivolity is in store for the town of Lookout, Texas, in book two, Second Chance Brides, due out September 1st.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Anonymous Bride, go HERE.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Blood Ransom by Lisa Harris

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Blood Ransom

(Zondervan - April 1, 2010)


Lisa Harris


Award-winning author Lisa Harris has been writing both fiction and nonfiction since 2000 and has more than fifteen novels and novellas in print. She currently lives with her family in Mozambique, Africa, where they work as missionaries.

From Lisa:

Have you ever noticed how God often uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things? In writing Blood Ransom, I wanted my heroes and heroines to be ordinary people, faced with extraordinary circumstances. Chad and Natalie’s lives were changed not only through the challenges they faced, but also through their reliance on God. And when they set off on their journey to the capital to save Joseph’s family, they never imagined that God would call them to a task that was beyond the scope of their own power.

But while this story is fictional, the issue of a modern day slave trade is very real. It is estimated that there are currently more than 27 million slaves on the world today from Africa, to Eastern Europe … to the United States of America. The fact is, we don’t have to travel around the world to see people hurting and exploited. They’re real people we pass every day, living in our neighborhoods, and attending our churches and schools. They’re empty and broken, searching for freedom and hope in an often hopeless world.


Natalie Sinclair is working to eradicate the diseases decimating whole villages in the Republic of Dhambizao when she meets Dr. Chad Talcott, a surgeon on sabbatical from a lucrative medical practice now volunteering at a small clinic.

Meanwhile, things are unraveling in Dhambizao. Joseph Komboli returns to his village to discover rebel soldiers abducting his family and friends. Those that were too old or weak to work lay motionless in the African soil. When Chad and Natalie decide to help Joseph expose this modern-day slave trade---and a high-ranking political figure involved in it---disaster nips at their heels.

Where is God in the chaos? Will Chad, Natalie, and Joseph win their race against time?

Romance and adventure drive Blood Ransom, by Lisa Harris, a powerful thriller about the modern-day slave trade and those who dare to challenge it.

If you would like to read the prologue and first chapter of Blood Ransom, go HERE.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Forget Me Not by Vicki Hinze

About Forget Me Not:


Crossroads Crisis Center owner Benjamin Brandt was a content man—in his faith, his work, and his family. Then in a flash, everything he loved was snatched away. His wife and son were murdered, and grief-stricken Ben lost faith. Determination to find their killers keeps him going, but after three years of dead ends and torment, his hope is dying too. Why had he survived? He’d failed to protect his family.

Now, a mysterious woman appears at Crossroads seeking answers and help—a victim who eerily resembles Ben’s deceased wife, Susan. A woman robbed of her identity, her life, of everything except her faith—and Susan’s necklace.

The connections between the two women mount, exceeding coincidence, and to keep the truth hidden, someone is willing to kill. Finding out who and why turns Ben and the mystery woman’s situation from dangerous to deadly. Their only hope for survival is to work together, trust each other, and face whatever they discover head on, no matter how painful. But will that be enough to save their lives and heal their tattered hearts?

About Vicki Hinze:

Vicki Hinze is an award-winning author of twenty-three novels, three nonfiction books, and hundreds of articles. Selected for Who’s Who in America in 2004 as a writer and educator, Hinze is active in Romance Writers of America and serves as a Vice President on the International Thriller Writers Board of Directors. Vicki lives in Florida with her artist husband, a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel. Learn more about Vicki’s books, blogs, and writing programs at her website.

My thoughts:

Forget Me Not hooked me from the very first page...and kept me hooked until the very last!

Vicki Hinze did a great job with character development throughout this whole book. I really liked how she portrayed our "mystery woman" a victim, yes, but not as a shrinking violet. The characters' innate sense of the faith she possesses gave her a strength you don't always see in a character in her position. At first I didn't like Benjamin Brandt...he was just too abrasive for me (but since he's been through tragedy as well, I guess I'll give him a bit of a break), but I like how Vicki uses our "mystery woman" to soften him up a bit.

This book kept me on an emotional roller coaster...from feeling sadness and grief for the feeling a bit gleeful once the bad guys get their due.

If you like a book with lots of suspense...not just in the 'what's going to happen next?' sense, but also the 'why is this happening?' sense...with a light mix of romance, I'm sure you'd enjoy this book. I'm certainly looking forward to more from Vicki Hinze.

Review book was generously provided by WaterBrook Multnomah.**My apologies to the publisher and author for this slightly late issues kept me from my intention to post this late last week.**

The Sword by Brian M. Litfin

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Sword

(Crossway Books - April 30, 2010)


Bryan M. Litfin


Bryan Litfin was born in Dallas, but lived in Memphis, Tennessee, and Oxford, England, where he discovered that the house of his favorite author, J.R.R. Tolkien, was only five doors down from his own. Bryan still enjoys epic adventure stories, as well as historical fiction. However, most of his reading these days is taken up by academia.

After marrying his high school sweetheart, Carolyn (a true Southern belle), he went on to study for a master’s degree in historical theology at Dallas Theological Seminary. From there he went to the University of Virginia, taking a PhD in the field of ancient church history. He is the author of Getting to Know the Church Fathers: An Evangelical Introduction (Brazos, 2007), as well as several scholarly articles and essays.

In 2002, Bryan took a position on the faculty at Moody Bible Institute in downtown Chicago, where he is a professor in the Theology Department. He teaches courses in theology, church history, and Western civilization from the ancient and medieval periods.

On the morning of January 6, 2007, Bryan woke up with an epiphany. Having finished writing his primer on the ancient church, he had the idea of trying his hand at fiction. The thought occurred to him that the writer of speculative fiction typically has two options. He can create an imaginary land like Middle Earth (which offers great creative freedom but is unrealistic), or he can delve into genuine history (which is realistic, yet limted to what ‘actually occurred.’) However, if a writer were to create a future world as in the Chiveis trilogy, it could be both realistic and creatively unlimited.

This little dream stayed in Bryan’s mind while he researched how to write fiction, and also researched the European landscape where the novel would be set. He planned a trip to the story locations, then went there in the summer with a buddy from grad school. Bryan and Jeff rented a Beemer and drove all over Europe from the Alps to the Black Forest with a video camera in hand. With that epic setting fresh in his mind, Bryan returned home and began to write.

Today Bryan lives in downtown Wheaton in a Victorian house built in 1887. He is blessed by God to be married to Carolyn, and to be the father of two amazing children, William, 11, and Anna, 9. For recreation Bryan enjoys basketball, traveling, and hiking anywhere there are mountains (which means getting far away from the Midwest – preferably to his beloved Smokies).


This novel of page-turning action and adventure poses the question, "If a society had no knowledge of Christianity, and then a Bible were discovered, what would happen?"

Four hundred years after a deadly virus and nuclear war destroyed the modern world, a new and noble civilization emerges. In this kingdom, called Chiveis, snowcapped mountains provide protection, and fields and livestock provide food. The people live medieval-style lives, with almost no knowledge of the "ancient" world. Safe in their natural stronghold, the Chiveisi have everything they need, even their own religion. Christianity has been forgotten—until a young army scout comes across a strange book.

With that discovery, this work of speculative fiction takes readers on a journey that encompasses adventure, romance, and the revelation of the one true God. Through compelling narrative and powerful character development, The Sword speaks to God's goodness, his refusal to tolerate sin, man's need to bow before him, and the eternality and power of his Word. Fantasy and adventure readers will be hooked by this first book in a forthcoming trilogy.

Visit the book website at The Sword to see amazing videos and a wealth of information about the trilogy!

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Sword, go to HERE

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sworn to Protect by DiAnn Mills

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Sworn To Protect

(Tyndale House - April 2010)


DiAnn Mills


Award-winning author, DiAnn Mills, launched her career in 1998 with the publication of her first book. Currently she has over forty books in print and has sold more than a million copies.

DiAnn believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” DiAnn Mills is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels.

Six of her anthologies have appeared on the CBA Best Seller List. Three of her books have won the distinction of Best Historical of the Year by Heartsong Presents. Five of her books have won placements through American Christian Fiction Writer’s Book of the Year Awards 2003 – 2007, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005 and 2007. She was a Christy Awards finalist in 2008.

DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope and Love, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is also a mentor for Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writer’s Guild.

She lives in sunny Houston, Texas. DiAnn and her husband have four adult sons and are active members of Metropolitan Baptist Church.


Border Patrol Agent Danika Morales sends illegal immigrants back to Mexico; a job she's paid dearly for. Her husband, Toby, was murdered two years ago trying to help and his murder's never been solved. Now a string of attacks and arrests leads her to believe that someone from McAllen profits from sneaking undocumented immigrants into the country and somehow this illegal activity is tied to her husband, Toby's death.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Sworn To Protect, go HERE.

Watch the book trailer video:

Wildflowers of Terezin by Robert Elmer

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Wildflowers of Terezin

(Abingdon Press - April 2010)


Robert Elmer


Robert Elmer is a former pastor, reporter and as copywriter who now writes from he home he shares with his wife Ronda in northern Idaho. He is the author of over fifty books, including eight contemporary novels for the adult Christian audience and several series for younger readers. Combined, his books have sold more than half a million copies worldwide. Like his popular "Young Underground" youth series, Wildflowers of Terezin was inspired by stories Robert heard from his Denmark-born parents and family. When he's not sailing or enjoying the outdoors, Robert often travels the country speaking to school and writers groups.


When nurse Hanne Abrahamsen impulsively shields Steffen Petersen from a nosy Gestapo agent, she’s convinced the Lutheran pastor is involved in the Danish Underground. Nothing could be further from the truth.

But truth is hard to come by in the fall of 1943, when Copenhagen is placed under Martial Law and Denmark’s Jews—including Hanne—suddenly face deportation to the Nazi prison camp at Terezin, Czechoslovakia. Days darken and danger mounts. Steffen’s faith deepens as he takes greater risks to protect Hanne. But are either of them willing to pay the ultimate price for their love?

To read the first chapter of Wildflowers of Terezin, go HERE.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

She Walks in Beauty

(Bethany House - April 2010)


Siri Mitchell


Siri Mitchell graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she has lived all over the world, including in Paris and Tokyo. Siri enjoys observing and learning from different cultures. She is fluent in French and loves sushi.

But she is also a member of a strange breed of people called novelists. When they’re listening to a sermon and taking notes, chances are, they’ve just had a great idea for a plot or a dialogue. If they nod in response to a really profound statement, they’re probably thinking, “Yes. Right. That’s exactly what my character needs to hear.” When they edit their manuscripts, they laugh at the funny parts. And cry at the sad parts. Sometimes they even talk to their characters.

Siri wrote 4 books and accumulated 153 rejections before signing with a publisher. In the process, she saw the bottoms of more pints of Ben & Jerry’s than she cares to admit. At various times she has vowed never to write another word again. Ever. She has gone on writing strikes and even stooped to threatening her manuscripts with the shredder.


For a young society woman seeking a favorable marriage, so much depends on her social season debut. Clara Carter has been given one goal: secure the affections of the city's most eligible bachelor.

Debuting means plenty of work--there are corsets to be fitted, dances to master, manners to perfect. Her training soon pays off, however, as celebrity's spotlight turns Clara into a society-page darling.

Yet Clara soon wonders if this is the life she really wants. Especially when she learns her best friend has also set her sights on Franklin De Vries.

When a man appears who seems to love her simply for who she is and gossip backlash turns ugly, Clara realizes it's not just her marriage at stake--the future of her family depends on how she plays the game.

If you would like to read the first chapter of She Walks in Beauty, go HERE.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Sixteen Brides

(Bethany House - April 2010)


Stephanie Grace Whitson


A native of southern Illinois, Stephanie Grace Whitson has lived in Nebraska since 1975. She began what she calls "playing with imaginary friends" (writing fiction) when, as a result of teaching her four home schooled children Nebraska history.

She was personally encouraged and challenged by the lives of pioneer women in the West. Since her first book, Walks the Fire, was published in 1995, Stephanie's fiction titles have appeared on the ECPA bestseller list numerous times and been finalists for the Christy Award, the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award, and ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year.

Her first nonfiction work, How to Help a Grieving Friend, was released in 2005. In addition to serving in her local church and keeping up with two married children, two college students, and a high school senior, Stephanie enjoys motorcycle trips with her family and church friends.

Her passionate interests in pioneer women's history, antique quilts, and French, Italian, and Hawaiian language and culture provide endless story-telling possibilities.


In 1872, sixteen Civil War widows living in St. Louis respond to a series of meetings conducted by a land speculator who lures them west by promising "prime homesteads" in a "booming community."

Unbeknownst to them, the speculator's true motive is to find an excuse to bring women to the fledgling community of Plum Grove, Nebraska, in hopes they will accept marriage proposals shortly after their arrival! Sparks fly when these unsuspecting widows meet the men who are waiting for them.

These women are going to need all the courage and faith they can muster to survive these unwanted circumstances--especially when they begin to discover that none of them is exactly who she appears to be.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Sixteen Brides, go HERE.