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October 2015 Christian Fiction Releases

October 4, 2015

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

Contemporary Romance:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contemporary Women’s Fiction:

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

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

General Fiction:

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

Historical Romance:

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

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

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

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

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

Romantic Suspense:

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

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

Speculative Fiction:

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

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

by jill at 5:04 pm in

In quietness and trust

October 1, 2015

IMG_0972I must admit, I don’t trust very well. Habit of my childhood perhaps. Habit of long-term worrying. I mentioned some of this in a blog post several weeks ago. (I apologize for being so lax in posting here.) I have been completely swamped with deadlines, summer company, and a ton of little life detours.

But I have been learning and hopefully, growing in faith. God has been so good to me! When I’ve been at my weakest, He surrounds me with fellow believers who literally wrap their arms around me and pray over me. When I’ve been downcast, He lifts me up (not literally) on eagle’s wings.

IMG_0852In this year of various trials, God has shown me more of Himself and more of what I need to see of Him. In reading His Word, I learn. I was in Isaiah several weeks ago and wrote down this verse: “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: In repentance and rest in your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.”

Of course, if you read the rest in context you see that the people of that day would have none of what God said. They preferred to do it their own way. To flee on horses (to run away). They didn’t want to face whatever threat stood before them, to face whatever trial had come their way. They didn’t want to acknowledge the fact that maybe, just maybe they had sinned and needed to repent before a Holy God.

IMG_0792Why are we like that? Don’t you feel it too? Our whole culture seems to resent the thought. How DARE we call sin sin! There are but a few things in this world still considered evil, but those that deal with morality are untouchables. What used to be sin, even immoral, we call acceptable. And to repent? Well, that’s how they felt in Isaiah’s day. They’d rather run away from God or from whatever foe was chasing them than to face their own possible sinfulness.

Do you struggle with admitting wrong before God? I do. Sometimes I have to search my heart long and hard because I feel justified or I feel self-righteous or I just don’t recognize that maybe my attitude needs adjusting. Maybe worry IS a sin. Maybe trust is a bigger deal than I realize.

Because in quietness and trust is your strength. And you know…the other day I sat in my office looking up at the blue skies and the tree whose leaves are beginning to change and I realized “I trust you, God.” I’d been reading the Psalms and came upon one where David cries out to God in Psalm 25:1. He says, “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.” In you I trust, O my God.

photo-1And I said it aloud again and again. I wrote it in my journal. I trust you, Lord. I trust you to… And you know what? Peace filled me. I really believed God is able! I wasn’t anxious or upset. I knew God was in absolute control of all things, of my life, of the things that concerned me, and He would handle them. I just needed to wait in quietness and trust.

Back to Isaiah, in chapter 30, after you read about those in Israel who preferred to flee on horses, he says, “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!”

Blessed are all who wait for him!

IMG_6148Don’t we hate that word? And yet trusting involves waiting. Sometimes it also involves doing and speaking, but waiting happens more often than we’d like. And yet those who wait on the Lord are blessed.

How about you? Are you burdened today with an inability to rest and trust in the Lord because life just has you bogged down? Is there a besetting sin you struggle with (mine is worry) that you just can’t let go?

Rest assured God can handle it! He can! And He wants us to believe, to trust Him. To acknowledge that He truly is in control of this wildly spinning universe (which He made) and has our best interest at heart. He longs to be gracious to us! He longs for it!

With a God like that, I think it’s worth giving Him a chance, don’t you? Trust Him with your worries, give Him your besetting sins, rest in His Word. He won’t let you down.


by jill at 8:14 pm in

When the lifeline is all that’s left…

September 17, 2015

helicopter_rescue_helicopter_air_rescueSometimes faith is so daily. Have you ever felt that way?

I watch the news and see the hope in the eyes of war-torn, weary people and think would I have that same hope in those circumstances? If my house was bombed and I lost loved ones in the sea because the lifeboats were too full or they sprang a leak and the people couldn’t swim. Would I persevere with that never-ending faith that somewhere, somehow I would find a better life?

I wonder…because sometimes in my life of ease (in comparison to theirs), I feel like the lifeboat of faith has sprung a leak and I’m sinking. Like Peter who stepped out of the boat to walk on water to meet Jesus, I take my eyes off Jesus and in one swift glance at my surroundings, my faith slips. And when faith slips, so does our ability to keep walking on the waves.

Sea of Galilee boatHave you ever felt like the waves are billowing, surrounding, crashing over and around you? Are you that person standing on the roof of a house reaching desperately for the helicopter’s lifeline because your house is flooded to the top and that line is all you have left?

I don’t use these examples lightly because I know they have really happened to real people, are at this moment happening to people in other parts of the world. And I watch in horror at the hopelessness of it, wishing desperately that I could fix it. You too? But except to donate money and pray, it is hard for many of us to get involved at the point of changing governments or reach across the ocean and say, “Come. You’re welcome to stay here.” The problem is just so enormous that even fix-it people don’t have answers.

I see that in life a lot, don’t you? Not on this scale. I think our world has gone crazy right now with wars and rumors of wars, famine, fires, and a disrespect for life that just didn’t exist even ten years ago. Desperate people do desperate things. Hurt people hurt people. Cruel people do evil things.


King David once said (in Psalm 11:3) “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

And yet in the very next verse he affirms, “The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne.” He goes on to tell us that God watches, He sees. And He is still the one on His throne, even when it looks like there is no one in control of anything.

IMG_1591Today as I rode my bike on this gorgeous end-of-summer morning, I did a lot of praying. I tend to pray out loud, so it’s probably good that I wear headphones. If anyone is watching or listening, they probably think I’m on the phone. And don’t you wish you could phone the Lord or text Him and get an instant response?

Well, He doesn’t quite work that way, but in my praying, sometimes I get a little frustrated. Things I want to see changed or fixed or helped just aren’t. And sometimes I’m probably a little too honest with Him in how I feel about that. I might say something like, “If you really loved me, why won’t you fix this?”

And as I type that I think, “You sound a bit faithless, don’t you think?” Because isn’t that the question the world asks of God over and over again? “If you had been here,” Martha said to Jesus, “my brother wouldn’t have died.” “If you are so powerful, why didn’t you stop that tsunami or send rain to stop the fires or stop the horrible wars?” “Where are you, God?” “If you really care, why are you so silent?”

Haven’t we all felt that way at times? Even the faithful, even those who believe with their whole heart can fall into a hole or be hit with circumstances that change everything in a heartbeat. And like Job, we grieve, and we question. It’s part of being human, but it’s also part of not really understanding God.

Jesus prayed with loud cries and tears before He had to face the cross, but He did so with reverent obedience. How often do I pray that way? Truth is, I’m more like Jacob who has to wrestle every trying circumstance. Surrender and “Your will be done” – in other words, “reverent obedience” don’t come naturally to any of us. Our pride, our “self” gets in the way.

CCF02102011_00006_5And sometimes those struggles last for years. (My great-grandmothers – one on the left (mother of my grandpa) buried three or more children – one on the right (mother of my grandma) lost four probably in an epidemic before she had six more.) You just don’t forget those tragedies.

I remember some trials I’ve faced that lasted only days while others lasted years. It’s those long-term kind that show us whether we are overcomers or will fall away.

Sometimes an overcomer hangs by a thread, a single lifeline of faith, just waiting, praying, pleading with God to bring answers. And then suddenly, He sends rescuers, friends, family, fellow believers into our lives that surround us, and we are no longer holding a thin line but a chord of three strands – one that is not quickly broken.

As Solomon said, “Two are better than one and three are even better.” (JP – Jill’s paraphrase)

Let’s face it – when life gets hard or changes dramatically, we need encouragement. We need to be reminded that we are loved and not forsaken, that others have walked this path before us, and that their strand of faith held true. Because God is the one holding the other end, and He never lets go.

As a new mom told me the other night, “everything has changed since I became a mom.” She sees the world with more fear for her child. She needs hope, like those refugees across the world, that her child will grow up in a world that hasn’t gone as crazy as it seems to be headed today. She needs people to come alongside her and encourage her, so that her lifeline becomes a strong chord.

How about you? Are you hanging by a thread? Is faith shaken because of circumstances? Have you forgotten that God still loves you and He’s the one sitting on His throne no matter what the world looks like around us? Yeah, me too.

But let us keep reminding each other of what is true. God is not blind. God is not indifferent. God will deal with the evil, the chaos, the pain in this world, and He will help us to do whatever we can in the meantime. He will give us the strength to complete the work He has already planned for us to do. After all, He’s got our names etched into His palm. Hard to forget someone whose name is etched in nail-pierced blood. And that is what we are – if we are His.

So hang on, dear friends. The lifeline is secure. And hope is coming.




by jill at 7:51 pm in

Do we really know how to trust?

September 10, 2015

IMG_5139I’m not what you would call someone who trusts easily. That is, I have struggled most of my life with trusting God with the things and people that matter most to me. Does that sound strange for someone who has spent her life studying God’s Word to admit? It sounds strange as I type this, yet if I’m honest, it’s true.

It all started when I was in my early teens and with a book I read (and misunderstood the author’s meaning). But it left me with the feeling that if you trusted God with those you love, He’d take them from you. (All because the man lost his wife soon after his wedding.) It’s taken me years to understand that God’s not like that. The impression I took from a story wasn’t the truth of God’s character. (That’s not to condemn the author, just my understanding at the time.)

IMG_5128Regardless of why, I’ve had my fair share of trust issues, and I realized the other day that I didn’t trust the Lord as well as I could. In Isaiah 59:1 it says, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.” I did trust Him to save my eternal soul. I just did’t trust that He was loving enough or strong enough to save anyone else I love. Or to take care of my daily anxious needs.

When I thought about that, I realized how ridiculous it is to think that the God of the Universe, the Almighty Creator is not strong enough to do something. Really? Do I honestly think He is too dull of hearing to hear the cries of my heart or the whispers of my soul? Whether I am happy or sad, does God not know it?

IMG_5012But in truth, don’t we tend to act this way? Do we really trust God to hear us, to answer when we call?

Moses told the people of Israel that God was near when they called on Him. But Isaiah followed up by saying it was their sin that kept God from answering their prayers. Not His inability to act. Not His inability to hear. Our own sins put up a wall between us, keeping Him from acting, from answering.

That is not to say every unanswered prayer is due to sin in our lives, because Jesus refuted that when the Pharisees blamed a man’s blindness from birth on his sin. In other words, there are times sin is a cause and sometimes it is not. But that is not my point here.

My focus is trust. How much do I really trust God to do what He says He will do? How much do I trust that God is capable of all He claims?

It is easy as humans to blame Him when we don’t get our way or the answer is no or wait. But oh how hard it can be to let that “wait” or “no” answer lead us to deeper trust that He knows what He is doing, that He is not hard of hearing.

IMG_5945Trust may always be a struggle for me in some areas, just because I like to take charge and fix things. But I can’t fix the world. I wish I could. I wish I had answers for the wars and refugee crisis and human trafficking evils and so much more. But that doesn’t mean that because I’m incapable that God is too. He sees the big picture. He sees the finished canvas of each beautiful life. He sees the portrait of humanity and He can fix it. And one day He will. One day even sin will not be able to keep us apart because He will utterly destroy it. He has already destroyed it eternally, but for a time, it still has its moment.

And it’s in this time, when I cannot see the future that I tend to falter in my trust. And then I pick up His Word and I’m reminded of what He has already done.

And I know that I can trust Him with everything and everyone I love or have ever loved because His arm is strong enough, His ear hears even the unspoken words of longing, and He will heal and rescue and save.

This world desperately needs a Savior. And though I often fail Him, I know He is the Only One worth trusting.


by jill at 9:56 pm in

In search of…love

September 4, 2015

IMG_6150When you think of love, what comes to your mind? A person? A character trait? A favorite place or thing?

When you define love, what words would you use? The Greeks had several words for what today we lump into one word – love. They broke it down into Eros, Phileo, Agape. Eros denotes something sexual, erotic. Phileo could be translated “a strong feeling of affection” or “brotherly love” which is in the meaning of the city Philadelphia. And Agape gives us that highest goal of unconditional, no matter what, forever love.

IMG_3148In English, unfortunately, we throw the word love around to mean just about anything. We love a sports team. We love this music band. We love French fries. We love summer or spring and fall but hate winter. We love blue but hate green. We love chocolate. We love certain celebrities. We hate politics. The list is endless. But the emotions we claim to have for these things don’t quite fit if we compare true love in all of its meanings.

A parent loves his child far more than a sports team. Are they really the same word or carry the same emotion? A wife loves her husband but would she really equate him with chocolate? (Don’t answer that.) :)

IMG_5806Still, all kidding aside, do we really understand the love that we long for deep in the center of our being? For if we are honest, we don’t really find lasting fulfillment in those things we claim to love.

CCF31082011_00006_2Every one of us is born with a longing for more, for someone to care. For someone, somewhere to take us into their arms and say, “I will never leave you or forsake you. I will always be patient and kind with you, and will always think the best of you. I will always stand my ground in defending you. Where others may fail, I will not. I would die so you could live and even then I would never stop loving you. I want to be with you always.”

Who could turn down a love like that?

1298897083-refugee-free-press-at-kakuma-camp_112046Yet I look around our world today and I see the exact opposite of this. Oh, there are individual people who are kind, heroes even. There are groups who go to help the poor and feed the hungry.

But then there are also those who are filled with so much anger. People kill people in public places for no apparent reason at all. People kill themselves and others because of end-times ideologies. We are appalled at countries shutting out refugees, but the same thing happened during WWII. Yet we do not learn from history.

We shudder at Planned Parenthood videos and the callous selling of aborted baby parts, but this has been going on for years. It was just never publicized. And while the reasons are different, the sacrifice of infants on the altars of scientific research is really not all that different than ancient infant sacrifice on the altars of Molech or Chemosh to appease the demons behind those gods. And the mothers of those infants, as well as the infants themselves, are the victims of so much greed.

snake-wallpaper_117743-1920x1080Reminds me of a snake in a garden…

The Apostle Paul prophesied about times like now.

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…” 2 Timothy 3:1-4

Jesus-Picture-Risen-From-The-dead-In-Front-Of-Tomb-WallpaperNotice what people will love: themselves, money, pleasure.

And what they will not love: good, they will be without love, and they won’t love God.

Yet I go back to the kind of love we crave.

For someone, somewhere to take us into their arms and say, “I will never leave you or forsake you. I will always be patient and kind with you, and will always think the best of you. I will always stand my ground in defending you. Where others may fail, I will not. I would die so you could live and even then I would never stop loving you. I want to be with you always.”

Someone already promised to love each and every one of us just like this if we will let Him.

His name is Jesus.



by jill at 4:47 pm in ,