ACFW New Releases: October 2015

Source: ACFW New Releases: October 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)

ACRBA Tour Signs in Life by Deanna Nowadnick

7 – 11 September

is introducing

Signs in Life ~ Finding Direction in Our Travels with God

Rhododendron Books (May 8, 2015)


Deanna Nowadnick

About the Book:
Signs in Life begins with a late night encounter with local law enforcement. In the harsh glare of a flashlight, Deanna Nowadnick learns the consequences of speeding through a stop sign. Other incidents follow. All are linked to the divine signs she’s encountered in that bigger journey through life.
Deanna shares humorous anecdotes and inspirational lessons from her travels with God. Readers will see the signs in life. She might be speeding through a stop sign–yet again!–while you’re carefully navigating a busy street, but we’re all part of a bigger journey, a greater purpose. We’re all part of God’s great story.
As she used to tell her  young sons, “Buckle up. We’re going for a ride.”
About the Author:


Deanna Nowadnick is a native of the Pacific Northwest. When not writing, she serves at the Client Service Coordinator for The Planner’s Edge, an investment advisory firm in Washington State.

Deanna is active in her church, playing the violin and editing the newsletter. She loves to knit, adores chocolate, and most important, enjoys a blessed marriage to Kurt. She’s also the proud mother of two adult sons. Her first book, Fruit of My Spirit, began as a short story for Kyle and Kevin about how she met their father. It quickly became a much larger story about God’s love and faithfulness.

Deanna has just finished her second book: Signs in Life: Finding Direction in Our Travels with God.

ACFW New Releases: September 2015

Source: ACFW New Releases: September 2015

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

Contemporary Romance:

Moments of Truth by Sandra D. Bricker — Divorced blogger Regan Sloane’s new book club meetings quickly morph into evenings with her friends trying out recipes and decompressing by sharing their most private thoughts, fears and ponderings. With the first writing tip she’d ever received – Write what you know! – skipping around her brain, the fodder those gatherings provide is just too delicious to resist, and Regan gravitates toward them and their various romantic challenges for blog content. (Contemporary Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

The Birdhouse by Laura V. Hilton — Josh Yoder wants to court Greta, but years ago, he made the mistake of rejecting her during a seemingly innocent game-which resulted in him leaving the Amish. Three years later, he’s back, but Greta wants nothing to do with him. When Greta’s father is injured in a farming accident, Josh steps in to help. Greta admires one of his birdhouses, and he gives it to her, hoping that it will open the door to more. But as their friendship begins to grow, a series of unfortunate events pull Greta away from the Amish, leaving her rejected by those she loves. Will Greta prove her innocence, get beyond her family’s distrust and return home? (Contemporary Romance from Whitaker House)

The Bishop’s Son (The Amish of Bee County) by Kelly Irvin — Leila Lantz has been in love with Jesse Glick from the day she first saw him at his father’s store, but she can’t make sense of his intentions. Jesse may be the bishop’s son, but his faith has been wavering of late. Is it fair to give Leila false hope for a future he doubts he can provide? Then there’s Will, Jesse’s cousin, who has been trying to keep his feelings for Leila a secret, but he also knows Jesse is wrestling with his faith. Would declaring his feelings for Leila be in her best interest or simply serving his own selfish desires? Leila knows Will is the “safe” choice, but when her heart speaks, it’s Jesse’s name she hears. Could leaving everything she knows-even her own faith-be a part of God’s plan? (Contemporary Romance from Zondervan)

A Tide Worth Turning by Beth Wiseman — Successful real estate agent Addison Burke is forced to find a caregiver for her estranged mother following a stroke. She hires an agency to fill the position, and to her surprise, they send a man for the job. Logan has to make enough money caring for Lee Ann Burke to flee the country before his world comes crashing down around him. But when Lee Ann’s beautiful daughter, Addison, begins to awaken feelings in him that he thought died long ago, he begins to question whether or not fleeing from the past is worth leaving Addison forever. And why is Lee Ann selling everything she owns on EBay and Craig’s List? (Contemporary Romance Novella, Independently Published)

Contemporary Women’s Fiction:

When Love Returns by Kim Vogel Sawyer — It wasn’t easy to move back to the Old Order Mennonite community from which quiet, responsible Suzanne Zimmerman was shamefully sent away as a pregnant teen. Returning twenty years later to take care of her mother, Suzanne and Alexa—the daughter she raised as her own-have spent months rebuilding relationships with her family.Now with the upcoming wedding of their biological daughter, Suzanne and Paul find themselves drawn to one another once again-but with new challenges to face. They have been single parents with painful pasts. Can Paul and Suzanne find the strength to rebuild the loving relationship that was torn apart by their teen pregnancy so long ago?
Suzanne must also let go of Alexa as she heads back to Indianapolis to visit friends–and as her chance to find her birth parents. Leaving the bed-and-breakfast in Suzanne’s apprehensive hands, Alexa embarks on a journey that will certainly change her life completely. Can mother and daughter trust God to restore all things in His timing? (Contemporary Women’s Fiction from Waterbrook/Multnomah [Random House])

The Sea Keeper’s Daughters by Lisa Wingate — Restaurant owner Whitney Monroe is desperate to save her business from a hostile takeover. The inheritance of a decaying Gilded Age hotel on North Carolina’s Outer Banks may provide just the ray of hope she needs. But things at the Excelsior are more complicated than they seem. Whitney’s estranged stepfather is entrenched on the third floor, and the downstairs tenants are determined to save the historic building. Searching through years of stored family heirlooms may be Whitney’s only hope of quick cash, but will the discovery of an old necklace and a Depression-era love story change everything? (Contemporary Women’s Fiction from Tyndale House)

A Texas Christmas by Ramona K. Cecil, Lena Nelson Dooley, Darlene Franklin, Pamela Griffin, Cathy Marie Hake and by Kathleen Y’Barbo, — Spend Christmas in the Old West with six unconventional women who take on Texas-sized challenges-and unexpected romance. Bridget falls for a man opposed to her teaching Indian orphans. Polly is trying to hold her family together when her childhood love returns to town. Rugged rancher Charlsey is inexplicably attracted to a tenderfoot accountant. Vivian shuns marriage until meeting a nomadic photographer. Lacey’s cooking draws a quiet blacksmith out of his shell. Tracker Bessie Mae helps a ranger hunt down a villain. (Contemporary Women’s Fiction from Barbour Publishing)

General Fiction:

Hungry for Home by Brenda S. Anderson — After a troubling encounter with a pregnant teen, Sheila Peterson-Brooks hurries from the crisis pregnancy center into the frigid Minnesota winter where she is mugged and left for dead. After a frantic search, Richard, her husband, finds her, and the police quickly nab the mugger…who turns out to be a hungry, homeless teen. The brother of the pregnant girl Sheila had just counseled. The girl pleads for her brother, and Sheila and Richard choose not to press charges. Instead, they open their home to the boy, a move that could cost them their possessions, and their hearts. And, in the process, teach them the true meaning of home. (General Fiction, Independently Published)

Historical General Fiction:

Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke — In this time-split story, Hannah Sterling (1972) seeks to uncover the secrets of her estranged mother’s past (WWII), only to learn that she has a grandfather still living in Germany, hiding tragic wartime secrets that stretch across the generations. (Historical General Fiction from Tyndale House)

Historical Romance:

12 Brides of Summer, Novella Collection #4 by Diana Brandmeyer, Vickie McDonough, and Davalynn Spencer — The Columbine Bride: Lucy Powell is determined to get her neglected homestead up and running again after a winter filling in as the school marm in town. But can she keep neighboring rancher, Buck Reiter from helping her when he seems just as determined to work his way into the lives of her children as well as her heart? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter — Lady Miranda Hawthorne acts every inch the lady, but inside she longs to be bold and carefree. Approaching spinsterhood, she pours her innermost feelings out not in a diary but in un-mailed letters to her brother’s old school friend, a duke. Meanwhile, she also finds herself intrigued by Marlow, her brother’s new valet. When Marlow accidentally discovers and mails one of the letters to her unwitting confidant, Miranda is beyond mortified. And even more shocked when the duke returns her note with one of his own that initiates a courtship-by-mail. Insecurity about her lack of suitors shifts into confusion at her growing feelings for two men–one she’s never met but whose words deeply resonate with her heart, and one she has come to depend on but whose behavior is more and more suspicious. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)

The Lost Heiress by Roseanna M. White — When Brook Eden’s friend Justin uncovers the fact that Brook is likely a missing heiress from Yorkshire, she leaves the sun of the Mediterranean to visit her supposed family. The mystery of her mother’s death haunts her, and though her father is quick to accept her, the servants of Whitby Park are not. Only when Brook’s life is threatened do they draw close–but their loyalty may come too late to save her from the same fate as her mother. When matters of his future dukedom force Justin far from Brook, the distance between them reveals their friendship has grown into something much more. But their loyalties are very different. And then, for a second time, the heiress of Whitby Park is stolen away because of the very rare treasure in her possession–and this time only the servants of Whitby can save her. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:

The Methuselah Project by Rick Barry — In World War II, fighter pilot Roger Greene wants only three things in life: fast planes to fly, a chance to serve his country, and to find the perfect girl to love. All three ambitions screech to a halt–seemingly forever–when his P-47 is shot down over Nazi Germany. Captured, Roger becomes a guinea pig in a hush-hush Nazi experiment. The war may end, but the Methuselah Project will continue. Escape is constantly on Roger’s mind, but is escape possible? (Romantic Suspense from Kregel Publications)

Beyond the Cherokee Trail by Lisa Carter — When Linden Birchfield arrives in the Snowbird Cherokee community to organize the 180th commemoration of the Trail of Tears, she runs head on-literally-into arrogant former army sniper Walker Crowe. A descendant of the Cherokee who evaded deportation by hiding in the rugged Snowbird Mountains, Walker believes no good can result from stirring up the animosity with the white Appalachian residents whose ancestors looted the tribal lands so long ago. Though at odds, Linden and Walker must unite against an unseen threat to derail the festival. (Romantic Suspense from Abingdon Press)

Expert Witness by Rachel Dylan — Minutes after testifying in a murder trial, sketch artist Sydney Berry is almost killed in a drive-by shooting. United States Marshal Max Preston saves her life then whisks her away to safety. She’s his first protected witness, and he’ll do everything in his power to keep her safe. But Sydney doesn’t want to hide from danger. She is determined to finish her testimony and put a killer away. With potential suspects coming from all corners, Sydney will have to trust Max with her deepest secrets-and her life. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Young Adult:

A Reluctant Assassin by JC Morrows — Her mission is simple – get close to the Prince, and kill him. . . Kayden entered the palace under a lie, one designed to get her close to the Prince. On the outside, she may look like a princess but beneath the mask, a killer lays in wait – for the perfect moment. Dvarius is not ready to take the crown, nor is he ready for a wife. But due to his father’s unexpected death and an archaic law – he must find a bride before he is allowed to take his rightful place on the throne. (Young Adult, Independently Published)

Book Recommendation: Sway by Amy Matayo


Book Description:

Falling in love is a beautiful thing. Unless you fall for the wrong person.

Finally settled after a tragedy-laden life, 24-year-old Caleb has found security in his faith, his friends, and his career. It’s the life he’s always wanted—simple, predictable, and safe. Enter Kate Hawkins, the attractive 21-year-old stranger he rescues from a bar fight who has an odd affinity for the color pink and a unique sense of humor.

It doesn’t take long to realize their connection is intense, but after only a handful of dates, a shocking revelation surfaces. Lines are drawn, sides are taken, and loyalties are decided as their newfound relationship is brought to a sudden halt.

But unlike most couples who split, avoiding each other is impossible. As daily interactions become unbearable, one realization becomes clear: they’ve both fallen hard for the absolute wrong person, which leaves both scrambling for a way to make it right.

Narelle’s thoughts:

I enjoyed Sway, and I read it very quickly once I was a few chapters into the story. My Aussie friends recommended the book to me, and I’m glad they did because I may not have read the whole book without their recommendation. When I’m browsing books, I usually read part or all of the sample. My thoughts on the opening pages determine if I’ll keep reading. Sway is written in first person and opens in a seedy bar in Oklahoma City. Initially I felt like I was reading a new adult romance story about a group of young people with questionable morals who were looking to hook up. That’s not my usual choice of reading material, and I would have missed out on a great story had I tossed it aside and not continued reading.

Caleb is a fascinating character who has overcome enormous obstacles to reach a place where he’s content with his life and has a purpose. The first person viewpoint means we are inside his head, and we receive a largely unfiltered male point of view that is mild in language compared to many general market romances, but more overt and descriptive than the typical Christian romance. Conservative readers who prefer very sweet romances may not be comfortable with this aspect of the story.

Kate is a naive and sheltered twenty-one year old who is dragged out to a bar by her friends to celebrate her twenty-first birthday. I thought this aspect of the story was odd until I remembered the legal age for drinking and going to bars is twenty-one (it’s eighteen in Australia). Kate’s so-called friends abandon her in pursuit of one night stands, and Kate finds trouble very fast.

Caleb’s reasons for being in the bar are made clear later in the story. He’s attracted to Kate from the moment she walks into the bar, and he can’t keep his eyes off her. Before long he recognises that Kate’s in trouble, and he rescues her. This is the start of their relationship, although all is not as it seems.  One third of the way into the story we learn more about Kate and Caleb’s very different backgrounds, and the secrets that are revealed blow apart their preconceived ideas about each other and their developing romantic relationship.

The plotting and character development in the story is brilliant. We see both Kate and Caleb challenged by the events in the story and forced to face their greatest fears. Can their new love survive what looks like insurmountable obstacles in their path? This is the story question that stayed with me until the very end, and I found the ending both delightful and satisfying.

I was also challenged to think more about the big issue raised in the story. We haven’t seen as much controversy around this issue in Australia, and it was insightful to gain a broader understanding of American culture in this specific context. I recommend Sway to readers who enjoy realistic and edgy Christian romances that deal with contemporary issues.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

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Book Recommendation: Forget Paris by Autumn Macarthur

Forget Paris

Book Description:

American graduate student Zoe Gallagher doesn’t believe in romance.

She’s in Paris on Valentine’s Day doing research to prove that romance is an illusion and love based on it doesn’t last. When she meets New Yorker Gabe Ross, there to fulfil his mother’s dying wish by placing a lovelock on a bridge crossing the River Seine, even she finds it hard to resist the most romantic city in the world on the most romantic day of the year.

An impulsive challenge to try a psychological experiment feels like more, much more, for both of them.

Zoe tells herself their one wonderful day together proves nothing, only gives more evidence her theory is right. But on her return to London, she discovers she needs Gabe’s help to learn the biggest lesson of all, that love does last.

Especially God’s love…

Narelle’s thoughts:

I was intrigued by the story premise and I enjoyed reading Forget Paris. Zoe is different to the typical romance heroine. Not only is she cynical about romance, she’s doing post graduate psychological research to prove her theory. Zoe is not afraid to share her opinion of romance, and it’s kind of like the author has cast one of the real life female critics of the romance genre as the heroine in her own story.

Zoe meets Gabe in Paris on Valentine’s Day and she asks him to join her in completing her research test. Her theory is they’ll spend the day together and develop romantic feelings due to forced proximity. But, those feelings won’t be real. Instead, they’ll be based on an illusion of romantic love.

Complete strangers when they have a chance meeting on a Parisian bridge, Gabe is fascinated by Zoe and her interesting ideas about romance. His loving parents recently passed and he’s alone in Paris to fulfil his mother’s long held dream. Meeting Zoe is a pleasant distraction from his grief. They spend Valentine’s Day together, working on the assumption they’ll never meet again.

Zoe is a complex and, at times, prickly character who has trust issues. Gabe reappears in her life and she struggles to process her developing feelings for him. I liked Gabe and I thought he was very sweet and patient with Zoe. In one scene her twin sister, Tiff (the heroine in Book 3, A Model Bride), gives Zoe a lecture, and I’m cheering for Tiff, hoping Zoe will finally listen to her twin rather than hiding behind her fears and assuming she knows best.

Zoe and Gabe grow in their love and faith during the story. Zoe’s big spiritual ‘aha moment’ brings the story together, which leads to satisfying and romantic ending. I finished the story believing that Zoe and Gabe’s love was for real and that their relationship would last the distance and survive the challenges of life. I loved the urban setting in Paris and London, and the colourful backdrop it provides for the story.

Forget Paris is Book 4 in Autumn Macarthur’s Love in Store series and can be read as a standalone title. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy fun and contemporary Christian romances with an European flavour.

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ACFW New Releases: August 2015

ACFW New Releases: August 2015.

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

Contemporary Romance:

Be My Valentino by Sandra D. Bricker — Now that the whole truth has come out about her husband’s double life-including the fact that she and Jack were never legally married-Jessie is standing on her own for the first time in her life. As she struggles to put Adornments, her rental store for designer labels, on the map in Tinsel Town, her relationship with private investigator Danny Callahan gains momentum. Can Jessie afford to put her faith-and heart-into another relationship when she’s so obviously handicapped in the good judgment department? (Contemporary Romance from Abingdon Press)

One More Wish by Robin Jones Gunn — As Christy blows out the 26 candles on her birthday cake, she closes her eyes and makes a wish. Could this be the year that she and Todd finally have a baby? As her closest friends announce they are expecting, Christy’s heart carries an ache for a child of her own. On their way home from Sierra’s wedding, Todd opens up the discussion of adoption and soon a simple invitation turns into a life-changing season. Christy’s patience and understanding are stretched beyond her limits, and she finds herself holding not just one baby in her arms, but two. Everything Christy and Todd thought about family and hospitality shifts as the two of them dare to make one more wish and believe that God’s timing is flawless. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Island Dreams by Kimberly Rose Johnson — When a land developer comes to Wildflower Island Chase fights to keep the island the way it is. But there is a problem, he’s falling for the developer and if he stops her, he may never see her again. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

An Unexpected Family by Jill Kemerer — After five years apart, Tom Sheffield is shocked to find his ex-wife, Stephanie, on his doorstep. The news that they share a child he’s never met sends him reeling. Four-year-old Macy has his eyes, his mouth and, from their first encounter, his heart. Things with her mother are much more complicated. He doesn’t understand what went wrong between them or why she kept their daughter a secret. And he’s afraid of falling in love all over again. Yet he feels a glimmer of hope that somehow he can convince Macy and Stephanie to stay in Lake Endwell-and with him-for keeps. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Historical Romance:

Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman — She used to be known as Light-fingered Livy. But that was before she put her past behind her and moved to the growing town of Chestnut, Illinois, where she’s helping to run an orphanage. Now she’ll do almost anything to protect the street kids like herself. Sheriff’s deputy Jake Russell had no idea what he was in for when he ran into Livy–literally–while chasing down a pickpocket. With a rash of robberies and a growing number of street kids in town–as well as a loan on the family farm that needs to be paid off–Jake doesn’t have time to pursue a girl. Still, he can’t seem to get Livy out of his mind. He wants to get to know her better . . . but Livy isn’t willing to trust any man, especially not a lawman. (Historical Romance from Tyndale House)

Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin — In 1941, as America teeters on the brink of World War II, Mary Stirling works at the Boston Navy Yard and renews an old friendship with naval officer Ens. Jim Avery. Jim’s destroyer escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic, but problems on his ship point to a saboteur at the shipyard. As Mary works to find the culprit and Jim battles U-boats, could their friendship blossom into something more? Or could the dangers they face keep them apart? (Historical Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

12 Brides of Summer, Novella Collection #3 by Margaret Brownley, Miralee Ferrell, and Pam Hillman — Love Is Buzzing in the Good Old Summertime! Spend the sunny days of summer relaxing with an ice cold glass of lemonade and revel in the dreams of twelve brides who are a bit surprised by how the men of their dreams come into their lives. Journey to the Old West, stay on the prairie, and visit quaint small towns. . .without leaving the comfort of your own front porch with the third release in this collection. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:

Smokescreen by Jodie Bailey — When her life is on the line, Ashley Colson is rescued by the last person she ever expected to see again. Military officer Ethan Kincaid might have disappointed her once in the past, but now he’s the only person who can keep her safe. They’re under the gun to decode top secret files that can save the life of a friend who is in enemy hands. But the killers will pull out all the stops to get their hands on the files…and Ashley. With time running out, can they put aside their past and find the answers that could give them a future? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Midnight on the Mississippi by Mary Ellis — As a newly minted PI and a New Orleans stockbroker encounter sophisticated shell games, blackmail and death threats, danger swirls around them like the mysterious black water of the bayou. (Mystery/Crime from Harvest House Publishers)

The Bones will Speak by Carrie Stuart Parks — A killer with a penchant for torture has taken notice of forensics expert Gwen Marcey . . . and her daughter. (Suspense/Thriller from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson and Zondervan])

Speculative Fiction:

Take and Give by Amanda G. Stevens — To escape the oppressive Constabulary and gain freedom in a newly formed country, four people must embark on a road trip fraught with danger and distrust. (Speculative Fiction from David C. Cook)

Young Adult:

A Perilous Assignment by JC Morrows — The Order of the Moonstone is not just another shadowy underground resistance operation. They have a much more sinister purpose. Kayden is about to find out just how sinister. Go back to the very beginning with us… see how Kayden was chosen for her most important and most dangerous assignment yet. (Young Adult, Independently Published)

Book Recommendation: Secretly Yours (Riverbend Romance Book 1) by Valerie Comer

Secretly Yours

Book Description:

A Christian Romance Novella for Valentine’s Day

Chef Lindsey Solberg agrees to cater the church’s Valentine’s Day fundraising banquet as a favor to her teen sister, but she’s shocked to discover the bad boy from her high school days is now Riverbend’s youth pastor. Seriously? How could he have changed that much? Nick Harrison has prayed for years for an opportunity to make amends. Now Lindsey’s back in Riverbend and won’t give him the time of day. What’s a guy to do except leave a trail of gifts from a secret admirer?

Lindsey’s heart takes a beating when she realizes the boy who was never good enough is now a far better man than she deserves.

Narelle’s Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading Secretly Yours, set in the small fictional town of Riverbend in British Columbia, Canada. Lindsey Solberg hasn’t had an easy life. She returns to Riverbend to help her stepfather care for her stepsister, Madison, following the tragic loss of their mother. Pastor Nick is the reformed bad boy who messed with Lindsey’s heart when they were in high school. Lindsey struggles to believe that he’s a changed man, and she is reluctant to trust him. She’s not looking for romance, and her mother’s relationship history has turned her off the whole concept of marriage.

Lindsey agrees to be the chef for the church youth group’s Valentine fundraising dinner, and she’s drawn into an easygoing friendship with Nick.  I have a soft spot for reformed bad boy heroes, and Nick didn’t disappoint me. Nick regrets his actions in high school and comes up with his secret admirer plan to win Lindsey’s heart. His faith is strong and he gently encourages Lindsey to explore her own lukewarm faith.

Secretly Yours is the first book in Valerie Comer’s Riverbend Romance novella series, followed by Pinky Promise. A sweet Valentine’s Day read, I recommend Secretly Yours to readers who enjoy fun and lighthearted contemporary Christian romance novellas.

Click here to read my book recommendation for Sweet Serenade (Riverbend Romance Book 3)

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