Book Love, Christian fiction

Book reviews: A Dance in Donegal, The Paris Betrayal, and Bookshop by the Sea

Hi, everyone. A few weeks ago I introduced you to another website I launched earlier this year: Clean Fiction Book Reviews. In case you haven’t hopped over there yet, here are links to the latest reviews I’ve posted. I hope you’ll stop by and subscribe if you enjoy getting the scoop on books across different genres.

A Dance in Donegal by Jennifer DreibelA Dance in Donegal by Jennifer Deibel

Genre: Historical romance

Moira moved to Ireland to begin a teaching career — and get some answers about her mother’s past. That wasn’t all she found.

Rich details that help life in Ireland during that era come alive; lovable characters who teach lessons about faith, trust, and family even in the simplest of lives. This is Deibel’s debut novel and she’s an author to watch if you enjoy historical romance, especially stories set in Europe rather than the U.S.

 

The Paris Betrayal by James R HannibalThe Paris Betrayal by James R. Hannibal

Genre: Thriller

When everything — and everyone — you’ve counted on is gone, where do you turn? Especially when you’re a spy?

Constant twists and turns that take the reader from Italy to Paris to the U.S. and kept me guessing until the end. Super refreshing to read a thriller that was a fantastic, well-written story without the graphic language and scenes that can be so prevalent in this genre. Hannibal’s military background takes the realism to the next level. 

 

Bookshop by the Sea by Denise HunterBookshop by the Sea by Denise Hunter

Genre: Contemporary romance

An approaching hurricane, a stranded ex-boyfriend and a bookshop scheduled to open in a few weeks. What could possibly go wrong?

Fun, lighthearted, second-chance romance with characters who grew a lot but stayed believable. This was the perfect beach read while we were out of town and I can see myself reading it again when I’m in the mood for a pick-me-up book. Denise Hunter is the queen of heartwarming, small-town love stories.

What are you reading lately? I’m always looking for new books and authors to try. Leave a note in the comments to share.

Book Love, Christian non-fiction, Writing life

Happy book birthday to Work from Home Moms’ Devotions to Go

During one of my many clean-out sessions of the past year, I stopped for a few minutes to flip through a little book I haven’t paid much attention to in a long time: Work from Home Moms’ Devotions to Go. It’s my first devotional book, the one that allowed me the privilege of saying I’m a published book author.

Work from home moms devotions to goIt also turns 15 this year, which is a bit crazy to wrap my mind around. To celebrate, I’d like to share the story of how being a work-from-home mom led to a book.

I began working from home when our son was about five months old. It wasn’t under the most ideal circumstances; I’d learned a few weeks after returning to work from maternity leave that positions currently held by four people would be consolidated into a single role. To make a long story short, I wasn’t the person chosen to continue in that role.

I had handled a few freelance writing or editing projects over the years and my husband and I had talked about how great it would be if I could find enough freelance work to stay at home once we started a family.

As much as I liked the idea, I have to be honest: I would have never had the nerve to leave my job and try full-time freelancing.

God knew that and put me in the position to try. And He blessed me with work all the years I was at home.

A while after my work-from-home journey began, God nudged me in another direction I would have never imagined.

I had looked in bookstores and online for a devotional book written for moms who worked from home. I even called stores and asked them to search their systems for such a book. No one found anything.

The longer I searched, the more frustrated I became. Working from home wasn’t as common as now, but it also wasn’t unheard of. Surely there was a devotional book for women juggling families, work and everything else under the same roof.

My answer came as I mulled it over once again while rocking our son to sleep for his nap.

Write it yourself.

Three simple words that rang as loudly in my mind as if someone had spoken them beside me.

Whoa. Where did that come from?

Again: Write it yourself.

I’d never had such a thing happen. Lord, if that’s you …

The thought latched on and I continued to pray about it while doing other things as our son napped. By the time he woke and we were getting ready for a walk around the neighborhood, my prayer had shifted to, “OK, Lord, I’ll do this if you want but I don’t know what to write.”

Because God is God (and because for some reason this was His plan), He answered my puny challenge. Ideas for devotions related to being a work-from-home mom popped in my mind so quickly during our walk I could hardly keep them straight.

I scribbled down as many as I could remember when we got back home. More than 30 ideas filled the page.

And that was the day that led to Work from Home Moms’ Devotions to Go. It was a long process full of ups and downs, starts and stops, that eventually led to a publishing home with Extreme Diva Media. I had the chance to meet and work with amazing women including our publisher Jean Ann Duckworth and fellow authors Marilyn Nutter, Sherry Cummins, and Shelley Galbreath.

God was so good to turn my personal desire for a devotional book into something that others might enjoy. Even all these years later, I only know of one other devotional book written for moms who work from home – and it’s written by a woman I connected with during this process who endorsed it.

Many parents have learned to simultaneously balance work, home, and family during the past year. If you know someone who might like reading Work from Home Moms’ Devotions to Go, it’s still available in print (through me or some used book sites) and as an eBook.

Thanks for humoring my trip down memory lane. It’s reminded me anew how God can use all of us, even when we have no clue what we’re doing or where we’re going.

What nudges have you felt from God that might have led to unexpected places? Leave a comment and I’ll enter you into a drawing to win an autographed copy for yourself.


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Book Love, Christian non-fiction

Announcing the 2021 Selah Award nonfiction winners

For those of you who enjoy reading Christian nonfiction, books honored with Selah Awards are definitely worth a look. They’re announced as part of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, which is one of the best Christian writers conferences in the industry.

Last week I shared the 2021 Selah Award winners for Christian fiction. As promised, here’s the list of 2021 Selah Award nonfiction winners.

Devotionals

  • Third Place: Finding Hope in Crisis by Grace Fox
  • Second Place: Grief: The Unwanted Journey by Janet K. Johnson
  • First Place: Sunshine for the Soul by Linda Kozar (also named the 2021 Book of the Year for Nonfiction)

Inspiration and Gift

Christian Life

  • Third Place: Overcoming the Narcissist, Sociopath, Psychopath, and Other Domestic Abusers by Charlene D. Quint, J.D.
  • Second Place: Faith Wins: Overcoming a Crisis of Belief by Adam Groza
  • First Place: Extraordinary Hospitality for Ordinary Christians by Victoria Duerstock

Memoir

  • Third Place: Cross Addicted: Breaking Free from Family Trauma and Addiction by Paula Jauch
  • Second Place: Unleash Your God-given Healing by Ginny Dent Brant
  • First Place: Unwanted No More: From Exploited to Embraced by God by B.J. Garrett

Children’s Picture Books

2021 Directors’ Choice Award for Children’s Books

2021 Directors’ Choice Award for General Nonfiction

2021 Directors’ Choice Award for Devotionals

  • 365 Ways to Love Your Child: Turning Little Moments into Lasting Memories by Julie Lavender

I’ll admit that when I sit down to read, I’m usually looking for a fun escape with fiction rather than a nonfiction title (other than what I read during my devotional time). I need to do better with that and challenge myself to learn some new things. Do you tend to lean toward one more than the other?


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Book Love, Christian fiction

Find a new Christian author through the 2021 Selah Award fiction winners

One of the biggest and most respected conferences for Christian writers was last week: the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in North Carolina. They celebrate on the last night of the conference with the Selah Awards, which cover multiple categories of Christian fiction and nonfiction works that were published in the past year.

Books that win the Selah Award are definitely worth checking out, so I wanted to share them in case any look interesting to you.

This week I’m sharing the winners from the fiction categories, complete with links if you’d like to learn more. Next week I’ll share the nonfiction Selah Award winners. Happy browsing!

First Novel

Novella

Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Historical / Biblical Fiction

Historical Romance Fiction

Contemporary Romance Fiction

Romantic Suspense Fiction

Mystery/Suspense Fiction

Western Fiction

Speculative Fiction

General Fiction

YA Fiction

Middle Grade Fiction

What’s your favorite genre to read? I’ve added several of these titles to my own to-read list; would love to know if any look interesting to you.

If you’d like an even easier way to find new authors in the genres you enjoy, you can also sign up for my e-newsletter and get a free download of “75 Clean Fiction Authors Worth Reading.” It’s a great way to find a new favorite author this summer!


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