Blogging hiatus

August 6, 2013

Narelle here. I’m taking a break from blogging here to focus on my new author blog and the launch of a new group blog, Australasian Christian Writers, in September. My fiction writing commitments (I have a book deadline every 3 months until September 2014) have limited the time I have available to write Bible studies and Bible study related blog posts.

I will continue posting book recommendations (fiction and non-fiction) on my Narelle Atkins Inspirational Romance Author blog. Today you will find my book recommendation and Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance (ACRBA) book tour post for Captured by Moonlight by Christine Lindsay on my author blog.

http://narelleatkins.wordpress.com

My first Aussie contemporary inspirational (Christian) romance, Falling for the Farmer, will be a  February 2014 release in North America from Harlequin Heartsong Presents.

Heartsong Presents: August new releases

July 30, 2013

Narelle here. My first fiction book release with Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents line, Falling for the Farmer, is scheduled for February 2014. On the last Tuesday of each month, I’m posting information on the new Heartsong Presents releases for the following month.

Harlequin publishes four Heartsong Presents books each month: two contemporary inspirational romances and two historical inspirational romances. They also publish the Love Inspired books, including contemporary romance (Love Inspired), historical romance (Love Inspired Historical) and romantic suspense (Love Inspired Suspense).

International readers outside the USA and Canada can purchase the print books online from Amazon and The Book Depository (free international shipping). If you’re looking for inspirational (Christian) romances to read, please check out the  Heartsong Presents and Love Inspired books.

Lessons in Love

Megan Conley can’t believe her eyes.

That handsome man who keeps popping up all over town looks a lot like her boyfriend, Michael. But Megan hasn’t seen him since he vanished unexpectedly, leaving her searching for answers. Turns out the stranger is Michael’s cousin, Noah, and he seems to have her best interests at heart. Could Noah help explain Michael’s absence?

Noah can’t deny his attraction to Megan. But he made a promise to his cousin, and he’s a man of his word. He’ll help her move on with her life—but he can go no further. Unless the key he holds to Michael’s disappearance is also the key to Megan’s heart…

Read Lessons in Love excerpt at Amazon.com

Ranchers Second Chance

Laura Bell is home for good.

Twelve years ago she left her home behind—but she could never forget the boy next door. Now, hurting from a broken engagement and fed up with city life, Laura returns to her family’s ranch. But her homecoming is bittersweet. Twelve years apart has changed Eli Hawthorne. Yet the bond they once shared has only deepened with time.

Eli never gave up hoping that someday Laura would return to their small ranching town in the California foothills. But the battle-scarred soldier is a world away from the carefree boy he once was. And Laura has her own wounds to heal. Together they just might fill the empty places in their hearts and find the love of a lifetime.

Read The Rancher’s Second Chance excerpt at Amazon.com

Proper Guardian

Lady Winter Renton will marry only for love.

As the sole heir of her family’s country estate, Lady Winter is plagued by greedy aristocrats looking for a marriage of convenience. Perfectly capable of running the estate after her father’s death, she is infuriated by their scandalous proposals. She wants more than a heartless merging of property and bloodlines. Until she meets true love, Winter vows to carry on alone.

Winter’s appointed guardian, the dashing Earl of Alistair, is intrigued by his lovely young ward, and whisks her to London for a season of elegant balls and lavish soirees. As his admiration for her turns to love, Lord Alistair finds himself ensnared in rumors of political conspiracy and social scandal. Can Lady Winter trust in Lord Alistair’s love, and have faith that God has a plan for the two of them—together?

Read A Proper Guardian excerpt at Amazon.com

Substitute Bride

Jared Callahan’s mysterious bride.

Rancher Jared Callahan eagerly awaited the arrival of his mail-order bride. But instead of the kindhearted woman who wrote about escaping her constrained city life, the beauty who arrived in his remote frontier town couldn’t remember anything. Not him, not their long-distance courtship, not even her own name. What is he going to do with this petite spitfire?

Dazed and confused from a railway accident, Rebecca Layne finds herself saying “I do” to the handsome stranger who claims to be her betrothed. But as feelings for Jared blossom, the mysteries of her past threaten to unravel her life at the seams. Only when the truth is finally revealed can this marriage of convenience ever become a true union of love.

Read The Substitute Bride excerpt at Amazon.com

Narelle2

NARELLE ATKINS writes contemporary inspirational romance and lives in Canberra, Australia. She sold her debut novel, set in Australia, to Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents line in a six-book contract. Her first book, Falling for the Farmer, will be a February 2014 release. http://www.narelleatkins.com Narelle is a co-founder of the Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance (ACRBA) http://www.acrba.blogspot.com

Book Recommendation – Couples of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study

July 25, 2013

Couples of the Bible

Back Cover blurb:

In this scrapbook of your spiritual family tree, you have the faithful patriarchs and matriarchs who make you proud…and the scoundrels who you’d rather not talk about. But all of these ancestors, Couples of the Bible, will give you a snapshot of your biblical heritage. Some bring encouragement, others offer a stern warning.

Through this 52-week devotional experience, you will be reacquainted with the obstacles and outcomes of familiar couples like Abraham and Sarah…and meet some lesser-known couples like Othniel and Aksah. Each week focuses on one couple of the Bible, from Adam and Eve to Christ and His Bride. You will read their story, learn about their cultural setting and explore how their story can teach you important truths about your own marriage. Each week you will be guided with questions applying biblical truth to your relationship with your spouse. And you’ll finish the week with a time of reflection, thanksgiving and prayer.

Couples of the Bible will teach you how God guided couples in the past and will encourage you to trust in his faithfulness for your marriage.

Narelle: I really liked the concept underpinning Couples of the Bible. The devotional book is designed to help couples strengthen their marriage by studying the many examples of married couples in the Bible. Each couple lived a flawed marriage and they had unique challenges to overcome. Some couples walked closely with the Lord, for example Ruth and Boaz, while others turned away from the Lord, for example Ahab and Jezebel.

The following quote from the book sums up the essence of the devotions: The Bible is a living book, a love story. It is the inspired story of the great King in heaven who woos His people and commits Himself to perfectly love them forever. 

There are 5 devotions each week for 52 weeks. Day 1 looks at the narrative Biblical story of the couple. Day 2 provides the cultural background. Day 3 asks the reader to put themselves in the couple’s shoes and imagine living their lives. Day 4 explores the issues facing married couples by looking at application questions relating to the couple. Day 5 examines the couple’s legacy and includes a time of reflection and prayer.

The devotions are informative and will help you learn more about the Biblical characters in an easy to read format. I’m a fan of the traditional devotional structure that includes all the above elements on the one day. The five way split is great for couples who lead  busy lives and can only snatch a short time together to read the book. My preference, time permitting, would be to group the first three days together, and explore the last two days either separately or together. One reason being I like to know the cultural setting when I’m reading the narrative text of the Biblical story. I recommend this devotional book to couples wanting to gain a greater understanding of how God reveals himself through the lives of couples in the Bible.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Zondervan for providing a review copy.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com

ACRBA tour An Heiress at Heart by Jennifer DeLamere

July 23, 2013
July 22 – 26
Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance
Is Introducing
An Heiress at Heart
(Grand Central Publishing)
By 
Jennifer DeLamere
2013 RITA nominee 
About the Author:
The youngest child of a Navy pilot and a journalist, Jennifer acquired a love of adventure and an excitement for learning that continues to this day. She’s lived in three countries and traveled throughout the United States. An avid reader of classics and historical fiction, she also enjoys biographies and histories, which she mines for the vivid details to bring to life the characters and places in her books. Her debut novel An Heiress at Heart was chosen by Grand Central Publishing to be the first inspirational romance for their Forever imprint. She resides with her husband in the southeastern United States–where, when not writing or dreaming up romantic adventures for her characters, she can be found fantasizing about her next ski trip or international vacation.
Website: http://www.jenniferdelamere.com/
About the Book:
A youthful indiscretion has cost Lizzie Poole more than just her honor. After five years living in exile, she’s finally returning home, but she’s still living a secret life. Her best friend Ria’s dying wish was for Lizzie to assume her identity, return to London, and make amends that Ria herself would never live to make. Bearing a striking resemblance to her friend, and harboring more secrets than ever before, Lizzie embarks on a journey that tempts her reckless heart once again . . .

A committed clergyman, Geoffrey Somerville’s world is upended when he suddenly inherits the title of Lord Somerville. Now he’s invited to every ball and sought after by the matchmaking mothers of London society. Yet the only woman to capture his heart is the one he cannot have: his brother’s young widow, Ria. Duty demands he deny his feelings, but his heart longs for the mysterious beauty. With both their futures at stake, will Lizzie be able to keep up her façade? Or will she find the strength to share her secret and put her faith in true love?

Narelle: I really enjoyed reading this book and liked the Aussie connection in the story. Lizzie is a fascinating character who made unwise choices in London that led her to seek refuge in Bathurst, Australia. Lizzie meets Ria in Australia and their uncanny physical resemblance raises a number of questions in the story. Lizzie fulfils Ria’s dying wish by returning to London and assuming Ria’s identity. What Lizzie doesn’t count on is falling in love with Geoffrey, Ria’s brother-in-law who she can’t legally marry while continuing to impersonate Ria.

Geoffrey had never met the real Ria in person, but I did question why Ria’s relatives seemed to easily accept that Lizzie was Ria. My questions were answered in an exciting and satisfying ending. The faith element in the story was more understated than in many inspirational romances and themes of honesty and integrity were addressed as Lizzie dealt with the consequences of her deception. I recommend this book to those looking for a fun and intriguing historical romance.

Many thanks to NetGalley for providing a review copy.

ACRBA Tour All In 2 Night by Lynne Burgess

July 18, 2013
15 – 19 July
 
Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance
 
is Introducing
 
All in 2 Night
 
(Even Before Publishing  March 2013)
 
by
 
Lynne Burgess
 
available at Light the dark
 
 
About the Author
Lynne and Chris have raised five children who are now adults. Lynne’s practical experience comes from the quality time spent with her own children. She successfully implemented her All-In Night for over 16 years using simple yet productive activities that included the whole family. She now shares these ideas at speaking events and through her book.
 
 
 

About the book

All-In Night is a family routine. For one night of the week everyone stays home. By spending ten to twenty minutes together, you can learn and talk about the things that matter. Following on from Lynne’s original book this set of new activities is designed especially with Christian families in mind. An activity or discussion point each week. The book includes 40 weeks of activities, designed as 1 per week of the school year.Activities include love languages, listening for God, self-esteem, the fruits of the spirit and many more. These fun and simple family activities provide an opportunity to grow values, goals, hopes, feelings and the foundation for a Christ led life. All-in Night works with two kids or ten. Let it become the heart of your family’s life.

Narelle: All In 2 Night is full of great ideas to help families connect in a meaningful way. The basic premise is that one night each week is prioritised as a family night. The television and technology is switched off to allow the family to communicate and work together through a series of group and individual activities. Many of us live in a fast paced world where it can be hard to find quality family time, and this book provides a framework for families to adopt.

The book contains forty activities that are designed to fit in with the Australian school term timetable. There are regular ice cream or other dessert rewards to provide children with participation incentives. The kids each have a work book they can use throughout the year to record their individual activities and responses. Each night has a theme. Different values, emotions and social situations are explored from a Christian perspective.

The activities are educational and provide children with important life skills as they navigate the ups and downs of life. The author and her family have included personal reflections in the book to show how the All-In Nights have benefited their family. The All-In Night structure outlined in the book may not be suitable for all families, but the activities and life lessons are useful and can be adapted to suit your family’s unique situation. I recommend this book to parents looking for ideas and ways to communicate more effectively with their children.

Many thanks to Even Before Publishing for providing a review copy.

Book Recommendation: Fear Has a Name by Creston Mapes

July 9, 2013

Fear Has a Name

Back cover blurb:

How Far Would He Go To Keep Them Safe?

It was more than a break-in. More than a stalking. It was personal. When a stalker targets his family, journalist Jack Crittendon must uncover who the person is and what his motives are–if he is to protect the ones he loves. It will lead Crittendon into a world of behind-closed-door secrets and faith gone awry, as does his investigation of a missing pastor, whose apparent suicide is more than it appears.

Each move Crittendon makes weaves him tighter and tighter into a web of lies, greed, hypocrisy, sin, and danger. He believed he’d never give in to fear. But that was before. And holding on to his faith won’t be easy. Nor will keeping his family safe, and ending the terror. Because that might require him to step over lines he never dared to cross.

Narelle:  This book is action packed from the start and I couldn’t put it down. The plot twists kept me turning the page to learn what happens next. Jack’s faith is tested and pushed to the limit when a dangerous stalker threatens to destroy his family.

Fear Has a Name deals with hypocrisy and corruption in unlikely places. It has a supernatural element and the manifestation of evil in the world is a strong theme in the book. Jack and his wife, Pam, learn that evil can arise in unimaginable ways. Being a good person and doing the right thing by God is not a ticket to an easy life without fear, pain, struggles and hardship. I recommend this book to those looking for an exciting supernatural thriller.

Many thanks to NetGalley and David C. Cook for providing a review copy.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com

ACRBA Tour No Substitute by Susan Diane Johnson

July 2, 2013
1 – 5  July

Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance

is introducing

No Substitute

(Pelican Book Group, November 30, 2012)

by

Susan Diane Johnson

The Book Depository

About the Author:

Susan Diane Johnson aka Suzie Johnson

I live on an island in Northwest Washington. A writer of Christian Fiction, my debut novel, No Substitute, is now available from Pelican Book Groups. During the day I work at my local hospital as a cancer registrar. During the evenings and on weekends, I write novels that I hope will bring joy and uplift the hearts of readers. I am married and have one grown son. I love to travel and see new places – especially by train. My favorite destinations are Victoria, B.C.; Williamsburg, Virginia; Disneyland; and Avila Beach in California. I love to read, write, go to baseball games, and ride roller coasters with my son. I am a member of American Christian Fiction Writers; Romance Writers of America; Faith, Hope and Love; National Cancer Registrars Association; and Washington State Tumor Registrars Association. You can find me on Inkwell Inspirations, a daily Christian Women’s blog where I am a regular contributor. You can also find me on my personal blog, Suzie’s Writing Place where I share my faith, my writing, and my love for books. I’m also on Facebook and Pinterest where I can explore my love of beautiful historical clothing, the South of France, beaches, and certain television shows.

About the book:

Amy Welsh knew when she came back to the small Washington town of Goose Bay she’d eventually run into her high school sweetheart—the one who broke her heart seventeen years ago. Only Quentin Macmillan isn’t the boy she remembered. He could potentially be everything she’s ever dreamed of. But remembering the past reminds Amy that she and Quentin aren’t a pair of teenagers in the bloom of first love. Letting him into her life resurfaces all the hurt she’s tried to ignore. Forgiveness isn’t as simple—or easy—as it sounds, especially after Quentin and Amy discover his teenage daughter has been manipulating their feelings. If Amy can open her heart to healing, she’ll find the future God prepared for her.

Narelle: I loved reading No Substitute and my book recommendation from December 6, 2012 can be found at the following link.
http://30minutebiblestudies.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/book-recommendation-no-substitute-by-susan-diane-johnson/

Heartsong Presents: July new releases

June 25, 2013

Narelle here. My first fiction book release with Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents line, Falling for the Farmer, is scheduled for February 2014. On the last Tuesday of each month, I’m posting information on the new Heartsong Presents releases for the following month.

Harlequin publishes four Heartsong Presents books each month: two contemporary inspirational romances and two historical inspirational romances. They also publish the Love Inspired books, including contemporary romance (Love Inspired), historical romance (Love Inspired Historical) and romantic suspense (Love Inspired Suspense).

International readers outside the USA and Canada can purchase the print books online from Amazon and The Book Depository (free international shipping). If you’re looking for inspirational (Christian) romances to read, please check out the  Heartsong Presents and Love Inspired books.

Marriage Ultimatum

Juan Antonio has a problem.

Juan Antonio Fuentes wants to sell his father’s mango plantation. But before he can leave Mexico and head back to the U.S., he has to bring in a good crop. And that calls for the best fruit inspector in the region. But when a beautiful woman sets foot on his land, his life and his heart are turned upside down.

Dealing with difficult men is all in a day’s work for Carina Garza. But she’s never met anyone like Antonio before. He’s both strong and sweet, and soon she’s falling head over heels for the handsome plantation owner. When he proposes marriage to her—with the condition she never work again—Carina is stunned. Can this modern woman earn both love and respect from her traditional man?

Read The Marriage Ultimatum excerpt at Amazon.com

Rodeo Regrets

Natalie Wentworth’s past is about to catch up with her.

Natalie once dreamed of finding true love. Then Lane Gray broke her heart. After running wild to fill the emptiness inside her, she heads back to her hometown to heal. But when she sees the cowboy she once loved so much, she finds him hard to resist.

Lane Gray is a changed man. The handsome cowboy wants Natalie’s forgiveness—and more. Natalie has made plenty of mistakes in her life, but so has Lane. Could falling for each other again be the worst one yet? Or the path to redemption?

Read Rodeo Regrets excerpt at Amazon.com

Love Treasure

Marie Bolden might be learning more than she’s teaching.

Wealthy, privileged Marie Bolden lives a life of comfort. So her father can’t understand why she’d leave her family in North Carolina to teach in a one-room schoolhouse. After all, there couldn’t possibly be anything to capture her interest in isolated Cades Cove, Tennessee. Except for the mysterious Daniel Watson.

Daniel is a jack-of-all-trades. He’s a farmer, a rancher—and possibly a moonshiner. But he is not a believer. And that makes him the wrong man for Marie. Yet their affection for each other cannot be denied. When Marie is suddenly kidnapped, Daniel must turn to God for help before he loses the only love he’s ever known.

Read A Love to Treasure excerpt at Amazon.com

Cooking up Love

Tabitha is in search of adventure.

Tabitha McClelland knows accepting a job as a Harvey House waitress can be risky. Traveling alone to the rough-and-tumble West just isn’t done by young ladies of good breeding. But far more dangerous is her powerful attraction to Adam Foster. Family means everything to the widowed chef, but the self-sufficient Tabitha cherishes her freedom above all else.

Adam is captivated by the fiercely independent Tabitha. Fraternizing with the female employees is strictly forbidden, but the Harvey Girl awakens feelings too compelling to ignore. Can Adam convince Tabby to share his dream of a future in California—together?

Read Cooking Up Love excerpt at Amazon.com

Narelle Atkins

NARELLE ATKINS writes contemporary inspirational romance and lives in Canberra, Australia. She sold her debut novel, set in Australia, to Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents line in a six-book contract. Her first book, Falling for the Farmer, will be a February 2014 release. http://www.narelleatkins.com

Narelle is a co-founder of the Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance (ACRBA) http://www.acrba.blogspot.com

ACRBA tour Boondaburra by Natalie Lonsdale

June 20, 2013
 

17 – 21 June

is introducing

Boondaburra

(Even Before Publishing, February 2013)

By Natalie Lonsdale

available from

Light The Dark

About the Author

Natalie Lonsdale is a former Early Childhood Educator who is currently studying to be a Library Technician. Natalie loves children’s literature, photography, travelling, history, and eucalyptus trees. Boondaburra is Natalie’s first book, and she is working on several more. Natalie has a heart to write stories that encourage children to delight in God’s word and in His love.

About the book:

Boondaburra is sad. Why do the other animals make fun of him just because he is different? When tragedy strikes in the Australian bush, Boondaburra learns that being unique has its advantages. Boondaburra is the story of a platypus’ journey from rejection to accepting and understanding his uniqueness, and the friends who come to accept and admire those differences.

Narelle: I really enjoyed reading Boondaburra. The illustrations are gorgeous and relevant to the action taking place. The story celebrates God’s creation of many different types of animals. At the start of the story Boondaburra struggles with feelings of inadequacy because the other animals treat him like an outcast.

A number of native Australian animals are included in the story and they learn the importance of appreciating each other’s unique characteristics. The author’s note at the end provides fascinating platypus facts. I highly recommend Boondaburra to those looking for a fun and inspiring children’s story.

Many thanks to Even Before Publishing for providing a review copy.

Book recommendation – Reign: The Chronicles of Queen Jezebel by Ginger Garrett

June 18, 2013

ReignBack cover blurb:

Beyond the Drama, Her Heart Was Real

From the moment her marriage to prince Ahab thrusts her into the intrigues of palace life, Jezebel’s exotic beauty opens doors and her will breaks down walls. Torn from her homeland and wed to power in a strange country, Jezebel vows to create a legacy and power all her own. Some might call her a manipulative schemer, bent on having her way. But they don’t know the whole story, and she was much, much worse.

As she moves through the halls of power, her heart struggles between devotion to the gods she worships, the prince who loves her, and her thirst for revenge. She sparks a battle between her strangely powerless gods and the God of palace administrator Obadiah—a God who confronts her with surprising might. She will fight, though victory may cost her everything.

Narelle: I found Reign a fascinating story to read. It was a little confronting to walk in Jezebel’s shoes as she became the princess and ultimately queen of Israel with her husband, Ahab. Her despicable and evil acts including idolatry, child sacrifices and killing the Lord’s prophets are covered in the book. We gain an insight into her hatred of the prophet, Elijah, and her unquenchable desire for power.

Ahab is stuck in the middle. He is unable to please his wife and the people who have remained faithful to the Israelite God. He allows Jezebel to encourage the Israelites to worship her foreign gods. Both Ahab and Jezebel suffer the consequences of God’s wrath and judgment.

We are given a fictional perspective on their dysfunctional marriage and family life, and plausible reasons to explain their life choices. I recommend this book to those looking for insightful and challenging Biblical fiction.

Many thanks to NetGalley and David C. Cook for providing a review copy.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Read a FREE sample at AMAZON.com


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