Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Bible and the Supernatural: God’s Challenge

Scripture: Job 1:6-12, 2:1-6

As we saw last week, these passages deal with Satan arguing with God over the faithfulness of a righteous man named Job. God had blessed Job with great material prosperity, and as a result, Satan accused God of unfairly protecting Job, insisting that Job would turn on God the minute the protection was gone.

Observations: While these passages have much to say about Satan, as we saw last week, these passages have as much or more to say about Who God is:
            First, God is supreme. The angels had to go to Him and present themselves. So God is in charge of angels and to Him even the most powerful supernatural must give account.
            God takes the lead, rather than follows. Satan didn’t trick God or back Him into a corner in order that he might hurt Job. No, God is the One who initiated the conversation with Satan. God was the One who brought up Job and pointed him out, not Satan. God practically invited Satan to make his accusations against His servant.
            God also is aware of individuals and their actions. God didn’t ask Satan to consider a vague, generalized people. He picked a specific person—Job. Moreover, God was able to make confident claims about Job’s character, showing that He was aware of Job’s doings, public and private.
            God takes pride in His people who do right. Why else would He make the claims He did to Satan? Or why bother bringing up Job at all, if God wasn’t delighted with what Job was doing?
            God is the Giver of protection, possessions, and prosperity. As Satan points out, God set a hedge around Job which Satan could not penetrate. Moreover, it was God who had increased what Job possessed. It was God who blessed Job’s work.

Significance: Sometimes we think of Satan as God’s archenemy. In one sense that is true, in that Satan is trying to replace God, but when it comes to power, God far outstrips Satan. God sets limits on Satan’s power. God holds all accountable to Him, including Satan. God is in charge and decides how things will proceed. As a result, we need to be aware of Satan and his work, but we do not need to fear him. We serve the Greater.

Likewise, everything good we have comes fro God. Do we enjoy health? God gave it to us. Are we prospering in any way? God gave it to us. Do we own any possessions? God provided those things too. More than that, God provides us things we may not be able to measure or sense, such as protection from Satanic attacks and hedges which guard us from harm. Why and how God distributes such things may not always be evident, but that doesn’t change the reality that He is indeed the source, and we owe Him our praise and thanksgiving accordingly.

Which leads me to what may be the biggest point we can glean from these passages: God is intimately aware of us, our actions, and our circumstances. He didn’t start the world spinning and then head off to do something else. No, He sees us. He knows us. He cares about what happens to each and every one of us. And when we do right, He takes great pride in that.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Bible and the Supernatural: Meet Satan

The book of Job is believed by many to have occurred around the same time Abraham (our next section in Genesis). So in order to keep the Patriarch’s story together while maintaining basic chronology, we will be taking the next few weeks to look at the story of Job.

Scripture: Job 1:6-12, 2:1-6

Job was truly a good man, following God’s commands and avoiding all kinds of evil. As a result, God blessed him greatly in every area of his life. However, an evil being called Satan (literally “Accuser” or “Adversary”) didn’t like this and challenged God to test the true faithfulness of Job.

Observations: This is the first chronological reference to Satan by that name. As a result, this passage reveals several things about our adversary:

1. Satan is a supernatural being (Job 1:6, 2:1). The sons of God, or what we typically call angels, came to present themselves before God. Satan was among them, implying he was of their kind.

2. Satan roams the earth freely (Job 1:7, 2:2). We might not be able to see him or recognize him, but he spends at least some of his time walking among us, watching us.

3. Satan is an accuser (Job 1:9-11, 2:4-5). Satan is a master of twisting circumstances to suit himself and find something at which to point a finger. These passages exemplify this well: he advocates that Job serves God purely out of selfishness to gain prosperity.

4. Satan is a divider (Job 1:11, 2:5). When God praises Job, Satan immediately sets out to put a barrier between God and Job. First he tries to turn God against Job (“put forth Your hand”), a trap God eludes by refusing to act against Job, instead laying that responsibility on Satan’s shoulders. Then Satan tries to turn Job against God through a series of horrendous afflictions (see 1:13-22 and 2:7-10).

5. Satan is limited (Job 1:10, 12, 2:6). Satan could not afflict Job directly. In fact, this was part of Satan’s complaint; God had placed a hedge around Job so that Satan could not get to him. And even when God gave Satan permission to hurt Job, Satan still had restrictions—lines which he could not cross.

Significance: Satan is a master of lies, and over the centuries he has cloaked himself in numerous myths in order disguise his true form and methods. This is why passages like the first two chapters of Job are so vital: We are able to see Satan for who he really is.

We see that Satan is real and that he is here. Satan is no fairytale villain, created by some writer’s imagination. He exists as much as you or I do. Moreover, he isn’t off roaming some distant edge of the universe or restricted to some dark abyss. He walks the earth, watching, observing, acting among us now. To believe otherwise is to place ourselves in grave danger, as such a belief allows him free rein to act without detection.

We also see that Satan is powerful but limited. As we will look at later, Satan has some pretty powerful abilities. He is, after all, a supernatural being with all kinds of capabilities which far exceed what man can do. But although powerful, he is not all-powerful. He cannot do whatever he wants whenever he wants however he wants. He is not omnipresent either. He might be able to move rapidly through space, and he may have many others reporting to him. But Satan himself can only be at one place at a time. By remembering this, we should be able to view Satan with a balanced perspective: Although we should not treat him or his influence/abilities lightly (which is why we must be on our guard against him), neither do we need to fear him.

Finally, we see Satan’s strategy is simple (though powerful): divide and conquer. Satan knows that on our own we cannot withstand him. So he will take every opportunity he can to drive a wedge between us and God first, then among ourselves. Divisions, quarrels, jealousy, accusations that create division—these things are his handiwork. Therefore, when we see such things arise, we must point them out as such. Likewise, we must exert every effort to walk in humble dependence on God and to maintain the unity of the bond of peace among our fellow Christians. It limits the tools Satan can use against us (although as the story Job shows, he can always find something to use), and denies him victory.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

If Oscars Were Given to Books…

Watching the Oscars this past Sunday has inspired me to take a break from my normal series on the Bible and supernatural and have a little fun: I decided to imagine which Oscars I would award to various books.

Now obviously books create a very large category, and I could narrow it down in many ways. Since this blog focuses on science fiction and fantasy, especially for Christians, I decided to create my list around that. So here’s my current “Academy Awards” list, with a few adaptations, for current Christian speculative novels:  

Male Protagonist (Leading Actor)
Kieran, The Restorer’s Son by Sharon Hinck. This memorable character brings the page the right combination of strength and tenderness, flaws and virtue. And I’m pretty sure most would say his rugged good looks don’t hurt either. :o)

Male Secondary Character (Supporting Actor)
Albert, The Prophet, the Shepherd, and the Star by Jenny Cote. This big, Irish scaredy cat wouldn’t be considered the brightest bulb in the box, but his lovable manner, his huge appetite, and unwitting wisdom brings humor and insight at the most unexpected of times, providing the perfect complement to his more serious cast members.  

Female Protagonist (Leading Actress)
Firebird, Firebird by Kathy Tyers. This spunky character, much like Wonder Woman, combines strength with femininity. She is smart, skillful, and artistic, yet vulnerable in all the right ways. She asks a lot of hard questions, but when she finds the truth, she embraces it with her whole being.
Female Secondary Character (Supporting Actress)
Sandy, Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball by Donita K. Paul. The younger sister of the main hero, this character’s influence and effect is charming and sweet; we wouldn’t like the main protagonists nearly as much without her.

Book for Readers Under 14 (Animated Feature Film)
The Dreamer, The Schemer and the Robe by Jenny L. Cote. This retelling of the Joseph story, mainly through the eyes of animals, brings to life this familiar Bible story with plenty of humor and intrigue.

Description (Cinematography)
Undercurrent by Michelle Griep. Her turn of phrase, whether about a person or place, are both vivid and memorable.

Clothing (Costume Design)
Failstate by John Otte. Because every good superhero has to have a good costume. . .

Makeup and Hairstyling
Secret of the Swamp King by Jonathan Rogers. Let’s face it; the wild feechiefolk who live in the swamp are going to need an extra layer or two…

Original Score
Firebird by Kathy Tyers. What can I say? The chapters even have musical headings.

Original Song
“Day of the One,” The Deliverer by Sharon Hinck. Haunting and beautiful.

Setting (Production Design)
The Opposite of Art by Athol Dickson. Although this covers a multitude of locations, each place is vivid and real both due to the setting at large and the props within each location.

Narrator Voice (Sound Editing)
Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson. Written about a synesthete, where things like sounds take on visual representation, Ultraviolet creates a very unique voice as she tells the story.

Dialogue (Sound Mixing)
DragonSpell by Donita K. Paul. With quotable lines like, “I like questing generally speaking, expect for the uncomfortableness of it all,” and character voices so distinct that you know exactly who is speaking, dialogue doesn’t get much better than this.

Visual Effects
Circles of Seven by Bryan Davis. Excaliber. A boy who breathes fire. A girl with dragon wings. A land seemingly inhabited by ghosts (characters whom your hand passes through). Just to name a few. Yeah, the special effects are amazing…

Novel Based On Another Story (Adapted Screenplay)
Waking Beauty by Sarah Morin. This “retelling” of the Sleeping Beauty legend is unexpected yet true to the original, bringing extra dimension to the story and characters you always thought you knew.

Unique Story (Original Screenplay)
A Little Taste of Poison by R. J. Anderson combines a fantasy world with a mystery plot, populated by memorable characters and seasoned well with humor.

Best Picture
Impossible to choose!

Friday, March 2, 2018

New Christian Fiction for March 2018

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

Contemporary Romance:

Finally a Bride by Renee Andrews -- Her dreams of love haven’t worked out, but veterinarian Haley Calhoun intends to grant an orphaned boy’s wish. She’ll heal Eli’s injured puppy—while resisting his charming counselor, Gavin Thomason, at the children’s home. Still mourning the loss of his wife and baby, Gavin believes he can’t commit again. But in losing their hearts to Eli, will Haley and Gavin discover they’ve found the family they need? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Love and Roses by Sally Bayless -- Looking for a fresh start, former Manhattan lawyer Nate Redmond agrees to arrange the sale of the outdated Rose Park in small-town Missouri, not realizing it has deep sentimental value to his new neighbor, Abby Kincaid—a beautiful widow he’d like to impress. When their plans for the park clash, he learns he’s competing against the memory of her husband, a decorated war hero. With plenty of past mistakes hiding in the in the hedges, can Abby and Nate learn forgiveness and courage in time for love to grow? (Contemporary Romance from Kimberlin Belle Publishing)

Courting Her Amish Heart by Mary Davis -- In this first book of the Prodigal Daughters series, Kathleen Yoder comes home after fourteen years in the Englisher world. Practicing medicine means sacrifice—no Amish man will want a doctor for a wife. Widowed Noah Lambright offers a cottage as her new clinic, seeing how much Kathleen’s skills can help their community. But as their friendship deepens, could love and family become more than a forbidden dream? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

The Amish Nanny’s Sweetheart by Jan Drexler -- As nanny for her nephew, Judith Lapp is finally part of a vibrant, joyful Amish community instead of living on the outskirts looking in. But teaching her neighbors' Englischer farm worker to read Pennsylvania Dutch wasn't part of her plan. And the more time she spends with Guy Hoover, the more he sparks longings for a home and family of Judith's own. Guy figured he would never be truly accepted by his Amish employers' community - even though the Mast family treats him like a son. But Judith's steadfast caring shows him that true belonging could be within his reach...if he and Judith can reconcile their very different hopes - and hearts. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

The Reluctant Groom by Kimberly Rose Johnson -- When Ray O’Brien’s world is turned upside down, Katie Fairchild wants to help, but the personal cost is high. Neither desires a marriage of convenience, but when Katie blurts the first thing that comes to her mind Ray can’t dismiss her offer of marriage. It would solve all his problems except for one thing—they aren’t in love. Can these two friends team up for the greater good and perhaps find love along the way, or are their expectations impossible? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Anna’s Forgotten Fiance by Carrie Lighte -- An accident leaves Anna Weaver with no memory of her Amish hometown’s newest arrival—her fiancĂ©! After a whirlwind courtship, their wedding’s in six weeks…but how can she marry a man she can’t remember? Carpenter Fletcher Chupp takes her on a walk down memory lane, but there’s one thing he wants to keep hidden: a secret that might just lose him the woman he loves. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Grace Restored by Toni Shiloh -- Michelle Thomas has it all. Beautiful and successful, she’s just opened her own law firm in Freedom Lake. What more could she want? When her old flame rolls back into Freedom Lake, she’s intent on ignoring him. But how can she give the widower and his precious twin girls the cold shoulder? Still reeling from the death of his wife, Guy Pierre returns to Freedom Lake to take over as town sheriff and raise his twin daughters. Alone. Yet, life keeps throwing Michelle in his path and sparks of interest began to rise. Will old secrets tear them apart again or can they find the faith to let God’s grace restore what has been broken? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

General & Women’s Fiction:

Justice by Emily Conrad -- Jake thought he was meant to marry Brooklyn, but now she's pregnant, and he had nothing to do with it. Brooklyn can’t bring herself to name the father as she wrestles with questions about what her pregnancy means and how it will affect her relationship with Jake. If Harold Keen, the man who owns the bookstore across from Jake's coffee shop, has anything to do with it, the baby will ruin them both. (General from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

The Heart Between Us by Lindsay Harrel -- When her heart donor’s parents give Megan Jacobs their teenage daughter’s journal—complete with an unfulfilled bucket list—Megan connects with the girl she meets between the pages and is inspired to venture out and check off each item. (General from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Sweet Meets by Deborah Raney -- From short stories to novellas, from contemporary to historical, all of award-winning author Deborah Raney’s short works have been gathered into one great collection for one low price. Includes the following novellas and short stories: Going Once, Special Delivery, Haiti's Song, Prairie Lessons, Finally Home, Circle of Blessings. (Women’s Fiction from Raney Day Press)

Historical Romance:

Seven Brides for Seven Texas Ranchers Romance Collection by Amanda Barratt, Susan Page Davis, Vickie McDonough, Gabrielle Meyer, Lorna Seilstad, Erica Vetsch, and Kathleen Y’Barbo -- Join seven Texas Rangers on the hunt for a menacing gang, who run straight into romances with women who foil their plans for both the job and their futures. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

A Chance at Forever by Melissa Jagears -- In early 1900s Kansas, Mercy McClain serves on the schoolboard, determined to protect Teaville's children from the bullying she experienced as a child. When Aaron Firebrook, the classmate who bothered her more than any other, petitions the board for a teaching position, she's dead set against him getting the job. Aaron has returned to his hometown a changed man and is seeking to earn forgiveness of those he wronged. He sets out to prove to Mercy he now has the best interests of the children at heart. Will resentment and old wounds hold them back, or can Mercy and Aaron put the past behind them in time to face the unexpected threats to everything they're working for? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

Ain’t Misbehavin’ by Jennifer Lamont Leo -- In Jazz Age Chicago, Dot Rodgers sells hats at Marshall Field while struggling to get her singing career off the ground. Independent and feisty, she’s the life of the party. But underneath the glitter, she doesn’t believe she’s worth the love of a good man. Small-town businessman Charlie Corrigan carries scars from the Great War. After all he’s been through, he wants nothing more than to marry and start a family. But the woman he loves is a flamboyant flapper, used to a more glamorous life than he can offer. As his fortunes climb with the stock market, it seems he’s finally going to win her love. But what happens when it all comes crashing down? (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

A Most Noble Heir by Susan Anne Mason -- A young man suddenly thrust into nobility is torn between the servant girl he hopes to marry and the father he’s always longed for. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

Safe Refuge by Pamela S. Meyers -- Wealthy Chicagoan, Anna Hartwell, is about to wed a man she loathes. The Great Chicago Fire erupts, postponing the wedding. After escaping to Wisconsin with her family she realizes she loves Irish immigrant, Rory Quinn, and prepares to break the wedding plans, which are still on. Then she learns a dark family secret that changes her life forever. (Historical Romance from Mantle Rock Publishing)

Husband by Arrangement by Angel Moore -- Abandoned by her secret fiancĂ©, the mayor’s pregnant daughter marries the sheriff. Can she overcome her past and help him save the town from corruption? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Beneath A Prairie Moon by Kim Vogel Sawyer -- Abigail Brantley grew up in affluence, but when she is cast from the social registers due to her father's illegal dealings, she finds herself forced into a role she never imagined: tutoring rough Kansas ranchers in manners and morals so they can "marry up" with their mail-order brides. Mack Cleveland, whose father was swindled by a mail-order bride, wants no part of the scheme to bring Eastern women to Spiveyville, Kansas, and he's put off by the snooty airs of the "little city gal" in their midst. But as time goes by, his heart goes out to the teacher who tries so diligently to smooth the rough edges from the grooms-to-be. How can he teach her that perfection won't bring happiness? (Historical Romance from Waterbrook/Multnomah [Random House])

Romantic Suspense:

Beneath the Surface by Lynn H. Blackburn -- After a harrowing experience with an obsessed patient, oncology nurse practitioner Leigh Weston moves home to Carrington, North Carolina to leave behind her troubled past. But when someone tampers with her brakes, she fears the past has chased her into the present. Leigh reaches out for help from her high school friend and volunteer underwater investigator, Ryan Parker. But when Ryan finds the body of a wealthy businessman in Lake Porter, the investigation uncovers a possible serial killer—one with a terrifying connection to Leigh and deadly implications for them all. (Romantic Suspense from Revell - A Division of Baker Publishing)

Secret Service Setup by Jessica R. Patch -- Secret Service agent Evan Novak becomes the target of multiple hit men when someone puts a two-million-dollar bounty on his head. Is it the gunrunner he’s tracking...or a traitorous agent? Framed and wanted, Evan reluctantly accepts protection from bodyguard Jody Gallagher, his former love who lost her Agency career because of him. But then the bounty is raised to include Jody… (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Fugitive Spy by Jordyn Redwood -- A spy with amnesia—and a mission he can’t remember. When Casper English lands in her ER with amnesia, Dr. Ashley Drager learns he has a picture of her…and the same tattoo as her long-missing father. With a dangerous man after Casper, and his memories possibly holding the key to finding Ashley’s father, she secretly whisks him away from the hospital. But can she keep him alive long enough to help him regain his memories? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Bible and the Supernatural: Tower of Babel

Scripture: Genesis 11:1-9

The Flood is over. The earth has gained a fresh start. But as people multiple and the population grows, it is quickly evident nothing has changed. Sinful people are still sinful, and in defiance of God’s order to fill the whole earth (Genesis 9:1), they gather together to build a tower. So God mixes up their language, forcing them to scatter.

Observations: Humanity, working together toward a common goal, with no barriers, no division. Think of the things we could accomplish, the success we could achieve, the heights we could scale. An unstoppable force. It sounds almost idyllic, doesn’t it?

Yet, that is exactly the picture painted for us at Babel. Yes, humanity was obtaining incredible heights…but God saw it as anything but idyllic. Because He wasn’t in it. Unity, success, achievement—these things are, at best, meaningless without God. At worst, they are one of the worst forms of rebellion, man trying to prove that he can be god.

So God once more stepped into human history, and the supernatural soon followed: People who once spoke all the same language now suddenly and unexpectedly found themselves unable to understand each other. God confused our language, forcing us to separate and scatter.

Significance: There are many things we are quick to attribute to the hand of God. A church’s growth. A Christian’s success. The unification of a group, the appearance of peace. And many times God is behind such things. But reading passages like this forces me to stop and wonder. How often do we try to achieve (and sometimes succeed in gaining) unity, success, growth, and fame apart from God?

For when God acts, the supernatural seems to naturally follow. The supernatural may not be dramatic. Nor is it always obvious at first. But when God is truly at work, how often do we bump into those inexplicable “coincidences,” that impeccable timing, the preciseness of a gift, the support from unexpected quadrants, the impossible alignment of events, the astronomical odds? And this would only make sense. For if God is supernatural, it would logically follow that His acts will also be supernatural. 

On the flip side, does this mean that if we cannot spot the supernatural (of the right kind), that God is not in it? I honestly don’t know. But if the supernatural is missing, it should at least make us pause and reconsider: Is this really the work of God…or just of us humans, like those at Babel, striving to act in His place? 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Bible and the Supernatural: The Flood

Scripture: Genesis 6:5-8:22

Following Adam and Eve’s initial sin, the wickedness of man increased with each passing year until God was utterly sick of the widespread evil. So He visits Noah and tells him to build an ark; God is about to destroy the whole earth with an enormous flood. Noah does so, preserving the life of his family and the life of each animal species which didn’t already live in water.

Observations: The supernatural might seem a little less obvious in this passage than in some of the ones we have looked at thus far. After all, what is so miraculous about a flood?

Yet when we peer a little closer, how can we not stand in awe of what occurred here? On exactly the same day, all the fountains of the deep (underground pockets of water) burst open at the same time as the floodgates/windows of heaven burst open. Moreover, none of this happens until after Noah completed the ark, gathered the animals (another miracle if you really think about it), and stored sufficient food for all.

If these events had occurred too soon, everything and everyone would have perished. If they had occurred too late, the food would have been consumed (or rotted) with the same result. And if the opening of the foundations and the floodgates had not happened simultaneously, God’s predicted destruction wouldn’t have happened, proving Him a liar.

Significance: We often think of the supernatural as an action or event which defies natural rules. But sometimes, like with Noah’s Flood, what makes the event supernatural isn’t the what but the circumstances under which the what occurred.

So with the Flood, God used natural means (flooding) but in such a way (the amount of flooding) with such precise timing (the simultaneous opening) so as to cause a supernatural event (a catastrophic flood that wiped out mankind).

Therefore, supernatural sometimes employs the natural, and the use of the natural doesn't mean the supernatural isn't at work.  

Friday, February 16, 2018

New Fiction Releases - February 2018

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


A Passionate Hope, Hannah's Story by Jill Eileen Smith -- Hannah has spent her life trusting God, loving her husband, putting up with abuse from a second wife and still she has no child--until one day she discovers the secret to her own heart's longings and rejoices in what will soon become God's promised hope. (Biblical from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Contemporary Romance:

Focus On Love by Candee Fick -- In the standalone sequel to Dance Over Me, photographer-turned-actress Liz meets a freelancer who has put his career on hold, but when Ryan shows her what true love is all about, her life may never be the same. (Contemporary Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Love by the Numbers by Laura V. Hilton -- When false allegations by the bishop back home catch up with Lydia and threaten to ruin her reputation, can she clear her name and find lasting happiness? Or will her sunny disposition fade away into heartbreak? (Contemporary Romance from Whitaker House)

Historical Romance:

This Treacherous Journey by Misty M. Beller -- Widowed and with child, Emma Malcom is fleeing arrest. Innocent of her husband’s crimes, she and her brother hope to make it through the Rockies to Canada for a clean start. When a city woman, heavy with child, appears on Simeon Grant’s doorstep with her injured brother, her presence resurrects memories he’s worked hard to forget. Widowed and childless because of his own bad choices, can he overcome the past that haunts him to give her the safety she needs? Will Emma break through the walls around Simeon’s heart before it’s too late, or will the dangers of these mountains be the end of them all? (Historical Romance, ACFW Qualified Independently Published)

The Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron -- Ellie Carver arrives at her grandmother’s bedside expecting to find her silently slipping away. Instead, the beloved woman speaks of a secret past and castle ruins. Of a hidden chapel that served as a rendezvous for the French Resistance in World War II. Of lost love and deep regret . . . But her grandmother suffers from Alzheimer’s, and Ellie must act fast if she wants to uncover the truth of her family’s history. Drawn by the mystery surrounding The Sleeping Beauty—a castle so named for Charles Perrault’s beloved fairy tale—Ellie embarks on a journey to France’s Loire Valley to unearth its secrets before time silences them forever. (Historical Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

The English Lieutenant's Lady by Evelyn M. Hill -- I’m not your enemy.” He held her gaze, willing her to believe the lie. It’s 1845. Britain and America both claim the Oregon Territory, and neither side is willing to back down. To survive, British Lieutenant Geoffrey Montgomery and American Lia Griggs both are pretending to be someone they're not. The last thing either of them wants is to fall in love. And as the threat of war grows stronger, choosing to stay together could cost them everything they have. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

The Widow of Rose Hill by Michelle Shocklee -- Widowed during the war, Southern slave owner Natalie Ellis strikes a bargain with a Union Colonel to save her plantation and her son’s inheritance: in exchange for use of her family’s property, the army will provide workers to bring in her cotton crop. Natalie Ellis is everything Colonel Levi Maish loathes: a Southern slave owner. But the plight of the beautiful Widow Ellis stirs to life his compassion and the heart he’d thought hardened by war. While the army camps on her land, Levi finds himself contemplating a future with Natalie and Samuel. But when he learns where her husband perished during the war, he knows a life with Natalie is impossible. How could she ever forgive him for what he’d done in battle on the banks of the Bull Run? (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin -- As D-day approaches, an American naval officer and a British Wren work together on invasion plans. But if he succeeds, will he destroy what she loves most? (Historical Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Across the Blue by Carrie Turansky -- A determined young aviator who strives to be the first to fly across the English Channel also longs to win the heart of an aspiring journalist who is secretly covering the race across the Channel. (Historical Romance from Waterbrook/Multnomah [Random House])

The Mail-Order Brides Collection by Megan Besing, Noelle Marchand, Donna Schlachter, Sherri Shackelford, Michelle Shocklee, Ann Shorey, Liz Tolsma, Jennifer Uhlarik, and Kathleen Y'Barbo -- Nine advertisements for brides lead to inconvenient complications in romance. Traveling west alone on a promise of marriage, each woman has her reasons to accept a husband sight unseen. Some are fleeing poverty or abuse while others simply seek hope for a brighter future. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:

High Treason by DiAnn Mills -- CIA Operative Monica Alden and FBI Special Agent Kord Davidson face the challenge of their careers when a Saudi Prince's life is threatened on American soil. (Romantic Suspense from Tyndale House)

Kill Shot by Susan Sleeman -- As the ballistics and weapon’s expert for the FBI’s special task force nicknamed the White Knights, Rick Cannon has known the Department of Defense was developing self-steering bullets and feared their effects in the hands of the wrong people. Now his fear is coming true. The ammunition been stolen, and the Knights are called in to find the thief and stop the killings. When therapist Olivia Dobbs discovers one of her military clients moments after he is murdered, she becomes both the FBI’s prime witness, and suspect. But with a sniper now training his rifle on her, Rick must recall all the skills he learned as a Marine sniper to make sure the next bullet fired isn’t a kill shot that takes Olivia out. (Romantic Suspense from Faith Words [Hachette])

Supernatural Thriller:

The Man He Never Was by James L. Rubart -- In this fresh take on the classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, James L. Rubart explores the war between the good and evil within each of us—and one man’s only chance to overcome the greatest divide of the soul. (Supernatural Thriller from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)


Cheyenne Sunrise by Janalyn Voigt -- Can a woman with no faith in men learn to trust the half-Cheyenne trail guide determined to protect her? (Western by Mountain Brook Ink)