A Dozen New Christian Fiction Audiobooks, Coming This Fall 2017

I’m always on the lookout for a good audiobook to pass the time on my commute to and from work. I’ve tracked down a dozen new releases, coming this fall that sound like they could be just what I’m looking for.

September Releases

Justice Buried by Patricia Bradley
Read by Joell Jacob
Memphis Cold Case, Book 2
Romantic Suspense from Tantor Media
Also available in print from Revell

Crisis Shot by Janice Cantore
Read by Alice Anne English
The Line of Duty, Book 1
Suspense from Blackstone Audio
Also available in print from Tyndale House

With You Always by Jody Hedlund
Read by Susan Hanfield
Orphan Train, Book 1
Historical Romance from Tantor Media
Also available in print from Bethany House

Rule of Law by Randy Singer
Read by Carol Mercer-Meyers
Suspense from Blackstone Audio
Also available in print from Tyndale House

Hometown Girl by Courntey Walsh
Read by Teri Clark Linden
Contemporary Romance from Brilliance Audio
Also available in print from Waterfall Press

November Releases

A Dangerous Legacy by Elizabeth Camden
Read by Morgan Hallett
An Empire State Novel, Book 1
Historical Romance from Recorded Books
Also available in print from Bethany House

Perennials by Julie Cantrell
Read by Brittany Pressley
General Fiction from Blackstone Audio
Also available in print from Thomas Nelson

Blue Ridge Sunrise by Denise Hunter
Read by Julie Lyles Carr
Blue Ridge Romance, Book 1
Contemporary Romance from Brilliance Audio
Also available in print from Thomas Nelson

In This Moment by Karen Kingsbury
Narrator to be announced
The Baxter Family, Book 2
Contemporary Romance from Simon & Schuster Audio
Also available in print from Howard Books

The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay
Read by Emily Sutton-Smith
Contemporary Romance from Brilliance Audio
Also available in print from Thomas Nelson

A Matter of Trust by Susan May Warren
Read by Cynthia Farrell
Montana Rescue, Book 3
Romantic Suspense from Recorded Books
Also available in print from Revell

Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer
Read by Stephanie Cozart
Ladies of Harper’s Station, Book 2
Historical Romance from Recorded Books
Also available in print from Bethany House


So, which titles look good to you?

Book Review: Undaunted Hope by Jody Hedlund

Title: Undaunted Hope
Author: Jody Hedlund
Publisher: Bethany House
Published: January 2016
Series: Beacons of Hope, Book 3
Genre: Historical Romance

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

1871, Eagle Harbor, Michigan. In a Town Mired in Darkness, She May Shine the Light They Need.

Running from the mistakes of her past, Tessa Taylor heads to the uppermost reaches of Michigan, planning to serve as the new teacher to the children of miners. She quickly learns the town had requested a male teacher, but Percival Updegraff, superintendent and chief mine clerk, says she can stay through winter since it’s too late to replace her. Tessa can’t help but thank him and say she is in his debt.

Determined to make herself irreplaceable once spring thaw arrives, Tessa throws herself into her work, and soon two students have decided Miss Taylor is the right match for their grieving father. At the same time, charming assistant lightkeeper Alex Bjorklund makes his interest known, surprising Tessa, who has never had men fight for her hand before. But not all is well as she feels that someone is tracking her every move, and she may not be able to escape the trap that has been laid for her.

My Thoughts:

I’ve enjoyed all the titles I’ve read in this romantic series centered around lighthouses and their keepers. This one is no exception. In fact, this one features particularly great banter between Tessa and Alex. And yet, I’ve got some catching up to do. Somehow, I’ve fallen 2 books behind in the series! Which means all the more fun still ahead for me. :)

Tessa and Alex’s story took me a bit longer to get through than some of the earlier ones in this series that I simply couldn’t put down. In part, I blame my busier schedule with a full time job, kids, and commute. But, even in the time I had with the book, I don’t think I got quite as drawn into the story as I did the earlier ones. I think it may have had to do with the love triangle, and the immature behavior it brought out in the hero and his brother. That aspect annoyed me and detracted from what I thought was an otherwise excellent story.

Tessa’s challenge to bring education to the kids and to the miners despite numerous obstacles, the need to set things right in the coal mining town with the cruel and controlling boss, as well as the main characters’ past hurts and fears to be overcome contribute to the story’s appeal and keep it interesting. But the relationship between Tessa and Alex is the crowning jewel of the story. They seem so well matched, and I love their witty repartee.

Fans of historical romance with suspense interwoven will want to read this story for sure. And yes, I’m looking forward to checking out the next two books in this series… when time allows.

Thank you to the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley for review purposes.

Quick Links: About the Book | About the Series | Author’s Site

Christian Fiction Book Club Connection, September 2017

Book Club Connection

Welcome to the September 2017 edition of the Christian Fiction Book Club Connection. Thanks for stopping by! Whether you’re a pastor or ministry leader thinking of forming a book discussion group at your church, a current member of a book club, or simply a fan of Christian fiction hoping to connect with other readers, you’re in the right place. Please consider subscribing to my blog so you won’t miss future posts.

Today I’m providing information on Christian fiction discussions scheduled to take place around the web this month. I’m also featuring a handful of recently released Christian fiction titles for which a discussion guide is available, either included in the book itself or on the author’s or publisher’s web site.

Online Discussions Coming Up This Month

The ACFW Book Club‘s September selection is The Long Journey to Jake Palmer by James L. Rubart. You can subscribe to the group’s e-mail list now, by following the instructions on their Web site, to be sure not to miss any announcements or discussion questions.

By the Book is an in-person book discussion club that has introduced an online Facebook-based discussion option. To join in online, like the By the Book Facebook page, and be sure to check back there periodically for any discussion that may not have made it into your news feed. September’s selection is Child of the River by Irma Joubert.

For September, the Christian Fiction Devourers group on Goodreads is discussing Engaged in Trouble by Jenny B. Jones AND The Lost Heiress by Roseanna M. White. Grab your copies and head on over to the discussion forum to check in with others who are in the midst of reading these books.

The Fans of Amish Fiction Goodreads group discusses one Amish fiction title per month. The selection for September is Paradise Valley by Dale Cramer. To join in, visit the group’s online discussion board.

Jamie of the Books and Beverages blog hosts a monthly Inklings discussion series for fans of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Sometimes fiction, sometimes non-fiction, the current title is An Anthology: 365 Readings by George MacDonald.

Recent Christian Fiction Releases Featuring Discussion Guides

Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar (Tyndale House, June 2017, Historical Fiction)

A Hopeful Heart by Amy Clipston (Zondervan, June 2017, Amish Romance)

Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge (WaterBrook, June 2017, Contemporary Romance)

So, friends, what have you been reading lately? Any titles you’d recommend for book club discussions?

Audiobook Review: From This Moment by Elizabeth Camden

Title: From This Moment
Author: Elizabeth Camden
Print Publisher: Bethany House
Audio Publisher: Tantor Audio
Narrator: Justine Eyre
Published: June 2016
Genre(s): Historical Romance, Christian Fiction.
Length: 9 hours, 56 minutes. Unabridged.

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

Stella West’s artistic talent made her the toast of London, but when her beloved sister dies under mysterious circumstances she abandons everything and heads for Boston. With single-minded determination she fights to pierce the ring of secrecy surrounding her sister’s death. Upon meeting Romulus White, a publisher with connections into every important power circle in the city, she quickly realizes he could be a valuable ally in navigating Boston society.

Romulus has been pursuing Stella for years to create art for his magazine. Her luminous illustrations are the missing piece he needs to propel his magazine to the forefront of the industry, and he will stop at nothing to get her on board.

Sparks fly the instant they join forces, but Romulus is unsettled by the unwelcome attraction he feels toward Stella, fearing she might be the one woman who could disrupt his hard-won independence. He may have finally met his match in Stella, but is helping her solve the mystery of her sister’s death worth the risk to his publishing empire?

My Thoughts on the Book:

Romance, history, suspense, and mystery – what’s not to love? I’m a big fan of Elizabeth Camden’s novels, and From This Moment delivers on the features I’ve come to look for. We’ve got a strong heroine with a goal, an intriguing hero with whom to team up, and a plotline filled with suspense and danger. Oh, and romance, of course. :)

Stella and Romulus are believably flawed characters, and clash with each other in a big way at times, which can make for some fascinating moments. They both learn some valuable lessons and change over the course of the story. Meanwhile, Clyde and Evelyn’s subplot brings a great deal of substance to the book, as they work to repair a broken relationship. And the historical context of the Boston subway’s construction makes for a vivid backdrop, with intriguing details that made me curious to learn more. And I think my favorite part of the story is how the ending plays out, but I don’t want to spoil that for you!

Specific to the Audio Edition:

I have mixed feelings about the audio performance for this book. I liked the characters’ voices – how they were differentiated, and how the voices fit the characters. I also appreciated the emotion portrayed in Justine Eyre’s performance, which I found to be spot on. What I found distracting, was a persistent quirk in the reading style, most noticeable in some of the narrative portions in between character dialogue. There seemed to be an extra vowel sound attached to the end of the last word of each sentence as if for added emphasis. I still enjoyed listening to the book, and while I wouldn’t go out of my way to seek out this narrator’s work, I also wouldn’t let it stop me from listening to a book I was interesting in.

The book itself I highly recommend. The audiobook I recommend with the caveat that you’d do well to sample a brief passage before purchasing. Actually, I think that’s a good idea before purchasing any audiobook, as the things that bother one person may go completely unnoticed by another, and vice versa.

I borrowed this audiobook from my local library via Hoopla. I was not expected to write a review, but wanted to share how much I enjoyed the story.

Quick Links: About the Book | About the Audiobook | Author’s Site | About the Narrator

Book Review: Life After by Katie Ganshert

Title: Life After
Author: Katie Ganshert
Publisher: WaterBrook
Published: April 2017
Genre: Contemporary Christian Fiction

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

It could have been me.

Snow whirls around an elevated train platform in Chicago. A distracted woman boards the train, takes her seat, and moments later a fiery explosion rips through the frigid air, tearing the car apart in a horrific attack on the city’s transit system. One life is spared. Twenty-two are lost.

A year later, Autumn Manning can’t remember the day of the bombing and she is tormented by grief—by guilt. Twelve months of the question constantly echoing. Why? Why? Why? Searching for answers, she haunts the lives of the victims, unable to rest.

Paul Elliott lost his wife in the train bombing and wants to let the dead rest in peace, undisturbed and unable to cause more pain for his loved ones. He wants normalcy for his twelve-year-old daughter and young son, to see them move beyond the heartbreak. But when the Elliotts and Autumn are unexpectedly forced together, he fears she’ll bring more wreckage in her wake. 

In Life After, Katie Ganshert’s most complex and unforgettable novel yet, the stirring prose and authentic characters pose questions of truth, goodness, and ultimate purpose in this emotionally resonant tale.

My Thoughts:

Katie Ganshert has a way of incorporating weighty topics into her novels without weighing down the story or the reader. She makes you think and feel, intersperses fun and light moments amidst the challenges, and ultimately ends on a hopeful note. At least that’s what I’ve observed in the three stories of hers that I’ve read so far. That’s A Broken Kind of Beautiful, The Art of Losing Yourself, and now this one if you’re counting. Frankly, I love that combination of elements in a story.

In this one, there’s grief, there’s guilt, there’s surviving, there’s brokenness, and there’s picking up the pieces. Not necessarily in that order. In some ways it’s about two broken people helping each other put things in perspective and move on. It explores searching for the why behind tragedy, and it explores where comfort can be found. And there’s a tender, subtle, and emotionally satisfying love story in there too, along with a whole host of other relationships among a lifelike cast of characters.

Fans of the author’s earlier books will love this one. And if you haven’t read her earlier books? Please do. Book discussion groups, and readers who appreciate a well-crafted story with complex characters, written in beautiful lyrical language, will especially want to give this one a try.

Thank you to the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of the book for review purposes.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site

Book Review: A Cup of Dust by Susie Finkbeiner

Title: A Cup of Dust
Author: Susie Finkbeiner
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Published: October 2015
Series: Pearl Spence Novels
Genre: Historical Christian Fiction

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

Where you come from isn’t who you are.

Ten-year-old Pearl Spence is a daydreamer, playing make-believe to escape life in Oklahoma’s Dust Bowl in 1935. The Spences have their share of misfortune, but as the sheriff’s family, they’ve got more than most in this dry, desolate place. They’re who the town turns to when there’s a crisis or a need–and during these desperate times, there are plenty of both, even if half the town stands empty as people have packed up and moved on.

Pearl is proud of her loving, strong family, though she often wearies of tracking down her mentally impaired older sister or wrestling with her grandmother’s unshakable belief in a God who Pearl just isn’t sure she likes.

Then a mysterious man bent on revenge tramps into her town of Red River. Eddie is dangerous and he seems fixated on Pearl. When he reveals why he’s really there and shares a shocking secret involving the whole town, dust won’t be the only thing darkening Pearl’s world.

While the tone is suspenseful and often poignant, the subtle humor of Pearl’s voice keeps A Cup of Dust from becoming heavy-handed. Finkbeiner deftly paints a story of a family unit coming together despite fractures of distress threatening to pull them apart.

My Thoughts:

This tale of the dust bowl made vivid to me a place and time in history I previously knew little about. I read this one what feels like a long time ago and never got around to writing a review. But since I’ve recently been reminded just how much I enjoyed reading it, I’ve gone back over my notes and decided it’s time to share.

This is a young girl’s story, told in her own uniquely quirky voice. Readers are taken on an emotional journey, in turns heartbreaking, terrifying, and humorous, by a character who is somewhat paradoxically both naïve and wise beyond her years.

Our young heroine Pearl makes some great observations every now and then. For example, early in the story (pages 24-25) she notes: “That was when I learned that kindness could break a heart just as sure as meanness. The difference was the kindness made that broken heart softer. Meanness just made the heart want to be hard.”

Pearl’s story touches on some big and discussable themes like love and sacrifice and the true meaning of family. But the aspect that stood out for me was the way the author used different characters’ competing views on the nature of God and His role in their situations. Through these different viewpoints, readers are challenged to consider what we believe and why. This is a story that could foster some great discussion in a book group setting. Highly recommended, particularly to readers up for a literary coming-of-age story with a touch of mystery and suspense.

Thank you to the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of the book. I was not required to write a review, but I wanted to.

Quick Links: About the Book | About the Series | Author’s Site

Christian Fiction Book Club Connection, August 2017

Book Club Connection

Welcome to the August 2017 edition of the Christian Fiction Book Club Connection. Thanks for stopping by! Whether you’re a pastor or ministry leader thinking of forming a book discussion group at your church, a current member of a book club, or simply a fan of Christian fiction hoping to connect with other readers, you’re in the right place. Please consider subscribing to my blog so you won’t miss future posts.

Today I’m providing information on Christian fiction discussions scheduled to take place around the web this month. I’m also featuring a handful of recently released Christian fiction titles for which a discussion guide is available, either included in the book itself or on the author’s or publisher’s web site.

Online Discussions Coming Up This Month

The ACFW Book Club‘s August selection is Justice Delayed by Patricia Bradley. You can subscribe to the group’s e-mail list now, by following the instructions on their Web site, to be sure not to miss any announcements or discussion questions.

By the Book is an in-person book discussion club that has introduced an online Facebook-based discussion option. To join in online, like the By the Book Facebook page, and be sure to check back there periodically for any discussion that may not have made it into your news feed. August’s selection is The One True Love of Alice-Ann by Eva Marie Everson.

For August, the Christian Fiction Devourers group on Goodreads is discussing A Lasting Impression by Tamera Alexander AND Close to You by Kara Isaac. Grab your copies and head on over to the discussion forum to check in with others who are in the midst of reading these books.

The Fans of Amish Fiction Goodreads group discusses one Amish fiction title per month. The selection for August is The Courtship Basket by Amy Clipston. To join in, visit the group’s online discussion board.

Jamie of the Books and Beverages blog hosts a monthly Inklings discussion series for fans of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Sometimes fiction, sometimes non-fiction, the title for this summer is An Anthology: 365 Readings by George MacDonald. The discussion is planned for August 17, 2017.

Recent Christian Fiction Releases Featuring Discussion Guides

The Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett (WaterBrook, June 2017, Historical Romantic Suspense)

High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin (Bethany House, June 2017, Historical Romance)

Love Story by Karen Kingsbury (Howard Books, June 2017, Contemporary Romance)

The Divide by Jolina Petersheim (Tyndale House, June 2017, Amish Romance)

So, friends, what have you been reading lately? Any titles you’d recommend for book club discussions?

Audiobook Review: If I Run by Terri Blackstock

Title: If I Run
Author: Terri Blackstock
Print Publisher: Zondervan
Audio Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Narrator: Nan Gurley
Published: February 2016
Series: If I Run, Book 1
Genre: Suspense, Christian Fiction
Length: 6 hours, 41 minutes. Unabridged.

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

Casey knows the truth. But it won’t set her free.

Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they’ve failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.

But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up.

Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?

Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices: the girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

My Thoughts on the Book:

If I Run makes a fabulous kick-off for Terri Blackstock’s suspense series by the same name. The first person point of view draws you in and gets you thinking about the what-ifs behind the premise. What would you do in Casey’s shoes? In Dylan’s? Overall, this story has a great premise, relatable characters, suspenseful action, and high stakes. I especially love how well matched Casey and Dylan are as adversaries… and potentially allies? At first, I wondered what could possibly be Casey’s reason for running, but as the story unfolds, it all makes an unfortunate kind of sense. I’m impressed, and I must read more!

Specific to the Audio Edition:

Nan Gurley’s narration does justice to the characters’ personalities and voices as written. She takes us into the characters’ heads and beautifully portrays the emotions and challenges they’re going through. I look forward to a repeat performance in Book 2, If I’m Found. It’s going on my must-listen list.

I borrowed this audiobook from my local library. I was not expected to write a review, but wanted to share how much I enjoyed the book.

Quick Links: About the Audiobook | About the Series | Audio Sample | Author’s Site

Audiobook Review: Fraying at the Edge by Cindy Woodsmall

Title: Fraying at the Edge
Author: Cindy Woodsmall
Print Publisher: WaterBrook Multnomah
Audio Publisher: Recorded Books
Narrator: Stina Nielsen
Published: August 2016
Series: The Amish of Summer Grove, Book 2
Genre: Amish Fiction
Length: 12 hours, 6 minutes. Unabridged.

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

Family, community, faith, and love. These “quilt blocks” sewn together made Ariana’s beautiful life. When they are pulled to pieces, will anything familiar remain?

The Old Order Amish life Ariana Brenneman loved vanished virtually overnight with the discovery that she was switched at birth twenty years ago. Now she’s immersed in the Englischer world, getting to know her mother and under the authority of her biological father, an atheist intellectual with resolute plans to expand Ariana’s worldview. Only Quill Schlabach, a childhood friend living Englisch, can steady the tilting ground between Ariana’s two worlds, but can she trust him after so many betrayals?

 At the same time, Skylar Nash is forced to choose rehab or spend several months with her true relatives, the large Brenneman family and their seemingly backward life—no electricity, no technology, no fun. What the young woman can’t leave behind is her addiction to illegal prescription drugs and a deep emptiness from the belief that she doesn’t belong in either family.

New ties are binding Ariana and Skylar to the lives they were meant to have. Can they find the wisdom and strength they’ll need to follow God’s threads into unexpected futures?

My Thoughts on the Book:

If you read my review of the first book in The Amish of Summer Grove series, you know that Amish fiction isn’t my usual cup of tea, but that I particularly enjoyed the start of this series. Enough that I had to know what would happen next. Well, the story of the switched-at-birth Ariana and Skylar, and their friends and families, continues with Fraying at the Edge, and in my opinion, it does not disappoint.

This is a satisfying middle-of-the-series read, picking up where the previous book left off, shaking up our characters’ lives in new ways, and answering some questions, while leaving others to be addressed in a future book. Ariana and Skylar both grow and change for the better over the course of this story, but their futures remain unresolved. And I for one, cannot wait for the next book…though I guess I’ll have to.

I found this story very thought provoking. In particular, I was fascinated by the closer look it takes at what the Amish believe and why, as compared to the “Englisch” world I’m more familiar with. The story also takes something of an oblique look at nature vs. nurture as we see similarities and differences between the girls and their biological and non-biological families. And it was interesting to see each girl react to challenges to her belief system.

I would recommend this book to fans of Amish fiction, as well as to book groups and to anyone who enjoys a good thought-provoking read.

Specific to the Audio Edition:

This audiobook was recorded by the same narrator who read the first book in the series, and I’m happy to report that this encore performance is just as well done as the earlier one. The narrator does a great job at giving different voices to the various characters within dialog and expressing their emotions in her reading.

I borrowed a copy of this audiobook from my local library. I was not expected to write a review. But I wanted to.

Quick Links: About the Book | About the Series | Audio Sample | Author’s Site | Narrator’s Site

Christian Fiction Book Club Connection, July 2017

Book Club Connection

Welcome to the July 2017 edition of the Christian Fiction Book Club Connection. Thanks for stopping by! Whether you’re a pastor or ministry leader thinking of forming a book discussion group at your church, a current member of a book club, or simply a fan of Christian fiction hoping to connect with other readers, you’re in the right place. Please consider subscribing to my blog so you won’t miss future posts.

Today I’m providing information on Christian fiction discussions scheduled to take place around the web this month. I’m also featuring a handful of recently released Christian fiction titles for which a discussion guide is available, either included in the book itself or on the author’s or publisher’s web site.

Online Discussions Coming Up This Month

The ACFW Book Club‘s July selection is Home at Last by Deborah Raney. You can subscribe to the group’s e-mail list now, by following the instructions on their Web site, to be sure not to miss any announcements or discussion questions.

By the Book is an in-person book discussion club that has introduced an online Facebook-based discussion option. To join in online, like the By the Book Facebook page, and be sure to check back there periodically for any discussion that may not have made it into your news feed. July’s selection is Justice Delayed by Patricia Bradley.

For July, the Christian Fiction Devourers group on Goodreads is discussing The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green AND Playing By Heart by Anne Mateer. Grab your copies and head on over to the discussion forum to check in with others who are in the midst of reading these books.

The Fans of Amish Fiction Goodreads group discusses one Amish fiction title per month. The selection for July is Katie’s Choice by Amy Lillard. To join in, visit the group’s online discussion board.

Jamie of the Books and Beverages blog hosts a monthly Inklings discussion series for fans of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Sometimes fiction, sometimes non-fiction, the title for this summer is An Anthology: 365 Readings by George MacDonald. The discussion is planned for August 17, 2017.

Recent Christian Fiction Releases Featuring Discussion Guides

The Beloved Hope Chest by Amy Clipston (Zondervan, May 2017, Amish Romance)

Catching the Wind by Melanie Dobson (Tyndale House, May 2017, Historical Fiction)

The White Feather Murders by Rachel McMillan (Harvest House, May 2017, Mystery)

Fatal Mistake by Susan Sleeman (FaithWords, May 2017, Romantic Suspense)

So, friends, what have you been reading lately? Any titles you’d recommend for book club discussions?