Grace Filled Fiction Spotlight ~ Best of 2018

Grace Filled Fiction Spotlight badge, yr

This year the Grace Filled Fiction Spotlight, formerly the Grace Awards, is embarking on an exciting new adventure. Our stellar crew of judges from Grace Awards days, and active  Grace Filled Fiction Spotlight Facebook group members will rotate as they choose Christian novels/novellas that they love as their picks for “best of.” This is not so much about competition as it is about LOVE, passionately loving wonderful Christian fiction.

Romance:

Loving Brock by Joan Deneve [Write Integrity Press]

Loving Brock

LOVING BROCK is like no other romance I’ve read. Several months have gone by since I’ve read it, and I still think about these characters. First, this story is, for the most part, set on a mission in Africa. That in itself stirs up a sense of adventure and expectation.

Second, I love that the author was brave enough to make her hero and heroine older, not the 20- or 30-something of so many romances. Not that I’m opposed to the younger set, but a life of mistakes brings about a deeper wisdom. Dr. Brock Whitfield exudes that wisdom, but his internal thoughts relay the regret and humility of his character. His nurse, Joy Stockman, doesn’t have the regret, but she possesses deep compassion and reflects her own name through all sorts of trials. Their work together builds into a deep affection that makes the perfect combination for a love story.

I won’t give spoilers, but unexpected family issues cause them to take a step back at the worst possible time! God said WAIT in obvious terms, but Brock didn’t expect Him to bring the perfect person into his life and then ask Brock to give her up.

This is a heartwarming story that sent me to tears many times over. That’s not always such a hard task when I’m reading, but I will say this story ranks in the top five of my all-time favorite romance books. Right up there with PRIDE AND PREJUDICE!

Reviewer: Margi Lane ~ Life-long Texan, Marji, writes what she loves to read – romance, mystery, suspense: Faith Driven Fiction. ~ She is a multi-published author and Grace Awards 2017 Finalist. MarjiLaine.com

Note: Marji Laine is the editor of this novel. We at Grace Filled didn’t realize that at the time this blog article went live, and Marji was so excited about this novel she didn’t stop to think that as the editor, it might be a conflict. So we want to inform you of this. We know Joan’s work and we know she’s a marvelous writer and stand by this review.

Action-Adventure/Romantic Suspense/Military:

Last Chance by V. B. Tenery [Amazon Digital Services LLC ]

Last Chance

I’m a lover of military, action-adventure, spy novels, or any story with a national security bent. In this vein, author V.B. Tenery is a master of military protocol and lingo. In an opening scene of LAST CHANCE, her description of a military aircraft made me feel as if I were aboard, flying over war torn Afghanistan.

Main Character Chance Crawford who works for the CIA, but is a former special ops, Marine Recon soldier, has been ordered back to the Hindu Kush Mountains to bring in a terrorist who wants to defect. This scenario alone ups the suspense ante. On the first night of the mission, Chance finds a little girl who is trying to stay alive and care for her toddler brother. Their Christian village has been wiped out by terrorist fighters. Chance makes the decision to save the children, jeopardizing the mission. I won’t give any spoilers telling how the mission unfolds. Needless to say, it’s hair raising.

Then the author author brings Chance and the children home and seamlessly slips into the romance part of the novel when Chance meets pregnant Serenity Campbell, a missionary whose husband was recently murdered. He hires her an a nanny for the children and the romance begins very slowly as two very different people from opposite backgrounds discover each other over time.

Reviewer: Nike N. Chillemi ~ Writing cozy thrillers and suspense with sass. ~ She is a multi-published author, Chair and Founder of Grace Filled Fiction Spotlight. https://nikechillemi.blog/

Historical Romance/Small Town and Rural:

Sons of Blackbird Mountain (A Blackbird Mountain Novel) by Joanne Bischof [Thomas Nelson]

 

Sons of Blackbird Mnt

There’s a good chance you’ve heard of Joanne Bischof’s SONS OF BLACKBIRD MOUNTAIN, a story of a young Irish woman finding a new home with three Norwegian brothers in the wilds of Appalachia. It’s a perfectly plotted and beautifully written story. The hero may be the best ever, the love story the most tender, and the realism rich. The characters have back-story that unfolds so intricately, we are left feeling that we want to live there on the top of a mountain with these people. By the way, the new sequel, DAUGHTER OF NORTHERN SHORES, is just as satisfying. I keep wishing both books combined would be made into a movie.

Somehow, if you missed this wonderful read last year, or if it got buried in your TBR pile, get it out and read it now to salvage a long, cold winter.

Reviewer: Naomi Musch ~ Naomi’s newest novel, MIST O’er THE VOYAGEUR, an historical romance, is a current Selah Awards Finalist. ~ She is a multi-published author and is a Co-Chair of the Grace Filled Fiction Spotlight.  NaomiMusch.com 

Western/Historical Romance

Stronger Than Mountains (Sangre de Cristo Book 2) by Lynn Dean [Wordsworth Publishing]

Stronger Than Mountains

Lynn Dean’s STRONGER THAN MOUNTAINS is a Will Rogers Silver Medallion Award winner for inspirational western fiction and a Touched by Love winner for historical romance. It’s a raw and honest story of a couple whose years of marriage and struggle to raise a passel of children in a hard but beautiful land has run them dry. Zeke and Millie are trying to make sense of their lives and the love that once bound them against an increasing mountain of hardships—from floods and food shortage to a desperate cattle drive, a daughter who is growing fast, and three restless boys who are each trying to make the sometimes-risky leap across the chasm to manhood. This story is full of depth and authenticity, and you won’t soon forget it.

If you missed this fabulous reads last year, or if it somehow got buried in your TBR pile, get it out and read it now to salvage a long, cold winter.

Reviewer: Naomi Musch ~ Naomi’s newest novel, Mist O’er the Voageur, an historical romance, is a current Selah Awards Finalist. ~ She is a multi-published author and is a Co-Chair of the Grace Filled Fiction Spotlight.  NaomiMusch.com 

Romance/Contemporary Literature

LOVE AND ROSES by Sally Bayless [Kimberlin Belle Publishing]

Love and Roses

In 2018 I read a number of very good books but in the romance category, LOVE AND ROSES by Sally Bayless shines. Sally has a wonderful writing voice, drawing the reader into each character’s life and making you care about them. And not just the main characters – even the secondary ones.

In LOVE AND ROSES there are two romance threads. First is Abby Kincaid, a young widow raising her little girl alone yet with lots of loving family and friends to lean on. They all think it’s time she moves on, fall in love again.

Along comes Nate Redmond, formerly from  Manhattan. He’s escaping the past, hoping to make a better future. Right away he seems to fit into Abundance, his new hometown. Meeting Abby and her adorable daughter cements his desire to stay. Until the past rears its ugly head.

Meanwhile, Nate’s cousin Frankie has moved back to Abundance in an effort to get her life together. She’s also a single mom with a little girl. But things aren’t easy for Frankie, especially when her ex-husband’s old friend Cooper gets involved.

Abby, Nate, Frankie and Cooper are all entwined in the conflict over historic Rose Park. The town wants to sell the land and make a new park. Abby wants the park to stay because it’s part of her late-husband’s family legacy. Frankie likes the amenities the new park can offer her physically challenged daughter. Cooper needs the sale of the old park to prove his business savvy to his father. And Nate is caught in the middle, trying to help the town and make Abby happy.

So much conflict and seemingly insurmountable obstacles face all the characters. If they’ll each trust in the Lord rather than themselves it just might work out.

Reviewer: Tammy Doherty ~ Tammy Doherty writes Inspirational/Christian fiction with an Celtic/Western twist. She lives in central New England with her husband and two kids. ~ She is a multi-published author and is a Co-Chair of the Grace Filled Fiction Spotlight. http://tammydoherty.com

Grace Filled Fiction Spotlight badge, yr

All winners of the “Best of” Grace Filled Fiction Spotlight will receive the above badge which they are entitled to use in publicizing their novels or in an editorial manner.

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Grace Filled Fiction Spotlight will host another ‘Best of Spotlight’ in the Fall of 2019. This one will feature “best fiction from your Back List.” ~ That novel you finally got to read from your TBR (to be read) list, or a novel you read in the last three years that knocked your socks off.

If you are an author, or are engaged in the world of Christian fiction in some other capacity and would like to write a review of a book that goes back no more than three (3) years, we’d love to have you. However, you must be a current active member of the Grace Filled Fiction Spotlight Facebook group, a Grace Filled Fiction Spotlight winner, or a former judge, winner, and/or finalist in the former Grace Awards. We will announce the need for reviewers for the fall Back List Spotlight in the Facebook group.

 

Grace Filled Fiction Christmas Sweeps ~ 2018

Grace Christmas Book Sweeps 1

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…[KJV]

The authors who support and participate in Grace Filled Fiction Spotlight activities rejoice at the above Scripture. We are coming into a wonderful, exciting and happy time of year. So, in the spirit of the season, we announce the Grace Filled Fiction Christmas Sweeps ~ 2018.

Eight authors are promoting their novels/novellas … and they will give away a copy of their book to 8 winners (picked at random) from readers who leave comments. Please give a first and second choice, so (as much as possible) we can give you a book you’d like to read. This is our authors’ Christmas gift to winners. Click above, under the blog’s title, to leave a comment. Winners will be selected between December 26th and January 1. We will begin notifying winners after the new year.

Red Bow

Mist O'er the Voyageur

MIST O’er THE VOYAGEUR by Naomi Musch ~ She escaped one fate—but now whose truth can she trust? On a cold December’s eve, in a wilderness trading post on Lake Superior, Brigitte Marchal, faces her biggest dilemma yet:  The door opened, sweeping the room with a violent breeze. Cinders sparked in the fireplace, falling on the hearth and shooting up the chimney. The wisping smoke of the tobacco dissipated. (He) released Brigitte’s hands as heads turned, and murmurs and motion swept over the gathering…Hunters and porters spilled through the door. Men in layers of fur and tall, blackened moccasins, their bodies smelling of travel. Red cheeks surrounded by thick beards. One man pushed through. René.  You’ll want to grab a cup of hot chocolate and curl up with this 1807 romantic adventure of the Fur Trade.  Website  Purchase on Amazon

Rebecca's Legacy

REBECCA’S LEGACY by Betty Thomason Owens ~ Looking for a beautiful stocking-stuffer for that book lover on your list? One reviewer calls Rebecca’s Legacy “Well-written, engaging and nicely-paced.” Amy Emerson is a diva with an attitude that catches Matt Wordsworth’s attention from the start. He’s a man with a plan. Just returned from the war, he’s determined to finish law school and pass the bar before he even thinks about settling down. When Amy’s Dad hires him to help keep her out of trouble, he quickly realizes he’s in over his head. “Interesting, developed and clever characters come together in a satisfying and steady storyline. Enough tension to keep the reader hanging on and captivated until the very satisfying ending.” Give a gift that will inspire your loved ones—entertainment at its best—a story that reminds the reader of the free gift of God’s grace, available to all. Website  Purchase on Amazon

Sabotaged Christmas

SABOTAGED CHRISTMAS (An Appleton, WV Romantic Mystery, Book 1) by Carole Brown ~ A contemporary romantic mystery to warm your heart at Christmas. Gossip, a Spanish proposal, an inheritance, and a sabotaged construction business all converge to play a part in ruining Christmas for Toni. Will the mysterious person behind it all succeed in pulling off the biggest scam Appleton, West Virginia has ever seen and destroy Toni’s last chance at happiness with the man of her dreams?  Amazon Author Page  Purchase on Amazon

Blood Speaks, Cover

BLOOD SPEAKS (A Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels/Dawson Hughes Novel) by Nike N. Chillemi ~  “Ronnie”, Brooklyn gal PI, waited a long time for the solitaire on her finger. When her sometimes boss, a shadowy figure and director of a secret government organization, offers a pre-Christmas, one-week bridal shopping vacay, she jumps at it. Joined by her  bridesmaids, Ronnie sets off for Heritage Cove, Maryland, ready to enjoy the town’s winter festival. Their joyous stay at the Heritage Cove Inn is shattered by a murder. It doesn’t take long for Ronnie and her gal-pals to become targets of the killer. Taylor County Deputy Sheriff, Lieutenant Dawson Hughes leaves Texas to protect his bride-to-be.  Blog  Purchase on Amazon

A Little Christmas Magic

A LITTLE CHRISTMAS MAGIC (The Cowboy and the Librarian) by Suzanne D. Williams ~ Reading a book picked up at discount table was supposed to be entertainment for librarian, Paige Ridgeway, until the discovery of a vintage book and an encounter with one of Santa’s elves brings its pages to life. It’s as if she and fictional cowboy, Sterling Newcombe, are searching for one another. Which is ridiculous. Yet magical things can happen at Christmas, the mending of hearts and the discovery of true love, if she’ll only believe. A fantasy romance where books come to life, perfect reading during this miraculous time of the year.  Website  Purchase on Amazon

Christmas Port Scuttlebutt

CHRISTMAS IN PORT SCUTTLEBUTT by Barbara Ellen Brink ~ Snow is falling, the temperature is dropping, and a young woman and her newborn have gone missing. A suicidal man, found unconscious near Lake Superior, may be the last person to have seem them. Ironically, he can’t help… because he made a wish that he had never been born.Set two nights before Christmas, this novella will put you in the holiday spirit from the opening scene. With a Shakespearian twist of The Winter’s Tale and a nod toward It’s a Wonderful Life, CHRISTMAS IN PORT SCUTTLEBUTT has all the charm, mystery, romance, and humor that’s needed to curl up in your favorite chair with this holiday season. And don’t forget to pick up extra copies for all the book lovers on your list.  Website Pre-Order

Christmas with the Enemy

CHRISTMAS WITH THE ENEMY by Mary Vee ~ Mountain folk have long repeated the legend of a great and powerful blizzard that can curtain the Rockies with no notice, trapping unsuspecting guests, ruining plans, and putting lives at risk. CHRISTMAS WITH THE ENEMY takes a sprinkle of Romeo & Juliet, adds a chilly wind of City Slicker then tops with a glacier helping of Scrooge in this Montana meets Chicago Christmas Blizzard Tale in desperate need of Peace on Earth. A reviewer says: “A Hallmark Contender.”  Website  Purchase on Amazon

Chasing Christmas

CHASING CHRISTMAS by Lynn Dean ~Dreaming of a White Christmas…and maybe something more? Kick your feet up and get cozy with a new book that’s sure to help you find your Christmas spirit! When Angela Bell’s dream of writing children’s literature outgrows her small Texas town, she makes an impulsive move to New York City hoping to find a new career opportunity before the holidays…but what she finds isn’t at all what she expected. As her funds and her chances dwindle, will she find her “Christmas miracle”? Or is happiness waiting at the end of her own country road? This short, sweet contemporary holiday romance is perfect for an afternoon read or to give as a stocking-stuffer  Facebook Author Page  Purchase on Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grace Awards is Transitioning to ~ Grace Filled Fiction Spotlight

GRACE AWARDS is changing with the times. It’s evolving into the GRACE FILLED FICTION SPOTLIGHT. As we go into our ninth year, our board has decided to shift our focus from the concept of “winners” to the idea of “novels we love.” We are choosing to shine a spotlight on novels that move us.

During our eight years we attracted a stellar group of judges. We also have a group of 20 or more authors who were active in our Grace Awards Face Book group. That group has now changed its name to Grace Filled Fiction Spotlight FB group. This group is open to all Christian fiction authors, publishing professionals, reviewers, and readers. This year, we will be relying on these two groups of individuals to select novels and authors to be spotlighted.

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE IN SELECTING NOVELS TO SPOTLIGHT:

All past Grace Awards judges as well as authors, editors, publishing professionals, and readers who participate in the Grace Filled Fiction Spotlight Facebook group.

An author cannot nominate their own novel/novella. Anyone working in publishing cannot nominate a novel they worked on.

Board members and judges can nominate, but not for their own novel(s) or any novel they worked on.

Grace Filled Fiction Spotlight will be awarding badges and shining a spotlight on traditionally published fiction, as well as small press, indie-published, and self-published works…in hard cover, paperback, and ebook format(s).

Most of all, the novel must reach the highest of literary standards and add something of value to Christian, inspirational, faith-based fiction and to the world at large.