April fiction: Appealing

April fiction: Appealing

April fictionThough there’s only two fiction releases this month, we figure they’ll be of particular interest to you. If you enjoyed “The Saratov Approach,” then our missionaries-in-peril novel will be of particular interest to you. If medieval romance is your thing, we’ve got you covered. Both titles drop on April 14, 2015.

stranded_9781462116195“Stranded”
by Nathan Huffaker
[ Amazon | Books & Things ]

Kazakhstan is on the brink of civil war, and Elders Schofield and Johnson need to get out ASAP. But when their train explodes, all the evidence points to the missionaries! With terrorists on their trail and the whole country against them, the elders’ only refuge is the US Embassy in Astana—800 miles away. Fans of “The Saratov Approach” will love this jaw-dropping thriller.

 

 

“The Perfect Fool”
by Bethany Zohner Herbert
[ Amazon | Books & Things ]perfect-fool-the_9781462116201

Plucked from the streets to become a court jester, Farrago’s life couldn’t be better, especially now that he’s flirting with scullery maid Thea. But when Thea turns out to be a queen in disguise, Farrago may become as much a fool in love as in his occupation. This medieval tale is filled with romance, humor, and twists that will keep you guessing to the last page.

Fiction Fest: Last free glimpse at Lauren Winder Farnsworth’s ‘Keeping Kate’

Fiction Fest: Last free glimpse at Lauren Winder Farnsworth’s ‘Keeping Kate’

Keeping-kate_9781462115631“When I finished reading this one, I was left wanting more. I really hope that Lauren Farnsworth is planning to keep writing!” wrote this blogger about Lauren Winder Farnsworth’s “Keeping Kate.”

This reviewer called the book “a fabulous new clean romance for my favorites shelf!”

You can get your copy of “Keeping Kate” in bookstores and from online retailers.

EXCERPT:

From the author: Having struggled continuously with her new employer’s brusque and unkind treatment of her, Kate Evans is dismayed to be called into the library one night for yet another confrontation. But little does she realize…

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“Hello, Kate,” he said pleasantly.

I blinked, surprised at both his friendly tone and his use of my first name. I attempted to mask my shock, but it was a fruitless exercise. He was exceptionally observant—something I had noted in my determined efforts to study him.

“Does it bother you if I call you Kate?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.

I shook my head. “No, that’s fine. I’m just not used to hearing you say it, I guess.”

“Well, I figure since you’ve been here for quite some time, the appropriate period for formal name-calling has ceased,” he said. And then he smiled.

I had seen Tyler Thorne smile only once before. The attempt had been so pathetic that I was immediately convinced that a weak lift at the corners of his mouth was all he was physically capable of. But I had been wrong. This was the genuine article. His expression of open friendliness and humor was so striking that I lost my train of thought for a second.

“And since I’m going to call you Kate from now on, I would prefer that you call me Tyler,” he continued, not seeming to notice the fact that I was ogling him. “Everyone else does, and I’m tired of remembering to answer to ‘Mr. Thorne.’”

I quickly pulled my thoughts back in line and nodded, remaining silent.

He watched me for a minute before gesturing to the chair across from him on the other side of the desk. I sat down, watching him carefully. I felt off-balance, as though I were existing in some kind of alternate reality. What exactly was happening here? Where was this friendliness coming from? I had become so used to our uneasy co-existence, that I wasn’t quite sure how to react to this new, and much improved, Tyler Thorne. For the life of me, I couldn’t fathom why he wasn’t glaring at me . . . or at least pretending that I wasn’t actually in the room. What change had occurred to shift our relationship so drastically?

Fiction Fest: More from Lauren Winder Farnsworth’s ‘Keeping Kate’

Fiction Fest: More from Lauren Winder Farnsworth’s ‘Keeping Kate’

Keeping-kate_9781462115631Now that our January releases have been unleashed, you might need a little motivation to go pick up a copy of Lauren Winder Farnsworth’s “Keeping Kate.” Well, read on for what will prove to be the motivation you need.

“Keeping Kate” is available in bookstores and from online retailers. Want to see what others think of the book? Check its official blog tour page every day and follow along as the tour runs from Jan. 17-31.

EXCERPT:

From the author: Having begun a new job at a large and comfortable Utah ranch, Kate is struggling to manage the care and education of her newest responsibility, eight-year-old Addie. Needing some time to think and recharge her batteries, she escapes from the ranch house one afternoon for a walk in the snow. During her walk, she narrowly escapes being flattened by a huge truck barreling down the dirt road toward her.

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The driver apparently hadn’t been expecting to see me any more than I had him. In his efforts to avoid me, he swerved violently on the narrow road, slipping and sliding until he finally came to rest in a shallow ditch, inches away from a huge pine tree.

As I pulled myself cautiously to my feet and brushed the snow from my pants, I heard the truck door slam and footsteps crunching angrily in my direction. Glancing up, I saw a large figure bearing down on me, muttering all the way.

“What the—what exactly do you think you’re doing?” a deep, unfamiliar voice demanded.

Squinting through the thickly falling flakes, I realized that I didn’t recognize the face of the irate man in front of me. I was familiar with everyone on the ranch, so I knew he was not one of the eight ranch hands employed there. I stepped closer and his features came into sharper focus, assuring me that this man was indeed a stranger. He looked to be in his early to mid-thirties, not handsome necessarily, but with strong, decided features. He was large—several inches over six feet tall—and broad through the shoulders. His most distinguishing feature however, was the large cut on his forehead, which was presently gushing blood.

“You’re bleeding!” I exclaimed.

He ignored my concern and took an irritated swipe at the gash, wincing slightly. “Who are you?” he demanded rudely.

I didn’t particularly like being addressed in this manner when my only crime was to be on the road at the same moment as his monster truck. I straightened, squaring my shoulders and meeting his eyes unflinchingly.

“My name is Kate Evans,” I said, my voice strong and confident. “And who are you?”

“I don’t believe that’s any of your business,” he said coldly. “What’re you thinking, being out alone, at night, in a snowstorm? Are you crazy?!”

“No more than you,” I protested. “I was out for a walk.”

“A walk?” he repeated with disdainful incredulity, glancing around him at the weather conditions.

I immediately decided that I didn’t like this man.

“Yes, a walk,” I snapped defensively.

He stepped closer to me, scrutinizing my features. “I’ve never seen you before,” he said accusingly, as if it were my fault we’d never been introduced. “What are you doing on this road?”

I stared at him. What was his problem? Just because he didn’t know me, I suddenly wasn’t allowed to be on the road? Who did he think he was, anyway?

Fiction Fest: Free sample of Lauren Winder Farnsworth’s ‘Keeping Kate’

Fiction Fest: Free sample of Lauren Winder Farnsworth’s ‘Keeping Kate’

Keeping-kate_9781462115631Lauren Winder Farnsworth’s “Keeping Kate” is another of our January fiction releases that’s set to release on Jan. 13. This is Farnsworth’s debut novel and is a reimagining of a literary classic. You can pre-order it right now from online retailers.

About the book: Orphan Kate Evans is determined to make a life for herself on a Utah ranch, taking care of a little girl named Addie. But when she meets her irritable employer, Kate is forced to confront the past she’s been running from—and face a future she never dreamed possible. This latter-day twist on the classic “Jane Eyre” is a romantic and gripping read.

EXCERPT

From the author: Orphan Kate Evans has just arrived at Thorne Field Ranch, where she is to be the primary caregiver of a young girl named Addie. Kate is astonished at the level of wealth and consequence surrounding her and is concerned to find, upon their first meeting, that Addie has been raised to be materialistic and demanding. With her own history of abuse and neglect, she worries about connecting with her new charge.

=====

“So, do you like to read?” I asked Addie, praying for something I could relate to. I had no memory of ever actually owning a doll. By the time I was Addie’s age, I was already an inmate of Whitman Purgatory.

She wrinkled her nose at the question. “Read?” she asked. “Read what?”

“Anything, really,” I answered. “Stories, poems . . .” She looked unenthusiastically up at me.

“Reading’s boring,” she said, turning to pull out some new toy to show me.

“Well, we’re going to be doing a lot of it now that I’m here, so I hope I’ll be able to change your mind,” I said.

She turned to look at me with an expression of horror twisting her little features. I squatted down to be level with her.

“Addie, did you know that I’ve actually met a princess?”

Addie looked appropriately impressed. “A princess?” she repeated in delight.

“Yep,” I answered. “And a pirate too. I’ve also been to Mars. And to the bottom of the sea to swim with mermaids.”

By this time Addie was looking skeptical. “How?” she asked simply.

“In books I’ve read. Reading takes you to places you’d never be able to go in real life,” I explained, praying I could make this child enthusiastic about expanding her horizons beyond blonde, anatomically incorrect, plastic people.

“I can go anywhere,” she answered matter-of-factly. “Tyler will buy me whatever I want.”

Hmm. Not exactly the response I had expected. I may need to have a conversation with the elusive Mr. Thorne. The first order of business with this child was some serious toy deprivation.

It wasn’t lost on me that Addie referred to her father by his first name. This didn’t surprise me as much as it probably should have. If she saw him as infrequently as I had been told, and everyone around her referred to him as “Tyler” or “Mr. Thorne,” Addie would undoubtedly refer to him in the same way.

He doesn’t even seem deserving of the title “Father,” anyway, I thought a little cynically.

Fiction Fest: Final preview of 2014 comes from Laura Walker’s ‘Pierced by Love’

Fiction Fest: Final preview of 2014 comes from Laura Walker’s ‘Pierced by Love’

Pierced-By-Love_9781462115211This month’s — and year’s — final Fiction Fest spotlight belongs to Laura L. Walker’s “Pierced by Love,” which was released on Dec. 9, and is available in bookstores and from online retailers.

Tune in again next week — and year — as we bring you another round of excerpts from our January fiction releases.

EXCERPT:

From the author: After recently hearing of Chase Dunlop’s break-up with Noelle Jensen, whom he used to home teach, in favor of her sister, Melody, Pierce Logan is sitting in the chapel at Northern Arizona University’s institute building, waiting for sacrament meeting to begin when Noelle walks in. He immediately notices the harm Chase and Melody’s clandestine relationship has done.

=====

Pierce glanced toward the open doorway leading out to the hallway and classrooms of the institute building and saw Noelle Jensen standing there, nervously scanning the room. A girl in a brown dress approached her. From the way Noelle’s face scrunched up and she shook her head in consternation, he gathered their exchange was not pleasant. Noelle scanned the room once more. Strangely, he hoped that her gaze would connect with his. When it did, he inclined his head, beckoning her over. Her shoulders and expression loosened. Slowly approaching Pierce, she asked, “Are you saving this seat for anyone?”

Now that she was closer, Pierce could see the dark rings beneath her eyes. She looked terrible. Attempting to mask his shock, he picked up his scriptures from the next seat to make room for her. “You,” he offered. His friend Kurt would have to find somewhere else to sit.

“Thanks.” The soft fabric of her striped skirt brushed his arm as she settled into her seat. Pierce was at a loss for words. This was the first time he had seen her since he’d heard about the break-up. Of course, he’d heard a few other students talking about it earlier when he’d arrived, such as Kasey Hamilton, whose loud, whiny voice had carried to him from a few rows back.

He waited for her to open a conversation but she kept staring at the floor. Feeling the need to break the ice, Pierce gently nudged her shoulder. “Hey,” he said softly. “How are you holding up?”

She turned to him with her brows creased and her jaws clenched. “I’m so tired of everyone asking me that, Pierce.” She bit out the words, “So let me just make it clear once and for all. I’m—just—fine!”

Pierce couldn’t help the chuckle that escaped his lips. She was kind of cute when she was mad. “Yeah, I can see that.”

Now she was scowling. Pierce just grinned at her until her lips slowly loosened into a reluctant smile of their own. “All right, so I’m not fine. I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster, okay?” She huffed. “I’m sick of everyone looking at me as if I’ve grown two heads.” Tilting her head and moving her eyes to the right, she silently indicated two girls a few rows ahead who had turned to watch them.

An unexpected surge of protection had him staring the offenders down. They took the hint quickly and turned around again just as Bishop Thornton stood to conduct the meeting.

“Thanks,” she whispered.

“No problem,” he whispered back, hesitating only a moment before deciding to take a chance by adding, “He’s an idiot. You know that, right?”