Christian Fiction Reviews, April 15, 2012

The next three months are all about series. Some first books in new series are coming out (R.J. Larson’s Prophet and Dani Pettrey’s Submerged from Bethany House, as well as Jill Eileen Smith’s Sarai from Revell). Meanwhile, established series continue. Fans of suspense stories will be thrilled with the latest entry in Davis Bunn’s Marc Royce series, which finds the ex-intelligence officer once again undercover. That same audience should also enjoy Relentless Pursuit, the third entry in Kathy Herman’s Secrets of Roux River Bayou series. Readers who love both Amish fiction and mysteries will be pleased to find elements of both genres in Vanetta Chapman’s second entry in the Shipewana Amish Mystery series, A Perfect Square.

Historical fiction also dominates the scene, with Mesu Andrews’s story of Arielah and Solomon (Love’s Sacred Song), Tracy Higley’s story of the daughter of King Nebuchadnezzar (Garden of Madness),and Kathleen Morgan’s A Love Forbidden.

Whether your readers favor contemporary stories, historical romances, or Christian suspense, they are sure to discover something of interest among this season’s offerings, so sit back and get ready to order books.

starred review star Larson, R.J. Prophet. Bethany. Apr. 2012. c.352p. ISBN 9780764209710. pap. $14.99. CF

The Istgard have renounced the Infinite, so he has called on Ela Roeh to become his prophet. She’s not the most likely choice for the job, being 17 and unrefined. On top of that, she’s female‚ a first time for a prophet. Still, she accepts the role and tries to bring His message to her war-torn nation. In her new role, she meets an ambassador named Kien, and they form an alliance. Soon, Ela must decide how to keep true to her promise while following her heart.
VERDICT Character-driven and suspenseful, this outstanding YA speculative fiction launch does a great job of world building. Bethany House is marketing it heavily to fans of The Hunger Games trilogy, so demand should be high.

starred review star Pawlik, Tom. Beckon. Tyndale House. Apr. 2012. c.416p. ISBN 9781414338736. pap. $12.99. CF

Beckon, WY, is known for the Native American legend of the soul eater. Three people travel to the town for different reasons. Jack is looking for clues to his father’s disappearance. Elina seeks her missing cousin, George a cure for his wife, who suffers from Alzheimer’s. Each of them finds a secret in Beckon, though it is not the answer that any of them is looking for. The question is, will any of them make it back home? VERDICT Fast-paced and violent, this creepy thriller by the Christie Award‚ winning author of Vanish should appeal to fans of Frank Peretti and Terri Blackstock.

starred review star Wade, Becky. My Stubborn Heart. Bethany. May 2012. c.352p. ISBN 9780764209741. pap. $13.99. CF

Kate Donovan is known for her stubbornness, which hasn’t helped her dating relationships in the least. She’s feeling burned out and jumps at the chance to accompany her grandmother to her ancestral home in Redbud, PA. Then she meets the man hired to renovate the house. While he’s certainly a looker, it is also clear that he is deeply wounded. Can she help him find his way back from the darkness? VERDICT A feisty heroine, romance, and comedy make this a fabulous debut and Wade an author to follow. Recommended to readers who enjoy Melody Carson.

The following titles are reviewed in the April 15 print issue. Visit our Reviews Center (Beta) for the full reviews.

Andrews, Mesu. Love’s Sacred Song. Revell. 2012. c.448p. ISBN 9780800734084. pap. $14.99. CF

Bunn, Davis. Rare Earth. Bethany. (Marc Royce, Bk. 2). Jul. 2012. c.384p. ISBN 9780764209062. pap. $14.99. CF

Chapman, Vanetta. A Perfect Square. Zondervan.(Shipewana Amish Mystery, Bk. 2). Apr. 2012. c.352p. ISBN 9780310330448. pap. $12.99. CF

Cox, Carol. Love in Disguise. Bethany. Jun. 2012. c.352p. ISBN 9780764209550. pap. $14.99. CF

Ganshert, Katie. Wildflowers from Winter. WaterBrook: Random. May 2012. c.320p. ISBN 9780307730381. pap. $9.99. CF

Herman, Kathy. Relentless Pursuit. David C. Cook. (Secrets of Roux River Bayou, Bk. 3). May 2012. c.336p. ISBN 9780781403429. pap. $14.99. CF

Higley, Tracy. Garden of Madness. Thomas Nelson. May 2012. c.400p. ISBN 9781401686802. pap. $9.99. CF

Hodgson, Mona. The Bride Wore Blue. WaterBrook: Random. (Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek, Bk. 3). May 2012. c.320p. ISBN 9780307730305. pap. $13.99. CF

Kirkpatrick, Jane. Where Lilacs Bloom. WaterBrook: Random. Apr. 2012. c.368p. ISBN 9781400074303. pap. $14.99. CF

Morgan, Kathleen. A Love Forbidden. Revell. (Heart of the Rockies, Bk. 2). May 2012. c.336p. ISBN 9780800719715. pap. $14.99. CF

Peterson, Tracie. Touching the Sky. Bethany. (Land of the Lone Star, Bk. 2). Jun. 2012. c.352p. ISBN 9780764206160. pap. $14.99. CF

Pettrey, Dani. Submerged. Bethany. (Alaskan Courage, Bk. 1). May 2012. c.320p. ISBN 9780764209826. pap. $14.99. CF

Seilstad, Lorna. The Ride of Her Life. Revell. (Lake Manawa Summers, Bk. 3). May 2012. c.384p. ISBN 9780800734473. pap. $14.99. CF

Smith, Jill Eileen. Sarai. Revell. (Wives of the Patriarchs, Bk. 1). 2012. c.320p. ISBN 9780800734299. pap. $14.99. CF

Vogt, Beth K. Wish You Were Here. Howard: S. & S. May 2012. c.336p. ISBN 9781451659863. pap. $14.99. CF

Watson, Jan. Skip Rock Shallows. Tyndale House. (Troublesome Creek, Bk. 6). Jun. 2012. c.384p. ISBN 9781414339146. pap. $12.99. CF