New Contemporary Christian Novel: All in Good Time

Standard

I highly recommend this story as an enjoyable, clean romance novel with three-dimensional characters and important themes.

Theresa Linden
Just came out October 22, on the Feast of Pope St. John Paul II

STORY SUMMARY

All in Good Time – With three rambunctious, young children, Melanie Lombardi can’t see beyond the day-to-day struggle to maintain her home and her sanity since her husband’s sudden death. A second chance at romance isn’t on her radar.

Brian Perella is done with dating, resigned to being the fun uncle and never the dad. Until he meets Melanie and her brood of lively kids on the sidelines of a Little League game.

But when Brian uncovers a co-worker’s secret, it re-ignites a temptation that Melanie can’t know about. It’s his secret to keep until an unexpected diagnosis brings everything to the surface, jeopardizing his future with Melanie and her children, who, when threatened by an unknown stalker, may need him now more than ever.


MY REVIEW

The characters in this story feel so real. So three-dimensional. They have strengths and weaknesses, hopes and dreams, and face trials and challenges that many can relate to, especially in our contemporary culture.

Brian Perella loves kids and has wanted to be a husband and father, but he has yet to find “the one” and he’s almost given up. Then one day, it seems God has dropped the woman of his dreams—Melanie Lombardi—into his lap! He’s a solid character and he’s great with kids, but he’s not sure he wants to start dating. I really enjoyed the tension between the two main characters before they decided to see each other. As the story progresses, we find that his past failings affect his ability to develop and maintain a healthy relationship with Melanie. This theme is so well done and helped me really consider the temptations and effects of pornography even after a person has given it up.

Melanie Lombardi is one tough woman. At least on the outside. Her husband recently passed away, leaving her with three young children. My heart really ached for her at times. She is an extremely likeable character, a good mom who tries to be responsible—but one person can’t keep track of everything, and this leads to some chaotic and humorous incidents in the story as she deals with the trials and joys of life with three children. I both admired and, at times, could relate to this character and her challenges.

As the story develops, a mystery (a threat) begins to appear. I admired how the author did this—so subtle and yet relevant, as you discover in the end.

This fictional story is not only enjoyable because of the characters and storyline; it carries relevant themes—tough themes that aren’t often dealt with in fiction but should be. We can read articles and studies about the challenges of single parenthood and of losing a spouse and of the long-term effects of giving into temptation and pornography, but reading a novel that deals with these issues takes it to a deeper level. We get to see the thoughts and experience the feelings these characters have throughout their challenges, failures, and victories.


promo images by JustRead

Visit Carolyn Astfalk’s BLOG post to read why she writes romance that tackles tough sexual morality issues that people don’t want to talk about.

In the days since All in Good Time‘s release, a few people have commented about my “bravery” in tackling the pornography issue in this novel.

~ Carolyn Astfalk, Relevant Fiction for Body and Soul

BUY NOW

As an ebook:
Kindle
Nook, Kobo, Apple Books, and more

In paperback:
Amazon

A New Romantic Comedy

Standard

Style and Substance. Fire and Ice. It’s a Roman Hell-iday when Janetta Orlando and Bob White clash in romantic Rome.

Story Summary

Janetta Orlando’s life has been bouncing along the gutter like a Brunswick bowling ball after a series of disastrous relationships. When her girl’s getaway with her best friend is abruptly cancelled, she is left with nothing to look forward to. No vacation. No wine. No men.

Bob White is headed to Rome with his girlfriend, who is fluent in Italian, to sell his invention to an Italian businessman. When she dumps him, he is left without a translator.

After Bob learns that Janetta, his hairdresser, has two weeks off and speaks Italian, he presents her with a deal: He will pay her to accompany him to Rome to serve as his translator. A lover of the Eternal City, Janetta agrees to the deal, but soon learns that the devil is in the details as their trip turns into a Roman Hell-iday when she and Bob clash over nearly everything from fashion to food to faith.

Laughter, tears, and love flow like the Trevi Fountain as Janetta, with the help an unlikely aide, finds her true herself, her true faith, and her true love in Rome.

Buy Links for Our Lady of the Roses

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07XSR56JJ/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

Barnes & Noblehttps://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/our-lady-of-the-roses-janice-lane-palko/1133717181?ean=9781734086706

Smashwordshttps://www.smashwords.com/books/view/958961

Apple Books:  https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1480797060

Kobohttps://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/our-lady-of-the-roses

Draft2Digital:  https://www.draft2digital.com/book/483142


More books by Janice Lane Palko


Janice Lane Palko has been a writer for more than 20 years working as an editor, columnist, freelance writer, teacher, lecturer, and novelist.

She is currently the executive editor for both Northern Connection and Pittsburgh Fifty-Five Plus magazinesand the lead writer for the website PopularPittsburgh.com. She has had numerous articles published in publications such as The Reader’s Digest, Guideposts for Teens, Woman’s World, The Christian Science Monitor, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and St. Anthony Messenger. Her work has also been featured in the books A Cup of Comfort for Inspiration, A Cup of Comfort for Expectant Mothers, and Chicken Soup for the Single’s Soul.

Our Lady of the Roses is a spinoff from her first novel, St. Anne’s Day, a romantic comedy. She has also written the Christmas novel, A Shepherd’s Song, and the romantic suspense novels, Cape Cursed and the award-winning Most Highly Favored Daughter. Currently, she is working on another romantic suspense called Mother of Sorrows.

Cover Reveal: All in Good Time

Standard

All in Good Time – With three rambunctious, young children, Melanie Lombardi can’t see beyond the day-to-day struggle to maintain her home and her sanity since her husband’s sudden death. A second chance at romance isn’t on her radar.

Brian Perella is done with dating, resigned to being the fun uncle and never the dad. Until he meets Melanie and her brood of lively kids on the sidelines of a Little League game.

But when Brian uncovers a co-worker’s secret, it re-ignites a temptation that Melanie can’t know about. It’s his secret to keep until an unexpected diagnosis brings everything to the surface, jeopardizing his future with Melanie and her children, who, when threatened by an unknown stalker, may need him now more than ever.


BOOK RELEASE DATE: October 22, 2019, feast of Pope St. John Paul II.


Let me begin by saying that I can’t stop looking at this gorgeous cover! The colors, fonts and image have me transfixed! It works well with the story too. I was able to read an Advanced Readers Copy of this inspirational Christian romance, and I’ll share my review in the days ahead.


Get to know inspirational romance writer Carolyn Astfalk HERE.


Carolyn Astalk is my favorite author of Christian romance because of the way her characters feel so real–they’ve got appeal and flaws that readers can relate to–but also because her stories open up true love in a unique way. I’ll share more about that in my review but for now, please check out her other books too:

Rightfully Ours – Sixteen-year-old Paul Porter’s relocation to Pennsylvania is a temporary move during his dad’s deployment. Or so he and his brother think, until devastating news lands on their doorstep. Paul’s new home with the Muellers provides solace, especially in the form of Rachel, his friend and confidante. Their abiding friendship deepens as they work side by side to uncover what could be lost treasure. Will they acquire the strength of character and virtue to take only what rightfully belongs to them or are they in way over their heads, with more than a few lost artifacts at stake?

Ornamental Graces – After his duplicitous girlfriend left, Dan Malone spent six months in a tailspin of despair and destruction: emotional, physical, and spiritual. Just when his life seems to be back on track, he meets Emily Kowalski, younger sister of his new best friend. Emily’s the kind of girl he’d always dreamed of–sweet, smart, and sincere. But he’s made a mess of his life and ruined his chances for earning the love and trust of a woman like her.  Could Dan be the man Emily’s been waiting for? How could he be when every time they get close he pulls away? And will he ever be free from his shady past and the ex-girlfriend who refuses to stay there? An inspirational Christmas romance that spans every season.

Stay With Me – With her sister Abby’s encouragement, Rebecca has moved out of their overbearing father’s home. When a chance encounter with Chris ends with an invitation, Rebecca says yes. The authentic way Chris lives his life attracts Rebecca and garners her affection. Chris loves Rebecca and her innocence, but he’s confounded by the emotional scars she bears from her parents and an attempted assault. Her father’s disdain for Chris’s faith and career only make matters worse. With the counsel of their friend Father John, can Rebecca and Chris overcome every obstacle and bridge the deepening gulf between them and her dad? Or will a crucial lapse in judgment and its repercussion end their relationship?


Carolyn also has a short story in each of the Catholic Teen Books anthologies, including the new release Gifts: Visible & Invisible.

Faith Through Fiction Vlog

Standard

Introducing the new Faith Through Fiction vlog series from Catholic Teen Books

God knows the challenges we face.

Depression ~ loneliness ~ peer pressure ~ disorders ~ temptation ~ bullying ~ hurt ~ shyness ~ loss ~ disabilities ~ the struggle to forgive . . .

God has an answer for all our problems, healing for all our wounds, and a path that will bring far greater joy than the path the world presents to us. How can we find this path, this healing, these answers?

Don’t underestimate the power of a story.

Catholic Teen Books presents a fun new video blog that is perfect for teens, high school teachers,  homeschoolers, and parents.

Through this series Catholic Teen Books strives to fulfill its mission of counteracting the anti-God culture that permeates society today and leaves young adults with few wholesome literature choices. In every episode, you will discover solid books that bring faith-filled solutions to issues teens face.

You can learn more about the series and the hosts of the show, T.M. Gaouette and Leslea Wahl, on www.CatholicTeenBooks.com.

Check out the series trailer here and the first episode below:

The first episode addresses the theme of bullying, which too many teens face every  day. How can we help our teens to consider all sides of this issue, gain a faith-filled perspective, and courageously make the right choices that can help both the bully and the victims?

This new vlog series is just one of the ways Catholic Teen Books seeks to support parents and teachers in encouraging young people to dive into stories that can change lives and develop faith and character. Want to make sure you catch every episode of this new vlog series? Sign up for Catholic Teen Books newsletter.

Turning in Circles – Book Review

Standard

Southern fiction at its best!

61uJBe8rEuL

Story summary: Savannah and Charleston, two sisters living in a small Southern town, have always been close. They’ve shared everything with one another…until Dillon, the one boy in school who’s bad news, sets his sights on Charleston. As she’s drawn down his dark, destructive path, Savannah panics, knowing this isn’t a relationship destined for anything but trouble.

She turns to her lifelong best friend, Ellerbe, for help, but there’s a shift in their relationship. The connection they’ve shared is taking a turn toward something more, something deeper. And Savannah isn’t sure she’s ready for a romance while trying to save her sister.

As Savannah’s foundation begins to crumble, every decision becomes an unchangeable step toward an outcome that could have tragic repercussions.

Get your copy here: Amazon link


I’ve seen Michelle Buckman’s titles and I’ve been wanting to check out her books for some time. I am so glad that I finally did. Please stop by her website to learn more about her and her books.

Michelle Buckman’s author page


My Review:

I really enjoyed this Southern fiction! Michelle Buckman has a beautiful and engaging writing style that pulls readers deep into the story and doesn’t let them go. The story begins at a leisurely Southern pace, introducing Savannah and her sister Charleston, but always hinting at trouble to come. The setting details and tone are captivating and give incredible dimension to the story. And while it’s set in modern times, the life of the people in this small farming community reminds me of simpler days when everyone knew everyone else and neighbors sat around drinking iced tea on front porches and took leisurely strolls through lovely streets and trails. But there is always something lurking beneath the surface, a hint of trouble, of mistakes that change lives, and of danger.  

As the story developed, this book became almost impossible to set down. And I came away with a bit of introspection. Savannah faces the same problem many of us do: watching a loved one go down the wrong path (in this case, a potentially dangerous one) and feeling powerless to do anything about it. She wrestles with how to respond to this, sometimes making things worse and other times not doing enough. So many moments in this story resonated with me and I’m sure they will with everyone who reads this story of family, friendship, and the challenges we all face with those we care about.

This is the first book by Michelle Buckman that I’ve read, and I look forward to reading more by her.

This month I am linking up with Carolyn Astfalk’s “An Open Book” and CatholicMom.com. What have you been reading lately? Feel free to link up your blog post too! You can find the details here.

Blog Tour: Where You Lead

Standard

I am excited to be part of the Virtual Book Tour for Leslea Wahl’s newest Christian young adult mystery, Where You Lead! Please check out my post so you can not only learn about the book but find out about a treasure hunt and discover author Leslea Wahl’s favorite Washington DC sites. Note: these sites are also mentioned in this story!


where you leadTeen Eve Donahue’s lonely existence changes in an instant when visions of a mysterious stranger haunt her. Certain God is calling her for a mission, she bravely says yes and begins her quest to meet this young man. Thousands of miles away, Nick Hammond has been dealing with his own unusual experience, an unwavering certainty to convince his father to run for political office. When these two unlikely teens finally meet, their belief that God has called them to work together sets them on a journey of faith to untangle a web of deception involving international trade agreements, lost confederate gold, and a blossoming romance. As they follow century old clues, they realize God can call us all in big and small ways. We just need to listen.

Available in Kindle and paperback. Buy the book here.


Wahl is one of my favorite authors of young adult fiction. But she is also the favorite of a lot of readers! I want to congratulate her on the Gold Medal The Perfect Blindside recently won from Readers Choice! This book was also the 1st-place winner of the 2016 Catholic Press Association book awards, in the teen fiction category. Another one of her books, An Unexpected Role, was a Gold Medalist in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards. Her books have also received the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval. You can check out other awards her books have won here. Or on her website. And if you ask me, Where You Lead is another winner!

My review:

This is an incredibly fun mystery with a great combination of action and adventure and tension that builds throughout the story. The main characters, Nick and Eve, are well-developed and likeable. She’s romantic, talkative, and has a style all her own: Eve doesn’t try to be like everyone else; she’s comfortable just being herself. Nick is level-headed, resourceful, and charming. Plus, he comes from a big and very interesting family.

I enjoyed the attraction and interactions between these characters and following along as they tried to solve this unique mystery. As a history lover, I enjoyed the tidbits about the Civil War and the “virtual tour” of Washington D.C., visiting museums, monuments, cemeteries, and other historical places with the characters.

Several wonderful messages are weaved through this story, too, like trusting in God even when we can’t understand His plan and realizing that the smaller missions from God are just as important as the bigger missions. With her sharp writing style, ability to develop a riveting mystery, and the way she weaves faith into her stories, Leslea Wahl has become one of my favorite authors.

I highly recommend this story for teens and adults. In addition to the bits of history and positive role models, this book is just plain fun!


Leslea Wahl’s 10 Favorite DC Sites

“As a reader, I’ve always enjoyed books where the setting of a story comes alive through the eyes of the characters. I certainly hope I that I was able to accomplish that feat in my new novel, Where You Lead. This adventurous mystery is set in a city that is near and dear to my heart. A place that I lived for four years, right after I was married – Washington DC. I loved every moment of our time there and had so much fun including some of my favorite spots in this story. Here are 10 of my favorite DC sites that are part of this book’s adventure.”  ~Leslea Wahl

1. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

download (1)

2 – Embassy Row

 

3 – Georgetown

Georgetown,_Washington,_D.C._HDR

4 – The Smithsonian

download

5 – The National Cathedral

download (4)

6 – The Tidal Basin and cherry blossoms

images (2)

7 – The Reflecting Pool between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument

images (3)

8 – The C&O Canal

download (2)

9 – Oak Park Cemetery

10- Arlington Cemetery

download (3)


treasure huntClick here for the treasure hunt!


bookLeslea Wahl is a Colorado native who loves to travel with her family. She considers herself blessed to have found a way to intertwine her two passions by creating adventurous stories with positive Christian messages for today’s youth. She hopes to inspire others to find their gifts as well. Her first book, The Perfect Blindside, was awarded a 2016 Illumination Christian Book Award silver medal and was a first place winner at the 2016 Catholic Press Association Book Awards.

Available in Kindle and paperback. Buy Where You Lead here.

Contact Leslea Wahl:​

Secrets 99-cent Back-to-School eBook Sale

Standard

Now’s the time to grab a copy of Secrets:Visible & Invisible for yourself or send one as a gift! (Sale runs through September 16, 2018.)

 

This post originally appeared on author Carolyn Astfalk’s blog, but I wanted to share it with my audience so she gave me permission!

BUY NOW FOR 99 CENTS

Google Books
Kindle
Kobo
Barnes and Noble (Nook)

Grab Secrets: Visible & Invisible for a limited time for only 99 cents on ebook! #CatholicTeenFiction #99cents Click To Tweet

Secrets: Visible & Invisible

by Corinna Turner, Cynthia T. Toney, Theresa Linden, Susan Peek, T.M. Gaouette, Carolyn Astfalk, and Leslea Wahl

A collection of short stories by seven CatholicTeenBooks.com authors. As described by Mark Hart of Life Teen International, who provides the foreword, “Each story reveals something different about the human heart and our constant (though, often veiled) desire for truth and virtue.”

Secret (n.) – something kept hidden from knowledge or view; a mystery.

  • In a dystopian future, an innocent picnic turns deadly!
  • Elijah knows nothing of an elderly stranger’s secret past—until her disappearance changes everything.
  • A mysterious, ever-changing painting alarms a group of teens.
  • A cannonball took Dario’s legs . . . Will he lose his soul too?
  • The arrival of a mysterious girl challenges everything about Jason’s life.
  • An unlicensed driver. His dad’s truck. What could possibly go wrong?
  • An old tale of murder and forbidden love leads to a modern-day treasure hunt.

“For nothing is hid that shall not be made manifest, nor anything secret that shall not be known and come to light.” (Luke 8:17 RSV-CE)

goodreads badge


Praise for Secrets

“There is a little something for everyone in Secrets, a short-story anthology for Catholic teens. Seven authors cover an array of genres, including dystopian, historical fiction, and romance, while masterfully developing interesting characters and meaningful storylines. Faith is thoughtfully woven into the plots that also creatively incorporate mystery, intrigue, and heart-felt emotion. Fans of these Catholic teen authors will appreciate reading new stories about familiar characters. And first-time readers will be eager to read more in the full-length novels by their new favorite authors.”

Sarah Damm, mom of 6 and writer at sarahdamm.com

“This anthology of short stories for Catholic teenagers is a true literary treasure. It provides genres for every type of reader, each so well written that the reader is invited to fully escape into many different worlds and places. The short stories will take its readers to dystopian Europe, high school hallways, a city block in summer, and a soldier’s medical ward in 16th-century Italy, just to name a few. The characters are diverse, exciting, relatable; their adventures are accessible, mysterious and enthralling. But within these different settings, there is one uniting comfort: God is always there, whether revealed in a desperate prayer to a guardian angel, through pure romantic love, the presence of Christian charity, men and women religious, or within the sacraments. The hope that comes through Catholicism and Jesus prevails in each vignette, and yet there are still heavy doses of drama, suspense and tactful violence. So if your teens seem totally spaced out and properly engrossed, take courage knowing their love of reading and their love of the faith is being fed through these beautiful stories.”

Regina Lordan for Catholic News Service

“This anthology of Catholic fiction for teens will introduce readers to seven diverse authors. Many of these stories, in a variety of genres but linked by a common theme, offer a peek at characters from full-length novels. Readers already acquainted with these authors will enjoy new perspectives on favorite characters. Kudos to CatholicTeenBooks.com and these seven authors for dreaming up this excellent collection.”

Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS, Editor, CatholicMom.com and Managing Editor, Today’s Catholic Teacher magazine

“Featuring seven fabulous stories from top authors in Catholic teen fiction, Secrets is as entertaining as it is relevant and thought-provoking. It’s sure to capture your imagination, move your emotions, and stir your soul. Teens and adults alike are sure to enjoy the variety of tales, which are cleverly united by themes of secrets and faith. Packed with powerful, meaningful, memorable stories, this anthology is so good, you won’t be able to keep Secrets to yourself!”

Therese Heckenkamp, Christian suspense author of bestseller Frozen Footprints

​“Seven Amazing Secrets . . . At a time when so much entertainment and fiction for teens is saturated with envy, lust, pride and other moral toxins, the book Secrets: Visible and Invisible is a powerful, and FUN-to-read, virtue-rich alternative. The talented team of authors behind CatholicTeenBooks.com has created the perfect way for readers to enjoy a taste of fresh new fiction that satisfies a deep hunger in the teen soul. Teens . . . you need to get your Catholic parents, grandparents, or teachers to get this book for you. Really. You’ll be glad you did.”

Cathy Gilmore, Founder/Executive Director of VirtueWorksMedia.com

“I knew I was in for some great reading when I picked up this collection. What I was not prepared for was how exceptional this collection was. . . . Every story was a remarkable story. Some of the stories were so good, I immediately went back and reread just that story. And then when I finished the book, I reread the whole thing again a few days later. I have a great deal of respect for the seven authors who contributed to this series. And even more so after reading their pieces in this collection.”

Steven R. McEvoy, blogger at Book Reviews & More

“Know a teen reader looking for a book filled with the unexpected? Look no further than Secrets: Visible & Invisible an anthology of 7 short stories from CatholicTeenBooks.com. From tales of bicycles to cars and even a saint standing on the threshold of the “dark side”, there’s plenty here for teen readers to sink their teeth into.”

Pete Socks, The Catholic Book Blogger