Ask BHP: Who Are Some New Authors I Should Know?

Here’s one of my favorite questions to answer, pulled from our Ask BHP survey, because it gives me a chance to brag on our fabulous authors. “As a reader, I have a list of favorite authors who are “must-buys,” but I also love finding new authors. Any upcoming names I should know about?”

Obviously, “new” depends on how often you stalk the fiction section of your local bookstore, but I’m going to use this question to introduce all of you to three authors whose first book with Bethany House either has released or will be releasing in 2017.

Because so many of our current authors are continuing to write wonderful books, it takes a special spark of talent and just the right subject matter for a new writer to find a place at Bethany House, so you know these books come highly recommended. I also picked these three because their styles and genres are so diverse—you can read the description and see which one might be a good fit for you.

Here they are, in order of release:

Jennifer Delamere

Title: The Captain’s Daughter

Released: June 2017

The series was pitched to us with an intriguing premise: what if three sisters grew up in George Muller’s orphanage—a man who famously depended on God for all donations and aide—and had to learn what that kind of faith looked like in the difficult and sometimes dangerous world of Victorian London? We were sold, and we hope you will be too!

Plot: When unfortunate circumstances leave Rosalyn Bernay penniless in 1880s London, she takes a job backstage at a theater and finds herself dreaming of a career in the spotlight. Injured soldier Nate Moran is also working behind the scenes, but he can’t wait to return to his regiment in India until he meets Rosalyn.

Recommended for: Readers who enjoy British-set books, want to learn something about the history of theater, or miss a good Lawana Blackwell Victorian-era series.

Rachel Dylan

Title: Deadly Proof

Releases: September 2017

Romantic suspense you’re familiar with, but have you tried legal romantic suspense? Rachel brings years of experience as an attorney to this book to make the details authentic, plus her Love Inspired suspense novels have found her lots of excited readers waiting for a new series. Dani Pettrey and Lynette Eason both endorsed and recommended this one, so you know it’s worth the wait!

Plot: In the biggest case of her career, attorney Kate Sullivan has been appointed lead counsel to take on Mason Pharmaceutical in a claim involving an allegedly dangerous new drug. She hires a handsome private investigator to do some digging, but when a whistleblower is found dead, it’s clear the stakes are higher than ever. Will this case prove deadly for Kate?

Recommended for: Readers who enjoy reading about strong female characters in a male-dominated profession, high-conflict romance, and plenty of twists and turns.

Jaime Jo Wright

Title: The House on Foster Hill

Releases: December 2017

If you’re constantly stumped when asked to pick your favorite genre and can only answer “a well-written story,” then I’ve got a book for you! Jaime’s debut novel is set half in the present, half in the past, with an intriguing suspense plot that ties the two together. Our team loved her writing voice and were hooked from the first page—we hope you will be too!

Plot: Fleeing a stalker, Kaine Prescott purchases an old house sight unseen in Wisconsin, which turns out to have a dark history: a century earlier, an unidentified woman was found dead on the grounds. As Kaine tries to settle in, she learns the story of her ancestor Ivy Thorpe, who, with the help of a man from her past, tried to uncover the truth about the death.

Recommended for: Readers who enjoy intricate plots, a storyline that doesn’t shy away from tough issues, and page-turning action as the tension ramps up.

One of the greatest encouragements for authors is to see early sales and reviews for their books—especially newer authors. So go ahead, pre-order the ones that stood out to you. Support a new author that you can be confident is worth your time. We only recommend the best!

What’s another way you can think of to encourage a new author?

Six Reasons British Books Are the Best

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that American readers have long been fascinated with stories featuring their British cousins. Here, I’m talking about historical romances (though I’m sure modern-day Brits are just as dreamy). Whether we’re going all the way back to the streets of Victorian London or to the noir England of Agatha Christie, there are reasons we’re drawn to books set across the pond.

One: Tidbits of Interesting History

Those of us who grew up in the States have probably been well-educated in the (relatively short) timeline of our own country. Not to say it isn’t interesting, but there’s very little that surprises me anymore.

But The Captain’s Daughter taking me backstage behind the real workings of Gilbert and Sullivan’s famous operas? That I’d never thought of, and everything from the dangers of Victorian London to the life of an actress to the new spotlight technologies was a learning experience for me.

In the same way, did I know what a coaching inn was before reading The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill? Not a clue. But the daily routine of the inn and the threat to its survival intrigued me (and, of course, the parade of characters with secrets who came in and out).

Two: Pretty Dresses

Let’s be honest: Victorian and Regency gowns are the best.

Would we want to wear them every day? Of course not. (One word: corsets.) But it’s fun to admire the images on the cover or the descriptions in the text. And if there’s a ballroom scene? Count me in. Inherent drama plus women in beautiful dresses…what more could you want?

Unless of course you’re the Duke of Riverton from An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter. Then your thoughts might be more like this:

Of all the social events that played out in London, balls made the least sense to Griffith. They were always massively crowded, so the chances of seeing the person you actually wanted to talk to that evening were small, unless you’d arranged a meeting prior. Talking was difficult, what with the music and the people coming in and out of conversations in order to join the dancing.

And for a man who was looking to court, they made even less sense.

With gemstoned bodices and jeweled hair clips scattering the light from the multitude of candles, the finery in the room was enough to blind a man. Even the plainest of women could look exquisite with such trappings, and when the artificial beauty collided with natural beauty, men tended to lose their wits as well as their sight.

Griffin frowned. How could a man possibly form and know true feelings and opinions in an environment like that?

But either way…pretty dresses and dancing equals drama.

Three: High Levels of Intrigue

It’s been a while since there was a war fought on American soil. Believe me, I’m not complaining, but this rules out many classic suspense plots for the twentieth century. But in England, with each of the major World Wars, you have an entire history book full of content for thrilling plots. Observe the “hook” of these two novels:

Rosemary Gresham is offered the challenge of a lifetime in pre-WWI England: pose as a librarian and determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany. (A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White)

British nurse Evelyn Marche spends her days at the hospital during WWI, but her most carefully guarded secret is that she spends her nights carrying out dangerous missions as a spy for a resistance group. (High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin)

Neither story would translate well in, say, New Jersey or Oklahoma in the early 1900s. British settings give us the chance for spies and nurses and soldiers and a whole cast of compelling characters.

Four: Nobility and Social Status

Here, my friends, is one area that our friends across the pond have us beat: the titled upper class. Lord and ladies, dukes and duchesses, and even the occasional prince are fascinating to read about.

There’s inherent tension in class differences and the endless social standards created because of them. Nothing makes a page-turner like a compelling internal conflict between needing to make an advantageous match or marrying for love (An Inconvenient Beauty, Kristi Ann Hunter) or the pressure of knowing others might not approve of the wealthy gentleman falling for the lovely American visitor (The Drew Farthering mysteries, Julianna Deering). The greater the obstacle to romance, the more I want to find out what happens next.

Five: Character Drama

Adaptations of Jane Eyre or Jane Austen or any of the original miniseries created by the BCC and others can be very well done, but it’s usually easier to connect with characters in novels because you can hear their thoughts and are fully immersed in a world you can imagine yourself. Books can go into more depth than a typical movie, and with series, authors can continue the relationship you’ve developed with the cast over months or even years.

Jennifer Delamere’s new London Beginnings series, which introduces us to the romances of three orphaned sisters, is a great example of this, or Roseanna White’s Shadows Over England that traces the exploits of a streetwise “family” of talented thieves. Once you’ve read one, you’ll be eager to find out how the other characters end up. When fictional characters feel like real people, the authors have done their jobs, and even the best costume drama can rarely beat a well-written novel.

Six: Accents

And here, I’m talking specifically about what a good British accent does to the attractiveness factor of your average hero.

“But wait,” you say, “it’s not possible to actually hear any difference in speech while reading.” I beg to differ. Not only do you hear a swoon-worthy voice in your head as you go along, but the word choice and phrasing of British heroes have just a little something different that makes their dialogue—especially the declarations of love—special.

Allow me to demonstrate.

“Darling, the longer I know you, the more certain I am that we were meant for each other. I will wait for you if you like. If you insist, I will let you go. But I will always love you. No one I have ever met has charmed me and challenged me, soothed me and nettled me, or fit so perfectly into my heart and life as you. If you leave me, I will not die.” He swallowed hard. “But I don’t think I will ever be quite whole again.” (Murder at the Mikado by Julianna Deering)

Just try to tell me that a cowboy or motorcycle dude could have pulled that off. (I didn’t think so.)

Whether you’re in it for the romantic rogue spy or the dashing duke, there’s a British-set novel for you. Pour a cup of tea (of course)…and happy reading!

If you’re a fan of British books, to celebrate sweeping country manors, crowded and dangerous London streets, and, of course, debonair and handsome heroes, Bethany House is hosting a giveaway of six of our British-set books. You can enter here!

Any other reasons I should add to this list? What draws you to British-set books?

10 Problems Only Bookworms Understand

We’re shaking things up a bit at the office this month! Our fiction publicist, Amy Green, is usually the one behind these blog posts, but I was given the opportunity to write this one. I’m Rachael Wing, the editorial and publicity intern here at Bethany House Publishers for the summer. I started reading at the age of four and have been buried in my “to-be-read” pile since then, always finding new books to add. I’ve been passionate about Christian fiction since I started book reviewing two years ago and am thrilled to now be working directly with authors and their manuscripts at my dream workplace.

As fellow bibliophiles, we’ve all picked up on some bookish habits over time yet we’ve learned to embrace them as who we are. Here are some that I admittedly relate to:

1. Owning more than one copy of your favorite book(s)

You have to own the hardcover because of how much prettier it is than the paperback (and the pages are nicer too), but you also need the ebook because you may get the urge to read it one more time and so you must always have access to it.

2. Keeping a book with you at all times

There’s a book in your bag, a few in your car, and multiple apps on your electronic device—you never know when you’ll need one! Everywhere you go, you remember to have a book with you in case you have a long wait or are stuck in an awkward situation.

3. Trying to figure out what book a person is reading without appearing to stare

Admit it. We’ve all done it. You’re walking down the sidewalk and see someone sitting on a bench reading. You try to be subtle when you glance at their book but someone always ends up notice that you’ve slowed down or turned your attention elsewhere. At that point, you give up and stop or bend your head to make out the title.

4. Being careful about spending money on essentials but splurging on books

You always go the cheap route when it comes to buying groceries, cleaning supplies, and clothes. You’ve even considered if paying the electric bill for the month is necessary because you can read by candle light, right? Though, when it comes to buying books money usually isn’t an issue. You can definitely afford to pay the extra money for the hardcover copy and you may as well buy the rest of the books in the series since you’re already there.

5. Solving a plot twist before it’s revealed and feeling like Sherlock Holmes

You knew that character was suspicious from the beginning and then they say something that supports your suspicions—you’re convinced they’re the murderer! Then their true identity is revealed and for a second you wonder if you chose the wrong career path because you’d make an excellent detective.

6. Having mixed feelings about starting a book you’ve been anticipating to read

You really want to read this new release but then you realize if you start it now, you’ll never be able to read it for the first time again! Then, you will reach the end and the entire experience will be over and you will fall into book separation depression. So, you decide to hold it for a little while and then read as slowly as possible so you can enjoy every word of it.

7. Smelling your new books

You crack open your new book and the smell of paper and ink that wafts in the air is the definition of pure happiness. Then, you bury your face in the pages for the full book-smelling experience. Who cares who is watching? It’s one of the greatest things about opening a new book!

8. Owning a wide array of bookmarks but never using them

You have a whole collection of bookmarks that you love but you never use because you’re either afraid of using them and losing them or you simply just forget. Instead you have receipts, gum wrappers, recipe cards, or whatever you can get your hands on in the moment to mark your place…but you never dog-ear a book!

9. Talking about fictional characters as if they’re real

You’re chatting with one of your friends about your weekend and you recall a funny story that happened to another friend. Only to realize after the fact that this “friend” was in fact a fictional character in a book you recently read. Oh well. You’re as close to your fictional friends as your real friends, anyway.

10. Telling yourself “just one more chapter” when you should really be sleeping

You have to be up in five hours but you remind yourself that whether you were reading or not, you’d be awake either way, because your mind is racing trying to figure out what is going to happen next! Will you regret it in the morning? Probably. You remind yourself that you can always drink another cup of coffee with extra shots of espresso and all will be well.

Don’t be ashamed if you relate to one or more of these. There’s nothing wrong with any of these situations, because reading is one of the best hobbies you can have. You are given the chance to time travel and live multiple lives in various eras, countries, and lifestyles anytime and anywhere you want. There isn’t a hobby that compares to reading, so enjoy your bookish lifestyle and try to make a dent in that TBR stack that’s waiting for you!

What are some other “bookworm problems” you have experienced?

Prayer for Authors: June 2017

Since it’s the first Sunday of the month, we’ll be continuing the Bethany House Fiction tradition of taking time to pray for authors who have new releases coming out this month. I’m Amy Green, the fiction publicist here, and I’m thankful for all of the readers who show their support for our authors in the way that matters most: by praying for them. To read more about the reasons behind this time of prayer, go to this post.

Prayer

Authors with Books Releasing in June:

Kate Breslin
Jennifer Delamere
Jody Hedlund
Nancy Mehl
Karen Witemeyer

Verse of the Month: Feel free to use the text of this verse to guide your prayers for these authors, as well as other people in your life who you want to remember in prayer today.

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.–1 Corinthians 13:12-13 (NIV)

General Suggestions for Prayer:

  • For the time and organization to complete all the necessary tasks in their lives.
  • For freedom from fear of inadequacy, anxiety, and comparison to other writers.
  • For many readers to hear a message of hope and reconciliation through these novels.

As always, I appreciate knowing so many readers take the time to pray for our authors and books. It means a lot to all of us here at Bethany House!

June 2017 New Releases

According to the calendar, the first day of summer isn’t until Tuesday, June 20, but you can get started on summer reading long before that! We’ve got some great releases coming out this month from five talented authors. Want to try them out? Click on each cover to read an excerpt.

Dark Deception by Nancy Mehl
Defenders of Justice #2

Four years ago, Kate O’Brien and her twin were attacked by a serial killer and only Kate survived. She’s been in witness protection ever since her testimony led to a conviction. When new evidence is found suggesting they got the wrong man, Kate is terrified. With a target on her back, can U.S. Marshal Tony DeLuca keep her safe until the new trial begins?

With You Always by Jody Hedlund
Orphan Train #1

When an 1850s financial crisis leaves orphan Elise Neumann and her sisters destitute, Elise seizes their only hope: to find work out west through the Children’s Aid Society and send money home. On the rails, she meets privileged Thornton Quincy, who suddenly must work for his inheritance. From different worlds, can these two help each other find their way?

The Captain’s Daughter by Jennifer Delamere
London Beginnings #1

When unfortunate circumstances leave Rosalyn Bernay penniless in 1880s London, she takes a job backstage at a theater and finds herself dreaming of a career in the spotlight. Injured soldier Nate Moran is also working behind the scenes, but he can’t wait to return to his regiment in India until he meets Rosalyn.

Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer
Ladies of Harper Station

Grace Mallory is tired of running. But when she learns that the villain who killed her father is closing in, she has no choice. Grace is waylaid, however, by Amos Bledsoe, who hopes to continue their telegraph courtship in person. With Grace’s life—and his heart—on the line, can Amos shed his shyness and become the hero she requires?

High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin

In 1917, British nurse and war widow Evelyn Marche is trapped in German-occupied Brussels. She works at the hospital by day and as a waitress by night. But she also has a secret: She’s a spy for the resistance. When a British plane crashes in the park, Evelyn must act quickly to protect the injured soldier who has top-secret orders and a target on his back.

What’s on your summer reading list, readers?

INSPY Shortlist Giveaway

One of the benefits of working at a publishing company is being able to cheer on our various award-winning and nominated books. It’s nice when outside judges recognize the great storytelling we get the chance to work with every day. To celebrate a recent list of finalists, we’re going to give away books from the INSPY award shortlist! (To see all the nominees, or to read fun interviews with the nominated authors, go to their website.)

You can click on each cover to read an excerpt and see why the INSPYs took note of these titles…then enter the giveaway (instructions at the end of the post). Congratulations to all!

Her One and Only by Becky Wade

Category: Contemporary Romance

Plot: NFL star Gray Fowler is receiving death threats. Out of concern, his team hires a protection detail, but Gray is indignant when he meets his bodyguard. How can an attractive woman half his size protect him? Former Marine Dru Porter is, in fact, more than capable. But as danger rises, can Dru and Gray entrust their lives to one another?

Counted with the Stars by Connilyn Cossette

Category: Debut Fiction

Plot: The young Egyptian slave Kiya leads a miserable life. When terrifying plagues strike Egypt, she’s in the middle of it all. Choosing to flee with the Hebrews, Kiya finds herself reliant on a strange God and developing feelings for a man who despises her people. Facing the trials of the desert, will she turn back toward Egypt—or find a new place to belong?

A Heart Most Certain by Melissa Jagears

Category: Historical Romance

Plot: To impress the politician courting her and help her family, Lydia King is determined to obtain a donation to the Teaville Moral Society from the wealthiest man in town, Nicholas Lowe. But when complications arise, Lydia must decide where her beliefs—and heart—truly align.

Conspiracy of Silence by Ronie Kendig

Category: Mystery/Thriller

Plot: When an archaeological dig unleashes a centuries-old virus, paramilitary operative Cole ‘Tox’ Russell is forced back into action. With the help of archaeologist Tzivia Khalon and FBI agent Kasey Cortes, Tox searches for answers—and becomes entangled in a web of deception. As the team races to stop a pandemic, a secret society counters their every move.

Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey

Category: Mystery/Thriller

Plot: When modern skeletal remains are discovered at Gettysburg, park ranger and former sniper Griffin McCray must confront his past if he, his friends, and charming forensic anthropologist Finley Scott are going to escape this web of murder alive.

Dressed for Death by Julianna Deering

Category: Mystery/Thriller

Plot: While attending a Regency costume party, Drew and Madeline Farthering are immersed in a new case when the fiancée of a friend dies mysteriously at the event. Drew’s friend insists she was murdered. In the face of a shocking revelation and arrest, Drew begins to doubt his own abilities and finds he is unprepared for the dangerous secrets he uncovers.

The Shattered Vigil by Patrick W. Carr

Category: Speculative Fiction

Plot: Despite their recent victory, Willet and the rest of the Vigil discover the continent is still far from safe. When unseen assassins begin targeting the Vigil and their gift and his associates scatter—Willet must find a way to defeat this latest threat alone.

And now that I’ve introduced the books, time for the giveaway! Comment below to answer this question, “What makes a book a standout to you?” Next Thursday, we’ll choose three winners who can select their choice of one of these seven shortlist titles as a prize.

The Five Stages of Dealing With Your TBR Pile

Any experienced reader knows the lingering stress of the TBR (To-Be-Read) Pile. As someone who is a reader and also works for a publisher that contributes to lengthening many such piles, I want to reassure you: you are not alone. I’m here to walk you through the process, show you there are others all around you dealing with TBR pile shock, and help you and your Goodreads profile find peace.

Stage One: Denial

I can do this, you think, staring down that list of books the way Rocky/Karate Kid/that quarterback in Remember the Titans faced their respective opponents. Determination. Focus. One page at a time.

(Did I have to look up a list of underdog sports movies? Yes. My greatest athletic achievements are literary triathlons, which consist of reading a book, discussing the book, and explaining why the book was better than the movie.)

Yes, you have a daunting TBR pile in front of you, but it can and will be conquered, you assure yourself, even as the list fills a thick binder. Even as you add three books for every one you check off. Even as you hear the faint but unmistakable sound of your high school math teacher lecturing on statistical probability and laughing at your baseless optimism.

But the more you stare at the list of books you want to read, promised your friends you’d read, and feel an obligation to read to better yourself as a person, reality sets in: your TBR pile may be getting out of control. Which triggers…

Stage Two: Anger

Suddenly, interfering tasks like housework and sleeping seem irritating and unnecessary, all taking up valuable reading time. You may find yourself lashing out in anger at bosses for expecting you to be present at your job, family members for having conversations with you, dust for falling, and anything else that distracts you from a page-turning read. This is normal.

Well, not exactly normal, but we’re book nerds. We have different standards. Continue reading

Ask Bethany House: How Do Authors Do Research?

One of our readers asked this question in our survey: “How much research do your historical authors do to write their novels? What does that look like?” My answer, of course, was: I have no idea. But I do know who to ask!

I decided to get some answers by asking the authors of our two historical fiction releases for this month. Methods, time spent, and overall enjoyment level will vary from person to person, but here’s a little glimpse inside the research process from Melissa Jagears and Connilyn Cossette.

Amy: On a scale from 1-10 (1 being I’d-rather-be-live-bait-at-a-mosquito-farm, 10 being this-is-better-than-pure-happiness-dipped-in-chocolate), how much do you enjoy research?

Melissa: 6. (Using the research while actually writing is much more fun.)

Connilyn: 10! I absolutely love research and spend many happy hours following rabbit trails of information that don’t ever make it into my books or that constitute the background of one line that no one will probably ever notice. But that’s okay with me! I am a well of useless knowledge. Although research paired with chocolate would be even better.

Amy: What’s one research tip you’d pass along to a writer who was working on a historical novel for the first time?

Melissa: Don’t stop writing to check on historical accuracy unless you know it will derail your story or make you rewrite a significant portion if you’re wrong. For example, don’t stop to look up if the word “thingamajig” was in use yet or what sort of car your hero could drive, just make a note in the margin to look it up and go on. You can lose your writing momentum and hours of work in history rabbit holes. Go back to your margin notes and fill in the details when editing, because who knows, you might ax the whole paragraph anyway.

Connilyn: Keep track of your sources so you can find it again later. This was something I did not do for my first book and I sorely regretted it. I like to double-check my facts and if I cannot find my source then I have to waste time in the editing stage searching for it all over again. Nowadays I keep links to most sources in Evernote and Scrivener so it’s pretty simple to check back later.

Amy: What’s one research tidbit that played an important role in your latest novel?

Melissa: For my Teaville Moral Society series, I had to figure out how they’d treat and discuss an infant with fetal alcohol syndrome before anyone knew what it was.

Connilyn: Alanah, my main character, is an archer so I had lots of fun researching archery. My kids just happened to be taking an archery class during that time so that helped, but I also spent a couple of hours watching videos about how to construct a compound bow from wood and sinew, just like Alanah would have in Ancient Canaan. If the power grid goes down and I have to hunt for my own food, YouTube totally has me prepared.

Thanks for helping me answer this one, ladies! If you’d like to see how history is interwoven with these two stories, check out an excerpt of A Love So True and Wings of the Wind.

Readers, is there an era of history you especially like reading about?

Prayer for Authors: May 2017

Since it’s the first Sunday of the month, we’ll be continuing the Bethany House Fiction tradition of taking time to pray for authors who have new releases coming out this month. I’m Amy Green, the fiction publicist here, and I’m thankful for all of the readers who show their support for our authors in the way that matters most: by praying for them. To read more about the reasons behind this time of prayer, go to this post.

Prayer

Authors with Books Releasing in May:

Connilyn Cossette
Dee Henderson
Melissa Jagears
Becky Wade

Verse of the Month: Feel free to use the text of this verse to guide your prayers for these authors, as well as other people in your life who you want to remember in prayer today.

With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees. Say to those with fearful hearts,Be strong, and do not fear.’–Isaiah 35:3-4 (NLT)

General Suggestions for Prayer:

  • For courage to persevere in their writing and their personal lives.
  • For clarity of thought and focus in the midst of distraction (and deadlines).
  • For book buyers, librarians, bookstore employees, and others who connect readers with books.

Again, I love having all of you with me for this tradition of prayer. I know these authors appreciate it as well!

May 2017 New Releases!

It’s a new month, and that means I’ve got some beautiful covers and compelling stories to share with you! Enjoy these sneak peeks at four books that just appeared on shelves this week. (To read an excerpt, click on each cover.)

Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette

Synopsis: After her Canaanite family is killed by the Hebrews, Alanah disguises herself as a warrior and enters the battle to avenge her loved ones. She never intended to survive. When Tobiah, a Hebrew warrior, finds her unconscious among the dead, he faces an impossible dilemma: The only way to protect this wounded woman—the enemy of his people—is to marry her.

First Lines: Forging through the teeming mass of Canaanite soldiers in this vast army camp, I’d never felt more alone. A tendril of hair tickled the side of my neck and I jammed the errant strand under my bronze helmet, hoping no one had glimpsed the flash of red against my shoulder. The scaled armor I wore, heavy as it was, disguised my form to good effect. If I was vigilant to keep my guard raised, no one would ever know a woman walked among them until they found my body on the battlefield tomorrow.

A Love So True by Melissa Jagears

Synopsis: Evelyn Wisely has a heart for the orphans of Teaville. She works daily to help get children out of the town’s red-light district, but she longs to help the women there as well. Intrigued by Evelyn, David Kingsman lends his support to her cause. Though they begin work with the best of intentions, complications arise.

First Lines: If David Kingsman had any chance of making his father proud, this next decision could be it. Of course, Father was just as likely to disown him for it, but if David’s projections were correct, it would be worth it. Hopefully.

Threads of Suspicion by Dee Henderson

Synopsis: With the public eye fixed on the governor’s new Missing Persons Task Force, Detective Evie Blackwell and her new partner, David, are under pressure to produce results. While they investigate two missing-persons cases in Chicago, Evie and David’s conviction that justice is truly possible for all will be tested to the limit.

First Lines: As Governor Bliss came to the podium, Lieutenant Evie Blackwell dug her hands into her coat pockets, grateful the January cold would keep this press announcement on schedule and limited to twenty minutes. His inauguration just the day before had been sunnier and a few degrees warmer. She did her best to ignore the television cameras trained on the podium, knowing she and the other officers on the stage were now in their view frame, and that this clip would run on the local evening newscast.

True to You by Becky Wade

Synopsis: After a broken engagement, genealogist Nora Bradford decides focusing on her work and her novels is safer than romance. But when John, a former Navy SEAL, hires her to help find his birth mother, the spark between them is undeniable. However, he’s dating someone, and Nora is hesitant. Is she ready to abandon her fictional heroes and risk her heart for real?

First Lines: Finding oneself at the mercy of a crazed gunman isn’t all fun and games. Nope, thought Nora Bradford. Not at all. Not even when said gunman was an actor toting a fake gun and you’d volunteered your time to play the role of hostage for noble reasons.

Are there any books you’re looking forward to this spring? How about sharing the first few lines of a book you’re currently reading?