First Line Fridays – Out of the Ordinary

Welcome to another installment of First Line Fridays, hosted by Hoarding Books. Today is an FLF from one of my comfort read authors. Jen’s books live on the self next to my bed.

Out of the Ordinary

Out of the Ordinary by Jen Turano

“Slipping through the crowd gathered on the upper deck of a most extravagant yacht, Miss Gertrude Cadwalader drew in a breath and adopted an air of what she hoped would be taken for nonchalance.”

 

So, grab the book nearest you and comment what your first line is (with title and author, of course!) and then head over to Hoarding Books to see all of the other books/blogs featured today.

 

Hearts Entwined

Hearts entwined Four top historical romance novelists team up in this new collection to offer stories of love and romance with a twist of humor. In Karen Witemeyer’s “The Love Knot,” Claire Nevin gets the surprise of her life awaiting her sister’s arrival by train. Mary Connealy’s “The Tangled Ties That Bind” offers the story of two former best friends who are reunited while escaping a stampede. Regina Jennings offers “Bound and Determined,” where a most unusual trip across barren Oklahoma plains is filled with adventure, romance, and . . . camels? And Melissa Jagears’ “Tied and True” entertains with a tale of two hearts from different social classes who become entwined at a cotton thread factory. 

Each tale is a fun blend of history and romance that will delight readers.

My Review

Anyone who enjoys American western historicals will enjoy this collection. In my opinion, all of the authors to a great job of developing a believable romance within the shortened format of a novella.

Karen starts off with the final story in the Harper’s Station series and Claire Nevin’s happily ever after. We find out why Claire so quickly left home to marry Mr. Fischer and while we also see the immaturity that her age denotes, she also grows and develops.

Mary’s story brings another Kincaid tale. It good to catch up with part of the family years later and revisit the cavern. I love the way Connor supports Maggie. As a woman with a hubs who is so supportive of my career, my heart melted with how he championed her.

Regina’s story seemed familiar. I’m not sure why and I still really enjoyed it. I’m not sure if I’ve read another story with the same historical impetus or what. Bradley’s self confidence would annoy me in person, but in this hero is adorable.

Melissa creates a heroine who reaches beyond her upbringing and crosses class divides in an era where it was rare and show compassion that is admirable in anyone. Calvin frustrates me, but he comes around eventually, so it ends happily.

Overall it was a very enjoyable collection and I encourage you to pick up a copy.

I received a complementary copy of this book from the author. A positive review was not required and all opinions are my own!

About the Authors

Karen Witemeyer is a winner of multiple Carol Awards and has been a finalist for the RITA Award and National Readers’ Choice Award. She lives in Abilene, Texas. www.karenwitemeyer.com

Mary Connealy is well-known for her award-winning, bestselling historical romantic comedies. She lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska. www.maryconnealy.com

Regina Jennings is the acclaimed author of The Fort Reno Series. She lives outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with her husband and four children. www.reginajennings.com

Melissa Jagears, author of the Unexpected Brides series, lives in Kansas. Her novella, “Love by the Letter,” won the 2014 Carol Award. www.melissajagears.com

Book Boyfriends 2017

I was going to do an all-time book boyfriends post…I do have my favorites, but 2017 was a great swoony hero year. Here are my favorites. Note: I READ all of these in 2017; most were also published last year, but not all. I did not even attempt to keep it at 10. (Learning from you, Carrie!)

1) Michael Carrington (All of You by Sarah Monzon)

We’re not supposed to objectify others, but….Michael is HOT. Sweltering. I’m not usually into bad boys, but this fine boy is attractive. He has other redeeming qualities as well, but they only make him hotter.

2) Karim  (The Esther Paradigm by Sarah Monzon)

Karim is not your typical CF hero. He’s Muslim. But, oh my goodness, his dedication, quiet strength, patience, love for his people, and yes, his faith. He’s the best quiet but strong character I’ve read in a long time. He’s not brooding, he’s thoughtful.

3) Alex, Wes, and Reese (Pepper Basham’s Bunch)

If you’ve read any of Pepper’s books, or tuned into Carrie’s raves on her heroes, this won’t surprise you. All of her contemporary heroes will make your toes curl and make you jealous of the heroines. You can see my review for Charming the Troublemaker here.

 

4) Kristi Ann Hunter – Trent from An Uncommon Courtship and Griffith from An Inconvenient Beauty

Two more hereos here! Trent and Griffith’s novels were long anticipated by her readers taking sides for #mytrent and #teamgriffith which made their allure grow. I have been in love with Griffith from the very first time we meet him earlier in the Hawthorne House series and I’m so glad that everyone has finally caught on to the Duke of Hotness. We have similar personalities, so I relate a lot to Grif, and his love for his family, especially his momma. How can you not love a guy who loves his mamma?

5) Amos Bledsoe (Heart On The Line by Karen Witemeyer)

Amos is another non-typical hero. He rides bikes, wears glasses, and would probably enjoy playing Settlers of Catan if he lived today. He’s geeky and so not alpha male-ish. He reminds me a lot of my husband, so I can’t help but love him too.

6) Peter (A Name Unknown by Roseanna White)

I love Peter’s faith and how he goes about living it as a witness to Rosemary. No pushing, just example and patience. He writes her notes too! They’re probably not technically love letter, but I like to think of them that way.

7) Parker Mitchell (Still Life ) and Declan Grey (Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey)

These dudes are half of team hot and you love them more and more as you get to know them throughout the series. They’re protective, but not smothering; let their ladies think for themselves. They’re not perfect, but they’re trying to get there.

8) Ben Delaney (The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner)

I love Ben because he’s so real. I admire him for sticking to boundaries that are very hard to follow in our current culture, but he’s still real about it. He wants his lady, but respects her enough to hold himself back and isn’t mishish about bringing up the issue.

9) Tavin Knox (The Reluctant Guardian by Susanne Dietze)

Tavin has a Scottish accent and is mysterious. Need I say more?

 

The QuietingGiveaway

Today’s giveaway will be a copy of The Quieting by Suzanne Woods Fisher!  I will announce the winner next week on Tuesday. As always, please read my terms and conditions for giveaways and it’s open to US residents only. Click on the link here to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway.

Remember to enter the giveaways for the rest of the week!

Why I Read – With Carrie @ Reading Is My Superpower

Blogiversary Extravaganza! Things I wish I Knew When I Started a Blog

Throwback Thursday – Giveaway

First Line Fridays – Love In Three Quarter Time

A Song Unheard – Celebrate Lit – Giveaway

a song unheard fb banner copy

About the Book

Title: A Song UnheardSongUnheard

Author: Roseanna M. White

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Release Date: January 2, 2018

Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a crucial task at the outset of World War I—to steal a cypher from a famous violinist currently in Wales.

Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he’s won—until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father’s work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only light he finds is meeting the intriguing Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn’t—that she must betray him and find that cypher, or her own family will pay the price as surely as his has.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

First thinking about this review, I tried to summarize it in my head, because otherwise it was going to be endless rambling about awesomeness. But, I think you all already know this. Instead I remembered that I had highlighted several quotables that I think are apt and want to share.

“My mother always says that the one you’re meant to marry is simply the one you do marry-it’s not a matter of romance, it’s a matter of deciding to love and make it work.”

Yes, amen, thank you, Jesus. This from the girl who LOVES romance. But, at the end of the day Roseanna weaves a beautiful story to remind us that we can choose to open ourselves to love or close our hearts off. Love is hard work, it is a choice. Whether that’s describing a relationship with our husbands, friends, or family. We choose to love them and stand by them (and sometimes to let them go).

“Can a man compose a symphony without paying attention to each individual note…It’s ridiculous to posit a Creator who stands back, unconcerned. If we grant a God, we have to grant a complete God.”

I love this analogy. I’ve faced the same questions: does God really care about me? Specifically? Why? This is a beautiful answer.

“‘What would you have Him do, Lukas? He warns us of how not to act, but we disobey – like the time I climbed the tree when Papa had told me not to. But how is mankind railing at God any different than when I screamed at Papa for not catching me when I fell, even though I’d done it deliberately when he wasn’t nearby?'”

Sometimes we can’t control what comes to us, other times, we climbed that tree. A good reminder.

There are many other great nuggets in this (and Roseanna’s others) story. If you’re one who likes to mark books, read it with your highlighter. If you think that’s monstrous, pull out those sticky tabs! Either way, I guarantee you’re going to want to remember some of these later.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through the Celebrate Lit tour. All opinions are honest and my own!

About the Author

Roseanna White 2017Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.

Guest post from Roseanna White

I started playing the piano when I was 7. I didn’t discover any long-dormant genius or anything, but I liked it. When my sister quit, I kept playing. In middle school, I switched teachers, and moving from the lady at my church that I knew so well to someone who was just my piano teacher made a difference in how I applied myself. It deepened my love of music.

We all know how some random moments stand out forever in our memory. One such for me happened on the school bus. I was sitting with my best friend, talking about the new piano piece I was learning. “Via Delorosa” means Road of Sorrow, and it’s a song that tells musically about Jesus’ journey to Golgotha—ending with the faint chime of the nails being driven into his palms. As my beloved Mrs. Peto went through this song with me the night before, I remember her circling a D♯ that I’d missed and saying how important that note was. That it made the whole line weep.

That it would make the hearers weep. An epiphany so huge I had to share it with my friend. A well placed sharp could make music weep! Who knew?

That was but one lesson Mrs. Peto taught me in how music could evoke things words never could. A woman of strong faith, she also taught me how a song could preach the Gospel. Music can be medicine. It can be hope. It can be tears. It can be truth. Music can be Jesus to a hurting heart that turns its back on words.

This is a lesson I never forgot, and I had it always in mind as I was writing A Song Unheard. In this story, both my hero and heroine are musicians—violinists. But Willa (who is SO STUBBORN) wouldn’t listen to words of faith from any of the people in her life “suddenly spouting such nonsense.”

But then, in her darkest hour, she hears a slip of melody. And she realizes it’s the Lord.

I pray as readers move through the story of Willa Forsythe—violin prodigy and top-notch thief—that their spirits’ ears hear more than words, more than just a story. I pray they hear the Lord whispering that ultimate song. The one that says, “I love you.”

Want to hear the song Willa eventually wrote in the book? You can! The violin music in this trailer is officially dubbed “Willa’s Song” and written specifically for this book. I hope you enjoy it! http://bit.ly/ASongUnheardTrailer

Blog Stops

Fiction Aficionado, January 11

History, Mystery & Faith, January 11

Genesis 5020, January 11

Bookworm Mama, January 11

A Simply Enchanted Life, January 11

Avid Reader Book Reviews, January 12

Reflections From My Bookshelves, January 12

Blogging With Carol, January 12

Multifarious, January 12

proud to be an autism mom, January 12

Faithfully Bookish, January 13

Christian Bookaholic, January 13

Karen Sue Hadley, January 13

Mary Hake, January 13

A Greater Yes, January 13

Remembrancy, January 14

Blossoms and Blessings, January 14

Just the Write Escape, January 14

Connie’s History Classroom, January 14

Texas Book-aholic, January 14

A Reader’s Brain, January 15

Rachel’s Back Talk, January 15

Smiling Book Reviews, January 15

Cordially Barbara, January 15

Pursuing Stacie, January 15

The Fizzy Pop Collection, January 16

Kat’s Corner Books, January 16

The Artist Librarian, January 16

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, January 16

Bigreadersite, January 16

Mommynificent, January 17

Seasons of Opportunities, January 17

Moments Dipped in Ink, January 17

Baker Kella, January 17

Black ‘n’ Gold Girl’s Book Spot, January 17

God’s Little Bookworm, January 18

allofakindmom, January 18

The Important Things in Life: God, Books, & Chocolate, January 18

Inklings and notions, January 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 18

Pause for Tales, January 19

Have A Wonderful Day, January 19

Just Commonly, January 19

Bibliophile Reviews , January 19

Janices book reviews, January 19

Radiant Light, January 20

The Power of Words , January 20

Book by Book, January 20

CAC Devourer, January 20

Jeanette’s Thoughts, January 20

Splashes of Joy, January 21

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, January 21

Neverending Stories, January 21

Faery Tales Are Real, January 21

A Baker’s Perspective, January 21

margaret kazmierczak, January 22

The PhD Mamma, January 22

Cafinated Reads, January 22

Daysong Reflections, January 22

Romances of the Cross, January 23

Purposeful Learning, January 23

Rachel Scott McDaniel, January 23

Carpe Diem, January 23

Simple Harvest Reads, January 23

Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes, January 24

Henry Happens, January 24

Joy of Reading, January 24

Tell Tale Book Reviews, January 24

Raining Butterfly Kisses, January 24


Giveaway


CL Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Roseanna is giving away a Grand Prize Package of a signed copy of the book as well as a lovely album of soothing songs based on the Scriptures called Hidden in My Heart (winner’s choice of CD or digital download)!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c72a

 

First Line Fridays – Hearts Entwined

Welcome to another installment of First Line Fridays, hosted by Hoarding Books. This is a collection of novellas written by some favorite authors including Karen Witemeyer’s “The Love Knot,” Mary Connealy’s “The Tangled Ties That Bind.”  Regina Jennings offers “Bound and Determined,” and Melissa Jagears’ “Tied and True.” 

Hearts entwined

The Love Knot by Karen Witemeyer

“Claire Nevin frowned at the cheerful white clouds frolicking across the blue sky and tried to close her ears against the chipper melodies the birds insisted on singing in response to the deceptively fine morning. Ignorant creatures. Could they not sense that this day held no cause for celebration?”

So, grab the book nearest you and comment what your first line is (with title and author, of course!) and then head over to Hoarding Books to see all of the other books/blogs featured today.

First Line Fridays – A Change in Fortune

Welcome to another installment of First Line Fridays, hosted by Hoarding Books. Today I’m featuring a book I’ve reread many times and plan to many more. If you’ve never read a Jen book, then you’re missing out. I’m also happy to report she’s an awesome person as well.

Change of Fourtune

A Change in Fortune by Jen Turano

“NEW YORK, 1880

Miss Eliza Sumner turned the page of the book she was reading aloud, glancing up and biting back a smile at the unusual sight of her two charges, Grace and Lily, listening attentively to her.”

So, grab the book nearest you and comment what your first line is (with title and author, of course!) and then head over to Hoarding Books to see all of the other books/blogs featured today.

 

An Inconvenient Beauty

The Hawthorne House series by Kristi Ann Hunter has come to a close. I have long anticipated Griffith’s story and am happy that all the rest of you are finally jumping on the Griffith is awesome bandwagon. Griffith and I share the perpetual desire for control, and I hope, like Griffith, that I can learn to “let go and let God.”

An Inconvienent BeautyGriffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, so he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. While he’s certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, she is strangely elusive, and he can’t seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.

Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, she has no choice but to agree to a bargain that puts her at odds with all her romantic hopes–as well as her conscience. And the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she regrets the unpleasant obligation that prevents her from any dream of a future with him.

As all Griffith’s and Isabella’s long-held expectations are shaken to the core, can they set aside their pride and fear long enough to claim a happily-ever-after?

My Review

My expectations for An Inconvenient Beauty were high and Kristi did not disappoint. It was extremely entertaining watching Griffith, master of control, lose control, particularly a scene where he couldn’t control his words and they all came tumbling out (not saying any more though, I don’t want to spoil it). Isabella is exactly the heroine he didn’t know he needed.

A theme of this book that was unique in Christian Fiction (especially without diving into A LOT of drama) is that life is not so black and white. We often face decisions about which direction we need to go without much time to consider our path, and sometimes when we feel, for whatever reason, that God is not there for us. That idea exists more in our heart/mind than it does in reality, but in our humanness and the seemingly bleak choice in front of us, it is easy to lose perspective about how God is working in our lives and what path we are to take. Both Griffith and Isabella figure out that the path they thought was theirs to take, was indeed not the one God was calling them too. They had to learn how to turn back to Him, how to work through the guilt of not listening in the first place, and how to trust in His plan, even when they have no idea how it’ll work out.

While Griffith is eternally swoony, Kristi weaves a deeper meaning into his gradual loss of control and growing trust in God’s plans over his, resulting in a story that is light while providing a depth of story. I really encourage you to pick this one up for your personal library. While it is a final in a series (and you should really get the others, as well) you can also read it as stand alone.

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Author

hunter_headshotKristi Ann Hunter graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Computer Science but always knew she wanted to write. Kristi is an RWA Golden Heart contest winner, an ACFW Genesis contest winner, and a Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award for Excellence winner. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia. Find her online at www.kristiannhunter.com.