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

A Mother for His Family

 

Mother for His Family 2

Lady Helena Stanhope’s reputation is in tatters…and she’s lost any hope for a “respectable” ton marriage. An arranged union is the only solution. But once Helena weds formidable Scottish widower John Gordon, Lord Ardoch, and encounters his four mischievous children, she’s determined to help her new, ever-surprising family. Even if she’s sure love is too much to ask for.

All John needs is someone to mother his admittedly unruly brood. He never imagined that beautiful Lady Helena would be a woman of irresistible spirit, caring and warmth. Or that facing down their pasts would give them so much in common. Now, as danger threatens, John will do whatever it takes to convince Helena their future together—and his love—are for always.

 

My Review

I am so sad that the Love Inspired Historical line is ending because I want to read Suzie’s books forever and ever. A Mother for His Family is the sequel to The Reluctant Guardian, but can be read independently. I really enjoy marriage of convince stories as it gives an opportunity for deeper romance more quickly. In this case our hero, John, is loath to be married again, but wants his children to have a mother while Helena needs the protection that marriage in that time period can offer. In true troupe pattern his children are little devils and Helena’s stubbornness and creativity with practical jokes slowly win the children over while stealing their father’s heart.

“God’s desire to forgive and renew you is not based on your actions, except for you willingness to ask and accept. He delights in you.”

“He delights in you.” Love that! While I wouldn’t call this a comedy, it has several funny moments while still providing a depth of character needed for well developed stories. John, Helena, and the children all grown in this story, with John grousing at Helena in true male fashion about not being changed, but adorably going along with it because he really loves her even though he’s denying it. It definitely left me with a contented sigh.

It does deal with a difficult situation in Helena’s past, but the sadness of that history does not bring the story down. Despite Helena’s struggles to process through it and the shame associated, she maintains a positive attitude while John slowly teaches her that she is worthy. It’s handled very well.

I received a complementary copy of this book from the author. I didn’t have to post a positive review and all opinions are my own!

Author

Susanne DietzSusanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she’s the award-winning author of a dozen new and upcoming historical romances. A pastor’s wife and mom of two, she loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. You can visit her on her website, www.susannedietze.com, and sign up for her newsletter for an occasional cheery hello

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

 

A Love Inspired Christmas – 2017

I set out in late November to try to read as many of the Love Inspired Christmas stories for 2017 as possible. I didn’t succeed in reading them all, and in fact still have a stack that I checked out from the library still not read, but it was a valiant effort. Here’s a list of which ones I did read and putting them into three categories.

Must Read

My favorite of this set of Love Inspired is a series: Texas Ranger Holidays. I has three books, that while not quite standalone, wrap up enough of the threads in each. I actually started with book two, but didn’t feel like I missed out, and like it so much I went and got the first one, which is technically a Thanksgiving story.

Others I really liked:

Good Reads

Unfinished/Ok Reads

These few I just couldn’t get into for whatever reason. As I was reading fast trying to get through them all, if it didn’t really pull me in in the first couple chapters or I didn’t like the characters, I put it down. If it was another time of year, I probably would’ve stuck it out. Some I did finish, but still didn’t intrigue me like the others listed above.

 

Happy Harlequin Holidays!

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.