GUEST POST – 5 of My Favorite Horse Scenes by Tisha Martin

Guest Post - Tisha Martin - 5 of My Favorite Horse Scenes

I’m very excited to welcome author and editor, Tisha Martin, to the blog today to talk to us about horses in fiction. This is the second in a series of posts Tisha is sharing with us. If you missed the first one, you can read it HERE.

Thank you so much for sharing your expertise with us, Tisha! 


Five of My Favorite Horse Scenes

by Tisha Martin

If a dog is man’s best friend, then a book is a writer’s or reader’s best friend. Do you have a favorite book that you have reread over the years? Maybe you have a few. Throughout my life, a few books have really made a difference in my life, especially books about horses, particularly when the horse has some major role in the story.

I grew up reading The High Hurdles and The Golden Filly series by Lauraine Snelling. When I was at library book sales, I’d sift through the piles and stacks of books for horses on the cover, the easiest way to pick out as many books without having the large chance to completely read the back-cover blurb and assess whether I wanted to drop it into my $1 Book-a-Bag deal. Once, I was at my friends Carla and Jim’s house because they had a computer and I didn’t, and I needed to learn how to type. Carla had a mound of books she was sending to the donation bin, but knowing I loved to read and liked to write, she let me browse through the books. I found a delightful horse book that would later inspire me to write historical fiction in the specific historic subjects listed on my website.

I’d like to share with you five of my favorite scenes from my four best-loved horse books during my early writing days.

National Velvet by Enid Bagnold was published first in 1949 by William Morrow & Co., then in 1953 by Enid Bagnold Jones through Scholastic Book Services.

I had watched the movie (starring Mickey Rooney and Elizabeth Taylor) first and didn’t know there was a book. But, nevertheless, that’s what library sales are for!

The blurb: Teenager Violet seems like any other girl who’s horse-crazy. But who else would dare chop off her hair, don jockey’s clothes, and enter the world’s toughest steeplechase? Here’s the story that made Elizabeth Taylor a teenage screen star … a story you’ll laugh over—cry over—and never forget!

My favorite scene:

“The Hullocks were blackening as Velvet cantered down the chalk road to the village. She ran on her own slender legs, making horse-noises and chirrups and occasionally striking her thigh with a switch, holding at the same time something very small before her as she ran. The light on the chalk road was the last thing to gleam and die. The flints slipped and flashed under her feet. Her cotton dress and her cottony hair blew out, and her lips were parted for breath in a sweet metallic smile. She had the look of a sapling-Dante as she ran through the darkness down-hill” (1).

Velvet Brown’s desire and love for horses is seen so vividly in this scene. Didn’t we do things like that at a much younger age, act out the things we enjoyed before we got the real thing?

Another set of books, For Love of a Horse and The Summer Riders, by Patricia Leitch captures the heartwarming story of Jinny Manders, growing up on the moors, where she rescues Shantih, an Arab, from being mistreated as a circus horse. Together, they become inseparable, until two city kids come to stay and threaten to ruin Jinny’s plans.

My favorite scenes:

“Jinny gritted her teeth. She wished that the circus was over and they could go back to the hotel. She was sitting close enough to the ring to be able to see every detail of the horses—their patient, watery eyes, the scarred legs and sunken necks. One of them was broken-winded, and the harsh sound of its breathing tightened Jinny’s throat. She hated the ringmaster, hated his pleated lips and beady, watching eyes. She flinched under the crack of his whip as if it stung against his own skin. . . .

“The horse was pure Arab. She came, bright and dancing, flaunting into the ring, her tail held high over her quarters, her silken mane flowing over the crest of her neck. Her head was fine-boned and delicate, with the concave line of the true Arab horse. Her dark, lustrous eyes were fringed with long lashes and the nostrils wrinkling her velvet muzzle were huge black pits. She moved around the ring like a bright flame, her prickled ears delicate as flower petals. Her legs were clean and unblemished and her small hooves were polished ivory. After the dull ache of the rosinbacks, she was all light and fire” (For Love of a Horse, pp. 23-25).

In these scenes, the pure beauty and intelligence of the horse is like seeing the rocks at the bottom of the ocean. I love the concept of the rescue horse, and I highly recommend these books for any horse lover, regardless of age.

The last book, Tall and Proud by Vian Smith, is a classic and close to my heart for its raw and emotional story and simple, compelling descriptions. It’s the book that inspired me to write.

The Chicago Tribune said of this 1968 title, “Vian Smith’s description of his native Dartmoor country and its people is rich in background for this story of a young polio victim who learned to stand as tall as the horse that helped her overcome the pain of recovery. The Britisher’s tale is a moving one. . . .”

My favorite scene:

“For awhile Sam [the horse] danced, not sure what was expected of him and showing his willingness to gallop. Then he settled to a walk, which was away from Gorse Blossom and up the hill, his head held high and interested because he had not gone this way before” (p. 139).

I like Sam’s attitude and his curious personality, but a little later in the story, he shows his frightened side when he thinks his owner, Gail, is going to mistreat him. And boy does he display a nasty force.

I’ve read these books nearly every year and always find something new to enjoy about them. Great books will do that. And they don’t have to be intricate. Sometimes the simplest story, if executed well, can have such an influence on your thinking, your writing, and hold a special place in your heart.

By the way, it’s Kathleen’s birthday week! We swapped blog post deadlines, so please send her a birthday message!!

Where to find Tisha

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www.TishaMartin.com

www.fb.com/tishamauthoreditor

www.twitter.com/tishmartin1416 

 

 

First Line Friday – 7.12.18

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Hi Everyone! It’s First Line Friday, so grab a book near you and share your first line in the comments below!

Today I’m sharing the first line from a recently released book by one of my favorite authors, More Than Meets the Eye by Karen Witemeyer.

More Than Meets the Eye

Here is the first line:

1879 Fannin County, TX

“Don’t lose heart children.


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Many consider Evangeline Hamilton cursed. Orphaned at a young age and possessing a pair of mismatched eyes–one bright blue, the other dark brown–Eva has fought to find her way in a world that constantly rejects her. Yet the support of even one person can help overcome the world’s judgments, and Eva has two–Seth and Zach, two former orphans she now counts as brothers.

Seeking justice against the man who stole his birthright and destroyed his family, Logan Fowler arrives in 1880s Pecan Gap, Texas, to confront Zach Hamilton, the hardened criminal responsible for his father’s death. Only instead of finding a solitary ruthless gambler, he discovers a man not much older than himself with an unusual family. When Zach’s sister, Evangeline, insists on dousing Logan with sunshine every time their paths cross, Logan finds his quest completely derailed. Who is truly responsible for his lost legacy, and will restoring the past satisfy if it means forfeiting a future with Evangeline?

AMAZON | Barnes & Noble

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Now it’s your turn to grab the book nearest you and leave a comment with the first (or your favorite) line!

Then head over to Hoarding Books to see who else is participating:

My Review – Sons of Blackbird Mountain

My Review - Sons of Blackbird Mountain

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A Tale of Family, Brotherhood, and the Healing Power of Love

After the tragic death of her husband, Aven Norgaard is beckoned to give up her life in Norway to become a housekeeper in the rugged hills of nineteenth-century Appalachia. Upon arrival, she finds herself in the home of her late husband’s cousins—three brothers who make a living by brewing hard cider on their three-hundred-acre farm. Yet even as a stranger in a foreign land, Aven has hope to build a new life in this tight-knit family.

But her unassuming beauty disrupts the bond between the brothers. The youngest two both desire her hand, and Aven is caught in the middle, unsure where—and whether—to offer her affection. While Haakon is bold and passionate, it is Thor who casts the greatest spell upon her. Though Deaf, mute, and dependent on hard drink to cope with his silent pain, Thor possesses a sobering strength.

As autumn ushers in the apple harvest, the rift between Thor and Haakon deepens and Aven faces a choice that risks hearts. Will two brothers’ longing for her quiet spirit tear apart a family? Can she find a tender belonging in this remote, rugged, and unfamiliar world?

A haunting tale of struggle and redemption, Sons of Blackbird Mountain is a portrait of grace in a world where the broken may find new life through the healing mercy of love.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Why This Book:

After enjoying Joanne Bischof’s award-winning The Lady and the Lionheart, I was eager to read what she released next.

Opening Line (from Chapter 1):

Blackbird Mountain, Virginia

August 27, 1890

Aven peered down at the letter again, noted the address written in Aunt Dorothe’s hand, then looked back to the wooden sign that was staked into the ground.

First Impressions:

I enjoyed the first scene. The descriptors and way it was written conveyed a sense of authority and realism that almost convinced me the author had actually been there. The details were so accurate and written in such a way that there was no doubt in my mind, this was exactly how it was and how it happened. In fact, the same authority and realism can be said of the entirety of the novel. However, to be honest, the next two and a half chapters dragged for me. I know some readers will disagree and appreciate the backstory and world-building which it covered, so take my opinion for what it is – my opinion. However, for me, it felt like the story didn’t truly begin until the middle of the fourth chapter – when the trouble began in earnest. (If, like me, you might prefer a little less world-building and backstory, don’t let this discourage you, though! It’s worth it!!!)

Main Characters:

Aven Norgaard –  A quiet, yet intrinsically strong young woman with an intuitive way of understanding people. Yet, her own baggage sometimes interfered with her interpretations of others’ actions. It is fascinating to see how she adjusts to her new home and family.

Thor Norgaard – The middle child of the Norgaard sons and a deaf man. At the start of the book, he struggles with addiction and as the reader, we aren’t certain where his path will lead.

Haakon Norgaard – The youngest and most hot-headed of the sons, Haakon’s backstory greatly influences his choices throughout the book.

Jorgan Norgaard  – The eldest brother, caught between his two younger brothers’ feud over their new arrival, his choices in handling the situations which arise are interesting.

Miss Ida – The Norgaard … housekeeper? It seems an insufficient word to describe her role in their lives. She takes care of the domestic duties, yes, but she is also the closest thing they have to a mother figure. Oh, and she’s a former slave that worked a neighboring farm before the civil war.

Cora and her children – Cora is Ida’s widowed sister who lives with her three young children on another section of the large Norgaard farm.

Thoughts on characters overall:  Each character is unique, thoroughly fleshed out and complex. Their actions are believable throughout the book, and you never feel anyone is doing anything “because it’s in the script.” Each character serves an important role in the story.

Book Quote - Sons of Blackbird Mountain - Surprising Disappointment

Emotional Engagement & Pacing of the Story:

After the middle of the fourth chapter, I didn’t want to put the book down. I was thoroughly invested in the lives, hopes, and dreams of these characters and was eager to see what happened next. I actually choked up a time or two and cheered aloud at one point (drawing eye-rolls from my darling children).

Elements I especially liked/disliked:

Before the start of the story, there is an introduction which explains how the communication with Thor (the deaf character) will be handled on a practical level within the writing of the novel. I found this very helpful and was impressed with how well and easily this aspect of the story read.

I really enjoyed the uniqueness of having a main character who was deaf. I felt the author did an excellent job of portraying how this changed the man’s life in both big and small ways, as well as how it affected the other people in his life.

One of my favorite examples was in a church scene where the preacher stands at the center of the congregation and rotates to face each side of the group in turn so that Thor only sees the man’s lips for about one-quarter of the sermon. Imagine how that would affect a person who primarily understands what is being said by reading the person’s lips.

I also appreciated how the author portrayed the issues of alcohol addiction, the racial tensions that remained after the civil war, and the various realistic tough choices, both good and bad, which each of the characters made throughout the story.  No one was all good or all evil. Not every decision was clear-cut, right vs wrong. This added to the realism of the story.

Themes:

The struggle to forgive and show compassion without sacrificing safety, integrity, and justice.

Ending:

While things are far from all-tied-up in a nice little bow, there are enough issues resolved, or seemingly resolved, to provide a satisfying conclusion. By no means does it feel like a cliffhanger ending, but there is definitely lead-in for the next book. Which I thoroughly intend to read.

Overall Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Let’s chat!

In this novel, one of the main characters, Thor, is deaf. Do you have any connection to the deaf community? Which part of the description/premise of Sons of Blackbird Mountain most appeals to you?

TWEETABLES:

“I choked up, teared up and cheered!”#BookReview #SonsofBlackbirdMountain @JoanneBischof

Psst! Feel free to borrow any of the photos above for sharing on social media and remember to tag me @KathleenDenly !


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View Disclosure of Materials HERE.

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About the Author

Joanne Bischof

JOANNE BISCHOF is an ACFW Carol Award and ECPA Christy Award-winning author. She writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the heartstrings. She was honored to receive the San Diego Christian Writers Guild Novel of the Year Award in 2014 and in 2015 was named Author of the Year by the Mount Hermon conference. Joanne’s 2016 novel, The Lady and the Lionheart, received an extraordinary 5 Star TOP PICK! from RT Book Reviews, among other critical acclaim. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her three children. Visit her online at JoanneBischof.com, Facebook: Author, JoanneBischof, Instagram: @JoanneBischof.

Guest Video from Joanne Bischof

Blog Stops

Genesis 5020, July 5

Carpe Diem, July 5

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, July 5

All-of-a-kind Mom, July 6

The Power of Words, July 6

Among the Reads, July 6

Fiction Aficionado, July 7

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, July 7

A Baker’s Perspective, July 7

History, Mystery & Faith, July 8

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, July 8

Luv’N Lambert Life, July 8

Cordially BarbaraJuly 9

Kathleen DenlyJuly 9

Reading Is My SuperPowerJuly 9

Faithfully BookishJuly 10

Christian Bookshelf ReviewsJuly 10

Simple Harvest Reads, July 10 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Novels corner, July 11

Inklings and notionsJuly 11

Just CommonlyJuly 11

Two Points of InterestJuly 11

Maureen’s MusingsJuly 12

Book by BookJuly 12

To Everything A SeasonJuly 12

Inspiration ClotheslineJuly 13

With a Joyful NoiseJuly 13

Pause for TalesJuly 13

Radiant LightJuly 13

The Christian Fiction GirlJuly 14

RemembrancyJuly 14

proud to be an autism momJuly 14

Just the Write EscapeJuly 15

Bibliophile ReviewsJuly 15

Vicky sluiterJuly 15

By The BookJuly 16

Texas Book-aholicJuly 16

Debbie’s Dusty DeliberationsJuly 16

Janices book reviews, July 17

Jeanette’s ThoughtsJuly 17

BigreadersiteJuly 17

Connie’s History ClassroomJuly 18

amandainpaJuly 18

Seasons of OpportunitiesJuly 18

Reader’s cozy cornerJuly 18

Giveaway

Sons of Blackbird Mountain Giveaway Image

To celebrate her tour, Joanne is giving away

Grand prize of a country crate, a jar of apple butter, a bag of gummy berries, journal, bath salts, honey spoons, copper earrings, and a blackbird sign!!

Enter Here Button

 

First Line Friday – 7.6.18

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Hi Everyone! It’s First Line Friday, so grab a book near you and share your first line in the comments below!

Today I’m sharing the first line from a book which is currently on my TBR and written by an author whose novel’s I’ve previously enjoyed – Undercover Engagement by Lucy McConnell.

Undercover Engagement

Here is the first line:

As always, Jason held open the passenger door of his gorgeous, graphite metallic, Dodge Viper while I slid in. 


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A fun and romantic novella by Amazon Top Selling Christian Romance Author Lucy McConnell

Alyssa Eastman is engaged to the man of her dreams. Jason is intelligent, attractive, and he makes her laugh. When the couple is attacked by a group of men who call Jason by the wrong name, shoot holes in his beautiful car, and try to run them off the road, Alyssa learns her perfect fiancé is also the perfect spy. With his cover blown, the only way to bring down an international terrorist group is for Alyssa to steal the information. She agrees to help, putting her life on the line; but, putting her heart on the line and marrying a man who lied to her about his identity is a much harder decision.

AMAZON

Click HERE to follow my blog and make sure you don’t miss out on any of my upcoming reviews and other fun posts!

Are you a Kathleen’s Readers’ Club member? KRC members receive exclusive content, are eligible for exclusive seasonal book giveaways, and more! Join Today!

Now it’s your turn to grab the book nearest you and leave a comment with the first (or your favorite) line!

Then head over to Hoarding Books to see who else is participating:

My Read Along Review – Where the Fire Falls

My Review - Read Along Review - Where the Fire Falls

As you can see in the title, today I’m trying something different. I’m calling it “My Read Along Review” because instead of reviewing the book after I’ve finished it, I’m going to try to make myself stop reading periodically and write notes on my thoughts without revealing any spoilers. My hope is to take you along on the emotional journey in a way that will help you decide whether this is the type of book you are searching for.

Why This Book?

I’m going to be honest with you. If I had not met the author at a writer’s conference I probably never would have chosen to read this book. And that is all because of the cover. While there is nothing inherently wrong with the cover, it looks more like a travel guidebook than a romantic novel, to me. It also has the word “vintage” on it. I’m just not that into vintage things. My tastes, especially in books, typically run much farther into the past.

All that said, I now know that I would have seriously missed out had I never read this book. So I am very glad I met the author. And yes, I did receive a free copy of this book.

But with that being said, while she seems to be a very nice person so far as I know, having met the author will not sway my review. I’m the kind of person who tells you when there’s lettuce in your teeth whether your my best friend or the stranger in line behind me at Walmart. So as always, I will give you, my readers, my 100% honest thoughts. If I didn’t, I would just be wasting your time and mine.

First Impressions

The first scene was interesting. I was intrigued by the heroine, her duplicitous lifestyle, and the hints about her mysterious past, but I don’t know that I was hooked yet. For this book, it is definitely the hero who pulled me in completely and kept me reading. I think he won my heart with this quote (from pg 11):

On a day like this, Clark longed to disappear into the trees, follow the streams to their sources, and not speak to another human soul for days on end.

Unfortunately, another group of tourists probably waited for him. Boorish, overly talkative city folk who spoke of “getting back to nature” and calming their nerves. Didn’t they realize the secret to tranquility resided in quiet?

Okay, yeah. I have been dealing with more than the usual amount of less-than-pleasant-people lately. Taking a trip into the woods to get away from them all for a while sounds pretty amazing right now. So the hero and I bonded right then and there.

Reading On …

Pages 16-22 are where the romance started to take shape in my mind. It’s where the hero and heroine meet and have their first few conversations and reactions to each other. There is a definite chemistry between them which, combined with obvious friction, promises for a fun story moving forward. These are two strong-willed characters with clear motivations to avoid being vulnerable with each other, nevermind developing romantic feelings.

Book Quote - Where the Fire Falls - Artist Mask

By the end of Chapter 4, a twist has been thrown in that cranks up the suspense and suddenly I don’t want to put the book down. Meanwhile, the interactions between the hero and heroine just keep getting better.

So this is a completely personal thing, but Coulterville has always been one of my favorite little towns that not everyone knows about and seeing it mentioned on page 56 totally made me grin.

The surprise near the end of Chapter 5 has me mentally rubbing my hands together in anticipation of more trouble. I think I can be forgiven my gleeful anticipation seeing as these are purely fictional characters.  Right?

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I’m in Chapter 8 now and I don’t want to stop to make notes. The romance is developing nicely right along with the tension. I feel as though I’m right there in Yosemite Valley. To top it all off, another wrench has been thrown in to muck things up nicely. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

The twist at the end of Chapter 12 has left me heartbroken. I didn’t see it coming and I’m just so sad for the character primarily affected.

Chapters 13 – 18 Hmm… the detective in me is starting to put theories together. Also, things are definitely getting good in the romance department and the spiritual thread is stepping forward (but in a very natural way).

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Chapter 20 – Oh yeah. I definitely smell a rat.

I’m near the beginning of Chapter 23 now. You know the typical movie scene that makes you want to shout at the heroine, “Don’t go in there”? Well, I’ve got a bit of that going on right now. Not in a “this-is-predictable” way, or a “she’s-so-stupid” way, but in an “Ooooh. She shouldn’t have done that. This isn’t going to go well for her. I MUST. KEEP. READING!” way.

Aaaaah! What a climax! Wow. Fantastic!

And the conclusion … *happy sigh* just perfect. Absolutely, beautifully, perfect!

Afterthoughts …

Wow, am I ever glad I had a good reason to look past that cover. This is one of my favorite reads this year! Obviously, with the time period it’s completely different from my usual fare, but even above that uniqueness is the author’s incredible skill with teasing a story forward. Just masterful! I am completely hooked and more eager than ever to read the other books by this author which are sitting on my TBR shelf! Also, I didn’t even realize this was the second book in her Vintage National Parks series until I was reading the acknowledgments at the end. Book 1, The Road to Paradise, has now been added to my TBR list and I cannot wait to get a chance to read it!

Overall Rating:

5 out of 5 stars

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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In celebration of the release of Karen Barnett’s Where the Fire Falls, her publisher is giving away inspired artwork, stationary and a copy of the new book!

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CLICK HERE for more details & to enter!

Let’s Chat!

Have you ever read a book you wouldn’t normally have read just because someone asked you to or raved about it? Who recommended the book (i.e. a friend/neighbor/blogger) and how did it work out for you? 

TWEETABLES:

A masterful work of suspense and romance set against the unparalleled beauty of Yosemite National Park in the late 1920s. Don’t miss this enthralling story! (CLICK to TWEET)

Barnett paints images of God’s glory and true love without losing the shadows that bring depth to any great suspense story. (CLICK to TWEET)

Click HERE to follow my blog and make sure you don’t miss out on any of my upcoming reviews and other fun posts!

Are you a Kathleen’s Readers’ Club member? KRC members receive exclusive content, are eligible for exclusive seasonal book giveaways, and more! Join Today!

First Line Friday – 6.29.18

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Hi Everyone! It’s First Line Friday, so grab a book near you and share your first line in the comments below!

Today I’m sharing some very exciting news from one of my favorite authors, Sondra Kraak!

Two Ways Home, the second book in her Love That Counts series will be FREE July 4th-6th!!!!

CLICK HERE to grab your copy! 🙂

In celebration of this special offer, I am featuring not one first line, but three first lines – one from each book in the Love That Counts series.

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Made me want more!

Here’s the first line:

Pine Creek, Washington 1891

Killing Edward Stevens was beyond her proper ways.

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The one-room schoolhouse isn’t big enough to hold thirty-four students, let alone the egos of two teachers. He can’t afford to lose the position, and she refuses to lose her heart.

Washington, 1891

Humiliated after her broken engagement, Claire Montgomery flees her comfortable life in San Francisco for a teaching position in Pine Creek, Washington, a dot of a town nestled in the rugged Cascade Mountains. She’s determined to succeed—for once in her life—only to discover, upon her arrival, that success will have to be won. Thanks to a school board error, two teachers have been hired.

When scandal forces professor Barrett Clarke from his position, he returns to Pine Creek where his uncle, chairman of the school board, sets forth an irresistible offer: teach one year in return for ranchland. For this would-be rancher, nothing is more tempting than resurrecting his childhood dream, and nothing can deter him from earning that land.

Except perhaps Claire Montgomery. Losing the battle for the classroom means losing the ranchland, but winning may mean losing Claire’s heart.

With large doses of humor and romantic tension, this Christian historical love story offers a picture of grace, forgiveness, and finding true worth.

Read the reviews HERE. Grab your copy HERE.


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Made me a fan!

Here’s the first line:

Pine Creek, Washington 1884

“He loves me. He loves me not.”

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She’s about to lose her home. He never wanted to see his again. And a stalker is staking a claim . . .

Washington, 1892

Mary Smith was never one to back down from a challenge. Her father’s health may be failing, but their dairy farm was her mother’s dream, and Mary will do whatever it takes to keep her father from selling it—even if it means sneaking off to the next town to earn money by playing the piano in a questionable establishment. No one seems to understand why home is so important to her, least of all her childhood nemesis who’s just wandered back into town.

When injured Texas Ranger Luke Thomas is forced to return to Pine Creek, Washington, he’s hailed as a hero and thrust into the town’s first race for sheriff. But no one knows the secret he carried to Texas, nor the secret he’s brought home. Setting his perfect aim on returning south, he refuses to get tied down by the town’s admiration, his brother’s disapproval, or the spirited, hardworking dairy girl who’s less annoying than he remembers.

But strange things are happening at the Smith dairy and in Pine Creek, and Luke’s instincts tell him Mary is in far more trouble than she realizes. One thing is certain: “home” is about to get more complicated for them both.

Full of wit and romantic tension, this Christian historical love story sets forth the true meaning of coming home.

Read the reviews HERE. Grab your copy HERE.


Three Words and a Kiss

Here is the first line:

Seattle, Washington July, 1892
The first stars pricked through the skies fading canvas as Samantha Klein approached the intersection of Washington and First Avenue, looked both ways, and crossed a line.

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When a big-hearted debutante collides with a small-town blacksmith set in his ways, it can mean only one thing—a war of hearts has come to Pine Creek.

Washington, 1892

Cameron Wallace thrives as both the blacksmith and the minister in his community of Pine Creek. Out of the fires of a chaotic childhood, he’s forged a peaceful life filled with safe relationships and predictable routines. But when the smithy he’s been renting is sold out from under him, the impulsive woman who buys it stokes the embers of emotions he’d rather keep unlit—and even has the audacity to lend a helping hand to his smithy work.

Samantha Klein has never been afraid to push boundaries when it comes to helping those whom society—and God—have overlooked, be they orphans, immigrants, or injured animals. When her latest attempt to aid a group of Chinese women lands her in a newspaper scandal, her high-society family sends her packing from Seattle. Setting out on her own, she purchases the Pine Creek smithy and hatches another plan for helping her immigrant friends. But only weeks after arriving in Pine Creek, her plan turns to ashes, and she’s overwhelmed by needs she can never hope to meet, including her own need to be seen and cared for. And the one who seems to understand her is the man who won’t let her anywhere near his heart, no matter the attraction that burns between them.

As Cameron struggles to find a new normal, and Samantha yearns for someone to share her burdens, old hurts and dangerous secrets make them both terrified to admit that what they need—and what God has planned for them—just might be each other.

Read my review HERE. Grab your copy HERE!

Easily three of my favorite reads, you cannot go wrong with this marvelous series!

Do not miss out on this opportunity to grab one of my favorite books for FREE!!!


Click HERE to follow my blog and make sure you don’t miss out on any of my upcoming reviews and other fun posts!

Are you a Kathleen’s Readers’ Club member? KRC members receive exclusive content, are eligible for exclusive seasonal book giveaways, and more! Join Today!

Now it’s your turn to grab the book nearest you and leave a comment with the first (or your favorite) line!

Then head over to Hoarding Books to see who else is participating:

Mama’s Storytime – It’s a Jungle in Here

Today I present to you my latest episode of Mama’s Storytime! I hope you enjoy it!

No time for the video or not in a place where you can turn the sound on? Here’s the written version of my reviews for Brave Young Knight by Karen Kingsbury and It’s a Jungle in Here by Kristie Wilde:

Brave Young Knight

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In this picture book, Karen Kingsbury tells the story of a boy in competition with other young knights to become prince of all the land. In a series of contests and competitions, the king recognizes the brave young knight as the winner, not because he was the fastest or strongest, and not because he was smarter or more cunning than the other knights. Rather, the brave young knight is the winner because he doesn’t follow the crowd, instead making decisions based on what is right and true and in accordance with his faith. The moral of the story is that the bravest young boys are those who exhibit the strongest character.

My Thoughts

I found this book through an online search for a picture book geared to older children that provided strong biblical values. (For the record, I purchased this book on my own.) I chose to purchase this book because it fit what I was looking for, had beautiful illustrations and strong, clear writing.  While the description says that the moral of the story is not to follow the crowd but to stand strong and stick to what is right and true, I also saw a second moral within the story. I think the story does an excellent job of reinforcing that God made each of us unique and for a purpose. Furthermore, I think it demonstrates that we should have faith that the God who created us will equip us for whatever task He places before us.

This is why I chose to feature this book alongside today’s other book, It’s a Jungle in Here. They both do a good job of demonstrating this basic yet essential truth.

 

It's a Jungle in Here

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Come explore the incredible variety God created in the Jungle! There are butterflies that blend in and stand out, loud birds and quiet okapi, big elephants and small frogs and much more. God is pleased with all the variety He created – and He’s especially happy with the way He made you!

This marvelous, young children’s picture book is packed full of brightly colored illustrations that communicate the message along with its simple text.

The third book in the Joyful Creation SeriesIt’s a Jungle in Here, affirms that whether you’re quiet or loud, big or small, blend in or stand out, however you are, God is happy with the way He made you!

My Thoughts

I am a big fan of the Joyful Creation Series and this latest release by Kristie Wilde is no exception.

The elephant on the cover is just so cute and looks like he is having fun splashing in the water.

The book begins with, “God loves variety, so  . . . He made lots of it in the jungle!” and beautiful, realistic illustrations of butterflies. It then goes on to positively compare the differences between the various animals which God created. The animals mention include: butterflies, cats, frogs, elephants, chameleons, tropical birds, okapi, monkeys, and more!

My favorite line is the final line in the story, “Whether you stand out or blend in, are loud or quiet, however you are . . . God is especially happy with how he made you!”

I especially appreciated the racial diversity represented in the children riding in the boat on the last page of the story.  I also liked the added bonus of a two-page spread with little snippets of information about each of the animals featured in the book.

 


Disclosure of Material: I received a complimentary copy of It’s a Jungle in Here from the publisher through the BookCrash.com book review program, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.  View My Promise To Readers HERE.

Do you have a favorite Children’s Book? I’d love to read about it in the comments below!