First Line Friday – 7.27.18

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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 by an author who knows how to mix action and humor – The Accidental Guardian by Mary Connealy.

The Accidental Guardian

Here is the first line:

SOUTHWEST OF LAKE TAHOE, NEVADA
OCTOBER 1867

Deborah Harkness came awake with a snap, her hand already steady on the six-gun under her pillow.

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When Trace Riley finds the smoldering ruins of a small wagon train, he recognizes the hand behind the attack as the same group who left him as sole survivor years ago. Living off the wilderness since then, he’d finally carved out a home and started a herd–while serving as a self-appointed guardian of the trail, driving off dangerous men. He’d
hoped those days were over, but the latest attack shows he was wrong.

Deborah Harkness saved her younger sister and two toddlers during the attack, and now finds herself at the mercy of her rescuer. Trace offers the only shelter for miles around, and agrees to take them in until she can safely continue. His simple bachelor existence never anticipated kids and women in the picture and their arrival is unsettling–yet enticing. 

Working to survive the winter and finally bring justice to the trail, Trace and Deborah find themselves drawn together–yet every day approaches the moment she’ll leave forever.

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:

Did You Know? – Ultimo & Instant

Did You Know Chalk Board w Rustic Wood Frame & Daisy

As a historical researcher, I still occasionally come across a word which I don’t recognize, but in the beginning, there were two words I saw repeatedly in the newspapers which absolutely drove me bonkers. I could not, just from the context, figure out exactly what they meant. I could guess. But guessing in this business isn’t ideal and hardly satisfying.

The two words were “instant” and “ultimo.” Now, of course, I was familiar with the word “instant” as we commonly use it today. However, the way it was being used in the articles didn’t appear to have anything to do with speed or immediacy.

For example, an article might say: “Mrs. Fancypants departed for town at precisely ten minutes past noon on the 6th ultimo and arrived in town at 3pm on the 18th instant.”

Say what now?

I asked the librarian in charge of the archives, but even she didn’t know what those words meant in that context.

However, a quick Google search easily solved my confusion.

It turns out that, when used this way, “ultimo” means “of last month” and “instant” means “of the current month.”

So the example sentence above could be rewritten as: “Mrs. Fancypants departed for town at precisely ten minutes past noon on the 6th of last month and arrived in town on the at 3pm the 18th of the current month.”

So there you go.

The next time you’re digging through old newspapers, you’ll know exactly what the reporter is trying to convey.

#nowyouknow

Let’s chat!

Have you ever come across old-fashioned words you didn’t recognize or didn’t understand the way they were being used?

TWEETABLE:

Ultimo & Instant – These words may not mean what you think they do. 

First Line Friday – 7.20.18

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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 I read an enjoyed last year but didn’t get a chance to blog about – Too Far Down by Mary Connealy.

Too Far Down

Here is the first line:

SKULL GULCH, NEW MEXICO TERRITORY
FEBRUARY 1881

An explosion brought Cole Boden to his feet.

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When an explosion kills men and damages the CR Mining Company, the Bodens realize their troubles are not behind them as they thought. Shadowy forces are still working against them.

Cole Boden finds himself caught between missing his time back East and all that New Mexico offers. Sure he fights with his siblings now and then, but he does care for them. He enjoys running the mine and, when he’s honest, he admits that Melanie Blake captures his interest in a way no other woman ever has.

Melanie has been a friend to the Bodens forever. A cowgirl who is more comfortable with horses and lassoes than people, she never expected to find herself falling for someone. Particularly for refined Cole Boden, a Harvard graduate who may not stay long at the ranch. She’s determined, however, to help the Bodens finally put an end to the danger that’s threatened all of them. But will puting herself in harm’s way be more dangerous than anyone expected?

AMAZON | Barnes & Noble

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

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: