First Line Friday – 09.06.19

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Welcome to First Line Fridays! The day we grab the book closest to us and share the first line. Join the fun and discover your next read!

This week I am sharing the first line from the first novella in The Cowboys novella collection: Healing Hearts by Cindy Ervin Huff. I’m in the middle of reading the third book in this collection and so far I’m loving it!

The Cowboys

Here’s the first line:

Kansas 1866

If I only do one good thing in my life, I’m getting my brother home.

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Taming the west—one heart at a time.

 

Healing Heart

Lonnie Holt’s external scars remind him of his failures, his internal scars torment him. Genny Collins seeks safety at the ranch once owned by Lonnie’s uncle. When Lonnie and his brother arrive, sparks fly and distrust abounds. While Lonnie and Genny fight the love growing between them, his past haunts him, and her past pays them a visit.

Becoming Brave

When Coy Whittaker stumbles upon a grisly scene littered with bodies, he wants nothing more than to get his boss’s cattle out of Indian Territory. But when a bloodstained Aimee Kaplan draws down on him, his plans—and his heart—screech to a halt.

Trail’s End

Wade Chadwick has no money until his boss’s cattle sell, so he takes a kitchen job at Abby’s Home Cooking. The beautiful and prickly owner adds spice to his workday. Abby Cox hires the down-and-out cowboy even though the word cowboy leaves a bad taste in her mouth. Just as she’s ready to trust Wade with her heart, money starts to disappear … and so does her brother.

Loving a Harvey Girl

Eva Knowles can’t imagine why the local preacher doesn’t like Harvey Girls—women who work serving tables instead of finding a husband and falling in love. But if Eva can get the handsome and wayward cowboy Cal Stephens to join her in church, maybe the reverend will accept the girls. Or maybe she’ll forfeit her job for a husband, hearth, and home!

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

First Line Friday – 08.30.19

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Welcome to First Line Fridays! The day we grab the book closest to us and share the first line. Join the fun and discover your next read!

This week I am sharing the first line from a book on my TBR: Teach Me to Love by Kari Trumbo.

Teach Me to Love

Here’s the first line:

Tinton, South Dakota
May 1899

It wasn’t right to pray he would just die.

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Izzy Lawson has taken her last abuse.
When her husband dies, she has a choice to make: go home and face the family who made her stay with the beast, or head to Belle Fourche to the only friend she has left. The reserve she’s worked so hard to build crumbles in the verdant rolling hills, can she find a second chance at love in the arms of a man so different from her husband?

Conrad Oleson can’t read, and it’s shamed him for longer than he can remember.
When another teacher shows up on his front step, he’s sure his brother is meddling again. But when Izzy reveals her painful past, he can’t stay away. It’s as if fate has stepped in and created a soulmate just for him. If learning to read brings him closer to her, he’ll do about anything to make that happen. Including, teaching her how to love.

Don’t miss this sweet, western, cowboy romance. This book was originally published in the Timeless Love: Romantic Stories That Span the Ages collection.

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My Review – Four Dreams of You

My Review - Four Dreams of You

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Unfulfilled dreams have left Grace Thomas vowing not to let her imagination roam wild again. Resigning herself to the goal of owning a dress shop, she accepts a position as a housekeeper at Monaghan Lumber Camp in order to earn funds. The plan is simple, easy, and safe. But Torin Monaghan is not. The reclusive brother who seems indifferent to her presence is ironically the one stirring up her imagination.

Torin Monaghan will not be deterred from his passion to preserve the beauty of nature. Even if it appears as if he’s going against his family. Even if the quirky and wistful seamstress invading his space is proving a distraction. To his frustration, Grace Thomas is not easily dismissed, and neither are the ways she’s opening his eyes to a different sort of beauty.

When past threats bring new trouble to Pine Creek, Torin and Grace must become vulnerable—to each other and their community—and through risk, discover that reality is more fulfilling than their dreams.

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Why This Book:

I have been a fan of Sondra Kraak’s writing since I first read One Plus One Equals Trouble, the first book in this series. (If you haven’t read it, it is now available for FREE to anyone who joins Sondra’s newsletter list.)

Opening Lines:

Prologue:

Connecticut, April 1893

Failure meant death. Death meant judgment. And judgment meant facing his broken promises.

Chapter One:

Washington State, two weeks later

Yesterday, Grace Thomas had made the worst mistake of her life. This morning, she had one hour to reverse it.

First Impressions:

As you can tell from those first lines, the prologue is full of suspense that keeps the pages turning and the first scene of Chapter One is no slow read either. From the first introduction, I cared about these characters and wanted to see them succeed.

Book Quote - Four Dreams of You - Romance isn't

Main Characters:

Grace Thomas–  If you’ve read the previous books in this series, you’ll remember Grace and be happy to see her finally take center stage. She is beautiful, kind, intelligent, and incredibly gifted as a fabric artist–but she doesn’t see any of that. For many reasons, Grace’s self-image has been twisted to the point it doesn’t resemble her true self and this affects every decision she makes.

Torin Monaghan – A character new to the series, Torin is physically fit, highly intelligent, ambitious, determined (to a fault?), and noble. He’s a bit rough around the edges, though, when it comes to face-to-face human interaction. So, while he has generally good intentions, his choices often lead him in the opposite direction of his desired destination. Haunted by his past, he struggles with the idea of which path is right for him: leading his family or leading the nation.

Secondary Characters: There are a host of other interesting characters who add layers and depth to the story. Among these are: Torin’s three younger brothers, his sister-in law, his younger sister, and Grace’s family and friends. All are well-developed characters fully worthy of their places in the story.

Emotional Engagement & Pacing of the Story:

From the first page, this story had my attention and it kept hold of it through the very end. I lost no small amount of sleep trying to find out what would happen next.

The issues Grace and Torin struggle with throughout the book are issues I think most of us can relate to on some level. Combine this with Kraak’s incredible wordsmithing and this makes for a read that not only engages our hearts but also our minds.

Elements I especially liked/disliked:

It was fun getting a behind-the-scenes look at how a logging company was run in this era. There were also several tidbits of real history which were unique and a fun addition.

Book Quote - Four Dreams of You - God doesn't grow weary

THEME:

The theme can best be summarised in this quote from the book:

The path to joy goes through sorrow, not around it.

Ending:

The ending included some fun surprises, a few chuckles, and lots of satisfied grinning.

Overall Rating:

5 out of 5 stars

P.S. Today is release day!!! Don’t forget to grab your copy! Amazon

Psst! Feel free to borrow any of the photos above for sharing on social media and remember to tag me @KathleenDenly ! (Also look for Click-to-Tweet quotes at the bottom of this post!)


 

Let’s chat!

Have you read either The Story Peddler or The Story Raider? Do you enjoy fantasy fiction? How do you feel about cliff-hanger endings?

TWEETABLES:

“The path to joy goes through sorrow, not around it.” Read the #BookReview!

The ending included some fun surprises, a few chuckles, and lots of satisfied grinning. Read the #BookReview!


Note: Although I did receive a free ARC of the digital version of this book, I was under no obligation to write a positive review. You may read my full disclosure of materials HERE.


Enjoy Christian Romance?

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? It’s free (of course) and KRC members receive exclusive content, are eligible for exclusive seasonal book giveaways, and more! Join Today!

 

First Line Friday – 08.22.19

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Welcome to First Line Fridays! The day we grab the book closest to us and share the first line. Join the fun and discover your next read!

This week I am sharing the first line from a book I’m currently reading: The Bride Blunder by Kelly Eileen Hake.

The Bride Blunder

Here’s the first line:

Baltimore, Maryland
1859

“No.” Marge Chandler shook her head, wishing it were so easy to shake away the sudden image springing to life in her mind.

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Come visit Buttonwood for a marriage mistake like no other in the third novel of Kelly Eileen Hake’s Prairie Promises series.

In the Nebraskan Territory of 1859, Gavin Miller writes home to request the hand of Miss Marguerite Chandler.  Unfortunately, while he never forgot Marguerite was the French word for Daisy, he’d failed to recall that the two cousins shared their grandmother’s name, and Marge was the nickname of the wrong Miss Marguerite Chandler! When his surprise bride comes to Buttonwood, unexpectedly followed by the very cousin he’d meant to marry, will Gavin be able to solve The Bride Blunder?

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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? It’s free (of course) and 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:

Spotlight: The Yellow Lantern

The Yellow Lantern FB Banner

About the Book

The Yellow Lattern CoverBook: The Yellow Lantern

Author: Angie Dicken

Genre: Christian Historical/Suspense

Release Date: August, 2019

Josephine Is Forced to Spy for Grave Robbers
Step into True Colors—a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

In Massachusetts in 1824, Josephine Clayton awakes on the table of the doctor she’s assisted all these months. She was presumed dead by all and has become the doctor’s next corpse for his medical research. Frightened, the doctor tries to kill her, but Josephine begs to be spared. A deal is struck—Josie will leave her village and work at a distant cotton mill. All the while, she’ll await her true mission—posing as a mourner to help his body snatcher procure her replacement. At the mill though, Josie is praised for her medical remedies among the mill girls, gaining attention from the handsome factory manager Braham Taylor. Yet, when Braham’s own loved one becomes the prey for the next grave robbing, Josie must make a choice that could put her dark past behind her or steal away the promise of any future at all.

What price will Josie pay for love when her secrets begin to unravel?

Click here to grab your copy.

About the Author

AngieDicken

Angie Dicken credits her love of story to reading British literature during life as a military kid in England. Now living in the U.S. heartland, she’s a member of ACFW, sharing about author life with her fellow Alley Cats on The Writer’s Alley blog and Facebook page. Besides writing, she is a busy mom of four and works in Adult Ministry. Angie enjoys eclectic new restaurants, authentic conversation with friends, and date nights with her Texas Aggie husband. Connect with her online at www.angiedicken.com.

More from Angie

Barbour’s True Colors Crime concept intrigued me from the very beginning. Being the daughter of a doctor and discovering the ties of grave robbing to the early medical profession, I was excited to dive deep into 19th century Massachusetts. Grave robbing around Boston and New York was often employed by doctors desperate for medical advancement. Men and women were both involved in the procuring of bodies for doctors. Finding these accounts led me to take took a look at the current medical remedies of the time—tinctures, elixirs, and herbal concoctions. My heroine was created in the tension of a desire to heal and the desperation of medical pursuits.

Amidst these medical ties to the historical moment of 1824, something was also shifting among women in rural areas of New England. Many women were employed by newly built cotton mills (Lowell Mill was my inspiration for the fictional Gloughton Mill in The Yellow Lantern). These working opportunities for women offered an escape from their home-bound lives and the rare chance for independence. Of course, with such industrial environments, injuries, and sometimes death, would occur. Noting the accounts of these kind of fatalities in historical articles, my research came full circle.

I found three strong threads to weave into my grave-robbing story—desperate doctors in need of research, a doctor’s assistant needing an escape from her village, and a mill, not only offering that escape, but the chance at bodies for the desperate medical community.

My heroine, Josie Clay, found life in the tangle of these threads of mills, medicine, and grave robbing—all playing out within the pages of The Yellow Lantern.

Blog Stops

Genesis 5020, August 15

Seasons of Opportunities, August 15

All-of-a-kind Mom, August 15

Bigreadersite, August 16

Emily Yager, August 16

Inspired by fiction, August 16

The Christian Fiction Girl, August 17

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 17

Daysong Reflections, August 17

Retrospective Spines, August 18

Spoken from the Heart, August 18

Kathleen Denly, August 19

Through the Fire Blogs, August 19

Christian Bookaholic, August 19

Maureen’s Musings, August 20

For the Love of Literature, August 20

Simple Harvest Reads, August 21 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Godly Book Reviews, August 21

A Reader’s Brain, August 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 22

Betti Mace, August 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 22

Hallie Reads, August 23

Mary Hake, August 23

Inklings and notions, August 23

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 24

For Him and My Family, August 24

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, August 24

Connie’s History Classroom, August 25

Pause for Tales, August 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 25

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 26

Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 26

amandainpa, August 26

Blossoms and Blessings, August 27

Texas Book-aholic, August 27

janicesbookreviews, August 27

Back Porch Reads, August 28

Just the Write Escape, August 28

Giveaway

The Yellow Lantern giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Angie is giving away a grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of each of the books in the series!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Enter Here Button

 

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? It’s free (of course) and KRC members receive exclusive content, are eligible for exclusive seasonal book giveaways, and more! Join Today!

First Line Friday – 08.02.19

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Welcome to First Line Fridays! The day we grab the book closest to us and share the first line. Join the fun and discover your next read!

This week I am sharing the first line from Full Steam Ahead, a book by one of my favorite authors, Karen Witemeyer. I am *finally* getting to listen to this one on Audible after my print copy suffered a sad fate at the hands of a toddler a few years ago before I got the chance to read it.

Full Steam Ahead cover image

Here’s the first line:

Galveston, Texas
April 1851

Nicole Renard gripped her mother’s letter in her gloved hand as the carriage rattled down Bath Street, away from the docks.

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Nicole Renard returns home to Galveston and finds her father deathly ill. Though she loves him, he’s only ever focused on what she’s not. Not male. Not married. Not able to run Renard Shipping.

Vowing to secure a suitable husband to give her father the heir he desires before it’s too late, Nicole sets out with the Renard family’s greatest treasure as her dowry: the highly coveted Lafitte Dagger. But when her father’s rivals come after the dagger, she’s forced to change her destination.

Darius Thornton has been a man obsessed since the fatal boiler explosion aboard the Louisiana that nearly took his life. He will do anything to stop such disasters. Even hire a female secretary. Sure he can ignore the distraction of her pretty face, he’s not sure how to proceed when drawn to her clever mind.

Nicole is determined not to let her odd employer scare her off with his explosive experiments, yet when respect and mutual attraction grows between them, a new fear arises. How can she acquire an heir for her father when her heart belongs to an unsuitable candidate? And worse, when her father’s rivals discover her hiding place, she will have to choose between that love and her family’s legacy.

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? It’s free (of course) and 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 Review – Where Dandelions Bloom

My Review - Where Dandelions Bloom

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Cassie Kendrick is on the run. Her abusive father arranged her marriage to a despicable man, but she’s discovered an escape. Disguised as a man, Cassie enlists in the Union army, taking the name Thomas Turner. On the battlefields of the Civil War, keeping her identity a secret is only the beginning of her problems, especially after she meets Gabriel Avery, a handsome young photographer.

Anxious to make his mark on the world and to erase the darkness and guilt lurking from his past, Gabriel works with renowned photographer Matthew Brady to capture images from the front lines of the war. As Gabriel forges friendships with many of the men he encounters, he wonders what the courageous, unpredictable Thomas Turner is hiding.

Battling betrayal, their own personal demons, and a country torn apart by war, can Cassie and Gabriel learn to forgive themselves and trust their futures to the God who births hope and healing in the darkest places?

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Why This Book:

I thoroughly enjoyed Tara Johnson’s debut novel Engraved on the Heart (click HERE to read my interview of Tara). So, of course, I wanted to read whatever she released next.

Opening Lines:

Prologue:

June 4, 1851
New York City

Gabriel Avery hit the unforgiving pavement with a grunt. Above him, the thin dirty faces of his foes looked down on him with sneers.

Chapter 1:

TEN YEARS LATER
April 12, 1861
Howell, Michigan

“Cassandra Kendrick! What have you done?”

Cassie cringed at the slurred, booming voice hovering just beyond the barn door.

Book Quote - Where Dandelions Bloom - Who We Want To Be

First Impressions:

My attention was engaged from line one of the prologue. I immediately wanted to figure out what was happening and once I did, I wanted to see how it played out. Gabriel Avery snared my heart from the first scene as a brave young man struggling to stand (literally and figuratively) in a harsh world he couldn’t control.

Main Characters:

Gabriel Avery–  A young man from humble beginnings shadowed by the guilt of youthful choices and a strong sense of duty to those who’ve blessed him. He sees the world in a unique way that provides a different lens through which the reader experiences the events of the story.

Cassandra “Cassie” Kendrick a.k.a. Thomas Turner – This young woman is made of sterner stuff than I, no question. The circumstances she overcomes and the experiences she endures take her on an incredible journey both physically and spiritually. Not without her faults and certainly not exempt from terrible errors in judgment, Cassie is a character you want to see succeed and won’t soon forget.

Book Quote - Where Dandelions Bloom - Hope Remains

Emotional Engagement & Pacing of the Story:

The pacing of this novel was spot on. Not a moment was dull. In fact, several places had me literally holding my breath, yet I was unwilling to skim a single word. I wanted to savor every second of the experience.

Easily one of the most moving novels I have read this year, this story had me running the gamut of choking back tears and giggling like a giddy school-girl. Long after I turned the last page, these characters and this world stayed with me, calling me back.

Elements I especially liked/disliked:

I especially loved the mistakes both the heroine and the hero made in the course of the story. It made them more relatable and real.

I’ll be the first to admit that Civil War stories are not usually my first choice. It just isn’t a period of time I typically enjoy dwelling on. However, I thoroughly appreciated the accuracy and realism of the war experience as portrayed in this novel. I truly felt I wasn’t just reading about these characters and what they went through–I was living through it alongside them. The horrifying, the heartwrenching, and the heart-lifting–every moment was well written and deeply felt.

Theme:

Withholding forgiveness doesn’t hurt the unforgiven–it hurts the one holding onto the anger.

Book Quote - Where Dandelions Bloom - Pain

Ending:

I do admit to having mixed feelings about the ending for one of the secondary characters, but I can’t argue against it logically.  It made sense, even if it wasn’t what I was hoping for, and it was handled perfectly by the author. Other than that minor issue, I found the ending to be refreshingly surprising, unique, and satisfying. After reading the last word, I spent several moments just sitting there, pondering the events of the story, revisiting the character’s world and imagining what might come next for them. It was definitely one of those books where I felt the story had come to its best conclusion and yet I was a little sad that it was over.

Overall Rating:

5 out of 5 stars

(I’m telling you right now, Where Dandelions Bloom will be on my annual list of Top 10 Historical Romance Novels for 2019. Don’t just add this novel to your TBR. Read it!)

Amazon

Let’s chat!

Have you read either of Tara Johnson’s novels? Do you enjoy Civil War fiction? What are your thoughts on forgiveness?

TWEETABLES:

Don’t just add this novel to your TBR. Read it! #BookReview

Easily one of the most moving novels I have read this year. #BookReview

I was unwilling to skim a single word. I wanted to savor every second of the experience. #BookReview

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


Note: I purchased my own copy of this book and was under no obligation to anyone to write a review. You may read my full disclosure of materials HERE.