First Line Friday – 3.9.18

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Welcome to First Line Friday! Each Friday I pick a book and share the first line with you. In return, I hope you’ll share with me a first line from whatever book you have at hand!

Today I’m sharing the first line from Michelle Griep‘s The Innkeeper’s Daughter.

The Innkeeper's Daughter Cover Image

Here is the first line:

Dover, England, 1808

Numbers would be the death of Johanna Langley.

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A London officer goes undercover to expose a plot against the Crown

Dover, England, 1808: Officer Alexander Moore goes undercover as a gambling gentleman to expose a high-stakes plot against the king—and he’s a master of disguise, for Johanna Langley believes him to be quite the rogue . . . until she can no longer fight against his unrelenting charm.

All Johanna wants is to keep the family inn afloat, but when the rent and the hearth payment are due at the same time, where will she find the extra funds? If she doesn’t come up with the money, there will be nowhere to go other than the workhouse—where she’ll be separated from her ailing mother and ten-year-old brother.

Alex desperately wants to help Johanna, especially when she confides in him, but his mission—finding and bringing to justice a traitor to the crown—must come first, or they could all end up dead.

Don’t forget to sign up to follow my blog so you won’t miss out on my upcoming review of this book as part of the Celebration Lit tour! 

The Innkeeper's Daughter Celebrate Lit Tour Banner

Now it’s your turn to grab the book nearest to 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 2017 Christmas Reading List

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I admit it, I love reading Christmas themed romance as much as the next gal. It never gets old. So this year, I’ve been stockpiling my list of books to read during the Christmas season. Today, I’m sharing my list with you.

Bygone Christmas Brides – 6 Novellas

by Pamela Griffin, Jill Stengl, Gina Welborn, Ginny Aiken, Tamela Hancock Murray, Carla Gade

Bygone Christmas Brides

Light a candle in the window and sit down to a slice of fruitcake as you delight in six 19th Century romances that welcome love at Christmastide. Many traditions held dear today have their roots in the British Isles and have been practiced for over a hundred years. In these six delightful historical stories, romance is nurtured amidst baking Scottish shortbread and English mince pies, burning the yule log, and hanging kissing boughs. But each couple is also plagued by worries of the day. As Christmastide draws to a close, will faith and love endure for future celebrations?

Amazon | Goodreads

The Westward Christmas Brides Collection – 9 Novellas

by Wanda E. Brunstetter, Susan Page Davis, Melanie Dobson, Cathy Liggett, Vickie McDonough, Olivia Newport, Janet Spaeth, Jennifer Rogers Spinola, MaryLu Tyndall

 The Westward Christmas Brides Collection

Take the journey into the American west alongside nine women who are chasing their dreams—Cynthia, for security; Beryl, for a new family; Adeline, for freedom; Molly, for marriage; Beth, for a new start; Belinda, for a place to heal; Suzette, for adventure; Juliet, for peace; and Caroline, for a future for her children. Celebrate Christmas alongside these pioneers as love finds them in nine distinctly different romances penned by leading Christian fiction authors, including New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter.

Amazon | Goodreads

Mountain Christmas Brides – 9 Novellas

by Susan Page Davis, Mildred Colvin, Lena Nelson Dooley, Darlene Franklin, Debby Lee, Tamela Hancock Murray, Carrie Turansky, Gina Welborn, Mary Davis

Mountain Christmas Brides

A trusting heart / by Carrie Turansky
Home for the holidays / by Mildred Colvin
One evergreen night / by Debby Lee
All ye faithful / by Gina Welborn
A carpenter Christmas / by Mary Davis
Fires of love / by Tamela Hancock Murray
The best medicine / by Lena Nelson Dooley
Almost home / by Susan Page Davis
Dressed in scarlet / by Darlene Franklin

From a Wyoming ranch in 1880, to a logging camp in Washington Territory in the late 1800s, to Denver, Colorado, in 1913, meet nine couples who find that Christmas is the perfect time for climbing to the heights of romance. Watch as their faith and courage propel them through challenges that come with mountain winters to cozy fireside celebrations that lead to lasting proclamations of love. Penned by an exclusive selection of Christian fiction authors—including Susan Page Davis, Vickie McDonough, and Carrie Turansky—this collection of nine romances is one to treasure.

Amazon | Goodreads

12 Days at Bleakly Manor

by Michelle Griep

12 Days at Bleakly Manor

When CLARA CHAPMAN receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of one thousand pounds. That’s enough money to bring her brother back from America and reinstate their stolen family fortune. But is she walking into danger? It appears so, especially when she comes face to face with one of the other guests—her former fiancé, BENJAMIN LANE.

Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whoever stole his honor. When he’s given the chance to gain his freedom, he jumps at it—and is faced with the anger of the woman he stood up at the altar.

Brought together under mysterious circumstances for the Twelve Days of Christmas, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters. What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.

Amazon | Goodreads

Cowboy Christmas Homecoming

by Mary Connealy, Ruth Logan Herne, Julie Lessman, & Anna Schmidt

Cowboy Christmas Homecoming

They’ve weathered a lot worse than winter. For widow June Harper, another cold front is about to hit. Most call him Hugh. She’d call him Scrooge, except as the man ensures her needs are met, June can’t help but wonder how to meet the needs of his heart.

Netty Lewis can take care of herself, has for a while now. Some hired help over the holidays doesn’t change that. And even if Roy does take care of her, that doesn’t mean he cares for her or that he’ll stay past Christmas.

Pastor Colton McCabe is having the opposite problem. He’s not sure he’ll make it through the holidays with his new housekeeper. Grace can’t seem to do anything right but love. Perhaps being a homekeeper will earn her a permanent residence in his heart.

And no one longs for a home more than Connie Lancaster. She’s determined to return to St. Louis, and no cowboy can change her mind. But if Isaac can change her heart, maybe Connie will see the homecoming she’s been waiting for isn’t to a place but a person.

Amazon | Goodreads

The Gift of Grace – Novella

by Julie Lessman

The Gift of Grace

She’s the Accident to His Prayers …

Pastor Cole McCabe isn’t sure he’ll survive the holidays with his new housekeeper and nanny. She’s caught fire to the kitchen, dyed his long johns pink, and scorched nearly everything she cooks. But he’s desperate, and she’s as destitute as they come.

Even though she’s no good with her hands, Grace sure has a way with her heart. She’s brought a warmth into Cole’s home, added color to his daughters’ lives, and broken down the wall he’s built up since his beloved wife died.

But when Grace’s past threatens Cole’s family, she’s given one last chance to be home for Christmas . . . if she hasn’t burned it down yet.

Amazon | Goodreads

Mail-Order Christmas Baby

by Sherri Shackelford

Mail-Order Christmas Baby

The Rancher’s Special Delivery 

The “package” is addressed to him, but rancher Sterling Blackwell certainly didn’t order a baby! More scandalous still, he and the town’s pretty teacher are named as parents. With gossip running wild, only a marriage of convenience can protect little Gracie and their reputations until her real family is found.

Heather O’Connor is content to be the spinster schoolmarm of Valentine, Montana…until Gracie’s arrival stirs her heart. She can’t keep the adorable child without Sterling’s help, though she promises not to interfere with his life. But staying aloof from her handsome husband isn’t easy with a tiny matchmaker in tow. A mistake brought them together, but love might just make them a family by Christmas…

Amazon | Goodreads

My Spillover List

The books above are on my Must Read List for this Christmas Season, but there are always more books that I want to read than there is time for me to actually read them, so I put the extra books on what I call my “Spillover List” which I turn to on those rare occasions I find an extra bit of time.

The books below didn’t make my Must Read List for no other reason than my particular mood at the time. In case one of them better suits your personal tastes or mood, below are my Christmas Spillover books. To keep this post from becoming five miles long, I’ve linked to the descriptions rather than posting them here (click the titles).

 

A Log Cabin Christmas Collection – 9 Novellas

by Wanda E. Brunstetter, Margaret Brownley, Kelly Eileen Hake, Jane Kirkpatrick, Liz Johnson

A Log Cabin Christmas

A Pioneer Christmas – 9 Novellas

by Kathleen Fuller, Vickie McDonough, Lauraine Snelling, Margaret Brownley, Marcia Gruver, Cynthia Hickey, Shannon McNear, Michelle Ule, Anna Carrie Urquhart

A Pioneer Christmas Collection

Colors of Christmas – 2 Novellas

by Olivia Newport

Colors of Christmas

The Snowflake 

by Jamie Carie

The Snowflake

Starring Christmas – 2 Novellas

by Rachel McMillan & Allison Pittman

Starring Christmas

If you still haven’t found the book for you, or simply want more, more more:

Check out my interview with author Terri Reed featuring her novel, A Family Under the Christmas Tree.

Visit ChristianBook.com’s Christmas Fiction Store.

By the way, if you were counting – Yes, I’ve listed a total of twelve books . . . for Christmas.   I may or may not be doing another post having to do with this number in the near future. To make sure you don’t miss it, make sure you sign up to follow my blog.

 

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What do you think of my list? Have you read any of these? Do you have any you think I should add? Please share your suggestions! There is always room for more books!

TWEETABLE:

12 Books for your Christmas Romance Reading List! #ChristFic

 

Top Ten MUST READ Historical Romance Novels for 2017

Top 10 Historical Romance Novels KathleenDenly.com

At the beginning of this month, I shared with you the Top Ten Best Historical Romance Novels I read during the year 2016. Today, I share with you my Top Ten MUST READ Historical Romance Novels for 2017.

1. Currency of the Heart by Loree LoughCurrency of the Heart by Loree Lough

Well, really it’s Healing of the Heart that I feel I MUST READ, but once I realized it was book #3 in the Secrets of Sterling Stree series, I knew I needed to start with book one. I’m kind of persnickety that way. So really, this entry represents three books, but if I listed out each book in the series I’d only have 7 spaces left and, well, how could I possibly fit my list into that?

Also, with Reading Is My SuperPower giving this kind of review for book #2, Guardians of the Heart, how can I resist reading them all?

“A sweet heartfelt romance that reminds us of the importance of forgiveness – of other people and especially of ourselves. With true, likable characters and a plot brimming with all the great elements of a story, Guardians of the Heart will gently refresh your soul.”

2. Stealing Jake by Pam HillmanStealing Jake by Pam Hillman

Speaking of Reading Is My SuperPower:  Carrie listed Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman as one of the Best Historical Books of 2015. I have yet to read anything by Pam Hillman and I am always looking for new authors to add to my shelf. Add to that a setting of late 1800s Illinois and this comment by Carrie:

“If you like books by Melissa Jagears or Mary Connealy, then you need to read Stealing Jake.  Trust me, it will steal your heart.”

I mean, hello. Have you seen my Top Ten Historical Romance Novels of 2016 list? This clearly needed to be on my MUST READ list.

3. The Bride Bargain by Kelly Eileen HakeThe Bride Bargain by Kelly Eileen Hake

This is Kelly Eileen Hake’s debut novel which always intrigues me. Plus I just love the premise of this book and want to see where the author takes it. Not to mention this rave review by Laura Hilton in Christian Bookworm Reviews:

“A huge family feud that includes many of the townspeople, an ornery ox, a sweet young lady, and multiple storylines combine to make this a book that I couldn’t put down. The historical details are accurate, down to names of hoax “medicines” available at the time, harvest activities, and social gatherings. The story was hilariously funny and serious by turns, and is a hit by Kelly Eileen Hake. I’m recommending this book to everyone who loves historical fiction.”

4. Bittersweet by Cathy Marie HakeBittersweet by Cathy Marie Hake

I thoroughly enjoyed Letter Perfect, the first in Cathy Marie Hake’s California Historical Series and am eager to find time to move the second book from my “To Read” shelf to my “Read” shelf.

5. Stuck Together by Mary ConnealyStuck Together by Mary Connealy

Another entry which is really representative of a series I want to read. Having already read and enjoyed the first book in Connealy’s Trouble in Texas series, I happily look forward to reading the last two books in the coming months.

6. The Lassoed by Marriage Romance Collection: 9 Historical Romances Begin After Saying “I Do”The Lassoed by Marriage Romance Collection

I love a well-written collection of historical romance novellas. They fit just perfectly on those days when I *know* better than to start something that’s going to keep me up long enough to see the dawn. You know the books I’m talking about. The wonderful thing about novellas is no matter how compelling the read, their inherent brevity ensures that I get at least a little sleep the night before an important event.

7. The Thorn Healer by Pepper D. BashamThe Thorn Healer by Pepper D Basham

The first two books in this trilogy made my list of Top Ten Historical Romance from 2016. (Just realized I actually read them in the fall of 2015 for the first time, but I loved them so much I read them again in 2016 so they still count!) I have been eagerly awaiting the release of The Thorn Healer from the moment I closed The Thorn Keeper. You can be sure I’ll be posting a review of this one once I’ve read it.

UPDATE: You can now read my full review of The Thorn Healer HERE.

8. The Captive Heart by Michelle GriepThe Captive Heart by Michelle Griep

This is another author new to me, but the premise intrigues me and the reviews I’ve read have convinced me I need to give this book a try. I especially appreciated the review by Leah at GoodBooksForTheJourney.com in which she included this intriguing detail:

” It also included a story line that illustrated how the division between England and the settlers affected the American Indian tribes.”

That’s an angle I haven’t read before.

9. Love’s Story by Dianne Christner and Strong as the Redwood by Kristin BillerbeckLove's Story by Dianne Christner with Bonus Story of Strong as the Redwood by Kristin Billerbeck

This is a two for one deal! Both books come together and both are set in the historical northern California redwoods! Hopefully, you’ve noticed by now that I’m a sucker for California history.

10. At Love’s Bidding by Regina JenningsAt Love's Bidding by Regina Jennings

Okay, you’ve caught me. This is yet another entry representing an entire series. The first book, A Most Inconvenient Marriage, made my list of Top Ten Historical Romance from 2016. So it only makes sense that I plan to read the rest of the series.