My Rapid Review – Finding Ever After

My RAPID Review - Between Stairs and Stardust

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Between Stairs and Stardust is Pepper Basham’s addition to the collection titled, Finding Ever After: four fairytale-ish novellas

Stella Faye Emory has known a life of loss. Orphaned at the age of eleven, she is sent from her home at the Biltmore Estate to become a companion for a wealthy family in Boston. As she grows into a kind and talented young lady, a benefactress recognizes Stella’s artistic skills and funds her education but Stella’s fame as an illustrator inspires jealousy and an unwanted rumor that sends Stella fleeing back to the Biltmore.

James Craven is the second-born son of an automobile tycoon. Following his family to their new estate in the Blue Ridge Mountains, James finds his place among the forests and mountains of the countryside. When his little sister is saved from drowning by the mysterious, “Faye”, James’ interests take a new turn in the direction of this fairy-like artist who seems to appear and disappear at the most unexpected times.

As James and Stella’s friendship deepens, Stella’s past finds her and threatens her newfound romance. Can a charm bracelet and an unanticipated visitor restore hopes for a happily-ever-after?

Finding Ever After

Experience a touch of magic with these four fairytale-ish novellas that span over one hundred years. Linked by an illustrated book of fairytales, each novella is an enchanting combination of a beloved classic sprinkled with the author’s own brand of fairy dust.

Between Stairs and Stardust is set in 1913 Asheville, NC at the beautiful Biltmore Estate and includes a budding children’s book illustrator, an out-of-the box heir, and a teensy bit of Cinderella romance.

Entanglements has a Rapunzel twist and is set in 1920’s Boston between a reluctant heiress, a charming piano tuner, and a game of chess.

Twice Upon A Time is a Beauty-And-The-Beast inspired tale that brings a romance novelist back home to her family’s pecan farm… and the ex-fiance she left behind.

Once Bitten is a nod to Snow White that includes a fake date with a handsome woodsman, seven geeks, and the world’s best apple tarts.

My Thoughts

Once again Pepper Basham has created memorable characters you’ll want to root for. Beginning with a page-turning opening scene, this novella keeps you reading until the very end. Exquisite descriptions place you right in the heart of the elegant Biltmore Estate nestled in the beauty of 1913 Asheville, North Carolina. Her attention to detail and powerful writing style wrap you in the world of Stella and James as they struggle to discover what truly matters and where they belong.

This story made me chuckle, gasp, and grin like a silly woman in all the right places. With engaging characters, vivid setting details, and plot twists you won’t see coming, Between Stairs and Stardust is a tale not to miss. 

About the collection:

Between Stairs and Stardust sets up the following three novellas in the collection by introducing the reader to a unique fairytale book, created by Stella (Pepper’s heroine in Between Stairs and Stardust). This book is passed from heroine to heroine (or hero) in an indirect manner as we travel through time with the final story taking place in modern day. Each story finds a unique way to incorporate the book, interpret the fairytale they’ve chosen to reinvent, and engage our attention as readers. While Pepper’s is probably my favorite, I sincerely enjoyed the other novella’s in this collection as well and recommend it to anyone looking for heart-warming stories that leave you smiling.

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!

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First Line Friday – 10.12.18

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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 the first story in Out of the Blue Bouqueta unique collection of novellas by Hallee Bridgeman, Alana Terry, Carol Moncado, Chautona Havig, Amanda Tru. What is different about this collection is that, in addition to each book being a new, stand-alone story, the last book in the collection ties all of the novellas together while telling its own story.

Out of the Blue Bouquet

Here is the first line:

Calla Vaughn felt the telltale shudder of the car through her seat just as she started to pull through the gate.

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Five of today’s Best-selling Christian Authors weave five unique yet connected stories together in this collection where misdirected floral deliveries lead to lives changed.

Courting Calla, by Hallee Bridgeman.
Ian knows Calla is the woman God has chosen for him, but Calla is hiding something big. Can Calla trust Ian with her secret, or will she let it destroy any possible hope they may have for a future?

Seoul in Love, by Alana Terry.
Love was lost a long time ago. A chance meeting in Seoul might change all that forever.

A Kærasti for Clari, by Carol Moncado.
Joel Christiansen delivered flowers to the palace and found his life turned upside down.
Clari Sørenson’s job as social media manager for Eyjania’s Queen Mother keeps her busy. An unexpected treasure hunt with a cute guy might be the vacation she needs.
Between clues and a snow storm, they’re drawn to each other. Her grandparents, and even the Queen Mother, have been after her to find a boyfriend, but is Joel the Kærasti for Clari?

Premeditated Serendipity, by Chautona Havig.
When Wayne Farrell hears about his niece’s floral fiasco, it sparks a plan to mix up his own orders in an attempt to play matchmaker. Reid has his reasons for not pursuing Kelsey… yet, and Wayne’s interference only makes an already difficult situation even more awkward. Premeditated Serendipity—because romance sometimes needs a little shove.

Out of the Blue Bouquet, by Amanda Tru.
When Brooke is left in charge of Crossroads Floral, she accidentally sends the flower deliveries to the wrong people. Unfortunately, some of those wrong people include all of the ex-girlfriends of the most eligible bachelor in town. Are Brooke’s mistakes a complete disaster, or can there be something beautiful in an out-of-the-blue bouquet?

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:

2 GIVEAWAYS + Debra Marvin Guest Posts & First Line Friday – 5.11.18!!!

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If this is your first time visiting a First Line Friday post, you’re in for a treat! For First Line Friday, we normally grab the book nearest us and share the first line. But today is extra special because I am also sharing a special guest post by author Debra E. Marvin and a chance to enter not one but TWO giveaways!!!

To get us started, here is the first line from Debra’s novella, A Heart So Tender, which is included in The Backcountry Brides Collection (description below):

Fort Niagara 
Monday, July 10, 1764

A Lake Ontario breeze trifled with the Union Jack overhead, but failed to cool Lieutenant Archibald Waters’ frustration.

Don’t forget to leave your first line in the comments below!


The Backcountry Brides blog tour

Welcome to the blog tour and giveaway for The Backcountry Brides Collection, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

the backcountry brides collectionTitle: The Backcountry Brides Collection
Author: Angela K. Couch, Debra E. Marvin, Shannon McNear, Gabrielle Meyer, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Jennifer Hudson Taylor, Pegg Thomas, and Denise Weimer
Publisher: Barbour Books
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Genre: Inspirational Historical Fiction collection

Travel into Colonial America where eight women seek love, but they each know a future husband requires the necessary skills to survive in the backcountry.

Living in areas exposed to nature’s ferocity, prone to Indian attack, and cut off from regular supplies, can hearts overcome the dangers to find lasting love?

PURCHASE A COPY: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | CBD | Book Depository


ABOUT THE NOVELLAS

Shenandoah Hearts by Carrie Fancett Pagels
1754 – Great Wagon Road, into the Shenandoah Valley (Virginia)
As the French-Indian War commences, Magda Sehler wonders if Jacob Owens lost his mind to have abandoned his Philadelphia business and moved to the Shenandoah Valley. Or has he lost his heart?

Heart of Nantahala by Jennifer Hudson Taylor
1757 – (North Carolina)
Joseph Gregory plans to buy a lumber mill, but Mabel Walker becomes a formidable opponent. When she’s forced to make a painful decision, she must choose between survival and love.

Her Redcoat by Pegg Thomas
1763 – Fort Michilimackinac (Michigan) during Pontiac’s Rebellion
Laurette Pettigrew grew up in the northern frontier. Henry Bedlow arrived against his will. Their chance meeting changes everything. Will a deadly clash of cultures keep them from finding happiness?

A Heart So Tender by Debra E. Marvin
1764 – (New York)
As thousands of Native warriors converge on Fort Niagara, jaded British Lieutenant Archibald Walsh and idealistic schoolmistress Susannah Kimball learn the greatest risk lies in guarding their hearts.

A Worthy Groom by Angela K. Couch
1771 – Sapling Grove settlement on the Holston River (Tennessee)
The Cowden temper has been Marcus’s lifelong bane. A trait Lorinda Cowden curses. Now, winning the heart of his bride hinges on fighting a war without raising a fist.

Across Three Autumns by Denise Weimer
1778-1780 – (Georgia)
Fighting Loyalists and Indians, Jenny White settles for strength over love . . .until Scottish scout Caylan McIntosh leads her family on a harrowing exodus out of Georgia’s Revolutionary “Hornet’s Nest.”

The Counterfeit Tory by Shannon McNear
1781 – (South Carolina)
Tasked with infiltrating an infamous Tory gang, Jed Wheeler has no wish to endanger the leader’s cousin, Lizzy Cunningham. He risks not only his life. . .but his heart.

Love’s Undoing by Gabrielle Meyer
1792 – Fur Post on the Upper Mississippi River (Minnesota)
When Englishman Henry Kingsley meets Abi McCrea, the daughter of a Scottish fur trader and Indian mother, will their worlds keep them apart, or have they finally found somewhere they truly belong?


ABOUT THE AUTHORS

b390c-carrie2bfancett2bpagelsCarrie Fancett Pagels is an ECPA bestselling and award-winning author of Christian historical romance. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn’t “cure” her overactive imagination! She resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia, which is perfect for her love of history. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time!

TO CONNECT WITH CARRIE: websitefacebooktwitter


jennifer hudson taylorJennifer Hudson Taylor is an award-winning author of inspirational fiction set in historical Europe & the Carolinas. She provides keynotes and presentations on the publishing industry, the craft of writing, building an author platform & digital marketing.

Jennifer graduated from Elon University with a B.A. in Communications/Journalism. When she isn’t writing, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, visiting historical sites, horseback riding, cycling, long walks, genealogy and reading.

TO CONNECT WITH JENNIFER: website | facebook | twitter


pegg thomasPegg Thomas lives on a hobby farm in Northern Michigan with Michael, her husband of *mumble* years. A life-long history geek, she writes “History with a Touch of Humor.” An avid reader and writer, she enjoys fiction stories threaded through historical events and around historical figures. Civil War and Colonial are her favorite eras.

Pegg is a regular blogger at both QuidProQuills.com and ColonialQuills.com. When not working on her latest novel, Pegg can be found in her garden, in her kitchen, at her spinning wheel, tending her sheep, or on her trusty old horse, Trooper. See more at PeggThomas.com.

TO CONNECT WITH PEGG: website | facebook | twitter


gabeGabrielle Meyer lives in central Minnesota on the banks of the Mississippi River with her husband and four children. As an employee of the Minnesota Historical Society, she fell in love with the rich history of her state and enjoys writing fictional stories inspired by real people, places, and events. She loves connecting with readers!

TO CONNECT WITH GABRIELLE:website | facebook |twitter


angela couchTo keep from freezing in the Great White North, Angela K Couch cuddles under quilts with her laptop. Winning short story contests, being a semi-finalist in ACFW’s Genesis Contest, and a finalist in the International Digital Awards also helped warm her up. As a passionate believer in Christ, her faith permeates the stories she tells. Her martial arts training, experience with horses, and appreciation for good romance sneak in there, as well. When not writing, she stays fit (and warm) by chasing after three munchkins.

TO CONNECT WITH ANGELA: website | facebook | twitter


denise weimerDenise Weimer holds a journalism degree with a minor in history from Asbury University. She writes time slip romantic suspense, as well as both contemporary and historical romance.

A wife and swim mom of two daughters, Denise always pauses for coffee, chocolate, old houses, and to write any story God lays on her heart.

TO CONNECT WITH DENISE: website | twitter


shannon mcnearAfter more than two decades in the South, Shannon McNear now makes her home on the windy northern plains with her husband, four of their eight children, two German Shepherds, four cats, several chickens, and a noisy flock of guinea fowl. She serves in worship and youth ministry, and has been writing novel-length fiction since age 15. Her first novella, Defending Truth, from A Pioneer Christmas Collection, was a 2014 RITA® nominee.

When not sewing, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she enjoys being outdoors, basking in the beauty of the Dakota prairies

TO CONNECT WITH SHANNON: website | facebook |twitter


Debra E Marvin photo 2016Debra E. Marvin tries not to run too far from real life but the imagination born out of being an only child has a powerful draw. Besides, the voices in her head tend to agree with all the sensible things she says. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, and serves on the board of Bridges Ministry in Seneca Falls, NY. She is published with WhiteFire Publishing, Forget Me Not Romances, Journey Fiction, and Barbour Publishing…and a judge for the Grace Awards for many years.

Debra works as a program assistant at Cornell University, and enjoys her family and grandchildren, obsessively buying fabric, watching British programming and traveling with her childhood friends

TO CONNECT WITH DEBRA: website | facebook | twitter

 


GUEST POST by Debra E. Marvin

Debra E. Marvin

Using an actual event for my novella, A Heart So Tender, didn’t leave me a lot of wiggle room! And that was fine. I love doing the research and in this case there was a fair amount of documentation that took a long time to gather.

 

Colonial soldiers at Fort Niagara (My grandsons)
Colonial soldiers at Fort Niagara (Debra’s grandsons)

 

A Heart So Tender takes place in July of 1764 during the event known as The Great Gathering. At the time, Sir William Johnson, a popular and effective “Indian Agent for the Crown”, living in the Mohawk Valley, requested all Indian tribes (from far and wide) to come to Fort Niagara for peace talks.  This wasn’t just talks between the settlers/soldiers and the native peoples, but to encourage talks and treaties between some of the tribes as well.

 

2017 French and Indian War Weekend
2017 French and Indian War Weekend

 

Fort Niagara is a wonderful place to visit and ‘imagine’ the past.  I knowingly changed a few details. The existing redoubts (blockhouses/guardhouses) were actually built a few years after my story to replace the previous lookouts.  The third floor of The French Castle didn’t have rooms as it does in my story, as it was used almost as a ‘gun deck’ and storage area for the building.

 

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Fort Niagara

 

Of course I made up the names of my leads and the commanding officers, but the names of the regiments were accurate. Unfortunately, the Massacre at Devil’s Hole was real and became the driving backstory for my hero’s journey.

At Devil's Hole Park

In every historical novella I’ve written, I’ve centered around an actual event and done as much as possible to incorporate the facts. This could never be done without the aid of online resources (Google books tends to have really great and obscure books!) and finding a historian, librarian or ‘expert’ to overwhelm with questions!

I can’t speak for every Barbour Collection but I know that the authors of THE BACKCOUNTRY BRIDES Collection are all consummate lovers of history and that means we all love the research. Plus research is more fun than facing that ugly first draft!

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Because I placed my story in upstate New York, I can say that I’ve been gathering details since I first studied New York State history.  Sir William Johnson was such a ‘big name’ character, there are plenty of resources about him, including his own records.

 

Artist at the French and Indian War Encampment
Artist at the French and Indian War Encampment

 

Johnson did employ tutors such as Mr. Kimball in his village, so creating Susannah and her family wasn’t much of a stretch.  If I have one regret, it is that authenticity in a historical context means use of terms such as Indian, redskin, savage when I would have preferred not to. Even the name Iroquois, which is so very common and designates the native people of this region is not their preferred name, but in the interest of the story, I had little choice.  What I hope happens is that readers find our stories a spark for looking into the frontier history of their own regions with a new eye.

Thanks so much for hosting me, Kathleen! I’d love to hear from your readers.

What fictional stories have driven you to dig deeper into history?

For more about Debra, look for Debra E. Marvin in various places. She tends to genre hop between historical romances and historical mystery. New Subscribers to her newsletter in May, June and July will be in a drawing for a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card.

She likes to hang out on Twitter and Instagram and Pinterest and chats with her readers on her Facebook Author Page.

Debra blogs at the group blog Inkwell Inspirations where both authors and reviewers bring bookish news almost daily, or at Colonial Quills blog.

 


GIVEAWAY #1

backcountry brides blog tour giveaway

(1) Winner will win a prize pack consisting of one print copy of The Backcountry Brides Collection, a pair of handmade earrings from Carrie Fancett Pagels and book swag plus CHOICE of (1) copy of any book by Carrie Fancett Pagels OR a $25 Amazon (or Barnes & Noble) gift card. (US only, however the gift card is also open to international winners except where prohibited by law. Giveaway is subject to policies found here.

To enter click on the image below. Be sure to stop at every post on the tour for additional entries!

Enter Here Button

GIVEAWAY #2

During the month of May 2018, the authors of The Backcountry Brides Collection are also hosting a giveaway that includes a print copy of the novel, a Kindle Paperwhite, and lots of Colonial-themed goodies!

To enter click on the image below.

BCC Rafflecopter Giveaway


tour schedule

Launch Page @ JustRead

May 8th
Book by Book
A Baker’s Perspective

May 9th
Remembrancy
Singing Librarian
Reading Is My SuperPower

May 10th
Fiction Aficionado
Jami’s Words

May 11th
For the Love of Books
Kathleen Denly


What’s Next?

Click HERE to follow Kathleen’s blog and make sure you don’t miss out on any of her 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.

And don’t forget to answer Debra’s question:

What fictional stories have driven you to dig deeper into history?

Then head over to Hoarding Books to see who else is participating in First Line Friday:

My Review – No Small Storm

My Review - No Small Storm

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September 1815, Providence, Rhode Island

Thirty-year-old Remembrance “Mem” Wilkins loves her solitary life running the farm and orchard she inherited from her father and has no plans to give up her independence. Especially not for the likes of Mr. Graham Lott. But when Mem is unable to harvest the apples on her own, she accepts the help of the man she despises.

Fresh off a boat from Ireland with his four-year-old son in tow, Simon Brennan secures a building in which to ply his trade as a cobbler. Still healing from the grief of his wife’s death a year earlier, he determines to focus only on providing a good life for his son. But when he intervenes in an argument on behalf of the intriguing Miss Wilkins, sister-in-law of the tavern owner who befriends him, he suddenly finds himself crossways with his landlord, Mr. Lott, and relieved of his lease and most of his money.

With no means of support, Simon takes a job helping Mem with her harvest, relieving her of the need of Lott’s help. But their growing attraction to each other makes them both uneasy. Mem gladly escapes to town when her sister begins labor, and Simon, believing it best to distance himself from Mem, takes his son and leaves.

But neither anticipates the worst gale New England has ever seen—or that the storm will threaten all they hold dear.

Why This Book:

See the blurb above? That’s why. I was intrigued enough to check out the author. What I found encouraged me that the author was likely to deliver well on the promise of her premise, so I requested a review copy and a spot on her tour through Celebrate Lit.

Opening Line (from Chapter 1):

Remembrance Wilkins – Mem to her friends and family – shivered, feeling to her bones the coolness of stone walls which never warmed. 

First Impressions:

While I wasn’t a fan of the interruption in the first sentence explaining her name, that was my only nit-picky dislike of the first scene of this novella. It was clear from the first page that this author had honed her craft as I was drawn in by descriptions that enticed my senses and a character whose struggles were clear and relatable. Like the first scene of a great movie, I felt I was there, in the story.

Characters:

Remembrance “Mem” Wilkins – The blurb for the novella explains her well. She is independent, capable, and intelligent. Without being arrogant or aggressive in any way, she understands the expectations of her neighbors, but refuses to conform to them. She is stubborn and her motives for being independent are certainly questionable – that’s the point of her character arc – but she is, for the most part, a calm, reasonable, responsible woman who works hard and is loyal to her family.

Simon Brennan – Another character who is well described in the novella’s blurb, Simon is a loving father and widower with a chip on his shoulder from past wrongs done him by those who are financially superior. This leaves him wary of becoming attached to Mem who is a landowner in her own right, making her financially superior to him. His driving desire is to prove himself in the economic realm – to gain financial equality with those currently above him. This desire is motivated not by greed, but pride and is connected to his character arc.

No Small Storm - Book Quote - Hot Face

Timothy Brennan – The four year old son of Simon, Timothy is bright, kind, and obedient. I found his behaviors and emotions completely believable for a child of his age in this time period.

Charity Hyer – Mem’s younger, married sister lives in town with her husband, Isaac, and their young daughters. At the start of the novella she is far along in her pregnancy and her history of quick deliveries adds to Mem’s worries. The two sisters have a healthy, loving, close relationship.

Isaac Hyer – Isaac Hyer owns the Gray Goose. He is a loving husband to Charity and caring father. However, he is also the younger brother of the man who betrayed Mem’s heart years prior and thus his resemblance serves as a reminder to Mem not to let her guard down.

Graham Lott – Having been a friend of Mem’s father, he uses that former relationship (Mem’s father has passed on) to declare himself her protector. Their twenty year age difference and Mem’s repeated refusals of his proposals don’t seem to have had any discouraging affect on his determination to gain ownership of her orchard. His character is made clear from the start and he is someone readers will love to loathe.

Emotional Engagement & Pacing of the Story:

As I mentioned in my First Impressions section, this novella drew me in from the very beginning. While the first third of the book had a comfortable, yet compelling, sense of tension, the last two thirds held me in such a grip I must confess to not getting to sleep until nearly four in the morning – when I’d turned the last page.

Elements I especially liked/disliked:

I loved that this story was sparked by actual historical events (as confirmed in the Author’s Notes at the end of the novella). Every historical detail felt rich, real, and true. While the climax may have stretched the bounds of believability (I’m making that a word), it didn’t completely break them, and honestly, I couldn’t have cared less. I was literally gnawing my lip as I read that scene, holding my breath as if I were … well, experiencing what the characters were experiencing. Needless to say, I loved it. Then I read the author’s notes at the end and realized that what I found barely plausible was actually based on a true historical event! I absolutely love when truth is stranger than fiction!

No Small Storm - Book Quote - Stave off Men

Themes:

While independence in and of itself is not wrong, independence sought for the wrong reasons and taken to the extreme of ignoring/denying one’s dependence on God is wrong.

Holding on to the wrongs done to you in the past can cost you not only your future happiness, but even those things which you currently hold dear.

Ending:

I loved the ending scenes of this novella. I felt they beautifully wrapped up everything the reader hoped for as we made our way through the story. My only complaint is that I wanted just a little bit more. While I realize this is a novella, I needed just a page or two more to luxuriate in the joy of where the characters’ journey had taken them. Nevertheless, I closed the book with a huge grin on my face and an eagerness to read more by this author.

Overall Rating:

5 out of 5 stars

Available at:  Amazon

(none of the links in this review are affiliate links)

Let’s chat!

Do you prefer short endings, or would you rather have a little bit more time to enjoy the glow? Let me know in the comments below!

TWEETABLES:

Like the first scene of a great movie, I felt I was there, in the story. #BookReview @KathleenDenly

I was literally gnawing my lip as I read that scene, holding my breath as if I were … well, experiencing what the characters were experiencing. #BookReview @KathleenDenly

Check out @KathleenDenly’s #BookReview of No Small Storm by @AnneMateer!

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

No Small Storm FB Banner copy (1)

About the Author

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Anne Mateer has loved reading and writing stories since childhood. She is the author of 4 historical novels, 1 historical novella, and a few contemporary short stories. Anne and her husband of 30 years, Jeff, love to visit their grown children and tour historical sites. They are currently living an empty nest adventure in Austin, TX.

Guest Post from Anne Mateer

I’m always up for a good historical story. It’s what I enjoy reading. It’s what I enjoy writing. But I find that my pleasure in any historical fiction increases exponentially when the story at hand is based on at least a kernel of historical fact. All four of my full-length novels share this trait. So it stood to reason that when turning my mind to a historical novella I would seek the same grounding in truth I’ve sought before.

So what historical fact inspired No Small Storm? It was a combination of them, actually. Which I think always makes for the best tales!

I like an overarching historical event to help frame a story. Things like war or economic crisis or natural disaster. Situations in the historical record which required courage or resilience or sacrifice from the people who lived through them. When I stumbled upon the Great Gale of 1815, which hit Providence, Rhode Island particularly hard, I knew it could provide obstacles for my characters to overcome.

As I began to read about this event—a hurricane before such storms were commonly called hurricanes—I happened upon some first hand accounts of that day. Fascinating remembrances about a storm arriving without much preamble, then departing and leaving bright sunny skies with which to view the destruction.

And destruction there was! Not only from wind and water, but also the fact that both of those things unleashed the ships moored in the harbor and sent them sailing down the main street of town! Can you imagine looking out of the second or third story window of a building which was likely flooded on the ground floor and seeing a ship coming at you?

That, in itself, was dramatic enough. Especially when coupled with the fact that those ships often broke apart, whether from wind and waves or from contact with the buildings and bridges they encountered on land. Then I considered the people in those ships. What happened to them? Many were flung into the water, searching for purchase.

It was just such a circumstance that brought one man to the window of a young woman. She helped him inside. They were later married. And if finding such a story isn’t a romance writer’s delight, I don’t know what is!

Finally, as I continued to read about the destruction in the area, I discovered a few lines about area orchards. The hanging fruit was found covered with a dusting of white. When tasted, it was discovered to be salt. Salt from storm surge and sea spray. Salt that saturated, even miles inland. Water and wind—and the salt they carried—ruining fruit crops ready for harvest. What could be more devastating to a farmer than that?

And so No Small Storm was born, with Remembrance and Simon each trying to make a good life for themselves, each trying to trust God as they work hard. Each keeping careful watch over their heart. But sometimes circumstances take things we don’t want to give. And give things we never imagined possible.

Historical fact and spiritual truth. Characters who are a product of their times as well as universal in their struggles and desires. It’s the kind of story I love to read. And the kind of story I’m proud to write.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, February 6

Carpe Diem, February 6

Reflections From My Bookshelves, February 7

Reading Is My SuperPower, February 7

The Power of Words, February 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 8

Inklings and notions, February 9

Blossoms and Blessings, February 9

Kathleen Denly, February 10 YAY, YOU’RE HERE! 😀

History, Mystery & Faith, February 10

Bukwurmzzz, February 11

Views From the Window Friend, February 11

By The Book, February 12

Maureen’s Musings, February 12

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, February 13

Mary Hake, February 13

proud to be an autism mom, February 14

Connie’s History Classroom, February 14

A Greater Yes, February 15

Janices book reviews, February 15

Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 16

A Baker’s Perspective, February 16

Bibliophile Reviews, February 17

Margaret Kazmierczak, February 17 (Interview)

Simple Harvest Reads, February 18 (Guest post from Mindy)

Bigreadersite, February 18

Pink Granny’s Journey, February 19

Pursuing Stacie, February 19

 

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Anne is giving away a grand prize of a reader bag of goodies—including a Pride and Prejudice fleece throw, a “reading” charm necklace from Storied Jewelry, a Secret Garden litograph tote bag, and a $25 Amazon gift card!!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!Enter Here Button

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View Disclosure of Materials HERE.

 

 

First Line Friday – 2.2.18

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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!

In honor of February, the “little” month, I am sharing a “little” story with a big punch. Below you will find the first line from No Small Storm by Anne Mateer, a novella I read last month and will be reviewing in full on February 10th.

No Small Storm

 

Here are the first lines:

Remembrance Wilkins – Mem to her friends and family – shivered, feeling to her bones the coolness of stone walls which never warmed. 

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September 1815, Providence, Rhode Island

Thirty-year-old Remembrance “Mem” Wilkins loves her solitary life running the farm and orchard she inherited from her father and has no plans to give up her independence. Especially not for the likes of Mr. Graham Lott. But when Mem is unable to harvest the apples on her own, she accepts the help of the man she despises.

Fresh off a boat from Ireland with his four-year-old son in tow, Simon Brennan secures a building in which to ply his trade as a cobbler. Still healing from the grief of his wife’s death a year earlier, he determines to focus only on providing a good life for his son. But when he intervenes in an argument on behalf of the intriguing Miss Wilkins, sister-in-law of the tavern owner who befriends him, he suddenly finds himself crossways with his landlord, Mr. Lott, and relieved of his lease and most of his money.

With no means of support, Simon takes a job helping Mem with her harvest, relieving her of the need of Lott’s help. But their growing attraction to each other makes them both uneasy. Mem gladly escapes to town when her sister begins labor, and Simon, believing it best to distance himself from Mem, takes his son and leaves.

But neither anticipates the worst gale New England has ever seen—or that the storm will threaten all they hold dear.

 

Be sure to sign up to follow my blog so you don’t miss out on my full review of this novella!

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:

First Line Friday – 8.18.17

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Whether you’re looking for a good book or just curious what others are reading, you’ve come to the right place. Each Friday I pick a book and share the first line with you. This week I am sharing the first line from Finding Love at the Oregon Coast:  A Romantic Novella Collection by Angela Ruth Strong, Christina Coryell, Heather Woodhaven, and Lisa Phillips.

Finding Love At the Oregon Coast

This collection is a bit unique because in addition to the four novellas, there is a prologue which sets the stage for each of the stories:

When a wedding is cancelled, three bridesmaids and a runaway bride contemplate the true meaning of love in four related romance novellas.

Here’s the first line from the prologue:

Christina gazed out the window at the balcony decorated for her wedding ceremony above the sparkling Columbia River in Portland, Oregon before turning to face the full-length mirror.

I picked up this collection because I saw that Christina Coryell was one of the authors and I really enjoyed her story, Mowed Over, in the Love at First Laugh collection.

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

Then head on over and share your first line with these friends:

Andi @ Radiant Light

Carrie @ Reading Is My Super Power

Rachel @ Bookworm Mama

Sydney @ Singing Librarian Books

Robin @ Robin’s Nest

Katie @ Fiction Aficionado

Bree @ Bibliophile Reviews

Beth @ Faithfully Bookish

Amanda @ With A Joyful Noise

Jessica @ A Baker’s Perspective

Trisha @ The Joy of Reading

Jeanette @ C Jane Read

Molly @ Molly’s Cafinated-Reads

CJ @ Moments Dipped In Ink

English Lady @ Romances of the Cross

Heather @ Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Sarah @ All the Book Blog Names are Taken

Lauraine @ Lauraine’s Notes

Summer Reading Roundup 2017 +GIVEAWAY!

Summer Reading Roundup 2017 +Giveaway

Hey everybody! Guess what today is? My birthday! So I thought I’d celebrate by sharing the list of books I’ll be reading this summer and giving away a book to one of you awesome readers! (Read through to the bottom for giveaway details.)

Since I will be traveling to China for an adoption next month, I won’t have as much free time to read this summer as I normally would. Therefore, this year’s list is somewhat limited, but here are the books I am hoping to get to:

Love Held Captive

Love Held Captive by Shelley Shepard Gray

Why:  I requested a free copy of this book from NetGalley to review because the premise intrigued me. Then I opened it to read the first line for an FLF post and couldn’t put it down! I made myself stop after 3 chapters because I have other books to finish first, but I can’t wait to get back to this one.

About the Book: 

After the War Between the States, a Confederate officer longs to heal the heart of a beautiful woman—but first he’ll have to right the wrongs that were done to her.

Major Ethan Kelly has never been able to absolve himself of the guilt he feels for raiding a woman’s home shortly before he was taken prisoner during the Civil War. He is struggling to get through each day until he once again crosses paths with Lizbeth Barclay—the very woman he is trying to forget.

Life after the war is not much different for former Captain Devin Monroe until he meets Julianne VanFleet. He knows she is the woman he’s been waiting for, but he struggles to come to terms with the sacrifices she made to survive the war.

When Ethan and Devin discover that their former colonel, Adam Bushnell, is responsible for both Lizbeth’s and Julianne’s pain, they call on their former fellow soldiers to hunt him down. As the men band together to earn the trust of the women they love, Lizbeth and Julianne seek the justice they deserve in a country longing to heal.

The Lady and the Lionheart

The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

Why:  This one has made several rounds to rave reviews on the book blogger circuit, which got it on my TBR pile. Then I discovered the author is a fellow member of the San Diego Christian Writer’s Guild and met some of her friends at the SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference last month. That made me curious enough to open it and read the first few pages. What I read moved it toward the top of my TBR pile. 🙂 I’m really looking forward to this one!

About the Book: 

Virginia, 1890

Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Big Top, Charlie Lionheart holds the audience in the palm of his hand. But while his act captivates thousands, it’s away from the spotlight where his true heart lies. Here he humbly cares for his pride of lions as if they were his brothers, a skill of bravery and strength that has prepared him for his most challenging feat yet—freeing an orphaned infant from the dark bondage of a sideshow. A trade so costly, it requires his life in exchange for hers, leaving him tarnished by the price of that choice.

As the circus tents are raised on the outskirts of Roanoke, nurse Ella Beckley arrives to tend to this Gypsy girl. All under the watchful eye of a guardian who not only bears a striking resemblance to the child, but who protects the baby with a love that wraps around Ella’s own tragic past, awakening a hope that goodness may yet reign. When their forbidden friendship deepens, Charlie dares to ask for her heart, bringing her behind the curtain of his secret world to reveal the sacrifice that gave hope to one little girl—boldly showing Ella that while her tattered faith is deeply scarred, the only marks that need be permanent are his own.

Finders Keepers and All of You by Sarah Monzon

Why:  I loved her debut novel, The Isaac Project, so when I was offered the opportunity to be part of an upcoming tour for All of You, I jumped on it! Of course, I much prefer reading series books in order (even if they can be read as stand alones), so I am going to try to read Finders Keepers first. The fact that Finders Keepers won the 2017 SELAH award for contemporary romance, is just added assurance that this will be time well spent.

About the Books: 

Finders Keepers

Three lives. Three hundred years. One ship that ties them together.

Florida, Present Day
Summer Arnet will go anywhere to capture the perfect shot that will get her marine photography noticed by the prestigious nature magazine, Our World–even diving in waters haunted by great white sharks. When a treasure hunter with a ladies’-man reputation approaches her about a sunken ship at one of her dive locations, it may be the chance she’s been looking for to launch her career…if his charming smile doesn’t derail her first.

A past tragedy has left a hole in Trent Carrington’s life–a hole he’s tried to fill with women, money, and adventure. Could the feisty marine photographer be the missing piece, or will Trent finally accept that the treasure he seeks can’t be found where rust and moths destroy?

Spain, 1689
The same evil that stole her mother’s life stalks Isabella Castellano. Afraid for her safety, Isabella disguises herself as a cabin boy and hires on to one of His Majesty’s treasure fleet vessels. But has her flight from a known threat only led her to be ensnared in a sea of dangers?

All of You

Maryland, Present Day

Jacquelyn Rogers can rebuild anything…except the shambles of her past. A restorer of vintage planes, she’s worked hard to earn the reputation of being one of the guys. The last thing she needs is a former Navy pilot fighting his own inner demons stepping in to defend her from dangers she thought she’d outrun long ago. Some battles must be fought alone.

After a freak accident severs Lieutenant Michael “Finch” Carrington’s dreams, as well as two limbs, he’s left with nothing but a fragile faith and a duty-bound promise to watch out for his friend’s baby sister. A promise she insists is as unnecessary as it is unappreciated. But when she turns the tables and begins to weld together the broken parts of his life, it may be his heart that is in need of protection.

England, 1944

With the world at war yet again, Alice Galloway rejects her father’s traditional expectations and offers her piloting expertise to the Air Transport Auxiliary. She may be a woman in a man’s world, but when she overhears key intelligence, she must find the strength to transcend boundaries and her own fears. Or countless people may die.

Sometimes the past reaches forward to bring hope to the future.

Carolina Dream

Carolina Dream by Regina Rudd Merrick

Why:  I recently won a free copy of this book from the God Is Love blog. It’s a debut novel (I love reading new authors), the premise sounds interesting, the reviews so far have been positive, and the first few pages read well.

About the Book: 

Sarah Crawford wants more from life than to attend the wedding of her ex-fiancée. An unexpected inheritance in South Carolina comes at the perfect time, just as Sarah is willing to use any excuse to get out of town.

When she meets potential business partner Jared Benton and discovers that a house is part of the inheritance, she is sure that God has been preparing her for this time through a recurring dream. But will a dream about an antebellum mansion, many rooms to be explored, and a man with dark brown eyes give her the confidence to take a leap of faith, leaving friends, family, and her job behind?

The Captive Brides Collection

The Captive Brides Collection by Jennifer AlLee, Angela Breidenbach, Susan Page Davis, Darlene Franklin, Patty Smith Hall, Cynthia Hicky, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Lucy Thompson, and Gina Welborn

Why:  I was perusing NetGalley for books to request for review and found the premise for this novella collection to be intriguing. I am also fairly sure I haven’t read anything by any of these authors before, so it will be a good way to know whether I should be looking for more of their work in the future. Plus, a novella collection might be just the thing to fit between appointments near the end of summer.

About the Book: 

Love Brings Freedom in 9 Historical Romances

Journey along as nine historical women are about to make their escape from some of life’s greatest challenges. Can their captive hearts be freed to dream, to dare, to love?

Love’s Labour’s Found by Jennifer AlLee – Montserrat, West Indies, 1655
Temperance Simms only wanted a better life. Instead, she finds herself labeled a criminal and sold as an indentured servant. After a kind man saves her life, can Temperance trust that God will turn her sorrow into something beautiful?

His Indentured Bride by Angela Breidenbach – Pennsylvania, 1770-1775
Leaving Scotland for a short indenture with her betrothed, Maire Gree’s contract is sold when disaster strikes her kindly owner, and then extended through cruel circumstances. Can Kirk Lachlan’s service in the American Revolution save her or will she lose love and freedom forever?

The Suspect Bride by Susan Page Davis – Oregon, 1890s
Verity Ames cooks at the restaurant where shy lawyer Jack Whitwell eats lunch daily. As Jack works up courage to ask her for a date, the sheriff walks into the restaurant and arrests her for murder.

His Golden Treasure by Darlene Franklin – Barbary Coast, San Francisco, CA, 1873
Goldie Hatfield grows up on in the Barbary Coast until her guardian demands she pay the cost of her upbringing—or work at her brothel. How far will Pastor Joshua Kerr go to set Goldie free?

Through Stormy Waters by Patty Smith Hall – Atlantic Ocean, 1755
Deported to the British colonies for her father’s crimes, Charlotte Singleton helps Captain Andrew Randell when an epidemic breaks out on the ship. Can two battered hearts find love in the midst of a storm?

Moira’s Quest by Cynthia Hickey – New York, 1869
A quest for revenge ends in a marriage of convenience and a feisty Irish lass discovers that not everything is as it seems as family secrets are revealed. An Irish cop, bent on saving the fallen women of Five Points, New York, finds himself thrust into the role of husband with a woman determined to break down a notorious crime boss. Can these two pull together and find a love bigger than they are?

Love’s Escape by Carrie Fancett Pagels – Virginia, 1850
With her life in peril, Lettie seeks escape from slavery. When Nathan offers to “conduct” her North via an unusual segment on the Underground Railroad, will his efforts help or do them both harm?

Waltzing Matilda by Lucy Thompson – Sydney, Australia, 1821
Henry didn’t plan on a runaway convict masquerading as a shepherd. Or on the woman’s baby. Keeping them safe will cost him his freedom—or will it?

A Score to Settle by Gina Welborn – On the Missouri River, 1870
For JoJo the kiss was a means to an end—she wanted his wallet. For Cyrus her kiss changed everything. He vows to help her escape the snake oil salesman she works for, but exposing the man’s lies may mean settling a score at a cost neither JoJo nor Cyrus can pay.

Finding Love At the Oregon Coast

Finding Love at the Oregon Coast – a novella collection by Angela Ruth Strong, Christina Coryell, Heather Whoodhaven,  and Lisa Phillips

Why:  When I was researching the small publishing company, Mountain Brook Ink, in preparation for attending the SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference where the owner would be available for appointments, I discovered this collection with a novella by Christina Coryell. I recognized Coryell’s name as the author of one of my favorite stories (Mowed Over) from the Love at First Laugh novella collection.  So I bought this one because I liked one of the authors (I don’t recognize the others).

About the Book: 

When a wedding is cancelled, three bridesmaids and a runaway bride contemplate the true meaning of love in four related romance novellas.

By Heather Woodhaven–Finding Love in Lincoln City: Liz feels stuck at her little beach magazine until a handsome rival sparks more than just friendly competition.

By Lisa Phillips–Finding Love in Oceanside: Anabeth is looking to get out of her rut when a fender bender and a bizarre date with a former marine leads her to a life of love she could never have imagined.

By Christina Coryell–Finding Love in Cannon Beach: Kadence feels the pressure to write a perfect love song, but an unexpected meeting with a musician will have her living one instead.

By Angela Ruth Strong–Finding Love in Seaside: Christina plans to spend her honeymoon alone, but when the bed and breakfast owner offers her a position as cook, she starts to feel at home in his kitchen…and in his arms.

 

One Thousand White Women

One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus

Why:  I stumbled across this one purely by chance on Amazon and found the premise positively fascinating.

About the Book:

One Thousand White Women is the story of May Dodd and a colorful assembly of pioneer women who, under the auspices of the U.S. government, travel to the western prairies in 1875 to intermarry among the Cheyenne Indians. The covert and controversial “Brides for Indians” program, launched by the administration of Ulysses S. Grant, is intended to help assimilate the Indians into the white man’s world. Toward that end May and her friends embark upon the adventure of their lifetime. Jim Fergus has so vividly depicted the American West that it is as if these diaries are a capsule in time.

Important UPDATE Note:  While I was aware that One Thousand White Women was written for the general market, as opposed to a Christian audience, at the time this post was originally written,  I was unaware of its occasional use of profanity and reference to subjects which some Christians may find distasteful or offensive. Consider yourself warned. This book made my DNF (Did Not Finish) list.

Turtles in the Road

Turtles in the Road by Rhonda Rhea & Kaley Rhea

Why:  This one was highly recommended on a fellow FLF blog and sounds like a fun read with a sense of humor.

About the Book: 

Sometimes a detour takes you exactly where you need to be.

Piper Cope was so sure the Lord called her to be a pastor’s wife. So when her pastor/fiancé breaks it off, she’s every kind of puzzled. Does God even have a purpose for her anymore? On the road halfway between the bridges she’s burned and some kind of new start, she encounters the most unexpected detour. She swerves on a rainy road to miss a turtle and ends up in a ditch with an airbag to the face. Now stuck in this little town, she wonders how in the world she could’ve gotten her God-signals so very crossed. And how in the world is she supposed to know what He wants her to do now? In the meantime, at least the community center guy, Jay Marler, has her working a temporary job there. Problem is, somehow she’s coaching a children’s basketball team. She does not…basketball. And she certainly does not children.

Beneath the golden veil

Beneath a Golden Veil by Melanie Dobson

Why:  The connection to an lesser known part of California’s nineteenth century history will get me every time.

About the Book: 

As elegant as the Sacramento residence she operates, Isabelle Labrie keeps her past concealed, like the treasure she hides under the Golden Hotel. It’s 1853, the heyday of the California Gold Rush. Isabelle is full of hope, staking her claim on the city’s refined clientele and her future on a sweetheart’s promise to marry her when he returns from the gold fields. Then, unexpected guests—fugitive slaves seeking safe passage to the North—force her to confront her past and reconsider her path.

While Isabelle learns to trust God’s provisions, a law student in Virginia must confront his father’s cruelty and rescue a young slave from his family’s tobacco plantation. As the two escape to freedom, and Isabelle risks everything to harbor runaway slaves, the past and present are set on an inevitable collision course—one that reveals hidden treasures of the heart.

from this moment

From This Moment by Elizabeth Camden

Why:  I recently finished reading Against the Tide and want to read more of Elizabeth Camden’s work, plus I was able to snag this one on Audible which means I can listen to it while I do laundry or whatever brainless chore is taking me away from my precious books.

About the Book: 

Romulus White has tried for years to hire illustrator Stella West for his renowned scientific magazine. She is the missing piece he needs to propel his magazine to the forefront of the industry.

But Stella abruptly quit the art world and moved to Boston with a single purpose: to solve the mysterious death of her beloved sister. Romulus, a man with connections to high society and every important power circle in the city, could be her most valuable ally.

Sparks fly the instant Stella and Romulus join forces, and Romulus soon realizes the strong-willed and charismatic Stella could disrupt his hard-won independence. Can they continue to help each other when their efforts draw the wrong kind of attention from the powers-that-be and put all they’ve worked for at risk?

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Three Words and a Kiss by Sondra Kraak

Why: I loved the first two books in Sondra’s Love That Counts series!

About the Book:  Although a little birdy told me to expect this release near the end of summer, it isn’t even out for pre-order yet so I don’t know much about this one. I only know what Sondra shared in her interview with me:

In Three Words and a Kiss (this year’s release), my hero Cam experiences an identity crisis. His safe, routine life is turned upside down when the owner of his blacksmith shop, Samantha Klein, comes to town. Samantha’s nickname is Sam. I wanted their names to rhyme so that Cam feels like even something as fundamental as his name is being stripped from him (she doesn’t like how their names sound alike and asks him to change his. What?! He’s not going for that).

Looking for more reading suggestions? Check out these post by fellow Christian Fiction lovers:

My Top 10 Anticipated Summer Reads & Why They Made the Cut by Chautona Havig

2017 Summer Reading List by Radiant Light

Summer Reading Roundup by Moments Dipped In Ink

Summer Reading List 2017 by A Baker’s Perspective

 

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How it works:

STEP 1 – Tweet or post (publicly) on Facebook the answer to this question & TAG ME @KathleenDenly :

  1. Which book would you like to win a copy of? (You may pick any book from this post OR any book which I have previously reviewed on this blog!)

(Your tweet/FB post could read:  I’m hoping to win BOOK TITLE HERE from @KathleenDenly!)

STEP 2 –  Leave a comment on this post with the answer to this question –

  1. Which of the books in my Summer Reading Roundup 2017 post sound the most appealing to you? (I will add the most popular book to my list of books to review here on the blog!)

RULES:

MUST complete both steps to enter. Shares and comments must be complete by midnight July 17th! Winner will be announced in a special post on this blog July 19th. Winner must contact me at writeKathleenDenly@gmail.com within 24 hours of the announcement and provide an email address for prize delivery.

WINNER WILL RECEIVE:  1 digital copy of their chosen book delivered to their email via Amazon.