First Line Friday – 10.19.17


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!

This week I am trying something a little different. I’m having trouble deciding which book to read next and I’d love your opinion!  Below, I am sharing the first lines from each of the books I am debating between.

Take a look and let me know in the comments which one you think I should read first!

Option #1:

My Foolish Heart cover image

Here’s the first line:

For two hours a night, Monday through Saturday, Isadora Presley became the girl she’d lost.

Here’s the description:

Unknown to her tiny town of Deep Haven, Isadora Presley spends her nights as Miss Foolish Heart, the star host of a syndicated talk radio show. Millions tune in to hear her advice on dating and falling in love, unaware that she’s never really done either. Issy’s ratings soar when it seems she’s falling in love on-air with a caller. A caller she doesn’t realize lives right next door.

Caleb Knight served a tour of duty in Iraq and paid a steep price. The last thing he wants is pity, so he hides his disability and moves to Deep Haven to land his dream job as the high school football coach. When his beautiful neighbor catches his eye, in a moment of desperation he seeks advice from My Foolish Heart, the show that airs before his favorite sports broadcast.

Before he knows it, Caleb finds himself drawn to the host—and more confused than ever. Is his perfect love the woman on the radio . . . Or the one next door?


Option #2:

An Improper Proposal cover image

Here’s the first line:

Olin Springs, Colorado, 1880

The shooter did not flinch.

Here’s the description:

Love hadn’t brought her to Colorado, but it might be the one thing that keeps her there.

Mail order bride Mae Ann Remington won’t let circumstances get in her way. When someone else’s greed costs her everything—including her groom—she does the only thing she can in a new town with no money or friends. She asks a stranger to marry her.

Cattleman Cade Parker stops at the bank to withdraw cash for his sister, not find himself a wife. But that’s exactly what happens after a bank robbery leaves a farmer dead and his headstrong bride-to-be making a desperate business proposition.

Convinced he’s gone loco, Cade accepts the spirited young woman’s offer, and they stop by the church before heading to the ranch, his horses, and the herd. He’s soon adding to Mae Ann’s fine cooking skills by teaching her to ride, shoot, and do what he tells her. She manages the first two fairly well, but gets her back up at the third.

Cade struggles to keep his emotional distance from the stubborn gal whose gentle ways start drawing him in. But when a greedy neighbor challenges Mae Ann’s inheritance of her former intended’s run-down farm, Cade and Mae Ann drive to court at the county seat and into the jaws of a deadly storm. Not only must Cade fight to keep his new bride safe, he’s got to keep his heart from stampeding out of control.

Taking on snakes, scoundrels, and second chances is one thing, but falling in love wasn’t part of the deal.


The Comparison:

First of all, both of these authors are new to me, which I love.

Secondly, Option #1 is categorized as a Christian romance while Option #2 is categorized as a “Sweet Romance”.

Thirdly, Option #1 is contemporary while Option #2 is historical.

Why each appeals to me:

Option 1: Um, hello? That first line is fantastic! Are you kidding me? Yes! I’m hooked. Plus, the whole bit about the hero debating between two women who are really the same person… how fun is that?

Option 2: I know, I wrote a whole paragraph on how overdone the mail-order bride thing has been, but 1) it’s been done so often for a reason and 2) I love the twist this author gives it by shooting the heroine’s intended right off the bat. So cold. Genius. But cold. Plus, the first page is very compelling. I had to make myself put it down to go feed my kids.

Okay, so those are my thoughts. Tell me yours. Which do you think I should read first and WHY?

And don’t forget to grab the book nearest to you and include the first (or your favorite) line in your comment!

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

Who’s that Hero? – A Matching Game

Who's That Hero - Sondra Kraak Guest Post Image

Happy Monday everyone! Today one of my favorite authors has come up with a super fun matching game to share with us as part of her blog tour celebrating the current sale on one of my favorite books, Two Ways Home. While it is the second book in her fantastic Love That Counts series, it can easily stand on its own…. although I loved the first book as well, and highly recommend it!


Two-Ways-Home cover image
On sale for just $0.99 NOW through May 25, 2017! Don’t miss out!

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

Washington, 1892

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

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

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

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

A little about Sondra

Please welcome the amazingly talented, Sondra Kraak! 🙂


Who’s that Hero? A matching game for lovers of Christian fiction.


Challenge #1

Luke is my favorite boy’s name. Unfortunately, my husband isn’t as crazy about the name Luke, so my son is named Silas. Match these four Lukes with their historical romance stories:


Luke #1: is a Texas Ranger, goes undercover and wears overalls instead of his usual fancy duds, loves to bird hunt, but falls in love with a bird enthusiast, has named his guns.

Luke #2: is a twin, desires to be married and have a family, lives with his brother, Silas (another great name!), looks after his stubborn grandma, falls in love with a heroine who is hiding from danger.

Luke #3: has a “fiery” secret and an aversion to hand-holding, is a wounded Texas Ranger falsely accused, falls in love with a childhood nemesis, finds solace by his father’s grave.

Luke #4: falls in love with a woman he rescues, is falsely accused, seeks vengeance for his father’s death and to gain back his ranch.

Can you match them?

Luke Stone, Swept Away, Mary Connealy

Luke Cameron, A Place Called Home, Lori Wick

Luke Palmer, Love on the Line, Deeanne Gist

Luke Thomas, Two Ways Home, Sondra Kraak


Challenge #2

2) My favorite hero is the strong and steady quiet guy who carries deep wounds. Here are some examples. Can you match them with their wounds? (historical and contemporary)


Wound 1: His brother followed him into battle and died.

Wound 2: Grew up in a violent home, faced capture, was forced to watch a woman suffer.

Wound 3: He was abandoned and homeless as a boy.

Wound 4: His mother died after a preacher prophesied she’d be healed.

Wound 5: He disappointed his father, doubts a decision that resulted in the death of team members.

Wound 6: His wife died of cancer.

Can you match them?

Tristan Porter, Such a Hope, Sondra Kraak

Malachi Shaw, No Other Will Do, Karen Witemeyer

Daniel Ranslett, From A Distance, Tamera Alexander

Reuben Marshall, Burnin’ for You, Susan May Warren

Matt Jarreau, My Stubborn Heart, Becky Wade

Dean Watters, Raptor 6, Ronie Kendig


Challenge #3

And how about those outgoing guys with an edge of flirt in them (or more than an edge of flirt as is the case with some)? They’re fun, too. Match these quotes to their books.


Quote 1.

She tapped the green accept button. “Hello?”

“Hey, beautiful you want to grab some coffee?”

Furrows formed between her eyes. Who in the world? “I’m sorry. You must have the wrong number.”

She pulled the phone away from her ear but stopped short of disconnecting when she heard the voice on the other end say her name. Her lips turned down. “Who is this?”

“Who do you think it is, babe? I told you I’d call.”


Quote 2.

He smiled. She was scared all right. But so much the better. That would make her wish he were with her. “If we were married, I’d stay and protect you.”

She stiffened. “I’ll have you know I was on my own long before I came here. I didn’t need a man then, and I certainly don’t need one now.”


Quote 3.

I smiled and nudged my shoulder playfully against his. “Are you ever serious?”

His fingers tightened against mine. In the darkness of the underground cave, the flickering flames of the fire cast a glow over his face and lit up his eyes. “I’m serious when I say I’d allow myself to be thrashed any day in order to see you.”

. . .

“You’re crazy,” I whispered.

“Not half as crazy as you,” he whispered back.


Quote 4. 

“How’ve you been, sweet one?”

“I’ve been fine, showboat.”

He grinned crookedly. “Showboat?”

“Yep.” The sizzle of meat on the stove reminded her or her spaghetti sauce. She returned to the kitchen . . . “Since you insist on calling me a nickname, I figured it was only fair to respond in kind.” She positioned herself at the stove and went back to work on the ground turkey.

[He] crossed his muscled arms and leaned a hip against the edge of the countertop. “Was showboat the best you could do? I don’t like it.”


“What about Maverick? Adonis?”

She rolled her eyes.

“This might be too obvious, but how about Stud?”

“Believe me. It’s not in the least obvious.”

“Well, showboat’s no good.”

She made a scoffing sound. “Tough luck. You don’t get to pick.”


Quote 5.

[He] pulled out and she took off her hat, tossed it on the dash, then tugged out the tie from her hair, running her fingers through the strands to work out the snarls.

Only then did she see [him] glancing t her, more than once.


“Nothing, I’m just wondering what’s on your agenda. ’Cause we have work to do.”

She stared at him, and then he smiled. “I’m just kidding, Speedy. I wouldn’t think of hittin’ on you.”

She laughed too, because this was their game.

He flirted, she pushed him away, and round and round they went.

“I wouldn’t date you anyway.”

“Aw, c’mon. I’m fun.” He pulled into the Griz, an all-night convenience store.

“Believe me, I know. Word gets around . . . all fun, all the time.”


Quote 6.

He’d test how much she really wanted his help. He moved his horse beside her and offered a hand. “Climb on.”

Without looking at him, she shook her head. “Walking is good exercise. It allows space to think.”

That’s what he thought. Stubborn. Self-sufficient. “How about space to breathe, or is that unnecessary?”

She grunted, a sound so unladylike his grin shot up the sides of his face. Space between them was a good idea. He’d lost his mind offering to let her nestle in the saddle in front of him. They had enough issues with closeness. No need to encourage more.

She’d be too proper to accept, anyway. Not that sharing a ride was improper. Not out here where priorities shifted from maintaining decorum to being neighborly.

She slipped, reached for a branch, and cried out as her hand slid along a spindly limb.

“You all right?”

She paused, drew in a deep breath, and wiped her brow.

Yeah, she was fine, besides the scowl the size of Washington that settled on her face.

“I’ll take that ride.”

His heart stumbled. He’d have to dig deep for the ability to remain unscathed by her leaning against him.

Who was he kidding? She scathed him in every way. He’d have about as much hope to remain unaffected by her nearness as the sun would have of hanging in the sky longer.

Can you match them?

Joe Denton, A Bride in the Bargain, Deeanne Gist

Ty Porter, Meant to Be Mine, Becky Wade

Sir Collin, A Daring Sacrifice, Jody Hedlund

Barrett Clarke, One Plus One Equals Trouble, Sondra Kraak

Pete Brooks, Rescue Me, Susan May Warren

Trent Carrington, Finders Keepers, Sarah Monzon


Challenge #4

In my interview today with Trisha Robertson, I list several guilty pleasures (I could have listed ten). Name one of them and tell me one of yours!


 Challenge #5

In my interview last Saturday with Katie Donovan, I shared my favorite place to read. What is it? And what is your favorite place to read?


BONUS Challenge

Finally, a bonus question. Can you guess my two favorite heroes of this entire game—not counting my own. And who of this bunch is your favorite?


Thanks for playing! Feel free to invite a friend to join the fun.

Who’s that Hero? A matching game for lovers of Christian fiction. – Click to Tweet!

Try this Matching Game for Christian Bibliophiles! – Click to Tweet!

Now check your answers and post your score below!




Luke #1: Luke Palmer, Love on the Line, Deeanne Gist

Luke #2: Luke  A Place Called Home, Lori Wick

Luke #3: Luke Thomas, Two Ways Home, Sondra Kraak

Luke #4: Luke Stone, Swept Away, Mary Connealy)


Quiet, wounded heroes:

Wound 1: Daniel Ranslett, From A Distance, Tamera Alexander

Wound 2: Dean Watters, Raptor 6, Ronie Kendig

Wound 3: Malachi Shaw, No Other Will Do, Karen Witemeyer

Wound 4: Tristan Porter, Such a Hope, Sondra Kraak

Wound 5: Reuben Marshall, Burnin’ for You, Susan May Warren

Wound 6: Matt Jarreau, My Stubborn Heart, Becky Wade


Outgoing, flirtatious heroes:

Quote 1: Trent Carrington, Finders Keepers, Sarah Monzon

Quote 2: Joe Denton, A Bride in the Bargain, Deeanne Gist

Quote 3: Sir Collin, A Daring Sacrifice, Jody Hedlund

Quote 4: Ty Porter, Meant to Be Mine, Becky Wade

Quote 5: Pete Brooks, Rescue Me, Susan May Warren

Quote 6: Barrett Clarke, One Plus One Equals Trouble, Sondra Kraak


Guilty Pleasures:

baths, Calvin and Hobbes comics, parentheses


Favorite Reading Spot:

in a cabin on a rainy day by a fire



Dean Watters, Matt Jarreau


How did you do? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

Remember, Two Ways Home is only on sale for a limited time! Don’t miss out on this seriously fun read!

If you’re interested in following this blog tour for other interviews, character spotlights, and more, here’s the schedule:

Katie at Fiction Aficionado (interview, excerpt), Saturday, May 20
Kathleen Denly (game), Monday, May 22
Trisha at Joy of Reading (interview), Monday, May 22
Beth Erin at Faithfully Bookish (setting spotlight), Tuesday, May 23
Jessica at A Baker’s Perspective (spotlight on heroine), Wednesday, May 24
Sydney at Singing Librarian (interview, spotlight on hero), Thursday, May 25

Two Ways Home Blog Tour May 2017