First Line Friday — How The Light Gets In

18 Jan

It seemed like I waited a long time to get my hands on How The Light Gets In by Jolina Petersheim. But my mail carrier finally came through earlier this week, and it will be my weekend read. The first line hits you in the gut, so I am bracing myself for an emotional read. What about you? What are you reading this weekend. Please share your first line.

There are more fabulous first lines to discover over at Hoarding Books. Be sure to visit!

 

From the highly acclaimed author of The Outcast and The Alliance comes an engrossing novel about marriage and motherhood, loss and moving on.

When Ruth Neufeld’s husband and father-in-law are killed working for a relief organization overseas, she travels to Wisconsin with her young daughters and mother-in-law Mabel to bury her husband. She hopes the Mennonite community will be a quiet place to grieve and piece together next steps.

Ruth and her family are welcomed by Elam, her husband’s cousin, who invites them to stay at his cranberry farm through the harvest. Sifting through fields of berries and memories of a marriage that was broken long before her husband died, Ruth finds solace in the beauty of the land and healing through hard work and budding friendship. She also encounters the possibility of new love with Elam, whose gentle encouragement awakens hopes and dreams she thought she’d lost forever.

But an unexpected twist threatens to unseat the happy ending Ruth is about to write for herself. On the precipice of a fresh start and a new marriage, Ruth must make an impossible decision: which path to choose if her husband isn’t dead after all.

Jolina Petersheim is the highly acclaimed author of The Divide, The Alliance, The Midwife, and The Outcast, which Library Journal called “outstanding . . . fresh and inspirational” in a starred review and named one of the best books of 2013. That book also became an ECPA, CBA, and Amazon bestseller and was featured in Huffington Post’s Fall Picks, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and the Tennessean. CBA Retailers + Resources called her second book, The Midwife, “an excellent read [that] will be hard to put down,” and Booklist selected The Alliance as one of their Top 10 Inspirational Fiction Titles for 2016. The Alliance was also a finalist for the 2017 Christy Award in the Visionary category. The sequel to The Alliance, The Divide, won the 2018 INSPY Award for Speculative Fiction. Jolina’s non-fiction writing has been featured in Reader’s Digest, Writer’s Digest, Today’s Christian Woman, and Proverbs 31 Ministries. She and her husband share the same unique Amish and Mennonite heritage that originated in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, but they now live in the mountains of Tennessee with their three young daughters. Jolina’s fifth novel, How the Light Gets In, a modern retelling of Ruth set in a cranberry bog in Wisconsin, releases March 2019.

 

 

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Handmade Hearts Blog Blitz! + Giveaway!

17 Jan

Handmade Hearts blog blitz

Welcome to the Blog Blitz & Giveaway for Handmade Hearts by June McCrary Jacobs, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Handmade Hearts Cover.jpgTitle: Handmade Hearts
Author: June McCrary Jacobs
Publisher: JMJ Story Stitcher Books
Release Date: December 18, 2018
Genre: Historical Romance

‘Handmade Hearts’ is an historical romance short story set in New Orleans during World War II and was inspired by a true story.

Toward the end of his life, the author asked her Uncle ‘Allen’ how he met his wife. He shared about how he met ‘Irene’ at a church social in their neighborhood in New Orleans in the early 1940s. He had been seriously wounded in Guadalcanal in the South Pacific as a young Marine and was using crutches to get around as best he could.

He had many inner wounds which needed time to heal, too. He had no way of knowing when they first met that Irene had suffered her own wartime tragedy. She bravely sought to keep her grief locked away deep inside because thinking about her loss caused her even more sorrow. She needed to be strong because she was the breadwinner for her small family.

Times were tough, but these two unique individuals made it through each day with inner fortitude, determination, and the sincere hope of something greater just over the horizon.

This inspirational short story follows the growth of Allen and Irene’s relationship beginning with their chance meeting and leading forward to a lifetime spent together. ‘Handmade Hearts’ was created to honor this unique couple’s love for and devotion to each other in a relationship which spanned seven decades.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon

 

EXCERPT

At Irene’s prompting, Allen shared about his older brothers, Edwin and Jack, and their current military assignments at the Pentagon and in Europe. 

“My oldest brother, Edwin, was drafted by the U.S. Army right after Pearl Harbor. When the Army tested his aptitude, they learned he is highly intelligent. I guess the Army was surprised a farm boy from Mississippi with only a high school education was so smart. He was always a whiz at math in school. Didn’t even need paper and pencil to do equations.” Allen smiled to himself. “Now he works in Communications at the Pentagon. Top-secret, high-security clearance, you know the drill.”

“His job sounds intriguing.” Irene said.

“He can’t tell us much about his work, but besides being homesick, he enjoys it. My middle brother, Jack, is in the Army serving under General Patton. We haven’t heard much from him because of the restrictions on communications for his unit, but we do know he is serving under Patton somewhere in Europe. We hear bits and pieces about Patton’s goings-on from the radio reports, and sometimes in the newspaper. My mother is most worried about Jack now, since I made it home alive and Edwin probably won’t ever see combat.”

Allen’s eyes shone with pride as he discussed his brothers’ accomplishments and promotions. He brushed over his service in the Marines, noticeably omitting details of his injury and his current medical condition. Instead he talked about his hobbies — cars and fishing.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

author photo_black & white

June McCrary Jacobs was the winner of Cedar Fort Publishing’s 2013 Holiday Tale Contest for her debut novella, ‘A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom’. ‘Robin’s Reward’, her first full-length novel, was set in her favorite location in California—the Mendocino coastal region. This book is the first installment of the ‘Bonita Creek Trilogy’.

June’s debut middle-grade novel, ‘RES-Q Tyler Stop’, an historical novel set in Sonoma County, California, in 1968, will be released in the spring of 2019. The second installment of the ‘Bonita Creek Trilogy’, ‘Penny’s Promise’, will be released in late 2019 or early 2020.

June’s original sewing, quilting, and stitchery designs have been published in over one hundred books, magazines, and on sewing industry blogs in the past decade. When she’s not writing, reading, blogging, or sewing, June enjoys cooking, walking, visiting art and history museums, and touring historic homes and gardens.

CONNECT WITH JUNE: Blog | Facebook | Goodreads | Goodreads Blog | Amazon


TOUR GIVEAWAY

handmade hearts giveaway

(1) winner will win an ebook copy of Handmade Hearts + $15 Amazon Gift Code
(2) additional winners will each receive an ebook copy of Handmade Hearts

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight January 15, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm January 22, 2019. Open internationally except where prohibited by law. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

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Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

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Book Review: Prince Edward’s Warrant

16 Jan

Master Hugh won the Black Prince’s favor when he helped to ease the Prince’s illness. Now, in the autumn of 1372, the prince is suffering a relapse and sends to Bampton for Master Hugh to attend him. While at dinner in Kennington Palace, Sir Giles, the knight who escorted Hugh to London, is stricken and dies. Poison! Sir Giles is not popular, and there are many who would gladly see the fellow done away with — except for Prince Edward. The Black Prince feels a debt to the slain man because of his heroic behavior at the Battle of Crecy, where the knight stood firm with the prince when the fight seemed of uncertain outcome. Despite caring little for Sir Giles, Master Hugh must once again place himself in jeopardy and seek to uncover the perpetrator of the crime.

 

Mel Starr was born and grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He graduated from Spring Arbor High School in 1960, and Greenville College (Illinois) in 1964. He received an MA in history from Western Michigan University in 1970. He taught history in Michigan public schools for thirty-nine years, thirty-five of those in Portage, MI, where he retired in 2003 as chairman of the social studies department of Portage Northern High School.

Mel married Susan Brock in 1965. They have two daughters, and seven grandchildren.

 

My Impressions:

Master Hugh de Singleton is back with a new chronicle of a mystery solved in Prince Edward’s Warrant. Hugh must leave the comfort of his hearth to minister to the Black Prince Edward. Having served him well in France, Hugh is called to treat and cure, if he can, the malady that afflicts the prince. But as always, Hugh soon finds himself in the midst of a mystery, this time the poisoning of one of Edward’s favorite knights. The bodies soon pile up as Hugh doggedly follows the clues.

Mel Starr’s historical mysteries are some of my favorites. Limited by his time and place, Hugh manages to use his intuition, limited scientific knowledge, and insight into the human psyche to solve complex crimes of passion and greed. The setting for the latest novel is Kennington Palace, a long gone favorite of Prince Edward. Life at court, with its protocol, amusements, and hierarchy, is shared with a detail that adds to the narrative. Hugh is a chronicler of more than murder and mayhem, and shares his thoughts on the fashions, customs, and politics of 14th century England. I especially love Hugh’s musings on the religious practices and dogma of the day. Hugh also has a dry wit that is spotlighted in his dealings with Edward’s personal physician. While Hugh may be a mere mechanic in his profession as surgeon, he is much more practical and methodical in his study of the common diseases of the day than the puffed up Dr. Blackwell. As both bailiff to Sir Gilbert and surgeon, Hugh brings a mix of expertise to his quest for the perpetrators. Fans of mysteries will love Hugh’s detecting prowess.

Another winner from the skilled pen of Starr, Prince Edward’s Warrant is a must-read for fans of historical mysteries and medieval fiction.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Lion Hudson and NetGalley for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday — 2018 New-To-Me Authors

15 Jan

I read a number of new-to-me and debut authors in 2018. Great books all! And a promise of more great books to come! Because I am an eclectic reader, you will find romance, women’s fiction, dual-time stories, mystery, and suspense in the mix — something for just about everyone. I hope you find a new-to-you author to enjoy.

Head over to That Artsy Reader Girl for other bloggers’ new-to-them authors.

Top New-To-Me Authors

 

Lynn Blackburn — Beneath The Surface

 

Lindsey Brackett — Still Waters

 

Lisa Carter — A Vast and Gracious Tide

 

Lauren K. Denton — Hurricane Season

 

Lindsay Harrel — The Heart Between Us

 

Carla Laureano — The Saturday Night Supper Club

 

Valerie Fraser Luesse — Missing Isaac

 

Lisa McKay — My Hands Came Away Red

 

Sarah Monzon — Freedom’s Kiss

 

Jaime Jo Wright — The House on Foster Hill

 

Book Review: The Liberty Bride

14 Jan
War Forces a Choice Between Love and Country

A trip home from England to Maryland in 1812 finds Emeline Baratt a captive on a British warship and forced to declare her allegiance between the British and Americans. Remaining somewhat politically neutral on a ship where her nursing skills are desperately needed is fairly easy — until she starts to have feelings for the first lieutenant who becomes her protector. However, when the captain sends her and Lieutenant Owen Masters on land to spy, she must choose between her love for him and her love for her country.

 

Award winning and best-selling author, MaryLu Tyndall dreamt of pirates and sea-faring adventures during her childhood days on Florida’s Coast. After obtaining a degree in Math and working as software engineer for 15 years, she decided to test the waters as a writer. With now more than seventeen books published, she makes no excuses for the deeply spiritual themes embedded within her romantic adventures. As a follower of Christ, her stories often reflect her own journey and walk with God. Her hope is that readers will not only be entertained but will be brought closer to the Creator who loves them beyond measure. In a culture that accepts the occult, wizards, zombies, and vampires without batting an eye, MaryLu hopes to show the awesome present and powerful acts of God in a dying world. MaryLu makes her home with her husband, six children, two grandkids, and three cats on the California coast, where her imagination still surges with the sea.

My Impressions:

Those of you who love a seafaring tale are in for a treat with The Liberty Bride by Marylu Tyndall, the latest installment in the Daughters of the Mayflower series. This time a descendant of Mary Elizabeth Chapman and William Lytton is right in the middle of the War of 1812! It is 1814 and the young nation’s capital has been burned to the ground and the British have their sights on Baltimore. As the daughter of a privateer, Emeline Baratt takes on the persona of a British sympathizer in order to gain valuable information for the American cause. Danger and  . . . love awaits Emeline and the handsome Naval officer who may not be as he seems.

There is plenty of action in The Liberty Bride, an historical novel that brings the sea battles and land skirmishes of the conflict between America and Britain to life. I especially liked the attention to detail while the main characters reside on board the warship HMS Marauder. Whether you are a seasoned sailor or a landlubber like me, you will appreciate the feel of life on board a naval vessel. Emeline is an intrepid character who fights against the desire for an adventurous life and what is required of a proper lady. Her decision to spy is spontaneous, but she is determined to fulfill her role even at the threat of death. Hunky and handsome First Lieutenant Owen Masters is also determined to aid his country and receive his reward. While both characters never lose their daredevil traits they do grow in their relationship with God, overcoming stereotypes and false impressions of what it really means to follow Christ. Freedom has been a continuous thread in the series, and in The Liberty Bride the characters learn what it means to be free indeed. The author includes several characters who positively model the Christian life — a great example to Emeline, Owen, and the reader! Romance is also front and center, and fans will love the chemistry between the characters and the promise of a happily-ever-after life of adventure for Emeline and Owen.

This fast-paced novel is easily read as a standalone and makes a great weekend read. The Liberty Bride is a recommended read!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Barbour for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

First Line Friday — Secrets at Cedar Cabin

11 Jan

Happy Friday! What are you looking forward to reading in the coming weeks? One book coming up quickly in my TBR list is Secrets at Cedar Cabin by Colleen Coble. Coble is one of my favs, and her Lavender Tides series is one of her best. If this romantic suspense isn’t on your radar yet, take a look at the first line and the blurb.

Please leave a comment with your first line, then head over to Hoarding Books for more fabulous first lines!

 

Her mother lied about her identity and her husband wasn’t who she thought he was — can Bailey even trust herself anymore?

Running for her life in the wake of her mother’s murder, Bailey Fleming escapes to the only place she can think of—a remote, dilapidated cabin in Lavender Tides. Intending to finally get to the truth behind the lies of her past, Bailey only finds more questions when bodies are discovered near her cabin hideout along with traces of a dangerous human trafficking ring. In an unlikely partnership with FBI agent Lance Phoenix, Bailey races to understand the mystery surrounding her life and circumstances before the murderer tracks her down. 

Meanwhile, Lance is determined to rescue his sister, Ava, who was abducted after running away from home as a teenager. An unexpected lead brings him to the remote cabin, and he wonders if Bailey — with her suspicious past and strange connections to his sister’s case — is really who she claims to be and if she can somehow lead him to Ava. 

Filled with Colleen Coble’s custom blend of suspense and romance, Secrets at Cedar Cabin takes us back to the evocative landscape of Washington’s coast where nothing is quite as it seems.

Best-selling author Colleen Coble‘s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has over 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana. Visit her website at http://colleencoble.com.

 

Book Review (+Giveaway!): No Safe Place

10 Jan


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

No Safe Place
By Sherri Shackelford
Christian Romantic Suspense
Paperback & ebook, 224 Pages
January 1st 2019 by Love Inspired Suspense

He lives by the law.

She’s running for her life.

After forensic accountant Beth Greenwood uncovers a money-laundering scheme tying her company to the organization that murdered her mentor, she knows she needs to go into hiding. With ruthless killers in pursuit, she’s forced to rely on homeland security agent Corbin Ross’s protection — even as his investigation suggests Beth is complicit in embezzlement. Can their uneasy alliance develop into something deeper — and keep them alive?

GoodreadsAmazonB&NHarlequiniBooksKobo

About the Author

A former naval reservist with a top-secret security clearance, Sherri writes rapid-fire suspense featuring captivating characters and heart-pounding romance. She’s authored more than a dozen novels for Harper Collins publishing, including both historical and contemporary suspense.

WebsiteGoodreadsFacebookTwitterBookBubPinterestInstagram

 

My Impressions:

If you are looking for an adrenaline-laced, romantic suspense to start off your reading new year, then you need to check out No Safe Place by Sherri Shackelford! This book has it all — engaging characters, danger and intrigue aplenty, and romantic sparks. Staid forensic accountant Beth and hunky superhero Corbin team up to outwit and outrun the bad guys. Cyber crime and terrorism keep this novel relevant and plausible. Plus the chemistry between the two is sweet and sassy. I figured a few things out before the main characters, but they didn’t have as much info as I 😉 . The ending is a sweet happily-ever-after with a bit of a twist. You know you want that HEA! Faith is important to the characters, and their trust in God deepens as they navigate the attacks. All in all this book would be a great companion for a weekend getaway or staycation. Suspense and HEA — what are you waiting for!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Prism Book Tours for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Tour Schedule

January 7th:
Launch
The Power of Words
Splashes of Joy
January 8th:
Hearts & Scribbles
Jorie Loves A Story
January 9th:
Colorimetry
Rockin’ Book Reviews
January 10th:
Simply Kelina
Labor Not in Vain
By The Book
January 11th:
The Barefoot Reader
Heidi Reads…
January 14th:
Faithfully Bookish
Locks, Hooks and Books
Among the Reads
January 15th:
Book by Book
The Becca Files
January 16th:
EmpowerMoms
Wishful Endings
Author Loraine D. Nunley
January 17th:
Tell Tale Book Reviews
Harlie’s Books
Two Girls and a Book
January 18th:
Min Reads and Reviews
Remembrancy
January 19th:
Grand Finale

Tour Giveaway

1 winner will win “A Little Bit More Romance Box,” which includes the following items in a Decorative Box (pictured):
– Romance Bubble Bath
– Classic Cover Harlequin Notebook
– Collectible Addition Book of Romance Poems
– Romance Bath Bomb
– Scented Candle
– Fuzzy Socks
– Books: No Safe Place and His Substitute Mail-Order Bride by Sherri Shackelford, and Undercover Memories by Lenora Worth

US only
Ends January 23, 2019

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