First Line Friday — The Road to Magnolia Glen

17 Jan

Happy Friday! Today’s first line continues my journey through the TBR shelves. I have a lot of books that NEED to be read — I just NEED to find the time! The Road to Magnolia Glen by Pam Hillman calls to me because of its setting — Mississippi of 1792. Mississippi is a state dear to my heart. I attended college and grad school there, as well as married a Mississippi boy. 🙂 I have a lot of ties that bind my heart, and I love that this book is set in a time in Mississippi history I am unfamiliar with.

Have you read The Road To Magnolia Glen?

What are your thoughts?

For more fabulous first line fun, head over to Hoarding Books.

 

 

1792, Natchez Trace, MS
Bitter since his eldest brother abandoned their family in Ireland, Quinn O’Shea travels to Natchez, Mississippi, ready to shuck the weight of his duty and set off on an adventure of his own. It’s time Connor, as head of the family, took responsibility for their younger siblings. While aboard ship, a run-in with three Irish sisters lands Quinn in the role of reluctant savior. Though it may delay his plans, he cannot abandon the Young sisters, especially the tenacious yet kind Kiera.

Upon arriving in the colonies, Kiera Young prepares to meet her intended and begin her new life. But she soon discovers the marriage her brother-in-law arranged was never meant to be, and a far more sinister deal was negotiated for her and her sisters.

Quinn offers to escort his charges safely to Breeze Hill Plantation and his brother’s care, fully intending to seek his freedom elsewhere. But the longer he remains, the greater his feelings toward Kiera grow and the more he comes to realize true freedom might be found in sacrifice.

CBA Bestselling author Pam Hillman writes Historical Christian fiction set in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Born east of the Mississippi and a hundred years too late, Pam still boasts of wrangling calves, milking cows and putting up hay, first as a child, and later with her own personal hero, Iran, on their family farm in Mississippi.

A voracious reader as a child, Pam especially enjoyed stories involving the great Westward expansion, and television shows such as Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie, and Gunsmoke. The western writer, Louis L’Amour, kept Pam mesmerized with his tales of cowboys and Indians, mountain men and outlaws, prim schoolteachers, hot dry deserts, and boom towns.

Pam’s life in the country and her love of the old west bring authenticity to her work and depth to her characters, something that has been recognized many times in the industry through writer’s awards.

Her work has placed in dozens of writer’s contests, including being a four-time Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist with Claiming Mariah, her second novel, winning the Award for Best Inspirational. Other awards include the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, International Digital Award, and the EPIC eBook Award.

Pam lives in Mississippi with her husband and family.

 

Audiobook Mini-Review: Deadly Deceit

16 Jan

Independent and tenacious journalist Vivian DeMarco is back in Walton, Georgia, for one reason–to do her job and get out. When her boss suddenly dies under suspicious circumstances, Vivian’s only hope for finding the truth–and the next big story — is small-town law enforcement’s lanky poster boy, Deputy Ryan Frost. But the deeper they dig, the more twisted the truth becomes, and Vivian finds herself fighting for not only answers but also her life. False leads, incriminating emails, and someone called The Watcher force Vivian to confront the secret of her past and decide: How much is she willing to risk for the sake of a headline?

Author Natalie Walters welcomes you back to Walton, Georgia, where everyone knows your name — but no one knows your secret.

Natalie Walters is a military wife of 22 years and currently resides in Hawaii with her soldier husband and their three kids. She writes full-time and has been published in Proverbs 31 magazine and has blogged for Guideposts online. In addition to balancing life as a military spouse, mom, and writer, she loves connecting on social media, sharing her love of books, cooking, and traveling. Natalie comes from a long line of military and law enforcement veterans and is passionate about supporting them through volunteer work, races, and writing stories that affirm no one is defined by their past.

 

My Impressions:

I love discovering new authors, and Natalie Walters is certainly one I will search out again. In fact, I already have another of her books ready to go for book club in a few months. I chose the audio version of Deadly Deceit for an online book club. Alas, I missed the discussion, but I enjoyed the book. This romantic suspense is the second in her Harbored Secrets series. While it can be read as a standalone, I recommend you start from the beginning since characters from book 1, Living Lies, make an appearance and the mystery that was the focus of that book was mentioned a time or two. Main characters Vivian and Ryan have a great attraction, but clash when it comes to the case of murder and blackmail. Vivian is a reporter and Ryan is a sheriff’s deputy, and they don’t always see eye to eye on how the investigation should be managed. Both characters are portrayed in a realistic manner, and their romance develops naturally. The setting is a fictional small town in my home state of Georgia — what’s not to love?! The mystery kept me engaged as the villain, the Watcher, is revealed bit by bit. Both Vivian and Ryan have father issues and must learn to trust their heavenly father.

I am really glad I read Deadly Deceit and am anxious to return to Walton, Georgia for more romantic suspense.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Children’s Corner — Two from Zonderkidz

15 Jan

Zonderkidz has two adorable children’s books for your special child. Check them out!

 

Love You, Love You is a cute and cuddly board book that shows the love between family members of all kinds. With heartwarming read-aloud rhymes and sweet illustrations by international artist Alison Brown, Love You, Love You is the perfect way to say, “I love you!” to the little ones in your life any time of year.

With an adorable cover case adorned with glitter, this book is perfect for Valentine’s Day, baby showers, baptisms, birthdays, new parents or grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, or anyone who wants to express love to the precious child in their life.

Love you, Love you,
Mama squeaked.
Into her nest she quickly peeked.
Sleeping babies
softly snore.
I couldn’t love you any more.

My Impressions: 

Love You, Love You is headed to my new grand baby this Valentine’s Day. The sturdy board book perfect for the littlest reader shares how much a child is loved — any time of the year. Every member of the family gets involved — parents, grands, and siblings. I thought the illustrations were adorable, even when Nana is portrayed as a snake 😉 ! Simple rhymes and bright colors will keep your child engaged.

Recommended.

Audience: babies and toddlers.

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

 

Piper & Mabel is written by Melanie Shankle, New York Times bestselling author of four books and the hilarious voice behind the wildly popular Big Mama Blog. In her debut children’s book, Melanie shares the adventures of her two very wild but very good dogs, Piper and Mabel.

When the family plans a vacation to the beach, Piper and Mabel are shocked to discover they won’t be joining their people. Instead, they’re headed to doggie day care at the Happy Tails Ranch where they create all kinds of mischief when they discover the accommodations are not exactly what they were expecting.

Dog-lovers everywhere will enjoy the adventures of Piper and Mabel. 

My Impressions:

Piper And Mabel is so stinking cute! The two dog sisters are described as wild, but very good — a pretty apt description as they navigate being left behind when their family goes on vacation. An engaging story with two adorable main characters is complimented with highly detailed and whimsical illustrations. This book is great for a family read-along or for readers practicing their skills. It is definitely a must-read for the dog-loving child in your life!

Recommended.

Audience: children ages 4-8.

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

 

Top 10 Tuesday — New to Me Authors

14 Jan

2019 was a great year for reading! I discovered a number of new and exciting authors. Discovered, as in I read them for the first time. Some of the authors had been published before and some had debut releases. (Some I met in person last year — squee!) You may be familiar with some or all of them, but in case you aren’t, they are all recommended by me. I look forward to more great books to discover from these authors.

 Hope you discover a new author too!

 

For more bookish discoveries across the blogosphere, visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

Amanda Barratt — My Dearest Dietrich

Erin Bartels — We Hope for Better Things

Victoria Bylin — When He Found Me

Cathy Gohlke — The Medallion

Janet Ferguson — The Art of Rivers

Lindsay Franklin — The Story Peddler

James Hannibal — The Gryphon Heist

Kristi Ann Hunter — A Defense of Honor

Tara Johnson — Engraved on The Heart

David Rawlings — The Baggage Handler

Linda Thompson — The Plum Blooms in Winter

Abigail Wilson — In The Shadows of Croft Towers

 

What new author did you discover last year?

 

First Line Friday — Catching The Wind

10 Jan

Happy Friday! Today I am sharing another first line from a book that is impatiently waiting on my TBR shelf. Catching The Wind by Melanie Dobson caught my attention when it was first released. I love Dobson’s books and know I will love this one too.

Have you read Catching The Wind? What are your thoughts?

For more first line fun, head over to Hoarding Books.

 

What happened to Brigitte Berthold?

That question has haunted Daniel Knight since he was 13, when he and 10-year-old Brigitte escaped the Gestapo agents who arrested both their parents. They survived a harrowing journey from Germany to England, only to be separated upon their arrival. Daniel vowed to find Brigitte after the war, a promise he has fought to fulfill for more than 70 years.

Now a wealthy old man, Daniel’s final hope in finding Brigitte rests with Quenby Vaughn, an American journalist working in London. He believes Quenby’s tenacity to find missing people and her personal investment in a related WWII espionage story will help her succeed where previous investigators have failed. Though Quenby is wrestling her own demons – and wary at the idea of teaming up with Daniel’s lawyer, Lucas Hough – the lure of Brigitte’s story is too much to resist. Together, Quenby and Lucas delve deep into the past, following a trail of deception, sacrifice, and healing that could change all of their futures.

Writing fiction is Melanie Dobson‘s excuse to explore abandoned houses, travel to unique places, and spend hours reading old books and journals. The award-winning author of twenty novels, Melanie enjoys stitching together both time-slip and historical stories including Hidden Among the Stars, Catching the Wind, Enchanted Isle, and the Legacy of Love novels. Chateau of Secrets and Catching the Wind both received a Carol Award for historical fiction, Catching the Wind‘s audiobook won the 2018 Audie for Inspirational Novel, and The Black Cloister was ForeWord’s Book of the Year for Religious Fiction. Her next time-slip novel, Memories of Glass, comes out in 2019.

Melanie and her husband, Jon, have two daughters. After moving numerous times with Jon’s work, the Dobson family has finally settled near Portland, Oregon, and they love to travel and hike in both the mountains and the cliffs above the Pacific. When Melanie isn’t writing, she enjoys exploring ghost towns and dusty back roads, dancing, and reading stories with her girls.

More information about Melanie and her books is available at her website (www.melaniedobson.com), or at either of the following social media platforms:

Facebook.com/MelanieDobsonFiction
Twitter.com/MelBDobson

 

Book Review: End Game

9 Jan

When elite members of the military are murdered on the streets of Washington, DC, FBI Special Agent Bailey Ryan and NCIS Special Agent Marco Agostini must work together to bring the perpetrator to justice. Unfortunately, all evidence points to a Navy SEAL sniper whom Bailey refuses to believe is guilty.

When Bailey and Marco start to connect the dots between the victims, including a link to a powerful defense contractor, they wonder if there’s a deeper cover-up at play. Then Bailey is targeted, and it becomes clear that someone is willing to kill to keep their dark secrets.

With the stakes getting higher by the moment in a twisted conspiracy, there’s a rush against the clock to determine whom they can really trust. As allies turn to enemies, the biggest secret yet to be uncovered could be the end of all of them.

 

Rachel Dylan is an award-winning and bestselling author of legal thrillers and romantic suspense. Rachel has practiced law for over a decade including being a litigator at one of the nation’s top law firms. Rachel writes the Atlanta Justice Series which features strong, female attorneys in Atlanta. Deadly Proof, the first book in the Atlanta Justice series, is a CBA bestseller, an FHL Reader’s Choice Award winner, a Daphne du Maurier Finalist, and a Holt Medallion Finalist. Lone Witness is the winner of a Holt Medallion, the Maggie Award, and is a Selah Finalist. Rachel lives in Michigan with her husband and five furkids — two dogs and three cats. Rachel loves to connect with readers. You can find Rachel at racheldylan.com.

 

My Impressions:

Rachel Dylan’s newest book is the first in her Capital Intrigue series. And intrigue is what you get in End Game. This book was a puzzler from the start and had everything a fan of romantic suspense could want. It is definitely a recommended read!

Main characters Bailey Ryan and Marco Angostini become the lead investigators when a civilian and a Navy SEAL are murdered within days of each other. The striking similarities in their deaths bring together the FBI and NCIS agents to use all of their deductive skills and the assets of their respective agencies. I loved the collaborative nature of the case — many people, including those from JAG, the army, and even the local DA office, participate. End Game was a glimpse into how law enforcement personnel cooperate. The case involves three separate murders, and the team must pursue all leads. There’s danger around every corner! The novel’s Washington, D. C. setting adds an extra layer as contractors, foreign agents, and government officials are all under the microscope. End Game has great romance — there are definite sparks between Bailey and Marco — and it develops in a satisfying, yet natural manner. Dylan also interjects an inspirational message, and I loved how she had characters at all stages in their faith journey.

While the investigators closed the twisting case in End Game, I can see some more great reading ahead. I can’t wait to see what Dylan has in store in the next books.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

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

Reading Road Trip — Washington, D. C. (and surrounding Metro area)

8 Jan

I am on a literal road trip today, so I thought I would post a literary one for those looking for some great books. My first grandchild was born right after Christmas, and I am finally going to get my hands on her today! She and her parents live outside of the Washington, D. C. area, so I thought it would be fun to spotlight books that are set in and around the Metro area. I have included some historical novels, as well as contemporary suspense so that there is something for everyone. The first novel in my list is a biographical novel of Martha Washington. I know that Washington, D. C. didn’t exist in the Revolutionary-era, but Mount Vernon is so close that any trip to D. C. should include it. 😉 I have not read the last book on my list, but I have heard so many great things about it. I’ll be listening to the audiobook on the plane.

 

Hope you enjoy your Washington reading journey!

 

 

Reading Road Trip — Washington, D.C. (and surrounding area)

 

Washington’s Lady by Nancy Moser

Known for moving first-person novels of Nannerl Mozart, Jane Austen, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Nancy Moser now brings to life the loves and trials of the first First Lady of the United States. When a dapper, young George Washington comes into her life, Martha Custis is a young widow with two young children. Their love and loyalty toward each other — and the new nation they fight for, lasts a lifetime and is an inspiration even now, after 250 years. Washington’s Lady was a Christy Awards finalist.

Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green

It’s April 1861, and the Union Army’s Medical Department is a disaster, completely unprepared for the magnitude of war. A small group of New York City women, including 28-year-old Charlotte Waverly, decide to do something about it, and end up changing the course of the war, despite criticism, ridicule and social ostracism. Charlotte leaves a life of privilege, wealth-and confining expectations-to be one of the first female nurses for the Union Army. She quickly discovers that she’s fighting more than just the Rebellion by working in the hospitals. Corruption, harassment, and opposition from Northern doctors threaten to push her out of her new role. At the same time, her sweetheart disapproves of her shocking strength and independence, forcing her to make an impossible decision: Will she choose love and marriage, or duty to a cause that seems to be losing? An Irish immigrant named Ruby O’Flannery, who turns to the unthinkable in the face of starvation, holds the secret that will unlock the door to Charlotte’s future. But will the rich and poor confide in each other in time?

Wedded to War is a work of fiction, but the story is inspired by the true life of Civil War nurse Georgeanna Woolsey. Woolsey’s letters and journals, written over 150 years ago, offer a thorough look of what pioneering nurses endured.

With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden

In the shadow of the nation’s capital, Kate Livingston’s respectable life as a government worker is disrupted by an encounter with the insufferable Trevor McDonough, the one man she’d hoped never to see again. A Harvard-trained physician, Trevor never showed the tiniest flicker of interest in Kate, and business is the only reason he has sought her out now.

Despite her misgivings, Kate agrees to Trevor’s risky proposal to join him in his work to find a cure for tuberculosis. As Kate begins to unlock the mysteries of Trevor’s past, his hidden depths fascinate her. However, a shadowy enemy lies in wait and Trevor’s closely guarded secrets are darker than she ever suspected.

As revelations from the past threaten to destroy their careers, their dreams, and even their lives, Trevor and Kate find themselves in a painfully impossible situation. With everything to lose, they must find the strength to trust that hope and love can prevail over all.

The Bishop by Steven James

FBI Special Agent Patrick Bowers’s cutting-edge 21st-century geospatial investigative techniques and impeccable logic have helped him track some of the country’s most grisly killers. But those skills are pushed to the limit in this new installment of the highly-acclaimed, award-winning The Bowers Files series. This time it’s a congressman’s daughter who is found dead even as her killers launch a spree of perfect murders in the Northeast.

With nothing to link the crimes to each other, Agent Bowers faces his most difficult case yet–even as his personal life begins to crumble around him.Known for his intricately woven, masterfully plotted novels of high-octane action and spine-tingling suspense, Steven James delivers once again.
The Bishop is a gripping, adrenaline-laced story for readers who are tired of timid thrillers. Strap on your seatbelt and get ready for a wild ride. The game is on.

End Game by Rachel Dylan

When elite members of the military are murdered on the streets of Washington, DC, FBI Special Agent Bailey Ryan and NCIS Special Agent Marco Agostini must work together to bring the perpetrator to justice. Unfortunately, all evidence points to a Navy SEAL sniper whom Bailey refuses to believe is guilty.

When Bailey and Marco start to connect the dots between the victims, including a link to a powerful defense contractor, they wonder if there’s a deeper cover-up at play. Then Bailey is targeted, and it becomes clear that someone is willing to kill to keep their dark secrets.

With the stakes getting higher by the moment in a twisted conspiracy, there’s a rush against the clock to determine whom they can really trust. As allies turn to enemies, the biggest secret yet to be uncovered could be the end of all of them.

State of Lies by Siri Mitchell

Someone wants Georgie Brennan dead. And the more she digs for the truth, the fewer people she can trust.

Months after her husband, Sean, is killed by a hit-and-run driver, physicist Georgie Brennan discovers he lied to her about where he had been going that day. A cryptic notebook, a missing computer, and strange noises under her house soon have her questioning everything she thought she knew.

With her job hanging by a thread, her son struggling to cope with his father’s death, and her four-star general father up for confirmation as the next secretary of defense, Georgie quickly finds herself tangled in a web of political intrigue that has no clear agenda and dozens of likely villains.

Only one thing is clear: someone wants her dead too. And the people closest to her might be the most dangerous of all.