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First Line Friday — The Crushing Depths

10 Jul

Happy Friday all! I am excited to finally have in my possession a copy of Dani Pettrey’s lates novel, The Crushing Depths. Woo hoo! I cannot wait to dive into this book 😉 . Another supsense-filled trip to the North Carolina coast is just what I need! Without further ado, here is the first line:



Greg Barnes clinked along the grated metal steps, his book heels rasping with each shuffle as he headed topside for a much-needed breath of smoke.



When an accident claims the life of an oil-rig worker on the first drilling platform off the North Carolina coast, Coast Guard investigators Rissi Dawson and Mason Rogers are sent to take the case. Tensions surrounding the oil rig are high and the death has everyone on edge. Environmental activists are threatening to do whatever it takes to stop the structure from being completed, while rumors are being whispered about ancient curses surrounding this part of the ocean.

Mounting evidence shows the death may not have been an accident at all. Was he killed by one of the activists or, perhaps more frighteningly, a member of his own crew? Rissi and Mason have to sort through not only a plethora of suspects, but also their own past and attraction to each other.

Just as the case seems like it’ll break open, worse news arrives. A tropical storm has turned their way and soon they’re cut off from any rescue — and right where the killer wants them. It’s a race to discover his identity before he eliminates the threat they pose.

Praised by New York Times best-selling author Dee Henderson as “a name to look for in romantic suspense,” Dani Pettrey has sold more than a half a million copies of her novels to readers eagerly awaiting the next release. Dani combines the page-turning adrenaline of a thriller with the chemistry and happy-ever-after of a romance. Her novels stand out for their “wicked pace, snappy dialogue, and likable characters” (Publishers Weekly), “gripping storyline[s],” (RT Book Reviews), and “sizzling undercurrent of romance” (USA Today).

Her Alaskan Courage series and Chesapeake Valor series have received praise from readers and critics alike and spent multiple months topping the CBA bestseller lists. Dani has also been honored with multiple awards, including the Daphne du Maurier Award, two HOLT Medallions, a Christy Award finalist, two National Readers’ Choice Awards, the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence, and Christian Retailing’s Best Award.

From her early years eagerly reading Nancy Drew mysteries, to paging through Agatha Christie novels or watching on-the-edge-of-her-seat adventure movies, Dani has always enjoyed mystery and suspense. She considers herself blessed to be able to write the kind of stories she loves — full of plot twists and peril, love, and longing for hope and redemption. Her greatest joy as an author is sharing the stories God lays on her heart. She researches murder and mayhem from her home in Maryland, where she lives with her husband. Their two daughters, a son-in-law, and two adorable grandsons also reside in Maryland.

For more information about her novels, visit


Fo more great first lines, head over to Hoarding Books.


First Line Friday — The Lacemaker

3 Jul

Happy Friday! To kick off my Independence Day celebration, I downloaded the audiobook of The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz about a week ago. Set in Williamsburg in 1775 with historical figures to compliment the fictional story, I thought it would be perfect to welcome the 4th of July.  I listen to audiobooks during my morning walks and while doing chores around the house. I still have 3 hours left — more ironing anyone?



Elizabeth took a breath, breaking an intense hour of concentration.


When colonial Williamsburg explodes like a powder keg on the eve of the American Revolution, Lady Elisabeth “Liberty” Lawson is abandoned by her fiancé and suspected of being a spy for the hated British. No one comes to her aid save the Patriot Noble Rynallt, a man with formidable enemies of his own. Liberty is left with a terrible choice. Will the Virginia belle turned lacemaker side with the radical revolutionaries, or stay true to her English roots? And at what cost?

Historical romance favorite Laura Frantz is back with a suspenseful story of love, betrayal, and new beginnings. With her meticulous eye for detail and her knack for creating living, breathing characters, Frantz continues to enchant historical fiction readers who long to feel they are a part of the story.

Christy Award-winning author, Laura Frantz, is passionate about all things historical, particularly the 18th-century, and writes her manuscripts in longhand first. Her stories often incorporate Scottish themes that reflect her family heritage. She is a direct descendant of George Hume, Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, settled in Virginia, and is credited with teaching George Washington surveying in the years 1748-1750. When she’s not at home in Kentucky, she and her husband live in Washington State.

According to Publishers Weekly, “Frantz has done her historical homework.” With her signature attention to historical detail and emotional depth, she is represented by Janet Kobobel Grant, Literary Agent & Founder, Books & Such Literary Agency of Santa Rosa, California. Foreign language editions include French, Dutch, Spanish, Slovakian, & Polish.

Readers can find Laura Frantz at


Anyone else have some patriotic reading going on?


For more first line Friday fun, check out Hoarding Books.



First Line Friday — The Key to Everything

26 Jun

Happy Friday! This weekend I am at the beach — my first foray into travel since everything that has been going on (Southern for pandemic 😉 ). While I am more of a mountains kind of gal, we try to go to the beach at least once a year for a change of scenery, and, I suspect, to cement our love of the mountains. I put The Key to Everything by Valerie Fraser Luesse in my beach bag and will be reading it while listening to crashing waves. I love the cover. It definitely has a beach-y vibe. The 15 year old main character is on a journey — riding his bike from St. Augustine to Key West. I will be staying a little bit north of his starting point, but I will be with him in spirit!


April 1947

Though he couldn’t have known, nor ever guessed, Peyton Cabot had just witnessed a bittersweet kiss goodbye. 



Peyton Cabot’s fifteenth year will be a painful and transformative one. His father, the heroic but reluctant head of a moneyed Savannah family, has come home from WWII a troubled vet, drowning his demons in bourbon and distancing himself from his son. A tragic accident shows Peyton the depths of his parents’ devotion to each other but interrupts his own budding romance with the girl of his dreams, Lisa Wallace.

Struggling to cope with a young life upended, Peyton makes a daring decision: He will retrace a journey his father took at fifteen, riding his bicycle all the way to Key West, Florida. Part declaration of independence, part search for self, Peyton’s journey will bring him more than he ever could have imagined — namely, the key to his unknowable father, a reunion with Lisa, and a calling that will shape the rest of his life.

Through poignant prose and characters so real you’ll be sure you know them, Valerie Fraser Luesse transports you to the storied Atlantic coast for a unique coming-of-age story you won’t soon forget.

Valerie Fraser Luesse is the bestselling author of Missing Isaac and is an award-winning magazine writer best known for her feature stories and essays in Southern Living, where she is currently a senior travel editor. Specializing in stories about unique pockets of Southern culture, Luesse has published major pieces on the Gulf Coast, the Mississippi Delta, Louisiana’s Acadian Prairie, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Her editorial section on Hurricane Katrina recovery in Mississippi and Louisiana won the 2009 Writer of the Year award from the Southeast Tourism Society. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama.


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

First Line Friday — Before I Called You Mine

19 Jun

Happy Friday everyone! Is contemporary romance your go-to genre for beach or pool reads? Then I think I have a book just for you! I haven’t read Before I Called You Mine by Nicole Deese yet, but this novel promises a get-lost-in-a-book good time. I love the premise, and that first line? Brilliant. Let me know if you have read this one yet, and why I should move it up to the top of the TBR.


If Obsessive Email Checking Disorder were a disease, I was likely already in the final stages: trigger thumb, mindless refreshing, aimless scrolling, and, of course, an inability to focus on anything else in the world.



Lauren Bailey may be a romantic at heart, but after a decade of matchmaking schemes gone wrong, there’s only one match she’s committed to now–the one that will make her a mother. Lauren is a dedicated first-grade teacher in Idaho, and her love for children has led her to the path of international adoption. To satisfy her adoption agency’s requirements, she gladly agreed to remain single for the foreseeable future; however, just as her long wait comes to an end, Lauren is blindsided by a complication she never saw coming: Joshua Avery.

Joshua may be a substitute teacher by day, but Lauren finds his passion for creating educational technology as fascinating as his antics in the classroom. Though she does her best to downplay the undeniable connection between them, his relentless pursuit of her heart puts her commitment to stay unattached to the test and causes her once-firm conviction to waver.

With an impossible decision looming, Lauren might very well find herself choosing between the two deepest desires of her heart . . . even if saying yes to one means letting go of the other.

Nicole Deese is a Carol Award winner and a RITA and INSPY Award finalist. When she’s not working on her next contemporary Christian romance novel, she can usually be found reading one by a window overlooking the inspiring beauty of the Pacific Northwest. She lives in small-town Idaho with her happily-ever-after hubby, two rambunctious sons, and princess daughter with the heart of a warrior. Find her online at


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


First Line Friday — Death in Dahlonega

12 Jun

Happy Friday everyone! I am at my cabin in the north Georgia mountains this weekend for some cleaning (we will see) and relaxing (definitely). My friend Tina is along for the ride. She and I were diagnosed with breast cancer the same week. This is her second go round after almost 20 years. We call ourselves twins because we have the same type of tumor, the same treatment protocol (no chemo or radiation — yeah us!), and the same very positive prognosis. After surgeries and the whole quarantine thing we deserve some time away for R&R. 🙂 In honor of our getaway to a cabin in the woods, I chose the cozy mystery set in a real north Georgia town, Death in Dahlonega by Deborah Malone, for this week’s First Line Friday. It fits with the theme of reading escapes/travel destinations, plus Dahlonega is only 30 minutes away from my cabin — I know the area well. Here is the first line:

Dahlonega, here we come! I cheered, triumphant at the 10 miles to go sign.


A friendly adventure turns to murder and mayhem in the north Georgia mountains. Historical writer Trixie Montgomery is asked to cover Gold Rush Days in the picturesque Georgia mountain town, Dahlonega. Trixie seizes the chance to mix business with pleasure and asks her best friend, Dee Dee to tag along. Their well laid plans go awry when Dee Dee is discovered standing over the lifeless body of prominent citizen, John Tatum – the very man she’d had a run in with earlier that day — holding a bloody pickax in her hands. Can Trixie find a way to finish her assignment and keep Dee Dee out of the slammer? Winner in American Christian Fiction Writers’ Category Five writing contest!

Deborah Malone has a degree in Human Services and worked in the field several years before starting her writing career. Deborah’s first novel Death in Dahlonega, finaled in the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Category Five writing contest! Deborah was also nominated for 2012 and 2013 Georgia Author of the Year in Novel category and was award the Georgia Author of the Year Award in 2018 for Blooming in Broken Places. She has worked as a freelance writer and photographer, for the historic magazine Georgia Backroads since 2001. She has had many article and photographs published, and her writing is featured in Tales of the Rails, edited by Olin Jackson, as well as the “Christian Communicator” and “Southern Writer’s Magazine.” She is a member of the Georgia Writer’s Association, Advanced Writer’s and Speaker’s Association and the American Christian Fiction Writers. Deborah lives with her husband Travis in the North Georgia mountains.


What’s your first line?


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First Line Friday — Roses Have Thorns

5 Jun

Happy Friday! I headed to my newly organized TBR shelves to search out an intriguing first line to share. I have had Roses Have Thorns by Sandra Byrd waiting a long, long time. This book is set in the Tudor court of Elizabeth I. I love this time period and really should read this book. Have you read it? I would love to know your thoughts on why it should be on the top of the pile.

I may have been a maiden just shy of seventeen years of age, but I was no simpleton.

In 1565, seventeen-year-old Elin von Snakenborg leaves Sweden on a treacherous journey to England. Her fiance has fallen in love with her sister and her dowry money has been gambled away, but ahead of her lies an adventure that will take her to the dizzying heights of Tudor power. Transformed through marriage into Helena, the Marchioness of Northampton, she becomes the highest-ranking woman in Elizabeth’s circle. But in a court that is surrounded by Catholic enemies who plot the queen’s downfall, Helena is forced to choose between her unyielding monarch and the husband she’s not sure she can trust — a choice that will provoke catastrophic consequences.

Vividly conjuring the years leading up to the beheading of Mary Queen of Scots, Roses Have Thorns is a brilliant exploration of treason, both to the realm and to the heart.

Bestselling author Sandra Byrd has published more than fifty books over her editing and writing career. Her traditionally published books include titles by Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster, Tyndale House Publishers, WaterBrook Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House, and Bethany House. She’s also an independent author.

Sandra’s series of historically sound Gothic romances launched with the best-selling Mist of Midnight, which earned a coveted Editor’s Choice award from the Historical Novel Society. The second book, Bride of a Distant Isle, has been selected by Romantic Times as a Top Pick. The third in the series, A Lady in Disguise, published in 2017 and was named by the American Library Association’s Booklist as one of the Top Ten Inspirational Fiction books of the year.

Her contemporary adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. To Die For was also named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2011, and The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr was named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2012.

Sandra has published dozens of books for kids, tweens, and teens, including the bestselling The One Year Be-Tween You and God Devotions for Girls. She continued her work as a nonfiction author with The One Year Home and Garden Devotions. The One Year Experiencing God’s Love Devotional was named by Called Magazine, the #1 magazine for Christian Women, as among their favorite, must-read books for Fall, 2017.

Sandra is passionate about helping writers develop their talents and their work through content coaching and line editing, and has mentored hundreds of writers. For testimonials about her editing and book coaching, please visit


For more fabulous first lines, head over to Hoarding Books.



First Line Friday — Stories That Bind Us

29 May

Happy Friday everyone! I am very excited to introduce you to Susie Finkbeiner‘s newest novel, Stories That Bind Us. Susie’s books have captured my imagination with their descriptive settings and relatable characters, and I cannot wait to read this one! It releases next Tuesday, so head over to your favorite bookstore site and pre-order.


Here is the first line:

My Norman had never understood why I liked to hang laundry on the line when I had a perfectly good dryer inside. 


Betty Sweet never expected to be a widow at 40. With so much life still in front of her, she tries to figure out what’s next. She couldn’t have imagined what God had in mind. When her estranged sister is committed to a sanitarium, Betty finds herself taking on the care of a 5-year-old nephew she never knew she had.

In 1960s LaFontaine, Michigan, they make an odd pair. Betty with her pink button nose and bouffant hair. Hugo with his light brown skin and large brown eyes. But more powerful than what makes them different is what they share: the heartache of an empty space in their lives. Slowly, they will learn to trust one another as they discover common ground and healing through the magic of storytelling.

Award-winning author Susie Finkbeiner offers fans a novel that invites us to rediscover the power of story to open the doors of our hearts.

Susie Finkbeiner is a story junkie. Always has been and always will be. It seems it’s a congenital condition, one she’s quite fond of.

After decades of reading everything she could get her hands on (except for See the Eel, a book assigned to her while in first grade, a book she declared was unfit for her book-snob eyes), Susie realized that she wanted to write stories of her own. She began with epics about horses and kittens (but never, ever eels).

It takes years to grow a writer and after decades of work, Susie realized (with much gnashing of teeth and tears) that she was a novelist. In order to learn how to write novels, she read eclectically and adventurously (she may never swim with sharks, but the lady will jump into nearly any story). After reading the work of Lisa Samson, Patti Hill, and Bonnie Grove she realized that there was room for a writer like her in Christian fiction.

Her first novels Paint Chips (2013) and My Mother’s Chamomile (2014) have contemporary settings. While she loved those stories and especially the characters, Susie felt the pull toward historical fiction.

When she read Into the Free by Julie Cantrell she knew she wanted to write historical stories with a side of spunk, grit, and vulnerability. Susie is also greatly inspired by the work of Jocelyn Green, Rachel McMillan, and Tracy Groot.

A Cup of Dust: A Novel of the Dust Bowl (2015), Finkbeiner’s bestselling historical set in 1930s Oklahoma, has been compared to the work of John Steinbeck and Harper Lee (which flatters Susie’s socks off). Pearl’s story continues with A Trail of Crumbs: A Novel of the Great Depression (2017) and A Song of Home: A Novel of the Swing Era (2018).

What does she have planned after that? More stories, of course. She’s a junkie. She couldn’t quit if she wanted to.


For more fabulous first lines, head over to Hoarding Books.


First Line Friday — The White Rose Resists

22 May

Happy Friday! I don’t know how it is where you live, but things are getting a little bit back to normal here. Our numbers are down, and although we remain vigilant, we are out and about. My husband is a germaphobe conscientious about hygiene, so many of the new guidelines we have actually been doing for years. And all the extra cleaning businesses and restaurants are doing he has long advocated. Along with relaxed restrictions, my life has also become more relaxed. Anxiety has been my companion, if not my friend, for weeks. I have the pounds to prove it. 😉 Along with more peace, I seem to have more time to read. Go figure. One of the books on my soon TBR list is The White Rose Resists by Amanda Barratt. I loved My Dearest Dietrich, and I’m looking forward to starting this book soon. Here is the first line:


My future is waiting, a spark in the distance burning steadily brighter as the train approaches the city. 



Inspired by the incredible true story of a group of ordinary men and women who dared to stand against evil 

The ideal of a new Germany swept up Sophie Scholl in a maelstrom of patriotic fervor — that is, until she realized the truth behind Hitler’s machinations for the fatherland. Now she and other students in Munich, the cradle of the Nazi government, have banded together to form a group to fight for the truth: the White Rose. Risking everything to print and distribute leaflets calling for Germans to rise up against the evil permeating their country, the White Rose treads a knife’s edge of discovery by the Gestapo.

Annalise Brandt came to the University of Munich to study art, not get involved with conspiracy. The daughter of an SS officer, she’s been brought up to believe in the Führer’s divinely appointed leadership. But the more she comes to know Sophie and her friends, the more she questions the Nazi propaganda.

Soon Annalise joins their double life — students by day, resisters by night. And as the stakes increase, they’re all forced to confront the deadly consequences meted out to any who dare to oppose the Reich.

A gripping testament to courage, The White Rose Resists illuminates the sacrifice and conviction of an unlikely group of revolutionaries who refused to remain silent-no matter the cost.

Amanda Barratt is the ECPA best-selling author of over a dozen novels and novellas, including My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Lost Love. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a two-time FHL Reader’s Choice Award finalist. She and her family live in northern Michigan. Connect with her at and visit her at




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




First Line Friday — A Mosaic of Wings

15 May

Happy Friday! Yesterday was my birthday — the big 6-0! It was a bit different than what I had expected. This morning I was supposed to awake from a flight to Dublin. At first we thought my cancer diagnosis would cancel our plans, but all my test results were great and I had a green light to go. Until all that’s going on right now (code for pandemic here in the South) destroyed my hopes and dreams. Okay, that’s a bit too dramatic 😉 . Let’s just say I was disappointed.

So my birthday consisted of a backyard social distancing get together with a few close friends. I got to see two of my three kids last weekend, so I have been very blessed. And a quick trip to the grocery store for a couple of forgotten items resulted in LYSOL SPRAY! Yes, a birthday miracle. LOL!

This week’s First Line Friday is courtesy of Bethany House book mail. How did they know it was my birthday? I met Kimberly Duffy last year at the Christy Awards and have been on the lookout for her debut novel, A Mosaic of Wings. So Lysol and a long-awaited book — big birthday wins for me! To learn more about Kimberly and her writing journey, check out the podcast A Rough Draft Life hosted by Lindsey Brackett and Kristi Ann Hunter. They are hosting debut authors and are offering a fantastic giveaway!


Here is the first line, fitting for the subject matter:

Nora Shipley’s ears buzzed as though a thousand bees were trapped inside her head.


It’s 1885, and all Nora Shipley wants, now that she’s graduating from Cornell University as valedictorian of the entomology program, is to follow in her late father’s footsteps by getting her master’s degree and taking over the scientific journal he started. The only way to uphold her father’s legacy is to win a scholarship, so she joins a research expedition in Kodaikanal, India, to prove herself in the field.

India isn’t what she expects, though, and neither is the rival classmate who accompanies her, Owen Epps. As her preconceptions of India–and of Owen–fall away, she finds both far more captivating than she expected. Forced by the expedition leader to stay at camp and illustrate exotic butterflies the men of the team find without her, Nora befriends Sita, a young Indian girl who has been dedicated to a goddess against her will.

In this spellbinding new land, Nora is soon faced with impossible choices — between saving Sita and saving her career, and between what she’s always thought she wanted and the man she’s come to love.


Kimberly Duffy is a Long Island native currently living in Southwest Ohio. When she’s not homeschooling her four kids, she writes historical fiction that takes readers back in time and across oceans. Her books feature ahead-of-their-time heroines, evocative settings, and real-life faith. Kimberly loves trips that require a passport, recipe books, and practicing kissing scenes with her husband of 20 years. He doesn’t mind.

You can find Kimberly at:


For more fabulous first lines, head over to Hoarding Books


First Line Friday — Standoff

8 May


Happy Friday! I love romantic suspense, and Patricia Bradley is one of the best in the genre. I am excited for her newest release, book 1 in the Natchez Trace Park Rangers series, Standoff. I spent many a weekend traveling the Trace to see my then boyfriend/fiance/now husband the last year and a half before we married. I can’t wait to revisit old environs with a new book! I’ll be starting this one soon! Here’s the first line:

What had he gotten himself into?


The Natchez Trace National Parkway stretches 444 miles from Nashville to Natchez, the oldest town on the Mississippi River. It’s the perfect road for a relaxed pleasure drive. Unfortunately for park ranger Luke Fereday, lately it’s being used to move drugs. Sent to Natchez to infiltrate the organization at the center of the drug ring, Luke arrives too late to a stakeout and discovers the body of his friend, park ranger John Danvers.

John’s daughter Brooke is determined to investigate her father’s murder, but things are more complicated than they first appear, and Brooke soon finds herself the target of a killer who will do anything to silence her. Luke will have his hands full keeping her safe. But who’s going to keep him safe when he realizes he’s falling–hard–for the daughter of the man he failed to save?

Award-winning author Patricia Bradley introduces you to a new series set in the sultry South that will have you wiping your brow and looking over your shoulder.

Winner of an Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award in Suspense, Patricia Bradley lives in North Mississippi with her rescue kitty, Suzy, and loves to write suspense with a twist of romance.

Readers can connect to her here —
Twitter: @ptbradley1


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


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