Friday, May 29, 2020

First Line Fridays: Stay With Me by Becky Wade

Happy Friday! 

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books and participants share the first line from a nearby book.

Today, I'm sharing the first line from Stay With Me by Becky Wade:

"The hallway floor jolts downward beneath my feet, throwing me off balance."

Have you read this book? Book blurb below and you can read my review here.

What are you reading this weekend? I'd love for you to share your book's first line!

Happy reading!

About the Book:

Loving her is a risk he can't afford . . . and can't resist.

When acclaimed Bible study author Genevieve Woodward receives an anonymous letter referencing her parents' past, she returns to her hometown in the Blue Ridge Mountains to chase down her family's secret. However, it's Genevieve's own secret that catches up to her when Sam Turner, owner of a historic farm, uncovers the source of shame she's worked so hard to hide.

Sam has embraced his sorrow, his isolation, and his identity as an outsider. He's spent years carving out both career success and peace of mind. The last thing he wants is to rent the cottage on his property to a woman whose struggles stir his worst failure back to life. Yet can he bear to turn her away right when she needs him most?

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Friday, May 22, 2020

First Line Fridays: Formula for a Perfect Life by Christy Hayes

Happy Friday! 

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books and participants share the first line from a nearby book.

Today, I'm sharing the first line from Formula for a Perfect Life by Christy Hayes:

"Kayla Cummings stared at the two lines so long her vision blurred."

Have you read this book? Book blurb below and you can read my review here.

What are you reading this weekend? I'd love for you to share your book's first line!

Happy reading!

About the Book:

Two practical strangers. One fateful night. Two pink lines.
College senior and obsessive romantic Kayla Cummings’ dreams of a storybook life are spun off course by an unplanned pregnancy after a one-night stand with her secret crush. Devastated, Kayla turns to her roommates and best friends for advice. No matter what she decides, no matter how deeply embarrassed, she has to tell the father.
Ben Strickland’s future is written in stone—as long as he gets a decent score on the Law School Admission Test. Feeling pressure from all sides, Ben struggles to juggle his upcoming finals, another shot at the LSAT, and his needy girlfriend, Darcy. When the girl he spent a memorable night with weeks ago shows up at his doorstep pregnant, his already chaotic life spins out of control.
With the clock ticking, decisions to make, and a boatload of people to disappoint, Ben and Kayla embark on a journey neither anticipated—a journey where falling in love might be the biggest surprise of all. But when old hurts and buried secrets pose a greater threat to their future than impending parenthood, will Ben and Kayla go their separate ways or forge a new path to happy ever after?

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Friday, May 15, 2020

First Line Fridays: Secrets of the Pastor's Wife by Christina Ryan Claypool

Happy Friday! 

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books and participants share the first line from a nearby book.

Today, I'm sharing the first line from Secrets of the Pastor's Wife by Christina Ryan Claypool:

"When Cassandra Martin first moved to Maple Grove, the silence in the middle of the night seemed eerie."

Have you read this book? Book blurb below and you can read my review here.

What are you reading this weekend? I'd love for you to share your book's first line!

Happy reading!

About the Book:

Wherever Cassandra Martin goes, her secrets go with her. And hiding her past is beginning to take a toll.
Cassie lives in a small white parsonage in the village of Maple Grove. For 15 years, the beautiful and talented artist has appeared to be the perfect wife for Rev. John Martin, the new pastor at Maple Avenue Community Church.
The couple has moved frequently, and Pastor John is too busy with other people's problems to notice Cassie's distress. She has no close friends to confide in, fearing her secrets could jeopardize her husband's position.
That’s until Maple Grove coffee shop owner Katherine “Katie” Montague embraces Cassie as if she were the daughter she never had. Sensing her pastor's wife is haunted by something tragic, the caring widow begins praying for her. Will Cassie trust Katie with the pain of her past or will she let the secrets destroy her?

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Author Interview & Giveaway: Kingdom Above the Cloud by Maggie Platt

Kingdom Above the Cloud Blog Tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for Kingdom Above the Cloud by Maggie Platt, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Kingdom Above the Cloud by Maggie Platt Title: Kingdom Above the Cloud
Author: Maggie Platt
Publisher: Ambassador International
Release Date: April 17, 2020
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

What if the nine Fruit of the Spirit and the Seven Deadly Sins were locked in a battle for control? 

Abandoned as infants, Tovi and her twin brother were raised by an eclectic tribe of warm, kind people in a treehouse village in the valley. After her brother’s sudden disappearance Tovi questions her life and her faith in an invisible King. Ignoring her best friend Silas’ advice, she decides to search for her brother in the kingdom on top of the mountain.

Above the cloud, the Council of Masters receives their orders. Tovi and her brother are the objectives. King Damien has a plan and Tovi is the key. The Council of Masters want her, but will she remain unscathed?

Amidst the glamour of the kingdom above the cloud Tovi is torn between her own dark desires and unanswered questions. It starts with a snake and a crown. When the ring is complete, will her life be over?

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Christianbook  



Maggie Platt

Maggie Platt is a writer, traveler, cancer survivor, and dreamer. Her greatest joys are being Auntie M to her amazing nieces and nephew and sitting with students and friends over cups of coffee and deep conversations. She works at her alma mater, Anderson University in Indiana, and she lives in a cozy little cottage nearby where students come to sit on her couch just to laugh, cry, and talk about life.

CONNECT WITH MAGGIE: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram



Would you share your inspiration for Kingdom Above the Cloud?
Maggie: It really started with a daydream. What if there was a world full of characters who had mastered either a deadly sin or a fruit of the spirit? I started designing characters and imagining scenes, and it took on a life of its own. By the time I was done writing it, it was a deep dive into my Christian faith on a scale I never expected!
How long did it take you to write this novel?
Maggie: Over a decade! I toyed with this idea for what seemed like forever. I would obsess over it for about a month, and then it would go on the back burner while I focused on work and other stories. In 2011, I quit my job and moved to Florida so that I could focus more on writing. I wrote the bulk of the first draft over the next year. It wasn’t anything like I expected that year to be! I had grand visions of writing on the beach. Those daydreams didn’t include blowing sand and glaring sun. So, instead of the beach, I spent every evening after work holed up in the local library, hammering out each chapter. I submitted the story to Ambassador International in December 2018, and I signed my contract in early 2019.
Do you have a favorite character in Kingdom Above the Cloud?
Maggie: Eryx is by far my favorite! He became a pet of mine sometime in the middle of writing this story. He was very minor at first. He is one of the “bad guys” who lives on the mountain, and he represents the sin of wrath. One day, I heard the song “A Bad Dream” by Keane and the lines, “I’m a man, I was born to hate,” and “I was fighting, but I just feel too tired to be fighting, guess I’m not the fighting kind,” hit me so hard. It knew in that moment that Eryx has lived a life of wrath, but he is exhausted, frustrated, and longing for something different. I’m not totally sure why he became so dear to me. Maybe it’s the hope he represents. He’s a “bad guy,” but he wants to be better. Adwin (the God character in the story) goes out of his way, time and time again, to draw Eryx in. I hope we can really see them connect in a sequel, but we’ll have to see where Eryx takes us in the story!
What do you hope readers take away from this novel?
Maggie: My hope and prayer is that readers feel even just one step closer to God after reading this book. God, Jesus, and Christianity are not mentioned by name, but the whole story is a vulnerable look inside my faith in Christ. I hope that the words of the story point readers to Jesus and the love, hope, joy, and peace that only He can provide.
Can you share a book you are currently reading or have read recently?
Maggie: I just finished The Overstory by Richard Powers, and it was incredible. It is not the same genre as Kingdom Above the Cloud in any way! I love reading fantasy and allegory, but I also love other types of fiction. The Overstory follows several characters that seem totally unrelated, other than that each storyline involves something about trees. By the end, their stories have intertwined in ways I never could have imagined.
Who is an author that you would recommend to anyone and everyone?
Maggie: C.S. Lewis, whether you’re reading fiction or nonfiction! The Chronicles of Narnia and Screwtape Letters will always be some of my favorite books, and his nonfiction has also impacted my life in so many ways. My mom passed away very suddenly a couple of years ago, and A Grief Observed has been incredibly meaningful to me in this season.
What hobbies do you enjoy when you aren't writing?
Maggie: I love to garden, and that hobby was passed down from my grandma to my mom and then to me. I recently expanded my flower beds to about four times their old size! I think I would be the happiest person in the world if I could spend all of my time digging in dirt and typing on a keyboard (after washing my muddy fingers!). I have a back patio that is surrounded by my flowers. Once they grow a little bigger, it will be the perfect place for some inspired writing. 


(1) winner will receive a signed copy of Kingdom Above the Cloud, limited edition map, laptop decal/sticker, and bookmark.

Kingdom Above the Cloud JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway will begin at midnight May 11, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on May 18, 2020. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


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


*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Book Review: Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire by Jen Hatmaker

About the Book: 

New York Times bestselling author Jen Hatmaker, with cheeky candor and fearlessness, guides readers to a deep dive into how they are wired and provides them with the tools to walk in that identity with freedom and guts.
Stuck in people-pleasing or fear, many women hide and pretend, then end up sidelined in their own lives. But what they want is to be brave, to claim every gift, dream, quirk, and emotion inside, to stop performing and start living.
Beloved New York Times bestselling author Jen Hatmaker understands the struggle to find firm footing in a culture that operates from stereotypes and often unreachable expectations. In this new book, she offers women encouragement, challenge, and humor as she helps them identify everything that makes them tick and gain the confidence to live it all out. She leads them through five self-reflective categories—who I am, what I need, what I want, what I believe, and how I connect—and helps them:
  • identify the exact ways they pretend, and learn instead how to be genuine at all times, in all ways, in all contexts;
  • be empowered to say yes and no without guilt;
  • learn to voice both their spiritual questions and convictions; and
  • opt out of drama and into healthy adult relationships.
With wry humor, earnest passion, and been-there insight, Jen calls women to the life-giving freedom of leaning into the identity, convictions, and community they’ve been given.

Purchase Links

My Thoughts:

Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire mixes Jen Hatmaker’s personal story, spiritual thoughts, and self-improvement principles to empower women to live in freedom. Reading this book made me feel like the author was a friend I’d known for years. She’s funny, honest, and challenging. I didn’t agree with everything she said and I found the mild cussing to be mostly superfluous, but I did benefit from reading this book and I intend to reread it annually.

Truth lies at the core of everything in Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire. From this concept, comes the freedom and empowerment that Jen Hatmaker invites readers to push for. Whether the chapter addressed who I am, what I need, what I want, what I believe, or how I connect, some part of each anchored in the concept of truth, be it telling the truth, accepting the truth, or searching for the truth.

As I read Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire, I found that some chapters refreshed and affirmed my heart, some challenged previous thoughts, and some didn’t really apply to me. I Want This Dream and I Believe in Spiritual Curiosity ranked as my favorite chapters. I Want to Connect Without Drama was the most challenging as my dysfunctional family creates abundant drama. I recommend Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire by Jen Hatmaker.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

About the Author:

Jen Hatmaker is the author of the New York Times bestseller Of Mess and Moxie (plus twelve other books) and the host of the For the Love! with Jen Hatmaker podcast. She and her husband, Brandon, founded the Legacy Collective and also starred in the popular series My Big Family Renovation on HGTV. Jen is a mom to five, a sought-after speaker, and a delighted resident of Austin, Texas, where she and her family are helping keep Austin weird.

Connect with Jen:

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Tour Finale & Giveaway: Her Cowboy Sweetheart by Cathy McDavid

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops
you'll find snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below:

Launch - Note from the Author

It’s here, book four in my Sweetheart Ranch series, HER COWBOY SWEETHEART! It seems like only yesterday I came up with the series idea while researching venues for my own upcoming wedding (was that really over three years ago?). Just goes to show you how long it can take from conception to completion. I have to say, while I’ve loved all four books, HER COWBOY SWEETHEART is perhaps my favorite. . .

"This is very different from the other Heartwarming novels I’ve read – in a very good way. It is not a light-hearted read; instead it is a powerful, heart-tugging, emotionally engaging, honest, and beautiful tale of real life issues and real love. A love that puts what is best and needed overall, rather than wants and desires. . . . This is one read that will stick with readers for a while and perhaps make them examine their own relationships. This is perhaps one of the most emotional Heartwarming books I’ve read."

"I enjoyed how the romance developed in Her Cowboy Sweetheart. The author brought conflict into the book for the characters as individuals and together. I love how they draw strength from each other.

This a very sweet and inspiring book, and I think you’ll enjoy it."

“How’s it going, Rico?” He used his pet name for Rickie.

Instantly, her son stopped fussing and lit up like a starburst. Arms and legs flailing, he babbled a string of nonsense syllables. Carly mentally translated. Hi, JD! I’m happy to see you. Please play with me.

JD removed his scuffed cowboy hat and plunked it down on Rickie’s head. “Can you hold onto this for me while I help your mama? I’d appreciate it.”

Rickie giggled and pulled on the sides of the hat, distorting its shape. JD didn’t appear to mind and, after cuffing the boy gently on the chin, he unlatched the gate.

"Cathy McDavid delivers another sweet & swoony romance set at the Sweetheart Ranch. Engaging characters and compelling subplots immediately draw readers’ interest and keep it for the duration of the novel. Hombre the dog and toddler Rickie add notes of comedy and warmth to break up the more serious undertones that threaten JD and Carly’s budding romance, and you’ll quickly fall in love with both of them. Another great visit to the Sweetheart Ranch – ready for the next!"

"Her Cowboy Sweetheart by Cathy McDavid is an excellent book that I was instantly transported into and not wanting to leave. I loved every minute of it. Ms. McDavid did a fantastic job on this book, and this series is becoming a favorite of mine. I love the little tidbits of some Spanish being spoken, and to the way, Carly was envisioned as a single mom. I am giving this book five stars and recommending it to anyone that reads romances."

"This story reminds us how best friends can make the best partners in life. Family and close friends are extremely important. And listen to those gut instincts. (I always talked about the importance of the Mama Gut when I was teaching.) It also reminds us that you can be strong and learn to trust again.

I do so love this series and am looking forward to more!"

"I do love a good Harlequin Heartwarming story, and Cathy McDavid delivers a beautiful read that is wholesome, clean, entertaining and insightful. . . . I very much enjoyed reading Her Cowboy Sweetheart, and I'm ready to read another story with all the feels, just like this one. Romance readers will delight in this touching story of life's triumphs, tragedies and the power of love."

Jorie Loves A Story - Spotlight

"I so love this series so much. These books are make you feel good romances. This book was no different. I could hardly put it down. . . . Trust me after you finish this book your heart is going to be happy sighing. Then throw in JD's dog Hombre you have recipe for a great book. It's a must read!"

"I love books that deal with real-life illnesses. In Her Cowboy Sweetheart, JD has a balance disorder that affects his everyday life.

I have read a lot about the illness he has, and I am glad to see a character in a book that has it. There needs to be more awareness of it."

"Her Cowboy Sweetheart is a great addition to the Sweetheart Ranch series, yet it is able to be read and enjoyed as a stand alone novel, too. I really liked the two main characters, JD and Carly. They both showed, time and again, throughout the novel that they would put the safety of others above what their heart desired."

"Her Cowboy Sweetheart is such a heartwarming and sweet novel that it was hard to stop reading it once I started. I quickly got caught up in the story of single mom, Carly Leightman who is raising her precious little boy, Rickie. . . . I thought the author penned an emotional story with likeable characters and I will definitely be reading more of her work. What I enjoyed most of all is that this is a clean romance that is suitable for readers of all ages."

Kimber Li - Excerpt

“Yeah, but he could get hurt. Or one of the horses. I can’t let that happen.”

They turned simultaneously to leave, Carly pushing the stroller. Three steps later, JD unexpectedly swayed and knocked into her. The next instant, he moaned and pitched forward.

She caught his arm and instead of him face-planting on the ground, he dropped slowly to his hands and knees. Alarm shot through her.

“JD! JD! Are you okay?”

"I was absorbed into this story fairly quickly. The characters are engaging and interesting, and their dilemmas aren’t typical in romance. . . the story is realistic, potent, and deeply moving."

EmpowerMoms - Review

"I laughed and got teary… lots of great emotions and events happening in this story! I can’t wait to read more in this series! Highly recommend for a fun, easy read."

Heidi Reads... - Excerpt

A wave of nausea hit. No, he silently hollered. Not again!

“JD? Are you all right?” Carly’s voice sounded twenty feet away.

Concentrating on Hombre’s barking, he blindly reached for the nearest solid object to anchor himself. Finding one, he closed his eyes and counted his breaths. All kidding aside, meditation techniques did sometimes stave off an attack. And, they did today.

Inch by inch, the thick fog vanished. Little by little, the ground beneath his feet stabilized. Bit by bit, his stomach settled.


He opened his eyes and was surprised to find Carly’s face inches from his and his arm wrapped around her. Concern filled her expression as she studied him intently.

Hallie Reads - Review

"Visiting Sweetheart Ranch once again in Her Cowboy Sweetheart is a pleasure. The story between Carly and JD tends to be more serious and emotional than most I have read from Harlequin Heartwarming, yet Cathy McDavid makes sure it has some lightheartedness, too. Overall, the story’s elements work well to deliver a heartwarming read, and as I read, I found it to be an easy one to enjoy."

Don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end of this post...

Her Cowboy Sweetheart
(The Sweetheart Ranch #4)
By Cathy McDavid
Contemporary Romance
Paperback and ebook, 384 Pages
May 5th 2020 by Harlequin Heartwarming

He’s been a good friend

But can he be her sweetheart?

At Sweetheart Ranch, single mom Carly Leighton finds a fresh start, and a friendly neighbor in former bull rider JD Moreno. Neither are looking for love—Carly must think first of her son, Rickie, while JD is recovering from a career-ending balance disorder. But when her former in-laws demand access to Rickie, Carly turns to JD for support and finds he is becoming more than a friend in need…

(Affiliate links included.)

Other Books in the Series

(Book covers linked to Amazon affiliate links.)

About the Author

As a sophomore in high school, NY TimesUSA Today, and Amazon bestselling author Cathy McDavid won a local writing competition with her self-illustrated children’s book. Who knew that small triumph would eventually lead to a career writing contemporary romances with over 1.3 million books sold? With forty-seven titles to date, Cathy is also a member of the prestigious Romance Writers of America’s Honor Roll. This “almost” Arizona native and mother of grown twins recently married her own real-life sweetheart. After leaving the corporate world four years ago, she now spends her days penning stories about good looking men who ride the range or fight fires or hunt creatures all while sweeping the girl off her feet. It’s a tough job but she’s willing to make the sacrifice.

Tour Giveaway

One winner will receive a $10 Amazon gift card, $5 Starbucks gift card, author swag, and either a print or Kindle copy of THE COWBOY’S PERFECT MATCH
(US only - if outside the US winner will instead receive a $15 Amazon e-gift card and a Kindle copy of THE COWBOY’S PERFECT MATCH).

Ends May 13, 2020.


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Friday, May 8, 2020

First Line Fridays: The Socialite by J'nell Ciesielski

Happy Friday! 

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books and participants share the first line from a nearby book.

Today, I'm sharing the first lines from The Socialite by J'nell Ciesielski:

"Bloody lipstick. Kathleen Whitford yanked a handkerchief from her handbag and rubbed off the uneven line of Sequin Red curving over her lip."

I read this book back in March and loved it! 😍 Have you read this book? If not, check out the book blurb below and read my review.

What are you reading this weekend? I'd love for you to share your book's first line!

Happy reading!

About the Book:
Glamour, treachery, and espionage collide when an English socialite rushes to save her sister from the Nazis.
As the daughter of Sir Alfred Whitford, Kat has a certain set of responsibilities. But chasing her wayward sister, Ellie, to Nazi-occupied Paris was never supposed to be one of them. Now accustomed to the luxurious lifestyle that her Nazi boyfriend provides, Ellie has no intention of going back to the shackled life their parents dictate for them—but Kat will stop at nothing to bring her sister home.
Arrested for simply trying to defend himself against a drunken bully, Barrett Anderson is given the option of going to jail or serving out his sentence by training Resistance fighters in Paris. A bar owner serves as the perfect disguise to entertain Nazis at night while training fighters right below their jackboots during the day. Being assigned to watch over two English debutantes is the last thing he needs, but a payout from their father is too tempting to resist. Can Barrett and Kat trust each other long enough to survive, or will their hearts prove more traitorous than the dangers waiting around the corner?

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books