Friday, November 15, 2019

First Line Fridays: One More River to Cross by Jane Kirkpatrick

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 the prologue of One More River to Cross by Jane Kirkpatrick:

"Mary Sullivan stood outside the circle of men, watched through the triangle of elbows as they nodded and commented about the markings the Paiute drew in the dirt."

Are you interested in reading this book? Read my review of One More River to Cross or read an excerpt on the publisher's website.

What are you reading this weekend?

Have a great weekend! Happy reading!

About the Book:

Adversity can squelch the human spirit . . . or it can help us discover strength we never knew we had.

In 1844, two years before the Donner Party, the Stephens-Murphy-Townsend company leaves Missouri to be the first wagons into California through the Sierra Nevada. They enjoy a safe journey--until October, when a fierce mountain snowstorm forces difficult decisions.

The party separates in three directions. Some go overland around Lake Tahoe. Others stay to guard the heaviest wagons. The rest of the party, including eight women and seventeen children, huddle in a makeshift cabin at the headwaters of the Yuba River awaiting rescue. The months ahead will be long and at times terrifying. But with friendship, family, and enough courage to overcome their fear, these intrepid pioneers will discover what truly matters in times of trial.

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Book Review: Stories Behind the Songs & Hymns About Heaven

About the Book:

Behind every song is a story . . .

In times of doubt, fear, and loss, we turn to the songs and hymns that remind us that this world is not all there is--that what awaits us as followers of Jesus is a heavenly kingdom. Songs like "Face to Face," "Amazing Grace," "Victory in Jesus," and "I'll Fly Away" were written amid circumstances of great personal pain in the lives of the songwriters. In sharing their stories, we can find even more comfort in our own circumstances.

Award-winning author Ace Collins offers this collection of thirty inspiring true stories that provide hope for this world and insight into the next, painting a picture of eternal life filled with joy, peace, and happy reunions. Perfect for music lovers, pastors, hospice workers, counselors, and all of us who have lost someone we loved.

My Thoughts:

Reading Stories Behind the Songs & Hymns About Heaven by Ace Collins took me longer than expected. Learning the stories behind the songs was highly interesting, but sometimes very sad. Many of the songs were born out of slavery, death of a loved one, or the Great Depression. It speaks to the how well-written the entries were that the narrative could draw me in and evoke emotion in such a short form.

Though I grew up in a church that sang many old gospel hymns, I was familiar with only about half the songs in this book and hadn’t heard of most of the song writers/singers featured. Fortunately, the author supplied sufficient information as well as sources for further reading. I appreciated that the lyrics were included when possible. Two of my favorite entries were: When We All Get to Heaven and Victory in Jesus. Other popular songs included in the book are: Amazing Grace, I’ll Fly Away, I Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now.

Stories Behind the Songs & Hymns About Heaven by Ace Collins is a beautifully designed hardcover book. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys music history and/or gospel music.

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

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: The Sleuth's Conundrum by Kimberly Rose Johnson

The Sleuth's Conundrum JustRead Blog Blitz

Welcome to the Blog Blitz and Giveaway for The Sleuth's Conundrum by Kimberly Rose Johnson, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


The Sleuth's Conundrum 
Title: The Sleuth's Conundrum
Series: The Librarian Sleuth #3  
Author: Kimberly Rose Johnson
Publisher: Mountain Brook Ink  
Genre: Cozy Mystery  
Release Date: November 1, 2019  

Adam and Tara are sucked into a police investigation that might get Tara killed. Can Adam keep her safe or will he lose her forever?

Tara James, the local librarian assistant, is afraid her past will catch up to her when an infant is abandoned outside the Tipton County Library. Will news of the abandoned baby stir up publicity and force her to go on the run again?

Librarian Nancy Daley’s world has become complicated. Carter is pushing to set a wedding date, a woman was left for dead on the side of the road, and Tara, her assistant, is acting strange. Nancy is working every angle she can think of, but the case goes from bad to bizarre. Can she find the baby’s mother, help Tara, and plan her wedding without upsetting her life’s delicate balance?

Slow news days become a thing of the past for local reporter Adam Stacy when a dead body is discovered on the side of the road. Was the woman murdered or was it an accident? Adam’s feelings are growing for Tara, but she appears to have secrets she’s hiding. Is she somehow connected to the abandoned infant?

When things go from bad to worse Adam does everything in his power to protect Tara, but will it be enough?  

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon


Thunder boomed and rattled the windows. Tara jumped—she hated storms. “I don’t
remember the last time we had thunder like that.” She crossed her arms. “Who would abandon a helpless baby on a day like today?” Tara looked down at the infant and her heart melted. She squatted and unhooked the safety restraint. “How long was the power out?”

“Thirty minutes tops. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Nancy moved around her desk and powered on her computer. “I’ll pull up the security footage while I get my mom on the phone.”

Nancy’s mother was the local sheriff, so it made sense that she would call her directly rather than 911. “And I’ll see if she needs a diaper change. Do you think she’s hungry?”
Nancy shrugged. She had her phone to her ear.

Tara lifted the light-as-a-feather baby from the carrier and cradled her. “Shh. It’s going to be okay.” The baby quieted and snuggled against her. Her heart melted. Sudden tears burned her eyes. She blinked them away.

Tara knew little about babies, but how hard could changing a diaper be? She peaked inside the diaper bag and spotted an envelope. “What do we have here?” She reached for it then drew out the single sheet of paper.

“This is Amelia. She’s a week old. I wish I could keep her but my circumstances won’t allow it. Please love her for me and take good care of her.” Clearly her mom cared deeply for her so why leave her baby at the library?


Kimberly Rose Johnson

Award winning author Kimberly Rose Johnson married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing. She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul. Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. You can sign up for Kimberly's newsletter via her website at:  

CONNECT WITH KIMBERLY: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | BookBub


(1) winner will receive a $10 Amazon gift card!

The Sleuth's Conundrum JustRead Giveaway

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight November 11, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm November 18, 2019. Open internationally as long as winner can accept gift card from US Amazon. Void 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.

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


*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Book Review: Once Upon a Dickens Christmas by Michelle Griep

About the Book:

Three Delightful Christmas Tales from Beloved Storyteller Michelle Griep.

Pour yourself a cuppa, get lost in the merriment of the season, and enjoy a Dickensian Christmas in three stories from fan favorite Michelle Griep:

12 Days a Bleakly Manor: Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters. What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.

A Tale of Two Hearts: Pleasure seeker William Barlow needs a wife immediately to gain his uncle’s inheritance, and Mina Scott is just the girl to make him look respectable—too bad she turns him down. Ought he give her a second chance?

The Old Lace Shop: Recently widowed Bella White is finally freed from the domination of the overbearing men in her life, but when she enters into a business partnership with the handsome Edmund Archer, she begins to wonder if marriage is worth a second chance.

My Thoughts:

Once Upon a Dickens Christmas by Michelle Griep boasts a beautiful cover, deckled pages, and the pleasing thickness afforded by three novellas. Included in this collection are: 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, A Tale of Two Hearts, and The Old Lace Shop. Of the three, The Old Lace Shop was my favorite.

All three novellas had highly interesting plots, themes about second chances, and brief cameos by Charles Dickens. The mystery in 12 Days at Bleakly Manor was particularly well-done. I enjoyed the romantic tension in A Tale of Two Hearts. Nearly all the characters in The Old Lace Shop have an intriguing struggle to deal with. I think each of the stories would have made amazing full-length novels. However, as they were constrained by the novella length, the plots progressed quickly and offered limited character development.

Overall, the novellas were entertaining and I'm glad I tried Once Upon a Dickens Christmas. I’m a fan of Michelle Griep’s full-length novels and I’m happy to add this to my collection of her works even though it’s not my favorite from her.  I recommend to readers who enjoy shorter historical romances with Christian themes.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: A Silver Willow by the Shore

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

A Silver Willow by the Shore
By Kelli Stuart
Adult Historical, Contemporary, Time-Slip
Paperback & ebook, 380 Pages
October 15th 2019 by Fine Print Writing Press

How do you face the future if you don’t know your own past?

When an unexpected pregnancy changes her dreams, seventeen-year-old Annie tries to keep it from her mother and her grandmother. But secrets have a way of coming out. In a household of strong women, the arrival of a new life sets off a spiral of truth that reveals a past full of whispers and lies—a past that existed in another world under the heavy hand of Soviet oppression. This history has dictated the circumstances of the present, but hope, redemption, and forgiveness will grow in the rocky places of these generational differences.

A Silver Willow by the Shore is the story of the unshakeable love between mothers and daughters and of the impact that past decisions can have on present day circumstances. This novel weaves together the stories of generations of women, from the gulags of 1930’s Siberia, to the quiet oppression of 1980’s Soviet Moscow, to present day Tennessee. It is an unforgettable narrative of the treachery of secrets, and of the light that unites the heart of a family.

(Affiliate links included.)



Nina studies the photo, soaking in the sight of the small market that stood on the opposite corner from where she and her mother lived. Hours and hours, the two of them stood in lines at that market, waiting to purchase whatever produce might be available when they reached the front. If Nina closes her eyes, she can still hear the sounds on the street outside her home—the trolleys clanging in the distance, the babushkas on the corners selling headscarves or table linens. Sometimes they’d stand out there with a box of puppies, selling them to anyone who stopped and expressed even the slightest interest. Nina had begged her mother for a puppy when she was younger, gazing longingly at the squirming little balls of fur from the line while her mother grasped her hand.

“Don’t be silly, Nina,” her mother would chide. “What would we do with a dog? I am working all day, and you are in school. And besides, then we would have to stand in another line just to get food for the dog. I will not stand in more lines.”

About the Author

Kelli is a wife, mother, novelist, and the driver of a smoking' hot minivan. When she isn't wrangling her five children, she can be found tapping away at the keyboard. Kelli is the award winning author of Like a River From Its Course, her debut novel which won the ACFW Carol Award for Best Historical and was nominated for two Christy Awards. Kelli is also the co-author of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today's Renaissance Mom with Wendy Speake. You can find more information on her life and writings at

Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway

One winner will receive a Kindle Fire Tablet with Alexa Hands Free + $50 Amazon Gift Card.
US only.
Ends November 20, 2019.

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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: The Duke's Second Chance

The Duke's Second Chance Blog Hop (1)

About the Book

The Duke's Second Chance

Title: The Duke's Second Chance
Series: Lords for the Sisters of Sussex
Genre: Adult, Historical, Regency, Romance
Publisher: Indie
Publication date: October 8, 2019

Second chances often come from surprising places. Will the Duke find another chance at love when everything seems to be combining against him?

Gerald feels as though he’s lost everything when his wife takes her last breath.

Amelia’s world turns upside down when the Duke of Granbury steps into her tea shop and leaves with her heart. But when a secret from Amelia’s past unveils possibilities, will the duke get a second chance at love from an unexpected source?

Buy this first book in a Regency romance series for a taste of deep loyal friendship, beautiful second chances, and the path to heal a heart.

Look for the other books in the series: The Earl's Winning Wager Her Lady's Whims and Fancies Suitors for the Proper Miss Pining for Lord Lockhart The Foibles and Follies of Miss Grace

About the Author

jen johnson headshot

An award winning author, including the GOLD in Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards, Jen Geigle Johnson discovered her passion for England while kayaking on the Thames near London as a young teenager. She once greeted an ancient turtle under the water by grabbing her fin. She knows all about the sound a water-ski makes on glassy water and how to fall down steep moguls with grace. During a study break date in college, she sat on top of a jeep's roll bars up in the mountains and fell in love. Now, she loves to share bits of history that might otherwise be forgotten. Whether in Regency England, the French Revolution, or Colonial America, her romance novels are much like life is supposed to be: full of adventure.


The duchess’s labor had started in the carriage while returning to their London townhome. Perhaps her pinched face and general malaise during the earlier parts of the day should have clued the duke in that all was not right, but she gave no complaint, and now he was left only to wish she had expressed a word or two of her condition. He’d carried her himself into her room, her gowns wet through. At last on her bed, he was relieved she would be in the hands of someone more experienced than he who knew how to care for her. But as he brushed the hair from her forehead, as he gazed on his beloved’s face, he couldn’t bear to part, not yet, not with her in the utmost misery.

Gerald clasped his wife’s hands in his own, hoping the strength of his love for her would scare away the pain.

Her face pinched, and she doubled over, large drops of sweat falling off her forehead. “Don’t leave!”

“I’m here. Our illustrious midwife will have to unleash her dragon claws on me before I leave.”

That brought a tiny laugh from his wife which gratified Gerald to no end. He tried to keep up a form of banter with Camilla who was clenched in the pains of childbirth, but in truth, if she wasn’t gripping him so tightly, everyone in the room would see the trembling in his own limbs. She cried out. “It’s getting worse. Is this supposed to happen?” Her eyes, wide with terror, made him frantic.

“Someone do something!” He had tried to find his deep barreling voice but the order came out more of a squeak than anything.

The midwife sidled up to him, “Pardon me, Your Grace. If I may?” She attempted to separate their hands, but he and Camilla resisted, gripping tighter. She continued, “She is doing wonderfully. Her body is performing just as we would expect it to. Everything is progressing as it should. Soon you will have a new baby.”

Camilla rolled toward him onto her side, moaning and writhing on the bed.

“If I might?” The midwife gently tried again to pry their fingers apart, but Camilla clung to him.

“No.” Her no came out as a long drawn out syllable and he almost stepped back in fear. But her grip on him offered no mercy, and no movement.

“I’m here.” He stated his determination to remain at her side. Though even to himself, his tone sounded less sure.

He hesitated one more moment, then Camilla screamed as though she were on a torture rack and released his hands, clutching instead the soothing cool fingers of their midwife, her cooing tones soothed Gerald as much as Camilla.

Gerald scooted further away. The door opened behind him. “Your Grace. I came as soon as I could.”

Gerald turned. “Dr. Miller. Thank you for coming.”

The doctor held the door open for him. “I’m presuming you were on your way out?”

Gerald nodded. “Yes, quite.” Just for a moment he would step into the hallway.

His wife turned eyes to him, beautiful, shining eyes full of love. “I shall be finished shortly they tell me.” Then her body clenched again and she curled into a ball. “Make it stop. Please make this stop.”

“I love you, Camilla.”

She waved him away, clenched in apparent agony.

The doctor shooed him out the door and before it closed firmly behind him, Gerald heard a quiet, “I love you too.” Gerald leaned up against it, breathing heavily. What a daft thing to do, impregnate his wife. What in the blazes was he thinking doing such a thing to them both? He closed his eyes, her scream audible through the thick door.

“Oh this will not do.” His friend’s voice lessened the strain that wound inside Gerald like a tight net.

Gerald whipped his eyes open, a welcoming smile interrupting the pain of his moment. “Cousin Morley. I’ve ruined her. She’ll never forgive me, I’m certain, and she’s in the most incredible pain.”

Another scream interrupted. The door flung open and a maid ran out, carrying linens and a bucket. The door shut firmly after her.

Morley gripped his shoulder. “Come, man. This is not the place for husbands. Wives always seem just fine after it’s all over.”

“I don’t know. She seemed determined I stay by her. I’m taking a break.” He swallowed.

“No, they say that at first, but what woman wants you to see her like that? It’s only going to get worse. You should have seen my sister’s household. The whole place was in a upheaval, everyone thinking their lady was going to fire them all.”

Morley considered his friends words. “And when it was over, she was recovered?”

“Certainly. She was in the best of moods, gave them all an increase in pay.” Morley put an arm across his shoulder. “Come. We don’t belong anywhere near her. It’s off to the study with your fine brandy.”

Gerald nodded. “Indeed. That sounds like just the thing.” He hesitated a moment more and then allowed the good will of his dearest friend to lead him along to a brighter manner in which to pass the time.

The farther away from her bedroom, the more the fibers of worry lessened, and Gerald told himself his wife was in the best of hands, that women gave birth all the time and that surely she would be well. He pushed away a persistent, niggling worry that something terrible was happening, pushed it as far as he could. For just as his friend said, what more could he do? She would be well soon enough and he could meet his son or daughter. Their lives would continue as before.

Morley made himself comfortable in the study as he always did. Leaning back in his favorite chair, he said, “Remember when we convinced Joe that his cow was about to give birth?”

Gerald snorted, almost losing his mouthful of brandy. “Clueless Joe believed us, with not a bull in sight on their estate.”

Morley laughed and raised his cup in the air. “To Joe.”

“To Joe.”

They downed their cups, and Morley poured two new ones.

“Thanks for being here.”

“Would I miss the best thing you’ve ever done?”

Gerald eyed him with suspicion. “That sounds very sentimental…”

“We hope. If your child is anything like Her Grace, then we’re sure of you doing a service to society…”

“And if the child’s like me?”

“Then we’ve just inflicted society with another Campbell, and I don’t know how I feel about that.”

“Being a Campbell yourself.”

“Precisely. I know what a pox we are on the land.”

Gerald downed his second cup, grateful for a reason to laugh. “Tell me cousin. Will there ever be another Campbell in your life?”

“If my mother has anything to say on the matter.”

“And what say you? Surely someone has caught your eye?”

Morley looked away, his face drawn in an uncharacteristic frown. “I’ve found women to be nothing more than a silly, grappling means of entrapment.” He coughed. “Present wives excluded.”

Gerald sympathized with his friend. Finding a woman to marry should not be so difficult. He felt supremely lucky, blessed, in his marriage to Camilla. They had fallen in love straight away, both of them happy to pursue a courtship, their parents pleased, society approving, but he knew it wasn’t so easy for most people.

“Come, man. I shall devote the next bit of my life to making you the happiest of men.”

Morley held up his hands and shook his head. “Assistance not necessary. In fact, quite unwelcome.”

“Think nothing of it. I want you just as happily situated as I am, for marriage has brought nothing but the best of feelings. Today’s activities aside, naturally.”

A man cleared his throat in the doorway.


(1) winner will receivea signed print copy of The Duke's Second Chance, a bookmark, and some chocolates.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends November 18 at 11:59pm MT. Giveaway is subject to policies HERE.

Tour Schedule

Check out the tour schedule HERE.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Murder in the Family

Murder in the Family JustRead Blog Tour 
Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour and Giveaway for Murder in the Family by Ramona Richards, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Murder in the Family by Ramona Richards
Title: Murder in the Family
Author: Ramona Richards  
Publisher: Firefly Southern Fiction  
Genre: Cozy Mystery  
Release Date: September 17, 2019  

Greed Poisons Even The Sweetest Well

Storm chaser Molly McClelland must return to her small Alabama hometown when she unexpectedly inherits her hoarder aunt's house . . . and all of its contents.

Despite her suspicions that her aunt was murdered, Molly wants nothing more than to sell everything and get back to the life she loves. Especially once her homecoming reignites the decades-old family conflict that drove her away in the first place. But when Molly uncovers caches of cash, journals revealing secrets-and a body-amongst the stockpiles, she finds herself locked in a cat-and-mouse dance with a deadly endgame.

Molly teams with local sheriff, Greg Olson, to find the truth. But will her determination and his skills be enough, or will the killer-or killers-put an end to their efforts once and for all?

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


Prepping for Fumigation

Aunt Liz’s words echoed in her head. This is why I’m turning to you … You are the only one who can help them. I hope you find it in your heart to carry out my wishes. And forgive me.

“Aunt Liz, I don’t know if I can.” She stumbled over the corner of a box that stuck out from beneath a chair, and growled in frustration as she kicked the box. A scattering of flies and spiders repaid her anger, and she danced backward, trying not to fall.

In the kitchen, the grit of spilled food, ripped bags, and dirt ground under her bootie-covered shoes. The white stovetop was stained brown with burned grease, and smears of jam and mustard coated the refrigerator door. She opened cabinets, astonished to find one filled with clean dishes. More clean dishes stood in a drying rack, although the dirty ones in the sink had been there awhile. Probably since way before Aunt Liz died.

She opened drawers where she could, pulling the refrigerator door last. The stench shot through the mask and the Vicks and snatched her breath away. Molly swallowed hard and turned, bending over the sink, trying not to lose her breakfast. She inhaled through her mouth, then held her breath as she straightened, turned, and reached in to turn off the refrigerator.

Stepping back, she turned her attention to the basement entrance, near the back door. It opened easily, but Molly could go no farther; the stairs were completely blocked with boxes. She shook her head, not doubting for a moment that every room upstairs, plus the attic, looked the same. Her throat tightened as images of how her aunt had lived the last few years swamped her.

“Seriously, Aunt Liz, fire would be much quicker. And a whole lot easier.” The thought was no longer a joke, no matter what her aunt had begged of her.

Molly left the basement door open, then pushed open the one window she could reach. She paused, looking around the kitchen, trying to imagine where she could even start. She leaned against the counter, bracing herself as tears stung her eyes. “Oh, Aunt Liz.” She looked down, noticing for the first time the cloud of black spots that dotted her white-clad ankles and shins. Fleas.

No wonder Blossom bolted. I wouldn’t live here either.

Abruptly, the sadness that had settled over her fled as a flush of anger returned. Her family’s obsession with acquiring more and more possessions had led to this, had culminated in the misery of a sweet woman who could no longer say no to her family. To stuff. 

It had to stop.


Ramona Richards  

Ramona Richards is the associate publisher for Iron Stream Media, the parent company of New Hope Publishers, Iron Stream Kidz, and Ascender Books. She has been an in-house editor for Abingdon Press, Thomas Nelson, Rutledge Hill Press, and Ideals magazine, and has freelanced for a dozen other publishers. The author of nine novels, three books of devotions, and numerous magazine articles, she is a frequent speaker for women’s and writers’ groups, and has presented at numerous conferences across the country. Her latest book, Murder in the Family, released in October from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.  

CONNECT WITH RAMONA: Website | Facebook | Twitter


(1) winner will receive two signed copies of Murder in the Family by Ramona Richards (it's Christmas!), a $15 Visa gift card, and a signed copy of one of the author's older books!

Murder in the Family JustRead Blog Tour Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight November 7, 2019 and last through 11:59 PM EST on November 14, 2019. Open internationally except where prohibited by law or logistics. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize.
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.