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First Line Friday — Deadly Target

5 Nov

Happy Friday! This week has been one for the books! Unfortunately not one for reading books. 😉 Hopefully this weekend I will have some time for R&R — reading and relaxing. One of the books that I will dive into soon is Deadly Target by Elizabeth Goddard, the 2nd book in her Rocky Mountain Courage series.

Here’s the first line:

For a few hours every Saturday morning, Erin Larson could forget that evil existed.

Criminal psychologist Erin Larson’s dreams of a successful career come to a screeching halt when she nearly loses her own life in a boating accident on Puget Sound and then learns that her mother tried to commit suicide. She leaves her job as a criminal psychologist to care for her mother in Montana. At least she is able to produce her podcast, which focuses on solving missing persons cold cases.

Nathan Campbell’s father was investigating such a case when he was shot, and now Nathan needs to enlist Erin’s help to solve the case. She’s good at what she does. The only problem? She’s his ex.

As the two dig deeper, it becomes clear that they, too, are being targeted–and that the answers to their questions are buried deep within the past Erin struggles to explain and longs to forget.

The race is on for the truth in this gripping and complex tale of suspense, intrigue, and murder from USA Today bestselling author Elizabeth Goddard.

With over one million books sold, Elizabeth Goddard is the USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling, award-winning author of over fifty romance novels and counting. A 7th generation Texan, Elizabeth graduated from North Texas State University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and worked in high-level software sales for several years before retiring to home school her children and fulfill her dreams of writing full-time.

To get book news sign up for her newsletter at her website:http://elizabethgoddard.com

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You can connect with Elizabeth on Facebookhttp://facebook.com/elizabethgoddardauthor

or Twitterhttp://twitter.com/bethgoddard

First Line Friday — Remember Me

29 Oct

Happy Friday! I love going to bookstores. I don’t do it that often because 1) I have shelves full of books and 2) I receive books all the time filling up non-existent shelf space. 😉 But who can resist shiny books that I have been drooling over online and in catalogs? I picked up a couple of books by Mario Escobar, a new-to-me author who writes historical fiction. An added bonus is that the author is not American and the books have been translated from Spanish into English. I cannot wait to read them. Today I am including the first line of Remember Me.

My hands shook with the letter I had just received, postmarked from Mexico.

Historians refer to the Spanish Civil War as one of the bloodiest wars of the twentieth century. In 1937, at Mexico s request and offer, nearly 500 children from Spain remembered as Los Niños de Morelia were relocated via ship to Mexico to escape the war s violence. These children traveled across the sea without their families and were expected to return at the war s end. No one could have foreseen another world war was on the way or that that Franco s regime would prevent the children from coming home. These enduring conflicts trapped the children in a country far from their homeland, and many never made it back. Remember Me is Mario Escobar s novelization of these events, as told by a fictional survivor one of the children of Morelia who looks back upon his life after making the long and devastating journey across the Atlantic. This story explores the endurance of the human spirit as well as the quandary of a parent s impossible decision, asking: At what cost do you protect your child in the face of uncertainty?

Mario Escobar has a master’s degree in modern history and has written numerous books and articles that delve into the depths of church history, the struggle of sectarian groups, and the discovery and colonization of the Americas. Escobar, who makes his home in Madrid, Spain, is passionate about history and its mysteries.

Find Mario Escobar at http://www.marioescobar.es.

First Line Friday — Out of The Water

22 Oct

Happy Friday! This week I am featuring Out of The Water by Christy Award-winner Ann Marie Stewart. This book is so good! Multi-generational and featuring thought-provoking themes, you will not want to miss this one.

Here’s the first line:

Siobhan Mason stepped out into the cold March air and headed for the barn to gather the few eggs her hens still laid.

Irish immigrant Siobhan Kildea’s impetuous flight from a Boston lover in 1919 leads her to a new family in an unfamiliar Montana prison town. After a horrific tragedy impacts her children, her land, and her livelihood, Siobhan makes a heart wrenching decision – with consequences that ripple for decades to come.

Mysteriously linked to Siobhan is Genevieve Marchard, a battlefront nurse in France who returns stateside to find the absence of a certain soldier is her greatest loss; Anna Hanson, a music teacher who tucks herself away in a small Washington town, assuming her secrets are safe; and Erin Ellis, who thinks she and her husband won the lottery when they adopted their daughter, Claire. 

These interconnected stories, spanning three continents and five generations, begin to unravel in 1981 when Claire Ellis sets out to find her biological mother.

With puzzling suspense, unforgettable characters and uncanny insight, Out of the Water is an intoxicating novel of motherhood, secrets, and the profound ramifications our decisions have. Readers will be left wondering: ultimately, is it always better to know the truth?

Ann Marie Stewart grew up in Seattle, Washington and is a die-hard UW Husky (and Wolverine) after earning a Masters in Film/Television from University of Michigan. She originated AMG’s Preparing My Heart series, and writes the column “Ann’s Lovin’ Ewe” for The Country Register. With two recent UVA grads, she’s now a huge HOO basketball fan. When not writing, Ann teaches voice or takes care of the many sheep of Skyemoor Farm.

First Line Friday — A Season on The Wind

15 Oct

Happy Friday! I am featuring one of my favorite authors this week — Suzanne Woods Fisher. I don’t read a lot of Amish fiction, but I do read every book that Fisher publishes, including, and especially, her Amish novels. There is just something about the communities she portrays that draw me in. Real and relatable are two adjectives I can always ascribe to her characters. A Season on The Wind is her latest novel, and I will be reading it soon.

Here’s the first line:

Penny Weaver stayed so still that the field sparrow in her yard didn’t seem to know she was there.

Ben Zook had only two loves in his life: books and birds. In a stroke of good fortune, he’d stumbled onto a way to cobble together those two loves into a career, writing books about rare birds. He was as free as a bird–until a chase for a rare White-winged Tern takes him to the one place on earth he planned to never return: his Amish home in Stoney Ridge. 

Desperate for photographs of the elusive tern, Ben hires a local field guide, Micah Weaver, and boards at Micah’s farm, planning to “bag the bird” and leave Stoney Ridge before anyone recognizes him. But he neglected to plan for Micah’s sister, Penny. 

One long-ago summer, Penny had introduced Ben to birding, even sharing with him a hidden eagle aerie. That was when she knew true love. She’d always hoped he would come back to Stoney Ridge. Back to his Amish roots. Back to her. The only problem? Ben has absolutely no memory of Penny.

Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher welcomes her readers to the Amish community at Stoney Ridge in this engaging story of discovering just who the rare birds are in life.

Suzanne Woods Fisher loves stories worth telling about people worth remembering. With over a million copies of her book sold worldwide, this bestselling, award-winning author of more than 30 books is always on the lookout for the unsung hero with an untold story.

Readers are invited to stop by Suzanne’s website at: http://www.suzannewoodsfisher.com.

First Line Friday — Labyrinth of Lies

8 Oct

Happy Friday! I am always on board for a book by Irene Hannon. I love both her contemporary romance and her romantic suspense novels. Today I am featuring Labyrinth of Lies, the second book in her Triple Threat series. I am woefully behind on this series, but I now have two great reading opportunities . 😉 In the coming weeks look for reviews of this book and the first in the series, Point of Danger.

Here are the first two lines:

They wanted her to take on another undercover gig? No way.

When the daughter of a high-profile businessman disappears from an exclusive girls’ boarding school, police detective Cate Reilly is tapped for an undercover assignment. It doesn’t take her long to realize that beneath the veneer of polish and wealth, things are not as they seem at Ivy Hill Academy. But the biggest surprise of all? The only man she ever loved is also working at the school.

Zeke Sloan has never forgotten Cate, but now isn’t the best time for their paths to cross again. When their two seemingly disparate agendas begin to intertwine–and startling connections emerge among the players–the danger escalates significantly. But who is the mastermind behind the elaborate ruse? And how far will they go to protect their house of cards?

Queen of romantic suspense Irene Hannon invites you to scale the heights of human folly and plumb the depths of the human heart in this second gripping book in the Triple Threat series.

Irene Hannon is the best-selling author of more than 35 novels. Her books have been honored with the coveted RITA Award from Romance Writers of America, the HOLT Medallion, the Reviewer’s Choice Award from Romantic Times BOOKreviews magazine and the Daphne du Maurier Award for mystery/suspense. Irene and her husband make their home in Missouri, USA. Irene invites you to visit her at her website, http://www.irenehannon.com.

First Line Friday — A Christmas in The Alps

24 Sep

Happy Friday! It’s fall, y’all! While many people are polishing their pumpkins and sipping cider or spiced lattes, I begin my Christmas reading. It’s never too early for a little Christmas cheer, right? This week I am featuring the first of my Christmas reads, A Christmas in The Alps. What better way to kick off the season with a Melody Carlson novella.

When do you start your Christmas reading?

Here’s the first line:

Simone Winthrop knew all about loss.

After a time of heartache and loss, Simone Winthrop discovers a tantalizing letter from her French great-grandmother, which seems to suggest that she is heir to a family treasure. Ever practical, Simone assumes the claim is baseless, but her best friend encourages her to find out for sure. Despite her deep-rooted fear of flying, Simone boards a jet to travel to Paris at Christmastime to uncover the truth.

During the long flight, Simone meets the charming Kyle Larsson, who’s on his way to France to become an apprentice clockmaker. Though they abruptly part ways, an unexpected rendezvous in the French Alps at Simone’s family’s clock factory may lead to the discovery of the family treasure . . . and so much more.

For anyone who is wearying of staying home, Melody Carlson invites you to spend Christmas with her in the beautiful French Alps this year. So pull on your mittens, tie your scarf tight, and prepare yourself for a magical mountain holiday.

First Line Friday — Memories of Glass

17 Sep

Happy Friday! Today I am featuring this month’s book club selection, Memories of Glass by Melanie Dobson. Dobson is a must-read author for me. I love how she uses dual timeline stories to present a whole message. If you’ve read this book I’d love to know your thoughts.

Here’s the first line:

Brilliant color flickered across her canvas of wall.

Reminiscent of Diane Ackerman’s The Zookeeper’s Wife, this stunning novel draws from true accounts to shine a light on a period of Holland’s darkest history and bravest heroes.

1942. As war rips through the heart of Holland, childhood friends Josie van Rees and Eliese Linden partner with a few daring citizens to rescue Eliese’s son and hundreds of other Jewish children who await deportation in a converted theater in Amsterdam. But amid their resistance work, Josie and Eliese’s dangerous secrets could derail their friendship and their entire mission. When the enemy finds these women, only one will escape.

Seventy-five years later, Ava Drake begins to suspect that her great-grandfather William Kingston was not the World War II hero he claimed to be. Her work as director of the prestigious Kingston Family Foundation leads her to Landon West’s Ugandan coffee plantation, and Ava and Landon soon discover a connection between their families. As Landon’s great-grandmother shares the broken pieces of her story, Ava must confront the greatest loss in her own life―and powerful members of the Kingston family who will do anything to keep the truth buried.

Illuminating the story and strength of these women, award-winning author Melanie Dobson transports readers through time and place, from World War II Holland to contemporary Uganda, in this rich and inspiring novel.

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 almost thirty books, Melanie enjoys stitching together both time-slip and historical stories including The Curator’s DaughterMemories of Glass, and the Legacy of Love novels (legacyofloveseries.com). Five of her novels have 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, The Winter Rose, comes out in January 2022. 

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 (melaniedobson.com) or at the following social media platforms: 

Facebook.com/MelanieDobsonFiction
Instagram/MelBDobson
Twitter.com/MelBDobson

First Line Friday — The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery

10 Sep

Happy Friday! Tonight I was supposed to be winging my way to a western vacation. Some health issues (not Covid) are causing a bit of a delay, but we will hopefully be in the air come Sunday night. I am all packed and ready, so what to do? Read! I am reading my book club’s selection, Memories of Glass by Melanie Dobson, right now. After that comes The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery. Amanda Cox is a new-to-me author, and I look forward to reading this book.

Here’s the first line:

Sarah nudged aside last night’s puddle of clothes with her bare foot, the exposed designer label sticking out a bit too much.

Present Day.

After tragedy plunges her into grief and unresolved anger, Sarah Ashby returns to her childhood home determined to finally follow her long-denied dream of running Old Depot Grocery alongside her mother and grandmother. But when she arrives, her mother, Rosemary, announces to her that the store is closing. Sarah and her grandmother, Glory Ann, make a pact to save the store, but Rosemary has worked her entire life to make sure her daughter never follows in her footsteps. She has her reasons — but she’ll certainly never reveal the real one.

1965.

Glory Ann confesses to her family that she’s pregnant with her deceased fiancé’s baby. Pressured into a marriage of convenience with a shopkeeper to preserve the family reputation, Glory Ann vows never to love again. But some promises are not as easily kept as she imagined.

This dual-timeline story from Amanda Cox deftly explores the complexity of a mother-daughter dynamic, the way the secrets we keep shape our lives and the lives of others, and the healing power of telling the truth.

Before becoming a stay-at-home parent, Amanda Cox spent her time counseling children, families, and individuals through life’s challenging moments. Now she uses those same skills to develop layered characters and stories, bringing them on a journey of hope and healing. A journey she hopes her readers experience in their own lives as they read.

A few of her favorite things are the sanctuary of the great outdoors, the feeling of pen on paper, the sound of her children’s laughter, and exploring new places with her husband of 15 years. (Oh, let’s not forget good fiction and good coffee. She’s addicted to both.) You can stay connected with her latest writing updates at http://www.amandacoxwrites.com. You can find her on social media by searching Amanda Cox Writes.

First Line Friday — Stars of Alabama

3 Sep

A friend of mine loaned me a book yesterday that has been on my radar for a while — Stars of Alabama by Sean Dietrich aka Sean of The South. I’m looking forward to reading it, though I have no idea when that will be. 😉 I’m thinking it will make a great surprise selection for my book club.

Here’s the first line:

Paul Folger listened to Louisville bark.

One child preacher traveling across the plains.

One young woman with a mysterious touch.

Two old friends, their baby, and their bloodhound.

And all the stars that shine above them.

When fifteen-year-old Marigold becomes pregnant amid the Great Depression, she is rejected by her family and forced to fend for herself. And when she loses her baby in the forest, her whole world turns upside down. She’s even more distraught upon discovering she has an inexplicable power that makes her both beautiful and terrifying—and something of a local legend.

Meanwhile, migrant workers Vern and Paul discover a violet-eyed baby and take it upon themselves to care for her. The men soon pair up with a widow and her two children, and the misfit family finds its way in fits and starts toward taking care of each other.

As survival brings one family together, a young boy finds himself with nary a friend to his name as the dust storms rage across Kansas. Fourteen-year-old Coot, a child preacher with a prodigy’s memory, is on the run with thousands of stolen dollars—and the only thing he’s sure of is that Mobile, Alabama, is his destination.

As the years pass and a world war looms, these stories intertwine in surprising ways, reminding us that when the dust clears, we can still see the stars.

Sean Dietrich is a columnist, novelist, and creator of the blog and podcast, “Sean of the South.” Known for his commentary on life in the American South, his work has appeared in Newsweek, Southern Living, Garden & Gun, the Tallahassee Democrat, the Birmingham News, Alabama Living, and he has authored thirteen books.

First Line Friday — Woman in Shadow

27 Aug

Happy Friday! One of my favorite authors, Carrie Stuart Parks, released a new novel this summer — Woman in Shadow. I downloaded it from NetGalley, and I really need to find time to read it. If you have read it, please let me know why I should move it to the top of the old TBR stack. It won’t take much convincing 😉 .

Here are the first two lines:

Why are those dogs barking? I pointed across the wooden picnic table toward two obviously upset canines yelping nearby.

A woman off the grid.

Darby Graham thinks she’s on a much-needed vacation in remote Idaho to relax. But before she even arrives at the ranch, an earthquake strikes. Then a barn on the edge of town is engulfed in flames and strange problems at the ranch begin to escalate, and Darby finds herself immersed in a chilling mystery.

A town on fire.

More fires erupt around town, and a serial arsonist sends taunting letters to the press after each. As a forensic linguist, this is Darby’s area of expertise . . . but the scars her work has caused her are also the reason she’s trying to escape her life.

A growing darkness.

As the shadows continue moving in, pieces of the town around her come into sharper focus. To make it out alive, Darby must decide if she can trust the one man who sees her clearly.

Carrie Stuart Parks is an award winning artist, writer, speaker, and law enforcement instructor. A Certified Forensic Artist, she met her husband, Rick, in the romantic hallways of the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Together they formed a dynamic and successful team in their fine and forensic art, working on major national and international cases and creating exquisite watercolors and stone carvings. They travel internationally, teaching forensic art to a variety of participants: from the Secret Service to the FBI, from large law enforcement agencies to the smallest two-man departments in their one-week classes. They are the largest instructors of forensic art in the world. Carrie has won numerous awards for her innovative teaching methods and general career excellence and is a signature member of the Idaho Watercolor Society.

Carrie’s Gwen Marcey series chronicles a forensic artist from Montana and is loosely based on Carrie’s forensic cases. She began her fiction writing career while battling breast cancer. Mentored by NY Times bestselling author, Frank Peretti, Carrie’s debut novel, along with her subsequent novels, have been met with critical acclaim.