Friday, November 30, 2018

First Line Fridays

Happy almost December everyone!  Christmas is just around the corner, and I am so excited!  This month means spending time with family and friends--friends that unfortunately I do not get to see very often.  It is always lovely to reconnect this time of the year, and obviously, we catch up over a cup of hot tea.  :) 

As far as traveling for the holidays, do any of you travel much?  Or is your family close?  Whichever the case, I wish you safe and happy travels...and happy reading of course!

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from: 

  A Yuletide Regency  
by Regina Scott, Sarah M. Eden, Jen Johnson, 
Annette Lyon, Krista Jensen, and Heather Moore  

And the first line is...

Always Kiss at Christmas 
by Regina Scott 

To all those who hold Christmas in their hearts, and to the Lord, the author of Christmas 

Rose Hill, Surrey 
Christmas Eve, 1802

"If she couldn't win an offer at Christmas, there was no justice in the world." 

Happy reading and happy Friday!   

Let me know your first line in the comments & then head over to Hoarding Books  to see who else is participating! 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Yes, Carol...It's Christmas - My Review

As the top salesperson for Pfunn Party Supplies, Carol Frost doesn’t exactly know how to have fun herself these days. Though she wasn’t always such a humbug. Once upon a time, she was famous for hosting Christmas parties that were filled with everything from laughing guests and luscious hors d’oeuvres, to artfully iced sugar cookies and creatively decorated Christmas trees. To top it off, she even wrote a bestselling book that became the authoritative tome on Christmas party entertaining at the time—The Complete, Total, Ultimate, Everything-You-Might-Possibly-Want-to-Know Guide to Hosting the Best Christmas Parties Ever.

Yet that was long ago, before her life changed and she stashed her tinsel and twinkle lights away once and for all. And while Carol soon learned to settle for her boring but comfortable existence, an old friend knows that Carol isn’t really living up to her potential. An old friend who . . . well . . . now enjoys her eggnog in the afterlife, you might say. To goad Carol into going back to her former party-hosting ways, said friend sends three of her specter pals to pester Carol. Then, much to Carol’s annoyance, she is visited by the Ghost Hosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future on a plane filled with plenty of holiday revelers. And though Carol only wants to be left alone, the Ghost 
Hosts have other plans. Instead, they take her on an adventure that wasn’t exactly on her itinerary . . . or printed on her ticket stub. From that moment on, Carol’s life will never be the same. Provided, of course, she survives the jingle-bell rollercoaster of a ride and makes it home in time for Christmas . . .

CINDY VINCENT, M.A. Ed., was born in Calgary, Alberta, and has lived all around the US and Canada. She is the creator of the Mysteries by Vincent murder mystery party games and the Daisy Diamond Detective Series games for girls. She is also the award-winning author of the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Caper novels and the Daisy Diamond Detective series. She lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and an assortment of fantastic felines.

Christmas books are some of my very favorite books to read, and I try to read a couple each December.  However, I find that I need to start earlier and earlier each year, in order to read at least one!  Does anyone else feel the same way?  The holidays are lovely, but they can be crazy and hectic.  That is why it is so nice to sit down, relax, and open the pages of a Christmas story. 

My friend Cindy Vincent has written the perfect book for the holidays, because her story is based on the beloved tale A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.  The Victorian era of literature is my favorite--Dickens was a part of this literary time period—so I was very excited to see how Vincent created her Christmas book against the backdrop of a Dickens classic. 

Carol lives in a world that does not seem to slow down.  She has so many responsibilities that take all her time and energy.  Yet she knows she is the only one who can accomplish the to-do list that marks every moment of her day.  She is living off the steam from the previous day, and unfortunately, she has also let the past define her present.  Will her life every change?  Could things really be better?  Even though Carol highly doubts this to be possible, an unexpected ride in the sky just might change her mind. 

If you enjoy a bit of intrigue in a story, you will love this book.  And if you love Christmas tales, you will love this book.  I highly recommend adding this novella to your Christmas reading list this year.  Let me know some of your favorite Christmas books in the comments below.  Happy reading and Merry Christmas!  

This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the author for my copy.

1.  Growing up, can you tell us about one of your favorite Christmas memories?

It’s really hard to pinpoint just one special memory, because I have been blessed with so many!  But a favorite moment-in-time happened when I was about eight or nine years old.  One of the parents in the neighborhood organized a group of grownups and kids to go Christmas caroling.  After a couple of practice songs, we all took off, walking as a group.  I remember the night was pretty chilly, and I had on the whole winter ensemble—coat, hat, scarf, and mittens.  It was enough to keep me warm so I could enjoy the fresh, crisp air on that clear night loaded with stars.  The group went from house to house, and I thought it was the most fun thing in the world to ring the doorbell and wait for someone to answer, whereby the entire group would belt out the next song on our list.  As a kid, I remember singing my heart out, and I knew every verse of every one of those Christmas carols.  I’m sure I probably didn’t sound as great as I thought I did back then—Ha!—but it was so much fun, I didn’t care.  I felt like we were spreading Christmas throughout the whole neighborhood.  Afterward, we gathered at someone’s house where we had hot chocolate and Christmas cookies.  It was one of the most fun nights of my young life.

2.  Christmas is truly one of the most wonderful times of the year, yet what was what the inspiration behind writing a Christmas novella?

It was the night after Christmas and all through the kitchen, not a dish was left dirty, not even a saucepan . . . Okay, maybe that doesn’t quite rhyme, but I think you get my drift!  The idea for Yes, Carol . . . It’s Christmas! came to me a couple of years ago on the night after Christmas, when my husband and I had just finished eating dinner.  We’d decided to do it up right and eat in the dining room, using our new Christmas china.  And just as I finished drying the last plate that night, I started reminiscing about a fun Christmas party we’d hosted, and from there I started thinking about Christmas parties in general.  Then I started to wonder, if someone was an expert at hosting parties and they were in the middle of a Christmas Carol-like situation, what ghosts would visit them?  That’s when it dawned on me that it wouldn’t be just any old ghost in that case, but instead it would be a “ghost host.”  From there, the story was born.

But I also wanted Yes, Carol . . . It’s Christmas! to be more than just a spoof on A Christmas Carol.  I wanted it to be a tale about picking up the pieces and getting back to doing what it is that you love to do, something that uses your particular God-given gifts.  Because we can all get sidetracked from our calling when bad things happen to us, bad things that are beyond our control.  Sometimes it can be pretty hard to get back up, scars and all, and return to our intended road.

3.  Baking is one of my favorite things to do at Christmas.  Do you have any recipes for Christmas treats you would like to share?

Here’s a fudge recipe that I got from a neighbor years ago.  Not only is it delicious, but it’s perfect for passing out to your friends!

Fantasy Fudge

3 cups sugar
1½ sticks of margarine
2/3 cup of canned evaporated milk

Combine these three ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.  Boil for another five minutes on medium heat, still stirring.  Remove from heat and add:

12-ounce package of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Stir until these are melted.  Then add:

7-ounce jar Marshmallow Cream
Lots of broken, slightly crumbled walnuts
1 tsp. of vanilla

Stir these in and pour into a greased 8x8 pan.  Let cool and cut into individual pieces. 

Thanks again, Heather, for hosting me here today.  I wish you a very special Christmas this year.  When you look up at the stars in the sky this Christmas, think of that bright star that shone above Bethlehem, and know that God loves you now and always!  Merry Christmas!

Put together your own best-ever Christmas party with this fun “party in a box” giveaway! Enter for a chance to win a package with the following prizes: a signed copy of Yes, Carol…It’s Christmas! by Cindy Vincent, two Betty Crocker sugar cookie mixes, two cookie cutters, a four-pack of sprinkles, a strand of Christmas lights, and two glass ornaments. Due to shipping costs and varying international laws, this giveaway is open to US residents (age 18 or older) only. Void where prohibited. Good luck!

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Friday, November 23, 2018

First Line Fridays

How was everyone's Thanksgiving yesterday?  I hope it was filled with lots of fun and time spent with family and friends.  If not though--I remember my college days of going to pick something up at Cracker Barrel--I hope the day was restful.

Were you able to read between the football games and turkey?  :)  I read a little bit from my Kindle books--just like Rory from Gilmore Girls, I always have a book with me.  Have a wonderful weekend and happy Black Friday shopping, Cyber Monday shopping, and most importantly, happy reading! 

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from: 

  A Convenient Engagement 
by Ashtyn Newbold 

And the first line is...

England, Summer, 1813

"Sunlight came even more rarely than silence through Amelia Buxton's second story window."  

Happy reading and happy Friday!   

Let me know your first line in the comments & then head over to Hoarding Books  to see who else is participating! 

Saturday, November 17, 2018

A Sparkle of Silver - My Review

This new book by Liz Johnson is a tale that connects two worlds--the past and the present.  What I love is that so much history, regarding the life of the main character's great-grandmother, is highlighted.  I have read several books which showcase the similarities between time eras, but this story was interesting, because it was helping family members get to know each a bit better.

Some of Millie's relatives are a bit of a mystery to her and her own grandmother's failing mind does not aid her in gaining any type of understanding regarding these puzzles.  She longs to take better care of her grandmother, and she hopes the life and legacy of her past can give her what she needs.  Yet will she be able to unravel the never-ending problems that seem to make up her life?  Who will help her win in this battle against time?  Despite what Millie does not know, she will soon begin to see how much a person's choices will either help or hinder their loved ones later in life.  Hopefully, her relatives left something behind, which will rescue her from her present troubles.  

This book is fiction, but I love that it does incorporate a bit of mystery.  You all know how much I love a good mystery!  The intrigue, which lives in Millie's past, gives readers a better understanding of why Millie is so desperate to know what came before her.  Many people might not be very interested in some old diaries, but Millie knows this is the only link she has to this unknown world.  If you love a challenging plot, I recommend checking out this book.  Happy reading everyone!

This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, for my copy.

Ninety years ago, Millie Sullivan's great-grandmother was a guest at oil tycoon Howard Dawkins' palatial estate on the shore of St. Simons Island, Georgia. Now, Millie plays a 1920s-era guest during tours of the same manor. But when her grandmother suggests that there is a lost diary containing the location of a hidden treasure on the estate, along with the true identity of Millie's great-grandfather, Millie sets out to find the truth of her heritage--and the fortune that might be hers. When security guard Ben Thornton discovers her snooping in the estate's private library, he threatens to have her fired. But her story seems almost too ludicrous to be fiction, and her offer to split the treasure is too tempting to pass up . . .

Get ready for a romantic escapade through dark halls and dusty corners that will have you holding your breath and sighing with delight as two charming characters get caught up in the adventure of uncovering the past and finding their way to an unexpected future.

By day Liz Johnson is the marketing director for a radio network. She finds time to write late at night and is a two-time ACFW Carol Award finalist. Liz makes her home in Tucson, AZ, where she enjoys theater, exploring local history, and doting on her nieces and nephews. She loves stories of true love with happy endings. 

Find out more about Liz at:

Friday, November 16, 2018

First Line Fridays

Oh goodness, it is freezing here in the great state of Georgia!  How is the weather where you are?  Hopefully, if it is freezing there too, it is snowing.  :)  Snow always seems to make the cold weather better. 

I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope your month was lovely.  November was good for me, because I was able to watch dozens of Hallmark Christmas movies.  :)  Stay warm and happy reading! 

  Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from: 

  Once Upon a Thanksgiving 
by Linda Ford and Winnie Griggs 

And the first line is...

Season of Bounty 
by Linda Ford 

Hopewell, Montana 

November 1890

"Kathleen Sanderson cracked open the door.  Before her stood a rough-looking man twisting a battered Statson in his hand." 

Happy reading and happy Friday!   

Let me know your first line in the comments & then head over to Hoarding Books  to see who else is participating! 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Unwanted Suitor - My Review

Series: Regency House Party
Genre:  Adult, Historical, Regency, Romance
Publisher: Indie
Publication date: September 2, 2018
            GOODREADS | AMAZON
When Cornelia Greystock received a proposal from Sir James Hawkston, she couldn’t bear it. It had been inspired, she knew, from pity and remorse—not love. Unable to face him afterward, she leaped at an offer of employment from the Countess, Lady Du’Breven. Serving as her companion, Cornelia struggles to adjust to the change in her social status, but the hard work distracts her from her broken heart. That is, until the Countess decides to hold a summer house party at her family estate and invites Sir James.
Sir James has never recovered from his disappointment when Miss Greystock refused his proposal and then fled, according to her family, to live with an unheard-of aunt in Ireland. When he grudgingly accepts an invitation to Lady Du’Breven’s house party, however, he is astounded to find Miss Greystock there. One thing is certain—this time he’ll court her the way he always should have. He is almost certain she returns his feelings, but he must tread carefully. If she refuses his proposal a second time, it would not be gentlemanly to ask a third. As time grows short and she continues to hold him at arms-length, will he find a way to at last win her hand?
Michelle Pennington writes clean, heart-pounding, sigh-inducing romance across multiple genres. Her books include Young Adult, Contemporary, Regency, and Fantasy. The genre might change, but her characters will always be falling in love.​
She spends her days quoting movies with her husband and making messes faster than her four kids. She also has a cat her kids call Boots, but is really Hessian Boots, the perfect Regency gentleman, complete with a snowy white cravat. She loves to make magic by stringing words together, but she also creates designer sugar cookies, sings loud in church, and kills too many house plants. ​

This is the first book I have read in the Regency House Party series, and it was wonderful.  If you enjoy period pieces, then you will love reading about the characters in this story.  What is most interesting about this tale though is that it is connected to four other works.  Five authors in total collaborated to write these books, and each one is connected; however, each story can be read alone and understood. 

Cornelia Greystock has lived a life of pleasure, but now finds herself working as a companion to a Countess.  Of course, this type of work is below her station, and even though things have been going somewhat well, she is soon found out by someone from her past.  Miss Greystock wants to be left alone to attend to her duties, but knows that her past still calls to her.  Will she be able to overcome certain scars in order to find her future? 

In an attempt to recover from his past mistakes, Sir James visits the home of a Countess—upon her invitation.  He believes the invite to be purely innocent until he runs into a certain lady.  Why would Miss Greystock be working as a companion?  Why would she be working at all?  He ponders this and the pains of his heart throughout his stay, as he hopes to find answers to all his questions.  Is it possible to find happiness again even when all hope seems to have disappeared? 

There are so many twists and turns in this tale that the reader will constantly be hoping all will turn out right in the end.  The characters are interesting, and as I have begun to read the other books, it is interesting to note you will see these names again.  The entire plot pivots around a house party—a party filled with surprises!  Will each person find love?  Will there be a happy ending for all who attend?  Make sure you check out each book to find out!  Happy reading! 

This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to Singing Librarian Books for my copy.

Enter the giveaway HERE.

Giveaway is subject to policies HERE.

Friday, November 9, 2018

First Line Fridays

For this week, I decided to highlight a mystery instead of a Christmas book.  I can't believe it's November already!  Yet, I did start playing Christmas music this past week.  :)  Has anyone started decorating their Christmas tree yet or watching Hallmark Christmas movies?  I have seen so many Instagram posts where people are already putting up their decorations, which sounds like a lovely idea.  Happy reading everyone! 

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from: 

  Buried in Books 
by Kate Carlisle 

And the first line is...

"'The name is Wainwright,' I said to the conference volunteer seated at the registration table before me.  'Brooklyn Wainwright.'"  

Happy reading and happy Friday!   

Let me know your first line in the comments & then head over to Hoarding Books  to see who else is participating!