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First Line Friday: Mountain Laurel

Welcome to First Line Friday’s hosted by Hoarding Books.

Today I am happy to be featuring Mountain Laurel by Lori Benton. This poignant story set in North Carolina is sure to wisk you away to a bygone era. With vibrant characters that are sure to charm and hold a place in your heart, you won’t want to miss out on this new release!

Mountain Laurel
September 1793

At the creek that marked the boundary of his uncle’s plantation, Ian Cameron paused his horse. The creek’s water ran clear, chattering over a pebbled bed, no more than ankle-deep, yet for all his balking to cross it, it might have been the Red Sea.

Okay, you caught me. I just couldn’t help myself, I had to give you more than the first line. I do hope that you get the opportunity to read this wonderful book soon. It really is a true delight!

Now it’s your turn!

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line. To see what First Lines others are sharing this week head over to Hoarding Books.

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

His Encouragement: Peace

Welcome to His Encouragement. I have joined with some blogging friends to bring you a new Bible verse every Thursday, and a little discussion of hope and encouragement. We welcome you to join the conversation by adding your daily verse of encouragement as well.

I pray that these Thursday posts become an encouragement to you and help you end your week strong in God’s love and purpose for you. God bless.

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.
In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer,

I have overcome the world.
John 16:33

God doesn’t promise that our lives will easy. We are told that we will face hardships. In this world of sin, life is fraught with tribulation. But there is a silver lining. Jesus has overcome this world! In Jesus we can find peace. Rest in Him today.

Now it is your turn!

What Bible verse is blessing you today?

To enjoy more Bible Encouragement, visit my fellow blogging friends:
Nicole @ Christian Fiction Girl
Jessica @ A Baker’s Perspective 
Jacquelyn @ A Heavenly Home
Becca @ The Becca Files
Gina @ Stories by Gina
Rebecca @ Rev. Rebecca Writes
Andi @ Radiant Light
Leslie @ Leslie McKee
Claudia @ Claudia Moser
Keneesha @ Women Loving God’s Way

Mountain Laurel by Lori Benton

About the book:

North Carolina, 1793
Ian Cameron, a Boston cabinetmaker turned frontier trapper, has come to Mountain Laurel hoping to remake himself yet again–into his planter uncle’s heir. No matter how uneasily the role of slave owner rests upon his shoulders. Then he meets Seona–beautiful, artistic, and enslaved to his kin.

Seona has a secret: she’s been drawing for years, ever since that day she picked up a broken slate to sketch a portrait. When Ian catches her at it, he offers her opportunity to let her talent flourish, still secretly, in his cabinetmaking shop. Taking a frightening leap of faith, Seona puts her trust in Ian. A trust that leads to a deeper, more complicated bond.

As fascination with Seona turns to love, Ian can no longer be the man others have wished him to be. Though his own heart might prove just as untrustworthy a guide, he cannot simply walk away from those his kin enslaves. With more lives than his and Seona’s in the balance, the path Ian chooses now will set the course for generations of Camerons to come.

A story of choice and consequence, of bondage and freedom, of faith and family.

My Thoughts:

I have been a fan of Lori Benton’s books since her first book, Burning Sky in 2013. I don’t even read the synopsis on the back of the books anymore because I know that if Lori Benton wrote it, I’m going to love it!

Reading this story was like taking a trip back in time. I felt like I was in North Carolina in 1793. These characters wrapped themselves around my heart, flaws and all. This story has unapparelled depth, both in the characters themselves and in the very fabric of the story. I took my time reading this story, and I loved every moment. My heart may never be the same after finishing this story, and I am really excited to see what will happen in the next book!

(I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists and/or authors, including netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

About the Author:

LoriBenton2

  Lori Benton was born and raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American and family history going back to the 1600s. Her novels transport readers to the 18th century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history, creating a melting pot of characters drawn from both sides of a turbulent and shifting frontier, brought together in the bonds of God’s transforming grace.

When she isn’t writing, reading, or researching 18th century history, Lori enjoys exploring the mountains with her husband.

Burning Sky, Lori’s debut novel, was a finalist for the ECPA 2014 Christian Book Award, and winner of the 2014 Christy Award for First Novel, Historical, and Book of the Year.

Web Page // Facebook // Goodreads // Twitter // Amazon // Pinterest

Almost A Bride (The Bride Ships #4) by Jody Hedlund

About the book:

Longing to find true love, Kate Millington arrives in British Columbia on a bride ship. With countless men waiting to snag a bride, Kate has no trouble getting engaged. It’s staying engaged that’s the problem. After traveling to the remote mining town of Williamsville to marry her newest fiancé, she finds herself single again.

As the prosperous owner of a gold mine, Zeke Hart has everything he’s ever wanted except for a wife. At Kate’s arrival, he takes it upon himself to protect his childhood friend from the men clamoring to court her. The more he renews her friendship, the more he wants to win her for himself. But as much as Kate admires Zeke, she’s resolved not to marry someone who doesn’t share her faith.

When Zeke begins receiving anonymous threats, he unwittingly puts them both in grave danger. In the midst of peril, the past rises up to haunt them both, and Zeke realizes the fight for Kate’s affection may be his biggest challenge yet.

My Thoughts:

I’m always excited to get my hands on one of Jody Hedlund’s books, because I know that I’m in for adventure, romance, a dash of mystery, and delightful characters that invite me into the story. You don’t simply read a Jody Hedlund book, you experience it! This story, while a little shorter than the earlier books in this series, delivers on all accounts. Each story can stand on it’s own, but trust me when I say that you won’t want to miss out on any of them!

Kate is artistic and free-spirited. A deep wound from her past is holding her back and keeping her from trusting in a lasting relationship. Will she be able to let go of the past in order to take hold of her future and all that life has to offer?

Charming and a bit mischievous, Zeke has a big heart for the community. He wants to gain community support to build a hospital, and see this community that he calls home thrive. Zeke may have made a home for himself in Brittish Columbia, but he is still running from his past. When Kate stumbles back into his life, his past comes rushing back. Will he be able to forgive himself and move forward?

I absolutely loved everything about this story! Fully immersive, with charming characters that have won a place in my heart. This story will stay with me for a long time! Pick-up a copy today and settle in for a delightful journey!

(I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I am not required to write a positive review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.)

About the Author:

JodyHedlund

 Winner of the 2016 Christian Book Award and finalist for the Christy Awards, best-selling author Jody Hedlund writes inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.  You can find Jody at the following locations:

Web Page // Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads // Pinterest

Don’t miss out; Get the entire series!

Almost A Bride (Bride Ships #4)

A Bride of Convenience (Bride Ships #3)

The Runaway Bride (Bride Ships #2)

  A Reluctant Bride (Bride Ships #1)

First Line Friday: Almost A Bride

Welcome to First Line Friday’s hosted by Hoarding Books.

Today I am happy to be featuring Almost A Bride (The Bride Ships #4) by Jody Hedlund. I have really been enjoying this series from Jody Hedlund. Each story is exciting and captivating! What would make a woman leave all she knows in England, get on a boat and cross the ocean and travel to the wild untamed Canadian North West as a bride to a man she’s never met?

Cariboo, British Columbia
August 1863

“Hello, Beautiful. Will you marry me?”

Now it’s your turn!

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line. To see what First Lines others are sharing this week head over to Hoarding Books.

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Truth About Fame (Faith and Fortune #2) by Toni Shiloh

About the book:

My life has always been in the spotlight. Born to two famous parents and then quickly rising to “super” status in the modeling world ensured that I, Astoria “Tori” Bell, would always have my image plastered across newsstands. Unfortunately, adoring fans weren’t always magnanimous and now I have a stalker on my hands.

Oddly enough, the tall, dark, and all-too handsome bodyguard hired to protect me seems more harmful than the threatening notes from the stalker. As well as his plan to flush out the danger by proposing a fake engagement.

The lines between pretend and reality blur and I have to shore up my resolves. Baggage from my past means I can’t let myself be vulnerable. But the way Marcel Fox treats me has me thinking otherwise. 

With a new rock on my finger and the man who put it there by my side, happily ever after seems like a possibility or is that as fake as my public persona?

My Thoughts:

This second book in the Faith and Fortune series has a little something for everyone! Suspense, Romance, Witty Banter, and Faith. I was delighted to spend time with Tori and Fox. More than once I held my breath, turning pages quickly to find out what would happen next. Simply put this story is breath-taking!

We all have struggles and things about ourselves to improve. Tori’s struggle is learning to forgive even when those from the past didn’t ask for forgiveness. As Tori discovers, the peace that is found when we let go of our hurt and bitterness and give it all to God is like shedding a bolder that you’ve been carrying with you for years.

I highly recommend this dynamic, engaging story. Pick up a copy to enjoy, you won’t be sorry!

(I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

About the Author:

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace of the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes soulfully romantic novels to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness. Before pursuing her dream as a writer, Toni served in the United States Air Force. It was there she met her husband. After countless moves, they ended up in Virginia, where they are raising their two boys. When she’s not typing in imagination land, Toni enjoys reading, playing video games, ​making jewelry, and spending time with ​her family. Toni is a member of the American Christian ​Fiction Writers (ACFW) and of the Virginia ​Chapter.

Web Page // Goodreads // Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest

His Encouragement:

Welcome to His Encouragement. I have joined with some blogging friends to bring you a new Bible verse every Thursday, and a little discussion of hope and encouragement. We welcome you to join the conversation by adding your daily verse of encouragement as well.

I pray that these Thursday posts become an encouragement to you and help you end your week strong in God’s love and purpose for you. God bless.

“Take heed that you do not despise one of these
little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels
always see the face of My Father who is in Heaven.”
Matthew 18:10

In the eyes of God, you are precious. His love for you is unconditional and everlasting. Learn to celebrate every gift that God has given you. You are blessed, and He is watching over you. Let the joy of the Lord fill your heart with love and laughter.

Last week our son was very sick, and we ended up taking him to the ER. Where we found out that he was in Diabetic Ketoacidosis. His pancreas had quit working and the sugar in his body just kept building up, overwhelming his system. They immediately put him on two IV’s one with insulin and the other with fluid as well as many monitors. Shocked and overwhelmed, we never saw it coming. The doctors told us that there wasn’t anything we could have done to prevent this. They say it is genetic, though there isn’t anyone on either side of our family that has type 1 diabetes.

We were in the hospital for 4 days getting his glucose stable and learning about Type 1 Diabetes. Its a steep learning curve, we are still learning! Through it all I prayed constantly and I kept reminding myself that God loves my son even more than I do. That God see’s my son and what is happening and that even though this awful thing has happened, God can make something beautiful out of this.

What ever trial you are going through, I pray that you remember that God loves you, and that God is watching over you.

Now it is your turn!

What Bible verse is blessing you today?

To enjoy more Bible Encouragement, visit my fellow blogging friends:
Nicole @ Christian Fiction Girl
Jessica @ A Baker’s Perspective 
Jacquelyn @ A Heavenly Home
Becca @ The Becca Files
Gina @ Stories by Gina
Rebecca @ Rev. Rebecca Writes
Andi @ Radiant Light
Leslie @ Leslie McKee
Claudia @ Claudia Moser
Keneesha @ Women Loving God’s Way

A Life Once Dreamed by Rachel Fordham

About the book:

Six years ago, a shocking secret sent Agnes Pratt running in search of a new start. She found it in Penance, a rugged town of miners and lumberjacks in the Dakota Territory, where she became Miss Aggie, respected schoolteacher and confirmed old maid. But the past has a way of catching up with people.

When childhood friend and former sweetheart James Harris accepts a position as the town doctor, Aggie’s pleasantly predictable days suddenly become anything but. James wants to know why Agnes left behind the life they had dreamed of creating for themselves–but he is the one person who can never know.

In the shadows of the Black Hills, can a healing light be shed on the past? Or will the secret Agnes can’t seem to outrun destroy her chance at happiness?

Fan-favorite Rachel Fordham brings to life the dusty streets of an 1880s frontier town in this story that affirms where you come from matters far less than where you’re going.

My Thoughts:

From the very first chapter until the last word on the page I was completely invested in the characters of this story. Written with such detail and care, Rachel Fordham invites the reader to join with the characters in the story. My heart went out to Agnes, she sacrifices her own dreams for what she feels is best for those she loves. Several years later when she comes face-to-face with her past, will she make the same choices a second time?

Amid uncertainty and calamity Agnes clings to the truth that God loves her and has a plan for her life. A beautiful reminder to us all that even when things look bad, God can make a blessing out of it. God’s love for us can right any wrong!

(I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

About the Author:

Rachel Fordham has long been fascinated by all things historical or in the words of her children “old stuff”. Often the historical trivia she discovers is woven into her children’s bedtime tales. Despite her love for good stories she didn’t attempt writing a novel until her husband challenged her to do so (and now she’s so glad he did). Since that time she’s often been found typing or researching while her youngest child naps or frantically writing plot twists while she waits in the school pick-up line. In addition to her passion for storytelling she enjoys reading, being outdoors and seeing new places. Rachel lives with her husband and children on an island in Washington state.

Web Page // Goodreads // Facebook //

The Masked Baron by Anneka R. Walker

About this book:

Andalin is accustomed to her father’s frequent travels—and to being left behind. So when he returns home and instructs her to pack her belongings, she is bewildered—but there is no time for questions as she is whisked away on a mysterious journey under the cover of night. When their tense flight leads them into the forbidding Black Forest, the pair quickly finds themselves in great peril. With little hope of escape, father and daughter are spared when rescue appears in the form of the mysterious Dark Rider, a notorious deadly highwayman feared by all he meets. But his assistance does not come without a price: he is taking Andalin with him. Now her fate rests in the hands of the enigmatic masked man whose secrets are inescapably tied to the beautiful young woman now in his charge. 

My Thoughts:

There is so much to love about this fabulous story. It has something for everyone. Mystery, a dash of fantasy, sigh-worthy romance, page-turning drama, dynamic characters, and an engaging plot, all set in the forested English countryside.

This isn’t your typical Regency Romance, it is filled with twist and turns that are sure to keep your attention and reading long past your bedtime. I really enjoyed reading this story from Author Anneka Walker and I look forward to reading more from her in the future!

(I won a copy of this book in a giveaway. I am not required to write a review. My thoughts and opinions are my own)

About the Author:

Anneka Walker was raised by a librarian and an English teacher turned judge. After being fed a steady diet of books, she decided to learn about writing. The result was a bachelor’s degree in English and History. When she isn’t dreaming up a happy ending for a story, she’s busy living her own together with her husband and adorable children.

Web Page // Goodreads // Facebook // Twitter //

His Encouragement: You Are Precious

Welcome to His Encouragement. I have joined with some blogging friends to bring you a new Bible verse every Thursday, and a little discussion of hope and encouragement. We welcome you to join the conversation by adding your daily verse of encouragement as well.

I pray that these Thursday posts become an encouragement to you and help you end your week strong in God’s love and purpose for you. God bless.

Since you were precious in My sight,
you have been honored, and I have loved you.
Isaiah 43:4

Because God created you in His image, you are precious to Him. God created you for His glory. He wants the world to see some of His majesty and goodness through you, and He wants to crown you with His own splendor. He has not promised to keep you out of the wilderness or away from the desert, but if you belong to Him, He does promise to sustain you and renew your life when times are difficult. You can always count on God!

Now it is your turn!

What Bible verse is blessing you today?

To enjoy more Bible Encouragement, visit my fellow blogging friends:
Nicole @ Christian Fiction Girl
Jessica @ A Baker’s Perspective 
Jacquelyn @ A Heavenly Home
Becca @ The Becca Files
Gina @ Stories by Gina
Rebecca @ Rev. Rebecca Writes
Andi @ Radiant Light
Leslie @ Leslie McKee
Claudia @ Claudia Moser
Keneesha @ Women Loving God’s Way