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

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

Finding Ever After: four fairytale-ish novellas

 

About the Collection:

Experience a touch of magic with these four fairytale-ish novellas that span over one hundred years. Linked by an illustrated book of fairytales, each novella is an enchanting combination of a beloved classic sprinkled with the author’s own brand of fairy dust.

Stairs and Stardust is set in 1913 Asheville, NC at the beautiful Biltmore Estate and includes a budding children’s book illustrator, an out-of-the box heir, and a teensy bit of Cinderella romance.

Entanglements has a Rapunzel twist and is set in 1920’s Boston between a reluctant heiress, a charming piano tuner, and a game of chess.

Twice Upon A Time is a Beauty-And-The-Beast inspired tale that brings a romance novelist back home to her family’s pecan farm… and the ex-fiance she left behind.

Once Bitten is a nod to Snow White that includes a fake date with a handsome woodsman, seven geeks, and the world’s best apple tarts.

Finding Ever After

My Thoughts:

BetweenStairsAndStardustPepper Basham brings this Cinderella-like fairytale to life in Between Stairs and Stardust. A sweet story of a young lady who has lost her self-worth in a tangle of lies told by devious outsiders, and a young heir-apparent, who is quite unconventional. Will the secrets they each hold, keep them apart? With a look at how fairytales shape our lives and give us the freedom to imagine the seemingly impossible, this delightful story is sure to capture both your heart and your imagination and have you reaching for the stars.

With The Biltmore house as the backdrop, Pepper Basham brings this beautiful fairy tale to life!

 

EntanglementsWith the wedding date set, Esther knows that this match with Thomas Wheatherton would help solidify her father’s business with the connection that joining the two families. Given a last chance to sing a concert of her own, Esther sets out to make the best of the crumbling practice hall and the pianist that her fiance arranged.

Nic Ricci has a gift for music. He spends his days teaching math and tunes piano’s on the side. After the death of his mother in a horrible molasses accident, he has made taking care of his father is his primary goal.

Will two people from different walks of life find a connection with the music that speaks to their hearts? Can their vision of the future be altered to make room for the unexpected? Find out in Rachel McMillan’s Entanglements.

 

TwiceUponATimeFilled with Southern flair, a dash of humor and plenty of tea this sweet novella is one that is sure to charm your socks off! I enjoyed my time immersed in the lives of Emma and Sawyer. Two dynamic characters that I won’t soon forget!

Emma has known her share of disappointments and heartbreak, she has avoided going back home for the past several years, but the time has come to make a decision about the family home, and the pecan farm that her grandparents started many years ago. With a heart of shattered dreams weighing her down, can Emma look beyond the past to envision a new future? Find out in Ashley Clark’s Twice Upon A Time.

 

OnceBittenBook store owner Maggie Craft is facing another holiday get-away with her Step-mother and Step-sister. In an effort to thwart their constant nagging about her singleness she invites the local repairman, Griff to join her as her fake boyfriend. When sparks start to fly and the tall tales catch up with them, will it be too late to repair the damage?

This fun twist on the beloved fairy tale, Snow White is sure to have you laughing out loud and turning pages to see how things will all turn out.

 

(All thoughts an opinions are my own. I purchased a copy of this novella collection for my own personal enjoyment. I am not required to write a review.)

About the Authors:

To learn more about each author, click on the name below and you will be taken to that author’s web page.

Pepper Basham

Rachel McMillan

Ashley Clark

Betsy St. Amant

Snag your copy today:

Finding Ever After

 

First Line Friday: The King’s Mercy

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

Today I am excited to be featuring The King’s Mercy by Lori Benton. Rich with historical details this story doesn’t shy away from the difficult parts of life that were common for that time period. I was transported into the pages of this story with the vivid descriptions and dynamic characters that welcomed me into the pages of their lives and let me walk alongside them in their struggles and triumphs. CLICK HERE to read my full review.

TheKingsMercy

July 1747
Cape Fear River, Colony of North Carolina

          Alex MacKinnon roused to the press of wood beneath his cheek and an ominous churning in his gut. He tried to rise, but his hands were bound behind him.

 

Pre-order your copy today!

The King’s Mercy

 

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

 

The King’s Mercy by Lori Benton

Synopsis:

When captured rebel Scotsman Alex MacKinnon is granted the king’s mercy–exile to the Colony of North Carolina–he’s indentured to Englishman Edmund Carey as a blacksmith. Against his will Alex is drawn into the struggles of Carey’s slaves–and those of his stepdaughter, Joanna Carey. A mistress with a servant’s heart, Joanna is expected to wed her father’s overseer, Phineas Reeves, but finds herself drawn instead to the new blacksmith. As their unlikely relationship deepens, successive tragedies strike the Careys. When blame falls unfairly upon Alex he flees to the distant mountains where he encounters Reverend Pauling, itinerate preacher and friend of the Careys, now a prisoner of the Cherokees. Haunted by his abandoning of Joanna, Alex tries to settle into life with the Cherokees, until circumstances thwart yet another attempt to forge his freedom and he’s faced with the choice that’s long hounded him: continue down his rebellious path or embrace the faith of a man like Pauling, whose freedom in Christ no man can steal. But the price of such mercy is total surrender, and perhaps Alex’s very life.

The King’s Mercy

My Thoughts:

This epic story is both poignant and heartfelt. I enjoyed the journey from Scotland to Colonial North Carolina. I was transported into the pages of this story with the vivid descriptions and dynamic characters that welcomed me into the pages of their lives and let me walk alongside them in their struggles and triumphs.

Savvy readers will discover an underlying parallel between this story and a Bible story from the New Testament. But I won’t spoil it by telling you which one, you’ll have to read it for yourself! I greatly appreciated the nuggets of Biblical truth seamlessly woven into the story. Words of comfort, of hope and of a God that longs for a true and lasting relationship with each one of us.

Rich with historical details this story doesn’t shy away from the difficult parts of life that were common for that time period. There are moments that are difficult to read, and parts that will have you at one moment yelling words of caution to the characters and reaching for your Kleenex the next. It did take me a few chapters to get into the story, but once it got going, I couldn’t put the book down!

This story is one that will hold of a place of honor on my keeper shelf! If you enjoy reading stories set in the Colonial time period, stories with depth and emotion, then you won’t want to miss out on picking up a copy to enjoy!

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

Favorite Quote:

TheKingsMercy-Quote1

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

The King’s Mercy

Other books by Lori Benton:

 Burning Sky

   The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn 

 The Woods Edge (The Pathfinders #1)

   A Flight of Arrows (The Pathfinders #2)

   Many Sparrows

TheKingsMercy-Quote2

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Line Fridays: My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge

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

Today I’m excited to be featuring My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream by Pepper Basham. Pepper Basham eloquently captured the very essence of the Blue Ridge Mountains and warmly welcomed me home within the pages of this fantastic book. I loved this story and I seriously didn’t want it to end. CLICK HERE to see my full review!

MHBI.TheBlueRidge.LaurelsDream

September 1918

          “He’s bringing nothin’ but trouble, Caroline McAdams. Make no bones about it.”

 

Hmmm… Seems to me like someone is trying to stir up some trouble. You won’t want to miss out on this fantastic story! Pre-order your copy today!

  My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream

 

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

 

MyHeartIsInTheBlueRidge

My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream by Pepper Basham

Synopsis:

Journey into the Blue Ridge Mountains of 1918 where Laurel McAdams endures the challenges of a hard life while dreaming things can eventually improve. But trouble arrives in the form of an outsider. Having failed his British father again, Jonathan Taylor joins is uncle’s missionary endeavors as a teacher in a two-room schoolhouse. Laurel feels compelled to protect the tenderhearted teacher from the harsh realities of Appalachian life, even while his stories of life outside the mountains pull at Laurel’s imagination. Faced with angry parents over teaching methods, Laurel’s father’s drunken rages, and bad news from England, will Jonathan leave and never return, or will he stay and let love bloom?

  My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream

My Thoughts:

Pepper Basham eloquently captured the very essence of the Blue Ridge Mountains and warmly welcomed me home within the pages of this fantastic book. I loved this story and I seriously didn’t want it to end. The closer I got to the end of the book, the slower I read, savoring each word, each phrase! Opening the pages of this story and diving in, was like going home! I grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains and while I may not live there now, it is still home to me.

I’d love to sit down for a chat or get the chance to cook with Laurel McAdams. She is a strong young woman, filled with grace and courage. Her kindness to outsiders and her helpful nature is sure to draw you in. Laurel is open to new ideas and not afraid to stand up for what is right, even in the face of many who would choose to fiercely cling to tradition and superstition. She has big dreams and determination to see her way to fulfill those dreams!

Teacher, Jonathan Taylor comes to the Blue Ridge Mountains to escape the heavy-handed expectations of his father and to prove himself capable and worthy. But will his reasons to leave behind all he knew and immerse himself in a culture that is highly suspicious of anything new be enough to keep him teaching in the Blue Ridge Mountains?

I fell in love with these dynamic, engaging characters! I appreciated their growth in the story as well as the wisdom of the secondary characters that provided a welcome insight and encouragement.

There is plenty of excitement to enjoy. From a mountain lion encounter, a brutal snowstorm, a couple of disgruntled mountain men, larceny, saving a child with a severe allergic reaction, and much more! You are sure to find an exciting plot-line, delightful characters, all set in a beautiful setting. I give this story 5-enthusiastic stars and encourage you to pick up a copy to enjoy!

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

Favorite Quote:

MyHeartIsInTheBlueRidge2

About the Author:

pepperbarnsmile  Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes historical and contemporary romance novels with grace, humor, and culture clashes. She’s a Blue Ridge Mountain native and an anglophile who enjoys combining her two loves to create memorable stories of hope. You can connect with Pepper over at her group blog, The Writer’s Alley, her website, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter.

 

  My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream