First Line Friday: The White City

Welcome to First Line Friday,

hosted by Hoarding Books.

The featured quote is from a digital galley made available for review through NetGalley and may differ from the final text.


The Chicago World’s Fair and serial killer H.H. Holmes are at the center of The White City by Grace Hitchcock, the first in a new multi-author series from Barbour Books, True Colors: Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime.  Having watched a documentary about “The White City” in 1893 and the horrific crimes of H.H. Holmes, I am curious to see how the romance twines around all of the history and how the author handles such a despicable character.  So I snapped up a Read Now copy on GoodReads, and so far (I’m about 4% in) I am liking the heroine and the hero.

Here is the publisher’s description:

Mysterious Disappearances Taint the Chicago World’s Fair
Step into True Colors — a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

While attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Jude Thorpe, a policeman, for bodyguard.

Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim?


And here is the first line:

Continue reading “First Line Friday: The White City”

The Unfinished Clue by Georgette Heyer (review)

theunfinishedclue_heyer_sourcebooks.jpgThe third of Georgette Heyer’s country house whodunnits is a corker!  Once again, we have a set of characters in a country house being questioned by an Inspector over a death, and this time out the victim is a thoroughly unlikable fellow.  A bellower and a bully, Sir Arthur’s death has nearly everyone looking guilty.  His browbeaten young wife, though never truly her more capable sister, the son he’s just disowned over his engagement to a Mexican dancer, the grasping and flirtatious guest or perhaps more so her jealous spouse, or any number of other weekend guests and visitors. Continue reading “The Unfinished Clue by Georgette Heyer (review)”

So Bright A Hope by Amber Lynn Perry (review)

so bright a hope reviewer tourStarting with the fifth and final book in a series is not something I would ever advise, but I’ve been wanting to give Amber Lynn Perry’s Daughters of His Kingdom series a try, and  now that I finally have I am looking forward to reading the previous four (all of them having been sitting and waiting in my Kindle library for some time).  In So Bright A Hope, the author takes a headstrong and practically-on-the-shelf miss and a dashing gentleman who has accepted that he can never marry and places them in the thick of the Revolutionary War. Continue reading “So Bright A Hope by Amber Lynn Perry (review)”

First Line Friday: One Mind’s Eye

Welcome to First Line Friday,

hosted by Hoarding Books.


After reading Enclave’s republication of Shivering World through NetGalley, Kathy Tyers became one of my favorite new-to-me author discoveries in 2018.  So I was excited to find a used copy of her novel One Mind’s Eyepublished in 1996 by Bantam Spectra and now apparently out of print.

Here’s what the back of the book  has to say:

The human settlers of the Concord worlds are slowly rebuilding the ecosystems and civilizations ravaged by the alien Devastators, who disappeared as abruptly and mysteriously as they had attacked.  But now politics sabotage the recovery process as a prosperous world threatens secession, raising the specter of a pernicious war of humans against humans–and carrying with it rumors of a secret alliance with an enemy even more potent that the dreaded Devastators.

Yet one human may be able to turn the tide.  On the planet Antar, a damaged young woman struggles to recover her health and independence.  Found submerged in an artificial reality–drugged by sensation, wasting away, with no memories and no past–Llyn Torfinn now stands at the threshold of adulthood and at the gateway of her deadliest challenge ever: to learn her true identity and destiny.  For if Llyn cannot come into her own, and quickly, all of humanity will pay the price.

And here are the first lines:

Continue reading “First Line Friday: One Mind’s Eye”

The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas (review)

thepsychoftimetravel_crookedlanebksOccasionally I get excited by keywords in a book’s description and end up requesting a book that really does not suit me as a reader.

That cover, the title, the publisher’s description, all drew me completely in.  And the book did, somewhat, live up to what was triply promised.  The time travel elements were interesting, with the lack of a butterfly effect but imposition of other constraints Continue reading “The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas (review)”

Book Excerpt (and Giveaway link!): The Scroll by Miriam Feinberg Vamosh

the scroll blog tour
Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for The Scroll by Miriam Feinberg Vamosh, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


vamosh, the scroll 02

Title:The Scroll
Author:Miriam Feinberg Vamosh
Publisher:The Toby Press
Genre:Historical Fiction
Release Date:January 19, 2019 (re-issue)

The Scroll is a multi-generational historical novel about the survivors of Masada. It draws from an authentic archaeological find: the divorce document of a woman named Miriam.

This fictionalized version of Miriam’s story begins in the year 73 CE on Masada’s final horrific day, where enemies within and without bring about the downfall of the last Jewish fortress. Its survivors are forced to choose between nation and family, and finally, between life and death. Will they learn the lessons of Masada’s downfall?

Although it tells of events that took place two millennia ago, The Scroll sheds extraordinary light on the complexities of modern Israeli society and the dilemmas faced by Israel and its leaders today.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads| Amazon

Book Excerpt

October 71 CE

The flame of the single clay lamp in its niche was tiny, but it cast a monstrous shadow against the plastered stone wall, mimicking Joseph’s every move as he placed the scroll into the shaking hands of his wife. His own hands, warm in spite of the chill of the ebbing night, remained cupped tightly around hers. Miriam locked his eyes with her own, willing him to let her go so she could unroll the parchment for one last time… “When I leave the fortress, I will never return. I do not know if there is anyone left in Jerusalem to help me fulfill the mission Elazar has entrusted to me. If our enemies among our own people are the only ones to have survived, I will not last out the day I am discovered, and no one will care whether our community ever finds out what happened to me. You would become agunah.”

…Such a woman, her husband’s whereabouts unknown, was doomed to disgrace, robbed of her future. She could remarry only if her husband reappeared to divorce her, or if his death could be proven beyond all doubt. Though a widow for all intents and purposes, she would remain chained– agunah – to her husband for the rest of her life.

Joseph released her as suddenly as he had grabbed hold of her, breaking abruptly into her thoughts of the past.

“It is time.”

He bent to fasten the final knot on his woven cord carry-basket, hoisting it onto his shoulder. He turned to face his wife and slipped his arms through hers. Lacing his fingers together at the small of her back, he pulled her toward him in the embrace she knew so well. But this time it was she who broke away, lowering her head to hide the tears.



Miriam Feinberg Vamosh was born in Trenton, New Jersey and has lived in Israel for over four decades. She is the author of the best-selling Daily Life at the Time of Jesus,which has been translated into 32 languages. She is also the author of Women at the Time of the Bible, Food at the Time of the Bible,Teach it to Your Children, How Kids Lived in Bible Days,and with Eva Marie Everson, she wrote the award-winning Reflections of God’s Holy Land, a Personal Journey Through Israel. Her historical novel, The Scroll, is a moving saga about the survivors of Masada and their descendants over three generations, and is based on a real archaeological find.

CONNECT WITH MIRIAM: website| Facebook

TOUR GIVEAWAYthe scroll blog tour giveaway

(1) winner will win

  • a print copy of The Scroll
  • a variety of teas from Israel

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight January 21, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm January 28, 2019. Open internationally except 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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

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Book Excerpt (Giveaway closed): Handmade Hearts by June McCrary Jacobs

handmade hearts blog blitzWelcome to the Blog Blitz & Giveaway for Handmade Hearts by June McCrary Jacobs, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Handmade Hearts  Cover.jpgTitle: Handmade Hearts
Author: June McCrary Jacobs
Publisher: JMJ Story Stitcher Books
Release Date: December 18, 2018
Genre: Historical Romance

‘Handmade Hearts’ is an historical romance short story set in New Orleans during World War II and was inspired by a true story.

Toward the end of his life, the author asked her Uncle ‘Allen’ how he met his wife. He shared about how he met ‘Irene’ at a church social in their neighborhood in New Orleans in the early 1940s. He had been seriously wounded in Guadalcanal in the South Pacific as a young Marine and was using crutches to get around as best he could.

He had many inner wounds which needed time to heal, too. He had no way of knowing when they first met that Irene had suffered her own wartime tragedy. She bravely sought to keep her grief locked away deep inside because thinking about her loss caused her even more sorrow. She needed to be strong because she was the breadwinner for her small family.

Times were tough, but these two unique individuals made it through each day with inner fortitude, determination, and the sincere hope of something greater just over the horizon.

This inspirational short story follows the growth of Allen and Irene’s relationship beginning with their chance meeting and leading forward to a lifetime spent together. ‘Handmade Hearts’was created to honor this unique couple’s love for and devotion to each other in a relationship which spanned seven decades.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads| Amazon

Book Excerpt

As she walked the short distance to her home, Irene realized this soldier had a broken heart in need of healing. Although Allen did not know it, he and Irene were kindred spirits in that respect. Warm memories of the evening spent with Allen Bradford filled her mind and caused her to smile to herself all the way home.

The week marched on as usual for Irene. She helped her mother and sister with housekeeping chores around their small bungalow. She worked eight hours each weekday, including four hours on Saturday at the local savings and loan association. As secretary to the institution’s president, Irene performed myriad professional responsibilities, including scheduling her bachelor boss’s social calendar and coordinating other personal details for him such as his dry cleaning and grocery deliveries.

Irene felt fortunate to have secured a stable job so that she could assist her mother with the monthly house note and light bill. Along with her younger sister Frances, Irene had lived at home and contributed to household expenses since their father passed away almost two years earlier. The war years had not been easy on any American family, but losing their father to pneumonia at age fifty was a tragedy none of the Carstons anticipated.

For a while, the three women drifted aimlessly through life until Irene was hired for the bank job. The job was a blessing for them all. Her salary and working hours were regular and provided the family with some financial stability during uncertain times.

ABOUT THE AUTHORauthor photo_black & white

June McCrary Jacobs was the winner of Cedar Fort Publishing’s 2013 Holiday Tale Contest for her debut novella, ‘A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom’. ‘Robin’s Reward’, her first full-length novel, was set in her favorite location in California—the Mendocino coastal region. This book is the first installment of the ‘Bonita Creek Trilogy’.

June’s debut middle-grade novel, ‘RES-Q Tyler Stop’, an historical novel set in Sonoma County, California, in 1968, will be released in the spring of 2019. The second installment of the ‘Bonita Creek Trilogy’, ‘Penny’s Promise’, will be released in late 2019 or early 2020.

June’s original sewing, quilting, and stitchery designs have been published in over one hundred books, magazines, and on sewing industry blogs in the past decade. When she’s not writing, reading, blogging, or sewing, June enjoys cooking, walking, visiting art and history museums, and touring historic homes and gardens.

CONNECT WITH JUNE:  Blog| Facebook| Goodreads| Goodreads Blog| Amazon

TOUR GIVEAWAYhandmade hearts giveaway.png

(1) winner will win an ebook copy of Handmade Hearts+ $10 Amazon Gift Code
(2) additional winners will each receive an ebook copy of Handmade Hearts

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway link below. Giveaway will begin at midnight January 15, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm January 22, 2019. Open internationally except 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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

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The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye (review)

theparagonhotel_faye_putnamssonsWhat immediately strikes the reader in Lyndsay Faye’s The Paragon Hotel is the strong, unique voice of the narrator.  Alice “Nobody” James is a brash and tough but vulnerable chameleon in her mid-twenties is on the run, taking a train to get as far from Harlem as possible, hopefully leave her criminal past behind.

She soon finds herself convalescing from a gunshot wound, the only white woman in the only black hotel in a very racist 1920’s Portland.  And as she shifts from one role to another, Alice meets various residents of the hotel, forming tenuous bonds and unable to keep from rooting out secrets. Continue reading “The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye (review)”

An Amish Homecoming: Four Stories by Amy Clipston, Beth Wiseman, Shelley Shepard Gray, Kathleen Fuller (review)

anamishhomecoming_zondervanI’ve enjoyed each of these themed Amish novella collections that I have read, and they widened my reading of authors of Amish fiction, but I tend to get a little more excited about them when Shelley Shepard Gray is thrown in to the mix.  So it’s no surprise that I liked this particular set of four stories very much.

In the first story, No Place Like Home by Amy Clipston, a sympathetic character who is a mainstay in the background of her Amish Homestead series becomes the focus as she returns to her family home.  When firefighter’s widow Eva Dienner’s young son asks to meet his other grandparents, she can’t tell him no. Continue reading “An Amish Homecoming: Four Stories by Amy Clipston, Beth Wiseman, Shelley Shepard Gray, Kathleen Fuller (review)”

First Line Friday: Excellent Women

Welcome to First Line Friday,

hosted by Hoarding Books.


I read my first book by Barbara Pym last year and discovered, with delight, a new love for spinster and vicar fiction.  Though I’ve never met a vicar, so I can’t speak to the accuracy of her portrayals.

I began a read-through of her published writings, in order written rather than published, but took a break after the second book.  I’m hoping to re-start my Pym read-through this month with Excellent Women, written between 1949 and 1951, but published in 1952.

Here is what the back cover of my Plume edition has to say about it:

Excellent Women is probably the most famous of Barbara Pym’s novels. The acclaim a few years ago for this early comic novel, which was hailed by Lord David Cecil as one of ‘the finest examples of high comedy to have appeared in England during the past seventy-five years,’ helped launch the rediscovery of the author’s entire work. Mildred Lathbury is a clergyman’s daughter and a spinster in the England of the 1950s, one of those ‘excellent women’ who tend to get involved in other people’s lives – such as those of her new neighbor, Rockingham, and the vicar next door. This is Barbara Pym’s world at its funniest.

And here are the first lines:

Continue reading “First Line Friday: Excellent Women”