Book Excerpt (and Giveaway link!): 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

tourschedule banner.png

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

jrt logo.png



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

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

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

Christmas at High Rising by Angela Thirkell (review)

christmas-at-high-rising_viragoAs far as collections of short stories go, the selections in Christmas at High Rising are definitely on the short side.  Originally included in publication such as Harper’s Bazaar from 1928 through 1942, only two of the eight take place at Christmas time (“Pantomime” from 1935 and “Christmas at Mulberry Lodge” from 1940) with others ranging over the rest of the year.

In “Pantomime,” the reader new to Angela Thirkell’s Barsetshire series is introduced to several characters, foremost among them a slightly pretentious writer of biographies who meets his match in Continue reading

First Line Friday: Code Name: Lise

Welcome to First Line Friday,

hosted by Hoarding Books.

Today’s featured quote is from an Advance Uncorrected Proof won on GoodReads and may differ from the final text.


I started writing this First Line Friday post about Code Name: Lise : The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII’s Most Highly Decorated Spy by Larry Loftis and, several paragraphs later, decided to take what was essentially a review and just go ahead and post it as my review.

So, rather than make you wade through it to get to the first lines (notice the plural – I think you’ll see why I chose to share the whole first paragraph from Chapter 1), here they are: Continue reading

Why Shoot a Butler? by Georgette Heyer (review)

whyshootabutler_heyer_sourcebooksYou should always beware of alibis… (p.214)

The ‘rudest man in London,’ barrister Frank Amberley, turns amateur detective after happening upon a murder victim while taking a supposed short cut to his Aunt and Uncle’s country house near Upper Nettlefield.  And though it is the local constabulary that requests his assistance, he hasn’t told them everything he knows. Continue reading