First Line Friday: “The Austen Escape” + Austen in August



It’s time for a new edition of First Line Fridays hosted by the Hoarding Books blog!

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I’ve recently learned of a delightful thing happening on the internet called “Austen in August”! There are several blogs and social media accounts hosting themed posts, link-ups, and all around Jane Austen fun. (Shoutout to my friend Kara for bringing this to my attention!)

Over at The Book Rat, you can find more info and see all the Austen posts & love.

In honor of this theme, I’m sharing the first lines from Katherine Reay’s The Austen Escape, a contemporary favorite that pays homage to Austen in themes and characters, though it tells a story of its own.

“How can I help”?

The world stilled. It wasn’t the first time I wondered how one voice, one presence, could quicken the air and simultaneously stop all motion.

Your turn! What’s your first line?



Mid-Year Freak Out Tag

I have seen this fun mid-year tag on a few blogs, most recently on my friend Kara’s. Even though the year is more than half over (gasp!), these are fun prompts so I’m weighing in! If you’d like to participate, consider yourself tagged!

Best Book You’ve Read

How the Light Gets In by Jolina Petersheim is one of my top reads of the year. It’s fresh and riveting and oh-so-original.

Best Sequel You’ve Read

Murder in the City of Liberty by Rachel McMillan. I had to pick Hamish and Reggie’s ongoing adventures!

New Release You Haven’t Read Yet, But Want To

Ever Faithful by Karen Barnett. SOON, I tell you! I have loved the other two books (and featured national parks).

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of 2019

The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden, coming September 3. That COVER, y’all! Plus it’s a Camden novel, so I know it will be good!

Biggest Disappointment

I cringe to say any book is a disappointment. I like to think of books I don’t like as much as “object lessons for why Courtney does or does not like _______”. I have to go with Blue Ridge Sunrise by Denise Hunter. Not my favorite from her, it just was too trope-ish. (The second book in the series, though, is a fav!)

Biggest Surprise

After the Rain by Brandy Bruce. I didn’t think I’d like the heroine of this one because she was the slightly-unliked, nemesis character to the heroine of book 1. But oh my, this story drives home the point that everyone is the hero of his or her own story.

Favorite New to You or Debut Author

Jaime Jo Wright (The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond) I listened to the audio version and I LOVED IT!

Newest Fictional Crush

Captain Arthur Heywood from The Work of Art by Mimi Matthews. An honorable gentleman who knows how to handle just about any situation.

Newest Favorite Character

Maddie from The Printed Letter Bookshop. She’s relatably flawed and trying hard, just like the rest of us.

Book That Made You Cry

Bear No Malice by Clarissa Harwood. Read it and you’ll know why.

Book(s) That Made You Happy

I couldn’t pick just one for this! Wooing Cadie McCaffrey made me happy because of all its pop culture rom-com love. Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe by Carla Laureano made me happy because BAKING and BOOKS and a #girlpower friendship group.

Favorite Book to Film Adaptation

Hopefully Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. I hope to read it before I see the movie!

Favorite Post You’ve Done This Year

My list of book quotes ABOUT books.

Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

Books You Need To Read by the End of the Year

all of them?? My TBR is more like an island now. A few I want to read soon are: Tate by Susan May Warren, A Glitter of Gold by Liz Johnson, The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter by Mimi Matthews, Just One Kiss by Courtney Walsh, The Morning Gift by Eva Ibbotson, and Bethlehem by Karen Kelly.

Top Ten Tuesday: Character Freebie ~ 10 Matching Names

It’s another Top Ten Tuesday, now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl!

Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

Today’s official topic: Character Freebie

With a freebie topic comes all sorts of fun! I have been keeping part of this list for a while now, since I noticed some favorite characters who happen to share names. Some of these are more “classic” names like Jane, others more innovative like the name Willow, but these characters ALL stand out in my mind for their names and personalities on the page. Plus, some of the names indicate a little of the spunk, fun, or determination the heroes and heroines have in finding their purposes or happy endings.

While we’re on the subject of names, here are some of the most unique of my favorites: Eisley, Tamsen, Aven, Sloane, Red Shirt, Jasper, and Griffin.

Character Freebie ~ 10 Matching Names

Quinn

Quinn Collins from Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh and Quinn Reilly from The Breath of Dawn by Kristen Heitzmann

Willow

Willow Bradford from Falling For You by Becky Wade and Willow from Rescue Me by Susan May Warren

Eden

Eden Martelli from Falling Like Snowflakes by Denise Hunter and Eden Christiansen from When I Fall in Love by Susan May Warren

Jane

Jane Woodward from Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge and Jane from Jane by the Book by Pepper Basham

Evelyn

Evelyn Marche from High as the Heavens and Evelyn Wyatt from Love in Three Quarter Time by Rachel McMillan

Paul

Paul Rustin from Reclaimed by Jennifer Rodewald and Paul Harris from Impossible Saints by Clarissa Harwood

Devin

Devon “Dirk” Godfrey from The Sound of Diamonds by Rachelle Rea Cobb and Devin Bressard from Told You So by Kristen Heitzmann

Seth

Seth Sloane from The Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson and Seth Walker from Three Little Words by Melissa Tagg

Alex

Alex Kanin from The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano and Alex Murdock from Charming the Troublemaker by Pepper Basham

Ben

Ben Delaney from The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner and Ben Price from After the Rain by Brandy Bruce

Your turn! Did you participate in Top Ten Tuesday? Have you read any of these books? What are some of your favorite heroes and heroines who share names? Share your thoughts in the comments!

First Line Fridays # 26: “A Table by the Window” by Hillary Manton Lodge

It’s time for a new edition of First Line Fridays hosted by the Hoarding Books blog!

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This has been the kind of week requiring some comfort stories. (I had to say goodbye to one of my beloved kitties who was very sick.) SO, I sought out something familiar, easy to read, and cozy in its own way. Hillary Manton Lodge’s “Two Blue Doors” series is just that! A favorite of mine, I started with the middle story, intending to reread just it. Well…. after reading it, most of book 1, and favorite scenes in book 3, I think it’s safe to say I revisited the series.

Here, I’m sharing the first line of A Table by the Window, the book that started it all. The family secrets. The blend of French and Italian cuisine. The restaurant culture, friendships, family banter, and the sweetest long distance romance. If you’re curious, I highly recommend this whole series! (I’ll link my reviews below.)

“I can’t believe she left you the prep table,” my brother Nico groused as he and my oldest brother, Alex, carried the piece up the stairs to my apartment.

Reviews: A Table by the Window | Reservations for Two | Together at the Table

Your turn! What’s your first line? Do you have a go-to, favorite “comfort” series or book?

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 (More) Favorite Book Quotes About Books

It’s another Top Ten Tuesday, now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl!

Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

Today’s official topic: Inspirational/Thought Provoking Book Quotes

A while back, I used a freebie TTT topic to share 10 favorite book quotes about books. With so many bookish characters out there, I wanted to share more of my favorites. I have discovered most of these since making that initial list. 😉 (book titles linked to my reviews!)

10 (More) Favorite Book Quotes About Books

“A plate of apples, an open fire, and ‘a jolly goode booke’ are a fair substitute for heaven.” –The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery

“Something about the books, the stories – they spoke to her, whether they were nearly two centuries old or brand new. Each one had something to say, and she longed to absorb the wisdom held in the secret places of each page. The ink soaked from the pages into her soul.” –The Secrets of Paper and Ink by Lindsay Harrel

“It was one of the virtues of having lived in a book for so long: his imagination painted its perimeters everywhere.” –Murder at the Flamingo by Rachel McMillan

“…I like reading books that relate to my own struggles and how people overcome them with their faith.” -Titus in Jane By the Book by Pepper Basham

“P.S. I’ve been sitting in my living room organizing my books. It’s so quiet and dark, but I don’t feel lonely. I feel safe. How could I not? All my friends are here. You should see them lined up.” – Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

“Forget diamonds. Books are this girl’s best friend.” – Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe by Carla Laureano

“This was not a book that called into question whether or not our lovebirds would end up together. Of course they would. From the opening line, through all of the ups and downs, there could never be any doubt that there would be a happily ever after. But what sort of people would they become before they reached the finish line? Some scars would be healed, sure, but some new injuries were just as certain. It was all about the journey, not the inevitable outcome.” –The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner

“Millie read the last four pages of the hardback in her hands one more time. …she needed this. Just a moment with her book.” –A Sparkle of Silver by Liz Johnson

“…there’s nothin’ quite like fallin’ into the world of a good book.” –My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream by Pepper Basham

“Fiction is a way to express mankind’s deepest heart. His fears. His hopes. His failings. His successes. Fiction is truth… in a pretty wrapping.” –A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White

Your turn!!! What kind of book quotes did you share for TTT? Do you have any favorites to add to my list?

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Couples in Books

It’s another Top Ten Tuesday, now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl!

Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

Today’s official topic: Favorite Couples in Books

Since this is Valentine’s week, this topic is appropriate and a cute choice. Coming up with the couples was easy, narrowing it to 10 was difficult. I have made a list, which really is just me listing 10 of my gazillion favorites and gushing over why they are perfect together.

All of these couples have (eventual) happily-ever-afters in common, though they face distinct struggles and overcome all sorts of barriers (both physical and emotional ones) to be together. It will be no surprise that I’m including some of these couples (like Pepper’s, Rachel’s, or Liz’s!).

In no particular order, my list….

10 Favorite Couples in Books

CONTEMPORARY STORIES

ROSE AND OLIVER| Rose in Three Quarter Time by Rachel McMillan

A friendship-turned-marriage-of-convenience-to-romance, their story is as rich as whipped cream with its tiny acts of care (cereal!) and tension and alllll the happy sighs.

JULIETTE AND NEIL | “Two Blue Doors” series by Hillary Manton Lodge

Through all of their ups and downs, family secret discoveries, and world travels, theirs is a deep connection and complimentary relationship.

EMILY AND BEN | A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay

A smart match that goes beyond a fast-moving relationship to the challenges of new family and the importance of commitment and forgiveness. And, Ben has excellent taste in art.

NORA AND JOHN | True to You by Becky Wade

Seemingly an opposites attract story, these two have so much in common! Their friendship naturally progresses and the richness of their intertwined stories makes them quite a special couple.

CADEN AND ADAM | Where Two Hearts Meet by Liz Johnson

These two connect and just click, even with the vulnerability that comes along. I love their sweet dynamic! (And that first kiss scene is pretty special, too.)

PETE AND JESS | Wait for Me by Susan May Warren

They can’t deny the magnetic pull between them, and face plenty of obstacles to being together (some self inflicted), but as their story unfolds over several books, they learn and grow and become better people – and finally arrive at a selfless place of being together.

HISTORICAL STORIES

LIBERTY AND NOBLE | The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz

History and society dictate their unlikely association and later, their romance. But they are soooo sweet together! Liberty’s strength and Noble’s integrity just make them a great couple.

DAVID AND CATHERINE | The Thorn Keeper by Pepper Basham

They find love unexpectedly and surmount the odds during WWI challenges. And oh, the redemption of their romance!

SIMON AND EVELYN | High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin

Spies, occupied WWI Europe, and secrets all try to separate these two, but their marriage and rescue situation? put them together. They have to rely on each other, only strengthening their bond.

THOR AND AVEN | Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

Ah I love them. Her quiet strength and patience and his protectiveness… they are just meant to be together!

Your turn! Did you participate in Top Ten Tuesday? Have you read any of these books? Who are your favorite fictional couples? Share your thoughts in the comments!

First Line Fridays # 22: “Wait for Me” by Susan May Warren

It’s time for a new edition of First Line Fridays hosted by the Hoarding Books blog!

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Happy weekend! It’s turning chilly in my corner of the world as fall is fading. It’s the perfect weather to curl up in a cozy place with a book!!! Today I’m sharing the first line of a book I’m VERY MUCH anticipating: Wait for Me by Susan May Warren. It’s the last book in her “Montana Rescue” series, and it’s a finale (and couple) I’ve been rooting for since the beginning!

I still need to read the book just before this one, Storm Front, so the good news is I can binge-read both of them soon!

Wait for Me by Susan May Warren

First Line:

He wasn’t looking for trouble, but if Pete didn’t act right now, at least one person was going to die.

What a first line, right? What kind of situation do you think Pete is in? (Do you think it involves his search-and-rescue team or something else?)

Your turn! Find the book closest to you and share your first line in the comments! Then, head over to Hoarding Books for the linky and visit other FLF posts!