First Line Friday: Jewel of the Nile

Happy Friday everyone! You know what that means…it’s time for First Line Friday, hosted by Hoarding Books. Grab the book nearest to you and share the first line! 

Today we are featuring the first line of Jewel of the Nile by award-winning biblical and historical fiction author Tessa Afshar, which releases on June 8th. The novel takes place in the Kingdom of Cush, located in modern-day Sudan.

In her author notes, Tessa Afshar stated that she got the idea for writing this novel after receiving an email from an African American young woman who loved Ms. Afshar’s books, but wondered if she ever planned to have a character who looked like her.

Tessa Afshar has a remarkable way of bringing Scripture to life in her novels. If you haven’t read any of Tessa Afshar’s novels yet, this is the perfect opportunity!

and the first line is…

AD 31

“He took one last aching look outside the crumbling window; the Nile was molten gold in the light of the rising sun, a sparkling coil winding its way into the horizon.”

ABOUT THE BOOK

Whispered secrets about her parents’ past take on new urgency for Chariline as she pays one last visit to the land of her forefathers, the ancient kingdom of Cush.

Raised as an orphan by her aunt, Chariline has only been told a few pieces of her parents’ tragic love story. Her beautiful dark skin is proof that her father was Cushite, but she knows nothing else. While visiting her grandfather before his retirement as the Roman official in the queen’s court, Chariline overhears that her father is still alive, and discovering his identity becomes her obsession. Both her grandfather and the queen have reasons for keeping this secret, however, and forbid her quest. So when her only clues lead to Rome, Chariline sneaks on the ship of a merchant trusted by friends.

Theo is shocked to discover a stowaway on board his vessel and determines to be rid of her as soon as possible. But drawn in by Chariline’s story, he feels honor-bound to see her safely to shore, especially when it appears someone may be willing to kill for the truth she seeks.

In this transformative tale of historical fiction, bestselling author Tessa Afshar brings to life the kingdom of Cush and the Roman Empire, introducing readers to a fascinating world filled with gripping adventure, touching romance, and a host of lovable characters—including some they may recognize from the biblical book of Acts.

GOODREADS | AMAZON


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tessa Afshar is the bestselling author of biblical and inspirational historical fiction, including Land of Silence, which won an INSPY Award and was voted by Library Journal as one of the top five Christian fiction titles of 2016, and Harvest of Gold, which won a Christy Award in the Historical Romance category.

Harvest of Rubies was a finalist for the 2013 ECPA Christian Book Award for fiction.

In 2011, after publishing her first novel, Pearl in the Sand, Tessa was named New Author of the Year by the FamilyFiction-sponsored Reader’s Choice Awards.

Tessa’s first book-length Bible study, The Way Home: God’s Invitation to New Beginnings, based on the book of Ruth, was released in June, 2020, alongside optional videos of the same title. The Way Home was chosen by Moody Radio SFL for their summer of 2020 book study. 

Tessa was born in the Middle East and lived there for the first fourteen years of her life. She then moved to England, where she survived boarding school for girls and fell in love with Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, before moving to the United States permanently.

Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life forever. Tessa holds a Master of Divinity from Yale, where she was elected as the co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School for one year.

She served in women and prayer ministries for twenty years before becoming a full-time writer and speaker.

Tessa is a devoted wife, an enthusiastic cook, and a mediocre gardener. But that has not cured her from being exceptionally fond of chocolate.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS | BOOKBUB


Let us know the first line of the book closest to you & then head over to Hoarding Books to see who else is participating!

Book Review: The Heart’s Charge

Happy Wednesday, friends! Today I’m thrilled to bring you my review of The Heart’s Charge (Hanger’s Horsemen #2) by Karen Witemeyer which just released yesterday! I absolutely loved this book! Be sure to check it out!


About the Book

Members of Hanger’s Horsemen, Mark Wallace and Jonah Brooks arrive in Llano County, Texas, to deliver a steed, never expecting they’d deliver a baby as well. Left with an infant to care for, they head to a nearby foundling home, where Mark encounters the woman he’d nearly married a decade ago.

After failing at love, Katherine Palmer dedicated her life to caring for children, teaming up with Eliza Southerland to start Harmony House. From mixed ancestry, illegitimate, and female, Eliza understands the pain of not fitting society’s mold. Yet those are the very attributes that lead her to minister to outcast children. The taciturn Jonah intrigues her with his courage and kindness, but there are secrets behind his eyes–ghosts from wars past and others still being waged.

However, when a handful of urchin children from the area go missing, a pair of Horsemen are exactly what the women need. Working together to find the children, will these two couples find love as well? 

AMAZON | GOODREADS


My Thoughts:

An absolutely amazing second book in the Hanger’s Horsemen series! After reading and absolutely loving At Love’s Command I was super psyched to dive into The Heart’s Charge, and what a fantastic ride this story is! I loved Mark and Jonah, they are both such fantastic heroes that I simply can’t choose a favorite! In my opinion the only thing better than a Karen Witemeyer written romance, is TWO Karen Witemeyer written romances in the same book! I absolutely loved that we get both Mark and Kate’s, and Jonah and Eliza’s love stories, it added a whole other level of amazingness to this story! And I LOVE that Ms. Witemeyer chose to feature an African-American hero and heroine, Jonah and Eliza brought to this book a beautiful diversity that, in my opinion, we need more of in Christian fiction!

Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention just how much I love that gorgeous cover! I could stare at it for hours, and I wish there was a way I could frame it and hang it on my wall! I’ve been absolutely mesmerized by this cover since the moment I first saw it, and it’s one of my favorite covers of all time!

I absolutely adored everything about this book, and most highly recommend it! The Heart’s Charge is a fast paced read that will take you on a thrilling ride and leave you blissfully grinning, and eagerly anticipating Preach’s story!

(5 Stars!)

I received an ebook copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. My review was not influenced in any way. All thoughts and opinions are one hundred percent my own.


About the Author

For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. A transplant from California, Karen came to Texas for college, met a cowboy disguised as a computer nerd, married him, and never left the state that had become home.

Winner of the National Reader’s Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, ACFW Carol Award, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, and a finalist for both the RITA and Christy Awards, Karen is a firm believer in the power of happy endings. . . and ice cream. She also loves to reward her readers. Every month she gives away two inspirational historical novels to someone from her newsletter list and offers substantial bonus content on her website. To learn more about Karen and her books, or to join her subscriber list, please visit www.karenwitemeyer.com


Post by contributor Caitlyn Santi

Book Review: Power Play

Happy Saturday, friends! Today I am thrilled to share my thoughts about Power Play by Rachel Dylan, who is one of my favorite romantic suspense authors. Power Play is the third and final book in Rachel Dylan’s Capital Intrigue series. This fabulous book releases in just three days, on Tuesday June 1st.

In Power Play, Rachel Dylan gives us another wonderful hero and heroine to root for. Readers will be introduced to the tall, dark and handsome Latino hero, Supervisory Special Agent of Diplomatic Security Service, Jacob Cruz. I sure do love it when Rachel Dylan includes tall, dark, and handsome heroes in her romantic suspense novels! Power Play will definitely be on my list of top 10 books of 2021.

Have you read any books by Rachel Dylan yet?


ABOUT THE BOOK

Trapped in a dangerous game, can she counter the enemy’s deadly power play?

When Vivian Steele, an attorney at the State Department, witnesses two ambassadors collapse as if poisoned at a diplomatic dinner in Washington, DC, she is recruited to be a member of a joint FBI task force assigned to investigate. But she soon finds her by-the-book ways clashing with a special agent in the Diplomatic Security Service, Jacob Cruz. A former Navy SEAL and in charge of the event’s security, Jacob takes the attack personally and is driven to act quickly, unhampered by rules and regulations.

As Viv starts to work her diplomatic sources, her past as a State Department lawyer comes back to haunt her, and secrets held tightly by the government thrust her into a web of danger. Afraid, she turns to the one man bent on protecting others. But can she accept Jacob’s reckless ways as exactly what she needs to stay alive and to discover the truth behind the attacks?

AMAZON | GOODREADS


MY THOUGHTS

“Love could make you do crazy things. Even become a traitor to your country.”

Power Play, the third installment in author Rachel Dylan’s Capital Intrigue series, is a captivating tale of deception, friendship, and romance.  Rachel Dylan is one of my favorite romantic suspense authors because of her wonderful characters who feel like old friends, her intense action-filled storylines, and the perfect balance of romance and suspense in her novels.  She continues to incorporate well-written diverse characters into her storylines, such as Power Play’s Latino hero Jacob Cruz, who the readers will easily fall in love with. 

In Power Play, State Department Attorney Vivian Steele is suddenly thrust into a world of danger and subterfuge after two ambassadors appear to have been targeted at a diplomatic dinner she is attending.  Being partnered with Supervisory Special Agent Jacob Cruz on a task force to investigate places her life on the line in a fascinating and thrilling conclusion to the Capital Intrigue series.

The romance in this novel develops realistically at a slower pace as Jacob dislikes Vivian from the beginning, mainly due to her job as an attorney.  However, once they realize their feelings for each other, get ready for sparks to fly between the two!

Rachel Dylan intricately weaves beautiful messages of faith into the storyline.  This novel can be read as a standalone, but fans of the Capital Intrigue series will enjoy cameo appearances from characters featured in books one and two.  There are also new supporting characters introduced in this book as part of the special joint task force, but it is done in such a way that there is no confusion over these additional characters. 

Power Play is highly recommended for readers of romantic suspense, especially those who enjoy books by authors such as Lynn H. Blackburn, Irene Hannon, Dani Pettrey, and Lynette Eason. Power Play will definitely be one of my top reads of 2021.

 I RECEIVED A COMPLIMENTARY COPY OF THIS BOOK FROM BETHANY HOUSE AND WAS NOT REQUIRED TO WRITE A POSITIVE REVIEW. ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED ARE MINE.

ADDITIONAL QUOTES:

“For the first time in a long time, she had hope that love wasn’t just something out of fairy tales, but something she could have with Jacob.”

“That’s where our faith has to come in. It’s one of the only things that has gotten me through the dark times – knowing that our God is greater than all of these dark things we’re dealing with. It’s a source of comfort and strength for me.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rachel Dylan (www.racheldylan.com) is an award-winning and bestselling author of legal thrillers and romantic suspense. Rachel has practiced law for over a decade, including being a litigator at one of the nation’s top law firms. Her Atlanta Justice series has won the Holt Medallion, the Maggie Award, and the FHL Reader’s Choice Award. Rachel lives in Michigan with her husband and five furkids–two dogs and three cats.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS | BOOKBUB

Throwback Thursday: Brett: Her Bodyguard

Happy Throwback Thursday, friends! Today we’re featuring Brett: Her Bodyguard (Second Chance Protectors #1) by Alexa Verde and Autumn Macarthur. This romantic suspense is on my summer TBR, I can’t wait to read it! Be sure to check this one out!


About the Book

When his stepbrother disappears and his niece and nephew are in danger, billionaire security expert Brett Jarvis doesn’t hesitate. His responsibility is keep the twins safe. Even when they come as a package deal with their pretty, faith-filled nanny. Being forced to spend more time with her convinces him he’s not the man for her. She’s a forever kind of girl, and he can’t offer her that.

Ashley Lamott won’t leave the children she cares for when their lives are threatened. But that means going on the run with their uncle. Surely she can deal with her attraction to the man she’s spent the past year avoiding. In her experience, men don’t stay around, especially men like Brett. The last thing she wants is to fall for him.

But as the danger escalates, she sees beyond Brett’s bad-boy reputation to the man he really is. And more, the man he could become, if he’ll surrender his painful past to God. Can they not only keep the children and Brett’s brother safe, but let faith and love heal their wounded hearts?

AMAZON | GOODREADS


About the Authors

Alexa Verde writes stories of love, faith, and mystery to warm your heart. She’d love it if you subscribed to her newsletter (every subscriber gets a free Christian romance after confirming the subscription as a thank-you gift). She penned her first literary masterpiece, a rhymed poem, at the ripe age of eight, and since has had twenty books and 200 short stories, articles, and poems published in the five languages that she speaks. She has bachelor’s degrees in English and Spanish, a master’s in Russian, and enjoys writing about characters with diverse cultures. She’s worn the hats of reporter, teacher, translator, model (even one day counts!), caretaker, and secretary, but thinks that the writer’s hat suits her the best. After traveling the world and living in both hemispheres, she calls a small town in south Texas home. The latter is an inspiration for the fictional setting of her popular series Rios Azules Christmas and Secrets of Rios Azules.

She hopes and prays that her stories will bring joy to her readers. Heartfelt thanks for interest in her books!

Follow: FacebookTwitterAmazonBookBubInstagram


Autumn Macarthur is an Australian writer of inspirational romance living near London with her very English husband, three spoiled cats, and a guinea pig with a dandelion addiction. She loves reading, cooking, gardening, and writing deeply emotional stories to make you smile and remind you how big and wide and deep God’s love and forgiveness can be.

She tends to talk a little too much, laugh a little too loud, and eat a little more than maybe she should. She’s thankful to be blessed with some good friends and a very patient husband. Most of all, she’s eternally grateful for God’s great love and mercy.

When she’s not talking to her strawberry plants or cherry blossoms, she can be found blogging at www.faithhopeandheartwarming.com; on Facebook as Autumn Macarthur, and on Twitter as @autumnmacarthur.


Post by contributor Caitlyn Santi

Book Review: An Ever After Summer

Happy Wednesday dear reader friends! I’m so thrilled to share today’s book review of An Ever After Summer by Toni Shiloh today with you.


ABOUT THIS BOOK

Embrace the enchantment of summer with these contemporary twists on timeless tales.

A New Beginning — Who is she? Acacia Martin raised by an impostor mom serving a prison sentence for her sins, or Jasmine Callahan abducted at birth from a family she’s yet to meet? Luckily, she has Drake to help her untangle the mess that is her life. Will he ensnare her he art in the process?

An Ever After Summer — The employees of In a Bind are terrified of Jean-Luc Thibodeaux, so Bellamy Larson hops on a plane to France to deal with the beastly client. Yet once she arrives, she’s convinced he merely needs a friend. Then her heart begins to want ever after, not just one summer.

Gwen and the Three Dates — Life isn’t a romantic movie, but Gwen Lochs is determined to find her leading man. When she joins a cheesy dating site, Gwen agrees to just three dates. Can Ben Smith watch his best friend and soulmate find someone else? A romantic comedy about searching for that just-right love.

Unkissable — Reality diva Charlotte Lavigne’s on-camera meltdown reminds former teen-TV prince Jaime Reyes exactly why he left Hollywood ten years ago. A chance encounter leads to a bargain that transforms them both. When it’s time to face her past, will their rediscovered love be strong enough to build a future together?

AMAZON | GOODREADS


MY THOUGHTS

I love reading An Ever After Summer, a contemporary retelling of The Beauty and Beast. Jean-Luc Thibodeaux hires Bellamy Larson’s father’s In a Bind company to renovate his late wife’s château’s library. Bellamy heads to France to meet the deadline. I like how Bellamy refuses to show pity to Jean-Luc who has scars on his face from a car accident that killed his wife but offers him friendship instead. She also pushes him out of his comfort zone and convinces him to stop hiding because of his scars but to go out in public and start living life again while they restore the château. In the process, Jean-Luc takes another look at his faith and makes a transformation.


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.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER


POST BY CONTRIBUTOR ALLYSON ANTHONY

Book Review: Crazy for You

Happy Monday, friends! How exciting is this??!! Michelle Sass Aleckson’s debut novel, Crazy for You, releases tomorrow, May 25th! Fans of Susan May Warren’s Deep Haven series will absolutely love the return to Deep Haven in this new series written by three debut authors under Susie May’s guidance and support. Crazy for You is the third book in the new Deep Haven Collection. If you love contemporary romance, this series is a must read! I am thrilled to share my thoughts on Crazy for You today.


ABOUT THE BOOK

The problem with being related to everyone in town is that there is no one left to date…until now…but will this outsider survive his family?

Former soldier Veronica “Ronnie” Morales isn’t going to let her kid brother, Tiago, get pulled into the gangs of Minneapolis, so, seeking safety and a fresh start, she heads to sleepy Deep Haven on the north shore of Minnesota. She’s hoping to put down roots as the paramedic for the new Crisis Response Team, but it’s not easy to be the town outsider.

Fire Chief Peter Dahlquist is a peacemaker—he has to be. After he’s related to both of the Deep Haven dynasties – the Zimmermans and the Dahlquists, Deep Haven’s version of the Hatfields and the McCoys. Worse, Peter is the holdout vote for a landmark project, which also makes him the loneliest guy in town when both sides demand that he pick sides. The only one who seems to understand his plight is the newcomer in town…his pretty, street-tough paramedic.

When Tiago finds himself caught up in small town shenanigans and the town blames Ronnie for tragedy, Peter is forced to pick sides. But will his choice cost him the home—and the woman—he loves?

GOODREADS | AMAZON


MY THOUGHTS

A delightful return to the small town of Deep Haven originally created by Susan May Warren. Longtime fans of hers will recognize some beloved characters from Deep Haven making an appearance in this novel.

In her debut novel, Michelle Sass Aleckson introduces a strong, confident heroine and her younger brother, who just like many of us, are trying to find a place to belong. Their Hispanic heritage brings a welcomed diversity to Deep Haven.

Crazy for You is recommended for readers of contemporary romance.

I RECEIVED A COMPLIMENTARY COPY OF THIS BOOK FROM THE AUTHOR/PUBLISHER AND WAS NOT REQUIRED TO WRITE A POSITIVE REVIEW. ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED ARE MINE.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After growing up on both the east and west coasts, Michelle Sass Aleckson now lives the country life in central Minnesota with her own hero and their four kids. She loves rocking out to 80’s music on a Saturday night, playing Balderdash with the fam, and getting lost in good stories. Especially stories that shine grace. And if you’re wondering, yes, Sass is her maiden name. Visit her at www.michellealeckson.com.

FACEBOOK TWITTER INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

First Line Friday: All That Really Matters

Today for First Line Friday, we’re looking at All That Really Matters by Nicole Deese. First Line Friday is hosted by Hoarding Books.

I used to marvel at the way my Great Mimi’s arthritic fingers would pinch her eyeliner pencil and trace a perfect stroke of midnight black along her upper lash line.

About the Book

Molly McKenzie’s bright personality and on-trend fashion and beauty advice have earned her an impressive social media following, as well as a big paycheck each month. When her manager-turned-boyfriend says she has an audition to appear as a host on a makeover show that nominates underprivileged youth, her dream of further fame seems to be coming true. There’s just one catch: she has little experience interacting with people in need.

When her manager-boyfriend convinces her to partner with a local organization, she begins volunteering with a summer youth program. The program’s director, Silas Whittaker, challenges her at every turn, but she swiftly grows more attached to the kids–and him–every day.

As Molly experiences an acceptance unlike anything she’s known, she wrestles with the lies she’s been believing about herself for years. She thought she knew what mattered most in life, but maybe she’s had it wrong this whole time, and there’s more to being truly seen than what she’s built her entire life on.

(Source: Goodreads)

About the Author

Nicole Deese’s eight humorous, heartfelt, and hope-filled novels include the 2017 Carol Award Winning A Season to Love. Her 2018 release, A New Shade of Summer, was a finalist in the RITA Awards, Carol Awards, and Inspy Awards. Both these books are from her best-selling Love in Lenox Series. The first book in her upcoming contemporary romance series with Bethany House Publishers is set to release in early 2020.

When she’s not sorting out characters and plots of her own, she can usually be found reading near a window overlooking the inspiring beauty of the Pacific Northwest (most often while sipping a sparkling water). She lives in small-town, Idaho with her happily-ever-after hubby, two towering-over-her pre-teen sons, and her princess daughter with the heart of a warrior.

(Source: Nicole Deese Website)

Throwback Thursday: Hold Me

Happy Thursday, friends! For today’s Throwback Thursday we’re featuring Hold Me (Chapel Cove Romance #5) by Alexa Verde! If you’re a fan of Christian contemporary romance be sure to check this one out!


About the Book

Can she win the heart she shattered?

All divorcee Aileen McKenzie wants is a fresh start in her hometown, a new life with her teenaged son, their pets, and her fledgling pastry store. When she nearly drowns in a flood and her house and store are damaged, her first love—and the man she left behind over two decades ago—comes to the rescue. Old feelings resurface, and so do old hurts.

Roman Vela has built a successful business in home repairs. Only one thing has been less of a success—forgetting the girl who stole his heart at thirteen and destroyed it at nineteen. Growing up in a destructive household, he became “a fixer”, doing his best to repair anything that went wrong. But this, he cannot fix.

As they work together in the aftermath of the flood, Aileen and Roman grow close, but she might have to leave town—and Roman—again. Will a shy, risk-averse girl choose a safe life, or risk it all for love? And can Roman learn to rely on God to fix things instead of DIYing, and open his heart to a second chance?

Welcome to Chapel Cove, Oregon, where life begins at forty.

GOODREADS | AMAZON


About the Author

Alexa Verde writes stories of love, faith, and mystery to warm your heart. She’d love it if you subscribed to her newsletter (every subscriber gets a free Christian romance after confirming the subscription as a thank-you gift). She penned her first literary masterpiece, a rhymed poem, at the ripe age of eight, and since has had twenty books and 200 short stories, articles, and poems published in the five languages that she speaks. She has bachelor’s degrees in English and Spanish, a master’s in Russian, and enjoys writing about characters with diverse cultures. She’s worn the hats of reporter, teacher, translator, model (even one day counts!), caretaker, and secretary, but thinks that the writer’s hat suits her the best. After traveling the world and living in both hemispheres, she calls a small town in south Texas home. The latter is an inspiration for the fictional setting of her popular series Rios Azules Christmas and Secrets of Rios Azules.

She hopes and prays that her stories will bring joy to her readers. Heartfelt thanks for interest in her books!

Follow: FacebookTwitterAmazonBookBubInstagram


Post by contributor Caitlyn Santi

First Line Friday

It’s Friday! Welcome to First Line Friday, hosted by Hoarding Books. Grab the book nearest to you and share the first line. Today I’m sharing the first line from Unshakeable Pursuit by Camy Tang.

And the first line is…

Are you Doctor Geoffrey Whelan?”

ABOUT THE BOOK

Doctor Geoffrey Whelan was in Japan when the tsunami hit, killing his cousin and grandmother. He has worked in medical missions for years to assuage his survivor’s guilt, and now that he’s back in Sonoma to help his family, he can’t figure out why he still feels so wounded and God feels so far away.

Then a mysterious young woman warns him that he and nurse Maylin Kinley are in mortal danger.

Maylin notices that Geoffrey is not the same arrogant doctor she met years ago in Los Angeles. Now that they are working together again in a clinic in Sonoma, she fights her attraction towards him because his confident, forceful personality reminds her too much of her abusive ex-boyfriend, who called himself a Christian.

She has been steering clear of her handsome coworker—until Asian hitmen attack the clinic and they are forced to run for their lives. Now they must race to figure out how the threat is connected to a young teenager whose life they saved—before everyone they love is caught in the crossfire.

Amazon

It’s your turn now, share with us the first line from your current read.