Silver Star by Lisa Swinton for First Line Fridays


I'm joining in First Line Fridays today, hosted by Hoarding Books.

Silver Star
By Lisa Swinton
Adult Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 308 Pages
May 1st 2018

Summary

Her cowboy might just be another broken-heart ballad waiting to happen…

Country superstar Sara Silver has it all: fame, fortune, and a mantel full of Grammys. She also has a string of chart-topping heartbreak songs to go with them—all based on her miserable love life. Now her manager says Sara doesn’t sing with the heart she used to. If she doesn’t come up with another hit album soon, then her label will move on to the next big thing.

Sara heads to a ranch in Wyoming to get back to her country roots and rediscover herself. To keep the press away, she hides her identity and is determined to let nothing distract her. Then she meets Cal: tall, brooding, and all cowboy. Sara falls for Cal and the quiet ranch life, but with each song she writes her time there draws to a close.

Sara will have to choose between the country stars of Nashville or the glittering stars of a Wyoming sky…unless she can find a way to have both.

(Affiliate links included.)

First Line

Sara gazed at the mirror, ignoring her reflection, and waited for Roger's image to appear in the hallway behind her.

Does this first line grab you? Is this book on your list to read? I'm currently reading it as it's a finalist for the Whitney Awards, among four other books in its category.

Read an exclusive excerpt from The Certain Hope by E. C. Jackson (Excerpt & #Giveaway)


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Welcome to my tour stop! Read an excerpt and enter the tour giveaway below...

The Certain Hope
(Hope Series #3)
By E. C. Jackson
Christian Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 318 Pages
December 5th 2018

Summary

Love at first sight. It’s every girl’s dream. But Tara Simpkins is finding out it’s not as easy as it seems. Is this truly the man God sent to be her husband, or is she just desperate to escape her loneliness? The recent loss of both parents has left her reeling, and close friends don’t think she’s in any position to make major life decisions. She and her new-found love are convinced they can live happily ever after in the home of their dreams. His family thinks he’s moving way too fast and might disappoint the kind-hearted woman he’s fallen head over heels for. And then there’s Leah. Leah is supposed to be part of his past, but what if she decides she’s his future? Tara’s match made in Heaven may be over before it truly begins.

(Affiliate links included.)

Excerpt

Tara frowned at her reflection in the tri-fold mirror, then added a splash of color to her face. The image staring back proved less than pleasing.

Something else is needed. Got it!

Taking off her sweater, she tied it around her waist. Next, she sat on the tub’s edge, untied her sandal laces from around her ankles, then wrapped each one over her jeans just below the knees. Ruby earrings were swapped with dangling gold hoops she carried in her purse. Verdict?

That ought to do it. Who cares if it doesn’t?

When she opened the door, Luke almost toppled into the bathroom. He righted himself, pointing at the doorknob.

“There’s no peephole. I couldn’t peek if I wanted to.”

“Your sad eyes don’t sway me.” Her hip butted him out the way. “It’s too late to show remorse. You set me up.”

Luke raised three fingers. “Scout’s honor. I had no expectations either way. The choice was always yours.” His voice softened as his gaze caressed her face. “Beautiful as always.”

Tara steeled herself against the compliment. Real facts deserved more than a passing remark that missed the point.

Other Books in the Series


About the Author


E. C. Jackson began her writing career with the full-length play Pajama Party. For three and a half years she published the Confidence in Life newsletter for Alpha Production Ministries, in addition to writing tracts and devotionals. Teaching a women’s Bible study at her church for eleven years naturally led to her current endeavor of writing inspirational romance novels and teen and young adult fiction. Her mission: spiritual maturity in the body of Christ through fiction.

A note from E. C. Jackson: “The Write Way: A Real Slice of Life” is the slogan on my website and Facebook author page. If every person reading my book feels connected to the characters, my job is done.


Tour Schedule


Tour-Wide Giveaway


One winner will receive a $25 Amazon eGift Card
Open internationally
Ends April 3, 2019



A dream come true... The Gate to Eden by Cathy McDavid (Guest Post & #Giveaway)


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Welcome to my tour stop! Check out a guest post from the author and the tour giveaway below...

The Gate to Eden
By Cathy McDavid
Adult Historical Romance, Western
Audiobook, 10 Hours and 33 Minutes (also in Paperback and ebook)
January 12th 2019

Summary

Expert crackshot Maddie Campbell will do whatever it takes to survive in this female Robin-Hood-of-the-Old-West story - including evading bounty-hunter-for-hire Scott McSween who's intent on bringing her in.

Not your ordinary thief, widow and mother Maddie Campbell likes to think her wealthy victims are merely "donating" to herself and the hundreds of other widows and children left abandoned by the mining company after a devastating accident took the lives of their menfolk. Maddie's secret excursions are quite successful...until ruggedly handsome former lawman Scott McSween arrives in Eden to investigate the recent string of crimes.

Despite her efforts to throw him off track, they can't resist each other. He knows she's somehow involved and is determined to draw out all her secrets in the most exquisite ways - with soft caresses and passionate kisses. But when finally confronted with the truth - that Maddie is actually the thief he's been hired to hunt down and bring in - will Scott choose the woman he loves or his duty to the law?

(Affiliate link included.)

Guest Post: From Print to Audiobook

Next to seeing one of my books turned into a movie, having an audio version was my biggest dream. Let me start out by saying I love, love, love my traditional publisher Harlequin and hope to remain with them until the very distant day that I choose to stop writing. But, being a realist, I know it’s unlikely one of my series books with them will ever become an audiobook. If my dream had a chance of becoming gaining wings, it would be up to me.

Having received the rights back to several of my older books with pre-Harlequin publishers, my first decision was which one to pick. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, THE GATE TO EDEN is a personal favorite. Item one checked off! The next step was how to go about getting the audiobook produced. I did a lot of research and talked to numerous authors who’d already gone through the process. I learned I could either produce the audio myself (hire a voice artist, handle the distribution, etc.) or work with a company who would do all that for me.

Knowing nothing, I opted for #2. In my opinion, there were only two companies worth considering: Audible (Amazon) or Findaway Voices. Last summer, I went to the Romance Writers of America National conference and met with representatives from both companies. Findaway Voices impressed me, and I really liked their business model. On a side note, there are big differences when it comes to how the two companies operate. Any author considering independently releasing an audiobook would be wise to dig deep and make an informed choice. Meeting face to face with the reps helped enormously.

Last November, I finally started the process. Next came selecting which narrator to use. With Findaway Voices, I filled out detailed forms about what I was looking for in a narrator (man or woman, deep or light voice, etc.), the book genre, level of sensuality, any accents, and on and on. They then sent me a dozen audio clips of narrators they determined matched my requirements and those narrators’ finished hourly rate. Using headphones, I opened up each narrator’s audio clips and listened with my eyes closed. While I liked several of them, one’s person’s voice gave me immediate chills. I submitted a 750 word excerpt from my book and requested an audition from him. Had I been interest in more than one narrator, I could have requested additional auditions. If I wasn’t satisfied, I could have asked to hear more narrators. It proved unnecessary. The moment I heard Hugh’s audition, I knew he was the one.

And, trust me, he didn’t disappoint. He was enormously easy to work with, making the process as easy as possible. With me being a complete newbie, the process might have been a disaster. Instead, he walked me through every step, even offering advice for some minor changes. He would upload completed chapters to Findaway Voices and, once I’d listened to them, I’d email him any changes. It was absolutely seamless.

And the joy I felt hearing the finished version of my book can’t be described. I hope to release another audiobook, maybe next year. We’ll see. Now, I’m just trying to promote this first one, which is another brand new learning curve for me.

About the Author

As a sophomore in high school, NY TimesUSA Today, and Amazon bestselling author Cathy McDavid won a local writing competition with her self-illustrated children’s book. Who knew that small triumph would eventually lead to a career writing contemporary romances with over 1.3 million books sold? With forty-seven titles to date, Cathy is also a member of the prestigious Romance Writers of America’s Honor Roll. This “almost” Arizona native and mother of grown twins recently married her own real-life sweetheart. After leaving the corporate world four years ago, she now spends her days penning stories about good looking men who ride the range or fight fires or hunt creatures all while sweeping the girl off her feet. It’s a tough job but she’s willing to make the sacrifice.


Tour Schedule


Tour-Wide Giveaway

Western-themed basket with goodies, including a $25 Amazon Gift Card
US only
Ends March 27, 2019

Grab Our Button!

Do you have any favorite western novels? Do you prefer audiobooks or print or ebook? Any thoughts on the author's post?

I Can't Wait for... Romanov by Nadine Brandes (Can't-Wait Wednesday/Waiting on Wednesday) #CWW #WOW


Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted here, at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine. If you're continuing with WOW, feel free to link those up as well! Find out more here.

This book has been high on my list since I first saw it. I love historicals and this time period and area is so rich with a lot of contrasts. I can't wait for this to come up in my reading list! It's my pick this week...

Romanov
By Nadine Brandes
YA Historical Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Hardcover & ebook, 352 Pages
May 7th 2019 by Thomas Nelson

Summary

From the author of Fawkes comes a magical take on the story of Anastasia Romanov.

“I am obsessed with this book! Romanov is a magical twist on history that will have Anastasia fans wishing for more. I loved every detail Brandes wrote. If you love magic and Imperial Russia, you want Romanov on your shelf!” —Evelyn SkyeNew York Times bestselling author of the Crown’s Game series and Circle of Shadows

The history books say I died.
They don’t know the half of it.

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them, and he’s hunted Romanov before.

Nastya’s only chances of saving herself and her family are either to release the spell and deal with the consequences, or to enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya has only dabbled in magic, but it doesn’t frighten her half as much as her growing attraction to Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her.

That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.

(Affiliate links included.)


Will you be reading this one?

A secret that she can't let go of... Between Before and After by Maureen Doyle McQuerry (Review)


I'm a huge fan of this publisher and have generally liked just about every book they release.
This newest from them is set slightly in the past and asked some interesting questions...

Between Before & After
By Maureen Doyle McQuerry
YA Historical, Split-Time
Hardcover, Audiobook & ebook, 304 Pages
February 5th 2019 by Blink

Summary

“The carnage began with the roses. She hacked at their ruffled blooms until they dropped into monstrous drifts of red on the parched yellow lawn … Only two things kept my mother grounded to us: my uncle Stephen and stories.”

Fourteen-year-old Molly worries about school, friends, and her parents’ failed marriage, but mostly about her mother’s growing depression. Molly knows her mother is nursing a carefully-kept secret. A writer with an obsession for other people’s life stories, Elaine Donnelly is the poster child of repressed emotions.

Molly spends her California summer alternately watching out for her little brother Angus and tip-toeing around her mother’s raw feelings. Molly needs her mother more than ever, but Elaine shuts herself off from real human connections and buries herself in the lives and deaths of the strangers she writes about. When Uncle Stephen is pressed into the limelight because of his miracle cure of a young man, Elaine can no longer hide behind other people’s stories. And as Molly digs into her mother’s past, she finds a secret hidden in her mother’s dresser that may be the key to unlocking a family mystery dating to 1918 New York—a secret that could destroy or save their future.

Told in dual narratives between 1918 New York City and 1955 San Jose, California, Between Before and After, by award-winning author Maureen McQuerry, explores the nature of family secrets, resiliency, and redemption. This is an historical coming-of-age Young Adult story about the complex bonds between mothers and daughters.

(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

BETWEEN BEFORE AND AFTER is a Time-Slip story set during a difficult time in history where a daughter faces some tough realities of life, and then at another time in history when life is a little simpler but where there are still prejudices and another daughter also faces her own difficulties. It reads more like a Women's Fiction story, and almost like reading a journal account of the prior time as the reader gets flashes and snippets of what happened in the past as the other storyline takes place. Those who love historical novels and memoirs, heavy on the hardships and historical aspects, may enjoy this one.

The writing was very well done. I didn't have any issues following along or get confused about which time period I was in. The characters were also quite complex. There were some interesting lessons or questions that the story brought forward and I appreciated that the author didn't really tell the reader what to think, but presented them in a way that it just makes you think.

I'll just honestly say that this was one of those stories that jarred me. I was expecting something completely different than what I got and it was hard to reconcile my expectations and the actual story. I also didn't particularly love any of the characters or even relate to them, although I did relate to some of the situations and one of the time periods. It's hard to read something like this that isn't necessarily pleasant to read in the first place, it be something you weren't expecting, and then not really like the characters. I also love Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities and was expecting to really love this, but I just didn't see as many connections... or maybe it just lacked the sweet moments and characters I loved that Dickens brought to his story.

In the end, was it what I wished for? If you love Women's Fiction, Memoirs or YA Historicals that are just telling the story of a woman and her daughter, then give this a try. It just wasn't for me.

Content: Some references to abuse and pre-marital relations.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through JustReadTours, which did not require a positive review nor affect it in any way.

Is this on your list to read? Did you already read it? Any thoughts on the book or my review?

Full of romance and suspense... Catherine's Intrigue by Paige Edwards (Review & #Giveaway)


I really enjoyed this debut, so definitely read my review and enter the tour giveaway below...

Catherine's Intrigue
By Paige Edwards
LDS Romantic Suspense
Paperback & ebook, 320 Pages
March 1st 2019 by Covenant Communications, Inc.

Summary

To fulfill her mother's last request, twenty-four-year-old historic design specialist Catherine Pressley-Coombes travels to England in order to investigate an elusive family line. Armed with an illegible diary, she is determined to discover the identity of her mysterious ancestress. Distracted by an Elizabethan manor and unused to British country roads, Catherine runs her car into a ditch. Luckily, Nick Davidson, a handsome, hard-working local rides in on his tractor to save the day. As the down-to-earth manager of his family's estate, Nick also happens to be one of England's most eligible aristocrats.

Nick is certainly not the kind of man Catherine would fall for, a man dogged by media and rumor. So why does she find the English lord so irresistible? Even though she can't overlook their differing values and beliefs, as she and Nick spend time together, their attraction deepens. While she battles through romantic turmoil, Catherine is beleaguered with far more sinister concerns: a series of unexplainable misfortunes that are not mere accidents. With her heart on the line, Catherine discovers her life is in jeopardy, and she has no idea who the perpetrator is but she has a growing suspicion that the danger might be connected to whatever secrets lie hidden in her ancestor's diary.

(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

CATHERINE'S INTRIGUE is a story full of romance and suspense with an aspect of religion weaved in. The heroine is easily likable and the hero charming, with some wonderful family dynamics, a small-town feel, and a simmering suspense plot, it makes for an entertaining read from beginning to end! Definitely recommended to LDS romantic suspense fans!

I can't express how much I enjoyed these characters! Catherine is smart, beautiful, humble, and just a girl that anyone would love as a best friend. I loved her frankness and her passion. Nick is the perfect charming English gentleman, but with a down-to-earth personality and genuine warmth that you can't help fall for. I also adored Catherine's brother, Jack, and her best friend, Gillian, as well as some other fun characters.

The romance starts from an instantaneous attraction that is almost love-at-first-sight, but it progresses over time, which I appreciated. I also loved the crazy chemistry and the relationship between Catherine and Nick. It was seriously swoon worthy.

The religious aspect was a tough one. These types of stories, where one main character is very religious and another is not and that creates a separation between them, can be difficult to pull off. It is a fairy tale in so many ways and unrealistic, but in so many other ways the exact opposite as it does happen in reality. There were so many ways this could have gone and I don't want to give anything away. I thought the author managed the situation fairly well, but I know it won't be for everyone.

The suspense was an interesting counterpart to the romance. The villains are somewhat amateur, but a real threat. I could see how circumstances made someone feel threatened and then turn sinister. There was some very intense and somewhat violent moments towards the climatic conclusion. Overall, the suspense worked for me and drove the plot. I couldn't have asked for more.

In the end, was it what I wished for? I thoroughly enjoyed reading this! Mix an American heiress in her own right who could be the girl-next-door and a charming English aristocrat, throw in plenty of romantic sparks, and some intense suspense and you have a story guaranteed to be enjoyable. You also end up with a new fan and a read who can't wait for this debut author's next release!

Content: Clean
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the tour host/NetGalley, which did not require a positive review nor affect it in any way.

About the Author

Born and raised in Southern California, Paige Edwards is a multi-award-winning author who enjoys clean romances and thrillers. A BYU-I alumna, she went on to graduate summa cum laude from NOVA with a degree in interior design. Her husband's job transferred their family to the mid-Atlantic states where they have lived ever since. As a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and former chapter registrar, she has spent time researching applicants' genealogical credentials. When she needs a break from writing, you can find her shooing deer out of her garden, biking battlefields, or kayaking on the lake.

Please join Paige's newsletter at authorpaigeedwards@gmail.com where you'll hear about upcoming projects, research trips, fun trivia, and deals on books by other clean and wholesome authors.


Tour Schedule






Tour-Wide Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Do you have any favorite religious romantic suspense authors? What do you think about this book?

The Gate to Eden by Cathy McDavid (Tour Launch & #Giveaway)

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Audiobook Tour Launch for
The Gate to Eden
By Cathy McDavid

Note from the Author

It’s long been a dream of mine to have one of my books turned into an audiobook. I’m thilled to announce that dream has finally become a reality. THE GATE TO EDEN is probably my all-time favorite book, and now it’s available to a whole new audience. I still feel a little rush of excitement every time I see it listed for sale at a website. To celebrate, I’ll be giving away a western-themed gift basket that will include some of my Mustang Valley (print) books, goodies and author swag, and a $25 Amazon gift card.

I thought for this launch post I’d tell you about why THE GATE TO EDEN is such a favorite of mine. To start with, it’s a historical western, a genre I loved writing but, unfortunately, has a limited market. Come on now, aren’t cowboys one of the best romance book heroes? I agree, which is probably why I started preening contemporary westerns, a genre I also love 🙂. THE GATE TO EDEN print book was also an Amazon top 100 bestseller with an average 4.3 star rating and has won several awards. Lastly, I wrote the book during a difficult time in my life, and it became a testament to my courage during adversity.

I hope you’ll come along with me on this blog tour. I’ll be sharing not only excerpts from the book but also some the interesting and fun process of turning a print book into an audiobook.

— Cathy

The Gate to Eden
By Cathy McDavid
Historical Romance, Western
Audiobook, 10 Hours and 33 Minutes (also in Paperback and ebook)
January 12th 2019

Expert crackshot Maddie Campbell will do whatever it takes to survive in this female Robin-Hood-of-the-Old-West story - including evading bounty-hunter-for-hire Scott McSween who's intent on bringing her in.

Not your ordinary thief, widow and mother Maddie Campbell likes to think her wealthy victims are merely "donating" to herself and the hundreds of other widows and children left abandoned by the mining company after a devastating accident took the lives of their menfolk. Maddie's secret excursions are quite successful...until ruggedly handsome former lawman Scott McSween arrives in Eden to investigate the recent string of crimes.

Despite her efforts to throw him off track, they can't resist each other. He knows she's somehow involved and is determined to draw out all her secrets in the most exquisite ways - with soft caresses and passionate kisses. But when finally confronted with the truth - that Maddie is actually the thief he's been hired to hunt down and bring in - will Scott choose the woman he loves or his duty to the law?


Tour Schedule

March 18th:
Launch
Becky on Books
It's All About the Romance
March 19th:
Hallie Reads
Beck Valley Books
March 20th:
E-Romance News
Wishful Endings
March 21st:
Nicole's Book Musings
Colorimetry
Andi's Book Reviews
March 22nd:
What's Beyond Forks?
Locks, Hooks and Books
March 23rd:
Grand Finale

About the Author

As a sophomore in high school, NY TimesUSA Today, and Amazon bestselling author Cathy McDavid won a local writing competition with her self-illustrated children’s book. Who knew that small triumph would eventually lead to a career writing contemporary romances with over 1.3 million books sold? With forty-seven titles to date, Cathy is also a member of the prestigious Romance Writers of America’s Honor Roll. This “almost” Arizona native and mother of grown twins recently married her own real-life sweetheart. After leaving the corporate world four years ago, she now spends her days penning stories about good looking men who ride the range or fight fires or hunt creatures all while sweeping the girl off her feet. It’s a tough job but she’s willing to make the sacrifice.


Tour Giveaway

Western-themed basket with goodies, including a $25 Amazon Gift Card
US only
Ends March 27, 2019

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Grab Our Button!

The Certain Hope by E. C. Jackson (Tour Launch & #Giveaway)

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Book Tour Launch for
The Certain Hope
By E. C. Jackson

Author Interview

What is your motivation behind The Certain Hope? Why did you want to write it?

The Certain Hope is the third book in the standalone hope-themed series. Book three highlights thirty-something love, which can be as precarious as younger love. By that age, we’ve weathered numerous life storms. Living life can, and often does, alter our opinions, circumstances and outlook.

What do you hope readers take with them after they’ve read it?

That abundant life is a valiant pursuit and worth the effort it takes to attain it.

Do you have a favorite scene that you can share with us?

That night, Tara rolled onto her back. A smile was pasted on her lips.

Andy’s love-filled eyes bored into hers. Love rose within her heart. Their chemistry couldn’t be denied. If love dust existed, it had bound her and Andy. Forever.

“I love you, Tara. You’re the woman I’ve waited for.”

His intense expression unchecked her emotions. Battles raged within. Butterflies rippled her stomach. There wasn’t a way to quench the joy inside her heart.

“I’m falling in love with you.” Tears sparkled in her eyes. “No. I’ve fallen. I love you, Andy.”

Her whispery voice sounded breathless.

“Andy . . .”

It happened in a snap. The man’s titillating smile vanished.

Tara struggled to sit up in bed. Wide awake, she sighed into the silence. Confusion settled around her. Her hands slid up and down her arms. She stared around the darkened room.

“It was a dream all along. Life, please, imitate my dreams.”

If you could sum the book up in one sentence, what would you say?

The Certain Hope explores the whys and how of a timeless romantic match.

Share something about you that is unique - maybe about how/where you write... or favorite snack foods?

I sit at my desk to write the story equipped with a book title, the main character’s names and little else. Each story comes alive as I type. And then, I am on a journey to discover who these people are.

The Certain Hope
(Hope Series #3)
By E. C. Jackson
Christian Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 318 Pages
December 5th 2018

Love at first sight. It’s every girl’s dream. But Tara Simpkins is finding out it’s not as easy as it seems. Is this truly the man God sent to be her husband, or is she just desperate to escape her loneliness? The recent loss of both parents has left her reeling, and close friends don’t think she’s in any position to make major life decisions. She and her new-found love are convinced they can live happily ever after in the home of their dreams. His family thinks he’s moving way too fast and might disappoint the kind-hearted woman he’s fallen head over heels for. And then there’s Leah. Leah is supposed to be part of his past, but what if she decides she’s his future? Tara’s match made in Heaven may be over before it truly begins.


Tour Schedule

March 18th:
Launch
Faithfully Bookish
March 19th:
Brooke Blogs
Uplifting Reads
March 20th:
Hearts & Scribbles
Pause for Tales
March 21st:
Wishful Endings
Jorie Loves A Story
March 22nd:
Splashes of Joy
Remembrancy
March 25th:
Simply Kelina
Reading Is My SuperPower
March 26th:
Colorimetry
Savings in Seconds
March 27th:
Tell Tale Book Reviews
My Journey Back-The Journey Back
March 28th:
Christine's Book Corner
Locks, Hooks and Books
March 29th:
Heidi Reads...
My Devotional Thoughts
March 30th:
Grand Finale

Other Books in the Series


About the Author


E. C. Jackson began her writing career with the full-length play Pajama Party. For three and a half years she published the Confidence in Life newsletter for Alpha Production Ministries, in addition to writing tracts and devotionals. Teaching a women’s Bible study at her church for eleven years naturally led to her current endeavor of writing inspirational romance novels and teen and young adult fiction. Her mission: spiritual maturity in the body of Christ through fiction.

A note from E. C. Jackson: “The Write Way: A Real Slice of Life” is the slogan on my website and Facebook author page. If every person reading my book feels connected to the characters, my job is done.


Tour Giveaway


One winner will receive a $25 Amazon eGift Card
Open internationally
Ends April 3, 2019

Weekly Update #309, in which it was Spring Break...


Welcome to my Weekly Update where I post my blog's schedule for the week!

I'm linking up to The Sunday Post, hosted by Kimba @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, and to Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality.

This past week was spring break for the kids. We so happy that finally everyone was well and it was really hard to get a lot of reading or book blog/tour related work done. The kids wanted to be gone and having fun, and I wanted to do the same after the past couple of months being so crazy. I also joined a new gym and have been trying to get back to where I was about a year ago. That takes time as well. I did get some books read that I was behind on for reviews and will actually be reviewing them this week, so that's a good thing. This looks looks to be pleasantly uneventful and I'll take it. Lol! :)


This Week

Spark (The Firebrand Chronicles #1)Flare: The Firebrand Chronicles, Book Two

Books I still need to review that hopefully you'll see by next week:

New Books

I had quite the bookhaul this past week. Most are for review (thanks to TNZ Fiction, Tyndale House, Bethany House Publishers, JustReadTours, and Dana Mentink), but I did pre-order Knox by Susan May Warren and grabbed The Wicked King by Holly Black for half price for a B&N special edition. I also received a hardcover copy of Smoke & Summons by Charlie N. Holmberg which I already reviewed or a tour and loved (thank you Wunderkid PR). Here they are (originally posted on Instagram):

Giveaways

I'll be posting a new giveaway soon. :)

Last Week

Daughters of Northern Shores by Joanne Bischof (Grand Finale & #Giveaway)

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Book Tour Grand Finale for
Daughters of Northern Shores
By Joanne Bischof

We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops
you'll find snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below:

Launch - Note from the Author

...As I reflect on the beautiful land of Appalachia, and these beloved characters that first met readers within Sons of Blackbird Mountain, it’s my honor once again to tell an all new tale from this region: a place that’s rich in history and full of heart. It’s my prayer that this next novel will hold the same! It’s also my prayer that it will be a blessing to all of those who open the pages, meet the Norgaard family once again, and walk the rugged and redemptive path alongside them.

— Joanne


"Just know that this book is really good. . . . I may have cried a few times, but that’s a good sign that the author gets you emotionally invested in their story. Anxiously awaiting whatever Joanne Bischof brings us next!"


"This story is full, spiritual, and unique. . . Thor and Aven are memorable characters and their story will stay with you.

With themes of forgiveness and refinement, this story is sure to touch your heart and inspire you."

Hallie Reads - Review & Excerpt

"The “lyrical writing, complex characterizations, and an exquisite, I-want-to-sink-into-this-story atmosphere” I found in the first book are equally present in Daughters of Northern Shores, and I heartily enjoyed it from beginning to end; it was a pleasure to journey with the Norgaards. I highly recommend it to readers of historical fiction..."

… the Virginia sun like melted gold through the treetops, brightening everything in its warm haze and piercing through the branches of the great maple overhead. A dance of light and childhood charm where nestled within the leaves sat the treehouse that had sheltered many an adventure for the Norgaard brothers.

While Aven’s climbing days were at a standstill, if she were to scale the makeshift ladder and settle against the rough trunk, she would see the three carved names. Jorgan. Thor. Haakon. Whittled into the living wood as boys when time and distance hadn’t changed them so. ’Twas just as well that she was land bound with child. She had no desire to see Haakon’s name, nor anything that reminded her of the man who had once been her friend but had proved himself anything but.

Heidi Reads... - Review

"The writing is beautiful and evocative, not flowery, but gently and subtly painting a picture of the setting, relationships, and growing tension as the Norgaard's prepare again to fight for everything they hold dear. I loved seeing their family grow with the birth of Aven's first child and Haaken's unforgettable love. Highly recommend to fans of historical fiction and sweet romance!"


"This is a truly entrancing, at times poignant, saga. The brothers and the extended families is sure to "win one's heart". The story is told from shore to shore, yet smoothly flows and is easily followed by the reader."


"Joanne Bischof has such an incredible ability to draw me right into her stories and feel as if I am actually there. All of my senses become alert and aware. It's nuts. In the best of ways. Her characters feel solid, real. They pull on my emotions. . . . Haakon's journey . . . . is a journey of healing, forgiving, proving and loving. . . . it was still so very good."


"Daughters of Northern Shores is another outstanding epic by Joanne Bischof, one for my “best of the best” list, and impossible for me to adequately review with any words of mine. This novel is filled with exquisite romance, emotion, poignancy, suspense and adventure. Anything that Bischof writes is excellent, but for me, she shines best in Appalachian settings. . . . Very highly recommended."

Hearts & Scribbles - Spotlight

Faithfully Bookish - Review & Guest Post

"Story after story, Bischof masterfully captures the work of the Maker’s hand in the essence of life’s fullness, depth, and frailty. . . . The Blackbird Mountain series is saturated with culture, knowledge, and awe-inspiring landscapes but it’s the heart of the stories that make these books unforgettable and precious. I cannot recommend these books highly enough."

Titling a Novel

Whenever anyone mentions this book, I immediately reflect on how it was my most challenging novels to date. From the difficulties in penning the story, to trying to get a few of the characters to behave (I won’t mention any names [HAAKON!]) to coming up with just the right title – every phase was quite an adventure!...

Remembrancy - Review

"With a slow build focusing on the relationship dynamic amongst this group—from the brother’s to Thor and Aven to the friends surrounding them—the story is engaging . And that building leads to some intensity near the end of the book that keep it going. Bischof’s beautiful prose, immersing readers in the setting, conflicts, and suspense that draw me to her books time and again."


"Just as touching and heartwarming as the first book, the reacquaintance of this sweet family is such an enjoyable read. . . . The setting and the characters are exceptional and you leave this book feeling as though you are leaving your friends."


I have come to expect a story from the pen of Joanne Bischof to be one that slices straight to the heart with its truth and tenderness. Daughters of Northern Shores is no exception. With its return of beloved characters and a message of trust at its center, it is one I will cherish upon recalling (and REREADING!). . . . Daughters of Northern [S]hores is a novel to treasure and one to make you think of the impact just one person can have. It is an encouraging story that reminds the reader to hope when there is no clear path ahead. And, to hold family and friends dear, always extending grace."


"I didn’t want Daughters of Northern Shores to ever end! . . . The characters in this book are some of my favorites ever, so I will absolutely go back to book one. They are so well-written that you miss them when you reach the end. I love the way that Joanne Bischof weaves themes of remorse, reconciliation and forgiveness throughout the story. Daughters of Northern Shores made me laugh, and it made me cry. Only the best books do that."

Wishful Endings - Guest Post

From the Blackbird Mountain Kitchen: Apple Cider Soup

Within the Blackbird Mountain novels, the heart and soul of the Norgaard family home is Ida’s kitchen. A kitchen this former-slave now shares with her “daughters-in-law”, Fay and Aven. Fresh from the kitchen of these three women springs loaves of hot bread, jars of orchard-fresh apple butter, and hearty stews that the men help provide for from wild game in the surrounding woodlands....


"Daughters of Northern Shores by Joanne Bischof engaged my attention immediately and my interest continued throughout reading the novel. The author's flowing prose is beautiful and it carries this tale through much brokenness, struggle, and healing. As with it's predecessor, the character development is heart-deep and avoids simplifying difficult issues. The relationships between the Norgaard brothers are complex and rich. The epilogue was stunning, a truly perfect ending.

I highly recommend Daughters of Northern Shores by Joanne Bischof to anyone who loves deeply-layered fiction with complex issues and authentic characters."

By The Book - Review

"Fans of Joanne Bischof’s Sons of Blackbird Mountain will not be disappointed in the return visit to the Norgaard family farm in Daughters of Northern Shores. . . . there is much, much more of the story left to told, and as always, Bischof does it with beautiful prose that sets the scene and reveals the fears, sorrows, hopes, and dreams of her characters. This book is another winner!"

Fiction Aficionado - Review & Excerpt

"...this story held me in its thrall from beginning to end. If you’re looking for a compelling family saga with well-developed characters, lyrical storytelling, and a whole lot of heart, I have no hesitation in recommending this series."

...Haakon didn’t keep a journal. If he did, he would write that they’d hoisted sail and caught a breeze from west-southwest. A gust that was shouldering them away from southern Norway. He’d try to find the words to described how hard it was to see that shoreline grow fainter. If they lingered, they’d watch the birches begin to open their leaves. He was yet to see Norway in the summer and had only heard of its splendor.

The practical side of him would note that there were eight hundred tons of crystal ice in the hold bound for London. That’s if they survived the North Sea. If so, they would land in England four days from now.

It would take great effort to cap the inkwell then, but if he lost the battle with himself, he would add that it was getting harder and harder not to think of home.

Genesis 5020 - Review

"The setting for this book is beautiful and the I loved the character development of Thor and Aven. . . . I really had no idea what was going to happen or how things would play out and I think that is what I loved about it most of all.

If you enjoy historical romance that is more than that you will enjoy this book."

Colorimetry - Guest Post

Setting Sail with the Prodigal Son

...At the very end of Sons of Blackbird Mountain, Haakon Norgaard sets sail on an all new adventure. One all his own. As the youngest of three brothers, it’s the first time he is ever outside of their shadow—a freedom he’s certain he’s ready for, yet many lessons and matters of the heart await him during Daughters of Northern Shores...


Aven watched him through the window as he stood there, speaking to Sigurd, who was helping. In this moment, she could see a trace of the kindness she’d once known was in him.

“It be trust he need to earn, and that’s what sin does. Forgiveness . . . it pure and good, but it just the start of it. Offering one don’t mean the other be remedied as well. When a person be hurt, there need be a minding to both hope and sense.”

Uplifting Reads - Excerpt

While words were potent, a man’s caring ran through deeper waters. It dwelled right there in what he was willing to do. Haakon knew all too well that Peter had once taken a beating for Tess. A way to protect her from his own kin. If anyone was ready to face an uncertain future against Jed and Harlan, it was Peter.

Haakon belted his knife sheath around his hip. “Come an hour before dark.”

“I’ll be here.”

Peter ran a rough hand up and down his forearm, chafing at an old scar. “I also came to tell you that my sister . . . Sibby . . . She’s married.”


"I was so happy to be back at Blackbird Mountain. The setting, the characters, the plot lines – I could go on and on. Joanne Bischof has created a beautiful series here, with a lovely picture of forgiveness – something we could all learn from. Highly recommend reading this book, but make sure you read Sons of Blackbird Mountain first!"


The air inside was dim and stagnant. Ripe with the scent of musty wood. A fresh leak had blossomed in the far corner, and sunlight hadn’t been kind to the curtains hanging on the windows. Aven stepped to them and fingered a hem just as she’d done when Haakon had stood beside her. He’d raised the curtain rod into place, giving her that boyish smile as he did. Just before the back of his hand had touched her arm. A coaxing—a pleading—for her to choose him.

A would-be lover who had lost her to Thor, losing his own way in the aftermath.

With a shuddering breath, Aven set the map on a wobbly table and turned away. Not wanting to linger, she stepped out and bolted the door before pressing the key back from sight.

The Becca Files - Review

"...I was more intrigued with Haakon’s character. In the first book he was easily my least favorite character, but I appreciated seeing him mature more in this story and express genuine remorse for the actions in his past. . . . I still consider it worth the read."


"Ms. Bischof manages to always find the right words to elicit the heartaches and pain of the characters, painting a picture with words one of the best examples of showing rather than telling. . . . Daughters of Northern Shores is an appalachian epic of family, the bonds of blood, the ties of friendship, anchors of love, and the human condition. . . . Highly recommend, and an absolute must read if you enjoyed Sons of Blackbird Mountain."


"Daughters of Northern Shores is so well-written that the Norgaard’s Appalachian farm comes to life with beautiful descriptions the reader can see and smell vividly. Filled with the type of rich historical details, my history-loving, nerd girl heart was filled to the brim. The author’s beautiful prose sing like the melody of a well-written symphony and will leave you desperately wanting more from this writer and the story world she has created for us."

Locks, Hooks and Books - Review & Guest Post

"Daughters of the Northern Shores is a powerful story of forgiveness and grace. It is full of faith and inspiration. I know so many readers will relate to the characters and will find that it is okay to forgive yourself and move on."

Pinterest Story Boards for a Historical Romance

One of my favorite aspects of the writing process is storyboarding. There’s something about an image that can bring a scene or character to life in my mind. For both Sons of Blackbird Mountain and Daughters of Northern Shores, I created two boards for each novel—one private and one public...


"Daughters of Northern Shores was a beautiful, captivating tale that, once again, reminded me of how much I love the characters from this series. . . . The author does such an amazing job of writing in a beautiful style that captures the pace of life on the mountain. I loved seeing what was happening in all of the brothers’ lives and witnessing again the deep love between Thor and Aven. This book left me feeling a deep happiness as I turned the last page."


"This series is #unputdownable and is going to stay inside your heart long after you put down the pages you've just read. Her characters are as real as any of us and their story is such a realistic account of life being lived through grace and leant on faith it is a refreshing glimpse into the past with a bridge of hope for our futures."

Among the Reads - Review & Guest Post

"Daughters of Northern Shores is a riveting continuation of the story of the Norgaard family of Blackbird Mountain that was difficult to put down. . . . I was again swept away as author Joanne Bischof poured out her heart on these pages with tender and hopeful melancholy. . . . Daughters of Northern Shores is a story of changed lives, of love of family, of good versus evil, and of forgiveness. Though I classify it as a romance, it is so much more..."

A Heroine and Her Home

Having grown up within a workhouse in Ireland in the late 1800’s, Aven Norgaard, one of the heroines of the Blackbird Mountain novels, has never known open spanses and freedom. Now, having voyaged to rural Virginia, she’s discovered a whole new world of wonders. While her days in this new and rugged land are far from easy, they’re rich with blessings that she savors with her whole heart. And now as the bride of one of the men of this mountain, a Deaf cider-maker by name of Thor Norgaard, she’s discovering all new facets of life only once dreamed of...


"With Daughters or Northern Shores, be prepared for heavy emotions, heavy thoughts, heavy situations, but know there’s a steadfast hope and quiet beauty in each one. I still feel as though I haven’t accurately captured this book with my words, but I’ve done the best I can, and I hope you’ll take the time to read it for yourself and find the beauty in it."


"Daughters of the Northern Shores was everything I was hoping it would be and more. The characters were raw and real, the bond of brotherhood was inspiring, the themes of grace and forgiveness were beautiful, and the deep trust they all had in God through their trials is something I hope to have. . . . this book was absolutely amazing."

Note: All excerpts referenced above were taken from “Daughters of Northern Shores” by Joanne Bischof. Copyright © 2019 by Joanne Bischof. Used by permission of http://www.thomasnelson.com/.

Don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end of this post, if you haven't already...

Daughters of Northern Shores
(Blackbird Mountain #2)
By Joanne Bischof
Christian Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 368 Pages
March 12th 2019 by Thomas Nelson

“The Norgaard brothers and their families will steal your heart.” —Catherine West, author of Where Hope Begins

Heartache and regret, boldness and sacrifice. What will restoration cost the beloved Norgaard family?

Aven Norgaard understands courage. Orphaned within an Irish workhouse, then widowed at just nineteen, she voyaged to America where she was wooed and wed by Thor Norgaard, a Deaf man in rural Appalachia. That the Lord saw her along the winding journey and that Aven now carries Thor’s child are blessings beyond measure. Yet while Thor holds her heart, it is his younger brother and rival who haunts her memories. Haakon—whose selfish choices shattered her trust in him.

Having fled the farm after trying to take Aven as his own, Haakon sails on the North Atlantic ice trade where his soul is plagued with regrets that distance cannot heal. Not even the beautiful Norwegian woman he’s pursued can ease the torment. When the winds bear him home after four years away, Haakon finds the family on the brink of tragedy. A decades-old feud with the neighboring farm has wrenched them into the fiercest confrontation on Blackbird Mountain since the Civil War. Haakon’s cunning and strength hold the power to seal many fates, including Thor’s which is already at stake through a grave illness brought to him as the first prick of warfare.

Now Haakon faces the hardest choice of his life. One that shapes a battlefield where pride must be broken enough to be restored, and where a prodigal son may finally know the healing peace of surrender and the boundless gift of forgiveness. And when it comes to the woman he left behind in Norway, he just might discover that while his heart belongs to a daughter of the north, she’s been awaiting him on shores more distant than the land he’s fighting for.

From Christy Award–winning author Joanne Bischof comes Daughters of Northern Shores: the highly anticipated sequel to her moving novel Sons of Blackbird Mountain.


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Other Books in the Series

Sons of Blackbird Mountain
(Blackbird Mountain #1)
By Joanne Bischof
Christian Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 339 Pages
July 3rd 2018 by Thomas Nelson

From the bestselling award-winning author of The Lady and the Lionheart

“Beloved author Joanne Bischof doesn’t disappoint with her latest beautifully written, heartrending tale . . . a quick favorite for historical romance readers.” —Elizabeth Byler Younts, author of The Solace of Water

A Tale of Family, Brotherhood, and the Healing Power of Love

After the tragic death of her husband, Aven Norgaard is beckoned to give up her life in Norway to become a housekeeper in the rugged hills of Nineteenth-Century Appalachia. Upon arrival, she finds herself in the home of her late husband’s cousins—three brothers who make a living by brewing hard cider on their three-hundred acre farm. Yet even as a stranger in a foreign land, Aven has hope to build a new life in this tight-knit family.

But her unassuming beauty disrupts the bond between the brothers. The youngest two both desire her hand, and Aven is caught in the middle, unsure where—and whether—to offer her affection. While Haakon is bold and passionate, it is Thor who casts the greatest spell upon her. Though Deaf, mute, and dependent on hard drink to cope with his silent pain, Thor possesses a sobering strength.

As autumn ushers in the apple harvest, the rift between Thor and Haakon deepens and Aven faces a choice that risks hearts. Will two brothers’ longing for her quiet spirit tear apart a family? Can she find a tender belonging in this remote, rugged, and unfamiliar world?

A haunting tale of struggle and redemption, Sons of Blackbird Mountain is a portrait of grace in a world where the broken may find new life through the healing mercy of love.

Praise for Sons of Blackbird Mountain:

"Sons of Blackbird Mountain is a quiet gem of a historical romance. Refreshingly real and honest in its depiction of flawed but lovable individuals, it introduces characters readers will want to meet again." - CBA Market

". . . the novel provides an interesting glimpse of the time period and some complex social issues among neighbors in an area still recovering from the Civil War." - Historical Novels Review

"VERDICT Christy- and Carol Award-winning author Bischof (The Lady and the Lionheart) creates endearing characters and a heartwarming story line in this unforgettable novel about the power of family, love, and the true meaning of home. Fans of Kristy Cambron, Julie Klassen, and Susan Meissner will love this one." - Library Journal


About the Author

Picture courtesy of https://joannebischof.com.

Joanne Bischof is an ACFW Carol Award and ECPA Christy Award-winning author. She writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the heartstrings. She was honored to receive the San Diego Christian Writers Guild Novel of the Year Award in 2014 and in 2015 was named Author of the Year by the Mount Hermon conference. Joanne’s 2016 novel, The Lady and the Lionheart, received an extraordinary 5 Star TOP PICK! from RT Book Reviews, among other critical acclaim. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her three children.


Tour Giveaway


One winner will receive a print copy of DAUGHTERS OF NORTHERN SHORES and a Thomas Nelson/Zondervan custom tote bag (book and bag shown are examples, not actual prize)
US only
Ends March 20, 2019

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