Weekly Update #311, where my anticipated lull turned into busy...

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.

It's been so busy! My parents were in town most of last week and with that, trying to work out regularly, keeping up with the kids, hosting my book club, and getting ready for a kitchen remodel... it just got a little hectic. I was sick last weekend which kind of started my week with me behind as well. Friday night I went with my husband to see Michael Bublé to his sold out show, which was AMAZING! I was worried at first that it might not be exciting or that he wouldn't be as good as his recordings, but I can not say enough about how talented he is and how fabulous everything was!! He sounds better than his recordings. I posted a pic and a short video clip on Instagram here, if you're interested. I will definitely be going again next time he comes to my state.

Moving on to this week... I'm super excited about all the books I'm featuring this week. There's my usual array of genres from YA to Historical to Christian. Hopefully something will connect with you. :)

This Week

Books I still need to review that hopefully you'll see at some point in the future
(I feel like a broken record on these since they seem to still be here every week):

Last Week

The Certain Hope by E.C. Jackson (Grand Finale & #Giveaway)

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Book Tour Grand Finale for
The Certain Hope
By E. C. Jackson

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 - 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.

The doorbell chimed what she termed his signature ring: one long peal, followed by two shorter ones. Saying goodbye might ruin her. Hair patted into place, she opened the door with an unsteady hand.

Andy leaned on the rail, watching the door fling open. The six men who worked with him stood at his side. Silence reigned. They stood there, grinning at her.

Tara couldn’t resist returning the smiles. Their noisy camaraderie while they worked would be missed.

Brooke Blogs - Excerpt

The house needed only a minor overhaul. He was the man for the task if he was able to buy the place. Luke enjoyed restoring old houses. Especially one he hoped to make his own. As he’d climbed the steps, he was assessing the fair market value.

Then Tara had opened the door.

Luke had fallen in love on sight.

Uplifting Reads - Excerpt

“So you prefer dating a man who works at McDonald’s?” Marcie asked.

Mindy laughed until she coughed.

Giggles erupted around the table.

“Tara would if his name was Andy,” Mindy finally said.

Tara batted dream-filled eyes. “I love a man I’ll never see again.” She paused, eyeing Mindy. “Honest enough for you?”

Tara’s hopeful nonchalance intrigued Luke more than it ever had. He’d finally found his sassy, laidback lady that would love him. She was a snappy work of art he couldn’t resist. Her projected innocence snagged him the first time they met.

Things are moving in the right direction. How do I bring my lovely lady along for the journey?

Before long, Olivia took a much-needed breath. The lull in the conversation reminded him about the other people in the room. He leaned his mouth close to Tara’s ear while speaking in a stage voice.

Pause for Tales - Review

"The Certain Hope is a story of love at first sight and I really enjoyed it. . . . This was a unique story that showed the positives and negatives of falling in love so quickly and throws in a few surprise twists as well. This was my first book by author Jackson and I look forward to more of her stories."

Wishful Endings - Excerpt

“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.

Splashes of Joy - Review

"Overall, I did enjoy the story. For me, Luke’s personality caused me to want to keep reading, because I wanted to find out what happens with the two. . . . And I feel Ms. Jackson does an excellent job of weaving the issues together so the plot runs so smooth. This is the second book I’ve read from Ms. Jackson, and I enjoy her writing. So I encourage you to check out The Certain Hope as well as other books by this author."

Remembrancy - Review

"...there are stories of love-at-first-sight marriages that are going strong, so even if it’s not your reality, it is entertaining. And may also serve as a cautionary tale to not jump into anything too quickly, especially if the people you trust are conflicted about your decision. And through it all, I was cheering for Tara’s happily-ever-after."

Simply Kelina - Review

"Should you read it? YES! I still recommend it, especially if you love a good romance. I am actually really interested in reading some of the authors other works as I did enjoy it overall."

The vase received a place of honor above the fireplace while the open chocolate box tempted them on the cocktail table. A faint disinfectant scent lingered in the air. Luke always found a faultless house when he visited. It was the perfect backdrop for his prim and proper miss. “Are you a true neat freak, or will stuff drop on my head if I open a closet door? I vote neat freak.”

“We’re simpatico. Guests can eat off your floors.” Tara nestled into the arm Luke draped around her shoulder. “Mmm. I like sitting close to you. How was your day?”

“It’s over. I’d rather discuss us.”

Colorimetry - Excerpt

This family has a fixation with that woman. “I’m a free man. I can date whomever I choose.”

“The grapevine says she’ll arrive in St. Louis on Friday. A month earlier than planned. Guess she didn’t accept your answer.”

Luke chuckled. “Now she knows that proposing to a disinterested man has consequences. Besides, holding false expectations is a character flaw I hate.”

". . . an entertaining read if you enjoy romance. . . . better suited to those who like Insta-love, since that’s basically the premise of the relationship. It’s a Lifetime movie in print."

Tara joined the line of cars headed from the park. Her haggard brain was ready for a nap. Approximately fifty buses stood between her car and the road home. She drummed her fingers on the steering wheel, instead of succumbing to what she really desired to do. Her mind hankered to blow the horn until reaching Kingshighway. Sort of a celebration cheer and “get out of the way” rant combined in one.

The relaxing evening she imagined with Luke fueled her determination to hurry home. Next on the agenda was a marvelous dinner. The legwork was prepared that morning. She only had to pop the casserole into the oven and prepare a salad.

"The Certain Hope is a story of hope, love and faith. . . . I am giving The Certain Hope five plus stars. I recommend it for readers who love a beautifully, well written and clean stories. I believe it is a must read and I highly recommend it. I would love to read more like this one by EC Jackson in the future."

Heidi Reads... - Excerpt

While drying dishes, Tara jumped as soap suds hit her face. She spun around when Luke laughed, right before lobbing another soap ball at her. She ducked. Only trickles of water dusted her hair.

Her reflexes immediately kicked in. The water pitcher was in her hand before thinking better of her next move. The shock on Luke’s face stilled her hand. He was soaked. Water slid from his hair, and over his body, until it streamed across the floor.

“Oops! Blame yourself and not me,” she yelled, charging past him.

"For a quick, nice read, this is the ideal book for a Friday or Saturday night curled up in front of the fire or on the beach in the afternoon. The story is enjoyable and has a few fun twists and turns along the way. I believe the author knows her target audience well, and she has delivered exactly what is expected in story, character, and charm."

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

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.

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

New Releases/#Free & Bargain Books for March 25th - March 31st #freebook #booksale #booklinkup #booklinky

Here are the New Releases / Free & Bargain Books, hosted by
Sharon over at Beck Valley Books, for this week! Check it all out below...

Authors please feel free to add your own books.
Readers please free to add your own finds.
(any genre except erotica welcome)

This weekly link up is hosted by Beck Valley Books & these awesome book loving blogs...

For Pre-orders post - PRE-ORDER / genre / title /author
For New Releases post - NEW / genre / title / author
For Free Books post - FREE / genre / title / author / end date 
For Bargain Books post - SALE / price / genre / title / author / end date
(Strictly no Erotica please.  Steamy romance is fine but watch those covers people, incase any underage child is viewing it!)

Here is this weeks awesome selection!

By adding your link, you acknowledge that the information you provide will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy and transmitted to Inlinkz in accordance with their Privacy Policy.

Would you like to share our linkup on your site? click here
Would you like to become a weekly host? sign up here

Come back and check out the new selection every week!

She must use her supernatural visions to find a murderer before it's too late... Spectacle by Jodie Lynn Zdrok (Guest Post & #Giveaway)

Welcome to my tour stop! You can find the other stops on the tour hereRead a fun
author guest post from the view of the protagonist and enter the tour giveaway below...

By Jodie Lynn Zdrok
YA Historical Suspense, Paranormal
Paperback & ebook, 368 Pages
February 12th 2019 by Tor Teen


A YA murder mystery in which a young reporter must use her supernatural visions to help track down a killer targeting the young women of Paris.

Paris, 1887.

Sixteen-year-old Nathalie Baudin writes the daily morgue column for Le Petit Journal. Her job is to summarize each day's new arrivals, a task she finds both fascinating and routine. That is, until the day she has a vision of the newest body, a young woman, being murdered--from the perspective of the murderer himself.

When the body of another woman is retrieved from the Seine days later, Paris begins to buzz with rumors that this victim may not be the last. Nathalie's search for answers sends her down a long, twisty road involving her mentally ill aunt, a brilliant but deluded scientist, and eventually into the Parisian Catacombs. As the killer continues to haunt the streets of Paris, it becomes clear that Nathalie's strange new ability may make her the only one who can discover the killer's identity--and she'll have to do it before she becomes a target herself.

Praise for SPECTACLE

"Clever and full of murder, Jodie Lynn Zdrok's Spectacle had my eyes glued to the pages as the body count rose, and mystery stacked upon mystery as our heroine closed in on a killer who seemed miles ahead of the Parisian authorities. Fans of serial killers and criminal investigations will find much to love, and fascinating passages about morgue tours will appeal to the morbid rubbernecker in us all." ―Kendare Blake, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Three Dark Crowns series

“With a fierce heroine, grisly 19th-century murders, and a mystery that left me on the edge of my seat, Spectacle is an immersive, Parisian, YA From Hell that I absolutely devoured!" ―Gretchen McNeil, author of Ten and #MurderTrending

"Zdrok explores the universal fascination with death, set among the darker corners of 1887 Paris, and the very idea of the morgue viewings (to which parents brought their children) is chilling...Grisly, plot driven―and very creepy. Fans of historical thrillers that invoke the enduring spirit of Jack the Ripper will have fun." ―Kirkus Reviews

“Hints of the murderer’s identity are subtly and intriguingly folded into the story, and unresolved plot threads pave the way for future cases, during which Nathalie can discover more about her powers. The blend of history, mystery, and fantasy makes this debut novel a good pick for fans of Libba Bray’s Diviners series or William Ritter’s Jackaby books." ―Booklist

“The book seamlessly brings several threads together: the mystery of the murder and the horrors of the killings themselves; the beauty, bustle, and darkness of nineteenth-century Paris (the killer’s pursuit of Nathalie through the catacombs is thrillingly described); the bizarre but historically based practices of morgue viewing and blood transfusions for magic; and the destructive nature of family secrets and their generational effects. ...the tension amps up to a gasp-worthy climax.” ―Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“Zdrok has concocted an ambitious Victorian-era story. ...Intricately plotted, the story's pace burns slow before racing ahead to set up and topple assumptions about the true identity of the Dark Artist.” ―School Library Journal 

(Affiliate links included.)

Guest Post: Nathalie's Visions

Bonjour from 1887 Paris!

I’m Nathalie Baudin, and I’ve been asked to write this article (or “blog post,” in your parlance, though I admit to not quite understanding what that means) about my visions. Tressa assures me that you’ll keep my secret safe, as I haven’t shared this with many people. I’m not sure what people would say if they found out, and I don’t know myself what they mean yet or why I’m having them.

As of this writing I’ve just had my second vision, not a quarter of an hour ago. Will there be more? I suppose I have to wait to see if there are more murders of this sort to find out. (Although the killer seems to be hinting at more with his letters, but he seems to be playing games, so who can say?) This is what I have experienced, thus far:

  • It happens at the morgue when I touch the glass.
  • I can see the murder scene unfold.
  • It varies in length, though I’m unaware how much time has passed when I come to.
  • It’s in reverse and begins with the end, so to speak.
  • I’m not able to see the killer, nor am I able to intervene.
  • It’s silent—mostly. Except for one voice…
  • I come to aware of what happened. I think I must have a strange expression or, as Monsieur Gagnon suggested, display some unusual behavior, based on how people respond to me. I’m not sure.
  • After the first vision, I noticed a gap in my memory, but I don’t know if that’s coincidence, a consequence of the shock, or something else. So far I haven’t had any effect from the second vision, and the memory gap after the first one happened right away. That may be favorable, no?

I don’t know if these are hallucinations, a series of fever dreams (it’s been very hot), a blessing, or a curse. There isn’t much else I can do but…wait. And pray for the souls of those poor victims, while hoping there aren’t any more.

Thank you for letting me share—and again, please don’t tell anyone about my visions…yet.

About the Author

Jodie Lynn Zdrok holds two MAs in European History (Providence College, Brown University) and an MBA (Clark University). In addition to being an author, she’s a marketing professional, a freelancer, and an unapologetic Boston sports fan. She enjoys traveling, being a foodie, doing sprint triathlons, and enabling cats. She is represented by Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown, Ltd.


Tour-Wide Giveaway

- 5 Winners will receive a Copy of SPECTACLE by Jodie Lynn Zdrok.
- Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter | Ends April 15, 2019

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out this new Middle Grade SciFi... Friendroid by M.M. Vaughan (Guest Post & #Giveaway)

Check out a fun fill-in-the-blanks guest post with the author and enter the tour giveaway below...

By M.M. Vaughan
Middle Grade SciFi
Hardcover& ebook, 384 Pages
March 26th 2019 by Margaret K. McElderry Books


Stranger Things meets robots in this sweet story about an unlikely friendship between two boys—one human, one android. 

Eric Young is an android, but he doesn’t know. He does know that he’s just moved to Ashland, so it’s important to make the right kind of friends—the kind that would be interested in skateboarding and the new Slick sneakers his Uncle Martin sends him.

Danny Lazio doesn’t have any friends, but he doesn’t care. Even if his classmates don’t accept him, he still has Land X, the online role play game that he’s actually really good at. But then Eric takes an interest in Land X, and suddenly Danny thinks he might have found a real friend…if he can figure out the mystery behind Eric’s sudden disappearances and strange lifestyle.

It becomes harder to ignore the weird events that happen only around Eric. But uncovering the secret behind Eric’s identity is an act that might cost them both as powerful forces soon move in around them.

This heartfelt story about friendship and what it means to be human is sure to tug at your soul—or your soul-chip if you’re like Eric.  


"A timely parable for this generation of digital natives." ―Kirkus

"Vaughan presents another noteworthy sf middle-grade offering peppered with mystery." ―Booklist

"For middle-grade readers who are ready to fight the power." ―Publishers Weekly

(Affiliate links included.)

Guest Post: Fill in the Blanks
  1. The level of detail in the artwork is my favorite thing about the cover of FRIENDROID.
  2. Eric would describe Danny as misunderstood and funny.
  3. Danny would describe Eric as misunderstood and definitely not funny!
  4. Eric and Danny would say the most cool thing about their friendship is that they enjoy doing the same things.
  5. The first thing that happens to make these characters suspect something is going on with Eric is a pillow fight that goes wrong.
  6. FRIENDROID challenged me by having to rewrite it to include both Danny and Eric’s point of views. But, as challenging as it was, I think the story turned out so much better for it.
  7. My favorite thing about the story is the friendship that develops between Danny and Eric.
  8. Don’t focus on a publishing deal but on writing a book you love, is the one piece of advice I’d give to aspiring authors.
  9. Right now my book club pick; Educated, by Tara Westover, is the book waiting for me to read next.
  10. I have a love/hate relationship with sleep – I love sleeping, but I also love writing late at night.
  11. Pistachios are my go-to treat/snack when I’m craving something.
  12. I’m looking forward to watching Lego Movie 2 in the theaters.
  13. I last binge watched Game of Thrones.
  14. If you got in my car right now, you’d hear Abba, my daughter’s favorite band, playing through my speakers.
  15. Christmas is my favorite time of the year.
  16. I celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by practicing my Irish (Gaelic) that I learned when I was a teacher in Dublin, and partying with my friends.
  17. I like my pizza with pepperoni on top.
  18. The USA is my favorite place to vacation.
  19. One thing I can’t live without is my notebook.
  20. I’m working on sketching out a few different ideas I have next, to be released when I work out which one to go with!

About the Author

The daughter of South American parents, Monica Meira Vaughan grew up in Spain before moving to London at the age of five where she learnt English by watching Sesame Street and reading every Roald Dahl book she could get her hands on. On leaving school, and after a brief stint in public relations, Monica decided to train as a primary school teacher. She spent over ten years working in special needs, mostly with children with emotional and behavioural difficulties, before becoming a full time writer.

Monica loves writing after midnight, building cardboard cities and playing Lego with her daughter. She lives in London, UK.


Tour-Wide Giveaway

- 2 Winners will receive a Copy of FRIENDROID by M.M. Vaughan.
- Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter | Ends April 8, 2019

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Top 10 Reasons to Fall in Love with this book... Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale (Guest Post & #Giveaway)

Welcome to my tour stop! Check out the author's fun guest post and the tour giveaway below...

Small Town Hearts
By Lillie Vale
YA Contemporary
Hardcover & ebook, 336 Pages
March 19th 2019 by Swoon Reads


Rule #1 - Never fall for a summer boy.

Fresh out of high school, Babe Vogel should be thrilled to have the whole summer at her fingertips. She loves living in her lighthouse home in the sleepy Maine beach town of Oar’s Rest and being a barista at the Busy Bean, but she’s totally freaking out about how her life will change when her two best friends go to college in the fall. And when a reckless kiss causes all three of them to break up, she may lose them a lot sooner. On top of that, her ex-girlfriend is back in town, bringing with her a slew of memories, both good and bad.

And then there’s Levi Keller, the cute artist who’s spending all his free time at the coffee shop where she works. Levi’s from out of town, and even though Babe knows better than to fall for a tourist who will leave when summer ends, she can’t stop herself from wanting to know him. Can Babe keep her distance, or will she break the one rule she’s always had - to never fall for a summer boy?

(Affiliate links included.)

Guest Post:
Top 10 Reasons You Should Fall in Love with Small Town Hearts

Hi Tressa! Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog today! I’m so excited to do a Top 10 list as my guest post. Hooray!

So here’s all the reasons you should 💗💖 ☕ fall steep into love ☕ 💖💗 *wink* with my messy, foodie BFF breakup book!

🍰 ALL THE FOOD! Do you love cookies, cakes, chowders, and coffee? This book will make you hungry! So make sure to read it with snacks on hand so you don’t become hangry.

🍰 Post-high school YA that’s ideal for NA audiences, too! Discusses: friendship, life changes, and alternate, non-college paths.

🍰 Immersion in a sleepy, coastal Maine village. Trust me, you’ll want to move here ASAP.

🍰 All the cozy vibes! Small town traditions! Sand castles, pageants, bonfires, oh my!

🍰 The main character, Babe, lives in a lighthouse!!!

🍰 Also she’s openly bi and no one gives her crap about it!!! She’s loved and supported!!!

🍰 Her love interest, Levi, says the swooniest of things! I’m hearing he’s made of boyfriend material and cinnamon roll.

🍰 It is Very Soft.

🍰 Manipulative friendship! Friendship breakups! Why BFF breakups can hurt worse than romantic ones! And it’s totally valid! Don’t let anyone tell you differently!

🍰 Basically this book is a love letter to coffee, small towns, and all my babes who are growing up and so, so unsure of What Happens Next.

About the Author

Lillie Vale, upon discovering she could not be one of Santa’s elves or attend Hogwarts, decided to become a writer to create a little magic of her own. Enjoying the romantic and eerie in equal measure, she’s probably always writing a book where the main characters kiss or kill. Born in Mumbai, she has lived in many U.S. states, and now resides in an Indiana college town where the corn whispers and no one has a clue that she is actually the long-lost caps lock queen. She can be reached on Twitter @LillieLabyrinth and Instagram @labyrinthspine. Small Town Hearts is her debut novel.

Tour Schedule
Tour-Wide Giveaway

1 Signed Finished copy of Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale (USA only)

Ends: 4/5/19
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I Can't Wait for... The Printed Letter Bookshop by @Katherine_Reay (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.

Katherine Reay has been a favorite ever since I read her first book, Dear Mr. Knightley. This is her upcoming release and I just really can't wait to read it! It's my pick this week...

The Printed Letter Bookshop
By Katherine Reay
Christian Romance, Women's Fiction
Paperback & ebook, 336 Pages
May 14th 2019 by Thomas Nelson


“Powerful, enchanting, and spirited, this novel will delight.” –Patti Callahan Henry, bestselling author of Becoming Mrs. Lewis

Love, friendship, and family find a home at the Printed Letter Bookshop

One of Madeline Cullen’s happiest childhood memories is of working with her Aunt Maddie in the quaint and cozy Printed Letter Bookshop. But by the time Madeline inherits the shop nearly twenty years later, family troubles and her own bitter losses have hardened Madeline’s heart toward her once-treasured aunt—and the now struggling bookshop left in her care.

While Madeline intends to sell the shop as quickly as possible, the Printed Letter’s two employees have other ideas. Reeling from a recent divorce, Janet finds sanctuary within the books and within the decadent window displays she creates. Claire, though quieter than the acerbic Janet, feels equally drawn to the daily rhythms of the shop and its loyal clientele, finding a renewed purpose within its walls. When Madeline’s professional life takes an unexpected turn, and when a handsome gardener upends all her preconceived notions, she questions her plans and her heart. She begins to envision a new path for herself and for her aunt’s beloved shop—provided the women’s best combined efforts are not too little, too late.

The Printed Letter Bookshop is a captivating story of good books, a testament to the beauty of new beginnings, and a sweet reminder of the power of friendship.

(Affiliate links included.)

Will you be reading this one?

An interview with the author... Claire at Edisto & The Interlude by Lin Stepp (Interview)

This bestselling author has two new releases coming in 
April! Check them both out as well as the interview below...

Claire at Edisto
(The Edisto Trilogy #1)
By Lin Stepp
Christian Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 274 Pages
April 2nd 2019 by Mountain Hill Press


Set against the alluring backdrop of coastal South Carolina, CLAIRE AT EDISTO takes the reader on a sweet and gentle journey showing that love and new beginnings can often bloom from the deepest sorrows.

Standing in grief and shock at the grave of her young husband, Claire Avery wonders what she and her young daughters will do now. They live in the church parsonage they need to vacate. She hasn’t worked since her marriage twelve years ago. Old issues and complications hinder relationships with her family. Struggling for answers, Claire accepts her brother-in-law’s offer to stay at his beach house at Edisto to give her a season to heal and think. But even the peace and beauty of the coastal island bring new problems along with unexpected joys as Claire seeks to find her way.

Parker Avery always promised his brother Charles he would look after Claire if anything happened to him. Charles stood by him three years ago when his wife Ann died and Parker is determined now to be a help to Claire and the girls. As time passes, instead of feeling like a hero, he feels like a heel instead as he realizes he’s developing feelings for his own brother’s widow. To make things worse, he watches with pain and jealousy as Miles Lawrence waltzes into Claire’s life. What can he expect though? It hardly seems right that Claire, even after a season of mourning, would ever fall in love with her own brother-in-law.

(Affiliate links included.)

The Interlude
(Smoky Mountain #12)
By Lin Stepp
Christian Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 289 Pages
April 2nd 2019 by Mountain Hill Press


In this gentle, inspirational romance, Lin Stepp reveals the healing touch and deep peace the beauty of the Smoky Mountains can bring to a hurt and troubled heart.

Too much work, too much pressure, and too much heartache can lead even a strong young woman like Mallory Wingate to the edge of a nervous breakdown. Now her doctor and employer have insisted she take a space to heal and rest—so like it or not, she’s heading to her grandparents’ resort in the Smoky Mountains. Hoping to sleep and rest on the flight home, Mallory is entertained instead by an unexpectedly charismatic stranger, making her forget many of her problems and even making her feel deliciously female again.

Lucas James, flying home from a pro golfing event, hadn’t expected to enjoy an interlude of flirting with a pretty stranger on the plane. A stranger he never expected to see again but who turns out to be the granddaughter of his boss at The Millhouse Resort. Worse, he quickly learns she’s passed through a recent history of emotional problems that remind him all too painfully of his past wife. The last thing Lucas wants is to get involved with anyone like Cecily again. Surely it won’t be too hard to keep his distance while Mallory is at the resort.

(Affiliate links included.)

Author Interview

Would you tell us a little more about your two new books?

THE INTERLUDE is my latest Smoky Mountain novel and the twelfth in the series, each a stand-alone novel taking readers to a new place around the Smoky Mountains. This short synopsis gives a brief look at the story:

In this gentle, inspirational romance, Lin Stepp reveals the healing touch and deep peace the beauty of the Smoky Mountains can bring to a hurt and troubled heart. Like it or not, Mallory Wingate’s doctor and employer have sent her to the mountains to rest and heal, but the mountains and the people there always bring unexpected surprises.

The Interlude is set in the Greenbrier and Pittman Center area of the Smoky Mountains between Gatlinburg and Cosby. In this lovely section of the mountains I created the fictitious Millhouse Resort and the Wingate family, who started and still run the large resort with its rustic stone lodge, restaurant, and golf course all set amid winding roads, hiking trails, and scenic mountain vistas. As a girl Mallory Wingate often come to stay with her grandparents at the resort and now, after suffering a minor breakdown, she returns to take a needed rest from her work as an editor. In an odd coincidence, she meets Millhouse’s golf pro on the plane flying in from Savannah without knowing who he is. They flirt on the trip, never expecting to see each other again… but fate has different ideas in mind.

Lucas James, attracted to Mallory from the first, pulls away when he realizes she is his boss’s granddaughter. He also pulls away because Mallory’s recent breakdown reminds him all too vividly of his past wife Cecily, whose mental problems brought sorrow to both his and his small daughter’s life, and led to Cecily’s death.

How Lucas and Mallory fight their attraction to each other, each for their own reasons, is a part of the story, of course, but many other side dramas unfold to keep readers guessing—like a series of ongoing thefts at the resort and an unsolved mystery of how Mallory’s father died. Readers will be further entertained with the charm of Lucas’s little daughter Suzannah, Nonnie Wingate’s Butterfly Tea Room, and trips and hikes around the area to Gatlinburg, historic Emerts covered bridge, Ramsay Cascades, and more.

CLAIRE AT EDISTO is the first of a new trilogy of books taking readers on a “little vacation” from my usual mountain settings to Edisto Island on the South Carolina coast. This short synopsis gives a brief look at the story:

Set against the alluring backdrop of coastal South Carolina, Claire At Edisto takes the reader on a sweet and gentle journey showing that love and new beginnings can often bloom from the deepest sorrows. Yet even the quiet peace and beauty of a remote coastal island bring new problems as Claire Avery seeks to find her way.

As this book begins, Claire Avery, a mother with two young girls, has just lost her husband Charles, the pastor of a big church in Sweetwater, Tennessee. Claire, since her marriage, has been a stay-at-home mother and an active helper in the church. She lives in the church parsonage, too, which she will now have to vacate. Her husband’s brother Parker Avery encourages Claire to come to his beach house at Edisto to take time to heal and decide on a new direction for her life. Claire and her husband Charles spent many happy vacations at Edisto Island with Parker and his wife, Ann, who died three years ago. Parker promised Charles he would be a help to Claire if anything ever happened to him and Parker is purposed to fulfill that pledge.

Parker owns an antique store and a home in Beaufort and comes down often to the island to visit with Claire and the girls. But he is soon disturbed at Miles Lawrence’s interest in Claire, too soon after Charles’s death, and he is further shocked at his own somewhat jealous feelings about Miles’s interest. Claire finds Miles’s interest in her disturbing, too, and is almost relieved to later move to live with her parents in Arlington, VA. But only unhappiness lies there for Claire and her girls. Fortunately, some wonderful twists of fate bring Claire back to Edisto again, and to new discoveries about herself and her talents.

Claire’s story is not only about her recovery from the loss of her husband, but about Claire finding her own identity and place in life. …. Threaded through this story, too, are sweet scenes with Claire and her girls Mary Helen and Suki, happy beach scenes with neighbors and friends, visits to nearby Charleston and Beaufort, ongoing upsets and worries as Claire readjusts to her new life, the threat of a hurricane, and more. It’s a warm and touching story—threaded with mystery and intrigue—that will keep readers turning the pages to see what will happen … and make them eager to read the next two books in the series.

What do you like most about these two newest releases?

I loved taking readers to a new place in the Smoky Mountains in The Interlude. I research extensively before writing each of my books, and my husband and I enjoyed exploring and learning more about Pittman Center’s colorful history and re-hiking favorite trails in the Greenbrier area to include in the story. Rustic, historic resorts dot the Appalachian mountain area and I loved creating the Millhouse Resort for this book, too.

Edisto Island, featured in Claire at Edisto, is our family’s favorite beach spot and we go to the island to vacation nearly every year and have since the 1980s. I loved looking back to the island’s quieter days in writing the first book in the trilogy, when you had to cross an old swing bridge to even get to the island. I think readers will love visiting this little known but beautiful barrier island and in stopping in at sites in the Charleston and Beaufort area. Sequels are fun, too, and the next books, Return to Edisto and Edisto Song, set in more contemporary times, follow Claire’s girls Mary Helen and Suki when grown.

Would you tell us a little more about the characters from THE INTERLUDE?

Mallory Wingate, the main character in The Interlude, is an associate editor for Whittier Publishing. Her father Jarrett was killed in a hunting accident when she was small and she moved often with her mother in the years to follow with Delores Wingate’s frequently changing jobs. A constant, steady influence in Mallory’s life was always her father’s parents Beau and Nonnie Wingate, who owned Millhouse Resort in the Smoky Mountains. Mallory’s early life is filled with fond memories of happy vacations and long summers with her grandparents, so when a series of harsh events cause a nervous breakdown, she goes to their home for a doctor-ordered recovery. Ordinarily a strong, confident woman, Mallory hates the fact that she’s suffered a breakdown, disrupting her work and her life, and mostly caused by the stress of caring for her mother before she died. But after arriving at her grandparents, she soon realizes a time of rest is just the break she needs.

Lucas James, after a long season on the Pro Golf Tour, takes a new job as the golf pro for Millhouse Resort after life problems create difficulties for him as a professional golfer. He also takes on the care of his small daughter Suzannah after his wife Cecily dies. After his problems with Cecily, Lucas shies away from involvement with Mallory when he learns she’s experienced a breakdown… so The Interlude is filled with the ups and down of this couple attracted to each other but often trying to avoid each other for their own reasons.

The warmth and wisdom of Beau and Nonnie Wingate and of Elizabeth McGill, Lucas’s sister, who becomes Mallory’s friend, add so much to this story … as do the charming antics of Lucas’s little five-year-old daughter Suzannah and Abby, Elizabeth’s daughter. Friends and staff around the resort also enrich the story’s plot, create testy problems, and help to unravel a few mysteries. Two cat characters Mr. Tom and Babycakes, Suzannah’s cats, bring a lot of fun into the story, as well—and the surprise of kittens.

Would you tell us a little more about the characters from CLAIRE AT EDISTO?

Parker Avery was born on farm in Walland, Tennessee, but didn’t follow the traditional pattern of most of his brothers and sisters—and neither did his brother Charles, knitting them together as they grew older. Charles became a minister and Parker a businessman and the owner of Westcott Antiques in downtown Beaufort, SC. Even when the brothers married, they stayed close, and Charles and his family always came down to Parker and Ann’s beach house at Edisto Island. When Ann died, Charles provided warm comfort and support, and Parker promised Charles if anything ever happened to him, that he would look out for Charles’s wife Claire. However, he never expected that favor to come due so soon.

Claire Hampton Avery was raised outside Washington, DC, in an affluent family in which she always felt like the black sheep. It was a joy for her to meet Charles, who loved her as she was, which made it even more devastating to her when he died unexpectedly, leaving her with two small girls and no idea what to do next with her life. Claire is sweet, kind, smart, creative, and loving, but she gentle, too, and lacking in confidence. She has been a stay-at-home mother, not working except in volunteer efforts, and her gifted artistic and creative efforts have only been applied to home crafts and projects to entertain her children and the children in the church.

Loving Edisto as I do, I had a wonderful time creating the secondary characters in this book—Parker’s and Claire’s somewhat difficult families, Claire’s charming little girls Mary Helen nine and Suki five, Parker’s friends and colleagues in his antique business—Drake, Nora, and Nora’s little boy Andrew, all the warm-hearted Edisto neighbors like the Whaleys, Mikells, and Comptons. And of course Miles Lawrence, attracted to Claire, and always challenging and analyzing her, as well as troubling Parker in more ways than one. I think readers will love all these rich low country Southern characters.

What do you find most challenging and most rewarding about being an author?

It has been a joy for me at midlife to become an author. Graduating in education, I spent my first work years in educational sales, and then in other sales, public relations, and marketing arenas, returning to get my doctorate later and then to teach college for almost twenty years. Old, early dreams of writing got put on the back burner by the need to help provide a living for my family and the practicalities of life. But as one of my favorite sayings reads: “It’s never to late to be what you might have been” … and my time for writing finally came. I am greatly enjoying this “second adulthood” season as an author. How could you not feel rewarded to see published sixteen books on the bookshelf and more coming?

The most challenging aspect of becoming an author was realizing the huge job responsibilities than are a part of being an author besides just writing good books. I thought I’d be like John Boy Walton, sitting back on the porch, writing my books, and getting for a little check in the mail every now and then. Instead I soon learned that authors are heavily involved in all the marketing, public relations, and sales of their books, that they’re expected to do book launches, book tours, sign at bookstores, speak at events, engage in social media, and a myriad of other business tasks. … Blessedly for me, I’d learned all those tasks as a businesswoman and professor, and fortunately, as well, I’m an extrovert by nature and love getting out into the world of people as well as writing. But a writer’s life is a lot of hard work.

Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

I speak often for writers’ groups and counsel young authors, and their misconceptions about being an author are similar to my early misconceptions. They imagine they’ll write a book and then get the “Miss Piggy Rich and Famous Contract.” They naively believe that a publisher does all the behind-the-scenes work for an author related to business, marketing, and publicity. Most believe any first book they write is “beautiful and perfect” the moment it is birthed and they are shocked when they go through their first big edit with a major publisher. For many the realities of becoming an author are like learning there is no Santa Claus—very disillusioning.

My only other tip for aspiring writers is that if they want a career as an author they must put in the work time a real career demands. Few want to do that. They hoped becoming a writer would be an easy life and are disappointed as soon as they uncover the reality that writing is hard work like any other job—demanding self-discipline, long hours, serious time management, self-motivation, and often little remuneration. If someone is still eager to try becoming an author, I offer fellow-author Carolyn Jourdan’s advice to get that first book written: “Start your book; write a whole lot; finish your book.” Few ever get this far.

What genre do you read when you grab a book to relax with?

I was going to add on the last question that I worry about the success potential of any potential author who doesn’t read a lot. Most all successful writers began as avid readers. There is something about reading that teaches you inherently what a good book is like.

Since I discovered the public library as a little girl, I have always been an avid reader. Reading is my evening reward for getting my writing work during the day. I always have a stack of books waiting that I am looking forward to getting into. … I especially love Southern fiction and both contemporary and regency romances. I love mysteries, although not the bloody, true crime type or those with too much graphic detail. I also like books in my psychology field, and I often pick up self-help and inspirational titles. Life is simply better with books!

What are you working on next?

In writing, as in other aspects of my life, I usually have multiple projects ongoing. With my twelfth, and final, book of the Smoky Mountain novels publishing, I am starting into a new series of mountain-set novels called The Mountain Home Books. Right now I am plotting a book in this new series set in Dandridge, Tennessee, and with the weather warming here in East Tennessee at last, I hope to head to Dandridge to visit, tour, and map around the area this weekend.

My husband and I are also working on a devotional book, alternating in writing the daily devotionals for the year … which we are sandwiching in around other projects as we can. This spring we are also starting a new regional guidebook, which means we will get to hit the road to visit all the spots we will focus on and take photos of. Always fun!!

Around these new writings, I’ll be working with my editor in the months to come on edits for my next books publishing in 2020—HAPPY VALLEY, the first book in the new Mountain Home series, and RETURN TO EDISTO, the second book in the Edisto Trilogy. I often say that as long as readers keep loving my books, I’ll keep on writing them!

About the Author

Lin Stepp is a native Tennessean, businesswoman and educator. A New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Amazon best-selling international author, Lin now has sixteen published books, including her twelve beloved Smoky Mountain novels set in different locations of the Tennessee and North Carolina mountains, as well as a Smoky Mountain novella in one of Kensington’s Christmas anthologies. In addition, Lin’s first novel in a new Edisto Trilogy recently released, set on the South Carolina coast. Lin and her husband also write regional guidebooks, including a Smoky Mountain hiking guide and a Tennessee state parks book. Stepp’s latest 2019 releases are The Interlude, set in the Greenbrier and Pittman Center of the Great Smoky Mountains and Claire at Edisto set at Edisto Beach, South Carolina. Lin enjoys keeping up with her readers on Facebook, Twitter, and through her monthly blog on her website at: www.linstepp.com.

Have you read any of this author's books? Any thoughts on her interview?

Weekly Update #310, the lull before another busy month...

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 a little less hectic than the past several months have been. It was still busy, but a more relaxed busy. We will be remodeling our kitchen and just finalized what that will entail. The materials are ordered and we'll be doing the work ourselves, so the next month will be back to busy.

I didn't have a lot of reviews for tours last week and that continues into this week, which is good. I need some space to get back ahead and also to read some books for the Whitney Awards (and hopefully finally get to some books I was supposed to review before). There are still some great books I'll be featuring...

This Week

Books I still need to review that hopefully you'll see sometime soon:

Last Week