#SaturdaysAreBookish | “The Certain Hope” (The Hope Series, Book Three) by E.C. Jackson

Posted Saturday, 23 March, 2019 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish created by Jorie in Canva.

After launching this lovely new feature of mine during [Autumn, 2018] it is a pleasure of joy to continue to bring #SaturdaysAreBookish as a compliment focus of my Twitter chat @SatBookChat. If you see the chat icon at the top of my blog (header bar) you can click over to visit with us. The complimentary showcases on my blog will reflect the diversity of stories, authors and publishers I would be featuring on the chat itself. As at the root and heart of the chat are the stories I am reading which compliment the conversations.

#SaturdaysAreBookish throughout [2019] will be featuring the Romance & Women’s Fiction authors I am discovering to read across genre and point of interest. Every Saturday will feature a different author who writes either Romance or Women’s Fiction – the stories I am reading might simply inspire the topics in the forthcoming chats or they might be directly connected to the current guest author.

I am excited about where new guests and new stories will lay down the foundation of inspiring the topics, the conversations and the bookish recommendations towards promoting Romance & Women’s Fiction. Here’s a lovely New Year full of new authors and their stories to celebrate!

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Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquried about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. I am unsure how many books I’ll review for them as most are offered digitally rather than in print but this happily marks one of the blog tours where I could receive a print book for review purposes. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Certain Hope” direct from the author E.C. Jackson in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On why this story appealled to me:

I love seeking out new authors of Inspirational Fiction on a regular basis – previously, I started to notice there are certain novelists of INSPY Lit who are not having a lot of light shined on their stories – these are the authors who are writing about religious heritage, culture and history which is outside of Christianity and/or authors who are writing about POC or other cultural heritages outside the regular scope of where INSPY Lit generally is focused upon. The unique thing there is the fact that INSPY is a full encompassing of *all!* religious beliefs and faith backgrounds – it is not limted by any individual religion because it is an umbrella which involves everything.

This is why I love seeking out different stories by an eclectically diverse sea of voices – I would have been reviewing & showcasing the works by Piper Huguley (@piperhuguley) if I hadn’t run into a bit of an issue in requesting her books & her series through ILL’ing resources. (this refers to inter-library loan) I am still intending to re-borrow her stories and finally bring her stories to Jorie Loves A Story. Til then, I savour the time I had within the first novel I read of hers and I can’t wait to return.

I regularly read stories of the Amish and Mennonite as much as I seek out Eastern Religious stories and stories which either offer a Jewish or Judeo-Christian perspective inasmuch as keeping an open mind about which religious backgrounds are explored through Inspirational narratives. This has also included LDS Fiction in the past and I still keep a ready eye out on new releases of LDS INSPY Lit as LDS is another protestant branch of the whole of Christianity. 

Having said this – what really motivated me to want to read “The Certain Hope” is that it felt a bit like my love of Harlequin Heartwarming series – in how you can stumble into one of the latter installments and find your footing rather quickly. OR how if you pick up a Love INSPIRED or a Heartsongs Presents story, you immediately know your going to be in for a lovely Sweet Romance!

Being a hybrid reader of both INSPY & mainstream Lit since I was a child it is old hat now to move between both worlds of literature. I have been blessed this *2019!* to be able to join more than a few INSPY blog tours via Prism Book Tours. I was hoping I might be able to start joining INSPY focused blog tours as these stories are an uplift to my readerly life to devour & savour – how keen then, this Spring I’m off to a great start after having read the wonderful stories by Joanne Biscof!

On a very simplistic level – it was the name of the series which wooed me to wanting to read this novel – the *HOPE* series – what more could you ask for as a singular title in naming an INSPY serial? I hope my spotlight today might encourage you to seek out this author and her stories – however, you’re popping by to see what I’m currently reading – THIS is the book I have in hand!

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#SaturdaysAreBookish | “The Certain Hope” (The Hope Series, Book Three) by E.C. JacksonThe Certain Hope
by E.C. Jackson
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

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.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0996181228

Also by this author: The Certain Hope (Spotlight)

Also in this series: The Certain Hope (Spotlight)


Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Sweet Romance


Published by Self Published Author

on 19th June, 2015

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 251

This series is self-published by the author

The Hope Series:

A Gateway to Hope by EC JacksonA Living Hope by EC JacksonThe Certain Hope by EC Jackson

A Gateway to Hope (book one)

A Living Hope (book two) → Pajama Party: The Story (companion story)

The Certain Hope (book three) ← where I enter the series!

Converse via: #INSPYRomance + #SweetRomance
as well as #INSPYbooks + #Contemporary Romance

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

About E.C. Jackson

E.C. Jackson

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.

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how this story begins with a lovely preface of inspiration:

We are treated to a quotation from the (CJB) or the Complete Jewish Bible – it is a clever quote to have preface the story as it speaks to the humbling grace of faith and how by living a faith-lived life we are given certain assurances whilst alive and also extending into the next life. It is also speaking about the goodness of the world and how by doing random acts of kindness we are filling the spirit of others we might not realise need the boost of spirit prior to our paths crossing theirs. This is one reason why I know Ellen has made such a special impact on her viewers lives – she promotes “be kind to one another” after every show and throughout the show as it airs as well. For her, she’s living her kindness one day at a time and one hour of motivating people to extend an act of thoughtfulness and mindfully becoming aware of those in your community of whom you might be able to offer an encouragement of support.

The quotation in this novel speaks to the same humbling truth of how the kindnesses we give and the acts we do for the goodness of the moment their given is what unites us as a community but also as a society. For the more good we can exalt and purposefully bring forward the more Light and Peace there shall be in the world. For each soul who seeks to lift the spirits of another is a testament to our individual walks of faith as much as our sisterhood and brotherhood connections to one another as we’re all related through the trinity of which our beliefs are founded and rooted.

my review of the certain hope:

I struggled a bit to get into the rhythm of The Certain Hope – mostly as the main threads of entrance reminded me of the sage discussion about “showing vs telling” in narratives of story. If you give too much information away from what cannot be perceived by the reader it draws your eyes onto things that might lead to a misdirect lateron. I felt Jackson was trying to prove something to me in how she was showing the initial interactions between her two leads rather than allowing them the grace of introducing themselves to me through their own words or actions.

We get a bit of who these characters are by how their interacting with each other – although, I had hoped for a bit more dialogue in the opening bits of the bridge leading into the heart of the novel. I look at the opening bridges of novels to contain this micro experience wherein you get the lay of the land about to burst alive in your mind to where you feel comfortable as you navigate through the rest of the story. Somehow, in the beginning although it might have been possible for them to draw a conclusion of being together – I felt they proved a stronger case for not crossing paths at the right moment for them to recognise the attraction they felt.

Finding enroads to relating to Tara was a bit of a stretch as she lives in a bit of a daydream world as she’s living her life – especially at the start of the novel! She has the chance to converse and draw herself into a conversation with Andy but she perpetually holds herself back – withdrawing from engaging in any kind of personal contact and only barely gets words out enough to compensate for this oversight in her personality. It felt like Luke was dearly frustrated with her and more than slightly disappointed. I also wasn’t overly convinced Luke liked her as we didn’t have a lot to base it on except for what Tara was disclosing of their ‘connection’ and the plausibility of their relationship.

There was a slight precautionary danger I felt being explored a bit in Tara’s naive fancying in how if what you are rooting your choices of entering into a relationship is strictly decided from only one side of the partnership – your at a disadvantage. Meaning you need to talk to the other person – especially as you want to know what their thoughts are about you and if you have anything to build on if you were to begin a relationship with them. It can’t always be about insta-connections, flirtations with chemistry and a wicked good ‘feeling’ you have about someone – you have to go deeper and seek out their own truth to see if how they are living their life is in consideration of your own. It can’t be an imbalance of priority between the two people nor can it feel like one person is more committed to the relationship than the other. Of course, there has to be interaction past the dream-state outlined in the beginning of The Certain Hope as otherwise each of us can live thousands of lives without ever breaching our dreams into our living reality.

When the shift in perspective moved to Luke – he almost came across as being predatory as he wasn’t entirely pursuing Tara for the reasons I thought he might have as he seemed to be wanting to control everything in their ‘supposed’ relationship as soon as he could gain her trust. This felt a bit wrong to me as usually when I read meet-cute romances or insta-love romances, there is mutual connectivity, engagement and the lightness of genuine connection. Tara felt more naive than grounded and with Luke’s near obsession towards Tara, I almost thought this was going to switch into a cautionary tale about toxic masculinity and how to avoid relationships where there is inequality between two parties.

There wasn’t much benign about Luke’s motives or how he moved through the interconnecting circles between him and Tara. If your a Hallmark gal or bloke, you can see the stark differences between how those interested parties find serendipitous connections to further their interactions with each other – to where it feels like the best interest of the two falling in love is maintained; however, Luke’s pursuit of Tara simply felt wrong to me. Almost like he was calculating everything ahead of time and not really ‘in love to be in love’ but rather pursuing love to have something to control. Even when it is disclosed Luke had suffered similar loss to Tara, it still felt like a calculating interest and relatability rather than shared anguish.

Honestly when I saw Luke proposing to Tara every ounce of me wanted to yell at her to walk away – distance herself from him immediately and/or just relocate out of state! He didn’t even allow them the grace to get to know each other or to have a realistic impression of whom they were before committing to a proper relationship where they could build trust and live within a mutually affectionate relationship! He was definitely an ‘all-in’ kind of bloke – to where once his mind was set, he did not alter his plans. He felt more motivated by ego than love and lust wasn’t even part of the equation but I believed possession might be the truer root of what was motivating him towards Tara.

I had to switch out how I was referring to Luke in this review as for most of my thoughts I was referencing him as Andy and then it was mentioned his name was really Luke but there was another character named Andy? I felt confused – to Tara he was Andy all along but then the reality of his name being misrepresented as it was first revealled felt more than awkward.

The further I tried to read into this novel the more notes I was composing in my mind about why this novel was just not my cuppa tea. I prefer romance novels – mainstream OR INSPY to be focused on healthy relationships as that is what love to soak inside and read. This entire relationship is one disaster in the making! Tara is either too blind to her own naivety about men or she just doesn’t want to put in the effort to draw the same conclusions I was about Andy/Luke. His personality rankles dearly because he is the complete opposite of leading men – he’s the kind you want to disengage, change your phone number over and otherwise dissolve all communication.

There was even a moment where I felt he was stalking Tara with unhealthy intentions – I understand there are stories out there to caution others about making the same mistakes Tara was making with him especially regarding whom to trust and where to put your trust inside a relationship but for me, the tone of the novel is what I took issue with more than anything else I’ve disclosed thus far along. There is an undertone of negative attachment and possessive occupation with a controlling personality to where any love spun out of these two’s mutually unhealthy attraction just felt wrong on too many levels to become invested in to read.

on the inspy writing styling of e.c. jackson:

Jackson has a very unique writing style – one which is set to a different pacing and narrative voice than I regularly read. It took quite a bit of time for me to feel settled into the flow of the story as parts of me had wished perhaps the unfolding of her world hadn’t felt as if it had all been planned out to where there wasn’t a lot of surprises awaiting you as you were reading. Which means to say, a lot of the story felt to me to be ‘telling me’ what was going on vs showing it to me in a interpersonal way.

I didn’t feel this had a lot of texture within the narrative to be considered an INSPY Romance as it is very much a Contemporary Realistic Cautionary Tale kind of Romance instead! The INSPY bits did not seem to be inclusive as much as they were implied. In today’s modern world there is a lot being said about toxic relationships and the options women have for getting out of them whilst there is a counter-culture of passive acceptance as well. I wasn’t sure where this novel fits within the augmenting social commentary on the thematics but what I did recognise is that Jackson had a message to tell but I am not sure if the delivery of the message worked well within the framework of how she told the story.

Despite my joyful expectations for this novel – when I really had the chance to dig inside it, I found myself wanting something ‘more of itself’ than what was written. I don’t like alpha males and I don’t like controlling toxic men in leading roles – if anything, it felt like a troubling novel at the start of the gate rather than a comfortable light romance you could sit with for hours and enjoy the tenderness of the unfolding joy in seeing two people fall in love. Tara and Luke weren’t in a tender relationship and for me, that set off all kinds of alarm bells.

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This blog tour is courtesy of:

Prism Book ToursBe sure to watch my tweets

to know when to return in order to know

what my ruminative thoughts were for this lovely novel!

The Certain Hope blog tour via Prism Book Tours
 I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!
Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst readers who gravitate towards the same stories to read. Bookish conversations are always welcome!

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End of the Blog Tour badged provided by Prism Book ToursFun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

{SOURCES: Book covers for “A Gateway to Hope”, “A Living Hope” and “The Certain Hope”, book synopsis, author biography, author photograph of E.C. Jackson, the tour host badge and Prism Book Tours badges were all provided by Prism Book Tours and used with permission. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Stories in the Spotlight and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2019.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Saturday, 23 March, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Contemporary Romance, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Sweet Romance




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