Category: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction

Blog Tour Spotlight | Celebrating “The Certain Hope” (The Hope Series, Book Three) by E.C. Jackson An INSPY Contemporary Sweet Romance by a #newtomeauthor!

Posted Thursday, 21 March, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Stories in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

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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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Blog Tour Spotlight | Celebrating “The Certain Hope” (The Hope Series, Book Three) by E.C. Jackson An INSPY Contemporary Sweet Romance by a #newtomeauthor!The Certain Hope (Spotlight)
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

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


Published by Self Published Author

on 19th June, 2015

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.

Read More

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

Blog Book Tour | feat. the Blackbird Mountain series by Joanne Bischof, especially “Sons of Blackbird Mountain” (book one) and “Daughters of Distant Shores” (book two)

Posted Friday, 15 March, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , 2 Comments

 

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

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 enquired 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 ARC copy of “Daughters from Distant Shores” direct from the publisher Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review. A print copy of “Sons of Blackbird Mountain” was available via my local library by which I borrowed in order to understand the fuller back-story attached to this series. My ruminations on behalf of the first novel are being shared for my own edification and to help introduce my readers to the series overall whilst sharing my own journey in its discovery. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

70 Authors Challenge Badge created by Jorie via Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Brigitte Tohm. (Creative Commons Zero)How my love of INSPY reads inspired my choice to participate on this blog tour:

When I first started blogging, I was going to set out to read new authors of INSPY Lit I hadn’t had the pleasure of reading previously. It was through my visitations with Casey Herringshaw’s blog which inspired the list I had developed of seeking out new and established INSPY authors who were drawing the eye of book bloggers like Ms Herringshaw and readers alike. It was through reading her blog rather extensively I found the list which was then developed in the final #70AuthorsChallenge.

Joanne Bischof happens to be the 18th author out of my original #70AuthorsChallenge List.

Curiously, like most book bloggers our good intentions when we first start joining the exciting world of the book blogosphere and the bookish side of Twitter, our personal reading goals can sometime be cast aside. This is why I haven’t made an extensive dent in my readerly goals for my INSPY Reads and why I am intending to make more head-way on them this year as I feel it will be a healthier year for me all the way round. The past few years especially were marred a bit with personal health afflictions but this year, as I move into March, I feel more hopeful I might have sorted out a way to ease the frequencies of my chronic migraines and by doing so, perhaps for the first time since I started my blog I’ll have a greater freedom in being able to read whenever the mood strikes rather than having to wait out the after effects of a migraine.

My love of reading INSPY Lit extends back to childhood – as I’ve been a hybrid reader of both mainstream and INSPY Lit since the origins of when I first became a reader. Finding several blog tours this year focusing on these authors and their stories was a treat of bookish joy as I dearly want to expand my knowledge of the stories being published from both Major Trade and Indie Publishers within the INSPY realms of interest I enjoy reading. This particular blog tour felt like a step in the right direction.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | feat. the Blackbird Mountain series by Joanne Bischof, especially “Sons of Blackbird Mountain” (book one) and “Daughters of Distant Shores” (book two)Sons of Blackbird Mountain
by Joanne Bischof
Source: Borrowed from local library

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.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780718099107

Genres: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction, Historical Romance


Published by Thomas Nelson

on 3rd July, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 341

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My path originally crossed with Joanne Bischof before I became a book blogger as I was an avid reader of blogs – both individuals like myself and author blogs or group author blogs – somewhere in those travels, whilst finding new and inspiring authors of INSPY Fiction I wanted to be reading I came across Ms Bischof. I had her badge in my sidebar for a long time until during one of the updates to the theme I hadn’t realised it hadn’t staid where I had placed it. I’ve changed that now – as I love to support the authors I want to be reading inasmuch as the authors I am reading.

There is a lot of life being lived between those early promising months as a 1st Year Book Blogger and now – to where, I truly have only just embarked on gaining a footing towards my reading goals for my *70 Authors Challenge* wherein I want to be reading more INSPY Fiction per month and year. I used to have a bit more equality in my reading life – where I would read approx. 50/50 spilt between mainstream and INSPY narratives though as a book blogger, I realise those ratios have decreased a bit on the INSPY side.

I love this side of literature because I love the soul lift I receive in reading the stories – the novelists who write INSPY Historical Fiction give me a wicked good sense of the historical past as much as any mainstream author but with one added benefit – the stories are writ clean and I don’t have to worry about inclusions that might offend or leave me feeling uncomfortable in those sequences as I read. Despite that, I still stand behind reading my mainstream choices as to me literature as a whole is best read through all the different styles and voices which are readily available today. You learn and grow through what you read – the variety of voice, style and the craft behind the written word is what invigorates me the most.

Having said this – I hadn’t realised this series was focused on the deaf and I was quite humbled to realise it is has a wonderful writer behind it who not only recognises the deaf culture and community but has taken great lengths to represent their language and the ways in which they communicate to the degree she has given her series! I’ve been wanting to become fluent in sign (ASL) for a long, long time. It is hard to source tutors and generally in my experience the communities who have resources are not always open to those who are sighted and of hearing to learn to sign. I find my region especially difficult in crossing that barrier even though I tend to pick up the signs quite quickly and at one point, I was understanding a conversation without knowing all the signs initially as I could ‘read them’ as they were signed all the same.

Perhaps one day I can finally deepen my knowledge of ASL and find a tutor open to a girl who wants to sign and understand the nuances of communicating in this language. Til then, I was most eager to settle into “Sons of Blackbird Mountain” as I was truly captured by what Ms Biscof shared in her author’s note to readers.

One thing was definitely for certain, if an elder Aunt (Aunt Dorothe) had started a conversation and a friendship by postal mail to a grieving widow, the last thing one would expect upon arrival to this Aunt’s house is finding her deceased! When I read this section of the novel, I could understand how the very oxygen had left Aven’s lungs and how she felt as light-headed as a woman about to faint. She had travelled so dearly far and had come up far shorter than anyone could have surmised from such correspondences as she had exchanged! To be on a mountain with family of her late husband but without a compass of a thought towards why she was guided here would put anyone at a disadvantage and of feeling uneasy about their arrival.

As soon she met the ‘sons’ of this Blackbird Mountain, the alarms of regret started to wash over her spirit as well it should as she was told they were far younger than their present state of adulthood! You’d have to wonder what the old woman was really up to in regards to wanting to get Aven here and what was motivating her to encourage her to take such a leap of faith in removing herself from overseas and of trucking so far into the Virginia mountains?

You’re first struck by the quiet nature of Thor, the impedious personality of Haakon and the kind hearted nature of Jorgan. Not to mention how Miss Ida their housekeeper is a salt of the earth and knows exactly what to do when something unexpected riles a person’s nerves! How sweet it was to find her about as it felt like she was the first outside of Thor who was seeking a chance to make her feel more comfortable on her arrival than being the odd one out.

Thor has a sensitive heart – he might not be able to communicate traditionally through spoken speech but he feels things in life deeply. He’s moved by a person’s emotional state and that is how he originally felt something for Aven; it was through a photograph of her – where he could intuit her emotional state of mind when she first married his cousin Benn. It was a union he felt might be a bit fraught with adversity as he could sort out by her photograph what was going on in her mind at the time the photograph was taken.

Observing Thor struggling with his affection and fondness for Aven; thus far removed from her life and then suddenly finding himself in close quarters with her now in the future was humbling. Especially as he had genuine concern for her and could sort out things about her emotional state that she might not have been fully aware of herself; or if she had, you might muse she might have hoped part of that inner truth could have been better veiled.

Jorgan was such a sweet fellow – not just to welcome Aven in with open arms but to have the courtesy to explain the ‘family business’ be as it were – though just observing Thor a bit with his affection for a drink, you could almost surmise it! Jorgan was also soon to be wed which I felt might put Aven’s concerns to bed – though in measure of that news, she still seemed to be a bit unsure of herself and her place here. Even with the reassurance about how Miss Ida lives nearby and how the boys despite their grievances with the locals come to have quite a keen living based off what their selling. She’s been in worst straits than this and being how agreeable the three seemed on sight, I was hoping Aven might find herself comfortable to be with this side of her husband’s family. Especially as I had a feeling she was being influenced to come here by a crafty old woman who knew a thing or two about second chances and new beginnings.

I liked the attention to the smaller details – of how embroidery was a bit of a challenge for Aven but she had the eye for it and how sewing gave her a true sense of pride. Sewing is something I’ve longed to acquire a skill for myself but I’m thankful I learnt how to knit. There is a strong joy in being able to see something appear in front of you which you’ve been able to craft yourself and by hand. Knitting and sewing share that kind of simple happiness and I liked how Bischof was describing the scene in Dorothea’s room where Aven first saw her handiwork.

Atmospherically – this story is rooted in the mountains and of mountain life; something I truly appreciate as I have read other stories set in and round Appalachia which are equally enjoyable to simply ‘settle into’ and be of the folk who live there. There is a simplicity to living but there are also obstacles and prejudices to overcome as well – Bischof hints at these larger issues in the background whilst tucking us close to how these brothers live on the land they have to use to provide for themselves. I even enjoyed the arching back-story about Aven herself – from her memories of her mother to what happened which prompted her marriage to Benn. Circumstances dictated a lot of her life and how she had to remain adaptable to the adversities which arrived on her path.

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Blog Book Tour | feat. the Blackbird Mountain series by Joanne Bischof, especially “Sons of Blackbird Mountain” (book one) and “Daughters of Distant Shores” (book two)Daughters of Distant Shores
by Joanne Bischof
Source: Publisher via Prism Book Tours

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.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780718099121

Genres: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction, Historical Romance


Published by Thomas Nelson

on 12th of March, 2019

Pages: 368

Published by: Thomas Nelson (@ThomasNelson)

Formats Available: Hardback, Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

The Blackbird Mountain series:

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne BiscofDaughters of Northern Shores by Joanne Bischof

Sons of Blackbird Mountain (book one)

Daughters of Northern Shores (book two)

Converse via: #HistoricalFiction or #HistFic and #HistRom

#INSPYRomance + #INSPY or #INSPYBooks

About Joanne Bischof

Joanne Bischof

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.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 15 March, 2019 by jorielov in 19th Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Family Drama, Family Life, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Siblings

Blog Book Tour | feat. Empire State series by Elizabeth Camden, especially “A Dangerous Legacy” (book one, audiobook), “A Daring Venture” (book two, audiobook) and “A Desperate Hope” (book three)

Posted Friday, 1 March, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

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 enquired 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 “A Desperate Hope” direct from the publisher Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. The Digital Audiobook copy of “A Dangerous Legacy” and “A Daring Venture” were available via my Scribd subscription. My ruminations on behalf of the audiobooks (books one and two) are being shared for my own edification and to help introduce my readers to the series overall whilst sharing my own journey in its discovery. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

70 Authors Challenge Badge created by Jorie via Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Brigitte Tohm. (Creative Commons Zero)How my love of INSPY reads inspired my choice to participate on this blog tour:

When I first started blogging, I was going to set out to read new authors of INSPY Lit I hadn’t had the pleasure of reading previously. It was through my visitations with Casey Herringshaw’s blog which inspired the list I had developed of seeking out new and established INSPY authors who were drawing the eye of book bloggers like Ms Herringshaw and readers alike. It was through reading her blog rather extensively I found the list which was then developed in the final #70AuthorsChallenge.

Elizabeth Camden happens to be the 67th author out of my original #70AuthorsChallenge List.

Curiously, like most book bloggers our good intentions when we first start joining the exciting world of the book blogosphere and the bookish side of Twitter, our personal reading goals can sometime be cast aside. This is why I haven’t made an extensive dent in my readerly goals for my INSPY Reads and why I am intending to make more head-way on them this year as I feel it will be a healthier year for me all the way round. The past few years especially were marred a bit with personal health afflictions but this year, as I move into March, I feel more hopeful I might have sorted out a way to ease the frequencies of my chronic migraines and by doing so, perhaps for the first time since I started my blog I’ll have a greater freedom in being able to read whenever the mood strikes rather than having to wait out the after effects of a migraine.

I wasn’t sure where to begin reading Ms Camden’s novels – as part of the list of choices I originally had made from Ms Herringshaw’s blog went lost before I could upload those titles to my list here on my blog. (*le sigh*) However, there are a few I’ve noticed are currently available to be listened to via audiobook on Scribd – of those, these are the ones I’d like to explore next: Against the Tide and The Rose of Winslow Street.

My love of reading INSPY Lit extends back to childhood – as I’ve been a hybrid reader of both mainstream and INSPY Lit since the origins of when I first became a reader. Finding several blog tours this year focusing on these authors and their stories was a treat of bookish joy as I dearly want to expand my knowledge of the stories being published from both Major Trade and Indie Publishers within the INSPY realms of interest I enjoy reading. This particular blog tour felt like a step in the right direction.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 1 March, 2019 by jorielov in 19th Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Family Drama, Family Life, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Mental Health, Prism Book Tours, Psychiatric Facilities, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Scribd, Siblings, the Gilded Age

A St. Valentine’s Book Review | “After the Rain” (sequel to “The Last Summer”) by Brandy Bruce Returning to a series I discovered last Summer when I focused on reading more #INSPY and discovered a lovely new author in Ms Bruce!

Posted Thursday, 14 February, 2019 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I have been hosting blog tours with Cedar Fort Publishing and Media for several years now, wherein their new blog tour publicist (Ms Sydney Anderson) also runs her own publicity touring company: Singing Librarian Book Tours (or SLB Tours for short!). I happily joined her team of book bloggers as a hostess in late Spring, 2018 wherein my first tours with her as a hostess begin Summer, 2018. I appreciate reading INSPY literature and was happy to find these are most of the stories she is showcasing through SLB Tours! Most of her authors are published through Cedar Fort, though she does work with authors who are either Self-Published or Indie published through different publishers as well.

I received a complimentary ARC copy of “After the Rain” direct from the author Brandy Bruce in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I am enjoying reading the stories by Brandy Bruce
– especially within this series:

Quote from The Last Summer by Brandy Bruce provided by Singing Librarian Book Tours

These are the very first words we read within the pages of The Last Summer, which set the tone for the novel and for what your expecting to find inside the story. You immediately feel comfortable around Addison, Sam, Luke, Lily, Jason, Debra and Sara. I credit this directly to how Ms Bruce fused her heart into the story-line, as the opening bridge has such a strong visceral anchouring to it, it’s hard not to feel as if you’ve become part of this close-knit circle of friends yourself!

They have the kind of familial relationship you might have hoped to have sought out yourself, though in reality forging friendships like these is not as simple as it would seem. Anyone whose attempted to make a fresh start in a new community knows how hard it is to ‘break-in’ if there is a niche already established between friends’ who have known each other for years. In many ways, I was both thankful to see Sara embraced and slightly questioning how plausible it really would be for that to happen as by my own experiences, it is beyond rare. For the sake of the story, I decided to suspend reality and embrace the moment, as what Sara had stumbled into is something everyone hopes to find for themselves and for that reason alone, I was hooked into reading her story!

The realistic manner of feeling enveloped by the emotional anguish is fittingly honest – these kinds of relationships are murky on the outset, as there are no clear definitions on either side – especially if someone along the way chooses to realise their feelings have changed from idle friendship to romance – how is it best handled to explain that to the other person? The quagmire of course is sorting this out whilst realising the person of your affection has started to move on without you – choosing someone who isn’t you and where does that leave you in the end?

In the background of the story, as this hinges quite heavily on the lives of seven friends, is an interesting mother-daughter relationship. One which surprised me at first, as being that Sara is an only child, I thought I could relate to her a bit more than I did. For starters, I was a bit surprised by how she viewed her relationship with her parents but moreso, how she viewed her connection to her mother. In the end, the only thing I shared in common with Sara is the fact we’re onlys as nothing else related to my life except for that one fact. For Sara, she had issues realising how much alike she was to her mother (which reminded me of the relationship with my Aunt and my grandmother; two peas in a pod and yet they were at odds with each other all the time!) to the brink they both harboured certain secrets in their lives. For Sara, the hardest part for her to reconcile is the fact her mother didn’t like to share the bits of herself which would leave her vulnerable – she’d rather create this exterior barrier against the world which showed her greatest strengths rather than focused on her weaknesses. Sara would have benefited from those lessons – of how to rise out of the ashes of where life hurts us the most but for Sara’s mother, those were the moments she couldn’t easily find a way to re-share without re-opening the wounds which were now healed.

There is a wonderful ease of narrative within the Contemporary styling of Brandy Bruce – you can tell she’s spent a considerable amount of time discovering her characters – not just how they reflect on their lives but how they interact as a family unit. They come alive on paper as true as if they were standing next to you – each with their own quirks and faults, ready to be seen as they are and accepted as we find them. One of the things I love about her signature style is how she tucks us so comfortably into the lives of her characters – she lets us feel as if we’ve spent a few hours getting to know them either through a journal of their lives up to this point or had a conversation with someone who knows the seven as well as Ms Bruce. The conversational style is also keen, as it grants you easy access to better understand where each character is emotionally and on which crossroads of change each character is on the brink of either embracing or choosing to walk down.

Ms Bruce openly shows what it is like to have your emotions pulled straight out of you at a time in your life where you felt you had more worked out than how it appeared on the surface. She also pulls together the faith lives of her characters by organically showing how their faith is directly fused to how they live with a prayerful awareness during their living hours – either through reflective pause, active prayer or a mindfulness of the lessons they grew up knowing as believers which still to this moment in their lives plays a special part in keeping them grounded.

I truly appreciate how Ms Bruce has curated a style for writing realistic Contemporary INSPY which is emotionally centred on uncovering the secrets we try to keep from ourselves, the humbled realities of living through prayer and the emotional upheaval of owning your own truth whilst walking with the realisation not every heart can fully embrace a love which is not reciprocated. There is a lot of real life stitched into this novel – from the highs and lows of feeling loved to the wandering path of friendship and the heartstone connections of family.

-quoted from my review of The Last Summer

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A St. Valentine’s Book Review | “After the Rain” (sequel to “The Last Summer”) by Brandy Bruce Returning to a series I discovered last Summer when I focused on reading more #INSPY and discovered a lovely new author in Ms Bruce!After the Rain
by Brandy Bruce
Source: Direct from Author via SLB Tours

Debra Hart is moving on. Maybe. Hopefully. One day.

As a radio show host, Debra spends her mornings as Miss Lonely Heart on air, empathizing with all the broken hearts in the Denver metro area. She spends her evenings watching old musicals and trying not to think about the guy who broke up with her and subsequently fell in love with one of her best friends. Alone in a new city, Debra questions where she belongs and who she is now.

When she stumbles into the indie music scene, Debra meets singer Ben Price. Rock star appeal, with a day job as a worship pastor, Ben is everything Debra wants to avoid. But he’s determined to be her friend, and it so happens she could really use one. Because try as she might, nothing seems to erase the anger and betrayal she feels.

It’s time for a new dream. But how does she start over when she doesn’t even know what she wants anymore?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781946016737

Also by this author: The Last Summer, Cover Reveal: After the Rain

Also in this series: The Last Summer


Genres: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Women's Fiction


Published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

on 4th February, 2019

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 232

Published By: Bling Romance (@BlingRomance)
an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas (@LPCTweets)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

The Last Summer series:

The Last Summer by Brandy BruceAfter the Rain by Brandy Bruce

The Last Summer | (book one) | (see also Review)

After the Rain | (book two) | (cover reveal w/ notes)

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Converse via: #INSPY #WomensFiction & #AfterTheRain + #BlingRomance

About Brandy Bruce

Brandy Bruce

Brandy Bruce is a mom, a wife, a book editor, an author, and someone who really loves dessert. She’s the author of the award-winning novel The Last Summer, Looks Like Love, and The Romano Family Collection. Brandy, her husband, and their children make their home in Colorado.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 14 February, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Contemporary Romance, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Mental Health, Modern Day, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Singing Librarian Book Tours, Singletons & Commitment, Sweet Romance, Women's Fiction

Blog Book Tour | feat. #LoveINSPIRED Suspense novelist Sherri Shackelford’s “No Safe Place”

Posted Tuesday, 8 January, 2019 by jorielov , , , 3 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

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 enquiried 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 “No Safe Place” direct from the author Sherri Shackelford in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why Jorie loves INSPY Romantic Suspense & #LoveInspired:

Last year, in July I had a delightful time participating in my first readathon which not only ENCOURAGED you to read more INSPY novels but it was a bit of a competition as well. It was a lovely concept created by Singing Librarian Books and you can read a bit about why I loved joining the readaathon whilst I also posted a small recap of my adventures. This was building on the fact earlier in [2018] I had encouraged my Mum to start reading the Love Inspired Suspense novels as she needed some down-time from her 12 hour shifts. The stories were portable and just long enough to give her a wicked good read but without the worry of not being able to finish them. In July, you see, it was my turn to sink my teeth into the imprint’s offerings and I started to quickly find #mustread authors! Readathons are brilliant for that – their this concentrated period of time to read select stories of interest to the reader & they give you hours of #bookJOY afterwards!!

We have a shared passion for INSPY stories – short or long in length as we used to belong to the subscription service *Heartsong Presents*. Eventually we’d love to join the subscription service for these lovely novels as the beauty of reading them is having a high octane Suspense driven plot with realistic characters, back-stories & a jarring sense of Contemporary life – all caught inside the folds of an Inspirational (ie. Christian) vein of thought.

I read a wide variety of INSPY Lit, but my favourites are the ones which gently are layered with arcs of faith and the character’s spirituality as I love reading the stories where their faith is shown through their example, life’s choices and the personal growth they undertake through their character’s journey. I had a delightful time in July reading my first batch of #LoveINSPIRED Suspense novels and it is a joy for me to participate on a blog tour which celebrates this wicked sweet line of books my Mum & I love devouring!

It is a true pleasure to be on this blog tour – discovering a #newtomeauthor for this imprint but also, to have the chance to read a Contemporary Suspense whilst reminding myself I need to put more of these in my readerly path this year! Even without the readathon to encourage me forward – which gave me the chance to win some books along the way, I just love reading these kinds of stories! Sharing my love of this imprint & the stories they publish is a wonderful way to ring in the New Year!

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Blog Book Tour | feat. #LoveINSPIRED Suspense novelist Sherri Shackelford’s “No Safe Place”No Safe Place
Subtitle: Love Inspired Suspense : January 2019
by Sherri Shackelford
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

He lives by the law.

She’s running for her life.

After forensic accountant Beth Greenwood uncovers a money-laundering scheme tying her company to the organization that murdered her mentor, she knows she needs to go into hiding. With ruthless killers in pursuit, she’s forced to rely on homeland security agent Corbin Ross’s protection—even as his investigation suggests Beth is complicit in embezzlement. Can their uneasy alliance develop into something deeper—and keep them alive?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335231888

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Crime Fiction, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction, Suspense


Published by Love INSPIRED

on 31st December, 2018

Format: Mass Market Paperback

Pages: 218

Published by: Love Inspired (@LoveInspiredBks)
an imprint of Harlequin Books (@HarlequinBooks), a subsidiary of HarperCollins

Formats Available: Paperback* and Ebook

This looks like the first release by Shackelford after the Love Inspired: Historical line was discontinued. I was quite upset they disbanded the imprint’s line as they were amongst the stories I loved reading most. It is my hope the Suspense line can carry-on for quite a long while into the future as I share this love of the stories with my Mum.

Converse via: #Contemporary #INSPY, #LoveINSPIRED #Suspense

#RomSusp and #ChrisFic

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About Sherri Shackelford

Sherri Shackelford

A former naval reservist with a top-secret security clearance, Sherri writes rapid-fire suspense featuring captivating characters and heart-pounding romance. She's authored more than a dozen novels for Harper Collins publishing, including both Historical and Contemporary Suspense.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Tuesday, 8 January, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Contemporary Romance, Crime Fiction, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Modern Day, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Suspense