3.18.2019

A Tender Hope by Amanda Cabot ~ Review

Lucie's Review:

Thea Michener takes a job in Cimarron Creek as a midwife after the death of her husband and baby. So when a Texas Ranger shows up with a baby asking her to help take care of the baby, she doesn't know how much her heat can handle.

Ranger Jackson Guthrie has been watching Thea for long time, as he suspects that her husband was tangled up with the gang that killed his brother. But as he gets to know her he doesn't know how much to tell her, and what kind of danger she might be in, as the case becomes increasingly more complicated.

Will Thea and Jackson be able to get to the bottom of everything and perhaps find love?

The third book in the Cimarron Creek Trilogy it also stands well on it's own, there are some familiar faces if you've read the previous books but I think that you could figure out the storylines without reading the other books even though that would help. A bit slow to start, but nonetheless compelling. Thea is still grieving and has no intentions of marrying again or raising a child. I empathized with her, and really liked her as a character.

I really liked Warner's story as well, it totally brought to mind a Jane Austen quote, "If I liked you less, I might be able to talk about it more." It was great to finally have Warner meet his match. I also really liked Aimee, as well.

Jackson is surprisingly good with babies, as he gets to know Thea and new pieces of the case are revealed it changes his perspective. He wants justice for his brother, and is dedicated to his job. 

A compelling read with great characters and plenty of mystery. A story of faith, hope, heartbreak and second chances.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

3.17.2019

One Thing I Know by Kara Isaac ~ Review

Lucie's Review:
Rachel Somers in the level-headed relationship #1 relationship expert in the country, but nobody knows it. Her mother died when she was young and she has a difficult relationship with her father who is in ill health, a result of his heavy drinking days. Her Aunt Donna is the face of her brand, but Rachel is the brains.

Lucas Grant is an editorial sports commentator, who has begun dabbling in relationship advice after a random woman caller asked on air, and he gave his classic tell-it-like-it-is answer. Now he is sports radio shows is being flooded with calls from women seeking his relationship expertise. His big break is on the horizon, but it comes with a catch, his producer wants him to find out Dr. Donna's secret.

Rachel must keep up the charade to help her troubled father, will she lose it all?

Rachel is quiet and unassuming, she likes to stick to the shadows in favors of her Aunt taking the spotlight as a better fit for the brand. She had a troubled childhood and her aunt is the only one she has been able to count on. She is conflicted, and searching for answers. I really liked her college friend, who was an admirable example of faith.

Lucas is is surprised when giving relationship advice becomes the most popular part of his show, he desperately wants to take the next big step with his career. He is close with his family, and is intrigued by the willowy assistant to Dr. Donna.

Rachel and Lucas are surrounded by good Christian people, who have faith and it inspires them to take a second look at things, I don't want to spoil the ending but I felt that the direction of the main character's spiritual lives was left unresolved. That bothered me. It was a slow burner for me, and while I liked the premise, I felt like I had higher expectations. This was a fun read, with a romantic comedy setup. But overall, it just wasn't the book for me.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

The True Story of St. Patrick


There are a lot of myths and legends surrounding the man who would become known as St. Patrick. Many of the stories originated after his death, and though many of the more popular legends have proven false, I find the true story of St. Patrick much more compelling.

Born with the name Maewyn Succat, late in the fourth to fifth century Britain. His father was a Roman military officer and deacon, his grandfather was a priest, but he did not profess a faith of his own. When young Maewyn was 16 years old he was taken by pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland, where he toiled for 6 years. It was during those 6 years that he remembered the teachings of his youth and accepted forgiveness of his sins through faith in Christ. He tended the livestock, and would often spend time in prayer while tending the herds, growing in his faith.

After 6 years of slavery in Ireland, he heard God's voice telling him to return to Britain. So he escaped gaining passage on a ship, upon his return to Britain's shores he and a small group were stranded in the wilderness for almost a month, he prayed for food, and his party came upon a wild boar.

When he arrived in Britain he resumed his studies, but he couldn't get his dreams of the Irish begging him to come back and dwell among them. So he journeyed back to Ireland where he preached the Gospel, pointing the Irish away from their Celtic polytheism and Druidism. His ministry was a difficult one, but God used it to produce much fruit. He baptized thousands and established hundreds of churches discipling many to leadership positions in the churches he planted. But as a person outside of the citizenship of Ireland he was without legal protection from being beaten, robbed, and arrested. He refused gifts from kings, wanting to be free from their obligation and influence.

He became known as Patrick which is the English version of Patricius which is what he called himself in his writings. Many suggest that he chose this name for himself because of its connection the position of Father in church, and because he walked among the people, Patricius translates to Father of the Citizens.

There is no sound historical documentation that confirms his driving the snakes from Ireland, or the sprouting of his staff, and it is hard to say whether or not he used the 3 leafed clover as a representation of the Trinity. But he can be remembered today for his faith and suffering to bring the Good News of Christ to the Emerald Isle a place where he was once a slave, serving as one of the first missionaries to Ireland, and one of the earliest known anti-slavery advocates.

Happy St Patrick's Day!

3.16.2019

Daughters of Northern Shores by Joanne Bischof ~ Grand Finale Blitz & Rafflecopter Giveaway

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

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

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

Launch - Note from the Author

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

— Joanne


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


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

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

Hallie Reads - Review & Excerpt

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

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

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

Heidi Reads... - Review

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


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


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


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

Hearts & Scribbles - Spotlight

Faithfully Bookish - Review & Guest Post

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

Titling a Novel

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

Remembrancy - Review

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


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


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


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

Wishful Endings - Guest Post

From the Blackbird Mountain Kitchen: Apple Cider Soup

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


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

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

By The Book - Review

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

Fiction Aficionado - Review & Excerpt

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

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

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

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

Genesis 5020 - Review

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

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

Colorimetry - Guest Post

Setting Sail with the Prodigal Son

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


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

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

Uplifting Reads - Excerpt

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

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

“I’ll be here.”

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


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


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

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

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

The Becca Files - Review

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


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


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

Locks, Hooks and Books - Review & Guest Post

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

Pinterest Story Boards for a Historical Romance

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


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


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

Among the Reads - Review & Guest Post

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

A Heroine and Her Home

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Bookstagram Tour

Other Books in the Series

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Praise for Sons of Blackbird Mountain:

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

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

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


About the Author

Picture courtesy of https://joannebischof.com.

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


Tour Giveaway


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

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3.13.2019

Daughters of Northern Shores by Joanne Bischof ~ Review ~ Prism Book Tour ~ Giveaway

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Review:

Four years have past since Haakon Norgaard left Blackbird Mountain and set sail for the exotic coasts and frozen lands of his forefathers. But he can't shake the memories that haunt him, and the scars in need of forgiveness.

 Back home, the remaining Norgaard brothers have built a thriving business without their renown cider, focused on raising their families. But when a mysterious illness leaves Thor fighting for his life, and the Sorrels' return bring a darkness back to the mountain. Can a house divided band together to protect what they each hold dear?

Picking up in the aftermath of the previous novel, Aven and Thor have made a beautiful life together, their marriage only deepening their bond. Haakon is a wandering and restless soul, he has travelled the world and still feels the call of home on Blackbird Mountain and the need to make things right, while on the other side of the world a woman lives who he can't seem to forget. In four years a lot has changed, yet many of the same ghosts still haunt the Norgaard family.

Deftly and almost musically, the wild beauty, and stark danger of mountain living is brought to life through verdant descriptions, poetic and evocative. Ms. Bischof manages to always find the right words to elicit the heartaches and pain of the characters, painting a picture with words one of the best examples of showing rather than telling. I loved the way that she handled communication between the various characters, showing body language that speaks volumes, as well as the more abrupt structure of sign language.

Though times have changed, old feuds and sins still haunt the brothers. Haakon is the star of this book, a prodigal son returned home with a less open-armed welcome than the biblical wayward son. he fights to show his loyalty to a family that has largely disowned him. But blood is thicker than water, and Haakon knows that they need him more than even they might know, he is determined to make amends. Well loved by the children, he still has his charm. I liked seeing how he had matured through years of labor at sea, in some ways worse and in some better.

Daughters of Northern Shores is an appalachian epic of family, the bonds of blood, the ties of friendship, anchors of love, and the human condition. Peter is one of my favorite characters for how far he's come and how he has become so dear. Set in the years before the turn of the 20th century, we see the rumblings of life on the mountain beginning to change. Riveting and evocative, this was a gripping read for various reasons, that had me stealing moments to read amidst a busy day. Highly recommend, and an absolute must read if you enjoyed Sons of Blackbird Mountain.


Other Books in the Series

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Praise for Sons of Blackbird Mountain:

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

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

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


About the Author

Picture courtesy of https://joannebischof.com.

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


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One winner will receive a print copy of DAUGHTERS OF NORTHERN SHORES and a Thomas Nelson/Zondervan custom tote bag (book and bag shown are examples, not actual prize)
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

3.11.2019

Buried Mountain Secrets by Terri Reed ~ Review

Lucie's Review:

A rich old man leaves leaves a treasure buried on a mountain, posting clues on the internet, sending a flood of treasure hunters into the Colorado Rockies, one of them is Maya Gallo's younger brother. Maya goes after him, and quickly finds herself in the murderous crosshairs of a group of very intense fortune hunters.

Deputy Alex Trevino is a mounted patrolman, working in the Rocky Mountains. He sees Maya in danger and offers his help in finding her brother, things escalate quickly and they soon find themselves fighting for their lives!

A fast paced adventure set in the dangerously beautiful mountains of Colorado, where the lure of treasure is strong, and family ties are tested. Filled with action and unexpected twists. I admired Maya for her strong faith and her fierce love of her brother, Alex has grown in his faith since moving to Colorado.

Brady is a very open and friendly person, he knows that he is different from the other kids. He loves puzzles and hunt lures him more than the prize.

Great characters, intriguing plot, with a treasure at stake. I enjoyed the setting and the characters, this was an enjoyable read.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

3.08.2019

Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill ~ Review ~ Just Read Tour~ Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Welcome to the Blog & Review Tour - and Giveaway - for Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

9780310765264Title: Within These Lines  
Author: Stephanie Morrill  
Publisher: Blink YA  
Genre: Historical Young Adult Fiction  
Release Date: March 5, 2019

When Evalina Cassano and Taichi Hamasaki are torn apart by the events following the attack on Pearl Harbor, they must fight if they want any hope of returning to one another before World War II steals their future together. Within These Lines is one unflinching, haunting, historical novel you don’t want to miss; perfect for fans of Monica Hesse, Ruta Sepetys, and Elizabeth Wein.

Evalina Cassano’s life in an Italian-American family living in San Francisco in 1941 is quiet and ordinary until she falls in love with Taichi Hamasaki, the son of Japanese immigrants. Despite the scandal it would cause and that inter-racial marriage is illegal in California, Evalina and Taichi vow they will find a way to be together. But anti-Japanese feelings erupt across the country after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Taichi and his family are forced to give up their farm and move to a Japanese-American internment camp.

Degrading treatment makes life at Manzanar Relocation Center difficult. Taichi’s only connection to the outside world is treasured letters from Evalina. Feeling that the only action she can take to help Taichi is to speak out against injustice, Evalina becomes increasingly vocal at school and at home. Meanwhile, inside Manzanar, fighting between different Japanese-American factions arises. Taichi begins to doubt he will ever leave the camp alive.

With tensions running high and their freedom on the line, Evalina and Taichi must hold true to their ideals and believe in their love to make a way back to each other against unbelievable odds.  

My Review: Haunting and evocative, Within These Lines tells the story of a young American couple separated by war and racism.

Evalina Cassano and Taichi Hamasaki's lives are changed forever with the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Taichi and his family are sent away to Manzanar Internment Camp for the duration of the war, while Evalina must remain. Their love for each other is tested by distance, time, and the experiences that they each face.

Evalina is passionate and courageous, she doesn't back down when it comes to fighting for the one that she loves. Evalina is definitely determined, and when she sets her mind to something, it usually comes to pass. I admired how she didn't give up, through it all she put her head down and kept going.

Taichi has always been his family's "Good Boy" a good student and athlete, he works hard alongside his family on their farm. When he and his family are sent away to Manzanar he questions what his future will hold, and if he can ever overcome the things that he cannot change. Taichi isn't a complainer, but as unrest grows in the camp he must decide where his loyalties lie, and can he stand with a country that won't stand with him? I admired Taichi for his often quiet strength, his protectiveness and stubborn streak. 

Overall, a compelling glimpse into the impact of the Japanese internment, and how it affected those within and out. A chilling read, that captures the raw emotion of the injustices suffered by many Japanese-Americans. I liked how it showed how we can love a country and not agree with everything it does, and deals with a difficult time in history. This not a popular subject matter, and I thought that the author did an excellent job of showing the varying sentiments within Manzanar and how people dealt with the internment differently. The camp is brought to life in stark, jarring detail, with only flashes of life outside brought to Taichi through letters. I liked how in the impact of the war is shown through Evalina and Taichi's peers, and the choices they make as well. This is a story that quietly grabbed me and didn't let me go till the last page, compelling, haunting, and thought-provoking, a worthy read that you won't want to miss.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."


Within These Lines:
  • Is a young adult historical novel set in the World War II era
  • Contains themes of love, separation, social justice, war, and diversity
  • Perfect for junior high and high school students
  • A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard selection



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Stephanie Morrill writes books about girls who are on an adventure to discover their unique place in the world. She is the author of several contemporary young adult series, as well as the 1920s mystery, The Lost Girl of Astor Street, and the WWII era romance, Within These Lines. Since 2010, Stephanie has been encouraging the next generation of writers at her website, GoTeenWriters.com. She lives in the Kansas City area, where she loves plotting big and small adventures to enjoy with her husband and three children. You can connect with Stephanie and learn more about her books at StephanieMorrill.com, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.  

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR: website | facebook | twitter | instagram

GIVEAWAY

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(1) Grand Prize winner will win a release copy of Within These Lines & a special designed poster of Within These Lines from the publisher, Blink YA. Featured quote on poster: "Be Brave Enough to Care and Bold Enough to Act"

(5) First Prize winners will each with a special designed poster of Within These Lines from the publisher, Blink YA. Featured quote on poster: "Be Brave Enough to Care and Bold Enough to Act"

Be sure to check out each stop on the Bookstagram Tour and (upcoming) Takeover Tour, as well as this tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway began at midnight March 5, 2019 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on March 18, 2019. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Due to shipping cost, only US mailing addresses valid. For our giveaway rules and policy, click HERE.


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

Be sure to stop at the following tours for more chances to win!

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3.07.2019

The Deputy's Holiday Family by Mindy Obenhaus ~ Review

Lucie's Review:

Lacie Collier is a Denver interior designer, raising her young niece, Kenzie. When Lacie's job lets her go, she decides to go back to her hometown to spend Christmas with her mom. On her way home, she gets pulled over, by Deputy Matt Stephens, who is surprised to see his old friend back in town.

Lacie is helping with the local Christmas Program, but when she has an accident, Matt is asked to take over. Matt goes to Lacie for help with the program, he meets Kenzie and is shocked that she looks just like he did at her age.

As past secrets are revealed will Lacie and Matt be able to give Kenzie the family she's always wanted?

Matt has always had a troubled relationship with his father, he joined the Navy, and then came home taking a job as the deputy. He is  shocked to learn about Kenzie's existence, and he wants to make up for lost time, and be a part of her life. As he and Lacie work together, he starts to have feelings for her, but she's been looking for a job and he doesn't want to get attached if she is leaving. I really admired how he makes the effort to mend things with his father, and be a role model for Kenzie.

Lacie has always like Matt, but he always liked her sister. She is responsible and dedicated to her family, she doesn't want Matt to take Kenzie away from her. She loves her niece and has leaned on her faith to sustain her. Kenzie is so adorable, and I love how Lacie has also discipled her young niece.

Great interaction, I loved the whole Stephen's family and how Matt and his father, Clint, find new understanding. I love how the author blends the faith so integrally into the story, Lacie and Clint live their faith, and it is very important in their life. A great story about faith, family, and starting over, definitely recommend!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."


3.06.2019

Healing Hearts by Sarah M. Eden ~ Review

Lucie's Review:

Dr. Gideon MacNamara doesn't have many marriage prospects in Savage Wells, Wyoming, so he advertises with the Women's Bureau for a wife with nursing experience.

Miriam is hoping for a fresh start, but when she accepted the job in Savage Wells she didn't know that she was also accepting a marriage proposal. Gideon offers her a job as a nurse at his office, but the town's people won't have anything to do with her. But as she and Gideon work together, she sees what a great doctor he is, but will her secrets keep her from finding love?

Companion to Sheriff of Savage Wells, this is a stand alone read, but there are many overlapping characters which I was pleased to read about.

Gideon is a great doctor who really cares about his patients, he is a fair man, and as he gets to know her he admires her, but senses that she is keeping a secret that could get between them.

Miriam is hardworking and looking for a new start, the towns people don't like her because of her rejection of the doctor, but as time goes on she slowly earns their trust. Miriam is brave and dedicated to her work.

Gideon has a great group of friends among the towns people surrounding him, they encourage him and provide many moments of humorous banter. This is a well written romance, with great interaction between the characters. The beginning definitely hooked me in with a unique situation. I enjoyed this book and how it showed different conditions and how they were historically dealt with, definitely worth checking out!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."

3.05.2019

Of Fire and Lions by Mesu Andrews~ Review


My Review:

Taken captive by the Babylonians, Abigail, fights to survive using her wit and charm to survive in Nebuchadnezzar's court, denying her Hebrew heritage and taking the name Belili.

Now many years later she is married to Daniel, and mother to four daughters who resent her, everything changes when Daniel is called to interpret mysterious writing on the wall. What will the reign of Median King Darius mean for Belili and Daniel?

Told for the most part through Belili's eyes the story weaves itself forward and back through the years, winding its way and picking up threads and binding them together in various decades as the story unfolds. Well researched and lush in detail, Mesu Andrews brings this story to life with her realistic imagining of life in the courts of Babylon, the pressure to conform and fit in.


Behili tells her tale in a decade jumping narrative that works well with this story, keeping many secrets until they are revealed in their due time. Belili is strong and clever, she makes the most of her situations and I was touched by her journey. She is a wonderful heroine, vulnerable and flawed, yet in that way so much more relatable.

I loved Mert, their Egyptian servant and friend, who tells it like it is, and helps Belili mend what is broken.

I loved how this story came together, and it is probably my favorite from Mesu Andrews. The suspense, and truly miraculous way that God used Daniel, preserving him to reveal His glory, is excellently done. Before reading this book I never thought how amazing it was that God prospered Daniel in the courts of many different kings, from the Babylonian to the Median empires. The author handles tough topics well, and takes Scripture very seriously, fictionally filling in where we can only guess what might have happened and how it came to be. A powerful and inspiring read about courage in the face of persecution and daring to be a Daniel.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."