Daughters of Northern Shores by Joanne Bischof



MY REVIEW:

Follow-up to Bischof’s Sons of Blackbird Mountain, Daughters of Northern Shores continues the story of the Norgaard family through sickness and health, tragedy and joy, and forgiveness and reconciliation. The author has a special touch that makes her characters come to life on the pages of her books. While I might not like everything that happens within those pages, those very things are what makes her books both realistic and believable because life just seems to happen that way.

Once again Aven and Thor hold primary roles and experience more than their share of hardship yet are somehow able to hold on to their hope and joy. Haakon too plays a prominent role as he returns home after four years, hoping to make amends with the family he wronged. The feud with the evil Sorrels family once again raises its ugly head with vengeance and forces the Norgaards to fight for their very existence.

Vivid imagery brings the reader into the center of the action where they witness first hand an epic battle between good and evil. Readers will want to keep a box of tissues handy for at least two events – one in which a character lays down his life in a valiant attempt to do what is right and the other in which another character lays down his own agenda and turns his life over to the Lord.

Daughters of Northern Shores is another wonderful novel by the talented Joanne Bischof. I look forward to reading her next novel!

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Celebrate Lit. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Book: Daughters of Northern Shores

Author: Joanne Bischof

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: March 12, 2019

Click here to grab your copy!

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 Norgaard orchard 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 imperiled due to a grave illness brought to him at 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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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. Visit her online at JoanneBischof.com; Facebook: Author, JoanneBischof; Instagram: @JoanneBischof.

MORE FROM JOANNE:

One of the questions I receive most often is “How do you get it all done?” As a single, homeschooling mom, I’ve long-since learned that there would be easier ways to have a day job than being an author, but God has been gracious in providing abundantly in so many areas. Here are four that I am most thankful for as I look back over the last few years, including this season of writing Sons of Blackbird Mountain and Daughters of Northern Shores.

Togetherness

Now, most authors would agree that “togetherness” isn’t exactly conducive to quality writing time – especially when kids are involved! And while I do need quiet focus to be able to work through a scene or chapter, what I’ve been thankful for is the chance to share story and research discoveries with my children. It’s created more unity around the stories. Instead of needing to usher the kids away, isolating them from the novels I’m writing, I’m able to invite them into them. For the Blackbird Mountain series, I walked them through the Pinterest boards, showing them the different characters. Then we did a history unit on Vikings since that’s the Norgaard Family’s background. We had a blast and it helped make “the story that Mom was working on”, something that they were more aware of and interested in. For my current work-in-progress, we just recently finished an all new history unit including visits to a few local museums and stories that the kids wrote on their own!

Patience

I used to want to write, write, write all the time. And often, that’s what I did! Well, I still would love to write as often as I can, but God has been teaching me something oh-so-important: patience. As part of this, I set aside certain parts of the week for writing office hours. These slots of writing time typically occur on Tuesday evenings, and include a few additional 1 ½ hours slots during the week, once homeschooling is done. In this manner, I am able to carve out some quiet writing time while still making sure the kids are having a great and productive day. But for any writer or working mom, we can agree . . . that’s not a lot of time when added up! In God’s wonderful provision, though, He seems to extend much richness to those little snatches of time. They might not be many, but they are mighty! It’s been a prayer of mine for several years now, that by keeping my writing below these other priorities, that God would help me fill in the cracks of time and energy—and He has been so faithful to supply. I still have my moments when I feel frazzled,  especially when deadlines are near, and that’s why I am thankful for this next lesson that God has been teaching me . . .

Communication

The thing about living with a writer, is that you often find them staring at a computer screen. That doesn’t look all that productive, does it? But what we’re doing on the other side of that screen is weaving a story-world of plot, characters, purpose, and heart. Typing words onto the page that we hope will touch lives, digging through old articles for research, or jotting down messy plotting notes that we pray will somehow amount to a story one day. By communicating with my kids (like sharing with them about the story and characters) I’m able to help them see what I’m doing and why. And since kids can be rambunctious and full of life (and questions, and needs for snacking, and ideas, and messes . . . *wink*) and since this writer works well with quiet, I have a little chalkboard that I hang on my doorknob when it’s one of my “office hour” slots. I jot down my start time and end time for that 1 ½ hour block, add a heart or smiley face, and often make note of what our next task will be like preparing a meal or doing an activity together. Then I shut my door and the little sign dangling from the knob outside helps the kids remember what I’m up to. It reminds them that I won’t be tucked away for long, but that I do need to focus for a little while. They’re always allowed to come knocking if a need arises, but for the most part, they’re happy on these afternoons with their own projects. When the hour or so is up, we reconvene and go back about our day, usually slipping into something fun that we do together. By having these slots of time in the week, and by communicating carefully with them in a way they can understand, it helps to bring us all what we need.

Grace

There are days when I blow it, and days when I need a lot of grace. Maybe I’ve spilled iced tea on one of the research books (don’t worry, this is a hypothetical example ? ) or maybe I didn’t save a scene properly, or just feel stuck and exhausted with a plot thread. These days can certainly tamper with the harmony, which begins with my heart and the need to remember the reason for why I write these stories: for God’s glory. When I begin to lose my calm, or grow frustrated or weary with the challenges afoot, I know it’s time to circle back to what it’s all for. It’s for the readers, it’s for my children, it’s for my joy, and most of all, it’s for God’s glory. By me being harried or stressed, very little of this is being accomplished! God has used the writing process to speak to my heart in ways that have reminded me of what I can surrender, and more and more of the ways that I can look to HIM for guidance. The lessons aren’t always easy, but through each season, and through each book, I have come to see more and more all the ways to be thankful.

BLOG STOPS:

Retrospective Spines, August 6

Just the Write Escape, August 6

KarenSueHadley , August 7

Batya’s Bits, August 7

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 8

By The Book, August 8

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 9

Adventures of a travelers wife, August 9

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, August 10

Betti Mace, August 10

Connie’s History Classroom, August 11

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, August 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 12

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 12

Moments, August 12

Simple Harvest Reads, August 13

Connect in Fiction , August 13

For the Love of Literature, August 13

Aryn The Libraryan ? , August 14

Through the Fire Blogs, August 14

Bigreadersite , August 15

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, August 15

Daysong Reflections, August 16

Living Life Free In christ, August 16

A Reader’s Brain, August 17

Texas Book-aholic, August 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 17

Inklings and notions , August 18

janicesbookreviews, August 18

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 19

LifeofLiterature, August 19

As He Leads is Joy, August 19

 

The Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel Linden Takeover Tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour for The Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel Linden,
hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Title: The Enlightenment of Bees
Author:
Rachel Linden
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date:
July 9, 2019
Genre: Women’s Fiction

Sometimes a shattered dream leads to an amazing journey. 

At twenty-six, apprentice baker Mia West has her entire life planned out: a Craftsman cottage in Seattle, a job baking at The Butter Emporium, and her first love—her boyfriend, Ethan—by her side. But when Ethan declares he “needs some space,” Mia’s carefully planned future crumbles.

Feeling adrift, Mia joins her vivacious housemate Rosie on a humanitarian trip around the world funded by a reclusive billionaire. Along with a famous grunge rock star, a Rwandan immigrant, and an unsettlingly attractive Hawaiian urban farmer named Kai, Mia and Rosie embark on the adventure of a lifetime.

From the slums of Mumbai to a Hungarian border camp during the refugee crisis, Mia’s heart is challenged and changed in astonishing ways—ways she never could have imagined. As she grapples with how to make a difference in a complicated world, Mia realizes she must choose between the life she thought she wanted and the life unfolding before her.

In a romantic adventure across the globe, The Enlightenment of Bees beautifully explores what it means to find the sweet spot in life where our greatest passions meet the world’s greatest need.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Christianbook

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rachel Linden is a novelist and international aid worker whose adventures in over fifty countries around the world provide excellent grist for her writing. She is the author of Ascension of LarksBecoming the Talbot Sisters, and The Enlightenment of Bees. Currently, Rachel lives with her family in Seattle, Washington, where she enjoys creating stories about hope, courage, and connection with a hint of romance and a touch of whimsy.

CONNECT WITH RACHEL:  Website | Facebook | Instagram

READ AN EXCERPT:

CHAPTER 1
Early AprilThe day my world crumbles I am dreaming about pie crust. Cubes of chilled butter, ice bobbing in a Pyrex measuring cup of water, a mixing bowl straight from the refrigerator, a pastry cutter to slice the butter and flour and salt into baby-pea-sized gobbets. A light touch, light as a feather. And honeybees.Their contented hum is a droning undercurrent to the ting ting of my pastry cutter against the bowl. The air is heavy with the scent of lavender, sharp and pungent from the fields of purple stretching beyond my family’s farmhouse kitchen window. One by one bees buzz through the open window and land on the rim of my bowl. I shoo them away. They are fat and slow as they fly off, legs laden with orange saddlebags of pollen, buzzing across the fields and over the silver waters of Puget Sound. On the lip of the bowl where they rested, each leaves a dot of honey that trickles down the glass in a slow golden rivulet.When my ringing cell phone wakes me, I burrow out from under my duvet with a muff led exclamation and a shiver, scrambling to silence the cheery tune. My room feels like an icebox. I’d fallen asleep reading with the window open, and the wet April air wafts under the curtain, sharp and salty from the sea.”H’llo,” I stage-whisper, not wanting to rouse my housemate, Rosie, who I’m guessing is still asleep across the hall after her late-night performance in a jazz club on Capitol Hill.

“Good morning, Mia. Kate here.” The activities director at Sunny Days Retirement Community where my Nana Alice lives.

“Good morning, Kate.” I try to match her chipper tone, covering my confusion and erasing the sleep from my voice. I open and close my eyes like an owl; the insides of my eyelids feel like sandpaper. Splayed on the floor near my feet is Mary Berry’s Baking Bible.

“Just checking to see if you’re bringing baked goods for the residents today as usual?” Kate says in a perky voice.

“Oh sure.” I glance at the clock and startle. Ten forty! I was up at four a.m. for my four-hour baking shift at the Butter Emporium, an artisan bakery and coffee shop in historic Ballard where I’m an apprentice baker. On Sundays I deliver our day-old baked goods to Sunny Days.

“Be there in a jiffy.” I hang up, already throwing on a plaid flannel shirt over my fitted tee. I rub a smudge of flour off the elbow and twist my hair up into a messy bun. Olga, the Ukrainian woman who cuts my hair, bluntly describes it as “crazy vitch hair” with a disapproving shake of her own militantly subdued blond bob. I think it’s more accurate to label it unruly, a disheveled sort of curly, like I’m in a perpetually brisk breeze.

In college my English lit professor told me that my hair was the color of an Irish peat bog stream, which sounded a little insulting until I looked it up. He was right. A rich brown with glints of red and gold, the color leached from the peat bogs. It matches my eyes, hazel shot through with green. Ethan says they’re so wide and innocent that I look like a Japanese anime character or a dewy forest creature, like Bambi.

I snatch my phone on the way out the door and dictate a text.

Happy 6 years, handsome! How’s the meeting going? Love you!

 

Ethan’s been in meetings all weekend. The Internet start-up he founded with a couple of friends right out of college is potentially being bought by a tech company from San Jose, and the decision makers flew to Seattle on Friday to hammer out the details. And later today, when it’s all over, we are celebrating our six-year dating anniversary. At the thought my heart skips a beat. I have a premonition, a shiver of delight down my spine, that today could be a very special day indeed. I am over the moon at the thought of it at last.

With the box of baked goods securely fastened to my white Cannondale, I pedal fast across the north slope of Queen Anne, the genteel Seattle westside neighborhood where I live. Even the chilly gray spring weather doesn’t stop me from relishing the speed and the freedom and the feeling of flying, like the gulls that circle high over Puget Sound.

Near the Trader Joe’s grocery store on Queen Anne Avenue, a familiar figure is standing on the corner, sporting an afro and a purple T-shirt with a peace sign and the slogan Kindness is Karma.

“Angie!” I wave and she waves back. She’s holding aloft copies of Real Change, the magazine pages fluttering in the breeze. Her German shepherd, Cargo, is lying on the pavement at her feet, his nose touching her shoes.

“How are sales this morning?” I ask, opening my pastry box and handing her a mascarpone and strawberry Danish, her favorite.

Angie shrugs. “Good enough. Me and Cargo can’t complain.”

I place a mini lemon bundt cake in front of Cargo, who wags his tail appreciatively.

Angie and I met a year ago when I started volunteering at Hope House, a women and children’s shelter in downtown Seattle. Originally from Florida, she’s been living in Seattle for five years, all of them on the street.

“Well, I’ve got to scoot. I’m late with my delivery today.” I scratch Cargo behind the ears and turn to go. “See you around.”

I mount my bike, then hesitate, wishing as always that I could give Angie more than a pastry every week. She’s making good strides at Hope House, in her AA meetings, and with Real Change, but I wish I could wave a magic wand and untangle the complicated mess of her substance addiction, childhood abuse, family dysfunction, and mental illness. ` “Bye, girl.” Angie waves. “Thanks for stopping. See you next week.”

Now even more tardy, I pedal fast through picturesque neighborhoods of neatly kept historic Craftsman houses nestled up to million-dollar newly built townhomes, the product of the tech boom in Seattle and the seemingly insatiable demand for housing in the city. Zipping along the peaceful streets, I hum the Beatles’ “Love Me Do” under my breath. One of Ethan’s favorites. How many times has he sung it to me, strumming his guitar with that endearing smile, slow and sweet as maple syrup?

“Love, love me do,” I belt out, flying down the hill toward Sunny Days. For a moment I let go of the handlebars and spread my arms wide, turning my smiling face to the sun as it just barely peeks through the gray clouds. I feel almost giddy with the promise of what is to come, as though gravity itself is lightening, as though any moment I might take off into the air and soar. I have a fabulous feeling about today.

CHAPTER 2

Nana Alice?” After delivering the pastries to the kitchen, I rap lightly on my grandmother’s studio apartment door. A moment later she opens it, wheeling into the doorway with her cherry red walker, which she’s dubbed Greased Lightning.

“Mia,” she says, beaming with delight. “I just got back from my hike.”

Nana Alice is my father’s mother, and is one of my favorite people on earth. At eighty-two, she’s spry and pert, more sugar than spice with her white hair a pouf of cotton candy on her head and her bright hazel eyes fixed on me. Today she is wearing a hot pink Patagonia fleece and yoga pants after her morning hike in Discovery Park with a vanload of residents.

“We saw a seal pup along the shore,” she tells me. “They’re so cute, look just like puppies, but they carry leprosy. The nature guide told us that. He had very muscular calves.”

Nana Alice has lived at Sunny Days for almost four years, ever since my Uncle Carl caught her perched on the roof of her house, cleaning her own gutters. At his insistence she relocated, settling somewhat unwillingly into this gracious and tasteful assisted living residence for seniors. Nestled on the north slope of Queen Anne hill, it’s just a mile from her former home, the cottage that Rosie and I currently rent from her for a mercifully discounted price.

“I was just about to make a cup of coffee.” She pulls her walker aside and waves me in. “You want a cup before we watch our show? I think we’re judging pastry week today, isn’t that right?”

Nana Alice and I have a standing weekly date to watch reruns of The Great British Bake Off and act as amateur judges.

“Nana Alice, I can’t stay today,” I say apologetically. “Remember, Ethan and I are celebrating our anniversary?”

“Oh, that’s right.” Her eyes brighten with anticipation. “A big day ahead, we hope! Well then, you’d best get home and put on a nice dress.” She casts a pointed look at what she refers to as my lumberjack attire. She is a liberated modern woman but was still raised in a time when ladies never went out without a pressed skirt and combed hair.

“Here, I brought you some treats.” I offer her a small white Butter Emporium bag, and she peeks inside.

“Ooh, those buttermilk lemon bars are my favorite.”

“I made that batch, so taste them and tell me what you think. I think I got the filling right. It’s zesty, but the shortbread layer is a little tough.”

As I was growing up, Nana Alice was the domestic paragon by which I measured all else. For years she owned a bakery on the top of Queen Anne hill. It was called Alice’s Wonderland Bakery and featured a vaguely Carrollian theme with marzipan mushrooms and a stuffed white rabbit with red glass eyes — which was, in retrospect, rather unsettling. As a girl I loved to visit the bakery, where I was assured a free butterscotch oatmeal cookie and a hug from Nana Alice, her apron always floury and stained with vanilla extract. Sometimes she would even let me operate the big stainless steel mixer.

“Tomorrow I’ve got medical tests all morning,” Nana Alice says, folding over the top of the bag. “These will be a perfect treat while I wait.”

“Tests for what? Is everything okay?”

She waves away my worry. “I’m sure it’s nothing. Just a mammogram and an ultrasound. When you get old, going to the doctor is a full-time job.” She sets the bag in the little basket on the front of Greased Lightning, then peers at me searchingly for a moment. “Are you ready if Ethan pops the question?”

I take a deep breath and nod. “Yes, I think so.” How could I not be ready? Any qualms I’ve had about our differing visions of the future I’ve laid aside long ago. After six years we’ve learned how to compromise. We’re good together. I love him. He loves me. It’s that simple.

“Good.” Nana Alice nods. She adores Ethan, who charmed her the first time they met by telling her she looks like Debbie Reynolds and bringing her dahlias he’d hand-picked from a flower farm. Still, after six years, even she is chafing at the delay. “If we’re not judging pastry I think I’ll head to the dining room for tea. There’s a piano concert starting right now. The pianist isn’t very good but he tries, dear man.” Nana Alice zips her fleece and maneuvers Greased Lightning into the hall. “I’ll walk with you.”

As we amble slowly down the hallway, she sighs. “You know, I envy you a little, Mia. All of your life still before you. You can do anything, go anywhere. That’s a great gift. Time and youth and opportunity.”

I wince. “Yeah, if I could just figure out what I want to do.”

It’s a sore subject for me. In the four years since college graduation, I’ve cycled through a variety of volunteering positions and a few short stints in different careers, but nothing was the right fit. I finally started the apprenticeship at the bakery, but while I adore baking, it just doesn’t feel big enough. I want to make a difference, change the world for the better.

“Your parents still hope you’ll take over the farm one day,” Nana Alice says.

“I just can’t,” I sigh, feeling the weight of their hopes and bridling just a bit under the gentle pressure.

My parents run an organic lavender farm on the Olympic Peninsula a few hours from Seattle. The setting for an idyllic childhood, but not where I want to settle down as an adult. I don’t want to spend my days growing lavender and making honey. I envision a very different life, a life like that of my mother’s younger sister, my Aunt Frances.

Aunt Frannie has spent the last twenty-five years crisscrossing sub-Saharan Africa with a small team and a portable dental clinic in a Land Cruiser, reaching remote areas of Africa. Fiercely smart, witty, and independent, she is my hero, living a life so different from my parents’ peaceful, ordered existence on the lavender farm.

I want to make the type of impact Aunt Frannie has made on people. I just have to figure out how exactly I can do that in a way that doesn’t involve crowns and molars and Novocain.

“I’ll figure it out someday, right?” I ask plaintively.

Nana Alice stops and takes my hand, her skin papery thin but her grip surprisingly strong. “My dear girl,” she says, looking me in the eye. “Don’t be disheartened. You are a smart, gifted young lady with a tender heart. You were made to do good in this world. To love and be loved. Don’t you forget it.”

I glance away, blinking back the prickle of tears, and nod. She’s been giving me this pep talk practically since I was in diapers. I believe her, I just wish I could see the end result of all her faith and expectation.

“I think your concert is starting.” I gently place her hand back on Greased Lightning.

The opening strains of “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” drift across the lobby as we head toward the dining room. Outside the glass front doors, rain drizzles steadily down. It’s going to be a wet ride home. An older gentleman in a trench coat and a trilby is just coming in. He opens the door with a gust of cool air, fumbling to maneuver an open red tartan umbrella through the doorway in front of him. Nana Alice stops to let the man cross our path, but he doesn’t seem to see us. He gives the umbrella a thorough shake and then furls it smartly, spraying both of us with a shower of raindrops.

“Gracious, watch where you’re going,” Nana Alice protests.

“Why ladies, my apologies.” He peers over the umbrella at us. Under the trilby his face is lined but good-humored, his pale blue eyes sharp. He looks about Nana Alice’s age. His figure is lean and he walks nimbly but with a slight stoop. “I didn’t see you there.” He tips his hat to us. “Albert Prentice. I just moved into 4B.”

Nana Alice gives him a startled look. “Albert Prentice?” she says. “I went to school with an Albert Prentice. Eleventh grade at Holy Cross. Sister Mary Teresa’s English class. I was Alice Freeman then.”

Albert takes a step back and removes his hat, holding it to his chest. “Alice Freeman,” he says slowly, almost reverently. “Of course I remember you. We performed a scene from Much Ado About Nothing. You were radiant as Beatrice.”

Nana Alice grips Greased Lightning and stands up a little straighter. “Well, your Benedick wasn’t half bad either, if I recall correctly.” She beams at Albert. “What a coincidence.” She pauses. “Are you here alone?”

His eyes cloud. “My wife, Jeanne, died three months ago. Heart failure. And my kids think I can’t manage on my own. Sixty years in our home in Laurelhurst, and now here I am.” He shakes his head and puts his hat back on. “It’s tough to start over at my age.”

Nana Alice reaches forward and grips his hand, her gaze sympathetic. “Albert, you are among friends here. You come by my table for dinner tonight. I’ll introduce you to everyone.”

Albert looks pleased. “It would be my pleasure. Thank you, Alice. That’s kind of you.” He releases her hand, tips his hat to us, and heads toward the East Wing, his stride jaunty.

When he’s out of earshot, Nana Alice shakes her head in amazement. “Albert Prentice. Imagine that. And newly widowed, poor man.”

“He’s very handsome,” I observe. “The ladies are going to swoon when they see him.”

Nana nods. “Yes, and he still has his hair.” She purses her lips. “He’ll be the toast of the town around here.”

“What about you,” I tease gently. “He seemed awfully fond of your Beatrice.”

“Pshaw,” she says lightly. “That was ages ago. The girls all liked him, though, even then. They thought he looked like Paul Newman.”

“He still does,” I say, giving her a sideways glance.

Nana Alice tilts her head with an uncharacteristically coy smile. “I guess you’re right,” she says. “He does.”

CHAPTER 3

You look pretty.” Ethan gives me a quick kiss as I slide into his vintage silver BMW idling against the curb.

“And you’re very dapper.” He’s wearing his gray cashmere cardigan over a button-down shirt in sky blue that makes his eyes pop. Is this the outfit of a man about to propose? I can’t decide, but he looks endearingly handsome in it.

“I thought we could go down to Pike Place,” he says, darting a glance sideways at me.

“Sounds perfect.” My heart is beating fast against my rib cage as we head toward downtown Seattle and the waterfront. Pike Place Market is one of Seattle’s most iconic spots. After today it may be my favorite location in the world.

I clasp my hands between my knees and try to calm my nerves. I didn’t take Nana Alice’s admonition to put on a nice dress, but I’m glad I thought to put on waterproof mascara and my new spiffy red pair of Toms canvas shoes.

“How’d the meetings go today?” I ask as we drive down Queen Anne hill.

“Great. They really like the concept and want to move forward on a contract.” As he talks enthusiastically about the start-up, I try to focus on his explanation, but I can’t stop thinking about what I hope is about to happen.

(Continues…)

Excerpted from “The Enlightenment of Bees” by . Copyright © 2019 Rachel Linden Rempt. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Fools Deadly Gold



MY REVIEW:

Fool’s Deadly Gold is a contemporary suspense/murder mystery that does a good job illustrating what can happen when greed takes over a person’s life. The story begins with an accidental death that may not actually be an accident. As the tale progresses, there are several characters who could easily be the killer but a number of other deaths, plot twists and surprises makes it difficult for the reader to discern the truth. For me, the final revelation came as a surprise.

Overall, the story was intriguing, if a bit slow moving.  I found the story concept and the investigative process interesting; however I did not particularly connect with any of the characters, possibly because there were so many of them. I also did not find as much of a Christian message as I expect to find in this genre. Personally, I prefer a novel with more character development and interaction but others may enjoy this book.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Covenant Communications, Inc. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:
Lauralyn LaPlant and her sister, Bridgette, could not be closer. Their shared passion for adventure draws them to scale a sheer cliff one fateful day, but despite their experienced precautions, Bridgette suffers a terrible accident and plummets to an untimely death. Shattered by grief, Lauralyn soon makes a sobering discovery: this was no accident—her sister’s climbing rope was cut. But who wanted Bridgette dead, and why? It’s up to Lauralyn and her grieving brother-in-law, Dade, to uncover the truth, even if it means putting themselves in the path of a ruthless killer. As their search for clues leads them deep into the heart of Gold Country, they discover that in the world of prospecting, greed knows no limits.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Clair M. Poulson is an author specializing in mystery books. Before he became a writer, Poulson served for more than 35 years in the criminal justice system. He uses many of these experiences when he writes. As a result, he is able to portray characters and real life settings that many other authors can’t do.

A Glitter of Gold by Liz Johnson



MY REVIEW:

A Glitter of Gold, Liz Johnson’s second offering in her Georgia Coast Romance series is a book that readers will not want to put down until its satisfying end. Although part of a series, this book is entirely stand alone with new characters and plot. A Sparkle of Silver is the first book in this series and I can pretty much guarantee that if you read either one you will want to read the other also.

What could be better than a heroine who leads pirate tours in a place like Savanna, Georgia? Perhaps a hero who is a museum director in search for answers about a family diary that has been handed down for generations. Both struggling businesses are in dire need of financial help but neither Anne nor Carter has an inkling on what to do. When Anne finds an artifact from a possible shipwreck shortly after a storm, she goes to Carter for information. Is it coincidence that there could be a connection between his diary and the artifact or has God used the circumstances to bring them together?

A Glitter of Gold is a beautifully written story pulled me right in. Johnson has a talent for making her characters come to life in a way that makes them feel like friends. Each of them had reasons to be wary of the other and their relationship experienced several challenges along the way.  I loved the contrast between the current story and the story revealed through the diary, not to mention a surprise or two. This story is a strong testimony of the power of God to bring healing and forgiveness to wounded souls if they will allow themselves to trust Him with their lives.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by the author. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Anne Norris moved to Savannah, Georgia, for a fresh start. Now her pirate-tour business is flagging, and paying the rent requires more than wishful thinking. When she discovers evidence of a shipwreck off the coast of Tybee Island, she knows it could be just the boon she needs to stay afloat. She takes her findings to local museum director Carter Hale for confirmation, but she runs after a disastrous first meeting.

Carter has been searching for the location of the wreck detailed in the worn pages of an 18th-century diary, the discovery of which could open the door to his dream job at a prestigious museum. But convincing Anne to help him fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle is no easy task. And working with Carter means that Anne will have to do the one thing she swore she’d never do again: trust a man.

Finding a monetary backer and sticking with a search that’s turning up nothing will take all their dedication–and every secret they’ve tried to hide. If they can find the lost ship, they may discover a treasure worth more than all the pirate gold in the world–love.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Liz Johnson is the author of more than a dozen novels, including A Sparkle of Silver, A Glitter of Gold, The Red Door Inn, Where Two Hearts Meet, and On Love’s Gentle Shore, as well as a New York Times bestselling novella and a handful of short stories. She makes her home in Phoenix, Arizona.

Fragments of Fear by Carrie Stuart Parks



MY REVIEW:

It didn’t take reading but one book to place Carrie Stuart Parks on my absolutely must read author list. She is one author whose novels I will purchase as soon as they are released if I am not offered a review copy. Happily for me, I managed to score a copy of Fragments of Fear to review but it is definitely worth the price. Each one of this author’s books has been awesome but I believe Fragments of Fear is the best one yet. I was hooked from page one and was pretty much useless until I had reached the end.

The plot moved along quickly, sometimes at breakneck speed, with so many twists, turns, and surprises that I never knew what to expect next. Characters were well-rounded and realistic. I loved that Tavish was so unaware of her own attractiveness, primarily because she didn’t live up to her mother’s expectations. Sawyer was the perfect hero, so affirming and protective and full of faith! And of course Marley the dog tried to steal the whole show! It was encouraging to watch Tavish transform from a relatively unhappy, insecure person who relied on her crystals and other new age practices to a beautiful and confident young woman who learned to trust the Lord.

I loved Fragments of Fear but will cut my review short for fear of offering any spoilers. Take it from me, if you are a fan of Christian suspense or thrillers, you don’t want to miss this one.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Celebrate Lit. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Book: Fragments of Fear

Author: Carrie Stuart Parks

Genre: Suspense

Release date: July 23, 2019

Click here to purchase your copy.

From award-winning author Carrie Stuart Parks comes a new novel with danger that reaches from a New Mexico Anasazi archaeological dig to micro- and nano-chip technology.

Evelyn Yvonne McTavish-Tavish to her friends-had her almost perfect world in Albuquerque, New Mexico, come to a crashing end with the suicide of her fiancé. As she struggles to put her life back together and make a living from her art, she’s given the news that her dog is about to be destroyed at the dog pound. Except she doesn’t own a dog. The shelter is adamant that the microchip embedded in the canine-with her name and address-makes it hers.

Tavish recognizes the dog as one owned by an archaeologist named Pat Caron because she did a commissioned drawing of the two of them months earlier. The simple solution is to return the dog to his owner, but she arrives only to discover Caron’s murdered body.

After meeting undercover FBI agent Sawyer Price the mystery deepens as more people start disappearing and Tavish becomes a target as well. Her only solution is to find the links between microchip technology, an Anasazi site in the desert, her fiancé’s death, a late-night radio show, and the dog. And the clock is ticking.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Carrie Stuart Parks is a Christy finalist as well as a Carol Award-winning author. She has won numerous awards for her fine art as well. An internationally known forensic artist, she travels with her husband, Rick, across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic art to law-enforcement professionals. The author/illustrator of numerous books on drawing and painting, Carrie continues to create dramatic watercolors from her studio in the mountains of Idaho.

Using Art to Solve Crime: Techniques Used by Forensic Artists

Since 1981, I’ve been a forensic artist—an amazing feat since I’m only . . .um. . . well, younger than that. In those years, I’ve seen some shifts and trends, but some things have never changed. Despite the overwhelming prevalence of computers in almost every other field, they have never been able to replace a trained forensic artist. Artists have an amazing toolbox of techniques we use to gather the information we need to help solve crime.

  1. The pencil. Any forensic artist worth her weight in graphite knows the power of the lowly pencil and a sketchpad. Law enforcement would love a photographic image of the suspect, but all we have to work with is memory…and memory is faulty. The more the image looks perfect, the more imperfect it is for helping to identify a suspect. We want the drawing to just suggest a likeness and eliminate those not similar.
  2. Now that we brought up the subject of memory, a forensic artist needs to understand how memory works. The average witness will remember between four and five facial features. When they describe the person they saw, they will do so from their strongest memory to their weakest memory, from most important to least important. We listen carefully to the order of facial features.
  3. Whole vs Parts. We don’t look at faces as individual parts, although a particularly outstanding nose or Marty Feldman eyes might catch our attention. We will remember the face as a whole, with the proportions of the face an unacknowledged part of that. Forensic artist prefer to use reference photographs where the whole face is viewed.

Want more? Check out the rest of my article at The Strand Magazine

BLOG STOPS:

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, July 23

All-of-a-kind Mom, July 23

Blogging With Carol, July 23

A Reader’s Brain, July 23

A Baker’s Perspective, July 24

The Avid Reader, July 24

CarpeDiem, July 24

Fiction Aficionado, July 25

Christian Bookaholic, July 25

Godly Book Reviews, July 25

Through the Fire Blogs, July 26

Livin’ Lit, July 26

The Becca Files, July 26

Inklings and notions , July 26

Real World Bible Study, July 27

Cathe Swanson, July 27

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, July 27

For Him and My Family, July 28

Lights in a Dark World, July 28

Retrospective Spines, July 28

Bigreadersite, July 29

Simple Harvest Reads, July 29 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Mary Hake, July 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Acdemy, July 30

Blossoms and Blessings, July 30

EmpowerMoms, July 30

Aryn The Libraryan, July 31

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, July 31

For the Love of Literature, July 31

Inspired by fiction, August 1

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 1

By The Book, August 1

Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 2

Remembrancy, August 2

amandainpa, August 2

Pause for Tales, August 3

For the Love of Books, August 3

Just Your Average reviews, August 3

Hallie Reads, August 4

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, August 4

Daysong Reflections, August 4

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, August 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 5

Texas Book-aholic, August 5

janicesbookreviews, August 5

GIVEAWAY:

To celebrate her tour, Carrie is giving away a grand prize of her book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/e592/fragments-of-fear-celebration-tour-giveaway