Swoony Saturdays – Charlie Lionheart

Welcome! Welcome!

Swoony Saturdays are your opportunity to be introduced to a book hero who fits high quality hero characteristics. (okay, so he just makes us weak in the knees for all kinds of reasons, but you get the point)

The photos involved are chosen as the most representative of the heroes featured, so IF they look like someone you’ve seen before, that’s almost entirely accidental.

Charlie LionheartHello! Rachel here. I am Pepper’s assistant, mom of 2 boys, wife, Christian, an avid reader, blogger at Bookworm Mama, and 100% fan girl! I am SO excited to share one of MY favorite heroes with you today (Wes and David are my other favorites, but they have already appeared on Swoony Saturdays). Earlier this month The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof was named
“Inspirational Romance of 2016” by RT Book Reviews. In celebration of this award, I thought it only appropriate to share with you the swoony hero of this absolutely incredible book.

Charlie Lionheart: Who? Charlie Lionheart

Where can we find this dreamboat? The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

Personality summary: Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Big Top, Charlie Lionheart holds the audience in the palm of his hand. But while his act captivates thousands, it’s away from the spotlight where his true heart lies. Here he humbly cares for his pride of lions as if they were his brothers, a skill of bravery and strength that has prepared him for his most challenging feat yet—freeing an orphaned infant from the dark bondage of a sideshow. A trade so costly, it requires his life in exchange for hers, leaving him tarnished by the price of that choice. (From the back of the book.)

LATL 4 : What makes us swoon?


He’s a tender daddy
His sacrificial love/Self sacrifice
Strength (works with lions!)
His bravery (Not just regarding the lions)
His love for those he cares about is not just something to admire, but to learn from.

Kissing level of such swooniness: Charlie is definitely a 5 on this scale. I was left in an incoherent puddle for DAYS after reading this book. Make sure you read close to the kitchen, you WILL need your freezer!

The Lady and the LionheartBasic hero type: Charlie is a Darcy. His brooding disposition and assumptions made about the heroine make him out to be harsh and cold. But he is a softy underneath.

How can I meet this swoony mister? 

The Lady and the Lionheart can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Christian Book Distributors.Christian Book Distributors. Don’t forget to add it on Goodreads!

About the Author

A Carol Award and two-time Christy Award-finalist, Joanne Bischof writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the reader’s heartstrings. She was honored to receive the SDCWG Novel of the Year Award in 2014 and in 2015 was named Author of the Year by the Mount Hermon Writer’s conference. Her 2014 novella This Quiet Sky broke precedent as the first self-released title to final for the Christy Awards. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her husband and their three children. Website

Kissing Levels & Hero Types

Book Journeys – Eagle Harbor Lighthouse

Eagle Harbor Lighthouse

Winding-tower-stairwayWe are taking another little detour from our Biltmore Series to visit a location that appears in Undaunted Hope by Jody Hedlund. This is the third book in the Beacons of Hope Series which revolves around lighthouses and inspired by the REAL women who operated them throughout history.

This book takes place on the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan (think the northernmost point in the state). Jody had the opportunity to visit Eagle Harbor Lighthouse while she was writing Undaunted Hope. She even got to stay in the assistant’s cottage for a week!  How cool is that?

Eagle-Harbor-Lighthouse-12The Beacons of Hope Series focuses on different women who operated and served in lighthouses. This particular story was inspired by a woman named Ceccelia Carlson McLean. Ceccila was not fond of living in a lighthouse at all. This got Jody to thinking about the hardships and the daily struggles that a light keeper and his family would have to go through. The isolation, the danger, the list goes on and on. Out of Ceccelia’s history came Tessa’s story.

Fresnel-Lantern-Used-in-the-LighthouseLighthouse Friends has amazing history about this particular lighthouse. Originally built in 1850, a fourth-order, L. Sautter Fresnel lens was installed in 1857. In 1868  the structure was remodeled to withstand the harsh environment of the Upper Peninsula.

On January 8, 1982 the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse was de-staffed. If you visit today you will find several original buildings still standing, many of which are used as museums.

Facts and details taken from the “Author’s Note” in Undaunted Hope with permission from the author. Other historical facts found on Lighthouse Friends.

About the Book

Tessa Taylor arrives in 1870s Upper Peninsula, Michigan, planning to serve as a new teacher to the town. Much to her dismay, however, she immediately learns that there was a mistake, that the town had requested a male teacher. Percival Updegraff, superintendent and chief mine clerk, says she can stay through winter since they won’t be able to locate a new teacher before then, and Tessa can’t help but say she is in his debt. Little does she know that Percival will indeed keep track of all that she owes him.

Determined to become indispensable, Tessa throws herself into teaching, and soon the children of the widowed lighthouse keeper have decided she’s the right match for their grieving father. Their uncle and assistant light keeper, Alex Bjorklund, has his own feelings for Tessa. As the two brothers begin competing for her hand, Tessa increasingly feels that someone is tracking her every move, and she may not be able to escape the trap that has been laid for her. Learn more HERE.

About the Author

Jody HedlundJody Hedlund is the bestselling author of over a dozen novels, including Luther and Katharina, winner of the 2016 Christian Book Award. She received a bachelor’s from Taylor University and a master’s from University of Wisconsin, both in social work. Currently she makes her home in Midland, Michigan, with her husband and five busy children. Visit Jody’s website HERE.

Undaunted Hope - Scripture

Pictures of Eagle Harbor property of Jody Hedlund, used with permission.

Celebrating The Thorn Bearer & Giveaway!


Today not only marks the 102 memorial of the sinking of the Lusitania (read this week’s Book Journeys post to find out more about that), but today is the 2nd “book birthday” of my debut novel, The Thorn Bearer!

Image from Reading is my SuperPower

On May 7, 102 years ago, The Lusitania was torpedoed off the coast of Ireland and sank in less than 18 minutes. History gives us glimpses of what those moments were like for the people aboard, but in celebration of The Thorn Bearer’s book birthday, I’m giving away one copy of the book so you can see how my characters survived (if they did) and changed after such a tragic event.

thethornbearer-500x750-1About the Book

SERIES: Penned in Time #1
GENRE: Historical Fiction, WWI
PUBLICATION DATE: April 11, 2015
PAGES: 362 pages

Ashley Dougall has a terminal disease and forgiveness is the only cure.

Ashley Dougall’s father stole her innocence, her selfish fiancé stole her heart, and unforgiveness is slowly stealing her life.  Drawn by the desire to help others, she tries to escape haunting memories and enlists her services as a nurse in war-torn Europe.  Along with her childhood friend and fiance’s brother, Samuel Miller, the fragile threads holding Ashley’s life in place one-by-one begin to snap. From the deck of the ill-fated Lusitania to the smoke-filled trenches of WWI, Ashley must choose between forgiveness of the past, life in the present, and a Savior who is willing to help her face them both.

Sneak Peek

Image may contain: one or more people and text

Image may contain: text

Image may contain: text


In celebration, I am giving away ONE copy of The Thorn Bearer. Entry Deadline:May 14, 2017 11:59 PM PDT. Void where prohibited by law.

Enter the giveaway via Amazon HERE.

Or copy and paste this link in your browser: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/66d3603e9b7e8009

Swoony Saturdays – Ty Porter

Welcome! Welcome!

Swoony Saturdays are your opportunity to be introduced to a book hero who fits high quality hero characteristics. (Okay, so he just makes us weak in the knees for all kinds of reasons, but you get the point.)

The photos involved are chosen as the most representative of the heroes featured, so IF they look like someone you’ve seen before, that’s almost entirely accidental.

Ty Porter

Today I am excited to introduce you to Carrie Schmidt, my lovely “Blogger Friend Extraordinaire” and creator of Reading is my SuperPower. Carrie has talked me off many a fictional ledge and has been on this journey with me for two years now. I am so blessed and honored to have her in my life. Carrie is sharing one of her favorite heroes with you today.

This was taken in 1996 of Matthew McConaughey for Vanity Fair by the famed photographer Herb Ritts. I officially fell head over heels. #1:

Who? Ty Porter

Where can we find this dreamboat? Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade (released May 2014)

Personality summary: “He could look into your eyes and without saying a word assure you that you were the most fascinating woman in the world and call you beautiful in six languages.” If you look up “flirtatious bad boy” in the dictionary, Ty Porter’s face (complete with that melt-your-knees grin) should be front and center. In fact, I would call him irrepressibly flirtatious. A wink from this cocky, flirty, charming, dimpled cowboyis all it takes to send readers after their swooning fans, and when he really turns up the heat? Well… keep a freezer handy too. Irresistible, thy name is Ty Porter. Ok…so to be honest at first he’s kind-of a jerk but, when he’s blindsided by his still-there feelings for Celia, shebecomes irresistible. And so does Jesus.

ty porter swoony saturdayWhat makes us swoon?

The FLIRTING!! (does anyone have a spare fan I can borrow?)

His talent at kissing (Wowzah!)

Daddy Ty (be still my heart)

Boyish sense of humor

He’s hot (yeah, it’s shallow but he IS)

Redeemed rogue

Intense heart and passion (freezer?

Freezer anyone?)Cowboy/Bull Rider – (swoon)


Kissing level of such swooniness: Ty is a definite 5 on the kissing scale. Good goobers, WHERE is that fan I requested??? 😉

Basic hero type: Ty by definition is more of a Henry on the hero scale. He’s fun-loving and may not seem serious enough to commit but his outer shallowness is actually masking an intensely passionate heart. He’s flirty and mischievous but when he loves he loves deeply. When he’s affected by someone, he’s affected deeply. So….while he may be a Henry-type on the outside, he’s actually a Knightley in disguise.


How can I meet this swoony mister? Meant to Be Mine is available on AmazonB&N, and Christian Book Distributors.

Ty Porter has always been irresistible to Celia Park. All through high school–irresistible. When their paths cross again after college– still irresistible. This time, though, Ty seems to feel exactly the same way about Celia. Their whirlwind romance deposits them at a street-corner Las Vegas wedding chapel.The next morning they wake to a marriage certificate and a dose of cold reality. Celia’s ready to be Ty’s wife, but Ty’s not ready to be her husband. He’s a professional bull rider, he lives on the road, and he’s long planned to settle down with the hometown girl he’s known since childhood.

Five and a half years pass. Celia’s buried her dreams so that she can afford to raise her daughter. Ty’s achieved all of his goals. Or thought he had, until he looks again into the eyes of the woman he couldn’t forget and into the face of the child he never knew he had.

How much will Ty sacrifice to win back Celia’s trust and prove to her that their spontaneous marriage can still become the love of a lifetime?

What about you? What type of book hero are you drawn to?
The reformed rogue or clean cut heroes?

About Carrie Schmidt

about me photoCarrie Schmidt is an avid reader, book reviewer, story addict, Kissing Books fan, book boyfriend collector, and cool aunt. She loves Jesus and THE Story a whole lot. Carrie lives in Kentucky with her husband Eric and their quirky dog Zuzu and is a co-founder of the Christian Fiction Readers’ Retreat. She blogs at http://readingismysuperpower.org

About Becky Wade

Becky-WadeBecky’s a California native who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and settled in Dallas.  She published historical romances for the general market before putting her career on hold for several years to care for her three children.  When God called her back to writing, Becky knew He meant for her to turn her attention to Christian fiction.  She loves writing funny, modern, and inspirational contemporary romance!  She’s the Carol Award, INSPY Award, and Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award winning author of My Stubborn Heart, the Porter Family series, and the Bradford Sisters Romance series. www.beckywade.com

Kissing Levels & Hero Types

Book Journeys – The Biltmore Series – Downstairs

Biltmore - DownstairsOur last Book Journey gave an introduction to The Biltmore as a whole, so today, we’re going to take a little tour downstairs. I’ll stop before we get to the library because that’s going to be its own post 😉 But…let’s begin…with our approach.


The house sits in a most lovely area. The three mile driveway from the Gatehouse to the sprawling Biltmore is called the Approach Road. Landscape Architect, Frederick Olmsted, carefully created a beautiful build-up to the grand unveiling of the estate house. The woods open to a long, green lawn leading up to the house with a rock wall on either side.

The house stands as a centerpiece and welcomes visitors to the beautiful front doors. The Entrance Hall opens to a great view of the Grand Winding Staircase to the left and the lush Winter Garden to the right. The Winter Garden consistently showcases flora of various types, lit by the wood-framed and elegantly carved ceiling of glass.

IMG956576Just beyond the Winter Garden is the largest room in the house, The Banquet Hall. The tapestry-wrapped room houses a dining table which could seat up to 64 people. The high ceilings and massive fireplace add such beauty to this great room.

The Breakfast Room, a more intimate space for family morning meals, is a room with elaborate decor and family portraits, increasing its intimacy.

Interestingly, The Music Room was not finished until 1976, but is an important part of history because in this room some of America’s most precious artwork was moved from the nation’s capital during WWII to keep it safe. Later, a fireplace and some décor was discovered in storage which fit the specifications of the room, so the room was finally finished and opened to the public.

The Tapestry Gallery, a 90-foot long room which leads to the library, is lined with 16th century tapestries and floor-to-ceiling doors which lead out onto the loggia. This was the place of gathering, of afternoon tea, and of…parties.

In my current WIP, this room is used a lot because, not only does it connect to the library, but during the warmer weather, the loggia doors would be opened to allow for more room to dance.

So, what do you know of the Biltmore? Have you ever been? Did you learn anything new today?

(Giveaway!) Swoony Saturdays – Michael Carrington

Welcome! Welcome!

Swoony Saturdays are your opportunity to be introduced to a book hero who fits high quality hero characteristics. (okay, so he just makes us weak in the knees for all kinds of reasons, but you get the point)

The photos involved are chosen as the most representative of the heroes featured, so IF they look like someone you’ve seen before, that’s almost entirely accidental.

Michael Carrington

Today we welcome Sarah Monzon to Swoony Saturdays to share with you the hero (well, ONE of the heroes) from her upcoming release All of You! Sarah has graciously provided an eBook copy of All of You as a GIVEAWAY! Make sure you enter via the Rafflecopter link at the end of this post!

Who? Michael “Finch” Carrington

Where can we find this dreamboat? All of You by Sarah Monzon (releases May 15, 2017)

chris odonnell.... I picture him as Michael Carrington

Personality summary: Michael is a man who had his whole life planned out down to the minute details. When he’s in a freak accident that leaves him a double amputee and stripped of everything he’s worked for, he’s left trying to make sense of the senseless. He’s careful with his words and thinks everything through first…which may leave some stomping their foot in impatience. While his challenges don’t cause him to turn his back on his faith, he does struggle with knowing what his purpose is now, with his identity. Self-sacrificing, he puts others needs before his own…even his perception of their needs. Loyal, honorable, and protective, he’ll do anything to help those he loves.

Noah Galloway is a heroic American soldier who became a double amputee following an IED attack during 2005 on his second deployment in Iraq....

What makes us swoon?

A man in uniform!




Willing to dress up like a pirate to impress his lady.


Can communicate thoughts and feelings through a single kiss.

All of You 2Kissing level of such swooniness: Michael is a kissing scale climber. He doesn’t give his kisses away to just anyone, so he has been mistaken for a #1. But don’t believe those rumors. When he’s ready, he’s been known to communicate all his thoughts and deep feelings into a single mind-blowing kiss that will leave the recipient more than a little weak in the knees.

chris o'donell - ahh Robin, my childhood crush:

Basic hero type: Michael is 70% Wentworth and 30% Ferrars. Loyal, Honorable, and in possession of a deep sense of justice, he often makes sacrifices to put other’s needs ahead of his own.

How can I meet this swoony mister? 

All of You is available for preorder on Amazon. (Don’t forget to enter the giveaway below.)All of You

About the Author

SarahSarah Monzon is a Navy chaplain’s wife and a stay at home mom to the two cutest littles in the world. Playing pretend all day with them isn’t enough, she spends the evenings after their heads hit the pillow to create her own imaginary characters. When she isn’t in the world of make believe, she can be found in the pine forests of western Washington taking care of her family, fostering friendships, and enjoying all the adventures each day brings.

Her debut novel, The Isaac Project, skyrocketed to Amazon bestseller status while her Sophomore book, Finders Keepers, has finaled in contests such as the Inspy Awards and received a 4 star review from Romantic Times.


Kissing Levels & Hero Types


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Journeys – The Biltmore Series

Biltmore Series

If any of you have been following my book journey for any amount of time, you know I LOVE LOVE the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. The house and grounds are a magnificent look at a ‘chateau’ of the mountains built at the end of the 19th century by millionaire George Vanderbilt.

George Vanderbilt's Engagement Portrait (from the Biltmore facebook page)
George Vanderbilt (Pinterest)

The story goes that George was traveling through Asheville in 1888 with his mother and fell in love with the land and the surrounding blue-hued mountains. Wasting no time, in 1889 he began constructing his 250-roomed French Renaissance style home. After six years, and the creation of a rail station and village to support the running of the estate, George opened Biltmore on Christmas Eve 1895. (The town of Best was purchased and became known as Biltmore Village – it grew under Vanderbilts hands. The servants lived here and even had central heat and plumbing, a BIG improvement in 19th century Appalachia.

With his great masterpiece, he hoped to make Biltmore a self-sustaining estate.

The home ushers in new opportunities for the small town of Asheville and the surrounding Appalachian community.

France plays an important part in George’s life, particularly a few years later when he meets, falls in love, and married Edith Dresser Stuyvesant. The two met while on a ship to France and then…after a brief courtship married in Paris.

beautiful Mrs George Vanderbilt BILTMORE HOUSE, Asheville, North Carolina, The Vanderbilt Estate
Edith Vanderbilt (Pinterest

It is said that when George brought Edith to Biltmore for the first time, the employees of Biltmore lined the street holding a tool from their trade in their hands. A large ‘horseshoe’ shaped bush wished the newlyweds toward their new home with good luck and…later that evening as the newlyweds watched from their balcony, fireworks lit the night sky.

The people of Biltmore must have thought George Vanderbilt had returned to the house with a princess.

Both George and Edith were generous of heart, mind, and money. Breaching the social divide, they believe in making a place better when they left than it was before, and their energies and kindness touched thousands. Edith was known for visiting servants’ houses without one hesitation. She was also a prolific letter writer.

George and Edith valued education. Within their lifetimes, they founded Biltmore Forest School (a school for forestry, George’s passion), and the School for the Domestic Sciences (a women’s school). They both encouraged and created adult literacy classes, particularly The Moonlight School, and developed internships to help created a culture of learning.

Biltmore LoggiaFrom all accounts, even though George and Edith had other grand houses, this one was their favorite. Over the next few months, we’ll take a deeper look at the beautiful house and history associated with it…and someday, I hope to bring this amazing home, couple, and story to life on the page.

– Pepper


Just the Way You AreDon’t forget to stop by HERE to enter to WIN a copy of my new release Just the Way You Are!