#StoriesOfJorie | a return to blogging, tweeting & a readerly life

Posted Tuesday, 31 January, 2017 by jorielov , , 1 Comment

Jorie Loves A Story Blog Banner created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography by Ben White. (Creative Commons Zero)

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts

what an interesting January & past few months, eh?

Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Tanguy Sauvin. (Creative Commons Zero)
Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Tanguy Sauvin. (Creative Commons Zero)

I wasn’t entirely sure what I expected I could accomplish my first full month back into book blogging but I found January a bit unsettling due to unexpected circumstances which sort of threw me for a bit of a loop, I must say! It started early-on in the month, when my dear cats (as I have two, out of the four original lovelies we adopted) started to struggle with their food. As they are each entering their ‘senior’ years – one is 13 on April Fool’s Day and the other follows ringing in her 12th year on the 4th of July – I had no idea cats can develop food intolerances and food allergies this late in life.

The irony is whilst this was happening, my Dad was starting to make his rounds to his follow-up appointments past his carotid artery surgery and TIA strokes – some days I say my Dad had a stroke (singular) and other days I refer directly to the fact he had a series of TIA’s. The discrepancy I blame on the doctors who seem to prefer to clump the ‘series’ into one ‘singular’ stroke episode, although anyone who was present in the ER that day, realises it was multiples. Irregardless, this was Dad’s first step ‘forward’ out of his hospitalisation and recovery period at home to see where he stood now a full month out of surgery. Blessedly, we were thrilled to bits to learn everything is going alright – even his levels of cholesterol are being maintained naturally; as this was one thing both he and my Mum and I were insistent upon: half conventional and half natural medicine on exit of the hospital. Dad takes a small dose of BP (blood pressure) medicine, a full aspirin (coated) as well as Red Rice Yeast and fish oil. To find his levels are maintaining a normal range when they were spiking over Thanksgiving weekend was welcome relief!

Concurrent to my Dad’s doctor’s visits – of which conclude in February, as he has a few more follow-ups before he can take an absence until the six month visit to his surgeon’s office to see if he needs secondary carotid artery surgery (on the other side). We are hoping he won’t need it – but if he does, we did remind him, you survived the worst of the worst when it comes to that procedure, surely the second time round won’t be so intense? – my Mum has been picking up extra shifts, by re-instating with an agency she worked with previously as she’s a Senior Caretaker/Companion for both special needs adults and those who are dealing with degenerative issues. She was growing more concerned about our family car as it’s a used car which might have seen better days even before it became ours. We prayed it would get us to the hospital all the days Dad was a patient, but one night, the mercy came in the form of a late night nurse and a cab company who helped ferret us back when Dad was struggling after his surgery; our car was as good as dead at that point. We did have a bit of a reprieve with the car shortly afterwards, but for the most part you could say it became the ‘unreliable’ necessity of our lives. Read More

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Posted Tuesday, 31 January, 2017 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Birthdays & Blogoversaries, JLAS Update Post, Jorie Loves A Story, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Sci-Fi November, Stories of Jorie

#TwelfthNightReadathon | “Gifts of the Magi: A Speculative Holiday Collection” an anthology with a charitable heart benefiting Indy Reads Books!

Posted Saturday, 14 January, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Twelfth Night Readathon badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: Ahead of Christmas 2015, I received a beautifully lovely gift: a specially released anthology celebrating Speculative Fiction authors and the gift of charity. Indy Reads Books is an independent bookstore in Indianapolis, Indiana giving back to authors, readers and members of their community on a yearly basis whereas the other half of “Indy Reads” is a non-profit literacy organisation. This is a bookstore I have come to know through the authors who are behind this anthology: Mr (RJ) Sullivan, Mr (John F.) Allen and Ms Chris (E. Chris Garrison) of whom I have had the joy of interacting with both on blog tours or outside of them for Tomorrow Comes Media and/or Seventh Star Press.

This particular book was offered to me knowing how much I love holiday stories and the beauty of having such a strong presence of Speculative stories contained in one singular anthology with the heart of the holidays a central theme running through them! I personally love reading anthologies within the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Cosy Horror genres, which in of itself felt like a good fit to read this collection. I was unexpectedly taken ill during December 2015 (my infamous thirty day flu!) and this past December, whilst I had re-scheduled this to be a part of my #ChristmasReads and #WYChristmasReadathon series of posts, I was otherwise distracted by the recovery process after my Dad’s stroke. You can read about the first twenty-four hours after his stroke (per this post) and a bit of a background on my inability to read during December (per this anchour section of a recent review). Thus, my idea of recapturing the Christmas Spirit during Twelfth Night weekend was bourne!

I received a complimentary copy of “Gifts of the Magi” direct from the author R.J. Sullivan in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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#TwelfthNightReadathon & what sparked the idea:

I personally love reading holiday stories around Christmastime, however, this year, proved to be quite a unique year all the way round; starting Thanksgiving weekend. I dearly wanted to dig inside these lovely stories which are winking at me to read but with a heavy heart and a mind weighed down by anxieties attached to stroke patient’s recoveries, you could say the timing was definitively ‘off’ this year for posting anything remotely lit with the Christmas Spirit in December. I had to fight my way back into reading just to secure a passageway back into the hours I love spending inside stories and the journey of characters; as let’s face it, I had a lot on my heart and soul this year.

The blessing is being able to find my bookish joy emerged through a succession of Rom Novellas through a blog series I entitled: #MidnightChocLit (see the thread). This enabled me not only to retrieve my bookish heart but my bookish joy – the curiosity about stories and the lives of characters started to renew inside my imagination and it started me off again on solid ground. Spending this past week tucked inside an INSPY #HistRom also provided me with the hours I needed to heal my nerves and resume enjoying the hours I could spend inside a fictional world (see also Review).

Despite my progress back to my blog and back into an active reading life, there were ebbs of guilt murmuring inside my heart because more than anything I had wanted this to be a December where I could fully embrace reading stories of the season. This is when a lightbulb flashed in my mind – wait! The Christmas season isn’t fully extinguished until Twelfth Night and Twelfth Night is a celebration of the three kings! I knew I should start by reading and live tweeting my responses to Gifts of the Magi on this particular Friday, as it marks Twelfth Night officially! Ergo, all the lovely stories of Christmas Spirit across genre and literary selections could now be happily read during my own personal #TwelfthNightReadathon!

Except to say, Mother Nature had other plans in store for me – we had an epic storm arriving in the afternoon hours of Twelfth Night itself and it continued into Saturday; therefore, my tweets were quite a bit delayed – thus kicking off this readathon as a ‘weekend’ celebration; perhaps it was meant to be all along, as this is what I had put on the badge I created to celebrate the series of reviews! My readings of this anthology truly were encased during #TwelfthNight weekend, however, my reviews I wanted to feature over the weekend are running this week instead. The best part for me – is to be able to recapture stories of a season I cherish so dearly during a year where my heart was full of anxiety and now just a stone’s throw in the New Year, I can reattach the joys of soaking into stories of Yule & Christmastide!

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This of course, would have remained true if my dear Maine Coon / tabby hadn’t been struck quite ill whilst I was trying to kick-off this readathon. Turns out, as a senior cat of nearly 13 years he’s developed horrid food allergies and was quite miserable; his sister-in-arms is one year his junior (my little Tux!) of whom now has ‘food intolerance’s’. Despite being earnestly hopeful to find something that would work for them (as in their kittenhood and early years of growth, they had (as did their two siblings) multiple health issues which is why Mum and I were consistently ‘on the road’ to new places to purchase high quality pet foods whilst the Vets and my fam were growing more discouraged by the hour when even the best quality you can find isn’t working for your four cats. Hence why we were advised to go with what worked for our darlings and not worry about what is working for everyone else. This worked out quite well – until now.

Turns out!? The *best!* cat food our cats need was developed by Rachael Ray! Her Nutrish line for cats (esp the Chicken and Potato dry food!) is what turnt this crazy insanity around in *one!* feeding! ONE! Our Coon / Tabby who was *always!* Alpha is now a Beta cat whose so relaxed and happy, his Tux of a sister is still trying to get used to him being less playful around her and just go with the flow. All his issues are gone as are hers, to such a degree it’s a true miracle. They used to eat only wet food, but this dry food has done so many marvels for their health (i.e. vision, fur, digestion, etc) I cannot see them returning to wet food! Their so happy right now, it’s a beautiful thing to see – ergo, I am continuing this readathon in the spirit of Twelfth Night – as a closing of the holiday season and the stories of Yule.

This is why you’ll see my tweets stopped for a short break – as everything prior to Unraveled was written by the 9th before I was able to resume and conclude my ruminations.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com#TwelfthNightReadathon | “Gifts of the Magi: A Speculative Holiday Collection” an anthology with a charitable heart benefiting Indy Reads Books!Gifts of the Magi
Subtitle: A Speculative Holiday Collection
by A.D Roland, Chantal Noordeloos, Debra Holland, Herika R. Raymer, John F. Allen, Katina French, Ms Chris (E. Chris Garrison), R.J. Sullivan
Source: Direct from Author

Stories for Christmas-- authors for the New Year!

Find within this magical tome 14 NEW original holiday-themed stories of fantasy, horror and science fiction by a talented group of authors--plus one holiday essay. The tales from our Magi vary from the light and satirical to the dark and serious, and we've shuffled the deck to keep you guessing.

· A time guardian may have to choose between preserving reality or destroying the man she loves.
· A snowman comes to life, but he's not a happy soul.
· Santa makes a terrible bargain in order to save Christmas.
· On Christmas Eve, a furious fairy princess attacks a double-decker bus.
· Two secret agents attend an exclusive Christmas party with an unusual price of admission.
· Soldiers in the midst of the zombie apocalypse try to find the Christmas spirit.
· A boy and his father confront an alien creature on the Longest Night.
· A mercenary packing magical pistols battles a monster while Christmas shopping for her werewolf boyfriend.
· Steampunk detectives find themselves fending off Christmas "elves."
· Humans exiled to an alternate world blend alien and human holiday traditions.
· A banished prince with a magic chicken finds a nearly drowned soldier--so says the storyteller.
· A bounty hunter searches for a rogue elf.
· A traumatized punk girl confronts the spirits from the worst night of her life.
· In a dystopian future, Christmas is outlawed.
· ...And Shirley Jackson Award-nominated author Nicole Cushing reveals the holiday specials that she feels deserve "lumps of coal."

100% of all proceeds from this book benefit Indy Reads.

Indy Reads is a not-for-profit organization that relies on volunteers to provide basic literacy tutoring to illiterate and semi-literate adults. Indy Reads operates a bookstore in downtown Indianapolis. Learn more at www.indyreads.org.

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1502902528

Also by this author: Hero's Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions, Blue Spirit, Guest Post (Restless Spirit), Restless Spirit, Virtual Blue, Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy, Author Interview (Red Lotus, Vol.1), Commanding the Red Lotus

Genres: Anthology Collection of Short Stories and/or Essays, Christmas Story &/or Christmas Romance, Cosy Horror, Fantasy Fiction, Science Fiction


Published by Speculative Fiction Guild

on Halloween, 2014

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 196

Published By: Speculative Fiction Guild | Facebook | @sfg2013

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #SpecFict + #anthology (or #SpeculativeFiction)

About John F. Allen

John F Allen

John F. Allen is an American writer born in Indianapolis, IN. He is a member of The Indiana Writers Center, began writing stories as early as the second grade and pursued most forms of writing at some point, throughout his career. John studied Liberal Arts at IUPUI with a focus in Creative Writing, received an honorable discharge from the United States Air Force and is a current member of the American Legion. John's debut novel, The God Killers was published in the Summer of 2013 by Seventh Star Press. He also has published short stories in several anthologies including: Thunder on the Battlefield, Vol I, also by Seventh Star Press and In The Bloodstream, by Mocha Memoirs Press.

John currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana.

About Ms Chris (E. Chris Garrison)

Ms Chris Garrison

E. Chris Garrison writes Fantasy and Science Fiction novels and short stories. She used to publish as Eric Garrison, but has since upgraded.

Her latest series is Trans-Continental, a Steampunk adventure with a transgender woman as its protagonist. Chris’s supernatural fantasy stories include the Road Ghosts trilogy and the Tipsy Fairy Tales published by Seventh Star Press. These novels are humorous supernatural fantasies, dealing with ghosts, demonic possession, and sinister fairy folk.

Her novel, Reality Check, is a Science Fiction adventure released by Hydra Publications. Reality Check reached #1 in Science Fiction on Amazon.com during a promotion in July 2013. Chris lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, with her wife, step-daughter and cats. She also enjoys gaming, home brewing beer, and finding innovative uses for duct tape.

About R.J. Sullivan

R.J. Sullivan with his characters

R.J. Sullivan’s novel Haunting Blue is an edgy paranormal thriller and the first book of the adventures of punk girl Fiona “Blue” Shaefer and her boyfriend Chip Farren. Seventh Star Press also released Haunting Obsession, a Rebecca Burton Novella, and Virtual Blue, the second part of Fiona’s tale. The short stories in this collection have been featured in such acclaimed anthologies as Dark Faith Invocations by Apex Books and Vampires Don’t Sparkle. His next book due out very soon will be Commanding the Red Lotus, which collects the series of science fiction novelettes in the tradition of Andre Norton and Gene Roddenberry.

R.J. resides with his family in Heartland Crossing, Indiana. He drinks regularly from a Little Mermaid coffee mug and is man enough to admit it.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #TwelfthNightReadathon
  • #WYChristmasReadathon
  • Sci Fi Experience 2017
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Posted Saturday, 14 January, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, BlogTalkRadio, Book Review (non-blog tour), Cosy Horror, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore, Futuristic Fantasy, Guest Author on the Chamber, Indie Author, Parapsychological Suspense, Podcast, Supernatural Fiction, Telepaths & Telepathy, The Star Chamber Show, Vulgarity in Literature

Audiobook Blog Tour | “Meeting Lydia” by Linda MacDonald

Posted Friday, 17 February, 2017 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Digital Audiobook by: I am a new blog tour hostess with Audiobookworm Promotions wherein I have the opportunity to receive audiobooks for review or adoption (reviews outside of organised blog tours) and host guest features on behalf of authors and narrators alike. I started hosting for Audiobookworm Promotions at the end of [2016] during “The Cryptic Lines” tour wherein I became quite happily surprised how much I am now keen on listening to books in lieu of reading them in print. My journey into audiobooks was prompted by a return of my chronic migraines wherein I want to offset my readings with listening to the audio versions.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Meeting Lydia” via the publicist at Audiobookworm Promotions (of whom was working directly with the author Linda MacDonald) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I wanted to read this story:

Shortly ahead of this review, I posted an author guest post in relation to the topical inclusions of ‘Meeting Lydia’ where the author and I share different points of view on behalf of being bullied whilst being integrated into a co-ed learning environment which was once boys-only.

I do find stories like this which seek out the social-psychological perspectives to be most interesting to read – as we all react differently to situations we might share in common. In essence, despite the amount of bullying I’ve endured in my life, I have yet to find another who has experienced the same who felt the way I did about all of it. I do credit my rebounding approach to find the goodness in others and to find something to be thankful for each day. Whilst my parents were steadfast in their support but also had the foresight to pull me in and out of public and private schools to where I was never in the same bad situation twice even if it repeated at another school.

To me though, this did not initially feel like a story of someone who was once bullied and lateron had issues moving forward in life but rather it presented itself more of a mid-life change of philosophy about life, love and second chances when it comes to romance and relationships. How to off-set hormonal changes as well (ie. menopause) and how to deal with possible regrets (of roads not taken) which might come back to haunt someone whose still not quite where they wanted to be at the age in which they felt their lives would have been fully resolved by now.
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Audiobook Blog Tour | “Meeting Lydia” by Linda MacDonaldMeeting Lydia
by Linda MacDonald
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Harriet Carmichael

Edward Harvey. Even thinking his name made her tingle with half-remembered childlike giddiness. Edward Harvey, the only one from Brocklebank to whom she might write if she found him.”

Marianne Hayward, teacher of psychology and compulsive analyser of the human condition, is hormonally unhinged. The first seven years of her education were spent at a boys’ prep school, Brocklebank Hall, where she was relentlessly bullied. From the start, she was weak and frightened and easy prey for Barnaby Sproat and his gang. Only one boy was never horrible to her: the clever and enigmatic Edward Harvey, on whom she developed her first crush.

Now 46, when Marianne finds her charming husband in the kitchen talking to the glamorous Charmaine, her childhood insecurities resurface and their once-happy marriage begins to slide. Teenage daughter Holly persuades her to join Friends Reunited, which results in both fearful and nostalgic memories of prep school as Marianne wonders what has become of the bullies and of Edward Harvey. Frantic to repair her marriage, yet rendered snappy and temperamental by her plummeting hormones, her attempts towards reconciliation fail.

The answer to all her problems could lie in finding Edward again...
But what would happen if she found what she seeks?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

ASIN: B01N74OZJ5

Also by this author:

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Women's Fiction


Published by Essential Music

on 17th November, 2016

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 8 hours and 43 minutes (unabridged)

About Linda MacDonald

Linda Macdonald

Born and brought up in the town of Cockermouth in the Lake District in England, Linda MacDonald has a degree in psychology from Goldsmiths’, London University, and a PGCE in biology and science. She retired in 2012 from teaching psychology in a 6th Form College in order to focus on writing, and has now published three print novels, the first of which is now an audiobook. She lives in Beckenham in Greater London, and travels to speak to various groups about the inspiration behind the ‘Lydia’ series and the psychology of internet relationships.

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Posted Friday, 17 February, 2017 by jorielov in 21st Century, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Dating & Humour Therein, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, Modern Day, Realistic Fiction, Sociology, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “A Valentine Surprise” by Emily Murdoch a novella anchoured to ‘A Christmas Surprise’, two of the #Regency Roms by Ms Murdoch

Posted Tuesday, 14 February, 2017 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I am a hostess with Writerly Yours PR – which is run by my dear friend Priya of whom I met during a blogger panel. We have become friends through our collaborations and it has been an honour to work with her on her publicity projects for Indie authors – most of whom I have been featuring a guest author feature as I cannot read digital copies of books. In this particular instance, I was allowed to print the PDF in order to read in full for which I was thankful to the author for allowing me to do so in lieu of a paperback copy to read.

This particular blog tour was anchoured by Twitter chats wherein we attempted to break the novella down into collections of chapters and discuss the story via Twitter whilst finalising our book club discussions with a special Q&A with the author – which is scheduled to run during the blog tour itself.

I received a complimentary copy of “A Valentine Surprise” direct from the author Emily Murdoch in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was keen on reading this story:

I originally had intended to release my review on behalf of the previous release ‘A Christmas Surprise’ anchoured through my #ChristmasReads selections this past holiday season. I setting things up to run the week after Thanksgiving with a few featured over Thanksgiving weekend – however, as most of my dedicated followers already realise, this was the weekend my Dad had his stroke (see also this post and this post). Concurrently, I’ve been struggling to find my way back into my blog – in reading regularly and blogging regularly as I am now my father’s main caregiver. To say I am seeking a bit more balance in my life at the moment is putting it mildly. However, despite the imbalance of my reading life and the gaps in my blogging life – I can attest, I’ve cured one thing recently: I re-fell in love with cooking! lol All it took was a return to the local farmer’s market wherein you can hand-select and cut your own fresh produce.

Whilst signing up for this blog tour, I was excited as I came to appreciate the writer’s style whilst reading ‘A Christmas Surprise’ – which is still going to be featured on my blog – even if it’s a few months shy of Christmas; I have a few leftover Christmas selections to release and hopefully help readers find a few to tuck away for the holidays next year. I was thankful this new novella follows the timeline of the first one – if in effect you look at it from a unique angle, this could actually serve as a back-story on how the characters are inter-connected – specifically, by way of Lady Audrey and Jonathan.

I still find it wicked amazing how the author has been threading her stories through novellas, selecting a shorter arm of narrative to tell her stories whilst still giving the reader something hearty to chew on whilst they read her stories. This is something I tried to highlight through the latest Twitter ‘book club’ chat regarding ‘A Valentine Secret’ – of which I’ll include at the bottom of this review – offering everyone on the blog tour a chance to click-through to Twitter tweet by tweet and add their commentaries to the discussion questions awaiting them. For readers who are not a part of the blog tour – I welcome your responses, as these are everyday themes which are cross-relatable to all.

 Blog Book Tour | “A Valentine Surprise” by Emily Murdoch a novella anchoured to ‘A Christmas Surprise’, two of the #Regency Roms by Ms MurdochA Valentine Surprise
Subtitle: A Regency Romance
by Emily Murdoch
Source: Author via Writerly Yours PR

The course of true love never did run smooth…

Jonathan Brodie, the only son of Sir Roger and Lady Brodie, has lived in the village of Maplebridge his whole life.

Penelope, the daughter of the local florist, was adopted by the Baldwins when she was just a baby.

They could not be more different and yet, one blustery January morning, their paths collide in a chance encounter that is destined to change their lives forever.

Jonathan soon discovers that Penelope is far from the quiet wallflower that she first seems, but rather a beautiful rose just waiting for its chance to bloom. After spending more and more time together, it’s not long before their feelings for each other begin to blossom.

However, when Jonathan starts investigating Penelope’s past, in order to present her with the truth about her biological parents, his grand Valentines gesture threatens to destroy any hope of a future with the woman he has grown to love.

Penelope begins to doubt Jonathan’s motives.

Is he only concerned with placating his domineering father and convincing him that she is worthy of the Brodie name?

Despite his good intentions, will Jonathan’s Valentine Secret ruin everything?

Or are two people from opposite ends of society simply destined to remain poles apart forever?

A Valentine Secret is a charming regency romance novella about never giving up on true love. ​

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1523659098

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Short Story or Novella


Published by Self Published Author

on 21st January, 2016

Format: epub | PDF editon

Pages: 112

Self-Published Author

Formats Available: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #HistRom, #HistoricalRomance + book tag: #AValentineSecret

#Regency or #IndieAuthor + #ValentineRomance

About Emily Murdoch

Emily Murdoch

Emily Murdoch is a medieval historian and writer. She has authored a medieval series and a regency novella series, and is currently working on several new projects. To stay updated on her writing and upcoming books, follow her blog and on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Tuesday, 14 February, 2017 by jorielov in Adoption, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Historical Romance, Singletons & Commitment, the Regency era, Village Life, Women's Fiction, Writerly Yours PR

Guest Post | “How I Came to Write ‘Meeting Lydia'” by Linda MacDonald whilst talking about bullying, internet relationships & midlife

Posted Monday, 13 February, 2017 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Guest Contributor and/or Reviewer of JLAS banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, dear hearts! To be perfectly fair – when it came time to start to host ‘Meeting Lydia’, I had completely forgotten I had signed on to host a guest (author) feature, until of course, the day arrived where my particular guest feature was arriving by email! This intriguingly current topical essay landed in my Inbox, much to my chagrin – as how was it possible I was receiving a guest feature, I honestly had no memory of sending off to be responded too? I must confess – somewhere between November and now, my memories are a bit ‘altered’ by circumstance(s).

Quite pleasantly, as I was reading over the proof of the draft sent to me, I noticed the author touched on some key cornerstones of not only her life but the life of Lydia, her lead protagonist. I did not quite agree with some of the sentiments shared as being someone who was bullied in school and outside of it, I had different takeaways – for instance, I came out of being bullied a bit differently. If anything part of what inspired me forward to graduating as early as I could was to be free of the confines of school, where in effect bullies can thrive because it’s a ‘closed shoppe’ of situations limited in scope to the school grounds. It’s much easier to ‘walk away’ when you have freedom of movement and accessibility of exit options. I never felt due to being bullied, I was ‘less than’ my peers – if anything, the words stung, the assaults on my character hurt my soul (how could they not?) but throughout the bad days, I had two wicked fierce supporters in my corner: my Mum and Dad. They picked me up when life dragged me into the gutters of emotional anguish and angst – they gave me a renewed sense of self and they helped me dodge my worst aggressors by changing schools or districts. In essence, they were my advocates before I gained the strength to voice my own advocacy and stand up for the rights I knew were innate and inherent to all.

Each of us who is bullied has a different response mechanism and each of us is bullied in different ways. I still have moments where bullies find me and try to find a way to erode my serenity… even online, you will find bullies who seek to destroy you (as I have found since being a book blogger and tweeter); however, the key is always to strive to live your own personal truth, own your truth and not to let others change your perspective on who you are nor the worth you have within you to share to the world. I can only hope those who are bullied can find strength in their selves as I have over the years, and may they have a blessed supportive network of friends and/or family such as I have as well.

As a side note, I was one of the first girls who integrated into an all-boys secondary school – it turnt out to be the best year of my life, because the boys and I respected each other to the degree of learning more during our 6th Year than any year which came after it straight through high school graduation. I realise this might sound unique – but for me, the co-ed classrooms were in their infancy and due to the gradual way in which girls’ were being added to the student body, allowed us a bit more flexibility to find our wings to fit in with our peers. It wasn’t without it’s hurdles, mind you, as it was a large campus and entertained seven different grade levels – however, for my own personal sphere and grade, it was heaven. I felt bad when I learnt of the author’s own experiences – as apparently, the school she attended was going through more growing pains with the transitional period than my own.

Also, I never heard of ‘bullying’ being a rite of passage – if anything, it was the unspoken, often ‘unaddressed’ behaviour of childhood. Similar to learning difficulties being cast aside for the attempt to mainstream children without addressing their individual learning needs and/or help them learn at a pace which befitted their own intellectual abilities. The old standby of ‘one method of learning’ for everyone never sat well with me. I find it heart-warming and remarkable, the author found a cathartic self-ending resolution to her years being bullied – to turn inward and outward within the vein of writing a novel had to be quite remarkable seeing the words light up the pages – turning personal strife into a release of positive energy to touch other lives and tell a portion of her own story in the process. Writers are fuelled by personal experiences, memories and the internalisation of everything we can breathe through our souls whilst we live our lives – to find a way to use transformative narrative to set a back-story for a character is writerly bliss – especially if it taps into something a lot of people can relate too, even if circumstances differ – we can all be empathic to the shared reality.

I hadn’t realised the story-line was going to delve into bullying – as at the time I signed on for the tour, I was focusing on the two other aspects of it’s narrative: midlife, second chance romance and the hormonal changes a woman goes through during menopause. Mostly as I grew up watching “The Golden Girls”, ached to watch “Maude”, cheered for Diane Lane in “Under the Tuscan Sun” and “Must Love Dogs” and have found mid-life stories and second chance romances of characters past thirty-ten to be some of my most beloved finds as both a reader and a film appreciator. Not everyone has the chance to meet their true love or find their true happiness in both life or life at a younger age where longevity in marriage might feel either daunting or an exciting adventure. 

To have the story layered through strife and self-esteem issues is an interesting angle to dissect. I also appreciated the author taking the lead on this essay and giving me a though-provoking ‘start’ to share with everyone following the blog tour. I look forward to your comments in the threads below – especially if you can relate to the topic today and/or are interested in listening/reading the story. If you’ve already read the story, I’d be keen to know your reactions to the author’s guest post. Due return in a few short days, as I’ll be revealling my own impressions on how ‘Meeting Lydia’ resonated with me. Until then, brew a cuppa and enjoy the author’s revelations about how she approached writing this novel.
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Meeting Lydia by Linda Macdonald

Edward Harvey. Even thinking his name made her tingle with half-remembered childlike giddiness. Edward Harvey, the only one from Brocklebank to whom she might write if she found him.”

Marianne Hayward, teacher of psychology and compulsive analyser of the human condition, is hormonally unhinged. The first seven years of her education were spent at a boys’ prep school, Brocklebank Hall, where she was relentlessly bullied. From the start, she was weak and frightened and easy prey for Barnaby Sproat and his gang. Only one boy was never horrible to her: the clever and enigmatic Edward Harvey, on whom she developed her first crush.

Now 46, when Marianne finds her charming husband in the kitchen talking to the glamorous Charmaine, her childhood insecurities resurface and their once-happy marriage begins to slide. Teenage daughter Holly persuades her to join Friends Reunited, which results in both fearful and nostalgic memories of prep school as Marianne wonders what has become of the bullies and of Edward Harvey. Frantic to repair her marriage, yet rendered snappy and temperamental by her plummeting hormones, her attempts towards reconciliation fail. The answer to all her problems could lie in finding Edward again… But what would happen if she found what she seeks?

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School Bullying, Internet Relationships and Midlife Love

How I came to write Meeting Lydia

Guest post by Linda MacDonald

When I was 5 years old and living on the edge of England’s Lake District, my parents sent me as a day girl to a boys’ private boarding school. They thought it would be less rough than the local elementary. They were wrong. Girls were scattered thinly throughout the school and from the age of 9 to 10, I was the only girl in the class. I was bullied. It was the usual stuff: name-calling, stealing equipment, being left out. No single incident was what you might call ‘serious’, but it happened every day. And if someone makes fun of you often enough, you begin to believe it.

In the past bullying was accepted as a rite of passage, even ‘character building’. But does it really help children to cope better as adults? The Kidscape children’s charity thinks not. In a survey of 1000 adults, they found early bullying experiences often led to a lack of self esteem. Some reported depression, shyness, and less likelihood of success in education, the workplace or in social relationships. Most said they felt bitter and angry about their experiences. Read More

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Posted Monday, 13 February, 2017 by jorielov in 21st Century, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Author Guest Post (their topic), Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Dating & Humour Therein, Indie Author, Modern Day, Realistic Fiction, Sociology, Women's Fiction

Audiobook Review | “Halfway Hunted: Halfway Witchy, No.3” by Terry Maggert, narrated by Erin Spencer

Posted Friday, 10 February, 2017 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Digital Audiobook by: I am a new blog tour hostess with Audiobookworm Promotions wherein I have the opportunity to receive audiobooks for review or adoption (reviews outside of organised blog tours) and host guest features on behalf of authors and narrators alike. I started hosting for Audiobookworm Promotions at the end of [2016] during “The Cryptic Lines” tour wherein I became quite happily surprised how much I am now keen on listening to books in lieu of reading them in print. My journey into audiobooks was prompted by a return of my chronic migraines wherein I want to offset my readings with listening to the audio versions.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Halfway Hunted” via the publicist at Audiobookworm Promotions (of whom was working directly with the author Terry Maggert) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On the heart tug of emotional angst stemming out of the cliffhanger from Halfway Bitten:

In case you’ve missed my full ruminations on behalf of the first novel in this wonderfully witchy series, please direct your mouse to Halfway Dead!

Halfway Hunted promo badge provided by Audiobookworm Promotions

When Halfway Bitten concluded – I had mixed emotions. In some ways, I had trouble sorting out my thoughts because I couldn’t quite say I had the same reaction to the second story as I did the first: wicked sweet admiration for the story in whole. No. I honestly had a difficult takeaway, as portions of the story felt ‘off’ to me somehow, something I have sorted out how to explain, if you read the ‘postscript’ on my review.

The hardest part about the ending is how it ends – to be direct, this is the second time I felt overcome by the ending of a novel. The first time was during a read-fest of Lady Darby, of which sadly ended with me unable to resolve my feelings in order to read the adorable pocket sized fifth installment. (see also post) By the time I resolved my emotional angst, I was facing a real-life medical crisis. (see also post) In this particular case, it was simply emotionally gutting – such a sad conclusion and yet, a heroic gesture for someone’s beloved. Wulfric grew on me – as he didn’t warm to me initially – it was through his love for Carlie and the overtures of sincerity he made started me to think about another vampire I liked (ie. Angel; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Angel series)

Each of the Halfway Witchy stories are progressively moving deeper into the heart of Carlie’s personal growth and the ways in which her life is exponentially complicated through her experiences as a white witch. Maggert threads a hearty threading of realism into the backbone of the series – there are happy moments, sure, but overall, this is a cheeky satire with high octane drama. It’s set in a world just out of the view of our own – if you kept the veil of the supernatural away from your eyes, you could say this is ‘present day, 21st Century’, too. It’s texture of familiarity is enhanced by how Maggert etches into his narrative exchanges of cultural and tradition Americans would readily recognise. This is decidedly American – not just in how he chooses to write his characters’ unique personalities or their delivery of their lines, but rather, how the story is told. You can perceive a lens of grounding out of the author’s own imagination and living memories whilst countered against the unseen and very dangerous supernatural world.

This is why I am so genuinely addicted to this series – you feel like brewing up a warm cuppa and settling in for returning back to a place that feels so much like home. Similar to Stars Hollow if you will. Or any small towne you feel you can cosy up inside and be recognised as a resident rather than as a passing through outsider. This is why despite the cliffhanger giving my heart a lurched out motion of ‘how could this happen!?’ I felt Maggert left in just enough Hope for things to turn around and/or have restitution given down the road a bit in the next installments to where I could handle moving forward. Unlike my feelings on behalf of the recent episode of NCIS: LA (see this thread of a rant of mine) which pushed the envelope too far for me to even consider rational and plausible in regards of ‘where’ a story-line in a family tv series should go.

As an aside, Lady Darby’s story-line crushed my soul, NCIS: LA disturbed my heart and disillusioned my loyalty to a series I’ve followed since JAG (ie: all 3x NCIS are spins of the original) and Halfway Witchy dealt with a twist of fate in such a better way. If you’re going to give a reader (or a viewer) a heart-wreck of a cliffhanger or turning of tides, take after Mr Magget. And, yes… I am going to be reading Lady Darby – after you nearly lose your father to a series of TIAs, even a crushed soul can be repaired. Or in my case, a severe case of amnesia occurred because something more important was hitting my reality. NCIS: LA is falling into the category of Castle & Downton Abbey; not everything can be forgiven. Then again, I boycotted Angel after S2 for similar reasons.

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Audiobook Review | “Halfway Hunted: Halfway Witchy, No.3” by Terry Maggert, narrated by Erin SpencerHalfway Hunted
Subtitle: Some Prey Bites Back
by Terry Maggert
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Erin Spencer

Welcome to Halfway; where the waffles are golden, the moon is silver, and magic is just around every corner.

A century old curse is broken, releasing Exit Wainwright, an innocent man trapped alone in time. Lost and in danger, he enlists Carlie, Gran, and their magic to find the warlock who sentenced him to a hundred years of darkness. The hunter becomes the hunted when Carlie's spells awaken a cold-blooded killer intent on adding another pelt to their gruesome collection: hers.

But the killer has never been to Halfway before, where there are three unbreakable rules:

1. Don't complain about the diner's waffles.
2. Don't break the laws of magic.
3. Never threaten a witch on her home turf.

Can Carlie solve an ancient crime, defeat a ruthless killer and save the love of her life from a vampire's curse without burning the waffles?

Come hunt with Carlie, and answer the call of the wild.

Places to find the book:

Also by this author: Halfway Dead, Halfway Bitten, Heartborn,

Also in this series: Halfway Dead, Halfway Bitten


Genres: Cosy Horror, Ghost Story, New Adult Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Sci-Fantasy, Upper YA Fiction, Vampire Romance, YA Paranormal Suspense


Published by Terry Maggert

on 10th November, 2016

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 6 hours and 56 minutes (unabridged)

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the halfway witchy series:

Halfway Witchy book series collage provided by Audiobookworm Promotions
Digital composite of Wooden table with library background. Halfway Witchy book series collage provided by Audiobookworm Promotions; used with permission.

Notation on Cover Art Design: charmed by two, indifferent towards a third

Unlike my admiration for the first two covers, the third cover was slightly less inclined to be liked by me due to how ‘blood’ was the prime feature of the artwork. I’m not a girl who likes vampires or werewolves – not generally – I do have my exceptions (all girls do) but if you were to cast a wide net about the stories of the supernatural and/ paranormal suspense in general – I’m just not the kind of reader / viewer who digs a lot of er, blood. Unless it’s a medical drama – not that I can handle watching or reading medical dramas anymore – in my teenage years I could filter real life from fictional; as an adult, I’ve lived too many years with medical crises to care to always be locked into a soul-wretch of a fictional one. I even wanted to share the promo badges attached to this blog tour – as some of the quotes were my personal favourites – but again. The ‘blood’ is just too .. er, ick for me!? I always par down the blood – my imagination is tamer than most and more expansive in other regards – in true essence, I dial down the gore. Not that I would consider Maggert’s fiction ‘gory’ no, it’s still within what I consider ‘Cosy Horror’ or even ‘Horror-Lite’ but.. yes. This cover just didn’t win me over. I sort of wished for the continuity of the marker tattoos. That was something wicked original now discarded.

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About Terry Maggert

Terry Maggert

Left-handed. Father of an apparent nudist. Husband to a half-Norwegian. Herder of cats and dogs. Lover of pie. I write books. I've had an unhealthy fascination with dragons since the age of-- well, for a while. Native Floridian. Current Tennessean. Location subject to change based on insurrection, upheaval, or availability of coffee. Nine books and counting, with no end in sight. You've been warned.

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Posted Friday, 10 February, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Apothecary, ArchDemons or Demonic Entities, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Author Found me On Twitter, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cats and Kittens, Clever Turns of Phrase, Coming-Of Age, Cosy Horror, Cosy Horror Suspense, Dreams & Dreamscapes, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Environmental Science, Equality In Literature, Faeries & the Fey, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Ghost Story, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Good vs. Evil, Gothic Literature, Gothic Mystery, Horror-Lite, Humour & Satire in Fiction / Non Fiction, Immortals, Indie Author, Light vs Dark, Modern Day, Nature & Wildlife, New Adult Fiction, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Realistic Fiction, Shapeshifters, Small Towne USA, Sociology, Speculative Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Suspense, Sustainability & Ecological Preservation, The Natural World, Upper YA Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Vulgarity in Literature, Walking & Hiking Trails, Werewolves, Witches and Warlocks, YA Fantasy, YA Paranormal &/or Paranormal Romance, Young Adult Fiction