+Book Review+ Sandra Leesmith’s “Love’s Promises” #sweetromance, #Romance

Posted Monday, 28 July, 2014 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Loves Promises by Sandra Leesmith
Artwork Credit: Lena Goldfinch

 Love’s Promises by Sandra Leesmith

Published By: Amber Press Publishing,
March 2014

Official Author Websites: Site | Twitter | Facebook

  Cover Designer Pages: Site | Twitter | Facebook | Pin(terest) Boards

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook
Page Count: 310

[Previous Releases]

  • “Loves Refuge”+
  • “Loves Miracles”+
  • {note} +part of the same series as Love’s Promises!

Converse via Twitter: #LovesPromises, #ChrisFic,

#cleanromance, & #inspirationalfiction

Genres: Fiction | Inspirational Fiction

Romance | Contemporary

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Acquired Book By: I had originally intended to read “Love’s Promises” for review on the blog tour earlier in the Spring, however, at that point in time the novel was only going to be released in Ebook format rather than print edition. Through my participation on the tour, I received the good news that a print edition was viable and would be put into action. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Sandra Leesmith, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

I am always keen on reading the books I highlight and spotlight on Jorie Loves A Story, and this novel in particular caught my attention when I was first offered to participate on the original blog tour hosted by Amber Stokes and her Editing Through the Seasons publicity company. I appreciate being what I consider a ‘hybrid reader’ as one who reads both mainstream and inspirational markets for fiction and non-fiction. I talk about this a bit under “My Bookish Life” and hinted about it on the note that proceeded this book review when I explained why posting this took a bit longer than originally expected due health and life reasons occurring at a pace that simply exhausted me. I always aim to feature novels through Guest Author & Book Features that will key into the diverse variety of books I appreciate reading overall.

I was originally going to only focus on books in print, but then I re-considered when I noted that many ebooks I would dearly love to read eventually end up in print editions. This can take anywhere from a few months to a full year or longer depending on the publisher, author, and body of work. I decided to stand firm in being a traditional reader but to yield as a book blogger to highlight books first released into an electronic version that I would one day hope would go into a print run as well. In this way, I am opening my mind to a wider net of authors and stories but remaining true to who I am as a reader and as a blogger at the same time. I am thankful that my path crossed with Ms. Leesmith and with Ms. Stokes, as I might not have stumbled across this particular novel nor the lovely series it is a part of.

My original showcases on Leesmith’s behalf was a heap of joy for me, as it encouraged me to re-examine where the publishing world is currently with a green-minded focus on publishing and printing practices (a bit of an on-going personal research topic of interest) as much as it gave a strong impression on having an open discussion on where writers and readers alike stand on the position of being green-minded and being voracious readers. For me, it confirmed that you can be environmentally conscience and read print books without having to concede to ebooks and ereaders. Notwithstanding of the fact that not all of us can use ereaders nor read ebooks in any format due to our vision and the way in which we process information.

My participation led to a healthy itch to read “Love’s Promises” and I felt blessed that I had the opportunity to tuck inside the story of how a novel went into print format when it was originally only scheduled for one type of release. The further blessing was discovering the other two books in the Love Promises series are already released in print, and are on my ‘next reads’ list of books to acquire!

Book Synopsis:

For Monica Scott, building her late father’s house at Lake Tahoe isn’t an option—it’s a necessary distraction from confusing memories and an uncertain future. But a handsome planner working for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) is keeping Monica from moving forward with the project. Never mind that he’s young and charming with a great sense of humor. No one is going to stop Monica from making her father’s dream—and her own—a reality.

All Greg Linsey wants is for his work to mean something. His job at TRPA gives him the opportunity to fight for the environment he loves and make a difference in his small corner of the world. But with the sophisticated Monica Scott’s arrival, his dedication is tested as never before, especially when Monica turns to his unscrupulous nemesis for assistance. As Greg and Monica’s animosity turns into something far sweeter, can they learn to accept each other’s promises and avoid the growing danger to their lives and hearts?

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Sandra LeesmithAuthor Biography: 

SANDRA LEESMITH loves to travel in her RV and explore all of nature’s beauty, discover America’s history, and fellowship with the wonderful people she meets while on the road. She enjoys reading, writing, hiking, swimming, and pickleball. Learn more about Sandra and her books at sandraleesmith.com.

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Book Cover Designer Biography:

LENA GOLDFINCH writes fantasy and Lena Goldfinchromance for teens and adults. She’s a sucker for a good old-fashioned romance, whether it’s a novel, novella, or short story, young adult or adult, fantasy or realistic, contemporary or historical. Elements of romance, fantasy, and mystery have a way of creeping into her writing, even when she’s writing something light and contemporary like her latest releases, Haunting Joy and Take a Picture. Lena has been a finalist in several national writing contests, including the RWA Golden Heart and ACFW Genesis contests. She lives in a scenic small town in Massachusetts with her husband, two kids, and a very spoiled Black Lab. Learn more about Lena and her books at lenagoldfinch.blogspot.com.


Romance, Thirty-somethings, & the Environment:

I shall never discredit the timing of a book in hand nor of the story at the heart of the novel’s message to be consumed at a particular moment in time as this particular one has reached my eyes and mind! I cannot deny that I am a thirty-something myself nor a singleton who oft thinks about her own life, her chosen path, and where the pebbles of her path shall lead her next. Each of us is living a life of worth and it is not always measured in events and incidents that the masses experience but in smaller steps and graces which take us to where we are being led to traverse. I love stories of the heart as much as the human condition, to knit inside the small fragments of time wherein we cross-examine our own hearts, spirits, and desires of will — to understand where we have been as much as where we are going next. I had to nearly chuckle to myself whilst realising a bit of the cheeky humour Leesmith placed inside her two lead characters, as both Monica and Greg are within a farthing of a distance in age from each other, and experiencing the same self-exploration and questions of the heart that neither wants to admit possible.

I think thirty-somethings have a lot of ground to cover in today’s fiction, especially in the Romance side of the ledger. To oft writers focus on someone either in college or thereafter or even settle inside the years of the twenties, but few root out the early years of being twentyten and thirty-something; the decisive age for most singletons either in want of finding someone to walk through life with or to walk alone. It is a unique perspective to give in fiction, as the veins of narrative can go in so many unique and different directions. Whilst in the opening bits of Love’s Promises, what I especially liked is how the path Leesmith chooses to take is not quite predictable nor is it contrite. She breathes a bit of life into the characters and gives them enough realism and free will to keep you in suspense of what their choices will be the further you walk inside their story.

The environment is nearly a third character in the story, as the natural environment is beautifully highlighted as the backdrop and setting for Love’s Promises. I appreciated the care and attention the advocacy and conservation on the Lake Tahoe Basin were given throughout the story, as it illuminates one small fraction of how over building and overusing our natural resources is becoming a larger problem as a whole. There are too many loosely controlled environmental protections on building permits and on maintaining natural habitats. I’ve even witnessed where previously protected land was sold to the highest bidder and commericalised for consumer use; at the determent of the wildlife and ecosystem. There needs to be a better balance between sustaining the ecological habitats already thriving where developers and residents want to intercede on their right to build. I celebrate the small successes such as non-chemical pest control by water sources, walkways and green paths in urban developments that do not deter from the natural ecosystems, and a recognition of local bird and wildlife habitats being protected by watchful observations by local groups working for preservation and conservation of their lands. I commend the research Leesmith knitted into her novel, as she is tackling a very difficult issue and a controversial topic laced with politics on all levels.

My Review of Love’s Promises:

Monica Scott is a formidable woman and not one who is to be reckoned out of her train of logic if one intends to keep their mind intact and their heart out of her wrath. She tends to view everything through a particular reference of mind, and what I appreciated about her the most is that she is a ‘stick to your guns’ type of character, yet there is a piece of her that is yielding to a probability that she is not yet aware of wanting to concede. She’s in that beautiful space between a life shift and a character arc journey that ties you into her shoes and makes you want to walk with her as she not only sorts out her past emotional angst but rights her own sails towards a future that she might not even have expected in want of for herself nor of her own inclining interests to vary as decidedly as they appear to be shifting.

As a proper contrast to Monica, Greg Linsey is a bit more carefree, dedicated as he is passionate yet encompasses more in his life than work and a single-minded narrowness that he finds a bit off-putting in Monica. She is acting out of obligation to honour her father’s legacy, whereas Linsey is attempting to be part of the changing dialogue of urban development by placing the environment first and the consumer second. It is a unique exchange of ideas, from watching the builder and architect (Monica Scott) vie for options against the city’s ordinances and codes which Linsey is placed in front of protecting outright. It digs into a deeper issue of how some city’s place a higher value on ethics and how there are those outside the scope of what is proper and moral will attempt to do to displace the order everyone else is being adhered to abiding. The wench in the wheel comes in the form of a clever and snarky adversary named Mitch Jones; a shark amongst rats, and a clever one at that.

The potency of emotional health and the well being that curates itself out of our memories is a strong motive for what is underlying the motivation for Monica Scott to build her late father’s house near a stream that environmentally cannot withstand the plans as they were intended to be carried out. Within the layers of the background of her own story being relayed in each of the chapters where she is given the voice to speak more to the heart of what makes her individually passionate, we start to unravel that her motives are hinged directly to her parents; and how even in death, the voice of her mother is a calming balm against the insanity of understanding why life turns out the way it does.

There is a subtle juxtaposition between Greg’s faith-filled life and Monica’s aversion to turning to faith as a guide and as a way to lesson her burdens of stress. She finds fault with any part of her life that could be presumed to show a sign of weakness rather than strength, as she has a few misconceptions on different aspects of her life that other women might not have found as confusing as she does herself. She’s a real woman in that regard, open to her faults as much as her strengths, and walking through her life a bit muddled but curious as to how others respond and live on the merits of their own individual beliefs. The corridors of her internal world are marred with questions but fraught without answers as she does not always know the best way to seek them out. She lives a bit impulsively, determined in her grit to live life by her terms and hers alone, that she allows herself to become blindsided and wounded by those who would seek to take her as a fool rather than as a level headed businesswoman.

Monica’s greatest fear in life is commitment, and the view she has on marriage is marred by her earlier influences on the subject by what she observed by her parents love for each other. Everyone views commitment in different ways and how commitment applies to those who live faith-based lives. The best marriage is where there is equal partnership and a level of trust amongst both parties, however, for Monica as she grew seeing only one side of how marriage can grow from an imbalance of compromises, she has allowed herself to close off her heart. What I appreciated in the story is the representation of Greg and his upbringing where his parents lived a different life from Monica’s parents. Two sides of marriage and the foundation of relationships are explored as much as the living truth of how everyone needs to come to their own conclusions about where they stand when friendship grows into a relationship and how that relationship can lead to marriage. An honest story with realistic characters who are attempting to forge a truce between their dominate sides of their personality and the encouragement their growing love is giving to nurture their inner most desire for walking through life with a partner rather than to stay alone.

The environment will always need caretakers and caregivers, but it is the risk towards creating a relationship with someone who encourages your spirit and accepts you as you are that is the truer beauty to Love’s Promises. A love story which is caught up in the mirth of trusting your heart even when your mind interferes with too much logical angst. And, a story that is worth reading in one sitting as the characters have a way of warming themselves into your heart.

On the writing style and measure of grace of Sandra Leesmith:

I always appreciate writers who give a certain level of reality to the tinting of their story’s backdrop, and there is where Ms. Leesmith excells within the Clean Romance (i.e. Gentle Romance) and Inspirational Romance genre. She allows all of her characters both principal and secondary cast selections to make their own way in life, good, bad, or indifferent; graces them with imperfections, faults, and a lesson of character choices that will either make or break them in the public eye of their workplaces. She holds back a measure of grace in how she tempers what is truly on their lips to speak by giving strong alternatives in the fevering hilt of emotional angst, and it is in this clever twist and turning of phrase, wording, and vice that I had to smile the most! She is allowing the reader to sense and feel what it is like to feel the fire in one’s heart and cheeks when tempted to ignite a response that is not entirely respectable and gives a blush of remorse in choosing what one speaks a bit before the explosion can occur. It is quite a clever balance and I enjoyed watching the dialogue exchanges and seeing how she weaved in her life lessons at the same time!

Fiction irregardless of genre or format of the craft of story-telling is always best to reserve a bit for the observer and reader to nestle out for their own mind and accord of thought. I appreciate writers who give you a hearty palm of pensivity to chew on and writers who hold back just enough to lesson the harshness of what is said but deftly gets the gist across with the right punch of clarity. I also appreciate a sequence of action which puts the lead character life in danger but pulls back just a bit to where the drama and the action do not overtake the narrative voice of the story.

She writes for the reader who is seeking stories rooted in the modern world, filt with a Contemporary appeal of high stake politically sensitive narratives (i.e. environmental protection, conversation, and activism), and a truism for those of us of a certain age who appreciate characters who are still writing their own stories into reality. The life lessons which are stitched inside the inspirational moments of faith driven clarity are gentle and soothing to the reader who appreciates reading fiction with a light hand and a way of showing how inspirational fiction can be character based rather than lesson based through scriptures. I personally appreciate story centered and character based stories, where as you read the life of a main character you garnish further insight into the human condition, spirit, and heart.

I spoke a bit about this previously on my review for “Chain of Mercy” and the inspirational authors I am attracted to reading the most. I can now add Sandra Leesmith to my growing list of must read inspirational authors!

I also agree with the chagrin and fond note left by Ms. (Julie) Lessman on the back cover of “Love’s Promises”: the writing of Ms. Leesmith surely does evoke a wanting to forsake one’s sleep and stay awake until you know the ending of the story! I would have done this myself for this novel, if my air conditioner had not knocked itself out with full-on Southern humidity and an indoor temperature spike of 80 degrees! Outside of those extremes, I would have read every last page in one sitting!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comBook Review courtesy of:

Amber Stokes (retired Freelance Publicist) & the author Sandra Leesmith:

Editing Through the Seasons - Freelance Editing & Publicity ServicesSandra Leesmith

{Amber took a job at a publisher

& closed her publicity service Summer 2014}

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This book review marks the third showcase

I have hosted for Ms. Stokes & Ms. Leesmith:

On 14 March 2014, Jorie hosted a Book Cover Reveal & Book Spotlight highlighting her release, the cover art designer, and the books in the series. On 22 April, 2014 Jorie hosted an Author Interview with Ms. Leesmith whilst showcasing a green-minded sense of where publishing is currently heading by greening their practices for print production and their mindfulness approach to the environment on a whole.

To read about my delay to post this in conjunction with the weekend edition newsletter on Seekerville, please read my note which posted late on Sunday night. I appreciate everyone’s patience whilst my heart was in the right place, I physically could not focus on the story or my blog any sooner than now.

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Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in CanvaFun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comComments make me smile! Let’s start a conversation! I appreciate your visit & look forward to your return! I do moderate the comment threads; do not worry if the comment is delayed in being seen! Drop back soon!

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If you a regular reader of Inspirational / Christian fiction, what do you appreciate the most about the stories you find inside the novels and novellas!? Do you seek what I do? Do you wish there were more publishers who put more stock and weight into relationship-based stories (i.e. such as mainstream publisher ChocLitUK?) rather than the causal dating scene that is so very rampant!? What stills your heart the most!? What stands out to you the most in the “Love’s Promises” series of sweet romance novels?

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “Loves Promises”, author & illustrator photographs, book synopsis, and publicity badge were all provided by Editing Through The Seasons and used with permission. Book Review badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Monday, 28 July, 2014 by jorielov in 20th Century, Agnostic (Questioning & Searching or Unsure), Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blogs I Regularly Read, Book Review (non-blog tour), Bookish Discussions, Conservation, Contemporary Romance, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Domestic Violence, Eco-Friendly, Ecology, Editing Through The Seasons, Environmental Activism, Environmental Advocacy, Environmental Conscience, Environmental Solutions, Fathers and Daughters, Indie Author, Indie Book Trade, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Lake Tahoe, Life of Thirty-Somethings, Life Shift, Modern Day, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Nature & Wildlife, Pacific Crest Trail, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Preservation, Romance Fiction, Seekerville, Singletons & Commitment, Sustainability & Ecological Preservation, Walking & Hiking Trails, Women's Fiction

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2 responses to “+Book Review+ Sandra Leesmith’s “Love’s Promises” #sweetromance, #Romance

  1. sandraleesmith

    Hi Jorie, Wow, this review was worth waiting for. You really did a wonderful job in dissecting the characters and issues. It always amazes me what readers find in my stories. Thank you very much.
    I’m at the airport awaiting a connecting flight and will be in the air most of the day. I will try and get back later this evening.
    Thanks again for such a wonderful review.

    • Good (early) morning, Ms. Leesmith!

      I ended up being offline most of the day, and was only able to respond right now to your lovely comment! :) I never rush my reviews, even if a deadline is on fast approach or if I on occasion have to post past the original deadline. You’re beautiful novel was a true pleasure to soak inside, as you allowed Lake Tahoe to come alive within my mind’s eye, not only for scenic beauty but the world in which your characters breathed felt real to me!

      I have mentioned recently that I wanted to segue back into Contemporary Romances and this is one that I am thankful I had the honour of reading! It was a pure joy for me to speak about my thoughts and ruminations and how clever! You were able to read my thoughts whilst enroute to a connecting flight! I find all of that rather fascinating; as there are times whilst I’m hosting #ChocLitSaturdays (the chat) and someone is on their phone by bus or train, too!

      I look forward to your return and may your travels have had fair weather and a lot of lovely conversations with your fellow passengers or flight crew!

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