#MidnightChocLit No.6 | “The Art of Deception” by Liz Harris Jorie is gobsmacked she’s read SIX #PocketChocLit novellas over the holidays! How could they be *devoured!* already!? More, please #ChocLit!?

Posted Monday, 2 January, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#MidnightChocLit banner created by Jorie in Canva. Book Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular reviewer for ChocLitUK, where I hand select which books in either their backlist and/or current releases I would like to read next for my #ChocLitSaturdays blog feature. As of June 2016, I became a member of the ChocLit Stars Team in tandem with being on the Cover Reveal Team which I joined in May 2016. I reference the Stars as this is a lovely new reader contribution team of sending feedback to the publisher ahead of new book releases. As always, even if I’m involved with a publisher in this sort of fashion, each review is never influenced by that participation and will always be my honest impression as I read the story. Whether the author is one I have previously read or never had the pleasure to read until the book greets my shelf.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Art of Deception” from ChocLit in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

#MidnightChocLit No.6: a farewell to ChocLit novellas for now by ending with a beloved #HistFic novelist of Jorie’s who wrote a Contemporary Suspense novella that held her on the edge of her seat!

apparently well-timed with the return of #SherlockPBS, too! imagine!?

 My TY bear & #PocketChocLit. Book Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com.

And, so my hours spent devouring #PocketChocLit Novellas ends as it began: a bookish girl with her wickedly delightful ChocLit tee, a star tattooed teddy and a ChocLit story to curl up inside to wick off hours of delish reading blissitude! This American ChocLit reader signs-off with a hopeful nod at seeing more #PocketChocLit in the future!

When I conceived of this idea – not just to coin these novella print editions by ChocLitUK with a quirky poem which speaks to the heart of what these portable editions represented to me personally, but the whole scope of what this particular blog series #MidnightChocLit encompassed gave me a leeway of showcasing not only a smidge of my bookish life ‘behind’ the blog but allowed me to delight in the wicked awesome joy of being a traditional reader (print or audio) who *finally!* could read the ChocLit novellas she’s dreamt of reading for two full years!

I cannot even properly express the burst of JOY fuelling my heart when I first opened my #ChocLitChristmas parcel – seeing all these lovely editions all tucked into a bubbler was a gift of happiness during a point in my life where reading & blogging (even tweeting, let’s face it!) was at a record ‘low’. These curiously portable Roms re-inspired me and re-invigorated me to pick up reading again after a wicked awful medical emergency in my family. I am not saying this lightly either – but #PocketChocLit gave me back my bookish joy!

What was incredible for me as a reader, was watching the difference between trying to read a novel (cannot tell you how many times I tried to read You’re the Cream in my Coffee) whilst still feeling the weight of the emotional trauma and stress still ever-present on the edge of my soul and not really truly feeling motivated to read at all. Then, these curious editions *pop!* into my life and the next minute, I’m grabbing my digital camera and the whole *blog series!* itself spun round the poem & tag of #MidnightChocLit was bourne!

In many ways, ChocLit novels have re-fuelled my spirit time and time again these past two years I’ve been a reviewer for the publisher. The uplift of reading Romances in today’s ever complicated and uncertain world is a bolt of #unputdownable joy for me. I have always loved reading Romances; even before my teen years as I hinted about previously I started reading Roms quite young (around eight or nine years!) and their ability to fuse relationship-based Romances into my bookish life has been a lifelong burst of joy. Finding ChocLit was a delish encounter and I am truly blessed to continue my journey with this publisher as the New Year emerges into view – as I embark into my 4th Year as a Book Blogger, I begin my 3rd Year as a ChocLit Reviewer!

Therefore, this blog series was a small way of ‘giving back’ some of the joy ChocLit authors have been giving me all along whilst trying to inspire more American Rom readers the delightful glee of finding realistically brilliant Romances for today’s voraciously particular reader! It also granted me a chance to share a bit more of a personal side of who ‘Jorie’ is and a small bit of her readerly life. Thank you for following me and taking this #MidnightChocLit journey with me!

IF your just joining me for #MidnightChocLit and want to know why I conceived this wicked #awesomesauce of a readathon – please direct your attention to #MidnightChocLit No.1: You’re the One that I Want.

I read *six!* ChocLit novellas Christmas Week & New Year’s – reading NO! devouring a healthy dose of Rom through the holidays with a ‘pocket of ChocLit’ in my bookish hands! Remember: I tweeted LIVE as I read ahead of posting these reviews! Do tweet me your reactions & add your commentary on the posts if your just discovering them for the first time! All posts are anchoured with the *live tweeting sessions* too for easy reference or sharing!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

 #MidnightChocLit No.6 | “The Art of Deception” by Liz Harris Jorie is gobsmacked she’s read SIX #PocketChocLit novellas over the holidays! How could they be *devoured!* already!? More, please #ChocLit!?The Art of Deception
Subtitle: All is not as it seems, beneath the Italian sun
by Liz Harris
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Berni Stevens
Source: Direct from Publisher

Jenny O’Connor can hardly believe her luck when she’s hired to teach summer art classes in Italy. Whilst the prospect of sun, sightseeing and Italian food is hard to resist, Jenny’s far more interested in her soon-to-be boss, Max Castanien. She’s blamed him for a family tragedy for as long as she can remember and now she wants answers.

But as the summer draws on and she spends more time with Max, she starts to learn first hand that there’s a fine line between love and hate.

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

Book Page on World Weaver Press

ISBN: 978-1781893593

Also by this author: A Bargain Struck, Guest Post (A Western Heart) by Liz Harris, Guest Post (The Road Back) by Liz Harris, The Road Back, Book Spotlight w/ Notes (The Lost Girl), Evie Undercover, Guest Post (The Lost Girl) by Liz Harris, The Lost Girl

Published by ChocLitUK

on 4th November, 2016

Format: Portable (Pocket) Paperback Edition

Pages: 160

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLituk)

Available Formats: Pocket Paperback + Ebook and Audiobook

Converse via: #Contemporary #Romance + #ChocLit

#RomSusp or #RomanticSuspense + #PocketChocLit (Jorie’s idea!)

Put some ChocLit,

in your pocket!


(little rhyme I came up with to celebrate these editions!)

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

On my connection to Ms Harris:

I have been hosting #ChocLitSaturday chats on a regular basis for the past two years. Eleven in the morning of a Saturday, has become a favourite hour for me to exchange conversation and joy with everyone who shows up to participate in a chat centered around ChocLit novels and the Romance branch of literature in general.

Similar to my previous thoughts I shared about Ms. Courtenay, I have come to appreciate chatting with Ms. Harris, either through #ChocLitSaturday chats or privately. She is most giving of her time and I have appreciated the opportunity to know the writer behind the stories I enjoy reading! She always shares her happy spirit in the chats too, and her insights into why she enjoys writing the books that speak to her the most. Her friendship over the years has been a light of joy in my life.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Harris through our respective love & passion of reading inside the twitterverse whilst I host #ChocLitSaturday the chat as well as privately; I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time. Similarly this applies to all future novels I read by an author I appreciate reading due to the compelling story-lines and characters they continuously bring to their novels and/or novellas.

To read more about why I love reading her novels see this post and read the top anchour.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

My review of the art of deception:

Quite literally if you want a Romantic Suspense to just cart you straight-off into the tentacles of the deceptive edging of it’s heart, you pull a reader in by sentence one like Ms Harris did with The Art of Deception! Seriously compelling and it puts hairs on end just contemplating the fuller depth of what is being expressed! Whoa. I knew right then and there, I was in for a jolt of a read! Definitely thankful I knew to keep this as my ‘last’ novella to soak inside right on the onset of a New Year! After all, I dearly love thrilling wicked good reads and why not kick-off 2017 with a delishly writ one by a favourite author of mine!?

Jenny grew up with ambiguous loss stemming from the tragic death of her father as a young girl; questions swirled through her veins as the years marched forward to where she questioned if she’d ever fill the deepening void of unknowns. When an advert announcing a job she dearly was in search of securing – her heart flapped a bit at wondering, do you risk your sanity to pursue a job that could clear the fog of your past or do you solider on and carry the burden of never understanding what is not readily known?

Within the score of only a chapter, you are treated the fullness of Jenny’s backstory and how Max was already intricately linked to her past whilst he was about to become keenly important to her future. Harris found a way to center Jenny’s anguish and the urgency of this placement with the backlight of uncertainty rubbing out of the edges of where we alight on Jenny’s path. It’s a clever mark of finding how one woman might dare to risk everything in order to set free her mind’s anguished memories.

Whilst Jenny settled into her Italian setting for the art classes she’s been hired on to teach, I couldn’t help but think about what it would be like to finally learn how to use watercolours! I have admired watercolour artists for quite a long while (my most favourite discovery is the art of Stephanie Pui-Mun Law) as it’s a skill I’d like to acquire myself. I spent my youth learning the ins and outs of oil painting but with an onset of chemical allergies, watercolours and less toxic art mediums are currently more alluring. It is such a beautiful setting and knowing how much Ms Harris loves Italy (courtesy of our #ChocLitSaturday chats) – it felt as if she had tucked in her passion for the country and scenery quite eloquently into this novella. You can sense Italy but also fully realise it’s potential for holding your breath by it’s natural beauty.

Of all the attendees of Jenny’s art classes, it was Mr Rayburn who left the strongest impression – especially in regards to how and why he’s attending. He had a kind-hearted soul even if he was overtaken by personal loss, he just had a special way of making you believe you were lost friends rather than the recently acquainted. He definitely put Jenny at ease and helped re-bolster her confidence at times where it faltered a bit. Not that she could elude nor disclose why she was finding herself losing her footing but with his compassion and insight, she found teaching the class to be quite enjoyable indeed.

Part of Clare’s character reminded me of my Mum; especially how she reconciled how best to spend her extra bit of income – as my Mum travelled through Europe and Clare took up a resident art class. It’s clever how sometimes life can afford you unexpected pleasures that that you outside your comfort zone at just the right time to align a bit of adventure into your ordinary life and giving you a bounty of memories and joyful self-discoveries. I liked how timid Clare was about her approach to art, too. A bit too hesitative to embrace the process of feeling out the medium of choice and allowing her mind and heart to work in unison to create the art which simply was being smothered by self-doubt.

This particular Suspense isn’t wrapped up in a death gone foul, but rather it’s more of a psychological suspense rooted in the emotional whispers of the past. It’s a sophisticated suspense because not all of the plot is telling even to the reader’s lens; as Harris keeps Max closely veiled. He’s only presented the way in which Jenny believes he would mask himself to the world rather than owning out a bit more personal bits about his truer nature; if there is such a thing to let out about him. You’re so closely following Jenny’s progress with her art students and enjoying the background of Italy, you have the tendency to forget for short spells the reason why Jenny tipped her hat towards this job originally.

I hadn’t quite caught onto the twist which was threading quite in plain sight most of the timeline whilst my focus was Jenny and Max! I knew there was something ‘off’ a bit about certain characters, but since they were as less revealling than Max, I chaulked it up to a surprise yet to be let out. However, Ms Harris certainly surprised me in the end! Wow. Now that was an interesting quirk to the puzzle!

What made the ending so wicked beautiful is how Ms Harris knitted together the backstory into the foreground. It was the kind of story your uncertain who to root for even though you want to be inclined to pick the ready gentleman with the kind heart and eyes. You get to take this lovely journey with the characters and if you already trust the author’s hand at telling a realistically charged drama, you’re definitely in for a wicked good read! I am so very thankful this was the last novella I read over the holidays, because it’s encompassing new beginnings, forgiveness and a healing cleanse of the past. Quite brilliant topics to explore at the jump start of a New Year!

on why this novella made me an appreciator of ms harris’s contemporary style moreso than evie undercover:

Yes, it’s quite true – I did read another Contemporary offering by Ms Harris, but it simply wasn’t quite my personal cuppa tea. (see also Review) I was a bit crushed because I so readily love soaking inside her historicals, I thought for sure I’d be equally in love with her contemporaries; clearly, I was a bit off the mark! I had hoped to read her novellas at some point, as I happen to love reading novellas as they are akin to short stories – little spaces full of depth, heart and soul! I also wanted to read other examples of her modernly set tales to see if Evie was simply a one-off of disfavour in my bookish heart or if I were in theory a historical reader of hers. It’s hard to know sometimes which way the pendulum will swing on that question, so when I had this chance to read The Art of Deception I was readily wicked excited!

I believe the reason why I was drawn into this novella is because it harkens back to what I know of being ‘Classic Harris’; meaning it is as layered and as full of depth of center as her historicals. Apparently, I prefer the more serious side of Liz Harris! I couldn’t tuck into this novella quick enough, to absorb more of Jenny’s resolve and to understand what motivated her to seek out the brothers who caused her such alarming pain over her formative years. Shouldn’t have surprised me – I tend to read a lot of dramatic literature, which is by extension my preference in tv serials; I have a comedic side, that’s true, but there is something about my passion for ‘dramas’ that tends to win-over moreso than comedies.

Now, I am hoping one of the next novellas to release will be A Western Heart!

Ah, yes, but what of ‘Sherlock’?:

Originally, whilst in a #ChocLitSaturday chat and even outside of it, I was talking about my disdain of disillusion on behalf of #SherlockPBS, to which Ms Harris happily chatted about the series with me. To such a length of full disclosure her insightful news regarding S3 put me off the series completely; even if the ending of S2 quite accomplished the same effect. I just couldn’t sort out Sherlock in S2 as much as I loved the series in S1. Almost as if it was one of those dearly loved ‘one hit wonders’ on the radio? Except this time round, I had the misfortune of being so vocally against the American version of the after canon (i.e. Elementary) to this day, I have yet to admit, I grossly short-changed the series!

I’d been so distraught over losing ‘Sherlock’, I’ve been on a bit of a binge watching Elementary #ondemand whenever I find new episodes of it loaded into it’s respective folder. Mind, I also catch out-of-order episodes of all the years it’s aired via syndication on various networks, too. Oy. I think it was just this whole mind-block – I had been indifferent towards the Sherlock films starring Robert Downey Jr and to rectify and accept an American variant of a series I had already loved on the BBC, wells, that was just pushing me one too far. Especially considering how much I *adore!* the Basil Rathbone films!

Then, of course, fate is wicked cheeky! The night I elected to read The Art of Deception which surprised me (though I had slightly suspected!) at being a Rom Suspense is the *very!* night and HOUR if you will, tweeters I follow took to Twitter to chat-up the premiere of S4 of #SherlockPBS! Swinging back the British version of Sherlock I had swooned over so many moons ago… a bit bittersweet perhaps, but I was gainfully growing in hope they ‘made amends’ or at least, reset the clock back to the classic variant I had once loved?! OR was that asking too much!? Clearly, you will have to read through the tweets to find out the answer to this riddle!

Now, I wonder if Ms Harris gave S4 a whirl of a watch!? Hmm.. I am undecided if I want to watch the first airs or await my library purchasing the seasonal dvd. I err and yield to thinking I’ll await the dvd! Especially since one of my dear followers told me ‘you’ll be pinned to the edge of your seat’ – oh, now there’s a delightful hope I’ll find my Classic Sherlock restored! I bet his adversary is back, too! Ha!


What is further imploring is I found myself properly ‘distracted’ twice in two days whilst attempting to finalise my readings of #MidnightChocLit! Laughs with mirth. Mostly though, the reason there were less live tweets from me tonight is sometimes I find it harder to blog about stories I am seriously enjoying at such a wicked quick pace of devourment, how not to spoilt it for other readers!? Sometimes I just yield to my blogged ruminations and let readers see if the story resonates with them as much as it did with me. Also, as you will see my tweets – *le sigh* – I am still on the fence a bit regarding S4!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

I happily review for ChocLitUK!

This book review is courtesy of:

ChocLitUK Reviewer Badge by ChocLitUK.Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

In case you’ve missed my ChocLit readings:

Please follow the threads through #ChocLitSaturdays!

And, visit my ChocLit Next Reads List on Riffle (recently upated!)

to see which stories I fancy to devour next!

I celebrated my 3rd Blogovesrary on 31st of March, 2016 wherein I revealled my Best of the Best Reads for 2015 via my End of the Year Survey. More than one ChocLit novel made the cut and received a special Award from me to acknowledge how lovely it was written!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

#MidnightChocLit Schedule of Readings & Reviews:

*accompanying the reviews are LIVE readerly tweets starting @ midnight per date listed; reviews will go LIVE after the live tweeting sessions approx. one hour later. trying to keep the live reading reflections to an hour to give a small ‘taste’ of what is inside each novella!

You’re the One that I Want by Angela Britnell (22 DEC) (review)

Blueprint for Love by Henriette Gyland (23 DEC) (review)

Grand Designs by Linda Mitchelmore (Christmas Eve) (review)

Marry for Love by Christina Courtenay (30 DEC) (review)

Only True in Fairy Tales by Christine Stovell (New Year’s Eve) (review)

The Art of Deception by Liz Harris (New Year’s Day)

*ChocLit Reviews of Novels return January, 2017 to Jorie Loves A Story!

Tell me: did I tempt you to ‘put a little ChocLit in your pocket’?

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Why I feature #ChocLitSaturdays (book reviews & guest author features)
and created #ChocLitSaturday (the chat via @ChocLitSaturday):

I wanted to create a bit of a niche on Jorie Loves A Story to showcase romance fiction steeped in relationships, courtships, and the breadth of marriage enveloped by characters written honestly whose lives not only endear you to them but they nestle into your heart as their story is being read!

I am always seeking relationship-based romance which strikes a chord within my mind’s eye as well as my heart! I’m a romantic optimist, and I love curling into a romance where I can be swept inside the past, as history becomes lit alive in the fullness of the narrative and I can wander amongst the supporting cast observing the principal characters fall in love and sort out if they are a proper match for each other!

I love how an Indie Publisher like ChocLitUK is such a positive alternative for those of us who do not identify ourselves as girls and women who read ‘chick-lit’. I appreciate the stories which alight in my hands from ChocLit as much as I appreciate the inspirational romances I gravitate towards because there is a certain level of depth to both outlets in romance which encourage my spirits and gives me a beautiful story to absorb! Whilst sorting out how promote my book reviews on behalf of ChocLit, I coined the phrase “ChocLitSaturdays”, which is a nod to the fact my ChocLit reviews & features debut on ‘a Saturday’ but further to the point that on the ‘weekend’ we want to dip into a world wholly ideal and romantic during our hours off from the work week!

IF you love chatting about Romance novels, #amwriting adventures and being in a wicked good circle of writers and readers joyfully sharing their writerly & bookish lives, I invite you to join us for #ChocLitSaturday which is an extension of my reviews & guest features on behalf of ChocLitUK! All are welcome! Visit @ChocLitSaturday for more details!

Our chats resume January, 2017.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary! Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst bloggers who picked up the same story to read.

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I am cross-promoting my Christmas readings this year via the #WYReadathon of which was put together after I had envisioned my own Christmas selections! I felt it was quite kismet on the timing of it all, and looked forward to engaging with other readers who were going to blog their readerly delights this Thanksgiving and Christmas season! I find that I am the most comfortable reading Christmas Stories between Thanksgiving and Twelfth Night (in January); as the stories just appeal to me to be read during this short period of time where the fullness of the season is not only apparent but can be felt by spirit, mind and heart. I look forward to sharing more of my selections with you as I proceed forward with my readings! Happy Christmas!

There are more #ChristmasReads arriving on #JLASblog ahead of Twelfth Night as I had to push my schedule forward a bit during Christmas Week. Therefore, the select Christmas stories I’ve been reading and enjoying company inside are still going to be featured this first week of 2017. I had to amend my #ChristmasReads schedule due to my father’s stroke (see also this post).

This marks my 6th #WYChristmasReadathon post –

  1. Read my initial joy over reading Christmas Stories on my review of “Finding Father Christmas”!
  2. You’re the One that I Want by Angela Britnell (review)
  3. Blueprint for Love by Henriette Gyland (review)
  4. Grand Designs by Linda Mitchelmore (review)
  5. Marry for Love by Christina Courtenay (review)
  6. Only True in Fairy Tales by Christine Stovell (review)

What are you reading this Christmas Season?

Do you love soaking into Roms as much as I do for Christmas!?

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{SOURCES: Author photograph of Liz Harris, Cover Art for “The Art of Deception”, Author Biography, Book Synopsis and ChocLit Reviewer badge were provided by ChocLitUK and were used by permission. Post dividers by  Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo and Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. #WYReadathon badge provided by Priya of Writerly Yours and is used with permission.  Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #MidnightChocLit banner and the Comment Box Banner. Book Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2016.

I’m a social reader | I love sharing my reading life

(tweets returning soon)

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Sharing the JOY of #MidnightChocLit via Twitter:

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WYChristmasReadathon

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)

read more >> | Visit my Story Vault of Book Reviews | Policies & Review Requests | Contact Jorie


Posted Monday, 2 January, 2017 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host, British Literature, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Contemporary Romance, England, Indie Author, Italy, Modern British Author, Modern British Literature, Modern Day, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event

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