#TopTenTuesday No.5 | Top Ten #NewToMeAuthors I loved #amreading in 2017!

Posted Wednesday, 3 January, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 4 Comments

"Top Ten Tuesday" hosted by The Broke & the Bookish

[Official Blurb] Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature / weekly meme created by The Broke & the Bookish. The meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke & the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your Top 10 Lists!

[Topic of 2nd January, 2018: Top Ten #newtomeauthors of 2017]

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Today’s entry was inspired by Trisha Jenn & Imyril respectively

I’ve been a bit reclusive from participating in the lovely bookish memes I’ve discovered these past four years as a book blogger; mostly due to lack of time and/or inspiration whilst the topics were making their rounds in the book blogosphere. Likewise, my visiting days have been equally remissive, as despite finding wicked #awesomesauce bloggers who share my passion for reading and blogging their readerly lives, my visits have been fleeting at best to make my rounds through the blogs I’ve come to love and appreciate.

Hence why one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to participate in the #Commenting365 Challenge – except I’m not just doing it the way in which it was intended. I am commenting on the blogs involved in the challenge directly; re-visiting the bloggers I personally follow and/or have befriended since becoming a book blogger whilst adding to the fact, I have found nearly 365 book bloggers to follow on Twitter (even made a List!) – clearly, I need to draw myself out of my cocooned state and get back out there & be my lively chatty self!

In regards to what I was relating to Imyril on her blog tonight: I have had a bit of a love/hate relationship with this particular meme, as there are been many topics I’ve felt inclined to toss my hat into the fray of the conversation but pinning my particular interests into a ‘top ten list’ has been less than stellar in regards of sorting out how my reading life choices ‘fit’ within the scope of the singular space of each list! Ergo, I had contemplated forgoing participating in this meme altogether, but then, there are moments such as today, where I stumbled into a bookish friend’s List and thought to myself, “This is inspiring me to sort out my own inclinations!” (this was Trisha Jenn’s influence) Thus, this list was bourne as soon as I could carve out a niche of space to blog my responses!

I have decided to make a run at this meme and see where it takes me. I also gave myself the liberty of choosing how I want to answer the prompted topic in a similar fashion as I’ve augmented my own responses to #WWWeds + #10BookishNotBookish memes! Let’s see where this lovely re-entry into the book blogosphere meme entries will lead me to traverse throughout the coming months of 2018!

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You’ll immediately notice there are *11* entries here – with a few honourable mentions below them. As one of my ‘favourite’ new authors is actually a series of authors contained within an anthology – I decided since that is a particularly non-traditional selection to ‘add’ one more novel to round out individual books aside from the one anthology where I found more than one author of whom I am eager to continuing reading more stories of,… all of these stories are listed in the ‘order they were read’ throughout [2017].

*NOTE: all of these stories were sent to me in exchange for honest reviews

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You’re the Cream in My Coffee by Jennifer Lamont Leo

You're the Cream in my Coffee by Jennifer Lamont Leo

You simply get swept away into this novel: from Dot’s flapper lifestyle to Ms Corrigan’s journey back to centre and the emergence of what became of Jack; you’re truly settled into the flowing narrative of how one woman chose to take the reigns of her life and do something rather incredible with her time.

Especially brilliant, is through her dedicated research she was able to bring to light, the incredibly fast-paced life of working at Marshall Field’s. In of itself, those passages were some of my favourite because the author truly tapped into how working in a popular department store is both tiring and endlessly engaging in how to keep up with the customers! There are so many wonderful passages – of where Ms Corrigan is realising who she is for the very first time and of the mistakes that come from daring to live outside your comfort zones.

Ms Lamont Leo has etched out a heroine you want to rally behind and learn more about in successive volumes of a series you can only hope has first sparked to life in You’re the Cream in my Coffee. A most enjoyable reading experience was being curled up inside this beautifully lovely debut novel, of which I hope will become the guiding light towards deepening the appreciation of Ms Corrigan’s adventures in successive installments of the series. Mind, I hope it does readily become a full-on series of novels, because the foundation laid down in the shoes & mind of Ms Corrigan are to be treasured!

Truly, a sweet novel for those who love Inspiring HistFic with a glimmer of a pinch of Romance set in an exciting period of history whilst coming alive with a coming-of age story that is simply not meant to be missed! Definitely my first #unputdownable read of the New Year: 2017! Such a blessing to have been on this blog tour!

As an aside, the truer blessing was having such an inspiring read on hand whilst I fought my way back into the joys of reading once again. This was a beautiful story to get lost inside and feel your spirit renew itself against the pages of drama evolving in and out of Ms Corrigan’s search for individual truth & the path she was meant to walk. -quoted from my review of You’re the Cream in My Coffee

Note: I did receive confirmation the series is alive and well. New installments are forthcoming! Such as the following: ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’ – the second novel to be released TBA March, 2018!

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Gifts of the Magi: A Speculative Holiday Collection (anthology)

Gifts of the Magi: A Speculative Holiday Collection edited by John F. Allen, E. Chris Garrison and RJ Sullivan There are stories I am reading this New Year, 2018 which are by authors I first discovered within this anthology. [2017] was a difficult year – as by now almost everyone who follows me knows about my Dad (if not, links are in the sidebar) and personally it was a wreck of a year for my own health (ie. allergies to migraines; oh, and it ‘ended’ on a Winter flu at New Year’s… #soblessed) – the stories I was able to attach inside were a true blessing because I oft would pick up a book – fiction, anthology, non-fiction or attempt to listen to an audiobook – not always finding I could ‘connect’.

Thus, I have some leftovers from [2017] mixing in with my backlogue from two years ago… sometimes we can only give what we can give and read what works for us in the moment we attempt to read. However, – this was the wicked lovely anthology Mr Sullivan surprised me by sending it to me full of signatures of the writers whilst giving me the chance to become acquainted with *seven!* #newtomeauthors!! Of those, Ms Marian Allen sent me her world’s anthology entitled: Shifty whereas Ms Holland sent me the first audiobook of her series Sower of Dreams. Both of these are slated for early Winter 2018 – I can’t wait to dig back into their worlds!!

You’re immediately pulled into this world – not just because of what is happening around Jasmine (or even how much it reminded me of the fates of lives disappearing in the Clan Chronicles) but due to the layers of emotional conviction assaulting you as soon as you disappear inside this intriguing world set around war.

As you walk alongside Jasmine you can feel the urgency of her heart wanting to will her ability to effectively make more than marginal enroads of a difference in the lives put into her charge. She’s an interesting woman by all fronts, including being selfless in seeking out further knowledge and training to better aide others as she works tirelessly towards giving psychological and spiritual healing to those who need it most. Seeing her react to the helplessness situation at hand only further pivots towards how harrowing of a time it is for her and others like her who are working against time.

It was interesting finding out how everyone was knitted together through telepathy or empathic gestures of reassurance; as Holland calls this ‘othersense’ in her stories. It is through this deeper connection everyone on this world can exchange a more direct exchange of thought, conscience emotion and mindfulness of others feelings. We are entering into a void of time after a terrible war and where the healing is still fully in-progress for everyone involved.

Here we are treated to fond recollections by Jasmine & Khan (a married couple) and Sadie – each of whom share memories of being Earthbound prior to their travelling to this new (nearly hidden world) place of residence where instead of having Gods and Goddesses the substance of folklore they take a more immediacy role in people’s lives. Through these conversations, they share about how their different religious backgrounds affected their holiday celebrations and how different holidays were perceived on Earth in general. It became a fascinating discourse for those gathered around them, as life has a different rhythm here.

I can sense an epic world-building brewing in the background; this short only hints and nods towards the larger picture just out of sight from where this short chooses to take a new reader to this world. There are moments of familiarity of the elements etching out of the background to where I felt cosy comfortable being in this world because I could attach my imagination to where the author wanted us to go visually but there were times where I wish I had the trilogy on hand and could read through the timeline and then re-position myself back into this short; the depth of the emotional anguish would have felt more real to me I think, because although the author graciously talks about the loss and the hardships these characters have endured – all of it is quite out of context to the reader, as it’s long since past by the time we arrive at this particular ‘moment’ in their timeline.

The strongest tug I felt was the opening paragraphs, where you felt more intrinsically rooted to how Jasmine felt rather than the harder contextual memories of her friends, where everything is a bit leftover from when the events originally occurred. I think this is one of those shorts where prior reading might be a benefit; as this would prove to be a celebration of friendship and a reclamation of the small joys which knit out the happiness of your life after severe trauma and the wrenching emotional loss the characters have surely felt prior to now. Whilst I was composing my thoughts on behalf of this short, I found out Ms Holland is a therapist which made sense considering how strong of an emotional beginning she writ into the opening paragraphs of Season of Renewal; you can almost feel the heartache pulsing off the page and boomeranging into your own heart and conscience; it’s that effectively written! -quoted from my ruminations about Season of Renewal by Debra Holland

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I liked how Ms Allen pre-empted her story by asking the question ‘does time truly matter when it comes to stories that encircle your mind?’ to which I would aptly reply: not really! What was quite stirring about this short, is how wicked interesting the world was where Ms Allen set her tale! To have food magically appearing in cookpots and having a hen produce eggs which whip up the delights of your foodie senses upon cracking them? Or rather, upon first crack of an egg – what you truly need might not even be food? It could be something dearly necessary (i.e. clothes) by which somehow your thoughts of willing an object or item to be ‘hatched’ is stirred inside the egg and thus, the egg produces what is needed. Who wouldn’t want to live there!?

It would be a foodie’s dream or a baker’s delight – imagine if you could cull the magic to help you bake everything ‘right’ the first time you attempted a new recipe!? How fetching the aromas would be in that kitchen! Not to even mention how all the rudimentary necessary items would no longer be a worry because you’d always have exactly what you need!? I am sure there is more to this kind of magic, but on the onset of learning about it, how lovely it would be to know by cracking an egg, at least one immediate worry is dissolved?

There are two rather eccentric characters at the heart of this story – an elder man of unknown years and his equally elder grandmother; she is a bit more interesting because she’s attending the scene peripherally rather than centre-focused. You gather this man wouldn’t be housed in this particular part of his realm if circumstances hadn’t exiled him. From his grandmother, you sense he should be thankful for what he has now and not bitter about what he has lost in the past. They have an interesting duality to them.

The beauty of the tale is one of finding the moral ground to walk in a life of duty and honour, where the fine line between what is right or wrong might not be as clearly visible. It’s a good story to read at the holidays because of the truthfulness in being humble and forgiving; to err your wrongs and to find ways to affect other people’s lives for the good. You get so caught up in this short piece of literature, the ending comes far too soon! -quoted from my ruminations on behalf of The Warmth of Mid-Winter by Marian Allen

There are other entreaties into series-in-progress within this tome of Speculative Short Stories – all of which I happily shared my ‘first impressions’ about whilst feeling myself happily addicted to the styles I was reading as I moved through the anthology itself! The best anthologies are the ones I can’t pull myself out of; wishing instead to stay within their worlds – soaking in more of their characters’ lives and getting to know their writer’s muse a bit more! I look forward to being able to start to gather more of these lovely author’s stories throughout the coming year – as the timing is better for me now to re-enter their collective works. I also think their stories are most befitting to being read in the Winter months,… fire, hearth and cosy comforting stories like these are a special treat for Winter nights! At least, they are for me. If you pop over to read my other thoughts, leave me a note – I’d love to know which ones you’d like to read yourself!

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The Extraordinary Journey of Vivienne Marshall by Shannon Kirk

The Extraordinary Journey of Vivienne Marshall by Shannon Kirk The opening of this novel is quite in-tune with today’s technologic addictive world – what is the true cost of using technology as an appendage to our lives? How do we get to the point where being ‘plugged’ in takes cadence over living in the world and experiencing the world directly through our living  sphere of understanding?

Marshall holds no bar on introducing her character Vivienne as she steps in the path of a moving truth about humankind’s addictive tendencies of distraction leading to harrowingly visual consequences. Vivienne might not have thought she would walk into the path of a truck and physically find herself in a position of pain and loss seconds after reading her social feeds; but this is exactly how we meet her, as a woman whose hectic lifestyle includes power walking through city streets, head down into her phone and her attention elsewhere than where it ought to have been. The transition of being cognisant and aware of the differences between being ‘here’ and being ‘there’ is introduced well – as you can feel the pull of how Vivienne wants to return ‘back there’ rather than being returned to where she was before.

There is a soul ache in feeling how connected we are to the Light of Heaven and how disappointed we could become on our return to Earth if we were already about to make the choice between life and death; to resume where we left off the moment we ‘died’ or were put into a coma (as sometimes is the case) can become a delicate war within ourselves to understand where we are on our journey and how our choices will affect everything else. I love how Kirk pulls you into the heart of Vivienne when she expresses her soul craves ordinary kind mercies and the stories which keep us all alive with the heartblood of our humanity. She starts to thread the needle towards what Vivienne understands both in the present and in the ‘other sphere’ of her existence; she’s tethered to both in this moment of recognising how she’s about to separate from one chapter and enter into a new one wholly new and dimensionally incredible in its own right.

Vivienne is being guided by her first true love, Noah, of whom met her when she first found herself in-between; where she has options (something similar was explored through the film Christmas Magic starring Lindy Booth) to chart her course; in this vein of interest, she can choose how she spends her eternity; by hand-selecting ‘Heavens’ to try out by people who were meant to be her guides and guardians in life; in effect, the people of whom crossed your path for even more reasons than what you might have originally felt possible at the time you met them. (here: I remembered my viewing of The Five People You Meet in Heaven)

As you start to enter into the memories of Vivienne’s selected personal guides, you start to see how poetically attune Kirk is at delivering a story-line full of metaphoric and ambient depth; you get caught inside how she chooses to grant you entrance into a private woman’s world; whose lived so daringly close to tomorrow, she’s never quite given her the luxury to reconsider the past or shift her perspective of the present. In having to focus on her guides, she’s withdrawing inward – digging through the records of her memories, sensing where she needs to go and fusing memory with insight in ways she never attempt before her accident. -quoted from my review of The Extraordinary Journey of Vivienne Marshall

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Timekeeper (Timekeeper trilogy, No. 1) by Tara Sim (audiobook)

TImekeeper by Tara Sim Sim pulls your inside Danny’s world by giving you a reason to champion his efforts, as you walk alongside him during the latest unexplained issue of lost time. She breathes life into her world by shifting back and forth through the environment of clock towers and what goes through the mind of one of their mechanics put in charge of their maintenance and repair. She has stitched inside her novel a bit of cheeky humour – where she pulls back the tension with well-placed humour to cut the thickening of the scene from boiling over too much in angst or suspense.

There is a pallor cast over this world – everywhere you look there is a bit of a gloomy edge to the scenery and the setting of where we entreat into Danny’s world. There are hardships present here and as the background seeks to express the emotions of the characters and of the positions of the clock towers; you see the harder lines of how in this reality, life is lived under a pressure boiler. Sim taps into how to fuell the back-story of her characters by presenting different points-of-view to give the reader a proper chance to envision how this world and the differences in classes can relate to our contemporary world; especially due to how many things both worlds have in common with each other.

This is a story of the working middle-class and how there are everyday struggles to not just survive but to rise above where living by paycheck is not commonplace; where life can encourage more out of the hours than what was necessary. I definitely consider this a strong entrance into Clockpunk – the variant of Steampunk, still lodged in the Victorian past but with a strong influence of clocks to where the stories interweave through technology which is limited by the presence of clocks and the full use of their technology to carry forward.

On Equality in Lit: Sim openly explains how Danny came to understand his sexuality and when he chose to come out of the closet. He understand the gravity of being out now when the rules had been changed to allow his sexuality not to remain hidden but could be presented quite forthright to both his peers and society at large. You can sort out see a bit of foreshadowing towards this revelation – especially when you stop to consider how Danny first reacted towards seeing Brandon; how his observations of his character and appearance might tip forward how he felt about the boy without coming out directly to stipulate his own sexuality. She has written a series which fits organically inside LGBTTQPlus section of literature but also, a telling narrative about forbidden love, self-harm, mental health, depression and overcoming events which could lead to PTSD. -quoted from my review of Timekeeper

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Design for Dying (Lillian Frost & Edith Head Mysteries) by Renee Patrick

Design for Dying by Renee Patrick I don’t oft find myself so ‘over the moon’ in love with a book series to the point in which I cross the line towards gushing over it! However, as you will see on my reviews of the first two novels in this #unputdownable Cosy Historical Mystery series set during one of my favourite periods of American History (ie. Old Hollywood!) – I am clearly letting myself get a bit cheeky giddy! Ha! I’m on pins awaiting the third installment, too!

‘meeting’ Edith head & Lillian frost:

Lillian Frost is a hard-working sales girl trying to get a leg up in the department store by staying on the cusp of modern fashion and winning over her customers by putting on display the items they’d be most keen to purchase after returning from the cinema. Despite her young years, she has a fire in her belly to succeed and to learn the different facets of her field. Being shocked by the brutal death of her friend Ruby, she was jostled into realising the hard luck life had arrived at her doorstep. Her fears of what could befall either of them was now coming true – but even that realisation was a curiosity, how did her friend die and why?

Ms Frost had the benefit of an Uncle who worked in Pictures (in Set Design) giving her an early interest in the goings-on of behind-the-scenes work which allowed the actors to take their queues. Without a set, there is no stage and without the illusion of the realities being filmed, there was little chance an audience would believe the illusion. Although she had her moment to arrive in front of the camera, it was her passion to find a way to stay behind it; to work on dressing the set rather than acting through the lens. I have to admit, I agree with her; there is so much synergy in the toils of the crew, you would never want for boredom! Your life would be a revolving door of quickfire solutions and inventive innovative designs.

Edith Head was found on the Paramount lot, quite in her element but it’s how she was presented to the reader which befitted her personality best. It was how you could ‘see’ her through the authors’ descriptions that gave me the smile which never quite left me for the rest of the novel’s length. They truly knew how to evoke Ms Head out of the historical past; to bridge her image and legacy out of time itself and make her wholly alive once more. Here she was in charge of everyone around her and quite in charge of Morrow’s proposed conversation!

What I found so touching though is how keen Ms Head was to identity what was percolating in Ms Frost’s mind before she could own her thoughts. Head was genuinely taken with Lillian; she liked her honesty but I think there was something else that sparked a new friendship between them, too. They were both fond of fashion, they spoke the same language in that regard but it was more about how their passion and their personalities were aligned better than Ruby and Lillian ever could have been. -quoted from my review of Design for Dying

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Kinship of Clover by Ellen Meerpol

Kinship of Clover by Ellen Meeropol This was such an interestingly layered Speculative story – I was quite surprised when I learnt the author said I had interpreted the whole story in a different way than other readers, as I thought for sure others had pulled back these beautiful layers and had seen what I saw? Hmm. It speaks to how stories ‘talk’ to each of us differently,… It quite literally remains one of the most inventively creative stories I’ve had the joy of reading – it’s in a lovely category all of it’s own in that regard – as very few stories have entered the same level of appreciation as this one – marked by other creative innovative writers who are re-inventing how stories can be told.

There are elements of Sci-Fantasy merging into the Contemporary narrative – such as the portal opened by the plants themselves to transport Jeremy into a secret garden sanctuary in the middle of the city. The plants evoke a response out of him on a cellular level – he feels their pain and their consciousness. They can talk to him because part of his blood and DNA has mixed with planet DNA; in some ways, his dream of being a mutant similar to the X-Men has come true but in a curiously ecological method of intrusion. More similar to SpiderMan if you think on it as although he wasn’t bitten by a spider, his condition is nature centric.

In truth, it’s much more akin to what happened to Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman) in Batman and Robin (1997). The latter is my favourite version of the franchise – mostly as it had the most heart and soul in regards to character development and the journey the characters took during the film’s central arc. Jeremy hears the plea of the plant world to seek someone to speak on their behalf but he has difficult y in fuelling the passion he has for their decline into a tangible resolution which will not pin him as being clinically depressed or mentally unstable to where he loses the ability to make critical judgements for his personal welfare.

The most compelling passages involve Flo – her spiral into dementia and the lost feeling she had trying to understand what is happening as her mind slips further away from reality. She becomes lost in remembering her young years whilst forgetting what she is doing in the present – the way in which Meeropol eclipsed this experience from her point of view is by presenting life threatening situations which can happen when someone with memory issues forgets what their doing in the moment their mind ‘slips’ out of sync with their living hours.

It’s a critical look into how time, memory and the need to remember start to crossect with the body’s will to simply let everything lapse if it is easier than fighting against the loss. You can feel what is happening to Flo whilst you watch how her life is quickly altering through each new stage of her degenerative disease takes effect. The fact you cannot return to the rhythm of your life and the pace of how you lived is the worst part about it all; as Meeropol illuminates so eloquently and honestly.

As you proceed through the story as it’s being told, you do wonder if Jeremy’s condition to see plants transmute themselves onto his skin and person are hallucinogenic or if it’s a new variant of DNA code inflicted by the cross-matching of plant DNA with human. I read most of this novel as a Sci-Fantasy which sought to speak about political topics and the current events surrounding ecological duress on the natural habitats which are diminishing under rising toxicity. The overlay of the ecological focus is one non-traditional family’s struggle to come to terms with their multi-ethnic background – especially as not all of their lineage is out in the open. There are family secrets and family skeletons hidden from sight and memory. It’s one part family drama and coming-of age story against the backdrop of environmental activism. -quoted from my review of Kinship of Clover

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Where Dragonflies Hover by AnneMarie Brear

Where Dragonflies Hover and Jorie's ChocLit bookshelf. Book Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com. Photo edits and collage created in Canva. This was one of the few times where my book photography came out exactly the way I hoped it might – especially with being able to get all the lovely ChocLit novels in the background whilst focusing on my #currentreads of ChocLit in the foreground. This novel however, truly took me by surprise – I have an affinity for war dramas – but as the years have moved forward, I have to hold back a bit by the kind of war dramas I entertain reading. Sometimes they can cross a threshold I can’t return back from too easily – aside from the lovely beloved #ChartonMinster series by Ms James (seen on the right of this novel) this one – had such a special heart inside it!

You can read my fuller thoughts my review but it’s the scope of how Ms Brear told this one which gave it the best depth of breadth for being a one-off and not a bridge into a series – not every novel can pull of that kind of perspective. Although, later in the year, I would find the same joy within the pages of Last Christmas in Paris – which nearly made it on this list, except I’m a readily established reader of Ms Webb’s!

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The Crowns of Croswald (Croswald series, No. 1) by D.E. Night

The Crowns of Croswald Book Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com. Photo edits and collage created in Canva. Of course, I had to share the book photography for this novel I created! I was part of the #unboxing of Croswald blog tour and featured a review on it’s behalf as well. It was my *first!* time having the joy of doing an ‘unboxing’ for an author / or publisher like this – the bottle has given me a lot of smiles, as you’d be surprised how magical it is to have a glowing bottle on your desk!

ivy lovely & those wickedly glowing bottles:

It was Ivy’s thirst for knowledge through the art of reading and research which warmed me instantly to her as she took after my own bookish heart, to be honest! Her genuine friendship with an unexpectedly kind dwarf (of whom you can discern knows more than he’s letting on!) who encourages her curiosity whilst he cautions her to be aware of her surroundings; best not to let others find out what she does on her ‘down’ time for fear of what it could mean for her well-being.

She’s one of those curiously in-tune creatives, who doesn’t quite have her self-confidence to fully understand the talent she can give and what she can bring to the world based on her inherit gifts. Rimbrick feels more like a guardian and a guide – someone who can help plant the seed of ideas about her (potential) future whilst giving her the time she needs to accept not everything is quite as it seems; at least, not in regards to what Ivy Lovely should be doing with her life. Her world was truly separated by class, station and decree – only the royals were able to receive formal education to advance as either scrivenists or how to use the stones embedded into their crowns. It is here where I started to understand the legacy, lore and purpose behind the title of the novel – for you see, the crowns hold more than magic within their design. Though willing, Ivy was cast-out of contention for this honour, as she is both orphan and servant; an unwanted presence wherein others who know of her do not see her potential, only what she is worth as a person who serves their needs over her own. I don’t know about you – but when I read the syllabus for Ivy’s 1st Year at the Hall of Ivy – I was tickled with excitement on her behalf! Especially as her class schedule felt more adventurously enticing than my own years of schooling provided! There was even a bit of flexibility for independent study and self-directed excursions of discovery! Who wouldn’t want to attend a school set-up to be not only centred on it’s students but to allow the students to dictate how far they could educate themselves by listening to their own conscience and choose the path right for them to walk?

I must admit – when Ivy first arrived inside her glanagerie class, I was most keen to learn all about these wonderfully enticing glowing bottles! The interesting bit is how the magic is contained inside them and what the magic is used for – as it’s quite an interesting puzzle to root out in one’s mind! The bottle itself is not as quaint in size as you observe and the ways in which the bottles can be used do not have a limited arsenal of ideas! At best, they are meant to be used with extreme caution and with a particular nod of healthy respect! All the while, I was eyeing my own glanagerie bottle and remembering how I had tinkered with it even though I hadn’t fully realised what it was nor what it was capable of doing! It is how it glowed which nibbled at my curiosity and once curious, who can put down the object they most want to sort out how to use? -quoted from my review of The Crowns of Croswald

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Learning to Love by Sheryl Browne

Learning to Love by Sheryl Browne The interesting bit to a patchwork quilt is how each of the pieces fit together – even if you cannot find the pattern of how they become stitched together, somehow, someway they simply compliment each other. In many ways, I felt like David and Jake and Andrea with her children and mother were squares on a patchwork quilt – each trying to sort out how to interlock together and see if they would form a bond which could last past the emergency.

David took in the family out of compassion and kindness – to give them shelter and a bit of normalcy after such a magnanimous loss was the least he could do; having been front and centre on the fire. Eva was the secondary character who pulled at my heart-strings the most – she had such a kind nature about her and such a willingness to be neighbourly. She was a woman with means and had a sharp mind for understanding things which went underhand – as she was quite the key to knowing what was unravelling Jonathan! It was her passion for gardening and her quirky clever way of convincing young children to eat vegetables which staid with me the most – she just had this charming personality which won you over as soon as you met her! Her spunk and resolve to continue to seek out as much life as she could is also what softened your heart and gave you a lot of mirth of joy whilst reading her scenes and sequences!

As the Suspense pulls itself towards the concluding second half of the novel, you start to piece things together even before David and Andrea do. You start to notice how all the little subtle somethings are adding up and their concluding in a way you wish they wouldn’t except to say, it would give the most freedom for David and Andrea to realise something about each other if it were to come to pass the way it was appearing to be true! (if you read between what I’m hinting at!)

What was so very convicting though is how authentic the transitions were in this drama – of how people can merge their lives together out of tragedy and find a release of relief in how well they seem to be thriving under a situation that is less than ideal but within it’s quirkiness of unexpected elsewhere quality, it was providing a safe haven for everyone who was residing there. Sometimes you have to change your perspective and change where your living to better see the truth in the pudding waiting for your notice! -quoted from my review of Learning to Love

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RimRider (Rimrider series, No.1) by L.A. Kelley (audiobook)

Rimrider by L.A. Kelley

As we enter into the story, Jane is fifteen nearly sixteen whereas her younger brother is only twelve – where the harrowing realities of life in Space starts to take an ugly turn in their lives when the worst of what could befall them, does! Straight from the moment you start to listen to this audiobook – there is a burst of cheeky humour in the undertone – where you cannot help but feel pulled into Jane’s life.

She’s a disillusioned student who is getting fed up with the regulations of how for every citizen, there is a job and a placement being the reason behind why school life is so dearly important in her world – where even if you dreamt of having a different kind of life; it was useless to even speculate because no one would understand your reasons. Jane shares a special moment with her father – where he reveals she reminds her of her mother – of whom had passed on during an ordinary excursion which was not considered high risk – it was one of those times where you question why something could disrupt the happiness you had in your life by an incident which robs you of the innocence of your youth whilst trying not to find yourself hardening by the senselessness of it all.

Shortly thereafter, Jane and her brother, Will are cheekily bantering with each other – about how taking a ‘hover’ without permission would be a fast ticket to the ‘Rim’ – this ill-fated place they were taught were only for the ‘unwantables’ of their society – where criminals and other rift rafts would be sent to ‘sort out their ills’ before being allowed to return to their lives. Will in particular, had an interest in the Rim which was not considered healthy for the youth of their generation – whereas Jane, was happy in her routines – of keeping herself focused on what she needed to do even if there wasn’t a lot of joy in the execution of it. She was the kind of student who liked to test the wills of her teachers – especially when they would annoy her to no end about asking her vexing questions which she knew she would lengthen into a nettling of angst for the teacher but a lively bout of joy for Jane.

You can happily feel the vexations Jane is feeling in her voice – the narrator truly gives you the full presence of teen angst by how she voiced Jane’s misgivings about her future. The track she was currently on was being controlled by the ‘school’ or rather the governing body of this ‘world’ – where everyone was directed into a path ‘they’ felt was merited against what contributions they could give back to this society on Earth. You gather there is more behind the incident involving her father, simply by how things are slowly growing more complicated in the aftermath.

Prior to this, Jane’s life was organised by what was considered appropriate for a girl her age to desire – if you have seen Bee Movie, you know how insanely particular they are about having everyone catagorised into a job. Information about the Rim starts to emerge – first through a bit of a prank against Jane’s teacher and then, as Will (her brother) insisted to hear more about this mysteriously unknown Aunt, you get the vibe the Rim isn’t quite the place only befit to the outlaws everyone is told lives there. Adaline is the siblings Aunt (their mother’s step-sister who had been kept a secret from them) who was living on the Rim. The reasons the Aunt was kept from them, mused Jane was because their parents worked for UEC (United Earth Corp.) and their Aunt was living rather avant-garde away from the regulatory body who controlled everything in their lives. -quoted from my review of Rimrider

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On the Rocks (Edith Lewis & Willa Cather Mysteries) by Sue Hallgarth

On the Rocks (Willa Cather & Edith Lewis Mysteries) by Sue Hallgarth

Edith charmed me and Willa encouraged my inquisitive nature – the two of them have such an ease about their personalities. They find a companionable equality in how where one thinks about something specific, the other is ready for a follow-up remark – they are two minds which sometimes act as one, as most couples tend to claim for themselves. They knew how to get the neighbours to talk about the idle things no one suspects would mean something whilst they kept a steady eye on their own affairs, too. Their sleuthing simply fit into the background of their days; it was a welcome addition but not one which overshadowed their other interests, either!

As they continued to seek answers to questions which seemed unending – you started to notice why they thrived outside the city (here: New York City). This community of Grand Manan is as quirky and humbly eccentric as all my favourite small townes in fiction (or IRL). This was a thinking man’s mystery – the mystery in of itself is also unique, because instead of being an isolated incident it’s a piece of a wider puzzle! I like how mysteries take on an enlarged cusp of an area’s secrets – of how whilst the reader has to stay patient to understand the different components of what is being fused together, it’s the manner of how things pull apart and are put back together in proper order which is the most exciting! For me, this mystery was wicked enjoyable if only to draw further insight into understanding the people of Grand Manan and how where they live influences their lives.

On the Cosy Mystery writing styling of Sue Hallgarth:

Such a refreshingly original setting and locale to focus on – the Fundy Isles hold their own allure and by setting this first installment at a place in the North Atlantic few might take notice of themselves, the joy of reading the novel is enhanced tenfold for the reader! I appreciated how Hallgarth introduced both setting and character – everything unfolded in a way which befits smaller communities where strangers are not common. She had a keen insight of how to balance the elements of the natural world with the distinctive lifestyles of her characters, too. It was a breathable balance where you felt a part of the air and rooted in the spaces between the heartbeats. -quoted from my review of On The Rocks

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In closing, I wanted to say, I had the wonderful joy of being able to interview Ms Hallgarth as well as read the second installment in this beautiful series feat. Edith Lewis & Willa Cather. The only thing which struck me ironic, I hadn’t realised I mistook Willa for Edith and vice versa – as I was so attached to the story-lines and how they were being described in the series – for whichever reason, my mind attached their names to the wrong images of their persons on the front covers! Isn’t that curious?! I cannot wait to see what Edith & Willa get up in their next literary adventure, however, I, for one, will be remembering who is whom the correct way round by then! Laughs.

A lot of my beloved #newtomeauthors this year were series starters – a few were one-offs, but I’m an appreciator of series which is why as the list generated tonight, I wasn’t a whit surprised to find a lot of series being mentioned! Also, I was happily seeing audiobooks start to pepper into my musings as I’ve been earnestly attempting to listen to more audios to curb my chronic migraines – a personal goal of mine is to reach the point where my readings are evenly (or nearly so) spilt between 50% print and 50% audiobook.

Earlier in the day, whilst visiting Austine @ Novel Knight I expounded upon this topic as she was sharing about how the Paperwhite has aided her reduction in frequencies of migraines. Each of us has to find what works best for us as we’re all individual and so are our health issues (esp with migraines). I think the greatest surprise as I compiled this List is the fact I had *enough!* favourite reads to share for the category! The year was heavy and full of adversity and strife; I remember it took me half an age just to get nestled into each of the stories I was reading.

My mind was a hive of activity and half of that worked against trying to ascertain what was going in inside a character’s life! Although,… by the looks of things – my [2017] as far as a reader is concerned did not go off half as badly as I thought it had! This gives me a renewal of hope by the time March swings round and I have finally compiled my *End of the Year Survey* of best reads and bookish memories – it shall be a fuller post than the sparse one I feared it might become. Hmm. How lovely! Further still, two of the novels Trisha Jenn mentions on her #TopTenTuesday today as her favourites from [2016] became two of my new library holds as tweeted about earlier via this thread!

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Every year, I read a considerable amount of debut novelists – in fact, I oft-times spend more time cosied into debut novels moreso than I’m able to continue reading the series I already love! I am working on gathering better balance in this regard as each year goes past – however, this particular year as I read a bit less than usual, I was happily surprised to find three extra stories which nearly made my final cut to be the ‘best of the best’ #newtomeauthors selections! They weren’t really inched out – per se, but as we all have to make a list of our top favourites – despite my love & admiration of ALL the STORIES on this post, I felt these were the honourable mentions as I compiled the list.

+ Honourable Mentions would include:

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I’m itching to know – did you participate in this week’s topic? If so, kindly leave a link to your #TopTenTuesday so I can happily visit your list & see what grabs your literary eye! Likewise, what is on my List that either leaves you curious to explore or is a literary style we share in common within our readerly adventures!?

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NOTE: This post was fully restored on the 14th of January, 2018 @ 11:31pm. Prior to this, if you were trying to read this post and found it was ‘absent’ from my blog, please accept my apologies. After the first few days it was published, I made a technical goof and had to work hard to restore this back to its original content. It is a personal favourite of mine to share and one I hope others will enjoy reading as time goes forward. Thank you for your patience.

{SOURCE: Top Ten Tuesday badge created with Jorie Loves A Story blank badge by Ravven, with edits by Jorie in Fotoflexer. All individual book covers were given to me by either the publicists/publishers/authors/or blog touring companies who encourage me to talk about the books after I’ve reviewed them and thus, all are being used with permission. All book photography is credited to jorielovesastory.com.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2018.

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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 Wednesday, 3 January, 2018 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Bookish Memes, JLAS Update Post, Jorie Loves A Story, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Top Ten Tuesday

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4 responses to “#TopTenTuesday No.5 | Top Ten #NewToMeAuthors I loved #amreading in 2017!

    • Hallo, Hallo Nicole,

      Thanks for cluing me into the fact the second in the series is releasing this month – I lost track of when the sequel was going to release! I’m still trying to decide if I want to collect the print copies of the Timekeeper trilogy after they all release and then, grab the two remaining audiobooks – or listen to the audiobooks in sequence first and then, go through a re-read/re-listen when their all published.

      I do you hope you find yourself immersed in the world-building and hugged close to the characters she’s developed. I’d love to read your thoughts – or if you re-visit to see if we match in our takeaways after you’ve read Timekeeper.

      I appreciated your note – especially as the reason I like to quote from my reviews when I make lists like these or on other posts where I’m referencing what I read in the past week – I realise not everyone can pass through our blogs each week/month/year thereby missing what we’ve read or felt engaged inside. I’m thankful to know you’ve appreciated this snapshot of my thoughts. Happy readings!!

      PS: I am loving #Commenting365; nice meeting you as well. Happy adventuring!

  1. Trisha Jenn Loehr

    Oh my goodness! I’m so glad I inspired you!

    And, as far as Top Ten Tuesday goes, you’re totally allowed to do less than 10 or more than 10. It’s very flexible, which I appreciate. I get frustrated with it too sometimes, as I don’t always connect with the topics. So I skip a week here or there. But I like to participate at least once a month and want to get better at going and reading other folks lists.

    Thanks for the mentions, links, and encouragement, friend!
    – Trisha @ trishajennreads

    • Hallo, Hallo Trisha Jenn!

      Ooh my dear sweet stars! You’re leaving me a comment on my #TopTenTuesday whilst I was leaving a short note on yours! I was about to call it a night – but I wanted to let you know I had started composing this post due to reading yours! And, here you found mine before the other comment even went live! :) This is good to know – I hadn’t realised it was this flexible – I might not have taken such a long hiatus from participating, then! I think No.4 posted in [2014] !? Ooh dear heavens! I agree – I want to work on a lot of things this year revolving around being more active in the book blogosphere and that includes resuming where I left off with some of my favourite memes. Little by little, I shall get there – as will you! :) I’m compiling what I want to share on Thursday, as I want to resume my #BookishNotBookish posts this week – as originally that was going to be my ‘first’ meme of the New Year! Ha!

      You’re definitely welcome! I love sharing who inspires me + if I can help route someone to their blog, this gives me a heap of joy! Wicked thanks for being the first to read this list and leave me a note!!

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