#TopTenTuesday No.6 | Top Ten Books I’m Looking Forward to In 2018

Posted Tuesday, 16 January, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

[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! In January, 2018 this meme is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

[Topic #370 originally shared on 26th December, 2017] *elected to rewind, rather than stay OT

I shared this post for today’s topic linky – as I wasn’t sure if the original blogger who hosted this was going to archive their blog now that they have stepped down from blogging. (see List)

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Today’s entry was inspiring to me for the following reasons:

I’ve wanted to sort out which stories I want to read per each new year for *decades!* However, despite all the bookish feeds I read, consume and try to digest per annum, I am the girl who is constantly and consistently *surprise!* by which stories are published per year! Try as I might, I either get wholly consumed by #currentreads to notice #newreleases and/or I’m distracted by life itself – as all of us live full lives outside our reading queues!

This year, however, I was a bit ahead of the curve! I knew about several releases I was wicked itching to read! What fun, eh!? I also found a few new ones before January – somehow, the one thread of literature I source every year the easiest are the stories within the realms of *Historical Fiction* as let’s be honest – Jorie loves travelling through the historic past! (smiles) If there were a story out there set during a timeline of History I haven’t yet visited, there is a strong variable of interest for me to dig inside it and take the journey!

The two veins of interest I am most under-read are Science Fiction & Fantasy as well as INSPY Fiction (see my 70 Authors Challenge, which resumes this 2018!). Slowly but surely I shall re-inspire myself to bring these stories back into my life with the same gusto I have for #HistFic! It’s just when it comes to the past, of stories which are set elsewhere in time – I’m as giddy a girl watching a hot air balloon ascend into the heavens to see what the world looks like from above! #HistoricalFiction allows us to re-align our world-view, of re-examining History and of setting ourselves into the footsteps of characters who re-theorise the lives of those who lived prior to us. This is why it’s addictive to consume and why my heart flutters it’s joy every year I find myself happily alighted ‘somewhere’ in the timelines of History!

In regards to #MGLit (Middle Grade) and #YALit (Young Adult) – truthfully, I get so distracted throughout the year, I forget to *read them!* as they come into the library! I quite literally always put these novels on ‘hold’ to be in queue or I am one of the ones happily queuing them into a purchase request status – either way you slice it, when it comes to Children’s Lit, I’m falling dearly behind on my mission to #readDEEPER into these realms!

Ergo, this List is mostly aligned for releases within the first months of the year – with some extensions into Summer; though, I haven’t taken a critical eye to notice ALL the stories which will publish this year,… generally speaking, this is one reason I made my presence on Twitter my sole haunt online outside of my blog. I love being caught up in the netherspheres of conversations wherein the bookish and readerly spirits alight – everyone is happily chattering about ‘this or that and why this has to be seen to be believed or why this one touched their bookish soul in such a wicked sweet way, etc, etc’. To be in the timeline of #readers and #bookbloggers whilst interacting with #writers who are #amwriting our #nextreads whilst celebrating their #currentlypublished tomes of joy – this is where I like to spend my hours whilst I’m not #amreading my own #currentreads or #amblogging my readerly life here on Jorie Loves A Story!

In other words,… you’ll see me gush like the chattastically joyful tweeter I am throughout the year when I spy a #mustread I simply MUST find a copy of in which to disappear! Generally this means I will be sourcing through my local #Library though on occasion, I do purchase hardbacks and paperbacks which are a few years out of Pub (on discount) or I find backlist lovelies at local bookshelves (think: Little Free Libraries movement) or I am gifted a book from my Mum and Dad which grants me invaluable joy for their knowledge of how bookishly inclined I am!

I do wonder – how do you approach a NEW YEAR of STORIES?

I love to JUMP and DIVE into a New Year — with some stories in my mind to seek out, leaving the vast majority to be the unexpectedly blissful journey which unfolds before me,..

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  Trial on Mount Koya

(Hiro Hattori Mysteries, No. 6) by Susan Spann

This marks the sixth entry in the series, wherein I quite literally am full of nervous anticipation of seeing revealled! Each time I embark within an installment of this series, I find myself happily residing in 16th Century Japan – as if no time has transpired between my last ‘entrance’ and my latest one! Ms Spann has won my heart for how she pens this series, as this is what I had to say at the close of 2017 wherein I finally was able to lay my eyes upon IGA:

This is how Ms Spann holds my attention – she makes me endeavour to sleuth a bit ahead of her characters – daring me to seek out the hidden threads of how everything connects giving me an intellectually robust mystery I readily find enjoyment in engaging inside. I love seeing how her mind ferrets out her secondary story-lines – of how all the pieces of each character’s tapestry is finely orchestrated to be revealled bit by bit and even then, there are surprises for us – either in their character’s heart or the will of how their perspective might change as they live through different experiences.

She holds a particular attention towards detailed continuity and of evoking an enlarged sense of the wider world in which feudal Japan existed; of how all the branches of individual lives were being affected by the rise of power and of the augmentation of shifting tides of alliances therein. There is a hefty potboiler of dramatic revelation and exploration of what makes a country tick from the inside out whilst not to be overshadowed by the pursuit of a humbled priest who takes his personal mission deeply seriously as his soul’s intended journey for this life he’s led. As we weave in and out of the series, we see the landscape of Japan shifting, of how lives are being affected by the shogun currently in reign and of how even the shinobi themselves were not immune to the growing changes within their world.

It is dearly difficult to part company with characters who feel as if they’re a part of you – a welcome sight each time you visit with them and have carved a niche inside your heart as if they were family. This is how I feel about Father Mateo and Hiro Hattori – you grieve with them, you feel anxious with them and you dearly hope everything shall turn out alright but there is a level of uncertainty – of how the final curtain shall reveal itself on the path they’ve been walking… it is hard to put down an installment of this series, knowing you must wait a half year or a bit longer before the next one reveals itself – in this instance, I am on bated breath awaiting

‘Trial on Mount Koya’ which releases:

JULY 2018! -quoted from my review of Betrayal at Iga

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  See Also Proof

(Marjorie Trumaine Mysteries, No.3) by Larry D. Sweazy

I still remember feeling my heart flutter into a frenzy when this novel was pushed forward from being released. I do recognise not every novel can be published on a time-line it’s projected initially because too much can happen between the conception, writing and publication of said novel – this includes the vacuum of unknowns none of us know about writer’s personal lives or any unforeseen delays in how a book goes to print. However, it was how the second #MarjorieTrumaine Mystery ended which left me full of anxiety! This series pushes you out of your comfort zone the very minute you find yourself attached to the lead character: Marjorie Trumaine! Case in point: not every character you love in the series is allowed to ‘live’.

Mind you, one of the key benefits of the series is developing a keen interest in Contemporary Country Music with a bent for Outlaw Country artists and a fusion of modern country meets folk with dashes of Indie Rock thrown in for good measure! It is still the ONLY book series I can read whilst listening to music set to lyrics – all other stories I can only listen to instrumental pieces without lyrics and spoken words.

Marjorie Trumaine: a survivor and a small towne heroine:

When it comes to fondly remembering what centred me most inside the footsteps of Marjorie Trumaine, I had to think directly on what makes her a survivor and a small towne heroine – Marjorie doesn’t shy away from difficulty, she walks straight through the eye of a tornado instead! She bolsters herself with courage she never knew she had such a well of depth to pull from as she navigates the changing tides of her small Dakota towne whilst attempting to find a footpath to settle herself upon which might bring her financial security for herself and her disabled husband Hank. She’s a character whose rooted to her farm, her community and the people who make her life well-lived and full of meaning. She cares about her fellow neighbours and has a long history of pride of her ancestral roots wherein her fortitude of strength can be readily foreshadowed out of the annals of her family’s living history.

Marjorie takes stock of things most might dismiss out of hand – she has a quick perception to recognise a visual clue waving itself in front of her eyes to alert her that something is not quite as it seems; thus giving her a bit of an edge on others who might not understand the truth they have yet to see for themselves. She’s not just a survivor of fate’s cruelty and the hardships of a farmer’s wife without the full use of the acres they have to spare but of life’s unexpected curves, which can test you well outside your point of return if you let them. She’s the type of heroine any small towne would rally behind because she seeks the truth in every situation and attempts to thwart her own prejudgements in exchange for re-assessing what is known by what she knows to be true herself. It’s a credit to what makes her uniquely genuine and a constant well of strength for the residents of Dickinson.

-quoted from my review of See Also Deception

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  A Brush with Shadows

(Lady Darby Mysteries, No.6) by Anna Lee Huber

I had fully intended to read As Death Draws Near before the end of [2017] – in fact, I was looking forward to it as I had an emotional reaction to the previous novel in this series. So much so, I had to put some distance between reading the next installment and settling my thoughts about everything which had transpired. Once I felt comfortable enough to resume my readings – guess what happened?! Life took over, the hours melted off the clock and somehow, it’s become January 2018! I knew there would be a sixth novel on the horizon, however, I hadn’t realised I’d be reading the fifth novel so close to the release of the sixth, yet I am.

Here is why I am wicked thankful to have discovered Ms Huber’s #LadyDarby:

I have been appreciating the way in which Huber continuously knits her continuity of inclusive details from one novel to the next, thus giving all readers a chance to happily reside in each story in sequence irregardless of time spent away from the series! If you could not read this series back-to-back like I have done or originally found yourself removed from the series for a period of time, (admittedly two years was a long time for me!) – you don’t have to fret about losing sight of the small details that you truly need to remember, as Huber happily reminds you!

You will find moments of heavy sorrow, immensely joyful reasons to smile and a cheeky bit of humour laced throughout the series, too! I even applauded how Kiera and Gage are presented, as their romance was quite hard-won in the end! They were such fiercely independent souls, that to even think they had a chance at a romance that led to happy nuptials is a miracle in of itself! I do agree with Philip (Lady Darby’s brother-in-law) it’s quite telling that two very private people could find a path out of their shared reserved states to embrace each other & learn to trust each other to such a degree of being wholly in love with the partnership they developed!

-quoted from my Spotlight on the Lady Darby series wherein I talk about each of the installments I’ve read leading into the fifth novel. If you’ve not yet had the pleasure of reading this series, this post of mine is a good primer of what you will find within it.

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  Little Teashop of Horrors

(Yorkshire Romances, No.7) by Jane Lovering

– first time in print! (May 2018)

Last year, I happily rang in the celebratory news of this novel going into it’s Digital First release whilst focusing on the Cover Art during the Reveal. Whenever I post a reveal for cover art, I love to talk about why I want to read a novel. This was one by a ChocLit author I’ve just started to read – as I began with her Can’t Buy Me Love in May 2017.

Initial reaction to Cover Art:

My first instinct was to select this cover – it had this innocent cafe setting which could elude to something darker lurking without your general notice. The title reminded me of a spin of ‘Little Shop of Horrors’.And, by placing the ‘owl’ quite cheekily on a branch felt kismet to me to illustrate the quirky side of Ms Lovering’s style of story-telling.

Ooh, now that’s a dice of a switch in fate isn’t it!? To think you’ve finally getting on in life on an even keel only to realise you might be suffering from the subterfuge of someone else muddling with your life’s affairs!? I love how understated the premise is about highlighting the caretaker of Skrillex! I have a fetching feeling the owl has a lot of lovely secrets to reveal of it’s own but also, perhaps – has a way of creatively interconnecting the heroine and hero of this story!?

I love too, how initially the lead character has less confidence in herself than she ought and how the hero is downplayed a bit to not be quite the traditional hero but simply a bloke who never felt love would kiss his life with joy. There is a lot of drama brewing underneath the covers of this one but also, with just a pinch of ‘quirk’ to make it a read to itch for as you simply want to uncover the ‘horrors’ of the title (which I feel hint towards human nature!) and see how everything ties in together to create a setting and story you will not soon forget visiting! -quoted from my notes on behalf of the Cover Reveal

From the first moment I heard about this story, I felt intrigued. I don’t oft get to read satire and humour in my Romance & Women’s Fiction readings – I think this is one key reason why I am drawn into the orbit of Ms Lovering’s style. She has a true gift of giving you a rivetingly dramatic story with the overlays of cheeky humour with wicked timing to execute a beautiful symphony of balance within the fuller arc of her stories. Here let me share what I meant after I had read Can’t Buy Me Love:

I had a sneaky feeling going into a Lovering novel, I might love her smart wit and wicked sense of humour; I wasn’t entirely sure, mind you as I only have seen her charming wit lace itself through #ChocLitSaturday in the past, but there was always a noddle of a wink towards what I might find inside her fiction! Oy vie. I nearly think I’ve waited a bit too long to dig into her stories – as one thing is for certain – I do love writers who make analogies into their own one liners of comedic relief! I do love clean stand-up comedy and improv; mostly as I come from a family of jokers and comedians; if there is a way to spin-off a connection between pop culture and life; we’re your family! We also love finding the cheekiness of ordinary life and imparting a bubble of a laugh out of anything that can be spun into a slice of comedic joy! We’re crackers I guess half the time, laughing at our own jokes but what makes us endearing is how we approach life with the light of joy even when times turn dearly turbulent. Without humour, we’re would any of us be anyway?

Some of the genius of Lovering’s pop cultural wit and humour was so innate you had to understand it was a reference when you stumbled across it such as the cheeky reference to the Daleks (ie. Doctor Who!). I found these instances and passages were my absolute favourites – which also goes to prove I have had such a hearty appetite of British tv and movies alongside my own country’s offerings (and Canada’s) that it would appear I have dual understanding of the insertions one can make on everyday life by lending wisdom from what we watch on either the small or large screen! lol

Truly Lovering has great wit and her best strength is how she augments her humour into the streamline of the conversational plot; as I liked how this didn’t read like a traditional RomCom on that level. No, it reminded me a bit when Ferris Bueller turns back to the camera and starts to talk to the audience? So, too does Willow speak to the reader rather than the writer whose narrating her story. It’s a tongue in cheek method of the craft but also, when you overlay and insert the pop culture one liners, zingers and over the top wicked inclusions only those of us ‘tuned in’ would understand becomes a wicked romp of a Rom to read; minus the overtly vulgar words which at one point felt ‘eh’ too much.

-quoted from my review of Can’t Buy Me Love

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  The Girl in the Photograph

(The Rossetti Mysteries, No.3) by Kirsty Ferry

– first time in print! (April 2018)

I was truly captured from the first novel in this series into the second – as each story builds upon the last one you’ve read! The wicked sweet part is how compelling the threads become as you soak in further into how the series unfolds itself. It’s one which has a firm foothold on History and the historical past (especially if you love Art History) whilst it allows for a pure suspension of reality as you try to unravel the Suspense before the characters can justify what is happening to them! It’s the kind of fiction which grips your heart, stirs your soul into a frenzy of curiosity and leaves you on the very edge of your seat whilst your reading each new scene in the wonder of awe how will this conclude giving you an ending which not only satisfies the climax but curates hope for the next one?

As the Rossetti Mysteries continue, you see how the tragedies of the past have an influence on the present. Where hidden secrets do not remain closed off from notice and where everyday people must find the strength to re-set history by acknowledging what happened. The intricate passageways of where history bends through time to reveal unknown connections & tragic circumstances are well thought-out by Ms Ferry. In each of her installments, she gives you a hearty historical mystery complimented by a Contemporary Romance!

It’s smashingly keen to find a hybrid style of Contemporary-Historical settings interspersed in such a way as to play equal importance to the telling a story in such a fashion as Ms Ferry has continued to present this series. She firmly grounds her series in the Contemporary Modern world before carting us off into the historical past; where the foundation is well-set and the plausible reason for extending backwards in time befits the tale at large. You get so wrapped up in her mysteries – as they are thought-provoking as much as they are heart-centred on lost loves or second chance romances; she fully encases you in the search for not only true love but the reasons behind why some secrets are ferreted out of view and knowledge from time or history or both in equal measure. This is what captures my attention in Historical Suspense or Thrillers but also with the added bonus of focusing on relationships – which in-part could be of reincarnated connections, gives an added bonus to the mysterious threads of her narratives.

You barely notice this is a hybrid of context from the Contemporary Modern world and the Historical Past, due to how the stitchings of the dual timelines overlay and interconnect into the background of the novel(s). Ms Ferry has a way of inserting historical characters into the organic flow of her Contemporary setting to where they are almost ‘intruding’ on the present and unbeknownst to them, are not entirely welcome to entreat without warning! These intrusions mark the distinctive measures of where time bends on it’s own will and method of disclosure – of where the past pierces through the veil into the present and where truth has a funny way of wanting to be shouted rather than whispered into the foreground. -quoted from my review of The Girl in the Painting

I was happily surprised to read the second installment last year – it was quite the wicked read – as I remember not wanting to leave the novel until I knew exactly how everything would tie together and resolve! It’s not the kind of story you can put down and finish at another moment in time – you feel compelled to read these in one sitting! It’s too hard to stray from them because of how taut the pacing is kept and how much you feel your on the edge of understanding ‘all of it’ if you could only get closer to the ending!

I remember this third one released Digitally as the second was releasing into print for the first time – how I ached to read the third installment as once I put down the second and caught my breath – I wanted to immediately RETURN to this world! It’s wicked good Rom Suspense at it’s finest.

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   The Girl on the Beach

(debut novel) by Morton S. Gray

– first time in print! (March 2018)

I have heard so many lovely things about this novel, whilst I also participated in feedback for the cover art design as a ChocLit Star. My paths crossed with Ms Gray through my chat #ChocLitSaturday which has happily been re-named #SatBookChat (our first New Year chat is this upcoming Saturday, the 20th!) wherein I had the delightful time getting to know the author ahead of having the chance to ‘greet her’ against the pages of her debut novel.

One thing I loved about this particular novel is how the premise eludes to the Suspense surrounding the lead character – there is this heavy ominous feeling about it all. Of how nefarious things can alight in your life without your knowledge or your observation and once they do take root in your life – how exactly do you untangle the creepier bits which seem to max out your ability to filter the negative from the good? I had a feeling this one would be a delightfully scary read – a true psychological suspenseful plot which make give me more than a few slight chills of anxious breath to finish! Sometimes I love how writers can take us to the edge of what we can read and then, give us a shockingly wicked story in a similar vein as Hitchcock. This is why I try to seek out the novels of Suspense within the tomes of Romance and Women’s Fiction where I think the writers are keying into the components and elements of what I love most about Suspense and Thrillers.

Being her debut novel, I am itching for this to release into print – as it will allow me to ‘meet it’ for the first time as a reader whose happily been contemplating the depths of where Ms Gray will take us within this narrative.

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  Cottage by the Sea

by Debbie Macomber

I’ve honestly lost track of where Ms Macomber is within her series and one-off creations – I used to read her stories quite a bit closer to their release dates. I devoured her Angel series in high school, I reached number five of Cedar Cove in my twenties (though I own most of the series and gave most of the series to my Mum; so we can read them together) and I collected most of Blossom Street in hardback whilst having the honour of meeting Ms Debbie during one of her Blossom Street author tours.

I was also wicked happy seeing her Mrs Miracle movies brought to life by Hallmark, wherein I loved all the ones played by Doris Roberts. Mr Miracle didn’t convey the same appeal, unfortunately.

However, somewhere along the route of time, I’ve been observing her releases rather than reading them – she’s one of the authors I never meant to lose track of – both in heart and in story, but sometimes life carts us off into new directions, taking us away from the writers I once loved reading regularly. As I was looking for new releases to round out my list for this week’s #TopTenTuesday, I was happily surprised finding this one!

I’m even quite sure my library might be purchasing it – they have had a health stock of Ms Macomber’s stories over the years and if they do purchase this one, I shall be one of the happy readers in queue! She’s as uplifting to read as the authors I am finding I’m keen on reading for INSPY Fiction (see also 70 Authors) – as to me, Ms Debbie writes INSPY Fiction in the mainstream.

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   Side by Side

(Bonnie & Clyde, duology) by Jenni L. Walsh

I’ve known about this duology for quite a long while now – right before 2017 closed, I had the joyful surprise of receiving the audiobook for Becoming Bonnie which is the first half of the story within this beautifully conceptionalised duology by Ms Walsh! I am looking forward to listening to the story at long last this Winter (either this month or next) as I’ve have had a healthy curiosity about Bonnie for years. I had felt there was something ‘more to the story’ than the headlines and ill-fated way in which she died. I never felt her story was every properly told or explained, which is why when my path crossed with Ms Walsh, I was overjoyed!

Seeing Bonnie through her eyes is going to be unique as I felt from the first moment she talked to me about this project to bring Bonnie to life through these stories she’s written, she had found a way to channel Bonnie directly! It is in the words she uses to illuminate Bonnie’s voice and how the story feels to be directed as well. I had the pleasure of spotlighting the first installment whilst featuring an interview with the author as well. Next, my review of Becoming Bonnie the audiobook is forthcoming!

This is why I love writers like Ms Walsh who are writing compelling Biographical Historical Fiction or how I put it originally when I first talked about wanting to read this series of novels:

The new excerpts rub off the innocence of what we knew of Bonnie previously shown in the chapter sampler from the interview I hosted with Ms Walsh. You can see she is transitioning here into ‘Bonnie’ of the fame we know her but evenso, there is more behind her persona than what is presumed. I almost think Bonn had so much to say to Ms Walsh, it was harder on Ms Walsh to decide what to put into the novel(s) at any given point in time! Bonn comes across as such a fiercely and fiery independent spirit, it’s a credit to Walsh’s insight how she’s portrayed Bonn and how she’s allowed the growth of Bonn stepping into her own spotlight to shine.

I personally love historical nuance – I love reading portions of narrative which hint towards a different era, setting and ‘moment’ of life. Where we can feel ourselves alive for a period of time outside our own reality and re-living the life of someone else who has captured our attention. One reason I love reading Biographical Historical Fiction is how emotionally convicting they become and how much they broker into the layers of the human condition & the sociological choices which determined a person’s fate or in this case, the trajectory of a person’s life on the wrong side of the law.

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   The Phantom’s Apprentice

(a re-telling) by Heather Webb

I grew up listening to Michael Crawford’s soundtrack from the Broadway production of Phantom; it was his voice and portrayal of the Phantom which solidified my passion for this musical, even though I only had the soundtrack to guide me towards his performance. I never saw him live or on video performing this signature role. I would go on to see Phantom both on the film adaptation with Emmy Rossom and the anniversary performance from the London stage via PBS. Each time, finding new reasons why I love the story as much as I do.

Musicals have held a soft spot in my heart for years, but this particular one is ranked quite high on my list of personal favourites – next to Rent to be honest! When I heard a whisper of this novel (as I’ve been following Ms Webb’s career since her debut novel Becoming Josephine) I knew I wanted to get lost inside it’s chapters!

I will be interviewing Ms Webb for the blog tour, however, this is one of my Winter purchase requests at my local library as I know a lot of readers and patrons alike in my library region love Historical narratives – I find we have a healthy selection of #HistFic per year which is why I want to tip their hat towards this release. They also have a few of Ms Webb’s previous releases including Fall of Poppies, Rodin’s Lover and Last Christmas in Paris which is why I think they’d love finding out about this one as it’s her first Indie release. Blessedly my library loves supporting Self Published and Independently Published authors inasmuch as they curate shelves for both INSPY and mainstream authors.

The hard part of course, is sorting out what I want to ask Ms Webb without reading the story as there isn’t a lot known about this one – which I understand why – but it does lead one to imagine what it could be about and how Ms Webb will pull us into her vision of where Phantom can take us all. One day I shall happily be adding this title to my personal library as well – I dearly love Ms Webb’s instincts for telling a story!

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  The Widows of Malabar Hill

(Mystery of 1920s Bombay) by Sujata Massey

Whilst attempting to put a dent in back-reading my newsletters (from publishers and authors alike) as throughout the course of the past year, they’ve stacked up quite a heap (sorry you guys, but [2017] saw my attention elsewhere) in the past twelve months with new issues running madly into my Inbox since New Year turnt a new leaf over for new releases,… such is the life of #bookworms everywhere who suddenly realise they have *too much to read* everywhere in their lives,… lol

It was during one of these random reads I picked up the notice of #newbooks coming from this publisher — this title caught my eye, as I love reading Mysteries & Suspense (as well you dear hearts have observed) but moreso, I love reading stories set ‘elsewhere’. I am wicked addicted to the foods of Northern India, I drink chai with a deeper level of passion than coffee (despite evidence to the contrary since I’ve been a book blogger) and the spice profile of Indian spices agrees with my foodie instincts for ‘taste’ alongside my Italian roots of savoury inclinations! In essence, if I could eat Indian food as regularly as I eat Mediterranean foods, I’d be blissfully content! I love fusion food – I’ve been toying with sorting out a vegetarian palette of choice between these two loves of mine,… one day #TheBookishFoodie.

I do love reading stories set in India – I have a healthy appetite for Bollywood films, too. The Broadway musical girl here loves how they set their films to thread through the emotional dreamscapes and add song/dance/ethereal elements into the back-stories of how their stories fuse reality, dreams and the hopes we all share together. Combine this with my love of Mysteries, the cultural history of India and everything else I love about this particular country – as soon as I read the description of this novel, I sought it out immediately from my local #library!

#Blessed to say, they already purchased it!! Eek. Insert wicked happy Jorie (here)!! I was literally bouncing outside my skin seeing this was inbound! The story is set in the decade I love too – the 1920s (hallo Zelda! nods to The House of Elliott) I’m hoping I’m in the beginning of the queue for this one – I cannot wait to soak inside this one!!

I also recently had the JOY of eating at a new Indian restaurant which opened last Summer – I found my tastes have changed a bit – I now can handle a slightly stronger choice in spice profiles! I am in LOVE with the Manchurian Paneer – those little cubes of cheese combined with green peppers and onions with the sauce which peppers your tongue and excites your heart for it’s unique flavour combination is wicked brill! I also treated myself to a cuppa chai, two mango lassos and a starter of garlic naan! Mmm, hmm their naan is so addictive! I take after Mum – give us girls’ bread and we’ll be in heaven forever! lol (smirks) I also had the samosas which are my go-to favourites but this was the first time I had Papadum (Indian chips) with a chutney board.

This is where I found my palette is evolving because I could not eat ENOUGH tamarind!

Ooh, and I finally know what my favourite desert is as I discovered it in my early twenties but three metro cities later who felt I was out of my ever loving head – is it my fault the best way to describe these sweet treats was “sweet balls of love”? Their called: Gulab Jamun! I love them the most when their in sweet rose water but honey or simple syrup is alright too. The rose water makes this less sinfully sweet but honey is a delicate addition as the syrup infuses the sweet profile a bit higher.

The best part about eating Indian foods is how I feel afterwards – I feel light and happily content. This is how I feel when I read Indian Fiction – I love India and when I disappear into stories about this country and her people, I feel as happy as I am as a foodie who appreciates their food. There is such a soulful connection to what we eat and what we read – aside from this, what made me find an attraction to the series is how the author leads into the new series: this is about a daughter who wants to champion Women’s Rights from her father’s law firm.

Don’t take my word for it, here is a Chapter Sampler on the author’s website!

Shut the front door, as Stacy London says – I’m No.1 in queue! *gobsmacked

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Last Stop in Brooklyn

(Mary Handley Mysteries, No.3) by Lawrence H. Levy

Whilst reading the forementioned publisher’s newsletter, the second series which *popped!* out at me where I sat up and took stock of was this one! Mr Levy has written such a wicked lovely series – yet it took the third book for me to realise it was one I wanted to read! By this, I think I’ve seen the cover art for one of the other books in the series, but as I’m a reader who dances through genres every week of every year, there are moments where even if I see a fleeting glimpse of a book I want to read – it’s dependent upon how and when the book re-alights into my life to be read.

Sometimes I see books at book shoppes, or I read about them from readers or book bloggers on Twitter – I read bookish feeds from publishers or authors alike, I can even randomly find them on the shelves at libraries or second hand book shoppes either attached to libraries or stand-alones; sometimes I don’t even have to think about finding a new story or author, somehow I just stumble across them! lol (grins) In this particular case, it was the newsletter which tipped my hat about this particular series.

Similar to why I love reading #HistoricalFiction (you might see a cheeky thread of commonality here – I don’t just read straight-up #HistFic – I consume a copious amount of #CosyHistoricalMysteries and/or #HistoricalSuspense or Thrillers, too!) — there is something to be said for walking through History whilst curled into a brilliantly conceived work of Suspense! I have several outstanding series which have created a niche of love in my heart for this slice of fiction – however, what drew my eye into this series is the premise! Give me a strong female lead and one who loves to sleuth and I’m your girl! (nods to Anna Blanc and Mary Russell – plus, all the other lovelies I love reading, from Bess Crawford to Miss Marple!)

PS: Despite the fact my #library purchased this title, I’m going to be ILL’ing (inter-library loaning) the first two novels prior to requesting this one. Call me unique, but despite everyone (in book world) insisting series are ‘stand-alone’, I have a personal preference to read series in order or to best of my ability if the series is long-running. For instance, recently I found a series has seven or eight releases, so I’m reading three of the stories prior to the newest one to get a wicked good overview of the series thus far along. All three were ILL’d.

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[ NEW #HistFic I am reading whilst participating in a book blogosphere tour ]

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

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The Lost Season of Love and Snow by Jennifer Laam

(review forthcoming, on the morrow)

One reason I love reading #HistoricalFiction is being able to appreciate learning something from the historical past I hadn’t yet crossed paths with uncovering myself. In this, the story herein leads me into the histories of Russia – of stories I only had a small glimpse of whilst in school, as school for good or bad barely touched the depth and breadth of History. They floundered round so much trying to put a capsule size knowledge into your head, they forgot to make #History ‘breathe to life’ to where everyone could feel the tangible length of it’s importance. Thus, I have sought out Historical Fiction to not only gain perspective but to read deeper into the past to better understand our present and the hopes we all have for the future. History ought to stop repeating but we haven’t yet evolved to where it can.

In this story, what drew my eye to read this lovely, is how Natalya felt like the kind of woman fiction needs to highlight to better understand how women during her lifetime were oft-times pushed aside too easily or hidden in the shadows behind their husbands. There are a lot of incredible women in History who do not oft get to have their voices heard – either due to marriage and their husbands taking the focus off themselves directly or for living in eras of time where women were not seen as equals in deference to men.

Threading through my interests of reading the historic past, one of my *favourite!* discoveries are the Biographical Historical Fiction arm of narrative! Herein, I love ferreting out of the choices of stories to read, those authors (like Ms Laam) who are taking it under their wings to shoulder a heap of research into sourcing out their lead characters’ lives in such a way as to give gravity of truth to their circumstances and to re-voice their lives in a way which gives honour to the life they once lived. I love finding stories which increase our awareness about something we never knew (first and foremost) but at the same time, I love listening to the voices of the past who have something wicked wonderful to share with us. It’s not all fun and roses – nothing ever is, but the truth of life is what we can impart and share with those who are coming up behind us. To share our experiences and to give credence of purpose to what we felt whilst we were alive.

Stories give us a wider view of the world – of what was observed and what needed to be changed whilst honing in on how each of us has a lifetime of memories to share if only we had a way to give the stories a proper light in which to be found. I am thankful I found this one and of an author I have a feeling I shall be reading for quite a long time into the future,…

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Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani

(review forthcoming on the 29th of January)

The interesting back-story on this author, is I actually purchased two of the novels in her series focused on Big Stone Gap for my best friend. I never had the joy of giving my friend the novels (long story) nor did I read them, as that felt awkward; but I did watch the film through my local #library — it is such a wicked brilliant film, too! I encourage you to see this if you haven’t already – it has the soul of the author’s narrative voice threading throughout it’s heart. For me personally, the film was a better introduction to the author’s literary style.

When I saw this novel coming along for a blog tour, I didn’t hesitate to request a position on the tour – I *love!* multi-generational sagas which go through one family’s lineage; however, this one is ‘inter-generational’ as it’s the scope of the living relatives who are living through a generation together. Similar to how we all have immediate family whilst we’re alive – I didn’t read too much about this one, as I wanted to go into it a bit blind. I knew the girth of what the author can yield in her stories based on Big Stone Gap, but as soon as the book arrived in the Post, I did sneak glimpses of it’s pages!

I loved reading the additional bits (which I’ll discuss properly on my forthcoming review) however, what I can say now is this is quite literally inspired by the author’s family! Living histories are spoken about more regularly on my blog – of how writers are fusing their own histories into the fiction they are writing? Whether or not they go into the historic past, to centuries outside their living years or whether, like this author have kept the stories closer to the hip (so to speak) they are finding ways to impart the breadth of their own ‘story’ into the fiction their creating. I, for one, find this wicked inspiring and am so very thankful I caught sight of this blog tour because as soon as I first opened the novel, I had sense I’d become dearly attached to this family,… in a similar vein of attachment as I am to the O’ Connor’s by Julie Lessman.

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The Pearl Sister (Seven Sisters series, No.4) by Lucinda Riley

(review forthcoming, on the 1st of February)

This series came to me via a publisher blog tour, wherein I am borrowing novels one and two from my local #library and ILL’ing novel three ahead of reading the fourth! The attraction to read this series is the fuller arc of what Ms Riley is attempting to do with the series overall – it quite literally is a saga of sisters, seven in total and the fuller breadth of the series is co-dependent on each sister’s life.

These are sisters who have a predestined journey towards not only fulfilling their own destines but of understanding their own histories. It’s a very unique premise and I couldn’t help but read the back-stories of how the foundation was set for the series, too. Outside of this, I kept my research into the series at bay until I could get into the books themselves. I sometimes do more research prior to reading stories and other times, I like to hold back… to keep everything a surprise. However, one thing I can which was attractive to reading this story is how it’s a story of ‘origin’ – of birthright and sibling order; of how family is not just created out of blood and bone connections and how sisters can have a legacy all of their own which can have a greater impact on their lives and the lives of others around them.

This is a journey towards self-understanding of one’s own history but also, of what connects families together. Of understanding the choices which were made before you came along and of how sometimes the choices families make can have lasting impacts well into the future. Similarly, what interested me is how this series crosses the globe in both geographic location and of how certain areas are meant to be visited if only to accept more readily the history which was kept hidden from the sister who is seeking the truth.

The series is based on the seven sisters of Pleiades – read more on the author’s site.

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Ecstasy by Mary Sharratt

(review forthcoming on, 16th of May)

I have read two novels by Ms Sharratt thus far (ie. Illuminations (see also Review) and The Dark Lady’s Mask (see also Review) to where I knew I would be picking up her stories for quite a long while into the future. She has a way of composing her thoughts inside her narratives which give me hours of enjoy to read. She is also the author I first reviewed as a hostess for Amy Bruno’s Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours; it marked my journey with Ms Bruno and of endeavouring to find new authors of #HistoricalFiction in which to follow throughout their careers. I have been tenfold blessed by the stories I have read and the authors of whom I have met who have an incredible depth to writing their stories which speak to the truth of their character’s lives.

Here is how I articulated my joy of reading one of her stories:

I knew I would find the narrative an eloquent historical tome of insight on behalf of what I know of Sharratt’s writings; she fuses so much in such a short expanse of the story, you fully live within their pages. Her narrative has a way of not just transporting you back into the 16th Century but allowing you a bit of grace to flex your mind around what living in the 16th Century would be like from a sensory perception of insight. She taunts what you presume to be true with what is known about the century, giving you much more of a grounded respite than a flowery historical. This felt authentic to the era but also, to how the world would have been viewed during the different stages of Aemilia’s life.

-quoted from my review of The Dark Lady’s Mask

In this new story, she tackles what happens when love speaks to your soul in such a way as your life crosses a barrier between what is healthy and what can become a harbinger of events which seek to destroy you. For instance – if being in love meant having to compromise your own soul, your own artistic gift – how would you resolve the anguish of what you had to lose in order to be with the one you loved? Would you find solace or would love erase your own identity? These are the things I was contemplating as I read over the premise of the novel and of which, I look forward seeing addressed as I follow the life of Alma who had to sort this out for herself.

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The Secret Life of Mrs London by Rebecca Rosenberg

(review forthcoming on, 15th of February)

One of my favourite #libraryfinds years ago was Girl in a Blue Dress which talks about the wife of Charles Dickens who in her own right was a writer whose voice was silenced to pursue her own instincts therein as a creative who could have held her own in the same career as her husband. This was one of my first Biological Historical Fiction narratives I had discovered and one, which I had trouble putting down. The emotional eclipse I felt at the conclusion was incredible but so too, were the ramifications of processing the story – there are great women behind the men whose popularity have withstood time, but what of the women? These are the stories which interest me and the writers who are telling them are ones I applaud – they have given a voice to the voiceless.

This time round, it is Jack London’s wife – a woman who is torn asunder by heart, love and the musings of her own mind. You can easily see why she felt she was not as committed to Jack as she felt she might have been – women who like Mrs London feel arbitrary at some point in their lives, of being cast aside or put in place in proportion to their husband are the ones who try to find love elsewhere; to find what fulfills them outside of marriage and in a sense, try to recapture their freedom in a way which they cannot have within the confines of their lives. This was also true of Zelda who was oppressed by Fitzgerald and grossly misunderstood by the doctors who tried to save her.

In this novel, I know it will be a hard story to read – similar to Mrs Dickens and Zelda herself, of whom I felt was being channelled throughout the pages of Z: A Life of Zelda Fitzgerald – yet, without these stories, we would only know one side of history and that would be a fate which would leave the women in the shadows of truth.

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In Spite of Lions (debut novelist) by Scarlette Pike

(review forthcoming on, 11th of march)

I found this novel and author prior to the author finding me – it felt kismet really, as I was hoping this might go on a blog tour this Spring wherein the author was hoping I might be akin to reading the story as she felt it might agree with my Historical interests; how well she understands me, dear hearts! She truly ‘held my eye’ by one singular declaration – “what was happening during the era of Mr Darcy and Lizzie”?

Now, this was alluring on several counts – one, anyone who has been with me long enough to see my review of Pride, my gushy admiration of joy for Miss Austen last year during #AustenInAugust and my latest reading on an after canon exploration of the IRL account of Jane Austen will realise I have a fond attachment to the author, her collective works and the sequel authors following in her footsteps.

This novel is set in Africa, the country I loved learning about as a young girl – whilst deeply museful about how you can change your life by taking a daring leap of faith and finding yourself somewhere you never expected to be whilst fully embracing the changes in your life’s trajectory therein. In a word, I was smitten! I also requested this through my local library as I try to find the stories other patrons who read this slice of literature regularly might enjoy as well. Quite happily, the library accepted my request and it is currently inbound to our shelves!

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The Forgotten Girl (sophomore release) by Heather Chapman

(review forthcoming on, 18th of february)

The Forgotten Girl Quote banner provided by the author Heather Chapman and is used with permission.
Photo Credit: Amanda Conley Photography

As soon as I read A Second Season (see also Review) I knew I would be following Ms Chapman’s literary career because I liked her style of telling stories out of the historic past. This particular story is rooted more directly inside the scope of her personal history – a story which is part biographically true and part fictionalised to better account for how to tell the story of her great-grandmother.

There is something captivating about the stories of immigrants who sought out a new life from their home countries and tried to carve out a life for themselves elsewhere. My own lineage is full of stories of men and women who emigrated to America from all points elsewhere in Europe and the countries around Europe. I regularly read stories like these – because they all speak to the truth of how hard it is to step outside your origins, to tackle the doubts and to put fear aside – if you can have a better tomorrow by being brave in the face of uncertain adversity, you will make it. These are the stories which enrich our life by giving us a proper sense of what our own ancestors went through to ensure our life would have more freedom and choice than the lives they left behind.

For these reasons, I knew I wanted to read this new story by Ms Chapman. She even hired a photographer to give semblance of insight into Stella and of how she felt whilst trying to find her way in this new world she was embarking to find a tomorrow she could only dream and pray existed for herself.

A Snippet of Inspiration | Writing Style & Voice – via the author’s blog

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The Darling Dahlia’s and the Unlucky Clover (Darling Dahlia’s, No.7) by Susan Wittig Albert

(review forthcoming on, 6th march)

I was introduced to Ms Albert’s writing style through her Biographical Historical narrative about Eleanor Roosevelt Loving Eleanor – however, I have been wanting to dig into her Cosy Mystery series for quite a fair while now! As I saw this tour was arriving in Spring, it was the premise which I found attractive! Mostly as I still yearn for more episodes of Rosemary & Thyme – a cosy mystery serial from England which dealt with murder & intrigue whilst the two sleuths (ie. Rosemary & Mrs Thyme) were horticulturist and garden enthused designers who happen to ‘stumble into crime scenes’ whilst on the job. (smiles with mirth)

In this series, set during the 1930s (anything set during the early Nineteen Hundreds is a wicked sweet choice for me!) follows the lives of a garden club where the ladies remind me dearly of Rosemary & Thyme for how crime isn’t something they purposefully seek out but it is something which finds them most readily! It is a series about the club members as much as it has intrigue laced round the edges of their escapades – to me, it’s wicked folly to become caught up inside and this is why I was as excited about this ‘new’ series to discover as it’s one I felt had the best timing to be read this Winter and Spring!

PS: I am reading the whole series one by one leading into the seventh and latest installment – my local #library blessedly has most of the books in their card catalogue and only a few I need to ILL! I can’t wait to see what develops through the series!

Be sure to find out more on the Darling Dahlia’s site!

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The books for 2018 my Library has Purchased (of which I am in queue):
  • Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
  • The Widows of Malabar Hill (Mystery of 1920s Bombay) by Sujata Massey*
  • – there will be more as the year progresses!

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A nod towards one of my personal Bookish Resolutions – as this week’s main theme of choice was about our resolutions for 2018. Mine were a bit more personal in scope without being too detailed which is why I went with a rewind option today – however, this still parlays into being a ‘resolution of sorts’ as you will understand by what I am disclosing next:

This particular topic leads into a rather fascinating self-project – as I’ve nearly spent five years journalling my bookish & readerly life here on Jorie Loves A Story. Part of what I want to do to *celebrate!* ringing in my 5th Blogoversary on the 31st of March, 2018 is to take a look back at the authors and stories which truly enriched my heart and life by their presence.

The stories I never fully forgot, of whose characters truly etched out a portion of their essence into my very soul and of whom, I have felt blessed to have known,.. there are authors who were debut novelists (as I read a heap of lovelies per year who are just embarking on their writerly endeavours), many were in-progress series or the first installment of a series yet to be released further – others, were short stories included in anthologies ahead of a writer’s longer length fiction was either finalised or published. Some were poets – of whom touched my heart with their prose and some perhaps, might have retired.

Everyone has a season in their lives to focus on what motivates them, therefore, as I start to embark on my fifth year being an advocate for authors, a joyful tweeter & a wicked happy bookish library girl – I want to pull back the folds of the recent  past – I want to see what these authors are doing now. Do they have more stories in their canon? Have series developed or stalled,… are there new endeavours on the horizon in coming years or are they taking a personal leave of absence from focusing on their stories? Did they start a new chapter of their lives outside of publishing?

Somewhere along the way, I’ve lost the connections,… of the writers I’ve read and blogged about here on Jorie Loves A Story — whilst losing traction with the lovely writers I ‘met’ through my own readerly wanderings prior to being a book blogger. I’ll be compiling a series of posts focused on this – of seeing ‘where they are’ now in 2018 whilst seeing how many stories I can bless my life with throughout the coming years,… as we never forget the characters, we never forget their worlds,.. if there isn’t a series, we mark out a moment in time where we can re-visit them… soak back into their world and life… seeing them as they once were and remembering how we felt on our first meeting whilst embracing our return.

Ergo, I am quite happy this was a recent topic – as it’s one which broaches into a project I had already green-lighted to run this coming March, 2018! Stay tuned, dear hearts!

Ahead of which – are there any writers you personally lost touch with whilst fuelling your reading life with stories which led you astray from the ones you meant to focus on all along? Which authors? Which series?  Leave me notes in the threads below in the Comments!

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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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{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. “The Forgotten Girl” Quote banner provided by the author Heather Chapman and is used with permission.}

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 Tuesday, 16 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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