#SaturdaysAreBookish | Book Review featuring @SatBookChat’s 10th November Guest Author | “Perfect Day” (Part One of a re-telling of #Persuasion by Jane Austen duology) by Sally Malcolm

Posted Saturday, 10 November, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

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In keeping with the change of name for my Romance & Women’s Fiction Twitter chat [@SatBookChat previously known as @ChocLitSaturday] – I am announcing a change of features here on Jorie Loves A Story. Since January, 2014 I carved out a niche of focus which I named #ChocLitSaturdays as I have felt the best time to read romantic and dramatic stories are the weekends. This spun into a Twitter chat featuring the authors of ChocLit whilst I supplied weekly topics which would appeal to readers, writers and book bloggers alike. We grew into our own Saturday tribe of chatters – then, somewhere round the time of my father’s stroke in late [2016] and the forthcoming year of [2017] I started to feel less inspired to host the chat.

I had new plans to re-invent the chat in its new incantation as @SatBookChat but I also wanted to re-invent the complimentary showcases on my blog which would reflect the diversity of stories, authors and publishers I would be featuring on the chat itself. As at the root and heart of #ChocLitSaturday the chat were the stories I was reading which complimented the conversations.

After a difficult year for [personal health & wellness] this 2018, I am beginning anew this Autumn – selecting the stories to resume where I left off featuring the Romance & Women’s Fiction authors I am discovering to read whilst highlighting a story by the author I am chatting with during #SatBookChat. Every Saturday will feature a different author who writes either Romance or Women’s Fiction – for the remaining weeks of October and most of November, I will be featuring special guest authors during #SatBookChat whose stories I have either read, are reading or hope to read in the future if their newer releases. The reviews on Saturdays might inspire the topics in the forthcoming chats or they might be directly connected to the current guest author.

Our holiday break for the month of December will find us resuming #SatBookChat the week after New Year’s, 2019 where new guests and new stories will lay down the foundation of inspiring the topics, the conversations and the bookish recommendations towards promoting Romance & Women’s Fiction.

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Acquired Book By: One thing I love about being active in the bookish side of the twitterverse is being able to interact with authors. Not only do I get to readily engage with authors I am just discovering ‘now’ but I have the chance to re-connect to the authors I’ve known in the past – Sally Malcolm is one of those authors! I first learnt of her style for Romance within her debut novel for ChocLitUK – in fact, it was featured during my original Saturday’s event called #ChocLitSaturdays. The novel was about pirates and life on the high seas – in essence, my affinity for Captain Jack Sparrow and my interest in these kinds of epics at sea is what led me to become curiously curious about “The Legend of the Gypsy Hawk”. I was oft curious if there would be a next chapter after this debut and due to life evolving forward, simply had forgotten to chase up the recent goings on in Ms Malcolm’s literary career.

Until I caught sight of her tweets giving a s/o about a m/m Romance re-telling of a Jane Austen novel I personally found quite arduous to get into and opted not to read it for a long while now! I was re-inspired to see ‘Persuasion’ from Ms Malcolm’s perspective and see how this would work through a re-telling and re-spun as an m/m romance duology. The first in the sequence is ‘Perfect Day’ and it is followed closely by ‘Between the Lines’.

Thus, I agreed to accept a complimentary copy of “Perfect Day” by the author Sally Malcolm in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I originally was keen on the writing styling of Ms Malcolm:

Malcolm has found a way to ignite your imagination inside a pirate tale by the smallest of details, tricking your mind into believing exactly what your heart is willing to acknowledge – she’s found clever ways of tucking in certain descriptive details that level themselves believable for the era but also, for the setting of a pirate’s locale! I loved the little touches she granted the opening of her trilogy – to root you where you were taken and to give an assurance that you could settle inside this pirate’s tale with the atmospheric touches you’d expect to find! It was in the manner of speech inasmuch as the necessity for firelight illuminating great niches of space where the pirates resided whilst eluding to the expanse of their reign over the region they controlled.

Even the manner of how the salt air mingled with long hair, and how bare feet graced Amelia’s feet as she causally walked about both ship and land – it gave you a proper glimpse of where the Gypsy Hawk had taken anchour! I could nearly have smelt it for myself, as Malcolm kept encouraging your imagination whilst building the back-stories of Captain Hazard and Amelia (a Captain in her own right of her father’s fleet) to where each would intersect and collide paths into one another. Fitting really, as they each had such a spark of defiance intermixed with a challenging will to seek adventure at all costs.

I liked Malcolm’s ease of manner in telling her tale – she purports you so completely inside the story, it’s nearly not known if you stepped through a portal or were simply ‘elsewhere’ the moment you picked up her story – this feeling I had whilst I was reading about the Gypsy Hawk was most welcome indeed – as it was a lovely reprieve and a quicker read than most historicals will grant you! I liked how right from the turning of the beginning chapters, your so settled inside the thickening plot as to beg the pages to turn faster to learn more of how any of the growing tension and conflict can resolve! I like a well-told story but what is keen is to have a quicker read told equally as well – sometimes it’s nice to take-on lighter faire in historicals – reads where you can let your mind play a bit round the edges of a story and not lie heavily on plots that tug at your heart or still your soul due to the dramatic revelations.

Malcolm has written a delicious historical for readers who want to take an adventure on the high seas and combine their love of pirates from motion pictures with their love of story-tellers who can capture their heart on the written pages of a novels!

-quoted from my review of The Legend of the Gypsy Hawk

I read about the Gypsy Hawk two years ago and now have had the lovely chance of reading Ms Malcolm’s newly revealled styling where she exchanged m/f romances for m/m romances! I am not a stranger to the m/m or f/m romance or fiction genres as I’m an open-minded reader who believes in #EqualityInLit. Something I’ve tried to promote via my feeds on Twitter inasmuch as my diverse selections on Jorie Loves A Story where I opt to either read to review, listen to review or showcase stories across all spectrum’s of literature including LGBTQ+ inclusive story-lines.

A few of the stand-outs for me was the discovery of the Edith Lewis and Willa Cather mysteries by Sue Hallgarth wherein we’re entreated to a purview of their lives on the road as they visit different locations important to them whilst they were alive and solve a bit of crime on the side! They are intuitive novels writ in the Cosier side of the ledger for mysteries but crafted with a sophisticated eloquence you don’t wish to put down at all!

One of my favourite champions of f/f Women’s Fiction which ties in a lovely relationship novel centred around non-traditional families, foster care and adoption is the delightfully poignant The Language of Hoofbeats by Catherine Ryan Hyde. This story echoes a realistic impression about at-risk youth, emotional anguish and angst of growing up without a foundation of ‘home’ and the people who risk their heart to nurture the children who have felt they were abandoned or forgotten. If you loved the relationship between Steff and Lena on The Fosters, the two characters within this novel will warm your heart!

In a new entry of cross-genre interest for Steampunk and altered time shifting stories, I happily discovered Tara Sim’s Timekeeper novel in audiobook! It was a wondrous world full of dramatic emotions and an intriguing plot set in a universe you truly want to re-visit and get to know even better than your first visitation! She also included a unique m/m romance between two very unique characters and I felt she honoured her cross-genre approach and the relationship very well. One of these days I need to listen to the next stories in sequence as this was only the beginning!

Being a Janeite, as much as the author herself, I was keen on seeing how she approached the original canon (even though technically I have not read Persuasion) and re-imagined it in a very modern and contemporary world setting. I wasn’t sure if I would pick up on the usual nuances re-tellings have within them due to my lack of knowledge of the original story however, as it was one story of Austen’s I never felt I could warm too I was excited about the prospect of finding a re-telling which might give me the aesthetic of Austen without it being of Austen.

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#SaturdaysAreBookish | Book Review featuring @SatBookChat’s 10th November Guest Author | “Perfect Day” (Part One of a re-telling of #Persuasion by Jane Austen duology) by Sally MalcolmPerfect Day
by Ms Sally Malcolm
Source: Direct from Author

When Joshua Newton, prodigal son of New Milton’s elite, fell in love with ambitious young actor Finn Callaghan, his world finally made sense.

With every stolen moment, soft touch and breathless kiss, they fell deeper in love. Finn was his future…until he wasn’t.

Eight years later, Finn has returned to the seaside town where it all began. He’s on the brink of stardom, a far cry from the poor mechanic who spent one gorgeous summer falling in love on the beach, and the last thing he wants is a second chance with the man who broke his heart. Finn has spent a long time forgetting Joshua Newton—he certainly doesn’t plan to forgive him.

But as Finn and Joshua circle each other, drawn together yet kept apart by their painful history, old feelings begin to stir. Is it possible for love to bloom again in hearts so scarred by regret, resentment, and hurt?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978148803187

Genres: After Canons, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, LGBTQIA Fiction, Men's Fiction, Re-telling &/or Sequel, Romance Fiction


Published by Carina Press

on 13th August, 2018

Format: Portable (Pocket) Paperback Edition

Pages: 266

Published by: Carina Press (@CarinaPress)
an imprint of Harlequin Books

four-half-flames

I’ve been adding flames to those stories of Romance which have extra heat inside them and are more intensively written than others. This one definitely qualifies as there is a certain flashback sequence between Finn and Joshua which explores how they fused their passion together and re-defined their own sense of sexuality amongst themselves.

This is a Digital First release and will be released into more formats.

Uniquely I do have a paperback copy of this novel – similar to the title I recently reviewed by Tule Publishing “A Small Town Christmas”, I cannot find a listing for the print copy I reviewed. I listed the ISBN for the print copy I have but used the publication date for the ebook as I couldn’t trace when the print copy dropped. What I love most about the book itself is how charmingly ‘portable’ this copy is – it reminds me of the vintage hardbacks my grandfather gave me – uniquely small, compact & brilliantly able to be taken with you as you travel!

Perfect Day by Sally MalcolmBetween the Lines by Sally Malcolm

Sally Malcolm’s re-telling of Persuasion duology:

Perfect Day (part one)

Between the Lines (part two) | Synopsis

Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance, #LGBT and/or #LGBTRomance

and #Persuasion OR retell of #JaneAusten

About Ms Sally Malcolm

Sally Malcolm

Sally Malcolm was bitten by the male/male romance bug in 2016 and hasn’t looked back.

Perfect Day is her first published male/male romance, with the follow-up (Between the Lines) out later in 2018 and a dozen other ideas bubbling away on the back burner. Her stories are emotional, sweetly angsty, and always have happy endings.

Sally also writes tie-in novels for the hit TV shows Stargate: SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis. To date she’s penned nine novels and novellas, and four audio dramas.

She lives in South West London with her American husband, two lovely children, and two lazy cats.

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my review of perfect day:

You honestly can’t find a sweeter place to begin a romantic duology than at day’s end on a beach, where two souls who have finally found their soul’s mate are reflective about their future even if one of them is uncertain about how any of it will pan out. We are seeing Joshua and Finn in a timeless bubble of joyfulness – where nothing can touch them in this moment where one day is ending, the sun is finding its resting place and despite the uncertainties, because they are together, nothing whispering in their thoughts can erase the fact they are comfortable together sharing this ‘moment’ lost in time.

They have an honesty about them – how they feel and how they worry about all the ordinary things which can become distractions in life – especially a career focused within the public cacophony of Hollywood. Finn was on a path it felt like Joshua was afraid would leave him behind – where the life Finn was seeking for himself might not be inclusive to a steady relationship or at the very least, would have ripples of angst ahead for someone who was not living within the same sphere of the Industry itself.

The innocence of the beach washed away eight years into the future where we find Joshua at odds with his family; especially his brother and his father, the latter of whom effectively took away not just his memories of an estate but the very grounds he once lived. His father made several mistakes which led to a liquidation of their assets but it was the disapproval of Joshua’s life choices which stung far greater than the loss of a bit of land. Even his Aunt Ruth, as caring as she was and had always been since the boys lost their Mum as young lads, you could gather Joshua was not as confident in himself as a man as he had been when he was with Finn. Finn for his part was no longer involved in Joshua’s life at this point – as the beach offered a glimpse into the past, to anchour us back to the present which is re-shifted forward to the future. In this bit of their lives, their separated but how well are they honestly doing without each other?

As we shuffled back into Joshua’s life, you could tell had the toll of years had weathered him – he did not see his personal self-worth in what he was accomplishing but rather in what he had lost. Not just Finn, although that was intrinsically tethered to his remorse, no, it was more than Finn – it was the ideal of what they could have shared – the life, the adventures, the togetherness – moments you can’t repeat nor recapture. Joshua was a romantic – he saw his life in frames of time, of what he yearned for as he was younger to where he had gone as an adult. The memories were not kind to me because it re-punctured his grief in the life he had not yet healed from losing.

It never fails me about how some fans of actors take admiration a step too far to where they are seriously falling over themselves at the actors feet. Malcolm highlights this phenom reaction ahead of Finn even arriving in the small towne Joshua calls home – proving the point that where Joshua’s life has been placed in stasis, Finn’s life has accelerated. Even to the point where most of his fans are either unaware of his (true) relationship status and/or are unamused and unaffected by the truth. Joshua on the other hand you can tell still hasn’t processed his way through his emotions – you really feel for him. Not just for the upturnt in his life which is about to wreck his bubble of perceived happiness but because of how much added weight that kind of grief can place on a heart.

You start to feel the ache Joshua has in his soul because of how Malcolm wrote the guttingly raw emotions into the background of Joshua’s journey. He wants to move forward but he can’t let go of the one person he loved more than anyone else. How do you turn your back on love and erase all aspects of that love from your person? The trouble is you can’t – there are residual effects of their presence in your life. Little nudges of memory, of touch and of the feeling of being an equal partner in a relationship you once believed in. That is why seeing Finn re-emerge into his life is devastating enough for the reader – as who wants to see someone re-live their most painful memories? but it is Joshua whose walk is harder. He has to sort out how he will address the closeness he’ll have with Finn and his brother Sean; tied together through the sale of his family’s home and yet distanced by time.

Despite having Malcolm build enough of a boiler of suspense into a reunion between Joshua and Finn, are you ever quite ready to see two characters who were smitten over the moon after each other resume from whence they left off? Not in the relationship as it would either be strictly out of the question and/or too difficult to speculate at a first meeting years after they spilt – but how do you even prepare to see them standing in the same space again? Point is, you can’t. You just have to read the pages and drink in the beauty of the words Malcolm left behind for you to read! She wrote this story with a sophisticated edging – the kind I love to find and with a voice as realistically attuned to her characters as if she were merely writing down their living lives rather than creating them exclusively!

Even Lexa and Ali play their roles well as the over-the-top gushing girlhood brigade for all girls’ who have felt they were insta-love attached to any lead actor they were swooning over. Except in this instance, either they were as unaware as most of the world about whom Finn was attracted too or they simply were caught in the moment of his celebrity, the two could not help but make ready fools of themselves whenever they were round Sean or Finn. For Joshua this presented an interesting problem – a buffer for his own feelings but also a delayed reaction to having to deal with his past.

The closeness of Hanworth Hall to New Milton Bay felt very Austenesque for a setting – this is one thing I was drawing a connection to with Austen, even if part of me felt a bit of Bronté was sneaking in for good measure! When it comes to Jane and Charlotte, what allures me most are their settings and the ways in which they offer portraits of society. In this vein, I could see mirrors of this focus throughout Perfect Day as Malcolm created her own unique world to set her characters on a path towards self-acceptance, freedom to love whom they chose and the healing metamorphosis you can transition through if your willing to let ‘time’ carry you through.

As we re-examine the back-history and the current timeline as seen through Finn’s eyes – we not only gain perspective but we gain personal history. There are two sides to every story and when it involves a relationship that goes sour, there is room for hidden truths or secreted omissions of facts. In this case, where Joshua turnt inward and retreated into himself like a turtle in a shell, Finn responded differently – by fusing his personal life into the public domain. Finn chased after his dreams, sought his talent and made a career by captialising on the fact he was not going to re-visit falling in love (or anything near it) again. Both men came out of the shocked ending of their romance differently – Finn held onto his anger like it was a shield whereas Joshua remained emotionally silent.

Part of the restitution for his father’s crimes was helping to liquefy the remaining bits and bobbles of assets Sean hadn’t wanted to keep on the estate grounds (Finn’s brother). When they started to talk about Joshua’s mother’s piano, I truly felt for Joshua!! Here he was trying to ink out an honest living whilst repressing his passions and sexuality all for the sake of reputation (as he’d rather not be part of the rumours) – yet, he was trying not to contemplate how much he had loss due to his father’s sins. He might not have vocalised it per se but even I felt there was a piece of him that was being slowly removed along with the house and the furniture; almost as if he had lost his shadow like Peter Pan except without a way of re-attaching it.

Sean much to his credit did not understand the dynamic between his brother (Finn) and Joshua; how could he though? as he was not clued into their relationship originally. A secret like that has to wear on the people intent on keeping it mum from society and family alike! The hardest bit though was watching how Joshua and Finn were acting round each other – nearly a decade later and how the ill effects of those regretted memories were surging back to life. First through murmurs of flashbacks and then the full-on difficult to dismiss emotional cascades of memories – where both of them felt they were being pulled into a rip tide. Unable to catch their breath or find a way to be free.

Malcolm crafts a romance out of the tenuous situations which arise in our lives where we might make a choice we’ll regret later in life. She used this to fuell the drama between Joshua and Finn, but it was how they lived between the line of return and now which proved all the difference. There are a few unsuspecting twists even I was surprised by whilst at the core of the story is the lesson in listening to one’s heart and never being afraid to own your own living truth. To live as yourself, embrace yourself and to be with someone who celebrates the joys you see in life as a life spent as a pair is twice as sweet as a life spent walking alone.

Fly in the ointment:

I’ve come to expect seeing stronger words in Contemporary Romances which is why it did not surprise me to find a few within the first chapters of Perfect Day. It was only after Joshua and Finn started having more time together in the context of the story did the language really start to fly and stick to the pages like flypaper gone amuck. I admit, my eyebrows did raise a bit as at a few points I was sorting out why there was such a peppering of strong words when a few or none would have easily have sufficed instead of the blanketing effect.

Of course, the heady emotions of a scorned lover were in part to blame for one of the sequences but evenso! I almost could have handled this just as fine with a heap less expletives and still had the gist of the emotional angst riding through loud and clear! After all, language like this isn’t exclusive on how to show and reflect the severity of emotional anguish and angst; or the purity of angry never released nor dispersed.

on the contemporary m/m romance styling of ms malcolm:

The undercurrent of Perfect Day is truly an emotional tomb of anguish and angst – the kind which is slow brewing and slow burning. The men in the story met at a time in their lives where they did not have to contemplate about the layered effects of their relationship – they had been in the honeymoon stage – where everything felt alright and would continue to be right for them. This of course predated events which would shift they apart and take them separate ways from one another – as we reflected on this shift from Joshua’s perspective first, we see how Malcolm was laying down the emotional upheaval the loss of someone you felt would remain in your life feels nearly a decade away from a last encounter.

Sometimes in life when it comes to love and relationships – even if a relationship hasn’t crossed over into love itself – perhaps it is a flirting of a fleeting thought, a notion to be explored later;  Malcolm gave us just enough of a sampling of why these two felt connected to each other which lends itself into a future where you feel the worst bit of the loss is the fact Joshua lost all sense of himself.

I love how she gave Joshua a nickname by a community member – one of his students mothers actually – she referred to him as Newt which I felt was adorably fitting as his last name is ‘Newton’. This was the first of a few cheeky references to humour as the overall scope of the story is much more dramatic and emotionally charged. It is a living testament to the choices people make, the regrets they endure and the unusual way life has a way of rolling back time just long enough for us to reconsider the importance of listening to whom we love and why we ought to remain faithful to the hope of having them in our lives.

notes about why this works as a duology:

There was a comfortable ease in the dialogue and in the narrative – as we sliced into the deeper layers of both of their lives, Malcolm had a way of finding a sequence of entrance where the reader felt as if these characters had lived far longer on the page than the brief expanse we were spending with them – in many ways, this ‘bigger than the page’ feeling works wicked well for a duology because it allows the narrative as a whole grow in scope as you move from the first to second installment.

I know the second half involves two new characters, however, if it captialises on the foundation first brought to life in Perfect Day it would be a charming ending to this duology. Perhaps the truth of the duology is risking one’s heart against the conventions of family or friends or society in order to find the one person who completes you. One thing is for sure – Malcolm will definitely anchour and bridge her new characters against each other – how their fragilities could seek to destroy them, how their strengths will need to be reinforced and how without hope no one can find an ending in their lives which satisfies them.

Malcolm definitely shines in writing emotionally gutsy novels centred on relationships and the realities of modern life. I look forward to seeing what she will be crafting next in her new genre of choice!

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Remember the second half of this duology
is arriving on the 10th of December, 2018!

Between the Lines by Sally MalcolmTheo Wishart has given up on finding love.

Luca Moretti doesn’t want to find it.

A handful of summer days may change their lives forever—if they’re brave enough to look between the lines.

Eyes might be windows to the soul, but for Theo Wishart they’re all shuttered. His dyspraxia makes it hard to read people. He doesn’t do relationships and he certainly doesn’t do the great outdoors. Two weeks spent “embracing beach life” while he tries to close the deal on a once great, now fading,  seaside hotel is a special kind of hell.

Until Luca. Gorgeous, unreachable Luca.

Luca Moretti travels light, avoiding all romantic entanglements. Estranged from his parents, he vows this will be his last trip home to New Milton. His family’s hotel is on the verge of ruin and there’s nothing Luca can do to save it. He’s given up on the Majestic, he’s given up on his family and he’s given up on his future.

Until Theo. Prickly, captivating Theo.

No mushy feelings, no expectations, and no drama—that’s the deal. A simple summer fling. And it suits them both just fine. But as the summer wanes and their feelings deepen, it’s clear to everyone around them that Theo and Luca are falling in love. What will it take for them to admit it to themselves—and to each other?

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I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!
Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it.
I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst
readers who gravitate towards the same stories to read.
Bookish conversations are always welcome!
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Be sure to read the #SatBookChat feeds to see where the convo took us during @SatBookChat. We meet-up at 11a NYC | 4p UK on Saturdays if you want to join our conversations. Everyone is welcome to attend – readers, reviewers, book bloggers, and writers alike – sharing our love for Romance & Women’s Fiction stories.

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This book review is courtesy of the author:
Sally Malcolm

Perfect Day promot badge for Perfect Day; provided by the author Sally Malcolm and is used with permission.

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{SOURCES: Book covers for “Perfect Day” & “Between the Lines”, book synopsiss, author biography and author photograph of Sally Malcolm as well as the promo graphic for “Perfect Day” were all provided by the author Sally Malcolm and are used with permission. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #SaturdaysAreBookish banner the Comment Box Banner.}

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 Saturday, 10 November, 2018 by jorielov in #SaturdaysAreBookish, 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Modern Day, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Vulgarity in Literature




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