A #Blogmas Retrospective | On all the lovely #ChristmasRomances I’ve showcased this December!

Posted Wednesday, 23 December, 2020 by jorielov 3 Comments

#blogmas badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

You might be dearly curious about my #blogmas rollout this year – as I admit, I originally had ideas of a more *predictaable hour* of revelation for these lovelies! My blog apparently has had a more unique approach to how these spotlighted posts with featured extracts arrived into my blog’s archive and for that, I hope you’ve at least enjoyed them once they blinked onto your feeds via email and/or WP Reader!

→ And, for those of you who are hitting the like button to alert me of your presence on my blog – bless you!! I cherish those clicks as I do not always receive notes under my posts. It is lovely to see a wink and a nod from my regular readers,.. likewise I hope to be doing more of that kind of activity myself in the New Year.

I presume most of you are enjoying my posts by those sources as much as being routed here on Jorie Loves A Story courtesy of my updates in the twitterverse! As this is what I’ve been surmising throughout December as I watch which way my blog posts are being clicked upon out in the wider scheme of the net. I find those stats a bit interesting to gain a small insight into how people find my blog – especially during my Decembers wherein I turn a bit more showcasey in what I present rather than full-on reviews filtering through the month.

Though to be frank, my reviews have been a bit delayed this year from alighting as I’ve had readerly fatigue for most of 2020 and almost complete readerly burnt out for the rest of it. It wasn’t even any one specific moment though I know it began in the hours waning out of 2019 & into 2020 – as the close of the former year into the new one last New Year’s week was a muddling nightmare for world events (ie. wildfires, wildlife loss, earthquakes and other disasters and all of *that!* predated the pandemic,..) which was soul wrecking in of its own right. Ergo, my yearly reads were built on a shaky start to 2020.

As the months stacked onto each other, I found myself withdrawing from reading – from my backlogue of reviews and from the blog tour reads I desired to be focusing on most. Not to mention how clogged I am in non-completed reads for @SatBookChat featured guests! :O It is quite shocking and I have had to deal with that guilt as well though part of me gives me credit for hosting the chats & organising the discussions for those authors without cancelling the chats themselves. Save one or two due to health and/or a no show for an author whom I still hope to reschedule in Winter 2021.

With all of *that!* weighing on a girl’s mind, I happily dove into an abridged schedule for the #FantasyForChristmas blog tour whilst trying to keep on schedule for the showcases I wanted to feature for the secondary blog tour this December which is the Sweet Romance for Christmas. During which I concluded my abridged foray into #SciFiMonth is going to remain shelved and blogged right where it was the first week of December. Again, readerly fatigue is real. I’ll update about those final reads for #SciFiMonth in a forthcoming yearly recap post lateron this December right before 2021 winks into starsight.

These final showcases for Prism Book Tours tucking me into featuring lovely #newtomeauthors alongside newly discovered authors has been a delight of joy as it gave me a further chance to blog some Christmassy themed journalling – you’ll have to backtrack through the Fantasy & Romance blog tours to see everything in all its glory this year – as each post was left with a different mind map of thoughts which spilt into the top anchour of those featured posts in both events! Some were more Christmas minded than others, some were happily referencing IRL binge watches of tv series or Christmas films and others, were notes from yours truly about the story, the author or what I hoped to reveal in connection to the featured book of the hour. In essence, I tried to remain mindful of the spirit of #blogmas whilst hosting both tours back to back on Jorie Loves A Story.

For those of you who were (or still are) in final preps for Christmas and Christmas weekend – this recapturing of the posts themselves will give you a keen overview of the stories I most desire to read throughout 2021 as much as a snapshot of why these stories caught my readerly eye this #blogmas 2020! You can easily click-over to my posts and/or you can happily search for these authors and their stories on your ownsome if one (or more hopefully!) winks its nod of curiosity into your own readerly heart.

And, without further adieu, let’s see which stories on this lovely romantic tour gave me a boost of bookish joy to host during the Sweet Romance for Christmas blog tour of 2020:

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Clean Romance for Christmas blog tour banner provided by Prism Book Tours and is used with permission.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com14th December: .Kystal M. Anderson
15th December: Julie Coulter Bellon
16th December: Shanna Hatfield
17th December: Sarah L. McConkie
18th December: D.E. Malone
20th December: Aspen Hadley
21st December: Melissa McClone
23rd December: Finale post for the tour!

& a bit of a *bonus!* was this spotlight for Shanna Hatfield!

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Sweet Romance for ChristmasGrand Finale graphic provided by Prism Book Tours and is used with permission.

This is one of those digital first releases of a multi-author series wherein I was hoping might go into print/POD production at some point in the future. It was also a firm nod at how I dearly LOVE #HistRom and how captivating a sampler of a novel or novella can be when your just on the fringers of getting to know the story and its characters!

I love the freedom author’s have now to tell their stories and to participate in group author collaborations without having to get a publisher’s approval as well. Authors have a lot more flexibility right now on the Indie and Self published side of the ledger than they used too and it is a wonderful sight to celebrate! Which is why I am thankful to carry-on the torch with Prism Book Tours this December shifting from highlighting Fantasy storycrafters to featuring #newtomeauthors of Romance who’ve caught my eye this month!

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Sweet Romance for ChristmasGrand Finale graphic provided by Prism Book Tours and is used with permission.

How wicked lovely then to be able to feature an author I won a book by this year and to know it is the first of a series. I look forward to queuing the book into my New Year’s Reads and delighting in the joy of a fresh start after the 1st of January to begin a new journey into the world of books, stories and the authors who pen them. For now, I am enjoying #blogmas as a bit of a precursor of what I want to seek out in the New Year and which stories caught my eye to feature this December. Thanks for continuing to take this journey with me!!

The shortness of this extract gives you full agency to want to seek out the larger context of the novel and thankfully, this time round I can claim I will be reading this novel in 2021 – as it is currently on my bookshelf awaiting my eyes to read it!! Laughs. I love a good volley of dialogue between characters but I also love how some characters go up against others – to see who has the better confidence in the scene but also who might have the upper hand. In this instance, it is interesting because you want to side with the woman, to see if she can accomplish the mission she clearly has undertaken but there is a moment in this extract that draws to question – is she strong enough to pull it off? Does she have what she needs to do what needs to be done and not have any entanglements or conflicts therein? Time will surely let out the truth!

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Sweet Romance for ChristmasGrand Finale graphic provided by Prism Book Tours and is used with permission.

For me, one of my favourite sequences in all Westerns (Historical or Contemporary) are the horses and the life on the ranches – to tuck close to the cowboys and the ranch hands, to see how a working ranch operates and to be aside the saddle next to everyone out on the range or on a trail. Riding is something which used to be part of my life and I have missed it for a very long time. There is something about being connected to a horse which gives the best soul lift you can feel whilst at the same time, there is something unique about riding and seeing the world from atop a horse as well. I loved the connection you feel to the horse and the companionship and friendship which naturally evolves from your time together.

This is why Westerns are a lot of fun to be reading – plus, of course, every writer has their own entrance into the genre and their own stamp on it as well. Half the fun is discovering which writer is writing the kinds of Westerns you will enjoy reading. Hence why I’m thankful I can spotlight Ms Hatfield twice this #blogmas and focus on two different series of hers to give my readers a chance to see if her stories are a wicked good fit for them as they seem to be for myself.

How can you not laugh? By the end of this scene you are definitely tickled with laughter about how Luke thought the woman he was meant to be wed would be the same woman he had first met – as that is quite silly! Even the most inexperienced women who moved out West or undertook the journey of a mail-order bride – somewhere along that route they endeavoured for themselves found their confidence and adapted to the life they were willing to embrace. Of course, I am sure not all of them survived their choices or were as willing to adapt, but I like to hope that most of them did and were able to find a bit of happiness in a place so far removed from their homes and families.

It seems to me their life is just starting to begin and it will be full of lovely surprises for them both as they move towards understanding each other and getting better acquainted with each other, too. A bit like how Marty had to adjust in “Love Comes Softly” which is a Western Historical Romance (film) series I love dearly – yes, I know their based off books but I didn’t feel as locked into the book(s) as I had the adaptations which I’ve watched back to back as they originally released. I like finding stories which capitalise on the story Marty had herself and take it into different directions or explore some of the same territory as everyone has a different story to tell in these kinds of situations.

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Sweet Romance for ChristmasGrand Finale graphic provided by Prism Book Tours and is used with permission.

I vacillate about how to categorise these Romances – for me their Gentle Romances or Sweet Romances yet I understand why their known as “Clean Romances” as some readers like Romance to be absent of other kinds of scenes and language; of which I can relate, as I have a staunch stance against vulgarity in literature myself (ie. courtesy of my Fly in the Ointment sections on my reviews) however, I don’t mind a bit of heat in romance as long as it isn’t broaching itself to be a genre which I don’t read at all. As sometimes those lines become blurred and obscured especially in Contemporary Romances! However, which way you say it – this is the kind of Historical Romance I love to find and am blessed I could champion on this tour.

This extract happily extracts the situation and circumstance Miss Spencer finds herself in – how does one promise their heart and their future against the unknowns of the present? As said – I love complicated romances – wherein a character is torn through circumstance and duty, not understanding which way is the right way forward or even understand the murmurings of their own heart as they’ve put everyone else in front of their own desires. They try to do what is right and/or expected of them but what is their own will in the situation?

I love how she’s determined to speak her mind, own her heart and find her own path – but what of the promises of those who love us and believe they are making suggestions for the greater good of our lives? It makes it complicated – to weight and choose which path is the better one for us whilst taking into consideration what others presume as the best path for us to walk. I’d love to see what she chooses and how further complicated her life becomes as she’s sorting it all out!!

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Sweet Romance for ChristmasGrand Finale graphic provided by Prism Book Tours and is used with permission.

The reasons I love Christmas films is they are generally set in places I’d love to relocate too – such as “Evergreen” – as who wouldn’t want to live in Evergreen? The whole community pitches in and they have the most #awesomesauce life experiences in that towne! Plus, I love the randomness of people coming together at the holidays – how sometimes there is a reason they have to cross paths – whether that is by grand design or by idle fate twisting things up a bit – the curious ways in which people find each other, better understand themselves and find truer happiness by the end of the film(s) or specials for the Christmas season are my kind of jam! I love finding the stories which are a cuppa of love & comfy respite – where you can soak into a world similar to our own but without a) the pandemic and b) the chaos of our everyday lives! Sometimes it is nice to see life as it should be lived rather than how it is more readily known and stuffed with the angst most of us regularly transition through as we live!

I love the fact this is a series – and the quirky titles which are a part of it – plus, of course, the fact “love & lies” is a part of all the titles – as that just makes you ponder the finer points behind the series itself – what sparked the coupling of the words, what truly motivated the series and what inspired the writer to enter into the series from the places she had!! I am hoping I can start to seek these lovelies out in the New Year but like most years of #blogmas, some of the stories are readily available in public libraries (either locally, regionally or through inter-library loan) and other times, the stories are either digitally released or lesser known and are not regularly stocked in public libraries. Hence why I am seriously underread in most of my #blogmas showcases these past three years!

This has a touch of the opener for the Lisa Durupt film (#ACrownForChristmas) – wherein, two persons who would rather not be in each others’ company suddenly find themselves working together on a project which has a good cause behind it. Now when it comes to bad boys in Romances and/or Women’s Fiction stories, I tend to be a hard sell. I had mixed feelings when it came to Richard in Julie Klassen’s “An Ivy Hill Christmas” because I mentally just turn off when I find self-absorbed and full of it characters who haven’t been humbled through their experiences and/or have learnt a few hard knock lessons by being taken down a peg by people who choose not to deal with their egos.

Yet. I give characters a chance – to either prove me wrong or to give me a reason to rally behind them – none more apparent than how within the pages of “Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish” wherein the author not only CONVINCED me the character was redeemable but she gave me a wicked reason to get behind him! She literally took a disagreeable character and *altered!* my whole perception of them and even made me want to become one of their life cheerleaders! I mean, that is seriously AWESOMESAUCE. It doesn’t always happen though – some characters you just get burnt off on following further but I’m just saying – despite first impressions, sometimes I find characters can affect me far stronger than I originally gave them credit!

So, how will I feel after I read more about Brant!? Good question! I look forward to finding out myself – til then, is this series part of the stories you’ve considered reading yourself? If so, what drew you into it and if you’ve read them – did Brant sway your opinion of him or is he just a cad all the way round?

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Sweet Romance for ChristmasGrand Finale graphic provided by Prism Book Tours and is used with permission.

I do not read enough RomCom – something I’ve tried to ‘fix’ over the years when I am not being smitten by more dramatic tales of realistic Contemporaries or convicting Historicals – in essence, seeking out the lighter side of Rom would be wickedly beneficial and it is something I always try to do each year and somehow fail a bit in my efforts!? It is hard to know why exactly but I guess I like drama a bit more than comedy as that is reflected through what I am gravitating towards on a regular basis if you take a gander at my readerly life!

And yet, I do like Romantic Comedies when it comes to tv movies and motion pictures – I have a discerning taste for them as I don’t like the ones with rude humour or off-colour narratives but I do appreciate a wicked good sophisticated RomCom such as “You’ve Got Mail”, “While You Were Sleeping” or even “Serendipity” or “One Fine Day”. It would stand to reason I’d enjoy reading them wouldn’t it? And, that is why I was thankful Ms Hadley was included in the Clean Romances for Christmas selections this year – as I’ve found so many lovely authors in the 2020 line-up I know I will have loads of fun throughout 2021 seeking them out to read!!

I had to smirk. I mean, how can you not? It is a classic set-up for misunderstanding – yet, I wish dearly this extract was even a smidge longer! I wanted to know what he was going to suggest – both originally and then, secondly after he reconsidered his options!! It would have been wicked brilliant to know what was going through his mind – countering it with what was on Liz’s mind and seeing the fix they were in knowing instantly they weren’t on the same page! Laughs.

Plus, I, of course was curious if the reason she wanted to know what she was referring about of the medical book she was reading had to do with writing a murder mystery OR had some other reference that is an in-house running joke with her character!? She seems wicked cool on first meeting and I liked the style of Hadley’s writing. I definitely need to remember to earmark her books along with Bethany Turner’s! As I simply have to read more by the author who gave me Hadley Beckett! (see also Review)

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Sweet Romance for ChristmasGrand Finale graphic provided by Prism Book Tours and is used with permission.

I love when writers can give me an emotionally convicting read – the more you can feel the character’s emotions, the more centred I feel as a reader. There is something to be said for writers like McClone who understand this connection readers feel for characters and of how they organically write their stories to allow us to intuit more out of the story they’ve written simply by how they’ve approached anchouring us into the storyline. Which is why when I saw she was listed on the Clean Romances for Christmas blog tour – I knew I wanted to learn more about this Christmas Romance series she’s writing!

I have it in mind to finish “Cupcakes and Crumbs” before the ball drops in Times Square – as it is one of those stories I’ve pulled to attempt to finish before the closing of the year. I had hoped to have finished it closer to when I had first begun to read it – however, I wasn’t able to re-attach into it until now and I’ve decided to have it as one of my final reads for 2020. I felt truly moved by how she was writing the story and I’d like to finish the story before too much time slips past me further as I don’t want to lose the connection I had started to establish – both in the context of the character’s life and journey and in regards to McClone’s own voice for the craft.

love it. I love how they both believe they are in the right place at the right time and how technically speaking, THEY ARE. I mean, who would have suspected two persons would be given the key to the same house to house sit at the same time by two different people who thought they were in charge of setting this up!? I would love to know the next few scenes – of how they hash out what needs to be done ‘next’ and of course, which of them calls you know whom first and find out the details about how a goof this large could have been done!! Not to mention – I think Sheridan could use some wine to relax after the receiving the fright of her life!

What warms the story a bit is the synopsis – of how they both needed to be elsewhere this year for Christmas and for their own reasons, they needed to be without company and yet, what happens when fate lends a hand in keeping you where you should be even if its not where you expected to be!? Ooh, I LOVE stories like these and it will be jolly good to see what develops and continues to unfold once I get a copy of it. Eek. Hallo, 2021 I can’t wait to meet your stories like this one here!

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I wonder – which of these featured novelists have you previously read &/or have considered to read – which of them do you think I’d love the most to seek out in New Year? I’m dearly curious to see if anyone who follows my bookish life has read them!

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As an aside and in conclusion – I consider this year’s Romance for Christmas event to be my best ever – as I was able to feature a larger amount of romantic reads than fantastical – wherein past years I was more compelled to feature the Fantasy novelists than the Romance! I always hoped it would be equally balanced between the two genres as my readerly heart is spilt between the two equally throughout the year (in regards to what motivates/inspires me to seek out to read) but some Decembers have felt more imbalanced than others. This year, I can honestly say I was thankful for the Fantasy posts which made it to my blog and wicked grateful I could spend more days/hours on the romance authors’ posts as it gave me such a wicked boost these weeks leading into Christmas week itself.

However which way you are spending your weeks chasing up to Christmas & New Year’s – or Hanukkah for those who celebrate – (and/or any other holiday this season) be sure to remember to be kind to yourself. Not to overly think about what you haven’t been able to accomplish as a book blogger (ie. for the full extent of the past year! oy!) and to celebrate the wins and the small joys which gave your bookish and readerly heart the most happiness out of 2020! After all – who could have predicted the kind of year we all collectively survived!?

Can I hear an amen?!

*clap* *clap*

And, did I seriously mention #HadBeck more than once??

Ooh, yes Jorie did! lol Guess you know its one of my top favourite #unputdownable reads for 2020 *ahead!* of you know – my offically declaring it as such!? lol Happy Christmas!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Did you MISS my #FantasyChristmas20 showcases ?

Read my Abridged Event Recap!

#FantasyForChristmas banner provided by Prism Book Tours and is used with permission.Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

And, this concludes my

#SweetRomanceForChristmas showcases, for 2020!

Be sure to click this banner to view the full list of AUTHORS & STORIES
for #SweetRomanceForChristmas blog tour!

#SweetRomanceForChristmas provided by Prism Book Tours.Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

What were your #blogmas plans this December!?

Were you focusing on any particular genres of interest? Hosting any blog tours? On that note, I hosetd a few but mostly I am reading the books on my shelves! OR at least, giving it a jolly good effort before the final hours of the year slip past me! I’ve struggled with my readings all year long and hope to make my final selections successful! Did I mention any story, series or author which drew your curious eye to their books on this post?

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#blogmas 2020 badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

NOTE: Similar to blog tours wherein I feature book reviews, book spotlights (with or without extracts), book announcements (or Cover Reveals) – I may elect to feature an author, editor, narrator, publisher or other creative person connected to the book, audiobook, Indie film project or otherwise creative publishing medium being featured wherein the supplemental content on my blog is never compensated monetarily nor am I ever obligated to feature this kind of content. I provide (98.5%) of all questions and guest topics regularly featured on Jorie Loves A Story. I receive direct responses back to those enquiries by publicists, literary agents, authors, blog tour companies, etc of whom I am working with to bring these supplemental features and showcases to my blog. I am naturally curious about the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of stories and the writers who pen them: I have a heap of joy bringing this content to my readers. Whenever there is a conflict of connection I do disclose those connections per post and disclose the connection as it applies.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

{SOURCES: Banners for #FantasyForChristmas and #SweetRomanceForChristmas 2020; the Grand Finale badges/collages for Sweet Romance For Christmas authors/stories as well as The Prism Book Tours badge were all provided by Prism Book Tours and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #blogmas 2020 badge and banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2020.

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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)

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


Posted Wednesday, 23 December, 2020 by jorielov in #blogmas, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, JLAS Update Post, Jorie Loves A Story, Prism Book Tours

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3 responses to “A #Blogmas Retrospective | On all the lovely #ChristmasRomances I’ve showcased this December!

  1. Hi Jorie! You are so right- let’s just be glad we survived 2020 and not be too hard on ourselves, I agree! And I like seeing the nice array of reads you showcased in this post. Year end retrospectives are always nice, and you seem to have enjoyed a nice mix here! I’m glad you enjoyed both some romance and fantasy reads that really worked for you this year.

    I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!!!!!!!

    • Happy Christmas Eve, Ms McClone,

      I am so thankful to see you were visiting with me yesterday – I truly have had a hard-won reading life this year, which is why I’ve had a lot of starts/stops with the books I’ve been reading. Sadly yours was put down for a bit for me to recollect my focus and that is why I’ve requeued it to be read with my #yearendreads as I definitely want to know how “Cupcakes and Crumbs” concludes! Being able to re-share your collective works with my #blogmas posts was truly a lift of joy for me – as you deserve to have a light shining brightly on your stories. I LOVE your style of narrative and I can’t wait to expand on the notes I shared originally on the “Cupcakes and Crumbs” blog tour. I definitely will tag you on Twitter (per our tweets) when the review goes live — this Christmas Eve I simply wanted to give a ‘hug’ back to you for leaving me such a kind note on my blog. Plus, I am thankful we can message each other on Twitter, too.

      I will be contacting you after the holidays to see if you’d be interested in being a guest on my chat @SatBookChat as I’d love to have you featured in 2021! Until then – may you and yours have a wicked happy holiday season and have a bounty of blessings waiting for you in the New Year.

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