#TheSundayPost XI | A New Year, A New Readerly Approach

Posted Sunday, 13 February, 2022 by jorielov 5 Comments

#TheSundayPost banner created by Jorie in Canva.

[Official Blurb] The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog. This is your news post, so personalize it! Include as much as you want or as little. Be creative, it can be a vlog or just a showcase of your goodies. Link up once a week or once a month, you decide. Book haul can include library books, yard sale finds, arcs and bought books..share them!

  • Enter your link on the post-
  • Sundays beginning at 12:01 am (CST) (link will be open all week)
  • Link back to this post or this blog
  • Visit others who have linked up
  • Read this week’s #TheSundayPost!

A note about the format I am using to journal #TheSundayPost:

I am finding I like being able to give my readers who cannot visit my blog each time a new post, review or guest feature goes live a digest journal of what is happening on #JLASblog each week! If you are familiar with the style in which I journal my readerly adventures via #WWWednesdays (see also Archive) you’ll know why I like this journalled style for #TheSundayPost!

It’s a way of talking about what is bookishly on my mind whilst sharing where my travels in Fiction & Non-Fiction took me through the last seven or thirty days! Quite stellar – so very thankful I was encouraged to participate as I love being able to think about which stories settled into my heart and which of the stories I am most eager to see arrive by postal mail and/or via audiobook! It’s a bit of a lovely way to journal your bookish life and have a weekly reminder of the experiences of you’ve gathered and love to remember! Each Sunday Post might differ from another – wherein, I might spend a bit more time talking about ‘life behind the blog’ or about my current reads or anything that is bookishly inclined or otherwise. In other words, each Sunday Post is a snapshot of what I felt was worth sharing with my readership and visitors alike – of which, I hope is enjoyed by those who read them.

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A New Year, A New Readerly Approach

I’ve been trying to tackle my #backloguereviews,

for quite a LONG while now,

and yet, THIS year feels like the right year to achieve my goals!

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In regards to my blog and readerly life:

As you will see by this LIST of #backloguereviews, I’ve amassed quite the list of stories in need of reading and reviewing; it became a bit of a downward spiral in the first few years which is why its as long as it has become now – meanwhile, I had forgotten there were a few I had to add-on to the list for the years from 2019-2021 which of course felt nearly self-defeating until I realised nothing is ever impossible unless you begin to THINK it’s UNACHIEVABLE. Which is why last year, in the early bits of January I believe I developed my own dice game to ‘roll my genres and sort out which stories’ to be read ‘next’ rather than having me stare at my shelves and feel as if I cannot read my way out of this black hole of #backloguereviews!

You know what its like – sometimes you think, it’s not as bad as it LOOKS. You can get current – it just takes a bit of self-determination. Of course, I have that in spades — what I have struggled with is getting myself connected and/or reconnected to certain stories and if I can’t feel my way back into those stories, I get disappointed and then, like most readers I flounder a bit to find my way into a new story and to find that immersive joy I have as a reader. Thereby, although I had attempted this during my 8th year as a book blogger, it’s my 9th year which gives me the best hope to use the dice and the books on my shelves to chart my bookish life this New Year, 2022!

My first selections are already made which takes the pressure off of “what is Jorie reading next” whilst giving me a lot of leeway with genres and series and authors! It is a bit of a random selection with a roll of dice and it was inspired by other book bloggers and booktubers who have adopted similar styles of choosing their backlist or backlogue books to be read and/or reviewed. As some do it as a personal readerly challenge and others have tried to adopt it as a way to challenge their way through their backlogue. A lot of us fall behind in a variety of ways – from blog tours to NetGalley to ARCs and aren’t I a winner? I am behind on all THREE. Laughs.

#2022BacklogueReviews banner made by Jorie in Canva.

I never give up on a story but sometimes I’ve found myself unable to read a story at the time in which it first reached me to be read. Maybe your in the same boat yourself? How long did it take you to erase your own backlogue? Hopefully I’m not in the minority whose taken *years!* rather than *months!* to erase her backlogue but if so, maybe I’ll be encouraging to those who are long haulers to read the backlogue and find renewed joy in the journey. Thereby, this 2022 I’m predominately going to be reading my backlogue and seeking limited blog tours to host as I read my way off my shelves and into a renewed sense of bookish redemption.

The disclosure of the dice game I developed and the first stack of books I’m reading will be revealled in a forthcoming #WWWWednesday post as I am going to use that meme to chart my progress and seek out a way to talk about the stories as I’m reading them, as I never know which one will become a DNF or which one will give me such a strong sense of #bookJOY. I’ve known for awhile that sometimes the books on our backlogue surprise us in ways we didn’t expect and its okay to find a DNF in the stack as long as we attempt to read all of them and give them a second chance to tell us a story we’ve longed to read. Towards that end, I’m seeking out a way to write-up a recap about those DNFs and not my cuppa selections rather than just have them disappear off the backlogue list without a reason ‘why’.

For now, this is my New Year and New Readerly Approach declaration and I simply cannot wait to get started on this new path and journey into my bookish life.

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Extending from this, I am going to try to resume my joy of participating in bookish & readerly memes (most of which are listed on this page) to find new ways to regularly post and share my New Year’s bookish adventures. IF anyone knows of a weekly or monthly meme or bookish tag to participate in during 2022, kindly leave me a comment and let me know the details (or share a link to the host/hostess). Aside from these simple changes and planned goals – I am going to utilise my days off as ways of seeking out stories I can digest in different sittings and find a way back into reading via print and audiobooks. I am also adding on my NetGalley titles to my backlogue reviews list this year as despite my best efforts those audiobooks (and a few print editions!) as well as my LibroFM ALC audiobooks just fell by the wayside these past few years and I would like to endeavour to erase those outstanding reviews as I proceed forward.

Blessedly some of those, (NG & LibroFM) can be combined with other concentrations of focus – such as an Austenesque novel which fits in well for my plans for #Austentide and some Fantasy audiobooks which I know will parlay well into my goals for #WyrdAndWonder, Year 5!

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In regards to my life behind the blog:

My main change for the New Year is getting rid of ‘deadlines’ – meaning, if I can blog ahead (not exactly a new concept, mind you) of a scheduled blog tour or review, I know I’ll have more harmony this year. For eight years I’ve run so close to my deadlines and scheduled tours, it felt like I was chasing down deadlines all the time. I am finding now as I am working full-time (with two jobs) it is better for me to have open time windows rather than a structured time to read, blog and tweet. I am sure this has affected other book bloggers at one point or another, as I know many of my fellow book bloggers are mood readers (something I didn’t use to be myself) who won’t join a blog tour for that particular reason. As my life has continued to change over the course of the pandemic, I’m now realising I need to change how I focus on reading and how I approach how I want to blog and tweet my readerly life. To be transparent, I was blessed the pandemic didn’t hit close to home – but rather, it was how our lives evolved through the pandemic with other health afflictions or crises as well as a changing of how we work and whom is working full-time vs prior to the pandemic; as Mum worked full-time and I was my Dad’s carer full-time. Now those duties are shared – both with caring with Dad and with working outside the home.

I’ve missed being online and being inclusive of this book community and the world of books — however, we all have to step up and tackle the changes as they come into our lives and I don’t regret going back into the work force and finding a way to have my Mum semi-retired. If I could find a way for her to fully retire, that would be most ideal as much as sorting out how to relocate (out of state) as that has always been the ‘end goal’. In regards to my Dad, since his stroke (six years on now in 2022) he’s had his own share of challenges and changes; as I’ve foresaid strokes are like earthquakes in the mind and sometimes the person who survives the stroke doesn’t fully heal or recover from what that stroke has done to their mind. Which is interesting because in the early years of his recovery whenever I tried to explain how hard it was as a daughter to see her Dad post-stroke, some of the feedback I received wasn’t quite as empathetic as I thought it could have been – as most shrugged if off saying strokes are easy to recover from – mind you, I never said anything to those persons but honestly, since when? How are moderate bilateral strokes with an hour of TIAs easy to recover from and get back to ‘where’ a person was prior to the episodes?! Aye. The truth is their different people than they were previously and with that comes further changes and adaptations for the family.

Some of my Dad’s deficits as they refer to them started during his third year of recovery, but mostly it has been in the fourth, fifth and now entering the sixth year where we are seeing the most ‘changes’ taking place and it isn’t easy to navigate those new realities. It has been its own challenge caring for Dad and I am thankful this past year, Mum and I shared those duties. I was grateful I cared for him for the first five years but moving forward we’re aware there are more changes coming to our family and we’re trying to prepare for those changes ahead of time. As this isn’t our first rodeo as they say, we knew what was inevitable and what the future held for us but part of us wanted to grasp as many moments as we could before our lives took that next step to where we were not a family of three inclusively living together but rather a family apart where one has to live elsewhere in order to have the best care past what we were able to give ourselves.

It is also an emotional transitional period because like most daughters, I had the same dreams everyone else had and for me, my newer reality is altered from the one I felt I would have — meaning, my Dad is still my Dad but just not in the same context and construct he once was for me and thereby, as I shifted into a different role as his daughter, so too, other things shifted as well. And, more still to follow as those traditional life moments ahead where a daughter wants her Dad to be present are just not going to be the same as I envisioned them nor will he have the capacity to remember them past the moment they are lived. And, that’s the current rub of hardship. Realising that his memory is just fleeting and barely there anymore. It is a cruel and hard reality to get used too because you have your memories but those are now only yours and your Mums as they have no weight anymore for you Dad. And, yet, he’s still here but its similar to The Clan Chronicles – at some point my Dad became the husk (shell) of the person he once was and we strive everyday to capture a bit of that person we remember but have to resolve this new version of himself is the one who takes a lot more patience than we sometimes have to give and that in of itself is why caring for family with memory issues and after stroke deficits is such a difficult road to walk. It is also why this post was such an emotional one to write.

IF your new to my blog, you might be interest in these posts where I talked about Dad:
Not Your Traditional Thanksgiving | Return to Blogging | #TopTenTuesday Non-Fiction
*you’ll have to read these posts to understand how they cross-relate to my Dad

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If you see me popping online – via a blog comment, a blog post or review, or a cheerful or chatty tweet – know that those moments are the moments I’ve reclaimed this year. I used to post so dearly regularly on Jorie Loves A Story, I am sure some of my followers might have thought I had abandoned my blog at different intervals throughout the last year. The humble truth is my work schedule(s) were filled with double shifts and sometimes triple shifts to the point where I had no downtime and the few hours I had to myself, I was asleep! I was just too fatigued and exhausted to do much else than what was necessary like laundry or spending some time with my dear cats; of whom are turning seventeen and eighteen this year. Something else which is present on my mind as I know cats can live into their twenties but I never had a cat live past sixteen and so I’m in new territory. We already had a bit of a scare with my tabby as we thought he wasn’t doing so well but blessedly he recovered. (previously I disclosed when two of my cats passed unexpectedly)

I’d love to say I was able to get back into knitting but the only thing I accomplished was purchasing a few skeins of yarn (in November, 2021). Which in of itself is improvement but if I could sort out a way to knit this year, even in small spurts, that might also be a positive step forward as I find knitting such a dearly relaxing hobby. I have several projects on the needles (WIPS (pronounced ‘whips’) and if some of those could get reduced towards completion (as their charity knits) I think I might be better for it by year’s end. I have resumed watching my favourite knitting podcasts on YouTube but our top favourite “Cocktail Hour at the Coop” now has a Pateron and I’m hoping to save enough to join it as I know my Mum could use some downtime of her own. She doesn’t have an outlet like I do and I’d love to give her something to focus on outside of work and caring for Dad. We all need ‘that’ something that renews us and knitting has always been our conjoined love and passion for finding some serenity in the midst of everyday life and the chaos therein.

I’d also like to get back into cooking and baking; something I sort of abandoned for the last year as honestly, I literally had ZERO time to even menu plan much less spend hours sorting out how to cook/bake something delish on my schedule(s)! Laughs. I’m sure a lot of people are saying “exactly!” I’d just like to find quick easy healthy meals which aren’t taxing and are easy to put together even if your dead on your feet and half asleep! Laughs. I literally could abandon how I’ve eaten on the go and opt-in to light meals, farm fresh stir-frys and a simpler way of eating and drinking a healthy balanced diet. I really do miss experimenting with different veg and putting together meals – it was another way I found I could relax and just be present in the moment. I used to live on local farmers markets seasonal offerings and I definitely could go back to that if I sort out which market day works best for my days off.

Overall, though, my main goal is to carve out some days off – which technically are more like half days off but I’ll take them! Any day where I have hours set aside to do as I please is a happy holiday because I know what it’s like to work seven days every thirty to thirty-one days and not have any days off at all and I honestly can’t return back to that kind of schedule. I’m glad I had it in me to do it last year, though where my stamina came from is unknown – but this year? Yeah. No. Less hours makes for a happier Jorie.

And, so, those are my blog | life | readerly goals for 2022. What are yours?

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And, now, how I fared in January:

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January Blog Calendar banner created by Jorie in Canva.


I could not have picked a better way to ease into reading this New Year, 2022! I knew I wanted to resume my readings of Harlequin Heartwarming (as there one of the imprints and publishers I love reading for Contemporary (relationship-based) Romances which have uplifting endings with realistic storylines full of the dramas of life but a lovely hug of joy to read by the end of it. I had some difficulty last year throughout [2021] to finish reading some/most of the books I was attempting to read which gave way to a heap of showcases within my #25PagePreview presentations — some of those were for Heartwarming novels. Randel’s series was one of them and I hadn’t even had the chance to read the second novel hers either – which meant, I set aside time to re-queue them together this January!

I’ve had the pleasure of finding Randel’s Heartwarming stories via hosting her blog tours and for this particular series – I am wicked happy to say, I’m locked into this community! This particular one is anchoured through the Matchmakers Club – where people of a certain age (mostly women, but one retired judge joined it to be closer to a woman he’s smitten with!) like to meddle in the love lives of the singletons of their towne. From the get-go its hilarity in the making because of course, sometimes their intentions are good but its how those early plans get put into motion sometimes get foiled or they have to divert their ‘charges’ so to speak to see things from their perspective. It is a kind-hearted series – where the Matchmakers’ want everyone to be happy and in love and through their processes of bringing people together you see the good of the community at large.

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Heidi was so caught up in her own headspace, she wasn’t allowing herself to entertain the moment of being with Reid. There were moments where you thought they might realise their own affections for each other and yet, both were so strong willed they would tuck away from one another as soon as they even felt an emotional shift hovering between them. Reid was just as stubborn as Heidi – not wanting to admit his own heart was giving him reasons to reconsider where he stood in their relationship – as over the years, it had been maintained as a platonic friendship which had started in their youth. Now, they were both finding themselves in each others’ company much more often and yet, both of them couldn’t quite connect their hearts and their feelings together. All whilst Randel etched out reasons why both were hesitating to take a chance on a love they never expected to find. Randel fused the story with the emotional bits you’d hope to find in a relationship-based romance with the angst of trying to bridge two lives together which were fighting their own natural chemistry.

And, yet nothing quite prepares you for the life and death situations Randel places inside Heidi and Reid’s story to serve as a catalyst of enlightened change for all the characters involved. I’ll only say it involves fire, so if stories which have heavily dramatic scenes involving fire upset you, just know this one is a small scene at the end of the novel which packs quite the punch in regards to how it affects your own heart to read the passages involved. I generally find stories involving fire or wildfires the hardest to read myself but the ways in which Randel handled both the intensity of the scene and the ways in which she used that situation as a turning point for the story on all fronts, served as such a strong ending for a story I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I hope others who pick up this novel to read will find the same true for them as well.

One of the best scenes of the story was how Randel choose to bring the Golden Matchmakers Club into its official standing with the men and women in the ‘club’ itself choosing to band together for the good of the community. Each of the members of the club had something different to offer but they had a common goal which makes you smirk and smile; mostly because it is their love of Golden and the will to see this community continue to grow and develop into a destination others would appreciate finding to live out their own lives which endears you to the Club itself because of how their efforts are for the joy they can give to others. Their intentions might be honourable but its how they go about producing results which might blur the lines a bit on what could be considered interference – however, its how they bring lives together which entertained me the most and I can’t wait to read the next installment in this series!

-quoted from my review of Stealing Her Best Friend’s Heart

Getting the chance to read this sequel so close to the first of the series was a delight – I was definitely ready to see who was going to be ‘set up’ next for a match and watch as the Matchmakers’ once again try to strike gold when it comes to pairing off members of their community! Sometimes the people their fixing together are members of their own family, too. Yet, it is their insight and their intuition which proves the best strengths they have together as a group for knowing when to yield to fate (letting things happen on their own without any further nudging!) and when to be subtle in their meddling.

In this story, the beauty for me was how it was set against two single parents who were neighbours and without sounding like a cliche of a match-up – Randel truly spent a lot of time putting together plausible reasons why the two would be interacting as much as they were and how naturally their children were also part of the reason they were growing closer together. There was plenty of back-story for both characters to sort through – including the baggage of their past relationships to where you knew even if there was an insta-spark or attraction – it was going to take time to reconcile how to proceed forward. Plus, one reason I love Heartwarming stories are the realistic ways in which characters are presented — they have hurdles and challenges to overcome, sometimes their on a path of personal growth and other times, their looking for a second chapter or a second chance to resume their lives. That’s the beauty of Heartwarming for me. Real life in Fiction.

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I positively love when a character like Roan decides for himself that he and only he can choose when he can fall in love – taking out serendipity and the natural ways in which paths can cross and become strengthened through friendship and connection. He’s quite the character – he has a massive level of guilt on his shoulders but its coupled with a lot of anger – something I am quite sure I’ll see Randel explore in more detail lateron in the storyline. He is a man of few words but its his internal thoughts which give way to his truer feelings which I felt was a kind blessing from Randel to include those in the context of the narrative as it helps guide us towards him rather than find him too obtuse. How he chooses to interact with Faith is half obliged duty and half curiosity which is also setting the scene well towards future interactions between the two but I had a feeling at this junction both of them were more open to exploring their own disciplined outlines for their futures than merging families and activities!

Of course, tucking close to the latest Matchmakers Club meeting was as delish as eating a slice of pie – each of the members had their own motivations for being in the Club but at the end of their meetings, there was one thing they could all agree on: one couple at a time and all for the common good of seeing people well matched. Even of course, if the couples in question aren’t interested in steady relationships, these members choose amongst themselves whose meant to be focused upon next and its the follies of their efforts which win over your own heart watching their antics towards that resolution! The Club has expanded its focus past Gayle Ann and Alveda, to where Wanda Sue is the current clubber whose daughter Faith is centerstage whilst Bunny and the retired Judge are waiting in the wings to have their selected persons worked on next which is where the continued growth of the series might expand in future installments. Either that, or any singleton in Golden might be a viable option for this Club! They truly love to meddle (with the best of intentions!) and get themselves into sticky situations when it comes to manipulating events to help steer people into each others’ path – that’s the folly I love to follow myself and to see how their suggestions lead into relationships!

As we get a more layered perspective into Faith and Roan’s lives, we start to see how intricately complicated a few of their entanglements are from the past. For Faith, her ex Lyle is quite the work and he’s in a category of his own for an absent and clueless father when it comes to not understanding how to put his children first in his life. Whereas with Roan, I felt aside from his emotional baggage from the loss of his wife, his greatest obstacle are how to balance his life with his children and their life with their grandparents. All whilst, in the background of Faith and Roan sorting out their lives and their growing attraction to each other are the Matchmakers who continue to leave me in a fit of giggles and smirks watching how they continue to intervene in a lovingly manner of randomness to push Faith and Roan closer together.

I personally loved this story – the Christmassy backdrop endears your heart – as you tuck close to Faith and Roan as they cross-navigate how to bring Christmas back into their children’s lives; not an easy task for either of them but even as their muddling through it, there is immense random joy which is fully enjoyed by the reader! From tree lightning ceremonies to family friendly community events, this is the type of small towne that goes the extra mile to let everyone – young and old – find the curiously fun joys Christmas can bring into your life. Those moments combined with the relationship being explored between Faith and Roan, make this a lovely new addition to your #ChristmasReads. The best bit too is the joy you’ll have watching two neighbours finding out the best gift at Christmas is the one your not expecting to receive.

-quoted from my review of Her Christmastime Family by Tara Randel

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I had the pleasure of having Ms Nelson who writes INSPY Historical Romances through another Harlequin imprint I adore (Love Inspired) approach me about reading her latest release which I expanded to include a chat via @SatBookChat (the chat I regularly host on Saturdays). It had been a bit since I’ve had the pleasure of reading one of the Love Inspired Historicals as sadly they discontinued this line of the imprint to focus instead on only the Contemporaries. I don’t read the Contemporaries as often but every so often I find authors like Tina Radcliffe and Danielle Throne (see also Review) who are writing the stories I want to be reading on that side of it. Usually though, you will find me hugged inside their Love Inspired Suspense line which is also Contemporary but it is Rom Suspense!! Mum and I share a mutual passion of joy reading those and I’ve happily blogged about those adventures in the past – especially during that readathon in Summer I used to join before it was discontinued.

As you will see from this excerpt I’m sharing – I was hugged so dearly inside this story, I couldn’t help but continue to gush about what I LOVED about it!! This is definitely the kind of #HistRom readers will appreciate who love the Regency as much as I do but also, love stories which follow a thread of interest similar to Pride and Prejudice – as I had related myself on #booktwt whilst reading the novel. There were other influences as well – such as Beauty and the Beast but that particular influence I hadn’t picked up on until I was midway through as I saw Pride a bit more than Beast.

Of course, its not really a story pinned into either canon of those stories as its own wholly original tale – as you read over my fuller review you’ll see what I mean. I’d love to chat more about this one if someone picks it up to read whilst at the same time, due to #SatBookChat I learnt Ms Nelson has another Love Inspired Historical Rom coming out in 2023. The next story involves a musician and a detective – which already sounded like a story I’m going to enjoy by the teasers revealled in the chat. I’ve also decided to start purchasing her backlist even though I realised that her personal writing style for INSPY has changed through the evolution of her novels – meaning, she now has embraced the ‘faith through living’ style I prefer in INSPY Lit rather than being a bit more heavy-handed about it all which she eluded to being the case in her past novels. I won’t know for sure until I’ve read them but its her instincts for INSPY Historical Romance which has won me over the most and why I’m quite eager to continue reading her stories; past, present and future.

Sophia has such a kind-hearted soul and she has an instinctively nurturing spirit as well. This is showcased through her charity works and by the employment of her lady’s maid. She sees the good in everyone and tries to make small changes in people’s lives to give them a chance to make bigger changes for their futures. It is a lovely component of the story – seeing how Sophia tries to not only do right by those she helps but to find a way to have her life stand for something other than what is known about her in society. She’s definitely the kind of heroine you can rally behind because she isn’t self-involved and she puts others ahead of herself in all instances. Even of course if it puts her own heart in jeopardy and what becomes entangled out of duty shines through her dedication to be of service to others.

Whereas when it comes to the Duke, he’s a harder person to understand as he doesn’t always give of himself to where you can feel you know him. He was guarded and a mystery for most of the story – though his affection for his niece notwithstanding; which was his main motivation for securing a path forward to help repair his own reputation, there are a lot of unknowns about his person and his character overall. We see him in certain instances of course, where he lets his guard down for a moment or two, but generally speaking, he likes to keep his distance and that was one hope I had that perhaps Sophia could find a way past his internal barriers. There is also an underscored bit of suspense – wherein Nelson has left a door open to have the Duke himself embarrassed about an aspect of his past he’s unwilling to share or confide. It humanised him in a different way than how she approached Sophia’s own familial challenges as it left you questioning – what could be a plausible situation or circumstance which would unnerve a man such as the Duke? Especially to the point of dissolving into himself if word would be let out in the open about whatever it was which plagued his conscience and his soul? That part of the plot was most intriguing to me because it flipped the script a bit on which character had the most secrets!

I especially enjoyed how Nelson gave juxtaposition towards our own understanding of the differences between the Duke and Sophia’s late husband Charles. Of how she found unique ways to present the differences in both men – from their personalities to their character and how in her own away, Sophia perceived of them both as well. For this story was very much a story of Sophia re-examining her own choices post-widowhood and on that level, the concerns of her heart against the tidal wave of memories she had with her husband. It was an interesting entreaty into her thoughts and into how her perceptions of both men shaped her opinions about what was known and what could only be speculated about what caused the differences in not only their persons but the affections of her own heart towards them both as well.

I was quite literally swept inside this story – there are so many heavy emotions being exchanged between the Duke and Sophia; to the point your own heart stirs and your own soul is gripped by the gravity of their situations and plight. There wasn’t an easy answer to their problems nor should there have been but Nelson found a way to bring humility and authenticity to their lives in a way that is sometimes remissive of Historical Romances. You ache for them to find peace and a kind bit of serenity at the end of their story – to where both of them can feel renewed and uplifted by a resolution which includes both the mercy and the forgiveness they both deserved. Yet, it is how Nelson allows you to take this journey beside them, to see the depths of their losses and the heights of their gains, where you feel the most emotional restitution.

-quoted from my review of An Unlikely Duchess

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I had intended to read Searching for Home but as you’ll see from my post from the blog tour – I was finding myself struggling to attach to the characters and to the ways in which Weatherholt had written the novel. I’ve set it it aside for a bit longer and after I go back to reading Tina Radcliffe’s Love Inspired novels, I might give this one a second go but honestly, even by the end of my first reading for this showcase preview post – I was on the fence about if I could continue with the book. She had a solid premise but for me it was the ways in which it was executed and paced which gave way to a bit of disinterest to continue; at least at this time.

The other story I had intended to finish reading and reviewing by either my blog tour date OR by the end of the tour itself was Out Front the Following Sea. Instead, the opening chapters were a bit muddling for me as a reader as I was having trouble connecting to the era and timescape as much as the setting. Very heavily described but not in a way that made it feel palpable to me as a reader. Where it started to curate my interest is where the two characters start to interact more and are in-scene together. I am also in contact with the author – both about my readings of the book (as she mentioned I could take more time to fully get into the story, etc) and about the questions I created for an interview based off the book and its theme/subjects discussed therein.

It is my hope to have the review ready by or shortly after the interview is ready to be shared as that would create the best situation for me to conclude my participation in this blog tour. The tour did conclude officially on the 4th but I was thankful I had the extension from the author.

Curious: does anyone else find themselves struggling to connect to stories even if they love the premise/theme/subjects of the novel therein?

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As you can tell, I had a good start to JANUARY, settling back into the rhythm of reading – whilst being mindful to pick stories to focus on which were either a challenge or comfort reads. I had planned to listen to an audiobook about Ebenezer Scrooge as well as read 2x more Christmas Romances — however, time got away with me on all counts. Plus, I had forgotten – the Heartwarming Christmas Romance has a novel ahead of it I haven’t read and the other one is a second in a series I felt would benefit from me reading the first novel. I’m going to grab copies of both books and read those this February instead. Whilst I’ve requeued the audiobook to be heard this month as it will tie-in with my continued focus on holiday/Christmas based stories. Or in this case, a story inspired by a beloved Christmas story!

I didn’t get to everything I planned this January but just to see content coming back into my blog made me a happy book blogger. I also started to see traction with having days off each week and I am looking forward to seeing that continue. Overall, I felt it was a good start and even if I read less than I hoped I would, what I was reading was not just entertainingly brilliant but a good cuppa #booklove for a girl whose missed stories and soaking into characters’ lives.

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Looking ahead to a new MONTH:

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February Blog Calendar banner created by Jorie in Canva.


  • His Hometown Yultetide Vow by Carol Ross *new Pacific Cove novel
  • Recipe for Redemption by Anna J. Stewart *Butterfly Harbour series
  • Guarding His Midnight Witness & Prison Break Hostage by Anna J. Stewart
    *Honour Bound series

When it comes to Carol Ross, she is definitely one of the (Harlequin) Heartwarming novelists I want to insta-read! She was one of the authors behind the #ReturnOfTheBlackwellBrothers which now is referred to as simply #BlackwellBrothers as there is a sequel series #BlackwellSisters I’m still in the process of reading — it was wicked lovely news when Ms Webb told me the joyous news!! Those stories take place in Montana – a state I’ve loved reading about since I was reading Westerns in high school as it was part of the Rockies. I read a lot of Western fiction and Western Romances set throughout the Rockies as that area of the country is such a wonderful landscape of difference from where I am on the East Coast. Plus, my Mum has travelled through the West and through her stories and the stories I’ve read, there is just an appeal to the Western states and mountains.

Back to Ms Ross — her stories are set either in the Pacific Northwest or Alaska (usually!) and I am in love with her communities which she is creating inside those series!! Hence why when I saw her latest novel was up for a new review tour, I jumped at receiving it! I’ll be sharing my insight and reactions on behalf of His Hometown Yuletide Vow before Valentine’s Day! Eek.

Whilst at the same time, I was meant to start sharing my readerly reactions to Butterfly Harbour last year but had to push forward those reviews into 2022. I did read a selection of Ms Stewart’s Romantic Suspense novels but I have 2x more I’m reading and reviewing this Spring as well. When it comes to sorting out the timing of sharing my reviews, they were meant to go live at the end of January (for the first novel I’ve read and reviewed) but due to unexpected car maintenance and repair, I had to push that plan forward into February! And, I shifted forward my review for her Rom Suspense novel because I had forgotten I wasn’t able to finish reading the third in the series — so I’m gathering a copy of that for my own library to finish before I read the fourth and fifth!

You might remember Ms Stewart is also part of the #BlackwellBrothers and #BlackwellSisters series and through that connection, I started to review for her directly as her stories release. This year, I’m getting current with the releases and will be sharing my thoughts and reactions closer to when the new stories release as that was harder for me to do last year with everything going on with work, etc. She’s also been a brilliant repeat guest author via @SatBookChat and will be my featured guest via #SatBookChat on the 26th of February!!

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Self-Motivated & Directed Reading Concentration:

As 2022 started to appear on the calendar, I knew there were two concentrations I wanted to focus on as soon as I could before the seasons and year started to spread out ahead of me. Those were re-focusing on Jane Austen and her after canon literature *and!* getting into some spookified reads focusing on Witchy Reads. In particular which I had to abandon last October during #SpooktasticReads (@WyrdAndWonder‘s mini-event). These were the stories which were affecting my conscience and for the first time, I decided to put forth a plan to re-dive back into those stories and make them top priority. I’m starting to pre-plan other concentrations as well – such as the stories I’ll be reading in March which yes has a lot to do with Jane Austen! (smirks).

Finding #Februwitchy was just an ideal kismet moment as a reader who was seeking out a way to bring back the #WitchyReads she wanted to finish into her end of Winter readings. Now, let me introduce you to the stories, authors and TBR for both concentrated readerly focal points this February!

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#Februwitchy 2022 banner created by Jorie in Canva.

You can read about a selection of these titles via #Witchathon, 2020
as well as in particular to TransWitch via #WyrdAndWonder, 2021.

Although I was attempting to sort out a way to redeem the hours I lost this past October, when I was meant to participate more fully in our lovely #SpooktasticReads – I was only able to post 2x reviews: Anni Moon (see also Review) and The Devil’s Bride (see also Review) – each of which disappointed me a bit more than I was expecting them too. And, of course – shortly afterwards, I began my second job and the rest of the fortnight blinked out of sight before I could sink into the rest of my reading queue which is now happily disclosed here for #Februwitchy!

I’ve been wanting to focus my thoughts about The Ghosts of Wonky Inn for such a long time now — I originally listened to it when I needed to binge a story and series which would uplift my spirits and just cart me away into a fantastical setting and world. Wonky Inn is a comfort listen for me and Bretton is aces when it comes to narrating the vision Wycherley has carved out for it! It has hurt my heart knowing its been lapsing behind my blog this long but finally, *whew!* at long last, I can finally share why this series continues to touch my heart and give me wicked smirks hearing a series so lovingly set in its own fantastically creative world!

Whilst I never had the proper chance to give Catching A Witch nor the darker Witchy Fantasy The Black Talisman a good chance to grip me into their throes, however, I was part-way through TransWitch (as I was reading and listening to the audiobook in tandem) during #WyrdAndWonder Year 4 before I realised I had to postpone finishing it until #SpooktasticReads which now of course has turnt into one of my favourite #Februwitchy goals! Wait til you hear about the heroine of this magical school Fantasy! It is by the same author I’ve gushed about for years whose curated the Tipsy Fairy Tale series and has given us a cross-universe world she shares with RJ Sullivan of which TransWitch belongs; she’s also a personal friend but that doesn’t influence my thoughts or opinions on any of the stories I read by her as I’m quite the discerning reader as most know by now.

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The Ghosts of Wonky Inn by Jeannie WycherleyWeird Wedding at Wonky Inn by Jeannie WycherleyThe Black Talisman by Richard Storry, narrated by Jake Urry

  • The Ghosts of Wonky Inn (Wonky Inn, No2) by Jeannie Wycherley, narrated by Kim Bretton
  • Weird Wedding at Wonky Inn (Wonky Inn, No3) by Jeannie Wycherley, narrated by Kim Bretton
  • Catching A Witch by Heidi Eljarbo
  • TransWitch by E. Chris Garrison, narrated by Danielle Muething
  • The Black Talisman by Richard Storry, narrated by Jake Urry

Catching A Witch by Heidi EljarboTrans Witch by E. Chris Garrison

When I first saw the announcement by Asha @Cat_book_tea about #Februwitchy, I thought — hmm. Could I re-shuffle my reads this February to include Witchy stories?! I don’t want to wait another minute, either and thereby, hopefully before the final day dawns this month, I’ll have had hours of joy spending time with these witchy reads and seeing what others have selected for themselves to read as well. It is a relaxed readathon, no official announcements or participation notices but there is a feed on social happening via #Februwitchy and of course, the hostess and blogger behind the event is publishing content as well.

I hope to find others who like #WitchyReads as much as I do and of course, if any of my followers and fellow #WyrdAndWonder community members see these posts/reviews, maybe a few of these stories might get tucked away for May! It could happen,… so what began as a thoughtful idea to get back a bit of #SpooktasticReads in a New Year, developed into joining a readathon that just felt ideally fitting to be happening right now!

To better understand a few of these titles also visit this POST.
Are you joining me for #Februwitchy?

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What I gained by this week’s #TheSundayPost:

It was an emotional #TheSundayPost to share this week — however, it was also cathartic as I’ve been wanting to post an update about my #lifebehindtheblog as much as update my readers and followers about why some of the content on my blog has been scaled back for awhile as I continue to find my new rhythm and balance reading and reviewing in a method of delivery that works better for me working full-time at two different jobs whilst caring for Dad with Mum. Life has continued to evolve behind Jorie Loves A Story and as such, I’ve always found a way to re-transition through those challenges and changes, but this time round, I wasn’t sure how to juggle it all and to find solace in what I could give as a book blogger as for a lot of months it just felt like a vacuum of space reserved only for work and nothing else outside of it.

The best thing I gained this week is finally releasing a post I’ve been writing for at least a fortnight but have been thinking about how to write for several months. It felt good to have a record of my thoughts at this junction and the best bit of course has been the planning behind #WyrdAndWonder Year 5 – of which has renewed my spirits in so many different ways I cannot put it all into words. We all need something to focus on that is both renewing and uplifting and for me, especially this year – the Power of 5 behind the event now is the best blessing I hadn’t realised I’d receive this 2022. 

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What did you attempt to read & what did you love this August?
Read through my archives for #TheSundayPost

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I am sharing this post through two other weekend link shares:

Stacking the Shelves | The Sunday Salon

NOTE: There was a change of where Stacking the Shelves is hosted in 2021!

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{Sources: Book Covers for the Wonky Witch series provided by the author Jeannie Wycherley and are used with permission. The book cover for “The Black Talisman” was provided by Jake Urry and is used with permission. The book cover for “Catching A Witch” was provided by HFVBTs and is used with permission. The book cover for “TransWitch” was provided by the author E. Chris Garrison and is used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Blog graphics created in Canva: #TheSundayPost banner as well as the monthly banners (January and February), #Februwitchy banner, #2022BacklogueReviews banner and the Comment Box banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2022.

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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 Sunday, 13 February, 2022 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Bookish Memes, JLAS Update Post, Jorie Loves A Story, Spontaneous Musings, Stories of Jorie, The Sunday Post

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5 responses to “#TheSundayPost XI | A New Year, A New Readerly Approach

  1. Hey Jorie, thank you so much for sharing such a heartfelt mix of bookish and real-life news here. <3 You are such a strong person, and I hope you're able to continue to pursue your dreams, even if things have been bleak of late. The fact you're still here, still writing and creating is amazing :) Don't give up, but also don't worry about those times you need time to yourself to recharge. Sending you big virtual hugs!

    • My heart is full. Thank you for such a kind and supportive note — this was a very difficult post for me to write and find the right way to express as it was one of my more personal blogs in regards to what I disclosed and definitely a full update on where we were with Dad post-stroke six years ago compared to where we are now after the six years. I am very blessed to have you in my life and to have your friendship.

      I was writing you short notes via DM today on Twitter… but this reply means the world as I know you understand everything I disclosed and why I felt I needed to share it.

      Thanks too for the nudge about whatever we can do is enough and sometimes, we can only give as much as we can give until moments even out in our lives to where we can give a bit more as we once were able to give in the past.

      Loads of hugs in return!!

  2. You’ve had a tough road. But you can feel happy inside because you have done the hard thing, the good thing.

    I’m trying to catch up a bit on my old reviews, too, this year. I started by making a list of ten books I want to review this year. I think I can do that.

    Have a great week!

  3. <3 It is so hard when they can't remember. Hugs
    For my father in law his memory isn't awesome either. He forgets a lot of little things . But it is good to remember that as he is getting older, more things will come to light. I hope though that for your dad and your family this is it and that not too much more is going to shift.

    • Thank you, Annemieke,.. I pray for that myself. It is good to hear others who are facing/going through the same thing. I’ve gone through this in the past with my grandfathers but sometimes, I’m not sure what prepares you for your own father/mother. It just feels harder somehow.

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