Category: 18th Century

#HistoricalMondays Book Review | “Mount Vernon Love Story: A Novel of George and Martha Washington” by Mary Higgins Clark As a new reader of MHC’s stories, I was wicked excited when I learnt this lovely #HistRom about the Washington’s was her *debut novel!*

Posted Monday, 19 August, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#HistoricalMondays blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

I’ve launched a new weekly featured concentration of book reviews on Jorie Loves A Story which celebrates my love and passion for the historical past! For those of whom are regular readers and visitors to my blog, you’ll denote a dedicated passion for reading Historical Fiction (and all the lovely segues of thematic therein) – I am a time traveller of the historical past every chance I get to disappear into a new era and/or century of exploration. There isn’t a time period I haven’t enjoyed ruminating over since [2013] and there are a heap of lovely timescapes I’ve yet to encounter.

This feature was inspired by the stories I’ve read, the stories I’ve yet to experience and the beauty of feeling interconnected to History through the representation of the past through the narratives being writ by today’s Historical Fiction authors. It is to those authors I owe a debt of gratitude for enlightening my bookish mind and my readerly heart with realistic characters, illuminating portals of living history and a purposeful intent on giving each of us a strong representation of ‘life’ which should never become dismissed, forgotten or erased.

I am began this feature with the sequel to a beloved historical novel I first read in [2013] – it was one of the first ARCs I received and it was the first year I was a book blogger though it was through a connection outside my life as a blogger. I celebrated K.B. Laugheed’s literature to kick-off this feature and hopefully will inspire my followers to take this new weekly journey with me into the stories which are beckoning to read their narrative depths and find the words in which to express the thoughts I experienced as I read.

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Borrowed Book By: I am a reviewer for Simon & Schuster – however, this book review is not affiliated with the reviews I am considering on behalf of the publisher. This is a novel a family friend lent my Mum and after she finished reading it, knowing how much I share her passion for the Revolutionary War era and early Colonial Americana History – she felt this might be a good fit for me to read after she did as a way to discuss the story together. This is something new we’ve been doing for the past few years now – ever since Mum first started getting back into reading with the Love Inspired Suspense novels. As we both share a healthy interest in Historical Fiction, this felt like a fitting ‘step outside’ the stories of Suspense we could both pursue together.

As the copy of “Mount Vernon Love Story” I borrowed via a family friend was read for my own edification and for future discussion with my Mum, I was not obligated to post a review; even though I elected to do so as a reader who loves to share her readerly life. I was not compensated for my thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: The Press Materials featured on this review were provided by the publisher and are used with permission after I made an enquiry with publicists I work with on blog tours. The Press Materials were found via this page and the attribution for the author’s photo has been maintained.

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On why I thought I’d enjoy reading about Martha & George Washington:

It is hard to recollect when my fascination with the Washington’s began – though if you were to hear me say their names aloud, it would sound closer to Wershington per a telling sign of my parentage and grandparents roots being hinged in the North. I do know my fourth grade year was a keen one for Presidential History exploration – which I’ll recant a bit lateron on this post – however, I also remember being given two figurines – one of George, one of Martha. I am unsure why I don’t have a similar set for John and Abigail Adams, but I believe it might be because I was more keenly invested in Washington as a young girl rather than having the admiration I now have for the Adam’s which came lateron in my twenties and thirties.

He was quite the man of mystery for most of my life – though like most inquisitive souls, I did chase down some facts about him and some stories as well. I have aspired to visit Mount Vernon as I am quite interested in visiting the places which were of importance to the Presidents; I’ve had the pleasure of visiting a few of their hometowns and other places of interest in the past though I do long to visit a few more estates as much as I’d love to begin visiting their Presidential Libraries.

In regards to Washington directly, before I started seeking out Historical Fiction narratives featuring either him directly and/or the Revolutionary War or early Colonial Americana stories – there was the film The Crossing (1999) which left quite the strong impression on me. From there, I started moving into fictional accounts of History whilst in my mid-thirties whilst binging on Classical Films via Turner Classic Movies (a channel I can never tire of watching) – I watched 1776 (1969) which is a musical film about the founding of our country but more strictly about the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

You could say my jaunts into this era of history are quite eclectically tethered to different parts of my life and you’d be correct in that observation. The beauty of course is not being in any particular haste to ferret out new stories but to take a bit of time to seek out the stories which keep me invested in the subject of interest as I navigate new stories and new authors who are re-telling History in such of way as to re-paint it alive for those us far, far removed from the 18th Century to consider it ‘living history’.

Towards that end – I don’t oft get the pleasure of reading stories anchoured to both spouses – mostly I find stories through the portal of one of the husbands (ie. former Presidents) rather than in full scope of whom they were in their personal and/or their professional capacities. I felt this particular novel would be intriguing as it puts us behind closed doors and gets to see Washington as “George” the man who was in love with Patsy (‘Martha’) who just happened to be our first President of the United States.

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#HistoricalMondays Book Review | “Mount Vernon Love Story: A Novel of George and Martha Washington” by Mary Higgins Clark As a new reader of MHC’s stories, I was wicked excited when I learnt this lovely #HistRom about the Washington’s was her *debut novel!*Mount Vernon Love Story
Subtitle: A Novel of George and Martha Washington
by Mary Higgins Clark
Source: Borrowed Book (Family/Friend)

In Mount Vernon Love Story -- famed suspense writer Mary Higgins Clark's long-out-of-print first novel -- the bestselling author reveals the flesh-and-blood man who became the "father of our country" in a story that is charming, insightful, and immensely entertaining.

Always a lover of history, Mary Higgins Clark wrote this extensively researched biographical novel and titled it Aspire to the Heavens, after the motto of George Washington's mother. Published in 1969, the book was more recently discovered by a Washington family descendant and reissued as Mount Vernon Love Story. Dispelling the widespread belief that although George Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis, he reserved his true love for Sally Carey Fairfax, his best friend's wife, Mary Higgins Clark describes the Washington marriage as one full of tenderness and passion, as a bond between two people who shared their lives -- even the bitter hardship of a winter in Valley Forge -- in every way. In this author's skilled hands, the history, the love, and the man come fully and dramatically alive.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780743448949

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Presidential Life & History, Time Slip and/or Time Shift


Published by Simon & Schuster

on 1st June,, 2003

Format: Hardcover Edition, Large Print Edition

Pages: 223

Published by: Simon & Schuster (

This particular novel was the author’s first published story.

Interestingly enough it is also my *first!* story of Ms Clark’s I’ve read!

A bit of trivia: this novel was originally entitled: “Aspire to the Heavens” (1969).

The version of the book I have is the hardcover edition published in *2002!* – however, I’ve included the details if you want to seek out this 2003 edition by Simon & Schuster. It should also be noted I read the *Large Print!* edition of the hardcover release – wherein it was quite easy on the eyes to read and a blessing for a girl recovering from five migraines in May, 2019.

I am delighted to say this hardcover edition features lovely interior illustrations!

Converse via: #MaryHigginsClark, #GeorgeWashington + #MarthaWashington

as well as #HistRom or #HistoricalRomance; #HistNov + #ColonialAmerica

About Mary Higgins Clark

Mary Higgins Clark Photo Credit (c) Bernard Vidal

The #1 New York Times bestselling author Mary Higgins Clark has written thirty-seven suspense novels, four collections of short stories, a historical novel, a memoir, and two children’s books.

With her daughter Carol Higgins Clark, she has coauthored five more suspense novels, and also wrote The Cinderella Murder, All Dressed in White, The Sleeping Beauty Killer, and Every Breath You Take with bestselling author Alafair Burke.

More than one hundred million copies of her books are in print in the United States alone. Her books are international bestsellers.

Photo Credit: © Bernard Vidal

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Divider

Posted Monday, 19 August, 2019 by jorielov in 18th Century, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Book Review (non-blog tour), Colonial America, George and Martha Washington, George Washington, Historical Romance, Martha Washington, Romance Fiction

#HistoricalMondays | Book Review | “The Gift of the Seer” [long awaited sequel to “The Spirit Keeper” (2013)] by K.B. Laugheed

Posted Monday, 11 February, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#HistoricalMondays blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

I am launching a new weekly featured concentration of book reviews on Jorie Loves A Story which celebrates my love and passion for the historical past! For those of whom are regular readers and visitors to my blog, you’ll denote a dedicated passion for reading Historical Fiction (and all the lovely segues of thematic therein) – I am a time traveller of the historical past every chance I get to disappear into a new era and/or century of exploration. There isn’t a time period I haven’t enjoyed ruminating over since [2013] and there are a heap of lovely timescapes I’ve yet to encounter.

This feature was inspired by the stories I’ve read, the stories I’ve yet to experience and the beauty of feeling interconnected to History through the representation of the past through the narratives being writ by today’s Historical Fiction authors. It is to those authors I owe a debt of gratitude for enlightening my bookish mind and my readerly heart with realistic characters, illuminating portals of living history and a purposeful intent on giving each of us a strong representation of ‘life’ which should never become dismissed, forgotten or erased.

I am beginning this feature with the sequel to a beloved historical novel I first read in [2013] – it was one of the first ARCs I received and it was the first year I was a book blogger though it was through a connection outside my life as a blogger. I am celebrating K.B. Laugheed’s literature to kick-off this feature and hopefully will inspire my followers to take this new weekly journey with me into the stories which are beckoning to read their narrative depths and find the words in which to express the thoughts I experienced as I read.

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Acquired Book By: In [2013] I was still participating in the Early Reviewer programme via Book Browse wherein I received an ARC for “The Spirit Keeper” – a new Historical Fiction narrative which sought to break boundaries of its genre and which captured me heart and soul as I read it. It was an emotionally gutting read, a historical reckoning of a story and it left me ruminatively curious about what the ‘next’ chapter of this extraordinary character’s life would be in the sequel. 

I decided to write an expanded review on my blog for my own edification after having contributed my Early Reviewer review to Book Browse – it was one of the few times I was able to do this even though there are a few other ARCs I received from Book Browse I’d like to still blog about in the near future which fittingly have more to be said on their behalf from my readerly experience.

Likewise, I also reached out to the author directly shortly after I posted my review in September of 2013; remember dear hearts, I launched my blog live on the 6th of August, 2013 – so this expanded review became one of the first officially celebrated novels of Jorie Loves A Story in the beginning of finding my writerly voice and my bookish presence in the book blogosphere. It pre-dated hosting blog tours and working with publishers, publicists and authors directly.

Although I remained in contact with the author a bit over the years – simply checking the status on the sequel or offering encouraging thoughts on writing it – I don’t consider this a conflict of interest as to be honest, it was not constant contact and we weren’t in contact on a regular basis nor did we touch base each year since 2013.

When I received an email from Ms Laugheed this past December, 2018 – to say I was pleasantly gobsmacked to have heard from her after a long absence of communication is putting it mildly! I was overjoyed – more for her than for me – as she was announcing the sequel was being published! She decided at long last to go the Indie route towards  publication and I was full of joy and happiness for her as this was a very long and dedicated route back to publishing a sequel I believed in as a reader (and there are others like me out there) but of which I wasn’t sure if any of us would get a chance to embrace it in published form.

Thereby, I did not hesitate to respond to her request to accept this new novel for review consideration – the only thing which delayed my entrance into its chapters was my five week Winter virus (from before Christmas to the early weeks of January, 2019) and my three successive migraines (from mid-January to early February). I read this immediately after recovering from my third migraine and was thrilled I could finally attach my mind and heart round the continuing journey of Katie and Hector!

I received a complimentary copy of “The Gift of the Seer” by the author K.B. Laugheed in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Re-visiting “The Spirit Keeper”

My original motivation to read the novel: I wanted to partake in her journey untoward becoming one man’s living vision of ‘a creature of fire and ice’ and to see if they could fulfill each other’s destinies therein. It is such a curious proposition, to be taken by force from one’s own family, and re-positioned into a life, by which, you’re in complete unfamiliar territory, amongst people who speak a different tongue than your own, and by your own wits, have to determine how to survive. I was curious by how she was going to effectively change her life and heart; and to what end she must do so! This felt to me like a piece of Magical Realism wrapped up inside a Historical Fiction, rooted into the conscience of the American Frontier! I was besotted with the plot, and needed to read it to ascertain what the story truly was about! The Spirit Keeper spoke to me, as a book I needed to read rather than merely a book I wanted to read! I listen to my intuition in other words!

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Ms Laugheed advised me to re-read “The Spirit Keeper” ahead of reading “The Gift of the Seer” – what I hadn’t the heart to tell her is my copy of the novel is packed as most of my personal library has been packed for the last four years. I couldn’t sort out which box it is held within if I had a compass as I literally have quite the expansive library being stored right now. This is one key reason why I can’t always re-read the novels I’m reviewing – as I only have a handful of books I’ve reviewed the past few years unpacked and shelved – most of which, are first or seconds in series, awaiting new releases to where I can turn back to and re-read a bit ahead of delving into the next installment. I did have The Spirit Keeper prominently shelved for quite a few years after it was released – it was only recently I had to make the hard choice to pack it away for safe keeping til I can restore my library back to rights.

Therefore, I did what any other book blogger would do in this situation – I borrowed a well-loved copy from my local library and as I re-entered the story, I was quite shocked by what I discovered! I hadn’t forgotten as much as I was expecting, too! I re-read the opening bridge of the novel – re-visiting how Katie was taken from her family, the traumatic transitioning into life with the Spirit Keeper and Hector as much as re-aligning in my mind the era this series is set and the mannerisms of how the story is told. As Ms Laugheed has a very distinctive style of historical story-telling; it is one reason I was hugged so dearly close into the story originally.

Secondly, as I noticed a lot of readerly flashbacks moving through my mind’s eye after that particular re-visitation – I immediately flipped to the last quarter of the novel, resumed as if I hadn’t been absent from this story for :six: long years and re-lived the concluding chapters, as fresh as dew on recently mowed grass. I seriously was re-captured by what was left behind for my eyes and heart to find – thereby, I knew with certainty I was prepared as I ever could be to re-enter Katie and Hector’s world.

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For those of you who might never have had the pleasure of joy reading this novel, let me select a few quotations from my original review – both from what I shared with Book Browse after first reading the ARC and what I expounded upon on Jorie Loves A Story thereafter.

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The inertia of reality that besots you as soon as you enter into the world of The Spirit Keeper, is quite a hard bullet to bite, because before you can wrap your eyes and heart around what your visually aware of, your niched into the story! I credit this to the author, as Laugheed endeavours you to jump straight out of your comfort zone, wholly free-falling into a brutal, raw, and untamed section of the American Frontier in the mid-1700s and take a quest towards unraveling the complexities of building a new life in a foreign land. The thematics that are entrenched in the story parlay an exposition on language, translation, and sense of being. She readily elevates our awareness that our words can draw an impact that is not always aware to us, but like the life paths we are walking, we are not always in charge of their meaning or purpose of use.

I will lament, that if you’re a reader who begs off for lighter faire, you might want to caution yourself, as within Chapter One, the author does not hold back on the grim realities of what it was like in the 1700s when an Indian War Party descended upon a settler’s family.

The beauty of the outside world envelopes you from the jump-start, as the open wilderness is the footing for setting this story outside the reach of our known world. Even for those of us who are akin to the natural environment and the inhabitants therein, there is still so much of that world that is readily just outside our scope, outside our understanding. The Native Americans who are on the forefront of the story, evoke a cultural education into accepting stark differences of living, as much as embracing traditions that hold merit  (such as the menstrual huts for women).

Flickerments of “Medicine Man” (the motion picture) streamed through my mind, as did “Dances with Wolves” (the motion picture), as in each story, those who only spoke English, learnt to adapt and to live amongst the natives by which they found themselves belonging too better than their own kind. I am drawn into stories that attach us to whole new cultures, traditions, religions, and walks of life. Stories that etch into our imaginations a wholly new world, where there are similarities, but otherwise, as we dip into their narratives, we find ourselves in a foreign land, attempting to understand what we cannot yet conceive possible.

An incredible journey of self-preservation, fortitude of spirit, and overwhelming grief: I was not quite prepared for the journey that Katie, Syawa, and Hector embark upon! It wasn’t so much the long distances that they must traverse through rough hewn terrain, but rather, they are each going through a personal, intimate, internal journey concurrent to their outward journey towards the men’s originating homeland! Each is carrying secrets of their own experiences, and in Katie’s instance, her life is muddled and blighted with far more devastation than anyone could ill-afford possible to a seventeen year old young lady!

Her lot in life has been tempered by abuse and misguided notions of love, unto where she has encouraged a naïve sense of the living world, and has grown an ignorance of how right a life can be lived! I grieved for her and bleed emotions with her recollections of past memories,.. memories that were nearly too hard to bare and to ruminatively lay pause upon. It is through Syawa’s gentleness and effective way of easing her out of her shell, that she truly started to see who she was and who she could be. I only wish I could pronounce Syawa’s name, as I feel as guilty she does in her own story, about the misunderstandings that evolve out of not understanding language and meaning of words, phrases, or names outside our own native tongues!

Language & Translation: the Invisible Barriers we never foresee: Laugheed paints a clear window towards our greatest struggle in accepting and understanding each other, as we present ourselves to each other in our conversations! Each inflection of tone, voice, and the words we use to explain ourselves, can lead us down a path of misunderstanding and of misalignment in what we are attempting to represent as our thoughts, hopes, dreams, and passions. Throughout the story, we are seeing the story as a first-hand account of a diary the protagonist is writing to assert her own history back in her life, as she’s amongst those who do not understand the necessity of having a living history or a story to be told of one’s heritage. She values her experiences, her struggles of faith, and the lessons she is ought being taught as she walks forward into her future. She hasn’t had the easiest of lives, but she isn’t going to allow herself to wallow in the situations she could never effectively change, but rather, pull out a strength deep from within her, to carry her through the tribulations that she was certain were still to come.

Whilst she’s (Katie O’ Toole) recounting her days in her diary, I mused about how this differed from the diary of Robinson Crusoe as it contained more of her essence, her internal quagmire of thoughts, and the irrevocable distraught by which she plagued herself with for most of her arduous journey towards Syawa and Hector’s homeland. From the moment I read the opening page, by which the author departed a precognitive knowledge of how the story might transform as you read the words, I was left with a museful pre-occupation of how that would transpire, and further still, of one particular scene that I had presumed was forgotten within the re-writes and draughts, leading up to publication! However, this falls perfectly into this category of observation about ‘language and translation’, about how what we first perceive to be just and truth, can altogether change and alter, either by the different perception we’ve learnt through experience OR through reading a book that is quite unlike another! This book truly lives up to the proportions of what Laugheed mentions at the start gate: the words transcend their own meaning as you etch closer to the ending, the whole of the story is much larger than the sum of the parts as they are revealed!

In this way,  she is giving each of us to turn on our heels, the gross misconception of how we drink in words, knowledge, and observational data. The reader is very much at the heart of this story, and I think, is as central as Katie’s voice in re-telling her own history. What is humbling too, is how as our knowledge expands, the words that were once lost on us, as being completely irreverent suddenly take on new meanings, as they now evoke an ’emotion’, a ‘resolution’, or a ‘truth’ we did not understand previously. An Irish girl cast out into the wilderness of the wild frontier, with two Indian’s as her sole guides and protectors, makes for a curious precept initially, but it’s how they interact with each other, during the everyday hours, that Laugheed excels in not disappointing her reader! She never makes their interactions dull or predictable, because she has woven their personalities into the core of how they interact with each other! You pick up little character traits that come to play a larger part of the story as it threads through its climax, but inside these key portals of frontier life in campsites and canoes, you start to see how its possible to thread a new life together out of the ashes of the old! In this way, I was quietly savouring each exchange between the threesome, curious how they would come to depend on each other, and how they would draw strength by each others’ presence.

The art of story-telling plays a center part of The Spirit Keeper’s heart, but it’s the transformative power of understanding the words that are imparted throughout the story, that turn everything into a new light once the conclusion arrives. What the reader first mistook as a course of events, was truly a resounding precognitive journey that guided two characters forward into a future they would not have been strong enough to embrace otherwise. It’s the redemptive nature of grasping a hold of the essence of those who pass forward and away from our living world that is truly the most remarkable arc of the story! For we all have the ability to be a keeper of a spirit whose touched us deeply and left us remorseful for their presence! We only need the strength to transcend our perception and view our experiences from a different angle to see how the threads stitch together the pattern of our living tapestry!

An environmental conscience: Is cleverly hidden within the context of the story, but is one of the inclusions that I found to be the most illuminating to see!! I oft have found myself the most happiest amongst the trees, rivers, lakes, streams, and out-of-door hideaways that only a person can walk to find! Nature’s door is ever beckoning us to re-enter that sacred space between the natural world and the world by which we live as men. We are drawn towards nature as keenly as we are attached to water as a source of lifeblood, but it isn’t always an easy attachment to maintain, when the hectic nature of our lifestyles can circumvent our efforts to keep our hearts and souls aligned with the seasons and timescape of the natural world just past our windows! Laugheed draws a breath of vitality into the forest, where you can nearly hear the echoings of the trees, the rushing power of the rivers, and the harmonious tickings of the inhabitants therein. I appreciated that the animals that were killed in the book were used for what they could give back to the ones who fell them. I always respected this aspect of Native American beliefs, as they take what they need and only what they can use, at the time they go hunting. It’s a beautiful circle of life, as nothing is wasted and everything is respected. She wants you to see the beauty past what you expect to find whilst out in the deep woods, as the forest plays a fourth character or rather, that of a narrator that has not yet found its voice.

-quoted from my review of The Spirit Keeper

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#HistoricalMondays | Book Review | “The Gift of the Seer” [long awaited sequel to “The Spirit Keeper” (2013)] by K.B. LaugheedThe Gift of the Seer
by K.B. Laugheed
Source: Direct from Author

Katie O' Toole's epic adventure began in "The Spirit Keeper" (Plume 2013) when she was rescued from a 1747 frontier massacre only to find herself chosen as the "Spirit Keeper" of a dying Indian seer. She hesitated to accept this mysterious obligation until she fell in love with the Seer's bodyguard, an Indian man she called Hector.

Much has happened since my last writing,..

In The Gift of the Seer, Katie and Hector continue their journey across the continent, but the more Katie learns about the peculiar ways of her husband's people, the more she dreads arriving at their destination. Will anyone believe she is the Spirit Keeper she pretends to be? Equally troubling, Katie knows the Seer expected her to prove his Vision - a Vision which foretold of infinite Invaders coming to his world - but to prove this prophecy, she must give his people the great Gift he also predicted. The only problem is that Katie has no gift to give.

Years pass as she desperately searches for a way to fulfill her promise to the dead Seer, but when his former rival threatens to expose her as a fraud, Katie finally understands that her life and the life of all the people in her new world hang in the balance. That's when she knows she must give a Gift - she must - before it is too late.

Did you honestly think you could get so much and give nothing in return?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1732886216

Genres: Feminist Historical Fiction, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Literary Fiction, Magical Realism, Native American Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Women's Studies


Published by Self Published Author

on 7th January, 2019

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 372

the spirit keeper duology:

The Spirit keeper & the gift of the seer

This is a Self-Published novel

Available Formats: Hardback, Paperback and Ebook

Converse on Twitter: #GiftOfTheSeer, #TheSpiritKeeper Sequel + #KBLaugheed
as well as #HistNov + #HistoricalFiction or #HistFic

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About K.B. Laugheed

The Gift of the Seer by K.B. Laugheed

K.B. Laugheed is an organic gardener and master naturalist who wrote her first published novel, The Spirit Keeper, as part penance for the sins of her family’s pioneer past, part tribute to all our ancestors, and part grandiose delusion as she hopes to remind modern Americans of the grim price we paid for the glorious life we take for granted today.

But The Spirit Keeper is not a story about guilt. It’s about gratitude.

The Gift of the Seer is officially available worldwide as it was published on the 7th of January, 2019.

To support the author directly, kindly consider purchasing her novels through her online store.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Divider

Posted Monday, 11 February, 2019 by jorielov in #HistoricalMondays, #JorieLovesIndies, 18th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Browse, Book Review (non-blog tour), Brothers and Sisters, Bullies and the Bullied, Colonial America, Coming-Of Age, Content Note, Cultural & Religious Traditions, Cultural Heritage, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Diary Accountment of Life, Domestic Violence, Early Colonial America, Environmental Conscience, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, First Impressions, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Folklore, Genre-bender, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, History, Horror-Lite, Indie Author, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, Life Shift, Literary Fiction, Loss of an unbourne child, Magical Realism, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Midwives & Childbirth, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Multicultural Marriages & Families, Native American Fiction, Native American Spirituality, Old World Arts & Crafts, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Prejudicial Bullying & Non-Tolerance, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Psychological Abuse, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Self-Published Author, Siblings, Sisterhood friendships, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Social Change, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Story in Diary-Style Format, Superstitions & Old World Beliefs, Taboo Relationships & Romance, Terminal Illness &/or Cancer, The American Frontier, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Unexpected Pregnancy, Vulgarity in Literature, Wilderness Adventures, Women's Health

Blog Book Tour | “Starving Hearts” and “Never Past Hope” by Janine Mendenhall

Posted Friday, 14 December, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish created by Jorie in Canva.

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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 began 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 (forthcoming) Saturday will feature a different author who writes either Romance or Women’s Fiction – wherein I concluded the year of hosting @SatBook during October & November featuring special guest authors whose stories I have either read, were reading or had hoped to read in the future if their newer releases. Going forward, 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: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquried about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. I am unsure how many books I’ll review for them as most are offered digitally rather than in print but this happily marks one of the blog tours where I could receive a print book for review purposes. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors.

I received a complimentary copy of “Starving Hearts” direct from the author Janine Mendenhall in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I wanted to read “Starving Hearts” & “Never Past Hope”
and why life didn’t seem to want to give me a break in order to read them:

I have penchant for reading INSPY Fiction – I’ve been a hybrid reader of mainstream and INSPY Fiction since I was a young girl, finding myself attracted to both branches of literature, as to me they are two halves of a whole rather than two seemingly separate enterprises concurrently releasing titles each year. I try to keep a ready eye out on #newtomeauthors of INSPY narratives I feel are either a) going to be uplifting to read or b) are going to give me a wicked good thrill of a read! This is why in July I had such a heap of fun talking about what I was reading during the Christian & Clean Fiction Reading Safari as I was reading authors who publish under the #LoveINSPIRED Suspense imprint from Harlequin! I read a bit outside that imprint as well – but what I loved most was the chilling reading atmospheres of the novels! They had just enough wicked thrills to leave me on the edge of my seat but they pulled back just ‘enough’ to where I felt more uplifted than fatigued reading them! I also loved the fact they were writ under an INSPY imprint and were dearly free of any other concerns I might have had due to content issues.

Shortly after the novels arrived however, my life turnt a bit upside down. To the brink where I lost too many hours to read both novels for the tour and had to reschedule my stop on the tour! My Mum came down with one of those naughty viruses going round – whilst my Dad had a medical emergency the week of the tour spending time in the ER where I consumed copious amounts of cookies (courtesy of the volunteer staff who watch over families/individuals waiting in ERs) and a few cuppas of coffee. I, tried to dodge the virus as best as I could but I was fatigued and exhausted by battling it which is why I was resting quite a heap in the week prior to the tour beginning. On top of all this, our car had a bad tire due to a road hazard and that became a slight nightmare in of itself to resolve which is why my hopes of reading both stories on Thursday (the 13th) flew out the window as I needed to help my parents transition through the week’s unexpected woes instead.

I was able to get back on my blog and settled into my reading chair late into the night on Thursday which in reality was really (early!) on Friday morning! Until, unfortunately life caught up with me – I had a migraine which felt dearly impossible to shake and it made reading extremely difficult. I took a long rest and by the time I woke up, I had to battle through heavy rains and high winds to help my parents with a few necessary errands late in the afternoon / early evening of Friday. I’m accustomed to rainshowers they go with the region, however, what I’m never experienced before are these kind of freezing rains as it proved to be too much for my system to handle! It was late on Friday night when I could finally resume my readings of Starving Hearts though sadly the virus was overtaking rather quickly! You really can catch a cold out in the rain! Or, at least in my case, if your trying to hope not to catch a virus its not the best way to avoid one! I threw in the towel when the heat in the house wasn’t enough to warm me and I felt like my whole body was in shock!

I know it sounds horrid – but what I really wanted to do was have a bit of normalcy in my life – just to get a chance to sit and think about characters and a story felt rather ideal as my emotions were a wreck as much as I was exhausted by life. You know how you just reach your fill and need some downtime? This is why I kept trying to read the stories whilst trying to get through life’s emergencies this week. Unfortunately, I had to take care of myself before I could read Starving Hearts in full and I do regret I basically missed the blog tour as a result.

Thereby, I’m trying to read these stories back to back – releasing my thoughts on behalf of Starving Hearts on Saturday (part of my #SaturdaysAreBookish feature) and posting my thoughts on behalf of Never Past Hope on Sunday/Monday (depends on how I feel) – due to this, I’ll be featuring a few snippets of insight from the rest of the tour below this review as Saturday is the day we’re celebrating the tour itself where everyone gets to have a light shine on their blogs for one final go round! I do apologise if you’ve been following the tour and wondered ‘where is Jorie?’ – let’s just say Jorie ‘had a week’ to end all weeks and is thankful she can have a relaxing bookish weekend!

Specifically what interested me though is the fact this is another release and author originating from a publisher I’ve come to trust as one of my favourites for INSPY Fiction! As you might remember my passion for the series Jennifer Lamont Leo is publishing with them! It is wonderful when you can find new stories by a publisher you’ve come to trust and look forward with anticipation for reading the next new author who might become another beloved favourite!

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Blog Book Tour | “Starving Hearts” and “Never Past Hope” by Janine MendenhallStarving Hearts
Subtitle: Triangular Trade Trilogy
by Janine Mendenhall
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

Carol Award Finalist | Selah Award Finalist

Plagued by nightmares, Annette yearns to find her anonymous rescuer — the man who saved her life from a near deadly assault. Deep inside she is starving for companionship and a mutually respectful relationship. When Mr. Peter Adsley, an abolitionist pastor dealing with his own emotional baggage, agrees to a clandestine meeting, the event appears providential. But self-doubt, deception, and the schemes of a mutual enemy threaten to keep the pair apart. A phantom adversary will stop at nothing to win Annette’s dowry for himself, even if it means killing Peter.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781938499845

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction


Published by Heritage Beacon Fiction

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 290

Published by: Heritage Beacon Fiction

an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas (@LPCTweets)

Formats Available: Ebook and Paperback

Triangular Trade Trilogy:

Starving Hearts by Janine MendenhallNever Past Hope by Janine Mendenhall

Converse via: #INSPYbooks, #INSPY, #HistRom

About Janine Mendenhall

Janine Mendenhall Photo Credit: https://www.photosbycassie.com/

I love losing myself somewhere in time with Downton Abbey, Pride and Prejudice or a number of other classics like Jane Eyre and Redeeming Love. I cry over most things Nicholas Sparks (because they usually end sadly) and Amazing Grace,, both the movie and the hymn, because they lead to the Ultimate happily ever after.

Photo Credit: Photos by Cassie

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 14 December, 2018 by jorielov in #SaturdaysAreBookish, 18th Century, Agnostic (Questioning & Searching or Unsure), Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Content Note, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Prism Book Tours, Questioning Faith as a Teen, Romance Fiction

Book Spotlight | “The Traitor” (Book Two: The Rebels and Redcoats Saga) by T.J. London

Posted Friday, 16 November, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary copy of “The Traitor” direct from the author T.J. London in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The parts which resonated with me from “The Tory”:

London takes her time settling you into the re-constructed glimmer of Revolutionary American life – she wants you to make a connection to her lead character, John Carlisle first – as he is a crucial part of the saga’s arc – it is his journey that is what launches the tales into the height of seeing the #RevWar from a behind-the-scenes angle of insight. His is not a life easily lived; he takes risks and he challenges himself to improve his life even if he falters with carry through towards those newfound ideals. He sees the present more than the future but hasn’t found a way to purge the past. In essence, he’s conflicted, complicated and has a war within himself which is just as important to win as the one he is currently fighting.

We arrive on scene in 1776 – for history buffs you’ll denote immediately how important it is to dropped into History’s time capsule inside this particular year. The British have a gallant pride in believing themselves to be the true champions of the war, even without proof of knowing if they could succeed. Whereas Washington’s spies and allies are making their own headway towards defeating the British. Told mostly from the perceptive of where the Brits are in the war, we get to re-tunnel through the lens where our prior knowledge of this era left off and where we were hoping to take our knowledge further if we were to research the particulars again.

I, for one enjoyed how she went the character route of inclusiveness – to anchour history to characters you want to read about and see what becomes of them. They might act or behave in ways that are in-line with their generation and peers, but it is the story they have to share – about their roles in History and the actions they took to carve out the historical records we still have now that makes reading period specific Historical Fiction such as this one so dearly fascinating!

London strives to give her novel the kind of pacing where you don’t stop to let it drag between intervals of informational sequences about what is happening away from her focus on John and his high command or with his women friends; instead, she pauses long enough to fill in the gaps within our education and pulls the lens wide to show what else is shaping this war.

-quoted from my review of The Tory

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I felt conflicted about what I found inside the pages of “The Tory” and what I had hoped to have found instead – as the bits which put me at a disadvantage to read the story in full were the grisly gritty sequences where you truly do not have a lot of separation between what is visually being described and what is laid out on the pages – for me personally, I like a bit of a distance between those kinds of scenes and the page. I know every writer has their own personal style and approach, but when it gets to be visually graphic – as a reader, I tend to feel myself pulling out of the context of the story-line.

It was a bit complicated because it was violence against women and it involved a scalping which by definition is brutal in of itself. I honestly just was hoping for ‘less than more’ and had to put “The Tory” down from continuing as I was a bit discomforted by what I found. I was also worried about the direction of the story-line as it was shifting in tone and how it was being delivered. A bit more intensive on the side of being a different kind of story than I perceived it to be before reading it and thereby, when it came to the sequel, I was unsure how to approach it.

I decided to see if I could read even a partial amount of the sequel “The Traitor” – not just to confirm or speculate on what happened ‘after’ I felt uncomfortable reading “The Tory” but to also, see if in this part of the story-line where the characters have moved forward. I know there is a bit of distance between John & Dellis – naturally, as just by the synopsis alone you can gleam this much foresight but in regards to where they personally stand in regards of feelings and thoughts, I was curious how they each found themselves ‘now’.

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Book Spotlight | “The Traitor” (Book Two: The Rebels and Redcoats Saga) by T.J. LondonThe Traitor
by T.J. London
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Spy. Liar. Scoundrel. Redcoat.

Provocateur and spy for His Majesty, Captain John Carlisle returns to Fort Niagara with the secrets he stole in the arms of the beautiful Oneida innkeeper, Dellis McKesson. Determined to complete his mission and clear his name, he’ll see justice done—and damn the consequences. Now, he finds himself drawn into political intrigue as the British prepare to launch a three-pronged attack that will bring the Rebels and the Mohawk River Valley to its knees.

A dangerous revelation finds Dellis as whispers of intrigue insinuate her beloved is not all that he seems. Unwilling to wait for her lover’s return, she sets out in search of the truth as the Onieda begin negotiations with the Rebels, breaking the neutrality agreement with the crown. A bold move that will stoke a fire between the brother tribes and lead to a bloody inter-confederacy war—one Dellis predicted, and one John incited.

While war between the colonies and the King smolders, the punishing winter of 1777 allows the perfect opportunity for old enemies to settle scores, lying in wait, ready to exploit John’s one weakness—his heart. John is not an innocent man. The truth he’s long tried to hide from can no longer be ignored, the ghosts of the past seeking justice, and karma wanting payment for sins so dark they cannot be forgiven.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0692197479

Also by this author: The Tory

Also in this series: The Tory


Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, War Drama


Published by Self Published Author

on 24th October, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 505

The Rebels & Redcoats Saga:

The Tory by TJ LondonThe Traitor by T.J. London

The Tory (book one) | (see also Review)

The Traitor (book two)

Converse via: #RebelsAndRedCoatsSaga + #RevWar
#HistFic or #HistNov

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About T.J. London

T.J. London

T.J. London is a rebel, liberal, lover, fighter, diehard punk, and pharmacist-turned-author who loves history. As an author her goal is to fill in the gaps, writing stories about missing history, those little places that are so interesting yet sadly forgotten. Her favorite time periods to write in are first and foremost the American Revolutionary War, the French Revolution, the French and Indian War, the Russian Revolution and the Victorian Era.

Her passions are traveling, writing, reading, barre, and sharing a glass of wine with her friends, while she collects experiences in this drama called life. She is a native of Metropolitan Detroit (but secretly dreams of being a Londoner) and resides there with her husband Fred and her beloved cat and writing partner Mickey.

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Posted Friday, 16 November, 2018 by jorielov in 18th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Feminine Heroism, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Revolutionary War era, War Drama