Category: The Sixties

Cover Reveal | NEW #ChocLit #HistFic the SIXTH #ChartonMinster novel: “Girl in Red Velvet” by Margaret James

Posted Wednesday, 12 April, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Stories Sailing into View Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

If your a regular reader or frequent visitor of Jorie Loves A Story, you know I’ve been smitten with the novelists who publish their relationship-based Romances with ChocLitUK for a good two years now! I love being on the cusp of learning about a ‘new release’ whilst I remain patient to see if the Digital First new ChocLit novel will make it to a print release further down the road of it’s lifetime. I don’t mind the gaps between the ebooks and the print editions – as it’s always given me the pleasure of balancing my ‘next ChocLit reads’ to include both Front List and Back List offerings. Thus, I am enjoying being a member of the Reveal Team at ChocLit whilst it gives me a chance to introduce my readers to a variety of sub-genres within Romance I appreciate picking up to read!

Charton Minster : a series, a towne and a house

I love finding an author like Ms James who can curate such an authentic and historic setting which speaks to you in each of the volumes of it’s continuous story-line. #ChartonMinster for me is a threading of time set first during a backdrop of war-time strife and adverse circumstances befalling the Denham family whilst curating this incredible arc of characters and journeys of self-discovery per each character the lens of each novel is turnt to highlight to draw you further into what makes #ChartonMinster such a compelling series to be a part of through the two trilogies!

Rose Courtenay is being tested about her loyalty to her heart and the duties endowed her by being her parent’s daughter – a child raised at a certain level of station where the divides between classes is dearly outlined for her each time she tries to assert her voice. Never more true than a proposal that is not on the merits of love or romance, but because it ‘sounds good on paper’ to unite two people whose finances and families can unite together as one. The contriteness of this choice is not lost on Rose, but how she wars with her mind over her choices is what champions James as a writer of a war drama bent on highlighting a strong female lead who has her own story to share.

Denham went off to war and Rose found herself conscripted by her choice into a hospital ward as a volunteer nurse – a place where she fully came into her own and matured. She made a bit of a muck of things at first, stumbling her way through her rounds and not nearly as apt at doing routine requests as other young nurses, but somehow through perseverance she managed. In the midst of the hospital wards, Rose was given the rare opportunity to try her hand at living and serving others with a freedom she never had in her own life to give.

-quoted from my review of The Silver Locket

One common thread of the saga is the pursuit of independence, freedom of choice and the pursuit to fully embrace who you are whilst your growing into your own skin. Each of the women (and men!) of the series is struggling through growing pains and life situations which try their faith, patience and personal belief in alighting on a better path in their futures. They each have to embrace risk, chance and the hope of tomorrow – sometimes without even realising how things will turn round but to gather strength out of the Hope of what tomorrow might bring. This is something I love about the series – each of the characters being focused on in turn have something to prove and something to accomplish. They are finding themselves – whilst the world isn’t quite on solid ground but they have the gumption to endeavour a better future than the one they can see in the present.

Charton Minster : an estate, a towne and a legacy:

What truly is fascinating behind the curtain of events, is how Ms James roots us to the spot surrounding the emotional legacy behind Charton Minster; which is both an estate, a towne and a legacy of souls. There is a lot of deeply felt emotional baggage pertaining to the residents (both past and present) but it’s more than mere lineage and ancestral heirs that bespeak of the anguish that is a bit of a shroud around the estate itself, as the whispered rumours etch well into the towne as well. It’s an intriguing look at how society can chose to judge and take sides against issues they may or may not even truly understand; but they do so because they feel they have the right to judge people who live in their towne. In this one regard, Ms James paints the grim picture well for how small towne gossip and misunderstandings can abound as swiftly as one can add scuttlebutt to the gossip-mills!

It almost felt like the towne had trouble moving forward because the family whose ancestral heritage was once respected in residence at Charton Minster, had long since vacated it’s grounds. The new owner was not worthy of it’s holding, as his entire life was practically a sham but it’s also how he lived his life that truly was distasteful. Further interesting was watching how choices, judgments and the fine line of tolerance all started to intermix affecting the lives of those who would come up next in the generations after all the heartache first materalised.

-quoted from my review of The Golden Chain

There is more to this series than the characters – there is the history of the town inasmuch as the history of the house – #ChartonMinster is self-evolving as it moves forward through time. Sometimes things stay the same and yet, nothing is truly ever the same – the setting and the evocative way in which the series becomes transformative through time proves how temporal time truly is for all of us. We have to rise through our challenges, accept our tribulations and greet life with a cheery hope of joy for what it could bring to us in unexpected moments which grant us the best happiness of our lives.

This is a reader’s delight in finding a series you can allow your heart to move from one set of shoes to another, as you live the varied lives of the series’ characters who will deepen your appreciation for reading Historicals but also allow you the pleasure of alighting through a well-conceived portal of time.

Ms James brings back the issue of Charton Minster (the house) itself too, whilst giving us a good nod towards knowing what’s become of the other characters we’ve cared for throughout the series (thus far along). Daisy makes an appearance and in so doing, gives us a happy moment of reprieve knowing her life has turnt out quite well. She’s not just happy (in career and marriage) but she’s resolved her past and her origins; she even has a healthy outlook on the circle of her life. One of the things you love appreciating about how the series unfolds is how each character is still keenly important even if the core of the current story has shifted forward and away from them. Their still viable and their able to give insight into where they currently are now on their own life’s path.

The tug on your heart is waiting to find out what becomes of the young adventure seekers: Cassie and Frances whilst finding the twins (Robert and Stephen) keep you on your toes as to how their lives will become altered through service and war. Robert might not be the easiest bloke to warm too, but there is something about him that pulls at your heart as you watch him make the choices he needs too and the sacrifices which come from duty. Stephen is a bit head-strong even though you don’t think it at first; he’s the twin who feels he has the most to prove and yet never quite sees himself in a positive light.

What truly hits you throughout this third story is  how difficult it is to accept the circumstances as they evolve; to embrace the future of tomorrow without understanding how the present will heal and feel less adverse. Each of the characters you’ve come to know how learning curves and situations to overcome, but at the heart of the series is always finding one’s path when the uncertainties are stacked against you. When being brave and finding courage are not easy attributes to always embrace but a strong will to survive can carry you through. What I loved most is how in each turning of the series, the women and men featured in Charton Minster have the capacity to endeavour to beat the odds and find true love in unexpected hours of grace.

-quoted from my review of The Penny Bangle

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Posted Wednesday, 12 April, 2017 by jorielov in 20th Century, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Cover Reveal, Book Spotlight & Announcement, ChocLitUK, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Multi-Generational Saga, The Sixties

Audiobook Review | “The Cryptic Lines” by Richard Storry narrated by Jake Urry Jorie’s first audiobook review!

Posted Tuesday, 8 November, 2016 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Digital Audiobook by: I am a new blog tour hostess with Audiobookworm Promotions wherein I have the opportunity to receive audiobooks for review or adoption (reviews outside of organised blog tours) and host guest features on behalf of authors and narrators alike. The Cryptic Lines blog tour marks my first tour wherein I was quite happily surprised how much I am now keen on listening to books in lieu of reading them in print. My journey into audiobooks was prompted by a return of my chronic migraines wherein I want to offset my readings with listening to the audio versions.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “The Cryptic Lines” via the publicist at Audiobookworm Promotions (of whom was working directly with the narrator Jake Urry) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I love Suspense Thrillers and what drew my eye to listen to this particular one:

If I were to have a cosy comfort genre to read, it might not be as readily obvious as my readers might believe! You see, despite my regularly gushed about genres, there is a hidden passion lurking behind the stories I read most regularly! I am simply in love with Mysteries (of the Cosy variety) including the cousins of the genre with stronger or more darkening undertones of Suspense and Thriller! I grew up reading mysteries and watching the tv serials or motion pictures, too that fetched my eye for a thrilling adventure or a character who embodied what I love about the Mystery & Crime genre the most!

I immediately felt this particular story would be a lovely exception to the rule – of not finding out too much about the story ahead of listening too it and just ploughing straight in and seeing how you alight once the story has begun! I just sensed this had all the components I love to read, and thus, would love to listen too, now that I have turnt my eye on audiobooks!

When you read Suspenseful Thrillers – there is that moment where you feel a slight chill and a slight sense of ‘can I handle this’ murmuring through your mind. Even if your a Cosy girl like me who doesn’t go for True Crime or Hard-Boils, you still have that fringe thought of – what could be the secret everyone is trying to keep hushed? What is going to be the resolution now that all the threads of the story have taken you so far afield of centre it’s hard to know which way is truly the right way to follow next?

Truly what caught me is the classical set-up on the story itself – the layout of how it felt it might read and the manner in which the narrator chose to eclipse the characters in his narration! My first instincts proved to be right – I not only loved listening to this audiobook but I became an instant appreciator of the work Mr Urry and Mr Storry are doing to giving all of us a wicked good read!

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Audiobook Review | “The Cryptic Lines” by Richard Storry narrated by Jake Urry Jorie’s first audiobook review!The Cryptic Lines
Subtitle: an audiobook read by Jake Urry
by Richard Storry
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Jake Urry

Set in a sprawling Gothic mansion in a remote coastal location, somewhere in the British Isles, the elderly recluse Lord Alfred Willoughby is deciding what is to become of his vast fortune after his death. Whilst his head is telling him to leave nothing at all to his wastrel son, Matthew, his heart is speaking differently.

After much deliberation, in a last-ditch attempt to try and show to his son the importance of applying himself to a task and staying with it to the end, he devises a series of enigmatic puzzles cunningly concealed within the lines of a poem – the cryptic lines.

If he completes the task successfully and solves the puzzles he will inherit the entire estate; but if he fails he will receive nothing. However, from Lord Alfred’s Will it emerges that Matthew is not the only interested party. The mysterious old house holds many secrets, and nothing is as it first appears…

Places to find the book:

ISBN: 9781508488415

ASIN: B01D0E6ZK6

Genres: Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction, Thriller


Published by Cryptic Publications

on 16th March, 2016

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 4 hours and 13 minutes (unabridged)

Published By: Cryptic Publications

About Richard Storry

Richard Storry

Richard is the author of four published novels, with his fifth “A Looming of Vultures” due for publication in 2017. Prior to writing his first novel, “The Cryptic Lines” he was very busy in the theatrical world: He composed the incidental music to Chekhov’s Three Sisters, seen in London’s West End, starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Eric Sykes, and subsequently broadcast on BBC4 television.

His musical adaptation of “The Brothers Lionheart” premiered at London’s Pleasance Theatre, followed by a successful run at the Edinburgh Festival where it was voted Best Childrens’ Play. “The Cryptic Lines” has now been adapted for both the stage and screen.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

On how this is very much about charles, too:

You would be lead to believe this story is actually about the living will and legacy of assets for a one Lord Willoughby, but truth be told, this is an everyman’s story centred on Charles. A man whose personal life has become a bit despairing of late (his girlfriend left him without explanation) and of whom, felt there might be a transitional shift in career needed to right his perspective. For Charles was nearing that moment where remaining in the status quo was far less appealing than contemplating something new, something wholly different than the career he had put forward til now. Read More

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Posted Tuesday, 8 November, 2016 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, British Literature, Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction, England, Gothic Literature, Indie Author, Modern British Author, Modern British Literature, Suspense, The Sixties

#PubDay Book Review | “Two Across” by Jeff Bartsch A Contemporary Rom feat. crossword puzzles! Jorie was smitten at first sight of the plot!

Posted Tuesday, 19 July, 2016 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I am a new reviewer for Hachette Books and their imprints, I started by reviewing releases by FaithWords (the novels of Stephanie Grace Whitson), their INSPY (Inspirational Fiction) imprint of releases focusing on uplifting and spiritual stories which are a delight to read whilst engaging your mind in life affirming and heart-centered stories. I found Hachette via Edelweiss at the conclusion of [2015] and have been blessed to start reviewing for them.

One of the selections under their Grand Central Publishing imprint which interested me was ‘Two Across’ publishing July 2016. I hadn’t realised it was the trade paperback edition – thus I was quite surprised when the hardback edition arrived by post! I made a note of the #PubDay for my review celebrating the new release! I felt blessed to receive this as I haven’t had the pleasure of reading Grand Central’s authors in the past, although Leila Meacham is one I want to focus on!

I received a complimentary copy of “Two Across” direct from the publisher Grand Central Publishing (an imprint of Hachette Book Group Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Happy #PubDay, Mr Bartsch!

#TwoAcross a #Crossword Romance!

Two Across by Jeff Bartsch

ISBN for the NEW Trade Paperback: 9781455554614 | Pub Date: 19th July, 2016

Hallo, dear hearts! I have some wicked bookish news for you! Today is the trade paperback release of ‘Two Across’ which was a title I found via Edelweiss when I originally discovered Hachette’s catalogues and their incredible resources for bloggers! I was not expecting to receive this novel until Spring or Summer, however, a kind publicist at Grand Central sent me the beautiful hardback edition! I earmarked the #PubDay on my calendar as I knew I wanted to help celebrate it’s release come July!

What drew me into wanting to read this lovely novel is how I felt it was original and different than a traditional relationship-based romance, wherein it’s set to a different pace and works within an interesting premise. I like stories that stand out from the crowd and this one definitely had that appeal!

I grew up wanting to be better at crosswords than I can honestly claim, as if the puzzles themselves weren’t pertaining to popular culture or films/tv or music, I was at a proper loss at times to understand the complexities of the clues! This is why I liked themed crossword puzzles rather than say the NY Times version! I also loved finding the puzzles included with TCM’s Guide for Classic Movie Lovers! Those were super awesome – you could go on a scavenger hunt through the guide itself if you were ‘lost’ on a clue!

I love finding new voices in literature – especially Contemporary voices who are writing about our contemporary world. I also liked how this felt slightly quirky – in the vein of “You’ve Got Mail”, “Music and Lyrics” or “Kate & Leopold”! I love sophisticated Rom-Coms in the movies and I’m slowly obtaining a list of authors who are writing the same caliber of Rom-Com in fiction! I was wicked excited to start reading this one, truly!

As I reviewed the hardback copy, you’ll find all the info for it below ahead of my review.

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Notation on Cover Art: I personally *love!* the original cover art featured on the hardback edition – it especially captures the allure & joy of crossword puzzles! I even liked how it implies the connection between the two lead characters and how their story is starting to connect through their passion of the puzzles themselves whilst remaining a bit aloof and apart from each other. I just loved how the image pulls together the premise of the plot and ties into the synopsis quite well!

#PubDay Book Review | “Two Across” by Jeff Bartsch A Contemporary Rom feat. crossword puzzles! Jorie was smitten at first sight of the plot!Two Across
by Jeff Bartsch
Source: Direct from Publisher

Highly awkward teenager Stanley Owens meets his match in beautiful, brainy Vera Baxter when they tie for first place in the annual National Spelling Bee-and the two form a bond that will change both of their lives.

Though their mothers have big plans for them-Stanley will become a senator, Vera a mathematics professor-neither wants to follow these pre-determined paths. So Stanley hatches a scheme to marry Vera in a sham wedding for the cash gifts, hoping they will enable him to pursue his one true love: crossword puzzle construction. In enlisting Vera to marry him, though, he neglects one variable: she's secretly in love with him, which makes their counterfeit ceremony an exercise in misery for her.

Realizing the truth only after she's moved away and cut him out of her life, Stanley tries to atone for his mistakes and win her back. But he's unable to find her, until one day he comes across a puzzle whose clues make him think it could only have been created by Vera. Intrigued, he plays along, communicating back to her via his own gridded clues. But will they connect again before it's all too late?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

ISBN: 9781455554621

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance


Published by Grand Central Publishing

on 4th August, 2015

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 304

Published by: Grand Central Publishing (@GrandCentralPub)
an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc. (@HachetteBooks)

Formats Available: Hardcover, Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #crossword & #RomCom

+ use these two in combo: #Contemporary #Romance

About Jeff Bartsch

Jeff Bartsch is the son of an English professor, and grew up surrounded by stories and literature. He studied creative writing at the University of Wisconsin, held the Katey Lehman Fellowship in creative writing at Penn State University. Before his career as as an advertising copywriter, he worked at the U.S. Postal Service, a plastics factory, a video monitoring service, delivered wedding cakes, was a baker, and an architect's assistant.

He wrote this book on New Jersey Transit trains while commuting to and from New York City. Jeff grew up in Wisconsin, and has lived in San Francisco, Boston and New York. His many adventures along the way include being held up at gunpoint, chasing down a purse snatcher, winning a trophy in a pool tournament, acting in a Woody Allen play in Germany, bicycling halfway across the country, and delivering newspapers on the coldest day in Milwaukee's recorded history at minus 26 degrees.

He's an avid cyclist, home brewer and cook, and currently lives in New York with his inspiring daughter and their collection of imagination vehicles, commonly known as books.

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Posted Tuesday, 19 July, 2016 by jorielov in 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Coming-Of Age, Contemporary Romance, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Domestic Violence, Grand Central Publishing, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Mother-Son Relationships, New York City, Realistic Fiction, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, The Sixties, Vulgarity in Literature

Book Review | “Styx & Stone” (An #EllieStone #Mystery, No. 1) by James W. Ziskin

Posted Thursday, 2 June, 2016 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I was selected to review “Heart of Stone” by JKS Communications: A Literary Publicity Firm. JKS is the first publicity firm I started working with when I launched Jorie Loves A Story in August, 2013. I am honoured to continue to work with them now as a 3rd Year Book Blogger.

As a new reviewer for Seventh Street Books, I was quite intrigued by discovering another new author under this imprint for Prometheus Books, as thus far along I have found this imprint to be producing wicked good content for mystery enthusiasts! I requested if it were possible to receive the first book in the series, “Styx & Stone” as this series is in-progress and has a total of four novels thus far released.

I received my complimentary copy of Styx & Stone from the publisher Seventh Street Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What I am appreciating from Seventh Street Books Mystery authors:

[ Jennifer Kincheloe ]

Sophisticated in her ascertainment of conception behind Anna Blanc, Kincheloe has writ such a lively character, you drink in her words with such a joy of delight! She has a fast paced narrative, where the humour is smitten by the sophisticated edging of her character’s personality, matched equally brilliantly by the grace of a Cosy Historical Mystery backdrop! She’s captured the turn of the century atmosphere aptly, as she tucks in recognisable familiarities to alight in your imagination as you turn the pages; replete with gaslights and other bits which correlate with the era. (from review of The Secret Life of Anna Blanc)

Anna Blanc was the first character who caught my readerly eye so to speak when I originally found Seventh Street Books and had read through their Current Front List catalogue to see what story would intrigue me as I was picking my first story to review. There was simply something about this historical mystery that tempted me to say “Yes, please!” and I was not disappointed! If anything, it left me hungering for a sequel and a continuation of Anna Blanc’s journey! She was writ so wondrously well, every inch of this novel was unputdownable because it was realistically compelling and lovingly conceived to live inside it’s era of choice! What was happily unexpected was the cheeky humour and the levity, the author underscored to the harder hitting edges of the story! I loved her personality and spark she granted to Anna Blanc – such a lovely discovery for me!

[ Larry D. Sweazy ]

I dearly appreciate the dramatic styling of Sweazy’s approach to writing this mystery series as it’s breadth is far deeper than the psychological impacts of crime and the tragic losses endured by those who are left behind to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. Sweazy digs deeper into the heart and mind of his lead character (Marjorie Trumaine) whilst using her as a guiding point towards understanding the undercurrents of her small Dakota towne – it’s in this approach that I have found myself so happily entrenched inside the Dakotas, and happily residing a bit on the Trumaine farm whilst I walk beside Marjorie as she puts the clues together and finds truth out of secrets hidden from view. (from review of See Also Deception)

The Marjorie Trumaine mysteries caught my eye after Anna Blanc – I have had a hankering for wicked good mysteries for quite a long while now – they are dearly one of my favourites to curl up inside – especially the cosy side of the ledger, but this series – wow. I had hoped it would be a series I could disappear inside, but I could never have fathomed how heart-centred I felt to the Dakota small towne and whilst becoming fully entrenched inside the spirit of Marjorie Trumaine! I spent a heap of lovely hours happily in step with Marjorie’s pursuit of the truth and as each story in turn was quite unputdownable – I dreamt of the story whilst away from it – I could only hope a third installment will come along soon! Perhaps within a year? It’s that wicked brilliant! It’s also singularly unique – a dramatic crime story full of introspective intuitions about humanity and the human condition!

[ Susan Spann ]

Spann continues to write in such a beautiful arc of narrative voice, styling her cosy historical mysteries after the culture she celebrates with each novel she pens. She keeps the characters true to not only their own personal beliefs and convictions, but to the cultural heritage they are naturally akin to representing. I may have voiced wanting to see more emotional responses from the samurai, but that was only as an observational notice of how well controlled their emotions are and how wisely they choose not to show too much emotion to the outside world; as it would be a completely slip of weakness. There are simply times where you feel as a reader, one character, even if a minor one in a story might react differently than their training; and it is in this, that I celebrate Spann’s gift for historical accuracy as much as personality of character accuracy. The ways of the West and the East do not always align, and by representing her characters with the strength of their own individual personalities, a bridge is reached and crossed. (from review of Blade of the Samurai)

Spann’s Cosy Historical Mysteries are moving to *Seventh Street Books* this year, and I already have my copy of her debut release with them “The Ninja’s Daughter” of which I will happily be devouring this Summer whilst featuring a review close to it’s Pub Date in August! Spann smittened me with this curious portal into Japanese history wherein I found myself tucked inside her character’s lives with such a zest of intrigue I could not believe my wicked luck in finding the series! To be able to continue to celebrate this series per each new installment as they release is a true blessing for a reader whose simply over the moon happy one of her recent favourite series has found a new home with her new favourite publisher of Mysteries! The martial arts and the influences of Japanese tradition and cultural heritage is truly what captured me and has sustained me alongside the beautiful friendship Spann has underwritten into Father Matteo and Hiro’s relationship.

Why the Ellie Stone Mysteries felt like another ‘good fit’ for me:

The first thing that went through my mind when I read the blurb for Heart of Stone, was how interestingly a title can make me think about Jesse Stone! The title character in the television mystery movies featuring Tom Selleck in the lead role created by Robert B. Parker! They (the Jesse Stone mysteries) are a bit harder edged than most of the mysteries that whet a thirst of interest for me to read and/or watch (as I not only read mysteries, I devour Crime Drama & Mysteries in tv and film!) yet surprisingly I was attracted to the downtrodden Jesse Stone who was repairing his soul as he re-built his life in a small towne.

I seem to be on a bit of a ‘1960’ mystery hunt, as the Ellie Stone mysteries take place in early ’60s whereas the Marjorie Trumaine mysteries follow shortly thereafter! Concurrent to this, I found another mystery author (Reavis Z. Wortham) who writes his own Red River series in the 1960s of which has a likeness to the atmosphere inside a Marjorie Trumaine mystery! I’ve decided to follow where my readerly heart takes me, as Wortham’s first novel The Rock Hole was borrowed via ILL (inter-library loan) in late May, however, I unfortunately found I had to return it the day it arrived. I had not realised there is an incident of animal abuse and cruelty in the development of the mystery itself.

In regards to Ellie Stone directly, I liked her felicity to take-on a man’s role and dare to do a job only known for the men who owned it’s niche whilst re-identifying it as her own. Women can do anything they set their mind towards, but in the early 1960s that was not as obvious as it would be in later decades.

Ellie Stone felt like the type of feminist and forward-thinking female character I could rally behind – not only for her moxie to give men a run for it but for how she approached her work. I love strong characters (men and women) but what I love more are strong characters who are redefining a stigma they are living inside in order to find the freedom to be taken on their own terms! No one wants to breathe a space defined by someone else’s prejudices – and to me Ellie Stone felt like the kind of woman who could shatter predetermined mindsets and solve mysteries at the same time!

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Book Review | “Styx & Stone” (An #EllieStone #Mystery, No. 1) by James W. ZiskinStyx & Stone
Subtitle: An Ellie Stone Mystery
by James W. Ziskin
Source: Direct from Publisher

Ellie Stone is a professed modern girl in 1960s' New York City, playing by her own rules and breaking boundaries while searching for a killer among the renowned scholars in Columbia University's Italian Department.

"If you were a man, you'd make a good detective."

Ellie is sure that Sgt. McKeever meant that as a compliment, but that identity-a girl wanting to do a man's job-has throttled her for too long. It's 1960, and Ellie doesn't want to blaze any trails for women; she just wants to be a reporter, one who doesn't need to swat hands off her behind at every turn.

Adrift in her career, Ellie is back in New York City after receiving news that her estranged father, a renowned Dante scholar and distinguished professor, is near death after a savage bludgeoning in his home. The police suspect a routine burglary, but Ellie has her doubts. When a second attempt is made on her father's life, in the form of an "accident" in the hospital's ICU, Ellie's suspicions are confirmed.

Then another professor turns up dead, and Ellie's investigation turns to her father's university colleagues, their ambitions, jealousies, and secret lives. Ellie embarks on a thorny journey of discovery and reconciliation, as she pursues an investigation that offers her both a chance at redemption in her father's eyes, and the risk of losing him forever.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

ISBN: 9781616148195

Also by this author: Heart of Stone

Also in this series: Heart of Stone


Genres: Crime Fiction, Noir Crime Drama, Thriller


Published by Seventh Street Books

on 15th October, 2013

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 267

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Ellie Stone Mystery series:

Interesting Trivia: this series has been optioned for a television series!

“Stone Cold Dead” – received a nomination for the 2016 Lefty Award for Best World Mystery Novel. “No Stone Unturned” received a coveted Anthony Award nomination for Best Paperback Original in 2015.

Styx & Stone | No.1

No Stone Unturned | No.2 | Book Synopsis

Stone Cold Dead | No.3 | Book Synopsis

Heart of Stone | No.4 | Book Synopsis

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Published By: Seventh Street Books (@SeventhStBooks)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #EllieStoneMysteries OR #EllieStoneMystery

Read an Excerpt of Styx & Stone on the author’s site!

About James W. Ziskin

James W. Ziskin

A linguist by training, Ziskin studied romance languages and literature at the University of Pennsylvania. After completing his graduate degree, he worked in New York as a photo-news producer and writer, and then as director of NYU’s Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò.

He has since spent 15 years in the Hollywood post-production industry, running large international operations in the subtitling/localization and visual effects fields. Ziskin grew up in Amsterdam, New York, and now lives in the Hollywood Hills.

Photo Credit: William Ziskin

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Posted Thursday, 2 June, 2016 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Adulterous Affair, African-American Literature, Amateur Detective, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Brothers and Sisters, Classical Music | Composers, Clever Turns of Phrase, Crime Fiction, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Diary Accountment of Life, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Equality In Literature, Father-Daughter Relationships, Fathers and Daughters, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Horror-Lite, Indie Author, Investigative Reporter | Journalist, JKS Communications: Literary Publicity Firm, Judiasm, Lady Detective Fiction, Life Shift, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Music History, New York City, Noir Crime Drama, Religious History, Siblings, Singletons & Commitment, Sociological Behavior, Story in Diary-Style Format, The Sixties, Vulgarity in Literature, Writer, Writing Style & Voice

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