Category: The World Wars

A #CrimeFicFridays Book Review | “The Secret at Sunset Hill” (A Katie Porter Mystery, Book One) by K.T. McGivens

Posted Friday, 23 September, 2022 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#CrimeFicFridays banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: Quite happily, my path with Ms McGivens crossed in early July, 2021 wherein I messaged her via Twitter and we struck up a conversation which led me to booking her for @SatBookChat and I received her first novel for the Katie Porter Mysteries in the mail. I had fully intended to read and review this novel closer to the time in which I spoke with her during my chat but sadly, that simply wasn’t in the cards. This August I started to resume my readerly life after a difficult Summer wherein I had a complete disconnection with both my reading life and my blogging life. Mysteries, especially Cosy Mysteries have always been the backbone of my readerly interests – thus, I had a feeling that if I returnt to reading this lovely to jump-start my #CrimeFicFridays again alongside other selections I’ve been blogging about during #WWWednesdays, I might find myself in happy cycle of reading more Crime Fiction before year’s end.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Secret at Sunset Hill” direct from the author K.T. McGivens 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 The Katie Porter Mysteries;

I was looking at the chapter sampler for the first Katie Porter Mystery “The Secret at Sunset Hill” and I was loving it. I have a soft spot for newspaper reporters… grew up on Lois Lane in one version or another and my fascination always stuck. Plus, like McGivens, I loved Nancy Drew as I cut my teeth on Mysteries quite young devouring the case files and reading the Hardy Boys too. By 8 or 9 I was given my first Miss Marple anthology of stories and I was literally in awe and set for life to be a Mystery, Suspense & Thriller reader. Although, I carry my Cosy sensibility with me as I don’t like anything too overtly violent or graphic, plus I’m not into overly peppered vulgarity in stories either.

And, then when I realised it was going to become a fully developed series with multiple installments, I knew I had to interview Ms McGivens on my chat as I felt this series and Katie Porter in particular would be a wicked good fit for @SatBookChat. As I have had the tendency of focusing on strong women & imploring narratives across genres which interest me most as a reader. There was something wicked clever, too, about Katie Porter – about how she’s quite the everywoman heroine and someone you can relate, too.

Similar in vein to how we all cross-identify with Nancy Drew but also with women like Anna Blanc but in a different capacity of course, as Ms Blanc’s life is a bit grittier than Katie & Nancy’s but evenso, there is a thread of connection between them in finding strong women set in historical eras who were choosing to live their lives on their own terms and just finding themselves able to solve mysteries as if they were bourne to it. Of course, this also brings to thought and mind the characters within Jennifer Lamont Leo’s novels & stories, too!

We could always use another wicked awesome heroine in our lives and for me, right now, that new heroine has arrived in the form of Katie Porter!

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A #CrimeFicFridays Book Review | “The Secret at Sunset Hill” (A Katie Porter Mystery, Book One) by K.T. McGivensThe Secret at Sunset Hill
Subtitle: A Katie Porter Mystery : One
by K.T. McGivens
Source: Direct from Author

About the Katie Porter series:

Set in year 1947, Katie Porter is a 21 year old newspaper reporter who finds herself caught up in various mysteries while researching and writing articles for her hometown paper, the Fairfield Gazette. Set before modern technology such as cellphones, computers, and the Internet, she must rely on her courage and wits to discover the truth and capture the culprits. She has a wide circle of friends who help her and her adventures are filled with friendship, loyalty, suspense, danger, tenacity, problem solving, and romance! Each book builds on the previous one as the reader helps Katie and her friends solve yet another case. Life in the town of Fairfield and Katie’s ancestral home, Rosegate, is never dull! And the mysteries continue...

Genres: Crime Fiction, Amateur Detective, Cosy Historical Mystery



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1692346652

Published by Self Published

on 18th September, 2019

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 140

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The Katie Porter Mysteries:

NOTE: Books One-Three are now in audiobook! 🎧📖

1. The Secret at Sunset Hill
2. The Mystery at the Mystic Museum
3. The Plot at the Pearson Playhouse
4. The Ghost of Golden Joe
5. The Murder of Major Pennington
6. The Disappearance of Devlin Douglas
7. The Passing of Preston Peabody
8. The Case of the Casual Killer
9. The Mystery at Maplewood Hall
10. The Incident on Ivory Island
11. The Odd Appearance of Anneliese Abbott
12. The Crime at Covington Corner
13. The Body in Bounty Bay

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Converse via: #HistoricalMystery or #CosyMystery
as well as #KatiePorterMysteries

Available Formats: Trade paperback and Ebook

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #CrimeFicFridays
  • 2022 Backlogue Reviews
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Posted Friday, 23 September, 2022 by jorielov in 20th Century, Aftermath of World War II, Amateur Detective, Book Review (non-blog tour), Content Note, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, the Forties, The World Wars

Author Guest Post | An inside glimpse behind the inspiration for the story “The Limits of Limelight” by Margaret Porter

Posted Wednesday, 29 September, 2021 by jorielov , 1 Comment

Author Guest Post Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts and fellow book bloggers from the #LimitsOfLimelight tour!

You’ve might have noticed an absence of Self Published Fantasy on Jorie Loves A Story this September as well as a clear lack of Mythos & discussions surrounding The Odyssey. In truth, the hours clicked off the clock too fast this month and I lost a fortnight to severe allergies and clustering migraines which wrecked my chances of succeeding in my goals I originally had outlined for September. I had only a handful of blog tours this month as I had pared down hosting after Summer’s wrath of lightning storms and felt it was going to be a good month to seek out a personal footpath of stories to read and listen to via audiobook. Instead, I found myself battling through some difficult bouts of ill health and even, on the morning of this post needing to go live – I suffered through a disastrous allergy attack and had to take time offline to recoup.

However, I will table my plans to re-attempt those previously disclosed reads at another time – what I want to celebrate today is my personal love and affection for Old Hollywood and my wicked fascination with Classic films! Ever since I first tucked into watching Turner Classic Movies (TCM) in my mid to late twenties (as I’m now a forty-something appreciator!) as I was fully burnt on police procedurals and hard-boiled Suspense tv serials – Classic films provided a new opportunity to fall in love with the history of film and the progression of how film transitioned through those earlier years from the Silent Film era into the present. I loved getting a personal glimpse of the journey – both of the actors themselves and of the filmmakers – as I watched how Hitchcock found his wings first in the Silent films and then, how he grew in both execution and vision into the ‘talkies’ of what we’ve all found wicked spellbinding in his category of Thrillers and Psychological Suspense.

Yet it wasn’t just Hitch who intrigued me. No, it was all of the actors and actresses of those bygone eras as TCM had a way of highlighting different actors and actresses every month and I’d delight in joy in seeing full blocks of their collective works. Claudette Corbet, Ginger Rogers & Fred Astaire, Harlow Jean, (adult) Shirley Temple, Spencer Tracy, Rosalind Russell, Barbara Stanwyck and this on top of already loving Jimmy Stuart, Bob Hope, Shirley Temple, Rock Hudson, Doris Day as well as William Powell and Morna Loy (ie. “The Thin Man” series) among many others. As this is a very short snapshot of whom I’ve loved discovering and of whom have kept me glued to the films in which they brought wonderfully to life!

I even found myself wonderfully intrigued by the set designs and the costumes – which is how I became further in love with the work of Edith Head whilst I also found it keenly curious how large the productions were for Musicals. Being a lover of Broadway, seeing Classic Musicals and especially those which were both song/dance ensembles or a combination of those mixed with water scenes (as they used synchronised swimmers, too!) were absolutely fantastic! I also loved of course seeing actors/actresses stretch themselves into different genres – such as comedic men in dramas and vice versa. The only hard bit I found were good guys trying to play nefarious characters or characters without a soul which did not quite go off as well as I think they hoped. With one exception of course was Spencer Tracy in Jekyll/Hyde of whom you truly believed as as mad and batty as his character was portrayed! The depth he achieved is unreal!

The Limits of Limelight allows us to re-examine what we thought we knew about Old Hollywood and what we might have missed whilst chasing after our favourite Classic films as this is an exploration of the lives lived behind the films themselves. One of my top favourites duos of course outside of William Powell and Morna Loy or even Rock Hudson and Doris Day were the pairing of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. I had learnt about Astaire’s dedication and his work ethic as well as how much he rehearsed and how difficult it was for him to be matched with partners due to the bar of excellence he set for himself and others; yet you cannot deny the artistry he gave and maintained either. I had oft wondered about Ginger Rogers – both as a person behind the camera and as a woman who pursued her passion for acting and performance.

I was truly wicked happy when I learnt of this blog tour and even further enthused with the chance to converse with the author behind the story as it is one more book I’ve found which re-explores Old Hollywood in a way which is a delightful entrance back into the past in an era of interest which continues to inspire me in the present. I hope you’ll appreciate the topic and theme of discussion I’ve selected to examine on this lovely blog tour and find the author’s responses as keenly intriguing as I had myself.

And, without further adieu – enjoy where the conversation I had with Ms Porter took us!

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Author Guest Post | An inside glimpse behind the inspiration for the story “The Limits of Limelight” by Margaret PorterThe Limits of Limelight
Subtitle: Hollywood turned Ginger Rogers into a star. What will it do for her cousin?
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Pretty Oklahoma teenager Helen Nichols accepts an invitation from her cousin, rising movie actress Ginger Rogers, and her Aunt Lela, to try her luck in motion pictures. Her relatives, convinced that her looks and personality will ensure success, provide her with a new name and help her land a contract with RKO. As Phyllis Fraser, she swiftly discovers that Depression-era Hollywood’s surface glamour and glitter obscure the ceaseless struggle of the hopeful starlet.

Lela Rogers, intensely devoted to her daughter and her niece, outwardly accepting of her stage mother label, is nonetheless determined to establish her reputation as screenwriter, stage director, and studio talent scout. For Phyllis, she’s an inspiring model of grit and persistence in an industry run by men.

While Ginger soars to the heights of stardom in musicals with Fred Astaire, Phyllis is tempted by a career more fulfilling than the one she was thrust into. Should she continue working in films, or devote herself to the profession she’s dreamed about since childhood? And which choice might lead her to the lasting love that seems so elusive?

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Biography / Autobiography, Film History | Classic Hollywood



Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780990742012

on 14th September, 2021

Format: Trade Paperback

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Converse via: #HistFic or #HistNov as well as Biographical Historical Fiction
+ #LimitsOfLimelight, #GingerRogers and #ClassicFilms as well as #HFVBT

Available Formats: Trade paperback and Ebook

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Posted Wednesday, 29 September, 2021 by jorielov in 20th Century, Blog Tour Host, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, the Fifties, the Forties, the Nineteen Hundreds, the Roaring Twenties, the Thirties, The World Wars

A very special #blogmas Christmas Eve with a time travelling war drama #ChristmasReads selection by Jorie | “Christmas Once Again” by Jina Bacarr

Posted Tuesday, 24 December, 2019 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

#blogmas 2019 badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Borrowed Book By: I came to find out about this Historical Time Travelling Christmas war drama through my interactions with Historical Fiction novelists via #HistFicChat as hosted by Vivan Conroy. Ms Bacarr happened to have been one of the guests during the chat and I became dearly fascinated by the premise of the story! Afterwards I made a note to see if I could put in a request for the novel in print and/or audiobook – I submitted a print request to my local library and a digital audiobook request to my regionally local library – of the two I happily received the news the local library was able to acquire a print copy allowing me to read this during #blogmas. Unfortunately, the regional library was unable to acquire the digital audiobook. The print copy similar to the other book requests I submit was for the finished version of the novel any reader could purchase themselves; not a library specific copy or edition.

Therefore I borrowed a print copy of “Christmas Once Again” from my local library and I was not obligated to post a review and are sharing my ruminations with my readers for my own edification as well as happily sharing my bookish life with my readers and visitors alike. The Press Materials however were provided by the author and are used with permission at my request to be used on this review once I decided to write one as well as for being featured on the book spotlight I posted ahead of her guest appearance on @SatBookChat.

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On how I came to find this author:

It was all because of #HistFicChat — there are moments on Twitter which randomly give me a lot of bookishly geeky happiness, such as interacting with authors in chats! It isn’t just the authors I invite into my own chat @SatBookChat but the authors I happily engage with in other chats, like #HistFicChat and others like it. Over the years, some of the chats have closed down, others went on an unexpected hiatus like Ms McCabe’s #HistoricalFix and others, I might have wandered away too long to return (ie. #LitChat). Still what is joyful about the experience of engaging with the bookish within book world through this medium is that there is generally a new chat popping up and arriving into my feeds; giving me a new and refreshed chance to interact with #newtomeauthors such as Ms Bacarr!

When I learnt of the release for Christmas Once Again I knew I wanted to see if my local library could purchase it in time to read by Christmas! What I hadn’t expected was reading it in the golden hours of having it a bit too long due to my father’s medical crisis & my Winter cold which took me offline for a week and afflicted me with a bit of amnesia when it came to my library account! I completely lost track of ‘where’ I was with my borrows both for print and audio – so I quickly made amends to get this novel & Ms Royce’s novel back to the library for the next borrowers in queue to read them before Christmas!

I also had the pleasure of hosting Jina Bacarr during one of my 2019 @SatBookChat‘s! The archived conversations are available to be seen in @SatBookChat’s Moments.

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Notation about Cover Art: Ever since I first saw the cover art for ‘Christmas Once Again’ I have been struck by the look on the woman’s face, the placement of the train in the background behind her and the airplane flying over her right shoulder. Every detail in the cover art seemed to be pointedly aimed towards having us understand the story and the setting in which it takes place – I love when cover art matches the story like this and the choices in bold colours truly were the right call!

A very special #blogmas Christmas Eve with a time travelling war drama #ChristmasReads selection by Jorie | “Christmas Once Again” by Jina BacarrChristmas Once Again
by Jina Bacarr
Source: Borrowed from local library, Purchase REQ | local library

All she wants for Christmas is to save the man she loves…

On a cold December day in 1955, Kate Arden got on a train to go home for Christmas.

This is the story of what happened when she got off that train. In 1943.

In 1943 Kate Arden was engaged to the man she loved, Jeffrey Rushbrooke. She was devastated and heartbroken when he was called up for wartime duty and later killed on a secret mission in France.

But what if Kate could change that? What if she could warn him and save his life before Christmas?
Or will fate have a bigger surprise in store for her?

Christmas Once Again is a sweeping, heartbreakingly romantic novel - it's one woman's chance to follow a different path and mend her broken heart...

Genres: Christmas Story &/or Christmas Romance, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Time Travel Fiction, War Drama



Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781838893668

Also by this author: Author Interview with extract with Jina Bacarr

Published by Boldwood Books

on 10th October, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 300

Published by: Boldwood Books (@BoldwoodBooks)

Available Formats: Trade paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Christmas Romance Book Icon made by Jorie in Canva.

Converse via: #ChristmasRomance and #HistRom as well as #TimeTravel war drama

About Jina Bacarr

Jina Bacarr

I started out working as a reporter writing articles for a travel magazine based in Beverly Hills and then for a computer magazine, as well as writing for academia, radio commercials, and PR copy. I’ve had three plays produced in Malibu, California and I worked for a time writing children’s and daytime TV before publishing nonfiction books about Japan, and then later fiction.

In addition to my WW 2 time travel romance, CHRISTMAS ONCE AGAIN, I’ve written a Civil War time travel in 1862 Virginia at the Battle of Antietam, a WW 2 Christmas novella in war torn Italy between a GI and a nun, an erotic novella about a hunky Scrooge from Wall Street, contemporary and historical erotic romance novels, and non-fiction books about Japan.

I enjoy writing to classical music with a hot cup of java by my side. I adore dark chocolate truffles, vintage anything, the smell of bread baking and rainy days in museums. I’ve always loved walking through history—from Pompeii to Verdun to Old Paris.

The voices of the past speak to me through carriages with cracked leather seats, stiff ivory-colored crinolines and worn satin slippers. I’ve always wondered what it was like to walk in those slippers when they were new.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Tuesday, 24 December, 2019 by jorielov in #blogmas, #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Blog Tour Host, Christmas Romance &/or Holiday Story, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Indie Author, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Singletons & Commitment, Sweet Romance, the Fifties, The World Wars

Author Interview featuring the debut war drama “Royal Beauty Bright” (A Novel of WWI) by Ryan Byrnes

Posted Friday, 8 November, 2019 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva

Good afternoon, dear hearts!

I read a very stirring war drama set against the back-drop of WWI this week, wherein it hinges itself to the very real Christmas miracle those men experienced during the first Christmas season of the war. It has become a story etched through various outlets of how a story can be told – from novels to films, but Byrnes took a new approach – where he placed a man with special needs (he has Autism) on the front lines and showed how sometimes in the middle of a war, the people you grew up with in a small community might hold the keys to your survival.

Today, I am warmly welcoming this debut Historical Fiction novelist to my blog, as I had some questions to ask him about his writing craft and the story itself. I wanted to find out a few details ‘behind the debut’ which might also be of interest to my readers and those visitors who are following the blog tour route – to see what has inspired this story to be told in the way it was published. It was a rather unique read – you find yourself shifting points of view from the past when Luther was growing up with Rodney to the present, where they are in the height of the conflict in No Man’s Land.

It is gruelingly realistic from that perspective but Byrnes tempers what he visually shows you with the humanistic side of how brother to brother, those men helped each other through the worst of it. It is a character driven plot and you find yourself drawn into how their lives have remained interconnected despite the fact they each have grown up into their lives and careers.

To shift the perspective off the battlefield – Byrnes hugged us close to those who were living outside the battles but were closer still to the war than we were stateside. These were the families left behind in the ruts of what was left behind to be found in the townes, cities and harbours where supplies could be loaded and unloaded; where replacements could be housed or routed through – where everyday life was half stalled due to the war and progressively moving forward all the same. Byrnes gives out the smaller details – of how these communities had to harden themselves against the war itself and of making their children feel less fearful of the changes – as they constantly had to re-direct their focus and attention off what was happening round them into something resembling the normalcy their lives had lost. It was a humbling moment where a writer offset the front by showing what ordinary Mums and grandmothers were doing to do their bit in keeping the younger generations shielded as best they could be from the realities crowding into their childhoods.

The best moment I felt where Byrnes showed how Mums raising special needs children assert their power and strength to those in authority who do not respect them is how Mrs Baker (Luther and Jim’s Mum) gave that Doctor a bit of a run for his money! I would have hoped it would have affected his approach to his doctoring of others but something told me he was as closed minded as they come and given the era he lived, it might be expected but it is never easy to read.

The most gutting scene of course is what happened to Rodney in No Man’s Land and I was thankful for how Byrnes approached writing the scene itself. It could have become more visually graphic and more gruesome to read – but the way he depicted that incident – it was poetic in how it gave conscience thought to what your thinking about in those heightened moments of trauma and how if you were a person who felt obligated to protect someone – how in your own moment of crisis, your thoughts are not your own and there is something else protecting you from the pain which was surely buckling your resolve.

Rodney was raised in the same village as Luther – though the two were never quite close, their Mums were more distant themselves. Yet, here at war, Rodney had taken a kindness on Luther and had vowed to watch over the man – this is why this was difficult to read, as whenever you begin a war drama it is a bit like re-embarking through the Titanic exhibit – not knowing which ticket you’re holding in your hands – First Class or Third; what that foretells of your destiny had you been the person whose ticket is now yours for the day. You have to take it step by step and work through the story because that is what is pivotal – how everyone becomes connected to everyone else and how without understand the invisible lines which connect us, they are dearly important to respect.

The further you move into the context of Royal Beauty Bright the more you understand how this is a generational montage of persons who grew up in the same small community and found themselves at war at the same location of each other and all of them were inter-connected through Luther. They shared a similar history of knowledge of his character and in many ways, had interactions with him in a previous life before the war itself had overtaken their lives. In this regard, the novel is a time shift – where you move from the present moments at the front of the war itself and then you re-shift backwards by a few decades to reach into their past, to see how they first interacted with each other and how that laid down the foundation of how they would become reconnected in the future. To bridge into the theory that for every person you meet in life it is unknown whom of which might become the most important person you need to know lateron.

-quoted from my review of Royal Beauty Bright

As you can see, Byrnes has written a dramatic war drama which puts you close to the war but re-focuses your attention on the men and women who were directly afflicted by that war. It is also a partial Epistolary novel on the level that there are a healthy collection of letters and correspondences which are also important in the context of the story.

If you haven’t had the chance to read this novel, I am hopeful you might find interest in either what I’ve shared on my review and/or inside this insightful interview with the author. Be sure to brew yourself a cuppa and find a comfy chair to enjoy what we’ve conversed about in regards to “Royal Beauty Bright”!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Author Interview featuring the debut war drama “Royal Beauty Bright” (A Novel of WWI) by Ryan ByrnesRoyal Beauty Bright
Subtitle: A Novel of World War I
by Ryan Byrnes

Genres: Historical Fiction, War Drama



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781943075607

Also by this author: Royal Beauty Bright

Published by Blank Slate Press

on 5th November, 2019

Pages: 304

Published by: Blank Slate Press (@blankslatepress)
an imprint of Amphorae Publishing (@amphoraepub)

Read the story behind this women and veteran owned publishing company

Converse via: #HistoricalFiction, #HistFic or #HistNov
+ #WWI war drama and  #HFVBTBlogTours

Available Formats: Trade paperback and Ebook

About Ryan Byrnes

Ryan Byrnes

Ryan Byrnes is a St. Louis native. His first foray into writing was founding the publishing imprint, Avency Press, where he wrote one illustrated chapter book, The Adventures of Wheatail, and four young adult fantasy novels in the Son of Time series.

Since then, he has worked with a publishing company, a literary agency, and various aspiring writers seeking to self-publish. Ryan now lives in Iowa as a student in mechanical engineering and English. Between work hours, he builds Mars Rovers with his roommates, plays with cats, and watches Wes Anderson movies.

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Posted Friday, 8 November, 2019 by jorielov in 20th Century, Blog Tour Host, During WWI, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, History, Mary Todd Lincoln, Military Families of the Deployed, Military Fiction, The World Wars, War Drama