Category: Action & Adventure Fiction

#PubDay Book Review | “Winning the Cowboy’s Heart” (Book Five: Rocky Mountain Cowboys) by Karen Rock I am wicked thrilled to be returning back to the Cade Ranch and re-entering a series which already won over my heart!

Posted Tuesday, 5 February, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 4 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

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 enquiried 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 “Winning the Cowboy’s Heart” direct from the author Karen Rock in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I love reading the Rocky Mountain Cowboys series:

I had planned a special series marathon read for this blog tour – wherein, during #ContemporaryJanuary I wanted to celebrate a family of cowboys who had won over my heart and had become one of my favourite romantic and family dramas in Contemporary Fiction – however, what sidelined that particular goal was an extended recovery from my five week virus (the one I had before, during and after Christmas) whilst I also had three migraines in three weeks – the last of which was from this past Friday til Monday – a four day supernova migraine which rendered me offline, unable to read and which I nearly thought I was going to lose the joy of reading the book for the tour – as these kinds of migraines take the longest to ‘leave’ and have the harder recovery time when it comes to reading & blogging.

Thankfully, I spent Monday resting offline which allowed me to get up with the roosters on Tuesday morning to where I could settle into the fifth novel of this series and feel the pulls of the migraine were no longer with me – they might be hovering in the background but at least I could finally start to read again which was a joy of its own. Its nice to ‘come back’ to a series you love after such an ordeal and for me, the Rocky Mountain Cowboys is a series I fell in love with reading ever since I first started borrowing the books through my library – adding ‘Christmas at Cade Ranch’ to my local library as they accepted my purchase request and having the joy of hosting a few of the blog tours connected to the series which led me to celebrating the fifth release today!

There is a sixth novel on the horizon for this year – coming up later in the Spring which is why I’m going to be rescheduling my re-readings of this series for *March!*, whilst giving me the proper chance to dive into “Bad Boy Rancher” for the first time ahead of seeing “A Rancher to Remember” released!

You might be wondering what draws my eye into this series and to the writer’s style of story-telling if this is the first time you’ve seen one of my posts about the Rocky Mountain Cowboys – one of the best joys for me as a reader, outside of my love of the Cade family and the men of the series is where Ms Rock set the series to reside: deep in the heart of the Rockies! There is something about mountain living and the atmosphere of ranching that uplifts a girl’s soul!

Ms Rock does a great job of taking you into the heart of addiction – first through the opinions of family who feel they are being helpful but in reality their falling a bit short with a few good observations. Secondly, she takes you into an NA meeting to hear the stories of other addicts who are struggling just like Sofia to quash their innermost doubts and to remain above the pains of addiction whilst re-setting their lives free of the substance of their choice. It was in one of those meetings where Sofia felt both ashamed to be present and rather awkwardly at first, comfortable amongst those who she could relate too.

Ms Rock also highlights what it is like to have a controlling personality – someone who is unable to yield or bend – this was spoken about in regards to Sofia’s father but in the present time-line of the series it is mostly directed towards James who has a definitive way of ‘taking over’ and claiming roles he was not meant to lead because doing so would jeopardise another person’s sense of self.

One of my favourite parts of the story is how closely Sofia and Joy (the Cade siblings mother) bonded over being in such close quarters whilst she was recuperating. Joy still had quite a bit of spunk left in her and she had a right to want to keep living her life to the fullest she could. Sofia inspired her in equal measure of Joy inspiring Sofia to take new risks and to keep bettering herself for her future and her son’s (Javi). Javi was an impressionable child but he also understood what was important in his young life. I can see why Sofia stressed about how he might react around James and why being around James for both of them was proving to be a bit too difficult.

One of the beautiful things about this series is how redemption and second chances permeate through the stories. Erstwhile, you are becoming closer in acquaintance with the Cade family themselves – the ranch they live on becomes the anchour to their lives, the place where they gather and they grow; where love nurtures their present and where it breathes hope into the future. Each installment of this series builds on the last story in sequence – thereby, by the time you start at A Cowboy to Keep whilst reading each new story thereafter, you are given a wonderful portrait of a resilient family. A family whose honest about the hardships in life and where good or bad, this is a family who remains evermore true of themselves.

Everything comes full circle in the Rocky Mountain Cowboys series – you get to see where loose ends knit back together and the one beautiful thing about this series is you get to have continual updates about all the characters you’ve loved reading about in prior installments! If you take the title of this one for a second to ruminate – you’ll find the word “pride” speaks volumes towards understanding where this story was leading you to venture. It isn’t just the pride of the current cowboys in the Cade-Loveland families but of all the cowboys within their mutual lineages who led to the current heroes of the series.

One of the things I admire most about how Ms Rock writes her stories is the continuity aspects of her series – where you can move from one installment to another in a seamless transition. I’ve started reading this series from the prequel into the first and second novels – before arriving into the fourth ahead of the third. I almost thought that was a mistake on my part, as I wasn’t sure if this fourth installment would pick up directly out of the third or return to an earlier conflict. The beauty of reading this series slightly out of sequence is how compelling it was for the feud to take precedent and thereby allowing me to continue the continuity I have been appreciating by reading this fourth novel.

The feud itself was established in the earlier stories – setting down the foundation of how both families are at war with each other – not just over the water rights (though those are a valid reason for the ill will between them) but it goes back to a matter of principle and honour. Of the circumstances relating to the original feud’s origins and how unsettling it is for the details which have remained behind paint a rather dark portrait of their ancestor’s lives.

Through all of this, Ms Rock has rooted us into the Cade and Loveland families – showing us how human each of the families are and how vulnerable the members of their families are to the adversities of life. In many ways, both the Cades and Lovelands have each endured a lot of obstacles and have made their own sacrifices over the years – over and beyond the feud which has always stood between them. Ms Rock makes this a living reality for us as readers – as you don’t have to get too far into the stories to feel the tension coming the Cades or the Lovelands – their natural reactions to each other is out of spite and anger; fuelling the feud and deepening the chasm between them.

-quoted from my reviews of “Christmas at Cade Ranch”,
“Falling for a Cowboy” and “A Cowboy’s Pride”

As you can see – I am truly emotionally attached to this beautifully lovely series and I am honoured I get to be on the blog tour to welcome in the fifth installment of a series which gives me so much love & joy to be reading!

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#PubDay Book Review | “Winning the Cowboy’s Heart” (Book Five: Rocky Mountain Cowboys) by Karen Rock I am wicked thrilled to be returning back to the Cade Ranch and re-entering a series which already won over my heart!Winning the Cowboy's Heart
by Karen Rock
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

Jewel Cade wants two things --

One is Heath Loveland

The Rocky Mountain cowgirl has her heart set on becoming range boss of the Cade ranch. But first she has to accompany the son of her family’s longtime enemy—and her off-limits secret crush—on a cattle drive across Colorado. Discovering Heath shares her attraction only makes for a rockier road. Because Jewel has a sneaking suspicion that if she drops her guard, the cowboy might ride off with her heart.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1335510532

Also by this author: A League of Her Own, Author Interview (Christmas at Cade Ranch) Karen Rock, A Cowboy's Pride (Spotlight w/ Notes), A Cowboy's Pride, Christmas at Cade Ranch

Also in this series: Author Interview (Christmas at Cade Ranch) Karen Rock, A Cowboy's Pride (Spotlight w/ Notes), A Cowboy's Pride


Genres: Contemporary Romance, Ranches & Cowboys, Romance Fiction, Western Fiction


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 5th February, 2019

Format: Mass Market Paperback

Pages: 379

Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming

Converse via: #Contemporary #Western + #Romance

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The Rocky Mountain Cowboys series:

A Cowboy to Keep (Prequel) (see also Review)

Christmas at Cade Ranch (Book One) (*reviewed)

Falling for a Cowboy (Book Two) (*reviewed)

Bad Boy Rancher (Book Three)

A Cowboy’s Pride (Book Four) (see also Review)

Winning the Cowboy’s Heart (Book Five)

Forthcoming release: A Rancher to Remember (Book Six) April 2019!

(*) Christmas at Cade Ranch and Falling for a Cowboy
were reviewed in-line with A Cowboy’s Pride

About Karen Rock

Karen Rock is an award-winning YA and adult contemporary romance author. She holds a master’s degree in English and worked as an ELA instructor before becoming a full-time writer. Currently she writes for Harlequin Heartwarming and her first novel for the line, WISH ME TOMORROW, has won the 2014 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the 2014 Golden Quill Contest and a finalist in the Published Maggie Awards. The first novel in her co-authored YA series, CAMP BOYFRIEND, has been a finalist in the Booksellers Best and Golden Leaf awards.

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Posted Tuesday, 5 February, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Contemporary Romance, Farm and Ranching on the Frontier, Indie Author, Modern Day, Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, West Coast USA, Western Fiction, Western Romance

A #ContemporaryJanuary Book Blitz with Notes and Extras | “Fly Girl” by R.D. Kardon

Posted Friday, 18 January, 2019 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

Stories in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I happen to sneak off into the historical past quite a heap which is why when I first stumbled across the marathon to read Contemporaries in January (ie. #ContemporaryJanuary) I was off like a rocket seeking out #newtomeauthors inasmuch as Contemporary authors who have backlist titles (a la #BeatTheBackList reading challenge I am participating in this year) – when I saw this particular title go into a blitz with an extract to share, I knew it was one I wanted to feature on Jorie Loves A Story!!

Here’s why – I *love!* Aviator stories! Generally, I seek out the ones which are interconnected to the military – specifically either the US Air Force or the Marines or even the Navy – depending on the port of entrance. I also loved my years of watching JAG which became an extended bout of joy when I fell into NCIS (and the 2x sequels thereafter!) – this one felt authentically realistic to today’s world whilst it hugged close to the women’s perspective which is something I love to seek out to read. I regularly read Feminist Lit from a Historical point-of-view which is why I am reminding myself I need to invest the same kind of gusto into seeking stories which are writ in the modern eras.

There is a Historical novel of the same title “Fly Girl” by Sherri L. Smith I dearly want to read as well. I want to see if my library can purchase this title and then, I could read two novels of the same title for the Pop Sugar Challenge. If your curious about all the reading challenges I’m tackling this year, you’ll find them over here!

Let’s get into why this novel jumped out at me and why I dearly want to be reading it! I’m going to share an extract with you and then, my thoughts about the story afterwards! If you love reading stories of this nature, I hope this becomes one of your #mustread #nextreads of Winter 2019!

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A #ContemporaryJanuary Book Blitz with Notes and Extras | “Fly Girl” by R.D. KardonFly Girl
by R.D. Kardon

It’s 1997. Women stand beside men in combat and fly fighter jets. Pilot Tris Miles is not content with her job as a First Officer for tiny Clear Sky Airlines. She wants to be a Captain—the only way she knows to prove her worth as a pilot and atone for a deadly mistake.

To further her career, Tris accepts a prestigious job with Tetrix, Inc. But her dream of becoming pilot-in-command twists into a nightmare.

As the company’s first woman pilot, she encounters resistance, marginalization and harassment on a daily basis. Fortunately Tris has one thing her co-workers can’t deny—skill.

When Tris finds herself in a crippled airplane thousands of miles from home she must prove she can lead. With her career on the line, can Tris earn the respect she’s been craving? And if this is the end, can she find the strength to forgive herself?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781947392212

Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Realistic Fiction, Women's Fiction


Published by Self Published Author

on 27th December, 2018

Published By: Acorn Publishing (@AcornAuthors)

Formats Available: Paperback and Ebook

Converse on Twitter via: #Contemporary #FlyGIRL

& #AviatorGirls #WomensFiction and #AdventureFiction

About R.D. Kardon

RD Kardon

Robin "R.D." Kardon had a twelve-year flying career as a corporate and airline pilot. She holds an Airline Transport Pilot certificate and three Captain qualifications. Her travels took her all over the world in every type of airplane from small single-engine Cessnas to the Boeing 737. Robin earned her B.A. in Journalism and Sociology from NYU and J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law. A native New Yorker, Robin now lives in San Diego, California with her beloved rescue pets.

"Flygirl," a work of fiction inspired by her own aviation experience, is her first novel.

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Posted Friday, 18 January, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book | Novel Excerpt, Book Blitz, Book Spotlight & Announcement, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Feminine Heroism, Indie Author, Modern Day, Realistic Fiction, Self-Published Author, Women's Fiction, Xpresso Book Tours

Blog Book Tour | “A Cowboy’s Pride” (Book Four: Rocky Mountain Cowboys) by Karen Rock Whilst feat. reviews of “Christmas at Cade Ranch” and “Falling for a Cowboy” books one and two in the series!

Posted Saturday, 29 September, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I would imagine your curious about this post – specifically, why it is a bit more unique than my usual blog tour reviews!? I had the chance to read the first book in the Rocky Mountain Cowboys series – ‘Christmas at Cade Ranch’ and the second in the series ‘Falling for a Cowboy’ ahead of reading the newly released fourth novel ‘A Cowboy’s Pride’. Try as I might, I was not able to secure a copy of ‘Bad Boy Rancher’ through my library ahead of the tour, so for now, that is the only novel in this series I haven’t had the joy of reading!

As you might already know – I have a fierce passion for reading novels in sequence when it comes to book series. I can’t always do this – sometimes I have to skip around the order or other times, I might pick up a book I hadn’t realised was a series in-progress – generally, this oft-times happens when it comes to Harlequin series – either through this lovely imprint (Harlequin Heartwarming) or the Love Inspired Suspense imprint which you might remember this past July I was talking about rather exclusively!

Therefore, a few things to note – I am reviewing the fourth novel for the blog tour, however, before I share my thoughts on what I found inside the fourth novel, I wanted to take a moment to talk about what I loved inside ‘Christmas at Cade Ranch’ & ‘Falling for a Cowboy’! If you missed my author interview with Ms Rock last year, you might not have realised I read the prequel to this series ‘A Cowboy to Keep’ – of which this was my key takeaway on behalf of how Ms Rock started this lovely series of hers:

You’ll notice a thread of interest in the Romances I love to read – they are supporting what I call ‘relationship-based romance’ wherein the heart of the relationship and what curates a connection amongst those who are dating strengthens the appeal of reading the stories themselves. Reading Romances like I do, I get caught up in the lives people are living – some make hard choices which I cannot always relate too but are right for them, therein, each time we read, we’re not only ‘time travelling through our own living histories or the historic past’ we’re stepping into different pairs of shoes of people who are living wholly unique lives whilst attempting to pursue a relationship where both parties are standing on equal ground. Romances are a lift of joy to read – even if the circumstances turn dramatic or suspenseful – if at the heart of them, there is hope for the couple at hand, odds are I am a ready fan of how the stories are being written – across publishers and imprints.

As we progress through how Jackson and Dani continue to intercede on each others’ behalf, we start to see how the seeds of their romance were firmly planted in their hearts. They each had a toll to weigh against the yearnings of their hearts but it’s how Rock shows their individual growth towards a resolution the reader rallies behind to see happen is what makes the story hold it’s salt against the ‘dangers’ lurking in the shadows. You truly want all the soul wrestling on both their parts to be for ‘something’ and as the concluding chapters show – redemption might take awhile to receive, but it’s the journey towards it that is somethings more important than how it arrives!

There were some intense moments where you weren’t sure if Jackson or Dani were going to get out of this alive – where the job of being a bounty hunter was shown exactly how dangerous of a livelihood this is to maintain countered against the will of a woman’s heart to do what is right even if she knows she might be jeopardising her future. You grieve for them both – for the past they both cannot accept without further anguish and for the futures they both are seeking which they never felt either of them deserved! There is a lovely ‘twist’ in the ending – one even I hadn’t thought of as I thought for sure this was going to play out differently – my gratitude to Ms Rock for keeping me on my toes straight til the ‘end’ as it was the sweetest reward!

This is one reason, Ms Rock stood out to me – as she’s one of the Harlequin authors I genuinely enjoy to read – she has a way of capturing what I love about the essence of a Contemporary Romance but with the ease of knowing I won’t be flinching for word usage or language issues. Sometimes it’s nice to have a reprieve in that regard!

She dives straight into the heart of what is affecting the well-being of her characters – from the psychological groundwork to the soul wrestling angst of trying to own up to your own mistakes whilst sorting out how to live at the same time. She’s tackled hard issues affecting her characters lives but does it in a humbling and honest way – seeking to share the truth of their choices whilst countered by the truth of the circumstances which has led them to this conclusion on where they individually stand.

-quoted from my review of A Cowboy to Keep

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Borrowed Book By: I made a purchase request at my local library for “Christmas at Cade Ranch” as I had previously ILL’d (inter-library loaned) the ‘prequel’ “A Cowboy to Keep” as a way of understanding the foundation for the Rocky Mountain Cowboys series. This is the first time I’ve had the chance to read and share my thoughts on behalf of this first novel. I was not obliged to post a review and decided to share my thoughts with my readers for my own edification. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Christmas at Cade Ranch by Karen Rock

Synopsis for “Christmas at Cade Ranch”

The Christmas they never had.

James Cade has one priority: keep the family ranch running smoothly in the wake of his younger brother’s death. With Jesse’s ex, Sofia Gallardo, and her young son, Javi, stranded at Cade Ranch over Christmas, this task just got a lot harder. The longer Sofia and Javi stay, the harder it is to imagine the ranch without them. James couldn’t save his brother from his inner demons, but he can give his nephew a secure future. Maybe more—if he can figure out how to trust Sofia, and stop feeling like he’s betraying Jesse. Because trying to stop thinking about beautiful, determined Sofia is impossible.

– previously featured during an Author Interview

Christmas at Cade Ranch
by Karen Rock
Source: Purchase REQ | local library

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780373368617

Also by this author: A League of Her Own, Author Interview (Christmas at Cade Ranch) Karen Rock, A Cowboy's Pride (Spotlight w/ Notes), Winning the Cowboy's Heart

on 7th November, 2017

Pages: 384

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My review of Christmas at Cade Ranch:

The first six paragraphs were originally shared on behalf of reading the chapter sampler of this novel – I’ve edited those thoughts a bit but they are still reflective of what I was thinking about as I started to read this novel for the first time straight-through.

We find Jewel (the spunky cowgirl heroine of Cade Ranch), Justin (Jesse’s surviving twin) & James are taking over the duties of Cade Ranch – trying to keep the place solvent and everything running as smooth as they can manage, despite the hurdles of trying to sort out how to ‘move forward’ after such an alarmingly tragic loss. You can easily ‘step back’ into the series – as the prequel did such a great job of ‘setting the scale’ of the series by placing you into the heart of what makes the Cade’s such a strong family!

Here — we get the fuller back-story about Jesse – even though his addictive habit did kill him in the end (due to circumstances his brother, had no way of knowing would impact his future) – it wasn’t the addiction which caused his death; it was something related to being an addict. Despite this, he left behind a girlfriend and a son; a son whose five years old now – meeting his grandmother, Aunt & Uncles for the very first time. This is where we find James – the reserved & cautious elder brother who wouldn’t trust you if you looked honest – he has find a way to validate your intentions, your heart & your motivations.

In so many ways, James reminded me of Jackson! Those two are alike the most of where they are the hardest to convince your on a better path in life – even if your first attempt to ‘make it’ proved to have some obstacles in the road to overcome. Dani & Sofia would love being sister-in-laws because they each had to fight hard for what they were getting out of life – they both made certain choices which affected their futures but what united them, was their hope & belief that second chances are never too late in arriving. Sofia is as jumpy as Dani, too! I don’t blame either of them – the Cade brothers are a wee bit scary due to how they appear to be unbending & unwilling to accept you ‘where you are’. Of course, that’s one fast way to short-change their personalities – but both James & Jackson don’t exactly have the best ‘bedside manner’ so to speak! Their affection might be hard-won but if James is anything like Jackson – his heart will soften long before he allows Sofia & Javi (her son) to exit his life for good!

Seeing this part of the story – how it’s unfolding to bring everything ‘back to centre’ at Cade Ranch – where it all began and where the future shall be written for the siblings – as this is land inherited through past generations – you can gather the fuller depth of where Ms Rock is taking the series! The continuity is wonderful – I feel like this is the best place to re-insert us into the series – it is on the foot-heels of finding out about Jesse from Jackson’s POV whilst opening the door for Sofia to tell her story – what is remarkable is how it feels like both time-lines are running nearly concurrent to each other, rather than having any gaps in the momentum of the ‘next’ section of where we alight into the Cade family’s journey.

One thing to note – is I agree with the sensitive way in which Ms Rock approaches her harder hitting subjects – in this instance, it’s with addiction & recovery. Previously, it was addressing being involved in a bank robbery (Dani’s story-line) — each time Ms Rock knits us closer to her characters, she does it with compassion and empathy. In many ways, I enjoy this aspect of her writings the most – she puts in a lot of thought & time to get the lives of her characters to not only be realistically pleasing to us, the reader, but to honour the real-life counterparts who might be living a similar life. Even the fragility of Joy, the Cade’s mother – is aptly described – of being stuck ‘betwixt & between’ – of not knowing how to proceed forward after losing one’s son. I could relate to this due to not only my own personal losses but the losses of others, of whom, have felt this muddling ‘inbetween’ feeling wash over them – to where they needed to find something to ‘focus on’ outside of their grief before they realised they could ‘transition’ through their sorrow.

What does irk your ire quite a bit though is how James won’t quiet the voice in his head over Sofia! She has enough anxiety coursing through her veins without his added input to cast more shadows over her head! It is like walking between lightning strikes and hoping your not going to be struck whilst you reach the safety of a building! He has a short fuse when it comes to tolerance – he pre-judges her based on his experiences with his brother Jesse and that isn’t half as fair as it might sound because no one should be judged against another person. Even if they both had struggles with addiction – every person is different and no one should have to feel that kind of oppressive weight bearing down on them; it is too much to bear really. Sofia needs reassurances in her life – adding more stress to shoulders already buckling under the pressures she puts on herself is not aiding her ability to move forward; if anything, it’s making her question if she is strong enough to overcome her past.

A good portion of the novel centres around the cyclic season of addiction and how addicts struggle to keep clean. Sofia and Jesse were both struggling with their own addictions but Sofia found a way through the worst of those storms – so much so, what infuriated her the most about James is that he did not or rather could not see what she’s accomplished thus far forward since she was able to maintain her sobriety. I think the hardest part for Sofia, as a lot of her issues stem from her father’s persecution of her existence (long story!) – being around James was like she had recaptured what she had escaped from her father.

Ms Rock does a great job of taking you into the heart of addiction – first through the opinions of family who feel they are being helpful but in reality their falling a bit short with a few good observations. Secondly, she takes you into an NA meeting to hear the stories of other addicts who are struggling just like Sofia to quash their innermost doubts and to remain above the pains of addiction whilst re-setting their lives free of the substance of their choice. It was in one of those meetings where Sofia felt both ashamed to be present and rather awkwardly at first, comfortable amongst those who she could relate too.

Ms Rock also highlights what it is like to have a controlling personality – someone who is unable to yield or bend – this was spoken about in regards to Sofia’s father but in the present time-line of the series it is mostly directed towards James who has a definitive way of ‘taking over’ and claiming roles he was not meant to lead because doing so would jeopardise another person’s sense of self.

One of my favourite parts of the story is how closely Sofia and Joy (the Cade siblings mother) bonded over being in such close quarters whilst she was recuperating. Joy still had quite a bit of spunk left in her and she had a right to want to keep living her life to the fullest she could. Sofia inspired her in equal measure of Joy inspiring Sofia to take new risks and to keep bettering herself for her future and her son’s (Javi). Javi was an impressionable child but he also understood what was important in his young life. I can see why Sofia stressed about how he might react around James and why being around James for both of them was proving to be a bit too difficult.

One of the beautiful things about this series is how redemption and second chances permeate through the stories. Erstwhile, you are becoming closer in acquaintance with the Cade family themselves – the ranch they live on becomes the anchour to their lives, the place where they gather and they grow; where love nurtures their present and where it breathes hope into the future. Each installment of this series builds on the last story in sequence – thereby, by the time you start at A Cowboy to Keep whilst reading each new story thereafter, you are given a wonderful portrait of a resilient family. A family whose honest about the hardships in life and where good or bad, this is a family who remains evermore true of themselves.

The only part I struggled with to be honest was which Cade Sofia felt had caught her affections as to me it seemed like the case had been proven against the match. So much so, I had hoped the ending was a bit different – where she would have struck out on her own, independently and perhaps had dated a different Cade brother as I wasn’t convinced even in the end, the one she felt she loved was the best one of the bunch. I think it is because of his personality but also, of how well Ms Rock showed both sides of the romance – she took a lot of time developing these characters and so for me, in the end of Christmas at Cade Ranch, I felt the character who had grown the most was Sofia. She truly had transitioned from the woman who was full of anxiety and fears to a self-reliant woman who embraced all the pieces of her life; including the bits she was not as confident about acknowledging. On the opposite end of the story, I felt James hadn’t transitioned enough and that was the rub for me in the concluding chapters.

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Posted Saturday, 29 September, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Christmas Romance &/or Holiday Story, Contemporary Romance, Crime Fiction, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Farm and Ranching on the Frontier, Indie Author, Library Find, Life Shift, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Modern Day, Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Specialised Crime Investigator, Suspense, West Coast USA, Western Fiction, Western Romance

#WaitingOnWednesday No.6 | Book Review | “The Bloody Black Flag” (Book One: of the Spider John Mysteries) by Steve Goble

Posted Wednesday, 29 August, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

a word about ‘waiting on Wednesday’:

#WaitingOnWednesday badge created in Canva by Jorie using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

I have decided to start participating in this book blogsphere meme with a few small changes of how it’s regularly blogged about by my fellow book bloggers. I will either be introducing my current reads of upcoming releases as I am in the process of reading them and/or I might be releasing a book review about a forthcoming title by which I had been blessed to read ahead of publication. The main purpose behind the meme is to encourage readers and your fellow book bloggers to become aware of new books being released which caught your eye and which held your interest to read. Sometimes if your still in the process of reading the books, its the titles which encouraged your bookish heart. I look forward to spending the next seasons of the year, talking about the books I have on hand to read, the books I’ve been reading and the books I might not even have a copy to read but which are of wicked sweet interest to become a #nextread of mine.

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Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Borrowed Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in [2016] as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction.

Whilst I was browsing through upcoming titles this Autumn [2018] I spied a #piratefiction title I had overlooked last year [2017]!! The sequel is forthcoming this September which is why I quickly checked to see if I could ILL (inter-library loan) this through my local library and happily found I could! I had to remain patient whilst this title was fetched from an out-of-state library and then, had the wicked anticipation of hoping it would be a) as quirky as watching Captain Jack Sparrow in the film series ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ whilst b) owning to the genre it befits and would give me a sweet swashbuckling adventure!

The copy of “The Bloody Black Flag” I borrowed via interlibrary loan through my local library was not a title I was obligated to post a review as I am doing so for my own edification as a reader who loves to share her readerly life. I was not compensated for my thoughts shared herein.

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Why a #PirateFiction title sounded wicked good!

Ever since I was quite young, I’ve been fascinated with stories of Pirates! It started when I saw my *first!* Gabriel Bryne film where he was of course, a ‘pirate’ and his character felt real enough to scare me during the scenes he was featured! Fast forward to when Johnny Depp portrayed ‘Captain Jack Sparrow’ and you could say, it was all down-hill from there! There quirkiness of Cap’t Jack, the heart of the film series for me was inter-connected to Sparrow’s character – I went to the theater *four!* times to see the first one, twice for the second & at least three times for the third whilst only one viewing of the fourth – yet, by the time the fifth came out I was worried the integrity had left – thus, it remains the ONLY one I’ve not seen!!

I am unsure how this particular series slipped past me – as I have found *Seventh Street Books* to be publishing the kind of Historical Mysteries I can find myself curled inside more oft than other publishers – they are publishing my current favourites you see! You’ve most likely have seen my gushing praise over the Hiro Hattori, Anna Blanc, Samuel Craddock and my beloved Marjorie Trumaine series – two of these are dramatic crime series & the other two are what I refer to as ‘Cosy Historical Mysteries’ – where the focus isn’t on the grittiness of where a crime story could alight you but rather, the historical backdrop in which we alight to walk beside the lead characters!

This ‘Waiting on Wednesday’ is about discovering a #newtomeauthor and getting caught up inside the first novel of a new series which whet a thirst of curiosity to be reading ahead of the second installment’s release!

Part of me was slightly concerned this title might become a bit ‘too much’ for me – as when it comes to ‘pirates’ & #piratefiction, I will definitely be the girl whose more into the glossing over the rougher bits than to have any of the stories (by book or film) to be more graphically explicit. Still. There was something uniquely alluring about ‘attempting to read outside my comfort zone’ which is where the #SpiderJohn Mysteries fall under for a girl who loves high seas adventures but sometimes falls a bit short of fully embracing the cutthroat lifestyles therein!

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#WaitingOnWednesday No.6 | Book Review | “The Bloody Black Flag” (Book One: of the Spider John Mysteries) by Steve GobleThe Bloody Black Flag
Subtitle: A Spider John Mystery
by Steve Goble
Source: Borrowed from local library (ILL)

Agatha Christie meets Patrick O’Brian in the first book in a new series of swashbuckling historical mysteries featuring Spider John Rush, a most reluctant pirate.

1722—aboard a pirate ship off the American Colonial Coast.

Spider John Rush never wanted to be a pirate, but it had happened and he’d learned to survive in the world of cut and thrust, fight or die. He and his friend Ezra knew that death could come at any moment, from grapeshot or storm winds or the end of a noose. But when Ezra is murdered in cold blood by a shipmate, Spider vows revenge.

On a ship where every man is a killer many times over, how can Spider find the man who killed his friend? There is no law here, so if justice is to be done, he must do it. He will have to solve the crime and exact revenge himself.

One wrong step will lead to certain death, but Spider is determined to look into the dying eyes of the man who killed his friend, even if it means his own death.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781633883598

Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Amateur Detective, Crime Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, Pirate Fiction


Published by Seventh Street Books

on 12th September, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 237

Published By: Seventh Street Books (@SeventhStBooks)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

About Steve Goble

Steve Goble is the author of The Bloody Black Flag and The Devil’s Wind in the Spider John mystery series. A former journalist, Goble now works in communications for a cybersecurity firm. Previously, he wrote a weekly craft-beer column called Brewologist, which appeared on USA Today Network–Ohio websites.

The Spider John Mysteries:

Series Overview: Historical mystery series featuring a reluctant pirate who doubles as an amateur sleuth whilst setting sail on the high seas.

The Bloody Jack Flag by Steve GobleThe Devil's Wind by Steve Goble

The Bloody Black Flag | Book One

The Devil’s Wind | Book Two | Synopsis ← forthcoming release 11th September, 2018!

Converse via: #SpiderJohnMysteries OR #SpiderJohn + #HistoricalMystery and #piratefiction

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 29 August, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 18th Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Bookish Memes, Boston, Colonial America, Content Note, Crime Fiction, Debut Novel, Equality In Literature, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Pirates and Swashbucklers, Prometheus Books, Vulgarity in Literature, Waiting on Wednesday

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review | Hero’s Best Friend: an Anthology of Animal Companions {edited by} Scott M. Sandridge

Posted Sunday, 20 May, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Tomorrow Comes Media and Seventh Star Press – whilst I participated on the blog tour in [2014] for this title, I was unable to read the stories for review until this year [2018]. I received a complimentary copy of “Hero’s Best Friend” direct from the publisher Seventh Star Press in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What originally drew me into wanting to read this lovely anthology:

Hero’s Best Friend

What I appreciate the most about this particular collection of stories is having each of them capture the essence of a genre-bending sphere of literary delight! They are representative of their actual genres, but they sound as though they give a bit more than what those branches of literature might usually encompass at the very same time! I love fiction that takes on new meanings and new depths, whether I am soaking into a book, a short story, or even whilst immersed into the latest Doctor Who episode I am discovering for the very first time! I find that the series is the epitome of ‘genre-bending’ and brilliance of execution on captivating a person’s attention at the jump-start beginning!

Sandridge and I share a common ground for appreciating animal companions, as his top three choices match my own, as I quite literally rented “Benji: the Hunted” from the rental shoppes so often they nearly gave me the VHS tapes for free! I say ‘nearly!’ as they never could seem to get permission from corporate to do so! Oy! I was simply captivated by Benji, for the same reasons I loved “The Adventures of Natty Gann” in which Natty’s companion is a wolf; “The Neverending Story” who as the wickedest dragon on the planet! (another film in common, he mentions this elsewhere on the tour!); the Mountain Family Robinson trilogy where Crest protected the family; previously I have mentioned my affection for “Pete’s Dragon”; and many others I am failing to draw to memory today! What I appreciate about Jack London is his ability to get your heart attached to a wolf in a way that is different than Natty Gann but is a bit similar to “Due South”; a tv series which features a deaf wolf who takes interest in protecting a Mountie!

From our beginnings of noting animal companions and animals in fiction, we differ a bit on our paths after childhood because I am suspecting the video games are not the ones I’d personally play myself! I’m always going to have half a step and foot on the family and children side of the ledger, not only because I’m a future foster-adoptive Mum, nor even because I’m an Auntie at present, but because I tend to like the innocence in stories for younger generations. I’d wrap myself into a family film far quicker than I would an intense video game! I am a gamer, a title I apparently acquired at three, as I’ve been playing games on the computer since I first started using one! Wayy back when Atari was all the rage and long before Nintendo or the ability to borrow my neighbourhood friend’s Sega Genesis so I could play with Sonic, the quirky hedgehog!

The best news of all, no matter how we gather our passions for animal companions, nor where we wander to find the companions that mean the world to their masters, we each have our own ‘coveted niche’ in the genres we appreciate reading and watching! And, I for one will always celebrate the uniqueness of our individual passions if we can sometimes draw a common thread towards each other and celebrate the love of story-telling which ignites a fever pitch passion for our imaginations!

-quoted from my Spotlight on behalf of Hero’s Best Friend

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#WyrdAndWonder Book Review | Hero’s Best Friend: an Anthology of Animal Companions {edited by} Scott M. SandridgeHero's Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions
by (Editor) Scott M. Sandridge, Herika R. Raymer
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Enggar Adirasa
Source: Direct from Publisher

How far would Gandalf have gotten without Shadowfax? Where would the Vault Dweller be without Dogmeat? And could the Beastmaster been the Beastmaster without his fuzzy allies? Animal companions are more than just sidekicks. Animals can be heroes, too!

Found within are twenty stories of heroic action that focuses on the furries and scalies who have long been the unsung heroes pulling their foolish human buddies out of the fire, and often at great sacrifice-from authors both established and new, including Frank Creed, S. H. Roddey, and Steven S. Long.

Whether you're a fan of Epic Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery, Science Fiction, or just animal stories in general, this is the anthology for you! So sit back, kick your feet up, and find out what it truly means to be the Hero's Best Friend.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-1937929510

Also by this author: , Hero's Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions, Gifts of the Magi

Series: Anthologies from Seventh Star Press


Also in this series: Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy, , A Chimerical World, Hero's Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions


Genres: Fantasy Fiction


Published by Seventh Star Press

on 12th February, 2014

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 472

Published By: Seventh Star Press (@7thStarPress)
Available Formats: Trade paperback & Ebook

Genres: Short Story | Fantasy | Animals in Fiction

Converse on Twitter: #HerosBestFriendAntho & #7thStar

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Stories inside: Hero’s Best Friend:

Joy Ward: “Toby and Steve Save the World”

Frank Creed: “Dusk”

Cassie Schau: “The Hunter’s Boy”

Steven Donahue: “Grit”

Jason Cordova: “Hill 142”

Herika R. Raymer: “Dook”

Essel Pratt: “Brothers”

Lisa Hawkridge: “Ezra’s Girl”

S. H. Roddey: “Look What the Cat Dragged In.”

Steven S. Long: “The Wolf Sentinel”

Laura Anne Ewald: “Memorandum”

Cindy Koepp: “The Hat”

Ian Hunter: “Scarheid in the Glisting”

Steven Grassie: “The Masterless”

David Wright: “Wind of Change”

Renee Carter Hall: “The Emerald Mage”

Nick Bryan: “The Violet Curse”

Lillian Csernica & Kevin Andrew Murphy: “The Restless Armadillo”

Douglas J. Ogurek: “Stuck on the Squigglybounce”

Sheila Deeth: “Passage”

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About (Editor) Scott M. Sandridge

Scott M. Sandridge Photo Credit: Stephen Zimmer, taken on a book convention floor.

Scott M. Sandridge is a writer, editor, freedom fighter, and all-around trouble-maker. His latest works as an editor include the Seventh Star Press anthologies Hero’s Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions, and the two volumes of A Chimerical World, Tales of the Seelie Court and Tales of the Unseelie Court.

Photo Credit: Stephen Zimmer, taken on a book convention floor

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Sunday, 20 May, 2018 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, Action & Adventure Fiction, An Editor Point of View, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Anthology Collection of Stories, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Convention, Bookish Discussions, Fantasy Fiction, Genre-bender, Imaginarium, Indie Author, Indie Book Trade, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Science Fiction, Seventh Star Press, Short Stories or Essays, Speculative Fiction, The Writers Life, Tomorrow Comes Media, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Writing Style & Voice