Category: Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction

A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | featuring “Tree Magic” (Tree Magic series, Book One) by Harriet Springbett, published by @ImpressBooks1

Posted Sunday, 23 May, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Gifted Book By: Last year, I had the chance to feature this lovely series by Impress Books UK twice – for a Spotlight & Extract as well as an author interview for the tour celebrating the sequel. I enjoyed hosting for the touring company attached to these tours, but during late (2020) I decided to pull back from a few of the touring companies I was hosting and re-focus on the blog tours, publishers & authors I regularly host more often. My memory is a bit foggy if I was conversing with the publisher about ‘Tree Magic’ before or after the second blog tour. In that conversation, I was mentioning the book wasn’t yet released stateside in a print edition and I wasn’t sure (at the time) when I’d be able to purchase a copy as 2020 was quite an adverse year for my family all told. Especially for medical emergencies and/or ER visits in particular. Thereby, when the publisher offered to send me a copy of ‘Tree Magic’ when it was available in print, I thanked them for their gracious offer and knew once my migraines calmed down, I wanted to dive into this novel!

The months passed by and as 2021 started off with adversities of its own, I can honestly say, it wasn’t until May this year, during #WyrdAndWonder where I could read past the first few pages of ‘Tree Magic’!! I am overjoyed I could wait until now to talk about this novel and the series it begins as I felt such a strong attachment to this book and the world it is set in due to the showcases I hosted last year. I had eight migraines in September, 2020 after the five I had in May, 2020 – so betwixt and between both those months, I’m equally in the dark if I received this for review consideration or for my own personal readerly curiosity. 

Thereby, I was gifted a copy of “Tree Magic” by the publisher Impress Books UK without being obligated to post an honest review. I am sharing my thoughts on behalf of this novel for my own edification and a continued journey of sharing my readerly life on Jorie Loves A Story. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Note: I received the Press Materials last year from the publisher and vaguely remember asking if / when I was able to read this novel if I could re-use the materials given to me on both blog tours and being given permission to do that if / when the time arose. Therefore, this is why the Press Materials for this series are included on this review.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I have had a firm attachment to the natural world ever since I was a young girl – growing up with a fascination and wonderment about nature, wildlife and especially of trees! This is why when I first saw this blog tour being announced, I was super giddy about participating on the tour because any writer who can celebrate and champion the natural world in a pro-positive way is an author I would love to feature on Jorie Loves A Story!

I could immediately connect with the premise with this novel which is why I am trying to seek out a copy of this in print through my local library – there is something quite magical about how trees are the guardians within the natural habitats we visit whilst hiking or walking in natural landscapes; they know things and they remember everything. This is partially why it is soul-crushing whenever there are huge wildfire seasons like the ones that are affecting the Western United States right now and/or the fires in Australia at the turning of the New Year. Nature grieves for the losses those fires bring to those habitats but I oft felt the trees especially are full of the grief of what could not be protected and what fell at their feet due to how the forests have not been able to withstand fire as they had in the past. I still remember hearing about the old growth forests of the Redwoods recently and of how achingly hard it was to see them aflame.

I have regularly spoken about the natural world on Jorie Loves A Story – from the stories I am reading to the context of the stories which seek to bring an ecological mindset and heart for conservation onto my blog because I believe strongly those stories are necessary for today’s world. Not just due to the climatic changes we’re all experiencing but to help re-connect readers with the knowledge about the natural ecosystems they might overlook and not be as familiar with as I have become myself. Knowledge is the first step towards change and to remain connected to the connectivity of how the natural world and our world intersect is one step closer to finding better balance in how to keep Earth a healthier place.

– previously I shared this introduction to why I was wicked curious about Tree Magic

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There is one reason I held off reading this novel –  it took me until May to reconcile how to read Tree Magic was because of a gutting loss of trees in my neighbourhood which were uncalled for and mercilessly butchered by a bulldozer rather than cut with respect with a chainsaw. The trees were sacrificed due to a ridiculous expansion of a sidewalk which had zero benefit to the neighbourhood and took out a total of seven trees for reasons NO ONE understood lest of all the trees! I will never forget that feeling of knowing the trees were trying to defend themselves and the murmuring after effects of their death. These were full-grown cedar trees – whose rings in their trunks showcased their years of life and the emptiness of their protective shade has never felt more absent than the arrival of Summer. I still feel affected by what happened and how it was done – why cities plan their designs to erase more of the natural world than preserve it is not something I’ll ever comprehend.

This is why I had to let this novel sit on my shelf even longer than planned – I just couldn’t bring myself to read about trees and our connections to them until I could deal with the loss of the majestic cedars which once stood silently against storms and sun and whose presence was a kind reminder of how quietly trees whisper to us throughout the year.

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A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | featuring “Tree Magic” (Tree Magic series, Book One) by Harriet Springbett, published by @ImpressBooks1Tree Magic
by Harriet Springbett
Source: Direct from Publisher, Gifted

Thirteen-year-old Rainbow discovers she can communicate with trees.

But that’s just the beginning. Her magic hands can shape trees at her will, but her gift is dangerous and has fatal consequences. An accident that leaves Rainbow unconscious leads her mother to make a confession that will change Rainbow’s life forever. Are her abilities a gift or a curse? Can Rainbow really trust her mother? From England to France, through secrets, fears and parallel worlds, Rainbow’s journey to understand her powers takes her beyond everything she’s ever known.

To find the truth, she must also find herself.

Genres: Young Adult Fiction, YA Fantasy, Magical Realism


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-911293-63-7

ASIN: B087MCBT53

Also by this author: Tree Magic, Tree Slayer

Published by Impress Books

on 2nd June, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 440

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The Tree Magic series: (a trilogy)

Tree Magic by Harriet SpringbettTree Slayer by Harriet Springbett

Tree Magic (book one)

Tree Slayer (book two)

Tree Sacrifice (book three) ← forthcoming Autumn, 2021!

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Published by:  Impress Books (@ImpressBooks1)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #YALit, #Trees and #Magic, #MagicalRealism, #YAFantasy
as well as #TreeMagic or #Fantasy

About Harriet Springbett

Harriet Springbett

Harriet Springbett’s childhood on a small farm in West Dorset gave her an early exposure to nature, which continues to inspire her writing.

She qualified as an engineer but, during a Raleigh International expedition in Chile, she realised she preferred words to numbers. She abandoned her profession, moved to France, studied French and then worked as a project manager, feature writer, translator and TEFL teacher. She now lives in Poitou-Charentes with her French partner and their teenage children.

Since her first literary success, aged 10, her short stories and poetry have been published in literary journals and placed in writing competitions, including a shortlisting in the 2017 Bath Short Story Award.

Harriet leads writing workshops, has judged the Segora international short story competition.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WyrdAndWonder
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Posted Sunday, 23 May, 2021 by jorielov in 20th Century, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Book Review (non-blog tour), British Literature, Brothers and Sisters, Cats and Kittens, Childhood Friendship, Coming-Of Age, Content Note, Death of a Sibling, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Dendrology (Study of Woody Plants or Trees), Disillusionment in Marriage, Divorce & Martial Strife, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, England, Environmental Conscience, Environmental Science, Family Drama, Family Life, Fantasy Fiction, Father-daughter Relationships, Fathers and Daughters, Fly in the Ointment, Folklore and Mythology, France, French Literature, Green-Minded Social Awareness, Horticulture, Indie Author, Magical Realism, Modern British Literature, Modern Day, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Mother-Son Relationships, Nature & Wildlife, Realistic Fiction, Rescue & Adoption of Animals, Siblings, Single Mothers, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Sustainability & Ecological Preservation, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, The Natural World, Treeshaping, Young Adult Fiction

A Non-Fiction Audiobook Review | “My Life in Plants” (Flowers I’ve Loved, Herbs I’ve Grown, and Houseplants I’ve Killed on the Way to Finding Myself) by Katie Vaz, narrated by Taylor Meskimen courtesy of #NetGalley

Posted Thursday, 3 September, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#AudioReads banner created by Jorie in Canva. Unsplash Photography (Creative Commons Zero) Photo Credit: Alice Moore

Acquired Book By: Earlier this year, in late Winter (February) I joined NetGalley for the first time as they finally announced they were going to be offering full-length audiobooks for reviewers. I was never able to join NetGalley due to having chronic migraines and being unable to read ebooks. I started requesting audiobooks to review as soon as they opened their audiobook catalogue in July, 2020. I am an eclectic reader and thereby, you will see all genres in Fiction explored from both markets of interest: mainstream and INSPY as well as from Major Trade, Indie Publishers & Press and other routes of publication, too. There might be the occasional Non-Fiction title appearing in my NetGalley queue of reviews as well. This marks a new adventure for me seeking stories for review consideration and I look forward to seeing where the stories lead me to venture.

I received a complimentary digital and temporary audiobook copy of “My Life in Plants” direct from the publisher Andrews McMeel Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All audiobooks via NetGalley are able to be heard via the NetGalley Shelf which is why I was thankful to be gifted an android tablet by my parents to celebrate my 7th Blog Birthday on Jorie Loves A Story. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: As a new reviewer on NetGalley, I’m sorting out how to get the Press Materials for each of the audiobooks I’m reviewing when I share them on my blog Jorie Loves A Story. When I contacted NetGalley Support they informed me if a separate Press Kit is not included on the audiobook’s book page we’re allowed as reviewers to use the book cover and synopsis provided when we go to share our review of that audiobook on our blogs; as long as we give attribution as I have done at the bottom of this review in “Sources”. Those materials are provided with permission of the publishers to be used by reviewers via NetGalley.

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

Why I was intrigued to listen to
“My Life in Plants”:

What first drew me into wanting to hear this story about one woman’s life centred round the plants which populated her memories was the fact I needed a segue story to resume my current reading queue as the world’s news headlines were getting to me this week. We all have our level of tolerances for how much news we can sustainably read before it all becomes a bit too much to filter and this week, my tolerances simply vacated.

I decided to see if I could find a short audiobook about something completely outside my own purview as a reader and as an audiobook listener to where it would be a dynamic shift outside my current wanderings as much as be a story I could get behind because of its own authentic voice to tell its own story. What I found was a curiously titled Memoir about a woman who stored her memories from the seeds and experiences she had with plants. To me that was a wholly original concept and I wanted to follow in her stead!

What I found was a thought-inducing Memoir which helps you think about your own life as your listening to her adventures whilst finding inspiration along the way. The only downside for me (despite how much I loved this book!) is that some of the chapters and snippets of her life are quite on the shortened end of the spectrum – so don’t be too surprised if you’re hugged into one of her memories and suddenly that chapter ends!Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

A Non-Fiction Audiobook Review | “My Life in Plants” (Flowers I’ve Loved, Herbs I’ve Grown, and Houseplants I’ve Killed on the Way to Finding Myself) by Katie Vaz, narrated by Taylor Meskimen courtesy of #NetGalleyMy Life in Plants
Subtitle: Flowers I've Loved, Herbs I've Grown, and Houseplants I've Killed on the Way to Finding Myself
by Katie Vaz
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Katie Vaz
Source: Audiobook Direct from Publisher via NetGalley
Narrator: Taylor Meskimen

From stumpy potted houseplants to intricate and delicate flower arrangements, My Life in Plants is a heartfelt, honest memoir that intertwines the complex nature of houseplants with a journey of self-discovery.

From Katie Vaz, author of Don’t Worry, Eat Cake, the beloved Make Yourself Cozy, and The Escape Manual for Introverts, comes My Life in Plants. Her newest book tells the story of her life through the thirty-nine plants that have played both leading and supporting roles, from her childhood to her wedding day. Plants include a homegrown wildflower bouquet wrapped in duct tape that she carried on stage at age three, to a fragrant basil plant that brought her and her kitchen back to life after grief. The stories are personal, poignant, heartwarming, and relatable, and will prompt readers to recall plants of their own that have been witness to both the amazing moments of life and the ordinary ones. This illustrated memoir covers the simplicity of home, the sharpness of loss, the lesson of learning to be present, and the journey of finding your way.

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Botany, Horticulture, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Self-Improvement & Self-Actualisation


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781524864019

ASIN: B08FJFKJDC

Published by Andrews McMeel Audio, Andrews McMeel Publishing

on 1st September, 2020

Format: Audiobook | Digital Review Copy (NetGalley)

Length: 1 Hour, 36 Minutes, 58 Seconds (unabridged)

Published By: Andrews McMeel Audio
an imprint of Andrews McMeel Publishing (@AndrewsMcMeel)

Genre(s) of Interest: Non-Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs, Self-Help and Botany
as well as Gardening & Horticulture and Foodie centric memories

Formats Available: Hardback, Audiobook and Ebook

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7th Annual Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

This story received my award for Best Non-Fiction: Memoir.

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Enjoy a preview of the artwork in the book!:

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

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 3 September, 2020 by jorielov in 21st Century, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Anthology Collection of Stories, Audiobook, Autobiographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Book Review (non-blog tour), Botany, Diary Accountment of Life, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Horticulture, Indie Author, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Journal, Memoir, Modern Day, NetGalley, Non-Fiction, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Short Stories or Essays, Vignettes of Real Life

#SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | “The Butterfly Conspiracy” (Book One: A Merriweather & Royston Mystery) by Vivian Conroy

Posted Saturday, 14 September, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish created by Jorie in Canva.

After launching this lovely new feature of mine during [Autumn, 2018] it is a pleasure of joy to continue to bring #SaturdaysAreBookish as a compliment focus of my Twitter chat @SatBookChat. If you see the chat icon at the top of my blog (header bar) you can click over to visit with us. The complimentary showcases on my blog will reflect the diversity of stories, authors and publishers I would be featuring on the chat itself. As at the root and heart of the chat are the stories I am reading which compliment the conversations.

#SaturdaysAreBookish throughout [2019] will be featuring the Romance & Women’s Fiction authors I am discovering to read across genre and point of interest. Every Saturday will feature a different author who writes either Romance or Women’s Fiction – the stories I am reading might simply inspire the topics in the forthcoming chats or they might be directly connected to the current guest author.

I am excited about where new guests and new stories will lay down the foundation of inspiring the topics, the conversations and the bookish recommendations towards promoting Romance & Women’s Fiction. Here’s a lovely New Year full of new authors and their stories to celebrate!

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Acquired Book By: I am quite active on the socially bookish side of the twitterverse (ie. #bookishTwitter); a lot of the writers and readers I enjoy conversing with on a yearly basis were first ‘met’ somewhere in a chat or a serendipitously lovely convo – either organised through a Twitter chat or a randomly engaged convo between them and I. I do not recollect how I first came to find Vivian Conroy or if in fact, she originally found me – I do know I immediately took to liking her Historical Fiction focused Twitter chat: #HistFicChat. Similar to my passion for #HistoricalFix (hosted and founded by Erin Lindsay McCabe – of which, due to her return to writing has been on sabbatical for two years) – this is a chat where Historical readers and writers can happily find each other, interact and chatter their bookish hearts out about the historic past whilst discovering new #mustreads!

She had mentioned to me she had two new stories being published to celebrate the fact she would have her 10th novel published in [2018]. She first mentioned to me about “The Butterfly Conspiracy” and then, “In Peppermint Peril”. I had meant to plan my reviews to be shared on my blog leading into the holiday season of [2018]; however, my health issues grew past what I could overcome and my reading life was dearly affected. I was thankful to share my review of “In Peppermint Peril” prior to re-reading “The Butterfly Conspiracy” at the end of Summer to coincide with featuring Ms Conroy during @SatBookChat wherein the main focus of the chat is this series whilst also talking a bit about her collective works from her Cosy Mysteries to her new Romance novel.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Butterfly Conspiracy” direct from the publisher Crooked Lane Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What drew me into wanting to read “The Butterfly Conspiracy”:

I grew up on atmospheric mysteries and novels of suspense as much as I avidly watched films and tv series involving murder and intrigue! Everything from the Miss Marple series by Dame Christie to Murder, She Wrote and Alfred Hitchcock! The latter of whom granted me a deep appreciation for Gothic and Psychological Suspense! I love the pull of this kind of narrative and the grace of dissolving inside a story set in the historical past. The fact the lead character is a Victorian Zoologist reminded me why I loved Dr Julia Ogden (the ME) on Murdoch Mysteries – I love strong female characters in the historic past who are solving crimes!

Quite curiously, I remember vividly soaking inside this novel and writing reflective thoughts on its behalf – I wasn’t blogging my notes though, as I was using a word processing programme instead – and yet, when I went back to transcribe those notes back into my blog to share on this review, guess whose lost the file? I searched for over a month to find them – waiting out my recovery from a Winter virus and the leftover effects of migraines; to no avail. I had to resolve whatever those original reactions were – I could either re-tap into them when I went to re-read those passages or I would have to share wholly new, original takeaways which would start to curate on my review written more than a year after I first began reading The Butterfly Conspiracy.

For the reasons I’ve stated which first encouraged me into wanting to seek out this title – what was quite lovely of the experience of receiving it is having had the proper chance to dig into the heart of the story-line through a series of Twitter chats which sought out to delve into the back-story of how Ms Conroy wrote the novel but also, how she developed the back-histories of her characters, curating how the crime was centered inside the mystery and why she personally has a passion for writing Cosies.

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#SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | “The Butterfly Conspiracy” (Book One: A Merriweather & Royston Mystery) by Vivian ConroyThe Butterfly Conspiracy
Subtitle: A Merriweather & Royston Mystery
by Vivian Conroy
Source: Direct from Publisher

In late Victorian times, when new inventions cause both excitement and terror, a mysterious death at a zoological lecture brings together two unlikely allies in a quest through London’s upper crust and underbelly to unravel the ingenious murder method and killer behind it.

Miss Merula Merriweather is not like other women her age: instead of hunting for a husband at balls and soirees she spends her time in a conservatory hatching exotic creatures. As the Royal Zoological Society won’t accept a woman’s accomplishments, she has her uncle Rupert take credit for her achievements. But at a zoological lecture, the guest of honor dies after contact with one of Merula’s butterflies, and Merula’s uncle is arrested for murder.

In an attempt to safeguard evidence to prove his innocence, Merula almost gets killed but for the timely interference of enigmatic Lord Raven Royston. Viewing natural history as a last resort to regain respectability lost by too many dubious business investments, Raven didn’t expect his first lecture to take a murderous turn. Feeling partially responsible because he encouraged Merula to release the gigantic butterfly from the glass case in which it was kept, Raven suggests they solve the puzzle of Lady Sophia’s sudden death together by looking closer at her relations with estranged friends, long suffering staff and the man groomed to be her heir, so close to her money and yet unable to touch any of it.

With the police looking for them, and every new discovery raising more questions than answers, especially about the murder method which left no traces of foul play on the body, Merula will have to risk her own life to get at the truth and save her uncle from the gallows in The Butterfly Conspiracy, Vivian Conroy’s enchanting series debut.

Genres: Amateur Detective, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-68331-765-4

Published by Crooked Lane Books

on 7th August, 2018

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 297

Published By: Crooked Lane Books (@crookedlanebks)

Merriweather & Royston Mysteries:

The Butterfly Conspiracy by Vivian ConroyDeath Comes to Dartmoor by Vivian Conroy

The Butterfly Conspiracy – Book One

Death Comes to Dartmoor – Book Two
← released 13th August, 2019

Available Formats: Hardback and Ebook

Converse via: #Conroy10, #CosyMystery + #Victorian
and #MerriweatherAndRoystonMysteries

About Vivian Conroy

Having spent many afternoons as a teen on the Nile with Poirot or confronting sinister spinsters in sleepy English towns with Miss Marple, it was only natural Vivian Conroy would start writing mysteries of her own.

Atmospheric descriptions, well developed characters and clever plotting made several of her cozy mysteries #1 Amazon US and Canada bestsellers in multiple categories.

Her new Victorian mystery series features a female zoologist, allowing Vivian to share her fascination with natural history, a field where in the Victorian age costly deceit, questionable experiments and extraordinary theories offer great inspiration for a mystery writer’s fertile imagination.

Besides writing, Vivian enjoys hiking, collecting stationery and trying new desserts, especially if chocolate is involved.

Due note: She is also the hostess of a wicked brilliant Twitter chat: #HistFicChat which arrives in the twitterverse every Thursday at 3p NYC (EST) and 8p UK. This is the best way to interact with fellow Historical Fiction readers and writers outside of Jorie's other beloved #HistFic quarterly chat: #HistoricalFix!

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 14 September, 2019 by jorielov in #SaturdaysAreBookish, 19th Century, Amateur Detective, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Botany, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Lady Detective Fiction, Science, the Victorian era, Zoology

#SaturdaysAreBookish | Book Review | “The Summer Guests” by Mary Alice Monroe

Posted Saturday, 22 June, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish created by Jorie in Canva.

After launching this lovely new feature of mine during [Autumn, 2018] it is a pleasure of joy to continue to bring #SaturdaysAreBookish as a compliment focus of my Twitter chat @SatBookChat. If you see the chat icon at the top of my blog (header bar) you can click over to visit with us. The complimentary showcases on my blog will reflect the diversity of stories, authors and publishers I would be featuring on the chat itself. As at the root and heart of the chat are the stories I am reading which compliment the conversations.

#SaturdaysAreBookish throughout [2019] will be featuring the Romance & Women’s Fiction authors I am discovering to read across genre and point of interest. Every Saturday will feature a different author who writes either Romance or Women’s Fiction – the stories I am reading might simply inspire the topics in the forthcoming chats or they might be directly connected to the current guest author.

I am excited about where new guests and new stories will lay down the foundation of inspiring the topics, the conversations and the bookish recommendations towards promoting Romance & Women’s Fiction. Here’s a lovely New Year full of new authors and their stories to celebrate!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: I have been hosting blog tours and reviews for Simon & Schuster off and on for nearly a year now. I’ve had the joy of discovering their stories through Contemporary and Historical narratives whilst happily finding a lot of their authors are writing the kinds of stories which keep me engaged and rooted in their narratives. Such as the Seven Sisters series by Lucinda Riley – which is why when I first saw the note about the tour for ‘The Summer Guests’, I was most curious – not just of this potentially becoming my first Monroe novel to read but because of where the story was set. I happen to love the mountainous regions of my country and this one in particular hugs close to Appalachia which happens to be the mountain range I am most familiar with due to how oft I read stories set there. It has only been in recent years I’ve exchanged the Eastern mountains for the Rockies; thus, when I learnt the setting was in Western North Carolina and centred round hurricanes, natural disasters and overcoming life’s adversities – I was quite smitten with the plot!

I received a complimentary copy of “The Summer Guests” direct from the publisher Gallery Books (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why this particular story perked an interest to read:

First and foremost, I love stories about horses, horse culture and horsemanship. I’m the girl who grew up reading about the wilds of the West, farms, ranches and cowboys because the wide open landscapes of those stories called to my spirit, to my soul. They were enriching in how families hugged close together, how life was better lived together and how if you needed some space, the wide open plains provided the best place to seek it out on a horse. The concept of being able to wake with the roosters, put on your riding clothes and hide out to chase after dawn’s first break of dawn was something that truly appealled to a girl who loved horse-back riding but wasn’t able to continue it forward into her teens and adult years. I still long for the day where I could get back on a horse and reconnect with a sport I have loved since I was quite young.

You can see this love of mine coming through Jorie Loves A Story – from the stories of Karen Rock (her Rocky Mountain Cowboys series), the limited serial Return of the Blackwell Brothers, the enduring and brilliant dramatic Catherine Ryan Hyde novel The Language of Hoofbeats and a forthcoming review by a new series of Harlequin Heartwarming entitled Reunited with the Cowboy. It is also seen in my choices of television and motion pictures – I have been passionately attached to the production of Heartland – streaming it first on Netflix for the first nine seasons and finding the tenth happily available to stream via Hallmark Movies Now. I’m hoping to stream the eleventh season if Hallmark acquires the rights to it as the series is currently in production for their 13th season.

Whilst at the same time, I also have a healthy appreciation for the mountains – Appalachia on the East and the Rockies on the West. Growing up natural disasters were as much a part of my life as they are a part of a lot of people’s lives today. There were some honest whoppers of destruction back in the ’80s and ’90s; some even set the record books before they were re-broken in the 21st Century by fiercer storms and/or worse disasters than our imaginations could have conceived. I still have shivers of anxiety just contemplating Hurricane Sandy for the folks on the Mid-Atlantic Coast! Not to mention the fires and floods of the West Coast and the persistent tornadoes of the Mid-West this Spring have re-set how we view natural disasters and how we survive them.

Finding this was a story about an eclectic group of people who not just evacuated but found themselves in a place they weren’t expecting with people they weren’t planning to connect with felt like a wicked good read. It also felt like an alternative view of what we think about most when we connect a natural disaster in our minds with the chaos we see on television. There is always much more to the ‘story’ than what the stories are revealling to us in a televised recapture of events and that is why I felt reading The Summer Guests would be a brilliant way to kick-off my #SummerReads for Women’s Fiction!

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#SaturdaysAreBookish | Book Review | “The Summer Guests” by Mary Alice MonroeThe Summer Guests
by Mary Alice Monroe
Source: Direct from Publisher

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Beach House series comes a heartwarming and evocative novel about the bonds and new beginnings that are born from natural disasters and how, even during the worst of circumstances—or perhaps because of them—we discover what is most important in life.

Late August is a beautiful time on the Southern coast—the peach trees are ripe, the ocean is warm, and the sweet tea is icy. A perfect time to enjoy the rocking chairs on the porch. But beneath the calm surface bubbles a threat: it’s also peak hurricane season.

When a hurricane threatens the coasts of Florida and South Carolina, an eclectic group of evacuees flees for the farm of their friends Grace and Charles Phillips in North Carolina: the Phillips’s daughter Moira and her rescue dogs, famed equestrian Javier Angel de la Cruz, makeup artist Hannah McLain, horse breeder Gerda Klug and her daughter Elise, and island resident Cara Rutledge. They bring with them only the few treasured possessions they can fit in their vehicles. Strangers to all but the Phillips, they must ride out the storm together.

During the course of one of the most challenging weeks of their lives, relationships are put to the test as the evacuees are forced to confront the unresolved issues they have with themselves and with each other. But as the storm passes, they realize that what really matters isn’t what they brought with them to the mountains. Rather, it’s what they’ll take with them once they leave.

With Mary Alice Monroe’s “usual resplendent storytelling” (Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author), The Summer Guests is a poignant and compelling story of self-discovery, love, and redemption.

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Women's Fiction


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ISBN: 9781501193620

Setting: Western (Mountains) of North Carolina


Published by Gallery Books

on 11th June, 2019

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 368

Published By: Gallery Books ()
(an imprint of Simon & Schuster )

Formats Available: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #TheSummerGuests, #SummerReads and #SaturdaysAreBookish

About Mary Alice Monroe

Mary Alice Monroe Photo Credit Mic Smith Photography

Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books, including the Beach House series: The Beach House, Beach House Memories, Swimming Lessons, Beach House for Rent, and Beach House Reunion.

She is a 2018 Inductee into the South Carolina Academy of Authors’ Hall of Fame, and her books have received numerous awards, including the 2008 South Carolina Center for the Book Award for Writing, the 2014 South Carolina Award for Literary Excellence, the 2015 SW Florida Author of Distinction Award, the RT Lifetime Achievement Award, the International Book Award for Green Fiction, and the 2017 Southern Book Prize for Fiction.

Her bestselling novel The Beach House is also a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. An active conservationist, she lives in the lowcountry of South Carolina.

Photo Credit: Mic Smith Photography

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Posted Saturday, 22 June, 2019 by jorielov in #SaturdaysAreBookish, 21st Century, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Fly in the Ointment, Horse Drama & Fiction, Latter-life Adventures, Life Shift, Low Country South Carolina, Meteorology, Modern Day, Natural Disasters & Catastrophic Events, Non-traditional characters, North Carolina, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Rescue & Adoption of Animals, Simon & Schuster, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Vulgarity in Literature, Western North Carolina Mountains, Women of a Certain Age, Women's Fiction