Category: Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction

#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!

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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.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781501193620

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


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 & Reviewer, 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, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Vulgarity in Literature, Western North Carolina Mountains, Women of a Certain Age, Women's Fiction

#MyYASummer Book Review | “Summer by Summer” by Heather Burch | #ReadingIsBeautiful No.2 (part of #YASRC 2015)

Posted Friday, 21 June, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#ReadingISBeautiful Summer YA Reading Challenge by BookSparks

I had fully intended to read my #ReadingIsBeautiful selections hugged closer to the months when the books were meant to be reviewed (Summer of 2015), however, those of whom have caught my posts relating to circumstances which wicked out hours and derailed my attempts to read along with the rest of the book bloggers who took up the same challenge are already in the loop realising my readings of these stories will come quite a bit later than planned (by a few years).

To recap the events for those who are visiting me for the first time,
please direct your attention to the following posts:

You can read a fuller disclosure of my readings of these novels on my review for “Vote for Remy” in the top anchour section of the post.This marks my six review overall spilt between #SRC2015,#ReadingIsBeautiful (the YA selections) and #FRC2015, however, it is the fifth Summer Reading Challenge selection I am reading.

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

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

Acquired Book By: I originally found BookSparks PR Spring 2014, when I came upon the Summer Reading Challenge a bit too late in the game. I hadn’t forgotten about it, and was going to re-contact them (in Spring 2015) to see if I could join the challenge in 2015 instead. Coincidentally, before I sorted this out, I was contacted by one of their publicists about Linda Lafferty’s Renaissance historical novel, “The Shepherdess of Siena”. 

I started to participate in #SRC2015 during Summer 2015 until lightning storms quickly overtook my life and the hours I could give to the reading challenge. Summer ended hard and with a newfound resolve to pick up where I had left off, I posted as many reviews on behalf of BookSparks blog tours and/or the three reading challenges I had committed myself to participate inside (i.e. #SRC2015, #ReadingIsBeautiful (YA version), and #FRC2015).

I am unsure if I can resume hosting with BookSparks once my backlogue is erased, however, my main motivation in resuming where I left off was to ‘meet the stories’ even if my days of being a blogger with BookSparks ended the day I couldn’t keep up with the reviews when life interrupted my postings. I continue to hope as my reviews arrive on my blog the authors and the publisher(s) will forgive my delays. Life kept interfering with my plans to read these novels – in late 2016 my Dad had his stroke, 2017 marked his year of recovery and in 2018 I had ten months of health afflictions. I simply didn’t have a lot of time to re-attach into the stories despite re-attempting to read them off/on for the past few years.

I received a complimentary copy of “Summer by Summer” by BookSparks. By participating in the #SRC2015 – this is the YA version of that 2015 challenge called #ReadingIsBeautiful – I am reading the novels in exchange for my honest reviews; whether I am receiving a complimentary copy or borrowing them through my local library. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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My selection process for #sRC2015 + #Yasrc directly:

I made four selections for the #YASRC challenge – they were spilt rather evenly between Fantasy and Contemporary YA, as I made two selections for each genre. The interesting bit is that I hadn’t realised Summer by Summer was a Clean Reads selection for young adult (or adult) readers who are seeking a gentler side of YA. One of my personal contentions for reading YA as an adult reader and as a Prospective Adoptive Mum in the future, is how adult YA is becoming. Meaning, it is hard to find YA written for a true young adult reader – wherein, there isn’t strong language or overtly graphic violence. Whenever I find stories of YA which have vulgarity inclusive to their narratives, I either mention it directly on my reviews, find those stories to be DNF’d and/or they fall into what I place as a category for Upper YA due to the rather adult situations, strong language and/or other inclusive depictions of life I’d categorise as being nearly ‘outside the YA genre’ altogether.

What is beautiful about accidentally finding Blink YA Books is that this is a publisher who is striving towards keeping YA “YA” by the definitions that I appreciate myself for the genre! You can read more about how they’re doing this on their Info Page about their publishing practices. I personally can’t wait to read more stories by them as a result!

Especially as I’m an active reader of YA (and Middle Grade stories) inasmuch as the fact I’m a hybrid reader who moves between mainstream and INSPY markets. It is an uplift of joy to realise there are publishers out there who get why a lot of us like YA for what it can give not just young adult readers but for adults like myself who have re-discovered the beauty of YA Reads (hence why #iReadYA is a lovely tag, too) for the joyfulness of reconnecting with a part of our readerly lives we still love to discover today as older adults. Secondly, as a future parent I am also mindful of the stories I’d like to encourage my children to read themselves and as a book blogger I’ve been able to garnish a list of stories I would feel comfortable allowing them to read.

The reason I did select Summer by Summer was due to the premise involving a nanny on vacation to South America. I love stories involving nannies and au pairs – not just in fiction but in films, such as the Gregory Harrison Au Pair series of films on the previously known Fox Family Channel starring opposite Heidi Noelle Lenhart. Each Summer since 2015 I’ve been striving to focus on this novel and I can’t even count how many times its been prominently featured on my bookshelf or compiled into my #SummerReads selections for each of those Summers. For whichever reason, it remained a firmative fixture of my backlogue of Reviews until this Summer, 2019.

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

Summer by Summer Book Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com. Photo edits and collage created in Canva.

Summer by Summer
by Heather Burch
Source: Publicist via BookSparks

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780310729631

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), New Adult Fiction, Upper YA Fiction, Young Adult Fiction


Published by Blink YA Books

on 7th April, 2015

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 288

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Listen to the synopsis as shared by the author:

Published By: Blink (@BlinkYABooks)
an imprint of HarperCollins Focus

Note on classification of genre: Although this was marketed for YA audiences, I felt upon reading the synopsis again for the first time in a few years combined with the context of the opening bridge of the novel – this felt like it fits better within the branch of Upper YA and/or New Adult. Especially considering Summer isn’t a young teenager – she’s employed as a nanny, a young woman who started the job as an eighteen year old and soon celebrated her nineteenth birthday.

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #SummerbySummer & #ReadingIsBeautiful + #YASRC

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 21 June, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Agnostic (Questioning & Searching or Unsure), Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Christianity, Coming-Of Age, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Mental Health, Modern Day, Mother-Son Relationships, New Adult Fiction, Post-911 (11th September 2001), PTSD, Realistic Fiction, South America, Suspense, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Upper YA Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

#ADayeAMonth | Book Review of “Rosemary & Rue” (book one: October Daye series) by Seanin McGuire

Posted Saturday, 8 June, 2019 by jorielov , , , 7 Comments

#ADayeAMonth Book Review banner created by Jorie. Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Tim Mossholder (Creative Commons Zero)

Co-host | @FoxesFairyTale | Discussion *threads for Twitter

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Borrowed Book By: I’ve been consistantly borrowing “Rosemary & Rue” either through my local library and/or through ILL (inter-library loan) since January, 2019. I can’t even begin to remember how many times I’ve had a paperback copy of this novel on my shelf “to be read” – wherein, during January I only managed to read the first four or five chapters before my migraines disrupted my readings. I finally had a chance to extend my last local borrow of this novel until the 10th of June – re-reading those initial chapters starting on the 4th of June and thankfully being able to complete my readings of the novel before it was due back [again!].

I was not obligated to post a review in conjunction with this readalong however similar to my joy of sharing my ruminative thoughts on behalf of the #smallangryplanet RAL I participated in November, 2018 – I decided to blog my thoughts as I move through the October Daye series. Ironically, both of these series were not ones I might have picked to read myself and am thankful for the RALs and my two co-hosts (ie. Lisa @deargeekplace for #smallangryplanet + Lou @foxesfairytale) for encouraging me to take a full step outside my zones of comfort to embrace these series. I am sharing my honest reactions whilst I read “Rosemary and Rue” which was able to be done was I borrowed the well-read paperback copy from my local library system. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I decided to read #OctoberDaye:

Strictly speaking, my love of Urban Fantasy is the key reason I agreed to read the October Daye series combined with the fact I stumbled across the series on my own not that long ago but never actually picked up the series to read. I am uncertain if it was because I was still considering whether or not this series was actually #notmycuppa or just slightly on the upper tier of a series I could get invested into is uncertain. All I knew is when Louise pitched the idea via Twitter to host this readalong in the New Year, I felt ‘why on earth not?’

I’ve taken a lot of chances on the books I am reading – either by suggestion and/or personal wanderings within sub-niches of beloved genres or new extensions of genres I’ve previously not had the joy of sorting out if I would appreciate them or just avoid like the plaugue. Either way, I knew October Daye might either a) become a challenging read for me OR b) become a series I would really feel connected inside and for whichever reason get a wicked lot of #bookJOY out of particpating in this randomly inspired RAL for 2019.

The only downside is I never realised how LONG it would take me to actually OPEN the book (ie. the first book, mind!) and get myself firmly settled into Toby’s world. #neversawthatcoming! Secondly, the other angst in my umbrella was the fact I couldn’t contribute to the Qs for the discussion *threads Louise was kindly assembling for us and my distance in the DM convo which has been evolving through the series since we became the ragtag team of readers discussing this Urban Fantasy has been quite impressively *active!* whilst I’ve been hanging in the margins of it for far, far too long.

This Summer – rather than re-queue an attempt to devour #20BooksOfSummer because the two years I had an #epicfail of that was not enough to dissway my re-attempt at the challenge – I decided this Summer 2019, I’d rather focus on a few other things such as a) #ADayAMonth RAL, b) #ReadingValdemar RAL, c) my extensive backlogue of reviews and d) devouring a bit of my #SpooktasticReads #WyrdAndWonder choices ahead of October as a precursor of having some of those featured in the opening days of the event rather than falling further behind like I had this past May. Ooh, and did I mention JUNE is #AudiobookMonth!? No. Hmm. How did I forget THAT?!

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Rosemary and Rue Book Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com. Photo edits and collage created in Canva.

Rosemary and Rue
Subtitle: An October Daye novel
by Seanan McGuire
Source: Borrowed from local library

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0756405717

Genres: Dark Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Paranormal Urban Fantasy, Urban Fantasy


Published by DAW Books

on 1st September, 2009

Format: Mass Market Paperback

Pages: 368

 Published By: DAW Books (@DAWBooks)
an imprint of Penguin Group USA

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The stories #JorieReads this Summer
for the #ADayeAMonth readalong:

#ADayeAMonth banner created by Jorie. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer JR Korpa

Book One: Rosemary & Rue | (see also Lou’s Review)
Book Two: A Local Habitation
Book Three: An Artifical Night
Book Four: Late Eclipses | (see 3x mini Lou’s Reviews)
Book Five: One Salt Sea
Book Six: Ashes of Honour
Book Seven: Chimes at Midnight
Book Eight: The Winter Long

Legend: (avail via ILL) + (avail via local library)
+ (after book five OR eight I’ll rejoin the RAL group)

(*) as unsure as I am about how quickly I can get the missing books I need to be reading in order to ‘catch’ my group as their reading Six (June), Seven (July) and Eight (August) – I decided to plan ahead to where I’d either be right as rain by the end of whichever month this Summer I am able to get all the books I need through the borrowing routes I have available to me.

Formats Available: Hardback, Audiobook, Ebook and Mass Market

Converse via: #ADayeAMonth (this RAL) + #OctoberDaye (the series)

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 8 June, 2019 by jorielov in Book Review (non-blog tour), Cats and Kittens, Crime Fiction, Dark Fantasy, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Faeries & the Fey, Fairy Tale Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Folklore and Mythology, Immortals, Shapeshifters, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Suspense, Urban Fantasy, Urban Life, Vulgarity in Literature