Category: Book Spotlight & Announcement

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

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

Stories Sailing into View Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

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

Charton Minster : a series, a towne and a house

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

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

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

-quoted from my review of The Silver Locket

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

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

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

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

-quoted from my review of The Golden Chain

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

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

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

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

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

-quoted from my review of The Penny Bangle

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

Cover Reveal | NEW #ChocLit #RomCom by Jane Lovering “Little Teashop of Horrors”!

Posted Tuesday, 28 March, 2017 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Stories Sailing into View Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

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

You may or may not realise how quirky my humour is by what you’ve previously read here on Jorie Loves A Story, as comedy is not something I always focus on nor is it easy for me to find contemporary favourites in the comedic world. For instance, it might surprise you to learn Mum and I sometimes find ourselves caught up in comedies that might be considered ‘outside our comfort zones’ and far to the outside of where we regularly travel in the world of comedy! A prime example of this would be the film ‘So I Married an Axe Murderer’ and our ill-fated attempt to watch ‘The Little Shop of Horrors’.

More recently we have dipped into the Contemporary comedies on television which have garnished a following for those of us who appreciate quirky humour, dashes of romance and a slightly dysfunctional view on family life such as: Schitt’s Creek (from Canada) and Grace and Frankie (from Netflix). Of these two, the first one lost it’s luster in Series 3 where the timing and writing were so far off the mark of the original two series, we stopped laughing + watching outright. Similar to how the first series of Younger had a plausible reason for being watched (especially for anyone who is caught up in the world of books and publishing!) but by the sophomore year, they quashed the joy so distinctively it was hard to remember what was good about it! (similar to why ‘Last Tango in Halifax’ was let go of as well before the end of series two!) Now, the third series mentioned is on that fringe state of losing it’s ‘quirkified style’ and merit of being wicked funny.

Reason being — despite all of these being slightly blunt around the proverbial edge to include vulgarity* in more sprites and frequency than what I would accept in novels — at the core of the series themselves, there was a lifeblood of realistic drama, cunning dialogue and a soulfulness of relating to the human condition whilst life is being evolved in ordinary hours. They might be billed as comedies, but somewhere the lines blurred and were more dramedies than comedies. Yet. They all had their quirks – to understand properly what I’m referencing you’d have to borrow the seasonals like I did or pop over to Netflix for a trial go at membership! lol (if you want to catch the first three seasons of Grace and Frankie)

*I would of course love to see them temper the inclusions but that’s wishful thinking on my behalf! Sometimes I like to see what others’ are watching in order to ‘keep in step’ with my contemporaries but also choosing what works for me at the same time. I’d rather not have a blind eye but an informed eye. Sometimes I make exceptions to understand my peers and sometimes what I ‘try’ for awhile fades into the background of a ‘miss’ but something that was briefly appreciated.

Now, why do I like quirky humour!? To say life is far too serious and jarring IRL is too obvious to state; but to clarify that I’ve always had a quirky funnybone is more readily the point! You see, I was in middle school when I met ‘Beetlejuice’ as much as I was entralled with the Addams Family; not to mention the Munsters! There are classics in comedy and there are ground-breakers like Carol Burnett who redefined how sophisticated you can make comedy even if it’s fully on the level of ‘quirk’. I might dip inside well-known shows for a spell, but my personal favourites tend to be more traditionally writ and/or have something inside them that proves timeless (such as Carol Burnett or Dick Van Dyke).

On the flipside, the drama ‘Monarch of the Glen’ falls inside a lovingly brilliant dramedy where Highland life in Scotland with a cleverly writ dysfunctional family is fully engaging round a story-line of where one son endeavours to bail out a failing Scottish Castle and mindfully embrace the quirky family he’s a part of in the process! I loved every inch of that zany comedic series – even when it turnt quite emotionally jarring!

When it comes to the comedy of Ms Lovering, I am a bit in the ‘dark’ so to speak. I do not know how she flavours her stories (by language choices) or how she adds layers of quirky situation comedy to her characters’ lives, but one thing is for sure – I think I have an inside glimpse at what could be involved as I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with her during #ChocLitSaturday! (see also @ChocLitSaturday for chat updates) During the chats she was able to duck inside were the ones I laughed so hard I nearly split a kidney as they say! Her cheeky and insightful humour never fails to leave me in stitches of joy, and I have a feeling I’ll feel the same about her fiction!

Of course, mind you, one of the joys of featuring this ‘cover reveal’ today is not only my participation as a ChocLit Star but as a second entry of blogging about Ms Lovering’s fiction! I’ve been wanting to duck into her comedies – but as the Yorkshire series is full-on established, I never knew which book to begin with or when to enter it properly! I know her stories are one-offs as much as they are part of a threading of a series, but I sometimes am shy about how to start series. My general intent is to start at the beginnings, but I’ve broken that tradition several times for different reasons, so it’s not a strict hard fast rule if series like this are not traditionally anchoured round each story continuing the previous installment.

FYI: I have a secret of my own right now about how I’ve resolved this curiosity of mine but today, we are celebrating her latest release! You might remember me hosting her Reveal for ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ last May!? (see also this post!)

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On my connection to the author:

I happily have had the pleasure of interacting with Ms Lovering through #ChocLitSaturday the chat off/on for the past three years; up until when she had to take a hiatus from joining us Autumn 2015 or thereabouts. I am always thankful when the ChocLit authors can find a niche where they feel comfortable chattering with fellow ChocLit authors, Romance novelists, book bloggers, readers, and other bookishly chatty spirits who alight on Saturdays! Ms Lovering always knows how best to give us a heap of laughter, a wicked good smile and happily make #ChocLitSaturday a lovely place to be!

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with her ahead of reading her novels. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time. This is also true when I follow-up with them on future releases and celebrate the book birthdays that come after their initial publication.

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Posted Tuesday, 28 March, 2017 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Cover Reveal, Book Spotlight & Announcement, ChocLitUK, Contemporary Romance, Indie Author, Modern Day, Romance Fiction, Romantic Comedy

Cover Reveal w/ Extract and Notes! | “Solomon’s Bell: No.2 of Genie Chronicles” by Michelle Lowery Combs; a new YA Fantasy novel published by #IndiePub World Weaver Press!

Posted Thursday, 12 January, 2017 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

Stories Sailing into View Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

I must admit, I had such a wicked sweet time residing inside the world of Helene Wecker’s epic saga involving a Jinn and Golem, I was quite hopeful (long before now!) I might have been able to dig inside a few more since that fateful day I brought home her debut novel from my local library. The irony of course will not be lost on devout readers and bibliophiles alike who are now earnestly blogging their readerly lives (such as I am) when I state it took me until ‘now’ to find the proper time to give to another story of the Jinn – the very last year all of us are awaiting the sequel by Wecker! One thing I will say, it’s better late than never!

When it comes to world-building in a Young Adult novel, I am quite particular about what I’m seeking out (if my latest YA review can clue you in a bit) as I like to feel as if I’ve properly been transported ‘elsewhere’ to such a degree of certainty – the experience knits itself into your mind’s eye and extends itself into your permanent memories. Because stories which give us that curious stretch of imaginative blissitude allow us the smallest of joys to step into the threshold of someone elses shoes and live their life for a spell!

I find myself drawn more into epic sagas & layered world-buildings in Fantasy; I have recently (er, since I’ve been a book blogger) found I lean more towards Science Fiction or Sci-Fantasy releases but at the heart of what I love most are Magical Realism stories alongside a fairy-tale re-telling, a legend of lore or an Epic Fantasy that simply carts you off into the depth of a novel that is so wickedly long in length you might need a month or so to fully invest yourself into it’s folds. (herein I am hinting towards my soon-to-be shared readings of “A Turn of Light”; writ by a favourite Sci-Fi author of mine: Ms Czerneda)

My appreciation of genies truly goes back to the infamous television series – where an astronaut and a genie fall in love whilst trying to ‘fit & blend into contemporary life’ – to such great folly you cannot help but laugh along with the characters or feel their misery when things go terribly wrong! Since then, I try to turn my eye towards literature and root out stories of the Jinn (and nowadays golems) which have the depth of journey and an honest world built out of their legends where story-crafters entreat to take us.

Thus, when I heard there was a sequel to “Heir to the Lamp”, I knew it was time to put aside my readings of Ms Parrish’s delish anthologies and hold off on the murderous kitchen novella, to see how Ms Combs has chosen to alight us inside her world! I am featuring this ‘early preview’ ahead of my readings of the stories themselves as a precursor to the readings & reviews which are following lateron this month. I am also hoping to put together an author guest feature which I hope you all shall enjoy, too!

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Posted Thursday, 12 January, 2017 by jorielov in Ancient Civilisation, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Blogs I Regularly Read, Book Cover Reveal, Book Spotlight & Announcement, Bookish Discussions, Doing Dewey, Equality In Literature, Folklore, Folklore and Mythology, Futuristic Fantasy, Indie Author, Magical Realism, Speculative Fiction, Travelling with T, World Weaver Press, Young Adult Fiction

SFN Guest Post | Julie E. Czerneda introduces her Web Shifters series which is blessedly quirky with a heap of sci-fi quirks! #RRSciFiMonth

Posted Tuesday, 15 November, 2016 by jorielov , , , , , 2 Comments

Guest Contributor and/or Reviewer of JLAS banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Welcome everyone who is following the wicked joy of Sci Fi November courtesy of #RRSciFiMonth, this lovely November! Today, I have a special guest for you to introduce you to her newly re-released Web Shifters series Ms Julie E. Czerneda! Last November, I was introduced to the series which I happily continued reading at the end of this Summer: The Clan Chronicles. This time around, her quirky and delightful series focusing on those interesting “Quebits” is the focus of the hour today!

I haven’t read this particular series, as I am starting her Fantasy series which begins with A turn of Light. The interesting part about this particular series is how much it reminded me of why I loved reading A Wrinkle in Time and Flatland due to how dimensional space and the proponents of a person’s biometrics and biomass can be altered or affected by proportional controls! It sounds rivetingly quirky with a new lead character who has her own issues to work through whilst giving us a unique perspective of her world in the process!

I am delighted to bring several excerpts from the novels today along with a companion piece by the author who explains the heart of the Web Shifters series to each of you! If this is your first time hearing of the author or if your a lover of her collective works, I look forward to hearing your commentary after you’ve read the guest feature!

On a personal note, I am *loving!* the artwork all over again by Mr Royo!

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Concerning Quebits

by Julie E. Czerneda

Creating aliens is fun. When it comes to my Web Shifters series? It’s hilarity. These books and short stories are such a treat to write, I consider them my vacation.

Some of you are familiar with the main character: Esen-alit-Quar, Esen between friends, Es in a hurry. The semi-immortal blue blob of goodness who, with diligent effort, can alter her physical structure into that of another sentient species’. Unless or until she blows up from stress. Which happens.

Before then, Esen grants me—and readers—a singular perspective: the alien from the inside-out. Her inner self remains constant and true, you see, but she’s different. Different senses. Different patterns of thinking, ways of feeling. New appetites and even esthetics. Manners or lack of—all right in the open where she must struggle and we get to chuckle, as often as not.

(I love my life. And Esen’s.)

Many know the effort I put into my alien and world-building. In fact, most of the weirder alien senses and behaviours Esen has to deal with come straight from real life biology. I collect every strange but true bit I can find, just for her.

That said, not all my alien-building starts with the same rigour. Far from it. For #RRSciFiMonth, I invite you to journey back with me to a time when I’d sold my first novel, and was writing the second.

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Posted Tuesday, 15 November, 2016 by jorielov in Author Guest Post (their topic), Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Spotlight & Announcement, Sci-Fi November, Science Fiction