Category: Blog Tour Host

Blog Book Tour | “Solstice Shadows” (VanOps Series, Book Two) by Avanti Centrae also featuring the audiobook courtesy of #NetGalley!

Posted Wednesday, 12 August, 2020 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: This is marks my first blog tour I’ve hosted for Random Things Tours as a new book blogger working with them to either review and/or host guest author features on behalf of their authors. I was thankful to join their book blogger team and look forward to joining the tours which are highlighting the stories I actively enjoy reading and discovering.

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 “Solstice Shadows” direct from the publisher Thunder Creek Press 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 also received a complimentary ARC copy of “Solstice Shadows” direct from the author Avanti Centrae in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein on either the complimentary ARC edition of this novel nor the NetGalley audiobook edition.

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On how I came to have this in both print and audiobook:

I have chronic migraines and the interesting thing about chronic migraines is how they can sometimes rob you of your short-term memory! In this particular case, I was excited to start requesting audiobooks via NetGalley. I had already confirmed a print copy of this novel was available for review on the blog tour which I celebrated as I knew this won’t always be the case as their not always available to request. I knew this series had a first novel ahead of “Solstice Shadows” and I was hopeful I could have found a copy of the first novel ahead of reading this sequel but my efforts were a bit in vain as I had two severe migraines back to back in mid-to-late July. And, this is around the time NetGalley was starting to offer their audiobooks for review.

I am a new member of NetGalley this year as previously I could not participate as the only editions they offered were ebooks which I cannot read per the aforementioned migraines. As I was browsing the audiobooks available, I noticed the author’s name for this audiobook was the same for an upcoming blog tour except I mistook the names of the titles in the series and ended up requesting the audiobook for “Solstice Shadows” which is the same book I received for review via an ARC for the blog tour. I was a bit mystified about how I made that error and mistake as it was a first for me to confuse the books in a series and which I was receiving for a blog tour. I consider that was owed to the dual migraines and the severity in which they were afflicting me.

However, this became the first audiobook I listened to via NetGalley and was able to review shortly after receiving it and for that I was grateful for the experience. Also, as I have had such a slow shift back into reading this past week – whilst reading “Magnolia Storms” (see also Review) and “Josette” (see also Review), I appreciated having the audiobook to listen to as I was reading the print copy of “Solstice Shadows” as it helped me work through the last fragments of a third migraine which afflicted me this past weekend.

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On why this novel appealled to me to read and listen via the audiobook:

It is a bit of a luxury to have a book in hand whilst I’m listening to an audiobook of the same book – as generally I colour as I’m listening to audiobooks to better help me ‘tune into the narrator’s voice’ however, there are times where I’ve been blessed to have both the book and the audiobook – this particular time round, I wasn’t expecting to have the audiobook which became an unexpected blessing. What drew me into the novel itself though – aside from the fact I overlooked not being able to read or listen to the first novel in the series (as I couldn’t source a copy from either my libraries and/or Scribd until it was too late to listen to “The Lost Power” – which is currently available on audiobook via Scribd) is the fact this is a Contemporary Thriller.

I’ve been reading Technothrillers and Contemporary Thrillers for a long while – in fact, I have the tendency of either reading them and/or seeing them on film or through a tv series. I still remember what it was like to see “Sneakers” for the first time starring Robert Redford (at the time of release!). This has been compared to Indiana Jones and by extension I would believe it might suit audiences of Lara Croft – though for me, Croft is Angelina Jolie’s role as she owned it so dearly well. Plus the only Dr Jones for me is Harrison Ford. Those were the nudges of what the story would be about prior to reading and listening to Solstice Shadows and why I was drawn into the premise.

After reading and hearing Tim Campbell narrate the story I can summarise the book in this way:

As the story begins on the premise of supercomputers and super conductors, a vague memory came back to me about this as I have read and seen other stories which talk about this part of technology. It is intriguing in some ways as it involves quantum computing on a superspeed level of accuracy and computation. Generally I enjoy reading about Quantum Physics, Quantum Mechanics and Supersymmetry – as it applies to AstroPhysics and beyond – however, when it comes to supercomputers and the speed in which information is both processed and assessed and then used by those who are behind the computer(s) themselves leads into a very cunningly thesis on how far afield technology is leading us and how much of ourselves and our privacy might be put into questionable risk therein.

Yet, instead of feeling invested in the pursuit of this technology, I spent my time trying to sort out the characters and the overall scope of the story instead. There are a lot of information dumps in this novel where you feel like there is a reason you’re being shown all of these scenes but they don’t quite interconnect the way I’d had hoped they would. I was left with more questions than answers and somewhere in the mix, I started to lose traction with the overall plot and the reason I first thought this might sound interesting to read.

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Blog Book Tour | “Solstice Shadows” (VanOps Series, Book Two) by Avanti Centrae also featuring the audiobook courtesy of #NetGalley!Solstice Shadows
Subtitle: A VanOps Thriller
by Avanti Centrae
Source: Audiobook Direct from Publisher via NetGalley, Direct from Author via Random Things Tours
Narrator: Tim Campbell

DA VINCI CODE meets TOMB RAIDER in this multi-award-winning thriller series.

A computer-app designer. An encrypted relic. Can she decipher the dangerous code before extremists trigger a high-tech apocalypse?

Software expert Maddy Marshall isn't sure she's ready for a hazardous role in black ops. But when an armed Russian thief makes off with a rare ancient star chart, the aikido black belt has no choice but to join her VanOps boyfriend and twin brother in the pursuit. If her royal Spanish family legends are true, the chart leads to a superconductive treasure trove capable of powering a quantum computer used as the ultimate instrument of global destruction.

Setting off on a mad dash to uncover the secrets of a Mexican archeoastronomy site, she and the VanOps team unearth a clue dating back to biblical times. But as they race across the globe to the Sahara, Turkey, and Egypt, they find themselves only a half-step ahead of sinister assassins.

Before millions die at the hands of an anti-American Russian government, can Maddy crack the secret code?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on NetGalley

ISBN: 978-1-7349662-2-0

Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Thriller


Published by Thunder Creek Press

on 11th August, 2020

Format: Audiobook | Digital Review Copy (NetGalley), Paperback ARC

Pages: 404

Length: 9 hours and 28 minutes and 25 seconds (unabridged)

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The VanOps Series:

SOLSTICE SHADOWS is the second book in the fast-paced, multi-award-winning VanOps thriller series. If you enjoy smart edge-of-your-seat suspense such as James Rollins THE LAST ODYSSEY, the Sean Wyatt series by Ernest Dempsey, the NOWHERE MAN by Gregg Hurwitz, ORIGIN by Dan Brown, Steve Berry’s Cotton Malone series, the Atlee Pine series by David Baldacci, or THE ORACLE by Clive Cussler, you’ll stay up late turning the pages of Avanti Centrae’s high-stakes novel.

VANOPS: THE LOST POWER was an instant Barnes and Noble best seller. A rare multi-award-winning novel, it took home a genre grand prize blue ribbon at the 2017 Chanticleer International Book Awards, an Honorable Mention at the 2018 Hollywood Book Festival, and a shiny bronze medal at the 2019 Wishing Shelf Book Awards.

The Lost Power (book one)

Solstice Shadows (book two)

Published by: Thunder Creek Press

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #Contemporary #Thriller as well as #VanOps and #SolsticeShadows

About Avanti Centrae

Avanti Centrae

International award-winning author who blends intrigue, history, science, and mystery into non-stop action thrillers.

Avanti Centrae is the author of the international multi-award-winning VANOPS thriller series. An instant #1 Barnes and Noble Nook bestseller, THE LOST POWER took home a genre grand prize ribbon at the Chanticleer International Book Awards, a shiny bronze medal at the Wishing Shelf Awards, and an Honorable Mention at the Hollywood Book Festival. Her father served as a U.S. marine corporal in Okinawa, gathering military intelligence during the first decade after the Korean War. Her work has been compared to that of James Rollins, Steve Berry, Dan Brown, and Clive Cussler. She resides in Northern California with her family and German shepherds.

Visit the author's website - First six chapters FREE!
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Posted Wednesday, 12 August, 2020 by jorielov in 21st Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Adoption, ARC | Galley Copy, Audiobook, Blog Tour Host, Book Spotlight, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, Brothers and Sisters, Contemporary Thriller, Content Note, Equality In Literature, Espionage, Fly in the Ointment, Foster Care, Indie Author, Men's Fiction, Modern Day, Motherhood | Parenthood, Random Things Tours, Siblings, Spy Fiction, Vulgarity in Literature

#RomanceTuesdays | feat. #LoveInspired author Tina Radcliffe’s “Ready to Trust” (Hearts of Oklahoma series, Book Two)

Posted Tuesday, 11 August, 2020 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

#RomanceTuesdays badge created by Jorie in Canva.

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. This is how I came to love discovering the Harlequin Heartwarming authors & series as much as it has been an honour to regularly request INSPY stories and authors. Whenever I host for Prism, I know I am in for an uplifting read and a journey into the stories which give me a lot of joy to find in my readerly queue of #nextreads. It is an honour to be a part of their team of book bloggers.

I received a complimentary copy of “Ready to Trust” direct from the author Tina Radcliffe in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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How I originally crossed paths with Ms Radcliffe:

Before I became a book blogger seven years ago in [2013] – I was an avid reader of bookish blogs specifically group author blogs like Heroes, Heroines & History and Seekerville; the latter was focused more on the process of writing and getting published as each of the authors featured on Seekerville originally were in their season of finding publication whereas HHH’s blog was devouted to authors who were either publishing for the first time or were established in their respective genres of INSPY Fiction.

This goes back to at least a full year before the end of March, 2013 when I developed Jorie Loves A Story as I would regularly converse with authors who are today’s well-known Christian Fiction authors across publishers and outlets of the pub world. Quite a few of those authors I was engaged with during my blog hops and commentary are authors who are still on my TBR List!! I even have a list of #nextreads featuring INSPY Authors on my 70 Author’s Challenge whilst each New Year, I hope to draw closer to reading each of the authors I originally sought out to read as a blog commenter ahead of becoming a book blogger myself!

I haven’t quite managed to accomplish this goal – mostly as my book buying budget is quite a humble one and I rely more readily on my subscription to Scribd (for audiobooks) and my local libraries (and their inter-library loan services when those are active; pre-Covid-19!) to help encourage my bookish wanderings! I also sometimes find Love Inspired novels via library used bookstores and/or second hand shoppes as well which can stretch everyone’s book buying budget whilst giving these stories more love from readers who desire to read them!

How I remember all the authors I’ve crossed paths with over the years online is a wonderment even to me – even though I do have quite a hefty photographic memory – I’ll admit, being a migraineur (one who suffers from chronic migraines) and has dealt with clustering migraines and more supernova migraines than ought to be possible – my memory does take a few hits along the way. However, when it comes to authors & their stories – I seem to be a bit blessed in the regard that I do *remember!* which of them I want to seek out to read and/or whilst browsing shelves with books on them, I’ll readily comment to Mum whose with me looking for books for herself as well – (as we share similar interests, including my aforementioned love & admiration for Love Inspired as our guilty pleasure are the Suspense novels of this imprint) is how I know ‘such and such’ author via this blog or this online website or through this interview or however which our paths crossed online – including Twitter!

Thus – over the years since I first started talking to Ms Radcliffe and the other authors who truly gave me a lot of joy to interact with at the time our paths first crossed – (as I’ll admit, my increasing frequency of migraines restricted my blog visits and/or my participation in Twitter chats over the years to either an erratic blog hopping holiday or a reduction in chats) whenever I find their books in the ‘wild’ wherever that may be I remind myself “one day I shall bring those stories home!”

Imagine my joy as a book blogger being given the chance to jump start those future readings when one of those authors comes along in a blog tour?! I was wicked happy I saw this blog tour was available for readers of stories in print and I couldn’t wait to read my first ‘Tina Radcliffe’ novel!! It is also nice to be able to champion and celebrate an author who gave me so much personal joy as a blog commenter & visitor on my own blog Jorie Loves A Story. Somehow it feels like moments like this one are ways in which I can re-give the joy and pass forward the goodwill her and others gave to me all those years ago.

And, seven is such a good & strong number – it feels fitting I’m featuring her during my seventh year as I also plan to read & showcase another Seekerville author during my 7th Year as well (er, I should say Seekerville alum!) Julie Lessman whose going to be part of my #blogmas plans this year! Ms Radcliffe and Ms Lessman both left Seekerville in [2017] which is one of the last times I was trying to get more active in reading the Seekerville blog.

The only goof I made was thinking this was the first in the series and I didn’t have a chance to see if I could find a copy of “Finding the Road Home” – however, I didn’t let that worry me as Love Inspired & Harlequin Heartwarming authors share the same grace in giving their serial readers a chance to ‘settle into their series’ without feeling we’ve missed out on anything in the prior installments. Mind you, my preference is read all series in order (or backread them if I’ve started out of sequence) but for now, I’m happily content in reading my first novel by an author I’ve wanted to read for seven years! Which is why I thank my blessings I found Prism Book Tours who’ve helped me find authors to read through both imprints of Harlequin!

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#RomanceTuesdays | feat. #LoveInspired author Tina Radcliffe’s “Ready to Trust” (Hearts of Oklahoma series, Book Two)Ready to Trust
Subtitle: Proving he's a changed man could be his biggest challenge yet.
by Tina Radcliffe
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

Proving he’s a changed man could be his biggest challenge yet.

Rancher Reece Rainbolt’s shocked to learn he’s inherited half of Claire Ballard’s family farm—and that he’s a father. Now Claire’s determined to break ties with the man who once left her behind. But Reece will buy her half only on one condition: she must stay in town to help with the harvest…and let him get to know his little girl.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1335488015

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Ranches & Cowboys, Romance Fiction, Western Fiction, Western Romance


Published by Love INSPIRED

on 18th February, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 224

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The Hearts of Oklahoma series:

Finding the Road Home by Tina RadcliffeReady to Trust by Tina RadcliffeHis Holiday Prayer by Tina Radcliffe

Finding the Road Home (book one) : Daisy & Mitch’s story

Some paths need courage to follow…

Can they find their fresh start with roadblocks around every corner?

To care for her orphaned nieces and nephews, Daisy Anderson moved to a small town for a new deputy position—but now her job could be eliminated. With potential budget cuts looming, her only hope is to work with police chief Mitch Rainbolt to save their department’s funds. But can their fight for her job lead to something neither dared wish for: a future together?

Ready to Trust (book two) : Claire & Reece’s story 

His Holiday Prayer (book three) : Jena & Tucker’s story
← forthcoming release! (1st December, 2020)

Published by: Love Inspired (@LoveInspiredBks)
an imprint of Harlequin Books (@HarlequinBooks)
which is now an imprint of HarperCollins Publishing (@HarperCollins)

Note on Formats: Happily Love Inspired novels have the same kind of flexibility as Harlequin Heartwarming wherein you can receive these print copies in Regular Print, Larger Print or True Large Print for those who are vision impaired and/or have low vision. I personally love the Larger Print editions for Harlequin Heartwarming, Love Inspired Contemporary Romance & Love Inspired Suspense as it is much kinder on eyes of a migraineur!

However, the edition I received for Ready to Trust was regular print. I struggled to read this particular copy (after having two severe migraines at the end of July and a mini-nova grip me the weekend ahead of this blog tour stop) because for whichever reason the font size was greatly reduced in my copy from the standard of ‘regular print’ I am used to reading for this imprint. Coincidently, if you open my copy of Danielle Thorne’s His Daughter’s Prayer and place it next to this novel, Thorne’s font is *larger!* in size and their same edition! Only separated by a month! Talk about a confusing time to be reading #LoveInspired!

Converse via: #INSPYbooks and/or #INSPY, #SweetRomance and #LoveInspired

as well as #ChristFic, #ChristianFiction, #ContemporaryRomance or #INSPYRomance

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About Tina Radcliffe

Tina Radcliffe

Tina Radcliffe is the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award-winning author of inspirational romance. She is an ACFW and Romance Writers of America Honor Roll member, and a four time ACFW Carol Award finalist. Tina is the author of fifteen inspirational romances for Harlequin HarperCollins.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #INSPYAugust
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Posted Tuesday, 11 August, 2020 by jorielov in #RomanceTuesdays, 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blog Tour Host, Child out of Wedlock, Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Western Fiction, Cowboys & Ranches, Family Drama, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Modern Day, Nurses & Hospital Life, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Single Mothers, Singletons & Commitment, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Western Fiction

#SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | Celebrating my first read during #AustenInAugust with an ‘inspired by’ Jane Austen Regency Romance: “Josette” by Danielle Thorne!

Posted Saturday, 8 August, 2020 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish banner created by Jorie in Canva.

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Acquired Book By: I receive quite a few lovely review requests throughout the different seasons of the year. Some of the more recent ones (from May-July) were a bit harder to respond to as various authors failed to leave me their contact details whilst at the same time, after searching for them online myself to seek a way to respond to their enquiries – only a few of them had a website. Blessedly – Ms Thorne had a website and I was able to connect with her via her Contact Page.

This is a gentle reminder that if you’re filling out a Review Request form on a book blogger’s blog – kindly include your email address and/or if you know the book blogger is active on Twitter (like I am) – offer your handle so they can DM you. It is the kind of courtesy we appreciate – plus, it goes from moving your request to denied to accepted and in this case, it led to me hosting her three times: two reviews and a guest spot on @SatBookChat.

I received a complimentary copy of “Josette” direct from the author Danielle Thorne in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: This is one of two novels I’ve received from this author. The other title was one of my choosing as this one [His Daughter’s Prayer] was the one she submitted for consideration via my Review Request Page. The other novel is “Josette” – a Jane Austen inspired Historical Romance which I happily marked as my first read for #JaneAustenJuly which became my first read for #AustenInAugust after I was afflicted with severe migraines.

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On why I wanted to read  “Josette”:

It began as a way back into reading Austen,.. during a month readathon called #AustenInAugust…

I have a soft spot in my bookish heart for retellings, sequels and inspired by stories on behalf of the canon of Jane Austen. The trilogy I read and happily had the chance to interview the author after I concluded the series was The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen. This was a recent series I’ve read and reviewed on Jorie Loves A Story – however, I’ve tipped my hat into after canon retellings for “Pride and Prejudice” & “Sense and Sensibility” to name a few. I like to see how the writers will pay homage to the original canon – how did they draw the influence and the inspiration into their own creative work and spin on a classically appealling tale?

When I was offered to make a second selection from Ms Thorne’s collective works – despite the fact I love reading about pirates, I leant more towards wanting to understand ‘Josette’ – from her motivations to her strength to live her life. I felt “Proper Attire” had a storyline which wasn’t going to work for me right now whereas I felt the storyline for ‘Josette’ was a better fit for the stories I had earmarked to read during the celebration of #JaneAustenJuly.

In truth, I’ve been sitting on some after canon stories featuring the style of Jane Austen for a few years now. I also haven’t had the chance to start reading “Mansfield Park” or “Northanger Abbey” – the two lovely stories my parents gifted me whilst I was thrown a 1st Year Blog Birthday party (ie. 6th August, 2014). I felt the timing was a good one for me as after reading ‘Josette’, I was going to be reading ‘Suddenly Mrs Darcy’ before moving into listening to ‘Yuletide’ by the Quill Collective. I love feeling re-inspired to read works of Classical Lit as it has been a long hard road back into the Classics.

As you can note, I was planning to read a select grouping of Jane Austen inspired stories, after canon sequels and/or the two original canon selections I had made to bring my total #JaneAusten reads to 3x – however, my plans were severely impacted by two severe migraines in mid to late July which rendered me offline, unable to read and unable to blog; ergo, I’ve decided to resume my original idea of hosting my own ode to #AustenInAugust as first inspired by Roof Beam Reader’s annual event.

‘Josette’ therefore is my first story to read during #AustenInAugust!

As technically with all my health afflictions, I was never quite able to finish it!

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#SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | Celebrating my first read during #AustenInAugust with an ‘inspired by’ Jane Austen Regency Romance: “Josette” by Danielle Thorne!Josette
Subtitle: A Regency Romance
by Danielle Thorne
Source: Direct from Author

Can she forgive the man who ruined everything and allow herself to love?

Josette sees her future when she gazes across the lawn of Beddingfield Park. That is until brooding Captain Carter rides into her life. Grieving her brother and determined to despise his captain, Josette must decide between marrying a fickle cousin or helping her infatuated sister trap him instead. It's no easy task when Josette's stubborn heart yearns for the sea captain she must not love.

This book is a historical regency novel with family, friendship, sisterhood, and clean romance.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781936167319

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspired by Stories (Author/Book)


Published by Whimsical Publications Inc

on 30th April, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 248

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The Jane Austen inspired Regency Romances by Ms Thorne:

Josette
Proper Attire
A Pirate at Pembroke
The Privateer of San Madrid

Converse via: #SaturdaysAreBookish + #HistRom
and/or #HistoricalRomance and #Regency as well as #HarlequinHistorical

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 8 August, 2020 by jorielov in #SaturdaysAreBookish, 19th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Book Review (non-blog tour), Content Note, Debut Author, Debut Novel, England, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Romance Fiction, the Regency era

An INSPY Book Review during #CFSRS20 | Diving into the Coastal Hearts series by Janet W. Ferguson whilst reading “Magnolia Storms”

Posted Friday, 7 August, 2020 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

#CFSRS20 readathon badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I have been participating in the Christian Fiction & Clean Reads Reading Safari readathon for the past three years now. I have found the readathon to be personally enriching as it is a wonderful month of respite for book bloggers who want to focus on reading outside their blog schedules and tuck into the gentler side of fiction which is Inspirational Fiction (ie. INSPY). A portion of INSPY is Christian Fiction however, INSPY overall encompasses all faiths and religious backgrounds as it is faith-inspired literature. As a participant of the readathon – each reader moves through the event at their own pacing – seeking stories to read, authors to get to know socially online and reading the stories which interest them throughout the readathon. As you participate there is a chance you can win a book or several throughout the month. This year I am reading a mixture of stories I’ve won during past CFSRS readathons, stories I’ve won through bookaways with Christian Fiction authors or bloggers as well as stories on my shelf from my personal library as well as borrowing INSPY stories in print and audio from my local libraries.

I won a bookaway during #CFSRS18 wherein I received a copy of “Magnolia Storms” direct from the author Janet W. Ferguson which she happily surprised me with inscribing! I was not obligated to post a review on behalf of this novel and have elected to do so for my own edification as well as continuing to share my bookish and readerly life on Jorie Loves A Story. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: The Press Materials seen on this book review were courtesy of the author’s Media Kit and are used with permission of the author as stated on her page.

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Why I wanted to read this story:

I have been wanting to read this lovely ever since it first arrived – however, the past few years have been unique years wherein what I have wanted to read hasn’t always aligned with the ability to read the stories. I attempted to start reading the books I had won during the first year of the readathon last July – however, try as I had – something always pulled me away. I was just thankful I was able to read any INSPY last July as it seemed like the month was taking me up in its tides and not allowing me the grace to settle into the stories which give my heart such an uplift to read.

This year, about two months ahead of the readathon (or as I thought it would be – as I hadn’t known it was switched from July to August until the end of June) I started pulling the stories off my shelves I felt I might be inclined to read this year. I had more than enough to choose from as INSPY Lit is one of my favourite areas of literature to explore – as seen on my 70 Authors Challenge and through my Story Vault wherein I house my review archives. I knew I was going to read more Love Inspired this year – both Contemporary & Suspense whilst I had a few blog tours in August for Harlequin Heartwarming & Love Inspired respectively – however, I wasn’t going to count those in my readathon goals. I like to use the readathon to read the stories already in my personal library, won in bookaways and/or which can become borrowed through my local libraries in either audio or print; whilst seeking out INSPY Fiction on Scribd in audiobook as well.

What first drew my eye into the premise of ‘Magnolia Storms’ when I requested it as one of my book choices in [2018] was the fact this was rooted in the after effects of Hurricane Katrina and storm seasons in the Gulf. Being a traveller during Katrina and having had many conversations with the evacuating families who were fleeing out of its path who had found themselves where I had been at the time in Birmingham, Alabama was quite the experience. Most were on their way back to Louisiana, others were going west to either Colorado or Houston, Texas whilst others were staying in Birmingham as they were given a warm welcome. I couldn’t blame them – it was a friendly city.

Storms in any variety are a part of our everyday lives – they bring destruction and they bring a kind of wrath that is hard to understand. They have after effects that are felt long and wide after a storm has passed. Look at the cities decimated by tornadoes every year and you will see how powerful and how hard it is to find mercy in the dawn after those storms have passed. Hurricanes like their tornado cousins cause emotional trauma and personal loss.

I used to read and watch a lot of natural disaster stories – for reasons which are elusive to me, however several pushed me a bit over the edge of what I could handle – especially if it involved flash flooding, earthquakes, wildfires or a deluge of tornadoes. I had had my fill at the time and only recently re-watched one of my favourites which was about tornadoes affecting a power plant [Atomic Twister] which started Mark Paul Gosselaar and Sharon Lawrence – as it was available for free via Roku. It was hard to believe how terrifying it was all over again and how hard it was to watch one of the team sacrifice his own life to save everyone else when it come to going into the contaminated room to give the team more time to save the plant.

This first novel of the Coastal Hearts series felt like a beautiful segue into Realistic INSPY Fiction which combines the drama of living in today’s world as we each face the different (and complicated!) storms which set to unravel our internal and external worlds. It is how we choose to rise through those unforeseen adversities which seek to challenge our perspectives on life and how we want to be living – but with faith, hope and a bit of grit to get through those challenging hours – we can all seek solid ground on the other side of the ‘storms’. This is why I wanted to read “Magnolia Storms” and this year is the best year I believe for me to ‘meet’ the story as who hasn’t been shuffling their own sea of storms crashing ashore this 2020?

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Magnolia Storms novel Photography Credit: © jorielovesastory.com.

Magnolia Storms
Subtitle: A Coastal Hearts novel
by Janet W. Ferguson
Source: Won a Bookaway

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780997658767

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction, Meteorology, Realistic Fiction, Southern Lit, Sweet Romance, Women's Fiction


on 20th August, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 280

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The Coastal Heart series:

Magnolia Storms(book one)

Falling for Grace(book two)

The Art of Rivers (book three)

Star Rising (book four)

Published by: Southern Sun Press

Formats Available: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance, #INSPYRomance, #INSPYbooks,
as well as #SouthernLit and #CoastalHearts

About Janet W. Ferguson

Janet W. Ferguson

Janet W. Ferguson is a Grace Award winner and a Christy Award finalist. She grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served as a children’s minister and a church youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. She writes humorous inspirational fiction for people with real lives and real problems. Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a cat that allows them to share the space.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #CFSRS20
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Posted Friday, 7 August, 2020 by jorielov in #CFSRS20, #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Book Review (non-blog tour), Christianity, Contemporary Romance, Family Drama, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Medical Fiction, Mental Health, Mississippi, Modern Day, Motherhood | Parenthood, Post-911 (11th September 2001), PTSD, Reading Challenges, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Single Fathers, Single Mothers, Singletons & Commitment, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Sweet Romance, Terminal Illness &/or Cancer, Trauma | Recovery in Hospital, Traumatic Injury, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Women's Fiction

#RomanceTuesdays | feat. #HarlequinHeartwarming author Virginia McCullough’s “A Bridge Home” (Back to Bluestone River series, Book Three)

Posted Tuesday, 4 August, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#RomanceTuesdays badge created by Jorie in Canva.

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. This is how I came to love discovering the Harlequin Heartwarming authors & series as much as it has been an honour to regularly request INSPY stories and authors. Whenever I host for Prism, I know I am in for an uplifting read and a journey into the stories which give me a lot of joy to find in my readerly queue of #nextreads. It is an honour to be a part of their team of book bloggers.

I received a complimentary copy of “A Bridge Home” direct from the author Virginia McCullough in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I enjoy reading a Virginia McCullough
Harlequin Heartwarming novel:

Ruby is the kind of woman who likes to see the potential in life rather than the sour lemons that can upset your plans. She wouldn’t be the first to admit that losing a job she believed in struck her in the heart and was effectively difficult to re-group after due to how much of herself she put into the belief her job was one that had mattered. Instead, she put on the kind of brave face you hope will soak through you the longer you wear it and decides to re-settle into her hometowne of Bluestone River! This coming off the suggestions of her bestie Emma kept nudging her with photos of the open prairie grasses, the calming scenes of wildlife and the potential of what Ruby might find once she arrived. I think the key word there is how Ruby might find something she hadn’t planned to find and thereby, finding a new way forward when life felt like it was falling apart. That’s a sentiment I think most can relate too when things go south and you have to rebuild your life.

Counter to Ruby’s woes are Emma’s concerns for her own health – as she has a serious condition that requires not just surgery but loads of patience as the recovery isn’t an easy one. These are two woman at cornerstones of their lives seeking comfort and shelter together if only to weather the storms and find a way to come through them a bit less affected than if they were to ride them out alone. Although the same could be said for Mike and his young son Jason; as they were two warriors riding into their own storm as well. Mike was the kind of father who was not just committed to his son but he was an encourager of random joy. He liked to keep the legacy of how he was raised in the growing years of his son Jason, even if his own childhood and his son’s held a few stark differences between them. For instance, when Mike was growing up he wasn’t struggling with PTSD like his son but there was solace in being back in Bluestone River. The area held a calmness over it – where the natural world in of itself had the best calming effect on the residents and perhaps, a healing effect as well.

I liked how McCullough took her time in allowing Jason to come round to others; how he interacted with his father, his teacher and even new persons he was just starting to meet like Ruby and Peach (the dog). His behaviour matched what you would expect from a young child who was struggling with the issues he had and yet, each time he was in-scene, it felt organic, honest and real. Nothing felt forced and I appreciated the realism and the extra touches of honesty threading into how Jason was portrayed.

McCullough tackles childhood PTSD and what causes a child to be mute rather than to speak through their emotions and their crises; giving new empathy for how PTSD affects children but also, how sometimes children find the hardest part of their recovery and healing process is resuming the art of speaking. Words have a lot of hidden meanings but they also hold a lot of truths that can be hard to speak; which I felt is partially why Jason might have stopped speaking as his reality had become shattered in such a tragic and traumatic way, it was easy to see why his voice might have become silent for awhile.

There is an ease of awareness and of setting here – you can tell McCullough has taken her time to develop this series, of giving us a well-rounded and well-thought out plotting to where the foundation of the series can build out of this first installment. It is a place that isn’t entirely without its prickles of angst but it has a heart-centred feel to it which gives you the hope of what could happen if people allow themselves to forgive the past and to seek a future without allowing the past to dictate how your life is meant to be lived.

-quoted from my review of A Family for Jason

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#RomanceTuesdays | feat. #HarlequinHeartwarming author Virginia McCullough’s “A Bridge Home” (Back to Bluestone River series, Book Three)A Bridge Home
Subtitle: Back to Bluestone River
by Virginia McCullough
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

Will a new beginning…

Lead to forever?

What good is a home without a family? School principal Eric Wells finally has the house he’s always wanted, but a painful childhood makes him question his ability to be a father. So when his high school crush Amy Morgan returns to Bluestone River with her troubled daughter, he’s surprised to find he wants to be there for both of them. Will Amy finally give him a chance?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335889843

Also by this author: A Family for Jason, The Christmas Kiss

Also in this series: A Family for Jason, The Christmas Kiss


Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Romance Fiction


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 1st August, 2020

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 368

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Back to Bluestone River series:

A Family for Jason by Viriginia McCulloughThe Christmas Kiss by Virginia McCulloughA Bridge Home by Virginia McCullough

A Family for Jason (book one) : Ruby & Mike’s story (see also Review)

The Christmas Kiss (book two) : Emma & Parker’s story (see also Review)

I love how the sequel involves Emma! She’s Ruby’s best friend & she helped Ruby become re-established back into Bluestone River. I thought it was fitting she’d get her own story after finding out how tied-in she is to the community & Ruby’s life!

A Bridge Home (book three) : Amy & Eric’s story 

Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming

Converse via: #Contemporary + #Romance and #HarlequinHeartwarming

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About Virginia McCullough

Virginia McCullough

Born and raised in Chicago, Virginia McCullough has been lucky enough to develop her writing career in many locations, including the coast of Maine, the mountains of North Carolina, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and currently, Northeast Wisconsin. She started her career in nonfiction, first writing articles and then books as a ghostwriter and coauthor. She’s written more than 100 books for physicians, business owners, professional speakers and many others with information to share or a story to tell.

Virginia’s books feature characters who could be your neighbors and friends. They come in all ages and struggle with everyday life issues in small-town environments that almost always include water—oceans, lakes, or rivers. The mother of two grown children, you’ll find Virginia with her nose a book, walking on trails or her neighborhood street, or she may be packing her bag to take off for her next adventure. And she’s always working on another story about hope, healing, and second chances.

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Posted Tuesday, 4 August, 2020 by jorielov in #RomanceTuesdays, 21st Century, Blog Tour Host, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Family Drama, Life Shift, Modern Day, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA