Category: Book Review (non-blog tour)

A #SpooktasticReads audiobook review | “Jorvik Calling” (Soul Riders: Book One) by Helena Dahlgren, narrated by Jennifer Jill Araya; courtesy of #NetGalley

Posted Monday, 19 October, 2020 by jorielov , , , , , , 0 Comments

#SpooktasticReads Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

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

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

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

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Why I wanted to read &/or listen to “Soul Riders”:

I was attracted to a few elements about this story when I first found it on NetGalley – the horses, the sisterhood friendships of the girls’ and the fact this is all set in a fantastical world. I originally thought this was a story that was ‘set elsewhere’ without any tangible connection to our own living reality however as I shifted into the audiobook itself, I realised this is an Urban Fantasy wherein there are elements of modern life (our world) within the sphere of the series but there are elements of the fantastical in the background running concurrent to the girls’ school and life experiences.

I have a personal attachment to horse dramas & Westerns – whenever I can find one or the other which suits my interests, I love to soak inside the stories! Having had a close connection to horses when I was a child I believe plays a strong part in why I continue to seek out stories which features horses and/or the world of horses – from Contemporary &/or Historical Westerns to Contemporary Western Romances or Cowboy Romances (such as my Harlequin Heartwarming readings).

Finding a story set in a blended Middle Grade & Young Adult world for Fantasy which brings into focus my love of horses with the added advantage of hidden talents and special gifts given to the girls who ride star horses – honestly, what could be a better bookish find!?

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A #SpooktasticReads audiobook review | “Jorvik Calling” (Soul Riders: Book One) by Helena Dahlgren, narrated by Jennifer Jill Araya; courtesy of #NetGalleyJorvik Calling
Subtitle: Soul Riders (series), Video Game Tie-In (Star Stable)
by Helena Dahlgren
Source: Audiobook Direct from Publisher via NetGalley

Step into the universe of the massively popular adventure game Star Stable, and follow four friends who discover their magic powers and learn that every girl can be a hero in this fantasy trilogy.

Soul Riders tells the heroic tale of four young girls who have been chosen by destiny to save the world from the ancient demon: Garnok and his band of dangerous Dark Riders. Lisa is a teenage girl who is still coming to terms with the tragic loss of her mother in a riding accident and has sworn never to go near a horse again until she met Starshine, a mysterious blue-maned steed who comes to her in dreams. New on the island of Jorvik, Lisa befriends Alex, Linda, and Anne. Under the guidance of mystical druids, they discover they each have a special bond to their horses that gives them magical powers. While trying to balance school, family, and friendships they have to figure out what it means to be a Soul Rider. They are attacked by the Dark Riders and the mysterious Mr. Sands discover that their horses are in danger. Instead of relying on their combined strength, they decide to split up on their quest to find answers and learn to fight back against their enemies. However, will it be too late before they realize their mistake?

Jorvik Calling is the first installment in the epic, fantasy trilogy, Soul Riders, about magic, friendship, and horses bound to thrill all young equestrian fans.

Genres: Dark Fantasy, Equestrian Fiction, Horse Drama, Upper YA Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Video Game Tie-In Series, YA Fantasy, YA Paranormal Suspense, YA Urban Fantasy


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781524855338

ASIN: B087D8F3SW

Published by Andrews McMeel Audio, Andrews McMeel Publishing

Format: Audiobook | Digital Review Copy (NetGalley)

Length: 5 hours and 40 minutes (unabridged)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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

NOTE: When I first started listening to this title I thought for sure it would be considered Middle Grade Fantasy – however, as it progressed forward, I started to see it leans into YA Fantasy. It might be on the fence of merging Upper YA into Adult Fantasy within an Urban Fantasy world-building and setting. Ergo, if your considering this for younger readers rather than adult, know that this has the innocence of a Middle Grade Fantasy intermixed with the darker villains of an Upper YA/Adult Fantasy wherein if you are seeking lighter readers for Middle Grade readers I would advise against this one.

Converse via: #UrbanFantasy as well as #DarkFantasy and Upper #YAFantasy
+ #SoulRiders, #audiobook or #audioreads as well as #JorikRising and #StarStable

Available Formats: Trade paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 19 October, 2020 by jorielov in Book Review (non-blog tour), Bullies and the Bullied, Childhood Friendship, Coming-Of Age, Dark Arts (Dark Magic), Dark Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore, Folklore and Mythology, NetGalley, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Upper YA Fiction, Urban Fantasy, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781524864019

ASIN: B08FJFKJDC

Published by Andrews McMeel Audio, Andrews McMeel Publishing

on 1st September, 2020

Format: Audiobook | Digital Review Copy (NetGalley)

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

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

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

Formats Available: Hardback, Audiobook and Ebook

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Enjoy a preview of the artwork in the book!:

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

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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

An #INSPYSundays Book Review | feat. “His Daughter’s Prayer” by Danielle Thorne which is her #LoveInspired Contemporary Romance debut!

Posted Sunday, 23 August, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#INSPYSundays banner made my Jorie in Canva.

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 – not all 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 “His Daughter’s Prayer” 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 #AustenInAugust!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Why I took a leave of absence reading Love Inspired Contemporary Romance
and exchanged it for Love Inspired Suspense – until now, of course!

The fuller backstory about how I found #LoveInspired Contemporary, Historical and Suspense novels was briefly mentioned in a tweet I shared recently via @SatBookChat in response to the publisher asking about how we discovered their stories. (see also tweet) Initially, Mum discovered the lovely novellas published by the now defunct Heartsong Presents – as you see back then, these were stories you could purchase through their mail-order subscription services. After Heartsong struggled to continue in the height of the launch of Love Inspired (all 3x of their imprint focuses), Heartsong discontinued and Love Inspired took over the niche of the market where Heartsong once flourished.

We leaned more towards the Historical Love Inspired stories – reading more of those than the Contemporary but then, when we took a chance on the Suspense novels – all bets were off! We were beyond smitten and were devouring them as soon as we could find! Most of our Love Inspired Suspense novels are second-hand copies with a few exceptions as we had a subscription for a few months before we had to cancel it. Not for lack of wanting it – but for budget constraints.

In regards to the Contemporary side of Love Inspired – for awhile, I gathered the ones I felt would be a good fit for me but after awhile I noticed for x amount of the Contemporaries I felt I would love reading, I was surprised to find a lesser few resonated with me instead. Thus, I shifted into reading *only!* the Historicals (whilst they lasted) and/or the Suspense novels. I encouraged Mum to start reading the Suspense novels when she needed a break whilst on 12 hour shifts a few years ago. The novels were just the right length and provided a keen respite from long shifts. This also rekindled my own interest and interest to read them – thus, we predominately read them in tandem and have a lot of fireside chats about the characters and the writer’s styles.

Not to long ago I was blogging about Contemporary Romances – from both the mainstream and INSPY markets (see also Post) whilst I knew I was feeling drawn to certain authors who were not connected to Harlequin or Love Inspired for Contemporary Rom, I did question if there were some new voices in the imprint I might feel drawn to read now (within the last few years). I’ve been finding some copies of Love Inspired Contemporaries (and Historicals!) secondhand in recent months and it has re-inspired me to try reading them again to see which authors are writing the stories which appeal to me the most.

Thus, when I received a review request for “His Daughter’s Prayer”
– it felt like everything was come together quite serendipitously!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

An #INSPYSundays Book Review | feat. “His Daughter’s Prayer” by Danielle Thorne which is her #LoveInspired Contemporary Romance debut!His Daughter's Prayer
Subtitle: One little girl has a very big wish
by Danielle Thorne
Source: Direct from Author

One little girl has a very big wish…
A mother is all his daughter wants…
Might an old love be the answer to her prayers?

Struggling to keep his antiques store open, single dad Mark Chatham can’t turn down his high school sweetheart, Callie Hargrove, when she offers her assistance in the shop. But his daughter is wishing for a mommy, and she’s convinced that Callie is the perfect match. As they work to save the business, will their little matchmaker reunite Mark and Callie for good?

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Sweet Romance


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335488282

Also by this author: Josette

Published by Love INSPIRED

on 16th June, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 217

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

Formats Available: Trade paperback and Ebook

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 His Daughter’s Prayer was regular print.

Genre(s) of Interest: Second chance romance, small towne romance & Inspirational Romance

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

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

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #INSPYAugust
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Posted Sunday, 23 August, 2020 by jorielov in #INSPYSundays, 21st Century, A Father's Heart, Antiques, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Christianity, Contemporary Romance, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Life Shift, Modern Day, Motherhood | Parenthood, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Single Fathers, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Southern Lit, Southern Writers, Sweet Romance, Women's 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.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

#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.

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


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781936167319

Also by this author: His Daughter's Prayer

Published by Whimsical Publications Inc

on 30th April, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 248

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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

Read More

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