Category: Book Spotlight

Book Spotlight and Extract | Featuring Notes by Jorie on behalf of “Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree” by Simi K. Rao

Posted Tuesday, 28 July, 2020 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

You might have noticed I haven’t had the chance to host a lot of poets & collections of short stories in quite a long while. For quite a long while I was starting to get announcements about tours which featured these kinds of stories and then, there seemed to be a bit of a dry patch about the availability to host poets and short fiction writers. I love to dive into a poetry collection and/or a short story and novella anthology – for the latter, I have mostly staid within the Speculative Fiction realms but when it comes to Poetry, I have been a bit more exploratory in my selections. You can read through my past reviews for poems if you scroll to the bottom of my Story Vault.

There you will find former reviews I’ve shared where I truly tried to peer into the poems and to see how the vision of the poem and the reaction I felt after reading them could become articulated into a review. I found it most challenging in the beginning to sort out my thoughts about poetry because how a person reads a poem is such an interpersonal experience. It is rooted in our own living histories and our own perceptional insight – *everything!* about us goes into how we read a poem because poems are small glimpses into the human spirit and our soul. It is how we can share a portion of ourselves within the tender small space of a poem.

What drew me to host this lovely blog tour is how all the poems are about a women’s experience and of the tides of her life – I love reading Women’s Fiction for similar reasons, as the genre itself tucks into the emotional heart of a women’s life as it is being lived. Women’s Fiction for me always felt like a cosy niche of where I could write stories myself because unlike Romance where it is more hinged on the HEA (happy ever after) or the HFN (happy for now) – Women’s Fiction goes deeper into the heart of the women in the story. To get into her head and to see a more interpersonal journey of where she is when we arrive inside her life.

I knew I wanted to feature this collection ahead of reading it – as there were only digital copies available for review – which gave me a chance to host a small extract for the blog tour. I hadn’t opened the file until I went to write my spotlight and I had to smirk. The topic for my extract had a personal connection as I’ve been distancing myself with my love of coffee to reacquire and reacquaint myself with ‘tea’. I’ve been enjoying copious warming cuppas of chai recently and it is like ‘coming home’ in a cuppa!

If you enjoy Poetry & short fiction, perhaps this collection will resonate with you – I am thankful I could champion the collection on Jorie Loves A Story today. And, hopefully the poem which is being shared leaves you with a few ruminations, too!

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Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree by Simi K. Rao

Converse via: #UnderTheShadeOfTheBanyanTree, #Poetry, #ShortStories
as well as #WomensFiction and #BTPrism

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add to LibraryThing

Published: 30th September, 2019 | ISBN: 9781951375072

Life is not about achieving perfection, it’s about reconciling with your imperfections.

Poems are fragments of life. In Simi K. Rao’s unique poetry collection for women, there are blissful moments; deep, invisible wounds; cries for help; declarations of defiance and philosophical observations. The poems and prose pieces compiling the collection are fragments of life elucidating the different phases of the human condition. Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree will leave readers wanting for more and have a deep impact on women of all ages.

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Posted Tuesday, 28 July, 2020 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book | Novel Extract, Book Spotlight, Indie Author, Prism Book Tours

A #KidsLit Book Spotlight with Notes | featuring “Hector: At Ground Level” by Gary Finnan

Posted Friday, 24 July, 2020 by jorielov , , , , , 1 Comment

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Acquired Book By: Over the past few years I’ve been subscribing to Scribd off/on as a more affordable way to listen to audiobooks outside of the ones I am borrowing via my local libraries (of whom have OverDrive). Thereby, as I currently have my subscription to Scribd renewed this Summer, the copy of “Hector: At Ground Level” is self-provided through my subscription to Scribd rather than being provided with a complimentary copy of the story. Therefore, I am choosing to participate on the book blitz, sharing my ruminations with my readers for my own edification but also, as a continuation of a reader’s love for illustrated stories and picture books. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I’ve been a bit consumed with health afflictions, stormy weather patterns, connectivity issues and a bit of personal chaos – much the same as I believe most of us who are muddling through different obstacles this year. When I saw the announcement for this lovely little book with the cute little hedgie on the cover, I knew I wanted to participate on the blitz to help ‘announce’ it to my readers who might feel drawn to the premise as I had myself. As it is a keen story to find these days – as it speaks to how despite the circumstances of our lives as we live them, it is a mark of a person’s character how they set their attitude to ride through the harder times than anything else.

We can never know what is coming round the next corner or which emergency might derail our plans in the spontaneity of a life effecting moment arriving out of the blue – but we can *choose!* how we react and how we act after the crisis is over. Those are the defining moments where we learn the most about ourselves and we seek to find a bit of peace out of the storms which affect us at different seasons of our lives.

One of the things which has kept me firmly grounded through my own share of adversities (outside of my faith) is recognising the smaller moments in life – the lightness of a butterfly fluttering past me, the joy of a flower seeking the sun, the rays of light peeking through the clouds whilst noting all the different animals and birds who carve out their own habitat next to ours – in our cities, neighbourhoods and natural forests. There is a bit of joy everyday waiting for us to find it and it is quite true – sometimes, if you’re always looking skyward, you miss a heap on the surface – because sometimes, you have to take a more simpler route to finding what needs to be seen.

I was quite curious about this title and felt others might be as well – I was further overjoyed when I realised Scribd has the original edition which was released in May, 2013. I happily took advantage of my subscription to read a chapter sampler’s worth of the story in order to tuck in my personal thoughts about how this story starts to unfold whilst happily highlighting it for those who might not have heard of its release!

I generally only use Scribd for audiobooks, however, every blue moon – they have a digital copy of a book I’d love to read in print – which allows me to read a short sampler of the stories before I seek them in an edition I can read and enjoy myself. As due to chronic migraines I can only read stories in print or seek them in audiobook.

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A #KidsLit Book Spotlight with Notes | featuring “Hector: At Ground Level” by Gary FinnanHector
Subtitle: At Ground Level and Beyond: A Very Simple Love Story
by Gary Finnan
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Camryn Finnan, Elina Cherianidou
Source: Scribd | Subscription

This Little Book is about being present to the wonders that exist around us At Ground Level, discovering all that we fail to see when we spend so much of our lives chasing bigger, better, faster, more, endeavouring to fly higher.

Everything else seems much more desirable around us than ourselves, or our lives and loves, after a long day at the slug farm.

When do we decide how to proceed with the life we have built thus far: Joy, Passion,

Marriage, Divorce, Suicide, Enlightenment? Choices we have made. What if you built from a place of strength rather than always feeling diminished and unfulfilled? A life built upon the life you have, rather than the elusive life you imagine, yet fear. Build a great life in balance with your best self and your nurtured relationships. Transformation is seeing the hidden gems that truly exist in plain sight.

We have all heard someone say, The grass is greener on the other side. Is it?

Most of us were 4 or 5 years old when the belief structure we made with life set in: I am stupid, I am weak, I don’t deserve, etc. We engaged believing that we should spend our lives proving that we are who we believe everyone else thinks we are. Breaking the cycle of doubt is essential. Loving self is the first love.

The grass is greenest where you are!

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1935254447

Genres: Artistic Adaptations &/or Picture Books, Children's Literature, Illustrated Stories, Self-Improvement & Self-Actualisation


Published by Balboa Press

on 17th December, 2019

Format: Scribd | Chapter Sampler

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Published by: Balboa Press (@BalboaPress)

(*) Note: the edition I am referencing on my post is for the paperback version (in regards to the ISBN, pub date) which has a different publisher listed – however, this spotlight tour is highlighting the ebook edition by Balboa Press – which is why I am showcasing the cover art and other materials reflecting Balboa Press. Whereas the edition I was reading a sampler from on Scribd was the original edition of this story and completely separate from the current paperback & ebook editions.

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #KidsLit, #Illustration, #SelfHelp
as well as #LoveBooksTours & #Hedgehogs

About Gary Finnan

Born in Scotland and raised in Zimbabwe and South Africa, Gary Finnan splits his time between Sonoma Wine country in California and his farm in Aiken South Carolina, along with his wife Eva and two daughters. Gary is an award-winning inspirational author.

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Posted Friday, 24 July, 2020 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Book Spotlight, Indie Author, Love Books Tours

#CrimeFicFridays Audiobook Series Spotlight | “Turn to Dust” (Book Nine: the Kay Hunter Detective series) by Rachel Amphlett, narrated by Alison Campbell

Posted Friday, 24 July, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring and knitting agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I have embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions. Through hosting for the Audiobookworm I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods (ie. AudioShelf and Talking Audiobooks; see my sidebar). Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue whilst making purchase requests for audio CDs. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I am hoping to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year starting in 2018.

Similar to the blog tour for the sixth novel of the #KayHunter series, the blog tour review copies are being provided directly by the author off-site from Audible. The key reason I decided to not accept the review copies from “Gone to Ground”, “Bridge to Burn”, “Cradle to Grave” and “Turn to Dust” is because the new format is mostly directed for mobile listeners and I do not listen to audiobooks in that style of format. Eventually as I want to have a full set of all the Kay Hunter installments – I will be purchasing the ones I am missing from Audible to house them all in one place unless I find them available on mp3 CD – until then, I was able to join this lovely blog tour because the audiobooks are readily available via Scribd! For which, I am especially grateful as I can continue to listen to one of my beloved and favourite Crime Drama series!

Thereby my copy of “Turn to Dust” is self-provided through my subscription to Scribd rather than being provided with a complimentary copy of the story. Thereby, I am choosing to participate on the audiobook tour, sharing my ruminations with my readers for my own edification but also, as a continuation of a reader’s love for a dramatic crime serial. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What hooked me into the eighth installment of this series “Cradle to Grave”:

When you first begin Cradle to Grave, the title itself was percolating round my mind a bit – as I being a ready listener to the series now, I knew it was murmuring a glimpse of a hint towards the central plot of the story. I hadn’t caught on to what it implied – as I went a different direction in my mind than what was ultimately revealled but I liked where Amphlett took her motivation to tell the story and how that served a central arc of exploration as it was quite a perceptive point of entry once you realise what it is referencing directly.

You get spoilt by how quickly you are inserted into these detective’s lives – where you forget that they have emotional baggage of their own and that for some of them, certain cases are going to affect their mental health moreso than others. This was the case I felt for Gavin who was taking this case especially hard as each time he attempted to make any kind of lead-way, he was being confounded by more dead ends. For a case which felt time sensitive, it was not the kind of process a detective could resolve in their heart of hearts – not when a missing child needed to be found sooner than later.

Happily as we are quite a far afield into the series now – Kay isn’t the only perspective we are focusing on now. Other characters are stepping forward into the foreground – where they can take the ‘lead’ focus for different sequences whilst Kay is still actively working the case in the background and/or delegating her other duties given the role Sharpe appointed her as she’s not just a lead investigator now. This became my mainstay of joy for Cradle to Grave – getting to hear the other characters have more ‘on-scene’ time in your ears – as they are beautifully developed by Ms Campbell and they are lovingly etched out by Ms Amphlett. Due to this the series feels fuller somehow as the team isn’t just a ragtag family of investigators – but they feel authentically true to themselves and the nature of their jobs.

One note of interest to reveal – as I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the shift in points-of-view from what was previously established early-on in the Kay Hunter series? Amphlett used to feature the villains in her stories on such a high level of disclosure, it was always a bit hard to progress through those passages because of how dark the story felt whilst you were in those sections of the audiobooks. Campbell did well to pull you through them – but there was a point where I noticed there was a general shift to re-establish the series back into the police perspective and keep this more anchoured in a dramatic crime focused through the police procedural thread of interest moreso than in re-shifting off Kay and the villains themselves.

By this installment, I can tell the switch was well-timed because it establishes what I loved about watching Rizzoli and Isles – you feel more connected to the detectives themselves and as such, the series re-evolves itself to be even more emotionally centred on their lives rather than just focusing in on how their solving the cases which test their strengths and their patience to solve the impossible on a time-clock which is constantly working against them.

-quoted from my review of Cradle to Grave

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#CrimeFicFridays Audiobook Series Spotlight | “Turn to Dust” (Book Nine: the Kay Hunter Detective series) by Rachel Amphlett, narrated by Alison CampbellTurn To Dust
Subtitle: A Detective Kay Hunter Novel
by Rachel Amphlett

When the body of a naked man is found in the middle of a barren field, a rural community is left in shock - and fear.

Discovering that someone is offering money in return for information about the dead man and anyone connected to him, Detective Kay Hunter realises there is a dark side to the victim’s past. When a key witness disappears and a web of deceit and lies threatens to derail the investigation, she fears the worst. Can Kay and her team of detectives find out who is behind the man’s murder before another victim is targeted?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B088KV7NJ6

Also by this author: Scared to Death, Will to Live, One to Watch, Hell to Pay, Call to Arms, Author Inteview: Rachel Amphlett (Gone to Ground), Gone to Ground, Bridge to Burn, Cradle to Grave

Also in this series: Scared to Death, Will to Live, One to Watch, Hell to Pay, Call to Arms, Gone to Ground, Bridge to Burn, Cradle to Grave


Published by Saxon Publishing

on 14th May, 2020

Length: 7 hours and 56 minutes (unabridged)

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Published by: Saxon Publishing

Audiobooks by: Audiobook Factory (@audiofactoryuk)

Order of the Kay Hunter Detective series:
Scared to Death | Book One (see also Review)
Will to Live | Book Two (see also Review)
One to Watch | Book Three (see also Review)
Hell to Pay | Book Four (see also Review)
Call to Arms | Book Five (see also Review)
Gone to Ground | Book Six (see also Review)
Bridge to Burn | Book Seven (see also Review)
Cradle to Grave | Book Eight (see also Mini Review)
Turn to Dust | Book Nine

About Rachel Amphlett

Rachel Amphlettt

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Robert Crais, Stuart MacBride, and many more.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore's TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

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Posted Friday, 24 July, 2020 by jorielov in #CrimeFicFriday, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host, Book Spotlight, Indie Author, Jorie Loves A Story Features

Book Spotlight | Featuring Notes by Jorie on behalf of “The Artist’s Healer” (Book Two: Grace-by-the-Sea) by Regina Scott

Posted Sunday, 19 July, 2020 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

You might remember I spotlighted the first novel in this series The Matchmaker’s Rogue earlier this year in January? When I realised Ms Scott was reaching a milestone in her publishing career (her 50th book is now released! imagine?) and the kindness of receiving a *surprise!* bookmail which enclosed a copy of The Matchmaker’s Rogue – there isn’t much which would have made this whole experience hosting Ms Scott this year any sweeter than it already has felt! I was thankful the series has gained traction as well with other readers – as I missed the announcement for the second novel in the series but ooh, how wicked happy I am to be part of the celebrations to welcome to the world: The Artist’s Healer.

I have a good feeling about this series and I cannot wait to start reading it – as the Regency is a personal favourite setting of mine for #HistRom! I seriously cannot get enough of the Regency – even if I have the tendency of disappearing inside its folds as regularly as the Victorian – there are just certain aspects of both eras (especially if set in the UK) which are appealling to my readerly heart! Plus, there is a lot of hidden drama & emotional angst at times within the Regency – as propriety would dictate but ooh! I get caught in the romance of it all – how the relationships form and how they forge together a future in a generation that was not very lenient about individual expressions & equality amongst the sexes.

Wicked sweet news for those of you on #Scribd!

ALL 3x of the Grace-by-the-Sea novels are available to be read!

These are all ebook editions which is why I only read the chapter samplers – which provided my notes on this spotlight for the third installment. I do wish they had audio versions simultaneously released – as I could then carry on with the series once I read the first novel.

For now – brew yourself a cuppa of your favourite tea & enjoy getting to know a bit more about this story & the latest release by Ms Scott! I have already chosen to keep this series part of my Sweet Romance reads during my annual Christian Fiction & Clean Reads readathon hosted by Singing Librarian Books – the readathon was shifted from July to August this year – and if I were to be honest? I cannot wait for it to begin! It gives me a beautiful bit of joy to seek out the stories I love to read and to explore new subniches of INSPY Literature as well as discovering new authors who are writing these kinds of stories! I felt it was the best time to focus on The Matchmaker’s Rogue considering how my readerly life has had a lot of ups and downs these past seven months.

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How seriously impressive is this collage featuring the collective works of Regina Scott? It truly held my breath to see all the lovely covers & musing about their storylines – I look forward to continuing my journey into her backlist!

50 Books Collage for Regina Scott's publishing career - provided by Prism Book Tours and is used with permission.

When my first book, The Unflappable Miss Fairchild, was published, I never dreamed I’d have the chance to publish 49 more books. It was enough to know a publisher had taken a chance on me, that the story in my head and my heart would reach readers. I have loved the Regency period for years, so it’s not surprising that many more stories set in that time period would urge me to tell them, culminating in the publication of The Artist’s Healer, the third book in my Grace-by-the-Sea series. Over the years, I’ve been blessed to be able to delve into other eras and locations as well: pioneer Seattle, turn-of-the-century Texas, the old West. Many, many thanks to all my readers for allowing me to be a part of their lives. 50 books! Who knew? Here’s to many more adventures ahead!

—Regina

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The Artist's Healer by Regina Scott

Converse via: #GraceByTheSeaSeries and #Regency
as well as #HistRom or #HistoricalRomance and #Regina50

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add to LibraryThing

Published: 6th June, 2020 | ISBN: 979-8651722365

Grace-by-the-Sea: Where romance and adventure come home.

Spunky artist and entrepreneur Abigail Archer is determined to see her friend, Jesslyn Denby, restored as director of the spa at Grace-by-the-Sea, even if that means ousting the news physician who took her place. A shame she was recently injured and requires him to dance attendance on her. But if he thinks she’ll meekly accept his orders, he’d better think again!

Doctor Linus Bennett came to the little coastal village with his young son to escape a troubled past. He’s not about to lose his post to some crusader, but the pretty painter awakens feelings he’d thought long buried. When it appears the French are about to invade, Abigail and Linus must work together to save the village. In doing so, the doctor may just find that falling in love with the outspoken Abigail is the best prescription to heal his wounded heart.

This sweet, clean Regency is the sequel to The Heiress’s Convenient Husband.

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Posted Sunday, 19 July, 2020 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book | Novel Extract, Book Spotlight, Indie Author, Prism Book Tours, Sweet Romance