Category: Prism Book Tours

#HarlequinHeartwarming Blog Book Tour | “Always the One” (Meet Me At The Altar series, Book Four) by Tara Randel

Posted Thursday, 13 February, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

Book Review banner 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 “Always the One” direct from the author Tara Randel in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I appreciate reading

the Meet Me At the Altar series by Tara Randel:

Serena’s store Blue Ridge Cottage is the kind of eclectic papery shoppe I’d love to find IRL! Especially as it brings me back to the joyful past of being an ardent letter writer who loved sending letters through the post office! Stationery stores and typewriter repair shoppes are a bit harder to come by these days as much as a solidly outfitted scrapbooking and/or rubberstamp shoppe for those of us who love paper crafting, mixed media collage and the art of creating handmade greeting cards. You can get lost inside a store like Serena’s inasmuch as you could a book shoppe! The choices, the designs and the curiously clever way she used vintage furnishings to display her wares was enticing enough but it was the soul sister vibe she carried off by endearing herself to fellow typospherians which made it seem sweeter somehow!

Mrs M is quite the stitch and a half! She is the kind of landlord who has a grandmotherly attitude which lands her into a bit of a tricky spot when she wants to earnestly offer her grandson to a winning match such as Serena! She can’t help herself really, if you observe her as she tries to encourage a love match between two singleton’s who aren’t entirely ready for the prospect of a relationship! Matching is a fun activity for the person whose doing the pairings but for those on the opposite end of the match? I could see why Serena was hesitating to acknowledge the cunning smiles and the curious way Mrs M attempted to stall in the shoppe long enough for Logan to collect her for their day out.

Logan enjoys his job a bit too much if you ask me! He gets too much pleasure out of uncovering a person’s secrets and of finding out what they wish to hide from the world. Not that that is always a bad thing mind you, but in his eyes? He seems to place himself above reproach and just because there was a bad apple incident who affected his grandmother’s life years ago; he’s now embolden to believe others will follow suit. Others like Serena who just want to carve out an honest business and make it as an independent shoppe owner in an era of chains and box stores. You had to feel for him a bit – for his misguided sense of duty as it is one thing to honour your grandmother and protect her interests but it is another to marginalise everyone just because you can’t believe that someone would be honourable and trustworthy. Even Mrs M called him on that!

Serena loved being involved in the local activities Golden provided but sometimes the cost of participation was more than she was willing to yield. You could almost see the mistake in judgement on her face when Logan started to grill her again for information. He thinks he’s this suave bloke who could charm the daisies off any woman but in reality, he’s hard-edged and if your intuitive, you can see what he’s doing even before he finishes his enquiry.

My three favourite characters ended up being Serena’s father, Jasmine (the new love of his life) and Mrs M; mostly as the three of them are the crafty parental figures who knew how to get forward motion churning in the lives of Serena and Logan. They needed a lot of pushes and nudges to work through their feelings, re-think what they felt they knew of each other and of course, like most relationships that have a rocky foundation they needed help finding common ground. All of this is put together through the vision Randel had in showcasing how ordinary life can be messy but its the hours betwixt and between which count the most.

The person I felt the most sorry for was Logan and Reid’s father – I think he never truly gave himself permission to feel the losses he experienced nor had the capacity to find a way to heal through self-forgiveness for his own past sins. Logan’s father was a proud man but what he needed most was his sons to accept his faults, understand his frailties and still find a reason to accept him as a father who loved his sons most of all. This is why the series feels rooted in a family drama set in a small close-knit mountain community. Everyone is in a different stage of progress towards resolving something of their lives or of their past; no one is unaffected by the secrets but it is those secrets which cause more harm than good.

What pulls me back into the plotting of Meet Me At the Altar series is the thickening plot points – there is an overlapping arc of narrative threading between the novels which is leading into a revelation period. There is one underscoring mystery involving Serena’s own past, her family and especially the goings on with her father which stem from the investigative instincts of detectives both private and publicly employed. It is within this scope that Randel encourages your curiosity because each new installment of the series hugs you closer to the truth but also pulls away from it quite a bit in order to lengthen the reveal.

I am hoping there are a few more stories yet to come in this series – I’d love to see what becomes of Reid, but also the supporting characters of Heidi and Carrie. There are more characters whose lives are entwined with the leads and I would love to see how their lives begin to work out as well!

What gives you the best joy of course is watching how Ms Randel knits her characters closer together at moments where they’d prefer to remain isolated, alone and single. She doesn’t let them root there in their own self-pity, but rather attempts to push them towards the people who have unconditional love to share and friendship which will last longer than a rumour. This is a series that is about working through your problems, trusting in yourself to have the chance to repair the past and finding a place as calm as Golden to renew your spirit as you redefine your path.

-quoted from my review of Trusting Her Heart
(Meet Me At the Altar series, Book Three)

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#HarlequinHeartwarming Blog Book Tour | “Always the One” (Meet Me At The Altar series, Book Four) by Tara RandelAlways the One
Subtitle: Meet Me At The Altar
by Tara Randel
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

She’s the love of his life… but is he still hers?

FBI agent Derrick Matthews has finally found his childhood sweetheart and the love of his life—but she isn’t exactly happy about it! Years ago, Hannah Rawlings disappeared overnight when her family went on the run, and she blames Derrick. She tells him she’s moved on and he should, too, but Derrick fears Hannah’s still in danger. He vows to protect her—even if that means betraying her trust…again.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-335-88957-7

Also by this author: His One and Only Bride, His Honor, Her Family, Trusting Her Heart

Also in this series: His Honor, Her Family, Trusting Her Heart


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


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 4th February, 2020

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 385

Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming

Converse via: #Contemporary + #Romance and #HarlequinHeartwarming

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Meet Me At The Altar series:

The Lawman's Secret Vow by Tara RandelHis Honor, Her Family by Tara RandelTrusting Her Heart by Tara RandelAlways the One by Tara Randel

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how this series began within the pages of : The Lawman’s Secret Vow

To have and to hold — until the case is solved?

When an undercover assignment pairs laid-back Florida detective Dante Matthews with by-the-book cop Eloise Archer, he knows it won’t be easy. And not just because they’re competing for the same promotion. Now they’re living together under the same roof, and it’s getting harder to ignore his deepening feelings for his “wife.” Can he convince Eloise to partner up—for life?

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As an aside – when it comes to the redesign for Harlequin Heartwarming – I am on board with it as far as the front covers are concerned with one note of criticism from a reader who loves her serial fiction. The series names have been moved to the back cover and that is most distressing as it is harder to sort out which books are meant to be read in which sequence per series. I noticed that they are not routing through the series names either online except thankfully on Fantastic Fiction. That is the only mark of criticism I have though as I liked the triangle graphic on the upper left but I wish the series names were still on the front covers.

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About Tara Randel

Tara Randel

USA Today Bestselling Author Tara Randel has enjoyed a lifelong love of books, especially romance and mystery genres, so it didn't come as a surprise when she began writing with the dream of becoming published. Family values, mystery and, of course, love and romance are her favorite themes, because she believes love is the greatest gift of all. Tara lives on the West Coast of Florida, where gorgeous sunsets inspire the creation of heartwarming stories, filled with love, laughter and the occasional mystery.

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Posted Thursday, 13 February, 2020 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host, Contemporary Romance, Family Drama, Indie Author, Life Shift, Modern Day, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA

Blog Book Tour featuring an #INSPY author I used to interact with via Southern Belle View Daily! | “The Fifth Avenue Story Society” by Rachel Hauck

Posted Monday, 10 February, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review banner 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 ARC copy of “The Fifth Avenue Story Society” direct from the publisher Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why this blog tour reminds me of being engaged
with the Southern Belle View Daily community of INSPY authors:

It wasn’t too long ago I was an active commenter on author’s blogs (ie. 2012) wherein I had my first taste of what the book blogosphere involved and how readers were finding ways to interact directly with authors they had either read or were dearly hoping to read ‘next’. This predates when my vocabulary involved the term “TBR” and long before my own blog was as whispered dream which readily became a reality on the 31st of March (in 2013).

Just ahead of developing Jorie Loves A Story, I discovered Southern Belle View Daily (earlier in 2013) and it was happily bookmarked through my browser’s RSS feeds reader (remember that option?). I loved visiting with the authors who were at the helm of the blog: Lisa Wingate, Rachel Hauck, Julie Cantrell, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson and Beth Webb Hart were the original ladies I interacted with whilst Eva Marie Everson, Kellie Coates Gilbert, Amy Hill Hearth, Denise Hildreth Jones, Jolina Petersheim and Nicole Seitz joined them off/on over the years.

They would host interactive forum discussions on their blog and even the occasional bookaway – I won Beth Webb Hart’s  Moon Over Edisto whilst during my first month of being a book blogger in 2013 I had the opportunity to review Lisa Wingate’s The Prayer Box which also became my first blog tour! Whilst getting Jorie Loves A Story off the ground and dealing with life as it was being lived whilst juggling my chronic migraines – I found I wasn’t able to maintain the connections I had established prior to being a book blogger on the author blogs I had frequented before launching my own blog. Therefore by the time I had the chance to return to Southern Belle View I learnt it was switching over to Facebook and that in effect knocked me out of joining them as I elected to become active on Twitter instead.

Through the years, I’ve grown attached to the series The Prayer Box began whilst I’ve had my eye on reading through all their stories and finding my favourites. Towards that end, I started by reading Kellie Coates Gilbert’s Texas Star series with A Reason to Stay. I still remember being involved with the now defunct Blogging for Books programme and finding one of Ms Tomlinson’s releases was available to request – however, I waited to long to decide to request it and it went to other readers! I learnt not to contemplate those choices too long afterwards, laughs.

As I never quite ‘let go’ of following their literary careers, I found out about The Fifth Avenue Story Society prior to the announcement of the blog tour via Prism Book Tours. I was going to fetch a copy of it from my local library when the invite came into my Inbox. Talk about a serendipitous day!I was overjoyed I could host one of the authors I knew previously but also, this would mark my first story by Ms Hauck I could finally read and I couldn’t wait! I also always see a hawk when I pronounce her name (big smiles) as it was the only way I could remember how to say it aloud! The fact as a wildlife photographer I’ve been blessed to capture hawks IRL through my lens is an added bit of serendipity.

You could say I feel like as I move closer to entering my seventh year as a book blogger this New Year 2020 – I am coming full circle! To my roots as a reader, to the foundation I set down as a blog commenter and as a writer reclaiming her pen and her inspiration to write her own stories. It is an exciting year and one I already feel has become memorable! How lovely I get to kick-off February’s Romance & Women’s Fiction reads with Ms Hauck’s new book!

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On my connection to Rachel Hauck:

I discovered Southern Belle View Daily in early 2013 during the times I engaged with the lovely ladies who were ‘behind’ SBV I came to appreciate conversing with all the Belles, including Rachel Hauck. I was a regular visitor and commenter – up til a certain point as once my blog Jorie Loves A Story launched live in August, 2013 I was not able to visit as regularly as I had previously. In the years since 2013 I have been more at a distance from directly engaging with Ms Hauck (though a few times via Twitter as I recall?) and have followed her releases from afar always hoping to start reading them. One thing which prevented me from starting to read the Belles works of Fiction is that they were not always readily available via my local libraries.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with her through Southern Belle View Daily and/or Twitter; as I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time.

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Blog Book Tour featuring an #INSPY author I used to interact with via Southern Belle View Daily! | “The Fifth Avenue Story Society” by Rachel HauckThe Fifth Avenue Story Society
by Rachel Hauck
Source: Publisher via Prism Book Tours

An invitation to join The Fifth Avenue Story Society gives five New York strangers a chance to rewrite their own stories.

Executive assistant Lexa is eager for a much-deserved promotion, but her boss is determined to keep her underemployed.

Literature professor Jett is dealing with a broken heart, as well as a nagging suspicion his literary idol, Gordon Phipps Roth, might be a fraud.

Uber driver Chuck just wants a second chance with his kids.

Aging widower Ed is eager to write the true story of his incredible marriage.

Coral, queen of the cosmetics industry, has broken her engagement and is on the verge of losing her great grandmother’s multimillion-dollar empire.

When all five New Yorkers receive an anonymous, mysterious invitation to the Fifth Avenue Story Society, they suspect they’re victims of a practical joke. No one knows who sent the invitations or why. No one has heard of the literary society. And no one is prepared to reveal their deepest secrets to a roomful of strangers.

Yet curiosity and loneliness bring them back week after week to the old library. And it’s there they discover the stories of their hearts, and the kind of friendship and love that heals their souls.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780310350927

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction, Literary Fiction


Published by Thomas Nelson

on 4th February, 2020

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 400

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Published by: Thomas Nelson (@ThomasNelson)
an imprint of HarperCollins Christian Publishing (@HCChristianPub)

Converse via: #FifthAvenueStorySociety,  #RachelHauck & #TNZFiction
as well as #INSPYFiction and #WomensFiction

About Rachel Hauck

Rachel Hauck

Rachel Hauck is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA TODAY bestselling author of The Wedding Dress, which was also named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times and was a RITA finalist. Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and pet and writes from her ivory tower.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 10 February, 2020 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Introspective Literary Fiction, Literary Fiction, Modern Day, Multiple POV, New York City, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Southern Belle View Daily

Blog Book Tour | “A Girl’s Guide to the Outback” by Jessica Kate

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

Book Review banner 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 ARC copy of “A Girl’s Guide to the Outback” direct from the publisher Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I wanted to read this novel:

For the past two Summers I’ve participated in an INSPY readathon during July whilst I’ve been hosting for PRISM for nearly three full years now. I’ve seen my fellow book bloggers lamenting about the stories they’ve read about Jessica Kate (including Rissi) whilst I haven’t had the chance to sample her Contemporary Romance styling for myself. When I read the premise behind this novel I felt it was a good fit for me as a reader because I *love!* stories set in the Australian Outback!

This is partially why I was overjoyed sharing my #mustreads for 2020 during last week’s #TopTenTuesday as Janet Gover is releasing her new book “The Lawson Sisters” and she’s the Australian author who introduced me to Contemporary Australian Romances with her “Flight to Coorah Creek!” (and thus, launched the #CoorahCreek series!) I’ve been meaning to expand my search for stories set in Australia however, its been a bit slow going as my local libraries aren’t always able to request stories published elsewhere from the states until last year when my requests for UK publishers started to gain some traction. This year, I’m determined to find Canadian & Australian authors/publishers to request and see if I can read more of the fiction originating out of those countries.

I already have shared how devastating the news about the Australian bushfires have been on my own heart & soul. The news is never easy to handle on a good day, but finding out about the wildlife & the natural environs which are charred reminders of the wreck a bushfire can create in such quick-swift course is beyond heartbreaking; it is also why I started off January without the focus for reading and a mood set against blogging because my heart was elsewhere. I barely read throughout January and it is within February I am aiming to get my feet back into reading. This marks one of the first stories I’ve been able to read this New Year 2020 and I am hoping to find many throughout February which will re-jump me back into the joy I have sharing my readerly life with my dear hearted readers & visitors alike.

There is a heavy somberness reading about Australia but as its a country I’ve had mates & fond memories of friendship from the past inasmuch as my attachment to the Australian Zoo and the conservation efforts of the Irwin family; I also love Australian Literature. This is why I was eagerly excited about finding one of Jessica Kate’s novels appealling to me this New Year and I was hopeful it would be a good jumpstart towards reading more authors from this country I’ve been smitten with ever since I first saw The Man from Snowy River as a young girl who loved riding horses!

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Blog Book Tour | “A Girl’s Guide to the Outback” by Jessica KateA Girl's Guide to the Outback
by Jessica Kate
Source: Publisher via Prism Book Tours

How far will a girl go to win back a guy she can’t stand? This funny, sweet, and romantic story proves that opposites do attract—and that God has a sense of humor.

Samuel Payton is a passionate youth pastor in Virginia, but below the surface, he’s still recovering from the blow of a failed business and insecurities he can’t shake. His coworker, start-up expert Kimberly Foster, is brilliant, fearless, and capable, but years of personal rejection have left her defensive and longing for a family. Two people have never been more at odds—or more attracted to one another. And every day at work, the sparks sure do fly.

When Kimberly’s ambitious plans for Sam’s ministry butt up against his risk-averse nature, Sam decides that obligations to family trump his work for the church. He quits the ministry and heads home to Australia to help his sister, Jules, save her struggling farm. As Kimberly’s grand plans flounder, she is forced to face the truth: that no one can replace Sam. Together they strike up a deal: If Kimberly comes to work on Jules’s dairy farm and lends her business brains to their endeavor, then maybe—just maybe—Sam will reconsider his future with the church.

As Kimberly tries her hand at Australian farm life, she learns more about herself than she could’ve ever expected. Meanwhile Sam is forced to re-evaluate this spunky woman he thought he already knew. As foes slowly morph into friends, they wonder if they might be something even more. But when disaster strikes the farm, will Sam find it within himself to take a risk that could lead to love? And will Kimberly trust God with her future?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780785229612

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


Published by Thomas Nelson

on 28th January, 2020

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 358

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Published by: Thomas Nelson (@ThomasNelson)
an imprint of HarperCollins Christian Publishing (@HCChristianPub)

Converse via: #GirlsGuideToTheOutback,  #JessicaKate & #TNZFiction
as well as #ContemporaryRomance & #INSPYRomance

About Jessica Kate

Jessica Kate

Australian author Jessica Kate writes inspirational romances with wit, sass, and grit. Jessica is a screenwriting groupie, cohost of the StoryNerds vlog and podcasts, and her favorite place to be—apart from Mum and Dad’s back deck—is a theme park. She has traveled North America and Australia, and samples her favorite pasta wherever she goes—but the best (so far) is still the place around the corner from her corporate day job as a training developer. She loves watching sitcoms with her housemates and being a leader in a new church plant.

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Posted Tuesday, 4 February, 2020 by jorielov in 21st Century, Australia, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Contemporary Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction

Book Spotlight | Featuring an Extract with Notes by Jorie on behalf of “The Matchmaker’s Rogue” (Book One: Grace-by-the-Sea) by Regina Scott

Posted Monday, 20 January, 2020 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

Stories in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

In [2017] I hosted a similar spotlight & feature for this author – ever since I was first clued into her Love Inspired Historical writings, I’ve been keeping a ready eye out for her novels. I have also started to gather the stories I can find published through LI: Historical ever since the imprint was discontinued. They are starting to repack the stories into dual author or triple author releases now and sadly, I haven’t had the chance to gather those as I thought it was nice to see those coming out for those of us who enjoyed the imprint & were sad to see it go by the wayside.

Fast forward to [2020] and I am proud to host my second spotlighted post for this lovely author & share an extract from the story which is being featured on a January blog tour for PRISM. I personally *adore!* the Regency – an era I have become to know rather well and an era of time where I feel cosy comfortable to keep disappearing inside! I truly get caught up in all the drama of the ton and all the craziness set round matchmakers & those who are hoping for a true match rather than one attached to gaining property, wealth and status (or all three!). It was an era of balls, catty rivarly and beautiful fashion whilst at the same time it had a very conservative spin on society & the expectations of family, friends & peers. And, yet, despite that conservative edge to the Regency – I still find myself able to carve out certain niches of romantic joy i the writers who keep writing the Regency in ways I love to read about it!

When I first read the premise of “The Matchmaker’s Rogue” and saw the cover art which accompanied it – boy! did I feel like swooning into a wicked good read! I had wished this might have been available to review for the tour as it looks dearly #unputdownable! I’ve queued the book to be requested at my local library as they’ve been blessedly receptive this past year to my purchase requests and I am hoping this one might become added to their card catalogue in February! I’ll have to keep everyone posted in case it becomes one of my next #libraryreads!

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 am truly hoping by year’s end, I can finally say I’ve read a handful of her Love Inspired Historicals & The Matchmaker’s Rogue! As this New Year’s 2020 for me is about seeking out the authors I’ve previously featured and finally getting the chance to have their stories alight in my hands to be read!

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The Matchmaker's Rogue by Regina Scott

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

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add to LibraryThing

Published: 8th January, 2020 | ISBN: 978-1657611467

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

Polished Jesslyn Chance has one of the most enviable positions in the little Regency coastal village of Grace-by-the-Sea. She is the hostess of the spa, arranging introductions and entertainments and playing matchmaker to the ladies and gentlemen who come to take the waters, promenade through the shops, and dance at the assembly. But when a rogue returns from her past, Jess finds herself suddenly at sea.

Always an adventurer, Larkin Denby left Grace-by-the-Sea to right the wrongful death of his father. Now he’s back on a mission: to identify the mysterious Lord of the Smugglers who allegedly sails from Grace Cove and takes England’s secrets to France. But Grace-by-the-Sea is the perfect little spa town, run by the still oh-so-perfect Jesslyn Chance. When the village’s future is threatened, Jess must work with Lark to solve the mystery and protect the town’s own. In doing so, the matchmaker of Grace-by-the-Sea may just find that the best match for her is the rogue who stole her heart years ago.

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Posted Monday, 20 January, 2020 by jorielov in #blogmas, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book | Novel Excerpt, Book Spotlight, Contemporary Romance, Indie Author, Prism Book Tours, Sweet Romance, YA Fantasy

A #blogmas #HarlequinHeartwarming Blog Book Tour | “The Christmas Kiss” (Back to Bluestone River series, Book Two) by Virginia McCullough

Posted Friday, 13 December, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#blogmas 2019 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. I am unsure how many books I’ll review for them as most are offered digitally rather than in print but this happily marks one of the blog tours where I could receive a print book for review purposes. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Christmas Kiss” 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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A #blogmas #HarlequinHeartwarming Blog Book Tour | “The Christmas Kiss” (Back to Bluestone River series, Book Two) by Virginia McCulloughThe Christmas Kiss
Subtitle: Back to Bluestone River
by Virginia McCullough
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

Will working together

…lead to together forever?

Recently divorced, Parker Davis needs to focus on his new job so he can provide a stable home for his daughter in time for the Christmas holidays. The problem is, he’s frequently at odds with his boss. He and Emma O’Connell approach everything differently. Yet he finds her intriguing, and Bluestone River festivities keep pushing them together—often enough that two people at odds could find themselves evenly matched in love!

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335510969

Also by this author: A Family for Jason

Also in this series: A Family for Jason


Genres: Christmas Story &/or Christmas Romance, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Romance Fiction


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 3rd December, 2019

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 375

Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming

Converse via: #Contemporary + #Romance and #HarlequinHeartwarming

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Back to Bluestone River series:

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

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

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!

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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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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 13 December, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, A Father's Heart, Blog Tour Host, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Indie Author, Life Shift, Modern Day, Mute | Medical Loss of Voice, Prism Book Tours, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Single Fathers, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Special Needs Children