Category: Children’s Literature

#MiddleGradeMarch Book Review | “Selah’s Sweet Dream” (Book Two: the Dream Horse Adventures series) by Susan Count

Posted Saturday, 28 March, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I had to take a leave of absence hosting for this touring company in [2015] whilst I worked towards finding better balance in my blogging and personal life. I returnt to hosting for Lola’s Book Tours in [2018] before having to take a small hiatus from requesting future blog tours for a second time. By [2020] as my health afflictions from 2018/19 started to recede I realised I could start to host for her authors with better confidence in being able to participate on the tours themselves. Thereby it was with the Dream Horse Adventures series I decided to mark my return and was quite thankful this was a series she was celebrating through her touring company.

I received a complimentary copy of “Selah’s Sweet Dream” direct from the author Susan Court in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What I enjoyed about my introduction to
the Dream Horse Adventures series whilst reading “Mary’s Song”:

We journey back to 1952 wherein a horse crazy twelve year old girl named Mary yearns to ride the horses she is fascinated with observing through the fence line at her house. Her father, a kindly man who sees the hope of the situation in regards to her medical condition rather than the frustrated anguish of his daughter’s lost faith in a solution to present itself to give her a future wherein she could gain back what she’s physically lost. His voice is portrayed as a humbled and empathetic compassionate man who simply wants the best for his girl who dreams of horses and the freedom which carries the rider into the currents of the wind.

She might not have the regular childhood of her peers but she has a keen insight into art and the ways in which she can project her dreams into a sketch. She openly talks to her father about her fears and the reasons why she loses her belief in having a day arrive where she is not confined to a chair without the ability to rise and walk. She chooses to focus on the horses – to observe their behaviour patterns and to treat them whenever she can with treats she can throw over the fence. The horses have their own unique personalities which Count allows Mary to talk about whilst giving you the impression that it is the horses who strengthen her resolve moreso than the efforts of her father to find a way to give his daughter a second chance at life.

One of my favourite passages rather early-on in the story is when Mr Gregory (Mary’s tutor) is asking Mary how she’s able to get him to discuss horses in the middle of her lessons! The response from Mary is not only one of the most heartfelt answers I’ve heard in a horse drama of this nature (the second favourite of mine is actually the essay shared about mustangs from the film Flicka) – but it gives keen insight into Mary’s own heart and where her mind alights the most in her joy of feeling a deep attachment to horses. She was quite right too – about how horses played such a central role in History, from working horses to war horses to everyday horses who aided commoners to get round their townes. You don’t have to go too far back into our living histories to find horses as the main method of transportation and recreation, either!

I had to grin when I heard the girls’ talking about Black Beauty – as there weren’t too many stories involving horses I hadn’t personally known about myself when I was their age! Plus, the horse neighs as measures of a segue between scenes was just too delightful for words! You almost felt like you were listening to the story in the barn awaiting Mary and Laura to come round the corner and tell you its time to go for a ride! Laura likes to compete in Equestrian games but she doesn’t quite understand how Mary isn’t as confident in what she can accomplish herself. Mary tends to hold herself back even though she has the courage to try new things – especially observed when Mary talked to Laura about Laura’s sport. This was a lovely compliment to the library Mary has wherein she was encouraged to pursue collecting stories and books about horses. I must admit, I was awe-struck by how inclusive her library was in that regard! You can just see yourself agape looking at all the titles and browsing through her collection!

Laura was a smart lass – she understood Mary in a way that most might not have picked up upon themselves as she knew that Mary needed a bit of nudging and encouragement round the edges to step outside her comfort zones. It was through their growing friendship that both girls’ started to make choices which would affect their own lives. Their willingness to put themselves on the line for a horse and to rebel against the established rules of their parents endeared them to me because of how convicted they were in their belief about what they were doing was the right way to fix a wrong. Their passion and their dedication to their cause is beyond heartwarming and it was one of my favourite parts of the overall story!

I honestly felt conflicted by Mary’s father – he had such a difficult personality! At times, he was harsh and too hard on Mary – in ways that didn’t feel like he had her best interests at heart. Other times? He was sweet and caring – almost like he had an dual personality! I was quite shocked by the ending, too – as I just didn’t see that ‘coming’ in regards to how her father finds a new bit of happiness. For me, the heart of this story truly was encompassing how Mary was self-persevering to re-write her own truth – to seek out a method of therapy which worked best for and for having the courage to defy the odds in order to find her own path back to solid ground.

Ms Count has provided such a wonderful stepping stone into this series – I hadn’t realised it focuses on Selah’s grandmother until I first started to listen to the audiobook; having read the overlooked bit of trivia! Thought it makes sense as when I was contemplating the series before starting to read and listen to it I was trying to sort out how do we go from focusing on Mary to Selah? It would make sense Mary is laying down the origin story for Selah and building on how this family generationally has a connection to horses! I do look forward to seeing how Selah is introduced and how we carry-on with the series from here. Despite a few wrinkles of angst for me as a reader, I thoroughly enjoyed the narrator’s performance of the story – Cavannaugh truly brought to life everyone within the novel!

-quoted from my review of Mary’s Song

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#MiddleGradeMarch Book Review | “Selah’s Sweet Dream” (Book Two: the Dream Horse Adventures series) by Susan CountSelah's Sweet Dream
Subtitle: Dream Horse Adventures Book Two
by Susan Count
Source: Author via Lola's Blog Tours

Twelve-year-old Selah’s quest to be equestrian superstar is impossible without a horse. Then she spots buzzards circling in the grasslands behind Grandpa’s farm. They’re stalking a horse trapped in wire and Selah is its only hope. But the mare she rescues might be a bigger challenge to her dream than not having a horse at all.

An old friend of Grandpa’s and a world renowned horse trainer offers to work with the wild and defiant mare. Selah jumps at the opportunity. She trains with a fierce determination to equal the equestrian talent of the deceased grandmother who instilled the love of horse in her. But when the horse causes mayhem at the trainer’s facility, he sends them home. Selah must gather her courage and face up to the trainer or watch her dreams gallop away.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780997088304

Also by this author: Mary's Song (Book Spotlight), Selah's Sweet Dream (Book Spotlight), Selah's Painted Dream (Book Spotlight), Selah's Stolen Dream (Book Spotlight), Mary's Song

Also in this series: Mary's Song


Genres: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Children's Literature, Middle Grade, Equestrian Fiction, Horse Drama


Published by Hastings Creations Group

on 15th December, 2015

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 187

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The Dream Horse Adventures series:

Mary's Song by Susan CountSelah's Sweet Dream by Susan CountSelah's Painted Dream by Susan CountSelah's Stolen Dream by Susan Count

Mary’s Song (book one) (see also Review)

Selah’s Sweet Dream (book two)

Selah’s Painted Dream (book three)

Selah’s Stolen Dream (book four)

Available formats: Ebook, Trade Paperback and Audiobook (for Book One)

Converse via: #DreamHorseAdventures and #SusanCourt + #MiddleGradeMarch
as well as #MiddleGrade, #MGLit, #HorseDrama and #Equestrian Fiction

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Posted Saturday, 28 March, 2020 by jorielov in #MiddleGradeMarch, 20th Century, Blog Tour Host, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Children's Literature, Coming-Of Age, Indie Author, Juvenile Fiction, Lola's Blog Tours, Middle Grade Novel, Mother-Daughter Relationships

#MiddleGradeMarch Audiobook Review | “Mary’s Song” (Book One: the Dream Horse Adventures series) by Susan Count, narrated by Caitlin Cavannaugh

Posted Wednesday, 25 March, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I had to take a leave of absence hosting for this touring company in [2015] whilst I worked towards finding better balance in my blogging and personal life. I returnt to hosting for Lola’s Book Tours in [2018] before having to take a small hiatus from requesting future blog tours for a second time. By [2020] as my health afflictions from 2018/19 started to recede I realised I could start to host for her authors with better confidence in being able to participate on the tours themselves. Thereby it was with the Dream Horse Adventures series I decided to mark my return and was quite thankful this was a series she was celebrating through her touring company.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Mary’s Song” direct from the author Susan Court in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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In case you missed my Series Spotlight, let me re-share why this series appealled to me:

Let’s talk about how important *horses!* and *horse dramas!* were to Jorie when she was younger – as there came a point in my childhood where I was truly motivated and dedicated to learning Dressage, natural horsemanship, ethical care for horses and I had a dedicated eye for #horsefiction wherein I was either traversing alongside cowboys as they took wagons west into a new frontier or I was curled up inside the Children’s series of Thoroughbred, The Saddle Club and/or The Black Stallion (the series).

I could relate to these series because the lead characters had a heart for horses which mirrored my own heart and thoughts about how to be an ethically minded Equestrian whilst fusing your passion into dedicated training. I had the pleasure of riding retired thoroughbreds as the barns in which I took lessons had these available as schooling horses as thoroughbreds in order to have a happier retired life must be retrained into a new skill set. Dressage and/or Endurance racing is quite common as they expell so much energy and require a lot of focused pursuits to feel happy in of themselves.

I never lost my connection to horses, #horsefiction or horse dramas – by book, motion picture nor television series – I’ve come across more than a few and my top favourites are still: The Man From Snowy River (1982), Return to Snowy River (1988), The Black Stallion (film, 1979), The Black Stallion (Canadian tv series, 1990-93), A Horse for Danny (1995), Virginia’s Run (2002), Hildago (2004), The Horse Whisperer (film only 1998, not the book), The Long Shot (2004), Dreamer (2005), Flicka (2006), SeaBiscuit (2003), Secretariat (2010) and the Canadian tv series “Heartland” (2007-current) to name a few. One of the more dramatic entries of horse fiction as an adult reader was my readings of the at-risk (foster care) youth and the situations involving their placements (as they are hard to place) within the novel “The Language of Hoofbeats” which I found to be #unputdownable for its realism and capacity to interconnect the truth about today’s foster youth.

Whenever I come across a new series in either MG or YA Lit, I get quite excited as there is a part of my bookish heart where I hope these never lose favour with children and that today’s child can grow up in the wonderment of horse culture and Equestrian experiences as there is something magically beautiful about connecting to a horse and being connected to them as you ride together.

This is why I was truly excited to send up a boost of a signal flare to announce this series on Jorie Loves A Story – hopefully letting my fellow readers, book bloggers & followers alike know about a series like this in case they know of a boy or girl who are growing up with a fascination about horses themselves!

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#MiddleGradeMarch Audiobook Review | “Mary’s Song” (Book One: the Dream Horse Adventures series) by Susan Count, narrated by Caitlin CavannaughMary's Song
Subtitle: Dream Horse Adventures Book One
by Susan Count
Source: Author via Lola's Blog Tours
Narrator: Caitlin Cavannaugh

Mary's Song is completely independent of the three Selah books. It is the story of Selah's grandmother.

A young artist falls in love with a foal that is lame, just like her. The expensive surgery the foal needs has little chance to correct the problem. Still Mary plots and conspires to raise money to save the horse, even as time runs out. She sacrifices what she holds dear - the trust of her papa, to gain her heart's desire. But she could lose everything in her struggle to save the foal.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780997088335

ASIN: B07Y2GVYSY

Also by this author: Mary's Song (Book Spotlight), Selah's Sweet Dream (Book Spotlight), Selah's Painted Dream (Book Spotlight), Selah's Stolen Dream (Book Spotlight), Selah's Sweet Dream

Also in this series: Selah's Sweet Dream


Genres: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Children's Literature, Middle Grade, Equestrian Fiction, Horse Drama


Published by Hastings Creations Group

on 20th September, 2018

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 3 hours and 40 minutes (unabridged)

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The Dream Horse Adventures series:

Mary's Song by Susan CountSelah's Sweet Dream by Susan CountSelah's Painted Dream by Susan CountSelah's Stolen Dream by Susan Count

Mary’s Song (book one)

Selah’s Sweet Dream (book two)

Selah’s Painted Dream (book three)

Selah’s Stolen Dream (book four)

Available formats: Ebook, Trade Paperback and Audiobook (for Book One)

Converse via: #DreamHorseAdventures and #SusanCourt + #MiddleGradeMarch
as well as #MiddleGrade, #MGLit, #HorseDrama and #Equestrian Fiction

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Posted Wednesday, 25 March, 2020 by jorielov in #MiddleGradeMarch, 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Childhood Friendship, Children's Literature, Coming-Of Age, Indie Author, Juvenile Fiction, Lola's Blog Tours, Middle Grade Novel, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Teacher & Student Relationships, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, the Fifties

Blog Book Tour | “Second Sister” by Chan Ho-Kei (an Zeitgeisty Hacker Contemporary Thriller)

Posted Sunday, 22 March, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I’ve been enjoying hosting blog tours for the UK Indie publisher Head of Zeus as I feel blessed to work with them as a book blogger being that I love celebrating authors from the UK and the stories they are telling through the different genres Head of Zeus is publishing. These blog tours have been encouraging my bookish and readerly wanderings into Crime Dramas, Historical Fiction and Historical Sagas whilst also engaging into my passionate love of Speculative Fiction which encompasses Science Fiction and Fantasy. I am thankful to be hosting tours for the publisher directly and with their publicity team at Midas PR.

I received a complimentary copy of “Second Sister” direct from the publisher Head of Zeus in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What intrigued me about “Second Sister”:

I have noticed a shift in my reading patterns has brought me back into *Crime Fiction!* recently – even before I announced becoming an influencer for the Crime Fiction Subscription Book Box which is focused on highlighting Canadian Crime Writers and Crime Fiction from around the world. This is a niche of literature I personally LOVE to be reading – from Contemporary Suspense & Thrillers to Cosy Historical Mysteries to dramatic Cosy Crime and police proceduals and amateur sleuths – there is something truly captivating about reading stories which invigorate your mind whilst your attempting to uncover the writer’s vision of how to tell a captivating suspense novel through their own lens of inspiration to leave you gripped inside a novel that might be hard to put down after its read.

From the moment I first read the premise of “Second Sister” – I just had this murmuring of interest as this was my first takeaway having read the synopsis:

It isn’t often I find a Thriller like this one which intrigues me to read the story. The author reminds me of what I enjoyed about reading J.S. Monroe’s “Forget My Name” and why I am dearly eager to read his new release “The Other You” – which I hosted an Author Q&A for earlier in January of this year.

It isn’t often I find Crime Fiction in translation – the first novel of I read of this nature was The Swimmer which happily took me by surprise and was a wicked good read. This is the other reason “Second Sister” appealled to me as a reader – not to mention the premise was a gutting one – how it effectively was about the lives and choices of two sisters and would take me to Hong Kong to hear their story. I’ll admit the tagline attached to this novel was quite alluring in its own right –  an Zeitgeisty Hacker Contemporary Thriller!

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Blog Book Tour | “Second Sister” by Chan Ho-Kei (an Zeitgeisty Hacker Contemporary Thriller)Second Sister
by (Translator) Jeremy Tiang, Chan Ho-Kei
Source: Direct from Publicist

Upon discovering her fifteen-year-old sister’s body sprawled in a pool of blood at the bottom of their apartment block, Nga-Yee vows to serve justice to the internet troll she blames for her sister’s suicide.

Hiring an anti-establishment, maverick tech-savvy detective, Nga-Yee discovers the dark side of social media, the smokescreen of online privacy and the inner workings of the hacker’s mind.

Determined to find out the truth about why her sister Siu-Man killed herself, Nga-Yee cannot rest until she finds out whose inflammatory social media post went viral and pushed her sister to her death. Along the way, Nga-Yee makes unsavoury discoveries about her sister’s life and the dark underbelly of the digital world.

Perfect for fans of hacker thrillers such as Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, Second Sister is part detective novel, part revenge thriller. It explores timely themes of sexual harassment, online trolling, victim blaming, fake news and data privacy scandals , vividly capturing the zeitgeist of Hong Kong and the world today.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1788547116

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Crime Fiction, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Police Procedural, Thriller


Setting: Hong Kong


Published by Head of Zeus

on 18th February, 2020

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 496

Published By: Head of Zeus (@HoZ_Books)

Converse via: #SecondSister, #Thriller

as well as #Contemporary and #TechnoThriller

Available Formats: Hardcover, Trade Paperback, Audiobook & Ebook

About (Translator) Jeremy Tiang

Jeremy Tiang

Jeremy Tiang's short story collection It Never Rains on National Day was published by Epigram Books in 2015. His writing has also appeared in The Guardian, Esquire, Asia Literary Review, Brooklyn Rail, Drunken Boat, Meanjin, Ambit and Best New Singaporean Short Stories.

He has translated more than ten books from Chinese, including work by Yeng Pway Ngon, You Jin, Wong Yoon Wah, Yan Geling, Yu Qiuyu, Su Wei-chen and Zhang Yueran. Shorter translations have appeared in Two Lines, the Iowa Review, Asymptote and The Stinging Fly.

He is a 2016 NEA Literary Translation Fellow, and has received grants from PEN/ Heim and the National Museum of Taiwanese Literature. Jeremy also writes and translates plays, including Floating Bones (The Arts House, Singapore), A Dream of Red Pavilions (adapted from the novel Hong Lou Meng; Pan-Asian Repertory Theatre, NYC) and The Last Days of Limehouse (Yellow Earth Theatre, London).

About Chan Ho-Kei

Chan Ho-Kei

Chan was born and raised in Hong Kong. He was graduated from the Chinese University of Hong Kong with a B.Sc. degree in 1997. He has worked as software engineer, game designer, manga editor, and lecturer. Chan made his debut as writer in 2008, with short story The Murder Case of Jack and the Beanstalk which was shortlisted for the 6th Mystery Writers of Taiwan Award. Chan reentered and won this award in the next year with The Locked Room of Bluebeard.

After receiving a couple more of awards, Chan reached the first milestone of his writing career in 2011. Chan's novel, The Man who Sold the World won the biggest mystery award in the Chinese speaking world, the Soji Shimada Award. The book has been published in Taiwan, Japan, Italy, Thailand and Korea.

 In 2014, Chan's work The Borrowed was published in Taiwan and has been well acclaimed. It has sold rights in eight countries, and the film rights sold to director Wong Kar-Wai.

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Posted Sunday, 22 March, 2020 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Contemporary Thriller, Crime Fiction, Equality In Literature, Fly in the Ointment, Head of Zeus, Modern Day, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Vulgarity in Literature

#SaturdaysAreBookish | An after canon of #JaneAusten’s classic respun into “Sense Without Sensibility” by Keena Richins

Posted Saturday, 15 February, 2020 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

#SaturdaysAreBookish banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By:

I have been hosting for Poetic Book Tours since [2016], where I am finding myself encouraged to seek out collections of poetry or incredible fiction being published through Small Trade publishers and presses. I have an Indie spirit and mentality as a writer and I appreciate finding authors who are writing creative works through Indie resources as I find Indies have a special spirit about them. It is a joy to work with Poetic Book Tours for their resilience in seeking out voices in Literature which others might overlook and thereby, increasing my own awareness of these beautiful lyrical voices in the craft.

I received a complimentary copy of “Sense without Sensibility” direct from the author Keena Richins in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On how Jorie is spending the New Year 2020 lost in #JaneAusten:

Some years organically shape themselves into how your bookish & readerly life is going to manifest itself. For me, 2020 soon alerted me to the fact it was finally the year where I could re-shift my focus back into Jane Austen’s canon whilst entertaining her after canon sequels & retellings which I have been enjoying since I first started blogging my readerly life in [2013]. Prior to these years as a blogger and an avidly joyful tweeter – I never sorted out which of the after canon novelists I wanted to read due to the sheer amount of stories which are regularly published!

My journey of course began in December, 2013 when I read J. Marie Croft’s “Love at First Slight” which restylised “Pride and Prejudice” (singularly my favourite by far and one I highlighed in 2017 during #AustenInAugustRBR). From there I moved into my first “Sense & Sensibility” retelling entitled “Sense & Sensibility: A Latter-day Tale” by Rebecca H. Jamison proving that despite not reading nor seeing the motion picture adaption of the original with Emma Thompson (as this was a special gift to movie tie-in from my Mum; both the novel & the screenplay at time of release) you can definitely alight into a respun Austen story! I read this in August of 2014 (still within my first year as a book blogger) whilst years later I would re-cross paths with the author due to following Janeite & Austenite group author blogs and participating in INSPY related readathons!

Conversely, my attempts at participating in Roof Beam Reader‘s annual (until it took a sabbatical) Austen in August event was both productive and futile; depending on how you view my history of participation! Laughs at self.

When I soaked into “Liam Darcy: I Loathe You” by Heidi Jo Doxey (May, 2015) I learnt that there is still much to be learnt about comedic & satire writings in relation to Jane Austen! By October 2016, I was discovering “Sketching Character” (a variant of “Pride and Prejudice”) by Pamela Lynne. Yet in 2018, I discovered my first ‘not my cuppa’ variation of “Persuasion” whilst by November of the same year, I gushed over my first #25PagePreview of reading “Pride” by Ibi Zoboi!

Which brings me to the incredibly layered and wickedly smashing trilogy by Collins Hemingway entitled “The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen”! First read in 2018 and finished in 2019 – this became ‘the’ novel for all Janeites as I have regularly attested in my ruminations on the series behalf which acculmuated this New Year 2020 in the capstone interview I featured on Mr Hemingway’s dedication to bringing “Jane” to life as eloquently as he had! (see also reviews of Volume One, Volume Two & Volume Three)

In 2019 – I also had the honour of discovering the Quill Collective – of whom published a delightful Jane Austen anthology wherein all the writers took a round robin approach to adding in their variations to each of the canonical stories of Jane’s. The audiobook truly had a strong impact on me and I am not even done listening to it yet and ruminating over it as some portions of it I had to withhold listening til I could read the originals. This was meant to lead-in to my listening of a second anthology by the Quill Collective between November & December, 2019 entitled “Yuletide” which is a variation of “Pride and Prejudice”!!

Sadly – I had a hard ending to 2019 – from October – December my health was beyond afflicted and in January, 2020 my focus was simply removed from reading altogether. I barely blinked online – by blog or Twitter and focused more on showcasing #TopTenTuesday than reviews or features. It is only now in February where I have a renewal of spirit despite having a well of inactivity and a respite of absence from reading altogether as highlighted in my recent #BookishNotBookish.

Except to say – one audiobook series which is in of itself a variant of Jane Austen’s legacy is what truly helped ‘pull me out of my bookish funk’ and began to reinspire me to read again – the #JaneAustensDragons series by Maria Grace! I was able to share my initial takeaways and impressions on behalf of the first audiobook narrated by Benjamin Fife entitled “Pemberley: Mr Darcy’s Dragon” – whilst I also featured an interactive, candid and insightful interview with Mr Fife. The sequel “Longbourn: Dragon Entail” is next in line to be featured before I reveal my thoughts on the third in sequence which is “Netherfield: Rogue Dragon”!

In a recent convo on Twitter with @KhatriHina I realised I needed to break the trend of ‘not reading’ the original canons of Jane and to resume my love of her after canons. Thus, we’re reading “Emma” first and then moving into her other works whilst as this blog tour via Poetic Book Tours implies I am also reading her after canons in succession betwixt and between those readings as well! I want to dive into Jennetta James’s “Suddenly Mrs Darcy” as much as finally feel rooted into “Yuletide” in order to properly share my reactions to both as I move through their stories.

I am going to alternate from reading the books I currently have visible on my shelves (ie. “Northanger Abbey”, “Mansfield Park” & “Persuasion”) whilst borrowing the others except for “Pride & Prejudice” as I’ve read it oft enough to bypass it this year – though I do want to finally finish Stephanie Barron’s first Jane Austen Mysteries “Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor”). “Emma” is being borrowed on audiobook and I am thankful for it as I am striving for balance between what I read in print and what I listen to in audiobook.

I might have taken the long road back into reading #JaneAusten but I am appreciative of the fact that despite the adverse years of 2018-19 where my migraines raged – this New Year 2020 it is blissful to be migraine-free allowing me the grace of realigning back into Classical Literature & my selections of Non-Fiction which had to be back-burnered until the migraine lost their grip on me.

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#SaturdaysAreBookish | An after canon of #JaneAusten’s classic respun into “Sense Without Sensibility” by Keena RichinsSense without Sensibility
by Keena Richins
Source: Author via Poetic Book Tours

After a stroke that devastates the mind of her father, Elinor expects her life will never be the same. But she wasn’t expecting to lose her job and her family home thanks to a legal technicality.

Facing ruin, Elinor prepares to fight against the selfish, cruel man who would ensure that ruin. However, Edward turns out to be the opposite, a kind soul who only wants to fulfill his duty. So Elinor hatches a new plan: get Edward on her side and utilize their own legal technicality. The only problem? Edward would have to go against his very influential and wealthy family.

Would he risk losing everything–his job, his family, and his massive inheritance–to save Elinor?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781074858070

Genres: After Canons, Classical Literature, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Re-telling &/or Sequel


Published by Self Published

on 23rd June, 2019

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 286

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The Pemberley Estates series:

Book One: Persuading Him (A Modern Persuasion Re-telling)

Book Two: Persuading Her (A Modern Persuasion Re-telling)

Book Three: Sense without Sensibility (A Modern Sense & Sensibility Re-telling)

Read the Author’s Guest post on the tour which explains why #stroke is an important part of the story within “Sense without Sensibility” whilst read my previous posts about how this has impacted my own life with my father. (Not Your Traditional Thanksgiving)(Returning)(& Top Ten Tuesday)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #AfterCanon of #JaneAusten, #SenseAndSensibility
& #SenseWithoutSensibility as well as Retellings of #ClassicLit

About Keena Richins

Keena Richins has a curse: she must write the stories bubbling in her head or go mad. Seriously. You should see the hordes of characters in her head constantly babbling about their lives. When she needs a break, Keena will delve into books and her favorite are the Jane Austen books, so it is only fitting for her first debut to be a modern twist on one of those classics. And many more are soon to come.

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Posted Saturday, 15 February, 2020 by jorielov in 21st Century, After the Canon, Blog Tour Host, Classical Literature, Indie Author, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Jane Austen Sequel, Modern Day, Poetic Book Tours, Re-Told Tales, Sense & Sensibility Re-telling, Sequel Authors, Siblings

#PubDay Book Review | “Adequate Yearly Progress” by Roxanna Elden

Posted Tuesday, 11 February, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By: I have been a book blogger hosting publisher blog tours and/or featuring book reviews for Simon & Schuster (as well as a few of their imprints) since 2017 however I didn’t start to host for them regularly until 2018. What I appreciate about being a book blogger for this publisher is that they have the tendency of knowing the types of Contemporary & Historical stories which interest me to read even before I realise there is a new release forthcoming which I might gravitate towards wanting to read! It never fails to delight me finding one of their emails in my Inbox because they have the tendency of selecting the stories which align wonderfully with my own bookish wanderings. It is a joy to be a book blogger on their publisher blog tours and/or hosting reviews for them outside of the organised blog tours.

I received a complimentary copy of “Adequate Yearly Progress” direct from the publisher Atria Books (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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The reason reading ”Adequate Yearly Progress” appealled to me:

Ever since I was in school, I oft wondered what the teachers were talking about when they weren’t in the classroom. Growing up during budget cuts in the public & private school systems in the United States was an interesting view of the education system. Programs like Art, Drama, Shop (construction) and anything ‘extra’ after school were generally the first to get cut whilst they also had shortages on textbooks which is why I still remember how difficult it was to ‘lose our lockers’ in seventh and eighth grade because we literally had to go down to using ‘class sets’ without taking anything home except for copied work sheets which you could do in your sleep. In other words, for a lot of the years I was in school I didn’t feel academically challenged but what I gained instead was self-confidence, self-advocacy and self-esteem; in essence, I was building life skills and learning how to navigate the world.

Still though – there was a lot of bureaucratic red tape for the teachers, including the good ones who were student centred and held our interests ahead of their own. Some wanted to do more but were hindered by the budget or the restraints of the rules within public or private education (depending which school I was attending and which grade level). The only time I really had a chance to interact with the faculty and teachers more directly was in eighth grade where I befriended the school principal who tragically died prematurely shortly afterwards and in high school where the veil was fully lifted and I learnt far more than I expected!

For these reasons and the current state of public education in America, I decided this might be a rather timely novel to be reading. I also grew up being a dyslexic learner where most of my teachers didn’t realise I had learning difficulties because I learnt to overcompensate for my dyslexia – however, that’s a topic for another time as it lead to its own quirky complications!

Suffice it to say, from a very young age when it came to academic curiosity and literary wanderings – I did most of my educational pursuits off-campus and outside traditional education. I learnt more from my Mum who was technically my first teacher and through my family who always encouraged me to have as many experiences as I could and to seek out alternative learning opportunities.

Once I learnt how to work round my dyslexia the world of books became a cosy comfort because there wasn’t a subject I couldn’t explore on my own and there was a wide literary world out there to time travel through – in essence, what I have shared on Jorie Loves A Story is a small fraction of insight into my life as an independent learner and a self-motivating reader who continues to self-educate herself through literature and libraries.

Thus, I was dearly curious how this Contemporary novel might explore the current state of the educational system and the teachers who have a lot to deal with in regards to resources available to them in order to educate the children in their classrooms. I also thought it might have some cheeky humour along the way which is always a good thing to find!

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#PubDay Book Review | “Adequate Yearly Progress” by Roxanna EldenAdequate Yearly Progress
by Roxanna Elden
Source: Direct from Publisher

Roxanna Elden’s “laugh-out-loud funny satire” (Forbes) is a brilliantly entertaining and moving look at our education system.

Each new school year brings familiar challenges to Brae Hill Valley, a struggling high school in one the biggest cities in Texas. But the teachers also face plenty of personal challenges and this year, they may finally spill over into the classroom.

English teacher Lena Wright, a spoken-word poet, can never seem to truly connect with her students. Hernan D. Hernandez is confident in front of his biology classes, but tongue-tied around the woman he most wants to impress. Down the hall, math teacher Maybelline Galang focuses on the numbers as she struggles to parent her daughter, while Coach Ray hustles his troubled football team toward another winning season. Recording it all is idealistic second-year history teacher Kaytee Mahoney, whose anonymous blog gains new readers by the day as it drifts ever further from her in-class reality. And this year, a new superintendent is determined to leave his own mark on the school—even if that means shutting the whole place down.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781982135027

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Education & Learning, Literary Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Teachers & Educators


Published by Atria Books

on 11th February, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 400

 Published By:  Published By: Atria Books (@AtriaBooks)
{imprint of} Simon & Schuster (

Converse via: #AdequateYearlyProgress, #ContemporaryFiction + #RealisticFiction
Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Audiobook & Ebook

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About Roxanna Elden

Roxanna Elden

Roxanna Elden is the author of Adequate Yearly Progress: A Novel, and See Me After Class: Advice for Teachers by Teachers. She combines eleven years of experience as a public school teacher with a decade of speaking to audiences around the country about education issues. She has been featured on NPR as well as in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and more.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Tuesday, 11 February, 2020 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Equality In Literature, Fly in the Ointment, Learning Difficulties, Literary Fiction, Modern Day, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Publishers & Presses (Direct Reviews), School Life & Situations, Teacher & Student Relationships, Vulgarity in Literature