Category: Sisters & the Bond Between Them

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

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

#CFSRS20 readathon badge created by Jorie in Canva.

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

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

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

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Why I wanted to read this story:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Magnolia Storms novel Photography Credit: © jorielovesastory.com.

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

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


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780997658767

on 20th August, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 280

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The Coastal Heart series:

Magnolia Storms(book one)

Falling for Grace(book two)

The Art of Rivers (book three)

Star Rising (book four)

Published by: Southern Sun Press

Formats Available: Trade Paperback and Ebook

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

About Janet W. Ferguson

Janet W. Ferguson

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

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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

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.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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.

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


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1788547116

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

A Jane Austen Conversation | featuring Collins Hemingway in discussion about his Marriage of Miss Jane Austen series

Posted Wednesday, 15 January, 2020 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts,

I am not entirely sure if everyone who reads my blog is aware of my admiration for Jane Austen or the fact, I consider myself a #Janeite. I have loved the author’s style of narrative for many years, in fact, I wrote an Essay about it during 2017’s #AustenInAugust and couldn’t help but gush over the reading of the first novel in this trilogy as well.

What implored me truly to read this after canon selection on a theory of Jane Austen’s life is my affection for the author herself. I love reading after canon works based on her collective works but I also like to entertain readings of stories which relate directly to the writer, herself. Previously, I have explored this through the Jane Austen Mysteries a series I look forward to re-visiting, as I hadn’t had the time to re-read the first novel nor continue with the rest of the stories which followed suit. This was initially my goal whilst reading the first volume in this series – however, in the past few years, my readings of Austen Literature has taken a few interesting hiatuses.

Whilst noting this is a novel of an evolving theory based on what ‘could have been’ in accord to Ms Austen’s life, I felt it warranted exploring because after all, how much do any of us know about the Classical authors we love to read? In this, I had a curious thought – what if this novel had a foundation of grounding based on one of the author’s own works? This is something which came into better clarity as I read the novel directly and one in which, I had wondered if other readers on the blog tours had noted themselves.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Directly though – I was dearly curious to continue reading this series due to these
ruminative thoughts I had shared after finishing Volume Two:

As I re-entered Jane’s life as a married woman, I was happy to find Cassandra was beside her, news of the Napoleonic War held good news for her family (especially in regards to her brother) whilst her new life was still one she was settling into accepting. Ashton provided a step-up in social standing for Jane, including how they lived and what they had within their environs. You can see her a bit uncertain how to handle the luxuries of this life compared to what she was used to previously with the Austens, who lived a humbled existence.

Jane is the newly minted Mrs Dennis in the household – a duty and station which comes with a litany of obligation, responsibility and a foresight of understanding for social trademarks for a hostess. It is here where we first start to notice how Jane’s own upbringing fell short of what she would have to endure as a married woman. How her mother-in-law wouldn’t hesitate to point out her faults and where her sister Cassandra would provide a moral anchour to her nerves. It is here we find Jane attempting to do the biding of her husband but without the fuller knowledge of what a disaster it could become if she would blindly follow his advice without taking into consideration the suggestions of his mother, the other ‘Mrs Dennis’.

It is interesting to see how Jane would approach married life – how she is open to discussing things with Ashton or of finding ways to engage him in the romantic gestures she endeavours to instigate. Nothing is seen as this was inspired by Jane Austen and thus, Hemingway happily kept her style of narrative intact without deviating out of the tastefulness of a romance which made her infamous for the genre; yet what was interesting is how he gave a bit of freedom of expression to both Jane and Ashton. They were happily enjoying their married lives – all facets of it but most importantly the ways in which they were endearing each other in their more intimate moments.

There is a bit of cheeky humour threading into the backbone of this installment – how Jane is reflectively musing about how she’s surprised at how natural being a married woman has come to her and how she enjoys being with her husband. There are other sides to Jane as well, such as the woman who is not yet ready to lead a household but of whom, is attempting to remain outside her comfort zone if it means improving her connection to her husband, her staff and her mother-in-law. This is a story of growth – of seeing Jane move away from her years of youth and of embracing this new chapter where she is writing the hours as they arrive.

As Jane started to see how marriage loomed ahead of her, her one regret truly was the lack of hours in which to be creatively engaged with her pen. She spoke of this to Ashton, of whom did not see why she was upset (not really, though he attempted to try) as she had chosen to be with him, to be a wife and to have responsibilities that would naturally come out of the union. Quite a typical response, except that it fell short of realising from a husband’s perspective, how sometimes a woman in a marriage was not realising they were sacrificing a part of themselves for the sake of being with the man they loved. I think in this instance, Jane had become caught inside the romance and hadn’t fully thought about how her life might become altered if she followed course.

A lot of truth in those worries of Jane as I readily observe how not all husbands are supportive of their wives (especially if their writers) and how it would appear that women are still even now needing to defend why they write or why they want to be economically engaged outside of their marriage. This was a moment of reckoning for Jane, as it wasn’t just putting aside her desires to write which plagued her conscience but certain aspects of marriage itself; which also acted as a conflict with how she was raised and the more sheltering views of being a clergy’s daughter.

Similarly, Hemingway was not shy to highlight the other tensions in their marriage – such as the blunderment Ashton made in deference to Jane in private conversation. It shows how he was effectively examining their marriage from an outside vantage point which had the pleasure of seeing the more intimate moments of their private hours. In thus, he pulled back the layers of what was shielding them from the outside world – drawing them out, letting them reveal their raw emotional thoughts and to speak plainly how they felt about not just one another but the topical issues of their era. They were together for most things but they struck a chord apart on deeper issues I think bemused both of them to notice they truly were two passionate souls who each had their own individual mind. To which end, there were some aspects of their disagreements which were worth owning and there were others worth realising they would never agree on the finer points which separated them.

They do remain united in their ability to draw back together after their differences are shed – for they have a strong marriage built out of trust and truthfulness. It is through their discussions they realise certain aspects of their business and their personal lives are coming to a head of discourse. They cannot continue to engage in partnerships which go against their own minds and hearts which reflect the current events – from slavery to the promise of war, they are keeping on the fringes of what is reflective in the papers. This causes disruptions for them naturally but at the heart of their marriage is a union sparked out of love and united in a fond respect for each other, the world at large and the auspicious emblems of living a life with ethical morals.

As we peer more into Jane and Ashton’s world as a married couple, we start to see how difficult it is for both of them – how they must learn to yield to one another and draw a closer circle of strength to tackle what is awaiting them. There is a joyful revelation in this installment – one that further enlarges our scope of understanding for how Jane is fully lit alive by her experiences as a wife and how by embracing these subtle changes she is finding herself radically new and altered. Jane is happily introspective throughout the story – owning to her pursuit to understand herself and her environment but also, to acknowledge how each new year of a life lived is a chance to see the milestones of the experiences you’ve gained.

This particular installment ends on a happy note but one which is guarded for the future – for not everything is certain and there are a few key reasons for Ashton and Jane to feel as if the future yet to come might prove to be far more taxing than the hours that they have just passed through. It is a keenly intriguing series and one I hope more Janeites discover as it truly is a unique testimony about how a modern writer can re-tap into the life of Jane and bring her out so wholly original and true of her person to give us a near-living testimony of how she would have lived had she taken the paths and passageways he’s explored in this trilogy.

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It is hard to put into words how much this trilogy has taken up a cosy niche of joy in my heart – as I first started reading this beautiful sequence of Jane Austen’s life in January 2018. The past two years has given me a lot of heartfelt joy to reconnect to Austen in a plausible and believable way of re-introducing myself into her world and the ways in which this sequence of her life could have been lived. I have felt from the start, Hemingway himself was channelling a special entreaty into her life and world – the ways in which he instinctively knew how to write about her innermost thoughts, the way he tucked in letters and correspondences into the trilogy and how he captured the heart of the Regency as an era and background to the story itself.

His capacity to tell this story has been a heartwarming experience for me and I am truly thankful I could close out 2019 with reading the finale installment which brings our experiences with Jane in this beautiful trilogy to a close.

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A Jane Austen Conversation | featuring Collins Hemingway in discussion about his Marriage of Miss Jane Austen seriesThe Mariage of Miss Jane Austen
Subtitle: Volume Three
by Collins Hemingway

The Stunning Finale to Jane Austen’s Saga

In the moving conclusion to “The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen,” Jane and her husband struggle with the serious illness of their son, confront a bitter relationship with the aristocratic family who were once their friends and face the horrific prospect of war when the British Army falters on the continent. The momentous events of the Napoleonic wars and the agonizing trials of their personal lives take Jane and Ashton to a decision that will decide their fate—and her future—once and for all.

Genres: After Canons, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Re-telling &/or Sequel


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781979472760

Also by this author: The Mariage of Miss Jane Austen : Volume One, The Mariage of Miss Jane Austen : Volume Two, The Mariage of Miss Jane Austen

on 4th November, 2017

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen trilogy:

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen by Collins HemingwayThe Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Vol II by Collins HemingwayThe Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Volume 3 by Collins Hemingway

Converse via: #HistFic, #HistoricalFiction, #HistRom + #JaneAusten

Read More

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Posted Wednesday, 15 January, 2020 by jorielov in #SaturdaysAreBookish, 19th Century, After the Canon, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Christianity, Family Drama, Family Life, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Inspired By Author OR Book, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Pride & Prejudice Re-telling, Second Chance Love, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, the Regency era, Women's Fiction, World Religions

A #blogmas of Austen Book Review during #SaturdaysAreBookish | “The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen” (Vol.3) by Collins Hemingway

Posted Saturday, 21 December, 2019 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

#blogmas 2019 badge created by Jorie in Canva.

This #blogmas I knew I wanted to be reading a select few after canon sequences focused on Jane Austen’s narratives and/or of her life – lateron this afternoon I’ll be posting a special post announcing how I’m taking the weekend to be with Jane and the writers who have written stories which excite me as a reader who is chasing after her after canons with a heart full of giddy joyfulness! However, this morning I wanted to focus on my ruminative thoughts and musings for having read & finished the finale of this beautiful trilogy given to us by Mr Hemingway!

I have been dearly appreciative to have hosted this entire trilogy as it has toured the book blogosphere via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours – it has been an incredibly lovely experience and having this trilogy in my personal library has become a treat of joy. I have loved his instincts for how he told this story and how he crafted a realistically compelling narrative about a writer we all long to read & to understand better as we do.

As a Janeite whose approached reading this trilogy with an open mind and heart – it is a mark of joy to feature this third installment as one of my final #SaturdaysAreBookish reviews for 2019. As you know – this was my new featured showcase of reviews for Romance & Women’s Fiction which launched in January 2019. I look forward to seeing where those journeys take me in the New Year of 2020 and beyond – whilst it is lovely to end this year with a trilogy I’ve loved reading. Be sure to return next Saturday as I feature my final review for this sequence of featured reviews as I say ‘goodbye’ to 2019 and all the beautifully lovely Romance & Women’s Fiction stories which have graced my life this bookishly happy year.

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Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess!

I received a complimentary copy of “The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Volume 3” direct from the author Collins Hemingway in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Why I was interested in the premise behind this novel:

I am not entirely sure if everyone who reads my blog is aware of my admiration for Jane Austen or the fact, I consider myself a #Janeite. I have loved the author’s style of narrative for many years, in fact, I wrote an Essay about it during 2017’s #AustenInAugust and couldn’t help but gush over the reading of the first novel in this trilogy as well.

What implored me truly to read this after canon selection on a theory of Jane Austen’s life is my affection for the author herself. I love reading after canon works based on her collective works but I also like to entertain readings of stories which relate directly to the writer, herself. Previously, I have explored this through the Jane Austen Mysteries a series I look forward to re-visiting this year, as I hadn’t had the time to re-read the first novel nor continue with the rest of the stories which followed suit. This was initially my goal whilst reading the first volume in this series – however, in the past few years, my readings of Austen Literature has taken a few interesting hiatuses.

Whilst noting this is a novel of an evolving theory based on what ‘could have been’ in accord to Ms Austen’s life, I felt it warranted exploring because after all, how much do any of us know about the Classical authors we love to read? In this, I had a curious thought – what if this novel had a foundation of grounding based on one of the author’s own works? This is something which came into better clarity as I read the novel directly and one in which, I had wondered if other readers on the blog tour had noted themselves.

Directly though – I was dearly curious to continue reading this series due to these
ruminative thoughts I had shared after finishing Volume Two:

As I re-entered Jane’s life as a married woman, I was happy to find Cassandra was beside her, news of the Napoleonic War held good news for her family (especially in regards to her brother) whilst her new life was still one she was settling into accepting. Ashton provided a step-up in social standing for Jane, including how they lived and what they had within their environs. You can see her a bit uncertain how to handle the luxuries of this life compared to what she was used to previously with the Austens, who lived a humbled existence.

Jane is the newly minted Mrs Dennis in the household – a duty and station which comes with a litany of obligation, responsibility and a foresight of understanding for social trademarks for a hostess. It is here where we first start to notice how Jane’s own upbringing fell short of what she would have to endure as a married woman. How her mother-in-law wouldn’t hesitate to point out her faults and where her sister Cassandra would provide a moral anchour to her nerves. It is here we find Jane attempting to do the biding of her husband but without the fuller knowledge of what a disaster it could become if she would blindly follow his advice without taking into consideration the suggestions of his mother, the other ‘Mrs Dennis’.

It is interesting to see how Jane would approach married life – how she is open to discussing things with Ashton or of finding ways to engage him in the romantic gestures she endeavours to instigate. Nothing is seen as this was inspired by Jane Austen and thus, Hemingway happily kept her style of narrative intact without deviating out of the tastefulness of a romance which made her infamous for the genre; yet what was interesting is how he gave a bit of freedom of expression to both Jane and Ashton. They were happily enjoying their married lives – all facets of it but most importantly the ways in which they were endearing each other in their more intimate moments.

There is a bit of cheeky humour threading into the backbone of this installment – how Jane is reflectively musing about how she’s surprised at how natural being a married woman has come to her and how she enjoys being with her husband. There are other sides to Jane as well, such as the woman who is not yet ready to lead a household but of whom, is attempting to remain outside her comfort zone if it means improving her connection to her husband, her staff and her mother-in-law. This is a story of growth – of seeing Jane move away from her years of youth and of embracing this new chapter where she is writing the hours as they arrive.

As Jane started to see how marriage loomed ahead of her, her one regret truly was the lack of hours in which to be creatively engaged with her pen. She spoke of this to Ashton, of whom did not see why she was upset (not really, though he attempted to try) as she had chosen to be with him, to be a wife and to have responsibilities that would naturally come out of the union. Quite a typical response, except that it fell short of realising from a husband’s perspective, how sometimes a woman in a marriage was not realising they were sacrificing a part of themselves for the sake of being with the man they loved. I think in this instance, Jane had become caught inside the romance and hadn’t fully thought about how her life might become altered if she followed course.

A lot of truth in those worries of Jane as I readily observe how not all husbands are supportive of their wives (especially if their writers) and how it would appear that women are still even now needing to defend why they write or why they want to be economically engaged outside of their marriage. This was a moment of reckoning for Jane, as it wasn’t just putting aside her desires to write which plagued her conscience but certain aspects of marriage itself; which also acted as a conflict with how she was raised and the more sheltering views of being a clergy’s daughter.

Similarly, Hemingway was not shy to highlight the other tensions in their marriage – such as the blunderment Ashton made in deference to Jane in private conversation. It shows how he was effectively examining their marriage from an outside vantage point which had the pleasure of seeing the more intimate moments of their private hours. In thus, he pulled back the layers of what was shielding them from the outside world – drawing them out, letting them reveal their raw emotional thoughts and to speak plainly how they felt about not just one another but the topical issues of their era. They were together for most things but they struck a chord apart on deeper issues I think bemused both of them to notice they truly were two passionate souls who each had their own individual mind. To which end, there were some aspects of their disagreements which were worth owning and there were others worth realising they would never agree on the finer points which separated them.

They do remain united in their ability to draw back together after their differences are shed – for they have a strong marriage built out of trust and truthfulness. It is through their discussions they realise certain aspects of their business and their personal lives are coming to a head of discourse. They cannot continue to engage in partnerships which go against their own minds and hearts which reflect the current events – from slavery to the promise of war, they are keeping on the fringes of what is reflective in the papers. This causes disruptions for them naturally but at the heart of their marriage is a union sparked out of love and united in a fond respect for each other, the world at large and the auspicious emblems of living a life with ethical morals.

As we peer more into Jane and Ashton’s world as a married couple, we start to see how difficult it is for both of them – how they must learn to yield to one another and draw a closer circle of strength to tackle what is awaiting them. There is a joyful revelation in this installment – one that further enlarges our scope of understanding for how Jane is fully lit alive by her experiences as a wife and how by embracing these subtle changes she is finding herself radically new and altered. Jane is happily introspective throughout the story – owning to her pursuit to understand herself and her environment but also, to acknowledge how each new year of a life lived is a chance to see the milestones of the experiences you’ve gained.

This particular installment ends on a happy note but one which is guarded for the future – for not everything is certain and there are a few key reasons for Ashton and Jane to feel as if the future yet to come might prove to be far more taxing than the hours that they have just passed through. It is a keenly intriguing series and one I hope more Janeites discover as it truly is a unique testimony about how a modern writer can re-tap into the life of Jane and bring her out so wholly original and true of her person to give us a near-living testimony of how she would have lived had she taken the paths and passageways he’s explored in this trilogy.

It is hard to put into words how much this trilogy has taken up a cosy niche of joy in my heart – as I first started reading this beautiful sequence of Jane Austen’s life in January 2018. The past two years has given me a lot of heartfelt joy to reconnect to Austen in a plausible and believable way of re-introducing myself into her world and the ways in which this sequence of her life could have been lived. I have felt from the start, Hemingway himself was channelling a special entreaty into her life and world – the ways in which he instinctively knew how to write about her innermost thoughts, the way he tucked in letters and correspondences into the trilogy and how he captured the heart of the Regency as an era and background to the story itself.

His capacity to tell this story has been a heartwarming experience for me and I am truly thankful I could close out 2019 with reading the finale installment which brings our experiences with Jane in this beautiful trilogy to a close.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

A #blogmas of Austen Book Review during #SaturdaysAreBookish | “The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen” (Vol.3) by Collins HemingwayThe Mariage of Miss Jane Austen
Subtitle: Volume Three
by Collins Hemingway
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

The Stunning Finale to Jane Austen’s Saga

In the moving conclusion to “The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen,” Jane and her husband struggle with the serious illness of their son, confront a bitter relationship with the aristocratic family who were once their friends and face the horrific prospect of war when the British Army falters on the continent. The momentous events of the Napoleonic wars and the agonizing trials of their personal lives take Jane and Ashton to a decision that will decide their fate—and her future—once and for all.

Genres: After Canons, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Re-telling &/or Sequel


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781979472760

Also by this author: The Mariage of Miss Jane Austen : Volume One, The Mariage of Miss Jane Austen : Volume Two, The Mariage of Miss Jane Austen

Also in this series: The Mariage of Miss Jane Austen : Volume One, The Mariage of Miss Jane Austen : Volume Two


Published by Self Published

on 4th November, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 338

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen trilogy:

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen by Collins HemingwayThe Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Vol II by Collins HemingwayThe Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Volume 3 by Collins Hemingway

Converse via: #HistFic, #HistoricalFiction, #HistRom + #JaneAusten

About Collins Hemingway

Collins Hemingway

Whether his subject is literature, history, or science, Collins Hemingway has a passion for the art of creative investigation. For him, the most compelling fiction deeply explores the heart and soul of its characters, while also engaging them in the complex and often dangerous world in which they have a stake. He wants to explore all that goes into people’s lives and everything that makes tThe hem complete though fallible human beings. His fiction is shaped by the language of the heart and an abiding regard for courage in the face of adversity.

As a nonfiction book author, Hemingway has worked alongside some of the world’s thought leaders on topics as diverse as corporate culture and ethics; the Internet and mobile technology; the ins and outs of the retail trade; and the cognitive potential of the brain. Best known for the #1 best-selling book on business and technology, Business @ the Speed of Thought, which he coauthored with Bill Gates, he has earned a reputation for tackling challenging subjects with clarity and insight, writing for the nontechnical but intelligent reader.

Hemingway has published shorter nonfiction on topics including computer technology, medicine, and aviation, and he has written award-winning journalism.

Published books include The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen trilogy, Business @ the Speed of Thought, with Bill Gates, Built for Growth, with Arthur Rubinfeld, What Happy Companies Know, with Dan Baker and Cathy Greenberg, Maximum Brainpower, with Shlomo Breznitz, and The Fifth Wave, with Robert Marcus.

Hemingway lives in Bend, Oregon, with his wife, Wendy. Together they have three adult sons and three granddaughters. He supports the Oregon Community Foundation and other civic organizations engaged in conservation and social services in Central Oregon.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 21 December, 2019 by jorielov in #SaturdaysAreBookish, 19th Century, After the Canon, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Christianity, Family Drama, Family Life, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Inspired By Author OR Book, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Pride & Prejudice Re-telling, Second Chance Love, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, the Regency era, Women's Fiction, World Religions

From #blogmas to #WyrdAndWonder | #JorieReads the Ravenwood Saga by Morgan L. Busse – “Mark of the Raven” (book one) & “Flight of the Raven (book two) whilst delving into #INSPYFantasy for the first time!

Posted Friday, 31 May, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , 5 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By:  I’ve been hosting for Prism Book Tours since September of 2017 – having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. As I enquired about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. 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 when I’m not showcasing book reviews on behalf of Harlequin Heartwarming which has become my second favourite imprint of Harlequin next to my beloved #LoveINSPIRED Suspense. I am also keenly happy PRISM hosts a variety of Indie Authors and INSPY Fiction novelists.

Previously I hosted a series of special posts attached to #blogmas featuring Fantasy novelists I was eagerly looking forward to seeking out throughout [2019]. I was hoping to read one of them for #WyrdAndWonder which is why when I saw one of the authors on my #mustread shortlist, I jumped at the chance to join the blog tour! My spot for the tour was on the final day for #WyrdAndWonder and it felt like a good fit at the time. This was prior to the 4x migraines which altered how I could read and blog this May; but overall, I was still celebrating the fact I could receive the first book “Mark of the Raven” alongside the book for the blog tour “Flight of the Raven”. This is also marking my first attempt to read #INSPYFantasy of this nature and I looked forward to what I would find inside the story-line as I wanted to see how an INSPY novelist might approach this kind of portal and epic fantastical tale!

I received complimentary copies of “Mark of the Raven” and “Flight of the Raven” direct from the publisher Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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

Celebrating a new interest in #INSPY #Fantasy this
#WyrdAndWonder from a #blogmas selection!

As you may or may not recall – I first featured this saga during my #blogmas series of posts last December wherein I had a chance to seek out #newtomeauthors by showcasing their series & books in a series of featured posts wherein I had the delightful joy in getting to know a bit about their characters, their world-building and/or their writerly styles of approach within the Fantasy genre I love to read! The interesting bit though is how a lot of those selections were actually within the sub-niche of #INSPYFantasy! Something I haven’t readily explored in the past and was delighted in finding such a strong pull towards seeking out these kinds of authors as previously I had mostly focused on Indie Authors and/or Self Pub authors who were writing the kinds of fantastical reads I dearly wanted to be exploring!

In case you might not have been with me during #blogmas let me recap what my thoughts were in December to give you a good impression of how I was celebrating this new interest of mine:

I am LOVING the art direction of today’s Fantasy market! I love artwork which pulls you into the world-building – gives you something to chew and contemplate and before you realise it, you already want to be living in that world – isn’t this the case for you? I oft wonder what allures readers to read Fantasy & Science Fiction – strictly the artwork or the synopsis or a mixture of both? For me, every story starts with a keen interest in the premise & what I shall find inside the pages,.. the artwork for me is the icing on the cupcake if I love reading the novel!

Ever since I started co-hosting #WyrdAndWonder (an annual Fantasy event with mini-events throughout the year) I’ve become more mindful of Fantasy as a niche I dearly want to explore further, as I only had a fleeting sense of what was available in the past. This month I’ll be reading one of my favourite Science Fiction novelists whose written an epic Fantasy series – a series I’ve been trying to read for the past few years and felt life constantly was pulling me out of its pages. As I knew #FantasyForChristmas was nearing – I felt by celebrating new worlds of Fantasy would be the best anchour towards reading more Fantasy this December!

I was also inspired when I first started reading A Mortal Song during last month’s #Mythothon – wherein I was happily charmed by what I discovered when Japanese Mythos and Fantasy are entwined!

This particular series I am showcasing today is about redemptive conscience – as there is an heir to a legacy not of the choosing of the heir but of the family she’s been bourne. There is a moral and ethical dilemma to her inheritance and as you read the synopsis from book one to book two you can sort of start to see where the lines are drawn for her and her family. Stories of individual quests in worlds of Fantasy are amongst my favourites but what is interesting of course, is this a second selection under the umbrella of Christian Fantasy. It would be interesting how this ties into the theme but also, how it reflects the crisis within the lead character for not wanting to make a choice that goes against her own beliefs.

Curious – which other stories in Fantasy reflect this kind of quest and what did you appreciate about those narratives the most?!

Now, as we fast forward into May – imagine my heart of gratitude having *both!* novels within this saga on my shelf to read & disappear inside before the closing hours of #WyrdAndWonder! I was wicked excited the day they arrived – as it felt like I had come full circle since #blogmas to find one of the authors I could read not just for the event I was eagerly co-hosting *but!* of finding myself able to read an author I had spotlighted & featured within six months of that feature running on Jorie Loves A Story! I have been wanting to be more proactive in reading the authors I’m spotlighting within six or twelvemonths as a way forward in the future rather than waiting a select number of years before I can ‘meet’ their stories as they say!

I wonder if anyone else whose been participating with #WyrdAndWonder has disappeared into this niche of focus themselves? Or, if like me it is a new thread of exploration!? Afterall, I love INSPY Lit – I just never realised they had such a healthy assortment of #FantasyReads!

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

From #blogmas to #WyrdAndWonder | #JorieReads the Ravenwood Saga by Morgan L. Busse – “Mark of the Raven” (book one) & “Flight of the Raven (book two) whilst delving into #INSPYFantasy for the first time!Mark of the Raven
Subtitle: The Ravenwood Saga
by Morgan L. Busse
Source: Publisher via Prism Book Tours

Lady Selene is the heir to the Great House of Ravenwood and the secret family gift of dreamwalking. As a dreamwalker, she can enter a person’s dreams and manipulate their greatest fears or desires. For the last hundred years, the Ravenwood women have used their gift of dreaming for hire to gather information or to assassinate.

As she discovers her family’s dark secret, Selene is torn between upholding her family’s legacy–a legacy that supports her people–or seeking the true reason behind her family’s gift.

Her dilemma comes to a head when she is tasked with assassinating the one man who can bring peace to the nations, but who will also bring about the downfall of her own house.

One path holds glory and power, and will solidify her position as Lady of Ravenwood. The other path holds shame and execution. Which will she choose? And is she willing to pay the price for the path chosen?

Genres: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, High Fantasy, Historical-Fantasy, Dark Fantasy


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780764232220

Also by this author: Book Spotlight: Ravenwood Saga, Book Spotlight: Flight of the Raven

Also in this series: Book Spotlight: Ravenwood Saga, Book Spotlight: Flight of the Raven


Published by Bethany House Publishers

on 6th November, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 352

Published by: Bethany House Publishers (@bethany_house)

an imprint of Baker Publishing Group

Formats Available: Hardback, Trade paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

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

my review of mark of the raven:

Selene and her sister Amara have a long history of rivalry between them – it is etched into how they interact with each other and how seething in anger Amara had been by the priest’s gesture on behalf of Selene during a ceremony with a priest who seemed to have moved in and out of trace without his own recognition of the event. It is in that moment where Selene was given only one subtle hinting towards what might yet become true for her – the presence of the Dark Lady would visit with her and thus, starts the Mark of the Raven.

Nothing short of oppressive expectation was placed on Selene’s shoulders – from what you gather of her mother’s reaction to her gifting. In this world, there is a break-down of gifts passed through different generations – each particular ‘house’ then is given a different talent of power. Selene was bourne into the Ravenwood lineage and their particular gift is that of ‘dreamers’. What was keenly interesting to me is in the front pages of the novel, we’re not just blessed with a map of the world but with a firm break-down of which house and family is given which gift! Further interesting is when it was revealled Selene has a tattooed birthmark of a raven on her back – a visual etching which did not appear to be the norm but rather the exception.

As Busse walked us through the procedure for achieving your gift in this world – your heart went out empathetically to Selene for it is not a passage of rightful inheritance without its merciless agony! Not only the fact it is a painful transformation for the person undergoing the alteration from an internal and external experience but it foretells a bit about how this world is only in balance when everything works towards rising through the ancestral lines of prophecy. You can readily see why Selene wants to push back against her rite of passage – the uncertainties of what is expected of her and the unknowns regarding her particular talent are what are bolting her to consider thoughts of exodus the women of her ancestral line may or may not have considered previously.

It is hard to decipher who was on pins more – Selene or myself as she was about to embark on her first dreamwalk! I sensed this is not a gift to take lightly nor was it one Lady Ravenwood had explained to the depth of what really occurs when a person enters another person’s dreamscape – in essence, I felt there was a flickering of distrust in what her mother would require her to do and thereby, it would become a marked moment in Selene’s life – to choose the destiny she was given or to walk a different path. At least this would be the soul searching choice I would undertake – as just as I suspected her dreamwalking destiny is not exactly what Selene might have forethought it would entail; if anything, it might be the opposite of what she intended it to encompass! And, therein of course lies the truer drama behind this story – how does a girl who newly inherits an ancestral gift sort out her own feelings about what that gift truly means to both her family and the people they oversee?

The historical aesthetic of this world reminded me of my readings of the Guinevere Tale trilogy – where ancient magic and conflict of war embattled Guinevere’s soul to the brink of where she nearly lost herself for the will of prophecy. Part of me saw a bit of Guinevere’s internal conflict arching into Selene’s own worried conscience – it is hard to embrace a gift you were given if after you’ve received it the war begins with yourself. However, back to the historical overlays – as this is set within a historic setting with the scope of detail I love from Historical Fiction, you immediately connect to Rook Castle. Even the name eludes to the Ravenwood women’s line of connection to the corvid they embody – it is quite the setting to explore – from the labyrinth corridors and the hidden passages which hold secrets of their own. Just to walk alongside Selene as she traverses her own home and the niches of solitude she attempts to seek out from it is a blessing.

It is quite chilling – this dreamwalking gift Selene has – as she’s forced to do her mother’s bidding – inflicting pain and terror into the people she felt they were meant to be protective of in their care (first the gardener, than a servant of her mother’s) she drew closer to understanding how twisted this gift could become if it continued to be used for nefarious purposes such as her mother was eluding her to believe. Yet, you rally behind Selene because she is of an independent mind – she is seeking the truth behind the legend of the gifting but also, the truer legacy of what being a dreamwalker was meant to entail all along. Sometimes it is best to walk backwards into the past – to see what came before you in order to better understand your purpose in the present; this is what I felt Selene was attempting to do. She didn’t have the knowledge of the past but she yearned to find it – to collect knowledge about the dreamwalkers but also the other Houses of this world where the darkness was strikingly real and where the evils of fate were clawing their way into her own spirit. She was a fighter but how long would the will to fight stay within her own soul?

Three sisters are entwined to this legacy of Ravenwood House – Selene, as a first bourne has the privilege or curse (if you will) of finding out the secrets their mother has kept from them first – however, her middle sister Amara is curiously adamant to follow in her footsteps as quickly as she can without the realisation of what that fever of intention would mean for her own conscience to either accept or reject. Their youngest sister Ophie is the more innocent of the three – perceived to be a mute, her innocence is full of the lightness the other two sisters do not own of themselves. They are too closely connected to their mother’s indoctrinated routines and thereby are walking closer to the shadows than their younger sister would feel comfortable within herself. It is a curious overlay to the story – how three sisters can grow in the same house and yet be remarkably different from one another from the inside out.

What is most gutting is the insurrection of Selene’s own soul – she is struggling to rectify the purpose of her family against her own will as a sentient being being crushed against a tidalwave of injustice stemming from her mother’s twisted sense of righteousness. There is a moment where you feel compelled to pause your readings of Mark of the Raven because of what is implied within one of the dreamscapes – it is the one affecting Renata, the maid Selene never wanted to interfere with through her dreams because of the closeness she feels towards her as a friend. If the two could be considered friends as there is a hierarchy in place within this world. Although the details of the girl’s attack is not graphically depicted it is hinted at in such a way as to give you the strong impression of what happened and why it happened when it did – thus, giving more gravity to the dreamwalking gift Selene is burdened with by her ancestral lineage. What is further wrecking is how Selene reacts to why her mother wanted her enter this girl’s dreamscape and what happens after she does – it is an awakening moment for Selene, one which re-shifts the power within her family but also draws a considerable line of absolutes for herself. You give her credit for finding courage out of chaos but the main concern I had reading this particular passage is the lack of control Selene experienced whilst attempting to right the wrongs of the past.

Grand Lord Damien has a conscience in-line with Selene – he is from the House of Maris (known as the Waters) wherein his gift is tied directly to the element of Water whilst his gift is as powerful as Selene he isn’t as accustomed to the strength it will wield if he chooses to use it. They share quite a heap in common on that front – each of them is burdened with a legacy not of their choosing and with a powerful evocation of that talent within them that they cannot always control. It speaks to the harder question about the world at large and how each of these Houses have their own issues with their own legacies. There is a hinting of war and a further disassociation with their lineage if they are to draw together rather than remain apart – as his entrance into the story reveals a few secreted truths thus left unknown.

What I enjoyed about this first installment is the foundation it set for the series – how we are gathering glimpses of the brewing war between the Houses and seeing the differences between what rules the Light and what rules through the Dark Lady. It is a series about the choices we make whilst we’re walking our path and the choices thrust upon us through unforeseen adversity. The path is always a clear one for each person to make – if you are honest with yourself, you can see the ways in which your path must align. That doesn’t mean to say there isn’t a darkness within this world (as there is) but it does mean the people in this world have a free will of their own to choose which path they desire to walk. In that, Busse has written a series which mirrors real life and the choices everyone must choose for themselves.

on the fantastical writing style of morgan l. busse:

When it comes to High Fantasy (ie. Epic Fantasy), Portal Fantasy and Quest Fantasy – I almost could presume to realise that Ms Busse was about to encompass everything I love from this triple threat of fantastical worlds due to how she places you inside her world. It isn’t just the fact this world feels older than the initial pages you’ve read, it is how she has chosen to let her characters peer at us from their regular habits – they are living their life and we’re observing their life from the outside. I love when writers have this authentic nature about their world-building to where you feel like you’ve slipped the veil and have re-emerged elsewhere; settling into a step with characters you dearly want to know more about and a world which although slightly curious round the edges has its own share of darkness.

Busse does a wonderful job of building the suspenseful arc surrounding the Ravenwood women’s predestined gifting – she has granted the reader an introspective viewing of what happens when you are not willing to blindly accept your fate but rather, with a thoughtful concern for what that fate might imply against your own better nature – to examine it and to sort out where your own allegiances lie within the sphere of the world you were bourne.

She makes you compelled to read the story if only to see where each of the characters are going to take their own stands because this isn’t a fate that you would wish upon yourself or anyone else. It is a question of morality and ethics, too – of what you might be willing to do for the sake of your family but if it goes against an inherent belief of yours? If it crosses that line in the sand where your conscience cannot justify the means of the gift – what do you do then? Its a good plotting to think over and to turn round on yourself whilst your examining the will of Busse’s characters to do the same even if they previously had just succumbed to what they were pushed to do.

Notations of being an #INSPYFantasy with realistic undertones:

This story deals with a lot of different themes and topics – from physical violence against women to the implications of manipulating people’s dreams whilst they are in REM sleep. The key elements of the story of course are threading through a lens of INSPY narrative – wherein you know the story is anchoured through a prism of light rather than the darkness afflicting its nature onto the characters as they each must choose which destiny they will either accept, refute or alter given the course of their own conscience choice in the matter affecting their lineage legacies.

You have to seek out the patterns of inspiration to see how this is an INSPY Fantasy novel as it has the markings of a traditional Quest and High Fantasy story arc – wherein the main question permeating through the novel is what choices will Selene make now that her destiny’s out in the open and the layers of its reach are known to her and her mother? It is not overtly INSPY in that there are distinct cross-overlays between Christianity and this fantastical world – there is a hint and a nod towards religion but it isn’t omnipresent in the narrative itself. Except for the concept of the soul and the journey of the soul – wherein is the most spirituality you’ll see as you walk through the story itself.

It is more of a thinking novel about the concepts of spirituality and the concepts of living against your moral fibre as a sentient being who has the conscience walk of the soul within you. The greatest battle of course is between the Dark Lady and the Light – of which you can draw your own conclusions about whom their representing and I loved Busse for giving readers that option of choice.

Having said that – there are realistic undertones of darkness and darker influences of behaviour running concurrent to the journey Selene and her sisters are being forced to walk. Their legacy of dreamwalking (and I would suspect others who are gifted in other ways, too) has become corroded against the good and embraced by the darker forces which seek to destroy the light – this is something that speaks volumes about how Busse has developed her world as it isn’t outwardly discussed per se but you can acknowledge the fight for these forces all the same.

Fantastical Elements:

→ Dreamwalking | Dreamwalkers (ie. Dreamers)

→ Shapeshifting

→ Inherited Gifts per each ancestral House (ie. Dreamers, Waters, Fire and Earth, Wisdom, Healing, Light and Courage)

→ Souls and their innate energies (loved the visual differences between good/evil)

As we are peering into this world through Selene’s journey as a dreamwalker – it is her gift we are first presented with understanding. The concept behind dreamwalking is a clever one but it has a hardened and twisted view of right and wrong; wherein the choice to sustain oneself in this world is brokered against the will of others who are not giving consent to what a dreamwalker can gain out of their dreams.

Part of the gift of dreamwalking is the controlling aspect of what that gift involves – where you can either influence a person to dream or to re-direct their focus towards the nightmares which live off their innermost fears – it is a crucial choice for dreamers to inflict emotion on those they entreat inside – it also a measure of ethics to will yourself to cause such influence and to become hardened against the choices therein.

One of the more beautiful visuals within the series is how the soul is represented. It was by far one of my favourite passages within Mark of the Raven and a critical glimpse I felt of where the writer’s impression on the story was centrally focused.

It is within the dreamscapes where the Ravenwood women can shapeshift – having read a lovely and beautiful collection of short stories featuring corvids – I can attest to how Busse has chosen to write about her chosen corvid the raven as being not only accurate towards their nature but it is the right choice of which bird the Ravenwood women should use as shifters.

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

From #blogmas to #WyrdAndWonder | #JorieReads the Ravenwood Saga by Morgan L. Busse – “Mark of the Raven” (book one) & “Flight of the Raven (book two) whilst delving into #INSPYFantasy for the first time!Flight of the Raven
Subtitle: The Ravenwood Saga
by Morgan L. Busse
Source: Publisher via Prism Book Tours

Selene Ravenwood, once the heir to House Ravenwood, is now an exile. On the run and free of her family's destiny, Selene hopes to find the real reason her family was given the gift of dreamwalking. But first she must adapt to her new life as wife to Lord Damien Maris, the man she was originally assigned to kill. 

While adjusting to her marriage and her home in the north, her power over dreams begins to grow. As the strongest dreamwalker to exist in ages, her expanding power attracts not only nightmares but the attention of the Dark Lady herself.

With a war looming on the horizon and a wicked being after her gift, Selene is faced with a choice: embrace the Dark Lady's offer, or search out the one who gave her the gift of dreamwalking. One path offers power, the other offers freedom. But time is running out, and soon her choice will be made for her.

Genres: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, High Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Historical-Fantasy, Dark Fantasy


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780764234125

Also by this author: Book Spotlight: Ravenwood Saga, Book Spotlight: Flight of the Raven

Series: Ravenwood Saga


Also in this series: Book Spotlight: Ravenwood Saga, Book Spotlight: Flight of the Raven


Published by Bethany House Publishers

on 30th April, 2019

Pages: 352

Published by: Bethany House Publishers (@bethany_house)

an imprint of Baker Publishing Group

Formats Available: Hardback, Trade paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Ravenwood Saga:

I am in LOVE with the cover art for this series!

Mark of the Raven by Morgan BusseFlight of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse

Mark of the Raven (book one)

Flight of the Raven (book two)

→ *forthcoming next* : Cry of the Raven (book three) → February, 2020!

Converse via: #RavenwoodSaga, #FantasyNerd or #EpicFantasy
as well as #INSPYFantasy + #WyrdAndWonder

About Morgan L. Busse

Morgan Busse

Morgan L. Busse is a writer by day and a mother by night. She is the author of the Follower of the Word series, the Carol Award-winning steampunk series, Soul Chronicles, and the Ravenwood Saga, a new fantasy series from Bethany House coming November 2018. During her spare time she enjoys playing games, taking long walks, and dreaming about her next novel.

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

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 31 May, 2019 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, Blog Tour Host, Fantasy Fiction, High Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Light vs Dark, Prism Book Tours, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Supernatural Fiction, Sword & Scorcery