Category: Crime Fiction

A #WitchyWednesdays Audiobook Review during #WyrdAndWonder | “The Ghosts of Wonky Inn” (Book Two: the Wonky Inn series) by Jeannie Wycherley, narrated by Kim Bretton

Posted Wednesday, 25 May, 2022 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

#WitchyWednesdays banner created by Jorie in Canva.

#WitchyWednesdays is a curated collection of #WitchyReads this Wyrd And Wonder on Jorie Loves A Story. I have long held a fascination with Paranormally inclined stories involving witches and wizards as well as magic schools. I read either Contemporary or Historical releases as well as completely fantastical worlds featuring a Witchy premise and storyline. This year for Wyrd And Wonder, I’m focusing on specific stories I’ve been wanting to share and discuss either during our annual event in May OR our sister event #SpooktasticReads in October. Every Wednesday there will be a new Witchy story to discover as I share my readerly adventures into Witchy Fiction this month. I am considering keeping this a mainstay of focus both during May & October for our events for Wyrd And Wonder.

In regard to the name I chose for this showcase of reviews, I sort of stumbled onto the name when I was deciding which day of the week I wanted to feature Witchy Reads this year. I thought it was original until I ran a search online, I saw others use the #WitchyWednesdays tag however, I did not source an origin of the tag – only a collective recognition for it attributed to different creative projects or venues whilst I didn’t find an actual meme origin for it on a blog or website. If someone knows who started it – kindly let me know so I can add attribution.

The first #WitchyWednesdays featured: TransWitch by E. Chris Garrison

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Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how you’re reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring and knitting agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I have embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions.

Through hosting for the Audiobookworm I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods (ie. AudioShelf and Talking Audiobooks; see my sidebar). Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue whilst making purchase requests for audio CDs. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I am hoping to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year starting in 2018.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “The Ghosts of Wonky Inn” from the author Jeannie Wycherley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I simply *adore!* the #WonkyInn series:

It is quite hard to keep your composure as your listening to this story, as despite the somberness of attending a funeral at the beginning of this tale, it doesn’t take long for the sarcasm to begin! Especially when Alfhild Daemonne begins to describe her personal style and the choices she makes with her wardrobe! Most women will readily warm to her quirky way of expressing her feelings and thoughts about everything from the colour palette of choice to the fact her clothes hug her figure a bit more than they had when she was younger. On top of which, despite this being a gathering of witches to lay to rest one of their own, it was Alfhild who brought the cheekiness to the program! Complete with casting aside the fact she no longer felt this was part of her ‘life’ per se but rather a blink of a blib on the map of where her journey once had taken her as all the witchy bits felt rather ‘put to bed’ in the past.

It was here where we find the contrast between her and her late mother’s legacies – how people viewed her mother as a giving woman who loved to help people in need. She, on the other hand, had a completely different perspective on her mother’s affairs but of course, she might be bias being her daughter rather than her coven. She was still very much defensive about loving to bake with the normality of ingredients one might expect off the Great British Bake-Off show – wherein, you had a feeling her Mum would have preferred her interests to lie more towards eye of newt! The longer she spoke on behalf of her relationship with her mother, the more you understood why there was a wedge dredged between them! Ironic or not, the way she defends her preference for wearing black (ie. by eye colour or cloth) is quite hilarious – which is only one of the passages which gives you a hearty gigglement of joy to listen too!

Rather cleverly, there is a secret combination of books in the Occult section of a bookshoppe to get you into the alleyway where the witches of this world love to roost and shop for their witchy needs! I liked how Wycherley made this sound like an alternative to the shoppes you’d find in Hogsmeade. The way Alfhild discloses this part of her life, you had a feeling she was feeling constricted by the requirements needed to put her mother to rest. Once the funeral was over, she couldn’t just resume her life from where it was put on pause – mostly because of Penelope Quidwell! She was her Mum’s solicitor who came round to talk to Alfhild about the estate she needed to settle before she could consider the account closed. You had to give her credit – she kept her truer thoughts and feelings at bay from those she interacted with directly, but when it came to listening to the those thoughts in-step with her conversations gave you a wicked good volley of humour! She didn’t mind being blunt if it gave her a way to get her points across and that was what makes her such a winning character, truly!

There are subtle bits and bobbles of magic enveloping through the background of the story – such as the way Penelope’s address claimed the card in Alfhild’s hand! A dash of smoke and a pinch of ink was all it took to give her a place to arrive. What she would find there once she did however was a bit of a alarm as she didn’t give her Mum much credit for having a complicated estate as the best she remembered she lived humbly without too many assets. Before she can get into those particulars though she had to find the solicitor’s office! Laughs. This set into motion a series of laughable moments where she thought she was destined to be coo-coo clocked to death!

What endears you to Alfhild’s journey is how sincere she is making a new life for herself in this place – even if her magical abilities are questionable at best but evenso, she does what she can whenever she can to compensate for it. She sorts out whom she can trust and who are her best allies – for she is working against forces she could not have predicted would interfere with her goodwill. There was a moment where in the height of an uprising she was bringing against these forces where she reconsidered her options before realising there was only one future she would feel comfortable owning as her own. And, that felt like the greater purpose of this installment – of taking control of not just your own destiny but of embracing who you are and the inherent gifts that come with feeling proud of where you’ve come as well.

Sometimes you’re challenged past the point you feel you can overcome what blights onto your path – but as Alfhild found, if you dig deep, stay positive and align yourself with people who give of themselves for the greater good of everyone else – you find a strength you never had. Alfhild’s parents would be wicked proud of her efforts and of the courage she encountered the moment she realised that the power to change her own destiny lay inside the power she had within herself. And, that should be something all readers takeaway from this story – aside from the advice given how to defeat one’s enemies as truly that is one of the oldest pieces of wisdom I think more people ought to be reminded of as so much truth is held within how that is one of the most powerful tools we all have to use ourselves.

If you wanted to get a good view of Wycherley’s humour, the way she paints the life of Alfhild as a witch attempting to live amongst the rest of us as if there was nothing unique or different about her is a proper bang-up riot! She also shows her heart such as the scene where she gives a twenty spot to a witch down on her luck whilst taking the commuter rail. The dialogue is sharp and the quickstep pacing of the story being delivered is a treat for your ears (if your listening to the audiobook, such as I had been) – everything is running a bit on hyper-speed, as the lead character has this hyper personality that comes through quite clearly. It adds to her charm though, because she’s the kind of bold character you look forward to meeting and can’t wait to know further!

The hilarity is in high order- Wycherley has such a prime way of carving out a bang-on brilliant romp of humour, you can’t stop laughing before you run into the next snarky bout of humour arriving in your ears! She’s written a right smart emotionally raw and honest character who speaks her mind, says what she means and means what she thinks who has a way of warming your heart for her forwardness! The way she’s written this Cosy Mystery is a bit unsuspecting as it feels much more like a Women’s Fiction exploit in how to put your life together at an age where everyone expects you to have your druthers in order whilst at the same time, there is a case of mystery right in the midst of Alfhild putting her life back to rights!

The way she’s conceived of this neverending home repair property to rankle the patience of Alfhild is just part of the folly as once you get into the groove of the audiobook, you’ve already embraced her cheeky humour and the dramatic way she involves us into this witchy Cosy!

-quoted from my review of The Wonkiest Witch

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A note of apology to Ms Wycherley
& an explanation of the delay in this review
being featured on Jorie Loves A Story:

I have been trying to bring this review to Jorie Loves A Story for the last three years as when I originally listened to the story I was unable to compose my thoughts about it directly as I heard it. I was going through quite a lot back then and for whichever reason, listening to a story on audio was far easier than pooling my thoughts about it as I heard it. This novel and the first Trans-Continental novella by E. Chris Garrison (ie. Girl in the Gears) was heard the same year and both are reviews I’ve been wanting to write and share on my blog ever since. Both of them were so wickedly brilliant – both in scope of the writers who wrote the stories and the performances of the narrators who expertly brought both worlds to illuminated light for me.

In different intervals and conversations, I did let both authors know the personal impact these audiobooks had on me but as I’ve become an audiobook listener (and audiophile, let’s be real!) I’ve enjoyed conveying my reactions the listening to stories read aloud, performed by narrators and blogging my thoughts about the joy of hearing a story lit alive through narration. It has been an interesting journey these past six years (since 2016) and I’ve grown a lot as both a reader and as an audiobook listener; even if I feel I have only scratched the surface of genres and literary realms to explore in audio – I’m comfortably confident to say I have curated quite a few favourites along the way! And, these two authors and their narrators are at the top of the expanding list which is now past ten faovurite narrators!!

I’ve tried several times to re-listen to both over the years – tying them into different events (ie. Witchathon, #SpookasticReads or even #WyrdAndWonder or #SciFiMonth) which they would naturally fit inside and yet, it wasn’t until this 5th Year of Wyrd And Wonder where I had conceived of the idea for a #WitchyWednesdays showcase wherein I could tuck closer to the #WitchyReads I love seeking out and talk about those stories directly on a Wednesday. I had planned to feature 4x #WitchyWednesdays this May but as life and work threw me offline more than I expected to be this month, I had to reduce my plans.

However, there is some good news to share! This series has expanded quite a heap since (2019) as back then there were 8x releases and now there are a wickedly brilliant 15x!! Plus, four Christmas Specials which reminds me dearly of my beloved BBC serials which oft do the same! I also noted more of the audiobooks have released which is why between now and October (for our next #SpooktasticReads event hugged into the final fortnight of the month in a chase up to Halloween) I’ll be gathering those audiobooks myself to continue my adventure into a world which bewitched me as soon as I first entered it!

I might have taken the longer road back into the Wonky Inn series but I am evermore grateful to the author who first enchanted me with her series and now has me hungering after new installments! I’ve marked which of the stories are now released into audiobook as well for those who would prefer to listen to the series as I do vs reading them in either print or ebook. I have known ever since I first ‘heard’ Alf that this is a series I have to always listen to in audio – I cannot even fathom how I would read a story set in the Wonky Inn world without Kim Bretton in my ears! Except to say for the Christmas Specials – as I’m uncertain if those are going into audio which is why I noted on this review I’ll be collecting those in print editions. If they do go into audio that would be a wickedly sweet surprise for me!!

I cannot apologise enough to the author for the long gaps in communication and for stalling in my progress to make this review a reality. I cannot wait to listen to the third novel Weird Wedding at Wonky Inn ahead of the Christmas Special and the next two audiobooks in sequence right in time for #SpooktasticReads this October when I resume my #WitchyWednesdays!! The blessing of course is how cosy comfortable this series has become to me and how lovely it is to return as if I’ve simply gone away for a spell and now have chosen to return ‘home’.

I should also mention – portions of this review were previously written during my first listening of the story and also, during my second – whilst this is my third listening of the story and I’ve done my best to make this a cohesive review as I combined all the thoughts I had to share on its behalf.Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

A #WitchyWednesdays Audiobook Review during #WyrdAndWonder | “The Ghosts of Wonky Inn” (Book Two: the Wonky Inn series) by Jeannie Wycherley, narrated by Kim BrettonThe Ghosts of Wonky Inn
Subtitle: Wonky Inn, Book 2
by Jeannie Wycherley
Source: Direct from Author
Narrator: Kim Bretton

Alf has tried to banish her demons.

And her ghosts.

But memories of her recent past linger and keep her awake.

Every night it’s the same. Insomnia.

When she does eventually drift off, she’s woken almost immediately by a sobbing spirit.

He says he's lost.

And worse than that, someone is trying to kill him.

Who is this sad specimen of a spirit? And where does he belong?

And how do you kill someone … who is already dead?

Find out what Alf gets up to next as the Wonky Inn adventures continue.

Read The Ghosts of Wonky Inn today.

Genres: Cosy Mystery, Ghost Story, Paranormal Suspense, Historical-Fantasy, Paranormal Urban Fantasy, Urban Fantasy



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1719966740

ASIN: B07TKGBZ4H

Also by this author: The Wonkiest Witch

Published by Self Published

on 28th June, 2019

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 4 hours and 51 minutes (unabridged)

This is a self-published audiobook.

Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

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The Wonky Inn series:

Wonky Inn series promo banner provided by Audiobookworm Promotions

🎧 The Wonkiest Witch (book one) (see also review)

🎧 The Ghosts of Wonky Inn (book two) → heard thrice!

🎧 Weird Wedding at Wonky Inn (book three) → next in line!

The Witch Who Killed Christmas (A Wonky Inn Christmas Special)

🎧 Fearful Fortunes & Terrible Tarot (book four)

🎧 The Mystery of the Marsh Malaise (book five)

The Mysterious Mr Wylie (book six)

The Great Witchy Cake-Off (book seven)

Vengeful Vampire at Wonky Inn (book eight)

Witching in a Winter Wonklyland
(A Wonky Inn Christmas Cozy Mystery)

A Gaggle of Ghastly Grandmamas (book nine)

Magic, Murder and a Movie Star (book ten)

O Witchy Town of Whittlecombe (A Wonky Inn Christmas Cozy Mystery)

Judge, Jury and Jailhouse Rockcakes (book eleven)

A Midsummer Night’s Wonky (book twelve)

Halloween Heebie-Geebies (book thirteen)

Owl I Want for Witchmas is Hoo:
A Wonky Inn Christmas Cozy Mystery Special

Oh Mummy! (book fourteen)

Pieces of Hate (book fifteen) ← forthcoming August, 2022!

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NOTE: I marked which installments are released into audiobook with a headphone emoji whilst I changed the colour of the text to reflect the Christmas Specials which are only currently released into print or ebook formats. I’ll have to gather the print of those stories to read before I proceed forward into the next stories released into audiobook. For instance, I’ll be purchasing my first one after listening to “Weird Wedding Wedding at Wonky Inn” before I purchase a copy of “Fearful Fortunes & Terrible Tarot”.

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I believe there is a spin-off series called:
MISTER MAGIGI’S MAGICAL EMPORIUM

Sugarplum Scary (book one)

*as I read somewhere online this is a story connected to Alf
as she asked a favour of the character whose featured

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Converse via: #WonkiestWitch + #AudioReads, #Audiobook
and #WitchyWednesdays during #WyrdAndWonder

OR #loveaudiobooks, #Paranormal #CosyCrime

About Jeannie Wycherley

Jeannie Wycherley

Genre-hopping introvert and word witch living somewhere between the forest and the sea in East Devon, UK.

Jeannie finds inspiration everywhere: in myths, stories and songs, while people watching, a word here, a look there. However, her main inspiration comes from the landscape. Devon has it all - a rocky coastline, pebble and sandy beaches, narrow winding lanes and picture perfect cottages, steep cliffs and an abundance of forest.

A good day for Jeannie means a blustery wind, racing waves and salty rain. She lives with her husband and two dogs, makes a lot of soup, plays too many computer games and loves watching movies.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WyrdAndWonder
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Posted Wednesday, 25 May, 2022 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, #WitchyWednesdays, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Book Review (non-blog tour), Clever Turns of Phrase, Cosy Mystery, Fantasy Fiction, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Ghost Story, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Historical Fiction, Humour & Satire in Fiction / Non Fiction, Indie Author, Self-Published Author, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Witches and Warlocks

#CrimeFicFridays | featuring the Harlequin Romantic Suspense novel “Guarding His Midnight Witness” (Honour Bond series, Book 4) by Anna J. Stewart

Posted Friday, 8 April, 2022 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Reading the stories of Anna J. Stewart banner created by Jorie in Canva.

This Spring, I have the pleasure of joy to be reading a select sequencing of stories writ by the lovely Ms Anna J. Stewart – of whom, I first became introduced to whilst reading the #BlackwellBrothers series via Harlequin Heartwarming! Whilst continuing to get to know her further through her guest appearances on @SatBookChat (the Saturday chat I’ve hosted since 2014 celebrating Romance, Women’s Fiction & Feminist Lit). You’ll find me reading selections from her Romantic Suspense stories for Harlequin as well as her wicked lovely series ‘Butterfly Harbour’ which is a celebration of family, community and new beginnings!

Full disclaimer: Spring usually arrives so fast & furious our Winter barely has time to make a proper arrival and departure – thereby, despite the fact, we’re being blessed this year with an extended Winter, my reviews for Ms Stewart will be peppered throughout the coming months – thereby arriving on Jorie Loves A Story throughout ‘Spring’ even as Winter starts to disappear.

Hence why I’m calling this special featured showcase of reviews:

Celebrating Spring whilst reading the stories of Anna J. Stewart!

I started this concentration in 2021 with the following reviews:
Undercover Heat and Colton on the Run

whilst I began this new concentration by sharing my review of:
Gone in the Night & Recipe for Redemption

Acquired Book By: Whilst speaking with Ms Stewart about being a guest on @SatBookChat in the New Year of 2021 (in late 2020) – I realised there was a whole collection of stories by her I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading! The first series which charmed my heart was Butterfly Harbour – which we happily discussed during #SatBookChat in January, 2021 and the series I am concurrently reading this Spring, 2022. At the time, she mentioned to me she also writes for Harlequin’s Romantic Suspense and I was quite curious about those stories as I regularly read their Love Inspired Suspense novels. The key difference between the two is Love Inspired is their faith-based imprint and the Romantic Suspense stories are Contemporary and mainstream. I tend to be a hybrid reader of both mainstream and faith-based markets which is why I agreed to reading her Romantic Suspense releases.

I returnt to reading her stories within the Romantic Suspense imprint of Harlequin with “Gone in the Night”, as I previously shared my reviews on behalf of “Undercover Heat” and “Colton on the Run”. It is part of the Honor Bound series of stories – which begins with three women interconnected through a shared tragic past (ie. Eden, Simone and Allie) whilst it will expand and pivot to feature the McTavish’s after their story is told. As of Spring 2022 – there are five novels released in this series, though the series will expand into eight installments. (which I learnt during #SatBookChat in February, 2022)

I received a complimentary copy of “Guarding His Midnight Witness” direct from the author Anna J. Stewart in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. Per the badge at the end of this review, I am also a member of the author’s Review Team.

NOTE: All the Press Materials for this series (Honour Bound) were provided by the author, Ms Stewart for use on my blog. Whether she gifted me the books herself or whether I purchased them – as I asked if I could use them as I blog about this wonderfully lovely series.

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a few notations about the series from “Gone in the night”:

Stewart writes fast paced Romantic Suspense – to where you nearly feel as if the momentum is going to swallow you whole as your reading one of her novels. In this particular installment of the Honour Bound series, Stewart shifts forward and backwards to re-anchour the reader into the drama of the series itself. You didn’t have to finish reading the first two novels in the series to gain traction in the third which was a blessing for me as I couldn’t quite reconcile reading the first two novels in this series but I was gripped by the third as if this were the first novel. Stewart gives a lot of layered re-hashing of the events which has plagued the three main characters of the series thus far afield as the Honour Bound series is a thread of stories connecting Eden, Simone and Allie.

As this is the third installment, the point-of-perspective is given to Allie whilst opening the door for Guarding His Midnight Witness when it comes to Jack McTavish. Through conversations during #SatBookChat, I learnt Stewart let her characters dictate the direction of the series which is why we are going to pivot from the girls’ to the McTavish’s in the next installments. I’m not sure where we will go from there as this is going to be an eight book series but the journey is one I am thankful to be taking after a bit of a hard go at the start of it.

Similar to the other Romantic Suspense novels I’ve read by Stewart, this one packs quite the emotional punch for her readers. A lot of this is rooted in psychological suspense undertones combined with emotional anguish and heartache; whilst inclusive of trauma and memory from the past which re-inflicts pain in the present. It is a layered story and one which is slow brewing – as Stewart sets the stage well in the beginning for the kidnapping case to serve as a catalyst for the story itself and let’s us re-hover of the past Allie, Simone and Eden have been surviving all along.

-quoted from my review of Gone in the Night

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As I came into this series a bit haphazardly, it might help other readers who are considering reading this series but are unsure where to begin it. As I disclosed on my review for Gone in the Night, it took me a bit to find traction within the series, as the first two novels just didn’t grip me as much as Allie’s story and it was through her story, I was pleasantly surprised to see the whole series open up for me as a reader as Stewart has brilliant continuity and interweaving threads of connection from one installment to the next; something she is known for throughout all her series (as I’ve read quite a few of her series from two imprints of Harlequin). She catches you up on the back-histories of these characters whilst giving you feeders of folly to consider for future. I love how she started to insert the pivoting sequencing into Gone in the Night by focusing on Jack McTavish and of course, how his story-line became a bit of a cliffhanger leading into Guarding His Midnight Witness.

It wasn’t a traditional cliffhanger, as the door was open for his character to return but there was a quasi-curiosity about how he would return and in what capacity (to avoid spoilers) due to the circumstances of the final chapters of the third installment. I was definitely curious how and where we would re-enter Jack’s life now in the fourth novel whilst seeing how within this fourth installment, how we would continue to pivot forward away from the girls (ie. Allie, Eden and Simone) even though I knew they would all be somewhat inclusive of the series even as it moves forward due to the found family aspect of the Honour Bound series overall.

Allie roots you into the series because of how emotionally connective she is to the crux of the story which evolves through the first three novels. She is the axis point in so many ways and because of that, I felt a closer connection to both her as a character and to the series overall. Her cover art is also a bit telling as she’s the only book so far which only features the female lead rather than showcasing both the heroine and the hero of the story. I’d say more but that might be considered a spoiler as well – so let’s just leave it here as a curiosity of noting the differences in covers.

And, this is of course how I came to appreciate the Honour Bound series. It isn’t necessarily because of the case files their investigating because this series does continue to push me past my own comfort zones and boundaries when it comes to Crime Fiction and Cosy Crime drama but at the heart of the series is a wonderful group of individuals who found each other and who have bonded to each other to create their own family. Their not just bound by fate or mutual respect/appreciation but they all have a sense of duty and honour within them as well.

Only the series by Harlequin Heartwarming and Romantic Suspense have I found I can dip in and out of series – not always, as sometimes the sequencing is required to understand the flow of a series – as I wouldn’t say I could move in/out of all the series I’m reading and find the same continuity or traction as I had within Honour Bound but there are more chances I could do this within these two imprints than I could with series published elsewhere. Therefore, if you’ve not yet discovered this series, be sure to know you can pick up the threads of it and move forward with the rest of us who were also late-comers to the Honour Bound series! I do advise starting with Allie’s story in Gone in the Night as it is a pivotal story within the series in regards to anchouring you to the beginning and to the next chapters of where the series now pivots forward.

NOTE: I personally spelt honor as *honour* however, if you follow the feeds on Twitter or other socially engaged platforms be sure to use the American spelling #HonorBound to find other readers who are sharing their bookish reactions to the series. I am only spelling it differently as I review it on my blog but note the official title all the same. For me, honor is honour but that’s just a personal quirk.

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The Honour Bound series:

More than a Lawman by Anna J. StewartReunited with the P.I. by Anna J. StewartGone in the Night by Anna J. Stewart

Guarding His Midnight Witness by Anna J. StewartPrison Break Hostage by Anna J. Stewart

More than a Lawman (book one)

Reunited with the PI (book two)

Gone in the Night (book three) | (see also Review)

Guarding His Midnight Witness (book four)

Prison Break Hostage (book five)

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View the list and keep tabs on this series via Fantastic Fiction!

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Published by: Harlequin Romantic Suspense (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin

Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance, #RomanticSuspense and #HonorBound

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Posted Friday, 8 April, 2022 by jorielov in 21st Century, Book Review (non-blog tour), Contemporary Romance, Crime Fiction, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Suspense

#CrimeFicFridays | featuring the Harlequin Romantic Suspense novel “Gone in the Night” (Honour Bound series, Book 3) by Anna J. Stewart

Posted Friday, 11 March, 2022 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Reading the stories of Anna J. Stewart banner created by Jorie in Canva.

This Spring, I have the pleasure of joy to be reading a select sequencing of stories writ by the lovely Ms Anna J. Stewart – of whom, I first became introduced to whilst reading the #BlackwellBrothers series via Harlequin Heartwarming! Whilst continuing to get to know her further through her guest appearances on @SatBookChat (the Saturday chat I’ve hosted since 2014 celebrating Romance, Women’s Fiction & Feminist Lit). You’ll find me reading selections from her Romantic Suspense stories for Harlequin as well as her wicked lovely series ‘Butterfly Harbour’ which is a celebration of family, community and new beginnings!

Full disclaimer: Spring usually arrives so fast & furious our Winter barely has time to make a proper arrival and departure – thereby, despite the fact, we’re being blessed this year with an extended Winter, my reviews for Ms Stewart will be peppered throughout the coming months – thereby arriving on Jorie Loves A Story throughout ‘Spring’ even as Winter starts to disappear.

Hence why I’m calling this special featured showcase of reviews:

Celebrating Spring whilst reading the stories of Anna J. Stewart!

I started this concentration in 2021 with the following reviews:
Undercover Heat and Colton on the Run

Acquired Book By: Whilst speaking with Ms Stewart about being a guest on @SatBookChat in the New Year of 2021 (in late 2020) – I realised there was a whole collection of stories by her I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading! The first series which charmed my heart was Butterfly Harbour – which we happily discussed during #SatBookChat in January, 2021 and the series I am concurrently reading this Spring, 2022. At the time, she mentioned to me she also writes for Harlequin’s Romantic Suspense and I was quite curious about those stories as I regularly read their Love Inspired Suspense novels. The key difference between the two is Love Inspired is their faith-based imprint and the Romantic Suspense stories are Contemporary and mainstream. I tend to be a hybrid reader of both mainstream and faith-based markets which is why I agreed to reading her Romantic Suspense releases.

This review marks my return to reading her stories within the Romantic Suspense imprint of Harlequin, as I previously shared my reviews on behalf of “Undercover Heat” and “Colton on the Run”. It is part of the Honor Bound series of stories – which begins with three women interconnected through a shared tragic past (ie. Eden, Simone and Allie) whilst it will expand and pivot to feature the McTavish’s after their story is told. As of Spring 2022 – there are five novels released in this series, though the series will expand into eight installments. (which I learnt during #SatBookChat in February, 2022)

I borrowed a copy of “Gone in the Night” from my local library through their interlibrary loan services (in 2021) whilst I bought a personal copy of the novel (February, 2022) and was not obliged to write a review on its behalf. I chose to write a review for my own edification as well as to continue to share my readerly life on Jorie Loves A Story. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: All the Press Materials for this series (Honour Bound) were provided by the author, Ms Stewart for use on my blog. Whether she gifted me the books herself or whether I purchased them – as I asked if I could use them as I blog about this wonderfully lovely series.

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a notation about reading this series “Honour bound”:

I borrowed More Than A Lawman and Reunited with the PI via interlibrary loan in early 2021 – wherein I read most of the first novel and only part of the second, however, I understood the gist of the series based on what I had been reading. Sadly, with everything that was going on at the time I read them, I misplaced the notes I had on those readings. It was my first introduction to reading Romantic Suspense novels by Ms Stewart and I would have continued to read this series then, however, Gone in the Night was a bit delayed reaching me through inter-library loan. Thereby, I had to forestall continuing to read the series until I could find a personal copy of Gone in the Night. Which I admit, took until recently – as I happily received my copy of the novel the week of February, 26th, 2022.

I do remember More Than A Lawman and Reunited with the PI pushed me a bit as far as the plots were considered as I felt a bit out of my comfort zones in regards to where I like to read Romantic Suspense. I didn’t feel fully attached and comfortable within this series until I started reading Gone in the Night which is why that particular novel is what is kicking off my showcases for the Honour Bond series overall. Stewart did a great job at continuity within this series – as the three women: Eden, Simone and Allie are a united front with a shared history which haunts each of them in different ways whilst leading into a climax of terror. I felt more aligned with Allie’s story moreso than Eden’s and Simone’s which doesn’t happen very often for me in a series – yet, for whichever reason I just felt more in sync with the series with Allie’s story and felt that was the best place for me to start my reviews. I had shifted from this series to reading about the Colton’s, which is why the first Romantic Suspense review I shared for Ms Stewart was Undercover Heat.

I wanted to begin my showcases for the Honour Bound series by back-reading the stories leading into Guarding His Midnight Witness and this year’s release Prison Break Hostage. As a way of setting down a foundation for myself as a reader whilst offering the chance to introduce this series to my readers and visitors alike who might be equally as interested in this Contemporary Romantic Suspense series. I also have a feeling the series may pivot once it shifts past Eden, Simone and Allie’s storylines and I was curious to watch the series evolve forward past the initial three novels as it will focus on the McTavish’s. As the detective in Gone in the Night is featured in Guarding His Midnight Witness.

NOTE: I personally spelt honor as *honour* however, if you follow the feeds on Twitter or other socially engaged platforms be sure to use the American spelling #HonorBound to find other readers who are sharing their bookish reactions to the series. I am only spelling it differently as I review it on my blog but note the official title all the same. For me, honor is honour but that’s just a personal quirk.

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The Honour Bound series:

More than a Lawman by Anna J. StewartReunited with the P.I. by Anna J. StewartGone in the Night by Anna J. Stewart

Guarding His Midnight Witness by Anna J. StewartPrison Break Hostage by Anna J. Stewart

More than a Lawman (book one)

Haunted by the death of her childhood friend, journalist Eden St. Claire has dedicated her life to catching serial killers—and she’s always done so alone. But when the lethal murderer Eden is tracking puts her in danger’s crosshairs, she agrees to accept protection from longtime friend Detective Cole Delaney.

Cole has secretly carried a torch for Eden for years. She might not want to let anybody in, but the thought of losing her is unbearable. Passions flare as the threats intensify. Can Cole convince Eden to break her own rule to never fall in love…before the killer snuffs out their happily-ever-after?

Reunited with the PI (book two)

Exactly why should P.I. Vince Sutton take his ex-wife’s case? Because she, assistant district attorney Simone Armstrong, put his brother in jail? Because the ambitious spitfire still drives him crazy? No, he’ll take it because “The Avenging Angel” makes him a deal he can’t refuse. Sparks fly when Vince works all-too-closely with Simone to locate her missing key witness…but in the process, they are drawn into a cold case. As much as he tries, Vince can’t deny that he’s never gotten over beautiful Simone, but can he admit his feelings to her—and himself? And can he save her from the danger that’s heading their way?

Gone in the Night (book three)

Guarding His Midnight Witness (book four)

Prison Break Hostage (book five)

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View the list and keep tabs on this series via Fantastic Fiction!

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Published by: Harlequin Romantic Suspense (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin

Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance, #RomanticSuspense and #HonorBound

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Posted Friday, 11 March, 2022 by jorielov in 21st Century, Book Review (non-blog tour), Contemporary Romance, Crime Fiction, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Suspense

#SaturdaysAreBookish | and sometimes especially Cosy! Celebrating the 1st #BookBindingMystery “To Kill A Mocking Girl” by Harper Kincaid, of whom was also a feat. guest of @SatBookChat!

Posted Saturday, 5 June, 2021 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Borrowed Book By: My path first crossed with Ms Kincaid during the #12DaysOfCozies Twitter chats hosted by @cozymysteryclub in December, 2020. It was a chance to interact with Cosy Mystery writers in a kick-off celebration of Cosies as a lead-up into the Christmas holidays. During the chats themselves there were several bookaways, wherein this novel was one of the prizes however I was meant to win a copy of another Cosy story in an anthology – however it never arrived by post. I did however receive a swag pack of bookmarks and stickers by the hostess of the chats and I have been using her #Sleuther bookmark to read all the lovely Cosies I borrow through my library whilst the other bookmarks I use either for books in my personal library or review books I receive for review consideration.

The chats were a benchmark of my 2020 Christmas celebrations as it allowed me to celebrate Christmas in a keenly special way last December whilst I was able to interact and seek out new series of Cosies to read this New Year, 2021 as well. I have quite a long list of stories and series I want to dive inside and this particular book marks the start of those readings. Ms Kincaid and I just happened to hit it off quite well and I knew I wanted to host her via @SatBookChat. This review is both a continued nod of celebration to #12DaysOfCozies and of course, a happy introduction to a new Cosy series I was thankful I have had myself courtesy of my local library!

I borrowed the hardbck copy of the novel “To Kill A Mocking Girl” direct from my local library. I was not obliged to post a review and am sharing my review on behalf of this novel for my own edification as much as continuing to share my readerly life on Jorie Loves A Story. 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.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

This review has been a long time in coming to Jorie Loves A Story!! I’ve been wanting to host Ms Kincaid via #SatBookChat for most of Spring however, the timing for both the author and myself had to work out a few kinks. With my return to working full-time earlier in Spring and with some health afflictions in mid-Spring, we both decided to push this forward into June. I was grateful I finally had a chance to bring her into #SatBookChat’s community as I’ve been reading this novel off/on for as many months as we’ve been working on the schedule! Each time I thought I was close to finishing the novel, I had to boomerang the book back to the library! Laughs.

The joy for me on the morning of #SatBookChat today was waking up early enough to make more headway into the story and to find myself at the halfway mark before the chat began! It was my intentions to sneak into the book whenever I had an hour or so to spare to read it whilst hoping no one in my community wanted to read it this week as I had to re-fetch it! Smirks. Thankfully the stars aligned and whilst I wasn’t working, I happily tucked into the lives of Quinn, Sister Daria and Aiden.

For me, the character who stole my heart is Sister Daria and until I had the convo this morning with Ms Kincaid I couldn’t sort out why I leant more towards her than Quinn. Until of course the author pointed out Quinn is sweet and all but she’s a bit dull and mundane in comparision to Daria and I believe that’s true! Sister Daria is a renegade nun in so many ways – from her background and backhistory to how she approaches the sisterhood with ideals and beliefs that are not in-step with the rest of her sisters. I celebrated finding that inclusive of her storyline but again, it isn’t a conventional character and I think that in of itself is why I love her as much as I do!

After the chat, I quickly dove back into the story – I knew with an afternoon shift I didn’t want to put off reading more of the book or if I could, get into the ending as I was dearly curious about who was ‘behind’ the whole sequencing of events. This is one thinking mystery I was appreciating see develop because it didn’t seem to be an obvious choice in regards to whom the person was behind the crime. If you factor in the fact, Quinn was labelled as a person of interest early-on in the storyline, I knew I was ready to see where Kincaid would take us next to root out the truth and solve the case alongside Quinn and her family.

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Why I enjoy Cosy Mysteries (Contemporary & Historical):

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When it comes to Mysteries, stories of Suspense and even Thrillers, I have the tendency to read through the centuries as I appreciate a wicked good Contemporary as much as a thrillingly brilliant Historical which you can intuit from my Story Vault. (mind, its not updated for awhile) Focusing on the topic today, Cosy Mysteries (yes, I purposely spelt it this way!) have been my jam since I was quite young. I’ve openly discussed how much I struggled with reading when I was a young girl – before and after I learnt I was dyslexic and when it came to reading, Mysteries were a constant companion.

I cut my teeth on Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys before I quickly moved into Adult Cosies with Agatha Christie and her lovingly brilliant Miss Marple! I wouldn’t discover Poirot until an adult – through the film adaptations and series; whilst it is a goal of mine to read his stories at some point. Cosies have a particular fondness for me because I’m not a reader who enjoys gritty and gruesome scenes of violence nor do I enjoy heavy pepperings of vulgarity (see also Review for a recent read that went over the top). I’d much prefer to get into the heart of the investigations, follow the central lead and supporting characters’ journeys and settle into the setting of the mystery as well. Small townes are an especially favourite of mine because of how quirky they are by nature and how cleverly their organised by writers to be full of interestingly diverse and ecelctic characters.

I read Contemporary Suspense novels which are writ similarly to Cosies – as their with a faith-based imprint (ie. Love Inspired Suspense) but in general, I tend to categorise those separately from ‘Cosy’ as Cosy has its own guidelines and perimeters to adhere too, themselves. I do count Cleo Coyle’s Coffeehouse Mysteries as Cosies but I know their just ‘this side’ of Hard-Boiled, too. I like to peer into a Cosy’s characters’ life, take up residence there and enjoy the respite from other genres I regularly read. Cosies also have a cosy-comfortable vibe about them and you tend to get attached to the characters and/or the setting quite immediately.

When it comes to Cosy Historical Mysteries – I sometimes put a few ‘nearly Hard-Boiled’ lovelies into that category, too, such as the Susan Spann Hiro Hattori series I regularly have read through the last several years. For Historicals, rather than having myself feel anchoured into our modern world with pop cultural references which I devour in stories due to the fact it opens a lot of my geeky doors of delight – I prefer to feel more attached to the timescape in History. Similar to why I love reading Victorian, Regency and Edwardian Romances. I like to feel as if I’ve removed myself into that portal of the historical past and can see/sense everything I might have if I were physically removed.

The best bit of course is the suspension of reality to tuck close to a Cosy character, peer into the investigative processes and see if I can either guess or root out the culprits along with the sleuths in the story. Whether their professionals or amateurs, I love following along and seeing where the writer has chosen to take us through their own vision for the set-up and the reveal. Even the motivations for the characters who are villains is of interest as sometimes that can explain so much about the story and also, in the case of series, how that affects the characters who will return.

Cosy Mysteries are just a part of my bookish heart as much as Science Fiction, Fantasy & Historical Fiction – I rotate through genres on the regular and as you will denote by the events I co-host and/or participate inside every year, there is a genre of interest or flavour of story that might tempt you as you read the chronicles of my readerly life here on Jorie Loves A Story. It is harder to explain what led me into Cosies originally because my earliest memories of reading outside the moments I was listening to Mum (ie. the original narrator in my life) read to me were of Mysteries!! They’ve just always ‘been’ there, you know!?

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

My Connection to the Author: Harper Kincaid

Ms Kincaid and I truly loved interacting during the #12DaysOfCozies Twitter chat event during December, 2020. It sparked a wonderful connection between two writers and two avid readers wherein we found we share a heap in common with each other. and so, naturally a friendship started to develop. We’ve remained in contact over the months since as our schedules have allowed and I have been grateful to find someone I can relate too who is also celebrating being GenX through her series of Cosy Mysteries as the Bookbinding Mysteries is for readers who like GenX (and/or GenY) sensibilities in their stories.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with her ahead of reading her novels. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time. This is also true when I follow-up with them on future releases and celebrate the book birthdays which come after their initial publication.

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

#SaturdaysAreBookish | and sometimes especially Cosy! Celebrating the 1st #BookBindingMystery “To Kill A Mocking Girl” by Harper Kincaid, of whom was also a feat. guest of @SatBookChat!To Kill A Mocking Girl
Subtitle: A Book Binding Mystery
by Harper Kincaid
Source: Borrowed from local library

Quinn Victoria Caine is back in her quirky town of Vienna, Virginia, starting her new life as a bookbinder in her family-owned, charm-for-days bookshop, Prose & Scones. With her trusty German Shephard RBG-‘Ruff Barker’ Ginsburg by her side, what can go wrong? Okay, sure, bumping into her ex, Scott, or her former high school nemesis, Tricia, is a drag. It certainly doesn’t help they have acquired the new hobby of shoving their recent engagement in her face every chance they get. But that doesn’t mean Quinn wanted to find Tricia dead in the road. So why does half the town think she may have done it?

Quinn is determined to find Tricia’s killer, even if it means partnering with her cousin-turned-nun, Sister Daria, and Detective Aiden Harrington, her older brother’s too-movie-star-handsome-for-his-own good, best friend. They believe she’s innocent, but of course that doesn’t influence the police, who peg her as their prime suspect. Or, at least until she’s poisoned.

But there is no way Quinn is going to stop now. Vienna is her town and-for better or worse-Tricia was one of their own. Someone may have killed the mocking girl, but no one’s going to stop the notorious QVC.

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Crime Fiction, Amateur Detective, Cosy Mystery



Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1643853048

Published by Crooked Lane Books

on 7th July, 2020

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 352

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The Bookbinding Mysteries:

To Kill A Mocking Girl (book one)

A Midsummer’s Night Scheme (book two) ← forthcoming 2022/?

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Converse via Twitter: #ToKillAMockingGirl

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Posted Saturday, 5 June, 2021 by jorielov in 21st Century, Amateur Detective, Book Review (non-blog tour), Content Note, Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, Modern Day, Small Towne USA, Virginia