Category: Debut Author

#SaturdaysAreBookish | Celebrating a #LakeUnion debut novelist (Kristin Fields) and her story “A Lily in the Light” – a review and a convo during #SatBookChat

Posted Saturday, 30 March, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish created by Jorie in Canva.

After launching this lovely new feature of mine during [Autumn, 2018] it is a pleasure of joy to continue to bring #SaturdaysAreBookish as a compliment focus of my Twitter chat @SatBookChat. If you see the chat icon at the top of my blog (header bar) you can click over to visit with us. The complimentary showcases on my blog will reflect the diversity of stories, authors and publishers I would be featuring on the chat itself. As at the root and heart of the chat are the stories I am reading which compliment the conversations.

#SaturdaysAreBookish throughout [2019] will be featuring the Romance & Women’s Fiction authors I am discovering to read across genre and point of interest. Every Saturday will feature a different author who writes either Romance or Women’s Fiction – the stories I am reading might simply inspire the topics in the forthcoming chats or they might be directly connected to the current guest author.

I am excited about where new guests and new stories will lay down the foundation of inspiring the topics, the conversations and the bookish recommendations towards promoting Romance & Women’s Fiction. Here’s a lovely New Year full of new authors and their stories to celebrate!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: I originally crossed paths with Ms Fields several years ago on Twitter – before she was under contract with Lake Union and became a published author. We kept in touch off/on throughout her publishing journey and I had a delightful surprise in hearing from her earlier this year in January about how “A Lily in the Light” was publishing this Spring on the 1st of April. She enquiried if I would be interested in reading the novel and/or hosting her for a guest feature – to where I invited her to join me during @SatBookChat to discuss the novel whilst assembling a secondary interview to run on my blog to compliment a review before her #PubDay.

This was especially lovely considering this is the weekend I am celebrating my 6th blogoversary on Jorie Loves A Story – as the 31st of March, 2019 marks the sixth year I’ve been a book blogger and the day I first created what has become the blog you’re reading today. It is a pleasure of joy to look back at the authors whose paths I have crossed – either through being a book blogger and/or through my interactions on Twitter – I am humbled and honoured I get to take this journey with each of them whilst digging into the worlds they have illuminated through their stories.

I received a complimentary copy of “A Lily in the Light” direct from the author Kristin Fields 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

On why this story appealled to me:

I love stories about artists and dancers – in fact, I had planned to finish reading the duology by Nancy Lorenz – as I had previously read “The Strength of Ballerinas” and have for a few years now regretted that I haven’t had the chance to focus on reading the sequel “American Ballerina”. I will be reading this in April – as similar to this novel, there are some stories which ache to be read and to be known.

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect out of the story itself – as I knew Esme was passionate about ballet and I knew she was a dancer at her core – dance was a balancing centre in her life. To where she could find a way to redirect her attention off the traumas in her life and find a new reason to focus outside of those adversities. Ballet was something Esme not only was gifted and talented to pursue but in many ways I felt ballet renewed Esme’s soul.

Those moments where Fields is taking us into the everyday routines and the internal thoughts of Esme whilst she is eleven years old is a great blueprint of understanding who she becomes at the age of nineteen. Her dedication and her fortitude to dance is what strengthens her throughout the story but it also a pursuit which gave her a purpose and a future.

The reason I first wanted to read this story is because of knowing the author on Twitter but what what appealled to me about the plotting of the story is how does a family shift through this kind of adversity – do they lose themselves? Do they lose each other? OR do they find a way to rally, to muddle through and stay together? These are questions I didn’t answer on my review as it goes to the heart of the story’s evolution for each reader who reads it – however, it is just as aptly important to mention that this is also a story about a girl who grows into the woman known as Esme. This is her story and has a firm grip on the emotional depths a Women’s Fiction novel can take the reader who is dedicated to reading these kinds of stories.

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#SaturdaysAreBookish | Celebrating a #LakeUnion debut novelist (Kristin Fields) and her story “A Lily in the Light” – a review and a convo during #SatBookChatA Lily in the Light
by Kristin Fields
Source: Direct from Author

A harrowing debut novel of a tragic disappearance and one sister’s journey through the trauma that has shaped her life.

For eleven-year-old Esme, ballet is everything—until her four-year-old sister, Lily, vanishes without a trace and nothing is certain anymore. People Esme has known her whole life suddenly become suspects, each new one hitting closer to home than the last.

Unable to cope, Esme escapes the nightmare that is her new reality when she receives an invitation to join an elite ballet academy in San Francisco. Desperate to leave behind her chaotic, broken family and the mystery surrounding Lily’s disappearance, Esme accepts.

Eight years later, Esme is up for her big break: her first principal role in Paris. But a call from her older sister shatters the protective world she has built for herself, forcing her to revisit the tragedy she’s run from for so long. Will her family finally have the answers they’ve been waiting for? And can Esme confront the pain that shaped her childhood, or will the darkness follow her into the spotlight?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1542041690

Genres: Autobiographical Fiction, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Genre-bender, Realistic Fiction, Suspense, Women's Fiction


Published by Lake Union Publishing

on 1st April, 2019

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 275

Published by: Lake Union (@AmazonPub)

Follow Lake Union Authors (@LUAuthors) for updates on their releases!

Converse via: #ALilyIntheLight + #WomensFiction
as well as #LakeUnionAuthors

Available Formats: Hardback, Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

About Kristin Fields

Kristin Fields

Kristin Fields grew up in Queens, which she likes to think of as a small town next to a big city. Kristin studied writing at Hofstra University, where she was awarded the Eugene Schneider Award for Short Fiction. After college, Kristin found herself working on a historic farm, as a high school English teacher, designing museum education programs, and is currently leading an initiative to bring gardens to New York City public schools. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband.

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Posted Saturday, 30 March, 2019 by jorielov in #SaturdaysAreBookish, 21st Century, ARC | Galley Copy, Author Found me On Twitter, Autobiographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Ballet, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Bookish Discussions, Brothers and Sisters, Coming-Of Age, Contemporary Thriller, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Family Drama, Family Life, Fly in the Ointment, Genre-bender, Geographically Specific, Indie Author, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, Life Shift, Modern Day, Musical Fiction | Non-Fiction, New York City, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Realistic Fiction, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Sociological Behavior, Suspense, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction

Author Interview | #JorieReads the Miramonde series and has the wickedly delightful joy in being able to converse with the novelist behind this epic #HistFic saga – Amy Maroney

Posted Wednesday, 20 March, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts,

I have a lovely conversation to share with you this afternoon which is wicked brilliant as it comes shortly after I had the pleasure of reading The Girl from Oto – the first installment of an EPIC saga of Historical Fiction from the imagination & heart of Amy Maroney! This is a story which not only intrigued me but it is so dearly lush in descriptive narrative with a keen emotionally driven plotting that you will find yourself unable to extract yourself from its grip until you’ve concluded reading its chapters! I postively loved my experience within this realm – where I was slipping through time between the past and the present, eagerly awaiting word from both centuries to check-in on the characters who became so very dear to me and feeling pinges of worriment over how their lives would resolve!

If you’ve missed my ruminative thoughts earlier in the week during my #HistoricalMondays showcase(s) here is an excerpt from my musings about what anchoured me into Ms Maroney’s vision for her series:

I became entranced as soon as I read the Prologue – to be caught inside Zari’s footsteps during an electrical storm is one surefire way to feel rooted inside the opening pages of The Girl from Oto! There is something quite disconcerting about how lightning storms pop and sizzle through the skies – if your out in the thick of them, I’d much prefer a car than boots in a rain sodden meadow, however, you can respectfully understand why Zari is here and why this is an important moment for her to be in an area where she can verify a mystery.

When it comes to the children who can’t stay amongst their families and the people they have become bourne was an interesting turning of the tides; especially to see Mira was carted off into an abbey if only to keep her safe whilst she grew far away from her biological relations. There was a hinting of a a reason towards this end – of how her twin brother would be the preferred choice to stay with their parents and how getting her out as quick as a horse can canter was the best course of action for her own life. It is here we first find Elena – of whom is focused on in the prequel novella The Promise. Elena has the difficult job of having to handle the curiously hard situation where a daughter has to be secreted away from her family – an act of bravery on her part, as it is hinted at how her life is not as readily secured anymore than the infant in her keep. It was only after she reached her destination that we realised just how perilous this act was for her to take-on and how much is looming at stake over the choice to separate Mira from her family. The details were not yet readily known but there is enough psychological suspense in the under-threads of the narrative to elude to the fact this was the only way in which to ensure Mira would be ‘kept safe’ and in a place where she could thrive.

Beatrice struck me as a quite remarkable woman – at first I couldn’t get a good read on her person, not until we learnt more about her father and how she came to be set-up at the abbey itself. It was here where we find a sister (as her two sisters were wed at very young ages) who had a chance at freedom in a manner of speaking that her own sisters would never know themselves. She was meant to live her life amongst the nuns and although their spiritual home (the abbey) was protected there was a part of her nature which was non-conforming and non-traditional. She did as she pleased for reasons which made logical sense – not just to her but to anyone looking in on her life.

As Maroney re-settled us into the life and heart of Mira’s mother, Marguerite – we find a woman whose strength and resolve goes back to her childhood when she was a young girl of nine years taken from her family and brought to the Oto stronghold. She was destined to wed and to have children but her life was not her own. In some ways, I had wondered if this is partially why she had sent Mira away – to give her a chance she hadn’t had herself and to try to reset parts of the past she wasn’t able to resolve until now. There is a passage which explains the seashell and the importance of this necklace – it is an inheritance of its own right and the significance of its presence in her life is a remarkable one of faith.

Marguerite isn’t a woman who backed down when bad things happened; if anything she was re-inspired to dig deeper and to find a way to step outside the adversity to live for tomorrow. Not everyone around her was this strong in spirit nor in mind; she had to be the one others could look up towards when the unthinkable started to alight at her door. The fortitude it would have taken to deal with that at hand and to keep her wits about her as well when you could tell she wanted to wilt under the pressure of what that moment would mean for her and how it would change her life.

In this series, we are anchoured in the present by Zari, in the past with Mira and Elena. The ability to seek out the story through the voices of their characters is quite delightful as you are immediately drawn to Zari due to how adventurous she is in seeking out the truth and the proof of what was once thriving in the past but in the present is only a fluttering of a memory. As you enter Elena’s life as a mountain woman who finds comfort in her healing practices and being a midwife, you also start to see the complications of being a woman in her generation. She has to walk a fine line between her independence and the life which is expected of her to give to a kingdom which is quite unforgiving round the edges. And, then, there is Mira who was an innocent babe in this story – a daughter who was not wanted, an heir of the wrong gender and a twin bourne in secret where only her brother was the celebrated birth.

There is a lot riding the coattails of their lives – especially if you bring into the fray Beatrice who is a nun at an abbey which needs to find a way to financially stablise itself and the arrival of Mira was a welcoming grace as she brought with her a dowry they could not have hoped to have received otherwise. Elena I felt was the most changed by Mira’s birth and Zari is someone we are getting to know in smaller periods of revelation in the opening chapters of the story – to where, Mira’s young life is the central focus to help us align ourselves into their lives and better understand their motivations.

It isn’t often you find a story which stands out from others – by the way it was written, how it was assembled if it were a series and also, what makes it uniquely original. For me, as I read The Girl from Oto – I found a wonderfully Feminist driven plot, strong female leads and an atmosphere of introspective intuitiveness from the past. I found her style not just sophisticated in its scope but multi-layered as she tucked you close to the footsteps of her characters. You didn’t just re-live their lives as they are being depicted but you took a very emotionally connective journey with them.

-quoted from my review of The Girl from Oto

As you can see, there is a lot of layering to her style of Historical Fiction – she writes a fiercely passionate story with wicked brilliant Feminist Historical Fiction insight into the past whilst she encourages you to take this journey with Mira, Elena, Beatrice and Zari – for me, the story had five fierecely strong women inside it if you include Marguerite (Mira’s Mum) who in their own individual ways are leaving pieces of themselves imprinted on your memory.

I was thrilled to bits I could ask Ms Maroney questions about this story and the series as it is evolving whilst tucking close to the heart of her writing life and the process in which the stories alight in her heart to be written.

As your reading our convo I hope it will spark a keen interest in seeking out this series and if you’ve perchanced already started reading either the novella “The Promise” and/or have read “The Girl from Oto” – I would love to hear your reactions, thoughts and comments in the threads below this conversation! Let me know what drew you to this saga and why you love Historical Fiction series like this one – as it is champion to find fellow readers who are attracted to similar story-lines! Remember – brew your favourite cuppa before you begin!

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Author Interview | #JorieReads the Miramonde series and has the wickedly delightful joy in being able to converse with the novelist behind this epic #HistFic saga – Amy MaroneyThe Girl From Oto
by Amy Maroney

A Renaissance-era woman artist and an American scholar. Linked by a 500-year-old mystery…

The secrets of the past are irresistible—and dangerous.

1500: Born during a time wracked by war and plague, Renaissance-era artist Mira grows up in a Pyrenees convent believing she is an orphan. When tragedy strikes, Mira learns the devastating truth about her own origins. But does she have the strength to face those who would destroy her?

2015: Centuries later, art scholar Zari unearths traces of a mysterious young woman named Mira in two 16th-century portraits. Obsessed, Zari tracks Mira through the great cities of Europe to the pilgrim’s route of Camino de Santiago—and is stunned by what she finds. Will her discovery be enough to bring Mira’s story to life?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780997521306

Also by this author: The Girl From Oto (Spotlight), The Girl From Oto

Genres: Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction


Published by Artelan Press

on 20th September, 2016

Published by: Artelan Press

The Miramode Series:

The Promise by Amy MaroneyThe Girl from Oto by Amy MaroneyMira's Way by Amy Maroney

The Promise (prequel) novella – about Elena (mountain healer, midwife)

The Girl from Oto (book one) } see also review
– where we are introduced to Zari, Elena & Mira

Mira’s Way (book two)

Ideally, I would have preferred to rad “The Promise” ahead of the first installment as I love reading series in order of sequence. Except it is not yet released into print and/or audio
– I loved Elena instantly in “book one”.

Converse via: ##TheGirlfromOto + #HistFic or #HistNov
as well as #TimeShift and #HistoricalFiction

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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Posted Wednesday, 20 March, 2019 by jorielov in 16th Century, 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Debut Author, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001)

Blog Book Tour | “The Girl from Oto” (The Miramonde Series, Book One) by Amy Maroney

Posted Monday, 18 March, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#HistoricalMondays blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

I’ve launched a new weekly featured concentration of book reviews on Jorie Loves A Story which celebrates my love and passion for the historical past! For those of whom are regular readers and visitors to my blog, you’ll denote a dedicated passion for reading Historical Fiction (and all the lovely segues of thematic therein) – I am a time traveller of the historical past every chance I get to disappear into a new era and/or century of exploration. There isn’t a time period I haven’t enjoyed ruminating over since [2013] and there are a heap of lovely timescapes I’ve yet to encounter.

This feature was inspired by the stories I’ve read, the stories I’ve yet to experience and the beauty of feeling interconnected to History through the representation of the past through the narratives being writ by today’s Historical Fiction authors. It is to those authors I owe a debt of gratitude for enlightening my bookish mind and my readerly heart with realistic characters, illuminating portals of living history and a purposeful intent on giving each of us a strong representation of ‘life’ which should never become dismissed, forgotten or erased.

I am began this feature with the sequel to a beloved historical novel I first read in [2013] – it was one of the first ARCs I received and it was the first year I was a book blogger though it was through a connection outside my life as a blogger. I celebrated K.B. Laugheed’s literature to kick-off this feature and hopefully will inspire my followers to take this new weekly journey with me into the stories which are beckoning to read their narrative depths and find the words in which to express the thoughts I experienced as I read.

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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! HFVBTs is one of the very first touring companies I started working with as a 1st Year Book Blogger – uniting my love and passion with Historical Fiction and the lovely sub-genres inside which I love devouring. It has been a wicked fantastical journey into the heart of the historic past, wherein I’ve been blessed truly by discovering new timescapes, new living realities of the persons who once lived (ie. Biographical Historical Fiction) inasmuch as itched my healthy appetite for Cosy Historical Mysteries! If there is a #HistRom out there it is generally a beloved favourite and I love soaking into a wicked wonderful work of Historical Fiction where you feel the beauty of the historic world, the depth of the characters and the joyfulness in which the historical novelists brought everything to light in such a lovingly diverse palette of portraiture of the eras we become time travellers through their stories.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Girl from Oto” direct from the author Amy Maroney in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On why this story appealled to me:

In truth, the trifecta of ‘time’ narratives (ie. time shift, time slip and time travel) are three of my favourite ways in which genre can become bent towards the will of a novelists pen. It never fails to ensnare a wicked curiosity about what I shall find if I were to dip into a narrative set in a duality of focus between the past and the present whilst what motivates me to seek out these stories is the fact I love being a time traveller of History. There is a benefit to reading Historical Fiction – as the writers who are curating their worlds for us to read are the ones who are re-illuminating the past in such strong strokes of colours and lives to give us a building of the past in our imaginations which befits the real persons who once lived.

When I first read the premise of the novel The Girl from Oto – I was rather charmed by the time shift narrative as reading dual timelines in stories is one of my favourite past-times! I like seeing how different writers handle the stories and how the duality of the focus is built through the distinctiveness of having two timescapes to disappear inside as we follow the central lead characters.

It is through this exploration of the human condition, of humanity’s progress and the journeys we venture forth into embracing through this portal of interest where we seek out the most hope for the future because we have a better foundational understanding of whence we’ve previously have travelled.

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Blog Book Tour | “The Girl from Oto” (The Miramonde Series, Book One) by Amy MaroneyThe Girl From Oto
by Amy Maroney
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

A Renaissance-era woman artist and an American scholar. Linked by a 500-year-old mystery…

The secrets of the past are irresistible—and dangerous.

1500: Born during a time wracked by war and plague, Renaissance-era artist Mira grows up in a Pyrenees convent believing she is an orphan. When tragedy strikes, Mira learns the devastating truth about her own origins. But does she have the strength to face those who would destroy her?

2015: Centuries later, art scholar Zari unearths traces of a mysterious young woman named Mira in two 16th-century portraits. Obsessed, Zari tracks Mira through the great cities of Europe to the pilgrim’s route of Camino de Santiago—and is stunned by what she finds. Will her discovery be enough to bring Mira’s story to life?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780997521306

Also by this author: The Girl From Oto (Spotlight), The Girl From Oto

Also in this series: The Girl From Oto (Spotlight)


Genres: Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction


Published by Artelan Press

on 20th September, 2016

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 532

Published by: Artelan Press

The Miramode Series:

The Promise by Amy MaroneyThe Girl from Oto by Amy MaroneyMira's Way by Amy Maroney

The Promise (prequel) novella – about Elena (mountain healer, midwife)

The Girl from Oto (book one)
– where we are introduced to Zari, Elena & Mira

Mira’s Way (book two)

Ideally, I would have preferred to rad “The Promise” ahead of the first installment as I love reading series in order of sequence. Except it is not yet released into print and/or audio
– I loved Elena instantly in “book one”.

Converse via: ##TheGirlfromOto + #HistFic or #HistNov
as well as #TimeShift and #HistoricalFiction

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

About Amy Maroney

Amy Maroney

Amy Maroney lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. She studied English literature at Boston University and public policy at Portland State University, and spent many years as a writer and editor of nonfiction. When she’s not diving down research rabbit holes, she enjoys hiking, painting, drawing, dancing and reading. The Girl from Oto and Mira’s Way are books 1 & 2 in The Miramonde Series.

For a free prelude to The Girl from Oto, for the full scoop on the research behind the book, and for news about the sequel, please visit www.amymaroney.com.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 18 March, 2019 by jorielov in 16th Century, 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Debut Author, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001)