Category: Debut Author

Blog Book Tour | “Love and Secrets at Cassfield Manor” by Sarah L. McConkie, a lovely new #Regency Rom of the lovely imprint #PureRomance (by Cedar Fort)

Posted Saturday, 22 September, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I have been hosting blog tours with Cedar Fort Publishing and Media for several years now, wherein their new blog tour publicist (Ms Sydney Anderson) also runs her own publicity touring company: Singing Librarian Book Tours (or SLB Tours for short!). I happily joined her team of book bloggers as a hostess in late Spring, 2018 wherein my first tours with her as a hostess begin Summer, 2018. I appreciate reading INSPY literature and was happy to find these are most of the stories she is showcasing through SLB Tours! Most of her authors are published through Cedar Fort, though she does work with authors who are either Self-Published or Indie published through different publishers as well.

I received a complimentary copy of “Love and Secrets at Cassfield Manor” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (an imprint of Cedar Fort Publishing & Media) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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To find out why I love Sweet Romances and the #PureRomance imprint you might like to check out my previous postings for Cedar Fort blog tours, wherein I related my love of Historical & INSPY stories on a previous blog tour featuring To Suit a Suitor, however, I have happily been reading the offerings of this particular imprint for quite a long while now. The stories which still stand out are as follows: ‘Willow Springs’, ‘The Darkest Summer’, ‘Unexpected Love (anthology)’ and ‘The Second Season’.

To follow through my readings, be sure to scroll through this tag Pure Romance!

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A small insight into why I previously loved reading Julie Matern’s debut #Regency Rom earlier this year:

A strength of Ms Matern is allocating Regency realism to parlay into her #HistRom The Secret of Haversham House – whereby, you feel as if you can settle into her narrative rather easily without feeling as if something is misplaced or left out. She delights the reader who appreciates the Regency, as she has definitely spent time researching and reading the era to give us the visual clues we’re accustomed to finding whilst delighting our romantic side as well!

It is how she endears you to the journey back towards finding Francesca from the perspective of her grandfather which is what intrigues you the most! You get lost in his fervent attempts to uncover the lost information, the small bits of truth lingering in the minds of those still hanging onto life where their memories are nearly as lost as time itself. His hopefulness and his dedication to find Francesca are achingly real. You can feel his vexation with himself, for the errors of the past, the mistakes he hadn’t realised he had made and the anguish of grief which threatened to be his end.

Similarly, when Ms Matern turns the tables a bit on Francesca’s father (her adopted father: Mr Haverhsham) we view his life from his father’s point-of-view – seeing the lengths the upper class will go to ensure a winsome match for marriage, where even when a party is of independence thought and mind; there can be manipulations afoot. What struck me of interest in this segue, is how well in-tuned Matern is with the inner workings of the ton – how they justified their actions and how everything boiled down to status, wealth and stablity of one’s legacy.

I am definitely in favour of reading more of her Regency Romances and/or Historical Romances if she chooses to write outside the Regency era. She has an old world style and a foresight for how to tell a story which feels as if it were published in the 19th Century rather than the 21st! The only thing which threw me a bit were when she wrote ‘Mr.’ instead of ‘Mr’ and I had longed to see some of the words spelt in Old English vs Contemporary American as they would have befitted her vision for this novel even moreso than how it was initially told. However, despite those omissions what I loved the most is the credibility in telling an adoptive story and search for oneself at a time when entering adulthood lies on uncertain ground.

Matern was the last #PureRomance release I read, as this has become an imprint with the publisher I am keenly excited about seeing more stories published!

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Blog Book Tour | “Love and Secrets at Cassfield Manor” by Sarah L. McConkie, a lovely new #Regency Rom of the lovely imprint #PureRomance (by Cedar Fort)Love and Secrets at Cassfield Manor
by Sarah L. McConkie
Source: Direct from publisher via SLB Tours

Wealthy socialite Christine Harrison’s life seems perfect until the man she planned tomarry, Mr. Davenport, proposes to someone else. Heartbroken, Miss Harrison vowsnever to love again, and to distract herself, she sets out to rescue a fallen youngwoman. Little does she know that her journey will reveal more than she expected about her friends, her seemingly perfect life, and her own heart.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781462129188

Also in this series: Willow Springs, Sophia, The Second Season, To Suit a Suitor, Mischief & Manors, Unexpected Love, Lies & Letters, The Darkest Summer, The Secret of Haversham House


Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Sweet Romance


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 14th August, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 272

Published By: Sweetwater Books (@SweetwaterBooks),
an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFort)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

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Converse via: #Regency or #RegencyRomance, #HistFic or #HistoricalRomance

#SweetRomance OR #HistRom

→ #LoveAndSecretsAtCassfieldManor OR #CassfieldManor

About Sarah L. McConkie

Sarah L. McConkie

From writing an award-wining tale of a dragon falling from the stars in the 3rd grade to regency romance written at thirty, Sarah McConkie has always had a passion for creating intriguing stories. After years of singledom looking for romance (and teaching Junior High Choir to fill up real life), Sarah began a Master’s degree in Literacy.

When love finally found her, she married and became a wife and eventually a mother. After tucking in her own little princess one January evening she determined to attempt her life-long dream to write and publish a novel.

Using her many years of experience in the single realm, a robust knowledge of regency classics, and a love of all things old fashioned and proper, Sarah wrote Love and Secrets at Cassfield Manor. She now lives with her own Mr. Right and her two daughters, and believes providing stimulating and moral stories promotes literacy in a world which needs more readers. This is her first novel.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 22 September, 2018 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Coming-Of Age, Debut Author, Debut Novel, England, Fathers and Daughters, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, Life Shift, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Romance Fiction, Singing Librarian Book Tours, Sisterhood friendships, Sweet Romance, The London Season, the Regency era, Women's Fiction

Audiobook Review | “Gone to Ground” (Book Six: the Kay Hunter Detective series) by Rachel Amphlett, narrated by Alison Campbell

Posted Friday, 7 September, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

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 your 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 jumped at the chance to become a part of the sixth audiobook tour featuring the #KayHunter series by Rachel Amphlett so quickly, I had overlooked a critical piece of the blog tour: the copies for review on this tour were not going to be provided through Audible! Having an extra credit I hadn’t had the chance to use I purchased my own copy of “Gone to Ground” rather than being provided with a complimentary copy of the story. Thereby, I am choosing to participate on the audiobook tour, sharing my ruminations with my readers for my own edification but also, as a continuation of a reader’s love for a dramatic crime serial. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What held me in the throes of “Call to Arms” and why I was itching for the next novel:

One of the things I enjoy most about Ms Amphlett’s style of detective novels is how she gives you a seemingly one dimensional plot point and expounds upon it to encompass more layers of intrigue than you would originally feel could be pinned to a situation which by all fronts, appeared to be routine or having nothing more serious than the surface details of what was noted or observed. This is what I love about the series, because even as your keeping your toes at there ready to hear something which will be need to be re-pulled forward further inside the installment – you don’t always know which details are most pertinent to remember and which ones might not be as keenly important in the end.

This installment turnt back to the situational bantering between Kay and her colleagues – where we get to be observing their work hours closely – the funny bit is how they like to work off each other – they each compliment the other quite well, but due to the long hours and the winding ways in which a case can unnerve the detectives, they have to re-group themselves somehow and humour is one of the best equalisers! When they weren’t rubbing my funny-bone, I enjoyed listening to how they worked out their theories – each of them making suggestions and following where the evidence and interviews were yielding them to head next in an attempt to resolve the case at long last!

Kay Hunter follows her instincts to pursue a case she knew in her heart was important to solve – however, she never would have suspected how close it would come to affecting her relationship with Sharpe nor of how the case itself would become insidious in regards to the callus nature of someone who could only be referred to as self-conceited past the point of reason! Adam definitely understands his wife to such a degree it’s heart-warming whereas Kay sometimes struggles with the confidence of embracing her truer nature as a cop. She seems to be seeking approval at different intervals to where her internal sense of self falters against the tides of where her job takes her in a neverending battle for personal sanity.

Amphlett keeps us grounded on the personal journey of Kay Hunter – through all facets of her life, from what she’s feeling, thinking and how she sorts through every choice she makes both personally and professionally. One kind thing for her is having a husband (Adam) who not only believes in his wife but allows her the leeway she needs to make hard choices at times where an easier route might have been his preference. He also encourages her to do things she at first might feel she wants to recoil from accepting – such as her recent temporary elevation in status. Adam has a calming sense of knowing just what to say to help Kay settle her thoughts – all of this is part of the foundation of the series I have loved watching built. As Amphlett doesn’t sacrifice Kay’s personal life for the profession – it’s a healthy way of seeing how detectives must decide how to live a well-balanced life, without allowing the job to supersede their own humanity. All of which is vocalised by the impressively brilliant narrator Alison Campbell who immerses us directly into the heart of Kay!

-quoted from my review of Call to Arms

At the time I had finished listening to Call to Arms – I almost felt I needed to take a proper break from listening to the next installment. Each story in the series becomes increasingly difficult to listen to due to the increasing Suspense Ms Amphlett knits into the background of the stories. Not to mention the crimes themselves are on the upper edge of what I can handle listening to as they are rather difficult to read on that note.

I hadn’t foreseen another blog tour this year, as I was so dearly thankful to be a part of the first five novels which went on blog tours – finding out Gone to Ground was available to listen to after Summer, felt rather fitting – as this would be the story-line which was fully removed from the anguish Kay had gone through at work and the grief she had shared with Adam. I was definitely keen on seeing where the story would continue to shift forward and how Kay would handle moving forward after such a strong sea of adversity which had sought to undo her sanity.

When I first read the premise, however, I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to be able to get into the story itself as it is a rather gruesome plotting. The only thing I was holding onto is the fact that Ms Campbell’s narration in combination with Ms Amphlett’s muse – might be the best partnership to where I could handle a story-line like this one as otherwise, had it been another series altogether I simply would have bypassed it.

I also knew, having heard the five books prior to this sixth one – Amphlett spends a lot of time developing her characters, of inserting her readers & listeners into the background of her world – giving us a proper threading of what is going on in the lives of her lead and supporting characters whilst their fully committed to solving the case at hand. It is due to this structure of how she pulls us back into the Kay Hunter series, I had a strong feeling I could get through this installment, as I knew the main focus points were not on the crimes but rather on the people who solve them.

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Audiobook Review | “Gone to Ground” (Book Six: the Kay Hunter Detective series) by Rachel Amphlett, narrated by Alison CampbellGone to Ground
Subtitle: A Detective Kay Hunter novel
by Rachel Amphlett
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Alison Campbell

While attending a crime scene on the outskirts of Maidstone, DI Kay Hunter makes a shocking discovery.

The victim has been brutally cut to pieces, his identity unknown.

When more body parts start turning up in the Kentish countryside, Kay realises the disturbing truth – a serial killer is at large and must be stopped at all costs.

With no motive for the murders and a killer who has gone undetected until now, Kay and her team of detectives must work fast to calm a terrified local population and a scornful media.

When a third victim is found, her investigation grows even more complicated.

As she begins to expose a dark underbelly to the county town, Kay and her team are pulled into a web of jealousy and intrigue that, if left unchecked, will soon claim another life.

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B07F7FHYTT

Also by this author: Scared to Death, Will to Live, One to Watch, Hell to Pay, Call to Arms, Author Inteview: Rachel Amphlett (Gone to Ground)

Also in this series: Scared to Death, Will to Live, One to Watch, Hell to Pay, Call to Arms


Genres: Crime Fiction, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Police Procedural, Thriller


Published by Saxon Publishing

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 6 hours, 36 minutes (unabridged)

Published by: Saxon Publishing

Order of the Kay Hunter Detective series:
Scared to Death | Book One (see also Review)
Will to Live | Book Two (see also Review)
One to Watch | Book Three (see also Review)
Hell to Pay | Book Four (see also Review)
Call to Arms | Book Five (see also Review)
Gone to Ground | Book Six

About Rachel Amphlett

Rachel Amphlettt

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Robert Crais, Stuart MacBride, and many more.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore's TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

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Posted Friday, 7 September, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), British Literature, Crime Fiction, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Detective Fiction, England, Good vs. Evil, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Indie Author, Lady Detective Fiction, Mental Health, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Psychological Suspense, Realistic Fiction, Sociological Behavior, True Crime

Book Review | “George and Lizzie” by Nancy Pearl A refreshingly different kind of Contemporary from the ones you might be more readily familiar!

Posted Friday, 31 August, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: Over the Summer of [2018] I had the opportunity select titles to review on behalf of Simon & Schuster’s imprint Touchstone – the selections were for new releases and/or upcoming titles from this lovely publisher. Keeping true to my roots, each of the stories (five in total) are a mixture of genres and literary styles (ie. Contemporary, Historical and Memoir) – each of them speaking to me for a different reason. My reviews are forthcoming throughout the months of Autumn and early Winter, with the fifth review arriving in December. I elected to read ‘George and Lizzie’ ahead of the two reviews I’ll be showcasing in September as it felt like the kind of Contemporary I have been craving to find and I had hoped might prove to be a wicked good read to have at the end of Summer!

I received a complimentary copy of “George and Lizzie” direct from the publisher Touchstone (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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The reason reading ‘George & Lizzie’ appealled to me:

In my personal quest to find Contemporary stories which nestle me into their folds, I happen to appreciate a slight bit of ‘quirky’ in my Contemporaries as well! There is something to be said for the ‘unexpected’ – this can take a variety of forms if I were to be truly honest and most likely, it is even something I could not verbally pin-point as being as particularly inclusive of what I’d hope to seek out either! There are certain stories which by their natures are ‘quirky’ by their own natures – the kinds of stories where they have the tendency to stand out amongst the others for there is something uniquely ‘different’ & alluring about their premise.

The two which come to mind rather immediately were my readings of ‘Two Across‘ & ‘Some Other Town‘ though I’d lament ‘The Kinship of Clover‘ befits this kind of reckoning of self-awareness within the realm of this topic due to the nature of how wickedly original it felt as I fell further inside its folds.

This particular title – struck me as a singular title which stands out from the pack due to how it is angled inside the life of George & Lizzie. A couple reaching the invisible line of where their marriage is either going to continue to reunite them together or something rather decidedly is going to cast them apart. Even the approach of the narrative is starkly different from most of the Contemporaries I regularly read as it inserts you right into the thought process of Lizzie as she reflectively looks back on how she first met George.

Interlayered into this ‘introduction’ are glimpses of the present – of what Lizzie & George think of each other even during this lens of retro-spectrum. Almost as if the reader is not yet imparted with all the pertinent details & the writer wants to ease them into an awareness of where things started to unknit themselves and how in time, the distances gathered girth and started to manifest a departure of their bond.

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Book Review | “George and Lizzie” by Nancy Pearl A refreshingly different kind of Contemporary from the ones you might be more readily familiar!George and Lizzie
by Nancy Pearl
Source: Direct from Publisher

George and Lizzie are a couple, meeting as college students and marrying soon after graduation, but no one would ever describe them of being soulmates. George grew up in a warm and loving family—his father an orthodontist, his mother a stay-at-home mom—while Lizzie was the only child of two famous psychologists, who viewed her more as an in-house experiment than a child to love.

After a decade of marriage, nothing has changed—George is happy; Lizzie remains…unfulfilled. But when George discovers that Lizzie has been searching for the whereabouts of an old boyfriend, Lizzie is forced to decide what love means to her, what George means to her, and whether her life with George is the one she wants.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

ISBN: 9781501162909

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Dramedy, Literary Fiction, Romance Fiction, Women's Fiction


Published by Touchstone

on 17th July, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 304

 Published By: Touchstone
{imprint of} Simon & Schuster (

Converse via: #Contemporary & #Romance or #GeorgeAndLizzie
Available Formats: Hardcover, Trade Paperback, Audiobook & Ebook

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Listen to Nancy Pearl talk about her debut noveL:

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About Nancy Pearl

Nancy Pearl Photo Credit Nancy Pearl

Nancy Pearl is known as “America’s Librarian.” She speaks about the pleasures of reading at library conferences, to literacy organizations and community groups throughout the world and comments on books regularly on NPR’s Morning Edition. Born and raised in Detroit, she received her master’s degree in library science in 1967 from the University of Michigan. She also received an MA in history from Oklahoma State University in 1977. Among her many honors and awards are the 2011 Librarian of the Year Award from Library Journal; and the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association. She also hosts a monthly television show, Book Lust with Nancy Pearl. She lives in Seattle with her husband.

Photo Credit: Nancy Pearl

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Posted Friday, 31 August, 2018 by jorielov in 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Disillusionment in Marriage, Fly in the Ointment, Literary Fiction, Modern Day, Romance Fiction, Soundcloud, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction

Blog Book Tour | Double-Showcase: Reading my next installment of the lovely imprint #PureRomance (by Cedar Fort) and feat. an interview with Julie Matern!

Posted Saturday, 28 July, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I have been hosting blog tours with Cedar Fort Publishing and Media for several years now, wherein their new blog tour publicist (Ms Sydney Anderson) also runs her own publicity touring company: Singing Librarian Book Tours (or SLB Tours for short!). I happily joined her team of book bloggers as a hostess in late Spring, 2018 wherein my first tours with her as a hostess begin Summer, 2018. I appreciate reading INSPY literature and was happy to find these are most of the stories she is showcasing through SLB Tours! Most of her authors are published through Cedar Fort, though she does work with authors who are either Self-Published or Indie published through different publishers as well.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Secret of Haversham House” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (an imprint of Cedar Fort Publishing & Media) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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To find out why I love Sweet Romances and the #PureRomance imprint you might like to check out my previous postings for Cedar Fort blog tours, wherein I related my love of Historical & INSPY stories on a previous blog tour featuring To Suit a Suitor, however, I have happily been reading the offerings of this particular imprint for quite a long while now. The stories which still stand out are as follows: ‘Willow Springs’, ‘The Darkest Summer’, ‘Unexpected Love (anthology)’ and ‘The Second Season’.

To follow through my readings, be sure to scroll through this tag Pure Romance!

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A conversation with Julie Matern: Part I

What first drew your eye into Regencies and what were your favourite memories of reading your first Regency Romances? What attached yourself into them: the era, the lifestyle difference (upstairs/downstairs), the fashions or the historical backdrop and aesthetics?

Matern responds: I didn’t get into Jane Austen until after college – I was taking a French degree which required reading French Literature and there wasn’t time for much else. Quite honestly my connection to Austen’s books came as quite a surprise as I had been required to read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronté at school when I was quite young and did not like it at all.

I decided then that those ‘old’ books were not for me. So when I chanced to read Pride and Prejudice as an adult I was amazed at how much I loved it almost immediately.  I enjoyed Jane’s voice and her characters and the era itself – so polite and civilized. I found I couldn’t put the books down. I think they swept me back in time. Then television and movie studios began making the adaptations with the beautiful scenery and costumes and I was totally hooked. I have three daughters and I have converted two of them! (PS I love Jane Eyre now too!)

I believe our reading lives have their Seasons,… I struggled to get into both Bronté and Austen when I was younger – though why I hesitated to read either of them, is lost to time itself. I started to focus on reading ‘Pride’ when Keira Knightley’s film was released (finishing it in time to see it live at the theater!) whilst my reading progress into ‘Jane Eyre’ has taken nearly the full five years I’ve been a book blogger! I haven’t a clue as to why either, except I find myself distracted from the text more times than naught and this year, I’m determined to conclude my ruminative thoughts as I would very much like to read a sequel author’s trilogy! Wish me well!

Strangely, despite the hiccups I incurred with these authors, I was into Classical Children’s Lit throughout my younger years as well as Contemporary favourites like Carolyn Keene (of whom I hadn’t realised to much later was a pen name!) and the other authors I’ve listed on my Children’s Lit page! The way you’ve described why you love reading these stories is something I can relate to myself ‘being swept into the historic past’, ‘the authenticity of Austen’s voice’ and the ways in which the manners of her time were eloquently brought forward into her stories. You’ve summarised it rather lovely!

It is an interesting premise, to have a girl raised in the ton (aristocracy) who didn’t realise her lot was not officially cast in those circles – what inspired this choice of entry into her shift of acceptance from her peers?

Matern responds: Well, heritage is so very important to the nobility at this time. Lady Catherine de Bourgh is probably the best example of this attitude in Austen’s writing. She is horrified that Elizabeth isn’t enough of a lady for her nephew. In Persuasion, Anne is discouraged from marrying Captain Wentworth because he ranks beneath her and in Emma, the thought that Harriet might marry Mr. Knightley makes Emma ill.

I thought it would be an interesting study to examine the possible reaction of this class of people to someone they knew and loved as a lady, under the new information that she was actually not. Then the question was how can this be accomplished and a secret adoption seemed a natural vehicle.

I love how you’ve found an interconnection between the plottings of Ms Austen’s novels – of how birth origins and your status in society meant everything towards a well-matched marriage than the person’s character; second only to reputation, as this was equally a concern of the aristocracy! It is a bit how I was happily surprised Adoption is now an option for Royals where previously it was not allowed. A secreted adoption I believe is the only way it could have worked within the framework of the Haversham’s case due to the nature of how constricted they were by both society and family alike. Blessedly not due to their own beliefs, thoughts and convictions!

Self-identity is oft-times linked to our ancestral heritage – did your interest in ancestry play a key role in exploring Francesca’s soul-search for her own identifiable truth? How did you want to show who you are and who you believe you are are oft-times not the same person?

Matern responds: I have researched my own genealogical lines for over 40 years. I find it absolutely fascinating. There are hidden secrets in many people’s lines; my grandmother thought she was a year younger than she was; people lied to their fiances about their age so that they didn’t seem too much older than them and it is discovered by researchers like me generations later when we notice the discrepancy between the birth certificate and the marriage certificate; I know of someone who did not know she was born before her parents married, until after her parents died and she examined all the certificates. The truth can shake people to their foundations. Any revelation that changes what you have believed to be true about yourself creates a need to know everything, I believe. Ancestry.com is using this common need in their advertising to create interest in their DNA testing – people who find out that they have ethnicity in their family tree that they did not know about, for example, often begin a study of that ethnicity to understand it in an attempt to understand themselves better.

Adoption is not something I have direct experience of and in our day and age it is very open. In writing about Francesca’s emotions I tried to put myself in her shoes and imagine receiving the news that my  mother was not my birth mother. It would spark an avalanche of emotions and confusion and a desire to seek out my birth relatives.

I do believe that ancestral heritage affects how we see ourselves and anchors us to our past, endowing us with a sense of connection to them and helping us have stronger self-esteem. My great-uncle died when he was 19 in WWI in France and my own grandfather almost died in the same war. Their sacrifice helps me feel that my family helped in the cause of freedom. My husband’s side has many pioneers who did extraordinary things under extremely difficult circumstances and it is very important to me that my children know about those on my side who fought and those on my husband’s side who sacrificed so much to connect them with these great heroic acts.

I’ve been blessed by having a Mum whose research into our own ancestral lines began 40+ years ago whereas my own journey as an #AncestrySleuth began roughly 10 years ago where we started to combine our efforts! It even led to a ‘match’ of finding living cousins in Sweden, of whom we thankfully had the chance to meet in Autumn 2017! We personally love the archives and the resources attached to FamilySearch.org as the services they provide are blessedly ‘free’ and all the information on Ancestry.com (which is a paid service) is available for ‘free’ as well as they share their databases. Towards that end, I even participated in a records updating weekend once which proved how tedious it is to update records and how thankful all of us are for the hours dedicated volunteers world-wide are giving to these records/databases to help us all interconnect with lost relatives and ancestral heritage (both living and dead).

Yes, and no. You’d be surprised — I knew in my early twenties I wanted to adopt my future children and despite being comfortable on my path, whenever I go to talk about how I intend to have children (through adoption) you’d be properly surprised how much negatively people project on you and how dedicated they are to tell you the choice you’ve made (for your own life, mind you!) is the wrong one! I never would have thought of all the topics and subjects the general public would feel the right to debate with you, the path you take towards mumhood would be one they would feel most inclined to argue!

Therefore, in many ways, I still see us a bit behind the times when it comes to Adoption – this is why there are many campaigns to re-think how people see adoption and how adoption is still not the option most families are willing to make to either expand or start their families. I wish it were different but the facts do not lie. We’re as closed-minded to adoption now as we were in the Regency in so many ways and that is something I hope will change within my lifetime.

I truly believe as you do – a healthier way forward is to know our past, to examine it, draw strength from it and to continue to ‘tell the living histories’ of our families if only to keep the voices of the past alive, present and acknowledged! I grew up with these kinds of stories myself and they re-etch an impression about yourself, your family and the legacies we all leave behind – some in larger ways than others but all of us have stories to share, tell and honour.

How did you decide on the surname Haversham? It is a rather unique choice and I was wondering if there might be a story behind it? Also, what is your process for selecting the names of your characters overall?

Matern responds: My husband, who is not English by birth, loves these types of quintessential English surnames and is often popping them into conversations. Haversham, Flaversham, Faversham. So it was a nod to him.

Choosing a name for a character is a bit like choosing a name for a baby – I want it to fit. Her name had to be Francesca because of the Italian-French connection so then I wanted a very English surname to pair it with. Then I say my character’s  full names out loud to make sure they have a good ring to them.

I always want to use very traditional names as the first names of my characters. (Langley is not very traditional but is a name of an ancestor of mine so I felt I could use it.) Then I use google to search English surnames that have several syllables (these seem more regal to me) or I look through my family tree for the perfect name. Septimus Sladden is an actual ancestor of mine. The minute I found him I knew I was going to use that name in a book.

Charles Dickens was so very clever with his name choices and JK Rowling too, as often the name tells us about the character. I hope to be able to imitate that in the future.

OOh, I am so glad you’ve mentioned this!! As this is part of my own process for selecting names for my own characters! I even have a lovely Baby Name Book which is multi-ethnic and pulls names from various ethnic backgrounds world-wide as well as various spellings therein! I can go off in small tangents of research just to dig up the Etymology of the names I’ve chosen to see if perhaps, I was choosing the right ‘name’ so to speak at any given time! Much like I would if it were naming a child of mine, to see if I honed in on their personality and the potential they would have in life to fill the shoes behind the name.

I thought your idea of combining the Italian name for ‘French’ as a nod to both Francesca’s Italian heritage but French set Adoption was a stroke of brilliance!

I shall readily admit – when it comes to old English names, I am as addicted to them as your husband! This is one reason I am thankful I’m personally British three times to Sunday! The names and titles alone in my ancestral lines are lushly addictive to research!

Yes! Isn’t it interesting how the names of our ancestors take us by shocked surprise? I have many revelations like this on my own family tree – but also, of whom they were, where they were bourne and where they ended their lives as they moved round quite frequently!

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Blog Book Tour | Double-Showcase: Reading my next installment of the lovely imprint #PureRomance (by Cedar Fort) and feat. an interview with Julie Matern!The Secret of Haversham House
by Julie Matern
Source: Direct from publisher via SLB Tours

Eighteen-year-old Francesca Haversham is privileged, beautiful, and naive. Lineage, titles, and wealth are the ultimate virtues among nineteenth-century English aristocracy, and Francesca is elite society's newest and most celebrated debutante from one of England's most illustrious families. Her pedigree is impeccable - or is it?

Her coming-out ball brings iwth it the appearance of one Mr. Langley Ashbourne, and Francesca is immediately taken in by his handsome features and flattering words. But not everything is as it seems, and flowery comments can only hide dark truths for so long. Meanwhile, a long-buried secret creeps ever closer to the light, one that would destroy her comfortable life, tarnish her family's character, and ruin all hopes of a reputable marriage.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781462122073

Also in this series: Willow Springs, Sophia, The Second Season, To Suit a Suitor, Mischief & Manors, Unexpected Love, Lies & Letters, The Darkest Summer, Love and Secrets at Cassfield Manor


Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Sweet Romance


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 12th June, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 231

Published By: Sweetwater Books (@SweetwaterBooks),
an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFort)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

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Converse via: #Regency or #RegencyRomance, #HistFic or #HistoricalRomance

#INSPYRom, #SweetRomance OR #HistRom; #Adoption

→ #SecretOfHavershamHouse

About Julie Matern

Julie Matern

Julie Matern is a resident of Utah. She attended the University of Exeter in Exeter, England, and graduated with a double major in French and Education. She was born and raised in England, moving to America after her marriage and is the mother of six children.

She has served in the PTA for over 20 years, taught tap dance, and enjoys amateur photography. She is the author of ‘British War Children’ (for which she received a “Recommended Read” award from the League of Utah Writers) and ‘British War Children 2: An Enemy Among Us’.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 28 July, 2018 by jorielov in Adoption, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Coming-Of Age, Debut Author, Debut Novel, England, France, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Italy, Life Shift, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Singing Librarian Book Tours, Sweet Romance, the Regency era, Women's Fiction

Blog Book Tour | The novels of Sharon Lewis Koho feat. the series “The Painting on the Pond” – this is a review of the first novel (entitled the same) and is INSPY Suspense!

Posted Monday, 11 June, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I have been hosting blog tours with Cedar Fort Publishing and Media for several years now, wherein their new blog tour publicist (Ms Sydney Anderson) also runs her own publicity touring company: Singing Librarian Book Tours (or SLB Tours for short!). I happily joined her team of book bloggers as a hostess in late Spring, 2018 wherein my first tours with her as a hostess begin Summer, 2018. I appreciate reading INSPY literature and was happy to find these are most of the stories she is showcasing through SLB Tours! Most of her authors are published through Cedar Fort, though she does work with authors who are either Self-Published or Indie published through different publishers as well.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Painting on the Pond” direct from the publisher Bonneville Books (an imprint of Cedar Fort Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why this series first appealed to me to be reading:

I have a healthy appetite for INSPY stories – sometimes, I like to seek out the authors I haven’t heard of previously if only to take a proper chance to get to know them ‘now’. When it comes to the authors who are published through Cedar Fort (and their imprints), I have rather good luck in finding the stories I appreciate reading. Since this was an older duology published by the publisher, I thought, why not? I have been keeping notes on the stories recently published within the past ten years or thereabouts, as I only just discovered their stories a handful of years ago myself – starting with my readings of UncoveringCobbogoth!

I also happen to feel drawn to stories set out West – this one is meant to encourage us to go into Alaska, a destination I have oft wanted to visit for it truly is part of the untamed Pacific Northwest! I do appreciate gentle stories, filled with affirmations of life and a quiet cadence of dramatic elements rounding out the journey we take with the characters – thus, I felt these two stories by Ms Koho might be a good fit for me and I was excited to take a walk inside her novels!

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Blog Book Tour | The novels of Sharon Lewis Koho feat. the series “The Painting on the Pond” – this is a review of the first novel (entitled the same) and is INSPY Suspense!The Painting on the Pond
by Sharon Lewis Koho
Source: Direct from publisher via SLB Tours

An intriguing plot meshes the past and present into a story that takes David Young down a path he never imagined in this crisp, clean mystery novel. City-born artist David Young has traveled a difficult journey during his twenty-seven years. It has finally taken him to a spectacular valley in the Pacific Northwest. Settled in a comfortable cabin he is free at last to explore, paint, and create the future of his dreams. However, a mysterious woman’s disappearance, a haunting legend, and unsettling dreams unnerve David, threatening his hopes and plunging him into the most formidable struggle of his life. While he is engulfed in mystery, adventure, and romance, an unseen hand draws him to his destiny, and into the rugged wilderness of Alaska.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1555177034

Also by this author: to Walk in his Moccasins

Also in this series: to Walk in his Moccasins


Genres: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Suspense


Published by Bonneville Books

on 1st September, 2003

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 189

Published By: Bonneville Books (@BonnevilleBooks),
an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFort)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

NOTE: Generally speaking, in my experience of reading stories published under the imprint of Bonneville Books, it means the story will be LDS Fiction – rooted in the Mormon faith, however, I did not find this to be the case in regards to the novel ‘The Painting on the Pond’. If anything, it was very lightly INSPY, in regards to the characters acknowledged their spirituality in gentle undertones throughout the content of the story – they prayed and they were open about their concerns, fears, etc but there wasn’t a moment where I would say this was ‘definitively LDS’ as other releases from Bonneville Books would have been as they focused more on the traditions of being Mormon.

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The Painting on the Pond Series:

The Painting on the Pond by Sharon Lewis KohoTo Walk in His Moccasins by Sharon Lewis Koho

The Painting on the Pond is a prequel for To Walk in His Moccasins which makes me believe this series could in theory be a duology and completely contained within these two installments.

NOTE: In regards to the date of publication, the copy I received of this book is copyrighted in the original year of publication [2003] – however, it was re-printed and released in [2017]. The irony there is the fact according to online resources showing the differences in cover art – the art work on my copy is reflective of the 2017 edition vs the 2003 – yet, the inside details claim mine is [2003].

Converse via: #INSPY #Suspense & #RealisticFiction

About Sharon Lewis Koho

Sharon Lewis Koho

Sharon Lewis Koho grew up on a small ranch near the town of Inkom, Idaho. Her beloved father died when she was five years old, and she and her siblings were reared in humble circumstances by a hard-working and courageous mother.

In her youth, Sharon discovered she could create any world she wanted to visit, or any story she wanted to be a part of by climbing high in the trees bordering her cherished ranch. Daydreaming there amid songs of birds, rustling leaves and the babbling of the nearby creek, inspired many wonderful stories. Sharon married Bill Koho from Nampa, Idaho in 1967, and they were married thirty years until his death in 1997.

She is the proud mother of six children. Although she is a Licensed Practical Nurse by profession, she has had much more experience in creating and telling stories. Her favorite thing to do is to spend time with her children and grandchildren. She also enjoys visiting, traveling, camping, reading, writing, swimming, and any adventurous idea that pops into her head.

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Posted Monday, 11 June, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, Art, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Disabilities & Medical Afflictions, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Ghost Story, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Gothic Literature, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Medical Fiction, Men's Fiction, Modern Day, Nurses & Hospital Life, Realistic Fiction, Singing Librarian Book Tours, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Supernatural Fiction, Suspense, Sweet Romance