Category: Equality In Literature

Blog Tour Spotlight | Celebrating “The Certain Hope” (The Hope Series, Book Three) by E.C. Jackson An INSPY Contemporary Sweet Romance by a #newtomeauthor!

Posted Thursday, 21 March, 2019 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Stories in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

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Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquried about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. I am unsure how many books I’ll review for them as most are offered digitally rather than in print but this happily marks one of the blog tours where I could receive a print book for review purposes. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Certain Hope” direct from the author E.C. Jackson 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:

I love seeking out new authors of Inspirational Fiction on a regular basis – previously, I started to notice there are certain novelists of INSPY Lit who are not having a lot of light shined on their stories – these are the authors who are writing about religious heritage, culture and history which is outside of Christianity and/or authors who are writing about POC or other cultural heritages outside the regular scope of where INSPY Lit generally is focused upon. The unique thing there is the fact that INSPY is a full encompassing of *all!* religious beliefs and faith backgrounds – it is not limted by any individual religion because it is an umbrella which involves everything.

This is why I love seeking out different stories by an eclectically diverse sea of voices – I would have been reviewing & showcasing the works by Piper Huguley (@piperhuguley) if I hadn’t run into a bit of an issue in requesting her books & her series through ILL’ing resources. (this refers to inter-library loan) I am still intending to re-borrow her stories and finally bring her stories to Jorie Loves A Story. Til then, I savour the time I had within the first novel I read of hers and I can’t wait to return.

I regularly read stories of the Amish and Mennonite as much as I seek out Eastern Religious stories and stories which either offer a Jewish or Judeo-Christian perspective inasmuch as keeping an open mind about which religious backgrounds are explored through Inspirational narratives. This has also included LDS Fiction in the past and I still keep a ready eye out on new releases of LDS INSPY Lit as LDS is another protestant branch of the whole of Christianity. 

Having said this – what really motivated me to want to read “The Certain Hope” is that it felt a bit like my love of Harlequin Heartwarming series – in how you can stumble into one of the latter installments and find your footing rather quickly. OR how if you pick up a Love INSPIRED or a Heartsongs Presents story, you immediately know your going to be in for a lovely Sweet Romance!

Being a hybrid reader of both INSPY & mainstream Lit since I was a child it is old hat now to move between both worlds of literature. I have been blessed this *2019!* to be able to join more than a few INSPY blog tours via Prism Book Tours. I was hoping I might be able to start joining INSPY focused blog tours as these stories are an uplift to my readerly life to devour & savour – how keen then, this Spring I’m off to a great start after having read the wonderful stories by Joanne Biscof!

On a very simplistic level – it was the name of the series which wooed me to wanting to read this novel – the *HOPE* series – what more could you ask for as a singular title in naming an INSPY serial? I hope my spotlight today might encourage you to seek out this author and her stories – however, you’re popping by to see what I’m currently reading – THIS is the book I have in hand!

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Blog Tour Spotlight | Celebrating “The Certain Hope” (The Hope Series, Book Three) by E.C. Jackson An INSPY Contemporary Sweet Romance by a #newtomeauthor!The Certain Hope (Spotlight)
by E.C. Jackson
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

Love at first sight. It’s every girl’s dream. But Tara Simpkins is finding out it’s not as easy as it seems. Is this truly the man God sent to be her husband, or is she just desperate to escape her loneliness? The recent loss of both parents has left her reeling, and close friends don’t think she’s in any position to make major life decisions. She and her new-found love are convinced they can live happily ever after in the home of their dreams. His family thinks he’s moving way too fast and might disappoint the kind-hearted woman he’s fallen head over heels for. And then there’s Leah. Leah is supposed to be part of his past, but what if she decides she’s his future? Tara’s match made in Heaven may be over before it truly begins.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0996181228

Also by this author: The Certain Hope (Spotlight)

Also in this series: The Certain Hope (Spotlight)


Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Sweet Romance


Published by Self Published Author

on 19th June, 2015

This series is self-published by the author

The Hope Series:

A Gateway to Hope by EC JacksonA Living Hope by EC JacksonThe Certain Hope by EC Jackson

A Gateway to Hope (book one)

A Living Hope (book two) → Pajama Party: The Story (companion story)

The Certain Hope (book three) ← where I enter the series!

Converse via: #INSPYRomance + #SweetRomance
as well as #INSPYbooks + #Contemporary Romance

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

About E.C. Jackson

E.C. Jackson

E. C. Jackson began her writing career with the full-length play Pajama Party. For three and a half years she published the Confidence in Life newsletter for Alpha Production Ministries, in addition to writing tracts and devotionals. Teaching a women’s Bible study at her church for eleven years naturally led to her current endeavor of writing inspirational romance novels and teen and young adult fiction. Her mission: spiritual maturity in the body of Christ through fiction.

A note from E. C. Jackson: “The Write Way: A Real Slice of Life” is the slogan on my website and Facebook author page. If every person reading my book feels connected to the characters, my job is done.

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Posted Thursday, 21 March, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Spotlight & Announcement, Contemporary Romance, Equality In Literature, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Sweet Romance

#SaturdaysAreBookish | “The Moon Sister” (Book No. 5 of the Seven Sisters series) by Lucinda Riley

Posted Saturday, 23 February, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 2 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!

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Acquired Book By: Last year, I had the chance to become introduced to the Seven Sisters book series by Lucinda Riley – the experience became one of my *favourite!* reading experiences for the year – happily I was invited to join the blog tour celebrating the fifth release this February, 2019 – for “The Moon Sister”. I was simply overjoyed and humbled I could continue to champion this author and her series which I have found emotionally convicting and soul lifting with a delightfully lush narrative which is wicked brilliant for its continuity.

Ahead of reading the fourth release “The Pearl Sister” last year, I decided to back-read the entire series – which is why I have felt so dearly connected to this series ever since and why I applaud the brilliant continuity running through the series.

I received a complimentary ARC copy of “The Moon Sister” direct from the publisher Atria Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On how I felt after I read the fourth installment of the series:

CeCe had felt Star pulling away from her even before Star knew how to articulate the reasons why she was seeking a life outside of being with CeCe; this made her feel unwanted in such an extreme way, she felt the only way to rectify her emotions was to make a radical change. Boarding a flight for Thailand – the one place she considered her respite in the world before taking the last leg of her journey to Australia (as this is where her clues led her to travel) felt right somehow. What was interesting is that you oft felt CeCe held all the confidence in the world – she never came across as being especially vulnerable, she seemed quite the opposite: like a bear to take-on the world and be the protector of Star. In reality, both sisters were equally vulnerable and had yielded to life being lived side by side rather than separately; until now, of course, when they both felt it was time to simply sort out how to live independently.

One critical thing CeCe shared is how the opinions of others can destroy your well-being and break your spirit. The kind of criticism which doesn’t seek to aide you on your journey towards being a creative artist (as she leans towards industrial art and found art installations; whilst sorting out what kind of paintings she likes to create) but rather to dissuade you from the pursuit itself. No one should have to endure that kind of judgement and for whichever reason, I found CeCe didn’t confide in her Ma or in Star (although, perhaps she felt she wouldn’t have cared) – one thing which helped me the most in life is being able to turn to my parents. Sadly, I think the confidante in her life was Pa Salt and without him nearby, she felt like she’d lost her anchour; and rightly so!

I loved how she felt Buddhism was her most comfortable religion to feel attracted to practicing because of how she felt the inner peace of what it provides to us all. CeCe was quite the deep thinker and spiritualist without realising any of this about herself. She also held back her fears, the nightmares and the questions of sanity from her family; she had a lot moving through her mind, things which you would have thought she’d want to openly discuss if only to disallow them from festering further afield. Yet, CeCe was a very private individual such was a trend of her sisters – each of them thinking they could take-on whatever they needed to face alone.

Some of my favourite moments of watching one of the seasons of The Amazing Race (in the early days) was observing the larger than life Buddha statues found throughout the South Pacific and the Pacific Rim! I was in absolute awe – due to the high definition of the cameras being used, you didn’t need to hop a plane to see them either – they seemed like they had somehow come straight through your television to where you felt as if you were standing right ‘next to them’ yourself! I thought of this as I read about how CeCe felt calm near the Buddha she was mediating near as she went to her favourite spiritual spot for a bit of solitude and causal companionship with others doing the same. Causal here referring to the fact although they were in the same place at the same time everyone was internalising their own thoughts without saying a word aloud. This close proximity to others allowed CeCea respite from feeling she was entirely alone and cast out into the world without knowing how to land on solid ground again.

The beauty of CeCe’s story is how like Star, she started to reach outside her zone of comfort, trusting people, letting them into her internal world. She might not have felt she was a good judge of character due to the fall-out with her relationship with Ace (as throughout her trip in Australia the headlines and newsprint articles were growing worse!) but with Chrissie and others she was trusting, she was finding true friends. Each of them were helping her on her journey towards positive self-growth and a deepening awareness of her roots; where her origins were only the first part of her foundation as Pa Salt helped her find herself since she left her home country. By returning back to Australia she was finding the symmetry necessary to meet her future with a balanced sense of place and self – as so much is tied to how we self-identify ourselves. For CeCe, she didn’t have a positive impression about being dyslexic as it wasn’t something she could compensate for like I could, rather it was her lifetime ‘fly in the ointment’; she couldn’t shake it if she tried. She also didn’t see it as a gift but a slight curse because she only saw how it affected her from doing things others took for granted.

In Australia, she was finding her muse again – of what inspired her to create her art and how her art was an expression of herself in a way which left her raw and vulnerable. She created artwork which spoke to her on a soul level of heightened intuition – her art was not like other people’s and that’s the way it should be for each artist has a new vision of the world around them. She simply had forgotten to trust in the process of creating and to be comfortable as a an artist who didn’t use words to share a portion of herself but she used visual media.

The best message of CeCe’s story is that in order to live free you have to be honest about who you are – in every facet of your life because if you start to hide who you are from everyone, you can literally disappear from your own spirit too. CeCe was encouraged by Pa Salt to be who she was no matter who she realised she was at the core of her being but knowing she was accepted by her father and understanding who she was on those levels of awareness were two very different things. Her sexuality was part of her identity she never addressed, it wasn’t on her radar to even look at it from an angle of enlightenment because she had a lot of fears to overcome in general. She was a woman who was afraid to live by most counts but this journey she was taking towards her past was what truly gave her the inspiration to finally see herself and face herself for the first time in the mirror. The best takeaway for me was watching her blossom into being the artist Pa Salt knew she was destined to become; as he truly saw his daughters true essence and wanted them to see themselves the way in which he did all along.

-quoted from my review of The Pearl Sister

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com#SaturdaysAreBookish | “The Moon Sister” (Book No. 5 of the Seven Sisters series) by Lucinda RileyThe Moon Sister
by Lucinda Riley
Source: Direct from Publisher, Scribd | Subscription
Narrator: Imogen Wilde

Tiggy D’Aplièse spends her days experiencing the raw beauty of the Scottish Highlands doing a job she loves at a deer sanctuary. But when the sanctuary is forced to close, she is offered a job as a wildlife consultant on the vast and isolated estate of the elusive and troubled laird, Charlie Kinnaird. She has no idea that the move will not only irrevocably alter her future, but also bring her face-to-face with her past.

At the estate, she meets Chilly, an elderly Romani man who fled from Spain seventy years before. He tells her that not only does she possess a sixth sense passed down from her ancestors, but it was foretold long ago that he would be the one to send her back home…

In 1912, in the poor Romani community outside the city walls of Granada, Lucía Amaya-Albaycin is born. Destined to be the greatest flamenco dancer of her generation—and named La Candela, due to the inner flame that burns through her when she dances— Lucía is whisked away by her ambitious and talented guitarist father at the tender age of ten to dance in the flamenco bars of Barcelona. Her mother is devastated by the loss of her daughter and as civil war threatens in Spain, tragedy strikes the rest of her family. Now in Madrid, Lucía and her troupe of dancers are forced to flee for their lives, their journey taking them far across the water to South America and eventually, to North America and New York—Lucía’s long-held dream. But to pursue it, she must choose between her passion for her career and the man she adores.

THE MOON SISTER follows these two women bound across time and distance on their journey to discover their true futures—but at the risk of potentially losing the men they had hoped to build futures with.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781982110611

ASIN: B07GS4SYDB

Also by this author: The Seven Sisters, The Storm Sister, The Shadow Sister, The Pearl Sister

Also in this series: The Seven Sisters, The Storm Sister, The Shadow Sister, The Pearl Sister


Genres: Adoption & Foster Care, Biographical Fiction, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Epistolary | Letters & Correspondences, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, LGBTQIA Fiction, Time Slip and/or Time Shift, Women's Fiction


Published by Atria Books

on 19th February, 2019

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 544

Length: 19 hours and 53 minutes (unabridged)

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

I *love!* finding videos by authors who love to engage with readers about the inspiration behind their stories – this truly is a wonderful way to find yourself immersed even further into the settings as by catching small glimpses of the characters your reading about – you start to re-align what you’ve read with what they are seeing with their own eyes whilst feeling thankful the author took a very immersive path into the heart of this book series!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Seven Sisters Series: of whom are Maia, Ally (Alcyone), Star (Asterope), CeCe (Celeano), Tiggy (Taygete), Electra and Merope – the series is based on the mythology of the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades – interestingly enough, this is a constellation in close proximity to Orion*.

The Seven Sisters : Maia’s Story (Book One) | (see also Review)

The Storm Sister : Ally’s Story (Book Two) | (see also Review)

The Shadow Sister : Star’s Story (Book Three) | (see also Review)

The Pearl Sister : CeCe’s Story (Book Four) | (see also Review)

The Moon Sister : Tiggy’s Story (Book Five)

Available Formats: Hardcover, Audiobook, Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #SevenSistersSeries

#whoispasalt ← I advise not visiting the second tag on Twitter as it tends to reveal a few things ahead of reading the stories themselves.

About Lucinda Riley

Lucinda Riley Photo Credit: Boris Breuer

Lucinda Riley is the #1 internationally bestselling author of sixteen novels, including Hothouse Flower and The Seven Sisters. Her books have sold more than ten million copies in over 30 languages. Lucinda divides her time between West Cork, Ireland, and Norfolk, England with her husband and four children.

Photo Credit: Boris Breuer

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 23 February, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, A Father's Heart, Adoption, Ancestry & Genealogy, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Films, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Father-Daughter Relationships, Fathers and Daughters, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, History, Inheritance & Identity, Inspiring Video Related to Content, Life Shift, Modern Day, Orphans & Guardians, Passionate Researcher, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Single Fathers, Sisterhood friendships, Time Shift, Unexpected Inheritance, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage

#HistoricalMondays | Book Review | “The Gift of the Seer” [long awaited sequel to “The Spirit Keeper” (2013)] by K.B. Laugheed

Posted Monday, 11 February, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#HistoricalMondays blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

I am launching 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 beginning 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 am celebrating 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: In [2013] I was still participating in the Early Reviewer programme via Book Browse wherein I received an ARC for “The Spirit Keeper” – a new Historical Fiction narrative which sought to break boundaries of its genre and which captured me heart and soul as I read it. It was an emotionally gutting read, a historical reckoning of a story and it left me ruminatively curious about what the ‘next’ chapter of this extraordinary character’s life would be in the sequel. 

I decided to write an expanded review on my blog for my own edification after having contributed my Early Reviewer review to Book Browse – it was one of the few times I was able to do this even though there are a few other ARCs I received from Book Browse I’d like to still blog about in the near future which fittingly have more to be said on their behalf from my readerly experience.

Likewise, I also reached out to the author directly shortly after I posted my review in September of 2013; remember dear hearts, I launched my blog live on the 6th of August, 2013 – so this expanded review became one of the first officially celebrated novels of Jorie Loves A Story in the beginning of finding my writerly voice and my bookish presence in the book blogosphere. It pre-dated hosting blog tours and working with publishers, publicists and authors directly.

Although I remained in contact with the author a bit over the years – simply checking the status on the sequel or offering encouraging thoughts on writing it – I don’t consider this a conflict of interest as to be honest, it was not constant contact and we weren’t in contact on a regular basis nor did we touch base each year since 2013.

When I received an email from Ms Laugheed this past December, 2018 – to say I was pleasantly gobsmacked to have heard from her after a long absence of communication is putting it mildly! I was overjoyed – more for her than for me – as she was announcing the sequel was being published! She decided at long last to go the Indie route towards  publication and I was full of joy and happiness for her as this was a very long and dedicated route back to publishing a sequel I believed in as a reader (and there are others like me out there) but of which I wasn’t sure if any of us would get a chance to embrace it in published form.

Thereby, I did not hesitate to respond to her request to accept this new novel for review consideration – the only thing which delayed my entrance into its chapters was my five week Winter virus (from before Christmas to the early weeks of January, 2019) and my three successive migraines (from mid-January to early February). I read this immediately after recovering from my third migraine and was thrilled I could finally attach my mind and heart round the continuing journey of Katie and Hector!

I received a complimentary copy of “The Gift of the Seer” by the author K.B. Laugheed in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Re-visiting “The Spirit Keeper”

My original motivation to read the novel: I wanted to partake in her journey untoward becoming one man’s living vision of ‘a creature of fire and ice’ and to see if they could fulfill each other’s destinies therein. It is such a curious proposition, to be taken by force from one’s own family, and re-positioned into a life, by which, you’re in complete unfamiliar territory, amongst people who speak a different tongue than your own, and by your own wits, have to determine how to survive. I was curious by how she was going to effectively change her life and heart; and to what end she must do so! This felt to me like a piece of Magical Realism wrapped up inside a Historical Fiction, rooted into the conscience of the American Frontier! I was besotted with the plot, and needed to read it to ascertain what the story truly was about! The Spirit Keeper spoke to me, as a book I needed to read rather than merely a book I wanted to read! I listen to my intuition in other words!

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Ms Laugheed advised me to re-read “The Spirit Keeper” ahead of reading “The Gift of the Seer” – what I hadn’t the heart to tell her is my copy of the novel is packed as most of my personal library has been packed for the last four years. I couldn’t sort out which box it is held within if I had a compass as I literally have quite the expansive library being stored right now. This is one key reason why I can’t always re-read the novels I’m reviewing – as I only have a handful of books I’ve reviewed the past few years unpacked and shelved – most of which, are first or seconds in series, awaiting new releases to where I can turn back to and re-read a bit ahead of delving into the next installment. I did have The Spirit Keeper prominently shelved for quite a few years after it was released – it was only recently I had to make the hard choice to pack it away for safe keeping til I can restore my library back to rights.

Therefore, I did what any other book blogger would do in this situation – I borrowed a well-loved copy from my local library and as I re-entered the story, I was quite shocked by what I discovered! I hadn’t forgotten as much as I was expecting, too! I re-read the opening bridge of the novel – re-visiting how Katie was taken from her family, the traumatic transitioning into life with the Spirit Keeper and Hector as much as re-aligning in my mind the era this series is set and the mannerisms of how the story is told. As Ms Laugheed has a very distinctive style of historical story-telling; it is one reason I was hugged so dearly close into the story originally.

Secondly, as I noticed a lot of readerly flashbacks moving through my mind’s eye after that particular re-visitation – I immediately flipped to the last quarter of the novel, resumed as if I hadn’t been absent from this story for :six: long years and re-lived the concluding chapters, as fresh as dew on recently mowed grass. I seriously was re-captured by what was left behind for my eyes and heart to find – thereby, I knew with certainty I was prepared as I ever could be to re-enter Katie and Hector’s world.

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For those of you who might never have had the pleasure of joy reading this novel, let me select a few quotations from my original review – both from what I shared with Book Browse after first reading the ARC and what I expounded upon on Jorie Loves A Story thereafter.

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The inertia of reality that besots you as soon as you enter into the world of The Spirit Keeper, is quite a hard bullet to bite, because before you can wrap your eyes and heart around what your visually aware of, your niched into the story! I credit this to the author, as Laugheed endeavours you to jump straight out of your comfort zone, wholly free-falling into a brutal, raw, and untamed section of the American Frontier in the mid-1700s and take a quest towards unraveling the complexities of building a new life in a foreign land. The thematics that are entrenched in the story parlay an exposition on language, translation, and sense of being. She readily elevates our awareness that our words can draw an impact that is not always aware to us, but like the life paths we are walking, we are not always in charge of their meaning or purpose of use.

I will lament, that if you’re a reader who begs off for lighter faire, you might want to caution yourself, as within Chapter One, the author does not hold back on the grim realities of what it was like in the 1700s when an Indian War Party descended upon a settler’s family.

The beauty of the outside world envelopes you from the jump-start, as the open wilderness is the footing for setting this story outside the reach of our known world. Even for those of us who are akin to the natural environment and the inhabitants therein, there is still so much of that world that is readily just outside our scope, outside our understanding. The Native Americans who are on the forefront of the story, evoke a cultural education into accepting stark differences of living, as much as embracing traditions that hold merit  (such as the menstrual huts for women).

Flickerments of “Medicine Man” (the motion picture) streamed through my mind, as did “Dances with Wolves” (the motion picture), as in each story, those who only spoke English, learnt to adapt and to live amongst the natives by which they found themselves belonging too better than their own kind. I am drawn into stories that attach us to whole new cultures, traditions, religions, and walks of life. Stories that etch into our imaginations a wholly new world, where there are similarities, but otherwise, as we dip into their narratives, we find ourselves in a foreign land, attempting to understand what we cannot yet conceive possible.

An incredible journey of self-preservation, fortitude of spirit, and overwhelming grief: I was not quite prepared for the journey that Katie, Syawa, and Hector embark upon! It wasn’t so much the long distances that they must traverse through rough hewn terrain, but rather, they are each going through a personal, intimate, internal journey concurrent to their outward journey towards the men’s originating homeland! Each is carrying secrets of their own experiences, and in Katie’s instance, her life is muddled and blighted with far more devastation than anyone could ill-afford possible to a seventeen year old young lady!

Her lot in life has been tempered by abuse and misguided notions of love, unto where she has encouraged a naïve sense of the living world, and has grown an ignorance of how right a life can be lived! I grieved for her and bleed emotions with her recollections of past memories,.. memories that were nearly too hard to bare and to ruminatively lay pause upon. It is through Syawa’s gentleness and effective way of easing her out of her shell, that she truly started to see who she was and who she could be. I only wish I could pronounce Syawa’s name, as I feel as guilty she does in her own story, about the misunderstandings that evolve out of not understanding language and meaning of words, phrases, or names outside our own native tongues!

Language & Translation: the Invisible Barriers we never foresee: Laugheed paints a clear window towards our greatest struggle in accepting and understanding each other, as we present ourselves to each other in our conversations! Each inflection of tone, voice, and the words we use to explain ourselves, can lead us down a path of misunderstanding and of misalignment in what we are attempting to represent as our thoughts, hopes, dreams, and passions. Throughout the story, we are seeing the story as a first-hand account of a diary the protagonist is writing to assert her own history back in her life, as she’s amongst those who do not understand the necessity of having a living history or a story to be told of one’s heritage. She values her experiences, her struggles of faith, and the lessons she is ought being taught as she walks forward into her future. She hasn’t had the easiest of lives, but she isn’t going to allow herself to wallow in the situations she could never effectively change, but rather, pull out a strength deep from within her, to carry her through the tribulations that she was certain were still to come.

Whilst she’s (Katie O’ Toole) recounting her days in her diary, I mused about how this differed from the diary of Robinson Crusoe as it contained more of her essence, her internal quagmire of thoughts, and the irrevocable distraught by which she plagued herself with for most of her arduous journey towards Syawa and Hector’s homeland. From the moment I read the opening page, by which the author departed a precognitive knowledge of how the story might transform as you read the words, I was left with a museful pre-occupation of how that would transpire, and further still, of one particular scene that I had presumed was forgotten within the re-writes and draughts, leading up to publication! However, this falls perfectly into this category of observation about ‘language and translation’, about how what we first perceive to be just and truth, can altogether change and alter, either by the different perception we’ve learnt through experience OR through reading a book that is quite unlike another! This book truly lives up to the proportions of what Laugheed mentions at the start gate: the words transcend their own meaning as you etch closer to the ending, the whole of the story is much larger than the sum of the parts as they are revealed!

In this way,  she is giving each of us to turn on our heels, the gross misconception of how we drink in words, knowledge, and observational data. The reader is very much at the heart of this story, and I think, is as central as Katie’s voice in re-telling her own history. What is humbling too, is how as our knowledge expands, the words that were once lost on us, as being completely irreverent suddenly take on new meanings, as they now evoke an ’emotion’, a ‘resolution’, or a ‘truth’ we did not understand previously. An Irish girl cast out into the wilderness of the wild frontier, with two Indian’s as her sole guides and protectors, makes for a curious precept initially, but it’s how they interact with each other, during the everyday hours, that Laugheed excels in not disappointing her reader! She never makes their interactions dull or predictable, because she has woven their personalities into the core of how they interact with each other! You pick up little character traits that come to play a larger part of the story as it threads through its climax, but inside these key portals of frontier life in campsites and canoes, you start to see how its possible to thread a new life together out of the ashes of the old! In this way, I was quietly savouring each exchange between the threesome, curious how they would come to depend on each other, and how they would draw strength by each others’ presence.

The art of story-telling plays a center part of The Spirit Keeper’s heart, but it’s the transformative power of understanding the words that are imparted throughout the story, that turn everything into a new light once the conclusion arrives. What the reader first mistook as a course of events, was truly a resounding precognitive journey that guided two characters forward into a future they would not have been strong enough to embrace otherwise. It’s the redemptive nature of grasping a hold of the essence of those who pass forward and away from our living world that is truly the most remarkable arc of the story! For we all have the ability to be a keeper of a spirit whose touched us deeply and left us remorseful for their presence! We only need the strength to transcend our perception and view our experiences from a different angle to see how the threads stitch together the pattern of our living tapestry!

An environmental conscience: Is cleverly hidden within the context of the story, but is one of the inclusions that I found to be the most illuminating to see!! I oft have found myself the most happiest amongst the trees, rivers, lakes, streams, and out-of-door hideaways that only a person can walk to find! Nature’s door is ever beckoning us to re-enter that sacred space between the natural world and the world by which we live as men. We are drawn towards nature as keenly as we are attached to water as a source of lifeblood, but it isn’t always an easy attachment to maintain, when the hectic nature of our lifestyles can circumvent our efforts to keep our hearts and souls aligned with the seasons and timescape of the natural world just past our windows! Laugheed draws a breath of vitality into the forest, where you can nearly hear the echoings of the trees, the rushing power of the rivers, and the harmonious tickings of the inhabitants therein. I appreciated that the animals that were killed in the book were used for what they could give back to the ones who fell them. I always respected this aspect of Native American beliefs, as they take what they need and only what they can use, at the time they go hunting. It’s a beautiful circle of life, as nothing is wasted and everything is respected. She wants you to see the beauty past what you expect to find whilst out in the deep woods, as the forest plays a fourth character or rather, that of a narrator that has not yet found its voice.

-quoted from my review of The Spirit Keeper

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#HistoricalMondays | Book Review | “The Gift of the Seer” [long awaited sequel to “The Spirit Keeper” (2013)] by K.B. LaugheedThe Gift of the Seer
by K.B. Laugheed
Source: Direct from Author

Katie O' Toole's epic adventure began in "The Spirit Keeper" (Plume 2013) when she was rescued from a 1747 frontier massacre only to find herself chosen as the "Spirit Keeper" of a dying Indian seer. She hesitated to accept this mysterious obligation until she fell in love with the Seer's bodyguard, an Indian man she called Hector.

Much has happened since my last writing,..

In The Gift of the Seer, Katie and Hector continue their journey across the continent, but the more Katie learns about the peculiar ways of her husband's people, the more she dreads arriving at their destination. Will anyone believe she is the Spirit Keeper she pretends to be? Equally troubling, Katie knows the Seer expected her to prove his Vision - a Vision which foretold of infinite Invaders coming to his world - but to prove this prophecy, she must give his people the great Gift he also predicted. The only problem is that Katie has no gift to give.

Years pass as she desperately searches for a way to fulfill her promise to the dead Seer, but when his former rival threatens to expose her as a fraud, Katie finally understands that her life and the life of all the people in her new world hang in the balance. That's when she knows she must give a Gift - she must - before it is too late.

Did you honestly think you could get so much and give nothing in return?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1732886216

Genres: Feminist Historical Fiction, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Literary Fiction, Magical Realism, Native American Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Women's Studies


Published by Self Published Author

on 7th January, 2019

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 372

the spirit keeper duology:

The Spirit keeper & the gift of the seer

This is a Self-Published novel

Available Formats: Hardback, Paperback and Ebook

Converse on Twitter: #GiftOfTheSeer, #TheSpiritKeeper Sequel + #KBLaugheed
as well as #HistNov + #HistoricalFiction or #HistFic

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About K.B. Laugheed

The Gift of the Seer by K.B. Laugheed

K.B. Laugheed is an organic gardener and master naturalist who wrote her first published novel, The Spirit Keeper, as part penance for the sins of her family’s pioneer past, part tribute to all our ancestors, and part grandiose delusion as she hopes to remind modern Americans of the grim price we paid for the glorious life we take for granted today.

But The Spirit Keeper is not a story about guilt. It’s about gratitude.

The Gift of the Seer is officially available worldwide as it was published on the 7th of January, 2019.

To support the author directly, kindly consider purchasing her novels through her online store.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 11 February, 2019 by jorielov in #HistoricalMondays, #JorieLovesIndies, 18th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Browse, Book Review (non-blog tour), Brothers and Sisters, Bullies and the Bullied, Colonial America, Coming-Of Age, Content Note, Cultural & Religious Traditions, Cultural Heritage, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Diary Accountment of Life, Domestic Violence, Early Colonial America, Environmental Conscience, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, First Impressions, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Folklore, Genre-bender, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, History, Horror-Lite, Indie Author, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, Life Shift, Literary Fiction, Loss of an unbourne child, Magical Realism, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Midwives & Childbirth, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Multicultural Marriages & Families, Native American Fiction, Native American Spirituality, Old World Arts & Crafts, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Prejudicial Bullying & Non-Tolerance, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Psychological Abuse, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Self-Published Author, Siblings, Sisterhood friendships, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Social Change, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Story in Diary-Style Format, Superstitions & Old World Beliefs, Taboo Relationships & Romance, Terminal Illness &/or Cancer, The American Frontier, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Unexpected Pregnancy, Vulgarity in Literature, Wilderness Adventures, Women's Health

#SaturdaysAreBookish | feat. @SatBookChat’s 12th January guest author Estella Mirai | Book Review of “The Stars May Rise and Fall” (a re-telling of “Phantom of the Opera” from an m/m romantic POV)

Posted Saturday, 12 January, 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!

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Acquired Book By: I’ve been blessed by meeting authors via #bookishTwitter for five years now. I love the #writingcommunity in the twitterverse as the writers who are publishing and/or of whom like me are still on their publishing journey are approachable, relatable and keenly conversational which is wicked brill. When my path crossed with this lovely author what truly humbled my heart and gave me such a lift of joy is the fact she was able to send me an ARC of her novel in printed form. She understood why I couldn’t read an ecopy of the novel and I am the proud owner of a spiral bound ARC!

I received a complimentary spiral bound ARC copy of “The Stars May Rise and Fall” direct from the author Estella Mirai in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I was keenly excited about reading this re-telling of ‘Phantom of the Opera’:

You might remember, last year I read “The Phantom’s Apprentice” by Heather Webb which was her self-published re-telling of the same story. She was also who chose to self-publish her novel in lieu of seeking (or being able to seek) traditional publication for her story. It is rather unique I think, a year later I am celebrating the discovery of a second novel based on this Classical story which had to take an Indie route to reach reader’s hands!

I’ve truly have had a love affair with the music of ‘Phantom’ ever since I was a young girl – I grew up with an appreciation of the arts at a very young age. My parents encouraged me to seek out theatre, symphonies and listen to orchestrations via vinyl records at home. I also was actively engaged with programming on PBS as much as I loved the local arts community in my metropolis – not just limited to musical routes of enjoyment but also fine art and other exhibits or old world arts & crafts fairs/festivals. In essence, I was surrounded by the arts across mediums of influence whilst I was musically introduced to such a hearty variety of sounds & soundscapes, it turnt me into a lifelong appreciator of musical compositions.

I loved Classical compositions as much as Contemporary – however, I had a special place in my heart for sound for motion picture and the Broadway Musical scores and soundtracks. There was something rather intimate about Original Cast Recordings when it comes to a Musical – you can feel the intensity of the performance and you can paint the scenes alive in your mind as soon as you hear the music begin. Which is what I was trying to capture last year when I mentioned this ahead of sharing my review of “The Phantom’s Apprentice”:

The music of Phantom – irregardless of which incantation of performance and artistic vision are the songs which lift my soul. The sound of Phantom is individually distinctive and the story within it’s heart is one of gutting emotions surrounding the suspense of what is truly happening to Christine and of what motivates the Phantom himself to pursue her to such an extent of invested interest. It is also part cautionary tale about obsession and misguided love.

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I also went on to mention how long I’ve been connected to ‘Phantom’:

I’ve been a girl whose appreciated Broadway and Musicals since I was old enough to listen to original soundtracks on cassette tape. I used to go to sleep with a tape of Annie – not the stage play version but the original motion picture soundtrack. From there, I graduated into more familiar Musicals – including listening to the Michael Crawford soundtrack for Phantom until it etched itself into my blood.

I continued to follow Phantom – from watching the PBS broadcast of the anniversary production from London to celebrating the motion picture adaptation starring Emmy Rossum. Whilst I was writing my ruminative thoughts on behalf of this novel, I was playing the motion picture soundtrack channel for Phantom via Pandora Radio which showcased all versions of the play and musical.

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In effect, this is a story which is simply a ‘part of me’ and it was an honour to have the chance to see this story & its characters re-imagined into an m/m romantic arc set in Tokyo, Japan. For those who read and visit my blog regularly, you already know of my admiration on behalf of Susan Spann’s Hiro Hattori novels – though set in 16th Century Japan, the point here is the fact I love visiting the country in fiction. In the past, I had several friends who lived in different parts of Japan inasmuch of the fact one of my favourite Winter Olympics were the Nagano Games. My grandparents helped encourage my fascination & love of Japan as they themselves loves the country, through their art (sculpture) and musicians especially.

In essence, it feels like ‘coming home’ whenever I consider reading a story set in Japan – it is a beautifully lovely country full of Mystic roots, humbling traditions and a wonderful cultural heritage.

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#SaturdaysAreBookish | feat. @SatBookChat’s 12th January guest author Estella Mirai | Book Review of “The Stars May Rise and Fall” (a re-telling of “Phantom of the Opera” from an m/m romantic POV)The Stars May Rise and Fall
by Estella Mirai
Source: Direct from Author

Teru came to Tokyo with dreams of making it big in the glam-metal visual kei scene, but three years later, all he has to show for it is a head of hot pink hair and some skill with an eyeliner pencil. He may look the part, but he doesn’t sound it, and constant bickering among his bandmates has him worried about his future. When he finds a mysterious business card in his bag, he’s willing to take any help he can get.

Help comes in the form of Rei, a crippled, disfigured composer whose own career was ended by an accident before it had really begun. With Teru’s voice and looks, and Rei’s money and songwriting skills, both of their dreams seem about to come true – but a forbidden kiss and a late-night confession threaten to tear it all apart. Now Teru, who has spent most of his life denying his attraction to men, and Rei, who vowed long ago never to love again, must reconcile their feelings with their careers – and with their carefully constructed ideas of themselves.

THE STARS MAY RISE AND FALL is an M/M retelling of Phantom of the Opera, set in Tokyo at the turn of the millennium. It comes with a healthy dose of angst and a dollop of nostalgia, as well as an age-difference romance, a physically disabled love interest, and memorable characters who will stay with you long after the pages are closed.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781684547715

Genres: After Canons, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Japanese Fiction, LGBTQIA Fiction, Re-telling &/or Sequel, Romance Fiction


Setting: Toyko, Japan


Published by Self Published Author

on 11th December, 2018

Format: Spiral Bound ARC

Pages: 309

Self Published Author

This is a Digital First Release – other formats will be forthcoming such as print

Converse via: #PhantomOfTheOpera retell, #LGBTQ, #Contemporary Romance

About Estella Mirai

Estella Mirai lives just outside of Tokyo with her human family and a very spoiled lap cat. When she isn’t reading or writing, she works in editing and translation—which means that 99% percent of her day is usually words. In her minimal free time, she enjoys watching musicals, cooking (badly), and slaughtering power ballads at karaoke.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 12 January, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Composer, Creative Arts, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Equality In Literature, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Horror-Lite, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Japan, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Mental Health, Modern Day, PTSD, Re-Told Tales, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction

Non-Fiction Book Review | “Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers and Other Long Stories Short” by Jan Risher

Posted Saturday, 29 December, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for this unique collection of stories hosted by iRead Book Tours. I haven’t been reviewing or hosting iRead authors in quite a long while – for most of the year, outside of the fact I did host the Marilyn Wilson blog tour as it was her second release. I couldn’t find stories which excited me to read and/or there were a heap which I felt would fit other readers better than they would my own readerly inclinations. When I came across ‘Old Algiers’ I thought it was such an interesting collection of personal history, experience, reflective insight and philosophical enquiry – it was something I was keenly looking forward to reading.

I received a complimentary copy of Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers direct from the author Jan Risher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

On why I was eager for this book & how life interfered with my plans in

reading ‘Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers’:

When I first learnt about this collection of stories – I thought it would be wicked interesting to read which is why I was excited about signing on for the blog tour! I had wanted to read the stories and curate a conversation with the author to coincide with my review, however, a few things ended up derailing all my lovely plans for this blog tour – which is in effect, why I am posting off-tour instead. In fact, I’ve been attempting to get this review put to order since a week ago Friday, except to say, my physical unwellness has been a bit extreme these past three weeks ever since I came down with a beast of a Winter virus. Secondly, my father had a medical emergency where we spent 4+ hours in the ER which rattled my nerves and my emotions never did quite settle down that particular week until the start of the next one. My father, is fine – thankfully, the fall was not serious but we had to ensure it was nothing major as Thanksgiving weekend marked his 2nd year past his stroke.

To return back into reading, I had to wait til a) my health was less stricken and b) my mind could re-attach into reading and blogging. It wasn’t until Sunday (last weekend) where I felt well enough to resume where I had left off with a lot of different stories but my return has been slow going which is why my posts are populating at a bit of an odd rate of progression. This review is one I wanted to finish earlier in the week, but I’ve literally been plagued with health issues and honestly, it took extra time to compose.

Having said that, I decided to make my journey into this book a bit uniquely different than most readers might have approached it. I knew in my heart I couldn’t traditionally read this start to finish, as I just didn’t have the capacity to do that right now – therefore, I hope you’ll enjoy the notes, ruminative reflections and takeaways I am sharing on behalf of Old Algiers!

Likewise, I am hoping my note of apology reached the author – somehow, for whichever reason, life became a bit of a determining factor of how I was unable to release this review in step with the blog tour itself whilst I had to realise also, the conversation would have to remain unknown as just to get this featured before the New Year I felt was more priority after having missed the blog tour.

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Non-Fiction Book Review | “Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers and Other Long Stories Short” by Jan RisherLooking to the Stars from Old Algiers
Subtitle: And Other Long Stories Short
by Jan Risher
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

Jan Risher took the long way to get from Mississippi to Louisiana with stops in between in Slovakia, Mexica, China, Burkina Faso and more than 40 other countries. Since moving to Louisiana, she has been a Sunday columnist for The Daily Advertiser and has written a column every single Sunday since 2002.

Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers and Other Long Stories Short is the collection of columns written over 15 years. Arranged in chronological order, the collection creates a narrative of one woman's aim to build her family, build up her community and weave the stories and lessons learned from the past into the present.

From her family's move to Louisiana, adoption of a daughter from China, covering Hurricane Katrina, travels near and far, author Jan Risher attempts, sometimes failing and sometimes succeeding, to do her small part to make the world a better place.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781946160331

Genres: Anthology Collection of Short Stories and/or Essays, Biography / Autobiography, Non-Fiction, Short Story or Novella


Published by Lafayette Press, Sans Souci Books, University of Louisiana

on 11th September, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 312

Published by: Sans Souci Books

an imprint of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press

Formats Available: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #NonFiction & #ShortStories

About Jan Risher

Jan Risher

Jan Risher is an award-winning journalist and investigative reporter. She was managing editor of The Times of Acadiana. Before and after her time as a full-time journalist, she was an English teacher. She has taught English near and far, in its most basic and most lyrical forms. She continues her career as a freelance writer and now owns Shift Key, a content marketing and public relations firm. She, her husband and their two daughters have made their home on the banks of the Vermilion River.

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Posted Saturday, 29 December, 2018 by jorielov in Anthology Collection of Stories, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Daily Devotions of Inspiration from Life, Equality In Literature, Indie Author, iRead Book Tours, Memoir, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Orphans & Guardians, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Publishing Industry & Trade, Short Stories or Essays, Sociological Behavior, Sociology, Stories of Adoption, Travelogue, Vignettes of Real Life