Category: Fly in the Ointment

#PubDay Book Review | “The Fortune Teller” by Gwedolyn Womack Sophomore release by the author of “The Memory Painter”

Posted Tuesday, 6 June, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: Originally, as a hostess of HFVBTs (Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours) I was able to participate on the blog tour for Ms Womack’s debut novel: The Memory Painter. (see also Review) I was contacted by the author to gauge if I had interest in her sophomore release ‘The Fortune Teller’ of which I researched on her site and found the premise to be quite intriguing. I readily accepted her offer to read this for an honest review and she had her publisher send me a paperback copy of which I was grateful. I received a complimentary copy of “The Fortune Teller” direct from the publisher Picador in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I enjoyed reading this author’s previous release: The Memory Painter

Womack uses creative juxtapositions throughout her novel – where we’re with Bryan and Linz one moment, whilst being treated to a sequence of knowledge not yet introduced to the main thread of the story-line. This is where she shifts both perspective and the trisectional splitting between the main context of how Bryan & Linz are inter-connected to each other, the critical research on Alzheimer’s and the mystery History has attempted to shroud out of memory and sight from humanity. She presents her characters with a depth of being who are grounded as much as they are dimensional. You can sense their emotions, even at a first glance to how they hold themselves and how they allow themselves to interact with others. There is quite a lot bubbling just below the surface – not only of the narrative direction but through the stitchings of how her characters are moulded together.

Womack writes with a subtle accuracy of giving you just enough information per each scene or character visit to allow you to tie everything together in the larger scope of things. It’s an interesting told narrative, from the point-of-view of shifting perceptions and how you are augmented through different portals of how the story-line is moving forward. The main focus is centred on Bryan and Linz, but you have other influences moving the timeline as well as how each cross-section pertains to the two protagonists who hold the key to the whole story! You can simply let your mind alight through Womack’s graceful narrative and let yourself wander as you wonder how the author knitted the story out of the ethers!

I give a nod of excellence to Womack for compellingly giving her readers a visceral level of realism towards understanding how Bryan painted his portraits of life and death! She used words as he uses paint – you could not help but feel as if you were standing below his portraits, seeing how everything felt alive and telling in that stance you took to see what shouldn’t be able to be seen. It’s a lovely novel of depth for the world of art, as similar to music, art is at times hard to conceptionalise on the page; Womack had such an organic way of presenting the art, you could not help but appreciate it in full!

How Womack was able to intervene on History to such a level of intriguing juxtapositions, I am uncertain! As she even brought back to life the compelling argument of how sometimes not everything is fully resolved before or after death! She interwove Egyptology in such a fascinating and inventive way as to cross their Ancient History with our current timeline! It was wonderful to watch her pull her layers together, explore the details further and to watch how even her characters were a bit startled by how everything was inter-connecting straight through to the finish! Her mind truly has captured the intricacies of a plot that is told not only through multiple perspectives but through a threading of counter current lives who are affectingly drawn to each other due to how their past lives originally affected their soul’s journey. Now that’s beyond impressive for a debut novel!

-as quoted from my review of The Memory Painter

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#PubDay Book Review | “The Fortune Teller” by Gwedolyn Womack Sophomore release by the author of “The Memory Painter”The Fortune Teller
by Gwendolyn Womack
Source: Direct from Publisher

Semele Cavnow appraises antiquities for an exclusive Manhattan auction house, specializing in deciphering ancient texts. And when she discovers a manuscript written in the time of Cleopatra, she knows it will be the find of her career. Its author tells the story of a priceless tarot deck, now lost to history, but as Semele delves further she realizes the manuscript is more than it seems. Both a memoir and a prophecy, it appears to be the work of a powerful seer, describing devastating wars and natural disasters in detail thousands of years before they occurred.

The more she reads, the more the manuscript begins to affect Semele's life. But what happened to the cards? As the mystery of her connection to the manuscript deepens, Semele can’t shake the feeling that she’s being followed. Only one person can help her make sense of it all: her client, Theo Brossard. Yet Theo is arrogant and elusive, concealing secrets of his own, and there’s more to Semele’s desire to speak with him than she would like to admit. Can Semele even trust him?

The auction date is swiftly approaching, and someone wants to interfere—someone who knows the cards exist, and that the Brossard manuscript is tied to her. Semele realizes it’s up to her to stop them: the manuscript holds the key to a two-thousand-year-old secret, a secret someone will do anything to possess.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781250099778

Also by this author: The Memory Painter

Genres: Ancient Civilisation, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense


Published by Picador

on 6th of June, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 368

Published By: Picador (@PicadorUSA) via St. Martin’s Press
imprints of St. Martin’s Publishing Group,
which is now a part of MacMillian Publishers

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

About Gwendolyn Womack

Gwendolyn Womack Photo Credit: Copyright JennKL Photography

Originally from Houston, Texas, Gwendolyn Womack began writing theater plays in college at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. She went on to receive an MFA from California Institute of the Arts in Directing Theatre, Video & Cinema.

Currently she resides in Los Angeles with her husband and son where she can be found at the keyboard working on her next novel. The Memory Painter is her first novel.

Photo Credit: Copyright JennKL Photography

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Tuesday, 6 June, 2017 by jorielov in Ancient Civilisation, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Book Trailer, Content Note, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Equality In Literature, Father-Daughter Relationships, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, Modern Day, Pharaohs & Dynasties, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Seers, Supernatural Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “The Belle of Two Arbors” by Paul Dimond feat. poetry by Martha Buhr Grimes

Posted Thursday, 1 June, 2017 by jorielov , , 3 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I have been hosting for Poetic Book Tours for a few years now, where I am finding myself encouraged to seek out collections of poetry or incredible fiction being published through Small Trade publishers and presses. I have an Indie spirit and mentality as a writer and I appreciate finding authors who are writing creative works through Indie resources as I find Indies have a special spirit about them. It is a joy to work with Poetic Book Tours for their resilience in seeking out voices in Literature which others might overlook and thereby, increasing my own awareness of these beautiful lyrical voices in the craft. I was thankful to be selected for the blog tour featuring a unique combination of historical fiction, poetry and a saga of one woman’s life lived through the story within ‘The Belle of Two Arbors’ as it sounded like such an original concept to be explored in Historical Fiction. I received a complimentary ARC copy of the book direct from the publicist of Paul Dimond in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I felt inspired to read this novel:

Through my literary wanderings hosting for Poetic Book Tours, I have come to expand my Contemporary Poetry readings whilst continuing to seek out Indie Fiction by writers who may or may not become widely known in the bookish community. I love finding the innovating voices who write inspiring novels but one thing I also like to seek out are the writers who bend genre to their own will. One of my favourite sub-niches of literature are the genre-benders – where there is a fusion of influences from more than one genre or thematic of story-telling being bridged into one singular story or the arc of a character’s journey told through a series.

What intrigued me about this release is how it’s a story which is not only told from narrative prose but through poetic insight into the character’s internal mind. Poetry is a personal release of emotion, vision and imagination. Purporting through a styled layout of lyrical insightfulness, poetry can transcend a wide field of emotional range. I was inspired to seek out this title if only to see how poetry and narrative scope could interlink to each other and expound upon the telling of a character’s journey.

Interestingly enough, I knew this story was set in Michigan, however, it wasn’t until I started reading the story I learnt where in Michigan the story takes place as I didn’t look up the specifics until I was already inside the chapters. I have known about Ann Arbor for most of my life, as it’s a progressively diverse city and has been on the forefront of political liberalism for years. It’s a University city but moreso than that, it’s a city which likes to stand on it’s own – curating it’s own mind about things and taking a stand against what goes against it’s core beliefs. In effect, it’s been a rockstar city for the state. However, the other half of the story is set further North, just before you get to Sault Ste. Marie, there is this little tucked away corner of the Michigan Coast where the Traverse Bay region resides. I know a great deal about this portion of the state even if I haven’t stepped foot on her shores. This is partially why as I read more of the story, it tugged at my heart knowing about all the recent changes happening up there and around the rest of the state as a whole. I hint about this a bit but as the focus is not about Environmental Science, Geology or the cause for concern over contaminated water basins – I opted to yield to focusing on the literary side of the book rather than the grief I have felt over the issues most at hand for Michigan’s residents.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “The Belle of Two Arbors” by Paul Dimond feat. poetry by Martha Buhr GrimesThe Belle of Two Arbors
by Paul Dimond
Source: Publicist via Poetic Book Tours

Born at the turn of the twentieth century in Glen Arbor, near the dunes of Northern Michigan, young Belle is the first child of a gruff stove works boss and a crippled mother who weaned Belle on the verse of Emily Dickenson. When a natural disaster results in her mother’s death and nearly takes the life of her younger brother Pip, Belle creates a fierce, almost ecstatic farewell song. Thus begins her journey to compose a perfect Goodbye to Mama.

At 21, Belle ventures south to Ann Arbor for university, with teenaged Pip in tow. There, she befriends Robert Frost, Ted Roethke and Wystan Auden and finds that her poetry stands alongside theirs, and even with that of her hero, Dickinson. Her lyrics capture the sounds, sights, and rhythms of the changing seasons in the northern forests, amidst the rolling dunes by the shores of the Great Lake.

Despite the peace she finds, Belle also struggles in both homes. Up north, she battles her father who thinks a woman can’t run the family business; and clashes against developers who would scar the natural landscape. In Ann Arbor, she challenges the status quo of academic pedants and chauvinists.

Belle’s narrative brings these two places to life in their historic context: a growing Midwestern town driven by a public university, striving for greatness; and a rural peninsula seeking prosperity while preserving its natural heritage. Through the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, World War II, and the Post-War Boom, Belle’s story is hard to put down. Her voice and songs will be even harder to forget.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1943290215

Also by this author: Author Interview: Paul Dimond

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Women's Fiction


Published by Cedar Forge Press

on 4th April, 2017

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 696

Published By: Cedar Forge Press

Available Formats: Paperback

Read the article about the author via The Ann Arbor News

Converse via: #BelleOfTwoArbors

About Paul Dimond

Since birth Paul Dimond has shared his time between Ann Arbor, home of the University of Michigan, and Glen Arbor amidst Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in northern Michigan.

Prior to researching and writing The Belle of Two Arbors, Paul Dimond served as the Director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, tried several major race case that divided the U.S. Supreme Court and served as the Special Assistant to President Clinton for Economic Policy. He has also practiced law, chaired a national real estate firm and continues to spend his time between the two Arbors. He is an alumni of Amherst College and the University of Michigan Law School.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Thursday, 1 June, 2017 by jorielov in 20th Century, ARC | Galley Copy, Astronomy, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Content Note, Cultural & Religious Traditions, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Father-Daughter Relationships, Fly in the Ointment, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, Life Shift, Literary Fiction, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Native American Fiction, Poetic Book Tours, Poetry, Realistic Fiction, Single Mothers, Singletons & Commitment, Small Towne USA, Sports, Sustainability & Ecological Preservation, Swimming & Competition, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, the Forties, the Great Depression, the Nineteen Hundreds, the Thirties, The World Wars, Upper Mid-West America, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction, Women's Health, Women's Rights, World Religions

Book Review | “Can’t Buy Me Love” by Jane Lovering #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 27 May, 2017 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

ChocLitSaturdays Banner Created by Jorie in Canva.

Why I feature #ChocLitSaturdays (book reviews & guest author features)
and created #ChocLitSaturday (the chat via @ChocLitSaturday):

I wanted to create a bit of a niche on Jorie Loves A Story to showcase romance fiction steeped in relationships, courtships, and the breadth of marriage enveloped by characters written honestly whose lives not only endear you to them but they nestle into your heart as their story is being read!

I am always seeking relationship-based romance which strikes a chord within my mind’s eye as well as my heart! I’m a romantic optimist, and I love curling into a romance where I can be swept inside the past, as history becomes lit alive in the fullness of the narrative and I can wander amongst the supporting cast observing the principal characters fall in love and sort out if they are a proper match for each other!

I love how an Indie Publisher like ChocLitUK is such a positive alternative for those of us who do not identify ourselves as girls and women who read ‘chick-lit’. I appreciate the stories which alight in my hands from ChocLit as much as I appreciate the inspirational romances I gravitate towards because there is a certain level of depth to both outlets in romance which encourage my spirits and gives me a beautiful story to absorb! Whilst sorting out how promote my book reviews on behalf of ChocLit, I coined the phrase “ChocLitSaturdays”, which is a nod to the fact my ChocLit reviews & features debut on ‘a Saturday’ but further to the point that on the ‘weekend’ we want to dip into a world wholly ideal and romantic during our hours off from the work week!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular reviewer for ChocLitUK, where I hand select which books in either their backlist and/or current releases I would like to read next for my #ChocLitSaturdays blog feature. As of June 2016, I became a member of the ChocLit Stars Team in tandem with being on the Cover Reveal Team which I joined in May 2016. I reference the Stars as this is a lovely new reader contribution team of sending feedback to the publisher ahead of new book releases. As always, even if I’m involved with a publisher in this sort of fashion, each review is never influenced by that participation and will always be my honest impression as I read the story. Whether the author is one I have previously read or never had the pleasure to read until the book greets my shelf.

I received a complimentary copy of “Can’t Buy Me Love” from ChocLit in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

a bit of back-history on this sequence of roms:

The Yorkshire Romances received a sixth entry into the series with Can’t Buy Me Love, which I thankfully spotlighted last May! What is interesting about being able to read this book over Memorial Day weekend, is the timing of the book in my hand vs. the weekend last year, when it was a book I was itching to read but could only speculate about what I would find inside it! Isn’t that a wicked sweet coincidence!?

The Yorkshire Romances in sequence:

{please note: all of these are stand-alone; only the setting unites them}

To properly recap my ruminative pre-reading thoughts about the series, kindly visit my Spotlight w/ Notes!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

My initial thoughts about why I wanted to read this particular release:

What I appreciate about the Yorkshire Romances series as a whole is each installment reads to be individually unique to it’s own setting and cast of characters; I am unsure what threads the series together as a whole, as I haven’t yet read one of the novels, but to find a series where you can meet such a varied and diverse set of stories is quite champion, if you ask me! I think it speaks to the different themes of interest on behalf of the author, how she likes to pull together different threads of interest per each character she’s focusing on in turn and thereby, deepening where each installment can take the reader. For instance, I Don’t Want to Talk About It had a very emotional context to it’s central heart.

I must confess, I oft was drawn into stories of inheritances (especially the unexpected kind!) since I was a young girl – those were the Classical novels I would delight in reading because they had such a capture of ‘real life caught between a change of circumstance and the reality of who you really are’ merging into a story where you have to choose how your going to proceed. I even followed this up by watching tv movies of the same theme; each story in turn featured a character who had to go through a period of growth and self-reflection where they truly developed into a better version of themselves. Even in my beloved Cosy Mystery series Aunt Dimity the title character has to come to terms with an inheritance that truly was quite magically wicked in the end!

I do love a good matching between two opposite personalities or two people who live different lifestyles; it works either way for me; to see how differences either make or break a relationship. Equal to that, there is something about the quirkiness of geeks vs nerds (in case you hadn’t known, I’m a geek!) and how each of them can be a good match for someone who doesn’t self-identify as either/or too!

When it comes to money and people’s true colours shining through their intentions – that happens to be one of my favourite twists in a plot to read! I like noodling out which person wormed into someone’s life looking for a quick take from a person who came into an inheritance vs the sincerity of friendship for the sake of genuine concern for another person’s welfare. It’s a slippery slope as they say – whom to trust and when to know to question the trust you put into others when circumstances change overnight.

I could tell immediately I liked the potboiler brewing into the backbone of this installment, as it’s quite a truthful statement to make – does money have the reverse effect of muddling your life further than it might have been already or does it present certain assurances but give you a bit of a new set of curious hiccups to circumvent as well? I think the title brings the scope of the story into play quite nicely and if you trust a title, I think it forebears well the outcome we’ll all have to wait to read!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

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Posted Saturday, 27 May, 2017 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Britian, Brothers and Sisters, ChocLitUK, Contemporary Romance, Equality In Literature, Family Life, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Modern Day, Romance Fiction, Romantic Comedy, Siblings, Vulgarity in Literature

Blog Book Tour | The *debut!* #shortstory release of “I Still Remember” by Priya Prithviraj! A dear friend of mine I met through a book blogger panel!

Posted Thursday, 25 May, 2017 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I am a hostess with Writerly Yours PR – which is run by my dear friend Priya of whom I met during a blogger panel. We have become friends through our collaborations and it has been an honour to work with her on her publicity projects for Indie authors – most of whom I have been featuring a guest author feature as I cannot read digital copies of books. In this particular instance, I was allowed to print the PDF in order to read in full for which I was thankful to Priya for allowing me to do so in lieu of a paperback copy to read.

I received a complimentary copy of “I Still Remember” direct from the author Priya Prithviraj in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was keen on reading this story:

When you have a friend like Priya, you are wicked happy for them to enter into the season of their publishing endeavours – as they share something in common with you! You’re both writers who started blogging about your reading lives whilst awaiting a moment where your own stories would start to arrive in print (or in Priya’s case, digitally in e-readers!). I have a profound respect for Priya, as our friendship was carved out a mutual love of literature, of diverse stories and of the joy story-telling gives us both. We’re also poets inasmuch as we’re storytellers of fiction – something I found quite wicked interesting as not every writer is a poet nor every poet is a novelist.

As soon as I learnt her short story was going to be a part of a blog tour for May, I was wicked excited to participate – not only to have a potential chance to ‘read’ a story of hers going into publication for the first time (always a thrilling day for a writer!) but I was so very happy to see this day arrive for a friend of mine! I love cheering and celebrating the writing careers of the authors of whom paths I have regularly crossed these past four years, but when you make a connection with someone you consider a dear friend in the book blogosphere – it’s a bit sweeter, isn’t it?

I hadn’t known she was writing this story ahead of time either – therefore, I did not know anything about the plot, the characters or where the story would be set. I was happily surprised to find it was a coming-of age Romance from the point of view of Korean protagonists. I regularly read #diverselit and advocate for #diversebooks by my own tag (both on Twitter and on my blog): #EqualityInLit as I’ve been a passionate reader of diverse stories as long as I’ve been a reader (see also Post). This is a refreshing change of pace for the stories I find set in Asia or from Asian POVs in both Historical and Contemporary stories. I was excited to see how Priya set the foundation of her short and how she conveyed the arc of her characters’ journey through the duration of the story itself.

Short Fiction is featured quite regularly here on Jorie Loves A Story, as inspired initially through short story anthologies published by Speculative Fiction publishers: Seventh Star Press and World Weaver Press, however, I have extended my readings outside of these Indie publishers in recent years as well. I have more short fiction arriving this Summer as I am finishing my readings of Indy Writes Books, Far Orbit: Apogee, Frozen Fairy Tales, Murder in the Generative Kitchen (see also Post), Shifty (see also Post), Trans-Continental: Girl in the Gears and Trans-Continental: Mississippi Queen (see also Interview). You will find more showcases of Short Stories & Anthologies across genres in my Story Vault.

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On my Connection to Priya:

A few years ago (in 2015), I had the lovely pleasure of meeting Priya for the first time when our paths initially crossed during a book blogger panel – wherein we had the opportunity to sign-up for a blind match wherein each pair of bloggers were being interviewed by one match and interviewing a second match in an effort to connect book bloggers who might not have found each other otherwise. It was during this incredible event, Priya and I first met – sharing a conversation on Jorie Loves A Story and launching a friendship which has endured ever since. I started to host for her authors via Writerly Yours PR whilst maintaining contact with her about possible blog features we could host on each others’ blogs. An instance of this is my essay about ‘Reclaiming my Writing Life’ which ran originally in [2015] but re-published in [2016] as an extension of how Wrimos love participating in Nanowrimo! (see also Post) We’re both writers who started a blog to focus on our reading lives whilst awaiting our season to publish our stories. Priya’s publishing season has arrived ahead of my own and I was thrilled to bits to be able to celebrate this milestone of her writerly career.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Priya through our respective love & passion of reading inside the twitterverse, kept in touch privately and having had previously been a book blogger / chat hostess for authors she helps publicize through Writerly Yours PR.  I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time or continuing to read their releases as they are available.

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 Blog Book Tour | The *debut!* #shortstory release of “I Still Remember” by Priya Prithviraj! A dear friend of mine I met through a book blogger panel!I Still Remember
by Priya Prithviraj
Source: Author via Writerly Yours PR

How do you forget someone you’ve loved once?

Ji-woo dreams of becoming a writer and is back in college giving it a second shot. But then Weon-gyu, her first love, comes back into her new life. Will she give up on her dreams or will she write them a happy ending?

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Short Story or Novella


Published by Self Published Author

on 14th May, 2017

Format: epub | PDF editon

Pages: 29

Self-Published Author

Formats Available: Ebook

Converse via: #YALit & #NewAdult + book tag: #IStillRemember

or #IndieAuthor + #Contemporary

About Priya Prithviraj

Priya Prithviraj

Priya Prithviraj writes poems which appear in journals such as Eastlit and the New Plains Review. She also writes about books, writing and publishing on her blog. She tweets at @priyaprithviraj.

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Posted Thursday, 25 May, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Debut Author, Equality In Literature, Indie Author, Modern Day, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Nanowrimo 2008, Romance Fiction, Self-Published Author, Short Stories or Essays, Singletons & Commitment, Women's Fiction, Writerly Yours PR