Category: Low Country South Carolina

#SaturdaysAreBookish | Book Review | “The Summer Guests” by Mary Alice Monroe

Posted Saturday, 22 June, 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 have been hosting blog tours and reviews for Simon & Schuster off and on for nearly a year now. I’ve had the joy of discovering their stories through Contemporary and Historical narratives whilst happily finding a lot of their authors are writing the kinds of stories which keep me engaged and rooted in their narratives. Such as the Seven Sisters series by Lucinda Riley – which is why when I first saw the note about the tour for ‘The Summer Guests’, I was most curious – not just of this potentially becoming my first Monroe novel to read but because of where the story was set. I happen to love the mountainous regions of my country and this one in particular hugs close to Appalachia which happens to be the mountain range I am most familiar with due to how oft I read stories set there. It has only been in recent years I’ve exchanged the Eastern mountains for the Rockies; thus, when I learnt the setting was in Western North Carolina and centred round hurricanes, natural disasters and overcoming life’s adversities – I was quite smitten with the plot!

I received a complimentary copy of “The Summer Guests” direct from the publisher Gallery Books (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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Why this particular story perked an interest to read:

First and foremost, I love stories about horses, horse culture and horsemanship. I’m the girl who grew up reading about the wilds of the West, farms, ranches and cowboys because the wide open landscapes of those stories called to my spirit, to my soul. They were enriching in how families hugged close together, how life was better lived together and how if you needed some space, the wide open plains provided the best place to seek it out on a horse. The concept of being able to wake with the roosters, put on your riding clothes and hide out to chase after dawn’s first break of dawn was something that truly appealled to a girl who loved horse-back riding but wasn’t able to continue it forward into her teens and adult years. I still long for the day where I could get back on a horse and reconnect with a sport I have loved since I was quite young.

You can see this love of mine coming through Jorie Loves A Story – from the stories of Karen Rock (her Rocky Mountain Cowboys series), the limited serial Return of the Blackwell Brothers, the enduring and brilliant dramatic Catherine Ryan Hyde novel The Language of Hoofbeats and a forthcoming review by a new series of Harlequin Heartwarming entitled Reunited with the Cowboy. It is also seen in my choices of television and motion pictures – I have been passionately attached to the production of Heartland – streaming it first on Netflix for the first nine seasons and finding the tenth happily available to stream via Hallmark Movies Now. I’m hoping to stream the eleventh season if Hallmark acquires the rights to it as the series is currently in production for their 13th season.

Whilst at the same time, I also have a healthy appreciation for the mountains – Appalachia on the East and the Rockies on the West. Growing up natural disasters were as much a part of my life as they are a part of a lot of people’s lives today. There were some honest whoppers of destruction back in the ’80s and ’90s; some even set the record books before they were re-broken in the 21st Century by fiercer storms and/or worse disasters than our imaginations could have conceived. I still have shivers of anxiety just contemplating Hurricane Sandy for the folks on the Mid-Atlantic Coast! Not to mention the fires and floods of the West Coast and the persistent tornadoes of the Mid-West this Spring have re-set how we view natural disasters and how we survive them.

Finding this was a story about an eclectic group of people who not just evacuated but found themselves in a place they weren’t expecting with people they weren’t planning to connect with felt like a wicked good read. It also felt like an alternative view of what we think about most when we connect a natural disaster in our minds with the chaos we see on television. There is always much more to the ‘story’ than what the stories are revealling to us in a televised recapture of events and that is why I felt reading The Summer Guests would be a brilliant way to kick-off my #SummerReads for Women’s Fiction!

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#SaturdaysAreBookish | Book Review | “The Summer Guests” by Mary Alice MonroeThe Summer Guests
by Mary Alice Monroe
Source: Direct from Publisher

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Beach House series comes a heartwarming and evocative novel about the bonds and new beginnings that are born from natural disasters and how, even during the worst of circumstances—or perhaps because of them—we discover what is most important in life.

Late August is a beautiful time on the Southern coast—the peach trees are ripe, the ocean is warm, and the sweet tea is icy. A perfect time to enjoy the rocking chairs on the porch. But beneath the calm surface bubbles a threat: it’s also peak hurricane season.

When a hurricane threatens the coasts of Florida and South Carolina, an eclectic group of evacuees flees for the farm of their friends Grace and Charles Phillips in North Carolina: the Phillips’s daughter Moira and her rescue dogs, famed equestrian Javier Angel de la Cruz, makeup artist Hannah McLain, horse breeder Gerda Klug and her daughter Elise, and island resident Cara Rutledge. They bring with them only the few treasured possessions they can fit in their vehicles. Strangers to all but the Phillips, they must ride out the storm together.

During the course of one of the most challenging weeks of their lives, relationships are put to the test as the evacuees are forced to confront the unresolved issues they have with themselves and with each other. But as the storm passes, they realize that what really matters isn’t what they brought with them to the mountains. Rather, it’s what they’ll take with them once they leave.

With Mary Alice Monroe’s “usual resplendent storytelling” (Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author), The Summer Guests is a poignant and compelling story of self-discovery, love, and redemption.

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


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781501193620

Setting: Western (Mountains) of North Carolina


Published by Gallery Books

on 11th June, 2019

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 368

Published By: Gallery Books ()
(an imprint of Simon & Schuster )

Formats Available: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #TheSummerGuests, #SummerReads and #SaturdaysAreBookish

About Mary Alice Monroe

Mary Alice Monroe Photo Credit Mic Smith Photography

Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books, including the Beach House series: The Beach House, Beach House Memories, Swimming Lessons, Beach House for Rent, and Beach House Reunion.

She is a 2018 Inductee into the South Carolina Academy of Authors’ Hall of Fame, and her books have received numerous awards, including the 2008 South Carolina Center for the Book Award for Writing, the 2014 South Carolina Award for Literary Excellence, the 2015 SW Florida Author of Distinction Award, the RT Lifetime Achievement Award, the International Book Award for Green Fiction, and the 2017 Southern Book Prize for Fiction.

Her bestselling novel The Beach House is also a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. An active conservationist, she lives in the lowcountry of South Carolina.

Photo Credit: Mic Smith Photography

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Posted Saturday, 22 June, 2019 by jorielov in #SaturdaysAreBookish, 21st Century, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Fly in the Ointment, Horse Drama & Fiction, Latter-life Adventures, Life Shift, Low Country South Carolina, Meteorology, Modern Day, Natural Disasters & Catastrophic Events, Non-traditional characters, North Carolina, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Rescue & Adoption of Animals, Simon & Schuster, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Vulgarity in Literature, Western North Carolina Mountains, Women of a Certain Age, Women's Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “Her Sister’s Shoes” by Ashley Farley

Posted Friday, 17 July, 2015 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for “Her Sister’s Shoes” hosted by iRead Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of “Her Sister’s Shoes” direct from the author Ashley Farley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Reflecting on a film by a similar name:

In Her Shoes was an emotionally gutting film about two sisters who were attempting to sort their way through their lives. One of them had the indecency to run her personal life into the path of the other; where nothing was sacred not even the boyfriends they were dating. A quick transition to their grandmother’s led one sister towards a new beginning and the other one towards an attempt to understand why her sister felt flight towards a retirement community was necessary to seek self-renewing identity. It was a film that touched on all your emotions at once and a sisterly bond portrayed excellently by the lead actresses in the roles.

When I first saw this blog tour being announced I had a sense of knowing that this novel might paint a story quite as humbling true as the film; even though they are separate of each other, it’s the way in which the story felt to be told that struck an accord with me. Sisters have a bond that is difficult to understand when their at odds with each other, but it’s a bond that runs deeper than blood and hearty enough to survive just about anything that seeks to divide them. Writers who can tap into that relationship and honour a story with characters who live their truth interdependent to each other have a story worth being discovered. They evoke a further clarity on the human spirit and on the journey families take to find both redemption and acceptance through forgiveness.

Blog Book Tour | “Her Sister’s Shoes” by Ashley FarleyHer Sister's Shoes
by Ashley Farley
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

Set in the South Carolina Lowcountry and packed with Southern charm and memorable characters, Her Sister’s Shoes is the story of three sisters—Samantha, Jackie, and Faith—who struggle to balance the demands of career and family while remaining true to themselves.

Samantha Sweeney has always been the glue that holds her family together, their go-to girl for love and support. When an ATV accident leaves her teenage son in a wheelchair, she loses her carefully constructed self-control.

In the after-gloom of her dreaded fiftieth birthday and the discovery of her husband’s infidelity, Jackie realizes she must reconnect with her former self to find the happiness she needs to move forward.

Faith lacks the courage to stand up to her abusive husband. She turns to her sisters for help, placing all their lives at risk.

In the midst of their individual challenges, the Sweeney sisters must cope with their mother’s mental decline. Is Lovie in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, or is her odd behavior normal for a woman her age? No one, including Lovie, understands her obsession with a rusty key she wears around her neck.

For fans of Elin Hildebrand, Her Sister’s Shoes is a contemporary women’s novel that explores and proves the healing power of family.

Genres: Women's Fiction


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Published by Leisure Time Books

on 24th June, 2015

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 380

Published by: Leisure Time Book, an imprint of AHF Publishing

(Self Published Author)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #womensfiction | #suspense

Read an Excerpt of the Novel:

Her Sister’s Shoes by Smashwords

About Ashley Farley

Ashley Farley

Ashley Farley is a wife and mother of two college-aged children. She grew up in the salty marshes of South Carolina, but now lives in Richmond, Virginia, a city she loves for its history and traditions.

After her brother died in 1999 of an accidental overdose, she turned to writing as a way of releasing her pent-up emotions. She wrote SAVING BEN in honor of Neal, the boy she worshipped, the man she could not save. SAVING BEN is not a memoir, but a story about the special bond between siblings.

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Posted Friday, 17 July, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Adulterous Affair, Blog Tour Host, Book | Novel Extract, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Breast Cancer, Debilitating Diagnosis & Illness, Disabilities & Medical Afflictions, Disillusionment in Marriage, Divorce & Martial Strife, Domestic Violence, Drugs & Alcohol, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Indie Author, iRead Book Tours, Life Shift, Low Country South Carolina, Mental Health, Modern Day, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Mother-Son Relationships, Realistic Fiction, Scribd, Self-Published Author, Siblings, Sisterhood friendships, Small Towne USA, Suspense, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Terminal Illness &/or Cancer, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction, Women's Health

Blog Book Tour | “The Hurricane Sisters” by Dorothea Benton Frank

Posted Wednesday, 22 April, 2015 by jorielov , , , 3 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on “The Hurricane Sisters” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary hardback copy of the book direct from the publisher William Morrow (an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers), in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. 

Books to take a chance on:

I do admit, I like a well-writ family drama every so often, as I like to see how different family dynamics are written into fiction. Everyone has a different life from everyone else, but it is still inherently true to find similarities between us as well. The manners in which families are strongly attached to each other despite their flaws and otherwise bad attributes of personality; find a bridge of connection through as the bonds between the members are rooted and anchoured by love. Or at least you hope their connected through love, because there are all kinds of families out there, and it’s how they become a family that is less important than the fact that they are one.

Even close friends can feel more like family than your actual immediate family because especially in the case of women, sisterhood bonds of connection are as strong as an oak! Each writer has a different way of giving out a portrait of a family and a different way of attaching different threads of adversity to the family as a whole. I personally like to dig inside Southern Literature as often as I can, and although I have heard of Dorothea Benton Frank in passing, I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading one of her novels.

The Hurricane Sisters first appealed to me to read whilst I caught sight of it by title alone: any girl or bloke who grew up with severe storm systems grievously wrecking havoc on their home state will be alerted to the word ‘hurricane’ whichever way to Sunday the word is implied or used. To me, it nearly felt as if the storms themselves was a method of inclusion and of connection — to where, despite the odds against it, this little vacuum of space might yield an incredible bond. I wasn’t quite sure what I would find inside the novel itself, even after reading the impressive synopsis, but I knew this much: the Low Country of South Carolina has called me before into it’s fictional folds and this time, I knew I’d feel as if I were re-visiting a favourite setting.

My favourite authors who set their stories inside South Carolina include Sherryl Woods of the Sweet Magnolia series and Rosina Lippi of The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square – two authors I can quite happily say I found at my local library who sparked a wildfire of hours encased inside their worlds!

Blog Book Tour | “The Hurricane Sisters” by Dorothea Benton FrankThe Hurricane Sisters
by Dorothea Benton Frank
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

Hurricane season begins early and rumbles all summer long, well into September. Often people's lives reflect the weather and The Hurricane Sisters is just such a story.

Once again Dorothea Benton Frank takes us deep into the heart of her magical South Carolina Lowcountry on a tumultuous journey filled with longings, disappointments, and, finally, a road toward happiness that is hard earned. There we meet three generations of women buried in secrets. The determined matriarch, Maisie Pringle, at eighty, is a force to be reckoned with because she will have the final word on everything, especially when she's dead wrong. Her daughter, Liz, is caught up in the classic maelstrom of being middle-age and in an emotionally demanding career that will eventually open all their eyes to a terrible truth. And Liz's beautiful twenty-something daughter, Ashley, whose dreamy ambitions of her unlikely future keeps them all at odds.

Luckily for Ashley, her wonderful older brother, Ivy, is her fierce champion but he can only do so much from San Francisco where he resides with his partner. And Mary Beth, her dearest friend, tries to have her back but even she can't talk headstrong Ashley out of a relationship with an ambitious politician who seems slightly too old for her.

Actually, Ashley and Mary Beth have yet to launch themselves into solvency. Their prospects seem bleak. So while they wait for the world to discover them and deliver them from a ramen-based existence, they placate themselves with a hare-brained scheme to make money but one that threatens to land them in huge trouble with the authorities.

So where is Clayton, Liz's husband? He seems more distracted than usual. Ashley desperately needs her father's love and attention but what kind of a parent can he be to Ashley with one foot in Manhattan and the other one planted in indiscretion? And Liz, who's an expert in the field of troubled domestic life, refuses to acknowledge Ashley's precarious situation. Who's in charge of this family? The wake-up call is about to arrive.

The Lowcountry has endured its share of war and bloodshed like the rest of the South, but this storm season we watch Maisie, Liz, Ashley, and Mary Beth deal with challenges that demand they face the truth about themselves. After a terrible confrontation they are forced to rise to forgiveness, but can they establish a new order for the future of them all?

Frank, with her hallmark scintillating wit and crisp insight, captures how a complex family of disparate characters and their close friends can overcome anything through the power of love and reconciliation. This is the often hilarious, sometimes sobering, but always entertaining story of how these unforgettable women became The Hurricane Sisters.

Genres: Literary Fiction


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Published by William Morrow

on 4th June, 2014

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 352

Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
7 April 2015 (P.S. Edition – paperback edition)
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)
Available Formats: HardbackTrade Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #TheHurricaneSisters

About Dorothea Benton Frank

New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank was born and raised on Sullivans Island, South Carolina. She is the author of many New York Times bestselling novels, including Lowcountry Summer and Return to Sullivans Island. She resides in the New York area with her husband.

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Posted Wednesday, 22 April, 2015 by jorielov in 21st Century, Adulterous Affair, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Art, Based on an Actual Event &/or Court Case, Blog Tour Host, Contemporary Romance, Domestic Violence, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Fathers and Daughters, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Humour & Satire in Fiction / Non Fiction, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Library Find, Literary Fiction, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Low Country South Carolina, Mental Health, Modern Day, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Realistic Fiction, Singletons & Commitment, Small Towne Fiction, Sociological Behavior, TLC Book Tours, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction