Category: Small Towne USA

Book Review | “See Also Murder” (A Marjorie Trumaine #Mystery, No.1) by Larry D. Sweazy

Posted Tuesday, 3 May, 2016 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in [2016] as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction. I received a complimentary copy of “See Also Murder” direct from the publisher Seventh Street Books (an imprint of Prometheus Books) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On what inspired me to read the Marjorie Trumaine Mysteries:

I had discovered See Also Deception was a Spring 2016 release on behalf of Seventh Street Books – mindful of the fact I have a preference for reading books in series straight from the beginning and/or in case of successive sequels, if I could soak inside the first novel, I could at least ascertain the direction of the series by first becoming acquainted with the lead character’s introduction. This is why I asked Seventh Street Books about receiving See Also Murder as a way to entreat inside See Also Deception. I wanted to understand the make-up of the series from a first-time reader’s perspective as well as become anchoured to the series straight from the gate of it’s origins.

I have a keen eye on for Mysteries – especially those which are told with a sophisticated edging rounding out their characters and where the conception of their settings are an equal match to the wit of the dialogue and/or the arc of the lead character’s life. I love finding mysteries so wickedly told by their creators, as to level out a joy in the discovery of a ‘new’ series to ache to read next.

I had a bit of luck finding a few serials prior to being a book blogger (*see my Short List below this review*, wherein those which are not linked through my blog were the pre-blog discoveries), but these past three years have yielded more joy in finding writers who are creating the Mysteries I love to champion to other readers! The ones where you feel so connected to the heart of their narratives, it’s hard to put them down – you forsake sleep and try to noodle out the hidden truths behind the crimes in step with the sleuths themselves – all the while caught up inside the joy of your first reading of a new Mystery series which stole your readerly heart.

This is why when I first discovered Seventh Street Books, I was so excited! And, I am finding I truly love the stories they are publishing and curating a list of new lovelies I am going to be continuously reading as each new release drops into sight! What wonderful joy for me!

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Notation on Cover Art Design: I love the simplicity of the cover – it eludes directly to Marjorie Trumaine’s personality, as she is focused on her duties as an indexer but she likes to find ways to use her keen skills of observation and deduction on the side. The clever bit is how the small droplets of blood carry over to the back jacket where just a small mattering of drops are around the ISBN code! I liked how the index card was used to ‘title’ the novel, as that is such a Marjorie thing to do! Also, the lined paper background to the back jacket felt quite fitting and the typewriter typography was brilliant!

Book Review | “See Also Murder” (A Marjorie Trumaine #Mystery, No.1) by Larry D. SweazySee Also Murder
Subtitle: A Marjorie Trumaine Mystery
by Larry D. Sweazy
Source: Direct from Publisher

1964—Life on the North Dakota farm hasn’t always been easy for Marjorie Trumaine. She has begun working as a professional indexer to help with the bills—which have only gotten worse since the accident that left her husband, Hank, blind and paralyzed. When her nearest neighbors are murdered in their beds, though, Marjorie suddenly has to deal with new and terrifying problems.

Sheriff Hilo Jenkins brings her a strange amulet, found clutched in the hand of her murdered neighbor, and asks her to quietly find out what it is. Marjorie uses all the skills she has developed as an indexer to research the amulet and look into the murders, but as she closes in on the killer, and people around her continue to die, she realizes that the murderer is also closing in on her.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781633880061

Also by this author: See Also Deception

Also in this series: See Also Deception


Genres: Amateur Detective, Book Indexing, Crime Fiction, Publishing Industry


Published by Seventh Street Books

on 5th May, 2015

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 253

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Marjorie Trumaine Mystery series:

Story Locale: A small town in North Dakota in 1964

Series Overview: Marjorie Trumaine, a freelance book indexer, uses her research skills and attention to detail to help the police solve crimes in rural North Dakota during the early 1960s.

See Also Murder | No.1

See Also Deception | No.2 | Book Synopsis on Riffle | Pub Date: 10 May, 2016

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Published By: Seventh Street Books (@SeventhStBooks)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #MarjorieTrumaineMysteries

About Larry D. Sweazy

Larry D. Sweazy Photo Credit: Rose M. Sweazy

Larry D. Sweazy is the author of See Also Murder, A Thousand Falling Crows, Escape from Hangtown, Vengeance at Sundown, The Gila Wars, The Coyote Tracker, The Devil’s Bones, The Cougar’s Prey, The Badger’s Revenge, The Scorpion Trail, and The Rattlesnake Season.

He won the WWA Spur award for Best Short Fiction in 2005 and for Best Paperback Original in 2013, and the 2011 and 2012 Will Rogers Medallion Award for Western Fiction for the Josiah Wolfe series.

He was nominated for a Derringer award in 2007, and was a finalist in the Best Books of Indiana literary competition in 2010, and won in 2011 for The Scorpion Trail. He has published over sixty nonfiction articles and short stories, which have appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine; The Adventure of the Missing Detective: And 25 of the Year’s Finest Crime and Mystery Stories!; Boys’ Life; Hardboiled; Amazon Shorts, and several other publications and anthologies. He is member of ITW (International Thriller Writers), WWA (Western Writers of America), and WF (Western Fictioneers).

Photo Credit: Rose M. Sweazy
FYI: think Patrick Swayze when saying the author's name!

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Posted Tuesday, 3 May, 2016 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Antique Jewelry, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Indexing, Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction, Detective Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Greek Mythology, Homestead Life, Indie Author, Lady Detective Fiction, Librarians & Library Staff, Library Catalogues & Databases, Life Shift, Prometheus Books, Publishing Industry & Trade, Small Towne USA, The Sixties, Upper Mid-West America, Vulgarity in Literature

Book Review | “Reading the Sweet Oak” by Jan Stites

Posted Thursday, 29 October, 2015 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I am becoming a regular tour hostess and reviewer for BookSparks, as I began to host for them in the Spring ahead of #SRC2015. I am posting my Summer Challenge reviews during November due to the aftereffects of severe lightning storms during July and August. As I make amends for the challenge reads I was unable to post until Autumn; I am also catching up with my YA challenge reads and the blog tours I missed as well. This blog tour marks one of the books I felt curious to read independent of the previous selections. I look forward to continuing to work with BookSparks once I am fully current with the stories I am reading for review.

I received a complimentary copy of “Reading the Sweet Oak” direct from the publicist at BookSparks in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why this title stood out to me to read:

I fancy family centered stories inasmuch as relationship-based Romances as I grew up in a close-knit family where it was key to maintain the connection to both the past and the present. I grew up with living histories of my relatives who were not alive at my birth, of whom, I felt a close bond too all the same due to how their stories were translated through memories.

I think we need more stories of home and hearth showing how courage and strength of family can overtake adversity as much as it can become the glue that binds you through the uncertainty of life itself. Without a circle of people to sound off when times are tightly taut with stress or to celebrate when life enfolds you with blissitudes that launch smiles as round as the moon; it’s a hard walk to find where you fit inside the world.

I have held a deep appreciation for multi-generational sagas for a long time as well; not only for those historicals which arch over centuries but for inter-connected story-lines where characters are of different age and station in their lives. To find a story about a grand-daughter and her grandmother facing the world together felt like a good fit for a next read! Especially since family can denote different things to different people – in this case, a young girl came to live with her grandparent when her parent(s) had passed; finding both comfort and freedom. I like finding stories which curate a non-traditional family life because there are as many families out there as their are fish in the sea.

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Book Review | “Reading the Sweet Oak” by Jan StitesReading the Sweet Oak
by Jan Stites
Source: Publicist via BookSparks

Along the banks of the Sweet Oak River, deep in the heart of the Ozarks, a romance novel book club takes five women on stunning journeys of self-discovery.

After losing first her husband, then her daughter, seventy-eight-year-old grandmother Ruby wants to teach her risk-averse granddaughter, Tulsa, that some leaps are worth taking, no matter how high the potential fall. Tulsa loves her grandmother dearly, but she has a business to run and no time for romance—not even the paperback version. But when Ruby ropes her into a book club, Tulsa can’t bring herself to disappoint the woman who raised her.

Together with Ruby’s best friend, Pearl, as well as family friends BJ and Jen, the women embark on an exploration of modern-day love guided by written tales of romance. What they discover is a beautiful story that examines the bonds of friendship and the highs and lows of love in all its forms.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781503945159

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


Published by Lake Union Publishing

on 29th September 2015

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 375

Published By: Lake Union Publishing
Available Formats: Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

About Jan Stites

Jan Stites

Jan Stites is the author of the novels Edgewise and Reading the Sweet Oak . She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri and a master’s degree from Purdue University, both in history and English.

She has held a multitude of jobs, including screenwriter, screenwriting instructor at San Francisco State University and the University of California–Berkeley, waitress, secretary, middle school teacher, scuba diving travel writer, journalist, transcriber for doctors and documentary filmmakers, teacher in Kenya and the Yucatán, and translator for American doctors in Mexico.

She is from Missouri, where she has vacationed extensively in the Ozarks. She currently resides in Northern California with her husband.

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Posted Thursday, 29 October, 2015 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, BookSparks, Brothers and Sisters, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Equality In Literature, Indie Author, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Modern Day, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Siblings, Small Towne USA, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “Ice Whispers: Book 1 of the Hidden Hills Saga” by K. Willow

Posted Wednesday, 14 October, 2015 by jorielov , , , 0 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 “The Hidden Hills Saga” virtual book tour through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of “Ice Whispers” the first book in the series direct from the author K. Willow, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

I love reading Southern Lit:

I have been reading Southern Lit for several decades now, as I appreciate reading stories set in the South for both historical and contemporary stories. Southern Gothic runs close to my wanderings in Southern Lit as the two tend to walk together inasmuch as they are completely separate from each other. What I appreciate the most about Southern Lit are the courageous stories of the men and women who overcame their adversities and their difficulties in ways that truly champion the spirit of humanity.

You’ll find a variety of stories set in the South being featured on my blog, as I gravitate towards this section of literature quite often. Tara Conklin’s The House Girl left a strong impression on me for her convicting narrative and her ability to knit the heart of her characters so true to their spirit as to allow us to become emphatically tied to their plight. (review) Christina Baker Kline writes the psychological and emotional tides of her characters quite well as read in Sweet Water. (review) For socioeconomic disparity and gutting realistic narrative set against actual events,  the duo of Tom Franklin & Beth Ann Fennelly left me pensively reposed after reading The Tilted World. (review) My heart nearly broke whilst reading Balm due to the soulful prose writ by Dolen Perkins-Valdez (review); only to become properly shattered whilst caught into the emotional eclipse Katy Simpson Smith gave me in The Story of Land and Sea. (review)

The entreat I took inside To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis was a feast for my senses as Andra Watkins has styled her own Southern Lit flavour to bend genres to her will. (review) When it comes to slavery and the Underground Railroad, (outside of Conklin’s prose) I felt Coopey endeared the heart of those who felt the harsh punishments were deeply against humanity within the pages of Redfield Farm. (review)

Imagine my delight in finding a Self Pub author who is creating a series set in the antebellum South who is creating her own niche for this type of story; putting a darker spin on the traditional tales set here and keeping in step with the backdrop we already appreciate.

Blog Book Tour | “Ice Whispers: Book 1 of the Hidden Hills Saga” by K. WillowIce Whispers
by K. Willow
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Slavery of a different kind, beyond physical chains, leads to a different type of escape . . .

Marissa Kristofferson can taste freedom. Her long years of suffering at the hands of her sadistic husband, Lance, are coming to an end as he lies dying. But she is stunned when he reveals the contents of his will and what she must do to keep Kristofferson Plantation, and how he plans to keep her bound to him even beyond the grave.

The beautiful slave Lolley has always envied Marissa’s life, and after learning that the master has also ordered her freed after his death, she is determined to reach for the life she wants by becoming the mistress of Marissa’s son, Shane, though she does not realize the lengths Marissa will go to to prevent the match, or the far-reaching consequences that will follow.

And Shelby, the plain and dutiful slave of free blacks, is unwittingly caught in the shocking drama that unfolds as a family is torn apart. Used as a pawn in a game of rivalry, deception, and betrayal, hers is a fight for survival while attempting to remain true to herself.

Three women—so very different but each carrying dark secrets that are closely intertwined, caught in a world between slave and free, a world which is becoming more fragile and precarious as war threatens and alliances shift, and each harboring seemingly impossible dreams of a better future.

In this first book of a dark historical saga, K. Willow paints a lush, emotional portrait of scandal, murder, injustice, and the ties that bind in the antebellum South.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781502953797

Series: The Hidden Hills Saga,


Genres: Historical Fiction, Southern Lit


Published by Self Published Author

on 21st November 2014

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 276

Self Published Author via CreateSpace & BookBaby
Available Formats: Paperback & Ebook

About K. Willow

K. Willow

K. Willow is a novelist and award-winning writer with a background in television, film, theatre, and soap operas. She writes dark historical and urban fantasy and lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband.

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Hidden Hills is the setting; the plantation is where the drama revolves:

Willow has started a series set at a plantation within the proximity of Hidden Hills, of which by observation is within range of Charleston. It is here where she sets her characters and her saga to have the foundation laid for the ensuing novels that will follow Ice Whispers. Hidden Hills is aptly named as there are a heap of hidden secrets whispering around the willows and shade trees as their are stars in the heavens! It’s quite an interesting set-up where nary a character is immune to one of the bubbling controversies that are bubbling to the surface, save Aggie. (or at least thus far)

In this place, perception is paramount above all else (as in most Southern Lit stories, the classes are sharply writ and reflected against each other; the same as they are in Victorian or Regency stories) and if someone takes an unfortunate step out of where they are slated to belong, the upturning effect could be quite devastating. There are darker shades of reflection on how women are treated (both slave and free) and how certain men treat their wives without compassion for their well-being. Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Wednesday, 14 October, 2015 by jorielov in 19th Century, African-American History, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Equality In Literature, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Psychological Abuse, Realistic Fiction, Self-Published Author, Small Towne USA, The Deep South, Vulgarity in Literature

Book Review | A reader happily returns to #ButternutLake in “Moonlight on Butternut Lake” by Mary McNear the 3rd novel in an expanding series with upcoming new installments in 2016/17!

Posted Wednesday, 26 August, 2015 by jorielov , , , , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By:

Curious story: I participated on the “Butternut Summer” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours in 2014; wherein I was able to request reading “Up at Butternut Lake” which I received outside of the blog tour and posted my ruminations for my own edification and a review of “Butternut Summer” as part of the blog tour itself. When “Moonlight on Butternut Summer” went on tour this Spring with TLC Book Tours I missed jumping on board the blog tour by mere days, and took it upon myself to contact William Morrow directly.

Unlike other book bloggers, I tend to rely on the touring companies to bring authors and their stories to me rather than contacting publishers directly for books in exchange for honest reviews. I have become a bit more bold in requesting books directly from publishers over the past year, as I have several reviews upcoming this September where I made the enquiry myself rather than as a blogger with a touring company. When it came to the next installment of Butternut Lake, I felt it in my bones it was the right choice to extend a note to William Morrow because I have believed in this series since I first read “Up at Butternut Lake”.

Due to health reasons and severe lightning storms, the past several months have been a bit unique and my blog’s schedule has been adjusted to where most of my reviews for Spring and Summer are shifting into September or Autumn directly. During these months, as I sought to re-schedule this review, JKS Communications approached me about reviewing or interviewing the author attached to “Moonlight on Butternut Lake” which I took as a positive sign I had an extended delay! Therefore, not only can I post my review but I was able to coordinate an author Q&A about the Butternut Lake series!

I received a complimentary copy of “Moonlight on Butternut Lake” direct from the publisher William Morrow in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. I received the Press Kit Materials direct from JKS Communications to use on my review and the interview which posts in conjunction with it.

Inspired to Read: 

I originally posted this explanation on my review of “Butternut Summer” and it still is a good summary of why I fell in love with the series as a whole and why I was itching to read the then unknown title of this novel which is it’s third installment. I can add that I was hoping against hope Butternut Lake might find wings to expand past the original trilogy – especially as I hadn’t known about the novella Butternut Lake: The Night Before Christmas. I found the novella has been released in print and it is a current request through my local library’s ILL (inter-library loan) services.

On my review for Up at Butternut Lake, I discussed my general interest in reading a Contemporary Romance novel, but tonight what I wanted to share about my inspiration to read Butternut Summer is simply motivated by being stirred with such an evoking of narrative as to tempt me to devour the sequel without pausing for breath! The characters inside Up at Butternut Lake are incredibly inspiring due to the spirit of who they are individually and as a community at large. These are the types of stories that I cherish discovering as they not only encourage your spirit and heart as you read them, but they enliven your hours with such a beautiful expanse of fiction that your bubbling over in pure joy for having read them! I could not wait to dive into Butternut Summer, and it was a bit grieving to realise there would be a long wait until the conclusion of the trilogy; except to say, the small excerpt in the Appendix of this P.S. Edition truly helped provide a salve!

Book Review | A reader happily returns to #ButternutLake in “Moonlight on Butternut Lake” by Mary McNear the 3rd novel in an expanding series with upcoming new installments in 2016/17!Moonlight on Butternut Lake
by Mary McNear
Source: Direct from Publisher

Mila Jones, a young woman fleeing a dark past, has accepted a job on Butternut Lake taking care of Reid Ford, who is recovering from a car accident that nearly killed him. This is Mila’s chance for a fresh start. But Reid, brooding and embittered, does everything he can to make her quit. Mila refuses to give up.

Against all odds, Mila slowly draws Reid out. Soon they form a tentative, yet increasingly deeper, bond with each other, as well as becoming part of the day-to-day fabric of Butternut Lake itself. But the world has a way of intruding, even in such a serene place…and when Mila’s violent ex-husband becomes determined to find her, she and Reid are forced to face down the past.

Perfect for lovers of Susan Wiggs, Debbie Maccomber, and Kristin Hannah, Moonlight on Butternut Lake is a novel of courage, romance, and resilience that is to be savored and shared.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Also by this author: Up at Butternut Lake, Butternut Summer, Interview with Mary McNear

Series: Butternut Lake, Butternut Lake Trilogy


Also in this series: Up at Butternut Lake, Butternut Summer


Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945)


Published by William Morrow

on 12th May 2015

Format: P.S. Edition Paperback

Pages: 384

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The Butternut Lake Trilogy turns into a Series:

Up At Butternut Lake, No.1 (synopsis)

Butternut Summer, No.2 (synopsis)

Butternut Lake: The Night Before Christmas, Novella (synopsis)

Moonlight on Butternut Lake *this review!*

Book No.4 *releases 2016* | Book No.5 *releases 2017*

Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo. Read More

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Posted Wednesday, 26 August, 2015 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book | Novel Excerpt, CNAs and Home Health Aides, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Humour Therein, Disabilities & Medical Afflictions, Domestic Violence, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, JKS Communications: Literary Publicity Firm, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Life Shift, Medical Fiction, Minnesota, Modern Day, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Singletons & Commitment, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Writing Style & Voice