Category: Small Towne USA

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

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

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

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

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

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Why this series first appealed to me to be reading:

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

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

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

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

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-1555177034

Also by this author: to Walk in his Moccasins

Also in this series: to Walk in his Moccasins


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


Published by Bonneville Books

on 1st September, 2003

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 189

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

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

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

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The Painting on the Pond Series:

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

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

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

Converse via: #INSPY #Suspense & #RealisticFiction

About Sharon Lewis Koho

Sharon Lewis Koho

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

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

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

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

Book Review | “Idyll Fears” (Book Two: of the Thomas Lynch Novels) by Stephanie Gayle

Posted Friday, 4 May, 2018 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 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 “Idyll Fears” direct from the publisher Seventh Street Books (an imprint of Prometheus Books) in exchange for an honest review. The copy of “Idyll Threats” I borrowed via interlibrary loan through my local library I was not obligated to post a review as I am doing so for my own edification as a reader who loves to share her readerly life. I was not compensated for my thoughts shared herein.

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On why I thought I’d enjoy this series and how I approached starting to read it:

As this is a series in progress, I wanted to seek out the first novel in the series Idyll Threats – seemingly easy at first, as it was simply a matter of queuing into my ILL-cat (ie. Interlibrary loan catalogue) to fetch a copy and then awaiting the book to arrive. However, the trouble ensued shortly after it was borrowed as for whichever reason, the copy I had been sent by the lending library not only smelt oddly but it was difficult to read – the ordour and the condition of the pages were quite horrid – I could barely handle reading a few passages, so I skipped around a bit in the opening chapters, trying to ascertain an instinct of insight into the lead character: Thomas Lynch before returning it to the library with a critical complaint on its condition.

What I gathered in my short readings was a man who reminded me of Jesse Stone but without the warm sympathetic personality; Lynch was hardened, not just due to life but due to the fact he was living within a region where there is staunch prejudice towards different lifestyles – as he’s an openly gay police chief, you can well imagine the difficulties he faces on the job and in his down-time.

I was a bit concerned with the undertone of the series, as at first reading, I noticed the series is ‘clipped and short’ in both temper and style. It’s hard to put it into words, but this had a decidedly ‘different’ approach to telling a police procedural story. In many regards, I was aching for Jesse Stone to walk into scene as Lynch himself is hard to approach – his personality is edgy at best but it’s his dedication to the job and to the citizens he’s protecting which does (sort of) win you over. I say this as even before I picked up Idyll Fears, I had a keen suspicion what I forethought about the series was ill-placed, as this could soon become a DNF for me instead. Still. Despite the false-starts, I kept trying to begin reading it – to see if I could gleam insight into who Lynch is and to gather a better feel for how Gayle plots us through his life.

In essence, wherein I warmed immediately to Marjorie Trumaine, Anna Blanc, Hiro Hattori and even Samuel Craddock – the four investigators I love most from Seventh Street Books authors, Lynch unfortunately was a hard person to feel inclined to know more about simply because I found the series more than a bit off-putting by how it was told and developed. It had nothing to do with Lynch being openly gay either – as I regularly read LGBTQ+ stories wherein there are many lead characters who are gay or lesbian including my beloved sleuthing series spearheaded by the lovely Willa Cather and Edith Lewis. No, it has to do with tone, delivery and the undercurrents of how this series is set to life – it just didn’t jazz well with me to be honest.

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Book Review | “Idyll Fears” (Book Two: of the Thomas Lynch Novels) by Stephanie GayleIdyll Fears
Subtitle: A Thomas Lynch Novel
by Stephanie Gayle
Source: Borrowed from local library (ILL), Direct from Publisher

Police Chief Thomas Lynch investigates the disappearance of a six-year-old boy with a serious medical condition while coping with disrespect from townspeople and colleagues who don’t like the fact that he’s gay.

It’s two weeks before Christmas 1997, and Chief Thomas Lynch faces a crisis when Cody Forrand, a six-year-old with a life-threatening medical condition, goes missing during a blizzard. The confusing case shines a national spotlight on the small, sleepy town of Idyll, Connecticut, where small-time crime is already on the rise and the police seem to be making mistakes left and right. Further complicating matters, Lynch, still new to town, finds himself the target of prank calls and hate speech that he worries is the work of a colleague, someone struggling to accept working with a gay chief of police.

With time ticking away, Lynch is beginning to doubt whether he’ll be able to bring Cody home safely…and whether Idyll could ever really be home.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781633883574

Genres: Crime Fiction, LGBTQIA Fiction, Police Procedural


Published by Seventh Street Books

on 5th September, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 320

Published By: Seventh Street Books (@SeventhStBooks)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

About Stephanie Gayle

Stephanie Gayle Photo Credit: Sayamindu Dasgupta

Stephanie Gayle is the author of Idyll Threats, the first Thomas Lynch Novel, and My Summer of Southern Discomfort, which was chosen as one of Redbook’s Top Ten Summer Reads and was a Book Sense monthly pick. Gayle has also published stories and narrative nonfiction pieces, including two Pushcart Prize nominees.

Photo Credit: Sayamindu Dasgupta

The Thomas Lynch Novels:

Series Overview: A gay police chief in small-town Connecticut must deal with close-minded attitudes and threats to his career while he investigates serious crime.

Idyll Threats by Stephanie GayleIdyll Fears by Stephanie Gayle

Idyll Threats | Book One | Synopsis

Idyll Fears | Book Two

Idyll Hands | Book Three | Synopsis ← forthcoming release September, 2018!

Converse via: #ThomasLynch + #Mysteries

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Posted Friday, 4 May, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Crime Fiction, Detective Fiction, Prometheus Books, Small Towne USA, Texas, Vulgarity in Literature

#Harlequin #SuperRomance Book Review | “Nights Under the Tennessee Stars” (part of a duology) by Joanne Rock

Posted Sunday, 8 April, 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 a host for Lola’s Blog Tours back in [2015] – enjoying working with Lola to showcase the authors who were using her services with their stories until my personal life tipped the scales a bit in regards to what I could handle doing back then and what I needed to realise was a sign I needed to withdraw from a few newer commitments to seek better balance in the future. It was a two year journey – of being mindful and conscious of pulling back on requesting too many books – which at the time I hadn’t thought I was doing – opting instead for a reduced blog schedule which yielded better personal health. It was also prior to recognising my chronic migraines were not going to ‘go away’ on their own and I had to take steps to curb their re-appearances; hence why in [2016] I started to seek out audiobooks in earnest as a break from reading books in print.

Originally, I was meant to post my reviews of both novels “Promises Under The Peach Tree” and “Nights Under the Tennessee Stars” within the same week of each other. I did receive them with an open-ended deadline – meaning, they were received without an obligation to post an immediate honest review and could be read in my leisure. Thus, as [2017] took it’s final countdown to greet [2018] I found I could finally re-focus on the stories awaiting me on my backlogue.

I received a complimentary copy of “Nights Under the Tennessee Stars” direct from the author Joanne Rock in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

What I enjoyed about the first half of this duology:

I don’t believe I’ve read a more intensely emotional opening sequence of a novel than this one! At least, not for quite a long time. Nina is beyond distraught over her emotional angst stemming from a past relationship she’s never allowed herself to heal from or recover out of – as noted by how her impulsive emotional triggers are responding to things never spoken aloud. Mack on the other hand is trying to find a way to tread through his return to Heartache – a call from his brother was insisting he was needed; his brother had a marriage drifting towards divorce, their mother was having a bad spell with her mental health struggles and meeting up with his teenage love Nina was pushing him a bit over the edge. To be honest, neither of them were ready to see each other, much less try to fill the gap of the years they had been apart with idle conversation now.

Nina’s emotional health was shouldered on the surface of her being – she didn’t hold back and she didn’t wait long enough to think through what she wanted to say either. She simply spoke her mind – whatever she was feeling at that moment and ran with it. This sort of brokered trouble because she misread most of the conversation – especially in regards to the motives behind Mack’s return to their hometown. His intentions were to help his family, she only believed he wanted to goad his success over her own failures – the sad truth really is they both were emotionally shattered by how their relationship ended. Ironically or not, they each had a different point-of-view on their exit from their romance affected them long-term – of how theirs was a relationship which should have lasted but only left them with remorse, regret and uncertainty of what really went wrong.

Heartache is well named – the residents have a hard time expressing their emotions – some leave their emotions bottled inside them, others shout to release them and a few have no understanding about how to even approach expressing themselves until they find the harsh words they say in haste isn’t the right way round to fix the issue at hand. The characters, young and old are struggling to find resolution in their lives – the teens are emotionally anguished by their families choices and the adults, are either still trying to heal their own teenage lives (as a lot happened with affected the whole town when one teen died tragically premature) or they have difficulties in their relationships. Some have commitment issues, others struggle to accept they can parent children without the worrying concerns over inherited health issues whilst a few are just trying to find stability in their lives as a measure of growth past their adversities.

I admit, I was a bit more wrapped inside Ally’s struggle to find truth and understanding about her mental health issues than I was as held by Nina and Mack’s hard-fought restitution for past hurts. There were a lot of back and forth narrative choices which muddled Nina and Mack’s growth from the past but also, at one point, I was finding myself not as interested in if they resolved their issues or if they parted company. Their story-line I didn’t feel was the strongest one in the novel – it was Ally, her friends at school and the break-down of her parents marriage which I felt held far more traction of interest.

-quoted from my review of Promises Under the Peach Tree

As I had mentioned previously, it was my intention to read both stories in this duology back-to-back, however, I had a difficult month for health and wellness in March, 2018 which threw off most of my reading life. I enjoyed the stories I was able to tuck inside but overall, I yearned to read more of the stories I felt were calling to me to be read as Spring started to come into sight. We had a small shift in our weather patterns this year – where Spring came quite unexpectedly ‘later’ than usual! For my family and I, this was quite the blessing – as the idyllic glimpse Ms Rock gives in her Author’s Note about why she *loves!* slipping back into Heartache, Tennessee in Nights Under the Tennessee Stars is reminiscent of what I long to find myself – a slower pace of living hugged close to the natural world, where you not only can see the stars but you can feel the joys of the Seasons as they enter and exit your life.

Spring is generally a difficult season for me (pollen allergies) however, I had a small reprieve from fighting them whilst finding my heart uplifted due to the cooler weather patterns, the overcast skies and the joyfulness of watching the seasonal birds hearken from above as they found new places to nest in the boughs of the trees they call home this time of the year. When you hear the songbirds singing and feel the last bits of cold nipping in the air, you know Spring is coming soon. I thrive in colder weather, make no mistake and although, I shudder to think about how abominable Summer’s wrath will be – it’s nice to read about settings and locales like Heartache where you feel the climate doesn’t suffocate you nearly as much and where you can relax into the community.

As I feel a renewal in focus in my readings this April, it is nice to have my ‘send-off’ to Heartache to be at the start of the month, just as Spring is starting to bloom in front of me. And, let’s pray the pollen levels are not as increased as they have been in years past,… honestly that is not something I wish to repeat!

In regards to the hopeful message about love and the inspiring joy of reading Romances where you know despite the adversity or anguish – a happier ending is coming round for the characters – I had to smile as I read the author’s words in this vein of thought! This is what first attracted me to reading Romances all those years ago as a young girl – I loved being caught up in the moments, between the first meeting and the joyfulness of finding love take root in the heart’s of the characters I was growing attached to watching come together as each chapter ended. Romances are the heart-blood of our living realities – as it is the celebration of part of the goodness in our lives, the moments where we seek out of love and find it warmly reciprocated. It is wonderful to find other authors who feel the same way as we do (the readers) as it makes it a happy celebration of the stories we all love most to find!

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#Harlequin #SuperRomance Book Review | “Nights Under the Tennessee Stars” (part of a duology) by Joanne RockNights under the Tennessee Stars
by Joanne Rock
Source: Author via Lola's Blog Tours

Heartache—the best place to heal

Erin Finley heads home to Heartache, Tennessee, after the perfect guy turns out to be anything but. She throws herself into running a vintage store with her sister and surrounding herself with the comforts of her small town. Then one rainy night, TV producer Remy Weldon shows up and almost sweeps her off her feet!

Remy sees more in Erin than she sees in herself. Quirky, beautiful and capable, he needs her for his antiques show—and for himself. Because Erin is the first star Remy’s found in the very dark night that has become his life. And she might just be able to lead him into the dawn…

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780373609079

Also by this author: Promises Under the Peach Tree

Also in this series: Promises Under the Peach Tree


Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Romance Fiction


Published by Harlequin Super Romance

on 7th April, 2015

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

Published By: Harlequin Books (@HarlequinBooks)
via their imprint Harlequin Super Romance

A Harlequin Super Romance duology:

Promises Under the Peach Tree by Joanne RockNights Under the Tennessee Stars by Joanne Rock

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

Converse on Twitter via: #HarlequinBooks + #HarlequinSuperRomance; #Contemporary #Romance

four-flames

I’ve started adding ‘flames’ when I’m reading Romances where the descriptions inside were a bit more than I was thinking they would be – in other words, I am definitely a reader who finds ‘less is more’ and where a lot of what makes a Romance work for me doesn’t necessary have to be spent on the page. This Romance is a bit tamer than a few I’ve read recently but it still merits the flames as it doesn’t leave that much to your imagination.

About Joanne Rock

Three-time RITA nominee Joanne Rock never met a romance subgenre she didn't enjoy. The author of over sixty romances from contemporary to medieval historical, Joanne dreams of one day penning a book for every Harlequin series. A former Golden Heart recipient, she has won numerous awards for her stories. Learn more about Joanne's imaginative Muse by visiting her at the sites below.

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Posted Sunday, 8 April, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Child out of Wedlock, Coming-Of Age, Contemporary Romance, Cutting, Equality In Literature, Family Life, Fly in the Ointment, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Lola's Blog Tours, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Modern Day, Prejudicial Bullying & Non-Tolerance, Psychological Abuse, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Self-Harm Practices, Singletons & Commitment, Small Towne USA, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Transfer Student at School, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Health