Category: Upper Mid-West America

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.

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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 LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

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.

Read More

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 | “See Also Deception” (A Marjorie Trumaine #Mystery, No.2) by Larry D. Sweazy

Posted Friday, 13 May, 2016 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 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 ARC copy of “See Also Deception” 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 why I love reading the Marjorie Trumaine Mysteries:

Sweazy has a lovely tone of delivery inside his stories – especially in regards to See Also Murder, as he takes his time introducing his characters whilst giving you the strength of their lives up front. His gentle manner of allowing his characters to warm to you is what granted me the most joy in curling inside the novel – I could tell I was on the fringe of rallying behind Marjorie Trumaine straight out of the gate! His poetic glimpses of farm life in the Dakotas, of singling out moments of paused reflection were a delight to entreat inside because they earnestly told living truths about the lifestyle the Trumaine’s lived. I appreciated the way the novel started to become such an enjoyable feast of words, expressions and observational nuggets of the author’s impressions on behalf of his world.

Mr Sweazy injected such heartache inside his character’s heart, but he etched out the hard lines with feather kisses of hope and an underscored will to survive in the face of so much uncertainty. In the character Marjorie Trumaine he created the strength of a woman who was an equal to the natural environ of her home – the Dakotas have such fierce weather patterns, they alone can strengthen your resolve (or break it if your unable to deal with the influx of change on such a high frequency); but it’s how he’s given her something to focus on with an orderly task within the publishing industry that fused her will to her lifeline of hope that I felt was most fitting of all. It spoke to her true nature and to the spirit of the young girl she once was who found solace in stories.

To read the rest of my thoughts and what inspired me to read the #MarjorieTrumaineMysteries kindly read my review on behalf of the first novel in the series ‘See Also Murder’!

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Book Review | “See Also Deception” (A Marjorie Trumaine #Mystery, No.2) by Larry D. SweazySee Also Deception
Subtitle: A Marjorie Trumaine Mystery
by Larry D. Sweazy
Source: Direct from Publisher

October 1964—just months after freelance indexer Marjorie Trumaine helped solve a series of murders in Dickinson, North Dakota, she is faced with another death that pulls her into an unwanted investigation. Calla Eltmore, the local librarian, is found dead at work and everyone considers it suicide. But Marjorie can’t believe that Calla would be capable of doing such a thing.

At Calla’s wake, Marjorie’s suspicions are further aroused when she notices something amiss in the open casket. But neither the sheriff nor the coroner are interested in her observation.

Despite pressing job commitments and the burden of caring for a husband in declining health, Marjorie recruits Deputy Guy Reinhardt to help her uncover the truth. What she finds is a labyrinth of secrets that she had no knowledge of— and threats from someone who will kill to keep these secrets hidden.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781633881266

Also by this author: See Also Murder

Also in this series: See Also Murder


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


Published by Seventh Street Books

on 10th May, 2016

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 244

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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 | review

See Also Deception | No.2 | Happy #PubDay! 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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Marjorie Trumaine: a survivor and a small towne heroine:

When it comes to fondly remembering what centred me most inside the footsteps of Marjorie Trumaine, I had to think directly on what makes her a survivor and a small towne heroine – Marjorie doesn’t shy away from difficulty, she walks straight through the eye of a tornado instead! She bolsters herself with courage she never knew she had such a well of depth to pull from as she navigates the changing tides of her small Dakota towne whilst attempting to find a footpath to settle herself upon which might bring her financial security for herself and her disabled husband Hank. She’s a character whose rooted to her farm, her community and the people who make her life well-lived and full of meaning. She cares about her fellow neighbours and has a long history of pride of her ancestral roots wherein her fortitude of strength can be readily foreshadowed out of the annals of her family’s living history.

Marjorie takes stock of things most might dismiss out of hand – she has a quick perception to recognise a visual clue waving itself in front of her eyes to alert her that something is not quite as it seems; thus giving her a bit of an edge on others who might not understand the truth they have yet to see for themselves. She’s not just a survivor of fate’s cruelty and the hardships of a farmer’s wife without the full use of the acres they have to spare but of life’s unexpected curves, which can test you well outside your point of return if you let them. She’s the type of heroine any small towne would rally behind because she seeks the truth in every situation and attempts to thwart her own prejudgements in exchange for re-assessing what is known by what she knows to be true herself. It’s a credit to what makes her uniquely genuine and a constant well of strength for the residents of Dickinson. Read More

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Posted Friday, 13 May, 2016 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Indexing, Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction, Detective Fiction, Equality In Literature, Homestead Life, Indie Author, Lady Detective Fiction, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Librarians & Library Staff, Library Catalogues & Databases, Prometheus Books, Publishing Industry & Trade, Small Towne USA, The Sixties, Upper Mid-West America, Vulgarity in Literature

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.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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!

Read More

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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