Category: Utah

Blog Book Tour | “Right Next to Me” by Rachel Ward The sophomore release of a #SweetRomance author I discovered last August whose given me another lovely Contemporary Rom!

Posted Monday, 4 September, 2017 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 a blog tour hostess with Cedar Fort for the past three years, wherein I took a brief hiatus from hosting before resuming August 2016. I appreciate the diversity of the stories the Indie publisher is publishing per year, not only for fiction and non-fiction but for healthy eats within their Front Table Books (cookbooks). I appreciate their dedication to writing general market, INSPY reads and LDS focused stories across the genres they publish.

I received a complimentary copy of “Right Next to Me” 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.

Inspired to Read:

I first came across the writing style of Ms Ward last August, when I reviewed her debut novel “Dear Jane” which was a spin on a ‘Dear John’ letter! Here are some of my takeaways from my reading of her debut which truly struck a chord with me, as it was one of the few times a Contemporary gave me a lot of fodder to chew and appreciate whilst I was engaged with the story-line! Contemporaries for me are rather hit/miss a times – I love them, but ironically or not, I find them to be a difficult ‘fit’ for my own particular interests in what I am looking for in a Contemporary read. To find a debut novelist who added such a heap into their novel which not only was to my liking but provided such a strong entrance with an overall approach of giving a reader new to their style such a lot to contemplate was the truer gift within the chapters of ‘Dear Jane’!

Ward chose to tackle heady issues in her debut novel – as she talks openly about having to readjust after losing grace within the church and the tragic loss of a loved one from suicide. These are difficulties rooted into the fabric of where Quinn’s life is taking her once she’s back home, realising that the world has arrived at her doorstep. It’s the juxtaposition all children go through when their maturing past the school years, where everything that once felt rosy and bubbly full of light and spirit was suddenly a bit marred by a swelling darkness of reality. I felt Ward broached the difficulties well whilst giving Quinn a humble and honest reaction to each new trial she was facing as her family worked through the impossible.

I loved how Ward surprises her readers by introducing Nick’s backstory slowly as Quinn starts to spend more time with him. The interesting bit is that it’s a good life lesson about not always understanding a person’s past or their personality as sometimes their stand-offish behaviour has a reason behind it. Further curious is how through her conversations with Nick, Quinn started to soften her own guarded heart and openly talk about what bothered her on a personal level. They were each others’ huckleberry friend in brewing chaos where a new friendship was fast developing without their awareness. I felt this was the most authentic part of the turning point for Quinn’s life; where she was getting a feel for how first impressions are not always accurate and how serendipity has a way of affecting your life positively even if everything else feels upturnt.

Keeping true to a coming-of age tale, not everything is as it appears to be – even when things start to look like their turning round in Quinn’s favour. This was a bit frustrating if your reading the novel and want to see Quinn’s story end in happiness at some point. It felt like everything she felt was righting itself for the good in her life was being taken from her soon thereafter. However, as relationships are naturally complicated, Ward does present good folly for her characters to wrangle inside whilst trying to sort out what they truly want from each other and from life.

Ward etched in so much behind the relationships and the growing season for Quinn, that you nearly are not entirely ready to meet each new scene where tensions are as high as the emotions! I was a bit shocked by the depth of spite from Quinn’s mother at various intervals of the story as it developed; her paltry apology at the conclusion didn’t quite warm me to her or feel as if she vindicated herself from the misery she subjected her daughter(s) too. The best part I felt was the developing love story and the arc of narrative that proves that emergencies and non-traditional trajectories are more commonplace than you realise. Life comes around the corner so blaring fast, you have to bolster your strength out of your faith and hope you have the courage to face what tomorrow brings. If you do, you’ll find butterflies of joy alighting throughout the days where you feel you cannot be surprised in a good way after a succession of adversity.

-quoted from my review of Dear Jane

When Ms Ward contacted me about her sophomore release “Right Next to Me” – I must say, I was quite captured by the premise! I am always quite eager to read a ‘next book’ by an author who gave me such a stirring read the first time round and as I’m one of those readers who has the tendency to fall ‘behind’ on when the new releases are pending for her beloved authors – it is quite a lovely surprise to hear from one of them and be offered to read their ‘next story’!

I truly love Sweet Roms for their ability to have an undercurrent of simple joys and generally a walk of faith knitted into them (although not always, there are mainstream Sweet Roms, too) which gives a little added dimensional joy in reading them as I do love a wicked good INSPY! This one felt quite realistic to me – as there are times when you do wonder if the person you’ll find as your true match is hidden in plain sight – either near you in the present or unexpectedly will cross your path in the future in such a way as to take you off-guard and not realise you’ve ‘met’ your true love. I think everyone muses about how they will meet ‘whom’ their meant to be with in marriage and in life; who they will walk through life’s adventures and share their thoughts, hopes and dreams with whilst engaged in the art of living and the discoveries of the world. I was simply overjoyed Ms Ward reached out to me as this became a special ‘surprise’ for the ‘end of Summer’!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “Right Next to Me” by Rachel Ward The sophomore release of a #SweetRomance author I discovered last August whose given me another lovely Contemporary Rom!right next to me
by Rachel Ward
Source: Direct from Publisher

She has a crush on her boyfriend's best friend.

How long can a good thing last? Sydney was sure Gavin was the perfect boyfriend until he moved across the country for school. After spending more time with her best friend, James, she's now rethinking everything. Sydney's once sure footing in life slips even more as she discovers new details about her own father's betrayal. Scared she'll hurt Gavin like her father hurt her, Sydney must decide if she'll stay with the perfect boyfriend or the perfectly flawed boy who's been there all along.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781462128396

Also by this author: Dear Jane

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


Published by Bonneville Books

on 8th August, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 208

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

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Stories by Rachel Ward

Dear Jane by Rachel WardRight Next to Me by Rachel Ward

Dear Jane | debut novel | (see also Review)

Right Next to Me | sophomore release

Converse via: #RightNextToMe, #ContemporaryFiction, #CleanFiction

About Rachel Ward

Rachel Ward Photo Credit: Lindsay Walden Photography

Rachel Turner Ward graduated from Hillcrest High School after spending two years writing for the yearbook and the creative writing magazine. She then studied English at Brigham Young University­—Idaho, graduating with an emphasis in Literary Studies. She has contributed to several online publications, including Mormon Mommy Blogs and SheSteals. She has written a personal blog since 2009, Trapped Between a Scream and a Hug. Rachel lives in Salt Lake with her six children and husband of 15 years.

Photo Credit: Lindsay Walden Photography

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Posted Monday, 4 September, 2017 by jorielov in 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Brothers and Sisters, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Coming-Of Age, Disillusionment in Marriage, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Loss of an unbourne child, Modern Day, Mormonism, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Realistic Fiction, Self-Harm Practices, Siblings, Sisterhood friendships, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Unexpected Pregnancy, Upper YA Fiction, Utah

Blog Book Tour | “Dear Jane” by Rachel Ward An alternative story about receiving a ‘dear john’ letter from a feminine perspective.

Posted Sunday, 14 August, 2016 by jorielov , , , 3 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I have been a blog tour hostess with Cedar Fort for the past two years, wherein I took a brief hiatus from hosting before resuming this August 2016. I appreciate the diversity of the stories the Indie publisher is publishing per year, not only for fiction and non-fiction but for healthy eats within their Front Table Books (cookbooks). I appreciate their dedication to writing general market, INSPY reads and LDS focused stories across the genres they publish.

I was selected to be a part of the “Dear Jane” blog tour wherein I received a complimentary copy of “Dear Jane” 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.

Inspired to Read:

I love a good re-telling of a classic story-line and when I first read the premise behind ‘Dear Jane’, I had a feeling I would curl up inside this novel quite well! Who wouldn’t appreciate reading the female perspective on behalf of a ‘dear john’ letter?! Women were sent so many of those during the war eras – it was such a hard way of ending a relationship, especially difficult if the other person felt blindsided! I oft felt these were the hardest letters to receive – one moment your cruising along thinking all is well and then, bam! Your world is turnt upside down by such an incredibly deflating life moment erupting through your ordinary hours with such a force as to knock you down.

I wanted to see how Ms Ward would approach the classical bit of the story-line – the moment of realisation that her character Quinn was not on the path to matrimony but she was about instead to do an about-face and re-chart her life’s path. How would Quinn respond initially and what would re-ignite her joy to resume her path when all her plans are shredded and tossed into the bin!?

This is why I wanted to read this story! I wanted to see what kind of chutzpah Quinn had in her belly to take life’s unexpected fires and paint the sky with her own starlight as she rebuilds after feeling broken-hearted and alone.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “Dear Jane” by Rachel Ward An alternative story about receiving a ‘dear john’ letter from a feminine perspective.Dear Jane
by Rachel Ward
Source: Direct from Publisher

Quinn had her life perfectly planned out when she left on her mission: come home in eighteen months, marry her stunningly handsome boyfriend, and live happily ever after. But all that changed when Quinn got a Dear Jane email from the man she thought she was meant to be with. Now she's stuck at home with no boyfriend, no job, no major, and absolutely no social life.

Will Quinn ever find the path that leads to her eternal happiness?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781462118939

Also by this author: right next to me

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Sweet Romance


Published by Bonneville Books

on 1st August, 2016

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 256

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

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #DearJane, #ContemporaryFiction, #CleanFiction, #INSPY or #LDSFiction

About Rachel Ward

Rachel Ward Photo Credit: Lindsay Walden Photography

Rachel Turner Ward graduated from Hillcrest High School after spending two years writing for the yearbook and the creative writing magazine. She then studied English at Brigham Young University­—Idaho, graduating with an emphasis in Literary Studies. She has contributed to several online publications, including Mormon Mommy Blogs and SheSteals. She has written a personal blog since 2009, Trapped Between a Scream and a Hug. Rachel lives in Salt Lake with her six children and husband of 15 years.

Photo Credit: Lindsay Walden Photography

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Posted Sunday, 14 August, 2016 by jorielov in 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Brothers and Sisters, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Coming-Of Age, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Disillusionment in Marriage, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Loss of an unbourne child, Modern Day, Mormonism, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Realistic Fiction, Self-Harm Practices, Siblings, Sisterhood friendships, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Unexpected Pregnancy, Upper YA Fiction, Utah

Blog Book Tour | “The Quantum Deception” {Book 2 in the Mormon Hacker series} by Denver Acey

Posted Sunday, 22 March, 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 am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Cedar Fort whereupon I am thankful to have such a diverse amount of novels and non-fiction titles to choose amongst to host. I received a complimentary copy of “The Quantum Deception” direct from the publisher Bonneville Books (imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Although a PDF copy of “The Quantum Breach” was given to me by a publicist at Cedar Fort, I decided to ILL (inter-library loan) the book via my local library, as by borrowing a paperback copy I could easily read more of the book than the first chapter or thereabouts. I can honestly not read a novel in digital form, as I strictly only read Chapter Samplers and/or small excerpts to garnish a feel for a story and if I would appreciate reading it. Thereby, I borrowed the first novel in the series to get a feel for Acey’s style of story-telling as much for a clue into the series itself. I was not obligated to post my impressions of the book herein nor was I compensated.

Blog Book Tour | “The Quantum Deception” {Book 2 in the Mormon Hacker series} by Denver AceyThe Quantum Deception
by Denver Acey
Source: Direct from Publisher

The FBI Suburban was already waiting for Tanner in the parking lot. He ran up to it just as the rear passenger door opened from the inside. Tanner jumped in and closed the door before realizing the woman sitting next to him wasn't Agent Heywood. It was Reina, dressed in a blonde wig and wearing Sara's clothes.

It took Tanner a moment to realize he was being kidnapped.

Reformed cyber hacker Tanner Stone has been living a peaceful life in Utah. But all that changes when a plane mysteriously crashes into the mountains and Tanner links the "accident" to an ingenious Chinese computer virus.

Now it's up to him to prevent that same virus from destroying the financial data of everyone in America! But with stakes so high, he's not the only one searching for answers. And some will stop at nothing to find out what Tanner knows.

This action-packed thriller with explosive twists will keep you guessing. Fast-paced and suspenseful, it will change everything you know about Internet security.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Series: Mormon Hacker


Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Techno-Thriller


Published by Bonneville Books

on 10th March, 2015

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 288

The Quantumn Breach (Book One) (Synopsis on Riffle)

Published By: Published By: Bonneville Books (@BonnevilleBooks),

an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFortBooks)
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse on Twitter via: #MormonHackerSeries

About Denver Acey

Few people understand the terrifying, yet realistic threat of computer hacking like Denver Acey. Denver has spent his entire professional career in the information technology industry where he has witnessed and even thwarted actual cybercrime. From his top-secret job working for the US government to securing computer networks at Fortune 500 companies, Denver is personally familiar with hackers and their unscrupulous activities.

But over the years, Denver has become increasingly frustrated with Hollywood’s inaccurate portrayal of cybercrime. Hackers are more intelligent and more sophisticated than simple teenagers, who guzzle down Mountain Dew while playing video games. Cybercrime is a billion-dollar business that encompasses organized crime and foreign governments. For these elite hackers, the fruits of success are iconic trademarks, innovative patents, and government secrets.

Because of his unique background, Denver decided to write a book to dispel hacking myths while highlighting the tenacity of cybercriminals. Utilizing actual computer hacking concepts and scenarios that he has experienced firsthand, Denver illustrates — in a simple way for even the non-techie to understand — how vulnerable we all are to cybercrime.

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Posted Sunday, 22 March, 2015 by jorielov in 21st Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Chinese Literature, Crime Fiction, Espionage, Indie Author, Library Find, Modern Day, Mormonism, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Specialised Crime Investigator, Spy Fiction, True Crime, Utah

+Blog Book Tour+ Willow Springs by Carolyn Steele #PureRomance a debut from Cedar Fort Publishing & Media!

Posted Sunday, 24 August, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

 Parajunkee Designs

 Willow Springs by Carolyn Steele

Published By: Sweetwater Books (@SweetwaterBooks),
an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFortBooks)

Official Author Websites:  Site | @CarolynSteeleUT | Facebook

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #WillowSprings OR #CarolynSteele

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: 

I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Cedar Fort whereupon I am thankful to have such a diverse amount of novels and non-fiction titles to choose amongst to host. I received a complimentary copy of “Willow Springs” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

This particular book launches the new “Pure Romance” line of Inspirational Romance from Cedar Fort! I have a long-standing appreciation of reading inspiring stories of Romance (i.e. one of my original beloved stories was Frontier Lady by Judith Pella; you can read more on my review of Chain of Mercy) whether they are individual novels or novellas in print editions (i.e. Heartsong Presents or Love Inspired series),… I simply love being wrapped inside the lift of joy and spirit of a spiritual-centered romance! When I realised this was going to be the launch of a new series of novels, I simply could not pass up the chance to get to know this line from day one – forward! Besides, I have a soft spot for Westerns — if it has to do with the Frontier American small townes or life on the emerging frontier itself, there is a strong chance I’ll settle inside the story! Hence why I always loved watching Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman! (until the writing went a bit off-kilter in the latter seasons!)

One bit of an interesting connection to the story, is that part of my ancestry lies in Sweden! To read about a Swedish immigrant who was attempting to carve out a new life for herself felt like a natural fit for me! I always love reading stories that form connections to my ancestral past. Little snippets of insight I might not otherwise have had the pleasure of finding revealed.

+Blog Book Tour+ Willow Springs by Carolyn Steele #PureRomance a debut from Cedar Fort Publishing & Media!Willow Springs
by Carolyn Steele
Source: Direct from Publisher

Husbands. Crissa had to suppress a shudder at the thought. If I had wanted a husband, I would have stayed in Boston. Indeed, Crissa considered Willow Springs to be the nearest thing to her idea of purgatory. She certainly did not plan to stay here long.

Swedish immigrant Crissa Engleson fled Boston hoping to start a new life, unknown and unencumbered, on the American frontier. The quiet gold mining town of Willow Springs in the Utah desert seemed the perfect spot—until the intrigue of her past and rivalries of the town’s leading families enveloped her.

Unaware that a relentless bounty hunter is pursuing her, Crissa falls in love with Drake Adams, a handsome Pony Express rider and the son of an influential mine owner. While Drake returns Crissa’s interest, their courtship is thwarted by the pursuit of one of Drake’s rivals, who may be motivated more by malice than by love.

To realize her dreams, Crissa must confront her painful past and fight for her future head-on.

Places to find the book:

Also by this author: Soda Springs

Series: Pure Romance,


Also in this series: Sophia, The Second Season, To Suit a Suitor, Mischief & Manors, Unexpected Love, Lies & Letters, The Darkest Summer, The Secret of Haversham House, Love and Secrets at Cassfield Manor


Genres: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Western Fiction


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 12 August, 2014

Format: Paperback

Pages: 231

Carolyn Steele

Author Biography:

Born and raised in Utah, Carolyn Steele was introduced to western novels at a very young age by her grandfather, the son of a gold miner. She has been writing technical and marketing communications for most of her adult life. Her nonfiction articles have appeared in numerous national magazines. She earned her undergraduate degree in Communications from the University of Utah.

Married and living in Salt Lake City, Utah, Carolyn loves researching obscure history then weaving it into stories. She also enjoys family dinners with her children and grandchildren, photography, travel, golf, reading, and all forms of needlework.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Frontier Americana : Small Townes & Immigrants:

The American West was such a difficult area for settlers, frontier families, and those who were striving to make a new beginning inside their lives for the better. It is in a small towne on the route of the Pony Express, we enter the life of an immigrant (Crissa) who is living away from her parents in order to make a proper living for all of them. Here on the outskirts of the wilds of the West, we discover that for all the graces of small towne living one of the worst bits is uncovering projected jealousy through misunderstandings! I appreciated how the dusty and exhausted mining towne was brought to life, to show a reflection of difference between those who worked the mines and the townesfolk themselves, who attempted to provide the civilisation! It is rather interesting that I am reading about a second towne on the edge of elsewhere directly supported by a mine! The last story of course, was Flight to Coorah Creek, where I found myself over the moon in love with the inhabitants and the life of an ambulance aeroplane pilot! The similarities had me in a fit of smiles as I started to read Willow Springs!

I always have a particularly keen interest in ‘second chance stories’ and ‘stories of new beginnings’, where people are working hard to redeem their past and/or simply want to take off someplace new and forge a different kind of life than they had previously. I love the adventurous spirit as much as the true strength of belief that leaving everything you knew behind in your old life was necessary to create a new future; once you find where your feet land. Small towne fiction is always an ideal setting where characters can interact and yet, remain apart from each other as long as necessary at the same time. Observing the inter-dramatics of where the towne bends or yields rather to whichever new presence has arrived is part of the delight taking the journey through the story itself! Most of our ancestors, including my own, took it upon themselves to dig deep and strive towards seeking out new land, new experiences, and a new way of living when they originally came over from the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond. How lovely then it is to curl inside a historical story just a few stones outside our own living history to walk inside a person’s shoes who dared to do what our own ancestors did!

My Review of Willow Springs:

Inns, boarding houses, and restaurants were the bare necessities to keep frontier life on the cusp of being a bit more self-sufficient on a similar vein as their neighbouring large cities. I love how the action of hosting and waitressing inside of a small mining towne opens this inspiring romance to the expanding picture that surrounds Willow Springs! A towne where an unforgiving and oft-times judgmental township of residents eagerly jump on a bandwagon if it suits their fancy to cast aspersions on someone they hardly know properly! The fitting strength of determined grit and the lift of faith in knowing she was on the right path towards supporting her own kin, is what roots Crissa Engleson into the heart of the story; and sympathetically into a reader’s heart as well. Here we find her balancing an honest day’s work against the joys of spending time with the Inn Owner’s (Molly) children. The fact that she finds the dashingly handsome and coy mannerisms of one of the Pony Express Riders rounds out the introductory joy!

Most Western dramas have a darker shade of a soul living near to the main characters, and Steele doesn’t disappoint by including Garth Wight into the folds of the chapters! An ego-ridden brute of a bloke bent against years of angst, drunken reverie, and a path never materialising in front of him to stake a claim for gold, Garth is the type of fellow any girl would be smart to avoid! His bold and curt behaviour towards Crissa was not only uncalled for but it stirred the stoking fire of where the arc of the climax might take this sweet girl from Sweden! Seeing her speak in her native tongue as she attempts to make sense out of her everyday blights and adventures warmed my spirit as I appreciate when speakers of different languages can find their own voices to be heard in fiction. It gives a proper sense of dimension and an equality in literature that strives to reflect the world’s melting pot.

Crissa’s friendship with the Inn’s cook Marida, gives the most comedic moments by far, as the cook is never far from giving her a jolt of common sense intermixed with a reassuring ear when life is turnt upside down. Marida is feisty as she is nurturing, although I’d wager she’d rather be known for the former! Yet, when Crissa was celebrating the good news Marida had given her about her beau, she internally could not help but stop to wonder if a similar life of happiness was indeed meant for her own path. It was in this moment of uncertainty laced with thoughts of the past, Crissa was taken off guard and attacked quite brutally by Garth. His arrogance and aggression left her shattered emotionally, physically bruised, and inside the tight-knit community she found her footing was lost; the eyes of the towne judging her negatively though she did nothing wrong. This is typical of the era in which Crissa lived, but for me, I felt for her dearly in this moment as she was attempting to align herself with a solid group of trusted friends whilst she tried to make Willow Springs her home.

On the footheels of that fated night behind her, Crissa in true fashion to settle down the rumours had to make a quick exit out of towne, which led her directly back to a loving couple who were her surrogate family. Seeing the landscape of Salt Lake City (a city I’ve only seen visually on camera and/or during the Winter Olympics coverage) is painted beautifully for any reader who loves to knit inside of a backdrop which has a propensity for natural beauty. Steele gives out such a breath of wonder for a part of the country I know very little about, I nearly felt as though I were breathing in the vistas as Crissa observed them herself.

Your heart stirs as you read the story, as the drama continues to unfold at an alarming rate, especially after a precognitive dream cuts Crissa’s visiting plans short. The pulse of emotion is tight as the successive chapters reveal a bit of darkness looming over her young shoulders, and a bit of anguished grief as well. Her heart swells and bleeds through the intrepid sorrow of losing a dear friend of hers and in an attempt to bring normalcy to the children left behind, she starts to further question if her own path is going to be set to rights. The inclusion of her letters and her innermost thoughts as she tries to work out the best path through spiritual guidance and a cluster of hope tethered to her frazzled nerves, Crissa once more has to pick up the pieces of her life.

Steele has written an aptly real and raw romantic suspense novel, as just when you think every wicked and evil reason Crissa has turnt to live outside the shadow of her past, something new arises to draw her closer into harm. The vileness of how human behaviour can be quickly turnt to malice under the right circumstances knits the suspense into the backdrop of the romance; half budding and delayed from blooming. Intermixed into the thick of it is a beautiful yet deadly storyline about herbalists and the various uses of apothecary knowledge. All of this accumulates to a thundering run towards the ending — where your lurching forward with eager anticipation and with a bit of shock horror how one woman’s plight could take her so far deep into the psychosis of the human mind.

On the writing style of Carolyn Steele:

As soon as I started to read this novel, I was instantly thinking about a new Hallmark Channel tv series (thankfully, renewed for a second season!) When Calls The Heart (also a small mining towne); mostly as women in both story-lines have to prove their moxy, their faith, and their willingness to forge a life in a place where ‘rough and ready’ has yet to docile the wilds of the West. Her gentleness in conviction of a faith-centered life is a true lift of joy to read, as she allows her characters the grace to experience their lives with a spirituality that shines through their actions. The inner-workings of seeing where their personal thoughts lie (especially Crissa’s) on how their life is stitching together is a bit of bliss, as each shared moment of their internal world is written in italics (the same with the letters). The full effect of the latter years of the 19th Century are representative of the dialogue exchanges Crissa has with Marida, as Marida’s accented (of Italian decent) English is a bit different from Crissa’s who talks more like an avid reader than a regular commoner.

A sturdy voice for a romance, Carolyn Steele’s debut novel is wrapped inside the Inspirational category of offerings creating a heart-warming fixture for any reader of clean romance. The fact it happens to be the launching novel for the new series of stories under the ‘Pure Romance’ line of novels by Cedar Fort, extends the joy of finding it. The joy of reading the story was a double-fold blessing as the lulling canopy of reading this novel helped to ease my own tensions from being a new self-hosted book blogger. I felt a lot of anxiety consume me over the weekend, as the hours spent sorting out a new hosted site and a heap of upgrades made me feel a bit harried to say the least. Soaking inside Willow Springs, is like walking inside the comfort of a familiar tale of a family friend whose strength and spirit helped renew your own. Reading is such a calming balm to me and this story was a pure joy to consume. I cannot wait to discover what Ms. Steele will pen next nor to follow the joy of where the Pure Romance line will be taken through Cedar Fort!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

This Blog Tour Stop is courtesy of Cedar Fort, Inc:

Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

Virtual Road Map of “Willow Springs” Blog Tour can be found here:

Willow Springs Blog Tour with Cedar Fort

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Click-through to mark your calendars for:

Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in CanvaFun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

{SOURCES: Author photograph, Author Biography, Book Synopsis and Book Cover of “Willow Springs” were provided by the author Carolyn Steele and used with permission. The Cedar Fort badge was provided by Cedar Fort, Inc. and used by permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Bout of Books
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Posted Sunday, 24 August, 2014 by jorielov in 19th Century, Apothecary, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Brigham Young, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Deception Before Matrimony, Domestic Violence, Dreams & Dreamscapes, Equality In Literature, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Herbalist, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Life in Another Country, Mormonism, Naturopathic Medicine, Salt Lake City, Small Towne Fiction, Utah, Western Fiction, Western Romance, Widows & Widowers