Category: Washington

#PubDay Book Review | “Chai Another Day” (Book Four: The Spice Shop Mysteries) by Leslie Budewitz a cosy mystery series by one of my favourite crime publishers Seventh Street Books!

Posted Tuesday, 11 June, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Books 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.

However, their imprints Seventh Street Books & Pyr were merged into Start Publishing in [2019] – wherein I had the pleasure of being approached by their new publicity team via Kaye Publicity this Spring wherein I was first introduced to the Spice Shop Mysteries as I was told about a forthcoming release this June – “Chai Another Day” for which I am receiving for review consideration. I decided to back-read the series as this marks the fourth in an on-going series. Uniquely enough, the first three were published by Berkley Prime Crime and the fourth installment is being published by Seventh Street Books.

I borrowed the first three novels in the Spice Shop Mysteries “Assault and Pepper”, “Guilty as Cinnamon” and “Killing Thyme” in paperback from my local library via inter-library loan through the consortium of libraries within my state. 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.

I received a complimentary copy of “Chai Another Day” direct from Seventh Street Books in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for my thoughts shared herein.

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on why i was drawn into the spice shop mysteries:

You could say it felt like a homage to what I personally loved about being in the Pacific Northwest when I was eighteen – I had the chance to visit Seattle and Pike’s Place Market – it was a trip which left quite the impression on me. For starters, my aversion to sunshine was no longer an issue and my entire spirit soared without the oppressively volcanic presence of the Sun. The glare was gone being that I traded regions to where even sunlight filtered through clouds at a different angle than what I had become accustomed too. The whole setting in the West is uniquely different from other parts of the States – yet, it was the vibe of Pike’s Place which left the strongest impression.

Thereby, when I first learnt of the Spice Shop Mysteries – my heart hungered to read them, as any excuse to re-visit my memories spent walking through the marketplace would be a lovely excursion to take as it marked a moment in my life where I loved being in a walkable downtown which was vibrantly alive with merchants and artisans who were both approachable and hilarious to speak too.

Yes, I even saw the infamous fishmongers happily throwing their fish and trying to get everyone to celebrate the spontaneous joy in our lives. It was the blueberry vendors who struck a chord with my foodie heart – from their oils to their wines and how the magic shoppe and the Hollywood memorabilia shoppe left strong impressions due to the beauty of conversing with people with like-minded interests. The market itself had everything you needed for your basket and then some, replete with fresh cut flowers and other knicks or knacks you might not expect to find. Always a kind smile, a hearty laugh and loads of healthy sampling to see what your palette might appreciate eating.

I could see how a spice shop would thrive here – the downtown corridor in and round the marketplace itself had heaps of hills and it was definitely walkable as the traffic wasn’t (at the time) like other cities where pedestrians might struggle against the heavy flow and constant shifting of cars. After reading the author’s notes on behalf of the market today compared to the market I once knew myself – my memories are as old as Sleepless in Seattle as Pike’s Place then was most comparable to the one I saw IRL. I’m certain that the lay of the land now is quite uniquely different – from what she mentioned of the change in structures and buildings – not to mention the relocation of a highway! Laughs. I still remember how lovely it was to just be in a place where independent businesses were thriving and where it was possible to have personable conversations with the growers of the local produce, fruit, flowers, cheese and artisan goods. The concept is much more transparent nowadays across large and small cities alike but back then it was quite the extraordinary concept!

Now, if only spice shoppes and markets had caught-on in the slow food movement and were readily accessible as health food stores, now that would be progress I’d appreciate seeing come full circle into our everyday lives!

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Mostly though – what intrigued me the most is the publisher I know for publishing wicked good dramatic Crime Fiction was now enticing me to try their Cosy side of the ledger! I will also say, as the publisher changed hands – when the book arrived I wasn’t sure if there would be a change in style and format for the finished copies, as previously I had mostly received their (print) ARCs with a few finished copies here or there for Seventh Street Books.

Chai Another Day was happily a wider trade paperback edition – where you could easily open the pages, see the layout and even the font was easier on the eyes – if you directly compared this fourth installment to the previous three when the series was with Berkley. However, in regards to previous Seventh Street Books releases – the format was refreshingly new as they were the more standard version of the trade paperback than this particular one where it felt more akin to a 5×7 size than the regular versions your used to holding in your hands. I honestly preferred it for this Cosy as it made reading it quite the ease and after so many migraines plaguing me recently, ease of reading a story was priority one!

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#PubDay Book Review | “Chai Another Day” (Book Four: The Spice Shop Mysteries) by Leslie Budewitz a cosy mystery series by one of my favourite crime publishers Seventh Street Books!Assault and Pepper
Subtitle: A Spice Shop Mystery
by Leslie Budewitz
Source: Borrowed from local library (ILL)

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780425271780

Genres: Cosy Mystery, Amateur Detective, Crime Fiction


Setting: Pike's Place Market, Seattle Washington


Published by Berkley Prime Crime, Seventh Street Books

on 3rd March, 2015

Format: Mass Market Paperback

Pages: 289

Published By: Berkley Prime Crime (@BerkleyMystery)

imprint of Berkley Publishing (@BerkleyPub)

via Penguin Random House (@penguinrandom)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

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Initially, I had planned to read the first *three!* novels in this series, however, after five migraines this past May, I decided to simply focus on “Assault & Pepper” as I couldn’t listen to the audiobooks either due to time constraints and the after effects of my migraines. As you will see, the first novel in the series held my interest at first but that interest waned a bit once I was settled inside it. I decided to forego the first novel, as I had a proper sense of the setting & the way in which Ms Budewitz wanted us to feel a part of this world to where I moved directly into “Chai Another Day”. I think you might be pleasantly surprised by what I found inside the fourth novel,..

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my review of assault and pepper:

I could immediately relate to two things: temperatures below seventy-five and smelling Autumn through a palette of spices and herbs! There is something to be said for calmer climes and the foods which speak to our souls during the different seasons of the year. For me, I could skip over a volcanic Summer and a nausating Spring full of allergens in exchange for a calmer cloudy and grey environment wherein the air is crisper, the produce is healthier and your sense of season was a gentler influence than an abrasive and blundering thundercloud of insanity. Already, as soon as I started reading Assault and Pepper, I was clued into how much angst I have living where I do.

The irony of course, is they are lamenting about the uses of spice for fish and meat; something which would never interest me (save the odd scallops here or there) as I’m a veghead vegan in the making! I’d rather know how you could grill, roast, saute and otherwise dress your veg and fruits than know about the dry rubs you need for a carnivore. Despite that – the aromas and aromatics they are inviting into my sensory memories reflects my own spicy life as a home cook as I have the tendency of appreciating the warmer spices throughout the year. It isn’t that I don’t like lighter foods but my wheelhouse always includes the posher spices of India or the flavourings of the Mediterranean. You can do loads with those spices – they indulge your creativity – especially once you master Garam Marsala and Turmeric!

The specialty tea blends, ah, now your talking! I love loose teas but I have to be careful with them as sometimes I opt instead for the bags as the loose varieties can be a bit strong even if your a careful steeper! The interesting bit is that I’ve learnt recently how you can cook or bake with tea blends – something I hadn’t realised in the past and I’m keen to explore it in the future.

I could definitely relate to Reed – I have a penchant for finding new ways to incorporate curry (the spice) into a lot of what I’m choosing to cook. By the time they were contemplating what to do with roasted squash and how to spice up their oatmeal, I had heard enough to know I wished this shoppe was a viable one in our own reality! Definitely keen on how I’m not the sole home cook who likes to switch things up in her saute pan, too! I also had a mad hankering for their tea samplers as although I prefer the warmer teas (full-on spices) there are a few floral teas I don’t mind though nothing overtly fruity as that’s just wrong.

Pepper’s ex-husband reminds me of why I enjoy the Coffeehouse Mysteries – these two series share that in common; where the ex-wives have moved forward with their lives but their exes haven’t quite caught on to the fact that some woman really do not want to reconcile the marriage they’ve divorced. Tag seemed to be the kind of bloke who liked to flirt no matter what his ex felt about him; almost as if it was its own inside tongue-and-cheek game between them – even if of course, from Pepper’s perspective it wasn’t likely to progress past the playful exchanges. On her end of it though, I sensed she liked her independence and enjoyed being single – or maybe, I was picking up on the fact she was thankful she was no longer married to Tag. It could swing either way – still too early-on to know what drew them apart to begin with and what led to the divorce. Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Tuesday, 11 June, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Amateur Detective, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction, Detective Fiction, Lady Detective Fiction, Modern Day, Pike's Place Market, Seattle, Washington, West Coast USA

Blog Book Tour | returning to The Bradford Sisters Romance series by Becky Wade within the third novel “Sweet On You”!

Posted Wednesday, 29 May, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

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

Acquired Book By:  I’ve been hosting for Prism Book Tours since September of 2017 – having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. As I enquired about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors when I’m not showcasing book reviews on behalf of Harlequin Heartwarming which has become my second favourite imprint of Harlequin next to my beloved #LoveINSPIRED Suspense. I am also keenly happy PRISM hosts a variety of Indie Authors and INSPY Fiction novelists.

I received a complimentary copy of “Sweet On You” direct from the publisher Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On the joy of re-visiting an INSPY Contemporary novelist I love reading,

within the Bradford Sisters Romance series – which reminds me dearly of a new series I am loving to watch via #HMNow which is “Chesapeake Shores” inspired by the book series from Sherryl Woods (an author I knew from the *Sweet Magnolias* series)…

You could say I have shared quite a heap about this series when I first hosted the blog tour for the second novel in the series – I simply took to the series quite immediately and I came to *love!* the ways in which Ms Wade was crafting the journey her characters were taking within the fuller breadth of where the Bradford Sisters were taking us all as we tucked close to their lives. The interesting bit is during May of 2019 I was able to finally see the first & second season of Chesapeake Shores (a tv series on Hallmark Channel) – wherein, I realised that the series on tv and this book series have a heap in common!

I have the tendency to seek out similar stories which are both familiar and dynamically drawn to give you a full glimpse into the life of a family. Whether the dynamic is made of three sisters like the Bradford’s or have a five sibling unit like the O’ Brien’s – one thing is for certain, if you look at my more recent readings of the Rocky Mountain Cowboys & Blackwell Brothers – you’ll notice how much I love soaking into sibling series! The same can be said of the Seasons of Alaska series, too! When it comes to family, small townes and siblings – I simply cannot get enough of the writers who are giving us heartwarming characters to fall in love with reading about – I am blessed I could continue where I left off with the Bradford’s as I was dearly curious what was going to happen with Britt!!

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I’m unsure how I would have reacted if the roles had been reversed – faux hostage situations to help those who needed to know how to handle these situations at the ready was not exactly something I’d see myself signing on to tackle. Then, again – if truth be told, I seriously doubt Nora would have fashioned herself a willing player in this game either if it hadn’t been for Britt. As we re-enter the Bradford family, we are finding the girls are well into their twenties, not the young girls of the novella Then Came You. The interesting thing to note is the order of the stories – Nora is the middle sister, Britt the youngest and Willow is the eldest – yet we were happily sorting out Nora’s story first!

She’s a girl after my own heart – she loves being enraptured by the written word, jaunting through time, travelling into history and aligning her mind and heart with the characters’ she’s reading about with every story she picks up to read. She’s also passionately invested into genealogical research (as she’s a historian and genealogist) but where she falls a bit short is handling faux extreme stress presentations! One thing is for sure, you never quite know what to expect when your beginning a Becky Wade novel – which is quite refreshing, as her Contemporary stories are clued into a reality we can all recognise with stories which seek to find the truth of our own world and intermix life lessons, strong characters and a captivating narrative to draw our attention into the messages her stories are attempting to convey to us. I was honestly hooked as soon as I started the first chapter – how can you not get caught up in the drama unfolding between the two sisters – one wants to take flight and ‘win’ the game whilst the other is thinking of every which way to Sunday her day could have gone if she had only made better plans with her hours!

Mind you, I haven’t seen someone this loss for words since I first watched All of my Heart: Inn Love this past Mother’s Day weekend! (FYI: there is a blogger in the film who is researching B&B’s and it’s her insta-attraction to the General Store owner who provides a lot of comedic relief!) In this instance, Nora was taken for a loop when John Lawson decided to carry her out of the building and thus ending her tenure in this particular exercise – a spontaneous act which rendered her without the ability to articulate anything other than a brief conversation once she was reunited with her sister, Britt.

When Nora is around her sisters, you get to see their different dynamics come into play – especially as I remember how this family began through the origin story Then Came You. Britt has a beau-in-the-wings named Zander who happily took me by surprise, as generally speaking men with tattoo sleeves (on their arms) are not known for their inclusivity to INSPY Romance (although they ought to be – some of the most artistic and kind gentleman wear tatt’s!). This was another nod towards my heart growing aflutter in appreciation for Ms Wade’s writing style – she is part of the changing tides of realistic characterisations and story-lines for the INSPY market; for which, she has my hat of gratitude. By the time we reside inside Britt’s story (next in line), I do hope we get to see a larger portion of Zander’s past and current life explored; not to mention, seeing these two find themselves falling in love rather than Zander consistently being the one who knows the will of his heart.

Seeing the sisters’ admiration and affection towards Valentina (their housekeeping nanny from years ago) was heart-warming, as it proved their father (Garner) knew exactly what he was doing in hiring her to watch over his darling girls; though in theory, he at first only meant to give Willow a chance at having a bit more normalcy in her life. These are the kind of details where you can easily see the flow of continuity within the series – even from the prequel novella – as you tuck closer to the girls’ and follow where their footsteps lead.

I can dearly relate to Nora – my soul was literally crushed in half when Matthew died (ie. Downton Abbey and never fully recovered; I left the series after Anna was brutally attacked) – I definitely know her anguish over cross-comparing Rochester’s as I have a penchant for Little Women, A Christmas Carol and other classical adaptations where you do find yourself talking about which actor or actress best brought the character forward! I haven’t seen too many adaptations of Jane Eyre – as my favourite is the first one I found (1996) whilst knowing full well Keira Knightley’s Pride and Prejudice was my celebration film for finally finishing reading the novel – it will be (most likely!) Colin Firth’s adaptation which will feel organically tied to Austen’s vision (methinks!). I even love the Bollywood version of Pride which is Bride and Prejudice. *le sigh* Yes, I can dearly relate to Nora,… what grieved me dearly, dear hearts, is realising ‘Northamptonshire’ is not rooted in our reality but is a fictional tv series in Nora’s world. I seriously would have requested it at my library!

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Being this story was published in 2017, it is interesting how current it is written as I am hoping one day we can look back on this decade and realise we’ve come a long way from it – as a society and as a country. The work John does for emergency training shouldn’t have to be in such high demand in other words but the way in which he has hardened a bit through life – due to the many unknowns in his origin story, prove how hard it is for adopted children to understand who they are if they have too little to fall back in regards to personal memory (especially if like John, they were adopted as infants or young children). I appreciated the candor of the story-line delving into the hurdles adoptees face as it is an important part of their journey; finding peace from the past but also, finding ways to move forward in the present.

I believe what I loved most about True to You, were the conveyances of how it was articulated through the slow narrative wisely chosen by Ms Wade to draw out the rounded edges of two people on the brink of finding each other. The kind of narrative where you don’t have to forsake not understanding what happens between conversations because the details are pulled forward, knitting together an image of where Nora and John find comfortable consistency in their hours. The pattern of this story reminded me a lot of a Jane Austen novel – for it tucks into those hidden moments very well whilst eclipsing a character’s journey through all the different pieces of her experience – leaving everything open to be seen, examined and understood. You can breathe into a rhythm following Ms Wade’s muse – so much so, you have to brace yourself for the ending, as it truly becomes such a comfortable world in which to reside.

There is a point towards the end, where your heart and your emotions start to spill over – where all the anguish this family has gone through over the years hits you stock and centre. It is a very well- conceived plot, to the point where your not even sure if your prepared for what is coming next – I know I wasn’t, as it could go so many different ways to Sunday, how to do you brace yourself for what is now being revealled!? Charlotte bless her, was the one who inspired everyone to take action but sometimes, between action and restitution for what is once lost is a fine line to walk – where the soul and the heart have a longer path towards reconciliation and healing. I give full credit to Ms Wade for curating such an incredibly layered suspenseful plot thickening in the background whilst addressing the relationships of the Bradford sisters.

I missed seeing the progression of Nora and John’s relationship in the back-folds of the narrative – as there were serious things happening in their lives which I felt begged to be explored in Falling for You. I am unsure if those threads will be re-explored in Britt’s novel or if there will be a conclusionary novella after the third novel releases – but this is one error in the continuity I’ve loved so dearly for remaining inclusively intact with the characters.

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Despite my grievances with the leading beau for Willow, there is so much heart writ into the tapestry of this series, the emotions simply pull you forward, eager to see how the sisters’ lives will continue to evolve, to feel what their feeling in the moments of their lives where destiny and conviction interconnect. I am blessed to have started this journey into their stories – I am itching to read the next stories, to gleam more of what is yet to come and to feel as if I’ve travelled miles of hours beside them until the very last story is published. It’s hard to ‘let go’ of series you feel so dearly attached too – this one definitely touched a special place in my heart and will not ‘let go’ anytime soon! I hope, my words will inspire my readers to pick up one of the stories in this series – if only to meet Nora, Britt and Willow for themselves! Even if I am rather partial to Garner, without whom the sisters would not be here!

By the time I concluded reading Falling for You, I understood the reasons why the novel was written the way in which it was but on a personal level of honesty, I just didn’t feel connected to Corbin. I believed he had a lot of personal growth which was showcased in this novel to prove change is possible even in the most stubborn of individuals but in regards to feeling an attachment to his person? I honestly never felt it. For me, this story was a happy thread of insight into the sisters’ lives with an incredible slice of suspense in the back-threads – giving us an exhilarating read and a heap of emotions to shift through to boot!

I *love!* how realistically real this series feels to our own world – it’s a wonderful composite both in setting and tone whilst it hones in our contemporary awareness of technology and certain socially conscience recognition’s which seek to either make us smile or laugh! For instance, Ms Wade has definitely taken a leaf out of my own journal for how to knit out a laugh from an analogy of a contemporary New Age car (ie. Tesla) and make it cross-relate to how relationships can be short-lasting! (as observed in True to You) She fuses wit with humour in such a layered approach as to make you nearly forget this isn’t a story based on real persons who lived but rather it’s a fictional series created in such a way to grant you the illusion her characters *could!* live if only they could step straight through the threshold of their fictional existence. This is also why I sent out that tweet of joy celebrating the #booklove of the authors I am finding in Contemporary INSPY Romance to be of the variety I love most to be #amreading: Dee Henderson (see also Review); Brenda S. Anderson (see also Archive) and Kellie Coates Gilbert (see also Review).

I especially enjoy watching characters have true growth during our time spent with them – or even, to observe them in full confidence within their chosen fields, but still have a few things they need to work through – where everything isn’t quite ‘neat and tidy’. I love this aspect of character development because it eludes to how evolving all our lives become – it is also a benefit to grounding a story in the realism of real-life and the ways in which despite our best intentions, we cannot always foresee everything which will come onto our path. This is a gift Ms Wade share swith the other authors I’ve mentioned – she digs in deep into the human condition, into the ways in which relating to another person isn’t just about romantic overtures – but of listening, in-tuning what is being said against what is inferred (including through body language) and of finding a middle ground. In essence, my favourite stories are full of flawed characters doing their best to embetter their lives for the good.

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Ms Wade has eloquent overtures of living histories ebbing into her narrative – such as how Bradfordwood was properly shipped in pieces from its origins in England and reassembled into what is now known as the estate of the Bradford family (200 acres strong). She gives you this sense of familial pride, of the hard work behind the legacies still in evidence today in the lives of the sisters’ and humbles the family through their good deeds, their personal growth exploits and how having a strong sense of business mindfulness can continue to lead for generations (as their assets are diversified).

felt Ms Wade’s styling within True to You was classically eloquent (foresaid) and her entire Bradford Sisters Romance series is refreshingly lovely to have discovered – for she’s another Contemporary INSPY author who is providing me with the kind of Contemporaries I am most appreciative of reading! So much so, it is another confirmation the number of Contemporaries which will be winning over my heart outside of INSPY are quite limited (at least for now) – as I have a select number of authors I am enjoying reading now. I used to love Contemporaries as much as I loved Historical Romance – what I never linked together though is the reason I had such a paradigm shift in my reading habits is due to innate frustration stemming out of what I was finding inclusive to mainstream Contemporaries vs INSPY. Clearly, sometimes being a book blogger has it’s advantages as whilst your journalling your reading life, you understand yourself better as a reader!

Her continued appreciation for inserting popular cultural references takes an all-star glimpse into social media life today – as if I hadn’t been a joyful tweeter, I’d never have known I already know the *name!* of a highly beloved K-Pop band: BTS! This is important to know a) if you love discovering new music and b) if you want to better understand Charlotte in Falling for You. I love when writers go a bit further than necessary to make their novels relevant to our times – they have a way of knitting out the best of what is ‘happening in the moment’, adding those bits to their stories and re-grounding us in a quasi-reality such a strong composite to our own – we nearly have to pinch ourselves as reminders we’re reading a fictional story! I love how this is achieved!

Yet, what truly captured my heart about Ms Wade’s Contemporary style is the authentic nature of her style – you can tell she has had experience outside of INSPY, as her style feels mainstream but has an INSPY core of heart. I think this is why I like the authors I am finding lately for Contemporary INSPY – their writing the cutting edge INSPY Contemporaries I am hungry for as a reader with enough of the content I’m seeking out of the mainstream but cannot find. For this, I feel truly blessed I was given the opportunity to start reading her stories!

Secondly, what warmed my bookish heart is her instinctive nature of threading continuity into her stories – from novella to novel, her intentional connections between her characters and her story-lines are some of the best I’ve come across – irregardless of which genre I am writing! Continuity sometimes is overlooked in serial fiction (by some) but it is something I hail as being the mark of a superhero writer, because to knit into an on-going series the organic inclusions of previous stories, is rather impressive! If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know the authors I’ve mentioned previously who ‘wow’ me over with this technique but if your a new visitor or reader, the short-list includes Julie E. Czerneda (for Science Fiction, I am just now reading her Fantasy), Brenda S. Anderson, Julie Lessman (will be blogging about her stories!), Anna Lee Huber, L.M. Montgomery, Jennifer Lamont Leo, Jackie Gamber, Larry D. Sweazy, Susan Spann, Sue Hallgarth, Margaret James, Lucinda Riley, Linda Mitchelmore, AshleyRose Sullivan, Renee Patrick and Rachel Amphlett.

-quoted from my reviews and ruminative thoughts on behalf of the following stories
within this series “Then Came You”, “True to You” and “Falling For You”

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Blog Book Tour | returning to The Bradford Sisters Romance series by Becky Wade within the third novel “Sweet On You”!Sweet on You
Subtitle: A Bradford Sisters Romance
by Becky Wade
Source: Publisher via Prism Book Tours

Britt Bradford and Zander Ford have been the best of friends since they met thirteen years ago. Unbeknown to Britt, Zander has been in love with her for just as long.

Independent and adventurous Britt channels her talent into creating chocolates at her hometown shop. Zander is a bestselling author who's spent the past 18 months traveling the world. He's achieved a great deal but still lacks the only thing that ever truly mattered to him--Britt's heart.

When Zander's uncle dies of mysterious causes, he returns to Merryweather, Washington, to investigate, and Britt is immediately there to help. Although this throws them into close proximity, both understand that an attempt at romance could jeopardize their once-in-a-lifetime friendship. But while Britt is determined to resist any change in their relationship, Zander finds it increasingly difficult to keep his feelings hidden.

As they work together to uncover his uncle's tangled past, will the truth of what lies between them also, finally, come to light?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780764219382

Also by this author: Falling for You (Spotlight w/ Notes), Then Came You, True to You, Falling for You

Also in this series: Then Came You, True to You, Falling for You


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


Published by Bethany House Publishers

on 30th April, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 368

Published by: Bethany House Publishers (@bethany_house)

an imprint of Baker Publishing Group

Formats Available: Ebook and Paperback

The Bradford Sisters Romance series:

Then Came You (prequel novella)

True to You (Book One)

Falling for You (Book Two)
you can read my thoughts on these previous stories

Sweet on You (Book Three)

The Christmas Heirloom : Because of You
(holiday novella)*the one I didn’t get to read yet

Converse via: #Contemporary #INSPYRomance +
#INSPY or #INSPYBooks and #BradfordSistersRomance

The only difficulty I had in reading this novel – a year later from my last readings of the series is I found the font to be set at a level of size a bit lower than my eyes can tolerate. I didn’t strain to read the novel but I had to take extra care to focus on the words because I swear the font felt ten times smaller than I remember the last two novels in print had read.

About Becky Wade

Becky Wade

Becky’s a California native who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and settled in Dallas. She published historical romances for the general market before putting her career on hold for several years to care for her three children.

When God called her back to writing, Becky knew He meant for her to turn her attention to Christian fiction. She loves writing funny, modern, and inspirational contemporary romance! She’s the Christy Award and Carol Award winning author of My Stubborn Heart, the Porter Family series, and the Bradford Sisters Romance series.

Photo Credit: Creative Photography

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 29 May, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Adoption, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Clever Turns of Phrase, Contemporary Romance, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Family Drama, Family Life, Humour & Satire in Fiction / Non Fiction, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Modern Day, Passionate Researcher, Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Small Towne USA, Sweet Romance, The Writers Life, Washington, West Coast USA, Women's Fiction, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Writing Style & Voice

Author Interview | Discussing the world within the Voyages of Jake Flynn series with R.J. Wood

Posted Sunday, 24 June, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva

Good morning, dear hearts! Today, I have a special treat for you, as I had the chance to interview the author of a new Upper Middle Grade / Young Adult Fantasy series wherein I get to re-visit the concept of Space Pirates and flying ships once more! As you might recall, I happened to love the pirates I found on the Rim, in the audiobook ‘Rimrider’ whilst when it comes to flying ships in space, outside of The Clan Chronicles – there have been quite a few recently which have tempted me into their chapters! I love how we can bend what is plausible in Speculative Lit and take ordinary ships which were meant for the waters of Earth and re-position them into orbit where they find a new way of being useful as transportation in the Cosmos!

Ahead of the conversation, I have with Mr Wood, is an extract from the latest installment of the series ‘Beyond the Moon’, which touches on part of the background of the series wherein the origins of Jake Flynn and his parents but also, the legacy he has within him as he’s given a talent few can claim as their own. This is part of what is extraordinary about the series, as his particular gift is what helps ignite the ships themselves to be able to fly as you will learn more in my interview! For now, enjoy this extract!

Extract from ‘Beyond the Moon’ by R.J. Wood

the second novel in the Voyages of Jake Flynn; used with permission of the author

“Tychus was the last known of his people,” Jayron said. “He disappeared a dozen years ago after the Ithirian fleet perished. The rest of his people were killed or worse by your people on Celestra.” Starla made no visible reaction.

“It seems Tychus and his wife survived, went to Earth, and had a son there,” she said. “Furthermore, I am sure you are aware of the rift amongst my people; the rebellion between those who did not support the actions taken against the humans and those who did. Otto and I are among the first.”

“This is all preposterous,” Daegus said. “How can we believe anything a Celestrian has to say?” With that, the councilors began to argue the possibilities amongst themselves. Their voices rose quickly and in intensity, all except for Kilian. The old one sat there and quietly stared at Jake with an expression of curiosity. Finally, he sat up and spoke something that was drowned out by the others. He tried to repeat himself louder, but still he could not be heard over the discord. At last, he reached over Richard, grabbed a black iron mallet on the table, and slapped it down hard several times until the room grew quiet.

“I said, CAN HE CHANNEL?” The old man finished and began to pant.

Jake stepped forward and held up his hands. A moment later the glow of his aura filled the room. The humans all stared at him and one of them caught their breath. Kilian then spoke in whispered tones as if reciting a poem,

“Born and raised on distant star.
Searcher bound both near and far…”

He trailed off, but Starla picked it up and continued.

“What he seeks he does not know,
until he lets his family grow.

Against the tide he must stride.
A mighty ship he will ride.
Guided true by faithful hands
chasing dreams to far-off lands,

Through the torrents to the core,
where ancient evil stirs once more.
To keep a dark queen at bay,
A gift of love must win the day.

Single light in starless night,
burning hot and shining bright.
Time will come when he must stand.
The fate of all held in his hand.”

When she finished all eyes were upon Jake and there was silence.
“Yes,” Starla said after a pause, “he is the one this prophesy speaks of. Jake is the Justicar and he needs your help.”

I was thankful Mr Wood went into quite a few details surrounding both the light energy and the propulsion of the ships but also, gave a bit of a hinting towards the heart of the series itself as it revolves through Jake Flynn! I almost wish some of this back-story had been included in the first novel ‘Destiny’s Gambit’ as I found how the author describe his world in this conversation would have benefited the story. As you truly get a firm understanding of what he is attempting to achieve in the series (in regards to scope) but also, it gives you a keen insight which I think would have tempered the confusion I had initially trying to sort out the world-building.

This is a very imaginative series and one which I think would interest all readers, irregardless of age, due the cross-components of where elemental magic, old world ships and adventurous Quests intersect to give us something to chew on about personal destiny, chosen families and the will to seek answers for questions which tug at our souls. I look forward to reading your thoughts in the threads below this conversation and I hope you find it as wicked lovely as I did in receiving the author’s responses!

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The voyages of Jake Flynn series:

Destiny's Gambit by R.J. WoodBeyond the Moon by R.J. Wood

Destiny’s Gambit | book one | see also Review

Beyond the Moon | Book Two | synopsis

I do enjoy a wicked good transmorphication – there is a cheeky good one in Destiny’s Gambit, which takes place during a rescue attempt aboard a pirate ship! What impressed me the most is how honest it was to happen – as this was a stirring of the back-story on behalf of Jake and his parents, or rather even, his ‘kind’. There is an old order of magic in this realm which can be channelled and re-directed at will, which makes it wicked awesome! I also liked how most of the magic involves light energy and the transference of this energy in order for things to work.

There is also elemental magic present which makes for interesting scenes but what truly captured me was the teamwork and evolving partnership between Jake, Starla, Otto and Jehn. They were forging a new path together, seeking to get away from their mutual enemies and sorting out the details of their personal discoveries of each other along the way. As most of this story takes place aboard ship, I was awaiting the conflict to begin – where two ships or more would be pitted against each other. When the time finally came, I found the battle was stalled a bit too easily but further what interested me is how there are portals which act as hyperspace jaunts for the ships – where you can literally move yourself through this part of the universe in a faster way than normal space.

I truly loved the symbolism and the analogies threading through Destiny’s Gambit as well as the spirituality which was hugged softly into the background. There are a lot of life affirming lessons being shared through the adventures of Jake Flynn – including how to handle fear, uncertainty, ambiguous loss (of his parents) and to grow out of the courage you never knew you had within you. It’s a story about a boy coming of age after finding out everything he thought he know about himself and his origins was only part of the true story. Once he was in-flight away from Earth, it wasn’t just his origins which were calling him home but it was his truer nature and the destiny which was awaiting for his arrival to become revealled.

-quoted from my review of Destiny’s Gambit

Genres: Sci-Fantasy | Steampunk | Space Pirates

Young Adult | Magic | Adventure

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Posted Sunday, 24 June, 2018 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Family Life, Fantasy Fiction, Indie Author, Literature for Boys, Lola's Blog Tours, Nautical Fiction, Science Fantasy, Self-Published Author, Small Towne USA, Urban Fantasy, Washington, West Coast USA, YA Fantasy

Blog Book Tour | “Destiny’s Gambit” (Book One: The Voyages of Jake Flynn) by R.J. Wood

Posted Wednesday, 20 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 had to take a leave of absence hosting for this touring company in [2015] whilst I worked towards finding better balance in my blogging and personal life. Now, as a 5th Year Book Blogger I’ve decided I’ve reached a point where I can have better flexibility with scheduling guest features and reviews on my blog without feeling I’m stretched too thin between the commitments I’m making to feature the stories and authors I am blessed with thanksgiving to discover as I blog my readerly life.

Reading is starting to resume it’s enjoyment, even though I still have my migraines to shift through, being able to host for her authors has been a renewed joy. This marks my first blog tour hosting for Lola after a considerable absence and I look forward to finding more tours I can host with her throughout the year.

I received a complimentary ARC copy of “Destiny’s Gambit” direct from the author R.J. Wood in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

Coming out of #WyrdAndWonder, I knew I would be keeping #FantasyReads in my reading queue straight-up until Sci Fi November! However, I had the joy of finding this series whilst #wyrdandwonder was still happening this past May! Originally, I was going to host an extract and a guest feature for the blog tour, when I had the unexpected surprise of being able to receive the books for review consideration! I was thrilled by this news, as what drew me into wanting to read this series all along was how this was marked as a Fantasy story fit for either Middle Grade or Young Adult readers. I oft find myself struggling to find a story of Fantasy I can appreciate as an Adult reader much less finding one I would love to see reside in either MG or YA markets! This series felt hopeful from the perspective, I was hoping the world-building and character development would be as stellar as it felt it could be through the synopsis!

The synopsis I read for this story is actually the same one on the back of the book I read for this review, however, I didn’t have it in full to share with you today. It talks more about the world Jake Flynn is entering and the mysterious suspense of not understanding where his parents have been his whole life. That in of itself was a curious footnote for me – as what would have become of them which would limit or restrict their communication with their son?

The story itself felt like a Quest and those are the ones I do appreciate finding in Fantasy – but this one felt different too. Not quite traditional Fantasy as it has elements of Science Fiction (and Steampunk) knitted into it’s corridors of interest whilst it hinges a bit on the fantastical where not all the entities Jake is going to come up against are going to be a) human and b) benign! I hadn’t a clue what to expect once I began reading the story and thus, I went into it with an open mind hoping I’d find a wicked good read!

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Blog Book Tour | “Destiny’s Gambit” (Book One: The Voyages of Jake Flynn) by R.J. WoodDestiny's Gambit
Subtitle: The Voyages of Jake Flynn
by R.J. Wood
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Ravven
Source: Author via Lola's Blog Tours

A resourceful boy takes a glowing sailboat across the stars to search for his long-missing parents and becomes the target of pirates and an evil cabal with a sinister agenda.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-1514277737

Also by this author: Destiny's Gambit

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Sci-Fantasy, YA Fantasy


Published by Self Published Author

on 3rd July, 2015

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 248

Published By: Self Published Author

Formats Available: Paperback and Ebook

The voyages of Jake Flynn series:

Destiny's Gambit by R.J. WoodBeyond the Moon by R.J. Wood

Destiny’s Gambit | book one

Beyond the Moon | Book Two | synopsis

Genres: Sci-Fantasy | Steampunk | Space Pirates

Young Adult | Magic | Adventure

About R.J. Wood

R.J. Wood

R. J. Wood has been creating stories and adventures for others since 1979. A bard at heart, he trained in Drama (BA) and History (MA) while at university. He currently lives near Snoqualmie Falls in Washington State with his wife and children. There he does a little fishing, some adventuring, and of course, his writing.

Like everyone of my generation and beyond I have been heavily influenced by film. I like to think of my books as movies in my mind. I developed my creative writing through fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal RPGs. My degree in drama helps me with story, characters, and especially dialogue. Having an advanced history degree is excellent for plots and characters, but it also helps me with world building.

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Posted Wednesday, 20 June, 2018 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Family Life, Fantasy Fiction, Indie Author, Literature for Boys, Lola's Blog Tours, Nautical Fiction, Science Fantasy, Self-Published Author, Small Towne USA, Urban Fantasy, Washington, West Coast USA, YA Fantasy