Category: Near-Death Experience

#Sponsored by FaithWords (Publisher) | #SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | “Fatal Mistake” (Book One: White Knights series) by Susan Sleeman

Posted Saturday, 20 October, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish created by Jorie in Canva.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

In keeping with the change of name for my Romance & Women’s Fiction Twitter chat [@SatBookChat previously known as @ChocLitSaturday] – I am announcing a change of features here on Jorie Loves A Story. Since January, 2014 I carved out a niche of focus which I named #ChocLitSaturdays as I have felt the best time to read romantic and dramatic stories are the weekends. This spun into a Twitter chat featuring the authors of ChocLit whilst I supplied weekly topics which would appeal to readers, writers and book bloggers alike. We grew into our own Saturday tribe of chatters – then, somewhere round the time of my father’s stroke in late [2016] and the forthcoming year of [2017] I started to feel less inspired to host the chat.

I had new plans to re-invent the chat in its new incantation as @SatBookChat but I also wanted to re-invent the complimentary showcases on my blog which would reflect the diversity of stories, authors and publishers I would be featuring on the chat itself. As at the root and heart of #ChocLitSaturday the chat were the stories I was reading which complimented the conversations.

After a difficult year for [personal health & wellness] this 2018, I am beginning anew this Autumn – selecting the stories to resume where I left off featuring the Romance & Women’s Fiction authors I am discovering to read whilst highlighting a story by the author I am chatting with during #SatBookChat. Every Saturday will feature a different author who writes either Romance or Women’s Fiction – for the remaining weeks of October and most of November, I will be featuring special guest authors during #SatBookChat whose stories I have either read, are reading or hope to read in the future if their newer releases. The reviews on Saturdays might inspire the topics in the forthcoming chats or they might be directly connected to the current guest author.

Our holiday break for the month of December will find us resuming #SatBookChat the week after New Year’s, 2019 where new guests and new stories will lay down the foundation of inspiring the topics, the conversations and the bookish recommendations towards promoting Romance & Women’s Fiction.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Hachette Books and their imprints, starting with FaithWords which is their INSPY (Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction) imprint of releases focusing on uplifting and spiritual stories which are a delight to read whilst engaging your mind in life affirming and heart-centered stories. I found Hachette via Edelweiss at the conclusion of [2015] and have been wicked happy I can review for their imprints FaithWords & Center Street.

This book review was sponsored by Hachette Books who provided me with a complimentary copy of the book “Fatal Mistake” direct from their imprint FaithWords (an imprint of Hachette Book Group Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: All my posts and/or reviews since May 2018 I am featuring on behalf of Hachette Books now states this is ‘sponsored’ by the publisher. Kindly refer to my Review Policy where I disclosed the reasons why this new language of disclosure is being added to [jorielovesastory.com].

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

When it comes to Romantic Suspense, I find myself pulled in by the writers who truly know how to knit out a story rooted fully into the Suspenseful arc but hug us close to the romantic overtures which might have to wait til there is a resolution.

This was especially true in July as I read stories by Laura Scott and Lenora Worth – two authors I championed as writers part of the #LoveINSPIRED Suspense imprint of Harlequin. Elizabeth Goddard is a favourite of my Mum’s I still intend to read before the close of the year and with this particular novel by Susan Sleeman I am starting to find out how much I am enjoying her approach to Suspense and Thrillers; even though I have a few of her Love Inspired Suspense novels which are also waiting my eager eyes to be read!

Rom Suspense for me works best when we are fully encased in the thrilling realities of the characters – of what went wrong and what led them to needing support of the law to help them overcome the situation(s) which have placed their lives in danger. I prefer to read the stories which are writ rather clean and despite having a heavy psychological suspenseful edge to them are not the kind of stories which would lead into having nightmares afterwards! I want to read the stories which at some point have an upturnt in how the resolution resolves in such a way as to make you feel uplifted rather than soul crushed!

I was hoping for the same kind of experience as I move through the White Knights series – the only thing which surprised me is when I visited Ms Sleeman’s website, the way it was eluding too about this particular series is that this is strictly a duology – rather than a full-on series?! I’m unsure how the whole series can evolve and resolve through two installments as more than the first half of Fatal Mistake felt like such a well-conceived world to be inclusive of ‘more stories’ than just the two – however, sometimes I know series are either cancelled or are strictly set as duologies. This one just felt ‘larger than’ the space it appears to occupy and I am curious if it really is a two book series or if there could be more installments lateron for the White Knights?

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Notation about the Cover Design: I personally love the cover art for the trade paperback edition vs the audiobook edition of this novel. As for me, I felt the characters were better captured on the paperback than on the audiobook. I am sure others might differ in their opinions but I felt the audiobook showed Cal Riggins quite a bit too rough and ready – whereas he really is a highly trained agent, there is also a softness to him – where he’s not all brawn! I felt the balance was better on the paperback for showing his likeness and how I found him to be within the print edition.

#Sponsored by FaithWords (Publisher) | #SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | “Fatal Mistake” (Book One: White Knights series) by Susan SleemanFatal Mistake
by Susan Sleeman
Source: Direct from Publisher

An FBI agent must protect the woman who can identify a terrorist bomber in bestselling author Susan Sleeman's riveting romantic suspense novel.

Each day could be her last...but not if he can help it.

Tara Parrish is the only person ever to survive an attack by the Lone Wolf bomber. Scared and emotionally scarred by her near death, she goes into hiding with only one plan--to stay alive for another day. She knows he's coming after her, and if he finds her, he will finish what he started.

Agent Cal Riggins has had only one goal for the past six months--to save lives by ending the Lone Wolf's bombing spree. To succeed, he needs the help of Tara Parrish, the one person who can lead them to the bomber. Cal puts his all into finding Tara, but once he locates her, he realizes if he can find her, the Lone Wolf can, too. He must protect Tara at all costs, and they'll both need to resist the mutual attraction growing between them to focus on hunting down the bomber, because one wrong move could be fatal.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781455596461

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


Published by FaithWords

on 9th May, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 400

Published by: FaithWords (@FaithWords)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #RomSusp, #SusanSleeman, #Contemporary #Romance

About Susan Sleeman

Susan Sleeman

SUSAN SLEEMAN is a bestselling and award-winning author of inspirational and clean read romantic suspense books. In addition to writing, Susan also hosts the popular website TheSuspenseZone.com. Susan currently lives in Oregon, but has had the pleasure of living in nine states. Her husband is a retired church music director and they have two beautiful daughters, a very special son-in-law and an adorable grandson.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #20BooksOfAutumn 2018
  • #FraterfestRAT 2018
  • #SpooktasticReads 2018
Divider

Posted Saturday, 20 October, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, Life Shift, Modern Day, Near-Death Experience, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Vulgarity in Literature

#SaturdaysAreBookish | Book Review featuring @SatBookChat’s 13th October Guest Author | “Indecision” (Part One of a duology) by Brittany Fuller

Posted Saturday, 13 October, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish created by Jorie in Canva.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

In keeping with the change of name for my Romance & Women’s Fiction Twitter chat [@SatBookChat previously known as @ChocLitSaturday] – I am announcing a change of features here on Jorie Loves A Story. Since January, 2014 I carved out a niche of focus which I named #ChocLitSaturdays as I have felt the best time to read romantic and dramatic stories are the weekends. This spun into a Twitter chat featuring the authors of ChocLit whilst I supplied weekly topics which would appeal to readers, writers and book bloggers alike. We grew into our own Saturday tribe of chatters – then, somewhere round the time of my father’s stroke in late [2016] and the forthcoming year of [2017] I started to feel less inspired to host the chat.

I had new plans to re-invent the chat in its new incantation as @SatBookChat but I also wanted to re-invent the complimentary showcases on my blog which would reflect the diversity of stories, authors and publishers I would be featuring on the chat itself. As at the root and heart of #ChocLitSaturday the chat were the stories I was reading which complimented the conversations.

After a difficult year for [personal health & wellness] this 2018, I am beginning anew this Autumn – selecting the stories to resume where I left off featuring the Romance & Women’s Fiction authors I am discovering to read whilst highlighting a story by the author I am chatting with during #SatBookChat. Every Saturday will feature a different author who writes either Romance or Women’s Fiction – for the remaining weeks of October and most of November, I will be featuring special guest authors during #SatBookChat whose stories I have either read, are reading or hope to read in the future if their newer releases. The reviews on Saturdays might inspire the topics in the forthcoming chats or they might be directly connected to the current guest author.

Our holiday break for the month of December will find us resuming #SatBookChat the week after New Year’s, 2019 where new guests and new stories will lay down the foundation of inspiring the topics, the conversations and the bookish recommendations towards promoting Romance & Women’s Fiction.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: One thing I love about being active in the bookish side of the twitterverse is being able to interact with authors. This is how my path crossed with Ms Fuller – where in a random encounter led to chattering about her debut Contemporary Romance being a duet, the first installment of a duology; of which I was most excited to learn more about as the format of dulogies interest me greatly since I first started discovering them as a book blogger. Ironically or not, I did not read as many as a reader prior to having my bookish blog! I credit this to the wider net of awareness I have gained as a book blogger and the more routes of interaction I’ve become blessed within the book world to actively be more ‘aware’ of the uniqueness of releases which are not traditional series, limited series, mini-series and/or non-sequential series – or even, series rooted by theme, setting or supporting cast but rather, a duology – one half of a whole spilt into two individual volumes which once read together compliment and complete each other.

Thus, I agreed to accept a complimentary copy of “Indecision” fully aware of the fact it was the first of a duology release by the author Brittany Fuller 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 why I was keen on reading ‘Indecision’ knowing it was a duology:

It truly began about a discussion with Ms Fuller about readers and duologies – about the misconceptions about duologies and how sometimes readers feel short-changed by them. For me personally, I wouldn’t feel upset if a novel I was reading turnt out to be a duology – as I’ve read stories I felt were stand-alone novels which ended on ambiguous final chapters without a hint of a whiff of a sequel or anchouring novel to accompany them.

One quite infamous read of mine where I was honestly in such bereavement and ached for a sequel was when I had borrowed a novel called The Golem and the Jinni by new author (that particular year) Helene Wecker! I was emotionally distraught as I had taken this arduous journey, emotionally gutted and the ending,.. ohh, dear how to even describe it? It felt like a new beginning or a regeneration of what could be plausible or possible, but an ending? No, it didn’t feel quite like that to me,… if you visit that particular review you’ll see how I learnt about the (forthcoming) sequel and how happy I was to interact with Ms Wecker in the twitterverse, as it truly became a ‘journal’ of a passionate reader,…

Now, on the opposite end of the spectrum, where you are unsure of a connective sequel wherein either writer anchours the first story to a limited series, a mini-saga or series, or a non-sequential series where your reading stories linked by setting, theme or characters – you have the option of soaking inside a duology. I, personally would never feel disappointed if I read a story and it turnt out to be a duology – even if I wasn’t previously attuned to this being the case, as I have had the unlucky habit of finding myself in the midst of full-on serials wherein I have to back-track to find the originating stories and/or find which stories are still available in print (for purchase or borrowing) in order to re-adjust the continuity, gather the thoughts of how the author set the tone for the series overall and generally feel in confluence with the stability of the evolving story (or saga).

Speaking on behalf of the previous duologies I’ve read, I have a high level of respect for how writers write them. Mostly as you are being given half of the evolving arc of narrative, half the journey of the characters both major and minor and have to have felt you’ve resolved or have come to a conclusionary ending by the time you put down the second half of the duology. For those writers who have continued to inspire me and give me a ready story for which I love reading anchoured in this unique fashion, I am forever humbled and blessed to have had their stories cross my bookshelf.

Thereby, when it came time to decide if I wanted to dive into the world in which Indecision lies in the midst of a ‘duet’ – I daresay, dear hearts, I dove right in!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Notation about the Cover Design: There are a few moments where I stumble across cover art and design which speaks directly to the heart of the story – most cover art designs today strike to find a balance between what is marketable and what is relevant even if sometimes I think they (ie. publishing & PR) err on one side of the ledger vs the other – in this particular case, what was so very striking about the cover is how it truly represents both characters: Evelyn and Noah. Specifically as to why the pier would be of ‘importance’ and what that important ‘revelation’ on behalf of a character would mean in regards to being ‘clued in’ to understanding ‘them’. In essence, I love when a cover of a novel is a glimpse of a portrait of the story the author has written – I much prefer these kinds of covers than a marketable gamble on aesthetics!

#SaturdaysAreBookish | Book Review featuring @SatBookChat’s 13th October Guest Author | “Indecision” (Part One of a duology) by Brittany FullerIndecision
Subtitle: He gave up everything to be with her but is she willing to do the same.
by Brittany Fuller
Source: Direct from Author

Noah knew one thing in life, he would never let a woman rearrange his world ever again. After giving up his future once for what he thought was true love, only to end up alone with what little pride he had left, he headed out towards the West Coast and sunny California in hopes of putting his past behind him. After one year trying to fit into the fast-paced lifestyle, he’s ready to pack up and head back to the south, and his old Kentucky home, even if it means crossing paths again with the demons he left behind. That is, until he meets her. The one girl he can’t help but be drawn to no matter how hard he tries. As he finds himself ready to surrender everything once again for a future with the one woman he knows he will never be able to live without, he’s suddenly forced to realize she just might not be willing to do the same.

Evelyn has had the same dream since she can remember. After her parents moved her to northern California as a pre-teen, she is determined she won’t rest until she can move back home to Orange County and somehow land a job at the LA Times. Vowing to never let anything stop her, and so far succeeding in making her goals come almost within reach, she will not compromise and will let nothing stand in her way. Although, the night a tall handsome stranger comes to her rescue in a dark corner of a downtown bar, her life is suddenly changed and forever rearranged. Noah soon has her questioning everything she thought she wanted in life. Suddenly, she finds herself torn between the life she always wanted, and the one man she’s afraid to live without. Although, when she’s offered her dream and the chance of a lifetime, does she take it, or does she choose him?

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0692153468

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


Published by Self Published Author

on 7th July, 2018

Format: POD | Print On Demand Paperback

Pages: 272

Self-Published Author

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance, #Romance #Duology & #SecondChanceRomance

About Brittany Fuller

Brittany Fuller

Brittany Fuller has known one thing since as far back as she can remember, she wanted to be a writer!

Born in Orange County, California, she grew up scribbling notes and drawing stick figures on blank pages, stapling them together and calling them her latest book.

Her family moved to northern California when she was five, and throughout the years her writing has evolved to poems, songs and short stories.

Returning to college at the age of 28, after getting married and starting a family, she received a degree in journalism and recently took a leap of faith uprooting her life and moving to Kentucky where she works as an editor of a community newspaper.

Although, before leaving the West Coast, she took a chance and started to write her first novel in the hopes of fulfilling a dream she’s had since she was a little girl. To become an author.

With no plans to stop writing anytime soon, she is excited to embark on what she hopes will be a long career.

Busy planning, drafting, writing and reading any chance she gets, she loves to hear feedback and connect with not only readers, but potential clients as well.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Read More

Divider

Posted Saturday, 13 October, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, Life Shift, Modern Day, Near-Death Experience, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Vulgarity in Literature

Blog Book Tour | “The Extraordinary Journey of Vivienne Marshall” by Shannon Kirk

Posted Monday, 6 February, 2017 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for The Extraordinary Journey of Vivienne Marshall hosted by iRead Book Tours. Per my last #StoriesOfJorie update, I talked about how my life has changed over the past few month since my father’s stroke and how the loss of my connectivity to the internet in the latter weeks of January, pushed some of my reviews into February. I had hoped to keep this blog tour on schedule with the tour itself, until of course, my connectivity issues combined my role as my Dad’s caregiver did not give me enough hours to  post in time to officially participate. However, I did remain in contact with iRead whilst posting this as close to the end of the tour as I can to hopefully catch readers who are still following to see our opinions. I also tried to tweet a few reactions out ahead of my review going live as I was completely absorbed into the heart of this narrative and the scope of where the author hoped readers would take their readerly hearts.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Extraordinary Journey of Vivienne Marshall” direct from the author Shannon Kirk in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I  am drawn to stories such as this one:

The introspective and existential journey of the soul is a unique perspective to have available in literature, as it deals with the quest of not only a person’s humanistic approach to their living reality but to the deeper layers of their soul’s journey. I personally love introspective  narratives – which is one reason I was delighted to be a beta reader for Mr Barton’ s  Peach,even if during my readings of his novel I recognised a humbling truth of my own: I can handle near-death and coma experiences but when the background of a story is attached directly to terminal illness (ie. Cancer) I find myself unwinding from the context of the story; almost unmoored if you will to carry forward with the journey on the pages. Blessedly through my work with Mr Barton, I was able to complete my work with his manuscript whilst working around this newfound literary block of mine. I spoke more about this particular subject on this post about how sometimes our emotions and our hearts cannot take us everywhere we’d like to go within a novel.

Peach taps into  a particular awareness of living and of life; of  stepping outside oneself and of seeking to understand the authenticity of one’s living truth whilst mindfully aware of how actions and their effects on others can influence how our lives can play out. It’s one man’s journey towards understanding who he is whilst re-appreciating his role in his life and how he is particularly important to those around him.  On a similar vein of interest, I found Antiphony to be written in a similar tone of  narrative thought –  suspended of course from the traditional story-telling arc and cast into that particular heady sea of introspective fiction. Both of these prior reads allowed me to go to a different place in literature where writers are seeking to find a way to communicate a layer of story-telling which is not oft-times revealled nor are the layers of our soul explored to reveal a more humbling view of our own humanity.

I am unsure why stories involving near-death and coma story-lines are easier for me to process than terminal illness, but it has been true for quite a long time even before this past year where I pulled my thoughts together. I still remember how intrigued I was by a French author’s story within If Only It Were True by Marc Levy. I also saw the adaptation Just Like Heaven and hope to one day see the Bollywood version I See You. I was caught up in the narrative of how Levy wrote the story even though there were a few wrinkles in my brow in how the story evolved and how it was disclosed to the reader. There was enough inside it to inspire me to conclude it and by the time I saw the film, I was moved past the emotional plane of where the author meant us to go. It was heart-stirring and it was inspiring on an interpersonal level.

There is something quite vividly alive about seeking out the stories which take us outside the ‘everyday’ and re-align us back into the periscope of understanding the wider importance of why we live. As an aside, I know the author crossed my path on Twitter at some point in the journey of this novel – it might have even been whilst it was moving titles (originally known as ‘Heavens’) but whenever it was our paths first crossed, the joy was mine to finally dig into her story-line and see how she breathed to life Vivienne’s discovery.  On another level of cross-reference, portions of Vivienne’s journey hugged me back to the poetically insightful prose found within Lemongrass Hope! (see also review)  These are the stories I ache to find and to feel fully consumed after having read. They give you something back which sometimes can become lost in the chaos of life; a well of renewal and a sharpened awareness of our human condition.                                                                                                     Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “The Extraordinary Journey of Vivienne Marshall” by Shannon KirkThe Extraordinary Journey of Vivienne Marshall
by Shannon Kirk
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

What if you could choose your heaven now? Go on a celestial shopping trip of sorts? Thirty-five-year-old Vivienne does just that, as she lies dying in the ICU; a fatal walk into the path of a truck. In her final week of life, Vivienne treks through the Heavens of a priest, a best friend, a homeless child, and a lover who never was. Vivienne’s guardian angel, Noah, who may just be her soul mate, escorts her through selections of Heavens and through the confusion Vivienne experiences as she flounders between a doubt of life and the certainty of death. Although her visits to varied afterlives provide peace and beauty, choosing proves not so easy: Vivienne’s love for her young son and her earthly father pull her from her colorful journey—and from her divine love of Noah.

The nature of love, the variety and magic of life, unending hope, and the importance of saying goodbye are central to this uplifting tale.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781944387082

Genres: Genre-bender, LGBTQIA Fiction, Magical Realism, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Women's Fiction


Published by Reputation Books

on 12th August, 2016

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 310

 Published By: Reputation Books

 Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Shannon Kirk

Shannon Kirk

Shannon Kirk is the awarding-winning author of the international bestselling Method 15/33 (psychological thriller--bestseller in Colombia and Spain, will be lead title in Italy, 2017) and Heavens (Literary Fiction). Method 15/33 has received multiple accolades: 2015 Foreword Review Book of the Year (Suspense); Winner of 2015 National Indie Excellence Award, Best Suspense; 2015 USA Best Book Finalist; School Library Journal's Best Adult Books for Teens (2015); and Finalist in 2013 William Faulkner William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition (when a Novella). Method 15/33 is optioned for a major motion film and has sold to nineteen foreign rights.

When not writing, she is a practicing lawyer, residing on Massachusett's Cape Ann with her husband and son and two cat writing accomplices, Marvin Marquez (in honor of Gabriel Garcia Marquez) and Stewie Poe (Edgar Allen Poe).

Shannon enjoys writing in several genres: literary fiction, psychological thriller, young adult, and poetry. She has been honored three times by the William Faulkner William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. ​

Read More

Divider

Posted Monday, 6 February, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Angels, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Trailer, Boston, Childhood Friendship, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Content Note, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Equality In Literature, Fly in the Ointment, Genre-bender, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Indie Author, iRead Book Tours, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Magical Realism, Medical Fiction, Modern Day, Near-Death Experience, Neurosciences | Neurogenetics, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Realistic Fiction, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction, Women's Health

Blog Book Tour | “The Summer of Chasing Mermaids” by Sarah Ockler

Posted Wednesday, 5 August, 2015 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

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

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be on “The Summer of Chasing Mermaids” blog tour originally in mid-Spring before the tour was put on hold and finally re-organised in early Summer. Diverse Book Tours was undergoing a re-organisation and re-grouping of their website during the downtime and I was quite thankful I was still able to remain on the tour. I was sent a complimentary hardback copy of “The Summer of Chasing Mermaids” direct from Diverse Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. 

Why Jorie tries to remember to read outside her comfort zones:

Young Adult fiction is a new passion of mine, ever since I took up sails into these engaging worlds where writers would enchant me with their fantasy realms (such as Jackie Gamber!) or retreat inside a coming-of age tale where the main protagonist is one where you cannot put the book down because of how strong they are lighting the story for your heart. The latter of course is a memory of mine from reading The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate most especially but there are others listed on my recent re-attachment to YA fiction on my Children’s Lit archive which immediately bring me back to those characters and stories as lightning quick as the two mentioned here.

I cannot say I am one who is caught up in the tides of most contemporary YA titles which seem to go viral as soon as they’re published (i.e. I have yet to read a John Green, Stephanie Meyer, or Suzanne Collins novel) but I do have a healthy thirst for stories by modern writers who are reminiscent of the authors I loved whilst I was growing up. There is a sampling of those authors on my Children’s Lit archive as well, as it’s becoming a way for me to journal my past endeavours in literature for children as much as serve as a blueprint for what I am reading right now. The companion sections for Children’s Lit & Young Adult Lit are in my Story Vault.

When I was approached about this particular novel there was something about it’s plot that gave me the impression I might enjoy discovering it’s story. It wasn’t until closer to when the book arrived by post that I started to learn a bit more about the novel’s content and how this YA novel in particular is setting a few new standards for what #YALit can encompass. For example, the term ‘sex-positive’ was a new for me as I learnt about it’s connection to the context of this story via another book bloggers rather open and honest review of how the story tackles strong topics for young adults. Read More

Divider

Posted Wednesday, 5 August, 2015 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Conservation, Contemporary Romance, Disabilities & Medical Afflictions, Diverse Book Tours, Equality In Literature, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Life Shift, Lyrical Quotations, Modern Day, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Mute | Medical Loss of Voice, Near-Death Experience, Oregon, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Preservation, Realistic Fiction, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, The Natural World, Twin Siblings, Upper YA Fiction, Vulgarity in Literature, West Coast USA, Writing Style & Voice, Young Adult Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “The Vineyard” by Michael Hurley

Posted Wednesday, 12 November, 2014 by jorielov , , 3 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

The Vineyard by Michael Hurley

Published By: Ragbagger Press
Available Formats: Trade Paperback, E-book

Converse on Twitter via:#TheVineyard

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “The Vineyard” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Michael Hurley, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Note about the Cover Art Design:

Prior to receiving the novel for review, there was a discussion threaded through TLC Book Tours via Twitter on which cover art design we would vote for in regards to the cover art for this particular novel. I must confess, I didn’t quite understand why the woman underwater would make any sense to be used, as I voted for the cover that placed the image of a woman at the edge of the shore instead. At least, I believe that was the scene I opted to choose, as it was a bit ago since I cast my vote! It wasn’t until I opened up the first chapter of “The Vineyard” that I had realised the basis for the cover image is the fact one of the women in the story is contemplating ending her life; and of all the methods available to her it is drowning in the ocean that appeals to her the most. On this level, the feeling of overwhelming emotion and to be put within the vise of a life-altering choice between life and death; yes, the cover art makes a bit more sense. The title however, I do agree was slightly misleading if you did not realise it was the shortened name for “Martha’s Vineyard” in regards to where the story is set.

The author included a small bookmark with the original cover art on display, which was a green and blue colour theme with leaves of a vine between both colours which take up 50% of the space for the cover itself. Almost as if the leaves were an underlay and overlay at the same time. To me it clued in to a dimensional thread of narrative where what is not readily known or able to be seen becomes a puncture of emotional drama. Or perhaps I prefer ambient gestures in cover art sometimes as opposed to curious images that do not always feel they are a strong fit such as the woman underwater tipping her finger to the surface. It does paint a different image altogether when pondering the story itself.

Blog Book Tour | “The Vineyard” by Michael HurleyThe Vineyard
by Michael Hurley
Source: Author via TLC Book Tours

Ten years after college, three very different women reunite for a summer on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. As they come to grips with various challenges in their lives, their encounter with a reclusive fisherman threatens to change everything they believe about their world—and each other.

Places to find the book:

Genres: Literary Fiction


Published by Ragbagger Press

on 25th November, 2014

Format: Paperback

Pages: 384

About Michael Hurley

Michael Hurley and his wife Susan live near Charleston, South Carolina. Born and raised in Baltimore, Michael holds a degree in English from the University of Maryland and law from St. Louis University.
The Prodigal, Michael’s debut novel from Ragbagger Press, received the Somerset Prize for mainstream fiction and numerous accolades in the trade press, including Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, ForeWord Reviews, BookTrib, Chanticleer Reviews, and IndieReader. It is currently in development for a feature film by producer Diane Sillan Isaacs. Michael’s second novel, The Vineyard, is due to be released by Ragbagger Press in December 2014.
Michael’s first book, Letters from the Woods, is a collection of wilderness-themed essays published by Ragbagger Press in 2005. It was shortlisted for Book of the Year by ForeWord magazine. In 2009, Michael embarked on a two-year, 2,200 mile solo sailing voyage that ended with the loss of his 32-foot sloop, the Gypsy Moon, in the Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti in 2012. That voyage and the experiences that inspired him to set sail became the subject of his memoir, Once Upon A Gypsy Moon, published in 2013 by Hachette Book Group.
When he is not writing, Michael enjoys reading and relaxing with Susan on the porch of their rambling, one-hundred-year-old house. His fondest pastimes are ocean sailing, playing piano and classical guitar, cooking, and keeping up with an energetic Irish terrier, Frodo Baggins.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

My Review of The Vineyard:

Charlotte Harris a mother on a mission to save her daughter’s soul in death and to quell the anguish of her mother’s heart from the disillusionment her life became in the circumstances which catapulted her from a woman with a zest of life to one who was broken by the absurdity of regulations of the Catholic Church; at least to her mind and reason. Any mother grieving the loss of her deceased child would feel bound by angst out of spiteful rules that felt cruel and indifferent to the choices she had wanted to give her daughter; the baptismal blessing of a daughter whose mother wanted her to align on the side of Heaven was given a hard choice between accepting the limits of her faith and pursuing a route towards self-redemption. Her entire state of mind within the opening chapter hinges between sanity and the furrowing line of insanity — a sanction only Charlotte Harris could make a discernible ascertain as to which line she was living at that particular moment.

Charlotte received an invitation to the Vineyard which would single-handedly allow her to shape where her destiny was attempting to align her stars — Dory, the vagabond free-spirit friend of her youth encouraged her a Summery respite from the city to spend time with her by the ocean and hours filled to the brim with spontaneity. Dory was the type of friend who saw a friend spiraling into a well of depression and before it could be fully rotated into a sea of darkness, attempts to pull you out of your malaise. Dory’s family is old money as they say, a woman of means who lives an ordinary life (by her own justifications) but Charlotte is straight-up middle class with insecurities about her body image as much as the choices she made in life that feel unwarranted of declaring she lived life well.

Charlotte is a strong willed woman whose mission to greet her daughter in the in-between worlds of life and death blurred a bit whilst she attempted the unthinkable. In one figurative moment of where you could not back out of a course you struck out on, an intervention is given on behalf of what could have been Charlotte’s final hour. There is an immediate mystery surrounding how Charlotte is found bobbling offshore in a boat she doesn’t even remember taking out on her own as much as the identity of the person she’s convinced saved her life. Meanwhile, a third woman joins Dory and Charlotte; Turner who appears to be stuck in her own void whilst seizing an opportunity to promote Charlotte’s mysterious resurrection on her blog. The story not only goes viral but becomes the turning point for how their lives are suddenly stop drifting and start taking a trajectory that has merit of being explored.

Terminal illnesses play a central focus on the story – which I was a bit surprised to find but they are included at different integral parts of the novel. In regards to Charlotte’s daughter and in regards to the health of her beloved friend Dory; I generally steer clear of stories involving terminal illnesses due to the heavy weight of the yoke these stories affect on my mind and heart. However, I can say, that despite the heaviness of the subject they are treated with respect and consideration not only for the reader but for the characters who are living through the circumstances as revelations become known to them.

The issues started to arise for me after the mid-way point of the novel, where the entire foundation of where I felt this story was taking me ended up being shattered by a completely different story-line. Prior to my detachment with the novel and stopping to read it forthwith, I was perplexed by how the style and tone of the novel changed so suddenly. I had originally felt this about the writing style of the author:

Hurley has an incredible arc of characterising the level of depth a human can emote through life as much as internalise in an attempt to process what is perceived, felt, and layered into our unconscience. He knits into his story a level of uncanny perceptive intuition, where the details he describes are both perspicacious and viscerally accurate. His narrative prose gives this literary novel an elevation of tone, body, and attachment to the reader’s own ruminations to fall in step with the words he’s left behind for us to read off the printed page.

Yet at the point where I stopped reading his novel, I no longer felt the same. The transition from the first half to the second half of The Vineyard simply did not sit well with me. Especially as it explores the darker side of how vulnerable women can be taken advantage of, but the fact that the assault is attached to the priest was stepping a bit too far outside the lines of where I want to see a story shift forward. Prior to that moment, I appreciated the intuitiveness of his writing, but afterwards, I felt as though I wasted my time reading the built-up of emotional drama.

On the writing style of Michael Hurley:

Although I grew up in an industry akin and adjacent to the life of a medical examiner, the way in which Hurley chooses to describe the desperate act of a mother resolute in her belief that committing suicide is the only way in which to free her child and herself in oblique harmony can only be taken straight from an medical examiner’s journal of cases. Yet even within the framework of how the act could theoretically be carried through, he gives his character a pause to allow reason and the humanistic desire of holding onto life a chance to breathe. He gives Charlotte the window of exploring the depths of her soul and the gutting reality of a mother who has lost her child; allowing her the time to sort through her emotional heart and her soul wrenched memories of gutting grief.

Having the fisherman who gives Charlotte the shrimp in the beginning a scant view of the note Charlotte intended to leave behind for Dory to find was a nice eclipse of tide. It gave Charlotte a crimson flush of embarrassment yes, but it also alerted her mind to realise she was in a deeply wrought depression. A stop-start of realisation of where her act could lead and how it would affect everyone in her wake of sudden death.

Fly in the Ointment:

At first the inclusions of stronger choices of words was intermittent and infrequent, but by the time I reached the middle of the novel, they became a bit more repetitive and inclusive. They are still not the main focal point of the tone or voice of the novel itself, as they are included in moments of high tension and/or emotional disbelief. However, I will always contend I can read a novel without any vulgarity within its pages and still perceive the eclipse of the emotional turbulence all the same.

I do have issues with stories that involve impropriety between spiritual leaders and their flock; as it simply isn’t a story-line I would normally walk into blind. I originally felt this was a story rooted in sisterhood friendships and a life affirmative jaunt of a Summer where they would renew their spirits whilst celebrating their friendship. What I received instead is a darkening cloud of a drama leading me into a story I felt I hadn’t signed up to read. If that one thread of narrative had been removed, it would have told a completely different story. One that I might have wanted to finish reading.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

This blog tour stop was courtesy of TLC Book Tours:
{ click-through to follow the blogosphere tour }

TLC Book Tours | Tour Host

See what I am hosting next by stopping by my Bookish Events page!

I created a list on Riffle to share the books that I simply could not become attached to as a reader myself, but stories which would benefit a reader to find them, and appreciate them for what each writer gave to their story. For me, the reason I included The Vineyard is because I did not feel it appropriate to explore the infidelity and impropriety of a priest nor to have such an illicit disconnect from the opening first half of the novel tot he middle portion. Therefore, this is now listed on my Riffle List entitled: Stories Seeking Love from Readers.

{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Vineyard”, author photograph, author biography, book synopsis and the tour badge were all provided by TLC Book Tours and used with permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Go Indie
Divider

Posted Wednesday, 12 November, 2014 by jorielov in Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cancer Scare, Cape Cod, Catholicism, Clever Turns of Phrase, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Diet Weight & Body Image, Disillusionment in Marriage, Divorce & Martial Strife, Family Drama, Fly in the Ointment, Go Indie, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Indie Author, Life of Thirty-Somethings, Life Shift, Light vs Dark, Literary Fiction, Mental Health, Modern Day, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Near-Death Experience, Passionate Researcher, Reading Challenges, Realistic Fiction, Self-Harm Practices, Terminal Illness &/or Cancer, TLC Book Tours, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction, Women's Health, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Writing Style & Voice