Category: History

A #SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | The Rancher’s Wyoming Twins (Book One: Back to Adelaide Creek) by Virginia McCullough

Posted Saturday, 30 April, 2022 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquiried about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. This is how I came to love discovering the Harlequin Heartwarming authors & series as much as it has been an honour to regularly request INSPY stories and authors. Whenever I host for Prism, I know I am in for an uplifting read and a journey into the stories which give me a lot of joy to find in my readerly queue of #nextreads. It is an honour to be a part of their team of book bloggers.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Rancher’s Wyoming Twins” direct from the author Virginia McCullough in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I enjoy reading a Virginia McCullough
Harlequin Heartwarming novel:

In this installment of Back to Bluestone River, I was happy to see an intergenerational plotting – wherein Amy is with her grandmother and there is a history of grandparents raising children in the storyline. Lately, I’ve been enjoying finding intergenerational stories – where different role models and guardians are being explored in the context of Contemporary stories. It is a refreshing twist and one I think should be celebrated more often as there are a lot of children who live in non-conventional families and those families should be represented more as I am loving how Ms McCullough presented Amy’s presence in her grandmother’s life.

Bluestone River is one of those communities which is thinking about how it wants to make positive progress into their own towne’s future. There is something to be said for that kind of thinking – of where a towne considers all angles of new proposals but also takes stock into consideration how they want to grow rather than just growing without a firm plan in mind to execute. Too often I think smaller townes grow too fast and they all start to look like a commercial zone of big box stores and differing styles of architecture without any cohesive way of bridging the towne and their aesthetic together. It was nice to see this discussion taking place and having a community question what is motivating their future endeavours as the towne continues to grow.

Ms McCullough brought the continuity together beautifully between installments – as Eric is the mutual friend of our first Bluestone River sweethearts, Ruby and Mike. It wasn’t lost on me the connection between the title’s metaphor and the symbolism of the bridge being in jeopardy throughout the storyline – not to mention that this story took place during my favourite season of Winter! Everything was percolating so well in this installment – from how the community was rallying together to discuss their future plans for development and to how Amy needed to find her footing in her choices to return to Bluestone River. Even Eric was at a crossroads in his life wherein he needed to sort through what was motivating him and the choices he needed to be making for himself as he looked towards where he wanted to be in the next chapter of his life. This is a story about choices and owning them once they are made as everyone needs a boost of confidence at different junctions of their lives.

I felt this installment brought me back to centre – back to where I originally felt hugged close into the series within the pages of A Family for Jason. Bluestone River has a way of settling into your heart because its the kind of towne where you can either return home after a long absence or it is a towne where you can move to redefine your life and have your own new beginning. What keeps you rooted in the series is the familiar way in which McCullough makes you feel like you’ve gone home yourself – Back to Bluestone River!

-quoted from my review of A Bridge Home

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I need to preface this with a note about why I am posting my ruminative thoughts several days after my previously scheduled tour stop for this lovely blog tour. On Monday, I had one of the worst ocular migraines of my life – so much so, I had to call in sick from my night job and had to take straight to sleep as it was one of those supernova ones where you have to just rest and obliterate all light from reaching your eyes. Over five hours of sleep and I was feeling a bit more like ‘me’ but not quite to the point I’d say I was back to ‘normal’ either Monday night. By Tuesday, as much as I wanted to resume my life where I had left it the night before it wasn’t until Wednesday morning I felt I had turnt the corner and things were starting to feel like I had reached a healthier patch of road again. Despite that, I asked for an extension to read this novel as I didn’t want to push my eyes past the point they could go with reading and blogging; as sometimes even with traditional migraines it takes me hours/days to recover to the point I can read or blog again.

Ergo, I asked to post this on Saturday giving me more time to read and allowing my eyes not to feel too overwhelmed by reading too fast, too soon. Unfortunately, I had some other health issues arise this weekend which delayed me from sharing my thoughts until late morning rather than earlier as I had planned. It also pushed forward other reviews I was meant to feature this week as well. I was grateful to be on the tour, as Prism is winding down for the Summer and might be on an extended hiatus thereafter. As my regular readers know, I am full of gratitude to Prism (especially to Tressa) for encouraging me to first pick up Heartwarming novels and the journey as a book blogger hosting these authors and series has been a true joy of mine these past six years.

Ms McCullough is beginning a new series now with The Rancher’s Wyoming Twins and I was grateful to be part of the reviewers on the tour as most of the Western Romances I read are either inclusive of Colorado or Montana; it isn’t too often I get to travel into Wyoming and it was a special treat of joy to find this series settled there. Of course, when the Blackwells return this Summer, I’ll be travelling into Wyoming as well (ie. Blackwell Brothers series) but for now, it felt fitting to be in Wyoming and following the adventures therein.

NOTE: The Blackwell series is by fellow Heartwarming authors: Anna J. Stewart, Carol Ross, Melinda Curtis, Amy Vastine and Cari Lynn Webb. It started with Return of the Blackwell Brothers, followed by the Blackwell Sisters and I believe its the Blackwell Cousins this Summer but I haven’t confirmed that yet but the stories are set in Wyoming not Montana.

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A #SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | The Rancher’s Wyoming Twins (Book One: Back to Adelaide Creek) by Virginia McCulloughThe Rancher's Wyoming Twins
Subtitle: Back to Adelaide Creek
by Virginia McCullough
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

Her worst enemy...

Could bring her heart home

Heather Stanhope wants to despise the man who now owns the ranch her family lost. But Matt Burton is raising his late sister’s adorable twins, loves horses, and is known for his loyalty and honesty. Sneaking into Adelaide Creek for her friend’s wedding, Heather hopes to avoid Matt, but fate and family have them crossing paths. Heather knows falling for Matt means risking her heart, but it’s a risk she can’t resist.

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



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 78-1335426680

Also by this author: A Family for Jason, The Christmas Kiss, A Bridge Home

Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 29th March, 2022

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

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Back to Adelaide Creek series:

The Rancher’s Wyoming Twins (book one)

The Doc’s Holiday Homecoming (book two) *forthcoming November, 2022!

Keep up with this series via FantasticFiction!

Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin

Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance, #WesternRomance and #HarlequinHeartwarming

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About Virginia McCullough

Virginia McCullough

Born and raised in Chicago, Virginia McCullough has been lucky enough to develop her writing career in many locations, including the coast of Maine, the mountains of North Carolina, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and currently, Northeast Wisconsin. She started her career in nonfiction, first writing articles and then books as a ghostwriter and coauthor. She’s written more than 100 books for physicians, business owners, professional speakers and many others with information to share or a story to tell.

Virginia’s books feature characters who could be your neighbors and friends. They come in all ages and struggle with everyday life issues in small-town environments that almost always include water—oceans, lakes, or rivers. The mother of two grown children, you’ll find Virginia with her nose a book, walking on trails or her neighborhood street, or she may be packing her bag to take off for her next adventure. And she’s always working on another story about hope, healing, and second chances.

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Posted Saturday, 30 April, 2022 by jorielov in #SaturdaysAreBookish, 21st Century, Adoption, Ancestry & Genealogy, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, Brothers and Sisters, Contemporary Romance, Family Drama, Family Life, Life Shift, Modern Day, Nurses & Hospital Life, Orphans & Guardians, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Siblings, Single Fathers, Sisterhood friendships, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Twin Siblings, West Coast USA, Western Romance, Wyoming

Author Interview | Conversing with Rojé Augustin about her poetic dramatic release: “Out of No Way: Madam CJ Walker & A’Lelia Walker”

Posted Wednesday, 28 October, 2020 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva. Updated version July 2020.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I love seeking out Biographical Historical Fiction stories in order to better understand the persons who’ve lived before me and to have an interpersonal glimpse into their lives – which is why I seek out an equal amount of Biopics in motion pictures to watch as well. This is how I came to watch the Netflix original mini-series “Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam CJ Walker”. (see also Wikipedia) Coincidentally, this aired whilst I was preparing my interview questions for this blog tour and thankfully it gave me an inside glimpse into the back-history of what inspired this poetic drama by the author.

Those of us on the tour received a PDF copy of the story by Ms Augustin – as you know, due to my chronic migraines, I cannot read stories electronically but I do sometimes read chapter samplers of stories online to gather a bit about a writer’s style and to better understand what the story might yield in print when I go to read it in a format better suited for me. In this instance, as I was moving through the PDF to find a section to preview for my interview questions I noticed there are photographs included with this story. I wanted to post an advisory on my tour stop that if you are a sensitive reader one photograph did concern me as it actually shows a lynching which I was not personally expecting to be included myself.

Outside of that photograph, the few sections I previewed helped inspire this conversation and I was thankful to have this copy of the book to use in my research to present a better rounded picture of what inspired the poet to create this dramatic story about the Walkers and how the Walkers are continuing to inspire everyone who finds their story. This is a well-timed conversation as many are still watching “Self Made” and I know others are regularly chatting about Madam CJ Walker and the impact she had on both industry and women-led companies who re-wrote what a woman can accomplish in whichever endeavour of business she chooses to become involved and find success.

I found watching “Self Made” to be an incredible story of both internal strength and belief in one’s self to pursue your own dreams and goals in life whilst embracing the fortitude one needs as a woman to achieve the impossible in a male-dominated world. There is so much truth in this mini-series about what women have faced in different generations to overcome the oppression of yesterday – it is a rising light of how hard we have had to fight for what we have as women of industry as much as how hard it is to build a brand when the concept for the brand isn’t one that everyone wants to embrace.

I loved the fact Octavia Spencer had the lead role in bringing Madam CJ Walker to life as I loved her performance and her instincts for telling Walker’s story. I have long admired her acting and am wicked thankful she is now in high demand as she deserves to continue to get these kinds of roles where she can shine such a wonderful light on the characters I feel she was bourne to portray! She’s just a wicked good actress and its a delight to see her in roles which I feel are strengthened due to how she’s approached them as an actress.

I also feel we are undeserved as both readers and citizens not to embrace more of the diversity of our country and of the persons who have made historical impacts on our society. We have such a beautiful diverse citizenship and yet, a lot of the historical stories which need to be told are never brought to light. I am thankful Walker’s story is finally coming into the mainstream in order to reach a broader audience but I have always maintained we need more stories about living histories of all persons in our country’s past in order to have a better rounded view of our History. All voices and lives need representation and all lives are important to be heard and shared.

It is an absolute joy for me to highlight the life and history of Madam CJ Walker and to share this interview on the blog tour celebrating her life and story. I hope you will walk away with some inspiration for your own life as much as have a better understanding of what Madam CJ Walker had to endure in order to reach for her dreams and bring to reality the world she saw in her dreams.

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Author Interview | Conversing with Rojé Augustin about her poetic dramatic release: “Out of No Way: Madam CJ Walker & A’Lelia Walker”Out of No Way
Subtitle: Madam CJ Walker and A'Lelia Walker : A Poetic Drama
Source: Author via Poetic Book Tours

Author, producer, and emerging poet Rojé Augustin has written a groundbreaking debut collection of dramatic poems about hair care entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker and her daughter, A'Lelia. Rojé's singular and accomplished work is presented through the intimate lens of the mother-daughter relationship via different poetic forms — from lyric to haiku, blackout to narrative. (One poem takes its inspiration from Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven.) Written in tribute to Walker, Out of No Way deftly and beautifully explores themes of race, motherhood, sacrifice, beauty, and the meaning of success in Jim Crow America.

Born Sarah Breedlove to former Louisiana slaves in 1867, Madam C.J. Walker was orphaned at seven, married at 14, became a mother at 17, and was widowed at 20. After the death of her first husband, Sarah moved to St. Louis with her daughter where she earned $1.50 a day as a washerwoman. When her hair started falling out she developed a remedy and sold her formula across the country. In the process, she became the wealthiest Negro woman in America.

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Poetry & Drama, Women's Studies



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Published by Self Published

Format: epub | PDF editon

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Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

NOTE: I do want to advise readers about a content warning in regards to a photograph inclusive of this release which does show a lynching which took me by surprise as well.

Converse via: #NonFiction, #Biography and #Poetry Drama
& #MadamCJWalker and #ALeliaWalker

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Posted Wednesday, 28 October, 2020 by jorielov in A'Lelia Walker, African-American History, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host, Dramatic Poetry, Indie Author, Madam CJ Walker, Memoir, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Poetic Book Tours, Poetry, Vignettes of Real Life

An Audiobook Review during #RIPXV | “A Lock of Hair” by A. Rose Pritchett, narrated by Melanie Huesz

Posted Saturday, 12 September, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring, knitting and playing solitaire agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions.

Through hosting for Audiobookworm Promotions, I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods. Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue wherein I can also request new digital audiobooks to become added to their OverDrive selections. Aside from OverDrive I also enjoy having Audible & Scribd memberships as my budget allows. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I have been able to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year since 2018.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “A Lock of Hair” via Audiobookworm Promotion who is working with A. Rose Pritchett on this blog tour in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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A Q&A with the author A. Rose Pritchett

I would normally compile questions for an author to respond to whilst hosting a blog tour, however due to the amount of personal stress & adverse medical emergencies in my family recently, I honestly had forgotten to submit questions to Ms Pritchett. Thereby, I chose a selection of the questions she responded to which were based on questions Ms Jess asked herself as I found her replies to fit in-line with topics I would have broached myself if I had had the chance to ask her questions of my own.

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Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.

Pritchett responds: When I first published my book a year ago, I knew I wanted to turn it into an audiobook, but didn’t know how to go about it. It seemed expensive and I already invested so much into editing and publishing. Then, after some research, I discovered that ACX has a royalty-share program, which means that I pay nothing upfront, but just split my royalties with the narrator. I auditioned a few narrators, and ended up choosing Melanie Huesz because she gave each character a unique voice, which I knew was a major challenge. After all, there are characters from Boston, Ireland and the South. Some are young, some are old, and one has Down Syndrome. After a couple months of back-and-forth, we got an audiobook produced.

Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?

Pritchett responds: Mildred’s dog, Nightshade, is inspired by my dog, Isabel. Even though they’re different breeds, Nightshade acts a lot like Isabel. Also, I took a Meyers-Briggs test from Mildred’s POV for the heck of it, and she’s an INFJ like me, so there’s that.

How do you manage to avoid burn-out?
What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?

Pritchett responds: Contrary to popular advice, I don’t write every day. A lot of times, I’ll switch my focus to one of my many, many hobbies. In fact, part of my routine on days that I write is to take a break to draw or cross stitch, just to be away from the screen. I also allow myself to take “lazy days”, which are days (usually Sunday) where I just do nothing at all except watch cheesy movies and play Sims. It gives my mind a rest so that I’m not half-dead the next time I stare at the little blinking line on the blank screen.

What’s next for you?

Pritchett responds: I have a completed draft of my second book set during WW2 that I’m trying to get published, and I’m currently working on my third book, which is a fantasy that I’m really in love with. I’ve also dabbled in screenplay writing, with a pilot for a miniseries inspired by my childhood growing up in the restaurant industry and a script that I’m working on-and-off based on my experiences going from my preppy middle school to my arts high school (total culture shock!). All of my works have the same snarkiness that A Lock of Hair has.

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An Audiobook Review during #RIPXV  | “A Lock of Hair” by A. Rose Pritchett, narrated by Melanie HueszA Lock of Hair
by A. Rose Pritchett
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Melanie Huesz

Boston, 1846. Eighteen-year-old Mildred Parish, a barber's daughter, practices practical witchcraft using locks of hair obtained from her father's customers. She's very selective about who knows her secret and the kinds of spells she casts. Only people she trusts can know, and she must never cast a spell to harm another person.

One of her father's clients is Theodore O'Brian, an Irish immigrant whose family is fortunate enough to be wealthy. Mildred is head over heels in love with him, but he's destined to be with someone else. One day, a woman named Trinity Hartell comes knocking on Mildred's door. She has a vendetta against an entire family and wants Mildred to cast a death spell on them. The family? The O'Brians, including Theodore. Mildred refuses, but Trinity is set on getting what she wants, one way or another.

Mildred now feels she must protect the O'Brian family and the man she loves, but she must also protect herself. How can she make sure Trinity is stopped without telling the entire city of Boston that she's a witch?

Genres: Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Women's Fiction



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B089YD7759

Published by Self Published

on 11th June, 2020

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 6 hours and 7 minutes (unabridged)

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Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #AudioReads, #Audiobook and #AudiobookwormPromotions

as well as #HistoricalFiction and/or #HistFic

About A. Rose Pritchett

A. Rose Pritchett

A. Rose Pritchett's writing career started in kindergarten when she daydreamed about being a fairy princess instead of learning subtraction. Her childhood obsession with American Girl turned her into an avid history lover.

At seventeen, she moved from her hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, to Savannah, Georgia, where she earned her BA in writing with a history minor from Georgia Southern University. She continues to live in Savannah, still daydreaming about princesses wearing gorgeous dresses. A LOCK OF HAIR is her debut novel.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 12 September, 2020 by jorielov in 17th Century, African-American History, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blog Tour Host, Boston, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Down Syndrome, Equality In Literature, Historical Fiction, History, Indie Author, Self-Published Author, Special Needs Children