Category: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “A Season of Love” (anthology) by Carla Kelly

Posted Sunday, 12 November, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

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

I received a complimentary copy of “A Season of Love (anthology)” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (an imprint of Cedar Fort Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

I personally *adore!* anthologies – short stories have something special inside them – they are the shorter versions of narrative I truly love to tuck inside because you can live a full life within them! They might be smaller than novels, but each writer attaches us into their thresholds in a different place of entry – generally, I’ve read more Science Fiction, Fantasy & Cosy Horror short stories and novellas – but with this anthology, I am returning to my roots – of reading Regency Christmas shorts for the Christmastide Season!

It is one of my favourite holiday seasons – giving way to beautifully lovely Romances and the tenderness of cosy comforting stories which give you a lift of joy to be reading as the weather turns chill ahead of Winter’s firm grasp on our climate patterns — it is the time to tuck into holiday reads, feel the warmth of the Season and be carted away into a Romance happily revolving round all the festive bursts of happiness you enjoy celebrating every year!

Being a collection of shorts by a beloved author is a double-blessing – as I have been finding my readings of Ms Kelly’s novels to be quite wicked brilliant! I know I shall one day be collecting the rest of her stories – as each one is a treat to read. I delight in her descriptive narratives and I love how her heroines are full of strength, even if they do not always feel they have the fortitude to right the stars of their circumstances, they find the courage whilst they are sorting out the details! They give you a lot to chew on whilst you read their stories – something I appreciate. This collection simply felt fitting to be reading right now – as the timing could not have been more perfect!

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Blog Book Tour | “A Season of Love” (anthology) by Carla KellyA Season of Love
Subtitle: A Christmas Anthology
by Carla Kelly
Source: Direct from Publisher

Join master romance writer Carla Kelly in this joyful celebration of the most wonderful time of the year. Set in Regency England, these Christmas tales will take you from dangerous adventures on snowy roads to cosy little cottages filled with holiday mischief.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1462119820

Also by this author: Softly Falling, Summer Campaign, Courting Carrie in Wonderland

Genres: Anthology Collection of Short Stories and/or Essays, Short Story or Novella


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 10th October, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 320

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

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Stories by Carla Kelly I’ve read:

Softly Falling | my first Carla Kelly story | (see also Review)

Summer Campaign | (see also Review)

Courting Carrie in Wonderland | (see also Review)

Converse via: #ChristmasRomance, #HolidayReads, #Anthology, #ShortStories + #CarlaKelly

About Carla Kelly

Carla Kelly is a veteran of the New York and international publishing world. The author of more than thirty novels and novellas for Donald I. Fine Co., Signet, and Harlequin, Carla is the recipient of two Rita Awards (think Oscars for romance writing) from Romance Writers of America and two Spur Awards (think Oscars for western fiction) from Western Writers of America. She is also a recipient of a Whitney Award for Borrowed Light, My Loving Vigil Keeping and Softly Falling.

Photo Credit: Marie Bryner-Bowles, Bryner Photography

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Sunday, 12 November, 2017 by jorielov in 19th Century, Anthology Collection of Stories, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Brothers and Sisters, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, England, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Scotland, Short Stories or Essays, Siblings, Sisterhood friendships, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, the Regency era

#NonFiction Book Review | “31 Men of the Bible: Who They Were and What We Can Learn from Them Today” by Holman Bible Staff (via B&H Publishing)

Posted Sunday, 15 October, 2017 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: This marks my entrance into the B&H Publishing Blogger programme which I had attempted to start participating in last Autumn, shortly ahead of November. I was enthused by their support of book bloggers and the choices we had of books to review – as similar to the format for Blogging for Books, you can pick and choose the frequency of your participation as well as the types of stories you want to receive. They mostly feature works of Non-Fiction – from Religious Studies to Self-Help or Reflection. This review marks my ‘return’ as a blogger for B&H Publishing and begins my path seeking out the collective works they are publishing. I received a complimentary copy of the “31 Men of the Bible” direct from the publisher B&H Publishing, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why this particular title was of interest to read:

On Thursday, the 12th of October, I shared my first review by B&H Publishing: ‘Dancing Through Life’ by Candace Cameron Bure which was requested ahead of the Bloggers Program being active through this publisher. Last year, I requested my first book to review as a new blogger attached to the program ‘31 Men of the Bible’ as a continual reading queue of getting to know the ‘people’ of the Bible through collective works of hearing their stories – either in Narrative Non-Fiction, Biblical Historical Fiction or Topical Subjects in Christian Non-Fiction wherein I would learn more about these individuals who lived an epoch ago.

I’ve been focusing on the ‘women’ moreso than the men, as you will read my murmurings of those readings thus far afield on my ruminations of ‘Successful Women of the Bible’ (by Hachette Books) and ‘Scripture Princesses’ (by Cedar Fort Publishing). I also have a follow-up to the title by Hachette Books called: ‘Successful Leaders of the Bible’ which I will be sharing lateron this month. What inspired me to read this collection of ‘stories’ is how this text felt comparatively researched – where the knowledge of who the men were and their relevancy to today’s audience would be rightly justified. I think one of the hardest bridges to cross in our world of faith is understanding how these people lived and what they experienced as the time between ‘their reality’ and ours is as wide as the Grand Canyon temporally speaking!

I reached out to B&H Publishing ahead of publishing this review, to update them on my status of the two books I had from them and to explain the girth of time which had elapsed since I contacted them. The past year has been a unique one as you dear hearts kindly are aware of – but to put into a concise explanation and explain why I couldn’t fully finish these books sooner than now took a bit of time to work through. I wasn’t even sure if I could say in the Blogger Program and was most relieved when I received their reply – they said simply to start ‘anew’ if I paraphrase their fuller response, which was overwhelming kind of them! Therefore, after I posted this review, I hopped back into their Blogger Portal to see what I could find – as my second choice as one of their bloggers! Here’s to new beginnings!

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#NonFiction Book Review | “31 Men of the Bible: Who They Were and What We Can Learn from Them Today” by Holman Bible Staff (via B&H Publishing)31 Men of the Bible
Subtitle: Who They Were and What We Can Learn from Them Today
Source: Direct from Publisher

31 Men of the Bible features 31 profiles of important men in the Bible. Each profile includes the related scripture reference, character summary, and application questions to help the reader discover who these men were and what we can learn from them today.

Featuring a full-color interior with illustrations on every page and a unique concise format, this book can be used for daily study or carried in a briefcase or backpack for reading on the go. Features Include: 31 profiles of important men in the Bible with life application questions.

Full-color interior with illustrations on every page. Ideal for daily study or reading on the go. Concise format that is easy to carry and fits well in a brief case or backpack. Study tool that provides a greater understanding of important men in the Bible.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

ISBN: 9781433644450

Genres: Art & Art History, Biography / Autobiography, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Non-Fiction, Religious Studies & Biblical History, Self-Improvement & Self-Actualisation, Spirituality & Metaphysics


Published by B&H Publishing Group

on 1st October, 2016

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 144

Published By: B&H Publishing Group (@BHpub)

Available Formats: Hardback, Ebook and Audiobook (Digital & CD)

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Posted Sunday, 15 October, 2017 by jorielov in Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Brothers and Sisters, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Lessons from Scripture, Memoir, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Siblings, Vignettes of Real Life

Non-Fiction Book Review | “The Mother God Made Me To Be” by Karen Valentin

Posted Friday, 13 October, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Hachette Books and their imprints, where I started reading titles by 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 Grand Central Publishing, FaithWords & Center Street.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Mother God Made Me To Be” direct from the publisher 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.

Why I have been purposely seeking out titles like this one:

As you might have noticed, every so often I focus on stories of motherhood & mumhood – which can be seen on the reading schedule I have for #20BooksOfAutumn (previously known as #20BooksOfSummer) as well as the stories you’ll find in my Story Vault. I take an active glance at emerging Fiction & Non-Fiction for stories of motherhood as I’m a Prospective Adoptive Mum (which I talked a bit about whilst reviewing ‘Red Thread Sisters’). I enjoy finding wicked good real and fictional stories which focus positively on Adoption &/or Foster Care whilst appreciating motherhood from more traditional angles as well.

When I first read the synopsis for this memoir, I felt led to read it because something about this woman’s story felt it was meant for me to read it. You might know what I’m talking about – readers have a built in sixth sense about the stories they feel motivated to read. This is one of those for me – in truth, every story I’ve blogged about these past four years I felt were ones I should be reading at one point in time or another – as being a book blogger is a walk of faith in of itself. Yet, on a personal note – I felt inspired by the small bits of this mother’s journey I knew about ahead of reading her fuller story and I wanted to be fully engrossed inside the rest of it. This is why I requested this for review – because I felt inspired even before I opened the book to the first page!

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Non-Fiction Book Review | “The Mother God Made Me To Be” by Karen ValentinThe Mother God Made Me To Be
Subtitle: My journey from newlywed, to mother of two, to single mom - trying to heal - and become the mother God made me to be.
by Karen Valentin
Source: Direct from Publisher

Karen lived an adventurous single life but longed for a family of her own. After years of maintaining her vow of purity and waiting for a man who shared her Christian faith, she fell in love with her best friend and co-worker. They married. She bore two sons. They divorced.

With humor, honesty and raw emotion, Valentin tells her story of wrestling between God's will and her own, with visions of happily ever after. In the midst of her weakness and grief, she experiences God's strength and restoration like never before. Through her family and friends, mission workers, the pastor of Graffiti Church, and her two beautiful boys, God turns her ashes to beauty and her sorrow into joy.

THE MOTHER GOD MADE ME TO BE contains a discussion guide for book clubs and church groups.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

ISBN: 9781455539871

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Memoir, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Self-Improvement & Self-Actualisation


Published by FaithWords

on 5th September, 2017

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 192

Published by: FaithWords (@FaithWords)
an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc. (@HachetteBooks) via Hachette Nashville

Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Hardback & Ebook

Converse via: #NonFiction, #INSPY, #Christian

About Karen Valentin

Karen Valentin

KAREN VALENTIN is an American born writer who is proud of her Puerto Rican heritage. Her books--ranging from narrative, to YA fiction and children's--have been published by Doubleday Religious, Judson, Harlequin and JustUs/Kensington. She is a graduate of Fordham University and taught English as a second language in France. An avid traveler who speaks English, Spanish and French, she resides in New York City with her two little boys.

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Posted Friday, 13 October, 2017 by jorielov in Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Cliffhanger Ending, Equality In Literature, FaithWords, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Journal, Life Shift, Memoir, Mental Health, Midwife | Midwifery, Mother-Son Relationships, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Non-Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Siblings, Sociological Behavior, Vignettes of Real Life

Book Review | “Dancing Through Life: Steps of Courage and Conviction” by Candace Cameron Bure with Erin Davis

Posted Thursday, 12 October, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: It’s an interesting story, as I crossed paths with B&H Publishing Marketing Director Jesse Wisnewski via Twitter wherein we had this conversation about Ms Bure. I coordinated with Brandon Taylor their Events Specialist on requesting a copy of “Dancing Through Life” Ms Bure’s latest memoir which picks up her life’s story after being featured on “Dancing with the Stars”; a chapter of her life I happily watched with other viewers as the episodes aired. I received a complimentary copy of the “Dancing Through Life” direct from the publisher B&H Publishing, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

I, too, grew up watching Ms Bure on television:

Full House was one of the sitcoms I watched as a child of the 80s/90s who arrived in the latter half of the 70s – it was an honest and feel-good series becoming a part of my weekly line-up to watch. After the conclusion of the series, I kept my eye on Candace Cameron, as I appreciated the roles she took as she started to transition into her adult acting years. Including, a few realistic tv movies where she took on courageous roles showing a dramatic side rather than a comic one; in particular, it was her role in She Cried No opposite Mark Paul Gosselaar and Jenna von Oÿ which re-defined her acting style, as all three actors I grew up watching in different tv serials.

When she started to make appearances on the Hallmark Channel, I was smiling to myself as I knew it was a good place for her to sprout her wings into different Romantic comedies and possibly other roles where I knew she would shine; including the Christmas movies of which my family adores re-watching each holiday season! Especially as Hallmark Channel is one of the few channels who still offer wholesome and family oriented new films each Christmas season (Lifetime does too, but not as much as they did in previous years). I remember the night I watched Aurora Teagarden, realising how much I would miss seeing her regularly as at the time I didn’t have access to Hallmark Movies & Mysteries – it was a turn of change for me to realise Hallmark would not air their new mysteries on their main channel; as I have fond memories of prior mysteries series: Mystery Woman, McBride, and Jane Doe respectively. I hadn’t foreseen a Summer of lightning storms which would cripple my ability to blog and tweet would lead to a change in ISP providers which would lend an option to gain a few channels on cable I never had previously! Hence how two years ago in the  Autumn, I was able to ‘catch-up’ on Aurora Teagarden and all the other lovelies I had missed!

I love when you could see her bubbly personality shining through the characters, and even if she was being more ‘serious’ in one role or another, you still have the Aurora Teagarden Mysteries which I think fits her quite well, as Aurora has a quiet innocence about her mixed with intelligent dexterity; just like Ms Bure.

However, I’m getting away from what I wanted to say — like most watchers of #DWTS (Dancing with the Stars) you develop a bit of a love/hate relationship with the show. It’s not the contestants fault, it’s the way in which the commentary reflects on behalf of the judges that taints the show for me, which is why I have skipped installments of the show and picked/chosen which episodes per cast I have watched. When Ms Bure took her journey, it was a season I opted to watch irregardless of my past feelings about the show as a whole. In part, due to the fact Ms Bure was on the show and partially due to the fact, at heart I love the show for pushing people to try something radically different and step into a confidence they never knew they could excel at showing to the public.

I love the challenge of #DWTS and I love the choreography of the professional dancers who teach the celebrities! They combine modern Top Forty favourites with classic choices of the musical past, combining artistry with movement in such beautiful displays of art and creativity that I’m left mesmerised by what I have witnessed on camera. Seeing Ms Bure’s journey evolve over the course of her time on the show, I saw a story emerging out of everything she was facing and achieving. Part of me wondered if I might one day learn the ‘hidden story’ behind the show itself and the truer impact of her time dancing live for the public eye she grew up on so very long ago.

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Imagine my happy delight in realising Dancing Through Life is the story I knowingly knew existed but hadn’t yet knew was a published memoir! It was with great joy to find her publisher willing to send a copy to an inquisitive book blogger who wanted to read this installment of her life for review.

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View a collage of Ms Bure and Mark Ballas via their DWTS photos uploaded to Twitter via this link, as it’s a lovely complied journalling of their journey seen through photographs of their time on the show. Since their season aired, there are more photos on this streamed search option but you can still find the pictures of their time on DWTS.

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A beautiful photograph of the memoir shared via Twitter:

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Dancing Through Life by Candace Cameron Bure

Dancing Through Life
Subtitle: Steps of Courage and Conviction
by Candace Cameron Bure
Source: Direct from Publisher

Candace Cameron Bure has grown up before our eyes and we've watched as she's balanced life in Hollywood with her Christian faith. But the spotlight became even brighter when she competed on Dancing with the Stars . It was a dream come true, and with that dream came the opportunity to display her personal convictions in front of millions of people on live television and to learn lessons crucial for everyone - on stage and off.

Join Candace as she reflects on the self-discovery that came through leaping out of her comfort zone. Go behind the scenes and experience the highs and lows, the roadblocks, and the personal victories. Hear straight from her heart on tough lessons she learned about grace, rejection, perfectionism, disappointment, accountability, dealing with criticism, and more. See how Candace stayed true to herself and publicly lived her faith in Christ all the way to the finale.

How do you stand with conviction in your world? Where does your courage come from when faced with difficulties? Your stage probably isn't in Hollywood or on live television, but they are no less challenging. Come along with Candace as she shares how she found the courage to stand with conviction on one of the largest platforms of her life.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

ISBN: 9781433686948

Series: Bure Memoirs


Genres: Memoir, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics


Published by B&H Publishing Group

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 224

Published By: B&H Publishing Group (@BHpub)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Ebook and Audiobook (Digital & CD)

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Posted Thursday, 12 October, 2017 by jorielov in Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Brothers and Sisters, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Lessons from Scripture, Memoir, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Siblings, Vignettes of Real Life