Category: Agnostic (Questioning & Searching or Unsure)

#MyYASummer Book Review | “Summer by Summer” by Heather Burch | #ReadingIsBeautiful No.2 (part of #YASRC 2015)

Posted Friday, 21 June, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#ReadingISBeautiful Summer YA Reading Challenge by BookSparks

I had fully intended to read my #ReadingIsBeautiful selections hugged closer to the months when the books were meant to be reviewed (Summer of 2015), however, those of whom have caught my posts relating to circumstances which wicked out hours and derailed my attempts to read along with the rest of the book bloggers who took up the same challenge are already in the loop realising my readings of these stories will come quite a bit later than planned (by a few years).

To recap the events for those who are visiting me for the first time,
please direct your attention to the following posts:

You can read a fuller disclosure of my readings of these novels on my review for “Vote for Remy” in the top anchour section of the post.This marks my six review overall spilt between #SRC2015,#ReadingIsBeautiful (the YA selections) and #FRC2015, however, it is the fifth Summer Reading Challenge selection I am reading.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

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

Acquired Book By: I originally found BookSparks PR Spring 2014, when I came upon the Summer Reading Challenge a bit too late in the game. I hadn’t forgotten about it, and was going to re-contact them (in Spring 2015) to see if I could join the challenge in 2015 instead. Coincidentally, before I sorted this out, I was contacted by one of their publicists about Linda Lafferty’s Renaissance historical novel, “The Shepherdess of Siena”. 

I started to participate in #SRC2015 during Summer 2015 until lightning storms quickly overtook my life and the hours I could give to the reading challenge. Summer ended hard and with a newfound resolve to pick up where I had left off, I posted as many reviews on behalf of BookSparks blog tours and/or the three reading challenges I had committed myself to participate inside (i.e. #SRC2015, #ReadingIsBeautiful (YA version), and #FRC2015).

I am unsure if I can resume hosting with BookSparks once my backlogue is erased, however, my main motivation in resuming where I left off was to ‘meet the stories’ even if my days of being a blogger with BookSparks ended the day I couldn’t keep up with the reviews when life interrupted my postings. I continue to hope as my reviews arrive on my blog the authors and the publisher(s) will forgive my delays. Life kept interfering with my plans to read these novels – in late 2016 my Dad had his stroke, 2017 marked his year of recovery and in 2018 I had ten months of health afflictions. I simply didn’t have a lot of time to re-attach into the stories despite re-attempting to read them off/on for the past few years.

I received a complimentary copy of “Summer by Summer” by BookSparks. By participating in the #SRC2015 – this is the YA version of that 2015 challenge called #ReadingIsBeautiful – I am reading the novels in exchange for my honest reviews; whether I am receiving a complimentary copy or borrowing them through my local library. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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My selection process for #sRC2015 + #Yasrc directly:

I made four selections for the #YASRC challenge – they were spilt rather evenly between Fantasy and Contemporary YA, as I made two selections for each genre. The interesting bit is that I hadn’t realised Summer by Summer was a Clean Reads selection for young adult (or adult) readers who are seeking a gentler side of YA. One of my personal contentions for reading YA as an adult reader and as a Prospective Adoptive Mum in the future, is how adult YA is becoming. Meaning, it is hard to find YA written for a true young adult reader – wherein, there isn’t strong language or overtly graphic violence. Whenever I find stories of YA which have vulgarity inclusive to their narratives, I either mention it directly on my reviews, find those stories to be DNF’d and/or they fall into what I place as a category for Upper YA due to the rather adult situations, strong language and/or other inclusive depictions of life I’d categorise as being nearly ‘outside the YA genre’ altogether.

What is beautiful about accidentally finding Blink YA Books is that this is a publisher who is striving towards keeping YA “YA” by the definitions that I appreciate myself for the genre! You can read more about how they’re doing this on their Info Page about their publishing practices. I personally can’t wait to read more stories by them as a result!

Especially as I’m an active reader of YA (and Middle Grade stories) inasmuch as the fact I’m a hybrid reader who moves between mainstream and INSPY markets. It is an uplift of joy to realise there are publishers out there who get why a lot of us like YA for what it can give not just young adult readers but for adults like myself who have re-discovered the beauty of YA Reads (hence why #iReadYA is a lovely tag, too) for the joyfulness of reconnecting with a part of our readerly lives we still love to discover today as older adults. Secondly, as a future parent I am also mindful of the stories I’d like to encourage my children to read themselves and as a book blogger I’ve been able to garnish a list of stories I would feel comfortable allowing them to read.

The reason I did select Summer by Summer was due to the premise involving a nanny on vacation to South America. I love stories involving nannies and au pairs – not just in fiction but in films, such as the Gregory Harrison Au Pair series of films on the previously known Fox Family Channel starring opposite Heidi Noelle Lenhart. Each Summer since 2015 I’ve been striving to focus on this novel and I can’t even count how many times its been prominently featured on my bookshelf or compiled into my #SummerReads selections for each of those Summers. For whichever reason, it remained a firmative fixture of my backlogue of Reviews until this Summer, 2019.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Summer by Summer Book Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com. Photo edits and collage created in Canva.

Summer by Summer
by Heather Burch
Source: Publicist via BookSparks

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780310729631

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), New Adult Fiction, Upper YA Fiction, Young Adult Fiction


Published by Blink YA Books

on 7th April, 2015

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 288

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Listen to the synopsis as shared by the author:

Published By: Blink (@BlinkYABooks)
an imprint of HarperCollins Focus

Note on classification of genre: Although this was marketed for YA audiences, I felt upon reading the synopsis again for the first time in a few years combined with the context of the opening bridge of the novel – this felt like it fits better within the branch of Upper YA and/or New Adult. Especially considering Summer isn’t a young teenager – she’s employed as a nanny, a young woman who started the job as an eighteen year old and soon celebrated her nineteenth birthday.

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #SummerbySummer & #ReadingIsBeautiful + #YASRC

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 21 June, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Agnostic (Questioning & Searching or Unsure), Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Christianity, Coming-Of Age, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Mental Health, Modern Day, Mother-Son Relationships, New Adult Fiction, Post-911 (11th September 2001), PTSD, Realistic Fiction, South America, Suspense, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Upper YA Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “Starving Hearts” and “Never Past Hope” by Janine Mendenhall

Posted Friday, 14 December, 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 began 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 (forthcoming) Saturday will feature a different author who writes either Romance or Women’s Fiction – wherein I concluded the year of hosting @SatBook during October & November featuring special guest authors whose stories I have either read, were reading or had hoped to read in the future if their newer releases. Going forward, 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

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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 enquried about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. I am unsure how many books I’ll review for them as most are offered digitally rather than in print but this happily marks one of the blog tours where I could receive a print book for review purposes. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors.

I received a complimentary copy of “Starving Hearts” direct from the author Janine Mendenhall 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

Why I wanted to read “Starving Hearts” & “Never Past Hope”
and why life didn’t seem to want to give me a break in order to read them:

I have penchant for reading INSPY Fiction – I’ve been a hybrid reader of mainstream and INSPY Fiction since I was a young girl, finding myself attracted to both branches of literature, as to me they are two halves of a whole rather than two seemingly separate enterprises concurrently releasing titles each year. I try to keep a ready eye out on #newtomeauthors of INSPY narratives I feel are either a) going to be uplifting to read or b) are going to give me a wicked good thrill of a read! This is why in July I had such a heap of fun talking about what I was reading during the Christian & Clean Fiction Reading Safari as I was reading authors who publish under the #LoveINSPIRED Suspense imprint from Harlequin! I read a bit outside that imprint as well – but what I loved most was the chilling reading atmospheres of the novels! They had just enough wicked thrills to leave me on the edge of my seat but they pulled back just ‘enough’ to where I felt more uplifted than fatigued reading them! I also loved the fact they were writ under an INSPY imprint and were dearly free of any other concerns I might have had due to content issues.

Shortly after the novels arrived however, my life turnt a bit upside down. To the brink where I lost too many hours to read both novels for the tour and had to reschedule my stop on the tour! My Mum came down with one of those naughty viruses going round – whilst my Dad had a medical emergency the week of the tour spending time in the ER where I consumed copious amounts of cookies (courtesy of the volunteer staff who watch over families/individuals waiting in ERs) and a few cuppas of coffee. I, tried to dodge the virus as best as I could but I was fatigued and exhausted by battling it which is why I was resting quite a heap in the week prior to the tour beginning. On top of all this, our car had a bad tire due to a road hazard and that became a slight nightmare in of itself to resolve which is why my hopes of reading both stories on Thursday (the 13th) flew out the window as I needed to help my parents transition through the week’s unexpected woes instead.

I was able to get back on my blog and settled into my reading chair late into the night on Thursday which in reality was really (early!) on Friday morning! Until, unfortunately life caught up with me – I had a migraine which felt dearly impossible to shake and it made reading extremely difficult. I took a long rest and by the time I woke up, I had to battle through heavy rains and high winds to help my parents with a few necessary errands late in the afternoon / early evening of Friday. I’m accustomed to rainshowers they go with the region, however, what I’m never experienced before are these kind of freezing rains as it proved to be too much for my system to handle! It was late on Friday night when I could finally resume my readings of Starving Hearts though sadly the virus was overtaking rather quickly! You really can catch a cold out in the rain! Or, at least in my case, if your trying to hope not to catch a virus its not the best way to avoid one! I threw in the towel when the heat in the house wasn’t enough to warm me and I felt like my whole body was in shock!

I know it sounds horrid – but what I really wanted to do was have a bit of normalcy in my life – just to get a chance to sit and think about characters and a story felt rather ideal as my emotions were a wreck as much as I was exhausted by life. You know how you just reach your fill and need some downtime? This is why I kept trying to read the stories whilst trying to get through life’s emergencies this week. Unfortunately, I had to take care of myself before I could read Starving Hearts in full and I do regret I basically missed the blog tour as a result.

Thereby, I’m trying to read these stories back to back – releasing my thoughts on behalf of Starving Hearts on Saturday (part of my #SaturdaysAreBookish feature) and posting my thoughts on behalf of Never Past Hope on Sunday/Monday (depends on how I feel) – due to this, I’ll be featuring a few snippets of insight from the rest of the tour below this review as Saturday is the day we’re celebrating the tour itself where everyone gets to have a light shine on their blogs for one final go round! I do apologise if you’ve been following the tour and wondered ‘where is Jorie?’ – let’s just say Jorie ‘had a week’ to end all weeks and is thankful she can have a relaxing bookish weekend!

Specifically what interested me though is the fact this is another release and author originating from a publisher I’ve come to trust as one of my favourites for INSPY Fiction! As you might remember my passion for the series Jennifer Lamont Leo is publishing with them! It is wonderful when you can find new stories by a publisher you’ve come to trust and look forward with anticipation for reading the next new author who might become another beloved favourite!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “Starving Hearts” and “Never Past Hope” by Janine MendenhallStarving Hearts
Subtitle: Triangular Trade Trilogy
by Janine Mendenhall
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

Carol Award Finalist | Selah Award Finalist

Plagued by nightmares, Annette yearns to find her anonymous rescuer — the man who saved her life from a near deadly assault. Deep inside she is starving for companionship and a mutually respectful relationship. When Mr. Peter Adsley, an abolitionist pastor dealing with his own emotional baggage, agrees to a clandestine meeting, the event appears providential. But self-doubt, deception, and the schemes of a mutual enemy threaten to keep the pair apart. A phantom adversary will stop at nothing to win Annette’s dowry for himself, even if it means killing Peter.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781938499845

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction


Published by Heritage Beacon Fiction

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 290

Published by: Heritage Beacon Fiction

an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas (@LPCTweets)

Formats Available: Ebook and Paperback

Triangular Trade Trilogy:

Starving Hearts by Janine MendenhallNever Past Hope by Janine Mendenhall

Converse via: #INSPYbooks, #INSPY, #HistRom

About Janine Mendenhall

Janine Mendenhall Photo Credit: https://www.photosbycassie.com/

I love losing myself somewhere in time with Downton Abbey, Pride and Prejudice or a number of other classics like Jane Eyre and Redeeming Love. I cry over most things Nicholas Sparks (because they usually end sadly) and Amazing Grace,, both the movie and the hymn, because they lead to the Ultimate happily ever after.

Photo Credit: Photos by Cassie

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 14 December, 2018 by jorielov in #SaturdaysAreBookish, 18th Century, Agnostic (Questioning & Searching or Unsure), Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Content Note, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Prism Book Tours, Questioning Faith as a Teen, Romance Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “Proof of Angels” by Mary Curran Hackett

Posted Friday, 21 November, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 7 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Proof of Angels by Mary Curran Hackett

Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #ProofofAngels

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

Blog Book Tour | “Proof of Angels” by Mary Curran HackettProof of Angels
by Mary Curran Hackett
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

From the critically acclaimed author of Proof of Heaven comes an unforgettable tale that asks the question “Are there angels among us?”

Sean Magee is a firefighter—a hero who risks his own life to save others, running into dangerous situations few have the courage to dare. While fighting a horrific blaze, Sean becomes trapped by flames and is nearly overcome by smoke. Just when it seems that all is lost, he’s led to a window, by what he swears is divine intervention. And then he jumps . . .

. . . into a new life. For years, Sean has shut down his feelings, existing in a state of emotional numbness. Coming through that fire, he knows he can no longer be that man whose heart is closed to the world. But before he can face his future, he must confront his past and everyone in it: the family, the friends, the woman—and the love—he carelessly left behind.

Read the Author's Note to her Readers : on behalf of 'Proof of Angels'

Places to find the book:

Series: Proof Of,


Published by William Morrow

on 4th November, 2014

Format: Paperback

Pages: 320

About Mary Curran Hackett

Mary Curran Hackett lives with her husband and children in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Photo Credit: Laura Winslow

Find out more about Mary on her website, like her on Facebook, and connect with her on Twitter.

My Review of Proof of Angels:

When I was younger (perhaps a bit too young even), I saw the film Backdraft when I was thirteen years old, and the film was so chokingly gutting of emotion – raw reality of the life of a firefighter, I truly felt bereft with a soul-wrenching anguish I could not quite describe but felt to my very core. Comparatively, the lesser known (and sadly short-lived) Rescue 77 was by far my favourite firefighter and medic tv series, as it combined the reality of the job with the humanity side of living your life outside of the firehouse. I also appreciated the family friendly film Firehouse Dog, but what gave me a chilling sense of Hackett’s personal style of telling a firefighter’s story was etched inside an emotionally charged scene of faith with a seed of hope writ inside the opening pages of Proof of Angels.

We enter into the story directly at a flash point of death centering it’s flickering breath onto a firefighter trapped inside a fire which wants to claim his life; yet Sean Magee has a destiny outside this fire, this hell of flame. We enter the story through his internal thoughts and his near-prayer clarity of understanding bare bone truths in the height of a personal descent into a medical emergency where his calm attitude will ultimately give him a balm of peace to survive. His emotions and his actions have an acute sense of urgency, but Hackett honours the situation and the vehicle of the crisis by writing in a realistic portrait of how fire and man can find themselves in a fight against time.

As Sean emerged out of his injuries and was on the road towards recovery, but only just — he made a phone call to his brother-in-law Gaspar, the one person who thankfully understood him and could accept his insecurities. Sean is a hardened man in a lot of ways, bent against his own shoulders for a life he lived where circumstances had taken the better part of his spirit. Gaspar is a saint of a brother-in-law in many ways, as he was the encourager to set a bridge between a brother whose sister was anguished without hearing of his life; a brother like Sean who walked out one day and refused to knit together any lasting ties outside of the odd phone call. It is only fitting I thought as I read these passages, that the one person Sean can rely on in time of need is Gaspar; the brother-in-law he wasn’t even sure had accepted him.

The most soulful insight threaded throughout this novel are the heartprints – the little moments where our hearts have a way of guiding us through a truth only they can see and hear. Our heart is such a powerful source of knowledge, it is well known and recorded how heart transplant parents start to take on the personality and acquire the life goals of the person who gave them them the heart. Our heart is a vessel of our emotional soul, it grieves and it ignites through our experiences, our sorrows, and gather happiness through our laughter. The heart stores everything we are inside it’s small vessel but it’s reaction to who we are and how we live that curates our ‘heartprints’ — invisible impressions etched into our heart speaking the language of the soul itself.

This is a story where choosing to acknowledge a deeper level of meaning out of your life when an intervention alights on your path is the cosmic way of signaling your course is making an about-face turn. Your heading on a new course, charted by where your heart and soul always knew you were meant to tread but where your mind talked yourself out of your own living truth. Proof of Angels is a testament of one sign of how we’re never quite as alone as we feel nor are we ever quite out of step with the path our lives are meant to take. We simply have to remain open to where the guidance we receive is leading us to travel and to be vigilant in understanding the depth of how one life can change another’s path.

I have observed many angels on earth because at any given point of time, each of us has the capability to be an angel to someone else; an unexpected mirth of goodwill or a shelter from a rising storm of anguish. We’re interconnected but there are times where fear and anxiety can overrun the logic of trusting who cares about you during a time of adversity. The pebbles and rocks which jut into our lives can metaphorically represent the little corkscrew knots of life lessons interceding on our journey to teach us something we have not yet come to understand. So too, can we receive the blessing of a gift disguised as adversity, crisis and trauma. Sometimes you have to stand still in order to move forward.

Writ inside Proof of Angels are eight original key signs (and 11 extraordinary new ones) which have the greatest impact on Sean, but they are a clue to the reader of how to re-see what is already known within their own life. To see past where our sight is limited and to truly see what is stitched around us as we walk, live, and breathe.

On the introspective writing style of Mary Curran Hackett:

I loved the fact as soon as I started to dig inside Proof of Angels, the author did not disappoint me; not even once, where she could have taken the lighter road towards telling Sean’s story, but if she had it would only have led to a half-truth. No, Ms. Hackett knitted into her novel (the sequel to Proof of Heaven) a confluence of how the human condition within all us attempts to process, accept, and forge a new path out of the ashes of what our previous life contained when everything is lost. We have seasons within our lives, where we go through different cyclic motions of changes but there are critical life affirming and life altering seasons where true growth is only obtained by living through a moment of time wherein we live on faith and through faith alone.

Hackett conveys the discovery period of what a mind and heart can resolve as much as how much strength is required to see past the injuries and the flawed remains of where our bodies heal yet require a bit of re-understanding on how to live a well-rounded life. She dives straight into the spirit of where our soul and mind are fused into one; breathing alive a narrative that gives reflective pause and angst out of emotional recovery: a chance to knit inside your own heart and transform your thoughts on a subject you may or may not have considered.

The greatest struggles all humans have is belief without proof – to trust without sight and to walk without a path. Hackett exemplifies this through teaching through her character Sean how everyone can become whole again after tragedy and how time is a bit more forgiving than anyone would ever dare hope possible. She’s a story-teller who I know I will be seeking more stories to read (the first of this series most definitely!) and an author I am blessed to have found whilst hosting her on a blog tour! How blessed indeed!

I personally adore stories such as these which speak directly to your heart, leave you ruminatively pensive, and create such a living well of joy from having read the story, as to uplift you as only a well-crafted story can! I am ever so thankful to have been in the position of receiving such a beautiful bounty of William Morrow stories this year — their P.S. Editions have given me such a pause of thought and head full of imaginative blissitudes, I am dearly full of gratitude for their keen choices of gracing us with incredible authors who pen incredible stories!

Follow the tag “P.S. Edition” or the posts should generate below this review to see where my thoughts alighted on the other lovelies who have alighted in my hands!

A note on the vulgarity in the story:

I did not attach a ‘Fly in the Ointment’ on this novel for vulgarity inclusive to the story, because I do have one ‘free pass’ for vulgarity in literature which is when a character is going through an emotional upheaval and/or a psychological trauma; to where it is only befitting and honest to say the character(s) are not always going to use ‘calming language’ nor are they going to be blessedly delighted by the changes in their life nor the circumstances that upturnt their internal and external lives. Therefore, despite the vulgarity, it is blessedly apt where it appears and not sprinkled on every page, for which I applaud Hackett for her choices and her infrequency. If you’d prefer not to read any vulgar words (which is my general rule of thumb myself!), I would not advise you to pick this one up as it is a colourful novel in this regard.

Notation on Diversity in Lit:

I was so engrossed with this novel from the start to the finish, I had barely had the proper chance to realise Sean’s brother-in-law was Indian! He had this entire life in India before he transitioned stateside and had a second chance at love with Sean’s sister Cathleen. Gaspar is authentic on the level his ethnicity isn’t out of step with who he is nor is his character’s presence one that feels out of step with the story’s heart. I loved Gaspar’s inclusion into the story because he had to learn a few things alongside Sean; both had fractured pasts and emotional angst to recover from but it was how he was written to reflect a doctor’s point of view on the art of healing – not just by spirit and emotion but by physically allowing yourself the grace to heal was a lift of spirits. He was humbled enough to realise he did not understand everything but his character had a growth spurt in transitioning out of a mindset where only his thoughts and/or impressions on a subject were the only ones logical and acceptable.

As an extension of the #K8Chat (read the transcript; or my review of “Softly Falling” where I wrote a bit more about it), Thursday night on Twitter I made the choice to start to remember when I find diverse characters alighting in the stories I am reading where the characters are honestly represented as natural as if they walked off the page and sat down next to you in real life sharing a cuppa java to include a note on my reviews! I can attest, Gaspar feels natural and real to me; he has a special part in the story and I was thankful to make his acquaintance!

(threaded throughout my blog is the tag “Equality in Lit”
my preference for showcasing #diverselit)

(a note on the missing links: will update the transcript & review links as they post)

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!

{SOURCES: Cover art of “Proof of Angels”, 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.

The live reading tweets in regards to “Proof of Angels”:

{ favourite & Re-tweet if inspired to share }

Comments on Twitter:

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Posted Friday, 21 November, 2014 by jorielov in Agnostic (Questioning & Searching or Unsure), Angels, Blog Tour Host, Disabilities & Medical Afflictions, Equality In Literature, Firefighters & Paramedics, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Life of Thirty-Somethings, Life Shift, Literary Fiction, Medical Fiction, Modern Day, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Public Service | Community Officers, Realistic Fiction, TLC Book Tours, Uncategorized, Vulgarity in Literature, Writing Style & Voice

+Book Review+ Lost in Thought {Book No. 1: Sententia series} by Cara Bertrand #YA #bookseries

Posted Monday, 29 September, 2014 by jorielov , , , 5 Comments

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Lost in Thought by Cara Bertrand
Published By: Luminis Books (@LuminisBooks) | Blog
Official Author Websites:  Site | @carabertrand | GoodReads | SenteniaSeries Site
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #SententiaSeries

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Second Thoughts” virtual book tour through JKS Communications: A Literary Publicity Firm. As this was the second novel in a book series, I was able to put in a request to receive the first novel Lost in Thought of which I received a complimentary copy of direct from the publisher Luminis Books without obligation to review. I received my complimentary copy of Second Thoughts direct from JKS Communications in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

I am a bit of a quirky bookish soul on the level of being attracted to a particular style of paranormal stories which may or may not fit into the norm as far as industry standard selections on a per annum basis might include. I am particularly particular in my choices of both vocal styling of characters within the paranormal genre and the nature of how the undertone of these types of stories will befall. I am a reader who has a penchant for light being a fuelled undertone to novels, and thus, I am forever and a half seeking out the few paranormal stories out there that match my idealistic impression of the genre and the reality of what is being written. I nearly tucked tail out of the paranormal genre completely due to my previous interactions with other Adult Paranormal stories which tipped the scale in an unfavourable way.

I decided to forego seeking Adult Paranormal titles for blog tours and/or off-tour reviews and focus instead on the YA portion of the selections being published quite readily. Even then, I find myself not attracted to the heavier end of the spectrum but rather the intuitive side of YA Paranormal Fiction. I have always amassed a certain propensity for parapsychological story-lines (in both books & tv series/motion pictures), but my inclination of what I elect to read or to watch are a far cry outside the ones you’d expect I would have been drawn to read OR watch. Part of my participation in Horror October (by Oh! The Books) will carve out the dance I walk on the fringes of a supremely popular genre. 

What drew my eye immediately into this book series was the premise – as I have to admit I was the girl in the darkened front row of The Sixth Sense who had worked herself up into a bit of a panic frenzy of not being able to handle half of the film; until a kind-hearted young bloke next to me (of whom I never knew previously or had the chance to properly thank afterwards; he disappeared that quickly!) told me *exactly!* when to ‘watch’ and when to ‘duck your eyes’; he clearly had been a groupie of the film director’s having seen this particular release 10x within the first few days of it’s release! I, on the other hand was a causality of a last-minute duck & dive into the theater with my best friend and as ill planned as we were, the front seats were the very last available to be had. Aside from the wicked horror of seeing it too close to the screen, what I appreciated was the premise of the film (perhaps not the straight-up horror bits mind you!) as a thesis of a theory of what happens when people see the dead amongst us. It is a thematic I was attracted too most intrinsically as forementioned on my blog having a connection to a field close-to that of a medical examiner. (see review of Daughter of the Gods).

Death by nature is always presented either in the light of faith-based stories or the gruesome after effects of being newly deceased on medical examiner series and/or police procedurals or detective mysteries. It is quite rare to find offerings of where the dead are alongside the living in a way that is representative of who they are after they pass and in such a way as to honour the spirit of the person who had died. Hence why I positively love watching Ghost Whisperer via seasonal dvds I loan through ILL’ing at my local library. The curiosity was always perked to find stories and characters who walk amongst the dead and/or are in communication with the dead on a parallel plane of acknowledgement as I think it has a bevy of choice as to how to portray not only the characters speaking to the dead but how to illuminate the dead themselves. 

Now imagine my excitement on having discovered the Sententia series!

And, the blessing to read the series from Book 1 straight into Book 2!

+Book Review+ Lost in Thought {Book No. 1: Sententia series} by Cara Bertrand #YA #bookseriesLost in Thought : First Book of the Sententia
by Cara Bertrand
Source: Publisher via JKS Communications

Lainey Young has a secret . . .

She's going crazy. Everyone thinks she has severe migraines from stress and exhaustion. What she really has are visions of how people died - or are going to die. When doctors insist she needs a new and stable environment to recover, Lainey's game to spend two years at a private New England boarding school. She doesn't really think it will cure her problem, and she's half right. There is no cure, but she's not actually crazy.

Almost everyone at Northbrook Academy has a secret too. Half the students and nearly all of the staff are members of the Sententia, a hidden society of the psychically gifted. A vision of another student's impending death confirms Lainey is one of them. When she's finally getting comfortable with her gift of divining deaths, and with Carter Penrose, a recent Academy graduate and resident school crush, they uncover her true Sententia heritage. Now Lainey has a real secret. 

Once it's spilled, she'll be forced to forget protecting secrets and start protecting herself.

Places to find the book:

Also by this author: Lost in Thought : First Book of the Sententia

Series: Sententia


Also in this series: Lost in Thought : First Book of the Sententia


Genres: YA Paranormal Romance, Young Adult Fiction


Published by Luminis Books

on 25th April, 2014

Format: Paperback

Pages: 288

Author Biography: 

Cara Bertrand
Photo Credit: Vallarta Adventures

Cara Bertrand is a former middle school literacy teacher who now lives in the woods outside Boston with: one awesome husband, two large dogs, one small daughter, and lots of words. LOST IN THOUGHT is her first novel and was a finalist for the Amazon/Penguin Breakthrough Novel Award.

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Teenagers are not naturally attracted to antiques?:

I was a bit surprised to read this sentiment being expressed in the opening bits of learning more of Lainey’s past, a smirk of a recognition seeing a bit of myself in Lainey, if truth be told. I fell in love with antiques as a young girl as I grew up in a home and family of whom appreciated unique pieces and aged eclectic finds. By thirteen I was attending auctions regularly and getting the feel for discerning what was worth bidding on and what was worth letting slide by. I always appreciated the subtle differences in glass, china, and dishware – not only for distinction of style but for the artistry of where the pieces originally came from. We even had a factory of sculpture straight out of Italy nearby from where I was attending high school, so you could say, I grew up not only surrounded by art, music, and cultural events but a proper sense of ageless curiosity about curios!

Wandering around emporiums of antiques in tucked away small townes is simply a day ‘out’ I can always drink in with a smile, a nod to the out-of-doors walking paths, and a happy spirit. I love the spontaneous conversations evolving around something I find my eye is drawn to learn a bit more about and how each antique shoppe has it’s very own unique way of putting everything on display. I love the photographs which are framed and hung on the wall as much as the shoeboxes stuffed to the gills with individual photos you can purchase in large batches or separately if you want to go for the ‘unfamiliar relations’ mosaic. The furniture of the 1800s is intermixed with pre-1950s and early 20th Century, and the moment of anticipation to check out the estate jewelry in the cases is always a bit of happenstance glowing excitement! Yet, it is the furniture and the kick knacks I personally adore the most (except for how my mind wanders about sorting through the ‘china’ room to percolate a personal style of ‘necessary  items’ in the dining room), as you can find such an array of hand-crafted artisan quality separates! One of my favourite finds are the pull down drawer desks and of course, an armoire that can fit and bemuse a woman’s wardrobe!

Hmm, yes, I do suppose being into antiques is not fashionably akin to being a teenager, but then who says you have to lead a conventional life!? I love Lainey’s spunk and her individualism!

My Review of Lost in Thought:

Realising you have a gift (especially a parapsychological gift) is innocuous enough, but to fully fathom how to encompass the truth of how far your gift can take you is quite another matter entirely! The paradoxical internal conflict at the jump-start of Lost in Thought set me inside the head of Lainey and etched out a time vortex to be wholly absent from my own living hours for the duration of her story to be told. There is something alluring about murder mysteries and to have orientated her revelation to know the dead through an act of murder was quite an ingenious hook for a potential reader to find on page 1! Of course, to be truthful, the reader would have to be a life-long appreciator ‘of murder mysteries’ such as myself to become rooted in their chair!

We quickly shift directly into Lainey’s life as she starts to end her gypsy life with her Aunt and takes up residence at a boarding school to finish out her tenure of high school. We start to watch her blossom by being able to have a bit of a routine rather than an unorthodox existence of following her Aunt Tessa around as she tours the country as a professional artist. It is whilst she is starting to settle into the Academy as a student we start to see her develop more as a person who is not only curious about what caused her headaches originally but if there was any truth to the origins therein. Her doctors always felt she was living too much out of sync with the normalcy other teens experienced during adolescence but she was never quite certain if her doctors understood her as they never had the fuller truth of what caused her the most duress. Lainey is a girl on the verge of understand who she is and why she was endowed with the gifts she has inside her, but there is always a pinch of foreshadow inside the story — alluring to a bit of a darker truth outside of the light.

I appreciated seeing the central core of the Sententia having roots in spirituality and watching how ethically they were attempting to do what was right whilst walking the fine line between interference with free will and observation. The internal core of the novel reminded me a bit of the Prime Directive from Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek and seeing theology discussed inside the novel was an unexpected surprise as I personally appreciated of whom the credit was given for having given the gifts to the Sententia. Each world is built differently inside the Fantasy genre, but what drew me to appreciate the Sententia is how humanistic they were whilst they understood a higher plane of existence. They are a bit advanced at discovering natural bourne gifts and how to wield them; yet they are a bit of a mystery to the outside world at large. This brought together an interesting proposition to the story’s central threads as they (the Sententia) are a unique sub-culture of humanity living on the fringes of ordinary society.

Lainey’s best friend Amy (who is also her roommate at the Academy) reminds me so much of Kit from Pretty Woman because she has her energetic enthused way of celebrating her roomie’s life that made me flash to mind her persona each time Amy walks into view or is wrapped up in a conversation with Lainey; which points closer to how this novel read more adult to me than high school teen; a bit more college than secondary school at least. Lainey never had a grounding of a friendship with a peer before due to all her expeditions but what she was truly gaining was further insight into who she was as an individual and how she wanted to proceed forward into her future. She is at the age where being given a gift came with certain responsibilities and certain consequences and I appreciated seeing how she was trying to align the balance she wanted in her life. Balance between trusting those who knew more than she did about the Sententia and trusting her gut instincts about everything else.

The only thing I was truly disappointed about aside from the strong language is that the story took an unexpected turn from what I had originally felt it was being projected as going towards — as far as the dead and the living are concerned. This is a story that is about the dead but it isn’t about helping the dead as I first had perceived but rather a unique bent on another vein of thought that walks alongside the dead and a bit on the level of the theory of the Grim Reaper if truth be told. Yet that isn’t entirely what it is about either. It is a very interesting story-line threaded through parapsychological phenomena that doesn’t allow you to fully guess where this novel is taking you; even when you think you understand everything you need to know about Lainey and her friends. Bertrand weaves in a twist or two that you are not expecting nor do you fully understand as this first installment ends on the tip of a cliffhanger; but not one that is hard to swallow but rather one that is most foreboding in where we shall enter Lainey’s life in “Second Thoughts”; because the title of the series itself is a leading clue to what lies within. 

On the writing style of Cara Bertrand:

Bertrand excells at painting a story that feels real and is lush on descriptive narrative as much as sense of place for Lainey and the other students at the Academy; straight down to the local haunt of the bookshoppe. She has a knack for carving out a setting that feels as real as breathing and gives the YA genre a solid footing as far as how to paint the whole of the world whilst developing the characters inside it. The only flaw I found was the inclusion of a brass word early-on when Lainey met her roommate which not only felt out of step with the rest of the story but was a deep disappointment for me, as I was thinking I had finally found a writer who had curbed using strong language and left the genre to stand on the merit of the story and their characters without falling into the pattern of where modern YA is taking younger audiences.

I personally do not consider any novel YA or for an audience of Children if it is going to include strong language. I am going to start to talk more about this on my blog as I index my reviews, but what is disappointing to me is why there appears to be such a need to include the words at all? Despite my grievances for the language choices within this novel, I did appreciate the story as the words were flittered about like those flies I mentioned on previous reviews and not the total distractment they could have become. Evenso, I would not be recommending this to a teenager as the language for me puts this firmly in the Adult Lit category; similar to how I have felt each time I pick up a (supposed) YA title and find the same inside their pages.

I’m disappointed writers feel they have to add these words in order to find an audience because to me literature should stand as an example that improves our lives rather than detract from the causal way in which language has become outside literature and school. It is sad to me because when I find a wordsmith who breathes such a breath of positive narrative prose into her books, I am regrettably saddened to see words flicker onto the page that make me inwardly cringe. Their absence would not deflect from the message of the story but their absence would be applauded for carrying a story without abrasive words to narrow the audience the story could have had. I truly love the way in which Bertrand writes her stories, and the few intermittently brassier words do not reflect her writing as a whole.

Especially considering how much effort she put into having ‘cursing’ occurring ‘off-camera’ in some instances and/or finding unique phrases to ‘cover-up’ a stronger explicit phrase. I was a bit confused why more than half the book is writ with a young mind in consideration and the other half letting certain words erupt onto the page? It was quite confusing to me as like I said, she has a singularly strong strength in writing the voice of a teenager and in evoking what a teen’s mind, heart, and process of thought will entreat whilst dealing with a personal crisis and a revelation of identity. To say reading this story left me betwixt reactions is putting it mildly; especially considering when the coarse words started escalating in both frequency of appearance and the choice of which ones would be included.

Fly in the Ointment : is it me, or are there two versions of YA?

Is it me or has the book world gone upturnt crazy, lately!? Now, I have already established I purposely stopped reviewing Adult Paranormal novels for my blog with the express reason to avoid vulgarity in stories yet what curious little word did you think I found on page 18? It wasn’t the worst of the worst (of which I have absolutely positively no tolerance for at all) but it was still a word I wasn’t expecting to find in a novel branding itself as YA! I mean, isn’t the point of being a Young Adult novel to adhere to a certain ground rule of exclusion for explicit vulgarity and violence? Am I missing the boat OR is literature becoming so muddled these days it is growing harder to know which way is up? Sighs. And, here I was thinking this would be the one book series I would not be composing a Fly in the Ointment on!

I run searches on this topic every blue moon as I had tonight to check to see if my definition had miraculously changed since I first picked up Young Adult fiction as a young adult myself over a decade and a half ago! The results of which run the full gambit of if your not exclusively akin to reading vulgar words in literature you are either: too sensitive, too prudish, too religious, or too blind to see where society has taken our youth. I do not concur with any of the statements, because of the mere fact when I was in high school (and quite frankly elementary & middle too!) we had our own set of perimeters on language. If you heard foul words flying out of the mouth of a classmate you knew to give them a wide birth and they were never one to emulate. I admit to overhearing teens in my own towne sporting words out of their mouths which make me wonder what has changed since I graduated, but that aside, my main concern is the habit of finding there is no longer a ‘filter’ for Children’s Literature and the young minds of whom pick up the books.

I read a comment tonight from a concerned reader (who sounded a lot like me; open-minded but with a conscience) who lamented about how the ‘age’ of who regularly reads Young Adult novels are not teens but rather graduating elementary schoolers and run of the mill middle schoolers. The teens already graduating into adult fiction and/or pursuing interests outside of literature completely. As a future parent I am finding more angst in finding vulgarity in Young Adult fiction than as a reader who has appreciated YA fiction for most of her life. I never ran into any of this in the 1980s through mid-1990s which begs the question: what exactly has changed and why are certain words so rabid inside modern literature? As a book blogger — I never fathomed I’d have to find over 30 ways to Sunday to opine my discontempt for vulgarity in literature!

I’d never advocate for banning books but I do advocate for books to be marked with explicit content for language as a method of understanding what we will find inside and therefore start to curb our disillusioned disappointment. If they can mark books for science fiction & fantasy as much as lyrics in music, I am thinking it is time to start marking books with ‘strong language included’ and ‘explicit violence’ if the case might be as well.

What was more puzzling for me is the mission of the publisher (Luminis Books) is to curate books which are meaningful as they are thought-provoking, yet how can a novel be meaningful if the language is brought down by the commonality of cursing and using abrasive words where they could have been tempered and softly spoken by more creative means? I am not sure I am appreciating YA novels being overrun with language that parents and teachers alike are trying so very hard to discern them from using on a regular basis. Even on my own behalf in the not so far off future, I am not going to allow my children to talk with such reckless abandon; it was not how I was raised nor is it how I will be raising my children. Teens can feel anger and they can feel vehemently overwhelmed, as who didn’t feel that way as a teenager? The anguish and angst of growing up is always deeply wrought and felt, but we were always told to use our words and to express our emotions by choosing words which helped to douse the flames of the fires we felt surging inside us. To find better ways to express what we wanted to say and to own who we were without muddling our speaking voices with the words of sailors as the saying used to go.

I am not certain what has changed or why certain books are being found with such inclusions, but I personally will rally behind each writer of YA who doesn’t use language in a negative way but rather uses language to teach a more appropriate way to understand our world. The stories with stronger language I will advocate for adult readers only.

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Stay tuned!

Next I will be hosting an Author Q&A with Cara Bertrand:

Cara Bertrand
Photo Credit: Vallarta Adventures

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This blog tour stop is courtesy of:
JKS Communications: A Literary Publicity Firm

Luminis Books Blog Tour with JKS Communications

Discover what I am hosting next by visiting:

Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva

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I positively *love!* comments in the threads below each of my posts, and as CommentLuv only requires Email to leave a note for me I cannot wait to see what starts to populate below! Kindly know that I appreciate each thought you want to share with me and all the posts on my blog are open to new comments & commentary! Short or long, I appreciate the time you spent to leave behind a note of your visit! Return again soon! 

{SOURCES: The tour badge was provided by JKS Communications and used with permission. Book Cover Art for “Lost in Thought” & “Second Thoughts”, Author Biography & Book Synopsis provided by the author Cara Bertrand and used with permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets are embedded due to codes provided by Twitter.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

The ‘live reading’ tweets I shared as I read & reviewed “Lost in Thought”:

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Comments on Twitter:

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Posted Monday, 29 September, 2014 by jorielov in 21st Century, Agnostic (Questioning & Searching or Unsure), Antiques, Art, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Bookish Discussions, Children's Literature, Clever Turns of Phrase, Coming-Of Age, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Equality In Literature, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Gothic Literature, Indie Author, JKS Communications: Literary Publicity Firm, Life Shift, Light vs Dark, Mental Health, Modern Day, Orphans & Guardians, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Questioning Faith as a Teen, Realistic Fiction, Sculpture, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Transfer Student at School, Transitioning into Private School, Unexpected Inheritance, Vulgarity in Literature, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, YA Paranormal &/or Paranormal Romance, Young Adult Fiction