Category: Balance of Faith whilst Living

Book Review | “The Jade Lioness” (Book Three of the Kumashiro Series) by Christina Courtenay via #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 6 May, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

ChocLitSaturdays Banner Created by Jorie in Canva.

Why I feature #ChocLitSaturdays (book reviews & guest author features)
and created #ChocLitSaturday (the chat via @ChocLitSaturday):

I wanted to create a bit of a niche on Jorie Loves A Story to showcase romance fiction steeped in relationships, courtships, and the breadth of marriage enveloped by characters written honestly whose lives not only endear you to them but they nestle into your heart as their story is being read!

I am always seeking relationship-based romance which strikes a chord within my mind’s eye as well as my heart! I’m a romantic optimist, and I love curling into a romance where I can be swept inside the past, as history becomes lit alive in the fullness of the narrative and I can wander amongst the supporting cast observing the principal characters fall in love and sort out if they are a proper match for each other!

I love how an Indie Publisher like ChocLitUK is such a positive alternative for those of us who do not identify ourselves as girls and women who read ‘chick-lit’. I appreciate the stories which alight in my hands from ChocLit as much as I appreciate the inspirational romances I gravitate towards because there is a certain level of depth to both outlets in romance which encourage my spirits and gives me a beautiful story to absorb! Whilst sorting out how promote my book reviews on behalf of ChocLit, I coined the phrase “ChocLitSaturdays”, which is a nod to the fact my ChocLit reviews & features debut on ‘a Saturday’ but further to the point that on the ‘weekend’ we want to dip into a world wholly ideal and romantic during our hours off from the work week!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular reviewer for ChocLitUK, where I hand select which books in either their backlist and/or current releases I would like to read next for my #ChocLitSaturdays blog feature. As of June 2016, I became a member of the ChocLit Stars Team in tandem with being on the Cover Reveal Team which I joined in May 2016. I reference the Stars as this is a lovely new reader contribution team of sending feedback to the publisher ahead of new book releases. As always, even if I’m involved with a publisher in this sort of fashion, each review is never influenced by that participation and will always be my honest impression as I read the story. Whether the author is one I have previously read or never had the pleasure to read until the book greets my shelf.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Jade Lioness” from ChocLit in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I am fascinated by this series:

You know almost immediately when you pick up a Courtenay Historical Rom, you’re going to be enchanted by what you find inside the page! She has a way of pulling you into the narrative quite quickly and endearing you to her characters; many of whom have emotional angst or something they need to prove to themselves. She also is one of my favourite historical authors for tying together loose ends, maintaining continuity or by giving us more information about secondary characters.

There were incredible layers of emotional angst percolating throughout the story but it’s how Courtenay made the keen choices to embrace those situations and to use them towards the gain for the reader to walk alongside her characters as they worked through everything together. It’s the strength of finding the courage to be oneself and to embrace differences even in one’s family to find the bridge to unite through forgiveness and patience. Truly this became an uplifting story to read due to how convincing the redemption was for Midori and the rest of her family.

And, of course, I especially was taken by the descriptive details which set this narrative to be illuminated by sweeping arcs of action sequences and the beauty of life on the high seas. I liked the nuances of Japanese culture and the way in which Courtenay infused Midori’s spiritual life into the backdrop of her character’s personality. Everything felt authentically realistic whilst anchouring the story between Japan and England. You could fully find yourself caught in the midst of the 17th Century where nothing was certain nor guaranteed to be right anytime soon. At the height of everything, blessedly there was still slivers of hope of how Midori would find not only true happiness but a passionate partner of whom accepted her unconditionally. A true honour of her upbringing and of finding her own way to unite her past with her present. Now it’s Temperance’s turn to take the spotlight in the series and I can’t wait to go back to Japan where the series began as she makes her mark on how her life is meant to play out.

-quoted from my review of The Gilded Fan

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

On my Connection to Ms. Courtenay:

Three years ago, on the 26th of April, 2014, I created #ChocLitSaturday a weekly Rom chat to celebrate the novelists of ChocLitUK but also, to expand to include book bloggers, readers and writers of Romance who have a penchant for the genre as a whole. Ms Courtenay started to become a regular fixture, and her encouraging conversations & ability to inspire others to converse freely throughout the chats put me at ease in my new role as a ‘Hostess’. She always seemed to know how to either start a topic or how to best suggest something to break the ice! I was always so very grateful to her and I am thinking I might have forgotten to tell her directly how much gratitude I had for her in those earlier chats! Over the years, I have found myself attached to each of my ‘regular’ chatters during the hour, and I consider Ms Courtenay a bookish like-minded soul and dear friend, as we tend to appreciate the same types of stories!

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Courtenay through our respective love & passion of reading inside the twitterverse whilst I host #ChocLitSaturday the chat, kept in touch privately and having had previously read her time slip novels. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time or continuing to read their releases as they are available.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Book Review | “The Jade Lioness” (Book Three of the Kumashiro Series) by Christina Courtenay via #ChocLitSaturdaysThe Jade Lioness
by Christina Courtenay
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Berni Stevens
Source: Direct from Publisher

Can an impossible love become possible?



Nagasaki, 1648

Temperance Marston longs to escape war-torn England and explore the exotic empire of Japan. When offered the chance to accompany her cousin and Captain Noordholt on a trading expedition to Nagasaki, she jumps at the opportunity. However, she soon finds the country’s strict laws for foreigners curtail her freedom.

On a dangerous and foolhardy venture she meets Kazuo, a ronin. Kazuo is fascinated by her blonde hair and blue eyes, but he has a mission to complete and he cannot be distracted. Long ago, his father was accused of a crime he didn’t commit – stealing a valuable ornament from the Shogun – and Kazuo must restore his family’s honour.

But when Temperance is kidnapped and sold as a concubine, he has to make a decision – can he save her and keep the promise he made to his father?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on ChocLitUK

ISBN: 978-1781892374

Also by this author: Guest Post about Time Slips, The Silent Touch of Shadows, The Scarlet Kimono, The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight Cover Reveal, The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight Cover Reveal, Marry for Love, The Gilded Fan

Also in this series: The Scarlet Kimono, The Gilded Fan


Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance


Published by ChocLitUK

on 19th March, 2016

Format: UK Edition Paperback

Pages: 320

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLituk)

Available Formats:

Paperback, Audiobook, Large Print & E-Book

The Kumashiro series:

Book One: The Scarlet Kimono (see also Review)

Book Two: The Gilded Fan (see also Review)

Book Three: The Jade Lioness

Converse via: #KumashiroSeries + #HistRom or #ChocLit

About Christina Courtenay

Christina Courtenay

Christina lives near Hereford and is married with two children. Although born in England she has a Swedish mother and was brought up in Sweden. In her teens, the family moved to Japan where she had the opportunity to travel extensively in the Far East.

Christina’s debut Trade Winds was short listed for the 2011 Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Pure Passion Award for Best Historical Fiction. The Scarlet Kimono won the 2011 Big Red Reads Best Historical Fiction Award. Highland Storms (in 2012) and The Gilded Fan (in 2014) won the Historical Romantic Novel of the Year Award and The Silent Touch of Shadows won the 2012 Best Historical Read Award from the Festival of Romance. Christina is Chairman of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Novels: Trade Winds, Highland Storms, Monsoon Mists, The Scarlet Kimono, The Gilded Fan, The Silent Touch of Shadows, The Secret Kiss of Darkness, The Soft Whisper of Dreams, The Jade Lioness, Marry in Haste, Once Bitten Twice Shy, Desperate Remedies and Never Too Late.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo. Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Saturday, 6 May, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 17th Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Cultural & Religious Traditions, Domestic Violence, East India Company, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Japan, Japanese Fiction, Japanese History, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, Life Shift, Martial Arts, Modern British Literature, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Multi-Generational Saga, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, World Religions

Non-Fiction Book Review | “Winning Plays: Tackling Adversity and Achieving Success in Business and in Life” by Matt Mayberry

Posted Tuesday, 2 May, 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 new reviewer for Hachette Books and their imprints, starting with FaithWords which is their INSPY (Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction) imprint of releases focusing on uplifting and spiritual stories which are a delight to read whilst engaging your mind in life affirming and heart-centered stories. I found Hachette via Edelweiss at the conclusion of [2015] and have been wicked happy I can review for their imprints Grand Central Publishing, FaithWords & Center Street.

I received a complimentary copy of “Winning Plays” direct from the publisher Center Street (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.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

An unexpected joy: #PurposeInYour20s Chat on 25th April, 2017

I had an unexpected joy in receiving a note from the publicist I work with at FaithWords to inform me there was going to be a chat on Twitter this afternoon revolving around two books: Winning Plays and Quarter-Life  Calling. I’ve been sorting out which days I want to feature the lovely batch of Non-Fiction inspiring biographies, memoirs and self-motivating tomes of joy for awhile now. Ever since I came back to blogging after my father’ stroke, I’ve been trying to sort out the best days to focus on my Non-Fiction reads vs the stories of fiction which electrify my mind with innovative narratives and characters whose stories never quite leave me afterwards.

I started to notice the tag on Twitter: #TuesdayMotivation. Even before today’s chat, I was thinking I should re-think which day I post these wicked Non-Fiction titles. I was thinking the messages within the books would work well with the Twitter meme, as who doesn’t need a bit of extra motivation in their lives? Today, whilst participating on the chat itself, I found I enjoyed conversing with the two authors (as I requested the second one for review afterwards) whilst sharing my own thoughts on the subjects at hand.

The purpose behind the chat itself was to reach out to Millennials – which by some people’s standards includes myself (*cough, cough*) except that I disagree with that statement (hence the coughing!). I’m booking it towards thirtyten and although I loved recapturing my childhood during the Harry Potter film years (who didn’t?) I was a full ten years old than Daniel Radcliffe in the first film! (he was eleven, you do the math!) Those are the children who are Millennials – leave me and my generation where it belongs – we’re GenX! Oy.  Let me digress. The point is the chat was geared towards anyone in their twenties, thirties or older who feel they are at a crossroads in their lives; where finding a way through adversity and the status quo isn’t always as easy as it would appear. This is where your walk in faith comes into play and how you choose to set your attitude, as well.

Attitude has a lot to do with a lot of things in life. This is why I participated in the chat today – I totally support finding pro-positive ways of helping yourself get through the obstacles and hurdles which unexpected disrupt your life’s path. It doesn’t matter if it’s financial, medical or personal loss – there are set-backs in all our lives. Not getting the raise in pay. Living paycheck to paycheck without hope of equal pay for equal work. A limited hope of an increase in minimum wage. Missing a scholarship to college. Marrying younger and starting a family earlier. Staying back for family and putting your life on hold. Taking a hit in your personal health and wellness; due to illness, injury or something else equally unexpected. Grieving the loss of loved ones and finding your way back through grief not as easy to transition as you’d first thought. Striking out on your own without a net of support. If you sit and contemplate it – life is full of a myriad array of things that can go wrong.

How to trudge through the muddling hours where you feel a bit more full of life’s doubts and the fears of never exiting this chapter of where your not really progressing forward and your not back-drifting either; your just ‘caught’ betwixt and between where you want to be. Adversity and strife are put of life – you cannot circumvent the harder days and exchange them for sunshine and rainbows; where nothing will happen which takes a hit on your emotional resolve. We have to live through our lives, embracing the good days with the bad; to find courage to rise through the adversities and seek out our faith for the moments which try to overturn our Hope.

In other words, with my faith as my rock and shield, I never would have been able to work through my father’s stroke. (see also this Post and this one) I might not have had the resolve inside me to re-affirm my own path as a writer during Nanowrimo 2008 (see this Guest Essay of mine feat. on Priya’s Lit Blog). Life happens fast. You have to have the strength to adapt, adjust and get through the rough patches with the Light and Hope of tomorrow. Even if your in the ER and even the doctors aren’t sure if your father will wake up the same way he did the day before his stroke. Even if you worry your gift to use words as a palette of inspiration to build worlds and characters might be lost, you still have to walk forward. You have to turn introspective and seek the truths from within your own heart, spirit and mind. And, always… lean hard on your faith.

NOTE: Previously, I talked more about being a blogger and writer whilst reviewing ‘Full Tank Life’.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

How I shared my own living truths as applicable to the chat’s topic:

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Non-Fiction Book Review | “Winning Plays: Tackling Adversity and Achieving Success in Business and in Life” by Matt MayberryWinning Plays
Subtitle: Tackling Adversity and Achieving Success in Business and in Life
by Matt Mayberry
Source: Direct from Publisher

No one goes undefeated when playing the game of life. Matt Mayberry is no exception. He's faced setbacks beyond his control and lots more he created himself. But even after conquering addiction, realizing his lifelong dream to play in the NFL, and then having it taken away from him in an instant, he came from behind yet again to achieve more success than ever before.

Sometimes we are knocked down-and even out-by circumstances within or beyond our control. That's life. But these moments can be opportunities to tap into inner strength and start over. By sharing how he treated failure as a way to start over, Matt is now a nationally sought-after speaker and success coach to audiences of more than 100,000 people per year for Fortune 500 companies, NFL and NBA teams, government and nonprofit groups, professional associations, and universities. In WINNING PLAYS, he presents his strategies to survive and thrive in the real world, no matter what gets thrown your way.

Just as no football team can be successful without a solid game plan, you can't be successful without one either. This book is full of Matt's inspirational, motivational, and prescriptive advice, such as: be authentic, create opportunities, power through adversity, reaffirm your goals, rebuild, and many other strategies for developing your own personal game plan to succeed in business and in life.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

ISBN: 9781455568284

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Self-Improvement & Self-Actualisation


Published by CenterStreet

on 6th September, 2016

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 272

Published by: Center Street (@centerstreet.com)
an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc. (@HachetteBooks) via Hachette Nashville

Formats Available: Hardcover, Audiobook & Ebook

Converse via: ##nonfiction, #SelfHelp #INSPY

About Matt Mayberry

Matt Mayberry Photo Credit: Susan Mazeika

MATT MAYBERRY is a highly acclaimed keynote speaker and performance strategist. A former Indiana University and Chicago Bears linebacker, Matt is one of the most widely-read columnists for Entrepreneur.com, where he writes on peak performance, overcoming adversity, leadership, and motivation. Matt's work has been featured on ESPN, Forbes, Huffington Post, ABC, NBC, Fox Business, Fox News, Business Insider, and MSN Lifestyle. As the CEO of Matt Mayberry Enterprises, he helps individuals and organizations all over the world to maximize their potential to achieve breakthrough performance.

Photo Credit: Susan Mazeika

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Posted Tuesday, 2 May, 2017 by jorielov in Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), CenterStreet, Non-Fiction, Philosophy, Vulgarity in Literature

Blog Book Tour | “Unseen Road to Love” by Chelsea Curran an INSPY Rom which was partially inspired by the author’s own serendipitous recovery from a tragic car accident.

Posted Monday, 1 May, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review Banner using Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Cedar Fort whereupon I am thankful to have such a diverse amount of novels and non-fiction titles to choose amongst to host. I received a complimentary copy of “Unseen Road to Love” direct from the publisher Bonneville Books (imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

What drew my interest to read this particular INSPY Rom:

I love stories like these that involve the uncertainty after a coma! Do you remember the film “While You Were Sleeping”?? There was another one starring Reese Witherspoon too. I love those timeless Romances of the unknown!! – initial reaction

It is quite true – I have a penchant for stories, especially Romances surrounding someone whose succumbed to a traumatic accident and/or has entered into a coma. Earlier this year, I found a story which truly was eloquently written and alleviated fiction to a new layer of insight on a how a story such as this can be told. Even Hallmark Channel produced an incredibly humbling film starring Lindy Booth which still to this day is one of my favourites to re-see each Christmas. There is a lot of hope and a huge walk of faith to heal and recover from injuries serious enough to cause a person to enter a coma.

Unlike terminal illnesses, I find I can handle these kinds of stories far better because their more about healing and the spiritual side of how the art of healing is not entirely understood from our point of view here on Earth. There is a lot to be said for the consistency of prayer and of riding through adverse situations by the hope of what we all have inside us for the tomorrows which feel so very uncertain. Sometimes you do not even have time to pray or to hope for an outcome that is not as dire as it becomes; life can change in the blink of an eye as so much can happen in the instant everything spins out of control; especially during a car accident. I briefly mentioned my family’s accident recently whilst musing about the complexities of the natural world and our participation in the fragile balance of Earth’s ecological harmony.

However, the author’s car accident and my family’s accident have one major difference: we were spared injury and walked away unscathed. After spinning three times on the highway and slamming hard into the ditch whilst flipping over several times, no one was more surprised by this outcome than the first responders who were quite agape on scene afterwards. We were out of state and it was late at night. The lesson learnt that night is commuting back to one’s hotel after a day trip away from where your staying isn’t worth risking driving whilst your too tired to make the journey back. Also, one’s hamster can survive without having his ‘breakfast’ on schedule. It was the scariest moment in our lives – we pitched or rather hovered briefly on the brink of ‘going over’ but what looked like a canyon was the car exiting the spin and about to roll. Dad and I woke up first and all we had time to say is we were together; come what may, we were all together.

It’s true – sometimes you get second chances at unexpected moments where you never realised how close you were to having your life on the line. Eleven years later, I’ve never forgotten what happened that night nor how we were smiling for the camera a short while later, as the police officer took our picture in front of the Beetle which sacrificed it’s life to save ours. We were truly blessed the car held it’s integrity even if the accident itself rendered it undriveable. The fuller story behind that night is a testament of our faith and of how faith pulls you through at moments where prayer isn’t possible but your faith is still a rock and shield to your soul. Miracles are everywhere. You just have to remain open to experiencing them when you never thought they’d enter your life.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Notation on Cover Art: I truly love this cover art! It has the light of faith and the burst of angelic intervention about it! I love the swirls of purple and of the shining light behind the couple, too. It’s a book cover befitting an INSPY read and a story of uplifting courage and remarkable recovery through holding strong to one’s faith and believing adversity and strife can be overcome.

Blog Book Tour | “Unseen Road to Love” by Chelsea Curran an INSPY Rom which was partially inspired by the author’s own serendipitous recovery from a tragic car accident.Unseen Road to Love
by Chelsea Curran
Source: Direct from Publisher

The airbag deployed as the impact shoved his car across the ice and straight into the intersection. In that same time frame, the car's back end drifted into a half circle, until the last thing Logan saw was another set of lights in the passenger window. And then,...

From the outside, Logan Atwood's life looks perfect: a successful career, a lavish lifestyle. But after a brutal car accident leaves him in a coma, Logan suddenly finds himself five years in the past. Only then does he realize that his perfect world may have cost him the woman of his dreams and the faith he once loved. Is it too late for Logan's second chance?

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781462120055

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction, Sweet Romance


Published by Bonneville Books

on 9th May, 2017

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 304

Published By: Bonneville Books (@BonnevilleBooks),

an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFortBooks)
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Read this novels INSPIRATIONS | contains SPOILERS via the author’s blog

Converse on Twitter via: #INSPY #Romance or #INSPYRom

About Chelsea Curran

Chelsea Curran

Chelsea Curran lives in the desert valley of Arizona, and has an associates degree in general education from Dixie State University. Though secretly a romantic, she used to spend most of her time brooding over the idea of love until her college roommates introduced her to the exciting and fantastic world of romance novels. When she’s not teaching, dancing, painting, laughing or baking cookies, she’s in her blanket fort giggling over the handsome hero capturing the fair lady’s heart. By experience, she believes one good book can change a person’s life forever.

Read More

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Posted Monday, 1 May, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Contemporary Romance, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Medical Fiction, Mental Health, Modern Day, Mormonism, Nurses & Hospital Life, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Singletons & Commitment, Stories of Jorie, Sweet Romance

Book Review | “The Gilded Fan” (Book Two of the Kumashiro Series) by Christina Courtenay via #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 29 April, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

ChocLitSaturdays Banner Created by Jorie in Canva.

Why I feature #ChocLitSaturdays (book reviews & guest author features)
and created #ChocLitSaturday (the chat via @ChocLitSaturday):

I wanted to create a bit of a niche on Jorie Loves A Story to showcase romance fiction steeped in relationships, courtships, and the breadth of marriage enveloped by characters written honestly whose lives not only endear you to them but they nestle into your heart as their story is being read!

I am always seeking relationship-based romance which strikes a chord within my mind’s eye as well as my heart! I’m a romantic optimist, and I love curling into a romance where I can be swept inside the past, as history becomes lit alive in the fullness of the narrative and I can wander amongst the supporting cast observing the principal characters fall in love and sort out if they are a proper match for each other!

I love how an Indie Publisher like ChocLitUK is such a positive alternative for those of us who do not identify ourselves as girls and women who read ‘chick-lit’. I appreciate the stories which alight in my hands from ChocLit as much as I appreciate the inspirational romances I gravitate towards because there is a certain level of depth to both outlets in romance which encourage my spirits and gives me a beautiful story to absorb! Whilst sorting out how promote my book reviews on behalf of ChocLit, I coined the phrase “ChocLitSaturdays”, which is a nod to the fact my ChocLit reviews & features debut on ‘a Saturday’ but further to the point that on the ‘weekend’ we want to dip into a world wholly ideal and romantic during our hours off from the work week!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular reviewer for ChocLitUK, where I hand select which books in either their backlist and/or current releases I would like to read next for my #ChocLitSaturdays blog feature. As of June 2016, I became a member of the ChocLit Stars Team in tandem with being on the Cover Reveal Team which I joined in May 2016. I reference the Stars as this is a lovely new reader contribution team of sending feedback to the publisher ahead of new book releases. As always, even if I’m involved with a publisher in this sort of fashion, each review is never influenced by that participation and will always be my honest impression as I read the story. Whether the author is one I have previously read or never had the pleasure to read until the book greets my shelf.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Gilded Fan” from ChocLit in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I am fascinated by this series:

I was so consumed by the beautiful romance emitting out of this historical novel, I was swept into the folds of this story to such a degree, I did not want it to end! Hannah and Kumashiro are incredible characters to meet and it’s how their lives start to intersect that keep you up late into the night, as it’s not a book you wish to put down but one to devour, one chapter at a time whilst savouring the journey Courtenay has taken you on!

I appreciated the pacing of this novel – we were given such a lovely narrative in scope, to allow ourselves to curl inside the ‘moments’ with the characters rather than moving at such a clip of a pace to miss certain things. A nice touch too was having certain Japanese words used to explain tradition and the details you’d hope to learn by reading about another country’s cultural heritage. Courtenay has you breathe in the timescape and you feel as if you’ve experienced this place in time as you read the story. I happen to fancy this exploration through fiction because you can live so much through words and how the writer paints the portrait of a scene – it gives a realism to novels and it’s a lovely discovery to have as a reader who appreciates the historical past.

I loved how Ms Courtenay did not write a predictable story on the level that you were never quite certain what was going to befell Hannah – she is a feisty heroine, but she’s one who has a lot riding on her choices and on the will to live differently from the views of her family. Courtenay granted her the ability to think on her feet and to strive to hope she could have a better life if she could get through the adversities that were cutting her to the quick. I loved watching Hannah grow whilst she was at sea and how this growth gave her an empowerment once she reached Japan to where she far more stronger in spirit than when she first left England.

Courtenay has written such a gentle love story as to encircle your mind with her narrative, soaking inside the story as it unfolds and not wanting it to end. She gives you so much time to reside inside this story, you feel connected to Japan but moreso than that even, you feel very connected to her characters.

Such a lovely unputdownable discovery!

I cannot wait to read the next installment – as this surely is a historical drama I dearly love reading and are wicked happy shall be continuing!

-quoted from my review of The Scarlet Kimono

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

On my Connection to Ms. Courtenay:

Three years ago, on the 26th of April, 2014, I created #ChocLitSaturday a weekly Rom chat to celebrate the novelists of ChocLitUK but also, to expand to include book bloggers, readers and writers of Romance who have a penchant for the genre as a whole. Ms Courtenay started to become a regular fixture, and her encouraging conversations & ability to inspire others to converse freely throughout the chats put me at ease in my new role as a ‘Hostess’. She always seemed to know how to either start a topic or how to best suggest something to break the ice! I was always so very grateful to her and I am thinking I might have forgotten to tell her directly how much gratitude I had for her in those earlier chats! Over the years, I have found myself attached to each of my ‘regular’ chatters during the hour, and I consider Ms Courtenay a bookish like-minded soul and dear friend, as we tend to appreciate the same types of stories!

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Courtenay through our respective love & passion of reading inside the twitterverse whilst I host #ChocLitSaturday the chat, kept in touch privately and having had previously read her time slip novels. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time or continuing to read their releases as they are available.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Book Review | “The Gilded Fan” (Book Two of the Kumashiro Series) by Christina Courtenay via #ChocLitSaturdaysThe Gilded Fan
by Christina Courtenay
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Berni Stevens
Source: Direct from Publisher

How do you start a new life, leaving behind all you love?

It’s 1641, and when Midori Kumashiro, the orphaned daughter of a warlord, is told she has to leave Japan or die, she has no choice but to flee to England. Midori is trained in the arts of war, but is that enough to help her survive a journey, with a lecherous crew and an attractive captain she doesn’t trust?

Having come to Nagasaki to trade, the last thing Captain Nico Noordholt wants is a female passenger, especially a beautiful one. How can he protect her from his crew when he can’t keep his own eyes off her?

During their journey, Nico and Midori form a tentative bond, but they both have secrets that can change everything. When they arrive in England, a civil war is brewing, and only by standing together can they hope to survive…

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on ChocLitUK

ISBN: 9781781890080

Also by this author: Guest Post about Time Slips, The Silent Touch of Shadows, The Scarlet Kimono, The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight Cover Reveal, The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight Cover Reveal, Marry for Love, The Jade Lioness

Also in this series: The Scarlet Kimono, The Jade Lioness


Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance


Published by ChocLitUK

on 7th February, 2013

Format: UK Edition Paperback

Pages: 350

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLituk)

Available Formats:

Paperback, Audiobook, Large Print & E-Book

The Kumashiro series:

Book One: The Scarlet Kimono (see also Review)

Book Two: The Gilded Fan

Book Three: The Jade Lioness | Synopsis

Converse via: #KumashiroSeries + #HistRom or #ChocLit

About Christina Courtenay

Christina Courtenay

Christina lives near Hereford and is married with two children. Although born in England she has a Swedish mother and was brought up in Sweden. In her teens, the family moved to Japan where she had the opportunity to travel extensively in the Far East.

Christina’s debut Trade Winds was short listed for the 2011 Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Pure Passion Award for Best Historical Fiction. The Scarlet Kimono won the 2011 Big Red Reads Best Historical Fiction Award. Highland Storms (in 2012) and The Gilded Fan (in 2014) won the Historical Romantic Novel of the Year Award and The Silent Touch of Shadows won the 2012 Best Historical Read Award from the Festival of Romance. Christina is Chairman of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Novels: Trade Winds, Highland Storms, Monsoon Mists, The Scarlet Kimono, The Gilded Fan, The Silent Touch of Shadows, The Secret Kiss of Darkness, The Soft Whisper of Dreams, The Jade Lioness, Marry in Haste, Once Bitten Twice Shy, Desperate Remedies and Never Too Late.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo. Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Saturday, 29 April, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 17th Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Cultural & Religious Traditions, Domestic Violence, East India Company, England, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Fathers and Daughters, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Herbalist, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Japan, Japanese Fiction, Japanese History, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, Life Shift, Martial Arts, Military Fiction, Modern British Literature, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Multi-Generational Saga, Naturopathic Medicine, Puritan England, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Women's Fiction, Women's Rights, World Religions

Non-Fiction Book Review | “At the Pulpit: 185 Years of Discourses by Latter-day Saint Women” by The Church Historian Press (edited by) Jennifer Reeder and Kate Holbrook

Posted Monday, 27 February, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , 4 Comments

Book Review Banner using Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna

Acquired Book By: I received an enquiry from the (LDS) Church Historian Press regarding working with them on select non-fiction releases – which interested me as I have been reading LDS Fiction and Non-Fiction for the past two years. My interests in non-fiction (LDS or otherwise) tend to parallel through the historical past (as I love learning about History) and thread through biographical accounts of persons who lived. I love to seek out a variety of topics across different sub-interests of mine – including Science, Philosophy and Feminism as well. Being an ancestral sleuth in my family alongside my Mum, I love finding out the hidden histories not as well known as other aspects of the historical past, too. Therefore, when they approached me about reviewing for them, I was quite keen to find out more about their releases. This marks my second review following my first review for this publisher on behalf of ‘Saints at Devil’s Gate’ and extraordinary spiritual legacy of travelling the historic Mormon Trail through visual representations in Fine Art and accompanied by journalled insights by the Pioneers.

I received a complimentary copy of “At the Pulpit” direct from the publisher The Church Historian’s Press (in conjunction with The Church of Latter-day Saints) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was keenly interested in this particular release:

Throughout 2016, I had the joy of finding a lot of Feminist Historical Fiction – wherein Women’s Rights, Suffrage and issues of fighting for Equality across gender lines were explored through the historical past. Stimulating works by Eva Flynn, L. Davis Munro, Nicole Evelina and others who sought out to pull incredible stories out of the pages of History which still need to be told for today’s audience. Continuing from where I left off, I am still very interested in seeking out the lives of women who were on the forefront of activism, advocacy and helping to create social change.

When I first heard about the premise of this particular release, I was encouraged to notice it is a collection of women voicing their opinions about service and being mindfully present of how spirituality and faith can help guide us forward in our lives when we are compelled to act and cause change on behalf of others who need someone to advocate for them. These are spoken dialogues on behalf of LDS Women who felt motivated to rise to the occasion to give voice to their beliefs but also, to inspire others by what they had to say about the things they felt were most important to them.

Over the history of active participation in communities, LDS Women have always sought out to be of service to others – striving to help make the world a bit better and to find ways to make a difference by fulfilling the needs of their neighbours. What is interesting is how this collection is assembled and presented – similar to ‘Saints at Devil’s Gate’ (see also Review) the presentation of these discourses allows the reader to take a personal approach to how the information is absorbed and digested. The discourses themselves were hand-selected and presented in such a way, as you can get a feel for the woman who is speaking through the biographical sketches which accompany the speeches themselves. You also have illustrations complimenting the speeches – where you can see a visual photograph of the woman whose words you’ve just read.

Not all of the speeches are traditionally written – but what is conveyed is the strength of sisterhood bonds and the joys in being united as women who seek to serve and make a difference in our world.

As previously stated:

I also appreciated the Church Historian’s Press for being open to having a diverse group of reviewers and book bloggers receiving their releases from different backgrounds – as this highlights something I’ve been trying to understand better about why there is such a division of interest in INSPY Non-Fiction and Fiction releases. INSPY is the shortened word for Inspirational Fiction and Non-Fiction – the main umbrella of literature for faith-based literature – not limited to one religion nor branch of Christianity; as sometimes I think is wrongly perceived. I read INSPY Lit as it was intended – across cultural and religious backgrounds whilst finding inspiring stories in both fictional and realistic (non-fiction) settings of interest.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comNon-Fiction Book Review | “At the Pulpit: 185 Years of Discourses by Latter-day Saint Women” by The Church Historian Press (edited by) Jennifer Reeder and Kate HolbrookAt the Pulpit
Subtitle: 185 Years of Discourses by Latter-day Saint Women
by (Editors) Jennifer Reeder and Kate Holbrook
Source: Direct from Publisher

At the Pulpit contains fifty-four discourses given by Latter-day Saint women throughout the nearly 200-year history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While the book illustrates the history of women’s public preaching in the church, its most important feature is the actual words of Mormon women.

From the time that Emma Hale Smith, wife of church founder Joseph Smith, first exhorted women at meetings of the Nauvoo Relief Society in 1842, Latter-day Saint women have been charged with instructing their congregations, their families, their Relief Societies, and other groups. The addresses featured in this volume show Mormon women doing the spiritual and intellectual work inherent in a life of Christian faith—seeking to do good works, understand the mission and teachings of Jesus Christ, and strengthen their own faith and the faith of those around them. These women endeavored to live what they believed and to help their listeners do so as well.

Each discourse in the volume begins with an introduction that acquaints readers with the vibrant personalities of the women who have shaped the church. Readers may encounter some familiar figures from the church’s history and from the contemporary church—leaders like Eliza R. Snow, who was the first Relief Society general president in Utah Territory, and Linda K. Burton, current Relief Society general president. But they will also learn from largely forgotten women like Jane H. Neyman. Neyman applied to join the Nauvoo Relief Society in 1842, but her petition was rejected due to gossip about her daughters. Over twenty-five years later, she spoke in a Relief Society in southern Utah on charity, urging members to be forbearing and forgiving of one another.

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781629722825

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Interviews & Conversations, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics


Published by The Church Historian's Press, The Church History Department

on 27th February, 2017

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 484

Published by: The Church Historian Press (imprint of) The Church History Department

of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Formats Available: Softcover

Converse via: #INSPYbooks, #LDSChurch, #WomenOfHistory, #Feminist

About (Editors) Jennifer Reeder and Kate Holbrook

Jennifer Reeder is the nineteenth-century women’s history specialist at the Church History Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah. She holds a PhD in American history from George Mason University. Kate Holbrook is the managing historian for women’s history at the Church History Department. She received a PhD in religious studies from Boston University.

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Posted Monday, 27 February, 2017 by jorielov in Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Christianity, Family Life, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, The Church Historian's Press