Category: Balance of Faith whilst Living

Blog Book Tour | Sophomore release continues the story first read inside “Pierced by Love”, as Laura L. Walker carries her story forward in this INSPY sequel!

Posted Tuesday, 26 January, 2016 by jorielov , , , , , , 4 Comments

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

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 “The Matchup” 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.

Disclaimer:

“The Matchup” is not considered a sequel to “Pierced by Love” by the author and publisher, however, as you will denote from how I’ve written my review, my own personal thoughts on this matter are disclosed. Likewise, the second paragraph of the author’s biography was written by Jorie as a way to highlight the succession of the author’s two published works.

A New Year of author surprises for this book blogger:

Before [2016] began to emerge out from the ending chapters of [2015], I started to receive author mail from Cedar Fort’s debut novelists and established authors who were going to have new releases upcoming in Winter and Spring. I was quite delighted by their enquiries, as some of them were fond readings of mine whilst I discovered their writings for the first time when I serendipitously found their blog tours; as for me blog tours have been a lovely niche of an opportunity to discover #newtomeauthors and a diverse array of stories I may or may not have been able to read otherwise. They allow us a breadth of discovery outside our usual wanderings and a chance to interact directly with an author in a way we might not normally have the chance to do. My heart is blessed by the tours I have hosted and the stories which have entered my hands to read in other words.

At the very same time, when I receive a note from an author I’ve previously read about a new release of theirs my heart warms a bit, because it gives me the chance to remember why I appreciated reading their last novel (or in rarer cases, their last non-fiction). I sometimes forget to ‘check-in’ with the authors I’ve previously read as life takes us on a bit of a ride after we’ve met such stirring stories, thus it’s a wonderful surprise to learn when their next release will become published and what kind of story they are going to be featuring next. I am curating a list of next reads based on the stories I’ve blogged who held me so tight inside their chapters, I was quite anxious to read another story by their authors; but to receive a note from an author directly is truly a blessing indeed!

I still recall when Ms Walker contacted me about her new release, a story which would take forward one of the supporting characters of Pierced by Love whilst giving us a taste of what happens to Pierce and Noelle in the hours since we last saw them. I was quite delighted as I had hoped there might be more to this novel than what was left on the page, but sometimes a sequel or a duology (where two stories are anchoured together but go no further than two installments) are not a guarantee. I am not sure who was more surprised: Ms Walker for realising I was dearly interested in reading The Matchup or myself when receiving the news of it’s publication!?

This prelude to [2016] did not start or end with Ms Walker, as I enjoyed a return to Ms Steele’s writings before December concluded and I have happily enjoyed an invitation to read three debut novelists throughout the Spring! The authors I am referring to are: Aaron Blaylock (of The Land of Look Behind), Lindsay B. Ferguson (of By the Stars) and Kaki Olsen (of Swan and Shadow: A Swan Lake Story). What is quite champion is I had unearthed advance notice of two of these releases from Cedar Fort’s catalogue on Edelweiss whilst finding six others dearly as captivating which I will be revealling when I post  my *End of the Year Survey: 2016*.

For now, it’s been a pleasure and a joy receiving a bit of author mail by writers who are gaining my interest by penning stories that wick together wicked good drama and/or adventure! For a girl who is scaling back hosting blog tours, I must say, I am finding a diverse array of stories to choose amongst to host!

Blog Book Tour | Sophomore release continues the story first read inside “Pierced by Love”, as Laura L. Walker carries her story forward in this INSPY sequel!The Matchup
by Laura L. Walker
Source: Direct from Publisher

Valerie's heart hammered in her rib cage. That deep voice could only belong to one person - Gage Logan.

The last thing Valerie wants or needs is to work for her childhood tormentor, Gage. But Valerie's husband walked out on her and her children. Now she needs a job. Gage, on the other hand, has just taken custody of his four-year-old son and is swamped trying to balance his career, be a daddy, and fix past mistakes.

Together they discover that when it comes to the Church and each other, it's all about second chances. This sweet romance will renew your faith in love and redemption.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781462117529

Also by this author: Pierced by Love

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction, Motherhood | Parenthood, Realistic Fiction, Sweet Romance, Women's Fiction


Published by Bonneville Books

on 1st January, 2016

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 240

Published By: Bonneville Books (@BonnevilleBooks),

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

Converse via: #LDSFiction, #INSPYRom, #INSPYFiction, #SweetRomance,

#realisticfiction, #ChristFic,  + #TheMatchup

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Laura L. Walker

Laura Walker is a native Arizonan. Having lived there all their lives, she and her husband, Rob, think it’s a great place to raise their six kids. They enjoy camping, reading, and learning history together. Laura loves to settle in with a good romance just as much as she loves to write one.

Her first novel was Pierced by Love wherein her second novel continues the story-line of her character Gage (the younger brother to Pierce) within the pages of The Matchup.

Website | @llwalkerauthor | Facebook | GoodReads | Pinterest

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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Posted Tuesday, 26 January, 2016 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, A Father's Heart, Autism, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Contemporary Romance, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Divorce & Martial Strife, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Learning Difficulties, Life Shift, Modern Day, Mormonism, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Mother-Son Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Siblings, Single Fathers, Special Needs Children, Sweet Romance, Writing Style & Voice

Blog Book Tour | For Steele’s sophomore release (“#SodaSprings”) she’s knit us inside a wicked lovely Western where Hope guides the characters towards redeeming the Light of their lives!

Posted Tuesday, 22 December, 2015 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

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 “Soda Springs” 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.

On my connection to Ms Steele:

I first made a connection to Ms Steele when I read ‘Willow Springs’, however, time and life swept us up in our respective tides until several months leading up to the ‘Soda Springs’ blog tour. Occasionally we would see each other on Twitter, and when it came time for Ms Steele to find bloggers for her blog tour, we reconnected finding to each of ours chagrin how much we share in common! As both writers and photographers, a friendship organically started to develop. A friendship I find to be a true blessing to have and in no way does this cloud my judgement to review her novels, because each story I read is met with an open heart and mind.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Steele through our respective love & passion of reading inside the twitterverse or whilst in private conversations outside of it. 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 continuously throughout their writerly career.

Quoting a part of my enthused reaction on why I wanted to read ‘Soda Springs’:

I love historical fiction and family dramas; this new novel has everything I appreciate! Plus, I don’t mind that it’s based on a historical period of time for Mormons because I’m an open minded reader who reads about cross-cultural and cross-religious heritages which may or may not be my own. It’s part of what I love the most about reading!

You get to walk in different shoes than the pair your wearing!

On notation on Cover Art and the author’s dedication:

When I first caught sight of this novel’s cover art (as given to me by Ms Steele), I must say, I was quite curious at where the character’s eyes were cast – such a serious expression and a curiously fiery sky in the background. Her eyes stand so very resolute in their stare, you see. It could be twilight or it could be a forbearance of strife. The historical etching of place was quite apparent and I liked the overlays of graphics as well. The short quotation caught my eye, as I am attracted to stories of adversity in which the writers knit a layering of survival threaded through hope and the joys life can bestow us when we’re least expecting to find merriment.

The author’s dedication to both a specific locale and to her husband was most endearing – you gathered a true sense of what anchours Ms Steele and what uplifts her heart and spirit the most. I was definitely keen on visiting Grays Lake myself after such a hearty glimpse into what gives her such a renewal of memory and mirth of happiness.

Blog Book Tour | For Steele’s sophomore release (“#SodaSprings”) she’s knit us inside a wicked lovely Western where Hope guides the characters towards redeeming the Light of their lives!Soda Springs
by Carolyn Steele
Source: Direct from Publisher

“Father!” Tessa jumped off the porch, skipping the four steps and landing with her bare feet on the dusty cobbles, making a soft thud. She raced toward the man silhouetted by the flames. “Father, what are you doing?” She whispered her shout as loudly as she dared, fearful of waking the rest of her family. “Stop!”

“Go back inside,” he hissed at her, scarcely turning his head in her direction as he tossed a jacket into the fire.

“Your uniform . . .” She gasped in horror. Flames consumed the gray woolen coat and trousers. “Why?”

When Tessa Darrow discovers her father burning his Confederate uniform, she has no idea that his secret torment will devastate their family and drive them from their home in North Carolina. In 1865, her family treks along the Oregon Trail until tragedy strikes, leaving Tessa and her father to build a new life in Soda Springs, Idaho, a town settled by a group of exiled Mormons. For Tessa to find happiness in her future, she must learn to forgive and grow from the hurt and hardships in her past.

This sweeping story illuminates an oft-forgotten era in LDS Church history and highlights the history of Soda Springs, Idaho--referred to by early travelers as "an oasis on the Oregon Trail." Filled with drama, humor, and enduring love, it's a thrilling read for history buffs and romantics alike.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781462117000

Also by this author: Willow Springs

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, War Drama, Western Fiction


Published by Bonneville Books

on 8th December, 2015

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 264

Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Published By: Bonneville Books (@BonnevilleBooks),

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

Converse via: #histfic, #ChristFic, #LDSFiction + #SodaSprings

About Carolyn Steele

Carolyn Steele

Carolyn Steele enjoys ferreting out obscure history and weaving it through her tales. With a career rooted in business writing, she loves researching details of her novels to ensure their historical accuracy, drawing praise from Pony Express re-enactors for her first novel, “Willow Springs.” Carolyn works full-time writing communications for healthcare providers, then spends evenings indulging her passion for writing historical fiction. When not at the computer, Carolyn loves traveling with her husband and visiting with her four children and thirteen grandchildren. In her spare moments, she traipses about Utah with a camera in hand, and occasionally muddles through a round of golf. She dreams of one day traveling the world, photographing all those mystical lands that beg to be backdrops for her novels.

To say “hello,” visit her on her social media channels!

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Tuesday, 22 December, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 19th Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Family Drama, Family Life, Farm and Ranching on the Frontier, Father-Daughter Relationships, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Homestead Life, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Life Shift, Mormonism, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Old West Americana, Oregon, Questioning Faith as a Teen, Religious History, Romantic Suspense, Siblings, Western Fiction, Western Romance

Book Review | “Those Who Remain: Remembrance and Reunion After War” by Ruth W. Crocker

Posted Monday, 2 November, 2015 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I was approached to read a different book than the one I asked to read, as the original choice the publicist made for me didn’t feel like a good fit, to be honest. I asked to receive “Those Who Remain” because I have a strong connection to the war eras as I regularly read war dramas and historical fiction set during this period; yet I do not often think to pick up a work of non-fiction that is connected to the eras. I was thankful I could step out of my comfort zone and read a creative non-fiction account set during the Vietnam War. I received a complimentary copy of the “Those Who Remain” direct from the publicist at Claire McKinney Public Relations, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why letters and correspondences interest me within a story of a war drama:

Oft-times letters and correspondences are all that will remain after a war between wives and husbands; daughters and fathers; sons and mothers, etc. as war is an uncertain time of unforeseeable tragedy. The words etched into postcards, pieces of paper or scribbled onto napkins or other bits of mail become a lasting tribute to not only the person who gave those words to their loved ones but to the receiver who knew a bit of their thoughts before they passed. Not everyone perishes at war, but for the families who lose their relatives, the sudden separation and the lack of a proper good-bye is mind-numbingly anguishing for many years.

When it comes to reading war dramas in fiction, I appreciate the writers who fuse history and fact into their stories, but also allow a breath of connection between those at the front and those back home. Finding letters caught inside the tethers of a war drama is one way to anchour me into that story because of how important those letters were in reality. I read quite a lot of war dramas per year, but I also appreciate certain tv serials who augment the same connections I find in their fictional counterparts such as Foyle’s War and As Time Goes By. The latter had the plot focused on a missing letter which was never delivered and thus, became the impetus of how a soldier and a nurse reunited years later in their golden years.

The novel which illuminated the necessity for correspondence at war the best, I felt, was Letters from Skye a novel writ around the letters themselves; taking me to a new vein of reality of how a novel can be told. Reviewing this novel twice was a way I could give the author a second note of gratitude for how convicting her story moved my emotional heart.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Book Review | “Those Who Remain: Remembrance and Reunion After War” by Ruth W. CrockerThose Who Remain
Subtitle: Remembrance and Reunion After War
by Ruth W. Crocker
Source: Direct from Publisher

She was 23 years old when she was widowed by war and rather than bury her husband in his coffin, she buried every memory of their brief life together. Forty years later she exhumed the grave and came to terms with her loss and her grief.

Nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2013 writer-teacher-actress Ruth W. Crocker brings her journey of love, loss, and inspiration to the page in her beautiful memoir THOSE WHO REMAIN: Remembrance and Reunion after War (Elm Grove Press).

Sometimes the reaction to loss is anger along with the need to be reckless and to search for meaning in what has happened. In THOSE WHO REMAIN, Ruth W. Crocker was propelled by her complex emotions at the time. On the one hand she needed to close the door on her previous life, and on the other she wanted to pay tribute to her husband's memory and escape from her grief. To this end she hiked up to the treacherous North Face of the Eiger, the most notorious mountain in the Swiss Alps, to spread her husband's ashes at the top of the climb they were supposed to do together.

Weaving her beautifully-written recollections with diary entries, letters between her and her husband, and conversations with his comrades, Ruth gives readers an intimate glimpse into the life of a woman who faced her fears and braved the forces of nature to learn that she could survive anything that came her way. A unique true story of grief and recovery with a surprising revelation, THOSE WHO REMAIN demonstrates the tenacious will of the human spirit to heal.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781940863009

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


Published by Elm Grove Press

on 13th May 2014

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 294

Published by: Elm Grove Press 

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Ruth W. Crocker

Ruth W. Crocker

Ruth W. Crocker, PhD, is a 2013 Pushcart Prize nominated author, writing consultant, and expert on recovery from trauma and personal tragedy. Her memoir Those Who Remain: Remembrance and Reunion After War describes her experience following her husband’s death in Vietnam and how she found resources for healing.

Crocker’s essays have been recognized in Best American Essays and her articles have been
featured in the Gettysburg Review, Grace Magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, O-Dark-Thirty, and T.A.P.S. Magazine.

She received an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Bennington College, a PhD in Nutrition and Human Development from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Education from Tufts University. Along the way she also became a Registered Dietitian.

Crocker worked in health care administration and clinical nutrition before becoming a full-time writer. Currently, she is the Writer-In-Residence at Riverlight Wellness Center in Stonington, Connecticut, where she teaches the art of writing memoirs and personal essays to aspiring writers who want to express their own stories. She lives, cooks, and writes in Mystic, Connecticut.

Why the past (and the memories carried therein) can rekindle hope and our humanity’s will towards accepting grace:

There is a point in the story where Crocker mentions the true blessing of living histories (what my family refers to as the stories of our relatives and relations throughout our ancestral past) where we become tethered to our family through the living memories of people who lived before our own time. Sometimes these can be peppered with your living relatives recollections of their lives in the decades before your birth, but generally speaking, it’s a way to keep a tangible impression of your family’s journey through time refreshed and known for the generations who are coming down the line.

I appreciated these stories because they clarified a few finer points of the historical past where I found a bit of fault with lessons in school; as I was being given a wider picture than the option only to recount facts and tidbits someone else deemed worthy of my attention. In a conversation on Twitter earlier in 2015 (believe during #HistoricalFix; follow @HistoricalFix), it was mentioned that if historical fiction was taught in school (especially the authors of today or yesterday who conduct such impressive research to ground their stories) we would have a whole new appreciation for history as a whole. I tend to agree with this sentiment whole-heartedly because when the ‘past’ comes alive for me as I read a novel, it is a kind reminder of how much the past was ‘alive’ for me through the stories of my family. We have a need to make connections whilst we’re alive, it’s not only how we process information and keep a stronghold of knowledge vibrant and a part of who we are, it’s a way of how we internalise what we’re experiencing.

If we start to forget to share the stories, we will soon find ourselves without a path towards reacquiring the hope of where we’ve been and the joy of where we are about to venture forward next. Read More

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Posted Monday, 2 November, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, #NonFictionFriday, 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Based on an Actual Event &/or Court Case, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Claire McKinney Public Relations, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Equality In Literature, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, History, Indie Author, Memoir, Military Families of the Deployed, Non-Fiction, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Quakers, Special Needs Children, Story knitted out of Ancestral Data, The Vietnam War, Travel the World in Books, War Widow, War-time Romance, Warfare & Power Realignment