Category: Balance of Faith whilst Living

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

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

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

Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Hachette Books and their imprints, where I started reading titles by FaithWords which is their INSPY (Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction) imprint of releases focusing on uplifting and spiritual stories which are a delight to read whilst engaging your mind in life affirming and heart-centered stories. I found Hachette via Edelweiss at the conclusion of [2015] and have been wicked happy I can review for their imprints Grand Central Publishing, FaithWords & Center Street.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Mother God Made Me To Be” direct from the publisher FaithWords (an imprint of Hachette Book Group Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781455539871

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


Published by FaithWords

on 5th September, 2017

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 192

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

Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Hardback & Ebook

Converse via: #NonFiction, #INSPY, #Christian

About Karen Valentin

Karen Valentin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

A beautiful photograph of the memoir shared via Twitter:

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Dancing Through Life by Candace Cameron Bure

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

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

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

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

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781433686948

Series: Bure Memoirs


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


Published by B&H Publishing Group

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 224

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

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

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

#PubDay Non-Fiction Book Review | “Dennis and Greer: A Love Story” told through a young couple’s letters & correspondences edited by Greer’s daughter Molly Gould

Posted Tuesday, 3 October, 2017 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I crossed paths with Ms Gould in 2015 in the twitterverse wherein we had a convo about the book she was writing which contained a series of letters & correspondences which would knit together a real-life love story about ‘Dennis & Greer’. At the time, I hadn’t realised Greer was her mother and how incredible of a story this would turn out to be! In July 2017, Ms Gould re-contacted me to see if I was still interested in reading the book – to which I happily replied I am! I received a complimentary ARC copy of “Dennis & Greer: A Love Story” direct from the editor Molly Gould in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

On wanting to read ‘Dennis & Greer’:

In July of 2015, I had a conversation with the editor of this Epistolary Story: Molly Gould. She had found me on Twitter (where most of my readers find me as I am bookishly chatty!) whilst finding a post I had written about reading Epistolary stories – something which comes up every now and then as I blog my reading life here on Jorie Loves A Story. She was talking to me about how she was ‘writing about a love story in letters’ which truly captured me at the time, as I was still holding memories of ‘Letters from Skye’ within my heart.

She had mentioned to me ‘My book tells the story of 2 youth from the moment they lay eyes on each other until the boy is killed in the Vietnam War.’ To which I had replied ‘What an epic love story! quite sad too, but bet there is an uplifting twist because of the letters left behind, etc. *evoking!’

After this short exchange, we parted ways – her to finish editing the book itself and I left hoping to hear back from her once the book was drafted for publication. In July of this year, Ms Gould re-contacted me announcing her mother’s story was finalised and ready to be shared with the world: “Dennis and Greer: A Love Story” would be published this October. She asked me if I was still interested in reading their story and if she could send me an ARC; to which I happily agreed knowing the curiosity was going to stay with me until I finally did indeed read how Dennis & Greer connected before he died.

There is something to be said for ‘letters & correspondences’ – for all of us who have put our lives and heart into exchanging letters with those of whom live far away from where we are – we know the truth about how letters can transform our lives and enable us to make strong connections to those of whom we correspond. When you purport this outside of friendship directly, letters have a way of conveying an emotional bond far quicker than a traditional relationship because within letters you can share your innermost thoughts and soulful perspectives without the fear of misunderstandings. Letters operate on a different time scale than ordinary vocal conversations where a quickness is necessary to maintain the pacing – letters, of course, ebb and flow over time – where patience and thoughtfulness outweigh quantity of thought.

This is also my second book to read of this nature – as the first was “3,000 Miles to Eternity” which talks about the real-life love story of a modern couple who met through both traditional and non-conventional means to write their own story of love in the 21st Century. If you appreciated reading my review of their story, you will enjoy reading my takeaways about Dennis & Greer – as although the two couples are separated through war and times of peace (approx. four decades to boot!) – they each share one major thing in common: they connected to each other through the words they wrote and exchanged – drawing them closer to each other with each bit of correspondence they received.

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#PubDay Non-Fiction Book Review | “Dennis and Greer: A Love Story” told through a young couple’s letters & correspondences edited by Greer’s daughter Molly GouldDennis & Greer: A Love Story
by (Editor) Molly Gould
Source: Direct from Editor

A true story that encapsulates the horrors of war and the innocence of young love.

Buried in a trunk for fifty years, this long-forgotten tale, told through letters and journals from the war-torn Vietnam era, has been resurrected.

College students, Dennis and Greer, met and felt a spark just before moving to different states. Their witty correspondence through letters conjured a desire to meet again, but Dennis tried to keep his distance; duty is more important than love.

Dennis joined the Marines against Greer's wishes, but he tried to win her heart before going to war. As the two embarked on their journey into adulthood and navigated their relationship against the backdrop of war, they were writing a love story that will span the test of time.

This nonfiction that reads like fiction is perfect for lovers of memoir, historical romance, and historical fiction.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-0692919910

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Epistolary | Letters & Correspondences, Non-Fiction


Published by Belle Reve Press

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 324

About (Editor) Molly Gould

Molly Gould

Molly Gould lived in the wilderness for 28 days when she was 16 years old (she’s your go-to-girl in the zombie apocalypse). She now confines herself indoors, AC full-blast in sunny AZ. Occasionally, she’ll brave the scorching heat with her husband and four children.

Molly is an ASU graduate and the editor of Dennis and Greer: A Love Story.

When Molly inherited a treasure of vintage journals and letters from the Vietnam era, she was swept away by the love story and coming-of-age tale contained within those writings. She couldn’t keep the story of Dennis and Greer to herself, so she began transcribing and Dennis and Greer was born.

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Posted Tuesday, 3 October, 2017 by jorielov in 20th Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Based on an Actual Event &/or Court Case, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Mormonism, Non-Fiction, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Story in Diary-Style Format, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, The Sixties, Vignettes of Real Life

Blog Book Tour | “Right Next to Me” by Rachel Ward The sophomore release of a #SweetRomance author I discovered last August whose given me another lovely Contemporary Rom!

Posted Monday, 4 September, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

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

I received a complimentary copy of “Right Next to Me” direct from the publisher Bonneville Books (an imprint of Cedar Fort Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

I first came across the writing style of Ms Ward last August, when I reviewed her debut novel “Dear Jane” which was a spin on a ‘Dear John’ letter! Here are some of my takeaways from my reading of her debut which truly struck a chord with me, as it was one of the few times a Contemporary gave me a lot of fodder to chew and appreciate whilst I was engaged with the story-line! Contemporaries for me are rather hit/miss a times – I love them, but ironically or not, I find them to be a difficult ‘fit’ for my own particular interests in what I am looking for in a Contemporary read. To find a debut novelist who added such a heap into their novel which not only was to my liking but provided such a strong entrance with an overall approach of giving a reader new to their style such a lot to contemplate was the truer gift within the chapters of ‘Dear Jane’!

Ward chose to tackle heady issues in her debut novel – as she talks openly about having to readjust after losing grace within the church and the tragic loss of a loved one from suicide. These are difficulties rooted into the fabric of where Quinn’s life is taking her once she’s back home, realising that the world has arrived at her doorstep. It’s the juxtaposition all children go through when their maturing past the school years, where everything that once felt rosy and bubbly full of light and spirit was suddenly a bit marred by a swelling darkness of reality. I felt Ward broached the difficulties well whilst giving Quinn a humble and honest reaction to each new trial she was facing as her family worked through the impossible.

I loved how Ward surprises her readers by introducing Nick’s backstory slowly as Quinn starts to spend more time with him. The interesting bit is that it’s a good life lesson about not always understanding a person’s past or their personality as sometimes their stand-offish behaviour has a reason behind it. Further curious is how through her conversations with Nick, Quinn started to soften her own guarded heart and openly talk about what bothered her on a personal level. They were each others’ huckleberry friend in brewing chaos where a new friendship was fast developing without their awareness. I felt this was the most authentic part of the turning point for Quinn’s life; where she was getting a feel for how first impressions are not always accurate and how serendipity has a way of affecting your life positively even if everything else feels upturnt.

Keeping true to a coming-of age tale, not everything is as it appears to be – even when things start to look like their turning round in Quinn’s favour. This was a bit frustrating if your reading the novel and want to see Quinn’s story end in happiness at some point. It felt like everything she felt was righting itself for the good in her life was being taken from her soon thereafter. However, as relationships are naturally complicated, Ward does present good folly for her characters to wrangle inside whilst trying to sort out what they truly want from each other and from life.

Ward etched in so much behind the relationships and the growing season for Quinn, that you nearly are not entirely ready to meet each new scene where tensions are as high as the emotions! I was a bit shocked by the depth of spite from Quinn’s mother at various intervals of the story as it developed; her paltry apology at the conclusion didn’t quite warm me to her or feel as if she vindicated herself from the misery she subjected her daughter(s) too. The best part I felt was the developing love story and the arc of narrative that proves that emergencies and non-traditional trajectories are more commonplace than you realise. Life comes around the corner so blaring fast, you have to bolster your strength out of your faith and hope you have the courage to face what tomorrow brings. If you do, you’ll find butterflies of joy alighting throughout the days where you feel you cannot be surprised in a good way after a succession of adversity.

-quoted from my review of Dear Jane

When Ms Ward contacted me about her sophomore release “Right Next to Me” – I must say, I was quite captured by the premise! I am always quite eager to read a ‘next book’ by an author who gave me such a stirring read the first time round and as I’m one of those readers who has the tendency to fall ‘behind’ on when the new releases are pending for her beloved authors – it is quite a lovely surprise to hear from one of them and be offered to read their ‘next story’!

I truly love Sweet Roms for their ability to have an undercurrent of simple joys and generally a walk of faith knitted into them (although not always, there are mainstream Sweet Roms, too) which gives a little added dimensional joy in reading them as I do love a wicked good INSPY! This one felt quite realistic to me – as there are times when you do wonder if the person you’ll find as your true match is hidden in plain sight – either near you in the present or unexpectedly will cross your path in the future in such a way as to take you off-guard and not realise you’ve ‘met’ your true love. I think everyone muses about how they will meet ‘whom’ their meant to be with in marriage and in life; who they will walk through life’s adventures and share their thoughts, hopes and dreams with whilst engaged in the art of living and the discoveries of the world. I was simply overjoyed Ms Ward reached out to me as this became a special ‘surprise’ for the ‘end of Summer’!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “Right Next to Me” by Rachel Ward The sophomore release of a #SweetRomance author I discovered last August whose given me another lovely Contemporary Rom!right next to me
by Rachel Ward
Source: Direct from Publisher

She has a crush on her boyfriend's best friend.

How long can a good thing last? Sydney was sure Gavin was the perfect boyfriend until he moved across the country for school. After spending more time with her best friend, James, she's now rethinking everything. Sydney's once sure footing in life slips even more as she discovers new details about her own father's betrayal. Scared she'll hurt Gavin like her father hurt her, Sydney must decide if she'll stay with the perfect boyfriend or the perfectly flawed boy who's been there all along.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781462128396

Also by this author: Dear Jane

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


Published by Bonneville Books

on 8th August, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 208

Published By: Bonneville Books (@BonnevilleBooks)
an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFort)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Stories by Rachel Ward

Dear Jane by Rachel WardRight Next to Me by Rachel Ward

Dear Jane | debut novel | (see also Review)

Right Next to Me | sophomore release

Converse via: #RightNextToMe, #ContemporaryFiction, #CleanFiction

About Rachel Ward

Rachel Ward Photo Credit: Lindsay Walden Photography

Rachel Turner Ward graduated from Hillcrest High School after spending two years writing for the yearbook and the creative writing magazine. She then studied English at Brigham Young University­—Idaho, graduating with an emphasis in Literary Studies. She has contributed to several online publications, including Mormon Mommy Blogs and SheSteals. She has written a personal blog since 2009, Trapped Between a Scream and a Hug. Rachel lives in Salt Lake with her six children and husband of 15 years.

Photo Credit: Lindsay Walden Photography

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Posted Monday, 4 September, 2017 by jorielov in 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blog Tour Host, Brothers and Sisters, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Coming-Of Age, Disillusionment in Marriage, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Loss of an unbourne child, Modern Day, Mormonism, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Realistic Fiction, Self-Harm Practices, Siblings, Sisterhood friendships, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Unexpected Pregnancy, Upper YA Fiction, Utah

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 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, The Secret Kiss of Darkness

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, 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