Category: Quaker Fiction

Book Review | “A Place Called Hope” (Hope series, No.1) by Philip Gulley A small towne fiction novelist I’ve been curious about reading!

Posted Sunday, 31 July, 2016 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I am a new reviewer for Hachette Books and their imprints, I started by reviewing two releases by FaithWords, their INSPY (Inspirational 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 blessed to start reviewing for them.

I received a complimentary copy of “A Place Called Hope” 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.

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Why I wanted to read a Gulley novel:

I cannot recollect exactly when I discovered the Harmony series by Mr Gulley, but it was during my wanderings at my local library, a book or two from the series kept winking at me to read! Similar to the novels by Ms Whitson, I simply never had the pleasure of soaking inside his novels!

I can honestly say, the most enjoyment I have had in recent years is being caught up inside ‘small townes’ in the fictional worlds authors are treating me to visit! Townes like Cedar Cove (Debbie Macomber), Serenity (Sherryl Woods), Lambert’s Corner (Rosina Lippi), Skye (Jessica Brockmole), Soda Springs (Carolyn Steele), Coorah Creek (Janet Gover), Butternut Lake (Mary McNear), Henry Adams (Beverly Jenkins), Dickinson (Larry D. Sweazy) and serial mysteries that feel like small townes for how much interplay there is with repetitive characters by such authors as: Susan McDuffie, Anna Castle, Susan Spann, Catherine Lloyd, Susanna Calkins, Charles Todd, Tessa Arlen and Anna Lee Huber!

The reason I love small townes has been expressed many times over, but at the heart of what draws me inside small towne fiction is the quirkiness of how the stories are told and the eclectic harmony of how the lead characters are attempting to find their footing or be ever present to the needs of their neighbours and community. Small towne fiction stories are a slice of life that is a step outside the harried pace of our normal lives (unless we’re blessed to live in a small towne where everyone champions each other in unconditional support) where life is a bit easier to take in and where not everything has to be done at the speed of a clock ticking off moments as if they need to be registered somewhere!

I also like the different interpretations of small towne life and how for each community I visit in fiction, I am hoping there are at least ten composite communities out there somewhere that are reflective of the community togetherness that is inside the novel at hand! I find you can dig yourself happily inside a small towne novel (as I mentioned a few one-offs above) or a series (a treasure of a find!) with the glowing joy of knowing your respite inside it’s chapters is going to make you feel light with euphoric happiness for your journey! I suppose in many ways, reading #smalltown #fiction is one of my guilty pleasures as a reader, because I simply find myself put in such wonderful moods after reading them!

Who wouldn’t want an uplift of joy on their bookshelf?!

And, so dear hearts, this is why I wanted to finally read my first Gulley novel! The chance to laugh, the chance to smile and the chance to see what everyone had previously found inside the Harmony novels, as I had a sense that his wit and charm would continue to enthrall us in the Hope series! There is simply something quite keen about finding authors who are writing such realistic stories set in townes that we can all identify with and find readerly happiness in reading!

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Book Review | “A Place Called Hope” (Hope series, No.1) by Philip Gulley A small towne fiction novelist I’ve been curious about reading!A Place Called Hope
by Philip Gulley
Source: Direct from Publisher

When Quaker Pastor Sam Gardner is asked by the ill Unitarian minister to oversee a wedding in his place, Sam naturally agrees. It's not until the couple stands before him that he realizes they're two women. In the tempest of strong opinions and misunderstandings that follows the incident, Sam faces potential unemployment.

Deeply discouraged, he wonders if his pastoral usefulness has come to an end. Perhaps it's time for a change. After all, his wife has found a new job at the library, his elder son is off to college, and the younger has decided to join the military once he graduates high school. Sam is contemplating a future selling used cars when he receives a call from a woman in the suburban town of Hope, Indiana.

It seems Hope Friends Meeting is in desperate need of a pastor. Though they only have twelve members, they also have a beautiful meetinghouse and a pie committee (Sam is fond of pie). But can he really leave his beloved hometown of Harmony?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781455586882

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction


Published by Center Street

on 19th March, 2015

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 256

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

Formats Available: Hardcover, Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

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Hope series:

A Place Called Hope by Philip GulleyA Lesson in Hope by Philip Gulley

Readers are mentioning Gulley’s writing style in relation to Karon’s Mitford series; although I never read about Mitford, my grandmother loved reading the series before she died. We shared a mutual love of small towne fiction, and I believe our shared joy in finding small towne fiction to curl up inside is partially why I continue to seek out more from this lovely section of literature. She might not be able to travel with me as I visit each ‘towne’ but I know she’s smiling at me from heaven, happy I continued my adventures seeking writers who know how to write about the nuances of ordinary life!

A Place Called Hope | No.1

A Lesson in Hope | No.2 | Book Synopsis

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Converse via: #INSPYbooks, #QuakerFiction & #INSPYfiction

+ use these two in combo: #SmallTown #Fiction

About Philip Gulley

Philip Gulley Photo Credit: Matt Griffith

PHILIP GULLEY, a Quaker pastor, has become the voice of small-town American life. Along with writing Front Porch Tales, Hometown Tales, and For Everything a Season, he is the author of the Harmony series of novels. Gulley lives in Indiana with his wife, Joan, and their sons.

Photo Credit: Matt Griffith

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Posted Sunday, 31 July, 2016 by jorielov in 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), CenterStreet, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Equality In Literature, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Modern Day, Quaker Fiction, Quakers, Small Towne USA

_+ #atozchallenge _+ 26 Days | 26 Essays [epic journey] Today is Letter “E”. Hint: The World is a Melting Pot

Posted Saturday, 5 April, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 8 Comments

A to Z Challenge Day 5 Letter E I am involved in a world-wide globally connected blogosphere challenge where each blogger who signs into the participant linky is quite literally confirming their express desire to blog straight [except on Sundays!] for *26 Days!* whilst writing *26!* most intriguing & thought-producing alphabet essays! Or, to be comically inspiring, randomly cheeky, and otherwise delightfully entertaining! The bloggers who have signed into the challenge are from all walks of blogosphere life: book bloggers united alongside lifestyle gurus; writers of all literary styles nudged up against travelogues; the gambit runs the full course of each and every theme, topic, subject, and genre you could possibly light your heart with joy to broach in a blog! And, the curious bit to the journey is where your posts lead you as much as where other blogger’s posts inspire you! It’s this fantastic community to celebrate the spirit within the blogosphere as much as the spirit of connection amongst the bloggers who might not have crossed paths with each other otherwise. After all, the road map for blogs is as wide and large as the actual world outside the nethersphere of websites, pixels, and memes! Walk with us whilst we discover a bit about ourselves, our blog, & each other!

I am blogger #552 out of 2279!

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{ should be noted: @aishacs posted a multi-post Interview
on the blog Story & Chai
about diversity in literature; Part II, Part III, Part IV }

Originally I was going to focus on E P I C F A N T A S Y for Letter E, except to say, that throughout the twitterverse and the book blogosphere I was finding encouragement to draw light on another equally as important discussion of interest E Q U A L I T Y in L I T E R A T U R E! I grew up in a moderately sized city to the extent that the world was outside my door, the essence of the melting pot in vivid colours and dimensions was all around me. I loved the multicultural heritages I grew up near and I enjoyed the conversations I had with those who could help me understand traditions, cultures, and religions outside of my own. I have many fond memories speaking to Native Americans for instance whether I was at a bookshoppe or at an arts & crafts festival. I loved finding ways to engage with people who could dynamically shift my point of view and endear me to how our differences bridge the gap to how we are all interconnected and related.

Although I grew up in a house full of European descent (for the most part; mostly Briton though), the inertia of connectivity of other cultures was always encouraged and sought out. When you live in a city of any size, you get to see a beautiful cross-section of everyone who lives within the city itself. Whilst your riding the bus or walking down the boulevard you are greeting people as you come across them, accepting them as you speak to them, and within those brief moments of conversation you begin to grow curious about their own stories. Stories in which they grew up sharing within their own families and stories in which they grew up reading inside the books they cherished as bedtime companions.

I always celebrated then when I found multicultural characters in the stories I was personally reading as well as settings outside the norm of the net in which is regularly cast. E Q U A L I T Y in L I T E R A T U R E does not end nor begin on having different perspectives in ethnicity or nationality, as it also is inclusive of the ideal for a balancing of all characters and the lives in which they lead. This can include single | divorced | grandparent | foster parenting, adoptive or step-parent families, LGBT families and individuals; learning difficulties as well as those who are living with a medical handicap, illness, or affliction. Immigrant stories of people and families changing their stars for a life in a new country; biracial and multi-ethnic families. Whilst going further to extend past religious differences and spirituality freedoms to include a cross-section of all representations of a person’s beliefs as much as the differences in how we live, eat, and breathe. Full equality is giving the writer the will to focus on the characters they can personally identify with and as thus, can endear the reader to draw connection with as well. For every well-written story there is a reader who is aching to read a story which has transcended the living reality mantra of the earth being a melting pot and has taken the theory into practice in literature. I hint about my views about all of this under “My Bookish Life“.

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E Q U A L I T Y in L I T E R A T U R E for me is reading the world through the lens in which we live. Our world is a beautiful melting pot of cultures, traditions, religions and individualism. Why not celebrate those differences by painting living testaments of our lives as a portrait through the characters we breathe to life in novels? Giving back a bit of the grace in which we are free to live?
by Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story

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Access to Different Kinds of Literature via Color in Colorado

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Books on the Underground; Books on the Subway; Jorie Loves A Story: Booking the Rails

I recently reviewed a book for my Booking the Rails Feature where I highlighted Wonder by R.J. Palacio who wrote this beautiful book about a boy whose face is altered from other children yet the light of his heart uplifts everyone who meets him. The beauty of the novel itself is showing the grace of living your life as true to who you are on the inside as to reflect back to those who perceive you through prejudicial eyes the joy in being authentically yourself. The barriers people build up between each other can be brought down one by one if we endeavour to understand what alienates us and be determined to draw out empathy and compassion as a first response rather than fear, ignorance, and indifference.

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August has a keen philosophical intuitiveness about himself, the dynamics of his family, and his personal living environment around him. He seeks to find solace out of uncertainty and squalls chaos with simplistic truths which etch out the stigmas of which society oft-times places on individuals who are in some shape or form ‘different’ from the ‘norm’. And, the sad truth is that normalcy is in the eye’s of the beholder! To be normal is quite definitively the ability to be wholly true to yourself, your internal resolve of spirit, and in knowing who you are without the prejudgements and negative thoughts of others assembling into your heart. August has instinctively dry humour to convey his thoughts about life, dispelling any unease to meet him because he breaks the ice by simply being himself! He draws you into his sphere by engaging you in a way you were not expecting! No pretense. He’s simply ‘August’, who prefers to go by ‘Auggie’, the brother of Via and the boy who wants to live like a regular ten-year old entering fifth grade!

– quoted from my review of Wonder by R.J. Palacio

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Each book I am selecting to highlight as part of my Booking the Rails feature will be a story which will challenge convention and/or the ideals of story-telling and branch out into new horizons for both my readers and those who find the books on the trains. I want to start a conversation on those posts of giving dialogue and conversation to topics and subjects that will benefit from having a light shined on them. It’s my own wink and a nod to creating a new pathway back into the culture of being ‘bookish’ and ‘conversational’ with each other. Rather than merely nodding in agreement or staying silent altogether. More of my thoughts on this are contained on my visit to The Star Chamber Show : Episode 16. (archived & easy to listen too)

Carol Antoinette Peacock & Pepper
Carol Antoinette Peacock & Pepper in the author’s office. Peacock Family Album.

Previously, I showcased the adoptive story of Carol Antoinette Peacock whereupon her story entitled: Red Thread Sisters embarks on the journey of adopting children from China. This is one of many yet to appear on Jorie Loves A Story, as one of my sub-focuses on my blog will be positive adoptive stories for those who are considering foster adoptive options as well as international, open, and other avenues towards adopting children into their family home. I wanted to find authors who give a positive testament of the emotional keel a child or teen experiences prior to adoption as much as the transitional period after they are adopted. (if the story broaches both time periods) What I appreciated about Ms.  Peacock’s writings are her honesty in leading with her heart and her own adoptive story in which the Red Thread Sisters stems from at its core.

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There are two sayings throughout “Red Thread Sisters”, as well as in the personal letter attached in the afterword by the author herself,… one is a meditative pause of ‘light reflected as brightly lit as lunar lanterns’, and the second is the poignancy behind the entitlement of the book itself, ‘of the delicate red thread that unites all of us in a shared common bond, where those who cross our path are meant to be in our lives, and despite the appearance of the thread’s nature, will hold steadfast and strong perpetually’. The book gives pause to any woman considering motherhood through adoption and any father choosing his path of fatherhood through adoption, because it touches on the raw emotions that are silently withheld from the adoptive parents, by children who live in constant fear that something they do or say or not do even will be grounds for them to return back from whence they came. To become un-adoptable simply because they didn’t live up to the adoptive parents expectations. It’s also a book that examines adoption from the reflections of the children themselves, as they struggle to yield and bend with a new rhythm completely different from the one they were used too whilst at an orphanage, group home, or foster home. They have to learn its okay to make mistakes, to learn and grow through their experiences, and that a forever family isn’t co-dependent on perfection but rather with honesty, heart, emotion, and love. May we always keep ourselves lit from within with a light of hope as powerful and strong as lunar lanterns, to advocate for adoption and the expansion of our hearts and worlds when a child in need of a family, finds one in those of us willing to open our hearts and homes to them.

– quoted from my review of Red Thread Sisters

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One author where I found a strong sense of giving E Q U A L I T Y in L I T E R A T U R E a new definition of purpose is Laura Resau. Her blog is linked to my sidebar where the RSS feeds join the mixture towards the bottom. I have been making purchase requests for her books at my local library each chance that I can as well. The tricky bit is to remember which book of hers I read first: What the Moon Saw OR The Indigo Notebook!? I have taken it upon myself to read all of her novels, but I am still in the middle of accomplishing this goal! I have also read Star in the Forest.

Laura Resau
Photography Credit: Tina Wood Photography

Laura Resau is the award-winning author of seven highly acclaimed young adult and children’s novels– What the Moon Saw, Red Glass, Star in the Forest, The Queen of Water, and the Notebooks series (Delacorte/Random House). She draws inspiration from her time abroad as a cultural anthropologist, ESL teacher, and student. Loved by kids and adults alike, her novels have garnered many starred reviews and honors, including the IRA YA Fiction Award, the Américas Award, and spots on Oprah’s Kids’ Book Lists. Praised for its sensitive treatment of immigration and indigenous people’s issues, Resau’s writing has been called “vibrant, large-hearted” (Publishers’ Weekly on Red Glass) and “powerful, magical” (Booklist on What the Moon Saw). Resau lives with her husband, young son, and beagle in Fort Collins, Colorado. She donates a portion of her royalties to indigenous rights organizations in Latin America.

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The Indigo Notebook Book Trailer by the Author Laura Resau

The Indigo Notebook Page on Laura Resau’s site

[ after the 1:00 mark the song continues to be enjoyed by audience ]

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The Indigo Notebook by Laura ResauResau has the natural ability of fusing the indigenous culture of Mexico and Ecuador into her novels in such a wonderfully skilled way, that whilst I was reading The Indigo Notebook I instantly flashed back to my own memories of traversing through the interior of Mexico in and around the Federal District and the Yucatán Peninsula! One of these days I want to collect her books for my own personal library, but what I appreciated about my local library is being open to bring in authors who write multicultural stories for a young audience who could benefit from the life lessons and story contained within her pages! As I start to re-read over the books I have already read and progress forward into the ones I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading, I will be writing down my thoughts on my blog! I am always hopeful that through the sharing of my own lamentations about the writers and books which speak to me to the point of being moved emotionally, I will in one small way impact another reader’s life.

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E Q U A L I T Y in L I T E R A T U R E : A sampling of Books to Read

{ books I have predominately found through my local library }

UPDATE: per rifflebooks.com errors I’ve moved this list to my #LibraryThing
(as I will be reading these selections throughout [2019] part of my #BeatTheBacklist challenge)

E Q U A L I T Y in L I T E R A T U R E : New Authors on the Horizon

A full list of the book covers & stories is on Riffle: (share at will!)

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Equality in Literature & Diversity in Literature : walk hand in hand – July 2014

Reaching past our own heritages and our own living environments gives us a wider world view and depth of understanding. We become wholly in-tune with the harmony of the world’s spirit by embracing all the lovely and unique differences which shape our identities. We grow out of love and we give back love each time we endeavour to forge a bridge between our culture and the culture of someone else. We give our spirit a bit of a lift by the joy of celebrating the history of people who live as passionately as we do and whose traditions are as rooted in their culture and families as much as our own. Lessons of connectivity and of friendship will always abound when two souls are willing to make a connection.

One of the books I have oft spoken about online via my blog and my Twitter feeds is “The Golem and the Jinni” by Helene Wecker, which is an atmospheric enriched narrative which crosses the divide between mythology and immigration. She digs deep into the setting of her novel to shift between New York City and the old world in which the Golem and the Jinni originated from. She has a deft hand in revealing human emotions and convictions out of characters who are everything except human! What endeared me to the text is her gift of story-telling to not only enchant you with a magical kinetic plausibility but to give you a full score of characters who are each on their own individual journey towards self-discovery. It’s in this inherent quest to understand both origin and worth in a world set against the tides of where their destinies are taking them, Wecker infuses her narrative with a connection of heart.

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Each were set on a course to learn and grow out of their experiences in a place neither expected to be. They each succumb to their inherent natures, but I feel only one of them is able to change the other for the good. Because one of them is stronger than the other as far as knowing how to make good on what has been turned for the bad. Their journey leads not to a resolution of sorts to overcome their individual obstacles towards true freedom, but rather too a junction point that leads them to question everything they felt they knew thus far along. And, in that conclusion the reader has to sit back and ponder the true meaning behind “The Golem and the Jinni”, for was it a journey of theirs that you took or an inward journey of understanding the limitations of humanity?

– quoted from my review of “The Golem and the Jinni” by Helene Wecker

I am hopeful that more readers will seek out E Q U A L I T Y in L I T E R A T U R E by choosing titles by all authors of all backgrounds who celebrate our united spirit within the global society of nations and nationalities.

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Not enough multicultural books? via Color in Colorado

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Thank you for joining me on DAY 5 | A to Z Challenge!

I am a girl named Jorie who loves a story!
I am a bookish library girl on a quest for literary enlightenment!
I am predominately self-taught and library educated!
I am Mademoiselle Jorie!
Thank you for joining me on this journey!

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This marks my fifth post for the:

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Which authors do you feel reflect the beauty of E Q U A L I T Y in L I T E R A T U R E? Which authors who are newly published OR have books which will soon be forthcoming would you recommend to be added to the “on the horizon” category of this post!? Which books have captured your heart whilst enveloping you in another person’s shoes and culture?! How do you feel progress has been made to give ever writer a voice and each story the gift for expanding our horizons?

UPDATE: 1 May, 2014: In the weeks since this post was first published I have participated in #diverselit & #WeNeedDiverseBooks movements on Twitter. I also created the tag #EqualityInLit to reflect my personal view and feelings towards diversity and equality in literature. You will denote a new category indexed on Jorie Loves A Story E Q U A L I T Y in L I T E R A T U R Ewhich speaks to the heart of how this blog post inspired me to make my views a bit more well-known.

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{SOURCES: A to Z Challenge Participant & Letter C Badge provided by the A to Z Challenge site for bloggers to use on their individual posts & blogs to help promote the challenge to others.The photograph of Carol Antoinette Peacock was given to me by the author and used with permission. Laura Resau photograph, author biography & book cover for The Indigo Notebook used with permission by the author. The book trailer by Laura Resau had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portals to this post, and I thank them for this opportunity to share more about this novel and the author who penned it. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Post dividers provided by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Related Articles:

Diversity Solutions with Sherri L. Smith (author of “FlyGirl”) – (mayaprasad.com)

Why I Write About India – (mayaprasad.com)

Diversity in Kid’s Books – (nytimes.com)

Booklist 2014 (for multicultural literature) – (campbele.wordpress.com)

Exploring Diversity Through Children’s & Young Adult Books: Background Reading – (cynthialeitichsmith.com)

Embracing Diversity in YA Lit – (slj.com)

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Posted Saturday, 5 April, 2014 by jorielov in A to Z Challenge, Adoption, Book Cover Reveal, Book Trailer, Booking the Rails, Bookish Discussions, Bookish Whimsy, Brothers and Sisters, CFHS The Society, Children's Literature, Coming-Of Age, Conservation, Cultural Heritage, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut in United States, Debut Novel, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Equality In Literature, Family Life, Fantasy Fiction, Genre-bender, Guest Spot on Podcast, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, Interviews Related to Content of Novel, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Literary Fiction, Memoir, Meteorology, Nanowrimo 2008, Non-Fiction, Orphans & Guardians, Quaker Fiction, Readerly Musings, Septemb-Eyre, Siblings, Sociology, Southern Belle View Daily, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, The Dystopia Challenge, The Rocketeer, The Typosphere, Time Travel, Time Travel Adventure, Travel Narrative | Memoir, Vignettes of Real Life, Wicked Valentine's Readathon, Writes of Passage, Wuthering Heights, Young Adult Fiction