Category: Questioning Faith as a Teen

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

Posted Friday, 14 December, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish created by Jorie in Canva.

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In keeping with the change of name for my Romance & Women’s Fiction Twitter chat [@SatBookChat previously known as @ChocLitSaturday] – I am announcing a change of features here on Jorie Loves A Story. Since January, 2014 I carved out a niche of focus which I named #ChocLitSaturdays as I have felt the best time to read romantic and dramatic stories are the weekends. This spun into a Twitter chat featuring the authors of ChocLit whilst I supplied weekly topics which would appeal to readers, writers and book bloggers alike. We grew into our own Saturday tribe of chatters – then, somewhere round the time of my father’s stroke in late [2016] and the forthcoming year of [2017] I started to feel less inspired to host the chat.

I had new plans to re-invent the chat in its new incantation as @SatBookChat but I also wanted to re-invent the complimentary showcases on my blog which would reflect the diversity of stories, authors and publishers I would be featuring on the chat itself. As at the root and heart of #ChocLitSaturday the chat were the stories I was reading which complimented the conversations.

After a difficult year for [personal health & wellness] this 2018, I began anew this Autumn – selecting the stories to resume where I left off featuring the Romance & Women’s Fiction authors I am discovering to read whilst highlighting a story by the author I am chatting with during #SatBookChat. Every (forthcoming) Saturday will feature a different author who writes either Romance or Women’s Fiction – wherein I concluded the year of hosting @SatBook during October & November featuring special guest authors whose stories I have either read, were reading or had hoped to read in the future if their newer releases. Going forward, the reviews on Saturdays might inspire the topics in the forthcoming chats or they might be directly connected to the current guest author.

Our holiday break for the month of December will find us resuming #SatBookChat the week after New Year’s, 2019 where new guests and new stories will lay down the foundation of inspiring the topics, the conversations and the bookish recommendations towards promoting Romance & Women’s Fiction.

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Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquried about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. I am unsure how many books I’ll review for them as most are offered digitally rather than in print but this happily marks one of the blog tours where I could receive a print book for review purposes. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors.

I received a complimentary copy of “Starving Hearts” direct from the author Janine Mendenhall in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carol Award Finalist | Selah Award Finalist

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

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781938499845

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


Published by Heritage Beacon Fiction

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 290

Published by: Heritage Beacon Fiction

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

Formats Available: Ebook and Paperback

Triangular Trade Trilogy:

Starving Hearts by Janine MendenhallNever Past Hope by Janine Mendenhall

Converse via: #INSPYbooks, #INSPY, #HistRom

About Janine Mendenhall

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

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

Photo Credit: Photos by Cassie

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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

Blog Book Tour | “You’ve Got This” (How to Look UP when Life has you DOWN) compiled by Elise Hahl feat. Al Carraway and Hank Smith

Posted Monday, 14 November, 2016 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

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

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

Why I wanted to read this collection of inspiring stories:

I was invited to this blog tour by the author Elise Hahl of whom I was thankful who introduced me to this inspiring non-fiction collection of human interest stories and affirmations of positivity which can inspire teenagers to find courage and strength in their growing years. I find these kinds of collections cross-relatable and cross-applicable – as the wisdom and truth of what is being shared is timeless. When your growing up there are moments where you like to have self-reflection and self-motivating modes of inspiration to guide you on your path. You can have a wonderful support system within your family and/or community but there are times where it is best to withdraw internally and seek out the answers  you’re pursuing through your continuing journey where you lean on your faith most directly.

As I will be adopting out of foster care in the future – I am keenly interested in finding books I will one day be recommending to my children. Either for fiction or non-fiction interests and pursuits as the joy of reading and seeking solace in literature is one of the blessings I want to instill in my children. You can gain so much through books – it’s something that I look forward to sharing with them. Therefore, this is one of those motivational books I was keen to read and become acquainted with in case down the road it would become quite handy to have knowledge of whilst giving me the chance to share it with my child(ren).

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Blog Book Tour | “You’ve Got This” (How to Look UP when Life has you DOWN) compiled by Elise Hahl feat. Al Carraway and Hank SmithYou've Got This
Subtitle: How to Look UP when life has you DOWN
by Al Carraway, Elise Hahl, Hank Smith
Source: Direct from Publisher

Life is tough, but so are you! Learn how to work through life’s trials with advice from popular youth speakers, including Hank Smith and Al Carraway, who have endured a few challenges of their own. This encouraging book will help you see trials as essential stepping-stones to becoming who you’re destined to be.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781462119424

Also by this author: More than the Tattooed Mormon

Genres: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics


Published by CFI (imprint) Cedar Fort Inc

on 1st October, 2016

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 128

Published By: CFI (imprint) of Cedar Fort Inc (@CedarFortBooks),

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

Converse on Twitter via: #LDSFaith and #INSPY #nonfiction

About Al Carraway

Al Fox Carraway

Al Fox Carraway has spent the last four years inspiring the world with her story of conversion, redemption, and finding faith. As a blogger and award-winning public speaker, her message has reached millions. This up-close look at her life will show you what it means to truly trust in the Lord.

Photo Credit: Al Fox Carraway headshot by Beka Price Photography.

About Elise Hahl

Elise Hahl

After serving as a missionary to the Brazil Manaus mission, Elise Babbel Hahl completed her studies in English at Stanford University, married her mission pen pal, and went on to earn a master’s degree in writing from Johns Hopkins University. Her work has been published in Choosing Motherhood, Whereabouts: Stepping Out of Place, Education Next magazine, Do NOT Attempt in Heels, and recorded on “The World in Words” podcast. She lives with her husband and four children in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area.

About Hank Smith

Hank Smith

Hank Smith has been a full-time religious educator for the Church for 12 years, teaching seminary and in the Religion Department at BYU. Hank is a favorite speaker with Especially for Youth, BYU Education Week, and Time Out for Women. With his trademark sense of humor and his captivating stories and examples, Hank makes it fun to learn gospel principles and strengthen personal testimonies.

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The collection itself is portable – not only for the slimline publication but because it is broken into different sections by each of the contributing authors – each of whom have something unique to share about how their faith re-energised their hope and provided grace in their lives through their adversities. Each of them has a new perspective to offer and a life lesson to impart on the young reader who might be seeking advice but isn’t as sure about the kind of advice that needs to be sought. Sometimes you read inspiring stories just to let you mind wash over something positive even if the pursuit of the story isn’t readily known at the time. Read More

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Posted Monday, 14 November, 2016 by jorielov in Balance of Faith whilst Living, Biblical History, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Christianity, Historical Perspectives, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Inspired by Stories, Lessons from Scripture, Mormonism, Non-Fiction, Questioning Faith as a Teen, Religious History, Short Stories or Essays, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Vignettes of Real Life, World Religions

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