Category: Jorie Loves A Story

This #RomanceTuesdays feat. #HarlequinHeartwarming | “The Single Dad’s Holiday Match” (Book One of the Smoky Mountain First Responders: a mini-series set in Hollydale) by Tanya Agler

Posted Tuesday, 12 October, 2021 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

#RomanceTuesdays badge created by Jorie in Canva.

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 enquired about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. This is how I came to love discovering the Harlequin Heartwarming authors & series as much as it has been an honour to regularly request INSPY stories and authors. Whenever I host for Prism, I know I am in for an uplifting read and a journey into the stories which give me a lot of joy to find in my readerly queue of #nextreads. It is an honour to be a part of their team of book bloggers.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Single Dad’s Holiday Match” direct from the author Tanya Agler in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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*waves!* Hallo, Hallo dear hearts,

I wanted to preface my review this #RomanceTuesdays with an apology to the author (Ms Agler) about the lateness in which this review is arriving on my blog, Jorie Loves A Story. I was struck down last week with a beast of a migraine – which did blindside me as I have been quite blessed this year with a reduction in frequencies of my migraines as compared to past years (especially the 2018/19 seasons) however, in September, 2021 I had a clustering attack of migraines and this past week, I was unfortunately offline due to another migraine which just wrecked my hours with its presence. I get the kind of migraines where screens (ie. online spaces), lights and even text (ie. reading books) can affect me quite dearly. I hadn’t even realised I had missed my tour stop this past week as I was so consumed with my migraine, you could say it blighted it out of my memory. For that, I apologise.

Generally, I can get on top of things a bit faster or rebound back a bit quicker – as I had planned to read this lovely ahead of the weekend (on Friday and Saturday) whilst posting this on Saturday afternoon, however, my weekend didn’t quite get off the ground as I had planned it would and I apparently needed a bit of extra time to transition back into reading as well. As luck would have it – blessedly, the tour is running through Wednesday the 13th, which is why I scheduled this to run during my #RomanceTuesdays as a final hoorah for the tour itself and as a way of shining a happy light at the end of the tour on a series and author I’ve continued to enjoy reading and discovering!

As you know, I LOVE Heartwarming series and this one is a unique situation where you have a trilogy of stories interlinked into Hollydale and now, there is a lovely new mini-series attached to Hollydale which begins with this novel: The Single Dad’s Holiday Match

Now without further adieu,… let’s get back to the blog tour today!

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If you caught sight of my #BestBooksOf2020 you know “A Ranger for the Twins” was a winner of my Cuppa Book Love Awards – which you can read about HERE!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comOn where I last left my adventures in Hollydale:

Happily read through my Harlequin Heartwarming archives!

As Agler had written one of my favourite Romance novels from 2020 – I was truly delighted to be caught inside this novel for 2021! She was touching on all the elements I love in a Contemporary Romance – a small towne setting, two bull-headed adults who want the best for someone but might not know how to communicate with each other towards that end and of course, at the heart of it all – a slow brewing romance which is about to upset the plans for the lead characters! I loved the quirkiness of how the story began – from the perspective of how Aidan’s first impression of Natalie was the wrong one because he was reading more into her words than what were there to be heard. Whereas with Natalie she’s on the defensive due to how much it aches her to even consider a life and world without Danny; the young boy she was given guardianship over since his Mum died.

The part of the opening chapters which held my eye the most was when Agler had her heroine of this story overhear what defines family from her Mum to the child she shares guardianship with an Uncle stationed overseas. There is deep rooted tragedy in the origins of this story but at the bedrock of the characters’ lives is a wealth of hope and a light of promise filtering through their lives, too. I loved how Agler focused on where they were in their lives a few months after the tragedy as it showed how much Natalie wants things to change for Danny and how much she aches to learn if she is able to stay in his life once his Uncle Aidan returns home from overseas. It is one of those uniquely non-conventional families which I was loving to see develop as it isn’t oft non-conventional families are showcased in Contemporary Romance. Blessedly I’ve noticed an uptick of inclusion within the Harlequin Heartwarming line of romances and I was thankful to read this one by Agler after having felt charmed by A Ranger for the Twins.

If I hadn’t watched the entire series of Army Wives over the last year, I might not have picked up on the subtle reasons why Aidan was being such a difficult person to deal with as he realised his chances of taking Danny out of state were dwindling now that he knew how hard Natalie would fight for custody. The irony of course is his misunderstanding about her remarks when they first met and that reminded me a lot of Frank from Army Wives – as he tended to see things more literally rather than figuratively – which caused a lot of grief in his marriage. However, back to the story at hand – what was interesting to me were the layers Agler was building to the drama behind the premise of the novel.

I loved how she didn’t waste time getting Aidan and Natalie in front of a lawyer and how quickly she wanted to make the case for both Aidan and Natalie to show why they equally had a motive in wanting to keep custody of Danny. It was an interesting premise from the jump start as this is a case involving co-guardianship of a young boy whom both guardians are not the biological custodial parent but rather, Aidan is the boy’s biological Uncle (though the mother was his half sibling) and Natalie was the mother’s best friend. This is one of those more complicated adoption cases where a person’s will and final intentions before death are being brought to life and court.

Agler has a way of knitting you into the heart of their lives – digging deep and expounding on the emotional side of trying to resolve a custody battle between two guardians who aren’t the best at communicating with each other nor understanding where the others is coming from in regards to why their each fighting so hard towards the same end goal. I was definitely hooked quite immediately after Aidan showed up in the park and throughout the passages in the book where he’s trying to assert himself as the predominant reason why the court should lean in his favour but he has a few misguided reasons behind that train of logic which I was looking forward to seeing Agler explore in more detail. Especially about his concept about how love is co-dependent on biology and how custody should only concern those with biological connections.

What I loved most is the ways in which Agler took us on this journey with her characters – to show how life doesn’t have to be deadlocked into one singular plan nor be scheduled within an inch of insanity for missing out on the smaller moments which give life fuller meaning. Agler has a gift for curating a natural rhythm of pacing within a slow burning romance wherein you feel for the characters and for the adversities their facing because of how authentically true their lives have been told by Agler. I definitely will be seeking out more stories from her in future but I also want to get a copy of the first novel The Sheriff’s Second Chance and re-read this trilogy start to finish!

-quoted from my review for The Soldier’s Unexpected Family

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If you love reading Harlequin Heartwarming & the reviews I am sharing
kindly let me know if we’re reading the same authors and/or if you think I need to add someone to my TBR to be read as soon as I can get my hands on their books!!

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Where my journey into Hollydale began:

The Sheriff's Second Chance by Tanya AglerA Ranger for the Twins by Tanya AglerThe Soldier's Unexpected Family by Tanya Agler

The Hollydale series:

The Sheriff’s Second Chance (book one) – Mike and Georgie’s story *need to acquire a copy!

A Ranger for the Twins (book two) – Caleb and Lucie’s story (see also Review)

The Soldier’s Unexpected Family (book three) Aidan and Natalie’s story (see also Review)

*Please note: I noticed there is a connection with all of these stories being set inside the small towne of Hollydale and have chosen to collect them into a ‘series’ as they are a series by setting – however, I am not sure if they have been officially named as either a collection and/or a series or continuity with Harlequin Heartwarming as there isn’t a series name on the books nor on their informational pages online. I collected them together for my own frame of reference and for other readers and visitors to my blog Jorie Loves A Story who likes to read series in order and/or meet stories in order of how they were first disclosed.

Finally sorted: This was a trilogy and the series is officially called: Heroines of Hollydale!!

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Where my journey into Hollydale continues:

the Smoky Mountain First Responders mini-series:

The Single Dad's Holiday Match by Tanya Agler

The Single Dad's Holiday Match
Subtitle: Smoky Mountain First Responders
by Tanya Agler
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

'Tis the season…
For unexpected love!

Officer Jonathan Maxwell is just as devoted to his job as he is to his two young daughters, leaving zero time for a social life. Until he meets Brooke Novak. The newly hired community center director is a single parent, too, and also part of his latest investigation. Jonathan needs Brooke’s help if he's going to close his case by Thanksgiving…but she might be the biggest distraction from keeping his mind on his job.

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



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335426437

Also by this author: A Ranger for the Twins, The Soldier's Unexpected Family

Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 28th September, 2021

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

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The Single Dad’s Holiday Match (book one) – Jonathan and Brooke’s story

The Paramedic’s Forever Family (book two) – *forthcoming in 2022!

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Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin Books

Formats Available: Paperback* and Ebook

*Harlequin has the luxury of offering Regular, Large & Larger Print editions which I personally can attest are lovely to be reading! Especially after a migraine or when my eyes are fatigued.

Converse via: #TanyaAgler and #HarlequinHeartwarming

About Tanya Agler

Tanya Agler

An award-winning author,Tanya Agler moved often during her childhood and settled in Georgia where she writes sweet contemporary romance novels, which feature small towns, family and pets, and themes of second chances and hope.

Her debut, The Sheriff’s Second Chance, is a January of 2020 Harlequin Heartwarming release. The sequel, A Ranger for the Twins, will be released in Oct. 2020. A graduate of the University of Georgia with degrees in journalism and law, she lives with her wonderful husband, their four children, and a lovable Basset, who really rules the roost. Represented by Dawn Dowdle and the Blue Ridge Literary Agency, she’s currently at work on the sequels to her debut. When she’s not writing, Tanya loves classic movies, walking, and a good cup of tea.

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Posted Tuesday, 12 October, 2021 by jorielov in #RomanceTuesdays, 21st Century, Adoption, Blog Tour Host, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, Contemporary Romance, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Life Shift, Mental Health, Military Fiction, Modern Day, Mother-Son Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, North Carolina, Orphans & Guardians, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Single Fathers, Single Mothers, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Social Services

#WWWednesday No. XIII | #Mythothon Reading List for Round V – a wicked lovely readathon hosted by Louise @foxesfairytale

Posted Wednesday, 8 September, 2021 by jorielov 2 Comments

#WWWednesdays graphic created by Jorie in Canva.

I ♥ the premise of this meme {WWW Wednesdays} due to the dexterity it gives the reader! Smiles. Clearly subject to change on a weekly rotation, which may or may not lead to your ‘next’ read providing a bit of a paradoxical mystery to your readers!! Smiles. ♥ the brilliance of it’s concept!

This weekly meme was originally hosted by Should Be Reading who became A Daily Rhythm. Lovingly restored and continued by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. Each week you participate, your keen to answer the following questions:

  • What are you currently reading!?
  • What did you recently finish reading!?
  • What do you think you’ll read next!?

After which, your meant to click over to THIS WEEK’s WWWWednesday to share your post’s link so that the rest of the bloggers who are participating can check out your lovely answers! Score! Perhaps even, find other bloggers who dig the same books as you do! I thought it would serve as a great self-check to know where I am and the progress I am hoping to have over the next week!

Join the Convo via: #WWWWednesday

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Guess who hasn’t revisited THE ODYSSEY since seventh grade!?

Any guesses!? Anyone!? Laughs.

Wait to you find out what changed my mind about a book I refused to ever re-read!

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#Mythothon banner created by Jorie in Canva.

During Round One in [2018], I had the joy of discovering this lovely & beautiful readathon #Mythothon hosted by a bookish mate of mine, Louise @ Foxes Fairy Tale – wherein she encouraged all of us to seek out re-inspired tales straight out of Greek Mythology and to take ourselves visually to a hidden sub-niche of Speculative Fiction – across genres and stories of interest, as there are many Gods & Goddess within Greek Mythos to be explored. You can re-visit the Reading List I composed for #Mythothon Year One – whilst you might want to re-visit the reading list I compiled for the second year.

Remember why I wanted to dig into #Mythothon originally in [2018]?

In truth, I’ve been toying with the idea of adding Classical Mythos & Mythos retellings to my Classics Club List – as much as the fact, there are rare moments where I have ventured into Mythos whilst reading as a book blogger. Some were misses for me – one rather became an #epicfail of EPIC proportions whilst the other one let me down for the potential I saw inside it.

And, now I shall reveal – what motivated me to revisit a book I had such a strong aversion towards reading. It was all due to the extra offerings & free audiobooks via Audible which swayed the scales in favour of re-visiting THE ODYSSEY this September for me! You see, there was an adverted new release wherein *Claire Danes* narrated a new adaptation of the Classic text and story; it took on a more direct impression of the story itself *and!* took out a lot of what I never liked about it, too! In fact, this particular version of the story felt more authentic to me even before the interview vlogs with Ms Danes mentioned the same observation!

THE ODYSSEY originally entered my life as a 7th Grader whose English Lit teacher was so enthused by the original story and the original translations of it, he couldn’t understand why ANY of us could not get just as excited as he was  about it and for the same reasons. I tried to explain it to him, about what turnt me off the text, what wasn’t working for me as a reader and why the whole project of going into Greek Mythology at that junction in my life just wasn’t the right time to pursue it. Somehow I made it through that class with a passing grade but I was at odds with him the entire year and it was exhausting. Sadly, I was the only one in my class who refuted his lesson plans and tried to get us to change course.

I knew then it would be a very hard sell for me to find my way back into reading or listening to any variant of THE ODYSSEY as he just spoilt any chance of me liking it at all. Blessedly, all these years forward now into my fourth decade, I do not remember the specifics of what I disliked and can re-attach myself back into this story with fresh eyes and a fresh perspective. However, I do believe it has a lot to do with Claire Danes and the new translator of the piece itself. Sometimes you can get a bad vibe off a book without delving too far afield into it and that’s okay. Not every book is going to be a huggable book and its okay to admit sometimes the best loved books are just not the ones for us personally. In this regard, I’m hoping I can overcome that 7th Grade reaction and find both peace and resolution in re-discovering this version of THE ODYSSEY.

And, for that – I am in full gratitude to Lou. As without #Mythothon, I might never had even chanced listening to those vlog interviews by Danes or considered purchasing a copy of the audiobook. Lou planted the seed of interest and allowed me to gain such a fierce curiosity about Mythology that I must admit, its been one heck of a journey these past few years!

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Now without further delay,
let’s dig into what #JorieReads during the fifth cycle of #Mythothon!

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #Mythothon 2021
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Posted Wednesday, 8 September, 2021 by jorielov in #Mythothon, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Bookish Memes, JLAS Update Post, Jorie Loves A Story, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, WWW Wednesdays

#TheSundayPost X | After August, a renewed appreciation for Austen and the return of #Mythothon in my life!

Posted Sunday, 5 September, 2021 by jorielov 6 Comments

#TheSundayPost banner created by Jorie in Canva.

[Official Blurb] The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog. This is your news post, so personalize it! Include as much as you want or as little. Be creative, it can be a vlog or just a showcase of your goodies. Link up once a week or once a month, you decide. Book haul can include library books, yard sale finds, arcs and bought books..share them!

  • Enter your link on the post-
  • Sundays beginning at 12:01 am (CST) (link will be open all week)
  • Link back to this post or this blog
  • Visit others who have linked up
  • Read this week’s #TheSundayPost!

A note about the format I am using to journal #TheSundayPost:

I am finding I like being able to give my readers who cannot visit my blog each time a new post, review or guest feature goes live a digest journal of what is happening on #JLASblog each week! If you are familiar with the style in which I journal my readerly adventures via #WWWednesdays (see also Archive) you’ll know why I like this journalled style for #TheSundayPost!

It’s a way of talking about what is bookishly on my mind whilst sharing where my travels in Fiction & Non-Fiction took me through the last seven days! Quite stellar – so very thankful I was encouraged to participate as I love being able to think about which stories settled into my heart and which of the stories I am most eager to see arrive by postal mail and/or via audiobook! It’s a bit of a lovely way to journal your bookish life and have a weekly reminder of the experiences of you’ve gathered and love to remember!

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I’ve had the honour of writing my 2nd Austen in August Guest Post,…

Once in [2017], I tackled my journey discovering Jane Austen,

whilst four years later, I’ve written about my renewing interest

and appreciation in seeking Austen on Audio!

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AUGUST. It was meant to be the first month wherein I could finally announce my goals for #MyYASummer for 2021 and begin a bit of a hand-selected journey back into reading stories about and centred round Jane Austen’s canon. I have long held a fierce appreciation for her stories – both in the original manner in which they were written and in the visions of those who have stepped forward after her own life to re-tell and re-spin her characters’ lives in such a way which both pays homage to Austen and renews our appreciation for the Regency overall.

On that note, I’ve had a passionate eye on reading Regency & Victorian stories since I first picked up my first Romance story at the age of nine – it wasn’t a full length novel but rather two anthological collections of Christmas Romances: one set in the Regency, one set in the Victorian era. From those early readings, I was definitely on a path towards embracing Austen as well as Historical Romances which tucked me back into both eras of interest. In the ensuing years of being a book blogger I’ve come to love reading about the Edwardian era as well which is a new timescape of interest which blessedly goes hand-in-hand with stories set from the early 1900s into the late 1940s. I consider that the capstone years in my readerly life as its a nice block of time to journey into through Historical Fiction and/or through Historical Romance.

When it comes to Austen directly, as you will see in my guest post this year – I’ve entertained a few different variants of interest now as a Janeite which I might have previously avoided. For instance, to put Austen’s world into a fantastical setting might have felt a bit too far forward for me earlier in my adventure seeking out her collective works and after canons. These days? It seems quite fittingly brilliant and having seen how two different authors are approaching it, I am thankful to see two different lens into the same entreaty of blending Austen and Fantasy (with dragons!) together. The latter of which is a new release this year and one I am hopeful to pick up before @SatBookChat in November, 2021.

However, I’m getting a bit far afield,… before I resume chattering about what I was able to do during the #AustenInAugustRBR event, I wanted to go back over what I was able to do as a book blogger this August, which sadly, was a bit less than I expected to accomplish overall. It was definitely the footnote on Summer being one of the worst of the last eight years and a bit of a disappearing block of hours which led to little reading and less blogging.

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And, now, how I fared in August:

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August Blog Calendar banner created by Jorie in Canva.

BOOK REVIEWS:

  • The Twin Stars by Bridgette Dutta Portman (see also Review) *my first #MyYASummer read!
  • The Texas SEAL’s Surprise by Cari Lynn Webb (see also Review)

The Twin Stars by Bridgette D. PortmanThe Texas SEAL's Surprise by Cari Lynn Webb

If someone were to tell me how lean of a readerly month I’d have in August, coming off of June and July, I would have felt it would be quite impossible to continue through Summer without the ability to read and blog my bookish life to the same level I’m used to sharing. However, August on a whole was quite a hard month both personally and professionally; whilst it also brought its own share of strife and adverse circumstances to work through. To be honest? I’m wicked grateful the month is OVER and September has now begun! It is best to walk forward than to stay waddling through the quagmire of chaos, eh? I’m also grateful a lot of the stressful bits were worked through and with a new month, comes new possibilities of where perhaps Autumn might become a kinder season than Summer which truly sought to take my ever last nerve.

Therefore, to walk out of a month like August and have two lovely reads behind me – felt like an accomplishment of its own! The first, was meant to launch my showcases and featured stories for a little event I’ve created called #MyYASummer, which this year was meant to be co-hosted by Peyton @ Word Wilderness. I’m not sure if either of us succeeded this Summer. Though I still am hopeful to read at least 4x of the books on my list for #MyYASummer this September before folding the rest into 2022’s event.

When I first found out about The Twin Stars, I was truly overly curious how the author would handle the narrative – from the presumption this world was set a bit like the world inside The Neverending Story wherein the lead character is reading and/or creating the world in which they will one day experience was quite the clever twist on a Fantasy novel. Once I entreated inside this world, I had quite strong reactions to both the world itself and the characters within it. The ending and the last 25% of the novel were the hardest for me to read through – mostly as I hadn’t quite agreed with the direction of the story and series at that junction nor did I feel one of the characters had had a justified conclusion to that part of their own storyline. It was immensely hard to reconcile and I left the book a bit on the fence about how I felt overall because of how hard the end of it was for me. It became a very emotional read in other words and although there are very strong reasons why I loved it, there are a few reasons why I’m worried about the sequel.

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Posted Sunday, 5 September, 2021 by jorielov in #Unboxing BookMail, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Birthdays & Blogoversaries, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Bookish Memes, JLAS Update Post, Jorie Loves A Story, Photography of Jorie, Spontaneous Musings, Stories of Jorie, The Sunday Post

#TheSundayPost IX | The first two quarters of 2021 : a #bookblogger retrospective! Plus, the return of #AustenInAugustRBR!

Posted Sunday, 8 August, 2021 by jorielov 4 Comments

#TheSundayPost banner created by Jorie in Canva.

[Official Blurb] The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog. This is your news post, so personalize it! Include as much as you want or as little. Be creative, it can be a vlog or just a showcase of your goodies. Link up once a week or once a month, you decide. Book haul can include library books, yard sale finds, arcs and bought books..share them!

  • Enter your link on the post-
  • Sundays beginning at 12:01 am (CST) (link will be open all week)
  • Link back to this post or this blog
  • Visit others who have linked up
  • Read this week’s #TheSundayPost!

A note about the format I am using to journal #TheSundayPost:

I am finding I like being able to give my readers who cannot visit my blog each time a new post, review or guest feature goes live a digest journal of what is happening on #JLASblog each week! If you are familiar with the style in which I journal my readerly adventures via #WWWednesdays (see also Archive) you’ll know why I like this journalled style for #TheSundayPost!

It’s a way of talking about what is bookishly on my mind whilst sharing where my travels in Fiction & Non-Fiction took me through the last seven days! Quite stellar – so very thankful I was encouraged to participate as I love being able to think about which stories settled into my heart and which of the stories I am most eager to see arrive by postal mail and/or via audiobook! It’s a bit of a lovely way to journal your bookish life and have a weekly reminder of the experiences of you’ve gathered and love to remember!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The first quarter of 2021 has been a rollercoaster of angst & fatigue,…

IF I were to be completely HONEST.

Loads of LIFE shifts & transitions.

A HEAP of health afflictions.

And a sombering END to WINTER and a predicted return of MIGRAINE(S).

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JANUARIES… some years, like 2020 + 2021, January is a difficult transitional month for me as a reader. I find myself vacillating between wanting to read + blog with feeling a bit indifferent about it all – either due to the international crises of 2020 (ie. wildfires of Australia first & foremost, the earthquake of Puerto Rico second & a few other things as well) OR the personal woes of 2021 wherein our holiday season was spliced into a new variant of the holidays due to Mum’s insane work schedule of Christmas & New Year’s – which frankly left all of us more stressed than JOLLY. Both Januaries were hard-won months for reading – yet, despite the upheavals of 2020, I was in a better position to read + blog than I was in 2021.

Ironic or not? I felt like 2020 was a year I happily survived and came out of a lot of personal crises and emergencies (ie. my parents rotated in and out of the ER more times than I care to remember) with the added worries over low yield supplies of necessities (ie. #toiletpaper you all!) which prompted rising as early as roosters to secure a PACK of toilet paper (oy!) by mid-March; and yet, overall, my 2020 wasn’t affected by the pandemic. If anything, as Mum was an essential worker throughout the year, our lives progressed forward in and round the new guidelines but overall? It was just another adversely challenging year but not one without its own rays of sunshine and joy.

This year? JANUARY just felt oppressively exhausting and I think that’s partially why I’ve been stumbling a bit this first quarter of the New Year with my readings. I have always tended to hug close to deadlines – sometimes even smashing straight into them (if I were to be truly transparent!) but eh. This year? I admit, I’ve lost my readerly inclinations more than 10x due to ‘life behind the blog’ and health afflictions which have set my heart and mind elsewhere than this blogosphere space I love to engage with the bookish community. Ergo, my post stats for JANUARY are decidedly at my lowest over a stretch of eight years!! *le sigh* Though nothing prepared me for the lightning storms of Summer wherein July truly tested my own patience as I only could share 3x posts!

Whilst at the same time, I returnt to work full-time in February which proved to be challenging in of itself and a new work/life balance ensued. I admit, I didn’t quite balance work and downtime very well in those last fleeting months of Winter nor has the weather & climatic patterns of Summer allowed me to pick up the renewing energy I felt during #WyrdAndWonder (in May) — but I’ve never been a person to throw in the towel when things get difficult! I just find a way to persevere even if a way forward isn’t always optional or within sight of a bout of adverse circumstances. One thing I can say, despite all the ups/downs I’ve experienced within this first quarter of the year, I still found INCREDIBLE storytellers, memorable characters and stories which LIFTED MY HEART in times where I needed a lovely distraction from the chaos of my life. Plus, of course I was quite exhausted and fatigued whilst working double shifts (which I continue to do) which was an adjustment of its own during the first quarter of the year as well.

Also it should be noted: despite what seemed to be a return to normal with my migraines by mid-Summer, I had reflected on the fact that my migraines have truly taken an absence in my life in comparison to last year and especially the more difficult years of 2018/19 where I felt their wrath the most. For that bit of relief, I have been truly blessed and I am hopeful it is my new ‘normal’ where I am not blighted and burdened with migraines to the extent I used to be every season.

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Before moving FORWARD – one must LOOK BACK:

cue the monthly calendar cards I created for my blog!

: all of which are customised & personalised :

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January Blog Calendar banner created by Jorie in Canva.

BOOK REVIEWS:

There is a clear winner from this grouping of stories – aside from my rapt enjoyment of discovering the cosiness of McGovern’s Cosy Mysteries (which I’ll address in a moment) there was another author who truly charmed me by her fantastical storytelling and of whom, I intend to re-read this #WyrdAndWonder year and perhaps offer a few more insights into why FLY FREE truly stole my heart in January!! However, until that moment arrives, I can definitely offer a snippet of insight into why this novel affected me so much as a reader and why I hope it might entice you to pick up a copy yourself to see the beauty of what Ms Rose gave us all to read!

Fly Free blog tour banner provided by Storytellers on Tour and is used with permission.

I positively love character centric stories and within the opening chapters of Allison Rose’s Fly Free we are treated to a beautiful overlay of seeing the fey and understanding where we are entering their lives in regards to the issues they are currently facing with an illness sweeping through their ranks. The ways in which Rose identified her fey and how their markings told a bit about them as an individual was wickedly classic as it opened the door into the fey by showcasing how individualistic they are and how they each respond differently to moments of crisis and drama.

Rose entreats us to explore this world of the fey of the Day Court through a growing discourse of unease as this particular group of fey are succumbing to a disease and an affliction which could overtake their race. Rose doesn’t wait long to showcase how far reaching the effects are of this condition either – as the fey are connected to the earth and the earth to the fey – proving the symbiotic connection they equally share is also part of their destruction. The fey have to feel the lifeblood of the earth in order to survive and by all accounts thrive – yet when this is placed in jeopardy it puts their lives in a vice against time.

Similar to the reasons why I loved reading To Court A QueenFly Free is an eclipse of life behind the veil of where the fey live and how they find balance out of their court of rule. You get to see glimpses of how they set themselves to high standards, how they suffer no fools and to deceive when your a fey is a straight ticket into the kind of trouble no one would broker for themselves. And yet, this is exactly what Rose is exploring as both Jae and Sevelle are putting themselves on the frontlines of where danger and deception co-mingle together.

-quoted from my review of Fly Free

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Posted Sunday, 8 August, 2021 by jorielov in #Unboxing BookMail, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Birthdays & Blogoversaries, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Bookish Memes, JLAS Update Post, Jorie Loves A Story, Photography of Jorie, Spontaneous Musings, Stories of Jorie, The Sunday Post