Category: Jorie Loves A Story

An early #blogmas Book Spotlight and Extract | Featuring Notes by Jorie on behalf of “This Christmas” by Laurie Winter

Posted Wednesday, 21 October, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

October is a bit early for spotlighting #ChristmasReads, I will admit – however, some years the stories which you want to be reading at Christmas have a way of touring ahead of November & December! I read the premise of this Contemporary Romantic Suspense and knew I was going to be featuring it as a pre-#blogmas surprise for my readers!

Every year for the past several years I’ve been keen on finding new voices in Fiction who are writing compelling and/or uplifting stories for Christmas! I have enjoyed the diversity of stories I am finding each year and which genres capture my eye as each Autumn I find myself captured by a different group of genres which set the tone for what I am intrigued to seek out each Winter. The stories I feature on Jorie Loves A Story are future reads of mine – each of them tucking into a part of what I love about #blogmas and the celebration of a the changing season of the final hours of the year.

I have loved reading Christmas Romances ever since I was quite young and it was through Victorian & Regency Christmas Romances I first caught the romantic novel bug and became a lifelong reader of Romances! Being able to host my own Twitter chat which regularly celebrates Romance & Women’s Fiction as well as all genres featuring strong women and/or Feminist Fiction is quite heartwarming to me as a host. When it comes to Romantic Suspense novels – the ones I love have a wicked cunning plot with realistic characters you can feel as if you can rally behind soon after you’ve met them. I tend to gravitate towards Contemporaries lately for Rom Suspense but the best bit of course is the resolution at the end! Where you can let out that breath you’ve held inside you waiting to see how it would all resolve! At least, I do!

As a precursor to my #blogmas showcases this year, I am thankful I could join the blog tour for “This Christmas” and help celebrate discovering it as it appears to be a self-published novel and I *love!* supporting authors who are taking the Self Pub route for their careers! Here’s to rockin’ our readerly lives as Autumn shifts into Winter and as the Christmastide starts to arrive in our lives. Despite the bumps and heartaches of the year there are quiet moments of peace and solitude which give us a peaceful respite in order to enjoy the holiday seasons which are now readily upon us now that Halloween is less than thirteen days away! Imagine!?

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An early #blogmas Book Spotlight and Extract | Featuring Notes by Jorie on behalf of “This Christmas” by Laurie WinterThis Christmas
Subtitle: The North Star series
by Laurie Winter
Source: Chapter Sampler

'A beautiful story of loss and new love, set in a snow-capped mountain ski resort town.'

Celia Batista waited a long time for all three of her sons to be together for Christmas. But after one of her identical twins disappears without a trace, Celia must rely on Police Captain Luke Veldkamp for help. Despite Luke’s accusations that her other twin son is involved with organized crime, she falls for the handsome, Stetson wearing cop.

Luke Veldkamp is facing his first Christmas after the loss of his wife, working nonstop to avoid the holidays and his grief. His daughter, who’d moved home to care for her mom before her passing, pushes him to face his pain. Luke pushes back, telling her to return to college and regain her own life. If his own strife isn’t enough, the mission to locate the missing son of his beautiful neighbor grows more personal than any other case.

While Luke and Celia fight to keep their families from falling apart, they find comfort and strength in one another. And when love blooms between their children, Luke and Celia’s own relationship takes root and grows. But Celia is used to living on her own terms, and loving a man who has isolated his heart is a risk too great. Now, Luke must either confront his emotions or face a life without the woman he’s come to love.

Genres: Christmas Story &/or Christmas Romance, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1735743813

Published by Self Published

on 21st September, 2020

Format: Chapter Sampler | Online

This is a Self-Published novel

Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance or Contemporary #Romance
as well as #RomSusp or #RomanticSuspense and #ChristmasReads

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Posted Wednesday, 21 October, 2020 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book | Novel Extract, Book Spotlight, Christmas Romance &/or Holiday Story, Contemporary Romance, Indie Author, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense

A #SpooktasticReads Book Review | “Ghastly and Good” (Merry Hanukkah series, Halloween short) by Debby Caruso

Posted Monday, 19 October, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#SpooktasticReads Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

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Acquired Book By: In 2018, I was approached by the author to read the first story in her Merry Hanukkah series – whilst in 2019, I had the delightful joy of having her as a featured guest during my @SatBookChat! In June, 2020 I was able to read the sequel to ‘Merry Hanukkah’ which was ‘Happy Everything’. Wickedly ahead of sorting out which spooky reads I wanted to be reading this #SpooktasticReads, I was contacted by the author about this lovely Halloween short story she had written into the series. I was quite chuffed I could receive a print copy and thus, this delightful short became the story which kicked off my readathon of #SpooktasticReads! (a mini-event for @WyrdAndWonder)

I received a complimentary copy of “Ghastly and Good” direct from the author Debby Caruso in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On why I love #SpooktasticReads:

Quite humbly, I attempted to host #SpooktasticReads as a book blogger years ago – however, the better incantation of the event I envisioned wasn’t fully realised until I pitched the idea as a mini-event attached to Wyrd And Wonder to Lisa and Imyril. As we co-founded @WyrdAndWonder together as a celebration of Fantasy. #SpooktasticReads picks up where Wyrd and Wonder leaves off – wherein, each Autumn we get hankerings to be reading a spookier side of Fantasy and/or any story which allows us to get our spook on – in whichever capacity which inspires us to read.

Some of us like the cosier side of Horror (ie. my own personal declaration of reading #CosyHorror notwithstanding!) whilst others like to seek out ghost stories, Urban Fantasy, Gothic Lit or Gothic Romance or any route betwixt and between which seeks to give us a slight chill to our readerly lives this October. For me personally, I love reading selections which run the full gambit of choices – from stories of Suspense & Thrillers which give me a chilling read through a Mystery I cannot predict how it will end to an epic Ghost Story which might leave me rattling my funnybone or contemplating the layers of how authors write such believable ghost stories within a witchy setting! I love stories involving witches and ghouls as much as I appreciate a delightful Urban Fantasy.

Ergo, to get myself into the festive mood of the next 13 days where you will find me on a bit of a binge of all the spooktacular reads I have on hand to be read – I decided to dial it back a bit and selected a story I hadn’t even realised was available to read this #SpooktasticReads as it was a surprise from the author! I love light Halloweeny tales as much as the grip your heart ones and this one is right in the middle of a series I have loved reading since the first novel released.

I felt this lighter read was the best way to start my readathon and find the festive spirit within the story itself! I can’t wait to see what everyone else is reading and I can’t wait to dive into stories and audiobooks in the thirteen days leading into Halloween!

Let’s get our SPOOK ON, shall we!?Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

On what I enjoyed about “Happy Everything”:

Caruso also spends a wonderful amount of time tucking you closer into Rhonda’s marriage – how she feels as distant as her husband does to the celebratory coupling moments they loved sharing – wherein once life starts to pick up its pacing after you’ve dated and married, those more intimate and special moments can feel as if they’ve gone by the wayside. You can feel how much he misses their romance – the little nuanced moments they used to share vs how rushed they feel now going to family meetings and doing what they might consider out of duty for friends and family alike. In essence, reality has truly hit and hit hard as these two try to navigate their ‘new world’ as a married couple who barely have enough time to spend on each other. It drives home the realism once the afterglow of the honeymoon stage waxes off and the truer moments of marriage are observed with a humbled honesty only Caruso can tell.

One new character I liked as much as Rhonda was Diana – she seemed like the kind of person who could consistently surprise people for how much she understands about this dynamic family and how to show a different side to a person even Rhonda felt she knew everything about. It just shows you that sometimes you can have the complete wrong impression about someone until a new person shows up and starts to show you a new side of their personality which had remain hidden until now! Diana is a charming character who has a tough-as-nails job to do but one that is truly important in a world where not everyone cares about their companions in fur, feather or scales.

If I could have transported myself into Mimosa alongside Rhonda, her and I would have spilt a second salted caramel brownie!! Sometimes you just have to go with what soothes your soul and in that moment, where Rhonda knew the best response was to show kindness and grace, the better part of her mind knew that if she didn’t comfort herself with some much needed chocolate, she might have spoken out of turn which would have done nothing to savage the lunch. It was the kind of scene you’d find yourself living inside but without the right set of reactions – I agreed with Rhonda about how her father blindsided her with news and the kind of news that he seemed to have taken in stride – expecting her to do the same and let nothing be said about it either. I felt that was a bit over the top as how could Rhonda not have a reaction? She played her cards well!

Caruso allows Rhonda to show the portions of herself and her emotional internal life that might not always be disclosed in other stories. The ways in which she lets the reader see Rhonda’s heightened emotional states and reactions to different life moments in the heat of Rhonda being unable to sort through them properly and chooses to explode instead. Seeing how she becomes vocal and then remorseful – how she uses exercise to find a centre of calm and how like for most of us in those instances, nothing truly changes immediately after an experience like that but we each know of a route to find our balance and re-centre ourselves to continue moving forward. I liked how Caruso showed this area of Rhonda’s life and how emotionally Rhonda was at her tipping point.

Through everything Rhonda and Dez rise to the occasion. Their lives are chaotic and sometimes they have family members who drive their very last nerve out of their bones but overall, they share a sisterhood friendship with has such a strong bond that nothing can shatter it. Not even all the little fires which creep up in our lives which seek to cut us down to the quick. I love how Caruso shows through faith, family and friendship you can tackle anything which crosses your path in life but without the addition of humour, coffee and some wicked sweet Italian foods – you might not get through it quite as well as those who do!

I love this series – I am hoping for a third if not fourth installment – as I can’t leave this family where we last find them. Plus, I was so overjoyed I could handle the journey through Cancer with Aunt Bunny as that is one of my issues with most Contemporaries which feature the illness; either the details or the descriptions weigh heavy on my heart. Caruso thankfully focused on other bits of her journey and mostly focused on the recovery and bolstering of having loved ones have your back when a medical crisis arises. Best of all though is the comfortable pace and the realistic marriage you get to tuck inside between Rhonda and James. Theirs is a marriage which is equally strong to Kay Hunter and Adam (from the Kay Hunter series by Rachael Amphlett). You truly will find yourself snorting into laughter, getting emotional about the tides which keep turning and eager to get to the conclusion to find out if Rhonda can breathe a bit easier again!

-quoted from my book review for Happy Everything

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A #SpooktasticReads Book Review | “Ghastly and Good” (Merry Hanukkah series, Halloween short) by Debby CarusoGhastly and Good
by Debby Caruso
Source: Direct from Author

Join Rhonda, Dez, and the Merry Hanukkah crew as they try to pull off yet another holiday feat in this Halloween Short that’s sure to leave you laughing.

In an attempt to treat the kids at the local shelter to a Halloween party like no other, Rhonda finds herself running out of time, battling a hurricane, and wrestling with ghosts. In true Rhonda fashion, she has a few tricks up her sleeve, and the end result is anything but ghastly.

Grab a hot apple cider—or pumpkin spice anything—snuggle up, and enjoy a short story that will bring you back to a time when Halloween was filled with all the good things life has to offer.

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy (Rom Com), Spooky Reads for Halloween, Women's Fiction


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B08GJBCYFL

Also by this author: Merry Hanukkah, Happy Everything

Also in this series: Merry Hanukkah, Happy Everything


Published by Self Published

on 9th September, 2020

Format: Personal Copy provided by Author

Pages: 37

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The Merry Hanukkah series:

Merry Hanukkah by Debby CarusoHappy Everything by Debby CarusoGhastly and Good by Debby Caruso

Merry Hanukkah (book one) | see also Review

Happy Everything (book two) | see also Review

Converse via: #SpooktasticReads + #WomensFiction or #Halloween #shortstory

This is a Digital First Release (ebook only!) Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #SpooktasticReads 2020
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Posted Monday, 19 October, 2020 by jorielov in #SpooktasticReads, 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Contemporary Romance, Family Drama, Family Life, Indie Author, Modern Day, Romance Fiction, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Women's Fiction

Book Spotlight and Extract | Featuring Notes by Jorie on behalf of “Dragonflies at Night” by Anne Marie Bennett

Posted Tuesday, 6 October, 2020 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Stories in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

My selected featured story today was one I was looking forward to reading myself as I was marked down for a review on this lovely blog tour. However, for whichever reason as we are all aware of our mail has started to become a bit delayed in reaching us and thereby, I had to amend how I was hosting this tour this week. Combine mail woes with some technical issues I’ve been having with my connectivity over the weekend and into this first half of a new week and you’ve found me at sixes and sevens trying to sort through it and not feel dragged down by it all. Hopefully others on the blog tour have simply been wrapped inside the story and haven’t had to sort through as much as I have whilst awaiting for the book to arrive.

I happen to like stories which tuck us away from our lives and give us something new to consider and contemplate – as this particular romantic Contemporary has a lot of symbolic and metaphysical sensibility about it in regards to the overall theme of the story and how it was written. I hadn’t realised when I signed up for this one that the main plot theme surrounds Cancer which is generally the kind of story I try to avoid reading about as I have a very sensitive heart and whenever I read about terminal illnesses, I find myself retreating from the storylines.

This particular story though holds a lot of promise and hope within it though if you read the synopsis and even within the short extract I am hosting today, there appears to be more about this story than what can be gleamed about it on the surface of its components. Which for me as a reader is a good thing as I liked to be surprised by the stories I am reading as much as I like going into a story already knowing what to expect. Sometimes it is also good to shake things up in your reading life and perhaps pick a book to read you hadn’t expected would be a wicked good story for you at the time in which it arrived in your life. Reading such as life has a beautiful cadence to it and I am oft observing how stories come into our hands to read at the moments we’re meant to read them even if it doesn’t feel like the right timing when we first receive them.

I was also quite taken by how dragonflies play such a strong role in the story and I had read they equally play a role in the author’s life as well. There are a lot of moments in our lives which cannot be explained through ordinary means and must be trusted with faith. I like finding stories which bridge the gap between what can be perceived and what can be intuited as much as how our lives are also felt on a spiritual level of understanding. In essence, I felt the heart of this story was one that I was going to enjoy reading and I hope one day I will be able to experience it for myself.

For now – I hope this puts this story on your own radar and perhaps even encourage you to add it to your own #mustread list! Enjoy the extract and the links wherein you can interact with the author and/or find out more about the story itself.

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Book Spotlight and Extract | Featuring Notes by Jorie on behalf of “Dragonflies at Night” by Anne Marie BennettDragonflies at Night
Subtitle: More than a love story. Somewhere in his mind, a new song began... Somewhere in her heart, healing stirred...
by Anne Marie Bennett

A dragonfly brings a mother’s love to a grieving daughter.

Meet Savannah, the thirty-something owner of Life Celebrations, a party planning business. Despite losing both parents as a teenager, Savannah is creating a positive life for herself, surrounded by friends and co-workers who are now her family. But she also has a secret—as much as she wants to settle down and have children, she is afraid to, for fear of getting cancer and having to leave them without their mother, as she herself was left behind years ago.

Meet Deirdre Rose, Savannah’s mother. She continues to watch over Savannah, who feels deeply connected to her mother whenever she sees a dragonfly.

Now meet Ben, a thirty-something recording artist who is good-looking, talented, and a household name. Despite his fame, Ben is lonely. He trusts few people because it seems everyone wants something from him instead of getting to know who he really is.

Savannah and Ben cross paths when they meet at a yoga retreat in the Massachusetts Berkshires. They are drawn to each other’s creativity and outlook on life. She sees beyond his celebrity and he admires her strength in what she’s had to overcome.

What happens when the retreat ends and they go their separate ways? Will they be able to make a long distance relationship work? Can Savannah put aside her fears, and will Ben allow himself to be truly vulnerable?

Above all . . . what message do Deirdre Rose and Dragonfly have for both of them?

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Motherhood | Parenthood, Women's Fiction


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 979-8663865104

Published by Self Published

on 7th July, 2020

This is a Self-Published novel

Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance or Contemporary #Romance
as well as #WomensFiction and #DatNPrism

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Read More

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Posted Tuesday, 6 October, 2020 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book | Novel Extract, Book Spotlight, Indie Author, Prism Book Tours, Women's Fiction