Category: Bits & Bobbles of Jorie

#BestBooksOf2020 Retrospective | The 2020 End of the Year Reading Survey : The stories behind #JLASblog’s 7th Year!

Posted Monday, 4 January, 2021 by jorielov , 7 Comments

End of the Year [2020] badge created by Jorie in Canva. Jorie Loves A Story badge created by Ravven and used with permission.

The Questions for the 2020 End of the Year Survey are posted by Jaime @ the Perpetual Page Turner, who created this survey as a personal reflection of her year of bookish wanderings and readings, and never thought it would turn into a book blogosphere yearly event! I am thankful she encourages us all to participate even though over the past five years I haven’t had the best track record of joining in on the community in which she’s curated to share a summation of our readerly lives.

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*Please be Advised:*

This *End of the Year Survey* first landed on Jorie Loves A Story in [2016] whilst celebrating the previous year of [2015] and I made a determined effort to bring it back in [2017] except those plans are still in my Drafts folder for #JLASblog! Smiles. I have decided to create #timecapsule posts this Happy New Year 2021 to re-explore what my top favourites were as a book blogger for the *missing years!* of the Survey itself! Stay tuned for some bookish revelations,… whilst I have decided this year to bring back the Survey in its rightful place of cheerfully championing a signal of #booklove as one year exchanges itself for a new one – rather than withhold my responses til my next blogoversary as I had done in year’s past on the 31st of March.

As you already realise if you’re a ready reader + follower of Jorie Loves A Story – these posts become EPIC and MASSIVELY descriptive as I reveal my final thoughts, ruminations and musings about the STORIES which truly left the impressions this survey attempts to reveal about our past twelvemonths as a reader and inquistive book blogger.

This being said – this post is a full balance OF all the stories I’ve read and discovered giving a fuller scope of how I ended my 2020 as a reader who happily is blogging her life as a book blogger. As well bringing myself back to centre with my ruminations – allowing me the chance to re-think about the stories I’ve read and to put to rest the final thoughts I’ve had on behalf of the stories themselves.

Be sure to brew yourself a cuppa joy as you sit, read and ponder which of my #BestOf2020Reads need to seriously become added to your own #TBR!

If you’ve filled something out like this survey (OR this actual one!) – be sure to share your link to your post(s) in the *threads below this post so I can take a gander at which stories | authors | series | genres joyfully intrigued you throughout 2020! As I would like expand my own TBR with the stories you’ve read yourself which could be a wicked good fit for me.

REMEMBER: if a story wasn’t my cuppa it could be one better suited for you and vice versa if you had a story which you felt fell short of your own expectations and might resontate with me better. Reading is subjective to our individual experiences within the stories themselves and all our reactions are valid and important as they are markers of our readerly lives.

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Let’s break this down a bit, shall we?

You can use this as a ‘preview guide’ of how to use my Story Vault. <— fully updated!

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Posted Monday, 4 January, 2021 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, End of the Year Survey, JLAS Update Post, Jorie Loves A Story

A #Blogmas Retrospective | On all the lovely #ChristmasRomances I’ve showcased this December!

Posted Wednesday, 23 December, 2020 by jorielov 3 Comments

#blogmas badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

You might be dearly curious about my #blogmas rollout this year – as I admit, I originally had ideas of a more *predictaable hour* of revelation for these lovelies! My blog apparently has had a more unique approach to how these spotlighted posts with featured extracts arrived into my blog’s archive and for that, I hope you’ve at least enjoyed them once they blinked onto your feeds via email and/or WP Reader!

→ And, for those of you who are hitting the like button to alert me of your presence on my blog – bless you!! I cherish those clicks as I do not always receive notes under my posts. It is lovely to see a wink and a nod from my regular readers,.. likewise I hope to be doing more of that kind of activity myself in the New Year.

I presume most of you are enjoying my posts by those sources as much as being routed here on Jorie Loves A Story courtesy of my updates in the twitterverse! As this is what I’ve been surmising throughout December as I watch which way my blog posts are being clicked upon out in the wider scheme of the net. I find those stats a bit interesting to gain a small insight into how people find my blog – especially during my Decembers wherein I turn a bit more showcasey in what I present rather than full-on reviews filtering through the month.

Though to be frank, my reviews have been a bit delayed this year from alighting as I’ve had readerly fatigue for most of 2020 and almost complete readerly burnt out for the rest of it. It wasn’t even any one specific moment though I know it began in the hours waning out of 2019 & into 2020 – as the close of the former year into the new one last New Year’s week was a muddling nightmare for world events (ie. wildfires, wildlife loss, earthquakes and other disasters and all of *that!* predated the pandemic,..) which was soul wrecking in of its own right. Ergo, my yearly reads were built on a shaky start to 2020.

As the months stacked onto each other, I found myself withdrawing from reading – from my backlogue of reviews and from the blog tour reads I desired to be focusing on most. Not to mention how clogged I am in non-completed reads for @SatBookChat featured guests! :O It is quite shocking and I have had to deal with that guilt as well though part of me gives me credit for hosting the chats & organising the discussions for those authors without cancelling the chats themselves. Save one or two due to health and/or a no show for an author whom I still hope to reschedule in Winter 2021.

With all of *that!* weighing on a girl’s mind, I happily dove into an abridged schedule for the #FantasyForChristmas blog tour whilst trying to keep on schedule for the showcases I wanted to feature for the secondary blog tour this December which is the Sweet Romance for Christmas. During which I concluded my abridged foray into #SciFiMonth is going to remain shelved and blogged right where it was the first week of December. Again, readerly fatigue is real. I’ll update about those final reads for #SciFiMonth in a forthcoming yearly recap post lateron this December right before 2021 winks into starsight.

These final showcases for Prism Book Tours tucking me into featuring lovely #newtomeauthors alongside newly discovered authors has been a delight of joy as it gave me a further chance to blog some Christmassy themed journalling – you’ll have to backtrack through the Fantasy & Romance blog tours to see everything in all its glory this year – as each post was left with a different mind map of thoughts which spilt into the top anchour of those featured posts in both events! Some were more Christmas minded than others, some were happily referencing IRL binge watches of tv series or Christmas films and others, were notes from yours truly about the story, the author or what I hoped to reveal in connection to the featured book of the hour. In essence, I tried to remain mindful of the spirit of #blogmas whilst hosting both tours back to back on Jorie Loves A Story.

For those of you who were (or still are) in final preps for Christmas and Christmas weekend – this recapturing of the posts themselves will give you a keen overview of the stories I most desire to read throughout 2021 as much as a snapshot of why these stories caught my readerly eye this #blogmas 2020! You can easily click-over to my posts and/or you can happily search for these authors and their stories on your ownsome if one (or more hopefully!) winks its nod of curiosity into your own readerly heart.

And, without further adieu, let’s see which stories on this lovely romantic tour gave me a boost of bookish joy to host during the Sweet Romance for Christmas blog tour of 2020:

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Posted Wednesday, 23 December, 2020 by jorielov in #blogmas, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, JLAS Update Post, Jorie Loves A Story, Prism Book Tours

#SciFiMonth Space Opera Anthology Review | “Far Orbit: Apogee” (Speculative Space Adventures) edited by Bascomb James (by World Weaver Press)

Posted Thursday, 26 November, 2020 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

#SciFiMonth Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book by: Did you ever grow curious about a new publisher who produces science fiction, fantasy, and horror genre selections in both novel length and short stories? Did you ever decide to enquire with the publisher you’ve found to see if they were open to book blogger requests to read and review their selections!? This is the situation I found myself in as I was quite mystified by the offerings of World Weaver Press! Such a delightful discovery on my behalf [in 2015] with a website full of inspiring reads across SFF!

Since I started reviewing with World Weaver Press [in August, 2015] there has been a changing of the guard behind-the-scenes where there is a new owner & publicity team. I am wicked happy to see the legacy and tradition of WWP has been carried forward by this lovely new team! I am honoured to work with them continuing to showcase World Weaver Press through reviewing their titles and hosting future guest features by their authors! Except to say when my personal health afflictions and adversities overtook my ability to concentrate on the stories with successive delays in posting my reviews suddenly became the norm, I withdrew making new requests from the publisher as much as it pained me to admit I was falling further behind. I enjoyed the time I had as a reviewer for this publisher and I will continue to seek out the stories by the authors I’ve discovered along the way. I especially want to continue to gather the anthologies by Rhonda Parrish to round out my collection!

I received a complimentary copy of “Far Orbit: Apogee” direct from the publisher World Weaver Press in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I’ve been dearly keen on reading this lovely Anthology:

It is fair to say, one of my favourite sections of Science Fiction are the realms within Space Opera & the infinite array of how we can not only explore Spacer lifestyles but delve into the myriad dimensions of how evolving life in Space can become for intrepid explorers, traders & colonists who dare to live offworld. It’s a place where due to the variety of entrances you can make as a writer – the reader, can become treated to different perspectives of life in Space inasmuch as the complex complications which go along with interstellar travels.

I originally wanted to read this during #RRSciFiMonth 2017 – as that is when I last updated the draft for this review. However, it was the year my father recovered from his stroke and the following year [2018] I had over 10+ months of health afflictions and a higher frequency of my chronic migraines. Last year [2019] was the first year I started to find relief from the migraines but also, the first year I could re-address my backlogue reviews whilst self-motivating myself through a few challenges which help re-inspire our self-directed goals such as #BeatTheBackList.

I made some positive enroads towards that personal goal of mine of erasing my backlogue of reviews, however, to be fair, I had less migraines this 2020 but more adversities to overcome as well. Such as the medical emergencies of my parents which included two ER visits in March (non-covid related) wherein I was alerted to be prepared if my Mum might have had a TBI and that would have left me as the carer of both my parents for the foreseeable future. She had sustained a series of bad injuries in an accident and thankfully after a few months recovered and healed from them all. It was an unexpected blessing and one we cherished receiving – yet, from January to May I was migraine-free only to have them return May-October.

I realise now my backlogue goals were set a bit too high to reach and thereby I’ve reset my goals to simply be “pick up a book on the backlogue, read it, sort out my thoughts for the review and let time be the chooser of when it is erased”. It speaks to how sometimes our goals are more long-term than short-term and how sometimes if you have health afflictions, you can maintain your optimism but sometimes you have to be more realistic with how quickly you can accomplish the goals you dearly want to achieve. Thereby, it is a pleasure of JOY being able to share this review during #SciFiMonth 2020! *whew!* What a long, long route I took to diving into FAR ORBIT: Apogee!

It goes without question, I will one day purchase copies of FAR ORBIT (the original collection) and FAR ORBIT: Outpost (if I can find where it was published and when).

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 26 November, 2020 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Futuristic Fantasy, Hard Science Fiction, Indie Author, Science Fiction, Soft Science Fiction, Space Opera, Speculative Fiction, World Weaver Press

An early #blogmas #HarlequinHeartwarming Book Review | “An Alaskan Family Christmas” (Northern Lights: Book Seven) by Beth Carpenter

Posted Friday, 13 November, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

#blogmas book review banner 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 enquiried 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 “An Alaskan Family Christmas” direct from the author Beth Carpenter in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comWhy I am loving finding #blogmas #ChristmasRomances this year:

Each year, I try to gather together quite a few #newtomeauthors and beloved authors alike to read Christmas stories by which are within my favourite genres of interest – such as Historical Fiction, Contemporary Romance or Historical Romance or even Speculative Fiction. I love to see what I can find each year – never knowing what I might discover, what might be publishing or in regards to blog tours – which stories are going on tour ahead of December!

Similar to past years, this November has seen quite a few #blogmas showcases ahead of Thanksgiving and right in-line with everyone sorting out what they want to read for the last season of the year where all of us are feeling rather festive and in the mood for a light read with a wicked good plot and an uplift of spirit by the conclusion! This is why I am thankful to be on this blog tour to return back to the Northern Lights series – as I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading Spring’s “Alaskan Dreams” which is slated to be read for one of my December #RomanceTuesdays showcases wherein I spotlighted this sixth novel of the series during its blog tour.

My health has been a bit of a juggling act the past few months – the first weeks of November I was hoping to dive into my Science Fiction reads to celebrate #SciFiMonth properly with a strong footing at the start of the month, however, I had to push those forward to this weekend and into next week. For now, I’m just grateful my migraine has finally ‘let go’ of me as it was a humdinger to get through recently whilst my overall health has improved to where I can start to focus on blogging, reading and being engaged online. I’ve missed reading and blogging the most – as reading is such a wonderful respite from our IRL adversities and concerns; we’ve all had a long and hard won 2020 – it is nice to find solace a bit in my health afflictions to start to reconnect to stories and the authors who are writing the stories I love to read!

Thereby this tour is my return to reading full-time and to championing the Harlequin Heartwarming authors who I find give me wicked good cheer all the year through! If you’re available tomorrow – please join us for a SPECIAL 5x author chat with ALL 5 of the #BlackwellSisters authors via @SatBookChat! More details at the bottom of this review!

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Why I loved the Northern Lights series coming into it at Book Five:

I liked how Carpenter connected a thread of faith into her Contemporary Sweet Romance – not all the authors in the Heartwarming line do this directly, though some I feel imply it which makes my heart happy. I liked how it applied in the context of this story – how being a doctor and/or a medic has a certain measure of faith associated with the careers. You can go only so far on your own merits before you have to recognise there is point where you have to lean on something outside of yourself in order to be the better medical professional. Not everything is understood through medicine and science – yet, how Carpenter broaches these topics within her narrative align well with two characters who haven’t yet decided what their final thoughts are on life, their careers or how they might still be attracted to one another!

When we first see Volta and Scott together – it is like a random snowstorm burrowing people in a house together who would otherwise not expect to be confined in the same place with each other. Volta has mixed feelings – which felt natural given their history and how she has become a widow in his absence and a single Mum. Her responsibilities are different now than they were before they had met even if there is still a bit of an open door to their hearts, it is interesting watching how Carpenter is going to reveal the story as we hug close to both of them as they ride out the volcanic ash which has grounded their plane.

As the ash storm passed over, what hadn’t released the tension of the hour is the friction between Volta and Scott. For her part, I think Volta was running a bit scared – she didn’t share her feelings very well – she came across as being guarded and reserved. I could see why – she had a lot she went through in her life in the short time they had been apart but evenso, when she was round Scott, you could tell she felt an ease about him. I almost thought perhaps she was frustrated with herself to find that she not only still have feelings for Scott but by reuniting with him, she felt a renewal of hope for her future. When it came to Scott, I sensed a lot of personal anguish in him – especially of the guilt of not establishing a life for himself. He had his career but how many people are happy to thrive on a career without a home base and family?

I could understand the angst of Emma (Volta’s daughter) – when you want to ride horses, it is quite amazing how difficult it is to find places that are not just affordable but are of the benefit of the rider not just the horse. Once you’re smitten by a horse, it is rather difficult to stop thinking about them and how companionable they are to be around. I had hoped she might find a way to have either a horse or at least regular lessons before she became an adult.

I loved when Carpenter re-shifted back into the planes and took us into the air to be with the air ambulance crews. It gave more foundation to the roles these people have IRL but also, how their shifts can run longer than your realise as Volta had a 24 hour rotation facing her when she agreed to be Scott’s liaison. This was another smart move I felt in the story itself – how Scott, was wanting to bring changes to the Alaskan methodology of approaching prenatal care in the state, he needed someone who understood how to interact with the locals. Someone who could give them assurances he couldn’t as an outsider and that someone felt perfect to be Volta even for me! I liked how he fuelled his desires to help others into plausible situations where he could yield the most good and be of the most help. This plan had to change the prenatal care of Alaska felt like the kind of forward-thinking leadership needed in rural medical inefficient areas need in order to find a gateway into a future where they are more self-sufficient.

You know when your watching a movie you’ve settled into about two people who can’t quite put their lives together but they seem to be making enroads towards finding common ground? Even though things continue to go astray and their lives seem to be going down different routes and avenues; there is something drawing them back together? This novel is a lot like that kind of movie! The more you dig into their lives – you see how dedicated they are to their jobs but what good is a job if it doesn’t allow you to live?

This is a critical question Carpenter wants her readers to chew on because it is the main thesis behind the story itself. Wells, at least one of them anyway! She wants you to see past their sense of honour and duty; past the point where they were unselfish in serving others who needed them and started to take stock of their own lives for a change. To sort out what Scott and Volta needed most in their lives – whether that meant making changes or being open to the change within themselves, Carpenter lets you see what they decide as you tag along for their journey.

Carpenter puts you front and centre on the action within her medically focused Contemporary (Sweet) Romance wherein you get to see first-hand what first responders go through in Alaska when their patients live rather remotely. Even the first case she presented in the novel wasn’t routine as it was a woman who had hypertension and it was causing issues with her pregnancy – I did give a bit of a pause of thought as to what would have happened if Volta and Scott hadn’t been there at that particular moment in order to intervene on the woman’s behalf. A credit to what Carpenter had already established about how due to how lean the state is on medical facilities and how the support staff in the more rural areas were limited to aides; you can see how Alaska can become a medically adverse state in which to live.

I definitely will be seeking out the rest of this Northern Lights series as I liked the pacing and the presentation of how Carpenter implores us to want to know more about this world she’s created for us to find! She hugs us so close to the hearts of her characters, it is easy to feel what they’re feeling and live a period of time in their shoes rather than our own. In essence, I love that this is another small towne series focused on family, hearth, home and a wicked dollop of romance! Best of all, she gave me a new reason to venture back to Alaska and that was the icing on the cake!

-quoted from my book review for Sweet Home Alaska

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An early #blogmas #HarlequinHeartwarming Book Review | “An Alaskan Family Christmas” (Northern Lights: Book Seven) by Beth CarpenterAn Alaskan Family Christmas
Subtitle: A Northern Lights Novel
by Beth Carpenter
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

A little mix-up…
Could make her Christmas wonderful!

Natalie Weiss is mortified. After mistaking handsome Tanner Rockford for his cousin, she’s followed him to rural Alaska. Now she’s stranded—until Tanner invites her to spend Christmas with his family in their rustic, cozy cabin. But in this idyllic winter wonderland, Natalie discovers the family she’s never had…and the love she never knew she needed. But what happens when they all discover why she’s really there?

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


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335889959

Also by this author: Sweet Home Alaska, Alaskan Dreams

Also in this series: Sweet Home Alaska, Alaskan Dreams


Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 379

The Northern Lights series:

The Alaskan Catch by Beth CarpenterA Gift for Santa by Beth CarpenterAlaskan Hideaway by Beth CarpenterAn Alaskan Proposal by Beth Carpenter

Sweet Home Alaska by Beth CarpenterAlaskan Dreams by Beth CarpenterAn Alaskan Family Christmas by Beth Carpenter

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The Alaskan Catch (book one)

A Gift for Santa (book two)

Alaskan Hideaway (book three)

An Alaskan Proposal (book four)

→ Sweet Home Alaska (book five) ← *where I began the series! (see also Review)

Alaskan Dreams (book six)

An Alaskan Family Christmas (book seven)

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: #BethCarpenter and #HarlequinHeartwarming

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7th Annual 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.

This story received my award for Best Contemporary Romance.

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About Beth Carpenter

Beth Carpenter

Once upon a time ...

when Beth Carpenter was a little girl, she read everything she could get her hands on, and entertained herself on the school bus by making up stories in her head. Not a lot has changed. She's still consuming books like M&Ms, and spends her days creating happily-ever-afters for her imaginary friends.

She lives in Alaska and Arizona with her husband and an aggressively affectionate fifty-pound lap dog. She loves to hear from readers.

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Posted Friday, 13 November, 2020 by jorielov in Alaska, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Christmas Romance &/or Holiday Story, Contemporary Romance, Family Drama, Family Life, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, West Coast USA