Category: Neurosciences | Neurogenetics

Celebrating my 5th #Blogoversary with a retrospective about why I appreciate reading #INSPY Fiction whilst conveying how blessed I am to start reading the stories penned by Kellie Coates Gilbert! Starting with the 3rd Texas Gold series novel: “A Reason to Stay”.

Posted Saturday, 31 March, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Borrowed Book By: I originally crossed paths with Ms Kellie Coates Gilbert in [2014] wherein I met her through her participation in the group author blog “Southern Belle View Daily” which was affectionately known as ‘Southern Belle View’. I was a regular visitor who chatted with the authors on the blog and engaged in the content they were sharing. I had the opportunity to receive the first two novels of the Texas Gold series shortly afterwards, however, due to a variety of adversities which took me away from the joys of reading these past several years, it wasn’t until this New Year 2018 where I could lay heart and mind back into the stories I had to shelve for another day where I could focus properly on their contents.

I was originally gifted a copy of “A Reason to Stay” by my Mum, who knew how excited I was to start reading the Texas Gold series – this is within the year or so of this third installment’s release. I was going to surprise the author and read all three novels back to back whilst sharing my reactions with my readers as I have a self-directed focus on INSPY authors I am either re-discovering or just now becoming aware of as I re-start my readings in earnest into the INSPY realms of Fiction.

I go into why I had to borrow through ILL’ing (interlibrary loaning) this novel in this top anchour ahead of revealling my ruminations on the emotionally evocative story Ms Gilbert has written for us – however, I wanted to mention I am choosing to share my thoughts on behalf of this story for my own edification inasmuch as inspiring my readers to become acquainted with a #newtomeauthor I am truly blessed to have found. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

A unique introduction into the Texas Gold series – or rather,

why INSPY Lit is an important part of Jorie’s bookish life:

a retrospective whilst celebrating entering a 5th Year as a Book Blogger

I originally crossed paths with Ms Gilbert whilst she was part of Southern Belle View – a lovely group author blog I used to frequent six years ago, a bit prior to becoming a book blogger – of which I am celebrating my 5th Blogoversary *today!* on the 31st of March, 2018! This was the day I love to observe as the day I created Jorie Loves A Story – whereas I honour the day I launched my blog to the world on the 6th of August every year as the day in which my blog has its public ‘birthday’.

I was thankful to receive two of her novels – which she offered to send me to help me become acquainted with her Texas Gold book series as well as her writing style – as this was a few years ago, the series had just the first two novels recently released. I had hoped to have read both of them close to the time I first received them – however, most of the years I’ve been a book blogger, I’ve had a few set-backs with the plans I’ve made along the way. My health has been a big factor as well as personal strife & tribulations – as we all have lives outside of our bookish and readerly lives of which give us the most joy to share with our readership.

Earlier this year, I reconnected with Ms Gilbert – as I was trying to explain the distance between receiving her novels and being able to fully appreciate reading them this New Year, 2018 – as it was going to become my year back into reading Inspirational Fiction (#INSPY as I like to nickname it on Twitter) whilst proving to be the year I can focus on my *70 Authors Challenge* which specifically focuses on the INSPY niche of Literature as you can see on the main page I created for this personal exploration of a branch of Lit I am definitely passionate about reading! I’ve been a hybrid reader my entire life – moving in and out of INSPY and mainstream channels of interest since I was a young girl. This equated to regular visits to Christian bookstores (at the time, in the 80s and 90s the only place truly to find INSPY being sold) as well as big box, Indie and mall (remember those?) chain bookstores – to see a wide spectrum of both titles, genres and bookish realms!

I would also frequent used book shoppes – even before it was fashionable to gather a bit of insight into the books falling ‘off’ publication and/or the backlist of authors I might one day feel inclined to be reading. In essence, I’ve led quite a bookish life despite having a rocky start at learning to read (ie. as a dyslexic learner).

INSPY was a joy to be reading simply due to the beautiful uplift of JOY I received from reading the story-lines inasmuch as disappearing into fascinating worlds where kids like me were taking on keenly lived adventures! The Cooper Kids series and the Mandie series were personal favourites – of the latter, I had only hoped Ms Leppard could have lived long enough to pen the College years of Mandie’s personal growth rather than the single chapter of her University days. I cherish all of my Mandie editions, singularly regretting I never wrote the author a letter (if you can imagine, I have shy tendencies – these days I tend to reach out to authors directly on a regular basis – but I still have moments where I hesitate) and hope I have all of the installments as I had to remember which number I was on and collect as many as I could before they went out of print. Due to those fond memories of walking beside Mandie, Joe, Celia, Uncle Ned and her Grandmother – I started to explore adult INSPY Literature in my formative years. (see also the Mandie page on Wikipedia)

I settled on Judith Pella and then took a proper hiatus til I discovered Dee Henderson, Deeanne Gist and Julie Lessman. More recently in the early days as a book blogger (my 1st Year) I crossed paths with Brenda S. Anderson – of whom is now a beloved author for me to read with the added blessing of being on her Street Team. (see also the archive of my posts for Ms Anderson) I am still reading her Coming Home series this Spring – wherein I hope to reveal my thoughts on the last two installments of this series before moving into her Where the Heart Is series.

Moving forward – when I first found Southern Belle View, I also found The Word Wenches (another beautifully lovely group author blog), the writerly reader blog of Ms Lauren Willig, the many blog visits of Ms (Julie) Lessman which were ‘organic blog tours’ of their own kind and the lovely blog of Ms (Mary) Ellis. I had a singular route I would visit and comment upon regularly – hence why I initially conceived of the spark of inspiration which lateron became ‘Jorie Loves A Story’.

In those early days of laying down the foundation of my blog, I wanted to re-focus on INSPY Literature – start reading the stories of the authors I was visiting with regularly in the book blogosphere and start to share my bookish life. However, I was such a newbie to book blogging – trying to sort out how I wanted to articulate my writerly style as a book blogger, whilst mindful there was a larger community out there I was slowly becoming a part of – from readers, to fellow book bloggers, to authors who had other author group blogs as well as wading into the realms of both INSPY and mainstream publishing channels of interest.

What I was surprised by is not finding a lot of other hybrid readers – those of us who move between both worlds of thought and regularly love to share our readerly adventures. I’ve been wanting to share glimpses into why I am drawn into certain INSPY authors and why I love reading INSPY Non-Fiction whereas in the past I was mostly a Historical INSPY kind of gal! Truly, as a regular time traveller of fictional worlds – you would have thought it would have dawned on me the historic past played such a pertinent role in my readerly tendencies! (sadly, it hadn’t fused to my heart until I was somewhere between my 2nd & 3rd Year as a Book Blogger!)

Fast forward – Southern Belle View was a group author blog who had a rotation of guest authors being featured each of the days they would host new posts & discussions. A few times they would host bookaways, but mostly it was a place to engage in light-hearted chatter, bookish topics and get to know the ‘writers’ themselves in an interpersonal way as you were commenting directly with them on each of their ‘daily’ posts – which is why the full name was ‘Southern Belle View Daily’ as each of the Belles themselves were living in the ‘Southern’ tier of the States – from Texas to Mississippi to Louisiana (I believe?) and someone I believe was in the Carolina’s. The uniqueness of their writing styles and the ways in which they interacted with their readership was what pulled me into their posts.

I fell lin love with Ms (Lisa) Wingate’s writing style when I first read “The Prayer Box” which touched my spirit and my heart alike – it also marked my first ‘blog tour’ as a book blogger of which I was forever grateful for JKS Communications for giving me a chance to participate in such an event during my first ‘live’ month on Jorie Loves A Story. My parents would gift me a copy of the next story in sequence as this became a series of stories – known best as the Carolina Chronicles – however, I still need to gather a copy of the omnibus edition of the novellas which released betwixt the others and the final story in the trilogy. I was planning to let this series become my gateway into other stories of the Belles but then, of course – I was honestly ‘distracted’!

As I became more active in book blogging and started to sort out how to work with authors, publisher and publicists – I sort of started to focus on garnishing a readership for Jorie Loves A Story whilst sorting out the kind of stories I wanted to focus on reading overall. I also was gaining traction on how best to balance my personal library readings with the stories I was borrowing through my public library – the balance of course remained elusive to my intentions until two years ago – wherein during 2016 I started to implement changes in my blogging schedules. I began a personal Renaissance of redirection and re-focus of my personal goals for Jorie Loves A Story in other words.

You can see the fuller effect of those efforts now in 2018 – as I purposefully schedule less blog tours, am ever more vigilant about being particularly particular about the stories I accept for review and am starting to reap the rewards of being able to read ‘more’ but read without hard deadlines (for the most part). I am also merging into a new vein of my bookish life where I am shifting towards a goal of reading 50% of the books via print editions and listening to 50% of the books via audio editions. This became more apparent as a personal need of mine when I noticed a reduction in my chronic migraines – hence why you see more audiobook reviews populating on my blog!

Towards that end – this year, I am gathering more audiobooks outside of blog tours – whilst taking advantage of being able to ILL (interlibrary loan) audiobooks on CD and borrowing eaudiobooks directly from my library’s OverDrive catalogue as well.

All of these small personal changes were leading me back to the world of INSPY Lit – whilst my Mum and Dad have been helping me as for the past year and a half they have spent my blogoversarsies and blog birthdays gifting me anthologies of INSPY novellas! You’ll see my reading adventures into those as the months move forward as I am slowly working my way through a personal list of #nextreads and #mustreads – most of which are listed on my *70 Authors Challenge* page. This gives a keen insight into the genres and themes of INSPY Lit I gravitate towards whilst owning to the fact even when I set a plan into action, I do deviate and ‘add’ more authors of focus! Laughs with mirth.

This journey of mine has led me to the writings of Kellie Coates Gilbert – she blessed me with the first two Texas Gold novels whereas Mum gifted me the third novel “A Reason to Stay” – however, during an end of Summer cleaning, I ended up packing up a large portion of my books to unpack as I finish the ones I had on my bookshelves – as I had to reduce my bookcases two years ago. This gives me a rotation of stories rather than keeping them all unpacked all at once – of course, one day I hope to have a designated room again for all the lovely stories but until then, I sorted out how to make due with less space to greet them all on a daily basis. I thought for sure I had kept all of Ms Gilbert’s novels together – yet, one went missing! This very novel – the third installment of the series!

I fretted over it for a bit longer than I ought to have in February before Mum came to my rescue and said – before you go hog wild trying to find which box has which book, why don’t you just simplify it and borrow it through ILL’ing? You know how much you love to seek out your ILLs! lol She surely does know me well! The novel came rather promptly (in early March) however, March became a wicked horrid month for personal health – this is why I was severely under-read at the start of Spring.

I wanted dearly to read this series in order – though it is a true test of patience and faith to acknowledge not everything is meant to go according to plan! It is our continued quest towards remaining humble in our lives to realise it is ‘okay’ to do things outside of the plans we set for ourselves – owning to the fact sometimes doing things out of sequence is actually a ‘good thing’. At least this is what I resolved realising as ILLs are only with us for three weeks – given how I spent those weeks under the weather, I chose to read “A Reason to Stay” ahead of “A Woman of Fortune”.

The reason I wanted to share this longer back-story with you is to give you an insightful view of my journey back to INSPY Literature. I’ve yearned to pick up where I left off during those years where I was trapped inside a reader’s rut – researching authors and stories but never reading them. I even gathered half of my personal library during those years – spilt between as aforesaid INSPY and mainstream authors. (whether they were Indie or traditionally published as well)

One of the biggest blessings I’ve had these past five years is the JOY of reading without failure to connect to the stories – meaning, there was such a time where I felt disconnected from how novels were written as motion pictures were easier for me to ‘connect’ with in a quasi-visceral manner of enjoyment. Somewhere between the initial inspiration for Jorie Loves A Story – I not only healed my reading life but I reclaimed a passion for ‘writing’ as well. As my blog is an extension of my writerly life in a way I am sure might remain overlooked by most of my readers. You get a sense of my personal writing life if you move in and out of my posts – all five years worth – as there is a growth amongst the archives from day one to the present day.

I am overjoyed the story I get to share with you, as I celebrate my 5th Blogoversary as a Book Blogger – where I found a newfound passion for being a book cheerleader and a author’s advocate is “A Reason to Stay” because even before I read the story itself, the title struck a chord in my own heart. I found my own ‘reason to stay’ a book blogger when I realised by sharing my bookish ruminations, I get to leave notes of gratitude back to the writers who are enriching my life with their stories. I get to acknowledge how their stories affect me and what impressed me about how they approached their individual perspective of how stories can thrive when fused so eloquently with their own personal imagination and vision for the craft of writing.

I am staying a book blogger due to the pure celebration of ‘stories’ I love reading but also the continued love of pursuing the written word in all its facets of exploration – wherein the story itself is where my own enlightenment is actively found. I love spreading bookish JOY – thank you for being a part of my journey here on Jorie Loves A Story. May you remain with me as I continue to seek out the stories which touch my mind, heart and soul.

And, may 2018 be a year where I can finally re-merge my INSPY readings into my regular readerly life, as they become fused directly into my life once more – as they have been an absence I have missed reconnecting with these past five years. They’ve been there, of course, hovering in the background – but now, I am thankful they can take their rightful spot as co-navigators of my bookish world!

postscript: I am sitting on a lovely SURPRISE I received this year, connected to the Texas Gold series – as I am reading this series back to back – resuming where I left off within Faith’s story (ie. A Reason to Stay) by pursuing the journey I am about to take with Claire (ie. A Woman of Fortune) – you’ll simply have to wait to find out about the blessing I received and my further ruminations on behalf of this heart and soul centred series!

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Notation on the condition of this paperback: Did you notice how well-loved this interlibrary loaned copy of “A Reason to Stay” is ?? This curling of the bottom pages is how it reached my hands – the cover is now ‘soft’ to the touch, hinting towards how many bookish spirits have entered this novel and the ways in which the pages easily turn speaks of how this story has touched a lot of hearts ahead of my own. Although I am dearly particular how I read my own books – I can recognise a smile of joy in seeing how well-read a library book is by the patrons like me who amplify their reading life by the collections of public libraries which give us a renewal of hope to be able to seek out all the stories we readily wish to be reading irregardless of our purchasing budget – as public libraries fuell our reading lives as much as our intellectual curiosities (in the Non-Fiction realms).

A Reason to Stay Book Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com. Photo edits and collage created in Canva.

A Reason to Stay
Subtitle: A Texas Gold Novel
by Kellie Coates Gilbert
Source: Borrowed from local library (ILL)

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780800722746

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction, Southern Lit, Women's Fiction


Published by Revell

on 6th October, 2015

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 336

Published by: Revell (@RevellBooks)

an imprint of Baker Publishing Group

Formats Available: Hardback, Trade Paperback and Ebook

 The Texas Gold series:

A Woman of Fortune (Book One) | Synopsis

Where Rivers Part (Book Two) | Synopsis

A Reason to Stay (Book Three)

What Matters Most (Book Four) | Synopsis

About Kellie Coates Gilbert

Kellie Coates Gilbert

Kellie Coates Gilbert has won readers’ hearts with her compelling and highly emotional stories about women and the relationships that define their lives. A former legal investigator, she is especially known for keeping readers turning pages and creating nuanced characters who seem real.

Born and raised near Sun Valley, Idaho, Kellie now lives with her husband of over thirty-five years in Dallas, where she spends most days by her pool drinking sweet tea and writing the stories of her heart.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission. Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 31 March, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, 70 Authors Challenge 2013-19, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Based on an Actual Event &/or Court Case, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Birthdays & Blogoversaries, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Christianity, Clever Turns of Phrase, Contemporary Romance, Crime Fiction, Disabilities & Medical Afflictions, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Gabby Giffords, Humour & Satire in Fiction / Non Fiction, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Inspired by Stories, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Investigative Reporter | Journalist, Learning Difficulties, Library Catalogues & Databases, Library Find, Library Love, Life Shift, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Medical Fiction, Mental Health, Modern Day, Neurosciences | Neurogenetics, Passionate Researcher, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Psychological Abuse, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Southern Writers, Special Needs Children, Stories of Jorie, Texas, Women's Fiction, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Writing Style & Voice

Book Review | “His One and Only Bride” (The Business of Weddings series, Book Six) by Tara Randel A series by #HarlequinHeartwarming

Posted Thursday, 25 January, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

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 “His One and Only Bride” direct from the author Tara Randel in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was intrigued by this story-line:

I truly love wedding stories – when I caught sight of this title, I was instantly hooked – as I perused the synopsis this felt like the kind of story I needed right now. I was recovering from my virus (a three week affair, plus one week to recover my energy, focus and stamina!) when I first spied this blog tour – which is why unexpectedly I made a bit of a blunderment! This is a series in-progress! In fact, I originally thought this was the fifth book in the series but it turns out, it’s the *sixth!* and final story to anchour the ENTIRE Business of Weddings series together! Oy vie. As I mentioned in this tweet – sometimes a girl just needs to be #amreading!

Which was my way of overstating the obvious – I have missed being curled up inside stories these past four weeks with reckless abandon! I’ve only been able to dip my toes into a few novels, two suspenseful audiobooks and partially re-listened to a Cosy Mystery audiobook I’m finishing this week. I simply couldn’t focus on reading or dissecting what I was reading with any kind of regularity until after I recovered. Finding myself struck down by a migraine this past weekend (of the 20th) was not exactly the step ‘forward’ I was hoping to have this side of the virus! Mind you, I wasn’t even going to attempt to read too much Non-Fiction (despite my shelves leaning in this direction!) as those take a bit more attention as I like to read those titles whilst analysing them from a different perspective altogether! Expect more of those kinds of ruminations sprinkled throughout the coming month of February and well into Spring!

However, despite the lows of spending most of the first month of the New Year quite muddled in health woes – I did capture a happy spirit for a few lovely exchanges of convo and delightful discoveries on Twitter! I even hosted my first Romance + Women’s Fiction chat of the year: @SatBookChat which happily has started on good footing for bringing readers and writers together! (smiles) On the foot-heels of this good news, I am thankful I can start resuming my Romantic Reads – as I do love a wonderfully light Rom, a historically intriguing Romance, a mind-tingling Rom Suspense or a dramatic Women’s Fiction story to thread through my yearly reads!

It is true – I do have a keen preference for reading serial fiction in order of sequence, except for when I make a gaffe like this and recognise sometimes it’s okay to read them ‘out of order’! Laughs with mirth. Part of the reason I think I have trouble discerning which novel is in sequence is because these are not always exclusively marketed by their sequencing – meaning, oft-times I do try to source their origins and numerical sequencing but still find myself falling a bit short of knowing ‘which came first’ and ‘which should I read next’! I wonder if there is a repository for all Harlequin (and Mills & Boon) titles in a database which catalogues their serial fiction?

Ironically or not, I also notice a bit of a pattern here – for the Harlequin and Mills & Boon novels I’ve been reading of late, I’ve been reading them ALL out of sequence! *le sigh* Apparently I keep ‘leaping’ before I double-check which book is in which order of their individual series! The only happy bit, of course, is being able to re-find these lovelies through my local library, inter-library loan and used book shoppes – as not all of these are kept in print past their initial print runs! More adventure for the bookish girl who loves a ready challenge in gathering books in sequence! Ha!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Book Review | “His One and Only Bride” (The Business of Weddings series, Book Six) by Tara Randel A series by #HarlequinHeartwarmingHis One and Only Bride
Subtitle: The Business of Weddings
by Tara Randel
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

He never thought he’d see her again!

After being reported missing, presumed dead, globe-hopping photojournalist Mitch Simmons never thought he’d see his estranged wife, Zoe, again. Yet here he is back in their coastal Florida town, where Zoe is mayor. Turns out she isn’t the only one he left behind.

Discovering he has a baby son awakens thrilling new emotions in Mitch. And there are his still-powerful feelings for the high school sweetheart he vowed to love and honor forever. Thankfully, they’ll have the chance to find the love that was always there…

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-335-63346-0

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Foodie Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Suspense


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 1st January, 2017

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming

Converse via: #Contemporary + #Romance and #HarlequinHeartwarming

The Business of Weddings Series:

Magnolia Bride | Book One | Synopsis

Orange Blossom Brides | Book Two | Synopsis

Honeysuckle Bride | Book Three | Synopsis

The Bridal Bouquet | Book Four | Synopsis

The Wedding March | Book Five | Synopsis

Read Excerpts via the author’s site

About Tara Randel

Tara Randel

USA Today Bestselling Author Tara Randel has enjoyed a lifelong love of books, especially romance and mystery genres, so it didn't come as a surprise when she began writing with the dream of becoming published. Family values, mystery and, of course, love and romance are her favorite themes, because she believes love is the greatest gift of all. Tara lives on the West Coast of Florida, where gorgeous sunsets inspire the creation of heartwarming stories, filled with love, laughter and the occasional mystery.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Read More

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Posted Thursday, 25 January, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Contemporary Romance, Creative Arts, Disabilities & Medical Afflictions, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Firefighters & Paramedics, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Foodie Fiction, Indie Author, JLAS Update Post, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, Life Shift, Men's Fiction, Mental Health, Modern Day, Mother-Son Relationships, Neurosciences | Neurogenetics, Photography, Prism Book Tours, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Suspense

Blog Book Tour | “The Extraordinary Journey of Vivienne Marshall” by Shannon Kirk

Posted Monday, 6 February, 2017 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for The Extraordinary Journey of Vivienne Marshall hosted by iRead Book Tours. Per my last #StoriesOfJorie update, I talked about how my life has changed over the past few month since my father’s stroke and how the loss of my connectivity to the internet in the latter weeks of January, pushed some of my reviews into February. I had hoped to keep this blog tour on schedule with the tour itself, until of course, my connectivity issues combined my role as my Dad’s caregiver did not give me enough hours to  post in time to officially participate. However, I did remain in contact with iRead whilst posting this as close to the end of the tour as I can to hopefully catch readers who are still following to see our opinions. I also tried to tweet a few reactions out ahead of my review going live as I was completely absorbed into the heart of this narrative and the scope of where the author hoped readers would take their readerly hearts.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Extraordinary Journey of Vivienne Marshall” direct from the author Shannon Kirk in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I  am drawn to stories such as this one:

The introspective and existential journey of the soul is a unique perspective to have available in literature, as it deals with the quest of not only a person’s humanistic approach to their living reality but to the deeper layers of their soul’s journey. I personally love introspective  narratives – which is one reason I was delighted to be a beta reader for Mr Barton’ s  Peach,even if during my readings of his novel I recognised a humbling truth of my own: I can handle near-death and coma experiences but when the background of a story is attached directly to terminal illness (ie. Cancer) I find myself unwinding from the context of the story; almost unmoored if you will to carry forward with the journey on the pages. Blessedly through my work with Mr Barton, I was able to complete my work with his manuscript whilst working around this newfound literary block of mine. I spoke more about this particular subject on this post about how sometimes our emotions and our hearts cannot take us everywhere we’d like to go within a novel.

Peach taps into  a particular awareness of living and of life; of  stepping outside oneself and of seeking to understand the authenticity of one’s living truth whilst mindfully aware of how actions and their effects on others can influence how our lives can play out. It’s one man’s journey towards understanding who he is whilst re-appreciating his role in his life and how he is particularly important to those around him.  On a similar vein of interest, I found Antiphony to be written in a similar tone of  narrative thought –  suspended of course from the traditional story-telling arc and cast into that particular heady sea of introspective fiction. Both of these prior reads allowed me to go to a different place in literature where writers are seeking to find a way to communicate a layer of story-telling which is not oft-times revealled nor are the layers of our soul explored to reveal a more humbling view of our own humanity.

I am unsure why stories involving near-death and coma story-lines are easier for me to process than terminal illness, but it has been true for quite a long time even before this past year where I pulled my thoughts together. I still remember how intrigued I was by a French author’s story within If Only It Were True by Marc Levy. I also saw the adaptation Just Like Heaven and hope to one day see the Bollywood version I See You. I was caught up in the narrative of how Levy wrote the story even though there were a few wrinkles in my brow in how the story evolved and how it was disclosed to the reader. There was enough inside it to inspire me to conclude it and by the time I saw the film, I was moved past the emotional plane of where the author meant us to go. It was heart-stirring and it was inspiring on an interpersonal level.

There is something quite vividly alive about seeking out the stories which take us outside the ‘everyday’ and re-align us back into the periscope of understanding the wider importance of why we live. As an aside, I know the author crossed my path on Twitter at some point in the journey of this novel – it might have even been whilst it was moving titles (originally known as ‘Heavens’) but whenever it was our paths first crossed, the joy was mine to finally dig into her story-line and see how she breathed to life Vivienne’s discovery.  On another level of cross-reference, portions of Vivienne’s journey hugged me back to the poetically insightful prose found within Lemongrass Hope! (see also review)  These are the stories I ache to find and to feel fully consumed after having read. They give you something back which sometimes can become lost in the chaos of life; a well of renewal and a sharpened awareness of our human condition.                                                                                                     Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “The Extraordinary Journey of Vivienne Marshall” by Shannon KirkThe Extraordinary Journey of Vivienne Marshall
by Shannon Kirk
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

What if you could choose your heaven now? Go on a celestial shopping trip of sorts? Thirty-five-year-old Vivienne does just that, as she lies dying in the ICU; a fatal walk into the path of a truck. In her final week of life, Vivienne treks through the Heavens of a priest, a best friend, a homeless child, and a lover who never was. Vivienne’s guardian angel, Noah, who may just be her soul mate, escorts her through selections of Heavens and through the confusion Vivienne experiences as she flounders between a doubt of life and the certainty of death. Although her visits to varied afterlives provide peace and beauty, choosing proves not so easy: Vivienne’s love for her young son and her earthly father pull her from her colorful journey—and from her divine love of Noah.

The nature of love, the variety and magic of life, unending hope, and the importance of saying goodbye are central to this uplifting tale.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

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ISBN: 9781944387082

Genres: Genre-bender, LGBTQIA Fiction, Magical Realism, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Women's Fiction


Published by Reputation Books

on 12th August, 2016

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 310

 Published By: Reputation Books

 Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Shannon Kirk

Shannon Kirk

Shannon Kirk is the awarding-winning author of the international bestselling Method 15/33 (psychological thriller--bestseller in Colombia and Spain, will be lead title in Italy, 2017) and Heavens (Literary Fiction). Method 15/33 has received multiple accolades: 2015 Foreword Review Book of the Year (Suspense); Winner of 2015 National Indie Excellence Award, Best Suspense; 2015 USA Best Book Finalist; School Library Journal's Best Adult Books for Teens (2015); and Finalist in 2013 William Faulkner William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition (when a Novella). Method 15/33 is optioned for a major motion film and has sold to nineteen foreign rights.

When not writing, she is a practicing lawyer, residing on Massachusett's Cape Ann with her husband and son and two cat writing accomplices, Marvin Marquez (in honor of Gabriel Garcia Marquez) and Stewie Poe (Edgar Allen Poe).

Shannon enjoys writing in several genres: literary fiction, psychological thriller, young adult, and poetry. She has been honored three times by the William Faulkner William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. ​

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Posted Monday, 6 February, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Angels, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Trailer, Boston, Childhood Friendship, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Content Note, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Equality In Literature, Fly in the Ointment, Genre-bender, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Indie Author, iRead Book Tours, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Magical Realism, Medical Fiction, Modern Day, Near-Death Experience, Neurosciences | Neurogenetics, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Realistic Fiction, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction, Women's Health

Book Review | #whoaretheclan | “The Gate to Futures Past” (Book No.2 of the Reunification trilogy) by Julie E. Czerneda #FuellYourSciFi with Jorie!

Posted Thursday, 8 September, 2016 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I was invited to participate in Julie E. Czerneda’s #futurespasttour wherein I am continuing my readings of The Clan Chronicles where I left off last November. I participated in the #timeandstarstour on behalf of the seventh volume of The Clan Chronicles ‘This Gulf of Time and Stars’. I reached out to the author to sort out a way to read her entire series spilt between two trilogies: Stratification (the prequel) and The Trade Pact (inaugural trilogy) which launched the series as a whole. She offered to have DAW Books send me the series in paperback editions which I was blessed to receive and would have finished reading if I had hadn’t taken ill shortly after I read “A Thousand Words for Stranger”. Due to personal reasons between the end of 2015 and the start of 2016, I was not able to continue my readings until now. I have spent a lot of hours contemplating what ‘comes next’.

This year, I reached out to her publicist at DAW (at the author’s suggestion) to receive “The Gate to Futures Past” to conclude the scope of the series ahead of the final novel. I spoke to Ms Czerneda about completing my readings of her beautifully conceived hard sci-fi series by releasing my reviews of the books in graduated succession during the #futurespasttour; she agreed it would be a great way to celebrate. Therefore, ‘Ties of Power’ kicks off my showcases on Monday, 22nd of August, followed by ‘To Trade the Stars’ on Tuesday, 30th August finishing ‘the Trade Pact Universe’ trilogy. I am anchouring the Reunification reviews together on 4th & 8th of September. Right in time for #PubDay celebrations which were on the 6th!

I received a complimentary ARC copy of ‘The Gate to Futures Past’ the first novel the final trilogy of The Clan Chronicles known as Reunification; in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for my thoughts shared herein.

On where we left off into The Clan Chronicles:

As I disclosed on my review of Reap the Wild Wind this is my first reading of the works by Julie E. Czerneda. This is my continuing journey deep into the heart of The Clan Chronicles whilst conversing on Twitter via the tag #whoaretheclan. Occasionally alternating with #TheClanChronicles and #futurespasttour.

There is nothing more gutting for a reader than to arrive in the midst of a direction of narrative that not only pushes you to the brink of your emotional depths of despair, but it rebounds to give you a reason to carry-on and continue forward with the characters; such heart wrenching dialogue and expressions of absolute horror as realisation of what was happening was affecting the Clan one by one, heart by heart and family by family was truly one of the hardest passages I’ve read in recent history! Even moreso than some of the war dramas, because this was a blindsided attack, no one in the Clan knew they were on the brink of war or in effect being targeted for erasure!

Frantic reassurances of heart-kin messages were greeted by the enlarging loss which blanketed through the M’hir as more and more Clan woke up to the horrific reality of what had happened. The chasm of loss was so deep and so invasive, no one was left unaffected. Further gutting was the fact some of the Clan who fled to live for tomorrow were greeted by death only due to trusting their contacts would protect them by aiding their flight. This too, was horribly difficult to read – as your watching beloved characters meet their fates and you’re not in a position to aide them yourself. You simply have to watch. You have to breathe and you have to know there’s a reason for it all. There has to be a light at the end of this brutal tunnel of reverse fortunes and of cataclysmic loss.

-quoted from my review of This Gulf of Time and Stars

The result of which was absolute chaos – wherein all Clan chose to flee and take flight away from the places they felt they would be in danger, only to find that some of their places of safety were equally unsafe for them to find safe harbour. The measures Sira and Jason had to take to escape was not for the faint of heart, nor for the ease of the future of their species; as they dared to go where none of the Clan in Trade Pact space felt was possible to re-visit! This is where Czerneda shined whilst re-bridging together the entire trifecta of her three trilogy series!

Returning to Cersi brought back the delicate balance the world encompassed – as I never forgot how important it was to follow the guidelines of Cersi wherein each of the sentient species who called Cersi home were bound to certain ‘living rights and regulations’ which kept each in turn on a rotation of ‘balance’ within their populations. It was a very interesting foundation of how life could succeed through ascension of transfer and by controlled perimeters where each of them could not outnumber each other without consequence. At the time I was enthralled by it, as each person on Cersi was never entirely safeguarded against a merger between Clans; similar a bit to the Drapsk, except that the Drapsk merged to embetter themselves and exchange duties whereas on Cersi, the mergers were fatal.

What was impressed on me is how we see Jason (being his cheeky trader-self) and Sira (taking lead in a place that has protocol!) accumulate to Cersi with the full blessing of their experiences prior to arrival! It’s hard not to smirk seeing how they are dealing with Om’ray and Tikitik and the Oud! Seeing Thought Traveler in a more vulnerable situation than he was normally viewed was wicked good, too!

Further interesting, is on my return to Cersi, I sympathised with Aryl – Cersi had changed!

More to the point – Cersi held the ultimate secret in regards to #whoaretheclan!

And, like most mysteries – what is in plain sight of all is the best hidden secret!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Notation on the Cover Art: I positively love the way in which Sira is portrayed on the cover for GATE! Her hair is electric – just like I have envisioned it, as it has it’s own personality & sense of purpose as much as it’s an extension of her own emotional core of being. Truly loved her clothes & the sense that you can tell she’s trying once again to ‘save her Clan’ from a fate worst than death whilst attempting to prepare herself to appear brave even if she doesn’t entirely feel courageous in the moment. Sira always had to make hard choices; she was never one to balk at duty or responsibility but she was far stronger than most of her peers & those of her extended Clan cousins. The background is equally alluring – we get to see the ships directly behind her and the Clan technology that is so far advanced its left nothing behind to explain its purposes is on full display, too! What dear reader is not to love about this book cover!? #suchstrength & vision of Sira!

Book Review | #whoaretheclan | “The Gate to Futures Past” (Book No.2 of the Reunification trilogy) by Julie E. Czerneda #FuellYourSciFi with Jorie!This Gulf of Time and Stars
Subtitle: A Novel of The Clan Chronicles : Reunification No.2
by Julie E. Czerneda
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Matt Stawicki
Source: Direct from Publisher

Synopsis on the Back Cover:

Betrayed and attacked, the Clan fled the Trade Pact for Cersi, believing that world their long-lost home. With them went a lone alien, the Human named Jason Morgan, Chosen of their leader, Sira di Sarc. Tragically, their arrival update the Balance between Cersi's three sentient species. And so the Clan, with their newfound kin, must flee again.

Their starship, powered by the M'hir, follows a course set long ago, for Clan abilities came from an experiment of their ancestors - the Hoveny - conducted on themselves. but it's a perilous journey. The Clan must endure more than cramped conditions and inner turmoil.

Their dead are calling.

Sira must keep her people from answering, for if they do, they die. Morgan searches the ship for solutions, afraid the Hoveny tech is beyond his grasp. Their only hope? To reach their destination.

Little do Sira and Morgan realize it is their destination that holds the gravest threat of all...

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780756408701

Also by this author: Reap the Wild Wind, Riders of the Storm, Rift in the Sky, A Thousand Words for Stranger, Ties of Power, To Trade the Stars, This Gulf of Time and Stars, Julie E. Czerneda Interview (#futurespasttour), Guest Post (Web Shifters series) by Julie E. Czerneda, Guest Post: Julie E. Czerneda (Clan Chronicles Finale Tour), To Guard Against the Dark

Also in this series: This Gulf of Time and Stars, To Guard Against the Dark


Genres: Science Fiction


Published by DAW Books

on 6th September, 2016

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 416

 Published By: DAW Books (@DAWBooks)
an imprint of Penguin Group USA

Cover art by Matt Stawicki | Site | Facebook

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Series Synopsis and Overview:

The Clan Chronicles is set in a far future with interstellar travel where the Trade Pact encourages peaceful commerce among a multitude of alien and Human worlds. The alien Clan, humanoid in appearance, have been living in secrecy and wealth on Human worlds, relying on their innate ability to move through the M’hir and bypass normal space. The Clan bred to increase that power, only to learn its terrible price: females who can’t help but kill prospective mates. Sira di Sarc is the first female of her kind facing that reality. With the help of a Human starship captain, Jason Morgan, Sira must find a morally acceptable solution before it’s too late. But with the Clan exposed, her time is running out. The Stratification trilogy follows Sira’s ancestor, Aryl Sarc, and shows how their power first came to be as well as how the Clan came to live in the Trade Pact. The Trade Pact trilogy is the story of Sira and Morgan, and the trouble facing the Clan.

Reunification will conclude the series and answer, at last, #whoaretheclan.

Available Formats: Hardcover, Paperback and Ebook

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.

About Julie E. Czerneda

Julie E. Czerneda Photo Credit: Roger Czerneda Photography

Since 1997, Canadian author/editor Julie E. Czerneda has shared her love and curiosity about living things through her science fiction, writing about shapechanging semi-immortals, terraformed worlds, salmon researchers, and the perils of power. Her fourteenth novel from DAW Books was her debut fantasy, A Turn of Light, winner of the 2014 Aurora Award for Best English Novel, and now Book One of her Night`s Edge series.

She began her first fantasy series: Night’s Edge with A Turn of Light, winner of the 2014 Aurora Award for Best English Novel. A Play of Shadow followed, winning the 2015 Aurora. While there’ll be more fantasy, Julie’s back in science fiction to complete her Clan Chronicles series. Reunification #1: This Gulf of Time and Stars, came out in 2015. #2: The Gate to Futures Past released September, 2016. Volume #3: To Guard Against the Dark, follows October 2017.

An award-winning editor as well, Julie’s edited/co-edited sixteen anthologies of SF/F, including the Aurora winning Space Inc. and Under Cover of Darkness. Her most recent anthology is the 2017 Nebula Award Showcase, published May 2017, a singular honour.

Next out will be an anthology of original stories set in her Clan Chronicles series: Tales from Plexis, out in 2018. When not jumping between wonderful blogs, Julie’s at work on something very special: her highly anticipated new Esen novel, Search Image (Fall 2018).

Biography updated November 2017
Photo Credit: Roger Czerneda Photography

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Posted Thursday, 8 September, 2016 by jorielov in #FuellYourSciFi, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Cover | Original Illustration & Design, Book Review (non-blog tour), Canadian Literature, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Equality In Literature, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Hard Science Fiction, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Methodology of Writing Science Fiction & Fantasy, Neurosciences | Neurogenetics, Parapsychological Gifts, Quantum | Mechanics Physics Theory, Science Fantasy, Science Fiction, Self-Harm Practices, Space Opera, Speculative Fiction, String Theory, Telepaths & Telepathy, Unexpected Pregnancy

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