Category: Military Fiction

A #PubDay #RomanceTuesdays feat. #HarlequinHeartwarming | “The Soldier’s Unexpected Family” (Book Three of the Hollydale series) by Tanya Agler

Posted Tuesday, 9 March, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

#RomanceTuesdays badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I 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 “The Soldier’s Unexpected Family” direct from the author Tanya Agler in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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*waves!* Hallo, Hallo dear hearts,

I wanted to preface my review this #RomanceTuesdays with a quick s/o and note to my readers & regular visitors alike – THANK YOU for visiting with me during February – as it became quite the epic month of CHANGE & TRANSITIONS for my family and I. I had meant to compose a Sunday Post about it all – however, to be honest, I’ve been having trouble with bouts of fatigue and exhaustion; this is the first week we’re I’m rested and able to get back to my blog – really *back!* on the blog, reading, composing my thoughts and rejoining the book blogging community I’ve loved being a part of for the past eight years come the 31st of March!! (in just a few short weeks – its my blogoversary!)

You’ll start to see more regularity again – on Jorie Loves A Story and on my social feeds – what better way to ‘come back’ than to come back and celebrate a favourite imprint by a publisher whose been giving me wicked good Romance reads! (big smiles) I’m working on the draft for that Sunday Post I kept mentioning in February – which should go live *this!* Sunday whilst I have announcements for #WyrdAndWonder (follow us via @WyrdAndWonder on Twitter), the RAL for ‘Unconquerable Sun’ I’m hosting throughout April via the community of @SciFiMonth (#SciFiMonth) and lots of bits and bobbles of life ‘behind the blog’ as well.

Bless you for your patience in me, for your comments & lovely notes you’ve been leaving me on my posts and for giving me a chance to sort out some of the changes in my life but still visiting with me as I was able to surface and share some new posts, blog tours & a wicked #TopTenTuesday all Janeites would be proud to watch (ie. it was a vlog interview!)

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

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

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comWhy I loved my introduction into Hollydale:

Happily read through my Harlequin Heartwarming archives!

It was hard not to burst into a proper fit of giggles when you first meet Lucie – if it weren’t for the seriousness of her situation and the hard-won luck she was providing for herself and her kids, it would have been a cracker of an opening! Plus, honestly – it just proved that whenever you think you are juggling all the chaos in your life, sometimes life has a way of giving you a bit more than you bargained after and proving that sometimes you just can’t lock it all down ahead of time! I loved how Agler gave us this comfortable opening to the novel – as it was a very relaxed start to the story whilst at the same time, it was full of cheeky humour lit round the edges!

I loved the tender moments Agler created between the twins, Mattie and Ethan with their Mum, Lucie as she gave you this wonderful warm home and hearth setting wherein a young family was patchworking their way into a better tomorrow. The young twins respected each other and their Mum, whilst they also had quite a large collection of animals to care after which gave you a burst of smiles because of how eclectic they were in species! It was the kind of home where you’d feel comfortable on your first visit and might not want to leave too quickly because of how engaging the family was to everyone who graced their home. It was a wonderful burst of life and love and I loved discovering this side of Agler’s writing style.

Ooh my dear stars! Caleb’s Mum stole the show for me! And, I loved her for it!! She had the most to lose and the most to gain but in the artful way Agler chose to give us a winning scene wherein Tina herself became the champion of her own story was the best moment of A Ranger for the Twins! It bespoke to the underlying theme of the story – about family, redemption and second chances – about rebuilding a life after the ashes have erased the past and of having the faithfulness of believing in the beauty of tomorrow! Ooh my goodness, what a wonderful toasting of mercy and the beautiful ways in which you can find yourself redeemed!

I definitely have found a new series to keep my eyes on for Heartwarming! I know this series isn’t officially named or even declared but for me, Hollydale is my new favourite small towne I can’t wait to revisit!! Here’s to more installments and more lives being healed and restored through Agler’s vision for her growing community where hearts and lives intersect with a lot of love and hope! Agler has a style for Contemporary Romance which is smooth as key lime pie and as charmingly lovely to read as a cool Autumn afternoon.

-quoted from my review for A Ranger for the Twins

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

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A #PubDay #RomanceTuesdays feat. #HarlequinHeartwarming | “The Soldier’s Unexpected Family” (Book Three of the Hollydale series) by Tanya AglerThe Soldier's Unexpected Family
by Tanya Agler
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

He had a plan…
She changed it all!

Major Aidan Murphy arrives in the charming small town of Hollydale to take full guardianship of his six-year-old nephew. Only there’s a slight problem—his vivacious, fiery co-guardian. School teacher Natalie Harrison has no intention of letting Aidan take her best friend’s heartbroken little boy away. Now Aidan must convince Natalie that blood is stronger than love…even if his heart tells him otherwise.

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


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335179807

Also by this author: A Ranger for the Twins

Also in this series: A Ranger for the Twins


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 9th March, 2021

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

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

The Hollydale series:

The Sheriff’s Second Chance (book one) – Mike and Georgie’s story

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

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

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

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

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

Formats Available: Paperback* and Ebook

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

Converse via: #TanyaAgler and #HarlequinHeartwarming

About Tanya Agler

Tanya Agler

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

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

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Posted Tuesday, 9 March, 2021 by jorielov in #RomanceTuesdays, 21st Century, Adoption, Blog Tour Host, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, Contemporary Romance, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Life Shift, Mental Health, Military Fiction, Modern Day, Mother-Son Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, North Carolina, Orphans & Guardians, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Single Fathers, Single Mothers, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Social Services

Blog Book Tour | the sequel to “The Secret Heir’ takes us further into the back-story of King David in the pages of “The Runaway Heir” (Book Two: of the Saga of David and Secret Heir series) by Janice Broyles

Posted Tuesday, 14 January, 2020 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! HFVBTs is one of the very first touring companies I started working with as a 1st Year Book Blogger – uniting my love and passion with Historical Fiction and the lovely sub-genres inside which I love devouring. Whether I am reading selections from Indie Authors & publishers to Major Trade and either from mainstream or INSPY markets – I am finding myself happily residing in the Historical past each year I am a blogger.

What I have been thankful for all these years since 2013 is the beautiful blessing of discovering new areas of Historical History to explore through realistically compelling Historical narratives which put me on the front-lines of where History and human interest stories interconnect. It has also allowed me to dive deeper into the historic past and root out new decades, centuries and millenniums to explore. For this and the stories themselves which are part of the memories I cherish most as a book blogger I am grateful to be a part of the #HFVBTBlogTours blogger team.

I received a complimentary of “The Runsaway Heir” direct from the author Janice Broyles 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.com

What I enjoyed from the first installment of this trilogy:

I found the first meeting between David and Michal to be a humbling one – David hadn’t been granted instruction on what his role to the King (ie. King Saul) was meant to look like nor was he given any encouraging words of advice except to play his music. It is here where Broyles shared a passage from Psalms (and I admit, I love Psalms!) which related to the musical interlude. To his credit, David has a lot of strength and courage in his young heart – he is used to being shrugged off and mistreated by his family, to find his bravery at court amongst the King felt like he was truly embracing the gift he had received from on High; as he wasn’t rationally reasoning his visit here – he was choosing to go with the flow and to embrace whatever came his way.

Curiously there appeared to be a disconnect between David and his father – of how the son was trying to grow into a measure of worth befitting a man who was anointed with an important position in the future whereas the father used that secreted honour as a rite of fuell to dismantle his son’s spirit if he could break him with his fist. Why his father was so aggrieved against David from the beginning is unknown (at least at this junction) and what was hard to accept in the context of his story is how without his fellow shepherds he would have been cast out completely alone.

One of the areas of the novel I enjoyed the most were the nuanced moments between the events – where Broyles gives us a glimpse into the ordinary hours each of her characters might have lived and thereby extending the situations we might have read about through the Scriptures (of the Bible). These little tucked in moments give more breadth to whom we’re reading about – seeing Michal trying to round out her knowledge of the lyre (the instrument David plays), the vexations of her sister Merab not willing to ‘let go’ of the idea of love and the cunningly discouraging way their mother tried to continue to scheme and plan behind the sisters’ back; all showed how their lives were not as you’d have hoped and their trials were wide and deep.

You can understand how Michal and David fell in love with each other – they were both facing circumstances outside their control with parents who cared little about their individual needs and more about what they could leverage out of them. This sparked a connection between them where they each forged a bond with someone who was walking the same life and felt equally as miserable for the experience. It was here where Broyles knits the story closer to your heart because you can feel the emotional tidalwaves within each of them – they are torn between duty, honour and loyalty against what in their world is considered the weaker option of voicing their own mind. They were taught to obey and never to question their orders and yet, here they were given the chance to break through those structured barriers most of their age were living behind and had the opportunity to see each other on equal ground. Fittingly because Michal drew a connection with David, you saw for the first time she was starting to understand her sister Merab and the choices she was making in her own life.

Sadly for David – there were people conspiring against him and with the King’s own suspicious mind already in play, he barely had a chance to carve out his own life to live before everything fell at his feet in regards to the trust and loyalty he had previously secured. David in this installment of the trilogy is learning the harder lessons about supposition and rumour; how someone can turn against a person as quickly as they can be ordered to be killed. David’s truer strength is his faith in God and how he felt he was being led into the battles of his life. He drew strength out of prayer and song; giving himself to the hope of what his faith would yield in moments of intensive adversity where mercy was warranted. And, yet – there are those other moments where your heart nearly breaks for how futile his actions were to prove his worth and he was against a King who had already gone insane.

Throughout this first novel, we get to sneak into David, Merab and Michal’s lives – we get to get a more intimate portrait of what was going on at the time of the events History has been recorded to peer closer to the choices they were each facing given out by people who had control over them. It wasn’t a life of free choice and personal freedoms but it was a life they each fought to live – on their own terms but within a system which was organised against their will. Where the drama bridges the gap between what you previously knew about these people and what can become better inferred through this novel is where Broyles excelled at giving us a living portrait of life during the century where fate, love and enduring hope collided with destined prophecy.

-quoted from my review of The Secret Heir

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Blog Book Tour | the sequel to “The Secret Heir’ takes us further into the back-story of King David in the pages of “The Runaway Heir” (Book Two: of the Saga of David and Secret Heir series) by Janice BroylesThe Runaway Heir
Subtitle: Sequel to The Secret Heir
by Janice Broyles
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

In Ancient Palestine, Michal, a young Israeli princess, marries the man she loves, but it comes with a high price. She must spy on him and report back to her father, the notorious King Saul. Michal hopes her father will forget his animosity toward the giant-killing David, and that she and David can finally live a life of peace together.

Unfortunately, her father comes to collect on Michal’s promise, and she is forced to choose between betraying her father or her husband. Her decision launches her life on a path she never expected. Michal and David are ripped apart for eight years. One is forced into a loveless second marriage, the other is forced to run for his life. If they can survive the vengeful King Saul, they may have a chance at restoring their love. But a lot can change in eight years, and Michal and David are not the same as they once were.

Genres: Biblical Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1734100808

Also by this author: Guest Post | Janice Broyles, The Secret Heir

Also in this series: The Secret Heir


Published by Late November Literary

on 1st October, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 333

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The Saga of David and Secret Heir series series:

The Secret Heir by Janice BroylesThe Runaway Heir by Janice Broyles

The Secret Heir (book one) | see also Review

The Runaway Heir (book two)

→ The Anointed Heir (book three) *forthcoming release!

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Published by: Late November Literary

Converse via: #HistFic or #HistNov; #KingDavid
+ #Biblical #HistoricalFictionand  #HFVBTBlogTours

Available Formats: Trade paperback and Ebook

About Janice Broyles

Janice Broyles

Janice Broyles is an award-winning author. She resides in Winston Salem, North Carolina, where she teaches at a local college. She spends the majority of her free time researching history and retelling fantastical stories. Luckily her husband and two sons understand her passion for history and making stories come alive.

When not researching or writing, Janice Broyles enjoys spending time with her family and hanging out with her close circle of friends. The Runaway Heir is the second book to her David saga. The Secret Heir, released in 2018, is the first novel of the series.The Anointed Heir, the third book in the series, is set to be released by the end of 2020. Janice enjoys spending time with her husband of 23 years and their two sons and one dog.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Tuesday, 14 January, 2020 by jorielov in 1020s BC, 11th Century BC, 2nd Millennium BC, Ancient Civilisation, Ancient Israel, Biblical Fiction, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host, Father-Daughter Relationships, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, History, Important Figures of Ancient Times, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, King Saul, Military Fiction

#HistoricalMondays Book Review | “The Secret Heir (Book One: of the Saga of David and Secret Heir series) by Janice Broyles

Posted Monday, 13 January, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#HistoricalMondays blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! HFVBTs is one of the very first touring companies I started working with as a 1st Year Book Blogger – uniting my love and passion with Historical Fiction and the lovely sub-genres inside which I love devouring. Whether I am reading selections from Indie Authors & publishers to Major Trade and either from mainstream or INSPY markets – I am finding myself happily residing in the Historical past each year I am a blogger.

What I have been thankful for all these years since 2013 is the beautiful blessing of discovering new areas of Historical History to explore through realistically compelling Historical narratives which put me on the front-lines of where History and human interest stories interconnect. It has also allowed me to dive deeper into the historic past and root out new decades, centuries and millenniums to explore. For this and the stories themselves which are part of the memories I cherish most as a book blogger I am grateful to be a part of the #HFVBTBlogTours blogger team.

I received a complimentary of “The Secret Heir” direct from the author Janice Broyles 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.com

Why I wanted to read “The Secret Heir”:

I’ve had an interest in seeking out more Biblical Historical Fiction for the past few years – as each of us walks a life of faith and were raised in Protestant Christianity approach how we read the Bible differently. For me, I had hoped there were more ‘stories’ of the people in the Bible, more background on their lives & their everyday worlds; a more intimate portrait truly of how they lived not only reflected their character but of the ongoing changes in society and the world which was evolving forward from where it first began. There was a lot of change in Biblical times – especially when it came to power & to how those in power used theirs to manipulate events and/or cause harm rather than good.

This is why I’ve been seeking out either INSPY Non-Fiction which seeks to give you an easier way to digest the ‘biographical’ histories of the people of the Bible or INSPY Historical Fiction which in of itself is a beautiful new niche of joy for me because all the reasons I enjoy seeking out mainstream #HistFic are lovingly transferred over into the INSPY side of the ledger! This is where you can draw a more interpersonal view of the people you have heard about by name but perhaps never fully connected with previously? Similar to why you might feel curiously inclined to read any other Historical narrative – to step through the threshold of time and recapture a bit of the essence of not just the timestamp on the time machine but also the people who lived through those eras & generations.

Although I’ve known about King David, I can’t say I felt close to his story or to Michal. When I first read the premise of this novel, I did feel a bit cautious about reading it as I was worried about the levels of intensity when it comes to the more graphic way ‘some writers’ of Biblical Historical Fiction & mainstream Historical narratives take the reader back into a world which was a bit more brutal than any of us really realised.

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I elected to reach out to the author via HFVBTs
and asked a particular question regarding the content of the novel/series:

I know it’s Christian Historical Fiction but I’ve sometimes become burnt on this anyway – is this considered violently graphic or does she round off the harder edges of the violence and/or is it just suggested but never truly depicted? I wanted to ask this because as said sometimes I get burnt on what I am reading.

Broyles responded:

Yes, it is a clean read, but yes, there is violence. The books are retellings of David, and he was often at war or in battles, so there are scenes where that is depicted. Everything connects with the Bible though (and there’s a lot of violence in Scripture). I try not to go overboard, but there is some in there. The books are clean, as in there is no swearing, sex, or anything close to it. I’ve had a lot of conservative readers write great reviews.
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With this kind response, I felt I could handle the content within the context of the story and moved forward to host the blog tour. I am grateful I had the opportunity to begin this series from the beginning within “The Secret Heir” as I wanted to truly understand where we find David in the series and how his life leading up to his anointment was affecting the future we know of him better.

I decided to share this Q&A with my readers in case you had similar concerns about what you might find within the novel. I like to be transparent about how I make my own choices in literature & if something I’ve learnt can help another reader make better choices in their readerly lives, I feel better for the transparency. As otherwise, how would any of us know what we can handle or not handle!? This is why I love the book blogosphere and other bloggers who are being openly honest about the stories their reading & the content that either is agreeable for them as a reader or has some triggering effects which ought to be noted in case other readers shared the same response.

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#HistoricalMondays Book Review | “The Secret Heir (Book One: of the Saga of David and Secret Heir series) by Janice BroylesThe Secret Heir
Subtitle: A young man - anointed to be King - must first survive the king already on the throne.
by Janice Broyles
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Years before, he was anointed future king of Israel. Now if the sitting king learns of his secret, it will mean death for David and everyone in his family. David’s secret destiny becomes more complicated when he falls in love with King Saul’s daughter, Michal. He will do whatever it takes to secure her heart, provided she doesn’t find out that David is the rumored rival to her father’s throne.

Now that Michal is of age, the Queen determines her daughter must be married as soon as possible. Michal resigns herself to a pre-arranged marriage with a man she does not love. Then by fate or God’s providence she meets the handsome, young lyre player standing outside her father’s chambers.

One lives in a palace; the other sleeps under the stars. Though they come from vastly different worlds, Michal and David are drawn together. When King Saul uncovers David’s secret and vows to kill him, Michal is torn between her love for her father and feelings for David. Two kings, two men she deeply loves but for different reasons — one heart broken in two.

Genres: Biblical Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781946016539

Also by this author: Guest Post | Janice Broyles, The Runaway Heir

Also in this series: The Runaway Heir


Published by Heritage Beacon Fiction

on 11th July, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 286

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Saga of David and Secret Heir series series:

The Secret Heir by Janice BroylesThe Runaway Heir by Janice Broyles

The Secret Heir (book one)

The Runaway Heir (book two)

→ The Anointed Heir (book three) *forthcoming release!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Published by: Heritage Beacon Fiction (@heritagefiction)
an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas (@LPCTweets)

Converse via: #HistFic or #HistNov; #KingDavid
+ #Biblical #HistoricalFictionand  #HFVBTBlogTours

Available Formats: Trade paperback and Ebook

About Janice Broyles

Janice Broyles

Janice Broyles is an award-winning author. She resides in Winston Salem, North Carolina, where she teaches at a local college. She spends the majority of her free time researching history and retelling fantastical stories. Luckily her husband and two sons understand her passion for history and making stories come alive.

When not researching or writing, Janice Broyles enjoys spending time with her family and hanging out with her close circle of friends. The Runaway Heir is the second book to her David saga. The Secret Heir, released in 2018, is the first novel of the series.The Anointed Heir, the third book in the series, is set to be released by the end of 2020. Janice enjoys spending time with her husband of 23 years and their two sons and one dog.

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 13 January, 2020 by jorielov in 1020s BC, 11th Century BC, 2nd Millennium BC, Ancient Civilisation, Ancient Israel, Biblical Fiction, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host, Father-Daughter Relationships, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, History, Important Figures of Ancient Times, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, King Saul, Military Fiction

Author Interview featuring the debut war drama “Royal Beauty Bright” (A Novel of WWI) by Ryan Byrnes

Posted Friday, 8 November, 2019 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva

Good afternoon, dear hearts!

I read a very stirring war drama set against the back-drop of WWI this week, wherein it hinges itself to the very real Christmas miracle those men experienced during the first Christmas season of the war. It has become a story etched through various outlets of how a story can be told – from novels to films, but Byrnes took a new approach – where he placed a man with special needs (he has Autism) on the front lines and showed how sometimes in the middle of a war, the people you grew up with in a small community might hold the keys to your survival.

Today, I am warmly welcoming this debut Historical Fiction novelist to my blog, as I had some questions to ask him about his writing craft and the story itself. I wanted to find out a few details ‘behind the debut’ which might also be of interest to my readers and those visitors who are following the blog tour route – to see what has inspired this story to be told in the way it was published. It was a rather unique read – you find yourself shifting points of view from the past when Luther was growing up with Rodney to the present, where they are in the height of the conflict in No Man’s Land.

It is gruelingly realistic from that perspective but Byrnes tempers what he visually shows you with the humanistic side of how brother to brother, those men helped each other through the worst of it. It is a character driven plot and you find yourself drawn into how their lives have remained interconnected despite the fact they each have grown up into their lives and careers.

To shift the perspective off the battlefield – Byrnes hugged us close to those who were living outside the battles but were closer still to the war than we were stateside. These were the families left behind in the ruts of what was left behind to be found in the townes, cities and harbours where supplies could be loaded and unloaded; where replacements could be housed or routed through – where everyday life was half stalled due to the war and progressively moving forward all the same. Byrnes gives out the smaller details – of how these communities had to harden themselves against the war itself and of making their children feel less fearful of the changes – as they constantly had to re-direct their focus and attention off what was happening round them into something resembling the normalcy their lives had lost. It was a humbling moment where a writer offset the front by showing what ordinary Mums and grandmothers were doing to do their bit in keeping the younger generations shielded as best they could be from the realities crowding into their childhoods.

The best moment I felt where Byrnes showed how Mums raising special needs children assert their power and strength to those in authority who do not respect them is how Mrs Baker (Luther and Jim’s Mum) gave that Doctor a bit of a run for his money! I would have hoped it would have affected his approach to his doctoring of others but something told me he was as closed minded as they come and given the era he lived, it might be expected but it is never easy to read.

The most gutting scene of course is what happened to Rodney in No Man’s Land and I was thankful for how Byrnes approached writing the scene itself. It could have become more visually graphic and more gruesome to read – but the way he depicted that incident – it was poetic in how it gave conscience thought to what your thinking about in those heightened moments of trauma and how if you were a person who felt obligated to protect someone – how in your own moment of crisis, your thoughts are not your own and there is something else protecting you from the pain which was surely buckling your resolve.

Rodney was raised in the same village as Luther – though the two were never quite close, their Mums were more distant themselves. Yet, here at war, Rodney had taken a kindness on Luther and had vowed to watch over the man – this is why this was difficult to read, as whenever you begin a war drama it is a bit like re-embarking through the Titanic exhibit – not knowing which ticket you’re holding in your hands – First Class or Third; what that foretells of your destiny had you been the person whose ticket is now yours for the day. You have to take it step by step and work through the story because that is what is pivotal – how everyone becomes connected to everyone else and how without understand the invisible lines which connect us, they are dearly important to respect.

The further you move into the context of Royal Beauty Bright the more you understand how this is a generational montage of persons who grew up in the same small community and found themselves at war at the same location of each other and all of them were inter-connected through Luther. They shared a similar history of knowledge of his character and in many ways, had interactions with him in a previous life before the war itself had overtaken their lives. In this regard, the novel is a time shift – where you move from the present moments at the front of the war itself and then you re-shift backwards by a few decades to reach into their past, to see how they first interacted with each other and how that laid down the foundation of how they would become reconnected in the future. To bridge into the theory that for every person you meet in life it is unknown whom of which might become the most important person you need to know lateron.

-quoted from my review of Royal Beauty Bright

As you can see, Byrnes has written a dramatic war drama which puts you close to the war but re-focuses your attention on the men and women who were directly afflicted by that war. It is also a partial Epistolary novel on the level that there are a healthy collection of letters and correspondences which are also important in the context of the story.

If you haven’t had the chance to read this novel, I am hopeful you might find interest in either what I’ve shared on my review and/or inside this insightful interview with the author. Be sure to brew yourself a cuppa and find a comfy chair to enjoy what we’ve conversed about in regards to “Royal Beauty Bright”!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Author Interview featuring the debut war drama “Royal Beauty Bright” (A Novel of WWI) by Ryan ByrnesRoyal Beauty Bright
Subtitle: A Novel of World War I
by Ryan Byrnes

Genres: Historical Fiction, War Drama


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781943075607

Also by this author: Royal Beauty Bright

Published by Blank Slate Press

on 5th November, 2019

Pages: 304

Published by: Blank Slate Press (@blankslatepress)
an imprint of Amphorae Publishing (@amphoraepub)

Read the story behind this women and veteran owned publishing company

Converse via: #HistoricalFiction, #HistFic or #HistNov
+ #WWI war drama and  #HFVBTBlogTours

Available Formats: Trade paperback and Ebook

About Ryan Byrnes

Ryan Byrnes

Ryan Byrnes is a St. Louis native. His first foray into writing was founding the publishing imprint, Avency Press, where he wrote one illustrated chapter book, The Adventures of Wheatail, and four young adult fantasy novels in the Son of Time series.

Since then, he has worked with a publishing company, a literary agency, and various aspiring writers seeking to self-publish. Ryan now lives in Iowa as a student in mechanical engineering and English. Between work hours, he builds Mars Rovers with his roommates, plays with cats, and watches Wes Anderson movies.

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Posted Friday, 8 November, 2019 by jorielov in 20th Century, Blog Tour Host, During WWI, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, History, Mary Todd Lincoln, Military Families of the Deployed, Military Fiction, The World Wars, War Drama