Category: Military Families of the Deployed

Book Review | “Those Who Remain: Remembrance and Reunion After War” by Ruth W. Crocker

Posted Monday, 2 November, 2015 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I was approached to read a different book than the one I asked to read, as the original choice the publicist made for me didn’t feel like a good fit, to be honest. I asked to receive “Those Who Remain” because I have a strong connection to the war eras as I regularly read war dramas and historical fiction set during this period; yet I do not often think to pick up a work of non-fiction that is connected to the eras. I was thankful I could step out of my comfort zone and read a creative non-fiction account set during the Vietnam War. I received a complimentary copy of the “Those Who Remain” direct from the publicist at Claire McKinney Public Relations, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why letters and correspondences interest me within a story of a war drama:

Oft-times letters and correspondences are all that will remain after a war between wives and husbands; daughters and fathers; sons and mothers, etc. as war is an uncertain time of unforeseeable tragedy. The words etched into postcards, pieces of paper or scribbled onto napkins or other bits of mail become a lasting tribute to not only the person who gave those words to their loved ones but to the receiver who knew a bit of their thoughts before they passed. Not everyone perishes at war, but for the families who lose their relatives, the sudden separation and the lack of a proper good-bye is mind-numbingly anguishing for many years.

When it comes to reading war dramas in fiction, I appreciate the writers who fuse history and fact into their stories, but also allow a breath of connection between those at the front and those back home. Finding letters caught inside the tethers of a war drama is one way to anchour me into that story because of how important those letters were in reality. I read quite a lot of war dramas per year, but I also appreciate certain tv serials who augment the same connections I find in their fictional counterparts such as Foyle’s War and As Time Goes By. The latter had the plot focused on a missing letter which was never delivered and thus, became the impetus of how a soldier and a nurse reunited years later in their golden years.

The novel which illuminated the necessity for correspondence at war the best, I felt, was Letters from Skye a novel writ around the letters themselves; taking me to a new vein of reality of how a novel can be told. Reviewing this novel twice was a way I could give the author a second note of gratitude for how convicting her story moved my emotional heart.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Book Review | “Those Who Remain: Remembrance and Reunion After War” by Ruth W. CrockerThose Who Remain
Subtitle: Remembrance and Reunion After War
by Ruth W. Crocker
Source: Direct from Publisher

She was 23 years old when she was widowed by war and rather than bury her husband in his coffin, she buried every memory of their brief life together. Forty years later she exhumed the grave and came to terms with her loss and her grief.

Nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2013 writer-teacher-actress Ruth W. Crocker brings her journey of love, loss, and inspiration to the page in her beautiful memoir THOSE WHO REMAIN: Remembrance and Reunion after War (Elm Grove Press).

Sometimes the reaction to loss is anger along with the need to be reckless and to search for meaning in what has happened. In THOSE WHO REMAIN, Ruth W. Crocker was propelled by her complex emotions at the time. On the one hand she needed to close the door on her previous life, and on the other she wanted to pay tribute to her husband's memory and escape from her grief. To this end she hiked up to the treacherous North Face of the Eiger, the most notorious mountain in the Swiss Alps, to spread her husband's ashes at the top of the climb they were supposed to do together.

Weaving her beautifully-written recollections with diary entries, letters between her and her husband, and conversations with his comrades, Ruth gives readers an intimate glimpse into the life of a woman who faced her fears and braved the forces of nature to learn that she could survive anything that came her way. A unique true story of grief and recovery with a surprising revelation, THOSE WHO REMAIN demonstrates the tenacious will of the human spirit to heal.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781940863009

Genres: Memoir, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, War Drama

Published by Elm Grove Press

on 13th May 2014

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 294

Published by: Elm Grove Press 

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Ruth W. Crocker

Ruth W. Crocker

Ruth W. Crocker, PhD, is a 2013 Pushcart Prize nominated author, writing consultant, and expert on recovery from trauma and personal tragedy. Her memoir Those Who Remain: Remembrance and Reunion After War describes her experience following her husband’s death in Vietnam and how she found resources for healing.

Crocker’s essays have been recognized in Best American Essays and her articles have been
featured in the Gettysburg Review, Grace Magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, O-Dark-Thirty, and T.A.P.S. Magazine.

She received an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Bennington College, a PhD in Nutrition and Human Development from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Education from Tufts University. Along the way she also became a Registered Dietitian.

Crocker worked in health care administration and clinical nutrition before becoming a full-time writer. Currently, she is the Writer-In-Residence at Riverlight Wellness Center in Stonington, Connecticut, where she teaches the art of writing memoirs and personal essays to aspiring writers who want to express their own stories. She lives, cooks, and writes in Mystic, Connecticut.

Why the past (and the memories carried therein) can rekindle hope and our humanity’s will towards accepting grace:

There is a point in the story where Crocker mentions the true blessing of living histories (what my family refers to as the stories of our relatives and relations throughout our ancestral past) where we become tethered to our family through the living memories of people who lived before our own time. Sometimes these can be peppered with your living relatives recollections of their lives in the decades before your birth, but generally speaking, it’s a way to keep a tangible impression of your family’s journey through time refreshed and known for the generations who are coming down the line.

I appreciated these stories because they clarified a few finer points of the historical past where I found a bit of fault with lessons in school; as I was being given a wider picture than the option only to recount facts and tidbits someone else deemed worthy of my attention. In a conversation on Twitter earlier in 2015 (believe during #HistoricalFix; follow @HistoricalFix), it was mentioned that if historical fiction was taught in school (especially the authors of today or yesterday who conduct such impressive research to ground their stories) we would have a whole new appreciation for history as a whole. I tend to agree with this sentiment whole-heartedly because when the ‘past’ comes alive for me as I read a novel, it is a kind reminder of how much the past was ‘alive’ for me through the stories of my family. We have a need to make connections whilst we’re alive, it’s not only how we process information and keep a stronghold of knowledge vibrant and a part of who we are, it’s a way of how we internalise what we’re experiencing.

If we start to forget to share the stories, we will soon find ourselves without a path towards reacquiring the hope of where we’ve been and the joy of where we are about to venture forward next. Read More


Posted Monday, 2 November, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, #NonFictionFriday, 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Based on an Actual Event &/or Court Case, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Claire McKinney Public Relations, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Equality In Literature, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, History, Indie Author, Memoir, Military Families of the Deployed, Non-Fiction, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Quakers, Special Needs Children, Story knitted out of Ancestral Data, The Vietnam War, Travel the World in Books, War Widow, War-time Romance, Warfare & Power Realignment

Blog Book Tour | “Callahan Crossroads” by Anola Pickett

Posted Sunday, 19 July, 2015 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Cedar Fort whereupon I am thankful to have such a diverse amount of novels and non-fiction titles to choose amongst to host. I received a complimentary copy of “Callahan Crossroads” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Blog Book Tour | “Callahan Crossroads” by Anola PickettCallahan Crossroads
by Anola Pickett
Source: Direct from Publisher

Grown-ups said us kids could help our country win. Eat more corn. Give up sugar. Buy thrift stamps. Collect prune pits. But after a whole year doing this sissy stuff, we still hadn't won.

I wasn't old enough to enlist, so this summer I'd do something dangerous. Something tough and brave.

Twelve-year-old George's family won't take him seriously. He's ready to fight like a man on the front lines of the Great War, but instead he gets stuck on the home front, with nothing more exciting to do than look out for his younger sisters and elderly neighbour, Mrs. Schmitt.

But with no sign of victory in Europe, things are getting more and more tense at home, especially after George's older brother makes a startling announcement.

Set in 1918 Kansas City, this old-fashioned family drama brings you to the heart of America in World War I. Issue-driven and entertaining, it's a coming-of-age story that will resonate with readers today.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Genres: Children's Literature, Middle Grade, War Drama, Historical Fiction

Published by Sweetwater Books

on 14th July, 2015

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 192

Published By: Sweetwater Books (@SweetwaterBooks),
an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFortBooks)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #CallahanCrossroads + #AnolaPickett

About Anola Pickett

Anola Pickett is a Kansas City native, and although she’s lived in Chicago, St. Louis and Massachusetts, she’s always come back home. The oldest of six children, she grew up in a family that emphasized the importance of reading and education. She began writing stories in the third grade and went on to become a teacher and school librarian. Now retired from the classroom, she devotes a big part of her day to writing and research for historical novels for young readers. She especially prizes the stories her parents and grandmother told about their growing-up years in Kansas City.

Pickett enjoys school and library visits to talk about her books and about the craft of writing. She and her husband Peter Doyle enjoy traveling, especially to Hong Kong, where they visit their son and daughter-in-law and a beautiful red-haired granddaughter!

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

Posted Sunday, 19 July, 2015 by jorielov in 20th Century, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Brothers and Sisters, Bullies and the Bullied, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Childhood Friendship, Children's Literature, Coming-Of Age, Disillusionment in Marriage, Divorce & Martial Strife, Domestic Violence, During WWI, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Juvenile Fiction, Literature for Boys, Middle Grade Novel, Military Families of the Deployed, Mother-Son Relationships, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Prejudicial Bullying & Non-Tolerance, Realistic Fiction, Siblings, Small Towne USA, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, the Nineteen Hundreds, The World Wars, War Drama, Warfare & Power Realignment, Women's Rights

Book Review | “Meant To Be” by Jessica James A military romance

Posted Sunday, 14 June, 2015 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to review “Meant to Be” by JKS Communications: A Literary Publicity Firm. JKS is the first publicity firm I started working with when I launched Jorie Loves A Story in August, 2013. I am honoured to continue to work with them now as a 2nd Year Book Blogger. I received my complimentary ARC copy of Meant to Be direct from JKS Communications in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

On reading military fiction:

I have blogged off and on about my appreciation for military fiction, especially when I have picked up a military-based novel; the stories which still stand out to me the most will be included in a link section below this review. If you visit one of those reviews, I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts on those pages as much as seeing your reactions to this review in the comment threads. I definitely encourage commentary on my bookish blog, as conversations are the heart of what makes reading such a wicked awesome adventure! Sharing our thoughts and collectively conversing about topics within the stories is part of the happiness I’ve had throughout my reading life.

One thing that has stood the test of time for me, is how harrowing a life the servicemen and women face each day they are deployed and protecting us back home. They have a self-sacrifice approach to service, whereupon they put the lives of the rest of us ahead of their own. In my own family, I have had great-grandfathers serving in the Civil War and throughout the 20th Century I have had either a grand-parent serving overseas or family members who took up civilian service to help those back home. Including an Auntie who was in the USO and I followed her legacy by giving back to deployed soldiers via Soldiers Angels between 2011 and 2013. I would like to pick up where I left off and become active with Wounded Warrior Project as well as local charities helping veterans.

I appreciate reading the stories writers are giving to us to read where honour, trust, and a truism of voice is being given to the servicemen and women in their narratives. Before I found Jessica James, I became familiar with Jocelyn Green‘s collective works on the Civil War, wherein I decided not to read her novels because of following her blog visits during 2013 and 2014, I noticed the medical bits were a bit too much for me to handle. My admiration for her work did not falter, as she’s a lovely woman to speak too at these online events and showcases. Another author I found in the INSPY world of military fiction is Ronie Kendig, of whom I am hoping to start ILL’ing (inter-library loaning) lateron this year.

Through my own personal readings about the Civil War via the blog tours I’ve been participating in or books which I have sought out on my own — I have a newfound respect for my great-grandfather who took up the courage to fight with the Union Army at a time where he was just starting to settle into life in America. Every family in America has a different immigrant story to share, a different lifepath that might have cross-sected with our American History at war and a new connective thread which starts to unite all of us together. Except of course, for those families of our Native Americans of whom were here before we were.

When I have the opportunity to pick up a narrative set within the historical past or the contemporary world during our current timescape, I appreciate seeing how writers knit the heart of the military into their stories. I don’t have to have a story so full-on in truism to be graphic nor vulgar (i.e. language), but it is nice to see people you can relate too in the novels. To have empathy for what they must face everyday they serve and to see a small fraction of how their lives are affected by their duties. This is one of the motivating reasons I wanted to read Meant To Be; however, the greater reason is because when the publicist at JKS pitched me the book, I felt as if she had not only read my Review Policy to such a level of insight and understanding, but that she knew *exactly!* where my readerly heart lies to travel.

I hand-selected to post my review on Flag Day,
to celebrate the Birthday of the Army,
and the sisterly holiday for our 4th of July!

Book Review | “Meant To Be” by Jessica James A military romanceMeant To Be
by Jessica James
Source: Publicist via JKS Communications

A chance encounter on the beach and a magical 24 hours transported Lauren Cantrell from thoughts of her deployment—and her secret life. She didn’t think she would see Michael “Rad” Radcliffe again—until another chance meeting half a world away reveals that she isn’t the only one with a covert career. Now they must decide: What do you do when the person you most want to protect is the one risking everything to make sure you survive?

From the sandy shores of Ocean City to the rugged terrain of Afghanistan, this transformative tale of romance, espionage, and perseverance takes readers on a spellbinding journey into the covert lives of our nation’s quiet heroes.

Sweeping and timely, it celebrates the dedication of our military, the honor and sacrifice of our soldiers, and a relationship that is tested and sustained by powerful forces of love, courage, and resolve.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Series: For the Love of Country,

Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Military Fiction, Romantic Suspense, War Drama

Published by Patriot Press

on 6th of June, 2015

Pages: 320

Genre(s): Military Romance | Romantic Suspense

Contemporary Rom | Espionage

Published By: Patriots Press

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via Twitter: #Meant2B and #JKSLitPublicity

About Jessica James

JESSICA JAMES is an award-winning author of military fiction and nonfiction, ranging from the Revolutionary War to present day. She is the only two-time winner of the John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction, and was featured in the book 50 Authors You Should Be Reading (2010). James is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the Military Writers Association of America, and Christian Fiction Writers.

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Posted Sunday, 14 June, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, ARC | Galley Copy, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Book Trailer, Bookish Discussions, Bookish Films, Contemporary Romance, Espionage, Fly in the Ointment, Genre-bender, Indie Author, JKS Communications: Literary Publicity Firm, Military Families of the Deployed, Military Fiction, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Vulgarity in Literature, War Drama, War-time Romance, Warfare & Power Realignment