Category: Military Fiction

+Book Review+ Up at Butternut Lake by Mary McNear #Contemporary story grounded in #realistic fiction.

Posted Tuesday, 14 October, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , 1 Comment

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Up at Butternut Lake by Mary McNear

Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)

Official Author Websites@marymcnear | Facebook
Available Formats: Paperback, Audiobook, Ebook

Converse via: #ButternutLakeSeries & #UpAtButternutLake

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Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Butternut Summer” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. Realising this was a second novel within a series, I requested a copy of the first novel “Up at Butternut Lake” in order to understand the continuity of the characters & the story. I received a complimentary copy of the novel direct from the publisher William Morrow without an obligation to post a review. Whereas I received a complimentary copy of “Butternut Summer” direct from the publisher William Morrow, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

Stories of second chances have always held fast to my heart, as life has this beautiful way of giving us a bit more than we’re expecting it to yield most of the time. The idea that there are ways to have a renewal of our lives through a second chance or a new beginning elsewhere from whence we are currently has a very alluring appeal! I have been an appreciator of Contemporary Romance & Contemporary Women’s Fiction for a good 20 years now, as I snuggled into a fierce appreciation for Debbie MacComber originally when I first started noticing both of these genres. Sherryl Woods followed 15 years later when I discovered the small towne of Serenity, and the series the Sweet Magnolias (although I personally refer to that series as ‘Serenity’). MacComber’s Angel series drew me into her narrative arcs, followed closely by the Cedar Cove series and Blossom Street; as I appreciated her style of story and the homespun sincerity of her characters. Being that both MacComber & Woods are going to have series based off their novels on the Hallmark Channel within the next year or so, humbles me a bit as I have this history of discovering both authors ahead of their newfound popularity. I even knew Debbie MacComber’s works would find a home on Hallmark Channel, but that’s a story for another time, perhaps!

I had started to curate a List on Riffle entitled: Contemporary Romances : Returning back to the Modern Era as I wanted to walk back into an area of literature I have started to negate reading. When I first had the opportunity to have a library card after a considerable absence, my checkout queue looked quite hyperactively complied! I simply couldn’t wait to grab this or that novel, and try this or that author! I started so many wicked awesome series by new-to-me authors, I have a list a mile long of ‘next reads’ to continue the happiness I had begun five years ago! Then, I started to shift my wanderings a bit, exploring new genres and/or committing to new styles of the craft of storytelling itself. My wanderings are always a bit decidedly serendipitous in their nature, but as much as I have a niche for being addicted to the historical past, I am equally entranced by the modern era!

I may or may not have highlighted my joy of giving back to deployed servicemen & women as much as I have a deep appreciation for the sacrifices and hard work they give whilst they dedicate their lives to others. Military fiction was a branch of literature I was attracted too as a young teen, and likewise, my passion for watching JAG, NCIS, NCIS: LA, & NCIS: NOLA originated out of my love of Jack Ryan stories (by Tom Clancy). Hallmark Channel has a lovely Romance with Lori Loughlin entitled: Meet My Mom of which I loved for bringing a realistic story to their offerings and shining a positive  light on today’s military families.

As soon as I read the book synopsis, I was hooked. I couldn’t wait to read both of these novels, whilst being wicked happy the third novel: Moonlight on Butterlake releases in 2015!

+Book Review+ Up at Butternut Lake by Mary McNear #Contemporary story grounded in #realistic fiction.Up at Butternut Lake
by Mary McNear
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

In the tradition of Kristin Hannah and Susan Wiggs, Mary McNear introduces readers to the town of Butternut Lake and to the unforgettable people who call it home.

It’s summer, and after ten years away, Allie Beckett has returned to her family’s cabin beside tranquil Butternut Lake, where as a teenager she spent so many carefree days. She’s promised her five-year-old son, Wyatt, they will be happy there. She’s promised herself this is the place to begin again after her husband’s death in Afghanistan. The cabin holds so many wonderful memories, but from the moment she crosses its threshold Allie is seized with doubts. Has she done the right thing uprooting her little boy from the only home he’s ever known?

Allie and her son are embraced by the townsfolk, and her reunions with old acquaintances—her friend Jax, now a young mother of three with one more on the way, and Caroline, the owner of the local coffee shop—are joyous ones. And then there are newcomers like Walker Ford, who mostly keeps to himself—until he takes a shine to Wyatt . . . and to Allie.

Everyone knows that moving forward is never easy, and as the long, lazy days of summer take hold, Allie must learn to unlock the hidden longings of her heart, and to accept that in order to face the future she must also confront—and understand—what has come before.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Also by this author: Butternut Summer, Interview with Mary McNear, Moonlight on Butternut Lake

Series: Butternut Lake, Butternut Lake Trilogy


Also in this series: Butternut Summer, Moonlight on Butternut Lake


Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945)


Published by William Morrow

on 8th April, 2014

Format: P.S. Edition Paperback

Pages: 400

Author Biography:

Mary McNear
Photo Credit: Amelia Kennedy

Mary McNear lives in San Francisco with her husband, two teenage children, and a high-strung, minuscule white dog named Macaroon. She writes her novels in a local doughnut shop, where she sips Diet Pepsi, observes the hubbub of neighborhood life, and tries to resist the constant temptation of freshly made doughnuts. She bases her novels on a lifetime of summers spent in a small town on a lake in the northern Midwest.

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Picking up the pieces : from loss & tribulations:

One of the hardest obstacles about living our lives forward without the benefit of understanding the events that will take place in the future, is being able to dig deep into our wells of strength and fortitude to accept the hope that our lives will start to turn back around. The thematics which are strongly represented in Up at Butternut Lake are an evolving exploration of Change (questions of destiny, permanence, and stability – of not only the mind, heart, and spirit but the physical locale of where your life will be lived); where each character who takes a central focus is at a turning point in their lives. Where they can choose to move forward and let go of the past that is weighing them down, or they can continue as they are without moving forward at all.

The complacencies of life arise out of the complexities of a cobweb’s worth of lies, spun innocently enough at the time they are created but woven into the texture of your life can become a haunting self-reminder of how untruthful of a life you’re actually living. Within the thematics of the story, this kernel of truth is an underscore that affects different characters in different ways, as the lies we tell ourselves to recover from something we feel we cannot face head-on are just as damaging as the lies which remain unspoken or proven untrue through the wrinkles of time itself.

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Posted Tuesday, 14 October, 2014 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book | Novel Excerpt, Book Review (non-blog tour), Child out of Wedlock, Contemporary Romance, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Life Shift, Military Families of the Deployed, Military Fiction, Minnesota, Modern Day, Mother-Son Relationships, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Scribd, Single Mothers, Singletons & Commitment, Sisterhood friendships, Small Towne Fiction, TLC Book Tours, War Widow, Widows & Widowers

Blog Book Tour | “Drone Games” by Joel Narlock

Posted Monday, 13 October, 2014 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

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Drone Games by Joel Narlock

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

Official Author Websites:  Site | @JoelNarlock | Facebook 

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #DroneGames

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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 “Drone Games” 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.

Interest to Read:

I started reading military fiction, espionage stories, and action / adventure novels when I was between middle school and high school; as I was seeking stories with a bit more fodder to chew than my regular choices of literary faire. I warmed to Jack Ryan through the novel Red Storm Rising but I appreciated the cutting espionage style of Gayle Lynds in her Masquerade. I was always meant to continue reading this particular genre of interest – yet time and life took me away and down different patterns of interest inside my reading life. I cannot even fathom to know how many writer’s and novel titles I have written down on scraps of paper whilst wandering through bookshoppes, seeking out my next read and being genuinely curious where the genre has gone since I last visited it’s shelves.

I started to realise that although certain aspects of my reading life have been garnishing a spotlight of attention this past year I’ve been a book blogger, there are a heap of other areas of my literary wanderings that are being excluded. I wanted to make sure that throughout my year as a 2nd Year Book Blogger I would seek to establish a bit more balance, and a more of an active dance through all my beloved genres. This includes being open and keenly interested in re-establishing myself in certain styles of thought and story that I might not have had the proper chance to read since I was 18 years old!

I think most of us have heard of the scuttlebutt surrounding ‘drones’ and know a bit about modern warfare, to the level that as fast as we are moving forward there are a few carry-over concerns about how fast we move and how we shift away from the past. Technology changes at such an alarming rate it is hard to keep track of all the innovations and all the churning tides of how to secure defense whilst being mindful of peace. Peacekeepers have a very difficult balance on their hands between where technology can take them and knowing how best to use the technology that is being advanced past anything we knew of previously being possible. At first I wasn’t sure if I was ready to jump back into the military fiction arm of literature, but after I read the premise and explored the author’s website, I felt perhaps this would be good start back into it. It is rooted in a story on the fringes of Current Events and Affairs, and I think that gives it a hearty start on a conversation that will grow out of it’s popularity of being found.

The research alone that it took to write a convincible novel such as this one was impressive enough!

Blog Book Tour | “Drone Games” by Joel NarlockDrone Games
by Joel Narlock
Source: Direct from Publisher

While  millions of Americans go about their daily lives, a deadly new terror plot is hatched halfway across the world. It's unthinkable in its devastation. It's brilliantly easy in its execution. And it's capable of bypassing all the security measures the United States implemented in the decade since 9/11.

First, a Delta flight crashes into Lake Michigan. Eight hours later, a United aircraft comes down over western Iowa. For the second time since flying was invented in 1903, the US airline industry is forced to a standstill.

The message is clear. Stop flying -- ruin the economy. Keep flying -- more people will die.

Now Homeland Security Director of Counter-Intelligence Jack Riley must lead an FBI task force in a frantic search to discover and eliminate the plot before more people are killed or the economy crashes permanently. The clock is ticking. . .

Places to find the book:

Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Military Fiction


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 7th October, 2014

Format: Paperback

Pages: 304

Author Biography:

Joel Norlock

Joel Narlock was born in La Crosse, WI and grew up hunting, fishing and raising a beautiful family. He’s experienced in corporate finance and small business management. He plays guitar and has performed in various local venues. He wrote his first novel about unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in 2003. He and his wife, Terri have two wonderful adult children and two wonderful grandchildren. He lives in Key West and took first place in Key West’s 2013 Mystery Fest Short Story Contest. He and his wife are active members of the Key West Sunrise Rotary Club. He enjoys an annual Canadian fishing trip with family and friends.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Go Indie
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Posted Monday, 13 October, 2014 by jorielov in 21st Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, African-American Literature, Based on an Actual Event &/or Court Case, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Equality In Literature, Indie Author, Light vs Dark, Military Fiction, Modern Day, Passionate Researcher, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Realistic Fiction, Specialised Crime Investigator, Warfare & Power Realignment, World Religions

+Blog Book Tour+ I Shall Be Near To You by Erin Lindsay McCabe

Posted Tuesday, 16 September, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

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 I Shall Be Near To You by Erin Lindsay McCabe

Published By: Broadway Booksan imprint of Crown Publishing Group (@CrownPublishing)

and part of: Penguin Random House (@penguinrandom)

Official Author Websites: Site | @ErinLindsMcCabe| Facebook
Available Formats: Hardcover, Ebook

Converse via: #IShall (main tag), #IShallBeNearToYou

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Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “I Shall Be Near To You” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher Crown Publishing Group, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read & Excitement Ahead of Time:

The beautiful cover art on the hardback edition I received to review is featured inside the Excerpt by the publisher’s Scribd page featured below my review. I must admit, I appreciate both versions of the cover-art designs, even if I’m a bit partial to the hardback as I think it gives a measure of mystery as to how a woman could hide behind the thin veil of a man’s clothes and walk onto the field of battle; serving her country alongside her husband. The second cover-art which is included on the Book Synopsis is a bit more elusive as to the central core of the story, as it draws you to think of a different thread of context. At least it had for me, as it appeared to be a woman who was caught in the middle of the era of war rather than a woman who joined the fight during the war itself.

I had the pleasure of participating in a Twitter chat ahead of my review posting on the 2nd of September, whereupon I was wrapped up in the excitement of this novel’s release and the joyous mirth of discovering book bloggers & readers who had already felt the inertia of its emotional pull. I was overjoyed being able to participate in a chat dedicated to one of my favourite branches of literature, and for giving me such an incredible start to this blog tour.

+Blog Book Tour+ I Shall Be Near To You by Erin Lindsay McCabeI Shall Be Near to You
by Erin Lindsay McCabe
Source: Author via TLC Book Tours

In I SHALL BE NEAR TO YOU, McCabe introduces us to newlywed Rosetta Wakefield. More accustomed to working as her father’s farmhand and happiest doing what others might call “man’s work,” Rosetta struggles with how to be a good wife to her childhood beau and new husband, Jeremiah. When Jeremiah leaves home to join the Union army, Rosetta finds the only way she can honor Jeremiah is to be with her husband—no matter what..

Cutting off her hair and donning men’s clothing, Rosetta enlists in the army as Private Ross Stone so that she might stand beside her husband. Joining, however, is the easy part, and now Rosetta must not only live and train with her male counterparts as they prepare for imminent battle, but she must also deal with Jeremiah, who is struggling with his “fighting” wife’s presence, not to mention the constant threat of discovery..

In brilliant detail, inspired by the letters of the real Rosetta Wakeman, McCabe offers a riveting look at the day-to-day lives of these secret women fighters as they defied conventions and made their personal contributions to history. Both a tender love story and a hard look at war, I SHALL BE NEAR TO YOU offers a unique exploration of marriage, societal expectations, and the role of women in the Civil War through the lens of a beautifully written novel..

Places to find the book:

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, War Drama


Published by Broadway Books

on 2nd September, 2014

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 336

Author Biography:

Erin Lindsay McCabe

Erin studied literature and history at University of California, Santa Cruz, earned a teaching credential at California State University, Chico, and taught high school English for seven years. Since completing her MFA in Creative Writing at St. Mary’s College of California in 2010, Erin has taught Composition at St. Mary’s College and Butte College. A California native, Erin lives in the Sierra Foothills with her husband, son, and a small menagerie that includes one dog, four cats, two horses, numerous chickens, and three goats.

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The [American] Civil War:

I learnt quite a heap about the Civil War whilst I was in high school, except to say, they left out quite a lot of important factors such as women who served their country alongside the men! I think I might have listened a bit closer to the lectures and the discussions, as to me, it was all starting to blur together after two terms of feeling as though we were going right round in a circle without any of it making a lot of sense in the end. Being the fact I grew up in the South, most of the lessons were focused on the Rebel Army rather than the Union; yet being that I’m from Northern Stock, I was more keen to know about Grant’s positions and where my ancestors might have fit into this war. It would take over a decade to learn about my Great Granddaddy who was a Captain with the Union, and fresh off the boat from Ireland. The best bit was learning how he was a farmer and how much he loved the land. In some ways, I was never surprised to have learnt more than half my ancestors who immigrated to America ended up as farmers; it seems right as rain to me, being that I’m a locavore who appreciates farm fresh fruit and veg, locally grown (without chemicals) and sourced.

It didn’t matter which side your family fought on during this war because it was a war to end all wars in of itself. It was a war where everyone fought side by side and both sides (the North & the South) felt they were in the right. It has a brutal history and it has an empowering moment of change; nothing was the same, and battles were won on the deaths of so many innocents. To find a story that places true-to-life characters in the middle of this great war and gives a searing arc of climax that befits the war itself as much as the barriers women faced during that time is an incredible find.

McCabe centers her story on the true grit of historical fact originating out of the Civil War itself; including having found a real-life Rosetta who was part of the inspiration for her own. She doesn’t hold back from revealing the cardinal truths of the battlefield or the wounded inside the hospital wards, yet she is sensitive to their plight and I felt lifted in spirit rather than bogged down in the horrors of war. I felt she tempered the truth with a narrative that gives you a breath to absorb the words without always taking the reality of what they are expressing to a shocking conclusion. McCabe’s best attribute is in knowing what to include and how what happens affects everyone you’ve come to know. The war is both the backdrop and the shifting force to pull everyone forward and apart at the same time. It is a testament of our past and a testament of the power to fight for everything you believe in.

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Posted Tuesday, 16 September, 2014 by jorielov in 19th Century, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Civil War Era (1861-1865), Debut Author, Debut Novel, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Military Fiction, Vulgarity in Literature, War Drama