Category: Non-Fiction

Audiobook Review | “Looking for Betty MacDonald” written and narrated by Paula Becker

Posted Friday, 28 April, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Digital Audiobook by: I am a new blog tour hostess with Audiobookworm Promotions wherein I have the opportunity to receive audiobooks for review or adoption (reviews outside of organised blog tours) and host guest features on behalf of authors and narrators alike. The Egg and I blog tour marks my second tour wherein I have become quite happily surprised how much I am now keen on listening to books in lieu of reading them in print. My journey into audiobooks was prompted by a return of my chronic migraines wherein I want to offset my readings with listening to the audio versions.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Looking for Betty MacDonald” via the publicist at Audiobookworm Promotions (of whom was working directly with the narrator/author Paula Becker) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I wanted to listen to this biography of Betty MacDonald:

I suppose I wanted to give myself a capstone to my listening hours spent inside the world of Betty MacDonald; as the narratives were capturing of my attention for the past several months. I had a rough start with them before the close of 2016 (mostly due to personal circumstances which took me away from books in general) but by the time I entered The Plague and I; I had found my footing. I had a feeling it might be a good idea to listen to this biography if only to have closure on the journey and to listen to someone else trying to find Betty of whom I think has remained a bit shadowed in history. Her memoirs have remained in print but how much of the real Betty do any of us really and truly know!? I wondered if she might have kept a few things hidden; private and away from the eyes of the public.

I was originally supposed to host an interview attached to this review – somewhere along the way, I completely forgot about it. When I had three weeks of struggling through a bout of pollen allergies (late March/early April) all hope of sorting this interview out went out the window as I missed the deadline. I can only hope the author would understand if she sees this note now on my review. Just getting back to a place where I could pick up books again without fear of sneezing half a lung out of my chest was a joy in of itself! Pollen is such a horrid allergy but sometimes it provides a blunt entrance to Spring. Thankfully, I could find something else to appreciate about Spring this year and that was a renewal of balance and of finding my way with reading and blogging once again.

I am unsure what drew my interest into the MacDonald memoirs initially; it’s so long ago now since I first queued them into my schedule. One thing is for certain, I won’t soon forget my time listening to her quirkified memoirs and her resilience to get through everything which came across her path to overcome. There is strength in listening to someone’s story which grew bolder in adversity to recognise there are moments that will test our resolves but it’s how we rise to greet those obstacles and surpass them that gives us a proper sense of what we can humbling say was a period of growth and learning.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Audiobook Review | “Looking for Betty MacDonald” written and narrated by Paula BeckerLooking for Betty MacDonald
Subtitle: The Egg, The Plague, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and I
by Paula Becker
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions

Betty Bard MacDonald (1907-1958), the best-selling author of The Egg and I and the classic Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle children's books, burst onto the literary scene shortly after the end of World War II. Readers embraced her memoir of her years as a young bride operating a chicken ranch on Washington's Olympic Peninsula, and The Egg and I sold its first million copies in less than a year. The public was drawn to MacDonald's vivacity, her offbeat humor, and her irreverent take on life.

In 1947, the book was made into a movie starring Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert, and spawned a series of films featuring MacDonald's Ma and Pa Kettle characters.

MacDonald followed up the success of The Egg and I with the creation of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, a magical woman who cures children of their bad habits, and with three additional memoirs: The Plague and I (chronicling her time in a tuberculosis sanitarium just outside Seattle),Anybody Can Do Anything (recounting her madcap attempts to find work during the Great Depression), and Onions in the Stew (about her life raising two teenage daughters on Vashon Island).

Author Paula Becker was granted full access to Betty MacDonald's archives, including materials never before seen by any researcher. Looking for Betty MacDonald, the first biography of this endearing Northwest storyteller, reveals the story behind the memoirs and the difference between the real Betty MacDonald and her literary persona.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

ASIN: B01LW1RMM9

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Non-Fiction


Published by Post Hypnotic Press

on 14th September, 2016

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 8 hours 10 minutes (unabridged)

Published By: Post Hypnotic Press (@Post_Hypnotic)

About Paula Becker

Paula Becker

Paula Becker is a writer and historian living in Seattle, Washington. She is the author of the book Looking For Betty MacDonald: The Egg, The Plague, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and I (University of Washington Press), and co-author (with Alan J. Stein) of the books The Future Remembered: The 1962 Seattle World’s Fair And Its Legacy (Seattle Center Foundation, 2011) and Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition: Washington’s First World’s Fair (History Ink/HistoryLink in association with University of Washington Press, 2009).

More than 300 of Paula’s essays documenting all aspects of Washington’s history appear on HistoryLink.org, the online encyclopedia of Washington state history, where she is a staff historian.

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Posted Friday, 28 April, 2017 by jorielov in Audiobook Narrator Interview, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Vignettes of Real Life

Book Review | “Natural Color: Vibrant Plant Dye projects for your home & wardrobe” by Sasha Duerr #BloggingForBooks

Posted Thursday, 27 April, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I decided to join the “Blogging for Books” programme (on 9th July, 2014) which is a book for review programme created by the Crown Publishing Group. As a book blogger you are offered books in exchange for an honest review on your book blog as well as the ability to reach new readers when you cross-post your review to the Blogging for Books website. The benefit for the blogger is exposure as a reviewer as they put direct links back to your blog post on the book you select to review as well as your homepage.

I received a complimentary copy of “Natural Color” direct from the publisher Watson-Guptill (an imprint of Crown Publishers), 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 review a book about Natural Dyes:

As I have intermittently tweeted on Twitter and mentioned off-handedly on my blog, I am a knitty girl at heart who loves creating projects out of the stitches she casts onto her bamboo needles! The afterglow of feeling the Zen of creativity by knitting is wondrous, too! I feel renewed somehow by the method of focusing on stitches and the throwing of yarn one inch at a time whilst creating this wholly new ‘something’ out of what as once a simple hank or skein of yarn!

I took up knitting alongside my Mum, as we were seeking a new Mum & daughter hobby we could pursue together that was a bit easier on the budget than rubberstamp art & mixed media collage; inasmuch as saving on long distance commute times, as the former only had shoppes which were so far afield from our local region, you had to nearly had to take a TARDIS just to arrive home in time! Laughs. No seriously! We felt it was time to re-direct our time and creative hearts – so whilst I was saying ‘good-bye’ to my twenties we discovered we both were itching to take up knitting!

Mum was returning to the craft after *forty!* plus years absent from it’s yarny blissitude and I, was the dyslexic whose previously failed attempt to learn how to properly cast-on was not going to blind her to the prospect of finding a teacher *somewhere!* who could get her to master the long lost art by combining two styles of knitting to formulate her own hybrid style! The way I approach knitting is AmeriBritish inasmuch as my personal writing voice reflects the unique combination of bi-continental influences!

When we first started to notice we were ‘catching-on’ to knitting together with a fierce passion, we started to dream a bit about what we could do in the future with our ‘newfound’ love and skill set! Mum was re-encouraging herself to contemplate picking up crochet on the side; whereas I decided that would muddle knitting for me if I attempted it. (too confusing to keep it all separate!) Whilst I started leaning towards natural dyes, more complicated patterns (ie. my heart is set on learning Fair Isle!) and potentially learning how to spin roving.We started to contemplate how to move forward in our journey with fiber arts, each finding our own pathways to walk! Some of what we want to do is together and a few times we’ll divert and take separate paths!

The beauty for us both, is finding a green and natural way to craft! I developed several allergies in childhood and as an adult, I live as green as I can by using alternative household products and by seeking out arts and craft projects which do not upset my allergy triggers by the toxicity of products which tend to flood the market. This is one reason why we love using Natural Yarns (except for the synthetics we sometimes receive as Charity Knitters; such as Acrylic); and by extension, a natural way to dye our own yarn would be quite ideal! Hence why I was so wicked excitement when I first saw this book come up for review! Imagining how we could take our love of this craft one step further and find ways to ‘create our own fiber colour palette’ naturally would be incredible!

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Posted Thursday, 27 April, 2017 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Blogging for Books, Book Review (non-blog tour), Eco-Friendly, Education & Learning, Environmental Conscience, Environmental Solutions, Green-Minded Social Awareness, Horticulture, Knitting, Non-Fiction, Old World Arts & Crafts, Sustainability & Ecological Preservation, The Natural World, Upcycle & Recycle Practices

Book Review | “The Lost Girl” by Liz Harris #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 15 April, 2017 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

ChocLitSaturdays Banner Created by Jorie in Canva.

Why I feature #ChocLitSaturdays (book reviews & guest author features)
and created #ChocLitSaturday (the chat via @ChocLitSaturday):

I wanted to create a bit of a niche on Jorie Loves A Story to showcase romance fiction steeped in relationships, courtships, and the breadth of marriage enveloped by characters written honestly whose lives not only endear you to them but they nestle into your heart as their story is being read!

I am always seeking relationship-based romance which strikes a chord within my mind’s eye as well as my heart! I’m a romantic optimist, and I love curling into a romance where I can be swept inside the past, as history becomes lit alive in the fullness of the narrative and I can wander amongst the supporting cast observing the principal characters fall in love and sort out if they are a proper match for each other!

I love how an Indie Publisher like ChocLitUK is such a positive alternative for those of us who do not identify ourselves as girls and women who read ‘chick-lit’. I appreciate the stories which alight in my hands from ChocLit as much as I appreciate the inspirational romances I gravitate towards because there is a certain level of depth to both outlets in romance which encourage my spirits and gives me a beautiful story to absorb! Whilst sorting out how promote my book reviews on behalf of ChocLit, I coined the phrase “ChocLitSaturdays”, which is a nod to the fact my ChocLit reviews & features debut on ‘a Saturday’ but further to the point that on the ‘weekend’ we want to dip into a world wholly ideal and romantic during our hours off from the work week!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular reviewer for ChocLitUK, where I hand select which books in either their backlist and/or current releases I would like to read next for my #ChocLitSaturdays blog feature. As of June 2016, I became a member of the ChocLit Stars Team in tandem with being on the Cover Reveal Team which I joined in May 2016. I reference the Stars as this is a lovely new reader contribution team of sending feedback to the publisher ahead of new book releases. As always, even if I’m involved with a publisher in this sort of fashion, each review is never influenced by that participation and will always be my honest impression as I read the story. Whether the author is one I have previously read or never had the pleasure to read until the book greets my shelf.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Lost Girl” from ChocLit in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

I wasn’t surprised that Ms Harris tackled another hard-hitting dramatic story-line in her new book The Lost Girl as I have previously come to find she has a way of elevating historical fiction to an emotional keel of clarity. There is a richness to her stories – she dares to capitalise on the emotional heart of her character’s journey; even within the pages of A Bargain Struck this was true, and she did it by taking a seemingly ordinary story-line and moulding it into such a convicting story of life, love and second chances.

Harris has a way to broaching History with such a refinement of shaping the past through a lens of eloquence and clarity, that you simply devour her stories. I appreciate finding an author whose not only dedicated to research but dedicated to writing the stories she’s most passionate telling to a readership whose thankful she’s writing her heart out. – originally shared on the cover reveal for this novel

Dear hearts, I have truly been itching to read this particular release by Ms Harris for well over a year! I learnt about bits of the story whilst chatting during #ChocLitSaturday and the more I would learn about the heart of this novel, the more I dearly wanted to read it! I was meant to receive this towards the close of 2016 – as the paperback release was originally flying into reader’s hands at the close of last Summer. However, it took a bit longer for this lovely novel to reach me – not that I mind! I have always felt that books reach us when we’re meant to read their stories – how are we to know which is the better time to read any particular story if we are moved by it’s chapters and it’s pearls of insights at the moment we’re tucked inside it’s pages? Reading is quite the journey – we never know which story will alight on our path or when we’re itching to read any particular story, but sometimes, we get advanced word about a story (such as this one) which simply touches our soul.

I personally love stories of immigration and adoption; these are two overlapping themes which do have the tendency of appearing through my readerly life time and time again. It’s because the two themes are quite close to my heart; my family has a strong background of ancestral emigration as much as I will be adopting out of foster care in the future. There are so many different paths to highlight both of these themes, and one thing I have credited to Ms Harris with in her previous releases for Historicals is the touching manner in which she hones in on the heart of her character’s story whilst grounding her Historical Fiction in the truism of the moment in which the story is placed to be set in History. She offers a connective threshold of emotions and timeless aspirations for finding one’s purpose and passageway through life’s ordeals. One of the reasons I love her Historicals so very much is how she interconnects the reader and her character as if the two are entwined. It’s wicked brilliant to find Historicals which feel as if you’ve left your reality and exchanged it for another person’s life if only for the expanse of the novel; but in so doing, we humbly expand our empathy, our compassion and our worldview.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

On my Connection to Ms. Harris:

I have been hosting #ChocLitSaturday chats on a regular basis for a bit over two years now. Eleven in the morning of a Saturday, has become a favourite hour for me to exchange conversation and joy with everyone who shows up to participate in a chat centered around ChocLit novels and the Romance branch of literature in general.

Similar to my previous thoughts I shared about Ms. Courtenay, I have come to appreciate chatting with Ms. Harris, either through #ChocLitSaturdays chats or privately. She is most giving of her time and I have appreciated the opportunity to know the writer behind the stories I enjoy reading! She always shares her happy spirit in the chats too, and her insights into why she enjoys writing the books that speak to her the most.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Harris through our respective love & passion of reading inside the twitterverse whilst I host #ChocLitSaturday the chat as well as privately; I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time. Similarly this applies to spotlighting new books by an author I appreciate such as this one.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

I’m sharing both the paperback cover & the ebook cover, as I’m still a bit partial to the ebook cover, even though I respectively understand it’s not as representative of the story as much as the print book cover encompasses. I’m hoping after I’ve read the novel, I can make my final assessment, as ahead of reading it – I still lean towards the first cover. Therefore, the cover featuring the ‘small towne’ is the one on the print release.

The Lost Girl
by Liz Harris
Source: Direct from Publisher

What if you were trapped between two cultures?

Life is tough in 1870s Wyoming. But it’s tougher still when you’re a girl who looks Chinese but speaks like an American.

Orphaned as a baby and taken in by an American family, Charity Walker knows this only too well. The mounting tensions between the new Chinese immigrants and the locals in the mining town of Carter see her shunned by both communities.

When Charity’s one friend, Joe, leaves town, she finds herself isolated. However, in his absence, a new friendship with the only other Chinese girl in Carter makes her feel like she finally belongs somewhere.

But, for a lost girl like Charity, finding a place to call home was never going to be that easy…

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on ChocLitUK

ISBN: 9781781893012

Also by this author: A Bargain Struck, Guest Post (A Western Heart) by Liz Harris, Guest Post (The Road Back) by Liz Harris, The Road Back, Book Spotlight w/ Notes (The Lost Girl), Evie Undercover, Guest Post (The Lost Girl) by Liz Harris, The Art of Deception

Genres: Emigration & Immigration, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Modern British Literature, Realistic Fiction, Western Fiction


Published by ChocLitUK

on 22nd February, 2017

Format: UK Edition Paperback

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLitUK)

Formats Available: Paperback & Ebook

Genre(s): Historical Fiction | Western | Adoption | Chinese-American ancestry

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Liz Harris

Liz was born in London and now lives in South Oxfordshire with her husband. After graduating from university with a Law degree, she moved to California where she led a varied life, trying her hand at everything from cocktail waitressing on Sunset Strip to working as secretary to the CEO of a large Japanese trading company, not to mention a stint as ‘resident starlet’ at MGM. On returning to England, Liz completed a degree in English and taught for a number of years before developing her writing career.

Liz’s debut novel, The Road Back, won a Book of the Year Award from Coffee Time Romance in the USA and her second novel A Bargain Struck was shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

Author Connections:

 Personal Site | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Converse via: #TheLostGirl & #ChocLit Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Saturday, 15 April, 2017 by jorielov in 19th Century, Adoption, American Old West, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, British Literature, Chinese Literature, ChocLitUK, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Cultural & Religious Traditions, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Farm and Ranching on the Frontier, Herbalist, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Immigrant Stories, Indie Author, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Multicultural Marriages & Families, Old West Americana, Orphans & Guardians, Passionate Researcher, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Realistic Fiction, Siblings, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Social Change, Stories of Adoption, Taboo Relationships & Romance, Western Fiction, World Religions