Category: Non-Fiction

Poet Interview | on behalf of “passiflora” (a #poetry collection) by Kathy Davis

Posted Wednesday, 5 May, 2021 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

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Acquired Book By:

I have been hosting for Poetic Book Tours for a few years now, where I am finding myself encouraged to seek out collections of poetry or incredible fiction being published through Small Trade publishers and presses. I have an Indie spirit and mentality as a writer and I appreciate finding authors who are writing creative works through Indie resources as I find Indies have a special spirit about them. It is a joy to work with Poetic Book Tours for their resilience in seeking out voices in Literature which others might overlook and thereby, increasing my own awareness of these beautiful lyrical voices in the craft.

I received a complimentary copy of “passiflora” direct from the author Kathy Davis in order to formulate my interview questions and to better showcase her collection through our conversation. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

As I was sitting and listening to #Spotify (a bit of a random spin of Contemporary Indie Artists – songwriters, bands, ballards, hodgepodge of genres, etc) whilst working on prepping my posts for the last days of April & the first days of May (as aside from a few blog tours sprinkled throughout May, most of you know MAY is my month to rock & cheer for the Fantasy novelists who draw me into their Speculative Fiction worlds as I co-host our 4th @WyrdAndWonder this year!

Whilst the music was lifting me spirits & mood – I kept a ready eye for new tweets & bookish news – as also I was drafting new posts & sorting out where I am with both my blog’s schedule and my #currentreads! I had the pleasure of receiving the photos which will accompany my conversation, today! I was quite excited for them as I felt they added quite a bit to the interview itself and allowed everyone to see the Ms Davis’s photography. 

I’ve been fortunate to start reading & showcasing poetry again this Spring, 2021. I kicked it off with Arisa White’s new autobiographical poetic drama “Who’s Your Daddy” (see also Review) whilst I concluded April with Cheryl Wilder’s “Anything That Happens” which is also autobiographical and dearly dramatic as she elevates how to heal through trauma by finding cathartic clarity in poetry and dramatic prose. (see also Review)

This May I welcome Ms Davis to my blog and it was an honour to host her and Ms Wilder – as they are newly on my radar for poets who write stirringly realistic poetic dramas & autobiographical narratives in dramatic poetic formats.

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Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva. Updated version July 2020.

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I was truly grateful to welcome Ms Davis to Jorie Loves A Story – especially after having learnt she’s been enjoying the way in which I approach sharing my readerly experiences in the works of Poetry & Drama I seek out from blog tours. It is nice to have such wonderfully positive feedback from a fellow poet who is enjoying reading the reviews which challenge me the most as a book blogger to compose.

In part, because unlike Fiction & Non-Fiction – poetry speaks to a different part of our heart & mind – it connects through the soul and takes us on a different kind of emotional journey. To be able to have my words on behalf of the collections I’ve read and reviewed in the past resonate with someone else is the best compliment I could receive. May all who visit find a bit of inspiration in what I’ve left behind. And, hopefully find some encouragement to constantly seek out works of literature which seek to challenge them to read harder and deeper into new literary waters,…

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Your poetry is infused with the natural world and the rhythms of nature. As they read as if your observations of those moments were writ as soon as you saw them – I was left curious, do you take a notebook with you to keep those impressions as they first appear to you or are these reflections on the memories of those moments?

Photo Credit: Kathy DavisPhoto Credit: Kathy DavisPhoto Credit: Kathy Davis

Left to Right : a) wildflower meadow, b) herb garden in Ireland and c) wildflower meadow
Photo Credit: Kathy Davis

Davis responds: I keep a journal on my desk where I’ll note things I’ve seen or heard that have stayed with me, but often I’ll pull those “obsessions” into my life in some way—to play with them firsthand, figure out what they mean. For example, after I met the naturalist described in “How to Grow Wild,” I put her advice to use in turning a portion of my yard into a wildflower meadow. The process taught me much and helped me work through my grief for my mother—leading to the poem. And each time I see a monarch butterfly, I think of her.

Another example is the borage blossoms described in “Undone.” I was introduced to the herb when I worked on a farm in Ireland, harvesting the flowers to sell to local restaurants who used them as a garnish on salads. I loved the color so much that later, when I was back in the U.S., I planted borage in my own garden. So, it was something I saw daily during the summer that ultimately found its way into the poem.

I oft find this true myself – how something we’ve observed has a larger impact on us lateron. The art of journalling is something I’ve struggled to maintain off/on over the years of my life. I have moments where it is fluid and others where it is elusive. I celebrate anyone who has better luck than me at maintaining a way to chronicle their thoughts, memories and experiences. We share a mutual love of photography, though! I would love to say I can garden but I’ve never had the right patch of land for it to make it conducive as the soil where I live is quite aggressively non-starting when it comes to plants. Wildflowers give me so much joy every year seeing where they’ve grown and what stretches of road they have beautified. It would be keen to have a meadow like this one day as there is a draw to connect with both the earth and the flowers whilst your gardening, I must admit.

Connecting your life and your experiences into your poems was wonderful to see — all the poets I’ve been featuring this Spring were doing the same thing – wherein their poetry collections read more like Non-Fiction Memoir than just a collection of poems. It is that fusion of life and memory and heart and soul which spoke to me the most in each of the different collections I was reading and ultimately showcasing on Jorie Loves A Story.

The harmony of nature and the time elapses of our lives tend to connect to each other as you’ve shown throughout ‘passiflora’. How did you develop your style of poetry and find a way to purport time itself through the natural world as it reflects against your own experiences?

Photo Credit: Kathy Davis

Sunrise from Ft. Worden on Olympic Peninsula of Washington state : Photo Credit; Kathy Davis

Davis responds: Someone once said that to garden is to live in the past, present and future at the same time. And I think, as a gardener, the rhythms of nature are something I rely on as a constant against which the chaos of our day-to-day lives plays out, and that shows up subconsciously in my writing. Yet, climate change has shown us how fragile our environment is and that the cycles we depend upon are being disrupted (as in the poem “Freeze”).  Where then do we find hope? That is a question with which I often find myself struggling. Maybe, like in the poem “Fort Worden,” hope is found in the willingness to keep on trying—whether we’re working to protect a marriage or the Salish Sea—and in taking the time to share and celebrate what we have, like the beauty of a sunrise.

I could not agree more with your sentiments — the best bits of life are the moments we can hold onto and celebrate – even if they are smaller joys, they are still something which gives us a great deal of happiness to reflect upon and to catch portions of our lives as their being lived. As you said, it is hard to grasp everything that happens in our lives and that leads into a lot of introspective reflection, too. Climate change has definitely played a role in the cycles of the natural world and the influx of issues with both gardening on a small level and on a larger scale due to the inconsistencies of the weather and the conditions of the land itself. 

Hope is something which renews all of our spirits and allows us to great every new tomorrow; quite true. I liked how you were working things through your mind and sharing your thoughts with us in your poems. 

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Poet Interview | on behalf of “passiflora” (a #poetry collection) by Kathy Davispassiflora
Subtitle: poems
by Kathy Davis
Source: Author via Poetic Book Tours

Genres: Non-Fiction, Biography / Autobiography, Motherhood | Parenthood, Women's Studies, Poetry & Drama, Botany, Ecology, Horticulture


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1930781580

Published by Cider Press Review

on 15th February, 2021

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 80

Published by: Cedar Press Review (@CiderPressRev)

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Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #NonFiction, #Autobiography and #Poetry Drama
& #KathyDavis and #passiflora

About Kathy Davis

Kathy Davis

Kathy Davis is a poet and nonfiction writer from Richmond, VA. She is also the author of the chapbook Holding for the Farrier (Finishing Line Press). Her work has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Barrow Street, Blackbird, The Hudson Review, Nashville Review, Oxford American, The Southern Review, storySouth and other journals. Davis holds a BA and MBA from Vanderbilt University and an MFA in creative writing from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and been a finalist for Best of the Net and the Conger Beasley Jr. Award for Nonfiction.

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Posted Wednesday, 5 May, 2021 by jorielov in Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host, Dramatic Poetry, Indie Author, Memoir, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Poetic Book Tours, Poetry, Vignettes of Real Life

Double-Showcase: Interview & Review | on behalf of “Anything That Happens” (a #poetry collection) by Cheryl Wilder

Posted Thursday, 29 April, 2021 by jorielov , , 6 Comments

Non Fiction Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I have been hosting for Poetic Book Tours for a few years now, where I am finding myself encouraged to seek out collections of poetry or incredible fiction being published through Small Trade publishers and presses. I have an Indie spirit and mentality as a writer and I appreciate finding authors who are writing creative works through Indie resources as I find Indies have a special spirit about them. It is a joy to work with Poetic Book Tours for their resilience in seeking out voices in Literature which others might overlook and thereby, increasing my own awareness of these beautiful lyrical voices in the craft.

I received a complimentary copy of “Anything That Happens” direct from the author Cheryl Wilder in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I have a wonderful surprise for you – I’m featuring both a review and an interview with the poet Cheryl Wilder. This is an interesting collection of poetry as the poet is exploring a particular moment in her life where something happened which affected the rest of the hours which came next – how tragedy and circumstances can affect us on a soul level and how we choose to transition through gut-wrenching circumstances can sometimes make or break how we enter the future.

We’ve all gone through hard circumstances at some point in our lives – we’ve all have had things happen which shake up our understandings about life and for some of us, we’ve been in accidents on highways which happened before we could process what happened at all. I still remember when my parents and I were in a car accident out of state and how blessed we were to walk away from it. It is not something I’ve mentioned in the past and I rarely speak of it IRL – it was a footnote on that one particular road trip and a humbling moment of awakening realisation on the other hand. There are moments we plan in life and then, there are unexpected moments which seek to teach of us something even if we never knew we signed up for the lesson.

In this collection of poetry, I knew I was going to be exploring raw emotions attached to the circumstances surrounding the poets experiences with the car accident and the after effects that accident had on her life due to the circumstances which followed. I elected to talk about certain sections of the collection in my interview with Ms Wilder as well as comment about the collective threading of these circumstances in the collection which I felt told the greater story and held within those passages the heart of ‘Anything That Happens’.

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Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva. Updated version July 2020.

You’ve taken your experiences and have cleverly tucked them into poetic stories which tell pieces of your own story but let the reader fill in the unspoken bits as well. How did you sort out how to thread the tragedy into the confluence of poems which creates the backbone of Anything That Happens?

Wilder responds: I put the book through many iterations of order. Up until the last draft, I had themes that didn’t make the final cut. Once I refined the story, I figured out how I wanted readers to enter and exit the book. The car crash, which was the trauma that underlay all other events, made a natural frame for the collection.

Photo Credit; Cheryl Wilder

Photo Credit: Cheryl Wilder

I knew the “Slipped” poem series had to be in the beginning, to introduce the crash. But, how to end? I wanted to bring readers into the experience while being careful to not overwhelm their emotions. I decided an arc was the best way to accomplish my goals. The poems about being my mom’s caregiver were also heavy, so I put them in the second half. (My editor, Tom Lombardo, suggested the section break before introducing the “Mom” poems.) After that, I placed poems in the collection by considering how the other themes fit into the arc.

I felt you had a natural rhythm and pace within this collection – as this is how I interpreted the order of the poems myself as a reader and how I saw this hidden patterning of how the poems were organised. Being my father’s caregiver for the past five years since he survived his stroke, I can sympathise with others who are carers for their parents and/or other loved ones, too. I felt the anchours were the “Slipped” series but you had such a wonderful cadence of honesty about how interconnected the trauma of that sequencing had an overlap effect on the rest of your life, too. And, how transparent you left your emotions and your thoughts in the poems themselves was truly quite the impact on us who were reading your stories.

You’ve mentioned poetic imagery and language as cornerstones of what renew as a writer. How do you find writing poetry allows you to connect to a reader and merge your vision into their own understanding of what you’ve written? What draws you into poetry in other words and how does the fusion of what you write into a poem become a vessel of thought others can find tangible in their own lives?

Wilder responds: I was drawn to poetry by its power to “say the most with the least amount of words.” My parents weren’t great communicators. As a child, I had a lot to say and didn’t know how to say it. There are many forms of expression, but I hungered for language. I found my path through lyric poetry.

Art is a reflection of the world. If a poem is doing its work, it is holding a mirror up to the reader. One way I create the mirror, or vessel, is by writing to the unknown reader, preferably someone 100 years in the future. I want the person to get something from the poem that has nothing to do with me. It may sound counter-intuitive, especially since my collection is personal, but I worked to rid the poems of me “the writer.” When I accomplish that, the poem is what’s left. And if I’ve done my job, it serves as a mirror to the world.

Another angle is to look at form. I think the lyric form draws readers into it. The form is sparse in language and there’s a lot of white space. I see white space as an invitation for readers to become part of the poem—to fill in the blanks. Line breaks do some heavy lifting here. For example, when I finish reading a line, I can insert my experiences—words and images—before moving on, even if it’s subconscious. The line, and the break that ends the line, allow me to be inside the. I suppose this is how a poem can also be a vessel. I try to create this same kind of space for my readers. Yes, walk in my shoes for a while, but at the same time, I hope you’re reflecting on the shoes you’re walking in.

I find everything I read has a way of looping back into my own personal experiences and how I’ve interpreted the world up until the moment I’ve reached inside the poem(s) I am reading. We all interpret what we read differently and choose to take a journey into what we read differently, too. Some stay on the outside fringes of what they read but I’ve always taken a more personal approach – to truly feel and experience what is being shared on page and in effect, this carried over to visual storytelling outlets as well. Whenever I see a film, I become whomever the lead character is and walk through their journey as if I had lived it myself. I love how you used the mirror effect to explain your writerly legacy and how the words we leave behind cast a reflection both the world at large and on the hours we’ve spent living ourselves. Language and stories irregardless of their format to express ourselves is a wonderful way of uniting both distance and time but also a mutual respect for further exploring our own humanity and the curious ways in which life itself is a pursuit of enlightenment.

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Double-Showcase: Interview & Review | on behalf of “Anything That Happens” (a #poetry collection) by Cheryl WilderAnything That Happens
Subtitle: Poems
by Cheryl Wilder
Source: Author via Poetic Book Tours

A debut poetry collection that examines how to reconcile a past grave mistake and a future that stretches into one long second chance.

At the age of twenty, Cheryl Wilder got behind the wheel when she was too drunk to drive. She emerged from the car physically whole. Her passenger, a close friend, woke up from a coma four months later with a life-changing brain injury. Anything That Happens follows Wilder’s journey from a young adult consumed by shame and self-hatred to a woman she can live with... and even respect.

Genres: Non-Fiction, Biography / Autobiography, Motherhood | Parenthood, Poetry & Drama


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-950413-33-1

Published by Press 53

on 25th March, 2021

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 82

Published by: Press 53 (@Press53)

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Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #NonFiction, #Autobiography and #Poetry Drama
& #CherylWilder and #AnythingThatHappens

About Cheryl Wilder

Cheryl Wilder

Cheryl Wilder is the author of Anything That Happens, a Tom Lombardo Poetry Selection (Press 53, 2021), a collection that examines how to reconcile a past grave mistake and a future that stretches into one long second chance. Her chapbook, What Binds Us (Finishing Line Press, 2017), explores the frailty and necessity of human connection.

A founder and editor of Waterwheel Review, Cheryl earned her BFA from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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Posted Thursday, 29 April, 2021 by jorielov in Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host, Dramatic Poetry, Indie Author, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Poetic Book Tours, Poetry, Vignettes of Real Life

Blog Book Tour | A Poetic Memoir within the poetry collection of “Who’s Your Daddy” by Arisa White

Posted Wednesday, 21 April, 2021 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

Non Fiction Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By:

I have been hosting for Poetic Book Tours for a few years now, where I am finding myself encouraged to seek out collections of poetry or incredible fiction being published through Small Trade publishers and presses. I have an Indie spirit and mentality as a writer and I appreciate finding authors who are writing creative works through Indie resources as I find Indies have a special spirit about them. It is a joy to work with Poetic Book Tours for their resilience in seeking out voices in Literature which others might overlook and thereby, increasing my own awareness of these beautiful lyrical voices in the craft.

I received a complimentary copy of “Who’s Your Daddy” direct from the publisher Augury Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Re-visiting what I loved about reading Arisa White’s poetry:

As you disappear into the mind of Ms White – you see how raw and visually acute she leaves behind her impressions of not only sexuality but of life – of the differences between cultures and the mindfulness of sensing what is not yet spoken aloud. She has a way of intuiting what is meant to be understood out of the recesses of memory whilst augmenting her own experiences against that of what is perceived by others of being a truth they could accept by their own observations. She tucks into the hearty topics of our world – whilst owning the rawer bits that are not always spoken about – in poetry or in everyday conversations.

White etches out her own authentic truth and the truth of everyone seeking to find love, compassion, acceptance and beauty in their life. She humbling approaches her poetry with the intrinsically of a woman who breathes a lifeblood of passion for living and the joy of embracing each new day as one full of possibility. Some of the poems are hard to read due to their emotional conviction and others, are a bit more sublime in how they can articulate the moment of life being captured within their poetic home. There is an umbrage of living narrative running throughout the collection that celebrates how life is lived and deeply felt whilst granting us a view of a passage of life different from our own.

-quoted from my review of You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened

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Blog Book Tour | A Poetic Memoir within the poetry collection of “Who’s Your Daddy” by Arisa WhiteWho's Your Daddy
by Arisa White (2021)
Source: Publisher via Poetic Book Tours

A lyrical, genre-bending coming-of-age tale featuring a queer, Black, Guyanese American woman who, while seeking to define her own place in the world, negotiates an estranged relationship with her father.

Genres: LGBTQIA Fiction, Non-Fiction, Memoir, Poetry & Drama


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781936767618

Published by Augury Books

on 1st March, 2021

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 137

Published By: Augury Books (@augurybooks)

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #Poetry

About Arisa White (2021)

Arisa White Photo Credit: by Nye Lyn Tho

Arisa White is a Cave Canem fellow and an assistant professor of creative writing at Colby College. She is the author of four books, including the poetry collection You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened, and coauthor of Biddy Mason Speaks Up, winner of the Maine Literary Book Award for Young People’s Literature and the Nautilus Book Award Gold Medal for Middle Grade Nonfiction. She serves on the board of directors for Foglifter and Nomadic Press.

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Posted Wednesday, 21 April, 2021 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, Introspective Literary Fiction, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Memoir, Modern Day, Non-Fiction, Poetic Book Tours, Poetry, Vignettes of Real Life, Vulgarity in Literature

A #HarlequinHeartwarming #RomanceTuesdays | Wildfire comes to Shelter Creek! within the pages of Clarie McEwen’s “Rescuing the Rancher”!

Posted Tuesday, 30 March, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#RomanceTuesdays badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I’ve come to know this series [Heroes of Shelter Creek] through hosting the blog tours celebrating releases within the series with Prism Book Tours. However, in September 2020 in lieu of an organised blog tour Ms McEwen was seeking book bloggers who were interested in her series and wanted to read the fourth novel in the series “Rescuing the Rancher”. Whilst I was conferring with the author about receiving this for review, I asked if I could receive the second novel in the series “After the Rodeo” as I never had the chance to read Jace and Vivian’s story! I was thankful Ms McEwen was also available to be a featured guest during my @SatBookChat wherein I celebrate Romance, Women’s Fiction, strong female characters across genres and Feminist Lit on Saturdays each month.

I decided to read and feature “After the Rodeo” ahead of her #SatBookChat appearance and run my review during my #RomanceTuesdays feature wherein I love to showcase Harlequin Heartwarming and Love Inspired authors as they are writing the kinds of Romances I am appreciating most to be reading right now. However in regards to reading “Rescuing the Rancher” – I had difficulty getting into the storyline until recently due to the fact the backdrop of the story is set against wildfires – for whichever reason the topic and subject of wildfires hit closer to home for me than originally anticipated. I’ll be sharing my review for “Rescuing the Rancher” after “Second Chance Cowboy” as it is part of the Harlequin Heartwarming reviews forthcoming to Jorie Loves A Story. I was thankful I could read it ahead of the fifth novel as now I am concurrently connected through all the stories!

I received a complimentary copy of “Rescuing the Rancher” direct from the author Claire McEwen in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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This is one of my top favourite #CowboyRomances by Harlequin Heartwarming:

When I was checking my feeds on Twitter (in Autumn 2020), I stumbled on an announcement by Ms McEwen who was seeking book bloggers to read and review her latest release of the Heroes of Shelter Creek series – wherein I was most excited seeing the notice posted as this is one of the Western & Cowboy Romance series I love reading the most published by Harlequin Heartwarming!

I wasn’t sure if I would be in time to request the book for review, but I immediately emailed the author and the rest knitted together out of that conversation! I am so thankful I contacted her when I had as it lead me to being reading this second of the series I had missed between books one and three as much as I have been wanting to host more of the authors I love via Harlequin Heartwarming and/or Love Inspired Suspense – having the Blackwell Brothers / Sisters authors booked during @SatBookChat in October, it was a lovely surprise to have Ms McEwen booked for early September!

If you’re a ready reader of Westerns and Western Romances, I hope this showcase might inspire you to give Harlequin Heartwarming a chance at winning over your love of Westerns because the authors who are writing these stories are writing wicked brilliant characters with stories which lift your spirits as you’re reading them! Plus, the settings alone are awe-inspiring and give you the kind of Western experience you are hoping for in a Western Rom!

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On a special note: This review is part of my celebrations for my 8th Blogoversary of Jorie Loves A Story! On the 31st of March, 2013 I created my blog and launched myself onto this beautiful journey I’ve taken as a book blogger! I had no idea where this blog was going to take me – both in the realms of literature or in the community of book bloggers – nor in the wider expanse of #bookTwitter,… what an incredible adventure it has been for me to watch myself grow into the blogger I am today.

I wanted to ring in the 8th Year with new reviews for #HarlequinHeartwarming as it has become my top favourite publisher imprint (alongside Love Inspired Suspense) for the past five years!! These are the years which brought a lift shift into my family (per my father’s stroke, Nov 2016) and it was through these stories of relationship-based romance which grounded me in the backdrop of small townes, family-centered story-lines and wicked sweet dynamically real characters. I have celebrated my blogoversary in the past with Heartwarming taking centre stage (per my 6th Blogoversary in particular) and during my 8th, two years later – my love and affection to these authors who continue to enrich my readerly life deserves continue recognition with a big note of GRATITUDE.

They have given me such a wonderful landscape of Contemporary Romances in which to entreat – whilst their larger print editions are kind to the eyes and heart of a migrainuer. It is with a hearty burst of JOY I am celebrating the Heroes of Shelter Creek today and return on the morrow to see my review for the latest in Carol Ross’s Seasons of Alaska – which I read during my 5th Year and celebrated on my 6th Blogoversary! Sometimes life has a way of coming full circle!!

Whilst throughout April and May you’ll be seeing me eagerly devour and discuss the Butterfly Harbour series by Anna J. Stewart, the next four installments (out of five) of the Blackwell Sisters series by the collective genius of Carol Ross, Amy Vastine, Cari Lynn Webb, Melinda Curtis and Anna J. Stewart as well as a review for Beth Carpenter’s series the Northern Lights!! Let’s all continue to celebrate stories and authors who give us such a hearty #randomJOY of #bookLOVE throughout the year and continue to champion their stories both online and off to everyone who likes to listen to our readerly lives.

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A preview of why I feel so dearly attached inside this series:

McEwen threaded in the issues with childhood abandonment and the emotional baggage children take with them in being placed outside their home. Even though this is a story about kinship placement between nieces, a nephew and an Uncle; the larger reach of the issues developed out of the conditions of their home life prior to entering their stay with Jace had such a levelling of strife and guttingly difficult emotional anguish attached to their survival that even Jace was quickly picking up on the fact no man is an island. It is okay to reach out for help and to seek advice as it is needed to best help the children and to find new paths towards solid ground.

The kindness of Jace’s third grade teacher melted my heart – she was one of those everyday characters who fits so well in the background of the story but has such a lot of depth of heart to share with you as you’re reading her sequences in the narrative. In many ways, she’s still able to positively affect Jace’s life now as an adult as she apparently had as a child. There are moments wherein Jace is re-tracing his own memories as he shifts into fatherhood; struggling to resolve some of those past hurts against the current issues he needs to focus on to be a better father for his nieces and nephews. None of it is quick and easy – its a long road towards finding the healing he and they will need to embrace together and that is what McEwen wrote best: the moments of a new family emerging out of the ashes of an old one.

Being able to back-track in the series right now – seeing how Vivian first met Trisha and how these women along with Maya formed such a strong unity of a team for being wildlife warriors was such a special treat for me as a reader! It was a beautiful time capsule – getting to knit together the missing pieces between the first and third installments; etching out more of the girth of the series whilst finding myself so dearly connected to this installment as well. The whole series itself is full of characters you are excited to meet and become familiar with because of how McEwen granted you such wonderful licence to walk beside them and find your own way to fit into their lives.

I truly understood the complicated web of choices befuddling the calm of Vivian – how much was too much stress? And when does positive stress turn to negative stress? How do you balance your own mental health with the needs of others and how do you turn off your emotional responses when life has a way of sneaking up on you whilst your focusing on rebuilding your career? Vivian was moving through the same emotional tides as Jace just from a different entry point. They both had too much to juggle and yet, their paths had crossed and there was a murmuring of interest bubbling under the surface of their heated conversations. Heated of course because they were both stubbornly prideful of their own opinions and they each believed the other was right when they could learn to concede and compromise a bit to get more done that worked for them both.

I could definitely relate to Vivian wanting to keep her health issues private but as I learnt over the years, at some point it is better to be transparent about a chronic health issue than to try to hide it (ie. my migraines) as it just doesn’t serve a purpose. When you have a chronic issue that effects your life at different intervals of time, it is better to simply state why you’re having a bad day or having difficulties doing normal things you love doing than to try to shirk out of owning the truth which could lead to misunderstandings. I felt McEwen knew exactly the internal conversation everyone has about how much to keep private, when to share a health issue and how to find balance when your medical issues start to overtake your life.

I loved how realistically this story was penned – how McEwen tackled the harder topics of kinship placements wherein rather than seeing the world through your own eyes you have to start to see the world through foster care eyes – which comes with its own set of rules, restrictions and regulations about the home, your property and the friends you keep in your company. The rules are in place to keep the kids safe first and foremost but their a bit lengthy and the process towards a home study for any foster placement takes a lot of patience to work through the list of what needs to be fixed in order to pass inspection. Simple things like keeping medicine in a cabinet has to be stored in a locked cabinet and the same with cleaning supplies under the counter – but the larger issues are effectively what McEwen tackled with Jace’s friendship with Caleb. How this veteran who had invisible scars of service had a struggle with anger and his temper – something that was flagged by social services. These kinds of judgement calls are hard to process and to sort through whilst working towards the final acceptance by your social worker and I felt McEwen humbled Jace by having to juggle both his internal struggles as a new father and the responsibilities this presented as a foster kinship parent.

There is a conscience of environmentalism at the heart of this story as well – from conservation, preservation and the connectedness of the living ecosystem concurrently alive next to our own habitats of modern living. The natural world places a strong role in this novel as much as McEwen has found a way to re-adjust our understanding about wildlife and the curious ways in which nature ‘finds us’ when we least expect to be seen ourselves. One of my absolute favourite passages of any story which is pro-positively focusing on the environment and/or the natural world is within After the Rodeo. McEwen shared a notation about trees and how they use biochemical communication – it is by extension a theory of my own about the old soul murmurings of trees and how these stoic giants in our world say more as silent warriors against time than any word we could express ourselves about the amount of time they’ve witnessed. There is another saying about how if you spend time next to a tree it begins to whisper to you as well – trees have ancient wisdom and ancient knowledge; we’d be wise to respect them more than we do as a global society.

McEwen showed the realities of how two persons who had zero interest in meeting someone could find themselves in a love story being knitted out of happenstance and serendipity! It is also a story that celebrates found families and how the beauty of life is truly a life that is shared with people who love you – however which way they enter your life, their the true blessing which enrich our hours in far more ways than we can ever hope to foresee being possible. This story truly touched my heart and soul because of how much of a life it celebrates that I would love to have for myself one day. I cannot hug it enough and the characters who burst to life off the pages of Ms McEwen’s soulful romantic style which etches itself into your memories.

-quoted from my book review of After the Rodeo

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A #HarlequinHeartwarming #RomanceTuesdays | Wildfire comes to Shelter Creek! within the pages of Clarie McEwen’s “Rescuing the Rancher”!Rescuing the Rancher
Subtitle: Heroes of Shelter Creek
by Claire McEwen, Ms Claire McEwen
Source: Direct from Author

She'll help protect his ranch...
And heal his heart

Firefighter Jade Carson needs to get the local residents out of a wildfire's path, but Aidan Bell isn't moving. Still grieving a tragedy, the stubborn rancher plans to stay and save his animals Jade and Aidan battle the blaze on his property, only to feel he spark of something unexpected. Secrets are shared, hope kindles... but can they leave the past's ashes behind and let love grow?

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Ranches & Cowboys, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Western Fiction, Western Romance


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1335889867

Also by this author: Reunited with the Cowboy, Her Surprise Cowboy, After the Rodeo

Also in this series: Reunited with the Cowboy, Her Surprise Cowboy, After the Rodeo, Second Chance Cowboy


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 8th September, 2020

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

The Heroes of Shelter Creek series:

Reunited with the Cowboy by Claire McEwenAfter the Rodeo by Claire McEwenHer Surprise Cowboy by Claire McEwenRescuing the Rancher by Claire McEwen

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Reunited with the Cowboy (book one) – Caleb & Maya’s story (see also Review)

After the Rodeo (book two) – Jace & Vivian’s story (see also Review)

Her Surprise Cowboy (book three) – Liam & Trisha’s story (see also Review)

Rescuing the Rancher (book four) – Aidan & Jade’s story

Second Chance Cowboy – (book five) – Wes & Emily’s story (see also Review)

I’ll admit – I was a bit worried this was ending as a quartet until I spied the release for 2021 via FantasticFiction which is my main resource for sourcing advance notice about series I am reading when new installments of those series will be revealled in forthcoming months.

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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: #CowboyRomance, #WesternRomance & #ContemporaryRomance
as well as #HarlequinHeartwarming with #HeroesOfShelterCreek

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Posted Tuesday, 30 March, 2021 by jorielov in #RomanceTuesdays, 21st Century, A Father's Heart, Blog Tour Host, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, California, Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Western Fiction, Cowboys & Ranches, Environmental Conscience, Environmental Solutions, Family Drama, Family Life, Life of Thirty-Somethings, Life Shift, Men's Fiction, Modern Day, Motherhood | Parenthood, Nature & Wildlife, Preservation, Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Sweet Romance, The Natural World, Western Fiction, Western Romance, Women's Fiction