Category: Motherhood | Parenthood

Blog Book Tour | “Legacy of Mercy” (Book Two: Waves of Mercy) by Lynn Austin An #INSPY Historical Fiction, I had the pleasure of becoming introduced by the prequel “Waves of Mercy” ahead of reading the sequel on the blog tour!

Posted Wednesday, 24 October, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquiried about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. I am unsure how many books I’ll review for them as most are offered digitally rather than in print but this happily marks one of the blog tours where I could receive a print book for review purposes. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors.

I received a complimentary copy of “Legacy of Mercy” direct from the publisher Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. The Digital Audiobook copy of the novel “Waves of Mercy” was inclusive of the audiobooks I am able to listen to due to my Scribd subscription. My ruminations on behalf of the audiobook (and the borrowed print edition from my local library) which serves as a prequel are being shared for my own edification and to help introduce my readers to the series overall whilst sharing my own journey in its discovery. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I love reading INSPY Historical Fiction, especially Sagas:

I am a hybrid reader of both mainstream and INSPY Fiction – the kind of stories I love to read are reflective of my ardent passion for the collective works of Julie Lessman (which will start to be reflection on #JLASblog this coming Winter) wherein I discovered one of my favourite INSPY Historical saga writers! Her family within the original trilogy ‘Daughters of Boston’ became such a firm fixture of my heart and soul, I can’t wait to re-enter their lives starting inside the prequel this December wherein I finally get to read Marcy and Patrick’s courtship story! (A Light in the Window)

From there – I could aptly remember stories of my childhood which befit this category – even some one-offs such as Frontier Lady (which became a trilogy lateron) by Judith Pella were quite beloved (a series I dearly need to find second-hand if only to resume from whence I once left off) – whilst as a book blogger I’ve carved out a list of authors I am pursuing to read to curate a greater list of #mustread authors of both Historical and Contemporary INSPY Fiction.

This is why being a part of this blog tour was such a blessing – as I was hoping Ms Austin would become a new author I could continue to read and enjoy following – from a backlist and frontlist perspective of interest! As soon as I began reading Waves of Mercy, I recognised my instincts for finding a saga writer I could love was well founded!

The key reason I love reading sagas (especially of the historical past!) is the continuation of spending time with the characters! Of knitting out a well-rounded history of their families and of being able to stay with them as they grow, mature and move through the milestones of their lives! Oft-times sagas also embrace the next generations of their lives – through their children and grand-children – where each new story is an extension of the originals but moving deeper into their descendants and sometimes shifting backwards into their ancestors lives; depending on which way the writer wishes to take their focus.

I have an affinity of passion for serial fiction – this is why sagas are a wicked good fit for me! I have trouble parting with characters I feel especially close as a kindred spirit and being able to re-visit with them in latter installments if the best kind of joy I know as a reader! By extension, I also love this when it happens in motion pictures – such as the mini-series or tv serials on television or in motion pictures – a few which come to mind are the Love Comes Softly series, Avonlea, Anne with an E, Murdoch Mysteries (up til a certain season), Downton Abbey (up til a certain season), Legacy (prior to the final year), Dr Quinn Medicine Woman (prior to the final few seasons) and most adaptations based on Classical Literature. The one I never had the chance to see (as of yet) is Wind at my Back which is a Canadian series.

These are only a few of the ones I’ve appreciated over the years and I continuously find myself smitten by sagas in fiction – there is such a breadth of joy in seeing how the worlds are built and how the characters themselves become the touchstones of reading about our human condition whilst we sort out our lives as we live each day fully present and captured in the moments which become the memories we cherish in the future.

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Blog Book Tour | “Legacy of Mercy” (Book Two: Waves of Mercy) by Lynn Austin An #INSPY Historical Fiction, I had the pleasure of becoming introduced by the prequel “Waves of Mercy” ahead of reading the sequel on the blog tour!Waves of Mercy
Source: Scribd | Audiobook Subscription, Borrowed from local library
Narrator: Rachel Dulude

Haunted by the Unknowns of Their Pasts,
Two Women Search for Answers Along the Shores of Lake Michigan

Chicago socialite Anna Nicholson retreats to the Hotel Ottawa in Holland, Michigan, after breaking her engagement with her wealthy fiancé. Filled with questions about her newfound faith and troubled by a recurring nightmare, Anna finds solace in Derk Vander Veen, a seasonal hotel worker who plans to go into the ministry.

Prompted by a request from her son, Geesje de Jonge begins to sift through memories of emigrating from the Netherlands almost fifty years ago. As she writes them down for the Semi-Centennial anniversary of the town's settlement, her story takes on a life of its own as she honestly and painfully recalls her regrets, doubts, hardships, and joys. Her story captivates Derk, who sees similarities between Geesje and Anna, and wishes to bring the two together.

Past and present collide as Anna and Geesje seek clarity, but neither expects the revelations that await them.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0764217616

ASIN: B01LYI8NFZ

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


Published by Recorded Books

on 4th October, 2016

Format: Trade Paperback, Audiobook | Digital

Pages: 384

Length: 14 hours, 15 minutes (unabridged)

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Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Anna is terrified by her nightmares about being aboard a ship during rough weather crossing Lake Michigan from Chicago to the Michigan shore – to such an extent, that when she’s starting to experience this nightmare coming real to life it overtakes her sensibility to separate fantasy from reality. Her thoughts in turmoil over how her boyfriend and her separated – over a disagreement about a church and the beliefs therein are what brought her heart to be torn and spilt between letting go of the past and embracing the future. She was still tucked inside those moments they exchanged and the last fragments of her life she had lived in Chicago – all the while the storms continued to plague her anxieties and the manner in which she was about to arrive via the steamship which was a trial of nerves in of itself.

Despite her mother’s kind assurances and her faithfulness in prayer and the virtues of affirmative thoughts to carry you through the roughest of situations – not even her memories of sermons and easier times could dissuade herself from rolling through afflicted memories which caused her more discomfort. It wasn’t until her ship allowed her disembark did she first find her feet and heart able to ease out of their quaking displeasure to give way towards a calmer beginning on solid ground once more.

This first chapter of the novel I listened to via audiobook – wherein I found the narrator had a pleasant way of bringing Anna to life even though a few of her phrases and wordings felt a bit harder in tone than what was necessary, she aptly described how the churnings of a worried mind could inflict undue duress during a lake crossing aboard a ship which was cast against a difficult storm. I felt she brought Anna’s emotional state to life quite well and allowed us to peer into this young woman’s thoughts in such a way as to make us feel as if we were aboard this ship ourselves, standing near to Anna and observing her discomfort first-hand.

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We first become introduced to Geesje as she observes the changes in her town – from communication and lightning changes to simply the way people were approaching their lives. Although she’s still in her sixties, people have the tendency to treat her as modern people would treat the elderly – as if she is fragile and not with a lot of her youth still left to give a spring to her step – yet as you observe her directly, she’s a young sixty-something who loves life, even if the changes round her leave her a bit unsettled as she remembers a simpler time before the complications of industry and progress catapulted everyone forward. How well we can all stipulate the same even over the past thirty to forty years where technology has almost superseded our own lives.

The irony here is how where progress can inflict a nuance in some ways it allows for shortages in others – how ironic Geesje would find it that infrastructure (ie. roads, etc) are still an oversight of progress (left to be the last of priority) and how we’re a disposal society inasmuch as the one she observed in the late 1800s just ahead of the dawning of the 20th Century! She was commenting how in the Netherlands they reused their buildings, cherished their architectural designs and yet, in Holland, Michigan (where this story is set) they would prefer to demolish and rebuild forsaking the old for the new; the irony dear hearts is that our society today in the 21st Century has the same pattern of destruction and reconstruction!

I love how Geesje is a knitter! If only I could one day master the art and complexities of socks, I think I shall be a happier knitter! For now, I appreciate what I can stitch into prayer shawls and friendship shawls – though to be honest, I yearn to aspire to master Fair Isle knitting patterns as much as wearables inasmuch as expound into fibre artist and textile arts of all varieties, techniques and styles. Once your hands enjoy the tactical blissitude of yarn, you find yourself drawn further inside Old World Arts & Crafts – though, of course, what I was most curious over is the pattern she was knitting as the style wasn’t mentioned.

You feel for her, truly! She’s being asked to write about her exodus from the Netherlands and what inspired the journey to Michigan – her family emigrated to the States when she was seventeen, which brought back memories of my own relatives who made the journey from their European countries to the States (as I am only a few generations down from when my relatives crossed the Atlantic inasmuch as I enjoy being an Ancestry Sleuth alongside my Mum) – as she started to talk about her honest emotions and the conflicting ways she struggled against her faith and finally found reconciliation – you could tell the journey to a new country was not without its depths of strife and adversity. It had to be incredibly despairing for her and even my own relatives – as I am sure not every person in every family who made the trip overseas wished to leave their home countries – some perhaps, but all? Surely, not! It was a daunting prospect – leaving everything behind to risk a stake of claim to set down new roots elsewhere? You can just imagine how that would lead to a conflict in faith and prayer – of where you might even feel distanced from your spirituality rather than closer in the walk you always felt endured through your life’s path. Especially of course if the hardest part of reconcile were the circumstances you faced after you arrived – if tragedy struck or affliction of illness took away lives – how do you rally against the darkness to resume your walk in the Light?

This is the conflict Geesje is having now – of weighing how to best explain the past without revealling herself in such a way where she could lose favour with her neighbours, family and friends alike – as if being completely transparent about the journey and the settlement in a new country could somehow become a negative influence or muddled in such a way with emotional anguish as to paint her life’s story in a different light than it was previously viewed. This gave a deeper scope of insight into how everyone is at times hesitative to share portions of their story – of sharing the living truth of their own lives if it runs against what society or community perceive of a person’s life. Where strife and adversity afflict the memories, there are moments where it feels as if absence of disclosure is a better course than honesty; however, it isn’t the best way of leaving behind a historical artifact of the hours lived but a gentler course if you don’t want to erase someone elses perception of the past. It was interesting watching her work through her emotions and sort out her thoughts on the subject – seeing how she chose what was best for her and what might benefit the community of Holland.

Before we can resume Anna’s story, we must first experience Geesje’s through a series of flashbacks and recollective memories. As we move backwards into her childhood in the Netherlands we learn about how her family were Separatists from the main church striving to hold-fast to a living God and not to be confined by the rituals of change ordained by man taking them further away from the scriptures they lived by. For her family, their faith was their rock and foundation of how they approached living – they were tethered to their beliefs as it was as important as air, shelter and food. They believed so dearly strong in their faith their attempts to outwit their opposition and repressive tactics of those who felt they had no right to rebel against the status quo set them apart from most of their family members who despite holding their same thoughts on the subject were not as strong as they were to leave and seek a better place to live.

As your reading about Geesje’s family’s history it reflects back on the stories I’ve read during the World War eras – of how irregardless of which country of origin or which era in history you move back inside – there have been many instances of persecution and violence. The manner in which Austin approaches this realistic truth of Geesje’s past points towards her compassionate heart for writing convicting narrative rooted out of History itself and re-fuelled inside fiction to offer keen insight into lives which were once lived but perhaps are not as readily known as other stories oft-times gain the spotlight more often.

Anna has gone to Michigan to find recovery after her spilt with her ex and to heal a heart which is still in the process of understanding why relationships can splinter a person’s resolve. Her very first day at the hotel she runs into Geesje’s nephew (an adopted one by association and neighbourly love) Derk which didn’t surprise me as this is a close-knit community. I had a feeling this is the kind of place where most know each other quite well if not by reputation and regards to visitors or tourists, I would imagine they would readily separate a stranger from familiar community members rather quickly. Likewise, I was not surprised either when Derk started to mention how many ships have been lost on the Lake – as the Great Lakes are notorious for keeping their dead, especially shipbound souls as the Lakes hold many watery graves. Anna’s fears of drowning were not misguided whims – especially if you consider the song The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald.

What perked my interest is learning Anna was adopted – as I love sourcing stories of adoption and foster care story-lines. It was revealled through her conversation with Derk who presumed she was from Holland or had family settled there due to how she appeared to be of Dutch ancestry. I could understand where he was coming from as people from similar origins have the tendency of taking on the same features of each other – from hair colour to eyes, as well as the features which make them stand out from others such as height or bone structure or even how they speak or use certain phrases in their speech. There are little hintings towards our origins without even realising we’re giving away clues to our present or past.

Due to my migraines and my eye injury this October, I wasn’t able to read this story in full – however, the first four chapters were so illuminating towards the arc and journey Anna and Geesje were taking I felt as if I could predict how their lives would start to intersect and unite! It was such a warm-hearted insight into both their lives – especially as it was revealled in this opening bridge of the novel what stirred so strongly inside Anna’s heart – why she felt lost inside her relationship with her fiance and why she ached to learn about her birth parents and the origins of her birth if not strictly the country of her origins. I knew after the fourth chapter I had enough insight to head into Legacy of Mercy as this was tracking into a beautifully lovely saga following in Anna’s footsteps and building on the foundation set forth within Waves of Mercy. At my leisure this Autumn or Winter, I would love to re-explore Waves of Mercy and seeing for myself how Geesje and Anna’s paths finally united, though I suspected I might learn a bit about this as I moved into reading Legacy of Mercy!

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Blog Book Tour | “Legacy of Mercy” (Book Two: Waves of Mercy) by Lynn Austin An #INSPY Historical Fiction, I had the pleasure of becoming introduced by the prequel “Waves of Mercy” ahead of reading the sequel on the blog tour!Legacy of Mercy
by Lynn Austin
Source: Publisher via Prism Book Tours
Narrator: Rachel Botchan, Stina Nielsen, Suzanne Toren, Amanda Leigh Cobb, Laura Knight Keating, Andrea Gallo

She Knew Her New Life Would Not Be Easy,
But Nothing Could Prepare Her For What Waits Ahead

Having returned to Chicago, young socialite Anna Nicholson can't seem to focus on her upcoming marriage. The new information she's learned about her birth mother continues to pull at her, and she hires Pinkerton detectives to help her discover the whole truth.

But as she meets people who once knew her mother and hears stories about the past, Anna soon discovers that some secrets are better left hidden. With pressure mounting to keep the past quiet, she discovers daily that her choice to seek God's purpose for her life isn't as simple as she had hoped.

When things are at their darkest, Anna knows she can turn to her grandmother, Geesje de Jonge, back in Holland, Michigan. Geesje's been helping new Dutch immigrants--including a teen with a troubled history--adjust to America. She only hopes that her wisdom can help all these young people through the turmoil they face.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

ISBN: 978-0764217630

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


Published by Bethany House Publishers, Recorded Books

on 2nd October, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 400

Length: 12 hours and 17 minutes (unabridged)

Published by: Bethany House Publishers (@bethany_house)

an imprint of Baker Publishing Group

Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Stories within the series Waves of Mercy:

Waves of Mercy by Lynn AustinLegacy of Mercy by Lynn Austin

Book One: Waves of Mercy (prequel) | Pub’d 4th October, 2016

Book Two: Legacy of Mercy

Converse via: #INSPYbooks, #INSPYHistFic, #INSPY or #HistRom

About Lynn Austin

Lynn Austin

Lynn Austin has sold more than one and a half million copies of her books worldwide. A former teacher who now writes and speaks full-time, she has won eight Christy Awards for her historical fiction. One of those novels, Hidden Places, has also been made into an Original Hallmark Channel movie. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and make their home in western Michigan.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 24 October, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, Adoption, Audiobook, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Christianity, Clever Turns of Phrase, Coming-Of Age, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Family Drama, Fathers and Daughters, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Historical Fiction, Immigrant Stories, Inheritance & Identity, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Intergenerational Saga, Knitting, Library Find, Life Shift, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Marriage of Convenience, Mental Health, Mid-West America, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-traditional characters, Pinkerton Detective | Pinkerton Agency, Prism Book Tours, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Self-Harm Practices, Small Towne Fiction, Story in Diary-Style Format, the Gilded Age, Widows & Widowers, Women's Fiction, Writing Style & Voice

Non-Fiction Book Review | “The Wisdom of Listening” (#RealPeopleRealLives) by Marilyn R. Wilson

Posted Friday, 12 October, 2018 by jorielov , , 1 Comment

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

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for the second release by Marilyn R. Wilson hosted by iRead Book Tours. I was thankful to be a part of her debut release blog tour a few years ago where I learnt about her life’s work and what inspires her to write. I haven’t been reviewing or hosting iRead authors in quite a long while – for most of the year, I couldn’t find stories which excited me to read and/or there were a heap which I felt would fit other readers better than they would my own readerly inclinations. I am thankful I could host Ms Wilson on this second tour and gain more insight into what inspires her to share this inspiring collection of voices, hearts and lives.

I received a complimentary copy of The Wisdom of Listening direct from the author Marilyn R. Wilson in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

On why I was keenly interested in wanting to read ‘The Wisdom of Listening’:

I wanted to dig into the heart of how she organised the sequences of discloses within this release as it has a unique rhythm of disclosures – as I initially settled into reading the individual passages, I noted how they strike a hearty balance between a slice of memoir, a candor of conversationalism and the kind of insight you would expect from a woman whose dedicated her life to listening to others who tell their story with the hope of inspiring someone by the experience of hearing their story told.

It is quite true – when she encourages you to read the passages out of sequence from how their arranged – you can take it upon yourself to curate a bit of a personal experiment – which passages are drawing your eye towards them first? Which ones speak to you the most? Try it! You might be pleasantly surprised – as I knew I was as I was reading – I was automatically seeking out more of her own personal declarations – the pieces of this installment in her evolving series of Real People | Real Lives which takes on its own canon of originality with each book she writes – something which struck me as interesting as I was not expecting this to be the case.

Similar to reading anthologies – I took this edition to be of the same vein – a wanderlust of inspiration wherein you are never quite certain which piece or short will draw you into the folds of the message it has left behind for you to find. Each of these pieces curate their own fingerprint of insight into what Ms Wilson has gleamed as an interviewer but also, as an experiencer of life spent observing the keen awareness we all have within us to contemplate as we shift through our transitions – where memory and experience intermix and re-settle the thoughts as they once percolated to mind when inspiration alights within us.

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Notation on Cover Art: Being an artist who wants to increase her toolbox of media choices, one of the future journeys I wish to take visually is into watercolours. Especially coming from a history of using oils and pastels; the effects you can achieve with watercolours never fails to impress me or inspire me. If you see the collective works of Stephanie Pui-Mun Law floating into my feeds on Twitter it is not by accident – she has an incredible gifted eye and story-telling arc of narrative within her paintings which I simply :love: dearly. This cover is a spasm of colour, thoughtfulness and it speaks to sometimes you have calm your voice in order to hear what others are saying – sometimes that requires removing our sensory awareness – to close our eyes in order to see what is being said is a great metaphor to have on the cover.

Non-Fiction Book Review | “The Wisdom of Listening” (#RealPeopleRealLives) by Marilyn R. WilsonThe Wisdom of Listening
Subtitle: Pieces of Gold from a decade of interviewing and life
by Marilyn R. Wilson
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

The next time you're out in public, take a moment to look around you. Each and every person you see holds wisdom in their pockets--pieces of gold they've accumulated as they walked their own unique life journey.

Within these pages, Marilyn shares some of the many pieces of gold she has received over her decade-long career. They have been offered to her during interviews, through random encounters and while facing difficult challenges. The most important? We are each unique and exactly who we are meant to be.

Are you ready to dig for gold? All you need to do is be brave, be present in the moment and be open to the possibilities--then start a conversation.

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780995314726

Also by this author: Life Outside The Box: The Extraordinary Journeys of 10 Unique Individuals, Author Interview with Marilyn R. Wilson, (Guest Post) The Wisdom of Listening

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Interviews & Conversations, Non-Fiction, Self-Improvement & Self-Actualisation


Published by Influence Publishing Inc.

on 28th May, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 220

Published by: Influence Publishing Inc. (@influencepub)

Formats Available: Paperback and Ebook

Life Outside the Box by Marilyn R. WilsonThe Wisdom of Listening by Marilyn Wilson

You might remember my conversation with Ms Wilson or my ruminations on behalf of her first release Life Outside the Box, Volume One – this week, I have the joy of her guesting on Jorie Loves A Story with an insightful response about how she fleshed together her inspiring idea behind her latest release: The Wisdom of Listening.

Converse via: #NonFiction & #RealPeopleRealLives

About Marilyn R. Wilson

Marilyn R. Wilson

Marilyn R. Wilson is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for interviewing. It all began in 2006 when she answered a Craigslist ad from a NY magazine asking for story submissions. Two were accepted. The first live interview was life changing and Wilson has never looked back. With over 150 interviews now behind her, the love of interviewing is still as strong as ever. Whether through a random encounter on the New York subway or via a “one-on-one” interview with an internationally recognized artist, the goal is the same—to share the unique journeys of inspiring individuals.

In 2007, this goal led the author to co-launch a successful, innovative magazine focused on professionals working in the fashion industry, paired with photography and illustrations by local artists. Now on staff at Raine Magazine (NY/Miami/LA), as well as freelancing for other publications, Wilson has taken her passion to a new audience with the release of her first book.

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Posted Friday, 12 October, 2018 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Indie Author, iRead Book Tours, Memoir, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Publishing Industry & Trade, Sociological Behavior, Sociology, Vignettes of Real Life

Blog Book Tour | “NY Doc Under the Northern Lights” (#HarlequinMedical) by Amy Ruttan feat. a special message about #BreastCancer awareness & donation to fight the disease

Posted Thursday, 11 October, 2018 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

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

Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquiried about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. I am unsure how many books I’ll review for them as most are offered digitally rather than in print but this happily marks one of the blog tours where I could receive a print book for review purposes. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors.

I received a complimentary copy of “NY Doc Under the Northern Lights” direct from the author Amy Ruttan in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why this particular Harlequin story stood out to me to read:

I will admit, there was a time in my life where I could not get enough Medical Romances in my life or Medical Dramas for that matter! Whether I was seeking them out in fiction – yes, I’ve know about this imprint for Harlequin for a long, long time – including when the covers used to be featuring scrub green! – or whether I was watching television dramas like ER or Crossing Jordan whilst happily binge watching Quincy, ME. I would never watch Chicago Hope when it aired as that felt sacrilegious being an ER girl! Laughs with mirth. I even had a ‘chat’ group in my high school where every Friday whilst our Spanish teacher tried to get us to settle into our lessons, I was more keen on hashing out last night’s episode!

Then, somewhere round my early twenties when I discovered Strong Medicine, I started to notice the story-lines and the cases on the series were affecting me. To the point where seeing the shows were no longer my ‘joy’ but were becoming more intense to filter after seeing them. In essence, I knew my time with ‘medical’ anything was over – until of course someone called ‘Mark Harmon’ smittened my eye to start watching NCIS (later in my twenties) and I came to love a ME named ‘Duckie’ and a forensic scientist named ‘Abby’!!

I should also mention I streamed the first two episodes of New Amsterdam and had this series aired in the ’90s whilst ER was still airing, I would have been a bonefide fan! Now? I saw the writings on the wall why that kind of medical drama was for the girl I was yesterday and not the girl I am today. For one thing – did they have to use so much graphic scenes to empathsis conditions where less would have been more? Clearly those days are ‘over’.

Also, I exited ER after they killed off Lucy Knight – as that was the key episode where I felt the series went ‘too far’ even though they crushed my heart by taking off Hathaway and Ross!

Which brings me to why I thought I ought to read this particular release! Since I’ve been hosting for Prism, I’ve noticed I am finding new routes of interest into different imprints by Harlequin once again – I have had a healthy curiosity about the kind of romantic medical dramas authors might be writing for this imprint ever since I saw Candace Cameron Bure’s light hearted medical romance on Hallmark Channel where she moves to Alaska and wishes to be in New York at a major hospital?

A lot of what I love about Harlequin Romances has the similar appeal to my bookish heart as the kind of romances you find on Hallmark Channel. You almost know going into the stories you can not just survive reading them but you are going to feel uplifted afterwards! This was the key as somewhere in my wanderings of medical drama on television – my heart couldn’t take the drama anymore on scene as I was no longer feeling uplifted. Such as what happened when in syndication I reached that pivotal moment where M*A*S*H aired its final arc and goodbye? I was filling buckets with my tears and my heart was severely crushed. Those latter seasons were brutal to get through!

With a happy optimism I signed on for this blog tour to see if what I love about medical dramas and medical romance are now contained in an imprint I’ve been cautiously avoiding for more years than I care to honestly admit possible! Perhaps I have found a new entry into a category of interest I thought I had to leave abandoned! I fully admit I was keenly smitten with the idea of this novel being set in Iceland! A country who loves writers and story-tellers – the land of enchanting scenery, hot springs and a volcano which keeps everyone on their toes! It is truly a remarkable country (from what I’ve gathered from afar) and the Northern Lights are a phenom I’d love to visually take in one day for my own experience as I have read about them and seen them in films but ooh! To see them in person? I can’t even imagine!

When the novel arrived however, Ms Ruttan had a few cheeky surprises for me – especially in regards of how to give a book blogger a hearty chuckle of JOY when spying a rather dashing doctor stuck between the pages of a book she’s about to read for review!!

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An important message from the author:

I couldn’t wait to retweet this special s/o of charity proceeds stemming from the sales of the story I am reading for review today. This is an insidious disease and it affects so many people we either know personally or know indirectly – one of my Aunt’s in my family had it but more recently, the journey Ms (Susan) Spann is taking climbing the #100Summits in Japan was showcased on my blog to highlight the empowering survival spirit of those who can beat the odds and to give inspiration to those who are continuously fighting for their life.

Let us take a moment to send a note of support to Ms Ruttan and to help spread the awareness of how this novel NY Doc Under the Northern Lights is making a difference with each book sold!

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Blog Book Tour | “NY Doc Under the Northern Lights” (#HarlequinMedical) by Amy Ruttan feat. a special message about #BreastCancer awareness & donation to fight the diseaseNY Doc Under the Northern Lights
by Amy Ruttan
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

Escaping the big city…

For love under Icelandic skies

When surgeon Betty Jacinth’s heart is broken once again, she takes a job in Iceland for a change of scenery. She expects cold weather—but not the frosty welcome she receives from gorgeous but brooding Dr. Axel Sturlusson! Now father to his orphaned niece, Axel gradually thaws, and a flame ignites—but when Betty’s ex begs her to return, can she make the right choice for love?

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

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ISBN: 978-1335663795

Also by this author: NY Doc Under the Northern Lights

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


Published by Harlequin Books, Harlequin Special Edition

on 18th September, 2018

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 256

Published by: Medical Romance (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin

Formats Available: Ebook and Paperback

four-half-flames

I added a flame rating to this story as it goes a bit further than most of the stories I’ve been regularly reading by Harlequin (such as the Heartwarming imprint or even the Special Edition); though it is tamer than I would presume the Desire imprint (of which I’ve not yet read a story) but I wanted to simply say it has more heat inside than I was expecting to be contained within it. The two characters definitely share a keenly intimate interlude towards the last quarter of the novel which is quite detailed.

Converse via: #Contemporary #Romance & #HarlequinMedical

OR #Harlequin w/ #MedicalRomance

About Amy Ruttan

Amy Ruttan

Born and raised just outside of Toronto, Ontario, Amy fled the big city to settle down with the country boy of her dreams. After the birth of her second child, Amy was lucky enough to realize her life long dream of becoming a romance author. When she's not furiously typing away at her computer, she's a mom to three wonderful children who use her as a personal taxi and chef.

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Posted Thursday, 11 October, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, A Father's Heart, Adoption, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Iceland, Indie Author, Life Shift, Medical Fiction, Mental Health, Modern Day, Motherhood | Parenthood, Nurses & Hospital Life, Orphans & Guardians, Prism Book Tours, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Single Fathers, Sociological Behavior, Sudden Absence of Parent

Blog Book Tour | Double-Showcase: Reading my next installment of the lovely imprint #PureRomance (by Cedar Fort) and feat. an interview with Julie Matern!

Posted Saturday, 28 July, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I have been hosting blog tours with Cedar Fort Publishing and Media for several years now, wherein their new blog tour publicist (Ms Sydney Anderson) also runs her own publicity touring company: Singing Librarian Book Tours (or SLB Tours for short!). I happily joined her team of book bloggers as a hostess in late Spring, 2018 wherein my first tours with her as a hostess begin Summer, 2018. I appreciate reading INSPY literature and was happy to find these are most of the stories she is showcasing through SLB Tours! Most of her authors are published through Cedar Fort, though she does work with authors who are either Self-Published or Indie published through different publishers as well.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Secret of Haversham House” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (an imprint of Cedar Fort Publishing & Media) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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To find out why I love Sweet Romances and the #PureRomance imprint you might like to check out my previous postings for Cedar Fort blog tours, wherein I related my love of Historical & INSPY stories on a previous blog tour featuring To Suit a Suitor, however, I have happily been reading the offerings of this particular imprint for quite a long while now. The stories which still stand out are as follows: ‘Willow Springs’, ‘The Darkest Summer’, ‘Unexpected Love (anthology)’ and ‘The Second Season’.

To follow through my readings, be sure to scroll through this tag Pure Romance!

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A conversation with Julie Matern: Part I

What first drew your eye into Regencies and what were your favourite memories of reading your first Regency Romances? What attached yourself into them: the era, the lifestyle difference (upstairs/downstairs), the fashions or the historical backdrop and aesthetics?

Matern responds: I didn’t get into Jane Austen until after college – I was taking a French degree which required reading French Literature and there wasn’t time for much else. Quite honestly my connection to Austen’s books came as quite a surprise as I had been required to read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronté at school when I was quite young and did not like it at all.

I decided then that those ‘old’ books were not for me. So when I chanced to read Pride and Prejudice as an adult I was amazed at how much I loved it almost immediately.  I enjoyed Jane’s voice and her characters and the era itself – so polite and civilized. I found I couldn’t put the books down. I think they swept me back in time. Then television and movie studios began making the adaptations with the beautiful scenery and costumes and I was totally hooked. I have three daughters and I have converted two of them! (PS I love Jane Eyre now too!)

I believe our reading lives have their Seasons,… I struggled to get into both Bronté and Austen when I was younger – though why I hesitated to read either of them, is lost to time itself. I started to focus on reading ‘Pride’ when Keira Knightley’s film was released (finishing it in time to see it live at the theater!) whilst my reading progress into ‘Jane Eyre’ has taken nearly the full five years I’ve been a book blogger! I haven’t a clue as to why either, except I find myself distracted from the text more times than naught and this year, I’m determined to conclude my ruminative thoughts as I would very much like to read a sequel author’s trilogy! Wish me well!

Strangely, despite the hiccups I incurred with these authors, I was into Classical Children’s Lit throughout my younger years as well as Contemporary favourites like Carolyn Keene (of whom I hadn’t realised to much later was a pen name!) and the other authors I’ve listed on my Children’s Lit page! The way you’ve described why you love reading these stories is something I can relate to myself ‘being swept into the historic past’, ‘the authenticity of Austen’s voice’ and the ways in which the manners of her time were eloquently brought forward into her stories. You’ve summarised it rather lovely!

It is an interesting premise, to have a girl raised in the ton (aristocracy) who didn’t realise her lot was not officially cast in those circles – what inspired this choice of entry into her shift of acceptance from her peers?

Matern responds: Well, heritage is so very important to the nobility at this time. Lady Catherine de Bourgh is probably the best example of this attitude in Austen’s writing. She is horrified that Elizabeth isn’t enough of a lady for her nephew. In Persuasion, Anne is discouraged from marrying Captain Wentworth because he ranks beneath her and in Emma, the thought that Harriet might marry Mr. Knightley makes Emma ill.

I thought it would be an interesting study to examine the possible reaction of this class of people to someone they knew and loved as a lady, under the new information that she was actually not. Then the question was how can this be accomplished and a secret adoption seemed a natural vehicle.

I love how you’ve found an interconnection between the plottings of Ms Austen’s novels – of how birth origins and your status in society meant everything towards a well-matched marriage than the person’s character; second only to reputation, as this was equally a concern of the aristocracy! It is a bit how I was happily surprised Adoption is now an option for Royals where previously it was not allowed. A secreted adoption I believe is the only way it could have worked within the framework of the Haversham’s case due to the nature of how constricted they were by both society and family alike. Blessedly not due to their own beliefs, thoughts and convictions!

Self-identity is oft-times linked to our ancestral heritage – did your interest in ancestry play a key role in exploring Francesca’s soul-search for her own identifiable truth? How did you want to show who you are and who you believe you are are oft-times not the same person?

Matern responds: I have researched my own genealogical lines for over 40 years. I find it absolutely fascinating. There are hidden secrets in many people’s lines; my grandmother thought she was a year younger than she was; people lied to their fiances about their age so that they didn’t seem too much older than them and it is discovered by researchers like me generations later when we notice the discrepancy between the birth certificate and the marriage certificate; I know of someone who did not know she was born before her parents married, until after her parents died and she examined all the certificates. The truth can shake people to their foundations. Any revelation that changes what you have believed to be true about yourself creates a need to know everything, I believe. Ancestry.com is using this common need in their advertising to create interest in their DNA testing – people who find out that they have ethnicity in their family tree that they did not know about, for example, often begin a study of that ethnicity to understand it in an attempt to understand themselves better.

Adoption is not something I have direct experience of and in our day and age it is very open. In writing about Francesca’s emotions I tried to put myself in her shoes and imagine receiving the news that my  mother was not my birth mother. It would spark an avalanche of emotions and confusion and a desire to seek out my birth relatives.

I do believe that ancestral heritage affects how we see ourselves and anchors us to our past, endowing us with a sense of connection to them and helping us have stronger self-esteem. My great-uncle died when he was 19 in WWI in France and my own grandfather almost died in the same war. Their sacrifice helps me feel that my family helped in the cause of freedom. My husband’s side has many pioneers who did extraordinary things under extremely difficult circumstances and it is very important to me that my children know about those on my side who fought and those on my husband’s side who sacrificed so much to connect them with these great heroic acts.

I’ve been blessed by having a Mum whose research into our own ancestral lines began 40+ years ago whereas my own journey as an #AncestrySleuth began roughly 10 years ago where we started to combine our efforts! It even led to a ‘match’ of finding living cousins in Sweden, of whom we thankfully had the chance to meet in Autumn 2017! We personally love the archives and the resources attached to FamilySearch.org as the services they provide are blessedly ‘free’ and all the information on Ancestry.com (which is a paid service) is available for ‘free’ as well as they share their databases. Towards that end, I even participated in a records updating weekend once which proved how tedious it is to update records and how thankful all of us are for the hours dedicated volunteers world-wide are giving to these records/databases to help us all interconnect with lost relatives and ancestral heritage (both living and dead).

Yes, and no. You’d be surprised — I knew in my early twenties I wanted to adopt my future children and despite being comfortable on my path, whenever I go to talk about how I intend to have children (through adoption) you’d be properly surprised how much negatively people project on you and how dedicated they are to tell you the choice you’ve made (for your own life, mind you!) is the wrong one! I never would have thought of all the topics and subjects the general public would feel the right to debate with you, the path you take towards mumhood would be one they would feel most inclined to argue!

Therefore, in many ways, I still see us a bit behind the times when it comes to Adoption – this is why there are many campaigns to re-think how people see adoption and how adoption is still not the option most families are willing to make to either expand or start their families. I wish it were different but the facts do not lie. We’re as closed-minded to adoption now as we were in the Regency in so many ways and that is something I hope will change within my lifetime.

I truly believe as you do – a healthier way forward is to know our past, to examine it, draw strength from it and to continue to ‘tell the living histories’ of our families if only to keep the voices of the past alive, present and acknowledged! I grew up with these kinds of stories myself and they re-etch an impression about yourself, your family and the legacies we all leave behind – some in larger ways than others but all of us have stories to share, tell and honour.

How did you decide on the surname Haversham? It is a rather unique choice and I was wondering if there might be a story behind it? Also, what is your process for selecting the names of your characters overall?

Matern responds: My husband, who is not English by birth, loves these types of quintessential English surnames and is often popping them into conversations. Haversham, Flaversham, Faversham. So it was a nod to him.

Choosing a name for a character is a bit like choosing a name for a baby – I want it to fit. Her name had to be Francesca because of the Italian-French connection so then I wanted a very English surname to pair it with. Then I say my character’s  full names out loud to make sure they have a good ring to them.

I always want to use very traditional names as the first names of my characters. (Langley is not very traditional but is a name of an ancestor of mine so I felt I could use it.) Then I use google to search English surnames that have several syllables (these seem more regal to me) or I look through my family tree for the perfect name. Septimus Sladden is an actual ancestor of mine. The minute I found him I knew I was going to use that name in a book.

Charles Dickens was so very clever with his name choices and JK Rowling too, as often the name tells us about the character. I hope to be able to imitate that in the future.

OOh, I am so glad you’ve mentioned this!! As this is part of my own process for selecting names for my own characters! I even have a lovely Baby Name Book which is multi-ethnic and pulls names from various ethnic backgrounds world-wide as well as various spellings therein! I can go off in small tangents of research just to dig up the Etymology of the names I’ve chosen to see if perhaps, I was choosing the right ‘name’ so to speak at any given time! Much like I would if it were naming a child of mine, to see if I honed in on their personality and the potential they would have in life to fill the shoes behind the name.

I thought your idea of combining the Italian name for ‘French’ as a nod to both Francesca’s Italian heritage but French set Adoption was a stroke of brilliance!

I shall readily admit – when it comes to old English names, I am as addicted to them as your husband! This is one reason I am thankful I’m personally British three times to Sunday! The names and titles alone in my ancestral lines are lushly addictive to research!

Yes! Isn’t it interesting how the names of our ancestors take us by shocked surprise? I have many revelations like this on my own family tree – but also, of whom they were, where they were bourne and where they ended their lives as they moved round quite frequently!

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Blog Book Tour | Double-Showcase: Reading my next installment of the lovely imprint #PureRomance (by Cedar Fort) and feat. an interview with Julie Matern!The Secret of Haversham House
by Julie Matern
Source: Direct from publisher via SLB Tours

Eighteen-year-old Francesca Haversham is privileged, beautiful, and naive. Lineage, titles, and wealth are the ultimate virtues among nineteenth-century English aristocracy, and Francesca is elite society's newest and most celebrated debutante from one of England's most illustrious families. Her pedigree is impeccable - or is it?

Her coming-out ball brings iwth it the appearance of one Mr. Langley Ashbourne, and Francesca is immediately taken in by his handsome features and flattering words. But not everything is as it seems, and flowery comments can only hide dark truths for so long. Meanwhile, a long-buried secret creeps ever closer to the light, one that would destroy her comfortable life, tarnish her family's character, and ruin all hopes of a reputable marriage.

Places to find the book:

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Add to Riffle

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ISBN: 9781462122073

Also in this series: Willow Springs, Sophia, The Second Season, To Suit a Suitor, Mischief & Manors, Unexpected Love, Lies & Letters, The Darkest Summer, Love and Secrets at Cassfield Manor


Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Sweet Romance


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 12th June, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 231

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

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

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Converse via: #Regency or #RegencyRomance, #HistFic or #HistoricalRomance

#INSPYRom, #SweetRomance OR #HistRom; #Adoption

→ #SecretOfHavershamHouse

About Julie Matern

Julie Matern

Julie Matern is a resident of Utah. She attended the University of Exeter in Exeter, England, and graduated with a double major in French and Education. She was born and raised in England, moving to America after her marriage and is the mother of six children.

She has served in the PTA for over 20 years, taught tap dance, and enjoys amateur photography. She is the author of ‘British War Children’ (for which she received a “Recommended Read” award from the League of Utah Writers) and ‘British War Children 2: An Enemy Among Us’.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 28 July, 2018 by jorielov in Adoption, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Coming-Of Age, Debut Author, Debut Novel, England, France, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Italy, Life Shift, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Singing Librarian Book Tours, Sweet Romance, the Regency era, Women's Fiction