Category: Motherhood | Parenthood

This #RomanceTuesdays feat. #HarlequinHeartwarming | “The Single Dad’s Holiday Match” (Book One of the Smoky Mountain First Responders: a mini-series set in Hollydale) by Tanya Agler

Posted Tuesday, 12 October, 2021 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

#RomanceTuesdays badge created by Jorie in Canva.

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 enquired about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. This is how I came to love discovering the Harlequin Heartwarming authors & series as much as it has been an honour to regularly request INSPY stories and authors. Whenever I host for Prism, I know I am in for an uplifting read and a journey into the stories which give me a lot of joy to find in my readerly queue of #nextreads. It is an honour to be a part of their team of book bloggers.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Single Dad’s Holiday Match” direct from the author Tanya Agler in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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*waves!* Hallo, Hallo dear hearts,

I wanted to preface my review this #RomanceTuesdays with an apology to the author (Ms Agler) about the lateness in which this review is arriving on my blog, Jorie Loves A Story. I was struck down last week with a beast of a migraine – which did blindside me as I have been quite blessed this year with a reduction in frequencies of my migraines as compared to past years (especially the 2018/19 seasons) however, in September, 2021 I had a clustering attack of migraines and this past week, I was unfortunately offline due to another migraine which just wrecked my hours with its presence. I get the kind of migraines where screens (ie. online spaces), lights and even text (ie. reading books) can affect me quite dearly. I hadn’t even realised I had missed my tour stop this past week as I was so consumed with my migraine, you could say it blighted it out of my memory. For that, I apologise.

Generally, I can get on top of things a bit faster or rebound back a bit quicker – as I had planned to read this lovely ahead of the weekend (on Friday and Saturday) whilst posting this on Saturday afternoon, however, my weekend didn’t quite get off the ground as I had planned it would and I apparently needed a bit of extra time to transition back into reading as well. As luck would have it – blessedly, the tour is running through Wednesday the 13th, which is why I scheduled this to run during my #RomanceTuesdays as a final hoorah for the tour itself and as a way of shining a happy light at the end of the tour on a series and author I’ve continued to enjoy reading and discovering!

As you know, I LOVE Heartwarming series and this one is a unique situation where you have a trilogy of stories interlinked into Hollydale and now, there is a lovely new mini-series attached to Hollydale which begins with this novel: The Single Dad’s Holiday Match

Now without further adieu,… let’s get back to the blog tour today!

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If you caught sight of my #BestBooksOf2020 you know “A Ranger for the Twins” was a winner of my Cuppa Book Love Awards – which you can read about HERE!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comOn where I last left my adventures in Hollydale:

Happily read through my Harlequin Heartwarming archives!

As Agler had written one of my favourite Romance novels from 2020 – I was truly delighted to be caught inside this novel for 2021! She was touching on all the elements I love in a Contemporary Romance – a small towne setting, two bull-headed adults who want the best for someone but might not know how to communicate with each other towards that end and of course, at the heart of it all – a slow brewing romance which is about to upset the plans for the lead characters! I loved the quirkiness of how the story began – from the perspective of how Aidan’s first impression of Natalie was the wrong one because he was reading more into her words than what were there to be heard. Whereas with Natalie she’s on the defensive due to how much it aches her to even consider a life and world without Danny; the young boy she was given guardianship over since his Mum died.

The part of the opening chapters which held my eye the most was when Agler had her heroine of this story overhear what defines family from her Mum to the child she shares guardianship with an Uncle stationed overseas. There is deep rooted tragedy in the origins of this story but at the bedrock of the characters’ lives is a wealth of hope and a light of promise filtering through their lives, too. I loved how Agler focused on where they were in their lives a few months after the tragedy as it showed how much Natalie wants things to change for Danny and how much she aches to learn if she is able to stay in his life once his Uncle Aidan returns home from overseas. It is one of those uniquely non-conventional families which I was loving to see develop as it isn’t oft non-conventional families are showcased in Contemporary Romance. Blessedly I’ve noticed an uptick of inclusion within the Harlequin Heartwarming line of romances and I was thankful to read this one by Agler after having felt charmed by A Ranger for the Twins.

If I hadn’t watched the entire series of Army Wives over the last year, I might not have picked up on the subtle reasons why Aidan was being such a difficult person to deal with as he realised his chances of taking Danny out of state were dwindling now that he knew how hard Natalie would fight for custody. The irony of course is his misunderstanding about her remarks when they first met and that reminded me a lot of Frank from Army Wives – as he tended to see things more literally rather than figuratively – which caused a lot of grief in his marriage. However, back to the story at hand – what was interesting to me were the layers Agler was building to the drama behind the premise of the novel.

I loved how she didn’t waste time getting Aidan and Natalie in front of a lawyer and how quickly she wanted to make the case for both Aidan and Natalie to show why they equally had a motive in wanting to keep custody of Danny. It was an interesting premise from the jump start as this is a case involving co-guardianship of a young boy whom both guardians are not the biological custodial parent but rather, Aidan is the boy’s biological Uncle (though the mother was his half sibling) and Natalie was the mother’s best friend. This is one of those more complicated adoption cases where a person’s will and final intentions before death are being brought to life and court.

Agler has a way of knitting you into the heart of their lives – digging deep and expounding on the emotional side of trying to resolve a custody battle between two guardians who aren’t the best at communicating with each other nor understanding where the others is coming from in regards to why their each fighting so hard towards the same end goal. I was definitely hooked quite immediately after Aidan showed up in the park and throughout the passages in the book where he’s trying to assert himself as the predominant reason why the court should lean in his favour but he has a few misguided reasons behind that train of logic which I was looking forward to seeing Agler explore in more detail. Especially about his concept about how love is co-dependent on biology and how custody should only concern those with biological connections.

What I loved most is the ways in which Agler took us on this journey with her characters – to show how life doesn’t have to be deadlocked into one singular plan nor be scheduled within an inch of insanity for missing out on the smaller moments which give life fuller meaning. Agler has a gift for curating a natural rhythm of pacing within a slow burning romance wherein you feel for the characters and for the adversities their facing because of how authentically true their lives have been told by Agler. I definitely will be seeking out more stories from her in future but I also want to get a copy of the first novel The Sheriff’s Second Chance and re-read this trilogy start to finish!

-quoted from my review for The Soldier’s Unexpected Family

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If you love reading Harlequin Heartwarming & the reviews I am sharing
kindly let me know if we’re reading the same authors and/or if you think I need to add someone to my TBR to be read as soon as I can get my hands on their books!!

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Where my journey into Hollydale began:

The Sheriff's Second Chance by Tanya AglerA Ranger for the Twins by Tanya AglerThe Soldier's Unexpected Family by Tanya Agler

The Hollydale series:

The Sheriff’s Second Chance (book one) – Mike and Georgie’s story *need to acquire a copy!

A Ranger for the Twins (book two) – Caleb and Lucie’s story (see also Review)

The Soldier’s Unexpected Family (book three) Aidan and Natalie’s story (see also Review)

*Please note: I noticed there is a connection with all of these stories being set inside the small towne of Hollydale and have chosen to collect them into a ‘series’ as they are a series by setting – however, I am not sure if they have been officially named as either a collection and/or a series or continuity with Harlequin Heartwarming as there isn’t a series name on the books nor on their informational pages online. I collected them together for my own frame of reference and for other readers and visitors to my blog Jorie Loves A Story who likes to read series in order and/or meet stories in order of how they were first disclosed.

Finally sorted: This was a trilogy and the series is officially called: Heroines of Hollydale!!

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Where my journey into Hollydale continues:

the Smoky Mountain First Responders mini-series:

The Single Dad's Holiday Match by Tanya Agler

The Single Dad's Holiday Match
Subtitle: Smoky Mountain First Responders
by Tanya Agler
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

'Tis the season…
For unexpected love!

Officer Jonathan Maxwell is just as devoted to his job as he is to his two young daughters, leaving zero time for a social life. Until he meets Brooke Novak. The newly hired community center director is a single parent, too, and also part of his latest investigation. Jonathan needs Brooke’s help if he's going to close his case by Thanksgiving…but she might be the biggest distraction from keeping his mind on his job.

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



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335426437

Also by this author: A Ranger for the Twins, The Soldier's Unexpected Family

Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 28th September, 2021

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

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The Single Dad’s Holiday Match (book one) – Jonathan and Brooke’s story

The Paramedic’s Forever Family (book two) – *forthcoming in 2022!

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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: #TanyaAgler and #HarlequinHeartwarming

About Tanya Agler

Tanya Agler

An award-winning author,Tanya Agler moved often during her childhood and settled in Georgia where she writes sweet contemporary romance novels, which feature small towns, family and pets, and themes of second chances and hope.

Her debut, The Sheriff’s Second Chance, is a January of 2020 Harlequin Heartwarming release. The sequel, A Ranger for the Twins, will be released in Oct. 2020. A graduate of the University of Georgia with degrees in journalism and law, she lives with her wonderful husband, their four children, and a lovable Basset, who really rules the roost. Represented by Dawn Dowdle and the Blue Ridge Literary Agency, she’s currently at work on the sequels to her debut. When she’s not writing, Tanya loves classic movies, walking, and a good cup of tea.

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Posted Tuesday, 12 October, 2021 by jorielov in #RomanceTuesdays, 21st Century, Adoption, Blog Tour Host, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, Contemporary Romance, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Life Shift, Mental Health, Military Fiction, Modern Day, Mother-Son Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, North Carolina, Orphans & Guardians, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Single Fathers, Single Mothers, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Social Services

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

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

Parajunkee Designs

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

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

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Read More

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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

A #HarlequinHeartwarming #RomanceTuesdays | Celebrating my love of the #HeroesOfShelterCreek series by Claire McEwen with my review for “Second Chance Cowboy”!

Posted Tuesday, 16 March, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

#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 “Second Chance Cowboy” direct from the author Claire McEwen in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. I originally was going to purchase a copy of this novel however the publication date changed and blessedly Ms McEwen was able to send me a copy of the novel otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to read and review the novel in time for the blog tour.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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

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!

I’ve had the joy of reading the Shelter Creek series from the beginning whilst I read a few out of sequence as well. I happily caught up with the series ahead of this installment giving me the chance to see Emily right before her story was being told, too! What I love most about how Ms McEwen approached writing this series is the firm presence of community and family; I love seeing series develop which feature both the family you’ve been bourne into and the family you find in the community in which you live. There are all kinds of families in the world and one wicked good thing about reading Harlequin Heartwarming is the celebration of different kinds of family and the unique ways neighbours can become as close as those persons we grew up alongside.

This is one of those close-knit communities you will love re-visiting due to how community focused the towne is and how reliant they are on helping each other to get through the adversities of life. It is a sweet series in that regard because former characters being showcased in the different installments return to make guest appearances lateron in the series whilst the entire series has a wonderful breadth of continuity from one book into the next! This is definitely for readers who love reading romantic dramas set in a Western atmosphere and setting.

Heroes of Shelter Creek and Karen Rock’s Rocky Mountain Cowboys are equal compliments of each other due to how both writers approached writing their series. In regards to Rock’s series – it has been a few years since I could find an update about both the series and the writer; I am still trying to get a hold of the prequel novel to round out my collection of the Rocky Mountain Cowboys as I have my eye on copies filtering into Thrift Books (as of course due to its age its OOP otherwise) – however, in case this series catches your eye, know you’ll want to read Rock’s series next! OR if you’ve read the Rocky Mountain Cowboys you’ll simply *devour!* McEwen’s Heroes of Shelter Creek!

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McEwen starts to describe the wildfire encroaching on Aidan’s ranch the way I recognise hearing about them on the news – whilst at the same time, I believe it would be harder for her to write this story due to how close she is to the actual danger of having a wildfire in your backyard! I know it never fails to affect me whenever I know a friend or author is near a fire and riding out the news updates is emotionally draining! Yet, somehow she found a way through all of that and found a way to create such a realistically dramatic story wherein you truly feel your with Aidan as he’s trying to resolve an emergency before it becomes a catastrophic event!

This is where McEwen excells at showcasing how her characters are willing to not just go the extra mile for what they believe in but they’re willing to do whatever is necessary to reach a goal that others might not be willing to risk. She also hones in on the smaller details – the origins of the smoke as it starts to set into the ridgeline of where Aidan’s ranch is located and the intensity of how it starts off a slowly creeping smell and starts to turn into a toxic pollutant that is inhibiting the ability to breathe properly.

I have admired how McEwen has brought in both knowledge and Science into her novels within the Shelter Creek series but what I loved about this installment is how it spoke towards a ready knowledge of wildfires and the ways in which people with land need to be prepared. There is a lot of prep work which goes into ensuring that your safety and the safety of your property is maintained. This includes fire breaks and clearing anything that could burn away from essential areas of your land and property. One of the downfalls of falling short of maintaining those priorities is shown in Rescuing the Rancher. The only bit of trivia I knew ahead of reading this novel was that the Burr Oak can help as a firebreak or shield on property because the fire can’t burn the tree – it is generally used on land to set a barrier in wildfire country.

I truly loved how McEwen shifted between the raging wildfire and how it moves across fields destroying everything in its wake and then giving reason to its noises alerting her readers to why those noises are death sentences if you don’t keep your wits about you. The fire itself is an intense machine of artistry – how it carves its presence out of whatever is in its path and illuminates the world with a fiery glow of its power. McEwen captured this personality of the fire and also showcased what we’ve learnt to not just prevent fire but how to survive through a fire. This is definitely an eye-opener for anyone who wants to live down range out West or anywhere in a Western state or Southern Canada where wildfires are as common as dragonflies. Its a brilliant primer on what it takes to act on instinct and plan your actions of attack based on modern fire science.

In the aftermath of the fire, it took true courage for both Jade and Aidan to resolve what they had learnt through their ordeal. I was applauding like mad for Jade’s speech to her parents and brothers; she had simply reached the boiling point on that topic and it was such a wicked scene! Aidan on the other hand had a welcome wagon from Shelter Creek arrive to give him a boost of neighbourly love and encouragement as well as the kind of help one didn’t expect to receive but warmly was grateful was given.

By the conclusion I was wicked grateful I finally found my own courage to read this story! The title eludes to the layers of depth within it – how this isn’t merely about a rancher whose in over his head with a wildfire or a simple solution to a problem you can see on the surface of his life. This is a story about a man whose build himself a barrier with the outside world and its going to take a community effort to help him find a passage forward out from under the grief and sorrow he’s been sheltering under since his tragic loss. That’s where Jade steps in during a new crisis of his life and starts to unwind his emotions – the ways in which McEwen gets into the psychology of Aidan’s past and the current tidal waves of how the past is affecting his present were some of the best parts of the story because of how the undercurrent of this romantic plot is firmly hinged against the will of one man to accept that everyone deserves both forgiveness and happiness in equal measures throughout their lives.

-quoted from my book review of Rescuing the Rancher
The full review of this will be featured during #RomanceTuesdays 30th March!
Coincidentally part of my 8th Blogoversary posts!!

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A #HarlequinHeartwarming #RomanceTuesdays | Celebrating my love of the #HeroesOfShelterCreek series by Claire McEwen with my review for “Second Chance Cowboy”!Second Chance Cowboy
Subtitle: Heroes of Shelter Creek
by Claire McEwen, Ms Claire McEwen
Source: Direct from Author

He was her first love…
But some things she can’t forget

Busy small-town veterinarian Emily Fielding is finally ready to take on some help. The best man for the job, however, is Wes Marlow—who broke her heart in high school. Though Wes has a way with horses and a way of melting her resolve, Emily needs to keep things purely professional. Wes left her once—will he do it again? Because she can’t lose her heart a second time…

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: 978-1335179784

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

Also in this series: Reunited with the Cowboy, Her Surprise Cowboy, After the Rodeo, Rescuing the Rancher


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 9th March, 2021

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 McEwen

Rescuing the Rancher by Claire McEwenSecond Chance Cowboy by Claire McEwen

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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

→ my review will shared on the 30th of March!

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

→ Book Six is forthcoming August, 2021!!

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.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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

About Claire McEwen (2021)

Claire McEwen

Claire McEwen is an award-winning author whose strong heroes and heroines take big, emotional journeys to find their happily-ever-afters. She loves writing stories set in quirky small towns and romantic western settings. Claire lives by the ocean in Northern California with her family and a scruffy, mischievous terrier. When not dreaming up new stories, she’s a busy mom who also enjoys gardening, hiking, discovering flea-market treasures and wandering on the beach. A life-long bookworm, she always has her kindle close by.

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Posted Tuesday, 16 March, 2021 by jorielov in #RomanceTuesdays, 21st Century, Blog Tour Host, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, California, Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Western Fiction, Cowboys & Ranches, Family Drama, Family Life, Foster Care, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, Life Shift, Men's Fiction, Modern Day, Nature & Wildlife, Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Sweet Romance, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, The Natural World, Western Fiction, Western Romance