Category: Social Change

#WaitingOnWednesday | #NonFiction Book Review | “The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity’s Search for Meaning” by Jeremy Lent

Posted Wednesday, 17 May, 2017 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in [2016] as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction. I received a complimentary ARC copy of “The Patterning Instinct” direct from the publisher Prometheus Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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a word about ‘waiting on wednesday’:

I have decided to start participating in this book blogsphere meme with a few small changes of how it’s regularly blogged about by my fellow book bloggers. I will either be introducing my current reads of upcoming releases as I am in the process of reading them and/or I might be releasing a book review about a forthcoming title by which I had been blessed to read ahead of publication. The main purpose behind the meme is to encourage readers and your fellow book bloggers to become aware of new books being released which caught your eye and which held your interest to read. Sometimes if your still in the process of reading the books, its the titles which encouraged your bookish heart. I look forward to spending the next seasons of the year, talking about the books I have on hand to read, the books I’ve been reading and the books I might not even have a copy to read but which are of wicked sweet interest to become a #nextread of mine.

Thus, this book review is showcasing a title which is set to release in a few short days – it is an incredibly evocative book about a subject everyone can relate too, as it speaks to the human condition and to the approach we all take towards understanding a new layer of our own humanity.  This is my entrance into the meme and a lovely introduction to one of the new books publishing this year by Prometheus Books – of whom, are consistently publishing topics in Non-Fiction which I love to seek out. I encourage you to dig through my tag thread for this publisher and see what else has caught my fancy!

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

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

musings about the foreword & preface:

Similar to Fritjof Capra who wrote the Foreword, I have had an inquisitive mind attached to social history and the innovation invention of ‘ideas’ which may or may not parlay into a realistic impression on the history of humanity as its distinctions come from a myriad array of perspectives and impressions of interpretation. I garnished a keen interest in the Quantum realms when I turnt twenty, wherein I started to gather books about Quantum Physics and the inter-related fields attached to it – books by such men as Dr Brian Greene, Clifford A. Pickover and others who were writing about topics which fascinated me. My personal studies into the Quantum realms are constantly evolving and tuck into different corridors of theoretical thought as what is known right now in our expanding research focuses by today’s scientists and theorists.

In effect, what interested me about reading this particular release by Mr Lent is the curiosity of how our cultural historical imprint has a startling realisation about how we seek out meaning and our cultural awareness towards understanding our purpose whilst we’re alive. I love finding thought-provoking works in Non-Fiction but especially when they are not written in the traditional voice – granting further enjoyment by how the tome of insight your reading is happily set in a conversational tone of entreaty. I also like cultivating a wide net of co-relating interests and of researching topics and subjects which interest me on a multi-diverse layer of insight by different sources, voices and historical perspectives. Hence why I felt Lent’s point of view on this subject would be a wicked interesting read – he takes a multi-layered approach to augmenting his viewpoint.

Cognitive Science and cognitive awareness (as well as the science behind Consciousness) are fascinating topics to explore – as there is a heap of variables and unknowns when it comes to our understanding of how cognition and consciousness are interlinked and dynamically key to how humanity has evolved in it’s capacity to understand the wider world of our dimensional space.

As I recently explored the complexities of the natural world, I am now embarking on extending my focus to the complexities of the culture wherein mankind understands his/her interpretation of the world itself. This is a fundamental breakdown studying how our cognitive perceptional analysis in effect has a stark effect on how we (together) as a world society help to move ourselves forward as a (global) community but also, how we endeavour to remember our socio-pyschological heritage. Imagine excavating the landscape of our mind in order to seek out how we process information as a stepping stone towards properly understanding not only how we interpret what we understand but how what we understand acts as a linchpin towards affecting how events are shaped within the world itself.

Cultural History is critical towards understanding how each generation dealt with the circumstances they faced but moreso, how humanity was thus changed and consistently altering it’s course towards a tomorrow which went through a series of uncertainties and different trajectories before arriving where we are right now. I am also fascinated by the field of ‘Human Ecology’ as this can also be pursued in higher level education where you spend four years ‘discovering oneself and one’s own passions’ seeking to not only understand the ‘self’ but also, to see the world through a different pair of lens.

One thing that is mentioned is how the ‘gender’ of words describing History have altered from the traditional short-hand of ‘man’ or ‘mankind’ to a more inclusive humankind or other such variants. I have the tendency to refer back to the old gender-narrative as unlike some, I never took offence to how the words were used, as technically we are ‘mankind’ inasmuch as we’re ‘humankind’; it’s semantics, truly. Similarly to how I was never entirely sure why women were worried about being called ‘actors’ as I never took that as anything more than describing one’s field of interest: they ‘act and take on different characters’ whilst on stage or screen; in essence their roles are to ‘act’ and give an honest representation of the characters they’re assuming. I never saw how these instances provided bias against gender lines nor how it personally affected us to where Feminism had to take a forward step towards disintegrating the terms. Honestly, there are far more relevant ways we must circumvent gender bias, but to me these two infractions (at best) were benign compared to the wider problems which affect our lives most directly. Ergo, I had to smile how there was care to mention ‘this term was used’ verse having the freedom to use the term itself now.

I, myself, have not entirely understood why most of History is bent towards the Western world rather than a fuller embrace of the cultural history of the world – including by bridging the gap of differences igniting out of East vs West cultural divides. New generations offer different perspectives on all of this (which we can agree on) but why there is a certainty of non-inclusiveness is unknown. I also have observed how indigenous cultures world-wide (as they are not limited to North America) have also taken a backseat in History’s scope of narrative. There is an enriched well of stories yet to be told as the annals of human history are still missing key chapters which would provide new insights into how progress was not always kind to those who came before our current generation. Each generation has their struggles, yes, but why is there a continued erasure of certain truths behind cultural divides is one of our worst legacies.

I do agree with the postmodernist behaviour mentioned – of how we try to attach ourselves to different viewpoints, intellectual insightfulness and a merging of religious thought with those cultures we come across who provide us with a unique and fresh perspective. I am not entirely sure this was short-sided of us (on a whole) to remain on the superficial layer of what this insight would provide nor of being unable to dig further into how these opinions and views were rooted in a specific historical context. I tend to yield to giving the benefit of the doubt, on how as we were granted a heightened curiosity to understand things which are not readily understood – perhaps our approach to draw our differences together, we took a few missteps to fully appreciate the magnitude of how those other beliefs fit within the context of their cultural heritage. Most of us, I think do err on caution and do try to bridge together resources of knowledge which keep us in-tune with the complexities of global history. Knowledge (like life) has a steep learning curve and we never quite expire from learning something we previously hadn’t fully had the data to conceptionalise in a manner in which it deserved.

Part of my own theory on why we have such a divided world is because the truth of the matter is each country and continent had it’s own form of growth but part of human nature is to judge, measure, weigh and assert superiority. In this context, it’s hard to rationalise why there was such a race to ‘outwit and outsolve’ history’s key problems in industrial and technological advances as I previously have already read; some countries arose to the challenge ahead of others but there was a blackout in communication and of informational exchange. If we would stop ‘vying for being the first’ at everything, and recognise we’re globally interconnected to each other, we’d make better progress towards accepting our global heritage as we would stop compartmentalising ourselves.

When pondering one of the key conduits of thought within The Patterning Instinct – a term reappears quite frequently: historical reductionism which leapt out at me because it’s another way of stipulating: superficist historical perspectives which was my main bone of contention whilst in school and why I was perpetually bored with pre-determinded syllabuses. There is another interesting tidbit hidden within the context which is niche construction which by definition could be cross-applied to my own life, as I was in search of my ‘personal niche’ in life by which I could contribute something artistically created back to society (herein I refer to my quest to unearth my talent was to be a story-telller). I love how this term encapsulates how even in nature, there is evidential support to merit this inclusion towards understanding the nature of self-learning and self-adaptive qualities.

On the cognitive development of humans being influenced and patterned by linguistic heritage did not surprise me – as so much of how we internalise our world is fuelled by how we were understanding the world by those around us whilst we were too young to self-articulate what we were experiencing. It is also true to say, if we have a particular pattern of speech or a learning impediment (such as dyslexia; in my case) you can back-trace how you developed your own style of speech patterns to the people who were interacting with you the most whilst you were still developing your awareness of the information you were processing as a young child. Cognitive awareness starts quite young indeed but how to properly process what we are seeing, hearing and sensing takes a bit longer. If we rely on those around us to help guide us towards understanding how to break-down what we’re internalising and thereby, chart a course towards our own process of cognition, it stands to reason even on a fundamental level, through auditory means (of understanding), we are first mimicking how we hear words and the comprehension of what is around us. We follow this process by developing our own mind and our own interpretation of the world based on what we learn and how we gravitate towards renewing our sense of wonder through collecting knowledge and experiences.

There is an incredible insightful interpretation of what led to the demise of the rain forest which has always held such a tight ache in my own spirit for how destructively callous mankind can be when it comes to destroying what it does not readily understand. On a personal note, I once saw the brutal butchery of a weeping willow tree when living in a place where the outside caretakers were not determined by my family but by the community as a whole. They cut back the tree to such a state of destruction, the tree wept for the last time. It was reduced to such a horrid state of indifference, not even the birds returned; as many of them had nested there in the Spring. I remember vividly lashing out at the man with the chainsaw for his absolute stupidity for not recognising the consequences of his actions. I was physically sick and anguished by how indifferent he was to the fate of a ‘tree’. This new passage about how forests are living ecosystems where trees act as the guardians who protect the futures of the forest itself was not lost on me; if anything it re-instilled how limited mankind has progressed to understand the fuller picture of how nature and man are connected in ways which once severed cannot become re-aligned. Mind you, getting neighbours to respect how trees are our source of oxygen was another wrinkle of angst as they merely saw trees as the bearers of ‘leaves’ which they simply could not handle walking over in the Autumn.

Somewhere along the way, mankind has become blinded by his zest for colonisation and globalisation to where the natural world is no longer a reverent component of our lives but something which needs to be controlled and/or destroyed. How we turnt away from our heritage of connection with nature is not understood (at least not by me) but it is a pattern of change on it’s own merit. And, what cognitive pattern shifted our perspective from being caretakers to destroyers is even more interesting to contemplate.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com#WaitingOnWednesday | #NonFiction Book Review | “The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity’s Search for Meaning” by Jeremy LentThe Patterning Instinct
Subtitle: A Cultural History of Humanity's Search for Meaning
by Jeremy Lent
Source: Direct from Publisher

This fresh perspective on crucial questions of history identifies the root metaphors that cultures have used to construct meaning in their world. It offers a glimpse into the minds of a vast range of different peoples: early hunter-gatherers and farmers, ancient Egyptians, traditional Chinese sages, the founders of Christianity, trail-blazers of the Scientific Revolution, and those who constructed our modern consumer society.

Taking the reader on an archaeological exploration of the mind, the author, an entrepreneur and sustainability leader, uses recent findings in cognitive science and systems theory to reveal the hidden layers of values that form today’s cultural norms.

Uprooting the tired clichés of the science-religion debate, he shows how medieval Christian rationalism acted as an incubator for scientific thought, which in turn shaped our modern vision of the conquest of nature. The author probes our current crisis of unsustainability and argues that it is not an inevitable result of human nature, but is culturally driven: a product of particular mental patterns that could conceivably be reshaped.

By shining a light on our possible futures, the book foresees a coming struggle between two contrasting views of humanity: one driving to a technological endgame of artificially enhanced humans, the other enabling a sustainable future arising from our intrinsic connectedness with each other and the natural world. This struggle, it concludes, is one in which each of us will play a role through the meaning we choose to forge from the lives we lead.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781633882935

Genres: Anthropology | Archaeology, Biological Diversity, Evolution, Life Science, Non-Fiction, Science, Social Science


Published by Prometheus Books

on 23rd May, 2017

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 569

Published By: Prometheus Books (@prometheusbks)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback & Ebook

Converse via: #NonFiction, #CulturalHistory, #History + #ScienceBooks and #ThePatterningInstinct

About Jeremy Lent

Jeremy Lent

Jeremy R. Lent is a writer and the founder and president of the nonprofit Liology Institute, dedicated to fostering a worldview that could enable humanity to thrive sustainably on the earth. The Liology Institute (www.liology.org), which integrates systems science with ancient wisdom traditions, holds regular workshops and other events in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lent is the author of the novel Requiem of the Human Soul. Formerly, he was the founder, CEO, and chairman of a publicly traded Internet company. Lent holds a BA in English Literature from Cambridge University and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #FuellYourSciFi
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Posted Wednesday, 17 May, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Archaeology, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book for University Study, Bookish Discussions, Bookish Memes, History, Indie Author, Nature & Wildlife, Non-Fiction, Prometheus Books, Science, Social Change, Social Services, Sociological Behavior, Sociology, The Natural World, Waiting on Wednesday

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

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

ChocLitSaturdays Banner Created by Jorie in Canva.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On my Connection to Ms. Harris:

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

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

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

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

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

The Lost Girl
by Liz Harris
Source: Direct from Publisher

What if you were trapped between two cultures?

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

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

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

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

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on ChocLitUK

ISBN: 9781781893012

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

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


Published by ChocLitUK

on 22nd February, 2017

Format: UK Edition Paperback

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLitUK)

Formats Available: Paperback & Ebook

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

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

Liz Harris

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

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

Author Connections:

 Personal Site | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Converse via: #TheLostGirl & #ChocLit Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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

Non-Fiction Book Review | “My Underground American Dream” by Julissa Arce

Posted Saturday, 12 November, 2016 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I am a new reviewer for Hachette Books and their imprints, I started by reviewing two releases by FaithWords, their INSPY (Inspirational Fiction) imprint of releases focusing on uplifting and spiritual stories which are a delight to read whilst engaging your mind in life affirming and heart-centered stories. I found Hachette via Edelweiss at the conclusion of [2015] and have been blessed to start reviewing for them.

I received a complimentary copy of “My Underground American Dream” direct from the publisher Center Street (an imprint of Hachette Book Group Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Why I have wanted to read this memoir ever since I first heard about it:

I am growing more interested in reading human interest stories, memoirs and select biographies or autobiographies whilst I also find certain topics and subjects in Science are the ones I am enjoying the most to read and discover. When I first saw this release was upcoming this Autumn, I knew I wanted to read it because it was almost as if our current events and the news had converged on this release to bring to light an ongoing topic of narrative about something that affects so many people living in America today.

I had seen a documentary about Latinos living in California and part of the documentary shifted to reflect that some of the families on-camera were currently undocumented. I felt perhaps they should have been featured as I knew their status is always in jeopardy but also, they have so much they have to face everyday, why put their safety at risk by being in a documentary?  I never forgot that particular news feature I had seen within the past year. It was more about culture and art than it was about undocumented immigrants, but still, it had highlighted the issue to an level of insight where you could gather how difficult it was to live with a secret which could affect you so very dearly.

I wasn’t sure what I would find inside – as until I saw the release was pending, I honestly had not heard of Ms Arce’s story. I thought it was interesting how her status changed and how she found success in one of the hardest finance districts – there was an interesting story there awaiting my eyes – that much I knew for sure! It became one of my most anticipated #nextreads and one that I was thankful I had a chance to review for Center Street.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Non-Fiction Book Review | “My Underground American Dream” by Julissa ArceMy Underground American Dream
Subtitle: My True Story as an Undocumented Immigrant who became a Wallstreet Executive
by Julissa Arce
Source: Direct from Publisher

What does an undocumented immigrant look like? What kind of family must she come from? How could she get into this country? What is the true price she must pay to remain in the United States?

JULISSA ARCE knows firsthand that the most common, preconceived answers to those questions are sometimes far too simple-and often just plain wrong.

On the surface, Arce's story reads like a how-to manual for achieving the American dream: growing up in an apartment on the outskirts of San Antonio, she worked tirelessly, achieved academic excellence, and landed a coveted job on Wall Street, complete with a six-figure salary. The level of professional and financial success that she achieved was the very definition of the American dream. But in this brave new memoir, Arce digs deep to reveal the physical, financial, and emotional costs of the stunning secret that she, like many other high-achieving, successful individuals in the United States, had been forced to keep not only from her bosses, but even from her closest friends.

From the time she was brought to this country by her hardworking parents as a child, Arce-the scholarship winner, the honors college graduate, the young woman who climbed the ladder to become a vice president at Goldman Sachs-had secretly lived as an undocumented immigrant. In this surprising, at times heart-wrenching, but always inspirational personal story of struggle, grief, and ultimate redemption, Arce takes readers deep into the little-understood world of a generation of undocumented immigrants in the United States today- people who live next door, sit in your classrooms, work in the same office, and may very well be your boss. By opening up about the story of her successes, her heartbreaks, and her long-fought journey to emerge from the shadows and become an American citizen, Arce shows us the true cost of achieving the American dream-from the perspective of a woman who had to scale unseen and unimaginable walls to get there.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781455540242

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Current Events


Published by CenterStreet

on 13th September, 2016

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 304

Published by: CenterStreet (@centerstreet)
an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc. (@HachetteBooks) via Hachette Nashville

Formats Available: Hardcover, Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #NonFiction + #CurrentEvents

About Julissa Arce

Julissa Arce Photo Credit: Vincent Remini

JULISSA ARCE is a writer, speaker, and social-justice advocate. She is the cofounder and chairman of the Ascend Educational Fund, a college scholarship and mentorship program that assists immigrant students, regardless of their immigration status, ethnicity, or national origin. Julissa is also a board member for the National Immigration Law Center and for College Spring. Prior to becoming an advocate, she built a successful career on Wall Street, working at Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch.

Photo Credit: Vincent Remini

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Posted Saturday, 12 November, 2016 by jorielov in 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Brothers and Sisters, Debut Author, Equality In Literature, Father-Daughter Relationships, Immigrant Stories, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Life in Another Country, Memoir, Modern Day, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Non-Fiction, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Siblings, Social Change, Tattoo Art & Design, Vignettes of Real Life

Book Review | “Vote for Remi” by Leanna Lehman #SRC2015 No.4 read during #ElectionWeek 2016 #BookSparksMarathon

Posted Thursday, 10 November, 2016 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge 2015

I had fully intended to read my #SRC2015 selections hugged closer to the months when the books were meant to be reviewed, however, those of whom have caught my posts relating to circumstances which wicked out hours and derailed my attempts to read along with the rest of the book bloggers who took up the same challenge are already in the loop realising my readings of these stories will come quite a bit later than planned.

To recap the events for those who are visiting me for the first time,
please direct your attention to the following posts:

What turnt this whole situation around for me, is being able to talk to the publicists at BookSparks on two separate occasions when I felt I was treading water as I knew time had wicked itself off the clock and I was at a proper loss as to where to ‘begin’ despite the fact I have a shelf full of BookSparks reading challenge and blog tour lovelies to read which I’ve been itching with curiosity about since they each arrived and/or since I first met them through my local library who purchased my requests on behalf of the #SRC2015 and #FRC2015 selections.

I had felt quite a bit guilty regarding the latter, as despite having my purchase requests accepted and added to the card catalogue: time was unfortunately never on my side to soak inside the stories themselves. There was an unexpected moment of clarity though about my requests, where I found myself talking to different librarians and finding they were encouraged to read new authors of whom they never would have ‘met’ had I not requested the reading challenge titles! Talk about putting everything into a different prospective of understanding!

This method of mine to recapture the reading queue of my BookSparks lovelies was working just fine up until I posted my review of “all in her head” (see Review) as soon thereafter, all was lost when my chronic migraines returnt in Spring and late Summer; marking another moment this year where my reading life was affected. It truly wasn’t until I finished my readings of The Clan Chronicles in August and September of this year, I was able to finally reach the point where reading was more pleasurable and where the stories were settling inside my mind’s eye with quite a bit of ease. I spent most of the year frustrated and in an attempt to recapture the joy reading had always given me.

This marks my fifth review overall spilt between #SRC2015,#ReadingIsBeautiful (the YA selections) and #FRC2015, however, it is the fourth Summer Reading Challenge selection I am reading.

I am overjoyed to be in a position to lay heart and mind inside the stories I’ve dearly wanted to read and now can give them my full attention! As you will see by a clever badge I created, I am going to be consistently reading ALL my BookSparks lovelies straight through til New Year! I randomly pulled the reading queue back together – I’m not reading them in reverse order now, but rather quite spontaneously! I hope you will continue to take this journey with me and see how the stories resonate with me as I soak inside their worlds!Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

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

Acquired Book By: I originally found BookSparks PR Spring 2014, when I came upon the Summer Reading Challenge a bit too late in the game. I hadn’t forgotten about it, and was going to re-contact them this Spring to see if I could join the challenge in 2015 instead. Coincidentally, before I sorted this out, I was contacted by one of their publicists about Linda Lafferty’s Renaissance historical novel, “The Sheperdess of Siena”. 

I started to participate in #SRC2015 during Summer 2015 until lightning storms quickly overtook my life and the hours I could give to the reading challenge. Summer ended hard and with a newfound resolve to pick up where I had left off, I posted as many reviews on behalf of BookSparks blog tours and/or the three reading challenges I had committed myself to participate inside (i.e. #SRC2015, #ReadingIsBeautiful (YA version), and #FRC2015).

It should be noted that I haven’t participated in any blog tours past the ones I’ve committed myself too reviewing on the list at the foot of this post. I am unsure if I can resume hosting with BookSparks once my backlogue is erased, however, my main motivation in resuming where I left off was to ‘meet the stories’ even if my days of being a blogger with BookSparks ended the day I couldn’t keep up with the reviews when life interrupted my postings. I continue to hope as my reviews arrive on my blog the authors and the publisher(s) will forgive my delays.

I elected to read “Vote for Remi” via the complimentary copy I received by BookSparks as the library copy I had requested is happily being read by other patrons. By participating in the #SRC2015 challenge I am reading the novels in exchange for my honest reviews; whether I am receiving a complimentary copy or borrowing them through my local library. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

My selection process for #sRC2015 & a note on #election2016:

As 2016 marked the year where Feminist Historical Fiction took such a pivotal role of interest in my readerly life, you could say 2015 opened up the door for Presidential Literature – both in fiction and non-fiction realms of enquiry! When I first read the premise behind Vote for Remi, I knew it was a title I wanted to read outright due to the nature of the premise and how it was a fittingly apt story to be read in our modern era! I previously had read The Residence, showcasing the history of the White House through the eyes of the staff and the historical presence of how the house itself was the best observer of its own history. It was such an interesting narrative and one that was layered with insight and preserved memories which I think anyone would appreciate reading.

Moving forward a year, as I was fully interested in reading Vote for Remi, ahead of the 2016 Presidential Election – I found myself settling into its story-line on #ElectionDay itself! I even started to tweet about the joy of immersing myself into its dialogue and how bang-on brilliant the opener was to how the fictional life of Remi was cross-relating to the real-life story of Hillary Clinton. I keep my politics hugged close to centre, as I decided to not politicise my blog nor my Twitter feeds – except for showing on certain occasions where I take a stand and let my thoughts be known. At the bottom of this post is the full collection of tweets I tweeted about this novel and how I let my thoughts reflect my reaction to the campaign season and the election itself. I relied on those who had tweeted ahead of mine whilst sharing a link to an essay written by Mr RJ Sullivan of whom is an author I love reading! (view his showcases)

I am sure by the choices of Twibbon’s on my Twitter badge and the explanation I provided for why I placed them on my Twitter Profile have caught notice of those who might suspect my political views. Other instances of notice would be how open-minded I am in regards to Equality in Literature and how I constantly seek out Diversity in Literature as well. I read eclectically – across political spectrum’s, philosophy, religion and lifestyles. The world is a melting pot and my personal literary adventures reflect the diversity and eclectic nature of the human experience.

Some of the authors I follow on Twitter spoke concerns about losing their followers due to their political views; here’s my take on that particular issue: I follow people I appreciate finding on Twitter. This could be a musical group I love listening too, an author I’m keen to ‘meet’ for the first time, an actor or actress whose collective work I love admiring; an author I love to devour reading or any other person or organisation I have found who has left an impression on me one way or another. This includes publishers – as although I amassed a list of publishers I watch on Twitter, I am slowly following each in turn of whom I have read stories by which truly left me pensive and wickedly delighted for reading.

Due to the variety of people I follow, I am quite certain we all have our own views and opinions which might align or are completely opposite; I honestly never looked that hard into my followers private lives. For those who tweet more vocally, I champion and cheer their honesty and bravery to openly disclose their opines and for those who are equally vocal but on a smaller scale (like me), I celebrate them, too! I even celebrate those who keep their blogs and Twitter feeds apolitical for most of the year and like me, fuell their thoughts at appropriate times when everyone is feeling the same emotions.

Point being, I will always follow people I find a reason to follow – because I celebrate their artwork, their creative voice or the causes they are advocating on behalf of to curate a better world for all of us. I will never unfollow someone just because we have a different opinion or have a different political party affiliation. We’re all united in the global community and our shared humanity; we must strive to find ways to communicate and build bridges of acceptance and tolerance. If someone unfollows me due to my personal thoughts, opinions or political views, I accept that as it is their right. However, I am not going to go back and unfollow them, just because they let go of me. #LoveNotHate and #ChooseKindness in combination with #MakeAmericaKindAgain are my new trumpets of Hope. We must find unity together and find a way to embrace our differences and not let them separate us.

Stories such as Vote for Remi and the non-fiction debut by Julissa Arce (My Underground American Dream) are stories which are needed in today’s climate of uncertainty. Stories which start a conversation and keep the dialogue in focus for change and for a better future of tomorrow are the stories I will always champion and appreciate reading. This is why I anchoured my readings of these two stories together and why I decided during #ElectionWeek 2016 it was the right time to read both of these lovelies!

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Book Review | “Vote for Remi” by Leanna Lehman #SRC2015 No.4 read during #ElectionWeek 2016 #BookSparksMarathonVote for Remi
by Leanna Lehman
Source: Publicist via BookSparks

Fiery US government teacher Remi Covington is relentless in her desire to impart the genius of the democratic process to her students. Her so-called “academically challenged” high school seniors sometimes find her enthusiasm more than a little annoying—so, in an effort to teach her a lesson, they execute a brazen, high-tech, social media blitz touting her as the newest candidate in the upcoming US presidential race. Much to everyone’s surprise, Remi plays along with her students’ ruse—and in a nation weary of politics and career politicians, she unexpectedly finds herself the darling of the American public.

As the campaign takes on a life of its own, Remi is forced to confront a myriad of long-held social biases and cultural clichés, and realizes she isn’t quite the woman she thought was. Vote for Remi is about a would-be a presidential candidate who, despite being all wrong—the wrong gender, the wrong party, and certainly the wrong social status—discovers that she might be exactly what America needs: someone with a passion for doing what is right.

Places to find the book:

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Current Events, Presidential Life & History, Women's Studies


Published by She Writes Press

Format: Paperback Edition

Published By:She Writes Press (@shewritespress)
originated from She Writes (@shewritesdotcom)
an imprint of Spark Points Studio LLC GoSparkPoint (@GoSparkPoint)
& BookSparks
(@BookSparks)
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Read the Interview with the author about Vote for Remi on BookSparks Blog!

Read an Excerpt of the Novel via the author’s website!

Converse via: #VoteForRemi & #SRC2015

About Leanna Lehman

Leanna Lehman

Leanna Lehman is the author of quirky political fiction novel, Vote For Remi (She Writes Press). She worked in the education field for six years, and specialized in developing online educational programs that assist at-risk teens.

She lives in Fallon, Nevada, with her rescued dog Henry Higgins, and spends her free time painting, hiking, snowboarding, camping, and traveling to the coast. She found her passion for writing while undergoing chemo therapy in 2008-2009, when she began journaling her experience.

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #SRC2015 | BookSparks
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Posted Thursday, 10 November, 2016 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Based on an Actual Event &/or Court Case, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Equality In Literature, Fly in the Ointment, Herbalist, Indie Author, Life at Thirtyten, Life Shift, Modern Day, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Public Service | Community Officers, Realistic Fiction, School Life & Situations, Social Change, Sociological Behavior, Teacher & Student Relationships, Vulgarity in Literature, West Coast USA, Women's Fiction, Women's Rights

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