Category: Social Change

#HistoricalMondays | Book Review | “The Gift of the Seer” [long awaited sequel to “The Spirit Keeper” (2013)] by K.B. Laugheed

Posted Monday, 11 February, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#HistoricalMondays blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

I am launching a new weekly featured concentration of book reviews on Jorie Loves A Story which celebrates my love and passion for the historical past! For those of whom are regular readers and visitors to my blog, you’ll denote a dedicated passion for reading Historical Fiction (and all the lovely segues of thematic therein) – I am a time traveller of the historical past every chance I get to disappear into a new era and/or century of exploration. There isn’t a time period I haven’t enjoyed ruminating over since [2013] and there are a heap of lovely timescapes I’ve yet to encounter.

This feature was inspired by the stories I’ve read, the stories I’ve yet to experience and the beauty of feeling interconnected to History through the representation of the past through the narratives being writ by today’s Historical Fiction authors. It is to those authors I owe a debt of gratitude for enlightening my bookish mind and my readerly heart with realistic characters, illuminating portals of living history and a purposeful intent on giving each of us a strong representation of ‘life’ which should never become dismissed, forgotten or erased.

I am beginning this feature with the sequel to a beloved historical novel I first read in [2013] – it was one of the first ARCs I received and it was the first year I was a book blogger though it was through a connection outside my life as a blogger. I am celebrating K.B. Laugheed’s literature to kick-off this feature and hopefully will inspire my followers to take this new weekly journey with me into the stories which are beckoning to read their narrative depths and find the words in which to express the thoughts I experienced as I read.

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Acquired Book By: In [2013] I was still participating in the Early Reviewer programme via Book Browse wherein I received an ARC for “The Spirit Keeper” – a new Historical Fiction narrative which sought to break boundaries of its genre and which captured me heart and soul as I read it. It was an emotionally gutting read, a historical reckoning of a story and it left me ruminatively curious about what the ‘next’ chapter of this extraordinary character’s life would be in the sequel. 

I decided to write an expanded review on my blog for my own edification after having contributed my Early Reviewer review to Book Browse – it was one of the few times I was able to do this even though there are a few other ARCs I received from Book Browse I’d like to still blog about in the near future which fittingly have more to be said on their behalf from my readerly experience.

Likewise, I also reached out to the author directly shortly after I posted my review in September of 2013; remember dear hearts, I launched my blog live on the 6th of August, 2013 – so this expanded review became one of the first officially celebrated novels of Jorie Loves A Story in the beginning of finding my writerly voice and my bookish presence in the book blogosphere. It pre-dated hosting blog tours and working with publishers, publicists and authors directly.

Although I remained in contact with the author a bit over the years – simply checking the status on the sequel or offering encouraging thoughts on writing it – I don’t consider this a conflict of interest as to be honest, it was not constant contact and we weren’t in contact on a regular basis nor did we touch base each year since 2013.

When I received an email from Ms Laugheed this past December, 2018 – to say I was pleasantly gobsmacked to have heard from her after a long absence of communication is putting it mildly! I was overjoyed – more for her than for me – as she was announcing the sequel was being published! She decided at long last to go the Indie route towards  publication and I was full of joy and happiness for her as this was a very long and dedicated route back to publishing a sequel I believed in as a reader (and there are others like me out there) but of which I wasn’t sure if any of us would get a chance to embrace it in published form.

Thereby, I did not hesitate to respond to her request to accept this new novel for review consideration – the only thing which delayed my entrance into its chapters was my five week Winter virus (from before Christmas to the early weeks of January, 2019) and my three successive migraines (from mid-January to early February). I read this immediately after recovering from my third migraine and was thrilled I could finally attach my mind and heart round the continuing journey of Katie and Hector!

I received a complimentary copy of “The Gift of the Seer” by the author K.B. Laugheed in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Re-visiting “The Spirit Keeper”

My original motivation to read the novel: I wanted to partake in her journey untoward becoming one man’s living vision of ‘a creature of fire and ice’ and to see if they could fulfill each other’s destinies therein. It is such a curious proposition, to be taken by force from one’s own family, and re-positioned into a life, by which, you’re in complete unfamiliar territory, amongst people who speak a different tongue than your own, and by your own wits, have to determine how to survive. I was curious by how she was going to effectively change her life and heart; and to what end she must do so! This felt to me like a piece of Magical Realism wrapped up inside a Historical Fiction, rooted into the conscience of the American Frontier! I was besotted with the plot, and needed to read it to ascertain what the story truly was about! The Spirit Keeper spoke to me, as a book I needed to read rather than merely a book I wanted to read! I listen to my intuition in other words!

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Ms Laugheed advised me to re-read “The Spirit Keeper” ahead of reading “The Gift of the Seer” – what I hadn’t the heart to tell her is my copy of the novel is packed as most of my personal library has been packed for the last four years. I couldn’t sort out which box it is held within if I had a compass as I literally have quite the expansive library being stored right now. This is one key reason why I can’t always re-read the novels I’m reviewing – as I only have a handful of books I’ve reviewed the past few years unpacked and shelved – most of which, are first or seconds in series, awaiting new releases to where I can turn back to and re-read a bit ahead of delving into the next installment. I did have The Spirit Keeper prominently shelved for quite a few years after it was released – it was only recently I had to make the hard choice to pack it away for safe keeping til I can restore my library back to rights.

Therefore, I did what any other book blogger would do in this situation – I borrowed a well-loved copy from my local library and as I re-entered the story, I was quite shocked by what I discovered! I hadn’t forgotten as much as I was expecting, too! I re-read the opening bridge of the novel – re-visiting how Katie was taken from her family, the traumatic transitioning into life with the Spirit Keeper and Hector as much as re-aligning in my mind the era this series is set and the mannerisms of how the story is told. As Ms Laugheed has a very distinctive style of historical story-telling; it is one reason I was hugged so dearly close into the story originally.

Secondly, as I noticed a lot of readerly flashbacks moving through my mind’s eye after that particular re-visitation – I immediately flipped to the last quarter of the novel, resumed as if I hadn’t been absent from this story for :six: long years and re-lived the concluding chapters, as fresh as dew on recently mowed grass. I seriously was re-captured by what was left behind for my eyes and heart to find – thereby, I knew with certainty I was prepared as I ever could be to re-enter Katie and Hector’s world.

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For those of you who might never have had the pleasure of joy reading this novel, let me select a few quotations from my original review – both from what I shared with Book Browse after first reading the ARC and what I expounded upon on Jorie Loves A Story thereafter.

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The inertia of reality that besots you as soon as you enter into the world of The Spirit Keeper, is quite a hard bullet to bite, because before you can wrap your eyes and heart around what your visually aware of, your niched into the story! I credit this to the author, as Laugheed endeavours you to jump straight out of your comfort zone, wholly free-falling into a brutal, raw, and untamed section of the American Frontier in the mid-1700s and take a quest towards unraveling the complexities of building a new life in a foreign land. The thematics that are entrenched in the story parlay an exposition on language, translation, and sense of being. She readily elevates our awareness that our words can draw an impact that is not always aware to us, but like the life paths we are walking, we are not always in charge of their meaning or purpose of use.

I will lament, that if you’re a reader who begs off for lighter faire, you might want to caution yourself, as within Chapter One, the author does not hold back on the grim realities of what it was like in the 1700s when an Indian War Party descended upon a settler’s family.

The beauty of the outside world envelopes you from the jump-start, as the open wilderness is the footing for setting this story outside the reach of our known world. Even for those of us who are akin to the natural environment and the inhabitants therein, there is still so much of that world that is readily just outside our scope, outside our understanding. The Native Americans who are on the forefront of the story, evoke a cultural education into accepting stark differences of living, as much as embracing traditions that hold merit  (such as the menstrual huts for women).

Flickerments of “Medicine Man” (the motion picture) streamed through my mind, as did “Dances with Wolves” (the motion picture), as in each story, those who only spoke English, learnt to adapt and to live amongst the natives by which they found themselves belonging too better than their own kind. I am drawn into stories that attach us to whole new cultures, traditions, religions, and walks of life. Stories that etch into our imaginations a wholly new world, where there are similarities, but otherwise, as we dip into their narratives, we find ourselves in a foreign land, attempting to understand what we cannot yet conceive possible.

An incredible journey of self-preservation, fortitude of spirit, and overwhelming grief: I was not quite prepared for the journey that Katie, Syawa, and Hector embark upon! It wasn’t so much the long distances that they must traverse through rough hewn terrain, but rather, they are each going through a personal, intimate, internal journey concurrent to their outward journey towards the men’s originating homeland! Each is carrying secrets of their own experiences, and in Katie’s instance, her life is muddled and blighted with far more devastation than anyone could ill-afford possible to a seventeen year old young lady!

Her lot in life has been tempered by abuse and misguided notions of love, unto where she has encouraged a naïve sense of the living world, and has grown an ignorance of how right a life can be lived! I grieved for her and bleed emotions with her recollections of past memories,.. memories that were nearly too hard to bare and to ruminatively lay pause upon. It is through Syawa’s gentleness and effective way of easing her out of her shell, that she truly started to see who she was and who she could be. I only wish I could pronounce Syawa’s name, as I feel as guilty she does in her own story, about the misunderstandings that evolve out of not understanding language and meaning of words, phrases, or names outside our own native tongues!

Language & Translation: the Invisible Barriers we never foresee: Laugheed paints a clear window towards our greatest struggle in accepting and understanding each other, as we present ourselves to each other in our conversations! Each inflection of tone, voice, and the words we use to explain ourselves, can lead us down a path of misunderstanding and of misalignment in what we are attempting to represent as our thoughts, hopes, dreams, and passions. Throughout the story, we are seeing the story as a first-hand account of a diary the protagonist is writing to assert her own history back in her life, as she’s amongst those who do not understand the necessity of having a living history or a story to be told of one’s heritage. She values her experiences, her struggles of faith, and the lessons she is ought being taught as she walks forward into her future. She hasn’t had the easiest of lives, but she isn’t going to allow herself to wallow in the situations she could never effectively change, but rather, pull out a strength deep from within her, to carry her through the tribulations that she was certain were still to come.

Whilst she’s (Katie O’ Toole) recounting her days in her diary, I mused about how this differed from the diary of Robinson Crusoe as it contained more of her essence, her internal quagmire of thoughts, and the irrevocable distraught by which she plagued herself with for most of her arduous journey towards Syawa and Hector’s homeland. From the moment I read the opening page, by which the author departed a precognitive knowledge of how the story might transform as you read the words, I was left with a museful pre-occupation of how that would transpire, and further still, of one particular scene that I had presumed was forgotten within the re-writes and draughts, leading up to publication! However, this falls perfectly into this category of observation about ‘language and translation’, about how what we first perceive to be just and truth, can altogether change and alter, either by the different perception we’ve learnt through experience OR through reading a book that is quite unlike another! This book truly lives up to the proportions of what Laugheed mentions at the start gate: the words transcend their own meaning as you etch closer to the ending, the whole of the story is much larger than the sum of the parts as they are revealed!

In this way,  she is giving each of us to turn on our heels, the gross misconception of how we drink in words, knowledge, and observational data. The reader is very much at the heart of this story, and I think, is as central as Katie’s voice in re-telling her own history. What is humbling too, is how as our knowledge expands, the words that were once lost on us, as being completely irreverent suddenly take on new meanings, as they now evoke an ’emotion’, a ‘resolution’, or a ‘truth’ we did not understand previously. An Irish girl cast out into the wilderness of the wild frontier, with two Indian’s as her sole guides and protectors, makes for a curious precept initially, but it’s how they interact with each other, during the everyday hours, that Laugheed excels in not disappointing her reader! She never makes their interactions dull or predictable, because she has woven their personalities into the core of how they interact with each other! You pick up little character traits that come to play a larger part of the story as it threads through its climax, but inside these key portals of frontier life in campsites and canoes, you start to see how its possible to thread a new life together out of the ashes of the old! In this way, I was quietly savouring each exchange between the threesome, curious how they would come to depend on each other, and how they would draw strength by each others’ presence.

The art of story-telling plays a center part of The Spirit Keeper’s heart, but it’s the transformative power of understanding the words that are imparted throughout the story, that turn everything into a new light once the conclusion arrives. What the reader first mistook as a course of events, was truly a resounding precognitive journey that guided two characters forward into a future they would not have been strong enough to embrace otherwise. It’s the redemptive nature of grasping a hold of the essence of those who pass forward and away from our living world that is truly the most remarkable arc of the story! For we all have the ability to be a keeper of a spirit whose touched us deeply and left us remorseful for their presence! We only need the strength to transcend our perception and view our experiences from a different angle to see how the threads stitch together the pattern of our living tapestry!

An environmental conscience: Is cleverly hidden within the context of the story, but is one of the inclusions that I found to be the most illuminating to see!! I oft have found myself the most happiest amongst the trees, rivers, lakes, streams, and out-of-door hideaways that only a person can walk to find! Nature’s door is ever beckoning us to re-enter that sacred space between the natural world and the world by which we live as men. We are drawn towards nature as keenly as we are attached to water as a source of lifeblood, but it isn’t always an easy attachment to maintain, when the hectic nature of our lifestyles can circumvent our efforts to keep our hearts and souls aligned with the seasons and timescape of the natural world just past our windows! Laugheed draws a breath of vitality into the forest, where you can nearly hear the echoings of the trees, the rushing power of the rivers, and the harmonious tickings of the inhabitants therein. I appreciated that the animals that were killed in the book were used for what they could give back to the ones who fell them. I always respected this aspect of Native American beliefs, as they take what they need and only what they can use, at the time they go hunting. It’s a beautiful circle of life, as nothing is wasted and everything is respected. She wants you to see the beauty past what you expect to find whilst out in the deep woods, as the forest plays a fourth character or rather, that of a narrator that has not yet found its voice.

-quoted from my review of The Spirit Keeper

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#HistoricalMondays | Book Review | “The Gift of the Seer” [long awaited sequel to “The Spirit Keeper” (2013)] by K.B. LaugheedThe Gift of the Seer
by K.B. Laugheed
Source: Direct from Author

Katie O' Toole's epic adventure began in "The Spirit Keeper" (Plume 2013) when she was rescued from a 1747 frontier massacre only to find herself chosen as the "Spirit Keeper" of a dying Indian seer. She hesitated to accept this mysterious obligation until she fell in love with the Seer's bodyguard, an Indian man she called Hector.

Much has happened since my last writing,..

In The Gift of the Seer, Katie and Hector continue their journey across the continent, but the more Katie learns about the peculiar ways of her husband's people, the more she dreads arriving at their destination. Will anyone believe she is the Spirit Keeper she pretends to be? Equally troubling, Katie knows the Seer expected her to prove his Vision - a Vision which foretold of infinite Invaders coming to his world - but to prove this prophecy, she must give his people the great Gift he also predicted. The only problem is that Katie has no gift to give.

Years pass as she desperately searches for a way to fulfill her promise to the dead Seer, but when his former rival threatens to expose her as a fraud, Katie finally understands that her life and the life of all the people in her new world hang in the balance. That's when she knows she must give a Gift - she must - before it is too late.

Did you honestly think you could get so much and give nothing in return?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1732886216

Genres: Feminist Historical Fiction, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Literary Fiction, Magical Realism, Native American Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Women's Studies


Published by Self Published Author

on 7th January, 2019

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 372

the spirit keeper duology:

The Spirit keeper & the gift of the seer

This is a Self-Published novel

Available Formats: Hardback, Paperback and Ebook

Converse on Twitter: #GiftOfTheSeer, #TheSpiritKeeper Sequel + #KBLaugheed
as well as #HistNov + #HistoricalFiction or #HistFic

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About K.B. Laugheed

The Gift of the Seer by K.B. Laugheed

K.B. Laugheed is an organic gardener and master naturalist who wrote her first published novel, The Spirit Keeper, as part penance for the sins of her family’s pioneer past, part tribute to all our ancestors, and part grandiose delusion as she hopes to remind modern Americans of the grim price we paid for the glorious life we take for granted today.

But The Spirit Keeper is not a story about guilt. It’s about gratitude.

The Gift of the Seer is officially available worldwide as it was published on the 7th of January, 2019.

To support the author directly, kindly consider purchasing her novels through her online store.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 11 February, 2019 by jorielov in #HistoricalMondays, #JorieLovesIndies, 18th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Browse, Book Review (non-blog tour), Brothers and Sisters, Bullies and the Bullied, Colonial America, Coming-Of Age, Content Note, Cultural & Religious Traditions, Cultural Heritage, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Diary Accountment of Life, Domestic Violence, Early Colonial America, Environmental Conscience, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, First Impressions, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Folklore, Genre-bender, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, History, Horror-Lite, Indie Author, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, Life Shift, Literary Fiction, Loss of an unbourne child, Magical Realism, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Midwives & Childbirth, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Multicultural Marriages & Families, Native American Fiction, Native American Spirituality, Old World Arts & Crafts, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Prejudicial Bullying & Non-Tolerance, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Psychological Abuse, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Self-Published Author, Siblings, Sisterhood friendships, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Social Change, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Story in Diary-Style Format, Superstitions & Old World Beliefs, Taboo Relationships & Romance, Terminal Illness &/or Cancer, The American Frontier, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Unexpected Pregnancy, Vulgarity in Literature, Wilderness Adventures, Women's Health

#PubDay Book Review | “The Fourteenth of September” by Rita Dragonette

Posted Tuesday, 18 September, 2018 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: JKS is the first publicity firm I started working with when I launched Jorie Loves A Story in August, 2013. One of the benefits of working with JKS is the fact the publicists not only read my blog and understand my reading life but they have the knack for knowing what I want to be reading ahead of knowing which stories might captivate my own attention! I am thankful I can continue to read the stories the authors they represent are creating as they have the tendency of being beloved treasured finds throughout my literary wanderings.

I am honoured to continue to work with them now as a 5th Year Book Blogger. I received my complimentary ARC copy of “The Fourteenth of September” from the publisher She Writes Press courtesy of the publicist at JKS Communications in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What inspired me to read ‘The Fourteenth of September’:

I personally love Feminist Historical Fiction – I trust the publisher as it’s one I’ve become fond of in recent years, whilst I adore finding strong female stories in #HistFic which are rooted in living histories and the persons who lived stories so incredible they are honoured in fiction. Definitely a good fit for me. Also, I never studied the Vietnam War in school – I had the memories of the era and generation from both my parents and my grandparents who openly discussed what was going on during those times but I never personally read or researched it myself. (with the exception of the Non-Fiction release ‘Those Who Remain’)

What captured me the most is the ‘coming to conscience’ moment for Judy and the choices she was facing which may or may not have correlated well with her military family.

Felt like the kind of dramatic story I would appreciate which is why I choose to read this title at the end of Summer in-line for celebrating it’s publication!

A side note about why I classified this as Historical Fiction rather than Contemporary – as I generally consider works post-1945 as being strictly ‘Contemporary’ but there are a few random exceptions to this particular self-driven ruling in regards to classifications of the stories I am reading on my blog. ‘The Fourteenth of September’ felt to me to be a brilliantly conceived and conceptionalised ‘time capsule’ of a particularly inclusive period of turbulence in American History – thereby, giving me a decided impression of a) a drama back-lit by a war everyone & their cousin has heard about irregardless of which decade/century of birth b) the particular mannerisms of the inclusivity of the story and c) although I am technically a close-cousin in years to the age of Judy, I feel like this was a firm step ‘back’ from whence I entered the world. Thereby, classifying this as ‘Feminist Historical Fiction’ because for me, it was a full generation behind me even if technically that is not theoretically accurate if you go by the fact I’m a GenX girl! (laughs)

IF your a regular reader of my blog, I won’t have to explain to you about my penchant for *Feminist Historical Fiction*, however, if your visiting with me through this review for the first time, you might want to give a nod of a glimpse into my archive for this niche of fiction I love discovering! Likewise, I have a few upcoming ruminations I’ll be sharing with you – the first of which will be ‘The Lost Queen’ by Signe Pike!

And, yes if you spied the collective works of Nicole Evelina featuring her incredible #Arthurian after canon series, I can happily *announce!* I shall be reading the concluding *third!* installment of her series this *October!* Mum’s the word on the rest of the titles which will be forthcoming!Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

#PubDay Book Review | “The Fourteenth of September” by Rita DragonetteThe Fourteenth of September
by Rita Dragonette
Source: Publicist via JKS Communications

Fifty years ago America was at a critical turning point in history as radical social and political unrest swept the nation. Tension built as the world watched the upheaval of change – from voting rights to feminism, from the assassinations of iconic leaders like civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Democratic presidential nominee Robert F. Kennedy, to the promise of space travel. Above all, the Vietnam War came to a head, casting a shadow over American life that profoundly affected most aspects of that and every generation since.

We think we know it well. And yet, with a half-century of distance, we’re only now fully appreciating the full impact and diversity of perspectives possible, and parallels to today, as evidenced by, for example, the recent Ken Burns PBS documentary “The Vietnam War.” Among what we’ve learned: we’ve only scratched the surface of the female stories of the time.

In her compelling debut novel, “The Fourteenth of September” (Sept. 18, 2018, She Writes Press), author Rita Dragonette uses her personal experiences as a student during one of the most volatile years of the war and gives voice to the women of her generation. In the story, Private First Class Judy Talton celebrates her 19th birthday by secretly joining the antiwar movement on her college campus. As the recipient of an army scholarship and the daughter of a military family, Judy has a lot to lose. But her doubts about the ethics of war have escalated, especially after her birthdate is pulled as the first in the new draft lottery. If she were a man, she would have been among the first off to Vietnam with an under-fire life expectancy measured in seconds. The stakes become clear, propelling her toward a life-altering choice as fateful as that of any lottery draftee.

“The Fourteenth of September” portrays a pivotal time at the peak of the Vietnam War through the rare perspective of a young woman, tracing her path of self-discovery and a “coming-of- conscience.” Judy’s story speaks to the poignant clash of young adulthood, early feminism, and war, offering an ageless inquiry into the domestic politics of protest when the world stops making sense.

“Though women weren’t in danger of actually being drafted, they were ‘in it’ sharing fear, outrage, and activism, particularly during the days of the first Draft Lottery and Kent State, when it felt an age group — a generation — was in jeopardy, not a gender, even if that wasn’t always fully appreciated,” Dragonette says. “It’s an important perspective with a rich and complex backstory that has informed the involvement of women in protests through to and including today’s ‘Never Again’ movement.”

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-1631524530

Genres: Current Events, Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Social Science, Women's Fiction


Published by She Writes Press

on 18th September, 2018

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 376

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

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #FourteenthOfSeptember, #HistFic or #HistNov & #SheWritesPress

About Rita Dragonette

Rita Dragonette

Rita Dragonette is a former award-winning public relations executive turned author. Her debut novel, “The Fourteenth of September,” is a woman’s story of Vietnam which will be published by She Writes Press on Sept. 18, 2018, and has already been designated a finalist in two 2018 American Fiction Awards by American Book Fest, and received an honorable mention in the Hollywood Book Festival.

She is currently working on two other novels and a memoir in essays, all of which are based upon her interest in the impact of war on and through women, as well as on her transformative generation. She also regularly hosts literary salons to introduce new works to avid readers.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Tuesday, 18 September, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, ARC | Galley Copy, Based on an Actual Event &/or Court Case, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, College & University Years, Coming-Of Age, Content Note, Feminine Heroism, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, History, Indie Author, JKS Communications: Literary Publicity Firm, Life Shift, Military Fiction, Passionate Researcher, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Realistic Fiction, Social Change, Sociological Behavior, Sociology, The Sixties, The Vietnam War, Vulgarity in Literature, Warfare & Power Realignment, Women's Fiction, Women's Rights

Blog Book Tour | “Death Comes” (Book Two of the #WillaCather and Edith Lewis Mysteries) by Sue Hallgarth Such a special treat to continue reading Willa & Edith’s adventures!

Posted Wednesday, 20 December, 2017 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

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

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.

When I realised this was the first ‘book’ in a series, I requested to receive the first book (“On the Rocks”) in order to understand the continuity and flow between the lead characters within the second installment. It is a personal preference of mine to read series ‘in order’ and I was blessed I could start this one at the beginning! I received a complimentary copy of “Death Comes” direct from the publicist of Sue Hallgarth in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I love reading the Willa Cather & Edith Lewis Mysteries:

Edith arrives first – her observational notations on gulls in flight offer a fond glimpse into how I’m not the only one who likes to contemplate our aerial companions! Her perspective also grounds us ‘where’ she is at the moment she’s seen – she’s just off the coast of what is known as ‘Downeast’ Maine – specifically by a city known for it’s grain mustard and a revitalisation of it’s community identity through the Arts: Eastport. To the starboard side of the towne, you will happily see you’re only a stone’s throw from the Fundy Isles and this part of where Edith & Willa’s story is uniquely set. This part of the North Atlantic has it’s own pulse and tone – life is not lived in the same fashion as elsewhere nor does the world touch this part of the world with the same fierce fire. Here, is a place where time is not measured in hours but in how far you’ve come to create a piece you’re working on whilst celebrating the journey you’ve taken to funnel your creativity into something ‘new’. I could ‘see’ Edith here – the heart of a naturalist who appreciates being out-of-doors (but with dirt beneath her feet, not the unease of water) where she can feel one with the harmonic rhythm of the natural world. No wonder she appreciated the art of painting in ‘Plein Air’ fashion!

Edith charmed me and Willa encouraged my inquisitive nature – the two of them have such an ease about their personalities. They find a companionable equality in how where one thinks about something specific, the other is ready for a follow-up remark – they are two minds which sometimes act as one, as most couples tend to claim for themselves. They knew how to get the neighbours to talk about the idle things no one suspects would mean something whilst they kept a steady eye on their own affairs, too. Their sleuthing simply fit into the background of their days; it was a welcome addition but not one which overshadowed their other interests, either! As they continued to seek answers to questions which seemed unending – you started to notice why they thrived outside the city (here: New York City). This community of Grand Manan is as quirky and humbly eccentric as all my favourite small townes in fiction (or IRL).

This was a thinking man’s mystery – the ‘mystery’ in of itself is also unique, because instead of being an isolated incident it’s a piece of a wider puzzle! I like how mysteries take on an enlarged cusp of an area’s secrets – of how whilst the reader has to stay patient to understand the different components of what is being fused together, it’s the manner of how things pull apart and are put back together in proper order which is the most exciting! For me, this mystery was wicked enjoyable if only to draw further insight into understanding the people of Grand Manan and how where they live influences their lives.

The way Hallgarth paints the portrait of the island community rings true of what I know of this area myself – of where neighbours pitch in to help one another and where no one is ever left without assistance for something they’re working on. It’s the opposite of how many townes and cities function on the mainland stateside – where there are clear distinctions and disconnections amongst neighbours and community members; where each are practically living on their own ‘island’ (metaphorically speaking!).

The pace of the narrative is set in such a way to encourage you to sip tea and musefully ponder what your reading – to fully sense and feel this world, whilst allowing Willa and Edith to share the duties for how you navigate it. It’s one of those lovely immersive narratives where you can get lost in the descriptive narrative and feel as if you’ve lived half a moon in this setting. She has given all of us the chance to ‘know’ Willa Cather up close and personal – ahead of reading her stories – of peering into what was important to her and why she felt the legacy she left behind might slip past people who hadn’t realised the point behind her stories. Intuitive readers would notice and see her messages, but to the casual reader? I can see how her narratives might be glossed over for what was readily taken as the truth of what they revealled.

-quoted from my review of On the Rocks

As soon as I returnt back inside the series – I found myself alighting so readily true to where we’d find Willa and Edith, it felt as if no time had elapsed between visitations! I truly love the continuity of this series, but also, the authentic voice Ms Hallgarth has given her characters – they truly feel as if they are the women themselves, recaptured for us to acquaint ourselves directly of their living hours. It is a special treat indeed, to find myself wholly enthused by such an intricately written Cosy Historical Mystery series – but to have the benefit of being able to read the first and second novels in successive order, is simply wicked divine!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “Death Comes” (Book Two of the #WillaCather and Edith Lewis Mysteries) by Sue Hallgarth Such a special treat to continue reading Willa & Edith’s adventures!Death Comes
Subtitle: A Willa Cather & Edith Lewis Mystery
by Sue Hallgarth
Source: Publicist via Poetic Book Tours

Death Comes gives us another glimpse into the life and work of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and her talented life partner. The year is 1926. Willa and Edith return to Mabel Dodge Luhan’s pink adobe in Taos, New Mexico.

Willa is writing Death Comes for the Archbishop. Edith is sketching Taos Pueblo and hoping for a visit to the nearby D.H. Lawrence ranch. The previous summer they had stumbled onto a woman’s body. Now the headless bodies of two women add to the mystery. Sue Hallgarth presents an intimate portrait of Cather, Lewis, the spectacular New Mexico landscape, and the famous artists and writers Mabel Dodge Luhan gathered in Taos.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9780985520045

Also by this author: On the Rocks,

Also in this series: On the Rocks


Genres: Amateur Detective, Biographical Fiction, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction


Published by Arbor Farm Press

on 1st October, 2017

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 268

Published By: Arbor Farm Press

Available Formats: Paperback & Ebook

The Willa Cather & Edith Lewis Mysteries:

On the Rocks (Willa Cather & Edith Lewis Mysteries) by Sue HallgarthDeath Comes (Willa Cather & Edith Lewis Mysteries) by Sue Hallgarth

Book One: On the Rocks (see also Review)

Book Two: Death Comes

Converse via: #WillaCather and #EdithLewis + #CosyMysteries or #Mysteries

About Sue Hallgarth

Sue Hallgarth

Sue Hallgarth is former English professor. She has written scholarly articles on Willa Cather and Edith Lewis, and Death Comes is her second book of fiction featuring the two of them. Her first book in the series On The Rocks, set in 1929 on the island of Grand Manan in New Brunswick, Canada. She lives in Corrales, New Mexico.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Wednesday, 20 December, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Amateur Detective, Apothecary, Art, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bootleggers & Smugglers, Canada, Canadian Maritimes, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Cosy Historical Mystery, Creative Arts, Crime Fiction, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Edith Lewis, Equality In Literature, Fundy Isles, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Literary Fiction, Naturopathic Medicine, Poetic Book Tours, Seclusion in the Natural World, Sisterhood friendships, Small Towne Fiction, Social Change, the Nineteen Hundreds, the Roaring Twenties, Village Life, Walking & Hiking Trails, Willa Cather, Women's Rights

Non-Fiction Book Review | “Be Fierce” by Gretchen Carlson

Posted Sunday, 22 October, 2017 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Hachette Books and their imprints, where I started reading titles by FaithWords which is their INSPY (Inspirational Fiction & Non-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 wicked happy I can review for their imprints Grand Central Publishing, FaithWords & Center Street.

I received a complimentary copy of “Be Fierce” 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.

On the recent selections I am reading by Hachette Books (via FaithWords & Center Street):

Shortly after my unexpected hiatus this September, I came to learn about some quite extraordinary selections by Hachette Books (of the Non-Fiction variety) which encouraged my curiosity to read! The titles were different than the ones I had found in the past as they were not your traditional Biography or Autobiography or even Self-Help or Inspirational Subject or Topic to digest – no, these were a beautiful collection of stories by people who had unusual experiences to share with the world. Experiences which would test other people’s resolve or faith whilst giving others a bolster of courage to carry on with their own life paths with a bit more strength than they had before they read the stories.

The titles I am reading right now include:

* God is for Real by Todd Burpo

* Goodnight, I Love You by Jene’ Ray Barranco

* The Impossible by Joyce Smith

Whilst resuming where I left off reading:

* Living with No Excuses by Noah Galloway

* The Happiness Prayer by Evan Moffic

The reason I wanted to read “Be Fierce” is because all women can relate to the premise of Ms Carlson’s story – it is something which continues to happen and go unchecked by most in society. If anything, I can definitely understand why she felt like she was going against the tides just to tell her story and to take action against the person who caused her so much grief through his actions. It isn’t easy to stand-up for yourself in the workplace, but what is most distressing is how a lot of women are being silenced from sharing their experiences overall. Whether it’s for sexual harassment or any of the crimes highlighted through Law & Order: SVU – being a woman in today’s world is not for the faint of heart!

I should mention, I haven’t heard of Ms Carlson previous to receiving her book – I never watched Fox News regularly – I was more inclined to watch MSNBC. Likewise, I’m not a newshound or junkie – I purposefully limit the news I drink in regularly as at some point, all of what is being featured on the news can get overwhelming rather quickly. This isn’t to say I’m not informed – between Twitter and the radio, trust me, I get the 411 on everything that is important to know whilst my local community’s social mill provides the rest. I went into reading this book without any preconceived ideas or revelations – it was brilliant because I could be ‘introduced’ to someone everyone else most likely ‘knew of’ and yet for me, I was just making her acquaintance as she told her story. To me, that was the best gift of all!Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Non-Fiction Book Review | “Be Fierce” by Gretchen CarlsonBe Fierce
Subtitle: Stop harassment and take your power back
by Gretchen Carlson
Source: Direct from Publisher

A groundbreaking manifesto from journalist Gretchen Carlson about how women can protect themselves from sexual harassment in the workplace and reclaim their power against abuse or injustice.

In BE FIERCE, Gretchen shares her own experiences, as well as powerful and moving stories from women in many different careers and fields who decided they too weren't ready to shut up and sit down. Gretchen became a voice for the voiceless.

In this revealing and timely book, Gretchen shares her views on what women can do to empower and protect themselves in the workplace or on a college campus, what to say when someone makes suggestive remarks, how an employer's Human Resources department may not always be your friend, and how forced arbitration clauses in work contracts often serve to protect companies rather than employees. Her groundbreaking message encourages women to stand up and speak up in every aspect of their lives.

Gretchen also discusses why this fight will require both women and men working together to ensure that our daughters and sons will have a brighter future.

BE FIERCE is a cultural movement and a motivating testament to what we can accomplish if we collectively decide to become warriors in the path for a better future.

The time is now. Take back your life, your career, and your dignity.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781478992172

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


Published by Center Street

on 17th October, 2017

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 256

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

Formats Available: Hardback, Audiobook & Ebook

Converse via: #NonFiction, #WomensRights

About Gretchen Carlson

Recently honored as one of TIME's 100 Most Influential People in the World and a 2017 recipient of the prestigious Matrix Award, Gretchen Carlson is one of the nation's most successful and recognized news anchors and a tireless advocate for female empowerment.

Formerly, Carlson was co-host of the number-one rated cable morning news show, Fox and Friends, as well as the host of her own signature show, The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson. An honors graduate of Stanford University, Carlson also serves as a trustee for several national non-profit boards and in 2017 established her own fund, Gift of Courage, to empower women and young girls to realize their full potential. Since making the decision to speak out against sexual harassment, she has sparked an international conversation about the pervasiveness of the problem and, in doing so, discovered that every woman has a story.

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Posted Sunday, 22 October, 2017 by jorielov in Based on an Actual Event &/or Court Case, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), CenterStreet, Domestic Violence, Dsylexia & the Dsylexic, Equality In Literature, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Life Shift, Memoir, Mental Health, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Psychological Abuse, Realistic Fiction, Social Change, Sociological Behavior, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Vignettes of Real Life, Vulgarity in Literature

Blog Book Tour | “On the Rocks” (Book One of the #WillaCather and Edith Lewis Mysteries) by Sue Hallgarth

Posted Wednesday, 18 October, 2017 by jorielov , , , 3 Comments

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

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.

When I realised this was the first ‘book’ in a series, I requested to receive the first book in order to understand the continuity and flow between the lead characters within the second installment. It is a personal preference of mine to read series ‘in order’ and I was blessed I could start this one at the beginning! I received a complimentary copy of “On the Rocks” direct from the publicist of Sue Hallgarth in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Why I wanted to read the Willa Cather & Edith Lewis Mysteries:

I am unsure when I first stumbled across ‘living persons’ being amateur sleuths in Mysteries & stories of Suspense – however, ever since I was first smitten by the idea, I have taken to these kinds of stories like a duck to water! I only vaguely ‘knew of’ Willa Cather – she’s the kind of woman you might hear about in literary circles as her own legacy of stories has quite the following. However, in regards to her personal life or the adventures she had as an novelist – these are the missing gaps in my knowledge! If anything, I knew her ‘in name only’ rather than of having a biographical sketch of an idea about her person.

This is one reason I am drawn into Biographical Fiction stories – generally speaking, I lean on the branch of ‘Historical Fiction’ to chart my course through time whilst alighting in the footsteps of either novelists (such as the Brontés) or well-known figureheads (such as Eleanor Roosevelt) whilst feeling a bit attached to some of the dexterities of creative muses (such as the Jane Austen Mysteries). Throughout each story I pick up to read, I am drawn closer to the ‘person’ who lived the life either being re-transmitted through a portion of their own living hours or re-identified in a different lifestyle altogether! It makes for a fascinating jaunt through time, history and known fact!

I hadn’t fused to mind ‘where’ the story was set – coming into fuller knowledge as I sat down to read the novel, I realised it was hugged close to the Canadian Maritimes – specifically the region of the Bay of Fundy and the Fundy Isles. This is an especially lovely area where artists, artisans, writers and other creatives have found a renewing peace to create in this part of the world where life is laid back & the natural scenery etches out its own inspiration to the creator. The Bay of Fundy in recent years is a bit better known due to a hard-won battle to secure the sanctity of the waters in the North Atlantic by the conjoined efforts of the Americans, Canadians & Passamaquoddy Indians.

Realising this connection, when it came time to ‘step forward’ into Ms Hallgarth’s vision for the series, I was more than ready to lay pause on her prose and feel absorbed into this area of the Northern Hemisphere where the lights like to dance, ice meets the sea and where there is an enchantment of wonderment lit over the land. It was then, I realised I was supposed to read this series!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “On the Rocks” (Book One of the #WillaCather and Edith Lewis Mysteries) by Sue HallgarthOn the Rocks
Subtitle: A Willa Cather & Edith Lewis Mystery
by Sue Hallgarth
Source: Publicist via Poetic Book Tours

The year is 1929 and Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Willa Cather and her partner Edith Lewis are summering on Grand Manan, an island in the Bay of Fundy. In their cottage’s sparsely-furnished attic room, Cather is at work writing Shadows on the Rock, her tenth novel. Edith is painting watercolors from the cliffs two hundred feet above the rising tides of Whale Cove.

Out of the corner of her eye, Edith sees a body plunge from the edge of a cliff to the rocks below…. Solving the mystery, first-time novelist Sue Hallgarth’s intimate view of village politics and the goings-on of two women’s communities long lost to history is also a suspenseful and surprising crime novel. Hallgarth draws the reader into a unique retreat and an inside glimpse of the lives of a great American novelist and her talented life partner.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-0985520007

Also by this author: , Death Comes

Also in this series: Death Comes


Genres: Amateur Detective, Biographical Fiction, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction


Published by Arbor Farm Press

on 13th January, 2013

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 262

Published By: Arbor Farm Press

Available Formats: Paperback & Ebook

The Willa Cather & Edith Lewis Mysteries:

On the Rocks (Willa Cather & Edith Lewis Mysteries) by Sue HallgarthDeath Comes (Willa Cather & Edith Lewis Mysteries) by Sue Hallgarth

Book One: On the Rocks

Book Two: Death Comes (Synopsis)

Converse via: #WillaCather + #CosyMysteries

About Sue Hallgarth

Sue Hallgarth

Sue Hallgarth is former English professor. She has written scholarly articles on Willa Cather and Edith Lewis, and Death Comes is her second book of fiction featuring the two of them. Her first book in the series On The Rocks, set in 1929 on the island of Grand Manan in New Brunswick, Canada. She lives in Corrales, New Mexico.

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
Divider

Posted Wednesday, 18 October, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Amateur Detective, Apothecary, Art, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bootleggers & Smugglers, Canada, Canadian Maritimes, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Cosy Historical Mystery, Creative Arts, Crime Fiction, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Edith Lewis, Equality In Literature, Fundy Isles, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Literary Fiction, Naturopathic Medicine, Poetic Book Tours, Seclusion in the Natural World, Sisterhood friendships, Small Towne Fiction, Social Change, the Nineteen Hundreds, the Roaring Twenties, Village Life, Walking & Hiking Trails, Willa Cather, Women's Rights