Category: Philosophy

#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

Non-Fiction Book Review | “Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers and Other Long Stories Short” by Jan Risher

Posted Saturday, 29 December, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for this unique collection of stories hosted by iRead Book Tours. I haven’t been reviewing or hosting iRead authors in quite a long while – for most of the year, outside of the fact I did host the Marilyn Wilson blog tour as it was her second release. I couldn’t find stories which excited me to read and/or there were a heap which I felt would fit other readers better than they would my own readerly inclinations. When I came across ‘Old Algiers’ I thought it was such an interesting collection of personal history, experience, reflective insight and philosophical enquiry – it was something I was keenly looking forward to reading.

I received a complimentary copy of Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers direct from the author Jan Risher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

On why I was eager for this book & how life interfered with my plans in

reading ‘Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers’:

When I first learnt about this collection of stories – I thought it would be wicked interesting to read which is why I was excited about signing on for the blog tour! I had wanted to read the stories and curate a conversation with the author to coincide with my review, however, a few things ended up derailing all my lovely plans for this blog tour – which is in effect, why I am posting off-tour instead. In fact, I’ve been attempting to get this review put to order since a week ago Friday, except to say, my physical unwellness has been a bit extreme these past three weeks ever since I came down with a beast of a Winter virus. Secondly, my father had a medical emergency where we spent 4+ hours in the ER which rattled my nerves and my emotions never did quite settle down that particular week until the start of the next one. My father, is fine – thankfully, the fall was not serious but we had to ensure it was nothing major as Thanksgiving weekend marked his 2nd year past his stroke.

To return back into reading, I had to wait til a) my health was less stricken and b) my mind could re-attach into reading and blogging. It wasn’t until Sunday (last weekend) where I felt well enough to resume where I had left off with a lot of different stories but my return has been slow going which is why my posts are populating at a bit of an odd rate of progression. This review is one I wanted to finish earlier in the week, but I’ve literally been plagued with health issues and honestly, it took extra time to compose.

Having said that, I decided to make my journey into this book a bit uniquely different than most readers might have approached it. I knew in my heart I couldn’t traditionally read this start to finish, as I just didn’t have the capacity to do that right now – therefore, I hope you’ll enjoy the notes, ruminative reflections and takeaways I am sharing on behalf of Old Algiers!

Likewise, I am hoping my note of apology reached the author – somehow, for whichever reason, life became a bit of a determining factor of how I was unable to release this review in step with the blog tour itself whilst I had to realise also, the conversation would have to remain unknown as just to get this featured before the New Year I felt was more priority after having missed the blog tour.

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Non-Fiction Book Review | “Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers and Other Long Stories Short” by Jan RisherLooking to the Stars from Old Algiers
Subtitle: And Other Long Stories Short
by Jan Risher
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

Jan Risher took the long way to get from Mississippi to Louisiana with stops in between in Slovakia, Mexica, China, Burkina Faso and more than 40 other countries. Since moving to Louisiana, she has been a Sunday columnist for The Daily Advertiser and has written a column every single Sunday since 2002.

Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers and Other Long Stories Short is the collection of columns written over 15 years. Arranged in chronological order, the collection creates a narrative of one woman's aim to build her family, build up her community and weave the stories and lessons learned from the past into the present.

From her family's move to Louisiana, adoption of a daughter from China, covering Hurricane Katrina, travels near and far, author Jan Risher attempts, sometimes failing and sometimes succeeding, to do her small part to make the world a better place.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781946160331

Genres: Anthology Collection of Short Stories and/or Essays, Biography / Autobiography, Non-Fiction, Short Story or Novella


Published by Lafayette Press, Sans Souci Books, University of Louisiana

on 11th September, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 312

Published by: Sans Souci Books

an imprint of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press

Formats Available: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #NonFiction & #ShortStories

About Jan Risher

Jan Risher

Jan Risher is an award-winning journalist and investigative reporter. She was managing editor of The Times of Acadiana. Before and after her time as a full-time journalist, she was an English teacher. She has taught English near and far, in its most basic and most lyrical forms. She continues her career as a freelance writer and now owns Shift Key, a content marketing and public relations firm. She, her husband and their two daughters have made their home on the banks of the Vermilion River.

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Posted Saturday, 29 December, 2018 by jorielov in Anthology Collection of Stories, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Daily Devotions of Inspiration from Life, Equality In Literature, Indie Author, iRead Book Tours, Memoir, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Orphans & Guardians, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Publishing Industry & Trade, Short Stories or Essays, Sociological Behavior, Sociology, Stories of Adoption, Travelogue, Vignettes of Real Life

Non-Fiction Book Review | “Godspace: Embracing the Inconvenient Adventure of Intimacy with God” by Keri Wyatt Kent

Posted Thursday, 28 December, 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 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 “Godspace” direct from the publisher FaithWords (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.

Why I have been purposely seeking out titles like this one:

All of us feel the chaos of our lives hectically carting us forward time to time – it leaves little personal space much less space for conversing with God. Whilst we’re feeling harried and stretched a bit thin round the edges our spiritual lives can feel untethered or pulled a bit too taut or even fractured in places where we otherwise might feel strong. As soon as I read the chapter breaks within GODSPACE, I knew I had picked the right time to delve into the author’s context of this book:

NOTE: I refer to my reactions/thoughts by using the // after the prompts in the book

* Sabbath – Space in my Calendar // how many of us find less time for stillness and peace in our spirit?

* Hospitality – Space in my Home // how many of us feel like cocooning ourselves in our comfortable abode as a retreat from the outside world?

* Worship – Space in the World // how many of us feel disillusioned by the Church?

* Simplicity – Space in My Soul // how many of us overthink our spiritual health?

* Generosity – Space in My Budget // how many of us are of the working class and feel our budgets blighted by the woes of living economically insecure in a workforce which is never guaranteed to be stablised?

* Gratitude – Space in My Relationships // how many of us feel stressed out by life itself to where we have let go of spending time on our connections to others?

* Critical Thinking: Space for Faith & Doubt // all of us should aspire to have a healthy balance of our emotional and intellectual states of awareness

I loved the book cover for this book, too. Not that I have the same kind of contents within my own purse – but because, it shows a strong representation of all the important bits of modern life most of us have within our purses or backpacks – from the functional components of staying connected in a high-tech world of commerce and trade; to the ready at will access to our finances and the beautification of ourselves on the move to the little touches of our personal essences by the accessories which set us apart from each other. The only thing missing is where do we keep the spaces needed for our spiritual health and welfare? They might not be tangible components of our lives – pieces of material we can tuck into a pocket or purse, but where do we shelter and store our spirituality?

The premise of the story behind this go-to guide for busy believers is quite simplistic – despite our varied religious backgrounds there is always time to retreat and find a path back towards the One of whom is most important of all. We all need to find ways to remain actively involved in our spiritual paths – of connecting and reconnecting our souls to the greater truths and the humbling aspects of being human – thus, I felt the context of this warranted being read during a year where I felt taxed and burdened by the changes within my life to where exhaustion oft-times won out over finding the joys which light up my days with smiles of happiness. We each have our own upturnt scales of adversities to muddle through but we all have to find a way to shift through and out of those moments to re-align with a better buoyancy of balance where we’re not always teetering on the edge towards those things which seek to unsettle us the most.

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Non-Fiction Book Review | “Godspace: Embracing the Inconvenient Adventure of Intimacy with God” by Keri Wyatt KentGodspace
Subtitle: Embracing the Inconvenient Adventure of Intimacy with God
by Keri Wyatt Kent
Source: Direct from Publisher

Think you don't have time or space for spiritual stuff? That intimacy with God is impossible?

Here's how-in the life you already live-you can make time and space for God.

GODSPACE offers seven practices that help busy Christians pay attention to God. They help us align our sometimes messy daily lives with our spirituality. And they strengthen our most important relationships, giving our lives meaning, significance, and purpose.

It's not holding a set of beliefs, reading the Bible, going to church, or even praying that determines how we connect with God. It's our pace of life. When we live hurried and distracted lives, we miss the chance to experience the intimacy we desire with God.

Experience God more deeply and live more joyfully by exploring these seven spiritual practices:

Sabbath
Hospitality
Worship
Simplicity
Gratitude
Generosity
Critical thinking

With abundant wit, humorous anecdotes, and authentic sharing of her own joys and struggles, KERI WYATT KENT guides us toward a deeper and more meaningful faith in the midst of our overcrowded, cluttered lives.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781478970712

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Self-Improvement & Self-Actualisation, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Women's Studies


Published by FaithWords

on 5th September, 2017

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 208

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

Formats Available: Hardcover, Audiobook & Ebook

Converse via: #NonFiction, #INSPY, #Christian & #ThursdayThoughts

About Keri Wyatt Kent

Keri Wyatt Kent Photo Credit: Michael Vanderra

KERI WYATT KENT is the author of ten books and the co-author of many more. She continually writes for a variety of print and digital publications, including Christianity Today, Gifted for Leadership, The High Calling, SmallGroups.com, and Today's Christian Woman. She also serves as lay pastor at Willow Creek Community Church, where she has been a member for almost 30 years.

Photo Credit: Michael Vanderra

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Posted Thursday, 28 December, 2017 by jorielov in Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), FaithWords, Non-Fiction, Philosophy

Non-Fiction Book Review | “Winning Plays: Tackling Adversity and Achieving Success in Business and in Life” by Matt Mayberry

Posted Tuesday, 2 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 new reviewer for Hachette Books and their imprints, starting with 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 “Winning Plays” 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.

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An unexpected joy: #PurposeInYour20s Chat on 25th April, 2017

I had an unexpected joy in receiving a note from the publicist I work with at FaithWords to inform me there was going to be a chat on Twitter this afternoon revolving around two books: Winning Plays and Quarter-Life  Calling. I’ve been sorting out which days I want to feature the lovely batch of Non-Fiction inspiring biographies, memoirs and self-motivating tomes of joy for awhile now. Ever since I came back to blogging after my father’ stroke, I’ve been trying to sort out the best days to focus on my Non-Fiction reads vs the stories of fiction which electrify my mind with innovative narratives and characters whose stories never quite leave me afterwards.

I started to notice the tag on Twitter: #TuesdayMotivation. Even before today’s chat, I was thinking I should re-think which day I post these wicked Non-Fiction titles. I was thinking the messages within the books would work well with the Twitter meme, as who doesn’t need a bit of extra motivation in their lives? Today, whilst participating on the chat itself, I found I enjoyed conversing with the two authors (as I requested the second one for review afterwards) whilst sharing my own thoughts on the subjects at hand.

The purpose behind the chat itself was to reach out to Millennials – which by some people’s standards includes myself (*cough, cough*) except that I disagree with that statement (hence the coughing!). I’m booking it towards thirtyten and although I loved recapturing my childhood during the Harry Potter film years (who didn’t?) I was a full ten years old than Daniel Radcliffe in the first film! (he was eleven, you do the math!) Those are the children who are Millennials – leave me and my generation where it belongs – we’re GenX! Oy.  Let me digress. The point is the chat was geared towards anyone in their twenties, thirties or older who feel they are at a crossroads in their lives; where finding a way through adversity and the status quo isn’t always as easy as it would appear. This is where your walk in faith comes into play and how you choose to set your attitude, as well.

Attitude has a lot to do with a lot of things in life. This is why I participated in the chat today – I totally support finding pro-positive ways of helping yourself get through the obstacles and hurdles which unexpected disrupt your life’s path. It doesn’t matter if it’s financial, medical or personal loss – there are set-backs in all our lives. Not getting the raise in pay. Living paycheck to paycheck without hope of equal pay for equal work. A limited hope of an increase in minimum wage. Missing a scholarship to college. Marrying younger and starting a family earlier. Staying back for family and putting your life on hold. Taking a hit in your personal health and wellness; due to illness, injury or something else equally unexpected. Grieving the loss of loved ones and finding your way back through grief not as easy to transition as you’d first thought. Striking out on your own without a net of support. If you sit and contemplate it – life is full of a myriad array of things that can go wrong.

How to trudge through the muddling hours where you feel a bit more full of life’s doubts and the fears of never exiting this chapter of where your not really progressing forward and your not back-drifting either; your just ‘caught’ betwixt and between where you want to be. Adversity and strife are put of life – you cannot circumvent the harder days and exchange them for sunshine and rainbows; where nothing will happen which takes a hit on your emotional resolve. We have to live through our lives, embracing the good days with the bad; to find courage to rise through the adversities and seek out our faith for the moments which try to overturn our Hope.

In other words, with my faith as my rock and shield, I never would have been able to work through my father’s stroke. (see also this Post and this one) I might not have had the resolve inside me to re-affirm my own path as a writer during Nanowrimo 2008 (see this Guest Essay of mine feat. on Priya’s Lit Blog). Life happens fast. You have to have the strength to adapt, adjust and get through the rough patches with the Light and Hope of tomorrow. Even if your in the ER and even the doctors aren’t sure if your father will wake up the same way he did the day before his stroke. Even if you worry your gift to use words as a palette of inspiration to build worlds and characters might be lost, you still have to walk forward. You have to turn introspective and seek the truths from within your own heart, spirit and mind. And, always… lean hard on your faith.

NOTE: Previously, I talked more about being a blogger and writer whilst reviewing ‘Full Tank Life’.

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How I shared my own living truths as applicable to the chat’s topic:

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Non-Fiction Book Review | “Winning Plays: Tackling Adversity and Achieving Success in Business and in Life” by Matt MayberryWinning Plays
Subtitle: Tackling Adversity and Achieving Success in Business and in Life
by Matt Mayberry
Source: Direct from Publisher

No one goes undefeated when playing the game of life. Matt Mayberry is no exception. He's faced setbacks beyond his control and lots more he created himself. But even after conquering addiction, realizing his lifelong dream to play in the NFL, and then having it taken away from him in an instant, he came from behind yet again to achieve more success than ever before.

Sometimes we are knocked down-and even out-by circumstances within or beyond our control. That's life. But these moments can be opportunities to tap into inner strength and start over. By sharing how he treated failure as a way to start over, Matt is now a nationally sought-after speaker and success coach to audiences of more than 100,000 people per year for Fortune 500 companies, NFL and NBA teams, government and nonprofit groups, professional associations, and universities. In WINNING PLAYS, he presents his strategies to survive and thrive in the real world, no matter what gets thrown your way.

Just as no football team can be successful without a solid game plan, you can't be successful without one either. This book is full of Matt's inspirational, motivational, and prescriptive advice, such as: be authentic, create opportunities, power through adversity, reaffirm your goals, rebuild, and many other strategies for developing your own personal game plan to succeed in business and in life.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

ISBN: 9781455568284

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


Published by Center Street

on 6th September, 2016

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 272

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

Formats Available: Hardcover, Audiobook & Ebook

Converse via: ##nonfiction, #SelfHelp #INSPY

About Matt Mayberry

Matt Mayberry Photo Credit: Susan Mazeika

MATT MAYBERRY is a highly acclaimed keynote speaker and performance strategist. A former Indiana University and Chicago Bears linebacker, Matt is one of the most widely-read columnists for Entrepreneur.com, where he writes on peak performance, overcoming adversity, leadership, and motivation. Matt's work has been featured on ESPN, Forbes, Huffington Post, ABC, NBC, Fox Business, Fox News, Business Insider, and MSN Lifestyle. As the CEO of Matt Mayberry Enterprises, he helps individuals and organizations all over the world to maximize their potential to achieve breakthrough performance.

Photo Credit: Susan Mazeika

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Posted Tuesday, 2 May, 2017 by jorielov in Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), CenterStreet, Non-Fiction, Philosophy, Vulgarity in Literature

Audiobook Review | “Halfway Hunted: Halfway Witchy, No.3” by Terry Maggert, narrated by Erin Spencer

Posted Friday, 10 February, 2017 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Digital Audiobook by: I am a new blog tour hostess with Audiobookworm Promotions wherein I have the opportunity to receive audiobooks for review or adoption (reviews outside of organised blog tours) and host guest features on behalf of authors and narrators alike. I started hosting for Audiobookworm Promotions at the end of [2016] during “The Cryptic Lines” tour wherein I became quite happily surprised how much I am now keen on listening to books in lieu of reading them in print. My journey into audiobooks was prompted by a return of my chronic migraines wherein I want to offset my readings with listening to the audio versions.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Halfway Hunted” via the publicist at Audiobookworm Promotions (of whom was working directly with the author Terry Maggert) 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

On the heart tug of emotional angst stemming out of the cliffhanger from Halfway Bitten:

In case you’ve missed my full ruminations on behalf of the first novel in this wonderfully witchy series, please direct your mouse to Halfway Dead!

Halfway Hunted promo badge provided by Audiobookworm Promotions

When Halfway Bitten concluded – I had mixed emotions. In some ways, I had trouble sorting out my thoughts because I couldn’t quite say I had the same reaction to the second story as I did the first: wicked sweet admiration for the story in whole. No. I honestly had a difficult takeaway, as portions of the story felt ‘off’ to me somehow, something I have sorted out how to explain, if you read the ‘postscript’ on my review.

The hardest part about the ending is how it ends – to be direct, this is the second time I felt overcome by the ending of a novel. The first time was during a read-fest of Lady Darby, of which sadly ended with me unable to resolve my feelings in order to read the adorable pocket sized fifth installment. (see also post) By the time I resolved my emotional angst, I was facing a real-life medical crisis. (see also post) In this particular case, it was simply emotionally gutting – such a sad conclusion and yet, a heroic gesture for someone’s beloved. Wulfric grew on me – as he didn’t warm to me initially – it was through his love for Carlie and the overtures of sincerity he made started me to think about another vampire I liked (ie. Angel; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Angel series)

Each of the Halfway Witchy stories are progressively moving deeper into the heart of Carlie’s personal growth and the ways in which her life is exponentially complicated through her experiences as a white witch. Maggert threads a hearty threading of realism into the backbone of the series – there are happy moments, sure, but overall, this is a cheeky satire with high octane drama. It’s set in a world just out of the view of our own – if you kept the veil of the supernatural away from your eyes, you could say this is ‘present day, 21st Century’, too. It’s texture of familiarity is enhanced by how Maggert etches into his narrative exchanges of cultural and tradition Americans would readily recognise. This is decidedly American – not just in how he chooses to write his characters’ unique personalities or their delivery of their lines, but rather, how the story is told. You can perceive a lens of grounding out of the author’s own imagination and living memories whilst countered against the unseen and very dangerous supernatural world.

This is why I am so genuinely addicted to this series – you feel like brewing up a warm cuppa and settling in for returning back to a place that feels so much like home. Similar to Stars Hollow if you will. Or any small towne you feel you can cosy up inside and be recognised as a resident rather than as a passing through outsider. This is why despite the cliffhanger giving my heart a lurched out motion of ‘how could this happen!?’ I felt Maggert left in just enough Hope for things to turn around and/or have restitution given down the road a bit in the next installments to where I could handle moving forward. Unlike my feelings on behalf of the recent episode of NCIS: LA (see this thread of a rant of mine) which pushed the envelope too far for me to even consider rational and plausible in regards of ‘where’ a story-line in a family tv series should go.

As an aside, Lady Darby’s story-line crushed my soul, NCIS: LA disturbed my heart and disillusioned my loyalty to a series I’ve followed since JAG (ie: all 3x NCIS are spins of the original) and Halfway Witchy dealt with a twist of fate in such a better way. If you’re going to give a reader (or a viewer) a heart-wreck of a cliffhanger or turning of tides, take after Mr Magget. And, yes… I am going to be reading Lady Darby – after you nearly lose your father to a series of TIAs, even a crushed soul can be repaired. Or in my case, a severe case of amnesia occurred because something more important was hitting my reality. NCIS: LA is falling into the category of Castle & Downton Abbey; not everything can be forgiven. Then again, I boycotted Angel after S2 for similar reasons.

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Audiobook Review | “Halfway Hunted: Halfway Witchy, No.3” by Terry Maggert, narrated by Erin SpencerHalfway Hunted
Subtitle: Some Prey Bites Back
by Terry Maggert
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Erin Spencer

Welcome to Halfway; where the waffles are golden, the moon is silver, and magic is just around every corner.

A century old curse is broken, releasing Exit Wainwright, an innocent man trapped alone in time. Lost and in danger, he enlists Carlie, Gran, and their magic to find the warlock who sentenced him to a hundred years of darkness. The hunter becomes the hunted when Carlie's spells awaken a cold-blooded killer intent on adding another pelt to their gruesome collection: hers.

But the killer has never been to Halfway before, where there are three unbreakable rules:

1. Don't complain about the diner's waffles.
2. Don't break the laws of magic.
3. Never threaten a witch on her home turf.

Can Carlie solve an ancient crime, defeat a ruthless killer and save the love of her life from a vampire's curse without burning the waffles?

Come hunt with Carlie, and answer the call of the wild.

Places to find the book:

Also by this author: Halfway Dead, Halfway Bitten, Heartborn,

Also in this series: Halfway Dead, Halfway Bitten


Genres: Cosy Horror, Ghost Story, New Adult Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Sci-Fantasy, Upper YA Fiction, Vampire Romance, YA Paranormal Suspense


Published by Terry Maggert

on 10th November, 2016

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 6 hours and 56 minutes (unabridged)

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the halfway witchy series:

Halfway Witchy book series collage provided by Audiobookworm Promotions
Digital composite of Wooden table with library background. Halfway Witchy book series collage provided by Audiobookworm Promotions; used with permission.

Notation on Cover Art Design: charmed by two, indifferent towards a third

Unlike my admiration for the first two covers, the third cover was slightly less inclined to be liked by me due to how ‘blood’ was the prime feature of the artwork. I’m not a girl who likes vampires or werewolves – not generally – I do have my exceptions (all girls do) but if you were to cast a wide net about the stories of the supernatural and/ paranormal suspense in general – I’m just not the kind of reader / viewer who digs a lot of er, blood. Unless it’s a medical drama – not that I can handle watching or reading medical dramas anymore – in my teenage years I could filter real life from fictional; as an adult, I’ve lived too many years with medical crises to care to always be locked into a soul-wretch of a fictional one. I even wanted to share the promo badges attached to this blog tour – as some of the quotes were my personal favourites – but again. The ‘blood’ is just too .. er, ick for me!? I always par down the blood – my imagination is tamer than most and more expansive in other regards – in true essence, I dial down the gore. Not that I would consider Maggert’s fiction ‘gory’ no, it’s still within what I consider ‘Cosy Horror’ or even ‘Horror-Lite’ but.. yes. This cover just didn’t win me over. I sort of wished for the continuity of the marker tattoos. That was something wicked original now discarded.

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About Terry Maggert

Terry Maggert

Left-handed. Father of an apparent nudist. Husband to a half-Norwegian. Herder of cats and dogs. Lover of pie. I write books. I've had an unhealthy fascination with dragons since the age of-- well, for a while. Native Floridian. Current Tennessean. Location subject to change based on insurrection, upheaval, or availability of coffee. Nine books and counting, with no end in sight. You've been warned.

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Posted Friday, 10 February, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Apothecary, ArchDemons or Demonic Entities, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Author Found me On Twitter, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cats and Kittens, Clever Turns of Phrase, Coming-Of Age, Cosy Horror, Cosy Horror Suspense, Dreams & Dreamscapes, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Environmental Science, Equality In Literature, Faeries & the Fey, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Ghost Story, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Good vs. Evil, Gothic Literature, Gothic Mystery, Horror-Lite, Humour & Satire in Fiction / Non Fiction, Immortals, Indie Author, Light vs Dark, Modern Day, Nature & Wildlife, New Adult Fiction, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Realistic Fiction, Shapeshifters, Small Towne USA, Sociology, Speculative Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Suspense, Sustainability & Ecological Preservation, The Natural World, Upper YA Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Vulgarity in Literature, Walking & Hiking Trails, Werewolves, Witches and Warlocks, YA Fantasy, YA Paranormal &/or Paranormal Romance, Young Adult Fiction