Category: Green-Minded Publishers

Book Review | “Follow A Star” (Book No.2 of the Little Spitmarsh series) by Christine Stovell #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 21 April, 2018 by jorielov , , , 3 Comments

ChocLitSaturdays Banner Created by Jorie in Canva.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why I am enjoying my respite in Little Spitmarsh:

Not quite a village or hamlet, but in some ways it is both – if you consider how insular resorts can become when it feels like all of life is bubbling within it’s natural boundaries. I was quite delighted by the Prologue to cast a pointed eye on what Little Spitmarsh had been once in it’s heyday of popularity with visitors from away inasmuch as the cross-comparison of what it has become now; a sad remnant of it’s past. This is quite common I think, when urban and rural areas fall into decay from an absence of care – where it takes someone with vision to re-transitionalise the place into a new kind of beauty that will lure people back to a place they once knew. Although this isn’t merely a resort or a marina, it’s a small towne whose point of focus has fallen and whose re-development could change the way in which the townespeople will live in the future.

This felt like such an honest prospect of interest – right from the start – as who doesn’t like to see how developers with an eye for progress and a nod towards preserving certain bits of the past could lend a new lease of life on a place like Little Spitmarsh? Of course, that would be far too easy, of course! There was a small hinting of what would become fireworks (nearly certain!) lateron, as just because a land deal seems cut and dry on the offset doesn’t necessarily mean there aren’t hidden ‘obstacles’ that might test the patience of someone whose vision might be a bit misguided.

The scenery alone makes you hunger to visit this little niche of a small community if only for the pause of breath to drink in the natural joys you would be viewing. Stepping outside of civilisation where nature still had the larger bounty and has been allowed to thrive without too much interference are the places to cherish the most. They are kept away and hidden from the masses for a reason – to preserve what is able to be conserved. The book cover places you visually in the right kind of place that is being described inside the chapters as it truly is a place that hugs the water whilst ebbing you into a sync of natural harmony.

I liked too, how Ms Stovell has her own rhythm of threading a Contemporary with it’s own narrative pace and tone of telling a story set in such an interesting place. The setting and the vibe of the community have their own lifeblood in this Contemporary granting the reader a strong visual of not only the natural setting of how a harbour or seaside area can dictate but how a community is as quirky as it’s residents! The fuller personalities of how she rounded out her cast of characters and augmented such a normalcy out of the quirks of their everyday lives is part of what granted so much enjoyment to read the story! It’s truly a novel that paints it’s own portrait by how it’s writer chose to deliver it’s contents – loved her choices but also, the way in which she delves past the surface and digs in for the heartier story-line that is just bubbling under the drama.

-quoted from my review of Turning the Tide

I’ve taken my time to return back to Little Spitmarsh – I had aimed to continue my readings of this series closer to when I entered ‘Turning the Tide’, however, my own tides took me away from the series until now. Even over the past six weeks, where my health hasn’t been the best – I’ve had to put my ChocLit readings on hold, until I was in a better position to focus on reading again. One of the key issues was a relapse in my chronic migraines – I was able to handle listening to audiobooks here and there, but overall, reading and attempting to type on a screen was proving to be more than what I could handle.

There were a few moments where Twitter acted as a reprieve from my heath issues but even that has taken a bit of a backseat since my migraines resumed. I had planned to anchour April with a Georgette Heyer chat and a Women’s Fiction topical chat – however, just to return back into a ChocLit novel felt wonderful! I’ve also decided for the foreseeable future, the last two weekends of the month work best for me hosting @SatBookChat.

It is also coincidentally on the heels of helping to select the cover for the Little Spitmarsh novella “Moonbeams in a Jar”. Which I happily tweeted about previously as soon as I saw the release make it’s way into the twitterverse! Always a happy day celebrating a forthcoming release within a series you love reading!

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

Notation on Cover Art: Little Spitmarsh is unique setting where the water, the tides and the small community round out the appeal of living there. I liked how this cover focused on sunset, as there is something quite special about the setting of the sun – of how even after hard days or the uncertainties of futures, seeing the sun set and rise is a lovely moment where you can draw a breath of serenity and simply appreciate the scenery for how the colours play against the natural landscape.

 Book Review | “Follow A Star” (Book No.2 of the Little Spitmarsh series) by Christine Stovell #ChocLitSaturdaysFollow A Star
by Christine Stovell
Source: Direct from Publisher

Sometimes your heart’s the only navigator you need

May Starling’s had enough of her demanding career and even more demanding ex. Responding to a ‘crew-wanted’ ad, she follows her dreams of escape only to find herself at sea with red-haired Bill Blythe.

Bill warns May that close-quartered living can create a boiling pot of emotions, but even May is surprised by the heat building up inside the vintage wooden boat. And when May and Bill tie up at Watling’s Boatyard in Little Spitmarsh, May’s determined to test her new-found feelings on dry land.

But May’s dream of escaping her former life is in danger of being swept away when several unwelcome blasts from the past follow her ashore, all seemingly hell-bent on reminding her it’s never that easy to clear the decks.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on ChocLitUK

ISBN: 978-1781891360

Also by this author: Turning the Tide, Only True in Fairy Tales

Also in this series: Turning the Tide


Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance Fiction


Published by ChocLitUK

on 1st July, 2014

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 336

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLituk)

Available Formats: Paperback, Audiobook, Large Print & E-Book

Order of Sequence of Little Spitmarsh series:

Turning the Tide by Christine StovellFollow a Star by Christine StovellMoonbeams in a Jar by Christine Stovell

Read my review of Turning the Tide

Read the Synopsis for Moonbeams in a Jar

Converse via: #Contemporary & #Romance + #ChocLit #LittleSpitmarsh

About Christine Stovell

Christine Stovell Photo Credit: Tim Jones

Winning a tin of chocolate in a national essay competition at primary school inspired Christine Stovell to become a writer! After graduating from University of East Anglia, she took various jobs in the public sector writing research papers and policy notes by day and filling up her spare drawers with embryonic novels by night.

Losing her dad to cancer made her realise that if she was ever going to get a novel published she had to put her writing first. Setting off, with her husband, from a sleepy seaside resort on the east coast in a vintage wooden boat to sail halfway round Britain provided the inspiration for her debut novel Turning the Tide and Follow a Star. Turning The Tide was a top 100 Bestseller with Amazon Kindle and spent months in the Top 10 Chart for Adult Contemporary Romance. Christine has also published numerous short stories and articles. Christine lives in Wales. Christine novels include: Turning The Tide, Move Over Darling and Follow a Star (July 2014).

Photo Credit: Tim Jones

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

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Posted Saturday, 21 April, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Britian, British Literature, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Debut Author, Debut Novel, England, Equality In Literature, Green-Minded Publishers, Indie Author, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Modern British Author, Romance Fiction, Vulgarity in Literature

Book Review | “The Rest of my Life” by Sheryl Browne #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 17 February, 2018 by jorielov , , 1 Comment

d#ChocLitSaturdays banner created in Canva by Jorie.

Why I feature #ChocLitSaturdays (book reviews & guest author features)

I feature Romance & Women’s Fiction authors during @SatBookChat.

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

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

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

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

Acquired Book By: I am a regular reviewer for ChocLitUK, where I hand select which books in either their backlist and/or current releases I would like to read next for my #ChocLitSaturdays blog feature. This is how I first came to find out about Ms Browne’s novels – whilst reconnecting with the author at Christmastime as we have kept up with each other through my bi-monthly chat (@SatBookChat) or outside of it; Ms Browne offered to send me a copy of ‘The Rest of my Life’ to read in the New Year. I had learnt through our conversation she has moved from ChocLit to Bookouture – the publisher I happily hosted a series of author interviews for in 2016. Previously, I had received “Learning to Love” via ChocLit when Ms Browne was still with the publisher in 2017. This marks my second reading of a Contemporary Romance by Ms Browne.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Rest of my Life” from the author Sheryl Browne in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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

Why I was interested in reading ‘The Rest of my Life’:

I had initially intended to read this novel ahead of ‘Learning to Love’ but as fates would intervene, I read them out of sequence as this one was the debut novel for Ms Browne with ChocLit. As I awaited the novels to be released in print, I happily celebrated them being released on Jorie Loves A Story whilst finding myself smitten with her writing life as she would share snippets of her bookish and writerly joy via #ChocLitSaturday which has now become re-named #SatBookChat in 2018. Through the convos and exchanges in our then weekly chat, I garnished an appreciation for Ms Browne’s writing style and the ways in which she develops her stories – I had a sinking feeling I was going to become wickedly delighted by what I’d find inside her Romances!

On the other hand, I also knew – from what I gleamed in our convos her intensified & grisly Crime Thrillers were not my cuppa. Hence why I am positively thrilled she loves to write heart-centred Contemporary stories befitting all readers who love reading both Romance & Women’s Fiction as to me, her novels are a smashing example of how you can write a hybrid styling of a story which can happily reside in both designations! She emotes the drama of real life with realistic characters and back-stories into the very fabric of her Contemporaries. You feel every raw emotion as her characters do whilst you walk away with your ruminative thoughts.

What I appreciated the most about the trailer is that it sets the story up for a curious reader as it’s a story where redemptive qualities in a flawed approach to life and romance can be re-approached differently when you meet someone quite unexpectedly right for you. I like how the bloke in the story is very atypical of a classic choice for a woman seeking romance; who purposely would find a womanizing fool?

It’s a turning of the tables for both of them; each of them has a burdened and/or difficult set of emotional baggage to shift through in order to make their relationship work – if there is a relationship to build upon and that provides the drama which lights the fuell of curiosity to read it!

I will be quite keen to see which direction Ms Browne leads us to go forth from here!

-quoted from my Book Spotlight for “The Rest of my Life”

For these reasons, I was delightfully humbled and happily surprised Ms Browne offered to send me The Rest of my Life – as with her transition to Bookouture, I knew it would be a considerable time until I could get to read this novel. Thus, I was truly blessed I could read it so early-on in the New Year. I am simply drawn to certain kinds of stories at certain moments and I knew it was time to read this second, er, first novel by Ms Browne! There is just something about her style of writing I feel I can attach my heart inside and for this, I am truly thankful I crossed paths with her on the beginning leg of her writerly career! I’ll be cheering from the sidelines now as she continues onward & upward with Bookouture!

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

On my connection to the author:

I happily have had the pleasure of interacting with Ms Browne through #SatBookChat (previously #ChocLitSaturday) the chat off/on for the past two years (or thereabouts). She is a delightful presence to have in the chats and I am thankful she found a niche where she felt comfortable chattering with fellow ChocLit authors, Romance novelists, book bloggers, readers, and other bookishly chatty spirits who alight on Saturdays!

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with her ahead of reading her novels. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time. This is also true when I follow-up with them on future releases and celebrate the book birthdays that come after their initial publication.

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

Book Review | “The Rest of my Life” by Sheryl Browne #ChocLitSaturdaysLearning to Love
Subtitle: When is it time to stop running?
by Sheryl Browne
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Berni Stevens
Source: Direct from Author

You can’t run away from commitment forever

Adam Hamilton-Shaw has more reason than most to avoid commitment. Living on a houseboat in the Severn Valley, his dream is to sail into the sunset – preferably with a woman waiting in every port. But lately, his life looks more like a road to destruction than an idyllic boat ride…

Would-be screenplay writer Sienna Meadows realises that everything about Adam spells trouble – but she can’t ignore the feeling that there is more to him than just his bad reputation. Nor can she ignore the intense physical attraction that exists between them.

And it just so happens that Adam sees Sienna as the kind of woman he could commit to. But can he change his damaging behaviour – or is the road to destruction a one-way street?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on ChocLitUK

ISBN: 9781781892800

Also by this author: The Rest of my Life Cover Reveal, Learning to Love Cover Reveal, Learning to Love

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense, Women's Fiction


Published by ChocLitUK

on 21st April, 2016

Format: UK Edition Paperback

Pages: 352

In regards to the ‘heat’ of sensuality & sexuality explored in this novel, I felt I ought to let my readers know this one was at the upper tier of where I think Romance can almost be blurring the lines for what it can encompass, therefore for me personally, it was at the highest end.

five-flames

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLituk)

Available Formats: Paperback & E-Book

The Rest of my Life by Sheryl BrowneLearning to Love by Sheryl Browne

Ms Browne’s ChocLit Contemporary Roms:

The Rest of my Life (see also Cover Reveal w/ Notes)

Learning to Love (see also Cover Reveal w/ Notes) & (see also Review)

Converse via: #Contemporary #Romance + #ChocLit

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

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Posted Saturday, 17 February, 2018 by jorielov in A Father's Heart, Adulterous Affair, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, British Literature, Child out of Wedlock, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Domestic Violence, England, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Green-Minded Publishers, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Indie Author, Life Shift, Mental Health, Modern British Author, Modern British Literature, Modern Day, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Second Chance Love, Small Towne Fiction, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction, Women's Health

#SpooktasticReads | Book Review “The Highwayman’s Daughter” by Henriette Gyland #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 9 December, 2017 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

ChocLitSaturdays Banner Created by Jorie in Canva.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why I enjoy reading the Romantic Suspense style of Ms Gyland:

She continues to needle the psychological bits quite aptly through Blueprint for Love; as your never quite ahead of the plot, as she allows the layers she’s written into the story to take their time and turn to be revealled to the reader. She charms you with winning characters who are caught up in the thick of their own lives whilst finding that sometimes love is arriving rather gently as if you’ve become touched by butterfly wings.

Ms Gyland truly sharpened the poignancy of her suspenseful novella by finding the small ways in which to elevate the drama to where the reader and the characters could form an accord of solidarity. Walking alongside Hazel and Jonathan, it was hard to know which way the plot would turn and twist; all the better, because the best way to entertain me is to give me a plot I cannot easily unwind until the very last whisper of a breath in the ending chapter!

-quoted from my review of Blueprint for Love, a novella

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

 #SpooktasticReads | Book Review “The Highwayman’s Daughter” by Henriette Gyland #ChocLitSaturdaysThe Highwayman's Daughter
by Henriette Gyland
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Berni Stevens
Source: Direct from Publisher

Is it a crime to steal a heart?

Hounslow, 1768. Jack Blythe, heir to the Earl of Lampton, is a man with great expectations. So when his carriage is held up by a masked woman, brandishing a pistol and dressed as a gentleman of the road, he wholly expects to have his purse stolen. And when he senses something strangely familiar about the lovely little bandit, Jack also expects to win his cousin’s wager by tracking her down first.

But as Jack and the highwaywoman enter into a swashbuckling game of cat and mouse, uncovering an intricate web of fiercely guarded family secrets, the last thing Jack expects to have stolen is his heart.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on ChocLitUK

Also by this author: Up Close, Blueprint for Love

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Historical Thriller Suspense, Romantic Suspense


Published by ChocLitUK

on 7th May, 2014

Format: UK Edition Paperback

Pages: 336

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLituk)

Available Formats: Paperback, Audiobook, Large Print & E-Book

This marks my 3rd reading of Ms Gyland:

Up Close by Henriette GylandBlueprint for Love by Henriette GylandThe Highwayman's Daughter by Henriette Gyland

There is one more novel I’ve not yet had the chance to read by Ms Gyland which is “The Elephant Girl” which is truly a thrilling suspense. I chose to read “The Highwayman’s Daughter” as it felt like the kind of Rom Suspense I’ve grown used to reading – esp as ‘Up Close’ was such a beloved reading of my mine a few years ago. Wherein ‘The Elephant Girl’ felt it might take more out of me at this point in time. However, one day, I’ll give it a whirl – as I truly love this author’s instincts for creating the stories which despite being romantic are definitively suspenseful!

Converse via: #HistRom & #HistoricalSuspense + #RomSusp + #ChocLit

About Henriette Gyland

Henriette lives in London but grew up in Northern Denmark and moved to England after she graduated from the University of Copenhagen. She has worked in the Danish civil service, for a travel agent, a consultancy company, in banking, hospital administration, and for a county court before setting herself up as a freelance translator and linguist.

Expecting her first child and feeling bored, she picked up the pen again, and when a writer friend encouraged her to join the Romantic Novelists’ Association, she began to pursue her writing in earnest. Her debut Up Close won the New Talent Award in 2011 from the Festival of Romance and a Commended from the Yeovil Literary Prize.

Novels: Up Close, The Elephant Girl, Blueprint for Love & The Highwayman’s Daughter

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

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Saturday, 9 December, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 18th Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Britian, British Literature, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, England, Green-Minded Publishers, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Life Shift, Modern British Author, Modern British Literature, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Siblings, Suspense

#SpooktasticReads | Book Review “The Secret Kiss of Darkness” (Book No. 2 of the Shadows of the Past series) by Christina Courtenay #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 25 November, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

ChocLitSaturdays Banner Created by Jorie in Canva.

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

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

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

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

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

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

However, a few years ago, I won a bookaway for one of Ms Courtenay’s novels – happily surprised to have found a few extra titles tucked into the parcel, this was one of the stories I received. I believe this is the title I ‘won’, although I am forgetting which title I received was the bookaway book! I received a complimentary copy of “The Secret Kiss of Darkness” from the author Christina Courtenay without obligation to post a review. I have loved reading her stories in the past and this review is being shared for my own edification as much as I wanted to share my joys of reading it with my readers. Therefore, it’s an ‘addition’ to my regular reviews during #ChocLitSaturdays. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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

Why I am enjoying reading this series:

I can assure you dear hearts, you get so attached to the 15th Century, between walking the vast estate and being caught up in the particulars of that century’s sociopolitical drama that by the time you ‘pull yourself’ forward back into the Manor to see how the research Melissa is doing into the ancestral records for her family & Jake’s family lineage, you nearly do not know which era you’d prefer to stay in a bit longer! I especially loved one scene where Melissa is being given the access to an ancient copy of the original will penned on behalf of Sibell; as she starts to read the words in Latin, her mind takes her physically back to Sibell’s time. She can sense and feel everything happening to Sibell at the time the will is being written. The visceral imagery and sensory connectedness was conveyed in such a convincing way that you could ascertain exactly what was happening in that ‘one single second’ of Sibell’s young life.

The heart of the story is etched inside the beguiling truths which separated lost loves through such a violent ending of their lives. In some ways, parts of Sibell & Roger’s story reminded me of Romeo & Juliet, fated in such a way as to not find happiness within their own lifetime; at least not one that would be forever lasting. An element of the backdrop is quite close to my own heart, is the pursuit of genealogical research! I loved watching Melissa find the tethering ties out of the records of the archivists and how the pursuit of research truly started to reveal much more than she could ever have hoped to find! The manner in which Sibell and Roger insert themselves into her reality is a bittersweet haunting any reader of psychological suspense will enjoy! Especially considering the way in which things end and resolve!

-quoted from my review of The Silent Touch of Shadows

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

On my Connection to Ms. Courtenay:

Three years ago, on the 26th of April, 2014, I created #ChocLitSaturday a weekly Rom chat to celebrate the novelists of ChocLitUK but also, to expand to include book bloggers, readers and writers of Romance who have a penchant for the genre as a whole. Ms. Courtenay started to become a regular fixture, and her encouraging conversations & ability to inspire others to converse freely throughout the chats put me at ease in my new role as a ‘Hostess’. She always seemed to know how to either start a topic or how to best suggest something to break the ice! I was always so very grateful to her and I am thinking I might have forgotten to tell her directly how much gratitude I had for her in those earlier chats! Over the weeks that have followed, I have found myself attached to each of my ‘regular’ chatters during the hour, and I consider Ms. Courtenay a bookish like-minded soul, as we tend to appreciate the same types of stories!

During [2017] #ChocLitSaturday started to meet bi-monthly (if possible) rather than the usual weekly meet-ups which the chat had engaged in originally. During the course of the year, Ms Courtenay was not oft able to attend and her presence was dearly missed.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Courtenay through our respective love & passion of reading inside the twitterverse whilst I host #ChocLitSaturday the chat and having previously read her time slip novels and series set in Japan (Kumashiro). I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time or continuing to read their releases as they are available.

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

 #SpooktasticReads | Book Review “The Secret Kiss of Darkness” (Book No. 2 of the Shadows of the Past series) by Christina Courtenay #ChocLitSaturdaysThe Secret Kiss of Darkness
by Christina Courtenay
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Berni Stevens
Source: Direct from Publisher

Must forbidden love end in heartbreak?

Kayla Sinclair knows she’s in big trouble when she almost bankrupts herself to buy a life-size portrait of a mysterious eighteenth century man at an auction.

Jago Kerswell, innkeeper and smuggler, knows there is danger in those stolen moments with Lady Eliza Marcombe, but he’ll take any risk to be with her.

Over two centuries separate Kayla and Jago, but, when Kayla’s jealous fiancé presents her with an ultimatum, and Jago and Eliza’s affair is tragically discovered, their lives become inextricably linked thanks to a gypsy’s spell.

Kayla finds herself on a quest that could heal the past, but what she cannot foresee is the danger in her own future.

Will Kayla find heartache or happiness?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on ChocLitUK

ISBN: 9781781890677

Also by this author: Guest Post about Time Slips, The Silent Touch of Shadows, The Scarlet Kimono, The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight Cover Reveal, The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight Cover Reveal, Marry for Love, The Gilded Fan, The Jade Lioness

Also in this series: The Silent Touch of Shadows


Genres: Genre-bender, Ghost Story, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, Reincarnation Fiction, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Time Slip and/or Time Shift


Published by ChocLitUK

on 15th March, 2014

Format: UK Edition Paperback

Pages: 299

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLituk)

Available Formats: Paperback, Audiobook, Large Print & E-Book

Celebrating the Paranormal Romances of Christina Courtenay
& her “Shadows of the Past” series

Read the author’s thoughts on writing Time Slips via her Guest Post
(which focuses on this series)

The Silent Touch of Shadows began the series

The Soft Whisper of Dreams is the sequel to The Secret Kiss of Darkness

& The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight is the fourth in the series to release!

Converse via: #HistRom + #TimeSlip + #GhostStory + #PNR + #ChocLit

About Christina Courtenay

Christina Courtenay

Christina lives near Hereford and is married with two children. Although born in England she has a Swedish mother and was brought up in Sweden. In her teens, the family moved to Japan where she had the opportunity to travel extensively in the Far East.

Christina’s debut Trade Winds was short listed for the 2011 Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Pure Passion Award for Best Historical Fiction. The Scarlet Kimono won the 2011 Big Red Reads Best Historical Fiction Award. Highland Storms (in 2012) and The Gilded Fan (in 2014) won the Historical Romantic Novel of the Year Award and The Silent Touch of Shadows won the 2012 Best Historical Read Award from the Festival of Romance. Christina is Chairman of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Novels: Trade Winds, Highland Storms, Monsoon Mists, The Scarlet Kimono, The Gilded Fan, The Silent Touch of Shadows, The Secret Kiss of Darkness, The Soft Whisper of Dreams, The Jade Lioness, Marry in Haste, Once Bitten Twice Shy, Desperate Remedies and Never Too Late.

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

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Saturday, 25 November, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 18th Century, 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bootleggers & Smugglers, Britian, British Literature, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, England, Green-Minded Publishers, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Life Shift, Modern British Author, Modern British Literature, Modern Day, Paranormal Romance, Rebels and Rogues, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Siblings, Suspense, Taboo Relationships & Romance, Vulgarity in Literature

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