Category: Realistic Fiction

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

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

#RomanceTuesdays badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquired about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. This is how I came to love discovering the Harlequin Heartwarming authors & series as much as it has been an honour to regularly request INSPY stories and authors. Whenever I host for Prism, I know I am in for an uplifting read and a journey into the stories which give me a lot of joy to find in my readerly queue of #nextreads. It is an honour to be a part of their team of book bloggers.

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

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*waves!* Hallo, Hallo dear hearts,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happily read through my Harlequin Heartwarming archives!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Where my journey into Hollydale began:

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

The Hollydale series:

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

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

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

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

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

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Where my journey into Hollydale continues:

the Smoky Mountain First Responders mini-series:

The Single Dad's Holiday Match by Tanya Agler

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

'Tis the season…
For unexpected love!

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

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



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335426437

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

Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 28th September, 2021

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

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

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

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Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin Books

Formats Available: Paperback* and Ebook

*Harlequin has the luxury of offering Regular, Large & Larger Print editions which I personally can attest are lovely to be reading! Especially after a migraine or when my eyes are fatigued.

Converse via: #TanyaAgler and #HarlequinHeartwarming

About Tanya Agler

Tanya Agler

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

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

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

An #AudiobookMonth (#JIAM) Review | “The Fall of Mrs Parsons” by Phil Geoffrey Bond, narrated by Jenn Lee

Posted Thursday, 3 June, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

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Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring, knitting and playing solitaire agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions.

Through hosting for Audiobookworm Promotions, I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods. Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue wherein I can also request new digital audiobooks to become added to their OverDrive selections. Aside from OverDrive I also enjoy having Audible & Scribd memberships as my budget allows. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I have been able to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year since 2018.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “The Fall of Mrs Parsons” via Audiobookworm Promotions who is working with the author, narrator & the Audiobook Empire (of which Audiobookworm Promotions is affliated) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I’ve decided to re-focus a few things on Jorie Loves A Story this Summer – starting with #AudiobookMonth this June! I haven’t had the chance to focus on my audiobook reviews which are on my backlogue list nor have I had the chance to properly showcase my ACLs via LibroFM. There is so much wicked good audio out there I’d like to start representing my own interests in this world of audio plays, narrative story and audio performances to help raise a signal flare of readerly joy for all of us who have come under the spell of audiobook narrators and performers.

To kick things off this month, I’ve started with my first selection entitled “The Fall of Mrs Parsons” which clocking in at fifty minutes, I knew was both a short story and a wonderful beginning to my efforts this month to listen harder to the stories and to dive deeper into the audiobooks I’ve selected to listen too. Fifty minutes might not seem like enough space and time to articulate the emotional depth of a story but as you will soon see in my review, it is not only long enough but the breadth of space within this story is a mark of literary gold. Bond surely knew what he was doing when he crafted the life of Mrs Parsons and the narrator, Jenn Lee brilliantly brought Mrs Parson’s to life in her narration.

This #AudiobookMonth, you’ll be seeing a few carry-overs from #WyrdAndWonder wherein I’ll be spending time soaking into fantastical worlds of enlightenment, whilst you’ll also see me exploring narrative Non-Fiction, short story and a hodgepodge of genres thereafter. Some will be selections I’ve personally earmarked to read and listen too (via my local and/or regional libraries – CloudLibrary & OverDrive) – others will be more backlogue titles from NetGalley or LibroFM; whilst others might be from my personal shelves on Audible. Whichever way the audiobooks were brought into my life – this month is one month I shall look forward to endeavouring to share my journey into the heart of the stories themselves whilst discussing how and why the narrators left the impressions they did as I listened to them narrate the stories.

Without further, adieu, I give you my reactions to The Fall of Mrs Parsons!

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An #AudiobookMonth (#JIAM) Review | “The Fall of Mrs Parsons” by Phil Geoffrey Bond, narrated by Jenn LeeThe Fall of Mrs Parsons
by Phil Geoffrey Bond
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Jenn Lee

Mrs. Parsons lives a quiet life in a small cottage in the woods on the outskirts of town, having woken next to her husband Lloyd, and has gone about with her normal routine every day for the past 50+ years. But on this most extraordinary day, she will venture out into the world, reclaiming her place in it and, in so doing so, rediscover herself.

In this lush, romantic short tale from Phil Geoffrey Bond, the simple life is revealed as not so simple at all.

Genres: Literary Fiction, Introspective Literary Fiction, Women's Fiction, Short Story or Novella, Women's Studies



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B092DRBPKX

Published by Audiobook Empire

on 15th April, 2021

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 50 minutes (unabridged)

Converse via: #WomensFiction, #Literary or #audiobook, #loveaudiobooks and #audioreads
as well as #AudiobookwormPromotions OR #TheAudiobookEmpire
+ #AudiobookMonth & #JIAM

About Phil Geoffrey Bond

Phil Geoffrey Bond

PHIL GEOFFREY BOND is an award-winning author, best known for his collection of short pieces, All the Sad Young Men, and the celebrated picture book, My Friend, the Cat, based on the popular stage show.

Often mixing dramatic prose with live theatre, his original pieces My Queer Youth, The Disney Diaries, My Friend, the Cat, My Roaring Twenties and Small Town Confessions have been embraced by a wide range of off-Broadway audiences. As a playwright, Phil has developed work at The Sundance Theatre Lab (The Citadel), and many regional theatres throughout the states. A fixture on the NYC nightlife scene, he is a seven-time MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets), two-time Bistro and one-time Nightlife Award-winner.

Currently, he is the writer/producer/host of Sondheim Unplugged, now enjoying it's 6th year at Manhattan nightspot Feinstein's/54 Below. 2016 will see the release of his debut novel, The Last Year at Low Tide (Chess Books). In 1993, he was awarded the Presidential Medallion from President Clinton on behalf of his work as a young playwright.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #AudiobookMonth
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Posted Thursday, 3 June, 2021 by jorielov in #AudiobookMonth, #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Indie Author, Introspective Literary Fiction, Literary Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Widows & Widowers, Women of a Certain Age, Women's Fiction

A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | featuring “Tree Magic” (Tree Magic series, Book One) by Harriet Springbett, published by @ImpressBooks1

Posted Sunday, 23 May, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Gifted Book By: Last year, I had the chance to feature this lovely series by Impress Books UK twice – for a Spotlight & Extract as well as an author interview for the tour celebrating the sequel. I enjoyed hosting for the touring company attached to these tours, but during late (2020) I decided to pull back from a few of the touring companies I was hosting and re-focus on the blog tours, publishers & authors I regularly host more often. My memory is a bit foggy if I was conversing with the publisher about ‘Tree Magic’ before or after the second blog tour. In that conversation, I was mentioning the book wasn’t yet released stateside in a print edition and I wasn’t sure (at the time) when I’d be able to purchase a copy as 2020 was quite an adverse year for my family all told. Especially for medical emergencies and/or ER visits in particular. Thereby, when the publisher offered to send me a copy of ‘Tree Magic’ when it was available in print, I thanked them for their gracious offer and knew once my migraines calmed down, I wanted to dive into this novel!

The months passed by and as 2021 started off with adversities of its own, I can honestly say, it wasn’t until May this year, during #WyrdAndWonder where I could read past the first few pages of ‘Tree Magic’!! I am overjoyed I could wait until now to talk about this novel and the series it begins as I felt such a strong attachment to this book and the world it is set in due to the showcases I hosted last year. I had eight migraines in September, 2020 after the five I had in May, 2020 – so betwixt and between both those months, I’m equally in the dark if I received this for review consideration or for my own personal readerly curiosity. 

Thereby, I was gifted a copy of “Tree Magic” by the publisher Impress Books UK without being obligated to post an honest review. I am sharing my thoughts on behalf of this novel for my own edification and a continued journey of sharing my readerly life on Jorie Loves A Story. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Note: I received the Press Materials last year from the publisher and vaguely remember asking if / when I was able to read this novel if I could re-use the materials given to me on both blog tours and being given permission to do that if / when the time arose. Therefore, this is why the Press Materials for this series are included on this review.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I have had a firm attachment to the natural world ever since I was a young girl – growing up with a fascination and wonderment about nature, wildlife and especially of trees! This is why when I first saw this blog tour being announced, I was super giddy about participating on the tour because any writer who can celebrate and champion the natural world in a pro-positive way is an author I would love to feature on Jorie Loves A Story!

I could immediately connect with the premise with this novel which is why I am trying to seek out a copy of this in print through my local library – there is something quite magical about how trees are the guardians within the natural habitats we visit whilst hiking or walking in natural landscapes; they know things and they remember everything. This is partially why it is soul-crushing whenever there are huge wildfire seasons like the ones that are affecting the Western United States right now and/or the fires in Australia at the turning of the New Year. Nature grieves for the losses those fires bring to those habitats but I oft felt the trees especially are full of the grief of what could not be protected and what fell at their feet due to how the forests have not been able to withstand fire as they had in the past. I still remember hearing about the old growth forests of the Redwoods recently and of how achingly hard it was to see them aflame.

I have regularly spoken about the natural world on Jorie Loves A Story – from the stories I am reading to the context of the stories which seek to bring an ecological mindset and heart for conservation onto my blog because I believe strongly those stories are necessary for today’s world. Not just due to the climatic changes we’re all experiencing but to help re-connect readers with the knowledge about the natural ecosystems they might overlook and not be as familiar with as I have become myself. Knowledge is the first step towards change and to remain connected to the connectivity of how the natural world and our world intersect is one step closer to finding better balance in how to keep Earth a healthier place.

– previously I shared this introduction to why I was wicked curious about Tree Magic

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There is one reason I held off reading this novel –  it took me until May to reconcile how to read Tree Magic was because of a gutting loss of trees in my neighbourhood which were uncalled for and mercilessly butchered by a bulldozer rather than cut with respect with a chainsaw. The trees were sacrificed due to a ridiculous expansion of a sidewalk which had zero benefit to the neighbourhood and took out a total of seven trees for reasons NO ONE understood lest of all the trees! I will never forget that feeling of knowing the trees were trying to defend themselves and the murmuring after effects of their death. These were full-grown cedar trees – whose rings in their trunks showcased their years of life and the emptiness of their protective shade has never felt more absent than the arrival of Summer. I still feel affected by what happened and how it was done – why cities plan their designs to erase more of the natural world than preserve it is not something I’ll ever comprehend.

This is why I had to let this novel sit on my shelf even longer than planned – I just couldn’t bring myself to read about trees and our connections to them until I could deal with the loss of the majestic cedars which once stood silently against storms and sun and whose presence was a kind reminder of how quietly trees whisper to us throughout the year.

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A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | featuring “Tree Magic” (Tree Magic series, Book One) by Harriet Springbett, published by @ImpressBooks1Tree Magic
by Harriet Springbett
Source: Direct from Publisher, Gifted

Thirteen-year-old Rainbow discovers she can communicate with trees.

But that’s just the beginning. Her magic hands can shape trees at her will, but her gift is dangerous and has fatal consequences. An accident that leaves Rainbow unconscious leads her mother to make a confession that will change Rainbow’s life forever. Are her abilities a gift or a curse? Can Rainbow really trust her mother? From England to France, through secrets, fears and parallel worlds, Rainbow’s journey to understand her powers takes her beyond everything she’s ever known.

To find the truth, she must also find herself.

Genres: Young Adult Fiction, YA Fantasy, Magical Realism



Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-911293-63-7

ASIN: B087MCBT53

Also by this author: Tree Magic, Tree Slayer

Published by Impress Books

on 2nd June, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 440

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The Tree Magic series: (a trilogy)

Tree Magic by Harriet SpringbettTree Slayer by Harriet Springbett

Tree Magic (book one)

Tree Slayer (book two)

Tree Sacrifice (book three) ← forthcoming Autumn, 2021!

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Published by:  Impress Books (@ImpressBooks1)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #YALit, #Trees and #Magic, #MagicalRealism, #YAFantasy
as well as #TreeMagic or #Fantasy

About Harriet Springbett

Harriet Springbett

Harriet Springbett’s childhood on a small farm in West Dorset gave her an early exposure to nature, which continues to inspire her writing.

She qualified as an engineer but, during a Raleigh International expedition in Chile, she realised she preferred words to numbers. She abandoned her profession, moved to France, studied French and then worked as a project manager, feature writer, translator and TEFL teacher. She now lives in Poitou-Charentes with her French partner and their teenage children.

Since her first literary success, aged 10, her short stories and poetry have been published in literary journals and placed in writing competitions, including a shortlisting in the 2017 Bath Short Story Award.

Harriet leads writing workshops, has judged the Segora international short story competition.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WyrdAndWonder
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Posted Sunday, 23 May, 2021 by jorielov in 20th Century, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Book Review (non-blog tour), British Literature, Brothers and Sisters, Cats and Kittens, Childhood Friendship, Coming-Of Age, Content Note, Death of a Sibling, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Dendrology (Study of Woody Plants or Trees), Disillusionment in Marriage, Divorce & Martial Strife, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, England, Environmental Conscience, Environmental Science, Family Drama, Family Life, Fantasy Fiction, Father-daughter Relationships, Fathers and Daughters, Fly in the Ointment, Folklore and Mythology, France, French Literature, Green-Minded Social Awareness, Horticulture, Indie Author, Magical Realism, Modern British Literature, Modern Day, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Mother-Son Relationships, Nature & Wildlife, Realistic Fiction, Rescue & Adoption of Animals, Siblings, Single Mothers, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Sustainability & Ecological Preservation, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, The Natural World, Treeshaping, Young Adult Fiction

A #HarlequinHeartwarming #RomanceTuesdays | Wildfire comes to Shelter Creek! within the pages of Clarie McEwen’s “Rescuing the Rancher”!

Posted Tuesday, 30 March, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#RomanceTuesdays badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I’ve come to know this series [Heroes of Shelter Creek] through hosting the blog tours celebrating releases within the series with Prism Book Tours. However, in September 2020 in lieu of an organised blog tour Ms McEwen was seeking book bloggers who were interested in her series and wanted to read the fourth novel in the series “Rescuing the Rancher”. Whilst I was conferring with the author about receiving this for review, I asked if I could receive the second novel in the series “After the Rodeo” as I never had the chance to read Jace and Vivian’s story! I was thankful Ms McEwen was also available to be a featured guest during my @SatBookChat wherein I celebrate Romance, Women’s Fiction, strong female characters across genres and Feminist Lit on Saturdays each month.

I decided to read and feature “After the Rodeo” ahead of her #SatBookChat appearance and run my review during my #RomanceTuesdays feature wherein I love to showcase Harlequin Heartwarming and Love Inspired authors as they are writing the kinds of Romances I am appreciating most to be reading right now. However in regards to reading “Rescuing the Rancher” – I had difficulty getting into the storyline until recently due to the fact the backdrop of the story is set against wildfires – for whichever reason the topic and subject of wildfires hit closer to home for me than originally anticipated. I’ll be sharing my review for “Rescuing the Rancher” after “Second Chance Cowboy” as it is part of the Harlequin Heartwarming reviews forthcoming to Jorie Loves A Story. I was thankful I could read it ahead of the fifth novel as now I am concurrently connected through all the stories!

I received a complimentary copy of “Rescuing the Rancher” direct from the author Claire McEwen in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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

When I was checking my feeds on Twitter (in Autumn 2020), I stumbled on an announcement by Ms McEwen who was seeking book bloggers to read and review her latest release of the Heroes of Shelter Creek series – wherein I was most excited seeing the notice posted as this is one of the Western & Cowboy Romance series I love reading the most published by Harlequin Heartwarming!

I wasn’t sure if I would be in time to request the book for review, but I immediately emailed the author and the rest knitted together out of that conversation! I am so thankful I contacted her when I had as it lead me to being reading this second of the series I had missed between books one and three as much as I have been wanting to host more of the authors I love via Harlequin Heartwarming and/or Love Inspired Suspense – having the Blackwell Brothers / Sisters authors booked during @SatBookChat in October, it was a lovely surprise to have Ms McEwen booked for early September!

If you’re a ready reader of Westerns and Western Romances, I hope this showcase might inspire you to give Harlequin Heartwarming a chance at winning over your love of Westerns because the authors who are writing these stories are writing wicked brilliant characters with stories which lift your spirits as you’re reading them! Plus, the settings alone are awe-inspiring and give you the kind of Western experience you are hoping for in a Western Rom!

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On a special note: This review is part of my celebrations for my 8th Blogoversary of Jorie Loves A Story! On the 31st of March, 2013 I created my blog and launched myself onto this beautiful journey I’ve taken as a book blogger! I had no idea where this blog was going to take me – both in the realms of literature or in the community of book bloggers – nor in the wider expanse of #bookTwitter,… what an incredible adventure it has been for me to watch myself grow into the blogger I am today.

I wanted to ring in the 8th Year with new reviews for #HarlequinHeartwarming as it has become my top favourite publisher imprint (alongside Love Inspired Suspense) for the past five years!! These are the years which brought a lift shift into my family (per my father’s stroke, Nov 2016) and it was through these stories of relationship-based romance which grounded me in the backdrop of small townes, family-centered story-lines and wicked sweet dynamically real characters. I have celebrated my blogoversary in the past with Heartwarming taking centre stage (per my 6th Blogoversary in particular) and during my 8th, two years later – my love and affection to these authors who continue to enrich my readerly life deserves continue recognition with a big note of GRATITUDE.

They have given me such a wonderful landscape of Contemporary Romances in which to entreat – whilst their larger print editions are kind to the eyes and heart of a migrainuer. It is with a hearty burst of JOY I am celebrating the Heroes of Shelter Creek today and return on the morrow to see my review for the latest in Carol Ross’s Seasons of Alaska – which I read during my 5th Year and celebrated on my 6th Blogoversary! Sometimes life has a way of coming full circle!!

Whilst throughout April and May you’ll be seeing me eagerly devour and discuss the Butterfly Harbour series by Anna J. Stewart, the next four installments (out of five) of the Blackwell Sisters series by the collective genius of Carol Ross, Amy Vastine, Cari Lynn Webb, Melinda Curtis and Anna J. Stewart as well as a review for Beth Carpenter’s series the Northern Lights!! Let’s all continue to celebrate stories and authors who give us such a hearty #randomJOY of #bookLOVE throughout the year and continue to champion their stories both online and off to everyone who likes to listen to our readerly lives.

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A preview of why I feel so dearly attached inside this series:

McEwen threaded in the issues with childhood abandonment and the emotional baggage children take with them in being placed outside their home. Even though this is a story about kinship placement between nieces, a nephew and an Uncle; the larger reach of the issues developed out of the conditions of their home life prior to entering their stay with Jace had such a levelling of strife and guttingly difficult emotional anguish attached to their survival that even Jace was quickly picking up on the fact no man is an island. It is okay to reach out for help and to seek advice as it is needed to best help the children and to find new paths towards solid ground.

The kindness of Jace’s third grade teacher melted my heart – she was one of those everyday characters who fits so well in the background of the story but has such a lot of depth of heart to share with you as you’re reading her sequences in the narrative. In many ways, she’s still able to positively affect Jace’s life now as an adult as she apparently had as a child. There are moments wherein Jace is re-tracing his own memories as he shifts into fatherhood; struggling to resolve some of those past hurts against the current issues he needs to focus on to be a better father for his nieces and nephews. None of it is quick and easy – its a long road towards finding the healing he and they will need to embrace together and that is what McEwen wrote best: the moments of a new family emerging out of the ashes of an old one.

Being able to back-track in the series right now – seeing how Vivian first met Trisha and how these women along with Maya formed such a strong unity of a team for being wildlife warriors was such a special treat for me as a reader! It was a beautiful time capsule – getting to knit together the missing pieces between the first and third installments; etching out more of the girth of the series whilst finding myself so dearly connected to this installment as well. The whole series itself is full of characters you are excited to meet and become familiar with because of how McEwen granted you such wonderful licence to walk beside them and find your own way to fit into their lives.

I truly understood the complicated web of choices befuddling the calm of Vivian – how much was too much stress? And when does positive stress turn to negative stress? How do you balance your own mental health with the needs of others and how do you turn off your emotional responses when life has a way of sneaking up on you whilst your focusing on rebuilding your career? Vivian was moving through the same emotional tides as Jace just from a different entry point. They both had too much to juggle and yet, their paths had crossed and there was a murmuring of interest bubbling under the surface of their heated conversations. Heated of course because they were both stubbornly prideful of their own opinions and they each believed the other was right when they could learn to concede and compromise a bit to get more done that worked for them both.

I could definitely relate to Vivian wanting to keep her health issues private but as I learnt over the years, at some point it is better to be transparent about a chronic health issue than to try to hide it (ie. my migraines) as it just doesn’t serve a purpose. When you have a chronic issue that effects your life at different intervals of time, it is better to simply state why you’re having a bad day or having difficulties doing normal things you love doing than to try to shirk out of owning the truth which could lead to misunderstandings. I felt McEwen knew exactly the internal conversation everyone has about how much to keep private, when to share a health issue and how to find balance when your medical issues start to overtake your life.

I loved how realistically this story was penned – how McEwen tackled the harder topics of kinship placements wherein rather than seeing the world through your own eyes you have to start to see the world through foster care eyes – which comes with its own set of rules, restrictions and regulations about the home, your property and the friends you keep in your company. The rules are in place to keep the kids safe first and foremost but their a bit lengthy and the process towards a home study for any foster placement takes a lot of patience to work through the list of what needs to be fixed in order to pass inspection. Simple things like keeping medicine in a cabinet has to be stored in a locked cabinet and the same with cleaning supplies under the counter – but the larger issues are effectively what McEwen tackled with Jace’s friendship with Caleb. How this veteran who had invisible scars of service had a struggle with anger and his temper – something that was flagged by social services. These kinds of judgement calls are hard to process and to sort through whilst working towards the final acceptance by your social worker and I felt McEwen humbled Jace by having to juggle both his internal struggles as a new father and the responsibilities this presented as a foster kinship parent.

There is a conscience of environmentalism at the heart of this story as well – from conservation, preservation and the connectedness of the living ecosystem concurrently alive next to our own habitats of modern living. The natural world places a strong role in this novel as much as McEwen has found a way to re-adjust our understanding about wildlife and the curious ways in which nature ‘finds us’ when we least expect to be seen ourselves. One of my absolute favourite passages of any story which is pro-positively focusing on the environment and/or the natural world is within After the Rodeo. McEwen shared a notation about trees and how they use biochemical communication – it is by extension a theory of my own about the old soul murmurings of trees and how these stoic giants in our world say more as silent warriors against time than any word we could express ourselves about the amount of time they’ve witnessed. There is another saying about how if you spend time next to a tree it begins to whisper to you as well – trees have ancient wisdom and ancient knowledge; we’d be wise to respect them more than we do as a global society.

McEwen showed the realities of how two persons who had zero interest in meeting someone could find themselves in a love story being knitted out of happenstance and serendipity! It is also a story that celebrates found families and how the beauty of life is truly a life that is shared with people who love you – however which way they enter your life, their the true blessing which enrich our hours in far more ways than we can ever hope to foresee being possible. This story truly touched my heart and soul because of how much of a life it celebrates that I would love to have for myself one day. I cannot hug it enough and the characters who burst to life off the pages of Ms McEwen’s soulful romantic style which etches itself into your memories.

-quoted from my book review of After the Rodeo

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A #HarlequinHeartwarming #RomanceTuesdays | Wildfire comes to Shelter Creek! within the pages of Clarie McEwen’s “Rescuing the Rancher”!Rescuing the Rancher
Subtitle: Heroes of Shelter Creek
by Claire McEwen, Ms Claire McEwen
Source: Direct from Author

She'll help protect his ranch...
And heal his heart

Firefighter Jade Carson needs to get the local residents out of a wildfire's path, but Aidan Bell isn't moving. Still grieving a tragedy, the stubborn rancher plans to stay and save his animals Jade and Aidan battle the blaze on his property, only to feel he spark of something unexpected. Secrets are shared, hope kindles... but can they leave the past's ashes behind and let love grow?

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Ranches & Cowboys, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Western Fiction, Western Romance



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1335889867

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

Also in this series: Reunited with the Cowboy, Her Surprise Cowboy, After the Rodeo, Second Chance Cowboy


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 8th September, 2020

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

The Heroes of Shelter Creek series:

Reunited with the Cowboy by Claire McEwenAfter the Rodeo by Claire McEwenHer Surprise Cowboy by Claire McEwenRescuing the Rancher by Claire McEwen

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Reunited with the Cowboy (book one) – Caleb & Maya’s story (see also Review)

After the Rodeo (book two) – Jace & Vivian’s story (see also Review)

Her Surprise Cowboy (book three) – Liam & Trisha’s story (see also Review)

Rescuing the Rancher (book four) – Aidan & Jade’s story

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

I’ll admit – I was a bit worried this was ending as a quartet until I spied the release for 2021 via FantasticFiction which is my main resource for sourcing advance notice about series I am reading when new installments of those series will be revealled in forthcoming months.

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Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin Books

Formats Available: Paperback* and Ebook

*Harlequin has the luxury of offering Regular, Large & Larger Print editions which I personally can attest are lovely to be reading! Especially after a migraine or when my eyes are fatigued.

Converse via: #CowboyRomance, #WesternRomance & #ContemporaryRomance
as well as #HarlequinHeartwarming with #HeroesOfShelterCreek

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Posted Tuesday, 30 March, 2021 by jorielov in #RomanceTuesdays, 21st Century, A Father's Heart, Blog Tour Host, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, California, Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Western Fiction, Cowboys & Ranches, Environmental Conscience, Environmental Solutions, Family Drama, Family Life, Life of Thirty-Somethings, Life Shift, Men's Fiction, Modern Day, Motherhood | Parenthood, Nature & Wildlife, Preservation, Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Sweet Romance, The Natural World, Western Fiction, Western Romance, Women's Fiction