Category: Realistic Fiction

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

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

ChocLitSaturdays Banner Created by Jorie in Canva.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On my Connection to Ms. Harris:

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

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

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

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

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

The Lost Girl
by Liz Harris
Source: Direct from Publisher

What if you were trapped between two cultures?

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

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

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

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

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on ChocLitUK

ISBN: 9781781893012

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

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


Published by ChocLitUK

on 22nd February, 2017

Format: UK Edition Paperback

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLitUK)

Formats Available: Paperback & Ebook

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

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

Liz Harris

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

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

Author Connections:

 Personal Site | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Converse via: #TheLostGirl & #ChocLit Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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

Blog Book Tour | “Unexpected Love: A Marriage of Convenience” (anthology) feat. stories by Heather Chapman, Mandi Ellsworth, Paula Kremser and Ashtyn Newbold on the ‘eve’ of Jorie’s 4th Blogoversary!

Posted Thursday, 30 March, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review Banner using Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Cedar Fort whereupon I am thankful to have such a diverse amount of novels and non-fiction titles to choose amongst to host. I received a complimentary copy of “Unexpected Love” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I personally love mail-order brides & marriages of convenience stories:

I disclosed a bit about why I love this particular sub-genre whilst ruminating about my first Historical reading of a Liz Harris novel! She has become one of my favourite contemporary British Historical authors, especially in the umbrella of ‘Westerns’, as she had a particular knack for that setting and era. However, her convicting and moving sweep of Eastern culture and tradition truly touched my bookish soul (within ‘The Road Back’).

– see also my Review of ‘A Bargain Struck’

There is something about finding someone to love without the pretense of courtship and the complexities of meeting your in-laws which I suppose does have it’s particular allure! The merits of the union are generally worked out to be beneficial to both parties for different reasons and thereby, entering into a new approach on how love and marriage can be unified and bonding. Most of the stories of this nature, have a set of circumstances leading into how the two parties meet and why or how a marriage would be the best option for both to explore.

Your heart tugs against your soul, whilst trying to sort out for yourself – is this in their best interest or should they hesitate to go through with the plans!? When brides were sent West from the East on the rails, you have to wonder what was going through their minds, hearts and spirits. Did they have personal fears or doubts about what they were endeavouring to accomplish or did they simply embrace the unknown and take a gigantic leap of faith towards securing a better future than they had at present?

When I learnt of this anthology through Ms Chapman, I was overjoyed – I personally have a love affair at the moment with anthologies – generally swayed to dig inside Fantasy, Science Fiction and/or Cosy Horror short story and/or novella anthologies (or the collections known as ‘Nebula Award Showcase’) but in this particular instance, I get to move back into a familiar niche I used to read quite regularly before I became a book blogger! The tender and sweet INSPY Romance anthologies where you get to ‘meet’ #newtomeauthors and settle into their own personal styles of conveying a Romance that is dramatically told with an uplifting bent towards a positive outcome. I used to love collecting and gathering those anthologies – a few of which have come into my life since I started blogging but of whom still reside on my shelf ‘to be read’. The ill-fated expression we bloggers use to express our dearest desires to get to each of our lovelies but find the hours a bit fleeting to do so!

She contacted me in January and had the joy of ‘catching me’ in a good moment – as so much of December & January is a bit of a blur to me now, as those were the months where I was still moving out of the crisis of my father’s stroke and return home. If those blinked off the clock into oblivion imagine how I feel about February & March which were the months where I required a bit more ‘breathing space’ to reacquire my bookish joy (per this tweet I recently shared). One unexpected blessing has been finding a new ‘station’ to listen to with my headphones (via Slacker Radio) which is happily giving me back new hours of bookish contemplation! It’s called: Classical Tranquility and it is a wonderful ‘collection’ of compositions and composers I have known throughout my life! It’s quite brilliant, truly! It’s a nice change of pace from ‘ambient electronica’ of which is my fail-safe and station of choice when in need of a calming soundscape whilst reading, blogging or knitting.

I positioned this review to go LIVE on the day *before!* my 4th Blogoversary! Yes, can you imagine – I’m about to become a 4th Year Book Blogger this FRIDAY, the 31st of March, 2017! I cannot quite fathom this myself – but the joy for me will be surprising the authors I discovered throughout 2016 who shaped my literary world and bookish ruminations with stories which have never quite left me since I read them! It’s become a tradition of mine – a retrospective glimpse into which stories breathed in the most light into my bookish life! Coincidentally, due to naughty seasonal pollen allergies, I had to reschedule a review for Friday as well: Sally Christie’s The Enemies of Versailles, so it will be a lovely ‘kick-off’ into the weekend, whilst I host #ChocLitSaturday (@ChocLitSaturday) for April Fool’s discussing ‘Rom-Coms’ and the joy of comedic romances!

I wanted to spend my 4th Year celebrating stories and authors – whilst entering into Spring with a firm peace of mind knowing I have healed my heart past my father’s medical crisis and have found my joy once more in digging inside the writerly minds of the authors who are penning stories which keep me wicked alert, blessedly awake and dearly enthralled with their creative synergy!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Notation on Cover Art: Can we take a pause to admire this lovely capture of nature & the innocence of youth? I love how the cover art fits well with first love, wilderness adventures and a tipping nod towards a different era. This is also part of the ‘Pure Romance’ series of stories released by Sweetwater Books – of which I am ready appreciator! I do love the sweetness of the Roms!

Blog Book Tour | “Unexpected Love: A Marriage of Convenience” (anthology) feat. stories by Heather Chapman, Mandi Ellsworth, Paula Kremser and Ashtyn Newbold on the ‘eve’ of Jorie’s 4th Blogoversary!Unexpected Love
Subtitle: A Marriage of Convenience Anthology
by Ashtyn Newbold, Heather Chapman, Mandi Ellsworth, Paula Kremser
Source: Direct from Publisher

"Ashbrook Abbey"
Though decidedly against marriage, when Ambrose Notley discovers it may win him his uncle's good opinion (and his inheritance), he marries the orphaned Kate Mowbray. But will Kate be able to break down the walls that Ambrose has built around him?

"First Comes Marriage"
When Mae's sister and husband unexpectedly die, a greedy uncle threatens to steal custody of the children and their money. David, Mae's brother-in-law, marries Mae in the hopes of retaining custody of their niece and nephew. But will this love for show become something deeper?

"The Price of Her Heart"
When Faith MKinney witnesses a crime she shouldn't have seen, she's forced into hiding to protect her own life. As part of this, her uncle arranges her marriage to small-town sheriff Geoffrey. But when the men searching for her find Geoffrey as well, will he be able to protect her?

"Beauty and the Beholder"
When a marriage arranged by chance brings Fanny and Percy together, they quickly learn that clashing personalities and battles of wit are not a recipe for a happy match. How could a marriage between quick enemies ever result in something such as love? But fate has a way of bringing even the most unlikely hearts together...

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781462119790

Also by this author: Mischief & Manors, The Second Season, Author Interview (A Second Season), Sophia, To Suit a Suitor

Also in this series: Willow Springs, Sophia, The Second Season, To Suit a Suitor, Mischief & Manors


Genres: Anthology Collection of Short Stories and/or Essays, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Romance Fiction, Short Story or Novella, Sweet Romance


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 1st March, 2017

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 256

Published By: Sweetwater Books (@SweetwaterBooks),

an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFortBooks)
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

I have happily read stories by each of these authors and blogged my reactions to their stories previously with one exception: this was my first entry into the writing style of Ms Ellsworth! This is the one grace of finding anthologies – you might know a few authors or you might not know any of them, but there is the potential for discovering even just ‘one’ new author to love! Even though I have previously read debut novels & other stories by the other three authors, I was still undecided about one of them in regards to her narrative voice and pacing (Newbold) whilst remaining neutral going into this collection. I wanted to walk into the sections of this anthology as if i hadn’t read any other story by each of the authors – to give myself a fighting chance to have no expectations except to delight in what I would find within the stories themselves!

Converse on Twitter via: #UnexpectedLove + #Anthology

About Ashtyn Newbold

Ashtyn Newbold

Ashtyn Newbold discovered a love of writing early in high school. Inspired by regency period romance, she wrote her first novel at the age of sixteen. Because she can’t vacation in her favorite historical time periods, she writes about them instead. When not crafting handsome historical heroes, she enjoys baking, sewing, music, and spoiling her dog. She dreams of traveling to England and Ireland. Ashtyn is currently studying English and creative writing at Utah Valley University. She lives in Lehi, Utah, with her family.

About Heather Chapman

Heather Chapman

Heather Chapman currently resides in Soda Springs, Idaho, with her husband and four children. She graduated magna cum laude from Brigham Young University. Heather has worked in various administrative assistant roles and as an event planner. Heather has also worked as a piano accompanist and piano teacher on the side. She currently spends her time writing and working as a stay-at-home mother.

About Mandi Ellsworth

Mandi is an avid reader, a slow jogger, and disinterested in board games of any kind. She lives in Utah with her husband, three children and no pets.

About Paula Kremser

Paula Kremser

Paula Kremser focused on a career in science for a few years after graduating from Brigham Young University. Several years later when she moved with her young family to England, Paula seized the opportunity to focus on her love of the Regency Era. The enchantment of the aristocracy and the fascinating stories from every stately home she visits have been both research and inspiration for her first novel. Paula lives with her husband and four children in a charming village nestled in the Chiltern hills in Buckinghamshire.

For a hilarious look-see behind-the-scenes of how this photograph was captured read her Outtakes post! I believe that the photograph that was chosen captures her 'in the moment' with a spark of joy. Sometimes the best photographs are the ones we do not overly plan but rather happen spontaneously!

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Posted Thursday, 30 March, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Anthology Collection of Stories, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Birthdays & Blogoversaries, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Coming-Of Age, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, England, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Mail-Order Brides & Marriages of Convenience, Mental Health, Romance Fiction, Singletons & Commitment, Sweet Romance, the Nineteen Hundreds, Unexpected Inheritance

Blog Book Tour | “Courting Carrie in Wonderland” by Carla Kelly

Posted Sunday, 26 March, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review Banner using Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Cedar Fort whereupon I am thankful to have such a diverse amount of novels and non-fiction titles to choose amongst to host. I received a complimentary copy of “Courting Carrie in Wonderland” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I personally love soaking inside a Carla Kelly Historical:

Carla Kelly shines her soulful grace of the craft of story-telling within this novel, which accomplishes much more at it’s core than merely telling us a story wrought out of the Western genre within the folds of a Historical Fiction. No, this novel seeks a gentle truth towards telling a story rooted in the realism between the continental divides of race, identity, and personal worth as related to station, lifestyle, and locale. She interweaves a gentle hand of guidance within the minds of her characters, but it is how each of her characters bespeak of their innermost beliefs I found endeared me the most to the novel itself.

Kelly has captured my heart for the American West and given me a novel fully supported of cultural integrity and diversity of spirit, soul, heart, and the pursuit of finding your own path when life gives you an intercession of pause to choose how you want to live rather than having a life dictated to you.

-quoted from my first reading of a Carla Kelly novel in 2014 on behalf of ‘Softly Falling’

And, I had the pleasure of reading a second novel by her in 2015:

She has such a wicked clever wit about her dialogue and the conversational exchanges she induces her characters to evolve inside, I find myself happily immersed in her novels post haste! As reflected when I had read Softly Falling I fell so close to the lead characters, I had not begged to exit the story anytime soon! She draws you in with her command of setting and timescape; as this story Summer Campaign held within it all the ferocity of a Jane Austen novel set around the period of time in a young woman’s life where she has become the object of marriageable age.

-quoted from my reading of ‘Summer Campaign’

You can see why I was excited about the prospect of reading a ‘third’ Carla Kelly novel! There have been a few of her novels which have toured which I passed over reading – either the story-line was outside my comfort zone (ie. The Civil War era) or I simply did not have the free time I wished I could have had to consume it. One thing is for certain, I will be spending many a moon in the future seeking out her titles and enjoying the journey I take into her collective works! For awhile now, I have simply felt blessed and overjoyed in finding a few of her novels have been available to review on blog tours! It’s become such a delightful way to be ‘introduced’ to her characters and the different periods of the historic past she loves to write about!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “Courting Carrie in Wonderland” by Carla KellyCourting Carrie in Wonderland
Subtitle: Is Kissing Against Army Regulations?
by Carla Kelly
Source: Direct from Publisher

Mercy, he was a fool for this woman. Why on earth had Major Pitcher told him to look for a wife? This was more trouble and heartache than he needed right now since his affairs had suddenly turned south.

Struggling through college and balancing her summer job with the Wylie Camping Company, Carrie simply doesn't have time to consider romance. War veteran Sergeant Major Ramsay Stiles isn't looking for love either because of his own complicated job. But as the magic of Yellowstone Park makes its way into their hearts, both see love making its way up their priority lists.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781462118724

Also by this author: Softly Falling, Summer Campaign

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 1st March, 2017

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 391

Published By: Sweetwater Books (@SweetwaterBooks),

an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFortBooks)
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse on Twitter via: #CarlaKelly

About Carla Kelly

Carla Kelly is a veteran of the New York and international publishing world. The author of more than thirty novels and novellas for Donald I. Fine Co., Signet, and Harlequin, Carla is the recipient of two Rita Awards (think Oscars for romance writing) from Romance Writers of America and two Spur Awards (think Oscars for western fiction) from Western Writers of America. She is also a recipient of a Whitney Award for Borrowed Light, My Loving Vigil Keeping and Softly Falling.

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Posted Sunday, 26 March, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Historical Fiction, Horse Drama & Fiction, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Life of Thirty-Somethings, Military Fiction, Nature & Wildlife, Old West Americana, PTSD, Singletons & Commitment, The Natural World, the Nineteen Hundreds, Walking & Hiking Trails, Western Fiction, Wilderness Adventures, Wyoming