Category: Realistic Fiction

An #INSPY Audiobook Review | Jorie was smitten by the cheeky Contemporary INSPY humour of Bethany Turner within the pages of “Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish”! [Started during #CFSRS20]

Posted Monday, 21 September, 2020 by jorielov , , , , , 1 Comment

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I have been participating in the Christian Fiction & Clean Reads Reading Safari readathon for the past three years now. I have found the readathon to be personally enriching as it is a wonderful month of respite for book bloggers who want to focus on reading outside their blog schedules and tuck into the gentler side of fiction which is Inspirational Fiction (ie. INSPY). A portion of INSPY is Christian Fiction however, INSPY overall encompasses all faiths and religious backgrounds as it is faith-inspired literature. As a participant of the readathon – each reader moves through the event at their own pacing – seeking stories to read, authors to get to know socially online and reading the stories which interest them throughout the readathon. As you participate there is a chance you can win a book or several throughout the month. This year I am reading a mixture of stories I’ve won during past CFSRS readathons, stories I’ve won through bookaways with Christian Fiction authors or bloggers as well as stories on my shelf from my personal library as well as borrowing INSPY stories in print and audio from my local libraries.

In May 2020, I was hosting a few promotional tours and social blitzes for JustRead Publicity Tours – one of those tours was the ‘Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish’ Takeover Tour – wherein I received a complimentary print copy of the novel in exchange for posting promotional content on social media featuring my own book photography. Whilst the audiobook edition for “Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish” was included in my Scribd membership which I use to regularly listen to audiobooks. However, I finished listening to the audiobook via CloudLibrary which is a service through my library for listening to audiobooks. I was not obligated to post a review on behalf of this novel and have elected to do so for my own edification as well as continuing to share my bookish and readerly life on Jorie Loves A Story. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I wanted to read this story:

You’d have to understand my affection and addiction to watching *celebrity chefs!* first and foremost – as I entered into my years of cooking a bit late in the game compared to most women. In fact, I took after Julia Child and I was wickedly overjoyed knowing that she didn’t get invested into cooking or the cookery arts until well into her thirties – wherein I happily beat her by a few years myself when I started to find that I enjoyed experimenting in the kitchen, too!

Prior to those years of my late twenties, I was resolved that perhaps when it came to cooking my real gift was for baking – as I just did not catch onto the buzz round using fresh farmer market ingredients and sorting out which vegetarian and/or vegan dish I wanted to create by using different cookbooks and/or vegan/veg blogger recipes online until after assisting Mum as her sous chef – I started to notice I was enjoying ‘going off the recipes’ and sorting things out on my own. It was a personal reckoning of joy and I was thrilled to bits about this new adventure I was undertaking.

This also lead us to requesting copious amounts of cookbooks & baking books at our local library and happily kept the Acquisitions Library well supplied with titles for vegans and vegetarians alike! Over the years we had to take a break from focusing on vegetarian foods and are more omnivores at the moment who are anxious to return back to living through the seasons with vegetables and grains. At the same time, I was no longer finding Food Network & the Cooking Network to be on the boring side of the ledger as half the time I felt a lot of that stuff flew over my head quite a bit.

I’m all-in now – from having personal favourite celebrity chefs to having series on Food Network I am wicked thrilled over seeing new episodes for whenever I’m able to see them to realising that it could take another lifetime to *bake!* like they do on the Great British Bake-Off! I even love a murder mystery series via Hallmark Movies & Mysteries called: “Morning Show Mysteries”. The title is elusive as she runs a restaurant and has a cooking segment on a tv show.

Thus, when I read the premise for “Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish” I thought how wicked wonderful one of today’s INSPY Contemporary novelists’ is taking a personal hobby following the lives of celebrity chefs and spinning it into a compellingly realistic story!

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Graphic created in Canva by Jorie. Hadley Beckett's Next Dish novel Photography Credit: © jorielovesastory.com.

Hadley Beckett's Next Dish
by Bethany Turner
Source: Borrowed from local library's CloudLibrary, Direct from Publisher, Scribd | Audiobook Subscription
Narrator: Aimee Lilly

Get ready for a heaping helping of humor, romance, and second chances

Celebrity chef Maxwell Cavanagh is known for many things: his multiple Michelin stars, his top-rated Culinary Channel show, To the Max, and most of all his horrible temper. Hadley Beckett, host of the Culinary Channel's other top-rated show, At Home with Hadley, is beloved for her Southern charm and for making her viewers feel like family.

When Max experiences a very public temper tantrum and is sent packing, his only chance to get back on TV and in the public's good graces is to work alongside Hadley. As these polar-opposite celeb chefs begin to peel away the layers of public persona and reputation, they will not only discover the key ingredients for getting along but also learn the secret recipe for unexpected forgiveness . . . and maybe even love.

In the meantime, hide the knives.

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Cookery, Foodie Fiction, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Southern Lit, Women's Fiction


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780800735234

ASIN: B087JZQCC3

Published by Revell

on 5th May, 2020

Format: Audiobook | Digital, Trade Paperback

Pages: 352

Length: 8 hours and 40 minutes (unabridged)

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The novels of Bethany Turner:

The Secret Life of Sarah HollenbeckWooing Cadie McCaffrey by Bethany TurnerHadley Beckett's Next Dish by Bethany Turner

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck (2017)

Wooing Cadie McCaffrey (2019)

Hadley Becket’s Next Dish (2020)

Published by: Revell (@RevellBooks)

an imprint of Baker Publishing Group

Audiobook Published by: Oasis Audio (@oasisaudio)

Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook (Digital & CD) and Ebook

Converse via: #Contemporary #ChristianFiction, #INSPYRomance, #INSPYbooks,
as well as #HadleyBeckettsNextDish and #HadBeck

About Bethany Turner

Bethany Turner

Bethany Turner is the award-winning author of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck and Wooing Cadie McCaffrey and the director of administration for Rock Springs Church in Southwest Colorado. A former bank executive and a three-time cancer survivor (all before she turned 35), Bethany knows that when God has plans for your life, it doesn't matter what anyone else has to say. Because of that, she's chosen to follow his call to write. She lives with her husband and their two sons in Colorado, where she writes for a new generation of readers who crave fiction that tackles the thorny issues of life with humor and insight.

Photo Credit: Photo by: Emilie Hendryx © EA Creative Photography

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #CFSRS20
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Posted Monday, 21 September, 2020 by jorielov in #CFSRS20, #INSPYSundays, 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Chefs and Sous Chefs, Christianity, Contemporary Romance, Cookery, Foodie Fiction, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Library Catalogues & Databases, Library Find, Love Books Tours, Modern Day, Nashville, New York City, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Reading Challenges, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Sociological Behavior, Sweet Romance, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Women's Fiction

A #HarlequinHeartwarming #RomanceTuesdays | “After the Rodeo” (Book Two of the Heroes of Shelter Creek series) by Claire McEwen

Posted Tuesday, 1 September, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 2 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, this September 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 that 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.

I received a complimentary copy of “After the Rodeo” 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 a short while ago, 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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One interesting turn at the beginning of the novel was learning about the changing tides of the cattle industry – how traditional cattlemen and ranchers wanted to turn towards a greener and healthier way of producing their product and why that was an important resurgency in how they could maintain their ranches. Not that all ranchers were open to innovative changes which McEwen happily discloses within Liam’s own family as his brothers are spilt on the issue whilst their father is keenly invested in learning more – hence, how we find Liam is the chosen one to visit with Jace in Shelter Creek!

I, for one love all sorts of Western Romances however it is a bit rarer when within a Contemporary Western we get to talk about how ranching is trying to change its habits and become a more sustainable industry. Across the board farmers and ranchers are having to diversify their yields yearly due to different issues in climate and how to sustain themselves during leaner years wherein I felt broaching the topic of how they approach ranching their land and their cattle is also a valid point because there is a stark difference between big industry and keeping family ranchers in business by modifying their practices to reach a more educated consumer about the differences in those practices. To say I was wholly intrigued by how this novel began is putting it mildly!

Liam is at a cornerstone of his life – where he has to choose to step forward into his future rather than constantly think he cannot handle what life has to offer. This is an intriguing story about redemption – how a man can redeem his own image and identity of himself post trauma and addiction and redirect his own life back onto a purposeful path which renews his own spirit. The foundation of how McEwen laid that down for us to find was lovely because there was a moment where I felt Jace could inspire Liam simply by someone who had gone before him and had to re-alter his own opinion about what life could involve for a man who had a determined view of his own path. Even though I hadn’t had the chance to read After the Rodeo, McEwen gave some lovely hints toward Jace’s own story where I felt I could intuit why she wanted Liam closer to Jace during this transitional period of his own life.

Trisha has such a unique job at the wildlife center – I remember visiting those whilst growing up and wondering about the people who worked there. As I was fascinated how close the handlers could get to the wild animals and how much trust was between the handler and/or trainer and the animal themselves – this is one reason why I love watching shows and series like Crikey! It’s the Irwins because you get to see inside this hidden world of where animals and humans have united together for their own protection and conservation. Trisha has a heart of gold though – even though her life’s story is unconventional – it just suits her personality because she adapts to whatever is happening in her life in the moment. I liked her instantly where we find her in Her Surprise Cowboy because of how earnest she is about finding what Jace and Vivian share between them and how confident she is in her own abilities to give back to the center.

It was humbling coming into Jace and Vivian’s life a bit second-handed to get to know them in such an interpersonal way – because a lot of what anchoured Liam and Trisha together was through the fusion of friendship with Jace and Vivian. They really stepped up to the plate to help out their friends whilst they also offered a lot of heartfelt mentoring. Jace especially gave a lot back to Liam – as I had a feeling they would relate to one another as I was first starting to read this story – both lived the same kind of life in their prior lives and I believed that gave them each a unique perspective on the other. Liam and Trisha needed friends like them because they each were muddling through their own struggles where having a kind friend to lean on would go the extra mile towards finding resolution to what troubled them. Now more than ever I can’t wait to settle into the story of what drew Jace and Vivian together – as there are pieces of their romance peppered inside Her Surprise Cowboy but one day I’ll appreciate reading start to finish!

There is a certain layer of joy in reading a story about second chance romance, new beginnings and the redemption quality of forgiveness. Not just the kind of forgiveness others can give to you themselves but the kind of forgiveness that comes from within the person. A lot of the story is hinged on whether or not Liam and Trisha can find solace from their past and find a way to give themselves the leverage of understanding who they were in the past is not an indication of whom they could become in the future. That’s the rub about the human condition in us all – in not allowing ourselves the wallowing periods of never seeing past mistakes or wrong turns on our path and to continue to seek out the future with an optimistic impression of what we can achieve. By following the footsteps of Liam and Trisha you’re set to find out how forgiveness of one self can lead to a greater freedom than either Liam or Trisha could have envisioned for each other.

McEwen has conceived of a realistic Contemporary Western Romance series wherein each of her characters are struggling through and/or are transitioning through a difficult period of their lives. The realism is brilliantly layered as despite their obstacles and the hurdles they have to overcome there is a defining thread of individual courage and moxie uniting them. McEwen writes soul lifting Contemporary Romance which gives you what you want out of a modern Western Rom whilst grounding you in realistic lives which you can identify with due to how her characters are self-transitioning through the challenges which arise in all of our lives. The circumstances might differ between us and them but its their resolve to fight through to tomorrow which connects us.

-quoted from my book review of Her Surprise Cowboy

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A #HarlequinHeartwarming #RomanceTuesdays | “After the Rodeo” (Book Two of the Heroes of Shelter Creek series) by Claire McEwenAfter the Rodeo
Subtitle: Heroes of Shelter Creek
by Claire McEwen, Ms Claire McEwen
Source: Direct from Author

Her passion for her job...
could cost him everything...

Former rodeo champion Jace Hendricks has six weeks to turn his run-down ranch around or he could lose custody of his nieces and nephews. But biologist Vivian Reed has to survey his land first - and she won't be rushed. Vivian's optimism and wonder start to win over the kids... and even Jace. But with all that's at stake, can he risk getting any more involved with Vivian?

Genres: Adoption & Foster Care, Biological Diversity, Children At Risk, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Ecology, Men's Fiction, Motherhood | Parenthood, Ranches & Cowboys, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Western Fiction, Western Romance


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335510815

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

Also in this series: Reunited with the Cowboy, Her Surprise Cowboy


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 3rd September, 2019

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 376

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

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

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

Second Chance Cowboy – (book five) – featuring ?? → forthcoming April, 2021!

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, 1 September, 2020 by jorielov in #RomanceTuesdays, 21st Century, A Father's Heart, Addictions and Afflictions, Adoption, Blog Tour Host, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, Brothers and Sisters, California, Conservation, Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Western Fiction, Cowboys & Ranches, Debilitating Diagnosis & Illness, Disabilities & Medical Afflictions, Ecology, Environmental Activism, Environmental Advocacy, Environmental Conscience, Environmental Science, Environmental Solutions, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, Foster Care, Green-Minded Social Awareness, Life of Thirty-Somethings, Life Shift, Men's Fiction, Mental Health, Modern Day, Motherhood | Parenthood, Nature & Wildlife, Non-traditional characters, Preservation, Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Siblings, Single Fathers, Sisterhood friendships, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Social Services, Sudden Absence of Parent, Sustainability & Ecological Preservation, Sweet Romance, The Natural World, Walking & Hiking Trails, Western Fiction, Western Romance, Widows & Widowers, Women of a Certain Age, Women's Fiction, Women's Health

An #INSPYSundays Book Review | feat. “His Daughter’s Prayer” by Danielle Thorne which is her #LoveInspired Contemporary Romance debut!

Posted Sunday, 23 August, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#INSPYSundays banner made my Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I receive quite a few lovely review requests throughout the different seasons of the year. Some of the more recent ones (from May-July) were a bit harder to respond to as various authors failed to leave me their contact details whilst at the same time, after searching for them online myself to seek a way to respond to their enquiries – not all of them had a website. Blessedly – Ms Thorne had a website and I was able to connect with her via her Contact Page.

This is a gentle reminder that if you’re filling out a Review Request form on a book blogger’s blog – kindly include your email address and/or if you know the book blogger is active on Twitter (like I am) – offer your handle so they can DM you. It is the kind of courtesy we appreciate – plus, it goes from moving your request to denied to accepted and in this case, it led to me hosting her three times: two reviews and a guest spot on @SatBookChat.

I received a complimentary copy of “His Daughter’s Prayer” direct from the author Danielle Thorne in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: This is one of two novels I’ve received from this author. The other title was one of my choosing as this one [His Daughter’s Prayer] was the one she submitted for consideration via my Review Request Page. The other novel is “Josette” – a Jane Austen inspired Historical Romance which I happily marked as my first read for #AustenInAugust!

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Why I took a leave of absence reading Love Inspired Contemporary Romance
and exchanged it for Love Inspired Suspense – until now, of course!

The fuller backstory about how I found #LoveInspired Contemporary, Historical and Suspense novels was briefly mentioned in a tweet I shared recently via @SatBookChat in response to the publisher asking about how we discovered their stories. (see also tweet) Initially, Mum discovered the lovely novellas published by the now defunct Heartsong Presents – as you see back then, these were stories you could purchase through their mail-order subscription services. After Heartsong struggled to continue in the height of the launch of Love Inspired (all 3x of their imprint focuses), Heartsong discontinued and Love Inspired took over the niche of the market where Heartsong once flourished.

We leaned more towards the Historical Love Inspired stories – reading more of those than the Contemporary but then, when we took a chance on the Suspense novels – all bets were off! We were beyond smitten and were devouring them as soon as we could find! Most of our Love Inspired Suspense novels are second-hand copies with a few exceptions as we had a subscription for a few months before we had to cancel it. Not for lack of wanting it – but for budget constraints.

In regards to the Contemporary side of Love Inspired – for awhile, I gathered the ones I felt would be a good fit for me but after awhile I noticed for x amount of the Contemporaries I felt I would love reading, I was surprised to find a lesser few resonated with me instead. Thus, I shifted into reading *only!* the Historicals (whilst they lasted) and/or the Suspense novels. I encouraged Mum to start reading the Suspense novels when she needed a break whilst on 12 hour shifts a few years ago. The novels were just the right length and provided a keen respite from long shifts. This also rekindled my own interest and interest to read them – thus, we predominately read them in tandem and have a lot of fireside chats about the characters and the writer’s styles.

Not to long ago I was blogging about Contemporary Romances – from both the mainstream and INSPY markets (see also Post) whilst I knew I was feeling drawn to certain authors who were not connected to Harlequin or Love Inspired for Contemporary Rom, I did question if there were some new voices in the imprint I might feel drawn to read now (within the last few years). I’ve been finding some copies of Love Inspired Contemporaries (and Historicals!) secondhand in recent months and it has re-inspired me to try reading them again to see which authors are writing the stories which appeal to me the most.

Thus, when I received a review request for “His Daughter’s Prayer”
– it felt like everything was come together quite serendipitously!

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An #INSPYSundays Book Review | feat. “His Daughter’s Prayer” by Danielle Thorne which is her #LoveInspired Contemporary Romance debut!His Daughter's Prayer
Subtitle: One little girl has a very big wish
by Danielle Thorne
Source: Direct from Author

One little girl has a very big wish…
A mother is all his daughter wants…
Might an old love be the answer to her prayers?

Struggling to keep his antiques store open, single dad Mark Chatham can’t turn down his high school sweetheart, Callie Hargrove, when she offers her assistance in the shop. But his daughter is wishing for a mommy, and she’s convinced that Callie is the perfect match. As they work to save the business, will their little matchmaker reunite Mark and Callie for good?

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Sweet Romance


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335488282

Also by this author: Josette

Published by Love INSPIRED

on 16th June, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 217

Published by: Love Inspired (@LoveInspiredBks)
an imprint of Harlequin Books (@HarlequinBooks)
which is now an imprint of HarperCollins Publishing (@HarperCollins)

Formats Available: Trade paperback and Ebook

Note on Formats: Happily Love Inspired novels have the same kind of flexibility as Harlequin Heartwarming wherein you can receive these print copies in Regular Print, Larger Print or True Large Print for those who are vision impaired and/or have low vision. I personally love the Larger Print editions for Harlequin Heartwarming, Love Inspired Contemporary Romance & Love Inspired Suspense as it is much kinder on eyes of a migraineur!

However, the edition I received for His Daughter’s Prayer was regular print.

Genre(s) of Interest: Second chance romance, small towne romance & Inspirational Romance

Converse via: #INSPYbooks and/or #INSPY, #SweetRomance and #DanielleThorne

as well as #ChristFic, #ChristianFiction, #ContemporaryRomance or #INSPYRomance Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #INSPYAugust
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Posted Sunday, 23 August, 2020 by jorielov in #INSPYSundays, 21st Century, A Father's Heart, Antiques, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Christianity, Contemporary Romance, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Life Shift, Modern Day, Motherhood | Parenthood, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Single Fathers, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Southern Lit, Southern Writers, Sweet Romance, Women's Fiction

An INSPY Book Review during #CFSRS20 | Diving into the Coastal Hearts series by Janet W. Ferguson whilst reading “Magnolia Storms”

Posted Friday, 7 August, 2020 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

#CFSRS20 readathon badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I have been participating in the Christian Fiction & Clean Reads Reading Safari readathon for the past three years now. I have found the readathon to be personally enriching as it is a wonderful month of respite for book bloggers who want to focus on reading outside their blog schedules and tuck into the gentler side of fiction which is Inspirational Fiction (ie. INSPY). A portion of INSPY is Christian Fiction however, INSPY overall encompasses all faiths and religious backgrounds as it is faith-inspired literature. As a participant of the readathon – each reader moves through the event at their own pacing – seeking stories to read, authors to get to know socially online and reading the stories which interest them throughout the readathon. As you participate there is a chance you can win a book or several throughout the month. This year I am reading a mixture of stories I’ve won during past CFSRS readathons, stories I’ve won through bookaways with Christian Fiction authors or bloggers as well as stories on my shelf from my personal library as well as borrowing INSPY stories in print and audio from my local libraries.

I won a bookaway during #CFSRS18 wherein I received a copy of “Magnolia Storms” direct from the author Janet W. Ferguson which she happily surprised me with inscribing! I was not obligated to post a review on behalf of this novel and have elected to do so for my own edification as well as continuing to share my bookish and readerly life on Jorie Loves A Story. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: The Press Materials seen on this book review were courtesy of the author’s Media Kit and are used with permission of the author as stated on her page.

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Why I wanted to read this story:

I have been wanting to read this lovely ever since it first arrived – however, the past few years have been unique years wherein what I have wanted to read hasn’t always aligned with the ability to read the stories. I attempted to start reading the books I had won during the first year of the readathon last July – however, try as I had – something always pulled me away. I was just thankful I was able to read any INSPY last July as it seemed like the month was taking me up in its tides and not allowing me the grace to settle into the stories which give my heart such an uplift to read.

This year, about two months ahead of the readathon (or as I thought it would be – as I hadn’t known it was switched from July to August until the end of June) I started pulling the stories off my shelves I felt I might be inclined to read this year. I had more than enough to choose from as INSPY Lit is one of my favourite areas of literature to explore – as seen on my 70 Authors Challenge and through my Story Vault wherein I house my review archives. I knew I was going to read more Love Inspired this year – both Contemporary & Suspense whilst I had a few blog tours in August for Harlequin Heartwarming & Love Inspired respectively – however, I wasn’t going to count those in my readathon goals. I like to use the readathon to read the stories already in my personal library, won in bookaways and/or which can become borrowed through my local libraries in either audio or print; whilst seeking out INSPY Fiction on Scribd in audiobook as well.

What first drew my eye into the premise of ‘Magnolia Storms’ when I requested it as one of my book choices in [2018] was the fact this was rooted in the after effects of Hurricane Katrina and storm seasons in the Gulf. Being a traveller during Katrina and having had many conversations with the evacuating families who were fleeing out of its path who had found themselves where I had been at the time in Birmingham, Alabama was quite the experience. Most were on their way back to Louisiana, others were going west to either Colorado or Houston, Texas whilst others were staying in Birmingham as they were given a warm welcome. I couldn’t blame them – it was a friendly city.

Storms in any variety are a part of our everyday lives – they bring destruction and they bring a kind of wrath that is hard to understand. They have after effects that are felt long and wide after a storm has passed. Look at the cities decimated by tornadoes every year and you will see how powerful and how hard it is to find mercy in the dawn after those storms have passed. Hurricanes like their tornado cousins cause emotional trauma and personal loss.

I used to read and watch a lot of natural disaster stories – for reasons which are elusive to me, however several pushed me a bit over the edge of what I could handle – especially if it involved flash flooding, earthquakes, wildfires or a deluge of tornadoes. I had had my fill at the time and only recently re-watched one of my favourites which was about tornadoes affecting a power plant [Atomic Twister] which started Mark Paul Gosselaar and Sharon Lawrence – as it was available for free via Roku. It was hard to believe how terrifying it was all over again and how hard it was to watch one of the team sacrifice his own life to save everyone else when it come to going into the contaminated room to give the team more time to save the plant.

This first novel of the Coastal Hearts series felt like a beautiful segue into Realistic INSPY Fiction which combines the drama of living in today’s world as we each face the different (and complicated!) storms which set to unravel our internal and external worlds. It is how we choose to rise through those unforeseen adversities which seek to challenge our perspectives on life and how we want to be living – but with faith, hope and a bit of grit to get through those challenging hours – we can all seek solid ground on the other side of the ‘storms’. This is why I wanted to read “Magnolia Storms” and this year is the best year I believe for me to ‘meet’ the story as who hasn’t been shuffling their own sea of storms crashing ashore this 2020?

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Magnolia Storms novel Photography Credit: © jorielovesastory.com.

Magnolia Storms
Subtitle: A Coastal Hearts novel
by Janet W. Ferguson
Source: Won a Bookaway

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction, Meteorology, Realistic Fiction, Southern Lit, Sweet Romance, Women's Fiction


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780997658767

on 20th August, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 280

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The Coastal Heart series:

Magnolia Storms(book one)

Falling for Grace(book two)

The Art of Rivers (book three)

Star Rising (book four)

Published by: Southern Sun Press

Formats Available: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance, #INSPYRomance, #INSPYbooks,
as well as #SouthernLit and #CoastalHearts

About Janet W. Ferguson

Janet W. Ferguson

Janet W. Ferguson is a Grace Award winner and a Christy Award finalist. She grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served as a children’s minister and a church youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. She writes humorous inspirational fiction for people with real lives and real problems. Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a cat that allows them to share the space.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #CFSRS20
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Posted Friday, 7 August, 2020 by jorielov in #CFSRS20, #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Book Review (non-blog tour), Christianity, Contemporary Romance, Family Drama, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Medical Fiction, Mental Health, Mississippi, Modern Day, Motherhood | Parenthood, Post-911 (11th September 2001), PTSD, Reading Challenges, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Single Fathers, Single Mothers, Singletons & Commitment, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Sweet Romance, Terminal Illness &/or Cancer, Trauma | Recovery in Hospital, Traumatic Injury, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Women's Fiction