Category: A Father’s Heart

Blog Book Tour | Sophomore release continues the story first read inside “Pierced by Love”, as Laura L. Walker carries her story forward in this INSPY sequel!

Posted Tuesday, 26 January, 2016 by jorielov , , , , , , 4 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

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 “The Matchup” direct from the publisher Bonneville Books (imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Disclaimer:

“The Matchup” is not considered a sequel to “Pierced by Love” by the author and publisher, however, as you will denote from how I’ve written my review, my own personal thoughts on this matter are disclosed. Likewise, the second paragraph of the author’s biography was written by Jorie as a way to highlight the succession of the author’s two published works.

A New Year of author surprises for this book blogger:

Before [2016] began to emerge out from the ending chapters of [2015], I started to receive author mail from Cedar Fort’s debut novelists and established authors who were going to have new releases upcoming in Winter and Spring. I was quite delighted by their enquiries, as some of them were fond readings of mine whilst I discovered their writings for the first time when I serendipitously found their blog tours; as for me blog tours have been a lovely niche of an opportunity to discover #newtomeauthors and a diverse array of stories I may or may not have been able to read otherwise. They allow us a breadth of discovery outside our usual wanderings and a chance to interact directly with an author in a way we might not normally have the chance to do. My heart is blessed by the tours I have hosted and the stories which have entered my hands to read in other words.

At the very same time, when I receive a note from an author I’ve previously read about a new release of theirs my heart warms a bit, because it gives me the chance to remember why I appreciated reading their last novel (or in rarer cases, their last non-fiction). I sometimes forget to ‘check-in’ with the authors I’ve previously read as life takes us on a bit of a ride after we’ve met such stirring stories, thus it’s a wonderful surprise to learn when their next release will become published and what kind of story they are going to be featuring next. I am curating a list of next reads based on the stories I’ve blogged who held me so tight inside their chapters, I was quite anxious to read another story by their authors; but to receive a note from an author directly is truly a blessing indeed!

I still recall when Ms Walker contacted me about her new release, a story which would take forward one of the supporting characters of Pierced by Love whilst giving us a taste of what happens to Pierce and Noelle in the hours since we last saw them. I was quite delighted as I had hoped there might be more to this novel than what was left on the page, but sometimes a sequel or a duology (where two stories are anchoured together but go no further than two installments) are not a guarantee. I am not sure who was more surprised: Ms Walker for realising I was dearly interested in reading The Matchup or myself when receiving the news of it’s publication!?

This prelude to [2016] did not start or end with Ms Walker, as I enjoyed a return to Ms Steele’s writings before December concluded and I have happily enjoyed an invitation to read three debut novelists throughout the Spring! The authors I am referring to are: Aaron Blaylock (of The Land of Look Behind), Lindsay B. Ferguson (of By the Stars) and Kaki Olsen (of Swan and Shadow: A Swan Lake Story). What is quite champion is I had unearthed advance notice of two of these releases from Cedar Fort’s catalogue on Edelweiss whilst finding six others dearly as captivating which I will be revealling when I post  my *End of the Year Survey: 2016*.

For now, it’s been a pleasure and a joy receiving a bit of author mail by writers who are gaining my interest by penning stories that wick together wicked good drama and/or adventure! For a girl who is scaling back hosting blog tours, I must say, I am finding a diverse array of stories to choose amongst to host!

Blog Book Tour | Sophomore release continues the story first read inside “Pierced by Love”, as Laura L. Walker carries her story forward in this INSPY sequel!The Matchup
by Laura L. Walker
Source: Direct from Publisher

Valerie's heart hammered in her rib cage. That deep voice could only belong to one person - Gage Logan.

The last thing Valerie wants or needs is to work for her childhood tormentor, Gage. But Valerie's husband walked out on her and her children. Now she needs a job. Gage, on the other hand, has just taken custody of his four-year-old son and is swamped trying to balance his career, be a daddy, and fix past mistakes.

Together they discover that when it comes to the Church and each other, it's all about second chances. This sweet romance will renew your faith in love and redemption.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781462117529

Also by this author: Pierced by Love

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction, Motherhood | Parenthood, Realistic Fiction, Sweet Romance, Women's Fiction


Published by Bonneville Books

on 1st January, 2016

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 240

Published By: Bonneville Books (@BonnevilleBooks),

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

Converse via: #LDSFiction, #INSPYRom, #INSPYFiction, #SweetRomance,

#realisticfiction, #ChristFic,  + #TheMatchup

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Laura L. Walker

Laura Walker is a native Arizonan. Having lived there all their lives, she and her husband, Rob, think it’s a great place to raise their six kids. They enjoy camping, reading, and learning history together. Laura loves to settle in with a good romance just as much as she loves to write one.

Her first novel was Pierced by Love wherein her second novel continues the story-line of her character Gage (the younger brother to Pierce) within the pages of The Matchup.

Website | @llwalkerauthor | Facebook | GoodReads | Pinterest

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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Posted Tuesday, 26 January, 2016 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, A Father's Heart, Autism, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Contemporary Romance, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Divorce & Martial Strife, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Learning Difficulties, Life Shift, Modern Day, Mormonism, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Mother-Son Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Siblings, Single Fathers, Special Needs Children, Sweet Romance, Writing Style & Voice

Blog Book Tour | “3,000 Miles to Eternity: A true internet love story” by Duane & Selena Pannell Otherwise known as “the book!” Jorie has been happily chattering about for over a month!

Posted Monday, 13 July, 2015 by jorielov , , , 3 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

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 “3,000 Miles to Eternity” direct from the publisher CFI (imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

An apology on the delayed posting:

I was originally scheduled to post my review on the 12th of July – a date I knew would give me a heap of lead-way to post my thoughts and ruminations because I honestly couldn’t wait to dive straight into reading this book! I started at least two weeks early, which for me was a bit of a luxury as I tend to run into my deadlines or stay so close on top of them, that it doesn’t give me flexibility on the hours I can give the stories.

I never would have felt severe lightning storms would have taken me offline nor given me the grievances they had where being online was not even an option! Imagine my shock, as I was about to settle into blogging the rest of my thoughts this Monday eve, when the phone rings alerting that there is a major water crisis and all water is turnt off! Turnt off? Oy vie. First it’s the electricity, now it’s the water! Talk about when it rains it pours down in spades!

Thankfully, I can continue to curl inside #3000MilesToEternity, blog my joy about what I’m finding inside, and have my worries about my tardiness put aside knowing the authors are understanding of these little hiccups that disrupt our lives! I truly was thankful for their understanding and seriously hope that everyone I’ve been chatting too about this real-life love story (both online and off) will enjoy reading this post!

I was happily surprised to find my ‘tweets’ quoted on the Pannell’s wicked new site for #3000MilesToEternity! Inasmuch as finding that they found a way to ‘pin’ a tweet correspondence of mine to their Twitter account! It’s nice being able to relate to author(s) how your enjoying the beauty of what they left behind for you to devour on the page!

(this was the one they pinned)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Epistolary | Letters & Correspondances | a passion of mine:

You may or may not have stumbled across my review of Letters from Skye in which I articulated a definitive passion for letters and correspondences; or perhaps, you might not have realised I broached the subject again on my review of Lemongrass Hope. It was within my review of Seven Letters from Paris I first had my taste of a memoir writ in a style of love for Epistolary loveliness and it gave birth to a newfound joy of finding real-life love stories interwoven with a throwback to communicating via the not-as-lost-art of corresponding over long distances! You’ll also take note of the growth I went through as a book blogger as these posts arch back over a shortened history of my past two years I’ve blogged my bookish ruminations. A smaller nod to this side of my life is contained in the threaded index of Postal Mail | Letters and Correspondences (which will continue to expand).

It was an original hope of mine to bridge the gap between my non-bookish interests and the world of stories on my blog, however, time has escaped past me and this still remains a fervent goal. For you see, I’ve been a correspondent since I was quite a young girl and communicating via postal letters and correspondences is a true joy I’ve had the pleasure of having in my life. Knitting together your innermost thoughts and conveying a slice of your life inside the bolt lock of a letter is a true experiment in giving a piece of yourself to an encapsulated vessel of friendship and casting it out into the world to ride the four winds and sail into a postbox of a dearly cherished friend. Start to finish, letter-writing is not something straight out of 19th Century England nor a dying age of inked pens and stationery, but a pure joy of tactile connection and a slower paced conversation where time isn’t inking off the clock but rather has become suspended and elongated.

It strikes to reason that friendships formed through correspondence can lead to romance, as women are not the only letter-writers out there nor are they the only ones who have picked up the creative side of it through artistic experimentation via mixed media art collages and mail art. Men such as Tim Holtz are changing the way art is visually seen and understood within the mixed media realms, but it’s bloggers like The Missive Maven (@MissiveMaven) who are truly championing us all and giving us a nexus point to interconnect.

If I were to dream, I’d love to start to integrate pieces of this culture into my blog, as I’m a mixed media collage artist who fancies curating mail art (especially being rather artsy with her envelopes!) and using Indie Artists who create original stationery (sold on Etsy) as her vehicle of choice to carry her words abroad. There are a wicked lot of resources I can share as time shifts forward but for now, I have only been giving out a petering amount of information as I was not as sure to the timing of bringing this part of my life into the forefront of my non-bookish blog posts. To a greater extent, I’m a future typosphere blogger as well, because the logo for “The Ethical Treatment of Typewriters” is a bit of a clue to the fact I’m a bonefide vintage typewriter enthusiast!

However, this nonfiction love story has a very modern twist to the style of correspondence I have a penchant for myself – the Pannells met online and thereby their entire exchange took place in the netherspace of the internet. I, too, have embraced email and electronic ecards (trusting Jacquie Lawson above all others) but try as I might, my attempts to carry-on a friendship solely through electronic means has not always ended well for me. This is in part my main inspiration for wanting to read a true-life success story where lives were changed and a romance was sparked out of that curious little sphere between where friendship begins and love knits together a connection two souls might not have felt would have been possible if their paths hadn’t crossed inside those little spurts of words and conversation.

As an aside, my absolute favourite letter orientated motion picture is truly the composite for this real story: You’ve Got Mail. There is a heap amount of hope for all of us who are seeking a real-life romance by reading stories such as these and for embracing the unexpected of where communicating through alternative means of conversation can lead to something quite serendipitous.

Footnote:

During my first Twitter chat involving #bringbackpaper hosted by the lovely Jocelyn (@ReadingRes) I had a secondary convo about this lovely book with fellow letter-writers! You can gather the gist by viewing this twitterverse capture of that convo! What I found inside that wicked awesome chat was an incredible network of like-minded individuals who love letters & correspondences as much as I do myself! So much so, I have active plans to pick up the momentum next month and make a more regular impression on their activities and meet-ups! The creator behind this movement has a compliment feature on her blog simply stated: Read. Write. Create. wherein your meant to find *balance!* between reading books, your personal writerly pursuits (i.e. fiction, poetry, journalling, etc. not book blogging per se!) and creating art. I definitely want to take up the torch as I miss my knitting UFOs (Un.Finished O.jects) and my mail art!

It felt like I had found people I could relate too who share my mutual passion for the creative arts in which I enjoy outside of book blogging and reading. I hope the ones I share the link with on this book will see why I was inspired to draw their eye on it’s release!

Blog Book Tour | “3,000 Miles to Eternity: A true internet love story” by Duane & Selena Pannell Otherwise known as “the book!” Jorie has been happily chattering about for over a month!3,000 Miles to Eternity: A True Internet Love Story
by Duane and Selena Pannell
Source: Direct from Publisher
But . . . what if?

What if two people who were meant to be together for eternity had to live their earthly lives separate for many years? And what if when they did finally meet, they were a little broken and the miles apart helped them ease into their destiny together?

Years before online dating became a respectable option, two broken and imperfect souls digitally crossed paths on their journey back to God. Join PapaBear38 (Duane) and Moongoddess (Selena) as they share the emails and the notes that eventually brought them together.

Unafraid to dig deep, this fascinating love story is a book you won't be able to stop reading. From the first page, you'll find yourself smiling, laughing, and maybe shedding a few tears as you see the hand of God in their lives. Engaging and entertaining, this book is the perfect reminder of the power of God's love, redemption, and hope.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781462116317

Genres: Epistolary | Letters & Correspondences, Memoir, Non-Fiction


Published by CFI (imprint) Cedar Fort Inc

on 14th July, 2015

Format: Paperback

Pages: 272

Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Published By: CFI (imprint) of Cedar Fort Inc (@CedarFortBooks),

an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFortBooks)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Read a sample of Duane & Selena’s journal entries | via 3000MilesToEternity.com

Read their interview about the book | via Debra’s Book Cafe

Converse on Twitter via:

#3000MilesToEternity, #RealLifeRomance, #NonFic, #Epistolary

#Memoir, & #ChristianNonFiction OR #LDS nonfiction

About Duane and Selena Pannell

DUANE AND SELENA PANNELL “met” online while living in Virginia and Alberta, Canada. After a complicated long-distance relationship spanning four years, they married and have a son together. Their first book is borne of yet another separation in their lives when Selena was in Alberta for several months in 2013 with her dying father.

Duane was going through their old correspondence because he is a “mushy man” and thought this was a story worth telling. After some coaxing, he convinced Selena, and with a little help from googledocs, they began their collaboration on “3,000 Miles To Eternity.”

Today they serve as missionary group leaders in the LDS (Mormon) Addiction Recovery Program where they lead two 12 Step meetings a week. Duane is putting the final touches on a manuscript addressing addiction recovery while Selena homeschools their son and teaches archery in her spare time.

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Posted Monday, 13 July, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, A Father's Heart, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Contemporary Romance, Cultural & Religious Traditions, Daily Devotions of Inspiration from Life, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Diary Accountment of Life, Disillusionment in Marriage, Divorce & Martial Strife, Drugs & Alcohol, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Family Drama, Family Life, Humour & Satire in Fiction / Non Fiction, Indie Author, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Journal, Lessons from Scripture, Life of Thirty-Somethings, Life Shift, Memoir, Mental Health, Modern Day, Mormonism, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Short Stories or Essays, Single Fathers, Single Mothers, Singletons & Commitment, Small Towne Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Story in Diary-Style Format, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Vignettes of Real Life, Women's Fiction

Book Review | “Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace” by Andra Watkins Autobiographical account of a daughter & father

Posted Thursday, 15 January, 2015 by jorielov , , 1 Comment

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By:

Last year, I participated in an epic historical fiction blog tour on behalf of a novel I was itching to delve into ever since it was first offered to me to review for the tour itself! The novel I’m referring to ended up being one of my Top Picks for 2014 (which is included on my End of the Year Survey for 2014; not yet released at time of this posting) due to the breadth of the story combined with the scope of a story-teller who left me ruminatively happy! “To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis” changed my perception of historical fiction as much as “Inscription” by H.H. Miller. Both writers wrote genre-bending narratives that etch themselves into your mind and heart, to a level that sets the bar quite high for others who follow suit.

I was captured by the journey Ms. Watkins was taking on the Trace, camping out in front of a computer with my Mum & Da, watching her videos like you might serial tv! Each video was honest and shot straight from the Trace itself! The only takeaway we wished we had of that experience is the little green calling card for “To Live Forever” which Ms. Watkins held up during each video! She captured our spirits by her unwavering honesty and her cheeky humour which gave us a lift of joy! Whilst she was on the Trace, I hosted her for a review and an interview (the latter of which she replied to at a stop!), but I knew then, what I know now… Ms. Watkins was one author I would support throughout her career. She has something quite special to share with the world and I knew I had discovered something quite extraordinary!

I was contacted by Ms. Watkins who put me in touch with her publicist in regards to reviewing her first non-fiction release, an autobiography of her journey on the Trace and the time she spent with her father. I was honoured she had reached out to me and I quite happily returned a reply to accept. I received a complimentary copy of “Not Without My Father” from Word Hermit Press in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. 

On my connection to Ms. Watkins: 

I felt connected to Ms. Watkins before and after I read her debut novel, “To Live Forever” whilst attempting to keep in touch with her via her blog. Life ebbed and flowed in the months between when I first met her through the blog tour and January 2015 when I am hosting her for the second time, but one moment in particular I remember we both experienced the same agony at the same time! In July 2014, we were both bitten by spiders and equally allergic to them! We had a lovely conversation about it on Twitter, and I couldn’t help smiling realising despite the miles, she understood what I was going through! She’s an incredible writer and motivating spirit — a person I am genuinely thankful my path has crossed with and of whom I am thankful to interact with during the year.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with her through her blog as much as I enjoy our random conversations on Twitter. 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.

Book Review | “Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace” by Andra Watkins Autobiographical account of a daughter & fatherNot Without My Father: One Woman's 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace
by Andra Watkins
Source: Direct from Publisher

Can an epic adventure succeed without a hero? Andra Watkins needed a wingman to help her become the first living person to walk the historic 444-mile Natchez Trace as the pioneers did. She planned to walk fifteen miles a day. For thirty-four days.

After striking out with everyone in her life, she was left with her disinterested eighty-year-old father. And his gas. The sleep apnea machine and self-scratching. Sharing a bathroom with a man whose gut obliterated his aim.

As Watkins trudged America's forgotten highway, she lost herself in despair and pain. Nothing happened according to plan, and her tenuous connection to her father started to unravel. Through arguments and laughter, tears and fried chicken, they fought to rebuild their relationship before it was too late. In Not Without My Father: One Woman's 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace, Watkins invites readers to join her dysfunctional family adventure in a humourous and heartbreaking memoir that asks is one can really turn I wish I had into I'm glad I did.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Also by this author: To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis,

Genres: Memoir, Non-Fiction


Published by Word Hermit Press

on 15th January, 2015

Pages: 238

Published By: Word Hermit Press, 15 Janaury, 2015
Converse via: #NotWithoutMyFather | #AndraWatkins | #NatchezTraceWalk444miles
Available Formats: Paperback

About Andra Watkins

Andra Wakins

Andra lives in Charleston, South Carolina. A non-practicing CPA, she has a degree in accounting from Francis Marion University. She's still mad at her mother for refusing to let her major in musical theater, because her mom was convinced she'd end up starring in porn films.

In addiction to her writing talent, Andra is an accomplished public speaker. Her acclaimed first novel To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis was published by Word Hermit Press in 2014.

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Posted Thursday, 15 January, 2015 by jorielov in 21st Century, A Father's Heart, ARC | Galley Copy, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Father-Daughter Relationships, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Jorie Loves A Story, Memoir, Modern Day, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Natchez Trace, Non-Fiction, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Seclusion in the Natural World, The Natural World, Travel Narrative | Memoir, Vignettes of Real Life, Walking & Hiking Trails

+Blog Book Tour+ The Strength of Ballerinas by Nancy Lorenz

Posted Sunday, 21 September, 2014 by jorielov , , , 3 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

The Strength of Ballerinas by Nancy Lorenz

Published By: Sweetwater Books (@SweetwaterBooks),
an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFortBooks)

Official Author Websites:  Site @NancyLorenzbks | Facebook

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #TheStrengthofBallerinas OR #NancyLorenz

On the footheels of the sequel: #StrengthOfBallerinas (to imply a series)

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 “The Strength of Ballerinas” 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.

Inspired to Read:

One area of motion pictures I have always been drawn into is the world of dance, as there is something quite magical about how emotion and fluidity of movement can merge into one. Creatively dance evokes such a strong passion of observation and a compelling experience for the audience who watch the dancers moving through their time on the floor. I appreciate nearly all of the different forms of dance, including urban dance crews such as the ones on ABDC (America’s Best Dance Crew) which had aired on MTV, and of which I no longer believe is hosted. The films which always spoke to me the most in different ways are the following: Dirty Dancing (with Jennifer Grey & Patrick Swayze), Save the Last Dance (with Julia Stiles), the Step Up franchise of films (each one unique in of itself), Footloose (original & remake), Flashdance, Singin’ in the Rain, every Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers film, most of the classic films of dance and/or musical variety (including works featuring: Danny Kay, Gene Kelly & others; The Ziegfeldd Follies), Chicago, Mary Poppins, Hairspray, Shall We Dance? (with Richard Gere), Greese, Burlesque (with Christina Aquilera), Honey (with Jessica Alba), Moulin Rouge, The Nanny Express (with Brennan Elliott) and of course I grew up on the tv series Fame. The films which speak directly to ballet and the world of those who dare to push the limits of their bodies are: Centerstage (my favourite favourite!), Ballet Shoes (with Emma Watson), and First Position (documentary). The ones I want to see are Billy Elliott, An American Girl: Isabelle Dances into the Spotlight, & Mao’s Last Dancer. I positively adored seeing a regional ensemble for The Nutcracker in Baltimore as well.

 First Position Official Trailer via First Position films

My own foray into the world of dance ended in my early childhood as I was very self-aware and knew which steps interested me in the room across from my own lessons. Unfortunately for me, they did not give freedom of choice to children under the age of 6. As an adult, I have wanted to re-take up the interest I have in dance and start to seek out lessons for ballroom dance as I love the agility and the grace of the sequences. I do not aim to compete, but rather to find a harmony of the steps whilst dancing against the music. I do have a sideline notion of taking up tap dancing, as I learnt for dyslexic learners tap can actually help us fuse the steps into our muscle memory. It also gives a better grounding for dance overall if you learn differently and of course, by wearing two different coloured shoes I’ll be able to ‘catch’ on a bit faster! I cannot wait to try!

I am simply drawn into stories of dance and the dancers who give us the light of their innermost joy. I was inspired to read this novel originally as it felt as though it would become a most beloved story of strength and the humbling grace of living on faith. I was only a bit worried about what the debilitating illness might be but thankfully my fears were put aside as I asked the tour director only one question: does the story involve cancer? And, the answer was no. I couldn’t wait to dive into this story as soon as I heard that and signed up for the tour! Trust me when I say that this is a story any sensitive heart can handle!

A note on the cover art design:

I was especially endeared to the choice of the cover art for this novel as it is a reflection of who Kendra is and the image of who Kendra has as a reflection of herself. There is a lot of metaphor in the novel, pointing to direct young adults and all readers who pick up the novel to reconsider how they view themselves as much as learning from Kendra’s lead. It is a clever book cover in what it is focusing on and how that focus translates into who Kendra is as a person.

+Blog Book Tour+ The Strength of Ballerinas by Nancy LorenzThe Strength of Ballerinas
by Nancy Lorenz
Source: Direct from Publisher

All Kendra has ever wanted to do is dance. But when her father's job takes their family from the city lights of Manhattan to quiet Napa Valley in California, Kendra's dreams are shattered.

Still determined to dance, she tries to adjust to her new life until a debilitating diagnosis threatens to change everything. Now Kendra must decide which dreams are really worth fighting for.

Step onto the dance floor and into Kendra's heart in this poignant and compelling story. Written by ballet lover Nancy Lorenz, this is a debut novel you won't want to put down.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Genres: Young Adult Fiction


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 9th of September, 2014

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 256

Author Biography: 

NancyLorenz

Nancy Lorenz currently teaches as an English adjunct at several colleges. She worked in publishing, public relations and in network television. She studied ballet in New York City at numerous studios, including open level classes at American Ballet Theater in the 1980’s, and continues to study ballet for the sheer love of it. She recommends that you love what you do, but also to branch out to the many subjects out there yet to discover. The more you learn, the more you can bring back into your art.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

A story about family & our desire to find our niche in the world:

I always appreciate fiction that drives into the heart of who we are as individuals and the discover of our own personal niche inside the world itself. The Strength of Ballerinas at it’s core is about a teenage ballerina in tutelage at the Manhattan Dance Company who unexpectedly is pulled from her rigorous training and transplanted into the vineyards of Napa Valley due to a job transfer of her father’s. All the whilst attempting to sort through regular teenage angst and anguish of understanding your person, your internal world of thought, body image & self worth issues, and the navigation of the world within the structure of school. School is always a rapid-fire crazy chaos of sorting out how to fit in or rather blend in without drawing attention to yourself if your own self-confidence is faltering due to an internal battle of frustration with your circumstances. In this light, Lorenz paints Kendra’s world brilliantly, as she shows how difficult the relocation was from the point-of-view of a ballerina in training and how life can throw a curve ball you’d rather have dodged completely!

I like the empathsis on Kendra’s family life, on how she lost her Mum at a young age, how her brother has autism, and how her father feels a bit lost in the shuffle of everything that keeps happening to his family. He’s written well on his own behalf, as parents are not always fleshed out in Children’s Literature (across the board from Juvenile, Middle Grade, or Young Adult fiction) nor do they come across as regular parents, but rather caricatures of who they should be. Lorenz takes the parents of the novel and gives them an honest portrayal of caring & nurturing presences inside the lives of the teens. I appreciated seeing Mr. Sutton (Kendra’s Dad) as much as I did Mrs. Cassidy (the widow mother of Becca & Troy), as it sparks a new vein of realism inside this genre of Young Adult.

My Review of The Strength of Ballerinas:

Kendra’s world crashes in the blink of an eye when on the larkspur joy of completing a milestone in her quest to become an apprentice ballerina (she achieved twenty fouettés), her father informs her they are going to embark on a cross-country job transfer. Her young life and world is surrounded by dance – to perfect the grace and the maturity needed to handle the arduous competitive state of ballet. She lives and breathes her art, denying herself any other joy outside of the practice and has no interest in food except enough to satisfy her father’s concern on behalf of her health. What compelled me about the start of The Strength of Ballerinas is how within the opening sequences of the story, Lorenz gives you a breath of a whisper to what is going to be alighting next in successive chapters. A mere hinting of a foreshadow, but enough to compel me forward into the heart of the novel.

Lorenz writes with a passion for the ballet and for an understanding of the internal world of a ballerina. She pulls you into that mindset and allows for the characters to be honest about their feelings and their thoughts as they arise naturally through dialogue. I always find this is especially important when writing stories for YA audiences, as it gives a firm and compelling addition to literature for younger audiences who are thirsty for realism and heart.

As Kendra progresses through the early stages of being the new student at the Napa Valley high school, we start to see her undergo a bit of a metamorphosis in how she views her position in her life. Prior to the relocation from New York City to California, she centered her life around ballet. She never even considered the role she had as a big sister to Petey her younger brother afflicted with autism, nor did she count the difficulties her widowed father might have as well. She was focused intently on her dream to be a prima ballerina but what she was missing was the grounding roots of a well-balanced and well-lived life. By exchanging one Coast for the other, we start to see her emerge out of her shell a bit, reconsidering a few things she had always ignored (especially the warning signs of her muscles), and even ventured to appreciate food for something more than sustenance. I appreciated this character growth occurring in the novel, as if there is a teen who is career driven themselves, they might start to see that you can have a rounded world full of experiences without limiting your scope to what you want to do professionally.

Seeing Kendra’s happiness at the pumpkin patch of the Cassidy’s was one of my favourite scenes, as she had pure joy inside her heart and she carried this into being a big sister to Petey of whom she tried to share the happiness with as well. I felt it was a turning point in her outlook and of her growth towards being a bit more than she was when she was in New York.

The interesting part of the novel is how Kendra believed as strongly in her brother’s abilities as their mother yet she would find that her father could only believe what he sees. Coincidently, he is also the father who disbelieves what he sees when his son starts to show signs he’s participating rather than not understanding anything at all. I think this was a good show of how hard it is for parents to trust in something that they do not fully understand but hope will have a positive outcome. I can imagine how frustrating it is for the parents of autistic children to find joy inside everyday hours, when attempting to simply make a small connection to a child who does not know how to communicate. I have often run across autistic children whilst I am out at malls or stores, and I always remember to have a bit more patience, as I never know if something I say or if I move too quickly will affect their child. This was especially the case when I was riding in an elevator with an autistic child at a department store. I thought closer about my words and my tone, and I didn’t make any sudden movements – not that I do normally, but I was mindful the child might misread anything outside their own family and environment. The mother thanked me and we talked a bit before she had to go on with her day. I smiled and said a prayer of gratitude for remembering what I had read and heard in documentaries. The memory triggered to mind as I read this story, however, as how one parent differs from another; and how all parents have their breaking moments of feeling exasperated. I can only hope if others were to come across a child whose responses clued them into the fact they had special needs, they’d take a few extra steps to make them feel comfortable as I had and give their Mum or Dad a breathing space. As I think that is what Kendra’s Dad needed — he needed breathing space.

I simply soaked straight into this novel and was absent from noticing the erasure of the hours off the clock! I simply found myself unable to put the book down, much less draw a pause to blog my thoughts about it! What was so very compelling about The Strength of Ballerinas is how universal the message is of the story: to not only believe in your own unique talent but to treasure the experiences and choices you have to create a future you were always meant to walk. It is powerful and empowering at the very same time – to live for a short spell inside Kendra’s shoes and watch as she grows inside this beautiful coming-of age story of strength, spiritual fortitude, and a conviction of personal will to overcome what comes along in our lives that scare us as much as they define our character.

Nancy Lorenz is a writer in YA I want to keep my eye on:

Lorenz has such a beautiful gift for writing compelling teenage drama and realistic life circumstances, that I know she is most definitely a writer in YA I want to keep my eye on! I cannot wait to see where she takes us next, and the fact she was so convicting in a novel of dance, I’d be keen to see more exploits of the creative arts; if not dance! She truly knows how to get into the heart of her characters and I appreciate this the most, as they are uniquely different and approachable. She keeps a clear eye on the economic front of America as well, and she ties-in realistic examples of modern American life as well. She’s not cliche and she honours the characters by giving them full flexibility and a rite of passage that befits who they are as well. I am most definitely going to be keeping my eyes on the look-out for her next releases through Sweetwater Books!

One of the most beautiful things is how she found a way to transition the terminology of the dance into a tangible visual representation of the ballet without having hiccups in the translation. I felt caught up in the delight of reading this novel, because the author’s vision for the storm guided my heart and my imagination towards her impression of where she wanted us to go as reader’s. It is a special gift to translate visually what you write through words, and her expressions and palette of choice in descriptions matched how I felt this story would be represented in life.

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The Strength of Ballerinas Book Trailer via The Strength of Ballerinas

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This Blog Tour Stop is courtesy of Cedar Fort, Inc:

Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

Virtual Road Map of “The Strength of Ballerinas” Blog Tour can be found here:

This is my second Young Adult book review outside of Speculative Fiction and the second for Equality in Literature. Wonder was the first one I blogged about where a brother is different from his sister and the story is rooted in family & coming-of age.

The Strength of Ballerinas Blog Tour via Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

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I positively *love!* comments in the threads below each of my posts, and I have happily made sure that I could reacquire the WP Comments where you can leave me a comment by using: WP (WordPress), Twitter, Facebook, Google+, & Email! Kindly know that I appreciate each thought you want to share with me and all the posts on my blog are open to new comments & commentary! Short or long, I appreciate the time you spent to leave behind a note of your visit! Return again soon! 

{SOURCES: Author photograph and the Book Cover of “The Strength of Ballerinas” were provided by the author Nancy Lorenz and used with permission. The Cedar Fort badge, the Book Synopsis, and the Author Biography were provided by Cedar Fort, Inc. and used by permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Book Trailer for The Strength of Ballerinas via the novel’s YouTube Channel & the trailer for First Position by First Position Films had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed these media portals to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share more about this novel and the author who penned it.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

The ‘live reading’ tweets I shared as I read & reviewed “The Strength of Ballerinas”:

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Updates about this becoming a series:

*This last tweet was RT at least 5x!

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Posted Sunday, 21 September, 2014 by jorielov in 21st Century, A Father's Heart, Autism, Ballet, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Book Trailer, Bookish Films, Brothers and Sisters, California, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Children's Literature, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debilitating Diagnosis & Illness, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Diet Weight & Body Image, Disabilities & Medical Afflictions, Documentary on Topic or Subject, Equality In Literature, Father-Daughter Relationships, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Geographically Specific, Indie Author, Life Shift, Modern Day, Musical Fiction | Non-Fiction, Napa Valley, New York City, Prejudicial Bullying & Non-Tolerance, Questioning Faith as a Teen, Realistic Fiction, School Life & Situations, Siblings, Small Towne Fiction, Special Needs Children, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Transfer Student at School, Urban Life, Vintages and Vineyards, Women's Health, Young Adult Fiction