I decided to make your travels to Jorie Loves A Story this November slightly easier than keeping key posts *pinned!* to the top of my blog – there are two sidebar banners (ie. Sci-Fi Month & HoHoHoRAT) to help navigate you but you can also click-through right now:
Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for “Her Sister’s Shoes” hosted by iRead Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of “Her Sister’s Shoes” direct from the author Ashley Farley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Reflecting on a film by a similar name:
In Her Shoes was an emotionally gutting film about two sisters who were attempting to sort their way through their lives. One of them had the indecency to run her personal life into the path of the other; where nothing was sacred not even the boyfriends they were dating. A quick transition to their grandmother’s led one sister towards a new beginning and the other one towards an attempt to understand why her sister felt flight towards a retirement community was necessary to seek self-renewing identity. It was a film that touched on all your emotions at once and a sisterly bond portrayed excellently by the lead actresses in the roles.
When I first saw this blog tour being announced I had a sense of knowing that this novel might paint a story quite as humbling true as the film; even though they are separate of each other, it’s the way in which the story felt to be told that struck an accord with me. Sisters have a bond that is difficult to understand when their at odds with each other, but it’s a bond that runs deeper than blood and hearty enough to survive just about anything that seeks to divide them. Writers who can tap into that relationship and honour a story with characters who live their truth interdependent to each other have a story worth being discovered. They evoke a further clarity on the human spirit and on the journey families take to find both redemption and acceptance through forgiveness.
Set in the South Carolina Lowcountry and packed with Southern charm and memorable characters, Her Sister’s Shoes is the story of three sisters—Samantha, Jackie, and Faith—who struggle to balance the demands of career and family while remaining true to themselves.
Samantha Sweeney has always been the glue that holds her family together, their go-to girl for love and support. When an ATV accident leaves her teenage son in a wheelchair, she loses her carefully constructed self-control.
In the after-gloom of her dreaded fiftieth birthday and the discovery of her husband’s infidelity, Jackie realizes she must reconnect with her former self to find the happiness she needs to move forward.
Faith lacks the courage to stand up to her abusive husband. She turns to her sisters for help, placing all their lives at risk.
In the midst of their individual challenges, the Sweeney sisters must cope with their mother’s mental decline. Is Lovie in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, or is her odd behavior normal for a woman her age? No one, including Lovie, understands her obsession with a rusty key she wears around her neck.
For fans of Elin Hildebrand, Her Sister’s Shoes is a contemporary women’s novel that explores and proves the healing power of family.
Ashley Farley is a wife and mother of two college-aged children. She grew up in the salty marshes of South Carolina, but now lives in Richmond, Virginia, a city she loves for its history and traditions.
After her brother died in 1999 of an accidental overdose, she turned to writing as a way of releasing her pent-up emotions. She wrote SAVING BEN in honor of Neal, the boy she worshipped, the man she could not save. SAVING BEN is not a memoir, but a story about the special bond between siblings.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
My path originally crossed with Ms. Heal during her blog tour last year (2013), when her third novel in the History Mystery series was making it’s way through the book blogosphere whilst stopping on Inspirational fiction blogs I frequently visit. It was on one of these tour stops I had the happy joy in winning a copy of “Every Hill & Mountain” and ever since then, I had had it in mind to blog about this beautiful time travel series for Sci Fi November! I contacted the author about this particular idea and she offered to send me the first two novels in the series with matching cover-art to the third novel, as I have the original cover-art designs for the History Mystery series – where the house is featured but is not prominent as there is a girl featured as well on “Time and Again”.
Therefore, I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Deborah Heal, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Inspired to Read the Series:
What originally drew me into the folds of this particular time travel series is the overall premise, of how an old house can become a portal of a window into time travel! The idea of having the thread of a time travel narrative worked through the Inspirational side of literature was also an appeal, as I was quite curious how the science behind travelling in time might be explored and explained inasmuch as how the story would alter or change from traditional science fiction roots which are published through mainstream markets. As a hybrid reader whose mind is always open and seeking out new inventive ways of telling stories, I was most curious on how an INSPY writer would treat the scope of the story as much as the science behind it.
Abby Thomas is spending the summer in a run-down old house with a bratty pre-teen named Merrideth she is supposed to tutor. Not a dream job. But it does come with perks.
There’s John Roberts, a devastatingly attractive neighbor who is almost too wonderful to be real.
And there’s the new computer program Beautiful Houses—also too amazing to be real. No one knows how it works, but with it she can rewind and fast-forward the lives of all the people who ever lived in the house, including Charlotte Miles.
In 1858, the house is a train stop on the Alton & Chicago Line. And Charlotte is stuck there serving meals to the passengers, wondering if she’ll ever get to have any fun. And then she meets two travelers who change her life forever.
There’s James McGuire with whom she falls in love. And there’s his boss, a young Springfield lawyer named Abraham Lincoln. His debate with political opponent Stephen Douglas catapults him onto the national stage. And it inspires Charlotte to take up the cause of abolition.
Deborah Heal, the author of the Time and Again "history mystery" trilogy, which has been described as "Back to the Future meets virtual reality with a dash of Seventh Heaven thrown in," was born not far from the setting of her novel Every Hill and Mountain and grew up just down the road from the settings of Time and Again and Unclaimed Legacy.
Today she lives with her husband in Monroe County, Illinois, not far from the setting of Once Again: an inspirational novel of history, mystery & romance. She enjoys reading, gardening, and learning about regional history. She has three grown children, five grandchildren, and two canine buddies Digger and Scout, a.k.a. Dr. Bob in Unclaimed Legacy.
She loves to interact with her readers, who may learn more about the history behind the books at her website and her Facebook author page.
Time travelling within the walls of an older home:
Heal has a good way of giving small details out about the condition of the old house, where you become delighted in finding out about how the wood and/or the fixtures are represented now verse how they would have been viewed when the house was originally built. There are certain passages that elude to the craftmanship of the care put into it’s structure, as much as a curiosity about certain staircases and what could be found outside in the barn. It has this rambling appeal to it, as if you think you know everything there is to be known about the house itself, yet it is within that moment of certainty that another mystery presents itself that is not as easily explained!
I liked the pace of how Abby encouraged Merrideth to seek out the charm of her new dwelling as much as to find how educational lessons of life and study can become if you ‘think outside the routine’ and ‘structure’ of traditional learning! Abby starts to seek a way to have the ‘house’ transform learning in a way that Merrideth can find tangible connections between what she’s learning and what she can see through experience. Read More
Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Come Dancing” virtual book tour through Book Junkie Promotions. This is my first tour to host for Amy Bruno’s new endeavour where she is now able to host authors across genres and not limited to Historical Fiction! I look forward to successive tours with her in this new vein of book publicity and am thankful I was chosen for this one! I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Leslie Wells, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Interested in Reading:
I knew as soon as I read the premise for this story, it was going to be straight-up ChickLit and a bit of a departure from what I regularly read; yet that is exactly why I wanted to request it for review! I am always lamenting about how I like to break-out of my comfort zones in literature, try a story that is writ in a style and method that is not within my preferred niche of selections and take a chance on something uniquely different. I think it allows readers not to become clogged into a pattern of repetitive thematics and draws an expansive circle around the hearty breadth of what is regularly offered. I will admit, I can stumble a bit here or there, even find a miss amongst the gems, but what I appreciate about the journey is the unexpected joys, the startling wicked discoveries, and the wide expanse of what is being written across all spectrum’s of literature today. Mind you, as I already disclosed on my Review Policy, a bit of ‘heat’ isn’t something I blush away from reading, as I am far more concerned about the level of vulgarity in novels than I am about a bit of romance! And, as far as vulgarity is concerned — I prefer it to be non-inclusive or sparsely sprinkled if a necessity at best.
Julia is a book-loving publisher’s assistant. Jack is a famous British rock star. “Opposites attract” is an understatement.
It’s 1981. Twenty-four-year-old Julia Nash has recently arrived in Manhattan, where she works as a publisher’s assistant. She dreams of becoming an editor with her own stable of bestselling authors—but it is hard to get promoted in the recession-clobbered book biz.
Julia blows off steam by going dancing downtown with her best friend, Vicky. One night, a hot British guitarist invites them into his VIP section. Despite an entourage of models and groupies, Jack chooses Julia as his girl for the evening—and when Jack Kipling picks you, you go with it. The trouble is … he’s never met a girl like her before. And she resists being just one in a long line.
Jack exposes her to new experiences, from exclusive nightclubs in SoHo to the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood; from mind-bending recording sessions to wild backstage parties. Yet Julia is afraid to fall for him. Past relationships have left her fragile; one more betrayal just might break her.
As she fends off her grabby boss and tries to move up the corporate ladder, Julia’s torrid relationship with Jack takes her to heights she’s never known—and plunges her into depths she’s never imagined.
With a fascinating inside look at publishing, this entertaining story of a bookish young woman’s adventures with a rock superstar is witty, moving, and toe-curlingly steamy.
Leslie Wells left her small Southern town in 1979 for graduate school in Manhattan, after which she got her first job in book publishing. She has edited forty-eight New York Times bestsellers in her over thirty-year career, including thirteen number one New York Times bestsellers. Leslie has worked with numerous internationally known authors, musicians, actors, actresses, television and radio personalities, athletes, and coaches. She lives on Long Island, New York.
Read an Excerpt of the Novel:
Chapter 1: One Way or Another
“Are you ever getting out of there?” my friend Vicky complained.
I crooked the receiver in my shoulder, scrabbling papers together. “I’m heading out now. Harvey dumped a bunch of stuff on me right before he took off.” My boss, the publisher, liked to clear his desk at the end of the week—which meant I got to stay late every Friday night.
“About time. I’ll see you at your place in an hour.”
“We’re going to stick together tonight, right? Avoid the meat market?” I loved dancing off my pent-up energy from long hours sitting at my desk. Vicky saw it more as a smorgasbord of men, served up buffet-style.
“Depends what’s on the menu. See you in a few.”
The minute she hung up, my line rang again. “Is this Julia?” a familiar voice screeched.
“Hi, Louise. How’s it going in Seattle?” Our high-strung author was on a twelve-city tour for her new thriller, and the campaign had been plagued with problems. A celebrated Texas crime reporter, she had braved drug dealers’ bullets but couldn’t cope with delayed flights and lumpy hotel pillows. Harvey had stopped taking her calls a week ago, and ever since she’d been haranguing me.
“The escort hasn’t shown up yet. Why can’t these people be prompt?” Louise fretted.
I held back from pointing out that it was over three hours until her event. “Let me see if anyone’s left in publicity; maybe they can locate her.”
I scurried around the corner to the desolate PR department. The lights in Erin’s cubicle were still on, which gave me hope. A few doors down, I found her on her knees in front of the copy machine. Erin looked up at me and smiled. “Got it!” she exclaimed, extracting an inky wad.
“Could you come deal with Louise? She’s all pumped up for her signing, but the escort has gone awol.” I rolled my eyes.
“God forbid she should ask the front desk to call her a cab,” Erin grumbled as she followed me down the hall. “She’s stared down gun-toting Mafiosi, but on the road she turns into a quivering mass of jelly.”
“Typical of her,” I said. Most of our authors were great, but a few were real doozies. “Do you want to come out with me and Vicky later? We’re going to hit the Palladium around eleven.”
“I have to finish a press release for that astrology guide. Another glam night in the big city.”
“Okay, be that way. Call me if you change your mind.” I ducked into my office and switched Louise over to Erin, covered my typewriter, then crammed my weekend reading into my backpack.
I sprinted down the deserted hall past shelves overflowing with manuscripts, a few framed awards gathering dust. Our titles ranged from literary to pure fluff; with the economy still in the pits, we were hawking anything from pop psychology to diet fads. This had been a shock when I’d arrived as a starry-eyed editorial assistant after a brief stint in grad school, thinking I’d be spending my weekends holed up with hot talent from The New Yorker. But now I was seasoned enough to plow through the B-list celebrity memoirs and breastfeeding manuals, while relishing any good novels that came my way.
I caught the elevator with a jittery messenger who bounced his bike tire, making the floor shimmy. I waved to the security guard and headed down lower Park Avenue in the balmy air. Usually I walked home to save money on subway tokens; I figured I had time tonight since my best friend was probably still primping.
Vicky had left the company a few months ago to join the publicity department of a larger midtown publisher. I missed her at the office, and I was also envious of her escape from assistantdom. But we still got together on weekends, and now I couldn’t wait to go to our favorite club. We liked the Palladium for its edgy mix of punks, rockers, and regular people like us.
I wove through some guys hissing “Sens, sensimilla!” in Washington Square and stopped at a street vendor selling earrings. A pair with long strands of beads and feathers caught my eye. I fingered them for a minute, calculating. Seven bucks for drinks; three for a cab home tonight … Reluctantly I put them back.
Halfway down MacDougal, I came to a screeching halt. An absolutely perfect small table was sitting right in the middle of the sidewalk. I stepped close for a better look. Gold leaf curlicues adorned its surface, and ornate lion heads were carved into its corners. I gave it a shake to see if the legs were loose, but it didn’t even wobble. I couldn’t believe someone had thrown out something this nice—it wasn’t even large garbage night! At last I could get rid of the stacked milk crates I ate on.
Now I just had to get it home. My place on Broome Street was eight blocks away, and the table was about three feet square. Maybe if I swung my backpack around to the front and hoisted the table on my back …
As I stood there considering, a guy in a dirty tee-shirt approached, holding a can of beer. “You need some help with that?” he asked, swaying a little.
“I think I can get it. Thanks anyway.”
The man leaned against the brick wall of the apartment building to watch. Turning around, I backed up to the table. I tried to reach behind and grasp its sides, but I couldn’t bend back far enough—why I’d always stunk at the limbo-la. Maybe if I bent lower … I crouched down, the backpack wedged against my belly like an unwanted pregnancy, and strained to get a grip on its legs.
Suddenly a woman ran screeching out of the building. “Stop that! What are you doing with my table?”
I stared at her. “This is yours? I thought somebody was throwing it away.”
“Are you kidding? This is an antique! You couldn’t have thought it was being thrown out.” The woman glared at me, hand on her hip.
Oh my god, how embarrassing. “I didn’t realize—I mean, it was sitting here all by itself with no note on it or anything. I thought it was meant for the garbage.”
“The garbage!” the woman shrieked. “I paid six hundred dollars for that! I was waiting for my husband to bring it upstairs! You should keep your paws off things that aren’t yours,” she huffed as she flounced back inside.
The man in the tee-shirt smiled and took a gulp of beer. “Baby, you just took a bite of the B-i-i-i-g Apple.”