Category: Flashbacks & Recollective Memories

Book Review | “The Wedding Diary” (Charton Minster No.5) by Margaret James #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 1 July, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

ChocLitSaturdays Banner Created by Jorie in Canva.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why Jorie Loves reading the Charton Minster series:

You never have to worry about the continuity of this series – as Ms James has write such a charmingly realistic series as you move from one installment to the next, you re-alight right in step with where you were previously! It’s a credit to all writers who I am finding have a wicked way of knowing exactly what to do in a sequel or the next thread of story in a series where the layers are so very intricate and complex. Being this is a war drama series, the beauty for me, has been her focus on the people ‘behind the war’, where life moves forward at quite a clip whilst the war is still raging onwards. She hones in on the home front and of the life on the front lines (depending on where you are in the series) – giving you a hearty juxtaposition which grounds you so fully on the life experiences of her characters.

Given this is a series which takes place in the early 20th Century, you never once think your reading about a contemporary time-line either, this is a credit to her inclusions of language and turns of phrase which were the height of popularity back then rather than now. Sometimes I think we could opt to use these phrases more often, as they are slightly cheeky and give you a smile of laugh to hear out loud! I also like how she’s remained true to her character’s motivations; as you watch her characters grow and age, so too, do they evolve in both maturity and life experiences. They each find out things about themselves which might surprise them or give them a moment of pause, but overall, this is a living tome of ordinary lives intersecting with History.

Ms James brings back the issue of Charton Minster (the house) itself too, whilst giving us a good nod towards knowing what’s become of the other characters we’ve cared for throughout the series (thus far along). Daisy makes an appearance and in so doing, gives us a happy moment of reprieve knowing her life has turnt out quite well. She’s not just happy (in career and marriage) but she’s resolved her past and her origins; she even has a healthy outlook on the circle of her life. One of the things you love appreciating about how the series unfolds is how each character is still keenly important even if the core of the current story has shifted forward and away from them. Their still viable and their able to give insight into where they currently are now on their own life’s path.

The tug on your heart is waiting to find out what becomes of the young adventure seekers: Cassie and Frances whilst finding the twins (Robert and Stephen) keep you on your toes as to how their lives will become altered through service and war. Robert might not be the easiest bloke to warm too, but there is something about him that pulls at your heart as you watch him make the choices he needs too and the sacrifices which come from duty. Stephen is a bit head-strong even though you don’t think it at first; he’s the twin who feels he has the most to prove and yet never quite sees himself in a positive light.

What truly hits you throughout this third story is  how difficult it is to accept the circumstances as they evolve; to embrace the future of tomorrow without understanding how the present will heal and feel less adverse. Each of the characters you’ve come to know how learning curves and situations to overcome, but at the heart of the series is always finding one’s path when the uncertainties are stacked against you. When being brave and finding courage are not easy attributes to always embrace but a strong will to survive can carry you through. What I loved most is how in each turning of the series, the women and men featured in Charton Minster have the capacity to endeavour to beat the odds and find true love in unexpected hours of grace.

-quoted from my review of The Penny Bangle

You can well understand why I am quite delighted I can continue to read each installment of this series, and become caught up in the drama and lives of each of the characters as they make their entrance and take their cue to exit. It’s one of those timeless classics you hope you can stumble across & dearly love!

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

Notation on Cover Art: I am in LOVE with this cover art – the glittered butterflies and moon are so lovely! Even the ChocLit logo on the spine has GLITTER. I’m not even what you’d consider a glitter-mad girl either – but sometimes, there are times where glitter is a good accessory to have on hand and for this book’s cover, it’s rockin’ brill! I even like how it’s raised and the texture of it, too! Great call on adding those elements to the cover as it made it funkified jazzy with a dash of spritely joy!

 Book Review | “The Wedding Diary” (Charton Minster No.5) by Margaret James #ChocLitSaturdaysThe Wedding Diary
Subtitle: Where's a Fairy Godmother when you need one?
by Margaret James
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Berni Stevens
Source: Direct from Publisher

Where’s a Fairy Godmother when you need one?

If you won a fairy-tale wedding in a luxury hotel, you’d be delighted – right? But what if you didn’t have anyone to marry? Cat Aston did have a fiancé, but now it looks like her Prince Charming has done a runner.

Adam Lawley was left devastated when his girlfriend turned down his heartfelt proposal. He’s made a vow never to fall in love again.

So – when Cat and Adam meet, they shouldn’t even consider falling in love. After all, they’re both broken hearted. But for some reason they can’t stop thinking about each other. Is this their second chance for happiness, or are some things just too good to be true?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on ChocLitUK

ISBN: 9781781890165

Also by this author: The Silver Locket, The Golden Chain, The Penny Bangle, Cover Reveal w/ Notes (Girl in Red Velvet)

Also in this series: The Silver Locket, The Golden Chain, The Penny Bangle, Cover Reveal w/ Notes (Girl in Red Velvet)


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


Published by ChocLitUK

on 1st July, 2013

Format: UK Edition Paperback

Pages: 289

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLituk)

Available Formats: Paperback, Audiobook & E-Book

Order of Sequence of Charton Minster series:

The Silver Locket Book One (review)

The Golden Chain Book Two (review) | The Penny Bangle Book Three (review)

A writer to reader explanation of how to read the last three novels: I wrote to Ms James to understand my slight confusion on how ‘The Wedding Diary’ fits into the canon of Charton Minster wherein I learnt a few things quite extraordinary! In regards to time-line, the sequence ought to be this way round: ‘Girl in Red Velvet’ (hugs closer to ending of 1st trilogy being set in the 1960s) then ‘The Wedding Diary’ and ending off with ‘Magic Sometimes Happens’.

This is due to the fact ‘The Wedding Diary’ is set in modern day (ie. the 21st Century present day) and is only a handful (say two) years ahead of ‘Magic Sometimes Happens’. Ergo, I was at a deficient reading what I perceived as books 4 & 5: the truth is 6 becomes 4 and 5 becomes 6, thereby making the 4th book the 5th in sequence. I have re-aligned the proper sequence below as well as updated my slideshow of covers. This also makes the cover art illustrations more relatable as well – four books hug the war eras & emerge into the 60s; the latter two in sequence change style of cover art to reflect the new century they reside inside. Mystery solved!

PS: You know ‘The Wedding Diary’ is set in the 21st Century as ‘Harry Potter’ is referenced; mind you, the way in which he’s referenced it felt 2000+ not ending chapters of 1990s. It’s close though – it could be interpreted either way – I am only sharing where I feel it fits.

Girl in Red Velvet Book Four (see also Cover Reveal Notes)

The Wedding Diary Book Five | Magic Sometimes Happens Book Six

NOTE: When ‘Girl in Red Velvet’ releases into print, I will be re-reading this series in order to anchour the sequence into the proper order and to see what I might have missed by reading the series out of it’s proper continuous time-line. This isn’t the first series I have read which was published out of sequence of the order of the story. I am truly blessed Ms James was available to help me work out the details and thereby giving me the chance to help you read this in the time-line she intended. My instincts of suspecting there was a switch-up was on the nose but it wasn’t until I spoke to Ms James all the pieces of the puzzle were fully understood. The truth in the pudding truly was the cover art illustrations!

Converse via: #ChartonMinster, #HistFic, #HistRom + #ChocLit

About Margaret James

Margaret James

Margaret James was born and brought up in Hereford and now lives in Devon. She studied English at London University, and has written many short stories, articles and serials for magazines. She is the author of sixteen published novels.

Her debut novel for Choc Lit, The Silver Locket, received a glowing review from the Daily Mail and reached the Top 20 Small Publishers Fiction List in November 2010 and in the same year a Reviewers’ Choice Award from Single Titles. The Golden Chain also hit the Top 20 Small Publishers Fiction List in May 2011. The Wedding Diary was shortlisted for the 2014 Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

Novels: The Silver Locket, The Golden Chain, The Penny Bangle, The Wedding Diary and Magic Sometimes Happens which are part of the Charton Minster series.

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

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Posted Saturday, 1 July, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, British Literature, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Contemporary Romance, England, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Green-Minded Publishers, Indie Author, Life Shift, Modern British Author, Modern British Literature, Modern Day, Multi-Generational Saga, Romance Fiction, Story in Diary-Style Format, Vulgarity in Literature

Blog Book Tour | “Kinship of Clover” by Ellen Meeropol An ecological #SciFantasy written in the style of a Literary Novel which seeks to express a plea for developing an environmental conscious & awareness of the plight befalling the natural world.

Posted Thursday, 4 May, 2017 by jorielov , , 3 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I have been hosting for Poetic Book Tours for a few years now, where I am finding myself encouraged to seek out collections of poetry or incredible fiction being published through Small Trade publishers and presses. I have an Indie spirit and mentality as a writer and I appreciate finding authors who are writing creative works through Indie resources as I find Indies have a special spirit about them. It is a joy to work with Poetic Book Tours for their resilience in seeking out voices in Literature which others might overlook and thereby, increasing my own awareness of these beautiful lyrical voices in the craft. I was selected to review “Kinship of Clover” by Poetic Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of “The Kinship of Clover” direct from author’s publicist in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was inspired to read this story:

I developed an environmental conscious at a very young age – recently I shared a few reasons why the natural world encourages my curiosity through discussing BioDiversity but this is a topic I regularly speak about as it parlays to my interests of staying environmentally aware. I appreciate seeking out stories which are uniquely written and told in a voice which illuminates the joy of finding story-tellers who are bending genre to their own will of style. I mentioned this on a recent Top Ten Tuesday topic as well. What draws my eye to the innovative styles of telling stories is simply being enfolded into a story which remembers there are no boundaries of where a story can take us visually nor through depth of heart. There is a spirit in the crafting of stories – of finding ways of telling stories which not only enrich the mind but endeavour to embrace the hidden truths of our world.

Therefore it was a pleasure and joy to find this title being offered for review on a blog tour recently. Reading the Editor’s Note was a bolt of inspiration too, as I liked how she mentioned most story-tellers who tackle a story similar to this one in breadth and centreing would focus on the negative or the darker undertones of how a story such as this is regularly conceived. I personally could do with less negativity and more pro-positive examples of how humanity still has the hope of turning things around or at the very least of limiting our impact which has grown out of hand. Positive hope is far better than the bitterness of pessimistic apocalyptic futures or dystopian violence.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “Kinship of Clover” by Ellen Meeropol An ecological #SciFantasy written in the style of a Literary Novel which seeks to express a plea for developing an environmental conscious & awareness of the plight befalling the natural world.Kinship of Clover
by Ellen Meeropol
Source: Publicist via Poetic Book Tours

He was nine when the vines first wrapped themselves around him and burrowed into his skin. Now a college botany major, Jeremy is desperately looking for a way to listen to the plants and stave off their extinction. But when the grip of the vines becomes too intense and Health Services starts asking questions, he flees to Brooklyn, where fate puts him face to face with a group of climate-justice activists who assure him they have a plan to save the planet, and his plants.

As the group readies itself to make a big Earth Day splash, Jeremy soon realizes these eco-terrorists devotion to activism might have him and those closest to him tangled up in more trouble than he was prepared to face. With the help of a determined, differently abled flame from his childhood, Zoe; her deteriorating, once rabble-rousing grandmother; and some shocking and illuminating revelations from the past, Jeremy must weigh completing his mission to save the plants against protecting the ones he loves, and confront the most critical question of all: how do you stay true to the people you care about while trying to change the world?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1597093811

Genres: Biological Diversity, Botany, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Current Events, Ecology, Genre-bender, Psychology & Cognitive Science, Sci-Fantasy


Published by Red Hen Press

on 4th April, 2017

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 272

Published By: Red Hen Press (@RedHenPress)

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #KinshipOfClover + #SmallPress & #ThinkGreen or #EarthDayEveryday

About Ellen Meeropol

Ellen Meeropol is fascinated by characters on the fault lines of political upheaval. Previous work includes a dramatic script telling the story of the Rosenberg Fund for Children which has been produced in four U.S cities, most recently in Boston. Elli is the wife of Robert Meeropol, youngest son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg.

Elli is a former nurse and independent bookstore event coordinator and the author of two previous novels, House Arrest and On Hurricane Island. She is a founding member of Straw Dog Writers Guild. Short fiction and essays have appeared in Bridges, DoveTales, Pedestal, Rumpus, Portland Magazine, and the Writer’s Chronicle.

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Posted Thursday, 4 May, 2017 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book for University Study, Botany, Climate Change, Coming-Of Age, Conservation, Ecology, Environmental Advocacy, Environmental Conscience, Environmental Science, Equality In Literature, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, GeoPhysical History, Horticulture, Indie Author, Literary Fiction, Literature for Boys, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Modern Day, Mother-Son Relationships, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Poetic Book Tours, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Realistic Fiction, Science Fantasy, Siblings, Twin Siblings, Vulgarity in Literature

Blog Book Tour | “Unseen Road to Love” by Chelsea Curran an INSPY Rom which was partially inspired by the author’s own serendipitous recovery from a tragic car accident.

Posted Monday, 1 May, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Cedar Fort whereupon I am thankful to have such a diverse amount of novels and non-fiction titles to choose amongst to host. I received a complimentary copy of “Unseen Road to Love” 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.

What drew my interest to read this particular INSPY Rom:

I love stories like these that involve the uncertainty after a coma! Do you remember the film “While You Were Sleeping”?? There was another one starring Reese Witherspoon too. I love those timeless Romances of the unknown!! – initial reaction

It is quite true – I have a penchant for stories, especially Romances surrounding someone whose succumbed to a traumatic accident and/or has entered into a coma. Earlier this year, I found a story which truly was eloquently written and alleviated fiction to a new layer of insight on a how a story such as this can be told. Even Hallmark Channel produced an incredibly humbling film starring Lindy Booth which still to this day is one of my favourites to re-see each Christmas. There is a lot of hope and a huge walk of faith to heal and recover from injuries serious enough to cause a person to enter a coma.

Unlike terminal illnesses, I find I can handle these kinds of stories far better because their more about healing and the spiritual side of how the art of healing is not entirely understood from our point of view here on Earth. There is a lot to be said for the consistency of prayer and of riding through adverse situations by the hope of what we all have inside us for the tomorrows which feel so very uncertain. Sometimes you do not even have time to pray or to hope for an outcome that is not as dire as it becomes; life can change in the blink of an eye as so much can happen in the instant everything spins out of control; especially during a car accident. I briefly mentioned my family’s accident recently whilst musing about the complexities of the natural world and our participation in the fragile balance of Earth’s ecological harmony.

However, the author’s car accident and my family’s accident have one major difference: we were spared injury and walked away unscathed. After spinning three times on the highway and slamming hard into the ditch whilst flipping over several times, no one was more surprised by this outcome than the first responders who were quite agape on scene afterwards. We were out of state and it was late at night. The lesson learnt that night is commuting back to one’s hotel after a day trip away from where your staying isn’t worth risking driving whilst your too tired to make the journey back. Also, one’s hamster can survive without having his ‘breakfast’ on schedule. It was the scariest moment in our lives – we pitched or rather hovered briefly on the brink of ‘going over’ but what looked like a canyon was the car exiting the spin and about to roll. Dad and I woke up first and all we had time to say is we were together; come what may, we were all together.

It’s true – sometimes you get second chances at unexpected moments where you never realised how close you were to having your life on the line. Eleven years later, I’ve never forgotten what happened that night nor how we were smiling for the camera a short while later, as the police officer took our picture in front of the Beetle which sacrificed it’s life to save ours. We were truly blessed the car held it’s integrity even if the accident itself rendered it undriveable. The fuller story behind that night is a testament of our faith and of how faith pulls you through at moments where prayer isn’t possible but your faith is still a rock and shield to your soul. Miracles are everywhere. You just have to remain open to experiencing them when you never thought they’d enter your life.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Notation on Cover Art: I truly love this cover art! It has the light of faith and the burst of angelic intervention about it! I love the swirls of purple and of the shining light behind the couple, too. It’s a book cover befitting an INSPY read and a story of uplifting courage and remarkable recovery through holding strong to one’s faith and believing adversity and strife can be overcome.

Blog Book Tour | “Unseen Road to Love” by Chelsea Curran an INSPY Rom which was partially inspired by the author’s own serendipitous recovery from a tragic car accident.Unseen Road to Love
by Chelsea Curran
Source: Direct from Publisher

The airbag deployed as the impact shoved his car across the ice and straight into the intersection. In that same time frame, the car's back end drifted into a half circle, until the last thing Logan saw was another set of lights in the passenger window. And then,...

From the outside, Logan Atwood's life looks perfect: a successful career, a lavish lifestyle. But after a brutal car accident leaves him in a coma, Logan suddenly finds himself five years in the past. Only then does he realize that his perfect world may have cost him the woman of his dreams and the faith he once loved. Is it too late for Logan's second chance?

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781462120055

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction, Sweet Romance


Published by Bonneville Books

on 9th May, 2017

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 304

Published By: Bonneville Books (@BonnevilleBooks),

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

Read this novels INSPIRATIONS | contains SPOILERS via the author’s blog

Converse on Twitter via: #INSPY #Romance or #INSPYRom

About Chelsea Curran

Chelsea Curran

Chelsea Curran lives in the desert valley of Arizona, and has an associates degree in general education from Dixie State University. Though secretly a romantic, she used to spend most of her time brooding over the idea of love until her college roommates introduced her to the exciting and fantastic world of romance novels. When she’s not teaching, dancing, painting, laughing or baking cookies, she’s in her blanket fort giggling over the handsome hero capturing the fair lady’s heart. By experience, she believes one good book can change a person’s life forever.

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Posted Monday, 1 May, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Contemporary Romance, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Medical Fiction, Mental Health, Modern Day, Mormonism, Nurses & Hospital Life, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Singletons & Commitment, Stories of Jorie, Sweet Romance

Book Review | “The Gilded Fan” (Book Two of the Kumashiro Series) by Christina Courtenay via #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 29 April, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

ChocLitSaturdays Banner Created by Jorie in Canva.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why I am fascinated by this series:

I was so consumed by the beautiful romance emitting out of this historical novel, I was swept into the folds of this story to such a degree, I did not want it to end! Hannah and Kumashiro are incredible characters to meet and it’s how their lives start to intersect that keep you up late into the night, as it’s not a book you wish to put down but one to devour, one chapter at a time whilst savouring the journey Courtenay has taken you on!

I appreciated the pacing of this novel – we were given such a lovely narrative in scope, to allow ourselves to curl inside the ‘moments’ with the characters rather than moving at such a clip of a pace to miss certain things. A nice touch too was having certain Japanese words used to explain tradition and the details you’d hope to learn by reading about another country’s cultural heritage. Courtenay has you breathe in the timescape and you feel as if you’ve experienced this place in time as you read the story. I happen to fancy this exploration through fiction because you can live so much through words and how the writer paints the portrait of a scene – it gives a realism to novels and it’s a lovely discovery to have as a reader who appreciates the historical past.

I loved how Ms Courtenay did not write a predictable story on the level that you were never quite certain what was going to befell Hannah – she is a feisty heroine, but she’s one who has a lot riding on her choices and on the will to live differently from the views of her family. Courtenay granted her the ability to think on her feet and to strive to hope she could have a better life if she could get through the adversities that were cutting her to the quick. I loved watching Hannah grow whilst she was at sea and how this growth gave her an empowerment once she reached Japan to where she far more stronger in spirit than when she first left England.

Courtenay has written such a gentle love story as to encircle your mind with her narrative, soaking inside the story as it unfolds and not wanting it to end. She gives you so much time to reside inside this story, you feel connected to Japan but moreso than that even, you feel very connected to her characters.

Such a lovely unputdownable discovery!

I cannot wait to read the next installment – as this surely is a historical drama I dearly love reading and are wicked happy shall be continuing!

-quoted from my review of The Scarlet Kimono

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

On my Connection to Ms. Courtenay:

Three years ago, on the 26th of April, 2014, I created #ChocLitSaturday a weekly Rom chat to celebrate the novelists of ChocLitUK but also, to expand to include book bloggers, readers and writers of Romance who have a penchant for the genre as a whole. Ms Courtenay started to become a regular fixture, and her encouraging conversations & ability to inspire others to converse freely throughout the chats put me at ease in my new role as a ‘Hostess’. She always seemed to know how to either start a topic or how to best suggest something to break the ice! I was always so very grateful to her and I am thinking I might have forgotten to tell her directly how much gratitude I had for her in those earlier chats! Over the years, I have found myself attached to each of my ‘regular’ chatters during the hour, and I consider Ms Courtenay a bookish like-minded soul and dear friend, as we tend to appreciate the same types of stories!

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Courtenay through our respective love & passion of reading inside the twitterverse whilst I host #ChocLitSaturday the chat, kept in touch privately and having had previously read her time slip novels. 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 or continuing to read their releases as they are available.

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

Book Review | “The Gilded Fan” (Book Two of the Kumashiro Series) by Christina Courtenay via #ChocLitSaturdaysThe Gilded Fan
by Christina Courtenay
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Berni Stevens
Source: Direct from Publisher

How do you start a new life, leaving behind all you love?

It’s 1641, and when Midori Kumashiro, the orphaned daughter of a warlord, is told she has to leave Japan or die, she has no choice but to flee to England. Midori is trained in the arts of war, but is that enough to help her survive a journey, with a lecherous crew and an attractive captain she doesn’t trust?

Having come to Nagasaki to trade, the last thing Captain Nico Noordholt wants is a female passenger, especially a beautiful one. How can he protect her from his crew when he can’t keep his own eyes off her?

During their journey, Nico and Midori form a tentative bond, but they both have secrets that can change everything. When they arrive in England, a civil war is brewing, and only by standing together can they hope to survive…

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on ChocLitUK

ISBN: 9781781890080

Also by this author: Guest Post about Time Slips, The Silent Touch of Shadows, The Scarlet Kimono, The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight Cover Reveal, The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight Cover Reveal, Marry for Love, The Jade Lioness

Also in this series: The Scarlet Kimono, The Jade Lioness


Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance


Published by ChocLitUK

on 7th February, 2013

Format: UK Edition Paperback

Pages: 350

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLituk)

Available Formats:

Paperback, Audiobook, Large Print & E-Book

The Kumashiro series:

Book One: The Scarlet Kimono (see also Review)

Book Two: The Gilded Fan

Book Three: The Jade Lioness | Synopsis

Converse via: #KumashiroSeries + #HistRom or #ChocLit

About Christina Courtenay

Christina Courtenay

Christina lives near Hereford and is married with two children. Although born in England she has a Swedish mother and was brought up in Sweden. In her teens, the family moved to Japan where she had the opportunity to travel extensively in the Far East.

Christina’s debut Trade Winds was short listed for the 2011 Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Pure Passion Award for Best Historical Fiction. The Scarlet Kimono won the 2011 Big Red Reads Best Historical Fiction Award. Highland Storms (in 2012) and The Gilded Fan (in 2014) won the Historical Romantic Novel of the Year Award and The Silent Touch of Shadows won the 2012 Best Historical Read Award from the Festival of Romance. Christina is Chairman of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Novels: Trade Winds, Highland Storms, Monsoon Mists, The Scarlet Kimono, The Gilded Fan, The Silent Touch of Shadows, The Secret Kiss of Darkness, The Soft Whisper of Dreams, The Jade Lioness, Marry in Haste, Once Bitten Twice Shy, Desperate Remedies and Never Too Late.

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

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Saturday, 29 April, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 17th Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Cultural & Religious Traditions, Domestic Violence, East India Company, England, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Fathers and Daughters, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Herbalist, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Japan, Japanese Fiction, Japanese History, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, Life Shift, Martial Arts, Military Fiction, Modern British Literature, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Multi-Generational Saga, Naturopathic Medicine, Puritan England, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Women's Fiction, Women's Rights, World Religions

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

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

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

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

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

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

– see also my Review of ‘A Bargain Struck’

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781462119790

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

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


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


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 1st March, 2017

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 256

Published By: Sweetwater Books (@SweetwaterBooks),

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

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

Converse on Twitter via: #UnexpectedLove + #Anthology

About Ashtyn Newbold

Ashtyn Newbold

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

About Heather Chapman

Heather Chapman

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

About Mandi Ellsworth

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

About Paula Kremser

Paula Kremser

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

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

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