Category: Flashbacks & Recollective Memories

A very special #blogmas Christmas Eve with a time travelling war drama #ChristmasReads selection by Jorie | “Christmas Once Again” by Jina Bacarr

Posted Tuesday, 24 December, 2019 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

#blogmas 2019 badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Borrowed Book By: I came to find out about this Historical Time Travelling Christmas war drama through my interactions with Historical Fiction novelists via #HistFicChat as hosted by Vivan Conroy. Ms Bacarr happened to have been one of the guests during the chat and I became dearly fascinated by the premise of the story! Afterwards I made a note to see if I could put in a request for the novel in print and/or audiobook – I submitted a print request to my local library and a digital audiobook request to my regionally local library – of the two I happily received the news the local library was able to acquire a print copy allowing me to read this during #blogmas. Unfortunately, the regional library was unable to acquire the digital audiobook. The print copy similar to the other book requests I submit was for the finished version of the novel any reader could purchase themselves; not a library specific copy or edition.

Therefore I borrowed a print copy of “Christmas Once Again” from my local library and I was not obligated to post a review and are sharing my ruminations with my readers for my own edification as well as happily sharing my bookish life with my readers and visitors alike. The Press Materials however were provided by the author and are used with permission at my request to be used on this review once I decided to write one as well as for being featured on the book spotlight I posted ahead of her guest appearance on @SatBookChat.

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On how I came to find this author:

It was all because of #HistFicChat — there are moments on Twitter which randomly give me a lot of bookishly geeky happiness, such as interacting with authors in chats! It isn’t just the authors I invite into my own chat @SatBookChat but the authors I happily engage with in other chats, like #HistFicChat and others like it. Over the years, some of the chats have closed down, others went on an unexpected hiatus like Ms McCabe’s #HistoricalFix and others, I might have wandered away too long to return (ie. #LitChat). Still what is joyful about the experience of engaging with the bookish within book world through this medium is that there is generally a new chat popping up and arriving into my feeds; giving me a new and refreshed chance to interact with #newtomeauthors such as Ms Bacarr!

When I learnt of the release for Christmas Once Again I knew I wanted to see if my local library could purchase it in time to read by Christmas! What I hadn’t expected was reading it in the golden hours of having it a bit too long due to my father’s medical crisis & my Winter cold which took me offline for a week and afflicted me with a bit of amnesia when it came to my library account! I completely lost track of ‘where’ I was with my borrows both for print and audio – so I quickly made amends to get this novel & Ms Royce’s novel back to the library for the next borrowers in queue to read them before Christmas!

I also had the pleasure of hosting Jina Bacarr during one of my 2019 @SatBookChat‘s! The archived conversations are available to be seen in @SatBookChat’s Moments.

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Notation about Cover Art: Ever since I first saw the cover art for ‘Christmas Once Again’ I have been struck by the look on the woman’s face, the placement of the train in the background behind her and the airplane flying over her right shoulder. Every detail in the cover art seemed to be pointedly aimed towards having us understand the story and the setting in which it takes place – I love when cover art matches the story like this and the choices in bold colours truly were the right call!

A very special #blogmas Christmas Eve with a time travelling war drama #ChristmasReads selection by Jorie | “Christmas Once Again” by Jina BacarrChristmas Once Again
by Jina Bacarr
Source: Borrowed from local library, Purchase REQ | local library

All she wants for Christmas is to save the man she loves…

On a cold December day in 1955, Kate Arden got on a train to go home for Christmas.

This is the story of what happened when she got off that train. In 1943.

In 1943 Kate Arden was engaged to the man she loved, Jeffrey Rushbrooke. She was devastated and heartbroken when he was called up for wartime duty and later killed on a secret mission in France.

But what if Kate could change that? What if she could warn him and save his life before Christmas?
Or will fate have a bigger surprise in store for her?

Christmas Once Again is a sweeping, heartbreakingly romantic novel - it's one woman's chance to follow a different path and mend her broken heart...

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781838893668

Genres: Christmas Story &/or Christmas Romance, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Time Travel Fiction, War Drama


Published by Boldwood Books

on 10th October, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 300

Published by: Boldwood Books (@BoldwoodBooks)

Available Formats: Trade paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Christmas Romance Book Icon made by Jorie in Canva.

Converse via: #ChristmasRomance and #HistRom as well as #TimeTravel war drama

About Jina Bacarr

Jina Bacarr

I started out working as a reporter writing articles for a travel magazine based in Beverly Hills and then for a computer magazine, as well as writing for academia, radio commercials, and PR copy. I’ve had three plays produced in Malibu, California and I worked for a time writing children’s and daytime TV before publishing nonfiction books about Japan, and then later fiction.

In addition to my WW 2 time travel romance, CHRISTMAS ONCE AGAIN, I’ve written a Civil War time travel in 1862 Virginia at the Battle of Antietam, a WW 2 Christmas novella in war torn Italy between a GI and a nun, an erotic novella about a hunky Scrooge from Wall Street, contemporary and historical erotic romance novels, and non-fiction books about Japan.

I enjoy writing to classical music with a hot cup of java by my side. I adore dark chocolate truffles, vintage anything, the smell of bread baking and rainy days in museums. I’ve always loved walking through history—from Pompeii to Verdun to Old Paris.

The voices of the past speak to me through carriages with cracked leather seats, stiff ivory-colored crinolines and worn satin slippers. I’ve always wondered what it was like to walk in those slippers when they were new.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Tuesday, 24 December, 2019 by jorielov in #blogmas, #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Blog Tour Host, Christmas Romance &/or Holiday Story, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Indie Author, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Singletons & Commitment, Sweet Romance, the Fifties, The World Wars

A #blogmas #HarlequinHeartwarming Blog Book Tour | “The Christmas Kiss” (Back to Bluestone River series, Book Two) by Virginia McCullough

Posted Friday, 13 December, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#blogmas 2019 badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquiried about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. I am unsure how many books I’ll review for them as most are offered digitally rather than in print but this happily marks one of the blog tours where I could receive a print book for review purposes. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Christmas Kiss” direct from the author Virginia McCullough in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I enjoy reading a Virginia McCullough
Harlequin Heartwarming novel:

Ruby is the kind of woman who likes to see the potential in life rather than the sour lemons that can upset your plans. She wouldn’t be the first to admit that losing a job she believed in struck her in the heart and was effectively difficult to re-group after due to how much of herself she put into the belief her job was one that had mattered. Instead, she put on the kind of brave face you hope will soak through you the longer you wear it and decides to re-settle into her hometowne of Bluestone River! This coming off the suggestions of her bestie Emma kept nudging her with photos of the open prairie grasses, the calming scenes of wildlife and the potential of what Ruby might find once she arrived. I think the key word there is how Ruby might find something she hadn’t planned to find and thereby, finding a new way forward when life felt like it was falling apart. That’s a sentiment I think most can relate too when things go south and you have to rebuild your life.

Counter to Ruby’s woes are Emma’s concerns for her own health – as she has a serious condition that requires not just surgery but loads of patience as the recovery isn’t an easy one. These are two woman at cornerstones of their lives seeking comfort and shelter together if only to weather the storms and find a way to come through them a bit less affected than if they were to ride them out alone. Although the same could be said for Mike and his young son Jason; as they were two warriors riding into their own storm as well. Mike was the kind of father who was not just committed to his son but he was an encourager of random joy. He liked to keep the legacy of how he was raised in the growing years of his son Jason, even if his own childhood and his son’s held a few stark differences between them. For instance, when Mike was growing up he wasn’t struggling with PTSD like his son but there was solace in being back in Bluestone River. The area held a calmness over it – where the natural world in of itself had the best calming effect on the residents and perhaps, a healing effect as well.

I liked how McCullough took her time in allowing Jason to come round to others; how he interacted with his father, his teacher and even new persons he was just starting to meet like Ruby and Peach (the dog). His behaviour matched what you would expect from a young child who was struggling with the issues he had and yet, each time he was in-scene, it felt organic, honest and real. Nothing felt forced and I appreciated the realism and the extra touches of honesty threading into how Jason was portrayed.

McCullough tackles childhood PTSD and what causes a child to be mute rather than to speak through their emotions and their crises; giving new empathy for how PTSD affects children but also, how sometimes children find the hardest part of their recovery and healing process is resuming the art of speaking. Words have a lot of hidden meanings but they also hold a lot of truths that can be hard to speak; which I felt is partially why Jason might have stopped speaking as his reality had become shattered in such a tragic and traumatic way, it was easy to see why his voice might have become silent for awhile.

There is an ease of awareness and of setting here – you can tell McCullough has taken her time to develop this series, of giving us a well-rounded and well-thought out plotting to where the foundation of the series can build out of this first installment. It is a place that isn’t entirely without its prickles of angst but it has a heart-centred feel to it which gives you the hope of what could happen if people allow themselves to forgive the past and to seek a future without allowing the past to dictate how your life is meant to be lived.

-quoted from my review of A Family for Jason

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A #blogmas #HarlequinHeartwarming Blog Book Tour | “The Christmas Kiss” (Back to Bluestone River series, Book Two) by Virginia McCulloughThe Christmas Kiss
Subtitle: Back to Bluestone River
by Virginia McCullough
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

Will working together

…lead to together forever?

Recently divorced, Parker Davis needs to focus on his new job so he can provide a stable home for his daughter in time for the Christmas holidays. The problem is, he’s frequently at odds with his boss. He and Emma O’Connell approach everything differently. Yet he finds her intriguing, and Bluestone River festivities keep pushing them together—often enough that two people at odds could find themselves evenly matched in love!

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335510969

Also by this author: A Family for Jason

Also in this series: A Family for Jason


Genres: Christmas Story &/or Christmas Romance, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Romance Fiction


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 3rd December, 2019

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 375

Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming

Converse via: #Contemporary + #Romance and #HarlequinHeartwarming

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Back to Bluestone River series:

A Family for Jason (book one) : Ruby & Mike’s story (see also Review)

The Christmas Kiss (book two) : Emma & Parker’s story

I love how the sequel involves Emma! She’s Ruby’s best friend & she helped Ruby become re-established back into Bluestone River. I thought it was fitting she’d get her own story after finding out how tied-in she is to the community & Ruby’s life!

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About Virginia McCullough

Virginia McCullough

Born and raised in Chicago, Virginia McCullough has been lucky enough to develop her writing career in many locations, including the coast of Maine, the mountains of North Carolina, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and currently, Northeast Wisconsin. She started her career in nonfiction, first writing articles and then books as a ghostwriter and coauthor. She’s written more than 100 books for physicians, business owners, professional speakers and many others with information to share or a story to tell.

Virginia’s books feature characters who could be your neighbors and friends. They come in all ages and struggle with everyday life issues in small-town environments that almost always include water—oceans, lakes, or rivers. The mother of two grown children, you’ll find Virginia with her nose a book, walking on trails or her neighborhood street, or she may be packing her bag to take off for her next adventure. And she’s always working on another story about hope, healing, and second chances.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 13 December, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, A Father's Heart, Blog Tour Host, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Indie Author, Life Shift, Modern Day, Mute | Medical Loss of Voice, Prism Book Tours, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Single Fathers, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Special Needs Children

A #ChristmasReads selection of Jorie’s during #blogmas | “A Family by Christmas” (Book One: Little Shops on Heart Street series) by Viv Royce

Posted Thursday, 12 December, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#blogmas 2019 badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Borrowed Book By: I came to find out about this Christmas Romance release as I follow the social feeds on Twitter for Vivian Conroy – of whom is the writer behind this novel. She writes for different publishers and uses a few different pen names to denote which type of story and/or series she is writing. When I learnt about this upcoming Christmas release I asked my local library to purchase a copy as I was hoping they might consider it for one of their new Christmas selections for the year. I happily received the news they did select it and was thankful I had the chance to read it during #blogmas.

Therefore borrowed a print copy of “A Family by Christmas” from my local library and I was not obligated to post a review and are sharing my ruminations with my readers for my own edification as well as happily sharing my bookish life with my readers and visitors alike. The Press Materials however were provided by the author and are used with permission.

On how I came to find this author:

I first became introduced to this author’s writing style through her Cosy Historical and Cosy Contemporary Mysteries – as I previously read “In Peppermint Peril” for last year’s #cloakanddaggerchristmas readathon and I had the joyful pleasure of being involved in the Twitter chat #Conroy10 which celebrated the release of “The Butterfly Conspiracy” before I had the chance to read the book myself!

However, more to the point, I truly came to know her as a writer and as a conversationalist through her Historical Fiction Twitter chat #HistFicChat – of which we both share a mutually beloved passion for the historic past as explored through today’s Historical narratives which criss-cross through History and give us a wicked good impression of the past!

This marks the first release of her Contemporary Romances by Entangled Publishing – a new Indie publisher I was thankful to have crossed paths with as they offer romances within a lot of the sub-genres of interest I have as a Romance reader.

When I learnt of the release for “A Family by Christmas” I knew I wanted to see if my local library could purchase it in time to read by Christmas. What I hadn’t expected was reading it in the golden hour of having it a bit too long due to my father’s medical crisis & my Winter cold which not just took me offline for a week but also had me have a bit of amnesia when it came to my library account! I completely lost track of ‘where’ I was with my borrows both for print and audio – so I quickly made amends to get this novel & Ms Bacarr’s novel back to the library for the next borrowers in queue to read them before Christmas!

I also had the pleasure of hosting Vivian Conroy during one of my 2019 @SatBookChat‘s! The archived conversations are available to be seen in @SatBookChat’s Moments.

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A #ChristmasReads selection of Jorie’s during #blogmas | “A Family by Christmas” (Book One: Little Shops on Heart Street series) by Viv RoyceA Family by Christmas
Subtitle: Sometimes Wishes Do Come True | Little Shops on Heart Street
by Viv Royce
Source: Borrowed from local library, Purchase REQ | local library

Chocolatier Emma Miller has a new business selling bonbons to the residents of the quaint town of Wood Creek. When a tiny visitor stops by her shop with an interesting request. Emma is intrigued. The young girl needs chocolates that will help her widowed dad fall in love, preferably with her teacher. What Emma didn’t count on was Casey’s ever so charming and handsome dad, Grant, stepping into her life. She has to remind herself to be cautious because the one thing she learned in foster care is that people always leave.

Pilot Grant Galloway is touched by his daughter’s gift and is curious about the person who made the world-class chocolates. But when he steps into Emma’s shop full of delicious smells and tasty morsels, he forgets to breathe. And it has nothing to do with the his favourite desert. She’s pretty and kind, and when she has to deal with a difficult client, his protective instincts kick into high gear. But he risked his heart once. When his wife died, it left him broken. He’s just now beginning to pick up the pieces, and he and his daughter will be leaving town once the holidays are over.

Thanks to some Christmas wishes, though, these two might discover that their carefully laid plans are about to change.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1694079374

Genres: Christmas Story &/or Christmas Romance, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Cookery, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Sweet Romance


Published by Entangled Publishing

on 18th September, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 160

Published by: Entangled Publishing (@entangledpub)

Available Formats: Trade paperback and Ebook

Christmas Romance Book Icon made by Jorie in Canva.

Converse via: #ChristmasRomance and #SweetRomance

About Viv Royce

A Family by Christmas promo banner provided by the author Viv Royce and is used with permission.

With the same trademark atmospheric settings, relatable characters and cute canines that made several of her cozy mysteries #1 Amazon US and Canada bestsellers in multiple categories, Vivian Conroy pens romance as Viv Royce, creating heartthrob heroes ranging from rugged pilots to royals reluctant to believe in true love who meet their match in that girl next door or the co-worker with the business ideas exactly opposing their own – happy endings guaranteed! When not frequenting fictional worlds, Viv loves to hike (especially in the mountains), craft with paper, felt and clay, and hunt for the perfect cheesecake. Quite active on Twitter, she's the founder of #HistFicChat, a live Twitter chat about historical fiction, featuring authors like Kate Quinn, Anna Lee Huber and Susan Spann, and would love for readers to follow her and connect via @VivWrites.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 12 December, 2019 by jorielov in #blogmas, #JorieLovesIndies, A Father's Heart, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Christmas Romance &/or Holiday Story, Contemporary Romance, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Foster Care, Indie Author, Life Shift, Motherhood | Parenthood, New England, Northeast USA, Orphans & Guardians, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Single Fathers, Singletons & Commitment, Small Towne Fiction, Sudden Absence of Parent, Sweet Romance, Widows & Widowers

#FraterfestRAT Book Review | “Forget My Name” by J.S. Monroe [A Thriller #JorieReads with trepidation and discovers a #newtomeauthor who gave her a wicked puzzle to solve!]

Posted Saturday, 12 October, 2019 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I was invited to join the Head of Zeus blog tour for the Contemporary Thriller novel “Forget My Name” – except to say, there was a bit of a miscommunication. When the book arrived by postal mail, I was taken completely by surprise – which is why I shared this tweet s/o at the time of arrival. It was a few days lateron where I realised I was on the bonefide blog tour and my review was meant to post the final week of July.

Unfortunate timing on my end – I was quite ill the first three weeks of July whilst as I was starting to recover we had an epic flood nightmare which was due to a plumbing fiasco. Something I spoke about on Twitter and on several top anchors of my blog for different reviews. I was thoroughly spent and my energies to read were dismal. August brought more health afflictions and other stresses including a repeat of plumbing issues – to where, it wasn’t til the final weeks of the month where I could re-direct myself back into a few blog tours I had missed in late July. This was one of the ones I had to push forward in order to give it my proper attention.

I received a complimentary copy of “Forget My Name” direct from the publisher Head of Zeus in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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How I came to be reading “Forget My Name”:

Contemporary Thrillers are ones I love to find new voices in fiction as it is a niche of literature I am most curious about reading. Even if this particular niche of Lit has the tendency to push me outside my zones of comfort as a reader!

When Forget My Name first arrived by postal mail – it came with a curious little postcard and keychain – I love finding what is included with a novel, as authors or publishers sometimes include little surprises with the novels they send. Not everytime, but wickedly enough, whenever I find something other than the book included I get a giggle of joy because I love the inventiveness of some of the surprises! I, cannot have enough bookmarks – I even use the posties (ie. postcards) as markers as I’m reading inasmuch as the business cards! The keychain was an original find – I hadn’t had a custom mini-keychain featuring the cover of a novel previously!

I couldn’t get over the the surprise #bookmail – as at the time, I hadn’t received word I was receiving the book, only that I had requested to be on the blog tour. Therefore, it was a lovely day of expectations – I couldn’t wait to begin reading the novel but at the same time, I felt – did I push the envelope a bit too much for myself as a reader? I mean, this is a seriously psychological suspenseful Contemporary Thriller! I tend to err on caution (usually!) and not select too jarring of a read when it comes to my readings in Suspense & Thrillers; hence why you see my reading more Historical selections than Contemporary! I occupy that Historical niche of the genre quite well – yet whenever it comes to the contemporary and modern side of it? I tend to shirk past those shelves because for whichever reason they are a bit more intense, at times grittier and overall, I get the feeling I may or may not be able to handle what is coming down the pike in the story-line once you get past the opening bridge!

Ergo, my dilemma was how to begin reading Forget My Name – I dove straight into it – devouring the pages faster than I could attach notations about what I was reading. It was a pure read – til I pulled myself away and realised this was going to be one heck of a thrilling ride to read! I reached that section of when she first arrives at the house, is already inside and they’re trying to do a mad dash response to sort out whom this stranger is and what to do with her now that she’s arrived. Or, is that how Monroe wanted us to peer into those initial moments of when all the players come into contact (or return to each other)?

Thrillers are tricky. Perspective is everything. If your not looking at it the right way, you’ll going to find yourself seeing it through altered eyes and therefore altering how the story is meant to be interpreted. The key is to hold on tight and let the story unfold one trepiderious page turn after another!

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#FraterfestRAT Book Review | “Forget My Name” by J.S. Monroe [A Thriller #JorieReads with trepidation and discovers a #newtomeauthor who gave her a wicked puzzle to solve!]Forget My Name
by J.S. Monroe
Source: Direct from Publisher

She is outside your front door.

She got on the train after a difficult week at work. Her bag had been stolen, and with it, her identity. Her whole life was in there – passport, wallet, house key. When she tried to report the theft, her mind went blank. She couldn't even remember her name.

She says she lives in your house.

Now she's outside Tony and Laura's front door. She is certain she lives in their home.

But they have never met her before.

Would you let her in?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781786698063

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Crime Fiction, Thriller


Published by Head of Zeus

on 19th June, 2019

Format: UK Edition Paperback

Pages: 496

 Published By:  Published By: Head of Zeus (@HoZ_Books)

Converse via: #ForgetMyName, #Contemporary #Thriller
Available Formats: Hardcover, Trade Paperback, Audiobook & Ebook

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About J.S. Monroe

J.S. Monroe Photo Credit: Hilary Stock

J.S. Monroe read English at Cambridge, worked as a foreign correspondent in Delhi, and was Weekend editor of the Daily Telegraph in London before becoming a full time writer. Monroe is the author of eight novels, including the international bestsellers, Find Me and Forget My Name, both published by Head of Zeus. He also writes under the name Jon Stock.

Photo Credit: Hilary Stock

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 12 October, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Contemporary Thriller, Content Note, Crime Fiction, England, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Modern Day, Publishers & Presses (Direct Reviews), Realistic Fiction, Vulgarity in Literature