Category: Flashbacks & Recollective Memories

Blog Book Tour | “Legacy of Mercy” (Book Two: Waves of Mercy) by Lynn Austin An #INSPY Historical Fiction, I had the pleasure of becoming introduced by the prequel “Waves of Mercy” ahead of reading the sequel on the blog tour!

Posted Wednesday, 24 October, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , , 0 Comments

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

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 “Legacy of Mercy” direct from the publisher Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. The Digital Audiobook copy of the novel “Waves of Mercy” was inclusive of the audiobooks I am able to listen to due to my Scribd subscription. My ruminations on behalf of the audiobook (and the borrowed print edition from my local library) which serves as a prequel are being shared for my own edification and to help introduce my readers to the series overall whilst sharing my own journey in its discovery. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I love reading INSPY Historical Fiction, especially Sagas:

I am a hybrid reader of both mainstream and INSPY Fiction – the kind of stories I love to read are reflective of my ardent passion for the collective works of Julie Lessman (which will start to be reflection on #JLASblog this coming Winter) wherein I discovered one of my favourite INSPY Historical saga writers! Her family within the original trilogy ‘Daughters of Boston’ became such a firm fixture of my heart and soul, I can’t wait to re-enter their lives starting inside the prequel this December wherein I finally get to read Marcy and Patrick’s courtship story! (A Light in the Window)

From there – I could aptly remember stories of my childhood which befit this category – even some one-offs such as Frontier Lady (which became a trilogy lateron) by Judith Pella were quite beloved (a series I dearly need to find second-hand if only to resume from whence I once left off) – whilst as a book blogger I’ve carved out a list of authors I am pursuing to read to curate a greater list of #mustread authors of both Historical and Contemporary INSPY Fiction.

This is why being a part of this blog tour was such a blessing – as I was hoping Ms Austin would become a new author I could continue to read and enjoy following – from a backlist and frontlist perspective of interest! As soon as I began reading Waves of Mercy, I recognised my instincts for finding a saga writer I could love was well founded!

The key reason I love reading sagas (especially of the historical past!) is the continuation of spending time with the characters! Of knitting out a well-rounded history of their families and of being able to stay with them as they grow, mature and move through the milestones of their lives! Oft-times sagas also embrace the next generations of their lives – through their children and grand-children – where each new story is an extension of the originals but moving deeper into their descendants and sometimes shifting backwards into their ancestors lives; depending on which way the writer wishes to take their focus.

I have an affinity of passion for serial fiction – this is why sagas are a wicked good fit for me! I have trouble parting with characters I feel especially close as a kindred spirit and being able to re-visit with them in latter installments if the best kind of joy I know as a reader! By extension, I also love this when it happens in motion pictures – such as the mini-series or tv serials on television or in motion pictures – a few which come to mind are the Love Comes Softly series, Avonlea, Anne with an E, Murdoch Mysteries (up til a certain season), Downton Abbey (up til a certain season), Legacy (prior to the final year), Dr Quinn Medicine Woman (prior to the final few seasons) and most adaptations based on Classical Literature. The one I never had the chance to see (as of yet) is Wind at my Back which is a Canadian series.

These are only a few of the ones I’ve appreciated over the years and I continuously find myself smitten by sagas in fiction – there is such a breadth of joy in seeing how the worlds are built and how the characters themselves become the touchstones of reading about our human condition whilst we sort out our lives as we live each day fully present and captured in the moments which become the memories we cherish in the future.

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Blog Book Tour | “Legacy of Mercy” (Book Two: Waves of Mercy) by Lynn Austin An #INSPY Historical Fiction, I had the pleasure of becoming introduced by the prequel “Waves of Mercy” ahead of reading the sequel on the blog tour!Waves of Mercy
Source: Scribd | Audiobook Subscription, Borrowed from local library
Narrator: Rachel Dulude

Haunted by the Unknowns of Their Pasts,
Two Women Search for Answers Along the Shores of Lake Michigan

Chicago socialite Anna Nicholson retreats to the Hotel Ottawa in Holland, Michigan, after breaking her engagement with her wealthy fiancé. Filled with questions about her newfound faith and troubled by a recurring nightmare, Anna finds solace in Derk Vander Veen, a seasonal hotel worker who plans to go into the ministry.

Prompted by a request from her son, Geesje de Jonge begins to sift through memories of emigrating from the Netherlands almost fifty years ago. As she writes them down for the Semi-Centennial anniversary of the town's settlement, her story takes on a life of its own as she honestly and painfully recalls her regrets, doubts, hardships, and joys. Her story captivates Derk, who sees similarities between Geesje and Anna, and wishes to bring the two together.

Past and present collide as Anna and Geesje seek clarity, but neither expects the revelations that await them.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-0764217616

ASIN: B01LYI8NFZ

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction


Published by Recorded Books

on 4th October, 2016

Format: Trade Paperback, Audiobook | Digital

Pages: 384

Length: 14 hours, 15 minutes (unabridged)

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Anna is terrified by her nightmares about being aboard a ship during rough weather crossing Lake Michigan from Chicago to the Michigan shore – to such an extent, that when she’s starting to experience this nightmare coming real to life it overtakes her sensibility to separate fantasy from reality. Her thoughts in turmoil over how her boyfriend and her separated – over a disagreement about a church and the beliefs therein are what brought her heart to be torn and spilt between letting go of the past and embracing the future. She was still tucked inside those moments they exchanged and the last fragments of her life she had lived in Chicago – all the while the storms continued to plague her anxieties and the manner in which she was about to arrive via the steamship which was a trial of nerves in of itself.

Despite her mother’s kind assurances and her faithfulness in prayer and the virtues of affirmative thoughts to carry you through the roughest of situations – not even her memories of sermons and easier times could dissuade herself from rolling through afflicted memories which caused her more discomfort. It wasn’t until her ship allowed her disembark did she first find her feet and heart able to ease out of their quaking displeasure to give way towards a calmer beginning on solid ground once more.

This first chapter of the novel I listened to via audiobook – wherein I found the narrator had a pleasant way of bringing Anna to life even though a few of her phrases and wordings felt a bit harder in tone than what was necessary, she aptly described how the churnings of a worried mind could inflict undue duress during a lake crossing aboard a ship which was cast against a difficult storm. I felt she brought Anna’s emotional state to life quite well and allowed us to peer into this young woman’s thoughts in such a way as to make us feel as if we were aboard this ship ourselves, standing near to Anna and observing her discomfort first-hand.

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We first become introduced to Geesje as she observes the changes in her town – from communication and lightning changes to simply the way people were approaching their lives. Although she’s still in her sixties, people have the tendency to treat her as modern people would treat the elderly – as if she is fragile and not with a lot of her youth still left to give a spring to her step – yet as you observe her directly, she’s a young sixty-something who loves life, even if the changes round her leave her a bit unsettled as she remembers a simpler time before the complications of industry and progress catapulted everyone forward. How well we can all stipulate the same even over the past thirty to forty years where technology has almost superseded our own lives.

The irony here is how where progress can inflict a nuance in some ways it allows for shortages in others – how ironic Geesje would find it that infrastructure (ie. roads, etc) are still an oversight of progress (left to be the last of priority) and how we’re a disposal society inasmuch as the one she observed in the late 1800s just ahead of the dawning of the 20th Century! She was commenting how in the Netherlands they reused their buildings, cherished their architectural designs and yet, in Holland, Michigan (where this story is set) they would prefer to demolish and rebuild forsaking the old for the new; the irony dear hearts is that our society today in the 21st Century has the same pattern of destruction and reconstruction!

I love how Geesje is a knitter! If only I could one day master the art and complexities of socks, I think I shall be a happier knitter! For now, I appreciate what I can stitch into prayer shawls and friendship shawls – though to be honest, I yearn to aspire to master Fair Isle knitting patterns as much as wearables inasmuch as expound into fibre artist and textile arts of all varieties, techniques and styles. Once your hands enjoy the tactical blissitude of yarn, you find yourself drawn further inside Old World Arts & Crafts – though, of course, what I was most curious over is the pattern she was knitting as the style wasn’t mentioned.

You feel for her, truly! She’s being asked to write about her exodus from the Netherlands and what inspired the journey to Michigan – her family emigrated to the States when she was seventeen, which brought back memories of my own relatives who made the journey from their European countries to the States (as I am only a few generations down from when my relatives crossed the Atlantic inasmuch as I enjoy being an Ancestry Sleuth alongside my Mum) – as she started to talk about her honest emotions and the conflicting ways she struggled against her faith and finally found reconciliation – you could tell the journey to a new country was not without its depths of strife and adversity. It had to be incredibly despairing for her and even my own relatives – as I am sure not every person in every family who made the trip overseas wished to leave their home countries – some perhaps, but all? Surely, not! It was a daunting prospect – leaving everything behind to risk a stake of claim to set down new roots elsewhere? You can just imagine how that would lead to a conflict in faith and prayer – of where you might even feel distanced from your spirituality rather than closer in the walk you always felt endured through your life’s path. Especially of course if the hardest part of reconcile were the circumstances you faced after you arrived – if tragedy struck or affliction of illness took away lives – how do you rally against the darkness to resume your walk in the Light?

This is the conflict Geesje is having now – of weighing how to best explain the past without revealling herself in such a way where she could lose favour with her neighbours, family and friends alike – as if being completely transparent about the journey and the settlement in a new country could somehow become a negative influence or muddled in such a way with emotional anguish as to paint her life’s story in a different light than it was previously viewed. This gave a deeper scope of insight into how everyone is at times hesitative to share portions of their story – of sharing the living truth of their own lives if it runs against what society or community perceive of a person’s life. Where strife and adversity afflict the memories, there are moments where it feels as if absence of disclosure is a better course than honesty; however, it isn’t the best way of leaving behind a historical artifact of the hours lived but a gentler course if you don’t want to erase someone elses perception of the past. It was interesting watching her work through her emotions and sort out her thoughts on the subject – seeing how she chose what was best for her and what might benefit the community of Holland.

Before we can resume Anna’s story, we must first experience Geesje’s through a series of flashbacks and recollective memories. As we move backwards into her childhood in the Netherlands we learn about how her family were Separatists from the main church striving to hold-fast to a living God and not to be confined by the rituals of change ordained by man taking them further away from the scriptures they lived by. For her family, their faith was their rock and foundation of how they approached living – they were tethered to their beliefs as it was as important as air, shelter and food. They believed so dearly strong in their faith their attempts to outwit their opposition and repressive tactics of those who felt they had no right to rebel against the status quo set them apart from most of their family members who despite holding their same thoughts on the subject were not as strong as they were to leave and seek a better place to live.

As your reading about Geesje’s family’s history it reflects back on the stories I’ve read during the World War eras – of how irregardless of which country of origin or which era in history you move back inside – there have been many instances of persecution and violence. The manner in which Austin approaches this realistic truth of Geesje’s past points towards her compassionate heart for writing convicting narrative rooted out of History itself and re-fuelled inside fiction to offer keen insight into lives which were once lived but perhaps are not as readily known as other stories oft-times gain the spotlight more often.

Anna has gone to Michigan to find recovery after her spilt with her ex and to heal a heart which is still in the process of understanding why relationships can splinter a person’s resolve. Her very first day at the hotel she runs into Geesje’s nephew (an adopted one by association and neighbourly love) Derk which didn’t surprise me as this is a close-knit community. I had a feeling this is the kind of place where most know each other quite well if not by reputation and regards to visitors or tourists, I would imagine they would readily separate a stranger from familiar community members rather quickly. Likewise, I was not surprised either when Derk started to mention how many ships have been lost on the Lake – as the Great Lakes are notorious for keeping their dead, especially shipbound souls as the Lakes hold many watery graves. Anna’s fears of drowning were not misguided whims – especially if you consider the song The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald.

What perked my interest is learning Anna was adopted – as I love sourcing stories of adoption and foster care story-lines. It was revealled through her conversation with Derk who presumed she was from Holland or had family settled there due to how she appeared to be of Dutch ancestry. I could understand where he was coming from as people from similar origins have the tendency of taking on the same features of each other – from hair colour to eyes, as well as the features which make them stand out from others such as height or bone structure or even how they speak or use certain phrases in their speech. There are little hintings towards our origins without even realising we’re giving away clues to our present or past.

Due to my migraines and my eye injury this October, I wasn’t able to read this story in full – however, the first four chapters were so illuminating towards the arc and journey Anna and Geesje were taking I felt as if I could predict how their lives would start to intersect and unite! It was such a warm-hearted insight into both their lives – especially as it was revealled in this opening bridge of the novel what stirred so strongly inside Anna’s heart – why she felt lost inside her relationship with her fiance and why she ached to learn about her birth parents and the origins of her birth if not strictly the country of her origins. I knew after the fourth chapter I had enough insight to head into Legacy of Mercy as this was tracking into a beautifully lovely saga following in Anna’s footsteps and building on the foundation set forth within Waves of Mercy. At my leisure this Autumn or Winter, I would love to re-explore Waves of Mercy and seeing for myself how Geesje and Anna’s paths finally united, though I suspected I might learn a bit about this as I moved into reading Legacy of Mercy!

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Blog Book Tour | “Legacy of Mercy” (Book Two: Waves of Mercy) by Lynn Austin An #INSPY Historical Fiction, I had the pleasure of becoming introduced by the prequel “Waves of Mercy” ahead of reading the sequel on the blog tour!Legacy of Mercy
by Lynn Austin
Source: Publisher via Prism Book Tours
Narrator: Rachel Botchan, Stina Nielsen, Suzanne Toren, Amanda Leigh Cobb, Laura Knight Keating, Andrea Gallo

She Knew Her New Life Would Not Be Easy,
But Nothing Could Prepare Her For What Waits Ahead

Having returned to Chicago, young socialite Anna Nicholson can't seem to focus on her upcoming marriage. The new information she's learned about her birth mother continues to pull at her, and she hires Pinkerton detectives to help her discover the whole truth.

But as she meets people who once knew her mother and hears stories about the past, Anna soon discovers that some secrets are better left hidden. With pressure mounting to keep the past quiet, she discovers daily that her choice to seek God's purpose for her life isn't as simple as she had hoped.

When things are at their darkest, Anna knows she can turn to her grandmother, Geesje de Jonge, back in Holland, Michigan. Geesje's been helping new Dutch immigrants--including a teen with a troubled history--adjust to America. She only hopes that her wisdom can help all these young people through the turmoil they face.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0764217630

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction


Published by Bethany House Publishers, Recorded Books

on 2nd October, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 400

Length: 12 hours and 17 minutes (unabridged)

Published by: Bethany House Publishers (@bethany_house)

an imprint of Baker Publishing Group

Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Stories within the series Waves of Mercy:

Waves of Mercy by Lynn AustinLegacy of Mercy by Lynn Austin

Book One: Waves of Mercy (prequel) | Pub’d 4th October, 2016

Book Two: Legacy of Mercy

Converse via: #INSPYbooks, #INSPYHistFic, #INSPY or #HistRom

About Lynn Austin

Lynn Austin

Lynn Austin has sold more than one and a half million copies of her books worldwide. A former teacher who now writes and speaks full-time, she has won eight Christy Awards for her historical fiction. One of those novels, Hidden Places, has also been made into an Original Hallmark Channel movie. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and make their home in western Michigan.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 24 October, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, Adoption, Audiobook, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Christianity, Clever Turns of Phrase, Coming-Of Age, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Family Drama, Fathers and Daughters, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Historical Fiction, Immigrant Stories, Inheritance & Identity, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Intergenerational Saga, Knitting, Library Find, Life Shift, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Marriage of Convenience, Mental Health, Mid-West America, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-traditional characters, Pinkerton Detective | Pinkerton Agency, Prism Book Tours, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Self-Harm Practices, Small Towne Fiction, Story in Diary-Style Format, the Gilded Age, Widows & Widowers, Women's Fiction, Writing Style & Voice

Blog Book Tour | “NY Doc Under the Northern Lights” (#HarlequinMedical) by Amy Ruttan feat. a special message about #BreastCancer awareness & donation to fight the disease

Posted Thursday, 11 October, 2018 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

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

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 “NY Doc Under the Northern Lights” direct from the author Amy Ruttan in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why this particular Harlequin story stood out to me to read:

I will admit, there was a time in my life where I could not get enough Medical Romances in my life or Medical Dramas for that matter! Whether I was seeking them out in fiction – yes, I’ve know about this imprint for Harlequin for a long, long time – including when the covers used to be featuring scrub green! – or whether I was watching television dramas like ER or Crossing Jordan whilst happily binge watching Quincy, ME. I would never watch Chicago Hope when it aired as that felt sacrilegious being an ER girl! Laughs with mirth. I even had a ‘chat’ group in my high school where every Friday whilst our Spanish teacher tried to get us to settle into our lessons, I was more keen on hashing out last night’s episode!

Then, somewhere round my early twenties when I discovered Strong Medicine, I started to notice the story-lines and the cases on the series were affecting me. To the point where seeing the shows were no longer my ‘joy’ but were becoming more intense to filter after seeing them. In essence, I knew my time with ‘medical’ anything was over – until of course someone called ‘Mark Harmon’ smittened my eye to start watching NCIS (later in my twenties) and I came to love a ME named ‘Duckie’ and a forensic scientist named ‘Abby’!!

I should also mention I streamed the first two episodes of New Amsterdam and had this series aired in the ’90s whilst ER was still airing, I would have been a bonefide fan! Now? I saw the writings on the wall why that kind of medical drama was for the girl I was yesterday and not the girl I am today. For one thing – did they have to use so much graphic scenes to empathsis conditions where less would have been more? Clearly those days are ‘over’.

Also, I exited ER after they killed off Lucy Knight – as that was the key episode where I felt the series went ‘too far’ even though they crushed my heart by taking off Hathaway and Ross!

Which brings me to why I thought I ought to read this particular release! Since I’ve been hosting for Prism, I’ve noticed I am finding new routes of interest into different imprints by Harlequin once again – I have had a healthy curiosity about the kind of romantic medical dramas authors might be writing for this imprint ever since I saw Candace Cameron Bure’s light hearted medical romance on Hallmark Channel where she moves to Alaska and wishes to be in New York at a major hospital?

A lot of what I love about Harlequin Romances has the similar appeal to my bookish heart as the kind of romances you find on Hallmark Channel. You almost know going into the stories you can not just survive reading them but you are going to feel uplifted afterwards! This was the key as somewhere in my wanderings of medical drama on television – my heart couldn’t take the drama anymore on scene as I was no longer feeling uplifted. Such as what happened when in syndication I reached that pivotal moment where M*A*S*H aired its final arc and goodbye? I was filling buckets with my tears and my heart was severely crushed. Those latter seasons were brutal to get through!

With a happy optimism I signed on for this blog tour to see if what I love about medical dramas and medical romance are now contained in an imprint I’ve been cautiously avoiding for more years than I care to honestly admit possible! Perhaps I have found a new entry into a category of interest I thought I had to leave abandoned! I fully admit I was keenly smitten with the idea of this novel being set in Iceland! A country who loves writers and story-tellers – the land of enchanting scenery, hot springs and a volcano which keeps everyone on their toes! It is truly a remarkable country (from what I’ve gathered from afar) and the Northern Lights are a phenom I’d love to visually take in one day for my own experience as I have read about them and seen them in films but ooh! To see them in person? I can’t even imagine!

When the novel arrived however, Ms Ruttan had a few cheeky surprises for me – especially in regards of how to give a book blogger a hearty chuckle of JOY when spying a rather dashing doctor stuck between the pages of a book she’s about to read for review!!

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An important message from the author:

I couldn’t wait to retweet this special s/o of charity proceeds stemming from the sales of the story I am reading for review today. This is an insidious disease and it affects so many people we either know personally or know indirectly – one of my Aunt’s in my family had it but more recently, the journey Ms (Susan) Spann is taking climbing the #100Summits in Japan was showcased on my blog to highlight the empowering survival spirit of those who can beat the odds and to give inspiration to those who are continuously fighting for their life.

Let us take a moment to send a note of support to Ms Ruttan and to help spread the awareness of how this novel NY Doc Under the Northern Lights is making a difference with each book sold!

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Blog Book Tour | “NY Doc Under the Northern Lights” (#HarlequinMedical) by Amy Ruttan feat. a special message about #BreastCancer awareness & donation to fight the diseaseNY Doc Under the Northern Lights
by Amy Ruttan
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

Escaping the big city…

For love under Icelandic skies

When surgeon Betty Jacinth’s heart is broken once again, she takes a job in Iceland for a change of scenery. She expects cold weather—but not the frosty welcome she receives from gorgeous but brooding Dr. Axel Sturlusson! Now father to his orphaned niece, Axel gradually thaws, and a flame ignites—but when Betty’s ex begs her to return, can she make the right choice for love?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-1335663795

Also by this author: NY Doc Under the Northern Lights

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


Published by Harlequin Books, Harlequin Special Edition

on 18th September, 2018

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 256

Published by: Medical Romance (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin

Formats Available: Ebook and Paperback

four-half-flames

I added a flame rating to this story as it goes a bit further than most of the stories I’ve been regularly reading by Harlequin (such as the Heartwarming imprint or even the Special Edition); though it is tamer than I would presume the Desire imprint (of which I’ve not yet read a story) but I wanted to simply say it has more heat inside than I was expecting to be contained within it. The two characters definitely share a keenly intimate interlude towards the last quarter of the novel which is quite detailed.

Converse via: #Contemporary #Romance & #HarlequinMedical

OR #Harlequin w/ #MedicalRomance

About Amy Ruttan

Amy Ruttan

Born and raised just outside of Toronto, Ontario, Amy fled the big city to settle down with the country boy of her dreams. After the birth of her second child, Amy was lucky enough to realize her life long dream of becoming a romance author. When she's not furiously typing away at her computer, she's a mom to three wonderful children who use her as a personal taxi and chef.

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Posted Thursday, 11 October, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, A Father's Heart, Adoption, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Iceland, Indie Author, Life Shift, Medical Fiction, Mental Health, Modern Day, Motherhood | Parenthood, Nurses & Hospital Life, Orphans & Guardians, Prism Book Tours, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Single Fathers, Sociological Behavior, Sudden Absence of Parent

Blog Book Tour | “Lilli de Jong” by Janet Benton

Posted Friday, 14 September, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary copy of “Lilli de Jong” direct from the author Janet Benton in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I was inspired to read Lilli de Jong:

The premise is INCREDIBLY strong, fierce and very pro-positive for today’s cultural climate where women are *still!* fighting for their rights – I wish the stigmas were gone for unwed Mums! I love the fact it’s told through the character’s journal! Eek.

I was wicked thankful I could join this blog tour – not only to read and review the novel but to converse with the author about the subject(s) explored therein.

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Blog Book Tour | “Lilli de Jong” by Janet BentonLilli de Jong
by Janet Benton
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Philadelphia, 1883. Twenty-three-year-old Lilli de Jong is pregnant and alone—abandoned by her lover and banished from her Quaker home. She gives birth at a charity for wronged women, planning to give up the baby. But the power of their bond sets her on a completely unexpected path. Unwed mothers in 1883 face staggering prejudice, yet Lilli refuses to give up her baby girl. Instead, she braves moral condemnation and financial ruin in a quest to keep the two of them alive.

Lilli confides this story to her diary as it unfolds, taking readers from a charity for unwed mothers to a wealthy family’s home and onto the streets of a burgeoning American city. Her story offers a rare and harrowing view into a time when a mother’s milk is crucial for infant survival. Written with startling intimacy and compassion, this accomplished novel is both a rich historical depiction and a testament to the saving force of a woman’s love.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9780525563327

Genres: Current Events, Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Motherhood | Parenthood, Realistic Fiction, Social Science, Women's Fiction, Women's Studies


Published by Anchor Books

on 10th July, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 352

 Published By: Anchor Books (@VintageAnchor)

an imprint of Penguin Random House (@penguinrandom)

Converse via: #LilliDeJong, #WomensRights, #mumhood & #HistFic or #HistNov
Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Janet Benton

Janet Benton

JANET BENTON’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Glimmer Train, and many other publications. She has cowritten and edited historical documentaries for television.
She holds a B.A. in religious studies from Oberlin College and an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

For decades she has taught writing at universities and privately and has helped individuals and organizations craft their stories. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. Lilli de Jong is her first novel.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 14 September, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Child out of Wedlock, Coming-Of Age, Fathers and Daughters, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Literary Fiction, Mental Health, Quakers, Single Mothers, Unexpected Pregnancy, Women's Fiction, Women's Health, Women's Right to Choose (Health Care Rights), Women's Rights

Blog Book Tour | “Escapement” by Kristen Wolf

Posted Thursday, 13 September, 2018 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary copy of “Escapement” direct from the author Kristen Wolf in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was inspired to read Escapement:

It goes without saying, I love reading a diversely original ensemble of stories – I’ve made it rather plain these past five years I’ve been blogging how keen I am to soak into different genres & literary stylings as much as the fact I love regularly reading stories between traditionally published authors & the Indie side of the ledger as I personally have an Indie mindset myself. Likewise, I also appreciate reading LGBTQ+ literature and stories which breakaway from the regular offerings to give us something new to experience – whether it is a new timescape or a bent of genre(s). I love the eclectic nature of my reading life which constantly challenges me, re-defines the ways in which I interpret the world & enlarges my joy of being open to where the stories lead me to travel.

Each story is a capsule of a time – thereby, I am time travelling everytime I step within the pages of a novel or a story – if the length is shorter than the standard novel. Being a traditional reader of both print & audiobooks has given me new horizons to seek out – which is one reason I am looking forward to hearing more of this audiobook narrated by a full cast as the sampler gave only a small clue towards the larger experience! I love samplers for that reason, but to often you feel like your itching to hear the story in full!

What attracted me though to wanting to read this particular story is how it was set to unfold – there was something about the characters & their struggles which resonated with me. Plus, it was set against the background of the musical world – a world which has played a keenly important role in my life as life without music is not a life I wish to contemplate! I have had an ear for music since I was quite young – moving through different styles & performances each year which saw me transitioning through the decades of music as much as generations. By curating an eclectic nature of how I heard music & the various styles therein (including the Indie Music scene!) – I came to appreciate the wide interpretation of how music & the art of music can transport all of us someplace ‘new’ & wondrous.

I have read a few Musical Fiction stories in the past – finding myself drawn into how each writer contemplates the thematic of fusing music into the folds of their narrative and being thankful for the experiences I’ve been granted therein. When it came to ‘Escapement’ – I simply wanted to take the journey and see where it took me.

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Blog Book Tour | “Escapement” by Kristen WolfEscapement
by Kristen Wolf
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

***WINNER of the 2018 IndieReader DISCOVERY AWARD***

Henri keeps many secrets. Some even from herself…

Prepare to be transported into a sensual world of possibility by this lush, heart-wrenching and gorgeously-written tale. Brimming with passion, intrigue, extraordinary characters and breathtaking surprises, ESCAPEMENT will arouse the senses and seduce readers of every persuasion.

Cristofer’s star is poised to rise. Everyone expects the dashing and gifted composer to soar to the heights of musical genius—an expectation that terrifies the young artist as much as it drives him.

Walking into the fire with Cristofer is his housekeeper, Henri, a passionate and handsome young woman who takes pleasure in dressing as a man. Tending to her employer’s domestic needs, Henri has crafted a carefree life of routine behind which she hides the truth of a tragic past. Possessed herself of an extraordinary talent, she covertly guides her employer through the trials of his artistic and romantic pursuits while carefully guarding his most closely-held secret.

But Henri’s deceptively simple life is ripped apart when a wealthy and ruthless patron grants Cristofer a spectacular commission, then unwittingly hires Henri—whom he believes to be male—to give piano lessons to his alluring wife.

The resulting entanglements rise to a dangerous pitch as Cristofer struggles to create music of epic proportions while Henri is ignited by a love more powerful than any she has ever known. But when the monstrously ambitious patron catches wind of a duplicity, he and his henchmen mobilize quickly to target the threat and soon the only hope for either friend’s survival depends on one publicly exposing the other’s hidden truth—an act that would defy the bonds of love and loyalty and bring all their lives crashing down.

Can Henri stop the oncoming tragedy and still hold onto her greatest love? Or must she lose everything?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9780999610305

Also by this author: Escapement (Author Interview)

Genres: Classical Music, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, LGBTQIA Fiction, Women's Fiction


Published by Pixeltry

on 1st August, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 534

 Published By: Pixeltry

Converse via: #Escapement, #LGBTQ & #HistFic or #HistNov
Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Kristen Wolf

Kristen Wolf

KRISTEN WOLF is an award-winning author, creative and wondernaut living in the Rocky Mountains. Her debut novel, THE WAY, was hailed by O, The OPRAH Magazine as “A Title to Pick Up Now!” Her second novel, ESCAPEMENT, is a *WINNER – 2018 IndieReader Discovery Award* and received this praise: “Wolf is a masterful storyteller who has created an enchanting novel… It will resonate with anyone who has ever felt passion.” —IndieReader

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 13 September, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 19th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cats and Kittens, Classical Music | Composers, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Equality In Literature, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Genre-bender, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Music History, Musical Fiction | Non-Fiction, Romantic era, Self-Harm Practices

Blog Book Tour | Part II of the duology series “The Painting on the Pond” feat. the sequel “to Walk in his Moccasins” by Sharon Lewis Koho

Posted Thursday, 21 June, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I have been hosting blog tours with Cedar Fort Publishing and Media for several years now, wherein their new blog tour publicist (Ms Sydney Anderson) also runs her own publicity touring company: Singing Librarian Book Tours (or SLB Tours for short!). I happily joined her team of book bloggers as a hostess in late Spring, 2018 wherein my first tours with her as a hostess begin Summer, 2018. I appreciate reading INSPY literature and was happy to find these are most of the stories she is showcasing through SLB Tours! Most of her authors are published through Cedar Fort, though she does work with authors who are either Self-Published or Indie published through different publishers as well.

I received a complimentary copy of “to Walk in his Moccasins” direct from the publisher Bonneville Books (an imprint of Cedar Fort Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

My main takeaways from reading “The Painting on the Pond”:

I admit, I struggled at first to get the rhythm of this novel – as the dialogue and the narrative were a bit on the raw side of delivery. I understood the gist of what Ms Koho was trying to impart to us – as she was attempting to set the scene and apply the layers of what drew the wider lens of suspense around this singular entrance of her lead character – for her artist was newly arrived in an awe-inspiring area of the country where his renewal in his creative pursuits is one-part inspired by his surroundings and one-part enabled by his change in locale (ie. having relocated from the city). However, having said that – a lot of the opening bridge is being told to us rather than enveloping us inside his head – into his thoughts and allowing us to see what is happening to him or rather still, what he is feeling through his emotions. A lot of start and stops, if you will, as I had to re-align how she began the story in order to get into sync with her writing.

Ms Koho has instilled a beautiful ghost story into the background of her novel – one which involves an old estate, a lost love and a woman who refused to give in to what life revealled. Her true strength is her convicting narrative – where you get to alight in her thoughts, seeing how she wants you to see her characters and it is the better half of the novel. She likes to enlarge your perception and get you to think about the different possibilities before she reveals what is truly going on.

Where she errors a bit is showing dialogue and conversation – something I admit, is one of the harder bits to writing, as being a writer myself, I’ve had my own struggles with both of these concepts, which is why I noticed the disconnections. It isn’t that she isn’t on the right track with the dialogue, it’s merely the fact the words don’t joss together correctly. The words feel a bit on the forced side of the ledger rather than the ease of a conversation you’d feel comfortable having aloud with a friend or acquaintance of your own. That’s the trick and proof in the pudding – how dialogue sounds aloud!

One thing Ms Koho relies a lot on is the presumption we’ll go along with believing the suspenseful bits – it’s hard to describe really – I read a lot of Mysteries, Suspense & Thriller stories – but I like the aspect about them where I feel lost inside the ambiance of where the writers are taking me. Where I don’t have it all sorted out, where the more ominous undertones are not as readily apparent as they could be – their more elusive and aloof. In this story, sometimes the suspense gets a bit blurry – there are pieces of clarity here and there, but other times, your being told quite a lot of what you’d rather see through the character’s eyes or experiences. Plus, not everything should feel a bit too neat and too tidy to where the illusion is lost.

-quoted from my review of The Painting on the Pond

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Blog Book Tour | Part II of the duology series “The Painting on the Pond” feat. the sequel “to Walk in his Moccasins” by Sharon Lewis Kohoto Walk in his Moccasins
Subtitle: sequel to The Painting on the Pond
by Sharon Lewis Koho
Source: Direct from publisher via SLB Tours

Betrayed in the rugged wilderness of Alaska, Jerry Stone has narrowly escaped death, thanks to a desperate rescue by his friends David Young and Rachel Duncan. Injured and in agony, he is flown to a hospital more than a thousand miles from home. However, his own suffering is soon forgotten as he comes to understand the meaning of true courage from a little Indian boy.

Laced with intrigue, adventure, love, and forgiveness, this powerful concluding sequel is a story of supreme loyalty and friendship.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781555178789

Also by this author: The Painting on the Pond

Also in this series: The Painting on the Pond


Genres: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Suspense


Published by Bonneville Books

on 1st August, 2008

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 245

Published By: Bonneville Books (@BonnevilleBooks),
an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFort)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

NOTE: Generally speaking, in my experience of reading stories published under the imprint of Bonneville Books, it means the story will be LDS Fiction – rooted in the Mormon faith, however, I did not find this to be the case in regards to the novel ‘The Painting on the Pond’. If anything, it was very lightly INSPY, in regards to the characters acknowledged their spirituality in gentle undertones throughout the content of the story – they prayed and they were open about their concerns, fears, etc but there wasn’t a moment where I would say this was ‘definitively LDS’ as other releases from Bonneville Books would have been as they focused more on the traditions of being Mormon.

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The Painting on the Pond Series:

The Painting on the Pond by Sharon Lewis KohoTo Walk in His Moccasins by Sharon Lewis Koho

The Painting on the Pond is a prequel for To Walk in His Moccasins which makes me believe this series could in theory be a duology and completely contained within these two installments.

Converse via: #INSPY #Suspense & #RealisticFiction

About Sharon Lewis Koho

Sharon Lewis Koho

Sharon Lewis Koho grew up on a small ranch near the town of Inkom, Idaho. Her beloved father died when she was five years old, and she and her siblings were reared in humble circumstances by a hard-working and courageous mother.

In her youth, Sharon discovered she could create any world she wanted to visit, or any story she wanted to be a part of by climbing high in the trees bordering her cherished ranch. Daydreaming there amid songs of birds, rustling leaves and the babbling of the nearby creek, inspired many wonderful stories. Sharon married Bill Koho from Nampa, Idaho in 1967, and they were married thirty years until his death in 1997.

She is the proud mother of six children. Although she is a Licensed Practical Nurse by profession, she has had much more experience in creating and telling stories. Her favorite thing to do is to spend time with her children and grandchildren. She also enjoys visiting, traveling, camping, reading, writing, swimming, and any adventurous idea that pops into her head.

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Posted Thursday, 21 June, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Disabilities & Medical Afflictions, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Medical Fiction, Men's Fiction, Modern Day, Nurses & Hospital Life, Realistic Fiction, Singing Librarian Book Tours, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Supernatural Fiction, Suspense, Sweet Romance