Category: Mental Health

Audiobook Blog Tour | “Being A Witch and Other Things I Didn’t Ask For” by Sara Pascoe, narrated by Fiona Hardingham

Posted Sunday, 17 March, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring and knitting agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I have embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions. Through hosting for the Audiobookworm I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods (ie. AudioShelf and Talking Audiobooks; see my sidebar). Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue whilst making purchase requests for audio CDs. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I am hoping to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year starting in 2018.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Being A Witch” via Audiobookworm Promotion who is working with Sara Pascoe on this blog tour in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

What inspired me to listen to this audiobook:

I am on the lookout for pro-positive stories about foster care & adoption, as I’m a Prospective Adoptive Mum. I’ll be adopting from (domestic) foster care here in the United States – which is important to mention, as this audiobook highlights the unique differences between the *UK!* and the *US!* foster and adoptive situations children & youth are facing today. A topic I discussed openly with the author, Sara Pascoe earlier on the tour.

Being involved on this blog tour has re-opened my eyes to the various differences in adoption & foster care services between countries; as I knew a few of those differences previously but not the insight I’ve gained directly by this blog tour. I also loved being able to see how the world within “Being A Witch” was developed and what readers can expect next within the series as this is only the first installment. I was quite thankful Ms Pascoe was open & welcoming to discuss the key components of not just her story but of the foster/adoptive services between both our countries.

I look forward to seeing the next chapters of this series and hoping that the rest of the installments will also be narrated by Fiona Hardingham.

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Audiobook Blog Tour | “Being A Witch and Other Things I Didn’t Ask For” by Sara Pascoe, narrated by Fiona HardinghamBeing A Witch And Other Things I Didn't Ask For
by Sara Pascoe
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Fiona Hardingham

After a life of hurt and disappointment, Raya, the spiky-haired, Doc Marten-wearing 14-year-old decides it's time to strike out on her own. She leaves the boring English village and what she's determined will be her last foster placement for the excitement of London. But it turns out she's a witch, with the annoying habit of time-traveling - by accident. And a sarcastic witch's cat Oscar tags along for the ride. Why would she fling herself into the midst of the Essex Witch Trials in 1645 England?

After being arrested by one of history's most notorious witch hunters, her social worker and witch mentor Bryony goes back to try to save them from the gallows. But returning to present day London remains out of reach when they find themselves in Istanbul in the year 1645. There, life is more amazing than she ever dreamed.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B07N34WBZ4

Also by this author: Author Inteview: Sara Pascoe (Being A Witch)

Genres: Adoption & Foster Care, Children At Risk, Children's Literature, Young Adult Fiction


Published by Self Published Author

on 28th January, 2019

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 7 hours and 40 minutes (unabridged)

This is a self-published audiobook.

Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #BeingAWitch, #SaraPascoe + #AudioReads, #Audiobook

OR #loveaudiobooks, #YALit + #YAFantasy

About Sara Pascoe

Sara Pascoe

Sara Pascoe comes to writing after a career in psychology, where she had many wonderful experiences, from the chimp house to the halls of Congress, with neuroscience research in between. Originally from the United States, she moved to Great Britain in 2004. She lives in Bournemouth, on the southern coast of England where they run a B&B for English language students.

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Posted Sunday, 17 March, 2019 by jorielov in Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Coming-Of Age, Content Note, Dreams & Dreamscapes, Familiars, Fantasy Fiction, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, Mental Health, Realistic Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Time Travel, Time Travel Adventure, Urban Fantasy, Vulgarity in Literature, Witches and Warlocks, YA Fantasy, YA Paranormal &/or Paranormal Romance, Young Adult Fiction

Blog Book Tour | feat. Empire State series by Elizabeth Camden, especially “A Dangerous Legacy” (book one, audiobook), “A Daring Venture” (book two, audiobook) and “A Desperate Hope” (book three)

Posted Friday, 1 March, 2019 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 enquired 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 “A Desperate Hope” direct from the publisher Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. The Digital Audiobook copy of “A Dangerous Legacy” and “A Daring Venture” were available via my Scribd subscription. My ruminations on behalf of the audiobooks (books one and two) 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.

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70 Authors Challenge Badge created by Jorie via Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Brigitte Tohm. (Creative Commons Zero)How my love of INSPY reads inspired my choice to participate on this blog tour:

When I first started blogging, I was going to set out to read new authors of INSPY Lit I hadn’t had the pleasure of reading previously. It was through my visitations with Casey Herringshaw’s blog which inspired the list I had developed of seeking out new and established INSPY authors who were drawing the eye of book bloggers like Ms Herringshaw and readers alike. It was through reading her blog rather extensively I found the list which was then developed in the final #70AuthorsChallenge.

Elizabeth Camden happens to be the 67th author out of my original #70AuthorsChallenge List.

Curiously, like most book bloggers our good intentions when we first start joining the exciting world of the book blogosphere and the bookish side of Twitter, our personal reading goals can sometime be cast aside. This is why I haven’t made an extensive dent in my readerly goals for my INSPY Reads and why I am intending to make more head-way on them this year as I feel it will be a healthier year for me all the way round. The past few years especially were marred a bit with personal health afflictions but this year, as I move into March, I feel more hopeful I might have sorted out a way to ease the frequencies of my chronic migraines and by doing so, perhaps for the first time since I started my blog I’ll have a greater freedom in being able to read whenever the mood strikes rather than having to wait out the after effects of a migraine.

I wasn’t sure where to begin reading Ms Camden’s novels – as part of the list of choices I originally had made from Ms Herringshaw’s blog went lost before I could upload those titles to my list here on my blog. (*le sigh*) However, there are a few I’ve noticed are currently available to be listened to via audiobook on Scribd – of those, these are the ones I’d like to explore next: Against the Tide and The Rose of Winslow Street.

My love of reading INSPY Lit extends back to childhood – as I’ve been a hybrid reader of both mainstream and INSPY Lit since the origins of when I first became a reader. Finding several blog tours this year focusing on these authors and their stories was a treat of bookish joy as I dearly want to expand my knowledge of the stories being published from both Major Trade and Indie Publishers within the INSPY realms of interest I enjoy reading. This particular blog tour felt like a step in the right direction.

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Posted Friday, 1 March, 2019 by jorielov in 19th Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Family Drama, Family Life, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Mental Health, Prism Book Tours, Psychiatric Facilities, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Scribd, Siblings, the Gilded Age

Audiobook Review | “Bridge to Burn” (Book Seven: the Kay Hunter Detective series) by Rachel Amphlett, narrated by Alison Campbell

Posted Wednesday, 20 February, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring and knitting agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I have embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions. Through hosting for the Audiobookworm I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods (ie. AudioShelf and Talking Audiobooks; see my sidebar). Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue whilst making purchase requests for audio CDs. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I am hoping to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year starting in 2018.

Similar to the blog tour for the sixth novel of the #KayHunter series, the blog tour review copies are being provided directly by the author off-site from Audible. The key reason I decided to not accept the review copies from “Gone to Ground” and “Bridge to Burn” is because the new format is mostly directed for mobile listeners and I do not listen to audiobooks in that style of format. However, this time round as I switched my subscription from Audible to Scribd, I did not yet have the chance to purchase my copy of “Bridge to Burn” – which I shall be doing eventually as I want to have a full set of all the Kay Hunter installments – I was able to join this lovely blog tour because the audiobooks are readily available via Scribd! For which, I am especially grateful as I can continue to listen to one of my beloved and favourite Crime Drama series!

Thereby my copy of “Bridge to Burn” is self-provided through my subscription to Scribd rather than being provided with a complimentary copy of the story. Thereby, I am choosing to participate on the audiobook tour, sharing my ruminations with my readers for my own edification but also, as a continuation of a reader’s love for a dramatic crime serial. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What held me in the throes of “Gone to Ground” and why I was itching for the next novel:

Kay’s team has a few growing pains coming to it as with Kay’s recent promotion, the rest of the team remains a bit lopsided. Her first pick to gain a promotion soon after her was Barnes; unfortunately for Kay, Barnes was comfortable in the role he was already employed. She had to respect his choice even if it confused her why he wouldn’t want to rise in the ranks. Barnes was her right hand man on the team, a person she could trust without blinking and know he would have her back.

You can observe her own growth as a person finding traction in front of cameras whereas only a year prior being the lead spokesperson for the unit would have put her in a bit of a tailspin of anxiety. Now, she is shining as a voice for the police and hoped the words she spoke would encourage new leads to come forward after the report went out on the newscast. The case itself was perplexing – they had a clue towards what the crime involved but without ‘more evidence’ they could only speculate which was the one thing they didn’t want anyone to do. It would only lead to heartache for everyone involved.

I was definitely curious about how Larch decided to take early retirement and moved off into the Midlands as a result. This left an open space in the team and unit Kay was now overseeing alongside with the guidance of Sharpe. With Sharper in the overseeing role for the team, you start to see how the new dynamics are forming and keeping each of the team members a tightly knit team who know they can rely on each other. What was lovely though is how Kay is open to having her fellow detectives (including the junior ones) have equal respect in the bull room so to speak – to speak their theories and to explore (as a team) what they feel might be motive and opportunity. Even if they fall a bit short of a solid lead, it helps build their foundation as a team who everyone feels comfortable being an active part of growing into a well-oiled machine of efficiency.

At the morgue we get a keen insight into the gloom and the heart-wrenching cases the ME has to sort through when the caseload becomes unbearingly brutal with cases which are harder to reconcile than usual. I think any case that goes through the morgue which deals with children and youth, has to be the cases they struggle with the most to ‘let go’ once they’ve done all they can to determine the cause of death. Medical examiners don’t get a enough credit for how strong of mind and heart they have to be to constantly do their job and remain emotionally disconnected.

One of my favourite revelations was not even related to the case, it was about Adam’s inheritance, how horses played a keen role in his award and how the friendship he had with an older lady who wanted a guardian for her horses was the key to how Adam and Kay lived rather comfortably.

Outside of focusing on Kay and Adam at home and out about in their community, there were loads of cheeky humour sequences and workplace camaraderie which I love so much in this series! It helps re-affirm who these people are and how they interact with each other. When you listening to different installments of the series and a bit of time goes by – seeing how they react to each other is another way of re-aligning you right back into the dialogue from whence you had left off in the last installment.

Seeing Kay develop her confidence in her new position is a joy – each day she’s on the job, the more she becomes a confident leader. The irony of course, their current case involves team building exercises where their potential victim was spending time – the random joy for Kay is finding that her unit works well without the benefit of an official ‘time away’ from the office to come together as a united front.

When it is known what the title refers to ‘gone to ground’ – everything seemed to make better sense about the structure of this particular case. The key focus on the team and how they interact with each other has become the new standard of the series – as originally, when the series first began we would shift between the detectives and the one(s) they were pursuing – giving us a dual perspective from two different sides of every investigation.

In this particular instance – it proves how frustrating detectives become when they don’t have enough to guide them forward. I was hoping this particular case might have a decidedly brilliant wench in the wheel of the investigation and I must admit, Amphlett definitely gave us one!! It has to do with who you think is the person of interest and who the truer culprit turnt out to be – the curious bit here is how Amphlett constantly brings the sociological side of sleuthing into her stories. She focuses on the psychological and the sociological – of easing you through the hardest bits by re-focusing on the reasons ‘why’ certain behaviours are being explored and why some characters have more guilt within them than others. Sometimes your not even sure where a confession is going to lead you or if the confession your hearing is the right one for the case at hand.

I must admit, the crime(s) involved in this installment are really difficult to get through – although, I do credit Ms Amphlett for not making it worse than it was – she definitely pulls back when I have witnessed other authors who don’t have as much self-control as she does. This is a credit to her for giving us a chillingly suspenseful read but without ensuring we’ll have nightmares afterwards! You want to feel the suspense – similar to watching your favourite Hitchcock film but without feeling as if you can’t properly recover afterwards! Hitchcock and Amphlett both found the sweet spot in Suspense where they can give you chills but allow you the grace to know you can handle where the stories will lead.

-quoted from my review of Gone to Ground

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I can’t believe I’ve been outside this world since last [September]!

After finishing Gone to Ground, I was truly thankful there was a bit of a ‘gap’ between books six and seven as I felt I needed to put some distance between myself and Kay Hunter. This is a series I truly felt captivated to listen to throughout [2018] however, it is a very emotionally jarring series – you don’t realise how attached your going to become to the series until your in the throes of it and by then, your heart is gone. You are so intricately immersed inside this authentically writ world by Ms Amphlett and the heart-pulsing high octane paced narration styling of Ms Campbell – you simply can’t disconnect your ears from listening to the series once you’ve become smitten with the world, the characters and journey Kay Hunter is taking both personally and professionally.

This is why I was thankful the blog tour was in early [2019] as it gave me the distance and the breathier I need from the last installment before I entered the seventh story. I knew a few stories back this series was making a twist of a turn for being a bit more hard-boiled than most Thrillers and Suspense novels I’m reading but at the heart of the series is Kay, her team and the life she shares with Adam. I wrestled with feeling if I could continue to listen to the series and go forward with her on this journey or if I might one day need to back-out as the growing series was expounding on the grim sides of her job whilst it was also tucking us closer into her private world.

There are so many lovely layers of this series, in the end, I opted to ‘stay invested’ in the series and I credit that first and foremost to the author Ms Amphlett for how dedicated she is not to :push: the line too far afield to where I can’t get through the novels and to Ms Campbell for her passionate portrayal of Kay and how she intuitively hugs us back inside Kay’s world. The two of them together is why this increasingly dramatic crime series is dearly beloved by me – it might be on the upper tier of what I can consider reading and/or listening too – but I love the continuity, the layered insight into the life of these characters and the fact that I can trust the author for giving me an edgy read without making me feel as if I couldn’t survive it afterwards.

This is why I was wicked excited about finding the latest audiobook via Scribd as it was coordinated in such a way (ie. released to subscribers) to where I could join the blog tour – continue sharing my ruminations alongside my fellow enthused audiobook readers in the book blogosphere and tuck closer to Kay to see where we are on her personal journey whilst finding myself enchanted once more by Ms Campbell’s approach at giving me a new visitation with the whole cast of characters within the Kay Hunter series! This is definitely one that grabs you rather immediately and before you realise you’ve become addicted to hearing the stories, your already progressing through your seventh volume!

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Audiobook Review | “Bridge to Burn” (Book Seven: the Kay Hunter Detective series) by Rachel Amphlett, narrated by Alison CampbellBridge to Burn
Subtitle: A Detective Kay Hunter novel
by Rachel Amphlett
Source: Scribd | Subscription
Narrator: Alison Campbell

When a mummified body is found in a renovated building, the gruesome discovery leads Detective Kay Hunter and her team into a complex murder investigation.

The subsequent police inquiry exposes corruption, lies and organised crime within the tight-knit community – and Kay’s determination to seek justice for the young murder victim could ruin the reputations of men who will do anything to protect their business interests.

But as Kay closes in on the killer, tragedy strikes closer to home in an event that will send a shockwave through her personal life and make her question everything she values.

Can Kay keep her private and professional life under control while she tries to unravel one of the strangest murder cases of her career?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-9993683-3-3

Also by this author: Scared to Death, Will to Live, One to Watch, Hell to Pay, Call to Arms, Author Inteview: Rachel Amphlett (Gone to Ground), Gone to Ground

Also in this series: Scared to Death, Will to Live, One to Watch, Hell to Pay, Call to Arms, Gone to Ground


Genres: Crime Fiction, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Police Procedural, Thriller


Published by Saxon Publishing

on 13th January, 2019

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 6 hours, 39 minutes (unabridged)

Published by: Saxon Publishing

Audiobooks by: Audiobook Factory (@audiofactoryuk)

Order of the Kay Hunter Detective series:
Scared to Death | Book One (see also Review)
Will to Live | Book Two (see also Review)
One to Watch | Book Three (see also Review)
Hell to Pay | Book Four (see also Review)
Call to Arms | Book Five (see also Review)
Gone to Ground | Book Six (see also Review)
Bridge to Burn | Book Seven

About Rachel Amphlett

Rachel Amphlettt

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Robert Crais, Stuart MacBride, and many more.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore's TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

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Posted Wednesday, 20 February, 2019 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), British Literature, Crime Fiction, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Detective Fiction, England, Good vs. Evil, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Indie Author, Lady Detective Fiction, Mental Health, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Psychological Suspense, Realistic Fiction, Sociological Behavior, True Crime

#SaturdaysAreBookish | “We Shall See The Sky Sparkling” by Susana Aikin

Posted Saturday, 16 February, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

#SaturdaysAreBookish created by Jorie in Canva.

After launching this lovely new feature of mine during [Autumn, 2018] it is a pleasure of joy to continue to bring #SaturdaysAreBookish as a compliment focus of my Twitter chat @SatBookChat. If you see the chat icon at the top of my blog (header bar) you can click over to visit with us. The complimentary showcases on my blog will reflect the diversity of stories, authors and publishers I would be featuring on the chat itself. As at the root and heart of the chat are the stories I am reading which compliment the conversations.

#SaturdaysAreBookish throughout [2019] will be featuring the Romance & Women’s Fiction authors I am discovering to read across genre and point of interest. Every Saturday will feature a different author who writes either Romance or Women’s Fiction – the stories I am reading might simply inspire the topics in the forthcoming chats or they might be directly connected to the current guest author.

I am excited about where new guests and new stories will lay down the foundation of inspiring the topics, the conversations and the bookish recommendations towards promoting Romance & Women’s Fiction. Here’s a lovely New Year full of new authors and their stories to celebrate!

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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 ARC copy of “We Shall See The Sky Sparkling” direct from the publisher Kensington Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On why this novel appealled to me:

A good portion of the story is hinged on ancestral sleuthing and of keeping the living histories of our families alive for each new generation who has the chance to hear them told. Being one half of the Ancestry Sleuth team in my own family, I can attest to how the preservation and the exploration of one’s family line can become quite a wicked adventure! Especially if you only have subtle clues towards researching past your maternal and paternal great-grandparents or know the names of at least a few of your great-greats going back from there – genealogy is a pursuit of joy for both my Mum and I.

I keep missing the #HistFicChat’s on Thursdays as my hours during the chat are unfortunately taken elsewhere now to where I can’t chat with fellow enthused readers and the writers of Historical Fiction as I had been free to do the previous year. It was only this Friday where I realised this past Thursday the featured guest was Ms Aikin and as I read a part of the feeds for the chat, I soon unearthed that part of this story was inspired by her own ancestral lineage! In fact, she had an actress in her family (see this tweet) whilst she also was heavily read in pre-revolutionary Russian Lit which also inspired the story itself (see also this tweet).

I’m hopeful I can start to return to the chat – as Rachel Brimble is returning to speak about a sequel to her Pennington novel – of which I enjoyed discussing when it first published and Soraya Lane is going to be featured the following week for her latest release The Spitfire Girls which I enjoyed talking to her a bit about on Twitter previously during the last year. I purchased one of Soraya Lane’s past novels on audiobook via Audible and I placed a request for The Mistress of Pennington’s which was accepted by my local library. The paperback is on hand to be read and the audiobook is one I have slated to be listened to this Spring whilst I endeavour to read, listen and focus on Historical Fiction selections during my #HistoricalMondays showcases.

I decided to feature this during my #SaturdaysAreBookish feature as to me it spoke to me as being a Historical Women’s Fiction narrative – whereby, the main threads of the author’s muse were interconnected to her grandaunt and the legacy of the life she had lived. It is a particular lens into how one woman dared to live a different life – go to different places in the world and to curate her own path from her era’s conventions. To me that is at the heart of why Women’s Fiction is relevant today as it doesn’t matter if the stories are Contemporary or Historical in nature if they are focused on telling a woman’s journey – towards her own destiny on terms she determined herself or how she overcame adversity or tragedy and still found a way to move forward in the aftermath. These kinds of stories always interest me and are part of the inspiration behind both the feature and the the redirection of my chat @SatBookChat.

Thereby, you can see – I predominately focus on reading the historic past and attempt to find new voices in Historical Fiction every year, such as Ms Aikin!

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Notation on Cover Art: I could honestly envision Lily is on the cover – letter-writing was dearly important to her as it was a method of keeping in touch with her brother and sister. Her letters are a featured pause in the narrative arc and I, personally, loved how they were included in the chapters. Therefore, whomever designed this cover truly tapped into the heart of Lily and gave her a cover where you could almost see her coming in from a hectic day where she simply wanted to ink out her thoughts and draft a new letter to post! Even the outfit here reminds me of Lily from Ms Aikin’s pen!

#SaturdaysAreBookish | “We Shall See The Sky Sparkling” by Susana AikinWe Shall See The Sky Sparkling
by Susana Aikin
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Narrator: Rosalyn Landor

Set in London and Russia at the turn of the century, Susana Aikin’s debut introduces a vibrant young woman determined to defy convention and shape an extraordinary future.

Like other well-bred young women in Edwardian England, Lily Throop is expected to think of little beyond marriage and motherhood. Passionate about the stage, Lily has very different ambitions. To her father’s dismay, she secures an apprenticeship at London’s famous Imperial Theatre. Soon, her talent and beauty bring coveted roles and devoted admirers. Yet to most of society, the line between actress and harlot is whisper-thin. With her reputation threatened by her mentor’s vicious betrayal, Lily flees to St. Petersburg with an acting troupe–leaving her first love behind.

Life in Russia is as exhilarating as it is difficult. The streets rumble with talk of revolution, and Lily is drawn into an affair with Sergei, a Count with fervent revolutionary ideals. Following Sergei when he is banished to Vladivostok, Lily struggles to find her role in an increasingly dangerous world. And as Russian tensions with Japan erupt into war, only fortitude and single-mindedness can steer her to freedom and safety at last.

With its sweeping backdrop and evocative details, We Shall See the Sky Sparkling explores a fascinating period in history through the eyes of a strong-willed, singular heroine, in a moving story of love and resilience.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781496717658

ASIN: B07MQ3FCHR

Genres: Epistolary | Letters & Correspondences, Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction


Published by Kensington Books

on 29th January, 2019

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 416

Length: 14 hours and 53 minutes (unabridged)

Published by: Kensington Books (@KensingtonBooks)

Converse via: #Epistolary #HistFic or #HistNov

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Susana Aikin

Susana Aikin

Born in Spain of an English father and a Spanish mother, Susana Aikin is a writer and a filmmaker who has lived and worked in New York City since 1982. She was educated in both England and Spain; studied law at the University of Madrid, and later Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.

In 1986 she started her own independent film production company, Starfish Productions, producing and directing documentary films that won her multiple awards, including an American Film Institute grant, a Rockefeller Fellowship, and an Emmy Award in 1997. She started writing fiction full time in 2010. She has two sons and now lives between Brooklyn and the mountains north of Madrid.

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Posted Saturday, 16 February, 2019 by jorielov in 19th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Content Note, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Domestic Violence, England, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, London, Mental Health, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Psychological Abuse, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Scribd, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery

A St. Valentine’s Book Review | “After the Rain” (sequel to “The Last Summer”) by Brandy Bruce Returning to a series I discovered last Summer when I focused on reading more #INSPY and discovered a lovely new author in Ms Bruce!

Posted Thursday, 14 February, 2019 by jorielov , , , 2 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 ARC copy of “After the Rain” direct from the author Brandy Bruce in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I am enjoying reading the stories by Brandy Bruce
– especially within this series:

Quote from The Last Summer by Brandy Bruce provided by Singing Librarian Book Tours

These are the very first words we read within the pages of The Last Summer, which set the tone for the novel and for what your expecting to find inside the story. You immediately feel comfortable around Addison, Sam, Luke, Lily, Jason, Debra and Sara. I credit this directly to how Ms Bruce fused her heart into the story-line, as the opening bridge has such a strong visceral anchouring to it, it’s hard not to feel as if you’ve become part of this close-knit circle of friends yourself!

They have the kind of familial relationship you might have hoped to have sought out yourself, though in reality forging friendships like these is not as simple as it would seem. Anyone whose attempted to make a fresh start in a new community knows how hard it is to ‘break-in’ if there is a niche already established between friends’ who have known each other for years. In many ways, I was both thankful to see Sara embraced and slightly questioning how plausible it really would be for that to happen as by my own experiences, it is beyond rare. For the sake of the story, I decided to suspend reality and embrace the moment, as what Sara had stumbled into is something everyone hopes to find for themselves and for that reason alone, I was hooked into reading her story!

The realistic manner of feeling enveloped by the emotional anguish is fittingly honest – these kinds of relationships are murky on the outset, as there are no clear definitions on either side – especially if someone along the way chooses to realise their feelings have changed from idle friendship to romance – how is it best handled to explain that to the other person? The quagmire of course is sorting this out whilst realising the person of your affection has started to move on without you – choosing someone who isn’t you and where does that leave you in the end?

In the background of the story, as this hinges quite heavily on the lives of seven friends, is an interesting mother-daughter relationship. One which surprised me at first, as being that Sara is an only child, I thought I could relate to her a bit more than I did. For starters, I was a bit surprised by how she viewed her relationship with her parents but moreso, how she viewed her connection to her mother. In the end, the only thing I shared in common with Sara is the fact we’re onlys as nothing else related to my life except for that one fact. For Sara, she had issues realising how much alike she was to her mother (which reminded me of the relationship with my Aunt and my grandmother; two peas in a pod and yet they were at odds with each other all the time!) to the brink they both harboured certain secrets in their lives. For Sara, the hardest part for her to reconcile is the fact her mother didn’t like to share the bits of herself which would leave her vulnerable – she’d rather create this exterior barrier against the world which showed her greatest strengths rather than focused on her weaknesses. Sara would have benefited from those lessons – of how to rise out of the ashes of where life hurts us the most but for Sara’s mother, those were the moments she couldn’t easily find a way to re-share without re-opening the wounds which were now healed.

There is a wonderful ease of narrative within the Contemporary styling of Brandy Bruce – you can tell she’s spent a considerable amount of time discovering her characters – not just how they reflect on their lives but how they interact as a family unit. They come alive on paper as true as if they were standing next to you – each with their own quirks and faults, ready to be seen as they are and accepted as we find them. One of the things I love about her signature style is how she tucks us so comfortably into the lives of her characters – she lets us feel as if we’ve spent a few hours getting to know them either through a journal of their lives up to this point or had a conversation with someone who knows the seven as well as Ms Bruce. The conversational style is also keen, as it grants you easy access to better understand where each character is emotionally and on which crossroads of change each character is on the brink of either embracing or choosing to walk down.

Ms Bruce openly shows what it is like to have your emotions pulled straight out of you at a time in your life where you felt you had more worked out than how it appeared on the surface. She also pulls together the faith lives of her characters by organically showing how their faith is directly fused to how they live with a prayerful awareness during their living hours – either through reflective pause, active prayer or a mindfulness of the lessons they grew up knowing as believers which still to this moment in their lives plays a special part in keeping them grounded.

I truly appreciate how Ms Bruce has curated a style for writing realistic Contemporary INSPY which is emotionally centred on uncovering the secrets we try to keep from ourselves, the humbled realities of living through prayer and the emotional upheaval of owning your own truth whilst walking with the realisation not every heart can fully embrace a love which is not reciprocated. There is a lot of real life stitched into this novel – from the highs and lows of feeling loved to the wandering path of friendship and the heartstone connections of family.

-quoted from my review of The Last Summer

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A St. Valentine’s Book Review | “After the Rain” (sequel to “The Last Summer”) by Brandy Bruce Returning to a series I discovered last Summer when I focused on reading more #INSPY and discovered a lovely new author in Ms Bruce!After the Rain
by Brandy Bruce
Source: Direct from Author via SLB Tours

Debra Hart is moving on. Maybe. Hopefully. One day.

As a radio show host, Debra spends her mornings as Miss Lonely Heart on air, empathizing with all the broken hearts in the Denver metro area. She spends her evenings watching old musicals and trying not to think about the guy who broke up with her and subsequently fell in love with one of her best friends. Alone in a new city, Debra questions where she belongs and who she is now.

When she stumbles into the indie music scene, Debra meets singer Ben Price. Rock star appeal, with a day job as a worship pastor, Ben is everything Debra wants to avoid. But he’s determined to be her friend, and it so happens she could really use one. Because try as she might, nothing seems to erase the anger and betrayal she feels.

It’s time for a new dream. But how does she start over when she doesn’t even know what she wants anymore?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781946016737

Also by this author: The Last Summer, Cover Reveal: After the Rain

Also in this series: The Last Summer


Genres: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Women's Fiction


Published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

on 4th February, 2019

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 232

Published By: Bling Romance (@BlingRomance)
an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas (@LPCTweets)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

The Last Summer series:

The Last Summer by Brandy BruceAfter the Rain by Brandy Bruce

The Last Summer | (book one) | (see also Review)

After the Rain | (book two) | (cover reveal w/ notes)

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Converse via: #INSPY #WomensFiction & #AfterTheRain + #BlingRomance

About Brandy Bruce

Brandy Bruce

Brandy Bruce is a mom, a wife, a book editor, an author, and someone who really loves dessert. She’s the author of the award-winning novel The Last Summer, Looks Like Love, and The Romano Family Collection. Brandy, her husband, and their children make their home in Colorado.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 14 February, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Contemporary Romance, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Mental Health, Modern Day, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Singing Librarian Book Tours, Singletons & Commitment, Sweet Romance, Women's Fiction