Category: PTSD

#HarlequinHeartwarming Blog Book Tour | “Reunited with the Cowboy” (Book No.1 of the Heroes of Shelter Creek series) by Claire McEwen

Posted Thursday, 11 July, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I’ve been hosting for Prism Book Tours since September of 2017 – having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. As I enquired about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. 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 when I’m not showcasing book reviews on behalf of Harlequin Heartwarming which has become my second favourite imprint of Harlequin next to my beloved #LoveINSPIRED Suspense. I am also keenly happy PRISM hosts a variety of Indie Authors and INSPY Fiction novelists.

I received a complimentary copy of “Reunited with the Cowboy” direct from the author Claire McEwen in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Let’s face it: if there is a cowboy involved, Jorie is *going!* to be reading it:

The beauty really are the authors Harlequin has within Heartwarming and Love Inspired – they know how to write the drama within the romance but also how to write compelling series with realistic characters & narratives which are a joy to be reading. I get quite giddy whenever there is a new author to read from Heartwarming or Love Inspired – whilst having the chance to participate on one of their blog tours is quite icing on the romantic cake! I love celebrating authors who are writing the STORIES which give me a heart full of blissitude to be #amreading – thus, for the past two years I’ve been hosting PRISM’s blog tours, I’ve been doubly blessed to become acquainted with the Heartwarming imprint and their series!

I’ll be honest – before I even knew a whisper of a hint of where this story would take me – the novel perked my interest for a singular word in the book’s title: *cowboy!* I know, that sounds interesting doesn’t it? How can one word in a book’s title give you the wickedest sweet joy of anticipation in order to read a story? You’d have to go back into my childhood & teenage years to realise that I read quite a lot of lovely Cowboy & Western Fiction! So much so, this is one reason I was wickedly thankful to have found the Rocky Mountain Cowboys & Return of the Blackwell Brothers over the last few years – because they’ve given me *contemporary!* cowboys I can rally behind rather than my usual guilty pleasure of reading the Historicals!

Open country, horse-back riding, close-knit families & communities who care about each other is what draws me into Cowboy Fiction & stories of the West. However, you can find cowboys in nearly every state – outside of my wanderings in the Rockies and other points West – I have found some of the most delightful stories are about Northern California ranchers & ranches! This particular story is set in NorCal and I was wicked excited about meeting the community of Shelter Creek but even moreso – the characters who populate the towne and the series itself!

What sweetened the joy of reading this novel is this is the *first!* novel in a NEW series for Heartwarming inasmuch as the fact I learnt this is the first book the author has published in the past few years – being a writer myself, I understand the long journey behind the books themselves and am wicked thrilled I get to be on her blog tour celebrating the joy of what this book represented to her as a writer and as a creative!

Still though.. its a cowboy story and I am seriously over the moon thankful for a new cowboy story to be reading,..

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#HarlequinHeartwarming Blog Book Tour | “Reunited with the Cowboy” (Book No.1 of the Heroes of Shelter Creek series) by Claire McEwenReunited with the Cowboy
Subtitle: Heroes of Shelter Creek
by Claire McEwen
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

She can save his ranch…

But can he forgive her?

Maya Burton knows she’s the last person rancher Caleb Dunne wants to see. After all, she survived the crash that killed his sister, and then left town. Now she has to convince the stubborn cowboy that she can help him save his ranch. But once she earns his trust—and his heart—will she be able to walk away?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335510730

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance Fiction


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 1st July, 2019

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 368

The Heroes of Shelter Creek series:

*Isn’t it lovely – this novel kicks-off a NEW series!!*

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Reunited with the Cowboy (book one) – Caleb & Maya’s story

After the Rodeo (book two) ← forthcoming, 3rd of September, 2019!
(Jace & Vivian’s story!)

Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin Books

Formats Available: Paperback* and Ebook

*Harlequin has the luxury of offering Regular, Large & Larger Print editions which I personally can attest are lovely to be reading! Especially after a migraine or when my eyes are fatigued.

Converse via: ##RWTCTour and #HarlequinHeartwarming

About Claire McEwen

Claire McEwen

Claire McEwen writes stories about strong heroes and heroines who take big, emotional journeys to find their happily-ever-after. She lives by the ocean in Northern California with her family and a scruffy, mischievous terrier. When she’s not writing, Claire enjoys gardening, reading and discovering flea-market treasures. She loves to hear from readers!

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 11 July, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, California, Contemporary Romance, Family Life, Indie Author, Life Shift, Modern Day, Prism Book Tours, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Western Romance

#MyYASummer Book Review | “Summer by Summer” by Heather Burch | #ReadingIsBeautiful No.2 (part of #YASRC 2015)

Posted Friday, 21 June, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#ReadingISBeautiful Summer YA Reading Challenge by BookSparks

I had fully intended to read my #ReadingIsBeautiful selections hugged closer to the months when the books were meant to be reviewed (Summer of 2015), however, those of whom have caught my posts relating to circumstances which wicked out hours and derailed my attempts to read along with the rest of the book bloggers who took up the same challenge are already in the loop realising my readings of these stories will come quite a bit later than planned (by a few years).

To recap the events for those who are visiting me for the first time,
please direct your attention to the following posts:

You can read a fuller disclosure of my readings of these novels on my review for “Vote for Remy” in the top anchour section of the post.This marks my six review overall spilt between #SRC2015,#ReadingIsBeautiful (the YA selections) and #FRC2015, however, it is the fifth Summer Reading Challenge selection I am reading.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

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

Acquired Book By: I originally found BookSparks PR Spring 2014, when I came upon the Summer Reading Challenge a bit too late in the game. I hadn’t forgotten about it, and was going to re-contact them (in Spring 2015) to see if I could join the challenge in 2015 instead. Coincidentally, before I sorted this out, I was contacted by one of their publicists about Linda Lafferty’s Renaissance historical novel, “The Shepherdess of Siena”. 

I started to participate in #SRC2015 during Summer 2015 until lightning storms quickly overtook my life and the hours I could give to the reading challenge. Summer ended hard and with a newfound resolve to pick up where I had left off, I posted as many reviews on behalf of BookSparks blog tours and/or the three reading challenges I had committed myself to participate inside (i.e. #SRC2015, #ReadingIsBeautiful (YA version), and #FRC2015).

I am unsure if I can resume hosting with BookSparks once my backlogue is erased, however, my main motivation in resuming where I left off was to ‘meet the stories’ even if my days of being a blogger with BookSparks ended the day I couldn’t keep up with the reviews when life interrupted my postings. I continue to hope as my reviews arrive on my blog the authors and the publisher(s) will forgive my delays. Life kept interfering with my plans to read these novels – in late 2016 my Dad had his stroke, 2017 marked his year of recovery and in 2018 I had ten months of health afflictions. I simply didn’t have a lot of time to re-attach into the stories despite re-attempting to read them off/on for the past few years.

I received a complimentary copy of “Summer by Summer” by BookSparks. By participating in the #SRC2015 – this is the YA version of that 2015 challenge called #ReadingIsBeautiful – I am reading the novels in exchange for my honest reviews; whether I am receiving a complimentary copy or borrowing them through my local library. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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My selection process for #sRC2015 + #Yasrc directly:

I made four selections for the #YASRC challenge – they were spilt rather evenly between Fantasy and Contemporary YA, as I made two selections for each genre. The interesting bit is that I hadn’t realised Summer by Summer was a Clean Reads selection for young adult (or adult) readers who are seeking a gentler side of YA. One of my personal contentions for reading YA as an adult reader and as a Prospective Adoptive Mum in the future, is how adult YA is becoming. Meaning, it is hard to find YA written for a true young adult reader – wherein, there isn’t strong language or overtly graphic violence. Whenever I find stories of YA which have vulgarity inclusive to their narratives, I either mention it directly on my reviews, find those stories to be DNF’d and/or they fall into what I place as a category for Upper YA due to the rather adult situations, strong language and/or other inclusive depictions of life I’d categorise as being nearly ‘outside the YA genre’ altogether.

What is beautiful about accidentally finding Blink YA Books is that this is a publisher who is striving towards keeping YA “YA” by the definitions that I appreciate myself for the genre! You can read more about how they’re doing this on their Info Page about their publishing practices. I personally can’t wait to read more stories by them as a result!

Especially as I’m an active reader of YA (and Middle Grade stories) inasmuch as the fact I’m a hybrid reader who moves between mainstream and INSPY markets. It is an uplift of joy to realise there are publishers out there who get why a lot of us like YA for what it can give not just young adult readers but for adults like myself who have re-discovered the beauty of YA Reads (hence why #iReadYA is a lovely tag, too) for the joyfulness of reconnecting with a part of our readerly lives we still love to discover today as older adults. Secondly, as a future parent I am also mindful of the stories I’d like to encourage my children to read themselves and as a book blogger I’ve been able to garnish a list of stories I would feel comfortable allowing them to read.

The reason I did select Summer by Summer was due to the premise involving a nanny on vacation to South America. I love stories involving nannies and au pairs – not just in fiction but in films, such as the Gregory Harrison Au Pair series of films on the previously known Fox Family Channel starring opposite Heidi Noelle Lenhart. Each Summer since 2015 I’ve been striving to focus on this novel and I can’t even count how many times its been prominently featured on my bookshelf or compiled into my #SummerReads selections for each of those Summers. For whichever reason, it remained a firmative fixture of my backlogue of Reviews until this Summer, 2019.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Summer by Summer Book Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com. Photo edits and collage created in Canva.

Summer by Summer
by Heather Burch
Source: Publicist via BookSparks

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780310729631

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), New Adult Fiction, Upper YA Fiction, Young Adult Fiction


Published by Blink YA Books

on 7th April, 2015

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 288

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Listen to the synopsis as shared by the author:

Published By: Blink (@BlinkYABooks)
an imprint of HarperCollins Focus

Note on classification of genre: Although this was marketed for YA audiences, I felt upon reading the synopsis again for the first time in a few years combined with the context of the opening bridge of the novel – this felt like it fits better within the branch of Upper YA and/or New Adult. Especially considering Summer isn’t a young teenager – she’s employed as a nanny, a young woman who started the job as an eighteen year old and soon celebrated her nineteenth birthday.

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #SummerbySummer & #ReadingIsBeautiful + #YASRC

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 21 June, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Agnostic (Questioning & Searching or Unsure), Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Christianity, Coming-Of Age, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Mental Health, Modern Day, Mother-Son Relationships, New Adult Fiction, Post-911 (11th September 2001), PTSD, Realistic Fiction, South America, Suspense, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Upper YA Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

#SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | “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 Book Review | “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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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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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

#HistoricalMondays | Book Review | “The Gift of the Seer” [long awaited sequel to “The Spirit Keeper” (2013)] by K.B. Laugheed

Posted Monday, 11 February, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#HistoricalMondays blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

I am launching a new weekly featured concentration of book reviews on Jorie Loves A Story which celebrates my love and passion for the historical past! For those of whom are regular readers and visitors to my blog, you’ll denote a dedicated passion for reading Historical Fiction (and all the lovely segues of thematic therein) – I am a time traveller of the historical past every chance I get to disappear into a new era and/or century of exploration. There isn’t a time period I haven’t enjoyed ruminating over since [2013] and there are a heap of lovely timescapes I’ve yet to encounter.

This feature was inspired by the stories I’ve read, the stories I’ve yet to experience and the beauty of feeling interconnected to History through the representation of the past through the narratives being writ by today’s Historical Fiction authors. It is to those authors I owe a debt of gratitude for enlightening my bookish mind and my readerly heart with realistic characters, illuminating portals of living history and a purposeful intent on giving each of us a strong representation of ‘life’ which should never become dismissed, forgotten or erased.

I am beginning this feature with the sequel to a beloved historical novel I first read in [2013] – it was one of the first ARCs I received and it was the first year I was a book blogger though it was through a connection outside my life as a blogger. I am celebrating K.B. Laugheed’s literature to kick-off this feature and hopefully will inspire my followers to take this new weekly journey with me into the stories which are beckoning to read their narrative depths and find the words in which to express the thoughts I experienced as I read.

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Acquired Book By: In [2013] I was still participating in the Early Reviewer programme via Book Browse wherein I received an ARC for “The Spirit Keeper” – a new Historical Fiction narrative which sought to break boundaries of its genre and which captured me heart and soul as I read it. It was an emotionally gutting read, a historical reckoning of a story and it left me ruminatively curious about what the ‘next’ chapter of this extraordinary character’s life would be in the sequel. 

I decided to write an expanded review on my blog for my own edification after having contributed my Early Reviewer review to Book Browse – it was one of the few times I was able to do this even though there are a few other ARCs I received from Book Browse I’d like to still blog about in the near future which fittingly have more to be said on their behalf from my readerly experience.

Likewise, I also reached out to the author directly shortly after I posted my review in September of 2013; remember dear hearts, I launched my blog live on the 6th of August, 2013 – so this expanded review became one of the first officially celebrated novels of Jorie Loves A Story in the beginning of finding my writerly voice and my bookish presence in the book blogosphere. It pre-dated hosting blog tours and working with publishers, publicists and authors directly.

Although I remained in contact with the author a bit over the years – simply checking the status on the sequel or offering encouraging thoughts on writing it – I don’t consider this a conflict of interest as to be honest, it was not constant contact and we weren’t in contact on a regular basis nor did we touch base each year since 2013.

When I received an email from Ms Laugheed this past December, 2018 – to say I was pleasantly gobsmacked to have heard from her after a long absence of communication is putting it mildly! I was overjoyed – more for her than for me – as she was announcing the sequel was being published! She decided at long last to go the Indie route towards  publication and I was full of joy and happiness for her as this was a very long and dedicated route back to publishing a sequel I believed in as a reader (and there are others like me out there) but of which I wasn’t sure if any of us would get a chance to embrace it in published form.

Thereby, I did not hesitate to respond to her request to accept this new novel for review consideration – the only thing which delayed my entrance into its chapters was my five week Winter virus (from before Christmas to the early weeks of January, 2019) and my three successive migraines (from mid-January to early February). I read this immediately after recovering from my third migraine and was thrilled I could finally attach my mind and heart round the continuing journey of Katie and Hector!

I received a complimentary copy of “The Gift of the Seer” by the author K.B. Laugheed in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Re-visiting “The Spirit Keeper”

My original motivation to read the novel: I wanted to partake in her journey untoward becoming one man’s living vision of ‘a creature of fire and ice’ and to see if they could fulfill each other’s destinies therein. It is such a curious proposition, to be taken by force from one’s own family, and re-positioned into a life, by which, you’re in complete unfamiliar territory, amongst people who speak a different tongue than your own, and by your own wits, have to determine how to survive. I was curious by how she was going to effectively change her life and heart; and to what end she must do so! This felt to me like a piece of Magical Realism wrapped up inside a Historical Fiction, rooted into the conscience of the American Frontier! I was besotted with the plot, and needed to read it to ascertain what the story truly was about! The Spirit Keeper spoke to me, as a book I needed to read rather than merely a book I wanted to read! I listen to my intuition in other words!

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Ms Laugheed advised me to re-read “The Spirit Keeper” ahead of reading “The Gift of the Seer” – what I hadn’t the heart to tell her is my copy of the novel is packed as most of my personal library has been packed for the last four years. I couldn’t sort out which box it is held within if I had a compass as I literally have quite the expansive library being stored right now. This is one key reason why I can’t always re-read the novels I’m reviewing – as I only have a handful of books I’ve reviewed the past few years unpacked and shelved – most of which, are first or seconds in series, awaiting new releases to where I can turn back to and re-read a bit ahead of delving into the next installment. I did have The Spirit Keeper prominently shelved for quite a few years after it was released – it was only recently I had to make the hard choice to pack it away for safe keeping til I can restore my library back to rights.

Therefore, I did what any other book blogger would do in this situation – I borrowed a well-loved copy from my local library and as I re-entered the story, I was quite shocked by what I discovered! I hadn’t forgotten as much as I was expecting, too! I re-read the opening bridge of the novel – re-visiting how Katie was taken from her family, the traumatic transitioning into life with the Spirit Keeper and Hector as much as re-aligning in my mind the era this series is set and the mannerisms of how the story is told. As Ms Laugheed has a very distinctive style of historical story-telling; it is one reason I was hugged so dearly close into the story originally.

Secondly, as I noticed a lot of readerly flashbacks moving through my mind’s eye after that particular re-visitation – I immediately flipped to the last quarter of the novel, resumed as if I hadn’t been absent from this story for :six: long years and re-lived the concluding chapters, as fresh as dew on recently mowed grass. I seriously was re-captured by what was left behind for my eyes and heart to find – thereby, I knew with certainty I was prepared as I ever could be to re-enter Katie and Hector’s world.

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For those of you who might never have had the pleasure of joy reading this novel, let me select a few quotations from my original review – both from what I shared with Book Browse after first reading the ARC and what I expounded upon on Jorie Loves A Story thereafter.

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The inertia of reality that besots you as soon as you enter into the world of The Spirit Keeper, is quite a hard bullet to bite, because before you can wrap your eyes and heart around what your visually aware of, your niched into the story! I credit this to the author, as Laugheed endeavours you to jump straight out of your comfort zone, wholly free-falling into a brutal, raw, and untamed section of the American Frontier in the mid-1700s and take a quest towards unraveling the complexities of building a new life in a foreign land. The thematics that are entrenched in the story parlay an exposition on language, translation, and sense of being. She readily elevates our awareness that our words can draw an impact that is not always aware to us, but like the life paths we are walking, we are not always in charge of their meaning or purpose of use.

I will lament, that if you’re a reader who begs off for lighter faire, you might want to caution yourself, as within Chapter One, the author does not hold back on the grim realities of what it was like in the 1700s when an Indian War Party descended upon a settler’s family.

The beauty of the outside world envelopes you from the jump-start, as the open wilderness is the footing for setting this story outside the reach of our known world. Even for those of us who are akin to the natural environment and the inhabitants therein, there is still so much of that world that is readily just outside our scope, outside our understanding. The Native Americans who are on the forefront of the story, evoke a cultural education into accepting stark differences of living, as much as embracing traditions that hold merit  (such as the menstrual huts for women).

Flickerments of “Medicine Man” (the motion picture) streamed through my mind, as did “Dances with Wolves” (the motion picture), as in each story, those who only spoke English, learnt to adapt and to live amongst the natives by which they found themselves belonging too better than their own kind. I am drawn into stories that attach us to whole new cultures, traditions, religions, and walks of life. Stories that etch into our imaginations a wholly new world, where there are similarities, but otherwise, as we dip into their narratives, we find ourselves in a foreign land, attempting to understand what we cannot yet conceive possible.

An incredible journey of self-preservation, fortitude of spirit, and overwhelming grief: I was not quite prepared for the journey that Katie, Syawa, and Hector embark upon! It wasn’t so much the long distances that they must traverse through rough hewn terrain, but rather, they are each going through a personal, intimate, internal journey concurrent to their outward journey towards the men’s originating homeland! Each is carrying secrets of their own experiences, and in Katie’s instance, her life is muddled and blighted with far more devastation than anyone could ill-afford possible to a seventeen year old young lady!

Her lot in life has been tempered by abuse and misguided notions of love, unto where she has encouraged a naïve sense of the living world, and has grown an ignorance of how right a life can be lived! I grieved for her and bleed emotions with her recollections of past memories,.. memories that were nearly too hard to bare and to ruminatively lay pause upon. It is through Syawa’s gentleness and effective way of easing her out of her shell, that she truly started to see who she was and who she could be. I only wish I could pronounce Syawa’s name, as I feel as guilty she does in her own story, about the misunderstandings that evolve out of not understanding language and meaning of words, phrases, or names outside our own native tongues!

Language & Translation: the Invisible Barriers we never foresee: Laugheed paints a clear window towards our greatest struggle in accepting and understanding each other, as we present ourselves to each other in our conversations! Each inflection of tone, voice, and the words we use to explain ourselves, can lead us down a path of misunderstanding and of misalignment in what we are attempting to represent as our thoughts, hopes, dreams, and passions. Throughout the story, we are seeing the story as a first-hand account of a diary the protagonist is writing to assert her own history back in her life, as she’s amongst those who do not understand the necessity of having a living history or a story to be told of one’s heritage. She values her experiences, her struggles of faith, and the lessons she is ought being taught as she walks forward into her future. She hasn’t had the easiest of lives, but she isn’t going to allow herself to wallow in the situations she could never effectively change, but rather, pull out a strength deep from within her, to carry her through the tribulations that she was certain were still to come.

Whilst she’s (Katie O’ Toole) recounting her days in her diary, I mused about how this differed from the diary of Robinson Crusoe as it contained more of her essence, her internal quagmire of thoughts, and the irrevocable distraught by which she plagued herself with for most of her arduous journey towards Syawa and Hector’s homeland. From the moment I read the opening page, by which the author departed a precognitive knowledge of how the story might transform as you read the words, I was left with a museful pre-occupation of how that would transpire, and further still, of one particular scene that I had presumed was forgotten within the re-writes and draughts, leading up to publication! However, this falls perfectly into this category of observation about ‘language and translation’, about how what we first perceive to be just and truth, can altogether change and alter, either by the different perception we’ve learnt through experience OR through reading a book that is quite unlike another! This book truly lives up to the proportions of what Laugheed mentions at the start gate: the words transcend their own meaning as you etch closer to the ending, the whole of the story is much larger than the sum of the parts as they are revealed!

In this way,  she is giving each of us to turn on our heels, the gross misconception of how we drink in words, knowledge, and observational data. The reader is very much at the heart of this story, and I think, is as central as Katie’s voice in re-telling her own history. What is humbling too, is how as our knowledge expands, the words that were once lost on us, as being completely irreverent suddenly take on new meanings, as they now evoke an ’emotion’, a ‘resolution’, or a ‘truth’ we did not understand previously. An Irish girl cast out into the wilderness of the wild frontier, with two Indian’s as her sole guides and protectors, makes for a curious precept initially, but it’s how they interact with each other, during the everyday hours, that Laugheed excels in not disappointing her reader! She never makes their interactions dull or predictable, because she has woven their personalities into the core of how they interact with each other! You pick up little character traits that come to play a larger part of the story as it threads through its climax, but inside these key portals of frontier life in campsites and canoes, you start to see how its possible to thread a new life together out of the ashes of the old! In this way, I was quietly savouring each exchange between the threesome, curious how they would come to depend on each other, and how they would draw strength by each others’ presence.

The art of story-telling plays a center part of The Spirit Keeper’s heart, but it’s the transformative power of understanding the words that are imparted throughout the story, that turn everything into a new light once the conclusion arrives. What the reader first mistook as a course of events, was truly a resounding precognitive journey that guided two characters forward into a future they would not have been strong enough to embrace otherwise. It’s the redemptive nature of grasping a hold of the essence of those who pass forward and away from our living world that is truly the most remarkable arc of the story! For we all have the ability to be a keeper of a spirit whose touched us deeply and left us remorseful for their presence! We only need the strength to transcend our perception and view our experiences from a different angle to see how the threads stitch together the pattern of our living tapestry!

An environmental conscience: Is cleverly hidden within the context of the story, but is one of the inclusions that I found to be the most illuminating to see!! I oft have found myself the most happiest amongst the trees, rivers, lakes, streams, and out-of-door hideaways that only a person can walk to find! Nature’s door is ever beckoning us to re-enter that sacred space between the natural world and the world by which we live as men. We are drawn towards nature as keenly as we are attached to water as a source of lifeblood, but it isn’t always an easy attachment to maintain, when the hectic nature of our lifestyles can circumvent our efforts to keep our hearts and souls aligned with the seasons and timescape of the natural world just past our windows! Laugheed draws a breath of vitality into the forest, where you can nearly hear the echoings of the trees, the rushing power of the rivers, and the harmonious tickings of the inhabitants therein. I appreciated that the animals that were killed in the book were used for what they could give back to the ones who fell them. I always respected this aspect of Native American beliefs, as they take what they need and only what they can use, at the time they go hunting. It’s a beautiful circle of life, as nothing is wasted and everything is respected. She wants you to see the beauty past what you expect to find whilst out in the deep woods, as the forest plays a fourth character or rather, that of a narrator that has not yet found its voice.

-quoted from my review of The Spirit Keeper

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#HistoricalMondays | Book Review | “The Gift of the Seer” [long awaited sequel to “The Spirit Keeper” (2013)] by K.B. LaugheedThe Gift of the Seer
by K.B. Laugheed
Source: Direct from Author

Katie O' Toole's epic adventure began in "The Spirit Keeper" (Plume 2013) when she was rescued from a 1747 frontier massacre only to find herself chosen as the "Spirit Keeper" of a dying Indian seer. She hesitated to accept this mysterious obligation until she fell in love with the Seer's bodyguard, an Indian man she called Hector.

Much has happened since my last writing,..

In The Gift of the Seer, Katie and Hector continue their journey across the continent, but the more Katie learns about the peculiar ways of her husband's people, the more she dreads arriving at their destination. Will anyone believe she is the Spirit Keeper she pretends to be? Equally troubling, Katie knows the Seer expected her to prove his Vision - a Vision which foretold of infinite Invaders coming to his world - but to prove this prophecy, she must give his people the great Gift he also predicted. The only problem is that Katie has no gift to give.

Years pass as she desperately searches for a way to fulfill her promise to the dead Seer, but when his former rival threatens to expose her as a fraud, Katie finally understands that her life and the life of all the people in her new world hang in the balance. That's when she knows she must give a Gift - she must - before it is too late.

Did you honestly think you could get so much and give nothing in return?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1732886216

Genres: Feminist Historical Fiction, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Literary Fiction, Magical Realism, Native American Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Women's Studies


Published by Self Published Author

on 7th January, 2019

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 372

the spirit keeper duology:

The Spirit keeper & the gift of the seer

This is a Self-Published novel

Available Formats: Hardback, Paperback and Ebook

Converse on Twitter: #GiftOfTheSeer, #TheSpiritKeeper Sequel + #KBLaugheed
as well as #HistNov + #HistoricalFiction or #HistFic

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About K.B. Laugheed

The Gift of the Seer by K.B. Laugheed

K.B. Laugheed is an organic gardener and master naturalist who wrote her first published novel, The Spirit Keeper, as part penance for the sins of her family’s pioneer past, part tribute to all our ancestors, and part grandiose delusion as she hopes to remind modern Americans of the grim price we paid for the glorious life we take for granted today.

But The Spirit Keeper is not a story about guilt. It’s about gratitude.

The Gift of the Seer is officially available worldwide as it was published on the 7th of January, 2019.

To support the author directly, kindly consider purchasing her novels through her online store.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 11 February, 2019 by jorielov in #HistoricalMondays, #JorieLovesIndies, 18th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Browse, Book Review (non-blog tour), Brothers and Sisters, Bullies and the Bullied, Colonial America, Coming-Of Age, Content Note, Cultural & Religious Traditions, Cultural Heritage, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Diary Accountment of Life, Domestic Violence, Early Colonial America, Environmental Conscience, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, First Impressions, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Folklore, Genre-bender, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, History, Horror-Lite, Indie Author, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, Life Shift, Literary Fiction, Loss of an unbourne child, Magical Realism, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Midwives & Childbirth, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Multicultural Marriages & Families, Native American Fiction, Native American Spirituality, Old World Arts & Crafts, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Prejudicial Bullying & Non-Tolerance, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Psychological Abuse, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Self-Published Author, Siblings, Sisterhood friendships, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Social Change, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Story in Diary-Style Format, Superstitions & Old World Beliefs, Taboo Relationships & Romance, Terminal Illness &/or Cancer, The American Frontier, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Unexpected Pregnancy, Vulgarity in Literature, Wilderness Adventures, Women's Health