Category: Contemporary Romance

#SaturdaysAreBookish | “The Certain Hope” (The Hope Series, Book Three) by E.C. Jackson

Posted Saturday, 23 March, 2019 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

#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!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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 enquried about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. I am unsure how many books I’ll review for them as most are offered digitally rather than in print but this happily marks one of the blog tours where I could receive a print book for review purposes. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Certain Hope” direct from the author E.C. Jackson in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

On why this story appealled to me:

I love seeking out new authors of Inspirational Fiction on a regular basis – previously, I started to notice there are certain novelists of INSPY Lit who are not having a lot of light shined on their stories – these are the authors who are writing about religious heritage, culture and history which is outside of Christianity and/or authors who are writing about POC or other cultural heritages outside the regular scope of where INSPY Lit generally is focused upon. The unique thing there is the fact that INSPY is a full encompassing of *all!* religious beliefs and faith backgrounds – it is not limted by any individual religion because it is an umbrella which involves everything.

This is why I love seeking out different stories by an eclectically diverse sea of voices – I would have been reviewing & showcasing the works by Piper Huguley (@piperhuguley) if I hadn’t run into a bit of an issue in requesting her books & her series through ILL’ing resources. (this refers to inter-library loan) I am still intending to re-borrow her stories and finally bring her stories to Jorie Loves A Story. Til then, I savour the time I had within the first novel I read of hers and I can’t wait to return.

I regularly read stories of the Amish and Mennonite as much as I seek out Eastern Religious stories and stories which either offer a Jewish or Judeo-Christian perspective inasmuch as keeping an open mind about which religious backgrounds are explored through Inspirational narratives. This has also included LDS Fiction in the past and I still keep a ready eye out on new releases of LDS INSPY Lit as LDS is another protestant branch of the whole of Christianity. 

Having said this – what really motivated me to want to read “The Certain Hope” is that it felt a bit like my love of Harlequin Heartwarming series – in how you can stumble into one of the latter installments and find your footing rather quickly. OR how if you pick up a Love INSPIRED or a Heartsongs Presents story, you immediately know your going to be in for a lovely Sweet Romance!

Being a hybrid reader of both INSPY & mainstream Lit since I was a child it is old hat now to move between both worlds of literature. I have been blessed this *2019!* to be able to join more than a few INSPY blog tours via Prism Book Tours. I was hoping I might be able to start joining INSPY focused blog tours as these stories are an uplift to my readerly life to devour & savour – how keen then, this Spring I’m off to a great start after having read the wonderful stories by Joanne Biscof!

On a very simplistic level – it was the name of the series which wooed me to wanting to read this novel – the *HOPE* series – what more could you ask for as a singular title in naming an INSPY serial? I hope my spotlight today might encourage you to seek out this author and her stories – however, you’re popping by to see what I’m currently reading – THIS is the book I have in hand!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

#SaturdaysAreBookish | “The Certain Hope” (The Hope Series, Book Three) by E.C. JacksonThe Certain Hope (Spotlight)
by E.C. Jackson
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

Love at first sight. It’s every girl’s dream. But Tara Simpkins is finding out it’s not as easy as it seems. Is this truly the man God sent to be her husband, or is she just desperate to escape her loneliness? The recent loss of both parents has left her reeling, and close friends don’t think she’s in any position to make major life decisions. She and her new-found love are convinced they can live happily ever after in the home of their dreams. His family thinks he’s moving way too fast and might disappoint the kind-hearted woman he’s fallen head over heels for. And then there’s Leah. Leah is supposed to be part of his past, but what if she decides she’s his future? Tara’s match made in Heaven may be over before it truly begins.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0996181228

Also by this author: The Certain Hope (Spotlight)

Also in this series: The Certain Hope (Spotlight)


Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Sweet Romance


Published by Self Published Author

on 19th June, 2015

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 251

This series is self-published by the author

The Hope Series:

A Gateway to Hope by EC JacksonA Living Hope by EC JacksonThe Certain Hope by EC Jackson

A Gateway to Hope (book one)

A Living Hope (book two) → Pajama Party: The Story (companion story)

The Certain Hope (book three) ← where I enter the series!

Converse via: #INSPYRomance + #SweetRomance
as well as #INSPYbooks + #Contemporary Romance

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

About E.C. Jackson

E.C. Jackson

E. C. Jackson began her writing career with the full-length play Pajama Party. For three and a half years she published the Confidence in Life newsletter for Alpha Production Ministries, in addition to writing tracts and devotionals. Teaching a women’s Bible study at her church for eleven years naturally led to her current endeavor of writing inspirational romance novels and teen and young adult fiction. Her mission: spiritual maturity in the body of Christ through fiction.

A note from E. C. Jackson: “The Write Way: A Real Slice of Life” is the slogan on my website and Facebook author page. If every person reading my book feels connected to the characters, my job is done.

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Divider

Posted Saturday, 23 March, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Contemporary Romance, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Sweet Romance

Blog Tour Spotlight | Celebrating “The Certain Hope” (The Hope Series, Book Three) by E.C. Jackson An INSPY Contemporary Sweet Romance by a #newtomeauthor!

Posted Thursday, 21 March, 2019 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Stories in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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 enquried about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. I am unsure how many books I’ll review for them as most are offered digitally rather than in print but this happily marks one of the blog tours where I could receive a print book for review purposes. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Certain Hope” direct from the author E.C. Jackson in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

On why this story appealled to me:

I love seeking out new authors of Inspirational Fiction on a regular basis – previously, I started to notice there are certain novelists of INSPY Lit who are not having a lot of light shined on their stories – these are the authors who are writing about religious heritage, culture and history which is outside of Christianity and/or authors who are writing about POC or other cultural heritages outside the regular scope of where INSPY Lit generally is focused upon. The unique thing there is the fact that INSPY is a full encompassing of *all!* religious beliefs and faith backgrounds – it is not limted by any individual religion because it is an umbrella which involves everything.

This is why I love seeking out different stories by an eclectically diverse sea of voices – I would have been reviewing & showcasing the works by Piper Huguley (@piperhuguley) if I hadn’t run into a bit of an issue in requesting her books & her series through ILL’ing resources. (this refers to inter-library loan) I am still intending to re-borrow her stories and finally bring her stories to Jorie Loves A Story. Til then, I savour the time I had within the first novel I read of hers and I can’t wait to return.

I regularly read stories of the Amish and Mennonite as much as I seek out Eastern Religious stories and stories which either offer a Jewish or Judeo-Christian perspective inasmuch as keeping an open mind about which religious backgrounds are explored through Inspirational narratives. This has also included LDS Fiction in the past and I still keep a ready eye out on new releases of LDS INSPY Lit as LDS is another protestant branch of the whole of Christianity. 

Having said this – what really motivated me to want to read “The Certain Hope” is that it felt a bit like my love of Harlequin Heartwarming series – in how you can stumble into one of the latter installments and find your footing rather quickly. OR how if you pick up a Love INSPIRED or a Heartsongs Presents story, you immediately know your going to be in for a lovely Sweet Romance!

Being a hybrid reader of both INSPY & mainstream Lit since I was a child it is old hat now to move between both worlds of literature. I have been blessed this *2019!* to be able to join more than a few INSPY blog tours via Prism Book Tours. I was hoping I might be able to start joining INSPY focused blog tours as these stories are an uplift to my readerly life to devour & savour – how keen then, this Spring I’m off to a great start after having read the wonderful stories by Joanne Biscof!

On a very simplistic level – it was the name of the series which wooed me to wanting to read this novel – the *HOPE* series – what more could you ask for as a singular title in naming an INSPY serial? I hope my spotlight today might encourage you to seek out this author and her stories – however, you’re popping by to see what I’m currently reading – THIS is the book I have in hand!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Tour Spotlight | Celebrating “The Certain Hope” (The Hope Series, Book Three) by E.C. Jackson An INSPY Contemporary Sweet Romance by a #newtomeauthor!The Certain Hope (Spotlight)
by E.C. Jackson
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

Love at first sight. It’s every girl’s dream. But Tara Simpkins is finding out it’s not as easy as it seems. Is this truly the man God sent to be her husband, or is she just desperate to escape her loneliness? The recent loss of both parents has left her reeling, and close friends don’t think she’s in any position to make major life decisions. She and her new-found love are convinced they can live happily ever after in the home of their dreams. His family thinks he’s moving way too fast and might disappoint the kind-hearted woman he’s fallen head over heels for. And then there’s Leah. Leah is supposed to be part of his past, but what if she decides she’s his future? Tara’s match made in Heaven may be over before it truly begins.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0996181228

Also by this author: The Certain Hope (Spotlight)

Also in this series: The Certain Hope (Spotlight)


Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Sweet Romance


Published by Self Published Author

on 19th June, 2015

This series is self-published by the author

The Hope Series:

A Gateway to Hope by EC JacksonA Living Hope by EC JacksonThe Certain Hope by EC Jackson

A Gateway to Hope (book one)

A Living Hope (book two) → Pajama Party: The Story (companion story)

The Certain Hope (book three) ← where I enter the series!

Converse via: #INSPYRomance + #SweetRomance
as well as #INSPYbooks + #Contemporary Romance

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

About E.C. Jackson

E.C. Jackson

E. C. Jackson began her writing career with the full-length play Pajama Party. For three and a half years she published the Confidence in Life newsletter for Alpha Production Ministries, in addition to writing tracts and devotionals. Teaching a women’s Bible study at her church for eleven years naturally led to her current endeavor of writing inspirational romance novels and teen and young adult fiction. Her mission: spiritual maturity in the body of Christ through fiction.

A note from E. C. Jackson: “The Write Way: A Real Slice of Life” is the slogan on my website and Facebook author page. If every person reading my book feels connected to the characters, my job is done.

Read More

Divider

Posted Thursday, 21 March, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Spotlight & Announcement, Contemporary Romance, Equality In Literature, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Sweet Romance

Blog Book Tour | “Carrying the Greek Tycoon’s Baby” (Book One: Greek Island Brides) by Jennifer Faye a selection of #Harlequin Romance

Posted Monday, 4 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 enquried 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 “Carrying the Greek Tycoon’s Baby” direct from the author Jennifer Faye in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I enjoy reading Romance selections by Ms Faye:

I honestly enjoy how Ms Faye sets up her characters to find each other – how they seemingly are not meant to be involved but then, there is a door which opens to allow it. She finds ways to let them present themselves in the muddling glow of their lives – here we have two persons who are dearly known in the public eye but their facing hurdles that no one would want for themselves. From the details of how the death of Noemi’s parents is affecting her centre of gravity to the fact Max isn’t ready to yield to his younger brother’s right to ascend ahead of him to the throne – these two are subjected to the harsher realities of their lives but without the blessing of being anonymous. Their world is painted in cameras and newsfeeds – where everything they do is photographed and archived. You have to wonder how anyone can survive that kind of finite attention after awhile and Faye does a good job of setting up how this hangs on the heart of her characters.

I felt the lead-up to the inevitable was done rather well – you have to get two people to find traction with each other and the best way to do that is to find a way to separate and isolate them from others. Faye took a stolen moment outside of the party to show us how desire and a curiosity about each other lead Max and Noemi to contemplate coupling even if neither of them went to the party to see out someone else. It was the foundation of the story but also a clever glimpse into who they were and how they strove to keep their own lives private from each other.

The kind of regret and remorse Faye knits into the heart of Noemi was touching – she hadn’t wanted to agree to the terms of her encounter with Max but they each went their own ways all the same. You immediately feel for her due to her personal losses within her own family but this was a complication of a different kind. Where you wanted to reach out to someone who needed to know something important but then, couldn’t sort out how to contact them due to mutually agreed upon anonymity. Talk about frustrating!

Max was dealt a hard hand in life to sort through – he had battled through a serious illness in his younger years and had survived but his survival was anchoured to a reality he wasn’t prepared to accept. One of the side effects of his illness was the prospect of not being able to enter fatherhood and this weighed on his mind more than most as due to his nature as a bloke groomed from childhood to succeed his own father in the responsibilities of their country, he news did not sit well with Max. Realising his limitations due to the rites of ascension, Max was what you would consider a floundering wanderer – a lost soul who couldn’t sort out his passions nor his life whilst he moved round the world seeking one thrill after another. He lacked vision and he hadn’t a whit of knowledge towards what interested him most but he was striving to change that – if only he could see how he could move forward without the kind of resentment which alights when your moving against what you feel is your own predestined future.

For Noemi, the hardest part of reading her story was realising she was shouldering everything alone. Even with Max, as he was one half the son of his parents and influenced by their counsel over the years – even he was not as sympathetic to Noemi as you would have preferred. Trust is a big hurdle they face in the story, as much as Noemi has trouble sorting things out whilst she has to work through a change in status which would affect her own future as much as Max. I am unsure why the details of her parents death was still withheld – as when she finally told Max about them, I thought for sure the revelation was going to come forward but it did not.

Both of these characters are reserved and private in their own ways – they like to hold important details close to their hearts and I suppose in that way, this is why we hadn’t known the fuller details of how her parents died. Their death did re-shape Noemi as much as the illness re-shaped Max – they were each altered through circumstances whether they realised it or not. What they had in common was their sincere attraction and respect for each other; at least when they were not testing each others will of tolerance. They had their issues to work out but for the most part they were simply two people who understand each other at first meeting. If only the rest of their days after that encounter could have gone a bit easier for them, I think they might have realised more truths about themselves a bit sooner!

-quoted from my review of Heiress’s Royal Baby Bombshell

This marks my fourth story by Harlequin Romance I’ve read by Ms Faye – the first two were part of a duology series where she re-spun classical fairy tales and inserted us into realistic Contemporary settings where the fairy tale aesthetic was uniquely used to tell a compelling romantic tale! I truly admired how she instinctively made each ‘origin story’ her own and kept enough of the ‘classic’ tale inclusive to where you could ‘see the past’ but felt comfortable embracing her ‘future’ of breathing in a new life to the older tales. The third story I read was actually a second in a series called the Cattaneos’ Christmas Miracles whilst this fourth one is happily launching a new series set around the Greek Islands!

The reason this particular story appealled to me is because I knew I was going to be reading a lot of heavier dramas in March and I wanted to switch things up a bit to lighten the load. Sometimes I prefer to read lighter romances within Harlequin imprints (ie. Love Inspired Suspense, Harlequin Heartwarming and their Romance line) as they are a cosy comfort when your consistently pick out Historical dramas and stories rooted out of the living legacies of person’s who once lived in the past. We all need a bit of ‘light’ in our readerly lives – where we can soak into a lovely romance as easily as we can turn on Hallmark Channel!

Meanwhile, I watched the first episode of Lindsay Lohan’s new series where she’s taking over a Greek island herself – launching her new endeavours as a boutique travel destination – whilst giving all of us a large dose of reality in the process. Concurrent to seeing that evolve a bit out of control due to her staff choices, I rather enjoyed an unexpected episode of Who Do You Think You Are? where I had the pleasure of tagging along with John Stamos to Greece! I learnt quite a bit about Greece and how sometimes you really do inherit when you aren’t expecting, too! Stamos learnt he had a house in Greece and a whole town full of his extended relatives! It was a soul lift of an episode and I loved seeing him travelling through Greece, where people knew him by sight and name and how he was discovering the roots of his family in a way he never felt possible.

Combine all of this with the fact I used to have a good friend who lived in Greece, the country has held a charm of interest in me for quite a number of years. Getting the chance to re-see the country and the setting through Ms Faye’s pen and eye for romance felt like a wicked good choice!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “Carrying the Greek Tycoon’s Baby” (Book One: Greek Island Brides) by Jennifer Faye a selection of #Harlequin RomanceCarrying the Greek Tycoon's Baby
Subtitle: Greek Island Brides
by Jennifer Faye
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

From one night… To nine months!

In this Greek Island Brides story, for jaded tycoon Xander Marinakos, renowned wedding destination Infinity Island is just another opportunity to expand his empire. Until he’s captivated by its beautiful owner, Lea Romes… When their one night together has unexpected consequences, Xander must negotiate the deal of a lifetime, and put his guarded heart on the table to convince independent Lea they can be a family…for infinity!

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1335499264

Also by this author: Beauty and Her Boss, Miss White and the Seventh Heir, Heiress's Royal Baby Bombshell

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


Published by Harlequin Books

on 5th March, 2019

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 256

Published by: Harlequin Books (@HarlequinBooks)

Formats Available: Ebook and Paperback

Carrying The Greek Tycoon's Baby - promo badge provied by Prism Book Tours.

Greek Island Brides | Finding love that lasts to infinity!

All marriages that take place on renowned wedding destination Infinity Island are guaranteed to last forever!

And the picturesque Greek island is about to weave its magic for friends Lea, Popi and Stasia. They dream of finding their own happy-ever-afters… And they’re about to meet three billionaires who will sweep them off their feet—and down the aisle!

Follow Lea’s journey from surprise pregnancy to dream proposal in

Carrying the Greek Tycoon’s Baby

Carrying the Greek Tycoon’s Baby (book one) | Lea’s story

Claiming the Drakos Heir (book two) | Popi’s story → forthcoming June, 2019!

The rebel bachelor is back… To claim her baby!

In this Greek Island Brides story, pregnant surrogate Popi Costas is faced with raising her late sister’s child alone, until the baby’s wealthy uncle arrives to take charge! Apollo Drakos is distractingly handsome, but Popi won’t let that stop her from fighting to keep the baby. Yet as she gets to know the man behind the wild card reputation, Popi’s reconsidering welcoming Apollo into her new little family…

Wearing the Greek Millonaire’s Ring (book three) | Stasia’s story
→ forthcoming September, 2019

Converse via: #Contemporary #Romance & #Harlequin

About Jennifer Faye

Jennifer Faye

Award-winning author, Jennifer Faye pens fun, heartwarming contemporary romances with rugged cowboys, sexy billionaires and enchanting royalty. Internationally published with books translated into nine languages. She is a two-time winner of the RT Book Reviews Reviewers' Choice Award, the CataRomance Reviewers' Choice Award, named a TOP PICK author, and been nominated for numerous other awards.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Divider

Posted Monday, 4 March, 2019 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Contemporary Romance, Indie Author, Life Shift, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction

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.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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?

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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)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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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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