Category: Family Life

A very #blogmas #SaturdaysAreBookish | “Merry Hanukkah” by Debby Caruso

Posted Saturday, 22 December, 2018 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish created by Jorie in Canva.

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In keeping with the change of name for my Romance & Women’s Fiction Twitter chat [@SatBookChat previously known as @ChocLitSaturday] – I am announcing a change of features here on Jorie Loves A Story. Since January, 2014 I carved out a niche of focus which I named #ChocLitSaturdays as I have felt the best time to read romantic and dramatic stories are the weekends. This spun into a Twitter chat featuring the authors of ChocLit whilst I supplied weekly topics which would appeal to readers, writers and book bloggers alike. We grew into our own Saturday tribe of chatters – then, somewhere round the time of my father’s stroke in late [2016] and the forthcoming year of [2017] I started to feel less inspired to host the chat.

I had new plans to re-invent the chat in its new incantation as @SatBookChat but I also wanted to re-invent the complimentary showcases on my blog which would reflect the diversity of stories, authors and publishers I would be featuring on the chat itself. As at the root and heart of #ChocLitSaturday the chat were the stories I was reading which complimented the conversations.

After a difficult year for [personal health & wellness] this 2018, I began anew this Autumn – selecting the stories to resume where I left off featuring the Romance & Women’s Fiction authors I am discovering to read whilst highlighting a story by the author I am chatting with during #SatBookChat. Every (forthcoming) Saturday will feature a different author who writes either Romance or Women’s Fiction – wherein I concluded the year of hosting @SatBook during October & November featuring special guest authors whose stories I have either read, were reading or had hoped to read in the future if their newer releases. Going forward, the reviews on Saturdays might inspire the topics in the forthcoming chats or they might be directly connected to the current guest author.

Our holiday break for the month of December will find us resuming #SatBookChat the week after New Year’s, 2019 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.

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Acquired Book By: I was approached about reading this holiday-themed Women’s Fiction story shortly before the holidays began. The author found me on Twitter and I thought it would be lovely to combine reading this story with my holiday themed Cosy Mysteries – except that is before I fell ill this December and all my holiday readings were pushed forward closer to Christmas. I received a complimentary copy of “Merry Hanukkah” direct from the author Debby Caruso 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 story works & why it befits reading at the holidays:

I truly was looking forward to my holiday readings this year – especially as I had the chance to read #newtomeauthors and feature a Women’s Fiction writ for the holidays – it felt like a cosy comforting reading binge this month, except that instead of spending most of the month tucked into holiday stories, I’ve been trying to battle my way through a bad Winter virus! I finally reached the point where I had to step away from books, my blog and everything inter-related to them as I was miserably down and out with one of the worst Winter illnesses I’ve had in recent years!

Late on Saturday night, I finally was able to reach a point where my lungs were giving me a rest to where I could breathe a bit easier than I have in days, allowing me the joy of picking up a story to read and finally, at long last start to make a bit of progress towards my readings into festive and bright story-lines! I wanted to read a mixture of stories this year – which is why I am delighted I can start with a light-hearted Women’s Fiction about blending holiday traditions and celebrations before I move into a lovely batch of Cosy Mysteries all uniquely themed for Christmas.

I personally love the holiday season – it is a festive way of becoming introduced to new traditions and new ways to celebrate, as well as to observe the reason why we’re all united together during the same time of the year. Having a story that seeks to merge the joy of two of the most infamous holidays in December felt like a good way to kick things off this year, as a lot of families struggle to find balance when their sorting out what do for both Christmas and Hanukkah without losing the meaning and purpose behind both traditional holidays.

I think this is a story that works well for this time of year – as it is a conversation about family, religion and heritage. Of finding what works for you as an individual as well as trying to merge new traditions into a new family where both sides need to feel comfortable in merging their back-histories together as a new bridge towards celebrating what they share in common and observing holidays in a way that unites the new path they are taking together.

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A very #blogmas #SaturdaysAreBookish | “Merry Hanukkah” by Debby CarusoMerry Hanukkah
by Debby Caruso
Source: Direct from Author

Meet Rhonda, a semi-neurotic ad agent and Christmas fanatic, who decides she's going to make a fabulous Hanukkah celeration for her new husband James and his family.

In the midst of trying to create the perfect day, Rhonda meets with various roadblocks: a hostile mother-in-law who takes the joy out of any day, recipes she can't seem to master, a looming work deadline that's sure to do her in, as well as an intrinsic belief that somehow the holidays are about something more... and that the "perfect" day isn't always what it seems.

Merry Hanukkah is for all those celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas, and for the Holiday Junkie in all of us. It's a hilarious journey revealling the truth of what we value the most: faith, family, friendship and love.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1732519008

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


Published by Self Published Author

on 22nd August, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 132

Self-Published Author

Converse via: #SaturdaysAreBookish + #WomensFiction or #HolidayStory

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Debby Caruso

Debby Caruso is a Native New Yorker who is also a proud Italian-American. She is the creator of novels, screenplays, short stories, poems, and no less than a million grocery lists. She can be found drinking vanilla tea or white wine on a fairly regular basis.

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Posted Saturday, 22 December, 2018 by jorielov in #SaturdaysAreBookish, 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Christianity, Christmas Romance &/or Holiday Story, Contemporary Romance, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Honeymoons & Weddings, Indie Author, Judiasm, Modern Day, Romance Fiction, Women's Fiction, World Religions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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An important message from the author:

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

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

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

Escaping the big city…

For love under Icelandic skies

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

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1335663795

Also by this author: NY Doc Under the Northern Lights

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


Published by Harlequin Books, Harlequin Special Edition

on 18th September, 2018

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 256

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

Formats Available: Ebook and Paperback

four-half-flames

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

Converse via: #Contemporary #Romance & #HarlequinMedical

OR #Harlequin w/ #MedicalRomance

About Amy Ruttan

Amy Ruttan

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

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

Audiobook Review | “Once Upon A Time in Venice” by Monique Roy, narrated by Kevin E. Green A Middle Grade Chapter Book about family, Italian heritage and the bonds between a grandson and his grandfather.

Posted Sunday, 5 August, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Digital Audiobook by: I am a new blog tour hostess with Audiobookworm Promotions wherein I have the opportunity to receive audiobooks for review or adoption (reviews outside of organised blog tours) and host guest features on behalf of authors and narrators alike. I started hosting for Audiobookworm Promotions at the end of [2016] during “The Cryptic Lines” tour wherein I became quite happily surprised how much I am now keen on listening to books in lieu of reading them in print. My journey into audiobooks was prompted by a return of my chronic migraines wherein I want to offset my readings with listening to the audio versions.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Once Upon A Time in Venice” via the publicist at Audiobookworm Promotions in exchange for an honest review. This complimentary copy I received is part of the ‘Adopt an Audiobook’ programme where reviewers are given a 90 day window to listen and review the book. I was given a soft deadline where I could post my ruminative thoughts at an hour which worked for me on the day the review was due which in this instance is the 25th of July or at any point ahead of the 25th if I finished the audiobook sooner. This differs from a blog tour which has a more set schedule of posting. The audiobooks are offered to ‘adopt’ for review consideration and are given to readers to gauge their opinions, impressions and insight into how the audiobook is resonating with listeners. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

I am posting my review slightly overdue as the weeks leading up to the 25th as well as until the start of August were especially unkind for listening considering how many lightning storms I was trying to dodge just to stay connected! I decided to post this review the first week of August to allow myself enough time to finalise my thoughts on behalf of the story.

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Why this particular story impressed me and why I wanted to listen to it:

As I had forementioned previously on my last adopted audiobook review from Audiobookworm Promotions, I am shifting my reading life to be bent more towards listening to audiobooks than reading stories in print, as a purposeful quest to see if I can offset the repetitiveness of my chronic migraines, which have plagued me quite heavily this year.

I wanted to find a few audiobooks off the Adoption page as a way ‘back’ into reading, as I originally was going to listen to these stories during #Audiobookmonth which was in June. I hadn’t realised then how hard it would be to reclaim my reading life after my Spring migraines, which unfortunately didn’t just delay my listening hours with these audiobooks but with all books in general – which thankfully I restored back into my during the month of July!

This particular story felt like the kind of story I would love as it is set in Italy (I love Italian stories!) for starters and it is about the love shared between a grandson and a his grandfather. I grew up in a close knit family having two sets of grandparents and a great-grandmother, so right away, I had memories of my own bubbling to the surface which were reasons enough to want to listen to the story Ms Roy had written.

Secondly, I do not oft get to listen to Children’s Lit on audiobook – as generally speaking, the titles my library chooses to focus on are Adult Fiction. This gave me a chance to hear a story for Middle Grade listeners but through the course of my own listening, I realised this story is meant for all readers, of all ages! It is a timeless story about multi-generational families, the love that binds us to our heritage and how in the end, love can both shield us, protect us and enable us to have the courage to face the tomorrows we never felt we had the strength to meet.

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Audiobook Review | “Once Upon A Time in Venice” by Monique Roy, narrated by Kevin E. Green A Middle Grade Chapter Book about family, Italian heritage and the bonds between a grandson and his grandfather.Once Upon A Time in Venice
by Monique Roy
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Kevin E. Green

Places to find the book:

Find on Book Browse

ASIN: B074CKBP9Y

Genres: Children's Literature, Middle Grade, Short Story or Novella


Published by Self Published Author

on 1st August, 2017

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 1 hours, 27 minutes (unabridged)

Self-Published Audiobook

Monique Roy | Site | @MonWriter1

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Posted Sunday, 5 August, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Children's Literature, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Cookery, Cultural & Religious Traditions, Early Reader | Chapter Books, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Foodie Fiction, Indie Author, Italy, Juvenile Fiction, Literature for Boys, Middle Grade Novel, Modern Day, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity