Category: Life Shift

Blog Book Tour | feat. the Blackbird Mountain series by Joanne Bischof, especially “Sons of Blackbird Mountain” (book one) and “Daughters of Distant Shores” (book two)

Posted Friday, 15 March, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , 2 Comments

 

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

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

I received a complimentary ARC copy of “Daughters from Distant Shores” direct from the publisher Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review. A print copy of “Sons of Blackbird Mountain” was available via my local library by which I borrowed in order to understand the fuller back-story attached to this series. My ruminations on behalf of the first novel are being shared for my own edification and to help introduce my readers to the series overall whilst sharing my own journey in its discovery. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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

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

Joanne Bischof happens to be the 18th author out of my original #70AuthorsChallenge List.

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

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

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Blog Book Tour | feat. the Blackbird Mountain series by Joanne Bischof, especially “Sons of Blackbird Mountain” (book one) and “Daughters of Distant Shores” (book two)Sons of Blackbird Mountain
by Joanne Bischof
Source: Borrowed from local library

A Tale of Family, Brotherhood, and the Healing Power of Love

After the tragic death of her husband, Aven Norgaard is beckoned to give up her life in Norway to become a housekeeper in the rugged hills of Nineteenth-Century Appalachia. Upon arrival, she finds herself in the home of her late husband’s cousins—three brothers who make a living by brewing hard cider on their three-hundred acre farm. Yet even as a stranger in a foreign land, Aven has hope to build a new life in this tight-knit family.

But her unassuming beauty disrupts the bond between the brothers. The youngest two both desire her hand, and Aven is caught in the middle, unsure where—and whether—to offer her affection. While Haakon is bold and passionate, it is Thor who casts the greatest spell upon her. Though Deaf, mute, and dependent on hard drink to cope with his silent pain, Thor possesses a sobering strength.

As autumn ushers in the apple harvest, the rift between Thor and Haakon deepens and Aven faces a choice that risks hearts. Will two brothers’ longing for her quiet spirit tear apart a family? Can she find a tender belonging in this remote, rugged, and unfamiliar world?

A haunting tale of struggle and redemption, Sons of Blackbird Mountain is a portrait of grace in a world where the broken may find new life through the healing mercy of love.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780718099107

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


Published by Thomas Nelson

on 3rd July, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 341

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My path originally crossed with Joanne Bischof before I became a book blogger as I was an avid reader of blogs – both individuals like myself and author blogs or group author blogs – somewhere in those travels, whilst finding new and inspiring authors of INSPY Fiction I wanted to be reading I came across Ms Bischof. I had her badge in my sidebar for a long time until during one of the updates to the theme I hadn’t realised it hadn’t staid where I had placed it. I’ve changed that now – as I love to support the authors I want to be reading inasmuch as the authors I am reading.

There is a lot of life being lived between those early promising months as a 1st Year Book Blogger and now – to where, I truly have only just embarked on gaining a footing towards my reading goals for my *70 Authors Challenge* wherein I want to be reading more INSPY Fiction per month and year. I used to have a bit more equality in my reading life – where I would read approx. 50/50 spilt between mainstream and INSPY narratives though as a book blogger, I realise those ratios have decreased a bit on the INSPY side.

I love this side of literature because I love the soul lift I receive in reading the stories – the novelists who write INSPY Historical Fiction give me a wicked good sense of the historical past as much as any mainstream author but with one added benefit – the stories are writ clean and I don’t have to worry about inclusions that might offend or leave me feeling uncomfortable in those sequences as I read. Despite that, I still stand behind reading my mainstream choices as to me literature as a whole is best read through all the different styles and voices which are readily available today. You learn and grow through what you read – the variety of voice, style and the craft behind the written word is what invigorates me the most.

Having said this – I hadn’t realised this series was focused on the deaf and I was quite humbled to realise it is has a wonderful writer behind it who not only recognises the deaf culture and community but has taken great lengths to represent their language and the ways in which they communicate to the degree she has given her series! I’ve been wanting to become fluent in sign (ASL) for a long, long time. It is hard to source tutors and generally in my experience the communities who have resources are not always open to those who are sighted and of hearing to learn to sign. I find my region especially difficult in crossing that barrier even though I tend to pick up the signs quite quickly and at one point, I was understanding a conversation without knowing all the signs initially as I could ‘read them’ as they were signed all the same.

Perhaps one day I can finally deepen my knowledge of ASL and find a tutor open to a girl who wants to sign and understand the nuances of communicating in this language. Til then, I was most eager to settle into “Sons of Blackbird Mountain” as I was truly captured by what Ms Biscof shared in her author’s note to readers.

One thing was definitely for certain, if an elder Aunt (Aunt Dorothe) had started a conversation and a friendship by postal mail to a grieving widow, the last thing one would expect upon arrival to this Aunt’s house is finding her deceased! When I read this section of the novel, I could understand how the very oxygen had left Aven’s lungs and how she felt as light-headed as a woman about to faint. She had travelled so dearly far and had come up far shorter than anyone could have surmised from such correspondences as she had exchanged! To be on a mountain with family of her late husband but without a compass of a thought towards why she was guided here would put anyone at a disadvantage and of feeling uneasy about their arrival.

As soon she met the ‘sons’ of this Blackbird Mountain, the alarms of regret started to wash over her spirit as well it should as she was told they were far younger than their present state of adulthood! You’d have to wonder what the old woman was really up to in regards to wanting to get Aven here and what was motivating her to encourage her to take such a leap of faith in removing herself from overseas and of trucking so far into the Virginia mountains?

You’re first struck by the quiet nature of Thor, the impedious personality of Haakon and the kind hearted nature of Jorgan. Not to mention how Miss Ida their housekeeper is a salt of the earth and knows exactly what to do when something unexpected riles a person’s nerves! How sweet it was to find her about as it felt like she was the first outside of Thor who was seeking a chance to make her feel more comfortable on her arrival than being the odd one out.

Thor has a sensitive heart – he might not be able to communicate traditionally through spoken speech but he feels things in life deeply. He’s moved by a person’s emotional state and that is how he originally felt something for Aven; it was through a photograph of her – where he could intuit her emotional state of mind when she first married his cousin Benn. It was a union he felt might be a bit fraught with adversity as he could sort out by her photograph what was going on in her mind at the time the photograph was taken.

Observing Thor struggling with his affection and fondness for Aven; thus far removed from her life and then suddenly finding himself in close quarters with her now in the future was humbling. Especially as he had genuine concern for her and could sort out things about her emotional state that she might not have been fully aware of herself; or if she had, you might muse she might have hoped part of that inner truth could have been better veiled.

Jorgan was such a sweet fellow – not just to welcome Aven in with open arms but to have the courtesy to explain the ‘family business’ be as it were – though just observing Thor a bit with his affection for a drink, you could almost surmise it! Jorgan was also soon to be wed which I felt might put Aven’s concerns to bed – though in measure of that news, she still seemed to be a bit unsure of herself and her place here. Even with the reassurance about how Miss Ida lives nearby and how the boys despite their grievances with the locals come to have quite a keen living based off what their selling. She’s been in worst straits than this and being how agreeable the three seemed on sight, I was hoping Aven might find herself comfortable to be with this side of her husband’s family. Especially as I had a feeling she was being influenced to come here by a crafty old woman who knew a thing or two about second chances and new beginnings.

I liked the attention to the smaller details – of how embroidery was a bit of a challenge for Aven but she had the eye for it and how sewing gave her a true sense of pride. Sewing is something I’ve longed to acquire a skill for myself but I’m thankful I learnt how to knit. There is a strong joy in being able to see something appear in front of you which you’ve been able to craft yourself and by hand. Knitting and sewing share that kind of simple happiness and I liked how Bischof was describing the scene in Dorothea’s room where Aven first saw her handiwork.

Atmospherically – this story is rooted in the mountains and of mountain life; something I truly appreciate as I have read other stories set in and round Appalachia which are equally enjoyable to simply ‘settle into’ and be of the folk who live there. There is a simplicity to living but there are also obstacles and prejudices to overcome as well – Bischof hints at these larger issues in the background whilst tucking us close to how these brothers live on the land they have to use to provide for themselves. I even enjoyed the arching back-story about Aven herself – from her memories of her mother to what happened which prompted her marriage to Benn. Circumstances dictated a lot of her life and how she had to remain adaptable to the adversities which arrived on her path.

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Blog Book Tour | feat. the Blackbird Mountain series by Joanne Bischof, especially “Sons of Blackbird Mountain” (book one) and “Daughters of Distant Shores” (book two)Daughters of Distant Shores
by Joanne Bischof
Source: Publisher via Prism Book Tours

Heartache and regret, boldness and sacrifice. What will restoration cost the beloved Norgaard family?

Aven Norgaard understands courage. Orphaned within an Irish workhouse, then widowed at just nineteen, she voyaged to America where she was wooed and wed by Thor Norgaard, a Deaf man in rural Appalachia. That the Lord saw her along the winding journey and that Aven now carries Thor’s child are blessings beyond measure. Yet while Thor holds her heart, it is his younger brother and rival who haunts her memories. Haakon—whose selfish choices shattered her trust in him.

Having fled the farm after trying to take Aven as his own, Haakon sails on the North Atlantic ice trade where his soul is plagued with regrets that distance cannot heal. Not even the beautiful Norwegian woman he’s pursued can ease the torment. When the winds bear him home after four years away, Haakon finds the family on the brink of tragedy. A decades-old feud with the neighboring farm has wrenched them into the fiercest confrontation on Blackbird Mountain since the Civil War. Haakon’s cunning and strength hold the power to seal many fates, including Thor’s which is already at stake through a grave illness brought to him as the first prick of warfare.

Now Haakon faces the hardest choice of his life. One that shapes a battlefield where pride must be broken enough to be restored, and where a prodigal son may finally know the healing peace of surrender and the boundless gift of forgiveness. And when it comes to the woman he left behind in Norway, he just might discover that while his heart belongs to a daughter of the north, she’s been awaiting him on shores more distant than the land he’s fighting for.

From Christy Award–winning author Joanne Bischof comes Daughters of Northern Shores: the highly anticipated sequel to her moving novel Sons of Blackbird Mountain.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780718099121

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


Published by Thomas Nelson

on 12th of March, 2019

Pages: 368

Published by: Thomas Nelson (@ThomasNelson)

Formats Available: Hardback, Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

The Blackbird Mountain series:

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne BiscofDaughters of Northern Shores by Joanne Bischof

Sons of Blackbird Mountain (book one)

Daughters of Northern Shores (book two)

Converse via: #HistoricalFiction or #HistFic and #HistRom

#INSPYRomance + #INSPY or #INSPYBooks

About Joanne Bischof

Joanne Bischof

Joanne Bischof is an ACFW Carol Award and ECPA Christy Award-winning author. She writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the heartstrings. She was honored to receive the San Diego Christian Writers Guild Novel of the Year Award in 2014 and in 2015 was named Author of the Year by the Mount Hermon conference. Joanne’s 2016 novel, The Lady and the Lionheart, received an extraordinary 5 Star TOP PICK! from RT Book Reviews, among other critical acclaim. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her three children.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 15 March, 2019 by jorielov in 19th Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Family Drama, Family Life, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Siblings

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!

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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.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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

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

Posted Friday, 1 March, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

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

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

I received a complimentary copy of “A Desperate Hope” direct from the publisher Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. The Digital Audiobook copy of “A Dangerous Legacy” and “A Daring Venture” were available via my Scribd subscription. My ruminations on behalf of the audiobooks (books one and two) are being shared for my own edification and to help introduce my readers to the series overall whilst sharing my own journey in its discovery. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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

#SaturdaysAreBookish | “The Moon Sister” (Book No. 5 of the Seven Sisters series) by Lucinda Riley

Posted Saturday, 23 February, 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!

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Acquired Book By: Last year, I had the chance to become introduced to the Seven Sisters book series by Lucinda Riley – the experience became one of my *favourite!* reading experiences for the year – happily I was invited to join the blog tour celebrating the fifth release this February, 2019 – for “The Moon Sister”. I was simply overjoyed and humbled I could continue to champion this author and her series which I have found emotionally convicting and soul lifting with a delightfully lush narrative which is wicked brilliant for its continuity.

Ahead of reading the fourth release “The Pearl Sister” last year, I decided to back-read the entire series – which is why I have felt so dearly connected to this series ever since and why I applaud the brilliant continuity running through the series.

I received a complimentary ARC copy of “The Moon Sister” direct from the publisher Atria Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On how I felt after I read the fourth installment of the series:

CeCe had felt Star pulling away from her even before Star knew how to articulate the reasons why she was seeking a life outside of being with CeCe; this made her feel unwanted in such an extreme way, she felt the only way to rectify her emotions was to make a radical change. Boarding a flight for Thailand – the one place she considered her respite in the world before taking the last leg of her journey to Australia (as this is where her clues led her to travel) felt right somehow. What was interesting is that you oft felt CeCe held all the confidence in the world – she never came across as being especially vulnerable, she seemed quite the opposite: like a bear to take-on the world and be the protector of Star. In reality, both sisters were equally vulnerable and had yielded to life being lived side by side rather than separately; until now, of course, when they both felt it was time to simply sort out how to live independently.

One critical thing CeCe shared is how the opinions of others can destroy your well-being and break your spirit. The kind of criticism which doesn’t seek to aide you on your journey towards being a creative artist (as she leans towards industrial art and found art installations; whilst sorting out what kind of paintings she likes to create) but rather to dissuade you from the pursuit itself. No one should have to endure that kind of judgement and for whichever reason, I found CeCe didn’t confide in her Ma or in Star (although, perhaps she felt she wouldn’t have cared) – one thing which helped me the most in life is being able to turn to my parents. Sadly, I think the confidante in her life was Pa Salt and without him nearby, she felt like she’d lost her anchour; and rightly so!

I loved how she felt Buddhism was her most comfortable religion to feel attracted to practicing because of how she felt the inner peace of what it provides to us all. CeCe was quite the deep thinker and spiritualist without realising any of this about herself. She also held back her fears, the nightmares and the questions of sanity from her family; she had a lot moving through her mind, things which you would have thought she’d want to openly discuss if only to disallow them from festering further afield. Yet, CeCe was a very private individual such was a trend of her sisters – each of them thinking they could take-on whatever they needed to face alone.

Some of my favourite moments of watching one of the seasons of The Amazing Race (in the early days) was observing the larger than life Buddha statues found throughout the South Pacific and the Pacific Rim! I was in absolute awe – due to the high definition of the cameras being used, you didn’t need to hop a plane to see them either – they seemed like they had somehow come straight through your television to where you felt as if you were standing right ‘next to them’ yourself! I thought of this as I read about how CeCe felt calm near the Buddha she was mediating near as she went to her favourite spiritual spot for a bit of solitude and causal companionship with others doing the same. Causal here referring to the fact although they were in the same place at the same time everyone was internalising their own thoughts without saying a word aloud. This close proximity to others allowed CeCea respite from feeling she was entirely alone and cast out into the world without knowing how to land on solid ground again.

The beauty of CeCe’s story is how like Star, she started to reach outside her zone of comfort, trusting people, letting them into her internal world. She might not have felt she was a good judge of character due to the fall-out with her relationship with Ace (as throughout her trip in Australia the headlines and newsprint articles were growing worse!) but with Chrissie and others she was trusting, she was finding true friends. Each of them were helping her on her journey towards positive self-growth and a deepening awareness of her roots; where her origins were only the first part of her foundation as Pa Salt helped her find herself since she left her home country. By returning back to Australia she was finding the symmetry necessary to meet her future with a balanced sense of place and self – as so much is tied to how we self-identify ourselves. For CeCe, she didn’t have a positive impression about being dyslexic as it wasn’t something she could compensate for like I could, rather it was her lifetime ‘fly in the ointment’; she couldn’t shake it if she tried. She also didn’t see it as a gift but a slight curse because she only saw how it affected her from doing things others took for granted.

In Australia, she was finding her muse again – of what inspired her to create her art and how her art was an expression of herself in a way which left her raw and vulnerable. She created artwork which spoke to her on a soul level of heightened intuition – her art was not like other people’s and that’s the way it should be for each artist has a new vision of the world around them. She simply had forgotten to trust in the process of creating and to be comfortable as a an artist who didn’t use words to share a portion of herself but she used visual media.

The best message of CeCe’s story is that in order to live free you have to be honest about who you are – in every facet of your life because if you start to hide who you are from everyone, you can literally disappear from your own spirit too. CeCe was encouraged by Pa Salt to be who she was no matter who she realised she was at the core of her being but knowing she was accepted by her father and understanding who she was on those levels of awareness were two very different things. Her sexuality was part of her identity she never addressed, it wasn’t on her radar to even look at it from an angle of enlightenment because she had a lot of fears to overcome in general. She was a woman who was afraid to live by most counts but this journey she was taking towards her past was what truly gave her the inspiration to finally see herself and face herself for the first time in the mirror. The best takeaway for me was watching her blossom into being the artist Pa Salt knew she was destined to become; as he truly saw his daughters true essence and wanted them to see themselves the way in which he did all along.

-quoted from my review of The Pearl Sister

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com#SaturdaysAreBookish | “The Moon Sister” (Book No. 5 of the Seven Sisters series) by Lucinda RileyThe Moon Sister
by Lucinda Riley
Source: Direct from Publisher, Scribd | Subscription
Narrator: Imogen Wilde

Tiggy D’Aplièse spends her days experiencing the raw beauty of the Scottish Highlands doing a job she loves at a deer sanctuary. But when the sanctuary is forced to close, she is offered a job as a wildlife consultant on the vast and isolated estate of the elusive and troubled laird, Charlie Kinnaird. She has no idea that the move will not only irrevocably alter her future, but also bring her face-to-face with her past.

At the estate, she meets Chilly, an elderly Romani man who fled from Spain seventy years before. He tells her that not only does she possess a sixth sense passed down from her ancestors, but it was foretold long ago that he would be the one to send her back home…

In 1912, in the poor Romani community outside the city walls of Granada, Lucía Amaya-Albaycin is born. Destined to be the greatest flamenco dancer of her generation—and named La Candela, due to the inner flame that burns through her when she dances— Lucía is whisked away by her ambitious and talented guitarist father at the tender age of ten to dance in the flamenco bars of Barcelona. Her mother is devastated by the loss of her daughter and as civil war threatens in Spain, tragedy strikes the rest of her family. Now in Madrid, Lucía and her troupe of dancers are forced to flee for their lives, their journey taking them far across the water to South America and eventually, to North America and New York—Lucía’s long-held dream. But to pursue it, she must choose between her passion for her career and the man she adores.

THE MOON SISTER follows these two women bound across time and distance on their journey to discover their true futures—but at the risk of potentially losing the men they had hoped to build futures with.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781982110611

ASIN: B07GS4SYDB

Also by this author: The Seven Sisters, The Storm Sister, The Shadow Sister, The Pearl Sister

Also in this series: The Seven Sisters, The Storm Sister, The Shadow Sister, The Pearl Sister


Genres: Adoption & Foster Care, Biographical Fiction, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Epistolary | Letters & Correspondences, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, LGBTQIA Fiction, Time Slip and/or Time Shift, Women's Fiction


Published by Atria Books

on 19th February, 2019

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 544

Length: 19 hours and 53 minutes (unabridged)

 Published By: Atria ()
{imprint of} Simon & Schuster (

I *love!* finding videos by authors who love to engage with readers about the inspiration behind their stories – this truly is a wonderful way to find yourself immersed even further into the settings as by catching small glimpses of the characters your reading about – you start to re-align what you’ve read with what they are seeing with their own eyes whilst feeling thankful the author took a very immersive path into the heart of this book series!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Seven Sisters Series: of whom are Maia, Ally (Alcyone), Star (Asterope), CeCe (Celeano), Tiggy (Taygete), Electra and Merope – the series is based on the mythology of the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades – interestingly enough, this is a constellation in close proximity to Orion*.

The Seven Sisters : Maia’s Story (Book One) | (see also Review)

The Storm Sister : Ally’s Story (Book Two) | (see also Review)

The Shadow Sister : Star’s Story (Book Three) | (see also Review)

The Pearl Sister : CeCe’s Story (Book Four) | (see also Review)

The Moon Sister : Tiggy’s Story (Book Five)

Available Formats: Hardcover, Audiobook, Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #SevenSistersSeries

#whoispasalt ← I advise not visiting the second tag on Twitter as it tends to reveal a few things ahead of reading the stories themselves.

About Lucinda Riley

Lucinda Riley Photo Credit: Boris Breuer

Lucinda Riley is the #1 internationally bestselling author of sixteen novels, including Hothouse Flower and The Seven Sisters. Her books have sold more than ten million copies in over 30 languages. Lucinda divides her time between West Cork, Ireland, and Norfolk, England with her husband and four children.

Photo Credit: Boris Breuer

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 23 February, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, A Father's Heart, Adoption, Ancestry & Genealogy, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Films, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Father-Daughter Relationships, Fathers and Daughters, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, History, Inheritance & Identity, Inspiring Video Related to Content, Life Shift, Modern Day, Orphans & Guardians, Passionate Researcher, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Single Fathers, Sisterhood friendships, Time Shift, Unexpected Inheritance, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage

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?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781946016737

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

Also in this series: The Last Summer


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


Published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

on 4th February, 2019

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 232

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

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

The Last Summer series:

The Last Summer by Brandy BruceAfter the Rain by Brandy Bruce

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

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

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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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Divider

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