Category: Botany

Blog Book Tour | “Kinship of Clover” by Ellen Meeropol An ecological #SciFantasy written in the style of a Literary Novel which seeks to express a plea for developing an environmental conscious & awareness of the plight befalling the natural world.

Posted Thursday, 4 May, 2017 by jorielov , , 3 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I have been hosting for Poetic Book Tours for a few years now, where I am finding myself encouraged to seek out collections of poetry or incredible fiction being published through Small Trade publishers and presses. I have an Indie spirit and mentality as a writer and I appreciate finding authors who are writing creative works through Indie resources as I find Indies have a special spirit about them. It is a joy to work with Poetic Book Tours for their resilience in seeking out voices in Literature which others might overlook and thereby, increasing my own awareness of these beautiful lyrical voices in the craft. I was selected to review “Kinship of Clover” by Poetic Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of “The Kinship of Clover” direct from author’s publicist in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was inspired to read this story:

I developed an environmental conscious at a very young age – recently I shared a few reasons why the natural world encourages my curiosity through discussing BioDiversity but this is a topic I regularly speak about as it parlays to my interests of staying environmentally aware. I appreciate seeking out stories which are uniquely written and told in a voice which illuminates the joy of finding story-tellers who are bending genre to their own will of style. I mentioned this on a recent Top Ten Tuesday topic as well. What draws my eye to the innovative styles of telling stories is simply being enfolded into a story which remembers there are no boundaries of where a story can take us visually nor through depth of heart. There is a spirit in the crafting of stories – of finding ways of telling stories which not only enrich the mind but endeavour to embrace the hidden truths of our world.

Therefore it was a pleasure and joy to find this title being offered for review on a blog tour recently. Reading the Editor’s Note was a bolt of inspiration too, as I liked how she mentioned most story-tellers who tackle a story similar to this one in breadth and centreing would focus on the negative or the darker undertones of how a story such as this is regularly conceived. I personally could do with less negativity and more pro-positive examples of how humanity still has the hope of turning things around or at the very least of limiting our impact which has grown out of hand. Positive hope is far better than the bitterness of pessimistic apocalyptic futures or dystopian violence.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “Kinship of Clover” by Ellen Meeropol An ecological #SciFantasy written in the style of a Literary Novel which seeks to express a plea for developing an environmental conscious & awareness of the plight befalling the natural world.Kinship of Clover
by Ellen Meeropol
Source: Publicist via Poetic Book Tours

He was nine when the vines first wrapped themselves around him and burrowed into his skin. Now a college botany major, Jeremy is desperately looking for a way to listen to the plants and stave off their extinction. But when the grip of the vines becomes too intense and Health Services starts asking questions, he flees to Brooklyn, where fate puts him face to face with a group of climate-justice activists who assure him they have a plan to save the planet, and his plants.

As the group readies itself to make a big Earth Day splash, Jeremy soon realizes these eco-terrorists devotion to activism might have him and those closest to him tangled up in more trouble than he was prepared to face. With the help of a determined, differently abled flame from his childhood, Zoe; her deteriorating, once rabble-rousing grandmother; and some shocking and illuminating revelations from the past, Jeremy must weigh completing his mission to save the plants against protecting the ones he loves, and confront the most critical question of all: how do you stay true to the people you care about while trying to change the world?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-1597093811

Genres: Biological Diversity, Botany, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Current Events, Ecology, Genre-bender, Psychology & Cognitive Science, Sci-Fantasy


Published by Red Hen Press

on 4th April, 2017

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 272

Published By: Red Hen Press (@RedHenPress)

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #KinshipOfClover + #SmallPress & #ThinkGreen or #EarthDayEveryday

About Ellen Meeropol

Ellen Meeropol is fascinated by characters on the fault lines of political upheaval. Previous work includes a dramatic script telling the story of the Rosenberg Fund for Children which has been produced in four U.S cities, most recently in Boston. Elli is the wife of Robert Meeropol, youngest son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg.

Elli is a former nurse and independent bookstore event coordinator and the author of two previous novels, House Arrest and On Hurricane Island. She is a founding member of Straw Dog Writers Guild. Short fiction and essays have appeared in Bridges, DoveTales, Pedestal, Rumpus, Portland Magazine, and the Writer’s Chronicle.

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Posted Thursday, 4 May, 2017 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book for University Study, Botany, Climate Change, Coming-Of Age, Conservation, Ecology, Environmental Advocacy, Environmental Conscience, Environmental Science, Equality In Literature, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, GeoPhysical History, Horticulture, Indie Author, Literary Fiction, Literature for Boys, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Modern Day, Mother-Son Relationships, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Poetic Book Tours, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Realistic Fiction, Science Fantasy, Siblings, Twin Siblings, Vulgarity in Literature

#ArbourDay #NonFiction Book Review | “Complexity: The Evolution of Earth’s Biodiversity and the Future of Humanity” by William C. Burger

Posted Friday, 28 April, 2017 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in [2016] as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction. I received a complimentary copy of “Complexity” direct from the publisher Prometheus Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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musings about the introduction:

Right out of the gate, Burger warmed me to his compassionate view of life when he cross-compared the natural biodiversity of our world with the multicultural diversity of our biped humanity. If you lament about the world at large long enough, there is an incredible girth of biological ancestry percolating all round us. It is not just our footprints and our legacies which are resplendently observational in this world, but there is a depth of evolutionary evidence of how the natural world has progressed forward through millennia and augmented itself to become adaptive and changeable per each environ and region on Earth.

I must admit, part of the reason why I had my eye keenly attached to Paleontology was to understand the back-history of the natural world. When I uncovered AstroBotany a few years ago, it took studying the subject from a completely new point of view and by such, granting a new angle of approach. I think this is why I was originally considering studying Archaeology rather than Anthropology; as although I am dearly interested in culture and traditional heritages of different ethnic backgrounds; one thing has kept constant about my scientific interests: I like to dig into the past and seek out the mannerisms of the how species and humanity lived through the different ages. Inasmuch as I appreciate uncovering the socio-psychological make-up of our own actions, there is a measure of joy in back-tracking through how the natural world has evolved forward through their own timeline.

He breaks down the terms: Biodiversity vs. Complexity as both directly relate to how our understanding of the natural order and presence of everything (human vs natural world) correlate, inter-relate and are individually unique from one another too. Systematically there are intersections of everything and everyone on Earth (as one would naturally observe) but when he mentioned the tundra and the the rain forest, I just smirked! Those were the two biodiverse regions which perked my interest early-on as a child. I loved how uniquely different those regions were and how incredible it was to peer into the wildlife and the natural organisations which called each space their home. The habitats were awe-inspiring for a girl growing into an appreciation for conservation and preservation of natural environs. I was a budding environmentalist before I ever understood the full spectrum of Earth’s fragile balance between ecological preservations and the impact of our human actions. By the age of ten, when I first saw Medicine Man in the theater, you could say it all came full circle and since then, I have been passionately curious about the steps we can take to reduce our industrialism and live more authentically towards a greener tomorrow using upcycling, recycling and natural innovative science to improve our way of life.

Understanding SPECIES:

Growing up in Science class, one of my favourite bits to graduating into seventh grade was starting to get a more scientific foundation on the order of species. My seventh grade teacher had a living biosphere of his own – we had an outside zoo attached to our classroom where farm animals resided in a lovingly cared for pen and where inside, we had aquariums and cages full of small animals which added to the joy of researching natural habitats. It is also where I fell in love with the class hamster but never thought I’d be blessed to take him home. He lived four years, nearly five (impressive for a little guy) and he still has a fond place in my heart. Aside from meeting my first ham-ham of joy, I was eagerly itching to better understand how everything in the natural world was organised and classified. Mind you, for a girl in a classroom full of peers who’d much rather be outside in the sunshine, I was an oddity. I loved being holed up inside my textbook and musing about how everything in nature had it’s own blueprint to identify itself. There was a specific tool set in nature to give you clues and hints towards how everything belongs by genus, species and family. Of course it’s more complex than this, as you can read about in this article but I was simply mentioning I was wicked fascinated by the conception of everything having a particular place in which to belong.

I used to read hierarchical charts like Amateur Ancestry Sleuths read genealogical graphs and family trees! There is a lot of data about how the natural world is understood and broken down into Plants and Animals. The hierarchy is the code which helps you understand the connections and the diverse components of what makes each individual organisation uniquely themselves whilst having a comparatively similar component of another species, too. There are cross-similarities as much as there are inherent differences and I have always wanted to have a better foundation of understanding of how all of this co-relates and diverts into sub-categories of order. To put it a different way, understanding the natural world is similar to having a blueprint of the break-down of genre in Literature. You have sub-genres and sub-categories of interest broken into thematic inclusions and styles of crafting stories together through either Fiction or Non-Fiction. You can spend a lifetime seeking stories moving through genres and generations of writers whose influences continue to shape the literary world. So, too, is the same for understanding the biosphere. You first have to understand how to approach the topic and then, you get to have fun exploring everything that makes Earth bio-diverse as it is right now.

I was quite charmed Burger chose to avoid discussing Insects – as personally, they never interested me in the least! I have a love/hate relationship with Insects overall. Yes, I recognise they have a place in this world but on a truly personal level of honest reflection? I could literally bypass their presence in my life. There are few exceptions to this rule: butterflies, dragonflies and a few others to make my soul smile but in general, the world of insects and I are not on speaking terms.

Plant Diversity | Essential to Biodiversity:

I oft wondered why my peers gave little credit or credence to plant and trees. After all, it wasn’t hard to understand how we are able to breathe (ie. trees are our source of oxygen) but so, too it wasn’t hard to fathom how the flora and fauna in a natural habitat was key to a sustainable habitat for all the lovely creatures who called that local environ their home. I used to be keenly invested in tracing photosynthesis on both land and sea. When it comes to the ocean, the most unique discovery was how life is still adaptively responsive beyond the layer of sunlight penetration where the world is completely dark and absent from the effects of photosynthetic processes. Mind you, those creatures in the deepest layers of the ocean freak me out of my skull! They are straight out of a story of Horror but on the flip side of that coin, it’s not their fault they are structurally horrific to look at as to them, we’re the odd ones who scare them!

Cosmic Complexities:

Since I was a Young Astronaut, I have been especially curious about the Cosmic diversity and complexities of life in the vacuum of space. Partially why I loved spending so much time at my local Science Center was for the joy of uncovering more about life in the universe from our humble observational knowledge back here on Earth. It is also why I have a penchant for reading and writing Hard Science Fiction stories. There is a lot more understanding on the diverse aspects of what makes the environments on the planets so eloquently complex nowadays than even when I was growing up as much more is known. I oft found it curious how at one point in time, Science Fiction was a bit limited in speculating a living environment for planets; as basic science for those locations was still anyone’s educated guess. To find out which of the planets are sustainable for life and which ones are a boiling stew of environmental causticity is quite humourous now.

The irony I felt was that if our Earth is diversely complex and structured, why would we think the Cosmic structure of those planets would be less than our own? Wouldn’t it be a better working theory to acknowledge the planets in our solar system were equally complex to understand if Earth is still being processed, categorised and understood on a fundamental level?

I also liked getting a small grasp of how the other planets keep our planet healthy – I knew there was more to the ‘order’ and ‘distance’ of the planets than what was being shared during my school years. For starters, nothing is coincidental – not in life and not in nature. There are reasons for everything even if we are not entirely clued into those reasons until a day of new understanding alights on our path, which doesn’t discredit there is a purpose for why things simply ‘are’. It was quite curious how the placement of the planets not only effect our planet’s health but they also, effectively alter how each of the planets can thrive in their own unique environments, too. Again, there is more to the world and the universe than what is generally understood. For starters, by what is being explained the very positioning of the other planets create a ‘fail-safe’ for Earth; an invisible protective shield for drawing objects away from us inasmuch as consistently influencing our weather and the cycle of living habitats.

Why Earth is a blessed place to call ‘home’:

Aside from contemplating the spherical dimension of the sky and the curvature of the Earth, I oft contemplated gravity and our inability to realise how gravity itself places such an important role in our lives. The absence of our daily visual observation of how we can walk, stand and run on solid ground is a credit to the hidden metrics of how gravity influences our way of life. However, there are other hidden factors which are indicators of how life on Earth is sustained and able to be generationally increased. Everything from our tilt to our cyclic seasons to how our girth and size allows us to be spread between different climatic zones.

Laughs. When Burger started to talk about ‘plate tectonics’, it reminded me about how my classmates nearly groaned about how I wanted to spend an incessant amount of time discussing the subject! Mostly the science behind this Earthbound marvel is why we study Volcanology and have a ready appreciation for earthquake science which is still in the rudimentary stages of being understood. Interesting new point of insight: plate tectonics re-release carbon dioxide! Now, why did my science teachers leave out that bit of fodder from our chats? It’s a system of purging a surplus of toxic gas if it were to be allowed to continue to collect in places where it’s unhealthy levels would start to interfere with the natural order of our world. Now that’s a new layer of insight past what influences volcanoes and earthquakes and the dynamic shift in topographical elevations!

Religion and Science:

As I have blogged about in the past, my pursuit of Science is from a girl who walks in faith. I am not the first nor the last person who has found common ground in pursuing Science without forsaking her faith. To me, to understand how the universe and Earth are in sync with each other is another extension of understanding the universal truths of where we live. It isn’t to takeaway from religion nor to fully embrace Science without faith; we each walk our own path and make our minds on how best to approach the larger questions which will always be present in our world. (see also Review) Burger adds his two cents on the subject and in effect, leaves the reader to decide where they stand which is the only way to leave it, truly.

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One interesting point in this section of his Introduction is when he stipulated this:

But science is different; it is nothing more than a pragmatic way of trying to understand the world through carefully controlled experiments, the origin and elaboration of biodiversity are historical questions. In these instances we formulate historical scenarios and then seek evidence from nature to support or reject a given scenario. It’s very much like detectives trying to solve a crime.

-quoted from Complexity by William C. Burger with permission of the publisher

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On this vein of thought, the study of Biodiversity is a funneling of retracing the history of the natural world in pursuit to understand where we are today. It is another way of knowing why our natural environment is changing and re-defining itself once more through geological evolution. It’s a mark of historical reference to better understand what happened in the past in order to continue to strive towards a better future.

Land and Sea Variants of Biological Life:

As Burger has concentrated his research and observations to terrestrial entities rather than oceanographic species, he does give a brief interlude about how the ocean is enriched by biodiversity if only as a footnote on the subject. The oceans account for 90% of the living sphere but they contain a radically reduce amount of living organisms when cross-compared to those living on land (ourselves included!). I have known about this for quite a long while – as I spent a bit of time during seventh grade in a different school than the one I hinted about earlier (where I adopted my first hamster). In the former school, where I had spent sixth grade as well; I had a wicked lovely science teacher who taught through experiments and encouraged us to have an independent mind. My second science teacher that year attempted this but fell short a bit due to angst stemming out of devastating budget cuts (ie. he lost all funding to keep his animals). In the first school, my teacher introduced a broad appreciation for the oceans, the currents and the cycle of how the oceans are controlled by the moon and tides. It was a wicked introduction but also, affirming by scale and design: this is when I realised how large 90% of anything truly is in proportion to geologic size. I was developing a healthy interest in oceanography, thermodynamics, geophysics, marine biology and paleooceanology with a small interest in climatology which would increase lateron.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com#ArbourDay #NonFiction Book Review | “Complexity: The Evolution of Earth’s Biodiversity and the Future of Humanity” by William C. BurgerComplexity
Subtitle: The Evolution of Earth's Biodiversity and the Future of Humanity
by William C. Burger
Source: Direct from Publisher

This very readable overview of natural history explores the dynamics that have made our planet so rich in biodiversity over time and supported the rise and dominance of our own species.

Tracing the arc of evolutionary history, biologist William C. Burger shows that cooperation and symbiosis have played a critical role in the ever increasing complexity of life on earth. Life may have started from the evolution of cooperating organic molecules, which outpaced their noncooperating neighbors. A prime example of symbiosis was the early incorporation of mitochondria into the eukaryotic cell (through a process called “endosymbiosis”). This event gave these cells a powerful new source of energy. Later, cooperation was again key when millions to trillions of individual eukaryotic cells eventually came together to build the unitary structures of large plants and animals. And cooperation between individuals of the same species resulted in complex animal societies, such as ant colonies and bee hives.

Turning to our own species, the author argues that our ability to cooperate, along with incessant inter-group conflict, has driven the advancement of cultures, the elaboration of our technologies, and made us the most “invasive” species on the planet. But our very success has now become a huge problem, as our world dominion threatens the future of the biosphere and confronts us with a very uncertain future.

Thought-provoking and full of fascinating detail, this eloquently told story of life on earth and our place within it presents a grand perspective and raises many important questions.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

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ISBN: 9781633881938

Genres: Biological Diversity, Botany, Evolution, Life Science, Non-Fiction, Science


Published by Prometheus Books

on 14th June, 2016

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 380

Published By: Prometheus Books (@prometheusbks)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback & Ebook

Converse via: #Nature, #Conservation, #Biodiversity + #ScienceBooks

About William C. Burger

William C. Burger

William C. Burger is Curator Emeritus of the Department of Botany at The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois, and the author of the highly acclaimed Flowers: How They Changed the World and Perfect Planet, Clever Species.

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Posted Friday, 28 April, 2017 by jorielov in #FuellYourSciFi, #JorieLovesIndies, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Asteroid Science, AstroBotany, Biblical History, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book for University Study, Bookish Discussions, Botany, Climate Change, Conservation, Ecology, Education & Learning, Environmental Conscience, Environmental Science, GeoPhysical History, History, Horticulture, Indie Author, Industrial Revolution, Jorie the Writer, Marine Biology, Natural Disasters & Catastrophic Events, Nature & Wildlife, Non-Fiction, Oceanography, Paleontology, Preservation, Prometheus Books, Science, Space Science, Sustainability & Ecological Preservation, The Natural World, Upcycle & Recycle Practices

Blog Book Tour | “Robin’s Reward” by June McCrary Jacobs A small towne #sweetromance wherein the #library plays a central role in uniting the community!

Posted Saturday, 2 May, 2015 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on “Robin’s Reward” virtual book tour by the author June McCrary Jacobs. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Ms Jacobs, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. 

I was not influenced by finding out I was written in as a character in this novel as I had no foreknowledge of this fact only that there was a surprise hidden in the story I might enjoy finding. I blog as I am reading, therefore, as I wrote my first impression and reaction to finding “Jorie” in “Robin’s Reward”. I had already written the first half of this review (where I celebrated the connections between bloggers & writers), including the first section of the review itself prior to the reveal. The first two paragraphs reflecting my joy of a Jacobs novel was also composed. Thereby I can attest even after finding myself a character, this review is my honest impression as a ‘first time’ reader of the novel.

Celebrating the connections between book bloggers & authors:

One of the best blessings of being a book blogger are the connections I have made to the authors who have given voice and mirth to characters of whom I have fancied finding within their novels! Each time I walk away from a story writ with such a felicity of joy to read, I earmark the author in my mind to follow-up with in the future, not just to check-in on where they are on their writerly journey but to see if they have released a new story! I have even taken this to mentally writing down a note about which books I want to re-read or purchase outright if the copy I had for review was an ARC.

Some of the writers I’ve crossed paths with have kept in touch with me, updating me about what they are doing next and/or offering me to receive their next release in exchange for an honest review. When this happens, I must confess my heart bubbles over in joy! I get wicked happy getting a second chance to re-admire the work the writer is producing as I am finding such a heart-warming presence of Indie & Self Published authors, I daresay I am thankful I started book blogging!

I believe I would still have found their stories, but it might have taken me quite a bit longer to find them in the long run! This is one reason I decide to start using a new hashtag as I tweet simply called #JorieLovesIndies as I truly do celebrate the writers who are championing the book world by releasing their stories outside of Major Trade markets. I appreciate not only their dedication to quality in producing books that are professionally edited but a selection of story whose craft of creation is a top notch addition to any reader’s bookshelf.

I love celebrating these authors, and I decided the best way to do so is to thread my route of discovery through a new tag! I will expand on this idea over the weekend in a separate post, as I’m highlighting quite a few novelists who fit this category throughout May, but today, I simply wanted to draw your attention to the fact Ms Jacobs is amongst the writers I place in this category! You will also be able to find the stories indexed on my blog by opening the category: Jorie Loves Indies! (by Monday this index will be completed)

Blog Book Tour | “Robin’s Reward” by June McCrary Jacobs A small towne #sweetromance wherein the #library plays a central role in uniting the community!Robin's Reward
by June McCrary Jacobs
Source: Direct from Author

Bonita Creek’s librarian Robin Bennett is heartbroken after being abandoned by her husband, Thomas. The mysterious and handsome Jeff Clarke arrives unexpectedly and touches Robin’s life with his wit and warmth. Then, without warning, Jeff’s harsh words and abrasive actions scare her off, and Robin’s hope of finding true love withers again.

Just when it seems Robin and Jeff might have a future, Susan Stinson, whose cruel taunting has plagued Robin since they met as young teens, decides Jeff should be hers, not Robin’s. Susan’s anger and jealousy escalate dangerously. Her vindictiveness threatens the foundation of Jeff and Robin’s young relationship.

Robin’s journey through the peaks and valleys of her life meanders along the twists and turns of new challenges. Is a relationship which began with both parties harboring secrets destined to survive? Can they move past their troubles and the obstacles in their path to find love and happiness together? When their pasts rear their ugly heads, Jeff and Robin must use their faith to remain strong and true. But will it be enough for them to embrace a life of love, trials, and blessings . . . together?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Also by this author: , A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom

Series: Bonita Creek Trilogy,


Genres: Contemporary Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Sweet Romance


Published by Self Published Author

on 10th March, 2015

Format: Paperback

Pages: 290

Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Read an Excerpt of the Novel:

(the following is permitted to be shared by the author Ms Jacobs and was left intact as she gave it to me to share with my readers. Therefore the copyright portion of the novel are as they would be seen if you picked up the novel to read.)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com
EXCERPT FROM ‘ROBIN’S REWARD’, BONITA CREEK TRILOGY, BOOK 1:
© June McCrary Jacobs, 2015.
Copyright 2015 June McCrary Jacobs
Front Cover Design: Sherry Gammon copyright 2015
Interior Design: Cindy C Bennett
Images copyright via DepositPhotos.com
Elet_1 (Anna Bogush)
Pakhnyushchyy (Vitalik Pakhnyushchyy)
daseaford (David Seaford)

All rights reserved. No parts of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Exceptions are reviewers who may quote short excerpts for review. Please write to junemccraryjacobs@gmail.com for permission. This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. The characters are products of the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously. All Rights Reserved USA

~ DEDICATION ~
Robin’s Reward is dedicated to my dear friend, Nancy. Thank you for your kindness, guidance, encouragement, and support over the past three decades. Your friendship has been a blessing in my life.

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Chapter One

I’m as hot and sticky as the center of a freshly-roasted campfire marshmallow, Miss Praise.” Perspiration trickled past Robin’s sunburned neck, under her collar, and down her back. Her blouse was plastered to her skin.

“I’m not feeling very feminine or lady-like in this condition, if you catch my drift. This brings us to my next question. What was I thinking starting up with this garden renovation project on the hottest March afternoon ever recorded in Bonita Creek? Am I nuts? Wait—don’t answer that.”

Some sympathy from Miss Praise, like purring or even winding herself around Robin’s legs, would’ve been comforting. Instead, the elderly tabby was dozing comfortably in her cozy quilt-lined basket on the shaded porch. Robin was drained from tangling with her vintage hydrangea bush for the past four hours.

She’d read gardening was great exercise, but it gave Robin’s thoughts too many chances to wander. She dreaded those dark, dreary spaces in her mind permanently occupied by unhappy memories and heart-wrenching regrets. Since she wasn’t accomplishing much anyway, she released her shovel to take a break with a refreshing glass or two of her favorite iced tea. She straightened up and stretched her aching arms over her head.

“I’m parched, how about you? Want something cold to drink?” She spoke in the direction of the faded gray cat. Apparently, Miss Praise had heard enough of Robin’s whining. The cat yawned, stretched, flicked her tail, and hopped daintily out of her basket. She lumbered down the brick path to seek refuge in the peaceful back garden. Naturally, Robin hadn’t expected Miss Praise to respond, but talking to the cat helped her feel connected to her Grandma Estelle. The older woman had passed on a few years ago and Robin still ached for her grandmother’s presence. She kneaded her fatigued lower back with her knuckles and sighed deeply.

Please click on the Spoiler button to reveal
the rest of the excerpt for Robin’s Reward.

View Spoiler »

Author Biography:

June McCrary JacobsAward-winning author, June McCrary Jacobs, was the winner of Cedar Fort Publishing’s 2013 Holiday Tale Contest for her debut novella, ‘A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom’. ‘Robin’s Reward’ is her first full-length novel, and is set in her favorite location in California—the Mendocino coastal region. This book is the first installment of the ‘Bonita Creek Trilogy’.

June’s original sewing, quilting, and stitchery designs have been published in over one hundred books, magazines, and blogs in the past few years. When she’s not writing, reading, or sewing, June enjoys cooking, walking, and visiting art and history museums. She also enjoys touring historic homes and gardens and strolling around the many historic Gold Rush towns in the Sierra Nevada foothills. In the summertime you can find June at a variety of county fairs and the California State Fair admiring the sewing projects, quilts, and handiwork other inspired seamstresses, quilters, craftspeople, and artists have created.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:
June enjoys connecting with readers, authors, aspiring writers, bloggers, designers, sewers, quilters, and crafters. Please connect with June:

Site | Facebook | GoodReads | LinkedIn

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Posted Saturday, 2 May, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book | Novel Excerpt, Book Review (non-blog tour), Bookish Discussions, Botany, Bullies and the Bullied, Christianity, Contemporary Romance, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Diet Weight & Body Image, Divorce & Martial Strife, Finding Yourself a Character in a Novel, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Horticulture, Indie Author, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Librarians & Library Staff, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Modern Day, Orphans & Guardians, Self-Published Author, Singletons & Commitment, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Sweet Romance, Terminal Illness &/or Cancer

+Blog Book Tour+ A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander

Posted Tuesday, 27 May, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander

A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander

Published By: Bethany House Publishers (),
a division of Baker Publishing Group
25 March, 2014
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Available Formats: Trade Paperback, E-book
Page Count: 480

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Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comAcquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “A Beauty So Rare” virtual book tour through TLC  Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from publisher Bethany House, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Book Synopsis:

Plain, practical Eleanor Braddock knows she will never marry, but with a dying soldier’s last whisper, she believes her life can still have meaning and determines to find his widow. Impoverished and struggling to care for her ailing father, Eleanor arrives at Belmont Mansion, home of her aunt, Adelicia Acklen, the richest woman in America–and possibly the most demanding, as well. Adelicia insists on finding her niece a husband, but a simple act of kindness leads Eleanor down a far different path–building a home for destitute widows and fatherless children from the Civil War. While Eleanor knows her own heart, she also knows her aunt will never approve of this endeavor.Tamera Alexander

Archduke Marcus Gottfried has come to Nashville from Austria in search of a life he determines, instead of one determined for him. Hiding his royal heritage, Marcus longs to combine his passion for nature with his expertise in architecture, but his plans to incorporate natural beauty into the design of the widows’ and children’s home run contrary to Eleanor’s wishes. As work on the home draws them closer together, Marcus and Eleanor find common ground–and a love neither of them expects. But Marcus is not the man Adelicia has chosen for Eleanor, and even if he were, someone who knows his secrets is about to reveal them all.

Author Biography:

Tamera Alexander is a bestselling novelist whose works have been awarded or nominated for numerous honors, including the Christy Award, the RITA Award, and the Carol Award. After seventeen years in Colorado, Tamera and her husband have returned to their native South and live in Tennessee, where they enjoy spending time with their two grown children.

 

I generally prefer to read series in sequence:

Although I generally prefer to read series in sequence with each other, as this particular novel has one ahead of it A Lasting Impression, I had the unfortunate timing of being booked solid back to back on my blog! I was not able to read the book ahead of my readings of the next in line, and I do believe that perhaps this might be one series where reading the books out of order might actually be alright! There are series where if you miss the order you can find yourself a bit lost in the plot, but there are moments like these where the sequels are a continuation of part of the story but perhaps not all as a whole. Where you can re-enter the same world, resume a new vein of thought, and easily find yourself immersed into the series without the prior knowledge of what had happened previously!

Likewise, this is my first novel by Tamera Alexander I am reading, and the main reason I requested to be on the tour is due to the fact I am already attempting to spread my wings in the Inspirational Fiction branch of literature by the outline of my 70 Authors Challenge, in which I have selected 70 Inspirational Authors to read over a five-year grid of time! I originally was going to attempt to read their collective works within twelvemonths before I realised that that would be too little time to fully enjoy the challenge! As there is such a wide network of writers in Inspirational Fiction these days, I welcomed the chance to receive this book and associate myself with an author I have oft read about but have not yet read myself!

Historical fiction has always appealed to me, and although I typically read books set around the World Wars, I do not often read books set during the Civil War. I wanted to venture into new territory and I believe I could not have picked a better book nor author to do so!

My review of A Beauty So Rare:

I have always had a sensitive heart when it comes to war and the drama of medical-based stories, yet Alexander tempers the scenes inside A Beauty So Rare with the harsh reality of war against the tides of emotions the lead character faces whilst she is volunteering by the bedside of wounded soldiers. She gives you Eleanor Braddock’s emotional heart to run in line with the despair and loss of what a soldier faces in the middle of battle. She let’s you peer into a window of this particular time frame with a conscience focused on what is most important in each of our individual lives and how each of us should be mindful of how precious life can become when we elect to focus on the days we are given to live. Alexander has a gentleness about how she relays a story of war, allowing you to ease into the narrative with a heavy heart yet respective of how sensitive some of us can be if she had taken a different direction and focused more heavily on the visual side of war.

The contrast she knits together in the male lead of Marcus Gottfried against Ms. Braddock is rife with happenstance for this reader, as I love how she is crossing the barriers of society against the tides of each person wanting to change their stars. Braddock  and Gottfried each have their own reasoning and hankering to effectively change what society and duty dictate of their lives, and effectively want to change convention! What happiness to find two strong characters, each owning to the truth of their hearts!

The encroachment of Ms. Braddock’s father’s mental health plagues her conscience as she wants to be the one who can circumvent his needs and allow him the grace to be with her at home. My heart tugged reading the passages where she is trying to make the best choices on his behalf, whilst confronting her own heart’s conscience on the matter. Mental health issues are never an easy one to navigate as the effects of what is happening to the person differ from one person to another. My heart leapt out to her as I read the passages, and hoped that perhaps she would come in time to realise even caretakers need to have the strength to accept a bit of help.

The best folly for are always the characters which rustle up a flutterment of vexation for each other, and in Braddock & Gottfried’s case, it is all par for course! To betwixt your Aunt Adelicia with plans which run counter-current to her own for prosperity & convention was such a special treat to find as well! The threads of how all the lead characters start to interact and how their layers of commonality start to overlay with each other was a delight to find. Aunt Adelicia is based on a living person of whom I would lend to believe would appreciate how she was portrayed in the story! Such lightning strength, quick wit, and a temper for knowing how to control the destiny of others is not an easy task to take-on or execute with precision. At her heart, I felt Aunt Adelicia was attempting to make the best provisions she felt were worthy of her niece (as well as others) but part of her was held too quick and tied to the orders of the past era. To hold back from entering the new frontier of where more opportunities and tides of change could help progress move forward rather than stay stagnant.

The best enterprise is bourne out of necessity and out of a desire to re-direct the direction of our path in life. The hardest choice for anyone is to dig deeper into their own heart’s truest desire and walk into a path that they have to carve themselves. The more one listens others trying to convince them that one way of thought or one path towards living is the better of the lot, the more one grows distant from their own soul. Each person has to align with their spirit in a way that agrees with not only their nature, but with what uplifts them in the moment they are alive. A Beauty So Rare is an expression of being bold in knowing where our most desirous ideals are guiding us to venture. Giving our full heart to the cause in which we feel we can champion, and not allowing outside influences to cross examine our motives nor derail our intentions. The beauty for me is seeing how everything was properly stitched and knitted together, as you can soak into this novel as comfortable as sipping a cuppa tea.

Ms. Alexander has a gentle spirit as she writes:

What I appreciated the most about the distinction of her style is that she takes a gentle hand with her reader’s heart as she pens her stories! The oppressive nature of the Civil War could have in full effect come off a bit stronger than it had surely, but she took the gentleness of her story and used the war as a back-drop rather than a clear foreground setting. It was only half of the story truly, as most of the details of the character’s lives were lived and entrenched outside the fates of the war itself. It did serve as a starting catalyst to explain why certain characters elected to make changes in how their daily affairs were carried out, but what caught me the most is how she infused the history of the era in such a way as to leave it palatable, which is what I appreciate the most. I am always attracted to historical fiction writers (both mainstream and inspirational) who can give us a sense of ‘time’ whilst caught in a certain ‘setting’ and leave us at the end of their stories with a feeling as though we were quite literally living in that timescape for the time it took to read the novel!

I also appreciated how she inserted a gentle faith and guiding of spirituality, as to not overstep nor understate its purpose. I may have mentioned this previously, but I always love inspirational stories in fiction which guide the faith of their characters through the subtleties of how they live and engage in their everyday lives; with faith by their side and as their mainstay. Actions and sensibilities to me go a long way in narrative.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comThis Blog Tour Stop is courtesy of TLC Book Tours:

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{SOURCES: Book cover for “A Beauty So Rare”, Author Biography, Author photograph, and Book Synopsis  were provided by TLC Book Tours and used with permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. }

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Tuesday, 27 May, 2014 by jorielov in 19th Century, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Botany, Civil War Era (1861-1865), Family Life, Historical Fiction, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Orphans & Guardians, Realistic Fiction, TLC Book Tours