Category: Time Travel Romance

Blog Book Tour | “The Memory Painter” by Gwendolyn Womack

Posted Tuesday, 12 July, 2016 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary copy of “The Memory Painter” direct from the publisher Picador in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I was wicked enthused to read ‘The Memory Painter’:

I still remember when I first learnt of The Time Travellers Wife – as I was still invested in being an active member of the Science Fiction Book Club (until the day arose where the quality of the hardback editions fell below everyone’s standards; early 2000s) when I happily collected my copy of the book amongst a few wicked awesome time travel, time shift or time slip stories which were being featured together! I have had a penchant for these theories of how to bend time to the will of a writer’s pen for most of my life – as I dearly love how you can subject a reader to the plausible realities of where time bends out of it’s continuum to a separate plane of thought, conscious and experience.

I never had the pleasure of reading the forementioned story before it became a bonefide feature film, which was of course, one of the few times I opted for the film over the book! My soul was crushed afterwards – I literally had trouble walking out of the theater as my emotional state was such to effectively render me wobbly on my feet! I love emotional stories, but this time round – I felt it was taken too far and evocatively affected me too deeply to even speak afterwards! I’ve been hesitatively curious about reading stories that might entertain a similar vein of emotional heartache yet at the same time, my imagination hungers for these stories where time is not as conclusive to it’s era nor of it’s living reality for those who lived within it’s scope.

Time is temporal and with that realisation comes the prospects of never quite understanding the full fabric of how time and our timescapes can be affected by the shifting parallels of how time is explored. This is truly why I wanted to read this particular story – to curl up inside another author’s vision of how time can be manipulated on one hand and how time is altered by those lives who walk outside of a traditional trajectory of a well-lived life. I also have been open to stories which deal with reincarnation ever since I first caught sight of The Reincarnation Library (which was a mail-order book club for hardback re-issues of classic stories that explored the theories behind it; as noted on a review by Nicole Evelina). Literature has the beautiful depth of scope to take us to new horizons and frontiers just past our peripheral understanding of life and how time runs concurrent to our own living histories.

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I’ve explored thought-provoking stories on Jorie Loves A Story under this vein of interest previously on my ruminative thoughts attached to the following stories:

Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley (see Review); The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo (see Review); A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner (see Review); The Last Gatekeeper by Katy Haye (see Review); Intangible (see Review) & Invincible (see Review) by C.A. Gray; To Live Forever: an Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis by Andra Watkins (see Review); Lemongrass Hope by Amy Impellizzeri (see Review); Antiphony by Chris Katsaropoulos (see Review); Moonflower by EDC Johnson (see Review); The Untied Kingdom by Kate Johnson (see Review); The Silent Touch of Shadows by Christina Courtenay (see Review); Romancing the Soul by Sarah Tranter (see Review); A Stitch in Time by Amanda James (see Review); Blue Spirit: A Tipsy Fairy Tale by E. Chris Garrison (see Review); The Particular Appeal of Gillian Pugsley by Susan Örnbratt (see Review); Wishful Thinking by Kami Wicoff (see Review); The Angel of Losses by Stephanie Feldman (see Review) and the partial review of The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead!

I included a reading list for Magical Realism on my review of The Golem & the Jinni by Helene Wecker – which also proves the point how I continuously remain open to finding the story-tellers who are creating fiction that goes above and beyond the traditional threading of how a story can be told whilst visually capturing our imagination to jettison into a theory of how everything can be altered by perception!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Notation on Cover Art: I was sent the trade paperback edition by Picador, where I must say, I was more impressed than the predominately ‘yellow’ jacket of the other edition!? The reason I am thankful for this version in my hands is because the colours are muted which elude to ‘yesteryear’ and the nod towards the clock with symbols etched into the background appearing as a watermark whilst cross-overlaid with the shadows of Bryan and Linz simply make sense to me! It has a weathered appearance you would expect of a time travel romance but also, the illusion of a greater mystery that lends the suspenseful nature of how the story is told through Womack’s narrative.

Blog Book Tour | “The Memory Painter” by Gwendolyn WomackThe Memory Painter
Subtitle: A novel of Love & Reincarnation
by Gwendolyn Womack
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Two lovers who have travelled across time.

A team of scientists at the cutting edge of memory research.

A miracle drug that unlocks an ancient mystery.

At once a sweeping love story and a time-travelling adventure, Gwendolyn Womack’s luminous debut novel, The Memory Painter, is perfect for readers of The Time Traveler’s Wife, Life After Life and Winter’s Tale.

Bryan Pierce is an internationally famous artist, whose paintings have dazzled the world. But there’s a secret to Bryan’s success: Every canvas is inspired by an unusually vivid dream. Bryan believes these dreams are really recollections―possibly even flashback from another life―and he has always hoped that his art will lead him to an answer. And when he meets Linz Jacobs, a neurogenticist who recognizes a recurring childhood nightmare in one Bryan’s paintings, he is convinced she holds the key.

Their meeting triggers Bryan’s most powerful dream yet―visions of a team of scientists who, on the verge of discovering a cure for Alzheimer’s, died in a lab explosion decades ago. As his visions intensify, Bryan and Linz start to discern a pattern. But a deadly enemy watches their every move, and he will stop at nothing to ensure that the past stays buried.

The Memory Painter is at once a taut thriller and a deeply original love story that transcends time and space, spanning six continents and 10,000 years of history.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780425277720

Also by this author: The Fortune Teller, The Time Collector (Spotlight)

Genres: Genre-bender, Historical Romance, Historical Thriller Suspense, Historical-Fantasy, Magical Realism, Reincarnation Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Sci-Fantasy, Thriller, Time Slip and/or Time Shift, Time Travel Fiction


Published by Picador

on 5th July, 2016

Format: Trade Paperback

Finalist for the 2016 RWA Prism Awards for Best First Book & Best Time Travel/ Steampunk category.

Published By: Picador (@PicadorUSA) via St. Martin’s Press
imprints of St. Martin’s Publishing Group,
which is now a part of MacMillian Publishers

Available Formats: Hardback, Trade Paperback and Ebook

About Gwendolyn Womack

Gwendolyn Womack Photo Credit: Copyright JennKL Photography

Originally from Houston, Texas, Gwendolyn Womack began writing theater plays in college at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. She went on to receive an MFA from California Institute of the Arts in Directing Theatre, Video & Cinema.

Currently she resides in Los Angeles with her husband and son where she can be found at the keyboard working on her next novel. The Memory Painter is her first novel.

Photo Credit: Copyright JennKL Photography

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Tuesday, 12 July, 2016 by jorielov in 21st Century, Alzheimer's Disease, Ancient Civilisation, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Art, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Trailer, Bookish Films, Boston, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Dreams & Dreamscapes, Egypt, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Magical Realism, Modern Day, Neurosciences | Neurogenetics, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Passionate Researcher, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Realistic Fiction, Reincarnation, Romantic Suspense, Science Fantasy, Star-Crossed Lovers, Time Travel, Time Travel Romance, Unrequited Eternal Love, Vulgarity in Literature, Writing Style & Voice

Book Review | “The Untied Kingdom” by Kate Johnson Rom with a twist of alternative reality! #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 31 October, 2015 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

ChocLitSaturdays Banner Created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By:

I am a ChocLit reviewer who receives books of my choice in exchange for honest reviews! I received a complimentary copy of “The UnTied Kingdom” from ChocLit in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. 

On my connection to Kate Johnson:

I host a weekly Romance chat (#ChocLitSaturdays | @ChocLitSaturday) in conjunction with my book reviews and showcases on behalf of the publisher ChocLitUK. The weekly chat was inspired by the authors and stories I was devouring as a book reviewer, as I wanted to create a space online where sisterhood friendships could develop between readers and writers of Rom. My focus was to first unite the authors of ChocLit with readers of ChocLit and then, expand the conversation. Eleven in the morning of a Saturday, has become a favourite hour for me to exchange conversation and joy with everyone who shows up to participate in the lively convos. You can visit the homepage for #ChocLitSaturdays via Nurph, where you can choose to RSVP future chats or replay past chats.

Ms Johnson and I have been happily conversing through the chats for a good portion of the past year, as she ducks in to the conversations as her time allows. Through those chats, depending on the topic that is broached during the hour, book recommendations are one of the highlights for everyone attending. For me, it’s a chance to get to know about stories I might not be drawn too outright or had previously been on the fence about reading. One of these titles was ‘The Untied Kingdom’ which soon became highly recommended. From what I gathered in one of the chats, I knew I had to at least give it a go myself to see how Johnson wrote the intriguing story-line.

Similar to my previous thoughts I shared about Ms Courtenay and Ms Harris, I have come to appreciate chatting with Ms Johnson through #ChocLitSaturdays chats. She has a bubbly personality, a sharp wit and a humour that never fails to make me smile or laugh outright. She’s very open about talking about her characters and stories, whilst not one to be shy from expressing her appreciation for what gives her the most joy as a reader and writer.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Johnson through our respective love & passion of reading inside the twitterverse whilst I host #ChocLitSaturdays; I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time.

Why I enjoy embracing the chance to read an ‘alternative’ story-line:

I think everyone will recognise there are alternative realities in science fiction and fantasy, inasmuch as their are alternative historical fiction plot-lines where the writer has bent the genre to their will. For me personally, I appreciate dipping into this creative well of dexterity when I find a story which becomes it’s own personal niche in a genre of it’s writer’s choosing. I do not oft read these kinds of stories, so it’s a bit of a mystery if I will soak inside the narrative as readily as I do other stories, but one thing is for certain: I like taking risks with my literary wanderings, because without a risk once in awhile, how do we know if we will like something completely new and out of the regular realms we are reading if we don’t take that chance?

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.Book Review | “The Untied Kingdom” by Kate Johnson Rom with a twist of alternative reality! #ChocLitSaturdaysThe Untied Kingdom
by Kate Johnson
Source: Direct from Publisher

The portal to an alternate world was the start of all her troubles – or was it?

When Eve Carpenter lands with a splash in the Thames, it’s not the London or England she’s used to. No one has a telephone or knows what a computer is. England’s a third world country and Princess Di is still alive. But worst of all, everyone thinks Eve’s a spy.

Including Major Harker who has his own problems. His sworn enemy is looking for a promotion. The general wants him to undertake some ridiculous mission to capture a computer, which Harker vaguely envisions running wild somewhere in Yorkshire. Turns out the best person to help him is Eve.

She claims to be a pop star. Harker doesn’t know what a popstar is, although he suspects it’s a fancy foreign word for ‘spy’. Eve knows all about computers, and electricity. Eve is dangerous. There’s every possibility she’s mad.

And Harker is falling in love with her.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781906931681

Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Alternative Reality | History, Genre-bender, Romantic Suspense, Time Slip and/or Time Shift, War Drama


Published by ChocLitUK

on 7th October 2014

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 320

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.

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLitUK)

Formats Available: Paperback, Large Print, Audiobook and E-book

Converse via: #ChocLit

About Kate Johnson

Kate Johnson

Kate Johnson is a prolific writer of romantic and paranormal fiction. Kate is Choc Lit’s youngest author and lives near Stansted, Essex. She is a self-confessed fan of Terry Pratchett, whose fantasy fiction has inspired her to write her own books. Kate worked in an airport and a laboratory before escaping to write fiction full time. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and has previously published short stories in the UK and romantic mysteries in the US. She’s a previous winner of the WisRWA’s Silver Quill and Passionate Ink’s Passionate Plume award.

Her first UK debut novel, The Untied Kingdom was shortlisted for the Contemporary Romantic Novel Category Award in 2012. It also won an online Best Book Award.

Kate’s Choc Lit novels include: The UnTied Kingdom, Run Rabbit Run and Impossible Things (February 2014).

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Posted Saturday, 31 October, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Action & Adventure Fiction, Alternative Reality, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, British Literature, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Debut Author, Debut Novel, England, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Futuristic Fantasy, Green Publishing, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Life Shift, Military Fiction, Modern British Author, Modern British Literature, Modern Day, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Sci-Fi November, Science Fantasy, Time Slip, Time Travel, Time Travel Adventure, Time Travel Romance, Vulgarity in Literature, Warfare & Power Realignment

Book Review | “Wishful Thinking” by Kamy Wicoff #SRC2015 No.2

Posted Tuesday, 30 June, 2015 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge 2015

I quite happily am spending Summer soaking through the lovely discoveries I am making through the annual BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge! This particular Summer challenge has become quite dear to me due to how wicked lovely my local library has been in giving me an added layer of joy whilst BookSparks has coordinated the blog tours attached to the reading challenge in such a way to continue to *surprise!* me by finding books arriving by Post I was not even sure would be posted! (full story revealed on this post)

This marks my second review out of ten, and although I was originally meant to post my ruminations on Monday, the 29th of June, I needed the extra hours to fully immerse myself into Wishful Thinking! Partially due to a slow-shift back into reading after my illness and partially due to a *major!* upgrade my blog undertook over the weekend yielding to a few wonky tech issues that left me unable to blog.

My next review for #SRC2015 was meant to appear on Thursday, however, I believe it will be closer to Saturday, as I equally need more time to fully embrace my next summer read! I am hoping after I post #SRC2015 No.3, I’ll be back on track with my pre-booked schedule!

It was such a joy to snuggle into this novel – it nearly felt autobiographical, too! Wicoff is definitely an author I want to keep my eyes on and continue to see where her bookish endeavours take us!

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.
Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

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

At the time when I was confirmed to be a part of the #SRC2015 official blog tour schedule, we were not able to get confirmation on which books we selected to review on our respective blogs would be sent to us by the publishers and/or publicist at BookSparks, thereby I submitted purchase requests at my local library for all *10!* books I selected to read and review.

I elected to read “Wishful Thinking” via the complimentary copy I received by BookSparks as the library copy arrived just after this lovely book arrived by postal mail. By participating in the #SRC2015 challenge I am reading the novels in exchange for my honest reviews; whether I am receiving a complimentary copy or borrowing them through my local library. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Book Review | “Wishful Thinking” by Kamy Wicoff #SRC2015 No.2Wishful Thinking
by Kamy Wicoff
Source: Direct from Publicist

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Genres: Women's Fiction, Motherhood | Parenthood, Magical Realism, Time Travel Fiction, Quantum Physics


Published by She Writes Press

on 21st April, 2015

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 384

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.

written by Kamy Wicoff | Site | @kwicoff | Facebook | Instagram

Published By:She Writes Press (@shewritespress)
originated from She Writes (@shewritesdotcom)
an imprint of Spark Points Studio LLCGoSparkPoint (@GoSparkPoint)
& BookSparks
(@BookSparks)
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #WishfulThinking & #SRC2015 Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #SRC2015 | BookSparks
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Posted Tuesday, 30 June, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, #SRC2015 | BookSparks, 20th Century, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book | Novel Excerpt, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Book Cover | Original Illustration & Design, Bookish Films, BookSparks, Cats and Kittens, Clever Turns of Phrase, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Disillusionment in Marriage, Divorce & Martial Strife, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, Genre-bender, Humour & Satire in Fiction / Non Fiction, Indie Author, Indie Book Trade, Inspiring Video Related to Content, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Library Love, Life of Thirty-Somethings, Life Shift, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Magical Realism, Modern Day, Mother-Son Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, New York City, Passionate Researcher, Public Service | Community Officers, Quantum | Mechanics Physics Theory, Realistic Fiction, Science Fantasy, Scribd, Second Chance Love, Single Mothers, Sisterhood friendships, Story in Diary-Style Format, Terminal Illness &/or Cancer, Time Shift, Time Travel, Time Travel Adventure, Time Travel Romance, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction

+Book Review+ Lemongrass Hope by Amy Impellizzeri #IndieNovel #MagicalRealism

Posted Sunday, 3 August, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Lemongrass Hope by Amy Impellizzeri

Lemongrass Hope by Amy Impellizzeri

Published By: Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing (@wymac), 8 October, 2014
Official Author Websites:
Site | @AmyImpellizzeri | Blog | Facebook | Author Page on WMP
Available Formats: Trade Paperback Page Count: 304

Genre(s): Fiction | Romance | Magical Realism | Time Travel | Literary Fiction

Converse via: #LemongrassHope

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: I crossed paths with the author of “Lemongrass Hope” on Twitter, as she contacted me in regards to receiving an ARC copy of her debut novel which publishes this Autumn. This was in late May and I was hoping to review the book in mid to late June. However, due to different personal reasons I had to extend my post until July. I received a complimentary ARC copy of the book direct from the author Amy Impellizzeri, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:  

What originally captivated me by Lemongrass Hope was the premise of the story itself – a mirror into a life which would have a unique style of delivery. At least I murmured a hope that this novel would carry with it a unique craft of story and one that not only could be a mirth of joy to read but would encourage me to draw a pensive eye once the story concluded. I love stories which engage my mind as readily as my heart — stories which drive me to think about the dimensions of the story as it slowly tumbles through and out of my memory. To carry with me a bit further than the reading itself and impart a lasting impression of what was conveyed through the pen of the author. I felt such a strong pull to reading Lemongrass Hope; I was over the moon in gratitude for the author to have expressed an interest in giving it to me to read.

I have had a building interest in reading this novel as due to various personal reasons, I have wanted to read a story that has a central theme of ‘hope’ building inside its central heart of narrative. I wanted to read something inspiring and something a bit magical at the same time — a story to take me outside the realm of the everyday and transition into this beautiful place that exists between this world and the next. I love reading Magical Realism stories and watching them on television as I mentioned on my review for The Silent Touch of Shadows for this very reason. I was meant to start reading Lemongrass Hope on Tuesday, the 22nd of July — however a severe allergic reaction cut my plans short! Thankfully, due to homeopathic medicine I was able to come down from the fog of my initial medicine and soak into the story! A day where disappearing from the angst of allergies and reactions therein, this particular story alighted itself into the forefront of my mind and heart. Stories are like that,… they tend to arrive in our lives of a timing that cannot be measured by conventional means but felt by our hearts.

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Book Synopsis:

Set in the past, and present, Lemongrass Hope is a captivating and unpredictable love story, with a dose of magical realism and time travel, that fans of authors such as Audrey Niffenegger, Alice Hoffman, and Toni Morrison will appreciate and embrace. Like Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret, Lemongrass Hope weaves together ordinary lives and events to tell an extraordinary tale of connection, loss, renewal, and of course, hope. As Kate Sutton’s decade-long marriage to Rob erodes and unravels, Kate fears that the secrets she guards from the world, including Rob’s emergency room proposal, and a whirlwind love affair from her past, have always doomed her fate.

When she unwittingly receives a glimpse at what her life could have been like had she made different choices all those years ago, it is indeed all she could have ever wanted. A confirmation of her greatest hope, and her greatest fears.

Lemongrass Hope will draw you in with characters so relatable and real, you will cheer for them one moment and flinch the next. A tale that invites you to suspend disbelief—or perhaps decide to believe once and for all— in the potent power of love and connection over time and choice.

Oh, and the dress. There’s this lemongrass dress . . .

Author Biography:

Amy ImpellizzeriA reformed corporate litigator with a background of survival and renewal, Amy Impellizzeri has been writing since childhood, but ended a long hiatus from personal writing after a plane crashed in her residential neighborhood in 2001, killing everyone on board and five of her neighbors, as she started on a journey of guilt and healing, detailed in her essay, Unscathed. After 13 years in the cutthroat world of corporate law, including a decade at a top Manhattan law firm, Impellizzeri left to write and advocate for entrepreneurial women, eventually landing at the investor-backed start-up company, Hybrid Her, named by ForbesWoman as a Top Website for Women in 2010 and 2011 (and recently rebranded as ShopFunder, LLC) while working on her first novel, Lemongrass Hope, and her first non-fiction book, Lawyer Interrupted, scheduled to be published by the American Bar Association in 2015.

Her essays and articles have appeared in The Huffington Post, The Glass Hammer, Divine Caroline, and ABA’s Law Practice Today, among more.

Time as a vortex of transportation:

Time is in the background of Lemongrass Hope, as Kate has a propensity for shifting time forward and backwards with the ease of her mind’s ability to draw forth the memories she both wants to forget and hope she’s overcome. Her path is to seek a bit of redemptive hope out of going back over her choices and of recollecting where those choices led her on her lifepath. Time for all its measurements is both elusive and transcending as the chapters drift between your fingers, as you lose yourself in the timescape of where Kate is leading the story to go forward. She tempts you with a rhythm that is of her choosing and a realisation that time cannot always be undone.

My Review of Lemongrass Hope:

Stories alight in our hands at a timing of their own reckoning, and this particular story has a rhythmic tone as individual as the author’s path who penned the tale. Lemongrass Hope has a unique narrative voice which curls inside your mind’s eye as you soak in the grace of the writer’s prose. Etched into the gracefulness of her turns of phrase and of placing us inside Botswana as we enter into the story’s setting, is a subtle nudge towards nibbling into the human condition and the emotional arc of how healing involves an acknowledge of thought, feeling, and evoking ruminations. The stage is set quite nicely for a complex story filled with characters who are already in-progress on a journey – towards an enlightenment driven out of their choice of purpose and the textural landscape of where their path will lead them.

The story starts off in segmented pieces of scenes depicting certain moments within the lives of the characters which is imperative and important to take stock of, yet their meaning and definitions come into meaning lateron. The Prologue presents a thesis of direction, of a willingness to rewind time and of accepting our destiny as a walkway which can be walked and followed, yet given the murmurings of free will is not always a visible line. The first three chapters are time shifts between 1997, 2011, and 2009 — little seedlings of where Kate and Ian were at distinctive snapshots of ‘time’ within the sphere of their living hours. Their innermost thoughts are woven into the fabric of the narrative which gives us an intrapersonal connection to them rather instinctively.

The mind is a curious portal: emotions, memories, the elasticity of hope, and a renewing sense of place & time. Impellizzeri’s unique style of telling this story is not jolting but encouraging, the transitions of the years which might appear to be disjointed are actually a telling sense of reason behind the fury of emotional anguish in Kate. The pattern of the novel is one that I found pleasing because it encourages a new sense of how a story can be set, told, and presented. Kate is in desperate need of a respite from her life, to take a step back from motherhood and marriage; both of which have consumed her with a vacuuming effect of loss of self. The internal struggle for order and any sense of logic to have arrived at a point of place in her marriage where infidelity and an absence of love had shattered the tethering of her spirit. Her mind was a minefield of emotional turmoil plaguing her with ruminative flashbacks and haunting memories of each decisive choice she made to arrive where she was on her path. To be the Mum of Michael and David, wedded to Ian and wistfully hopeful there was a way ‘out’ of where she currently was living to a life that made a heap more sense.

The story is a mind map of the central character’s life; etched out of emotions & the curious speculative heart for a confluence of logical explanation for why her life took the course it had. Benton is the unexpected best friend who inadvertently introduced Kate to Rob and Ian; the two blokes who are central to the distress of Kate’s fevered mind. Rob is the bloke who drifted past Kate’s orb, whilst Ian settled into her heart and therefore stole her passion. Ian enraptured a sense of adventure bolstered by a theory of time travel through a drink native to Botswana; a country where he worked inside as a journalist. Rob had the unfortunate timing of being just a shy step short of entering her life at a moment in which she was ready for falling in love.

I need to sort out how to properly make homemade curry, as this novel and others in its wake have encouraged me to the pursuit! I fear my favourite Indian restaurant closed shoppe without another to take its place. Curry is the meal that speaks to the soul, and the heart is always mindful of the warmth this cosy-comfort food encourages you to savour whilst the naan you consume adds the nosh to become a heightened joy of culinary delight! I admit, I felt a bit envious of Kate & Ian! Their entire relationship was centered around curry and the serendipitous nature of two souls crossing paths within the hours one does not expect to find romance and the mirth of soul-connected relationship. 

Ian’s path took him forward into a lively professional traveller position as a writer whereas Kate staid true to her course as a college Professor. She opted for the original bloke she was set-up to date on a blind lark suggestion by Benton. The friend Kate abandons out of the truth her heart is acknowledging about which bloke her soul feels mated and of which bloke she is merely sharing space and time. To dissolve a friendship out of the ashes of a lost love and relationship is not logical but then again, neither is love. Love is a leap of trust as much as faith. You have to jump with a measure of belief that you’re following where your heart leads and the path will ring true for you.

The ending will leave you lost in your thoughts about hope, life, love, and the daring reality of changing your stars on your own accord of how your living truth can set you free. Kate’s story has a pace and rhythm uniquely it’s own; a bit how it would be to tell a stranger in a confluence of conversations your own’s life story. It would come out a bit out of order, a bit out of focus from time of the original events, but the beauty would be in the telling of the story itself. In how the lessons you learnt along the corridor of your life not only strengthened you but graced your life with a bounty of blessings you had not fully seen or understood until the day arrived where the last piece of your tapestry’s puzzle fit together quite perfectly. 

Fair warning: You will forsake sleep to finish this novel, as the story attaches to your spirit and the heart of your soul. And, once it it is put down, you will wish for ‘another chapter’, another moment within this world. I had such a personal reaction to this novel, I can only hope the words I’ve left upon concluding it will honour the legacy it will give to the next reader who consumes it’s message. My throat was emotionally choked, tears not yet having left my eyes, and a gratitude I felt as deep as a well for being given the blessing of reading this story,… right here, and ‘now’.

Marriage, Relationships, and the In-Between Moments of Reconciliation:

Impellizzeri has a rather eloquent approach to the craft of story-telling, as she draws you further into her narrative voice with each paragraph you read, as her choices of how a story is told is quite receptively keen on the introspection of her characters;  allowing you the full advantage of listening, hearing, and sensing their emotional state of being. She captures the bits and bobbles of a life in the staging bits of transition and the anxiety of finding yourself in a relationship that is either about to dissolve or repair itself through a bridge in communication. She cleverly has Kate referencing the appeal of reading Eat Pray Love in an effort to connect another women’s marital plight to her own. As I read those passages I thought back on two motion pictures of equal merit and value: Must Love Dogs and Under the Tuscan Sun.

As an aside, being a singleton myself I appear to have an kinetic attraction to stories of divorce as more oft than naught, I am nestled inside either a motion picture or a story in fiction that evolves through the catalyst of relationships. I believe this has to do with my attraction and appreciation of a sociological viewing on humanity, as the lens in which these stories reside is an intimate voicing of the human heart and soul. To expand on the fragility of our personal experiences as much as the process of how we think and access what we are going through as we live our lives. I like the internal analysis these particular stories provide as much as the forethought of the writers to temper what we might conventionally surmise; as found inside the passages which eclipse clarity and distinctive individualism as well.

*note to self: must read the other novels in order to offer further insight on my reflections

*note to readers and visitors: ironically or not, I was not aware the films were based on books whilst seeing them

Marriages of convenience hold within them hidden evidences of romance built around indecision and fear of loneliness. The heart tugs the truth into our minds but truth, like faith is not always something we want to swallow nor accept. To be humble enough to recognise the wrong choice before we take the course we’re walking along would be a beautiful experience in foresight but humans are oft blinded and muddled by our emotional hearts and our souls are bled dry from wrestling with our logical whispers of the unknown. We walk boldly onto the path we choose, even if the future proves to lead to a deep felt sea of remorse.

Impellizzeri found a footing for yielding a story through the myriad labyrinth of a woman’s mind, especially in the manner in which Lemongrass Hope spilts out onto the page. Her words encourage a pensive awareness whilst you read her novel and carry yourself along the emotional memories of Kate as a sense of one soul’s journey towards acceptance and understanding.

On the unique writing style of Amy Impellizzeri:

I appreciated Impellizzeri knitting into her story the elements of what a thirty-something would contemplate, especially from a strong point-of-view of both lead characters. Memories of Baby Boom floated to mind, even though the circumstances towards motherhood differed, Kate had found in Rob the same indifference as Diane Keaton had found inside the character Harold Ramis had portrayed. Professional women who never viewed themselves outside the professional track of their trade, yet observant of other women and the choices they made within their own lives all the same. It is curious timing my reading of Lemongrass Hope to the reading of Love’s Promises (although I oft speak of the serendipitous nature of my reading life and how I oft realise that books alight in my hand to read at a timing that is right in the moment for me to greet them): two separate novelists writing about a thematic I have always appreciated seeing explored. (you’ll also denote my appreciation for stories set in ‘motion’ or in ‘written’ mediums are equally favoured; hence my cross-references for motion pictures and books in print tend to blur into each other) Outside the scope of motherhood, yet focused on marriage both of these novels I’ve recently had the pleasure of reading paint a portrait of honestly real women exploring their personal stances on faith, love, children, marriage, and the singleton life they always felt deeply attached too. Working Girl always left a strong impression (and oh so very quotatable!) next to Baby Boom, and lest I forget to mention Three Men & a Baby which opens the door from a completely turn of face point-of-view! And, who did not rally for Steve Martin’s character in A Simple Twist of Fate?!

One author I want to encourage myself to read next is Jane Porter, who writes Contemporary Romances of equal thought-provoking narratives, where the vein of questioning one’s path and deciding on what is one’s true path to follow is as unique as the characters who bring those lifepaths to life. It is such a strong appeal to read about characters experiencing an arc of a life shift and in full choice of where their futures lie if they are willing to wrestle out their emotional heart and allow themselves the ability to lead a truer life forward on a path that will enrich as much as it will stabilise their needs. I recently crossed paths with Mari Passananti and her novel ‘The Hazards of Hunting While Heartbroken’ spoke to me at ‘hallo’ as well. How lovely then, that August is the ‘Read A Romance Month? (#ReadARomanceMonth – perhaps you saw the badge in my lower sidebar winking at you?) My forthcoming thoughts intertwined into this online bookish event are forthcoming next on Jorie Loves A Story!

On a singular personal level:

full gratitude for this not being a traditional story with a heart-wrecking cancer sideline.

Instead it was inspiring and full of hope. 

Hope is a big part of this story.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Sunday, 3 August, 2014 by jorielov in 21st Century, Agnostic (Questioning & Searching or Unsure), ARC | Galley Copy, Author Found me On Twitter, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Book Review (non-blog tour), Book Trailer, Bookish Discussions, Botswana, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Divorce & Martial Strife, Family Drama, Fantasy Fiction, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Genre-bender, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Life Shift, Literary Fiction, Magical Realism, Modern Day, New York City, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Sociological Behavior, The Bermuda Triangle, Time Shift, Time Travel, Time Travel Romance