Category: #K8chat

Blog Book Tour | “Softly Falling” by Carla Kelly

Posted Saturday, 22 November, 2014 by jorielov , , , 3 Comments

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Softly Falling by Carla Kelly

Published By: Sweetwater Books (@SweetwaterBooks),
an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFortBooks)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #SoftlyFalling, #histfic, #diverselit

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: 

I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Cedar Fort whereupon I am thankful to have such a diverse amount of novels and non-fiction titles to choose amongst to host. I received a complimentary copy of “Softly Falling” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

I simply adore historical romances, and I have a soft spot for Westerns! I love the intensity of the moment where the two main characters find themselves in a place where they have to fight alongside each other for survival! A great place to curate drama and romance!

Blog Book Tour | “Softly Falling” by Carla KellySoftly Falling
by Carla Kelly
Source: Direct from Publisher

Lily looked at the vastness of the plains, full of cattle, and then up at the sky without a cloud in sight.

"What's going to happen, Mr. Sinclair?" she asked.

"What do you know?"

Fresh off the train from New York City,  Lily Carteret arrives in picturesque Wynoming only to discover that her wayward father has lost his cattle ranch to a lowly cowboy in a card game!

Determined not to let her father's folly ruin her life, Lily becomes a teacher on the ranch. There she learns that the handsome cowboy, Jack Sinclair, has made some wild predictions about the upcoming winter - that it will be unlike anything Wyoming has ever seen. Lily must either cast off her skepticism to work with Jack or risk losing everything she holds dear.

This latest novel by bestselling romance author Carla Kelly is sure to please new and old fans alike. Stirring, tense, and filled with swoon-worthy moments, it's a delectable read that will leave you begging for more!

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781462113958

Also by this author: Summer Campaign, Courting Carrie in Wonderland, A Season of Love

Genres: Historical Fiction, Western Fiction


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 11th of November, 2014

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 288

About Carla Kelly

Carla Kelly is a veteran of the New York and international publishing world. The author of more than thirty novels and novellas for Donald I. Fine Co., Signet, and Harlequin, Carla is the recipient of two Rita Awards (think Oscars for romance writing) from Romance Writers of America and two Spur Awards (think Oscars for western fiction) from Western Writers of America. She is also a recipient of a Whitney Award for Borrowed Light, My Loving Vigil Keeping and Softly Falling.

Photo Credit: Marie Bryner-Bowles, Bryner Photography

Rugged yet full of Heart: the American West was for spirited survivors:

One of the reasons I love snuggling into a historical fiction drama set within the Rocky Mountain range of majestic jeweled peaks, is because I love the ruggedness of the land with the warm fire of spirit of the people who call the territories home. This was a portion of America where only the rugged at heart could carve out a living and find the joy in the seasons, as hard as they were to survive on little to no means of surplus provisions. This is where the men and women who dared to thrive found themselves in pickles when the heaviest of the storms plundered down around them in the Spring and Winter.

I have always been encouraged by their fiery spirit and their camaraderie to find sparkles of happiness out of a rough-hewn life forged out of necessity and honour. They could teach the art of simplicity and the wealth of faith rooted out of everyday joy and celebrations. Reading stories underlit by raw courage and a sense of instincts labouring to endure whatever nature could see to challenge them with is one reason I find myself drawn into the Western genre; soaking inside one story after another, and gaining a bit of insight into the way the West was settled.

My Review of Softly Falling:

Miss Lily Carteret has not had an easy upbringing; she is the daughter of her father’s heart, but her family in England was quite proper and never fully accepted her uniqueness as a quality they could appreciate. Her grace of statue and her calm fire in spite of such uneasy attitudes gave her a bit of a headway into understanding how to survive in a world of injustices. The colour of her skin held within it’s own beauty of her spirit and the compassion of her mother of whom she rarely speaks of but intuitively knows she had gained a grounding of character. Lily is a formidable woman in an age and time during our historical past where women were not given many opportunities nor a chance to define their lives on the merits of their own capabilities. Yet, due to a change of circumstance in both her station and in her location, Lily not only accepts her plight but shines a light on what is possible inside her mind’s eye.

The story begins on a premise of words whispering out of Thomas Edison about how never to compromise a defeat if you haven’t first uncovered every stone cast against your path. The strength of the quotation is explored through Lily as much as it is in Jack; two unlikely souls finding themselves in the same bit of Wyoming territory where a harsh clime and an undying level of optimism can take you further than a stubborn attitude against change. They each are residing near a rambling ranch where a lone schoolhouse looms silent within a stone’s throw of a towne with less than a dozen children residing inside it. The potential for what the schoolhouse could give Lily is enough of a will for Jack to encourage the lass to consider all options outside the box in an attempt to inspire her forward when life has left her feeling as though she is slowly falling into a vacuum. Neither moving forward or backwards, but rather sliding into a part of her life where uncertainty rules the roost of the early dawn.

The schoolhouse not only offered shelter for a small group of knowledge thirsty children to gain insight into how to read, write and do arithmetic but it sheltered them from a blizzard which arrived without warning and without a whispering sound! Snow funneled down to the earth in such earnest strides towards whitening out the entire ranch, giving Lily only time enough to assess her supplies and attempt to bring a bit of normalcy to the growing tension rising between her and the children. Her mind was filled with concern for her father (recently enroute to the city) and for Jack (elsewhere at the moment) whilst the world turnt dark, cold and frightening otherworldly. The snow’s wrath and extended conditions reminded me of the snowstorm greeting the Northern Tier of the states and provinces of Canada this November of 2014!

In the very beginning of the novel, Jack proffered Lily a premonition of what might come as soon as Winter set in on this small portion of the Wyoming Territory; knowing his intuition was set to rights was one thing, watching it arrive before her eyes was nearly too much weight for Lily to bear. She had grown not in years but in depths of what she was individually capable of achieving since she first arrived off the train; she had taken the bleak situation presented to her and turnt lemons into lemonade. She found her true calling in life (teaching) and she found self-worth was never too far away if you had a bit of ingenuity up your sleeve. Her presence warmed the hearts of the ranch hands and the help of the ramshackle ranch; where even the children learnt prejudice of others had no place in their world. She was not the only multicultural resident, but she was the one who breathed acceptance and tolerance into a slice of the territory which had long since needed to evolve past ignorance.

What I loved the most about Softly Falling is how the pieces of Lily’s life started to fall as soft as early Winter snowflakes, gentle and soft; warming to the spirit and endearing to the heart. She found she was never quite as alone as she felt she were in the world and that suddenly you can find yourself in a well sprung of kindness you never knew you had aligned on your path. The charming bits of the story remind me of a true epic saga, where you tuck yourself into the lives of the characters in such a way as to firmly and rather stubbornly do not move an inch off your seat until your fingers move the very last of the pages forward to gleam what is awaiting you in the ending paragraphs!

Softly Falling reminded me a bit of Love Comes Softly on the level where true love is not always a shower of sparks or lightning bolts, but a reassurance of commitment, trust, and compassion developing into something more solid as hours slide into days and days into months. Love isn’t always a firecracker explosion but true love can fall as softly as a snowflake and endure a soul to another as surely as a thousand year old oak can withstand a blizzard. A testament of strength irregardless of the ills and adversities of life; love can gather itself in thin soil and thrive in a pasture of a fertile harvest.

A soulful grace of story-telling where the characters alight naturally into view out of the pen of Carla Kelly:

Carla Kelly shines her soulful grace of the craft of story-telling within this novel, which accomplishes much more at it’s core than merely telling us a story wrought out of the Western genre within the folds of a Historical Fiction. No, this novel seeks a gentle truth towards telling a story rooted in the realism between the continental divides of race, identity, and personal worth as related to station, lifestyle, and locale. She interweaves a gentle hand of guidance within the minds of her characters, but it is how each of her characters bespeak of their innermost beliefs I found endeared me the most to the novel itself. A prime example of this is how Jack took awhile to realise his fond affection for Lily was far deeper than he was allowing himself to believe and yet, every chance he had to convey his thoughts to the reader, his love shone as bright as the Northern Lights:

My favourite passage from Jack relaying his thoughts on behalf of Lily & her mother:

He had no family, and the two women – one of color and the other of a creamy blend – filled his heart more than he knew at the time. They were ladies of quality but suspended in an unkind world, because they fit no mold.

– Jack from page 50, Chapter 7 of “Softly Falling” by Carla Kelly; see sources below

Kelly has captured my heart for the American West and given me a novel fully supported of cultural integrity and diversity of spirit, soul, heart, and the pursuit of finding your own path when life gives you an intercession of pause to choose how you want to live rather than having a life dictated to you.

An additional note on | character descriptions (per a convo I had on #K8Chat):

If I hadn’t ducked in on the lively and open-minded chat via #K8chat whilst I was working on this book review, I might not have thought to broach this subject, as part of the discussion was focused on how characters of race are presented within descriptive narratives. Specifically how writers tend to lean on descriptive choices pairing food with personal appearances as a method to convey differences in culture, race, and ethnicity. During the chat, I had expressed my thoughts on the topic by mentioning that oft-times when I find descriptive choices that lean on this writing technique to be of a ‘falling short of grace’ for me. Of course, within 140 characters I had to get a bit creative in how I expressed this but suffice to say, most choices come across as contrite, predictable, cliche or used in a way which does not befit the character nor the representation of the diversity the character is illuminating.

However, I said it does depend on context and content, as much as the story itself and not every writer writes the same way per each situation this would arise. Or at least, it was my intention to point this out, but chats on Twitter are such a rapid fire explosion of tweeting, you’d have better luck playing Quidditch! What I mostly have found though is that if you are limiting a person’s outside appearance to being described solely upon shapes, food, or discernible attributes which barter on a consensus of commonality within the trade of books — I feel as though the industry is simply missing out on the opportunity to use a palette of words which befit characters as defined as we would describe someone we met in real life.

I  personally do not see colour nor culture – I see people and their stories; stories yet to be shared or known, but everyone who walks earth has a story to tell. We are as diverse as the four winds, we are as colourful as a kaleidescope and we are as wonderfully unique as we were bourne to be. I always champion writers who find a way to allow their characters to be naturally wrought out of the text of their stories, emerging into the scenes as if they were not only living their truth but they were owning it at the same time.

In the opening chapters of Softly Falling, we are greeted by Lily’s disheveled and disillusioned father, who has never quite turnt an honest wage into an honest living irregardless of which country he’s living inside. A man whose soul was hinged to the bottle and a heart without the will to see past his daily tasks. His greatest gifts of love and joy were his wife and daughter, yet both were ethnically different from himself. Sadly, he was never quite the man either one of them deserved. Rather than establish a line of clarity on what his daughter would appear like disembarking from the train to the man he entrusted to collect her, he relates her origins in direct comparison to a specific type of tea.

What I appreciated seeing how Kelly treated the scene from two different points of view – that of Lily’s father (Clarence) and from Jack, is that Jack felt her appearance and her essence were not being properly voiced. He was embarrassed by the frankness of her father and of the method of his ability to describe her. Jack had more sense in his head than a father could bestow on his own flesh and blood. The dichotomy of their choices proved a telling point — no matter which era we call our own, there are always ripples of indifference in regards to who we are on the outside without seeing our beauty from the inside. I felt Kelly approached this quite well and I sided with Jack instantly on his compassion and his acceptance of Lily.

During the #K8Chat, I was surprised on how lively the discussion had become but one that was full of respect, innocent encouragement of exchanging ideas and an open forum for acceptance on both sides of the topic itself. Some voiced concerns over how descriptive narratives are used or how they are interpreted by readers whereas some who might have felt everything was acceptable were given fodder to chew at the end of the hour. To me the best way forward in a diverse world of literature is where every person (and their character counterpart) has the breathing space to become a part of the world stage of stories — we each have to remain open and honest about our thoughts, our impressions, and the believably of how stories are told. If truism and realism are important, even as book bloggers it would benefit us to remember to voice any concerns we might have as we read diversity in novels as much as celebrating the writers like Carla Kelly who get it right.

Don’t forget to give a nod of gratitude to her publisher, Sweetwater Books/Cedar Fort as well!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

(read more of the convo) (read the chat transcript)

(the chatter who sparked the topic : Melissa Robles (@MeliRobles) | The Reader & the Chef)

(read my essay from #atozchallenge: Letter E The World is a Melting Pot)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

This Blog Tour Stop is courtesy of Cedar Fort, Inc:

Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

 Be sure to follow the rest of the blog tour:
Softly Falling Blog Tour via Cedar Fort Publishing & Media
This book review is being cross-promoted via:

#IndieWriterMonth Blog Feature of Jorie Loves A Story, badge created by Jorie in Canva

Return May, 2015 to see my second book review on behalf of a Carla Kelly novel:

Summer Campaign Blog Tour via Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

{SOURCES: Book Cover Art for “Softly Falling”, author biography, book synopsis, blog tour badges and the badge for Cedar Fort Publishing & Media were provided by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media and used with permission. Permission granted in notice of copyright for ‘brief passages embodied in critical reviews’ which is why I selected a small quotation to share on my review with the permission of the publisher. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. #IndieWriterMonth badge created by Jorie in Canva. Cross-Posted badge for Riffle created by Jorie in Canva.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

The live reading tweets in regards to “Softly Falling”:

{ favourite & Re-tweet if inspired to share }

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Go Indie
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Posted Saturday, 22 November, 2014 by jorielov in #K8chat, 19th Century, American Old West, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Cats and Kittens, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Clever Turns of Phrase, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Farm and Ranching on the Frontier, Father-Daughter Relationships, Geographically Specific, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Homestead Life, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Lyrical Quotations, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Native American Fiction, Old West Americana, Passionate Researcher, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Romance Fiction, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Spontaneous Convos Inspired by Book, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Western Fiction, Western Romance, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Wyoming

Day 4 of the #BoutofBooks readathon, gives Jorie a reason to forego half a #bookseries & launch into an Egyptological parfum legacy!

Posted Friday, 16 May, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , , 0 Comments

What I find most surprising as I go through the Bout is what I am finding as I read the stories I am picking up. I always consider myself an open-minded reader who appreciates a widely diverse reading life, yet what surprises me the most is that how surprised I can become whilst attempting to read a book by an author I previously felt I would be captivated by! :( On this note, I have become a bit disappointed and frustrated twiceover in one week! As I started to settle into The Reincarnationist, I was plumb aghast by what I was finding inside the opening pages of Chapter 1! To the brink that I felt that the author & publisher should have changed the genre from historical suspense to historical horror! I will write more about this in a moment, because what was even more interesting is before I boomeranged back the ENTIRE Reincarnationist series to my local library (they are such a blessing to have knowing how many books are in our local catalogue and thus are able to read when I am either about to seek a book for review &/or simply want to get caught up with an author’s work) I remembered what I had loved reading & listening about The Book of Lost Fragrances.

I also knew Seduction & The Collector of Dying Breaths would follow the same vein of thought & intrigue as this particular Book 4 in the series, so before I carted off this half of the series I was less than enthused to be reading now, I decided to take the high road. I thought, no wait! What if the books centered in a focus about ‘scent’ and ‘parfum’ are written in a different style than the previous books!? What if that style was more agreeable to where my reading sensitivities and interests could find common ground!? I pulled these books out of my library bag, placed them on the shelf, and walked out the door. As I returned, I was both apprehensive and joyful in knowing that I could quite possibly have found a way to enjoy an author I had read so very much about!

At the very same time, Richard Brooks was requesting I continue his journey, and I did not want to keep him waiting! :)

Book I am Reading:

  • The Reincarnationist by M.J. Rose – barely made it to page 12! Books 1-3 go promptly back to the library!
  • The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose
  • Chain of Mercy by Brenda S. Anderson

Books &/or Memes I am Blogging About:

  • Chain of Mercy: a book review of a debut novel (editing at time of post)
  • 10 Bookish and not So Bookish Thoughts (editing at time of post)
  • Booking Through Thursday (editing at time of post)

Blogs I am Visiting (including non-bouter blogs):

Twitterverse Events I Attended:

  • #k8chat – I enjoyed visiting Ms. Tilton’s chat during their 1st Anniversary celebration the prior week, and I could barely believe it was time to visit with them once more! Their topic of discussion was Diversity in Lit, which I have been talking about since Black History Month in February! I am enjoying keeping in the loop with the on-going dialogue of open-mindedness in reading & exploration of stories. I happily shared links to my own blog, engaged in the conversation, & rather unexpectedly had the pure joy in *winning!* a copy of a novel by an author I have been most delighted getting to know through tweetchats: Ms. Ellen Mulholland! And, coincidentally, the book I have won is a Young Adult novel set in the style of coming of age and is a contribution to LGBT fiction from a similar point of view of Etched On Me, on the level that the character is going through a moment in their life where they want to better understand & accept who they are. I do know the story is lighter than Etched On Me in its scope, but poignant in how the story is told by its author! I was thrilled to bits as this brings the author & I full circle in regards to going from acquaintances online, to fast bookish friends (we tend to have a bit in common as we converse), to a book blogger discovering a new author’s work! Isn’t life bookishly beautiful, at times!? I cannot wait to see “Birds on a Wire” arrive by postal mail! :) Cheers! Thank you K8chat!
  • #10MinuteNovelists – Except to say I did not stay very long because their tag for some reason was being wonky & quirky, and I felt as though I was not able to properly follow the line of thought threaded into the conversation! :( Such a shame as I enjoy visiting with them!
  • I had properly forgotten about #StoryDam! As I appear to be forgetting my regular tweetchats of late! Need more post-its!?

Notes:

I am not certain how I erred twice in one week with books I was quite eager to read, but apparently, I have as when I first opened The Reincarnationist novel I was expecting to be swept away into this historical suspense novel akin to The Skin Map (a still need to finish novel left-over from Sci Fi November!)! I was not expecting to be appalled and more than a bit grossed out by the gutting scene of murder and chilling attack of a woman before I even reached page 15! I promptly put the book in the stash of books being carted back to the library this afternoon! I mean, truly!? I am now a bit betwixt understanding how all my research into the Reincarnationist series is now ending on such a sour note, as one thing I cannot handle to read is brutal mind-bending gore inside of a historical novel! There was a delicate grace in my readings of Citadel by ?. I am not finding the same to be true of M.J. Rose as it is reading more like a horror centered novel than a historical!? I am most confused! As this reminds of how much I appreciate Anne Rice’s research and dedication to writing her novels but at the very same time, cannot find the heart of  mind to read the novels which have enchanted readers for decades! :(

After my library run,…

I decided that it was time to give The Book of Lost Fragrances a bit of a go, as what did I have to lose at this point in time!? From page 1 to page 34 I was literally entwined with the story, the characters, and this tingling nudge towards following one’s heart and nose through a story which was written with a passion for the past and the history of perfumery! :) I was greatly entranced by the Egyptology focus, as much as how a person can have a gift in ? ask Mum the word! ? that not only gives them a field to work in but a gift that takes on a path their life must travel. I loved being consumed by the crushing grief of Jac as she starts to reconcile her sorrow against the fact she does not want to admit that she’s gifted with the ability to see past death and visit with her Mum between the veils. I loved the atmosphere shifting between the tombs Napoleon Bonaparte was attempting to plunder in his quest for conquest, as much I appreciated the Gothic Literature undertones I have always enjoyed reading. This had the etchings of historical suspense, and I felt my spirits starting to soar a bit! The fact that I could reach page 34 and not find one thing wrong except for the fact my dear eyes could not drink in the narrative fast enough was a marker of improvement!

In Chain of Mercy, I found myself captivated and compelled to read Richard Brook’s story simply because he is a broken man in his spirit who needs not only a boost of encouragement but he needs to re-affirm his acceptance of understanding his own humanity. He’s at a cross-roads in his life where he needs to not only determine the course he wants his future to be set upon but in which method he wishes to arrive into that future. I love the fact that his character is not only flawed, but he is genuinely going through a lift shift that takes patience, perservance, time, and the ability to truly look in the mirror seeing your faults and knowing you can overcome them. And, to me that is a very compelling story to engage yourself and find the pages cannot be turnt fast enough!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Contemporary & More (#36) by padfootandprongs07

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Post Six: of

Bout of Books Readathon

{SOURCE: Bout of Books Badge created by Jorie in Canva to give readers & visitors who come to her blog a way to know of  its existence and therefore increasing the mystery & lore surrounding it! The booktuber video “Contemporary & More (#36) via Padfootandprongs07 had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share a random joy discovery during Bout of Books. Tweets embedded due to codes provided by Twitter.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Friday, 16 May, 2014 by jorielov in #10MinuteWriters, #K8chat, #StoryDam, 10 Bookish (& Not-So-Bookish Thoughts), Blogs I Regularly Read, Booking Through Thursday, Bookish Films, Booktuber : Bookish & Geeky Readers, Bout of Books, Brenda S. Anderson's Blog, Coming-Of Age, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Literature for Boys, RALs | Thons via Blogs, Readerly Musings, School Life & Situations, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Young Adult Fiction