Category: Wilderness Adventures

#HistoricalMondays | Book Review | “The Gift of the Seer” [long awaited sequel to “The Spirit Keeper” (2013)] by K.B. Laugheed

Posted Monday, 11 February, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#HistoricalMondays blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

I am launching a new weekly featured concentration of book reviews on Jorie Loves A Story which celebrates my love and passion for the historical past! For those of whom are regular readers and visitors to my blog, you’ll denote a dedicated passion for reading Historical Fiction (and all the lovely segues of thematic therein) – I am a time traveller of the historical past every chance I get to disappear into a new era and/or century of exploration. There isn’t a time period I haven’t enjoyed ruminating over since [2013] and there are a heap of lovely timescapes I’ve yet to encounter.

This feature was inspired by the stories I’ve read, the stories I’ve yet to experience and the beauty of feeling interconnected to History through the representation of the past through the narratives being writ by today’s Historical Fiction authors. It is to those authors I owe a debt of gratitude for enlightening my bookish mind and my readerly heart with realistic characters, illuminating portals of living history and a purposeful intent on giving each of us a strong representation of ‘life’ which should never become dismissed, forgotten or erased.

I am beginning this feature with the sequel to a beloved historical novel I first read in [2013] – it was one of the first ARCs I received and it was the first year I was a book blogger though it was through a connection outside my life as a blogger. I am celebrating K.B. Laugheed’s literature to kick-off this feature and hopefully will inspire my followers to take this new weekly journey with me into the stories which are beckoning to read their narrative depths and find the words in which to express the thoughts I experienced as I read.

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Acquired Book By: In [2013] I was still participating in the Early Reviewer programme via Book Browse wherein I received an ARC for “The Spirit Keeper” – a new Historical Fiction narrative which sought to break boundaries of its genre and which captured me heart and soul as I read it. It was an emotionally gutting read, a historical reckoning of a story and it left me ruminatively curious about what the ‘next’ chapter of this extraordinary character’s life would be in the sequel. 

I decided to write an expanded review on my blog for my own edification after having contributed my Early Reviewer review to Book Browse – it was one of the few times I was able to do this even though there are a few other ARCs I received from Book Browse I’d like to still blog about in the near future which fittingly have more to be said on their behalf from my readerly experience.

Likewise, I also reached out to the author directly shortly after I posted my review in September of 2013; remember dear hearts, I launched my blog live on the 6th of August, 2013 – so this expanded review became one of the first officially celebrated novels of Jorie Loves A Story in the beginning of finding my writerly voice and my bookish presence in the book blogosphere. It pre-dated hosting blog tours and working with publishers, publicists and authors directly.

Although I remained in contact with the author a bit over the years – simply checking the status on the sequel or offering encouraging thoughts on writing it – I don’t consider this a conflict of interest as to be honest, it was not constant contact and we weren’t in contact on a regular basis nor did we touch base each year since 2013.

When I received an email from Ms Laugheed this past December, 2018 – to say I was pleasantly gobsmacked to have heard from her after a long absence of communication is putting it mildly! I was overjoyed – more for her than for me – as she was announcing the sequel was being published! She decided at long last to go the Indie route towards  publication and I was full of joy and happiness for her as this was a very long and dedicated route back to publishing a sequel I believed in as a reader (and there are others like me out there) but of which I wasn’t sure if any of us would get a chance to embrace it in published form.

Thereby, I did not hesitate to respond to her request to accept this new novel for review consideration – the only thing which delayed my entrance into its chapters was my five week Winter virus (from before Christmas to the early weeks of January, 2019) and my three successive migraines (from mid-January to early February). I read this immediately after recovering from my third migraine and was thrilled I could finally attach my mind and heart round the continuing journey of Katie and Hector!

I received a complimentary copy of “The Gift of the Seer” by the author K.B. Laugheed in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Re-visiting “The Spirit Keeper”

My original motivation to read the novel: I wanted to partake in her journey untoward becoming one man’s living vision of ‘a creature of fire and ice’ and to see if they could fulfill each other’s destinies therein. It is such a curious proposition, to be taken by force from one’s own family, and re-positioned into a life, by which, you’re in complete unfamiliar territory, amongst people who speak a different tongue than your own, and by your own wits, have to determine how to survive. I was curious by how she was going to effectively change her life and heart; and to what end she must do so! This felt to me like a piece of Magical Realism wrapped up inside a Historical Fiction, rooted into the conscience of the American Frontier! I was besotted with the plot, and needed to read it to ascertain what the story truly was about! The Spirit Keeper spoke to me, as a book I needed to read rather than merely a book I wanted to read! I listen to my intuition in other words!

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Ms Laugheed advised me to re-read “The Spirit Keeper” ahead of reading “The Gift of the Seer” – what I hadn’t the heart to tell her is my copy of the novel is packed as most of my personal library has been packed for the last four years. I couldn’t sort out which box it is held within if I had a compass as I literally have quite the expansive library being stored right now. This is one key reason why I can’t always re-read the novels I’m reviewing – as I only have a handful of books I’ve reviewed the past few years unpacked and shelved – most of which, are first or seconds in series, awaiting new releases to where I can turn back to and re-read a bit ahead of delving into the next installment. I did have The Spirit Keeper prominently shelved for quite a few years after it was released – it was only recently I had to make the hard choice to pack it away for safe keeping til I can restore my library back to rights.

Therefore, I did what any other book blogger would do in this situation – I borrowed a well-loved copy from my local library and as I re-entered the story, I was quite shocked by what I discovered! I hadn’t forgotten as much as I was expecting, too! I re-read the opening bridge of the novel – re-visiting how Katie was taken from her family, the traumatic transitioning into life with the Spirit Keeper and Hector as much as re-aligning in my mind the era this series is set and the mannerisms of how the story is told. As Ms Laugheed has a very distinctive style of historical story-telling; it is one reason I was hugged so dearly close into the story originally.

Secondly, as I noticed a lot of readerly flashbacks moving through my mind’s eye after that particular re-visitation – I immediately flipped to the last quarter of the novel, resumed as if I hadn’t been absent from this story for :six: long years and re-lived the concluding chapters, as fresh as dew on recently mowed grass. I seriously was re-captured by what was left behind for my eyes and heart to find – thereby, I knew with certainty I was prepared as I ever could be to re-enter Katie and Hector’s world.

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For those of you who might never have had the pleasure of joy reading this novel, let me select a few quotations from my original review – both from what I shared with Book Browse after first reading the ARC and what I expounded upon on Jorie Loves A Story thereafter.

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The inertia of reality that besots you as soon as you enter into the world of The Spirit Keeper, is quite a hard bullet to bite, because before you can wrap your eyes and heart around what your visually aware of, your niched into the story! I credit this to the author, as Laugheed endeavours you to jump straight out of your comfort zone, wholly free-falling into a brutal, raw, and untamed section of the American Frontier in the mid-1700s and take a quest towards unraveling the complexities of building a new life in a foreign land. The thematics that are entrenched in the story parlay an exposition on language, translation, and sense of being. She readily elevates our awareness that our words can draw an impact that is not always aware to us, but like the life paths we are walking, we are not always in charge of their meaning or purpose of use.

I will lament, that if you’re a reader who begs off for lighter faire, you might want to caution yourself, as within Chapter One, the author does not hold back on the grim realities of what it was like in the 1700s when an Indian War Party descended upon a settler’s family.

The beauty of the outside world envelopes you from the jump-start, as the open wilderness is the footing for setting this story outside the reach of our known world. Even for those of us who are akin to the natural environment and the inhabitants therein, there is still so much of that world that is readily just outside our scope, outside our understanding. The Native Americans who are on the forefront of the story, evoke a cultural education into accepting stark differences of living, as much as embracing traditions that hold merit  (such as the menstrual huts for women).

Flickerments of “Medicine Man” (the motion picture) streamed through my mind, as did “Dances with Wolves” (the motion picture), as in each story, those who only spoke English, learnt to adapt and to live amongst the natives by which they found themselves belonging too better than their own kind. I am drawn into stories that attach us to whole new cultures, traditions, religions, and walks of life. Stories that etch into our imaginations a wholly new world, where there are similarities, but otherwise, as we dip into their narratives, we find ourselves in a foreign land, attempting to understand what we cannot yet conceive possible.

An incredible journey of self-preservation, fortitude of spirit, and overwhelming grief: I was not quite prepared for the journey that Katie, Syawa, and Hector embark upon! It wasn’t so much the long distances that they must traverse through rough hewn terrain, but rather, they are each going through a personal, intimate, internal journey concurrent to their outward journey towards the men’s originating homeland! Each is carrying secrets of their own experiences, and in Katie’s instance, her life is muddled and blighted with far more devastation than anyone could ill-afford possible to a seventeen year old young lady!

Her lot in life has been tempered by abuse and misguided notions of love, unto where she has encouraged a naĂŻve sense of the living world, and has grown an ignorance of how right a life can be lived! I grieved for her and bleed emotions with her recollections of past memories,.. memories that were nearly too hard to bare and to ruminatively lay pause upon. It is through Syawa’s gentleness and effective way of easing her out of her shell, that she truly started to see who she was and who she could be. I only wish I could pronounce Syawa’s name, as I feel as guilty she does in her own story, about the misunderstandings that evolve out of not understanding language and meaning of words, phrases, or names outside our own native tongues!

Language & Translation: the Invisible Barriers we never foresee: Laugheed paints a clear window towards our greatest struggle in accepting and understanding each other, as we present ourselves to each other in our conversations! Each inflection of tone, voice, and the words we use to explain ourselves, can lead us down a path of misunderstanding and of misalignment in what we are attempting to represent as our thoughts, hopes, dreams, and passions. Throughout the story, we are seeing the story as a first-hand account of a diary the protagonist is writing to assert her own history back in her life, as she’s amongst those who do not understand the necessity of having a living history or a story to be told of one’s heritage. She values her experiences, her struggles of faith, and the lessons she is ought being taught as she walks forward into her future. She hasn’t had the easiest of lives, but she isn’t going to allow herself to wallow in the situations she could never effectively change, but rather, pull out a strength deep from within her, to carry her through the tribulations that she was certain were still to come.

Whilst she’s (Katie O’ Toole) recounting her days in her diary, I mused about how this differed from the diary of Robinson Crusoe as it contained more of her essence, her internal quagmire of thoughts, and the irrevocable distraught by which she plagued herself with for most of her arduous journey towards Syawa and Hector’s homeland. From the moment I read the opening page, by which the author departed a precognitive knowledge of how the story might transform as you read the words, I was left with a museful pre-occupation of how that would transpire, and further still, of one particular scene that I had presumed was forgotten within the re-writes and draughts, leading up to publication! However, this falls perfectly into this category of observation about ‘language and translation’, about how what we first perceive to be just and truth, can altogether change and alter, either by the different perception we’ve learnt through experience OR through reading a book that is quite unlike another! This book truly lives up to the proportions of what Laugheed mentions at the start gate: the words transcend their own meaning as you etch closer to the ending, the whole of the story is much larger than the sum of the parts as they are revealed!

In this way,  she is giving each of us to turn on our heels, the gross misconception of how we drink in words, knowledge, and observational data. The reader is very much at the heart of this story, and I think, is as central as Katie’s voice in re-telling her own history. What is humbling too, is how as our knowledge expands, the words that were once lost on us, as being completely irreverent suddenly take on new meanings, as they now evoke an ’emotion’, a ‘resolution’, or a ‘truth’ we did not understand previously. An Irish girl cast out into the wilderness of the wild frontier, with two Indian’s as her sole guides and protectors, makes for a curious precept initially, but it’s how they interact with each other, during the everyday hours, that Laugheed excels in not disappointing her reader! She never makes their interactions dull or predictable, because she has woven their personalities into the core of how they interact with each other! You pick up little character traits that come to play a larger part of the story as it threads through its climax, but inside these key portals of frontier life in campsites and canoes, you start to see how its possible to thread a new life together out of the ashes of the old! In this way, I was quietly savouring each exchange between the threesome, curious how they would come to depend on each other, and how they would draw strength by each others’ presence.

The art of story-telling plays a center part of The Spirit Keeper’s heart, but it’s the transformative power of understanding the words that are imparted throughout the story, that turn everything into a new light once the conclusion arrives. What the reader first mistook as a course of events, was truly a resounding precognitive journey that guided two characters forward into a future they would not have been strong enough to embrace otherwise. It’s the redemptive nature of grasping a hold of the essence of those who pass forward and away from our living world that is truly the most remarkable arc of the story! For we all have the ability to be a keeper of a spirit whose touched us deeply and left us remorseful for their presence! We only need the strength to transcend our perception and view our experiences from a different angle to see how the threads stitch together the pattern of our living tapestry!

An environmental conscience: Is cleverly hidden within the context of the story, but is one of the inclusions that I found to be the most illuminating to see!! I oft have found myself the most happiest amongst the trees, rivers, lakes, streams, and out-of-door hideaways that only a person can walk to find! Nature’s door is ever beckoning us to re-enter that sacred space between the natural world and the world by which we live as men. We are drawn towards nature as keenly as we are attached to water as a source of lifeblood, but it isn’t always an easy attachment to maintain, when the hectic nature of our lifestyles can circumvent our efforts to keep our hearts and souls aligned with the seasons and timescape of the natural world just past our windows! Laugheed draws a breath of vitality into the forest, where you can nearly hear the echoings of the trees, the rushing power of the rivers, and the harmonious tickings of the inhabitants therein. I appreciated that the animals that were killed in the book were used for what they could give back to the ones who fell them. I always respected this aspect of Native American beliefs, as they take what they need and only what they can use, at the time they go hunting. It’s a beautiful circle of life, as nothing is wasted and everything is respected. She wants you to see the beauty past what you expect to find whilst out in the deep woods, as the forest plays a fourth character or rather, that of a narrator that has not yet found its voice.

-quoted from my review of The Spirit Keeper

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#HistoricalMondays | Book Review | “The Gift of the Seer” [long awaited sequel to “The Spirit Keeper” (2013)] by K.B. LaugheedThe Gift of the Seer
by K.B. Laugheed
Source: Direct from Author

Katie O' Toole's epic adventure began in "The Spirit Keeper" (Plume 2013) when she was rescued from a 1747 frontier massacre only to find herself chosen as the "Spirit Keeper" of a dying Indian seer. She hesitated to accept this mysterious obligation until she fell in love with the Seer's bodyguard, an Indian man she called Hector.

Much has happened since my last writing,..

In The Gift of the Seer, Katie and Hector continue their journey across the continent, but the more Katie learns about the peculiar ways of her husband's people, the more she dreads arriving at their destination. Will anyone believe she is the Spirit Keeper she pretends to be? Equally troubling, Katie knows the Seer expected her to prove his Vision - a Vision which foretold of infinite Invaders coming to his world - but to prove this prophecy, she must give his people the great Gift he also predicted. The only problem is that Katie has no gift to give.

Years pass as she desperately searches for a way to fulfill her promise to the dead Seer, but when his former rival threatens to expose her as a fraud, Katie finally understands that her life and the life of all the people in her new world hang in the balance. That's when she knows she must give a Gift - she must - before it is too late.

Did you honestly think you could get so much and give nothing in return?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1732886216

Genres: Feminist Historical Fiction, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Literary Fiction, Magical Realism, Native American Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Women's Studies


Published by Self Published Author

on 7th January, 2019

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 372

the spirit keeper duology:

The Spirit keeper & the gift of the seer

This is a Self-Published novel

Available Formats: Hardback, Paperback and Ebook

Converse on Twitter: #GiftOfTheSeer, #TheSpiritKeeper Sequel + #KBLaugheed
as well as #HistNov + #HistoricalFiction or #HistFic

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About K.B. Laugheed

The Gift of the Seer by K.B. Laugheed

K.B. Laugheed is an organic gardener and master naturalist who wrote her first published novel, The Spirit Keeper, as part penance for the sins of her family’s pioneer past, part tribute to all our ancestors, and part grandiose delusion as she hopes to remind modern Americans of the grim price we paid for the glorious life we take for granted today.

But The Spirit Keeper is not a story about guilt. It’s about gratitude.

The Gift of the Seer is officially available worldwide as it was published on the 7th of January, 2019.

To support the author directly, kindly consider purchasing her novels through her online store.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 11 February, 2019 by jorielov in #HistoricalMondays, #JorieLovesIndies, 18th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Browse, Book Review (non-blog tour), Brothers and Sisters, Bullies and the Bullied, Colonial America, Coming-Of Age, Content Note, Cultural & Religious Traditions, Cultural Heritage, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Diary Accountment of Life, Domestic Violence, Early Colonial America, Environmental Conscience, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, First Impressions, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Folklore, Genre-bender, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, History, Horror-Lite, Indie Author, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, Life Shift, Literary Fiction, Loss of an unbourne child, Magical Realism, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Midwives & Childbirth, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Multicultural Marriages & Families, Native American Fiction, Native American Spirituality, Old World Arts & Crafts, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Prejudicial Bullying & Non-Tolerance, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Psychological Abuse, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Self-Published Author, Siblings, Sisterhood friendships, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Social Change, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Story in Diary-Style Format, Superstitions & Old World Beliefs, Taboo Relationships & Romance, Terminal Illness &/or Cancer, The American Frontier, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Unexpected Pregnancy, Vulgarity in Literature, Wilderness Adventures, Women's Health

Blog Book Tour | “Courting Carrie in Wonderland” by Carla Kelly

Posted Sunday, 26 March, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review Banner using Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna

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 “Courting Carrie in Wonderland” 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.

Why I personally love soaking inside a Carla Kelly Historical:

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.

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.

-quoted from my first reading of a Carla Kelly novel in 2014 on behalf of ‘Softly Falling’

And, I had the pleasure of reading a second novel by her in 2015:

She has such a wicked clever wit about her dialogue and the conversational exchanges she induces her characters to evolve inside, I find myself happily immersed in her novels post haste! As reflected when I had read Softly Falling I fell so close to the lead characters, I had not begged to exit the story anytime soon! She draws you in with her command of setting and timescape; as this story Summer Campaign held within it all the ferocity of a Jane Austen novel set around the period of time in a young woman’s life where she has become the object of marriageable age.

-quoted from my reading of ‘Summer Campaign’

You can see why I was excited about the prospect of reading a ‘third’ Carla Kelly novel! There have been a few of her novels which have toured which I passed over reading – either the story-line was outside my comfort zone (ie. The Civil War era) or I simply did not have the free time I wished I could have had to consume it. One thing is for certain, I will be spending many a moon in the future seeking out her titles and enjoying the journey I take into her collective works! For awhile now, I have simply felt blessed and overjoyed in finding a few of her novels have been available to review on blog tours! It’s become such a delightful way to be ‘introduced’ to her characters and the different periods of the historic past she loves to write about!

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Blog Book Tour | “Courting Carrie in Wonderland” by Carla KellyCourting Carrie in Wonderland
Subtitle: Is Kissing Against Army Regulations?
by Carla Kelly
Source: Direct from Publisher

Mercy, he was a fool for this woman. Why on earth had Major Pitcher told him to look for a wife? This was more trouble and heartache than he needed right now since his affairs had suddenly turned south.

Struggling through college and balancing her summer job with the Wylie Camping Company, Carrie simply doesn't have time to consider romance. War veteran Sergeant Major Ramsay Stiles isn't looking for love either because of his own complicated job. But as the magic of Yellowstone Park makes its way into their hearts, both see love making its way up their priority lists.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781462118724

Also by this author: Softly Falling, Summer Campaign, A Season of Love

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 1st March, 2017

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 391

Published By: Sweetwater Books (@SweetwaterBooks),

an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFortBooks)
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse on Twitter via: #CarlaKelly

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

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Posted Sunday, 26 March, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Historical Fiction, Horse Drama & Fiction, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Life of Thirty-Somethings, Military Fiction, Nature & Wildlife, Old West Americana, PTSD, Singletons & Commitment, The Natural World, the Nineteen Hundreds, Walking & Hiking Trails, Western Fiction, Wilderness Adventures, Wyoming

Blog Book Tour | “Becoming George Washington” by Stephen Yoch

Posted Friday, 1 January, 2016 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

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 the “Becoming George Washington” virtual book tour through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of “Becoming George Washington” direct from the author Stephen Yoch, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Interest in reading:

I garnished an appreciation for the Revolutionary War era from my Mum, who is a passionate researcher and reader about the Adams: John and Abigail along with Mr Adams friendship with Thomas Jefferson. They were a unique couple during those turbulent times, and as my Mum’s affection for them grew, so too did my own interest in the era as a whole. When I was younger, History was one of my most favourite subjects in school (shocking, eh? you were thinking I’d say ‘English’ but you would be grossly mistaken!) as I definitely loved watching ‘history’ come to life through the stories of the people who lived lives during historical eras of prime importance and of lesser known generations of whom impacted us just as deeply or gravely, depending on the circumstances.

If you were to credit me with a deep admiration for Science and the multitude of ‘ologies’ I fancy to explore in the scientific realms – you’d be equally cheerful to learn that I have a wicked heart for the historical past, and why it took me three decades of my life to unearth that ‘historical fiction and biographical historical fiction’ are my two primary interests to read is quite unnerving to say the least! Mind you, science fiction and fantasy are a close second before Romance takes up the final third quadrant. I digress.

One of my intentions this New Year of 2016 is to purposely find mindful ways of re-organising my focuses on what I am devouring as to entertain a bit more thought to seeking out wicked good non-fiction and historical fiction (in equal portions) that ascertain a working knowledge of the Revolutionary War era or even (Early) Colonial America inasmuch as entreating inside more biographies which are set to a pace where I find them both drinkable and enjoyable to consume. At hand, when I first caught sight of this novel about Washington, I was most keen to read it, as Washington held an appeal when I was in 4th Grade having spent a year on Presidential History (some of which spilt out as I reviewed The Residence in 2015). I even have a miniature statue of Washington and Martha – as they were the first couple I was focusing on learning more about at that age.

I even remember watching an interesting tv movie called: The Crossing (1999) starring Jeff Daniels as Washington, as pertaining to the crossing of the Delaware River in December 1776. Equally to this, I caught portions of 1776 (1972) the musical on TCM (Turner Classic Movies) a handful of years ago over Fourth of July weekend, to where I would very much like to see it in full as soon as time allows. It was curious to see all of the historical persons I’ve come to know through my school years and my own independent readings outside of it in such a way as to purport the era in time by which they lived.

This particular novel takes us back to the young man Washington was prior to marriage and I was curious to learn more about him during that scope of time. Every man has a beginning to their lives, but in Washington’s case, everything prior to when he became the ‘first President’ is even more curious as how did a man define himself prior to taking office for a new ‘country’ emerging out of independence from the British Crown and right his sails well enough to take on the courage he would need to lead a fragile new era of American life?

I was very grateful the author enclosed a small and compact bookmark for this novel, as I used it once before as I read ‘Soda Springs’ (review) prior to residing inside his own. I had originally intended to read them earlier in the weeks proceeding my tour stops in December, but illness took me away from books and left me with only my curiosity of what I would find inside them. The blessing for me, is to have such a handy bookmark and to have a note from the author wishing me godspeed in my readings. A nice surprise for a book blogger and a nice extension of the readings.

Blog Book Tour | “Becoming George Washington” by Stephen YochBecoming George Washington
by Stephen Yoch
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

George Washington, action hero . . .

Long before Washington was the old man on the dollar bill, he was a fatherless boy with few resources and even less education. So how did he become the most famous person in American history?

Becoming George Washington tells the story of a young man with boundless energy, bravery, and passion, who grew from a fatherless boy into a self-confident leader. At the same time, he struggled to suppress both an awful temper and his love for a married woman, Sally Fairfax. A courageous war hero, Washington rose to the pinnacle of Virginia politics. His experiences as a young man allowed him, decades later, to lead the Revolution.

This compelling historical novel reveals the person behind the famous face and how he grew to become America’s leading Founding Father.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781940014524

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Presidential Life & History, War Drama


Published by Wise Ink Creative Publishing

on 1st September, 2015

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 382

Published By: Wise Ink Creative Publishing (@Wiseink)
Available Formats: Paperback & Ebook

About Stephen Yoch

Steve doesn’t golf or fish and is a below average hunter, but his love of history and writing compelled him to pick up his pen and tell the little-known stories behind the men that made American history. After years of extensive research, Steve wrote his first book on young George Washington.

Steve lives in a suburb north of St. Paul, Minnesota with his supportive wife and two fantastic teenage sons. He graduated with honors from Boston College and the University of Minnesota Law School. He has enjoyed over two decades of practicing law in the Twin Cities, helping individuals and businesses solve complex problems.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Friday, 1 January, 2016 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 18th Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, Coming-Of Age, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Early Colonial America, Equality In Literature, Fly in the Ointment, George Washington, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, History, Indie Author, Literature for Boys, Military Fiction, Mother-Son Relationships, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Passionate Researcher, Presidential Life & History, Revolutionary War Era, Revolutionary War era, Siblings, Vulgarity in Literature, War Drama, Wilderness Adventures

Book Review | “Digital Nature Photography” by John Shaw #BloggingForBooks

Posted Friday, 3 July, 2015 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I decided to join the “Blogging for Books” programme (on 9th July, 2014) which is a book for review programme created by the Crown Publishing Group. As a book blogger you are offered books in exchange for an honest review on your book blog as well as the ability to reach new readers when you cross-post your review to the Blogging for Books website. The benefit for the blogger is exposure as a reviewer as they put direct links back to your blog post on the book you select to review as well as your homepage.

I received a complimentary copy of “Digital Nature Photography” direct from the publisher Amphoto Books, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

I haven’t truly blogged about being a self-taught nature and wildlife photographer until now, as it was one of my side projects to thread into the life of Jorie Loves A Story! You might have started to notice I have been using the resources of Unsplash (a repository of Public Domain Stock Images) sprinkled throughout my blog (as I use their stock images to create my banners and badges) as well as on my Twitter accounts. I love supporting other creative economists and the fact they are giving book bloggers (all bloggers, truly!) a chance to find [free] quality photographs to be used in their own creative pursuits is quite a luxury in today’s world of copyright restrictions.

I started to find that I had a natural inclination to photograph the wildlife native to where I live when I was a young girl – as the shutterbug passion grabbed a hold of me at a young age. This is in part due to the encouragement of my maternal grandfather and my Mum; both of whom were photographers in their own right long before I ever held a camera in my own hands! I even would take disposable cameras with me to keepaway camp during the Summers; partially due to the tendency of being an active tomboy and needing a ‘sturdy’ camera that could keep up with me and partially due to the convenience of not needing to keep track of the rolls of 35mm film!

My first preference is still photography shooting with 35mm film, however, out of necessity I was gifted (by my Mum and Da) a digital Sony camera circa 2005; a camera which to this day, I still use as my mainstay! You’d be surprised what I can accomplish with this camera even though the memory cards are so much smaller nowadays and the only cards I can pick up for my model are the ‘hard to find’ variety! I use memory cards like we used to use negatives; I want to have a hard copy in lieu of only keeping digital back-up files. Most photographers shoot over their digital images but this is something I was advised not to do at the onset of my emergence into the digital realms; mostly because it can distort the images if your using it with such repetition to constantly re-write the same image thousands of times over. I opted to error on the side of caution as a personal preference.

When I saw John Shaw’s Guide to Digital Nature Photography I was hoping to use this book as a gateway step towards my pursuit of Digital SLR and Manual SLR cameras (the next generations of my own personal equipment) inasmuch as learning more about light, setting, timing, and juxtapositions. I haven’t had the pleasure of using my grandfather’s Nikon 35mm with the interchangeable lens but I am striving towards bridging a balance between my love of still and my newfound embrace of digital mediums.

Interesting to note, Mr Shaw believes how I believe when it comes to photography:
focus on what you see through the lens and the magic of what alights in your life, to capture something only you can see. Rather than to be solely focused on gear to the extent you forget the true art of photography is the person who captures the image.

Book Review | “Digital Nature Photography” by John Shaw #BloggingForBooksJohn Shaw's Guide to Digital Nature Photography
by John Shaw
Source: Publisher via Blogging for Books

Outdoor and travel photography legend John Shaw returns with his much-anticipated guide to digital nature photography, complete with more than 250 of his exceptional photographs. In his first-ever book on digital photography, Shaw provides in-depth advice on everything from equipment to subjects and software. This follow-up to John Shaw’s Nature Photography Field Guide includes lessons on such key topics as:

+ Advice on gear—from cameras to tripods and remotes, filters, and flashes
+ Composition—lighting, framing, and learning to see “photo-graphically”
+ An in-depth look at lenses—using zoom and telephoto, tilt-shift, and teleconverters
+ Using manual mode—the basics of f-stops, ISOs, and shutter speed
+ Proper exposure—mastering meters and the histogram
+ Close-ups—a special section on macro lenses and flashes
+ Best practices at work—in the field and in the digital dark room

In addition to detailed and practical lessons for every level of photography enthusiast, Shaw offers inspirational and candid insight into how to get that perfect shot—from having a vision to practicing and using the right equipment. With easily digestible information complemented by breathtaking photographs from around the world, John Shaw's Guide to Digital Nature Photography is sure to become a new classic.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Genres: Digital Photography, Wildife & Nature Photography


Published by Amphoto Books

on 17th March, 2015

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 250

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: Amphoto Books, (@crownpublishing)

(an imprint of Crown Publishing Group)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback & Ebook

Converse on Twitter via: #NaturePhotography & #DigitalPhotography + #BloggingForBooks

About John Shaw

John Shaw is the author of many enduring bestsellers, including seven previous books on nature photography.

His photographs are frequently featured in National Geographic, Nature's Best, National Wildlife, Outdoor Photographer, Natural History, Sierra, and Audubon magazines, as well as in calendars, books, and advertisements.

He has photographed on every continent, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, and Provence to Patagonia, and leads sold-out workshops around the globe.

Read More

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Posted Friday, 3 July, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Art, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Blogging for Books, Book | Novel Excerpt, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Non-Fiction, Photography, Scribd, Short Stories or Essays, Travel Narrative | Memoir, Vignettes of Real Life, Wilderness Adventures