Category: Singletons & Commitment

A St. Valentine’s Book Review | “After the Rain” (sequel to “The Last Summer”) by Brandy Bruce Returning to a series I discovered last Summer when I focused on reading more #INSPY and discovered a lovely new author in Ms Bruce!

Posted Thursday, 14 February, 2019 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I have been hosting blog tours with Cedar Fort Publishing and Media for several years now, wherein their new blog tour publicist (Ms Sydney Anderson) also runs her own publicity touring company: Singing Librarian Book Tours (or SLB Tours for short!). I happily joined her team of book bloggers as a hostess in late Spring, 2018 wherein my first tours with her as a hostess begin Summer, 2018. I appreciate reading INSPY literature and was happy to find these are most of the stories she is showcasing through SLB Tours! Most of her authors are published through Cedar Fort, though she does work with authors who are either Self-Published or Indie published through different publishers as well.

I received a complimentary ARC copy of “After the Rain” direct from the author Brandy Bruce in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Why I am enjoying reading the stories by Brandy Bruce
– especially within this series:

Quote from The Last Summer by Brandy Bruce provided by Singing Librarian Book Tours

These are the very first words we read within the pages of The Last Summer, which set the tone for the novel and for what your expecting to find inside the story. You immediately feel comfortable around Addison, Sam, Luke, Lily, Jason, Debra and Sara. I credit this directly to how Ms Bruce fused her heart into the story-line, as the opening bridge has such a strong visceral anchouring to it, it’s hard not to feel as if you’ve become part of this close-knit circle of friends yourself!

They have the kind of familial relationship you might have hoped to have sought out yourself, though in reality forging friendships like these is not as simple as it would seem. Anyone whose attempted to make a fresh start in a new community knows how hard it is to ‘break-in’ if there is a niche already established between friends’ who have known each other for years. In many ways, I was both thankful to see Sara embraced and slightly questioning how plausible it really would be for that to happen as by my own experiences, it is beyond rare. For the sake of the story, I decided to suspend reality and embrace the moment, as what Sara had stumbled into is something everyone hopes to find for themselves and for that reason alone, I was hooked into reading her story!

The realistic manner of feeling enveloped by the emotional anguish is fittingly honest – these kinds of relationships are murky on the outset, as there are no clear definitions on either side – especially if someone along the way chooses to realise their feelings have changed from idle friendship to romance – how is it best handled to explain that to the other person? The quagmire of course is sorting this out whilst realising the person of your affection has started to move on without you – choosing someone who isn’t you and where does that leave you in the end?

In the background of the story, as this hinges quite heavily on the lives of seven friends, is an interesting mother-daughter relationship. One which surprised me at first, as being that Sara is an only child, I thought I could relate to her a bit more than I did. For starters, I was a bit surprised by how she viewed her relationship with her parents but moreso, how she viewed her connection to her mother. In the end, the only thing I shared in common with Sara is the fact we’re onlys as nothing else related to my life except for that one fact. For Sara, she had issues realising how much alike she was to her mother (which reminded me of the relationship with my Aunt and my grandmother; two peas in a pod and yet they were at odds with each other all the time!) to the brink they both harboured certain secrets in their lives. For Sara, the hardest part for her to reconcile is the fact her mother didn’t like to share the bits of herself which would leave her vulnerable – she’d rather create this exterior barrier against the world which showed her greatest strengths rather than focused on her weaknesses. Sara would have benefited from those lessons – of how to rise out of the ashes of where life hurts us the most but for Sara’s mother, those were the moments she couldn’t easily find a way to re-share without re-opening the wounds which were now healed.

There is a wonderful ease of narrative within the Contemporary styling of Brandy Bruce – you can tell she’s spent a considerable amount of time discovering her characters – not just how they reflect on their lives but how they interact as a family unit. They come alive on paper as true as if they were standing next to you – each with their own quirks and faults, ready to be seen as they are and accepted as we find them. One of the things I love about her signature style is how she tucks us so comfortably into the lives of her characters – she lets us feel as if we’ve spent a few hours getting to know them either through a journal of their lives up to this point or had a conversation with someone who knows the seven as well as Ms Bruce. The conversational style is also keen, as it grants you easy access to better understand where each character is emotionally and on which crossroads of change each character is on the brink of either embracing or choosing to walk down.

Ms Bruce openly shows what it is like to have your emotions pulled straight out of you at a time in your life where you felt you had more worked out than how it appeared on the surface. She also pulls together the faith lives of her characters by organically showing how their faith is directly fused to how they live with a prayerful awareness during their living hours – either through reflective pause, active prayer or a mindfulness of the lessons they grew up knowing as believers which still to this moment in their lives plays a special part in keeping them grounded.

I truly appreciate how Ms Bruce has curated a style for writing realistic Contemporary INSPY which is emotionally centred on uncovering the secrets we try to keep from ourselves, the humbled realities of living through prayer and the emotional upheaval of owning your own truth whilst walking with the realisation not every heart can fully embrace a love which is not reciprocated. There is a lot of real life stitched into this novel – from the highs and lows of feeling loved to the wandering path of friendship and the heartstone connections of family.

-quoted from my review of The Last Summer

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A St. Valentine’s Book Review | “After the Rain” (sequel to “The Last Summer”) by Brandy Bruce Returning to a series I discovered last Summer when I focused on reading more #INSPY and discovered a lovely new author in Ms Bruce!After the Rain
by Brandy Bruce
Source: Direct from Author via SLB Tours

Debra Hart is moving on. Maybe. Hopefully. One day.

As a radio show host, Debra spends her mornings as Miss Lonely Heart on air, empathizing with all the broken hearts in the Denver metro area. She spends her evenings watching old musicals and trying not to think about the guy who broke up with her and subsequently fell in love with one of her best friends. Alone in a new city, Debra questions where she belongs and who she is now.

When she stumbles into the indie music scene, Debra meets singer Ben Price. Rock star appeal, with a day job as a worship pastor, Ben is everything Debra wants to avoid. But he’s determined to be her friend, and it so happens she could really use one. Because try as she might, nothing seems to erase the anger and betrayal she feels.

It’s time for a new dream. But how does she start over when she doesn’t even know what she wants anymore?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781946016737

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

Also in this series: The Last Summer


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


Published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

on 4th February, 2019

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 232

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

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

The Last Summer series:

The Last Summer by Brandy BruceAfter the Rain by Brandy Bruce

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

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

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Converse via: #INSPY #WomensFiction & #AfterTheRain + #BlingRomance

About Brandy Bruce

Brandy Bruce

Brandy Bruce is a mom, a wife, a book editor, an author, and someone who really loves dessert. She’s the author of the award-winning novel The Last Summer, Looks Like Love, and The Romano Family Collection. Brandy, her husband, and their children make their home in Colorado.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 14 February, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Contemporary Romance, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Mental Health, Modern Day, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Singing Librarian Book Tours, Singletons & Commitment, Sweet Romance, Women's Fiction

Book Blitz with Notes and Extras | “Twelve Months of Awkward” by Lisa Acerbo a new Digital First Contemporary Romantic Suspense which caught my eye!

Posted Monday, 3 September, 2018 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Books in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I have an announcement – I decided to start hosting for Xpresso Book Tours for showcasing new books which interest me to be #amreading, such as this spotlight blitz post and/or hosting guest features for authors on behalf of the stories I want to be reading! They mostly feature digital releases on their blog tours, which is why I am not expecting to be hosting review tours for them but I do like to find new Indie published authors and from what I can gather from their list of tours, they have the tendency of featuring quite a lovely variety of Indie writers!

As you know, my search for new Contemporary authors has had its fair share of ups and downs over the past few years, yet when I first read the premise behind this one it felt like it stepped out a bit from what I would usually expect to find inside a Contemporary plot. Especially since this is a story which is anchoured to someone who is trying to not just overcome a particular moment of their life but to find distance and peace from it as well.

Romantic Suspense threads of intrigue are becoming my jam lately – as you well know, I am over the moon in *love!* with #LoveInspired Suspense novels – each of those lovelies is a #RomSusp knitted taut and tight out of high emotions, dramatic passageways and the eclipse of a Thriller you are never fully sure if your prepared to handle but you *keep turning the pages!* all the same! Meanwhile, outside of my INSPY readings – I still love to see out these sorts of stories on the mainstream side of the ledger!

What set this particular book apart in my mind is the fact it’s #NewAdult – a tricky category of interest for me as I rarely if ever find an NA I can soak into and find myself enthused. Ms Acerbo held my attention in the extracts provided on this Blitz tour and that in of itself was a happy surprise! I am truly hopeful as I ever am this Digital First will one day be released into print or audio – thereby allowing me to read it.

What do you currently find yourself drawn into when it comes to Rom Suspense plot threads & especially when it comes to New Adult!? What are you personally seeking when you try to find stories which fit inside these particular categories of interest!?

As an aside, when I first saw the publisher was ‘Torrid’ – it brought back fond memories of a clothing store heralding the same name – you know, from the 90s and early 2000s before it was ‘altered’ out of its funkified state of loveliness to be just another ‘lemming’ of bland!?

Book Blitz with Notes and Extras | “Twelve Months of Awkward” by Lisa Acerbo a new Digital First Contemporary Romantic Suspense which caught my eye!Twelve Months of Awkward Moments
by Lisa Acerbo

Dani can’t wait for senior year at college. A straight-A scholar whose anxiety is a daily struggle, being awkward, introverted, and studious has become a way of life. She vows this year will be different. It’s time to move beyond her comfort zone, but that’s not easy.

Dani’s wild roommate and handsome best friend hate each other; her crazy family won’t leave her alone; and a new job forces her to be social. Unfortunately, when college romance finally calls, Dani is unable to answer thanks to a stalker who has her all tied up.

Can she stay alive long enough to find love and graduate?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781682992937

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense


on 30th August, 2018

Format: eBook

Published By: Torrid Books (@torridbooks)

Available Formats: this is a Digital First release into ebook

*I am hoping this goes into print or POD eventually so I can read it!

Converse on Twitter via: #Contemporary #RomSusp

About Lisa Acerbo

Lisa Acerbo

Lisa Acerbo is a high school teacher and adjunct instructor at a local community college. Her previous novels have been published through a variety of indie presses. She has a short story “Carnivorous” coming out in October as part of an anthology titled Carnival of Nightmares. When not writing or teaching, she spends time with her family, friends and pets. She also fosters dogs to help them find their forever homes.

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Posted Monday, 3 September, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, College & University Years, Coming-Of Age, Contemporary Romance, Domestic Violence, Indie Author, Modern Day, New Adult Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Singletons & Commitment, Upper YA Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “The Last Summer” by Brandy Bruce A Contemporary Realistic INSPY story which takes you through the emotional tides of finding yourself and your faith in the darker days of your life.

Posted Monday, 16 July, 2018 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I have been hosting blog tours with Cedar Fort Publishing and Media for several years now, wherein their new blog tour publicist (Ms Sydney Anderson) also runs her own publicity touring company: Singing Librarian Book Tours (or SLB Tours for short!). I happily joined her team of book bloggers as a hostess in late Spring, 2018 wherein my first tours with her as a hostess begin Summer, 2018. I appreciate reading INSPY literature and was happy to find these are most of the stories she is showcasing through SLB Tours! Most of her authors are published through Cedar Fort, though she does work with authors who are either Self-Published or Indie published through different publishers as well.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Last Summer” direct from the author Brandy Bruce in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Why ‘The Last Summer’ appealed to me to read this Summer:

I’ve been keenly interested in seeking out more Contemporary INSPY novelists, especially since I realised how much I appreciate reading the collective works of Brenda S. Anderson and Kellie Coates Gilbert – it would be nice to keep expanding my list of #mustread INSPY novelists who have a passion for writing the kinds of stories I am most interested in seeking out to read! This is how I came to find The Last Summer – as it was one of the last novels going on tour before SLB Tours took their hiatus ahead of the Autumn.

As I was reading about the premise, something ‘clicked’ and it seemed like the kind of novel you’d want to read in the height of Summer! Not to mention the fact, since it’s Southern Contemporary Lit, I could appreciate it a bit more as this is one of my niche of preferred interest when it comes to where a Contemporary story can be set! From the Carolinas to Texas, I am definitely a girl who appreciates the Southern hemisphere in Contemporary stories! It started with Sheryl Woods and grew from there – as the Sweet Magnolias were quite the close-knit bunch themselves!

I appreciate finding stories about how friends live their lives together – similar to why I appreciated the long-running tv serial: Friends which was an institution whilst I was in high school! The irony of course is I’m now the age of most of the ‘friends’ on that series as I’m about to exit my thirties and exchange them for my forties! Who knew!?

Today’s INSPY market is full of changes – new publishers are focusing on giving authors more chances to tell their stories and the writers themselves are giving all of us more to chew on than what traditionally we might find in an INSPY novel, too! I find it a wicked good time to be reading as an INSPY reader, as you get a hearty array of realistic story-lines from strong voices who are curating a new wave of where INSPY can take us all. This is partially why I was excited about participating in the #SummerReading challenge for July, as it helped me re-align my intentions of reading more INSPY stories!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “The Last Summer” by Brandy Bruce A Contemporary Realistic INSPY story which takes you through the emotional tides of finding yourself and your faith in the darker days of your life.The Last Summer
by Brandy Bruce
Source: Direct from Author via SLB Tours

For twenty-something Sara Witherspoon and her group of friends, a perfect Southern summer includes lake-house getaways wedding planning, outdoor concerts, and a dash of romance. But for these seven friends who love each other like family, this year, summer rolls in with changes for everyone.

Sara's longtime crush, Luke, has been her best friend for as long as she has been a part of the group. When Luke begins seriously dating another of their friends, Sara's forced to deal with her hurt and jealousy, while outwardly try to support them both.

While Sara comes to terms with her own heart and her friends' relationships, an unexpected handsome pilot from North Carolina and an old flame are thrown into the mix. Knowing her heart suddenly becomes much more complicated.

But as time unfolds and friendships begin to unravel, Sara and the others are presented with the reality of what a season of change does to old friendships and new love interests.

Does growing older mean growing apart?

The Last Summer by Brandy Bruce,
published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.
Used by permission.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781946016195

Also by this author: Cover Reveal: After the Rain, After the Rain

Also in this series: After the Rain


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


Published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

on 7th June, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 234

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

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Converse via: #INSPY #WomensFiction & #SummerReads + #TheLastSummer_novel

About Brandy Bruce

Brandy Bruce

Brandy Bruce is a mom, a wife, a book editor, an author, and someone who really loves dessert. She’s the author of the award-winning novel The Last Summer, Looks Like Love, and The Romano Family Collection. Brandy, her husband, and their children make their home in Colorado.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Read More

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Posted Monday, 16 July, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Coming-Of Age, Contemporary Romance, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Modern Day, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Singing Librarian Book Tours, Singletons & Commitment, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Star-Crossed Lovers, Sweet Romance, Texas, Women's Fiction