Acquired Book By: I have always appreciated the authors who find my bookish ruminations and find my blog a refreshing visit whilst journeying through the book blogosphere. Especially if they take a moment to read and review my Review Policy and find that I might be a good fit as a reader for one of their stories or series. Imagine the joy I had when Ms Nelson contacted me about her new Love Inspired Historical release as one of my top favourite Love Inspired stories have always been the Historical and Suspense lines moreso than the Contemporary, though I still read Love Inspired Contemporary as well just not as often as the other two categories. Though technically the Suspense line is set in our Contemporary world.
I received a complimentary copy of “An Unlikely Duchess” direct from author Jessica Nelson in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Why I love reading Love Inspired Historicals:
My appreciation for Love Inspired has been developing over the years as I originally preferred reading the stories by Heartsong Presents alongside my Mum who nudged me to give those delightful little books a chance to win over my heart; and they surely did! When Heartsong went through a few mergers/changes and was finally dissolved by its current publisher (a very sombering day of news!) Mum and I shifted our focus into Love Inspired. Some of the same authors were featured by both publishers/imprints, too. It was there we started to read all three imprints of Love Inspired: Contemporary, Historical & Suspense.
Initially of course, our hearts settled into two different imprints: for me, the Historicals won me over the most and for Mum the Contemporaries. However, then, Love Inspired shifted away from publishing Historical Romances with an INSPY thematic and choose to strictly focus on Contemporary Romance and Romantic Suspense (ie. Suspense). Ergo, we shifted again and strictly read more of their Suspense line than the other two but still tried to gather the Historicals whenever a) they were available, b) able to be found second hand or c) awaited for new releases or reprints of older stories.
Imagine my lovely surprise finding out their releasing some new titles this New Year, 2022 for a select period of time and giving those of us who LOVE their Historicals a chance to ‘meet’ new authors and tuck into #HistRoms like we loved doing in the past by this lovely imprint.
As a reader, what drew me the most into the Historicals themselves were the gently told stories with an uplift resolution at the end of the story. I love reading INSPY Fiction and when it comes to Historical Romances – I love the dramas of life and the emotional journeys characters take in their lives but sometimes, reading a gentler told story of romance is just my cuppa and I am so dearly thankful there are a few new Love Inspired Historicals out there now to be read as they truly are a lovely lift of joy.
Widow Sophia Seymour never planned to marry again—let alone become a duchess. But with her father missing and her family impoverished, an old betrothal contract promising her hand to a notorious duke is her only hope. And Edmund DeVane intends to honor the agreement—in name only. After all, Edmund needs a wife with an impeccable reputation to protect his debuting niece. But as their arrangement starts to feel much more real, can their budding love survive Edmund’s deepest secret?
Note on Formats: Happily Love Inspired novels have the same kind of flexibility as Harlequin Heartwarming wherein you can receive these print copies in Regular Print, Larger Print or True Large Print for those who are vision impaired and/or have low vision. I personally love the Larger Print editions for Harlequin Heartwarming, Love Inspired Contemporary Romance & Love Inspired Suspense as it is much kinder on eyes of a migraineur! Generally I receive Larger Print copies of Love Inspired and/or Harlequin Heartwarming novels – however, I do on occasion receive Regular Print which I can’t read whilst in the throes of a migraine or shortly after one but when I’m migraine-free I can soak back inside them; hence why having different sized fonts available is a lovely gesture by the publisher for readers like me.
Converse via: #INSPYbooks and/or #INSPY, #SweetRomance and #LoveInspired
as well as #ChristFic, #ChristianFiction, #HistRom or #HistoricalRomance or #INSPYRomance
Acquired Audiobook By:I started to listen to audiobooks in  as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring, knitting and playing solitaire agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions.
Through hosting for Audiobookworm Promotions, I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods. Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue wherein I can also request new digital audiobooks to become added to their OverDrive selections. Aside from OverDrive I also enjoy having Audible & Scribd memberships as my budget allows. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I have been able to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year since 2018.
I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “The Fall of Mrs Parsons” via Audiobookworm Promotions who is working with the author, narrator & the Audiobook Empire (of which Audiobookworm Promotions is affliated) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!
I’ve decided to re-focus a few things on Jorie Loves A Story this Summer – starting with #AudiobookMonth this June! I haven’t had the chance to focus on my audiobook reviews which are on my backlogue list nor have I had the chance to properly showcase my ACLs via LibroFM. There is so much wicked good audio out there I’d like to start representing my own interests in this world of audio plays, narrative story and audio performances to help raise a signal flare of readerly joy for all of us who have come under the spell of audiobook narrators and performers.
To kick things off this month, I’ve started with my first selection entitled “The Fall of Mrs Parsons” which clocking in at fifty minutes, I knew was both a short story and a wonderful beginning to my efforts this month to listen harder to the stories and to dive deeper into the audiobooks I’ve selected to listen too. Fifty minutes might not seem like enough space and time to articulate the emotional depth of a story but as you will soon see in my review, it is not only long enough but the breadth of space within this story is a mark of literary gold. Bond surely knew what he was doing when he crafted the life of Mrs Parsons and the narrator, Jenn Lee brilliantly brought Mrs Parson’s to life in her narration.
This #AudiobookMonth, you’ll be seeing a few carry-overs from #WyrdAndWonder wherein I’ll be spending time soaking into fantastical worlds of enlightenment, whilst you’ll also see me exploring narrative Non-Fiction, short story and a hodgepodge of genres thereafter. Some will be selections I’ve personally earmarked to read and listen too (via my local and/or regional libraries – CloudLibrary & OverDrive) – others will be more backlogue titles from NetGalley or LibroFM; whilst others might be from my personal shelves on Audible. Whichever way the audiobooks were brought into my life – this month is one month I shall look forward to endeavouring to share my journey into the heart of the stories themselves whilst discussing how and why the narrators left the impressions they did as I listened to them narrate the stories.
Without further, adieu, I give you my reactions to The Fall of Mrs Parsons!
Mrs. Parsons lives a quiet life in a small cottage in the woods on the outskirts of town, having woken next to her husband Lloyd, and has gone about with her normal routine every day for the past 50+ years. But on this most extraordinary day, she will venture out into the world, reclaiming her place in it and, in so doing so, rediscover herself.
In this lush, romantic short tale from Phil Geoffrey Bond, the simple life is revealed as not so simple at all.
Converse via: #WomensFiction, #Literary or #audiobook, #loveaudiobooks and #audioreads
as well as #AudiobookwormPromotions OR #TheAudiobookEmpire
+ #AudiobookMonth & #JIAM
About Phil Geoffrey Bond
PHIL GEOFFREY BOND is an award-winning author, best known for his collection of short pieces, All the Sad Young Men, and the celebrated picture book, My Friend, the Cat, based on the popular stage show.
Often mixing dramatic prose with live theatre, his original pieces My Queer Youth, The Disney Diaries, My Friend, the Cat, My Roaring Twenties and Small Town Confessions have been embraced by a wide range of off-Broadway audiences. As a playwright, Phil has developed work at The Sundance Theatre Lab (The Citadel), and many regional theatres throughout the states. A fixture on the NYC nightlife scene, he is a seven-time MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets), two-time Bistro and one-time Nightlife Award-winner.
Currently, he is the writer/producer/host of Sondheim Unplugged, now enjoying it's 6th year at Manhattan nightspot Feinstein's/54 Below. 2016 will see the release of his debut novel, The Last Year at Low Tide (Chess Books). In 1993, he was awarded the Presidential Medallion from President Clinton on behalf of his work as a young playwright.
Acquired Book By: I’ve come to know this series [Heroes of Shelter Creek] through hosting the blog tours celebrating releases within the series with Prism Book Tours. However, this September in lieu of an organised blog tour Ms McEwen was seeking book bloggers who were interested in her series and wanted to read the fourth novel in the series “Rescuing the Rancher”. Whilst I was conferring with the author about receiving this for review, I asked if I could receive the second novel in the series “After the Rodeo” as I never had the chance to read Jace and Vivian’s story! I was thankful that Ms McEwen was also available to be a featured guest during my @SatBookChat wherein I celebrate Romance, Women’s Fiction, strong female characters across genres and Feminist Lit on Saturdays each month.
I decided to read and feature “After the Rodeo” ahead of her #SatBookChat appearance and run my review during my #RomanceTuesdays feature wherein I love to showcase Harlequin Heartwarming and Love Inspired authors as they are writing the kinds of Romances I am appreciating most to be reading right now.
I received a complimentary copy of “After the Rodeo” direct from the author Claire McEwen in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
This is one of my top favourite #CowboyRomances by Harlequin Heartwarming:
When I was checking my feeds on Twitter a short while ago, I stumbled on an announcement by Ms McEwen who was seeking book bloggers to read and review her latest release of the Heroes of Shelter Creek series – wherein I was most excited seeing the notice posted as this is one of the Western & Cowboy Romance series I love reading the most published by Harlequin Heartwarming!
I wasn’t sure if I would be in time to request the book for review, but I immediately emailed the author and the rest knitted together out of that conversation! I am so thankful I contacted her when I had as it lead me to being reading this second of the series I had missed between books one and three as much as I have been wanting to host more of the authors I love via Harlequin Heartwarming and/or Love Inspired Suspense – having the Blackwell Brothers / Sisters authors booked during @SatBookChat in October, it was a lovely surprise to have Ms McEwen booked for early September!
If you’re a ready reader of Westerns and Western Romances, I hope this showcase might inspire you to give Harlequin Heartwarming a chance at winning over your love of Westerns because the authors who are writing these stories are writing wicked brilliant characters with stories which lift your spirits as you’re reading them! Plus, the settings alone are awe-inspiring and give you the kind of Western experience you are hoping for in a Western Rom!
One interesting turn at the beginning of the novel was learning about the changing tides of the cattle industry – how traditional cattlemen and ranchers wanted to turn towards a greener and healthier way of producing their product and why that was an important resurgency in how they could maintain their ranches. Not that all ranchers were open to innovative changes which McEwen happily discloses within Liam’s own family as his brothers are spilt on the issue whilst their father is keenly invested in learning more – hence, how we find Liam is the chosen one to visit with Jace in Shelter Creek!
I, for one love all sorts of Western Romances however it is a bit rarer when within a Contemporary Western we get to talk about how ranching is trying to change its habits and become a more sustainable industry. Across the board farmers and ranchers are having to diversify their yields yearly due to different issues in climate and how to sustain themselves during leaner years wherein I felt broaching the topic of how they approach ranching their land and their cattle is also a valid point because there is a stark difference between big industry and keeping family ranchers in business by modifying their practices to reach a more educated consumer about the differences in those practices. To say I was wholly intrigued by how this novel began is putting it mildly!
Liam is at a cornerstone of his life – where he has to choose to step forward into his future rather than constantly think he cannot handle what life has to offer. This is an intriguing story about redemption – how a man can redeem his own image and identity of himself post trauma and addiction and redirect his own life back onto a purposeful path which renews his own spirit. The foundation of how McEwen laid that down for us to find was lovely because there was a moment where I felt Jace could inspire Liam simply by someone who had gone before him and had to re-alter his own opinion about what life could involve for a man who had a determined view of his own path. Even though I hadn’t had the chance to read After the Rodeo, McEwen gave some lovely hints toward Jace’s own story where I felt I could intuit why she wanted Liam closer to Jace during this transitional period of his own life.
Trisha has such a unique job at the wildlife center – I remember visiting those whilst growing up and wondering about the people who worked there. As I was fascinated how close the handlers could get to the wild animals and how much trust was between the handler and/or trainer and the animal themselves – this is one reason why I love watching shows and series like Crikey! It’s the Irwins because you get to see inside this hidden world of where animals and humans have united together for their own protection and conservation. Trisha has a heart of gold though – even though her life’s story is unconventional – it just suits her personality because she adapts to whatever is happening in her life in the moment. I liked her instantly where we find her in Her Surprise Cowboy because of how earnest she is about finding what Jace and Vivian share between them and how confident she is in her own abilities to give back to the center.
It was humbling coming into Jace and Vivian’s life a bit second-handed to get to know them in such an interpersonal way – because a lot of what anchoured Liam and Trisha together was through the fusion of friendship with Jace and Vivian. They really stepped up to the plate to help out their friends whilst they also offered a lot of heartfelt mentoring. Jace especially gave a lot back to Liam – as I had a feeling they would relate to one another as I was first starting to read this story – both lived the same kind of life in their prior lives and I believed that gave them each a unique perspective on the other. Liam and Trisha needed friends like them because they each were muddling through their own struggles where having a kind friend to lean on would go the extra mile towards finding resolution to what troubled them. Now more than ever I can’t wait to settle into the story of what drew Jace and Vivian together – as there are pieces of their romance peppered inside Her Surprise Cowboy but one day I’ll appreciate reading start to finish!
There is a certain layer of joy in reading a story about second chance romance, new beginnings and the redemption quality of forgiveness. Not just the kind of forgiveness others can give to you themselves but the kind of forgiveness that comes from within the person. A lot of the story is hinged on whether or not Liam and Trisha can find solace from their past and find a way to give themselves the leverage of understanding who they were in the past is not an indication of whom they could become in the future. That’s the rub about the human condition in us all – in not allowing ourselves the wallowing periods of never seeing past mistakes or wrong turns on our path and to continue to seek out the future with an optimistic impression of what we can achieve. By following the footsteps of Liam and Trisha you’re set to find out how forgiveness of one self can lead to a greater freedom than either Liam or Trisha could have envisioned for each other.
McEwen has conceived of a realistic Contemporary Western Romance series wherein each of her characters are struggling through and/or are transitioning through a difficult period of their lives. The realism is brilliantly layered as despite their obstacles and the hurdles they have to overcome there is a defining thread of individual courage and moxie uniting them. McEwen writes soul lifting Contemporary Romance which gives you what you want out of a modern Western Rom whilst grounding you in realistic lives which you can identify with due to how her characters are self-transitioning through the challenges which arise in all of our lives. The circumstances might differ between us and them but its their resolve to fight through to tomorrow which connects us.
Her passion for her job...
could cost him everything...
Former rodeo champion Jace Hendricks has six weeks to turn his run-down ranch around or he could lose custody of his nieces and nephews. But biologist Vivian Reed has to survey his land first - and she won't be rushed. Vivian's optimism and wonder start to win over the kids... and even Jace. But with all that's at stake, can he risk getting any more involved with Vivian?
Rescuing the Rancher – Aidan & Jade’s story (book four)
Second Chance Cowboy – (book five) – featuring ?? → forthcoming April, 2021!
I’ll admit – I was a bit worried this was ending as a quartet until I spied the release for 2021 via FantasticFiction which is my main resource for sourcing advance notice about series I am reading when new installments of those series will be revealled in forthcoming months.
Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin Books
Formats Available: Paperback* and Ebook
*Harlequin has the luxury of offering Regular, Large & Larger Print editions which I personally can attest are lovely to be reading! Especially after a migraine or when my eyes are fatigued.
Converse via: #CowboyRomance, #WesternRomance & #ContemporaryRomance
as well as #HarlequinHeartwarming with #HeroesOfShelterCreek
This story received my award for Best Western Contemporary Romance:
subniche Cowboy & Ranchers Romance series
Borrowed Book By: I came to find out about this Christmas Romance release as I follow the social feeds on Twitter for Vivian Conroy – of whom is the writer behind this novel. She writes for different publishers and uses a few different pen names to denote which type of story and/or series she is writing. When I learnt about this upcoming Christmas release I asked my local library to purchase a copy as I was hoping they might consider it for one of their new Christmas selections for the year. I happily received the news they did select it and was thankful I had the chance to read it during #blogmas.
Therefore borrowed a print copy of “A Family by Christmas” from my local library and I was not obligated to post a review and are sharing my ruminations with my readers for my own edification as well as happily sharing my bookish life with my readers and visitors alike. The Press Materials however were provided by the author and are used with permission.
However, more to the point, I truly came to know her as a writer and as a conversationalist through her Historical Fiction Twitter chat #HistFicChat – of which we both share a mutually beloved passion for the historic past as explored through today’s Historical narratives which criss-cross through History and give us a wicked good impression of the past!
This marks the first release of her Contemporary Romances by Entangled Publishing – a new Indie publisher I was thankful to have crossed paths with as they offer romances within a lot of the sub-genres of interest I have as a Romance reader.
When I learnt of the release for “A Family by Christmas” I knew I wanted to see if my local library could purchase it in time to read by Christmas. What I hadn’t expected was reading it in the golden hour of having it a bit too long due to my father’s medical crisis & my Winter cold which not just took me offline for a week but also had me have a bit of amnesia when it came to my library account! I completely lost track of ‘where’ I was with my borrows both for print and audio – so I quickly made amends to get this novel & Ms Bacarr’s novel back to the library for the next borrowers in queue to read them before Christmas!
I also had the pleasure of hosting Vivian Conroy during one of my 2019 @SatBookChat‘s! The archived conversations are available to be seen in @SatBookChat’s Moments.
Chocolatier Emma Miller has a new business selling bonbons to the residents of the quaint town of Wood Creek. When a tiny visitor stops by her shop with an interesting request. Emma is intrigued. The young girl needs chocolates that will help her widowed dad fall in love, preferably with her teacher. What Emma didn’t count on was Casey’s ever so charming and handsome dad, Grant, stepping into her life. She has to remind herself to be cautious because the one thing she learned in foster care is that people always leave.
Pilot Grant Galloway is touched by his daughter’s gift and is curious about the person who made the world-class chocolates. But when he steps into Emma’s shop full of delicious smells and tasty morsels, he forgets to breathe. And it has nothing to do with the his favourite desert. She’s pretty and kind, and when she has to deal with a difficult client, his protective instincts kick into high gear. But he risked his heart once. When his wife died, it left him broken. He’s just now beginning to pick up the pieces, and he and his daughter will be leaving town once the holidays are over.
Thanks to some Christmas wishes, though, these two might discover that their carefully laid plans are about to change.
With the same trademark atmospheric settings, relatable characters and cute canines that made several of her cozy mysteries #1 Amazon US and Canada bestsellers in multiple categories, Vivian Conroy pens romance as Viv Royce, creating heartthrob heroes ranging from rugged pilots to royals reluctant to believe in true love who meet their match in that girl next door or the co-worker with the business ideas exactly opposing their own – happy endings guaranteed! When not frequenting fictional worlds, Viv loves to hike (especially in the mountains), craft with paper, felt and clay, and hunt for the perfect cheesecake. Quite active on Twitter, she's the founder of #HistFicChat, a live Twitter chat about historical fiction, featuring authors like Kate Quinn, Anna Lee Huber and Susan Spann, and would love for readers to follow her and connect via @VivWrites.