Category: Cancer Scare

Book Review | “Tea & Crumples” by Summer Kinard

Posted Sunday, 29 May, 2016 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: Whilst participating in #LitChat last Summer [2015] about Indie Publishers and the stories they publish, I found two publishers in attendance. Light Messages Publishing happily corresponded with me a bit after the chat concluded. Whilst in communication with their publicity department, I was encouraged to look through their beautifully lovely catalogue and see if one of their upcoming releases might suit my bookish curiosities. This selection was suggested to me due to my appreciation for tea: “Tea & Crumples” by Summer Kinard, who had attended the chat. If your curious about the Small Press Showcase #LitChat I attended you can replay the conversation in whole by visiting the Nurph Channel for LitChat where it’s archived.

This marks my second review for Light Messages Publishing, as I began reviewing for them with my review of “The Particular Appeal of Gillian Pugsley” of which I loved! I received a complimentary copy of “Tea & Crumples” direct from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I applaud Light Messages as an Inspiring Publisher of Realistic Stories:

Of the two stories I picked to read first by Light Messages, it was Tea & Crumples I nearly felt I might not have the strength to read as I knew it hit on a harder story arc than I generally allow myself to read. I am mindful of my emotional sensitivities as much as other ‘triggers’ in fiction that are outside of what I can tolerate to read (most of which are listed on my Review Policy; but a few surprises still can happen despite my self-control to recognise what will affect me) – however, with this story, I felt a connection to the novel’s heart as I read about it’s premise. It’s hard to describe – sometimes I feel like I’m guided by grace and the faith I lean on everyday – my entire blog life (and my activities in Twitter) have been a walk of faith in other words.

I get certain intuitive glimpses about stories – sometimes it’s a miss on my judgment calls, but more times than naught when I feel especially keen on a story such as this one, I decide to trust that instinctive nudge to read a story! I should have realised Light Messages would challenge my heart in a good way rather than an adverse one – as despite my trepidation, as soon as I settled into the narrative and the graceful textured style Kinard’s writings spilt out into the novel – I found myself comfortably relaxed inside where Tea & Crumples would take me!

This was quite similar to how I felt wrapped up inside The Particular Appeal of Gillian Pugsley, as I could not take my eyes off the text nor fully yield to pull myself out of the world Örnbratt created! The writers being published at Light Messages have an intuitive way of alighting their readers inside a fully conceptionalised story with strong inspirational messages and lives backlit by faith, love and hope. It’s a pleasure for a lifelong reader of INSPY fiction to discover but moreso than that, I applaud the strength of the stories they are publishing as a whole.

My third author I’ll be reading is Deborah Hining – I have a feeling she’s going to leave an equally strong impression on me, as all three authors combined have a bit of a common threading between them, if you think on it a bit! Laughs. I am simply drawn into lives of strong women who have an obstacle in life or faith affirming moment arising out of their ordinary hours to embrace. I love finding INSPY stories who have a textural element of insight of real-life inside them – where they broach inside what I refer to as INSPY Realistic Fiction as they are such hearty composites of our modern lives or the historical past; depending on the story.

I also like writers who stitch together the faith of their characters through their internal thoughts and show how faith is a cornerstone of their lives; as natural as breathing and as readily important! Thus far, I am happily soaking inside the works by Light Messages authors – finding the publisher truly understands what modern INSPY readers are seeking and how blessed we are the authors are writing such grounded stories of strength and perseverance!

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Book Review | “Tea & Crumples” by Summer KinardTea & Crumples
Subtitle: faith, tea, love : a novel
by Summer Kinard
Source: Direct from Publisher

“Tea is how I love people.”

Welcome to Tea & Crumples where tea brewed strong with grace has the power to bring people together. The click of chess pieces and susurrus of fine papers mingle with aromas of warm pastries, tea,
and the caramel of hospitality. Through it all, the steady love of God pours out in daily rituals.

Meet Sienna, whose spiritual gifts are the heart of the shop. Walk with her as she struggles to believe in miracles even while she walks in the shadow of death under the weight of temptation.

Tea makes Sienna remember. She remembers pain in order to hold fast the joy of her lost daughter and happiness gone in order to hold fast to Peter’s love. Tea is there with Sienna when every bit of her has
been poured out. So are her friends. They keep vigil when all that’s left is faith, tea, and love.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-61153-123-7

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Women's Fiction


Published by Light Messages Publishing

on 2nd November, 2015

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 314

Published By: Light Messages Publishing (@LMpublishing)

Author Page @ Light Messages Publishing
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #TeaAndCrumples

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.

About Summer Kinard

Summer Kinard

Summer Kinard is the mother of five, a tea lover, soprano, and author of inspiring novels and curricula for active learners.

She writes about faithful people overcoming trials with the help of tea, friendships, and love. Summer’s first novel, Can’t Buy Me Love, was a USA TODAY Happy Ever After pick for Women’s Fiction. Her paranormal Orthodox Christian romance, The Salvation of Jeffrey Lapin, has received glowing reviews from readers.

Summer writes about faith, tea, and love in journeys of healing. Follow her family’s journey with tea at TeaAndCrumples.com. You will find up to date posts on her writing life at her site: WritingLikeAMother.com, or follow her on Instagram for up to the moment updates. All links are below.

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Balancing Life Amidst Chaos:

Although I have taken up java since I turnt twenty-nine (soon to be eight years past), there is something quite authentic about how ‘tea’ can calm your ever last nerve; the aromatherapy notwithstanding; when you brew a cuppa tea – it’s almost as if the act itself has a calming effect long before the brew sets the leaves into the water. I could readily see why Kinard showed how tea fused serenity into Sienna’s life and how the art of tea-drinking was a ritual she appreciated with her husband Peter. Tea has this way of encompassing more of your life than it detracts. I even know java won’t last as long as tea in my drinking habits, except for a return to the ‘green bean’ of Yirgacheffe (the one brew of java that tastes like tea!)!

If tea can help purport balance into one’s life, it’s healthy attributes for your wellness is equally as keen! Sienna knows tea is only one component, she leans hard on her faith even during the hours where her mental focus is off-kilter; she prays as readily as I used to find meditative bliss in the motions of Tai Chi Chaun! Sometimes your prayers change through how you approach a prayerfulness in your life’s activities; ebbing in and out of you as you find new ways to sort through your thoughts and become mindful of your spirit’s rhythm. Read More

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Posted Sunday, 29 May, 2016 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, #LitChat, 21st Century, African-American Literature, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, ARC | Galley Copy, Author Found me On Twitter, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Book Trailer, Bookish Films, Bread Making, Cancer Scare, Christianity, Clever Turns of Phrase, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Contemporary Romance, Cookery, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Disabilities & Medical Afflictions, Equality In Literature, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Foodie Fiction, Gluten-Free Foods, Healthy Baking, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Judaism in Fiction, Judiasm, Life Shift, Light Messages Publishing, Loss of an unbourne child, Medical Fiction, Modern Day, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Nurses & Hospital Life, Parapsychological Gifts, Realistic Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Terminal Illness &/or Cancer, Using Natural Sweeteners, Women's Fiction, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, World Religions, Writing Style & Voice

Blog Book Tour | “The Vineyard” by Michael Hurley

Posted Wednesday, 12 November, 2014 by jorielov , , 3 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

The Vineyard by Michael Hurley

Published By: Ragbagger Press
Available Formats: Trade Paperback, E-book

Converse on Twitter via:#TheVineyard

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “The Vineyard” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Michael Hurley, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Note about the Cover Art Design:

Prior to receiving the novel for review, there was a discussion threaded through TLC Book Tours via Twitter on which cover art design we would vote for in regards to the cover art for this particular novel. I must confess, I didn’t quite understand why the woman underwater would make any sense to be used, as I voted for the cover that placed the image of a woman at the edge of the shore instead. At least, I believe that was the scene I opted to choose, as it was a bit ago since I cast my vote! It wasn’t until I opened up the first chapter of “The Vineyard” that I had realised the basis for the cover image is the fact one of the women in the story is contemplating ending her life; and of all the methods available to her it is drowning in the ocean that appeals to her the most. On this level, the feeling of overwhelming emotion and to be put within the vise of a life-altering choice between life and death; yes, the cover art makes a bit more sense. The title however, I do agree was slightly misleading if you did not realise it was the shortened name for “Martha’s Vineyard” in regards to where the story is set.

The author included a small bookmark with the original cover art on display, which was a green and blue colour theme with leaves of a vine between both colours which take up 50% of the space for the cover itself. Almost as if the leaves were an underlay and overlay at the same time. To me it clued in to a dimensional thread of narrative where what is not readily known or able to be seen becomes a puncture of emotional drama. Or perhaps I prefer ambient gestures in cover art sometimes as opposed to curious images that do not always feel they are a strong fit such as the woman underwater tipping her finger to the surface. It does paint a different image altogether when pondering the story itself.

Blog Book Tour | “The Vineyard” by Michael HurleyThe Vineyard
by Michael Hurley
Source: Author via TLC Book Tours

Ten years after college, three very different women reunite for a summer on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. As they come to grips with various challenges in their lives, their encounter with a reclusive fisherman threatens to change everything they believe about their world—and each other.

Places to find the book:

Genres: Literary Fiction


Published by Ragbagger Press

on 25th November, 2014

Format: Paperback

Pages: 384

About Michael Hurley

Michael Hurley and his wife Susan live near Charleston, South Carolina. Born and raised in Baltimore, Michael holds a degree in English from the University of Maryland and law from St. Louis University.
The Prodigal, Michael’s debut novel from Ragbagger Press, received the Somerset Prize for mainstream fiction and numerous accolades in the trade press, including Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, ForeWord Reviews, BookTrib, Chanticleer Reviews, and IndieReader. It is currently in development for a feature film by producer Diane Sillan Isaacs. Michael’s second novel, The Vineyard, is due to be released by Ragbagger Press in December 2014.
Michael’s first book, Letters from the Woods, is a collection of wilderness-themed essays published by Ragbagger Press in 2005. It was shortlisted for Book of the Year by ForeWord magazine. In 2009, Michael embarked on a two-year, 2,200 mile solo sailing voyage that ended with the loss of his 32-foot sloop, the Gypsy Moon, in the Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti in 2012. That voyage and the experiences that inspired him to set sail became the subject of his memoir, Once Upon A Gypsy Moon, published in 2013 by Hachette Book Group.
When he is not writing, Michael enjoys reading and relaxing with Susan on the porch of their rambling, one-hundred-year-old house. His fondest pastimes are ocean sailing, playing piano and classical guitar, cooking, and keeping up with an energetic Irish terrier, Frodo Baggins.

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My Review of The Vineyard:

Charlotte Harris a mother on a mission to save her daughter’s soul in death and to quell the anguish of her mother’s heart from the disillusionment her life became in the circumstances which catapulted her from a woman with a zest of life to one who was broken by the absurdity of regulations of the Catholic Church; at least to her mind and reason. Any mother grieving the loss of her deceased child would feel bound by angst out of spiteful rules that felt cruel and indifferent to the choices she had wanted to give her daughter; the baptismal blessing of a daughter whose mother wanted her to align on the side of Heaven was given a hard choice between accepting the limits of her faith and pursuing a route towards self-redemption. Her entire state of mind within the opening chapter hinges between sanity and the furrowing line of insanity — a sanction only Charlotte Harris could make a discernible ascertain as to which line she was living at that particular moment.

Charlotte received an invitation to the Vineyard which would single-handedly allow her to shape where her destiny was attempting to align her stars — Dory, the vagabond free-spirit friend of her youth encouraged her a Summery respite from the city to spend time with her by the ocean and hours filled to the brim with spontaneity. Dory was the type of friend who saw a friend spiraling into a well of depression and before it could be fully rotated into a sea of darkness, attempts to pull you out of your malaise. Dory’s family is old money as they say, a woman of means who lives an ordinary life (by her own justifications) but Charlotte is straight-up middle class with insecurities about her body image as much as the choices she made in life that feel unwarranted of declaring she lived life well.

Charlotte is a strong willed woman whose mission to greet her daughter in the in-between worlds of life and death blurred a bit whilst she attempted the unthinkable. In one figurative moment of where you could not back out of a course you struck out on, an intervention is given on behalf of what could have been Charlotte’s final hour. There is an immediate mystery surrounding how Charlotte is found bobbling offshore in a boat she doesn’t even remember taking out on her own as much as the identity of the person she’s convinced saved her life. Meanwhile, a third woman joins Dory and Charlotte; Turner who appears to be stuck in her own void whilst seizing an opportunity to promote Charlotte’s mysterious resurrection on her blog. The story not only goes viral but becomes the turning point for how their lives are suddenly stop drifting and start taking a trajectory that has merit of being explored.

Terminal illnesses play a central focus on the story – which I was a bit surprised to find but they are included at different integral parts of the novel. In regards to Charlotte’s daughter and in regards to the health of her beloved friend Dory; I generally steer clear of stories involving terminal illnesses due to the heavy weight of the yoke these stories affect on my mind and heart. However, I can say, that despite the heaviness of the subject they are treated with respect and consideration not only for the reader but for the characters who are living through the circumstances as revelations become known to them.

The issues started to arise for me after the mid-way point of the novel, where the entire foundation of where I felt this story was taking me ended up being shattered by a completely different story-line. Prior to my detachment with the novel and stopping to read it forthwith, I was perplexed by how the style and tone of the novel changed so suddenly. I had originally felt this about the writing style of the author:

Hurley has an incredible arc of characterising the level of depth a human can emote through life as much as internalise in an attempt to process what is perceived, felt, and layered into our unconscience. He knits into his story a level of uncanny perceptive intuition, where the details he describes are both perspicacious and viscerally accurate. His narrative prose gives this literary novel an elevation of tone, body, and attachment to the reader’s own ruminations to fall in step with the words he’s left behind for us to read off the printed page.

Yet at the point where I stopped reading his novel, I no longer felt the same. The transition from the first half to the second half of The Vineyard simply did not sit well with me. Especially as it explores the darker side of how vulnerable women can be taken advantage of, but the fact that the assault is attached to the priest was stepping a bit too far outside the lines of where I want to see a story shift forward. Prior to that moment, I appreciated the intuitiveness of his writing, but afterwards, I felt as though I wasted my time reading the built-up of emotional drama.

On the writing style of Michael Hurley:

Although I grew up in an industry akin and adjacent to the life of a medical examiner, the way in which Hurley chooses to describe the desperate act of a mother resolute in her belief that committing suicide is the only way in which to free her child and herself in oblique harmony can only be taken straight from an medical examiner’s journal of cases. Yet even within the framework of how the act could theoretically be carried through, he gives his character a pause to allow reason and the humanistic desire of holding onto life a chance to breathe. He gives Charlotte the window of exploring the depths of her soul and the gutting reality of a mother who has lost her child; allowing her the time to sort through her emotional heart and her soul wrenched memories of gutting grief.

Having the fisherman who gives Charlotte the shrimp in the beginning a scant view of the note Charlotte intended to leave behind for Dory to find was a nice eclipse of tide. It gave Charlotte a crimson flush of embarrassment yes, but it also alerted her mind to realise she was in a deeply wrought depression. A stop-start of realisation of where her act could lead and how it would affect everyone in her wake of sudden death.

Fly in the Ointment:

At first the inclusions of stronger choices of words was intermittent and infrequent, but by the time I reached the middle of the novel, they became a bit more repetitive and inclusive. They are still not the main focal point of the tone or voice of the novel itself, as they are included in moments of high tension and/or emotional disbelief. However, I will always contend I can read a novel without any vulgarity within its pages and still perceive the eclipse of the emotional turbulence all the same.

I do have issues with stories that involve impropriety between spiritual leaders and their flock; as it simply isn’t a story-line I would normally walk into blind. I originally felt this was a story rooted in sisterhood friendships and a life affirmative jaunt of a Summer where they would renew their spirits whilst celebrating their friendship. What I received instead is a darkening cloud of a drama leading me into a story I felt I hadn’t signed up to read. If that one thread of narrative had been removed, it would have told a completely different story. One that I might have wanted to finish reading.

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This blog tour stop was courtesy of TLC Book Tours:
{ click-through to follow the blogosphere tour }

TLC Book Tours | Tour Host

See what I am hosting next by stopping by my Bookish Events page!

I created a list on Riffle to share the books that I simply could not become attached to as a reader myself, but stories which would benefit a reader to find them, and appreciate them for what each writer gave to their story. For me, the reason I included The Vineyard is because I did not feel it appropriate to explore the infidelity and impropriety of a priest nor to have such an illicit disconnect from the opening first half of the novel tot he middle portion. Therefore, this is now listed on my Riffle List entitled: Stories Seeking Love from Readers.

{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Vineyard”, author photograph, author biography, book synopsis and the tour badge were all provided by TLC Book Tours and used with permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Go Indie
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Posted Wednesday, 12 November, 2014 by jorielov in Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cancer Scare, Cape Cod, Catholicism, Clever Turns of Phrase, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Diet Weight & Body Image, Disillusionment in Marriage, Divorce & Martial Strife, Family Drama, Fly in the Ointment, Go Indie, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Indie Author, Life of Thirty-Somethings, Life Shift, Light vs Dark, Literary Fiction, Mental Health, Modern Day, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Near-Death Experience, Passionate Researcher, Reading Challenges, Realistic Fiction, Self-Harm Practices, Terminal Illness &/or Cancer, TLC Book Tours, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction, Women's Health, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Writing Style & Voice

+Blog Book Tour+ Vintage by Susan Gloss

Posted Monday, 22 September, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , 8 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Vintage by Susan Gloss

one of The DĂ©butante Ball bloggers of 2014 | the Blog & their Tweets

Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)

Official Author Websites: Site | @susangloss| Facebook | Etsy Shoppe | Blog
Available Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, & Ebook

Converse via: #Vintage

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Vintage” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher William Morrow, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

I hadn’t realised my hardback copy of “Vintage” was damaged until I started to read the novel itself, where pieces of the pages started to rip apart and shred right off individual pages of the novel. I found the culprit but could not do anything to stop it from continuing to happen as on page 155 all the pages were glued together! A sticky substance had attached itself to the top of the pages and therefore, try as I might to be gentle & delicate – the pages would not yield nor would they budge without causing them to rip either in full chunks or strips. Of course the worst part is that page 156 & 157 were glued *together!* and by pulling them apart I lost whole words, sentences, and saw all the ink obscured completely! :( I grieved for this novel at that point. I had tucked it’s story into my heart and although I was breathing in love with each page I had turnt, the novel simply was starting to fade away from me due to ‘glue’. When this happened, I knew I would lose the beautiful pace of what I was reading,… how could I not with ‘whole pages’ stuck to each other that could not be undone without ripping the book apart? I had to stop pulling page 156 – it was just too heart-wrenching. Part of the page was so thin in the upper paragraphs you could see right through the paper! :( I ended up missing an epic fight between April & Violet as pieces of the top pages of 158 & 160 ripped apart so I could start Chapter 15.

I decided not to let this deter my reading enjoyment but it proved to be quite of a challenge as it is the first time I received a book whose damage was quite literally making it difficult to read the story. Prior to page 155 each page I read had this unique slant to it, as it wouldn’t release from the top inside binding; therefore, I read this in a very creative way all the way around!

The hardest pill to swallow is that when I read novels which are new when they reach my hands, I’m the kind of gentle reader who can read the book without leaving a trace I’ve read the story. No bent pages in the upper corners (I use bookmarks), no writing inside the book (I couldn’t even do that with textbooks!), no eating of food that could transfer through my fingers (you’d be surprised what people eat whilst reading library books!), and I barely arch the spines in order to view the words on the page! Not only for hardbacks but the paperbacks — my ChocLit novels & my William Morrow P.S. Edition paperbacks are a good cases in point; they do not show any evidence I read them in this way because I treasure keeping books in a condition that honours their texts. Even when I purchase second-hand novels and non-fiction books I’m always trying to keep the stability of the book in its current condition.

This is wretching experience for a book lover whose own heart was bleeding with the characters and wanted to know all of their thoughts without skipping over pages stuck together without any hope of being undone. And, sadly I haven’t had the pleasure of taking book binding lessons and book recovery classes to know how to fix this if there were a plausible and affordable way to undo the damage. My reading slowed down considerably as I had to peel each page as best as I could to read the rest of the novel. I will omit mentioning how long it took for me to free the pages in order to read them. The top of Chapter 22 really suffered: it looked like someone took a bite out of the page!

Inspired to Read:

I had an impression of an idea what I would find within the pages of Vintage, as I devoured A Vintage Affair by Isobel Wolff via my local library a few years prior to when I first learnt about this new release by Susan Gloss. I fancy stories which are centered around the history and enriched life of clothes and the personal items that occupy our hours alongside the time in which we walk our path on Earth. I oft wondered about the secret histories of second-hand copies of novels could speak inside of a whisper of my ear and the same can be said for vintage clothing boutiques who re-sell clothes previously worn yet gently returned back into the wild for someone else to find them. There is such a hearty treasure to seeking clothes from previous generations, and I for one, am a happy hearted vintage clothes shopper! Mind you, I haven’t gone into the true posh boutiques yet, but the re-sell shoppes for everyday living are quite splendid!

I love the textural experience of wandering from row to row and hanger to hanger, sorting through the ingredients of the clothes (in my particular case, avoiding most synthetics), and noting the styles I am finding being offered. I love the fact that you can pull shirts, skirts, dresses, and bottoms straight-off the rack and know for a start your not about to see anyone soon wear the same ensemble. We’ve become a bit cookie-cutter in our society, and although I cannot fathom why everyone wants to dress like everyone else, I’ve always celebrated individual style and a personal awareness of what types of clothes and articles of fashion make me wicked happy to have them alight in my closet!

I love pulling from different styles of thought, mixing in my own take on an old trend and/or re-inventing a style that is uniquely my own by fusing pieces that might not seem alike but smashingly look brilliant in combination! I love a comfortable fit, I avoid high heels like the plague (they are seriously not a method of wellness for foot), and I like finding a nodding towards the past by finding pieces that match an eloquence of femininity that is nearly all but lost in today’s world of fashion. I’m vintage but I’m alternatively creative in my choices, I love Bohemian for instance, but I like to add a bit of funk to my colour palette and the alternative styles that might be on the fringes of punk. I love cargo pants but I like a nice comfortable pair of washed denim jeans. The accessories are always a happy delight as generally speaking in any second-hand clothing shoppe or boutique, your bound to find estate sale keepers alongside costume jewelry sparklers! The true mirth of joy is being able to go shoppe to shoppe and find pieces of your spirit drifting in through the clothes which speak to you to wear!

I am not sure why I never came round to borrowing Vintage from my local library, but because I hadn’t, it allowed me to be on the blog tour!

Quite simply, how could I not love a novel entitled Vintage?

When it pertains to clothes and a vintage sensibility of style?!

And. shh! One of my secret places to observe wicked alternative fashion is ETSY!

Rock on, dear hearts! Be uniquely defined by what enlivens your own spirit!

+Blog Book Tour+ Vintage by Susan GlossVintage
by Susan Gloss
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

A small-town girl with a flair for fashion, Violet Turner had always dreamed of owning a shop like Hourglass Vintage. But when faced with the possibility of losing the store to an unscrupulous developer, she realizes that despite her usual self-reliance she cannot save it all by herself.

Eighteen-year-old April Morgan is nearly five months along in an unplanned pregnancy when her hasty engagement is broken. When she returns the perfect vintage wedding dress to Violet’s shop, she forges an unexpected bond with women who won’t let her give up on her dreams.

Betrayed by her husband, Amithi Singh begins selling off her vibrant Indian silk dresses. After decades of housekeeping and parenting a daughter who rejects her traditional ways, she fears her best days are behind her . . . until she discovers an outlet for her creativity with a needle and thread.

Vintage is a charming tale of possibility, of finding renewal, love, and hope when we least expect it.

Places to find the book:

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Women's Fiction


Published by William Morrow

on 25th March, 2014

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 320

Read an Excerpt of the Novel:

Excerpt from Vintage by Susan Gloss by WilliamMorrowBooks

Author Biography: Susan Gloss

Susan Gloss is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Wisconsin Law School. When she’s not writing fiction, Susan can be found working as an attorney, blogging at GlossingOverIt, or hunting for vintage treasures for her Etsy shop, Cleverly Curated. She lives with her family in Madison, Wisconsin.

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A Triptych of Insight:

Violet, April, and Amithi (along with Betsy who plays a supporting role as much as Lane) are the key characters in Vintage, who nestle into your heart as you read their stories unfold. What I found so striking about this particular story is the differences in their ages and the differences of where they are in their lives. April is just starting out on her own path as she’s a teenager on the fringes of college and motherhood, whereas Violet has lived quite a life of woe intermixed with the happier moments she carved out for herself in the world of business. Amithi is the classic housewife whose illusions of a happy marriage are shattered and irrevocably set her course on a new line of sight. They provide a triptych of insight into how life shapes us each day that we breathe and accept to take in the new experiences that cross our path. Whether or not we react well or unkind to how our lives change, it is our own attitude of how we approach life that can determine how much we can enjoy and how much we can appreciate the journey.

Gloss shifts backwards and forwards through the story alighting on chapters which highlight the specific observations and emotions of each of the three women as you soak into Vintage. This unique point-of-view lends itself a unique lens to get into the heart of the novel, which I had originally fell in love with whilst reading Rosamunde Pilcher’s The Shell Seekers as a teenager.

My Review of Vintage:

The name of the vintage shoppe inside the novel Vintage is Hourglass Vintage, a beckoning title of alluring to how time may be of the essence or a direct factor to off-set the harmony of the characters inside its pages. I like how writers choose names to give their readers a curiosity about what they will find as they read along and discover more of where the narrative is about to take them. Half the time I worry I might read a bit too much into the selections of names, but oft-times I find myself realising writers have a heap in common with songwriters; each etch into their creative works a tell; a signal left behind for someone to recognise and knowing feel museful.

Violet is the proprietor who happily loves to lead an unconventional life despite the fact she has very traditional (and quite conventional) aspirations she wants to fulfill.  I never understood how some women feel that if you wanted to be a Mum your life automatically becomes traditional: white picket fence, two story house, traditional job, and your children play soccer whilst you drive a mini-van. There are a lot of stereotypes and stigmas that I think cloud over the quite curiously wicked alternative, non-traditional, and unconventional families who thrive in the creative arts and/or create their own independence by pursuing a career that matches their passion. There are so many different roads to travel down, I am never certain why we all feel pigeon holed into one or two. Even motherhood is not hinged to marriage, as so many women tend to believe as well.

April is at a crossroads in her life as she is attempting to sort out how to attend college whilst facing the reality of being withchild; cast alone in the world since her Mum died her sole support system is anchored by a scholarship which is run by people who genuinely care and want to help her. She’s at that unique spot in life where you have to make grown-up choices and realise somewhere inside you there is a well of strength you never knew you had. I like how she has a strong head on her shoulders, embracing a bit of no nonsense carefree attitude when her hormones are not affecting her emotional sensibility and a rock of determination that defies her circumstances. She’s a bit caught in-between childhood and adulthood, stepping as brave as she can into where the future has led her but unsure of how she’s going to get to where she wants to be.

Amithi is in transition of realising her daughter has no interest in maintaining family traditions nor in keeping close ties to her extended family in India. Amithi did not have the same freedom of choice for her marriage or her life when she was the same age of her daughter, and it is how she is shifting through this transitional period of her life that endeared me to her as a character. She was raised in a traditional Indian home and had hoped part of her heritage and culture would have affected her daughter, yet each time she thought she made a bit of progress the daughter would rebel and walk a different path away from her parent’s background.

The beauty of reading Vintage is the allure of second chances and second beginnings when life at first doesn’t seem to take you down the path you’ve been wanting to walk. All three women have a unique path in life they are walking as we meet them in the story and all of their lifepaths are starting to collide into each other as well. They are three extraordinarily different women, but at the heart of who they are they are incredibly alike. The story takes on a time slip arc as each new kernel of insight into each of the women’s past is revealed; we go from the present into a slip of the past as a flirting glimpse into how each of them was moulded into who they are now.

On the writing style of Susan Gloss and why I love her approach to this novel:

Outside of my flexing of a disparaging opinion on language in the ‘fly in the ointment’, my readers I believe know by now that on occasion I can overlook these blemishes and blights to see the story outside of the wrinkling of my nose. I cannot always overlook language, especially if it is threaded into each or every other paragraph, but if its sprinkled in such a way as to remind me of flies on a picnic; I become invested in the story itself. What I appreciated the most about Gloss’s style to tell the story is her infusion of using the time slip arc, to allow us the added benefit of seeing Violet, April, and Amithi as a younger version of themselves — writ right in line with the present day goings-on. It is a unique vehicle to carry-on the unknown elements of each of their past, whilst giving the reader the breadth of what makes them who they are in the present. I love time slips as much as I love life shift narrative arcs (and I believe this qualifies in triplicate) or time travel sequences. They give added dimension outside the general scope of where a story fits inside its sub-genre and happily allows us to soak in information in a way that feels as though we are conversing with the characters ourselves.

Fly in the Ointment:

Recently whilst I was reading Someone Else’s Love Story and I Shall Be Near to You, I had mentioned how finding such brass language inside novels being released was growing tiresome. I must contend, my disdain hasn’t altered now that I’ve picked up Vintage, as I am seriously starting to wonder how to advocate for word usage changes and how to get back into the heart of how to write a novel without dropping words which singe ears and wrinkle brows. I read a lot of heart-warming fiction, including the YA novel The Strength of Ballerinas yesterday which begs to reason most novels can hold their salt without abrasive words flittering into the pages at the most inconvenient times. I am starting to wonder if I am amongst the few who uses her words to express her emotions and her thoughts in a way in which does not yield to the gutter.

And, why is strong language used in such a strong way in the start of a novel if only to disappear to a near blink of omission lateron? Why include it at all if the pace and style fit so well without it being added? I am always so puzzled by how language and vulgar words are being used in novels. It is nearly as if you’d have to remind yourself this novel *had!* abrasive words in it as after awhile they are simply ‘gone’. At least until they unexpectedly re-arrive back into the plot during an argument. Sighs. 

I’ve said my peace but I wish I had a slice of apple pie. This novel is a comforting Southern slice of bravery in the midst of life being upturnt unexpectedly, yet it takes place in the North; strangely for me the location never felt like Madison, Wisconsin (I ought to know I’ve been there) but rather somewhere down South, like Charleston or Greenville South Carolina. A place where the beauty of embracing a vintage lifestyle and the clothing boutiques like Hourglass Vintage would be happily inter-spaced in-between the more modern shoppes of fashion. I simply didn’t get the vibe this was a completely Mid-Western story nor did I feel it ‘fit’ Madison. Even though I realise the author lives there, when I visited the city I walked away with an entirely different point-of-view.

Before anyone asks me:

The reason I didn’t seek this novel out at my local library is because ever since Thursday night and the wee hours of Friday morning my neighbour has been in the hospital – at first under pre-caution for pneumonia (in the ER), then downgraded to bronchitis (after admitted), and then, today due to complications of the antibiotics and treatments she is being held over a week before being moved into a nursing home / rehab center. I’ve been completely distracted by going back and forth to the hospital and attempting to keep up with my reading & blog schedules. She’s more like an Aunt than a neighbour, so I honestly didn’t even think of seeking a different copy to read for the review, as my focus has been on her and my family, as there are other things going on personally at the same time which have distracted me as well. (I briefly mentioned a bit of this on my post about Early Decision) To be honest, it didn’t even dawn on me until about an hour ago the hours I lost today due to a terrible lightning storm (in which I visited my neighbour as I knew going on the computer was out of the question to write this review) and the time it took to pull the pages apart — as my eyes drew to the clock worried I’d be late in posting that a library copy would have saved me a bit of grief. Of course, my library is not the one that is open 10 minutes before 9pm! These are the moments you make lemonade out of lemons and carry-on.

Despite the faulty copy I received, I was overjoyed it was a hardback edition, as I was only expecting a paperback copy. I’m still joyful I have a hardback copy of Susan Gloss’s debut novel — I loved watching her and the other Debs at the blog take their turns in the bookish spotlights during the year, and it was an honour to host my ‘second’ Deb as I hosted Ms. Heather Webb (for Becoming Josephine) in January. I am enthused I have a whole new year of Debs to get to know and greet into the literary fold! My copy of Vintage is worn in and loved all the same — just like the beautiful clothes featured in the novel itself.

This blog tour stop was courtesy of TLC Book Tours:

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I positively *love!* comments in the threads below each of my posts, and I have happily made sure that I could reacquire the WP Comments where you can leave me a comment by using: WP (WordPress), Twitter, Facebook, Google+, & Email! Kindly know that I appreciate each thought you want to share with me and all the posts on my blog are open to new comments & commentary! Short or long, I appreciate the time you spent to leave behind a note of your visit! Return again soon! 

{SOURCES: Cover art of “Vintage”, author photograph, book synopsis and the tour badge were all provided by TLC Book Tours and used with permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Buy links on Scribd excerpt are not affiliated with Jorie Loves A Story. Book Excerpt was able to be embedded due to codes provided by Scribd.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

The ‘live reading’ tweets I shared as I read & reviewed “Vintage”:

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Posted Monday, 22 September, 2014 by jorielov in 21st Century, Adulterous Affair, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book | Novel Excerpt, Breast Cancer, Cancer Scare, Coming-Of Age, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Disillusionment in Marriage, Equality In Literature, Fashion Fiction, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Library Find, Life Shift, Literature of India, Old World Arts & Crafts, Realistic Fiction, Scribd, Second Chance Love, Sewing & Stitchery, Singletons & Commitment, Time Slip, TLC Book Tours, Unexpected Inheritance, Unexpected Pregnancy, Vintage Clothes & Boutiques, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Right to Choose (Health Care Rights)