Category: Diet Weight & Body Image

Blog Book Tour | “Robin’s Reward” by June McCrary Jacobs A small towne #sweetromance wherein the #library plays a central role in uniting the community!

Posted Saturday, 2 May, 2015 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

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 “Robin’s Reward” virtual book tour by the author June McCrary Jacobs. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Ms Jacobs, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. 

I was not influenced by finding out I was written in as a character in this novel as I had no foreknowledge of this fact only that there was a surprise hidden in the story I might enjoy finding. I blog as I am reading, therefore, as I wrote my first impression and reaction to finding “Jorie” in “Robin’s Reward”. I had already written the first half of this review (where I celebrated the connections between bloggers & writers), including the first section of the review itself prior to the reveal. The first two paragraphs reflecting my joy of a Jacobs novel was also composed. Thereby I can attest even after finding myself a character, this review is my honest impression as a ‘first time’ reader of the novel.

Celebrating the connections between book bloggers & authors:

One of the best blessings of being a book blogger are the connections I have made to the authors who have given voice and mirth to characters of whom I have fancied finding within their novels! Each time I walk away from a story writ with such a felicity of joy to read, I earmark the author in my mind to follow-up with in the future, not just to check-in on where they are on their writerly journey but to see if they have released a new story! I have even taken this to mentally writing down a note about which books I want to re-read or purchase outright if the copy I had for review was an ARC.

Some of the writers I’ve crossed paths with have kept in touch with me, updating me about what they are doing next and/or offering me to receive their next release in exchange for an honest review. When this happens, I must confess my heart bubbles over in joy! I get wicked happy getting a second chance to re-admire the work the writer is producing as I am finding such a heart-warming presence of Indie & Self Published authors, I daresay I am thankful I started book blogging!

I believe I would still have found their stories, but it might have taken me quite a bit longer to find them in the long run! This is one reason I decide to start using a new hashtag as I tweet simply called #JorieLovesIndies as I truly do celebrate the writers who are championing the book world by releasing their stories outside of Major Trade markets. I appreciate not only their dedication to quality in producing books that are professionally edited but a selection of story whose craft of creation is a top notch addition to any reader’s bookshelf.

I love celebrating these authors, and I decided the best way to do so is to thread my route of discovery through a new tag! I will expand on this idea over the weekend in a separate post, as I’m highlighting quite a few novelists who fit this category throughout May, but today, I simply wanted to draw your attention to the fact Ms Jacobs is amongst the writers I place in this category! You will also be able to find the stories indexed on my blog by opening the category: Jorie Loves Indies! (by Monday this index will be completed)

Blog Book Tour | “Robin’s Reward” by June McCrary Jacobs A small towne #sweetromance wherein the #library plays a central role in uniting the community!Robin's Reward
by June McCrary Jacobs
Source: Direct from Author

Bonita Creek’s librarian Robin Bennett is heartbroken after being abandoned by her husband, Thomas. The mysterious and handsome Jeff Clarke arrives unexpectedly and touches Robin’s life with his wit and warmth. Then, without warning, Jeff’s harsh words and abrasive actions scare her off, and Robin’s hope of finding true love withers again.

Just when it seems Robin and Jeff might have a future, Susan Stinson, whose cruel taunting has plagued Robin since they met as young teens, decides Jeff should be hers, not Robin’s. Susan’s anger and jealousy escalate dangerously. Her vindictiveness threatens the foundation of Jeff and Robin’s young relationship.

Robin’s journey through the peaks and valleys of her life meanders along the twists and turns of new challenges. Is a relationship which began with both parties harboring secrets destined to survive? Can they move past their troubles and the obstacles in their path to find love and happiness together? When their pasts rear their ugly heads, Jeff and Robin must use their faith to remain strong and true. But will it be enough for them to embrace a life of love, trials, and blessings . . . together?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Also by this author: , A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom

Series: Bonita Creek Trilogy,


Genres: Contemporary Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Sweet Romance


Published by Self Published Author

on 10th March, 2015

Format: Paperback

Pages: 290

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.

Read an Excerpt of the Novel:

(the following is permitted to be shared by the author Ms Jacobs and was left intact as she gave it to me to share with my readers. Therefore the copyright portion of the novel are as they would be seen if you picked up the novel to read.)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com
EXCERPT FROM ‘ROBIN’S REWARD’, BONITA CREEK TRILOGY, BOOK 1:
© June McCrary Jacobs, 2015.
Copyright 2015 June McCrary Jacobs
Front Cover Design: Sherry Gammon copyright 2015
Interior Design: Cindy C Bennett
Images copyright via DepositPhotos.com
Elet_1 (Anna Bogush)
Pakhnyushchyy (Vitalik Pakhnyushchyy)
daseaford (David Seaford)

All rights reserved. No parts of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Exceptions are reviewers who may quote short excerpts for review. Please write to junemccraryjacobs@gmail.com for permission. This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. The characters are products of the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously. All Rights Reserved USA

~ DEDICATION ~
Robin’s Reward is dedicated to my dear friend, Nancy. Thank you for your kindness, guidance, encouragement, and support over the past three decades. Your friendship has been a blessing in my life.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Chapter One

I’m as hot and sticky as the center of a freshly-roasted campfire marshmallow, Miss Praise.” Perspiration trickled past Robin’s sunburned neck, under her collar, and down her back. Her blouse was plastered to her skin.

“I’m not feeling very feminine or lady-like in this condition, if you catch my drift. This brings us to my next question. What was I thinking starting up with this garden renovation project on the hottest March afternoon ever recorded in Bonita Creek? Am I nuts? Wait—don’t answer that.”

Some sympathy from Miss Praise, like purring or even winding herself around Robin’s legs, would’ve been comforting. Instead, the elderly tabby was dozing comfortably in her cozy quilt-lined basket on the shaded porch. Robin was drained from tangling with her vintage hydrangea bush for the past four hours.

She’d read gardening was great exercise, but it gave Robin’s thoughts too many chances to wander. She dreaded those dark, dreary spaces in her mind permanently occupied by unhappy memories and heart-wrenching regrets. Since she wasn’t accomplishing much anyway, she released her shovel to take a break with a refreshing glass or two of her favorite iced tea. She straightened up and stretched her aching arms over her head.

“I’m parched, how about you? Want something cold to drink?” She spoke in the direction of the faded gray cat. Apparently, Miss Praise had heard enough of Robin’s whining. The cat yawned, stretched, flicked her tail, and hopped daintily out of her basket. She lumbered down the brick path to seek refuge in the peaceful back garden. Naturally, Robin hadn’t expected Miss Praise to respond, but talking to the cat helped her feel connected to her Grandma Estelle. The older woman had passed on a few years ago and Robin still ached for her grandmother’s presence. She kneaded her fatigued lower back with her knuckles and sighed deeply.

Please click on the Spoiler button to reveal
the rest of the excerpt for Robin’s Reward.

View Spoiler »

Author Biography:

June McCrary JacobsAward-winning author, June McCrary Jacobs, was the winner of Cedar Fort Publishing’s 2013 Holiday Tale Contest for her debut novella, ‘A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom’. ‘Robin’s Reward’ is her first full-length novel, and is set in her favorite location in California—the Mendocino coastal region. This book is the first installment of the ‘Bonita Creek Trilogy’.

June’s original sewing, quilting, and stitchery designs have been published in over one hundred books, magazines, and blogs in the past few years. When she’s not writing, reading, or sewing, June enjoys cooking, walking, and visiting art and history museums. She also enjoys touring historic homes and gardens and strolling around the many historic Gold Rush towns in the Sierra Nevada foothills. In the summertime you can find June at a variety of county fairs and the California State Fair admiring the sewing projects, quilts, and handiwork other inspired seamstresses, quilters, craftspeople, and artists have created.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:
June enjoys connecting with readers, authors, aspiring writers, bloggers, designers, sewers, quilters, and crafters. Please connect with June:

Site | Facebook | GoodReads | LinkedIn

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Read More

Divider

Posted Saturday, 2 May, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book | Novel Excerpt, Book Review (non-blog tour), Bookish Discussions, Botany, Bullies and the Bullied, Christianity, Contemporary Romance, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Diet Weight & Body Image, Divorce & Martial Strife, Finding Yourself a Character in a Novel, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Horticulture, Indie Author, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Librarians & Library Staff, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Modern Day, Orphans & Guardians, Self-Published Author, Singletons & Commitment, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Sweet Romance, Terminal Illness &/or Cancer

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.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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
Divider

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+ The Strength of Ballerinas by Nancy Lorenz

Posted Sunday, 21 September, 2014 by jorielov , , , 3 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

The Strength of Ballerinas by Nancy Lorenz

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

Official Author Websites:  Site @NancyLorenzbks | Facebook

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #TheStrengthofBallerinas OR #NancyLorenz

On the footheels of the sequel: #StrengthOfBallerinas (to imply a series)

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 “The Strength of Ballerinas” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

One area of motion pictures I have always been drawn into is the world of dance, as there is something quite magical about how emotion and fluidity of movement can merge into one. Creatively dance evokes such a strong passion of observation and a compelling experience for the audience who watch the dancers moving through their time on the floor. I appreciate nearly all of the different forms of dance, including urban dance crews such as the ones on ABDC (America’s Best Dance Crew) which had aired on MTV, and of which I no longer believe is hosted. The films which always spoke to me the most in different ways are the following: Dirty Dancing (with Jennifer Grey & Patrick Swayze), Save the Last Dance (with Julia Stiles), the Step Up franchise of films (each one unique in of itself), Footloose (original & remake), Flashdance, Singin’ in the Rain, every Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers film, most of the classic films of dance and/or musical variety (including works featuring: Danny Kay, Gene Kelly & others; The Ziegfeldd Follies), Chicago, Mary Poppins, Hairspray, Shall We Dance? (with Richard Gere), Greese, Burlesque (with Christina Aquilera), Honey (with Jessica Alba), Moulin Rouge, The Nanny Express (with Brennan Elliott) and of course I grew up on the tv series Fame. The films which speak directly to ballet and the world of those who dare to push the limits of their bodies are: Centerstage (my favourite favourite!), Ballet Shoes (with Emma Watson), and First Position (documentary). The ones I want to see are Billy Elliott, An American Girl: Isabelle Dances into the Spotlight, & Mao’s Last Dancer. I positively adored seeing a regional ensemble for The Nutcracker in Baltimore as well.

 First Position Official Trailer via First Position films

My own foray into the world of dance ended in my early childhood as I was very self-aware and knew which steps interested me in the room across from my own lessons. Unfortunately for me, they did not give freedom of choice to children under the age of 6. As an adult, I have wanted to re-take up the interest I have in dance and start to seek out lessons for ballroom dance as I love the agility and the grace of the sequences. I do not aim to compete, but rather to find a harmony of the steps whilst dancing against the music. I do have a sideline notion of taking up tap dancing, as I learnt for dyslexic learners tap can actually help us fuse the steps into our muscle memory. It also gives a better grounding for dance overall if you learn differently and of course, by wearing two different coloured shoes I’ll be able to ‘catch’ on a bit faster! I cannot wait to try!

I am simply drawn into stories of dance and the dancers who give us the light of their innermost joy. I was inspired to read this novel originally as it felt as though it would become a most beloved story of strength and the humbling grace of living on faith. I was only a bit worried about what the debilitating illness might be but thankfully my fears were put aside as I asked the tour director only one question: does the story involve cancer? And, the answer was no. I couldn’t wait to dive into this story as soon as I heard that and signed up for the tour! Trust me when I say that this is a story any sensitive heart can handle!

A note on the cover art design:

I was especially endeared to the choice of the cover art for this novel as it is a reflection of who Kendra is and the image of who Kendra has as a reflection of herself. There is a lot of metaphor in the novel, pointing to direct young adults and all readers who pick up the novel to reconsider how they view themselves as much as learning from Kendra’s lead. It is a clever book cover in what it is focusing on and how that focus translates into who Kendra is as a person.

+Blog Book Tour+ The Strength of Ballerinas by Nancy LorenzThe Strength of Ballerinas
by Nancy Lorenz
Source: Direct from Publisher

All Kendra has ever wanted to do is dance. But when her father's job takes their family from the city lights of Manhattan to quiet Napa Valley in California, Kendra's dreams are shattered.

Still determined to dance, she tries to adjust to her new life until a debilitating diagnosis threatens to change everything. Now Kendra must decide which dreams are really worth fighting for.

Step onto the dance floor and into Kendra's heart in this poignant and compelling story. Written by ballet lover Nancy Lorenz, this is a debut novel you won't want to put down.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Genres: Young Adult Fiction


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 9th of September, 2014

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 256

Author Biography: 

NancyLorenz

Nancy Lorenz currently teaches as an English adjunct at several colleges. She worked in publishing, public relations and in network television. She studied ballet in New York City at numerous studios, including open level classes at American Ballet Theater in the 1980’s, and continues to study ballet for the sheer love of it. She recommends that you love what you do, but also to branch out to the many subjects out there yet to discover. The more you learn, the more you can bring back into your art.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

A story about family & our desire to find our niche in the world:

I always appreciate fiction that drives into the heart of who we are as individuals and the discover of our own personal niche inside the world itself. The Strength of Ballerinas at it’s core is about a teenage ballerina in tutelage at the Manhattan Dance Company who unexpectedly is pulled from her rigorous training and transplanted into the vineyards of Napa Valley due to a job transfer of her father’s. All the whilst attempting to sort through regular teenage angst and anguish of understanding your person, your internal world of thought, body image & self worth issues, and the navigation of the world within the structure of school. School is always a rapid-fire crazy chaos of sorting out how to fit in or rather blend in without drawing attention to yourself if your own self-confidence is faltering due to an internal battle of frustration with your circumstances. In this light, Lorenz paints Kendra’s world brilliantly, as she shows how difficult the relocation was from the point-of-view of a ballerina in training and how life can throw a curve ball you’d rather have dodged completely!

I like the empathsis on Kendra’s family life, on how she lost her Mum at a young age, how her brother has autism, and how her father feels a bit lost in the shuffle of everything that keeps happening to his family. He’s written well on his own behalf, as parents are not always fleshed out in Children’s Literature (across the board from Juvenile, Middle Grade, or Young Adult fiction) nor do they come across as regular parents, but rather caricatures of who they should be. Lorenz takes the parents of the novel and gives them an honest portrayal of caring & nurturing presences inside the lives of the teens. I appreciated seeing Mr. Sutton (Kendra’s Dad) as much as I did Mrs. Cassidy (the widow mother of Becca & Troy), as it sparks a new vein of realism inside this genre of Young Adult.

My Review of The Strength of Ballerinas:

Kendra’s world crashes in the blink of an eye when on the larkspur joy of completing a milestone in her quest to become an apprentice ballerina (she achieved twenty fouettés), her father informs her they are going to embark on a cross-country job transfer. Her young life and world is surrounded by dance – to perfect the grace and the maturity needed to handle the arduous competitive state of ballet. She lives and breathes her art, denying herself any other joy outside of the practice and has no interest in food except enough to satisfy her father’s concern on behalf of her health. What compelled me about the start of The Strength of Ballerinas is how within the opening sequences of the story, Lorenz gives you a breath of a whisper to what is going to be alighting next in successive chapters. A mere hinting of a foreshadow, but enough to compel me forward into the heart of the novel.

Lorenz writes with a passion for the ballet and for an understanding of the internal world of a ballerina. She pulls you into that mindset and allows for the characters to be honest about their feelings and their thoughts as they arise naturally through dialogue. I always find this is especially important when writing stories for YA audiences, as it gives a firm and compelling addition to literature for younger audiences who are thirsty for realism and heart.

As Kendra progresses through the early stages of being the new student at the Napa Valley high school, we start to see her undergo a bit of a metamorphosis in how she views her position in her life. Prior to the relocation from New York City to California, she centered her life around ballet. She never even considered the role she had as a big sister to Petey her younger brother afflicted with autism, nor did she count the difficulties her widowed father might have as well. She was focused intently on her dream to be a prima ballerina but what she was missing was the grounding roots of a well-balanced and well-lived life. By exchanging one Coast for the other, we start to see her emerge out of her shell a bit, reconsidering a few things she had always ignored (especially the warning signs of her muscles), and even ventured to appreciate food for something more than sustenance. I appreciated this character growth occurring in the novel, as if there is a teen who is career driven themselves, they might start to see that you can have a rounded world full of experiences without limiting your scope to what you want to do professionally.

Seeing Kendra’s happiness at the pumpkin patch of the Cassidy’s was one of my favourite scenes, as she had pure joy inside her heart and she carried this into being a big sister to Petey of whom she tried to share the happiness with as well. I felt it was a turning point in her outlook and of her growth towards being a bit more than she was when she was in New York.

The interesting part of the novel is how Kendra believed as strongly in her brother’s abilities as their mother yet she would find that her father could only believe what he sees. Coincidently, he is also the father who disbelieves what he sees when his son starts to show signs he’s participating rather than not understanding anything at all. I think this was a good show of how hard it is for parents to trust in something that they do not fully understand but hope will have a positive outcome. I can imagine how frustrating it is for the parents of autistic children to find joy inside everyday hours, when attempting to simply make a small connection to a child who does not know how to communicate. I have often run across autistic children whilst I am out at malls or stores, and I always remember to have a bit more patience, as I never know if something I say or if I move too quickly will affect their child. This was especially the case when I was riding in an elevator with an autistic child at a department store. I thought closer about my words and my tone, and I didn’t make any sudden movements – not that I do normally, but I was mindful the child might misread anything outside their own family and environment. The mother thanked me and we talked a bit before she had to go on with her day. I smiled and said a prayer of gratitude for remembering what I had read and heard in documentaries. The memory triggered to mind as I read this story, however, as how one parent differs from another; and how all parents have their breaking moments of feeling exasperated. I can only hope if others were to come across a child whose responses clued them into the fact they had special needs, they’d take a few extra steps to make them feel comfortable as I had and give their Mum or Dad a breathing space. As I think that is what Kendra’s Dad needed — he needed breathing space.

I simply soaked straight into this novel and was absent from noticing the erasure of the hours off the clock! I simply found myself unable to put the book down, much less draw a pause to blog my thoughts about it! What was so very compelling about The Strength of Ballerinas is how universal the message is of the story: to not only believe in your own unique talent but to treasure the experiences and choices you have to create a future you were always meant to walk. It is powerful and empowering at the very same time – to live for a short spell inside Kendra’s shoes and watch as she grows inside this beautiful coming-of age story of strength, spiritual fortitude, and a conviction of personal will to overcome what comes along in our lives that scare us as much as they define our character.

Nancy Lorenz is a writer in YA I want to keep my eye on:

Lorenz has such a beautiful gift for writing compelling teenage drama and realistic life circumstances, that I know she is most definitely a writer in YA I want to keep my eye on! I cannot wait to see where she takes us next, and the fact she was so convicting in a novel of dance, I’d be keen to see more exploits of the creative arts; if not dance! She truly knows how to get into the heart of her characters and I appreciate this the most, as they are uniquely different and approachable. She keeps a clear eye on the economic front of America as well, and she ties-in realistic examples of modern American life as well. She’s not cliche and she honours the characters by giving them full flexibility and a rite of passage that befits who they are as well. I am most definitely going to be keeping my eyes on the look-out for her next releases through Sweetwater Books!

One of the most beautiful things is how she found a way to transition the terminology of the dance into a tangible visual representation of the ballet without having hiccups in the translation. I felt caught up in the delight of reading this novel, because the author’s vision for the storm guided my heart and my imagination towards her impression of where she wanted us to go as reader’s. It is a special gift to translate visually what you write through words, and her expressions and palette of choice in descriptions matched how I felt this story would be represented in life.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Strength of Ballerinas Book Trailer via The Strength of Ballerinas

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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

Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

Virtual Road Map of “The Strength of Ballerinas” Blog Tour can be found here:

This is my second Young Adult book review outside of Speculative Fiction and the second for Equality in Literature. Wonder was the first one I blogged about where a brother is different from his sister and the story is rooted in family & coming-of age.

The Strength of Ballerinas Blog Tour via Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

Click-through to mark your calendars for:

Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in CanvaFun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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: Author photograph and the Book Cover of “The Strength of Ballerinas” were provided by the author Nancy Lorenz and used with permission. The Cedar Fort badge, the Book Synopsis, and the Author Biography were provided by Cedar Fort, Inc. and used by permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Book Trailer for The Strength of Ballerinas via the novel’s YouTube Channel & the trailer for First Position by First Position Films had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed these media portals to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share more about this novel and the author who penned it.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

The ‘live reading’ tweets I shared as I read & reviewed “The Strength of Ballerinas”:

{ favourite & Re-tweet if inspired to share }

Updates about this becoming a series:

*This last tweet was RT at least 5x!

Divider

Posted Sunday, 21 September, 2014 by jorielov in 21st Century, A Father's Heart, Autism, Ballet, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Book Trailer, Bookish Films, Brothers and Sisters, California, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Children's Literature, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debilitating Diagnosis & Illness, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Diet Weight & Body Image, Disabilities & Medical Afflictions, Documentary on Topic or Subject, Equality In Literature, Father-Daughter Relationships, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Geographically Specific, Indie Author, Life Shift, Modern Day, Musical Fiction | Non-Fiction, Napa Valley, New York City, Prejudicial Bullying & Non-Tolerance, Questioning Faith as a Teen, Realistic Fiction, School Life & Situations, Siblings, Small Towne Fiction, Special Needs Children, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Transfer Student at School, Urban Life, Vintages and Vineyards, Women's Health, Young Adult Fiction

+Blog Book Tour+ The Dreamosphere by Laura Stoddard

Posted Sunday, 20 July, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

The Dreamosphere by Laura Stoddard

The Dreamosphere Blog Tour by Cedar Fort

Published By: Sweetwater Books ( ),
an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFort)
8th July, 2014
Official Author WebsitesSite | Facebook | Twitter |
GoodReads
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook
Page Count: 208

Converse via: #TheDreamosphere

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Cedar Fort since I participated in the “Uncovering Cobbogoth” tour. This blog tour will be my second hosting for Cedar Fort & Sweetwater Books! I received a complimentary copy of “The Dreamosphere” 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.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

A Short Excerpt:

“What do you think happens to your dreams after you wake up?”

Gwen shrugged distractedly, too disoriented by her sudden arrival in the remarkable setting to focus. “I dunno. They disappear?”

The unblinking gray eyes of her young companion flashed as she leaned forward. “Incorrect. Every dream you’ve ever had still exists. All of them. They reside in a dimension called the Dreamosphere. It’s where we are right now, as a matter of fact. Each dream basically exists as its own world, or dream-orb. There are thousands and thousands of them, connected like drops of dew on a gigantic spider web. Every dream you’ve ever had, Gwen. They’re all up here. And you can visit them any time you want.”

Tabitha, the enigmatic child who shares this information, has some even more shocking news. Gwen’s dreamosphere is in danger. Someone has been hacking into it—destroying her dream orbs, erasing pieces of her past, and affecting Gwen in more ways than she realizes. Together, Gwen and Tabitha travel through the outlandish landscape of Gwen’s dream worlds to find the person responsible. What will happen to Gwen when all her dreams are gone? What critical clues lie within the pages of her dream journal? And what does Edgar Allan Poe have to do with it all?

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Laura StoddardBook Synopsis:

What if dreams don’t disappear when we wake up? Haunted by her younger sister’s death, and her unwitting role in the incident, 11-year-old Gwenevere Stoker takes solace in the Dreamosphere—a dimension where all dreams still exist. But when someone begins destroying her dreams, Gwen must find the culprit—or risk losing all her happiness forever. Bask in the mystery and imagination of dreams in this touching, funny, mind-bending children’s tale that encompasses themes of grief, friendship, family, healing, and grand adventure!

Author Biography:

Laura Stoddard was born in Idaho and spent her formative years running amok in the great outdoors. She received her bachelors degree in English Literature from Arizona State University. After being rejected from the masters program for creative writing she decided that she didn’t need a masters degree to tell her she could write, so she started really dedicating her time to finishing the story she’d started months earlier, with the goal of writing a complete novel, and getting it published. The result is her debut novel, The Dreamosphere, for which her own vivid, bizarre, and incomprehensible dreams provided the inspiration. Laura is an adrenaline junkie and will try anything once–or twice–or maybe three times. She can already check whitewater rafting, going down in a shark cage, and skydiving (three times) off of her list. Oh, and getting Lasik. It was five minutes of terror. She enjoys hiking, rowing, reading classic literature, embarking on new adventures and hobbies, volunteering regularly, and spending time with family. She currently resides in Phoenix, Ariz.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The fabric of the dreamosphere:

The Prologue provides a bit of a cursory view into the webbed network of Gwen’s dreamosphere, a world in which nothing is quite as it appears (true to the nature of our dreamscapes!), and yet, there is a beguiling presence of a half man, half vulture bird-like entity that is starting to cause an undercurrent of primal fear. His presence is clearly laced with malice towards Gwen, and her dream world; yet what has triggered his focus and aggression on her particular dreams was not yet revealed as this merely was providing the framework for where Gwen goes whilst she’s dreaming. Her companion Tabitha is quite the hoot, a shapeshifter who is able to transform her body and language as she walks through the dream’s individual orb of existence. I presumed the dreams are contained in an orb of memory – a particular space where the entirety of a dream can exist without harm of disappearing.

As the story progresses the intricacies of how the dreamosphere and the world of dreams co-exist is explained. Part of the dream sequences reminded me of the wild imagination of Terry Pratchett from the Tiffany Aching sequences within the Discworld universe. The interesting bit for me is how Tabitha takes the shape of a squirrel in Gwen’s living reality but can be seen as a young girl (a composite of Gwen’s real-life friend from living on the farm) inside the dreamosphere adventures. She has a most curious nature and I would wager an even more curious story of origin!

Read More

Divider

Posted Sunday, 20 July, 2014 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Coming-Of Age, Death of a Sibling, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Diet Weight & Body Image, Dreams & Dreamscapes, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Journal, Light vs Dark, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Shapeshifters, Siblings, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction