Category: Modern British Author

A #cloakanddaggerchristmas Book Review | “Naughty On Ice” (Book Four of The Discreet Retrieval Agency) by Maia Chance

Posted Monday, 24 December, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I was approached by Minotaur Books this Winter about reading a selection of their upcoming Mysteries and Suspense novels. I was hoping to read them in the weeks leading into Christmas until I came down with a serious Winter virus which disrupted my plans. Therefore, it became a proper #cloakanddaggerchristmas celebration for me as I settled into these Cosies as the holiday was arriving giving me a comfortable joy of reading the kind of stories I love to discover during this time of the year. Cosies are wonderful all year round but there is something special about the ones that take-on a holiday vibe!

I received a complimentary copy of “Naughty On Ice” direct from the publisher Minotaur Books (an imprint of St. Martin’s Press) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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The reason reading ‘Naughty On Ice’ appealled to me:

This one felt like a smashing good fit as I personally was seriously attached to the tv series “Miss Fisher” – I love the whole era this is set behind and of course, I can imagine the kind of folly which might follow suit as well. I saw the first in the series is at my local library so I wouldn’t feel guilty this is a series already in-progress!

I have been aching to find a new Cosy series which was representative of what I *adore!* in the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries but which could exist separate from #MissFisher all the same! I haven’t ever read one of those mysteries due to how attached I became to the television adaptations – something didn’t seem quite right to me to back-read a series I knew would ultimately disappoint me as the series on air and the series in print are two birds of different feathers! It would have been different of course, if I had found the book series prior to the tv series but since I hadn’t, I was ready to find another Cosy Historical Mystery series which had the essence of Miss Fisher but was a wholly new adventure all the same!

I had a feeling I’d adore reading this series – I had it in mind to fetch the first of the series as I spied it at my local library but as I struggled with my health this Autumn & Winter, I elected to read it out of sequence, keeping true to how sometimes you can read a festive Cosy and gather a good notion about a series already in-progress. It didn’t take long for me to recognise I would love these stories and I happily added the first three to my #BeatTheBacklist reading challenge to see what I’ve been missing out from not having found this series sooner!

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Naughty On Ice badge created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit jorielovesastory.com

Naughty On Ice
by Maia Chance
Source: Direct from Publisher

Marvelously charming Lola Woodby and her stoic Swedish cook Berta return for a dazzingly fun holiday adventure in Naught On Ice, Maia Chance's latest addition to the Discreet Retrieval Agency series.

When an anonymous Christmas card from Maple Hill, Vermont beckons the Discreet Retrieval Agency to recover an antique ring at a family gathering, of course Lola and Berta jump at the chance - after all, holiday business hasn't been such exhilarating work, and their sweethearts Ralph and Jimmy have been on the back burner.

But no sooner do they find the ring on Great-Aunt Daphne Goddard's arthritic finger than Mrs Goddard drops dead from a poisoned glass of Negroni on ice - and the police show up to find Lola and Berta red-handed with the ring. It's an obvious set-up, and now the duo must uncover the secrets of Maple Hill in order to clear their name... or be thrown in the slammer.

Genres: Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction



Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781250109071

Published by Minotaur Books

on 13th November, 2018

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 288

 Published By: Minotaur Books (@MinotaurBooks)
{imprint of} St. Martin’s Press (@StMartinsPress)

The Discreet Retrieval Agency series:

Come Hell or High Ball (book one)

Teetotaled (book two)

Gin and Panic (book three)

→ Naughty on Ice (book four) *where I begin the series!

Converse via: #DiscreetRetrievalAgency, #LolaAndBerta, #MaiaChance

and #CosyHistoricalMystery, #CosyMystery or #HistMys

Available Formats: Hardcover and Ebook

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About Maia Chance

Maia Chance was a finalist for the 2004 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award and is a Ph.D candidate at the University of Washington. She is writing her dissertation on nineteenth-century American literature. She is also the author of the Fairy Tale Fatal Mystery series.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 24 December, 2018 by jorielov in 20th Century, Amateur Detective, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), British Literature, Cosy Historical Mystery, Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction, Detective Fiction, Historical Fiction, Lady Detective Fiction, Modern British Author, the Roaring Twenties

Blog Book Tour | “Once Upon A River” by Diane Setterfield a rather hauntingly gothic tale set against a historical era where lanterns & candlelight were commonplace as much as a river who could either bless or curse a man

Posted Tuesday, 11 December, 2018 by jorielov , , , 4 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: Over the Summer of [2018] I was approached about this Winter blog tour celebrating the new release by Ms Setterfield. The interesting bit is that this is an author I am familiar in name only as I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading one of her novels – as I will explain in a moment. When I read the premise and read a bit about the author’s style of narrative, it felt like the kind of story I would love to be reading. It is hard to imagine I knew about this book originally in August and had to wait til December to start talking about it! I was going to mention it sooner but decided to wait for the blog tour instead.

I received a complimentary ARC copy of “Once Upon A River” direct from the publisher Atria Books (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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The reason reading ‘Once Upon A River’ appealled to me:

What can I say? I’m memorised by this premise!! I know of the author – I picked up a copy of Bellman & Black last year but haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading it. She’s been on my #mustread list for a few years, as I’ve heard about her writing style and the eloquent way she pulls words together and illuminates her stories through the book bloggers I visit who have read her stories.

It is a rather curious plot – not just for the reasons behind why the identity of the girl remains hidden from both the characters in the story as much as the reader but the circumstances themselves.

This story has stirred my imagination! It reminds me of another story I read earlier in the year “House on the Forgotten Coast” by Ruth Coe Chambers – as when I read this one “Once Upon A River” stays with you long after you conclude the story – due to the themes and insights it explores, I felt, ooh I love stories like those! And, that brings back fond memories of ‘House on the Forgotten Coast’!!

As you can see, I went into reading ‘Once Upon A River’ as a new reader into Setterfield’s style of narrative whilst I had the joy of knowing ‘of her stories’ even if I hadn’t yet had the pleasure of joy ‘reading her stories’. It felt like the kind of story you wait to read and discover and then, feel wonderfully blessed for having been selected to read it ahead of publication!

I do enjoy haunting tales – where there is an element of the fantastical & the historical breaching into the background of the narrative itself. Where you are never quite certain as you move through its world – what is real, what is imagined & what is wondrously otherworldly?

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Blog Book Tour | “Once Upon A River” by Diane Setterfield a rather hauntingly gothic tale set against a historical era where lanterns & candlelight were commonplace as much as a river who could either bless or curse a manOnce Upon A River
by Diane Setterfield
Source: Direct from Publisher
Narrator: Juliet Stevenson

From the instant #1 New York Times bestselling author of the “eerie and fascinating” ( USA TODAY) The Thirteenth Tale comes a richly imagined, powerful new novel about how we explain the world to ourselves, ourselves to others, and the meaning of our lives in a universe that remains impenetrably mysterious.

On a dark midwinter’s night in an ancient inn on the river Thames, an extraordinary event takes place. The regulars are telling stories to while away the dark hours, when the door bursts open on a grievously wounded stranger. In his arms is the lifeless body of a small child. Hours later, the girl stirs, takes a breath and returns to life. Is it a miracle? Is it magic? Or can science provide an explanation? These questions have many answers, some of them quite dark indeed.

Those who dwell on the river bank apply all their ingenuity to solving the puzzle of the girl who died and lived again, yet as the days pass the mystery only deepens. The child herself is mute and unable to answer the essential questions: Who is she? Where did she come from? And to whom does she belong? But answers proliferate nonetheless.

Three families are keen to claim her. A wealthy young mother knows the girl is her kidnapped daughter, missing for two years. A farming family reeling from the discovery of their son’s secret liaison, stand ready to welcome their granddaughter. The parson’s housekeeper, humble and isolated, sees in the child the image of her younger sister. But the return of a lost child is not without complications and no matter how heartbreaking the past losses, no matter how precious the child herself, this girl cannot be everyone’s. Each family has mysteries of its own, and many secrets must be revealed before the girl’s identity can be known.

Once Upon a River is a glorious tapestry of a book that combines folklore and science, magic and myth. Suspenseful, romantic, and richly atmospheric, the beginning of this novel will sweep you away on a powerful current of storytelling, transporting you through worlds both real and imagined, to the triumphant conclusion whose depths will continue to give up their treasures long after the last page is turned.

Genres: Dark Fantasy, Gothic Literature, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, Historical-Fantasy, Literary Fiction, Mythological Fantasy



Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780743298070

ASIN: B07FKSTRCJ

Published by Atria Books

on 4th December, 2018

Format: Paperback ARC

Length: 16 hours and 27 minutes (unabridged)

Pages: 480

 Published By: Atria Books (@AtriaBooks)
{imprint of} Simon & Schuster (

Converse via: #OnceUponARiver
Available Formats: Hardcover, Trade Paperback, Audiobook & Ebook

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I, admit, I did listen to the audiobook sampler ahead of reading #OnceUponARiver – however, I discontinued listening to it, as instead of being an extract at the beginning of the story, I found myself on page eight (of the ARC) – thereby, I felt a bit in the dark about the placement of the extract and elected to read this at the beginning, as it was a rather ghoulish place to begin the sampler,…

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About Diane Setterfield

Diane Setterfield Photo Credit: Susie Barker

Diane Setterfield is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Thirteenth Tale, and a former academic, specializing in twentieth-century French literature, particularly the works of Andre Gide. She lives in Oxford, England.

Photo Credit: Susie Barker

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Posted Tuesday, 11 December, 2018 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, British Literature, Content Note, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Folklore, Folklore and Mythology, Historical Fiction, Horror-Lite, Literary Fiction, Modern British Author, Simon & Schuster

Book Review | “Follow A Star” (Book No.2 of the Little Spitmarsh series) by Christine Stovell #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 21 April, 2018 by jorielov , , , 3 Comments

ChocLitSaturdays Banner Created by Jorie in Canva.

Why I feature #ChocLitSaturdays (book reviews & guest author features)
and created #ChocLitSaturday (the chat via @ChocLitSaturday):

I wanted to create a bit of a niche on Jorie Loves A Story to showcase romance fiction steeped in relationships, courtships, and the breadth of marriage enveloped by characters written honestly whose lives not only endear you to them but they nestle into your heart as their story is being read!

I am always seeking relationship-based romance which strikes a chord within my mind’s eye as well as my heart! I’m a romantic optimist, and I love curling into a romance where I can be swept inside the past, as history becomes lit alive in the fullness of the narrative and I can wander amongst the supporting cast observing the principal characters fall in love and sort out if they are a proper match for each other!

I love how an Indie Publisher like ChocLitUK is such a positive alternative for those of us who do not identify ourselves as girls and women who read ‘chick-lit’. I appreciate the stories which alight in my hands from ChocLit as much as I appreciate the inspirational romances I gravitate towards because there is a certain level of depth to both outlets in romance which encourage my spirits and gives me a beautiful story to absorb! Whilst sorting out how promote my book reviews on behalf of ChocLit, I coined the phrase “ChocLitSaturdays”, which is a nod to the fact my ChocLit reviews & features debut on ‘a Saturday’ but further to the point that on the ‘weekend’ we want to dip into a world wholly ideal and romantic during our hours off from the work week!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular reviewer for ChocLitUK, where I hand select which books in either their backlist and/or current releases I would like to read next for my #ChocLitSaturdays blog feature. As of June 2016, I became a member of the ChocLit Stars Team in tandem with being on the Cover Reveal Team which I joined in May 2016. I reference the Stars as this is a lovely new reader contribution team of sending feedback to the publisher ahead of new book releases. As always, even if I’m involved with a publisher in this sort of fashion, each review is never influenced by that participation and will always be my honest impression as I read the story. Whether the author is one I have previously read or never had the pleasure to read until the book greets my shelf.

I received a complimentary copy of “Follow A Star” from ChocLit in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Why I am enjoying my respite in Little Spitmarsh:

Not quite a village or hamlet, but in some ways it is both – if you consider how insular resorts can become when it feels like all of life is bubbling within it’s natural boundaries. I was quite delighted by the Prologue to cast a pointed eye on what Little Spitmarsh had been once in it’s heyday of popularity with visitors from away inasmuch as the cross-comparison of what it has become now; a sad remnant of it’s past. This is quite common I think, when urban and rural areas fall into decay from an absence of care – where it takes someone with vision to re-transitionalise the place into a new kind of beauty that will lure people back to a place they once knew. Although this isn’t merely a resort or a marina, it’s a small towne whose point of focus has fallen and whose re-development could change the way in which the townespeople will live in the future.

This felt like such an honest prospect of interest – right from the start – as who doesn’t like to see how developers with an eye for progress and a nod towards preserving certain bits of the past could lend a new lease of life on a place like Little Spitmarsh? Of course, that would be far too easy, of course! There was a small hinting of what would become fireworks (nearly certain!) lateron, as just because a land deal seems cut and dry on the offset doesn’t necessarily mean there aren’t hidden ‘obstacles’ that might test the patience of someone whose vision might be a bit misguided.

The scenery alone makes you hunger to visit this little niche of a small community if only for the pause of breath to drink in the natural joys you would be viewing. Stepping outside of civilisation where nature still had the larger bounty and has been allowed to thrive without too much interference are the places to cherish the most. They are kept away and hidden from the masses for a reason – to preserve what is able to be conserved. The book cover places you visually in the right kind of place that is being described inside the chapters as it truly is a place that hugs the water whilst ebbing you into a sync of natural harmony.

I liked too, how Ms Stovell has her own rhythm of threading a Contemporary with it’s own narrative pace and tone of telling a story set in such an interesting place. The setting and the vibe of the community have their own lifeblood in this Contemporary granting the reader a strong visual of not only the natural setting of how a harbour or seaside area can dictate but how a community is as quirky as it’s residents! The fuller personalities of how she rounded out her cast of characters and augmented such a normalcy out of the quirks of their everyday lives is part of what granted so much enjoyment to read the story! It’s truly a novel that paints it’s own portrait by how it’s writer chose to deliver it’s contents – loved her choices but also, the way in which she delves past the surface and digs in for the heartier story-line that is just bubbling under the drama.

-quoted from my review of Turning the Tide

I’ve taken my time to return back to Little Spitmarsh – I had aimed to continue my readings of this series closer to when I entered ‘Turning the Tide’, however, my own tides took me away from the series until now. Even over the past six weeks, where my health hasn’t been the best – I’ve had to put my ChocLit readings on hold, until I was in a better position to focus on reading again. One of the key issues was a relapse in my chronic migraines – I was able to handle listening to audiobooks here and there, but overall, reading and attempting to type on a screen was proving to be more than what I could handle.

There were a few moments where Twitter acted as a reprieve from my heath issues but even that has taken a bit of a backseat since my migraines resumed. I had planned to anchour April with a Georgette Heyer chat and a Women’s Fiction topical chat – however, just to return back into a ChocLit novel felt wonderful! I’ve also decided for the foreseeable future, the last two weekends of the month work best for me hosting @SatBookChat.

It is also coincidentally on the heels of helping to select the cover for the Little Spitmarsh novella “Moonbeams in a Jar”. Which I happily tweeted about previously as soon as I saw the release make it’s way into the twitterverse! Always a happy day celebrating a forthcoming release within a series you love reading!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Notation on Cover Art: Little Spitmarsh is unique setting where the water, the tides and the small community round out the appeal of living there. I liked how this cover focused on sunset, as there is something quite special about the setting of the sun – of how even after hard days or the uncertainties of futures, seeing the sun set and rise is a lovely moment where you can draw a breath of serenity and simply appreciate the scenery for how the colours play against the natural landscape.

 Book Review | “Follow A Star” (Book No.2 of the Little Spitmarsh series) by Christine Stovell #ChocLitSaturdaysFollow A Star

Sometimes your heart’s the only navigator you need

May Starling’s had enough of her demanding career and even more demanding ex. Responding to a ‘crew-wanted’ ad, she follows her dreams of escape only to find herself at sea with red-haired Bill Blythe.

Bill warns May that close-quartered living can create a boiling pot of emotions, but even May is surprised by the heat building up inside the vintage wooden boat. And when May and Bill tie up at Watling’s Boatyard in Little Spitmarsh, May’s determined to test her new-found feelings on dry land.

But May’s dream of escaping her former life is in danger of being swept away when several unwelcome blasts from the past follow her ashore, all seemingly hell-bent on reminding her it’s never that easy to clear the decks.


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

Book Page on World Weaver Press

ISBN: 978-1781891360

on 1st July, 2014

Pages: 336

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLituk)

Available Formats: Paperback, Audiobook, Large Print & E-Book

Order of Sequence of Little Spitmarsh series:

Turning the Tide by Christine StovellFollow a Star by Christine StovellMoonbeams in a Jar by Christine Stovell

Read my review of Turning the Tide

Read the Synopsis for Moonbeams in a Jar

Converse via: #Contemporary & #Romance + #ChocLit #LittleSpitmarsh

About Christine Stovell

Christine Stovell Photo Credit: Tim Jones

Winning a tin of chocolate in a national essay competition at primary school inspired Christine Stovell to become a writer! After graduating from University of East Anglia, she took various jobs in the public sector writing research papers and policy notes by day and filling up her spare drawers with embryonic novels by night.

Losing her dad to cancer made her realise that if she was ever going to get a novel published she had to put her writing first. Setting off, with her husband, from a sleepy seaside resort on the east coast in a vintage wooden boat to sail halfway round Britain provided the inspiration for her debut novel Turning the Tide and Follow a Star. Turning The Tide was a top 100 Bestseller with Amazon Kindle and spent months in the Top 10 Chart for Adult Contemporary Romance. Christine has also published numerous short stories and articles. Christine lives in Wales. Christine novels include: Turning The Tide, Move Over Darling and Follow a Star (July 2014).

Photo Credit: Tim Jones

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo. Read More

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Posted Saturday, 21 April, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Britian, British Literature, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Debut Author, Debut Novel, England, Equality In Literature, Green-Minded Publishers, Indie Author, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Modern British Author, Romance Fiction, Vulgarity in Literature