Category: Young Adult Fiction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does growing older mean growing apart?

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

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781946016195

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


Published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

on 7th June, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 234

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

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

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

About Brandy Bruce

Brandy Bruce

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

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

#Harlequin #SuperRomance Book Review | “Nights Under the Tennessee Stars” (part of a duology) by Joanne Rock

Posted Sunday, 8 April, 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 a host for Lola’s Blog Tours back in [2015] – enjoying working with Lola to showcase the authors who were using her services with their stories until my personal life tipped the scales a bit in regards to what I could handle doing back then and what I needed to realise was a sign I needed to withdraw from a few newer commitments to seek better balance in the future. It was a two year journey – of being mindful and conscious of pulling back on requesting too many books – which at the time I hadn’t thought I was doing – opting instead for a reduced blog schedule which yielded better personal health. It was also prior to recognising my chronic migraines were not going to ‘go away’ on their own and I had to take steps to curb their re-appearances; hence why in [2016] I started to seek out audiobooks in earnest as a break from reading books in print.

Originally, I was meant to post my reviews of both novels “Promises Under The Peach Tree” and “Nights Under the Tennessee Stars” within the same week of each other. I did receive them with an open-ended deadline – meaning, they were received without an obligation to post an immediate honest review and could be read in my leisure. Thus, as [2017] took it’s final countdown to greet [2018] I found I could finally re-focus on the stories awaiting me on my backlogue.

I received a complimentary copy of “Nights Under the Tennessee Stars” direct from the author Joanne Rock in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

What I enjoyed about the first half of this duology:

I don’t believe I’ve read a more intensely emotional opening sequence of a novel than this one! At least, not for quite a long time. Nina is beyond distraught over her emotional angst stemming from a past relationship she’s never allowed herself to heal from or recover out of – as noted by how her impulsive emotional triggers are responding to things never spoken aloud. Mack on the other hand is trying to find a way to tread through his return to Heartache – a call from his brother was insisting he was needed; his brother had a marriage drifting towards divorce, their mother was having a bad spell with her mental health struggles and meeting up with his teenage love Nina was pushing him a bit over the edge. To be honest, neither of them were ready to see each other, much less try to fill the gap of the years they had been apart with idle conversation now.

Nina’s emotional health was shouldered on the surface of her being – she didn’t hold back and she didn’t wait long enough to think through what she wanted to say either. She simply spoke her mind – whatever she was feeling at that moment and ran with it. This sort of brokered trouble because she misread most of the conversation – especially in regards to the motives behind Mack’s return to their hometown. His intentions were to help his family, she only believed he wanted to goad his success over her own failures – the sad truth really is they both were emotionally shattered by how their relationship ended. Ironically or not, they each had a different point-of-view on their exit from their romance affected them long-term – of how theirs was a relationship which should have lasted but only left them with remorse, regret and uncertainty of what really went wrong.

Heartache is well named – the residents have a hard time expressing their emotions – some leave their emotions bottled inside them, others shout to release them and a few have no understanding about how to even approach expressing themselves until they find the harsh words they say in haste isn’t the right way round to fix the issue at hand. The characters, young and old are struggling to find resolution in their lives – the teens are emotionally anguished by their families choices and the adults, are either still trying to heal their own teenage lives (as a lot happened with affected the whole town when one teen died tragically premature) or they have difficulties in their relationships. Some have commitment issues, others struggle to accept they can parent children without the worrying concerns over inherited health issues whilst a few are just trying to find stability in their lives as a measure of growth past their adversities.

I admit, I was a bit more wrapped inside Ally’s struggle to find truth and understanding about her mental health issues than I was as held by Nina and Mack’s hard-fought restitution for past hurts. There were a lot of back and forth narrative choices which muddled Nina and Mack’s growth from the past but also, at one point, I was finding myself not as interested in if they resolved their issues or if they parted company. Their story-line I didn’t feel was the strongest one in the novel – it was Ally, her friends at school and the break-down of her parents marriage which I felt held far more traction of interest.

-quoted from my review of Promises Under the Peach Tree

As I had mentioned previously, it was my intention to read both stories in this duology back-to-back, however, I had a difficult month for health and wellness in March, 2018 which threw off most of my reading life. I enjoyed the stories I was able to tuck inside but overall, I yearned to read more of the stories I felt were calling to me to be read as Spring started to come into sight. We had a small shift in our weather patterns this year – where Spring came quite unexpectedly ‘later’ than usual! For my family and I, this was quite the blessing – as the idyllic glimpse Ms Rock gives in her Author’s Note about why she *loves!* slipping back into Heartache, Tennessee in Nights Under the Tennessee Stars is reminiscent of what I long to find myself – a slower pace of living hugged close to the natural world, where you not only can see the stars but you can feel the joys of the Seasons as they enter and exit your life.

Spring is generally a difficult season for me (pollen allergies) however, I had a small reprieve from fighting them whilst finding my heart uplifted due to the cooler weather patterns, the overcast skies and the joyfulness of watching the seasonal birds hearken from above as they found new places to nest in the boughs of the trees they call home this time of the year. When you hear the songbirds singing and feel the last bits of cold nipping in the air, you know Spring is coming soon. I thrive in colder weather, make no mistake and although, I shudder to think about how abominable Summer’s wrath will be – it’s nice to read about settings and locales like Heartache where you feel the climate doesn’t suffocate you nearly as much and where you can relax into the community.

As I feel a renewal in focus in my readings this April, it is nice to have my ‘send-off’ to Heartache to be at the start of the month, just as Spring is starting to bloom in front of me. And, let’s pray the pollen levels are not as increased as they have been in years past,… honestly that is not something I wish to repeat!

In regards to the hopeful message about love and the inspiring joy of reading Romances where you know despite the adversity or anguish – a happier ending is coming round for the characters – I had to smile as I read the author’s words in this vein of thought! This is what first attracted me to reading Romances all those years ago as a young girl – I loved being caught up in the moments, between the first meeting and the joyfulness of finding love take root in the heart’s of the characters I was growing attached to watching come together as each chapter ended. Romances are the heart-blood of our living realities – as it is the celebration of part of the goodness in our lives, the moments where we seek out of love and find it warmly reciprocated. It is wonderful to find other authors who feel the same way as we do (the readers) as it makes it a happy celebration of the stories we all love most to find!

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#Harlequin #SuperRomance Book Review | “Nights Under the Tennessee Stars” (part of a duology) by Joanne RockNights under the Tennessee Stars
by Joanne Rock
Source: Author via Lola's Blog Tours

Heartache—the best place to heal

Erin Finley heads home to Heartache, Tennessee, after the perfect guy turns out to be anything but. She throws herself into running a vintage store with her sister and surrounding herself with the comforts of her small town. Then one rainy night, TV producer Remy Weldon shows up and almost sweeps her off her feet!

Remy sees more in Erin than she sees in herself. Quirky, beautiful and capable, he needs her for his antiques show—and for himself. Because Erin is the first star Remy’s found in the very dark night that has become his life. And she might just be able to lead him into the dawn…

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

ISBN: 9780373609079

Also by this author: Promises Under the Peach Tree

Also in this series: Promises Under the Peach Tree


Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Romance Fiction


Published by Harlequin Super Romance

on 7th April, 2015

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

Published By: Harlequin Books (@HarlequinBooks)
via their imprint Harlequin Super Romance

A Harlequin Super Romance duology:

Promises Under the Peach Tree by Joanne RockNights Under the Tennessee Stars by Joanne Rock

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

Converse on Twitter via: #HarlequinBooks + #HarlequinSuperRomance; #Contemporary #Romance

four-flames

I’ve started adding ‘flames’ when I’m reading Romances where the descriptions inside were a bit more than I was thinking they would be – in other words, I am definitely a reader who finds ‘less is more’ and where a lot of what makes a Romance work for me doesn’t necessary have to be spent on the page. This Romance is a bit tamer than a few I’ve read recently but it still merits the flames as it doesn’t leave that much to your imagination.

About Joanne Rock

Three-time RITA nominee Joanne Rock never met a romance subgenre she didn't enjoy. The author of over sixty romances from contemporary to medieval historical, Joanne dreams of one day penning a book for every Harlequin series. A former Golden Heart recipient, she has won numerous awards for her stories. Learn more about Joanne's imaginative Muse by visiting her at the sites below.

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Posted Sunday, 8 April, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Child out of Wedlock, Coming-Of Age, Contemporary Romance, Cutting, Equality In Literature, Family Life, Fly in the Ointment, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Lola's Blog Tours, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Modern Day, Prejudicial Bullying & Non-Tolerance, Psychological Abuse, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Self-Harm Practices, Singletons & Commitment, Small Towne USA, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Transfer Student at School, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Health

Blog Book Tour | “In Spite of Lions” by Scarlette Pike

Posted Friday, 23 March, 2018 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I have been a blog tour hostess with Cedar Fort for the past three years, wherein I took a brief hiatus from hosting before resuming August 2016. I appreciate the diversity of the stories the Indie publisher is publishing per year, not only for fiction and non-fiction but for healthy eats within their Front Table Books (cookbooks). I appreciate their dedication to writing general market, INSPY reads and LDS focused stories across the genres they publish.

I received a complimentary copy of “In Spite of Lions” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (an imprint of Cedar Fort Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. I also read the copy my library purchased (due to my request) whilst finishing the story as I happily was the first person who borrowed the novel. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I wanted to read this story:

I have been looking forward to reading this story for quite a long while – as I still remember finding out about the story *ahead* of Ms Pike contacting me about the blog tour! I was trying to sort out if this was going on a blog tour or if it was a book I ought to ask my library to purchase. In the end, I was able to join the tour *and!* find out the happy news my library accepted the purchase request! In the end, however, I nearly wasn’t sure if the book would arrive – from the publisher or the library, as was the last person to receive her copy to review. I ended up reading my review copy *and!* the library copy in tandem as I left one at home whilst the other was a bit more portable as I continued to read the story itself.

I was striving to make the last day of the tour – except due to my health issues these past few weeks and the tech difficulties I couldn’t circumvent (making blogging a nightmare!) – it turnt out I ran out of the hours I needed to finish the story prior to St. Patrick’s Day weekend. If my weekend had been without a small smidge of strife, I might have had a bit more time to read as well. However, the good news is I am able to run this review on Friday to catch everyone seeking out their #weekendreads! I am blessed to finish my readings and happily share my ruminative thoughts on behalf of this lovely debut novel: In Spite of Lions whilst moving through the tour route to see what everyone else had to say on its behalf.

The closer I was coming to receiving the novel in the Post, I spied Ms Bruno (of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours) reading a copy of the story and saw The Lit Bitch was keen on reading it as well! Imagine!? And, here I was thinking I’d be talking to them about it – rather than finding out they already knew! I love how those of us who *love!* reading Historical Fiction have the tendency to find the same books at the *exact!* same time! lol

Truly what initially convinced me to read this story is what I had mentioned on Twitter – who wouldn’t contemplate what the rest of the world was getting up to whilst Mr Darcy was trying to get acquainted with Lizzie!? As this was lead-in towards understanding the timescape via the author’s website. From that one small revelation – combined with the briefest synopsis I’ve seen in a long time – I felt an intense curiosity to seek out what was inside this novel!

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Notation on Cover Art: As soon as I saw the cover for this novel, I was transfixed on the image of Anna and the lion who is super-imposed through her portrait. The effect of which is quite incredible when your holding the book in your hands and it is becoming a fast favourite of all covers & the dimensional effects you can have whilst giving a glimpse into your story & characters.

Blog Book Tour | “In Spite of Lions” by Scarlette PikeIn Spite of Lions
Subtitle: They warned her that Africa was dangerous... they couldn't know it would be her santuary.
by Scarlette Pike
Source: Borrowed from local library, Direct from Publisher, Purchase REQ | local library

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1462120642

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


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 13th February, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 184

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

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #HistFic or #HistoricalFiction + #InSpiteOfLions

About Scarlette Pike

Scarlette Pike

Scarlette Pike became a writer by being an avid reader of Georgette Heyer and many other regency authors. She is a senior in UVU’s English program with an emphasis in Literature Studies. In Spite of Lions is her first finished novel inspired by her love for the regency era. The story has been carefully researched in order to preserve and promote historical accuracy.

Photo Credit: Alyssia Baird Photography

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 23 March, 2018 by jorielov in Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Brothers and Sisters, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Christianity, Coming-Of Age, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Dr Livingstone and Mary Livingstone, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Immigrant Stories, Indie Author, Life Shift, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Psychological Abuse, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Siblings, Sisterhood friendships, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Twin Siblings, Women's Fiction, Women's Health

Blog Book Tour | “The Forgotten Girl” by Heather Chapman

Posted Wednesday, 21 February, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I have been a blog tour hostess with Cedar Fort for the past three years, wherein I took a brief hiatus from hosting before resuming August 2016. I appreciate the diversity of the stories the Indie publisher is publishing per year, not only for fiction and non-fiction but for healthy eats within their Front Table Books (cookbooks). I appreciate their dedication to writing general market, INSPY reads and LDS focused stories across the genres they publish.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Forgotten Girl” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (an 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

Why I wanted to read this story:

The Forgotten Girl Quote banner provided by the author Heather Chapman and is used with permission.
Photo Credit: Amanda Conley Photography

There is something about Biological Historical Fiction which pulls me inside the stories – of seeing how close we are to grasping the truths of our ancestors – known or unknown – as we traverse back through time, if only to pause for breath within a lived life so wholly brought back to life through the writer’s heartful attempt at honouring the past. This is also true of why I love reading Historical Fiction, as we get to re-live the past, seek out the hidden truths therein finding new empathy and understanding for our own lives today. There is a wider scope of how everyone is inter-connected and by re-visiting the historical lives of those who came before us we can find further insight into our world and into what unites us rather than focusing on our differences which try to divide us.

One particular branch of Biological Historical Fiction I am loving are the stories writ straight out the ancestral records and living histories of the writers themselves! I have had the pleasure of reading quite a number of these kinds of stories the past few years, each time I stumble across them I am truly thankful for the time the writer has taken to not only tell the stories but to find such an authentic voice of their ancestors channelling through their story.

As soon as I picked up The Forgotten Girl it did not sound like a contemporary writer was telling this story – it was one of those rare moments where it felt akin to a descendant who had fused so truly into their ancestor’s life as to channel them directly forward to tell their own story. These beautiful quotation banners were provided by the author for me to use as I help spread the word about this novel, as it truly is a story everyone who loves a hard-won second chance, a renewal of spirit and the redemptive healing of true love will attest this novel rounds out the true impression of what Ms Chapman’s great-grandparents (Stella and Mike) truly could have experienced when they were alive.

This first quotation I’m sharing is at the heart of Stella’s story – which lies at the heart of all our stories, for those of us who are seeking to change our stars or to endeavour to live elsewhere from whence we were bourne. We might cross miles rather than oceans, but wherever each of us is led to live and take a leap of faith towards seeking out a new path elsewhere from where we once were is to etch out a will towards believing in what tomorrow can yield even if the path isn’t clearly defined to follow. This quote speaks to how change is sometimes so mute and subtle as you nearly feel you’ve imagined hearing it against the wind. I felt it was an accurate statement for Stella’s change of destiny, too. She had to fight her doubt and believe in the unthinkable whilst holding onto the change which nearly didn’t arrive in time to alter her journey.

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Blog Book Tour | “The Forgotten Girl” by Heather ChapmanThe Forgotten Girl
by Heather Chapman
Source: Direct from Publisher

It is 1906, and sixteen-year-old Stella’s future in Durliosy, Poland has never looked bleaker. After losing her parents at a young age, she was taken in by her brother’s family. But now, after yearsof mistreatment, she determines to escape her brother and the oppression of Russian-occupied Poland and travel to America - a land of hope and opportunity.

Determined to find her independence, Stella is not looking for love, but after arriving in Fells Point, Maryland, she’s can’t help but be drawn in by a tall stranger, despite his rough exterior. What follows is a journey of love, loss and self-discovery. Can Stella find happiness in her new life? Will she be able to let someone love her, and can she let herself love him in return?

Inspired by a true story, witness how a forgotten girl made her life truly unforgettable.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1462120642

Also by this author: The Second Season, Author Interview (A Second Season), Unexpected Love

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Women's Fiction


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 13th February, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 184

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

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Stories I’ve read by this author:

The Second Season by Heather ChapmanUnexpecred Love (anthology) stories of Marriage of Convenience by Cedar Fort authors

Converse via: #HistFic or #HistoricalFiction, Stories based on #Ancestry

About Heather Chapman

Heather Chapman

Heather Chapman currently resides in Soda Springs, Idaho, with her husband and four children. She graduated magna cum laude from Brigham Young University. Heather has worked in various administrative assistant roles and as an event planner. Heather has also worked as a piano accompanist and piano teacher on the side. She currently spends her time writing and working as a stay-at-home mother.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 21 February, 2018 by jorielov in 20th Century, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Brothers and Sisters, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Coming-Of Age, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Family Drama, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Immigrant Stories, Indie Author, Life Shift, Mental Health, Orphans & Guardians, Realistic Fiction, Shirtwaist Industry, Siblings, Sisterhood friendships, Story knitted out of Ancestral Data, the Nineteen Hundreds

Author Guest Post | The author behind “The Lost Season of Love & Snow” explores the hidden meaning behind the title and talks about how it inter-relates to Natayla herself.

Posted Thursday, 8 February, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Author Guest Post Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

As you might recall, I happily read a novel in January which was set in Russia and captialised on a living person’s life – my latest in finding a compelling Biological Historical narrative which was so wickedly writ to the truth of the woman’s life as to make you feel you had walked a proper mile in her shoes. The author and I staid in touch after my review posted during her lovely blog tour – as I had hoped all along to feature her in a guest post talking about specific points of her story-line (the cross-references to today’s current events) and the curious hidden meanings (if any) behind the choice in ‘title’.

This lead to a wonderfully planned out essay which Ms Laam has written to be shared with all of you – I love how she talks to the purposeful meaning behind what is truly ‘lost’ and how the theme behind the title is played throughout the story, further revealling the homage seen in the title. Whilst I had observed whilst I was reading the novel, there are a lot of carry-overs into today’s society about the rights for women and the further need for our rights to be upheld in all instances (not just in the workplace). Natayla did not live in an age of freedom where she would have more choices than those which were availed to her and in many ways, her story does read like a tragic love story. I personally felt Natayla had been given a bad rap in History – as I sided with the author’s own reflections after I finished reading her rendition about her life.

Too often women in History are misunderstood or their motives are misconstrued in modern eras – in Natayla’s case, I don’t believe any historians had fully given her a chance to have her voice heard much less understood. When you read about what she was facing and what she was going through – your heart softens to her plight. You can definitely feel empathy for her and in the end, what is truly sad is how it all unfolds into such an emotionally charged ending. I am unsure if she’s a victim of the times or a victim of how sometimes you can become a victim of circumstances which are never fully resolved. In her case, love was not something without conditions placed against it and her life was never truly her own.

I hope you enjoy reading Ms Laam’s guest essay about “The Lost Season of Love & Snow” – perhaps inspiring you to pick up a copy of this dearly inspiring Historical narrative or if you’ve already read it – perhaps this will help clue you into things you’ve observed whilst you were reading it. Either way, be sure to brew yourself a cuppa and enjoy ruminating about what the author leaves behind to be pondered!

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Why I was interested in learning more about the hidden meaning behind this title:

There are so many keen moments of beautiful prose in this narrative – of observations on ordinary objects, to the traditions of holidays and the little touches of rooting us within the time-line of History, as Natayla steps further into the foreground of the story. The people she is interacting with are as viable as anything else being described because of the nature of how close certain circles were kept and maintained. It was fitting to find her in such company because her movements in social circles was evidence enough she would cross certain people’s path at some point or another. What lends such a gasp of awe for us who are reading about her for the first time is how her path started to intersect with so many well-known figures of her generation. A bit like the Fitzgeralds in the 1920s who curbed the market for knowing all the latest persons in literature, art, music and the creative arts.

It was not long for me to feel lost inside the world Ms Laam created within the pages of The Lost Season of Love and Snow; for this was a coming-of-age story which created it’s own niche out of what is known and unknown within the fables of history. As we dig further into the life of Natalya, we find a girl who is maturing into her own skin, of sorting out her emotions and of finding she does not fully ascribe to her mother’s sensible beliefs about marriage and life. Within these pages, you get to tuck close to her, watching her as she moves through the hours and attempts to forestall the influence of her sisters and brothers whilst owning to the fact, without being married she is still under her mother’s rules. This is partially what captured my attention most – as in so many ways this story reminded me why I love Little Women.

-quoted from my review of The Lost Season of Love and Snow

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Author Guest Post | The author behind “The Lost Season of Love & Snow” explores the hidden meaning behind the title and talks about how it inter-relates to Natayla herself.Author Guest Post (Jennifer Laam)
Subtitle: The Lost Season of Love and Snow
by Jennifer Laam

The unforgettable story of Alexander Pushkin’s beautiful wife, Natalya, a woman much admired at Court, and how she became reviled as the villain of St. Petersburg.

At the age of sixteen, Natalya Goncharova is stunningly beautiful and intellectually curious. But while she finds joy in French translations and a history of Russian poetry, her family is more concerned with her marriage prospects. It is only fitting that during the Christmas of 1828 at her first public ball in her hometown of Moscow she attracts the romantic attention of Russia’s most lauded rebel poet: Alexander Pushkin.

Enchanted at first sight, Natalya is already a devoted reader of Alexander’s serialized novel in verse, Evgeny Onegin. The most recently published chapter ends in a duel, and she is dying to learn what happens next. Finding herself deeply attracted to Alexander’s intensity and joie de vivre, Natalya hopes to see him again as soon as possible.

What follows is a courtship and later marriage full of equal parts passion and domestic bliss but also destructive jealousies. When vicious court gossip leads to Alexander dying from injuries earned defending his honor as well as Natalya’s in a duel, Natalya finds herself reviled for her alleged role in his death. With beautiful writing and understanding, Jennifer Laam, and her compelling new novel, The Lost Season of Love and Snow, help Natalya tell her side of the story—the story of her greatest love and her inner struggle to create a fulfilling life despite the dangerous intrigues of a glamorous imperial Court.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-250-12188-2

Also by this author: The Lost Season of Love and Snow

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Women's Studies


on 2nd January, 2018

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Posted Thursday, 8 February, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, Alexander Pushkin, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Coming-Of Age, Creative Arts, Family Drama, Family Life, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, History, Inspired By Author OR Book, Life Shift, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Passionate Researcher, Russia, Russian History, Second Chance Love, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Women's Fiction, Women's Rights, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Writer, Writing Style & Voice