Book Review | Series Showcase: The Darling Dahlias by Susan Wittig Albert Novels 1-6-7 feat. the latest release: The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky Clover

Posted Friday, 16 March, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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

Borrowed Book By: I’ve attempted to read the serial fiction offerings by Ms Albert for quite a number of years; I even have a copy of the first novel in the China Bayles series – which I previously attempted to read during #BoutofBooks a few years ago. I haven’t even had the pleasure of picking up the first Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter! I adored reading ‘Loving Eleanor’ and dearly want to continue reading Ms Albert’s Biographical Historical Fiction novels because she has a wonderful gift for etching out the women whose lives she’s focusing on bringing forward into our own awareness of what they endured whilst they were alive.

However, this particular series ‘the Darling Dahlias’ seemed like a good fit for me – mostly as it’s set during the 1930s (one of my favourite eras), is historical in contrast whilst set within a garden club in the rural South. Southern Fiction is one of my favourites to be reading aside from Historical Fiction – this series is a happy compliment to both with a nod towards ‘Cosy Mysteries’ (another beloved of mine!).

Ergo, I decided before I signed on for the blog tour this Spring to see if my local library had the first sixth novels in the series – blessedly they *did!* and I happily selected the first three to arrive together whilst holding off for the next three until I knew I was starting the first half of the series. All of these readings would happily put me in the throes of the series ahead of reading the beautiful ARC which I received for the blog tour on behalf of “The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky Clover” in exchange for an honest review.

I borrowed all the novels in the Darling Dahlias series in hardback edition from my local library. I was not obligated to post a review as I am doing so for my own edification as a reader who loves to share her readerly life. I was not compensated for my thoughts shared herein for either the books I borrowed at my library or the ARC I received  for review on the blog tour.

Initially, this was my plan of action for reading the Darling Dahlias series – however, in late February, after several weeks of added strife and stress, my family and I ended a five month crisis wherein I felt tremendous relief to have the weight finally off our shoulders. I was going to attempt to read the series little by little rather than in a personal Marathon sprint like I had the Seven Sisters series by Lucinda Riley at the end of January.

Except to say, I had too much on my mind and heart – I ended up having to let the series go back to my library unread except I saved back the first novel and the sixth novel – fearing that despite the fact I had to shorten my readings of the series, I was going to approach this series like I’ve approached reading the Samuel Craddock series: I’ll get a taste for the characters, the setting and the styling of narrative now as the latest release is upon us to celebrate whilst giving myself the grace to realise the rest of the series can wait for me to resume reading it at a latter date.

In regards to Samuel Craddock and my listening of the Cosy Mysteries by Lisa B. Thomas – both of those series are upcoming next on my blog – as I’m digging into the next two I have in-line to finish ahead of the weekend. I look forward to continuing to share my thoughts on these lovelies as similar in vein to the Darling Dahlias, I do fancy a wicked good Cosy time after time! The Craddock series is cosier than hard-boils but for me personally, I’d classify it as ‘dramatic crime fiction’ as it truly speaks to the heart of the series as it’s being written.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comBook Review | Series Showcase: The Darling Dahlias by Susan Wittig Albert Novels 1-6-7 feat. the latest release: The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky CloverThe Darling Dahlias series Novels 1-6-7
Subtitle: The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky Clover
by Susan Wittig Albert
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Borrowed from local library

NYT bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert returns to Depression-era Darling, Alabama…​where the ladies of the Dahlias, the local garden club, are happy to dig a little dirt!

In the seventh book of this popular series, it looks like the music has ended for Darling’s favorite barbershop uiquartet, the Lucky Four Clovers—just days before the Dixie Regional Barbershop Competition. Another unlucky break: a serious foul-up in Darling’s telephone system—and not a penny for repairs. And while liquor is legal again, moonshine isn’t. Sheriff Buddy Norris needs a little luck when he goes into Briar Swamp to confront Cypress County’s most notorious bootlegger. What he finds upends his sense of justice.

Once again, Susan Wittig Albert has told a charming story filled with richly human characters who face the Great Depression with courage and grace. She reminds us that friends offer the best of themselves to each other, community is what holds us together, and luck is what you make it.

Bonus features: Liz Lacy’s Garden Gate column on “lucky” plants, plus the Dahlias’ collection of traditional Southern pie recipes and a dash of cookery history. Reading group questions, more recipes, and Depression-era info can be found on the Darling Dahlias website linked in the author's biography on this review.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0996904032

Also by this author: Loving Eleanor

Genres: Amateur Detective, Cosy Historical Mystery, Women's Fiction


Published by Berkley Prime Crime, Persevero Press

on 6th of March, 2018

Format: Hardcover Edition, Paperback ARC

Pages: 280

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The Darling Dahlias series:

Published By: Berkley Prime Crime (@BerkleyMystery)

imprint of Berkley Publishing (@BerkleyPub)

via Penguin Random House (@penguinrandom)

The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree (Book One)

The Darling Dahlias and the Naked Ladies (Book Two) | Synopsis

The Darling Dahlias and the Confederate Rose (Book Three) | Synopsis

The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star (Book Four) | Synopsis

The Darling Dahlias and the Silver Dollar Bush (Book Five) | Synopsis

The Darling Dahlias and the Eleven O’ Clock Lady (Book Six) | Synopsis

Published By: Persevero Press
(author directed publishing platform)

The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky Clover (Book Seven)

Available Formats: Hardcover, Audiobook, Paperback and Ebook

View a Map of Darling via the official site for the Darling Dahlias series

Converse via: #DarlingDahlias

About Susan Wittig Albert

Susan Wittig Albert

Susan Wittig Albert is the award-winning, NYT bestselling author of the forthcoming historical novel Loving Eleanor (2016), about the intimate friendship of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok; and A Wilder Rose (2014), about Rose Wilder Lane and the writing of the Little House books.

Her award-winning fiction also includes mysteries in the China Bayles series, the Darling Dahlias, the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter, and a series of Victorian-Edwardian mysteries she has written with her husband, Bill Albert, under the pseudonym of Robin Paige.

She has written two memoirs: An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days and Together, Alone: A Memoir of Marriage and Place, published by the University of Texas Press.

Her nonfiction titles include What Wildness is This: Women Write About the Southwest (winner of the 2009 Willa Award for Creative Nonfiction); Writing from Life: Telling the Soul’s Story; and Work of Her Own: A Woman’s Guide to Success Off the Career Track.

She is founder and current president (2015-2017) of the Story Circle Network and a member of the Texas Institute of Letters.

Site for A Wilder Rose
Site for China Bayles series | Site for Darling Dahlias series | Site for the Cottage Tales series
Mystery Novels with her husband
Story Circle

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 16 March, 2018 by jorielov in 20th Century, Amateur Detective, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction, Equality In Literature, Historical Fiction, Silver Hair Sleuths, Small Towne USA, the Thirties

Blog Book Tour | “Lona Chang: A Superhero Detective Story” (Book Two: #AwesomeJones series) by AshleyRose Sullivan This is the #SuperheroFiction series Jorie has eagerly awaited new installments and found the latest just as brilliant as the first!

Posted Tuesday, 13 March, 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 selected to be a stop on the “Long Chang: A Superhero Detective Story” Superhero Fiction release tour from Seventh Star Press. The tour is hosted by Tomorrow Comes Media who does the publicity and blog tours for Seventh Star Press and other Indie and/or Self Published authors. I am a regular blog tour host with Tomorrow Comes Media and have been an avid fan of the #AwesomeJones series since it first debuted. I was overjoyed the second installment in the series is now releasing and that I could participate in it’s blog tour.

I received a complimentary copy of “Lona Chang: A Superhero Detective Story” direct from the publisher Seventh Star Press in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I love reading the #AwesomeJones series:

Lona Chang took Awesome by surprise, not only for her growing affection and respect of his character, but for being endeared to him as a companion. The two took to each other quite readily, but it was how they fit into each other’s pocket that I felt bemused about the most whilst reading the story! You see, they were the near-identical half of the other, and I refer to it being ‘near-identical’ as although they each read the newsprint release of breaking news, they differed on a category or two. Little unbeknownst differences out of a sea of common threads which helped knit Awesome Jones and Lona Chang together in the bliss of conjoined living. She was quite methodical herself, yet Awesome took the cake for exacting out his observations, and for being near computeristically perfect in his actions. Whilst the two were together, they not only complimented each other in synced harmony but they cancelled each other out on their eclecticism.

Lona and Awesome were intricately entwined by their common share of loss, as they respectively never knew their proper origins. They were each raised by loving parents who adopted them as their own when their biological parents had died. They attempted in their own way to resurrect a connection fate did not allow to solidify whilst their parents were alive. In their shared ambiguous loss, they each sought ways in which they could formulate a way to connect themselves through a passion of their parents; even if the only true connection they had were fragmented pieces of their parents personal effects. These tangible reminders were a weight of a burdened yoke which toyed with their emotional well-being.

When Awesome Jones grapples with the choice between the life he’s formed together with Lona and the life he’s dreamt of living, they each have to put to test the strength of their love for each other. I sided with Captain Lightning (one of the main superheroes focused on in the story) on the outdated rules and regulations of The Guild (apparently superheroes are organised more than you realise!). He’s put in a most difficult position because as you can well imagine, he goes from knowing a scant amount about his ancestry and then, in one large dose of revelation he gets far more than he bargained to learn! I would imagine that if you wake up one day and your entire essence of who you are as a person is chucked out for this alternative version; a version you knew nothing of and had no idea of how to accept, there would be a period of adaption to adjust!

This is when I found myself reading at such a lightning clip as to beg my eyes to move faster down the page, as I had my hand at the ready for turning into the next scene! Again, I love the pace of Awesome Jones as you get to the point where you want to see him succeed. You want him to develop self-confidence and believe in his own truth. There are always forces against you in life, and there is always a chance that your going to falter in your confidence on your own behalf, but part of what endeared me to this story is that the main characters believed in each other. It did not matter what the outcome of their lives would be as far as where their place in the world would fit, as if they had each other they could overcome just about anything crossing their path.

-quoted from my review of Awesome Jones: A Superhero Fairy Tale

Ever since I finished reading #AwesomeJones and took to Twitter to announce my findings within the first novel of the series, I’ve wanted to return. To become re-swept into the vision Ms Sullivan has created for her superhero world and to find out more of what she’s envisioned for her heroes. She has such a strong voice in this wicked hybrid of novelling a comic book story-line – wherein she’s created her own wonderful niche of how you can bend a novel to the will of your own pen. She’s given credence towards following your own instincts towards how a story can be told and she breaks barriers of code by how a novel can be written. In essence, she’s a rebel in her own right and I love her for it.

It is hard to pin down exactly what drew me closer to Awesome himself and to Lona’s story-line which hugs so close to our lead hero. There was a moment as I was first reading #AwesomeJones where I just felt this was a wholly original story, told in a unique manner of delivery where narrative and comic illustrations merged beautifully together to tell a poignant story. You become so dearly involved and entranced by her style, you nearly forget how wicked awesome it is to find someone who is re-setting the heights of where a story like this take a reader.

A bit like how we all have our preferences in superhero motion pictures and televised adaptations – I have the tendency to shy away from the leading crowd of options and seek out the ones who stand out to me. For instance, my favourite upcoming release at the moment is the sequel of The Incredibles – similar to this series, you could say they broke the rules on how superheroes can have a strong base of family and even their children can have hidden talents which can develop alongside their parents.

I truly love the vision of this series – not to mention the fact it’s a joy to be reading!! You don’t have to worry about anything too shocking taking place – even if there are hard-hitting threads within the series, I just meant, this is less intensive than reading traditional Crime Dramas. The beauty though is watching how Ms Sullivan crafts her stories together – as your hardest instinct to overcome is not to read this so fast that you miss the nuances along the way! There are little nudges of insight into the wider world as it’s evolving but mostly, I love the hugged close to her characters’ points-of-view the most! You feel so personally engaged with their line of sight and how they are internalising their own adventures – it’s truly a remarkable series!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “Lona Chang: A Superhero Detective Story” (Book Two: #AwesomeJones series) by AshleyRose Sullivan This is the #SuperheroFiction series Jorie has eagerly awaited new installments and found the latest just as brilliant as the first!Lona Chang: A Superhero Detective Story
by ashleyrose sullivan
Illustrator/Cover Designer: AshleyRose Sullivan
Source: Publisher via Tomorrow Comes Media

When one of the world's greatest superheroes dies in her arms, Lona Chang takes it upon herself to investigate his murder. Armed only with a power she barely understands and a mysterious coded book, Lona begins a quest for answers that leads her down a dark rabbit hole of secrets--secrets the ancient organization known as the Guild is determined to keep hidden at all costs.

Meanwhile, when a new threat descends upon Arc City, Lona's soulmate (and freshly minted superhero) Awesome Jones defies the Guild, dons the cape and cowl of his father and finds a group of unlikely allies. But can Awesome trust them--or himself? He'll have to fight his own demons first if he has any hope of defending the town-and the people-he loves.

As tensions rise between the Guild, Lona, Awesome, his allies and Arc City's criminal underground, Lona realizes that life, and the answers to its questions, are never as simple as they seem in comic books.

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1941706640

Also in this series: Awesome Jones


Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Adoption & Foster Care, Amateur Detective, Genre-bender, Superhero Fiction


Published by Seventh Star Press

on 30th August, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 323

Published By: Seventh Star Press (@7thStarPress)
Available Formats: Softcover and Ebook

The Awesome Jones series:

Awesome Jones by AshleyRose Sullivan

Awesome Jones | Book One (see also Review)

Long Chang | Book Two

Converse on Twitter: #AwesomeJones + #LonaChang & #7thStar

About ashleyrose sullivan

AshleyRose Sullivan

Originally from Appalachia, AshleyRose Sullivan lives, writes, and paints in Los Angeles with her husband and their many imaginary friends. Her work has been published in places like The Rumpus, Barrelhouse, and Word Riot and her novels, Awesome Jones: A Superhero Fairy Tale and Silver Tongue are available from Seventh Star Press.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #FuellYourSciFi
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Posted Tuesday, 13 March, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Doctor Who, Fantasy Fiction, Genre-bender, Good vs. Evil, Horror-Lite, Indie Author, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Speculative Fiction, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Tomorrow Comes Media, Urban Fantasy, Urban Life, Vulgarity in Literature, Zombies