Format: Paperback ARC

Blog Book Tour (a pre-#blogmas Christmas Story) | “Royal Beauty Bright” (A Novel of WWI) by Ryan Byrnes

Posted Thursday, 7 November, 2019 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

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

Acquired Book By:

I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! HFVBTs is one of the very first touring companies I started working with as a 1st Year Book Blogger – uniting my love and passion with Historical Fiction and the lovely sub-genres inside which I love devouring.

It has been a wicked fantastical journey into the heart of the historic past, wherein I’ve been blessed truly by discovering new timescapes, new living realities of the persons who once lived (ie. Biographical Historical Fiction) inasmuch as itched my healthy appetite for Cosy Historical Mysteries! If there is a #HistRom out there it is generally a beloved favourite and I love soaking into a wicked wonderful work of Historical Fiction where you feel the beauty of the historic world, the depth of the characters and the joyfulness in which the historical novelists brought everything to light in such a lovingly diverse palette of portraiture of the eras we become time travellers through their stories.

I received a complimentary of “Royal Beauty Bright” direct from the publisher Blank Slate 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 wanted to read “Royal Beauty Bright”:

I cannot remember when I first stumbled across the story of the truce of 1914 – however, it left quite the impression on me throughout the years. I’ve continued to find stories rooted round this phenom of WWI as well as select films – one of which I believe was released in French, which was one reason why I haven’t yet seen it as I wasn’t sure how much I would understand. Though technically I do watch foreign language films (such as those in Mandarin or Italian) but in this particular instance, I sometimes find French harder to follow as it is a language which has quite the fast clip of a pace to listen too.

Aside from those murmurs of insight, I haven’t had any direct readings about this particular moment in history which left such an endurable impression on every generations since the war era ended. It was a moment in time which no one felt could happen and yet it did. It was proving in a very humbling way there was still a heap of humanity left on the battlefield and how in at times of war, people can surprise you by their actions and the choices they make together.

Several years ago now, I made the conscience choice to re-select war dramas I am reading anchoured more into a human interest story, a romantic arc or a mystery plotting than I would continue to seek out war dramas which are more directly connected to the battles themselves. A few might slip into my readerly queues but overall, stories like “Royal Beauty Bright” are tipping my hat of interest more due to their humbling glimpse into the human condition and the enduring strength of all of us who simply want to see peace flourish in our world.

The irony of course is that this particular novel does take you directly into the heart of the battlefield – straight into No Man’s Land no less and hugs you close to where you would find the men who were serving on the front lines. However, part of me felt this would be a good choice to tuck closer to the truth of the truce and to find out might have inspired the action to host a cease-fire at Christmas; as that is what has always interested me the most – how did they choose to do that and take inaction at Christmas despite orders to do the opposite?

What also stood out to me is this a narrative with an autistic lead character and a diversely unique cast behind him – which gave further gravity to the fact not all the stories are yet known or readily told. I wanted to read this to see what the author’s vision was for the setting, the historic event itself and how he elected to have his characters in the middle of it all tell us a story which would touch our hearts and enrich our mind with their presence. It was also a selection I felt fitting as the lead-in towards seeking out #ChristmasReads & #ChristmasRomances as I seek out holiday stories which speak to me this holiday season 2019.

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Blog Book Tour (a pre-#blogmas Christmas Story) | “Royal Beauty Bright” (A Novel of WWI) by Ryan ByrnesRoyal Beauty Bright
Subtitle: A Novel of World War I
by Ryan Byrnes
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781943075607

Also by this author: Royal Beauty Bright

Genres: Historical Fiction, War Drama


on 5th November, 2019

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 304

Published by: Blank Slate Press (@blankslatepress)
an imprint of Amphorae Publishing (@amphoraepub)

Read the story behind this women and veteran owned publishing company

Converse via: #HistoricalFiction, #HistFic or #HistNov
+ #WWI war drama and  #HFVBTBlogTours

Available Formats: Trade paperback and Ebook

About Ryan Byrnes

Ryan Byrnes

Ryan Byrnes is a St. Louis native. His first foray into writing was founding the publishing imprint, Avency Press, where he wrote one illustrated chapter book, The Adventures of Wheatail, and four young adult fantasy novels in the Son of Time series.

Since then, he has worked with a publishing company, a literary agency, and various aspiring writers seeking to self-publish. Ryan now lives in Iowa as a student in mechanical engineering and English. Between work hours, he builds Mars Rovers with his roommates, plays with cats, and watches Wes Anderson movies.

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Posted Thursday, 7 November, 2019 by jorielov in 20th Century, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, During WWI, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, History, Mary Todd Lincoln, Military Families of the Deployed, Military Fiction, The World Wars, War Drama

Blog Book Tour | “The First Lady and the Rebel” by Susan Higginbotham (aka. #JorieReads more about the Civil War)

Posted Tuesday, 15 October, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By:

I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! HFVBTs is one of the very first touring companies I started working with as a 1st Year Book Blogger – uniting my love and passion with Historical Fiction and the lovely sub-genres inside which I love devouring.

It has been a wicked fantastical journey into the heart of the historic past, wherein I’ve been blessed truly by discovering new timescapes, new living realities of the persons who once lived (ie. Biographical Historical Fiction) inasmuch as itched my healthy appetite for Cosy Historical Mysteries! If there is a #HistRom out there it is generally a beloved favourite and I love soaking into a wicked wonderful work of Historical Fiction where you feel the beauty of the historic world, the depth of the characters and the joyfulness in which the historical novelists brought everything to light in such a lovingly diverse palette of portraiture of the eras we become time travellers through their stories.

I received a complimentary of “The First Lady and the Rebel” direct from the publisher Sourcebooks exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I wanted to read “The First Lady & the Rebel”:

I will say – when it comes to studying the Civil War, I am not the reader most would suspect would be interested. This stems from a bad experience of studying this era in high school – where the focus was askewed towards the Confederacy and excluded most of the context of the North’s position whilst it completely took out of proportion a lot of the crucial aspects of the war itself as  it related to Lincoln and his desire to end slavery.

There was a lot of frustrating moments for me realising that I had a full year of the Civil War ahead of me but without a lot of enjoyment to look forward to because it was all a regeneration of dates & facts; no biographical information on the persons involved, no stories in context or subtext and if it was outside the scope of the textbook, it simply did not exist. In other words, like a lot of structured education – my study of the Civil War was flawed. I was so discouraged by those semesters, I tabled any further research into Civil War History.

Although, being a reader of Historical Fiction – I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for stories which might tuck me back into the folds of this war in a way where my studies failed to take me originally. When I read the premise of “The First Lady & the Rebel” – I thought, perhaps for once, I’ve found the story I wished I could have read in high school. Where there is a balance of focus between the North & South with both perspectives presented in equal measure & worth to each other and where the reader gains a keen insight into what fuelled the war itself and how important it is to remember what caused the division of the States due to how far reaching the end result has become to modern history.

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Blog Book Tour | “The First Lady and the Rebel” by Susan Higginbotham (aka. #JorieReads more about the Civil War)The First Lady and the Rebel
Subtitle: One North. One South. Two Todd Sisters Fighting to Shape Lincon's War.
by Susan Higginbotham
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

From the celebrated author Susan Higginbotham comes the incredible story of Lincoln’s First Lady

A Union’s First Lady

As the Civil War cracks the country in two, Mary Lincoln stands beside her husband praying for a swift Northern victory. But as the body count rises, Mary can’t help but fear each bloody gain. Because her beloved sister Emily is across party lines, fighting for the South, and Mary is at risk of losing both her country and her family in the tides of a brutal war.

A Confederate Rebel’s Wife

Emily Todd Helm has married the love of her life. But when her husband’s southern ties pull them into a war neither want to join, she must make a choice. Abandon the family she has built in the South or fight against the sister she has always loved best.

With a country’s legacy at stake, how will two sisters shape history?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781492647089

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Women's Fiction, Presidential Life & History, Southern Lit, War Drama


Published by Sourcebooks Landmark

on 1st October, 2019

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 386

Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark (@sbkslandmark)
an imprint of Sourcebooks (@Sourcebooks)

Converse via: #HistoricalFiction, #HistFic or #HistNov
and #MaryToddLincoln, #Lincoln, #CivilWarHistory or  #HFVBTBlogTours

Available Formats: Trade paperback and Ebook

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Posted Tuesday, 15 October, 2019 by jorielov in 19th Century, Abraham Lincoln, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Civil War era, Civil War History | era, Content Note, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, History, Literary Fiction, Mary Todd Lincoln, Mid-West America, Military Fiction, Presidential Life & History, Women's Fiction

#PubDay Book Spotlight | “The Gossamer Mage” by Julie E. Czerneda

Posted Tuesday, 6 August, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva

Acquired Book By: For three years (2015-2017) I happily participated in three blog tours celebrating Ms Czerneda’s epic series: The Clan Chronicles (#futurespasttour, #timeandstarstour & #againstthedark respectively) wherein I was blessed to be able to read the series in the order of the Clan. I started with Stratification, followed by the Trade Pact trilogy and finally found my heart so tethered to the love story between Jason & Sira, I was left emotionally wrecked and uplifted by the ending (within the pages of “To Guard Against the Dark”). You can read through my Archive of #whoaretheclan ruminative thoughts per each story I quite literally found to be #unputdownable!

At the same time, I had the joy of hosting Ms Czerneda on several occassions where I featured her in an interview, a guest post about the Web Shifters series & a final good-bye essay about the past twenty years of being with the Clan.

In [2016] I received the first two novels of the Night Edge series “A Turn of Light” & “A Play of Shadow”. However, the timing wasn’t right for me – it was too soon after my father’s stroke and in the ensuing year, due to different reasons (mostly health related as I have chronic migraines), I decided to wait to conclude my readings of the Clan before attempting to re-emerge into her Fantasy series. This Summer I knew the time had come for me to settle into an epic Fantasy series and see where this new journey with Ms Czerneda’s characters would take me. Ahead of this new journey of mine – I elected to read her stand-alone new release “The Gossamer Mage” which is a work of Dark Fantasy releasing on my 6th blog birthday, the 6th of August!

I received a complimentary copy of ‘The Gossamer Mage’ in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for my thoughts shared herein.

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What drew my eye into wanting to read “The Gossamer Mage”:

I read the premise behind Mage and goodness! What a plotting of intrigue! I like how the mages are a bit in the dark about what is actually going on with the Goddess and how their world is affected by the truths left unknown to them. The cover art is also lovely. I had a feeling this might be a darker Fantasy story – however, there were certain aspects of the Clan which ran quite dark as well. I survived the Clan and I have confidence I can handle a darker Fantasy novel from you. I like your instincts for telling stories and I look forward to taking this journey. – initial thoughts

When I first learnt of the premise you’ll notice how as I was considering the subject & the story within the heart of “The Gossamer Mage” I was recognising that despite appearances, I was already well aware of how this particular author can take her reader into the darker realms of her Speculative stories; thereby, I was with better confidence in believing I could not just handle reading this novel but I would appreciate discovering how she treated this world with her style of pulling us through a world which will leave us ruminatively reflective.

The day the novel released into book world seeking readers is the very same day I am celebrating my 6th Blog Birthday here on Jorie Loves A Story which felt rather fittingly brilliant if you ask me! What better way to anchour your personal celebrations than by ruminating over a beloved author and reading their latest release? I was honoured to be considered for the blog tour of this latest release as although it was meant to become my *third!* reading of Ms Czerneda’s Fantasy stories – it became my first.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com#PubDay Book Spotlight | “The Gossamer Mage” by Julie E. CzernedaThe Gossamer Mage
by Ms Julie E. Czerneda, Julie E. Czerneda
Source: Direct from Publisher

From an Aurora Award-winning author comes a new fantasy epic
in which one mage must stand against a Deathless Goddess who controls all magic.

Only in Tananen do people worship a single deity: the Deathless Goddess. Only in this small, forbidden realm are there those haunted by words of no language known to woman or man. The words are Her Gift, and they summon magic. Mage scribes learn to write Her words as intentions: spells to make beasts or plants, designed to any purpose. If an intention is flawed, what the mage creates is a gossamer: a magical creature as wild and free as it is costly for the mage. For Her Gift comes at a steep price. Each successful intention ages a mage until they dare no more. But her magic demands to be used; the Deathless Goddess will take her fee, and mages will die. To end this terrible toll, the greatest mage in Tananen vows to find and destroy Her. He has yet to learn She is all that protects Tananen from what waits outside. And all that keeps magic alive.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780756408909

Also by this author: Reap the Wild Wind, Riders of the Storm, Rift in the Sky, A Thousand Words for Stranger, Ties of Power, To Trade the Stars, This Gulf of Time and Stars, Julie E. Czerneda Interview (#futurespasttour), The Gate to Futures Past, Guest Post (Web Shifters series) by Julie E. Czerneda, Guest Post: Julie E. Czerneda (Clan Chronicles Finale Tour), To Guard Against the Dark

Genres: Dark Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction


Published by DAW Books

on 6th August, 2019

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 416

 Published By: DAW Books (@DAWBooks)
an imprint of Penguin Group USA

Book prologue was published as the novella
“The Gossamer Mage: Intended Words” in 2008, Baen’s Universe.

Available Formats: Hardcover, Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #gossamermage + #DarkFantasy

About Ms Julie E. Czerneda

Julie E. Czerneda Photo Credit: Roger Czerneda Photography

Julie E. Czerneda is the author of the Species Imperative trilogy, the Night's Edge fantasy duology, and the Stratification novels. She is a multiple Aurora Award winner, and was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award and the Philip K. Dick Award. Julie lives with her husband and two children in the lake country of central Ontario, under skies so clear they could take seeing the Milky Way for granted, but never do.

Photo CreditRoger Czerneda Photography

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Posted Tuesday, 6 August, 2019 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Spotlight & Announcement, Canadian Literature, Content Note, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment

Book Spotlight | “The Undertaker’s Assistant” by Amanda Skenandore

Posted Wednesday, 31 July, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By:

I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! HFVBTs is one of the very first touring companies I started working with as a 1st Year Book Blogger – uniting my love and passion with Historical Fiction and the lovely sub-genres inside which I love devouring.

It has been a wicked fantastical journey into the heart of the historic past, wherein I’ve been blessed truly by discovering new timescapes, new living realities of the persons who once lived (ie. Biographical Historical Fiction) inasmuch as itched my healthy appetite for Cosy Historical Mysteries! If there is a #HistRom out there it is generally a beloved favourite and I love soaking into a wicked wonderful work of Historical Fiction where you feel the beauty of the historic world, the depth of the characters and the joyfulness in which the historical novelists brought everything to light in such a lovingly diverse palette of portraiture of the eras we become time travellers through their stories.

I received a complimentary of “The Undertaker’s Assistant” direct from the publisher Kensignton Books, 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

On why this story appealled to me:

When this novel first arrived in my postbox, I must admit, I was so dearly curious about it, I couldn’t help myself – I immediately dug into the first chapter and didn’t want to put it down! The timing was a bit off for me to conclude my readings of the story on its arrival but one thing was certain, I loved the style and humour of Ms Skenandore!

Being that I enjoy Historical Mysteries, Suspense and Thrillers – I thought I might enjoy a story set through the eyes of an embalmer who worked during an age and time where women were not seen as equal to men. Effie was attempting to prove her independence – not just as a female embalmer but as a freedwoman during the Restoration – the period of time after our Civil War in the 1800s. The premise of that kind of work being a passion for a woman seemed like an interesting prospect for a Historical novel to explore and I wanted to see what Skenandore would do with the plot and the character’s growth within Effie’s shoes.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Book Spotlight | “The Undertaker’s Assistant” by Amanda SkenandoreThe Undertaker's Assistant
by Amanda Skenandore
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Set during Reconstruction-era New Orleans, and with an extraordinary and unforgettable heroine at its heart, The Undertaker’s Assistant is a powerful story of human resilience–and of the unlikely bonds that hold fast even in our darkest moments.

“The dead can’t hurt you. Only the living can.”Effie Jones, a former slave who escaped to the Union side as a child, knows the truth of her words. Taken in by an army surgeon and his wife during the War, she learned to read and write, to tolerate the sight of blood and broken bodies–and to forget what is too painful to bear. Now a young freedwoman, she has returned south to New Orleans and earns her living as an embalmer, her steady hand and skillful incisions compensating for her white employer’s shortcomings.

Tall and serious, Effie keeps her distance from the other girls in her boarding house, holding tight to the satisfaction she finds in her work. But despite her reticence, two encounters–with a charismatic state legislator named Samson Greene, and a beautiful young Creole, Adeline–introduce her to new worlds of protests and activism, of soirees and social ambition. Effie decides to seek out the past she has blocked from her memory and try to trace her kin. As her hopes are tested by betrayal, and New Orleans grapples with violence and growing racial turmoil, Effie faces loss and heartache, but also a chance to finally find her place.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781496713681

Also by this author: The Undertaker's Assistant

Genres: Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction


Published by Kensington Books

on 30th July, 2019

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 326

Published by: Kensington Books (@KensingtonBooks)

Converse via: #HistoricalFiction, #HistFic or #HistNov
as well as #TheUndertakersAssistant and #HFVBTBlogTours

Available Formats: Trade paperback and Ebook

About Amanda Skenandore

Amanda Skenandore

Amanda Skenandore is a historical fiction writer and registered nurse. Between Earth and Sky was her first novel. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Readers can visit her website.

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Posted Wednesday, 31 July, 2019 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours