Format: Paperback ARC

A #WyrdAndWonder #RomanceTuesdays | featuring “Druid’s Moon” (a re-telling of ‘Beauty and the Beast’) by Deniz Bevan

Posted Tuesday, 3 May, 2022 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#RomanceTuesdays banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: Every so often I am blessed with Review Requests which come directly via my Review Policy on my blog. There are some months where I fall behind on my responses to the requests – due to life and work obligations – however, in this instance, I was wicked fascinated by this particular premise and as it fit into the stories, I was seeking out for our 5th Year of #WyrdAndWonder, I took a chance on the ARC being pitched would still be available to request. Thankfully I was granted the review opportunity and the book arrived in time to coordinate with my Wyrd And Wonder plans this May. I knew, too, with this being a re-telling of a beloved classic story (ie. “Beauty and the Beast”) this would fit in well with my Wyrd And Wonder takeover of #RomanceTuesdays which is a regular feature of my blog. 

I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher Dancing Lemur Press, LLC in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I enjoy fantastical re-tellings & am curious about werewolves:

Even before I realised there was a werewolf connection, I surmised it through the cover art! The only werewolf I truly have had any experience or knowledge of previously was Harry’s Uncle. Werewolves are typically on my list of creatures I’m not as comfortable reading about and thereby make choices case by case as I find stories which involve them. Now, when I realised this is a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast with a window into Druid & Celtic Histories and a potential curse unearthed by an archaeologist on a dig – wells, let’s just say that felt quite a fanciful new direction to take the original canon!

I have been reading re-tellings of Classic Literature ever since the very beginning of Jorie Loves A Story (9 years ago this past 31st of March) – which you can observe via my Story Vault as those stories are listed closer to the top of the list of archived reviews. I have also read variants of Beauty and the Beast previously whilst I LOVED seeing the rendition of the live-action film starring Emma Watson not so long ago now (2017 wasn’t it?). In fact, in that film the hardest scene for me to reconcile was when the ‘beast’ no longer had his fur! Even Mum agreed (as it was a surprise viewing with her) it was hard to shift past who he was before he transformed back into being a human because we all were lost in the story and had come to become quite fond of him in his beastly state of presence! Laughs. Which I believe is why Emma Watson’s character mentioned him growing a beard at the end and where he implied that would never happen! Laughs heartedly.

The key reason I LOVE retellings is because you get to see a different perspective on the original story and the original intentions for that story by the original author. The new variants of the Classics also offer new passageways into those characters’ and into those worlds; some even re-invent the whole experience if you take into account my listenings of the Jane Austen Dragons series! (see also Review) The beauty of course is finding which authors have an entrance point which first enchants you forward and then, entertains you the most whilst you take up residency in the new world they’ve created in homage to the original.

Now, once upon a time I had a huge interest in Archaeology, Anthropology and all routes interconnected to both disciplines — however, now I entertain those interests through reading Fiction and Non-Fiction alike and enjoy the adventures from afar. History has played a strong role in my life as well – which is why you’ve oft found me chasing down timescapes and windows of History through my extensive readings of Historical Fiction over the last nine years as well. And, yet I always feel there is something new to discover when you merge the past with the present and angle a story through the excavation of the past.

With werewolves – those are a bit trickier for me to feel cosy comfortable around – though, in truth, I am sure most of them are misunderstood or in the case of the one in Druid’s Moon – perhaps caught inside of a curse he/they cannot extract themselves from!? Ah. Alas, I felt this might be an interesting and intriguing story to add to my selections this #WyrdAndWonder and that is why it is being featured during my Wyrd And Wonder takeover of #RomanceTuesdays as in effect a Beast needs his Beauty and there lies the romance!

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A #WyrdAndWonder #RomanceTuesdays | featuring “Druid’s Moon” (a re-telling of ‘Beauty and the Beast’) by Deniz BevanDruid's Moon
by Deniz Bevan
Illustrator/Cover Designer: C.R. Wolfe
Source: Direct from Publisher

Beauty to his Beast…

Lyne Vanlith, an archaeologist who seeks a logical explanation to any mystery, discovers an ancient Druidic curse on her first dig. When the signs foretold by the curse descend on her, Lyne can’t find a reasonable interpretation.

And that’s even before a Beast rescues her from a monstrous sea-creature. She drops a grateful kiss on the snout of the Beast, who transforms into a man, Frederick Cunnick, Baron of Lansladron. Lyne is meant to be Beauty to his Beast—and break the curse forever.

Now both spellkeeper and monster are targeting Lyne. She must take up her legendary role, to defeat the curse and save Frederick—and herself. Instead of logic, for the first time, Lyne must trust her heart.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Fairy-Tale Re-Telling, Mythological Fantasy, Fantasy Romance, Paranormal Romance (PNR)



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1939844866

on 5th September, 2022

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 173

Published by: Dancing Lemur Press, LLC (@DancingLemurPre)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #FantasyRomance, #ParanormalFantasy or #Fairytale Re-telling
as well as #BeautyAndTheBeast or #WyrdAndWonder

About Deniz Bevan

A firm believer in burning the candle at both ends, Deniz Bevan is generally writing a new novel while editing another and blogging about her reading and research adventures. Other days, she tries to stay off the web altogether, as she delves into the history, mystery, and romance of her characters’ lives.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WyrdAndWonder
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Posted Tuesday, 3 May, 2022 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, After the Canon, ARC | Galley Copy, Book Review (non-blog tour), Fairy Tale Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Fantasy Romance, Folklore and Mythology, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Paranormal Romance, Re-Told Tales, Romance Fiction, Supernatural Fiction

A #HistoricalMondays blog tour | feat. a #25PagePreview of “Out Front the Following Sea” by Leah Angstman

Posted Monday, 31 January, 2022 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

#HistoricalMondays blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

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. Whether I am reading selections from Indie Authors & publishers to Major Trade and either from mainstream or INSPY markets – I am finding myself happily residing in the Historical past each year I am a blogger.

What I have been thankful for all these years since 2013 is the beautiful blessing of discovering new areas of Historical History to explore through realistically compelling Historical narratives which put me on the front-lines of where History and human interest stories interconnect. It has also allowed me to dive deeper into the historic past and root out new decades, centuries and millenniums to explore. For this and the stories themselves which are part of the memories I cherish most as a book blogger I am grateful to be a part of the #HFVBTBlogTours blogger team.

I received a complimentary copy of “Out Front the Following Sea” by the author Leah Angstman in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On what drew my curious eye towards this novel:

As you might have gathered through back-reading the reviews through my Story Vault (which sadly needs quite a bit of updating as the last few years were not as well maintained) you’ll notice I have a tendency to draw a keen eye of interest into Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical narratives and Literary Fiction. I enjoy seeking out stories which re-visionalise the boundaries of where History and Truth meet in the passageways of books and the stories which are being written to re-teach us something new which we might have not seen otherwise. Likewise, I believe there is a strong purpose in finding Feminist bent stories of Historical significance as so much of Women’s History is become lost or left unsaid for far too long.

One keen reason I love seeking out Historical Fiction in all its eloquence of study and intrigue is how dedicated the writers are who are writing these historical tomes of insight. These are well-researched stories and the incredible layers of both depth and information contained within them truly have enriched my own understanding of both History and the narratives of History as told through storytellers who bring History back to vibrant life. This is of course one reason I love Historical Fiction – you get to traverse through a looking-glass of time and re-step through those thresholds which wouldn’t have been given access to us otherwise.

Towards that end, I have known about the persecution of women during the earlier days of American History for most of my life as you can’t get through Elementary or Middle school without learning about the Salem Witch trials. However, it wasn’t until I became a book blogger in my mid to late thirties where I started to view those pieces of History a bit differently as the presentation of those years and of the plight of those women had changed through new research and a better dedication of telling the fuller truth of their lives. A lot of the women were misaligned of being something they weren’t and others were simply marked for reasons I still do not understand.

Ontop of which, early Colonial America was fraught with adversity and it is a time in our country’s history I felt had the most to be shared because it was on the fragile grounds of just being founded. Everything was quite new and yet, not a lot was changing for all persons who wanted to call this land their home. I’ve long known about the difficulties women faced for seeking out their own independence as much as how hard it was to carve out a living overall. It was a fiercely harsh world and it had to take a considerable amount of courage to tackle the challenges of surviving here. Ergo, this novel tipped a curious eye towards wanting to be read – as although I’ve read some Colonial America and Revolutionary War novels, I haven’t sought out novels within the scope of Pre-Colonial America — on the brink of when America was not yet America and the turmoil of what that part of this country’s history must have looked like for the earlier settlers.

I knew one thing going into reading this novel – it was going to be an eye opener in regards to the timeline of the central story’s arc and what was happening in the background as far as America was concerned directly. It is also a story about hard choices and the choices we make whilst we’re trying to survive – in that regard, it felt like a keenly insightful historical drama through the lens of two lead characters who you might not have felt would carry the story but of whom were the best to have that voice and perspective to share with us. I personally leant more towards Ruth than Owen initially. Sometimes we all need to challenge ourselves to read harder into History and find what was waiting for us therein.

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A #HistoricalMondays blog tour | feat. a #25PagePreview of “Out Front the Following Sea” by Leah AngstmanOut Front the Following Sea
by Leah Angstman
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

**Shortlisted for the Chaucer Book Award**

OUT FRONT THE FOLLOWING SEA is a historical epic of one woman’s survival in a time when the wilderness is still wild, heresy is publicly punishable, and being independent is worse than scorned—it is a death sentence.

At the onset of King William’s War between French and English settlers in 1689 New England, Ruth Miner is accused of witchcraft for the murder of her parents and must flee the brutality of her town. She stows away on the ship of the only other person who knows her innocence: an audacious sailor—Owen—bound to her by years of attraction, friendship, and shared secrets. But when Owen’s French ancestry finds him at odds with a violent English commander, the turmoil becomes life-or-death for the sailor, the headstrong Ruth, and the cast of Quakers, Pequot Indians, soldiers, highwaymen, and townsfolk dragged into the fray. Now Ruth must choose between sending Owen to the gallows or keeping her own neck from the noose.

Steeped in historical events and culminating in a little-known war on pre-American soil, OUT FRONT THE FOLLOWING SEA is a story of early feminism, misogyny, arbitrary rulings, persecution, and the treatment of outcasts, with parallels still mirrored and echoed in today’s society. The debut novel will appeal to readers of Paulette Jiles, Alexander Chee, Hilary Mantel, James Clavell, Bernard Cornwell, TaraShea Nesbit, Geraldine Brooks, Stephanie Dray, Patrick O’Brian, and E. L. Doctorow.

Genres: Historical Fiction, Feminist Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Historical Women's Fiction



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1646031948

Published by Regal House Publishing

on 11th January, 2022

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 334

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Published by: Regal House Publishing (@RegalHouse1)

Converse via: #HistFic or #HistoricalFiction
+ #OutFrontTheFollowingSea and #HFVBT

Available Formats: Hardcover, Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

About Leah Angstman

Leah Angstman

Leah Angstman is a historian and transplanted Michigander living in Boulder. OUT FRONT THE FOLLOWING SEA, her debut novel of King William’s War in 17th-century New England, is forthcoming from Regal House in January 2022.

Her writing has been a finalist for the Saluda River Prize, Cowles Book Prize, Able Muse Book Award, Bevel Summers Fiction Prize, and Chaucer Book Award, and has appeared in Publishers Weekly, L.A. Review of Books, Nashville Review, Slice, and elsewhere. She serves as editor-in-chief for Alternating Current and The Coil magazine and copyeditor for Underscore News, which has included editing partnerships with ProPublica. She is an appointed vice chair of a Colorado historical commission and liaison to a Colorado historic preservation committee.

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Posted Monday, 31 January, 2022 by jorielov in #25PagePreview, Blog Tour Host, Book Spotlight, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

#INSPYSundays | Returning to a series I’ve only discovered in the final installments: “Fancy Meeting You Here” by Christy Hayes

Posted Sunday, 31 October, 2021 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

#INSPYSundays banner made my Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquired about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. This is how I came to love discovering the Harlequin Heartwarming authors & series as much as it has been an honour to regularly request INSPY stories and authors. Whenever I host for Prism, I know I am in for an uplifting read and a journey into the stories which give me a lot of joy to find in my readerly queue of #nextreads. It is an honour to be a part of their team of book bloggers.

I received a complimentary copy of “Fancy Meeting You Here” direct from author Christy Hayes in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I fell in love with Christy Hayes and her style of Contemporary Romance:

One of the best moments I felt in the storyline is where Kayla is talking to her Mum – their trying to make sense of Kayla’s new reality – sorting out the emotions of her pregnancy and trying to look ahead to the future where Kayla and Ben have to sort out how to forge their own tomorrow together. Whatever they would choose to do for their child, they would choose to do on their own terms – that was something Kayla’s Mum understood. His parents were the opposite variety – the controlling kind, who liked to hug themselves to the law and readjust everyone else to their own will and worldview. For Kayla’s Mum, in that one moment of sincere compassion for her daughter you saw how a true mother’s love could encourage a daughter during a moment of her life where darkness threatened to erase the Light. It was also where Hayes started to insert the INSPY threads of the narrative – where she was trying to point towards how God was at the intersection of their lives and was truly at the head of where their compass was starting to point them into a new path they would be walking together rather than apart.

Hayes kept me anchoured into the story – she didn’t make excuses for her characters, nor did she overtly bring into the forum of their duress the inspirational messages you might have felt could have been added into the fray of their spiralling anxieties. She was allowing them some space – some time to breathe and feel the weight of their choices – good, bad or indifferent, they had lived those hours together and Hayes was presenting the outcome of what happens when you take one reckless romantic night and wake-up with the consequences of that affair. She openly lets her characters choose their own words and to fumble their own way through tomorrow – in that regard she had my respect because it was a very adult way of presenting a New Adult narrative on what happens when co-ed University students suddenly find themselves contemplating Mr Mom and Mrs Baby scenarios.

I needed a story to pull me back into the joy of reading – Hayes gave me a story which rooted me into her characters’ lives, gave me a reason to champion their cause and gave me such an uplift of joy to discover their story to where I felt renewed in the healing grace of finding stories which lift our spirits during moments in our lives where sometimes connecting to stories is one of the hardest obstacles we need to overcome.

I love returning to the world of INSPY and/or heartwarming romances (such as Harlequin Heartwarming) wherein I know I can be greeted by a cast of characters who will give me something to chew on whilst anchouring me into their heart-centred storyline wherein I’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated for having met against the page. How blessed was I then to have sought out this blog tour and had the proper chance to ‘meet’ my first Hayes novel! It was a wicked brilliant introduction to her writing style and I hope others will pick up a copy to see what I found – adding to their own sought after blisstitude for uplifting fiction during the uncertain tides of everyday life (whilst we’re all surviving through a pandemic we never saw coming!).

Hayes tucks you close to the mindset and emotional state of Kayla – digging into her fears, her emotions and the ways in which her thought processes were trying to make sense of how altered her life was now that she had a confirmed pregnancy test in her hands. It was a moment that defines you and a moment where you have to sort yourself out before you can hope to move forward – something you could tell even Kayla’s roommates understood a bit before Kayla herself. Whilst at the same time, there is a definitive style in this novel – as Formula for a Perfect Life has the beauty of a Rom-Com within its folds – as it is told in a light-handed manner of exploring what a twenty-something college co-ed is going to to after a test is taken to determine her future. It is a novel hinging on Kayla’s actions and reactions to the test itself whilst everyone round her also has to react and adjust along with her – that in of itself was a bit genius as it takes the films I loved previously to a new area of enlightenment. Where the characters are younger, not quite as seasoned on life and still find themselves in a bit of a pickle when it comes to sorting out love, parenthood and the artful imbalance of romance and life!

One reason I like to read upcoming voices in Contemporary INSPY Romance is because of the changing ways the voice of the market is able to yield a wide field of narratives giving us a better grounded array of stories, characters and sequencing of stories to read. I sometimes find some of the authors’ have a style which is hit or miss for me personally, but I love the ability to seek them out all the same. With Hayes, I feel a bit vindicated that my openness to seek out new authors of Contemporary INSPY was well-placed because she’s struck the balance I was hoping to find with the ability to carve out a wicked good Contemporary Romance!

-quoted from my review of Formula for a Perfect Life
which also received one of my Cuppa Book Love Awards

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Reading Formula for a Perfect Life changed my perspective about reading Contemporary New Adult which a few authors have been able to give me after finding myself a bit burnt out on the genre overall. It was a hard sell for me initially (the genre, not the story!) as I never could quite grapple with the gap years between Upper YA and Adult, which is where New Adult is aptly suited and placed. I have the tendency of being a traditional YA reader rather than an Upper YA reader (though there are a few exceptions!) whilst I also appreciate Middle Grade; yet, when it comes to Contemporary Romance – for a long while I was starting to consider I was more apt to read an INSPY Contemporary than a mainstream one but that was before the days I read ChocLitUK (in the earlier years of Jorie Loves A Story) and long before I discovered Harlequin Heartwarming and Love Inspired Suspense.

Those Contemporary Romance authors changed my opinion but so have the INSPY Contemporary Romance authors who are switching up the genre itself and giving us wickedly in-depth stories which not only tackle heavier topics and realistic storylines (in a similar vein as the Heartwarming authors) but they are creating a lovely new niche of joy for those of us who grew up as hybrid readers of both INSPY and mainstream stories. This is the INSPY for the new generation – for readers who respect the tradition of INSPY but who also love seeing authors embrace a way to bring in the Contemporary angle to where INSPY can go in the future. This might be a step away from what people are expecting out of their INSPY novels but for me, its a refreshing change and one I continue to celebrate on my blog whenever I make a new discovery such as I had last year when I first read Christy Hayes.

However, that doesn’t mean I can’t get disappointed which I’ll be outlining on this review for Fancy Meeting You Here. As it could be a mixture o reasons why I had a slightly negative reaction to reading this novel right now (which I mention) or it could be, this particular novel in the series came off to me to be less spontaneously cheeky and a heap more darker with a full-on snark effect. I just struggled to connect to this story and the characters but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to read other stories in this series – its just for this go-round, I think my expectations were quite high and I just fell a bit short in stepping in line with the author’s vision of where the story took me.

She’s one of the forerunners in my opinion, along with Bethany Turner (Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish), Janet W. Ferguson (Magnolia Storms), Kellie Coates Gilbert (A Reason to Stay) and Becky Wade (the Bradford Sisters series and Stay With Me) to name a few!

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#INSPYSundays | Returning to a series I’ve only discovered in the final installments: “Fancy Meeting You Here” by Christy HayesFancy Meeting You Here
by Christy Hayes
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and this time there’s no keeping the flames under wraps.

After ending a passionate affair, Shelby Zurlo thinks she has it all—a career built on brains and not beauty and the independence she craves. But her graphic design business is struggling, and her solo status in a world made for couples leaves her lonely. When a client asks a favor—a favor she can’t refuse—Shelby runs headfirst into her biggest mistake and her biggest regret.

Nick Chamberlain is living the dream. He’s got a successful business venture, a strong and supportive family, and a social life most guys would envy. If only he could move on from the woman who shattered his heart and never looked back.

When a chance meeting forces Shelby and Nick to interact, sparks fly and tempers flare. Nick is determined to win Shelby back; Shelby is just as committed to keeping Nick in the friend zone. In a battle of wits, will stubborn hearts bend and sway, or snap in the headwinds of love?

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction, Sweet Romance, New Adult Fiction, Romance Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy (Rom Com), Motherhood | Parenthood



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1625720245

Also by this author: Formula for a Perfect Life

Published by CAH LLC

on 11th October, 2021

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 295

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The Stories in the Kiss & Tell series I’ve read:

Formula for a Perfect Life by Christy HayesFancy Meeting You Here by Christy Hayes

Formula for a Perfect Life (book five): Kayla’s story : (see also Review)

Fancy Meeting You Here (book six) : Shelby’s story

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& the stories I need to gather to read next:

Stalling for Time (book one) : Emily’s Story

The End Run (book two) : Zach’s story

Kiss & Make Up (book three) : Emily & Dylan and Zach & Jenna’s stories

Maybe Its You (book four) : Reagan’s story

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This is a self-published novel by CAH LLC

Converse via: #FancyMeetingYouHere, #ContemporaryRomance & #INSPYRomance
as well as #ChristianRomance, #IndieAuthor/s and #ChristyHayes

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About Christy Hayes

Christy Hayes lives outside Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and dogs. Christy writes Contemporary Romance, New Adult Romance, Christian Romance, and Women's Fiction. When not writing, she’s reading, walking dogs, or stalking her college-aged kids on social media.

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Posted Sunday, 31 October, 2021 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Modern Day, New Adult Fiction, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Women's Fiction

A #HistoricalMondays blog tour | feat. “The Artist Colony” by Joanna FitzPatrick

Posted Monday, 20 September, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#HistoricalMondays blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

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. Whether I am reading selections from Indie Authors & publishers to Major Trade and either from mainstream or INSPY markets – I am finding myself happily residing in the Historical past each year I am a blogger.

What I have been thankful for all these years since 2013 is the beautiful blessing of discovering new areas of Historical History to explore through realistically compelling Historical narratives which put me on the front-lines of where History and human interest stories interconnect. It has also allowed me to dive deeper into the historic past and root out new decades, centuries and millenniums to explore. For this and the stories themselves which are part of the memories I cherish most as a book blogger I am grateful to be a part of the #HFVBTBlogTours blogger team.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Artist Colony” from the publisher She Writes Press in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: Once upon a time, I was a reviewer with SparkPress and their imprints as well as a participant in their Summer reading challenges. However, quite a few of those selections I had made in the past ended up on my backlogue of reviews; due to different adversities afflicting during those years – from my chronic migraines and other health ailments as well as my father’s recovery years from his moderate bilateral stroke in late 2016. Each year I grow closer to reading my backlogue – yet, despite falling behind on those reads, I’ve never lost my affinity of appreciation for SparkPress as a publisher or for She Writes Press. A few times since those years, I’ve had the pleasure of hosting their authors again and it isn’t something I take for granted. It is an honour and I love how they focus on stories which are inventively invigorating to be read as much as they stimulate conversation and carry forward a light for inspiring deeper readings and keenly intuitive thinkers.

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On what drew my curious eye towards this novel:

Admittedly, this hasn’t been the best readerly year for me as a Historical Fiction reader. Each year, I try to chronicle my readings into the Historical past through the historical reading challenge hosted every year by Amy @ Passages to the Past (also the wicked awesome owner of HFVBTs!) – yet, this particular year, I’ve written more preview stylised posts (ie. #My25PagePreview) than I have longer reviews. Partially, it was a timing issue for me and yet, some of it seemed like 2021 was just a harder won year than 2020 which in all actuality seems a bit impressive to say considering what the former year was like to live through. Laughter aside, as soon as I learnt about the back-history about the artist cottage and how the cottage in Carmel was linked to the author – it felt like such an introspective kind of read.

I used to study art when I was younger and art has languished in my life for a few decades off/on now. I’d love to find a keenly approachable teacher to help me find my muse again when it comes to drawing as I’d love to pursue watercolours eventually – however, my main pursuit and passion of the past several years (err, a bit longer than that) has been knitting. With a new yarn destination closer than previous years, there is a strong chance I’ll be back at the needles before Autumn grips my weather patterns! And, wouldn’t that be a treasured blessing!? However, until then, I still think about traditional art mediums and how wonderful it would be to have a place to focus on art for the sake of discovering not just want moves me as an artist but what inspires me, too. It is a bit why I have always loved pursuing photography – you just have to step out your door and you’ll find inspiration. Photography was something I could maintain throughout my life and I’m blessed for it. Whereas art, in the more traditional sense backslid a bit and became out of focus.

I’m also one part of my family’s ancestral sleuths team – wherein, I inherited a love of Biographical Fiction stories from my Mum. She has a fierce passion for Non-Fiction in regards to Biographical & Autobiographical stories, but for me, I struggled to lock my mind round those selections. Until I tapped into a niche corner of Historical Fiction and found stories which are either directly derived from a person’s actual lived life OR they are an impression of that life wherein liberties were taken to fill in the missing gaps of their known histories. Both are appreciated by curious mind and I love seeing how authors tackle their subjects and how they extend the lives of the persons once lived.

On that note, I liked how The Artist Colony was first inspired by Fitzpatrick’s Great-Aunt Ada Belle and from that forethought on inspiration – came the story we’re all reading today. It is also a curious antidote of how to pierce together familiar history and enfold a relative of ours into a bit of an expansive story which can chart its own course; either following the line of history for that person or taking a new kind of trajectory which is befitting of the story as it became untangled into the pages it now lives upon. It gives me food for thought every time I see an author utilising this technique and perhaps one day, it might lay down a foundation of a story drawn out of my own living tree of ancestral roots. Until then, I chase after the historical past every which way to Sunday as it is such an intriguing place to revisit time after time, as each story is its own unique portal towards seeing History through a new pair of lens.

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A #HistoricalMondays blog tour | feat. “The Artist Colony” by Joanna FitzPatrickThe Artist Colony
by Joanna FitzPatrick
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Paris, July, 1924…

Sarah, a young Modernist painter, receives a cable from California. Her estranged older sister, Ada Belle, has died under suspicious circumstances. When she arrives two weeks later at San Francisco’s Union Station, Sarah is confronted by a newspaper headline: “Inquest Verdict: Artist Commits Suicide.”

Sarah remembers the last haunting words Ada Belle said to her: “Ars longa, vita brevis: Art is long, life is short.” But Ada Belle’s work is selling, and her upcoming exhibition of portraitures would bring her even wider recognition. Why would she kill herself? Sarah’s quest to find the truth of what happened to Ada Belle leads her to join the bucolic artist colony to look for clues. As she delves into her sister’s underworld, tensions surface. The darker things get, the closer she comes to terrible danger. How far will a killer go before he kills again?

Genres: Crime Fiction, Cosy Historical Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Historical Fiction



Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1647421694

Published by She Writes Press

on 7th September, 2021

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 328

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Published By: She Writes Press (@shewritespress)
in conjunction with SparkPress (@SparkPress)
an imprint of Spark Points Studio LLC GoSparkPoint (@GoSparkPoint)
& BookSparks
(@BookSparks)

Converse via: #HistFic or #HistNov or #HistoricalFiction
+ #TheArtistColony and #HFVBT

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

About Joanna FitzPatrick

Joanna FitzPatrick

Joanna FitzPatrick was born and raised in Hollywood. She started her writing habit by applying her orange fountain pen and a wild imagination to screenplays, which led her early on to produce the film White Lilacs and Pink Champagne. At Sarah Lawrence College, she wrote her MFA thesis Sha La La: Live for Today about her life as a rock ’n’ roll star’s wife. Her more recent work includes two novels, Katherine Mansfield and The Drummer’s Widow. The Artist Colony is her third book. Presently, FitzPatrick divides her time between a mountaintop cottage in Northern California and a small hameau in Southern France where she begins all her book projects.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2021 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Monday, 20 September, 2021 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours