Format: POD | Print On Demand Paperback

A #HistoricalMondays #25PagePreview | feat. “The Earl’s Lady Geologist” by Alissa Baxter

Posted Monday, 15 March, 2021 by jorielov , , , 6 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 Earl’s Lady Geologist” direct from the author Alissa Baxter in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On why I love reading Historical Romances like this one:

I love the entire allure of a Regency – from the era to the society therein, whenever I am tucked inside a Regency Rom there is a measure of joy and comfort in the readings because it was the Regency & Victorian eras of Romances which first connected me into the genre of Romance itself. I didn’t enter through the portal of Heyer though – as I never felt I could connect to her stories, though mind you, at ages eight and nine I wasn’t reading Heyer or Austen; I left both of those lovely ladies for my thirties – however, when I was younger I was reading anthological Regencies & Victorian Christmas Romances – getting my first strong impressions of the genre and loving what I was discovering therein.

Despite my joy of reading – of late, with all the changes in my personal life – my fatigue and exhaustion has been a bit of a bear to work round and I admit, I haven’t been reading for long spurts of time in recent months. On top of which, since February and now March have taken a stronghold into my seasonal Spring allergies – its been quite miserable juggling those with the fatigue as well. I pray others are not dealing with the allergens this year – their beastly brutal!

Thereby, I cannot always finish the stories I am reading for a blog tour and have started to recognise this as a blogger and as a reader to where I have been turning in a shorter preview of my fuller thoughts rather than feel guilty about what I couldn’t finish. Thereby this review for the tour for Ms Baxter is also featuring one of my #25PagePreview reviews in lieu of an extended review. I wanted to highlight what I was enjoying as I first dove into the novel and why I appreciated my introduction to Ms Baxter’s writings of the Regency as she is definitely an author I want to keep an eye on and continue reading in the future.

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A small life and blog news update:

As you might have seen, a lot of the posts I’ve been planning to share haven’t quite made it onto Jorie Loves A Story yet – the reason being!? I’ve had a bout of fatigue and exhaustion recently whilst adjusting to working full-time which has caused me to be offline a bit more than usual and has put me behind the eight ball truly when it comes to reading and blogging. However, I’m still blogging on deadlines as far as my 2021 Blog Schedule attests whilst I am also trying to find better balance with my work hours to where I’m not consistently working more than I am enjoying some downtime. Like everyone who starts a new job/career, there are some kinks to work out before you feel you’ve re-balanced your life. Ergo, if I’m remiss a bit online with blog visits, answering comments on Jorie Loves A Story or even in the twitterverse – kindly know its because I’ve been resting between shifts and getting online whenever I can betwixt and between.

I have some good news to share as well: I’ll be sharing my plans for the “Unconquerable Sun” RAL sooner than later, whilst helping to announce our 4th Year hosting #WyrdAndWonder – as Imyril has so kindly announced it recently herself to get us started whilst I still want to ink out a massive Sunday Post to curate a journal of updates and blog news as well. Keep your eyes on @SatBookChat this week as I’ll be announcing our featured guests for March & April – whilst I’m still booking guests for most of Spring and into the Summer months afterwards. Again, thank you for your visits and your conversations – I can’t wait to get back into visiting with everyone a bit more regularly again. I promise if I haven’t replied to your comments/reactions on my blog yet I will be this coming week.

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A #HistoricalMondays #25PagePreview | feat. “The Earl’s Lady Geologist” by Alissa BaxterThe Earl's Lady Geologist
by Alissa Baxter
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Cassandra Linfield is a lady fossil collector who declares she will never marry as no man will ever take her studies seriously. When circumstances force her to travel to Town for the Season, Cassy infiltrates the hallowed portals of the Geological Society from which she has been banned. She is horrified when she comes face to face with her nemesis, the infuriating Earl of Rothbury.

Lord Rothbury is a gentleman-geologist with a turbulent romantic past. After a youthful disappointment he vows never to fall in love again, and makes the decision, instead, to seek out a convenient wife when he returns to England from his geological travels abroad.

Brought together by their close family ties, Cassy and Rothbury collaborate on a geological paper and discover a powerful attraction. Marriage, however, is the one subject they cannot agree upon. But when Cassy’s life is threatened, the two realise that love matters more than their objections.

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781734150797

Published by Vinspire Publishing

on 28th February, 2021

Format: POD | Print On Demand Paperback

Pages: 222

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Published by: Vinspire Publishing (@vinspire2004)

This is the first novel in the Linfield Ladies series!

Converse via: #HistFic or #HistNov as well as #HistoricalFiction
+ #TheEarlsLadyGeologist and #HFVBTBlogTours

Available Formats: Trade paperback and Ebook

About Alissa Baxter

Alissa Baxter

Alissa Baxter was born in a small town in South Africa, and grew up with her nose in a book on a poultry and cattle farm. At the age of eleven she discovered her mother’s collection of Georgette Heyer novels. The first Heyer novel she ever read was Sylvester and she was hooked on Georgette Heyer after that. She read and reread her novels, and fell totally in love with the Regency period and Heyer’s grey-eyed heroes! After school and university, where she majored in Political Science and French, she published her first Regency novel, The Dashing Debutante.

Alissa travelled overseas and worked as a flight attendant in Dubai before she moved to England, where she did an odd assortment of jobs while researching her second novel, Lord Fenmore’s Wager, which she wrote when she moved back to South Africa. Alissa’s third Regency novel, A Marchioness Below Stairs, is the sequel to Lord Fenmore’s Wager.

Alissa has lived in Durban and Cape Town but she eventually settled in Johannesburg where she lives with her husband and two sons. Alissa is also the author of two chick-lit novels, Send and Receive and The Blog Affair, which have been re-released as The Truth About Series: The Truth about Clicking Send and Receive and The Truth About Cats and Bees.

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2021 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Monday, 15 March, 2021 by jorielov in #25PagePreview, #HistoricalMondays, 19th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Geology, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Romance Fiction, the Regency era

#SciFiMonth Book Review | “Suzy Spitfire Kills Everybody” (Suzy Spitfire series, Book One) by Joe Canzano

Posted Saturday, 28 November, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#SciFiMonth Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: In February, 2020 Kimberley @ Caffeinated PR contacted me about the Suzy Spitfire series whilst asking me if I would enjoy being one of the book bloggers on her PR Team. The request arrived at a point in my life where I was seriously in need of a wicked good story to pull me out of the funk I was experiencing with my health and the afflictions associated with a bad Winter’s cold. The timing for me was perfect and as I read about Suzy Spitfire – the context of the story fit within what I enjoyed about the Urban Fantasy series October Daye by Seanan McGuire.

I joined the book blitz for showcasing the second novel in the Suzy Spitfire series whilst I requested the first novel to read and review in order to understand the author’s style, voice and the continuity of the series. I therefore received a complimentary copy of “Suzy Spitfire Kills Everybody” in exchange for an honest review from the author Joe Canzano. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What truly attracted me to read #SuzySpitfire:

I heart #SciFiMonth | #RRSciFiMonth every November – but the last several years have been a bit of a mixed bag for me. Mostly as my migraines seem to derail *all!* efforts to read the stories I’ve selected for the month (see also this annoucement from 2019 wherein I barely touched the surface of what I disclosed) which is why I’m trying to start reading Sci Fi outside of November this year! (big smirks)

To be perfectly transparent – I was in the mood for an unlikely heroine adventuring in outer space and taking me on an adventure I didn’t realise I *needed!* in my life! lol A bit like how seeing “Star Trek: Enterprise” recently filled a need as well – we’ve just finished the fourth year and are saddened for the loss of episodes – except for 3x, one we skipped (the Detroit one) and two were just too weird for words to describe and had zero bearing on the series as a whole! (“through a glass darkly” – the mirror universe duology) I wanted to read a series COMPLETELY outside my zone of comfort – I wanted to tuck into her story and just have this wicked wild ride of reading a book which would give me a healthy respite from my backlogue, my illnesses and of course, the weight of current events! And, blessedly dear hearts – #SuzySpitfire filled that void for me!

As soon as I happily read the pitch about this series by Kimberly @ Caffeniated PR, I just *knew!* I had to sign on to spotlight #SuzySpitfire! This also marks my first blog tour with her blog touring company and I couldn’t be happier! I look forward to continuing my adventure with Suzy Spitfire this weekend but for now, let’s take a bit of a closer look at what you can expect to find in the sequel “Suzy Spitfire and the Snake Eyes of Venus!” – by the by, is it me or does this series have the most brilliant titles!?

-as previously shared on the spotlight for Suzy Spitfire and the Snake Eyes of Venus

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#SciFiMonth Book Review | “Suzy Spitfire Kills Everybody” (Suzy Spitfire series, Book One) by Joe CanzanoSuzy Spitfire Kills Everybody
by Joe Canzano
Source: Author via Caffeinated PR

When outlaw Suzy Spitfire discovers her father was murdered after creating a super-duper artificial intelligence, she races across the solar system in search of the brain he built—but it’s a rough ride, and she’s soon forced to tangle with pirates, predators, and her father’s killer—as well as a man she thinks she can love.

Suzy Spitfire Kills Everybody is a smash-bang science fiction adventure filled with action, intrigue, and a dose of dark humor.

Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Science Fiction, Space Opera


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0990636564

Also by this author: Suzy Spitfire Kills And the Snake Eyes of Venus (Spotlight)

Also in this series: Suzy Spitfire Kills And the Snake Eyes of Venus (Spotlight)


Published by Happy Joe Control Books

on 2nd July, 2019

Format: POD | Print On Demand Paperback

Pages: 306

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The Suzy Spitfire Series:

Suzy Spitfire Kills Everybody by Joe CanzanoSuzy Spitfire and the Snake Eyes of Venus by Joe Canzano

Suzy Spitfire Kills Everybody (book one)

Suzy Spitfire & the Snake Eyes of Venus (book two)

Published by: Happy Joe Control Books

Formats Available: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse on Twitter via: #SuzySpitfire, #ScienceFiction or #JoeCanzano

About Joe Canzano

Joe Canzano

Joe Canzano is a writer and musician. He lives in New Jersey, U.S.A., in a house with a basement where he usually stays. Occasionally he leaves the basement and visits the kitchen.

He likes to write absurd comic fantasy and fun science fiction.

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #SciFiMonth 2020
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Posted Saturday, 28 November, 2020 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Caffeniated PR, Excessive Violence in Literature, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, Science Fiction, Space Opera, Vulgarity in Literature

#HistoricalMondays Book Review | [prequel novella] “The River Jewel” [The Letter series] by Kathleen Shoop

Posted Monday, 7 September, 2020 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

#HistoricalMondays blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

In [2019] I launched a new weekly featured concentration of book reviews on Jorie Loves A Story which celebrates my love and passion for the historical past! For those of whom are regular readers and visitors to my blog, you’ll denote a dedicated passion for reading Historical Fiction (and all the lovely segues of thematic therein) – I am a time traveller of the historical past every chance I get to disappear into a new era and/or century of exploration. There isn’t a time period I haven’t enjoyed ruminating over since [2013] and there are a heap of lovely timescapes I’ve yet to encounter.

This feature was inspired by the stories I’ve read, the stories I’ve yet to experience and the beauty of feeling interconnected to History through the representation of the past through the narratives being writ by today’s Historical Fiction authors. It is to those authors I owe a debt of gratitude for enlightening my bookish mind and my readerly heart with realistic characters, illuminating portals of living history and a purposeful intent on giving each of us a strong representation of ‘life’ which should never become dismissed, forgotten or erased.

I began this feature with the sequel to a beloved historical novel I first read in [2013] – it was one of the first ARCs I received and it was the first year I was a book blogger though it was through a connection outside my life as a blogger. I celebrated K.B. Laugheed’s literature to kick-off this feature and hopefully will inspire my followers to take this new weekly journey with me into the stories which are beckoning to read their narrative depths and find the words in which to express the thoughts I experienced as I read.

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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.

My path first crossed with Kathleen Shoop in [2015] whilst I was participating in a summer reading challenge by BookSparks. I was also a reviewer and blog tour hostess with the  publicity firm whilst I was joining the SRC reading challenge they were quite infamous of hosting for the very first time. My experiences that summer were less than gratifying as I lost traction with the challenge itself and only posted a few reviews out of the ones I was meant to be posting. Ms Shoop and I crossed paths that year due to her latest Letter series release “The Road Home” which was part of the SRC challenge for [2015]. During that summer I also received a #bookmail parcel from the author which include a variety of her stories for me to start reading. They were not for review consideration but if I was inspired to blog about them after I read them that was up to my own discretion and choice. I had a feeling I might be leaning in that direction as just by browsing through the stories and where they could be taking me, I felt they would be the #nextreads I would most enjoy experiencing.

Life and health afflictions (especially my chronic migraines) conflicted with my start/stop attempts to read the books themselves until I felt re-inspired to re-attempt to read one of the novels – “After the Fog” [Spring 2019] which I had no idea was being anchoured to a sequel “The Strongman and the Mermaid” which was also going to be featured on a blog tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours [Spring 2019]. Thereby, it felt like the timing was aligning properly for me to start to read her canon of stories and with my newfound inspiration I couldn’t wait to begin my journey into her collective works.

A bit over a year lateron, I am still struggling to get focused onto the stories on my backlogue due to various reasons where my IRL adversities in health and the health crises of my parents (we’ve been in the ER 6x times since November 2019; the last of which was this past Saturday!) to where I’ve effectively experience a lot of start/stops in my progress to read the stories on my shelves. When I saw this blog tour adverted I thought, there’s a novella prequel to the Letter series? Hmm. I took that as a sign of entrance into a series I have wanted to be reading for so many years now.

I received a complimentary copy of “The River Jewel” direct from the author Kathleen Shoop in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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My reactions to reading Kathleen Shoop:

You can hardly draw a breath as you enter into Rose’s life as a nurse in a small industrial towne which barely has enough medical practitioners that it needs to be medically sound in a place where emergencies were commonplace. In this instance, Shoop begins on a sombering note – of a mother and child who both exited the world the same night as the child’s arrival. It was difficult on Rose – a nurse who grieved for her patients as readily as the doctor she served, but what was one nurse to do with a patient whose birth went sideways as soon as it began? The house she was birthing inside was less than ideal – the light was missing but the effects of the hard birth were not lost on Rose. In many ways, this Rose reminded me of the Rose from Charton Minster (the historical series I loved reading by Margaret James) as both are nurses who go above and beyond their calls of duty.

We also get a firm overview of the towne – of how Donora is co-dependent on her industries and how those industries are co-dependent on each other. Situated below Pittsburgh, its location is on the opposite end of the state than I am familiar though I have passed through the Amish area north of Pittsburgh; it is one city I never had the proper chance to visit. The fact this story is rooted in the steel industry was not a surprise – though like most industrial stories, I found this one refreshing as I haven’t learnt as much about the Industrial Revolution as I ought to have before I graduated. Interestingly enough, no one was ever interested in talking about History after the Civil War or outside of the war eras of the early 20th Century. You have to rally together the missing pieces of history on your own and through reading Historical Fiction these past six years I’ve filled in the gaps far easier than all the years I was in school (which is telling in of its own).

Shoop writes with historical realism – the descriptive details you’d nearly expect out of a Historical narrative but also with a grittiness you might not be fully prepared for reading. Rather than gloss over certain aspects of the novel’s period history, Shoop delves into the gritty depictions of what this kind of life can lead to observing as you live through the era in which it is written about – from the visuals of what Rose must endure as a nurse to the ways in which the lives within the novel are spoken about or referenced. This is a historical novel that tucks you close to the edges – where you can peer at these people’s lives with a rawness as if they were going about their hours without realising someone was taking notes about how they were living, what they were doing or how they occupied their hours. It is an examination on a sociological layer of insight but it is also a gut-punch reality of how people lived through a particular jarring era in history where personal health and the environmental toxicity in their air was assaulting their lungs – “After the Fog” – is a cautionary story about how a disaster in the past can be a foreshadow to the future.

-quoted from my review of After the Fog

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A grandfather in his nineties takes a moment to sit with his granddaughter and his great-grandson to tell them about the fabled Strongman and Mermaid – at least this is our reckoning, as the story of who they had been has nearly become lost in time itself had he not held strong to the book which started to unravel his hidden memories of the past. For her sake, you could tell the strain was affecting her – she simply wanted to do right by her grandfather, where his mind was not allowing himself to remain independent and how the effects of his condition were not just growing worse but they were allowing her to think about the issues which would soon arise if she didn’t force the issue of his relocation. Anyone whose had elder relations knows the position she was in and knows it well; for circumventing problems before they arise in families is one of the hardest obstacles you can transition through outside of resolving the grief which stems from the loss of the relatives who’ve gone on into the next life.

It was here – in a kitchen, you find his voice is still viable enough to piece together the words which compose the story – of how someone’s parents were the better part of a story long since told and that is how we find ourselves time shifting back into 1910 – leaving 2019 with a fresh perspective about Donora about to flicker through our mind as we re-shift back into this sooty dusty mill towne which has a grip of a grasp on everyone whose once lived there.

Mary is a girl ahead of her years – in charge of rallying her siblings to rights before she heads off to work – they were bound for school but she needed to put in a day’s wage and help her family earn the keep which would enable them to stay afloat. You could see her industrious nature in how she attended to the fuel her family needed – not one to shy away from hard work or the arduous litany of chores most girls’ her age might not be as willing to do – you gathered Mary was a forward-thinking kind of girl which was a refreshing change out of her generation. She didn’t see herself limited by means nor in ownership of her future based on her present circumstances; she chose to look towards something positive rather than give into the fact her life could be a repetitious pattern of the hours she currently spent. You felt for Mary – for her courage but also her willingness to see the lighter side to life – where joy and happiness reside.

You immediately get lost inside The Strongman and the Mermaid – not just because the story is part legend and lore; of the personalities and personas people believe in despite the appearances of their composites in reality but because of how Shoop crafted the story. We find our vehicle in the presence of Patryk – a grandfather who simply wants to re-live the olden days if only to give the next generation pause to think about how their ancestors carved out the future they are currently enjoying to live. Part of his joy also stemmed from a deeply felt sense of honour and admiration for Mary and Lukasz – for their story was what had given him the most hope for his own situation. If he could hold onto the stories – keeping the memories close in mind as much as in heart, I believed Patryk felt he wasn’t going to completely remove himself from his own past. He was still a part of the stories being passed down and those living histories meant everything to him.

The more you disappear into the lives of Mary and Lukasz, the more you realise how hard they both were struggling against their own conventions. Their towne had a society of obligation about it – where old school philosophies hadn’t quite become exchanged for the new world mentality where a man and a woman could afford their own choices in their lives. Mary was expected to do the bidding of her parents – irregardless of what she personally wanted for herself, she was needed to work in order to provide whatever they needed based off her pay. This proved to be an exhausting commitment but also a sad one, too as she truly enjoyed her time spent with Mrs Dunn. Dunn was the kind of woman who appreciated Mary’s assistance but knew she couldn’t provide everything she needed – in many ways Dunn was the surrogate mother Mary needed in her life – guiding her with inspiration, encouraging her to think outside the required box her parents wished for her to feel security inside and giving her a chance to breathe a dream of her own choosing.

I truly liked how the story was paced – how you feel emotionally connected to both lead characters and how the towne itself feels a bit more alive somehow – it has its own pace of delivering its presence, not just due to the way work is scheduled but how the people live there. It is a fitting testament to this towne’s history but also as a nod towards the people who forged a life out of an area that was a hard-won place to carve out a living. All of this created the best atmosphere in which to soak inside the historical backdrop Shoop gave us and fittingly, it felt like a better place to begin the series rather than as a sophomore installment.

-quoted from my review of The Strongman and the Mermaid

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#HistoricalMondays Book Review | [prequel novella] “The River Jewel” [The Letter series] by Kathleen ShoopThe River Jewel
by Kathleen Shoop
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

For everyone who hopes to find the perfect match…

1875 Des Moines, Iowa

The novella, The River Jewel, takes readers of the bestselling Letter Series novels back in time, before there was a last letter, before the Arthurs lost everything, before they knew a girl named Pearl.

Meet Tilly Rabel, a proud oyster-woman, and Landon Lockwood, the troubled son of one of the wealthiest men in America. The two could not be less suited for love. But when an old legend draws Landon to a hidden river cove, Tilly and he find each other, are lured by growing attraction, and repelled by competing desires to control Tilly’s waters. The hidden pool is replete with valuable mussel beds and the source of everything that makes Tilly who she is. Landon sees the illustrious treasure as the path to proving to his parents he is worth their love and worthy of the Lockwood name. Can Tilly trust Landon with her heart, with her beloved mussel beds? Can Landon trust that he has truly changed and doesn’t need his parents approval to live the life he wants?

Heartbreak, triumph, and a very special baby weave a tale sure to please readers who’ve read the entire Letter Series and those who are just starting the journey.

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


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1708629236

Also by this author: The Strongman and the Mermaid

Published by Self Published

on 3rd December, 2019

Format: POD | Print On Demand Paperback

Pages: 172

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The Letter series:

The River Jewel by Kathleen ShoopThe Last Letter by Kathleen ShoopThe Road Home by Kathleen ShoopThe Kitchen Mistress by Kathleen Shoop

The River Jewel & The River Promise (series novellas) (prequel duology)

The Last Letter (book one)

The Road Home (book two)

The Kitchen Mistress (book three)

The Thief’s Heart (book four)

Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and ebook

About Kathleen Shoop

Kathleen Shoop

Bestselling author, Kathleen Shoop, holds a PhD in reading education and has more than 20 years of experience in the classroom. She writes historical fiction, women’s fiction and romance. Shoop’s novels have garnered various awards in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, Eric Hoffer Book Awards, Indie Excellence Awards, Next Generation Indie Book Awards and the San Francisco Book Festival. Kathleen has been featured in USA Today and the Writer’s Guide to 2013. Her work has appeared in The Tribune-Review, four Chicken Soup for the Soul books and Pittsburgh Parent magazine. She lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 7 September, 2020 by jorielov in #HistoricalMondays, 18th Century, Blog Tour Host, Content Note, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, Iowa, Life Shift, Literary Fiction, Multiple POV, Self-Published Author, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction

A #SatBookChat Book Review | “Happy Everything” (Merry Hanukkah series, Book Two) by Debby Caruso

Posted Friday, 12 June, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

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Acquired Book By: In 2018, I was approached by the author to read the first story in her Merry Hanukkah series – whilst in 2019, I had the delightful joy of having her as a featured guest during my @SatBookChat! I naturally was curious about the sequel and when she offered to send me “Happy Everything” I felt it was a fitting way to begin my New Year reading the sequel and kicking off my #SaturdaysAreBookish featured reviews.

Except to say, it took me until #IndieApril to find the focus I needed to re-absorb myself back into this lovely series – as the first bits of the New Year did not quite pan out the way I had intended them too! By sharing this review during April, I was hoping to re-highlight how much I enjoy hosting my #SatBookChat authors whilst also noting that I am a champion for #IndieAuthors both on my blog Jorie Loves A Story and through my @SatBookChat showcases.

I had the best of plans to run this during #IndieApril – however, a migraine and seasonal pollen allergies interfered and I had to bump this showcase forward to a weekend where I was free of both! I find May the hardest month to transition through for my pollen allergies and thus, this review kept getting bumped forward until now, finally in JUNE I can share it at long last! It also kicks off a new sequence of #SatBookChat Reviews wherein I am reading and reviewing my @SatBookChat backlogue!

I received a complimentary copy of “Happy Everything” direct from the author Debby Caruso in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On what I enjoyed about “Merry Hanukkah”:

We enter Rhonda’s life at her wedding – where despite the festive nature of the day, there is a foreboding undercurrent of doubt in regards to whether or not her in-laws truly accept her as they’re daughter-in-law; as an ill-fated scene played out at the height of the celebrations. You could gather there was something brewing in the background – perhaps, the in-laws weren’t certain of their son’s choice due to the combining of their religious backgrounds? As the ceremony was delightfully equally divided between both their traditions, uniting them both through love and the faith they shared between them. Yet, I could imagine this might not settle well for traditionalists who might prefer the ceremony had been singular rather than plural and spilt.

It is here where you see how Rhonda is trying to balance her life through the holidays – as we fast forward a bit to where she’s bursting with anxiety about how to combine Christmas and Hanukkah – or rather, to come up with a crazy plan of action with her best friend Dez (whose never out of zingers and zany remarks!) as this is the year she wants to prove to her mother-in-law she and James can have a happily ever after as a family who celebrates both religious heritages. The irony though is that she is approaching it as if she needs to make it the picture perfect reality she envisions rather than trying to keep it a bit more real and humble, knowing not everything has to go smoothly in order to be the best holiday you’ve celebrated.

Before Rhonda can make her plans though, life starts to grab her at the quick! Her agency wants her to be part of the team who can deliver an ad campaign worthy of a New Year and her husband’s family goes through the process of loss before the holidays even start to blink into sight. It proves that no matter how hard you try to organise your life, there are days and moments you can’t plan for ahead of time. Life finds a way to unsettle your status quo and take you for a bit of a ride whenever things seem to be a bit on the quiet side.

As soon as you pick up Merry Hanukkah, you know your in for a delightful fun read – as Caruso has a natural talent for humour and wit; lacing in her style of Contemporary life with the fuell of comedy she evokes a sense of festive cheerfulness in her story. This isn’t a story to take too seriously as at the heart of the story itself is the truer blissitude and purpose behind why we all celebrate the holidays together as best we can as we merge our families together. Not all families can agree on the details but for those of us who celebrated the holidays whilst combining traditions and memories, those were the holidays you remember the most. Where everyone found a way to come together uniting through the blessing of the season and finding a reason to celebrate the joyfulness of being together.

This is what you can pick up on whilst reading the story – as Caruso wants to show how even if you have a family at odds with one another on certain points, there is renewed hope in being able to come together for the special moments in life which unite us without having to worry about all the little particulars that no one will remember anyway!

Caruso has a quick style – similar to writing for screen where she places you in-scene rather immediately and lets each individual scene speak for itself. As you shift between the chapters, you notice her style as you don’t wait long for embellishments on the previous disclosure and sequences, as you’ve found the plot has already moved forward. This works well for a short Holiday Contemporary like this one, as the pacing is matching the rush you feel at the holidays where there is never enough time to get everything accomplished you wish to get done.

-quoted from my book review for Merry Hanukkah

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A #SatBookChat Book Review | “Happy Everything” (Merry Hanukkah series, Book Two) by Debby CarusoHappy Everything
by Debby Caruso
Source: Direct from Author

Happy Everything is the ongoing story of Rhonda and James, following them from Merry Hanukkah directly into the much anticipated second installment in the Merry Hanukkah series.

Everyone’s favorite newlyweds have settled into married life, but now it’s Dez and Jack’s turn to make it official. In typical Rhonda fashion, she’s determined to give her best friend Dez the best bridal shower ever, all while juggling yet another work crisis and still trying desperately to fit in to her new family situation. Unfortunately, Aunt Bunny is diagnosed with cancer, and the entire family starts coming apart at the seams. Rhonda and James step in to help support Uncle Ben any way they can, but it’s never enough for Rhonda’s incorrigible mother-in-law, Vivian. Will Vivian’s constant meddling finally cause Rhonda and James irreparable damage? Is there any way that Rhonda can pull the family together by hosting both Passover and Easter on the same weekend?

Why is Rhonda’s Dad suddenly dating someone much younger than him? And how can Rhonda come up with a new and exciting way to sell protein bars?

Follow Rhonda into this new chapter of her life, where success hinges on the latest and greatest ad campaign, and her personal triumphs are determined by how much she can do for others. Journey with her as she begins to slowly realize that she can’t be all things to all people; even the ones you love the most.

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy (Rom Com), Women's Fiction


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1732519022

Also by this author: Merry Hanukkah, Ghastly and Good

Also in this series: Merry Hanukkah, Ghastly and Good


Published by Self Published

on 13th September, 2019

Format: POD | Print On Demand Paperback

Pages: 182

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Merry Hanukkah series:

Merry Hanukkah by Debby CarusoHappy Everything by Debby Caruso

Merry Hanukkah (book one) | see also Review

Happy Everything (book two)

Converse via: #SaturdaysAreBookish + #WomensFiction or #RomCom

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 12 June, 2020 by jorielov in #SaturdaysAreBookish, 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Christianity, Contemporary Romance, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Indie Author, Judiasm, Modern Day, Romance Fiction, Women's Fiction, World Religions