Format: Trade Paperback

Blog Book Tour | “Dream of the Navigator” (Book One: #FarawaySaga) by Stephen Zimmer #JorieReads her 8th #Dystopian story and has a surprise to share with her readers!

Posted Wednesday, 15 August, 2018 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

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Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a stop on the “Dream of the Navigator” blog tour from Seventh Star Press. The tour is hosted by Tomorrow Comes Media who does the publicity and blog tours for Seventh Star Press and other Indie and/or Self Published authors. I am a regular blog tour host with Tomorrow Comes Media and whilst I haven’t read all of Mr Zimmer’s collective works, I did previously enjoy his anthology collection of shorts out of one of his universe’s of interest: Ave. I have oft contemplated whether or not I could find a niche of interest in Dystopian stories and this one felt uniquely different and I decided to give it a go! This is interesting because the first time I read one of his stories I was a 1st Year Book Blogger and as I am celebrating my 5th Blog Birthday (this August), I am reading my second story of Zimmer’s.

I received a complimentary copy of “Dream of the Navigator” direct from the publisher Seventh Star Press in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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A bit of a reflective look at Jorie’s views on Dystopian Lit:

I must confess, I have been avoiding reading books that fall under this sub-heading across all genres for such a long time because I still have issues with certain books I read whilst in school! Writers like Steinbeck and Orwell did not paint my future well for appreciating Dystopian stories! Nor did I feel very inclined to read them on my own inclination due to the heavy amount of violence and dark undertones that seemed to be all the rage inside the stories that were being produced for the genre overall. Which is why I decided to undertake this challenge (originally) during SFN (Sci-Fi November aka #RRSciFiMonth). To approach the genre as a skeptic, but perhaps emerge after a month of readings as an appreciator?

This is how I began an essay about why I’ve been a reluctant reader of Dystopian Lit for the entirety of my reading life! I had meant to pull the stories off the mini-list of #mustreads I had pooled together that particular year – though as luck would have had it, something derailed my efforts and I hadn’t quite accomplished what I had set out to do! This was my 1st year as a Book Blogger and my first foray as a participant into the now infamous phenomenon knowing as Sci-Fi Month and/or Sci Fi November which was happily founded by Rinn of Rinn Reads (she’s since moved on to co-blogging).

A note on ‘dystopian’ literature:

Being that I am not as well versed in this particular genre, my understanding of its place in literature and the key components that make it vital to be read, will evolve as I seek out more titles to read. However, I started to expound on what I am reading through The Boxcar Baby, and have drawn one curious conclusion: dystopian stories have the tendency to bring out the warts of our exterior worlds and environments, and seek to convey a critical thought or forewarning that would then, either indirectly or directly shift the perspective of those who can bring about the most change in our own lives. Its a method of story-telling to bring to the readers’ attention certain aspects of modern life that are effectively in need of change OR give a cautionary tale of ‘what could be’ if humans do not tread lightly on a path that could lead them to a future of ill-regret. Again, I could be completely mistaken, but this is a newcomer’s perspective of what the genre is seeking to reveal and assert. To put it another way, one must endeavour to walk through a desolate and despairing dystopia in order to emerge into a utopia of balanced proportion.

-quoted from my review of The Boxcar Baby by J.L. Mulvihill

(2013, September) | 1st Year Book Blogger

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My Dystopian Reads:

The Boxcar Baby (Steel Roots, Book One) by J.L. Mulvihill

Moments in Millennia: A Fantasy Anthology (edited) by Penny Freeman

→ My favourite short of course was ‘Time out of Mind’ by Michael Cross

The Lazarus Game by Stephen J. Valentine (DNF)

An Uncommon Blue (Blue series, Book One) by R.C. Hancock (DNF)

The Path (Tag series, Book One) by Peter Riva (DNF)

Watcher (Watcher series, Book One) by AJ Eversley*

Carbon (Watcher series, Book Two) by AJ Eversley (DNF)

*NOTE: Eversley’s series in [2017] was my ill-fated attempt to re-address a curiosity of mine about Dystopian Lit and to see if I could finally find a singular author who could not only entice me into their world-building but give me the kind of Dystopian story I was seeking.

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As you can see, Zimmer’s Dream of the Navigator is my eighth attempt at reading Dystopian narratives over the score of the five years I’ve been a book blogger! I started reading this particular one *after!* my fifth blog’s birthday (6th of August, 2018) – marking it officially the one story I felt in five years which would become the ‘exception to the rule’ and the kind of Dystopian story I’ve been seeking all these years whilst wandering round a genre which has failed to garnish my full heart & appreciation!

There have been keen moments of where I’ve tucked inside a writer’s vision for their world-building which has befit what I felt would resound well as a ‘Dystopian Futuristic impression’ of where any particular world could be cast afield to such a such a time in ‘the future’ of where certain attributes of its society led it down a particular path and thereby led to a certain outcome. You can see this in the motion pictures “Wall-E” (one of the best representations of a society that is too ‘connected’ to see the truth in the pudding round them!) and “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within” (where the sole pursuit of ‘life’ is found in a decidedly ‘altered’ future). Ironically, finding those films seemed to be an easier pursuit than finding a writer who knew how to write a Dystopian world which not only had the chops to hold my attention but to write a sophisticated narrative which has teeth to stand out from the pack!Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

And, then there was that particular infamous (in my mind) #SciFiExperience where I was wicked excited about reading Kate Elliott’s Icepunk series (Spiritwalker) whilst contemplating her ‘Court of Fives’ novel. I am still curious about these stories – I had to table my goals that year as well. There have been a lot of ups/downs over the years in my reading life & endeavours but occasionally when the stars aligned, I was able to read a few Dystopians despite the angst of having to postpone the other reads I was most curious to explore!

I drew together further insights into why I have this love/hate relationship with Dystopian Lit when I tried to settle into the first installment of the Blue series by Mr Hancock.

I think the main issue I find with Dystopian Lit is the fact everything is a bit cock-eyed; meaning, where you can observe what is wrong it isn’t enough to evoke change; you have to prove change needs to happen and oft-times that means putting your own life at risk. There is a clear wave of bullying between the different caste systems in the story, and the boy who caused Bruno to become painted is the classic bully whose connections protect him yet he is allowed to manipulate events without consequences. Bruno starts to unravell the underpinning principles of his world, whilst noting not everything on the Blue side is effectively the same elsewhere. For the Greens and those whose fire are reflective of blended hues (which points to the fact they ‘painted’ or blended their fire with someone else; either by force or compliant) getting through their lives is not quite the same as what Bruno had whilst he was a purebred Blue. The Blues are more elite in this world, as they are given opportunities the others are not privy to receiving themselves; even if by opportunity they are controlled. There is an imbalance between individual freedoms and the internal workings of the government who seek to control every aspect of their choices and how they act on their free will can determine their fates.

It wasn’t the writing that bothered me it was the structure of the story itself and how powerless everyone in Telesphore City truly were as perception on events trumped the truth of them; reducing any ability for justice. As I turnt around in my mind everything I had read up until this point, I realised why I struggle so much with Dystopian Lit and why I have been the last to admit it simply might not be for me at all. Its the disparity of it all. The overwhelming anguish of having the world painted black (here this refers to an intense thickening of darkness not a coloured variant of a word) to the brink where the light has barely any wick to shine. This is what bothers me a bit about Young Adult novels in general, but in regards specifically to Dystopian, I think I struggle with letting go of my optimistic spirit whilst I am reading them.

I love conflict and adversity in the books I am reading, but when it comes to Dystopian story-lines, I find myself uncomfortably displaced and a quickening sense of how fast everything can change. It is a bit like trying to sort out where you’ve gone wrong with a map written in a language you do not speak. I have read two Dystopian novels now, wells, technically I read a portion of this one and I struggled to finish the other one (The Boxcar Baby), giving me pause for realising sometimes what your curious about isn’t always worth uncovering. I just cannot give my heart to Dystopian Lit no matter how much I try to think there is a writer or a story within these worlds that will appeal to me.

Hancock makes interesting choices to steer the reader away from using strong language as a method of expressing what is being felt during the height of intense emotional moments; yet he cleverly uses colour as a way to not only explain the world but how colour itself can express the darkest shades of emotion. He makes clear definitions between what is considered right, wrong, and questionable (the in-between) yet personally I struggle to tuck inside a story whose undercurrent of tone is backlit with such heaviness; which is becoming the way I can express Dystopian story-lines. The uneasiness quickened a bit whilst seeing how callous some of the characters were towards each other and how the guards in the story were equally so towards everyone.

Hancock I believe has given a strong presence for YA Dystopian Lit for those who understand how these worlds are underlit and written as a whole. For an outside perspective, I didn’t find it a good fit for me personally but those other book bloggers I am thinking of tonight (including the girls of “Oh the Books” who co-hosted Sci Fi November this year!), I think they might tuck inside this and enjoy what he gave to the genre. For me, I checked out when a boy was killed simply for helping his best friend get out of a locked down campus — the manner in which he was killed just wrecked me on a lot of levels and the unnecessary force was just too disturbing. In light of recent current events, I respect a need to show different points of view and a clarity of conscience but in the end, the novel just broke my heart once too many times.

– quoted from my review of An Uncommon Blue by R.C. Hancock

Where Hancock erred in keeping me rooted in his vision of his Dystopian world, Zimmer has excelled. The key differences of course is purpose & intent – there is an undertone which remains firmly oblique and darkening in Hancock’s world whereas there is a presence of Light & Hopefulness in Zimmer’s.

Moreso, I simply enjoyed the back-stories and the background of Zimmer’s Faraway Saga moreso than Hancock’s as to me, the world in which Hancock created would let down a lot of readers for how desolate it truly became. You never felt you could gain traction of change inside his world – everything was operating against rebellion and personal freedoms. Even the powers he conceived were at first uniquely interesting to observe but then, I felt he worked against that power and kept altering the potential outcome to something rather more nefarious than I was willing to see through.

A lot of the issues I had in ‘An Uncommon Blue’ were never observed in ‘Dream of the Navigator’ in fact, in many ways – I felt Zimmer’s series was built on a stronger foundation. He had a stronger vision for his world to where you never felt the world itself was ‘changing against it’s type’. He projected their motivations clearly and even the components of the structure and order of the world doesn’t alter from it’s own non-ethical protocols; they are what they are  – which is beneficial to feeling you can trust Zimmer’s world of being exactly as it represents itself without a wench in the wheel throwing you out of its dimension.

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Similar to my readings on behalf of Antiphony, Riva has begun his on discourse on society, technology, religion and our place inside the world itself – how we view our living reality and how our living reality is altered by what is never completely in our control. He has written a challenging text because like the other author, he wants you to ponder the deeper meanings and take the Tag series to an awareness of recognising what could be unnoticed right before our eyes. The only key difference between the two, is Antiphony was a pursuit to understand a higher plane of existence outside of our limited sensory understanding of ‘reality’ which broached spirituality and other ideals of thought. Within the Tag series, Riva has augmented a society removed from any religious or spiritual pursuits, as the controlling rule is specifically geared towards putting humanity through a vise and only allowing humans to live a life deemed beneficial to the whole rather than the limited few.

In other words, nothing about living is determined by the individual but is rather systematically fused to an ordering rule (i.e. the government in this case; of which I can only presume is similar to The Hunger Games world based on the notes my friends have given me on it’s behalf). I think it’s safe to say my preference is always to have a level of spirituality kept inside a world – even if the world is futuristic, I’m not a particular fan of dissolving all thoughts and beliefs of a higher power; hence why I never read Phillip Pullman’s series beginning with The Golden Compass.

-quoted from my review of The Path by Paul Riva

Spirituality and Metaphysics are aptly explored in Zimmer’s Faraway Saga but rather than removing the precepts of religious thought & belief completely – to where it no longer has a place of origin or purpose, Zimmer found a way to ask intellectually stimulating questions of his characters – to where he desires them to recapture their own free will of mind & thought – to let them make the choices on behalf of what they believe or don’t believe without those choices being made for them.

He also approaches the context of this section of his world with an open mind – he let’s his characters walk a muddled path towards self-enlightenment due to how their world has repressed a lot of knowledge & information for the sake of population control and a future disconnected from personal growth. They want their citizens to remain in stasis intellectually as that would allow them to rule over them without conflict or disagreement.

Of the two, I prefer the approach Zimmer took – as it allows the door to remain open – for his world, his characters and the reader who is approaching his Dystopian viewpoint(s).

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One thing I appreciate most about how Eversley has approached writing this novel is how she fuses bits and bobbles of what you can conceptionalise against what could be a living reality not too far forward into the future. It’s a unique balance – to insert readers into a world with a Dystopian bent and a world which brings up hard philosophical questions about humanity, the pursuit of living authentically and the greater purpose behind life itself or even the art of survival if things go dangerously wrong.

Eversley has tapped into a niche of Dystopian where you can play with the genre – you can add not only depth of the world through the layers in which we entreat inside it’s boundaries but by how this world is stitched together – from the origins of their beliefs (hinted at) to the constructs of how they believe their rights as sentient beings should be maintained (similar to us) whilst enlarging the scope to have a dual presence of foe against foe – each fighting for the right to be the champion and each not honestly seeing how they could bridge their differences (if that’s even a plausible possibility) as war takes it’s toll. It’s not just the losses of life – it’s the wear and tear on the psyche and on morale of those who are fighting everyday to live one more day towards the ‘end goal’. For the Carbons and the Watchers, they are each moving towards a collision of sorts – at least, from what I can gather – if this debut is the introduction into the Watchers as a collective, than the second novel in the series surely picks up the momentum begun here through the point-of-view of the Carbons; to give a buoyancy between good and evil or what is perceived as good vs evil. It could all be an experiment gone wrong – or rather, an experiment which outgrew it’s purpose and turnt into something else completely.

If anything, there is so much your thinking about – trying to root out Eversley’s motivating inspiration and uncovering what is driving the story forward whilst trying to respect the world and pull back it’s layers to see what is really being set for you to see.

-quoted from my review of Watcher by A.J. Eversley

You might be curious why I decided to take you back down this particular readerly rabbit hole – of why I felt it necessary to re-visit the past Dystopian Reads in order to better augment my reasons for preferring Zimmer’s vision for his own. The reason, dear hearts, is quite simple – if you didn’t fully understand where I had traversed in the past – through these worlds the prior seven story-tellers had crafted for me to find, you might not fully understand how hard it has been to seek out writers’ who are crafting the kinds of Dystopian stories I am seeking.

For the most part, there have been positives and negatives across the board – hence, why I chose to add the quotations and to re-empathsis what worked for me and what did not ahead of revealling my ruminative thoughts on behalf of ‘Dream of the Navigator’ which at first glimpse brought back memories of ‘Flight of the Navigator’ (a motion picture) – a personal favourite of my childhood. I am unsure if the title has any cogitation of reference to the film, however, it had one for me.

Despite being a particularly particular reader of specific genres and thematics of literature – I remain optimistic I can find a niche of interest even in the most unapproachable literary arenas I find rather arduous to step inside. This is why I’ve continuously tried to read different Dystopian works of literature – finding a few qualms overall (four DNFs out of eight is telling in its own right!) and yet, I haven’t reached the plateau of lost hope!

I also want to share – I reverted back to my days of being able to read ‘chapter samplers’ to decide it ‘Dream of the Navigator’ would be a good ‘fit’ for me – those were the days where I could read a whole chapter digitally ahead of sourcing a print copy to read in full – back before my clustering chronic migraines were not occupying so many dear hours of my life and wrecking a lot of readerly hours off the clock as well. Prior to requesting a place on this tour, I happily found a sampler for this novel wherein despite the limitations I have nowadays with digital samplers, I gleamed enough to ‘wish to turn the pages!’ and find out what was going to happen next!

This isn’t the reaction I was expecting – I thought it would take me a bit longer than mere paragraphs to feel attached to the story-line – after all, this was a *Dystopian world!* – though, I admit, my readings of Julie E. Czerneda’s #TheClanChronicles has opened my eyes to worlds on shaky ground and where disparity can threaten to overrule.

Of all the stories I read in the past within this genre – ‘Watcher’ was the closest I felt towards finding a writer who could write a Dystopian world in a manner of approach I could appreciate. There were issues of course after I read ‘Watcher’ – as the series had to go on without me as a reader, as there were key choices I felt which worked against the plotting established in the first book – but this time round – I felt much more confident about the Faraway Saga than I had with Watcher – and that simply boils down to individual choices on behalf of the story-crafters who gave them to us.

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On my connection to Stephen Zimmer:

Over the past five years, Mr Zimmer has given me a lot of opportunities to engage with Speculative Lit authors – both through my readings of their stories (by the blog tours he’s hosted via Tomorrow Comes Media or through Seventh Star Press directly) and by letting me visit the radio frequencies by guest appearances on the Star Chamber Show (a blogtalkradio podcast). In Autumn of [2013] Zimmer was one of the first publicity and blog touring companies to give me a chance at being a ‘tour hostess’ and I am quite grateful he added me to his Blogger Team! I have spent 5 years appreciating the journey into Speculative Fiction – deepening my understanding of the genre and of sourcing out the writers who are writing the stories I love to be reading!

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Mr Zimmer through the twitterverse or whilst I host for Tomorrow Comes Media and Seventh Star Press and/or privately as well. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time or continuing to read their releases as they are available.

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Notation on Cover Art Design: As soon as I saw the cover art for this novel – the genre it resides started to shift in front of my eyes! I loved how much ‘light vs dark’ is playing in the design – how the splintered and mirrored images are playing off each other – whilst hinting towards ‘more’ – almost of a pinnacle to reach vs where the state of things currently lie. Even the rainbow (the symbol of hope) was aptly placed and the lush world ‘above’ counterbalances the darker shades of a technate driven world. I was beyond impressed!! I have long held the cover artists with Seventh Star Press in high esteem and this is another one which left me in ‘awe’ admiring it! Of course, the premise and the chapter sampler worked together to tempt me to read the chapters behind this art – but for the sake of art and illustration, this cover is wickedly impressive!!

Blog Book Tour | “Dream of the Navigator” (Book One: #FarawaySaga) by Stephen Zimmer #JorieReads her 8th #Dystopian story and has a surprise to share with her readers!Dream of the Navigator
Subtitle: Faraway Saga
by Stephen Zimmer
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Enggar Adirasa
Source: Publisher via Tomorrow Comes Media

Cities have been replaced by technates. It is a world of soaring apartments, hundreds of stories high, where technology measures, monitors and rations to meet the needs of the greater populace. It is a world of drones, in the air and on the ground, and advanced robotic beings who carry out much of the harder labor, security, and even pleasure assignments.

Those discontent, or who resist, are taken to Rehabilitation Centers, established after the embrace of the Greater Good Doctrine.

For most, virtual realms, substances, and entertainment provide escapes, but for Haven, Cayden, Jaelynn, and Salvador, growing up in Technate 6 is a restless existence.

A hunger for something more gnaws inside each of them. Discoveries await that open the gates to transcend time and space, and even new planes of existence. Nothing in their universe, or others, is impossible to explore.

What was once reality, now seems like an illusion in a deepening experience.

Begin the journey to Faraway, in Dream of the Navigator, the first book of the Faraway Saga!

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1948042536

Also by this author: Chronicles of Ave: Vol.1, (Author Interview) The Chronicles of Ave, (Guest Post) The Chronicles of Ave, (3-part) Interview Rayden Valkyrie TV Pilot

Genres: Dystopian, Genre-bender, Sci-Fantasy, Science Fiction, Techno-Thriller, YA Contemporary, YA Dystopian Lit, YA Urban Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction


Published by Seventh Star Press

on 24th June, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 398

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

Converse on Twitter: #FarawaySaga, #DreamOfTheNavigator & #7thStar

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What I previously loved about Stephen Zimmer’s style:

You get the firm sense that Zimmer is a voracious reader who dips into a bit of everything that yields to his personal curiosity and allows his mind to wander through the gate of his imagination to deposit into a reader’s hands a wholly encased world whose dimensions are ever expanding into larger scales of tales yet to be told! Except for the few shorts, where I think he opted instead for traditional heroic bloodshed story-telling! This might draw a close eye towards the fact he appreciates the horror genre, and bits of that seep into this side of his fantasy worlds. It’s his passion for research that I applaud first and foremost, as not every writer goes to the length as he does and I always celebrate a writer I find who carries out research on this level! Secondly, he endeavours you to amplify his words into motion by the words he uses to provoke a visual response, in which backs up something he said in an interview I heard of his (whilst researching which questions I wanted to ask him in my own interview!) where he acclaimed his novels are set to embody a motion picture medium rather than the printed world of the book! This is a claim he rightly deserves to make!

He is one of the writers that I would genuinely be delighted to seek out (if it had not been for Tomorrow Comes Media!), as he parlays his fervent passion for research by interspersing what he uncovers into the tapestry by which Ave is threaded against! It’s a world that encompasses as many distinctively unique cultures, traditions, spirituality’s, and languages as our own living counterpart, and yet, it has something to give back to us as well!

The care he takes to diminish the force of the violence inside by counter-balancing it with a life lesson is absolute genius, because your not as apt to focus on the brief encounters of evil, but rather, on the benefits of what each short attempts to draw out of the character he’s chosen to hone in on instead! These characters, I perceive to be secondary ones in the larger stories (novels), yet, they have a specific life-path in Ave that cross-sects with the intervening entities or events that bring about the most metamorphose of growth! You can use me as a barometer in knowing that if I can handle these stories, you can as well! I have an intolerance for violence, but I cherish the soulful stories such as these that grant the reader a ruminative conclusion of what they’ve read!

-as previously expressed on my review of Chronicles of Ave: Volume One

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About Stephen Zimmer

Stephen Zimmer

Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker based out of Lexington Kentucky. His works include the Rayden Valkyrie novels and novellas (Sword and Sorcery), the Rising Dawn Saga (Cross Genre), the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Hellscapes short story collections (Horror), the Chronicles of Ave short story collections (Fantasy), the Harvey and Solomon Tales (Steampunk), the Ragnar Stormbringer Tales (Sword and Sorcery), and the forthcoming Faraway Saga (YA Dystopian/Cross-Genre).

Stephen’s visual work includes the feature film Shadows Light, shorts films such as The Sirens and Swordbearer, and the forthcoming Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot.

Stephen is a proud Kentucky Colonel who also enjoys the realms of music, martial arts, good bourbons, and spending time with family.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #FuellYourSciFi
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Posted Wednesday, 15 August, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Astral Projection, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Dreams & Dreamscapes, Dystopian, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Father-Daughter Relationships, Futuristic Fantasy, Gaming, Genre-bender, Good vs. Evil, Indie Author, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Science Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, Tomorrow Comes Media, Virtual Reality, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

Blog Book Tour | Double-Showcase: Reading my next installment of the lovely imprint #PureRomance (by Cedar Fort) and feat. an interview with Julie Matern!

Posted Saturday, 28 July, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

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

I received a complimentary copy of “The Secret of Haversham House” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (an imprint of Cedar Fort Publishing & Media) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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To find out why I love Sweet Romances and the #PureRomance imprint you might like to check out my previous postings for Cedar Fort blog tours, wherein I related my love of Historical & INSPY stories on a previous blog tour featuring To Suit a Suitor, however, I have happily been reading the offerings of this particular imprint for quite a long while now. The stories which still stand out are as follows: ‘Willow Springs’, ‘The Darkest Summer’, ‘Unexpected Love (anthology)’ and ‘The Second Season’.

To follow through my readings, be sure to scroll through this tag Pure Romance!

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A conversation with Julie Matern: Part I

What first drew your eye into Regencies and what were your favourite memories of reading your first Regency Romances? What attached yourself into them: the era, the lifestyle difference (upstairs/downstairs), the fashions or the historical backdrop and aesthetics?

Matern responds: I didn’t get into Jane Austen until after college – I was taking a French degree which required reading French Literature and there wasn’t time for much else. Quite honestly my connection to Austen’s books came as quite a surprise as I had been required to read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronté at school when I was quite young and did not like it at all.

I decided then that those ‘old’ books were not for me. So when I chanced to read Pride and Prejudice as an adult I was amazed at how much I loved it almost immediately.  I enjoyed Jane’s voice and her characters and the era itself – so polite and civilized. I found I couldn’t put the books down. I think they swept me back in time. Then television and movie studios began making the adaptations with the beautiful scenery and costumes and I was totally hooked. I have three daughters and I have converted two of them! (PS I love Jane Eyre now too!)

I believe our reading lives have their Seasons,… I struggled to get into both Bronté and Austen when I was younger – though why I hesitated to read either of them, is lost to time itself. I started to focus on reading ‘Pride’ when Keira Knightley’s film was released (finishing it in time to see it live at the theater!) whilst my reading progress into ‘Jane Eyre’ has taken nearly the full five years I’ve been a book blogger! I haven’t a clue as to why either, except I find myself distracted from the text more times than naught and this year, I’m determined to conclude my ruminative thoughts as I would very much like to read a sequel author’s trilogy! Wish me well!

Strangely, despite the hiccups I incurred with these authors, I was into Classical Children’s Lit throughout my younger years as well as Contemporary favourites like Carolyn Keene (of whom I hadn’t realised to much later was a pen name!) and the other authors I’ve listed on my Children’s Lit page! The way you’ve described why you love reading these stories is something I can relate to myself ‘being swept into the historic past’, ‘the authenticity of Austen’s voice’ and the ways in which the manners of her time were eloquently brought forward into her stories. You’ve summarised it rather lovely!

It is an interesting premise, to have a girl raised in the ton (aristocracy) who didn’t realise her lot was not officially cast in those circles – what inspired this choice of entry into her shift of acceptance from her peers?

Matern responds: Well, heritage is so very important to the nobility at this time. Lady Catherine de Bourgh is probably the best example of this attitude in Austen’s writing. She is horrified that Elizabeth isn’t enough of a lady for her nephew. In Persuasion, Anne is discouraged from marrying Captain Wentworth because he ranks beneath her and in Emma, the thought that Harriet might marry Mr. Knightley makes Emma ill.

I thought it would be an interesting study to examine the possible reaction of this class of people to someone they knew and loved as a lady, under the new information that she was actually not. Then the question was how can this be accomplished and a secret adoption seemed a natural vehicle.

I love how you’ve found an interconnection between the plottings of Ms Austen’s novels – of how birth origins and your status in society meant everything towards a well-matched marriage than the person’s character; second only to reputation, as this was equally a concern of the aristocracy! It is a bit how I was happily surprised Adoption is now an option for Royals where previously it was not allowed. A secreted adoption I believe is the only way it could have worked within the framework of the Haversham’s case due to the nature of how constricted they were by both society and family alike. Blessedly not due to their own beliefs, thoughts and convictions!

Self-identity is oft-times linked to our ancestral heritage – did your interest in ancestry play a key role in exploring Francesca’s soul-search for her own identifiable truth? How did you want to show who you are and who you believe you are are oft-times not the same person?

Matern responds: I have researched my own genealogical lines for over 40 years. I find it absolutely fascinating. There are hidden secrets in many people’s lines; my grandmother thought she was a year younger than she was; people lied to their fiances about their age so that they didn’t seem too much older than them and it is discovered by researchers like me generations later when we notice the discrepancy between the birth certificate and the marriage certificate; I know of someone who did not know she was born before her parents married, until after her parents died and she examined all the certificates. The truth can shake people to their foundations. Any revelation that changes what you have believed to be true about yourself creates a need to know everything, I believe. Ancestry.com is using this common need in their advertising to create interest in their DNA testing – people who find out that they have ethnicity in their family tree that they did not know about, for example, often begin a study of that ethnicity to understand it in an attempt to understand themselves better.

Adoption is not something I have direct experience of and in our day and age it is very open. In writing about Francesca’s emotions I tried to put myself in her shoes and imagine receiving the news that my  mother was not my birth mother. It would spark an avalanche of emotions and confusion and a desire to seek out my birth relatives.

I do believe that ancestral heritage affects how we see ourselves and anchors us to our past, endowing us with a sense of connection to them and helping us have stronger self-esteem. My great-uncle died when he was 19 in WWI in France and my own grandfather almost died in the same war. Their sacrifice helps me feel that my family helped in the cause of freedom. My husband’s side has many pioneers who did extraordinary things under extremely difficult circumstances and it is very important to me that my children know about those on my side who fought and those on my husband’s side who sacrificed so much to connect them with these great heroic acts.

I’ve been blessed by having a Mum whose research into our own ancestral lines began 40+ years ago whereas my own journey as an #AncestrySleuth began roughly 10 years ago where we started to combine our efforts! It even led to a ‘match’ of finding living cousins in Sweden, of whom we thankfully had the chance to meet in Autumn 2017! We personally love the archives and the resources attached to FamilySearch.org as the services they provide are blessedly ‘free’ and all the information on Ancestry.com (which is a paid service) is available for ‘free’ as well as they share their databases. Towards that end, I even participated in a records updating weekend once which proved how tedious it is to update records and how thankful all of us are for the hours dedicated volunteers world-wide are giving to these records/databases to help us all interconnect with lost relatives and ancestral heritage (both living and dead).

Yes, and no. You’d be surprised — I knew in my early twenties I wanted to adopt my future children and despite being comfortable on my path, whenever I go to talk about how I intend to have children (through adoption) you’d be properly surprised how much negatively people project on you and how dedicated they are to tell you the choice you’ve made (for your own life, mind you!) is the wrong one! I never would have thought of all the topics and subjects the general public would feel the right to debate with you, the path you take towards mumhood would be one they would feel most inclined to argue!

Therefore, in many ways, I still see us a bit behind the times when it comes to Adoption – this is why there are many campaigns to re-think how people see adoption and how adoption is still not the option most families are willing to make to either expand or start their families. I wish it were different but the facts do not lie. We’re as closed-minded to adoption now as we were in the Regency in so many ways and that is something I hope will change within my lifetime.

I truly believe as you do – a healthier way forward is to know our past, to examine it, draw strength from it and to continue to ‘tell the living histories’ of our families if only to keep the voices of the past alive, present and acknowledged! I grew up with these kinds of stories myself and they re-etch an impression about yourself, your family and the legacies we all leave behind – some in larger ways than others but all of us have stories to share, tell and honour.

How did you decide on the surname Haversham? It is a rather unique choice and I was wondering if there might be a story behind it? Also, what is your process for selecting the names of your characters overall?

Matern responds: My husband, who is not English by birth, loves these types of quintessential English surnames and is often popping them into conversations. Haversham, Flaversham, Faversham. So it was a nod to him.

Choosing a name for a character is a bit like choosing a name for a baby – I want it to fit. Her name had to be Francesca because of the Italian-French connection so then I wanted a very English surname to pair it with. Then I say my character’s  full names out loud to make sure they have a good ring to them.

I always want to use very traditional names as the first names of my characters. (Langley is not very traditional but is a name of an ancestor of mine so I felt I could use it.) Then I use google to search English surnames that have several syllables (these seem more regal to me) or I look through my family tree for the perfect name. Septimus Sladden is an actual ancestor of mine. The minute I found him I knew I was going to use that name in a book.

Charles Dickens was so very clever with his name choices and JK Rowling too, as often the name tells us about the character. I hope to be able to imitate that in the future.

OOh, I am so glad you’ve mentioned this!! As this is part of my own process for selecting names for my own characters! I even have a lovely Baby Name Book which is multi-ethnic and pulls names from various ethnic backgrounds world-wide as well as various spellings therein! I can go off in small tangents of research just to dig up the Etymology of the names I’ve chosen to see if perhaps, I was choosing the right ‘name’ so to speak at any given time! Much like I would if it were naming a child of mine, to see if I honed in on their personality and the potential they would have in life to fill the shoes behind the name.

I thought your idea of combining the Italian name for ‘French’ as a nod to both Francesca’s Italian heritage but French set Adoption was a stroke of brilliance!

I shall readily admit – when it comes to old English names, I am as addicted to them as your husband! This is one reason I am thankful I’m personally British three times to Sunday! The names and titles alone in my ancestral lines are lushly addictive to research!

Yes! Isn’t it interesting how the names of our ancestors take us by shocked surprise? I have many revelations like this on my own family tree – but also, of whom they were, where they were bourne and where they ended their lives as they moved round quite frequently!

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Blog Book Tour | Double-Showcase: Reading my next installment of the lovely imprint #PureRomance (by Cedar Fort) and feat. an interview with Julie Matern!The Secret of Haversham House
by Julie Matern
Source: Direct from publisher via SLB Tours

Eighteen-year-old Francesca Haversham is privileged, beautiful, and naive. Lineage, titles, and wealth are the ultimate virtues among nineteenth-century English aristocracy, and Francesca is elite society's newest and most celebrated debutante from one of England's most illustrious families. Her pedigree is impeccable - or is it?

Her coming-out ball brings iwth it the appearance of one Mr. Langley Ashbourne, and Francesca is immediately taken in by his handsome features and flattering words. But not everything is as it seems, and flowery comments can only hide dark truths for so long. Meanwhile, a long-buried secret creeps ever closer to the light, one that would destroy her comfortable life, tarnish her family's character, and ruin all hopes of a reputable marriage.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781462122073

Also in this series: Willow Springs, Sophia, The Second Season, To Suit a Suitor, Mischief & Manors, Unexpected Love, Lies & Letters, The Darkest Summer, Love and Secrets at Cassfield Manor


Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Sweet Romance


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 12th June, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 231

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

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

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Converse via: #Regency or #RegencyRomance, #HistFic or #HistoricalRomance

#INSPYRom, #SweetRomance OR #HistRom; #Adoption

→ #SecretOfHavershamHouse

About Julie Matern

Julie Matern

Julie Matern is a resident of Utah. She attended the University of Exeter in Exeter, England, and graduated with a double major in French and Education. She was born and raised in England, moving to America after her marriage and is the mother of six children.

She has served in the PTA for over 20 years, taught tap dance, and enjoys amateur photography. She is the author of ‘British War Children’ (for which she received a “Recommended Read” award from the League of Utah Writers) and ‘British War Children 2: An Enemy Among Us’.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 28 July, 2018 by jorielov in Adoption, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Coming-Of Age, Debut Author, Debut Novel, England, France, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Italy, Life Shift, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Singing Librarian Book Tours, Sweet Romance, the Regency era, Women's Fiction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does growing older mean growing apart?

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

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781946016195

Also by this author: Cover Reveal: After the Rain, After the Rain

Also in this series: After the Rain


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


Published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

on 7th June, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 234

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

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

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

About Brandy Bruce

Brandy Bruce

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

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

Blog Book Tour | Part II of the duology series “The Painting on the Pond” feat. the sequel “to Walk in his Moccasins” by Sharon Lewis Koho

Posted Thursday, 21 June, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

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

I received a complimentary copy of “to Walk in his Moccasins” direct from the publisher Bonneville Books (an imprint of Cedar Fort Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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My main takeaways from reading “The Painting on the Pond”:

I admit, I struggled at first to get the rhythm of this novel – as the dialogue and the narrative were a bit on the raw side of delivery. I understood the gist of what Ms Koho was trying to impart to us – as she was attempting to set the scene and apply the layers of what drew the wider lens of suspense around this singular entrance of her lead character – for her artist was newly arrived in an awe-inspiring area of the country where his renewal in his creative pursuits is one-part inspired by his surroundings and one-part enabled by his change in locale (ie. having relocated from the city). However, having said that – a lot of the opening bridge is being told to us rather than enveloping us inside his head – into his thoughts and allowing us to see what is happening to him or rather still, what he is feeling through his emotions. A lot of start and stops, if you will, as I had to re-align how she began the story in order to get into sync with her writing.

Ms Koho has instilled a beautiful ghost story into the background of her novel – one which involves an old estate, a lost love and a woman who refused to give in to what life revealled. Her true strength is her convicting narrative – where you get to alight in her thoughts, seeing how she wants you to see her characters and it is the better half of the novel. She likes to enlarge your perception and get you to think about the different possibilities before she reveals what is truly going on.

Where she errors a bit is showing dialogue and conversation – something I admit, is one of the harder bits to writing, as being a writer myself, I’ve had my own struggles with both of these concepts, which is why I noticed the disconnections. It isn’t that she isn’t on the right track with the dialogue, it’s merely the fact the words don’t joss together correctly. The words feel a bit on the forced side of the ledger rather than the ease of a conversation you’d feel comfortable having aloud with a friend or acquaintance of your own. That’s the trick and proof in the pudding – how dialogue sounds aloud!

One thing Ms Koho relies a lot on is the presumption we’ll go along with believing the suspenseful bits – it’s hard to describe really – I read a lot of Mysteries, Suspense & Thriller stories – but I like the aspect about them where I feel lost inside the ambiance of where the writers are taking me. Where I don’t have it all sorted out, where the more ominous undertones are not as readily apparent as they could be – their more elusive and aloof. In this story, sometimes the suspense gets a bit blurry – there are pieces of clarity here and there, but other times, your being told quite a lot of what you’d rather see through the character’s eyes or experiences. Plus, not everything should feel a bit too neat and too tidy to where the illusion is lost.

-quoted from my review of The Painting on the Pond

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Blog Book Tour | Part II of the duology series “The Painting on the Pond” feat. the sequel “to Walk in his Moccasins” by Sharon Lewis Kohoto Walk in his Moccasins
Subtitle: sequel to The Painting on the Pond
by Sharon Lewis Koho
Source: Direct from publisher via SLB Tours

Betrayed in the rugged wilderness of Alaska, Jerry Stone has narrowly escaped death, thanks to a desperate rescue by his friends David Young and Rachel Duncan. Injured and in agony, he is flown to a hospital more than a thousand miles from home. However, his own suffering is soon forgotten as he comes to understand the meaning of true courage from a little Indian boy.

Laced with intrigue, adventure, love, and forgiveness, this powerful concluding sequel is a story of supreme loyalty and friendship.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781555178789

Also by this author: The Painting on the Pond

Also in this series: The Painting on the Pond


Genres: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Suspense


Published by Bonneville Books

on 1st August, 2008

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 245

Published By: Bonneville Books (@BonnevilleBooks),
an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFort)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

NOTE: Generally speaking, in my experience of reading stories published under the imprint of Bonneville Books, it means the story will be LDS Fiction – rooted in the Mormon faith, however, I did not find this to be the case in regards to the novel ‘The Painting on the Pond’. If anything, it was very lightly INSPY, in regards to the characters acknowledged their spirituality in gentle undertones throughout the content of the story – they prayed and they were open about their concerns, fears, etc but there wasn’t a moment where I would say this was ‘definitively LDS’ as other releases from Bonneville Books would have been as they focused more on the traditions of being Mormon.

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The Painting on the Pond Series:

The Painting on the Pond by Sharon Lewis KohoTo Walk in His Moccasins by Sharon Lewis Koho

The Painting on the Pond is a prequel for To Walk in His Moccasins which makes me believe this series could in theory be a duology and completely contained within these two installments.

Converse via: #INSPY #Suspense & #RealisticFiction

About Sharon Lewis Koho

Sharon Lewis Koho

Sharon Lewis Koho grew up on a small ranch near the town of Inkom, Idaho. Her beloved father died when she was five years old, and she and her siblings were reared in humble circumstances by a hard-working and courageous mother.

In her youth, Sharon discovered she could create any world she wanted to visit, or any story she wanted to be a part of by climbing high in the trees bordering her cherished ranch. Daydreaming there amid songs of birds, rustling leaves and the babbling of the nearby creek, inspired many wonderful stories. Sharon married Bill Koho from Nampa, Idaho in 1967, and they were married thirty years until his death in 1997.

She is the proud mother of six children. Although she is a Licensed Practical Nurse by profession, she has had much more experience in creating and telling stories. Her favorite thing to do is to spend time with her children and grandchildren. She also enjoys visiting, traveling, camping, reading, writing, swimming, and any adventurous idea that pops into her head.

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Posted Thursday, 21 June, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Disabilities & Medical Afflictions, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Medical Fiction, Men's Fiction, Modern Day, Nurses & Hospital Life, Realistic Fiction, Singing Librarian Book Tours, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Supernatural Fiction, Suspense, Sweet Romance

Blog Book Tour | feat. The Bradford Sisters Romance series by Becky Wade, especially “Then Came You” (prequel, audiobook), “True to You” (book one) and “Falling for You” (book two)

Posted Sunday, 17 June, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , , , 0 Comments

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

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. I am unsure how many books I’ll review for them as most are offered digitally rather than in print but this happily marks one of the blog tours where I could receive a print book for review purposes. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors.

I received a complimentary copy of “Falling for You” direct from the publisher Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. The Digital Audiobook copy of the novella “Then Came You” was a self-purchase of my own which I added to my personal digital audiobook library. The copy I read of “True to You” was borrowed via my local library. My ruminations on behalf of the audiobook novella and the first book in the series are being shared for my own edification and to help introduce my readers to the series overall whilst sharing my own journey in its discovery. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On the joy of finding a new INSPY Contemporary novelist I love reading,

within the *prequel!* novella ‘Then Came You’ | #BradfordSistersRomance series

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I truly have been thankful for my discovery of reading this series by Ms Wade, as I journalled my initial reactions to listening to the *prequel!* audiobook on Twitter, sharing the following:

As you can gather, I hadn’t connected the dots – nor the sequencing of the series – in essence, if I hadn’t listened to the audiobook (don’t worry, I’ll be sharing my reactions soon!) I might have missed the beautiful back-story of how this series centres on one man’s joyful presence as a father to three darling daughters! They are the ‘Bradford Sisters’ who populate the series, as the novella (Then Came You) explores what happened to Garner Bradford, how he fell in love with parenthood and how he took a rather unconventional approach to both marriage & becoming a Dad!

Initially, it took me a bit to get my bearings within the novella, as this was writ within the style of narrative I personally *adore!* called: Epistolary, where the main format alters points of view from a variety of sources. The traditional approach are through letters (postal mail), postcards & telegrams as I have found this style most present in Historical Fiction. However, in Contemporary story-lines with the advantage of technology, you can see these perspectives explored using a variety of different entries of thought from cell phones, voicemail, text messages, chat interfaces, email exchanges whilst still pulling together a feel for the traditional by augmenting the ‘tech’ with passages from diaries, journals or the letters themselves.

Ms Wade opted to use a journalling approach to allow Garner to get his thoughts down onto paper whilst she used the letter-writing approach to anchour the thoughtful musings of Kathleen into the context of the story-line as well. Supplemented by  phone calls (ie. voicemail or live calls), official office memos or notes used for personal correspondence and other variables, you have to get your ‘head’ to wrap round how this novella unfolds in an audiobook narration. Thus, there are some prompts to help you navigate it which I found to be the best way to segue into the story itself, as those prompts helped me realise what was ‘shifting’ in and out of focus. I would presume the shifts would be as easy to read in the print edition as generally speaking that’s where publishers get creative by showing the differences in straight dialogue exchanges and background narrative by selecting certain bits of text to ‘stand-out’ from the rest.

Either way, if I had to choose how I wanted to first ‘greet’ this series, I would hands-down pick the novella audiobook!! By the time I reached the concluding chapters, I was so emotionally taxed and committed to the characters, I felt this true ache in my heart just to *know!* the ending! You truly are on the edge of your soul listening to this story unfold – due to the circumstances contained within it but also, the heart-pulse of watching a relationship build through the aftermaths of how sometimes life doesn’t quite go according to plan. In truth, I felt like I had found a new beloved INSPY Contemporary novelist I could enjoy reading for years to come which is why I capstoned my notes on Twitter by saying the following:

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Sunday, 17 June, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, Adoption, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Child out of Wedlock, Clever Turns of Phrase, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Debilitating Diagnosis & Illness, Disabilities & Medical Afflictions, Domestic Violence, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Family Drama, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Humour & Satire in Fiction / Non Fiction, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Library Love, Life Shift, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Modern Day, Passionate Researcher, Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Siblings, Single Fathers, Single Mothers, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Small Towne USA, Social Services, Sweet Romance, Terminal Illness &/or Cancer, The Writers Life, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Unexpected Pregnancy, Washington, West Coast USA, Women's Fiction, Women's Right to Choose (Health Care Rights), Women's Rights, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Writing Style & Voice