Format: UK Edition Paperback

Book Review | “Where Dragonflies Hover” by AnneMarie Brear #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 8 July, 2017 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

ChocLitSaturdays Banner Created by Jorie in Canva.

Why I feature #ChocLitSaturdays (book reviews & guest author features)
and created #ChocLitSaturday (the chat via @ChocLitSaturday):

I wanted to create a bit of a niche on Jorie Loves A Story to showcase romance fiction steeped in relationships, courtships, and the breadth of marriage enveloped by characters written honestly whose lives not only endear you to them but they nestle into your heart as their story is being read!

I am always seeking relationship-based romance which strikes a chord within my mind’s eye as well as my heart! I’m a romantic optimist, and I love curling into a romance where I can be swept inside the past, as history becomes lit alive in the fullness of the narrative and I can wander amongst the supporting cast observing the principal characters fall in love and sort out if they are a proper match for each other!

I love how an Indie Publisher like ChocLitUK is such a positive alternative for those of us who do not identify ourselves as girls and women who read ‘chick-lit’. I appreciate the stories which alight in my hands from ChocLit as much as I appreciate the inspirational romances I gravitate towards because there is a certain level of depth to both outlets in romance which encourage my spirits and gives me a beautiful story to absorb! Whilst sorting out how promote my book reviews on behalf of ChocLit, I coined the phrase “ChocLitSaturdays”, which is a nod to the fact my ChocLit reviews & features debut on ‘a Saturday’ but further to the point that on the ‘weekend’ we want to dip into a world wholly ideal and romantic during our hours off from the work week!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular reviewer for ChocLitUK, where I hand select which books in either their backlist and/or current releases I would like to read next for my #ChocLitSaturdays blog feature. As of June 2016, I became a member of the ChocLit Stars Team in tandem with being on the Cover Reveal Team which I joined in May 2016. I reference the Stars as this is a lovely new reader contribution team of sending feedback to the publisher ahead of new book releases. As always, even if I’m involved with a publisher in this sort of fashion, each review is never influenced by that participation and will always be my honest impression as I read the story. Whether the author is one I have previously read or never had the pleasure to read until the book greets my shelf.

I received a complimentary copy of “Where Dragonflies Hover” from ChocLit in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I wanted to read this lovely new release:

When this title was initially released (Digital First), I do remember I was charmed by it’s premise – to find an older estate and an diary of a life lived during WWI through the eyes of the nurse who has such a strong connection to the same house? It felt like it had a lot of the components and elements I enjoy finding in this particular niche of #HistFic which brokers into #timeslip or even #timeshift – where you are moving between more than one time in the narrative whilst having the full pleasure of being anchoured equally into the shoes of the characters who are pulling you in and out of their time-line! These are gems because we can re-walk through History, from a unique perspective whilst finding there is a plausible curiosity about having a portal such as a journal or diary carting us back into a specific time and place where a particular story or ‘truth’ hidden from sight needs to be unearthed, understood and brought forward into the light where it can reside without a shroud.

In regards to nursing fiction, I started finding Midwife stories I liked in Amish Fiction, short story or novella INSPY collections or stand-alone releases as well as a few selections in Historical Fiction across theme or sub-genre. One in particular was the discovery of the Bess Crawford Mysteries (see also Review) wherein I found a delightful new heroine! This series is one I want to re-address when time allows me – as I would LOVE to be able to re-read it straight from the beginning through to the latest installment! Secondly, sometimes you find nurses are strong characters within an established series, such as ChocLit’s #ChartonMinster series wherein I truly felt hugged close into Rose’s situation during the war sequences within the chapters of The Silver Locket (see also Review).

Having said this, there are moments where I feel Nursing Fiction can walk the fine line between being realistic and being a bit over the edge of where I can handle Medical Fiction. I never know until I get into the throes of a story where the line will be walked but I had caught a reader’s takeaway about Where Dragonflies Hover ahead of reading it myself, which made me wonder – oh, dear my! I think I might be in for a few scenes or sequences which could top my bookish sensitivities!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Notation on Cover Art Design: When you really pull this image into a larger context of viewing, you can see how the timeines are equally spilt between the war era and the Contemporary find of the estate! I love how each is a slice of the story but also, how each half of the timeline visited int he story is pivotal to the understanding of the story as a whole!

Book Review | “Where Dragonflies Hover” by AnneMarie Brear #ChocLitSaturdaysWhere Dragonflies Hover
by AnneMarie Brear
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Berni Stevens
Source: Direct from Publisher

Sometimes a glimpse into the past can help make sense of the future…

Everyone thinks Lexi is crazy when she falls in love with Hollingsworth House – a crumbling old Georgian mansion in Yorkshire – and nobody more so than her husband, Dylan. But there’s something very special about the place, and Lexi can sense it.

Whilst exploring the grounds she stumbles across an old diary and, within its pages, she meets Allie – an Australian nurse working in France during the First World War.

Lexi finally realises her dream of buying Hollingsworth but her obsession with the house leaves her marriage in tatters. In the lonely nights that follow, Allie’s diary becomes Lexi’s companion, comforting her in moments of darkness and pain. And as Lexi reads, the nurse’s scandalous connection to the house is revealed…

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on ChocLitUK

ISBN: 9781781893739

Also by this author: Where Rainbows End (Cover Reveal)

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Time Slip and/or Time Shift, War Drama


Published by ChocLitUK

on 7th June, 2017

Format: UK Edition Paperback

Pages: 320

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLitUK)

Formats Available: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #ChocLit & #HistFic + #TimeSlip OR #WhereDragonfliesHover

About AnneMarie Brear

AnneMarie Brear

AnneMarie has been a life-long reader and started writing in 1997 when her children were small. She has a love of history, of grand old English houses and a fascination of what might have happened beyond their walls. Her interests include reading, genealogy, watching movies, spending time with family and eating chocolate – not always in that order!

AnneMarie grew up in Australia but now lives in the UK.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo. Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Saturday, 8 July, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, ChocLitUK, Content Note, Debilitating Diagnosis & Illness, During WWI, England, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Family Drama, Family Life, Fly in the Ointment, France, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, Life Shift, Medical Fiction, Mental Health, Military Fiction, Nurses & Hospital Life, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Story in Diary-Style Format, The World Wars, Time Shift, Time Slip, Unexpected Pregnancy, Vulgarity in Literature, War Drama, War-time Romance, Warfare & Power Realignment, Women's Health

Book Review | “The Wedding Diary” (Charton Minster No.5) by Margaret James #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 1 July, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

ChocLitSaturdays Banner Created by Jorie in Canva.

Why I feature #ChocLitSaturdays (book reviews & guest author features)
and created #ChocLitSaturday (the chat via @ChocLitSaturday):

I wanted to create a bit of a niche on Jorie Loves A Story to showcase romance fiction steeped in relationships, courtships, and the breadth of marriage enveloped by characters written honestly whose lives not only endear you to them but they nestle into your heart as their story is being read!

I am always seeking relationship-based romance which strikes a chord within my mind’s eye as well as my heart! I’m a romantic optimist, and I love curling into a romance where I can be swept inside the past, as history becomes lit alive in the fullness of the narrative and I can wander amongst the supporting cast observing the principal characters fall in love and sort out if they are a proper match for each other!

I love how an Indie Publisher like ChocLitUK is such a positive alternative for those of us who do not identify ourselves as girls and women who read ‘chick-lit’. I appreciate the stories which alight in my hands from ChocLit as much as I appreciate the inspirational romances I gravitate towards because there is a certain level of depth to both outlets in romance which encourage my spirits and gives me a beautiful story to absorb! Whilst sorting out how promote my book reviews on behalf of ChocLit, I coined the phrase “ChocLitSaturdays”, which is a nod to the fact my ChocLit reviews & features debut on ‘a Saturday’ but further to the point that on the ‘weekend’ we want to dip into a world wholly ideal and romantic during our hours off from the work week!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular reviewer for ChocLitUK, where I hand select which books in either their backlist and/or current releases I would like to read next for my #ChocLitSaturdays blog feature. As of June 2016, I became a member of the ChocLit Stars Team in tandem with being on the Cover Reveal Team which I joined in May 2016. I reference the Stars as this is a lovely new reader contribution team of sending feedback to the publisher ahead of new book releases. As always, even if I’m involved with a publisher in this sort of fashion, each review is never influenced by that participation and will always be my honest impression as I read the story. Whether the author is one I have previously read or never had the pleasure to read until the book greets my shelf.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Wedding Diary” from ChocLit in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Why Jorie Loves reading the Charton Minster series:

You never have to worry about the continuity of this series – as Ms James has write such a charmingly realistic series as you move from one installment to the next, you re-alight right in step with where you were previously! It’s a credit to all writers who I am finding have a wicked way of knowing exactly what to do in a sequel or the next thread of story in a series where the layers are so very intricate and complex. Being this is a war drama series, the beauty for me, has been her focus on the people ‘behind the war’, where life moves forward at quite a clip whilst the war is still raging onwards. She hones in on the home front and of the life on the front lines (depending on where you are in the series) – giving you a hearty juxtaposition which grounds you so fully on the life experiences of her characters.

Given this is a series which takes place in the early 20th Century, you never once think your reading about a contemporary time-line either, this is a credit to her inclusions of language and turns of phrase which were the height of popularity back then rather than now. Sometimes I think we could opt to use these phrases more often, as they are slightly cheeky and give you a smile of laugh to hear out loud! I also like how she’s remained true to her character’s motivations; as you watch her characters grow and age, so too, do they evolve in both maturity and life experiences. They each find out things about themselves which might surprise them or give them a moment of pause, but overall, this is a living tome of ordinary lives intersecting with History.

Ms James brings back the issue of Charton Minster (the house) itself too, whilst giving us a good nod towards knowing what’s become of the other characters we’ve cared for throughout the series (thus far along). Daisy makes an appearance and in so doing, gives us a happy moment of reprieve knowing her life has turnt out quite well. She’s not just happy (in career and marriage) but she’s resolved her past and her origins; she even has a healthy outlook on the circle of her life. One of the things you love appreciating about how the series unfolds is how each character is still keenly important even if the core of the current story has shifted forward and away from them. Their still viable and their able to give insight into where they currently are now on their own life’s path.

The tug on your heart is waiting to find out what becomes of the young adventure seekers: Cassie and Frances whilst finding the twins (Robert and Stephen) keep you on your toes as to how their lives will become altered through service and war. Robert might not be the easiest bloke to warm too, but there is something about him that pulls at your heart as you watch him make the choices he needs too and the sacrifices which come from duty. Stephen is a bit head-strong even though you don’t think it at first; he’s the twin who feels he has the most to prove and yet never quite sees himself in a positive light.

What truly hits you throughout this third story is  how difficult it is to accept the circumstances as they evolve; to embrace the future of tomorrow without understanding how the present will heal and feel less adverse. Each of the characters you’ve come to know how learning curves and situations to overcome, but at the heart of the series is always finding one’s path when the uncertainties are stacked against you. When being brave and finding courage are not easy attributes to always embrace but a strong will to survive can carry you through. What I loved most is how in each turning of the series, the women and men featured in Charton Minster have the capacity to endeavour to beat the odds and find true love in unexpected hours of grace.

-quoted from my review of The Penny Bangle

You can well understand why I am quite delighted I can continue to read each installment of this series, and become caught up in the drama and lives of each of the characters as they make their entrance and take their cue to exit. It’s one of those timeless classics you hope you can stumble across & dearly love!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Notation on Cover Art: I am in LOVE with this cover art – the glittered butterflies and moon are so lovely! Even the ChocLit logo on the spine has GLITTER. I’m not even what you’d consider a glitter-mad girl either – but sometimes, there are times where glitter is a good accessory to have on hand and for this book’s cover, it’s rockin’ brill! I even like how it’s raised and the texture of it, too! Great call on adding those elements to the cover as it made it funkified jazzy with a dash of spritely joy!

 Book Review | “The Wedding Diary” (Charton Minster No.5) by Margaret James #ChocLitSaturdaysThe Wedding Diary
Subtitle: Where's a Fairy Godmother when you need one?
by Margaret James
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Berni Stevens
Source: Direct from Publisher

Where’s a Fairy Godmother when you need one?

If you won a fairy-tale wedding in a luxury hotel, you’d be delighted – right? But what if you didn’t have anyone to marry? Cat Aston did have a fiancé, but now it looks like her Prince Charming has done a runner.

Adam Lawley was left devastated when his girlfriend turned down his heartfelt proposal. He’s made a vow never to fall in love again.

So – when Cat and Adam meet, they shouldn’t even consider falling in love. After all, they’re both broken hearted. But for some reason they can’t stop thinking about each other. Is this their second chance for happiness, or are some things just too good to be true?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on ChocLitUK

ISBN: 9781781890165

Also by this author: The Silver Locket, The Golden Chain, The Penny Bangle, Cover Reveal w/ Notes (Girl in Red Velvet)

Also in this series: The Silver Locket, The Golden Chain, The Penny Bangle, Cover Reveal w/ Notes (Girl in Red Velvet)


Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance


Published by ChocLitUK

on 1st July, 2013

Format: UK Edition Paperback

Pages: 289

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLituk)

Available Formats: Paperback, Audiobook & E-Book

Order of Sequence of Charton Minster series:

The Silver Locket Book One (review)

The Golden Chain Book Two (review) | The Penny Bangle Book Three (review)

A writer to reader explanation of how to read the last three novels: I wrote to Ms James to understand my slight confusion on how ‘The Wedding Diary’ fits into the canon of Charton Minster wherein I learnt a few things quite extraordinary! In regards to time-line, the sequence ought to be this way round: ‘Girl in Red Velvet’ (hugs closer to ending of 1st trilogy being set in the 1960s) then ‘The Wedding Diary’ and ending off with ‘Magic Sometimes Happens’.

This is due to the fact ‘The Wedding Diary’ is set in modern day (ie. the 21st Century present day) and is only a handful (say two) years ahead of ‘Magic Sometimes Happens’. Ergo, I was at a deficient reading what I perceived as books 4 & 5: the truth is 6 becomes 4 and 5 becomes 6, thereby making the 4th book the 5th in sequence. I have re-aligned the proper sequence below as well as updated my slideshow of covers. This also makes the cover art illustrations more relatable as well – four books hug the war eras & emerge into the 60s; the latter two in sequence change style of cover art to reflect the new century they reside inside. Mystery solved!

PS: You know ‘The Wedding Diary’ is set in the 21st Century as ‘Harry Potter’ is referenced; mind you, the way in which he’s referenced it felt 2000+ not ending chapters of 1990s. It’s close though – it could be interpreted either way – I am only sharing where I feel it fits.

Girl in Red Velvet Book Four (see also Cover Reveal Notes)

The Wedding Diary Book Five | Magic Sometimes Happens Book Six

NOTE: When ‘Girl in Red Velvet’ releases into print, I will be re-reading this series in order to anchour the sequence into the proper order and to see what I might have missed by reading the series out of it’s proper continuous time-line. This isn’t the first series I have read which was published out of sequence of the order of the story. I am truly blessed Ms James was available to help me work out the details and thereby giving me the chance to help you read this in the time-line she intended. My instincts of suspecting there was a switch-up was on the nose but it wasn’t until I spoke to Ms James all the pieces of the puzzle were fully understood. The truth in the pudding truly was the cover art illustrations!

Converse via: #ChartonMinster, #HistFic, #HistRom + #ChocLit

About Margaret James

Margaret James

Margaret James was born and brought up in Hereford and now lives in Devon. She studied English at London University, and has written many short stories, articles and serials for magazines. She is the author of sixteen published novels.

Her debut novel for Choc Lit, The Silver Locket, received a glowing review from the Daily Mail and reached the Top 20 Small Publishers Fiction List in November 2010 and in the same year a Reviewers’ Choice Award from Single Titles. The Golden Chain also hit the Top 20 Small Publishers Fiction List in May 2011. The Wedding Diary was shortlisted for the 2014 Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

Novels: The Silver Locket, The Golden Chain, The Penny Bangle, The Wedding Diary and Magic Sometimes Happens which are part of the Charton Minster series.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo. Read More

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Posted Saturday, 1 July, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, British Literature, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Contemporary Romance, England, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Green-Minded Publishers, Indie Author, Life Shift, Modern British Author, Modern British Literature, Modern Day, Multi-Generational Saga, Romance Fiction, Story in Diary-Style Format, Vulgarity in Literature

Book Review | “Can’t Buy Me Love” by Jane Lovering #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 27 May, 2017 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

ChocLitSaturdays Banner Created by Jorie in Canva.

Why I feature #ChocLitSaturdays (book reviews & guest author features)
and created #ChocLitSaturday (the chat via @ChocLitSaturday):

I wanted to create a bit of a niche on Jorie Loves A Story to showcase romance fiction steeped in relationships, courtships, and the breadth of marriage enveloped by characters written honestly whose lives not only endear you to them but they nestle into your heart as their story is being read!

I am always seeking relationship-based romance which strikes a chord within my mind’s eye as well as my heart! I’m a romantic optimist, and I love curling into a romance where I can be swept inside the past, as history becomes lit alive in the fullness of the narrative and I can wander amongst the supporting cast observing the principal characters fall in love and sort out if they are a proper match for each other!

I love how an Indie Publisher like ChocLitUK is such a positive alternative for those of us who do not identify ourselves as girls and women who read ‘chick-lit’. I appreciate the stories which alight in my hands from ChocLit as much as I appreciate the inspirational romances I gravitate towards because there is a certain level of depth to both outlets in romance which encourage my spirits and gives me a beautiful story to absorb! Whilst sorting out how promote my book reviews on behalf of ChocLit, I coined the phrase “ChocLitSaturdays”, which is a nod to the fact my ChocLit reviews & features debut on ‘a Saturday’ but further to the point that on the ‘weekend’ we want to dip into a world wholly ideal and romantic during our hours off from the work week!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular reviewer for ChocLitUK, where I hand select which books in either their backlist and/or current releases I would like to read next for my #ChocLitSaturdays blog feature. As of June 2016, I became a member of the ChocLit Stars Team in tandem with being on the Cover Reveal Team which I joined in May 2016. I reference the Stars as this is a lovely new reader contribution team of sending feedback to the publisher ahead of new book releases. As always, even if I’m involved with a publisher in this sort of fashion, each review is never influenced by that participation and will always be my honest impression as I read the story. Whether the author is one I have previously read or never had the pleasure to read until the book greets my shelf.

I received a complimentary copy of “Can’t Buy Me Love” from ChocLit in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

a bit of back-history on this sequence of roms:

The Yorkshire Romances received a sixth entry into the series with Can’t Buy Me Love, which I thankfully spotlighted last May! What is interesting about being able to read this book over Memorial Day weekend, is the timing of the book in my hand vs. the weekend last year, when it was a book I was itching to read but could only speculate about what I would find inside it! Isn’t that a wicked sweet coincidence!?

The Yorkshire Romances in sequence:

{please note: all of these are stand-alone; only the setting unites them}

To properly recap my ruminative pre-reading thoughts about the series, kindly visit my Spotlight w/ Notes!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

My initial thoughts about why I wanted to read this particular release:

What I appreciate about the Yorkshire Romances series as a whole is each installment reads to be individually unique to it’s own setting and cast of characters; I am unsure what threads the series together as a whole, as I haven’t yet read one of the novels, but to find a series where you can meet such a varied and diverse set of stories is quite champion, if you ask me! I think it speaks to the different themes of interest on behalf of the author, how she likes to pull together different threads of interest per each character she’s focusing on in turn and thereby, deepening where each installment can take the reader. For instance, I Don’t Want to Talk About It had a very emotional context to it’s central heart.

I must confess, I oft was drawn into stories of inheritances (especially the unexpected kind!) since I was a young girl – those were the Classical novels I would delight in reading because they had such a capture of ‘real life caught between a change of circumstance and the reality of who you really are’ merging into a story where you have to choose how your going to proceed. I even followed this up by watching tv movies of the same theme; each story in turn featured a character who had to go through a period of growth and self-reflection where they truly developed into a better version of themselves. Even in my beloved Cosy Mystery series Aunt Dimity the title character has to come to terms with an inheritance that truly was quite magically wicked in the end!

I do love a good matching between two opposite personalities or two people who live different lifestyles; it works either way for me; to see how differences either make or break a relationship. Equal to that, there is something about the quirkiness of geeks vs nerds (in case you hadn’t known, I’m a geek!) and how each of them can be a good match for someone who doesn’t self-identify as either/or too!

When it comes to money and people’s true colours shining through their intentions – that happens to be one of my favourite twists in a plot to read! I like noodling out which person wormed into someone’s life looking for a quick take from a person who came into an inheritance vs the sincerity of friendship for the sake of genuine concern for another person’s welfare. It’s a slippery slope as they say – whom to trust and when to know to question the trust you put into others when circumstances change overnight.

I could tell immediately I liked the potboiler brewing into the backbone of this installment, as it’s quite a truthful statement to make – does money have the reverse effect of muddling your life further than it might have been already or does it present certain assurances but give you a bit of a new set of curious hiccups to circumvent as well? I think the title brings the scope of the story into play quite nicely and if you trust a title, I think it forebears well the outcome we’ll all have to wait to read!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

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Posted Saturday, 27 May, 2017 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Britian, Brothers and Sisters, ChocLitUK, Contemporary Romance, Equality In Literature, Family Life, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Modern Day, Romance Fiction, Romantic Comedy, Siblings, Vulgarity in Literature

Book Review | “The Jade Lioness” (Book Three of the Kumashiro Series) by Christina Courtenay via #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 6 May, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

ChocLitSaturdays Banner Created by Jorie in Canva.

Why I feature #ChocLitSaturdays (book reviews & guest author features)
and created #ChocLitSaturday (the chat via @ChocLitSaturday):

I wanted to create a bit of a niche on Jorie Loves A Story to showcase romance fiction steeped in relationships, courtships, and the breadth of marriage enveloped by characters written honestly whose lives not only endear you to them but they nestle into your heart as their story is being read!

I am always seeking relationship-based romance which strikes a chord within my mind’s eye as well as my heart! I’m a romantic optimist, and I love curling into a romance where I can be swept inside the past, as history becomes lit alive in the fullness of the narrative and I can wander amongst the supporting cast observing the principal characters fall in love and sort out if they are a proper match for each other!

I love how an Indie Publisher like ChocLitUK is such a positive alternative for those of us who do not identify ourselves as girls and women who read ‘chick-lit’. I appreciate the stories which alight in my hands from ChocLit as much as I appreciate the inspirational romances I gravitate towards because there is a certain level of depth to both outlets in romance which encourage my spirits and gives me a beautiful story to absorb! Whilst sorting out how promote my book reviews on behalf of ChocLit, I coined the phrase “ChocLitSaturdays”, which is a nod to the fact my ChocLit reviews & features debut on ‘a Saturday’ but further to the point that on the ‘weekend’ we want to dip into a world wholly ideal and romantic during our hours off from the work week!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular reviewer for ChocLitUK, where I hand select which books in either their backlist and/or current releases I would like to read next for my #ChocLitSaturdays blog feature. As of June 2016, I became a member of the ChocLit Stars Team in tandem with being on the Cover Reveal Team which I joined in May 2016. I reference the Stars as this is a lovely new reader contribution team of sending feedback to the publisher ahead of new book releases. As always, even if I’m involved with a publisher in this sort of fashion, each review is never influenced by that participation and will always be my honest impression as I read the story. Whether the author is one I have previously read or never had the pleasure to read until the book greets my shelf.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Jade Lioness” from ChocLit in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I am fascinated by this series:

You know almost immediately when you pick up a Courtenay Historical Rom, you’re going to be enchanted by what you find inside the page! She has a way of pulling you into the narrative quite quickly and endearing you to her characters; many of whom have emotional angst or something they need to prove to themselves. She also is one of my favourite historical authors for tying together loose ends, maintaining continuity or by giving us more information about secondary characters.

There were incredible layers of emotional angst percolating throughout the story but it’s how Courtenay made the keen choices to embrace those situations and to use them towards the gain for the reader to walk alongside her characters as they worked through everything together. It’s the strength of finding the courage to be oneself and to embrace differences even in one’s family to find the bridge to unite through forgiveness and patience. Truly this became an uplifting story to read due to how convincing the redemption was for Midori and the rest of her family.

And, of course, I especially was taken by the descriptive details which set this narrative to be illuminated by sweeping arcs of action sequences and the beauty of life on the high seas. I liked the nuances of Japanese culture and the way in which Courtenay infused Midori’s spiritual life into the backdrop of her character’s personality. Everything felt authentically realistic whilst anchouring the story between Japan and England. You could fully find yourself caught in the midst of the 17th Century where nothing was certain nor guaranteed to be right anytime soon. At the height of everything, blessedly there was still slivers of hope of how Midori would find not only true happiness but a passionate partner of whom accepted her unconditionally. A true honour of her upbringing and of finding her own way to unite her past with her present. Now it’s Temperance’s turn to take the spotlight in the series and I can’t wait to go back to Japan where the series began as she makes her mark on how her life is meant to play out.

-quoted from my review of The Gilded Fan

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

On my Connection to Ms. Courtenay:

Three years ago, on the 26th of April, 2014, I created #ChocLitSaturday a weekly Rom chat to celebrate the novelists of ChocLitUK but also, to expand to include book bloggers, readers and writers of Romance who have a penchant for the genre as a whole. Ms Courtenay started to become a regular fixture, and her encouraging conversations & ability to inspire others to converse freely throughout the chats put me at ease in my new role as a ‘Hostess’. She always seemed to know how to either start a topic or how to best suggest something to break the ice! I was always so very grateful to her and I am thinking I might have forgotten to tell her directly how much gratitude I had for her in those earlier chats! Over the years, I have found myself attached to each of my ‘regular’ chatters during the hour, and I consider Ms Courtenay a bookish like-minded soul and dear friend, as we tend to appreciate the same types of stories!

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Courtenay through our respective love & passion of reading inside the twitterverse whilst I host #ChocLitSaturday the chat, kept in touch privately and having had previously read her time slip novels. 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.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Book Review | “The Jade Lioness” (Book Three of the Kumashiro Series) by Christina Courtenay via #ChocLitSaturdaysThe Jade Lioness
by Christina Courtenay
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Berni Stevens
Source: Direct from Publisher

Can an impossible love become possible?



Nagasaki, 1648

Temperance Marston longs to escape war-torn England and explore the exotic empire of Japan. When offered the chance to accompany her cousin and Captain Noordholt on a trading expedition to Nagasaki, she jumps at the opportunity. However, she soon finds the country’s strict laws for foreigners curtail her freedom.

On a dangerous and foolhardy venture she meets Kazuo, a ronin. Kazuo is fascinated by her blonde hair and blue eyes, but he has a mission to complete and he cannot be distracted. Long ago, his father was accused of a crime he didn’t commit – stealing a valuable ornament from the Shogun – and Kazuo must restore his family’s honour.

But when Temperance is kidnapped and sold as a concubine, he has to make a decision – can he save her and keep the promise he made to his father?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on ChocLitUK

ISBN: 978-1781892374

Also by this author: Guest Post about Time Slips, The Silent Touch of Shadows, The Scarlet Kimono, The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight Cover Reveal, The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight Cover Reveal, Marry for Love, The Gilded Fan

Also in this series: The Scarlet Kimono, The Gilded Fan


Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance


Published by ChocLitUK

on 19th March, 2016

Format: UK Edition Paperback

Pages: 320

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLituk)

Available Formats:

Paperback, Audiobook, Large Print & E-Book

The Kumashiro series:

Book One: The Scarlet Kimono (see also Review)

Book Two: The Gilded Fan (see also Review)

Book Three: The Jade Lioness

Converse via: #KumashiroSeries + #HistRom or #ChocLit

About Christina Courtenay

Christina Courtenay

Christina lives near Hereford and is married with two children. Although born in England she has a Swedish mother and was brought up in Sweden. In her teens, the family moved to Japan where she had the opportunity to travel extensively in the Far East.

Christina’s debut Trade Winds was short listed for the 2011 Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Pure Passion Award for Best Historical Fiction. The Scarlet Kimono won the 2011 Big Red Reads Best Historical Fiction Award. Highland Storms (in 2012) and The Gilded Fan (in 2014) won the Historical Romantic Novel of the Year Award and The Silent Touch of Shadows won the 2012 Best Historical Read Award from the Festival of Romance. Christina is Chairman of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Novels: Trade Winds, Highland Storms, Monsoon Mists, The Scarlet Kimono, The Gilded Fan, The Silent Touch of Shadows, The Secret Kiss of Darkness, The Soft Whisper of Dreams, The Jade Lioness, Marry in Haste, Once Bitten Twice Shy, Desperate Remedies and Never Too Late.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo. Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
Divider

Posted Saturday, 6 May, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 17th Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Cultural & Religious Traditions, Domestic Violence, East India Company, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Japan, Japanese Fiction, Japanese History, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, Life Shift, Martial Arts, Modern British Literature, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Multi-Generational Saga, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, World Religions

Book Review | “The Gilded Fan” (Book Two of the Kumashiro Series) by Christina Courtenay via #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 29 April, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

ChocLitSaturdays Banner Created by Jorie in Canva.

Why I feature #ChocLitSaturdays (book reviews & guest author features)
and created #ChocLitSaturday (the chat via @ChocLitSaturday):

I wanted to create a bit of a niche on Jorie Loves A Story to showcase romance fiction steeped in relationships, courtships, and the breadth of marriage enveloped by characters written honestly whose lives not only endear you to them but they nestle into your heart as their story is being read!

I am always seeking relationship-based romance which strikes a chord within my mind’s eye as well as my heart! I’m a romantic optimist, and I love curling into a romance where I can be swept inside the past, as history becomes lit alive in the fullness of the narrative and I can wander amongst the supporting cast observing the principal characters fall in love and sort out if they are a proper match for each other!

I love how an Indie Publisher like ChocLitUK is such a positive alternative for those of us who do not identify ourselves as girls and women who read ‘chick-lit’. I appreciate the stories which alight in my hands from ChocLit as much as I appreciate the inspirational romances I gravitate towards because there is a certain level of depth to both outlets in romance which encourage my spirits and gives me a beautiful story to absorb! Whilst sorting out how promote my book reviews on behalf of ChocLit, I coined the phrase “ChocLitSaturdays”, which is a nod to the fact my ChocLit reviews & features debut on ‘a Saturday’ but further to the point that on the ‘weekend’ we want to dip into a world wholly ideal and romantic during our hours off from the work week!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular reviewer for ChocLitUK, where I hand select which books in either their backlist and/or current releases I would like to read next for my #ChocLitSaturdays blog feature. As of June 2016, I became a member of the ChocLit Stars Team in tandem with being on the Cover Reveal Team which I joined in May 2016. I reference the Stars as this is a lovely new reader contribution team of sending feedback to the publisher ahead of new book releases. As always, even if I’m involved with a publisher in this sort of fashion, each review is never influenced by that participation and will always be my honest impression as I read the story. Whether the author is one I have previously read or never had the pleasure to read until the book greets my shelf.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Gilded Fan” from ChocLit in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I am fascinated by this series:

I was so consumed by the beautiful romance emitting out of this historical novel, I was swept into the folds of this story to such a degree, I did not want it to end! Hannah and Kumashiro are incredible characters to meet and it’s how their lives start to intersect that keep you up late into the night, as it’s not a book you wish to put down but one to devour, one chapter at a time whilst savouring the journey Courtenay has taken you on!

I appreciated the pacing of this novel – we were given such a lovely narrative in scope, to allow ourselves to curl inside the ‘moments’ with the characters rather than moving at such a clip of a pace to miss certain things. A nice touch too was having certain Japanese words used to explain tradition and the details you’d hope to learn by reading about another country’s cultural heritage. Courtenay has you breathe in the timescape and you feel as if you’ve experienced this place in time as you read the story. I happen to fancy this exploration through fiction because you can live so much through words and how the writer paints the portrait of a scene – it gives a realism to novels and it’s a lovely discovery to have as a reader who appreciates the historical past.

I loved how Ms Courtenay did not write a predictable story on the level that you were never quite certain what was going to befell Hannah – she is a feisty heroine, but she’s one who has a lot riding on her choices and on the will to live differently from the views of her family. Courtenay granted her the ability to think on her feet and to strive to hope she could have a better life if she could get through the adversities that were cutting her to the quick. I loved watching Hannah grow whilst she was at sea and how this growth gave her an empowerment once she reached Japan to where she far more stronger in spirit than when she first left England.

Courtenay has written such a gentle love story as to encircle your mind with her narrative, soaking inside the story as it unfolds and not wanting it to end. She gives you so much time to reside inside this story, you feel connected to Japan but moreso than that even, you feel very connected to her characters.

Such a lovely unputdownable discovery!

I cannot wait to read the next installment – as this surely is a historical drama I dearly love reading and are wicked happy shall be continuing!

-quoted from my review of The Scarlet Kimono

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

On my Connection to Ms. Courtenay:

Three years ago, on the 26th of April, 2014, I created #ChocLitSaturday a weekly Rom chat to celebrate the novelists of ChocLitUK but also, to expand to include book bloggers, readers and writers of Romance who have a penchant for the genre as a whole. Ms Courtenay started to become a regular fixture, and her encouraging conversations & ability to inspire others to converse freely throughout the chats put me at ease in my new role as a ‘Hostess’. She always seemed to know how to either start a topic or how to best suggest something to break the ice! I was always so very grateful to her and I am thinking I might have forgotten to tell her directly how much gratitude I had for her in those earlier chats! Over the years, I have found myself attached to each of my ‘regular’ chatters during the hour, and I consider Ms Courtenay a bookish like-minded soul and dear friend, as we tend to appreciate the same types of stories!

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Courtenay through our respective love & passion of reading inside the twitterverse whilst I host #ChocLitSaturday the chat, kept in touch privately and having had previously read her time slip novels. 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.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Book Review | “The Gilded Fan” (Book Two of the Kumashiro Series) by Christina Courtenay via #ChocLitSaturdaysThe Gilded Fan
by Christina Courtenay
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Berni Stevens
Source: Direct from Publisher

How do you start a new life, leaving behind all you love?

It’s 1641, and when Midori Kumashiro, the orphaned daughter of a warlord, is told she has to leave Japan or die, she has no choice but to flee to England. Midori is trained in the arts of war, but is that enough to help her survive a journey, with a lecherous crew and an attractive captain she doesn’t trust?

Having come to Nagasaki to trade, the last thing Captain Nico Noordholt wants is a female passenger, especially a beautiful one. How can he protect her from his crew when he can’t keep his own eyes off her?

During their journey, Nico and Midori form a tentative bond, but they both have secrets that can change everything. When they arrive in England, a civil war is brewing, and only by standing together can they hope to survive…

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on ChocLitUK

ISBN: 9781781890080

Also by this author: Guest Post about Time Slips, The Silent Touch of Shadows, The Scarlet Kimono, The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight Cover Reveal, The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight Cover Reveal, Marry for Love, The Jade Lioness

Also in this series: The Scarlet Kimono, The Jade Lioness


Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance


Published by ChocLitUK

on 7th February, 2013

Format: UK Edition Paperback

Pages: 350

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLituk)

Available Formats:

Paperback, Audiobook, Large Print & E-Book

The Kumashiro series:

Book One: The Scarlet Kimono (see also Review)

Book Two: The Gilded Fan

Book Three: The Jade Lioness | Synopsis

Converse via: #KumashiroSeries + #HistRom or #ChocLit

About Christina Courtenay

Christina Courtenay

Christina lives near Hereford and is married with two children. Although born in England she has a Swedish mother and was brought up in Sweden. In her teens, the family moved to Japan where she had the opportunity to travel extensively in the Far East.

Christina’s debut Trade Winds was short listed for the 2011 Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Pure Passion Award for Best Historical Fiction. The Scarlet Kimono won the 2011 Big Red Reads Best Historical Fiction Award. Highland Storms (in 2012) and The Gilded Fan (in 2014) won the Historical Romantic Novel of the Year Award and The Silent Touch of Shadows won the 2012 Best Historical Read Award from the Festival of Romance. Christina is Chairman of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Novels: Trade Winds, Highland Storms, Monsoon Mists, The Scarlet Kimono, The Gilded Fan, The Silent Touch of Shadows, The Secret Kiss of Darkness, The Soft Whisper of Dreams, The Jade Lioness, Marry in Haste, Once Bitten Twice Shy, Desperate Remedies and Never Too Late.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo. Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
Divider

Posted Saturday, 29 April, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 17th Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Cultural & Religious Traditions, Domestic Violence, East India Company, England, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Fathers and Daughters, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Herbalist, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Japan, Japanese Fiction, Japanese History, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, Life Shift, Martial Arts, Military Fiction, Modern British Literature, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Multi-Generational Saga, Naturopathic Medicine, Puritan England, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Women's Fiction, Women's Rights, World Religions

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