Genre: Historical Romance

Blog Book Tour | feat. the Blackbird Mountain series by Joanne Bischof, especially “Sons of Blackbird Mountain” (book one) and “Daughters of Distant Shores” (book two)

Posted Friday, 15 March, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , 2 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 ARC copy of “Daughters from Distant Shores” direct from the publisher Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review. A print copy of “Sons of Blackbird Mountain” was available via my local library by which I borrowed in order to understand the fuller back-story attached to this series. My ruminations on behalf of the first novel 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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70 Authors Challenge Badge created by Jorie via Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Brigitte Tohm. (Creative Commons Zero)How my love of INSPY reads inspired my choice to participate on this blog tour:

When I first started blogging, I was going to set out to read new authors of INSPY Lit I hadn’t had the pleasure of reading previously. It was through my visitations with Casey Herringshaw’s blog which inspired the list I had developed of seeking out new and established INSPY authors who were drawing the eye of book bloggers like Ms Herringshaw and readers alike. It was through reading her blog rather extensively I found the list which was then developed in the final #70AuthorsChallenge.

Joanne Bischof happens to be the 18th author out of my original #70AuthorsChallenge List.

Curiously, like most book bloggers our good intentions when we first start joining the exciting world of the book blogosphere and the bookish side of Twitter, our personal reading goals can sometime be cast aside. This is why I haven’t made an extensive dent in my readerly goals for my INSPY Reads and why I am intending to make more head-way on them this year as I feel it will be a healthier year for me all the way round. The past few years especially were marred a bit with personal health afflictions but this year, as I move into March, I feel more hopeful I might have sorted out a way to ease the frequencies of my chronic migraines and by doing so, perhaps for the first time since I started my blog I’ll have a greater freedom in being able to read whenever the mood strikes rather than having to wait out the after effects of a migraine.

My love of reading INSPY Lit extends back to childhood – as I’ve been a hybrid reader of both mainstream and INSPY Lit since the origins of when I first became a reader. Finding several blog tours this year focusing on these authors and their stories was a treat of bookish joy as I dearly want to expand my knowledge of the stories being published from both Major Trade and Indie Publishers within the INSPY realms of interest I enjoy reading. This particular blog tour felt like a step in the right direction.

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Blog Book Tour | feat. the Blackbird Mountain series by Joanne Bischof, especially “Sons of Blackbird Mountain” (book one) and “Daughters of Distant Shores” (book two)Sons of Blackbird Mountain
by Joanne Bischof
Source: Borrowed from local library

A Tale of Family, Brotherhood, and the Healing Power of Love

After the tragic death of her husband, Aven Norgaard is beckoned to give up her life in Norway to become a housekeeper in the rugged hills of Nineteenth-Century Appalachia. Upon arrival, she finds herself in the home of her late husband’s cousins—three brothers who make a living by brewing hard cider on their three-hundred acre farm. Yet even as a stranger in a foreign land, Aven has hope to build a new life in this tight-knit family.

But her unassuming beauty disrupts the bond between the brothers. The youngest two both desire her hand, and Aven is caught in the middle, unsure where—and whether—to offer her affection. While Haakon is bold and passionate, it is Thor who casts the greatest spell upon her. Though Deaf, mute, and dependent on hard drink to cope with his silent pain, Thor possesses a sobering strength.

As autumn ushers in the apple harvest, the rift between Thor and Haakon deepens and Aven faces a choice that risks hearts. Will two brothers’ longing for her quiet spirit tear apart a family? Can she find a tender belonging in this remote, rugged, and unfamiliar world?

A haunting tale of struggle and redemption, Sons of Blackbird Mountain is a portrait of grace in a world where the broken may find new life through the healing mercy of love.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780718099107

Genres: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction, Historical Romance


Published by Thomas Nelson

on 3rd July, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 341

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My path originally crossed with Joanne Bischof before I became a book blogger as I was an avid reader of blogs – both individuals like myself and author blogs or group author blogs – somewhere in those travels, whilst finding new and inspiring authors of INSPY Fiction I wanted to be reading I came across Ms Bischof. I had her badge in my sidebar for a long time until during one of the updates to the theme I hadn’t realised it hadn’t staid where I had placed it. I’ve changed that now – as I love to support the authors I want to be reading inasmuch as the authors I am reading.

There is a lot of life being lived between those early promising months as a 1st Year Book Blogger and now – to where, I truly have only just embarked on gaining a footing towards my reading goals for my *70 Authors Challenge* wherein I want to be reading more INSPY Fiction per month and year. I used to have a bit more equality in my reading life – where I would read approx. 50/50 spilt between mainstream and INSPY narratives though as a book blogger, I realise those ratios have decreased a bit on the INSPY side.

I love this side of literature because I love the soul lift I receive in reading the stories – the novelists who write INSPY Historical Fiction give me a wicked good sense of the historical past as much as any mainstream author but with one added benefit – the stories are writ clean and I don’t have to worry about inclusions that might offend or leave me feeling uncomfortable in those sequences as I read. Despite that, I still stand behind reading my mainstream choices as to me literature as a whole is best read through all the different styles and voices which are readily available today. You learn and grow through what you read – the variety of voice, style and the craft behind the written word is what invigorates me the most.

Having said this – I hadn’t realised this series was focused on the deaf and I was quite humbled to realise it is has a wonderful writer behind it who not only recognises the deaf culture and community but has taken great lengths to represent their language and the ways in which they communicate to the degree she has given her series! I’ve been wanting to become fluent in sign (ASL) for a long, long time. It is hard to source tutors and generally in my experience the communities who have resources are not always open to those who are sighted and of hearing to learn to sign. I find my region especially difficult in crossing that barrier even though I tend to pick up the signs quite quickly and at one point, I was understanding a conversation without knowing all the signs initially as I could ‘read them’ as they were signed all the same.

Perhaps one day I can finally deepen my knowledge of ASL and find a tutor open to a girl who wants to sign and understand the nuances of communicating in this language. Til then, I was most eager to settle into “Sons of Blackbird Mountain” as I was truly captured by what Ms Biscof shared in her author’s note to readers.

One thing was definitely for certain, if an elder Aunt (Aunt Dorothe) had started a conversation and a friendship by postal mail to a grieving widow, the last thing one would expect upon arrival to this Aunt’s house is finding her deceased! When I read this section of the novel, I could understand how the very oxygen had left Aven’s lungs and how she felt as light-headed as a woman about to faint. She had travelled so dearly far and had come up far shorter than anyone could have surmised from such correspondences as she had exchanged! To be on a mountain with family of her late husband but without a compass of a thought towards why she was guided here would put anyone at a disadvantage and of feeling uneasy about their arrival.

As soon she met the ‘sons’ of this Blackbird Mountain, the alarms of regret started to wash over her spirit as well it should as she was told they were far younger than their present state of adulthood! You’d have to wonder what the old woman was really up to in regards to wanting to get Aven here and what was motivating her to encourage her to take such a leap of faith in removing herself from overseas and of trucking so far into the Virginia mountains?

You’re first struck by the quiet nature of Thor, the impedious personality of Haakon and the kind hearted nature of Jorgan. Not to mention how Miss Ida their housekeeper is a salt of the earth and knows exactly what to do when something unexpected riles a person’s nerves! How sweet it was to find her about as it felt like she was the first outside of Thor who was seeking a chance to make her feel more comfortable on her arrival than being the odd one out.

Thor has a sensitive heart – he might not be able to communicate traditionally through spoken speech but he feels things in life deeply. He’s moved by a person’s emotional state and that is how he originally felt something for Aven; it was through a photograph of her – where he could intuit her emotional state of mind when she first married his cousin Benn. It was a union he felt might be a bit fraught with adversity as he could sort out by her photograph what was going on in her mind at the time the photograph was taken.

Observing Thor struggling with his affection and fondness for Aven; thus far removed from her life and then suddenly finding himself in close quarters with her now in the future was humbling. Especially as he had genuine concern for her and could sort out things about her emotional state that she might not have been fully aware of herself; or if she had, you might muse she might have hoped part of that inner truth could have been better veiled.

Jorgan was such a sweet fellow – not just to welcome Aven in with open arms but to have the courtesy to explain the ‘family business’ be as it were – though just observing Thor a bit with his affection for a drink, you could almost surmise it! Jorgan was also soon to be wed which I felt might put Aven’s concerns to bed – though in measure of that news, she still seemed to be a bit unsure of herself and her place here. Even with the reassurance about how Miss Ida lives nearby and how the boys despite their grievances with the locals come to have quite a keen living based off what their selling. She’s been in worst straits than this and being how agreeable the three seemed on sight, I was hoping Aven might find herself comfortable to be with this side of her husband’s family. Especially as I had a feeling she was being influenced to come here by a crafty old woman who knew a thing or two about second chances and new beginnings.

I liked the attention to the smaller details – of how embroidery was a bit of a challenge for Aven but she had the eye for it and how sewing gave her a true sense of pride. Sewing is something I’ve longed to acquire a skill for myself but I’m thankful I learnt how to knit. There is a strong joy in being able to see something appear in front of you which you’ve been able to craft yourself and by hand. Knitting and sewing share that kind of simple happiness and I liked how Bischof was describing the scene in Dorothea’s room where Aven first saw her handiwork.

Atmospherically – this story is rooted in the mountains and of mountain life; something I truly appreciate as I have read other stories set in and round Appalachia which are equally enjoyable to simply ‘settle into’ and be of the folk who live there. There is a simplicity to living but there are also obstacles and prejudices to overcome as well – Bischof hints at these larger issues in the background whilst tucking us close to how these brothers live on the land they have to use to provide for themselves. I even enjoyed the arching back-story about Aven herself – from her memories of her mother to what happened which prompted her marriage to Benn. Circumstances dictated a lot of her life and how she had to remain adaptable to the adversities which arrived on her path.

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Blog Book Tour | feat. the Blackbird Mountain series by Joanne Bischof, especially “Sons of Blackbird Mountain” (book one) and “Daughters of Distant Shores” (book two)Daughters of Distant Shores
by Joanne Bischof
Source: Publisher via Prism Book Tours

Heartache and regret, boldness and sacrifice. What will restoration cost the beloved Norgaard family?

Aven Norgaard understands courage. Orphaned within an Irish workhouse, then widowed at just nineteen, she voyaged to America where she was wooed and wed by Thor Norgaard, a Deaf man in rural Appalachia. That the Lord saw her along the winding journey and that Aven now carries Thor’s child are blessings beyond measure. Yet while Thor holds her heart, it is his younger brother and rival who haunts her memories. Haakon—whose selfish choices shattered her trust in him.

Having fled the farm after trying to take Aven as his own, Haakon sails on the North Atlantic ice trade where his soul is plagued with regrets that distance cannot heal. Not even the beautiful Norwegian woman he’s pursued can ease the torment. When the winds bear him home after four years away, Haakon finds the family on the brink of tragedy. A decades-old feud with the neighboring farm has wrenched them into the fiercest confrontation on Blackbird Mountain since the Civil War. Haakon’s cunning and strength hold the power to seal many fates, including Thor’s which is already at stake through a grave illness brought to him as the first prick of warfare.

Now Haakon faces the hardest choice of his life. One that shapes a battlefield where pride must be broken enough to be restored, and where a prodigal son may finally know the healing peace of surrender and the boundless gift of forgiveness. And when it comes to the woman he left behind in Norway, he just might discover that while his heart belongs to a daughter of the north, she’s been awaiting him on shores more distant than the land he’s fighting for.

From Christy Award–winning author Joanne Bischof comes Daughters of Northern Shores: the highly anticipated sequel to her moving novel Sons of Blackbird Mountain.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780718099121

Genres: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction, Historical Romance


Published by Thomas Nelson

on 12th of March, 2019

Pages: 368

Published by: Thomas Nelson (@ThomasNelson)

Formats Available: Hardback, Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

The Blackbird Mountain series:

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne BiscofDaughters of Northern Shores by Joanne Bischof

Sons of Blackbird Mountain (book one)

Daughters of Northern Shores (book two)

Converse via: #HistoricalFiction or #HistFic and #HistRom

#INSPYRomance + #INSPY or #INSPYBooks

About Joanne Bischof

Joanne Bischof

Joanne Bischof is an ACFW Carol Award and ECPA Christy Award-winning author. She writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the heartstrings. She was honored to receive the San Diego Christian Writers Guild Novel of the Year Award in 2014 and in 2015 was named Author of the Year by the Mount Hermon conference. Joanne’s 2016 novel, The Lady and the Lionheart, received an extraordinary 5 Star TOP PICK! from RT Book Reviews, among other critical acclaim. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her three children.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Divider

Posted Friday, 15 March, 2019 by jorielov in 19th Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Family Drama, Family Life, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Siblings

Blog Book Tour | feat. Empire State series by Elizabeth Camden, especially “A Dangerous Legacy” (book one, audiobook), “A Daring Venture” (book two, audiobook) and “A Desperate Hope” (book three)

Posted Friday, 1 March, 2019 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 “A Desperate Hope” direct from the publisher Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. The Digital Audiobook copy of “A Dangerous Legacy” and “A Daring Venture” were available via my Scribd subscription. My ruminations on behalf of the audiobooks (books one and two) 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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70 Authors Challenge Badge created by Jorie via Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Brigitte Tohm. (Creative Commons Zero)How my love of INSPY reads inspired my choice to participate on this blog tour:

When I first started blogging, I was going to set out to read new authors of INSPY Lit I hadn’t had the pleasure of reading previously. It was through my visitations with Casey Herringshaw’s blog which inspired the list I had developed of seeking out new and established INSPY authors who were drawing the eye of book bloggers like Ms Herringshaw and readers alike. It was through reading her blog rather extensively I found the list which was then developed in the final #70AuthorsChallenge.

Elizabeth Camden happens to be the 67th author out of my original #70AuthorsChallenge List.

Curiously, like most book bloggers our good intentions when we first start joining the exciting world of the book blogosphere and the bookish side of Twitter, our personal reading goals can sometime be cast aside. This is why I haven’t made an extensive dent in my readerly goals for my INSPY Reads and why I am intending to make more head-way on them this year as I feel it will be a healthier year for me all the way round. The past few years especially were marred a bit with personal health afflictions but this year, as I move into March, I feel more hopeful I might have sorted out a way to ease the frequencies of my chronic migraines and by doing so, perhaps for the first time since I started my blog I’ll have a greater freedom in being able to read whenever the mood strikes rather than having to wait out the after effects of a migraine.

I wasn’t sure where to begin reading Ms Camden’s novels – as part of the list of choices I originally had made from Ms Herringshaw’s blog went lost before I could upload those titles to my list here on my blog. (*le sigh*) However, there are a few I’ve noticed are currently available to be listened to via audiobook on Scribd – of those, these are the ones I’d like to explore next: Against the Tide and The Rose of Winslow Street.

My love of reading INSPY Lit extends back to childhood – as I’ve been a hybrid reader of both mainstream and INSPY Lit since the origins of when I first became a reader. Finding several blog tours this year focusing on these authors and their stories was a treat of bookish joy as I dearly want to expand my knowledge of the stories being published from both Major Trade and Indie Publishers within the INSPY realms of interest I enjoy reading. This particular blog tour felt like a step in the right direction.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 1 March, 2019 by jorielov in 19th Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Family Drama, Family Life, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Mental Health, Prism Book Tours, Psychiatric Facilities, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Scribd, Siblings, the Gilded Age

#HistoricalMondays | Book Review | “The Gift of the Seer” [long awaited sequel to “The Spirit Keeper” (2013)] by K.B. Laugheed

Posted Monday, 11 February, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#HistoricalMondays blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

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

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

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

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Acquired Book By: In [2013] I was still participating in the Early Reviewer programme via Book Browse wherein I received an ARC for “The Spirit Keeper” – a new Historical Fiction narrative which sought to break boundaries of its genre and which captured me heart and soul as I read it. It was an emotionally gutting read, a historical reckoning of a story and it left me ruminatively curious about what the ‘next’ chapter of this extraordinary character’s life would be in the sequel. 

I decided to write an expanded review on my blog for my own edification after having contributed my Early Reviewer review to Book Browse – it was one of the few times I was able to do this even though there are a few other ARCs I received from Book Browse I’d like to still blog about in the near future which fittingly have more to be said on their behalf from my readerly experience.

Likewise, I also reached out to the author directly shortly after I posted my review in September of 2013; remember dear hearts, I launched my blog live on the 6th of August, 2013 – so this expanded review became one of the first officially celebrated novels of Jorie Loves A Story in the beginning of finding my writerly voice and my bookish presence in the book blogosphere. It pre-dated hosting blog tours and working with publishers, publicists and authors directly.

Although I remained in contact with the author a bit over the years – simply checking the status on the sequel or offering encouraging thoughts on writing it – I don’t consider this a conflict of interest as to be honest, it was not constant contact and we weren’t in contact on a regular basis nor did we touch base each year since 2013.

When I received an email from Ms Laugheed this past December, 2018 – to say I was pleasantly gobsmacked to have heard from her after a long absence of communication is putting it mildly! I was overjoyed – more for her than for me – as she was announcing the sequel was being published! She decided at long last to go the Indie route towards  publication and I was full of joy and happiness for her as this was a very long and dedicated route back to publishing a sequel I believed in as a reader (and there are others like me out there) but of which I wasn’t sure if any of us would get a chance to embrace it in published form.

Thereby, I did not hesitate to respond to her request to accept this new novel for review consideration – the only thing which delayed my entrance into its chapters was my five week Winter virus (from before Christmas to the early weeks of January, 2019) and my three successive migraines (from mid-January to early February). I read this immediately after recovering from my third migraine and was thrilled I could finally attach my mind and heart round the continuing journey of Katie and Hector!

I received a complimentary copy of “The Gift of the Seer” by the author K.B. Laugheed in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Re-visiting “The Spirit Keeper”

My original motivation to read the novel: I wanted to partake in her journey untoward becoming one man’s living vision of ‘a creature of fire and ice’ and to see if they could fulfill each other’s destinies therein. It is such a curious proposition, to be taken by force from one’s own family, and re-positioned into a life, by which, you’re in complete unfamiliar territory, amongst people who speak a different tongue than your own, and by your own wits, have to determine how to survive. I was curious by how she was going to effectively change her life and heart; and to what end she must do so! This felt to me like a piece of Magical Realism wrapped up inside a Historical Fiction, rooted into the conscience of the American Frontier! I was besotted with the plot, and needed to read it to ascertain what the story truly was about! The Spirit Keeper spoke to me, as a book I needed to read rather than merely a book I wanted to read! I listen to my intuition in other words!

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Ms Laugheed advised me to re-read “The Spirit Keeper” ahead of reading “The Gift of the Seer” – what I hadn’t the heart to tell her is my copy of the novel is packed as most of my personal library has been packed for the last four years. I couldn’t sort out which box it is held within if I had a compass as I literally have quite the expansive library being stored right now. This is one key reason why I can’t always re-read the novels I’m reviewing – as I only have a handful of books I’ve reviewed the past few years unpacked and shelved – most of which, are first or seconds in series, awaiting new releases to where I can turn back to and re-read a bit ahead of delving into the next installment. I did have The Spirit Keeper prominently shelved for quite a few years after it was released – it was only recently I had to make the hard choice to pack it away for safe keeping til I can restore my library back to rights.

Therefore, I did what any other book blogger would do in this situation – I borrowed a well-loved copy from my local library and as I re-entered the story, I was quite shocked by what I discovered! I hadn’t forgotten as much as I was expecting, too! I re-read the opening bridge of the novel – re-visiting how Katie was taken from her family, the traumatic transitioning into life with the Spirit Keeper and Hector as much as re-aligning in my mind the era this series is set and the mannerisms of how the story is told. As Ms Laugheed has a very distinctive style of historical story-telling; it is one reason I was hugged so dearly close into the story originally.

Secondly, as I noticed a lot of readerly flashbacks moving through my mind’s eye after that particular re-visitation – I immediately flipped to the last quarter of the novel, resumed as if I hadn’t been absent from this story for :six: long years and re-lived the concluding chapters, as fresh as dew on recently mowed grass. I seriously was re-captured by what was left behind for my eyes and heart to find – thereby, I knew with certainty I was prepared as I ever could be to re-enter Katie and Hector’s world.

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For those of you who might never have had the pleasure of joy reading this novel, let me select a few quotations from my original review – both from what I shared with Book Browse after first reading the ARC and what I expounded upon on Jorie Loves A Story thereafter.

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The inertia of reality that besots you as soon as you enter into the world of The Spirit Keeper, is quite a hard bullet to bite, because before you can wrap your eyes and heart around what your visually aware of, your niched into the story! I credit this to the author, as Laugheed endeavours you to jump straight out of your comfort zone, wholly free-falling into a brutal, raw, and untamed section of the American Frontier in the mid-1700s and take a quest towards unraveling the complexities of building a new life in a foreign land. The thematics that are entrenched in the story parlay an exposition on language, translation, and sense of being. She readily elevates our awareness that our words can draw an impact that is not always aware to us, but like the life paths we are walking, we are not always in charge of their meaning or purpose of use.

I will lament, that if you’re a reader who begs off for lighter faire, you might want to caution yourself, as within Chapter One, the author does not hold back on the grim realities of what it was like in the 1700s when an Indian War Party descended upon a settler’s family.

The beauty of the outside world envelopes you from the jump-start, as the open wilderness is the footing for setting this story outside the reach of our known world. Even for those of us who are akin to the natural environment and the inhabitants therein, there is still so much of that world that is readily just outside our scope, outside our understanding. The Native Americans who are on the forefront of the story, evoke a cultural education into accepting stark differences of living, as much as embracing traditions that hold merit  (such as the menstrual huts for women).

Flickerments of “Medicine Man” (the motion picture) streamed through my mind, as did “Dances with Wolves” (the motion picture), as in each story, those who only spoke English, learnt to adapt and to live amongst the natives by which they found themselves belonging too better than their own kind. I am drawn into stories that attach us to whole new cultures, traditions, religions, and walks of life. Stories that etch into our imaginations a wholly new world, where there are similarities, but otherwise, as we dip into their narratives, we find ourselves in a foreign land, attempting to understand what we cannot yet conceive possible.

An incredible journey of self-preservation, fortitude of spirit, and overwhelming grief: I was not quite prepared for the journey that Katie, Syawa, and Hector embark upon! It wasn’t so much the long distances that they must traverse through rough hewn terrain, but rather, they are each going through a personal, intimate, internal journey concurrent to their outward journey towards the men’s originating homeland! Each is carrying secrets of their own experiences, and in Katie’s instance, her life is muddled and blighted with far more devastation than anyone could ill-afford possible to a seventeen year old young lady!

Her lot in life has been tempered by abuse and misguided notions of love, unto where she has encouraged a naïve sense of the living world, and has grown an ignorance of how right a life can be lived! I grieved for her and bleed emotions with her recollections of past memories,.. memories that were nearly too hard to bare and to ruminatively lay pause upon. It is through Syawa’s gentleness and effective way of easing her out of her shell, that she truly started to see who she was and who she could be. I only wish I could pronounce Syawa’s name, as I feel as guilty she does in her own story, about the misunderstandings that evolve out of not understanding language and meaning of words, phrases, or names outside our own native tongues!

Language & Translation: the Invisible Barriers we never foresee: Laugheed paints a clear window towards our greatest struggle in accepting and understanding each other, as we present ourselves to each other in our conversations! Each inflection of tone, voice, and the words we use to explain ourselves, can lead us down a path of misunderstanding and of misalignment in what we are attempting to represent as our thoughts, hopes, dreams, and passions. Throughout the story, we are seeing the story as a first-hand account of a diary the protagonist is writing to assert her own history back in her life, as she’s amongst those who do not understand the necessity of having a living history or a story to be told of one’s heritage. She values her experiences, her struggles of faith, and the lessons she is ought being taught as she walks forward into her future. She hasn’t had the easiest of lives, but she isn’t going to allow herself to wallow in the situations she could never effectively change, but rather, pull out a strength deep from within her, to carry her through the tribulations that she was certain were still to come.

Whilst she’s (Katie O’ Toole) recounting her days in her diary, I mused about how this differed from the diary of Robinson Crusoe as it contained more of her essence, her internal quagmire of thoughts, and the irrevocable distraught by which she plagued herself with for most of her arduous journey towards Syawa and Hector’s homeland. From the moment I read the opening page, by which the author departed a precognitive knowledge of how the story might transform as you read the words, I was left with a museful pre-occupation of how that would transpire, and further still, of one particular scene that I had presumed was forgotten within the re-writes and draughts, leading up to publication! However, this falls perfectly into this category of observation about ‘language and translation’, about how what we first perceive to be just and truth, can altogether change and alter, either by the different perception we’ve learnt through experience OR through reading a book that is quite unlike another! This book truly lives up to the proportions of what Laugheed mentions at the start gate: the words transcend their own meaning as you etch closer to the ending, the whole of the story is much larger than the sum of the parts as they are revealed!

In this way,  she is giving each of us to turn on our heels, the gross misconception of how we drink in words, knowledge, and observational data. The reader is very much at the heart of this story, and I think, is as central as Katie’s voice in re-telling her own history. What is humbling too, is how as our knowledge expands, the words that were once lost on us, as being completely irreverent suddenly take on new meanings, as they now evoke an ’emotion’, a ‘resolution’, or a ‘truth’ we did not understand previously. An Irish girl cast out into the wilderness of the wild frontier, with two Indian’s as her sole guides and protectors, makes for a curious precept initially, but it’s how they interact with each other, during the everyday hours, that Laugheed excels in not disappointing her reader! She never makes their interactions dull or predictable, because she has woven their personalities into the core of how they interact with each other! You pick up little character traits that come to play a larger part of the story as it threads through its climax, but inside these key portals of frontier life in campsites and canoes, you start to see how its possible to thread a new life together out of the ashes of the old! In this way, I was quietly savouring each exchange between the threesome, curious how they would come to depend on each other, and how they would draw strength by each others’ presence.

The art of story-telling plays a center part of The Spirit Keeper’s heart, but it’s the transformative power of understanding the words that are imparted throughout the story, that turn everything into a new light once the conclusion arrives. What the reader first mistook as a course of events, was truly a resounding precognitive journey that guided two characters forward into a future they would not have been strong enough to embrace otherwise. It’s the redemptive nature of grasping a hold of the essence of those who pass forward and away from our living world that is truly the most remarkable arc of the story! For we all have the ability to be a keeper of a spirit whose touched us deeply and left us remorseful for their presence! We only need the strength to transcend our perception and view our experiences from a different angle to see how the threads stitch together the pattern of our living tapestry!

An environmental conscience: Is cleverly hidden within the context of the story, but is one of the inclusions that I found to be the most illuminating to see!! I oft have found myself the most happiest amongst the trees, rivers, lakes, streams, and out-of-door hideaways that only a person can walk to find! Nature’s door is ever beckoning us to re-enter that sacred space between the natural world and the world by which we live as men. We are drawn towards nature as keenly as we are attached to water as a source of lifeblood, but it isn’t always an easy attachment to maintain, when the hectic nature of our lifestyles can circumvent our efforts to keep our hearts and souls aligned with the seasons and timescape of the natural world just past our windows! Laugheed draws a breath of vitality into the forest, where you can nearly hear the echoings of the trees, the rushing power of the rivers, and the harmonious tickings of the inhabitants therein. I appreciated that the animals that were killed in the book were used for what they could give back to the ones who fell them. I always respected this aspect of Native American beliefs, as they take what they need and only what they can use, at the time they go hunting. It’s a beautiful circle of life, as nothing is wasted and everything is respected. She wants you to see the beauty past what you expect to find whilst out in the deep woods, as the forest plays a fourth character or rather, that of a narrator that has not yet found its voice.

-quoted from my review of The Spirit Keeper

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#HistoricalMondays | Book Review | “The Gift of the Seer” [long awaited sequel to “The Spirit Keeper” (2013)] by K.B. LaugheedThe Gift of the Seer
by K.B. Laugheed
Source: Direct from Author

Katie O' Toole's epic adventure began in "The Spirit Keeper" (Plume 2013) when she was rescued from a 1747 frontier massacre only to find herself chosen as the "Spirit Keeper" of a dying Indian seer. She hesitated to accept this mysterious obligation until she fell in love with the Seer's bodyguard, an Indian man she called Hector.

Much has happened since my last writing,..

In The Gift of the Seer, Katie and Hector continue their journey across the continent, but the more Katie learns about the peculiar ways of her husband's people, the more she dreads arriving at their destination. Will anyone believe she is the Spirit Keeper she pretends to be? Equally troubling, Katie knows the Seer expected her to prove his Vision - a Vision which foretold of infinite Invaders coming to his world - but to prove this prophecy, she must give his people the great Gift he also predicted. The only problem is that Katie has no gift to give.

Years pass as she desperately searches for a way to fulfill her promise to the dead Seer, but when his former rival threatens to expose her as a fraud, Katie finally understands that her life and the life of all the people in her new world hang in the balance. That's when she knows she must give a Gift - she must - before it is too late.

Did you honestly think you could get so much and give nothing in return?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1732886216

Genres: Feminist Historical Fiction, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Literary Fiction, Magical Realism, Native American Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Women's Studies


Published by Self Published Author

on 7th January, 2019

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 372

the spirit keeper duology:

The Spirit keeper & the gift of the seer

This is a Self-Published novel

Available Formats: Hardback, Paperback and Ebook

Converse on Twitter: #GiftOfTheSeer, #TheSpiritKeeper Sequel + #KBLaugheed
as well as #HistNov + #HistoricalFiction or #HistFic

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About K.B. Laugheed

The Gift of the Seer by K.B. Laugheed

K.B. Laugheed is an organic gardener and master naturalist who wrote her first published novel, The Spirit Keeper, as part penance for the sins of her family’s pioneer past, part tribute to all our ancestors, and part grandiose delusion as she hopes to remind modern Americans of the grim price we paid for the glorious life we take for granted today.

But The Spirit Keeper is not a story about guilt. It’s about gratitude.

The Gift of the Seer is officially available worldwide as it was published on the 7th of January, 2019.

To support the author directly, kindly consider purchasing her novels through her online store.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 11 February, 2019 by jorielov in #HistoricalMondays, #JorieLovesIndies, 18th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Browse, Book Review (non-blog tour), Brothers and Sisters, Bullies and the Bullied, Colonial America, Coming-Of Age, Content Note, Cultural & Religious Traditions, Cultural Heritage, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Diary Accountment of Life, Domestic Violence, Early Colonial America, Environmental Conscience, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, First Impressions, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Folklore, Genre-bender, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, History, Horror-Lite, Indie Author, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, Life Shift, Literary Fiction, Loss of an unbourne child, Magical Realism, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Midwives & Childbirth, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Multicultural Marriages & Families, Native American Fiction, Native American Spirituality, Old World Arts & Crafts, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Prejudicial Bullying & Non-Tolerance, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Psychological Abuse, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Self-Published Author, Siblings, Sisterhood friendships, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Social Change, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Story in Diary-Style Format, Superstitions & Old World Beliefs, Taboo Relationships & Romance, Terminal Illness &/or Cancer, The American Frontier, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Unexpected Pregnancy, Vulgarity in Literature, Wilderness Adventures, Women's Health

Cover Reveal w/ Notes | “A Modest Independence” (Parish Orphans of Devon, Book Two) by Mimi Matthews

Posted Thursday, 7 February, 2019 by jorielov , , , 4 Comments

Stories Sailing into View Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I am unsure if you saw my admiration for “A Holiday in Gaslight” in recent months via the twitterverse, but everyone I know in the bookish world had the lovely chance to read this recently and I was caught up in the excitement myself! This was the first time I realised the collective works of this Historical novelist was one I hadn’t had the proper chance to explore or become acquainted with personally – which is why I am hoping to seek out “A Holiday in Gaslight” through my local library this year. I had meant to submit a purchase request in December for the story however, with a five week virus and three migraines afterwards in January, you could say that plan was postponed!

I vaguely remember seeing the blog tour and reviews on behalf of the first novel in this series “The Matrimonial Advertisement” – it was a story which at the time I wanted to seek out a bit more about but as life moved forward, it simply disappeared from my radar until now. This is why I was thankful I saw my bookish friends and fellow book bloggers excitedly discussing “A Holiday in Gaslight” as it brought the focus back to Mimi Matthews and gave me a new curiosity for her series of Historical narratives!

I am delighted today to be a part of the Cover Reveal Team via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours – as I love promoting, celebrating and championing works of Historical Fiction (across all sub-genres of interest) with Ms Bruno as she truly has a knack for giving those of us who love time travelling through the historic past a keen edge on modern Historical Fiction. It has been through hosting with her these past five (nearly six years) I’ve become enchanted, delighted and wickedly engaged with History.

Although this appears to be a Digital First release – I am confident a print release will be forthcoming as the rest of Ms Matthews stories are cross-released into other formats. As you might already realise, I can’t read ebooks due to my chronic migraines but I love celebrating new stories, even if they are Digital First releases as the promise of a print copy down the road is what encourages my bookish heart to realise one day, I can discover the stories I wish to be reading today.

Thankfully, two of her previous releases “The Lost Letter” and “The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter” are available in audiobook editions via Scribd. As I am a subscriber to Scribd for audiobooks, I’m looking forward to listening to these stories this year.

As you know, I love Feminist Historical Fiction narratives inasmuch as I love adventurous romantic fiction. This particular series seems to combine both of my loves and I can’t wait to start to dig into “A Matrimonial Advertisement” in order to understand what is coming next in today’s spotlighted new release!

If you are a reader of Ms Matthews stories, I’d love to hear your thoughts about this Spring Release but also, what has given you the most joy about reading her collective works!

Without further adieu, here is today’s featured release,…

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Posted Thursday, 7 February, 2019 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Cover Reveal, Book Spotlight of E-Book (ahead of POD/print edition), Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Romance Fiction