Genre: Self-Improvement & Self-Actualisation

A Non-Fiction Audiobook Review | “My Life in Plants” (Flowers I’ve Loved, Herbs I’ve Grown, and Houseplants I’ve Killed on the Way to Finding Myself) by Katie Vaz, narrated by Taylor Meskimen courtesy of #NetGalley

Posted Thursday, 3 September, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#AudioReads banner created by Jorie in Canva. Unsplash Photography (Creative Commons Zero) Photo Credit: Alice Moore

Acquired Book By: Earlier this year, in late Winter (February) I joined NetGalley for the first time as they finally announced they were going to be offering full-length audiobooks for reviewers. I was never able to join NetGalley due to having chronic migraines and being unable to read ebooks. I started requesting audiobooks to review as soon as they opened their audiobook catalogue in July, 2020. I am an eclectic reader and thereby, you will see all genres in Fiction explored from both markets of interest: mainstream and INSPY as well as from Major Trade, Indie Publishers & Press and other routes of publication, too. There might be the occasional Non-Fiction title appearing in my NetGalley queue of reviews as well. This marks a new adventure for me seeking stories for review consideration and I look forward to seeing where the stories lead me to venture.

I received a complimentary digital and temporary audiobook copy of “My Life in Plants” direct from the publisher Andrews McMeel Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All audiobooks via NetGalley are able to be heard via the NetGalley Shelf which is why I was thankful to be gifted an android tablet by my parents to celebrate my 7th Blog Birthday on Jorie Loves A Story. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: As a new reviewer on NetGalley, I’m sorting out how to get the Press Materials for each of the audiobooks I’m reviewing when I share them on my blog Jorie Loves A Story. When I contacted NetGalley Support they informed me if a separate Press Kit is not included on the audiobook’s book page we’re allowed as reviewers to use the book cover and synopsis provided when we go to share our review of that audiobook on our blogs; as long as we give attribution as I have done at the bottom of this review in “Sources”. Those materials are provided with permission of the publishers to be used by reviewers via NetGalley.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Why I was intrigued to listen to
“My Life in Plants”:

What first drew me into wanting to hear this story about one woman’s life centred round the plants which populated her memories was the fact I needed a segue story to resume my current reading queue as the world’s news headlines were getting to me this week. We all have our level of tolerances for how much news we can sustainably read before it all becomes a bit too much to filter and this week, my tolerances simply vacated.

I decided to see if I could find a short audiobook about something completely outside my own purview as a reader and as an audiobook listener to where it would be a dynamic shift outside my current wanderings as much as be a story I could get behind because of its own authentic voice to tell its own story. What I found was a curiously titled Memoir about a woman who stored her memories from the seeds and experiences she had with plants. To me that was a wholly original concept and I wanted to follow in her stead!

What I found was a thought-inducing Memoir which helps you think about your own life as your listening to her adventures whilst finding inspiration along the way. The only downside for me (despite how much I loved this book!) is that some of the chapters and snippets of her life are quite on the shortened end of the spectrum – so don’t be too surprised if you’re hugged into one of her memories and suddenly that chapter ends!Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

A Non-Fiction Audiobook Review | “My Life in Plants” (Flowers I’ve Loved, Herbs I’ve Grown, and Houseplants I’ve Killed on the Way to Finding Myself) by Katie Vaz, narrated by Taylor Meskimen courtesy of #NetGalleyMy Life in Plants
Subtitle: Flowers I've Loved, Herbs I've Grown, and Houseplants I've Killed on the Way to Finding Myself
by Katie Vaz
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Katie Vaz
Source: Audiobook Direct from Publisher via NetGalley
Narrator: Taylor Meskimen

From stumpy potted houseplants to intricate and delicate flower arrangements, My Life in Plants is a heartfelt, honest memoir that intertwines the complex nature of houseplants with a journey of self-discovery.

From Katie Vaz, author of Don’t Worry, Eat Cake, the beloved Make Yourself Cozy, and The Escape Manual for Introverts, comes My Life in Plants. Her newest book tells the story of her life through the thirty-nine plants that have played both leading and supporting roles, from her childhood to her wedding day. Plants include a homegrown wildflower bouquet wrapped in duct tape that she carried on stage at age three, to a fragrant basil plant that brought her and her kitchen back to life after grief. The stories are personal, poignant, heartwarming, and relatable, and will prompt readers to recall plants of their own that have been witness to both the amazing moments of life and the ordinary ones. This illustrated memoir covers the simplicity of home, the sharpness of loss, the lesson of learning to be present, and the journey of finding your way.

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Botany, Horticulture, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Self-Improvement & Self-Actualisation


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781524864019

ASIN: B08FJFKJDC

Published by Andrews McMeel Audio, Andrews McMeel Publishing

on 1st September, 2020

Format: Audiobook | Digital Review Copy (NetGalley)

Length: 1 Hour, 36 Minutes, 58 Seconds (unabridged)

Published By: Andrews McMeel Audio
an imprint of Andrews McMeel Publishing (@AndrewsMcMeel)

Genre(s) of Interest: Non-Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs, Self-Help and Botany
as well as Gardening & Horticulture and Foodie centric memories

Formats Available: Hardback, Audiobook and Ebook

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

7th Annual Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

This story received my award for Best Non-Fiction: Memoir.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Enjoy a preview of the artwork in the book!:

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 3 September, 2020 by jorielov in 21st Century, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Anthology Collection of Stories, Audiobook, Autobiographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Book Review (non-blog tour), Botany, Diary Accountment of Life, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Horticulture, Indie Author, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Journal, Memoir, Modern Day, NetGalley, Non-Fiction, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Short Stories or Essays, Vignettes of Real Life

A #KidsLit Book Spotlight with Notes | featuring “Hector: At Ground Level” by Gary Finnan

Posted Friday, 24 July, 2020 by jorielov , , , , , 1 Comment

Stories in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: Over the past few years I’ve been subscribing to Scribd off/on as a more affordable way to listen to audiobooks outside of the ones I am borrowing via my local libraries (of whom have OverDrive). Thereby, as I currently have my subscription to Scribd renewed this Summer, the copy of “Hector: At Ground Level” is self-provided through my subscription to Scribd rather than being provided with a complimentary copy of the story. Therefore, I am choosing to participate on the book blitz, sharing my ruminations with my readers for my own edification but also, as a continuation of a reader’s love for illustrated stories and picture books. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I’ve been a bit consumed with health afflictions, stormy weather patterns, connectivity issues and a bit of personal chaos – much the same as I believe most of us who are muddling through different obstacles this year. When I saw the announcement for this lovely little book with the cute little hedgie on the cover, I knew I wanted to participate on the blitz to help ‘announce’ it to my readers who might feel drawn to the premise as I had myself. As it is a keen story to find these days – as it speaks to how despite the circumstances of our lives as we live them, it is a mark of a person’s character how they set their attitude to ride through the harder times than anything else.

We can never know what is coming round the next corner or which emergency might derail our plans in the spontaneity of a life effecting moment arriving out of the blue – but we can *choose!* how we react and how we act after the crisis is over. Those are the defining moments where we learn the most about ourselves and we seek to find a bit of peace out of the storms which affect us at different seasons of our lives.

One of the things which has kept me firmly grounded through my own share of adversities (outside of my faith) is recognising the smaller moments in life – the lightness of a butterfly fluttering past me, the joy of a flower seeking the sun, the rays of light peeking through the clouds whilst noting all the different animals and birds who carve out their own habitat next to ours – in our cities, neighbourhoods and natural forests. There is a bit of joy everyday waiting for us to find it and it is quite true – sometimes, if you’re always looking skyward, you miss a heap on the surface – because sometimes, you have to take a more simpler route to finding what needs to be seen.

I was quite curious about this title and felt others might be as well – I was further overjoyed when I realised Scribd has the original edition which was released in May, 2013. I happily took advantage of my subscription to read a chapter sampler’s worth of the story in order to tuck in my personal thoughts about how this story starts to unfold whilst happily highlighting it for those who might not have heard of its release!

I generally only use Scribd for audiobooks, however, every blue moon – they have a digital copy of a book I’d love to read in print – which allows me to read a short sampler of the stories before I seek them in an edition I can read and enjoy myself. As due to chronic migraines I can only read stories in print or seek them in audiobook.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

A #KidsLit Book Spotlight with Notes | featuring “Hector: At Ground Level” by Gary FinnanHector
Subtitle: At Ground Level and Beyond: A Very Simple Love Story
by Gary Finnan
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Camryn Finnan, Elina Cherianidou
Source: Scribd | Subscription

This Little Book is about being present to the wonders that exist around us At Ground Level, discovering all that we fail to see when we spend so much of our lives chasing bigger, better, faster, more, endeavouring to fly higher.

Everything else seems much more desirable around us than ourselves, or our lives and loves, after a long day at the slug farm.

When do we decide how to proceed with the life we have built thus far: Joy, Passion,

Marriage, Divorce, Suicide, Enlightenment? Choices we have made. What if you built from a place of strength rather than always feeling diminished and unfulfilled? A life built upon the life you have, rather than the elusive life you imagine, yet fear. Build a great life in balance with your best self and your nurtured relationships. Transformation is seeing the hidden gems that truly exist in plain sight.

We have all heard someone say, The grass is greener on the other side. Is it?

Most of us were 4 or 5 years old when the belief structure we made with life set in: I am stupid, I am weak, I don’t deserve, etc. We engaged believing that we should spend our lives proving that we are who we believe everyone else thinks we are. Breaking the cycle of doubt is essential. Loving self is the first love.

The grass is greenest where you are!

Genres: Artistic Adaptations &/or Picture Books, Children's Literature, Illustrated Stories, Self-Improvement & Self-Actualisation


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1935254447

Published by Balboa Press

on 17th December, 2019

Format: Scribd | Chapter Sampler

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Published by: Balboa Press (@BalboaPress)

(*) Note: the edition I am referencing on my post is for the paperback version (in regards to the ISBN, pub date) which has a different publisher listed – however, this spotlight tour is highlighting the ebook edition by Balboa Press – which is why I am showcasing the cover art and other materials reflecting Balboa Press. Whereas the edition I was reading a sampler from on Scribd was the original edition of this story and completely separate from the current paperback & ebook editions.

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #KidsLit, #Illustration, #SelfHelp
as well as #LoveBooksTours & #Hedgehogs

About Gary Finnan

Born in Scotland and raised in Zimbabwe and South Africa, Gary Finnan splits his time between Sonoma Wine country in California and his farm in Aiken South Carolina, along with his wife Eva and two daughters. Gary is an award-winning inspirational author.

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Posted Friday, 24 July, 2020 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Book Spotlight, Indie Author, Love Books Tours

Non-Fiction Book Review | “The Wisdom of Listening” (#RealPeopleRealLives) by Marilyn R. Wilson

Posted Friday, 12 October, 2018 by jorielov , , 1 Comment

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

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for the second release by Marilyn R. Wilson hosted by iRead Book Tours. I was thankful to be a part of her debut release blog tour a few years ago where I learnt about her life’s work and what inspires her to write. I haven’t been reviewing or hosting iRead authors in quite a long while – for most of the year, I couldn’t find stories which excited me to read and/or there were a heap which I felt would fit other readers better than they would my own readerly inclinations. I am thankful I could host Ms Wilson on this second tour and gain more insight into what inspires her to share this inspiring collection of voices, hearts and lives.

I received a complimentary copy of The Wisdom of Listening direct from the author Marilyn R. Wilson in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

On why I was keenly interested in wanting to read ‘The Wisdom of Listening’:

I wanted to dig into the heart of how she organised the sequences of discloses within this release as it has a unique rhythm of disclosures – as I initially settled into reading the individual passages, I noted how they strike a hearty balance between a slice of memoir, a candor of conversationalism and the kind of insight you would expect from a woman whose dedicated her life to listening to others who tell their story with the hope of inspiring someone by the experience of hearing their story told.

It is quite true – when she encourages you to read the passages out of sequence from how their arranged – you can take it upon yourself to curate a bit of a personal experiment – which passages are drawing your eye towards them first? Which ones speak to you the most? Try it! You might be pleasantly surprised – as I knew I was as I was reading – I was automatically seeking out more of her own personal declarations – the pieces of this installment in her evolving series of Real People | Real Lives which takes on its own canon of originality with each book she writes – something which struck me as interesting as I was not expecting this to be the case.

Similar to reading anthologies – I took this edition to be of the same vein – a wanderlust of inspiration wherein you are never quite certain which piece or short will draw you into the folds of the message it has left behind for you to find. Each of these pieces curate their own fingerprint of insight into what Ms Wilson has gleamed as an interviewer but also, as an experiencer of life spent observing the keen awareness we all have within us to contemplate as we shift through our transitions – where memory and experience intermix and re-settle the thoughts as they once percolated to mind when inspiration alights within us.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Notation on Cover Art: Being an artist who wants to increase her toolbox of media choices, one of the future journeys I wish to take visually is into watercolours. Especially coming from a history of using oils and pastels; the effects you can achieve with watercolours never fails to impress me or inspire me. If you see the collective works of Stephanie Pui-Mun Law floating into my feeds on Twitter it is not by accident – she has an incredible gifted eye and story-telling arc of narrative within her paintings which I simply :love: dearly. This cover is a spasm of colour, thoughtfulness and it speaks to sometimes you have calm your voice in order to hear what others are saying – sometimes that requires removing our sensory awareness – to close our eyes in order to see what is being said is a great metaphor to have on the cover.

Non-Fiction Book Review | “The Wisdom of Listening” (#RealPeopleRealLives) by Marilyn R. WilsonThe Wisdom of Listening
Subtitle: Pieces of Gold from a decade of interviewing and life
by Marilyn R. Wilson
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

The next time you're out in public, take a moment to look around you. Each and every person you see holds wisdom in their pockets--pieces of gold they've accumulated as they walked their own unique life journey.

Within these pages, Marilyn shares some of the many pieces of gold she has received over her decade-long career. They have been offered to her during interviews, through random encounters and while facing difficult challenges. The most important? We are each unique and exactly who we are meant to be.

Are you ready to dig for gold? All you need to do is be brave, be present in the moment and be open to the possibilities--then start a conversation.

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Interviews & Conversations, Non-Fiction, Self-Improvement & Self-Actualisation


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780995314726

Also by this author: Life Outside The Box: The Extraordinary Journeys of 10 Unique Individuals, Author Interview with Marilyn R. Wilson, (Guest Post) The Wisdom of Listening

Published by Influence Publishing Inc.

on 28th May, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 220

Published by: Influence Publishing Inc. (@influencepub)

Formats Available: Paperback and Ebook

Life Outside the Box by Marilyn R. WilsonThe Wisdom of Listening by Marilyn Wilson

You might remember my conversation with Ms Wilson or my ruminations on behalf of her first release Life Outside the Box, Volume One – this week, I have the joy of her guesting on Jorie Loves A Story with an insightful response about how she fleshed together her inspiring idea behind her latest release: The Wisdom of Listening.

Converse via: #NonFiction & #RealPeopleRealLives

About Marilyn R. Wilson

Marilyn R. Wilson

Marilyn R. Wilson is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for interviewing. It all began in 2006 when she answered a Craigslist ad from a NY magazine asking for story submissions. Two were accepted. The first live interview was life changing and Wilson has never looked back. With over 150 interviews now behind her, the love of interviewing is still as strong as ever. Whether through a random encounter on the New York subway or via a “one-on-one” interview with an internationally recognized artist, the goal is the same—to share the unique journeys of inspiring individuals.

In 2007, this goal led the author to co-launch a successful, innovative magazine focused on professionals working in the fashion industry, paired with photography and illustrations by local artists. Now on staff at Raine Magazine (NY/Miami/LA), as well as freelancing for other publications, Wilson has taken her passion to a new audience with the release of her first book.

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Posted Friday, 12 October, 2018 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Indie Author, iRead Book Tours, Memoir, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Publishing Industry & Trade, Sociological Behavior, Sociology, Vignettes of Real Life

Author Guest Post | The journey author Marilyn R. Wilson took to write “The Wisdom of Listening”

Posted Wednesday, 10 October, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

Author Guest Post Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Good morning, dear hearts!

You might remember my conversation with Ms Wilson or my ruminations on behalf of her first release Life Outside the Box, Volume One – today, I have the joy of her guesting on Jorie Loves A Story with an insightful response about how she fleshed together her inspiring idea behind her latest release: The Wisdom of Listening.

I wanted to dig into the heart of how she organised the sequences of discloses within this release as it has a unique rhythm of disclosures – as I initially settled into reading the individual passages, I noted how they strike a hearty balance between a slice of memoir, a candor of conversationalism and the kind of insight you would expect from a woman whose dedicated her life to listening to others who tell their story with the hope of inspiring someone by the experience of hearing their story told.

It is quite true – when she encourages you to read the passages out of sequence from how their arranged – you can take it upon yourself to curate a bit of a personal experiment – which passages are drawing your eye towards them first? Which ones speak to you the most? Try it! You might be pleasantly surprised – as I knew I was as I was reading – I was automatically seeking out more of her own personal declarations – the pieces of this installment in her evolving series of Real People | Real Lives which takes on its own canon of originality with each book she writes – something which struck me as interesting as I was not expecting this to be the case.

Similar to reading anthologies – I took this edition to be of the same vein – a wanderlust of inspiration wherein you are never quite certain which piece or short will draw you into the folds of the message it has left behind for you to find. Each of these pieces curate their own fingerprint of insight into what Ms Wilson has gleamed as an interviewer but also, as an experiencer of life spent observing the keen awareness we all have within us to contemplate as we shift through our transitions – where memory and experience intermix and re-settle the thoughts as they once percolated to mind when inspiration alights within us.

I will be revealling my thoughts upon reading this book lateron this week [on Friday, the 12th] – for now, tuck yourself into this guest post and enjoy your favourite cuppa as you do! I hope you will find it an inspiring read and perhaps it will help you decide if her books are meant to become one of your #nextreads!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Author Guest Post | The journey author Marilyn R. Wilson took to write “The Wisdom of Listening”(Guest Post) The Wisdom of Listening
Subtitle: Pieces of Gold from a decade of interviewing and life
by Marilyn R. Wilson

The next time you're out in public, take a moment to look around you. Each and every person you see holds wisdom in their pockets--pieces of gold they've accumulated as they walked their own unique life journey.

Within these pages, Marilyn shares some of the many pieces of gold she has received over her decade-long career. They have been offered to her during interviews, through random encounters and while facing difficult challenges. The most important? We are each unique and exactly who we are meant to be.

Are you ready to dig for gold? All you need to do is be brave, be present in the moment and be open to the possibilities--then start a conversation.

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Interviews & Conversations, Non-Fiction, Self-Improvement & Self-Actualisation


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780995314726

Also by this author: Life Outside The Box: The Extraordinary Journeys of 10 Unique Individuals, Author Interview with Marilyn R. Wilson, The Wisdom of Listening

Published by Influence Publishing Inc.

on 28th May, 2018

Published by: Influence Publishing Inc. (@influencepub)

Formats Available: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #NonFiction & #RealPeopleRealLives

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Read More

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Posted Wednesday, 10 October, 2018 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Indie Author, iRead Book Tours, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author