Genre: Sweet Romance

Blog Book Tour | “Love and Secrets at Cassfield Manor” by Sarah L. McConkie, a lovely new #Regency Rom of the lovely imprint #PureRomance (by Cedar Fort)

Posted Saturday, 22 September, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

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

I received a complimentary copy of “Love and Secrets at Cassfield Manor” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (an imprint of Cedar Fort Publishing & Media) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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

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

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

A small insight into why I previously loved reading Julie Matern’s debut #Regency Rom earlier this year:

A strength of Ms Matern is allocating Regency realism to parlay into her #HistRom The Secret of Haversham House – whereby, you feel as if you can settle into her narrative rather easily without feeling as if something is misplaced or left out. She delights the reader who appreciates the Regency, as she has definitely spent time researching and reading the era to give us the visual clues we’re accustomed to finding whilst delighting our romantic side as well!

It is how she endears you to the journey back towards finding Francesca from the perspective of her grandfather which is what intrigues you the most! You get lost in his fervent attempts to uncover the lost information, the small bits of truth lingering in the minds of those still hanging onto life where their memories are nearly as lost as time itself. His hopefulness and his dedication to find Francesca are achingly real. You can feel his vexation with himself, for the errors of the past, the mistakes he hadn’t realised he had made and the anguish of grief which threatened to be his end.

Similarly, when Ms Matern turns the tables a bit on Francesca’s father (her adopted father: Mr Haverhsham) we view his life from his father’s point-of-view – seeing the lengths the upper class will go to ensure a winsome match for marriage, where even when a party is of independence thought and mind; there can be manipulations afoot. What struck me of interest in this segue, is how well in-tuned Matern is with the inner workings of the ton – how they justified their actions and how everything boiled down to status, wealth and stablity of one’s legacy.

I am definitely in favour of reading more of her Regency Romances and/or Historical Romances if she chooses to write outside the Regency era. She has an old world style and a foresight for how to tell a story which feels as if it were published in the 19th Century rather than the 21st! The only thing which threw me a bit were when she wrote ‘Mr.’ instead of ‘Mr’ and I had longed to see some of the words spelt in Old English vs Contemporary American as they would have befitted her vision for this novel even moreso than how it was initially told. However, despite those omissions what I loved the most is the credibility in telling an adoptive story and search for oneself at a time when entering adulthood lies on uncertain ground.

Matern was the last #PureRomance release I read, as this has become an imprint with the publisher I am keenly excited about seeing more stories published!

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Blog Book Tour | “Love and Secrets at Cassfield Manor” by Sarah L. McConkie, a lovely new #Regency Rom of the lovely imprint #PureRomance (by Cedar Fort)Love and Secrets at Cassfield Manor
by Sarah L. McConkie
Source: Direct from publisher via SLB Tours

Wealthy socialite Christine Harrison’s life seems perfect until the man she planned tomarry, Mr. Davenport, proposes to someone else. Heartbroken, Miss Harrison vowsnever to love again, and to distract herself, she sets out to rescue a fallen youngwoman. Little does she know that her journey will reveal more than she expected about her friends, her seemingly perfect life, and her own heart.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781462129188

Also in this series: Willow Springs, Sophia, The Second Season, To Suit a Suitor, Mischief & Manors, Unexpected Love, Lies & Letters, The Darkest Summer, The Secret of Haversham House


Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Sweet Romance


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 14th August, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 272

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

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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

#SweetRomance OR #HistRom

→ #LoveAndSecretsAtCassfieldManor OR #CassfieldManor

About Sarah L. McConkie

Sarah L. McConkie

From writing an award-wining tale of a dragon falling from the stars in the 3rd grade to regency romance written at thirty, Sarah McConkie has always had a passion for creating intriguing stories. After years of singledom looking for romance (and teaching Junior High Choir to fill up real life), Sarah began a Master’s degree in Literacy.

When love finally found her, she married and became a wife and eventually a mother. After tucking in her own little princess one January evening she determined to attempt her life-long dream to write and publish a novel.

Using her many years of experience in the single realm, a robust knowledge of regency classics, and a love of all things old fashioned and proper, Sarah wrote Love and Secrets at Cassfield Manor. She now lives with her own Mr. Right and her two daughters, and believes providing stimulating and moral stories promotes literacy in a world which needs more readers. This is her first novel.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 22 September, 2018 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Coming-Of Age, Debut Author, Debut Novel, England, Fathers and Daughters, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, Life Shift, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Romance Fiction, Singing Librarian Book Tours, Sisterhood friendships, Sweet Romance, The London Season, the Regency era, Women's Fiction

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

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

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

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

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

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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

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

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

A conversation with Julie Matern: Part I

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781462122073

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


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


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 12th June, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 231

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

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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

#INSPYRom, #SweetRomance OR #HistRom; #Adoption

→ #SecretOfHavershamHouse

About Julie Matern

Julie Matern

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

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

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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

Blog Book Tour | “Brush with Love” by Lisa McKendrick

Posted Sunday, 10 December, 2017 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I have been a blog tour hostess with Cedar Fort for the past three years, wherein I took a brief hiatus from hosting before resuming August 2016. I appreciate the diversity of the stories the Indie publisher is publishing per year, not only for fiction and non-fiction but for healthy eats within their Front Table Books (cookbooks). I appreciate their dedication to writing general market, INSPY reads and LDS focused stories across the genres they publish.

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

Why I wanted to read this story:

To be honest, the main reason I wanted to read this novel is because I wanted to give the author a second chance – the first time I read one of her novels, I couldn’t get excited about it as much as I had wanted to be excited about it. Even though I read quite a lot of the previous release, there were key issues I encountered moving through the story which I thankfully was hoping had either been polished in this release or were no longer an issue at all. Writers grow through their stories – you can even see the growth a writer undergoes through their career by how they approach telling their stories, which is why I try to remember to keep an open mind about reading a different story by an author I’ve previously found not to my liking.

Aside from this second chance attempt to read this author, I personally liked the premise behind the story but I was a bit surprised within the premise, it was not entirely highlighting how interesting the back-story was on the story itself. From the humble beginnings of Lana being left at an Eastern European orphanage before being adopted by an American family to the fact, part of the story is a reflection of what happens during memory loss and the pains of watching a loved one go through a degenerative disease which seeks to erase their time on Earth.

There is a lot of depth to this novel but I felt the premise and blurb on the back cover might not be as convincing to readers they should take a chance on this story – thereby, missing its heart.

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Blog Book Tour | “Brush with Love” by Lisa McKendrickBrush with Love
by Lisa McKendrick
Source: Direct from Publisher

Lana, a talented Ivy League artist, is thrilled for a summer internship program where she'll get to study under an acclaimed artist, but she is soon disappointed to find that she'll be going to Bluegill, Idaho, for six weeks to study under the brilliant but aging artist LeVan Hitchpost.

As she spends more time with him, though (and more specifically with LeVan's grandson, Walt), Lana realises she may have to choose between following her dreams or following her heart.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-1462121250

Also by this author: Letters to my Future Husband

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Romance Fiction, Sweet Romance


Published by Bonneville Books

on 10th October, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 257

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

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Stories I’ve read by this author:

Letters to my Future Husband by Lisa McKendrickBrush with Love by Lisa McKendrick

Converse via: #SweetRomance & #Contempoary #Romance

About Lisa McKendrick

Lisa McKendrick lives in Lakeland, Florida where she divides her time between writing, carpools, and occasionally folding laundry. The mother of seven children (all accustomed to wearing unmatched socks), Lisa is author of other books for the LDS market, including On a Whim , and thanks to her husband's support, has earned a master's degree in English from BYU. Lisa enjoys hearing from her readers and can be contacted at Utterance.org (linked below via Website).

Read More

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Posted Sunday, 10 December, 2017 by jorielov in 21st Century, Adoption, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, College & University Years, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Indie Author, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Modern Day, Mormonism, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, New Adult Fiction, Orphans & Guardians, Realistic Fiction, Sisterhood friendships, Sweet Romance

Blog Book Tour | “The Darkest Summer” by Rebecca J. Greenwood

Posted Wednesday, 22 November, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I have been a blog tour hostess with Cedar Fort for the past three years, wherein I took a brief hiatus from hosting before resuming August 2016. I appreciate the diversity of the stories the Indie publisher is publishing per year, not only for fiction and non-fiction but for healthy eats within their Front Table Books (cookbooks). I appreciate their dedication to writing general market, INSPY reads and LDS focused stories across the genres they publish.

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

Why I wanted to read this re-telling:

I’ve come to love the lovely niche of literary re-tellings – over the past four years, I’ve found quite a lovely array of re-inspired tales to where I must say, it is with apt curiosity I continue to seek them out! Each writer I come across has a different approach and of course, as they are each re-telling a different niche of literature – the stories themselves tend to be wholly unique and individually well-conceived for giving us new insight into a story we might already feel we understand. In this, what moved my interest to read ‘The Darkest Summer’ is how it was approaching Greek Mythos from a different port of entrance: from the story of Hades and Persephone.

I, readily admit, I am not well-versed in Greek Mythos, but I do try to seek out a new vision of the Greeks legacies whenever I can, if only to draw a step closer to understanding the Gods & Goddesses as well as the origin of the stories the Greeks left behind for us to contemplate. I have oft found the Greeks to be dearly confusing to understand – but there are some enroads being taken to bridge the gap between what I find muddling about the Greek Mythos and what I find intriguing.

Hence, why as soon as I read the premise behind this novel, I sensed I might have found not only a compelling story set in the Regency, an era I already have a passion for reading – but perhaps, in a small way, might start to understand some of the connections which were inspired by the Greeks themselves. I wasn’t sure on that score – as I wasn’t sure if this was a direct re-telling – where you can see the parallels between the two narrative arcs (ie. within the relationships themselves or in the descriptive bits of the characters) or if, the novel was more nuanced and you had to have more than a cursory knowledge of ‘who’ these lovelies were in Greek Mythos to be able to fully understand the route in which Ms Greenwood took to tell her tale. Either way, I knew I was going to appreciate re-visiting her writings as I knew she’d make a wicked good novelist ever since I first crossed paths with her whilst she was writing Non-Fiction.

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Blog Book Tour | “The Darkest Summer” by Rebecca J. GreenwoodThe Darkest Summer
Subtitle: Pure Romance
by Rebecca J. Greenwood
Source: Direct from Publisher

In this riveting retelling of the classic myth of Hades and Persephone, Lady Cora Winfield is captivated when she first meets Adam Douglas, Duke of Blackdale. Despite their attraction, Cora’s mother refuses to allow the duke to marry her. Taking matters into his own hands, the duke abducts his bride-to-be, and Cora is swept into the adventure of her lifetime. Amidst danger and thrilling uncertainty, Cora must face the reality that she is falling in love with her captor.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781462120949

Also by this author: Scripture Princesses, Author Q&A with Rebecca J. Greenwood

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


Genres: Greek Mythos | Legacies, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Historical Thriller Suspense, Sweet Romance


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 14th November, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 294

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

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

A Novella & Novel entwined:

The Darkest Hour by Rebecca J. GreenwoodThe Darkest Summer by Rebecca J. Greenwood

When dutiful Lady Hester Douglas, over thirty and long on the shelf, receives word that her brother Adam, the Duke of Blackdale, has survived the Battle of Waterloo, she abandons propriety and heads to Brussels to be by his side. Her widowed minister, Mr. Alasdair Gilchrist, escorts her on the journey from Scotland into a Europe recovering from years of war.

Once she reaches her injured brother, Hester must fight to keep Adam alive and tightly guard her heart’s deepest secret—she’s been in love with Mr. Gilchrist for years.

Will the pain of being with the minister, the man she loves and can never have, distract her from her purpose? Or will she overcome the barriers of age, rank, and station, and seize the love she’s dreamt of?

The Darkest Hour is a standalone inspirational Regency romance novella, and is also a prequel to The Darkest Summer.

Converse via: #Regency + #Romance, #GreekMyths + #Retelling as well as #Persephone

About Rebecca J. Greenwood

Rebecca J. Greenwood

Rebecca J. Greenwood studied visual art with a music minor at Brigham Young University. She is a multimedia artist, illustrator, comic creator, and designer with a love of stories. She has worked in publishing for the last six years. Rebecca lives in Utah with her husband, where she listens to audiobooks, cooks experimentally, has an interest in alternative health, and constantly has a new project in mind.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Wednesday, 22 November, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 19th Century, After the Canon, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Debut Novel, England, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Historical Thriller Suspense, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, Inspired by Stories, Life Shift, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, PTSD, Re-Told Tales, Realistic Fiction, Scotland, Sisterhood friendships, Story in Diary-Style Format, Sweet Romance, The London Season, the Regency era

Blog Book Tour | “Right Next to Me” by Rachel Ward The sophomore release of a #SweetRomance author I discovered last August whose given me another lovely Contemporary Rom!

Posted Monday, 4 September, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I have been a blog tour hostess with Cedar Fort for the past three years, wherein I took a brief hiatus from hosting before resuming August 2016. I appreciate the diversity of the stories the Indie publisher is publishing per year, not only for fiction and non-fiction but for healthy eats within their Front Table Books (cookbooks). I appreciate their dedication to writing general market, INSPY reads and LDS focused stories across the genres they publish.

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

Inspired to Read:

I first came across the writing style of Ms Ward last August, when I reviewed her debut novel “Dear Jane” which was a spin on a ‘Dear John’ letter! Here are some of my takeaways from my reading of her debut which truly struck a chord with me, as it was one of the few times a Contemporary gave me a lot of fodder to chew and appreciate whilst I was engaged with the story-line! Contemporaries for me are rather hit/miss a times – I love them, but ironically or not, I find them to be a difficult ‘fit’ for my own particular interests in what I am looking for in a Contemporary read. To find a debut novelist who added such a heap into their novel which not only was to my liking but provided such a strong entrance with an overall approach of giving a reader new to their style such a lot to contemplate was the truer gift within the chapters of ‘Dear Jane’!

Ward chose to tackle heady issues in her debut novel – as she talks openly about having to readjust after losing grace within the church and the tragic loss of a loved one from suicide. These are difficulties rooted into the fabric of where Quinn’s life is taking her once she’s back home, realising that the world has arrived at her doorstep. It’s the juxtaposition all children go through when their maturing past the school years, where everything that once felt rosy and bubbly full of light and spirit was suddenly a bit marred by a swelling darkness of reality. I felt Ward broached the difficulties well whilst giving Quinn a humble and honest reaction to each new trial she was facing as her family worked through the impossible.

I loved how Ward surprises her readers by introducing Nick’s backstory slowly as Quinn starts to spend more time with him. The interesting bit is that it’s a good life lesson about not always understanding a person’s past or their personality as sometimes their stand-offish behaviour has a reason behind it. Further curious is how through her conversations with Nick, Quinn started to soften her own guarded heart and openly talk about what bothered her on a personal level. They were each others’ huckleberry friend in brewing chaos where a new friendship was fast developing without their awareness. I felt this was the most authentic part of the turning point for Quinn’s life; where she was getting a feel for how first impressions are not always accurate and how serendipity has a way of affecting your life positively even if everything else feels upturnt.

Keeping true to a coming-of age tale, not everything is as it appears to be – even when things start to look like their turning round in Quinn’s favour. This was a bit frustrating if your reading the novel and want to see Quinn’s story end in happiness at some point. It felt like everything she felt was righting itself for the good in her life was being taken from her soon thereafter. However, as relationships are naturally complicated, Ward does present good folly for her characters to wrangle inside whilst trying to sort out what they truly want from each other and from life.

Ward etched in so much behind the relationships and the growing season for Quinn, that you nearly are not entirely ready to meet each new scene where tensions are as high as the emotions! I was a bit shocked by the depth of spite from Quinn’s mother at various intervals of the story as it developed; her paltry apology at the conclusion didn’t quite warm me to her or feel as if she vindicated herself from the misery she subjected her daughter(s) too. The best part I felt was the developing love story and the arc of narrative that proves that emergencies and non-traditional trajectories are more commonplace than you realise. Life comes around the corner so blaring fast, you have to bolster your strength out of your faith and hope you have the courage to face what tomorrow brings. If you do, you’ll find butterflies of joy alighting throughout the days where you feel you cannot be surprised in a good way after a succession of adversity.

-quoted from my review of Dear Jane

When Ms Ward contacted me about her sophomore release “Right Next to Me” – I must say, I was quite captured by the premise! I am always quite eager to read a ‘next book’ by an author who gave me such a stirring read the first time round and as I’m one of those readers who has the tendency to fall ‘behind’ on when the new releases are pending for her beloved authors – it is quite a lovely surprise to hear from one of them and be offered to read their ‘next story’!

I truly love Sweet Roms for their ability to have an undercurrent of simple joys and generally a walk of faith knitted into them (although not always, there are mainstream Sweet Roms, too) which gives a little added dimensional joy in reading them as I do love a wicked good INSPY! This one felt quite realistic to me – as there are times when you do wonder if the person you’ll find as your true match is hidden in plain sight – either near you in the present or unexpectedly will cross your path in the future in such a way as to take you off-guard and not realise you’ve ‘met’ your true love. I think everyone muses about how they will meet ‘whom’ their meant to be with in marriage and in life; who they will walk through life’s adventures and share their thoughts, hopes and dreams with whilst engaged in the art of living and the discoveries of the world. I was simply overjoyed Ms Ward reached out to me as this became a special ‘surprise’ for the ‘end of Summer’!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “Right Next to Me” by Rachel Ward The sophomore release of a #SweetRomance author I discovered last August whose given me another lovely Contemporary Rom!right next to me
by Rachel Ward
Source: Direct from Publisher

She has a crush on her boyfriend's best friend.

How long can a good thing last? Sydney was sure Gavin was the perfect boyfriend until he moved across the country for school. After spending more time with her best friend, James, she's now rethinking everything. Sydney's once sure footing in life slips even more as she discovers new details about her own father's betrayal. Scared she'll hurt Gavin like her father hurt her, Sydney must decide if she'll stay with the perfect boyfriend or the perfectly flawed boy who's been there all along.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

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ISBN: 9781462128396

Also by this author: Dear Jane

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


Published by Bonneville Books

on 8th August, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 208

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

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Stories by Rachel Ward

Dear Jane by Rachel WardRight Next to Me by Rachel Ward

Dear Jane | debut novel | (see also Review)

Right Next to Me | sophomore release

Converse via: #RightNextToMe, #ContemporaryFiction, #CleanFiction

About Rachel Ward

Rachel Ward Photo Credit: Lindsay Walden Photography

Rachel Turner Ward graduated from Hillcrest High School after spending two years writing for the yearbook and the creative writing magazine. She then studied English at Brigham Young University­—Idaho, graduating with an emphasis in Literary Studies. She has contributed to several online publications, including Mormon Mommy Blogs and SheSteals. She has written a personal blog since 2009, Trapped Between a Scream and a Hug. Rachel lives in Salt Lake with her six children and husband of 15 years.

Photo Credit: Lindsay Walden Photography

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Posted Monday, 4 September, 2017 by jorielov in 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Brothers and Sisters, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Coming-Of Age, Disillusionment in Marriage, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Loss of an unbourne child, Modern Day, Mormonism, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Realistic Fiction, Self-Harm Practices, Siblings, Sisterhood friendships, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Unexpected Pregnancy, Upper YA Fiction, Utah