Genre: Women's Fiction

An Audiobook Review during #RIPXV | “A Lock of Hair” by A. Rose Pritchett, narrated by Melanie Huesz

Posted Saturday, 12 September, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring, knitting and playing solitaire agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions.

Through hosting for Audiobookworm Promotions, I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods. Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue wherein I can also request new digital audiobooks to become added to their OverDrive selections. Aside from OverDrive I also enjoy having Audible & Scribd memberships as my budget allows. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I have been able to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year since 2018.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “A Lock of Hair” via Audiobookworm Promotion who is working with A. Rose Pritchett on this blog tour in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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A Q&A with the author A. Rose Pritchett

I would normally compile questions for an author to respond to whilst hosting a blog tour, however due to the amount of personal stress & adverse medical emergencies in my family recently, I honestly had forgotten to submit questions to Ms Pritchett. Thereby, I chose a selection of the questions she responded to which were based on questions Ms Jess asked herself as I found her replies to fit in-line with topics I would have broached myself if I had had the chance to ask her questions of my own.

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Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.

Pritchett responds: When I first published my book a year ago, I knew I wanted to turn it into an audiobook, but didn’t know how to go about it. It seemed expensive and I already invested so much into editing and publishing. Then, after some research, I discovered that ACX has a royalty-share program, which means that I pay nothing upfront, but just split my royalties with the narrator. I auditioned a few narrators, and ended up choosing Melanie Huesz because she gave each character a unique voice, which I knew was a major challenge. After all, there are characters from Boston, Ireland and the South. Some are young, some are old, and one has Down Syndrome. After a couple months of back-and-forth, we got an audiobook produced.

Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?

Pritchett responds: Mildred’s dog, Nightshade, is inspired by my dog, Isabel. Even though they’re different breeds, Nightshade acts a lot like Isabel. Also, I took a Meyers-Briggs test from Mildred’s POV for the heck of it, and she’s an INFJ like me, so there’s that.

How do you manage to avoid burn-out?
What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?

Pritchett responds: Contrary to popular advice, I don’t write every day. A lot of times, I’ll switch my focus to one of my many, many hobbies. In fact, part of my routine on days that I write is to take a break to draw or cross stitch, just to be away from the screen. I also allow myself to take “lazy days”, which are days (usually Sunday) where I just do nothing at all except watch cheesy movies and play Sims. It gives my mind a rest so that I’m not half-dead the next time I stare at the little blinking line on the blank screen.

What’s next for you?

Pritchett responds: I have a completed draft of my second book set during WW2 that I’m trying to get published, and I’m currently working on my third book, which is a fantasy that I’m really in love with. I’ve also dabbled in screenplay writing, with a pilot for a miniseries inspired by my childhood growing up in the restaurant industry and a script that I’m working on-and-off based on my experiences going from my preppy middle school to my arts high school (total culture shock!). All of my works have the same snarkiness that A Lock of Hair has.

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An Audiobook Review during #RIPXV  | “A Lock of Hair” by A. Rose Pritchett, narrated by Melanie HueszA Lock of Hair
by A. Rose Pritchett
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Melanie Huesz

Boston, 1846. Eighteen-year-old Mildred Parish, a barber's daughter, practices practical witchcraft using locks of hair obtained from her father's customers. She's very selective about who knows her secret and the kinds of spells she casts. Only people she trusts can know, and she must never cast a spell to harm another person.

One of her father's clients is Theodore O'Brian, an Irish immigrant whose family is fortunate enough to be wealthy. Mildred is head over heels in love with him, but he's destined to be with someone else. One day, a woman named Trinity Hartell comes knocking on Mildred's door. She has a vendetta against an entire family and wants Mildred to cast a death spell on them. The family? The O'Brians, including Theodore. Mildred refuses, but Trinity is set on getting what she wants, one way or another.

Mildred now feels she must protect the O'Brian family and the man she loves, but she must also protect herself. How can she make sure Trinity is stopped without telling the entire city of Boston that she's a witch?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B089YD7759

Genres: Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Women's Fiction


Published by Self Published

on 11th June, 2020

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 6 hours and 7 minutes (unabridged)

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Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #AudioReads, #Audiobook and #AudiobookwormPromotions

as well as #HistoricalFiction and/or #HistFic

About A. Rose Pritchett

A. Rose Pritchett

A. Rose Pritchett's writing career started in kindergarten when she daydreamed about being a fairy princess instead of learning subtraction. Her childhood obsession with American Girl turned her into an avid history lover.

At seventeen, she moved from her hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, to Savannah, Georgia, where she earned her BA in writing with a history minor from Georgia Southern University. She continues to live in Savannah, still daydreaming about princesses wearing gorgeous dresses. A LOCK OF HAIR is her debut novel.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 12 September, 2020 by jorielov in 17th Century, African-American History, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blog Tour Host, Boston, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Down Syndrome, Equality In Literature, Historical Fiction, History, Indie Author, Self-Published Author, Special Needs Children

#HistoricalMondays Book Review | [prequel novella] “The River Jewel” [The Letter series] by Kathleen Shoop

Posted Monday, 7 September, 2020 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

#HistoricalMondays blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

In [2019] I launched 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 began 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 celebrated 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: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! HFVBTs is one of the very first touring companies I started working with as a 1st Year Book Blogger – uniting my love and passion with Historical Fiction and the lovely sub-genres inside which I love devouring. It has been a wicked fantastical journey into the heart of the historic past, wherein I’ve been blessed truly by discovering new timescapes, new living realities of the persons who once lived (ie. Biographical Historical Fiction) inasmuch as itched my healthy appetite for Cosy Historical Mysteries! If there is a #HistRom out there it is generally a beloved favourite and I love soaking into a wicked wonderful work of Historical Fiction where you feel the beauty of the historic world, the depth of the characters and the joyfulness in which the historical novelists brought everything to light in such a lovingly diverse palette of portraiture of the eras we become time travellers through their stories.

My path first crossed with Kathleen Shoop in [2015] whilst I was participating in a summer reading challenge by BookSparks. I was also a reviewer and blog tour hostess with the  publicity firm whilst I was joining the SRC reading challenge they were quite infamous of hosting for the very first time. My experiences that summer were less than gratifying as I lost traction with the challenge itself and only posted a few reviews out of the ones I was meant to be posting. Ms Shoop and I crossed paths that year due to her latest Letter series release “The Road Home” which was part of the SRC challenge for [2015]. During that summer I also received a #bookmail parcel from the author which include a variety of her stories for me to start reading. They were not for review consideration but if I was inspired to blog about them after I read them that was up to my own discretion and choice. I had a feeling I might be leaning in that direction as just by browsing through the stories and where they could be taking me, I felt they would be the #nextreads I would most enjoy experiencing.

Life and health afflictions (especially my chronic migraines) conflicted with my start/stop attempts to read the books themselves until I felt re-inspired to re-attempt to read one of the novels – “After the Fog” [Spring 2019] which I had no idea was being anchoured to a sequel “The Strongman and the Mermaid” which was also going to be featured on a blog tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours [Spring 2019]. Thereby, it felt like the timing was aligning properly for me to start to read her canon of stories and with my newfound inspiration I couldn’t wait to begin my journey into her collective works.

A bit over a year lateron, I am still struggling to get focused onto the stories on my backlogue due to various reasons where my IRL adversities in health and the health crises of my parents (we’ve been in the ER 6x times since November 2019; the last of which was this past Saturday!) to where I’ve effectively experience a lot of start/stops in my progress to read the stories on my shelves. When I saw this blog tour adverted I thought, there’s a novella prequel to the Letter series? Hmm. I took that as a sign of entrance into a series I have wanted to be reading for so many years now.

I received a complimentary copy of “The River Jewel” direct from the author Kathleen Shoop in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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My reactions to reading Kathleen Shoop:

You can hardly draw a breath as you enter into Rose’s life as a nurse in a small industrial towne which barely has enough medical practitioners that it needs to be medically sound in a place where emergencies were commonplace. In this instance, Shoop begins on a sombering note – of a mother and child who both exited the world the same night as the child’s arrival. It was difficult on Rose – a nurse who grieved for her patients as readily as the doctor she served, but what was one nurse to do with a patient whose birth went sideways as soon as it began? The house she was birthing inside was less than ideal – the light was missing but the effects of the hard birth were not lost on Rose. In many ways, this Rose reminded me of the Rose from Charton Minster (the historical series I loved reading by Margaret James) as both are nurses who go above and beyond their calls of duty.

We also get a firm overview of the towne – of how Donora is co-dependent on her industries and how those industries are co-dependent on each other. Situated below Pittsburgh, its location is on the opposite end of the state than I am familiar though I have passed through the Amish area north of Pittsburgh; it is one city I never had the proper chance to visit. The fact this story is rooted in the steel industry was not a surprise – though like most industrial stories, I found this one refreshing as I haven’t learnt as much about the Industrial Revolution as I ought to have before I graduated. Interestingly enough, no one was ever interested in talking about History after the Civil War or outside of the war eras of the early 20th Century. You have to rally together the missing pieces of history on your own and through reading Historical Fiction these past six years I’ve filled in the gaps far easier than all the years I was in school (which is telling in of its own).

Shoop writes with historical realism – the descriptive details you’d nearly expect out of a Historical narrative but also with a grittiness you might not be fully prepared for reading. Rather than gloss over certain aspects of the novel’s period history, Shoop delves into the gritty depictions of what this kind of life can lead to observing as you live through the era in which it is written about – from the visuals of what Rose must endure as a nurse to the ways in which the lives within the novel are spoken about or referenced. This is a historical novel that tucks you close to the edges – where you can peer at these people’s lives with a rawness as if they were going about their hours without realising someone was taking notes about how they were living, what they were doing or how they occupied their hours. It is an examination on a sociological layer of insight but it is also a gut-punch reality of how people lived through a particular jarring era in history where personal health and the environmental toxicity in their air was assaulting their lungs – “After the Fog” – is a cautionary story about how a disaster in the past can be a foreshadow to the future.

-quoted from my review of After the Fog

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A grandfather in his nineties takes a moment to sit with his granddaughter and his great-grandson to tell them about the fabled Strongman and Mermaid – at least this is our reckoning, as the story of who they had been has nearly become lost in time itself had he not held strong to the book which started to unravel his hidden memories of the past. For her sake, you could tell the strain was affecting her – she simply wanted to do right by her grandfather, where his mind was not allowing himself to remain independent and how the effects of his condition were not just growing worse but they were allowing her to think about the issues which would soon arise if she didn’t force the issue of his relocation. Anyone whose had elder relations knows the position she was in and knows it well; for circumventing problems before they arise in families is one of the hardest obstacles you can transition through outside of resolving the grief which stems from the loss of the relatives who’ve gone on into the next life.

It was here – in a kitchen, you find his voice is still viable enough to piece together the words which compose the story – of how someone’s parents were the better part of a story long since told and that is how we find ourselves time shifting back into 1910 – leaving 2019 with a fresh perspective about Donora about to flicker through our mind as we re-shift back into this sooty dusty mill towne which has a grip of a grasp on everyone whose once lived there.

Mary is a girl ahead of her years – in charge of rallying her siblings to rights before she heads off to work – they were bound for school but she needed to put in a day’s wage and help her family earn the keep which would enable them to stay afloat. You could see her industrious nature in how she attended to the fuel her family needed – not one to shy away from hard work or the arduous litany of chores most girls’ her age might not be as willing to do – you gathered Mary was a forward-thinking kind of girl which was a refreshing change out of her generation. She didn’t see herself limited by means nor in ownership of her future based on her present circumstances; she chose to look towards something positive rather than give into the fact her life could be a repetitious pattern of the hours she currently spent. You felt for Mary – for her courage but also her willingness to see the lighter side to life – where joy and happiness reside.

You immediately get lost inside The Strongman and the Mermaid – not just because the story is part legend and lore; of the personalities and personas people believe in despite the appearances of their composites in reality but because of how Shoop crafted the story. We find our vehicle in the presence of Patryk – a grandfather who simply wants to re-live the olden days if only to give the next generation pause to think about how their ancestors carved out the future they are currently enjoying to live. Part of his joy also stemmed from a deeply felt sense of honour and admiration for Mary and Lukasz – for their story was what had given him the most hope for his own situation. If he could hold onto the stories – keeping the memories close in mind as much as in heart, I believed Patryk felt he wasn’t going to completely remove himself from his own past. He was still a part of the stories being passed down and those living histories meant everything to him.

The more you disappear into the lives of Mary and Lukasz, the more you realise how hard they both were struggling against their own conventions. Their towne had a society of obligation about it – where old school philosophies hadn’t quite become exchanged for the new world mentality where a man and a woman could afford their own choices in their lives. Mary was expected to do the bidding of her parents – irregardless of what she personally wanted for herself, she was needed to work in order to provide whatever they needed based off her pay. This proved to be an exhausting commitment but also a sad one, too as she truly enjoyed her time spent with Mrs Dunn. Dunn was the kind of woman who appreciated Mary’s assistance but knew she couldn’t provide everything she needed – in many ways Dunn was the surrogate mother Mary needed in her life – guiding her with inspiration, encouraging her to think outside the required box her parents wished for her to feel security inside and giving her a chance to breathe a dream of her own choosing.

I truly liked how the story was paced – how you feel emotionally connected to both lead characters and how the towne itself feels a bit more alive somehow – it has its own pace of delivering its presence, not just due to the way work is scheduled but how the people live there. It is a fitting testament to this towne’s history but also as a nod towards the people who forged a life out of an area that was a hard-won place to carve out a living. All of this created the best atmosphere in which to soak inside the historical backdrop Shoop gave us and fittingly, it felt like a better place to begin the series rather than as a sophomore installment.

-quoted from my review of The Strongman and the Mermaid

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#HistoricalMondays Book Review | [prequel novella] “The River Jewel” [The Letter series] by Kathleen ShoopThe River Jewel
by Kathleen Shoop
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

For everyone who hopes to find the perfect match…

1875 Des Moines, Iowa

The novella, The River Jewel, takes readers of the bestselling Letter Series novels back in time, before there was a last letter, before the Arthurs lost everything, before they knew a girl named Pearl.

Meet Tilly Rabel, a proud oyster-woman, and Landon Lockwood, the troubled son of one of the wealthiest men in America. The two could not be less suited for love. But when an old legend draws Landon to a hidden river cove, Tilly and he find each other, are lured by growing attraction, and repelled by competing desires to control Tilly’s waters. The hidden pool is replete with valuable mussel beds and the source of everything that makes Tilly who she is. Landon sees the illustrious treasure as the path to proving to his parents he is worth their love and worthy of the Lockwood name. Can Tilly trust Landon with her heart, with her beloved mussel beds? Can Landon trust that he has truly changed and doesn’t need his parents approval to live the life he wants?

Heartbreak, triumph, and a very special baby weave a tale sure to please readers who’ve read the entire Letter Series and those who are just starting the journey.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1708629236

Also by this author: The Strongman and the Mermaid

Genres: Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Women's Fiction


Published by Self Published

on 3rd December, 2019

Format: POD | Print On Demand Paperback

Pages: 172

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The Letter series:

The River Jewel by Kathleen ShoopThe Last Letter by Kathleen ShoopThe Road Home by Kathleen ShoopThe Kitchen Mistress by Kathleen Shoop

The River Jewel & The River Promise (series novellas) (prequel duology)

The Last Letter (book one)

The Road Home (book two)

The Kitchen Mistress (book three)

The Thief’s Heart (book four)

Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and ebook

About Kathleen Shoop

Kathleen Shoop

Bestselling author, Kathleen Shoop, holds a PhD in reading education and has more than 20 years of experience in the classroom. She writes historical fiction, women’s fiction and romance. Shoop’s novels have garnered various awards in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, Eric Hoffer Book Awards, Indie Excellence Awards, Next Generation Indie Book Awards and the San Francisco Book Festival. Kathleen has been featured in USA Today and the Writer’s Guide to 2013. Her work has appeared in The Tribune-Review, four Chicken Soup for the Soul books and Pittsburgh Parent magazine. She lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 7 September, 2020 by jorielov in #HistoricalMondays, 18th Century, Blog Tour Host, Content Note, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, Iowa, Life Shift, Literary Fiction, Multiple POV, Self-Published Author, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction

Book Spotlight and Extract | Featuring Notes by Jorie on behalf of the For the Love of Fiber Series by Kate Bowman

Posted Tuesday, 1 September, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Stories in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

You may or may not remember how much I *love!* Old World Arts & Crafts as it isn’t a topic which I share too often on Jorie Loves A Story. However, if you caught sight of a book about the artful approach to natural dying for fibre arts – you would have known how much I love playing with fibre as a knitter and how much I’d love to expand my skill set with both the projects I knit and what I can create as a fibre artist in the future.

I’ve been binge watching podcasts (which I used to consider vlogs) via YouTube with my Mum for the past several years now which involve all manners of the world of knitting – from festivals and fibre shows to knitters who are vlogging (er, podcasting) their knitting lives to the world via their YT channels. It is quite an interesting section of YouTube as it is similar to our bookish booktube world wherein the niche of interest is just as passionate about the world of fibre, knitting, crochet, spinning and other fibre art delights as we are about books, reading and book world culture.

When I first heard of this series I thought it sounded quite delightful – even though I wasn’t sure if I was ready to read a series that involves Alzheimer’s as I’ve gone through that personally with family members and at times I find those stories to be quite harder hitting than I presume they will be going into them. I tend to shy away from stories involving dementia and/or terminal illness – even though there are times where I feel inspired to seek them out as I love the overall plot and the journey of the characters. This particular series seems to be dealing with the early on-set of the disease and not the mid-to-late stages of it which I feel is an easier place to enter into that thread of the storyline which is why I look forward to seeking this series one day to read for myself.

As an aside, as a knitter I’ve not picked up my projects in four years – as I sort of lost track of where I am in the patterns. I was on such a strong roll with knitting several projects at once as I enjoy charity knitting as much as personal projects and/or gifts for friends and family. The hard bit is that when I lose where I am with the patterns, it is harder to re-adjust as our knitting and yarn shoppes have either shrunken over the years or have had reduced their hours which makes getting to their places a bit inconvenient. I look forward to visiting a shoppe in the future – sorting out where I am with my projects and getting back into knitting. It is something that I love to do and it is such wonderful blissitude to be lost in fibre and stitches.

If you enjoy Fibre Arts yourself, perhaps this series will resonate with you – I am thankful I could champion the collection on Jorie Loves A Story today. And, hopefully the extract which is being shared leaves you with a few ruminations, too!

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The Spin I'm In by Kate BowmanIt Never Felt so Go Good by Kate Bowman

This is a Self-Published series

Converse via: #ForTheLoveOfFiber, Contemporary Fiction, #Fiber, #Yarn & #Spinning
as well as #WomensFiction and #LFPrism

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Book One : For the Love of Fiber Series

add to LibraryThing

Published: 26th August, 2019 | ISBN: 978-1733467407

The Spin I'm In by Kate Bowman

A determined widow faces the challenge of a new life to regain the confidence and independence of her youth, but finds that life, unlike knitting, doesn’t always follow a pattern.

After twenty-five years of being the perfect wife and mother, Martha LeBeau finds herself unexpectedly widowed and shocked to discover her husband had been living a double life, leaving her penniless and in debt. Determined to regain her lost confidence and independence, she sells her suburban Chicago home and moves to the Wisconsin countryside to forge a new life away from cheating men and smothering children. There she meets the Wool Gatherers, a group of fiber artists who teach her the art of spinning wool and raising sheep. Along with one determined Border Collie, she begins on the path to self-growth and healing.

Riley O’Connor is the single father of a child with Asperger Syndrome. The child’s mother walked out on them because she found that life too difficult to handle. Since then, he has dedicated himself to protecting his son from any further emotional damage.

Meeting Riley and his son through her new job brings love and challenges to Martha’s newly found independence. Romance blooms like a finely knit cable, entwining their lives.

Can either of them learn to trust again?

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Book Two : For the Love of Fiber Series

add to LibraryThing

Published: 9th May, 2020 | ISBN: 978-1733467421

It Never Felt so Go Good by Kate Bowman

Cara Olson is forced to put aside her struggling art career in Chicago to care for her ailing grandmother in Wisconsin. While journeying with her beloved Gram through the diagnosis of possible Alzheimer’s disease, she loses and then rediscovers her passion for art and experiences the resurrection of a past love.

Struggling artist Cara Olson is called home to Wisconsin to care for her ailing grandmother who is showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Leaving behind her mentor//boyfriend, Stefan, she begins to look at her unsuccessful career and relationship in a new light.

Surprised to find her Gram’s doctor is her high-school crush, Peter Andreson, she fights her reignited feelings. When Chicago critics dismiss her artwork as a poor imitation of Stefan’s, she is devastated and vows to give up art.

While caring for Gram and running her small Scandinavian gift shop, the Wool Gatherers, a local group of fiber artists, help her find new outlets for her creativity, designing works of art with hand-made felt and her re-emerging love of landscape and portrait painting.

Along the way, her feelings for Peter grow, and she realizes she has once again fallen for a man only dedicated to his career. When the opportunity arises for her to return to Chicago with the promise of a new career, she seizes it. But even her success can’t fill the void she experiences without Gram, her new friends, and Peter.

Can she return to Shoreview, the place that inspires her art, and be satisfied with a life that doesn’t include him?

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Posted Tuesday, 1 September, 2020 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book | Novel Extract, Book Spotlight, Indie Author, Knitting, Old World Arts & Crafts, Prism Book Tours, Spinning, Women's Fiction

An INSPY Book Review during #CFSRS20 | Diving into the Coastal Hearts series by Janet W. Ferguson whilst reading “Magnolia Storms”

Posted Friday, 7 August, 2020 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

#CFSRS20 readathon badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I have been participating in the Christian Fiction & Clean Reads Reading Safari readathon for the past three years now. I have found the readathon to be personally enriching as it is a wonderful month of respite for book bloggers who want to focus on reading outside their blog schedules and tuck into the gentler side of fiction which is Inspirational Fiction (ie. INSPY). A portion of INSPY is Christian Fiction however, INSPY overall encompasses all faiths and religious backgrounds as it is faith-inspired literature. As a participant of the readathon – each reader moves through the event at their own pacing – seeking stories to read, authors to get to know socially online and reading the stories which interest them throughout the readathon. As you participate there is a chance you can win a book or several throughout the month. This year I am reading a mixture of stories I’ve won during past CFSRS readathons, stories I’ve won through bookaways with Christian Fiction authors or bloggers as well as stories on my shelf from my personal library as well as borrowing INSPY stories in print and audio from my local libraries.

I won a bookaway during #CFSRS18 wherein I received a copy of “Magnolia Storms” direct from the author Janet W. Ferguson which she happily surprised me with inscribing! I was not obligated to post a review on behalf of this novel and have elected to do so for my own edification as well as continuing to share my bookish and readerly life on Jorie Loves A Story. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: The Press Materials seen on this book review were courtesy of the author’s Media Kit and are used with permission of the author as stated on her page.

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Why I wanted to read this story:

I have been wanting to read this lovely ever since it first arrived – however, the past few years have been unique years wherein what I have wanted to read hasn’t always aligned with the ability to read the stories. I attempted to start reading the books I had won during the first year of the readathon last July – however, try as I had – something always pulled me away. I was just thankful I was able to read any INSPY last July as it seemed like the month was taking me up in its tides and not allowing me the grace to settle into the stories which give my heart such an uplift to read.

This year, about two months ahead of the readathon (or as I thought it would be – as I hadn’t known it was switched from July to August until the end of June) I started pulling the stories off my shelves I felt I might be inclined to read this year. I had more than enough to choose from as INSPY Lit is one of my favourite areas of literature to explore – as seen on my 70 Authors Challenge and through my Story Vault wherein I house my review archives. I knew I was going to read more Love Inspired this year – both Contemporary & Suspense whilst I had a few blog tours in August for Harlequin Heartwarming & Love Inspired respectively – however, I wasn’t going to count those in my readathon goals. I like to use the readathon to read the stories already in my personal library, won in bookaways and/or which can become borrowed through my local libraries in either audio or print; whilst seeking out INSPY Fiction on Scribd in audiobook as well.

What first drew my eye into the premise of ‘Magnolia Storms’ when I requested it as one of my book choices in [2018] was the fact this was rooted in the after effects of Hurricane Katrina and storm seasons in the Gulf. Being a traveller during Katrina and having had many conversations with the evacuating families who were fleeing out of its path who had found themselves where I had been at the time in Birmingham, Alabama was quite the experience. Most were on their way back to Louisiana, others were going west to either Colorado or Houston, Texas whilst others were staying in Birmingham as they were given a warm welcome. I couldn’t blame them – it was a friendly city.

Storms in any variety are a part of our everyday lives – they bring destruction and they bring a kind of wrath that is hard to understand. They have after effects that are felt long and wide after a storm has passed. Look at the cities decimated by tornadoes every year and you will see how powerful and how hard it is to find mercy in the dawn after those storms have passed. Hurricanes like their tornado cousins cause emotional trauma and personal loss.

I used to read and watch a lot of natural disaster stories – for reasons which are elusive to me, however several pushed me a bit over the edge of what I could handle – especially if it involved flash flooding, earthquakes, wildfires or a deluge of tornadoes. I had had my fill at the time and only recently re-watched one of my favourites which was about tornadoes affecting a power plant [Atomic Twister] which started Mark Paul Gosselaar and Sharon Lawrence – as it was available for free via Roku. It was hard to believe how terrifying it was all over again and how hard it was to watch one of the team sacrifice his own life to save everyone else when it come to going into the contaminated room to give the team more time to save the plant.

This first novel of the Coastal Hearts series felt like a beautiful segue into Realistic INSPY Fiction which combines the drama of living in today’s world as we each face the different (and complicated!) storms which set to unravel our internal and external worlds. It is how we choose to rise through those unforeseen adversities which seek to challenge our perspectives on life and how we want to be living – but with faith, hope and a bit of grit to get through those challenging hours – we can all seek solid ground on the other side of the ‘storms’. This is why I wanted to read “Magnolia Storms” and this year is the best year I believe for me to ‘meet’ the story as who hasn’t been shuffling their own sea of storms crashing ashore this 2020?

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Magnolia Storms novel Photography Credit: © jorielovesastory.com.

Magnolia Storms
Subtitle: A Coastal Hearts novel
by Janet W. Ferguson
Source: Won a Bookaway

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780997658767

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction, Meteorology, Realistic Fiction, Southern Lit, Sweet Romance, Women's Fiction


on 20th August, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 280

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The Coastal Heart series:

Magnolia Storms(book one)

Falling for Grace(book two)

The Art of Rivers (book three)

Star Rising (book four)

Published by: Southern Sun Press

Formats Available: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance, #INSPYRomance, #INSPYbooks,
as well as #SouthernLit and #CoastalHearts

About Janet W. Ferguson

Janet W. Ferguson

Janet W. Ferguson is a Grace Award winner and a Christy Award finalist. She grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served as a children’s minister and a church youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. She writes humorous inspirational fiction for people with real lives and real problems. Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a cat that allows them to share the space.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #CFSRS20
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Posted Friday, 7 August, 2020 by jorielov in #CFSRS20, #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Book Review (non-blog tour), Christianity, Contemporary Romance, Family Drama, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Medical Fiction, Mental Health, Mississippi, Modern Day, Motherhood | Parenthood, Post-911 (11th September 2001), PTSD, Reading Challenges, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Single Fathers, Single Mothers, Singletons & Commitment, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Sweet Romance, Terminal Illness &/or Cancer, Trauma | Recovery in Hospital, Traumatic Injury, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Women's Fiction