Publisher: Atria Books

#PubDay Book Review | “Beyond the Wild River” by Sarah Maine

Posted Tuesday, 18 April, 2017 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Book Review Banner using Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna

Acquired Book By: I received an enquiry from a publicist at Atria in regards to a novel of suspense by an author I had not yet heard of previously. What captured my attention about this release was the heart of the story itself and the way in which this felt like an Introspective Novel which is of particular interest in my reading life as I like seeking out the Literary novels which bespeak of digging a bit deeper than genre fiction and asking different kinds of questions on behalf of the readers who enjoy reading them. They genuinely get you thinking about the layers of the story and also, of the message within the fuller scope of what the author was attempting to present to you through the duration of the novel. I was keenly grateful I could receive a print ARC in order to read this ahead of publication.

I received a complimentary ARC copy of “Beyond the Wild River” direct from the publisher Atria (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was keenly interested in this particular release:

One thing I truly appreciate is a wicked good novel of atmospheric suspense – which is a nod to my lifelong appreciation of Psychological Suspense films including those which were the founding entries which brought the Horror film genre to brilliant life. In other words, I grew up appreciating Alfred Hitchcock and his particular style of letting your imagination fill in the gaps between where his narrative lens left-off in such classics as: The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Lady Vanishes, North by Northwest, The Rope, Dial M for Murder and other such lovelies which truly knitted suspense into the cornerstone of the character’s journey. I specifically found his style of the craft to be a lead-in towards finding authors how convey the same appreciation for what he did in film.

A few years ago, I attempted to read my first Kate Morton novel (The Distant Hours) yet sadly never truly was able to attach myself into the story-line due to time constraints. Yet, in the beginning of her novel, I felt a kinetic energy of atmospheric beauty etching out of the narrative; both haunting and compelling all at once. There are other authors I’ve read and blogged about meeting here on Jorie Loves A Story, of whom write in a similar vein of interest – such as Kate Forsyth, M.J. Rose, Lena Coakley, Sarah E. Boucher, Richard Storry, Helene Wecker, Yangsze Choo, Edith Wharton and others of whom write in a particular style of evokes a certain layer of world-building through a Gothic-esque lens.

Whilst I continue to seek out stories which have this evocation, I am truly a Historical girl at heart – a realisation I discovered about myself as I became a book blogger, as until I blogged (in effect, journalled my reading life!) I hadn’t taken stock of which types of stories I lean towards to read moreso than others which happily enchant me as I meet them. Historical Fiction and all the lovely variants of it’s sub-genres have kept me entertained for the fullness of my reading life (ie. since I was a young girl!) due to how breath-taking Historicals can be penned! The eclipse of course to fully entreat into the historical past whilst following in the footsteps of characters so well conceived you feel as if you’ve slipped into their shoes and tackled living their life for a spell!

This particular novel felt it held enough Suspense threading through it to keep me on the pins of my nerves whilst the backdrop of moving between England and Canada would be a refreshing change in scenery! As I am oft wandering back through time periods and settings often visited; to where I like to switch things up a bit and go ‘somewhere’ new every once in awhile! I also felt it had an introspective vibe about it whilst attempting to pull out the human condition and psychological back-story of it’s lead characters who might not expect to be ‘caught’ at a fork in the road where they could chose which way they would go forward vs following an expected trajectory by someones choice.

As this is my first reading by the author, I was thankful to receive the ARC in which I had the joy of reading the Editor’s remarks on behalf of the author and of this story. I love receiving ARCs in that regard – for the little ‘extra’ insights into the author’s collective works or their initial debuts; it gives a sense of the author’s style but also, of their story’s heart. I also like seeing how each Editor in turn chooses to highlight what they feel is the core of the author’s message for the story at hand. I had to smirk to myself realising I had mentioned my personal love of Hitchcock when I was reading a direct reference to him in this Editor’s Note! Laughs. Sometimes I find there are happy coincidences and moments of quirky connections as I read and blog my reading life; this is surely one of them! I was keenly right about this being introspective – as there is a hint of a nod towards how this novel is both figuratively poignant as much as it is metaphorical; for me, that’s the baseline of a wicked good literary novel!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

#PubDay Book Review | “Beyond the Wild River” by Sarah MaineBeyond the Wild River
by Sarah Maine
Source: Direct from Publisher

The day comes sooner than expected when Charles, prompted by a near-scandal between Evelyn and a servant, brings her on a business trip to New York City and the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. Evelyn welcomes the chance to escape her cloistered life and see the world.

But a fishing expedition up the Nipigon River in Canada takes an unexpected turn when Evelyn discovers that their river guide is none other than James Douglas. Even more startling, her father betrays no shock, simply instructing Evelyn not to reveal their past connection with James to the rest of their party.

Evelyn never believed that James was guilty, but speculation about her father’s role in the killing has made her fearful. What is he hiding? As they travel deeper into the wilderness, and further from the constraints of polite society, the secrets and lies surrounding that night are finally stripped away, revealing the true natures of everyone in their party.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781501126956

Genres: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Suspense


Published by Atria Books

on 18th April, 2017

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 352

Published By: Atria ()
{imprint of} Simon & Schuster (

Converse via: #BeyondTheWildRiver
Available Formats: Hardback and E-Book

About Sarah Maine

Sarah Maine Photo Credit Susie McDonald at Brick Lane Studio

Sarah Maine was born in England but grew up partly in Canada before returning to the United Kingdom, where she now lives. She is the author of The House Between Tides.

Photo Credit: Susie McDonald at Brick Lane Studio

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Tuesday, 18 April, 2017 by jorielov in 19th Century, ARC | Galley Copy, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Canada, Chicago, Coming-Of Age, England, Family Life, Father-Daughter Relationships, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Literary Fiction, Suspense

Blog Book Tour | “The Secret Language of Stones” (Book No.2 of Daughters of La Lune series) by M.J. Rose

Posted Wednesday, 10 August, 2016 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

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! I received a complimentary copy of “The Secret Language of Stones” direct from the publisher Atria Books (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) 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

On why I wanted to continue reading the Daughters of La Lune:

I previously hosted Ms Rose during her blog tour for The Collector of Dying Breaths, whereupon I also interviewed her for the same tour. I had a fascination inside me about the Reincarnationist series, but it ended up my heart was attached quite dearly to the second trilogy making up the volumes of: The Book of Lost Fragrances, Seduction, and The Collector of Dying Breaths. I went into details about this on my previous M.J. Rose book review, but what intrigued me about returning into her next novel is how it was set to life in Paris itself.

The layers she knitted into the story to encourage a back-drop of suspense mixing inside Gothic Lit undertones and the possessiveness of a long-dead master of darkness, was imploring as I wanted to see how this story would balance most of what I’ve come to love inside an M.J. Rose novel! I was thinking this was in-part a departure from her Reincarnationist series as much as an extension of the passionate drive her characters have for not only their pursuit of joy but their pursuit of how to live their lives without the attachments which might not allow them to live as freely as their soul desires. Rose tends to write convicting fiction where her characters are seeking ‘something’ in relation to who they are at their innermost core whilst giving the reader a depth of back-story to soak inside whilst the characters thrive through the journey they undertake. – as related on my review of The Witch of Painted Sorrows

I have become quite intrigued by Ms Rose’s style for crafting her stories through sensory awareness, as I also made a footnote about on my review for The Witch of Painted Sorrows, stated as follows:

Rose has a spirit about the writer’s craft in her novels, I appreciate the touches of prose she stitches inside them because she wants you to be sensory aware of each key moment that triggers a deepening connection of ‘time and place’ for her characters. I noticed this in The Collector’s of Dying Breaths as much as I have inside The Witch of Painted Sorrows; as she endeavours to have you carried through what is nearly tangible by taste, smell, and a sixth sense attribute.

It isn’t so much that your merely reading an MJ Rose novel, your experiencing the full breadth of what she’s etching into the background of the story itself. Providing you with a portal of intrigue which defies time and catapults you through history’s mirrored door. I was quite spellbound by the first Daughters of La Lune novel and I have been eagerly awaiting the sequel, to see where Ms Rose is going to further takes us throughout the trilogy!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “The Secret Language of Stones” (Book No.2 of Daughters of La Lune series) by M.J. RoseThe Secret Language of Stones
by M.J. Rose
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

As World War I rages and the Romanov dynasty reaches its sudden, brutal end, a young jewelry maker discovers love, passion, and her own healing powers in this rich and romantic ghost story, the perfect follow-up to M.J. Rose’s “brilliantly crafted” (Providence Journal) novel The Witch of Painted Sorrows.

Nestled within Paris’s historic Palais Royal is a jewelry store unlike any other. La Fantasie Russie is owned by Pavel Orloff, protégé to the famous Faberge, and is known by the city’s fashion elite as the place to find the rarest of gemstones and the most unique designs. But war has transformed Paris from a city of style and romance to a place of fear and mourning. In the summer of 1918, places where lovers used to walk, widows now wander alone.

So it is from La Fantasie Russie’s workshop that young, ambitious Opaline Duplessi now spends her time making trench watches for soldiers at the front, as well as mourning jewelry for the mothers, wives, and lovers of those who have fallen. People say that Opaline’s creations are magical. But magic is a word Opaline would rather not use. The concept is too closely associated with her mother Sandrine, who practices the dark arts passed down from their ancestor La Lune, one of sixteenth century Paris’s most famous courtesans.

But Opaline does have a rare gift even she can’t deny, a form of lithomancy that allows her to translate the energy emanating from stones. Certain gemstones, combined with a personal item, such as a lock of hair, enable her to receive messages from beyond the grave. In her mind, she is no mystic, but merely a messenger, giving voice to soldiers who died before they were able to properly express themselves to loved ones. Until one day, one of these fallen soldiers communicates a message—directly to her.

So begins a dangerous journey that will take Opaline into the darkest corners of wartime Paris and across the English Channel, where the exiled Romanov dowager empress is waiting to discover the fate of her family. Full of romance, seduction, and a love so powerful it reaches beyond the grave, The Secret Language of Stones is yet another “spellbindingly haunting” (Suspense magazine), “entrancing read that will long be savored” (Library Journal, starred review).

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781476778099

Also by this author: The Collector of Dying Breaths, The Witch of Painted Sorrows

Series: The Daughters of La Lune


Also in this series: The Witch of Painted Sorrows


Genres: Gothic Literature, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, War Drama


Published by Atria Books

on 19th July, 2016

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 320

Published By: Atria ()
{imprint of} Simon & Schuster (

Converse via: #DaughtersOfLaLune, #SecretLanguageOfStones & #MJRose
Available Formats: Hardback and E-Book

About M.J. Rose

M.J. Rose

New York Times Bestseller, M.J. Rose grew up in New York City mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park and reading her mother’s favorite books before she was allowed.

She believes mystery and magic are all around us but we are too often too busy to notice…books that exaggerate mystery and magic draw attention to it and remind us to look for it and revel in it. She is the author of more than a dozen novels, the co-president and founding board member of International Thriller Writers and the founder of the first marketing company for authors: AuthorBuzz.com. She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut.

(Biography updated August 2016)

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Wednesday, 10 August, 2016 by jorielov in 20th Century, Art, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Crime Fiction, During WWI, Earthen Magic, France, Ghost Story, Gothic Literature, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Mystery, Historical Romance, Historical Thriller Suspense, Jewelry & Jewelry Design, Mediums & Clairvoyants, Multi-Generational Saga, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Psychological Suspense, Supernatural Fiction, The World Wars, War Drama

Blog Book Tour | “The Witch of Painted Sorrows” {Book 1: of the Daughters of La Lune series} by M.J. Rose #HistFic is captured within the essence of a traditional Gothic tale where a woman has to choose what she desires more? Passion or Freedom?

Posted Wednesday, 18 March, 2015 by jorielov , , , , 5 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “The Witch of Painted Sorrows” virtual book tour through France Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher Atria (an imprint of Simon & Schuster), in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Intrigued to Read:

I previously hosted Ms Rose during her blog tour for The Collector of Dying Breaths, whereupon I also interviewed her for the same tour. I had a fascination inside me about the Reincarnationist series, but it ended up my heart was attached quite dearly to the second trilogy making up the volumes of: The Book of Lost Fragrances, Seduction, and The Collector of Dying Breaths. I went into details about this on my previous M.J. Rose book review, but what intrigued me about returning into her next novel is how it was set to life in Paris itself.

I have come to appreciate different eras of French History through the writers who write stories that surround us in the history and lore of France. In regards directly to the Belle Époque 1890s of this highly regarded city, I last ducked inside it’s chapters of time in Heather Webb’s Rodin’s Lover. The eras of salons where writerly and artistic immersions of the crafts could be celebrated and explored through peers of the same inclinations was quite the intrigue for me, as it is hard to pin-point where the ‘meeting of the minds’ meet-up in latter centuries which have provided as much feedback as camaraderie amongst like-minded spirits.

The layers she knitted into the story to encourage a back-drop of suspense mixing inside Gothic Lit undertones and the possessiveness of a long-dead master of darkness, was imploring as I wanted to see how this story would balance most of what I’ve come to love inside an M.J. Rose novel! I was thinking this was in-part a departure from her Reincarnationist series as much as an extension of the passionate drive her characters have for not only their pursuit of joy but their pursuit of how to live their lives without the attachments which might not allow them to live as freely as their soul desires. Rose tends to write convicting fiction where her characters are seeking ‘something’ in relation to who they are at their innermost core whilst giving the reader a depth of back-story to soak inside whilst the characters thrive through the journey they undertake.

Blog Book Tour | “The Witch of Painted Sorrows” {Book 1: of the Daughters of La Lune series} by M.J. Rose #HistFic is captured within the essence of a traditional Gothic tale where a woman has to choose what she desires more? Passion or Freedom?The Witch of Painted Sorrows
by M.J. Rose
Source: Publisher via France Book Tours

Possession. Power. Passion. New York Times bestselling novelist M. J. Rose creates her most provocative and magical spellbinder yet in this gothic novel set against the lavish spectacle of 1890s Belle Époque Paris.

Sandrine Salome flees New York for her grandmother’s Paris mansion to escape her dangerous husband, but what she finds there is even more menacing. The house, famous for its lavish art collection and elegant salons, is mysteriously closed up. Although her grandmother insists it’s dangerous for Sandrine to visit, she defies her and meets Julien Duplessi, a mesmerizing young architect. Together they explore the hidden night world of Paris, the forbidden occult underground and Sandrine’s deepest desires.

Among the bohemians and the demi-monde, Sandrine discovers her erotic nature as a lover and painter. Then darker influences threaten—her cold and cruel husband is tracking her down and something sinister is taking hold, changing Sandrine, altering her. She’s become possessed by La Lune: A witch, a legend, and a sixteenth-century courtesan, who opens up her life to a darkness that may become a gift or a curse.

This is Sandrine’s “wild night of the soul,” her odyssey in the magnificent city of Paris, of art, love, and witchery.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Also by this author: The Collector of Dying Breaths, The Secret Language of Stones

Series: The Daughters of La Lune,


Also in this series: The Secret Language of Stones


Genres: Gothic Literature, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense


Published by Atria Books

on St. Patrick's Day, 2015

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 384

Published By: Atria ()
{imprint of} Simon & Schuster (

Converse via: #TheWitchOfPaintedSorrows, #MJRose, & #FranceBT
Available Formats: Hardback and E-Book

About M.J. Rose

M.J. Rose

New York Times Bestseller, M.J. Rose grew up in New York City mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park and reading her mother’s favorite books before she was allowed.

She believes mystery and magic are all around us but we are too often too busy to notice…books that exaggerate mystery and magic draw attention to it and remind us to look for it and revel in it. She is the author of more than a dozen novels, the co-president and founding board member of International Thriller Writers and the founder of the first marketing company for authors: AuthorBuzz.com. She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut.

(Biography updated August 2016)

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Posted Wednesday, 18 March, 2015 by jorielov in 19th Century, Antiques, Art, Art History, Artist's Proof, Artwork Provenance, Belle Epoque Era, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Crime Fiction, Disillusionment in Marriage, Earthen Magic, Father-Daughter Relationships, France, France Book Tours, Freedom of Expression, Gothic Literature, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Historical Romance, Historical Thriller Suspense, Parapsychological Gifts, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Psychological Suspense, Sculpture, Supernatural Fiction, Witches and Warlocks

+Blog Book Tour+ The Collector of Dying Breaths by M.J. Rose {part of the Reincarnationist series}

Posted Friday, 30 May, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

The Collector of Dying Breaths by M.J. Rose

The Collector of Dying Breaths Tour via HFVBT

Published By: Atria Books ()
(an imprint of Simon & Schuster: ),
8 April, 2014
Official Author Websites:  Site | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads
Available Formats:  Hardback & E-Book
Page Count: 384

Converse on Twitter: #TheCollectorOfDyingBreaths, #TheReincarnationist,

#MJRose#HFVBT

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “The Collector Of Dying Breaths” virtual book tour through HFVBT: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary ARC copy of the book direct from publisher Atria Books, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Intrigued to Read:

What sparked my interest is the aspect of reincarnation stitched into the series as a whole as I used to collect books on reincarnation when The Reincarnation Library was still in existence, which was a small publisher who curated titles which had fallen out of print and then, re-issued the books in such lovely editions as cloth-bound hardback copies! The titles were both non-fiction and fiction dealing with as many different aspects of reincarnation as you could be happenstance to stumble across! In the series Rose has created, the idea of coming across tools to add one’s memory of past lives is more than tempting to explore!

– as quoted from Jorie’s Box of Joy No.3

The Collector of Dying Breaths by M.J. Rose

Book Synopsis:

From one of America’s most imaginative storytellers comes a passionate tale of love and treachery, spanning the days of Catherine de Medici’s court to the twenty-first century and starring a woman drawn back, time and again, to the past.

In 1533, an Italian orphan with an uncanny knack for creating fragrance is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. To repay his debt, over the years René le Florentine is occasionally called upon to put his vast knowledge to a darker purpose: the creation of deadly poisons used to dispatch the Queen’s rivals.

But it’s René’s other passion—a desire to reanimate a human breath, to bring back the lives of the two people whose deaths have devastated him—that incites a dangerous treasure hunt five centuries later. That’s when Jac L’Etoile—suffering from a heartache of her own—becomes obsessed with the possibility of unlocking Rene’s secret to immortality.

Soon Jac’s search reconnects her with Griffin North, a man she’s loved her entire life. Together they confront an eccentric heiress whose art collection rivals many museums and who is determined to keep her treasures close at hand, not just in this life but in her next.

Set in the forest of Fontainebleau, crisscrossing the lines between the past and the present, M.J. Rose has written a mesmerizing tale of passion and obsession. This is a Gothic tale perfect for fans of Anne Rice, Deborah Harkness, and Diana Galbadon.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comAuthor Biography:

M.J. RoseM.J. Rose is the international best selling author of fourteen novels and two non-fiction books on marketing. Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in many magazines and reviews including Oprah Magazine. She has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio. Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the ’80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors – Authorbuzz.com. The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose’s novels in the Renincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and runs the blog- Buzz, Balls & Hype. She is also the co-founder of Peroozal.com and BookTrib.com.

Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comA bit of a note on the Reincarnationist series:

I had the forethought to consume the previous books in the Reincarationist series ahead of my stop on this particular blog tour, except to say the hours flew out the window before I could even grasp a strong hold of them! I even attempted to finish where I was happily entrenched inside “The Book of Lost Fragrances” as I had picked up the first trilogy of novels (“The Reincarnationist”, “The Memorist”, & “The Hypnotist”) during Bout of Books Readathon 10.0 this past month, however, unfortunately for me I could not settle my mind & heart into the first book of the series. There was too much starkly dark & intense sequences to where I could not gather a secure footing into the series. I was about to chuck the whole idea completely and simply read the novel at hand, when I realised that perhaps out of the research I had conducted ahead of my Interview with Ms. Rose, perhaps the more telling truth is that I should begin this series on book four “The Book of Lost Fragrances”!

Clearly, led to read that particular book for a reason, I had washed away the outside world and entered the realm between the character Jac L’Etoile’s quest to save her family’s parfum business and the counter weight of dipping back into the historical past whilst there was a tomb being uncovered in Egypt during Napoleon’s reign! I loved the shifting perspectives in time and place, as much as the appeal for me to approach the notion of a ‘scent’ of lingering death & life wrapped inside the vial of a singular parfum which could effectively bring back a person’s recollective memory!

The book was taking me on this adventurist journey where I felt as though I had morphed a bit through the pages as I was reading the text of the story! I love the sensation of stepping through the lens and portal of stories, where we can feel ourselves being inserted into the character’s mind, heart, and spirit!? Those are the stories which linger around our mind’s eye and do not let us abate from our murmurings after their stories are known. I have come across quite a few since I first started my sojourn with M.J. Rose’s series and I am hopeful that as I conclude reading “The Collector of Dying Breaths” I will be hungry to return backwards through “Seduction” & “The Book of Lost Fragrances” because for me the Reincarationist series begins at the jettison point of fragrance!

My Review of The Collector of Dying Breaths: 

A small collection of memories filled my mind’s eye as I settled into Chapter 3, as Robbie was a robust brother surprising his sister after a long absence from each other where I had left him last in The Book of Lost Fragrances. To find him abreast his deathbed in The Collector of Dying Breaths was a bit difficult to take in at first, but then, given the nature of the story nearly felt a bit fitting as his sister Jac E’Toile had not yet risen to her position of one gifted with a nose for scent! She was struggling to come to terms with her father’s incapacity to run the family’s business in the previous installment, which positioned the state of the company in the worst of straits. She was attempting to make logical sense out of chaos, and apparently, wherever her path led her then she was still not comfortable rising into the shoes her father believed she should wear even now.

The story transitions between the 16th Century and the Modern Era, as the juxtaposition between Jac attempting to sort out the mystery of the ‘dying breath’ formula for not only percuring a dying breath from the moment it escapes the body but to captialise on the re-cataclysmal nature of its ability where le Florentine left off. The shifting eras heighten the arc of the history contained in the narrative, as both perspectives help fill in the missing pieces of what is not known when a reader such as I had not fully eclipsed the previous two volumes. A fluttering of recognition murmurs back into my ears as I read the current status of Jac’s life, with full measurement of sorrow expelled.

There is an allure of unweaving the past in such a way as to untangle each thread to reveal what each layer of its knowledge can speak through the centuries. The adventure awaiting inside is one hidden within the folds of time, of centuries past, and of lives destroyed or anguished by the actions of others. It is through precognitive dreams and premonition states of awareness that Jac is able to gain further insight into what she already knows and yet has already forgotten the knowledge of. The way in which Rose heightens our awareness of each past life through Jac’s perception of the lives themselves is seamlessly interlocked into the narrative itself. We can meander through a past life’s revealing scene as quickly as we can re-adjust into the present. The writing is writ in such a way as your mind feels betwixt knowing what is being revealed and what is being kept hidden.

The time that Jac spends at the château in France reminds me of my own fever of excitement to visit a physical place whose heritage runs the gambit of time itself. Centuries folding on top of centuries, allows the mind and the heart to imagine what life would have revealed if a little measurement of that lived age during the height of its hour were to be seen? What secrets would spill out of its tome of silence? What ruminations of boundless energy and knowledge outside the perimeters of one lived generation could encompass to contain? A quickening of excitement to find a tangible connection to the past in the present has a very real appeal to me. Likewise, whilst Jac was at the château it was entirely plausible that she was touching on ripples within the time continuance which allowed her to see what was no longer there.

The shroud of mystery surrounding Malachai etches away as bits of his humanity shine out inside the middle of the story, where he opens himself to vulnerability for the first time since Jac had known him. They share a close bond yet a complicated one as he has always been in full belief of her abilities whereas she has always been the cynic who attempts to root out the logic. In this installment of the saga, we find his human heart and his passionate disappointment for a love gone sour. Jac in this instance is turnt to as a listening ear, whereas previously their roles were quite reversed. The wounded is now in effect helping the healer. Jac is a woman who sees herself as a wounded bird whose wings are not quite set to fly. Her stasis is self-inflicted out of fear and out of the inability to shift past what she fears as the unknown gap between what can be logically proven by science and what has to be accepted on faith.

This is a story etched out of history’s tapestry of where the fates of entwined lovers cross against the barriers of time. Where the allure of reincarnation and of a life past the one once lived fever a man’s brow to gain a power he can barely understand much less muster into creation. The story is haunting as it is real, traumatic as it is emotional, but more than that, is a cautionary tale for how best to live each breath we’re given whilst we’re alive.

A note of curiosity the passages on pages 80-82 where Jac describes her history with hallucinations vs past lives is nearly word for word how I remember it being explained and disclosed from “The Book of Lost Fragrances” and there were a few other sequences as well that I felt stemmed out of my earlier reading of the former book. I do know that writers can sometimes stitch into successive volumes of a series ‘a walkabout of timelines and facts’ and having thus recognised this particular cluster as one of the larger ones, I do not think anyone would have trouble in following the pace nor the intricacies between where “The Book of Lost Fragrances” begins, “Seduction” continues, and where “The Collector of Dying Breaths” picks up from a combination of the previous two adventures.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comThis Book Review is courtesy of:

The Collector of Dying Breaths Tour via HFVBT

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

as I am happily honoured to be a blog tour hostess for:

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBTPlease visit my Bookish Events page to stay in the know for upcoming events!

Previously I interviewed M.J. Rose on the Dying Breaths Tour!

My upcoming tour for HFVBT is “Mrs.  Poe” by Lynn Cullen 5-6th of June!

{SOURCES: Book cover for “The Collector of Dying Breaths”, Author Biography, Author Photograph of M.J. Rose, Book Synopsis, the blog tour banner and the HFVBT banner  were provided by HFVBT – Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Friday, 30 May, 2014 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Catherine de Medici, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Folklore and Mythology, Gothic Literature, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Thriller Suspense, Reincarnation, Suspense, Time Slip

+Book Review+ Etched On Me by Jenn Crowell

Posted Tuesday, 15 April, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 4 Comments

Parajunkee Designs
Etched On Me by Jenn Crowell
Published By: Washington Square Press / Atria {imprints of}
Simon & Schuster ( ) 4 February 2014

Publicity by: Atria ()
Official Author Websites:  Site  | Twitter | Facebook
Converse via: #EtchedOnMe
Genres: Contemporary Fiction | Mental Illness | LGBT fiction | Realistic Fiction
Available Formats: Trade Paperback and E-Book
Page Count: 336


Acquired Book By: Whilst attending #LitChat for Ms. Crowell’s book discussion on behalf of Etched On Me, I had the pleasure of getting to know a bit more about the novel as much as I did the author herself! Our conversation continued offline through email, where she offered me to receive her latest novel in exchange for an honest review by getting in touch with her publicist at Atria. Therefore, I received a complimentary copy of Etched On Me in exchange for an honest review direct from her publicist Valarie Vennix. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read: Throughout the entire #LitChat discussion about Etched On Me, my heart drew a circle of empathy around the originating premise in which shaped this story together. A woman in the UK was put in a position to possibly lose custody of her child based solely on her history of mental illness from when she was younger. She had already undergone therapy and sought wellness for herself as much as her child, yet before her babe was even bourne there was a question about if she would be fit to be the child’s mother. As soon as I heard this part of the story threads, my heart went out to the woman in the UK! There is a stigma surrounding mental illness and those who are affected by the trauma of having a history in full view of everyone they meet on their future path. And, what is quite apparent is the stigma and the misunderstanding of how far forward one can walk on their lifepath is not always a given measure of their worth if they have something in their past which draws questions from those of whom were once trusted.

What I appreciated the most is the gentleness and raw attention towards the woman’s plight but also to the breadth of depth Crowell was willing to go based on her own experiences as a mother who has dealt with mental illness. She strikes a balance of an accord between fiction and non-fiction memoir to give the reader a full-on glimpse into a reality very few realise is happening in our world. Where parents who have the right to raise their children are being marginalised for reasons that are not fair nor ethical.


Book Synopsis:

Girl, Interrupted meets Best Kept Secret in this redemptive and edgy coming-of-age story about a young woman who overcomes a troubled adolescence spent in and out of psychiatric facilities, only to lose custody of her daughter when her mental health history is used against her.

Partially inspired by Jenn’s own experiences, ETCHED ON ME is also loosely based on the harrowing story of a young British woman who fled her home country in 2007 when she was nearly eight months pregnant. UK Social Services had ordered that she would be forced to surrender custody of her child within minutes of giving birth, due to her mental health history (raped at 14, she had suffered depression and instances of self-harm during her adolescence). Despite receiving treatment and being granted a clean bill of health, she was still considered a risk to her unborn child. Jenn learned of the case while deeply immersed in new motherhood herself, and having overcome her own mental health struggles, she was deeply moved by the story.

Sixteen-year-old Lesley Holloway—our irrepressible narrator in ETCHED ON ME—is alternately streetwise and vulnerable, comically self-deprecating, and wise beyond her years. On the surface, she is just another bright new student at Hawthorn Hill, a posh all-girls prep school north of London. Little do her classmates know that she recently ran away from home—where her father had spent years sexually abusing her—and that she now spends her afternoons working in a fish and chip shop and her nights in a dingy hostel. Nor does anyone know that she’s secretly cutting herself as a coping mechanism…until the day she goes too far and ends up in the hospital.

Lesley spends the next two years in and out of psychiatric facilities, overcoming her tragic memories and finding the support of a surrogate family. Eventually completing university and earning her degree, she is a social services success story—until she becomes unexpectedly pregnant in her early twenties. Despite the many gains she has made and the overwhelming odds she has overcome, the same team that saved her as an adolescent will now question whether Lesley is “fit” to be a mother. And so she embarks upon her biggest battle yet: the fight for her unborn daughter.

Author Biography:

Photo Credit: Hedy Bartleson
Photo Credit: Hedy Bartleson

Jenn Crowell’s debut, Necessary Madness, was released when she was just 19; her second novel, Letting the Body Lead, when she was only 24. Both were critically acclaimed and reviewers marveled at the wisdom, maturity, and depth of feeling expressed by so young a writer. Over the next ten years, Jenn earned her MFA, but also underwent treatment for depression and self-harm—issues that she writes about so vividly in her latest novel, ETCHED ON ME. Jenn is a compelling writer, and she has a talent for creating sympathetic and relatable characters.

With ETCHED ON ME, Jenn Crowell takes her storytelling to new heights as she beautifully unpacks the legacy of sexual abuse, examines the complexities of the relationships we form when our blood families fail us, and raises fascinating questions about the nature of social services and health care in a bureaucratic system. As thought-provoking as it is riveting, ETCHED ON ME is an ultimately life-affirming story that will deepen readers’ understanding and compassion, and perhaps make them reevaluate preconceptions they might have about women who suffer from mental illness and mothers who, for whatever reason, must fight for custody of their children.

Jenn Crowell holds an MFA in Creative Writing, and lives near Portland, Oregon with her husband and young daughter.


A Phoenix on the Book Cover:

When Etched On Me first arrived by Post, the very first thing that I had noticed was the Phoenix etched into the background of the title and set as a bit of a raised watermark. At first glance, this signaled to me the story inside was going to be about a woman who rises out of the ashes of one chapter of her life as she boldly goes forward into a new chapter emblazoned by the one she’s left.

What I had not expected to find underneath the covers is a story deeply etched out of the pages of script that I had watched through an eight-year focus on Law & Order: SVU. I spent most of my twenties watching the trifecta so to speak of Law & Order; on the misunderstanding that it was in effect meant to be “LA Law”. The stories illuminated the hard-hitting real to life cases of women, men, and children living through some of the worst trauma and abuse that any one person could not even imagine. Through my time spent observing the actors who portrayed the police and the lawyers alike, I came to appreciate Mariska Hargitay’s portrayal of Olivia Benton. I would come to find out later she created the “Joyful Heart Foundation” as a way to reach out to the women who would write letters to her in full gratitude of the series and of her honest realism in giving Olivia a grounding persona.

I do believe if I had not had that section of my television viewing focused on specific cases of gutting emotional stories, I might not have been fully prepared now to read Lesley’s story. From the very first page I felt myself brought back to an episode of SVU, barreling into a story I might not be ready to read, but willing to engage into the heart-break to come out the other side into the light.

My Review of Etched On Me:

Lesley Holloway is an abrasive speaking teenager facing the horrific reality of being a victim of incest whilst having to find the courage to turn her own father in to the authorities as her own Mum is not willing to do so herself. From the brink of despair and insightful chapters of her internal struggle to sort out her life, Etched On Me begins when her crisis first erupts into seeking support, shelter, and help. On the foot-heels of seeing a page of her life far past social services, but at an episode of her life propelling out of control which brought her back to the beginning.

There is a section near the beginning in which Lesley cuts her arm quite deeply and needs to go to the ER. I had to sort of gloss past this section because the medical descriptions were a bit bothersome for me. This is a very well-written section about the consequences of self-harming and how cutters can phase out whilst thinking they are not going to cut as deep as they could. I give Crowell credit for taking her readers as close to reality as she does, even if this reader had to side step a bit to muddle through the pages.

The kindness of her Lit teacher, Miss (as she is affectionately referred) is the one who is her calming balm inside the hospital. Without her presence up to this point, I am not sure what would have tethered Lesley in a positive connection with an adult as she could not identify with her peers. Cutting affects a lot of young girls the same age as Lesley as in the story (sixteen) but also with women in their twenties. When Lesley is placed inside her first psychiatric facility she goes through a sexual awakening which at first surprises her as she is a survivor of sexual abuse. She was completely surprised that she was attracted to another girl, but part of her knew that perhaps she had known this before. Little nudges towards this realisation were painted by Crowell who gave the reader little insights into Lesley’s personality and her instincts as a woman developing her vision of who she is as she lives.

Part of Lesley’s recovery involved DBT (Dialectical behaviour therapy), in which the lessons of Zen and Buddhism are implemented to help find balance where previously only chaos lived rampant. To quell the urge to self harm by re-examining what triggered the need to cut in the first place. To be honest and open with one’s feelings and to own the journey towards self acceptance. The other half of her recovery was the close-knit family she surrounded herself with by drawing together positive role models and allowing herself the open freedom to being real with those who loved her to bits. She had to learn that love was unconditional and that by being raw and real might get you an upturnt brow on occasion (due to her choice in words!) but its your heart that shines through that allows people to become attached and endeared to you the most.

She’s an honest portrayal of a young girl who started out as a victim but championed her own cause by becoming the survivor who was as close to being an activist as you can be without crossing the line. Lesley starts out as an a teen of sixteen and transforms into a loving Mum with a University degree in her early twenties, on the verge of marriage. You rally for her each step of her journey, because she is truly walking through hell one footstep at a time — seeking her own truth and leading with her heart. Part of her living truth was accepting that she wasn’t straight and that it was okay to be a lesbian and love differently than she expected herself too. After all, each of us in walking our own path towards love and the greatest gift each of us has is love in full acceptance of each other.

A note on behalf of Jenn Crowell:

I give Ms. Crowell a heap of gratitude and respect for being bold enough to tell this story through the lens she gave Lesley Holloway. Due to the nature of the story and the way in which Lesley raised herself up by the bootstraps, this is one novel I am not going to attach a Fly in the Ointment for language — though please be forewarned she singes off your eyebrows half the time whilst aching your heart towards seeing her find redemption and peace! To be able to take part of your own living history and etch into a story-line as powerful as this one is a credit to her own strength and confidence. I will be forever grateful that I was involved with the #LitChat book discussion which allowed our paths to cross, giving me the honour of reading her novel with the hopes that my observations return the honour back to her. This is a story about social justice and for stablising the civil rights of everyone who has struggled with and has overcome mental illness.


This book review is courtesy of:

the author Jenn Crowell & her publicist @ Atria Ms. Valarie Vennix

check out my upcoming bookish events and mark your calendars!

I would like to take a moment to thank Ms. Vennix for giving me the honour of reading this extraordinary novel and by allowing me to bring the story to life on my blog! I am hopeful that through my observations of the Lesley Holloway’s plight and journey, I can inspire other readers to get to know her on a personal level. To turn the tides of indifference or ignorance into compassion, empathy, and understanding. There is so much going on in our world that we are not always fully aware of, that I will always champion the writers like Ms. Crowell her undertake social justice and reform by bridging the gap of misunderstanding by giving back to the world a story whose undercurrent message is to enlighten and endeavour change so that others in Lesley’s position will not have to suffer nor undergo such a harrowing life shift to gain the freedom to raise their children.

Return on Thursday, 17 April for my Author Q&A with Ms. Crowell!

{SOURCES: “Etched On Me” Book Cover, Jenn Crowell author photograph, book synopsis, and author biography were provided by Ms. Vennix and were used by permission. The book synopsis & author biography were pulled together from the Press Release given to me. Book Review badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Tuesday, 15 April, 2014 by jorielov in #LitChat, 21st Century, Author Found me On Twitter, Book Review (non-blog tour), Bookish Discussions, Cutting, Equality In Literature, Foster Care, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Modern Day, Psychiatric Facilities, Realistic Fiction, Self-Harm Practices, Social Change, Social Services, Sociological Behavior, Sociology, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Vulgarity in Literature

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