Why I feature #ChocLitSaturdays (book reviews & guest author features)
and created #ChocLitSaturday (the chat via @ChocLitSaturday):
I wanted to create a bit of a niche on Jorie Loves A Story to showcase romance fiction steeped in relationships, courtships, and the breadth of marriage enveloped by characters written honestly whose lives not only endear you to them but they nestle into your heart as their story is being read!
I am always seeking relationship-based romance which strikes a chord within my mind’s eye as well as my heart! I’m a romantic optimist, and I love curling into a romance where I can be swept inside the past, as history becomes lit alive in the fullness of the narrative and I can wander amongst the supporting cast observing the principal characters fall in love and sort out if they are a proper match for each other!
I love how an Indie Publisher like ChocLitUK is such a positive alternative for those of us who do not identify ourselves as girls and women who read ‘chick-lit’. I appreciate the stories which alight in my hands from ChocLit as much as I appreciate the inspirational romances I gravitate towards because there is a certain level of depth to both outlets in romance which encourage my spirits and gives me a beautiful story to absorb! Whilst sorting out how promote my book reviews on behalf of ChocLit, I coined the phrase “ChocLitSaturdays”, which is a nod to the fact my ChocLit reviews & features debut on ‘a Saturday’ but further to the point that on the ‘weekend’ we want to dip into a world wholly ideal and romantic during our hours off from the work week!
Acquired Book By: I am a regular reviewer for ChocLitUK, where I hand select which books in either their backlist and/or current releases I would like to read next for my #ChocLitSaturdays blog feature. As of June 2016, I became a member of the ChocLit Stars Team in tandem with being on the Cover Reveal Team which I joined in May 2016. I reference the Stars as this is a lovely new reader contribution team of sending feedback to the publisher ahead of new book releases. As always, even if I’m involved with a publisher in this sort of fashion, each review is never influenced by that participation and will always be my honest impression as I read the story. Whether the author is one I have previously read or never had the pleasure to read until the book greets my shelf.
I received a complimentary copy of “Learning to Love” from ChocLit in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Why I have been looking forward to reading Sheryl Browne’s Contemporary Roms:
If you take a ganderment around my blog and the reviews I am featuring for Romance Fiction and Women’s Fiction – you’ll start to notice a bit of a threading of ‘hope filled stories’ where all is never quite lost and despite your obstacles, adversities and storm brewing difficult seas to navigate in life – there is a better tomorrow just about to surface on the horizon. I love stories of redemption inasmuch as stories of life affirming new possibilities. I love rooting out stories that make your heart lift and your spirit to feel a bit of an intact of joy as your reading about characters who are finding their way inside their lives – moment by moment, striving to arrive inside their tomorrow with a bit more confidence and a lot more affirmative conviction life is surely going to be alright.
I love finding families who are struggling to right what went wrong too, such as the family we are stepping inside to find occupying the story of Learning to Love. These are people whose spirits are on the lower end of the spectrum where hope feels like a far-off dream – not quite in reach and a bit difficult to fuse into their living reality. I like taking the healing journey with characters who aren’t quite sure how tomorrow is going to pan out but aren’t quite ready to throw in the towel either! Characters who have a bit of moxie or just a pure belief in themselves to overcome ‘whichever’ curveball life wants to hand them to face – to strengthen themselves through the journey.
I appreciate writers who are writing about non-traditional families, as there are so many routes towards parenthood as there is family – to root out the stories of everyday people and give back a bit of a shining light to guide a troubled ship into a safe harbour is a keen discovery! I am passionate about small towne fiction too! I love writers who write about community togetherness and the interactions of community members who have a genuine respect and care about everyone’s well-being – it’s the throwback to the way life always used to be, but isn’t quite as noticeable now.
Ms Browne never fails to ignite my curiosities about how her characters will live through their circumstances and find the will to right their sails towards a better tomorrow. She writes with a heart-centred focus on second changes and new beginnings. We all need stories like this to read, to re-bolster what we all know to be true – no matter how difficult our difficulties might seem, there is a way forward and through to an even keel of shared happiness with those we love most.
-quoted from my Cover Reveal for ‘Learning to Love’
I did want to take a moment to explain my interest in Ms Browne writings are for her Contemporary Romance novels rather than her gritty Romantic Crime novels – as she has a series of crime stories being published through ChocLit but for me personally they were a full step outside my comfort zone, which is why I haven’t been participating in the ChocStars Cover selections nor hosting the Reveals; sometimes a girl has to be honest with herself about her boundaries in Crime Fiction! However, I had previously learnt about her Contemporary Romances – not just through the Reveals themselves but through conversations during #ChocLitSaturday, where I had the joys of hearing about her writings and the stories which were going to be released or were released (depending on when the chat took place).
Having said this, you do get a proper sense of what you’d find in Ms Browne’s Death by ChocLit line of stories because there is an infusion of gut-stopping suspense hovering in the background of ‘Learning to Love’. So much so, you nearly forget how the story began and where you’ve been during it’s discourse – as there is an about-turn of truth, action and sequencing where I half laughed to myself realising the beauty of the story was more in the unexpected revelations than in the calm pacing increasing the climax!
I was definitely on the edge of my chair – curious about how this tangled web would unweave itself but moreso, curiously content to watch it all unfold – the horror of it all, watching as these characters I now felt so dearly attached too were once again jettisoned into a sieve of unknown trauma and emergency situations! I can see why those who like True Crime or Hard-Boiled Crime Dramas would find their niche in her Crime series – for me, there just outside my cuppa, but the suspense threaded into this novel was ‘just the right balance’ for me to be included! Your heart nearly stops a beat just awaiting the ‘ooh’ moment!
Therefore, as I am making my way through both ChocLit’s FrontList and BackList titles as I review for them – I wanted to select this particular title as my ‘first’ novel by Ms Browne due to the premise of the story and of how I felt this story would be a fitting read right now as Summer starts to fold into Autumn.
On my connection to the author:
I happily have had the pleasure of interacting with Ms Browne through #ChocLitSaturday the chat off/on for the past two years (or thereabouts). She is a delightful presence to have in the chats and I am thankful she found a niche where she felt comfortable chattering with fellow ChocLit authors, Romance novelists, book bloggers, readers, and other bookishly chatty spirits who alight on Saturdays!
I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with her ahead of reading her novels. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time. This is also true when I follow-up with them on future releases and celebrate the book birthdays that come after their initial publication.
Sometimes help comes from the most unlikely places…
Living in a small village like Hibberton, it’s expected that your neighbours help you in a time of need. But when Andrea Kelly’s house burns down, taking all her worldly possessions with it, it’s the distant and aloof Doctor David Adams – the person she would least expect – who opens his door not just to her, but to her three kids and slightly dotty elderly mother as well.
Andrea needs all the help she can get, dealing with the aftermath of the fire and the suspicious absence of her husband, Jonathan. But as she gets to know David and his troubled son, Jake, she begins to realise that maybe they need her help as much as she needs theirs…
Places to find the book:
Published by ChocLitUK
on 6th April, 2017
Format: UK Edition Paperback
Available Formats: Paperback & E-Book
Ms Browne’s ChocLit Contemporary Roms:
The Rest of my Life (see also Cover Reveal w/ Notes)
Learning to Love (see also Cover Reveal w/ Notes)
Converse via: #Contemporary #Romance + #ChocLit