Publisher: Harper Books

#BlogBirthday Book Review | “The Gravity of Birds” by Tracy Guzeman A very special reading as it’s representative of a debut author launching her story to the world on the same day a reader became a book blogger!

Posted Sunday, 6 August, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I have been attending the #HistoricalFix chats since they originated as the #IShall chat celebrating the release of Erin Lindsay McCabe’s “I Shall Be Near to You”. Throughout the past two years since the quarterly chats began, I have found a tribe of like-minded bookish souls who celebrate the devourment of compelling historical fiction in all it’s variant creations (from traditional to romance to suspense to biographical #HistFic & everything in-between!). During the chats, there are a flood of questions and happy chatter surrounding the ‘honoured guests’ of the hour wherein you have the opportunity to win a novel by one of the authors. I happily won “The Gravity of Birds” during the March 2015 #HistoricalFix chat on Twitter.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Gravity of Birds” UK edition direct from the author Tracy Guzeman without obligation to post a review. I had the option to receive the UK edition of the novel, which I happily received. My edition comes with a lovely author Q&A after the story which I look forward to reading in full! I wanted to post my ruminative thoughts on behalf of this novel for my own edification and to share my impressions with the readers of  my blog. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

How a book’s birthday healed my heart about the day
I launched #JLASblog!

Quite curiously, despite the fact I *launched!* Jorie Loves A Story on the 6th of August, 2013 after exhausting myself the previous month of July to make sure it was ‘audience ready’ – I had a bit of grievance with myself over the selection of the ‘date’. Silly, I realise it might sound aloud to reveall that tidbit, but there it is! I was caught up in the numerical identity of my blog’s history as even though it was missing a few digits, I have oft felt a “7” is stronger than a “6”. It’s a matter of faith & a personal quirk of mine, apparently! I still compose interview questions in increments of 5 or 7 rather than 6; even though recovering a better perspective on my blog’s birthday has been a lift of joy.

It wasn’t until I attended the #HistoricalFix chat in March of 2015 where I crossed paths with Ms Guzeman where I realised something quite extraordinary! I had only been looking at this from a linear prospective of where my perception of the 6th of August was a bit slated against my own misgivings rather than seeking to find *something!* which anchoured the day to a happier memory than whether or not I should have waited 24 hours to launch the site live! OY vie. The things we humans subject ourselves too!

In case your wondering – I created Jorie Loves A Story on the 31st of March, 2013 (my blogoversary) whilst I consider the day it launched live to the world on the 6th of August, 2013 to be my blog’s birthday – two special days per annum where I remember & celebrate the origins of my blog whilst embracing the memories of the stories, writers, conversations & adventures of being the bookish soul behind the bookish blog. Mind you, I need to remember my Twitterversary is on the 13th of November, 2013! These days are as special to me as my own birthday!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Here are my responses to her question pertaining to the thematic of her story:

Art,  Song & Dance evoke such a harmonic cognition inside me,

it’s felt by heart, mind & soul; beauty (lies) in art (see tweet)

Love fantasy art such as SteelGoddess (etsy)

who bridge the natural world w/ the fantastic; joy (resides) in nature (see tweet)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

I fell in love with the artistry of SteelGoddess whilst finding her shoppe on Etsy for artistic stationery which I knew would give me such a lot of inspiration whilst composing thoughts to articulate to my friends through postal correspondence!

I haven’t been on Etsy in quite a few years, as I’ve been focusing on building my reading audience on jorielovesastory.com whilst defining my blogosphere presence as a whole. I’ve also been taking the past four years to address how I want to re-define and develop this space of mine into more than just a repository of book showcases & guest author features, as I’m a writer whose in the transitional period of re-focusing on her own stories.

Whilst at the same time, I want to share other interests of mine (i.e. knitting) which are creatively enriching to me as they divert my attention a bit from the bookish world & help me re-balance myself in other pursuits! Therefore, I had *no idea!* the happy news, of the SteelGoddess’s shoppe going through a re-genesis of it’s own: check out the newly launched Cheryl Baker Art!

As a good primer to understand what draws me to her artwork & stationery goods, kindly take a look-see at this beautiful new stationery set of papers! Her main website is one of enchantment & inspiring joy, as well! Honestly, I think I’ll order directly from her website in the future & help celebrate the natural world she brings to the world of art!

As you well see, the artist I found on Etsy had a profound affect on me – as I felt as soon as I saw her woodland creatures, I had encapsulated a piece of my walks in nature in such an expression of enchanted art as to fuse my experience through her artistic imagery. This is why I knew the answer to Ms Guzeman’s question was partially inspired by my own adventures and the ones I feel I’ve lived through Ms Baker’s artwork!

Did it really!? I never knew the ‘day’ Gravity of Birds published, but if it were the 6th, it feels kismet! I had no idea my blog’s birthday (as I separate the two days: blogoversary for the day I created it; birthday for the day it went live; a bit like a book birthday = publication day?) had such a special ‘attachment’ to an author! I love finding this out because there are always interesting stories behind things in life; and clearly I was meant to read this novel! :)

-my initial reaction to the publication date of The Gravity of Birds

and I had this to say in relation to when Ms Guzeman picked up on the fact I write in my own personally stylised AmeriBritish vernacular:

You’re quite apt at seeing the differences in how I spelt my words, but actually, it’s a choice I made to limit my dyslexic slips whilst writing and communicating by written dialogue! I expound a bit on this under “My Bookish Life” where I talk a bit openly about my path as a writer and as a book blogger, but suffice to say, my UK heritage allowed me a grace in understanding how words appear in context to what I want to articulate as previously I stumbled in how to formulate the expressions.

Moreso as an adult rather than as a child, I have found my dyslexia to become a bit of an issue nowadays vs when I was in school. Coincidentally, through a bit of online research, I uncovered a quirky revelation: I was led to believe I had mild dyslexia as a child but according to my research I am severely dyslexic! 

I had a bit of a bubble of a laugh at first because I’ve grown so accustomed to compensating for my learning difficulties, it did not feel revolutionary to me. It did help me understand a few things which make me a bit unique or how I perceive things might be considered unique, but in the end, I am who I am, someone I was always proud of being. I found dyslexia a gift but understanding my limitations as a writer and compensating by exchanging my American English for my Ancestral British turnt out to be the biggest blessing I could receive!
 
I’m named after my maternal grandmother who was of British and Irish descent. I’m British doubly over as my father’s side of the family has UK roots as well, spilt between England & Scotland. I have a heap ‘more’ in me as well, but these are quite dominant.

The language of the Brits feels right to me, and each new word or phrase I have learnt, becomes fuell to my own imagination as far as where I can take my own writings in the future.

As you can imagine – winning a copy of “The Gravity of Birds” took on a whole new level of joy & creative curiosity! I am naturally drawn to reading stories from the UK – not only because I am wickedly addicted to reading authors who reside in the UK, but because, I personally *love!* the tangible fluid nature of how British English evolves through the descriptive narrative! I watch a high volume of British (& Canadian) television serials & films as well, which parlays concurrently with my literary wanderings!

When Ms Guzeman offered me the chance to read the UK edition of this novel, my heart swooned in joy! I did not even think this was a possibility but a welcomed unexpected bookish slice of happiness! One day I’m looking forward to when there is an online bookshoppe in the UK who will ship UK editions to American readers who crave their fix of UK authors! (technically, I know of one in the stages of doing this!)

Til then, I am blessed to have a copy of The Gravity of Birds and be a reviewer for UK-based publishers! Conversely, even if a novel is written by an American author such as this one, my first preference is to seek out the UK edition as it’s one of the editions outside of it’s original printing I am most desiring to read! Even if the language isn’t full-on Brit, it’s having an edition published outside my own country which makes it a special treat – as book covers are unique to their country of origin..

Through this experience, I realised the date I selected to launch my blog was ‘meant to be’ – not only because it shares a very special book birthday with an author I would one day cross paths with to discover, but because sometimes the ‘timing’ which is best in our lives to experience something is not of our choosing.

Life has a way of blissfully keeping us in suspended joy arriving in unexpected moments which provide us an incredible level of happiness. Here’s to remaining open to where our hours lead us to traverse & keeping the door open to the unexpected!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Gravity of Birds by Tracy Guzeman. Book Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com.

The Gravity of Birds
by Tracy Guzeman
Source: Won a Bookaway

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

ISBN: 9780007488391

Genres: Art & Art History, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Literary Fiction, Suspense, Time Slip and/or Time Shift


Published by Harper Books, HarperCollins UK

on 6th August, 2013 (USA) | 15th August, 2016 (UK)

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 382

Published By: Harper (@harperbooks),
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers UK (@HarperCollinsUK)
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

The UK edition released 9 days after the 6th of August, 2013!

The American debut was published by Simon & Schuster!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Author Links: Site | Twitter | GoodReads | wicked good Interview!

more insight behind ‘the book’ | Book Discussion on Book Browse w/ Author Q&A

Converse via: #GravityOfBirds + #TimeShift

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Posted Sunday, 6 August, 2017 by jorielov in #HistoricalFix, 20th Century, Art, Art History, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Birthdays & Blogoversaries, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Browse, Book Review (non-blog tour), Bookish Films, Coming-Of Age, Debilitating Diagnosis & Illness, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Fly in the Ointment, Good vs. Evil, Inspiring Video Related to Content, Literary Fiction, Poetry, Suspense, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, The Seventies, The Sixties, Time Shift, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Vulgarity in Literature, Wildlife Artwork, Women's Health

Blog Book Tour | “The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House” by Kate Andersen Brower A #bookblogger who adored #TheWestWing on tv and The American President on the silver screen, digs happily inside ‘The Residence’!

Posted Monday, 27 April, 2015 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

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 Residence” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary hardback copy of the book direct from the publisher Harper (an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers), in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. 

Books which stimulate a keen interest in their subjects:

It is not a widely known fact amongst my circle of friends, but I take after my Mum in regards to my love and curiosity about Presidential History! I grew up carting around a trivia book about the then 40 Presidents of the United States, as I was fascinated by the ‘little stories’ surrounding the men who worked inside the White House. My classmates and I, took learning the Presidents during fourth grade to a whole new level whilst we created our own trivia to remind us of the presidential ‘quirks’ and ‘personality traits’ that could help us score higher on our oral exams. Thereby, I would always remember some of the more curious trivia surrounding the Presidents as a whole, but definitely knew if your going out in the rain, sleet, or snow, best to wear a hat, coat, and gloves if you want to forestall an early demise! Singularly William H. Harrison (our 9th President) would be entombed forever for precipitating his own death, at least to my class of fourth graders! Taft on the other hand, gave us endless pleasure in making ‘pretend taffy’ whilst Hoover gave new meaning to what vacuum cleaners are known as across the Pond!

Visiting the Presidential Libraries is not just a prospect and dream of my Mum’s but one I share with her, as I love libraries in general, but there are certain collections inspired by the Presidents that I felt would be quite wicked lovely to visit! I haven’t yet had the pleasure to go to them, but I have visited my first ‘hometown’ of a President without planning too as Hope, Arkansas will remain the city that welcomed in travellers who needed assistance and gave back their hearts. Similarly, like the author Ms Brower I have long held a curiosity of sorts for those who work both upstairs / downstairs in large houses, estates, or castles — where the living proximity is tight but the depth of the divisions can be quite large.

This might explain why I have a penchant for these sorts of stories in motion pictures, as like the author, yes, I did draw a keen eye into the world Downton Abbey before the series broke my heart when Matthew died and crushed my soul a bit when certain story-lines from Series 4 were introduced. My heart has yet to be able to return, and thus, I might not see Series 5 or 6 as a result. However, it isn’t just my fascination with this particular era of history nor of the setting therein, as I loved watching The American President starring Michael Douglas, Annette Bening, and Martin Sheen. Sheen reprised his role on a tv series by the same creator settling into the role of the President on The West Wing. I loved the series, sharing an equal joy of it with my grandmother, except she was able to maintain an active viewing of it wherein I lost track of where I was in the episodes.

Overall, it is the stories of the everyday hours that seem to get lost in the shuffle. The little bits of ordinary life which barely have the chance to surfacing because there is always something much more dire and urgent to reveal instead. I understand the politics of the exclusions, but sometimes, it is quite nice to see a humbling view of a world that very few are allowed to enter, and to see a mark of their humanity as left behind by those who knew them best.

Blog Book Tour | “The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House” by Kate Andersen Brower A #bookblogger who adored #TheWestWing on tv and The American President on the silver screen, digs happily inside ‘The Residence’!The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House
by Kate Andersen Brower
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

A remarkable history with elements of both In the President’s Secret Service and The Butler, The Residence offers an intimate account of the service staff of the White House, from the Kennedys to the Obamas.

America’s First Families are unknowable in many ways. No one has insight into their true character like the people who serve their meals and make their beds every day. Full of stories and details by turns dramatic, humorous, and heartwarming, The Residence reveals daily life in the White House as it is really lived through the voices of the maids, butlers, cooks, florists, doormen, engineers, and others who tend to the needs of the President and First Family.

These dedicated professionals maintain the six-floor mansion’s 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, 28 fireplaces, three elevators, and eight staircases, and prepare everything from hors d’oeuvres for intimate gatherings to meals served at elaborate state dinners. Over the course of the day, they gather in the lower level’s basement kitchen to share stories, trade secrets, forge lifelong friendships, and sometimes even fall in love.

Combining incredible first-person anecdotes from extensive interviews with scores of White House staff members—many speaking for the first time—with archival research, Kate Andersen Brower tells their story. She reveals the intimacy between the First Family and the people who serve them, as well as tension that has shaken the staff over the decades. From the housekeeper and engineer who fell in love while serving President Reagan to Jackie Kennedy’s private moment of grief with a beloved staffer after her husband’s assassination to the tumultuous days surrounding President Nixon’s resignation and President Clinton’s impeachment battle, The Residence is full of surprising and moving details that illuminate day-to-day life at the White House.

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

Genres: Current Events, Non-Fiction, Presidential Life & History


Published by Harper Books

on 7th April, 2015

Pages: 320

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

Published by: Harper Books (@harperbooks)
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)
Available Formats: Hardback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #TheResidence

About Kate Andersen Brower

Kate Andersen Brower spent four years covering the Obama White House for Bloomberg News and is a former CBS News staffer and Fox News producer. She lives outside Washington, D.C., with her husband and their two young children.

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Posted Monday, 27 April, 2015 by jorielov in 21st Century, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Art, Audiobook, Audiobook Excerpt, Based on an Actual Event &/or Court Case, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Films, Downton Abbey, Equality In Literature, Fathers and Daughters, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, History, Humour & Satire in Fiction / Non Fiction, Interviews Related to Content of Novel, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Modern Day, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Non-Fiction, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Presidential Life & History, Realistic Fiction, Soundcloud, TLC Book Tours

Blog Book Tour | “A Dangerous Place” {11th release of the Maisie Dobbs series} by Jacqueline Winspear

Posted Thursday, 19 March, 2015 by jorielov , , , , , , 1 Comment

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 “A Dangerous Place” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I requested and borrowed the first novel (“Maisie Dobbs”) as well as the entire series to better understand the flow of continuity and the origins of the Maisie Dobbs series of which I borrowed via my local library.

Unfortunately, due to time and circumstance, I only read portions of “Maisie Dobbs” (the first novel) for the blog tour and was not obligated to post a review for it. I received a complimentary ARC copy of the book direct from the publisher HarperCollins Publishers, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Reflections on behalf of “Maisie Dobbs”: the first of the series:

Prior to soaking inside A Dangerous Place, I wanted to acquaint myself with who Maisie Dobbs was behind the series which has become a benchmark of cosy historical mysteries with a formidable lead female investigating unique scenarios whilst breaking out of station and class circles in an era of time where women did not quite have the full freedoms they have in today’s modern world. On paper, Maisie Dobbs was a young girl of thirteen who entered into service at the bequest of her father after her mother’s tragic death; a choice to choose between a life of poverty and a chance to make a mark on the world on her own terms. Her father’s love for his daughter was without bounds as he wanted to give her everything she deserved but simply could not afford on his costermonger wages.

She was under tutelage of a prominent private investigator until the Great War erupted and changed life as everyone knew it to be prior to World War I. During the war, Maisie took up her role as a nurse, seeing as much of the battlefields as she dared felt she could survive handling as she nursed the men who came into her wards; the wounds they carried were only half seen to the naked eye, but felt more intuitively by the heart and conscience. This is an ability she carried through to her sleuthing years, as after the Armistice she settled herself into the role she had meant to take-on prior to war: private investigations, continuing the legacy of her tutor Maurice Blanche whilst her benefactor at arms, Lady Rowan is his wife; a close confident of Maisie, and guiding light to her affairs.

Maisie Dobbs might have had a tragic situation take her formative years for a shock, but it was how she was determined to rise out of the ashes of where her childhood ended and lay claim to a future she could not only become proud of but prove to her father she would survive anything life threw at her, Maisie Dobbs found an unusual alliance in the couple (Maurice Blanche & Lady Rowan) whose house gave her a position in service. You could say, she had a guardian angel looking out for her and giving her what she needed at the times in which she needed everything the most. This cocoon of acceptance and support, is what gave her the foundation she needed before and after the Great War.

Maisie was tutored by a man who appreciated sociology and the observations on how the conditions of being human are not limited to psychology and environment. The whole of a person’s being is rooted half by our humanity and half through the experiences of our lives. The best investigator who has a compassionate conscience towards the well-being of both her clients and the people of whom she is investigating will walk the line between where ethics and justice merge together. A direct reflection upon the good of how information can affect a life or how information can subtract a negative result out of a grievance or misunderstanding therein. There are always two sides to every pence, thereby giving two sides of a revelation sparked out of a keen intellect whose deduction extends past the obvious and digs deeper in the heart and conscience. Maisie Dobbs is one such investigator who strives to find a balance between seeking the truth and using the truth to set people free.

Maisie articulates her conscience in her reactions to what happens when her observations deposit her into another person’s reality. The way in which she fuses her own being to that of her observant party is a keen tip of insight on behalf of Winspear, that Maisie likes to study people from the inside out. She formulates an impression on them whilst seeking the truth they might not even realise they are revealing bit by bit in appearance, personality, and countenance.

Winspear allows a beautiful open dialogue between Maisie and her mentor Maurice, through the conversations Maisie brings forward to mind as she wrestles out the best method to unravell the fabric of truth from the moving mirrors of shadows which attempt to forestall what she is uncovering from being brought to light. The past does not always want to be let out in the open nor revealed to all parties who make enquiries. The war plays a key role in eluding to a history that doesn’t quite want to be recollected nor does it want to remain forever silent; no, some ghosts are hard to quell but must be willed back into the conscience of the present.

This first novel of the series, takes us forwards and backwards through where we meet Maisie Dobbs at the jump-start of her new career as a private eye to the myriad past of her benefactor Lady Rowan and how her life intersects with Maisie; giving depth and a level of back-story that draws your eye forward into the text with such a wanton hope of finding more about the characters whom you warm to instantly from having met them a quarter of a novel ago. You are dedicated to their stories because they are openly sharing their life and world with you from page one. It is as if you were a part of their inside circle, privy to their internal thoughts and the intimate moments wherein they share the bits they might think are outside of view.

Blog Book Tour | “A Dangerous Place” {11th release of the Maisie Dobbs series} by Jacqueline WinspearA Dangerous Place
by Jacqueline Winspear
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

Maisie Dobbs returns in a powerful story of political intrigue and personal tragedy: a brutal murder in the British garrison town of Gibraltar leads the investigator into a web of lies, deceit, and danger.

Spring 1937. In the four years since she left England, Maisie Dobbs has experienced love, contentment, stability—and the deepest tragedy a woman can endure. Now, all she wants is the peace she believes she might find by returning to India. But her sojourn in the hills of Darjeeling is cut short when her stepmother summons her home to England: her aging father, Frankie Dobbs, is not getting any younger.

On a ship bound for England, Maisie realizes she isn't ready to return. Against the wishes of the captain who warns her, "You will be alone in a most dangerous place," she disembarks in Gibraltar. Though she is on her own, Maisie is far from alone: the British garrison town is teeming with refugees fleeing a brutal civil war across the border in Spain.

And the danger is very real. Days after Maisie's arrival, a photographer and member of Gibraltar's Sephardic Jewish community, Sebastian Babayoff, is murdered, and Maisie becomes entangled in the case, drawing the attention of the British Secret Service. Under the suspicious eye of a British agent, Maisie is pulled deeper into political intrigue on "the Rock"—arguably Britain's most important strategic territory—and renews an uneasy acquaintance in the process. At a crossroads between her past and her future, Maisie must choose a direction, knowing that England is, for her, an equally dangerous place, but in quite a different way.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Series: Maisie Dobbs,


Genres: Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction, War Drama


Published by Harper Books

on St. Patrick's Day, 2015

Pages: 320

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

Published by: Harper Books (@harperbooks)

an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)

The Maisie Dobbs series: {info on series}

Maisie Dobbs

Birds of a Feather

Pardonable Lies

Messenger of Truth

An Incomplete Revenge

Among the Mad

The Mapping of Love and Death

A Lesson in Secrets

Elegy for Eddie

Leaving Everything Most Loved

*A Most Dangerous Place

Available FormatsHardback, Audiobook & Ebook

Converse via: #MaisieDobbs

About Jacqueline Winspear

Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Leaving Everything Most Loved, Elegy for Eddie, A Lesson in Secrets, The Mapping of Love and Death, Among the Mad, and An Incomplete Revenge, as well as four other national bestselling Maisie Dobbs novels.

Her standalone novel, The Care and Management of Lies, was also a New York Times bestseller. She has won numerous awards for her work, including the Agatha, Alex, and Macavity awards for the first book in the series, Maisie Dobbs, which was also nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Novel and was a New York Times Notable Book.


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Posted Thursday, 19 March, 2015 by jorielov in 20th Century, ARC | Galley Copy, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Father-Daughter Relationships, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Geographically Specific, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, India, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Library Find, Library Love, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Loss of an unbourne child, Mental Health, Nurses & Hospital Life, PTSD, Sociological Behavior, Sociology, the Thirties, The World Wars, TLC Book Tours, War Widow

Blog Book Tour | “The Swimmer” by Joakim Zander

Posted Sunday, 15 March, 2015 by jorielov , , , 2 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 Swimmer” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary ARC copy of the book direct from the publisher HarperCollins Publishers, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. 

Intrigued to Read:

It’s oft difficult to explain what draws my eye towards a novel up for review, however, in the particular instance of The Swimmer it was to segue back inside the thrillers of my youth. I used to read a heap of military espionage thrillers, which were not quite as intense as a Jason Bourne story (I opted instead to watch Bourne on the silver screen) but were equally of merit and of intensity of drama intermixed with the daring feats of the characters who strove not only to keep themselves safe and alive, but those of whom they were protecting and/or attempting to bring to justice; depending on the story-line’s arc.

The sweet part of finding The Swimmer in my postbox was the unexpectedness of realising this is a novel in-translation from it’s Swedish version! I must’ve missed this bit to the story whilst I had read through a list of synopsises in order to pick out my Spring selections; herein this is of interest to me, due to heritage lines in my ancestral past. Scandinavian history and modern society are of keen interest to me, and it is quite rare where I can tip my hat towards finding Swedish authors and/or any other currently in-translation to English which whets a palette of interest for me to read.

The sea of stories being regularly published is so very vast, I sometimes find it difficult to seek out stories across the channels of where the voices of story-tellers converge. It is a goal of mine to read more stories outside my own country of origin, and this happily, is one novel in that direction! On a smaller note, I could relate to the title itself without the context of the novel’s heart attached.

Blog Book Tour | “The Swimmer” by Joakim ZanderThe Swimmer
by Joakim Zander
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

A deep-cover CIA agent races across Europe to save the daughter he never knew in this electrifying debut thriller— an international sensation billed as “Homeland meets Stieg Larsson”—that heralds the arrival of a new master.

Early 1980s, Damascus. A nameless American spy abandons his newborn child to an uncertain fate. His inability to forgive himself for what he has done leads him on a lifelong quest to escape his past that will take him to Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq—anywhere where the danger and the stress allow him to forget.

Thirty years later, EU aide Klara Walldéen is learning to navigate the world of politics—the lines between friend and enemy, truth and lies. But Klara has just seen something she should not have: a laptop containing information so sensitive that people will kill to keep it hidden. Suddenly she is thrown into a terrifying chase through Europe, with no idea who is hunting her or why.

Their stories converge one stormy Christmas Eve in the Swedish archipelago, where blood is spilled, shocking discoveries are made, and the past inevitably catches up with the present.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Genres: Crime Fiction, Thriller


Published by Harper Books

on 10th February, 2015

Pages: 432

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

Published by: Harper Books (@harperbooks)

an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)

Translated by: Elizabeth Clark Wessel (@lizclarkwessel)

Available FormatsHardback & Ebook

Converse via: #TheSwimmer

About Joakim Zander

Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Joakim Zander has lived in Syria and Israel and graduated from high school in the United States. He earned a PhD in Law from Maastricht University in the Netherlands and has worked as a lawyer for the European Union in Brussels and Helsinki. The Swimmer is his first novel; rights have been sold in 28 territories. Zander currently lives in southern Sweden with his wife and two children.

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Posted Sunday, 15 March, 2015 by jorielov in 20th Century, 21st Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, ARC | Galley Copy, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Crime Fiction, Debut Author, Debut in United States, Debut Novel, Espionage, Father-Daughter Relationships, Fly in the Ointment, Geographically Specific, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Scandinavian Literature, Spy Fiction, TLC Book Tours, Vulgarity in Literature

Blog Book Tour | “Girl Runner” by Carrie Snyder

Posted Wednesday, 25 February, 2015 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

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 “Girl Runner” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary ARC copy of the book direct from the publisher HarperCollins Publishers, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

I grew up watching the Winter (Olympic) Games, whilst the Games themselves inspired me to correspond with other girls who lived overseas, as my original pen pals were sought through a friendship exchange linked to the Norwegian Games in the early 1990s. Those friendships dissolved in my early to mid twenties, but the friendships sparked a love of exchanging postal mail and letters of correspondence! A tradition that I still carry forward today, as I will be blogging a bit more about my love for postal mail, stationeries, mixed media collage and postal mail art; intermixed with my love of knitting, as segues of how a bookish girl like me has found beauty and joy in lost arts of the recent past.

The Games themselves by definition and by example, lead us towards a world that is close-knit and tied together through sportsmanship and the honour of competing not merely against each other on teams, but against our ‘best moment inside the sport itself’ to better ourselves and strengthen our abilities therein. It’s a magical and inspirational time every four years, as we get to dip inside a country’s history and the passion they have for not only the continuation of the Games themselves but the diplomacy and the curated friendships that athletes find amongst the community of which they find themselves living for this moment in time and history. The Olympic Village stories combine with the Opening & Closing Ceremonies and the documentaries on the host country, to knit together my overall joy of watching from afar as the Games pursue as the telecast feeds are limited by time zone and distance.

I anchoured myself into the Winter Games a bit quicker than the Summer Games, but I enjoy each of them quite equally, whilst finding the X-Games are a wicked sweet surprise in-between! I have fond memories extending out of Nagano, Japan; Vancouver, British Columbia; London, England; and Beijing, China which gives an overview of my favourite Winter & Summer Games of the past decade or so. When I came to discover the narrative behind Girl Runner, I must confess I had an intense cascade of beautiful memories alighting through my mind’s eye as I considered accepting this novel for review. To explore a part of the Olympic past cast against a fictional character’s story simply enveloped me in full anticipation of what I would discover within the pages themselves!

On a separate note, I had to remind myself that I was a charity runner when I was nine years old who accomplished more than the runners twice her age or older. I hadn’t even realised I was running further and faster than the others around me; as I did experience a bit of what Snyder talks about in her novel Girl Runner where everything outside your run starts to blur and it is you alone on the track or path you’ve elected to race. Running a race isn’t always about a specific end result, it can be for the clock in competition or it can simply be a defining moment where you seek to prove your own fortitude of strength. How far can you personally take yourself to run? How far will you go? The irony is that before I picked up Girl Runner I had forgotten I was a runner myself; one who elected not to run for sport, but to run for myself. I gave myself the freedom to pace my extensions and my distance by what I knew I could achieve against the clock of how long the charity run would last. The best joy was knowing my true best was better than I could have dreamt.

Running gives you an honest account and assessment of your capabilities — how far you can push yourself and how where your own barriers might lie to hold you back from what you can do. There is freedom of spirit in running over and beyond where you felt you physically could travel.

I was encouraged to run during recess and P.E. even though I knew I could not compete with the girls who would make the track team. I decided to find my own buoyancy of rhythm, to tap into where my breath could match my feet and where my gait could extend itself into an individual pace of quickness. I hadn’t realised how I have missed that feeling of achieving something I never expected to gain. Running is an elevated joy from walking; but being in motion in and out of time itself is the appeal.

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

Blog Book Tour | “Girl Runner” by Carrie SnyderGirl Runner
by Carrie Snyder
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

An unforgettable novel about competition, ambition, and a woman’s struggle to earn a place in a man’s world, Girl Runner is the story of 1928 Olympic gold medalist Aganetha Smart. Will Aganetha’s undeniable talent help her to outrun the social conventions of her time, or the burden of her family’s secrets?

As a young runner, Aganetha Smart defied everyone’s expectations to win a gold medal for Canada in the 1928 Olympics. It was a revolutionary victory, because these were the first Games in which women could compete in track events—and they did so despite opposition. But now Aganetha is in a nursing home, and nobody realizes that the frail centenarian was once a bold pioneer.

When two young strangers appear asking to interview Aganetha for their documentary about female athletes, she readily agrees. Despite her frailty, she yearns for adventure and escape, and though her achievement may have been forgotten by history, her memories of chasing gold in Amsterdam remain sharp. But that triumph is only one thread in the rich tapestry of her life. Her remarkable story is colored by tragedy as well as joy, and as much as Aganetha tries, she cannot outrun her past.

Part historical page-turner, part contemporary mystery, Girl Runner peels back the layers of time to reveal how Aganetha’s amazing gift helped her break away from a family haunted by betrayals and sorrow. But as the pieces of her life take shape, it becomes clear that the power of blood ties does not diminish through the years, and that these filmmakers may not be who they claim to be. . . .

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Genres: Canadian Lit, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction


Published by Harper Books

on 3rd February, 2015

Pages: 288

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

Published by: Harper Books (@harperbooks)

an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)

Available FormatsHardback & Ebook

Converse via: #GirlRunner

About Carrie Snyder

Carrie Snyder’s Girl Runner is shortlisted for the 2014 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Her previous book, The Juliet Stories, was shortlisted for the prestigious Governor General’s Literary Award and named one of the Globe and Mail‘s Top 100 Books of the Year. Her first book, the short story collection Hair Hat, was shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed Award for Short Fiction. A mother of four, Carrie lives with her family in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

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Posted Wednesday, 25 February, 2015 by jorielov in 20th Century, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, ARC | Galley Copy, Audio Play, Audiobook, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book | Novel Excerpt, Bookish Films, Canada, Canadian Literature, Cats and Kittens, Chapter or Novel Adaptation in Audio, Clever Turns of Phrase, Death of a Sibling, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, During WWI, Geographically Specific, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Herbalist, Historical Fiction, Interviews Related to Content of Novel, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Literary Fiction, Lyrical Quotations, Midwife | Midwifery, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Realistic Fiction, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Soundcloud, Sports, The Olympic Games (Winter or Summer), the Roaring Twenties, TLC Book Tours, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage

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