Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

Non-Fiction Book Review | “Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers and Other Long Stories Short” by Jan Risher

Posted Saturday, 29 December, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for this unique collection of stories hosted by iRead Book Tours. I haven’t been reviewing or hosting iRead authors in quite a long while – for most of the year, outside of the fact I did host the Marilyn Wilson blog tour as it was her second release. I couldn’t find stories which excited me to read and/or there were a heap which I felt would fit other readers better than they would my own readerly inclinations. When I came across ‘Old Algiers’ I thought it was such an interesting collection of personal history, experience, reflective insight and philosophical enquiry – it was something I was keenly looking forward to reading.

I received a complimentary copy of Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers direct from the author Jan Risher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

On why I was eager for this book & how life interfered with my plans in

reading ‘Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers’:

When I first learnt about this collection of stories – I thought it would be wicked interesting to read which is why I was excited about signing on for the blog tour! I had wanted to read the stories and curate a conversation with the author to coincide with my review, however, a few things ended up derailing all my lovely plans for this blog tour – which is in effect, why I am posting off-tour instead. In fact, I’ve been attempting to get this review put to order since a week ago Friday, except to say, my physical unwellness has been a bit extreme these past three weeks ever since I came down with a beast of a Winter virus. Secondly, my father had a medical emergency where we spent 4+ hours in the ER which rattled my nerves and my emotions never did quite settle down that particular week until the start of the next one. My father, is fine – thankfully, the fall was not serious but we had to ensure it was nothing major as Thanksgiving weekend marked his 2nd year past his stroke.

To return back into reading, I had to wait til a) my health was less stricken and b) my mind could re-attach into reading and blogging. It wasn’t until Sunday (last weekend) where I felt well enough to resume where I had left off with a lot of different stories but my return has been slow going which is why my posts are populating at a bit of an odd rate of progression. This review is one I wanted to finish earlier in the week, but I’ve literally been plagued with health issues and honestly, it took extra time to compose.

Having said that, I decided to make my journey into this book a bit uniquely different than most readers might have approached it. I knew in my heart I couldn’t traditionally read this start to finish, as I just didn’t have the capacity to do that right now – therefore, I hope you’ll enjoy the notes, ruminative reflections and takeaways I am sharing on behalf of Old Algiers!

Likewise, I am hoping my note of apology reached the author – somehow, for whichever reason, life became a bit of a determining factor of how I was unable to release this review in step with the blog tour itself whilst I had to realise also, the conversation would have to remain unknown as just to get this featured before the New Year I felt was more priority after having missed the blog tour.

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Non-Fiction Book Review | “Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers and Other Long Stories Short” by Jan RisherLooking to the Stars from Old Algiers
Subtitle: And Other Long Stories Short
by Jan Risher
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

Jan Risher took the long way to get from Mississippi to Louisiana with stops in between in Slovakia, Mexica, China, Burkina Faso and more than 40 other countries. Since moving to Louisiana, she has been a Sunday columnist for The Daily Advertiser and has written a column every single Sunday since 2002.

Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers and Other Long Stories Short is the collection of columns written over 15 years. Arranged in chronological order, the collection creates a narrative of one woman's aim to build her family, build up her community and weave the stories and lessons learned from the past into the present.

From her family's move to Louisiana, adoption of a daughter from China, covering Hurricane Katrina, travels near and far, author Jan Risher attempts, sometimes failing and sometimes succeeding, to do her small part to make the world a better place.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781946160331

Genres: Anthology Collection of Short Stories and/or Essays, Biography / Autobiography, Non-Fiction, Short Story or Novella


Published by Lafayette Press, Sans Souci Books, University of Louisiana

on 11th September, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 312

Published by: Sans Souci Books

an imprint of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press

Formats Available: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #NonFiction & #ShortStories

About Jan Risher

Jan Risher

Jan Risher is an award-winning journalist and investigative reporter. She was managing editor of The Times of Acadiana. Before and after her time as a full-time journalist, she was an English teacher. She has taught English near and far, in its most basic and most lyrical forms. She continues her career as a freelance writer and now owns Shift Key, a content marketing and public relations firm. She, her husband and their two daughters have made their home on the banks of the Vermilion River.

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Posted Saturday, 29 December, 2018 by jorielov in Anthology Collection of Stories, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Daily Devotions of Inspiration from Life, Equality In Literature, Indie Author, iRead Book Tours, Memoir, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Orphans & Guardians, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Publishing Industry & Trade, Short Stories or Essays, Sociological Behavior, Sociology, Stories of Adoption, Travelogue, Vignettes of Real Life

Non-Fiction Book Review | “The Wisdom of Listening” (#RealPeopleRealLives) by Marilyn R. Wilson

Posted Friday, 12 October, 2018 by jorielov , , 1 Comment

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

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for the second release by Marilyn R. Wilson hosted by iRead Book Tours. I was thankful to be a part of her debut release blog tour a few years ago where I learnt about her life’s work and what inspires her to write. I haven’t been reviewing or hosting iRead authors in quite a long while – for most of the year, I couldn’t find stories which excited me to read and/or there were a heap which I felt would fit other readers better than they would my own readerly inclinations. I am thankful I could host Ms Wilson on this second tour and gain more insight into what inspires her to share this inspiring collection of voices, hearts and lives.

I received a complimentary copy of The Wisdom of Listening direct from the author Marilyn R. Wilson in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

On why I was keenly interested in wanting to read ‘The Wisdom of Listening’:

I wanted to dig into the heart of how she organised the sequences of discloses within this release as it has a unique rhythm of disclosures – as I initially settled into reading the individual passages, I noted how they strike a hearty balance between a slice of memoir, a candor of conversationalism and the kind of insight you would expect from a woman whose dedicated her life to listening to others who tell their story with the hope of inspiring someone by the experience of hearing their story told.

It is quite true – when she encourages you to read the passages out of sequence from how their arranged – you can take it upon yourself to curate a bit of a personal experiment – which passages are drawing your eye towards them first? Which ones speak to you the most? Try it! You might be pleasantly surprised – as I knew I was as I was reading – I was automatically seeking out more of her own personal declarations – the pieces of this installment in her evolving series of Real People | Real Lives which takes on its own canon of originality with each book she writes – something which struck me as interesting as I was not expecting this to be the case.

Similar to reading anthologies – I took this edition to be of the same vein – a wanderlust of inspiration wherein you are never quite certain which piece or short will draw you into the folds of the message it has left behind for you to find. Each of these pieces curate their own fingerprint of insight into what Ms Wilson has gleamed as an interviewer but also, as an experiencer of life spent observing the keen awareness we all have within us to contemplate as we shift through our transitions – where memory and experience intermix and re-settle the thoughts as they once percolated to mind when inspiration alights within us.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Notation on Cover Art: Being an artist who wants to increase her toolbox of media choices, one of the future journeys I wish to take visually is into watercolours. Especially coming from a history of using oils and pastels; the effects you can achieve with watercolours never fails to impress me or inspire me. If you see the collective works of Stephanie Pui-Mun Law floating into my feeds on Twitter it is not by accident – she has an incredible gifted eye and story-telling arc of narrative within her paintings which I simply :love: dearly. This cover is a spasm of colour, thoughtfulness and it speaks to sometimes you have calm your voice in order to hear what others are saying – sometimes that requires removing our sensory awareness – to close our eyes in order to see what is being said is a great metaphor to have on the cover.

Non-Fiction Book Review | “The Wisdom of Listening” (#RealPeopleRealLives) by Marilyn R. WilsonThe Wisdom of Listening
Subtitle: Pieces of Gold from a decade of interviewing and life
by Marilyn R. Wilson
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

The next time you're out in public, take a moment to look around you. Each and every person you see holds wisdom in their pockets--pieces of gold they've accumulated as they walked their own unique life journey.

Within these pages, Marilyn shares some of the many pieces of gold she has received over her decade-long career. They have been offered to her during interviews, through random encounters and while facing difficult challenges. The most important? We are each unique and exactly who we are meant to be.

Are you ready to dig for gold? All you need to do is be brave, be present in the moment and be open to the possibilities--then start a conversation.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780995314726

Also by this author: Life Outside The Box: The Extraordinary Journeys of 10 Unique Individuals, Author Interview with Marilyn R. Wilson, (Guest Post) The Wisdom of Listening

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Interviews & Conversations, Non-Fiction, Self-Improvement & Self-Actualisation


Published by Influence Publishing Inc.

on 28th May, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 220

Published by: Influence Publishing Inc. (@influencepub)

Formats Available: Paperback and Ebook

Life Outside the Box by Marilyn R. WilsonThe Wisdom of Listening by Marilyn Wilson

You might remember my conversation with Ms Wilson or my ruminations on behalf of her first release Life Outside the Box, Volume One – this week, I have the joy of her guesting on Jorie Loves A Story with an insightful response about how she fleshed together her inspiring idea behind her latest release: The Wisdom of Listening.

Converse via: #NonFiction & #RealPeopleRealLives

About Marilyn R. Wilson

Marilyn R. Wilson

Marilyn R. Wilson is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for interviewing. It all began in 2006 when she answered a Craigslist ad from a NY magazine asking for story submissions. Two were accepted. The first live interview was life changing and Wilson has never looked back. With over 150 interviews now behind her, the love of interviewing is still as strong as ever. Whether through a random encounter on the New York subway or via a “one-on-one” interview with an internationally recognized artist, the goal is the same—to share the unique journeys of inspiring individuals.

In 2007, this goal led the author to co-launch a successful, innovative magazine focused on professionals working in the fashion industry, paired with photography and illustrations by local artists. Now on staff at Raine Magazine (NY/Miami/LA), as well as freelancing for other publications, Wilson has taken her passion to a new audience with the release of her first book.

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Posted Friday, 12 October, 2018 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Indie Author, iRead Book Tours, Memoir, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Publishing Industry & Trade, Sociological Behavior, Sociology, Vignettes of Real Life

Blog Book Tour | “The Sky Throne” by Chris Ledbetter A new approach to the back-story of #Zeus with a #GuestPost by the author explaining the ‘Sky Throne’.

Posted Monday, 16 October, 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 aware of the publisher Month9Books for quite a few years now, as I used to host their Reveals & other special tours – even interviewing a lovely batch of their authors as books released I felt I would appreciate reading. However, in truth – I have only read two releases by them (as of yet) and this one marked an interest as it is a gateway into Greek Mythology. I received a complimentary copy of “The Sky Throne” direct from the author Chris Ledbetter in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Ahead of my review, I asked a topic of interest for Mr Ledbetter:

How did you conceive of the ‘the Sky Throne’ and how did you best want to endeavour to describe the power of the Gods previously only generally known through Myth and Legends? How did you want your story to stand separate and together from the legacy of what has already been written?

Since I primarily write for the young adult audience, I ultimately wanted to tell an “origin” story that re-imagined the deities of ancient Hellas as teenagers. From that genesis point, I had to decide which myth to begin with. One of the most well known myths is that of Kronos eating his children to prevent a prophecy from coming true. This is a huge cornerstone of the Hellenic gods’ creation myth as told in Hesiod’s Theogony.

From there, I had to choose which deity I’d focus on as the main character. Even though the number of myths containing each deity varies widely, from a source material perspective, I love each of the Olympians. But I’ve always been drawn to Zeus strictly from the lightning and thunder aspect of things. And because he’s the king of the Gods. I realize the myths paint him as a bit of a sordid character… and I’m not excusing his colorful behavior in the myths, but I sought to create a more sympathetic version, while still remaining generally true to his essence. He is indeed one of the most dynamic figures in myths.

After I’d conceived the story concept, I tried to describe their otherworldly powers and abilities as if they were super heroes and heroines. In many ways, the Gods of pantheons past were our first super heroes and villains.

In the marketplace, there was a plethora of young adult titles in which the main character was a half blood, demigod child of an ancient god. I wanted to go to the source and tell the story of the deities themselves. That’s what separates The Sky Throne from its peers.

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Notation on Cover Art: I personally love the image of Zeus which is not only gracing the cover but it is inclusive to every ‘chapter’ page within the novel! There is simply something quite striking about this representation of Zeus and it stays with you as you read the story!

Blog Book Tour | “The Sky Throne” by Chris Ledbetter A new approach to the back-story of #Zeus with a #GuestPost by the author explaining the ‘Sky Throne’.The Sky Throne
by Chris Ledbetter
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

Duality dwells at every turn, and an adolescent Zeus will learn that all too well when Hyperion attacks his family on Crete.

When the dust settles, his mother is unconscious and his best friend left for dead.

Stacking epic insult upon fatal injury, Zeus discovers the woman who raised him is not his biological mother. But to ensure her safety while she recovers, a heavy-hearted Zeus leaves her behind to seek answers at Mount Olympus Preparatory Academia.

Zeus embarks on a quest to discover who ordered the attack on his home, avenge the death of his friend, and find his birth mother. When some of his new schoolmates vanish, Zeus's quest is turned upside down, and the only way to make things right is to access the power of The Sky Throne, confront a most dangerous enemy, and take his life back.

On his way to becoming king of the Greek gods, Zeus will learn to seize power, neutralize his enemies, and fall in love.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781945107870

Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, After Canons, Alternative History, Astronomy & Astrophysics, Genre-bender, Greek Mythos | Legacies, Quantum Physics, Re-telling &/or Sequel, Sci-Fantasy, Science Fiction, Superhero Fiction, Upper YA Fiction, Young Adult Fiction


Published by Month9Books

on 18th April, 2017

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 311

Published by: Month9Books (@Month9Books)

Converse via: #Zeus, #GreekMythos + #CleanReads + #YALit

About Chris Ledbetter

Chris Ledbetter

Chris Ledbetter is an award-winning author of short fiction and novels for young adults. “Jason’s Quest,” a short story retelling of the Jason and Medea Greek myth was published in the anthology, Greek Myths Revisited. His first full-length novel, Drawn earned him two awards, Library of Clean Reads Best YA 2015 and Evernight Publishing Readers’ Choice Award Best YA 2015, as well as a USA​ ​
TODAY “Must Read” recommendation. His second novel, Inked, concludes that duology. The Sky Throne is his newest young adult novel. The second book in the series is set to release in 2018.

He's a proud member of SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) and a strong supporter of the Need for Diverse Books. He now writes and lives in Wilmington, NC with his family, including three cats.

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Posted Monday, 16 October, 2017 by jorielov in After the Canon, Alternative History, Ancient Civilisation, Astronomy, Astrophysics, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Brothers and Sisters, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Content Note, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Folklore and Mythology, Gods & Goddesses, Good vs. Evil, Greece, Greek Mythology, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Heroic Fantasy, Indie Author, Inspired by Stories, iRead Book Tours, Literature for Boys, Mother-Son Relationships, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Mythological Societies, Parapsychological Gifts, Quantum | Mechanics Physics Theory, Re-Told Tales, School Life & Situations, Science, Science Fiction, Shapeshifters, Siblings, Speculative Fiction, Superhero Adventure, Superhero Fiction, Supernatural Fiction, Teacher & Student Relationships, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Transfer Student at School, Upper YA Fiction, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “Alycat and the Monday Blues” (Book Two: The Alycat Series) by Alysson Foti Bourque

Posted Thursday, 5 October, 2017 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for the Alycat series hosted by iRead Book Tours. I have been showcasing Children’s Lit alongside my adult literature choices since I first started blogging. I appreciate finding new voices in Picture Books, Middle Grade and Young Adult selections as an Auntie and secondly as a future mother. Today’s Children’s Lit market is vastly different than when I was growing up as there is happily more diversity and more choices in stories. Whenever I get a chance to become introduced to one of today’s Children’s Lit series or stand-alone stories, I feel blessed for the chance to see what is newly emerging onto the scene for young readers! I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Alysson Foti Bourque 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

Ahead of sharing my thoughts today about this delightfully colourful Picture Book, I have a Guest Post to share from the author. I wanted to tap into her inspiration behind creating ‘Alycat’ and how she made the choice to feature a spunky cat who has a lot of personality and life lessons to impart on the readers who find her stories.

How did the Alycat series percolate inside your imagination and develop into a cleverly illustrated series for young readers? Especially as cats have such cheeky personalities, it leads to a lot of life lessons which can be told through a character’s journey. What is your favourite aspect of Alycat’s personality?

I have always loved to write and read. It gives me peace and an outlet for my thoughts and imagination. Every night, my husband and I read a story to our children before bedtime as part of their routine. One night, after reading every single book in the bookshelf, the kids said it was time to buy more books. That is when I had my “ah-ha” moment. I simply told them that I would write a story for the next night and they believed in me.

I wrote and wrote that evening into the following day as the first Alycat story unfolded. Unfinished and unedited, I read it to the kids before bedtime. They loved it! They had ideas for the ending and gave me outrageous outcomes to choose from. The laughs and squeals made my heart full. It was then that I knew that this was a journey I needed to take in my life.

Why cats? Well, cats are very interesting animals. They have bold and mischievous personalities, coupled with a loving and nurturing nature. My favorite aspect of Alycat’s personality is her ability to solve her own problems with imagination and creativity. She is like most children where she has good days and bad days. She has such enthusiasm for what her heart wants and she is eager to work hard to obtain her hopes and dreams. It was important for me to develop her character to be self-motivated, hopeful, and fearless. I want readers to be inspired by Alycat to reach their goals, get themselves out of a slump, and demonstrate kindness even in tough situations.

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Blog Book Tour | “Alycat and the Monday Blues” (Book Two: The Alycat Series) by Alysson Foti BourqueAlycat and the Monday Blues
by Alysson Foti Bourque
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

Alycat wakes up with the dreaded Monday Blues and is certain that nothing will go right. But when a mishap sends her astray, she discovers that helping a friend will help her discover her own hidden talent—curing her Monday Blues.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1684012459

Genres: Artistic Adaptations &/or Picture Books, Children's Literature, Early Reader Stories, Illustrated Stories


Published by Mascot Books

on 12th September, 2017

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 38

Published By: Mascot Books (@MascotBooks)

Converse via: #KidsLit, #PictureBook

About Alysson Foti Bourque

Alysson Foti Bourque

Alysson Foti Bourque is the author of the Rhyme or Reason Travel series, and the multi-award winning Alycat series. Alysson received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a law degree from Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge. She believes that there is an Alycat in all of us, encouraging our imaginations to guide us through new opportunities and adventures. ​

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Posted Thursday, 5 October, 2017 by jorielov in Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Brothers and Sisters, Cats and Kittens, Children's Literature, Coming-Of Age, Illustrations for Stories, Indie Author, iRead Book Tours, Picture Book, School Life & Situations, Siblings